Tuesday October 12th, 2010
Air Temperature 50 degrees
Water Temperature 56.5 degrees
Weather Conditions: Partly cloudy skies, windy
12 Days and counting! There are 12 more days until I wrap up my Open Water swimming in Vermont for 2010, we are getting down to the wire, I have never trained outdoors this late in the year before, every day, every swim is an unknown, a ” I don’t know what to expect”, so I am prepared for anything mother nature throws at me, clouds, sun, rain , even snow, I’ll give it a “good old kiwi try”, even if it is just a dunking, I am committed.
Today is looking pretty good, the skies are blue apart from some rouge clouds, some of the trees on the way to the reservoir are still putting on a fine fall show of reds and oranges, I am amazed that I have found a few trees still so on fire with color, they line Garfield Road, the road that leads me to the final dirt road access to the canoe launch, when I look at the trees I can’t help but feel the warmth radiate from their fiery colors,” this heat is going to stick with me in the water today, I just know it”, I think to myself.
I am scheduled to meet Deb and Paula at 2pm, we read in the local paper that the Reservoir is now closed for the season, we are concerned that the gate will be locked and it might be a long walk down the access road carrying the boat to get to the canoe launch, never the less we are prepared to make the commute, boat in hand.
Turns out the state park is closed but the gate is open and we are able to drive right down to the canoe launch, ” thank goodness ” I think less distance for me to high tail it up to those heated seats after my dip”.
Deb is in the kayak today, Paula is on shore with Picard and a video camera to get some action shots of today’s swim. I have a new tactic now the temperature is dropping even further, today I put my cap and goggles on at the car, wrap a towel around my waist, zip up my sweater the finishing touch is possum hat on top of the swim cap, I check out my reflection in the car window before I head down to the shore, I don’t normally look but today must look extra bizarre and decide it would be entertaining to take a peak, it is…… WOW that is freaky, one scary look for sure!
Turtle Thermometer takes the first dip, poor beggar always has to take the plunge before me, true to form his eyes are wide in fright as he plunges into the cold, Paula is manning the temperature check today while I load my feed onto the kayak, Picard decides the turtle looks like a tremendous playmate and shows signs of plucking him out of the water early but Paula is all over it and ensures Turtle has a long enough dip to give us the information we need, 56.5 degrees she declares, ” crikey dick”, I think, game on!
Next up baby oil on my back, shoulders and arms, ” extra today please Paula ” I ask, I want all the help I can get, I am also wearing a black suit and cap, dark colors will attract more heat from the sun, ” soak it up suit”, I say under my breath.
Into the water, I find this extra exciting today as Paula is documenting the water entry with her video camera, hmmm…..” look strong and confident, stride into the water”, I think, I prompt myself on how I should look on film starting my swim, just as I am thinking this I stumble on a large rock that seems as wide as a table top,as I try to adjust I can’t seem to find anything but the rock to step on, usually the bottom is soft, sludgy and flat when I walk in, today I am stumbling all over the place, it looks like I downed a bottle of Jack Daniels before I entered the water, I am weaving here and there and haven’t even started swimming yet, I laugh at the thought of looking at this movie clip later, what a klutz!
” Get those arms spinning”, shouts Deb, I do and we are off….I am spinning my arms fast and can now confirm to my brain” it is freakin cold”, OK, give it time I think, it always feels like this to start, things begin to feel less frigid, regardless I keep my stroke count up, the faster I spin my arms the warmer I will feel, I keep it at 74 strokes per minute for the majority of the swim, that is my usual 5 minute speed pickup pace, I am happy to be holding it comfortably as this is my third training swim today. At 6:30am this morning I headed to the indoor lap pool for 15 x 200 meters, I felt heavy in the arms at the start of the set, I have trained in the water 21 days straight and am overdue for a day off, I skipped my last 2 rest days( I usually take one day off a week) to jump on some extra cold water swims, for the first seven 200s I hold a 2:50 and swim on the 3 minute interval, number eight I swim in 2:45, number nine 2:44 and number ten my time is 2:40, that last five 200s I settle back into a 2:50 pace.
