Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two a Days, Starting Today

I woke up at 4:30am and met my buddy Beth for a 25 mile ride.  This is the same 25 miler I usually do, with about 6 miles of good climbing (2 of which is 9% grade, at least that is what the sign says).

This woman is an animal, we were back in an hour and a half, and she has a hybrid bike, no clips (just pedals and sneakers), no aerobar, and one hell of a motor.  She caught me on the climb and left me in the dust.  I had her on the flats and the downhills.  I want to get her on a road bike so she can blow my doors off on the flats and I have someone to chase.

Then, ofcourse, work.  But I had a great lunch break.

Beth had the day off and she offered to kayak so I could swim a longish swim at my local pool (Wyman Lake).  I planned on swimming after work but this was something that just seemed to work out so I went with it.

I am figuring the only way I am going to be able to work on swim speed is to do fartlek work in the lake.  There is no way I am driving 75 minutes to be immersed in chlorine staring at the mind-numbing line when I could drive 3 minutes and be swimming in fresh clean water looking into the darkness with loons watching over me.

Anyway, we got there and the wind was blowing something fierce.  It was cool because really, it was gusting, so it would be calm, and then this big burst of wind would come and there would be whitecaps.  Beth asked, "Is this a good idea?"

I ofcourse, thought it was a brilliant idea.

I also noticed that the water looked a bit higher than normal.  Wyman Lake is really the Kennebec River, and where I swim there is always a light current, except when they release water from the dam upstream, and then there is...a little more current.  How is that for an exact science? I just usually know when I have to swim at a bit of an angle to get across.

I donned my wetsuit and Beth got into her kayak.  I pointed to the triangle course I had planned out for myself (that would be planned out in my little head, I didn't take the time to measure it or anything drastic like that).

I jumped in, took a few strokes, and the wind started gusting.  Beth couldn't even get to me.  The wind was blowing downstream, and I was swimming across the lake, so bi-lateral breathing wasn't really working.  Plus the current was pushing me downstream, so I had to swim at an angle.

You probably are guessing that I said the heck with the fartlek.  Just swim.

When the gusts would settle, Beth would catch up to me and I could swim pretty comfortably.  This was repeated across the lake.

See, this is when I realize there is probably really something wrong with me.  Because I was having fun battling the waves, adjusting to what was happening as I was being thrown around.  I must have been dropped on my head a few times as a kid or something, because when the elements get hard, I like to dig in.

Arriving at the other side of the lake, feeling like a champ, I pointed north and told Beth I wanted to swim to the point.

"OK.  You know that is upstream, directly into the wind, right?"

Yeah, I did.  But really, it wasn't terrible current.  And it was gusting, not blowing constantly, so the whitecaps were only out there sometimes.  I told her it was good practice in case there is wind on race day.  She shrugged and agreed.

This is where I need to point out something.  You know you have a good friend when she is willing to get up at 4:30 am to ride 25 miles with you ON HER DAY OFF (she is not training for any race in particular) AND THEN later on the same DAY OFF paddle upstream into the wind as a safety boat on a ridiculously windy day.

I am apparently not so great a friend.  I fought my way to the point, and that is when we both realized Beth didn't have a life jacket.  Oops.  That would be my bad, I told her I had everything she needed.  I did, the life jacket is here at my house.  We actually have a plethora of them being raft guides and all.

This is totally where these stories that you read about come from. "Two women found dead in Wyman Lake.  One, a licensed whitewater guide, appeared to be attempting to swim across the lake in a windstorm, the other, apparently there for safety, did not have a life jacket."

I mentioned this to Beth, we both laughed, and she promised not to tip over.  She never breaks her promises so I felt pretty good about this.  Plus, we both had to get back to the truck somehow.

I was a hero on the way back to the boat launch.  I had the wind pushing me, the current pushing me, I wasn't fighting nearly as much, and I just flew.  I felt I my catch was much improved on the way back, but it could have been the fact I had a little lot of help.  It was pretty cool and a good ego boost. 

Total swim (I measured it later): .9 miles in 43 minutes (consider the current and wind help at the end).  Not bad for the battling I did, I am OK with it and have a benchmark to work to improve upon now.  I even had time for a snack and a shower before I had to work again.


Big Daddy Diesel said...

LMAO of course it was a good idea!! More then once, LOL

I agree, you have an once in a lifetime friend with Beth

You should try and convince her to join our ranks of crazies with triathlons or du's if she doesnt like to swim, sounds like she would start off as a rockstar

Emz said...

YAY for friends like Beth!!!

Awesome post.

Unknown said...

No worries, you both had a rescue dog - I'm sure the newspaper would have written a story about the heroic Bailey saving Beth! ;)

You have got to love friends like that!

KovasP said...

It sounds like with the currents and wind gusts you did fartleks after all!

Regina said...

I have a friend like Beth. She is awesome on her hybrid with no clips and regular sneakers and I can always drag her out on my wild training endeavors because she is always game for an adventure.

I am curious how you measured how far you swam? Do tell.

Unknown said...

Don't ya just hate how "going to work" always gets in the way of our training? Lucky you did not need that life jacket! You are so lucky to have a lake to go swim in that is so close!

Krista said...

Sounds like an excellent way to spend a lunch break!

RockStarTri said...

Beth is a great friend. Day off? Wow.

Currents are evil.

skierz said...

Sounds like an awesome swim with an awesome support! I want your pool to train in, the heck with the line in the bottom!! fighting the wind and having the loons cheer me on beats the chlorine in a minute!

Jon said...

Wicked swim!

DRog said...

What a great swim! incredible...and makes me want to start OWS after the marathon, I found a group on Wed. mornings at Lake Minnewashta at 630am, whiich I thought was early but now seems normal!!

Anonymous said...

So glad you survived, otherwise reading "Two women found dead in Wyman Lake..." would not have been nearly as funny.

Matty O said...

"my local pool" classic line hahaha!

You are a beast in the water, Heather and I need to get some serious open water time in. We have finally mastered the pool haha and are tired of dealing with the assholes... I mean really rude annoying people that think their walking in the pool (taking up an entire lane and refusing to share with anyone) is more important than my HIM training!!!

I also need to get some hard current swimming in so that I don't freak during races.

Jealous of your training ;) Keep it up!!!

Tri-James said...

Sounds like a great lunch.

Aimee said...

Wow, what a great friend, and great workouts! Awesome job battling the wind in the swim! That's the best kind of OWS to practice b/c it's more like race swimming then just swimming across a serene lake! :)

Caratunk Girl said...

BDD - I have tried to get Beth to do tri's or du's - she just isn't into it. She would be an animal.

Kovas - I guess you are right!

EMZ, Jon, Krista, Jeff, Tri-James, Aimee - Thanks! It was a good break.

JM - Bailey would call someone to come help ha ha. He hates the water, especially getting his tail wet.

skierz - Come on over anytime! :) The loons were not even out on this one.

DR - I wish I had folks to swim with - that is awesome!

Matty O - People tend to suck a lot, huh? You kick my butt in a pool for sure, probably in OWS too, I am slow and steady. Thanks for the clicks!!

Glenn Jones said...

Work? Again? Man - how do you even keep your eyes open?

Great workout!

Big Clyde said...

You are a beast!

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