Cold water training trip (Part 1)

This weekend, my mom and I headed up to San Francisco to get in some cold-water training for the English Channel. The trip’s original purpose was for me to race Alcatraz on Sunday and then I built a training trip around that. We flew up to the city late Thursday night so that I could meet a swimmer at 6am Friday. After sleeping through my alarm (which is very out of character for me), I rushed to Aquatic Park and joined a group of swimmers. I was very excited to see the inside of the historic swim clubs at Aquatic Park and was not disappointed! Seriously, I am almost considering moving up to San Francisco just so that I can join one of these clubs. We headed out into the water and I asked another swimmer for the temperature. After asking me if I really wanted to know, she told me that the water was hovering around 54 degrees. The water I have been training in has ranged from 60-63, so this was certainly an interesting challenge. We swam to the opening of the cove and swam around the outside toward Fort Mason.

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The view from the beach at Aquatic Park, looking towards Alcatraz through the cove opening.

As we swam through the open of Aquatic Park, I could see Alcatraz Island directly ahead of me and thought about the upcoming race. My shoulders felt tight as I struggled to find my tempo and settle into my pace. Though the water was chilly, I didn’t feel nearly as cold as I expected and I focused on enjoying the scenery and following other swimmers. When we turned toward Fort Mason, the view nearly took my breath away. On one side was Aquatic Park and the city, on the other was Alcatraz, and directly ahead of me loomed the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Aquatic Park

After reaching Fort Mason, we turned back and headed around another pier and then back into Aquatic Park. When we were almost back to the club beach, we did one more lap out to the wall and back, just to add a little distance. I am really grateful for literally getting my feet wet in the bay leading up to my Alcatraz race. These cold water swims are also really important for my English Channel training. Later in the day, I returned to Aquatic Park to do another cove lap to add to my training for the day. By this time in the day, the water was a little rougher but I still enjoyed my swim and found my pace a lot easier than in the morning. I really appreciate all these opportunities to train to reach my goals.

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