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I enjoyed a totally delightful swim out at Brighton Beach today. After a week of sweltering heat and thunderstorms, we finally had a gloriously clear and cool day. I took the subway out, arriving around 10 and meeting up with my friend Cara coming out of the Brighton station. There was a decent crowd on the beach, and the array of bags on the sand indicated that even more CIBBOWS swimmers were already out in the waves.
And waves there were! Brighton is on the Atlantic, but because it is somewhat protected we rarely get true surf out there--conditions generally range from flat to quite choppy, depending on the wind. But today there were true waves, probably stirred up by yesterday's storms, with breakers rolling onto the sand--we actually had to dive under to get out beyond them. Once out in deeper water, there was little chop, just nice undulating ocean to swim in. It was easy going in both directions, and the water seemed downright playful as it tossed me gently around.
I swam a bit with Cara, then went off on my own toward the pier, passing and greeting several groups of swimmers who had left the beach before me. At the pier I stopped and floated, watching the landmarks on shore and marveling at how fast the current was still pushing me westward. No wonder the trip out had seemed to go by so quick!
I headed back before I got pushed into any fishing lines (or hooks). The going back was obviously slower, but I didn't care. It was wonderful to swim playfully and not be in a hurry--I was just enjoying my time in the water. As I neared my starting point I recognized some CIBBOWS swimmers playing in the waves, so I swam in and chatted with them, and then with some others on the beach. It was nice to take the time to see people--I feel like I haven't been at the beach much this summer, or have socialized too little when out there, and have ended up seeing too little of my beach buddies. Not today! After visiting, I got a drink then headed back out to finish my loop.
The second dip was just as much fun as the first, and somehow the water always seems even more refreshing the second time around. I'm glad the temps seem to have dropped since last week--today the water felt completely comfortable instead of too warm. And I felt no sea lice or jellies today--maybe the storms washed them out to sea? We can always hope! I finished my swim with a joyful mini-IM, then a long float, before heading in and changing.
Tomorrow I'm back out at bright and early (5:45am!) to help with the annual Grimaldo's Mile race, and then maybe to get in a little swim of my own afterwards. I've been assigned "body marking" duty, which I think means I get to draw funny pictures on entrants, along with the occasional number. (I'll be brushing up on my Roman numerals tonight.). I hope the weather and water are just as good tomorrow for the milers as they were today. Grimaldo's is always a fun race, and I'm proud I'll be a part of it!
Last night I went up on my second pool tourism outing in as many days. The destination was Crotona Park pool in the Bronx, a 100-meter-long beauty that I had visited once before.
Last night we had a great turnout of pool tourists-there were 9 of us there ready to play. Did the addition of that many make evening lap swimming crowded? No, it did not--in fact we had the entire pool to ourselves! Yes, here in a city of 8-million-plus, my 8 friends and I were the only ones who showed up for free(!) evening lap swim in this 100m x 40y gem of a pool.
So what did we do? The evening featured a 4-length 400 IM (of course!), some eyes-shut lengths to check out how straight we were swimming (there were a few collisions with the side walls/ropes here), multiple figure-eight laps around the two big pyramids that rise out of the pool's center (with mutual hand-pulling assistance whenever swimmers crossed paths), some "circle swimming" around said pyramids, a half-hearted game of Marco Polo (too much real estate), some other games, a few just regular laps (albeit loooong ones), and lots of giggles. It was a fun night.
This morning at Riverbank my lanemates and I discussed going back to Crotona for morning lap swim--for training rather than tourism purposes. I'm definitely considering that--it's a longer commute than RB, there are no lane lines or black lines, but swimming 100m before you hit a wall was really cool! Plus the water was cooler than at Riverbank. I'm definitely considering it.
In the mean time, this was my Riverbank workout this morning. My scy set was inspired by water rat's "dullest workout ever."
400 lcm warmup (swim)
(switch to outdoor pool to swim in rain)
600 scy warmup (200k, 200p, 200d/s IM)
8 x 100 @ 1:40: 2 FR, 2 BK, 2 FR, 2 IM
(There's no clock or flags outside, so I set my tempo trainer to :20 and tried to beat the beeps to each wall, then had an extra 20 seconds until the next beeps signaled go. And I had to be mindful about counting backstrokes to avoid hitting my head.)
200 FR pull with paddles, bilat. breathing
8 x 100 @ 1:35: 2 FR, 2 BK, 2 FR, 2 IM
(TT set to :19, worked the FRs by trying to beat the beeps, BK and IM were moderate)
200 FR pull, bilat. breathing
Then instead of doing a third round I decided to wander back in to the LCM indoor pool (it had stopped raining) to work on my FR some.
300 pull with paddles, bilat. breathing
4 x 50 FR with tempo trainer (66-68 spm)
4 x 50 FR (20m sprint + 20m easy)
300 warmdown + play + diving for treasure at the bottom of the pool
That was it! Happy weekend everyone!
