Mon Aug 27th, 2012
Swam Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat but not Sun
Lifted: Wed and will Lift M W F S this week
LCM, Mabel Davis Pool
swam with with Jim, chris, & Jeff
beside Marcio, Kellie, & Korey
6:00 - 7:30 dove in around 6:05
~ ~ ~ ~
assigned 4 3 2 1
did around 6 or 700
4 x 400 desc on 1:00 rest
went 5:40, 5:25, 5:19, 5:13
4 x 50
3 x 300 desc on :40 sec rest
went 4;15, 4:05, 3:55
4 x 50
2 x 200
went 2:40, 2:33
4 x 50
skipped the 100 fast
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012 Meets & Events
SCM season is next and looking for one or 2
prob week before & after Thanksgiving
Nothing definite yet
Swam w/ Roger, Danny, Dave, Dave and Ray. Knocked out a lot of yardage pretty quick today. Not quite as stiff and sore as I usually am on Mondays. Saturday, I showed up to my team's U16 soccer game expecting to relax on the sidelines and manage substitutions. When I got there, the other coach came over and said "uh coach... are any of your parent's referees?" I told her no but I am a referee and if she didn't have a problem with me being a ref, I'd do it. The biggest problem I had was that I wore flip-flops to the game and they weren't going to be suitable for running. So, I ended up reffing the first half barefoot. I handed the team over to one of my players (and a "responsible adult") who had broken his arm last week. He did an awesome job as a coach calling in subs and making sure everyone was in the right place. The team played better than I've ever seen and they won convincingly.
Last night I played in our weekly short sided games. Last week I did a lot more scoring. This week, we had more younger ex-college players show up. Not quite as much scoring on my part but plenty of running. I learned a lot. Hopefully I can find a way to pass it along to my U16 team.
Here's today's workout:
600 Warm up
4 x 125 Free - 1:45
3 x 500 Free - 7:30 (6:17, 6:17, 6:12)
I seem to be able to get to the 1:15 pace w/ my drag suit but not a lot faster. I'd like to get down to 1:12s.
5 x 200 - 3:00
* Odds IM (2:45-2:50)
* #2 50 Kick/75 Free
* #4 50 Pull/50 Kick
4 x 50 - 1:00 IM Order
200 Cool down
The weather must be messing with the internet - can't get on to my FLOG this morning. Oh well. They ran the aerator again last night - so it was nice and cool this morning - which of course enables me to swim faster!
5 x 200 P on 2:40
10 x 50 K on 1:00
9 x 100 on 1:20
2 x 100 IM
Total: 4500 SCY
Thanks to being able to get a slight draft, keeping 100's on the 1:20 base interval was actually not that difficult this morning - in fact I was holding 1:10's with ease - and on the 200 pull I was under 2:30 each time. Love it.
Only my fly seemed fairly good evrything else YUCK!
500 free kick w/fins every 3rd lap fast
8x25@1:00 burst + cruise
5x50@1:00 kick w/fins descend 1-4 5 EZ went :41, :40, :38, :35
25 fly AFAP + 75 EZ horrid went :19
5x50@1:15 fly descend 1-4 5 EZ went :51, :50, :48, :46 on last one ez went :52 these all felt good
25 back AFAP + 75 EZ went :19
5x100@2:00 free 75 smooth + 25 kick w/paddles & snorkle
25 breast AFAP + 75 EZ went :25
5x50@1:00 1-4 as 25 shooters + 25 EZ w/fins 5 EZ
25 free AFAP + 75 EZ went :16 I guess that was ok
Total 3000 yards
* front 1:00
* left side :45
* right side :45
2 sets of 12 @ 25 lb.
2 sets of 12 @ 15 lb.
Dumbbell Chest Press
1 sets of 10 @ 35 lb.
1 set of 5 @ 115 lb.
3 sets of 5 @ 205 lb.
2 sets of 5 @ 225 lb.
1 set of 5 @ 245 lb.
7 sets of 3 @ body weight (169 lb.) + 55 lb. on 1:00
Stopped because my right wrist was a bit sore.
2 set of 10 @ 170 lb.
This was bitter-sweet because it is the last time I will get to workout with my daughter for a while - she leaves for college early tomorrow morning. Hard to believe that my little girl is heading off to start the next phase of her life! It is cliche but it really does seem like only yesterday that she actually was a little girl.
Well, it was about as I had expected. Since I went into the meet with no expectations, I came out with the "no results" that I expected.
I was 80% sure earlier in the summer that I wouldn't even sign up for this event at the end of the summer on the pure fact that I know I'm not in shape for it at the end of summer. Well, on the final day of online entries I asked my wife if she wanted to go to Portland to visit the grandparents and my sister for the weekend (and let me swim on Saturday evening). At least I swam which was fun, even if it wasn't anywhere near my top performances.
Long Course Meters:
200 Free - 2:16.35 entry - went 2:17.21
This was probably my best overall swim of the day, because it was first. Still 3 seconds slower than start of summer.
100 Breast - 1:24.35 entry - went 1:26.40
This was 5 heats after the 200...I felt good for the dive, pullout, first 5 strokes, and then I needed the wall for my next pullout. Oh yeah, this isn't SCY! I died.
200 Medley Relay - We had 3 of us from our LMSC team - Hydropower Masters. We talked about doing a dedication relay in honor of Peony Munger who is my teammate who has been battling pancreatic cancer for the past year. Well....she's coming down to her final days now, and we swam this relay for her. A 4 x 50 Fly Relay. I know it's nothing compared to the miles and miles of butterfly workouts she's done over the past 6 years in masters workouts, but it was all about her. I ended up swimming the first and fourth legs of the relay, and Margaret Hair and Cynthia Clutter were my other two teammates for the relay. It was fun.
200 Back - entered 2:44.35 - went 2:45.38
Hmmmm...my vote for all time worst event ever in long course
100 Fly - entered 1:05.99 - went 1:06.78
semi pleased with this event. There was a good race next to me with Dennis Baker winning in low 1:03, and That Guy a 1:04 mid. Congrats to both of them!
200 IM - entered 2:33.35 - went 2:39.02
The only good part of this race was the final 50. Basically because I was almost done with my day! I looked right (my breathing side) and there was no one to race. I looked under the laneline to my left (with no breath) and saw my competition about 2 bodylengths ahead of me. Apparently this is impossible to do according to Rowdy Gaines in his Olympic coverage, but I had no problem seeing my competition on my non breathing side.
Well, about 15 meters from the end of the race I looked again and I was at the guy's hip, so I poured it on to the finish. Ended up touching him out my 0.2 seconds.
Glad the meet is over...I'm wiped out. Now it'll be time to relax, visit with family, and get to bed at some time. We're planning on driving to the Oregon coast tomorrow with the kids, getting lunch and stuff, and then returning the long drive home to Wenatchee. It'll be at least 9 hours of total driving tomorrow. And yes, I'll have my wife take over at some point of the drive!
And I'm glad LCM season is over for me. Bring back the short pools!! Oh crap! I have an OW event in 2 weeks.
Rehab exercises, 20 min
Power wheel roll outs, 3 x 15
Captains chair leg raises, 3 x 20
Explosive leg press, 190 x 4 x 10
Leg abductor, 120 x 4 x 8
Adductors, 90 x 4 x 8
Good mornings, 65 x 4 x 8
Squats, 200 x 4 x 8
Wide grip at pulldowns, 50 x 3 x 25
TRX squat jumps, 10
Altitude drops, 10
Heated Vinyassa,, 90 min
Went to Down Dog in Herndon instead of bikram. Heat much more tolerable. But I'm not sure all the locking out of the elbows agreed. Which reminds me I need to ice ....
Teen Fort announced today that she wants to swim for fun in the Sprint Classic at Mason in late October. So I will probably go ahead and sign her up for masters since she'll be 18 soon. I think I'll avoid evil stroke events at that meet. :-). My first actual recruit!
Swam at the Huntsville Natatorium with the Hsv Group and Dave M. Brook gave us the workout and I swam ok.
8x50 Free on :50
200 Free w/paddles
8x75 on 1:10 Alt Free and Back/Breast
100/200/300 Free on 1:30 pace
6x50 Kick on 1:00
6x50 Back w/paddles on :50
300/200/100 Free with Back and Breast in middle
5x100 on 1:45 Alt.Back and Free with paddles
When I had imagined this swim beforehand, I was particularly excited about getting to swim straight into the sunrise. I had pictured a dark night followed by one of those glorious pink-and-orange extravaganzas unfolding ahead as I stroked eastward towards Provincetown, with maybe some overwrought movie orchestration swelling in the background for good effect. The reality was more subtle, not to mention quieter. With the cloud cover, the blackness surrounding us gradually gave way to a palette of blues and greys. All was calm and peaceful, and I felt a sense of wonder and satisfaction of having stroked along until daylight.
We continued to feed every 30 minutes. During my previous swims I had fed from accompanying kayaks, with my feeds stored either on the kayak itself or handed off to the kayaker by crew on a nearby boat. Either way, the kayaker simply handed the appropriate container to me. In this swim, however, there was no kayaker alongside us, so we received feeds directly from the boat. To accomplish this, I had brought along a length of rope with a carabiner knotted to the end; bottles could be clipped to the carabiner and thrown into the water near me, and retrieved after I was done with them. Solid foods, and anything else I needed from the boat, could be handed off via a telescoping fishing net that I had brought along.
Among the net handoffs were fruit purees or homemade gels every 2 hours, and an asthma inhaler plus an ibuprofen-stuffed marshmallow every 4 hours. The latter I put in a small ziplock bag, to the top of which I had attached loops of tape to make them easy to open with wet hands. Once I dropped my marshmallow in the water, but it still tasted ok.
Feed gear: (clockwise from upper left): rope; net; push-up pop mold for homemade gels; asthma inhaler and marshmallow in easy-to-open ziplock bag; fruit puree (aka baby food); thermos for hot feeds; bottle for cold feeds
After the sun had been up for an hour or so, it broke through the clouds to become an orange glow ahead of us. Since we were headed eastward, its orange reflection in the waves created a glowing path for us as we swam along. I recalled some Old English poem which describes a ship sailing along the sun-road (Old English, like present-day German, likes to squish nouns together to form compound words). I felt a new appreciation for that image, and delighted in our journey along this modern sunroad for a couple of hours, until the sun rose higher in the sky and the effect disappeared.
Swimming along the sunroad (photo credit R. Davies)
The non-stinging jellyfish that had glowed so brightly during the nighttime hours were still with us, pulsing under the surface at depths ranging from about 20 inches—just close enough to caress my fingertips now and again—to as far down as I could see. The water seemed very clear, and I could see their bodies quite well. Although I usually breathe every 2 or 3 strokes, sometimes I would string together several stroke cycles without a breath just to focus on their movements. I remembered the morning’s factoid about sunfish eating jellyfish, and tried my best to send a telepathic message to any sunfish in the area: Come swim by us! Plentiful buffet here, free for the taking! It didn’t work—if any sunfish were nearby, they didn’t show themselves.
Every now and again I thought about sharks, but never in a fearful they-must-be-nearby-and-looking-to-dine-on-me way. Instead, I thought about how cool it was that other big fish were out there, sharing the same water with us, and the idea made me feel peaceful and connected to something big and wondrous. I have no idea in retrospect how my usually skittish self managed to be that sanguine during the swim—all I can say is that on that day, I felt like the ocean was exactly where I should be, and that no harm could come to me there.
