3+ hours in the pool

I’ve been watching fellow swimmers clock 3-6 hours in the pool, thinking to myself no fucking way can I stare at that black line for that long.

For some reason yesterday I decided I needed to accomplish a 10,000 yard swim.

For a bit of history, my longest swims had been the Ironman swim (2.4 miles in a wetsuit) up until last September, when I swam 5 miles (with fins….with the current…) from Mosier to Hood River. But my pool swims very rarely went over 3500 yards.

This winter was the first time I ever even reached 5k (SCY), and at some point I decided to cap my long pool swims at 2 hours. Then about a month ago, I managed to get up to 7,000 yards, mostly because DJ was still completing his workout and I’d rather keep swimming then sit around doing nothing.

A few weeks ago I started busting the doors off my 100s, swimming 1:25-1:27 pace and holding steady there, which is pretty unheard of for me. My confidence in swimming has been rising pretty steadily, with my PRs in distance, speed and cold water temps.

So yesterday morning, I decided I should probably go ahead and get that 10k under my belt. I know a number of swimmers training for long events (SCAR and 20 Bridges), so they have been doing multiple 10k swims per week. Obviously I need to honor them by hitting 10k, right? Endurance athlete logic, do not question it.

I did a workout that was apparently a “mind fuck” according to one person, because I need something to distract me in the pool. It was basically a large descending ladder, a format I generally prefer as the workout (seems) to get easier as you go. Of course, when the intervals are starting at 1,000 yds, the “short” ones don’t seem that short when you’re 8,000 in, and the “fast” 100s are hilariously slow.

I was half way through at 1:30. I had decided to cap my time at 3 hours, in case it ended up taking forever, and I admit, I wasn’t fully committed to a 10k. At the halfway point, I was excited, and I thought “wow I’m actually going to do this thing”. When I did reach my 3 hour cut-off, I was at 9,000, so obviously I was going to keep going and get it done.

Overall, I felt amazing. One spot in my left shoulder hurt, which I think is actually a knot unrelated to swimming. My hip flexors were super tight from a gym workout Friday, but otherwise, I felt great. My neck didn’t hurt (I’ve been working on that), my form never fell apart, I was able to do some kicking at the end without getting cramps. Honestly I’m kind of amazed, because just a few months ago, I was falling apart at the end of 6,000. Yesterday, I could easily hold the same pace I started at (my forever pace is 1:40/100), and was even managing some of my faster intervals at 1:36 at the end.

This also marks my longest week of swimming by far, clocking in at 20,850 yards (almost 12 miles). My general goal is 9 miles per week. After this week, I feel confident I can do my 9 mile swim in August and lots of other beautiful long swims this summer!