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  • emilyvonjentzen

Taper, Taper, Taper

Ahhhhhhh taper, it's finally here. I've been preparing for my double crossing of Flathead Lake for a year. My pre-season training began on this date last year. I did three months of large volume pool training over the winter and I battled several colds/training impediments earlier this year. But I have made it to my taper block.

My training plan had taper beginning immediately following the Flathead Lake Swim Series which wrapped up this past weekend. Not only was I co-event director for the event, but I also competed in all four races, which this year...due to a runaway buoy and a LONG mile race, amounted to well over ten miles of racing. It was an exhausting weekend, but my body feels great. The 10K race in particular I felt "in my zone." My cumulative time this year (even with the longer course on the one mile) was about 20 minutes faster than last year! So awesome!

So now, as my mileage drops and I rest up for my swim, I've been putting the final touches on the details of my swim. I've been working on preparing my crew binders, schedules and feed chart. Honestly this preparation phase in the two weeks leading up to a big swim is one of my favorite parts. I love organizing all the information and bagging up all my snacks. Of course there are certain periods of heightened stress during this period of time as well, but controlling that stress and staying focused is good training for what is to come.

The general plan at this point is broken up into 4 shifts:

Shift 1: 6am I will start (solo) from Somer's boat access. This will be a nice familiar start time (as most all of our OWS workouts started at 6am from this same area in the lake). I anticipate this to be the calmest stage of the swim. This shift will continue until noon.

Shift 2: By noon I should be a good 11-13 miles down the lake. At this time I might be getting a bit of chop but hopefully nothing too tiring yet. In both stage one and stage two I hope to have quick 3-5 minute feed stops to keep me on a good pace while still fresh. This shift will continue until I arrive in Polson (between 7 and 10). By the end of stage two I will have completed 28 miles. I will exit the water in polson to technically complete the first crossing and intend to immediately return to the water for the return crossing. The rules for double crossings permit up to ten minutes on land before returning to the water, but I plan to simply go out and right back in.

Shift 3: I'm hopeful that this shift will begin no later than 10pm. Stage three will be the most challenging, night swimming. I will be hoping for flat water overnight, but this is where rough water has the most potential to significantly slow down the pace. In addition to the pontoon boat we will have two kayakers in the water at all times for this leg. Polson will also be where John will join me (which hopefully gives me a boost of energy). This shift will go to sun up around 5am. At this point I hope to have completed somewhere between 42 & 46 miles.

Shift 4: While I will likely be pretty fatigued when this shift begins at 5am, I always get a burst of energy at sunup. Having made it through the night is a great accomplishment (as I really struggle at the 3am hour). This shift will go to the swim finish, which will hopefully be somewhere between 10am and noon.

So that's the plan...I'll share more details in the coming week!

Well that's all for tonight. It's already past my bedtime, but I am super excited to sleep in tomorrow!


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