Archive for June 14th, 2008

Fourth outing, and we completed a mile swim! Basically going to the La Jolla Shores buoy (#2) after the cove buoy (#1). The goal was to try to swim with few stops.

The sky was cloudy, and the water temp was around 64 C. There was no thermocline, so it was just cold all around. There were no swells or occasional waves, but the current did make itself felt near the second buoy.

Lifeguard boats were all around–I guess they were installing more upright buoys for summer season. The area around La Jolla Cove to Scripps Pier is a no-boat zone, so those special buoys are probably for the kayakers.

Plenty of swimmers–I saw two different groups at the buoy #1 (out and then back) which was almost too funny. The second group was a bit annoyed to be interrupted from talking gossip! We ran into two groups of swimmers in the swimming lanes, but no bonking at all.

So on the way out, the moving stops were mainly for going around plants (more like forests if you ask me). We either did free stroke or breast stroke to get around these slimy things. We somehow had to wade across two croppings on the way to the buoy #1.

After a short rest at the buoy #1, we pushed on to the buoy #2. The coach made me decide whether we will do two-quarter mile out-and-backs, or just do the whole mile in one swim. I of course opted for the 1/2 mile buoy #2 option. Much easier not having to deal with getting out of the beach a second time.

So the whole session looked like this:

1 ) shore instruction, then swim to buoy #1
2 ) wade across plants at 200 meters
3 ) arrive at buoy #1, saw group of swimmers there
4 ) 2 min rest at buoy #1, then swim to buoy #2
5 ) wade around plants at 500 meters
6 ) arrive at buoy #2 and a celebration tap at the buoy!
7 ) 2 min rest at buoy #2, then swim to buoy #1
8 ) arrive at buoy #1, saw second group of swimmers there
9 ) rest at buoy #1, then swim for shore
10 ) wade across plants at 200 meters
11 ) arrive at shore and short discussion about the swim

This was a good solid outing lasting almost an hour. The coach at one point had me follow him through the plant maze, but I had to get him to slow down since his pace was fast. After that, we stayed side-to-side pretty much.

Here are a few observations I made:

1 ) I couldn’t get a comfortable rhythm going until after the first half. The water was colder and my TRI suit was bunching up in the back
2 ) I ate at least an hour before the swim. Big NO NO. Two hours minimum next time. Have you ever tried swimming with stomach full?
3 ) I swallow AIR. So I was automatically using the rest stops to burp off the air from my tummy. I guess I tend to slow down when my tummy gets big!
4 ) I found myself daydreaming between buoy #2 and #1. I thought about doing scuba diving again, because I know the topography of the land underneath the water I was swimming in. It made my swim for that segment leisurely and the coach noticed how relaxed I got.
5 ) During the wading at the last two hundred meters before the shore, my body couldn’t decide whether to rest (it didn’t want to) or to move on (just weird). I decided that the only logical solution was to keep moving. Within 10 strokes, the body felt normal again.

The coach mentioned that he didn’t doubt my ability to swim 3 miles and keep up an even effort. I guess he knew this from just knowing my solid endurance base. He did say that the whole thing about open water swimming is finding a comfort zone. Being out in the elements is different from swimming laps in the pool. I knew that instinctively.

We’ll do a few more accompanied swims until I can do 3 miles! That’s what the coach said. This is the distance from the cove to Scripps Pier and back. The coach said that in the near future, this swim will be nothing for me.

Saw a seal before we entered the water. There was no tall silver fin following so that was a good sign. (We had a shark attack that killed a triathlete only a month ago).  After the half-way point, I almost ran into a jellyfish; that would have been painful. Plenty of fish to see near the shore–just schools of multi-coloured fish without a care in the world! Some big ones showed up too!

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