Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Take The Lake

Instead of walking, the competitors ran. Run 15, Bike 15, Paddle 14, Swim 4

Oh Lord, where do I begin? If y'all know anything about me and my race days, then you know that I get a terrible case of The Nerves. Well, something you may not know is that I get The Nerves whether it's my race or Cliff's.

Saturday, Cliff had a race at Lake Waccamaw, NC called Take The Lake Extreme. He was slated to swim 4 miles, bike 15 miles, kayak 14 miles and then run 15 miles. And I was his kayak support on the swim. Our day started at 3 a.m., Saturday morning. I knew as soon as my feet hit the floor that The Nerves would be causing some trouble. And sure enough, The Nerves showed up big time. 'Ain't nobody got time for that!' I managed to get dressed just in time to leave. Thirty minutes down the road, I had to stop. It was The Nerves. And then, once more, when we arrived to Lake Waccamaw. Cliff asked if I did this every morning. LOL!! I told him, "No, just when there's a race.....yours or mine, it doesn't matter". I mean, I was so sick, that he was seriously considering backing out of the race. But I assured him that I would be fine and I knew I would be as soon as I started kayaking. It's the way I roll.

As usual, when Cliff has a race...I don't do his race report. That's his story to tell. So, I give you my experiences of the day. I like my version better anyway. HaHa!

So, we started promptly at 6:30 a.m. And I say we because all the swimmers had to have their own kayak support. The race coordinators just didn't have enough people or boats to watch all the participants swimming 4 miles across the lake. Cliff was the first one to start, but was passed by one person. A very fast woman swimmer....that chick could swim. She left him like he was sitting still. Anyway, we watched the sun come up over the lake. I hardly had to paddle at all. The wind was to my back and pushed me along. The most paddling I did was back paddling to keep me along side Cliff. It's a lake so there was no tide, just wind. He did great swimming. He finished in a little over 2 hours and was second to come out of the water. We loaded up my kayak and headed back to the transition area where he would take off on his bike.

Sunrise on Lake Waccamaw

Checking out the competition behind us. No one was close.
Cliff had a good lead, except for the lady ahead of him.
This is the dam and the swim finish. At this point, I was on gator watch.
Back at transition, Cliff was leaving on the bike portion. I had little to do at this point. I took a few pictures and then met Cliff at the halfway point with some water. The way this worked was that they would have to ride the bike halfway around the lake and go through the state park and exit at the dam. Now, they couldn't ride the bike through the state park portion. They had to get off and walk or run the bike through that portion. Once they got to the dam, they would have to pick up their bikes and walk them across the dam. And then continue on.

Once again, the dam. The bikers would clear the trees at the end of the dam.

And here comes Cliff. He's in the lead, now.

The concrete was slick, so he walked very carefully across.

The little guy to the right had just fallen on the slick concrete. Cliff stopped to make sure he was ok before coming to the end. He has another competitor on his heels.

He had to lift the bike up and over....

...and carry it across this section.

After a quick rinse and adding water to the bike's hydration tank, he was off again on the bike. This was only half way.

So, I left him there at the dam and drove back to transition to get his hydration vest/life jacket ready for his kayak portion. I had the Garmin turned on and opened his shot blocks and left them in a cup in the kayak. All he had to do was put on the life jacket and start paddling. Since the kayak portion was 14 miles, it meant I had a couple of hours with nothing to do.

Leaving on the 14-mile kayak portion.

So, again, I took a couple of pictures and then sat down at the transition area for a little bit. I started calculating what time he would get back in the kayak and what I would need to do next to help him get ready for the run portion.

This cypress tree had some knarly knees. I fully expected a troll to emerge at any time.
Dale's Restaurant

 I decided that if I was going to get lunch that now was the time. It just so happened that there was a restaurant right across the street. Dale's Seafood Restaurant. Their food is delicious...so if you are ever in the area, you have to eat there. You just have to! I had lunch and got ready to pay and couldn't find my wallet. Oh dear Lord! That has never happened to me before. I could have panicked so easily, but I controlled myself. I told the lady at the register that I had a problem. I had left my wallet in my car, but that I could leave my bag with her and run go get it. She trusted me and told me that wasn't necessary. So I ran to the car, found my wallet and headed back to pay for my food. I sure hope that never happens again. It was embarrassing to say the least. I could just see myself having to wash dishes before they would let me out or worse....they could have made me gut fish.

Transition and napping area.

I was totally exhausted after that. I went back to transition and tried to read, but I was so sleepy by that time that I couldn't hold my eyes open. I was in the shade and there was a nice breeze blowing. It was ideal napping weather.....so, I did. I snoozed for about an hour. Ha!

Cliff arriving from the kayak portion.

Look at those cute, epic muscles.

Cliff finished the kayak portion in 2nd place and had one more leg of the race to go.....the 15-mile run. Now, he needed me to flank him to keep passing him his drinks and nutrition. So, I drove slowly for a couple of hours.....handing him some tea or Gatorade, gels, watermelon and peaches, water....just a whole passel of stuff to keep him going. And then just like that, it was over.

Cliff wrapping up a 15-mile run.

Taking the opportunity to cheese for me.

And finally, he's hitting the buzzer to indicate his arrival and the end of his race.

Resting for a minute and taking it all in. He has just finished an 11 hour race.

Heading out for a quick dip to cool off.
But,  he said that the water was so warm that it was hardly refreshing.

He did great, y'all! He finished in 2nd place. It took 11 hours and 18 minutes. As you can imagine, we were both pretty dog tired. He took a quick dip in the lake to cool off before collecting his award, his kayak and other race stuff and before heading home.



  1. He did better than great - FANTASTIC!!! Bravo to Cliff, and his "support team". And wait...GATORS? Glad your stomach cleared up, too. XOXO

    1. You and me both, Tanya. That's the worse case of nerves I've had. Yes, GATORS. That lake has them. We didn't worry too much out in the middle of it, but you can see from the pictures of the dam how easy it would be for a gator to be hiding or hanging out in the grass. Thankfully, we didn't see any. Thanks for your kind words.... Talk soon!

  2. Wow...what a day! I'd say you both did well!

    1. Thanks, Betsy! Cliff had been looking forward to this race for over a year. I'm so glad he was able to do it this year. He really did do a great job. Of course, he couldn't have done without me. LOL! I have leverage!

  3. Wow! That is extreme! Kudos to him for doing so well and coming in second. I can't even imagine the stamina it takes.

    1. Thanks, Tammy! You are so right....it takes a lot of stamina and training. And his wife! LOL!!

  4. OMG!!! You guys are really into fitness! YAY for you!
    Linda :o)

    1. Yep, we try to be. The payoff is huge.