This morning I gathered with 6 other pool tourists at the Jackie Robinson pool, located within the NYC Rec Center and park of the same name at 145th St., less than a quarter mile east of the A/B/C/D subway stop. The pool is one of 10 large outdoor facilities dating from 1936, and its measurements are listed at 235' x 82' x 3.5' on the parks department website. I was looking forward to swimming 70+ meter laps, but unfortunately one section of the pool was closed (due to staffing issues) in the morning, so lap-swimming took place width-wise. Still, a nice outdoor 25m pool in a lovely park setting is a very good thing!
We took full advantage of the setting by doing several baseball- and Jackie Robinson-themed sets. (Not to mention that with no lanelines or lines on the bottom to guide us or the other early-bird lap swimmers, we all were Dodgers this morning! ) Here's some of the workout's highlights:
Warmup: 9 x 50 scm FR, with a stretching break in the middle of the 7th [I tried to get everyone to sing "Take me out to the ball game" during our stretching break, but no luck.]
In honor of 42
4 x 42 strokes freestyle [We stopped wherever we were after the 42nd stroke, noted the location, then regrouped at the wall before the next one. Goal was to try and better the total distance each time.]
Hitting for the cycle
1 length FR (single)
2 lengths FR (double)
3 lengths FR (triple)
4 lengths FR (homerun!)
then back down
We later repeated the first part of this set IM, in honor of JR's versatility (lettered in 4 sports at UCLA!)
4 x (12.5 easy, 12.5 sprint to feet) Stealing home requires a long and stealthy lead-off--hence the half-length easy--before an explosive sprint. We stretched the metaphor by trying to "slide" into the wall, with varied success.
[nomedia="http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6XY-XshGhMU"]YouTube - Jackie Robinson Steals Home[/nomedia]
We did some other stuff, but mostly this was a social workout and a chance to swim in a new pool. Afterwards we cooled off in the sprinkler park / children's play area. It was an excellent way to start a hot summer NYC day!
Swam with TNYA today--here's what I did:
700 scy warmup
FR drill progression--2x through
4 x (25 kick with rotation from side to side, hands by side + 25 FR) @ 1:05
4 x 50 shark fin drill @ 1:15 (rotate then recover hand to armpit 3 times before each stroke)
2 x 100 FR @ 1:40, working rotation and high elbows
4 x 150 FR @ 2:30 [2:00s]
4 x 50 kick @ 1:15 [RIMO, 45-52]
4 x 150 FR @ 2:20 [1:52-1:54s]
3 x 50 kick @ 1:15 [50-55s]
4 x 150 FR @ 2:10 [2:00s--merged into warmdown]
It was nice to slow things down and work on technique this morning. I was sore from ballet class last night--I'd missed a few weeks, and the first class back is always tough--so I appreciated the opportunity to stretch out and focus on specific things. Sean was on deck, and he's always good at finding things to improve in our strokes.
There was good news after the workout: The sut spinner that had been taking up valuable locker room space at John Jay for the last 6 months is finally hooked up and working! Woohoo!!
I had a good workout this morning at Riverbank--shared a friendly lane with Rondi, Andrew, Jenny, Sandy, and a few other brief visitors. Here's what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
3 x magic 700s
1st: alternating FR/BK in a 1/1/2/1/3/1/4/1 (lengths) pattern,
2nd: FR/BK again, but backwards (4/1/3/1/2/1/1/1)
3rd: alternating FR swim/kick, same pattern as on #1, using tempo trainer to keep stroke rate at 62
4 x 150 K/D/S IM order
Pieces of IM set
4 x 50, IM order, @ 1:10
3 x 100 IM pieces (FL/BK, BK/BR, BR/FR) @ 2:15
2 x 150 IM pieces (FL/BK/BR, BK/BR/FR) @ :30 rest
200 IM [3:26]
My strokes felt pretty rusty at the beginning of this series--I've been neglecting them lately--but I was getting in touch with my inner IMer by the end of the set.
200 pull with paddles
switch to outdoor pool
200 scy warmdown + play
I did a tough rowing (erg machine) workout at the Y this morning with my husband:
4 x 4-minute pieces, steady effort [goal was to keep them all under 2:15 pace; went 2:14.6, 2:14.2, 2:13.6, 2:14.3]
3 x 1-minute pieces, desc. [2:25.6, 2:09.3, 1:59.5]
(Did 2-minutes of active rest between all pieces)
Short warmdown + stretch
It was a lovely gray morning out at Brighton today. I arrived a bit after 8, not sure if anyone else would be there that early, but I ended up getting to meet a new swimmer and chat with my friend Eileen before hopping in the water with my towable dry bag for a loop. If I had waited a little longer I could have swum a super-duper-loop with my pal Gilles and his amazing watersled, but I was impatient to get going--my loss! I just swam a regular loop, although in the reverse direction than I usually go. There was a small swim/run race that had started in Coney Island at 7:30, and when I got in I could see the buoys from the swim course still set up near the pier. Since I didn't want to confuse any of the swimmers in the race with my buoy-colored tow bag, I went the other way--to the White Building--first. By the time I headed to the pier the race buoys were gone, so I didn't have to worry about leading anyone off course.
I had company for part of my swim--three swimmers I didn't recognize were gathered at the White Building when I got there, so I stopped and said hi, and we swam mostly together on the way east. I enjoyed the pleasant water and the clouded-over sky. It was very easy going in both directions, with minimal current and just gentle undulations in the water.
