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  1. Swimming in warm water sucks!!

    by , September 22nd, 2009 at 11:40 AM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)

    But I guess it's better than not swimming. I just wish they would cool the pool down a few degrees.

    SCY, Solo

    300 swim choice (alt free/back)
    200 kick choice (IM order)
    300 pull choice (back and free)
    4 x 50 w/ 10 sec. rest alt. drill/build by 25 (IM order)

    pull 3 x 200 free on 3:10 descend 1-3
    (went 2:45, 2:40, 2:38)
    swim 6 x 100 (3 free, 3 back) on 1:45: descend 1-3, 4-6
    (free went 1:25, 1:20, 1:15; back went 1:35, 1:30, 1:23)
    100 easy

    kick 2 x 200 choice w/20 sec. rest with fins or MF
    (#1 w/MF on back went 2:40,
    #2 w/zoomers, flutter on back, went 2:50)

    swim down 200 alt. 75 back/25 choice
    Total: 2900 yards
  2. IM Day for a change

    by , September 22nd, 2009 at 07:40 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Felt alittle tire today but muddled thru it.

    10x50@:55 Free

    2x[4x100@1:45 Free 1/2 swim 1/2 drill catchup
    ....[2x200@4:00 IM as fly drill, back pull, breast kick, free swim
    ....[400@8:00 IM went 7:00 on first and 6:43 on second

    100 Free EZ
    8x100@:10R kick w/fins alternate free/fly by 100
    200 Free EZ

    Total 4000 yards
  3. Kill the Lawyers

    by , September 21st, 2009 at 11:45 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Well, I encountered a threat today.

    A threat to my livelihood disguised as a threat-eliminator for my life.

    A quick back story for those of you who were unable to read between the lines of my last vlog entry: Lost in Idaho.

    Backpacker magazine is a top notch award winning periodical, especially the issue that I wrote for in yesteryear. They recently asked if I would be game for writing about what it feels like to become totally lost in the woods.

    The woods in question, I found out after my last vlog, are located in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area in Idaho--the largest contiguous protected wilderness in the US. As Wikipedia further notes:

    Because of its size the wilderness area provides a secluded habitat for a wide variety of mammal species, including some rare, vulnerable species. The wilderness is inhabited by a large population of [ame=""]mountain lions[/ame], and [ame=""]grey wolves[/ame] that visit the area. Populations of [ame=""]black bears[/ame], as well as: [ame=""]lynx[/ame], [ame=""]coyote[/ame], and [ame=""]red fox[/ame] are scattered throughout the area. Other observable [ame=""]ruminant[/ame] wildlife within the Wilderness include: [ame=""]bighorn sheep[/ame], [ame=""]mountain goats[/ame], [ame=""]elk[/ame], [ame=""]moose[/ame], [ame=""]mule deer[/ame], and [ame=""]white tail deer[/ame]. While this area has been deemed as one of the few remaining areas in the continental U.S. with suitable habitat for [ame=""]grizzly bears[/ame], no established populations are known to exist. The wilderness also offers some of the most critical habitat for [ame=""]wolverines[/ame] in the lower 48 states.

    Backpacker was going to fly me--a neophyte to the world of tents and bear bags and fire-starters-- to Boise, rent me a car to drive someplace for three hours, where I would meet a bush pilot, who would then fly me blindfolded into the River of No Return wilderness and drop me off and leave me to my own devices. They would provide me with a beacon to pinpoint my whereabouts to would-be rescuers, and a satellite phone I could use to summon these in extremis.

    Everything was set to go. As one friend put it, "It sounds like a good idea, Jim." I am pretty sure he was sincere.

    But then the lawyers for the magazine raised the issue of liability here. What if the radio beacon they would be using to track my peregrinations somehow malfunctioned and something bad happened and I could call the rescuers up to tell them that, say, a wolverine, was scratching its way through my ribcage and please, in the name of God, come shoot this demon now--what if this happened, the lawyers speculated, and the satellite phone worked, but the beacon that pinpointed my position in the middle of the no return river wilderness didn't work, and they couldn't find me in time?

    Wolverines scratching their way through rib cages, I should add parenthetically, is not just an idle threat.

