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    Last night, Clare and I attended a fund raising concert for our dear friends Jerrice and Paul who have been tirelessly trying to make contact with their surviving family members in Haiti. Jerrice and two cousins (one in Toronto, the other in Miami) have close to 100 aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. that desperately need help in the aftermath of the earthquake... as does the entire population. For many of them, the international aid efforts underway have not yet reached them and as of yesterday, less than half of the family has been accounted for. Funds raised last night will be wired directly to family members so they may address their immediate needs for food, shelter, and for those who have visas, transportation away from the disaster zone. Paul shared some of the results of our contributions with the audience.... an uncle was able to purchase gas, to run a generator, cell phone accounts were replenished (the only connection with the rest of the world) four family members were able to travel to the Dominican Republic and fly to Miami.

    There are many organizations doing tremendous work in Haiti, but the most direct aid can be administered through Haitian-Americans who are truly the lifeline for their family members back home. I would like to urge everyone to consider helping someone in your community provide direct aid to their families who are suffering in Haiti.

    There were about seven women performing last night. Jerrice hosts a radio program called Women of Note. We didn't stay for the whole show (5+ hours) but we did hear some great music. The highlight for me was the set performed by Gail Ann Dorsey. She played a mean guitar chords and melody lines mingled.... not the usual strummy strum strum of coffee house singers. GAD ended her set with "this is a wordy song my boss wrote" and knocked out a great version of Bowie's Young American (yes, she has been a fixture in the bowie band for over 10 years).

    More swimming stuff.... next entry.

    Updated January 27th, 2010 at 08:10 AM by chaos


    Coach was MIA today... rumor has it he took a spill snowboarding, I hope he is not injured.
    I showed up a little early and knocked out 10x 100 @ 1:30 holding 1:10's on 13SPL. As the masters started getting in, I pulled another 1000 while everyone warmed up. I wanted to do a nice long aerobic set, so took advantage of coach's absence and wrote a quick set on the board. I don't know how well this set was received in the other lanes, but most were out of the pool before we finished.

    Ed and I were joined by Lucas the 15 year old son of another team mate... and he was elected to lead us through our day's mission:

    5x 200 on 2:45
    5x 200 on 2:40
    ez 50
    5x 200 on 2:35
    ez 50
    5x 200 on 2:30
    100 cool down

    I held sub 2:20's on all but the last 2. Lucas looked like he was holding sub 2:05's and did half the set backstroke.... ah to be 15.....

    OK, so I had an apt with my ENT today. We scheduled my right sinus reaming for the 18th of Feb. Hopefully, this will take care of my sleep issues. He said no swimming or heavy lifting for two weeks. (how will I ever catch Harriet?)

    This little hiatus makes me nervous, but if I can gain some nice solid chunks of sleep it will be worth it.

    Anyway, my CIBBOWS pals are swimming the Beagle on Thursday.

    Its January..... that means the water at Brighton Beach is dipping into the lower 30's and all but a hand full have hung up their speedos until spring. The Polar Bears will continue to dip and frolic in their weekly plunges, but as for swimming.....

    I have had the pleasure of swimming into the 40's with my hardcore shivering friends this year and the post swim hot tea, cookies, and packed tightly into a van with the heat blasting is a unique bonding experience.

    I dedicate this blog post to Rachel, Cristian, and Patti who, after swimming the Straits of Magellan last year, will be en route to Chile in the next couple of days for another swimming adventure. Follow the journey on Rachel's blog: and keep them in your thoughts for a safe and successful journey!
  5. Chasing harriet

    OK, I know this is silly.... and I'm not planning my workouts with any kind of "Go The Distance" goals in mind (thought I expect to be somewhere between 1,000 and 1,200 total miles for 2010)
    but I can't help checking the list daily.....

    Today was another 10,000 day done as:
    3x 1000 on 13:30
    3x 2000 on 27:00
    1000 ladder (25fr, 25bk, 50fr, 50bk, 75fr, 75bk, 100fr, 100bk and then repeat in reverse)

    Its still a month early but I'm really excited at the moment as I have just secured a nice long pool session for friday, Feb 12.

