And by distance I mean 1/2 a mile, and by speed I mean in less than an hour. Last night I signed up the Swim Across America Nantasket Beach Swim on July 13! The Boston Chapter of S.A.A. raises money for both the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Perini Quality of Life Clinic. More on that later.
I'm beyond excited about this! I spent SO MUCH time at the beach crowing up and my parents couldn't get me out of the water, and it was GROSS water...if you grey up in SETX, you know what I'm talking about! If you would have asked me a year ago if I would willingly be jumping into the Atlantic Ocean and swimming for a 1/2 mile, I would have laughed at you hysterically. I love what all this exercise and weight loss is doing for my confidence and gumption. I never knew there was this inner athlete just dying to emerge.
I have just about four months to get ready. During the backstroke portion of my swim today I made a mental list of things that need to get done.
1) Train for both endurance and speed - I'm easily swimming a 1/2 mile at 40 minutes, with minimal breaks to catch my breath. I swim slower than I know I can right now because I'm REALLY working on good, clean technique to prevent injury in the future. I can start spending some of my workouts building speed.
2) Getting some open water swims in - I'm pretty sure I can't just jump into the Charles River or the Boston Harbor with either an arrest or my mug on news...maybe both. So, trips to Walden Pond and Nantasket Beach itself. Swimming in open water will be different. There's no black line at the bottom of the pool to guide me. My guide will either be the other swimmers around me or a point on land. This means my face is going to be out of the water more. My comforatable free style stoke is to breathe on every third stroke and face very much to the side when I breathe. That COULD work depending on waves and the tide and whatnot, but I can't count on it. I'll have to start playing with breathing on every other stroke or even *grumble, grumble* every stroke. There's also the option of a modified breaststroke where you just keep your eyes barely about water which I think would work VERY well for me. The name of the game in the have options and be adaptable. It's an ocean, not a pool.
3) Wardrobe - Yes wardrobe. Again, I'm swimming in an ocean, not a pool. Even though it will be July I'm not counting on the ocean to be toasty, and I'm going to be in it for awhile. It's not like I can just jump out if I'm cold. The point is to swim, and I'd have to you know...swim to shore. Also in the ocean are our Ocean Friends....you know....jellyfish, rays, fishies, Jaws. (There's also floating seaweed that can be damned scratchy and have things trapped in it.) Now, I'm not really all that scared of Jaws eating me, but I will have nothing shiny on my body that would make me look like a human fishing lure. Jellyfish actually concern me. Not getting flat out stung by a jellyfish, but getting zapped by a nematocyte on a broken off tentacle. So I'm thinking either a triathlon suit or a wet suit. Right now I'm leaning towards a triathlon suit. Click this link for what I'm thinking. Then there's my feet. The beach I grew up at you lost sight of you feet once the water was up to you ankles. (No I'm not exaggerating.) I always had to wear shoes when I was in the water. Now that just weights your fee down. So I'm thinking some neoprene swim socks like these.
4) Fundraise - To be able to swim in this event, I need to be able to raise at least $250. I'm shooting for $500. I'll be swimming this race in honor of my father, who had a bout with tongue cancer and in memory of my mother in law who we lost in her second battle with breast cancer. Making a donation is simple just follow this link and click on "Support Kathleen". I thank everyone in advance for their support, both monetarily and emotionally! For those of my more social media inclined friends, please feel free to share my fundraising page or this blog post on your facebook, twitter, or own personal blog.
I'm sure this is going to be a long, yet fun and rewarding journey all while doing some good for a worthy cause. I promise to keep you all updated along the way.