    "As one story goes, told decades ago by an Inuit native of Alaska, a half-ton polar bear once crushed a wolverine to its chest, but then dropped dead when the cradled beast tore out its heart."

    (For more wolverine lore/possible apocrypha, please visit: )

    I reminded my editor, a very nice fellow named Dennis, that I had already booked a non-refundable round trip flight from Pittsburgh to Boise leaving this Friday, one day after my 57th birthday. I also told him I would sign a waiver, and added that if they were really worried about technological breakdowns, just give me a GPS device. I said I would put the thing in my backpack and not even look at it unless the beacon didn't work and they really, really, really needed to send out a chopper gunship to get the damned wolverine family off me stat!

    He said he would talk to his boss and the lawyers and try to convince them. I said that if I managed to survive this whole thing, they could possibly get me on the Steven Colbert program where I could talk about bears.

    (My swimming teammate Dan Nadler told me after practice tonight that he had traveled to grizzly bear country recently in Alaska. The guide gave him and his wife both .44 Magnums just in case. "If you see a grizzly," the guide advised them, "shoot each other. It will save you a whole lot of pain and suffering.)

    Not trusting that my intercessions here with Dennis over the phone would be enough to counteract the lawyers' timidity and ensure the trip to the River of No Return would remain un-befouled by liability concerns, I decided to write not only my immediate editor but the Big Man himself (Jon Dorn), the editor-in-chief, a pleading e-mail on my behalf. I included some pix from earlier stories I've done to help bolster my case.

    Here is the e-mail, the pix, and the reply:

    Jon and Dennis,

    Please let me reassure you both that, despite some evidence to the contrary in my medical records, I am not a cowardly fellow given to hissy fits at the slightest snarl of a wolverine raising its disemboweling claws in my direction!

    Actually, I think your recent strategy of calling into some question my odds of emerging from the River of No Return without any sort of litigation on behalf of my estate, well, I must say this is a brilliant stratagem indeed! You have managed to accomplish what a combination of Provigil and Stephen King has thus far failed to do: stir my blood!

    Honestly, I don’t think you need to worry about me out in the wilderness. Does not Backpacker stand for one thing above all others—i.e.,. we do NOT listen to the nambiest and the pambiest of the legal team?

    I will enclose a few pix of me on previous counterphobic adventures to give you a sense that I am, if nothing else, a survivor!

    Please do not get cold feet! Build in some sort of redundancy safety precautions if you must, i.e., include a gps device I won’t look at, and maybe a hand grenade to toss at the wolverines if they get too frisky. But please let me go to the wilderness, which I think is the one form of sanitarium the likes of me most needs at this stage of life!


    Me being the victim of a "simulated" torture beating in the jungle

    Living off the land in Ecuador: Cooking a monkey--Step 1. Remove the hair

    Whatever floats your boat

    Jumping in my gumby suit into 20 foot seas off Cape Disappointment

    Goggles aren't just for swimming anymore. I use them when trying to get vultures to land on me to keep the blowflies out of my eyes

    I may be the only foreigner to ever land unannounced on a Siberian military base without a passport and be allowed to leave

    As a novice paddleboarder, I am somewhere about halfway from Key West to Havana as part of a relay team

    You can't see it that well, but the grad students on the boat in the distance are "revving" up my lane mates with a slurry of barracuda heads and alewife body parts tossed into our hungry midst


    When I got back from swimming practice tonight, admittedly chagrined to think the namby pamby lawyers had probably won, and that my newest escape into the world of the deeply lost, where I figured at last I would find my own paradoxical home in the greater scheme of things, when all this was floating about like severed barracuda heads in the fever of my mind, I got the following reply from the benighted Dennis, my editor:


    You have reassured--or at least convinced--us that this is still a fine idea.
    Will touch base tomorrow.



    If I don't have a chance to vlog again before leaving Friday, I will attempt to do so on my return. Have a nice weekend doing whatever it is you do in civilization--civilized things, I would presume. If you have a moment of mental blankness, and you want to give your brain something to momentarily fill the void, I invite you to think of me as I attempt to find my way into the wild--and back home again, unpierced by the most rapacious members of the order rodentia.
  4. Planning the Season

    Well, I just got back from tonight's workout, which -- since I'm unattached -- begins when I show up and ends when I leave. My coach (me) gave the team (me)an easy workout tonight (which I won't post here, because then everyone will know just how lazy I really am).

