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Today I swam mid-day at the Y:
1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
Pieces of IM sets:
8 x 25, 2 each stroke, IM order, odds K, evens S, @ :30
7 x 50 IM pieces (50 fly, 25 FL / 25 BK, 50 BK, 25 BK/25 BR, etc) @ :50—strong and controlled
6 x 75 IM pieces @ 1:20, odds K/S/K, evens S/D/S
5 x 100 IM pieces @ 1:30, solid effort on all
4 x 125 IM pieces @ 2:00, done as 50 build / 25 sprint (turns inclusive) / 50 easy
3 x 150 IM pieces @ 2:30, 90% effort
2 x 175 IM pieces @ 3:15, all swimming between flags easy, turns as pretty as possible on first 175, and as fast as possible on 2nd 175
1 x 200 IM fast
(Masters minute between each set)
Warmdown: 5 x 200 FR, odds S, evens pull with paddles
I’d started this pieces of IM set at a workout earlier this month, and had to get out after the first 150. I’d been wanting to do the whole thing ever since, and today’s solo workout was a fine opportunity for that.
This morning I swam at Riverbank with Rondi. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup
4 x 50 (25 fast / 25 easy) @ 1:05
4 x 50 (25 very fast / 25 easy) @ 1:10
4 x 350 turduckens
100 FL / 50 BK / 50 BR / 50 BK / 100 FL
100 BK / 50 BR / 50 FR / 50 BR / 100 BK
100 BR / 50 FR / 50 FL / 50 FR / 100 BR
100 FR / 50 FL / 50 BK / 50 FL / 100 FRv
[Before we began this set, I noticed that the adjacent lane only had one swimmer, and that that guy was doing lots of fly, so I scooted over from my more crowded lane, figuring someone doing fly themselves was unlikely to object to all the stroke in this set. It wasn’t until the set was over that I discovered that that guy was actually That Guy! It was nice to get to meet him in person.]
4 x 200 FR, odds pull w/ paddles, evens swim
600 warmdown + play
[New 50 backwards-IM PR: 2:20]
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Thanksgiving came early today as Rondi, John, and I celebrated the season with the traditional turducken set. The water was a mite cooler than on Monday, when I had deemed it too hot for a workout and just done some easy drills and practiced my backwards swimming. (How hot is too hot? If I stick my tongue out while I’m swimming and there’s no discernible difference between the temp of the pool water and the inside of my mouth, that’s too hot). But I was also better prepared, having brought both a lycra cap and my new creation, a cap into which I had cut ventilation holes, stegosaurus style:
O Holey Cap!
The latter worked well, and kept me from overheating during the following:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
4 x 350 Turduckens, done as follows
100 FL / 50 BK / 50 BR / 50 BK / 100 FL
100 BK / 50 BR / 50 FR / 50 BR / 100 BK
100 BR / 50 FR / 50 FL / 50 FR / 100 BR
100 FR / 50 FL / 50 BK / 50 FL / 100 FR
After the turduckens, we all played around with backwards swimming—my backwards backstroke is getting better, giving me hope that I can get my backwards 50IM time under 2:30--then I did the following short finishing set
2 x 200, odds FR w/ paddles, evens swim
That was it! I’ll see if I feel like another help of turduckens tomorrow (or maybe I’ll dream up the swimming equivalent of the veggiducken . . .) And the new hat style is definitely a keeper for those warm Riverbank mornings!
A less determined swimmer would have given up as she waited, and waited, for the much delayed 1 train this morning. I was glad I persevered, because I eventually got up to Riverbank and was able to do this solo lcm IM workout in an uncrowded pool—I either had the VF lane to myself or shared it with just one other swimmer the entire time. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 d/s)
4 x 150 k/s/k, reverse IM order [my legs were still very sore this morning from diving practice—this helped loosen them up a bit]
4x thru, with ST = IM order by rounds
3 x 50 ST @ 1:10, desc. to goal 200 IM pace
50 easy FR @ 1:00
200 IM @ 3:45, faster each round [3:38, :32, :28, :24]
300 warmdown + play
My breaststroke today felt nice and smooth, but was in fact slow—I only got my fastest 50 down to :56, when I was aiming for a :49-:50. It makes me glad I signed up for a breaststroke clinic in a couple of weeks—today it was definitely the weakest link in my IM.
Today I swam TNYA’s mid-day workout at John Jay College. It was a crowded pool—there were 7 in most lanes, including mine—but with considerate and mindful lanemates all things are possible. Mine kept me laughing in the intervals between swims as well—it was a reminder of why I really love swimming with this team.
Here’s what I did:
950 scy warmup: 300s, 7 x 50 kick @ :10 rest, 300 alt free/back by 50
12 x 25 @ :30: odds BK w/ 10 underwater kicks, evens FR
500 pull, with breathing pattern [I just did bilateral]
2x thru (First round = FR, 2nd round = BK on last 25 of single swims, then BK for all 4 50s)
150 @ 2:30
100 @ 1:40
50 @ 1:10
4 x 50 desc. @ 1:00 [31 on fastest FR, 35 on fastest BK]
Then we repeated all of the above from the 500 on, only skipping the last 150/100/50 on the last round because we were running out of time.
I swam at Riverbank this morning with a fun lane full of open-water swimmers—Rondi, John, Hannah, Mike, and Andrew were all there. I got there late after sleeping in a bit—diving practice in Queens until 10pm make Thursdays a late night for me—and missed the long set of the day, but was happy to join in for the last bit. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
5 x 200 swim > kick pacman
Nice to feel like part of the gang today!
Diving practice is still my weekly thrill, especially now that swimming at the beach is on hiatus for a bit. I’m still mostly working on getting the timing of my hurdle and jump off the board right, but am also doing various line-ups off the 1 and 3m boards, and forward tuck dives off the 1m. Fun stuff!
I swam at Riverbank this morning with Rondi and Hannah. The pool was uncrowded, but very warm. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup
3 x 200 descend @ :10 rest
2 x 200 steady pace @ :10 rest
1 x 200 fast
I was thoroughly wilted by the end of this set, even though I took my cap off for the kicking. I decided that trying to swim hard in water that hot just wasn’t being any fun, so after a few aimless 100s to cool down I regrouped and did about 40 minutes of balance drills and play for the rest of the session.
(On a Goldilocks note: today's team email announced that one of TNYA's pools, at Baruch college, will be re-opening this week after having been damaged in the storm--but that the water temp there is currently 72! If only I could average out there and Riverbank I would be set . . .)
