So last week I did my first MeetUp open water swim at Walden Pond.
Of course everyone knows, Walden - Henry David Thoreau & the transcedentalists and all.
"What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” So I was filled with all sorts of inspiration, and I wasn't sure what to expect of this little pond with such a big reputation.
STEAL MY MELLOW!
I wanted to do the 1/2 mile swim. I wanted to do it without touching any walls or putting my feet down. There is something in my head that feels like all this pool swimming is a bit of a cheat. It's hard to tell if I'm really making it or if I'm using the wall every time I tap touch. The Sharon TRI is a half mile swim so I need to know - in my head - that I can swim it, without stopping or drowning.
Here's how that went.
When I arrived, I saw a sign that said the perimeter of the trail around the pond was 1.7 miles. So I converted that to feet first (not an easy math problem while swimming) to get to the circumference of the pond. Then since I know that the circumference of a circle is Pi * diameter, I was able to back into the distance across the pond. Of course my math was way off, because the pond as you can see from this representation is nowhere near circular! Anyhow, after I'd gone back and forth to a few trips furious converting feet to yards and dividing by pi. I said to Marlene - could you just tell me when I've gone 1/4 mile? She said, "you're already over 1/2 mile!" I was stunned! I ended up swimming a total of 2600 yards. WAY over a mile swim! It was great and I felt great!
Now for the sighting part. The other half of this swim clinic was to practice swimming straight. Its important to swim straight in a race, and its difficult - without the help of lane lines that you're so used to in a pool. My goal was to go directly to the opposite beach -- not swim off course toward the middle of the pond. So I was trying to keep the tree line at a certain place in my field of view. Every time I would take a breath on that side of my forward crawl I would try to make sure that the trees were where they were suppose to be. Of course, they weren't. Those damn trees - hopping all about the place! It was worse when I used the setting sun to sight, as it kept moving in the sky and I wasn't adjusting for it correctly. Overall, I learned that I have a long way to go in terms of sighting, but its pretty far down on my list of things to improve on. I can't be a champion of everything! The big hurdle was just the swimming part - so I'll take the successes when I can.
4 on the 4th race yesterday in Dedham. It was pouring during the entire race but I ran OK, maybe a bit slow, but OK. I met some fun people from The Parkway Running Club and we had a couple of beers (and a few laughs afterwards) They were fast runners - but seemed really welcoming & now I'm thinking of joining. The 4th was a blast at my sister-in-law Colleen's and I felt fine eating a football sized portion of potato salad - even though its not something I tend to eat anymore. And I wore a bikini to the pool, which isn't something I felt confident enough to do in years past. All this working out is really helping.
I plan to go to Walden over the weekend and swim to Ice Fort Cove....that's 850 yards, so there and back will be just shy of a mile.