Rain, Rain come out to play….
Vermont is turning on ideal conditions for my final full week of training prior to my departure to England, the overnight temperatures have dropped into the lower 50’s, it has been stormy, oh and the rain has come down with a vengeance, shear pelting it down. Do I cancel my training? Of course not, it is 3:30am up and at em. I am due to leave at 4:15am to meet Paula and Deb at the lake, time to bust out the head lamps ready to start our 3 hour excursion, we will start in the dark and swim into the sunrise, well in today’s case the cloudy, rainy rise, no sun today, Paula gets supplies ready for the kayak….
Out into the unknown……..
Deb launches the kayak, Paula slides into the water, I reluctantly peel off my cozy sweatshirt and sweat pants and slide under the water, I stroke towards the kayak which is lit up with a blue light stick wrapped around ” Cat Stanley”, and a headlamp on Deb, if you are just joining us on the English Channel adventure let me give you a little background, ” Cat Stanley”, is a life sized cat that sits on the front of Deb’s kayak, he wears what looks like a collar, however it is actually a GPS Tracker to track distance, ” Cat Stanley”, has had many intrigued lookers while we have been out swimming over the last few years of training, he has clocked hundreds upon hundreds of miles and remains quiet, composed and humble, never a complainer he doesn’t say much, he has fallen in the water a few times( luckily we have learned he can float), one day he had a bright blue wig plopped on his head mid swim, highly entertaining for me…I roared with laughter. Here is ” Cat Stanley” on one of our previous swims, it is bright and sunny, not like today…..
This morning it is dark, black dark, I am swimming on feel, I can’t see where the dark color of the water finishes and the dark of the night starts, to me it all blends into one, the rain is pouring, the air cool, it is over an hour before I can make out Deb in the kayak, when the skies lighten enough for me to see her I notice she is drenched, the heavy rain is bouncing in, under and off her black jacket, pants and cap, to add insult to injury every stroke I take I splash her even more, she doesn’t miss a beat, giving me my pick up signal when it is time to increase my speed, reaching over my feed bottle when it is time for me to eat and entertaining me by tossing various forms of plant life on my back, or displaying one of my favourite rubber ducks to make me laugh, it all lightens my mood tremendously, I feel fortunate to have Deb by my side.
The second hour comes and goes, slippery little peaches get inhaled at my 2 hour feed and my energy surges, time to bring it home strong for the last hour, I step up the pace, Paula stays right on my left swimming strong beside me, it doesn’t seem possible, but somehow the rain gets even heavier, it feels like an aqua massage on my back, the rain drops feel like the size of gumballs, hundreds being launched at my back from the sky above, I glance over at Deb, she remains composed and paddles on….
One More Lap Around Blueberry……..
Then I here those magical words, ” just one more lap around Blueberry”, I’ve heard it many times before, a mere 30 minutes or so to get around Blueberry Island, ” I love going around Blueberry Island, I know I can do that, I know I can”, it is the common theme in my mind when I hear, ” just one more lap around Blueberry”.
So off we go for our final lap, the rain pelting down, Deb takes off her glove and dives her hand under water, the water is warmer than the air today, ” she must have cold hands, how miserable, wish I could wrap her in my cozy water blanket to warm her up”, I think.
Swim Hard France is close…..
We turn for home, I am ready for my final sprint to shore, my stroke rate builds, my under pull gets stronger too, I dig deep for the final push and I breathe harder as we move closer to shore, “time to open her up”, I think, I do and before I know it the shallow waters appear beneath me, we are done. I am very pleased, a rainy night swim with a good clip, very satisfying indeed.
I paddle over to Deb for my end of swim Jelly Babies, ” Great stuff today, thanks so much for being out here, Oh and Deb, it’s still raining, looks like I am going to get wet getting out”, I say with a giggle, ” Yes, you are”, says Deb with an impish grin, and with that we go about packing up and heading home.
Will there be more Vermont Rain this week? I’ll keep you posted
“Within each of us is a hidden store of determination”