Phone rings. I see it's Eric Brandt calling. He's doing the Take the Lake X-TREME! next week, which Brett and I did yesterday. I answer.
Eric laughs, as he knows exactly what I meant. He's completed the X-TREME! several times (faster than me) and he knows how it feels the next day. You feel like you've done something only 1 percent of Americans may do in their lifetimes, because, well, you have.
This is the fourth year Brett and I have done this, and we had our best time yet, at just under 13 1/2 hours. (I know Brett could have finished an hour or two faster had he not waited for me the entire day.)
I know I would have finished two hours later without Brett. Seriously.
We had perfect weather, with a little chop during part of the swim, and nicely cloudy up through the afternoon. Then there was the miracle of the downpour.
As we left Brett's house along Waccamaw Shores about 1 p.m. to start the paddle, we headed north toward Dale's without much thought as to which way would be best. About 90 minutes later, we're along the state park shore, and looking north we see everything from Waccamaw shores to Dale's is getting slammed with heavy rain.
An advantage I had over most of you is that I had the back of Brett's head to taunt me and pull me forward faster every stroke, pedal, paddle and step - every damn one! I call Brett "Rabbit" because he's like the mechanical rabbit they use at the dog races to lure the dogs along, and I do mean mechanical.
With only two dozen competitors, you will likely be on your own most of the day, so you will have to reach inside yourselves to drive you and keep up the pace.
I know you'll do your best, and maybe surprise yourself with what you can achieve. On August 24, at 6 a.m., you will step into Lake Waccamaw for an adventure like few others will ever know. You will rely on determination, confidence and sheer will to keep you going, and you will finish some 10-14 hours later a different person.
And the next day, you'll feel like you've been hit by a truck, and you will walk funny. But on that one day, you will feel a wondrous high of achievement, and every ache will bring a sweet memory, and every person you meet will appear as merely mortal.
Want more? Here are some X-TREME! links.
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