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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. Being a Pool Tourist

    Last night I joined up with three swim pals and ventured out to Staten Island to one of the cityís WPA-era public pools. I have a teammate who arranges ďPool TourismĒ outings during the summer, and this was well worth the trip. We had a gorgeous ferry ride over and back, and the Lyons pool was just a short walk from the ferry terminal. Hereís a description of it the pool from the NYC Park Department website:

    Joseph H. Lyons Pool, the largest public pool on Staten Island, was built in 1936. Constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Lyons Pool was one of eleven pools that opened throughout New York City in a single summer during the Great Depression. The pools were among the most remarkable public recreational facilities in the country and represented the forefront of design and technology. The main pool measures 165 feet long and 100 feet wide, while both the wading and diving pools are 100 feet by 68 feet. The pool is designed to accommodate 2,800 bathers at a time; during the first summer, crowds averaged 5,707 people each day. The influence of the WPA pools extended throughout entire communities, attracting aspiring athletes and neighborhood children, and changing the way millions of New Yorkers spent their leisure time.
    From 1984 to 1986, Lyons Pool underwent a $6.7 million restoration, which included reconstruction of the three pools and locker room facilities, and installation of new plumbing, filtration, and electrical systems. Lyons Pool is a symbol of Robert Moses' influence in park design.

    Luckily, there were not 2,800 swimmers there last night. We shared the pool with just a handful of other lap swimmersóIím not sure if that was because the evening had turned a little cool, or if this pool is just typically uncrowded. The pool had no lane lines; there were 13 black stripes painted on the bottom that extended all the way to the walls (no crosses at the end of the lines or on the walls, so flip-turns were a little tricky). We did a minimal, fun workout that involved lots of goofy swimming, then rode the ferry back after dark. It was a beautiful night to be swimming outdoors at dusk, and itís always fun to swim in new pools!

    This morning I went up to Riverbank State Park for a little solo taper workout. Hereís what I did:

    1000 lcm warmup

    8 x 100 (50 FR / 50 BK) @ 1:50-2:00: FR = relaxed, BK = steady kick, desc. 1-4 and 5-8

    100 easy

    200 virtual IM w/ full-speed turns

    200 warmdown

    It was a nice, calm morning up at Riverbank.

    Iím ready for Zones to be here already!
  2. Governors Island race report

    This morning I did the Governors Island swim. Governors Island is a small (172 acres) island in New York Harbor just a 5-minute ferry ride from the southern tip of Manhattan, and todayís race almost circumnavigated it (because of difficult tides/ferries coming and going/air vent for the Holland tunnel, we skip the northernmost tip of the island).

    Getting to the race start required checking in, getting a special 6:45 am ferry to the island, walking over to another dock on the island where we were to finish, checking our bags and getting chips, boarding another ferry, riding around the top of the island to the race start, jumping off the ferry, and lining up behind 2 buoys for an in-water start. There were 200+ folks in the race, so it took awhile for everyone to make it off the boat and to the race start, but there was beautiful scenery to look at while we waited. Finally everyone got into the water, they started us, and the race was on!

    During the first half of the race we swam down the western side of the island. There were great views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Last year this part of the race had some significant chop and waves, but this year the water was pretty calm, and there seemed to be a slight helping current. As we rounded the the southern tip of the island, we could see the Verrazano Bridge in the distance. Going up the Buttermilk Channel, the only challenge is to be sure to stay away from the 3 piers. On the right is the Brooklyn waterfrontóvery industrial, with warehouses and big gantry cranes, which is kind of neat. The finish is right before the Holland Tunnel air vent (that little protrusion to the northeast at the top of the island), and it is easy to missóyou actually have to turn left and swim underneath a gangway, before you can see the exit ladder. Last year I overswam it and had to turn back; this year I did a better job sighting and swam right to it.

    I was with or near a group of about 7-8 swimmers during the last portion of the race, and worked really hard the last 300 meters or so trying to pull away from them. I got ahead of all but one guy (who obviously had the same idea as me about sprinting to the ladder!) and finished the race as the second woman overall. That surprised me, since there were plenty of women in the field who are better distance pool swimmers than me, but open-water races can be unpredictable that way. (And just for the record, Iím thinking of myself as the womenís masters champ this year, since the first place woman was just 15!) Overall, this year's race probably had more favorable currents and conditions than last year's--my time was 42:04, compared with 48:06 in 2009. I'm guessing a maximum of 30 seconds of that difference came from swimming the race better.

    The highlight of the day was catching up with a number of my open water buddies whom I havenít seen all summer. I would have stayed out on Governors Island longer and enjoyed the hammocks post-race, but thunderstorms were threatening. (I did get some hammock time yesterday, when I went out to scout out the race course and when the weather was gorgeous). Chaos was there and won his age group, and I was happy to get to chat with him a bit afterwards. He was on Sharpie duty during race check-in, and incorporated a smiley face into my race number which obviously brought me luck.

