If you know me at all, or read this blog, you know that my kids are my inspiration. They are the motivation for moving. I know everyone thinks their kids are the most unique little snowflakes in the world, and I don’t want to be one of those over-indulgent types, but hey, I keep a blog. That’s indulgent in itself.

I still get the rock star treatment on a daily basis. They run to greet me like I’ve been away for weeks, even if it’s just at church and they saw me an hour before. They are amazing.

Yesterday they wanted to do something special for Father’s Day. We chose to go to R.B. Winter State Park, also known to them as “the beach with no sharks.”

R.B. Winter has a small lake for swimming, with a sand beach. The lake is fed by stream, so it’s freezing cold, all year. That doesn’t keep the kids from playing in the water constantly. I loved it when I was a kid, but now I am not such a fan of the cold.

It occurred to me, hey: I have a wetsuit! then I got to thinking. How could I incorporate training into this leisurely day? Lightbulb two went off, and I remembered that this also happens to be the site of my first trail run: snowfest. Wouldn’t it be cool to run it again without the 3 foot snowpack?

I may do that later this summer, but as my garmin data is missing for the day, and the place looks very different, I am not sure how I would recreate the route right now. I did walk up to the start area and walked around a bit, trying to picture it covered in snow. Four months later, the seasons have changed, and I am changing too.

Back to the beach. I did take the wetsuit, but I thought I would look like an idiot with it on. Then I looked around. Not a problem. There are plenty of idiots here. I walked the beach with my garmin to see how long the swim area is. It’s roped off, but there are no lifeguards. From end to end, it’s just a couple yards shy of 150. One lap is 300 yards. That’s a good lap distance.

So I thought about it, and put on the wetsuit, and swam out to the corner. I slipped under the rope and swam just on the other side of the official area. Technically this is against the rules, but I didn’t want to run into anyone in the swim area, I wasn’t venturing out toward the dam falls in anyway, and I could spot the rope this way to see if I was staying straight. This is like training wheels for open water swimming.

I had hoped to do five or six laps. Six would be just over a mile. This was only my third time in open water with the wetsuit, but it fit much better last time, I swam a lot, and I thought today would go well. It did not. I stopped a couple times, and only completed one lap. I was seriously fatigued. I don’t think it was the cold water shock this time. (And it is VERY cold,.) I think I was just not up to a serious swim on a Sunday afternoon, especially after a week of some pretty consistent training.

I was pretty disappointed in how wiped out I was after a mere 300 yards, but I left with a plan. I will return to the park once a week for OWS practice. I have a distance laid out for me right there. I can swim right next to the rope in both directions, spotting if I want, or going the other way to practice sighting.

Living where I am is a two-sided coin when it comes to endurance training. On one hand, there is not much of a fitness community to hook up with. There are runners, bikers, swimmers, but not many. Finding them is like discovering long lost tribe members.

The other side of the coin is this: living here there is no reason one has to struggle to train. The lack of traffic and availability of many many miles of rural roads is a major PLUS. Hill training is part of every workout, especially where I live. If you want a track workout, there are high schools and high quality university tracks not far away. Pools for laps are not common, but if I can drive to Selinsgrove for groceries, I can drive a couple miles more to the YMCA. State parks, lakes, rivers. We have it all.

So I am feeling blessed today. Not only by my wonderful family, but by the fact that I have so much at my disposal. Summer 2011 is going to be a time when I really get out and enjoy what’s right here around me.

With that in mind, we hope to join the Mid-Penn Trailblazers this Tuesday night for their fun run at Dale’s Trail. It’s two miles, so we’re taking the kids. 6:30 Tuesday.


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