Saturday, September 12, 2015

Big Shoulders 2015

Today was the 25th anniversary of Big Shoulders and the National Championship 5K swim. Or was supposed to be. The weather pattern which ruined the Evanston swim several weeks ago threatened Big Shoulders from the beginning. There have been dire forecasts of large waves, rain, cold air and maybe water, and possibly even water spouts (small tornados on the lake) all week. All the organizers could do, according to them at least, was hope the forecasts were wrong. The water temp may have held out, I didn't get a chance to measure, and it did not seem that the waves inside the enclosed swim area were any worse than some other Big Shoulders. But the rains came in force. Possibly partly due to the much higher lake levels this year, and possibly partly that the NNE wind aimed directly at the beach, the beach was flooded. Their electronics, chips etc, would have been useless. So the swim was cancelled. Although the rest of the Chicago area was bright and sunny, really a very nice fall day, it seemed according to radar, that the lakefront would have rain all day so postponing an hour maybe wouldn't have helped.

I would have been the oldest in my age group and would have been an unlikely National Champ. I'm not sure 5K is my race anymore. So I'm not that disappointed. I did grab a nice towel and shirt, at retail prices almost my cost of the race. Thanks to an unanticipated construction traffic jam on the expressway exit and a malfunctioning gate at Navy pier I ended up not parking there saving $20. A stop at Starbucks for some coffee on the way home so, as they say in Chicago, wait till next year.

Postscript: The official explanation was that the lifeguards bailed. Then, of course, it had to be cancelled. It's ts a Good thing too. Aparently this water spout was spotted, and photographed nearby Ohio St around 10 o'clock when I was still in the water. All of us out there would have shit our pants and that wouldn't be fun to swim through.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Evanston, September 9

Joe, Kevin and I met in Evanston for a last lake tuneup before big shoulders just as dawn was breaking. We could barely distinguish lake from shore. But when we stuck our feet in we knew. Joe and Kevin immediately turned around and headed for a nice warm pool. I stuck around to get a temperature reading. It was 54.6, worse even than two weeks ago. I went home too. Supposedly Ohio St was still 68 today so we will see.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Ohio Street, September 5

Joe, son Kevin and I go to Ohio St for what will probably be our last practice there before Big Shoulders. We are accompanied by one of Kevin's friends, a former swimmer. The water is calm and warm again, about 71. Different weather forecasters differ on whether we will have rain this morning, but seem to agree that it will not be stormy. Even though it is warm I bring my new warm pants to try and keep up with the group. We swim to Oak St beach but as we round the corner it begins to pour. We are in the water so don't get wet, but the drops actually hurt. We think we see some lightning, worse we have possibly heard some thunder meaning the lightning is close. There are a number of characters roaming Oak St with metal detectors prospecting for lost change. We ask one if he had seen lightning and he denied it. We decide that with their metal detector they are better lightning targets than we are so, since it appears to be clearing, we swim back.

With my new pants I do keep up with Joe. But we do not seem to be fast so this swim does not bode well for the race when I will probably be pantless. Stay tuned for the results next week.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Evanston, September 1

A quick trip to the Lake to try out my new warm pants and see how that part of the Lake is doing. I have heard Ohio st has recovered to 67. Not so Evanston, it was still 57.6. Getting in it was very cold on my extremities but my core was comfy with the new pants. After about 15 minutes I felt better. The air was much hotter today and the swim shorter so no recovery problems.