Non-superhuman marathon swimmers

IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

There are so many great marathon swims happening currently, it really is overwhelming to those of us who are happy when we can complete a regular* marathon swim. So I thought I'd start this discussion thread. I figure we can talk about the swims we're doing in the "mortal" range, like 10K to an upper limit that does not involve taking naps between strokes.

What say you?

*I say regular meaning 10K as per FINA's definition.

Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

loneswimmerLeonard_JansentortugaevmosuziedodsHelbe

Comments

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited August 2015

    I'll start.

    I'm planning a swim across Issyk Kul, the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan and the second largest alpine lake in the world. The straight line distance is about 8 miles. (Still working on start and finish locations.)

    My resume is shy of marathon swims, having completed simply a 10K and 10-miler, both current assisted.

    JenALeonard_JansenklassmanDanSimonelli

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    My first "marathon" swim will be Sept. 4: Valley Forge Marathon Swim, an 8 miler in relatively gentle conditions compared to what some of you are attempting... no bragging rights unless/until I actually complete it. I feel better prepared this year, having done my fourth Great South Bay Swim in July.

    Further down the road, I'd like to do Boston Light as a solo swimmer, so I think this Sept. race will be a good intro to the distance and close to home. If I find it's not my thing, then at least I won't have traveled so far and spent a lot on a hotel to find out. But I feel as if this is an eminently doable swim in a river I've grown accustomed to. So I'm going to think positive!

    Still not ready to wrap my mind around anything MORE than 8 miles. But I remember once not thinking I could do 5 miles, so who knows where my path will take me!

    DanSimonelli
  • NiccNicc TennesseeMember

    I'm not a true marathoner yet, but I've got my biggest challenge to date in a month: the Big Shoulders 5K. I've swum the distance several times in the river that goes through my city (I can't tell you how much I enjoyed starting from a park that feels out in the middle of nowhere and ending smack in the middle of downtown--rounding that bend in the river and suddenly seeing the skyline from the water is just awesome). So I know I can handle the distance just fine. I've swum in temps as low as 55F, so I feel pretty good about the possibility of there being a chill to the water that morning. But there's no open water near me with the kind of chop Lake Michigan sometimes gets. So I'm nervous about handling that new factor...but it's an excited kind of nervous.

    And I'm thinking about what my big challenge of the open water season should be next year. I want to identify something that's big for me and local. And since there are rarely any open water events locally aside from tris, that means something that I and my kayaking husband will do on our own. Maybe in the vicinity of 8k? And then a true marathon the following year?

    DanSimonelli
  • tortugatortuga Senior Member

    @Nicc: Swim the Suck is in Tenn. Outstanding event in Chattanooga

    Chrisgreene
  • NiccNicc TennesseeMember

    Swim the Suck is definitely on my radar!

    Chrisgreene
  • A friend of mine intimated that doing a solo EC or a single EC or a single Catalina or anything that is NOT a "superhuman" event is now going to be 'poo pooed". I HEARTILY disagree. In this day and age of couch potatoes, of elementary schools w no recess , w automatic garage door openers for heavens sake ANY activity that keeps us moving, that gets us outside , that allows us to interact on a person to person basis ( ie masters teams, group swims, club swims) is most certainly worth it and admirable and admired by others. In other words, stop beating yourself up because you haven't done a triple EC . Many of us ( most of us) hold full time jobs, families and pinch pennies to make ALL our swims happen. Most of us have no desire to do a triple EC or a 2 way Catalina or whatever. It doesn't make us any less of a swimmer or more importantly, less of a person. All these accomplishments ARE amazing. They do not however, make ANYONE a better person. Go and do your own thing, enjoy the challenge and continue to do the "superhuman" thing of living your life and being a good, kind helpful member of society.
    ( steps off soapbox)

    tortugajendutSuirThingdpm50SharkoevmograppledunkrosemarymintIronMikemolly1205and 10 others.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    You've got my vote on this!

    Actually, I'm not interested in whether someone might "pooh-pooh" my swim plans. The people who matter to me sometimes tell me how impressed they are. And sometimes they remind me when I'm rooting through my bag for my sunglasses that "they're on your head!" They see me as family member/friend first, sometimes as that "crazy swimmer" or "crazy runner" second--and sometimes (as my sister did recently) they come to the finish of a swim and give me a hug and let me know they're proud of me. But the abiding value in all this is that they care about me as a person first. I don't have to prove anything to them. And I swim b/c I love swimming. It's wonderful to have support and congratulations, but if I swam only for that, I'd be missing out.

    And if my upcoming 8 miler is paltry compared to a triple crossing of the EC, so what! I have HUGE respect for those accomplishments and I suspect that the people who accomplish things like that are the LEAST likely to look down on others.

    Similarly true of runners--I had the good fortune once in a 5k of being the first female in the 50 and over category, for which they were awarding a cash prize... one of the rare times when I won money for running (modest time, but got lucky in the choice of race)! Several Kenyan runners were there b/c they too had cash prizes coming to them only for overall placing. Who cheered the most enthusiastically when I was called to receive my award? The Kenyans! They could run circles around me, yet they were the ones most supportive of the recognition I received that day.

    My coach will encourage me in my efforts--and critique and push me too--but one thing he won't do is pooh-pooh honest effort. I value that about him. He's not going to tell the slower swimmers they should just stay home. He's going to help them set and reach goals.

    All about the journey, friends!

    suziedods said:
    A friend of mine intimated that doing a solo EC or a single EC or a single Catalina or anything that is NOT a "superhuman" event is now going to be 'poo pooed". I HEARTILY disagree. In this day and age of couch potatoes, of elementary schools w no recess , w automatic garage door openers for heavens sake ANY activity that keeps us moving, that gets us outside , that allows us to interact on a person to person basis ( ie masters teams, group swims, club swims) is most certainly worth it and admirable and admired by others. In other words, stop beating yourself up because you haven't done a triple EC . Many of us ( most of us) hold full time jobs, families and pinch pennies to make ALL our swims happen. Most of us have no desire to do a triple EC or a 2 way Catalina or whatever. It doesn't make us any less of a swimmer or more importantly, less of a person. All these accomplishments ARE amazing. They do not however, make ANYONE a better person. Go and do your own thing, enjoy the challenge and continue to do the "superhuman" thing of living your life and being a good, kind helpful member of society.
    ( steps off soapbox)

    SwimmerDanSimonelli
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    @suziedods, very well put. I hope no one here thought I started this because I thought anyone in this group was poo-pooing any of us. I simply wanted a thread where we mere mortals could talk about our attempts.

    dpm50suziedodsMvG

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • Oh, no. Not at all. I was just ruminating on what a friend said in conjunction w all the fabulous events of the past week, & the word 'superhuman'

    IronMike

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    suziedods said:
    In this day and age of couch potatoes, of elementary schools w no recess ,

    Wait, wait, wait. Elementary Schools don't have recess anymore? When did this happen?

    No wonder so many kids struggle so much emotionally. While perhaps not the BEST way, having to deal with getting picked on in elementary school helped me develop my personality in many positive ways.

    tortuga
  • swimrn62swimrn62 Stowe, VTMember

    I like this thread, thanks for starting the discussion. I just signed up for my first 10K (Bermuda Round the Sound) and am hoping to finish. It's my longest distance, I won't be able to swim for 20 of the 60 days before the swim, and I believe there's no current assist, so it will definitely be a challenge. So for me, a finish will feel superhuman!!

    IronMike
  • Great discussion in this thread! I didn't realize automatic garage door openers were considered lazy though haha, I'm not a fan of the idea of manually opening my garage when it's forty below!

    I had a cousin recently say to me that she thought she should run a marathon soon before they were no longer considered impressive. I think it's partly due to seeing everyone's accomplishments on social media that we have the feeling that we need to keep up and accomplish similar feats in order to be valuable. Life shouldn't be a contest of who can do the most impressive thing, but it can be hard not to feel that way sometimes!

    I did my first "half marathon" swim this year, a 5K. I was a 50 free sprinter in university so it was rare for me to swim even more than 400m at a time in the past. I'm hoping to do a 10K or longer next summer, not sure if I'll ever attempt a channel swim though!

    dpm50IronMikeSwimmer
  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    This year one of my Special Olympic Athletes, Aly White, swam 6.5km at Cowichan Lake. It was an incredible swim in some choppy water. She is my hero.