I stopped for a drink of dilute fruit juice at the pier, then headed back, enjoying having the ocean to myself. I could see the guards just setting up as I got back to Grimaldo's chair, and the familiar sight of CIBBOWS swimmers gathered on the beach. I came in and dropped off my tow bag, then greeted and chatted--lots of folks were out today, and many were just readying to get in as I arrived. I thought about getting back in with them--I was still feeling energetic, it was a beautiful day for a swim, so why not two? I decided to go back in for a second loop.
It was as pleasant and dreamy as the first, and without the tow bag I felt very light in the water. This time I went the usual direction--chair to pier to white building to chair. I swam with Charles some on the way to the out, and stopped and chatted with other swimmers coming and going. There were a lot of us out by now, so I was vigilent about sighting so I wouldn't run head-on into anyone. I felt a little arm-tired on the last bit to the pier and back, but by then I was almost done. The sun peeked out from the clouds a few times, but mostly the sky stayed clouded over and the day cool--my favorite kind of summer beach day! After I got done I enjoyed a sandwich on the beach, heard about others' recent swims, and hung out a bit before heading back home. Hurray for double dips!
I had a very mellow solo swim at Brighton today. I arrived a little after 9, before the guards came on duty, so instead of stowing my stuff under the guard chair i packed up my towable dry bag with purse and clothes and headed out for a loop. The water was fairly warm and very flat, with only a mild western current--it was very easy going in both directions. I swam down to the pier under a mostly cloudy sky, with the sun peeking through every now and again and lighting up the water with green sunbeams. There were a few divers out to my left--I waved at them as I went by.
It was sweet to be swimming past the Coney Island rides, and I smiled to see the familiar sights as I stroked along. I had clipped a feed bottle onto my dry bag, so I was able to stop at the pier for some sips of watered-down raspberry-orange juice before I headed back. My hands hit a few soft things in the water, and there were a couple of spots that smelled intensely fishy, but none of that bothered me. I was enjoying the calm seas and just happy swimming along by myself in the big green ocean.
There were some tiny crunchy jellies by the big jetty, the kind that can get stuck between your fingers--I had to shake out my hands every now and again to get rid of them. I finished my loop, and discovered when I got out that the dry bag part of my contraption had failed at being dry. I thought it had started to feel heavy towards the end of my swim! The first few times I had used it I had put everything in zp-lock bags before closing them up into the dry bag, but since it had never leaked I had stopped doing that. (Fortunately I had still been putting my billfold and phone, when I carry it, into zip-lock bags).
So today I ended up with clothes that were soaked through at the end of my swim. But it was no big deal--i wrung them out and laid them out to dry while I ate my sandwich and read my book on the beach, content to have an excuse to spend some extra time out on the sand. And since it was just a light wool shirt and a skirt made out of tech fabric, the drying went quickly. Soon they had gone from soaked to just damp, and I was able to get dressed and head back to the subway, happy both to have gotten in a bonus beach morning on a weekday, and to have discovered the secret to staying cool on a hot summer day: dress in damp clothing!
I had a nice swim at Riverbank this morning with Rondi and Andrew. Here's what i did:
1000 lcm warmup
50 easy to get to less-mosquitoed end of pool
4 x 100 FR fast @ 1:30
1 x 100 CH easy @ 3:00
[I enjoyed this set--it was a good mix of hard effort (on the 1:30s) and social time (on the easy, which got extended from 2:00 to a bit longer). I was glad to see that I can still do 1:30 repeats lc--I was holding 1:26s throughout the set.]
8 x 50 (25 fist drill, 25 swim) @ 1:00ish, working on maintaining high stroke rate
450 kick + pull
200 warmdown + play
Today's workout was a close cousin of my solo Y workout on Tuesday--sometimes you like a set and just want to do it again:
1000 scy warmup
4 x 100 FR @ 1:20
100 easy @ 2:00
[Some of the 100s on this set got merged into 200s--if lap-swim lanemates were kind enough to stop to let me by as I was finishing a 100, I flipped rather than touched and just kept going]
500 warmdown + play
I don't have any events scheduled between now and late August. I am really looking forward to having a chunk of time to get in some solid training--the last 2+ months have seemed like a never-ending cycle of trying to recover from my last thing while getting ready for my next one. It's nice to have a little break from that, and just be able to enjoy training with friends.
I'm hoping to sneak out to the beach tomorrow morning for a bonus loop before the weekend officially starts. Vermont was great, but I miss my urban beach!
I had a great weekend in Vermont. I went up for Saturday’s 10-mile Kingdom Swim. It was my first time in that area, and I found it stunningly beautiful. I ended up flying to Burlington and driving from there, and that drive over, near the Canadian border, was pretty amazing—lots of vivid green fields and red barns, under a cloud-dotted blue sky. It almost looked like a child’s drawing of farmland, and the hilly terrain afforded broad vistas as I drove along. Farm stands dotted the little road I was driving along—it took some discipline to limit myself stopping at just a couple during the 2-hour drive.
