Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween to all! Tricks and Treats abounded today at practice. One treat was the discovery that the majority of my lane (2/3) was from the metro C-Bus area. For all of you not from the Midwest, that is Columbus, OH. Even better, we were from rival high schools (Upper Arlington and Worthington). We bonded over our love of Ohio and set aside our petty childish rivalries. I must point out that I was nearly out of high school by the time this kid was born, though he played nice with me and BB and pretended we were not that much older. The trick was that coach Bill made us do relays at the end of practice to earn a zombie bar. Special props to Solly who went in to the locker room to try to find the scary monster who is spraying the Axe aerosol deodorant at 6:50 every morning. He was a minute too late, but we think we have narrowed the window to 10 minutes and he shall be found. Our lungs and general health thank you, Solly!

9 x 75’s on :10r
  1-3:  are all drill
   4:  breast
   5:  back
   6:  fly
   7-9:  free descend

4 x 150 free pull hypoxic 9, 3, 7 on 2:25
5 x 200’s broken going: 75 on :60, 100 on 1:15/1:20, 25 on :40

4 x 100 IM

Relays: One 200 free, One 200IM, One coaches choice.

200 warmdown

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

To the Bridge and Back: Recap

My last race of the season was a fun one, a five mile swim in the James River in Richmond called "To the Bridge and Back."  It was a nice bookend to a bridge-themed season which started with the Great Chesapeake Bay Bridge swim in June. I happen to have some very hard core open-water swimming friends who would not think 5 miles is a big deal, but for me it was a foray into trying out a long swim, and it didn't disappoint.

I picked this race because my family lives in Richmond and it was a perfect excuse to visit. I had also heard good things about the race organizer, Jay Peluso, from my sister and brother-in-law so I felt like it was a good fit. The evening before I was thrilled to find out that I was assigned my own escort kayaker, a high school student named Caroline who turned out to be my niece's swim coach. That day I must have exchanged 238 text messages with my friends Elaine and Rachel about the weather and whether to wear a wetsuit. After my practice swim on Friday, it was an easy decision not to wear one as it was balmy.

Race day was ideal with 60's air temps and 70 degree water - simply perfect. Turns out most people did not wear a wetsuit given the conditions. They started us out in waves of 10 and I was in the second wave. The course went out 2.5 miles and then (surprise!) back. I got out strong and then just started swimming. And swimming, and swimming. We were against the current, which appeared to strengthen as we rounded a corner and saw the infamous bridge. I didn't wear a watch but the first leg seemed to go on forever.  There is a huge mansion on the shore and I thought "oh, what a pretty house" when I first saw it. 10 minutes later, "wow, the house is still there."  Another 10 minutes went by, and still that damn house. By then I had the chance to really critique it and it wasn't that great. We finally rounded the buoy at the bridge, I drank some energy drink and off I went. It probably took me 1:20-1:30 to go the first 2.5 miles. The way back was awesome. That house? It went by fast and was pretty again. I had been chasing a guy from the first wave in a purple cap the whole time but never caught him. My stroke count dropped but I tried to keep my pace up. My sister Carrie surprised me by coming out on a jet ski to take pics and then Ryon, Carrie and the boys all came out on a boat to cheer me on with about 1.5 miles to go. I was happy with my swim and it gave me a good baseline for more, possibly longer races. Unfortunately my mom videotaped my exit, which consisted of me knee deep in river mud stumbling like a drunk zombie towards shore. I shall make sure that video never sees the light of day.

Overall, it was a really fun event and adventure, very well run and a perfect way to end the season. Thanks to my support crew on land - mom, Carrie, Ryon, Celia, Jake, and Mason - and to Caroline in the kayak. And fun to see Courtney Paulk, Boston Light Swim alum and open water swimmer extraordinaire, in her natural habitat! And to my awesome training partners at MIT Masters who pushed me this season.
Best support crew!

The kiddos and a dolphin