Endurance Swimmer Diana Nyad is a Rockstar

Distance: 21.05 miles
Time: 0:58:42
Average Watts: 216 watts
Normative Power: 224 watts
Average Heart Rate: 157 bpm
Total Work: 760 kJ
Average Speed: 21.6 mph

This was the same 21.0 mile loop that I did last week to test my fitness levels and I have to say I am not that displeased. I was about two minutes faster last week, but my watts were about 7 watts higher and my heart rate was about 10 bpm lower. I am thinking there was a little head wind or something on the way out, because logically on the exact same course if my watts are higher and everything else was equal, I should have been faster.

The cool thing about this ride is for the first 20:00, I averaged 241 watts, which was my threshold at the beginning of the season. During that section, my heart rate was only 153 bpm, which means my fitness levels are improving. I was really happy with the climb I did up to Eureka on Saturday and how I was able to sustain a pace that kept me under an hour for that climb. I think that ability is coming from workouts like this one.

I do need to get my pacing down a little better for time trial efforts like this one. Like I mentioned, for the first 20:00, I averaged 241 watts. I had planned to rest a little during the next 20:00 section where I averaged 208 watts. For the next 18:42 through the finish I picked it up a little and averaged 215 watts. I had planned on pushing the first 20:00 and then the last section, but I shouldn’t have dropped so much during the middle section. I will get it evened out when I ride the course again sometime next week.

Diana Nyad is Pure Awesomeness

If you don’t know who Diana Nyad is yet, you will after you are done with this. Diana is one of the best endurance swimmers in the world. She is attempting to be the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, a 103 mile trek, without the use of a shark cage. That’s right, without protection. She first attempted the crossing in 1978 when she was a very young age of *ahem* 28. That would make her…wait for it…61 years old right now. I would say she is a specimen of human excellence if I have ever seen one.

CNN.com reports that Diana will drink about a liter of water and eat about 1,000 calories per hour. This is a typo. The water I get, but 1,000 calories per hour? Don’t get me wrong, open water swimming is difficult and really zaps energy stores. However, I did not think it was possible for the human body to absorb so many calories in an hour…that will be almost 7 gels per hour. Yuck. I don’t care if your gel sponsor is Zeus and he sent you his new flavor of gel called ambrosia — I couldn’t stomach that many per hour. Ever.

If you look on Diana’s blog (which you can find here), you will find the truth related to her nutrition. Here is the real break-down…


I think it is awesome she uses Hammer Gel. That is one great product.

The trip is going to take her a projected 60 hours. With the currents and navigational errors, I would think you could add another couple of hours to that total. If she finishes in that timeframe, she will touch sand sometime Wednesday afternoon on Key West. There are tons of different places that you can track her progress, but I like the resource that CNN.com has put online here.

I have the ultimate respect for Diana and this endeavor. Under the rules of marathon swimming, when she stops she may not grab onto the boat or any type of floatation device. When she eats and drinks, she has to tread water. So this won’t be like the RAAM race where cyclists race across the U.S. but get to stop and nap at their discretion. Diana will have to make it the entire way or quit. To keep her going in the straight line, her support boat will tow a underwater LED light for her to follow both during day and night time hours.

All I got to say is way to go Diana. What you are doing is amazing. She is definitely on my list of people I need to meet. I am always in awe of people who undertake the seemingly impossible.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...