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Showing posts from 2020

mermaid scales

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Every swim is a special swim, but today even more so! My partner came and paddle boarded with our dog while I swam, socially distanced, with a really good friend.  The water has reached the temperature where my mermaid scales really come out. I used to think that it was pain and discomfort my body felt as I got into cold water but the longer and the more frequently I do it I am more certain that is a sign of transforming into a mermaid. 🧜🏻‍♀️🧜🏻‍♀️πŸ₯Ά 41 minutes 46.7° f in the water and 37° f on land. Right around 1 mi! 😊πŸ₯ΆπŸŠπŸ»‍♀️

Belated birthday swim, belated birthday swim post*

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 This was the first, last, and only swim of 2020 that felt like a (fairly) normal Yeti swim. We socially distanced in and out of the water and shared household made their own pods. We had a few one-time editions to the Pandemic Pod, but everyone played by the rules :) It was also a celebration of Amanda's birthday! (Together we are 11/12/13 since I was born on 11/12 and she was on 11/13.) Socially distanced Birthday Pod. This is what much of 2020 felt like.  In a lot of ways, this is the most important swim of 2020 for me. The people that matter were there, including my beau Matty. He rarely comes to my swims but brought the dogs and paddle boarded. We inducted a new Yeti into the pod according to tradition, with a Yeti hat! It's exciting to see someone hesitantly approach cold water and embrace it. Most years we have several people that join the group, but this year just the one. She was already showing up and swimming at the same time as us, so it made sense to invite her to

Its officially Yeti season!

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With a freezing frost warning and the air at 33° f we are distinctly now and Yeti season. It was lovely. I find this year that I warm up easier by walking around or jogging and chugging hot beverage. The only time I've sat in the car to warm up this year I shivered more and my back felt terrible the rest of the day. This checks out, back part at least. Since cold makes muscles contract, essentially I'm giving myself back cramps when I sit down and let the muscles cool too much after a cold swim.  Today my swim lasted roughly 25 minutes (I had to get out to make an appointment) I feel like I could have stayed in longer and I look forward to doing so on Wednesday for my birthday swim. I'm fortunate that my birthday and my best friend's birthday are a day apart. So, whenever I have a birthday swim I'd like to provide treats and make sure she comes. This year it's tater tot casserole! Delicious! I might make some kind of sweet breakfast item too but that

Ah push it, push it good...

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The last two weeks I have pushed myself in cold water more than I have in previous years at this time. I've swam an hour at 53° f 52° f and 50.5° f. The first two swims felt really good I got out and took very little time to warm up maybe 20-25 minutes. Yesterday, and the excitement to get in I broke one of my own rules of Cold water swimming: checking the temperature before getting in to make a plan. I had approached yesterday with the intention of swimming for an hour and 15 to 20 minutes. I felt like this was a reasonable goal since I had been swimming reliably for just over an hour at 52 and 53. What I didn't count on was the water dropping in temperature as much as it did. It might not seem like it, but a degree and a half is a lot especially when the air temperature had also dropped substantially and was now in the mid-40s rather than the mid-50s. It was also pouring down rain overcast and windy. After what felt like 20 minutes I looked at my watch and only eight minutes

What a way to start the day!

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My swim this morning really started last night. I went to bed at 8:30 it was fantastic! I can't believe how well I slept and I was able to sleep all the way to my alarm at 5:30. An hour after getting up I was in the water. Which is no small feat considering it was 33° outside, dark, and windy. It was one of those mornings where it was easy to get in the water quickly because at 54° the water  was substantially warmer than the air. Knowing that it wasy first swim of cold water season with combined air/water temperatures below 100° I gave myself a limit of 30 minutes. The water was so much warmer than the air that it was hard to get out! Well, that and dawn was just beginning to break. There is something ethereal about swimming in the darkness especially when the sun starts to creep over the horizon and the fog rolls in on the water and the sky is just a pale enough blue to tell which direction the shore is in. Swimming into the dawn might be my favorite. And

Dry Robe season is here!

