Friday, December 24, 2010

A little elf visited me

I must have been very good this year because this is what I found under my tree last night.

Pretty cool eh? I already feel faster. It's going to be a good year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh speedsuit where fore art thou when I need you most?

That is my summary of the SCM Championship meet at BU this weekend.

Well that and... how can each age group I age up into get faster than the one before??

I love my blue lobstahs. Thank god for them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Into the deep blue

The news this week was a great shock. I have been going through my daily routines still processing and remembering.

Jane, one of our Masters swimmers, passed away this week due to an aneurysm. She was only 50. She completed the Peaks to Portland race this year with same exuberant joy and excitement that she brought to all her activities. She was funny and kept us all laughing.

My greatest condolences to her family. We will miss her greatly.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Help me pick a new suit!

I'm facing a week of rain, the end of summer and going back to work this week.
This summer has to been too good. Obviously it is time for a new suit.
Please help me pick a new suit and vote (in the side bar) for your favorite one.

I'm a Winner not a Wiener!
Da Bomb
I must be butter 'cause I'm on a roll
Blue Flamengo

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Race Reprot: Celebrate the Clean Harbor 2010

Sean and I proudly display our plaques!

Gorgeous summer day, perfect flat conditions, water temp 61. Hometown race for Cape Ann'ers and a beautiful venue.

Course was a bit longer than past years judging by the winning times. It was a trapezoid course out and back in the harbor. Maine Masters showed up in style (of course thanks to Son) with a huge banner and 20 swimmers. Sadly absent were Cheryl, Simon and a few others who have made this a regular swim over the years. Next year they'll be back! I'd like to get a few others in on this fun short swim too -- John, Mike, Susan?

This race was particularly fun as I got to see my sister and brother in law and adorable
niece Alessandra (pictures to come).

A 1.2 mile race is markedly different from the longer races I have been doing this summer (2.4 in July and 4.4 in June). It is really a full out sprint for 20 minutes! Which is a good realization as I have one more race this season, a relay at Lobsterman in September. This race did hurt a bit (and talking to folks afterwards I wasn't the only one). My lats and triceps were aching and tight. I am not sure if it was the effort I put out (didn't seem more than usual?), the flatness (why would that matter) or poor fit of my wetsuit. This is only the second race I have worn my Helix Blueseventy for a race but both times I have been uncharacteristically sore in my triceps. Could the suit be too short for my torso? I never had this problem with my old Orca. Has this happened to anyone else?

Otherwise I completely enjoyed the morning. I finished 3rd woman and 10th overall (/125). I highly recommend this race! Congrats to fellow Mainer's Sean Carter (1st male 30-39) and Kelsey Abbott (1st woman 30-39). Always nice to swim with friends.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Night swim with fireworks

So I am planning a night swim under fireworks for my birthday.
I am pretty excited. I've got glowsticks for under my goggles, flashlights
for the spotters and I'm all ready to get my faux shark tattoo afterwards.

Understandably, however, some people are a bit freaked out by this prospect.

But extensive research revealed that there have never been any unprovoked shark attacks on the coast of Maine. Shark sightings are rare. The most common sharks in Maine are spiny dogfish, blue sharks and occassionally porbeagles. The Gulf of Maine Research Insitute has a nice summary in case you are swimming at night anytime soon :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Race Report: Peaks to Portland 2010

This is our life happening ... and it is happening right now. - Michael Chabon

That is my main reason I like doing open water races.
In those moments of the race, I live fully in the present.
Painful or exhilarating, I and everyone in that race, is right there.

Honestly I was feeling a bit complacent about this race, for many reasons, the biggest of which was that Kathy was unable to swim. She's been out for the majority of the summer with a back injury. It just hasn't been the same to train without her. I was, and am, feeling sad about this.
Kathy and I at the finish.

However in balance of this, our group had well over 20 swimmers join the 192 that completed the race, many of whom swam for the first time.

Julie taking a moment.

Peter, Claire and Bowen.

The morning was foggy and as we headed over on the ferry Peaks couldn't be seen. Even as the race started, Portland was not visible through the fog.

The start was modified several times in the days before the race. The final iteration turned out to be a good one. Four waves of 50 swimmers spaced by 3 minutes staggered by speed, fastest wave first. We had lots of room and I didn't get clobbered by any other swimmers. There was lots of space for at least 500 yards, almost the entirety I spent swimming arm for arm with Peter. Thanks dude! And then the kayaks closed in on us. I had to yell to one who crossed immediately in front of me. But he kept going. My arm hit the front end of his boat and I had to yell back at him "Don't cross the swimmers!" Someone later said I should have dunked the front end of this boat.

