Saturday, August 30, 2008

Alcatraz here we come!

It's official... I am signed up for Alcatraz! Kathy signed up this week too. Wow, this is going to be an exciting trip. 800 swimmers, 1.5 miles, twisting currents, and jumping off a ferry for the start. I guess I'll be glad to just finish. A bunch of people I talked to at Rockland has also done Alcatraz so that got me more fired up to try it.

I really took it easy this week with swimming and did only 1 mile up in the lake. It was gorgeous. The water was 72 and not a soul was on the lake, well except for that loon....I actually had a loon chase me in the middle of the lake. He was hooting and cooing and chasing me and then went under water. Boy that made me swim faster. I later surmised that he (or she) must have been warning me to stay away from his/her brood of baby loons. Still freaked me out... they are BIG birds!

I can't express how SAD I am for this wonderful summer of swimming, beach days and freedom to be over! I am not ready to go back to work. And to top it off the first week of school is supposed to be 80 degrees and sunny everyday.... I will have to sneak some ocean swims in somehow.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rockland Breakwater Swim Race Report

Another great day and fun race! It was sunny 80 degrees with a 60 degree water temp. At first it felt cold but as soon as I got going it felt great and I didn't even notice. It was a nice small race with about 33 people in two waves for each category: the 3.2 mile swim (2 loops of the breakwater) and the 1.6 mile swim (1 loop of the breakwater).

My ever faithful training partner Kathy joined me along with her brother in law Adrien.

Kathy and I


First the 3.2 mile swimmers took off so I was able to get a shot... I think Kathy is on the dock.

Then the 1.6 swimmers took off 30 minutes later, close to when the 3.2 swimmers were approaching their second loop. I got in the water with only 2 minutes to go, which turned out to be perfect. The Maine Masters folks did an amazing job organizing the race and had every detail covered.

After the start I stayed with Cheryl, who is a very fast local open water swimmer, for about 300 yards and then began to draft off of her. I was hoping to stay closer to her for longer but didn't want to burn out at the end so I let myself back off a little.
And the rest of the way I was on my own. I couldn't see anyone behind me, although occassionally I could see Cheryl and Doug ahead of me... too far to catch however! As I rounded the lighthouse there was a huge tall ship schooner passing by which was just amazing to see with the sunlight sparkling and dancing on the water. The lighthouse itself was also gorgeous and I wish I could have stopped to take a picture (luckily Photographer Jan Reale was there and will send me a link to all her pictures soon which I can share with everyone). It was refreshingly COLD on the other side of the lighthouse -- I was feeling surprisingly hot, which I did not expect. On the trek back down the breakwater there were large swells for the first third and then they died down so I got a bit closer to the breakwater to reduce my distance. In my eagerness to finish I started sprinting a bit too early, but recovered okay and just kept the pace through the finish.

1.6 mile results:

Time: 38:20
2nd woman overall
2nd AG
3rd overall

Just goes to show not matter how fast you think you are, there is usually someone faster! Always inspiration to keep working and swim faster.

Kathy came through with a 1st place woman overall in the 3.2 mile swim and 1st in her age group. Yeah Kathy!!! That was a long swim. And she got some nice "goodies" -- a mug, a signed copy of Off the Deep End by Hodding Carter (ME Masters swimmer) and a handsome plaque. Adrien got first in his age group too! Great job Adrien!

Here are all the top finishers in the wetsuit and non-wetsuit categories for both distances for women and men. Congrats to everyone and thanks to the organizers for a very fun race! This is a definite race for next year and I hope more of my Masters teammates come out too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Acclimating to the cold

The Rockland swim: one loop around the breakwater, 1.6 miles

Any tips? It's gonna be cold in the water on Saturday for Rockland. The buoy reads 59.7, while here in balmy Casco Bay it is 62.2. And when I swam at OOB today it felt really cold to me. Not good. I just hate the cold. It makes me lethargic and stiff. At least the air will be warm -- 80's I think and that will help.

And breakfast.... I need some suggestions here. I have to leave my house around 6:30 so that means breakfast at 6 or so. What to eat? The race isn't until 10am.... It has to be something quiet to so I don't wake up my whole family. No blenders. Won't go over well with the hub. HELP!

Other than that I am just swimming for fun. Sure I want to do well, go fast and all that, but really just have fun and not get any leg cramps like I did in Peaks. What makes me more nervous, much more nervous is racing in a pool.... traditional 50's and 100's. The ocean is an adrenaline rush, a thrill, the unknown, the cold, all the people and jockeying. But the pool is the known, the defined, the measureable. Still fun but always comparable to all other races.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Finally, summer is back

I haven't had a swim like this in about a month. First of all it was warm, air and water. About 80 air and 64 water. Second it was not foggy or raining! The tide was exceptionally low, so low that I had to wade out about 200 yards that I normally would have swum. It was so low that even once I got going the sea grass was so long that it was nearly tangling around my legs and arms. Yuck! Something I would have shuddered at last summer but now is just a gross annoyance. After that it was great. Sadly I had no company.

Tomorrow I have a good workout for Kathy and I and whoever else might show up.

2 x 400 w/u; 400 free, 400 pull/drill
3 x 300 @ 4:30
4 x 200 @ 3:00
5 x 100 @ 1:30, hold 1:15 or faster

total 3000 yards

Saturday is Rockland which I think will be a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to doing this race with Kathy and --- yes! -- we are finalizing plans for Alcatraz next summer. Shark Fest!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I passed!

What a relief it is to write that I passed my exam! I can finally go back to enjoying summer or what is left of it. Whaoo. Kind of
anti-climatic after all the studying and stressing.

Very nice swim with Kathy and Deb this morning along Crescent Beach. It did feel a bit cold again. Is it fall already?
I was so glad that Deb decided to come out with out us today as she isn't much into the ocean swimming. I hope she does again cause we had a nice pace going.

Anyways I can't write more now because I am being asked to spell words every 3-seconds by my daughter... more later.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Southwest Pond and Blueberries

Just got back from a few days in Washington County picking blueberries, eating awesome Mexican food (yes!) and doing some swimming. It was a relaxing trip with the kids up to my dad's camp. We learned a lot about the migrant workers... how they basically completely support the agricultural infrastructure of Maine. Right now there are about 12-15,000 migrant workers picking blueberries in Washington County-- kind of unbelieveable. Thus the amazing Mexican food we were able to enjoy each day -- nothing even close in Portland.

The pond temperature started out at 72 and steadily dropped each day without the sun to 69 by today when we left. Nevermind -- it was still wonderful and a refreshing change from the salty ocean. And not a soul on the pond.

Big exam on Tuesday -- hopefully the last of my life! Wish me luck......

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Swim with Kathy

Salty. Cold. Overcast. Very very low tide, sea grass and all. Oh yeah, did I mention cold. The lobstermen laughed at us. I have to give Kathy a lot of credit, she got me in at 5:40am for this long swim. No fiddling with the goggles, no chit chat. Thank you Kathy! I missed you while you were gone! We will be ready for Rockland without a doubt. I do have to say the sunrise was beautiful on the drive over, but that didn't last as the clouds rolled right in. About 1.8 miles total. Tomorrow the pool.... I'll have to find a fun workout.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Race photos from Zone Urban Epic 2008

I emerge from the water... what a swim!

My speedy runner, Andy, burning up the course.

And Lorenzo on the bike.