The vast majority of my open water training is done at the Gravel Pond at Chatfield. It’s a touch over 900 meters of fresh water, free of boats, and generally unscuzzy. We’re strictly limited by Colorado State Parks to days and times we can swim there. On Saturday mornings there is a hard 2.5 hour cutoff. For years, the standard I’ve held myself to is 5 laps in 2.5 hours (i.e. 10 lengths, if I want to start a laps vs lengths debate).
In 2018, I never even attempted 5 laps due to my cancer treatments. In 2019, leading up to the 4 way, I tried and tried to get to those 5 laps. I made it once, with max effort. I told myself I was tired from training so much. But, I just resigned myself that my post-cancer body would never be the same again, and that’s ok.
Last fall, I had my final reconstruction surgery to remove my temporary implant (spacer/expander) and replace it with a softer, permanent implant. Almost immediately, I felt more relief than I thought possible. A few months post-surgery, I was hitting intervals in the pool that I hadn’t seen in a long while. I was so excited.
And then, COVID happened. Starting in May, I’ve been swimming 3 times/week at the Pond. That’s not enough to maintain my sanity, but it was all I had and I’ve made the most of the time- feeling very lucky to have been able to swim at all. I was able to get into a pool last week and surprisingly, my pool splits were still good!
Today was a beautiful morning. D’Arcy seemed fiery as we were getting in the Pond with a pod of fast guys, so I decided we were going for it. And we did. We trailed the guys for an hour (unsurprisingly, I’m a slow start). But, then we started to catch up, then pulled even, then overtook them. D’Arcy fought hard, right on my hip for 2.5 hours. In my head, I was screaming at us both to keep up the intensity, even into the wind. The splits were perfect. We were flying. When we hit 1.5 hours, I knew we were going to make our full 5, and I spent an hour swimming with such joy I cant even express it.
2 hours, 27 minutes, 36 seconds. Fastest I’ve been since 2017, and I got to do it with D’Arcy. My heart might burst.