I swam with TNYA this morning at John Jay:
Warmup: 300s, 200IM, 100k, 200 drill IM
2 x 50 drill @ 1:00
3 x 100 IM @ 1:40
4 x 25 choice @ :35
3.5x thru (ran out of time for 4 rounds)
3 x 50 K @ 1:00
1 x 200 FR @ 3:00 with rotating 50 fast
4 x 75 choice, odds fast @ :55, evens easy @ 1:10 (these intervals got upped by :10 midway thru set)
100 fast @ 1:10
[I dropped 50-75 each round to keep this from completely turning into mushy swimming—I just wasn’t prepared to do this much fast swimming on this amount of rest. Did manage to make all my 100s fast under 1:10, and got in some good 25 and 50 sprints when we were supposed to be doing 75s fast.]
The meet I signed up for this coming Sunday has now been cancelled. Thinking of swimming the one at Asphalt Green on December 9th.
Updated November 13th, 2012 at 01:17 PM by swimsuit addict
I enjoyed a nice swim with Rondi at Riverbank this morning:
1000 lcm warmup (200s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
A magic 700 combines two things in an alternating 1/1/2/1/3/1/4/1 (lengths) pattern. I did 3 as follows:
1 x magic 700, alternating FR/BK
1 x backwards magic 700, alternating FR / ST (IM order)
1 x magic 700, alternating kick (FL and BK) / FR swim
400 pull with paddles
15 x 100, done as 5 x (100 FR, 50 FR/50 BK, 100 BK @ 2:00), goal was to descend effort within each set of 3 so that 100 BKs were fast [1:35-1:40s]
500 warmdown + play
Here in the city, waiting for the storm to arrive—seemed like the perfect time to catch up on my blog. So, here’s what I’ve been up to the last few weeks:
· Took some time off from the pool after the end of my open-water swim season
· Traveled to a couple of wonderful family celebrations—my mom’s 80th birthday in Alabama, and my husband’s cousin’s wedding in Philly. Decided that all my family should move from Alabama to Philly, as that travel was soooooooo much easier.
· Resumed diving practices upon the reopening of the Flushing Meadows pool, and discussed with Coach Croft what I would need to do to compete in diving at the Seattle IGLA meet next August
· Worked on some technique issues that need fixing on my freestyle—left-side breathing is getting better and feeling more natural
· Committed myself to attending a swim meet on November 18—events still to be determined, but leaning towards 4IM and some 200s stroke in a last-ditch attempt to make TT in something this year
· Spent a wonderful afternoon/evening exploring the wonders at Chelsea Piers with three friends, courtesy of the guest passes supplied by rxleakem—thanks Mike! This visit included a Friday night session with the Chelsea Piers masters team, a wonderfully friendly group of folks. I also came to the realization that it’s a very good thing I don’t normally work out at a pool with an adjacent hot tub—if I ask myself before every set whether I want to keep swimming or go lounge, the latter eventually wins.
· Swam my first super-loop of the season—just yesterday. Grimaldo’s chair to the east end of Manhattan Beach to the Coney Island pier then back, 5 miles in 59-degrees. It was completely wonderful, and made me hope it’s not the last super-loop of the season—we’ll see what this storm has done to the water temps and condition by next weekend . . .
· Celebrated a friend’s 40th birthday with 40 x 50 this morning at Riverbank: multiples of 3 = BR, multiples of 4 = BK, multiples of 7 = FL, earlier in IM trumps later in IM, plus all prime numbers = kick. (Yes, it was a little complicated.)
Here’s hoping Sandy doesn’t wreak too much havoc . . . hope all my fellow east coasters stay safe and that the power stays on for the next few days. Fingers crossed here in the city!
Updated October 29th, 2012 at 01:11 PM by swimsuit addict
I finally swam beyond the pier at Coney Island—far beyond the pier! Yesterday I swam 7 miles from Coney Island to Sandy Hook, NJ as part of a test swim of conducted by CIBBOWS. We met up at the Coney Island Aquarium between 4 and 4:30 am, and the swim got underway a little after 5. Air temps were around 50, so the few minutes of waiting around on the sand after I had relinquished my clothes and sent them out to the waiting boats were a mite chilly. But the water was still relatively warm at 67 degrees, and as soon as I got and things got underway I felt comfortable.
The first hour of the swim was in the dark, and I loved it. The night was clear, and the bright quarter moon was reflected off the water, making for a good bit of ambient light. My escort kayak had lights fore and aft, and I could see my kayakers Teddy and Danika (it was a double kayak) silhouetted against the western sky as I swam along. A few white phosphorescent glows met my fingertips as I stroked through the water, and any air bubbles I made on my entry were lit up too. Everything seemed so calm and magical, and I wasn’t at all afraid. An idle resolution passed through my head: Night swimming is so wonderful it’s the only kind I’m doing from here on out. If only that were halfway realistic,..
Out in the water with me were three other swimmers, John, Willie, and Dan. We each had our own escort kayak, as well as three motorized boats supporting the swim. On the boats were the four swimmers who would be making the return journey, along with a number of CIBBOWS volunteers who were supporting the swim and collecting data for future crossings. For a while I could see the other kayaks’ stern lights ahead of me, as well as some of the boats’ lights in the distance, but by the first feed I couldn’t see anything else around me except for my own kayak. That was actually nice—when I breathed to my left, on the non-kayak side, I could pretend I was all by myself out in the big ocean.
As I stroked along the sky to the east began to brighten noticeably, then broad strata of pinks and oranges began to appear. I was breathing to my left more and more to admire the pre-sunrise show. The water began to get choppier at this point, with the wind kicking up some waves from the west which made breathing left the easier option, as well. Occasionally the waves were big enough to splash over me, and when they did this I could see the reflection of the green blinking light attached to my goggle strap.
Things were seeming very calm until around sunrise, when the grey support boat appeared in front of us, and we appeared to be making a left turn. Then I started seeing the sunrise on my right—were we making a u-turn? I did a stroke of breaststroke and looked over at Teddy—why had we changed directions? “We have to wait—do you want to swim or stop?” he asked. Aha—we must be near the shipping channel. “Swim!” I said reflexively, then started stroking again. But then I decided I wanted see what was going on. I stopped and looked around, only be told “There’s traffic—we have to get out of the channel.” Before I could finish saying “I want to see the traffic!” I looked ahead and saw a very large barge in the distance, heading our way. Nearby was another of our support boats, this one with all the swimmers for the return trip on deck on board, and they were all pointing to the left. I got the message—swim that way. I did, and got well clear of the shipping channel, then swam eastward, while waiting for the tug and its barge to cross. Teddy pointed out that there was another tug/barge approaching from the other directions. They crossed paths almost directly in front of us, a more-than-safe distance away. It was a really cool sight, with the sun glinting off the barges’ loads. It was interesting to see how far the tug boats were from the barges, and see the chains attaching them stretched between the two. I dipped my head down into the water to hear the deep clanking sound they made as they passed by.
