Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Run For the Hills

Who: The Great Barrington Land Conservancy
What: The 3rd Annual Run For the Hills
When: Sunday, Oct 6, 2013
Where: Simon's Rock College in Great Barrington MA
Why: It's Becoming Something of a tradition now

The course was back to the loop from two years ago. Last years out and back course is out and my PR with it.
I enjoy being able to pick my own race in a run like this. After half a mile there were four guys spread out in front of me. Everyone else had disappeared from sight. Blue shirt, red shirt, white shirt, grey shirt. Four guys and a pretty wide age range, I thought.
The first mile nothing changed, there were some hills. The course takes a right turn onto a dirt road. The four guys were still there in the same order, maybe a little more spread out. I closed a little on an uphill. On the way down I heard two sets of feet right behind me. At the end of the dirt road the course takes another right turn and starts up a beastly hill. This is also the 2 mile mark.
By this time blue shirt had pulled away. The two sets of feet behind me turned out to be two women. One of them pulled ahead.
But then we came to the aforementioned beastly hill. I ran down white shirt and red shirt and I caught up to the woman who had just pulled ahead of me. (I can't remember her shirt color. It was light maybe pink?)
We raced for the next half a mile or more. Eventually I pulled away. By then the finish was almost in sight. I never lost track of grey shirt. He finished right ahead of me.
After the race we had a second breakfast before I got ready to head over to sunday masters swimming.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Accross Newport Harbor

So this was a short straight swim and I'd like to keep my write up the same way. We came out to Newport for the swim and made a weekend out of it.
The swim is 1500 meters in a more or less straight line across Newport Harbor from Perotti Park to King Park. You can actually see the whole course from the starting line. Maybe two or three buoys to help us keep in line. The start was off of a dock and the water was deep enough for an actual diving entry.
I lined up near the back because I wasn't wearing a wetsuit. I don't mean the race directors did it that way. I mean I had to keep my warm up clothes on until the last minute so when it came time to line up I had to strip, stuff my warm-ups into a bag and toss it in with the rest of the swimmers' bags. Most everyone else could just walk down to the dock.
There were a handful of other people without wetsuits.
I went for the diving start. I was prepared for the curglaff (it's a real word and one the ows community can get some use out of) after a minute of swimming at a slightly faster turnover than usual I settled into my rhythm and felt pretty great. I overtook a lot of swimmers in the first few minutes because I had started at the back.
Several times I found some other swimmers on my left pushing me further to the right than I wanted to go. Was it the same swimmer multiple times? Was I pulling left? I don't know. Everyone looks the same in neoprene. I do drift to the left sometimes.
There were dock and anchored boats to the left. We passed the last boats on the left with around 500 yards to go. The bottom also came into view around then. Water was a little cloudy so I first caught site of the harbor bottom when it was maybe 7 or 8 feet down.
So the whole final stretch once we were past the last of the anchored boats was very shallow. And it got shallower. Then it got mucky and slimy. I was trying to sprint into shore but I was also trying hard not to swallow any water. After all the slime and muck the beach finish was a bit rocky and I had to run up on shore very carefully.
After meeting my family and picking up my bag I went to check my finish time. To my surprise I was listed as #1 in my age group.

Pro: There was a sponsored afterparty that included free food and beer for the swimmers.
Con: there was no shower or rinse station at the finish. Considering how mucky the finish is I hope they can set something up next time.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Under the George Washington Bridge

