My friend, mentor, and “channel mama” Paige Christie once told me that there would come a time in my Catalina training when I would feel ready to go any day. While I am still 5 weeks out from my swim date and not at the “ready to go” point yet, I am finally feeling that I am getting closer. This weekend, I did three training swims (1hr 45min on Friday, 3hr 45min on Saturday, and 3hr on Sunday), and with each swim I felt better and more in tune with the water and my body. During the Sunday swim, I felt super smooth and was holding a faster pace than I usually do in open water, which was reassuring.
Because marathon swimming involves a lot of time alone in your head, I often receive questions about I stay motivated and how I don’t get bored. When I swim, there are many things that I think about to keep myself focused but also distract myself from the tougher parts of the swim. At the beginning of a training swim, I usually have to think about my body and how its moving in order to find my pace and stay calm about how much more there is to swim. Eventually, songs start playing in my head and help me keep up my tempo and stay positive. Some of my favorite songs to swim to are from musicals like Hamilton, Fun Home, and Rent. Sometimes I also work on writing assignments while I swim.
Today, I thought about all these usual things, but I also had some very strange thoughts. The unusual thoughts I sometimes have while swimming are very similar to the thoughts that occur right before you fall asleep. At one point in this swim, I felt some minor stings from small jellyfish or something similar and I was starting to feel discouraged because I couldn’t get the stingers out of my suit, so I tried to put a positive spin on it. The first thought that came into my head was “How awesome would it be if I got Spiderman powers from the jellyfish,” but I quickly countered that with, “jellyfish powers probably wouldn’t be that cool.” I know this sounds like a crazy conversation, but like I said, as a marathon swimmer, I spend a lot of time inside me own head. I have been taking care of my sister’s cat, Jada, this week and another strange thing that popped into my head was “what would the conversation be like if Jada could talk to me?” I am not sure why I was thinking about this, but it made me smile and helped me pass the time.
Looking ahead to the weeks leading up to my Catalina crossing, I hope that I can continue to improve my feel for the water and gain the confidence I will need to successfully complete my swim.