Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Monday Jan. 30

Swam 2500 yards of various sets. Finished with lots of kicking. Did some weights, mainly leg machines.

We got our car reserved for that week. Lodging, plane and rental car reservations: what is left? Line up a day sail (we hope to go to Jost Van Dyke in the BVI), get passport, register for swim, and swim a lot.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Fri. Jan. 27

Swam 2500 yds: 500 warm up, 500 kick, 500 pull, then 200, 150, 100, 50, then 200 +200 , 100 cool down
Will do a walk and some yoga Sat. Will add some Saturday swims in the next 3 months.

Friday, January 27, 2006

World Swim for Malaria

I encourage all swimmers to take part in the World Swim for Malaria which has been extended past Dec. 3, 2006 to June 3 of 2007. I did a swim Dec. 3. Friends and family helped me raise $160. for treated sleep nets for Africa. The organizers say that 3,000 children per day die in Africa of malaria, a largely preventable disease. On Dec. 3, over 250,000 swimmers in all nations swam for the cause. They hope to have one million swimming. Response from the U.S. has been less than overwhelming. Please let's do our part. It's like Katrina every day in other parts of the world. Bono would approve.
You can view this stunning video at http://www.WorldSwimForMalaria.com/7JumboJets

The Quest

It seems that as I become a more seasoned person my outlook changes a bit. I realize that we don't have forever to live on this planet. We have to attempt to live out the adventures that we fantasize about before it is too late. 'Some day I will do that" has become "I'd better do it now." Any day I could become sick or injured, or a family member could become sick and need care, and my adventure days could be over. I feel grateful and fortunate that I have kept healthy and able up until now; but I don't take it for granted either. Seize the day!

Workout schedule

I am on a M_W_F swim schedule, try to walk on T-TH, also a walk on weekend. Three days a week at the Y is about all I have time for. I may be in trouble, trying to do this distance training but not having the time to invest. Only on Saturdays will I have time to swim for more than an hour at a time. I have to get rest between swims, as I am no spring chicken any more. I don't want to wind up injured or sick. It will work out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Maho Bay

Hmmm... Caribbean waters or the English Channel.... duh

Wed. Jan. 25

Swam 2500 yards: 500 warm up, 1750 (1 mile) straight swim, 250 kick and cool down. Timed the mile at about 28 minutes. Should be able to reduce that some, I was not pushing hard.

My book says to have 3 goals. My first and main goal is just to complete the 3 1/2 mi. swim alive. My inside goal is to complete it in 1 hour 45 min. which realistically allows for 30 min. per mile. My outside goal is to complete it in 1:30.

I'm more concerned with enjoying the underwater scenery and getting that swimmer's high than beating anyone. From last year's results it looks like the fast guys finish in 1:11 and the rest of the ordinary mortals come in around 1:45 or more.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

St. John

This is St. John, looking from the west end towards the east. Cruz Bay is at the lower front right. The race goes along the northshore beaches (on the left) at Maho Bay and continues into Cinnamon, Trunk, and Hawksnest. Hawksnest is the bay just behind the yellowish sprawl that is Caneel Bay Plantation.

Distance training

I wondered how to go about training for this race. I got Penny Dean's book, Open Water Swimming, to help me plan. Apparently, I count backwards from the race day. About 10 to 14 days before the race, I do a straight continuous swim of the race distance ( 3 1/2 mi or 6,000 yd) 4 weeks before that, I do maybe 5500 yd, 4 weeks before that 5000, and so on. Each month during the week, I must try to increase yards. The workouts need to mix long aerobic sets with shorter speed sets. After the last long swim is the taper when one reduces yards and rests a lot (looking forward to that).

Mon. Jan. 23

Swam 2700 yards: 500 warm up, 500 kick, 500 pull, then 400, 300, 200, 100 free and 100 kick. Spent about 20 min. doing some weight machines.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The big 2006 trip

I need to back up a little, as the origins of the trip were 5 or 6 years ago when my friends and I realized that we'd have some significant birthdays in 2006, and we should take a trip together. It started as a windjammer type cruise idea, although we could not all agree on the details. It evolved into a week on St. John. Becky, Martha and I will stay at the Maho Bay camps, an eco-resort, and we are in the apartments (rather than the tent cottages) http://www.maho.org. Martha will actually have her birthday while we are there. They are terrific gals, and although not rabid swimmers like I, they are so supportive and are really encouraging me. They are even offering to knock my competitors out of my way, just kidding. Debbie will remain behind with her new hubby as they have other plans for '06, and Veronica will be taking a cruise with family. We will miss them. And we tried to get our significant others to go, too, of course, but they are opting out of this girls' extravaganza. I do want my husband to see St. John someday, but I guess that will be another trip. Martha visited me and my family there while we were in college.

Why do this?

I am goal oriented and have been looking around for something to work towards in my swimming to motivate me and keep me interested. I did a few masters meets ten or 12 years ago. But there is no one else in my town who swims and wants to go with me to meets. I got kind of interested in open water events, and trained to be in some triathlon relays, but the runners and bikers always backed out on me. And I wanted to swim in nice clean warm water, not the English Channel or the Bering Sea. Please.
So I learned about some swims in the Caribbean. There is a yearly 5 mi. swim in St. Croix, a bit long for a first attempt for me. And I used to live on St. John in high school when my dad was stationed there with the VI National Park. So I already love the place, know a few people there, and long to return to its beautiful waters. I learned that the Friends of the VI NP started a yearly race to raise money, and got excited about it. It is not a sanctioned US Masters meet and does not have the required distances. But it looks like a beautiful course along some of the most beautiful beaches and reefs in the world, and you can choose from 3.5, 2.4, and 1 mi. distances. I felt the challenge and decided to go for it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Past training

All fall I swam usually 2 to 3 days per week, about 2000 yd per workout, and did perhaps 2 days a week on some weight machines. In addition I walk fast several times a week, do occasional bicycling, and some hiking. During the previous 4 years I worked out with the local age group and/or high school swim team, which did a lot to increase my endurance and technique. Without the team workouts, I'd never have made myself learn to do even a rudimentary butterfly or a decent backstroke flip turn.
Before that I swam alone for many years, although I swam a few summers with a masters team in Knoxville, 60 mi away. I've been in a few swim meets. Freestyle and breaststroke are my best strokes.

First straight swim

Yesterday was my first non stop, straight swim. Wasn't sure how it would be. I am used to doing swim team-like workouts with sets and intervals, usually 100's (yards), 200's, sometimes 500's. So the 2500 non stop swim was a new experience. I have to say it went well, and I'm not that wiped out today. To mix it up I counted by 500 yds, doing 400 yard of freestyle then 100 yds of breaststroke. I seemed to hold about 8 min. per 500. Felt great. Will be more interesting with sand and fish and coral to look at.

Four months to go...

I will be entering the 3rd annual swim to benefit the VI National Park, sponsored by the Friends of the VINP. This will be a trip of a lifetime. Can't wait- am already wanting to pack my things. But of course I have some training to do. I plan to do the 3 1/2 mi. unassisted swim course which goes from Maho Bay to Cinnamon, Trunk and finally Hawksnest Bay. They have shorter courses and also you can do the swim assisted with fins and snorkel. The web site: