May 29, 2010

62 degree's and Big Surf in Michigan

Had a great swim yesterday morning in lake Michigan at tower park beach in winnetka,IL water was a balmy 62f and pretty wavy. Got to swim with my coach Marcia Cleveland and one of her swim buddies. I was in good company as both are very accomplished open water swimmers. These opportunities to swim with folks like this is so important for me as I learn just how different open water swim technique from the pool.

When we first got in, I was a bit nervous as Marcia said "Oh this is about the worst you would swim in in the english channel". Needless to say I was a bit concerned bordering more on 'what the F $&@(/;... am I doing'! Getting in the cold water was not the challenge and that aspect felt just fine, every swim in cold water accumulates on you and makes the next time easier. The waves took at least 15 minutes to get used to and I swallowed lots of water. As time went on I began to sense the pattern of the waves and then started to relax.

I have three weeks until my first 10k (6.2 mile) swim in lake maxencukie (sorry I know this is spelled wrong)' anyway it's the lake at Culver military. So this should be a calm, relative long workout swim and just doing it to get a sense of the distance. In the coming weeks my trainignwill continually be at 4 - 6 miles a couple times a week with the balance being pool workouts. This should be fun.

May 16, 2010

58 Degree's of Freedom

Finally got the first open water bare skin swim in today, a brisk 58.8 degrees for about 15 minutes as I swam out and around some buoys in Lake Zurich nearby the house. It was sunny so that helped and after some initial quick strokes began to settle down and relax, thinking about my stroke versus gasping for air and thrashing around like a seal waiting for a great white shark. Although come to think of it, I was probably mistaken by some local kids on the next door pier for just that.

With luck, plan to incrementally add time and days as water temp rises so that during summer I can be in the lake 3 days a week minimum and then plan my longer swims for the weekend. At some point will add in Lake Michigan, I believe it is still in the low 50's!

May 5, 2010

Ah, the smell of fresh cold water. It Must be Spring

May 5th and everything is green as spring has sprung in Chicago land. I took a dip in the neighbors un-heated pool two days ago at 67f on a stretch code tether for 15 minutes and was just fine. This weekend its down to Lake Zurich which should be around 60f by now for some mileage and the chance to shiver...

I recently surpassed 250 miles of training and am currently 3rd in the nation for my age group (44-49) as part of the US Masters "Go the distance" program where thousands of silly people just like me train and track there mileage year by year. Its a subtle competitive moment for me everyday to log my miles and see where I stack up. Its been a long winter and mostly training by myself, so any motivator is welcomed.

Shoulders seem to be hanging in there. IWhile I have clearly gotten stronger and able to handle faster swim sets for longer periods of time, I still have residual left shoulder stuff going on and will finally get an MRI of the shoulder and neck. We are suspecting that it could be some old nerve impingement and/or muscle issue. Its been hard to diagnose due to the ability to handle the physical workload so we'll see. Maybe just getting older?

I'll be in Plymouth, IN in about a month for the seasons first 10k (6.2 miles race) so looking forward to that and also trying to figure out how to get over to Lake Wawasee near my old hometown for another swim across the lake like I did back in the 1980's. Can't believe it was that long ago?