Starting Fresh

I did not go spectate at Rock and Roll yesterday.  Being at the expo Saturday made me sad and I did not think being at the race would be good for my inner being since I have been so down on myself as it is lately.  And as it turns out, I was up half the night with a raging headache and woke up feeling like poo.  I am feeling better now but I am taking it as a sign that resting my body was a good idea.  For the record, not racing still sucks.

Before I get into my plans for a fresh start, I would like to give a huge shout out to my friend Jen who finished R&R with an awesome time and since it was her first, it is an automatic PR!  Woo-hoo!  Additionally, huge props go out to all my teammates who participated in Syracuse 70.3- there was a huge bunch of them…I have been randomly checking in on them and they are all doing awesome- way to represent TT!!!


Okay, now about this fresh start! 

Here’s the plan: the plan is, there is no plan.  That’s right.  No plan.  Other than the fact that Iwill be progressing in run mileage in preparation for the Philly half, I have no need for a plan.  Therefore it’ll work a little something like this…when I want to swim, I will swim.  When I want to bike, I will bike.  Lifting?  Yeah, if I want to.  The new goal is to keep up with my running and workout a total of five days a week.  And for now, that is it. 

The plan that isn’t a plan started today.  I swam.  For the first time all year, I swam just to swim.  No plan, no equipement, no timed laps…just 35 minutes of freestyle swimming.  And it was wonderful 🙂  I feel absolutely rejuventated and ready to get back into the swing of things!

PS- I finally(!!!) updated my sidebar 🙂

Steelman Race Report

Steelman, or as I like to refer to it, Steel(wo)man report 🙂


This was by far my earliest wake up call to date.  The race was about 1.5 hours away and we had to be there for day-of packet pickup by 5:30.  That meant leaving by 3:30 and a 2:15am wake up call.  When I went to WaWa (coffee shop) to get my coffee there were far more people just rolling in for the night than there were getting started for the day like I was doing.  A few of my teammates and I drove up together so after meeting up and transferring all our bags we were off.  Ride up was uneventful- except my friend Brian, who drove, put his contacts in the wrong eyes!  That made for a fun time when it came to reading new construction signs!!  But…we made it there safe and all was well.  When we arrived it was still pitch black out (must get a headlamp) and already packed with people!  Good thing we left as early as we did!

We headed over to the packet-pick up and then into transition.  This race gave out Hoodies which was a nice change from a t-shirt.  And they are super nice hoodies!  Which is good, because no joke, that is why we signed up for this race!  Once we were all set up the waiting began.  At one point the RD came over the mic and announced that the water temp was over 80* and the swim would be wetsuit illegal (because it was under 84* you could still wear one, but your time would not be official).  This made me very nervous.  My teammate Kurt would have you think I “threw a fit” but in actuality, I was just scared of swimming that distance without a wetsuit.  Even a strong swimmer like myself gets anxiety- open water can be intimidating.  Deep down I knew I would be fine once I started- it’s all that waiting around that gives me time to think about it!


I did this as a relay with my teammates Kurt and Kristen.  I was the swimmer, Kurt biked and Kristen ran.  We have no allusions- we named ourselves the Slowskis.  No joke.


Getting in was the most difficult part- it was so rocky and slippery!  Once in, I placed myself to the outside right so that I could start with the crowd, but not IN the crowd.  This proved to be extremely effective.  The water was absolutely beautiful.  Before the race, some girl was talking about how gross it was…obviously this girl has never swam in either NJ or the Schuylkill River before.  This lake was gorgeous; I could have swum all day!  The first 400 meters to the first turnaround buoy seemed to take forever so I had to glance at my watch; turns out I was on pace for a good time and from that point on settled into a nice rhythm.  Only twice during the race did I have to break rhythm, once because some idiot who could not swim faster than me but didn’t want to pass him was zigzagging in front of me and once because it was very jammed at the last turnaround buoy.  As I came into the finish, I was stroke and stroke with a guy swimming next to me.  It was impossible to run in so you had to swim all the way up until the ramp in (where they had volunteer hotties guys there to pull people out over the rocks) and as we came to the ramp he made a smart remark about not wanting to get beat by a girl.  It was then that I poured it on to the finish ramp!  I heard a guy pulling him out say to him “yeah, you got chicked” and I couldn’t help but laugh.  Of course, he proceeded to blow by me in the transition.  All in good fun though 🙂

This was my best to date swim experience.  I only wish I could have worn a wetsuit.  My time was really good (31:04) but with a suit I could have gotten under 30, I know it!