    Anyway, my coach and I now planning this year's meets (in other words, I'm obsessing about it and talking to myself). The Metro LMSC website already has a pretty full schedule posted -- really early in the season. We've already got two meets at the Flushing Meadow Park Aquatic Center (possibly including SCM Zones) and three at the Eisenhower Park Aquatic Center. Plus a few at local college pools.

    I'll definitely be making it my business to do SCM Zones -- in fact, I really have no excuse since it's just a 20 minute subway ride from me -- along with at least the other FM meet (in March) and the Eisenhower meets. I'm glad we have so many scheduled. It should make for my only being able to do two meets last year, because of back trouble. Anyway, I'm sure no one else cares, but I just wanted to commit myself in writing.
  5. I don't mean to whine

    by , September 21st, 2009 at 09:02 PM (Swimming, Life, and Other Stuff!)
    I am still not swimming.
    My throat, glands, and head are pounding. I have a dry hacking cough, and I feel sick to my stomach after eating. The weird thing is I have no fever.
    I do alright at school till around 1:30; the last hour and a half is bad.
    The "Pollyanna" side of me keeps saying "At least this happened after Big Shoulders instead of before."
    I guess I'll just listen to my body and lay around some more.
  6. Noodler Invasion of the Weight Room

    by , September 21st, 2009 at 08:50 PM (Elise's Fitness Fun)
    Currently most of the state is under a flash flood warning and there are also a few tornado watches scattered about the state. We have been having this kind of weather for a week now and are not expected to have any relief until Wednesday! In any case, the weather has forced me inside to the treadmill for my runs.

    When I entered the weight room to run on the treadmill, I noticed a sign that was four feet tall that read as follows:


    The noodlers have invaded the weight room, but the iron people are ready for them! Yes, these ladies enjoy getting on the hip abduction/hip adduction machines, doing 200 rep sets of the lightest possible weight on the machines, and then sit and yap on the machines for 10 minutes until they start the next 200 rep set. I'm glad somebody finally said something.

    Still, the noodler influence is slowly but surely being felt. As I was running on the treadmill, the attendant came over and asked if I felt too hot. I responded that it felt fine. She said a lady had complained that it was too hot in the weight room even though the thermostat was set for 69. I told her to remind whoever that one is supposed to sweat in the weight room and that it is not a refrigerator.

    Today I did a HIIT workout. Warmed up with a 9:13 mile. Next two miles, I ran 1 minute at either 9 mph or 9.5 mph and then walked 2 minutes. Then cooled it down with a ten minute mile. Whole workout was four miles. I really needed some speed as I had felt sluggish on the last 5k that I did.

    Next run workout is set for Wednesday and the plan is to work the hills for the last mile of the 4 mile run. Think I'll plan to do a 2,000 loosen up swim immediately after the run. Tomorrow, I am hoping do some upper body weights.

    Updated September 21st, 2009 at 09:02 PM by elise526

  7. Monday, 9/21/09

    by , September 21st, 2009 at 05:01 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    It was cold this morning (35°) so I swam inside. Blech!!! the water was warmer than bathwater.

    SCY Solo
    200 swim free
    200 kick choice

    (all on my back, alternating fly/free by 50's)
    200 IM drill
    200 pull no free
    (did backstroke)

    12 x 50 on 1:00 alt. drill/build: odds free, evens IM order (cycle through)

    pull 12x75 free, make the intervals:
    4 on 1:20,
    4 on 1:15,
    4 on 1:10:
    (Buoy only, swam these at 58-60)

    kick 12x50 choice w/10 sec. rest:
    descend 1-4, (did flutter w/board:60->47)
    descend 5-8, (did flutter on back:70->55)
    descend 9-12, (did flutter w/board:65->47)

    200 swim down
    3100 yards
  8. Savageman Report, Sunday, Sept. 20

    by , September 21st, 2009 at 03:57 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Savageman Report:

    So I jumped way out of my comfort zone and into Deep Creek Lake ... (where's the "take the plunge" emotion, Anna Lea?).

    First off, I want to say I had a fabulous time at the event, which had a wonderful festival like atmosphere and beautiful setting. And I appreciate all the great advice everyone took the time and effort to give me! Many thanks on that score!

