This section of my website used to be dedicated to triathlon training, personal race results and certification reviews, like Turbo Kick. I am expanding it to include more generic health & fitness topics. Also, I talk a lot about "D" -- he's my husband (Dave Liu)!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Aquatic Park

Today was one of my few chances left to practice open water swimming before my Treasure Island Sprint triathlon next week! I donned my triathlon outfit, put my wetsuit in my backpack and ran to Aquatic Park (AP). D accompanied me on the run which was a rare treat. He usually sprints ahead of me because he's so much faster. He hasn't seen me run since Bay to Breakers and says that I'm much faster now.

While I swam in AP, D ran further to Salvation Army in Presidio to drop off some shoes. He met up with me 45 minutes later.

I struck up a conversation with a middle-aged guy who had just finished his morning swim. He will be doing the Treasure Island Olympic triathlon. He sensed how nervous I was and gave me some tips on open water swimming: (1) wear a wetsuit (I had that one down!) and (2) take a big scoop of water in your suit ASAP. (2) sounds horribly counterintuitive, but you'll eventually get water in your wetsuit anyway, and the faster you do it, the faster you'll warm up because it's that layer of water between your body and your wetsuit that keeps you warm.

I waded tentatively into AP took a big scoop of water down the front of my wetsuit. It was freezing cold. I tried swimming and immediately panicked because my face, hands and feet felt like they were turning into ice. I quickly scrambled closer to shore where my feet could touch the ground and started swimming parallel to the shore.

Once my body warmed up. I felt a lot more comfortable in the water so I swam out to the buoys where all the other swimmers were.

Swimming in open water is fascinating. Here are some excellent tips for open water swimming. Like Mr. John Walker, I definitely recommend a wetsuit. My inexpensive Orca Speedsuit works wonders: it keeps me warm (even though I'm very sensitive to cold), and makes my legs float even when I'm not kicking. I am grateful to Jack O'Neill for inventing this fine product. Having said that, there was a guy swimming in AP without one. He the man!

In total, I did about a circuit of the buoys which is ~500M. I even developed a system to look ahead and sight regularly every 6 strokes. The good news is I am now comfortable splashing around in open water so I don't anticipate any serious anxiety the day of my triathlon. The bad news is that I'm so slow that people in later waves may catch up and pull me under to swim over me.

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