So yes, with a time of 31:04 for 1550 meters, I officially have another PR 🙂


As soon as I came in and tagged Kurt, he was off on the bike.  About an hour and some later he was in and Kristen was off on the run.  I asked Kurt how the bike was and he replied, “you would have hated it” because it was FULL of hills.  (we drove these hills home and let me tell you, those are some hills!!!)  Kurt and I were starving and the way they had the food set up was through the finish.  When they said we had to wait for our relay as a whole, Kurt and I took it upon ourselves to sneak under the fence and get some food.  I know, I know…badass.  The best part about being on the relay is that I got to see many of my teammates come in through the finish.  About when we thought Kristen would be coming in, Kurt and I went to meet her so that we could all run in together.  As suspected she was hauling ass and looking good and we all ran in as a team. 


At the finish they had these super cold-soaked transition towels which only added to the amazing swag 🙂  Us teammates hung out post-race and ate some of the amazing food they had.  It was the best food tent of all time- watermelon, grapes, peaches, apples, bananas, cherries, pizza, full bottles of gatorade, chicken fingers, hoagies and probably even more that I didn’t see.  And even better- you could stay in the tent as long as you wanted and there was plenty of food.

Not only was this race fun but it was super well run and amazingly supported by great volunteers.  The single only downsides to this race were that I did not think it was very spectator friendly and I thought the swim enter/exit was tough to navigate between the rocks and slippery mat.  But seriously, this race was great and is definitely on the list for next year.  As a relay again though, because no way in HELL am I doing that bike!!!

As always, some photos…

Relay team

Carefully entering the water…


After the race, we had some lunch and headed home.  It sure was a long day…but after I napped I had a major second wind and went out for 10 miles on the bike.  This week starts half-marathon training; I have two tri’s left but my workouts will be a lot more run focused.  I plan to keep up with my biking as much as possible so that I don’t lose my newfound confidence but I know I am going to have to trade some of my swim time in for running time.  I genuinely love the water.  Swimming to me is relaxing and freeing.  I am starting to toy with the idea of doing a few open water swim races next year.  New challenge? Perhaps so!

Swimming 101- Questions Answered

Ack, the last swimming 101 was in May…cannot believe how fast time goes!  After I wrote the first three Swimming 101 posts, I got many questions either through comments or email.  The 4th swimming 101 (this one) was supposed to be about workouts, OWS and what to wear when swimming…but I have decided to incorporate that into this, since questions about those topics have been asked.  I hope that, after reading more about swimming, some of you who have yet to take the plunge, will.  And above all, I hope you have learned something 🙂

How much should you be swimming weekly to be ready for a tri?  How long should I swim at the pool each time I go?

The answer to this really depends on your current swim ability and also the distance of your intended race swim.  Since the nature of this post is for beginners I will use the example of a first time triathlete doing a 1/4 mile swim.

You should be able to easily swim at least 100 meters more than the race swim.  Therefore if your race is 400 meter swim, you should be able to swim 500 meters without problems.  

If your goal is to simply finish the race, then you could probably get away with swimming once or twice a week.  Some people swim for time and others distance.  I prefer to swim distances; I lay out a plan and accommodate enough time to fit in my determined distance.  My swims are almost always a combination of free swims and drills that range anywhere between 25 minutes to an hour, usually twice a week.

Remember that in a pool you are able to push-off the walls, stop at turnarounds and stand if needed.  While the pool is a great place to practice, it is not indicative of race conditions.  I highly advise against going into your first race (unless it is a pool swim) without having OWS practice.  And if/when you do a OWS, never swim alone!

Can you doggy paddle in a tri?

You can swim however you want- whatever gets you from point A to point B safely.  Of course the freestyle stroke is the fastest and also the most effective swim, but if you doggy paddle your way through that is just fine!

Do you have recommendations for goggles, swim caps, wetsuits and bathing suits?

I can only tell you what I use; each person is different and it is important to find out what you are comfortable using. 

