Friday, July 5, 2013

Taking swimming to new lengths

Oh, swim.... What a love/hate relationship we have. How can I make it up to you? What about a post dedicated to you, full of pretty pics? See, I've taken up this new sport called triathlon and you are the first bottleneck. You can make it or break it. Most people fear you. I don't, as long as I wear my trusted wetsuit. But I do hate being in the pool and going back and forth like a turtle in an aquarium. I've had great times in open water so far and I can't wait to go back for more. See, yesterday I completed my longest swim ever, 3km at Professor's Lake. It was the perfect day for it. Coach asked for 4 loops, and I ended up being the last one out of the water. But I didn't mind since I wasn't late and nobody had to drag me out with a kayak.
I was there to push my limits and surprisingly enough, I felt that I could have done one more loop, which would have put me on par with a full Ironman swim. Even if I hate the drills and the never ending lengths in the pool, it all pays in the end. So here I am, happy with myself, celebrating the times I tried to mingle with the fish, Instagrammed for the extra oomph, or should have I said, splash?

Professor's Lake
Rain or shine, as long as it's open, this is my go-to happy place. It's clean, quiet, safe and close to home. We do 750m loops, either clock wise or counter clock wise, it's always a surprise. If there was just one reason to move to Brampton, this would be it. In the middle of the suburban jungle, Professor's Lake is where I go to escape.
The weather can't hold us
One thumb up for clean water
Guelph Lake
My first race of the year, first mass swim start, first time swimming against a clock in the pouring rain. Beat my PR. A great day, despite Mother Nature's crying spells.
Two thumbs up for warm water!
James Dick Quarry
Went there on a Sunday afternoon to check it out, ended doing two 1km loops. Not my favorite place. Despite the inviting color of the water, it was very sandy and if your goggles leaked, you'd feel like giving a sandpaper rub to your eyeballs. I don't mind using it like backup when I just have to get that swim in, but for the drop-in price of $10, I think I may prefer the pool.
Wet feet to get in
Mary Lake
Vast, majestic, and definitely terrifying because of all the speed boats zooming across its waters. You may find a quiet corner, but Port Sydney isn't one. Muskoka is the land of lakes, so I am sure that we could find peace somewhere, but the day we went we didn't have much time to search for one. The water was warm, but choppy, a good open water experience overall.
Majestic, but dangerous
Kelso Lake
This was the place where I wore my wetsuit for the first time, where I got acquainted with open water swimming last year. For a little trip down the memory lane, follow me here. However I had never adventured beyond the "shallow area" buoys. Last Tuesday though, I did and I felt like I could have died. There are very thick patches of grass in this lake and once you find yourself in the middle of one, it's very hard to find your way out, other than plowing forward. You get tangled in them grasses with both hands and feet and although not dangerous per se, they could be if you cannot handle the feeling. I panicked, several times when this happened and I imagined being unable to continue. I was by myself, 500m away from the beach, alone with my fear and my feeling of hopelessness. Thankfully my instincts were stronger and putting on my best Tarzan style, I made it out of this jungle the few times that I had to. A 1 km loop was enough. Never again I said, not at Kelso anyway.
Swimming in the sunset
Zin was there too, attending an open water clinic with the tri club. I am glad that he didn't have to fully experience the wilderness of this place. In celebration of his longest swim ever as well (2.2km at Professor's Lake), I leave you with this image in which he totally looks like a pro coming into transition. I am so proud of him, I never imagined that he'd enjoy putting in so much effort in workouts like he does. He is definitely ready for his first Olympic Tri 15 days from now. He's going to kick some serious butt, just watch him.
Transitioning like a pro!
Now swim, we're going to remain friends until the end of the season, right? There is TTF coming and I will return in the cold water of Lake Ontario for a 1.5k dip with endless turns, then Muskoka 70.3 where I'll be marking my territory in Peninsula Lake. Oh I know I will. But it's for good juju, because what else could I trust on an adventure as big as my first half Ironman?


  1. Great post! I'm sorry you didn't like Kelso. I've never swam there beyond the shallows myself and I worked there for two summers. Can't wait to hear about the upcoming races!

    1. Thank you Nicole :-) It always puts a smile on my face when you stop by and leave me encouragements. You're the best!