    But what happens if you put a drop dead sprinter in the OW for the first time at age 48?*

    (*I'm not sure I even qualify as a drop dead sprinter using Ande's calculations. My 200 back time is worse than 2 x my 100 back + 14 seconds ... Does that make me a drop drop dead sprinter or a drop dead dead sprinter?)

    Here's the recap:


    The Vienna Geezer Jocks finished 5th in the coed relay for the half iron division. Our overall time was 5:36. (We would have been 4th in the all male division. lol) We were the #1 all masters relay. All the teams that beat us had a 20 something youngster -- my running relay mate did all the internet research and observation at transition.


    Swim: :29:44
    Bike: 3:25
    Run: 1:39

    Note: Quicksilver accurately predicted my time!


    I was the first female relay contestant out of the water with a 29:44. I was actually thrilled to go under 30 minutes, as I said I would be. But, boy, I made absolutely every rookie mistake in the book and am a stinky OW swimmer:

    1. I sprinted at the start. NOT a good idea for a drop drop dead sprinter. I should have listened to Jimby and I promptly texted him with permission to say "I told you so." I went into lactic acid pain after 200 yards or so. The next 500 I was wishing I could climb out! lol I vaguely settled into a groove later. I think the race would have been more pleasant and less painful if I had built into it like I did in my 22 x 100 pool swim.

    2. I didn't/couldn't draft except for the smallest portion. The fast 25-29 guys and the faster male relay swimmers were just too far ahead, and I had trouble seeing anyone else. As a result, I felt like I was slightly in no man's land. I did draft off a guy for awhile. He apparently didn't like this as he swung wide. There was another (much younger) woman who was very close to me in the swim (29:48). We actually chatted at the start. She is an OW swimmer. I should have known she was reasonably fast and tried to keep track of her when she lined up at the right front at the start. In fact, she was ahead of me the whole race until the last 200 yards. How do I know this?

    3. I did quite a bit of evilstroke! 100 lashings. I couldn't see where the F I was, so occasionally I took a couple evilstrokes to check the field and look for other swimmers. (I recognized her goggles at various junctures.) In fact, she was breaststroking around the huge inflatable turtle at the first turnaround point and I was right behind her, forced to evilstroke as well. (But, Bob, it didn't make my legs feel bad at all!)

    4. Trouble at the first buoy. In my attempt not to swim 20 feet away from the buoy, I was rather close on the first one. In fact, the swimmer in front of me smacked his/her head right into it. Yikes! This caused me to evilstroke for a few seconds as well as that person stopped abruptly. I seemed to be reasonably close to the other buoys without going way way off course. Though I definitely wasn't swimming straight and had to keep correctly some. I love my lane lines.

    5. I didn't kick enough. I realized this after. I was so preoccupied with feeling adrift and staying on course, I forgot this basic thing. I think it would have helped me. On the other hand, I'm not used to either LD freestyle or kicking on LD freestyle, so I tend (even if the pool) to lapse into a 2 beat kick. But this meant my legs were somewhat fresh and I could hightail it up that nasty hill toward the bike transition area. I was one of the few running. The tris, very understandably, seemed to be recovering before hopping on their bikes. All except the other relay girl who came out of the water right after me. I wasn't going to let her pass me on the run!

    5. mj's advice about taking a few seconds before starting the run up the hill was good. I got out of the water very slowly, and was able to start running pretty quickly. Well, jogging is more accurate.

    6. I guess the thing I disliked the most was that I felt like I was swimming in the dark. The lake seemed black to me and I couldn't see anything underwater. And I'm an unskilled sighter. Upon reflection, I think I preferred swimming in the ocean at Wrightsville beach despite the waves. The ocean water is so much lighter and clearer, I didn't feel like I was in the dark.

    7. The water temp and air temp were ideal. Thanks to my wetsuit, I didn't feel cold at all.

    For Ande: I just wore my Title IX sport bikini under my 2XU. I didn't have time to change at transition. I just ripped off my wet suit, pulled on running shorts and hopped in the car to get to the Western Port wall in time to see Mr. Fort. We got there only a few minutes before he arrived, and I also got to see Julie try to summit it.