Karen my kayaker found me shortly after this just when I was starting to wonder, quite calmly I might add, if I would be swimming the rest of the race unescorted. She was great -- cheering, encouraging and rallying me on to the finish. Note the distinctive hat!

My arms hurt for much of the race. In retrospect I think my suit was too tight -- too new still. However I experienced none of the leg cramping that I have in past years so the change in training and pre-race nutrition seems to be working.

The water was cold, much colder than it has been at Crescent Beach. I don't know if this is just subjective or if it truly was colder. Even though I forgot my hoodie, the two caps I wore were just right to keep me warm enough.

We took a straighter route to the beach this year. I didn't feel any push of the tide and I'm not sure of whether this is due to the route we took or the timing of the tide. Most people I talked also didn't feel any push so I think it is the latter.

I had one guy (without a kayak) who trailed me for nearly the entire race. I have to say I admire his stamina. He looked like he was working quite hard keeping up a rapid cadence. Just as we entered the boats I stretched out my stroke and picked up my kick and was able to shake him loose finally.

Final stats: 2nd AG, 7th woman (7/78) and 36th OA.
Time: 53:38

Suggestions for next year:
Have the kayaks line up in numerical order: odd number one side, even number the other. This way it should correspond to the speed of the swimmers and reduce the chaos.

Can we please have water and gatorade through the awards ceremony?

Love the award towels!! Much better than a plaque.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good bye to B70 Vision goggles

Nothing sucks more than a pair of googles that have lost their suck.

Both pairs of my BlueSeventy Vision googles have failed. At first I thought it was that my original pair was a size large. Nope. They worked fine for Chesapeake (thank goodness) but failed about a week afterwards and completely ruined what otherwise would have been a gorgeous beginning of summer swim in the lake. So I ordered a new pair of size small. The suck was gone after 2 weeks.
I have returned both pairs to Swim Outlet courtesy of their 60 day return policy.

Now, sadly, again I need a new pair of googles.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Feed the need

Tomorrow is a big training swim. See it started out with just trying to get together a few folks to swim to a local island for fun and as a practice run for the Peaks race next weekend. It has blossomed to over 20 swimmers of all speeds. I'm very excited. The water temperature is exceptionally warm for this time of year 63-68 degrees -- which for Maine is downright balmy.

It's been a relaxing week of vacation, fun swims and yes some surfing. I had no idea how fun surfing is. I'm definitely hooked. As I was out waiting to "catch a wave" I realized how much I love to be in the ocean. I love the feel of it on my feet as they hang off the board or as I float on my back in my wetsuit. I love swimming through the patches of seaweed. I love the adrenaline rush of seeing a fish swim beneath me or a school of small silvers jump out of the water in the sparkling sunshine. I love finding seaglass. I love the smell of seaweed and low tide. In general it's just a very very good time of year for me!

Last weekend was the Norway Triathlon -- a fun chance to try my hand at triathlon without really training -- ha ha! Indeed it was refreshing to try something new. The water was too warm for wetsuits which made it more exciting than the typical swim. That and the fact that I was swimming with Ange, a very tough competitor and dear friend, who definitely had her game face on that morning! We ended up 1-2 for women in the swim with her enjoying the limelight and running out first. Go Ange!

[break for fireworks going off in front of lighthouse with surf crashing and fog horn blowing-god I love living in Maine]

The bike was relaxing. I know I know its not supposed to be relaxing but I let it be. My chain did fall off at the half-way point but I managed to quickly get it on. Luckily I was off the bike just in time - it started to pour - pour as in torrential downpour followed by showers followed by torrential downpour. Exciting finish. Judging by the number of women in my age group who passed me in the last half mile, I could place a lot better if I just upped my game in the bike or run.

Final stats:
Swim 11.3 (3) Bike 50:34.8(101) Run 32:02.1(100) Final 1:33:48

22/68 women overall
6/14 women 40-44
3/137 swim
101/137 bike
100/137 run
72/137 OA

thus proving the point that swimmers don't always make the best triathletes --ha ha! -- and also that sometimes its just fun because it is fun.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ocean reaches temperate conditions

It always happens like this. It is freezing. Limb numbing freezing. I swim on the verge of early stages hypothermia donning 2 caps and a hoodie. And then all of a sudden it is gorgeous. This happened Monday. The first 6 inches all of a sudden felt good, comfortable, dare I say warm-ish. Below that of course was still a bit chilly but I hardly reached that depth anyways.

Buoy 44007 is reading 63. It is definitely not that warm at Crescent Beach.
Buoy CASM1 is reading 59. That sounds more likely.
But how can it be 4 degrees warmer out in the middle of the bay compared to right on Portland Harbor? Is there an oceanographer out there to explain?

It has also reached sweltering temperatures in Maine this week the likes of which I don't remember since 2002. 95 degrees.

