Keep Going

Totally feeling ready for Anacapa now. Like I could do it tomorrow. 61 days to go though.

The funny thing is that I haven’t really been training for it in the traditional sense. While people usually come up with detailed plans of weekly yardage and incremental milestones they figured out weeks or months ago, I’ve really been winging it.  I haven’t had a weekly yardage quota or limit. It made me freak out at first and the last couple of weekends have made me realize that hey, this really isn’t that hard.

I’ve done a couple of 8 KM swims in SF Bay and felt like I was behind still in my training. I hadn’t done the distances other people had. My friend Cherie kept telling me to not compare myself to other people. I couldn’t help it and it was making me a bit of a basketcase. Turns out, she was right that I was making a big deal out of nothing.

Two weekends ago I did the Semana Nautica 6 Mile effortlessly. I planned to do 12 – 14 KM in the Bay this past weekend since my friend Cathy offered to do kayak support for training swims.  I wasn’t sure if I could do that distance without mental or physical trouble.

Ah…SERC in the morning!

Not only did I hit 14 KM, but it ended up being 14.4 KM (9 miles) by the time I got back to the club beach. I’d done 14 KM in a pool last Fall and hit a wall at 10 KM where I had to switch to backstroke to make it the rest of the way.  I hadn’t tried anything close to that distance since.

Started at 6:33 AM for 14.4 KM in 6 hours and 35 minutes.

I didn’t hit a wall on Saturday. My serratus anterior and pectoral muscles started feeling sore around the 13 KM mark which Cathy said was good as it meant I was using those big muscles instead of just my arms. She also said that I slowed down a little but my form was still looking really good. 🙂

My legs didn’t feel sore at all until I walked out of the water. My quads were still feeling it the next morning which made me wine why I signed up for a spinning class that morning.  I still gave spinning everything I had though at the time and it felt good afterwards.

I’ve learned too that I need more food when swimming in colder water. My fruit cups felt like a lot of food at a time during Semana Nautica (69F) and it was the perfect amount in the bay (mid-50s to low 60s). I didn’t drink significantly more in this 14 KM than Semana Nautica and my brain didn’t start feeling wonky at all with electrolyte imbalance.

I had a friend (harbor seal) trailing me every time I was between the Golden Gate Yacht Club and Anita Rock according to Cathy.

This training swim was special too since my friend Simon had just conquered the English Channel the day before. I stayed up watching his little beacon and monitoring his Facebook page for updates. During this swim also I crossed paths with Kim, Johnny, and other people from Simon’s pod that I’ve made a guest appearance with before as they were on their own 6 hour training swim outside the cove. I got to congratulate Kim on her Tsugaru Channel crossing in person finally. 🙂

I rewarded myself with a fun social cove lap afterwards with my friend Andrew. I noticed that the cold water instantly took away any soreness or maybe it was because I was having so much fun swimming with him. 🙂  Technically it took us 55 minutes to do that lap since we spent over 20 minutes talking between “toes in” and actually swimming. It’s the first time we’d ever swam together and was totally enjoyable! Many more fun swims planned with him. 🙂

Another training day in this lovely body of cold water.

Evan told me during my lesson later that he was impressed with how much I’ve improved since I started working with him. My crossover issue is gone. We’re working on body alignment now to keep my upper and lower body connected at all times (namely when I breathe).  Lessons with him have definitely been worth it!

He asked what ratio have I been pool swimming vs open water swimming. I just coyly smiled. He figured out that I’ve only been open water swimming lately. 🙂  I do need to incorporate some pool swims (ugh) to do the drills he’s given me. I need to psych myself up for that one. That 200 yard warm-up he made me do took more energy out of me than the 9 miles I did the day before. I know it’s psychological.  I can’t believe just a little over a year ago Jamie was having a hard time getting me into the open water and now it’s hard to get me back in a pool.

Evan was also surprised to learn about my swim the day before.  He said I made good time (6:35) for the 9 miles. The Bay is colder than the Santa Barbara Channel so I lose more energy to keeping my body warm.

I’m amazed at how well my body and mind work with open water.  Kayak support is awesome as I feel more of the social aspect and less of some arduous workout going on. I focus on what I’m sighting off of and not the distance to get there.  I’m not thinking about when is this chore going to end so I can get on with my day. It’s extremely freeing.  I’m stunned that I’ve been able to pull off a 9 mile swim in the Bay without seriously training up to it. “Serious training” meaning what I see other people do with planned weekly workouts, slow distance buildup, etc. Me? I’m apparently just jumping in and doing the long swims without much preparation.  I’m starting to wonder now what’s my limit. Before Saturday I didn’t know it took 8.5 miles before a single muscle would start feeling slightly sore.

12.2 miles for Anacapa: I’ve totally got this.

Next up: night training swims and my last long training swim before Anacapa.

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