Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Nightmares and Morning Miles

If you're an open water swimmer, have you ever had a swimming nightmare?

I had my first Sunday night.  It was about sharks. I was swimming in deep blue water.  It was so blue it was almost as if I were swimming through deep blue ink.  The water was cold, and my skin looked even paler than usual when I looked through it.  It was also nighttime,   My mom was my spotter for the swim.

So I'm swimming along and I see this enormous shape gliding under me.  It's more like the size of an orca, but it's white and is sleeker, not moving with the bouncing glide more common to the orcinus orca, but with the straight lines you associate with Carcharodon carcharias, the Great White Shark.*

Then I look around.

The water is teeming  with these bad boys, gleaming blue-white in the inky water and moonlight, and sliding by with silent menace.

"I can't finish this swim," I say to Mom.

"Of course you can't," she said, utterly calm.  (Which I am pretty sure she wouldn't be if she saw me swimming with a school of Great Whites).

So, I get out onto a floating dock to wait for a boat to pick up us.  But the sharks keep gliding by, bumping the dock.

It took me a minute when I woke up to realize that the swim I was going to do tomorrow was in the pool and not in that shark-infested midnight-blue bay.

I was most distinctly swimming in a bay, interestingly enough.  I'm sure my mind pulled that from my thoughts on the Alcatraz swim I'm going to do next August in San Francisco bay.  Of course the increased shark activity has been a concern for me, even if I do know that it's unlikely to be a concern for that swim.

It freaked me out enough I had to talk myself into swimming in a pool the next morning, reminding myself that no matter how freaked out I was, there was no down side to training in a warm pool that morning.  I'm already swimming with the most dangerous animal on the planet every damn morning, so stop being a whiner!

I've been upping my swimming distance.  I'm up to a swimmer's mile every morning, which is a nice sweet spot.  I'm a slow swimmer, so unless I'm pushing, this takes about forty-five minutes.  It's a nice, emotionally satisfying distance, too,

This is still quite a short distance, but that's about as far as I can go in the time I have available most mornings.  I could swim a whole hour some mornings and starting in the New Year, totally gonna have to.  But that's the limit of the time I have before I have to go to work or get on with my day.

Weekends, I can dedicate to longer swims, which is my general habit, anyway.

The goal is to get in about 10,000 yards a week for the next three months or so, then bump it up to 15,000 yards a week in the spring.  

Junk yardage?

Maybe...  But I think at my weight and fitness level, there ain't no such thing!

* Yes, in the wild, both are dangerous, I know!