As we swam eastward the water seemed to gradually grow warmer—after the swim I found out the temperatures ranged from the initial 63 to a high of 72 somewhere near the end. (Rondi recorded water temps every 30 minutes, along with our stroke rates and feedings, for our swim logs). When I felt the temps getting warmer I took my earplugs out and tucked them in the sides of my suit, just in case I needed them again. I had also started out the swim double-capped, and took one off somewhere along the way and tossed it in the boat. At 7˝ hours in I asked to switch from warm to cold liquids for my feeds. (I had prepared four hours’ worth of each to start, so that Rondi wouldn’t have to do any mixing when it was dark, then had concentrates that could be mixed with hot or cold water as needed for the rest of the swim).
During one of my feeds during the middle of the swim I looked behind me, then in front of me, and was struck that I could see land in neither direction. I looked again, enjoying the feeling of having swum beyond what I knew, and heading to a place beyond my perception. Although this swim was defined by its endpoints—a crossing from Province to P-town—I didn’t go into it assuming that I would make it to the end, or determined to do so at any cost. I wanted to swim longer than 6˝ hours, my previous PR, but beyond that who knew? Rather than find out how far I could swim, I simply wanted to find out how long my desire to swim, and my ability to do so happily, could last. With a swim this long, I figured that I would either find a definite answer to that, for reasons that were fixable or not, or else I would find out that the answer was “pretty darn long!” Any of those scenarios would help me make a more informed decision about what sorts of swims might suit me best going forward.
So when I saw land in neither direction, I was reminded of one of the main attractions of this swim to me: the possibility of simply swimming and swimming to my heart’s content. And so far, I was feeling very content in the water, stroking along happily and wishing for nothing more than to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
(The following day I discovered that this inability to see land in either direction was probably due to either the cloudiness of the day, or being at swimmers-eye level. On a boat on a clear day, retracing our route, I could see land in both directions from the middle of the bay. Still, it was a inspiring moment during the swim!)
Soon enough, during one of our feeds Rondi pointed out P-town’s Pilgrim Monument in the distance—the only structure of any height on that otherwise flat spit of land. That was where we were headed. I took off my goggles and squinted towards where she was pointing, and could just make it out. I felt excited that our destination was visible. But between visible and there still lay many miles.
Cape Cod Bay swim, part 3
Updated August 27th, 2012 at 08:38 PM by swimsuit addict
First swim in two weeks. I guess life happened. Anyway, got back and will try to finish out August better. Didn't try to push real hard today and didn't do anything over 100. But did work on left side breathing and trying to maintain form. Also going to try and refocus mentally with a shift away from thinking about yardage to building speed.
5x100 on 1:45
20x50 on :50
10x50 Back on :50
5x100 Back w/paddles on 1:35
5x100 Free w/ paddles on 1:30
Prep for the LCM meet tomorrow (or maybe not so preppy)
2 x 100 Free @ 1:30 (1:11s)
stopped to talk with the diving coach from the high school team who was there way back when I was in high school. He's a very positive encouraging guy.
Jared came in at this point, and we "warmed up":
4 x 100 Free @ 1:30 (1:06-1:07s) more of a race
1 x 500 Free Pull (went 5:58)
8 x 75 Flutter Kick w/ board @ 1:25 (went 1:20-1:23s)
--basically this was a straight 600 kick.
100 Free EZ
5 x 100 (25 Fly, 75 Free) @ 1:20 (went 1:11-1:14s)
That Guy's Timed Swim Challenge Of The Week (100 Back - 1:04 )
went 1:09 (did 11/7/4/3 SDKs by 25s)
respectable at least
100 EZ and taper time for the meet tomorrow.
Order of Events tomorrow:
400 Free (will warmup while this event is in the water- no more than 3-400 meters)
my philosophy: limited practice time over the summer, limited energy...why waste it here?
200 Free - swimming it
100 Breast - swimming it
50 Fly - NOPE
200 Medley Relay - I'm sure the Oregon Masters Relay Record Smashers will be at it again
400 Medley Relay - Ditto
200 Back - swimming it
50 Free - NOPE
100 Fly - swimming it
200 IM - swimming it
200 Free Relay - happy I don't have to sit thru these
400 Free Relay - this too
800 Free Relay - same here
Shouldn't be too bad, until the death by Dennis Baker's outboard motor wake in the 100 Fly.
