Hey, I just did my first 10K!

curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

Last Tuesday I finally swam my first 10K. I was going to post something here to announce my achievement but I definitely picked the wrong week considering the main event that was going on at the same time. In a sense, it was kind of inspirational and humbling at the same time. I thought of @ssthomas swimming while I was doing my little swim. I think she was at mile 50 or so when I started my first mile. So I thought I’d wait a little while before posting my modest achievement.

But I still want to post that I finally swam my first 10K! I am actually excited about it because I have spent a lot of time learning, training and planning for this. I want to thank everyone who either directly or indirectly offered words of advice or encouragement to me. I also learned a lot on the West Coast MIMS about pacing and general attitude from @jaimie that I applied to my swim.

We have a nice long lake with a park at the top and a park at the bottom. I got it in my head a while ago that it would be really cool to swim the entire length. As it turns out, it’s just over 10K, so it would be a great point to point swim. In figuring out the logistics, I couldn’t figure how to schlep a kayak up to the start, then how to deal with it at the finish etc. In doing a little research, we stumbled on the Oru Kayak, which is a neat folding kayak. We realized that we could use a ride sharing service, throw our gear and kayak in the trunk, leave our car at the finish and ride up to the start. So we were completely self-contained and it all worked out great.

This was an absolute freelance swim. I used MSF rules except I think I broke two of them. One, I didn’t use an observer because I didn’t really care and I figured a 10K really isn’t that big a deal to the marathon community. Second rule I broke was with regard to a support kayaker. Yes, I had my wife join me. It has been recommended to not use your wife in this role, but I know that she would jump in front of a train to save my life, so I felt pretty comfortable with her in the boat. She is a really good navigator and I think her fierce glare scared off any jet ski that approached within a half mile.

Regarding the swim. Before I did it, I was training up with ever-greater distances. At a certain point I started to think that the barrier for me was mental. And even during the first half of the swim, I was thinking it was more mind over matter. As time went on it started to become more of a physical effort. I finished reasonably strong, but man, was I ever tired. This is the first swim I’ve done where I really felt like I had worked hard.

End result was 10.86 km in 3:18. When we got home, I took a shower. As I put deodorant on, I felt a slight sting under my arms. Chafing! That’s when I realized that now I’m an actual MARATHON SWIMMER !



  • @curly Sarah Thomas started her journey to this week with her first 10K. Slippery slope. ;-0 http://www.espn.com/espnw/life-style/article/18750386/weekend-warriors-sarah-thomas-pushing-limits-open-water-swimming

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    @curly - my wife paddles for me a lot. She's the person I prefer just to be paddling for me. Everyone's relationship is different, but for us, we work well together at stuff like that

  • Good job! I swam 2 10ks last summer--my first. This summer has not gone as planned--including 2 surgeries--but always next year. Congratulations on your achievement!

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Nice! <:-P


    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember
    edited August 12

    Thank you for the thumbs up. I'm pretty happy that I accomplished my goal. I hope I'm slightly inspirational to us beginners.

    @JustSwim That's a great article about Sarah. Don't worry about the slippery slope, her swim is so far out of my range that I think I am safe from slipping... Although I did start with some 5K's last year and now I'm at 10K. Could be a problem...

    @timsroot It's been interesting having her paddle with me. I have really gotten used to it and it's very comforting having her as my paddler vs. someone else. There is that unspoken connection that works very well between us. I have had to make some compromises in my training as she is not as hard core on this whole thing. But I've managed to coax her into going out on some days when she didn't want to and once she's in it, she is a stud. (Studette?)

    @Sarah4140 Thank you. Sorry to hear that this year hasn't gone quite how you wanted. I think one of the aspects of this sport that I like so much is that you really have to take the long view. In my many years of swimming, I've had times where I haven't been able to swim for one reason or another. At the time it seems like I'm out of the water forever. Looking back, it was a bump in the road. Enjoy your down time and know that you will be swimming again with a renewed appreciation for what you can do.

    @wendyv34 Thanks Wendy. I might make it over to Coleman next week. I'll say hi if I see you. I will be swimming slow. I still felt a little tired on my swim yesterday. I can't imagine how tired you feel after the big distances.

  • tortugatortuga Senior Member


  • glennglenn Member

    well done curly. next you'll be aiming for 15km and then 20km:) enjoy it

    hopefully i'll get to a 10km next year sometime

  • Congrats Curly!!!! So glad you absolutely crushed both mental and physical barriers. The former can really get to you regardless if you've been putting in the training. Way to go!

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    @tortuga Thanks! Outstanding sounds so great. It made me smile.

    @glenn I think I'm going to stick with the 10K limit for a while. I've got to get used to that distance before I get bold enough to increase. Good luck on getting to your first 10K. It's quite a milestone. I will have fun driving along the lake. Before the swim I would look at it and think, "Wow, that's a long way" Now I will drive along and go, "Wow, that's a long way... but I just swam it!"

    @allanl16 Thank you. I don't know if I crushed the barriers, but I definitely climbed over them. It's fun to think that the barriers were similar to the thoughts and efforts when I started working on 5K's. Now, I knock off a 5K like it's nothing. I'm looking forward to the day I can say that about a 10K.

  • ssthomasssthomas Charter Member

    Very well-done! A 10k is a significant distance, so please don't diminish your achievement by comparing it to mine! Anyone taking a step toward conquering a fear or pushing themselves a little further than before is huge in my book, whether it's 1 mile or 100 miles. A 10k is far, no matter who you are. I remember the fear and triumph in planning for and then completing my first 10k. It wasn't that long ago that I don't remember it very clearly!

    And for what it's worth- my husband has been on almost all of my major swims. I couldn't/wouldn't do it without him. It's like you said- there's just a connection with your spouse that is reassuring. I KNOW Ryan would never let anything bad happen to me. He knows when I'm just being a weenie or when something is really wrong. In these last two long swims, I'm not sure what I would have done without having a few private moments with him to just check in together, without anyone else. I also take my mom on these adventures, so I break all the rules. :-)

  • ToadToad New Member

    In honor of @ssthomas amazing swim I too looked to push my limits a bit this weekend, unfortunately the 110 degree heat index combined with 85 degree water put a halt to my 10k aspiration at something north of 6k. But I will prevail with training and experience (Relatively new to Texas, and its heat).

    @curly , congratulations, not a small achievement by any stretch. FYI my wife paddles for me as well.

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Woot! Woot! As Sarah rightly says, be proud of your swim! My first masters coach would head his work-out sheets w "Do the best you can do. Don't worry about what others are doing." I don't always remember to follow that advice, nut when I do, it's a good swim day, even if, as happened a month ago, I finish last. For me, each swim is a learning experience, including the less successful ones. And I actually count the aforementioned last place swim as a success, because I finished in choppy, rainy, windy conditions 3 days after an ER visit for a kidney stone. (Well, hey, I'd already made travel plans and felt better, so why not!)

    I think success is an individual thing. Each of us is on a journey unlike anyone else's.

    And, btw, @ssthomas, many congratulations on your century! Wow!

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    @ssthomas Thanks for the kind words. You are one of the people who offered great words of encouragement as I worked up to this and I appreciate that. I just finished reading your account of your swim including the hair raising apres-swim section. We can compare that to my account of after the swim, which follows... There was the shower and the slight sting from the deoderant. (Gosh!) And then I ate a BLT and some ice cream. Well, that's it...

    @Toad Holy Cow! 110 degree heat?!? I think I would catch on fire. And that water temperature sure didn't help. Do you swim without a cap in those kind of conditions? It sounds like you will have better luck in December when you get to human temperatures. Or maybe Texas doesn't work like that...

    @dpm50 I kind of wish that I had a coach that emphasized that more. ("Do the best you can do. Don't worry about what others are doing.") When I was a youngster I would race. I wouldn't do the best I could do. I would do a little better than whoever came in second. I often wonder if I would have been a better swimmer if I did the best that I could. Now I do the best I can do. And I wholeheartedly agree that every swim is a learning experience.

  • bluemermaid9bluemermaid9 Boca Raton, FL, United StatesMember

    @curly - Congrats on your first 10K! Finishing that first 10K is like giving yourself permission to try other amazing swims in amazing places and to meet amazing people. All of a sudden there are so many possibilities! Isn't that a great feeling?

  • JaimieJaimie NYCMember
    edited August 15

    @curly - congratulations!!! So glad you had a great swim and love that you did it all with a portable kayak and a ride-share back. The definition of traveling light! :)

  • @curly, way to go! Crossing a milestone is such a great feeling! English Channel soon???

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