Remember me?

2 Apr

Hi, it’s me!  Shannon…from Tough Chik?  You know the OGTC? (original gangster tough chik)  I know I have been out of pocket here lately, so I thought I would pop in and say HOWDY!

I am currently training for my first road bike race at Sea Otter Classic and he OC International Olympic Tri.  These 2 event are less than a month apart and are both pretty challenging courses.  I was at a loss as to how to train for the bike race and the tri at the same time.  If I concentrated on the bike race first, I would not have enough time to properly train for the tri.  So, I decided to train for the tri, since I have a very solid cycling base and hoping that all the running and swimming could only help my cycling.  I am not sure how that will pan out, but it is my plan.

For the first time, I am following an actual training plan I downloaded from Training Geek.  I started a little late (like week 5) but I have been doing my own thing before that, so it wasn’t like I was coming off the couch.  In the past, if I had a running race, I ran as much as possible.  Bike race, rode as much as possible…you get the point.  I am on week 3 and so far so good.  I am running and swimming more often but for a shorter period of time, I am sure that will change.

On Sunday we had a 1 mile swim in Lake Mission Viejo, which is the same route we will be swimming for the triathlon.  This is the longest open water swim I have ever completed.  And let me tell you, if you have never swam open water, it is completely different from the pool.

When my beloved Trainer Ali emailed me about this swim, I jumped at the opportunity.  I had a training swim scheduled for Sunday anyway and I am always up for a challenge and I loved the opportunity to see what the swim will be like.  I arrived at the lake at 7AM and meet Ali in the parking lot.  We checked in and found a home for our gear.  Ali rented a full suit for the swim (she owns a short suit) and the water temp was about 60-63*.  We had a pre-swim meeting where they pointed out the buyos for the course and then they allowed us in the lake for a warm up.  The water has chilly, but the sand was colder!  It was actually nice to get my bare feet in the water.

As we were gathering at the water’s edge, I left Ali at the front (she is a strong swimmer) and I moved to the back of the pack.  They started the swim and I got in the water walked a bit and jumped in.  I felt like I was swimming at the pace with the swimmers around me.  At first it took me awhile to get acclimated and get it my grove.  A few minutes into the swim, I felt alone.  I no longer had the bubbles of the other swimmers in my sight and when I came up for air, I didn’t see any swim cap on either side of me.  I remember from the flyer that you had to finish in one hour and I started to worry if I could make it.  When I was coming up to spot, I was having trouble staying in the flow and I was just flat out stopping to look, which is very bad.  Once I got to the half way mark (it was an out and back)  I felt a little more in control of my breath and my stroke.   We were very lucky to have a lot of support on the course, which sounds weird for a swim.  They had Jr. lifeguards on boards all along the course.  At one point a smug helpful Jr. Lifeguard asked me if I was ok.  I laughed and said, “Yes, just slow.”  At that point, I knew it…I was the last person on the course.  There is no other reason, for him to ask me if I was okay if I wasn’t last, right?

At that point, my head was full of self-doubt.  Every time I would spot an object, then go down for about 10 strokes, then come back up…the object was the SAME DISTANCE!  I felt like I was standing swimming in place!  The finish line came into sight and I really tried to stretch out and get to that finish line.  Then I saw the sand under me and knew I could finally stand up and run out.  There was Ali, cheering me on!  My first words out of the water was “Am I last?”

I wasn’t last, but I was definitely at the back of the pack.  Ali did great!  Her goal was to finish the course in under 30 minutes and she did it in 29:13!  Plus it was her first time in a full suit.  I finished in 34:25.  Not bad, not great but I am happy we did it.

Ali, a friend of Ali's from the pool and me

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2 Responses to “Remember me?”

  1. kwhitlock April 3, 2012 at 5:35 am #

    That’s awesome Shannon! I am so jealous of your access to great open water swims and beautiful bike rides 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. little fish « Tough Chik - April 11, 2012

    […] I started with Trainer Ali, I couldn’t make it down to the end of the pool.  A few weeks ago I swam a mile in open water, yes…very calm open water, but open nevertheless!  I was pretty stoked that I made it AND I […]

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