The best goggles I have ever used are the ones I currently have, the AquaSphere Kayenne’s.  They stay on tight, without hurting and don’t leak.  You don’t have to spend a ton of money on the best goggles (mine were $22) but remember if you get your goggles for $5 at the local general store, you get what you pay for.

For bathing suits, I tend to stick with Speedo and TYR.  They are well-made, comfortable and affordable.  Personally, I like to wear a one-piece but many triathletes wear two-pieces.  (Sorry dudes, I have no swimsuit advice for you!)  I cannot really help with wetsuits, as I have only ever used one, but I can say I love mine.  I have a Xterra sleeveless, that I got on sale at, and I really like the fit and comfort.  If you don’t want to purchase a wetsuit before knowing if you will like wearing one, many places rent them out to try.

As for the swim caps, I use the ones I have gotten at races.  I think the first one I ever bought was a Speedo but I tend to think a swim cap is a swim cap.  During a race you will be given one to wear, so this is not something to spend a lot of time/money on.  The one thing I will say is this…for cold weather swimming (as I learned in Black Bear) a neoprene swim cap is a life-saver!  I would highly recommend that if you plan to be in cold water.

Do you need a tri suit or can you just wear a bathing suit?

Tri suits are great because they are made for the athlete to swim-bike-run comfortably.  In my personal opinion, for Sprint tri’s, they are not necessary.  I typically wear a bathing suit with shorts over them; I never have a problem and I am totally comfortable.  I would however recommend a tri suit for longer races, especially because after 20 miles or so on the bike you will wish you had one! 

Do I have to have equipment such as paddles or a kickboard to workout in the pool?

While equipment is great to help strengthen your swim muscles and ultimately make you a better swimmer, it is not necessary in order to complete a great pool workout.  In fact, for beginners, it is probably better to start out slow and work your way into incorporating the equipment into your workouts. 

What kind of workouts should you do in a pool to be a better open water swimmer?

In addition to the workouts you should already be doing, speed-sets and drill-sets, there are specific things you can do in a pool that help train for open water.  Here are a few drills that I have used to help me in the open water:

When swimming in a pool, every wall is a chance to rest and recover before the next lap. However, out in the open water there aren’t any walls.  A good way to help adjust to this is by doing a swim without touching the wall.  Instead of turning at the wall, flip at the end of the underwater lane marker.  You will be forced to use your arms and legs to get moving again.

Unlike in a pool, there are no lane lines in open water.  You have to learn how to sight and stay straight in the open water so you do not add work to your swim by heading off into the wrong direction.  A good way to practice this in the pool is to swim with your eyes closed (having a friend there helps with this one) for 8-10 strokes, and lift your head to sight.  The most efficient way to do this is to raise your head up as your arm extends forward in the water.  As you press your arm back down, your head will life more naturally.  If you notice you always tend to swim one way in the wrong direction, attempt to find out what the imbalance is; it almost always comes down to incorrect stroke mechanics. 

Practice turning while swimming.  An open water swim will have at least one turn if not as many as three or four.  Turns are tight and require a more choppy stroke.  Choose an item to be your “buoy” or just pretend one is there and in the middle of a lane, make a turn.  For easier turning (and to help with sighting) breath to the side of the object of which you are turning.  Practice also transitioning back into bilateral breating after the turn.

Learn to breathe bilaterally.  I personally feel that this is the most important skill to practice for open water.  To breathe bilaterally means to breath every third stroke; many people breathe either to just the right, or just the left…with bilateral breathing you are alternating the left and the right.  (I tend to breathe only to my right and will attest that while this was a hard skill to teach myself, it has made a huge difference in my swim.) 

Don’t forget, nothing is like the real thing; doing the above in a pool is great but in order to experience open water, you must get into the open water!

Do you have to wear a wetsuit?  When should you wear a wetsuit?

In races where the water temperature is 84degrees or below, the wetsuit is optional.  It is never mandatory to wear a wetsuit; you never have to wear one.  But if you do wear one, you will benefit from it for sure.  Regardless of your swim ability, the time is takes getting the wetsuit off in transition will surely be made up in your faster swim time.  The wetsuit adds buoyancy and helps you to glide faster through the water.  Personally, I wear mine for cold swims and swims longer than 800 meters.  Even for a strong swimmer like myself, it just makes me feel better to have one on during longer swims.  And a tip for helping to get the wetsuit on and off- load up on the body glide, especially around the feet! 

