Thursday, August 9, 2012

Peeing in the Pool

It's a swim blog. A discussion of urine was inevitable.

This week Slate.Com ran an article with the headline "Do Olympic Swimmers ever Pee in the Pool." The answer, of course, is yes.  But it is very hard to pee while swimming, so it is done at rest. Apparently some also pee on deck.

The article ends with a mention of the chemical that can be added to pools to turn pee bright colors.  I assert that such a chemical is an urban legend, propagated to keep young kids from peeing in the pool. I challenge folks to prove otherwise.

And I will leave you with my thoughts on peeing in wetsuits... There are two types of people... those who pee in their wetsuit and those who lie about it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Blue Angels

This weekend was Seafair in Seattle.  That means hotter than average temperatures (yes, this is statistically the weekend least likely to rain) and a performance by the Blue Angels. Their show was scheduled for 1:30 each day of the weekend, and the majority of Seattle takes to the water to watch. So I had to schedule my swims carefully.

Saturday I was at the lake around 11:30. It wasn't hard to park, there were still 10 or so spaces left in the lot.  But the park already felt crowded, and there were tons of boats out.  I did a half mile (I had food poisoning this week, so hadn't worked out and really needed to take it easy). The water was choppy from the boat wake. I felt like I was in the ocean, not the lake.  And the water was cloudy.  Not a bad swim, but I spent a lot of time with my head up looking out for motor boats.

Sunday I got to the lake earlier-- about 9:30.  The water was flatter and clearer.  Again I only did a half mile-- this time because I had a time deadline.  But it was good to get in the swim before things got chaotic.

I swam with the swim saftey device on my Saturday but not on Sunday. I broke the valve a few weeks ago, and in repairing it, ended up taking it out all together. Now it doesn't stay put.  I'm going to look into trading it in for a new one. I've had it for less than a year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Greenlake Picnic an Swim

I typically have dinner with my brother and his family (wife, two kids) on Monday nights.  But this week the kids are at camp, so instead of going to their house, we went to the lake for a pic-nic dinner and a swim.

This was my first swim without my wet-suit.  My sister-in-law was going "in skin" so I thought I'd try it too. The lake was the perfect temperature.  I used the prescription goggles again, and my swim safe buoy.  The guys, who sat on shore and talked while we women swam, said they could see the buoy most of the way across the lake.  Unfortunately, I managed to screw the valve cover on crooked, and when I went to unscrew it, the whole cap mechanism came out.  So the buoy is useless now.  I hope I can fix it!

But back to the swim-- almost a mile, easy and pleasurable!

Swan Swim

It is amazing how my emotions change over the course of a few hours.  Even though I swam the night before, I had a swim scheduled for last night, so wanted to complete it.  I spent the day at work looking forward to it, but by the time I got home, I was tired and less sure.  By the time I got to the lake, the wind had picked up, and standing around was cold.  I almost went home. I waded into the water (without my wetsuit) and the water felt cold.  Again, I almost went home.  I stood, thigh deep in the water for a good 3 or 4 min.  Then finally said to myself, "What are you waiting for." With a laugh, I answered, "August, when the water warms up" and plunged into the water.

The waves were strong from the wind.  And blowing, as they often do, towards the north west. So I knew my standard out-and-back swim was going to be much harder on the way back.  I figured I'd take it easy for the out, and go short, then turn and hammer into the waves and wind.

Again with my prescription goggles, I could see EVERYTHING.  One of the things that this new prescription gives me is much better depth perception (to the point that one rider in my car commented that my driving was off the first week with the new glasses). Everything looks like a 3-D movie to me-- hyper clear and deep.  That included the underwater views.  I felt like I was in a 3-D movie of space, with things floating in front of my face.  Though there typcially isn't milfoil in space.

At one point, I thought I saw a dead fish floating near me in the water.  I swam away as fast as I could, totally skeeved out.  Then, as I paddled further, I realized that "fish" was most likely the reflection of my hands below the water on the surface of the water.  Nothing like being creeped out by your own stroke!

