24 December 2006

"Below 50"

"What's the temp?"
I ask Amber as we stand on the beach.
"It just says 'below 50' "
she responds.

BELOW 50? Oh no! That is almost bone chilling cold. There are two temperature drops that I can feel more than any others. The first one is the drop below 53 degrees. That happened over a month ago and was a clear indication that the tropical summer temperatures were long gone and wouldn't return until at least June. The next one is the dreaded drop below 50. This is when we are clearly in the darkest, coldest days of winter. It may drop serveral more degrees before our New Year's Day Alcatraz swim. brrrrr!

Amber and I jumped with Cory just past 8 a.m. this morning. I got in the water first and headed towards the opening in route to the bad Becky buoy. The three of us stayed together as we did a reverse cove. We made a slight change in our course when we saw a harbor seal playing around the landmark we were headed towards - the repair. The repair is a section of Muni Pier that was repaired many many years ago and still looks different than the rest of the pier. I momentarily stopped to watch the seal - mostly out of curiosity, but out of envy as well. Envious of how well it is suited for this piercingly cold environment.

16 December 2006

NYD Qualifier

77 swimmers jumped this morning from the beach in front of the club to an outside-inside-reverse cove as a qualifying swim for the New Years Day Alcatraz. I was in the water for 46 minutes. The consensus in the womens sauna was that the temperature was about 52F. I didn't wear my temperature watch, but I did bring my camera and got a few shots as we left the opening of Aquatic Park. I am very tired from an exhausting week. It is time for a long nap.

14 December 2006

Documenting the Dark Days of Winter

The dark, cold mornings of winter are here. The temperature of the bay has dropped about 7 degrees in the past month. It now ranges between 51-53 F and fluctuates daily. As the winter solstice approaches the days are getting shorter and shorter and my morning bay swims are getting darker and darker. The sunriser swimmers of the South End don't swim early enough for me to get to school on time so I swim with a group of Dolphin Club "pre-sunriser" swimmers. Cory and I are often timid entering the water, but Bob and Nigel run ahead and practically leap in the water. Sometimes Steve gets in 15-30 minutes ahead of us to log in the miles for what ever challenge the Dolphins are up to. If we are lucky, he doesn't scare us by the flag by sounding like a barking sea lion. Jim (Cory's husband) starts a few minutes ahead of us and follows our course. We catch up with him sometime during the swim.

I brought my new camera (a shockproof, waterproof Olympus Stylus 720 SW) for a swim on Tuesday in hopes of capturing the allure and mystery of swimming in the bay in the dark. Tuesday was one of those days where as I walked towards the water I repeated out loud "We're crazy, We're crazy, We're crazy". It was a different kind of dark out. The sky was covered with clouds and there wasn't even a hint of light from the moon. On top of that it was raining. It is a cold, rainy, dark December morning and I am jumping in the San Francisco Bay. Crazy. After about 30 minutes of swimming in the dark and running into debris from the recent rain, Cory and I swam into the beach. My dear friend Amber met us on the beach and gave Cory and I a sip of her warm mint tea. What a treat! We chatted a bit and then Cory and I ran off to hit the showers at our respective clubs.

The photos didn't work as well as I had hoped. Maybe I'll get some better photos this weekend when I get to swim in the light.

05 December 2006

Links to Photos of "Hyde from the Breakers"

Thank you to Colin Gift of the Dolphin Club for these photos of the September 11th SERC swim from Seal Rocks back to the club.

A timid jump from the boat:

Duke and I head towards the Golden Gate:

I just ordered a waterproof digital camera so look forward to more photos and tales from the bay here soon. Upcoming events include the winter solstice sunrise/sunset swim on the 21st and the New Years Day swim from Alcatraz.

29 October 2006

Touch n' Go RTA 10/28/06

What a beautiful day in the bay. This Round Trip Alcatraz (RTA) swim is part of the "Nutcracker" swim series hosted by Bob Roper of the South End Rowing Club. This particular RTA was a "touch n' go" as opposed to swimming around the rock.