    The SUNY New Paltz team has been training in Florida for the past two weeks and I have been plotting my birthday swim plans. Tonight I was able to speak with the SUNY coach and aquatics director and we identified Feb 12 as a day when the pool will be absent of college and high school swimmers; both have away meets..... lucky me!
    For the past 10 years I have swum 100 yards of butterfly for every year of my existence..... last year: 4400 yds. fly done as 176 x 25 fl on :30. I was planning to do 180 x 25 fl on :25, but decided to go long instead, the challenge was finding a date and location that would allow me a lane for the nearly 12 hours I'll need.

    I'll be starting at 7:00 AM, and hold a 1:30 / 100 yd pace as 45 x 1000 on 15 min. This should give me plenty of time for bathroom breaks, and I'll be finishing between 6 and 7 PM..... (my masters club swims 6 - 7 on fridays, so I might even have company for the last 10 years, nobody ever joined me for my b-day fly set)

    This swim will give me the opportunity to test my feeding mix, my feeding stick, and recovery. I'll certainly need to add some electrolytes to the mix (something I won't do in cooler, salt water). I'll also try and keep my push-offs light and my streamlines abbreviated to save my knees and legs from the kind of fatigue that is specific to short course swimming.

    If my calculations are correct, this days efforts will total 25.86 miles.

    Anyone care to join me?

    OK, so no surprises here... I am no fan of holidays and the xmas- New Year break is especially long and painful. My home pool (SUNY New Paltz) is closed for about 2 1/2 weeks and those of us who are addicted to yards are left to fend for ourselves in between the parties and pig-outs. I am happy to say that this years weight gain is actually welcome, and I will wear my extra anatomy proudly!

    I saw a friend who is a personal trainer (and a hell of cyclist) at one of the many parties of the season, and after listening to me bitch about pool closure for an hour he convinced me to join him for a TRX session on the 24th.
    I did, it was fun and I like the idea of being able to run through a circuit of about 10 exercises without changing equipment. I think I will be adding this as a regular part of my training 3x per week. We worked on some great shoulder stuff.

    On the 24th and 25th I joined a couple of my polar bear friends at Coney Island for some time in the brine. I wouldn't call what I was able to do in the 42 degree water swimming, but it felt good to get in the ocean. It was just a couple of weeks ago that I had a 45 minute swim in 48 degree water, but this 6 degree drop was extreme. I never felt comfortable with my head and neck in the water, and today, strong winds made for some big surf (for Coney Island).
    I had a good time diving under the waves and did a little body surfing, and when it was time to get out, the blowing sand felt really sharp when it hit my frozen skin.

    Tomorrow, I feel compelled to do the obligatory 100x100 end of year mega set. This should set me up nicely for the hour swim in January.

    I have received confirmation from Catalina pilot John Pittman..... my date is official: leave on July 19, swim on the 20th. All the ducks are in a row:
    April 17 - Tampa Bay
    June 12 - MIMS
    July 20 - Catalina
    Aug 28 - Sept 6 - English Channel

    I hope to squeeze a few more events into the 2010 season... like The Little Red Lighthouse, Grimaldo's Mile, etc.

    I am really excited to swim an event CIBBOWS is putting on in November... a 5k at Coney Island on November 6th!

    The pool schedules are in holiday mode, so the annual migration to Bard College is underway.
    I arrived at 8:30 and met up with Tom and Mark... two FISH swimmers from across the river who are also experiencing pool closures. Here is what we did:
    WU: 200 pull, 200 bk, 200 im, 200 kick
    4x50 kick on 1:00

    4x150 fr on 2:00
    4x100 bk on 1:40
    4x50 kick on :50

    3x150 fr on 2:00
    3x100 bk on 1:40
    3x50 kick on :50

    2x150 fr on 2:00
    2x100 bk on 1:40
    2x50 kick on :50

    1x150 fr on 2:00
    1x100 bk on 1:40
    1x50 kick on :50

    100 ez

    8x50 on :50 (4fl, 4 fr)

    200 easy

    Tom and Mark left and Bec who was warming up in another land came to join me. We did:

    5 rounds of:
    50 fr on :40 (fast)
    200 fr on 2:25 (pace)
    50 fr on :50 (easy)

    300 fr @ 12spl

    6x) 25fl/25bk/25br/100fr/25fl/25bk/25br on 3:50

    500 easy

    8500 total

    tomorrow... no local pool time. i hope we get some snow.
  9. WHEN I'M 65

    In celebration of Don Davis' b'day, todays practice was 65x 50 @ 65 seconds. a few of us decided to do 65x 75 @ 1:05 and I did a fair amount of them as 25fly 50 fr. The practice took a total of 70 minutes and we had 5 minutes for a cool down swim. After, we all went to the local watering hole for beer, food and conversation.

    I've known Don for over 25 years.... dating back to the days when he used to put on a triathlon at Coney Island. I even participated in said event a couple of times. Things were simpler then... no aero bars or wetsuits. Don now organizes the SOS triathlon a local favorite event that has participants swim in all three of my beloved Shawangunk Lakes.

    A great time was had by all. Happy birthday Don! and many more!

    I've been planning to construct a feed stick since I saw them employed at the NYC Pro-swim this past summer. It was the first time I saw them up close enough and was able to identify the components necessary for a durable and effective unit that will travel well. A google search for "swivel cup holder" came up with several units that are intended for limiting spillage of beverages mounted on everything from baby strollers to motorcycles to bass boats. The list of retailers was frightening and included Target and Gander Mountain... both have stores in nearby Kingston. I started at the dreaded Target... the first person sent me to housewares, housewares sent me to the baby dept, baby to automotive.... a discount shoppers purgatory, and no positive results.

    I stopped next at Gander Mountain and found myself somewhat unprepared for display of things stuffed with menacing expressions... (and there were animals in there too). Could someone explain the reasoning behind camo fishing gear? Its not that I wasn't aware of the existence of such a sub-culture (if I may toss the word "culture" around so loosely), but to be in an enclosed space with dozens of people that consider day-glow orange the new black and enough ammo to eliminate every living thing in the county made me feel a bit out of place. Well anyway, they had the swivel cup holders I was looking for, and as I paid for them with a cc, I'm sure my name will be added to the Ulster County Militia's mailing list.

    Next stop: a big sporting goods store for a "golf ball retriever". I found a 12' extension pole with a little loop on the end. I don't mind admitting that the golfing section weirded me out as much as Gander Mountain.

    Tomorrow I'll round up some bits of hardware and put it all together for some trial sessions at the pool later this week.
  11. SLUSH

    I woke up to a winter wonderland... 8 inches of fresh snow. I got dressed and then the sad reality hit me when I opened the door; its about 38 degrees and drizzling. I grab a shovel to dig out the car and the "snow" weighs a ton and sticks to the shovel which means it takes a great effort to lift and a greater dynamic flick to try and remove it from the shovel. It took much longer than I planned and therefore missed morning practice. AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!

    Though I did get a fair amount of exercise in, it was rather less than satisfying, and the snow is all cruddy and will be ice or slush by morning... no skiing yet for me.

    I did book my flight to Hawaii for the TI Open Water Camp in Kona from March 14-20. Clare will be joining me and we are flying in on the 12th with a return booked for the afternoon of the 22nd. I am excited to be co-directing this camp with Terry and as we will be on location of the Ironman swim, hope to have lots of IM qualifiers taking part. As an added little bonus, we are planning to hire a couple of boats to escort interested swimmers across the Maui Channel on the 21st (post-camp). Anyone want more info? PM me or go to
  12. 48 DEGREES!

    Yesterday, I swam the 1500 in a heat that was chock-full of familiar faces.... what fun! I don't think I have ever swam a pool event with so many people that I've also swam with at OW events... that alone made it really fun, and somewhat unpredictable. In the end, the real "race" occured to my left between Tom, Steve, and Jeff. Nice swimming guys!