Here's a refresher. Put it all in a blender.
1 cup cold green tea
1/2 cup 100% fruit juice
1/2 frozen banana
2 T coconut
1/2 c. pineapple chunks
1 T yogurt
1/2 scoop protein powder

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Swimming in the rain

Summer has arrived. I've enjoyed several swims at Kettle Cove and even swum in the pouring rain. Gary has been my faithful swim buddy - which I am so so grateful for. Not many people would swim in the rain. Actually no one else except for Kathy. How I miss her! She's due back this week and I'm praying her back will be better and she can get in and swim!

The ocean temp has been reading 57-60 on the buoy but in reality it has varied between ^&^%*( cold and just cold. I find that my two caps and hoodie are still required and every swim I exit with my right pinkie immobilized by the cold. Nevertheless my last swim at Crescent Beach allowed me a glimpse of some gorgeous orange, green and white coral and seaweed on the rocks as we swam over. I followed lines from lobster trap to lobster trap on the bottom of the ocean and saw dozens of baby crabs.

Peaks is coming up in a few weeks. And I've got the Norway Tri this coming weekend. Proud to say I've gotten in two runs and well....ahhem... no bike rides yet. Hoping for tomorrow. The weather will be good so no excuses for me.

I am contemplating swimming the Gloucester 1.2 Save the Bay swim on August 21st as well as the Rockland Breakwater 1.6 swim on August 28th. So many races and not enough time during these short Maine summers.

But overall I just feel fortunate to be able to do all this fun swimming. To have the time, the ability and the means.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

GCBS 2010: Let's do it again!

pictures thanks to Amy Klodzinski
That is one very very long bridge.

In the middle.... of the Chesapeake!

Sometimes a picture says it all...almost surreal isn't it?

Well it ended up being near perfect conditions...we couldn't have been any luckier. I am surprised to say but I want to DO IT AGAIN!!

And check it out... I made it on TV along with Simon!

We left at our hotel and arrived at the site at about 6:15 and hit the bathroom just like Glenn Mills recommended. We then headed over to get our caps and get marked. Just enough time to apply sunscreen and marvel at the bridge, then the pre-race meeting. We listened to just enough to learn that we should swim down the middle of the spans for the first half and then head over to the left side for the last half due to the currents. There were over 700 volunteers -- that's more than the number of swimmers! And 100% of the money raised went to the March of Dimes. Wow!

It was only minutes before Wave 1 went off. And then 15 mintues for us, Wave 2. Just enough time to suit up and drop our gear bags. It was already 80 degrees with full sun. The water looked calm with some mild waves. Wind was predicted at 7mph from the W-SW. Perfect!

I felt oddly calm. Got my feet in the water. It felt perfect. Refreshing yet just warm enough. I finally got to meet the famous Rob from RobAquatics in California as our pink cap wave waited for the go-ahead. He had a very stylish RobAquatics suit on. Impressive! (how the heck did you get this Rob?)

And it was time. Gary and his speedy 15-year old son were with me, along with John. I felt safe. I took note of #658 who stood next to me... a 6 foot-6 inch 40 year old man. Hmmm.... he looked fast, but looks are deceiving. Would be fun to see where he finished. My feet sank in the sand.

Go! I sauntered in. So unlike me. But this was a 2-hour race. No need to get my goggle kicked off or get whapped in the head. I hung back and let others go around me. Then I cut sharply to the right and aimed for the breakwater and straight for the buoys (about 500 yards away) that gated the entrance to the race course under the bridge. I passed a lot of people.

Before I knew it I hit the one mile mark. Passed green cap after green cap (wave 1). I was in my groove. Whitesnake and Michael Jackson were my friends. Mile 2 was the refreshment boat. Nah... keep swimming I thought. I planned the suit I'd wear for next year (alas Splish does not have a crab graphic, or a lobster for that matter). That passed the next mile. Mile 3 was refreshment boat #2 way on the right. I started my "ride the glide" stoke and seemed to just fly by others near me. Okay time to head left, but I thought "I'm in the clear... I'm taking this... I've got this in the bag! Wait don't get cocky, pay attention to the current!" The current snuck up on me at about 3.3 miles. Pulling me, pulling me to the right. Lots of people were swimming right next to the pylons. I aimed left and was able to maintain a good distance... that is as long as I kept aiming left. I passed more people. More pink and green caps. It felt along way until I saw the buoy for 4 miles... finally the buoys signaling the exit from under the bridge.... only 700 yards left!! Time to gun it and pick off every pink cap I could, especially the women! (I am a sprinter of course). It was longer than I thought. I saw people standing up with still 400 yards to go... keep swimming... head down!

