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swimsuit addict

About a year after beginning this blog, I got interested in open-water swimming, and it's been my passion ever since. Here's a list of some swims I've done.

  1. Early beach swim

    I had a nice swim at the beach today. I went out early, and spent some time lounging on the uncrowded sands before swimming out to the Wonder Wheel and back. I had originally planned on going to the pier, but it is still under construction after part of it was washed away during Hurricane Sandy. This morning there was a big barge out there with a crane, and they were driving pilings into the ocean bed at the far end of the pier. It was extremely loud underwater, and I figured it was probably best not to get too near whatever was being stirred up by the activity, so I turned around a bit early.

    The water was very green today, and there was a west wind creating some fun swells that were breaking over my head on the way out. Coming back was super fast and easy, with the wind and current carrying me along almost effortlessly. The water was around 63, and I felt comfortable and calm the whole way. I had to leave earlier than I wanted—there were tons of CIBBOWS out, and I would have liked to stay longer and visit.

    I’ve been all quiet on the blog front recently, mostly because this week has been light on the swimming, and the workouts I’ve done haven’t been that interesting. My big news is that I ran—yes ran!--a 5k race Wednesday evening. I’m not at all a runner—my training for this consisted of jogging a mile on Monday afternoon—and I wasn’t at all sure if I would be able to run the entire way. I did, almost—it was a hilly course, and my husband, who was volunteering at the race, suggested that I walk the uphills if I wasn’t feeling confident in my conditioning. So I did that for a couple of hills on the first half of the out-and-back course, but on the way back I was feeling really great so I just ran the whole way. And it was really fun! My very conservative goal was to finish in less than half the time it took me to swim a 5k a few weeks ago (did I mention I’m not a runner?), and I beat that handily. And the race itself was just a joy to be a part of—the sort of small informal affair (less than 100 runners) that can be hard to come by in the city. (For comparisons sake, the Chase Corporate Challenge on the same night drew over 15,000). I’ve now ordered some real running shoes and am looking forward to adding that activity to my training occasionally, since I enjoyed it so much during the race.

    Next week we’ll be visiting my husband’s family in Columbus, and I’m looking forward to getting in a swim at Alum Creek State Park. Has anyone out there ever swum there?
  2. Finally a loop!

    I enjoyed a wonderful swim today at Brighton Beach with CIBBOWS. The day was sunny with a high in the low 80s, and the water was 62—pretty perfect conditions, in my book. We had a big crowd out, and I enjoyed chatting with other swimmers and hearing their experiences and perspectives on the big swim race yesterday (many of us had helped out in various capacities). I also got to catch up with a few swimmers I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

    Once sunscreened and lubed, I set out towards the pier. The water had some nice gentle swells that were fun to swim into. I got into a good rhythm almost immediately and enjoyed watching the scenery roll by, appreciating the calm and solitude. With a current assist I was down by the Coney Island amusement parks, and then the pier, almost before I realized it. I could see people on the pier and was surprised they had reopened it already, but when I got closer I saw they were all workers in hard hats, and that the end of the pier was still not yet completed. I stopped and watched them for a few minutes from the water before turning around and heading back.

    On the return trip the swells were with me and seemed to want to surf me along I soon saw my friend Mike, and he turned around and swam with me back to Grimaldo’s chair. Since I was feeling good and not ready to get out, I then headed down to the white building. I was easily finding the kind of serene and joyful feeling today that made me fall in love with open-water swimming in the first place—with the sun shining on me and waves at my back, it was easy to lose myself in the water and appreciate the beauty and joy of stroking along through it.

    At the white building I turned around and headed back, passing a steady stream of swimmers during my swim back in. Hard to believe it was my first loop of the season, with June is already almost half-way over! On the beach I was delighted to see Evmo, and to meet Paul, the winner of yesterday’s MIMS swim. I chatted with them a bit and with the crowd of CIBBOWS there, and shared some cookies before coaxing nearly a dozen people back into the water for some beach synchro. We made up a little routine and had an in-water giggle fest performing it What a perfect beach day!
  3. There really is more than one way to catch a fish!

    The beach was glorious this morning. I got to go out to Brighton for a mid-week swim—always a treat, and especially so today, because I got to meet several of the marathon swimmers in town for this Saturday’s swim around Manhattan (MIMS). In addition to three other CIBBOWS swimmers, we had 3 swimmers from Perth, one from Ottawa, and one from Brazil out enjoying the crisp waters off of Brighton.