I got in a warmup swim in Lake Memphremagog on Friday, then went on a boat tour of the swim course, which had been buoyed that morning. I’m not sure how useful the boat tour was—the buoys seemed too far away to sight while swimming, and all swimmers had an escort kayaker, whom I planned to let worry about where we supposed to go. But it was definitely pleasant to be out on the water, and I liked seeing where I would be swimming, plus I picked up a few landmarks that would let me know when the end of the race was near. And ViveBene was on the same boat! I was glad to finally get to meet her in person, and it was fun chatting with her and the other swimmers and getting tips from those who had done the event in previous years.
The forecast for Saturday mentioned possible thunderstorms, and the morning was cloudy and humid. I listened carefully during the race briefing for the in-case-of-lightning instructions. (Three air-horn blasts meant pod up with other nearby swimmers so that motor boats could pick us up quickly). I had met my assigned kayaker, Bob, the previous evening, after exchanging emails with him earlier, and I was pleased that he would be guiding me through the course. I gave him my feeds and some extra goggles, then watched as he and the other kayakers paddled into position—they would pick us up after we rounded the course’s first buoy. I made careful note of what he was wearing and his kayak color so that I could find him—those were easier to spot in a crowd than the numbered race bibs.
There were 68 of us in the 10-mile race. We lined up on the beach, the air horn blasted, and off we went. I started off to the far left side, and waded in gingerly—there were some rocks on the bottom I didn’t want to bruise my feet on, and I figured 10 miles was long enough that I didn’t have to worry about racing people out to the turn buoy some 150 yards off shore. I settled into an easy rhythm, had no trouble finding my paddler, and we headed over to the first buoy on the other side of the lake.
Rxleakem has provided a nice account of the course in his wonderful write-up of the swim. I was happy not worrying about buoys and just stroking along beside my kayaker—I didn’t see most of the buoys until we were right beside them. The first leg of the race up the west side of the lake was easy going, and I enjoyed looking at the scenery and the sky, which seemed to be clearing and letting some sunbeams through. I was surprised when we stopped for a feed and Bob told me we were headed across the lake—the first part of the swim had passed by quickly.
I could see Canada! The northern part of the course goes very near the border (the lake is in both countries).
There was a bit of chop as we left the shoreline for less protected waters, and it grew steadily greater as we headed towards the two islands that the course wends round. It got fairly rough here, and as I watched the kayak getting bounced around I was grateful to be in the water rather than on it. Despite the wind, which had picked up considerably, we were able to keep a fairly tight line on the buoys, I think—my kayaker frequently sails on that lake, and so had some good experience in accounting for breezes when charting a course. The going here was hard, and I got a little tired of the chop before it got tired of being choppy, but eventually the wind died down a bit and my stroke again felt more organized and efficient.
Soon the big green sloping green lawn I had noticed on the boat ride came into view on the eastern shore. One of my fellow swimmers had pointed it out to me, saying that last year there were two kids rolling down it as she swam past, and that it looked like such fun she wanted to join them! It did look like an excellent rolling hill, but alas there were no kids out enjoying it this year. Still, I knew it meant I would soon round the final point and head in towards the finish, and so I enjoyed seeing it.
On the final swim into the beach I found a little extra energy to hold off another nearby swimmer, then finally waded ashore, where I got a big hug and congrats from Emma. A familiar face at NYC-area ow swims, she did this race just a few days after setting a record for the Ederle swim course, and then stayed at the finish line all through the afternoon congratulating everyone as they came in. Did I mention she’s just 17? Such a great kid—it’s always a delight to see her at these events!
Also awaiting me at the finish line was my friend Michael. I was surprised and delighted to see him—we’d last crossed paths in Iceland. He was staying with some friends in the area and decided to come over to the swim. I hung out in the shade with him for much of the afternoon watching swimmers triumphantly cross the finish line.
The threatened thunder showers not only held off during the swim, they disappeared altogether, and it turned into a lovely sunny afternoon. I got to visit with Kent and Candy from the Arizona swim series—he had a great swim, and his son won the 10-U mile race! There were lots of kids races, which I thought was great, with distances ranging from 100y to a mile, as well as some age groupers among the 3-, 6-, and 10-mile swimmers. Great to see so much excitement about OW from the next generation!
I ended up finishing 6th among 19 women, with a time of 5:00:24. After all the swimmers were in, I went back to the hotel for a well deserved rest, then out to a nice dinner with Suzanne, Ali, and Sandy. I slept well that night.
I was initially a little disappointed with my swim, but the more I talked to other swimmers and reflected, the more satisfied I became. I felt that the swim had gotten long and sloggy in the middle, and confess that at times I was feeling a little sorry for myself when swimming through the rough chop. But pretty much everyone found the swim difficult; many others also half-wished they would hear those three blasts when the going got tough, or remonstrated with themselves for not signing up for one of the shorter distances. I think my problem was more with my expectations than with my performance—I somehow got it into my head that these swims were failures unless I was enjoying every minute of the experience. I was fortunate to have some fine swims last season where that was the case, but I need to expect that there will be some ups and downs in longer swims, and find some satisfaction and pride in persevering through it all.