    I can see she now has her eyes on a 10km swim.

    suziedodsswimrn62dpm50IronMikeSwimmerChrisB
  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    This is interesting to me because for some reason, in the back of my mind I have always had that sense that I'm not a "true" marathon swimmer since I have no Channel aspirations, don't want to swim in frigid water, and want to do my first 20+ miler somewhere warm and beautiful. Why is it that I can't own that mantle? Not sure.

    And I agree that those who are the "giants" in our sport are generally the most generous, supportive, and excited about ALL swimmers and their swims. No one lords their accomplishments over others and there is no "Swimmier than though" attitude. It's one of the things I most love.

    I also teach developing swimmers and I can say with authority that seeing non-swimmers become swimmers, and watching someone successfully swim their first 25-yards in my pool is so freaking exciting that sometimes, I cry. And there is a LOT of jumping up and down and cheering. It's their "Channel", and it matters. A lot.

    Also---the recess in school thing? Totally true. And one of the reasons my husband and I opted to homeschool our son.

    suziedodsIronMikeOnceaRunnerrosemarymint
  • I also teach developing swimmers and I can say with authority that seeing non-swimmers become swimmers, and watching someone successfully swim their first 25-yards in my pool is so freaking exciting that sometimes, I cry. And there is a LOT of jumping up and down and cheering. It's their "Channel", and it matters. A lot.

    I hear you!! Everyone has their own "Channel"... And the jumping and crying? SOO true! It's FABULOUS to see someone swim for the first time.

    =D> =D> =D>

    SydneDdpm50

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    I've run seven marathons and while I'm proud of every single one of them for different reasons, I didn't enter any of them to impress anyone, although I kinda hoped a few people might find it cool. ;) My first was on my fortieth birthday--kind of a statement about turning forty. I forget what statement it was b/c afterward, family members had to scrape my sleeping body off the couch and feed me pizza. But I guess it was a statement of some sort. Around sixteen miles in, I thought, "Whose ridiculous idea of a birthday present was this?" And a little voice inside me said, "yours." And I said, "shaddup, little voice!" You would have thought that would put me off marathons, but then I had this crazy idea to see if I could qualify for Boston. That took a few more marathons, and finally happened. I forget if I was impressed, but I was definitely happy b/c I gave it all I had and while my just-sub 3:55 (what I needed in my age group to qualify) was earned with lots of scars (torn toenails, sore muscles, lots of ibuprofen, etc.), I had no illusions that it put me in elite company. No worries!

    Same with swimming--I find swims that will stretch me, ask a bit more than I think I can give, and as a result I learn something about myself, about swimming, about what I can do--just as my effort to make a Boston qualifying marathon time taught me a lot about running.

    I come to this sport to learn--and also to enjoy the view of sunlight filtering through water.

    Deema said:

    >

    I had a cousin recently say to me that she thought she should run a marathon soon before they were no longer considered impressive. I think it's partly due to seeing everyone's accomplishments on social media that we have the feeling that we need to keep up and accomplish similar feats in order to be valuable. Life shouldn't be a contest of who can do the most impressive thing, but it can be hard not to feel that way sometimes!

    I did my first "half marathon" swim this year, a 5K. I was a 50 free sprinter in university so it was rare for me to swim even more than 400m at a time in the past. I'm hoping to do a 10K or longer next summer, not sure if I'll ever attempt a channel swim though!

    Deema
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    So much to comment on here. So glad I started this thread! /pats self on back/

    recess

    In 1994 when I did student teaching, the elementary school I worked at had recess. 20 minutes twice weekly. That's it! (We also homeschool, but recess is one of many reasons we do it!)

    my use of the word superhuman

    Anyone who can swim the Channel, then turn around and do it again, then turn around again to swim it yet again, well they're superhuman. Hell, anyone who can swim the Channel, in that cold water, with those jellyfish, whether they make it or not, are pretty super in my book, too!

    are you a marathon swimmer w/o channel aspirations?