    The morning was cool, around 60 and a bit cloudy, with water temps were about the same. The Aussies were just getting in as I arrived, and I got in for about 20 minutes with them. I swam a little bit to the east before reversing course and heading for the big jetty to the west. As I neared it, I noticed a parks department ATV vehicle at the surf line, stopped and seemingly talking to one of the fishermen on shore near the jetty. I guessed he was telling him he couldn’t go out on the rocks, and I thought about how lucky we were that, although official policy forbids swimming before that lifeguards come on duty at 10, we’ve never been hassled about getting in early. At the big jetty I turned around and headed back. I wanted to swim more, but thought it would be a good idea to check and see if anyone else had arrived at the meeting spot before I headed out further.

    As I got close to the starting point, I noticed the same ATV crawling slowly along shore, directly inland from me. Hmmm—maybe I wasn’t so lucky today. I was nearly back at my starting point, so I stopped and looked towards shore to see what was going on. One of the Perth swimmers was by the ATV and signaling me to come in, so I did. Once I got ashore, the parks department employee on the ATV told me there was no swimming, and that I needed to stay out of the water for 15 minutes until the life guards arrived. Ok then.

    I made my way up to the blanket, and found that everyone else had been pulled 10 minutes or so before me. I felt bad for our visitors who had come on the rare day that swimming rules were being enforced. At least there were cookies to enjoy during the interlude!

    During my time onshore I noticed a little bulge in my suit at my right ribcage. I had felt something hit the neckline of my suit while swimming, but I didn’t pay much attention---there always seem to be pieces of seaweed or little twigs that bounce off of you out at Brighton, and I’ve learned to just ignore them. But now it seemed like something had, improbably, gotten into my suit. I reached in to fish it out, and pulled out something that was silvery and a little gunky. My first thought was that it was some crumpled up duct tape that had been in the water too long and gotten mushy. But when I looked closer, I noticed a small dot at one end. Oh dear, surely that wasn’t an eye? And that looked like a tail on the other end. I didn’t want to believe it was a fish, but it was, a little silvery fish squashed dead between rib and lycra. When I first started open-water swimming this find probably would have produced hysterics, but today it was mostly funny, and just a little gross, that I had spent the last 10 minutes with a dead fish inside my suit.

    We exchanged wildlife stories and snacked (not on sushi) until the guards arrived. When I got back in, a little chilled from my time out of the water, I was joined by MIMS swimmer Giuliana and CIBBOWS pals Robert and Patti. We all swam out to the white building, where we enjoyed a meet / chat / synchro session, then swam back to the chair. I went a little past the starting point, then swam back. The water was wonderfully clear and green, and I enjoyed swimming beside Giuliana--we seemed to match our strokes effortlessly.

    When I got out I was just a little chilled—not enough to shiver, just enough to enjoy bundling up a bit. It was my favorite kind of beach weather, cool and cloudy enough to enjoy wearing clothes and picnicking after a swim while delighting in being out on the sand, all without worrying too much about sunburn. It was definitely worth taking a morning off to enjoy this!

    Updated June 7th, 2013 at 02:31 PM by swimsuit addict

  4. Enough for a picnic

    I enjoyed a pleasant workout this morning at Riverbank with Hannah. It was a relatively quiet day there; we had 5 cooperative swimmers in our long-course lane. Here’s what I did:

    1000 lcm warmup (400s 200k 200p 200 rev. IM d/s by 25)

    3 x 100 FR @ 2:00, desc.
    4 x 50 K fl/bk by 25 @ 1:30

    Sandwiches set:
    5x thru:
    • 150 (50 FR swim / 50 ST kick / 50 FR swim)
    • 150 (50 FR swim / 50 ST swim / 50 FR swim)

    Stroke = IM order for 1st 4 rounds, then 50 IM on last round

    3 x 300 pull with paddles

    100 warmdown + play
  5. 2 Bridges Swim

    I had a terrific experience yesterday at the 2 Bridges Swim in the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie. The event featured an afternoon start time, which allowed those of us from the city to catch a late-morning MetroNorth train from Grand Central. The day was gorgeous, making for a beautiful ride up, with the train tracks running along the east side of the Hudson. I always bring a book on the train, but I don’t think I read more than a few pages—mostly I chilled out and watched the river roll by during the hour-and-a-half trip up.

    I got to Poughkeepsie on the early side, and ran into my friend and Iceland teammate Amanda in the train station. We made our way down to the river together (an easy 5-minute walk from the train station.) Once there, I saw race directors Rondi and Dave and a bunch of CIBBBOWS volunteers, and made myself helpful by helping tote drinks down to the registration area. There were already a number of swimmers gathered in the pavilion, seeking relief in the shade (the race coincided with a heat wave). Susan from Maine recognized me and introduced me to her teammates Kirsten and John, and I was happy to chat with them for a bit, and admire their very cool matching swimsuits. Maybe slknight will post a picture on her blog?

