Sunday September 24th, 2011
Location: Flat River Reservoir, Rhode Island
Event: New England Masters Open Water 10km Championships
What do you do after swimming a Marathon? Perhaps a 10km race, well let’s find out today if that is a good idea or not.
We arrived in Rhode Island last night after a 4 ish hour drive, we being me, Paula, Deb and Cynthia, Cynthia is kayaking for me today, Deb is kayaking for Paula. I am excited to swim, it is such a novelty to have so few things to pack for the swim, no big feed bin today, just a few bottles to toss in the kayak, easy pesy.
Today it is unseasonably warm, the air is in the 80F plus range and the water upper 60s, no hot feeds for me today! The sun is shining as we load Cynthia into the kayak and I start wading out to the starting area. ” I wonder what this will feel like?” I think to myself as I ease into the water a bit deeper, I have declared to others around me that I will take it easy and if something doesn’t feel right I can hop out after the first lap of the swim which is a 2 lap course, 5km per lap, a sound plan, except for the fact that I have not declared that as a goal to myself, I know deep inside once I get onto the playground I won’t hold back, I’ll give it heaps, ” well there is always the ……Just Swim what You Can Tolerate Plan…Yip, that’s the one I am going with today”
All the swimmers wade out, the starter sounds and we are off, oohhhh what fun, jocking for position, the sprint at the start is on, I am breathing heavy, my body and on high alert, it reminds me of the US Nationals 25km race in Indiana earlier this summer, I am having a good time. All of us are pretty congested in this narrow start area, there are kayaks and swimmers layered alongside each other and I am no exception, I am glued beside a swimmer in a wetsuit, I decide to kick in a sprint to break away, I dig it in and feel a knife like pain in my left upper arm, it hurts, right in the upper head of the triceps muscle, ” darn it, I give the area an examination, OK, recovery feels pain free, entry still OK, reach, not so much and the catch and pull, ouch. I back off my sprint and settle into a rhythm, ” all right rocket scientist, you’ve got about 8km to go, do what you can tolerate, get into a relaxed rhythm, as hard as you can, but stay under that pain ceiling”, I say to myself and by that I mean, if I feel the sharp stabbing pain in my arm, dial it back a bit. With my race plan in place I continue up the river on the first lap, the sun is pouring onto my back, I feel warm and happy, when I breathe to the side I can see Cynthia paddling away with her delightfully upbeat expression on her face, I can see she is enjoying herself and that makes me feel even better in the water. We approach swimmers here and there, as soon as I see their bubbles in front of me I dig a little deeper to pull alongside then and then swim by, we are in a good rhythm and making good progress.
The first lap is nearly complete, I can’t help a little pace calculation, now I swam this last year in 2 hours and 39 minutes, if I make the 5km split before my 20 minute stroke count from Cynthia I will be at last years pace of 1 hour 17 minutes for the 5km, if not I am slower, ” what are you thinking!”, I scold myself, forget the clock, your goal should be completion today not a personal best time”, I am having a hard time letting the thought of swimming slower go.
Cynthia gives me my 20 minute stroke rate just as we complete the first lap, 1 hour 20 minutes for 5 km, OK 3 minutes off pace, PICK IT UP, I give the instruction without thinking, I pick it up and thunder back down the river for the second and final lap, we are passing people here and there which is all well and good, but the pain in my arm is getting sharper and more constant, rats! Regroup time, I back off my pace, it hurts with every stroke, ” well I am already into the second lap, best thing to do now is wrap it up at the finish line”, I swim it out, even though my arm is in pain it is nothing like the mischief I got into in Lake Memphremagog just 14 days ago, I am looking forward to that post race fun on the beach that I missed in Canada when I was feeling under the weather, I sneak a peak and see the finish area, Cynthia and I head in side by side, we made it, fantastic, 2 Hours and 48 minutes, 9 minutes slower than last year and an achy wing but I am pleased.
Cynthia, unloads the boat, I get myself changed and we chatter on the beach about the race, next up Paula swims in with Deb by her side, a great swim from Paula, her first ever 10km and the fastest female in a wetsuit at 3 hours 17 minutes and eight seconds. Paula and I both snag New England Titles in our age groups, but the real prize is the big block of locally made Chocolate in the shape of a swimmer. We visit with the other swimmers and then pile into the car for the 4 hour ish drive back to Vermont.
So there we have it Open Water events complete for me for 2011…
USMS 25km Nationals June
Lake Champlain 16 Mile 2 way crossing August
Boston Light Swim 8 Miles August
Lake Willowby 4.75 Mile Swim August
In Search of Memphre 25.2 Mile Swim September
New England Open Water 10km Championships September
….Phew I am ready to change gears, on arrival home I unpack my gear and enter the following into my training journal:
- Left Shoulder ( Long Head of Triceps ) muscle soreness on hand entry and underwater pull after start
- Feeding great
- Swim was hard and painful
- Time for Repair
After 4 months of events it is time to rest, repair and rebuild: Muscle, Aerobic Base and SPEED
Time to head of to bed, tuck, tuck and I am out cold, 5am rolls around fast and I am up and off to our 6am Masters practice, again with the ( what are you thinking, right!), well it only takes one stroke in the pool for me to get message loud and clear, OUCH, I wince with the pain, I move over lane by lane from the fastest lane in lane 4, to the getting faster lane, in lane 1. For me the rest of practice is kicking, with my hands by my side because I can’t get them above me head.
I haul myself out of the pool at the end of practice and declare the goal to myself, RECOVERY and REPAIR, no swimming for me, by the end of the day my arm shows me how annoyed it is with a yellowish, gray bruise all the way up the underside of my arm, a reminder that enough is enough, and this time I get the message loud and clear, I listen and embrace the rest, I am happy to be in this new phase, I am focused first on rest, repair and recovery and then the rebuild, building some strength and finding my speed once more, I am excited at the prospect. So for now…
Gentle Yoga, Stretching, Foam roller sessions, Body Work on the massage table from Kate Graves and No Swimming for a bit, the perfect time to plan out my October and November training schedule. What will that bring? I will give you a hint….. Cold Water Acclimatization Swims Brrrrrrrr!
” It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”
– Albert Einstein