Saturday, September 15, 2012

Timed mile

Wifey and I went to the local track for a running workout. Wifey has an established speed workout that she has been doing on the track for some time now. I decided to do a timed mile for reference purposes. I haven't actually run a mile for time since I was running track in high school. I ran a 6:04 in what I think was my sophomore year.
Anyway wifey timed for me and I ran a mile in 6:16. What do I take from this?
Speed work is really hard. I think all the speed work I've been doing in the pool has been great for me, but I should work some faster running into my routine. The conditioning benefit has got to be tremendous.
Also with some more training I think I can outrun a sixteen year old version of me. Cool

Friday, September 14, 2012


Not all my adventures in open water swimming happen in the open water. Or even in the water at all. The biggest adventure of the lake moreau swims came the evening before. After a carb-loaded dinner. We walked back to the car only to realize that my keys, rather than being in my pocket where they belonged, were in the cupholder next to the driver's seat, inside the car.
Now I'm not going to list all the excuses for why I would do something so foolish. I will only say that I am a creature very much of habit and routine. If I alter my routine I tend to screw things up.
So there we are, trying to figure out who we can call to help us out. The owner of the restaurant gave us a coathanger with a shrug and "if you want, you can try this"
Well, it's not something I've tried before, but there were a few other patrons waiting outside who have a little more experience. One of them confidently walked over and told us he could get in no problem.
But then when he got to the car he seemed concerned. "ooh Subaru, I've never done of these before"
But then a second guy came walking across the parking lot. "Subaru huh? I've got one of these, I can get into it"
Well it took about 10 or 15 minutes and we were just thinking that he'd have to leave us to our own devices when he got the door open. Wifey vowed to hide a key somewhere about the car. But I was too relieved that I wouldn't be spending half the night standing around in the parking lot to make any promises at all.
So to the dude who helped us out.Thanks again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

About a mile

That's how I think about 1500 meters. I've gotten used to thinking about open water swims in miles. Converting to metric is harder than just doing the math.
Anyway I left the campsite on the opposite side of the lake and drove over to the beach where the races were starting. There were two tables for check-in. I figured one was probably for the swim and the other was for the trail run. I couldn't tell which was which and the lines were short so I just picked the one on the right. I was wrong, I should have gone to the table on the left first. My mistake might have caused a full 15 second delay in getting checked in, so, not such a big deal.
Wifey and our little son were going to be walking over from the campsite and they probably wouldn't be arriving until after the start. I had plenty of time to get set up before the start of the race.
I think I missed the announcement that the pre-race briefing was about to start. I just saw a bunch of swimmers down by the water listening to a guy with a clipboard. I grabbed my cap and goggles and ran down there.
Whatever I missed it wasn't much, because I got a full explanation of the course. The start would be in water. As soon as the briefing was done we waded in. Most of the swimmers were wearing wetsuits. The race directors said the water temp was 74 degrees. Usually 74 degrees feels pretty cold when I first get in. But this time the air temp was cool enough that the water actually felt warm. They gave us a count down and then we were off.
I found myself drifting to the right on the long stretch between the first and second buoys. I  had to correct my course a few times. This meant that I was already on my own early in the swim. The lake felt small. I'm not sure that it is the smallest lake I've had a race in so far. But even from in the water I could see almost the whole of the lake at once. I thought that swimming a shorter event first could really be a problem for me in the next race, so I didn't push my pace at all.
When I finished I found that wifey had arrived, no problem, in time to see the end of the race.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Three K

I've only done one other swim that is a comparable distance to 3k. I wasn't quite sure how to think about it. I did the 2 mile in Reston, though, and that is a very similar distance. The field was very small. Fewer than 20 swimmers in the event. I spent most of the swim on my own. The lake was still flat. I didn't notice any wind. Navigation was simple. The buoys were easy to spot because there was no chop to hide them. The bottom disappeared from view before I rounded the first buoy. I could see the sunlight casting beams through the green water. Just before rounding the second buoy I noticed there were some strands of lakeweed below me. The very top of the weeds, which was all I could see, must have been fifteen or twenty feet down.
I made a point of not trying to sprint into the finish. I didn't want to make the aquathlon harder for myself.

