10K Swim. (too brain-dead to think of a more creative title)

I am proof that the holidays can make a person a 'lil crazy.  (No, I'm not referring to my recent trips to Target).  I've been pondering what my next  big thing will be on the race calendar for 2014.  So far, nothing stood out.  Then, after listening to Hillary Biscay's race report of Ultraman and how she swam a 10K once a week to prepare for that, I was inspired.  This past year, I raced the Del Valle Open Water 5K swim, and visions of racing the 10K next year suddenly made me excited.  So excited, that I wanted to revisit once again how that distance felt.  The last time I did my 100x100s was in February of 2012.

This time around, I enlisted the support of Coach, who was kind enough to join me for part of it.  He even let me borrow his Phoenix triathlon cap so hopefully some of that Aussie speed in the pool would rub off on me.

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!
We swam at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek since I knew this would take awhile, and the 8-11am timeframe at Dolores Bengston Pool wouldn't cut it.  

Steamy swims under the full moon in the mornings have been the usual at Dolores Bengston.
Heather Farm's pool was too warm and so gross.  I knew it was going to be a long day.  Luckily, longcourse was on the menu for today, which was a pleasant surprise- cutting the number of flip turns in half made the sets easier to digest mentally.

Funny how Instagram filters can make the water actually look clear! #totalfacade
Here's the set, in case anyone is interested.  I found part of Rappster's workout for his 10K swim sets, and I liked the variety that the 400s added.  Honestly, the last set of 3x400 IMs were done with one-arm butterfly drill.  After 7000 meters in, I could barely manage to swim let alone pull out some butterfly.  (maybe next year??)

10x100 (50 drill, 50 swim)
10x100 swim on 1:45 
3 x {400 IM/ 400 pull paddles/ 100 kick/ 100 back}

10x100 (50 drill, 50 swim)
10x100 swim on 1:45 
3 x {400 IM/ 400 pull paddles/ 100 kick/ 100 back}

Have fun, kiddos.

Here's some things I learned in the 3+ hours I spent in the pool today:

1) Company makes things better.  Coach joined me for a bit, and it helped to have someone next to me, count with me, and commiserate with.  When he left, it took more to stay focused and motivated.
2) Be focused on the lap at hand.  I would find myself thinking about the next set and how much more I had to do, and I would want to quit.  Then, I'd bring myself back to the lap and tell myself, "At this moment, I am focused on quality freestyle pull with these paddles..." which brings me to my next point...
3) Quality trumps speed.  I didn't concern myself with pace too much.  I wanted my stroke form to be my first priority- doing an incorrect or sloppy stroke for that far of a distance could cause some serious damage and potential injury.
4) I should have eaten more.  For most of my normal swims (3500-4000 yards), I just drink water or an electrolyte drink.  I started eating my ClifShot blocks around 5000 meters in and felt like I had fallen behind.  When you can feel yourself actively bonking, it's a bad sign. 
5) I felt weird eating.  At the end of each 1000m, I would reward myself with some chews and the girl sharing my lane would just stare.  I felt like the chick at the gym who was drinking a 400 kcal protein shake after doing 30 minutes on the elliptical.  A part of me wanted to say, "Sistalove, pleeease. Put your snorkel back on and mind your own beeeezness- I've been swimming long enough to have shared my lane with 2 different people before you who all did their workout already."  And another part of me just said to myself, "Eat, put your goggles back on, and swim."
6) I feel invincible now.  Why?  Because I swam a 10K?  No, because I swam through a bloody bandaid and a yellowjacket without barfing or screaming.

During the swim and after I had finished, Coach gave me some really good things to think about for the future- about racing vs participating, about how I am still learning what 'my fast' is, and how it's not about the races that you do, but rather how you race them.

So, am I going to race the 10K swim?  I don't know.  It's like asking someone after they complete Ironman if they're going to do another one.  For now, it's back to the drawing board again for me, hopefully with something exciting in the making.

Ask me in a week.