The 2013 Catfish Open Water Swim

From The 2013 Catfish Open Water Swim

Hello All,

Life in the water continues to treat us very well.

A most excellent crew of open water swimmers converged on the Chesebro reservoir in Morgan Hill this morning. What a day. What a glorious day. Summer has just come out to greet us, and what better way to say hello than to bask in the warm waters of a Nor Cal reservoir. And we sure said hello in fine style. Ween and I knocked out a 2.4 mile swim, co-worker Desiree a 1.2 mile swim, and The Fellow Blogger + Anna rocked a .5 mile swim like a couple of badasses.

The stoke was at a very respectable level.

From The 2013 Catfish Open Water Swim

The whole adventure gets an A+ in my book.

We parked at a rec center a few miles away, and got to take a school bus to the event.

It was rad. There was this total high school-esque sports vibe going on. All us old athletes get a little jolt of those glory days when we’d crowd onto a big yellow bus and drive off to compete.

From The 2013 Catfish Open Water Swim

It was totally surreal.

From The 2013 Catfish Open Water Swim

And then we swam.

Dude, did we swim.

From The 2013 Catfish Open Water Swim

But this swim was different.

Most days I crank laps in a pool. I do these workouts where it’s sets of IM or kick-drill-swim or 10×100 on the whatever. Pretty cool, kinda monotonous. Coach Morgan’s pool practices on Thursday break it up really nicely for me though … But … When we’re not pounding out laps in the pool, a few of us head down to the bay under the watchful eye of our kickass coach, and knock out serious distances in the open water. Indeed, this blog has celebrated many of these open water adventures. And swimming in the bay is hard – really damn hard. It’s cold, it’s choppy, there’s gnar curent going on. The mental pounding I have taken in the San Francisco Bay is as bad as the physical. It’s just a rough and frustrating place to train. This salty vortex that continues to humble me.

But Coach Morgan has used the bay to turn us into swimming machines. I can so clearly see her in my mind, atop that yellow kayak, arms stretch sooooo wide to remind me to glide through the water. And me – ha – gliding. I wish. Mostly I am just grinding through, trying to cross the Golden Gate or Alcatraz or the Marina or Aquatic Park. She pushes us through these super burly treks, and I’ve sorta just assumed that this is the norm for open water swimming. I endure, and I improve.

And then today happened. The reservoir was as calm as a Buddhist, and warm as a light blanket. The course was clearly marked, and the air temp was bordering on perfect. I swam 2.4 miles in 1 hour, 18 minutes, and 35 seconds. And I swam it confidently, in control, and with a smile just creeping out of my face. No panic, very few instances of frustration. Just swimming. I loved it. We’ve been so hardened by the bay, that to switch it up and race in a reservoir – what a paradise!

From The 2013 Catfish Open Water Swim

And The Fellow Blogger! Gawwhhh! What a woman. I am so proud of her. These events can be really rough. The anxiety and everything swirling all around all crazy. But she was a champ. Di and Anna – Fucking Champs! They just went out there and knocked out what they thought was a 500 but turned out to be a 720! Beasts!

So ya … That about sums it up. I’m elated. To swim with friends on a glorious Summer’s Day in California. Life does not get much better than this.

Much love to all of you.

From The 2013 Catfish Open Water Swim