I drove into Manhattan on the Henry Hudson at a little before 6 am. There was only a hint of light in the sky and  I got a look at the GW bridge all lit up as I drove by. I actually thought that it looked majestic. There is something wonderful about seeing a dramatic landmark (watermark?) that you are about to swim under.
I arrived, parked, and got checked in. I had a while to wait because I was going out in wave 8 out of 10. Near the end of my second open water season I can show up to a larger event like LRL and I actually know a few people there. I had time to catch up and show off my scar from Lake Willoughby.
When it came time to line up I had to strip my warm-up clothes off quickly and head to the front of my line. Within the wave we were lined up by number.
When our start time came around we jumped off the end of the pier, got a short countdown and then we set off swimming. A few people disappeared behind me and a few others pulled ahead until I lost track of them. I got an occasional glimpse of another swimmer when sighting but was otherwise on my own.
The water had felt jarringly cold when I first jumped in but by the time my wave had spaced itself out I felt comfortable. I went on feeling comfortable the whole time I was in the water.
The last two waves went out after we did and had the fastest swimmers. Each of those waves seemed to overtake me in a pack. I was swimming along with nobody else around. Then suddenly there were other swimmers all around me and then just as suddenly they were gone off ahead. At this point I hadn't passed anybody so having whole groups just blow past me like that was something of a downer.
I tried very hard not to sight off the bridge because I knew it would be discouraging. I settled into my rhythm and swam. I was actually getting close to the bridge when I finally started overtaking some other groups.
It was exactly like the fast waves flying by but in reverse. I was all by myself then there were a bunch of other swimmers all in a pack and then I was past them. This happened two or maybe three times before I got to the bridge. I always worry a little about my fear of heights when crossing under a bridge but it didn't bother me at all. My first ever real live look at the Little Red Lighthouse itself was from the water, swimming by.
Continuing north past the bridge I started to overtake some more swimmers. I knew the finish was still about a mile away but I also knew with the current we were just flying along. I felt fantastic.
It seemed like there were two or even three waves passing each other. The last mile was the busiest. I knew to watch for the boats anchored to our right and then a dock. A sharp right turn at the dock would bring us into the finish.
Navigating it was easy, but the finish itself was a crowded mess. I suppose it shows how well the wave starts were timed because it seemed like everyone was finishing at once. There was a mat rolled out on the boat launch that was the finish. But it was weighed down with sand bags and we couldn't see them through the cloudy water. So there was a lot of staggering and stumbling and tripping over each other as we exited the water.
I stumbled out, got my timing chip removed, and got in line for the hose down. They might have been called showers. I saw several people from my starting wave around me. Which goes to show that I wasn't really alone all that time when I thought there was no one else around.
I hung around for the award ceremony, while eating the provided food. (I took second in my age group. Something I was not expecting) and then I took the shuttle back to the starting line. I walked back to the garage where I had parked my car, then kept walking around the corner to the nearest pizza place. Where I got a slice of real New York pizza.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Newport Sharkfest

Who: Enviro-Sports
What: The Inaugural Newport Sharkfest Swim
When: Sep 28, 2013
Where: Newport Harbor, Newport RI
Why: Because I wanted to stretch my season an extra week.
How Far: 1500M
Official Water Temp: 62

The original sharkfest is an Alacatraz swim. There are now several sharkfests in a handful of cities around the U.S.

This is my last open water event for the 2013 season. Training for the 2014 season starts today.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Little Red Lighthouse

Who: NYCSwim
What: The Little Red Lighthouse Swim
When: Saturday, Sep 21 2013
Where: The Hudson River, New York, NY
Why: Because, apparently,  I haven't had enough of the Hudson yet.

Since the weather stopped the Great Hudson River swim at the beginning of the summer I had High Hopes for the Little Red Lighthouse. This event was everything I hoped it would be.

The first wave was scheduled to start at 7:15 am. But more importantly, check-in was over at 6:30. With a two hour drive, plus a little time to park and grab some breakfast on the way down, my day started at 3:30. This turned out not to be a problem.

Monday, September 16, 2013

1500 extra long meters

The 1500 was the first race at lake Moreau. I walked over from the campsite on the other side of the lake. There were only six people swimming. No wetsuits. I thought that was interesting because in this event there are no separate divisions. I didn't get an official water temperature but I think it was about 70-71. We started from the water line. Plenty of room so we were not crowded at the start. For a few seconds at the start I was ahead of everyone. I think I just ran in faster. One guy caught up and passed me before we got to the first buoy. 
I could tell There was no way I was staying with him so I let him go. Then right after the first buoy one of the ladies started to pull ahead of me. Normally I just swim my own race and I don't worry about everyone else. But just this once I decided to race. She opened more of a lead on the way to the second buoy. But I got a better line, so when I came around the second buoy I was just a few body lengths behind. She started to open up a little more distance but she had a little bit of zig.
We rounded the third buoy, probably just over halfway through the race. By now I was convinced she was just a little faster than me but I was reliably swimming straighter. So I stopped paying attention to her and made my best line for the fourth buoy. It worked. About fifty yards short of the buoy she fell in directly in front of me. I tried not to tap her toes as enjoyed the draft. Coming out of the turn I rode the draft for another minute and then started moving up. I swam on the outside shoulder to hip and then shoulder to shoulder. We came to the fifth and final buoy. I let her have the inside line, like a gentleman, and then did a reasonable approximation of a sprint into shore. 
We came in at 34:45 and 34:46
Turns out the course was long

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lake Moreau

Who: Green Leaf Racing
What: Moreau Lake Races
When: September 8, 2013
Where: Lake Moreau State Park, Ganesvoort NY
Why: To get back in the game

So this turned out to me my first repeat swimming event this year. Meaning the first swim from last year that I managed to do again this year. It is a fun event, I'm glad I came back. There was a bit of a gap in my training in the last few weeks, which I will be writing about, so it was nice to get back in for a race.
The Lake Moreau races include a 15k run, a 1.5k swim, a 3k swim and an aquathlon (1.5k swim 5k run)
For reference the 15k run seems to be a brutally hard course.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Last Night I did my monday night intervals. I can barely make the last inverval. Still it is pretty satisfying. But then later I got a cold. Wifey and son picked it up this weekend. I'm not sure where. I've got to burn through it fast. Lake Willoughby on Saturday.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


On saturday I got to repeat my super secret swim. Very nice.

Super Mini Meet

Who: Simon's Rock Pacemakers
What: The Super-Mini Meet
When: Tuesday Aug 6 2013
Where: Simon's Rock
Why: Well it was there
A pool meet in the summertime. A super mini meet. The Simon's Rock Pacemakers hosted a tuesday night meet. There were only about 7 events total (well 14 I guess mens and womens events) so the whole event went pretty fast. No PR's for me but I did go for the 100 yard I.M.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Big Pond

This wednesday's swim was at Big Pond. Possibly the most remote location for these social swims. But it is a great spot for a swim. There is a playground and a beach so I brought the whole family. Our little guy had a fantastic time on the playground shaped like a pirate ship. I had an excellent swim out around the small island.
There is iron or possibly tannic acid in the water. (tannic acid?) It makes everything look red.
Afterwards there was the traditional feast.
I think we are more than halfway down the list of scheduled wednesday night swims.

Monday, July 29, 2013


On Sunday we went for a family hike. I got to carry my son on my back up a small mountain. He actually fell asleep while I was walking. How amazing. How much longer will he be able to sleep through a hike in the woods? I figure carrying that little guy on my back is pretty good cross-training for just about anything

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Friday night

My friday night swim usually has a lot of I.M. repeats. I suppose a lot is a relative term, but nevermind that. Yesterday I just decided to knock 5 seconds of the interval I had been using. I completed the whole set without it feeling much harder than usual and without my actual pace falling off much either. I'm afraid this means my friday workout has gotten too easy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Another group swim in the Berkshires. This one in Greenwater Pond. You can just catch a glimpse of this lake when you are zipping by on the Mass Pike. The water was comfortable. Not so crazy warm as last week. A simple out and back swim a little over half a mile in each direction. Today it was out into the wind and back with the wind. This is definitely the way to swim

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Railroad Days Run 2013

What: 2013 Canaan Railroad Days run
When: Sunday July 21 2013
Where: Canaan CT
Why: For comparative puposes

Somtimes in a race you get to pick your competition. I gave a little name to all the people who were running my race: Two tone tank top, big guy orange shirt, blue shoes, green socks, pink sports bra, and last year's T-shirt.
Really I picked some of them and the others picked me. In a small 5 mile road race, like this one, most of the people around you at the 2 mile mark will be near you at the finish as well.

The first two miles are pretty flat. The field is pretty well sorted out and so that the people around me really are running about the same pace. I picked out big guy orange shirt (BGOS) and two tone tank top (TTTT) on the straight flat part at the end of mile two.

I grabbed water at the first station, took one gulp, poured out the rest, and then flipped the cup to the volunteer with the garbage bag. I think she caught it.

Gayle and some friends were walking to the intersection to watch me run by. They just barely made it in time to see me. I like to think it was because I'm so fast.