    One interesting thing that they did during this race was to have a number of ďSwim AngelsĒ wearing different colored caps who were designated as helpers/calmers-down for anyone having anxiety or distress in the water. They basically just hung out in the water and made sure people were comfortable and happy, gave directional/sighting advice, etc. I think this is an idea borrowed from triathlons. They also had some volunteers on land doing the same thing before the race.

    Tomorrow we head off to Lake Placid for a few days, and Iíll get to swim in one of my all-time favorite swimming spots, Mirror Lake.

  3. Long-course Saturday

    I went to the early-morning LCM workout at Asphalt Green. Once again, I saw tons and tons of people milling around near the park during my cab ride over. I have been wondering each of the last few weeks why so many folks are out on the street at 5:45 on a weekend morning, but I have finally solved the mystery: they are waiting in line to wait in line for free Shakespeare in the Park tickets. Apparently Central Park is officially closed until 6 am (who knew?!), at which point all these folks stream into the park to camp out and wait until tickets are distributed at 1 for that nightís performance. Mystery solved!

    Hereís the workout I did this morning:

    500 lcm warmup

    8 x 50 FR (25 heads up / 25 dps)

    8 x 50 BK w/ 15m uw kick off walls [I actually managed to get close to 15m underwater, and experimented with different angles off the wall]

    100 sculling

    100 easy

    Vertical kicking (flutter): :10 kick / :10 rest / :20 kick / :20 rest / :30 kick

    200 reverse IM drill

    400 FR pull, negative split

    Vertical kicking (dolphin): :10 kick / :10 rest / :20 kick / :20 rest / :30 kick

    200 reverse IM drill

    400 FR pull

    12 x 100 FR: 4 @ 1:50, 4 @ 1:45, 4 @ 1:40 [I did every 4th one FR/BK]

    Warmdown: 8 x 50, 2 @ :55, 2 @ 1:00, 2 @ 1:05, 2 @ 1:10

    I am feeling pretty tired and sore today, and more just did this workout rather than looking for specific opportunities to work on my individual goals. I did get in some good work on the 50s backstroke, and used the final 12 x 100 to think about my upcoming 2m OW race.
  4. Mellow Friday morning workout

    I went to the morning AGUA lcm workout. It was not very crowded todayóI started in a lane with 6, then switched to one with 4. Hereís what we did:

    800 lcm warmup

    3 x (3 x 50 DR + 100 build), odd rounds FR, evens ST

    150 easy / lane change

    4 x 100 kick (2 FR, 2 BR) @ 2:10-2:30 [this was actually a swim set involving build 75s + 25 easy that I adapted]

    2 x (3 x 150 @ 3:00 + 2 x 50 easy) [This was a free set, but I did IMs on the 150s the first time through and ST/FR/ST, IM order the 2nd time through.]

    50 fast backstroke

    250 warmdown

    At sunset last night I went down to the pretty little track in Riverside park and took some baby steps towards restarting a plyo routine. This cinder track is 220 yards around, with very sharp turns at the ends, and gets limited use. Itís ideal for doing short sprint pieces of about 40-50 yards or so. I ran a few laps to warmup, then 3 x 40 sprints (going 75, 85, and 90 percent of max speed), then 3 x 40 of unspecialized skipping. I havenít done any plyo since spring of 2009, so Iím trying to be pretty cautious and patient as I build back up to doing some power leg work. Itís always tempting to do more, because skipping and sprinting feels so fun!

    Off to the gym now for weights. Itís amazing how deciding to swim shorter events at Zones has made me more excited about lifting and building strength and power!
  5. Bastille Day Free(dom) Workout

    This morning I swam the early AGUA masters workout. Hereís how it went:

    500 lcm warmup

    600 kick (alt. FR/ST by 50s) w/ fins [I went barefoot and did 500]

    Monster free set
    Broken 400 (resting :05, :10, and :15 between 100s, each 100 faster than previous one)
    Broken 800 (resting :05, :10, and :15 between 200s, each 200 faster than previous one)
    Broken 1600 (resting :05, :10, and :15 between 400s, each 400 faster than previous one)
    [I have a low tolerance for long freestyle sets. I actually made it through doing FR on the 400 and 800, but switched to IMish on the 1600, doing 4 x (50 FL / 50 FR / 50 BK / 50 FR / 50 BR / 50 FR / 50ish FR w/ mid-pool turn to catch back up. That worked out ok]

    200 warmdown

    One of my lanemates, John, donned paddles and buoy for the last swim and transformed himself into a Mighty Morphin Power Swimmer, going from near the back to leading the lane (and even lapping some of us slowpokes). Itís funny, and a little jealous making, to see how much of a difference equipment makes for some swimmersóbuoys slow me down, and paddles donít help that much. It makes me wish I had swim toys that would give me superpowers. The closest I get to that is fins, which do give me a lot of speed as long as Iím kicking (especially underwater), but donít make that much of a difference on longish distance swims.

