Swim the Suck 2021

dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

My longest event this year--and lots of kudos to....

  1. Race Director Karah Nazor--this was an extremely well-organized event from the delicious pasta meal the night before to the swim itself--so many volunteers and crew seeing that the event was safe;
  2. My excellent kayaker, Tammy Cook, who guided me expertly around potential obstacles, including a dead fish with lots of spines sticking out;
  3. Mother Nature and God providing me with a generous current assist making even this slowpoke swimmer look halfway respectable! How about around 45k cfs! Also gorgeous weather, water temp around mid-seventies (which might be a tad warm for those used to cooler temps, but I found it pleasant, even though I also like sixties (it was a bit of a surprise, since the Schuylkill where I'm used to ow swimming has dipped into the 60s and I had become acclimated to that).

Half hour feeds worked well. I used Hammer Heed as my main sports drink tho did have a bottle with a Nuun tab and a large bottle of just plain water (which I took less often than I thought I would--but it was handy for adding a little Tylenol powder to the bottle late in the swim). Also took some of the Trader Joe protein mix. It's not terrible, even if it's not what I'd order in a restaurant if Guiness is available. ;) Also took occasional Clif blocks, again my overwhelmingly positive review: they were ok for my purposes.

I started out easy, figuring the river would help me along and this wasn't the 100 freestyle after all, and I wasn't looking for any specific place/time, just to finish before the cut-off which (thank you, current) was easier than I expected. This was a move for which I pat myself on the back, because around half way, I caught a couple of swimmers. One guy and I got into a mini-race of sorts, with him pulling ahead, then me, then him, back and forth all the way to the last mile. When he passed me with about a mile to go, I figured I lost him, but then caught up again, passed, and managed to stay ahead. Oh the hot-shots had long ago finished but never mind--we had a great battle royale in the back of the pack! I went all 100 freestyle when I saw the finish buoy--how could I resist! Then cheered in my rival and thanked him for making it a fun race!

Then we both cheered in the swimmer behind us.

The spread of food and brewskis afterward plus a handmade coffee mug which held the beer nicely--all contributed to an amazing event from start to finish!

For those new to double-digit events, I highly recommend this one. One caveat: no guarantee you'll get the generous current assist. I was very fortunate in that there had been a release within a couple days prior, plus a lot of rain preceding. Just a wonderful time though...

Oh and my time? 4:59:25. Third to last and last female, but well under 6 hours, so I have no complaints there!

Also first time in Chattanooga--enjoyed it very much! Had a chance to visit with my niece, her husband, and their 2-year-old son on Sunday before taking off for Philly. So altogether a great trip!



  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Follow-up to this post: so now what do you all suggest by way of recovery?

    Besides STS, I did Kingdom Swim, Great South Bay, modified Bender swim (was supposed to be 8 miles in the Schuylkill--until the Schuylkill flooded the week the swim was supposed to take place, so our wonderful RD still found a way to hold the 6 and 8 mile swims he'd planned on for the river--but in a lake with a shorter time cut-off. Thus I opted for the 6 miler as my speed wouldn't be sufficient to make the cut-off for 8 miles.

    Training peaked at a 30k yd week, then 18k, then taper, then STS.

    Since I returned home from STS, I went to a masters practice every day (including an open water AND a pool swim yesterday)--was all revved up... and suddenly today was so flat I had to stop early (still got 1500m out of it, but no oomph at all).

    To not swim seems like punishment b/c I love being in the water, but I also recognize the need to ease off a little before resuming more intense training. How to balance the two needs!.

    It's been an amazing season, and I'm so grateful for the wisdom I received here as well as from my coach--who also wants me to ease off/recover. Just want to get a sense of what you all do in such instances.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  • ddoohalukddoohaluk Naperville, ILNew Member

    Congrats on a great day!! I was also at STS this year. Such a fun event and great city. My pilot and I had a great time exploring the city and some of the nature and history around it post-race. I am super glad we stayed an extra day.

    Post STS, I have been in a two (turning into 3 week) unstructured training break. Similar to you, I have been at it a while tackling END-WET in June, the Washington Island Ultra in July, Swim to the Moon in August and 3 Rivers in September and ending with STS in October. My coach really encouraged me to take some time out of the pool and do other things. I didn't swim for 6 days post STS. It is the longest time I had been out of the pool since 2012 when I broke my arm. I just did other things - pilates, hiking, strength. After my 6-day break, I had a week where I limited myself to swimming every other day and added some running and biking. I also had no workouts pre-planned for the swims and tried to find friends to swim with as I do most of my long training solo.
    This week, I will be swimming a bit more but still adding in some other workouts. I really use the winter to get back in to the gym so I am excited to lift 3 days a week even if it means cutting back a bit on swim volume. So far this had been good for me. I am being active but I really did need a mental and physical break from the pool. It is making me hungry to get back into the water with more focused training. Which is great cause Swimvember (my team's annual challenge for November) start on Nov 1.

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    @ddoohaluk said:
    Congrats on a great day!! I was also at STS this year. Such a fun event and great city. My pilot and I had a great time exploring the city and some of the nature and history around it post-race. I am super glad we stayed an extra day.

    Congrats on your swim as well! Should say on your swims! What a full calendar! My longer swims leading up to STS were all in the ~10k neighborhood. STS was my longest organized event; did, however, do an 11 miler w my coach in 2019, not strictly MSF rules. I was still learning, and gradually during that swim learned to feed w/o touching the kayak. By last year, in the Bender swim, an 8 miler, I had become proficient at feeding properly. Ha! The skills a person learns in "Become a Marathon Swimmer in x not-so-easy steps"!

    Still need to get some swimming at night in rough water work. Getting better w cold, as I've made it a habit over the past couple years to not wear a wetsuit and late spring when the water was still cool enough did my assessment swim for a CS&PF EC relay (tho that didn't actually happen due to quarantine requirement adding too much $ to the trip).

    Rough water.... Great South Bay chop turned a 5.6 mile swim into 6.1 and I still need to learn the fine art of not cursing under my breath while being thrown back and forth like a pingpong ball.

    But grateful that I have the health to play in the water. Next. Double digit swims w no current assist. Maybe Kingdom 10 miler instead of 10k (which I did this year). Actually, last year's Bender Swim was pretty much of a challenge.... downriver 1st 4 miles, upriver last 4. Thank you, Schuylkill for being kind to me and not flowing too fast that day! It's been known to be harder going upriver than it was for that swim!

    @ddoohaluk, your plan to do more strength in winter is one I need to copy. My coach has been leaning on me to work on core strength, so time to get on w that! (He's super btw! Has really helped me as a swimmer and taught me a lot!)

    I 💜 to 🏊‍♀️!

  • ddoohalukddoohaluk Naperville, ILNew Member

    Colder, rougher, and darker water is also on my plan for 2022 as I hope to do a Tahoe swim. Waiting on a date for that and then I will try to round out the calendar with some other swims. I live about 45+ minutes away from any open water I can swim in so it makes acclimation to colder water a bit challenging for me. I can't make that drive every day and I also don't want to make the drive for really short swims. I am doing research now to see if there are any other tricks I can do to get some acclimation. Rough is not an issue - I just need to choose Lake Michigan over my smaller, calmer lake. And I already have some plans for the dark.

    Best of luck with you future training and GET IN THE GYM :smiley:

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