Do you get a DQ or penalty if you use the help of a guard at a race?

If you get nervous or tired and need a rest, find a lifeguard (usually in a kayak or on a wakeboard) and hang on to get yourself together.  You can grab onto a kayak to fix your wetsuit, goggles or to simply catch your breath.  You can stop and rest as much as you want during the swim, but you cannot interfere with the progress of other swimmers nor can you use the kayaks or buoys to gain progress on the course.

If you find yourself in trouble during a race and cannot get to a lifeguard, raise your hand as high as you can and yell out.  Do not be embarrassed and if you are in trouble do not wait to ask for help.  Get a lifeguard to come over at the first sign of distress.  Just because you call over a lifeguard, does not mean you will get a DQ.  Typically, the lifeguard will determine with you if you are okay to continue the race.  The only two ways you get a DQ is if you do not finish within the time limits (vary from race to race) or if the lifeguard determines (or you decide) you need to get into the lifeboat.

 How can you avoid contact with others in the water during a race?

The truth is, there is no way to avoid contact in the swim.  Hanging back at the start will help, but only if the next wave isn’t starting right away.  During a tri, every swimmer has their arms flapping and feet kicking.  Being prepared for this is your best defense.  Whatever you do, don’t panic.  Stay calm and swim out to the side or stop to let the swimmer go. 

What if I am the only beginner swimmer?

This will never happen 🙂


If I missed any of your questions, or you think of one after reading this, please post in your comment and I will be sure to answer to the best of my abilities.  Additionally, if you have anything to add, please do!

Now…my challenges for you:

-Haven’t been in the water for a long time?  Start by just getting in.  Just swim around.  Simply enjoy being in the water. 

-Want to start actively swimming but still apprehensive?  Buy one good suit and a kickboard (or any pool toy).  Commit to one hour a week at the pool. 

-Been swimming pretty regularly, want to do a triathlon, but still concerned about an OWS?  Find a race that uses a pool for the swim and sign up for a race in 2011 🙂

-Feel good about your swimming and comfortable with OWS but still haven’t done a tri…whatta ya waiting for, there is plenty of tri-season left, go sign up!!!

Are you going to accept the challenge?


(PS- HUGE Give-a-way coming soon 🙂 )

Making Lemons…

Preface: I am a Type-A personality.  I live my life by a schedule.  I like to plan what I am doing in advance and feel totally derailed if said plans get messed up, especially if it is out of my control.  Which is why I am so proud to tell this story…

Let me tell you about Monday’s swim…

I have been swimming at the piece of shit gym LA Fitness by my house since I moved back home.   I typically swim every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6am.  The pool is almost always full; there are people in the pool when I get there, more come as I am swimming and there are people getting in as I am getting out.  I have found Monday morning to be the busiest day/time for the pool.  So whatta ya know…Monday, I get to the gym and there is a sign on the door that “the pool is closed for cleaning.”  Seriously??  Anyway, I go in and ask the woman why they wouldn’t give any notice and she says, “we put the sign up yesterday afternoon” which annoyed me even more because more than likely, those who workout every weekday morning, do not go on Sunday afternoons.  Oh, and back at Easter they told me the pool was closed because they don’t like to clean on high volume days.  Just saying.

Now…typically, I would let this really irritate me and probably ruin my morning.  But after a quick pout I decided to take these lemons and make lemonade.  (For the record, I HATE that saying!) It did not make sense to go all the way back home (the gym is on my way to work) so I decided to head to the next closest LA Fitness (which was another 15 minutes away!) and do what I could.  Even though this meant I would only have 25 minutes in the pool, it was still going to be 25 more minutes than I would have had if I did nothing. 

The best part about the whole thing, other than the fact that I kept calm and did not let it ruin my day, was that I really enjoyed my swim.  Turns out, I also forgot my watch (another thing I would normally let bother me) and I really couldn’t time myself, so I did a bunch of drills and a little free swimming.  It was quite nice, actually.