Aquathlon Part II

I stopped at the water station on my way out of the transition area and then I took off down the trail. Immediately it felt pretty rough. My legs felt heavy and my calves were tight. My breathing was ragged, not the way it should be when setting out on a run. The trail was level for a while. I just jogged along hoping I could settle into a rhythm. The trail brought me out onto the road. I followed the road for a few hundred yards and then made a sharp turn onto another trail. They had a guy stationed there to make sure no one missed the turn.
The new trail was steep and narrow. My calves were cramping up. After a minute or two I slowed down and walked. I was thinking I might have to walk the rest of the way. Somewhere around there a guy overtook me. I stayed behind him for a minute because there was a part of the trail that was so steep he had to walk it too. But then the trail leveled out a bit and he was out of sight quickly.
After another minute I started trying to run on the easy parts of the trail. There were a lot of spots that were steep enough I had to walk up. Then I started finding some spots that were steep enough I had to walk down. I noticed the drawstring on my suit was uncomfortably tight, so I pulled it loose.
Run a little, then step carefully then run a little more. I found I convenient mens room (large tree) just off the trail and when I emerged from behind it a few moments later I actually felt much better.
I continued for a while stepping carefully through the tricky spots and running between them. Then the trail I was on junctioned into a wider trail. I wasn't sure of the distances at that point but I think this was somewhere around halfway. I realized that my calves had finally loosened up. The up and down part of the trail was mostly over. The remainder looped around part of the lake and then over a bridge and back to the beach. I was feeling pretty good by this time. Every time the trail changed direction or crossed another trail I had to pause to check the markers.
A little past where I think the 2 mile mark was I overtook another racer. I told him I was coming up on his left and he waved a hand to acknowledge. I glanced at his number and realized he wasn't doing the aquathlon he was finishing out the 15k trail run. Meaning he'd been out on the trail since around the time I started my first swim. "looking good" I shouted back to him. A short time later I crossed that bridge and from there it was just a short distance past some picnic grounds and the playground. By the time I spotted the finish line I barely had time to try to sprint to the end. Just under an hour and 10 minutes and the toughest 5k I've ever run.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Aquathlon Part I

My third event of the day was the aquathlon. 1.5k swim and 5k run. For me those are pretty even distances. Meaning I should spend around the same amount of time swimming as running.
After finishing the 3k swim I got my new body marking, my chip and my bib. I set up my running stuff at the designated transition area. I'd never done an event with a transition before so I didn't really know if it made a difference how I laid things out.
The start was in water about knee deep. We were swimming the same course I had already covered three times that morning. I think there were only three people, including me, swimming without a wetsuit. The water temperature had measured at 74 earlier in the day. We walked out to the starting point and they told us one minute to the start. About thirty seconds later a dog on the beach barked, doing a pretty good impression of an airhorn. We all chuckled but no one actually started early. At the actual minute mark they blew the airhorn and we were off.
My arms actually felt pretty good on the swim. I know I was not swimming at my fastest but at least it didn't feel like a struggle. A lead pack took off and I quickly lost track of them. Just after I rounded the first buoy I found myself swimming shoulder to shoulder with a wetsuited swimmer. We stayed even for a long time while swimming for the second buoy. I could tell that his stroke was faster than mine, though. Eventually he fell behind, or I pulled ahead. I passed one more swimmer after I rounded the second buoy. Mostly because I was swimming straighter. I think I spotted her again as I was rounding the fourth buoy. I actually tried to pick up the pace on the finish of the swim.
I'm pretty sure no one passed me on the swim. The only people ahead were the ones who took off right at the start.
I ran up on shore and to the transition area. I tried to throw on my shirt but, of course, it stuck to me and it was a bit of a wrestling match to get it on. I pulled on some shorts as I sat down and messed with my shoes. Wifey told me my transition took two minutes. I know that with practice and some forethought I could make it quite a bit faster. On the other hand I took off on my run with a little bit of sand in my shoes as well as in my shorts. Over a long enough run that would be a problem.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lake Moreau

This weekend was the lake moreau swims and aquathlon in lake moreau state park. Naturally I went for  the triple dip. 1.5k followed by the 3k followed by the aquathlon 1.5k swim and 5k trail run. There was also a crazy hard 15k trail run that started just after the first swim.