I kept it up until the finish and manage to take down at least 4 other women. I swam until I touched the sand twice (thanks Glenn) and then stood up took 2 steps and ran out of the water right onto the finish chute!! I did it!

It was a great feeling. Long but actually I really enjoyed myself. Probably means I didn't work hard enough.... but there is always next year. I have already promised Kathy to do it. I missed her so much on this swim and have no doubt she'll crush it next year.

Thanks to my fellow Maine teammates: Gary, Amy, Evan, John, Simon, Mike, John and Kathy. Absolutely wouldn't have been as fun without all of you.

Final stats:
2nd AG /20
28th /179 women
150th OA
26:28 pace/mile

and yes I beat #658!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Great Chesapeake Bay Swim: Hemingway's or bust

Can I stay in between the bridges with strong currents?

We leave at 4pm today for Maryland. Sunday is the race.
Hemingway's Marina is the finish point.
I have successfully been putting it out of my mind until now.
It's going to be long. It's going to hurt. It's going to be like nothing I have ever done before.
How's that for a prelude to turning 40?

I've done 3 miles in the ocean. It's exhausting.
But 4.4 miles along with 600 others and no room for error, yikes.
I sure hope the conditions are good.

After this I'm resting for a bit. Swimming for ME will be just swimming
for fun for a while. No "training". Just summer fun.

With Kathy's help I promise to bring back some good pictures.
Due to an injury she'll be cheering us on and snapping photos.
(and gathering info for next year when she'll win her age group!).

Live results at

Here goes nothing!

Monday, June 7, 2010

B70 Vision: I'm a fan

These goggles are great. The best I have worn for open water yet and also incredibly comfortable for pool swimming. I highly recommend these if you can get your hands on them. Swim 2000 just put out a promo code so try it : Sweet16 (save 16%).

In other news I have been swimming a lot of long distance lately -- relatively spaced out so as not to hurt my shoulder. So far I have been feeling good! I've gone 4 miles twice and 3 miles once so I feel prepared for the distance. The conditions of Chesapeake will be the wild card.

I had a lot of fun on Memorial Day weekend at he first and only Last Chance Meet in Westbrook -- aka the last chance to wear a USMS legal speed suit. Just for kicks I swam the 200 fly and 400 IM and am proud to say finished both without a DQ or obvious embarrassment. Phew. 2:37 for the 200 fly and 5:33 for the 400 IM. As Bill Jones, a 75-year old Maine Masters 200 fly expert told me, "Just keep thinking 'long and loose' and you'll make it". Great advice. He was right!

Maybe it will work for the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim next Sunday?

"Here I go again..." Anybody know who sang that line?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First summer swim on Crystal Lake

The lake is exceptionally warm this year. Who says global warming isn't real? First we get half as much snow as Washington and New York, and now Crystal Lake is over 60 degrees before Memorial Day? Until I have ocean front property, I guess global warming is working for me.

Gary, John and I did 3 miles and it felt good. Also along for the ride were Jaime and Liz who went about 1.5 miles. It was crisp (read cold) at first but then felt good. The last 1/2 mile I did start to get cold again and get that numb lip almost slurry speech thing going on, but we were done so it didn't matter. I recommend the two bathing cap and one hoodie approach until it gets a bit warmer.

Looking forward to some more lake swims before the big race June 13th. Next training swim with my friend 'al fresco' ---> Friday 5/28 @6am. Cheers!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Distance training

Basically to me this just means space out for an hour and keep swimming. I've taken the intensity down a gear and am just trying to get my body used to swimming without stopping (and save my shoulder). So far this week 6300 and tomorrow this is the workout. Not sure I'll get it all done but some is better than none.

warm 500 pull alt breath every 3

10 x 200
# 1 swim free :15 sec rest between 200's
# 2 kick fly on back
# 3 back swim
# 4 descend 50's free
# 5 descend 25's free
# 6 Negative split 100/100
#7 all out
# 8 ez pull
# 9 allout
# 10 ascend 25's

1500 mile swim each 500 10 sec faster

10 x 100 super set @ 1:25

sd 500

total 5500 yds

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Going the Distance

Enjoyed my first distance workouts this week. It is a huge shift for me from the intense rapid fire sprint training I have been doing all year. In fact I almost never have made this shift. Swimming the 1000 last week was eye-opening for me. I really enjoyed it. So much time to think and stretch out and just "be" in the race as opposed to have it "happen".

Yesterday I swam 5500 yards... The longest I have ever swum in a workout I think. It was rather nice although I do not think I could have done it without some good company.

Thought about zooming in on the tiles. Lots of time to really think about being in the water and just get into the rhythm of swimming. Feel the cadence of my breaths. Enjoy the bubbles underwater on turns. Stretch out and streamline.

