Training miles continue to build up, and lucky for me I often have company in the water, even in the cold water, at 47 degrees I have had company, at 82 degrees Fahrenheit I have had company, in Vermont I had such a tremendous support, fellow swimmers who have embraced distance sets, even the sets that some might consider ugly, have been swum with a smile, 3-4 hours of swimming often with nasty little descending efforts at the end of each set.
Then there are the wonderful swimmers, I have swum with in Hawaii, Rhode Island, California and of course throughout New England itself, all fun hard working individuals, whether it be Iron Men and women, world record holders or swimmers new to the water who have only been swimming a short time they have been equally terrific.
And then there was an extra special day, that was the day my daughter Heidi perked up a bit of interest to come for a dip in the Open Water, long story short she submitted an entry for the Greater Kingdom Lake swim 1 mile event this July, from there we planned for her to come and snag a few swims with me in the lake to start preparation and introduce her to the open water, here’s how it went down…….
“ Mum, can I go out with you to swim this weekend, PLEASE”, asks Heidi with her very best puppy dog eyes, they are big and blue and melt your heart, “ No, not yet Heidi, the water is still 50 degrees, we will wait a bit longer”, I reply with my most sympathetic voice, “ But I can’t wait Mum, I can’t”, she replies pleadingly, “ I understand Heidi, I am super excited you want to swim , you’ll have to be patient”.
One week later the sun has been shining and the water has inched it’s way up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, I haul myself in the door from my training swim, swim gear in hand, “ How was the water?, What temperature was it Mum, WHAT WAS IT?”, asks Heidi as she dances excitedly around the living room, “ well Heidi it is up to 55 degrees”, I reply, “ 55 Mum, that is warm come on let me go”, she replies, “ OK Heidi, 60 degrees water temperature and you’re in.
Wouldn’t you know it just a week later the Turtle Thermometer read 60 degrees, I did’t say a word to Heidi that night, instead I got up super early before she was awake and lay out her suit, cap, goggles and some ear plugs on her bed, then I sat, she slowly opens her eyes, I lean over and whisper “ How about an open water swim today?” YES, YES, YES, she squeals, then she sees her swim gear laid out and leaps out of bed, she is excited, I feel excited too.
Out we head to the lake, we chat on the shore, “ today is about feeling the lake, it will feel different than the pool and that is OK, notice what you feel and see, or don’t see, there are no black lines on the bottom, stick right by my hip, we’ll take a few strokes and then stop and check in, biggest thing is to relax” Then we talk about the surface on the bottom, what to watch out for…
In we go, Heidi strokes hard and fast, after 100 meters Heidi pulls up, “ it is hard to breathe”, Heidi quietly and calmly announces, “ that is just your body and brain getting used to the Open water, imagine you are in a snugly blanket all cozy, it will feel relaxing”, I reply, and with that we are off, Heidi takes long, relaxed strokes, we swim out of the canoe launch inlet , past the big rock and stop, “ Heidi, you are amazing, the big rock was the goal today and you did it”, “ please can we go further, I don’t want to stop”, she replies and with that we swim on for another 5 minutes. I pull up, “Heidi see that Island”, Yes she replies, “ that is Blueberry Island, 2km, that is our goal this summer”, Heidi pauses and looks at the island with a very long stare, then we turned for shore and swam in, 20 minutes done.
I LOVE Open Water Mum, I LOVE it, and of course you know what came next “ when can we go again?”
Next weekend comes around fast and Heidi and I find ourselves once again out at the Lake, this time there is no turning back, Heidi and I swam to Blueberry Island and back, as we approach shore Heidi grins a very big grin, “ you did it Heidi, Blueberry Island conquered, I am so proud of you”, Heidi looks up with a very big smile, you said that was the maximum goal Mum, so that was the one I wanted, we did it”, “ Yes Heidi, YOU DID IT.
So off we went up to the car for a post swim hot chocolate, we giggle and laugh enjoying talking about the swim, sharing the Open Water together, “ so how excited are you Heidi?” I ask, Heidi replies, “ I am thrilled, true to form Mum you don’t disappoint.
So Heidi qualified for the July 7th, 2012 1 mile youth swim and I had the pleasure of joining her for her Open water adventure. What fun!
Next up more company in the water…IRISH COMPANY. If you haven’t read of last years distance week training camp in Cork County, Ireland then have a read, after that we can both say together “ Charlotte are you really going back to do that again?” The answer is YES, getting on the plane as you read .
Will it be brutal, tough and miserably cold? All signs point to yes
How Brutal? I’ll keep you posted