I am proud that I was able to control my frustration and quickly find a solution to my problem.  I know yelling at the ditz reading a magazine girl at the front desk will not help me get my workout done.  I know pouting and driving home will not help get my work out done.  I know, that sometimes, life throws a curveball and messes with the applecarts.  More times than not, I do not handle it well.  But this time I did.  Yeah for small successes 🙂 

Now…if only I could always be that way!

Are you go with the flow or a schedule junkie?  How do you handle change in a situation? 


**Don’t forget to ask me a question here to help me along with my upcoming 300th post!

Black Bear Race Report and Photos!

Day before race:  I met up at my friend Brian’s house at 5:30am and we were off to the Poconos.  We were heading up early so that we could watch our teammates in the Sprint Race.  The drive was smooth, totally traffic-less and uneventful.  One funny thing we noticed though…every radio station we put on was totally depressing; one station was talking about divorce, another was talking about vehicular fatalities and another was going on about something with dealing with depression.  We figure, if you are up that early on a Saturday morning, people must think you are depressed!

We arrived to Black Bear right on time and met up with our teammates.  We watched the Sprint race, hung out for awards (we had a 2nd AG winner and a relay winner) and then headed out for some lunch.  Then it was back to the course to volunteer for packet pick-up for the Olympic race.  Normally, I love to volunteer but this time I was bored, hungry and bored.  Did I mention bored?  They actually had way too many people, so my friend Brian and I ended up sitting on a rock, not kidding, directing people up a hill to the expo.  The one upside was that we got to converse with some really awesome people.  Oh, and there were lots of super cut dogs coming to the park too.  After about three hours on the rock, we headed up for the pre-race meeting.  And then the skies opened up.  And it poured.  And it poured.  And it poured some more.  We decided to pack it in for the day and head to the local pub to watch the Flyers game.  Turns out, most of our teammates had the same idea.  We were having dinner there later that night, so it worked out perfect.  Dinner was great- so many people racing were eating there, including my favorite RD’s, Michele and Larry! 

After dinner, it was (finally) time to head to bed.  We stayed at my friend Kurt’s sisters house, which was great because it was less than 30 minutes from the race site…and free 🙂  I usually have a lot of trouble sleeping before a race but I was so exhausted.  I fell asleep within ten minutes and only woke up two times. 

Race Day: Wake up call was 5am (which is actually pretty late for me on race day) and we were out the door by 5:30.  Had a banana and some water and was good to go.  It was raining, but not much and I was excited to get the day started!

Once we were all body marked up, we headed into transition and started the wait.  Before I knew it, it was time to get my wetsuit on and head down for a practice swim.  I was calm and feeling confident.  I did a few laps and it was not nearly as cold as expected.  The water was 64*- still cold, but bearable.  After a little more practice, it was go time. 

With the Garmin sized chip!

Feeling Strong

Heading out

And I was off.  I started off well and once I got through the crowd, I really got into a rhythm.  I acclimated to the water pretty fast and it was so clear and beautiful.  I was really kicking some ass.

Then hell broke loose.

At the turnaround buoy, I was slapped in the face with a raging current.  I could not get back into a swim and kept swallowing water.  At one point, too much water got in my mouth and I started coughing.  I had to hang onto a kayak and ended up coughing up my breakfast (and probably part of my dinner from the night before) which was, as I am sure you imagine, gross.  I was there for a good couple of minutes and I was really upset.  I totally felt like I was letting my team down.  And even after I felt okay to go, every time I put my head in the water to swim, the wetsuit would push into my neck and make me gag.  Let me just say this…that last 300 or so meters was not a good time.  And even though I was dissapointed in myself because my great swim was ruined, I pushed through.  And after 37 minutes (about 4-7 minutes slower than I had expected) I was finally out of the water.  I booked through transition, tagged my teammate Kurt and fell to the ground.  Seriously.


After beating myself up for a few minutes, I got over it, threw on some dry clothes and headed over to cheer on the racers.  I went back and forth from watching the race to hanging out with my teammate Brian who was waiting to go out on the run.  Brian and I talked about my swim and my dissapointment…he reminded me that this was my first ows of this distance, I was coming off injury, it was my first race of the season and my first ows in a wetsuit.  And he reminded me, as always, that I was being too hard on myself.  I called my mom, who repeated all the same things and decided that I was not going to let it get me down.  The thing is…when you don’t have the greatest race, the only place you can go, is up!