The conditions were perfect! My pilot (Duke Dahlin, E.C. 2003) ran onto the beach minutes before the start of the swim. We grabbed a kayak and hauled it down to the beach. Duke emerged in a clown suit and a bright pink curly wig. I knew it was going to be a great day on the bay. I always feel confidant with Duke by my side as I swim.

We started at 9:30 at the tail end of the ebb tide. Leaving aqautic park, as I breathed to the right I saw the bay bridge and to the left Duke paddling along side of me. I reminded Duke that I needed to practice finishing on rocky beaches and I wanted to touch land at Sunrisers beach instead of just touching any part of the island, which was also an option. We reached Sunriser Beach (see photo above) on Alcatraz after 40 minutes. It was named Sunriser beach by a group of early morning South Enders known as the "Sunrisers".

I cleared the water after swimming through some unexpected sea weed and breifly socialized with J.P. (E.C. 2005) and Hendrick (E.C. 2006) who were already on Sunriser Beach. I entered the water again for the swim back to San Francisco. This time I got the view of the magestic Golden Gate on my right and Duke on my left. I felt the sunshine on my back and enjoyed every minute of the trip back.

As we entered Aquatic Park, Duke let me swim in alone so he could head back out into the bay to help other swimmers make it in to the opening between the municiple pier and the breakwater that led to our club on the beach. I thanked him and headed in. I made landfall after swimming for an hour and 27 minutes and enjoyed a leisurely shower, sauna and lunch with the club. Thank you to Jon Meyer, Bob Roper, Duke Dahlin, every pilot out on the water and all the others who selflessly made this swim possible.

18 October 2006

Getting to France the Hard Way

I have spent hours of time thinking about my training plan. I have talked to numerous channel swimmers, swim coaches and teammates. I have thought about what has worked for me in the past and what hasn’t. Over and over again I have heard from successful channel swimmers that there is no single training plan that works for everyone, but above all YOU must be completely confident in your training.

My goal is to get to France. My swim training has two functions. First to provide enough yardage in the pool and mileage in the bay to have the endurance to cross the English Channel. Second (and most importantly) to simulate the conditions of the English Channel through regular and consistent exposure to the San Francisco Bay.

My pool training is done primarily with Burlingame Aquatic Club Masters swim team. My bay training is done in the San Francisco Bay with the support of the South End Rowing Club.

November 2006 – February 2007
This is when the temperature of the bay starts to drop, reaching as low as 48 degrees Fahrenheit on the coldest days of January and February. This is the time in my training where I will do more training in the pool because the bay is just too cold to stay in for very long. I will continue to get in the bay 3-4 times a week during these cold months. As my friend Duke says: “it’s just to make the summer feel that much warmer”.

Monday 5:30-7:00a.m. pool
Tuesday 6:00-6:40a.m. bay and 6:00-7:00 or 7:30p.m. pool
Wednesday 5:30-7:00 pool and evening swim in cove
Thursday 6:00-6:40 bay and 6:00-7:00 or 7:30p.m. pool
Friday 5:30-7:00 pool and evening swim in cove
Saturday 1-2 hour swim in the bay OR 8:00-9:30pool followed by a short bay swim (depending on temperature of bay)
Sunday off

**I will only swim 2 or 3 of the evening workouts per week**

December 2006
In December I am fortunate enough to have two and half weeks off of work for the holidays. The bay will be very cold at this time, but I plan on increasing the number of workouts per week so that I am swimming twice a day four times per week.

January 2007
I will kick off 2007 with the annual New Years Day Alcatraz swim co-hosted by South End Rowing Club and the Dolphin Club. I'll continue the same weekly training schedule through January.