My shoulder held up okay which I am very happy about. I took my speed down a whole gear so to speak and I think this not only allowed my shoulder to make it but also made the whole workout more enjoyable.

Goal for the GBSwim in June ... go the distance... long and strong.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Zones 2010: Short version

I came I went I swam. After sitting in 90 minutes of traffic to go 10 miles that is. Got to love the city life. Got to the meet with 15 minutes to go before the first heat. Had to talk our way in. It worked! Needless to say I had lots of adrenaline revved up for the 1000.

12:31.33 in the 1000

39 MAINE MASTERS SW 12:30.00   12:31.33                    
31.97      1:07.05 (35.08)         
1:43.13 (36.08)     2:20.44 (37.31)         
2:58.29 (37.85)     3:36.38 (38.09)         
4:14.91 (38.53)     4:53.09 (38.18)         
5:31.68 (38.59)     6:10.61 (38.93)         
6:49.40 (38.79)     7:28.23 (38.83)         
8:07.02 (38.79)     8:46.30 (39.28)         
9:25.19 (38.89)    10:03.66 (38.47)        
10:41.99 (38.33)    11:19.91 (37.92)        
11:56.52 (36.61)    12:31.33 (34.81)
56.6 in the 100 (bad turns and slow 2nd 50)
DQ in the 200 back. (If you miss a wall you miss it, there's no going back I learned).

I had the kids the whole time so that was interested.

After the 1000 on Friday night I let them get in the warm down pool which was in a separate room from the 2 main competition pools. No one was in the shallow end (4 feet or something). They were having a blast. Life was good. I was in the hot tub immediately adjacent "warming down". Two men commented how nice it was to see kids learning about competition and splashing around in the pool at the same time. Don't hear comments like this from men too often. And yet... the aquatic center manager kicked the kids out as some members of the general public thought it was unfair that they couldn't swim too. What?? I had paid for this. They were with me. He wouldn't even let them sit on the bench on the side of the pool. Umm... do you have a babysitting service or something. Like they are mine and are with me....

Anywho the meet was good. Got to meet Rob Butcher. Very cool.
Here's the nice pic we got. (Thanks Son!)

Son, Rich, Me and Rob Butcher

The Warm-Up Pool is Open: Future MESC recruits?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another goggles update

After wearing the Tyr Velocity goggles for the entire 3-days of the Harvard meet I would have to recommend against them for racing. The straps have an unreliable tightener that loosens as you wear it. I had to keep readjusting it for every race. As you can imagine it was a little nerve racking.

The Speedo Vanquishers, which I have always used in the past for racing, have a much better strap that doesn't loosen.

And now after wearing the Tyr Socket Rockets for several weeks in practice I would continue to give them a good review for reduced goggle marks as well as no leakage. They have worked much better than the Swedes, which always leaked on my smaller face. For now this is my answer to the raccoon eyes problem!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Looking back at the meet...

400 Mixed 25+ Medley relay - New National Record (Alina, Jessica, Mike, Nate)

After watching the relay video far too many times (my kids keep asking and how can I resist that?), I can see what others were saying to me.

1. I need to work on my turns. My legs are too wide when they hit the wall and aren't even streamlined off the wall.

2. Relay starts! Time to get with the program and do the wind-up and not be afraid of DQ-ing.

3. Work on breakouts.

4. My arms really are a bit too wide on my strokes. I want to play around with bringing them in a bit.

Today I was back in the pool after a week off to rest and relax after the meet. Swam a long and easy 2700. I need to ramp up for the Great Bay swim but think I will wait until after April vacation so my shoulder gets a bit of a break. I am going to say it here for all to hear.... I promise to religiously do my shoulder strengthening exercises everyday!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Video of 200 MIxed 18+ Free relay

Too cool - Thanks Matt! I am honored to swim with all of you....

Meet report: New England Short Course Yards Champs at Harvard 2010

That is what I feel like today.
With a twinkle of my nose I might revert back to a sprinter in my infallible speedsuit and pop out a fast 50.

Again another intoxicating meet. The smell of neoprene, chlorine and the heat... oh my the heat.

I found again that I could surprise myself and swim faster than I ever thought possible.
12 swims- 7 individual, 5 relays.
6 Personal Bests in the individuals
2 New England records in the relays
1 National record in the 400 medley relay.

Is it all just mind over (aging) body?
At age 39, possibly, yes I believe so. And so I'll keep along with this belief. I'll step up my strength training, do more sprint specific training and keep the positive psychology rolling.

But also, of course, I know that I can't continue swimming faster and faster every championship. I see my more mature teammates nonetheless breaking records and enjoying myself. But still, that must be a hurdle to get over... when it comes.