The hill starts right after the 2 mile mark. It is about an eighth of a mile up and very steep. I passed BGOS on the way up while waving to my fans. He was definitely feeling that hill. I lost sight of TTTT around the corner at the top of the hill. I recovered a little on the way down and I had eyes on TTTT again. She was slowly pulling away but the rest of my competition was on my heels, although I didn't know it at the time. I heard another runner coming up behind me I figured it was BGOS. But it was a new guy, Mr. green socks  as it happened. Followed by blue shoes.
Well they passed me but they didn't open up much distance.

We passed the next water station. I grabbed my cup, took three gulps, dumped the rest, and flipped the empty cup to the volunteer with the garbage bag. He caught it in the bag while cheering us on.  We passed the three mile mark. Pink sports bra (PSB) and last years T-shirt (LYTS) passed me maybe a little after the three mile mark. TTTT was out of sight but I still had eyes on blue shoes and green socks.
Just before the four mile mark there is the other hill on the course. Not as steep as the first but much longer. I figured it was my hill. (really the first hill is mine too)
I flew by LYTS and  ran down PSB and I almost caught green socks at the top. But he took off on the down side and I lost my chance. Then on the way down PSB passed me again. But the 4 mile mark was already in sight and I stayed right on her heels.
I grabbed water at the last station, took one gulp, dumped the rest, but there was no one there with a garbage bag.
PSB had some magic formula in a small bottle she was carrying. Slowly, slowly I passed PSB one more time just before we got back into town.  I wasn't sure if this was good strategy. What if she had a big sprint at the end?
There were spectators cheering at the corner. "Hurry" they told me "She's going to catch you" There was still at least a quarter mile to the finish but I decided to kick right there. My breathing got ragged I figured I made my move too soon so I did the only logical thing: I pushed a little harder I came flying into the finish my time a little faster than last year.
Out of the 7 people I decided were in my race I finished 4th.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Random Thought

OK  I've got it. Complete the following swims:
Trans-Tahoe Relay
Roy Webster Cross Channel Swim (Columbia River)

and you're done four swims in eight different states. I'd have thrown the Swim Across the Sound onto this list too, but it duplicates New York State and thus doesn't make my idea any more ridiculous.

Of course those swims are either a bit exclusive (Ederle) or far away so I don't think I'm going actually going to cram all that into one season. But if I hear about anyone who does I must remember to send them some fan mail

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It is July after all

It is not just the water around here that is hot. My thursday run was hotter and less pleasant than usual, even thought I cut it short. I have another (non-swimming) race this weekend so a shorter run will count as my taper. No bears today. Just a little thunder rumbling in the distance.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stockbridge Bowl

Tonight was another swim in the Berkshires. I arrived about ten minutes early. There were a handful of other swimmers there but I didn't recognize them. Once everyone arrived and introductions were done we set out on our swim. The water was warm. I didn't even check the temperature but my guess is it was warmer than my usual pool temp (83)
We swam north on the west shore and then across to the east shore. It seemed to me that the water near the east shore was even warmer. And then for the last few hundred yards the water seemed to get even warmer again. About a mile and a half altogether.
Afterwards there was a feast. This crew always puts out a good spread.
On my way home my right front tire blew out. This was unexpected. Two different guys stopped to help me change the tire. I would have managed on my own but the help was still appreciated.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Well, Monday session is still short and sweet. And by "sweet" I mean "hard" I still do that work in the pool even though summer, finally, inexplicably, started.  Today is lifting heavy things (important cross-training) but tomorrow I'll be swimming  in another one of the beautiful lakes in the area. I've got almost all of my late summer races lined up so I'm set to enjoy my training until they get going.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Community Pool

On Sunday I finally got a chance to check out our town pool. It is outdoors with a 25 yard section and a shallow end that slopes in from off to the side. I remember the old sad pool from way back when. This one is a real improvement. I swam a few laps while Gayle and our little guy had play time in the shallow end. There was only one lane marked off for lap swimming, but that was plenty. There weren't that many people there anyway and most of them were just playing around anyhow. The trouble I had was that the bottom and the sides were all a uniform white. I was impressed how disorienting this was. I wound up doing open turns a bunch of times because I misjudged distance and already had a hand on the wall. Open turns! Shocking.
If I'm going to try to take advantage of this pool (It is a pool and it is nearby) I will have to make some arrangements to help me judge distance.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bears Have Right-of-way