Sunrise over the Ambrose Channel (photo credit R. Davies)
(One reason this swim requires so much support is that it goes across the Ambrose Channel, a major shipping lane used by traffic entering and leaving New York harbor—a lot of very big boats, barges, container ships and the like pass through here. Near the beginning of the swim I could see a huge cruise ship making its way across in the darkness, its decks all aglow.)
Once the ships were past we got the green light to continue on. The water seemed to have gotten rougher, but the chop was mostly from the sides and behind rather than head-on, so it remained easy going. I could tell when I stopped for feeds that the wind was blowing from the west—while Danika did the bottle hand-offs, Teddy maneuvered the kayak to keep it from blowing into me during the stops. I could also see some heavy clouds moving in from the west, and hoped any bad weather they were bringing would hold off until I finished my swim.
After another feed or two Teddy told me he could see the beach ahead. I didn’t put much stock in this, since I had learned in the Cape Cod swim how long it can take to reach a beach you can see. But over the next half-hour it did seem to be betting rapidly nearer. When I looked forward to sight I could see strange tall dark figures standing at regular intervals along the sand—the phrase “Easter Island statues” popped into my head. I looked again to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, but they were still there. It took me a bit to make sense of what I was seeing—fishermen, in dark waders, casting into the surf.
As we got within a mile to half-mile of shore I could feel some large swells propelling me forward. I thought about stopping and asking my kayaker if there would be breakers to contend with when exiting the water—sometimes when there’s biggish surf at my Florida beach swimming into shore feels like this. But I decided that I would be able to judge that better for myself as I got nearer shore. Around this point there also seemed to be some odd currents—sometimes when I would place my hand in the water it would feel like it was being pulled downward or to the side by the water. I worried a little about the current changing before I reached the beach—it can get strong around Sandy Hook, making finishing after slack tide has passed difficult. I picked up my pace to make sure I would make it in. But every time I looked up I was very noticeably closer to shore, so it seemed like I was making good progress.
Approaching Sandy Hook (photo credit R. Davies)
As I neared the beach Agent Orange came around beside me—I could see Rondi and Dave on board and I waved to them mid-stroke. Right before I landed it seemed like my kayak was getting between me and the shore for some reason—I wondered if they were getting pushed towards me by the wind and surf, but then looked up and saw that they were leading me around some fishing lines to a safer place to land. The sandy/pebbly bottom came into view—the sand is much coarser here than at Coney Island., I swam until my fingers touched, then stood up and walked ashore. I was done, in just under 3 hours.
I hugged and congratulated Willie, who was already on shore, then hugged and thanked my Teddy and Danika, who had landed their kayak nearby. The fisherman—wrapped up in waders and layers of clothes—looked at Willie and me as if we had landed from outer space. “Where did you come from?” “Coney Island!” They just grunted and went back to their poles.
I waded back out into the water—it was warmer there--then saw the other two swimmers heading towards shore. I went over to cheer them in and give them hugs after they landed, then we all headed back out to the boats. As I was wading out a crab pinched my toe. I yelped just a little, but no harm was done. I did get my feet up off the bottom pronto, and out swam to Agent Orange. I climbed aboard, put on some warm clothes—my brief time on the beach had chilled me a bit—then settled in to enjoy the return trip. Four new swimmers got into the water for the return crossing, the kayakers stretched and readied themselves for another few hours of feeding and guiding swimmers, and off we were.
The return trip was interesting and fun. The sky clouded over and it eventually rained, but the wind had died down and water conditions were nice and calm for the return swimmers. I used all the clothes I brought—long underwear, wool pants, rain pants, wool sweater, swim parka—but managed to stay pretty warm. Being out on the water is just nice, even when it’s rainy and cold.
And I got to see firsthand all the behind-the-scenes stuff it requires to get swimmers safely across shipping lanes. Dave and the other boaters were constantly on the radio with each other, with our Coast Guard escort, and with commercial traffic, discussing the swimmers’ positions and when they would enter and exit the channels (besides the Ambrose, we go through two lesser boating lanes, the Sandy Hook Channel and the Coney Island Channel). Occasionally we would intercept smaller boats that were zipping by and alert them to the swimmers’ presence. The kayakers also had radios, and used them to get instructions or give reports to the various boats. It made me appreciate all the coordination and care it takes to pull this sort of event off. I’ll never again look at Sandy Hook from Coney Island, and wonder if I couldn’t just swim over there on my own.
The tides gave us a slower trip on the way back, but by 1 pm we were all back at Coney Island. I hopped ashore and went gratefully up to the Aquarium to warm up, change out of my rain gear, and say goodbye to other swimmers and all the kayakers and volunteers who had made the day possible. It was a good day out on the water, and I hope everything goes equally well for the other swimmers who will be test-swimming this route over the next three weekends.
This was my last OW event of the season, and I was happy with how things went—it was pretty much an all-fun-all-the-time experience. I loved swimming at night, I thought it was really cool to see all the various other vessels out on the water, I felt well supported and safe, and greatly appreciated the chance to spend some quality time with the water on a glorious morning. It was a great way to end my 2012 season. And as a bonus, the 7-mile trip nudged me over 500 miles in GTD—so I got a free swimsuit out of the day as well. Thank you CIBBOWS!
