Friday, October 21, 2011


(this one isn't about swimming, but it is about how I see myself as an athlete.)

I've been thinking a lot about this woman who was in my gymnastics class last night. She's a lot like I was about 12 years ago and I found her SO annoying. She was incredibly pessimistic. She, and a guy, and I were in the "newbee" group, the other 4 in the "veterans" group. The instructor would give us a skill to work on, and she'd immediately start with the "oh, I don't think I can do that" and "I hope I don't hurt myself" and "I must look like a fool." She flirted with the guy in our little group. Couldn't stop talking to him when the instructor was talking. Teased him, etc. At one point she said to me "you lose 13 pounds in the first 12 weeks of this class. Or at least I hope so" About 45 min into the class we were working on running cartwheels and she decided her ankle hurt too much to keep doing them. So she sat and watched the rest of the class (though she almost got "better" when we moved to the trampoline.)

I'm not sure why I'm thinking about her so much today. Perhaps because she was a good example of how far I've come. I'm not in it for the weight loss. I don't try to pick up guys EVERYWHERE I go. My self talk is much more along the "come-on reebs, you can do this" line. In fact with the running cartwheels I did the first one, and fell. And the instructor said "you just went for it. Good job!" I was so proud. I did just go for it. Forgetting fear. Realizing you have to learn to fly to do this skill.  I found pure joy in that moment. And it was spectacular.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Swim Safety Device- Gear Review

Swam after work today. Air, 61. Water, 60.  There was another swimmer getting in as I started, he said his name was Peter.  We chatted about swimming through the winter. I told him how to find me on this blog. Perhaps we will have some swim dates. Seemed like a nice guy-- crazy to be swimming tonight, but so was I, so perhaps we will get along.

Tried out the new "Swim Safety Device" (SSD) tonight. A few people recommended it to me, one in the comments on this blog, and others in person.  The SSD is part dry bag, part buoy. You can put your wallet and keys in it, so you have them on you while you swim.  This is the dry bag part. You roll the top over three times, and click it closed with a plastic clip.  The buoy part is an inflatable chamber.  The swimmer wears the whole thing on a belt around the waist.

It comes in a flat package like this:

And looks a bit like this:

That's the belt and the cord that attaches the device to the belt.

I'll have to get someone to take pictures of it on me for a future post.

The devise has three potential uses.
1- to keep your gear safe and dry while you swim. You can fit quite a bit in it, probably shorts and a t-shirt as well as valuables and flip flops.

2- to improve visibility for you as a swimmer in the water.  You look a bit like a crab-pot this way, but at least the boaters have something larger than a swim cap to look out for.

3- to provide a small flotation device if needed. The packaging explicitly says that it's not for life-saving. It probably has to, as legally, I don't think inflatables can claim life-saving capabilities, as they have potential to deflate.  However, the marketing video does show swimmers using it for flotation.  Although my wetsuit provides a lot of flotation, my family has been requesting I carry something with me for emergencies. This seems a viable option. I was able to float holding it, without sinking it.  In a scenario where I was tired or injured but conscious this would provide valuable support.

So what was it like to swim with?  With a wetsuit on, I didn't even notice it.  When I'd flip onto my back for a rest, I'd see it there, but otherwise it was invisible to me.  I couldn't feel it either.  I'm sure in a suit, especially for men who's suits don't cover as much of their waist as women's (one piece) ones do, it could chafe or rub.  But in a wetsuit it wasn't even there.

The price is 35-40 dollars. And seems worth it to keep valuables safe and provide some visibility.

I'll get better shots in coming weeks. And add additional reviews as I try it more.
Here's a promotional video, to tide you over.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blind date swim

I answered a post on facebook for a swim partner, and we met up this morning.  She's much faster than me, but didn't seem phased by literally swimming circles around me.  I did a mile. It was foggy and gray on the lake, which made the other side look closer. It made me want to swim there.  But we didn't. Did the swim to the dog park instead. I hope to swim with her again, having a partner would keep me more accountable.

Saw a blue heron before the start.  Good day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Flip, Rebecca, Flip!

I've swum twice since I last posted. They just weren't profound, so no blog about them....

Tonight I had my first gymnastics class.  I'm taking "adult tumbling" from the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts. The class is an hour of tumbling and an hour of trampoline.  We worked on headstands, handstands, forward rolls and cartwheels. Then we went on the trampoline and I did sit jumps and half turns.  I will be SORE tomorrow, but it was awesome.

The one sort of swimming related thing is that I got HORRIBLY motion sick from the forward rolls.  I got a bit motion sick on the last swim as well.  So its time to work on systemic solutions.  The wrist bands worked on my train trip last month. Ginger seems to work as well (though I don't know about eating during class). One friend suggested ear plugs for swimming, but that won't make a difference for tumbling. A classmate tonight said she takes a Dramamine an hour before class.

For the next few weeks I'm going to try various interventions both when I swim and when I roll, and see what happens.

Oh, and for the record, part of why I'm taking this class is to learn to do a cartwheel before my 40th birthday-- in 11 months.