My last two days in Vermont were spent visiting other little lakes in the region. There are a glorious lot of them, and the drives between them are simply delightful. My favorite was Willoughby lake, which is the venue for a 4.75-mile swim in August. I swam there both Sunday and Monday mornings. It is surrounded by steep hills, and has clear water with great visibility—and some pretty big fish! They spooked me at first but I grew to enjoy seeing them swim around underneath me. I was very pleased to have brought my orange Swimmer Safety drybag along. It’s exactly the right tool for lake-hopping—I could drive to any beach, park, leave most of my stuff in the car, stash keys and a few essentials in the dry bag, and swim off to my heart’s content, knowing I was very visible to the minimal boat traffic on these lakes. I’d love to go back up and visit this area next summer and explore these lakes a little more!
We had a good group this morning at Riverbank--3 x JHs, Hannah, and Andrew. The plan was to swim in the outdoor 25y pool, which is now open for the short summer season (July-Labor Day), then go out to a new neighborhood bakery. The outdoor pool plans were partially stymied by a light rain/mist () but once the sky cleared they opened it up and we paraded out to swim under the open sky. In the meantime we played together in the indoor pool:
1000 lcm warmup
Follow the leader:
quirky 50s, with whoever suggesting them taking the lead--we did corkscrew IM (50 each stroke), feet-first IM (50s each stroke), dolphin dives, backward dolphin dives, freestyle arms with breaststroke legs, breaststroke legs wth freestyle arms, one-arm alternating fly (which felt a lot like freestyle with fly legs), and some more stuff I can't remember
switch to outdoor pool
500 IM set
2 x 100 IM
Some sprints and other stuff + warmdown
That was it! Today was all about the fun, and fun it was. Afterwards we went to the bakery, then sat outside with our treats--a great way to start the holiday!
It's been a good week for visiting with swimming friends from far and near. Besides this morning's workout, I got to crew for Amanda "no-chicken-of-the-sea" in her beautiful swim from the GW Bridge to the VZ bridge, and even got to stroke along with her for a bit. And on Tuesday morning I got to see AZTimm during his swing through the city! Very happy to have fellow swimmers traveling though!
GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE IN OMAHA! AND LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING ALL THE KINGDOM SWIMMERS IN A FEW DAYS!
This morning i rowed at the Y with Mr. Addict. Here's what i did:
10 minute warmup, with drills and power-10s
2 x 4-minute piece [2:30, 2:18]
2:00 rest / easy paddle
2 x 3-minute piece [2:29, 2:14]
2:00 rest / easy paddle
2 x 2-minute piece [ 2:28, 2:08]
2-minute rest/easy paddle
2 x 1-minute piece [2:23, 2:07]
My goal was to row the first piee of each twosie at an honest pace, then work a little harder on the second, and to descond the columns--I did that pretty easily.
I've been enjoying the Olympic Trials on tv most nights, but the highlight for me came yesterday. Local Asphalt Green swimmer Lia Neal--17 years old--squeaked into the 8th position for the women's 100 FR final; she then swam a lifetime best to finish 4th and qualify fot the team in the 4x100 relay. Very exciting, both for her and the entire AGUA team!
Good luck to everyone in their final preparations for nationals--it will be so cool to swim in that pool after all the inspiring swims we've there over the past week!
I had a gentle recovery workout today with TNYA at the Columbia pool. This practice is not a regular one for me, but after waking up on the late side this morning I decided I needed a swim in a pool with cool water, preferably with a team, since I wasnt feeling terribly motivated to swim on my own. The 11am workout fit the bill, and I was glad I went, since as a bonus I got to see some of my favorite teammates whose practice schedules usually don't coincide with mine. Matt was on deck coaching; here's what I did:
500 scy warmup
12 x 50 @ 1:00, various FR drills and DPS
30 x 50 FR
10 @ 1:00
8 @ :55
6 @ :50
4 @ :45
2 @ :40
[descended these by :02 on each set from 41s to 33s]
400 pull with 1/3/5/1 breathing pattern (by 25s)
It was a good workout--I felt smooth and in control of my pace throughout.
On Thursday of this week I got in a bit more swimming in the Hudson as a support swimmer for two of my CIBBOWS pals who were swimming Stage 2 of 8 Bridges. That was a good experience--I initially wasn't excited about getting back in the river after my experience on Tuesday, but once there I felt my usual exuberance, and was gratified to find that the water and I were still good friends after all. Plus it's always just plain fun to swim with friends and feel like you're supporting them--I got to swim under the finishing bridge twice, and be among the first to congratulate my pals on their achievement. It doesn't get much better than that!
Yesterday I swam Stage 2 of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, 19.8 miles from Kingston to Poughkeepsie. It was a tough stretch out on the water, and I struggled from beginning to end, but also found some beauty and pleasure in the day.
Things started out sweetly, with an overnight upstate with 3 friends who were also doing and helping out with the swim. I had a beautiful train ride up, tracking the completion of Stage 1 on my phone while I rode alongside the river. I got a pickup at the train station, and we enjoyed an early dinner and bedtime. In the early morning three us of packed up feeds, and we all headed over to the Poughkeepsie docks, parking the car near where we would finish that afternoon and catching shuttle van provided by the NY State Bridge authority up to Rondout Creek, where we boarded our boat for a half-hour chug up to the start.
