The second eight-hour training swim

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

From: JP
Sent: Friday, August 26, 2005 10:47 PM
To: Sunrisers
Subject: The freighter to freighter, but who cares it's taper time swim...

(not really proofed, so excuse the grammar/spelling errors)

Last Friday, Leslie and Dianna and I set out for the last of my long training swims. We started at about 6:30 am, maybe 100 yards outside of the Golden Gate. Vessel traffic warned us of a freighter that was 1 mile outside of mile rock, but why worry? We'll be inside the Gate and along shore in no time. I jumped in (the water felt warm) and started swimming.

And swimming, and swimming. And going backwards. After just a few minutes (which felt more like 30, knowing the freighter was coming) of going nowhere, I decided it would be best to get in line with the South Tower - the tanker crew would be fairly dumb to aim for that. The freighter passed me long before I made it through the Gate, but was much closer to the Marin side - one freighter down, one more to go.

It probably took over 20 minutes to make it through the Gate, and then the flood slowly picked up. The water was calm, with little wind, and we made fairly good headway down south.

On previous swims, I tried to sprint/pick up the pace for the last 5 minutes before I fed, but if you think about it, it doesn't make a lot sense. I'd sprint. And then I'd stop. And after I stopped, I'd try to digest some food. While also trying to recover from the sprint.

This time, Leslie brought an umbrella, and I had to sprint for 45 seconds every time she opened the umbrella. She'd do 1-4 of these every 30 minutes, the first one maybe 10 minutes after I fed so that I'd have a chance to digest. The advantage of doing it this way is that you pick up the pace a little, and then hopefully carry some of that speed and increase your 'normal' pace. It seemed to work pretty well, but I still did some of the 5 minute pick ups, so got fairly tired as the hours went on.

We ran into some chop past Pier 39, but it was really pretty calm all the way down to Candlestick. I swam in to the beach, and then back out to the point that's sort of to the south. (At the point, Leslie and Dianna pointed out all the rubber gloves in the water that were blown up like balloons.) We went back to the beach, and then back out to the bay, and started on our way back up to the club.

It was still flooding, and it took a long time to make any noticeable progress. It also started to get a little choppy, but nothing too horrible.

The ebb slowly picked up, and we were on our way. The water was doing some weird things, and I got pushed out into the middle of the bay. I didn't think much of it - we were still a long way from the Bay Bridge.

But we kept going, basically aiming directly for another freighter, anchored in the middle of the bay. As we got closer, I tried to swim towards shore, but I kept getting pushed back into the middle of the Bay. My stroke count slowed down a bit at this point - I like to think that it was because I was a little apprehensive about swimming directly for a tanker, but it was likely that I was getting tired. Instead of fighting the current, and losing, we aimed more towards the right, basically heading for Yerba Buena Island. We passed by the freighter - we were fairly close, probably closer then I'd ever want to be to a moving freighter.

I think we went for maybe another 30 minutes or so, and then hit the 8 hour point. I was tired from all the sprinting / pick ups - it definitely wasn't as easy as my last long swim - but hopefully it was done at a faster pace.

So, now it's just just tapering / relaxing for the next couple of weeks. I'll probably try to get in a few 2 hour swims, but probably nothing longer. There's nothing I can do now, except just rest and recover.

Nutrition was basically the same as last time, so I won't list it again.

What did I learn / what would I change? Well, I think the 45 second sprints and the 5 minute sprints together are too much - I think we'll just do the 45 second sprints in the channel. I'll bring a little more water with me - I was drinking everything in the bottle, and should probably have a little more just in case.

A HUGE thanks again to Leslie and Dianna for piloting this swim. It was great - they cheered a lot which really kept me going, and made minor stroke changes whenever it was necessary.

See you in the water,


Go back to some misc Channel stuff Go to the English Channel Swim
| About | Site Map | Contact | XHTML and CSS Compliant |