I was going to do the full mile swim, but with the waves at my back, started to worry about exhaustion on the swim back. So I turned around a few yards early.  The swim back was harder.  But I got into a great rhythm and just swam. It felt smooth and though it was hard work, it was easy to keep going.

When I finished I took a quick shower in the outdoor shower at the beach.  I realized how, after a hard workout like that, I am totally comfortable in my skin.  There is no sense of embarrassment or body consciousness about wearing just a bathing suit in public. Instead of fretting about body hair or my tummy size, I felt strong, powerful, and graceful.  It was a swan swim.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gear Review- Prescription Goggles

As I've aged, my eyes have gotten progressively worse.  In anticipation of the recent Yellowstone trip, I wanted new glasses, so saw my eye doctor (I wanted to be able to spot those bear!!). New prescription in hand I ordered new glasses.  Then I realized that prescription goggles were a possibility.

So I ordered the Speedo Vanquisher from Swim Outlet. For $13 plus shipping it seemed worth a try. You can only order them with both eyes the same prescription, and they don't do the prism for astigmatism.  But for $13, why not?

Yesterday was my first swim in them.  It was AMAZING what I could see. Sighting off features on the other side of the lake was easy. Seeing my fellow swimmers was a breeze. The only drawback of seeing so clearly is also seeing what's under the water clearly.  Ick.

I thought I was ordering goggles similar to what I typical wear, with the rubber gaskets that go around your eye socket.  Instead, these are the kind that fit inside your eye socket.  I find them a little uncomfortable to remove, as the suction is tight. But that discomfort is worth the reward of clear vision while swimming.

Bottom line-- I'm thrilled to have them!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Moses Lake

The family spent a week in Yellowstone and the surrounding areas. I didn't get to swim, but I did spend one day on a horse.
The horse really did spend most of its time eating!

And one in a raft. 

I'm in a raft, here, not that you can tell.
And I got to see things that looked like this:

On the way home it was over 100* in Missoula, and in Spokane it was 97.  So I stopped to swim in Moses Lake.  We asked a local at the DQ where people swam in the area.  She pointed me to two local parks.  I couldn't find one, so went to the other. It was Cascade Park. There were a lot of teenagers jumping and diving off a pier, so I figured I would join them. 

Turns out the dock said "no swimming from this dock" on it.  I ignored, it as the kids were.

The water was warm, and a bit mucky.  It stank and had an algae bloom or something else suspended in it.  Small bits of mud or dirt or algae.  But it felt refreshing.  I swam about 1/4 mile out, parallel with the shore, and back.  Easy. Refreshing.  Then got back in the car for the ride home.  A stop in Ellensburg at the brewery made the day complete.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Green Lake Open Water Swim- Race Report

The Green Lake Open Water Swim (GLOWS) is always the "early" swim of the season. This season it seems to have come too early. I've swum it two of the last three years, and finished in 22-23 minutes.  The course is a short half mile course. This year I felt under-trained-- I've been in the lake, what, 5 times so far?? Not a lot of swimming!  But I knew I could do the distance, if not at the speed I'd done in the past.

Going to the start on the bus (it's a point-to-point swim) I was amazed at the number of people who seemed to be doing it for the first time. Turns out the first year I did this, about 65 people finished (the half mile), and this year over 80 did (just in the half mile), so there must be more and more first-timers each year.

The water temps were cold, and the race organizers encouraged us to wear wetsuits.  I would have anyway.  I hung out at the start until about 5 min before gun, then got into the water.

I started at the back of the pack, but in the middle, not off to the side. It wasn't planned, it was just where I was when the gun went off.  The water was cold, but not as cold as Lake Washington had been so far this season.  I started swimming fine, then a few minutes in, couldn't control my breath.  It was similar to the Whidbey Island swim in that way. I didn't panic. But I couldn't control my breathing.  I switched to head up breast stroke and kept swimming, knowing that when I caught my breath I'd be fine.