When the race was over, we all got changed and then Brian and I took off.  We stopped for lunch and we were home by 3:30 🙂  All in all it was a great weekend.  We had over 20 team members come up for the trip and we had 2AG winners and a relay team winner.  Overall, great weekend!

And more pics from the entire weekend:

More Swimming 101…

(Apologies in advance for the weird spacing on this post.  No idea what is up with that!)

Welcome to Part 3 of Swimming 101.  If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, go here and/or here.

 Once you get the basics of swimming, like knowing how to not drown…the next important step is learning how to swim effectively.  It is one thing to get from point A to point B, but if you really want to be a better swimmer, you have to learn to swim with purpose.  Adding toys will not only help to build strength but also keep your workouts exciting.  Yeah, that’s what she said (figured I would beat you to it!).


Kickboard- (These come with or without a strap.  I can only speak for non-strap kickboards as I do not use the strap.)


How it is effective:  Kickboards allow you to give your arms a rest and exclusively work your legs while you swim.


How to use it:  Kick your legs to propel yourself through laps while your upper body floats on the water.  They are most productive when done with the face out of the water and the arms on top, gripping more towards the front.

Pull Buoy- (There are adjustable and non-adjustable, but I can only speak for non-adjustable as it is the only kind I use.)


How it is effective:  It is a training device for developing endurance and upper body strength.  It provides resistance because it prohibits the legs from kicking.  Using a pull buoy gives the arms a workout by providing flotational support for hips and legs. Additionally, a bilateral breathing rhythm can be refined.


How to use it:  Place the buoy between your legs (the higher up, the better) and begin to swim.  It takes a few laps to get used to the first time, but is generally very easy to use.   



How they are effective:  Fins will work to increase ankle flexibility and overall leg muscle strength.  Additionally, they help increase your speed and help build your endurance.


How to use them:  Alternate kick sets between freestyle and backstroke to build uniform leg muscle strength.   


Gloves- (Hand paddles are an alternative to gloves, however I have never used them.)

How they are effective:  Enhances workout by adding resistance and builds upper body strength.

How to use them:  Put them on.  I know, things are getting tough- haha.

Aqua Jogger-

 How it is effective:  Impact-free workout, especially good for those in recovery.  Also helps strengthen and support lower back and tone abdominal muscles. 

How to use it:  It is honestly very tricky and takes some getting used to.  At first, it is best to try walking motions, followed by jogging in place.  It took me a few tries to actually move while jogging in the water.  But once you get going you can really work up a sweat.  You will be amazed at the workout!!

For me, a typical workout includes a warm-up, free swim, drills (with and without equipment) and a cool-down.  I try not to exceed 400 meters using equipment.  There are different schools of belief when it comes to how often to use this equipment, so I recommend doing what works best for you personally.  The only suggestion I will make, and I have said this before, is have a plan.  Don’t bring all your toys to the pool on the same day. 


Stay tuned for part 4 of Swimming 101:  pool drills and open water swimming 

More Swimming 101- Water Etiquette

Welcome to Part 2 of Swimming 101:  Water Etiquette

This was not originally part of my series but after an incident yesterday I decided it had to be included.  I swim early in the morning, usually on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  The pool is generally packed.  And more often than not, lanes need to be shared.  Of course, like most people, sharing a lane is not my favorite way to swim but I also know that it is inevitable if I choose to swim at a popular time.  Normally everything is smooth sailing regardless of how crowded it is because it is usually the same people and we have all gotten to know each other by face.  Yesterday though, was a different story, with a swimmer I hadn’t seen at the pool before:

 I came into the pool and all lanes were taken.  There was only one lane with only one person so I stood at the end of the lane to give the heads up to the swimmer that I would be jumping in; he would not make eye contact so I put my feet to make him aware that I was going to get in the lane.  And when the guy got the the wall he looked at me like I had ten heads so I said, “hey I am going to share” and he rolled his eyes.  Yeah, we were off to a good start.  For the first ten minutes, I had to basically swim around him because clearly he never learned how to share in kindergarten. I was sucking it up until he smacked me in the head with his hand weight.  At that point I stopped him and we had this conversation:

Me: Whoa…I thought we were sharing a lane.

