Laguna Beach and SERC Swimming

My practices at Laguna Beach and SERC have been really helping me mentally since training started. I was asked yesterday how many miles have I racked up with training and I haven’t been focusing on that actually right now. Every pool swim is a 6 KM (with rare exceptions). When I say I’d rather swim open water every day, I really mean it. The pool has become a necessary evil for me. Open water reminds me why I love swimming. I’ve been focused on trying to get my body accustomed to prolonged exposure to cold water by swimming as much open water as I can.  I have noticed that I’m getting used to the 57 F that Laguna is right now. The bigger surprise was that I could still talk relatively easily after 36 minutes in Aquatic Park. I used to have trouble talking after 20 minutes in there.  Looks like my plan of swimming as much open water as I could is helping a lot.

I also am learning how stubborn I can be. The first SERC swim on Saturday was during a flood tide. We decided to head to the cove entrance. Cathy and Lisa couldn’t make it to the entrance buoy.  I looked up at one point and saw the waves picking up a little bit and the buoy was maybe 25 yards away.  I decided to go for it since I didn’t come all that way for nothing. Got to it, took some photos, looked behind me and didn’t see my friends.  I started swimming back in and met up with Cathy. She told me that Lisa was still by the dock since the flood was too strong for her and Cathy saw me go for the buoy.  I managed to do 1.05 KM without feeling like I was starting to freeze.

After a quick dinner, we headed back in for our night swim. Lisa has quickly become my “f*** the swimsuit at night” buddy.  Unfortunately I learned on the sunset swim that my pool goggles suck in low light and my open water goggles were back in Pasadena. Lisa asked me why was I putting on my swim cap and goggles if I wasn’t wearing a swimsuit. I needed something to attach my blinkie to! I need to figure out a way that I can take my camera out also since I don’t have anything to tether it to without my swimsuit on. We set off and if there was ever a time that getting in the water was the hardest part, THIS was it. I felt a noticeable difference even though my swimsuit doesn’t cover much.

After we got in though, it was quite enjoyable. We swam along the buoy line all the way to The Flag and back.  Ghiradelli Square’s lights created a really nice ambiance. 🙂  The water was very calm and we could see the Golden Gate Bridge looking very sexy all lit up with a light coat of fog.  I think this may definitely become a regular buddy swim for me! 🙂

In technical news, I did Masters practice on Saturday. With Evan’s help, my 100 yard split time is around 1:40 now! We had this set from hell of nothing but sprints. I had Elisa, a relatively new teammate in my lane, who is the same speed as me. I had her lead for most of it which helped keep me on track too. Even though I felt tired and slowing down as the hellish set went on, I surprised to see that my times were holding steady around 1:40!! Wow! Tom emailed me today to let me know that he forgot to tell me on Saturday that my stroke has really improved. 🙂

After practice, I had the rare opportunity to have breakfast with my teammate Jeff. We met about a year ago and talk online and a few minutes here and there during practice, but I’ve never had time with the guy off the pool deck since he’s always busy with his sons’ water polo matches.  It was very cool to get to spend some time with him, even though we spent a lot of it talking about swimming!

Yesterday I had another lesson with Evan. My stroke is still way better than 2 weeks ago and he said that much improvement in such a short time is amazing. I was shocked when he said that it’s rare to see someone’s hand positions as good underwater as mine are. We did some more drills to tighten up my stroke and elongate my body. He’s taken another video so I can see what I look like. We did 6 x 100 together just for the hell of it (he did 150s actually) which I was feeling really tired for some reason yet still managing 1:48 splits which is still faster than I’ve been able to pull off in several months. I have no idea why I was so tired. I’ll have 3 weeks to practice these since that pool is closed next weekend and I’m tied up the Sunday after that. He said to spend 15 – 20 minutes after my warm-up doing drills. I talked with him about my Anacapa application. He was impressed that I’m going for a 10 KM in Aquatic Park on Saturday (half the distance but in water 10 – 15 F colder). He said if I can do that, I’m definitely qualified to do Anacapa. 🙂  He said I should focus on that 10 KM this week over incorporating the drills into my workout. I can start doing the drills next week.

I’m always awestruck when he says things like “super long distance swimmers like you and me…” I forgot that most people think long distance is a mile. Yes Jeff, I know..that’s just a warm-up for me. 😉 Part of me still feels like I really don’t belong in that category though.

I am super excited that Evan thinks we can get my 100 M split down to 1:40 in the long term!! Holy s***!! I would LOVE that!

Medical form for my application doesn’t have to be filled out which is great! I can cancel that doctor’s appointment.  Now I just need to finish filling out the rest of it. I’m hoping to be able to submit my application this weekend. I’m feeling just about every single emotion right now.

Jeff had said to me that I’m pretty open to any swim challenge. I told him that I kind of think of it as I’m stupid enough to say “yes” without really thinking things through. Case in point..I just decided to do the Bay Bridge to AP swim this Sunday morning without knowing how far it is even. Turns out it’s about 3 miles. Maybe one of these days I’ll start asking for more details aside from “What time does it start? About what time should it be done?” Maybe it has something to do with when literally right before my first open water race started I asked Patsee “What’s the water temperature?” and she said “Does it matter?” Okay, I’m doing the Bay Bridge – SERC swim provided that I don’t kill myself on Saturday swimming that 10 KM in AP.

Five more days until I undertake my greatest swim challenge to date. Holy f*** I’m scared.

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