    Today I swam at Brighton Beach with some of the diehard CIBBOWS crowd. The pre swim preparation consists of suiting up (swimsuit, earplugs, cap, goggles) and donning some old warm clothes that will be left on the beach (and not missed if they mysteriously disappear while we are in the water). The air temp was 35 and WINDY, so the hardest part was to disrobe at the water's edge. Gilles (a swimmer I met about 10 years ago at a Point Lookout race) entered the water and I followed right behind him. I was a bit nervous, as the coldest swim I had done prior to today was 54 degrees and the thermometer was reading 48.
    I walked in up to my waiste and dove on in!... GASP-STROKE-STROKE...GASP-STROKE-STROKE etc, but after a minute or so I feel good and have to slow my pace just a bit to stay with Gilles. Having company was essential for me and it eased my mind and soon I was able to focus on my stroke, relax my breathing and examine how the cold water was affecting my body. Hands- cold, but still had movement in my fingers. Arms- felt no difference between the water and air temp. Feet- gone, but they were pretty much gone before I got in the water... no biggie. Nads- um... I'd rather not talk about it. Core- comfortable, keep going!

    We swam first toward Coney Island, turned around, swam past our starting point, turned around and back to the start. I was thrilled when we saw Cristian and Rachel (thats right, the same C&R that swam the Straights of Magellen last january) emerging from the water as well. I knew at this point that I had exceeded my 30min goal... Gilles checked his watch, did a calculation.... 45 minutes.

    The post-swim wind chill was excruciating and the run across the beach seemed to take forever. Michael's van soon had 8 shivering bodies huddled inside and the hot ginger tea made its way around. Nothing ever tasted so good... nothing.

    This swim was a great confidence builder for me...... The Channel seems one step closer to reality!

    so anyway.......
    i just got out of benedictine hospital where i spent the night in the sleep study ward. for those not familiar: they hook up a bunch of tubes and electrodes that measure everything from nose breathing, mouth breathing, ekg, brain waves, and movement. they shaved a couple of spots on my legs and chest, so i guess i'll be buzzing down, so as not to look like a mangy freak at zones (thats my story).

    it was somewhat difficult to "act natural" while tethered to this strange manifold by all those wires and it certainly restricted my usual night time routine of tossing, turning, and sleep-boxing, but i did wake up with a headache (the norm for me... about 70% of the time, but it goes away usually within 30 minutes of being awake)

    i'm curious to see what the results have to say.

    i've got this crap in my hair that they used to stick the electrodes to my head... i guess today i'm a morning shower person.

    alright, the psyche sheets are up for SCM zones. i've entered only one event... the 1500 which goes off saturday afternoon. it looks like i will be joined by muppet, tjrpatt, and my good friend steve in my heat! a bunch of folks i know have pretty slow times entered (for what i think they are capable of)... personally, since i've only swum the 1500 once about 5 years ago, i used my 1650 split for my 3000yd postal. i don't know how that will play out. i've got a brand spankin new fast skin (i think its a first generation) that has about 200 yds on it...... i just might.......

    i'm wishing i wasn't carrying that extra 10lbs that i labored so hard to gain into this weekend, but since i'm going down state, i'll go for the sunday swim with cbbows (water in the high 40's) so my extra baggage won't be carried in vain.

    what is a good 1650 - 1500 conversion?

    I swam with MAC again today. I arrived there a little bit early and got a nice long warm-up in.