Douchebag in Pool: I was here first.

Me: Right, and if there was another lane in which I could swim, I would.  But there isn’t.

(I thought it was over at that point, but no…)

DIP: You know, some of us in here are training for triathlon (with a huge emphasis on triathlon) and need the pool.

Me: Yes, I understand.  I am one of those people.

And then I swam off.  And go figure, he got out of the pool about five minutes later.  I would have…but some of us are training for triathlon!!!

So there you have it, my motivation for this post. 

5 proper swim etiqette tips

  1. Know how to share a lane.  You can either “split” a lane…each swimmer on their own side, or if there are more than two swimmers, you can use the circle format.  This means everyone swims counter-clockwise on the right side of the lane.  And don’t hog the lane like the moron in the aformentioned story.
  2. Know your ability.  When determining which lane to enter when all lanes are full, look for swimmers who are at or about at your same ability.  Don’t kid yourself about your skills.
  3. Be pass friendly.  If you need to pass someone in the lane, simply tap their foot to let them know and then go around them on the left.  If your foot is tapped to be passed, DO NOT speed up in an attempt to stay ahead.  Swallow your pride and let them swimmer pass.
  4. Stop appropriately.  Unless you are having an emergency, there is no reason to stop in the middle of a swim lap.  All stopping should take place at the end of the lane and the stopped swimmer should tuck themselves into the corner of the lane so they do not get in the way of a turning swimmer.
  5. Do not aqua jog when sharing a lane.  Nuff Said.

And five pool pet peeves:

  1. Don’t pee in the pool.  Do I even need to elaborate on this???
  2. Shower first.  The pool is not your personal bathtub.
  3. Don’t bring all your toys to every swim.  Decide what you will work on for that swim and bring what you need.  No reason to bring your whole toy box.
  4. Don’t be a drafter.  If you are sharing a lane, don’t be the rude swimmer who constantly taps the swimmers foot but then doesn’t pass. 
  5. Recognize that the gym pool is not a hang-out.  It is not cute to wear your bikini to the gym pool and hang out on the steps.  You look ridiculous.

Do you have any tips or pet peeves to add? 


Stay tuned for Swimming 101 Part 3; pool toys and how to use them!

Three Things Tuesday & Swim Success!

Let the excitement begin… 

Spring clothes are here! I am finally putting away my winter clothes- I love this time of year!  I get so excited to pull out my capris, skirts and short sleeves!  I absolutely am in love with this weather…I have been lounging in my boxers and t-shirts all through Spring break and it has been nothing short of fabulous!

It’s Phillies opening week!  They won their first game yesterday- woohoo!  I am convinced they are taking it all this year…they have the best batting line-up and are going to be unstoppable.  I ❤ me some Phillies 🙂  And to make it even better, the Yankees lost their first game- yipppeeee!

The sun is shining!  Do I need to say more??  So many days of sun and the vitamin D is doing me well 🙂


And more excitement….

Third swim attempt= success!  I guess the third time is the charm!

I did quite a few leg stretches in the water…my chiro gave me a list of things to work on in the water, sort of like a warm up and I felt great.  For the rest of my swim I used a pull-buoy between my legs so as to not kick too much and focus on my strokes.  I would say the workout was a success!! 

A little story from the pool today:  About half way through my swim, I stopped to take some water and the guy in the lane next to me asked if I had my watch on because the clock in the room was wrong.  I had actually forgotten my watch today and we got talking about the gym, the pool and swimming in general.  His name is Brian and he bikes and swims daily.   Turns out…he is also an amputee.  I didn’t even notice his leg standing there, practically next to me on the side of the pool.  We contiuned to talk about races (he bike races), swimming and how people react/respond to amputees.  We also talked about injuries in general.  He was injured on a rescue mission when he was in the military.   He explained that he has to swim with a mask and snorkel because his balance is thrown off if he bilaterally breathes.  He told me about the doctor who told him “to take it easy and try not to overdo it” and how he decided then that he would not stop living but start living again.    We talked for close to fifteen minutes; normally, I am not one for gym conversation but Brian was so interesting and not the least bit focused on his leg.  It was really inspirational and I feel like maybe the reason I missed my other swims is so that I would be there today to meet Brian.  A little dose of perspective to remind me that it isn’t about the situation you are in, but how you deal with that situation. 