    How my time stacked up:

    I had the fastest women's relay time, as I noted. There were three female Pros who swam faster with 24:11, 26:21 and 28:06. The 24 was by Susan Williams, 2000 triathlon bronze medalist. She was amazing and I got to see her a couple times on the course. The other Olympic triathlete (from 2004) swam the course in 32:55. Julie swam the course in 31:22, though the poor thing had her googles break. (Her fiance Jeff really rocked the swim!) Note: Julie swam WAY faster that that b/c they messed up her swim/transition time, for the second year in a row. She was a 28+, which is smoking and much more consistent with her other times. She is a great distance swimmer. (And, as aside from the Western Wall where she put in max effort, she had a very good bike leg.)

    One other real female swimmer in the relays (from what our intelligence gleaned) was 20 years old and a 500 freestyler in high school. She swam a 34:49 for the winning coed relay, Team Generation XYZ.


    Mr. Fort did great. He's only been cycling for a few months and chose a super hard course for his first bike race. He completed the 55 mile course in 3:25. He said he gained ground on the hills and got clobbered on the descents. He knew this was coming because he didn't have the technical skills of the other riders. He also didn't have the gear. He was on a 2005 Trek with no aero bars. Everyone else in the bike rack for the relays had serious bikes, aero bars, bibs and those cone helmets. But I think he was super pleased with how he did. He summited the Western Port Wall fairly easily. He went straight up and was very glad no one was weaving in front of him. He was hurting on the Killer Miller climb.

    One relay cyclist (from the winning coed team and a master) was crazy fast. He biked a 2:49 on the course. I think the winning Pro (Bjorn Anderson), who is in his prime, set the course record and biked a 2:43.


    Our runner did wonderfully well. He struggled more on the hills than he anticipated (though he had run the course before). He is a much better runner on the flats. But he ran a hilly half marathon in 1:39, which was the 3rd fastest time among the relay runners. He passed several relay teams to pull us up in the standings.

    He was very fortunate. About a mile into his race, he paired up with one of the ironman racers (a 46 year old Kona qualifer, who went on to finish 10th overall, I believe). They paced each other and drafted the rest of the way.

    Other Notes:

    1. Watching at the Western Port Wall was amazing. There were huge crowds. Many many folks with cowbells. Despite Geek's admonition, I purchased an annoying cowbell for our girls and they whacked away at it for every biker attempting the climb. So many people just fell over as they were riding slowly up the hill. I had never seen anything like it before. And, when you're clipped in, it looks like it really hurts. There were people dressed as "devils" encouraging the bikers as they made their way up the hill.

    2. Even elite Pros make mistakes -- I saw one guy fall off his bike when dismounting to transition to the run. I saw one guy fall off his trainer that he was warming up on in the transition area.

    3. The hills were brutal. Truly, the triathletes there participating are a of a different breed. I was told the blogs and discussion boards had many comments saying some tris just wouldn't do Savageman because it was too hard.

    4. I didn't see anyone that wasn't in a wetsuit. I did notice that there weren't that many people warming up. I guess some tris use the swim as their warm up.

    5. Today I feel like someone took a hammer to my back and shoulders. lol. And my lats were burning after the race. Don't think I'll be doing a test set with Pete tomorrow. I will be cruising and trying to recover for the Fall Ball.

    6. Super glad to have done it. Enjoyed our relay comraderie and the convivial atmosphere. But it was tough! My previous longest race was 2:20+, so this was a big jump to say the least.

    7. Oh, and my B70 goggles were great. I didn't have any trouble with fogging or the sun.

    8. I did get chaffing around the back of my neck at the hairline where I didn't put body glide. So I guess I needed it!

    Updated September 21st, 2009 at 11:35 PM by The Fortress

  9. Takin' it easy today

    Well my week off of swimming is over. Convention is over and it's back to the real world.

    I had lots of trouble getting out of bed this morning. I didn't sleep much while at convention and got totally off of my schedule. I am thrilled that I got out of bed and into the car. I was falling asleep driving

    I dove in late ...
    200 swim
    200 kick
    200 IM Drill
    200 Pull

    They did some sort of set of 50s IM order drill/swim ... I was still warming up

    12 x 75 (4 @ 1:30, 4 @ 1:20, 4 @ 1:10) I missed the first 4 and did the last eight. Felt good for the first few.