    During the Giro, when it was rumored that Cancellaraís bike perhaps contained a little motor capable of generating about 100 extra watts on hard climbs, it reminded me a bit swimmers who count on pull buoys to get themselves through tough sets. (The Cancellara rumors were false, it seems, but led to a number of riders having their bikes x-rayed after the TdF prologue. No motors found.)

    Iím getting excited about my next swim, the Governors Island Race on August 1st. Itís a 2-mile circumnavigation of Governors Island in New York Harbor. The island is a former Coast Guard post that had been abandoned for years before it was reclaimed a few seasons ago by NYC. Itís in the process of being transformed into a park, among other things, and there are currently a number of art installations and performances that go on there every summer. My favorite section of the island is this large meadow on the southeast tip where theyíve placed lots of hammocks and Adirondack chairs. There are beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty, and itís a very mellow place to hang out on a summer afternoon. It will be a great place for a nap once Iíve finished swimming around the island!

  6. Cool workout on a hot day

    Itís hot hot hot here! Central Park apparently got up to 103 yesterday. I wouldnít know, though, I was happily inside in the air conditioning, surviving on a steady diet of lemon sorbet floats and coconut popsicles. My Alabama relatives love calling me anytime they see high temperatures predicted for NYC, just to point out that it does get hot up north too. Thanks, Mom! .

    I did venture out this morning for early workout. And as always, it was a joy to swim LCM in a cool pool. Hereís what we did:

    400 lcm warmup

    4 x 50 kick IM order
    4 x 50 FR focusing on dps
    4 x 50 BR swim [Iím not sure what the focus was supposed to be hereóI worked on narrowing my kick]
    4 x 50 FR build by 50

    5 x 100 Kick w/ fins [I went barefoot, and just did 4.]

    300 pull

    4 x 150, odds = IM (no free), evens = FR

    300 pull

    2 x 250, negative splitting each 250

    200 warmdown

    Last Saturday morning, we used fins a lot, but I went barefoot because I hadnít brought mine (and have issues with the ones at the pool).

    On Monday, I glanced at my fins as I was leaving for workout and thought, ďWe just did a big fin set Saturday, we probably wonít do another today.Ē I again went barefoot on that dayís fin set.

    Today, when I was leaving the house, I thought ďWe just did fin sets the last two workouts, surely we wonít do another today.Ē And there I was again, barefoot and slow while everyone else zoomed along.

    Clearly something is wrong with my reasoning here.
    I think I will pack fins the rest of this week!

    After practice I decided to take the bus home, but it broke down just one stop from the pool. Rather than wait for another, I decided to walk. Even at 7, the temp was already in the 80s, but it wasnít too bad. The park was shady and so green, and even out of the park I was able to walk on the shady sides of the streets. Plus I figured if I was going to get any outdoor time today, early morning was the time to do it!
  7. Swimming or whiskey?

    I went to early (5:30 am) LCM workout today. It seemed way too early to be up and about on a holiday. Apropos of nothing, my cab driver this morning remarked that it was good to be obsessive about swimming, but that he liked whiskey too much. (He knew I was going to a pool because he recognized the address, and I suppose he figured I was obsessive because who else takes a cab across town to swim at dawn?) You gotta love NYC cabbies.

    The pool was fairly emptyówe had only 3 or 4 swimmers per lane, and the lap lanes were pretty deserted. Hereís what we did:

    400 lcm warmup + bobbing and sinking

    500 pull

    5 x 100 kick @ 2:20

    400 pull

    6 x 100, odds ST (50 D / 50 S) @ 2:10, evens FR @ 1:55

    300 pull

    7 x 100 IM @ 2:05 [after being a lazybones for most of the above, I worked theseó1:35-1:36 on the first 5, then 1:33 and 1:30 on the last 2]

    200 pull

    4 x 100 FR @ 1:45 [held 1:28s]

    200 warmdown

    Pullingís not my favorite thing, but I seemed to get in a groove on these and was really able to pay attention to my balance and posture in the water. On some of the pulls, I alternated 100s with a buoy with 100s FR w/ dolphin kick, just to change up the feel of things.