Updated August 25th, 2012 at 08:44 AM by jaadams1
AM only LCM
500 pull w/ buoy + paddles (1x25 of each 100 scull)
300 kick w/ fins + board
200 IM kick @ 4:00
200 IM drill @ 3:30
4x200 @ 3:30 100 STRK/100 FR (IM order)
4x200 @ 3:00 opposite fin + opposite paddle smooth FR
12 x 25 shooters w/fins @ :35-:40
6 x 50 fly drills @ 1:00-1:10
10 x 25 burst dolphin kick on back with fins @ 1:00
10 x 25 burst dolphin kick on back, no fins @ 1:00
4 x (50 AFAP w/fins + 100 EZ)
fly, 23 mid
fly/back, 24 low
dolphin kick w/board, 25
Met with Speedo today. The poor boy is recovering from a nasty cold/bronchitis and couldn't do much. But it was very nice to chat and catch up. He swears he's not retiring from swimming despite loving mountain biking and trail running.
Will do some rehab exercises and stretching tonight. Gym + yoga is on deck for tomorrow.
It’s getting to be do-or-die time for visiting NYC’s public outdoor pools—there’s roughly one week left in the short season. I took advantage of a Pool Tourism Club outing this morning to visit Lasker Pool in Central Park. It’s located in the northeast corner of the park, and is an easy walk from the 110th Street stop on the 2 train. This oval-shaped pool, which turns into an ice rink during the winter, features curved metal walls that make flip turns challenging. It’s dimensions are listed at 240’ x 190’ x 3.75’; we swam in one of the 6 marked lanes that bisected the pool the short way, giving us lengths of approximately 58m. That seemed apt, since one among our group was celebrating his 58th birthday!
I swam an easy 1000m or so, happily interrupted at most walls by conversation. It was a beautiful morning, and joy to be moving around in the water, surrounded by friends amid the beautiful backdrop of Central Park’s landscaping. My body felt surprisingly good, and my two Hannah-inspired laps of butterfly felt wonderful, almost like mini-massages.
Although Lasker is an easy commute from my apartment, this was the first time I had swum there, so I was able to add a new pool to my list of NYC pools (below). A delicious brunch afterwards made for the perfect morning. Hurray pool tourism!
New York City pools I’ve swum at (asterisked = outdoor pool):
1. West Side Y (25 yd), W. 63rd between Bway and Central Park West
2. West Side Y warm-water pool (20 yd?)
3. Riverbank State Park indoor pool (50M), W. 138th Street on the Hudson
*4. Riverbank State Park outdoor pool (25yds)
5. Asphalt Green competition pool (50M), E. 91st and York
6. Asphalt Green warm-water therapy pool (15m?)
*7. Asphalt Green outdoor pool (25yd, now gone)
8. John Jay College Pool (25y) 59th and 10th
9. Baruch College Pool (25m) 24th and Lex
10. City College pool (25y) W 145th and Convent Ave.
11. Columbia University (25y) 116th and Bway
12. NYU Palladium pool (25y x 25m) 140 E. 14th St.
13. Vanderbilt YMCA (25y) 224 E. 47th
14. Chelsea Rec Center (25y) W 25th between 9th and 10th
15. New York Athletic Club (25y) Central Park South @ 7th Ave.
*16. John Jay Park Pool (48y) E. 77th and York
*17. Hamilton Fish park pool (50m) Pitt and Houston Streets
18. Reebok Club pool (25y) 67th and Columbus
19. Chelsea Piers (25y), W. 19th Street on the Hudson
20. JJC pool (25y), 76th and Amsterdam
21. Manhattan Plaza (25y), 43rd and 10th
22. McBurney Y (25y), 14th between 6th and 7th
*23. Jackie Robinson (25m), Bradhurst Ave. @ W 146 St.
