Swim 6 – Sandycove Evening
We got to Sandycove early for the evening swim. Ned came up to Sarah and me, and I could tell that he wasn’t joking or needling or being funny by the tilt of his head. He was being very serious.
“I’m not sure about you two doing the full Lough Ine swim,” he said. “It might not be safe. So you may have to stay in the Lough, while we swim out. I haven’t seen the results from Loch Allua, so I’m not sure about that yet, but will it be all right if a few swimmers stay in the Lough?”
Sarah was very accommodating, but I was so disheartened that I didn’t say anything. The Lough Ine swim is the jellyfish swim, and I had been morbidly looking forward to the incredible mental challenge of swimming over/through/with 10s of thousands of jellyfish. It had been such an adventure last year. I was really looking forward to it again.
He turned to me, “Are you much faster than last year?”
“I don’t know,” I answered. “I’ve been injured.”
I didn’t realize how upset I was until I got into the water with Thomas. I had been wondering if he and I were the same pace. Now that we were starting together, I made it my mission to find out.
We started out, and he got ahead of me, I then realized I was angry. Angry that I was still slow and thinking that I hadn’t worked hard enough and wishing I had done more to be more prepared for this. I was quite hard on myself, and every time Thomas slipped ahead of me, I fought that much harder to keep up.
I thought it was my turnover rate. If I could just turn my arms around faster, I’d be quicker. But turning my arms around faster made absolutely no difference in my speed. None. And it hurt my shoulder. Along the back side of Sandycove Island, with Thomas only a few yards ahead, I just decided to forget about my turnover rate and my recovery and really focus on my pull. And, focusing on that, I somehow just glided forward to where he was at. Around Corner Two, I even pulled ahead of him.
Now, if only I could do that for three laps around Sandycove.
I wasn’t sure I could keep up this pace. But maybe if I could, maybe I could tell Ned I swam 5 km with Thomas. And maybe he would let me do the Lough Ine swim after all. Maybe. I so, so wanted to do it.
It was such a battle at times, trying to forget about turning my arms over faster and focusing more on my pull. But it was so much easier when I got it right. Easier to keep up, easier to get ahead. Just easier.
Three laps, and I’m pleased to say that I made it, all along the way with Thomas! And my shoulder didn’t even squeak. It was a real breakthrough moment! Thomas has GPS and said we did 5.5 km in 1 hour 44 minutes. He even improved his time.
“You’re just about the same speed,” He said. “I had to wait for you to come all the way from Vermont just to find somebody my pace.”
I was all smiles! I didn’t even need a coat when I got out of Sandycove today. The water was 14 – 16° Celsius – Channel temperatures. The air temperature was 22-25° Celsius! I stood around in a t-shirt! And I thought to myself that I wasn’t so slow. Not really.
Swim 7 – Fermoy River Swim
We swam in the Fermoy Black River last year. It was one of my favorites! We had to battle the current up for an hour, and then we got to ride it back.
This year, the current was much gentler. I employed my focus again on my pull under the water and went rocketing up the river. I felt like I was climbing a ladder. I got ahead of Thomas, I passed some other swimmers, and I even overtook Sylvain!
That was short-lived. He then returned the favor and we were swimming along together for a bit, before he again left me behind. I made it about 4.4 km, before we had to turn around.
On the way back, my lower back began to hurt. My hips were sinking, and it was all I could do to keep them up. I found it difficult to swim back, so I kind of floated along, letting everybody pass me.
When we all got out and stood along the river bank, Ned informed us about the Lough Ine plan. My name was not on the list to stay in the Lough! I was so excited! I get to swim out to sea! Down the rapids out to the ocean, through ALL THE JELLYFISH!