I swam 93 minutes today, something over 5km. I started at 10:50. It was sunny, warm (not hot), and the air was still, which made the sea like glass- there was hardly any swell either. That invites very quiet swimming. The water was 25 C and clear- maybe 6m plus. But the wind just started to wake up before I reached the half-way turn-around point. Then I felt the gentle lap and shove of some wind-driven swells, but fortunately they were shoving me from the hind quarter on the way back.
I had taken both weekend days off to take care of family needs, and it has been over a week since doing a sea swim, and I have been successfully fighting off a head cold caught from my little boy so my energy was not 100% either. So I immediately notices I was not quite slipping along like I have felt on normal days.
I first swam for 10 minutes to dial in my head and body. On the shore I set the Tempo Trainer to 1.14 and slipped it in my cap, turned off, so I had the option of using it, depending on how I felt after the warmup. But I immediately noted that today would be better spend relaxing a bit more to just enjoy going the distance, rather than work on my tempo acceleration today. But still I did 250-stroke cycles with varying tempo, until a bit past the half-way mark when I felt I needed to quit even that, and just enjoy a long uninterrupted rhythm- the counting was getting in the way actually. So I did, and it was calming. I was struggling with some listlessness and depression this morning so at this moment I needed to follow what was going to give my mind some release rather than more pressure.
Swimming in the cool pool like I have the past 2 weeks makes this 25 C salt water seem quite pleasant. I had no discomfort at this temperature at all. The sea seems to be holding onto its heat a bit longer this year. It could drop any day though with a weather change.
I was examining some swim advice clips on the web the other day and one thing that was mentioned about this particular swimmer was how her fingers were lightly pressed together for the catch. I realized that I have been swimming for several years now with my fingers slightly spread like I was picking up a handfull of gravel- and so half-way through today’s swim I remembered this detail and started experimenting… wow. There is a very significant difference in the way the catch feels and follows through. My fingers even felt a little stiff and tired from holding this different position for 40 minutes. But it notably added some grab-power to the stroke, but now I need to imprint this into my system and condition my wrists and fingers to hold this position without fatigue. Such a little thing can make a big difference. I will need to run some tests in the pool next month.
My friend was debating with me in an email how unusual and ‘ultra’ I am for swimming such distances. These are not normal distances for sure, especially for tradional, pool-bound swimmers, as I used to be before moving to Turkey. I live and train out here somewhat isolated from ‘normal’ swimmers I guess. And I read enough from other unusual TI swimmers and their nice long-distance pleasure swims, that a few km’s can start to seem quite normal. For me it is not extreme in any sense- just 90 minutes of focus, rhythm and peace. I am nicely tired but not exhausted. I am just loosening up at the 45 minute mark!