*24. Lasker Pool (25m) Central Park, near Malcolm X Drive/110th St entrance
1. LIU—Brooklyn (25y) Flatbush and DeKalb
2. St. Francis College pool (25y) Brooklyn Heights
*3. Red Hook Pool (40m)
4. Shorefront YM-YWHA (25y) Brighton Beach
1. Lehman College pool (50m)
*2. Van Cortlandt Park pool (50m)
*3. Crotona Park Pool (100m)
1. Flushing Meadows Corona Park pool (50m)
1. Wagner College pool (25y?)
*2. Lyons pool (50m)
1 set of 5 @ 115 lb.
4 sets of 5 @ 205 lb.
2 sets of 5 @ 225 lb.
Kneeling cable crunch
1 set of 10 @ 85 lb.
2 sets of 10 @ 95 lb.
1 set of 10 @ 35 lb.
2 sets of 10 @ 45 lb.
1 set of 10 (each arm) @ 65 lb.
Seated low row
100 lb., 1 set of 10
140 lb. 2 sets of 5
Water was really cool this morning - in theory only 76.5 - probably closer to 78.5 - that thermometer is always off. Nice workout this morning by Terry - emphasizing something other than long straight swims for a change.
10 x 50 @ :45
K- 500 locomotive
10 x 50 back @ :50
6 x 100 P @ 1:20
12 x 25 - 1 drill, 2 x 4 cycle speed play, 1 sprint; repeat
300 easy - kids got out here (for school)
10 x 50 fly/free @ :50
300 stretch out working on turns
Total: 4600 SCY
Working on my triceps - beginning to feel it. Got to get rid of these bat wings!
Swam w/ Kyle and Dave. Pretty light turnout but we had fun anyway. That is if by "fun" you mean 200 timed fly.
600 Warm up
4 x 300 - 4:30 Descend (4:00, 3:50, 3:44, 3:40)
Couldn't stay with Dave on the last one of these. Drag suit just got to me and I was ready to throw up after 200 yards.
20 x 50 - 1:00
(2 x IM order, IM order kick; 1 x IM Order down, IM kick back)
3 x 300 - 5:30 100 Stroke/100 Kick/100 Pull
200 Timed stroke - (Fly 2:50)
Felt smooth and easy for 50 yards but I was still losing ground to Dave. At 100 yards, I was hurting but still able to keep going. After that, it was all pain. Thought about stopping at 150 but I gutted it out. For me, 2:50 is a really good drag suit time. It's less than 15 seconds off my meet time.
200 Cool down
Yes this goes together today. My favorite LCM fly set and another 500 kick with NO FINS! I went about 13:30 today on the kick which is great fro me. My legs are now all red and itchy.
500 free kick w/fins every 3rd 25 fast
5x200@4:00 Fly w/fins as 50 rt arm/50 lt rm/50 kick/50 swim descending went 3:40, 3:32, 3:23, 3:16, 3:02
500 free w/strapless paddles & bouy
500 free kick w/board in 13:30
Total 3000 meters
PM only LCM
3x200 @ :10 rest pull w/ paddles + buoy + snorkel
500 kick w/ fins + board 250 FL/250 FR
4x100 @ 1:30 D1-3, hold 4
kick w/ fins:
200 @ 3:00 build each 100
3x100 @ 1:30 D1-3
4x50 @ 1:00 odd fast/even cruise
3x100 @ 1:45 cruise
3x200 @ 3:30 strong
9x50 @ 1:00
1 EZ/2 fast
2 EZ/1 fast
I returned yesterday evening from an amazing adventure in Cape Cod centered around a 20-mile swim from Plymouth to Provincetown. On Monday morning I picked up a Zipcar, collected Rondi after her early swim at Riverbank, and drove up to Plymouth, MA. It was a beautiful day for a drive, and with a trip to an unfamiliar part of the country and the excitement of the next day’s swim the road before us seemed full of exciting possibility.