This was the last event of my 2012 season:
May 4: Inaugural Arizona SCAR swim, Saguaro Lake (9 miles)May 5: Inaugural Arizona SCAR swim, Canyon Lake (9 miles)May 6: Lake Roosevelt, Arizona (10 miles)May 13: 2 Bridges test swim, Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, NY (5K)June 1: IGLA North Atlantic Midnight Open Water Swimming Challenge, Nauthólsvík beach, Reykjavík, Iceland (250m)June 26: 8 Bridges Stage 2, Hudson River, Kingston-Rhinebeck Bridge to Mid-Hudson (Poughkeepsie) Bridge (18.3 miles, 6:31:19, finished 4/4)July 7: Kingdom Swim, Lake Memphremagog, Vermont (10 miles, 5:00.28, finished 21/50 overall, 6/19w)August 21: P2P Plymouth to Provincetown swim, Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts (20 miles, 11:45)September 9: USMS 2-mile national championships, Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey (2 miles, 52:36.49, 1st in AG)September 15: Bannerman’s Return test swim, Hudson River near Cold Spring, New York (10.5K, 3:20)September 22: Little Red Light House Swim, Hudson River, NYC (10.2K, 2:06:46, 38/284 finishers, 8th woman, 1st in AG)September 30: Bannerman’s Return test swim, Hudson River near Cold Spring, NY (10.5K, 3:25)October 7: CIBBOWS Coney Island to Sandy Hook test swim, (7.5? miles, 2:57:47)
Updated October 16th, 2012 at 01:12 PM by swimsuit addict
(season recap added)
Today I took advantage of some gorgeous weather and headed out to the beach with 4 like-minded friends. Instead of going to Brighton, we headed down to Coney Island—usually the western terminus of our 5k loop—with plans to ride soon-to-close WonderWheel after our swim. The water was amazingly clear, and flat. I swam close-in to shore with one His-Ling, looking at all the stuff there was to see on the bottom, then did a mini-loop between the pier and the end of the aquarium with Rondi. The water was in the high 60s, and the sun and sand were very warm. At the end of the jetty near us were several cormorants that we enjoyed watching
Although I said in my last post that I intended to swim past the pier the next time I was at the beach, we didn’t quite make it to the other side today. There were jetskis close to the end of the pier, so going around looked iffy. We did swim close enough to the pilings to determine that they didn’t look too daunting to swim through . . . on another day. (I also came up with a third way to get to the other side of the pier, but we didn’t go that route either).
After swimming I went up to the boardwalk with Rondi and John for this year’s end-of-season ride on the WonderWheel. It was a beautiful day, with good visibility—at the top of the ferris wheel we could see the VZ Bridge and Manhattan in one direction, and Sandy Hook, NJ in the other.
It was especially nice to be able to see Sandy Hook because on Sunday I will be doing a test swim from Coney Island to there—I got to see the route we’ll be taking from up in the air today. Sandy Hook is where last year’s Ederle swim started, so I’ve been there--briefly--once before. Since you can see it from Brighton Beach/Coney Island it seems a natural destination for a substantial (7m) swim starting from “our” beach—we often speculate about swimming there when we’re gathered for weekend swims. No more need to speculate! This month CIBBOWS is doing test swims of the crossing every weekend to check currents and routes, and I’m lucky enough to be among the first testers. I’ll be starting early Sunday morning and will be swimming mostly in the dark (and in the cold and rain, if the weather forecast holds). I loved swimming through the darkness during the Cape Cod swim, and Sunday’s adventure will give me a chance to see if I’m just as fearless about night swimming when I’m out there alone. I can’t wait!
I was counting up yesterday, and this Sandy Hook test swim will be the 10th swim longer than 10K that I’ve done this season. I’m feeling a little tired, in truth, but it’s tough to stop when so many fun and intriguing opportunities keep popping up!
I had a very fun weekend full of open-water swimming. On Saturday I went out to Brighton Beach for a swim—I went to the pier and back—followed by CIBBOWS’s annual volunteer party at famed boardwalk bar Ruby’s. It had been a while since I was last out at Brighton, and it was wonderful to see all my beach pals there. Fall beach season has officially started—the water was around 66 degrees, and felt wonderful. The ocean was full of little organic thingies—tiny, filament-y stuff suspended in the water. I recalled something I had read about some sort of ocean fauna—tuna, I think—whose young migrated to “nutrient rich” waters. This water seemed very nutrient rich, but I didn’t see any larger fauna taking advantage of it, other than jellyfish.
And seabirds. There were a lot of gulls around, and at one point when I was swimming back from the pier I lifted my head to sight and saw a cormorant sitting in the water, only about a foot ahead of me—another stroke and I would have made contact. It was watching me calmly as it floated along. I said hi and circled around it.
After my swim I hung out on the beach, visiting with friends and eating my lunch, then practiced cartwheels and fancy skipping with Hsi-Ling. (Beach plyo, as I think of it). I tried to get people to go back into the water with me for synchro, but had no takers—most everyone was either done with their swims and already dressed, or just heading out. After a bit we all wandered up the boardwalk to Ruby’s, where CIBBOWS was providing food and drinks for a few hours. I hung around in the bar a bit, then headed out onto the Coney Island Pier with a few like-minded friends. Although I have swum to this pier dozens of times—it marks the western end of the 5k loop we all swim—I had never actually walked out on it before. It was fun to have a new perspective on the beach and jetties, as well as educational—what looks very far out from shore when we’re in the water seems fairly close in from higher-up.
I also found out that while I’ve been away, my CIBBOWS swim buddies have been adventuring into new waters. Many of them have been swimming past the pier, down to the last jetty before Seagate. In fact, the big divide is not whether people go past the pier or not, but whether they go around or under. I have never swum past the pier before, and now I’m definitely feeling behind the curve. I know where I’m going next time I’m out at Brighton! (And I think around is the way to go—I know I’m not brave enough to go under!)
I spent a little more time at Ruby’s before heading home for dinner and a good night’s sleep before the next day’s adventure. On Sunday I rode the train up to Cold Spring to swim the 10+K Bannerman’s Island Return course in the Hudson. I had done this swim a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it immensely—it’s a wonderfully scenic section of the river—so I jumped at the chance to do it again when Rondi and Dave decided that a second test swim was warranted. This time there were eight swimmers, divided into 4 pods of 2, with a kayaker accompanying each pair and Agent Orange patrolling the course and collecting data. I was partnered with John H, with Terry as our kayaker, and we all worked well together and enjoyed a wonderful day on the river.
On our trip up to Bannerman’s we enjoyed beautiful sunny skies. We probably dallied a little more than we should have, submerging to listen to the noises barges make under water, doing synchro, and just stopping to enjoy the glorious views—for the tide turned a little bit before we got to Bannerman’s. But the current against us wasn’t as strong as last time, and we were able to easily swim against it to the northern tip of the island before turning around and riding it back downriver to the start. In the process I confirmed that I might be part salmon—I really enjoy the sensation of swimming against the current. I think of those cylinders of water that I’ve seen in aquaria that contain salmon swimming against a spiraling current. That would be me if I had my druthers.
On the way to Bannerman I could see some very dark clouds moving in from the west, and when we stopped for our first feed after rounding the island we could hear thunder in the distance. We were instructed to swim close to shore on the way back so that we could get out quickly in case the thunderstorms came our way. Luckily they did not, although some rain did. It was very cool swimming with such dramatic skies around us, and I felt safe with Terry and Agent Orange nearby in case of trouble.
Eventually the skies cleared, and by the time we finished our swim—3h25m later after we started—the sky was again sunny and blue. I had a very nice ride home on the train admiring the river I had just swum in. It was a great way to close out the weekend.
