Never Leave a Woman Behind

So excited! So nervous to be doing the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim on January 2nd!

The Frogman Swim is a 5km race across a stretch of Tampa Bay that started off in Jan 2010 as a fund raiser for a wounded Navy Seal. In 2011, the swimmers will be raising money for the Naval Special Warfare Foundation, which helps the families of wounded or fallen Navy Seals.

The water temperature for the 2010 event was 58 degrees, and it doesn’t look like warming up at all for the 2011 swim. I’m planning on swimming sans wetsuit, a decision made easy by the fact that I’d have to lose about 10lbs to fit into my wettie (I own one, but I never wear it so it’s ok). After already being stuck in an 82 degree pool for 2 months, and with no opportunity to acclimatise myself except for having a cold bath, I’m nervous.

Fortunately, I’ve been assured by the race director that every swimmer has their own personal escort for the swim. I’m already having fantasies about being surrounded by Navy Seals, and am pretty sure I’m getting a whole unit as my escort. Here’s an action shot of them practicing our mid-swim stealth hot chocolate feeding:


Navy helicopters chock full of Seals will be standing by in case I get too cold and need rescue:


Anyone trying to draft in my wake will experience unexplained warm currents, but will also have these guys to contend with:


Here’s hoping my body remembers my cold swims from September and October and I’ll make it! I’ll be wearing my new swimsuit, so I’ll be stylish no matter what the outcome. So stylish, in fact, that I’m a bit worried I’ll be bombarded by affectionate Seals at the finish line and will be too exhausted to take my daughter to Harry Potter Land after the race……


Seriously, though, if I don’t raise some more money for this worthy cause, my crew may well consist of


To donate to the Naval Special Warfare Foundation in my name, please go to:


I’m still feeling great in the pool.

FEELING great, but not BEING great (and by “great” I mean mobile).

At around 7.30 last night, I retrieved Bill White’s Sewickley Seadragons Lane B workout from the trash folder of my email and headed to the pool, full of confidence.

The workout included two 800yd straight swims on a 14 minute interval. I haven’t done a straight 800 in a long time. In fact I don’t even remember the last time I swam that far without breaking it up with some elementary backstroke or breaststroke at some point. The 14 minute interval seemed nice enough that I thought I could just cruise. Merely completing the 800’s all free would be the goal of the night.

I did some drills during the warm up and felt pretty smooth. I really enjoyed the first 800 and remembered at about 300-400 yds into it that the longer the swim, the better I feel. When I landed, though, the clock said I’d taken 12 minutes and 35 seconds!!! I was horrified!! Even swimming slowly should have taken less time.

Bottom lip quivering, I launched into the second 800. This time I did as the workout suggested and swam every third 50 “fast” (hehe). Twelve minutes and 30 seconds later I landed, feeling like I was having a coronary. My heart rate was 105… I even did flip turns the whole time!

I’m really devastated by this slowness.

I’m still quite fat from my fruitless Catalina Channel swim weight gain and my bum circumference probably exceeds my wingspan by now.

I wonder how much speed you lose by being fat (and having most of that fat on your backside)?

When I returned home I looked on facebook to see if anyone had reported more tragic results than mine from the evening’s workout and noticed that Jim Thornton had consumed a healthy lunch of raw squishy things and some sort of macrobiotic excrement. Assuming he didn’t soil himself during the workout, I’d be willing to bet his 800’s were a lot faster than mine!!!

I made a list of things that I’d eaten during the day to see if I could blame my poor performance on fatness and diet, but all I’d eaten prior to swimming was:

1 cupcake;
2 plates of leftover breakfast sausage and mashed potatoes;
1 toasted ham and cheese sandwich;
2 bowls of full fat Greek yoghurt with honey;
1 large cinnamon roll;
1 bowl hamburger helper; and
2 bowls of apple sauce with caramel sauce on top.

At a complete loss and feeling quite depressed I ate three Trader Joe’s chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, a packet of flaming hot cheetos and a diet coke.

I’m changing things around today and drinking extra coffee. I’m on my fourth cup of espresso now. I think I’ll do the same workout and see what happens.


It’s about five weeks since I ended my post-Catalina sulk and crawled back into the primordial soup that fills the pool at Edward Health and Fitness Center.

I’ve never been fast, but marinating in the lake all summer turned me into more of a barnacle than a swimmer.

For the first couple of weeks of my “return”, I averaged about 1m 35s per 100 SCY. That’s swimming time, not total interval, and with a rest of about 25 seconds in between each 100!!

I felt slappy and uncoordinated, and would have looked it too, had my practices not been performed in secret.

I’ve got a history of being a giver-upperer, but this time was different. I persisted with my agonizingly ugly workouts and finally made a breakthrough this week!

I went to the pool last night after eating a roast chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy. 2000 yards seemed like a goal and I did 4 x 500 yds of swimming. The first 500 was half drill, the second was half backstroke, but the third was 500 yards of real swimming all in a row! all 500 yards joined up end to end!! I don’t remember the last 500 because I was dizzy.

Today was even more magnificent. I swam an actual Sewickley Seadragons, Lane B workout, and stuck to the intervals-for the first time in well over a year. There were 400’s and 200’s. I made one of my 200’s in 3 minutes!

Going from stationary to merely prodigiously slow never felt so good.