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  #1  
Old 10-24-2011
rmouser rmouser is offline
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rmouser
Default First open water swims

Well, I've made the plunge and gone outside the box. Both of my open water swims probably fall into the "not worth getting wet" category for you, but for a guy that couldn't get to the other end of a pool without stopping (as recent as August), I'm pretty happy.

I now realize how much I hate chlorine (seems to make my breathing more difficult). I also realize I've been using the end of the pool as a crutch (I stop to evaluate my stroke and get to rest at the same time, don't know how to do flip turns yet).

So now, I like open water so much that I'm thinking of signing up for 2.5KM open water swim in mid-November. This is a stretch for me, but I feel it's very possible.

I'll go on some longer open water swims before the 2.5K, but I'm not clear how to be sure I'm ready. Additional background, I attended a TI workshop in late September.

Any advice appreciated.

Regards,

Richard
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2011
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmouser View Post
So now, I like open water so much that I'm thinking of signing up for 2.5KM open water swim in mid-November. This is a stretch for me, but I feel it's very possible.

I'll go on some longer open water swims before the 2.5K, but I'm not clear how to be sure I'm ready. Additional background, I attended a TI workshop in late September.
Congrats on taking the plunge! You just opened a whole new world of possibilities for your swimming.

What will the water temp be, approximately? Will you be wearing a wetsuit?

How long does it take you to swim 2.5K in a pool? Let's say it's an hour. Now forget about the distance for a moment. Can you swim for an hour in open water?
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2011
rmouser rmouser is offline
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Hi swim2bfree,

I suspect it will be about 70 degrees and I will wear a wetsuit. I've never gone 2.5K, but I've done 1.3K in a pool a few times in about an hour, with lots of stops for breathing and thinking about stroke focus for the next lap (the crutch at the end of the pool I mentioned earlier).

Interesting thing is that a 500 meters in open water feels a lot easier than in a pool. Add the wetsuit and there's no comparison.

I'm starting to think that some of my mental issues (e.g., not relaxing, not staying "in the moment") are somehow worse in the pool environment.

Should I just go to the local swimming lake and give 2.5K a try?

Richard
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2011
cynthiam cynthiam is offline
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rmouser, congrats on getting into open water!

I feel much more relaxed in ow than in the pool, partly because there's no one else near me and partly because I can get into a rhythm more easily when I don't have walls to contend with.

If I were doing that event, I'd build my time/distance in ow bit by bit. Ideally, I'd like to be able to do more than that distance in the pool before trying it in ow. If that's not possible schedule-wise, I'd try maybe 2/3 of it in ow and see how I felt. Could I go another 1/3? Oh, and I'd do this with a buddy nearby for safety.

Is this event competitive? Will you have to deal with a frantic start and crowds while swimming?
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  #5  
Old 10-24-2011
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmouser View Post
I've never gone 2.5K, but I've done 1.3K in a pool a few times in about an hour, with lots of stops for breathing and thinking about stroke focus for the next lap.
...
Should I just go to the local swimming lake and give 2.5K a try?
Going from 1.3K in a pool w/ lots of stopping to a 2.5K OW seems like a big jump...but maybe! If you can swim close to shore and parallel to it (along a beach, perhaps), you might try swimming for a while and seeing where (or how far) it takes you. If it's enjoyable to you, why not? I agree that swimming long distances in OW is psychologically easier than an equivalent distance in the pool.

In open water it's important to be comfortable swimming for long stretches of time without stopping. If you stop frequently during your pool sessions, perhaps your first order of business should be trying to swim for... let's say... half an hour without stopping. Forget about the distance, for now.
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2011
rmouser rmouser is offline
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The 2.5K is a race and there will be a frantic start. One of my two open water swims was a triathlon, so I've experienced a bit of that, but I did start in the nubie wave...which, come to think of it, might have been worse. ;-)

I want the experience, not concerned about the race aspect at this point...no danger of me winning, just want to gain experience and confidence in open water.

