While working on my doctorate in occupational therapy, I have found it nearly impossible to keep appointments with myself to swim. My hope is this blog will connect me with my swims and help promote occupational balance in my life. Swimming is how I recharge, connect with myself, and manage my mental health. Let's dive in!
Water Walking for the Apocalypse
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 don't have access to free swim instruction. Okay. On to the swim stuff.
Scattering flowers and sending good intentions.
Saturday was the Summer Solstice. Last year at this time my dear friend Amanda and I were on a Swimcation reaching up the I-5 corridor, heading through Seattle and all the way to Whidby Island. This year I had planned to do study abroad in the UK, but then you know... global pandemic and all. So, instead of Seattle or Stonehenge, I celebrated the solstice with a 'swim' at our local beach reading poetry, releasing flowers and good intentions into our river, and snacking by the water.
Golden Gardens in Seattle with friends on solstice June 21, 2019.
Let me back up a bit. About a month ago now I had a fall on my bike and broke two ribs. Needless to say, swimming isn't exactly possible at the moment but water walking is! Some good has come of my bad luck: we discovered what folks in the UK knew all along- that faffing about in the water is super fun! Walking up the beach and floating back down isn't swimming exactly, but something else entirely that is just as much fun if not more! At our local urban beach, it takes about 25 minutes to walk 500m and 2-3 minutes to float back. The best part is since the water is warming up and is currently 62 F it is hard to get a good shiver on. But! By walking leisurely I am able to a nice little chill on. Sadly, I am not able to get cold enough to get proper cold and get all the happy brain chemicals I get from colder temps. Hopefully, in about two weeks I'll be testing the waters with a "real" swim. Until then, I look forward to more water walking for the apocalypse!
UPDATE 2/27/2022: I'm planning to repeat this swim in 2022 using Marathon Swimmers Federation guidelines for documentation, so this time it will be official! For more info visit this link to Everything Lower Willamette and LowerWillametteSwim.com . Currently, planning on July 30, 2022. If you or anyone you know would like to help out, please comment or contact me otherwise. 💖 It's taking some processing and time to sit with the events of last Saturday, 8/21/21. A lot happened, and nothing happened. Let's see. Where to begin? *Most photos are at the end. Training for the swim was the easy part. I enjoy long swims and logging miles in the morning before class, and digging into the day's tasks. Crossing under the railroad bridge in Milwaukie. Photo: Amanda Cross Organizing was a challenge. I decided early on not to have a support boat and instead do the swim with kayak support and someone onshore in a car acting similarly to how a support boat would. I called this
Pinholes, cracks, abrasions. They're unavoidable and death for swim buoys. Fortunately, they can be patched and stretch out the life of the buoy. Unfortunately, some holes are harder than others to successfully patch. To illustrate I have patched three different buoys of different construction with holes in different places. I'll follow up at the end and report which buoys are doing the best one month after being patched. You will need the following things to begin. 1. Dish soap & bathtub or bucket full of water. 2. Rubbing alcohol. 3. Duct tape or masking tape. 4. Aquaseal brand wetsuit cement (Try others, but this is the brand I've used for years to repair gear. It can be purchased at REI, Wal-Mart, or most marine supply stores.) 5. Something to spread it with (I frequently will use cardboard and cut it into scrapers) paper towels. 6. Patience. 7. More patience. 8. If you're messy like me: Craft gloves. Aquaseal gets everywhere and does not come off of ha
Occasionally, I get asked about my swim kit and rewarming practices. I've been pointing folks to www.loneswimmer.com for a while now, but hey, why not actually take the time and write up my own post? So here we go! (If you haven't checked out lone swimmer- do it now! Or after you finish here 😉) A note on the timing of this post: it is late January and the river is pretty chilly at this point, between 42-39, so these are the things and practices I use at ice swimming temperatures (below 41 F/5 C). I use most of these things on warmer swims too, but wanted to speak to the context of this post. Additionally, I want to preface this by saying that everyone's physiology is different and it's taken me years of trial and error to figure out what works for my body in the conditions I swim in. Depending on the conditions and how my body feels I'll use different combinations of my gear. Things I take into consideration when packing for a swim include: the combined air and w