22 February 2007

Brave Swimmers on a Dark and Stormy Morning

It was another one of those mornings. One of those mornings where I feel a little crazy for doing what I do. I heard the rain falling all night long and knew it would be a stormy morning in the bay. My dedicated training partners Bob, Cory and Jim met me and we walked outside into the rain and watched the swell rock the boats in the cove. It was actually kind of fun once we got in the water. I felt raindrops on my skin and the gentle roll of the water as I swam. I can't wait to feel the sunshine again.

Save Another Date!

The Swimming to France fundraising party will be Friday June 1st at South End Rowing Club. Check here for details as the date gets closer. Please contact me if you can make a donation (food, alcohol, etc.) for the party.

18 February 2007

Yacht Harbor Under Blue Skies

This morning we enjoyed a fast and glorious swim from Yacht Harbor back to the club. The water was finally a comfortable temperature and all the landmarks of the bay shone brightly under the sun. The Golden Gate was behind us, Alcatraz in front of us and then to our left, the skyline of San Francisco to our right and then home into our beautiful cove at the foot of Hyde Street. Thank you to the pilots, registrars and cooks of the morning. I think spring is right around the corner.

17 February 2007

9000 Yards!

Yesterday I swam 9000 in a single practice yards for the first time in almost 10 years. The first 4500 yards was with Burlingame masters swim team and then coach Chris Culp gave me a lane during the high school practice to finish up my yardage. The good news is that I am not even sore today! I feel like I am right on track with my training.

I got in the bay at 10 a.m. today for a short swim. The temperature was rumored to be 54 degrees! The sun on our backs warmed us and for the first time since early December I swam without a thermal swim cap. I am looking forward tomorrow's swim to the club from Yacht Harbor.

Swimming Painting in My Classroom

Thank you to my student Donna Graves who spent the fall semeter working on a mural of me swimming in the ocean for her Advanced Art class at Aragon High School. This week it was finally put up in my classroom and it looks great. I imagine that it is me swimming to France and the boat is Reg's Viking Princess.

13 February 2007

So this is why I like swimming in the bay!

Last week I knew we were on the brink of the sunrise being just early enough so that the first hints of light could be seen when we got out of the water at 6:30. What I didn't realize was that the tempurature would be serveral degrees warmer by today. After the first 25 yards of swimming I remembered once again why I like swimming in the bay. It is a whole new world of swimming when you are not gripped by the icy cold that hurts your teeth and makes your face ache. Rumor has it that it was 53 yesterday and 51 today. I can't believe I ever thought that was cold because now it just feels so good!

As we swam in to shore we saw the first light of day illuminating the San Francisco skyline. The water was silky blue and resonated with the recently stormy sky. To the West, the lights were still on on the Golden Gate Bridge but it was light enough for us to see the orange color stand out from the gray-blue sky.

Sunrise this morning was at 7:02 a.m. In two weeks it will be at 6:45 a.m. I think the worst of the cold/early/dark combo may be over.

07 February 2007

My Really Good Friends Helping Me Get to France

Yesterday Bob, Cory and I enjoyed a brief photo shoot on the beach at 6 a.m. Why not? It wasn't raining, there wasn't ice on the deck to either South End or the Dolphin Club and the temperature of the water was approaching 50!

Almost everytime I leap (or timidly walk and scream) into the water in the morning in the dark in the middle of winter I think of how grateful I am to have Cory and Bob as training partners. They have consistantly supported me through the coldest winter any of the old timers can remember. They are a part of my journey to France and that is more and more apparent every day that we step into the icy winter waters of the bay.

This afternoon Alice and I jumped at about 5:05 p.m. for a short swim. It rained on and off as I drove from the Peninsula up to the club. I walked out of the locker room first and from there could see heavy rain beating down on the South End dock. Alice stepped out of the locker room and before she could see the inclement weather I asked her "Do you want to see how good of friend you are?" She laughed and said "sure". I looked towards the rain falling on the bay and together we walked toward the water.


04 February 2007

Fuel Me! I'm the Rocket!

We jumped at 9:15 this morning for a choppy and beautiful swim from Coughlan Beach back to the club on a fast flood. Coughlan Beach is just West of Fort Mason. It was named after Frank Coughlan, a long time South Ender who passed away recently. Frank ended up at what is now known to South Enders as "Coughlan Beach" instead of the club on a Alcatraz swim and thus the beach was named.

The water was 49 degrees and that means that my watch read something other than 46 or 47 for the first time in almost a month. I hope the worst of the cold is over. Alice, who will crew for me during the Channel had her first experience piloting a club out-of-cove swim.

I rode over to the start in the zodiac Alice was co-piloting. It was a beach start, which means that we had to jump out of the zodiac into the freezing water and wait on the beach for the official start. We swam out from Coughlan Beach (just West of Fort Mason) and headed for the "too far out buoy" which is in front of Fort Mason. The swim went by almost too quickly. Before I knew it, I was flying by Fort Mason and ready to head into the cove. The swim took me 22 minutes which is likely less time than I spent in the sauna.

I came in first out of the South End women and was awarded a sign to hang around my neck that said "Fuel Me, I'm the Rocket". I joked with Alice that that would be what I say on my "speed feeding" across the channel.

02 February 2007

On My Way!

I just purchased my ticket to London! I leave at 4:30 p.m. on Friday June 29th (arriving in London on the morning of the 30th) and return at 1:50 p.m. on Friday July 27th. All that is left is a whole lot of swimming betweeen now and then.