I think I'll just go down to the lake, and see how long I can go without stopping. There are typically lots of other swimmers around because of set hours for swimming. There is a route close to shore and some of the buoy markers on internal routes are platforms, so I feel really safe swimming there.

If nothing else, I'll have a good opportunity to work on my balance and stroke without interruption. If all goes well, I'll consider signing up for the 2.5K event.

Thanks to both of you that responded for confirming that I'm not the only one more comfortable in open water than in a pool.

I'll post again with my results at the trial swim to let everyone know how this turns out.

Thanks,

Richard
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  #7  
Old 10-25-2011
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmouser View Post
Thanks to both of you that responded for confirming that I'm not the only one more comfortable in open water than in a pool.
It's good to be comfortable in the pool, too. Pools are better for developing speed and technique. Open water is great for long steady-state swimming that would otherwise be rather boring in a pool. There's something about the lack of boundaries - both literal and figurative - that seems to compress time.

Please do report back about your trial swim!
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  #8  
Old 10-26-2011
rmouser rmouser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swim2Bfree View Post
Please do report back about your trial swim!
Will do. It will be next week, probably Wednesday, as I'm still recovering from the triathlon and don't want that to impact my swim.
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  #9  
Old 11-03-2011
rmouser rmouser is offline
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Default Test Swim Results

Well, that was a humbling experience. :-)

Just like last time at the lake, I swam 500 meters (a set triangle course). Felt pretty good, wasn't real fast, but noticed the timer on my watch was not set at the end of the first lap, so I stopped for a minute to mess with the watch.

When I started swimming again, my calf muscles immediately started cramping. I didn't want to get out in deep water with cramps, so I got out of the water, drank some water, stretched, then tried to swim again. Cramps came back as soon as I pointed toes. Back to shore, drink more, stretch more, try again, still the cramps.

I finally gave up on swimming any more and just headed for home. The cramps lasted off and on for the entire evening.

I've noticed that, if I try to swim after running or biking, I get cramps. I didn't do any other exercise before this swim.

When I get cramps (sometimes in the middle of the night), a quick drink of water and stretching seems to resolve it quickly. I might have started the swim a bit dehydrated, but not severely so.

The interesting thing is that I felt really great after the first 500 meters, didn't stop once, which I've never done for that distance in a pool. It felt like I could easily go further, which I also experienced last time at the lake.

Don't get me wrong, I know my technique is *way* less than perfect and I'm not fast, not even close to fast. So no 2.5K race for me.

As much as I hate this plan, I'm going to force myself to develop my skills in the pool. I'll use the lake as the occasional reward...probably makes sense anyway as the weather is even getting colder here in Texas.

Thanks for all the input.
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  #10  
Old 01-06-2012
ernewill ernewill is offline
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How are you doing with the cramps and distance? I just started serious swimming about 5 years ago. I am 58. It took a while to develop endurance. I major benefit was adopting a TI style stroke and joining a masters swimming group. I became a lot more efficient. You may want to look into a masters group. They have a lot of slow swimmers that are there for the camaraderie and to have workout companions. Even though they will have a 2000 yard workout posted for your "slow" group that doesn't mean you have to do it. You can always skip a set or too or even quit the workout early. My first Masters coach made that very clear.

As your TI skills improve and your stroke efficiency improves your distances will improve as well. Learning to swim with other people in your lane is good for you. Now it doesn't bother me at all.

Not long ago I was suffering cramping at about the 1200 yard point of my workouts. I asked for help in a couple forums and got the following advice that really has made a difference. First, really hydrate well before your workout. Hydrate with an electrolyte drink. Continue to hydrate with an electrolyte drink at the pool. Take a calcium supplement every day. Make sure your diet includes foods with potassium. V8 has a lot of potassium. Finally, I take at least 5 minutes to stretch before swimming laps.

The days I forget to start my hydration a good 2 hours before laps I always have problems.

Good luck! And, if you are looking for a great swim event that offers you a choice of 1 mile, 2.4 miles and 3.5 miles consider the Beach to Beach Power Swim in St. John in May. Fun people, very smooth water and well organized event.
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