Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I Can Swim with my Clothes On!

Today I went to the local pool and was certified as being able to swim with my clothes on.
I jumped in feet first WITH my run skort, tank top and running shoes on and WITHOUT my goggles, swim cap and noseclip and swam 25 yards one way.....
and then 25 yards the other way.
 Yikes, swimming without a noseclip gets lots of water up my nose. I was praying my sinuses didn't swell up from the chlorine.
 But I was done and I received a sign-off on my swim check certification.

Then my daughter, Danielle, jumped in with her sweatpants, tshirt and shoes on (also without swim cap, goggles and noseclip) and completed the same swim.

  and back...
 She looks way happier at the end of her swim then I did at the end of mine.

Danielle had her swim check certification also.
Why did we swim with our clothes on to get swim check certified.
Because next month we are going to take sailing lessons at Fairmount Park.
I took lessons on Lake Evans at Fairmount Park years ago....and I do mean YEARS ago when I was a teenager.
Back then, the instructors told us NOT to jump in the water because there were leeches.
I remember taking the sailing lessons during the summer with my cousin and it was HOT!!
We would purposely tip the sabot sailboats over, just so we could get in the water and cool off.
On Sunday afternoons they would have boat races around the island in the middle of the lake.
Then they closed down the boathouse and for years there was no more sailing on Lake Evans.
After lots of years the boathouse was fixed up and sailing on the lake started again.


Next month, Danielle and I are going to take a 3-day class and for the second time in my life I am going to become a trained sailor.
Images of kids sailing on Lake Evans, kind of how I remember it as a kid.
This time round, though, I don't think I will be tipping my boat over on purpose.
It's good to know though, that if the boat does tip, I have the ability to swim to shore....
with my clothes on!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My New Security Swim Blanket

I swim with a security blanket.
I blogged about my swimming "lifesaver" more than two years ago.
Thankfully, I never had to use it.
Though I did try it out one time...just to make sure it worked.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a different version of the swim "lifesaver" and the first time I wore it was at a triathlon. The results were not good. But it was not the fault of the SwimIt.....it was all my fault for not reading the directions - or watching the instruction video.
So after watching the online video of the CORRECT way to wear the SwimIt, I gave it another chance earlier this week during an open water swim at Lake Perris.
Wearing it the right way made all the difference in the world. It never moved on my leg and really, I didn't even notice I was wearing it while I swam.
When I got back to shore, I decided it would be a good idea if I gave the SwimIt a test.
First, notice that I am wearing the SwimIt the correct way.
I'm feeling for the pull lever.
Yep, that's it.
And pull.....

The floatation device came right out.

At first I was a bit surprised because the floatation device was shaped just like a life preserver. My SwimSafe was just a long tube.

Pick it up....

Look at it....



and put it on.

SwimIt worked great!!!


Okay, now the hard part - to put it all back together.
Luckily, there is an online video showing exactly how to repack the SwimIt.
I watched the video several times to make sure I was following directions. Yeah, I learned my lesson.

I did have to try a couple of times before I got it right.
 The only part of the repacking they never explained was what to do with the long white ribbon that attaches the life preserver to the SwimIt container. After watching the video a few times, I saw that they had coiled the ribbon up and wrapped a rubber band around it.
There was a rubber band attached to the ribbon after I had inflated the SwimIt in the water, but I didn't know where it came from.

 Repacked and ready to wear with the thought that I will NEVER have to use it.
If you are interested in a SwimIt you can watch the videos about it.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why It is Important to Read Directions

I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks.
It's because I have been in the midst of......
trying to stay on top of my training while cleaning out cupboards for a garage sale, going to my job that pays for my new bikes, writing training plans for athletes and spending a lot of time going to doctors appointments for my son, who was recently diagnosed with Cushing's Disease (another blog, another day)..

Things seemed a little serious around here and whenever I would sit down to write, all I could think of was serious stuff and it drained me so I would say, "Screw it," and move on to something less serious - such as watching animal videos people posted on Facebook. Those are always good for at least a chuckle.

Or I would go on a run, bike or a swim, because those always get my mind away from serious and focused on fun. Okay, maybe the runs are not ALWAYS focused on fun, but it gets my mind away from other "not-fun" stuff going on in life.

On Sunday afternoon, I realized that what I really needed was a good laugh - at myself.

Sunday morning, I took two of my athletes and the three of us competed in the LA Tri-Series Championship triathlon at Bonelli Park.

I was going to break the triathlon rules, and not only try one new thing on race day, but I was going to try two new things. I could have really pushed the envelop and tried three new things on race day by bringing my new wetsuit I won from the Ben Greenfield "Beyond Training" book raffle, but my better judgment ruled. I mean, I haven't even tried the wetsuit on yet, I didn't think it was a good idea if the first time I tried it on was in transition.

