I have a confession to make; I never really swim open water when I am training for my big open water events. I would so much rather swim in a pool, where I know exactly what is under me. Last year when I swam the English Channel, I had only swum open water 4 times before then and none of those were in the dark. I am trying to be much better and more prepared this year. I have already done much more open water than I did last year. It definitely helps to have some swimming buddies to help train with.I like swimming alone in the pool, but it is nice to have people there for open water. I am glad to have made some new acquaintances and friends through open water swimming.Thanks Gordon Gridley and Goody Tyler for letting me join you for your swims. Between Mantua Reservoir, Willard Bay, Pineview Reservoir and Bear Lake, I feel much more prepared this year. I am hoping to get some night swimming in this week as well. After doing a lot more open water swimming this year, I am starting to love that as well (not quite as much as the pool yet, but I'm getting there).
With 3 part time jobs all having to do with the swimming pool I am at the pool anywhere from 10 to 16 hours each day, which can make it hard to find time to swim, but I make time even if it is swimming in the middle of the night after the pool has closed. The only time that really gets hard to do is when I am swimming from 9:00 to 11:30 at night and have to be up at 4:30 in the morning the next day for an early morning open water swim. I need that daily swimming, not just for training, but simply for the pure love of the sport.
I love swimming more than pretty well anything. When I swim I have nothing on my mind other than my swimming, so it is a nice break from everything else going on in my busy life. It is my time to relax. Swimming 3 to 8 miles each day does occasionally have it's draw backs. I'm not talking about the lack of social life or free time; I don't really care about those things too much. Rather, it can be very physically taxing. My knees have had some major problems over the last two and a half years due to a ski accident injury, and cold make them lock up and hurt, so sometimes in my open water swims, the cold water makes my knees lock up and start hurting. It hurts, but I don't let that stop me. If anything, I just push harder to work through the pain. After two and a half years of a constant dull throbbing, I have learned to push it back a bit. My shoulder on the other hand is a bigger problem. I have a rotator cuff injury due to over-use of those tendons. When that happens, it is a searing pain shooting through my shoulder. Sometimes it hurts so badly I'm not sure if I can make myself swim through it. I always manage to do so, but it's not always fun. Fortunately, after about half a mile or a mile I don't notice the pain as much. I'm not sure if it actually goes away or just becomes numb enough I don't feel it was badly by then. After my big swim last year I tried to really take it easy for about three months, so it would have time to heal, but as soon as I really got back into swimming hard it came back. I think it since I've had some shoulder problems come and go starting my senior year of high school, it might be something that never really goes away. C'est la vie. With anti-inflammatory medicine and Tylenol I manage.
I have a little more than a month until my big Catalina swim! I am getting really excited and slightly nervous for it. But before I get there, I have the Bear Lake Monster Race, which I have also gotten a couple of friends and co-workers to do as well, so that should be really fun! For me, that one is just a fun one to try and get a really good time!
Pictures to come!