Ironman is now 3 and a half weeks a way. No joke. I've started referring to the day as "Satan" because this word much more accurately captures my sentiments in context.

"Satan will be here in just over 3 weeks."

"I have to learn how to swim before May 5th or Satan might kill me."

"May 5th, 2012, will be my first Satanic experience."


So to prepare for the arrival of Satan, we threw Larry and Seymour into the trunk of Daniel's car and headed west, toward the Great Salt Lake--soon to be renamed "Barf Lake," after I get in touch with the State Legislature, both because of its effect on anyone who gets near it and because of what I'm convinced it's actually filled with. I believe they meant to name it The Great Barf Lake in the first place but the early Mormon pioneers were worried that living in Barf Lake City would dissuade visitors from coming to buy their hand-made doilies. So they went with "Salt."

Why the Great Salt Lake for our second attempt at an open water swim after the first miserable failure?

1. It only looked this far on the map [holding two fingers close together].
2. It's currently the warmest lake within 4 hours of us.
3. It sounded super fun.
4. We didn't do our research.
5. Satan has ruined our reasoning abilities.

And I know what you're thinking: "But Eli, didn't you grow up in the Salt Lake Valley? Have you never been to the lake after which that valley was named? Also, you are super cool and I wish we were best friends. Call me." First of all, thank you and me too.

But second, I guess I have been there before, a long long time ago, and I remember it being a miserable experience attempting to have a scout camp on an island on the lake where it was so windy that we had to hold the roof of the tent up with our hands all night long. But distance makes the heart grow fonder, so I have since let my love for Salt Lake City translate to love for its great lake. And so we went.

Our attempt to get to Barf Lake immediately after work was thwarted by some stop-and-go terrible traffic heading west of Salt Lake City. For those unfamiliar with the area, let me be clear: There is no reason that there should ever be heavy traffic heading west of Salt Lake City. I have driven this road 6 times in my life. All 6 times made me appreciate the little things. This is because the only thing west of Salt Lake City is a barren wasteland turned nuclear dump-site (you're welcome, America) and one mosque-looking concert venue called "Saltaire" that was built on the edge of Barf Lake 5 billion years ago for reasons I've never understood.

We were told that the traffic problem had to do with "road construction." I'm still unsure why anyone ever felt a need to construct a road out this way in the first place, let alone felt obligated to maintain it.

But we finally arrived and put on Larry and Seymour. We first had a half mile walk through the flies and dead animals before making it to the shore-line. The terrain looked a lot like every picture I've ever seen of the moon. But with diseases. And without an American flag.

Then the water. We hoped to dive in and start our epic journey to the center of the lake but were disappointed to instead find that the shallow, up to our ankles, water extended on and on and on. And on. We literally walked into this muddy water for about a mile before it got up to our knees. At this point we finally tried to lay down in it. They aren't kidding about the name of that damn lake. There is so much salt in it that we not only floated, but actually hovered above the water. And then it went into our noses.

For 4 generations the wildlife will be talking about what happened when that water went into our noses.

Have you ever poured boiling sulfur into your sinuses with a Neti Pot? Ever taken a hot nail and hammered it into your throat? No? Then you likely can't understand the sensation of Barf Lake's fluids entering your face.

Let me be clear: this is a terrible terrible experience. If I hadn't already made the 2012 Worst Things Ever list, this would be on it. Right next to Glee.

But because we are terrified of Satan and all of its demoralizing capabilities, we swam anyway. We swam with our heads out of the water and in the flies. And we swam with all our might. We are still not sure whether we actually moved during the swim. Because of the moon-like qualities of the terrain, we wholly lacked depth perception and the island we were attempting to swim to never appeared any closer no matter how much we thought we were moving toward it.

Eventually we headed back toward the muddy beach and made the trek to the car to find a woman sitting in front of it attempting to have some alone time. This made it slightly more awkward for us when we stripped down naked because there was no way in H E double hockey sticks we were going to ride home in our Barf Lake soaked swimwear, which we had worn under Larry and Seymour. But public indecency isn't even on the top 10 of our most serious concerns right now. (All top 50 spots are taken up by Satan).

Heaven help us.

The Great Salt Lake by day. This looks like several feet of nice sandy beach. Be ye not fooled. It's covered with feces of animals you've never even heard of and is a mile long.

The Great Salt Lake by night and its wildlife.

~It Just Gets Stranger