    The first set was 6x250 as:
    1&2) 25fl/25bk/25br/100fr/25fl/25bk/25br
    3&4) 50k/50sw/50k/50sw/50k
    5&6) alt 25ez/25fast

    second set 12x200 as:
    3x200 on 2:45
    3x200 on 2:40
    3x200 on 2:35
    3x200 on 2:30

    continuous...descend each set of 3

    3rd of each went 2:13, 2:15, 2:18, 2:21
    (yup... hurtin' by the last one)

    Got in 5500yds with warm up and cool downs
  16. Kicken with mac

    I arrived at MAC today around 11:50, did a brief warm up and jumped in for a couple of pre-masters 100's w/ geek and seth. they felt awful... i need a lot more warm up time before i can do a set like that.

    today's main set goal was to try and hit a 100 fr time for 75yds of fast kicking. we have done this kind of thing with the gunks a few times this year, so i wasn't surprised to find that my 75 kick times were greater than 10 seconds higher than my 100 fr time. i also fall below average when it comes to pull sets.

    i have spent a great deal of time and effort (over the past 4 years) integrating my stroke with a 2 beat kick.... (i think i almost got it). during this period, i have managed to improve my practice times steadily and increase my endurance while reducing the frequency of leg cramping (which used to be a big issue for me).

    i've swam with lots of people who can kick or pull at very impressive speeds, but for me, these seem to be isolated skills that don't carry over into whole stroke swimming. (i'm ok with this, but i am always disappointed when i can't give a coach their desired results from my performance)

    is this typical of distance swimmers?

    i drove to Copperhead Island Park (on Lake Wylie) looking for a good spot for some OW. it looks like a good spot, and the water felt like it was around 60, so if the weather is good, i might go for a swim there tomorrow after MAC's morning practice..... LCM!!!! for X-giving!

    sunday is our only day for a 2 hour practice. last week i did the 6000 postal. this week, we will be coachless, and though i am perfectly capable of putting together a workout, i tend toward the tedious..... ie 80x 100 on 1:20 or 6x 1000 on 13min, etc.

    any ideas?
    -no kicking with fins, sneakers, wing-tips, birks or any other footwear.
    -fly heavy...OK
    -6000- 8000 scy

    i signed up for the 1500 at the scm colonies zones meet on dec 5.... no other scm meets or events for me this year.
  18. 3000 POSTAL

    I tweaked my back a bit on thursday while carrying a couple of 500lb granite slabs up a short stair run with a tight landing. My lead install man has left to pursue a career as a recording engineer (that bastard!) and has left us short in that dept. Even with all the wheels and levers available to us, sometimes things just have to be man-handled and I (reluctantly) am just the man to do it. Maybe Jazz and Fort would care to add granite hauling to their lifting routines??? (call me guys!)
    .......but I digress.....
    So I needed some work and scheduled an acupuncture session at noon. I don't know how many needles were poked in my upper back, but there were many and I could feel my muscles twitching throughout the 30 minute session.... Katie had some Astor Piazzolla cd playing; I love tango music.

    I took a long hot shower and a little nap before masters.

    The pool was really cloudy tonight and only 2 of us showed up to swim. Coach Dan agreed to keep time.

    I felt ok after a warm-up that consisted of a 500, 3x 100, and 4x 50 trying to find that easy sustainable pace, and was ready to go.

    Dan asked what the plan was and I responded with a shrug and "1:12's would be 36 minutes" we agreed that if I fell off this pace he would do something to alert me, (I don't know what he would do that could make me swim faster, but anyway... it was a plan)
    We have a very nice digital clock that is easily visible to left breathers. I am a dominant left breather and can easily keep track of my pace, so Dan was really only useful to record my splits.... sorry Dan.

    GO... and I feel good at 14 SPL..... 1st 100 @1:03... too fast... settle down... 2:12 @ 200yds, thats better... only 15 more of those. 5:39 @ 500yds ... not bad, I suffered through a "fast" 500 at the end of practice last night and only managed a 5:43 (1/6th of the way home... hold steady) 11:25 @ the 1000 mark, one third down, 2/3rds to go... 80 lengths... 66% ... at least I don't have Hey Jude stuck in my head (damn! now I do!.. naaa naaa naaa na n' na naaa etc ad infinitum). 1650 - 18:57 (a personal best!) 15SPL now. 2000 - 23:02 na n' na naaa.
    I go to 16SPL, keeping it light 'till the end.
    3000 @ 34:40.9

    I'm thinking about the 6000 for tomorrow......
  19. Its a fat thing

    A few years back, my interest in OW swimming grew into something of an obsession. Of course I read many books and articles about swimmers who have pushed the limits of what was considered "humanly" possible regarding exposure to cold water temperatures, and it seemed that a generous layer of subcutaneous fat was a celebrated feature of many of the who's who of OW. This makes perfect sense as all mammals living in extreme temperatures share this characteristic and many also sport a thick coat of fur as well.

