(originally sent on 5/18/06)
In the words of the immortal Jerry Garcia, "Oh, what a long strange trip it's been…" and so was el cinco de Hammerfest. The way I look at it, it would not have been a proper Hammerfest swim without a few mix-ups (a few = way too many)
Swimmers from across Monroe County converged in the basement of the Otto Schultz building for the first ever evening Hammerfest only to find that the Nazareth pool (being the tight, well run organization that they are) was closed. Now, just so everyone doesn't think I'm a moron and I didn't check the schedule, let me tell you a few fun facts. The website for the pool hours of the Nazareth pool showed the open swim on Wednesday night from 8-11pm. After calling, it was realized that the open swim pool hours were from 9-11pm. Once arriving at the pool, it was observed on a sign near the pool deck door that the pool was not even open for public swim on Wednesday and the masters schedule that went out stated the pool was open from 9-11pm.
So, after calling and looking at the website, I decided during the day (well before we arrived at the pool to find the closed sign…) that it would be a safe bet to have everyone there at 8pm and if need be, we would stick around until 9pm to begin swimming. When I got there at 8:05, I was attacked, tackled and immediately carried upside down for an attempted "swirlee" by some angered swimmers. (The swirlee attempt failed, if anyone wonders. I got a hand free and braced against the rim of the john to avoid being dunked and flushed upon - I've had this happen many times before in grade school and I know my way out of a swirlee… Additionally, while hanging upside down and having my "entry fee" fall out onto the floor in the form of all the loose change in my pockets, I decreed that I was going to start grabbing balls unless I was put down… again, I know the proper techniques to avoid a swirlee…this was not my virgin ride.) So after I wiggled my other hand free (the one was still bracing myself against the rim of the toilet…) I was able to come pretty close to the family jewels of an unsuspecting Tim Howland who then muttered, "ok guys, he's not kidding, let him down!" and I was put down pretty quick right side up after John Hunter flushed a few times for good measure.
Anyway, back in the hall, we decided that it looked as though the pool was not open and most likely would not be open that evening. Darren tried the door handle for what appeared to be the 27 billion-th time that evening only to find it locked…still. We decided to help Sam Powley move some of her art pieces to the silver bullet and from there we all decided to head to the Otter Lodge to sort things out and figure out what our options were.
Phil, Kelly and a surprise guest, Mr. Tim Boerschlein, met us at the lodge and most of us ordered a frosty adult beverage to help get the thinking juices flowing. John Hunter wussed out on the bet that he wouldn't wear his U of R cycling bib shorts over his t-shirt and took them off in the restroom when we got there. After a few minutes of deliberation, I was able to procure a phonebook from a bartender and I called Nazareth to see if the pool was open (as it was near 9pm and there might be a chance it could be open given the contradicting schedules) but no, unfortunately it was not. So, the judgment was passed down that we would do the door prizes that evening at the Otter Lodge and the swim the next morning at 6am at the Webster Aquatic Center. It was early, but it was the only way we could get it in before Phil left. (which Phil didn't even show the next morning, but I digress, I will document that later…)
The door prizes were fun and everyone was a winner in my books for coming out and hanging with me in the "failed attempt at Hammerfest 5" As John so nicely put it when we were deciding if we should, or could swim that night, "it was a hammered-fest, right?" Door prizes were sponsored in part this time around by Fuel Belt, Aquaphor and active.com, various hammer products and Hammerfest mile swims.
The first door prize we drew for was a packet of mandarin orange HEED by Hammer Nutrition Products which went to Heather McLendon. Next was a shoe pocket by Gatorade and Fuel Belt that holds an ID, keys, and money and laces right into your shoes which went to Darren. It's pretty cool I hear, let me know how it works. Aquaphor was a large sponsor this time around and a TUB of Aquaphor went to John's girlfriend Teresa (I don't know if I spelled that right, sorry…) and a smaller tube next went to Greg "squatter" Buzulencia. (if you don't know why we call him that, just ask him) The last product to be given away from Aquaphor, the makers of Eucerin, was a tube of Eucerin foot care cream which went to Sam Powley.
The next prize to go was "entry into Hammerfest 6" which went for the second month in a row to Tim Boerschlein, Alexis came out with a shin splint wrap, the fat guy in the green jacket got a sticker on his back, and Phil came away with the coveted and highly sought after "hammer strength" water bottle. Pretty friggin sweet if you ask me… (thanks for parting with it/donating it Alexis) Hammerfest bumper stickers were given out and a bet was placed on who could send me a picture of a Hammerfest bumper sticker in the strangest place. Seriously, email me any pictures and I will give an AWESOME award to the best one I get each month.
This morning at 6am, six brave souls made it to the Webster Aquatic Center to partake in the first ever MORNING Hammerfest. By the time I got there (after a flat tire - they took a 3 inch SCREW out of my tire today, I have no idea where I picked that up and after a coffee stop for John Hunter on the way to the aquatic center) it was 6:05 am and Tim Howland, Darren Vogt and Alexis Spillman were already underway in their swims. Alexis won from those three with a blazing time of 31:40 and close behind was Tim Howland in a 32:35 and Darren got lapped by his girlfriend in 33:43. Unfortunately they had no one counting for them, so they all may have gone longer than a mile…I just can't say.
John, Greg and I waited around for Phil until 6:17am and then decided to just go without him and if he came he could time himself and we were all counting for ourselves anyway, so I guess it really didn't matter. Later on in the day I got this email from Phil that read, "Hey.... yeah so my alarm went off at 0500 and I turned it off but my dad was in the bathroom, so I laid back down on my bed to wait for him to be done.... and then it was 0630... oops!" So I guess he didn't make it. I'm sure he'll make others, it would have been nice to swim with him one last time, but in my mind there will be Hammer swims for years to come if there is a demand for it :)
John decided it would be good to down and entire cup of coffee in like 3 minutes flat and I think the caffeine hit his bloodstream pretty quick as he took out the mile like a mad man. We battled and battled and I think the anger John had for not making the last 4 out of 5 races he attempted, finally got let out and he blazed to a victory in an impressive 21:50. I didn't get lapped, almost did, but held him off and came to the wall in 22:23. Greg was one lane over and finished it up in 27:09. All in all, it was fast times for a 6am swim and everyone kind of scattered as most of us had jobs/places we needed to be that morning. Notably, Darren gets to keep the tin foil and wire coat hanger trophy for the month (Heather, if you could pass it on to him, that'd be cool)
I am thinking for the next Hammerfest swim, we should do it at Webster, or if the weather and water gets warmer, maybe at Kershaw Park in Canandaigua (as most of us will be swimming open water in triathlons anyway…) A thought that has gone thru my head recently was to rent out the pool at Webster and have them convert it to long course yards and they said they would do it for only like $80 or so, which if we got enough people together (20 would be $4 a piece) would be cool. Additionally I am thinking of setting up a website thru Geocities.com and posting these wrap-ups and huge emails as like a blog with the Top ten list up there as well. And when I have an update, I will just send out a quick email that says to read the website. We'll see if I can get that up and running by June for Hammerfest sex, of I mean six…
Anyway, the tentative date for H6 appears to be in the weekend of 6/24+6/25, we'll have to see what day works better for people. So, in closing, thank you all so much for coming out and supporting Hammerfest swims. If no one comes out it would still be just me swimming by myself…so thanks for supporting this crazy idea and I hope you all have good times at these events. It's all in good fun. Send me your pictures of those Hammerfest stickers everywhere and take care everyone, good job this month and I hope to see you for Epic Day (6/3/06 - update to come soon!!!) and for Hammerfest six. Cheers everyone.