Onboard, I explained feeds to my kayaker Pat, and we discussed where I preferred to have her positioned. I applied sunscreen, then put back on some clothes over my suit, as the morning was clouded over and windy. I was glad for the cool weather, as I knew the water was on the warm side (it had been 77 the day before). The day’s four swimmers (Rondi, Grace, Lisa, and me) huddled below deck to stay out of the wind. When we reached the bridge the kayaks and paddlers unloaded, the swimmers lubed up, Launch 5 moved us directly under the bridge, and it was splash time! We jumped in, had a quick countdown, and were off.
The sky was very dark as we set out. I settled into a rhythm beside the kayak, enjoying the dramatic dark sky and the view of the bridge behind me (I could see it as I was breathing). My body felt awkward in the water, and after a bit, even before my first feed, my upper arm muscles started feeling bunchy. Hmm—maybe I wasn’t rotating enough, and was muscling my recovery too much rather than making it a more ballistic movement? I did my kicking progression a couple of times through to feel a better connection between my arms and legs, and was able to use my kick to help me rotate more, and things started feeling better.
Feeds came and went, and I watched the scenery pass by as I worked on different things in my stroke. I realized I had been lifting my head higher than usual to watch my kayaker as I breathed, so I focused on keeping one goggle in the water when I turned my head. The sun broke through the clouds from time to time, and I turned over to look now and again at the ever-changing sky. It seemed to take a while before the starting bridge receded into the distance, but I knew that the current would start out weak or nil, then picks up as the day went along before fading towards the end—the swims are timed to the tides, which are on a roughly 6-hour cycle.
At one feeding my kayaker told me she had seen a bald eagle—Hannah had seen one too the day before during her swim. Cool! I tried to enjoy the scenic surroundings as they passed by, But all the little things were bothering me—my goggles felt too tight, the wind was making it difficult to stay a comfortable distance away from the kayak, the water was on the warm side. At one point I found myself thinking to myself, “Every part of me hurts,” and I had to laugh at how not-positive self-talk I had fallen into. The sinews in my elbows and wrists began to feel overused, and I stopped a few times to stretch. I just wasn’t having one of those blissy one-with-the-water, swimming-in-the-moment days. Luckily, the conditions were pretty good all day, so the swimming itself never got too hard. (The kayaking was another matter—a stiff breeze made for some hard paddling, and I appreciated the efforts my paddler made to stay with me when the wind wanted to blow her ahead. Luckily the breeze was from the north, so it was only small swells I was swimming through.)
I began to wonder how much longer the swim would be, and considered my options—I knew I could always get on the boat if I wanted to stop, and frankly being on a boat was beginning to seem like a better deal than staying in the water. Then I thought about being on the boat, surrounded by kind people consoling me for having gotten out early, and that scenario seemed a lot less desirable. I resigned myself to finishing up the stage.
But,even in the midst of these dark moments, there were saving graces. The overcast morning had turned into a spectacular sunny afternoon, with a brilliant blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds—it really was a glorious day to be out on the river. And more importantly, I was surrounded—literally—by good people who were cheering me along. Because I was at the back of the small group of swimmers, our trailing support boat (Dave along with volunteer Terry) had been hovering around all day, and as it became obvious I was fading they began to shout encouragement at every feed. In addition to Pat, volunteer Ryan had joined in as a kayaker, so I had one to either side of me, and they were both upbeat presences as I stroked along. (Although I’m enough of a veteran by now to know that “You’re doing great!” often means the opposite, it still doesn’t hurt to hear it). A Coast Guard boat, chugging along nearby for much of the day to keep commercial traffic clear of us, or vice versa, completed the flotilla around me.
And to top it all off, I had a wonderful support swimmer for the final 4-5 miles! Terry hopped in and swam beside me, and his welcome and calming presence helped me stroke steadily along to the finish. On the final stretch, Launch 5 circled around so that the swimmers who had already finished and the volunteers aboard could add their cheers, and John hopped in to finish the last few strokes with us and give me a big hug. A little kindness when things are rough always means a lot, and I was receiving lots and lots of it. I felt really touched and buoyed by everyone’s support. I can’t say enough good things about 8 Bridges organizers and volunteers, and the lengths they go to to get swimmers through their stages.
Done! (photo by Capt. Greg Porteus)
My finishing time was 6:31, making it my longest swim to date. Earlier this year when I was talking to pwb about the possibility of doing longer swims, such as the Channel or Catalina, I remember telling him that I hadn’t yet done any swims that didn’t turn out to be basically all-fun-all-the-time, and that I was unsure both whether I wanted to, and how I would react when that situation inevitably arose. Now I know that I can keep going even when I’m having a rough day, and things aren't all sunshine and daffodils and unicorns. Whether I want to continue putting myself in situations that will likely require that—well, that’s probably a question best considered on a day when I’m a little less sore and reeling.
One final note: Yesterday’s swim gave me even more appreciation for those attempting to swim all seven stages of this event. Dave and Rondi last year, and Rondi and Grace this year, are really going after something incredibly hard and amazing. They have finished stage 3 now, and have 4 more to go. Follow their progress at the 8 Bridges blog and facebook page!
