My big day is in just 5 weeks from now. About a month ago I pushed myself a little too hard on a 5.5 hour swim, so I now understand how important it is to avoid overtraining. I wanted to do a longer swim this weekend, but Vito, my mentor and swim buddy, cautioned against it. He helped me build a training schedule that I’m using to prepare for Anacapa in these last few weeks. The plan is to build up my yardage gradually in the next couple of weeks. I did a 3.5 hour swim this weekend, I’ll do a 4 hour swim next weekend, and the following weekend I’ll do 4.5 hours. After that, it’s time to taper.
I was super excited for this training swim because the water has been so warm lately (67 degrees!). I woke up at 5am feeling energized and excited. As we left the harbor, I was looking in my bag for grease (for chafing) and I realized I had left it at home. It was too late to go back since we were already heading up the coast, so I had to accept that chafing was inevitable and I would be in a bit of pain. I tried to be positive about the situation but I knew it was going to hurt.
My dad wanted to go down the coast instead of up for a “change of scenery,” which meant I would most likely be swimming against the current. I jumped in right off of Hope Ranch Beach and the water was warm, almost hot. I felt very fast and strong in the water, though I did notice that I wasn’t really getting anywhere because the current was much stronger than I had anticipated. Despite this, I was in very good spirits – the sun was shining, the water was warm and smooth, and I saw some dolphins!
After only about 30 minutes of swimming, my legs began to chafe. I tried to kick less, knowing that I had 3 hours left and the chafing was going to get a lot worse. I took my first feed (carbo pro mixed into vitamin water and a bite of a peanut butter sandwich) after 45 minutes. I had plenty of energy and I was feeling amazing besides the chafing. I was so thrilled to be there and to have warm water and the sun shining on my back.
After around an hour and a half, I started feeling a twinge in my right shoulder. It was bearable, but it was definitely noticeable and only got worse throughout the swim. It concerned me a little because I had started experiencing pain so early on into my swim. I knew that if worst comes to worst I could definitely fight through the pain during my actual swim, but I also didn’t want to cause injury. I’m planning on taking liquid Ibuprofen in my feeds to help with inflammation and I’m also working on changing my stroke up a bit (higher elbows!) to take some of the load off my shoulders. Some shoulder strengthening exercises may be a good idea as well!
I was in good spirits until around the 3 hour mark. That’s when the chafing started to get bad and half my body was stinging. I tried not to sight as much to minimize neck chafing and I tried to kicked less, but it still hurt like hell. To add to that, my shoulder hurt. I could handle the pain, but I was worried about it getting worse. I had plenty energy and the water still felt incredibly warm – if it weren’t for the chafing and my shoulder I felt like I could swim for hours. I started feeling pretty cranky around then.
The current was so strong that I only made it to Leadbetter Beach (a distance of about 5.5 miles) after 3.5 hours of swimming. It definitely wasn’t the best swim I’ve ever gone on, but parts of it were amazing and I learned some very valuable lessons. I’m doing a 1-hour night swim sometime this week (hopefully tomorrow night) to help me prepare myself mentally, and then I have a 4-hour swim on Saturday. So excited! I’ll do my best to update you all on my training as often as possible!