It’s almost here!
It’s the event I’ve been working toward since the early new year – the Skaha Lake Ultra Swim.
The Skaha Lake Ultra Swim is an 11.8 km event, encompassing the length of the lake from Penticton to Okanagan Falls. It’s one of BC’s longest swims, and it’s the longest swim I have attempted in my short life. I’m confident due to last weekend’s long swims, but also nervous because there has been so much build up to this weekend.
I thought I’d write a post about my preparation for an event such as this, in case it’s helpful to anyone else with a big life-changing swim coming up.After last weekend’s 27.17 km odyssey, I took a much needed rest over the last 4 days. I hiked daily and went to one yoga class, but my body told me loud and clear that it was in recovery mode, and I had to listen. I thought about swimming, but didn’t make it out to the lake despite the average daily temperatures of +38C. My shoulders needed the break.
I was hungry all week but tried to stick to healthy, high protein options (aside from one much needed “session” at the Rossland Beer Company) and veggies/fruit. I eat a vegetarian diet 80% of the time, so I loaded up this week with as much delicious goodness as possible. And magnesium….lots of magnesium! Magnesium is great for muscle recovery, and I’ve been adding it as as supplement during the last few months. It’s also great for sleep – something at which I am not talented or disciplined.
Tonight I am packing my race kit. My essentials:
- My Naturehike buoy (thanks Jimmy!) that clips around my waist and allows me to be seen by watercraft and carrion birds. It has a waterproof compartment that could easily fit a small pizza, but I haven’t tried that yet
- Clif Bloks Energy Chews in Orange, Tropical Punch, and Mountain Berry. Apparently they come in Margarita flavour as well, but I’m still recovering from last week’s indulgence so fruit it is!
- Sport Shield lube for my neck. This stuff works better than anything else I’ve ever tried and has taken my previously awful chafing down to pretty much just a few sexy hickeys.
- My Aquasphere Vista mask for clear sighting, relaxed eye sockets, and a lovely horizontal forehead line that lasts for 2 days.
- Penaten Diaper Rash Cream for any post-swim neck chafing. And just in case there are any babies around with sore, red bums.
- My old black Speedo, with well-worn in straps and a nice open back for plenty of freedom of movement.
- My Orca Alpha wetsuit – probably the best purchase I’ve made this year (other than legal advice 🙂 ) This suit fits so perfectly and has solved the range of motion and over-buoyancy issues I’ve experienced with previous suits. It turns me into a lean (well, sort of), mean swimming machine and I really like the disco blue arms.
- Whole wheat/spelt bagel with peanut butter and jam for the night before the swim. It fuels my dreams with mer-men and gives me enough energy so that I don’t have to try to choke down breakfast with a nervous stomach.
- My Finis Duo loaded up with fabulous tunes, including some new songs from The Bangles, Courtney Barnett, LCD Soundsystem, and Aha.
- Waivers for my awesome support kayaker, Christine, and Scarlet who will be supporting the awesome Mark Steven.
I am so looking forward to this swim. I have no expectations as to what my results will be, but I expect the competition to be fast given that it’s an Ultra event. I intend to enjoy every minute swimming in a lake I’ve never conquered, and hope that the marathon distance is a gateway to a whole world of new experiences.
Speaking of inspiration – check out this article about the amazing Jaimie Monahan who will attempt a Guinness World Record as the fastest person to complete six marathon swims on six continents in 16 days. What a woman. I bow to her.