I was really looking forward to a relaxing weekend in Harbor Springs, Michigan, alongside beautiful Grand Traverse Bay. But first, my last mental test would be the USMS 10k Postal Pool Championship (50m pool) swim the Friday before leaving for up north. Thanks to my friends Lana (timing) and Tracy (holding up numbers like "models in boxing ring" as she said, I finished the outdoor swim in 80 degree water just a few minutes slower than two years ago, when I swam it indoors. When Lana held up a sign that said, "MOVE IT" at 9,700m, I was making plans to toss her in the pool. Even though the masters swimmers on our team got out long before my swim was complete, I was grateful for the companionship of a few other swimmers in the pool. Lana said my splits were "ridiculously consistent," which is what I want to hear a week before leaving for England.
Saturday I did a little warm-up swim in Petoskey State Park and had a fun dinner with friends. Sunday morning we met others from our team on the Harbor Springs shoreline for the Coastal Crawl. The Crawl is my favorite open water swim in Michigan. They offer a 1, 2, or 3-mile open water swim, plus, now a shorter kids' race. This was my 9th year in-a-row competing in the Coastal Crawl (2003-2011). In 2008, Harbor Springs hosted a 10k open water swim, to prepare for hosting the 2009 USMS 10k National OW Championship. This was my first year, I turned at a wrong buoy (the addition of the kids turn buoy threw me for a loop) and had to backtrack. Thankfully, a volunteer kayaker caught up with me and another guy and told us to go back. After feeling strong for most of the race, I finished frustrated with a leaky left eye socket and a red swim cap, marked with racer #309, falling off my head. I figured others were ahead of me and caught me with my mis-strokes, so I was suprised to hear that my teammate Lindsey and I were the first two females to finish the 3-mile. Fantastic short trip up north but just the place I wanted to be and the people I wanted to surround myself with before the big trip.
Swam 7,500m today (100, 5 x 600, 5 x 400, 5 x 200, 5 x 100, 6 x 150 stroke/kick) and felt a lot better in the water than last week. Five more practices before we leave.