Swim Week and Alcatraz

After the race and a rest day, I gave the legs a break and did a swimstreak, swimming every day for an hour. I managed to 9 miles in the water last week! This included an incredible Alcatraz swim to support Lisa. It was her second crossing and she made a fabulous video:

Alcatraz II from Lisa Amorao on Vimeo.

This would make my eighth Alcatraz swim with Water World Swim (including Alcatraz to Angel Island) and celebrate my 5th year swimming with them. I jumped into Alcatraz waters a couple weeks ago to assist a youth swimmer, but he couldn't complete their swim due to seasickness because the water was so choppy, so we ended the swim. This was another challenging one as the water was again pretty choppy, and we had to swim directly into wind waves. Lisa did great. The key is to be flexible with stroke and breathing and "dance with the ocean".  It is actually really fun, like swimming on a roller coaster! I'm used to taking a breath every three strokes, but it didn't work on this type of swim because then when I would raise for air the water would splash in my face. So what I did was try to take a breath every stroke or so, that way I feel like I have plenty of air instead of gasping for it. The other challenge we had to overcome was getting out of the current that was pulling us North toward the Golden Gate Bridge. We swam hard in the beginning directly for land. The trick is to get closer to shore but not too close. The rest of the swim went rather quickly as we were riding the ebb. Usually it would take me an hour to do a mile and a half in the pool at a moderate pace, but in an ebb it only took about 40 minutes. If anyone wants to complete the swim it's good to know they can have an experienced swimmer escort them and can get back on the boat if they change their mind. There is a benefit to getting out of your comfort zone and dealing with a challenging situation, and it can ripple over into other aspects of your life.

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