    I did a 100 ez and got out. I've got some muscle fatigue going on and feeling rather ... sitting around and being lazy does not agree with me ...

    I have no intentions of running tonight since I plan on working late. I'm exhausted and need to rest up for the week (and weekend ahead!).

    Updated September 23rd, 2009 at 05:27 PM by FlyQueen

  10. Day 33

    10x50 FR@1:00
    10x50 FR Pull@1:00 (had a hard time keeping @ :35 or better today)
    10x50 FR@1:00 w/fins des 1-5, 6-10 (had a hard time even getting under :30 today)
    50 Easy
    4x25 FL@1:00
    150 Easy

    1800 SCY Indoors w/Mark, Aaron and Amanda
  11. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 Workout -9/22/09 -SCY

    by , September 21st, 2009 at 01:22 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 a.m. Workout)

    WARM UP:
    4 X 100 free 1:40
    3 X 100 kick 2:10
    2 X 100 IM 1:50
    Swim the set twice.

    1 X 400 free 6:00
    2 X 200 free 2:50
    4 X 100 free 1:20
    8 X 50 free :40

    1 X 100 2:00
    2 X 50 1:00
    4 X 25 :30
    Swim it three times through.
    Round 1: fly
    Round 2: back
    Round 3: breast
    Short break between rounds.

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts
  12. Saturday Sep 19 2009

    by , September 21st, 2009 at 10:22 AM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Sat Sep 19 2009

    my wife Beth is finally getting her photography website going at
    click through the galleries to see her work
    the arrival page has the track for a song I cowrote with Ruckus Skye & Donna Aylor called
    "You Woke Up My Heart"

    swam in dallas at the SMU outdoor pool
    11 - noon
    jim montgomery coached
    swam with Ross Myers, David Swenson, & others, beside Patti Monzingo & Janie Cole


    8 x 100 on 1:40 desc 1 - 4

    4 x 150

    20 x 50 on 1:00
    1) 12.5 fast 37.5 easy
    2) 25.0 fast 25.0 easy
    3) 37.5 fast 12.5 easy
    4) 00.0 fast 50.0 easy
    5) 50.0 fast 00.0 easy

    100 easy
    Swim Workouts
  13. Still have some speed from the weekend

    by , September 21st, 2009 at 07:34 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Felt decent but once I was into my main set it just seemed like everything clicked.

    11x100@2:00 Free 1/2pull/1/2kick someone reset the clock midway thru then I figured out I had gone an extra 100

    500 Free kick w/fins every 3rd 25 sprint
    10x50@1:00 Fly w/fins as 25 skull / 25 swim w/good form

    5x200@3:00 Free w/paddles & bouy descend went 2:41, 2:39, 2:37, 2:33, 2:30 this is the fastest I have ever done this set

    500 Free EZ every 4th 25 drill

    Total 3600 yards

    Did the first 7x100 of the warmup then had to chitchat with one of the parents.

    additional 700 yards

    Updated September 22nd, 2009 at 07:35 AM by Donna

  14. Here I am. Now what?

    OK. Since it seems that USMS has gone ahead and created a blog for me, I should go ahead and use it. Assuming, that is, i actually have something worthwhile to say. Which may mean that I won't be here all that much. But we'll see.

    Actually, this is really my third blog. I've two "freestanding" blogs, on other sites, that I've shut down. The paradox of blogging is that when i have something to say, I don't have time to write about it. And when I do have time, it's because I don't have much to do -- so I don't have anything to day (this post should prove that). Anyway, i guess this would be a good place for my pointless rambling, mindless rants and general observations.
  15. Great night for a swim!

    Its 7AM local time and sleep was hard to sustain last night. Willie climbed the partially submerged white talus field directly below the light house perched at Cape Gris Nez just 9 hours ago.

    We started off at Shakespere Beach just around 11AM... the Gallivant pulled in close to shore, Terry stood up on the beach where a dozen spectators came to see the days swimmers off, and with the sound of the ships horn....was off a-swimming.

    The day was bright with a bit of fog burning off in the distance and the winds that we experienced all week; non-existent.

