Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What is your Everest?

Hubs doesn't climb mountains. He runs. After completing his first ever half marathon in August, he decided he wouldn't attempt the full marathon. He still continued to run almost daily. But a man like hubs craves challenges. Soon his backside started to itch.

One day he announced he had signed up for the Singapore Aquathlon. Exactly. What?! It's not just a run. It's a swim followed by a run. But it's no ordinary swim. It's a swim in the open sea where there are waves, dead stuff and other crap.

Luckily for the inexperienced, there is an option for an open water swim trial. The first trial was at the swimming pool. That is not a problem because hubs can swim in a pool. He passed the first trial. The second trial was at the East Coast sea. That one is a lot scarier because hubs isn't experienced swimming in the sea.

One Saturday last month I went with him to East Coast for the trial.
The swimmers have to swim from one buoy to another for 14 times. The waves were quite choppy.

Meanwhile I hanged out with sandcastles and played with sand.

A few people gave up after a while. I've never swum in the sea. I can barely swim in the swimming pool. I only know the breast stroke and have to swim close to the side of the pool. I wondered if hubs will give up.

He didn't. But he drank a lot of sea water. He looked very sick when he came out of the water. I knew he was alright when he headed straight for the tea kiosk for a cup of teh tarik (hot milk tea) to wash away the taste of sea water.

Hubs thought he had better practise swimming one more time in the sea. On a Wednesday, we went to Sentosa. 

 He bought a tri suit so he won't look so white. Plus it helped with flotation.

But first he had to tackle a very difficult task - put on the cap. It took 15 minutes.

We thought it was wise to be as close to the life guard as possible. I was quite nervous because there were no life guards on patrol in the sea. I looked at the very young life guard on duty and I wasn't sure if he could save hubs being on the shore and no jet ski in sight.

Hubs wanted to swim all the way to the buoy line. The total distance he needed to swim for the Aquathlon was 750m. The waves were a lot less choppy compared to the East Coast.

I sat on the sand and kept my eyes on his yellow cap. The first to and fro I could barely breathe. But hubs seemed to manage alright. Then he swam two more to and fro. On his third trip out, I suddenly could no longer see his yellow cap in the water. I scanned the horizon and nothing. I don't want to sound so dramatic but my whole body froze and I went cold. I felt panic rising but I wanted to remain calm. At the same time, inside I was screaming: is this it? is he dead? I walked quickly to a man (not the life guard) who was conducting a test for a few life guards. We had earlier spoken to each other and I had told him hubs was training for an event. I told him my husband had disappeared in the sea and I asked if he could see him in the sea. We scanned the horizon together and after a while, the man saw hub's yellow cap. It turned out hubs had gone a bit off course and was at another part of buoy. I thanked the man and he was very nice about it and very reassuring. I'm so glad I didn't scream or cry. Would have been so embarrassing.

I was so glad to see hubs out of the water and told him about his "near-drowning". The he said to me: one more time. So he went back into the sea and I held my breath for another 10 minutes or so.

Last Saturday was the day of the Singapore Aquathlon. Here he's getting inked.

Hubs thought he looked so badass with the inked numbers that he wouldn't remove the ink completely afterwards. Yes, there's still remnants on both his arms.

Hubs' category is the 40 and over. Most of the participants were really good swimmers, way better than hubs. Just look at their shoulders and arms.

Ready, swim.

Look at them go.

For hubs' swim route - you swim straight out to the buoy and then swim horizontally until the next buoy and you swim straight back. If you do the standard distance, you have to do the swim route twice. Hubs said swimming horizontally against the waves was the hardest.

Hubs wasn't last out of the water. I was just glad he didn't drown. Anyway, there were many lifeguards on patrol in the sea so I wasn't worried.

If you give up or get into trouble, the guards on the jet ski will drag you back to shore.

After the swim, hubs ran for 5km. (for standard distance it is 10km) I walked away from the finish line for a while and completely missed him so he was pissed. Oops.

I hope this is the last Aquathlon. I'm getting old and my heart is weak.

Read hubs' blog post on his conquest here if you want.


Christel Goh said...

Congrats to your husband for completing his first Aquathlon! I think he's really brave to swim in the sea... I'm also the type that can barely survive in the swimming pool (swim at the lane nearest to the sides) haha.

Projects By Jane said...

There was a kids category too and tiny kids dared to swim in the sea. So brave. Their distance is shorter but still....

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