Thursday, June 02, 2005

2 days until Lake Berryessa...

I know this is a blog about triathlons. I'm writing about an upcoming open-water swim. "What gives, Sarah?" you might ask. Well...Berryessa is an exciting and fun event that was what kicked it all off for me last year. I attribute a lot to that first open-water swim. I did the 1-mile because I knew it was something managable and not beyond my ability. I LOVED it! There is something so thrilling about being out in that open water, no lane lines to brush your shoulder (granted, I've neglected to mention the occasional foot you encounter or elbow in your side...), being in the midst of a beautiful environment, and swimming with a purpose other than logging some laps.

From Berryessa there were other open water swims...Lake Sonoma, Donner Lake, Quarry Lake relay (not so beautiful, but fun). What a fantastic summer that was! Over the past winter I began to contemplate what Summer of 2005 would hold. More open water swims? Longer swims? Some ocean swims? I'd love to do Alcatraz. I entertained the idea of the Santa Cruz Pier-to-Pier 10K, from Capitola to Santa Cruz. That's quite a ways. I'm still unsure, and at this point I'm beginning to doubt that one.

As I started thinking about what goals I was going to set for this summer, I was feeling very inspired by Jessica, Alice, and Amber, who are serious distance swimmers. These three fabulous women are swimming in the Maui Channel Swim in September (, and I am honored to be part of their crew! Nonetheless, I began to ponder how committed I was to the idea of going down that road. Swimming 10 miles? In shark-infested waters? Lynn Cox's book, Swimming to Antarctica (click here for more info), was quite the inspiring read as well - talk about amazing tales from a serious long-distance swimmer!

Despite all of this wonderful inspiration, I just wasn't entirely convinced that this was the challenge I wanted to present myself with. I happened to pick up cycling in December and found I really enjoyed it. The more I did it, the better I wanted to be. I began to crave it. I noticed, with amazement, that I had never felt this way about any other activity besides swimming! I had found something else that I genuinely enjoyed! In my pursuit of cycling, I realized something quite obvious: for many triathletes, swimming is the dreaded piece of the puzzle they loathe, and many struggle at the last minute to improve their stroke and train for a longer distance. Here, I was at an advantage - running is my least favorite, not swimming. I CAN swim! I CAN cycle! And actually, I can run - I just favor the other two. These thoughts, combined with the fact that I seemed to be overtraining in the swimming department, gave me a thought: "maybe I'd make a better triathlete than a long distance swimmer."

Unfortunately, when it comes to distances, in my own swimmer's opinion, swimming gets the shaft. Take Olympic distance, for example. 0.9 mile swim...held up to a 26 mile bike ride and a 6 mile run? Somehow, that is NOT proportionate! 0.9 miles would take all of 20 minutes to swim, and for those of us who specialize in the swim department, not that much energy, either. Now it just sounds like I'm whining. Anyway.

So Berryessa: 2 days away. I'm doing both 2-mile and 1-mile, and why is beyond me. I hate to say "because everybody else is!" but that's kind of it. Not so much because I didn't want to look like a wimp, but my thinking was that if so many people are doing both, it can't be that bad. Right?

Started to taper yesterday, and actually went for a nice 40 minute bike ride climb around my house after work. Did spinning and swimming this morning, and tomorrow will be a day off for rest. I don't know what I really think about carbo-loading, but it can't hurt, right? I think it's a little stressful because unlike the tris, I have a summer of open-water swims behind me - hence - this is the summer to improve my times!

We'll see how it goes.

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