    I say YES! You can be damn sure I've called myself a marathon swimmer since finishing my first 10K. Despite it being in a river, with current assistance. (I've had some hint that it wasn't a real marathon since I had current assistance.) I DON'T CARE! I swam 10K (and 10 miles since), so I am a marathon swimmer. Don't care what others say.

    Swimmier than thou

    Funniest phrase ever. And I must agree @SydneD. If the videos I've watched and the blogs I've read are even partially how these superhumans are in real life, I must say that folks like Palfrey and McCardel (and so many others) are the "most generous, supportive, and excited" people I've ever seen/read/heard. Like you, that's why I love this sport!

    Reasons for swimming

    Like @dpm50, I don't swim to impress. I swim for several reasons: a) my knees are crap thanks to running, b) challenge, c) the VIEW! and d) to stay in shape. There was an article in a magazine that I read years ago and I agree with the title, although now (I was a pool swimmer then) I'd change one word in it: "Chlorine is my prozac." I get so grumpy if I don't get my workout in.

    SydneD

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • NoelFigartNoelFigart Lebanon, NHSenior Member

    I genuinely did go from couch potato to swimming a two mile open water swim this summer. I have plans to do the event, but a longer course next summer. Hopefully I'll bring my speed up (which mostly will me stopping the damn breaststroke for sighting!) to the point where I can do six miles.

    Channel aspirations? Well, yes. And when I am being very, very honest with myself, that's STILL at "Dangerous Pipe Dream" category. But less so than this time last year! And I know of many people who are astronomically better swimmers than I am who tried and didn't finish for various reasons. I see no down side at all to keeping on trying.

    I suspect I'll always consider the "real swimmers" at least one step above what I am doing now, even though my little baby swims get impressed attention from my friends and family.

    I just signed up for the Alcatraz Sharkfest for next year and will be out @suziedods way. Still not sure how I am going to get the proper cold water conditioning in for that one, as I'll be doing it after a week on a Southeast beach.

    IronMikesuziedods
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member

    I count the Alcatraz swim as a little Channel....

    IronMiketimsrootNoelFigart
  • NiccNicc TennesseeMember

    I don't swim to impress. I swim for several reasons: a) my knees are crap thanks to running, b) challenge, c) the VIEW! and d) to stay in shape.

    My reasons are very similar, and I certainly don't post impressive numbers by the standards of the sport, either in length of swims or times...but I would be lying if I said I didn't get a certain glee from impressing non-swimmers. Of course, just the act of getting in the Cumberland River in a swimsuit and goggles is enough to impress most of them. But when the riverboat day-cruise happens to pass me and the people at the railings of the three-story deck point me out to their friends, or when the barge captain gives a friendly wave and thumbs up...well, in those moments I do feel a little bit superhuman, and it's not a bad feeling.

    NoelFigartmsathletetimsrootrosemarymintsuziedodsIronMikedpm50
  • tortugatortuga Senior Member

    I swim to impress the person I was yesterday

    NoelFigartOnceaRunnersuziedodsNiccIronMikedpm50LeadhyenaSpacemanspiffgregocsosophiaphia
  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    Okay, a story that we should all learn from because it is totally about each of us having our own journey.

    Today, I had a new client. She is in her mid-50s and was raised in the Philippines, near the water but never entering it because she was so terrified. She did not swim, did not enter the water, and was discouraged from being an "athletic girl." She did not even allow people to get her face wet when washing her hair at a salon, and had never let her face get underwater while in the shower.

    Fast forward to her 50s and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. On the very first day of chemo, now living in New York, she was starting her first treatment, and in the treatment area, watching the television as the Typhoon Haiyon hit her village in 2013. As she went through her treatment, she watched the devastation unfold, destroy her town, and determined that when she got well, she was going to learn to swim. She told me that the survivors in her village were swimmers, and she was going to be a survivor.

    Today, she came to the pool filled with anxiety. We talked, we laughed, we spent time breathing and relaxing and giggling. And then, we touched the water.

    She cried. She put her face in the water. She blew bubbles. She let her legs float up the surface and by the end, she was kicking and laughing and she was floating and we were both crying because she had done something she had never done, never expected to do, conquered a paralyzing fear and chosen to do this.