Feed schedule for tomorrow's swim, laminated.
Bottles and such
Labeling supplies--I always liked bright-colored duct tape, now I have an excuse to use it.
Bag of extras, just in case--all clearly labeled should I need a volunteer on the boat to retrive something for me.
I leave on the train in a couple of hours--it's nice to have everything ready to go!
I had a nice easy swim with Rondi at the Y this morning. It’s been so hot here in the city, we were both worried that the Riverbank pool, which tends towards balminess in the best of times, would be ickily warm. The Y turned out to be a good choice—the pool was wonderfully cool, and surprisingly empty. We had our own lane for most of our swim/conversation. Here’s what I did:
1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)
4 x 500 FR with converging 50 BKs:
· 50 bk / 400 fr / 50 bk
· 50 fr / 50 bk / 300 fr / 50 bk / 50fr
· 100 fr / 50 bk / 200 fr / 50 bk / 100 fr
· 150 fr / 50 bk / 100 fr / 50 bk / 150 fr
[Since we were just doing 4, the backstrokes never got a chance to actually meet, so maybe the set title is misleading. The backstrokes will just have to wait for another day to meet up and kiss in the middle!]
200 warmdown + play
I haven’t been living up to my moniker recently—no fun new suits to post about in a while. I did finally get a new pull buoy, and custom be-ribboned it with festive pink polka dots. I will definitely know which one at the end of the lane is mine! I also have some very shiny new flipflops that make me smile whenever I wear them:
Happy weekend everyone!
I had a fun workout with TNYA today. I swam in the middle lane with some good fun lanemates—Hannah, EKB, Aliza, Jack, and Shane—and Brad coached. Here’s what I did:
800 scy warmup (200s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)
Loooooooooong main (only) set
6 x 100 FRIM (100 IM with fr replacing fly) @ 1:35
6 x 50, done as 2 x kick @ 1:00, 2 x bk/br @ 1:00, 2 x choice @ :50
5 x 100 (25 fly + 75 fr) @ 1:30
6 x 50 as above
4 x 100 FR @ 1:20* [1:15s]
6 x 50 as above
3 x 100 FR @ 1:30, desc.
8 x 25 choice @ :30
2 x 100 FR @ 1:25, faster
4 x 25 choice @ :30 [this was supposed to be 8, but I moved over to the next lane for the final 100, and they were 4 25s ahead of us]
1 x 100 fast [1:10]
*This set brought controversy and excitement to our lane! During warmup, Brad had asked me if our lane could do 1:20s. “Yep, but they’ll complain!” I warned him. Indeed. A 1:25 interval was negotiated. But our fearless lane leader didn’t get the memo, alas, and went on 1:20 sendoffs, sending some of my lanemates into a tizzy. There were some half-hearted threats to send me and Hannah (not sure why I got included—I was just following!) back over to lane 2 from whence we’d come, but we all ended up friends, and I think we’ll be allowed to stay. The drama of team workouts!
I’m starting to get my feeds planned and gear together for next Tuesday’s 8 Bridges stage swim—I’ll be going upstate on Monday afternoon and spending the night at a friend’s before the next morning’s early start. We just got an updated schedule for the whole event, and it’s amazing to see all the planning and logistics that go into pulling off this swim series, which requires coordinating tides, swimmers, boats, kayakers, transportation, equipment, etc. Rondi and Dave are amazing planners as well as swimmers!
I’ve been feeling anxious about the swim. It’s a long stage, and I’m a little nervous that about being able to finish before the tide turns. (I’m definitely the slowest of the four swimming that day—my perfect record of DFL finishes in open-water events this year will undoubtedly remain intact! But then I’ve been/will be fortunate to swim in some pretty amazing company.)
But finishing or not isn’t really a big issue—last week I told someone who was contemplating a stage that I thought the swim would be a positive experience whether one finished or not, and I still think that’s true. It’s more that I’m worried that I’ll be able to appreciate the swim and find beauty and amazement and joy in the experience. During my last swim event—the grueling three-lakes-in-three-days adventure in Arizona—I was finding the going tough and sludgy, and even a little grim, by day three, despite the beautiful surroundings. For the first time since I started experimenting with longer swims, I found myself just wanting to be done with it and back on dry land. That experience has been haunting me since, and has made me question whether I’m really cut out for marathon swimming after all. In my upcoming swim, I’m hoping to find the inner resources to fully appreciate and glory in the opportunity to swim in such a gorgeous place, surrounded by wonderful people.
One of the joys of summer for open-water swimmers is the many opportunities it brings to root for friends and swim buddies as they spread out across the globe to attempt great things. Today I went out to Brighton for a morning swim and breakfast-on-the-sand with fellow CIBBOWS swimmer Eileen, who departs tomorrow for Dover. Last weekend at Brighton, I got a race report from Gilles, who recently returned from an 8-mile swim in the Great Salt Lake. As the weeks pass more and more of our crew seem to head off for their own big adventures, knowing they have fans back home who are cheering them on from afar who will be eager to hear about their swims on their return. OW swimming is addictive in more ways than one—I don’t know any marathon swimmers who are not also marathon swimming fans. I have watched the little GPS tracks and rooted for the success of folks I’ve never met—it’s easy to get caught up in the audacity and bravery of many of the swims going on around the world, and to really want to see them succeed.
