I signed up for SwimTrek’s open water training trip in Gozo back in November because it looked like a fun challenge. Swim every day for a week in a beautiful location? I’m in. Swim six hours straight on one of those days? Why not?! At that point, I still planned to complete a season of triathlons. It wasn’t until a seasoned member of my tri club, Alex Vilarelli, looked at my plans for the season and said: “You’re all over the map, Caitlin. When you come back from Malta, you’re going to be so swim-fit. Why don’t you pick an “A” race that’s a long open water swim?” It was at that moment that it hit me, that I could even do that. I’m still not entirely sure why I hadn’t thought of it before.
I had done a fair amount of open water swim “windows shopping” on the NYC Swim website already, but had been frustrated by the relatively short (1-5 miles) and long (18-26 miles) distances of the swims. As the long swims were (and still are) out of my league, and the short ones felt insufficiently challenging, I had given up. When Alex suggested an open water swim race, I felt so stupid, of course there were other places, probably far better places to swim than around Manhattan! Having heard someone mention a good race in Vermont, I searched for and found my A race that night. It was indeed in Vermont: The Kingdom 10 mile Swim. Needing a support boat, I called my mom who got on board immediately and enthusiastically as my kayaker.
So there it was: I had an A race, a support boat and support person (mom!), and I already had an idyllic training trip planned for April. But, I suppose, the stars were not finished aligning in my favor. After registering for the race, I sent a quick email to my masters Google group that went, simply:
From: Caitlin Rosen
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2011 19:02:34 -0500
Subject: Kingdom Swim
Who wants in? I’m going to do the 10 miler…
I had no expectation that anyone would actually join me, but within a week I had two very enthusiastic and dedicated training partners for the Kingdom swim: Louise TW, and Laura Gibson-Rimer. Both ladies had been lane-mates of mine in masters for some time, but I knew neither one very well.
We met right away to discuss our approach to training, plan future open water training days out at Brighton Beach, and to share resources for strength training and stretching. I brought and shared my training plans, as outlined in my training log, which I had made loosely based on one provided on the Kingdom website. Mine is in a thin book that I tuck into my planner:
That was about a month ago. Since then, we have trained together and we have pushed each other to train hard. Most important to our training are perhaps our Saturday morning long swims; we swim long distances for endurance and to get accustomed to “feeding” during a swim. Most anticipated is probably the bagel breakfast we eat afterward.
At this point, I cannot imagine training without Laura and Louise. Not only do they provide the motivation and accountability one would expect from training partners, they are ridiculously smart and strong women who are constantly wondering, asking, researching, trying, trying harder, and laughing. I think we make a pretty good team. Clearly, I got very, very lucky.