Sunday, July 17, 2016

Chasing the beast

I am training for a long distance open water swim.

My friend....let's call him the Beast....because that's what he also training for a long distance open water swim.

The Beast is a better swimmer than I am. He is training for a STUPID long distance. His 2 hour pace is my 1 hour pace.

Today, we were meeting for a swim. He had a swim meet yesterday. I was planning on swimming in a wetsuit.

There was hope for me that I could keep up with him.

He is a great person, all around and one of the most supportive people you will meet.

He wanted to get in almost 4 miles. I was going to swim the first hour with him then hand him off to the rest of our crew (who were showing up later in the morning).

Liz gave me a workout for the day. We decided to adjust it from a timed intervals workout to distance-ish intervals. (It made it easier for us to stay together).

Throughout the hour, we practiced different drafting. We did fast intervals and long tempo intervals.

At every buoy, we stopped to re-group & check in on each other. Always the gentleman when he got :30 ahead of me, he would wait for me to start the next set.

When my hour was up, I handed him off to the next shift. I slipped out of my wetsuit and practiced race starts without my wetsuit.

I love open water swimming. I was thinking about how the sport can seem quite "un-social", but it's exactly the opposite. In long distance swims, friends keep each other entertained. Sure, we can't talk while swimming, but there's a camaraderie in silence, knowing that we are training together and going through the same challenges. We check in with each other. We are each other's support crew (kayakers carrying fuel and willing to rub out leg cramps mid swim).  These are the friends who text me at midnight (knowing I was making poor life choices) and say, "You better make it tomorrow morning".

Our conversations might happen in 20 second intervals, but that just means we have learned to be more succinct.