It's Sunday morning and I have promised to go to the club to register rowers for their Krispy Kreme Regata. I have to slow down to 30 miles an hour across the Bay Bridge to get there because of the dense fog. I don't know if they row in the fog, but I doubt it. But I am wrong, this is the South End club so of course they row in the fog. I sign in about 15 pairs and singles in wooden and plastic shells and boats. Then I go off to Sports Basement to buy an array of sports endurance concoctions. Remember I promised to start working on the feeding issue. Well after reading many threads from the Channel Swimmers on line group, I know to look for a mix of carbohydrates and protein. I like the idea of caffeine too and I found three brands that have all three ingredients. So this morning I plan to try Accelerade 4:1/drink and gel, both hot and cold. I go back to the club, the rowers are done and happy, wolfing down a fabulous breakfast with more bacon than donuts. I don't join them because I have "work" to do. I can't find the little floatie thing that swimmers tie to the dock to hold their drinks and gels so that they can practice feeding in the water while doing laps around the Aquatic Park Cove (it is really a float to hold beer for pool parties, but we swimmers are nothing if not inventive). I walk across the sand to the Dolphin Club and ask to borrow their "beer caddy". Lucky me, Suzie Dods is just about to go in for a dip. We are friends and well suited to each other in both speed and temperament. Her only flaw as I see it is that she doesn't like to leave the cove without a boat escort. Hers is not an unusual penchant, it's just that I look for every and any excuse to go outside the wall of the cove. I swim in the bay for the waves. I don't usually do laps, but I don't often swim with a buddy and I wouldn't pass up the opportunity. Suzie has successfully swum the English Channel, and is training to swim the Catalina Channel this summer so she is a wealth of information and encouragement. We talked at the end of each lap (four laps to a mile) or rather I asked a question at the end of each lap. I asked about sun screen (put it on naked because your suit will ride up and you will get burned), grease (it's to reduce chaffing in salt water not to keep you warmer, and use a glove to put it on our you will undoubtedly put a greasy finger print in the middle of your goggles) and training swims (she swam a ten hour swim a few weeks before her channel crossing). So after we swam two miles together she headed off for the sauna and the Dolphin Club party. Suzie belongs to both the South End and the Dolphin Club and the really weird thing is that she isn't the only one. Lots of people belong to both. I don't understand it, but I like it. It says that both clubs have a lot to offer if people feel that there is value in belonging to both. So after Suzie left I did seven more laps hoping to make my swim over two hours. So for the last, eighth lap I swam to the opening of the cove and then did a triangle to the flag and back to the beach. By now the flood had turned to an ebb and the fog had returned. After I left the opening and began to head for the flag I got a bit freaked out with the fog and the cold, and when I reached the flag and turned left toward the club I was met by quite the ebb tide. Luckily I had just received some fabulous advice from Lynne Cox (one of the most famous marathon swimmers, the author of Swimming to Antarctica, and all around nice person who is willing to give advice the likes of newbie me) to finish your long swims with a burst of intensity. To swim the last 1/2 mile or mile harder and faster than the whole workout. This is because when you are crossing the English Channel many people don't succeed because the tide turns about a mile off the French coast and many swimmers have given their all and can't cross that last mile. So when I was surprised by the ebb I took it as a good opportunity to work extra hard and besides it was the only way to get home and I was ready for lunch. All in all I swam for 2 hours and 10 minutes which was great. I was very happy to reach the sauna, but I wasn't played out. I am ready to increase my time in the cold water and luckily the water will probably be getting warmer.
For the record, and so I'll remember; the Accelerade gels were great, the drinks were ok, the orange was better than the lemon/lime and I might try diluting them with more water to make them more palatable. But all told a good start. I have something I can choke down that has the benefit of carbs and protein. I am on my way.