    On the walk home, I was happy to be up and about before the heat set in. Now I get to laze the rest of the day. Brunch here I come!
  8. Sweet summertime noon workout

    For the third day in a row I headed over at lunchtime for the noon AGUA workout. The weather has been so lovely here, itís just a joy walking through the park to get to practice, and puts me in such a mellow mood by the time I get there. Since this is summer in NYC, I know these cool bright days wonít last forever, so Iíve been out enjoying them while I can. The only thing that could be nicer would be if our pool were outdoors. It isn't, but the city's public pools open July 6 for morning lap swimming, so I'll at least be able to swim on my own outside soon.

    It was breaststroke day (hurrayóI had some things Iíve been meaning to work on in breaststroke ever since the meet, and was really glad to get a chance to do so). Hereís the workout we did:

    500 warmup plus bobbing and sinking

    7 x 50 BR (25 kick, 25 2 kicks / 1 stroke) @ third swimmer in [My lanemate and I didnít actually have a third swimmer for the first part of this set, so we created an imaginary one. We were to the point of naming her when a real third swimmer showed up. If you can imagine it, you can make it happen!]

    Breaststroke technique chalk talk

    Breaststroke drill: swimming breaststroke upside down underwater [of course I liked this, especially after I found my nose clip in the bottom of my bag]

    7 x 200 (150 FR, 50 fast BR) @ 3:30 [I ended up doing these as 100 FR / 50 BK / 50 BR. Iím working on making my BR kick narrower, and sometimes it works and I can feel good power from it. Sometimes it still seems to create confusion in my timing, though, so I still have some work to do.]

    200 warmdown + sinking and bobbing

    The technique work Iíve been doing with my freestyle (Iíve been trying to put my face back into the water sooner after each breath) seems to be paying off. Today for the first time I noticed that I could see my left arm as it moved through the water after breathing to my right. Iíve never been able to do that before. (Hello armóitís good to see you!) This also helps me not drop my left elbow, since I can now see the shape of that arm during the stroke.

    On Monday I started seeing a chiropractor who does ART therapy for my neck. I was inspired to do so by Fortís comments about ART, and by SwimStudís decision to see someone about his back. My neck has long given me problems. Regular massages keep them at bay, but I decided it was time to see if I could do something about the underlying source. Heís working on getting more of a curve back into my neck with ART and Graston techniques (I winced when he said he wanted to use the latter, because Iíve read about Bobinatorís experiences with it in her blog, which I have by the way been missing lately). Today was my second session, and my range of motion has already increased a bit, plus things just feel looser in general, so so far so good.

    After last weekendís trip to Vermont, Iím looking forward to a nice long lazy weekend in the city. The Farmers Market had strawberry rhubarb pies todayóthatís definitely a great start to the holiday weekend!
  9. Lazy Sunday in the city

    Last fall I read an article about being a tourist in your own town. It said that most folks who lived in major cities visited key attractions only when hosting visitors. Thatís largely been true of my time in New York City, and I resolved then to do more sightseeing on my own. I realized that I had not been doing a good job of that lately, so I devoted the morning to wandering around and being attentive to and delighted by the city.

    Since it was Easter, I planned to walk over to 5th Avenue and see the Easter Parade. Itís not really a proper parade, but a street closure that allows everyone to stroll around and be seen in their holiday attire, like in the Irving Berlin song. I was hoping for some excellent hat sightings. Unfortunately, I didnít see very many people dressed upómostly just other people like me wandering about looking for something to look at. I think I would have had better luck if I had gone later in the day.

    But in my walk over to 5th, I did enjoy the sights in Central Park, which is absolutely gorgeous this time of year when everything is beginning to flower. I walk through the park all the time to go places, but itís different when you are actually looking at things and not worrying about being a certain place and a certain time. It was short-sleeve and sandals weather today, but the ice rink was still open. I stopped and watched the skaters gliding in the sunlight for a while, and took a picture. I thought about going home and getting my ice skates, but decided I was enjoying wearing my sandals too much today to take them off!

    On the way home I stopped by the MAD museum (Museum of Art and Design) at Columbus Circle to see an exhibition Iíd been wanting to go to (and which closes tomorrow), and then by Lincoln Center to sit in the sun by the fountain and bask for a bit. And then home, all before lunchtime.

    In the afternoon, I did a rowing workout at the Y with my husband. Hereís what we did:

    6 min. warmup w/ drills
    2 min. rest
    6 min. piece
    2 min rest
    2 x (4 min. piece, 2 min. rest)
    2 x (2 min. piece, 2 min rest)
    2 x (1 min. piece, 2min. rest)
    6 min. warmdown

    Nothing about rowing hard today felt fun or good, so I just took it easy and kept Mr. Addict company while he put up some nice numbers. (My fastest pieces today barely broke 2:10). But it did get me loose enough to do a good round of stretching, which felt great after all the swimming I did yesterday.