The two new things I did bring to try were my new Giro Air Attack helmet
and my new Swim'It.

The triathlon was a .9 lake swim and I put the  on and cinched it as tight as I could. By the time I walked out of transition it felt as if it was slipping and one of my athletes helped me cinch it even tighter.

I am not the fastest swimmer, but I can swim .9 miles in open water in about 35 to 40 minutes depending on the current and how cold the water is.

About 400 yards into the swim, I felt the Swim'It slipping down my leg. I had to stop and pull it up and try to tighten it.....another 200 yards and again I stopped to pull it up and tighten it....another 100 yards and I stopped to pull it up and tighten....50 yards, stop, pull up, tighten.

At this rate, it was going to take a long time to get to the swim finish. The problem was that every time I barely kicked my legs (and I am NOT a big kicker), the Swim'It would starting sliding down my leg. I could feel it hit my knee and once it was at my calf I knew I better fix the problem or the Swim'It was going to end up at the bottom of the lake.

I also was thinking if my Swim'It went to the bottom, I was going to have to ask my friend, Suzy to scuba-dive to the bottom to get it for me.

As I was swimming and stopping and tugging and tightening, I was thinking how the guy who made this thing stays in business. I mean, who would want this thing if you can't even swim with it.

I just wanted to get to the swim finish and I didn't want to lose the darn thing, so I did the Ben Greenfield "bike tube" swim drill without the tube.

Drills: Take an old bicycle tire. Make sure it's uninflated (that's the kicker). Tie it around your feet so that you can't kick. At all. Swim 10x100 with 10 seconds rest after each 100. Figure out what actually makes you swim faster. Is it hip rotation? Downward pressing of the chest? Full hyperextension of the arm upon entry? A little bit of everything?

Since I didn't have an uninflated bike tube with me, I just pressed my legs together as hard as I could and swam on.

By the time I got out of the water (49 minutes in all) my thighs were quivering, but I still had the Swim'It.
So my first "new" thing was not a success.
My helmet was sure to be great!
And it was with one small operator error in the beginning.
The sunglass shield, which is held on magnetically in the front, can be worn down or it can be turned over and out of the way if you don't want sunglasses. My problem was I put the helmet on with the sunglasses flipped up and then I put on my running sunglasses, so by the time I had run out of transition and went to flip the sunglasses down, I realized I was double-sunglassed.
LUCKILY, two of my TC friends were standing right there and I took off my sunglasses and asked one of them if she would hold them for me.
I'm not sure I even waited for an answer as I handed them to her.
The helmet worked great. It felt great. My head did get a little sweaty, but it was just a hot, sweaty day.
Towards the end of the bike ride I started thinking about my run and trying to envision how fun it was going to be to run without my sunglasses. I did have a long-brim running hat to wear, but I have sun-sensitive eyes, so I was not looking forward to a 10k run while squinting.
As I racked my bike, I looked down at my transition mat and guess what was lying there on top of my towel?
My TC friends had put my sunglasses back in my transition area.
I was so happy!
I was so thankful!!
At mile 2 on the run, along an out-and-back part of the course, I went by one of my athletes. I told her I was going to catch up with here - which I knew would make her go faster.
After a bathroom stop and a stop to take off my socks of because my feet were so hot (huge mistake), I did catch up with her at about mile 4. I ran/walked with her the rest of the way.
So, that's the race.
And when I got home I was a little peeved about the Swim'It.
I didn't really want to blog about how horrible it was, or how I am sure it added at least 10 minutes onto my swim. I decided to give it another chance at an open water swim I have planned next week. In the meantime, I went to the Swim'It website and looked over some of the information.
I realized they have a video section on the website and one of the videos is how to wear and use the Swim'It.
I watched it.
I should have watched it before the triathlon on Sunday.
I had been wearing it backwards.
I was laughing so hard, one of my sons came in and asked me if I was okay.
"Yes, I am just the biggest goof sometimes," I told him.
"Yeah," was his reply.
Just that little bit of laughter at myself took a lot of "seriousness" away.
I'll be putting the Swim'It on correctly next week.
Then I'll let you know what I REALLY think about it.
As for taking my socks off because my feet were really hot...it is going to be a couple of days of ointment and bandaids for that "goof" move to seem funny.
I don't usually quote actresses, but Gillian Anderson once was quoted as saying, "I used to take myself very seriously, now it's all just funny. You gotta laugh at yourself. You know, most of the time when something's a big deal for us, it's only become a big deal in the space between our ears."
So more laughing at myself.....and reading directions.