CATALINA CHANNEL ~ The Training Game
Post NYC there is some welcome recovery swimming, then back in the water for the Greater Kingdom Lake Swim held in July at Lake Memphremagog, Vermont, this year the 10 mile event is a World Open Water Swim Association Championship, 3 weeks after my swim around Manhattan I am rearing to go at the start line, I do love a good race!
It turns out to be a stunning day, the Lake for the most part treating us to relatively calm waters. I enjoy the great outdoors for 4 Hours and 33 minutes with a sprint to the finish for 4th place women overall.
Out of the water and next up my daughter Heidi racing her first 1 mile skin swim, no wet suit for her either, second place in her age group, watching her rip up the course, defintely the highlight of my day!
OCEANS OF FUN
Time to log some hours in the ocean and find some cooler water, the hot summer temperatures have driven the Lake Water Temperature sky high in Vermont, fortunately I am joining family for one weeks vacation in Maine, via a weekend of sea swimming in Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a fun place to visit, I did much of my cold water swimming there a few years back and was lucky enough to befriend some fast, good natured sea swimmers, then they were all in wet suits, this trip they are all skin swimmers too, BIG FUN , then off to Maine I go.
Funny how things can work out, I sent a message to my Memphre 25.2 Miler buddy Elaine Howley, ” Hey Elaine, I’m going to be in Maine next week, know anyone who might be game to catch a few swims?”, I saw a photo of Elaine in the Nubble Light House Swim just a few days ago, worth asking I think, ” Kristen Read, she’s fast”, Elaine replies.
I shoot Kirsten a message and before you know it I’m arriving in Maine and me and Kristen are talking on the phone about a 6am swim in the morning, ” Hey Kristen, psyched you are game to swim, where should be meet?”, ” Mothers Beach”, she replies, turns out our house is right across the road from Mothers Beach, perfect!
Kirsten and I meet at Mothers, ” I was worried about no wetsuit at 60 degrees, then I saw you, if you can do it, I can, look at you, your skinny”, she says, ” You’ll be good as gold”, I reply and with that we wander into the sea. There is thick fog, the water is calm, we wade out and dive under, then full steam ahead. Kirsten is tall with a long, strong relaxed stroke, we swim side by side, I am thrilled, what a great pace and excellent drive in the water she has. We swim the span of Mothers beach and down the next beach too, Kristen pulls up, I stop too, “we are way far out, you comfortable swimming through those rocks”, she point at mounds of jagged rocks poking through the surface of the water with the outgoing tide, the position of the rocks seems to change with each swell of the sea. “Yip I’m good, for around the point”, I reply, ” your tenacious aren’t you?”, I grin and with that we swim off through the rocks. Once around the corner we have a straight shot across the bay, we pull up for a boat, then hug the shore on the return leg of our out and back swim, what fun great water and company!
” I can’t swim tomorrow, my friend Susan may be game”, Kristen says as we say goodbye, ” Brilliant” . So that’s how we became Maine swim pals, Susan and I met the following day, much to my delight she was also brilliant to swim with, we lapped up and down the beach. Later in the week the three of us bombed around the Maine coastline. Thanks to some great company and good variety of conditions 58km of sea swimming over the week, perfect training.
Maine was a blast, swim, nap, eat, swim , nap, dinner, perfect training, I say farewell to my new friends, ” see ya Pencil Fish”, I hear from a distance, I know I’ll swim with these Maine mermaids in the future. It’s official I LOVE MAINE!
RHODE ISLAND ~MANSIONS OF FUN
August is here, time for one last Hooray sea swimming, crew member Cynthia Needham and me head back down to Newport, Rhode Island for some ocean paddling and sea swimming. A stormy Friday leaves us with some surf and sea swells to train with on Saturday morning. Here we are armed with kayak, feeds ready to paddle out through the surf, my pal Jacki drops as off at first beach, the plan is for us to swim to second beach for a ride back to hers…..
Next up is a comedy of errors as Cynthia and I do a comical impersonation of two land crabs trying to paddle a kayak through the breaking waves, translation = we SUCKED at this and tipped the kayak upside down atleast 3 times, littering all our supplies all over the beach, so much so a paddle boarder paddles in and politely asks, ” could I help you get out past the breakers”, “YES PLEASE”, Cynthia and I reply, ” definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result”, I say to him with a sea smacked face smile, he laughs with us, and then manouvers the boat out for us, Cynthia bounces on it like a kangaroo and we are off, I roar with laughter underwater for a full 30 minutes as I swim thinking of what we must have looked like trying to launch! We swim along the cliffs and gaze up at the Mansions, outstanding 3 hours of Mansion views, sea swells and Jelly Fish.
Next is Sunday, time to meet the Expedition swimmers from Rhode Island, the swim 7 miles along the coastline from Breton Point to Second Beach, stunning conditions, views of fish below and only menacing thing these pockets of hatching crabs that pinch your skin, one snacks on the back of my neck at the base of my cap line as I’m swimming, menacing to say the least and a little creepy due to the fact I can hear the snapping of its wee crab claws as it pinches, too stubborn to stop I swam on regardless, eventually it washes off, afterwards I found little chow marks on my tummy, darn crabs! Here we are at the end of the point to point expedition…
What a fun way to wrap up my final 50K week, time to head back to Vermont, a lighter week coming up with 30km of swimming and then Open Water 5 mile race at Lake Willoughby to mark the end of my Catalina Training and start of my taper, the forecast looks great for race day which is Saturday, kayaking for me is Beth Barnes, also knowen as” I kayak for you”, Beth has supported some amazing swimmers across Catalina and lucky me she is game to join me for a little Lake Willoughby pace and race, can’t wait.
Will it be a stellar day and will we be a lean mean kayak swim machine? I’ll keep you posted