Sure enough, two or three minutes later, I was.  I got into a rhythm, and could swim.  I could feel my shoulders getting tight (ah, the joys of under-training) but just kept swimming. By half way across the lake I was alternating 10 strokes of crawl with 10 strokes of breast.  I was in a grove, and fine.  I wasn't loving it.  I felt slow. And the distance felt long. I was happy when I saw the finish.  I crossed in 25:26.  My slowest time ever for this swim. That just teaches me that I have to get in the water more!

Not my best race ever, but I'm glad I did it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I should have known...

I should have known this wasn't going to be a great swim when I got to the lake and saw white caps.  But I was determined. I'd rested my shoulder this weekend because it was sore from tumbling class, and I really wanted to swim.

I should have known it wasn't going to be a great swim when my goggles strap broke. I'd left my spare pair at home, trying to streamline what I carry with me.  I was able to make do with the stump of the strap, but they didn't fit quite right.

I should have known it wasn't going to be a great swim when my Vibrams started irritating my toe with the missing nail.  The nail is growing back slowly.

I should have known it wasn't going to be a great swim when I kept getting hit in the head by my swim safety buoy.  Usually it floats behind me and I don't even know it's there.  Today the wind kept blowing it at me and it got in my way.

I should have known it wasn't going to be a great swim when the waves started making me sick.  I swam north, as I usually do, with the wind coming from the south east, the waves crossed me in a way that made me ill.

But then I turned around.  Into the waves.  And swam back.  And suddenly, it was a great swim.

35 min. Water temp- 64* Air temp- 62*

Monday, May 28, 2012

Change in attidude

It's amazing how I can go from "it looks cold I'm going to be miserable" to "I could swim forever" in the period of half a mile.

Swim in the rain, eh?

I went down to Magnusun for a Sunday morning swim. It was raining lightly, so I left all my dry stuff (towel) in the car. Slipped into the wetsuit and headed down to the beach. As I was finishing getting dressed, a man asked me how cold the water was.

I said, "I think about 55, I didn't check today but last week the bouy reading was about 13, which is around 55."
Man: In the winter it gets down to about 45, doesn't it?
Me: Yeah, I think the coldest is about 8 or 9, so around that.
Man: What are you, Canadian?
Me: Well, dual, actually, but the bouy reports in Centigrade, hence my thinking about the temps in C.
Man: I knew I'd get it out of you!

I walked off to swim.

Did my half mile out and back. I'm out of swim shape. And the water is still cold on my face. Most of the "out" was warm up. But for the "back it was easy to put my face in the water and just swim.

I did notice that the current in the lake was going the wrong way.  I swim north of the ship canal, which is wear the lake drains to Puget Sound. So usually the current is from the north to the south.  Today it was from the south.  This also made the "back" portion of my swim "upstream" and therefore a little tougher.  Not sure if it was the wind's direction or if one of the in-put streams was causing the current.

When I got back to the beach there was a 5-year-old birthday party going on. They were flying kites-- in the rain. I took off my wetsuit and showered off in the outdoor shower.  One kid was staring at me while I was showering.  I could tell her mom was uncomfortable with how hard she was staring. So I spoke to her, telling her about the wetsuit and how it keeps me warm in cold water.  She just kept staring.  I wonder why I was so interesting to her.

Another mom asked me what triathlon I was training for.  I said just swimming. She seemed disappointed.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

And she's back....

Got back in the water for the first time today.  Did about a half mile "shake down" swim.  Everything still seems to work (mostly my body, the gear is all fine too), and once I was warmed up, it wasn't too bad.  Air temp was 80. Water about 55.

So what happened to the winter swimming??  Mostly, life got in the way.  I missed a few weeks in a row while my husband moved in with me.  And during that time the lake temperature dropped significantly. Suddenly it seemed too cold. I'm sure if I'd kept things up those weeks I would have been fine, but with the time off, I couldn't face the cold.  May try it again next winter.  In the mean time.... it is time to swim through summer.