Tuesday October 19th, 2010
Temperature 46 degrees
Water Temperature 50-52 degrees ( 10-11 Degrees Celsius)
Today is my second to last Vermont Open Water training swim for 2010 and mother nature is going to make me earn it, she delivers an overnight temperature of 29 degrees to ensure the water temperature is cooler than it was on Sunday, I am up at 5:30am to knock out the first swim workout, on the schedule today are 3 swim workouts and a 30 minute kranking class.
Workout one is a set of 15 x 200 meters swum on the 3 minute interval plus 2 x 250s of pull, during the first workout I am not as sharp as I usually am, my times are a little off and range from 2:58 – 2:45 per 200 meters, I feel sloppy, ” must be an off day” I think, I complete the workout and am off to teach a kranking class and down a recovery drink. Back in the pool for a masters workout, I am not expecting much in the way of performance but my body takes me by surprise, we begin with 8 x 75s at 65-70% effort then onto sprints, combined with an ez aerobic set these short bursts of speed often lead the way to a high performance main set, that is the case today, we move onto a set of 5 x 200’s on the 3 minute interval, I am swimming beside Paula one of my English Channel training crew team members, we are both on the same 3 minute interval, she swims a 150 and I swim a 200, it is great fun as we play cat and mouse to see who will reach the wall first, a guaranteed good performance and today for me it is a best performance for this set, the time for each 200 is:
- # 1 : 2:45
- # 2 : 2:40
- # 3 : 2:40
- # 4 : 2:35
- # 5 : 2:30
I am surprised and thrilled with my times especially after a sluggish swim in workout one, I remind myself to have an open mind, a low in the water can be followed by a high and visa versa ” be prepared for anything and never assume an outcome” I tell myself.
Next up an afternoon Green River Reservoir swim, it is a beautiful day, but by midday the cloud cover has rolled in like a big gray blanket, I load up with warm gear, a thermos of hot tea and am off, I am meeting Paula, Deb and Picard, our plan is that if the temperature is below 50 degrees no training swim just a dunk. In goes Turtle, Picard keeps an eye on the turtle thermometer to make sure it doesn’t abort the mission, Turtle reads 52 degrees shoreline, definitely extra baby oil day, I want to be as warm as possible and slip through the water like a seal.
Today, as most days I have a cunning new plan, it goes like this…. NIKE SNOW BOOTS, they are white with fur at the top and white pom poms, quite ridiculous looking but I love them, “Yes I can pull these babies on after my swim, it will be like a dream”. With that thought in mind I wade into the water to begin my swim ,I pause to let my legs take in the temperature for a while, then I am off for the 1.34 mile lap around Blueberry Island, I bring out the spinning arms and before I know it I am full steam ahead and comfortable, in fact it feels more ” normal” to me than it did on Sunday, very good.
Can that be Blueberry Island already? I start to feel the water warm up as it gets shallow around the island, YES, the island must be near, I savor every stroke around the island. How can 52 degree water feel like such a treat? I’ll tell you how, it is when you know you are heading back out into the 50 degree main lake, Au revoir sweet 52 degree water. The main lake is choppy, I pull harder and it lowers my stroke rate to 72, I have a new song in my head today it has a pumping beat and helps me fight the choppy water and wind.
Soon I once again feel the delicious warmer water, we are at the mouth of the canoe launch inlet already. How did Deb do that? Deb was so smooth supporting me today, I didn’t even notice her steer me back to shore. The swim is complete, 1.34 miles, 31 minutes and 33 seconds and a stroke rate of 76 strokes per minute to and around the island, a stroke rate of 72 back.
Time to get out of the water, where is Paula?. She and Picard are our land support crew today, Picard has a dog buddy with him called Oliver and I suspect they have gone down to the point to watch us swim in. Paula joins us just a few seconds after we return to shore, the dogs are whizzing around excitedly as I navigate getting dressed,suit off, clothes on, I forgot my possum hat “agghhhh that is a crime”, I scold myself, how could I leave home lidless? Fortunately I have a furry hood on my Burton jacket, OK hood up that works, now let’s see how my new cunning plan works…….. not so good, the snow boots are even harder to get on than the slip on shoes, my feet are wet and I have small stones stuck to the soles of my feet, ” jam’em in ” I command, I do and it feels horrid, especially with all the little stones in there, it hurts my feet as I shuffle up to the car. Paula escorts me up to the car with her newly found beaver stick, it is a stick that has been stripped of it’s bark, you can see the beaver teeth marks all over it and where the beaver severed the stick from the tree.
Into the car, time to defrost, it takes no time at all, I actually didn’t feel that cold swimming today and feel myself recover quickly, within 10 minutes the shaking is almost gone, I am able to pour my tea and drink it without spilling it all over myself and the mini, now that’s progress. My bottom is baking nicely on the heated seats and all fingers and toes are accounted for and functioning, excellent.
Time to go, Paula rides with me for a bit, I enjoy the post swim company, soon it is time for us to part ways at the fork in the road, we say our goodbyes and agree it was a good outing.
Next up the legendary ” Big Ned ‘ meets me for a pool training swim , Ned is my Mentor, he lives in Ireland and runs the Cork Island long distance training camp, I say legendary because out of the long distance swimming training camps that aspiring channel swimmers sometimes attend the Cork camp is reported to be being the toughest camp out there and is by invitation only.
I call Big Ned, ” Big Ned ” for a number of reasons which are:
- He is my mentor, what he says goes
- He has made the crossing, he swam the English Channel in 2005
- He has provided me with training information and backed it up with personal experience & statistics
- He is 6″ 6 and weighs 225 pounds
- I get the distinct feeling he is as tough as old boots
- He heads up the toughest Long Distance swimming training camp
- And finally he said this to me” You find your own way….so take everything with a grain of salt and adjust to you”
How will I fare following Ned’s lead in our scheduled 5:45am training swim on Thursday at the indoor lap pool? I don’t know how far or how long we are swimming and I am not going to ask. What will it be like? Will I make the distance? I’ll keep you posted.
Today’s swim song was ‘ Bad Romance” Lady Gaga…..I often have an eclectic blend playing in my head from swim to swim, I ‘ll let you know what I’m humming underwater next time.