Iíve got a theory: anyone who says they cannot find the time or place to train is lying to themselves.
Last year, I told myself I wouldnít train for anything this year. Life being as unsettled as it is right now, how could I give the necessary effort to make any serious swim worthwhile? Look how well that worked out. This is Part 1 of 2 of my training for the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You wonít find any sets here. If you want that, check out USMS Forums, or ask a coach, or something. What you will find here are the basics of my approach to acclimatization, endurance, and how to do it without a permanent residence. In the next training post, youíll probably see an explanation of how Iím scurrying to adjust for my planís shortcomings.
Last December, when I moved to Seattle, I knew Iíd be travelling a lot. As I write this, Iím about to board my 40th plane of 2013. So finding a home team was out of the question. Even buying a monthly pool pass would be a waste of money since I spend less than 45% of my time in Seattle. Also, pools are hot and crowded (and gross). So I took to the Sound. Always free, always open, always empty, and always the perfect temperature to training for a cold-water swim.
The way I plan on accomplishing this swim is three-fold: brown fat, metabolism, be in shape.
The brown fat (which weíll say represents my level of acclimatization) Iíve been working on since I first jumped in Lake Washington in January. And Iím working on it three or four times a week when Iím not out of town. Hot showers are the worst, and I break a sweat walking to the car on a chilly morning, so it seems to be working.
Metabolism also has three parts. First, stay fed. I quickly adopted a tow-behind water bottle filled with calories (maltodextrin and AminoX, mostly). Then, I started shoving a few Gu packs in my suit to snack on. During a typical training swim, Iíll consume about 500 cal/hr with more before and after. Second, vitamins. This might not be true, but I believe vitamin B boosts metabolism. Or at least, certainly doesnít hurt it (and itís miscible, so itís very hard to overdose). Hence, my feed bottles contain crushed B-complex. Iíd like to hear what my coworkers think when they see my crushing pills and mixing piles of white powder in the office lunchroom. My swim bag also contains gummy multivitamins and fish oil capsules. Third, move! When I move on land, I get hot quickly. Therefore, if I move fast in the waterÖyou get the idea. Which brings us to
Be in shape. To warm up, literally, at the start of my cold water workouts, I jump in and swim as fast as possible until the cold numbs my skin. And when I start feeling cold later on? Swim faster! The product of these two is a fast-paced, survival-based swim. And this works! Despite minimal interval training, every time I jump in a pool I find my pace to still be over 4 km/hr. When I do want to work on something, in or out of the pool, it is usually getting my stroke rate up from 59-60 to anything over 60. Moving more means more calories burned means more heat generated means less dying in July. Right now, I feel like Iím in nearly the same shape I was before MIMS last year despite a very, very different training ďplanĒ.
By the way, ďBe in shapeĒ is easier said than done when there is no coach, no workout, no pool, and no pattern to oneís life. This is where being opportunistic has come in. When Iím in Seattle, opportunistic simply means heading to the beach after work and on weekends. Everywhere else, it means exploration and adventure. Awesome adventure. There was the day in Abbotsford, BC where the wave pool was turned on for my entire pool workout. There was a 2.5k swim in Delta, BC when I high-fived snails for forty-five minutes because the water was so shallow (it was called Mud Bay, go figure). There was the gorgeous Kinsmen Centre pool in Edmonton, AB, and the time the fire department showed up when I took my to work out to the adjacent river. There were olympians at a pool in San Jose, CA, two-foot breaking waves in Lake George, NY., and instructions on igloo building from a stranger while warming up on a Vancouver beach. Opportunistic isnít always convenient or ideal, definitely not repeatable, but it seems to be working. I could write a whole post on the merits and challenges of opportunistic training, but suffice it to say: it works for me for now.
After all of this, six months of swimming every chance and place possibly, I can get out of 50F water after two and a half hours and feel great! I am in shape, I have some brown and white fat building up, I have no excess fear for whatís to come.
I also have no idea where Iím sleeping Tuesday night, but today is Saturday and I know where Iím swimming in the morning. And itís not in the same country Iím in right now.
Fine, you win. Hereís your workout: 200 w/u LCM, 8 x 1,000 @ 15:00 200 c/d
Updated June 17th, 2013 at 01:27 AM by andrewmalinak
<-- Love this!
So I had decided to take a long weekend and travel out to Oregon to visit my friend! We had a white water rafting trip with her church group!
I arrived Thursday night around 11 PM, woke up in the morning and we went out to the Pacific beach in Lincoln City. It was approximately 70-80 degrees outside and VERY foggy! The water in the ocean yesterday (so I was told) was 53 degrees!!!! I was totally prepared though; I wore my old lycra jammers that were a touch too large and my swim trunks over top. It was so cold that I actually went numb!!! I managed to swim in it for approximately 10 minutes though! I would walk out in the water until it was about up to my chest and then swim up the waves as they came crashing down on me. It was an awesome experience because as the water would be SO cold as it came over my head my whole body would tighten up and I couldn't breath at all! It was so much fun! Then when I would walk back on shore - I would notice that I couldn't feel anything in my legs and would sometimes be stomping into the ground or kicking into the slightly higher ground. (That's how I figured out my legs/feet were so numb!) After I finally got out and dried off, we grabbed a small bite to eat and took a hike up and down the coast. Around 4:30 PM the air and sky finally cleared and we were able to see the cliffs off in the distance.
Fortunately - I'm already relatively tan from my earlier meets in the year (the P.R. 1500 and the Badger State Games) and I wasn't burnt too bad from the ocean. My friend however, was lit up like Rudolph's nose! Poor girl... we still had to do the White Water Rafting the next day!
Today (7/10) We went white water rafting. I was up at 5 AM PDT (7 AM CDT, so it wasn't bad for me) and we got in the car and drove 2.5 hours from Salem to Maupin and the Sage Canyon River Co to raft down the class 2/3/4 rapids of the Deschutes River! We had a blast! White water rafting was NOTHING like what I thought it was going to be though. I fully expected to get in the water and have about an hour complete adrenaline and paddling my off until we broke the the other end of the rapids and were just done for the day!
I was completely wrong. We ended up spending about 90% of our time just floating lackadaisically down the river. Then there was that 10% of the time where our boat was completely flooded, often times we were @ risk of being thrown out and we were trying to paddle amidst the serious waves. Those parts were a complete blast!
There was one part - where after we rafted through it, we were told to get out of the raft, walk back up stream along the bank and then jump in again and go through this part called "Elevators" - what an awesome time! I did learn something though and I figured I'd share it with the rest of you:
NEVER EVER WEAR RUNNING SHOES WHEN TRYING TO SWIM!
It was a fun experience yes. The ride down the rapids was a blast. Then when I was trying to kick and swim my way back to the shore line (the water was some 15-20 ft deep) my shoes would just catch water and pull me with the current. If it weren't for the fact that they're my only shoes that I have here this weekend I probably would've just tossed them. It was VERY annoying!
So lesson learned! Good times were had by all! Lots of water fights between rafts as well!
As much fun as it was though. I'm not entirely sure that its something I'm going to go out of my way to do again. I did have a great time, its just not what I was thinking it was. I'm thinking had it been that 1 hour of super intense adrenaline pumping paddling and constant rapids, I'd be all about it. Spending a day on "lazy river meets occasional small waterfall".... meh... I'll save my money and go to a swim meet instead (I could be at the Carbondale IL meet this weekend!)!
Thanks for reading!