Sometime back in the second week of June I strained something in my foot. It wasn't too bad but it meant no running for a few weeks. Out of town for the first week of june plus out of town for July 4th and I hadn't run my usual loop since May.  So I was curious to see how my time would compare today.
Well everything was feeling great and I was thinking how enjoy getting out to run. Until about a third of mile from home when up ahead about a hundred yards or so there was what I thought, at first, was a very large black dog.
In fairness I often encounter dogs on my run, some of them large, most of them friendly, and a few of them actually out on the road instead of on their front lawns where they should be.
It was out in the road and two oncoming cars had slowed down to let it cross. It looked this way and that and lumbered out of the road and I didn't think it was a dog anymore.
I actually flagged down one of the cars to confirm what I saw. They definitely got a better look than I did. A baby (or more accurately juvenile) bear.
So I waited. I turned around and went a little way back where a had come from and then turned around again and jogged up to where I had first seen the bear. I could still see something moving right at the side of the road. So I went back and forth again.
That bear was well on its way by the time I finally continued on and finished my run. But there is no question it had the right-of-way.

Goose Pond

All day I kept nervously checking the satellite data. And even though I was in the middle of, ahem, SEVERE WEATHER it looked like it was all going to roll on out by 5:30. Good news: it actually did. 
It was a great swim trying to keep up with Mike and Brent. And it was nice to get in a slightly longer open water swim in training.
Mike already did a great write up: Here is the link to Mike's blog

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


So far we've had an afternoon thunderstorm every day this week. (and several last week too) Here's hoping we catch a break today so I can actually swim outside. It seems silly to go four of five days in a row without swimming outside in the middle of summer with lakes all around. But you can't argue with a storm.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Hampshire

Super secret swim.
This swim is so secret I won't even say what lake it is.

Monday, July 1, 2013

WYLD Mud Run 2013

Who: Northwest CT YMCA
What: The 2nd Annual WYLD Y Mud Run
When: June 29th 2013
Where: John A. Minetto State Park, Torrington, CT
Why: Because it's my local Y, because this time I got my friends to run with me, and because it is all kinds of fun.

This is my first repeat event since starting this blog and it is not even a swim. But I did it and I'm gonna write about it.
So first I can tell they learned a few things from last year:
More obstacles, more water stations, more staff and volunteers on the course, and more porta-potties.
The waves were organized to get faster runners out in the first wave. The obstacles that really back people up were later in the course. And the start had a nice longish stretch of trail running which served to spread people out.

I learned a few things from last year too:
Sprint the start so you don't get jammed up at the first obstacle.
Get a running start for anything you have to jump.
Just swim the water hazards. (after all rick does swim)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Distant Thunder

Thanks to some rumbling in the distance I had to take my workout back to the pool at the Y. Usually I find it depressing to come back to the pool after a big open water swim. But this time I didn't mind. The pool is still the best place for the kind of interval work I do in my monday workout.
My mom, who lives just a town away, is also a regular at the Y. Turns out mom had been bragging on me to the staff. So there were congratulations for me on my way out of the locker room.
Well that's nice.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Garage Gym

This post serves as a test. I want to use my shmancy phone to post pictures. So here is one of my garage gym.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

MId Hudson To Newburgh Beacon Part 2

As I'm swimming I see a head in a blue swim cap pop up between me and the kayak. It was Grace. She had jumped in to pace me for a while. She circled around to my left hand (port) side. And just like that, still tired, and a little cold, I was having so much fun. I felt like a genuine marine mammal. It was awesome. How could I possibly be having so much fun? Apparently I picked up the pace while Grace was swimming with me.
I did not know it at the time. But apparently there was actually a race going on and I was in it. Sometime after Grace left, I saw a red kayak come up on my left. And then it fell back out of sight a few breaths later. Five or six times the red kayak appeared and then fell back before it finally pulled ahead. 
There was one more feed. The bridge was so close. But I wanted that juice anyway. Margrethe told me if I sprinted I might be able to catch Hannah again. I wasn't sure I had a sprint in me. But it was too late for witty repartee so I just swam for it.
I still kept wandering off to my left and trying to correct it.
I had been so good all race long about not picking up my head to sight. I put my trust in Margrethe, my kayaker, and she delivered big time.
But now I was starting to see the Newburgh Beacon bridge every time I took a breath on my left side.
It was definitely not moving any closer. I know I probably shouldn't look at it at all but now I could see it without even trying and it was definitely not moving any closer.
In fact despite my best efforts it looked to me that it was actually getting further away.
Margrethe kept signaling how close we were. (Hannah was just seconds ahead but I couldn't see her or her kayaker)
And then finally I could see the bridge when I took a breath on either side. Then I knew that it was not actually getting further away at all.
The sun must have been low enough in the sky. Because I swam through the shadow of the northern span of the bridge and came back out into the sun before I actually started swimming under the bridge itself. I could feel the shadow as much as see it. It felt cold.