And here's a video from the swim, during a visit from Agent Orange while we were swimming upriver:
[nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA29JmGbmNI"]P9300070.MOV bannerman island test swim - sun sep 30, 2012 (b) janet and john huges - YouTube[/nomedia]
Updated October 2nd, 2012 at 09:00 PM by swimsuit addict
I did a couple of easy swims at the Y over the past few days, but the highlight of this week was definitely diving practice last night. Our beginner group is still taking baby steps—working on proper technique when jumping off the board and when entering the water. I did manage to learn two more ways of going headfirst off the 3m board, in addition to the “line-up” (bending over and falling in headfirst) that we did last week. We did an exercise where we sat tucked-up on the end of the board, then tipped over forward, straightening out into a dive position on the way down. And at the very end of practice we did forward “fall-offs.” That involved standing on the end of the board, with hands up overhead in an entry position, then falling forward. If you keep your body very straight on the way down, you magically end up in a perfect vertical position by the time you enter hit water. That went from super-scary to super-fun in a big hurry!
I woke up this morning wishing I could go back to the pool and dive some more. I had to content myself with a short swim at the Y instead. Worse, it will be a long time before I get to go off the boards again—the Queens pool where we practice is closed for 3 weeks for its annual cleaning. That means dryland practices only until late October. Bummer! Still, I’m thrilled I’m doing this at all, and very happy to have found a new activity that brings so much excitement and joy.
This morning I swam at the Y with Rondi. We shared the fast lane with Stan (a former teammate from my Red Tide days) for the warmup, then had it mostly to ourselves for the rest of the workout. My goal today was to do some swimming at a faster-than-comfortable pace. Unfortunately the pace clock was broken this morning, but I found a way around that. Here’s what I did:
800 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p)
2ish times thru
4 x 100 FR
4 x 75, odds IM evens FR
4 x 50 IM order
4 x 25 kick
[Rondi was doing her 5/4/3/2/1 set, so in the absence of a clockI decided to use her nice steady pace as my interval. On her 500, I did 4 x 100, starting each one when she reached the next 25 on her continuous swim (ie starting at 0, 125, 250, and 375 yards). Same idea for the 400 (75s starting at the beginning of each 100 of her 400), 300 (50s to her 75s), and 200 (25s for each 50). I got progressively more rest as the set went along, and so was able to increase the pace—the 25s kick were sprints. This turned out to be a good way for two people of different speeds to swim a workout together. It took me one time through to figure this out, so my first round was more like 700y of mostly FR.]
500 mathy IM set
450 pull with paddles
I didn’t want to get out of the pool this morning—that was a nice feeling that I haven’t had in a while.
This evening I headed back to the pool—this time to the one at City College, uptown at Convent Ave. and 138th Street. My team started having practices there about a month ago when we lost pool time at Columbai. I had heard that these practices were not so crowded—at most of our workouts there are 5-6 or even more per lane—and I knew that head coach Scott would be on deck, which is always a plus. So when Hannah told me that she was going to this one, I decided to make today a double-dip.
I was anticipating a workout with some sufficiently big intervals to swim fast, and that’s what we got. I had two excellent lanemates in Hannah and Jun, and here’s what we did:
750 warmup (200 FR, 400 IM d/k by 50, 150 other stuff)
Kick set—2x through
150 kick @ 3:00
100 kick @ 1:55
50 kick fast @ :55
100 ST fast @ 2:10 [FL- made it; BK 1:15; BR 1:29, IM 1:17]
200 FR pull easy @ 3:10
100 FR fast @ 2:00 [1:10, 1:09, 1:07]
200 IM @ 3:20 [I did a graceful mid-pool turnaround to make these into 170 IMs]
6 x 50 CH (25 fast, 25 easy) [did odds kick, evens BK]
12 x 25 CH (12.5 fast, 12.5 easy)
This was a hard but fun workout. I would like to get some speed back so that I can do some meets this fall and winter. Trying to do 100s FR fast felt awful at first—my body felt like about 6 different unconnected parts pulling different ways—but it got a little better as I went along.
I’m happy to have the option of going to an uncrowded workout where I can work on speed and get some technique feedback—I’ll try to make this a weekly or every-other-week thing. It works better with my schedule now that I’m trying to be more of a night owl for diving practice on Thursday nights.
This past weekend I swam the 10.2K Little Red Lighthouse Swim. It was a very pleasant early-fall day, and a great way to mark the end of the summer open-water season. A ton of CIBBOWS buddies and TNYA teammates were out swimming and/or volunteering, so it felt like an end-of-the-season social as much as a race. This year the swim start was within easy walking distance from my apartment, and the 10:30 start let me enjoy a leisurely wakeup before ambling over to the 79th Street Boat Basin to check-in. I then got to hang out in beautiful Riverside Park for an hour or so before they started lining us up for the start.
This year the race went from south to north up the Hudson (the direction of the river changes every 6 hours with tidal cycles, so you can swim either way in it as long as the timing is right). This event has tended in the past to swim very short—the winning times in last year’s 10K edition was 1h20. This year the race director warned us to expect a longer swim (the length is largely determined by when tidal cycle the swim is started, and how strong the tides are on race day). But he’s said that before when the swim has proved short, so I didn’t really know whether low long to expect to be in the water. I tucked a couple of gels into my cap just in case I needed them.
The first waves were scheduled to start just as the current was changing, with the current would picking up throughout the race. Before the start, I could see that the tide had not yet shifted in our favor—the boats in front of us were still being pushed to the south of their moorings. But as they marched the first of 9 waves down to the starting dock, I could see the boats slowly drifting towards their buoys, and knew that the tide would soon be heading north.
I was in the 8th of 9 waves—we were starting slowest to fastest—and I finished up a sports bar and downed a bottle of water while we were lining up and marching down to the docks. Waves were sent off about 5 minutes apart. Finally it was our turn. We jumped off the dock in numerical order---NYCSwim events are very organized--and lined up in the water to await the start signal. We would be making our way gradually out into the river, then swimming roughly parallel to shore, trying to stay fairly close to the buoys that marked the course—it didn’t matter what side of them we swam on, as long as we stayed close to the buoy line and didn’t wander over to New Jersey. I thought the early current might be fastest nearer shore, but even so I moved all the way to the left of my wave before the start, just because it seemed less crowded over there, and also because I find it easier not to run into other swimmers when they’re on my right (my favored breathing side). We started, and there were no problems with crowding as we maneuvered ourselves out into the river.
