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)