Thursday, May 25, 2006

Last swim at Y

Swam about 2,000 yd at lunch time with Lynne. That's it now until we get to St. John. I hope I have planned this training well and that I will have the endurance needed on Sunday. Guess it's all over but the shouting now.
Got some last minute grocery needs and Power Bars, picked up some cash. Now I'll check in online and go get packed. There are no computers at Maho, I would guess, so I'll have to blog when I return.
Below- Hawksnest Bay, the site of my emergence, as real distance swimmer Diana Nyad says. After the long hours, pain, fatigue, and loneliness, she says " emergence is what it's all about."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hawksnest Bay

An aerial shot of Hawsknest Bay where the race will end. The "Christ of the Caribbean" statue stood on Peace Hill (peninsula at left of bay) next to a windmill; I read that the statue was toppled in a hurricane.

Mon. May 22

Did about 2500 yd. Only 5 days until the big day. I only hope I can finish and enjoy it, not have the "piano fall" or "die" or whatever the lingo. I suppose I'll eat my usual cereal, plus a power bar and some gatorade that morning. It will be a shocker to someone who trains in pools. But then, I did learn to swim in those bays over 30 years ago....

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Friday I swam about 2900 yd. - did 500 wu, 2 X 400, 4 X 200, 8 X 100 some pretty fast, long rests. My bod was saying, this is nothing, lets keep going. Am feeling more rested now.
One week until the big day. Have been making piles of clothes and stuff to take, readying to pack. Can't wait......

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Williams story

Back in February I read Haunts of the Black Masseur (see March 3 post) because I'd heard it had lots of swimming information. And it did, mainly the history of swimming and bathing, particularly in literature and amongst the romantic poets. I noted that the allusion of the title was to a short story by Tennessee Williams, "Desire and the Black Masseur". I finally got around to finding and reading the story at the library. Whew, not a swimming story. It had to do with a wimpy little white guy getting massages by a big black man in an underground sauna at a NYC health club. The story was about torture, self-hatred, and mutilation. I was sorry I'd read it.

I much more enjoyed the stories in Splash, a compilation of writings about swimming given to me by my friend Betty. I loved "Wet" by Laurie Colwin and "The Swimmer" by John Cheever. Must go back and read that collection.

Wed. May 17

Swam about 2800 yd today: 500 wu, 5 X 100, 4 X 200, 3 X 300 then some kicking. Still feeling kind of tired. Looking forward to those sharks.... maybe they will make me swim really fast. The Sea Huntresses will come in handy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


We lived at the top of the old road leading down to L'Esperance, a Danish sugar plantation in the late 1700's and early 1800's. This link has a description of the hike.
The "foundation of an old house" mentioned is our old pre-fab national park service house foundation, the house blown away in a hurricane. The text doesn't mention the graves at L'Esperance; a large flat marker for Hendrick Tonis was there. My brother Bill mapped the whole area and cleared out saplings so that one could see the foundations of the old buildings and mills. We looked down on the royal palm from our house.

Tuesday May 16

Had to work 2pm to 8 pm today, so I swam at the lunch time lap swim. Lynne was there, too. I did about 2500 yd: 500 wu, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, then about 500 kick. Arms kind of tired feeling still since Sat. Had some fun by doing some spinning dolphin playing with my fins on. Glad to hear from Watergrrl! And got some other comments from several anonymouses. Nice to get some compliments on my blog. So here is a nice picture to further beautify my blog. That is Jost Van Dyke where we'll be stopping on our boat rides.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday May 15

Turns out I am more tired today than I was yesterday, so must rest today. Will get back in the swim tomorrow.
I wonder where is Watergrrl? Have not heard since the first training swim. Hope all is well.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday May 13

