Monday, June 13, 2016

Gear Review: Rash Guard

Last month I had a mole removed from my shin.  Turns out the biopsy was "pre cancerous". I've always had pale skin and burned easily, but this has made me want to up my game for sun protection.  Enter the rash guard for swimming.

I purchased this top last summer from Lands End.  They claim spf 50 sun protection in and out of the water. I fist purchased this one in my normal street clothing size (and in blue, which they don't seem to have anymore).

I love the feel and the drape. But it was too big to wear in the water, it flapped around a lot during real swimming.  So then I got the yellow one, sized down to be tight (and I got yellow for visibility in the water). The bottom line is it serves its purpose.

I like the top best when I wear the swim safety buoy over it. The belt helps to hold it in place, otherwise it rides up a touch.  For the most part the top is unnoticeable in the water, which is what I want.  It stays a bit cold when wet and out of the water, so I need to remove it quickly, though it dries quickly on the line.  I've also had some moderate chafing issues with it under my arms.  Nothing a little body glide can't fix.

In the long run, I'm glad I have the shirt. It means I don't have to worry about the sun on my back, which is, of course, the hardest place to spread sunscreen yourself. I'll wear this happily all summer, and the blue one for summer festivals when I want to be cool and have sun protection.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The chop!

This weekend I had a bridal shower that kept me from Alki (and was totally worth it, Mazel Tov to the bride-to-be!!).  A mimosa before a swim may not be the best of ideas, but it helped me be festive. Since I couldn't make it to Alki, I posted on Facebook for a friend to swim with in the afternoon.

I met up with L at the big lake in the middle of the afternoon.  Seattle is in the middle of a heat wave, so it was in the high 80s and everyone wanted to be on the water.  With a strong wind and TONS of boats the lake was really choppy. I'd estimate there were 1-2 foot swells, and in many directions. The wind was mostly out of the north.

L and I did the mile round trip to the dog park. The swim out was much rougher than the swim back, with the wind. I had to stick to breast stroke, even though I want to work on my flutter kick, as freestyle would have made me seasick.  However, I observed how comfortable I was in the waves.  I remembered a swim from my 42nd birthday, a year and a half ago, where I was in similar chop and wasn't sure I was going to make it. I kept thinking I should give up and get out.  This time that wasn't even a consideration. I knew I could handle the chop.  It was great to note how far I'd come.

The funny sight on this swim was three men swimming and trying to keep their beer bottles out of the waves.  Each one had one hand, with a bottle, raised well above his head.  They did offer to share, so at least they were nice about it.