After a very chilly Wednesday morning swim, Gino, Natalie, and I set off for a short 2 hour swim on Friday. The swim was pretty uneventful, but I finally started feeling good in open water again, so that was definitely a success. On Saturday, we met at the house of one of Gino’s high school friends, Jay, who was going to kayak for our swim. Jay has his own HOMEMADE wooden kayak, which is 17 feet long and beautiful. We parked at the end of the beach in Marina Del Rey, launched the kayak from the beach and headed north to the Santa Monica Pier. I put my Garmin GPS watch in the kayak to get a relatively accurate tracking of our swim.
The first lap was pretty easy, but I also soon realized that we had a strong current pushing us north, so the way back way going to be very interesting. Just as when I did this swim last weekend, I mentally split the swim two different ways. I used landmarks (MDR jetty, Venice Pier, Venice Breakwater, Tower 26 Buoy, SM Pier) to break the swim spatially into four segments. I also split the swim temporally because I feed every half hour, so I could look forward to the next feed during each interval. I fed on 8-10oz of Carbopro for 3 feeds, and then a squeezable applesauce for the 4th and repeated this pattern throughout the swim.
When we turned around at the pier, we were immediately smacked in the face by the choppy, northbound current. It had only taken us 1 hour 39 minutes to get top the pier, so we knew we were in for a fun return trip. At the same time, we had to watch out for swimmers who were competing in the Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Festival 1 mile swim. For some reason, I was pretty good at navigating the chop, perhaps because I am small, so I didn’t get pushed around as much. Another good thing about this swim was that I didn’t get nearly as cold as last weekend. Perhaps this was because the water had warmed up, or because I am acclimatizing, or because swimming through the chop distracted me from feeling cold. Either way, this was a very good sign for my training going forward.
Today, Gino and I met for our third swim of the weekend and our plan was to swim for 2 and a half hours. It was a super clear day and you could even see Catalina Island in the background as we headed into the water.
Both the water and the air felt warm and we headed south first, fighting the same current we had encountered yesterday. When we got back to the buoy at Tower 26, Gino spotted a pod of dolphins following us and only 5 feet away. It was so cool! We finished our swim and a very successful weekend with 8 hours total spent swimming in open water!