Coach Martina has been consistently kicking my butt, and I am thankful she's a bit of a hard-ass who doesn't make it easy for me. Even when I'm hoping she will say "ok Kim, good job - you can stop now" and says "ok Kim, good job, now do one more". Secretly, I am happy for the push. There is some part of me that likes to feel as if my arms and lungs are going to explode, and I think she knows it.
I have been missing sharing all this fun with my training partner Tracy Anne, who unfortunately, had a nasty accident with a casserole dish over thanksgiving that severed a tendon and a few nerves in her right hand (just days before her birthday too I might add). The ONLY up-side to this is that we are still MONTHS away from the Alcatraz swim. That and the fact she's a bit of a rockstar-dolphin who will be able to slide right back into the water no problem, even after a few months off :) Still, she has more strength and serenity than I have. Given the same situation, I would have gone postal by this point not being able to do anything! Guess its true, we all get what we can handle.
Additionally, I added a cycling/spin class to the mix as cross training and also as an attempt to mend the broken relationship I have with my bike. After a friend of mine told me she had done a lactate threshold test at Peak Centre for Performance in Burnaby, I of course needed to do the same thing. I was accused of being competitive by James, but really, it had nothing to do with competition...unless of course he meant within myself, then YES, it had absolutely everything to do with it! HA!
The West Vancouver classes are crack-of-dawn early and hard, just how I like it. Led by competitive cyclist Dave Vukets, its a lactic acid fuelled sweat-fest aimed to improve your specific areas of weakness. And let me tell you, I feel like I have a lot of weakness! That being said, I DO feel like I am improving even after only 3 weeks of riding again.
All of this brings me to today. Remembrance Day 2011. My annual birthday ocean swim.
Last year we started the annual birthday ocean swim idea - Tracy Anne's birthday is in October, and mine is in November. We swam both and the ocean was needless to say cold. Very, very cold. Last year, we had snow on the ground for the November swim. We wore no boots, no gloves, no extra swim caps. Just our wetsuits (Tracy Anne didn't even have a full sleeved suit last year), pure determination and a little bit of crazy. Needless to say, we weren't in the water long. This year, with Tracy Anne out for the November swim due to her injury, I convinced one of my masters swim buddies (who also joined us for the October swim) to take the plunge with me. Seeing as I was going to be out of town this year for my actual birthday, I decided that with everyone off of work for Remembrance Day, it would be the perfect day to do it. We all met at the HSC at noon (including a few spectators) and Tracy Anne offered up her coveted booties and gloves, which I gladly accepted. I made a guestimation for water temperature to be 9C. No backing out now - we were already suited up, and had an audience!
As we made our way down to the water, I was mentally preparing myself for the shock of the water. We entered slowly, and I took an initial temperature reading. 10C! So close to my estimation, but with the extra gear on, it felt totally do-able. We made the first plunge, and all felt good....except for the face. Oh the face. It hurt. It burned. It made me want to overcome it. This is the internal competition/determination I live with. I hate giving up. I like pushing myself to new limits, to see what I am really made of.
In a 20 minute mixed freestyle-breast-stroke-backstroke swim I was sometimes cursing the cold and others totally in awe of the beauty beneath me on the ocean floor. I stopped at one point just to watch the crab I had been following do it's perfect sideways dance. Some gulls bobbed on the surface and a few people out for their walk stopped to watch us, wondering no doubt what the heck it was we were doing in the water. But it was all worth it. I LOVE that we have created this tradition, and I LOVE that we live in a place where we can actually do something like this.
Until next time.