5 Hour Training Swims
So I have been training for the Swim Around Key West for several months. Since the swim race is 12.5 miles and I will be in ocean between 7 and 8 hours, I needed to ramp up my time in the pool as June 23 approaches. That meant more 3 hour swims, then a few 4 hour swims, and then a 5 hour swim. I have to test not only my own fitness, but the clarity of my goggles, the comfort of my swimsuit, the tightness of my cap and the food I will be ingesting during the swim. My kayaker, Margie Blanco, will be alongside me the whole time for safety, direction and to throw food and drink to me in the water. I cannot touch the boat, so it is a delicate dance to stop for as little as 10 seconds to take a mouthful of calories every half hour or so. The water will be about 85 degree Fahrenheit and the air will be even hotter, so getting dehydrated is a concern, and absorbing 300 calories an hour is a challenge for me. But I have concocted an awesome vegan shake of PureAlmond milk, almond butter, banana and Pedialyte (for electrolytes) that will sustain me well I think. I will add cookies and Clif bars into the mix if I want solid food.
People ask me what I think about when I swim for so long, especially when I train in a mind-numbingly monotonous pool. The truth is, not much. I think about my freestyle stroke, as good form will not only make me faster but will help keep my shoulders from hurting too much. I think about what I have to do that day. My mind flits from subject to subject, and never stays on one topic. If I am wearing a heartrate monitor, I will concentrate on keeping my heart rate within a certain range. I heard that Diana Nyad sings songs to herself when she is in the water a long time, but I realized (after trying it) that I dont know more than a few lines of any one song! `
The race is a week away, and I am now in my “taper”, and my swims are getting shorter. I am trying to eat properly, rest well and continue my shoulder rehab. I feel pretty good and am looking forward to the swim around Key West on June 23- and also the resumption of a lighter workout schedule.