Training session One: 3000 meters completed…CHECK
Out of the water and off to teach a 7:45am Kranking class, then back in the water at 8:30am to swim with the Masters swimmers. Today we are swimming a drill set, a main set of 3 repeats of 8 x 25 meter sprints, followed by a straight 300 meter aerobic swim, then a recovery set. Again I descend this time in the 300s, this means that each time I swim a 300 it will be faster than the one before, my first 300 takes 4 minutes and 20 seconds, my second is a 4:05 and my final and fastest 300 is a 3:50 with my 100 pace a 1:17, 1:17 and for the final 100 split a 1:16. I feel powerful, strong and relaxed during the set, my body likes to descend, it goes into overdrive, once my intensity rises to 80% or above, my body snaps into the ” performance zone” whether my mind likes it or not, in past years I have had some great performances in “the zone”, but would not know when it was going to happen or how I got into it, now I know when it is going to happen and what I need to do to get there, can it be uncomfortable, YES, does it give me my best times and performance, YES, does it also feel great, YES, I have learnt not to fight it or deny it, it is part of my makeup, once I reach 80% intensity I snap into an instinctive overdrive, high performance zone kicks in and I am a monster. Second workout completed after an additional 4 x 250s of pull with Paula.
Trainning session Two: 3450 meters CHECK
Back to the lake, the plan today is if it is below 58 degrees one lap of Blueberry Island ( 1.1 miles), if it is 58 degrees or above we go twice around. We reach the island the first time, it gets shallow and I can feel the water warm, ahhhhh complete bliss, I laugh thinking that what I am feeling is the shoreline temperature the turtle read back at the canoe launch 56.5 degrees, around the island and back into the deeper water, the temperature drops again, I keep swimming fast, there is no sign off fatigue in any part of my body, I pull up after 25 minutes I can see we are approaching the turn off towards the canoe launch and I want to go around the Island again, ” sorry for stopping Deb, but I want to do the island again, can we turn around?”, she gives me a knowing look, ” do you want a feed?” , yes please I answer, I don’t really but know how important it is to stay fuelled , I mixed my feed too strong today and it tastes sweet, I chug some down and am off again, I feel the fuel give me a blast of energy, before I know it I am once again feeling the warmer water of Blueberry Island, yes 56.5 degrees feels balmy compared to the 54.5 I estimate the main lake is, we make the turn and head for home, Wahoo what a good outing, I pull up short of the shore and take a moment to smile at Deb, ” we did great today” I say, I relax in the water.
Next up, time to land, Possum fur hat on, sweater on, towel wrapped around my waist and up to the car, wet suit off, merino sweater, fleecy legging and woolly slippers on, then into those heated seats….agghhhh fabulous!
My toes feel like Popsicles and my teeth are chattering as my body works to warm up, I can’t feel the heated seats in the mini yet but I am recovering faster today than after other swims, Paula brings me my hot tea, I drink a couple of cups and am able to talk to both Deb and Paula with speech they can understand, I am beside myself with excitement ” Look I can talk already” I blurt out like a toddler who has just mastered his or her first sentence. We say our goodbyes and I am off home to wash out my swim gear and take a hot shower. When I first began swimming in the reservoir in 2006 I used to feel quite queasy in the stomach after my swims, by 2007 I didn’t notice feeling that way anymore, maybe my system has adapted to any foreign matter in the water that I ingest while I swim. To give you an idea of the water I swim in check out the color of the water in the wash basin before and after I rinsed out my suit after today’s swim.
|This is the water before I rinsed out my suit after my swim today|
|The water after I rinsed out my suit|
Total distance today, 9,830 meters, a little over 6 miles, 3 workouts, the temperature range, a low temp of 54.5-56.5 degrees up to a high temp of 82 degrees in the pool, that’s a 27.5 degree drop in temperature from this morning’s’ swims to this afternoons 53 minute dip, longest and coldest swim to date, I am pleased. Next date outdoors? Thursday in the lap pond, I am predicting the temperature to drop further, will it? I’ll keep you posted.