    Several other boats performed the same ritual and now we are a small armada inching one meter at a time toward France. Our sister ships seem to maintain their positions relative to ours throughout Terry's first 2 hours though we are beginning to spread out. Terry feeds on a gel pack after one hour and our crew (Captain Mike Oram, first mate James, and observer Derrek) have a bit of a laugh about this. They explain that in such a current, every second not swimming can result in about 20 yards more to go. This may not seem like very much when you consider the 21 mile distance of the channel as the crow flies, but when Mike starts counting; twenty yards, fourty yards, sixty yards.... the point is quite well made. There will be no more in water feedings for us.
    Freda Streeter often assigns swims of 2 - 3 hours straight... no feed. At first, I thought this was just some kind of brittish "stiff upper lip", "only a flesh wound" kind of thing, but who can argue with number of successful crossings they have produced.

    I manage to hold an average stroke rate above 70 for my first round (no easy task for me) and it felt great. When I exit the water, there are no other pilot boats in sight. Each pilot has to plot an course based on the swimmer speed, tide, wind, etc.... lots of factors go into the plan, and constant adjustments are made.

    My second swim started at 7PM. The sun was getting low and I took a few breaths on the right to take in the sunset... the Galivant always on my left. I had a glow stick pinned to my speedo and another to my goggle strap... night falls and the G lights up. There is a spot light on me... somewhat blinding but I can still make out figures on board, and know that Terry and Willie are sitting on the bow watching over me. Communication is difficult... ear plugs, spot lights, scratchy goggles, but I see Derek drop the ladder and know that my shift must be close to finished.

    On board, my first impression is "what a perfect night"... moonless and clear, though the air is chilly. I dry and dress quickly, watch Willy (those glow sticks really do work) and stare at the stars.

    After just about 60 minutes, Capt mike shines the spotlight ahead.... boulders at the foot of a cliff appear from the darkness... we're here!... just a few more strokes.

    Terry and I stay on board as it would be difficult for the crew to keep track of the three of us on the rocks in the dark.

    We begin our ride back to Dover Marina at 8 knots or so, but visit a bunch of the other swimmers on the way back. They are easy to identify as there is little other traffic at this hour and the other swimmers all have green strobes on their caps... visible at a good distance. We circle each boat and cheer for our new friends and their efforts. A week sitting around in Dover... waiting out the wind, is a unique bonding experience and I feel a strong connection to Rebecca, then Paul, then Mike, then Lisa (double lisa, who is still in the water as I write this... Hang in there!!!!!), as we pause and exchange a few words with their crews.

    Lance was out there, though we never saw his boat.... the first I'm hearing is 11 and a half hours for his crossing.

    Thats all for now... I have to get to the beach and sing happy birthday to Freda! (and have a little swim)

    Thank you all for following, it was quite energizing knowing all my friends back home were watching!
  16. Great Meet Today

    by , September 19th, 2009 at 09:59 PM (Mixing it up this year)
    I went into this meet with the intention of just trying to swim my 50 Free in under 29 but ended up going 28.62. I knew there was not going to be too much rest between this and the 500 Free. So the 500 Free was going to be my warm down.

    Oh well, I started out with a long relaxed stroke and started building thru the race. I figured I was somewhere around 6:20 or so but looked on the board and saw 6:13.56 a personal best.

    Total 2000 yards
  17. Gorgeous! Saturday, Sept. 19

    by , September 19th, 2009 at 06:28 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Drove to Deep Creek this morning arriving at 1:30 just in time to pick up our packets and attend the athlete briefing. It's so beautiful here ... Temps in the upper 60s, sunshine, foliage -- should be very good race conditions tomorrow, though possibly warm for the run.

    I went on a swim in the course. Swam about one mile. Here's what I found out:

    1. I can't swim straight. Without frequent sighting I'll end up in the middle of the lake!

    2. I need to stay much closer to the buoys or I'll be going way more than 1.2 miles.

    3. It's freaking dark in a lake. I can barely see someone swimming next to me! That's very odd after the pool ...

    4. I have no idea how to pace this race. Not unexpected as I'm a sprinter. But at least I'll know when I'm at the 3/4 mark because there's a buoy fir the international finish.

    5. There will be no dolphin diving to the finish. There's rocks all over at the start and finish.

    6. The transition will be murder. You get out of the water and there's about 1/3 mile straight uphill to the bike transition area.