We arrived in Plymouth in time for a quick walk around the harbor and a lunch of lobster rolls before checking into our hotel. Then it was back down to the harbor to meet up with Dave and boat pilots Dan and John. The plan was for Dave and me to swim together, flanked by his boat (Agent Orange), which would be driven by Dan, and John’s Plymouth-based boat. Rondi would feed us both from John’s boat. I made arrangements with the harbor master to park my car overnight near the boat launch while I was away, and went over my feeding schedule and equipment with Rondi. We all discussed boat loading plans (2 am at the boat ramp dock), how the swim would go (route and feeding routines, swim protocol), and contingency plans (where the nearest hospitals were, what to do in case of shark sightings).
The last of these was a bit of a concern for me going into the swim. Cape Cod’s seal population has been growing rapidly in recent years, as has the number of great whites that feed on them. There had been some sightings in the area, and a well-publicized attack several weeks ago on the Atlantic side of the Cape, a few miles around the point from where we were headed. I tried not to think about all this overly much heading into the swim—the risk of encountering dangerous wildlife was there, but it seemed very minimal, and in any case I knew that open-water swimmers regularly travel through waters populated by all kinds of sharks in places like California without incident. A bigger worry to me was that I would get the shark heebie-jeebies during my swim, and spend considerable time feeling fearful or jittery out in the ocean instead of enjoying it.
On a happier note, John told us there had also been lots of sunfish sightings in the bay waters this season. I wasn’t sure what sunfish were exactly, but Rondi and Dave seemed to think that was cool, so I decided that they must be a good thing to hope to see during our crossing.
After the meeting it was back to the hotel. I had a snack, then lay down to try to get some rest before the swim. The last thing I remember before drifting off was wondering what sunfish looked like. I ended up getting a good few hours sleep—I was snoozing by 6:30, and woke up excited and ready to go around 11:30pm. That was a little earlier than I’d planned on getting up, but it gave me plenty of time to have some cereal, get ready, and prepare some hot feeds and hot water for the boat. When Rondi awoke I asked her what sunfish looked like. She found a picture on her phone and showed me (they’re funny looking creatures!), and we decided that its frilly back end looked like a tutu. While I made my final preparations she entertained me with some sunfish facts—they can grow up to 1000kg, they eat jellyfish, and swim really slow. I decided that if I started worrying about sharks during the swim I would think about sunfish instead.
We arrived at the boat ramp a little before 2, with plans to start the swim around 3am. While I was sleeping Dave and Rondi had festooned Agent Orange with glowsticks that hung down a little over the waterline, to make the boat easily visible to swimmers during the dark. I had brought some glowsticks and battery-powered light strings for John’s boat as well. (Although both boats had various lights higher up on them, it’s nice to have some at swimmer’s-eye level too). Fellow CIBBOWS swimmer Mo arrived—he was another one of the five swimmers attempting the swim—and we loaded up the boats, climbed onboard, and headed down to the start. The other two boats were loading elsewhere, and while we were all starting from the same beach we were not attempting to coordinate the start times. Basically, when your boat arrived and you were ready to go, you splashed. Each swimmer’s time would be kept by his or her boat. We saw fellow swimmer Eileen just leaving the beach as we arrived, and a little ways into our swim we saw Greg’s boat heading into shore for his start. It was nice thinking of all of us out there somewhere, stroking along in the bay, due to converge eventually by the end of the day.
It was quite dark—the four-day-old moon had set hours before, and clouds obscured most of the stars. The ride out was really amazing, with the three boats motoring along in the dark across the smooth water. Rondi and I sat in the bow of our boat, playing with some glowstick bracelets I’d brought along, giggling, and watching Agent Orange and Mo’s boat trail along behind us. I was feeling excited, a little nervous about the beach start in the dark, and eager for things to get under way. I mentally rehearsed what I needed to do once we got near the beach and slowed down: inhalers, lube (I’d already sunscreened back at the hotel), cap and goggles, attach lights. (I would wear one green blinking light on my goggle strap and attach a steady orange one to my suit so that I would be visible to our boats in the dark. In this, as in so many things, I followed the example of my more experienced swim partner Dave).
