open water swimming

I did my first open-water swim on Wednesday.  I’ve been worried about this for some time.  The local triathlon club has practice swims on Wednesdays, and I was hoping to go a couple weeks ago, but I was sick, and then H was out of town the following week, so I finally made it this week.  I’ve read so many triathlon books about people having anxiety attacks when they swim in open water, and my co-worker had a panic attack only last week.  Given my own issues with anxiety and panic, I was worried I’d freak out when I got in the water, despite the fact that I’m a pretty good swimmer, if not particularly fast, and I’ve spent a lot of time swimming lately.

However, all was well.  Well, maybe not quite all, but I felt completely comfortable in the water.  I wasn’t nervous or panicky, and I just felt good in the water.  It was great.  The only problem was that the sun was low and quite bright.  It was hard to avoid looking at it while swimming, and I triggered an ocular migraine.  I’ve purchased mirrored goggles, so hopefully that will help on my next outing.  Interestingly, even the ocular migraine didn’t really make me nervous.  It was just annoying.  There was a coach there who’d planned a 2000 yd workout – more than I wanted to do anyway.  I soldiered on for about 1000 yd (according to my watch), and then just swam in.  The ocular migraine mostly had subsided, which is unusual.  Usually they persist no matter what I do.  But this one had mostly gone away, but I had a headache, and I just wanted to get out of the sun.  Still, I feel really good about the swim portion of the “super sprint” tri I’m planning.  It’ll be in the same lake and will only be 400m.  I’m sure I’ll be nervous on race day, but I’ll get through it.  It’s kind of a weight off my mind.  I’d been quite worried about it.

This weekend, I’m planning a duathlon.  I’ve already paid (and ‘athlons are expensive), but both my kids are sick, so fingers crossed I’ll stay healthy.  It’s a 20 mile bike and a 10K run.  I’m not really in shape for a race of that distance, but I should be able to make it through, perhaps slowly.

business trip

H went out of town last week, for four days.  A year ago, that would have sent me into a paroxysm.  In fairness, things used to be a lot harder.  For example, it used to be so hard to get the kids to bed because L would freak out if I left her alone to get B to bed, and she made too much noise if I took her in with me.  Nowadays, I put them to bed at the same time, in the same room, and everything typically goes very smoothly.  It’s so much easier!  My new TV after dinner when Daddy is out of town policy also makes things a heck of a lot easier.  B loves Masha the Bear and L loves the movie First Position.  In combination, I easily get 45 minutes of almost complete peace.  In any event, I was basically not stressed or anxious on this trip at all.  I feel like I’m 80 or 90% back to my normal self.  I also feel like things could go south at any time, but i mostly feel like I’m getting my life back.  Why this all happened to me, I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s something I’ll struggle with on some level for the rest of my life.  Life is good right now, though, and I’m not really thinking beyond that.

Sarah and her family visited last weekend.  As she put it on FB, “Thank you universe for putting my sister and one of my best college friends only minutes apart.”  Yes, thank you very much universe.  I really appreciate it.  It was great seeing Sarah and her whole family, and it was so cute watching the kids play together.  Now all I have to do is get my act together and develop the pictures.

I went cycling with a co-worker this weekend, a guy I’ve known for longer than a decade.  Ironically, I used to give him a hard time about cycling in the rain.  How times change.  We seemed to be quite well-matched in speed and general ride preferences, so it went quite well.  It was great, actually.  He hasn’t been cycling much, and I suspect if he were to cycle frequently, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him, but for now, we’re in a similar place.  I had to push to keep up with him on the flats, and he had to push to keep up with me on the hills.  Overall, we went a good bit faster than I would have alone (though still slow by any reasonable standard.)

The STP was this weekend.  It’s a 200+ mile from Seattle to Portland.  A colleague of mine at work did it . . . in one day.  It took him 11 hours.  Crazy!  Part of me is thinking maybe I could do it next year.  Right now I can cycle 40 miles, and I figure I could do 60 if I had to.  I need to get to a place where I could cycle 100 – and then do it again the next day.  Honestly, my legs are usually in pretty good shape after 40 miles, but I’m still dealing with, ahem, chafing issues.   We’ll see.  I guess I should focus on getting through a triathlon this summer and then worry about next summer.

racing plans

At the end of last year, I laid out the following events tentatively for the year:

1.) 1/29 FFV 5K – Done, New PR!

2.) 2/26 FFV 5K #2 (Didn’t do – on vacation)

3.) 3/18 Magnuson Duathlon – Done, brutal!

4.) 4/30 Mt. Rainier Duathlon – Done

5.) 6/3 Lake Wilderness Triathlon – Decided to skip due to cold water temperatures

6.) 7/9 See Jane Run women’s 5K – Now planning to skip due to $75 registration fee

7.) 8/12 Lake Meridian Triathlon – Still planned

Now that the year is half over, it’s time to re-visit the plan for the rest of the year.  Here are my thoughts right now:

7/23: Seafair Duathlon

8/12: Lake Meridian Triathlon

9/10: Lake Stevens Triathlon (a big maybe – if Lake Meridian is fun)

9/24: Kitsap Color Classic cycle

10/7: Fall City 10K

10/26: Snohomish River Run 10K/Half Marathon

11/4: Lake Washington Half Marathon

11/26: Seattle Half Marathon

~12/18: 12Ks of Christmas

I’m sure I won’t end up doing all of these; I certainly won’t do two half marathons, but I am thinking maybe I’ll do one.  It’s not that hard to run 13 miles, right?

summer exercise clothes

I ended up staying home sick today.  I’m feeling much better now, but earlier my cold had turned into one of those colds that make you feel like you’re drowning.