Now the Newburgh Beacon bridge is a double bridge. There are two separate spans about 40 meters apart. Swimming under it actually takes around a full minute.
Margrethe kept signaling and waving me on. Then I saw Agent Orange on my other side. My ears were full of water so I couldn't really hear but I think there was some cheering and waving on board. I made sure that I was completely clear of the southern span before I stopped swimming and looked around. 
"How do you feel" Margrethe asked me. 
"Tired. Hungry. and a little cold"
I swam over to Agent Orange. They dropped a ladder into place. I grabbed on to the ladder and for just a moment I wondered if I would be able to climb out. But I managed ok. They wrapped me in a towel and I sat down in the sun. 
I knew the finish had been close but I didn't know quite how close until I watched the video later. 
Meanwhile I got to watch Todd finish. He was just a few (maybe 4) minutes back. He threw in a few strokes of butterfly in the last few yards. Nice
I was obviously more bothered by the cold than either Todd or Hannah. Because I was the only one curled into a ball next to the heater in the cabin of Launch 5, wearing all my warm clothes, sipping a small nalgene of hot coffee with milk. 
By the time we got to the dock I was mostly warmed up again. 
Gayle was waiting on the pier with our little guy. She greeted me with chocolate.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mid Hudson to Newburgh Beacon Part 1

When I woke up in the morning I checked the data. The water temperature read 63 in Poughkeepsie. Just before we left the dock on Launch 5 the temperature read 64.4 This was encouraging, even though that is still pretty cold, for me. I figured if the sun stayed out the water would continue to warm up and I might actually be able to get through this swim.
I had prepared some hot feeds, something I had never worried about before. 
We motored out from the dock to just north of the Mid Hudson bridge. There was no countdown, no big ceremony. We got a two minute warning on the way out and then as soon as we were in place we got the "go go go"
We went. One two three. I know I am still not well calibrated when it comes to judging water temperature. But I am convinced that water was colder than 64 degrees. I figure the boat had just cut through where we were swimming and stirred up some colder water from deeper down. For a few minutes I couldn't even think about the cold. I was just thinking about breathing. Every time I put my face in the water I triggered some kind of gasp reflex. I had to forcibly exhale in order to stop myself from taking in a lungful of Hudson.
Thankfully this sensation did not last long. The water still felt cold but I felt ok. At my first feed I got one of my regular juice bottles because the water was measuring 67 degrees. Mostly 67 anyway. There were still some cold patches.
The debris in the river didn't seem that bad. But that might have been because Margareth was steering my around the worst of it. My first problem was a log that I swam into. I pulled back, not knowing what I had hit, and the sudden movement made my leg cramp up. I was annoyed at my leg. This was only an hour, hour and a half into the swim. Way too early for cramps. After I few tries I pulled the cramp most of the way out and I started swimming again. The cramp shook the rest of the way out within a few kicks.
I quickly lost track of distance covered, I lost count of feeds. It felt like the cold patches in the water were getting bigger. I kept pulling to my left. I kept trying to correct but I still kept pulling to the left.
Margareth checked on my leg at each feed for a while. It didn't cause me any more trouble.
At some point, long after I had lost track of time, I'm guessing between the three and four hour marks I told her. "My thumbs are cold" 
Maybe it's weird, but my thumbs will get cold long before any of my other fingers.
By my next feed, or maybe it was two feeds later, my fingers were starting to get cold and tingly.
There seemed to be three distinct temperatures in the water: there were occasional patches that actually felt warm, most of the water felt cold, and some patches felt so cold I just could not understand it.
I'm curious how much of a temperature difference there really was. It felt huge.
I had actually gotten a look at the Newburgh-Beacon bridge during one of my feeds. I felt like I would get there but I didn't know how much longer it was likely to take.
And I most definitely was not going to ask.
Part 2