The water was comfortable (70 degrees), there was a slight to moderate trailing wind, and the swimming felt easy. I enjoyed being able to see Manhattan on my right, and swimming by landmarks that I often pass by when walking. It was sunny and clear, a beautiful day to be out in the river. Soon after the start I could see the eastern stanchion of the GW Bridge in the distance, and as suggested I sighted on it rather than on the buoys. (The latter were orange, as were some of the swimcaps, so that was occasionally confusing). Sometimes I found myself out a little far and being herded back in by the kayaks, but I never got close to the boats that patrolling the western edge of our allotted swim space. I could see lots of other swimmers in my wave around me, and we occasionally passed through some dense clumps of swimmers from earlier waves—it reminded me a bit of how groups of cars cluster together on the highway. Unlike highways, though it always felt very free and spacious, with plenty of room to pass.
Around the Columbia neighborhood the wind seemed to pick up, making some bigger waves. It grew harder to see other swimmers if they were more than a couple of yards away. I swam for about a mile without being able to see anything around me—no buoys, no other swimmers, no kayaks. (I had seen the kayaks that were herding the left side of the course cross over to herd in some swimmers who were following the shoreline inward at this point). I felt a glorious sense of freedom, and part of me wished that swimming in the Hudson could always be like this—just me and the river. I didn’t worry about getting too far off course, because the stanchion in the distance was very easy to sight. However, after a while I began to get uneasy about being so alone out there—the river felt very big, and I began to feel very small. I turned over and did a few strokes of backstroke while looking around, and was reassured to see some swimmers and a kayak trailing along behind me. So I turned back over and enjoyed the sweet solitude a bit longer.
Around Riverbank I saw a couple of swimmers up ahead of me. One of them had black swimsuit straps and a recovery than looked a lot like Hannah’s. We had started in the same wave, but I hadn’t seen her since the start. I speeded up a bit to see if it was her. It was! It took me a bit to pull even with her—I had to get around the other swimmer who was nearby—but eventually I did, and we stroked together for a bit, smiling at each other when we breathed. I was hoping we would swim the rest of the race together like that, but we got separated when passing a swimmer ahead of us. We eventually got back to a place where we could see each other while swimming, though, and it made me happy to be swimming with a friend out there.
It seemed to take a long time to get past Riverbank, but soon enough I had passed it and the GW Bridge was looming up ahead. I did backstroke under it, and enjoyed looking up at the massive span, and over at its little friend for whom the race is named.
It knew it was about a mile from the GWB to the finish at Dyckman Street, so after the bridge I picked up the pace. A few hundred meters from the finish I was chasing a couple of swimmers when I felt the ankle band holding my race chip coming loose. At first I ignored it, but I was worried that it would fall off, so I stopped to fix it. (Not sure how the velcro undid itself, but it started out tight and ended up loose enough to have almost slip over my foot at this point). That ended up being a good, thing, though because I got a good look at the finish while I was stopped and saw that I was a little too far out and needed to correct course. (This intuition was confirmed by a nearby boat screaming “Turn in NOW!” a few strokes after I started up again). The finish was just past some roped-off debris; once past it you needed to make a sharp right-hand turn to finish at the boat ramp. A couple of swimmers who had judged the finish better than I got past me at this point, but the two swimmers ahead of me, who seemed intent on racing each other, had gone even further than I had. One of them got back past me on the finishing stretch, but I narrowly beat the other to the ramp. (They were both from the wave after me in any case, so both ended up with significantly faster times, but it’s always nice to have some reason to sprint to the finish in races!)
At the finish I got to see all my pals and swap race stories. The Dyckman Street area was a good place to hang out—we sat on some boulders by the river and watched the rest of the finishers come in. My sense during the race was that the course was swimming relatively “long” this year, and that was confirmed at the end. The fastest swimmers finished in 1:48, still short for a 10k, but significantly longer than last year. My time of 2:06:46 put me 38th overall (out of 299 starters / 284 finishers), 8th woman, and first in my age group. During the awards it was fun to see how many youngsters had done the swim, and how many competitors had travelled from far away.
I ended up not needing the gels I had packed in my cap—I got hungry with about a half mile to go, but by then it didn’t seem worthwhile to stop. I was very glad to get some food and water when I finished though. I appreciated the longer swim this year, in part because it made things less stacked up at the finish, and I thought this year’s course was a good one. All in all, it was another great race put on by NYCSwim, and I enjoyed the day immensely!
Last night I attended my first diving practice. Not diving as in racing starts, but springboard diving!
The team I swim for—Team New York Aquatics—added a diving team in January of 2011. Last March the local meet we held included a diving competition. I stuck around and watched. I saw not only former collegiate divers doing spectacular things, but also some of my lanemates who were relative beginners doing credible dives. I was smitten, and decided that I had to try it out.
Over the spring and summer I stayed pretty busy swimming but kept the diving in mind. So last week when I got a team email about a diving boot camp for anyone interested in trying out the sport, I signed up right away. I spent last Sunday afternoon learning some basics, and then ventured out to Queens last night for my first session on the boards.
And I loved it! Our coach is really great, and really focused on doing the basics right and progressing slowly, so the beginners group (there are five of us) just worked on jumping off the board correctly and doing some forward line-ups (basically getting your body aligned, bending over at the waist, then falling off the board in a diving position. We did these skills off both the 1m and 3m boards. The latter was a little scary at first, but having keys to focus on for each skill was helpful.
And for the record, that jumping off the board thing—it’s a little harder than it looks! The technique is a little different than jumping on land—you want to use your legs to push the board down as powerfully as possible, then get yourself into a straight, stiff line by the time the board reaches its lowest point so that it can vault you up into the air as high as possible when it rebounds. That means straightening out the spine, which is designed with curves to absorb shocks—a good thing in real life, a bad thing if you want to fly as high as possible off a springboard (or glide as far and fast as possible after flipturns)., A lot of our dryland work last night focused on getting that straight spine.
I have absolutely no background in diving. I did take a trampoline class in college, and loved that, so the idea of eventually being able to do flips in the air again appeals to me. I plan to try this diving stuff over the next few weeks or months and decide if it’s a keeper as an activity. Some questions I have: Can I do this without too much risk of an injury that will affect my swim training (I’m especially worried about my wrists and elbows—they’ve already proven somewhat delicate)? Will I be too scared once we progress to more complex skills? Is taking up springboard diving in one’s mid-40s completely insane? And if it is, do I care?
Answers to all these will come soon enough. For now, I’m having fun learning some new skills in a new sport!
Yesterday I was part of a small group test-swimming a new course in the Hudson from Cold Spring, NY north to Bannerman’s Island and back. It’s probably the most scenic swim route I’ve ever done, and a glorious day to be out on the water. The day had a little bit of everything—beauty, difficulty, adventure, and most of all fun. The course itself featured a lot of the highlights of the beautiful Stage 4 of 8 Bridges, which I had loved swimming in 2011.
