Archive for June, 2013


Well, the good news is that my flu has gone.

The bad news is that I’m a clutz and a possible danger to myself.

So yesterday (the day before the MS Megaswim) this happened:

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A seemingly minor drop off my bike on a wet road turned out to be a broken ankle. Far out.

It totally sucks and is atrocious timing.

There might be a slight change of focus here for a few weeks, but this weekend I’m choosing to see it is freeing me up to get carried away live blogging the MS Megaswim.

Stick around, join the conversation, and requests will be considered, if you drop them in the comments.

After that, well, swimming as rehab? Dry land training and upper body strength building for swimmers? Guess I’ll have to get a bit creative. Wish me luck (and a speedy recovery).

Hey readers, sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been floored with the flu for the past week and haven’t managed to do much of anything at all.

In fact the closest I’ve come to swimming is watching¬†Finding Nemo on DVD from under a doonah on my couch.

I’m feeling on the mend, today, and hoping to get back to training on Wednesday.

In the mean time, here’s someone else’s thrilling open water swimming story. It’s pretty inspirational and includes winning the event…something you’re unlikely to ever read about from me!

Back soon.

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MegaBowl!

One thing that I really love about ocean swimming, is that a lot of people get into it via charity events. This tends to mean that you get pretty great people, who are kind and selfless and generous with their time and their spirit involved.

This year, 4SEASons is putting in an appearance once again at the MS Megaswim…a 24 hour team relay at Sydney’s Olympic Park. A BIG appearance…4 teams totally 60 people!!!!

This is not just a fun event, but it is also a fundraising event to support sufferers of MS. I’ve been busily organising teams and scheduling and answering questions and communicating, so I was more than happy to leave organising a fundraising event to some of our other capable swimmers/fundraisers, and I’m happy to say they outdid themselves!

On Saturday afternoon, after training, we had the 4SEASons MegaBowl!!! lawn bowls afternoon. It was so much fun, having a BBQ, a bit of lawn bowls, some whale watching off the coast (the view from Clovelly Bowls club is million-dollar, btw), a cake stall and a massive raffle…and hanging out with all of us with our clothes on!

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What fun!

I brought along my Mum and my brother (also in town for my little sister’s engagement party) and we all had a cracker afternoon. My brother even took home the bowls trophy (and we’re not mentioning that most of the teams stopped playing when a bit of rain interrupted play!).

A hugely impressive sum of money has been raised so far…over $13k so far across all 60 of us, and I couldn’t be prouder.

The swim itself is in a couple of weeks, from noon on 22nd June to noon on Sunday 23rd. I’m sure there will be stories and photos galore so tune in after then. In the mean time..if you’d like to support our fundraising efforts, sponsorship is very welcome if you click on over to our team fundraising page….it’s such a great cause to support (and at the right end of the financial year, too).

As I mentioned when I was writing about last Saturday’s training, winter is finally here..and that ¬†means the new Icebreaker Challenge!
This year the rules have been tweaked a little this year….
The challenge runs from the 1st of June Р31st of August 2013.
You will earn points as follows:
  • 4 points – nude ocean swim ( aka no wetsuit ) with water temp under 20 degrees
  • 2 points – nude ocean swim ( aka no wetsuit ) with water temp over 20 degrees
  • 2 points – ocean swim in wetsuit¬†with water temp under 20 degrees
  • 1 points – ocean swim in wetsuit¬†with water temp over 20 degrees
  • 2 points – Icebergs Monday session with water temp under 20 degrees
  • 1 point – ¬†Icebergs Monday session with water temp over 20 degrees
  • 1 point – Victoria Park Pool session.
Bonus points may be awarded by coaches for any swims deemed difficult or for acts of bravery or craziness.
You will qualify as an Icebreaker when you meet 20 points over the three month period of the challenge Рand we will celebrate at the end of the challenge.

Last year I swam without a wetsuit whenever possible and ended up with loads of points. I wonder if that means I have a reputation to defend? Should I be setting myself a stretch goal? Or is that asking for trouble?

Regardless, it should be a good winter with the extra souls in the squad and a new challenge to keep me motivated!

Icebreaker!

This Saturday’s training session at Bondi was a particularly special one for me.

My little Sister Pia has featured on here a couple of times with the odd cameo. But did you know I have another sister? You wouldn’t have seen her on here before because she lives all the way over the other side of the country. On a farm. Inland from the ocean. And she has never been ocean swimming.

Well this weekend the little one had her engagement party and the bigger one came over…and I somehow convinced them BOTH to come along for a swim!!!!

I love those girls! I love that they came along and gave it a go because I asked them to. I love that they loved it, and I loved spending that extra time with them!

It was ¬†a fantastic day. The water is still warm, we had a great crew of people (who didn’t even get too overwhelmed by the family reunion contingent), and the conditions were great. Mel was initially apprehensive…swimming on the West coast is a little more hazardous as there are more sharks…but the most dangerous thing on the beach was the risk of getting too carried away! Then to top off a magical swim, there was body surfing! Right off the shallow bank and straight onto the waves…brilliant!

What a way to start the winter…and the new IceBreaker Challenge!

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Double Century

 

Can you believe it? We’ve just passed 200 posts on this little blog about ocean swimming! Who would have thought there’d be so much to write about?