    I checked in and got my number, enjoyed visiting with other swimmers and volunteers, and eventually changed into my suit and got ready to swim. Soon we all made our way down to the dock for the pre-race meeting and 3 pm start.

    Poughkeepsie has two bridges spanning the Hudson that are located just 900 meters apart. The Walkway over the Hudson, now a pedestrian span, is a restored 19th-century railroad bridge. To the south, the Mid-Hudson Bridge carries car traffic. Yesterday’s 5K race started near the midpoint of the two, on the east bank of the river, and had us swimming 2 counter-clockwise loops around each of the two bridges’ easternmost stanchions (one loop for the 2.5k). Three buoys were placed in a triangle around each of the stanchions to keep us well away from them (something about a security zone there). The race was scheduled for the slack between ebb and flood, so the tides were changing from south to north over the course of the swim.

    The race had an in-water start and an on-land official finish, though the race director requested that we honor our swim-finish order when exiting the water via the boat ramp. The race instructions were given right by the boat ramp, and while listening to them most of us swimmers were huddled into the little rectangle of shade afforded by a nearby building—it was a very sunny afternoon, with temps in the low 90s, and the swimmers in wetsuits especially were wilting a bit. I was very happy when we were allowed to enter the water for the start. The river at 65 degrees felt very refreshing. I paddled around a bit while waiting for the start countdown to begin. Near shore we were sheltered from the wind, but the flag on the pedestrian bridge was blowing stiffly, and Willie pointed out to everyone in our wave (all the 5k’ers) how the buoy we were to round before heading from the bridge was pulling northward on its anchor cable—not from the current, which was headed the other way, but from the wind—and that taking a wide berth to the south of it to avoid the cable would be wise.

    Once the race started I stayed wide of the field, which stretched out pretty quickly. At the first bridge stanchion I saw my CIBBOWS buddy Eli, but after that I didn’t see any other swimmers much for the rest of the swim. Swimming north, with the wind, was easy—gentle swells seemed to just push us along—but everyone agreed that swimming south against the wind was harder. I enjoyed the bouncy ride against the swells as they broke over me, though, and appreciated the contrast between the two as I changed directions.

    On the first lap I swam easily, and took in the sights—the church steeples rising from the town of Poughkeepsie, the bridges, the big flat barge passing by as I made rounded the Mid-Hudson Bridge stanchion for the first time. In the shadow of the bridges it was noticeably cooler. I did some backstroke in those spots, and admired their arching grace. The water seemed very clean and pleasant. About half way through the second lap I got my first taste of it and was surprised that it wasn’t salty—I’m so used to swimming in the ocean that the season’s first taste of freshwater came as a bit of a shock.

    On the second lap I picked up the pace a bit, and especially enjoyed swimming aggressively against the chop on the backstretch. The swells made it difficult to spot other swimmers, but I decided that if there were any within catching distance now would be the time to go after them. (It turned out there weren’t, or at least not any I saw, but the faster pace was ended up being enjoyable for its own sake). I took a better line on the second loop—on the first I had swung out a bit wide out into the river. As I neared the last stanchion I could tell by my progress towards it that the tide had definitely turned northward. I kept near to shore on the final stretch so that I wouldn’t have too far to go in after rounding the finish buoy.

    I stretched out on the last half-leg, and was enjoying the ride in with both the current and wind assist. As I was swimming the final stretch into shoreh, I turned over to do some backstroke, and caught sight of my friend Yuta making up ground quickly behind me, so I turned back over and swam honest freestyle to the finish, maintaining a few strokes lead. He was the first swimmer in my wave I had seen since roughly 500m into the 5k swim (I had passed by a few of the 2.5k’ers, who started after us).

    We exited carefully on the boat ramp, assisted by CIBBOWS stalwarts Tom and Patty. On shore there were bunches of excited swimmers to chat with, and more swimmers coming in to cheer for. The sky clouded over for a bit and threatened a rainstorm, but it never materialized. Soon all the finishers were in, and it was time for dinner and awards at the lovely dockside restaurant after.

    I finished up 10th overall in the non-wetsuit 5k, and 3rd woman behind Susan and Hannah. My TNYA teammate Charles won the non-wetsuit 5k overall. It was fun hanging out with everyone—swimmers, kayakers, volunteers—afterwards. I saw a lot of smiles, and it seemed like everyone had a good time. Kudos to Rondi and Dave for another exceptionally well-run event!