The route was first swum solo by Rondi a few weeks ago; her blog gives a map of the route and a description of her trip. For Saturday’s adventure we had 9 swimmers of various speeds; part of the point of this swim was to test tidal predictions and swim times for a range of swimmers. The start was very near the MetroNorth train station in Cold Spring, a plus for those of us traveling up from the city. We were divided into four pods of swimmers, each with its own kayak or paddleboard escort, while Dave patrolled the course on Agent Orange.
We started during the latter stages of the flood (northerly) tide, and the goal was for all swimmers to reach the northern tip of Bannerman’s Island around slack in order to ride the ebb (southerly) current back to our starting point—a “tide me up, tide me down” swim, at least in theory. But since we would be catching only the last, weakest part of the flood and the corresponding early portion of the ebb, the current assist wouldn’t be very great—Rondi estimated the 10.5K swim would take around 2:45 to 3 hours for my group.
The day was wonderfully sunny, with a hint of fall crispness in the air. Strong winds from the north were predicted, and we had seen white caps on portions of the river during the train ride up. The kayak launch where we started was in a protected cove, though, so during our preparations before splash time things looked very calm. That changed as soon as we started swimming. Once we headed out beyond the cove into the main portion of the river, it became clear that the wind would be pushing some nice choppy swells directly at us for the first half of the swim.
With me in the third pod were Hannah, Willie, and Eli, with Andy kayaking alongside. We swam well together, and I could usually see all three of them to my right as we travelled along together. Stroking into the swells turned out to be fun if challenging—there were some nice roll-y waves which we were swimming directly into. I played with the water’s undulations, occasionally switching to dolphin kick with freestyle arms when the waves pushed my legs up behind me. Air temps were in the 60s, but the water was warm, in the upper 70s. Still, with the wind, it was pleasant feeling the sun on my back as we swam along.
We passed the densely wooded rolling hills of the Hudson Highlands, punctuated by sheer rocky cliff faces. Sometimes I would roll over to do backstroke and admire the puffy clouds moving along rapidly overhead. When I did that, the waves breaking over my head would send sprays of water over my face that left enough space for me to breathe. I really liked that effect, and played around with it several times on the trip up.
Our pod swimming upstream: me, Hannah,Willie, Eli
(Photo credit A. Moore)
We could see Bannerman’s Island in the distance, and I would occasionally pick up my head to see it getting closer. We stopped once or twice for leisurely feeds—it takes a while to feed four swimmers from one kayak—but otherwise stroked steadily along. Our instructions had been to swim steadily at a comfortable pace up to the island, in order to get there before the tide changed—then on the way back we could “play tourist” all we wanted.
As we neared the island the water grew flatter and much easier to swim in. At the time I thought the wind had died down, but in retrospect it seems we were just being sheltered from the wind and waves by the island itself. Around this time the fourth pod caught up to us, and Rondi joined in with our group. As we neared Bannerman we all stopped for a final feed before heading clockwise around the island and its ruins.
Bannerman’s Island is a bit of a curiosity. It’s a small bit of land about 300m from the eastern shore of the Hudson, and contains what looks like the crumbling ruins of a medieval castle on its northern side. The ruins are actually those of an arsenal built around the turn of the twentieth century by a munitions baron. The island and ruins are clearly visible from the railroads that run along the Hudson’s eastern shore, and when passengers first see the structure they wonder what the heck it is, and what it’s doing out there in the middle of the river. The site is now owned by New York State, and tours of the island are given every weekend.
Hannah and Eli swim past Bannerman
(Photo credit A. Moore)
As we headed up the west side of the island, we could see that one of those tours was about to start—people were disembarking from an official-looking boat onto the island’s dock. The idea flickered through my mind that we could climb out and join in—I’ve always wanted to go on a Bannerman’s Island tour, but have never been up there at the right time. But mostly by this point I was preoccupied with the swimming. Conditions had grown tough fast. Once we were no longer sheltered by the island, the wind hit us again with full force, and it was apparent that the tide had turned early and was ebbing south as we were trying to make our way north. It took some hard swimming at this point to make it to the north tip of the island and round the point, but we all managed.
When we finally rounded the tip and reached the eastern side of the island we were able to float and chat for a bit, marveling at how fast the current was carrying us back southward. It was fun watching the scenery go by as we relaxed in the water for a bit. The trip back seemed like it would be much easier, with both the wind and current with us.
We swam together for a while, then split up as we were joined by a second kayak—Eli and Willie went on ahead with Rondi, while Hannah and I enjoyed a more leisurely pace. We took full advantage of the “playing tourist” provision, stopping and making sense of the different landmarks we passed. Hannah showed me the road she loved biking on Storm King Mountain, we stopped to admire the view of West Point in the distance, the Croton Aquaduct tunnel, and whatever else happened to catch our attention. Andy proved to be an excellent tour guide as well as kayaker. Hannah was kind enough to share some of her wonderful feeds with me—applesauce and chocolate pudding. (I had only brought juice and water for this trip, and was missing my figgy pops around the 3h mark). I really enjoyed the meandering journey back to where we started—races are all well and good, but I think I enjoy social open-water swimming even more.
Finally we arrived back at where we had started. The entire swim took us around 3h20m. It was a spectacularly beautiful trip, and a really wonderful way to spend a glorious early fall day in the Hudson Valley.
It’s been a good week so far. Monday was a solo easy day after Sunday’s 2-mile race:
1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)
8 x 100, odds IM @ 1:45, evens BK @ 1:30, everything long and stretchy
Tuesday I swam with Rondi at the Y and did the following:
1100 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s, 100 IM kick)
5 x 450 FR, with 2 x 50s BK inching their way through each one
Today I swam with TNYA at John Jay. We had five in our lane, which worked fine as we were all very similar speeds. Brad was on deck, and we did the following:
150 FR, 100 IM kick
150 FR, 100 IM drill
150 FR, 100 IM swim
[plus there was another 250 of warmup I didn’t get to—I tend to take stretching intermissions]
7 x 150, pull optional: 3 @ 2:20, 4 @ 2:05 [I did the first 3 pull w/paddles, working on bilat breathing,
then the last 4 swim.]