I asked Jackie Hirsty, of RI Swims, a record holder in multiple age groups who has been swimming Masters for over 30 years how she has adjusted to this. She said, in essence, you need to stop thinking about what you have done and start focusing on what you can do relative to your peers. I think she's right, but it is kind of ironic since we spend so much time trying to only compare our performances to OUR best and not to others.

Okay enough of that .....
On to the race report.
Friday started with the 50 free, one of my favorite events. Hard to swim without a warm-up event however. Let the mental games begin. I was seeded second for my age group. Good.
Took it so I'd have nothing left. 25.18, an all time best for me. 2nd AG

However unbeknownst to me a speedster 3 heats ahead of my had blasted her seed time of 29.8 and gone 24.8 and took the NE record. This would be a theme for later events...

100 IM- I was warmed up now.. 1:05.96. I had the fastest split at the 50 (28.9) but darn that breaststroke! Something to work on... still an all time best for me. 3rd AG.

400 Mixed 35+ Free Relay - 3:29.47 New England record (1 second off National record).
our splits 47.2, 56.3, 56.1 and 49.6 -- smokin' fast teammates Mike, Mary and Tim.

50 Fly - I was ready mentally and physically to blast this one. I wanted the NE Record which was 27.41 and I had just missed it last year. I had a great swim 27.23 (2nd)- I was just shocked looking at the scoreboard, but yup that speedy Brandy Hugo did one better and went 26.85 taking 3 seconds off her seed time. Still it was an all time personal best for me!

400 Mixed 25+ Medley relay - this is the one that really was, well, unbelievable. A National record... by 3 seconds and no thanks to my measly 100 free (which I was informed needs a lot of work on my turns and starts... duly noted!). I was, and am, honored to swim in this company.
Maine Masters-NE  'A'               3:50.00    3:43.20U       
1) Ross, Michael M41             
2) r:+0.12 Stevens, Nate M27          
3) r:+0.19 Knight Beers, ica W29 
4) r:+0.42 Perez-Smith, Aina W39             
 24.58        50.96 (50.96)         
1:17.10 (26.14)     1:47.80 (56.84)         
2:15.06 (27.26)     2:46.64 (58.84)         
3:12.65 (26.01)     3:43.20 (56.56)

200 back - I did this just for fun, and it was! I took it out easy and it felt so good I was surprised. 2:30.8 (5th)

200 Mixed 18+ Free relay - again another New England record. I am happy to say I rose to occasion and blasted out a 24.81.

My energy was waning. I felt out of gas. This truly was a day for mind over body.
But I was there so why not swim right?

100 fly - 1:03.11 - my only non-PR but I'd take it given how tired I was. (2nd)

800 Mixed Free Relay - I needed a time for the 200 and there was a chance to break a NE record. We missed it by 1.6 seconds. Ugh. I pulled out the best I could but given I hadn't swum it in 19 years, 2:09.9, well sorry guys!

50 back - less than 15 minutes after the 800 free relay. 30.53- a PR! (2nd)

100 free - gave it all I had at 5pm on Sunday after 3 days of swimming. 56.07 - .1 off my all time PR - Just like the 100 fly I've got to work on the second 50 - first 50 split was a 26.38 and the second a 29.69. (2nd)

and finally....
200 Mixed 25+ Medley relay - another New England record. With these kind of teammates they make it look easy. Our splits: 23.7 (back), 28.69 (breast), 27.3 (fly, me) and 24.3 (free).

Go Blue Lobsters! We won the meet. Lots of good conversations and catching up with friends. Thanks to all my teammates so really make this so much fun....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Top 10 in the WORLD!!!!

That's little old me listed as #10 in the WORLD last year in the 50 meter freestyle AG 35-39 according to FINA.....

Unbelievable!! Nice way to say good bye to 39 I guess :)

[35-39]50m Freestyle Women Short Course
RankFull NameCountryTime
1CRAY ZoeGBR26.37
2ABERG HelenaSWE27.06
3SCHUBERT ManuelaGER27.16
5BRAUN ErikaUSA27.28
6PEREZ MariaESP27.29
7FORNI MaddalenaITA27.33
8VERGANI ValeriaITA27.39
9IWASHITA MidoriJPN27.42

Goggles: Update

Speedo Women's Vanquisher - $13.75 -Still the tried and true. However don't get smoke-- it is too dark!

Tyr Femme Crystalflex $14.70 - In a word -- pathetic. I don't know who reviewed these for Swimmer mag, but maybe it was a 6 year old because I think that is who is going to get my pair. They stunk. Leaked off every wall despite numerous adjustments. Couldn't make it through the whole workout. Don't bother with these. They were just completely disappointing!