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Prospect Lake

Did about a mile in Prospect lake today. 70 degree water felt so comfortable. Big group, very nice lake.  I have to remember to add some pictures here.
I'm still a little sore from Monday (big surprise) but it felt nice to be able to get back in the water so quickly.

8 bridges

I'm trying to write up my experience on stage 3 this monday. It is taking me a while because at first I kept falling asleep at the keyboard. I always get very congested after a long swim and I usually need to wait a whole day before I can get the kind of dead-rock sleep that I want after an event like that.
I feel like I should have a whole post or maybe a series of post where I talk about how amazing the organizers, support crew, and kayakers are at this event.
All I had to do was swim.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

8 Bridges Stage 3

Who: 8bridges and some association with CIBBOWS
What: the 3rd (of seven) stages of the weeklong 8bridges swim
When: Monday June 17,  2013
Where: The Hudson River from the Mid Hudson Bridges to the Newburgh Beacon Bridge
Why: Well it's the Hudson River. It's there

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Camp Jewell trail run

Who: Camp Jewell YMCA
What: 5k trail run, part of their strong kids campaign
When: Saturday,  June 15
Where: Camp Jewell Colebrook CT
Why: Because wifey wanted a 5k

I got to sit this one out because I don't want my legs to be sore for my big swim tomorrow. Wifey lined up for the race while the little guy and I played around in a wiffleball stadium known as the thunderdome.
They were doing music and announcements from the top of a little tower by the aforementioned thunderdome. When I heard them start playing "the eye of the tiger" I grabbed the little guy and walked over to the finish line. The official clock read 20:38 at that point. Wow, tough course. Wifey came in 4th woman and 18th overall finisher. She got a medal for winning her age group. Then we got to go down the giant slide.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lake Garfield

Met up with the folks from massachusetts for a wednesday swim. The thermometers disagreed about the temp. One said 62 the other said 66. We swam just about a mile. I'm not very well calibrated on temperature but I think it  was less than 66. Anyway I had to bundle when I got out.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Great, or at least Pretty good, Chesapeake Bay Bridge swim

Once, in college, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. The scariest part of skydiving, for me, was not hesitating at the airplane door at 12,000 feet counting to three (actually 2 a little trick of the instructor's) The scariest part was looking out the window at about 6,000 feet and thinking that was already pretty high. Standing on the beach at Sandy point State park waiting for the start was fine. But riding the shuttle bus over the bridge actually got me pretty nervous.
Rule number one: Do not let the bridge psych you out.
At Sandy point park we had real bathrooms instead of just porta-potties. I had plenty of time to grease up and get ready. The race director said the water temperature was 76 degrees. Nearly everyone was wearing a wetsuit. To be fair I think it was a little colder out in the middle. In this case a little colder might have been 72. I don't think of myself as an anti-wetsuit guy. So far I've done all my swims without, but some people don't and that's ok. But at 76 degrees I'm amazed that some 85% of the swimmers are still wrapped in neoprene on a fine sunday morning.
The course stays between the two spans  of the bridge for nearly the whole distance. The tide pushes you first to the left and then to the right. This mostly wasn't a problem. Post race emails indicate that the current was very strong. I didn't really notice while I was swimming but It might have had an effect on my swim time.
The tide may have been pushing me around without me really thinking about it. I started following more or less the left span of the bridge, moved out into the middle around the halfway point, and then found myself over towards the right for the last mile and a little more.
I had heard terrible things about the cuisinart start. This is the largest open water swim on the east coast and we start in two waves of around 300 people. It really wasn't that bad. It was very crowded and took a long time to open up but the other swimmers were very polite about all that contact. I have already been to a few races where much smaller groups resulted in worse starting conditions. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim

Who: The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim run by Lin-Mark sports
What: The Chesapeake Bay Swim
When: Sunday, June 9, 2013
Where: The Chesapeake Bay right under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Why: Because the open water season is finally open

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Great Hudson River Bummer

Who: NYCSwim
What: The Great Hudson River Swim
When: Saturday May 25 2013
Where: Christopher street pier New York, NY
Why: In this case the question is why not?

