Stage 6 is quickly creeping up on me! Time certainly seemed to stall this winter, but suddenly, green buds began to appear on the trees in Central Park AND it suddenly became lighter at 5:30 when I am getting to the pool. Just that little bit of extra light really makes the 5 AM wake ups much easier to deal with.
I have been keeping up with the same sets, and noticed that I was coming in much earlier on the pace clocks. I am now able to hold a 1:20-1:25 pace per 100 meters! This is really big. I was holding an average of 1:40 in February. Difference of 20 seconds from my time trial in February. It is really hard to see if I am making progress during the day to day grind, which is why recording my times is absolutely crucial. I really can't believe that I was able to shave that much off!
Another big milestone involves temperatures! On Saturday, I went down to Brighton Beach with Coach Bonnie, another awesome swimmer named Caroline, and of course, Raven the Puppy! The water temperature was finally in the 50's, and it was time to do some cold water immersion. I have swam in low 60 degree water before, but temperatures in the 50's seemed really daunting so I avoided going to the beach. This is something I have to get used to in order to become a better open water swimmer. But as Elsa sings in Frozen "the cold never bothered me anyway"! We met up with a very brave swimmer named Lori who is training for Stage 7 and the Catalina Channel. After a lot of chatter, apprehension, and perfecting the "The Flamingo" (where you are standing one foot while the other is out of the water), I dove in. It felt amazing!! Pain at first, but eventually I went numb, and it felt really good. I understand now why people swim in colder water. I was also pretty proud of myself for being the first in the water. My mom was not surprised, as that happened basically every time we were at the beach when I was a kid. The endorphins in cold water are pretty amazing. I lasted close to 100 strokes, the goal of the morning. As is common in open water, the mental challenge was tougher than the physical. I think I could have stayed in longer, but some fear and apprehension I got out. Official water temperature was 52 degrees, a heat wave compared to what the Coney Island Polar Bears and Winter CIBBOWS swimmers encounter! The key to warming back up is getting that suit off as quickly as possible. Luckily, I have the amazing No Flash Towel (pictured below) that my coach invented which makes it really easy to change quickly, without being arrested for public nudity. I can't wait to get back out there this coming weekend! Defiantly ready to get out of the chlorine and into the salt water. Staring at the black line in the pool is driving me banannas.