Monday, August 24, 2009

Lessons learned - 2009 Swim for Life Across Lake Washington

I did it! On Wednesday August 19th, 2009 I swam across Lake Washington for the first time. This was my longest and most difficult open water challenge and I felt that I had prepared the best that I could. There were many things that I learned on that swim and I thought that I would blog about it for next year.

1) Swimming 2.5 miles is way harder than 1.2 miles, what I mean to say is it was more than 2x more difficult because we never had to swim that much yardage in Masters class - not to mention all at once. After a certain point, your muscles start to fatigue then your form goes, which results in you swimming slower.

2) Make sure you consume enough calories and pee before you swim. I had to go to the bathroom towards the end of my swim and I actually did pee before hand. Also, make sure you eat a lot of carbs before your swim. I was totally feeling like bonking towards the end.

3) Sighting - this was challenging as the thing you aim for is over 2 miles away. At the triathlons that I have done, normally the buoys are no more than 300 yards apart, so it is easier to swim in a straight line. No so easy to swim straight when your destination is far. I did have a kayaker, but we got separated for a while and I was on my own. It might help next year to get your own personal kayaker and have them sight for you.

4) Choppy water conditions - this year was more choppy then previous years so it made getting into a rhythm hard and I found myself using up more energy. I only breathe from one side, so sometimes the water would splash into my face while I was getting air and I would get a mouthful. Lake Sammamish was where I had practiced up until the big swim, and it was always calm.

5) Consider a sleeveless wetsuit. If your wetsuit limits your arm mobility at all, I would consider borrowing a sleeveless wetsuit for this only because it was warm enough and swimming this distance with free arms is much easier. Be warmed, sleeveless wetsuits have the habit of leaving you with nasty tan lines on your back!

Overall, I am really proud of myself for sticking it to the end!

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