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Triathlete Blog


By August 4, 2008July 6th, 2015No Comments

Today I believe in desperation for someone – anyone – anything to swim with Rachel offered to pick me up at the train station to join her for a swim in Lake Michigan. Chris and I hopped the express train to the city. Even though we live 30 miles from the city – those 30 miles can take 2 hours most days because of construction and traffic. So it’s been awhile since we’ve been down there but once we arrived it felt good to be in the city again.

Rachel found us at the corner of Adams and Wacker right by the Sears Tower. It really is tall…

We parked in a lot by Navy Pier and walked to Ohio Street Beach. There were a few other swimmers there but the water was empty compared to most other times I’ve been there. But it might have had something to do with what was brewing in the sky.

You guys see the lightning out there?

Lightning? What lightning? Oh that ligtning. It’s very far away. In Michigan at least. Let’s pretend like we don’t see it, ok? We get into the water and it’s not warm but not cold but just cold enough that I’m starting to…cold water..tight wetsuit..dark skies..few people……out…of..this…place! But I had to swim. I skipped yesterday’s swim and if I didn’t swim today I’m guessing Paul would arrive on shore and throw a tempo trainer at me while shouting cheers!

We start swimming and quickly it becomes clear that I am the weakest link. At first I’m in Rachel’s draft but then she starts pulling away and all of a sudden I am..alone. Ok, it’s not like I’m in the middle of the lake because the seawall is about 15 feet away but….but….I’m still alone. Sort of. And I do not like swimming alone. So I stop and look around.

I’m still alone.

Rachel swims back to me and I just admit I don’t like swimming alone. Hey, she doesn’t either so we swim together. But then she pulls away. Again. So I look behind me and see some other guy swimming. All of a sudden he is my new best friend. After a few more pauses they convince me to swim to the mile buoy and then I turn around and just want to swim fast as heck to get back. I swim over my new friend to accomplish this then make a beeline towards the ferris wheel to get this swim done. In the meantime it is getting darker and lightning is flickering more often and getting closer in the sky.

We reach the shore and I decide to swim back and forth to the buoy while Rachel and Chris go back out farther. Meanwhile I am watching the lightning increase in frequency. It is nearly 8 o’clock and getting really dark when the lifeguards begin telling everyone to get out of the water. By the time Chris and Rachel get back it is raining. We walk back to the car and decide to get take out Mediterranean food and hang out at Rachel’s mom’s place. As we drive back towards Hyde Park, mom calls. Apparently there is a tornado warning and the storm is set to hit Navy Pier in 20 minutes.

Light a fire under Ross’ rear because we were flying at 60 mph towards Hyde Park. As we fly, the radio is telling us to take cover under blankets, boards, in the interior, head to the basement. Chicago usually gets a lot of storms like this in the summer – there are tornado watches frequently but a warning where they tell you to take cover and how to do so – that’s kind of rare.

By some miracle we find parking by the condo and Rachel then parades across the street wearing her Timex suit and a large purse. The men sitting in the park loved that. I get to meet Rachel’s 3 children, mom and her 2 dogs. We watched the storm. The tornado never did arrive in the city but funnel clouds did touch down in surrounding areas. Once the storm calmed, we picked up the food and enjoyed it.

You can see how dark the sky was in this photo. You can also see Rachel parading around the city in her Timex swimsuit. You will notice her purse is nearly as big as her suit. But not as big as that car she was driving around all week. But then again when you are hauling 3 children, a mom, 2 dogs AND stalking Barack…I guess you need a big car.

Thanks for the good training times this past week, RR!