Celebrating 5 years of Ironman participation

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Long Course No More

Today was the last day for the USF Koret Pool to be long course (set for 50 m lanes).  I’m glad I made it there this morning (too bad I didn’t get there until 7 am).  I still have plenty of passes left on my punch card though.  Guess I’ll have to find motivation to keep going post-Ironman.

To help with that motivation, I’m looking for some more swim workouts.  I think I’ve gone through all my favorite DC tri workouts at least 3 times each!  Send your favorites my way!


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Swimming Etiquette

There’s a certain etiquette that should be followed when sharing a lap lane in a pool.  One of the reasons I love swimming at USF Koret is that most of the patrons seem to understand these unspoken rules of the pool. Good lap lane buddies make it so much easier to get a 4,000 yd workout done.

In case you’re new to swimming, or just curious about the rules of the pool, here are a few basics on “switiquette”

  • Circle swim: If there are more than 2 swimmers in a lane, you should stay to the right and swim counterclockwise.  If there are just two swimmers in a lane, you can opt to split the lane.
  • Lane Speed: Most pools mark lanes as slow, medium or fast.  Not sure of your speed?  Just watch the swimmers in the lane and be willing to move up or down a lane accordingly.
  • Passing: It’s ok to pass a swimmer in your lane.  Just gently tap the swimmer’s toes and pass on the left.  If you are approaching a turn, the slower swimmer should stop at the wall and let the faster swimmer pass.
  • Stopping: If you are resting between sets, grabbing a drink, or having a chat (as I seem to do more surprisingly often), be sure to pull off to the side of the lane at the wall.  Do not block the lane and prevent other swimmers from completing their flip turns (especially by kissing in the lap lane!)
  • Entering the lane: This may differ at some pools, but I think it’s generally a better call to slide into a lane rather than dive in.  Use this time of entering the lane to confirm a circle or check where the other swimmers are in their workouts.
  • Be respectful of different workouts: In an ideal world, everyone in the lane would be doing the same workout.  My favorite pool days are still mornings at Eastern Market in DC where all the girls would show up and one would bring a workout to share.  At times over the past months, I’ve convinced a few guys at Koret to swim with me.  But, for all those other times, it’s really great when other swimmers are aware of when I’m watching the clock on a sprint set or I give the right of way to a swimmer while I kick.  Being considerate makes a huge difference in keeping your workout on track.

Other ideas or tips for making pool swims more pleasant?  Please feel free to share.  And, if you’re in the Bay Area, come join me at USF Koret on Wednesday and Friday mornings.   You can find me at the Presidio and Embarcadero YMCA’s from time to time too, but I think the lifeguards there could stand to enforce some stronger switiquette!


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Wildflower Training Weekend

Golden Gate Tri Club held a training weekend down at Lake San Antonio the other weekend.  Sat was sunny and windy, and we braved the waters of the lake and the hills of the bike ride.  Great BBQ on Sat night, lots of beer, and a good run Sunday AM to round out the weekend.  Looking forward to the race in just a few weeks!

Wildflower Triathlon - Lake San Antonio

Lake San Antonio

Sign for Wildflower Triathlon


What Will I Do With My Free Time?

Between tapering this week and thoughts of life post-Ironman, I can’t help but think about what I will do on July 21st and every day after that.  Jim and I spent a fair amount of our Sunday morning run from the Capitol to Georgetown and across the river wondering just that.  Will we keep training?  Will we do another Ironman?  Or will Jim return to his focus on running, me on swimming, and so on?

Thankfully, those long rides and runs provide plenty of time to dream and plan away!  So, here are a couple of my post IMLP plans:

  • New Jersey State Triathlon July 27th – Don’t worry, I’m just racing the swim portion of an Olympic Relay!  I’ll spend the rest of my time there volunteering and cheering on the 200+ DC Tri Club participants!
  • Recruit volunteers and assist with the volunteer coordination for Nation’s Triathlon in DC, September 14th.  You should volunteer!
  • August/September backpacking trip in Boulder!
  • September cycling trip on Martha’s Vineyard!
  • Throw some dinner parties
  • Visit Ann Arbor

I’m considering doing one more race too.  Maybe an olympic or sprint distance? Any suggestions for one in late August or September?


Great Advice

Do you ever get advice that is just absolutely perfect? I recently reconnected with my high school swim coach and aquatics director of the Albany Academy pool, Bonnie Morse-Gillham, who also happens to be a triathlete! Given Bonnie’s experience (Nationals, World Team, and Hawaii Ironman!), I figured she would have some good advice – and she did!

Here’s what Bonnie recommended for my first Ironman:

“My advice to first timers is: ALWAYS KEEP SOMETHING IN RESERVE…..ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF THE RACE…….AND COME ACROSS THE LINE WITH A SMILE!! This advice has worked for everyone. It’s the athletes who go out like a bat outta hell that end up on the DNF (Did Not Finish) list…so don’t be one of those. Really get into it, talk to spectators, other athletes, officials, etc. High five people along the way…it is an awesome accomplishment, something you will savor for the rest of your life.”

I’m definitely going to keep Bonnie’s advice in mind on race day. I think my “team” (Mom, Dad, Seth, Sharon, Evie, Sherry, Mona, Andrew, Beth and Darcie) will be a great help too – especially with the t-shirts they will all be sporting on race day!


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Ready to Race!

It’s been about 13 years since I’ve been off a diving block, but Saturday, I ventured out for my first masters swim meet! The meet was held at the U.S. Naval Academy pool in Annapolis, MD. I trekked up with Katie, Erica, Paul and Matias from the DC Tri Club. The pool was huge – a diving well with platform boards, the main pool with 10, 25 yards lanes and a warm up pool with another 8 lanes.

With about 150 swimmers and a starting time of 4:30 pm, I waited on the deck for about 2 hours before my events. I burned through 2 gu gels and a snickers marathon bar in that time. Despite warming up in the side pool, I was still beyond nervous for my first race. I kicked my legs on the diving block in hopes I wouldn’t pee with fright. Then, the horn blew and I was off!

Here are the results:

1. 100 yard free – 1:10, 3 rd place age group!
2. 100 yard breaststroke – 1:27, 3rd place overall!

3. 200 yard free – 2:44, lots of room for improvement

I can’t wait for the next meet!