Archive for August 8th, 2009

So we planned to be out there for 1 hour. I had to get everyone to move towards the ocean from the bluff, because I was burning up. Had been in my wetsuit for at least 15 minutes. Anyway, the water was warm enough for a few to don only swimsuits. Nice, but no can-do for me. I was going to be the strong swimmer in this group, so just to be on the safe side I had to wear a wetsuit.

So we hopped buoys–the practice is to keep everyone together and use the buoys as gathering points. I made sure we were together. There were six of us today, three guys and three gals. All were right around the same skill level. A little chit-chat and head count, and then we were usually to the next buoy in under 2 minutes. At the half mile buoy, we ran into our fast teammates who had gone early–they swam to the Marine Room which would make their swim a good 2 miles. These guys can cover a mile in 25 (easy training pace), so for them covering 2 miles takes about 50 minutes.

At the half mile buoy, I’m sure those who wore swimsuits probably wished they had their wetsuits on. The water was very flat, but for some reason there were plenty of floaters today. Makes your skin crawl as you swim through grass and stuff. I did see a bat ray which was two feet across. Docile creatures, and kinda cool to see them fly through under you. Freaked one of the gals when I told her the bat ray was swimming near the two of us.

At the quarter mile buoy, we bid adieu to those who were going in (back to the Cove) for a solid mile swim. Even with the chit-chat, they would end up going a mile in under 38. Solid 8 minutes per quarter mile. I only had in tow the one teammate who foolishly said she had 60 minutes swim on her training sheet. He he.

So the two of us headed back for our first half mile buoy to quarter mile buoy loop. Normally if you do the half mile buoy again, that gives you 1.5 miles. Plenty more swimmers–the lane is easily 250 yards across but everyone still manages to hug the same area. So plenty of running into people coming and going. What’s weird is when the people swimming behind you actually reach and touch your foot. Dude–sight, will you? There is no reason to do that when there is so much ocean to swim in.

I told my teammate to practice her glide. She patiently obliged. For some reason, I have leapfrogged (is that a word?) her in swimming efficiency so on a straight swim I am now able to finish much sooner than she can on any length swim. I practiced my glide too! I think about lengthening my body and keeping my body shaped like a sailboat. It’s pretty cool to note that I take less strokes to cover yards than my swim buddies today. Sometimes I forget too, necessitating a stop and look-back to search for my teammate. Gladly, she was within 30 yards of me the whole time so I really only had to slow down twice.

My teammate would see more bat rays on that first loop. Cool things. The water was really well-behaved. It was so encouraging to just swim and practice out there. I made sure we did stop at the buoys just to give my teammate time to catch her breath. She has this practice of moving her goggles to the top of her head at each buoy–I’m sure it takes her longer to start again just because she has to situate her goggles again over her eyes. Plus the chit-chat stuff.

We reached the quarter mile buoy on the first loop at 47 minutes. I dropped the hint that with the water being so flat we should go for a second loop. Asked her several times how she felt energy-wise; when I was sure she was good for it, we started for the half mile buoy again. Fewer swimmers this time, as the sun was setting. I could swear the water got colder too, or was it just me being in the ocean longer than usual. Maybe gaining some efficiency, we both thought that getting to the half mile buoy took a shorter time this time. We celebrated a little at the turnaround point because we knew that the 2-miler was in the bag. We were there at 56 minutes.

So the swim in would be easier than normal. I promised. This would be her longest swim so far this year. We ran into two bunches of fast swimmers. Kind of funny when you have to switch quickly to keep from bonking heads. Right in the middle of the ocean too! We just kept up with our glide practice. I would see my teammate hold a good reach a few times, and then go back to her over-rotated reach. You can’t set up for a good catch in the water column when you are over-rotated. I made sure to keep the glide even on both sides, even breathing on both sides for a time. Once, I was so keen at keeping the V shape while reaching that the swell almost threw me right around. Had to switch quick to keep from over-rotating.

Yuck–swimming through floaters again. The closer you get to the cove, the more of these flotilla you encounter. Quarter mile buoy in 1:07-ish. A few snorkelers still out there, but they were probably just swimming more than watching. The sunlight was rapidly fading. My teammate found renewed energy and was swimming 5 yards in front of me for a time. And then I passed her at some point and got to the sand 10 yards ahead.

We completed the 2-mile swim in 1:16:51. Easily 10 minutes at the buoy stops, so we basically covered the 2 miles in about 1:06 maybe less. We high-fived and knew that my teammate would easily complete an Ironman swim after this practice. We were surprised to see so many triathletes still lounging about at the bluff. Our bags were the only ones left from our group who have deserted the premises a long time ago.

It was just a nice long open water swim. Can’t wait to do it again next week! Hope the water will be as well-behaved.


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