8 x 125 @ 2:10, odds = FL/BK/BR/FR/FL (aka fly-to-fly IM); evens = BK
9 x 100 FR: 1 ez @ 2:00 + 5 steady @ 1:25 + 3 descend @ 1:45 [1:10 on fastest]
Continuation of main set that coach didn’t initially post lest a too long set frighten us but which we had more or less guessed was coming anyway
10 x 75 @ 1:45, done as 2 FL kick, 2 BK kick, 1 ez swim, 2 BR kick, 2 FR kick, 1 ez swim
I had a really fun time at the Lake Hopatcong Open Water Festival yesterday. The 2-mile swim doubled as the USMS 2-mile OW championship, so I had been seeing the announcement for it on the left of my flog entry screen for the last few months. The lake is only an hour west of here, and many people had told me about how nice it was to swim there, so when it turned out that I had the weekend free I decided to sign up.
In contrast to Saturday’s storms, Sunday dawned gorgeous and sunny, with a hint of fall in the air. Kenn and I drove out from the city—gotta love Zipcars!—and arrived around 7am. The air temp was in the high-50s, making me glad I’d packed my swim parka. We were assured that the water was warm, though, and it was, around 75. After registering and getting marked I warmed up with almost a full loop of the one-mile course which we would circle twice. The water was flat and the buoys were easy to see. There were plentiful lake weeds that sometimes got stuck on my hands and arms for a stroke or two, but they seemed harmless. One thing I did notice was that the low sun was very glaring when coming back towards the start, so I switched to some mirrored goggles for the race. I’d been carrying a pair around in my bag all year, but this was the first time I felt like I needed them. Here’s to being prepared!
This race featured an in-water start and finish. We wore chips on our wrists, and at the finish were to swim to a low dock where a mat had been placed, and get our wrists close enough to it so that our chips would register. It was the first time I’d used this system, and it reminded me a bit of the open-water finish at the Olympics, where the swimmers got to smack an overhead board to register their finish. Cool!
We were instructed to line up by race number to receive our race briefing. This seemed like it was going to be a lot of time standing around in cold air in a wet suit, so I kept my parka and flipflops on, and was glad I did. Finally we headed down to the water. The 2-mile race was divided by speed into two waves of 50 swimmers each. I was in the first one, and was glad to finally get back into the water to await the start.
My goal in this race was to actually race others, not just be off in my own JanetWorld communing with the pretty water while the rest of the swim went on around me. I’d only done longer swims so far this year, and I was a little worried that my tactical skills weren’t up to snuff, and that my competitive instincts were a little rusty. But I was inspired by reading Patrick’s accounts of his races, in which he always seems to know who and where his competition is. I had looked at the start list before the swim, and noted that in my age group there were no superstars showing up for the event, just a bunch of us area swimmers who were of roughly similar ability. It seemed like a good opportunity to go for an age-group win, and also a chance to get back into competitive mode and really relish racing others.
The hardest part of that for me was the start—I’ve grown to dislike the contact and chaos of mass-open water starts. I really prefer to start far off to the side and build gently into my swims, when a better strategy would often call for going out hard in hopes of finding clearer water (unlikely, and probably unnecessary here where I was seeded around 20th out of just 50 in our wave), or at least some faster person to draft on. I did a pretty good job with my start on Saturday, nudging over towards the far left side of the imaginary starting line (which gave a slightly shorter route) to avoid too much crowdedness but taking it out at a decent clip. Instead of the dozen people that I generally pass back by after the first 100m of a race, I only passed a couple. And happily, one of them was Lynne, the woman I expected to be the toughest competition in my age group—we started near each other, and I had managed to keep an eye on her as we got underway. We ended up swimming side-by-side for a few hundred yards on the first leg, before I pulled ahead so we could go around the first buoy single file.
On the back half of the first loop, I managed to bridge up to the two swimmers ahead of me, and settled behind them for a bit to get some draft. Soon they started to separate, so I passed the woman I was immediately behind and got behind the guy in front of her, who had a notably robust kick. Unfortunately I wasn’t drafting as efficiently as I would have liked off him—I didn’t trust his sighting and set my own line, which put me behind him sometimes but off to the side at others. Still, he stayed ahead of me, and as we finished the first loop I rolled over on my back to confirm that Lynne and the other woman I had passed were still right behind me. They were.
I picked it up slightly going into the second lap and got a bit of separation from the folks behind me, but was still unable to get past the hard-kicking guy in front, and in any case there seem to be anyone close enough ahead of him to bridge up to. I had really gotten into whole racing thing by this point, and wanted to beat whomever I could. That meant staying ahead of the swimmers behind me, and saving up enough to outsprint them to the line if they tried to come around me, all while trying to find a way to pass they guy in front of me before the end of the race. I was feeling a little fatigued, but also very energized and excited—this was fun!
About midway through the last ½-mile leg of the swim the guy in front of me veered to the outside, I took a better line, and once he corrected course we ended up swimming alongside each other, and pushing each other to the finish. I was about at the limit of how fast I could swim without totally selling out, and we were still too far from the finish for that—my hope was to hang on beside him until we got within spitting distance of the dock, then put in a kamikaze sprint to the mat. Unfortunately for me he had other plans, ticking it up a notch with about 150y to go, and I just couldn’t keep pace. He went right by me, and I stayed on his feet the best I could, summoning up all the speed I had, and ended up finishing about a body length behind him. Right on my feet was Lynne—she had put in a good finishing kick too, trying to catch me. We all thanked each other for pushing us to swim our best, and lolled around in the shallow water for a while watching and cheering on others as they finished. That was nearly as fun as the racing!
Between the finish and the awards there was plenty of time to hang out, enjoy some hot chocolate, cheer on the participants in the other races (a 1-mile and ¼-mile were also offered), and watch the K-9 demonstration that had been arranged. (There was a charming doggy theme to the whole event—the t-shirts and medals featured a dog’s likeness, and chocolate paw-print lollipops were in the goody bags).
And when the awards came, it turned out that while Lynne and I had beaten all the other 45-49 women from our heat, we were both bested by Bridgette in wave 2. So I got second overall in the age groupl.* Despite not getting the win, I was very pleased with my swim. I felt I had done a good job racing, and was reassured that I haven’t lost my competitive spirit—or my ability to sight for myself--by doing so many long events. (I realized somewhere during the race that it was the first time all summer I hadn’t had a kayak or boat to guide my course).
*(But there’s a postscript: It turns out that there was a timing snafu with the second wave, and that some swimmers had too much time deducted. I think this was only discovered because Bridgette started her own watch and noted the discrepancy between her official time and what her own watch recorded. So now she, as race director, has the unenviable job of sorting through the results provided by the timing company and trying to fix them. Not sure if this will affect my placing—it sounds like it will take a while to sort it all out!)
Updated September 10th, 2012 at 05:34 PM by swimsuit addict