I did it! I swam 6200 yd (3.5 mi). I divided it into 3 X 2000 yd and drank water treading water at 2000 and 4000. Took one hour 44 min. At 3000 yd my left hand got weird, kind of weak feeling, but that went away. Around 5000 my triceps down to my lats (my wings) got pretty sore. My calves started to feel crampy, I think from pushing off the wall. But I felt pretty energetic, esp in the last 500. Norma came in and got in my lane, wouldn't you know it, but not a problem. I pictured where I'd be in the swim, like "I'm rounding America Point now, heading into Cinnamon Bay " etc.
Now I can slack off some and rest up. Upcoming schedule:
May 15 - 5000
May 17- 4500
May 19 - 4000
May 22- 3500
May 24 - 3000
May 26 & 27- paddle around in Maho Bay
May 28- the race

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thurs May 11

Swam 4500 yd: 1000 wu, 1750, 1000, 500, 250 breaststroke and kick.
I've come a long way since January when I started my training in earnest. Back then a 2500 yd workout seemed like a lot. Hope I can keep my conditioning reasonably good into the next half-century....

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Leatherback turtle seen on St. John

An endangered leatherback turtle story in Tradewinds: she began to make a nest at Caneel Bay during the daytime, then left to swim over to Trunk where she completed the nest at night. See story at link.
She was beach to beach power swimming.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Virgin Islands food

Market Square on St. Thomas, a block from my high school, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School.
What do I recall about foods of the VI: At home, we pretty much ate as we had in TN, after bringing the groceries across from St. Thomas on the ferry. Had to keep a lot of it in the freezer due to humidity. But Bob Nose would sometimes bring up lobsters that he had caught and grill for us.
At my high school cafeteria, we supposedly had goat! And there was also fungi, a cornmeal mush kind of thing. Everywhere was chicken leg and johnnycake. The chicken was delicious, very spicy, as at Joe's Lunch wagon on St. John. St. Thomas had some Trinidadians selling East Indian inspired food such as roti. I often got tamarind sno-cones on the street after school. There were lots of fruits, such as mango (little wild ones picked right off the tree), genip, mami apple, sugar apple. There'd be fish frys to eat and dance at on St. John. We didn't do much fresh fish buying tho, wish we had. I recall sitting with Phyllis at the park visitor center as she ate her lunch of things like pumpkin, callaloo, sweet potato (white ones), dashin (?). She was of Carib descent from Dominica.
There was a drink, maubi, sold at the market in St. Thomas, a reddish brown liquid made from roots and herbs, who knows what. Non-alcoholic. Alcohol? Rum of course which was .99 cents for a bottle of Cruzan. Guavaberry at Christmastime.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sat. May 6

Today I did 5600 yd. or 3.2 mi. I did a 400 wu then a descending ladder of 1000, 900, 800, 700, 600, 500, 300, 200. 100, 100. Felt pretty wiped out by the end. I must be crazy. I'll be lucky to finish in the 3 hours they are allotting. I expect pool times to mean nothing in the sea with waves and everything. If I am done in 2 hours I'll be lucky. But I still can't wait. In 3 weeks I'll be back on my beautiful St. John. Been gone too long.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wed, May 3

Today I did 4000 yd.: 800 wu, 1 x 800, 2 x 400, 4 x 200, 8 x 100. Trying to fight burnout. Going ok, feel good in the water. Will do short swim Fri. then long one (5600) Sat.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Here's Stephen multitasking; maybe studying his German or looking at ebay, talking on the phone at the same time. The babies: Molly, Sadie, and Sparky and Andy.

Monday May 1

I swam 5000 yd: 500 wu, 1750 yd (1 mile), 500 kick, 1750 broken, 500 kick.
Counting down to May 13. Am fighting the chlorine and black line doldrums. What a rush it will be to finally be in those beautiful bays again.

We got emails from Delta saying a few of our flight numbers had changed, no biggie we hope.
I ordered a sun hat from LL Bean, ordered a white shirt from Pam, got film,- I'm about set. Need to borrow Sandra's suitcase.