Closer to home, the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim is this Saturday, and I have the privilege of crewing for my friend John, who was also my relay-mate in last year’s event. It will be fun to get to see his swim firsthand, and to be able cheer him on in person. In addition to John, several other CIBBOWS buddies will be in the water, along with many other distinguished swimmers from around the world. They’re already trickling in—I met Roger from South Africa out at the beach today, and swam with him for a bit. One of the fun things about being in the city during MIMS is meeting swimmers from all over the globe, and hearing about events and places that might be fun to plan future swims around.
My own swim today was very sociable. I swam with several others (Eileen, Roger, John, Caitlin) at several points during my swim, and stopped frequently to chat. The water is definitely getting warmer—in a few places it seemed uncomfortably hot—and I spotted my first big jellyfish of the season. There was a fair lot of seaweed and plankton in the water, but visibility was still good. With small rolling swells the going was easy in both directions—it just felt like a nice lazy swim on a hot summer day, very pleasant. And with temps getting into the 90s today, the water was definitely the place to be!
Today I did a rowing workout at the Y with Mr. Addict. It was my first row since before the Arizona lake swims back in early May, and my goal was to get in some decent work while easing myself back into erging. I chose a 1/2/3/4/3/2/1 pyramid (numbers are minutes of hard rowing), with 2 minutes of rest/easy rowing between each piece, with the goal of starting out relatively easy and descending my pace throughout the entire set. Here’s how it turned out:
10-minute warmup (easy rowing, drills, 3 x power 10s (ie 10-strokes-of-harder rowing) at increasing stroke rates)
Stretch + input workout in monitor
1:00 hard row [maintained 2:33/500m pace, 28 spm]
2:00 active rest
2:00 hard row [2:25.9 avg, 26 spm]
2:00 active rest
3:00 hard row [2:19.9 avg, 27 spm]
2:00 active rest
4:00 hard row [2:16.9 avg, 27 spm]
2:00 active rest
3:00 hard row [2:13.7 avg., 27 spm]
2:00 active rest
2:00 hard row [2:09.3 avg., 29 spm]
2:00 active rest
1:00 hard row [2:00.9 avg, 29 spm]
2:00 active rest
One thing I like about rowing workouts is that it’s easy to do them with others even when abilities are pretty far apart. Mr. Addict and I were able to sit side by side on the rowing machines, and stroke in synch with each other for the entire workout, even though he’s a much stronger rower than I am. We also approached the workout very differently, even though we were doing the same work and rest intervals. He chose to keep his speed for each piece relatively even, with the goal making the on-the-way-down pieces slightly faster than their earlier counterparts, all while keeping them all under 1:54. (He managed the latter, but just barely missed on the former, going 1:49.8, 1:53.4, 1:53.6, 1:53.9, 1:53.7, 1:52.7, 1:49.0). I felt like a bit of a slacker in comparison! But I achieved what I wanted to today, and am happy to get the rowing reestablished as part of my workout routine.
Afterwards I did some light weights and stretching. Now off to enjoy the rest of a beautiful summer afternoon in the city!
I had a beautiful swim at the beach today—I did a 5K loop in some nice rolling swells. The water was very clear, and the sky brilliant blue and spotted with clouds. It was a perfect beach day, with moderate crowds out enjoying the sunny mid-70s day. It’s nice to swim by and see all the umbrellas dotting the sand--such a change from the deserted beach of the off-season.
After my loop I got out a bit, chatted and drank some juice, then hopped back in for an additional little swim to the white building and back. Afterwards I floated in the water and looked up at the clouds for a while before getting out. It was very blissy.
I have a busy few weeks coming up. My next swim, on June 26, is the 2nd stage of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, 19.8 miles from the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge to the Mid-Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie. It’s a meandering, bucolic stretch of the river, and with the current assist I expect it to take around 6½ to 7 hours. A week and a half later, on July 7, I’ll be doing the 10-mile Kingdom Swim in Lake Memphremagog, in northern Vermont. Both swims should be fun experiences in gorgeous settings; they will also be excellent chances to practice feedings for my final swim of the summer, a 20-mile Plymouth-to-Provincetown attempt in late August.
In addition to my own upcoming swims, I’ll be crewing for MIMS for my friend John this coming Saturday, and volunteering for stages 4 and 7 of 8 Bridges. That will make for a lot of time in and on the water over the next 3 weeks! Should be some fun and busy days.
Today’s trip to the beach was my first swimming since last weekend. I had been going through a rough patch with my training, feeling slow and frustrated in the pool, so I took advantage of a trip to Alabama this past week to take a mini-vacation from the water. I’m hoping the little break will help re-set my body and my expectations, and help get my ratio of fun-to-frustration back to its usual happy levels. So far it seems to have worked—I felt good at the beach today, and was just able to enjoy the experience of stroking along steadily on such a beautiful day. Looking forward to doing a lot more of that over the next few weeks!