I didn’t run today, so here’s my latest on running – and now general exercise – attire.


Nike Run Fast Short-Sleeve Shirt

I try to avoid sleeveless running tops if I can just because it’s that much more sun exposure.  The ideal running shirt, in my opinion, goes just to the waist, so that it’s just long enough to not expose skin at rest.  It’s loose-ish, not so loose that it’s flapping around, but loose enough for plenty of airflow.  Tops of this description are surprisingly rare – the Nike top above checks all the boxes.

Lululemon Long DIstance Short Sleeve Shirt

I splurged on this one as a reward for meeting some kind of athletic milestone or other.  It works best when the weather is a bit cooler.  I usually run in the morning, so it’s often in the low to mid 50s, and this top is a good option.

Sugoi Climber’s Jersey

I only own the one jersey, and I like it.  it’s comfy and flattering and basically a win.

Cycling shorts.  Any ideas, anyone?  i can’t find a pair of shorts that doesn’t start to seriously chafe after about 20 miles.  Actually I don’t know if it’s the shorts or the seat or what, but something is not working for me.

Running shorts

Adidas Performance Women’s Grete Shorts.  They don’t appear to sell them anymore, though perhaps these are similar.

Zoot Sports Ultra Run Icefil 3-Inch Short

I still like my Champion sports bras and my Balega socks.

These days, I’m running in Asics Kayano shoes.  They’re Asics most cushiony supportive shoe, and so far, they seems to be helping my feet a little bit.

this and that

I went cycling again on Sunday, this time with a co-worker.  I’m on the hunt for a cycling buddy, preferably another woman, but really, a guy would be fine, too.  We had a nice ride at what I think was a good pace for both of us.  However, when I got back, I found my front window smashed and my purse stolen from my car.  I’d put it under the front seat, but clearly I hadn’t concealed it carefully enough.  Also, clearly, I should have left it at home.  Oh well.  Lesson learned the hard way I guess.  The thief spent $1000 on my credit card before I could cancel it, but fortunately, Chase Visa offers excellent fraud protection.  Thank goodness for that!

Monday was a quiet day at the office, and then today, I woke up with a cold.  So did L and H.  B was already sick.  We are all kind of miserable today.  I was up with L last night, and H is out with the kids now.  I’m not really looking forward to this evening all that much at this point.  We’ve been lucky.  We’ve had a super long stretch of everyone being mostly healthy, so I guess it was bound to end.

I signed up for the cycling subscription on NBC Sports Gold (online), and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying watching the Tour de France.  Obviously, it’s much to long to watch all of it, but they have a nice interface that makes it possible to skip through to the more interesting bits.  There are very few Americans in the race, but there are a couple young ones that are interesting.

I’d been planning to run a 5K this Sunday, but I guess we’ll see.  At this point, I don’t feel like doing much of anything.

Maple Valley ride

I went on another long ride this morning, 38 miles with 2000 feet of elevation gain.  This time I did a tour of South King County, covering a lot of roads I’ve never driven on and towns I never visit.  It wasn’t my favorite ride ever.  Despite an advertised 1% chance of rain, I endured about 90 minutes of misting during the hardest, hilliest part of the ride.  It wasn’t bad, but I kept worrying that it would get worse.  In addition, the ride was quite remote.  There wasn’t that much traffic, but there were no other cyclists or runners around for most of it.  I like seeing other people out when I’m riding.  I like riding by myself, but I like seeing other cyclists around.




I did enjoy riding the Soos Creek Trail.  I used to do the vast majority of my runs there when I lived in Kent.  It’s just a beautiful spot; my photos don’t do it justice.

My triathlon is now just about a month away.  I feel more or less prepared, but I’ve decided to try and swim twice a week between now and the race.  I’d also like to swim in open water a minimum of two times.  More would obviously be better.  I haven’t done any bricks – bike then run – or any other type of combined training, but I’m not trying to win the thing, just finish it, so I figure doing long runs, long bike rides, and long swims should be sufficient from a pure endurance perspective.


I’ve only worn a wetsuit once.  I was kayaking in Ireland in the winter, and we were all required to wear wetsuits.  They were slimy and it was freezing, and my wetsuit associations are decidedly negative.  However, I finally decided to pull the trigger on buying a tri wetsuit.  These usually run $150 to $200, so it’s not a small purchase.  I could (and probably should) rent or buy used, but what the hell, in for a penny, in for a pound, right?  I’d been thinking of just swimming in a bathing suit since the water should be in the 70s on raceday, but what tipped me over the edge is that the open water swim practice sessions run by the local tri club and wetsuit mandatory, and there’s no way I’m going to swim with a wetsuit for the first time on the day of the race.  Also, the vast majority of races in this area are cold enough that a wetsuit is highly desirable, if not a necessity.  So.  The plan is to try on the wetsuits I ordered from Amazon (yes, plural – free returns!) and find one I can tolerate, send the rest back, and try to psych myself up for hitting the open water next week.  Or maybe the week after.  (Don’t wanna!  It’s gonna be cold.) Honestly, thinking about it is enough to make me switch exclusively to duathlons.

We’ll see if I get hooked on this tri thing.  Right now, I’m thinking next summer I’ll try and do more longer cycling and participate in some of the major events around here.  I can spend the rest of my time running, and swim only for exercise and amusement.  On the flip side, i am tempted to join a Master’s swim team just for fun.  Except that they meet at like 5:30 in the morning, so that’s probably not really going to happen.  Maybe when my kids are older, I can swim on a team with them.