Tyr Socket Rockets - $6.55 - I like these. The have a comfortable silicone feeling overlay on the eye piece. It is thin and helps keep the "socket" suctioned to the face. And while they still leave some marks on my face after a workout, they are less noticeable and fade much more quickly than with the Vanquisher's.

Late addition.....

Tyr Velocity - $16.00 - this is what I will probably be wearing for Harvard as I had to return the green smoke Vanquishers. I like the Velocity goggles. Good tight fit and no leaking on starts ( I did at least 20 starts today). The straps are a bit too long but I think some scissors can fix that. They do leave goggle marks, but it seems impossible for a racing goggle not to. Overall a good choice.

Still have yet to try the Barracuda and Aquasphere goggles that readers recommended... up next along with open water goggles!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Goggles: Still on a quest

After burning out one pair of goggles, losing one and breaking another -- all in the last 2 weeks -- I am down to one lone pair of clear Speedo Vanquishers salvaged from the lost and found. They are fine -- I wore them to BU in the fall -- but the anti-fog is gone and I can hardly see the clock. So again I am on a quest. Mostly I need a pair that doesn't leave me looking like a raccoon face after practice. Unfortunately, that tender under eye skin doesn't bounce back the way it used to at 15.

Here are the finalists: (all prices from
Speedo Women's Vanquisher - $13.75 -the tried and true standby for racing. Have to get another pair for Harvard. Even though they are the worst offenders for goggle marks, they are my favorite for racing.

Tyr Femme Crystalflex $14.70 - promised to leave no goggle marks along with "good visibility" and greater peripheral vision, according to testers for Swimmer mag (Jan/Feb 2010).

Tyr Socket Rockets - $6.55 - I'm going to try these as an alternative to the Swedes which everyone recommends for no goggle marks, but really hurt my eyes because they were too big for my eye sockets.

If you have another good candidate let me know. I will test all these and post my findings in a month or so.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Maine Open Water Race!

From the organizers....

It is our pleasure to introduce the first annual NUBBLE LIGHT CHALLENGE, taking place on Saturday morning , July 10, 2010. This year’s event will include a USAT (USA Triathlon) sanc tioned 2.4 mile swim race around the “Nubble”. It will be open to 100 swimmers. and 100 kay aker escorts. The race starts on Long Sands Beach and continues out past the Nubble Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses in the US, swimming through the “gut”, the channel between the lighthouse island and the mainland. The race finishes with a sprint to Short Sands Beach. There will be food from local restaurants and awards following the race at the York Beach ball field which is one block from Short Sands Beach.

The proceeds from the race will benefit the Maine Chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that one in four adults will experi ence a mental health disorder in a given year. Many types of mental illnesses are hereditary and research shows that children raised by parents with depression or other mental illnesses are more likely to suffer the same symptoms as they grow into adulthood. The U.S. Surgeon General re ports that 10% of children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental health disorder that se verely impacts their daily life at home, at school, and with their peers. Early identification and treatment is imperative to minimize the impact mental illness has on the individual, their family, and the community. NAMI provides educational programs and support to families that are di rectly affected by mental illness. They also educate schools and community agencies by identify ing the symptoms and early warning signs of mental illnesses. Your contribution for the swim will benefit these local programs.

NUBBLE LIGHT CHALLENGE is a non-profit organization established in 2010, to raise funds for the benefit our community based organizations by promoting an annual athletic event. Our goal is to promote a safe and quality event that will be competitive for those trying to establish personal goals as well as those satisfied with the goal of finishing.

The NUBBLE LIGHT CHALLENGE will be exciting, fun and rewarding for all who participate. Spectators will be able to cheer the swimmers on from the rocks at Sohier Park overlooking the “gut”. There will also be great viewing from Ocean Avenue Extension that parallels the swim mers as they head to the finish.

Registration for the event will open March 15, 2010. You can register online We will send out an email updating the registration date.

We are very excited and committed to making this an amazing day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Yes, swimming can be boring

I know I am supposed to be all 'rah rah!' about swimming here. And usually I really do feel that way... energized with that 'good tired' feeling, feeling the fire of competition and striving for more more more! But today... well I can see why triathletes and non-swimmers find swimming so boring. I showed up to lap swim today. It was me, two elderly men and my neighbor Sarah who just happened to show up. I had the lane all to myself, so no reason to complain there. I even had my new money suit on, so that should have been reason enough to feel good. But god, swimming alone without my teammates was so just so....well BORING. I warmed up for as long as I could possibly stand. 9 minutes. (great.) Then I kicked on my back butterfly for as long as I could. 14 minutes. (better.) But then I just headed for the hot tub. Defeated. I need vacation to be over and I need my team back!!!