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 Waking up the air in my house felt crisper than it has all fall. I was so close to turning off my alarm, grabbing my 9lb dog, and throwing the covers back over both of us- but I didn't. I got up in the dark, put on my suit, and turned on the electric kettle. I couldn't find my favorite fuzzy pants. Bummer. Thanks to COVID I now have quite the selection of pajama pants, so finding a pair wasn't that hard. While putting on a fleece shirt I paused. Is today the day? Is it Dry Robe day? Yes. Yes, it is.  Stepping outside I could see my breath hanging in the air. In the car, the thermometer read 45*F. Substantially cooler than Wednesday's 57. The NOAA forecast shows the water just below 58 at 7 am. ( https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/ofs/ofs_station.shtml?stname=Vancouver&ofs=cre&stnid=9440083&subdomain=up )  Paying attention to the air and water temperatures is crucial as the fall progresses into winter because these can change rapidly and swimming when the com

Winter swimming is coming...

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It's almost my favorite time of the year, winter swim season! The beaches and water clear out, and each swim feels like an epic adventure. With COVID, there won't be back seat car saunas cuddles with treats and tea, but there will still be seeing friends and shivering on the beach. This might be the year that we all take a page out of Laura's book and sit on the beach drinking tea and shivering for an hour before heading home. We might emerge stronger than ever. Already this fall, we've had some colder days pouring down rain, making the water warmer than the air. This fall's most excellent development is weekly morning swims at 7 am Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Thanks to those swims, I've spent time swimming with folks I didn't see all summer and conquered (well mostly conquered) my fear of water plants and started to make friends with the local minnow population. Thanks, Ice Wolf for the photos to prove it! Today is the day! First Broughton Beach s

Sellwood to Saint John's aka Portland Bridge Swim

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A month ago, I did a thing. I swam from Sellwood to Saint John's with my friend Swim-emma. It took six hours and is my longest swim to date and only made me hungry for more. I thought I would be hungry when I got out, but I wasn't for several hours. I thought I would drop like a stone and sleep for hours; I couldn't get to sleep that night. I thought I would feel uber proud of myself; instead, I feel humbled. While this is a huge accomplishment, it feels like the beginning of something rather than an end. Dreams of future longer swims tug at the back of my mind as I go about my day.  Looking ahead, I know that as I complete my last two years of graduate school, my opportunities to get in the water will only get fewer in number, but this is not the time in my life to focus on swims. This is a time in my life to use them for renewal and affirmation. Swimming will have to take on a different role in my life. Last week, in school, we read about Matuska's Life Ba

Waldo Wonderland

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  It's taken me a while to sit down and process the awesomeness that was our family trip to Waldo Lake this year. Since the first time I swam in Waldo, oh four years ago, it has fascinated me and terrified me.  My first swim in Waldo was a combination of over-enthusiasm and under preparation. My partner and I were on a camping and mountain biking trip to Oakridge with another couple, and I was going through a triathlon phase. (Thankfully, one not repeated since. Running kills me.) I had a hand-me-down tri wetsuit that I thought would be enough to keep me warm and lend me some confidence. Instead, the squeezing of the wetsuit, the mesmerizing blue of the lake, and my disregard for the altitude change were a terrible combination, and I had my first real freak out in open water. It doesn't help that I was swimming alone, also a first for me. I distinctly remember the swim's awe coupled with panic, but something captivated me, and I went back the next da

Swimmers or Foodies??

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August 1st. I did the thing that I love most doing in Portland, swimming around Ross Island! I love this swim. It was my first ever 10k and every time I do it it's a memorable experience. This was my third trip around the island. Well, actually the first time I did it I went around the island one and a half times starting in Sellwood and finishing downtown...so I suppose it's been 3.5 times around? 🀷  Either way, it was an amaZing swim. There were eight (yes EIGHT) swimmers, two kayaks, one SUP, and a little row boat with an electric motor appropriately name "Chirp." We were a bit of a mess getting on the water, but it worked out, settling into roughly three pods once we got going. We swam around Sellwood Bridge to start and at the other end of the island swam around Ross Island Bridge, and ended the swim the same way we started. It ended up not quite being 10k so there was a little extra tagged in at the end to make up for it.  Once we got out there was

Holy July Swim-fest, Batman!