    If anyone EVER thought that doesn't matter as much as any channel, they are wrong. This woman rocked my world today.

    suziedodsNoelFigartswimdailymsathletetortugaDeemaIronMikeJSwimdpm50rosemarymintand 10 others.
  • Stop making me cry... in a good way.
    What a wonderful thing to be able to do, for both of you.

    SydneDdpm50DanSimonelliJaimie

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    She was amazing. IS amazing. Can't wait to see her again next week! :)

  • NoelFigartNoelFigart Lebanon, NHSenior Member

    There's a ninja cutting onions in my living room. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    SydneDtortugadpm50suziedods
  • I'm on the very beginnings of this insanity. I've done several 2 mi and one 4.5 mile swims and I've got the bug BAD. This a.m. in the pool I was wishing that there was more chop to the water, just to make it more interesting. I can't wait until I build up my distance and do some longer swims. Hopefully a 10k next summer. And then who knows from there.

    NoelFigartSpacemanspiffIronMikeOnceaRunnerrobrechtDanSimonelli
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    @pwoolson, welcome to the insanity.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • I love this thread. I see inspiration everywhere, in all of you, no matter the distance.

    I volunteered at Ironman Lake Tahoe last year, and some of the things I saw were beyond amazing.
    At my last Masters meet, a fun, smiling man with a major disability spanked me by 20 sec in a 100IM.
    One of my former swimmers messaged that he is .23 from Nationals. (17 years old!)
    I met a woman at my pool today: she is new to the area, 70 years old, swimming for the first time in 25 years. What a champ.

    No limits. Inspiration everywhere.

    I did my first open water swims last weekend. They were 2 mile and 1 mile, in a wetsuit. My mom called them "epic". I'll take it. :)

    Per the original post: I'm planning a 5K sometime this summer, then Donner Lake 2.7mile in August, and a 10K pool before the end of the year. Lots of various distances in between. Just regular swims for me.

    ssthomasrobrechtDanSimonelli

    "Not all who wander are lost." --J.R.R. Tolkien

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    My family is a water family, but I'm the only one who got the competitive swimmer bug. One of my younger sisters had swim lessons and one summer on a summer league team when she was 12, but otherwise never really learned how to swim competitively. About a year ago, she joined a master's team for fun. She's the slowest one there (she says), but she's really enjoyed learning how to do flip turns and gaining some upper body strength she's never had. Also, the coach tells her she's a natural breaststroker.

    Well, this winter, she decided to sign up for a 5k open water swim in July. I've been so inspired by how hard she's working to achieve this goal. Her goal is to go under 2 hours, though finishing will be an accomplishment in and of itself. I nearly cried when she called me a few weeks ago to say she did 3,000 yards in an hour in the pool- she was so excited and proud of herself it was impossible not to share in that joy.

    I love watching people overcome fear and push themselves further than they've ever thought possible- whether it's a 1 mile, 5k or 50 miles. :-)

    SwimmerevmolakesprayChrisgreenedpm50robrechtIronMikeDanSimonelli
  • robrechtrobrecht Princeton, New JerseyMember
    edited June 2016

    I swam 'competitively' Freshman year in high school, but did not really get into swimming longer distances nonstop until last year when I used swimming to get back in shape, which happily coincided with losing a fair amount of weight (75 lbs). I went from being able to swim 3 laps to swimming 3 miles in 3 months and then that became my normal distance for 3 more months. Then I suddenly jumped my distance to 4 miles and 5 miles, which injured my elbow/shoulder in the process. After that I cut back drastically on swimming and added biking to my fitness activities. I've been more careful about swimming too much in order to avoid a chronic elbow/shoulder injury, but I still love the longer distances and have finally, slowly, more safely worked up to doing 6.3 miles a few weeks ago. So I just barely made it into this category of mere mortal marathoners!

    JenAJaimieChrisB
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    dpm50 said:
    I have HUGE respect for those accomplishments and I suspect that the people who accomplish things like that are the LEAST likely to look down on others.

    I've found this to be very true!
    And most times the most encouraging!

    =D>

    dpm50Chrisgreene
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