So for all you triathletes and non-Masters swimmers out there, the moral of this lame post is JOIN A TEAM!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Top 10 Times US Masters Swimming 2009

I'm happy to say I've made several 2009 Top 10 times both for SCY and SCM in the 35-39 AG.
We'll see what 2010 holds....

SCY Top 10
50 fly - 27.80 (9th)
100 fly - 1:02.53 (9th)

SCM Top 10
50 fly - 29.85 (2nd)
50 free - 27.47 (3rd)
100 free - 1:02.49 (4th)
100 fly - 1:11.09 (3rd)
100 IM - 1:13.50 (8th)

Get a suit for $20

Great deal at Splish right now. Grab bag suits for $20....
I just got one with hundred dollar bills all over it.
Maybe that means good $$$karma is coming my way.
I can live with that :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bath Tuffin' Up Meet 2010

Maria's second swim meet. As an 8 year old she rocked the 100 free, 50 free, 50 back and 50 breast swimming with kids all the way up to 18 years old. I'm a proud Mom!

Friday, February 5, 2010

10 Reasons I'm Sad About Not being Able to Wear Speedsuits After June 1st

10. I'm miss that neoprene smell
9. Compression -- a good thing for a 40-year old
8. That full body super hero look
7. The full body workout I got putting it on -seriously 15 minutes of huffing and puffing
6. Looking mean and lean
5. Won't be able to ask strangers, "Would you mind zipping me up?"
4. Won't be able to ask strangers, "Would you mind unzipping me?"
3. They just made me feel young again.
2. That electric rush of doing something new and different
1. Well - duh -- they're damn fast in the pool

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chesapeake Bay Swim!


Congratulations, you are selected in round one of the lottery entry process. PLEASE PROCEED TO OUR WEB SITE. Log on with the email and password you used to enter the lottery.

Then proceed with entry process and charging of your entry fee. In the right hand column of our website are event featured links. The direct Registration button is there.

Please email or fax your swim documentation as detailed in the Lottery Guidelines.

Linda A. Toretsky
Great Chesapeake Bay Swim
Swim Processing Coordinator

Swim Calendar

This is a great resource that my friend Rob from CA has posted on his blog.
He has trolled all the websites of LMSC and posted meets from all across
the country in this handy calendar. Nice! Thanks Rob!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book reviews

For those of you with kids (and who also love swimming.. but of course you would not be reading this if you did not) this is a fun book that I stumbled on at the library. It was a rave with the girls and me.

Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way to Fame, Fortune, and Swimsuit History. illus. by Edwin Fotheringham. unpaged. reprods. CIP. Scholastic. Apr. 2009.

Here is the review from the School Library Journal...
"Gr 2-5–Kellerman’s name might not be familiar, but this rule-breaking, high-diving, early fashionista will inspire students. Her difficulties walking as a child, which are only hinted at in the book’s illustrations, drove her father to try to strengthen her legs through swimming lessons. In the early 1900s, before women were allowed to compete in the Olympics, her hard-earned athleticism drew more criticism than compliments. Swimming? Unladylike! Record setting? For the boys! Eager to do something more artistic with her abilities, Annette invented water ballet, and her acrobatic feats drew crowds. Each event described is interesting, but what really shines is Kellerman’s persistent refusal to rest on her laurels. After her attempt to be the first woman to swim the English Channel, and performing for kings and queens, she went on to pioneer the modern woman’s bathing suit, which led to her arrest in the U.S. Fotheringham’s glorious artwork is filled with period details and dress, high-dives and stunts, and priceless expressions on the faces of amazed audiences. The extensive back matter details Kellerman’s further accomplishments and includes citations. This well-written and brightly illustrated account is a perfect pearl."

Of course after this find I had to hear more about this interesting woman and find some grown up books. It turns out there is also a recent biography out entitled The Original Million Dollar Mermaid by Emily Gibson.

And best of all Annette appears to have written a few of her own books, wilst dazzling crowds with her water ballet and being a vaudeville performer. She is credited with creating the first modern "bathing suit" for women. She was even arrested in Boston near the turn of the century for wearing it in public! She had to sew in stockings to cover her legs (see below).

I think her 1918 book How to Swim would be a great gift for any female swimming addict. In fact I've already ordered a copy as a present for a historian friend.

If you have time check out these short videos of her vaudeville days... Neptune's Daughter.

Happy Reading!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Straight swim

Today we completed 35 x 100 on 1:30... the interval felt good but boy my back was aching by the end. We've got a new swimmer who already is kicking my butt and he is not even working that hard. Watch out! It is going to be a good season I think.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Years Resolution

It is time to start living the life you've imagined.
-Henry James

Cool quote eh?

I love this picture....

I washed the windows and took the screens down this morning. Much better view of the outside world and so much more light! (Us Northerners get kinda desperate this time of year).