Monday, August 1. 2005
As many of you know, in August Iíll be swimming the 21-mile stretch from Catalina Island to Long Beach, California, just south of LA proper. In the Open Water community, this swim is commonly referred to as Catalina Channel.
If everything goes as planned, on the evening of Monday August 1st, weíll leave the dock in Long Beach around 7pm and boat over to Catalina Island. From there, we will enter the water and swim from the island to Point Vicente Lighthouse in Rancho Palos Verdes, just northwest of Long Beach and just south of LAX and Redondo Beach. Our swim will start around 12 midnight on Tuesday August 2nd and should take between 10 and 12 hours. (We will use the next day, Tues/Wed, as our back-up day.) Three of us will be swimming together from the same boat: David Blanke from Austin, Texas, Liz Fry from Westport, Connecticut, and yours truly, Marcia Cleveland from Winnetka, Illinois; all of us have swum the English Channel. We have agreed to stay together throughout the entire swim and will arrive on California terra firma together.
Kayaker extraordinaire, Richard Clifford will be with us the whole way, as he has been on oh-so-many swims, and we will have at least 2 other kayakers in the water at all times, along with our escort boat. Every 30 minutes or so, weíll stop for 30 seconds to one minute and have something to drink (a sports drink) and eat (sports gel), and to communicate with our kayakers. Otherwise, itís pretty much straight freestyle (crawl) swimming the whole way, wearing the standard Channel Rules outfit: suit, cap, and goggles. The water temperature for this swim should be about 65F, but there is a potential for drop at the end, when you least need it.
On Wednesday July 27th, I will leave from Chicago and drive to San Diego, CA with my mother, Carolyn, and my two children, Julia and Sam. We should be arriving in San Diego on Saturday July 30th. Mark will join us after the swim, on Friday August 5th, and my mom will fly home to Connecticut on Saturday. Our family will then return to Chicago, via the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Colorado Springs, etc. We should arrive home around August 15th.
My build-up plan has worked well, so far. Most swimmers talk about their training in terms of yardage, either weekly or daily, and I am no different. Last fall, I was swimming about 15-20,000 yards a week. (There are 1,760 yards in a mile.) During January and February, I increased this yardage to 20-25,000 yards a week. In March/April, my weekly yardage total was 25-30,000 yards a week. In the May/June phase, I swam 30-35,000 yards/week, and continued this schedule during the first three weeks of July. Only this week have I swum a little less, in order to rest. This plan has made the yardage increases more feasible, both mentally and physically. I also do stretching and core exercises several times a week, plus a weight lifting program twice a week.
On a weekly basis, until school let out in early June, I would make my heavy swim days Monday through Thursday but it depended on our familyís schedule (Markís travel for work and the kidís activities.) When I could, after dropping Julia and Sam at school, I would swum 6000 to 7000 yards by myself at a health club two to three mornings a week, followed immediately by weight lifting. Then when I needed to, I swam more in the evenings at Northwestern University with our mastersí team, NASA.
Since school let out, my time isnít my own anymore so much of my swimming is done before the kids wake up, and on the weekend mornings, but Iím able to maintain my yardage goal. Since Lake Michigan has warmed up to over 55F consistently, about 3-4 mornings a week I swim at Tower Beach in Winnetka for about an hour with my training partner, Blair Johnson. On Saturday mornings, I go to Ohio Street Beach in Chicago for longer (2+ hour) swims. A few times a week, I swim with NASA in the evenings. Over the past month, weíve had the garden-variety of lake conditions, ranging from completely flat and still to 5 foot rolling seas. All of this is good practice.
My body and particularly my shoulders have been miraculously feeling fine and I try to build in a weekly rest day. Am I tired? Yes, absolutely, and especially more tired on some days than others. This training is a lot different on my 40/41-year old, mother-of-two body than on the 29/30-year old, happy-go-lucky machine that I was 11 years ago. (The latter refers to my English Channel training days when I was swimming 45,000 yards per week for almost a year.)
Coupled with all this training is the fact that we have done some major renovating on our house this year. Weíre getting to the end of it but it certainly has had its moments. But there is only one way to view all the furniture lifting and rearranging: itís simply supplemental weight training!
Iím really looking forward to this Catalina swim, and to all that lies
P.S. You can view our start point and potential ending point at
Rancho Palos Verdes: