Here in Chicago, the trees are gradually defoliating, and the Parks Department finally removed the buoys from our beloved cove south of Promontory Point… which can only mean one thing: Time to start filling in the 2011 Open Water Calendar! In 2010 I attended 12 events (some with multiple races) over 6 months. Eight of these involved air travel. That’s a race (at least) every other week on average. It was super fun, but not so conducive to peak performance. My ‘A’ races – supposedly, the Noblesville 10K and the Big Shoulders 5K – turned into ‘B+’ races because of the near-constant disruption of training.
As for next year, let there be no doubt: MIMS is the ‘A’ race – the main course. Everything else is either aperitif or digestif.
The season will begin April 9 at the Nike Swim Miami. This is a fairly standard 4-loop 10K in a protected nook of the Biscayne Bay. After a long winter of pool training in Chicago, it will be a useful fitness test and good opportunity to de-ice my open-water chops.
Then it’s back to Florida on April 23 for the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. This is a 24-mile point-to-point traversing nearly the full length of Tampa Bay – from the base of the Sunshine Skyway in St. Petersburg to Rocky Point in Tampa. Given the big tidal assist at MIMS, this will be effectively my longest race of the year.
May will consist of a final training ramp-up into my taper for the 28.5-mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim on June 18.
July 9 I will meet up with friends-of-the-blog Sully and Rob D. in northern Vermont for the Kingdom Swim. The 10-mile course (there are also 6, 3, and 1-mile courses) in beautiful and memorably-named Lake Memphremagog will take us to the edge of the Canadian border – so in a sense, we can say we “swam to Canada and back.”
In mid-July, my wife and I may be traveling to Stockholm, Sweden for a conference. I have the vague sense there’s a decent open-water scene in Stockholm during the summer… perhaps Mike T. will have some ideas?
Assuming I’m not completely out of shape when I return to the States, I have my eye on the Boston Light Swim, an 8-mile point-to-point through the cold waters of Boston Harbor, on August 13. (Update March 2011: Nope, not this year!)
I’m considering two other August swims, but only because they’re short, and drivable from Chicago. They are:
- the Point to LaPointe Swim – 2 miles in Lake Superior near Bayfield, Wisconsin (August 6);
the 2.4-mile USMS national championship race in Madison, Wisconsin (August 20). (Update March 2011: Nope – I’ll be in California, getting ready for Catalina.)
I’m leaving September and October open for the moment, in case I make a date with the Catalina Channel. (Update March 2011: My Catalina attempt is set for late August.) Depending on what happens with that, other late-season swims may include:
- my 3rd consecutive Big Shoulders 5K (September 10)
an encore appearance at either the Little Red Lighthouse Swim or Swim the Suck (September 24)
- the thermally-challenging Ederle Swim (October 1)
So, I’m looking at one swim a month – Miami in April, Tampa Bay in late April (call it May), MIMS in June, Kingdom in July,
Boston Light Catalina in August, and Catalina Ederle in September October. The travel schedule will (I hope) be less disruptive, though, as Sully pointed out in a recent comment, I’ll exceed my 2010 racing mileage (57.4 miles) in just the first three swims of 2011.
And to think – only 16 months ago I could hardly finish the Fat Rabbit 3K in Columbus!