    A self-proclaimed fat-o-phobe... I have managed to keep my weight between 162 and 173 for the past 20 years and I never thought I would be willing to "sculpt" my body to fit an OW ideal, leaving me with two choices: 1)forget about swimming marathons in water below 70 degrees. 2)adapt to cold water by increasing exposure gradually.

    Along with a couple of friends, I have been working on the latter, and I have also been experimenting to find the right pace that will generate maximum heat and still be sustainable for 9 - 12 hours.

    My time in Dover this year led me to a change in attitude about weight gain. I have met so many channel swimmers and almost all claimed some degree of "bulking up" for the swim... none expressed regrets. I think a target weight of 185 - 190 should be a decent balance for me... somewhere between the 20 and 30 pounds extra that is commonly sought.
    If it seems like the extra weight is slowing me down much (I am not expecting any 50scy personal records) I will reevaluate the plan.

    The Dover Harbor training swims employ a sparse feeding schedule (one feed after 2 hours, and then once each hour) in part to train ones body to burn fat to keep warm.
  20. 4x the fun

    With my accepted entry to MIMS, my 2010 plans are all coming together.
    The 4 marathons I hope to complete are:
    Tampa Bay on April 17
    The Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS) on June 12
    The Catalina Channel (a date has not been set as the tide charts are not yet available) looking for a date sometime mid to late July.
    The English Channel sometime between Aug 25 and Sept 10.

    My first Tampa Bay experience was last year as a 2 person relay with Patricia Sener. As the date for this swim was just over 3 months post-op, I wasn't sure I'd be in any kind of shape to attempt a solo, so I put out the word "looking for a relay-mate" on FB... got lots of responses, and Patty was the first and most enthusiastic! We had a great time in Tampa. This event seems to be a perennial favorite of many CIBBOWS swimmers, so it kind of felt like we were in Brighton Beach with palm trees. Patty was kind enough to let me swim the bridges (is that where the critters hang out?)
    This is a true 24 mile swim with no current assist, and early enough in the season to have plenty of time to figure out a recovery program for the summer's Triple Crown.

    I attempted MIMS in 2006 but resigned with a hamstring issue in the Harlem River. It was a truly nasty day (week), but swimming up the east river in that torrential downpour was quite wonderful. Last year, I had the pleasure of watching the swim from a press boat that followed John Van Wisse and Penny Palfrey. I am very excited to jump in again this year with so many friends included in the field.

    As mentioned above; the tide charts are not yet available to the pilots for the Catalina Channel, so booking a date is not possible. I would like to shoot for the third week in July, as that would pretty much be right in the middle of MIMS and the EC. This is the one swim that I have absolutely zero experience with. The furthest south that I've swum on the west coast is Santa Cruz. I've watched a few youtube vids and followed the reports and tweets of Anne Cleveland and Ahelee Sue Osbourn, but thats it. I know that of these 4 swims, Catalina is the most likely location for wildlife viewing. (not including tourists on the deck of the Intrepid)

    The English Channel in September will wrap things up if all goes well. Each of these swims promise
    to pose their own challenges, and I hope to gain valuable lessons from each for the next, so it seems fitting that the EC should be last.

    Stats for today: Waking pulse 39, and I weighed in at 173lbs this morning.... 10 lbs above my "fighting weight". For the last 2 weeks, I've dropped down to about 35,000 yds/week. It hasn't been easy to put on these pounds, and I would like to have a reserve of at least another 10 starting with MIMS. I have a phobia about weight gain and don't want to carry more than I will need to, but since it has been difficult to get to this point, I might try to hold on to it. So far it hasn't had a negative effect on my practice times.
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