Winter Training 2012/13
Well to hear the ” Ice Swim” story we have to wind back the clock to 2012…….
” Hey Paula, want to join me for an “Ice Swim” this spring?
We have just finished our long standing Saturday morning swim at The Swimming Hole in Stowe, Vermont, I am tucked up indoors for the winter months and have my head down in preparation for the Manhattan Island Marathon June 8 2013, a solid 40,000 meters each week, with a long winter ahead there have been a number of fun short term goals to keep me on my toes, postal events are a great way to keep sharp over the winter months and there is nothing like a race to elicit a good effort swim, here are the results:
USMS Natioanl 6k Pool Swim , 1 Hour, 26 minutes, 44 seconds, 2nd Place
USMS National 3k Pool Swim, 41 Minutes, 14 seconds, 2nd Place
Here was a favourite, “The Brute Squad”, this one was fun, it was a National event that goes like this……
400 Individual Medley ( 100 Fly, 100 Back, 100 Breaststroke, 100 Freestyle)
Your final time is the cumulative time to swim all 3 events PLUS any rest time between events, well you guessed it, to me it made sense to swim the sucker straight, final time 29 minutes, 54 seconds, fast enough to give me a First Place, but not quite fast enough to break the National Record for my age group, always good to have something to strive for and fun is important too, now and then we catch a slide ride….
Back to the Ice Swim
So here we are, after a cozy 3.5 hour pool training session, outside the lakes are iced over, there is over 2 feet of snow on the ground and the temperature is -10F, ” Hey Paula, I reckon I can swim a mile in 41F water, want to join me for an “Ice Swim” this spring?”
In the comfort of the 82F water we are currently basking in, it is a no brainer ” YES”
With the goal declared we go about getting our short term training plan into place, cold showers and speed work in the pool, with my long lanky frame I know that my best weapon to achieve the pending ice swim is speed, at 17 % Body Fat I am going to need to swim FAST and keep up a good quantitiy of food intake.
We complete a mile pool race in February , a good way to check in on the speed progress, my time 20 minutes, 24 seconds, I am pleased.
Open Water Down Under
March is soon upon us and I am fortunate to be en route to New Zealand for a quick 6 day trip in celebration of my Dad’s 80th Birthday ( sorry Dad, cat’s out of the bag now everyone knows your age!) Well how lucky am I that my Dad lives close to Caroline Bay a wonderful beach in Timaru, New Zealand, and even better a new Aquatics Center has opened right by the beach, it gets even better there is a group of Open Water Swimmers that meet at Caroline Bay every Wednesday and Saturday, you guessed it my cap, ear plugs, suit and goggles are in my carry on luggage!
After 24 Hours of travel I arrive in New Zealand, it is good to be home, such a stunning country it always takes my breath away. The day I fly in is picture perfect, I can see the rugged coastline and sandy beaches from the plane. I arrive at 10:00am, resist the urge to nap and stay up until 10:00pm, then it is off to bed to rest up for a day of family visiting AND an open water swim, I am SO excited after 5 months of indoor swimming I am eager to stretch it out in the ocean,this is the very bay I grew up swimming in, 40 years later I am back to my home waters.
I awake early and excited to swim, I pull on my 2 piece suit, the sun is bright, the air is crisp and not a breath of wind, this is the sort of day you dream of….the perfect swim day. I ride in to Timaru with Dad, he is off to a meeting, the plan he will drop me to swim at Caroline Bay and pick me up in 2 hours. We chatter away during the 30 minute ride, everything looks just as I remember it, little has changed and at the same time much has changed, time has not stood still over the last 40 years, as I get out of the car with my back pack, my towel, my polarized goggles and ear plugs I realize much has changed indeed, the bay looks totally different, suddenly I realize I know nothing about this Bay in 2013, the tide, the water temperature, the marine life, things have changed over the last 40 years, I am about to learn about the ever changing Caroline Bay and take a trip down memory lane…
Me as a wee nipper…
Still loving the water, lakes, ocean or river, getting ready to swim….
Can you tell me about Caroline Bay?
The water looks familiar, the beach does not, ” I don’t remember this much sand, weird”, I think as I wave Dad goodbye, I tie back my hair, pull on my cap, ear plugs in, I grab my goggles and scan the beach, ” I really know nothing about the water flow, looks calm and welcoming, but looks can be deceiving, I need the inside scoop before I venture out”, I think as I stride towards the waters edge.
The waves are gently tickling the sand as they break on the shore, the water is sparkling, the seagulls are soaring above, I catch sight of an arm circle a few hundred meters of shore, I squint to get a closer look, could that be a swimmer? Hold on is that a sea kayak?”
It is, ” this is my lucky day”, I exclaim, ” people to play with, and even more importantly I can find out the ins’ and outs’ of the local conditions, excellent”. With that I dive under the next wave, the water feels wonderful, I take long deep pulls, it feels so great to stretch it out after the confines of the 25 meter pool, before long I am alongside ” The Swimmer”, I stop to tread water, ” Hi, my name is Charlotte, it is so nice to see another swimmer out here, this is my first time swimming here in a very long time, can you give me any tips on the tide, any areas to watch out for?” I am so excited the words bubble out of my mouth rapidly like a coffee pot peculating. The other swimmer pauses, as I wait for her to answer I study her, she has a full wetsuit on including gloves, booties and a wetsuit hood with a strap firmly secured under her chin, she has a big warm smile, I am eager for her reply, I am already speculating what she might say,” Here is the scoop, the current pushes this way, the tide is heading out, down that end of the beach is warmer, there is a cold patch over there, out by the light house is where the dolphins play”, how exciting I can hardly wait, and then she speaks, “Hi, my name is rachhalr”, she replys, ” Rats, I can’t catch her name with these earplugs in”, but I do catch the next sentence….” Oh this is my first Open Water Swim, I am new to it, that is my husband over there on the kayak, I don’t know anything about the bay except that there is a group of swimmers that meet here to swim, I think it is on Saturdays’….but you should wear a wetsuit, they all wear wetsuits, well nice to met you I am heading in to shore”.
I thank her vey much and watch her turn to shore, I put my head down and swim towards the other end of the beach, staying close to the shore,” time to rediscover Caroline Bay”, I think, and with that I swim parallel to the shore towards the far end of the beach, it used to scare me as a kid. the far end of the beach, it was near where the Freezing Works used to dump all the slaughter waste into the sea, rumor was it attracted the sharks, I always avoided that side of the Bay when I was a kid, but someone told me they stopped dumping the blood and guts into the sea a few years back, cleaned the Bay up they said, and presently that is what I choose to believe, I swim away happily, the sun shining, the water glistening and a croud of seagulls circling overhead.
Will I cover local marine life and will it be friend or foe? I will keep you posted, until then here is a hint…….