I took the train down  into the city friday night. I was looking forward to my first event with NYCswim. At 8pm I got a message saying that the swim was still on . But at a quarter to 11 I got the notice that the swim was being cancelled due to weather.
Saturday morning was cold and very very windy. So I can't really question the decision to cancel. But I'm disappointed. I will have to try again for a different event with NYCswim.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

That magic number

I think I've mentioned my magic numbers before. So far this has been true. If I can swim 17 or 18 100's on a given interval then I can knock 5 seconds off the interval and swim about 5 100's on the faster interval. I've done this several times already. A year ago I was working on 1:40 two years ago I was on 1:50. When I started swimming on a 1:30 interval I thought I had finally hit my limit. After all there has to be some point where I won't get any faster. I'm not in danger of setting any world records here. But it looks like I'm going to be able to do it one more time. next week or the week after (if I wuss out) I'm going to have try a 1:25 interval. I should be able to do about 5 of them. (probably)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Those long pool swims again

Today I did my first long pool swim of the year. My beginning of my second ever open swimming season is just a few weeks away and I need to be sure I am ready to go. I count anything over 2 hours or 4 miles as a long swim so this one just barely qualifies. I was right in line with my very fastest long swims from last winter and spring.
I figure this means my regular pool sessions have done what they are supposed to do.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

More butterfly

My wednesday swim starts with a set of butterfly. It still kicks my butt. I think it takes about 30 minutes off of what my workout needs to be, though. After my butterfly set a set of freestyle feels much easier. As in easier than the butterfly I was just swimming. It also feels much harder. As in a 1:55 interval on wednesday feel nearly as hard as 1:30 on monday

Monday, April 29, 2013

Another five seconds

When I started doing 100's on a 1:30 interval a few months ago they were hard. I could barely hold the interval for five. Today I did 17 on 1:30. This is progress.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Who: Western Area Massachusetts Dietetic Association
What: The 20th annual W.A.M.D.A. 5k walk/run
When: Saturday March 2nd 2013
Where: Look Park, Northampton, MA
Why: Because winter was almost over (not really)

I hadn't really been running because winter. But Wifey and I signed up for this race just the same. It was nice course. Pretty flat, two loops and then a little bit more. I didn't know how it would go since the only running I had done all winter was in occasional 15 minute sessions on the treadmill at the Y. I might have done some 30 minute sessions but I'm not sure.
On the course I couldn't keep up with wifey but I kept her in sight the whole time. I finished feeling great in 24:21 which is right in line with the races I ran this past summer and fall.
The next day I was running a fever. I spent the day on the couch barely able to move. This was not fun.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Definitely winter around here. There ice fisherman out on the lakes walking around. Also fishing, I guess. Wifey and I got our saturday morning yoga class in today. I'm slowly putting together my 2013 swimming plans.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Intervals of intervals

I decided it was time to try some 1:30 intervals for my 100's. But I didn't want to reduce my distance. So I started with 4 x 100 on 1:30 followed by an easy 200. I repeated this three times. This way I managed 12 100's on 1:30. Just not all together. But I managed 3 times through doing 5 x 100 on 1:30 the following week. I think this is faster progress than I would have gotten otherwise.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy New Year Meet

Who: Mohonasen boys swim Team
What: Mohonasen Happy New Year Meet
When: Jan 12, 2013
Where: Mohonasen High School, Rotterdam NY
Why: To get some competition in the winter

This meet was efficient and well-run. But since there were so many events It was still an all day event. I  won the 100 free 50 free and 50 fly. I didn't make any of the national qualifying times or even set any PR's.
For my reference I also swam the 1650. That is a tough race. I swam 23:07. I'm going to want to swim it again to see if I have any consistency over that distance.


Well. 2012 ended I fell just short of the 300 mile mark. Oh well. New Year, new training log and all that.  I'm just starting to figure out my second ever open water swimming season. But in the meantime I'll have some pool meets to keep me motivated.