Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hikes and swims

Not too much swimming happening this week. We took Monday off to go on a spectacular hike to Elk Lake—

Photographic evidence
—and I’m taking the rest of the week off because we leave tomorrow for an out-of-town swim meet.

There’s been a slight improvement in the 6 a.m. weather and pool temperature, which makes morning swimming a whole new deal. A couple of degrees seems to be the difference between being frozen, stupid, and exhausted when you get out of the water and being refreshed (but still pretty exhausted).

I am getting tougher, though, I can tell. I wonder if all this swimming will prove to be good training for watching a swim meet, which is also exhausting for some reason.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Yesterday’s polar plunge (aka morning swim practice) basically ruined my whole day. For one thing, the cold makes you stupid: I still had not warmed up hours later but it didn’t occur to me to take a hot bath until around 11. And then that swung my body temperature wildly to the other extreme and sapped whatever scrap of remaining energy I had. I didn’t get productive again until about 2 in the afternoon—and by “productive,” I mean working at my desk doing nothing remotely physical.

Today was not quite as cold, but I decided to take a few preventive measures anyway. I still have a two-piece wetsuit from my triathlon days, and I thought I could get by wearing only the top half. That was a lot warmer, but it was pretty annoying to swim in, so I took it off partway through. I did keep on a neoprene cap; I might just keep wearing that for a while, because it helped without getting in the way. And I cut the total workout short—500 meters instead of the intended 1000.

Better something than nothing, I say. I can’t very well be frozen/exhausted every day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A year of AltShift

I’ve already complained thoroughly on several forums about this morning’s air and pool temperatures—I guess one of the pool’s two heaters is broken?—so I will give it a rest except to say that the best that can be said about swims like these is that Mik and I are definitely bonding over our shared trauma. I got my 900-meter swim and three-mile walk done and my body temperature has finally come back to normal, so it’s all good.

Actually, I came to the the blog today to talk about this:

That’s my AltShift app telling me I’ve now been doing the diet for 365 days. We committed to doing it for a year and have finally made it! I’m tempted to complain that my transformation has not been all that miraculous, but on the other hand I am in better shape than I was when I started, and this program never promised miracles, only steady progress. I think the key thing is that I’ve been off of wheat and sugar for a year now and have no desire to get back on them.

M.H. and I want to keep doing something like AltShift going forward but try to make it work better for us. AltShift is five days of eating low-carb, followed by three days of eating low-fat—but we came up with a seven-day cycle we think will suit us better and be a bit more flexible. (In case you’re curious, my complicated New Life Plan is to eat low-carb Monday through Thursday, mix it up on Friday by having one low-carb meal and then one with both fat and carbs, eat low-fat on Saturday, and play it by ear on Sunday depending on how I feel and what’s going on.)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Challenges of morning swim practice, ranked

5. Getting out of bed
4. The swimming itself
3. Getting out of the water
2. Getting in the water
1. Keeping my mouth shut

M.H. (who has more early-morning Mik experience than I do) had recommended that, if I was going to impose myself on our teenager’s life by coming to morning swim practice with him, I should probably try not to be chatty and ideally should not talk to him at all. And of course I had already realized that it would be insensitive of me to insert myself into conversations with his friends or coach AT practice.

I do try. It’s hard. But I guess some of us are just a bit more chipper in the mornings, especially when we’re already skittish about jumping into the icy water and HAVE A HALF-HOUR TO KILL ON DECK.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Summer stuff

I took yesterday off of swimming (and work) so M.H. and I could hike to Sioux Charley Lake instead—it was glorious and here’s proof:

But I was back at it today. If my unspoken motivation for all this swimming is that I want it to make me tougher, then it is doing its job. It rained all night last night, so the pool was colder than usual, and the air temp at 6 a.m. was about 50. I knew when I was uncomfortably cold in a sweatshirt that it was not going to be a fun pool entry.

Anyway, I got my 700 meters in and got out of there. I’m pretty excited about tomorrow being a rest day.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mornings with Mik

I couldn’t persuade Mik to set his alarm fifteen minutes later for morning swim practice, but he did reluctantly set it for five minutes later. Then he hurried through breakfast and got us to the pool at the same time anyway. We beat both coaches there and ended up waiting outside a locked gate for five minutes.

I tell these tales on him, by the way, with horror (FOR OBVIOUS REASONS) but with some pride, too. Being a lunatic overachiever has served him pretty well. And, in this case, getting there early is kind of helpful to the coaches because they can get started putting the lane lines in. But it’s like we have an anti-teenager who, instead of rebelling, tries to annoy us by being far more diligent than we are.

Anyway, today I increased my, uh, meterage, I guess, from 500 to 600. The plan is to be as consistent as possible about getting to the pool but to never really push myself as far as the actual workout. I’ll be happy if, by the end of the summer, I’ve more or less re-learned how to swim and gotten a bunch of good walks in.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

First day swimming! In, like, years!

The outdoor pool opened today and I learned (or relearned) a few things:
  1. Mik is super diligent in all things and absolutely hates to be late, so much so that we arrived at 5:30 for a 6 a.m. practice. He was the first kid there by about 15 minutes. (I’m going to see if I can temper this annoying responsibility streak and campaign for a 10- to 15-minute-later alarm for future mornings.)
  2. Even though it is still pretty chilly here at 6 a.m., the pool is doable. It’s not heated as much as you would HOPE, but I lived.
  3. There’s a surprisingly large group of masters swimmers—eight or so? I really expected to be there alone or maybe with one or two others.
  4. Swimming, even a tiny bit, is exhausting. I did 500 meters (plus the three-mile walk home) and I’m going to be feeling that all day. (I totally ignored the workout the masters were doing. Maybe later when I’ve built some strength.)
  5. It seems like my shoulders are going to be OK to swim, at least freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke. I felt a twinge of pain when I tried butterfly and did not try again.
Overall I’m delighted that the plan seems like it’s going to work. I feel so lucky to be able to swim there all summer for free and to have built a morning walk into my schedule while the weather is so pleasant.