The first eight-hour training swim

My e-mail about the first eight-hour training swim

From: JP
Sent: Sunday, July 24, 2005 12:05 PM
To: Sunrisers
Subject: Swimming in Mother Nature's womb


There are some days when everything goes right, when the last hour is better than the first hour, and Friday was one of those days.

Bobby, Leslie, and I set out in one zod for GG bridge, along with Dianna, Michelle, and Ali in another. We jumped at the very tail end of the ebb, under slightly cloudy skies at about 8:20 am. There were a few fishing boats at the GG, and as always, everyone looked at us as though we might be crazy - if they only knew the truth!

I felt that I slowly settled into my pace, but Leslie's notes show that my stroke count was a little high at the start. I took my first feed at 45 minutes - this was a change from what I'd done in the past, and it seemed to suit me a little better than waiting for 1 hour before my first feed. It was a pretty strong flood - I seem to remember thinking that we passed the opening around 1 hour, the ferry building at 9:50 am, and reached Hunters Point just after 3 hours. I'd like to think it wasn't radioactive waste, but there were a few spots around Hunters Point where there were some very weird up currents, eddies, and really warm spots. I got caught in a few of the eddies, and it took a little work to get around them. Otherwise, the water was flat and absolutely beautiful.

We turned in towards Candlestick, did a flip turn just before the beach, and then went back to Hunters Point. At about 4 hours, we headed south for the next hour and a half or so. The water was a little choppy at this point - nothing too horrible, but enough to make it interesting. My shoulders were feeling a little sore, and my ankles felt tight from being pointed for so long. It wasn't anything too horrible, but something that I definitely noticed. At the 5-hour feed (I think), Leslie told me that my arms were crossing my centerline, and that at the next feed, she'd have another change for my stroke. For the next half hour, I worked on not crossing my arms in front of my head, which is easier said then done in choppy water. At the next feed, Leslie told me that my hands were entering the water thumb first, which was putting a lot of pressure on my shoulders. Instead, my hands should be entering fingers first, straight across, instead of thumbs first. This made a huge difference - my shoulders and entire body (including my ankles) loosened up, and I felt a lot more relaxed. I think we turned back north around 5.5 hours.

It was still a little choppy, but the water got progressively calmer as we got closer to Hunters Point. The last hour felt great - I felt that I was relaxed and strong, and still making good progress through the water. We made it a little past Hunters Point at the 8-hour mark, where I called it a day.

I was a little worried that I'd be in pain / sore the next day, but I have to say that I feel really good. I can raise my arms above my head and jump without any problems, which are my standard tests for soreness. In the past, I've had a hard time taking deep breaths for 1-2 days after long swims, but didn't feel any of that this time.

As always, there are things that I need to change - below is just a short list:
Bring more plain water and GU. GU and Spiz at the same feed is just too much.
Although I didn't need it this time, I should start packing 3 Advils instead of 2, just in case.
When applying sunblock, do it while wearing a Speedo, not boxers/shorts. (You know what I mean if you've done this before.)

Thanks again to Bobby and Leslie for making it happen! And although Leslie will probably shoot me for announcing this on the list, I highly recommend her as a copilot/stroke coach.

My feeding (for those that are interested):
Pre - 2 tall water bottles of Accelerade During the swim (all 500ml bottles)
.75 Accelerade
1.5 Accelerade
2 Spiz
2.5 Water
3 Spiz, 2 Advil
3.5 Water, GU
4 Spiz
4.5 Water, GU
5 Spiz, 2 Advil
5.5 Water, Accelerade, GU
6 Spiz
6.5 Water, Accelerade, GU?
7 Spiz, GU
7.5 Water, Accelerade
Post - 1 tall water bottle of Endurox


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