We arrived near Whitehorse Beach, our designated starting point. I was glad to see that our boats could get us very close in to the shore—I had been worried about having to swim into a dark beach, but we were close enough that the sand was lit up from the boats’ lights. I took off my parka—the air was in the low-60s, and I had needed it during the zippy boat ride over--and got ready to swim. I asked John what the water temp was—he got a reading of 63—and debated whether to wear earplugs. I usually don’t if the water is above 60, but I wasn’t sure if the temp would drop as we went into deeper water. When I saw Dave was wearing his, I decided to go with them, figuring that taking them out if I didn’t need them would be easier than having them passed to me from the boat later on. When Dave and I were both ready we jumped into the water and swam, then waded, the few yards to shore. I didn’t want to put my feet down on the dark bottom, but eventually I had to.
When we were completely out of the water and on the sand, we exchanged a few words, raised our hands to signal to the boats we were starting, then headed out into the water. We were soon swimming alongside each other with the dark water stretching out beneath us.
Going into this swim I had decided upon four goals:
· To last more than 10 minutes swimming in the dark (an easily achievable goal to give me a taste of success early on, and something to shoot for in case just I got panicky with the night swimming)
· To beat my previous time-in-the-water PR of 6h31m (a somewhat more difficult achievement-focused goal)
· To come out of the water with a list of five things about the swim that were unique, or new to me (a process-focused goal, more specific and measurable that “enjoy the swim and appreciate the experience”)
· To be proactive and resourceful about fixing any problems or discomforts as they arose (an improving-my-skills goal—I hadn’t been so good at this during swims earlier in the season—as well as what I needed to do to help ensure that I would stay happy during the crossing).
That first goal was indeed easily achieved. I wasn’t scared at all of the darkness once I was swimming in it. In fact, it was one of the most magical parts of the swim, mostly because there were tons of green glowing jellyfish beneath us. They ranged from grape size to softball size, and it was simply unreal watching them bounce along below us as we swam above. I could feel their squishiness on my fingers as I stroked along. Otherwise, it was pitch black below. It was like swimming in a lava lamp, for hours. Any air bubbles from my hand entry also seemed to glow in the water. When I turned to breathe, I could see the blue light strings on John’s boat and the glowsticks on Agent Orange, and sometimes I could see Rondi’s glowstick bracelets as she moved about on deck. Dave’s goggle and suit lights were also very visible, but surrounding the illumination of our little flotilla was nothing but darkness.
I felt like we had only been swimming for about 10 minutes when Rondi signaled for our first half-hour feed, and those thereafter also seemed to come jarringly quickly. I was so mesmerized by the light show below that I was reluctant to stop for feeds, although it was nice to see Rondi and have her serve up some warm drinks. Since I had been unsure what the water temp would be going into the swim, I had prepared both warm and cold liquids (a rotation of tea, gatorade, juice, and milk), with some solid or pureed food every 2 hours. We had arranged for me to start off with warm feeds, thinking they might be a comforting thing to have in the dark, and agreed that I would tell her when I wanted to switch to cold. I ended up having warm feeds for about the first 2/3 of the swim.
For a while my goggles and I weren’t getting along so well. At first feed I told Rondi that I might want to switch to my backup pair at the next feed, but by then they were working fine. Soon though I decided that I would be happier in my more favored type of goggle (I had started off with another model because it had clear lenses, which I thought would be better for the initial low-light conditions). I made the switch and was happier. Score one for goal number 4! I probably could have swum with the first ones for the entire swim, but why put up with something you can fix?
After a few feedings I gradually began to notice that the sky to my left seemed to be lightening a little bit. Slowly things became brighter, and I could discern the outline of the boats against the sea and sky. The jellies became white-outlined translucent creatures rather than glowing green blobs. Dawn was approaching. The night was behind us, and we would soon be swimming into sunrise!
(Photo credit R. Davies)
Cape Cod Bay swim, part 2
Updated August 25th, 2012 at 08:02 PM by swimsuit addict