February 2007
This is the month when I will start doing longer swims. Ideally these swims will be in the bay, but it is still uncomfortably cold (very low 50s) and it is alright if I do the longer swims in the pool
• Saturday February 3 – 2 hour swim (pool or Lake Del Valle OK)
• Saturday February 17 – 3 hour swim (pool or Lake Del Valle OK)

March 2007
The temperature of the bay should be warming up a bit by now and I can start to decrease the number of pool swims per week and increase the number of bay swims to 5 times per week.
• Saturday March 3 – 3 hour bay swim
• Saturday March 17 – 3 hour bay swim
• Saturday March 31 – 4 hour bay swim (depending on bay temperature – this may need to be done in Lake Del Valle)

Monday 5:30-7:00a.m. pool
Tuesday 6:00-6:40a.m. bay
Wednesday 5:30-7:00 pool and evening swim in cove
Thursday 6:00-6:40 bay
Friday 5:30-7:00 pool and evening swim in cove
Saturday 1-2 hour swim in the bay OR 8:00-9:30pool followed by a short bay swim (depending on temperature of bay)
Sunday off

April 2007
This month I will start doing 3 hour bay swims on the Saturdays that I am not doing a longer bay swim.
• April 7, 14, and 21 – 3 hour bay swim (one of these in the dark)
• April 28 – 6 HOUR QUALIFYING SWIM! (May be done in San Diego, depending on temperature of the bay)

Monday 5:30-7:00a.m. pool
Tuesday 6:00-6:40a.m. bay
Wednesday 5:30-7:00 pool and evening swim in cove
Thursday 6:00-6:40 bay
Friday 5:30-7:00 pool and evening swim in cove
Saturday 3 hour bay swim (or longer - see above schedule)
Sunday off

May 2007
I will continue to swim 5 times per week in the pool and increase the number of evening workouts to 3 by adding a pool workout on Tuesday or Thursday.
• Saturday May 5 – 10 Coves of Death (about 4 hours in the bay)
• Saturday May 19 – 8 hour bay swim

June 2007
This will be my last month of training! My training peaks with a 10 hour bay swim on the 9th. I will taper down from there in order to be completely rested and ready at the end of the month. I need to pay careful attention to my body and make sure I get enough rest. School gets out on June 1st, so I will have plenty of time to train and get ready to leave for England at the end of the month.
• Saturday June 9 – 10 hour bay swim
• Saturday June 16 – 6 hour bay swim
• Saturday June 23 – 1-2 hour bay swim
• Saturday June 30 – 1 hour easy bay swim (in Dover?)

July 2007
• SWIM TO FRANCE! Check http://followmetofrance.blogspot.com for updates!

16 October 2006

Swimming Background

Swimming Honors and Awards
• Second Place Gar Woods Lake Tahoe Polar Bear Swim, March 2006 (a 200 yard swim in 36.9F degree water)
• 10 mile solo Maui Channel swim (4:57:09), September 2005.
• Second place (4:59:50), 12 mile solo Trans Tahoe swim, July 2002.
• 10 mile Bay to Breakers Swim (Bay Bridge to Ocean Beach), May 2002.
• Fourth place(2:50.25), Capitola to Santa Cruz 10K swim , August 2001.
• First place, Pacific Masters Swimming Open Water Points Competition, Summer 2000.

Swimming Experience
• Currently training for a solo crossing of the 21 mile English Channel (to be completed in July 2007).
• Team member, Burlingame Aquatic Club Masters Swim Team, 2005-present.
• Team member, South End Rowing Club, 2000-present (Board Member 2006-2007).
• Team member, Strawberry Canyon Aquatic Masters, 1998-2005 (Board Member 2001, 2002, 2005).
• University of California, Santa Cruz four year Varsity Swim Team member (1994-1998).
• Team Captain, U.C. Santa Cruz womens' swim team, 1997-1998.
• Berkeley High School Varsity swim team, 1991-1994 (MVP, 1992).
• Team member, Golden Bear Swim Club, 1986-1994.

Swim Coaching Experience
• 2005- Swim Coach, Aragon High School, San Mateo, CA
• 2001-2003 Assistant Swim Coach, The College Preparatory School, Oakland, CA.
• 2000-2002 Head Swim Coach, Miramonte Swim Club, Orinda, CA.
• 1997-1998 Swim Coach, Santa Cruz High School, Santa Cruz, CA
• 1997-1998 Assistant Director, U.C. Santa Cruz Nike Swim Camp, Santa Cruz, CA