In NCAA news.  Duke won.  Cause the officials wanted it that way.  Clearly.  And no, I do not want to talk about!

Swim Attempt #2 FAIL & Spring Break Love

In an effort to make up for Friday’s failed swim, I decided to go today.  And it failed. 

Two failed swims in three days. Crud.

Here’s what happened:

I get to the gym, all ready to swim and the pool door is locked.  Odd, I think to myself.  But then again, maybe they just forgot to open it and no one had been into swim yet. 

I go out to the front desk to ask the girl who is working hard has her feet up and is reading her cosmo and assume immediately that she attends school with this girl:

And this is the conversation that follows:

Me:  Can you have someone open the pool?

Girl: (Barely lifting her head) It’s closed.

Me: Closed?

Girl: (talking to me like I am her four year old sister) Yeah…uh, it’s Easter.

Me: So the pool is close because it is Easter.  WHAT?

Enter manager (who doesn’t seem to care that his employee is A- not working and B-rude)

Manager:  We sometimes close the pool on holidays because they are not high volume swim days.  This gives us a chance to do heavy duty cleaning.

Me: I see.

Here’s the thing-  I said “I see” but that was only because I was so bewildered by the whole thing.  Like, if they were a 24 hour gym I would understand…but they aren’t.  In fact, until May arrives, they close at 7pm on weekend nights…so why can’t they do the heavy cleaning when the gym is closed???  And I cannot even bring myself to think about the fact that they “sometimes clean on holidays” because in my cleanly opinion, there are too few holidays to consider that a (sometimes) good working schedule for cleanings.  Blech.

Luckily my workout wasn’t completely ruined.  I had planned to walk on the treadmill after my swim so I had my other workout gear with me.  I ended up walking 2.1 miles on the treadmill and doing 15 minutes on the bike.  The walk felt good…I kept it under a 16:00 minute pace and had NO pain.  This is a good sign my friends- hopefully by the end of the week I will be able to walk a solid hour with no pain.

Anyway….going to try AGAIN tomorrow for a swim.  Third times the charm, right???


So I might have said it one or two or twelve times, but this week is my Spring Break!  The weather has been amazing and is predicted to stay that way all week!  I cannot remember the last spring break that was this nice 🙂  I, as always, booked myself with things to do…I always claim I am going to just relax and stay in but I always end up taking on responsibilities and packing in plans.  I will say though, some of these plans are fun things and I am very excited! 

I go for a follow up MRI this week…da da da da da….judgement day.  I should know by Friday if I am cleared to run.  My chiro and PT both say I am making great progress and are very encouraging.  They both totally think I will be good to go so let’s hope they are right!  I am eager to get back to the roads for I have missed them. 


And in NCAA news….GO BUTLER.  


No DUKE fans allowed. 

Wetsuit Swim Attempt #1- Complete FAIL!

I finally broke out the wetsuit last night to give it a try.  It can only be described as a one woman circus.  Oh, and a disaster.

Clearly, I do not mind embarrassing myself; Let me explain with some photos-

First time trying it on…

…Yeah, notsomuch.

Second attempt…

…not much better.

Trying a new approach…

…Careful with the nails!

Taking it slow…

…And making progress!



Once I finally got it on (it took almost 30 total minutes!!!) I felt great but it is definitely going to take some getting used to.  Given the circumstances (those being I needed a little more “get to know you time” with my wetsuit) I decided a regular swim, sans the wetsuit, would be in effect for this morning. 

Then I remembered it was Friday, and thought to myself “I better check to make sure there isn’t an aqua fit class happening” and sure enough…aqua fit class was at the EXACT time I planned to be in the pool.  UGH-this happens a lot!  And I had an appt to get to this morning so I couldn’t just wait it out, therefore the swim was kaput!  Fail.

I did however still go to the gym 🙂  I did 20 minutes on the bike and 10 on the elliptical, along with my stretches, some ab work and a little lifting for my arms.  Quick, but solid workout. 

Hopefully, westsuit swim attempt number two planned for Sunday morning will go a bit smoother.  And by a bit, I mean a lot.