I was thinking about this and having a look through some of the stats to see what worked, what was popular and how my readers end up here. Then I looked through the categories of the ¬†search results that lead people here…and now I’m wondering if maybe I’m doing something a bit wrong……

Search

With the end of the Ocean swimming season and my goal race now behind me, there will be no more race reviews for a while.

I did think, though, that it might be worth touching on a few more general things about racing, rather than the individual events.

Pre-race preparation is a big part of getting the best out of your performance at any event. I’m not talking about training or necessarily what it takes so that your fitness is up to scratch, but more the short-term lead-up to optimise your performance on the day.

Here’s a bit of an overview of what I did in the lead-up to my goal swim, the South Head Roughwater. This is the¬†big prep I do for a¬†big event. In the height of summer when I’m swimming every weekend, and the distances are shorter, I do an abridged version of this, but the basic principles are the same.

A week or 2 beforehand.

  1. Stop drinking alcohol. I probably don’t need to do this quite so early…but mentally it helps me focus and feel really prepared.
  2. Really focus on my diet being nutritious and high in protein. Cut out any junk food. I try to eat at home during this period so I can cook healthily rather than eating out and not knowing how much oil or fat or salt is in my food.
  3. Taper. About a week out I still swim, but start taking it very easy. At this point I don’t want to wear myself out or risk an injury, and any training really isn’t going to add to my fitness.
  4. A trip to my osteopath. I have a dodgy shoulder, and swimming generally helps, but if it needs a tune-up I’d rather do it a few days before a big event. Before the SHRW my shoulder was definitely niggling so I went on the Wednesday before. I see Grant Brush at City Clinic near my office and he’s a genius. He’s a keen swimmer as well so kind of gets what I do and how to work with it.

The night before

  1. Pack my bags. The last thing I need to be doing early morning before a big stressful event is looking for stuff (or worse…finding out I forgot something once I’m there and need it). I make sure I have everything I need, plus spares, and warm gear for after the race.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Obvious, but easy to forget if you’re a bit nervous.
  3. Carb loading! I love my carbs, but generally try to keep carb-heavy meals as a “sometimes food”. The night before a big event, however, game on!
  4. Goggle prep. Goggles are a pretty key part of any event. If they leak or fog or are uncomfortable they can bother you the whole time. My pre-race routine may seem a little over the top, but it definitely works. I used this method before the SHRW and did not have to adjust my goggles a single time in 2 and a half hours of swimming.
    • Wash well in dishwashing liquid, focussing on the lenses and the seals. This gets rid of any residual sunscreen, sand or salt that can cause problems with the goggles sealing.
    • Thoroughly dry with a clean tea towel.
    • Spray liberally with anti-fog spray into the inside of the lenses. Rub around well with a clean finger.
    • Rinse well with clear water. The film will remain but you don’t want any of that stuff ending up in your eyes.
    • Let sit a couple of minutes and then dry thoroughly again with your tea towel, and you’re ready to go.
  5. Garmin – make sure it’s fully charged, any previous records are downloaded, and it’s ready to go.
  6. An early night. It may seem elusive due to nerves, but it’s good to have a decent night’s sleep behind you on race day. I find a cup of chamomile tea helps send me off.

The Morning Of

  1. Early rising. I like to get up earlier than I need to. I hate feeling rushed. It also gives me plenty of time to…
  2. Have a good breakfast. And let it settle. I need something in my stomach before I swim. My go to is a slice of toast and a hard boiled egg from the fridge (I usually do a batch and keep a couple handy for the weekend). Alternately, if I’m home on my own on Friday nights my go-to meal is a frittata or quiche. If there’s a leftover slice floating around they make a good pre-swim breakie too. The key is to not try anything new on the morning of an event…the same thing I eat for breakfast before training sessions is the same thing I’ll eat on the big day.
  3. Check the conditions. Actually this one belongs in all the categories… I have a collection of weather and surf condition apps and websites that I use. I don’t know that it helps, but I like to feel prepared, mentally, for what’s out there.
  4. Mix up sports drink etc. My philosophy is that I’ll only use sports drinks sparingly, and only if I’m swimming longer than an hour. My preference is for coconut water (Cocobella plain), but I’ll also use Staminade from powder as both are lower sugar than the other options out there.
  5. Leave early so there’s no rush to get to the beach (or wharf). The last thing I need on top of nerves is to be worrying about running late!

So there you go…mostly common sense, but it’s a routine that’s done me well in the 30+ events I’ve swum over the past 3 years!

 

With a bit of stiffness from the South Head swim, and ongoing issues with my bike, I’ve given myself 2 weeks off from training.

That being said, Saturday swims are generally so much fun that I can’t bear to miss at least an hour’s swim to start my weekend on a good note!

It was a bit of a rough one again (although it’s always easier when it’s sunny), with waves and one hell of a sweep (making swimming straight almost impossible) and some decent waves to catch into the beach. It was rough enough that I decided not to take my camera with me. Ms Priceless, however, won a spanking new Olympus recently at a swim event and had it with her. She took a few great shots…including this one of me in the water that’s not actually a selfie!

Jacki_surfYep, that’s me. Wearing the South Head Rough Water flouro pink cap. Believe it or not it’s not actually¬†just to show off. I’ve been such a slacker I haven’t picked up the bag I took on the support boat for that event yet…and it has a bunch of my extra swim gear!

 

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