When: September 9 2012
Where: Lake Moreau State Park Ganesvoort NY
Why: Because Summer is still not over

Friday, September 7, 2012


I pumped up the tires on my bicycle and suddenly my ride to work was a lot faster. I have to remember to check my tires more often. It's getting cooler in the mornings so my little ride into work is very pleasant. But another month or so and it will be cold enough to be unpleasant. This weekend is my last open water race for 2012.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quassy pictures

I think this is the start of the 3 mile. You can actually see the whole course going almost all the way across the lake. 
Any swim more than an hour or so will give me some sneezing fits. Looks like I'm about to have one here

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lake Quassy Half Mile

So for the half mile swim I finally got smart and found a better position for the start. I started all the way on the outside so I wouldn't be completely surrounded by other swimmers. This saved me a lot of trouble on the start.
Within a few strokes of the start I knew that this was not going to be a fast swim for me. I think it was the sprint at the end of the one point five. I just felt like I had no strength left in my arms. Maybe I should have tried to push harder. But I didn't. I just eased back until I was swimming comfortably.
I went wide around the buoy and I didn't even try a sprint on the finish. I came in just under 18 minutes. It was the slowest pace of any open water swim I've done so far.

Lake Quassapaug

Anyway here is the basic info on the Quassy swims

What: 6th annual Quassapaug open water swimming festival
When: Saturday September 1st 2012
Where: Lake Quassapaug, Middlebury CT
Why: Because summer is not over yet

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mile and a half

A 1.5 mile race seems strange until I figure it is about the same as a 2.5k swim which seems like a pretty common distance. It was the same course as the 3 mile but just one loop. 
The start was crazier than the 3 mile. It took a long time to clear up. I never felt like I was on my own. Someone tried to swim right over me at one point. Its wasn't even at a turn. 
For a pretty long time on the out leg there was someone tapping at my feet. This was driving me nuts. I don't mind if you want to catch a draft. And I know that judging the distance, so you're not just swimming into me, can be a little tricky. But seriously if you're hitting my feet every second stroke you're just being rude. Also I'm still a little worried about my sore foot. So I'm a little more sensitive to toe tapping than usual. 
Pretty soon after the start I fell into a good rhythm. I felt like I was working harder than on the three mile but I was pretty sure I could hold the pace right through.
I was still swimming in a pack as we came to the turnaround buoy. Again I was surprised at how aggressive the swimmers were. Another swimmer came up on the inside right as we got to the buoy and forced me to take a wider path to avoid a collision. 
After the buoy I found myself swimming even with a woman in a blue suit. I kept correcting my course to my left which, no doubt, was crowding her. I don't think she appreciated this. But she should have. The swimmers still coming down the first leg of the course were drifting to our side of the buoys. I barely avoided several head-on collisions. Eventually the blue suited woman adjusted my course, and (thanks to newton's third law) hers, by giving me a shove. 
I held my pace until the end of the race when I tried to push it. I poured on as much speed as I could and I caught up to a pair on swimmers right at the end. And they completely boxed me out. This was frustrating because I really think I could have flown past them if I could just have found a better line.Oh  well. It was still a strong finish and I know I got those two to pick up their pace more than they would have otherwise.

3 mile

The 3mile swim at Lake Quassapaug is two loops of an out and back course. They explained that the yellow buoys are a quarter mile apart. There is a raft just off the starting chute where we could place our water or other drink. I learned my lesson at Lake George so even though this was only 3 miles I placed a bottle of juice out on the raft.
It was a mass start from waist deep water. It was a pretty messy start. I didn't get kicked in the head but it did take a while to get clear of the churning mass. Even when I was clear there were still several other swimmers in view matching my pace. It felt like I got an extra boost on the way back. Just a slight breeze right along the line of the course seemed to be pushing me on my way.
When I came around the raft at the end of the first loop I was pleased find my bottle of apple juice there on the raft. I quickly drained the whole thing and was back on me way.  The second loop didn't seem to go any faster than the first one. But at least it didn't feel harder.
I actually had a few collisions. A guy swam right into my ribcage. I really was not expecting that. On my way back on the last leg of the swim I banged arm to arm with a lady on her approach to the turnaround buoy. Just like the arm to arm hit you'd get in the pool sometimes. I think she was further off course than I was.
Once I was clear of the turnaround buoy there were no more collisions. I tried to pick up the pace for the entire last quarter mile. Afterwards, much to my surprise, got a medal for winning the 30-39 age group.