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When my ribs healed up, I jumped right back into full-blown summer swim mode!  I realized my mental health was slipping, but I hadn't realized the extent until I got my gills wet. Clouds parted, mer-angels sang, and vitality flooded my soul, hydrating the husk of a human I had become. Getting back in the water, I found myself returning to where open water swimming started for me four years ago: River Huggers. Seeing old friends reminded me of why I started swimming outside in the first place, its fun! The last two summers I had gotten wrapped up in swimming longer and longer distances, and my ambitions of ultra-marathon swimming overshadowed why I loved open water. I find myself swimming slower and shorter, pausing to dolphin dive, baby ottering my buoy to look at the sky,  and swimming backstroke to bask in the sunlight.  Rather quickly, my need for distance crept back into my heart, but for a wholly different reason than before. I want to spend as much time in the water

Ch-ch-Changes!

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Who would have thought that a beach would be crowded at 6pm on a weekday in the summer when it's 92 out? Apparently not me. It's strange how certain locations get ingrained in certain contexts in our minds. I was thoroughly expecting the beach would be empty except for a few dogs chasing ball in the water.  I have never seen so many people there or smelled so much grilling in one place before! Apparently, what we lovingly refer to as "Yeti Beach" is just a regular old beach in the summer. While crowds of people enjoying the sunshine and water would usually make my day, with coronavirus cases in Oregon still rising the scene made me distinctly uneasy. I long for the days when I can meet up with a stranger at a swim spot and say the four magic words: Come swim with me. Heck, at this point I look forward to swimming at all. Still, a week and a half until its a good idea to try swimming again. Until then, more water walking and biking. Oh, and scho

Water Walking for the Apocalypse

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Well folks, it finally happened. Governor Kate Brown has moved Multnomah County into Phase 1 of reopening as of Friday. For some people in Portland the 'reopening' of the city was the only thing they celebrated, but June 19th, Juneteenth is so much more (click for link to YouTube video by NextGen America)   Since this is primarily a swimming blog, I won't go into that much about Black Lives Matter... but this is quite possibly the most important thing going on in our country right now and swimmers have a place in the history of excluding of black people from our sport, and that needs to change. I know, I know. You and me, it's not directly our fault that swimming is a predominantly white sport, but it is our fault if we are okay with that continuing. We need to work to include all people in the swim, especially Black people and people of color. Be open, invite friends of friends to join you for a swim. If you're qualified, volunteer to teach swimming in areas that

24 Hour Relay recap

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View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the beach at Aquatic Park Thursday evening before the relay. *Note: I started writing this in early February, its early May and we are ankle-deep in a global pandemic, hopefully, some photos of a better time will stave off the constant feelings of isolation and occupational deprivation. Much love to my swim community around the country. More swim related posts and pictures soon!* Favorite view in San Francisco.  The 24-hour relay is by far the highlight of my swim adventures for the past two years. (It's also the only event I can afford.) SERC and the Dolphin Club are such unique historic clubs and graciously host the madness every year. The clubs are situated in Aquatic Park right on the water and at the bottom of the trolly tracks and a 15-minute walk to my favorite Chinese bakery. Last year, my first 24 hr relay, I remember walking into SERC with the distinct feeling of walking back in time. Glossy polished wood was everywhere, the

San Francisco bound

It's my favorite weekend if the year, or nearly so. Saturday at 9am my 2nd 24 Hour Relay begins. I've been counting down the months, weeks, and days since Thanksgiving. And it's almost here. Got in a last swim for 600m this morning before class.  So. Very. STOKED πŸ’™πŸ§œπŸ€©

What a treat! (1/26)

Today was the first day I had classmates as company at the school pool. What a treat! One of them has a background as a yoga teacher and wanted to work on his form. We went over some tweaks to make to his freestyle better and after half an hour my friend using a high elbow catch he had reduced crossover. Some people are super body aware and coachable. It was really nice to get to know him better and see such fast and thorough improvement. He seems super stoked to be in the water. It's exciting to have someone to swim with.

another cold one

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What a day. Looked like it was going to be a sunny calm day... But no. Thankfully you can't tell it's raining in the water, especially when the water is 41.2. fun times.