Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Alcatraz Challenge 2009

this was the "view" of the Golden Gate all morningAbby's wanderings between shuttle time & race time
the Rock from Crissy Field
after taking my time getting out of the water, I remembered we had a hill to run up first to get an official time
gotta love the well placed ambulance
Abby & Hannah from Eric & Sue's back porch overlooking the city

Hannah & her new best friend
Hannah & her new, new best friend
my bootie from Healthy Spirits & BevMo...the REAL reason for the trip
Well, I've been slacking by not posting anything since Sunday. Things went well, I had a blast, did not drown or get eaten by a shark. Abby, Betty, Hannah & I left for SF after work on Saturday. Not ideal, since we didn't get settled and to bed before midnight, but I was planning on being slow no matter how much sleep I got the night before, so no time lost there. Quite entertaining was Eric & Sue's cat Miet that took breaks from meowing and scratching at our bedroom door to periodically hurl herself at it. She's such a wonderful cat, and that was so stinkin funny, that we didn't care that she was keeping us up. Hannah stayed downstairs with Betty, but looked pretty tired after the swim.
I'd worked myself into quite the frenzy in the days leading up to the race, and as recently as my last training swim a couple days before, I was questioning just why in the hell I'd signed up for this months ago. That morning, though, I was a little nervous, especially when I saw my breath in the fog while boarding the ferry to Alcatraz, but I was resigned to my fate by then. Usually the last swimmers come in between 80-90 minutes, and while I thought I'd take well over an hour, I felt I could avoid the very very back. The temperature in the water was actually 61 (supposed to 57, compared to 53-54 in Folsom Lake in April) so there was little shock when jumping in. About 10-20% of the field was without wetsuit. I'm all for this as well if I sign up in the future and the temp aproaches 60 again. No sharks in the water, just me swimming an incredibly crooked line in the water to make the distance covered in this 1.5-2 mile swim as long as possible. The water was very choppy (apparently worse than normal) but the current was weaker than normal. So...the slower swimmers (my group) shot too far left overcompensating for the current. The water did make me want to pee (went twice in the first mile) which helped keep me nice 'n toasty. He he. I also swallowed enough salt water from waves hitting me in the face that my sinuses were randomly leaking salt water for hours after I was done. As I was swimming all directions of crooked lines when I bore down and did long stretches of freestyle, I mixed up the free and breaststroke to keep my sights on the coast. This made my pace pretty easy, and made the swim more resemble a fartlek run than a steady effort. All in all, I was slow (30-something minute mile pace) but it was easier than I thought it would be, and something I'd seriously consider doing again. I came in about 80% of the way back in 1:04:46. The only unenjoyable aspect was the websuit rubbing my neck raw every breath during the last quarter mile or so.
We were treated to a wonderful breakfast by Abby's parents after some snacks and awesome clam chowder at the beach. We took our time on the drive back to Reno with Hannah, complete with a Jelly Belly pit stop in Vacaville. The plan now is to attempt to start running again slowly after a month off, and continue to swim laps at least 2 days a week through the summer. Now...what to do for my 7th anniversary???

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

slow progress for my longest swim EVER

On the one hand, I swam about the same pace for nearly 60% longer than the open water mile in April, and without a wetsuit. On the other hand...still sloooooooow. In the last couple weeks I've managed the 3 longest swims I've ever done, 1 @80 laps (2000 yards), 1 @101 laps (2525 yards) and today I swam for one hour (high 59)...108 laps, 84 free, 24 breaststroke, 1.582 miles, 33.33 seconds per lap, 37:55 mile pace, "breaks" included (adjusting goggles, trying to breath, etc...). My stiff back and shoulders take a while to get going, so i felt my best during laps 30-80, but probably still better for the last 20 than the first. If I was faster, this would be the same distance as the Alcatraz swim (WHICH IS IN 5 DAYS!!!), but...being that I'm about as efficient as an original Model-T Ford, I'll probably have to swim closer to 2 miles to make up for the current. I don't think I'm ready (I actually entertained thoughts of calling it off during those first 30 laps today) but I'm as ready as I'm gonna get, and the point was to reach out of my comfort zone, which this most definitely will be. If there are no blogs on Monday or Tuesday next week, I either drowned or was eaten by a shark. I prefer option 2...better story for the widow anyway. Adios.
In my mission to avoid pictureless blogging, how'd'ya like the "alternative" covers for Nirvana's Nevermind Album? It has to do with swimming, right?