    7. It's more tiring to swim in OW than a pool. No surprise there!

    8. Triathlete love B70 wetsuits. Saw loads of them there.

    9. Julie and Jeff swam this am. Julie had major trouble with her goggles fogging. Hope that doesn't happen tomorrow am.

    I'm now ensconced in a lovely little cabin overlooking the bucolic lake. The girls are making a poster for us Vienna Geezer Jocks. The names of some of the coed teams are hilarious. One of my favs is "In the name of the donut."

    My biggest challenge will be getting up at the crack of dawn. I'm not nervous at all, nothing like before a big meet. I think this reflects the fact that my inner control freak is subsiding over time.

    I think swimming this race, in all my ignorance, should allow me to escape mocking fir being a wimpy sprinter fir at least one week!
  18. Treadmill express

    by , September 19th, 2009 at 04:05 PM (Elise's Fitness Fun)
    Followed Bobinator's good advice and did a long, slow run today. Would have liked to have done it outside, but it has been raining and storming all day. Went to the Y and ran 6 miles on the treadmill. Definitely went slow as it took me about 1:02 to get it done.

    May try to get another run in tomorrow. Thinking of doing a shorter run at a faster pace. Any suggestions out there?
  19. Friday night and Saturday Morning on my back

    by , September 19th, 2009 at 12:37 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    I swam after work last night and then again this morning. Lots of backstroke.

    SCM, Solo

    200 swim free
    200 swim back
    200 kick on back, 100 flutter/100 dolphin
    200 pull back

    3 sets of 4 x 75:
    no extra rest between sets
    set 1 free on 1:20, hold pace (Held 1:05)
    set 2 back on 1:20, make interval (went 1:12-1:150
    set 3 free on 1:30, descend 1-4 (went 1:05-:58)

    100 easy

    pull 3 sets of 4 x 75:
    w/30 sec. rest between sets
    set 1 free on 1:25, w/ paddles and buoy Hheld 1:05)
    set 2 back on 1:30, buoy only (held 1:10-1:12)
    set 3 free on 1:30, descend 1-4 (went 1:10-1:00)

    200 swim down choice
    Total: 2900 meters

    SCM, Solo

    400 swim alt free/back by 100's
    200 kick rev IM, no board on back or fly)
    200 pull, buoy only, 100 free/100 back

    I poached this main set from Quicksilver.

    The 150 set ~ 1,500m backstroke/500m free
    150's pace on 2:45 - 50's ez free on 1:00
    4 x 150 4 x 50
    3 x 150 3 x 50
    2 x 150 2 x 50
    1 x 150 1 x 50 (made the last one count)
    (ave 2:25 on backstroke, 45 on free)

    200 easy cool down

    Total: 3,000 meters
  20. At Last...

    by , September 18th, 2009 at 10:58 PM (Elise's Fitness Fun)
    As I was driving down to the Y to do weights this evening, couldn't help but think of the Etta James song, "At Last." Haven't worked out since Monday, so I was very glad to be back at it.

    Bench press: 65 x 15, 75 x 10, 85 x 5
    Lat hi row: 90 x 15, 110 x 10, 130 x 5
    Triceps press: 2 sets of 40 x 15
    Alt. hammer curls: 2 sets of 15 x 10

    One legged leg press: 2 sets of 100 x 15
    Hip adduction: 2 sets of 110 x 15
    Hip abduction: 2 sets of 110 x 15
    Leg extension: 2 sets of 40 x 15 with each leg
    Leg curl: 2 sets of 30 x 15 with each leg

    3 sets of 30 toe raises (one set feet foward, one set feet turned out, one set feet turned in)

    1 set of each of the following:

    100 bicycle crunches
    30 good morning darlings
    20 leg lifts in chair

    Son is much better today. He woke up with a 98.5 temp and although it went up to about 99.5, it looks like he is on the mend. I had to remind him to rest today. He kept wanting to chase the dog around inside the house.

    Going to do a run tomorrow morning, but not sure what I should do. Really feel like I need to put some speed in there as I felt somewhat sluggish on my last race. Don't want to overdo it though having been sick earlier this week. Any suggestions are welcome!

    Updated September 18th, 2009 at 11:04 PM by elise526