I had a GREAT weekend. It is so nice not to be whining. I am still sick, and I have pain in my shoulder, but I had so much fun in the water and out of it that I am happy and recharged. It is clear to me that I set my Gibraltar training too long. This marathon training is 90% mental, and I fell down in the gutter for a bit there, but I am back and excited and a little freaked out that in a few short weeks I will be on my way. I find myself looking at "YouTube" videos of people that have swum Gibraltar and I am excited! I believe in my heart that I can "do the distance" now I just have to stay healthy and injury free until the time comes.
To that end, I went to the chiropractor on Friday. He made some progress on my shoulder. I was swimming with a "straight arm recovery" on the right, not good, and not rotating or swimming from my hips enough. both of these issues are being improved with lots of drills. But I think I need to go to the physical therapist and work on strengthening those little muscles that hold the shoulder together. I am asking a lot of my shoulders, and I don't want this to be my last big swim. In fact I am feeling like Gibraltar may be a stepping stone to the English Channel, but I hesitate to put my bid in because these big events are both financially expensive, and they take a toll on one's family life. But it is fun to have a goal and a focus. It does mean that I don't do the laundry enough, or any gardening, and I resent having to shop for and cook dinner every night, but my family expects those things and has had them handled by me for their whole life, so my absents is felt and resented. We'll probably live.
So, back to my great weekend; my club had planned a "Long Swim". These are the highlights of our club and the best reason to be a member. Kirby Cove was scheduled, one of the most beautiful swims that we do. But the tide set the swim to be at 11:00 am on a Saturday and this just became untenable. What with it being Salmon Fishing season, there being two sailboat regattas scheduled and the beautiful weather that brings out the pleasure boaters...it was just asking for someone to get run over. So the swim commissioner rightly changed the swim to one from the opposite direction, AT&T Park and that meant the starting time was some six hours earlier. So I slept through. A 5:00 am call time is do able, and even easy for an exciting swim, but the Swim from At&T Park back to the club, while long, is not especially pretty. I like any swim that starts inside the bay and goes out under the Golden Gate Bridge, or any swim that starts outside the gate and comes in, but the swims that start south of the club and stay in the bay are my least favorite. So I arrived at the club as the swimmers were getting in from the early swim feeling a bit guilty for having slept in and as luck would have it, I got invited to do a private Alcatraz crossing. Just six of us and a boat. We went out in celebration of Kristine Buckley's 501 Alcatraz swim and her 50ieth birthday and swam back in only 28 minutes (a record for me by far). That was a blast, but the icing on the cake was that we returned to the Hyde Street Pier and there were DOLPHINS there in pens being trained by the Navy for Homeland Security. There were six of the biggest most beautiful bottle-nosed dolphins I had ever seen along with eight of the most beautiful people the Navy Seals have ever produced. I swear it was out of a movie. There were these happy athletic dolphin trainers and the dolphins were like their pets. There were friendly and talkative about what a great job they have with the Navy. My friends and I were thinking the same thing and wondering where to sign up. It was magical. The girls I swam with on Saturday were set to swim a one mile open water race on Sunday so I joined them. We swam the ParkSide Mile race with the San Mateo Marlins Masters Team. The water was warm (about 64-65) and there were only about 145 people so it was a friendly event. The South End was well represented with more that six swimmers. All in all, it was a good swim. I didn't break 30 minutes (my goal since I began open water swimming over 22 years ago) but I was close, 31:48 and I was third in my age group (don't ask, but yes there were only three women in my age group :-).
I had a wonderful weekend. I didn't swim for six hours, alone, training and fretting about my training. I had some swim adventures with some friends. This is what I need to remind myself to do.
The people on the Channel chat line recommend a long swim every other weekend or back to back longs swims eery other weekend. I have been doing long swims and long back to back long swims every weekend until I get sick and or tired.
And fun with friends is often a better use of my time that a long slog. I can do the distance. I know I can. I do need to practice the feeding and the type of fuel, but I need to be happy and enjoy swimming too or what's the point?
I plan to do a lot of drills this week, work on my stroke technique, and give my shoulder a rest along with PT. This weekend I am piloting so that others can do some long swims and earn myself some karma. then next weekend I will do a six plus hour swim either in the bay with Kristine piloting me or in and around the cove if I can't get a pilot. Once I put my six hour "qualifying Swim" to rest, I will be on easy street all the way to Spain.
Life is good and I am enjoying it immensely!