February 16th marks six months away from the 12 hour swim. While I will have been training for longer than a year, in the end, I felt that this was a really important mark on my journey. To celebrate, I decided to swim for 6 hours.
The amazing staff at Ron Andrews Pool, in North Vancouver, helped me out by providing the space, and even let me advertise the swim at the pool. This wasn't a huge event, but it felt big to me. I will admit, my sleep was slightly uneasy last night. My biggest fear was that swimming 6 hours would be agonizing, and that my positive outlook on the 12 hour swim would change.
The first 3 hours felt pretty darn great! I swam for an hour with my masters group before breaking off on my own. I wanted the swim to simulate what it would be like swimming for a long time, alone...my mind free to do it's worst to me. After a very short 10 minute break, to refuel at the half way point, I was back in. The last 3 hours was.....different than the first. That break really tightened up my muscles and my body was changed going back in. With my eye on the clock, I eventually made it to 6 hours. 19km. I have never done that before!
Needless to say I am exhausted right now. The thing that I found interesting, and reassuring, is that the moments after the 10 minute break was when I was at my worst. It was tiring, and I was getting tight and sore, but my body never shut down. I never broke down. I imagine that the 12 hour swim in Aug will be a huge challenge. I understand that this will be twice as long, and that the ocean brings additional challenges - tides, cold, waves. What I do know is that I challenged myself in a way I never have, today. And, I trust that come August I will be ready for a new challenge!