Tag Archives: swimming goggles

What’s in that Swim Bag?

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What’s in that Swim Bag?

My recent blog post about swim goggles splashed up several good questions from friends planning their first open water Triathlons, so I thought one more post about swim preparations would be refreshing. If you have absolutely no interest in open water adventures, you might want to skip this one.

Sooooooo, inquiring minds want to know, what’s in my swim bag? Here’s a little secret, I use the same swim bag for pool swims as I do for open water swims. My wetsuit came with its own bag, so it’s on its own. Once I get used to the contents in my swim bag, I change absolutely nothing during the season. I always workout and race with the same stuff. If something breaks, gets lost or I eat it, I replace it with the same stuff. For me, change equals the dreaded ‘p’ word. I like to avoid that.

What’s not in my swim bag? A swim buddy. Never ever, ever, ever Never (that could be a new jingle?) swim in open water without a swim buddy! You’ll need someone who is willing to swim beside you and not let you drift away (it happens!). Someone who will tell you with a straight face that the slimy matter twisted up in your toes is really weeds. Someone to remind you to breathe in and out slowly. That’s important. I enjoy swimming in pods (group swims) with my Tri club because we have experienced open water swimmers willing to offer tips and sometimes kayak support. Kayak support is the greatest! Someone to watch over the pod, the weather, and for motor boats/jet skis. There is also the matter of food. Eating with the pod after swimming is the best part especially if it turns in to a beach party!

I actually learned how to swim in open water at a golf course – before it opened and golfers started yelling, Fore! Crazy as that sounds, the small watering hole was comforting and it was easy to get from one side to the other while chatting with friends. Confidence builder! I believe I also attempted my first wetsuit swim here. Being close to the shoreline as my wetsuit (which was way too big) rapidly inflated with water and took on fishy was ideal. There was lots of water in that wetsuit. I could have swam inside of it.

The best advice I received before attempting open water was to achieve my skills and distance in the pool first. I find open water swimming to be completely different than pool swims, but confidence, good form and strength is transferable. Once that was established, I took the plunge. With my swim buddies, of course!

I was still a bit nervous, so I brought along my trusty yellow ‘duck feet’ aka short fins that I use for the pool. Sometimes too much. Beware, you can’t race with them and ideally you shouldn’t be able to hide them in your wetsuit. Not that I’ve tried. My experienced swimming friends say ‘do whatever makes you comfortable’.  Comfortable also includes staying alert of ever changing conditions (environmental/physical) and sighting. I’ve never had an issue with sighting because I prefer to swim with my head up like a sea turtle. I am hoping that habit will dissolve this year. I’ve built up considerable core strength and have worked on my relaxation techniques. We shall sea. Ha!

The more time I spend in open water the more I acclimate, but I’ve improved my actual swimming by joining the pod, swimming in various watering holes, signing up for clinics and 1 mile open water races. I’ve also started swimming at the pool on Thursdays at 5:00 am with my super talented swim buddies. Why 5:00 am at dark o’clock? I think it’s a good idea to mimic race day situations. I don’t have Triathlons starting at noon. And if you have friends with lots of swimming experience who make swimming both fun and challenging, you’ll show up at 5:00 am.

So what’s in my swim bag? I’ll spill out the contents and the sand…

Swim bag loot!

My loot includes swim caps collected from various races, my favorite tie dye cap (it’s good to be super visible when the top of your head is the only thing visible), a turtle towel, no drip sunscreen, fins, goggles – tinted and clear, anti-fog lens spray, dry ear drops, gels, hair ties, extra contact lenses, water resistant swim drills book (I also write out my workouts on sticky notes) in a Ziploc bag. Absent are my post workout clothes, bottled water and saltine crackers.

questions?

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Tack Trunk Tuesday

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Tack Trunk Tuesday

I am back in the swim of things!

I sure do love my new specs!

I sure do love my new specs!

I started my Triathlon Sprint/Olympic distance training plan last week. I was off to a swimmingly good start until wham, bam, pow the unexpected ice tornado of the century hits our small town overnight and suddenly we are without electricity (and upright trees with limbs!) for 2 very stressful days. Some people are still without electricity! I question how anyone exercised in the 1800’s, I am pretty sure they had absolutely zero time for such frills after hunting down their food (Bojangles) and washing their clothes by hand in (bath) tubs. Not to mention shivering through layers of blankets while they sat by their (gas) fire logs without a blower fan. I’ve seen photos of women swimming in their dresses and corsets. I wonder if corsets are similar to the constriction I feel in my wetsuit? The wetsuit is really just a modern day corset. Thought for your Tuesday.

I hit the pool yesterday and swam an easy (slow) 1400 yds.  I was testing out some new equipment for this season.  I own many pairs of swimming goggles more than my glasses and sunglasses combined. Why you ask? Because my goggle specifications for the pool are totally different than the ones I have for tackling the high maintenance of open water. If I have the wrong goggles for the occasion my swim becomes a beast.  I have 3 tints for open water depending on how brightly the sun smiles and the water color which I won’t discuss here.  Another consideration is whether or not I want to see fishy and snakes?

I recently purchased a pair of the most tranquil blue tinted swimming goggles EVER to make the water look similar to the Caribbean sea and it works!  I was relaxed and sleepy. Sleepy is good for me in open water because I have less energy to freak the freak out.  Magnificent after I figured out how to put them on properly so they would stop filling up rapidly with water.  The lettering on the straps should not read upside down no matter how right that may look.  Trust me.

And when someone in the lane beside you says ‘flip’, it’s possible they are not referring to your fancy flip turn. Just saying.