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Last weekend before MIMS

July 1, 2008

It is the last weekend before Manhattan.  Thank goodness for tapers!  I only needed to do a 3 hour swim and 2 hour-ish respectively.  Since we are now on summer hours at my job, I typically get in one of the swims on Friday afternoon and the 2nd weekend swim on Saturday.  This allows me to have Sunday off which is a nice luxury for me. 

Before getting into the Friday afternoon swim, I needed to make a complete ass of myself.  I received a few questions from Steven Munatones and it was signed “open water enthusiast.”   Now I try to respond to everyone that has questions on my blog, because I feel we open water swimmers need to stick together and share as much information as possible.  I know that there were a ton of swimmers who helped (and continue to help me) me when I joined the community.  Per normal, I started answering Steven’s questions.  I tried to be as detailed as possible to give the full picture.  I went into the details around marathon swimming, the cold and how/why the body loses so much weight.  I also took time to check out Steven’s website, which I was already pretty familar with due to his listing of top 50 open water swims and the Ocean’s 7.  However, I didn’t see a whole lot about Steven’s open water history.  At the end of my response to Steven, I asked “What is your connection to open water swimming?” 

Steven responded very quickly and started to explain his open water history.  As he detailed the over 30 swims and his professional swimming career my brain decided to kick in…”Oh crud, you are that Steven Munatones.”  Just so you all know I went on to explain in detail open water marathon swimming to one of the great marathon swimmers (one that is inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame no less)!  Ah yes, my foot tasted wonderful.  Steve was a great sport and really an overall good guy.  I recommend checking out his site if you haven’t already  There is a ton of useful open water swimming information in there. 

I can’t thank my friend Courtney Remes enough about convincing me to do this blog.  It has introduced me to so many wonderful people around the world, even if I do make a complete arse of myself sometimes. 

Back to the training, so Friday I decided on a 3 hours swim.  Tim and I went back out to Hagg Lake which has warmed to 72 in the top 12 inches and about 66-68 in the bottom layer.  It was a comfortable swim.  Nothing to out of the ordinary until…the dark shadow appeared.  Tim and I were taking our normal bobbing break.  Ok I was breaking and Tim was humoring me when all of a sudden there was this huge shadow in the water coming right towards me.  I had visions of jaws running through my head.  Where to go?  What to do?  Then I remembered we were in fresh water.  It must be the Loch Ness monster relocating to warmer territory.  I quickly screamed and kicked and swam for broke.  I’m sure I would have beaten Gary Hall Jr.  As I started to dart away I got a good look at “Nessie”.  It was this huge monster of a salamander out enjoying the lake.  (Ok ok it was about 3 inches long and one of the cutest things once Tim grabbed it by the tail).  We spent some bonding time before we watched it swim off.  I began to get jealous of it’s tail as it swished and vanished into the murky waters.

Back to swimming again.  We were on the other side of the lake in our “pier to pier” swim.  (Side note: I misrepresented one of the names of the locations on the lake.  It is not Balthazar, the 3rd of the 3 wise men, but Balder which I don’t have time to google to explain).  Ok so we were over by Lincoln and there was this woman on the boat that kept waving at us.  Now I thought is was my good friend’s mom, Cary, but she was just waving and not saying anything.  I did the required safety check at this point.  Am I still swimming?  Yes.  Am I moving? Yes.  Is Tim still swimming and moving?  Yes.  Are we about to get run over by a boat? No.  Am I bleeding? No.  Is Tim bleeding? No.  Ok all systems are go, what is going on?  Finally Cary did say “Michelle” and with that I knew it was her.  We swam over and spent some time chatting.  It was really a nice little break even if we were treading water.  The rest of the swim was very uneventful if not warm.

Saturday Tim and I drove down to Nehalem Bay at the coast.  It was time to hit the salt water at least once before Manhattan.  I was just going to use this swim to stretch out and warm up.  1-2 hours tops.  As we walked down to the water and stuck our toes in we both realized it was back to the cold water.  Nehalem was running about 52-54 degrees.  Yowsah – that was cold after yesterday’s 72.  But swim we did.  Unfortunately the water was a little cloudy so I didn’t see nearly as many crab as I hoped.  Tim did see them doing their normal dance, which made me very happy.  1 hour 15 minutes later we climbed out of the water and drove over to the showers.  One great thing about Nehalem is there is a campground nearby where we can shower and gradually warm up after our swims. 

Those were the weekend swims.  Nothing too exciting.  Well except for Nessie. 

Monday I awoke with a pain in my right ear.  Not NOW!!!  I quickly scheduled an appointment with the Dr.  It is either swimmers ear or an ear infection neither of which have I had for years.  Oh well, we are treating both and hopefully it will be calmer before I hop on the plane Wednesday night.

Another thing I wanted to mention.  I think I may have to continue to do these crazy swims just to receive Dave Radcliff’s crazy packages.  He is so creative.  My kit included: a surgical mask to keep the water away from the mouth, surgical gloves with strainers attached to sift through anything in the water, Baby Ruth’s so I can study the difference between the good and the bad brown clumps, and a few other humorous items.  I don’t have photos at this time, but I’ll try to post.  It definitely broke some of the tension that I was experiencing last night. 

I believe that Jane will be contacting my Mom through out the swim and Mom will be updating the website.  So keep your eyes peeled.

2 Responses to “Last weekend before MIMS”

  1. Alyssa Hall says:

    Michelle! Good Luck to you with your next adventure!!!! I know you will do very well and know that we are thinking about you! I give you credit for swimming with all those creatures. I can tell you that if that were me I think I would learn to walk on water! I have been keeping track of you and your training and just wanted to wish you the BEST! I can’t wait to hear how everything went. I am sending all my love early since we will be on V-K in the Black Hills at the time you are swimming. GOOD LUCK DEAR!!!! Love, Alyssa and Bill

  2. Shanna says:

    Did you like my blank comment? note to self, hit tab not enter 🙂

    Just wanted to say good luck!! Can’t wait to hear all about the swim and the adventure of just getting to the water around Manhattan 🙂 I love checking your blog and keeping up with everything that’s going on – you are truly doing some amazing, inspirational stuff!

    What’s up with the speeches? That was news to me – look how far you have gone, I can only imagine how far you will go!

    big hugs!

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