Thursday, July 26, 2012


As I sit here at my computer today (clearly procrastinating my packing for our trip to Columbus tomorrow), I am thinking about...swimming. 

I'm not going to lie, swimming frustrates me at times.  I REALLY like it.  But I also don't really understand it.  Coming from a sport (running) that has a more linear growth curve, I think my problem is I want swimming to be the same.  But it's not.  It's just really not.

Take for example, my past two open water 2.4 mile swims:

1) Ironman CdA
  • completed after MONTHS of hard training; averaged about 20,000 yds/week from Dec-May with some bigger weeks thrown in (ie: a 35,000 yd week at camp in Colorado); nice taper for the race so I was well rested
  • cold, somewhat choppy water
  • wetsuit legal
  • little to no drafting
  • time = 1:03:27
2) Search for Monongy 2.4 mile OWS (not sure who Monongy is and if we found him or not...)
  • completed after swimming about 4 times in 3 weeks
  • warm, calm water; roughly equal amounts of time swimming against river current as swimming with current
  • not wetsuit legal (I just wore a regular practice swim suit)
  • little to no drafting
  • did long run of 2 hours about 2.5 hours prior to start of this race
  • time = 1:00:30
Now maybe to some people, this might make perfect sense but to me this makes NO sense!  Both races were Garmin verified distances (and we KNOW Garmin doesn't lie - HA!) so how do I swim 3 minutes faster in some small race where I've clearly done next to no swim training but yet I'm tired at the start because of the run?

See, told you swimming is confusing.  :)

Who knows.  One thing about me though is, I've never been an over-thinker or an over-analyzer.  I'm much better at just putting my head down, continuing to follow the plan set out by my coach, and to continue to work hard.  Sometimes I talk to swimming and I tell it "you will NOT beat me!"  :)  So it's back to work.  I don't have notions of coming out of the water with the top pro pack in races but I do know I can come out with A pack and be more in the mix than my races so far this year.  Here's to swimming like a fish!!


  1. I am so with you on this. I keep PRing at this local swim race that is definitely long enough but my IM AZ swims were stinky. I'm going to blame that on dark dank Tempe Town Lake. Hopefully Canada, which is more like my local lake, is indicative of what I can swim!

  2. As an expert on swimming let me tell you... ;) Actually in all serious I think swimming has some elements of golf to it. Mechanics are important, and you have to create minimum drag, however you do that.

    I never got the golf thing down, and I never got the swim thing down.

    Crap, come to think of it I don't think I ever got anything down. :(

    j/k. Good luck this weekend. :)

  3. I think comparing two open water swims is tough. Even at the same distance on the same course, the conditions will never be the same. I know for me the CDA swim was WAY tougher and slower than all of my previous open water swims and what my estimated time would be.

    Clearly the hard work is paying off with the 1:00 2.4 mile swim only weeks later. Keep working and don't worry about one slower result!

  4. I 100% agree! Swimming is weird. I love it, but hate it at the same time. I have been swimming 15-20k/week for three months I see very little improvement (my swimming results continue to be very inconsistent, blah). I have the same approach as you do to deal with this "frustration": do not over-analyze, just put the head down, keep swimming and it will eventually pay off.

  5. So while I believe you WILL swim much faster in your next Ironman, I think both of our problems must relate to mechanics. I think swimming has a linear progression and running is frustrating :) We'll get there!

  6. Hehe, according to Pittsburgh riverlore, "Monongy" are supposedly man-sized, man-eating catfish. You'd know if you found them :) I did that race in 2010 and was glad I didn't bother to google it until AFTER I did the swim!

    Via Google: Legend has it that “Monongy”, the man-fish lives in the river. There are records that go as far back as the French and Indian War that describe encounters between British soldiers and strange aquatic creatures. The local Indian tribes referred to this creature as "Monongy". There was even a Monongy craze in the early 1930's through the late 1950's. Sightings occurred on a weekly basis and the police department created a task force whose sole purpose was to investigate sightings of the creature. No evidence was ever produced to lend credence to the claims until May 12, 2003 when a privately owned fishing vessel was the first to take photos of the creature. The photos were available on line for a short time until they were inexplicably taken down. Speculation persists that the government has procured the photographs and are covering up the existence of Monongy. Crypto zoologists from around the world still frequent the Monongahela every year to catch a glimpse of the elusive water beast.