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SWIM:  After my February-March slump, I think I’m back.  Even during my down time I was still getting to the pool at least 3 times/wk, but I just didn’t love it.  Now, even though it’s still hard to actually hurl myself into the water from the dry, relatively warm, deck, at least I’m feeling more motivated and as though I’m swimming better once I do take the plunge.  I’m even trying to do some sprints!  Left to my own devices, I tend to swim at a constant effort for 2000 yards or so, but I know that’s not helping my racing any.  Here’s a sample set from today, in case anyone is interested:  6×150 yds, broken up as 100 sprint, followed immediately by 50 recovery swim.  Try to descend the 100s or at least hold them steady.  Pick an interval that gives 15-20 sec. rest after the 150.  Personal preference: I pick an interval, rather than a rest amount.  It keeps me honest!   And it’s easier for me to calculate time.

Another couple weeks or so and I’ll be swimming outside!  Albeit totally covered in neoprene.

BIKE:  Finally riding outside!  I can’t believe how great it feels.  I really don’t want to head back inside to spin classes, but

tiny blue bike!

43cm Trek 1500 WSD

since it’s still early Spring, and often chilly when I have the opportunity to ride, I’m resigned to doing a few more classes.  I think spinning over the winter might have actually helped with my horrendous hill climbing.  I’m still not about to set any speed records, mind you, but at least I feel a little stronger.  I’m supposed to ride with friends this weekend, but since it’s supposed to be in the low 40s, we’ll see.  It’s hard to ride when bundled up like the Michelin tire guy!

READ:  Hmm, I tried to read IBM and the Holocaust, by Edwin Black, but it was difficult – emotionally – and, unfortunately, somewhat boring and repetitive.  Now I’m devouring Esmeralda Santiago’s Conquistadora.  I saw her speak at Radcliffe recently.  She was there for Harvard’s Diversity Dialogues series. LOVE HER!  She’s so full of energy, and such a great story teller.

and… EAT!  I made Peanut Thai Vegetable Stew from Let Them Eat Vegan!  Definitely a success.  IMG_0001I’m not big on soups and stews, but this was really good and not difficult to make.  Just lots of cutting stuff up, which is pretty much par for the course…  I didn’t want to overwhelm the other flavors so I used the minimum amount of peanut butter suggested.  Now I just have to figure out what to do with the extra stalks of lemon grass.  Hard to buy just one stalk!


spiderweb suit

3rd AgonSwim suit arrived. Blue w/black spiderwebs. COOL!

I allowed myself to get talked into doing the One Hour Swim – I think I mentioned that in a previous post.  Well, I did it.  Phew, glad that’s over!  My goal was to do 4000 yds which is a 1:30/100 yd pace.  That seemed like an attainable, although challenging enough, goal.  The last time I did the OHS was probably 10 years ago and I went just over 4000 yds, if memory serves (why don’t I write these things down?!), so while I know I’ve been swimming fairly consistently, 10 years older is 10 years older!  So on January 13th, with the support of a good friend who diligently wrote down my splits, I took the plunge.  And, guess what?  I swam closer to a 1:25 pace and eked out 4225 yards!  I was pretty pleased.  An hour later and I was even able to move my arms around in a normal fashion.

USMS One Hour Swim:  the website is kind of crappy and scary looking, but basically, you swim as much as you want or can in one hour while someone takes down your 50 splits (cumulative splits.  There’s a form).  You have to be a USMS member, and there are some other rules about where you can swim – check out the site for details.  Swim continuously, or stop and start – it really doesn’t matter – yardage is yardage and it all adds up.  A couple people who have shoulder issues kicked for the hour (can’t imagine).  My regional team, New England Masters, seems to have some kind of rivalry with Davis Aquatic Masters in CA, so there’s always a big push to get as many people to swim the event as possible.  I think we won last year, so Davis is out to get us this year.

Looking ahead to race season… I’m all signed up for the season! I’m doing the swim part (fun part!) on 3 Team EnVision relays, all with my super fast cycling sister, and 3 different runners .

  1. Escape the Cape in June (brr, but only 1/3 mile swim)
  2. MASS State in July (Olympic distance, yeah! .9 mile swim)
  3. The Sharon in August (1/2 mile swim)
  4. Cranberry Olympic distance Aquabike also in August (not a relay, I get to bike on this one – we’ll see if that’s a good thing…)

I hadn’t planned on registering for events so early, but people started talking about what they were going to do, and relays were getting decided, so… LEAP.  No procrastinating.

Do you have your races figured out?

Read:  Thereby Hangs a Tail, Spencer Quinn.  Detective novel from the point of view of a dog.  So fun!

Oh, and EAT!  I made a variation of Frugal Feeding’s Onion Bhajis.   I added some shredded carrots and beets.  I don’t like to fry much, but for these?  totally worth it!


Winter is finally making its presence known here in New England.  Gone are the days of swimming at Walden Pond, then going for a ride in the surrounding suburbs of Concord, Carlisle, Lincoln, Weston, etc., maybe following that up with a run… Oh, wait, that “run” part never really happens.  Well, maybe once in a while.  So now that I’m in the pool and either at a spin class or on my trainer (HA! that’s a lie, my trainer isn’t even set up yet), I’m thinking back to happier, warmer, swimming times: most notably in Greece and the British Virgin Islands.  And Maine.

Leverick Bay, British Gorda

Leverick Bay. Home base for SwimTrek BVI

Until a few years ago, I never knew swimming trips even existed.  I had heard of organized multisport vacations and bike vacations, of course, and learn-to-swim instructional trips, but nothing for those of us who just want to SWIM.  And then I stumbled across  SwimTrek.  Someone had written in to a swim magazine asking about sun protection because she was going on a SwimTrek.  I HAD to know what she was talking about.  A year or so later, I found myself in the British Virgin Islands.  Here’s a link to the article I wrote about my experience for GoNomad.com.
Soon after that trip my husband became proficient at distance swimming (he was jealous after I got back from BVI and felt he was missing out on swimming across Walden!), and we did a SwimTrek to Greece.  Incredible.

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This past summer, we spent 4 days on a lake in Maine with SwimVacation, another excellent swim tour company.  SwimVacation also offers a trip to BVI and just added Hawaii to their roster!

Maine Lakes SwimVacation

Taconnet on Great Pond. SwimVacation Maine

A nice thing about these trips is that they’re very welcoming.  A base level of fitness is important to get the most out of the trip, but you don’t have to be a competitive swimmer – the swims are NOT races.  It’s great if you can make the distances, but from what I’ve seen, there’s always a boat nearby for anybody who gets tired and needs, or just wants, a ride.

Ahh, maybe I can daydream winter away while I save up for my next swimming adventure – I’m thinking Croatia.

Read:  still working my way through Singing Boy.  I will either finish it or fling it soon.

Eat:  I tried Frugal Feeding’s Vegetable Mash.  It’s really good – even with my misreading of the recipe (!) – but I’m still not crazy about parsnips. FF’s pictures are amazing!  Next up:  carrot and coriander fritters.



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