Didn't make BLS lottery--the fears and the hopes--and your thoughts?
... and I could choose to lose hope, but that's not my reason for posting. Of course, I hope to try again... and again. Two issues confront me, though.
-1. I'm 65 this year. Last year, I scored a personal best in the Great South Bay Swim, and I plan to do it again this year. Yet I wonder how much strong swimming I'm going to have left. I hear of people doing amazing things in their 80s and 90s, so I refuse to lose hope, but I'm an "adult-onset" athlete and never was a star in any sport, even at the school level. Do I dare hope there's a BLS in my future and that I can swim fast enough to make the cut-off. The pace of my bay swim last year was approximately 36 mins /mile, which is in the range--but can I, as I age, possibly improve on that? In running, there's a definite slowdown as we get older (I see it in me, actually, although interestingly, my swim workouts stay stronger than the runs.
Those of you of ... a certain age--do you still find you can set goals for longer swims than you've done before? Or faster? I'm fortunate to have a terrific coach whose feedback on technique has been immensely helpful--as have his training plans--last two years I swam the Great South Bay, I improved both times from previous swims. Just wondering how long this can last. Of course, I have to also focus on the present and be grateful for the health to do what I'm doing. That's got to be the bottom line.
-2. Since BLS is out--and I'd have considered this even if I had gotten in--I have another 8 mile swim that I'm eyeing, the Valley Forge Marathon Swim. Benefits: close to home in a familiar body of water. Problem: I had to DNF this one last year due to unremitting pain in my left arm that made it, after a while, impossible to lift that arm out of the water. And while, in many respects, it's easier than BLS (almost zero chance of chop, warmer water (of course different strokes here--some might prefer it cooler... usual temp around high seventies/low 80s, goes down gradually through Sept./Oct.), I was surprised how hard it felt to swim 4 miles against even a fairly gentle current (it's out and back, so you're going upriver and back). I had been swimming shorter distances with no problem--barely felt any current. As I got closer to the turn-around, I pushed my pace as hard as I could, and then thought I'd have an easier time going back. No. The wind shifted and while I was swimming with the current, the wind was against me.
I got to 7 miles, which was my longest distance on record, but looking back, I realize I made some mistakes that probably cost me the finish--maybe assuming the river would be so much easier, for one. I know swimming 8 miles in relatively calm fresh water is a whole different animal than swimming 8 miles in salt water, possibly chop, possibly tricky cross-currents, etc.
My coach says it's a good thing to get a full 8 miles in this kind of setting, though, before taking on BLS, and I have to agree, so my disappointment about not getting in is mitigated by the fact that I may actually need more time.
But honestly, I have to admit to some worry--will I run into the same problems as last year? Will my age start working against me? Sometimes I feel as if I could be a kid and swim forever, but that scary thought keeps coming back... how long can this last?
I'm excited about swimming and the opportunities to try new challenges--and return to old favorites (as the saying goes, you don't step in the same river twice, so in effect it's all new!). But yeah, scared sometimes too.
Thoughts on any of this? Many thanks!