Monday, July 25, 2016

I learned to row (still much learning to do!)

Over the weekend I attended the Adult Learn-to-Row camp offered by the Vashon Island Rowing Club. What a cool experience! I may have had too much fun for the instructors' tastes but it was great.

The first day, being a total NUBE/greenhorn, myself and others got cozy with the rowing machine to ERG, learned the "three Ps" (depending on who you asked this stood for power, patience, posture and/or persistence), and then rowed in a quad. The second day the wind kicked up and lots of boaters were out, making our adventure in the "eight" livelier, but we alternated seating with master rowers. This made it easier to shadow the rhythmic moves. I followed Margaret, who is exactly my height and build - she makes it look so graceful and easy. I whiffed twice and "caught crabs" a couple times but also felt the satisfaction of getting in nice, long, perfectly synched sweeps. That part I loved!

Camp wrapped up with an invitation to row with the masters. Although I'd like to commit to masters, the recreational rowing on Fridays sounds like the ticket for me because I'm busy with swimming and open water events! One day, maybe. 

The muscles, they ached but only for a day: hamstrings, groin/hip flexers, a little in the deltoid area. My shoulder, with its scar tissue, took a bruising from hefting the boats back out of the water. I will need to work on that finesse. Thanks to VIRC Coach Richard Parr and the Masters volunteers for an awesome weekend!

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Did you see Drama Dock's Chicago?

So. Damn. Good! Get thee to the next performance if you missed Chicago. We have a great theater in the Vashon Center for the Arts, and top notch Drama Dock productions filled with island talent.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Playtime with Burton's Oscar the Seal

I'm so lucky! We had Close Encounters of the Seal Kind.

My Seattle-based friend Christine rented a Burton beachfront house for the week so we set out on a morning harbor swim with our swimmy pal Susan yesterday. This time of year the harbor is laden with somewhat harmless jellyfish. Karen Biondo and her friend Beth were walking the beach with dogs just as we were approaching the water (Karen swims it in skins quite often), and we later met Lolly and Pam whose house is next door to the rental.

By the time we were a quarter mile out, we were basically fronting the terminal point of Burton town where the road curves. Slightly grossed out by the gooey waters awash with this primordial ooze we're guessing are millions of baby jellies, I stopped swimming and treaded water to regroup with the ladies. That's when Susan and Christine were quietly and calmly trying to inform me that there was a seal over my left shoulder (also my blind side; I cannot see out of my left eye).

He was as close to us as a coffee klatsch, like a little clique of school girls. Oscar the seal is a harbor seal and he's super curious and sweet, greyish and spotted, and looks at you with big bulgy eyes. Wendy V swims out here and her partner Pete recently snapped a photo of him swimming alongside her. I'd heard lots about Oscar so I was thrilled to actually be greeted by him. He darted around us--popping up behind each of us, stalked Susan the most (covered in mitts and booties she thought she might be the most seal-like), swam under and around us, and tailed us as we swam out to deeper water then back to the house. Needless to say we weren't doing distance this morning; plans went right out the window after this awesome exchange!

I honestly will never forget this. We swim plenty of places where the seals are there, but they never dare get close. This guy is special. Later at sunset we saw him patrolling the harbor. We'll be back!

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Monday, July 11, 2016

And another!

This feels really good: another 3-miler yesterday.
To run that distance, I'd be aching the next two days.
I've tried it. 5k running takes me 30 minutes. I don't run.
But to swim it? Sure!
As for all the marathon swimmers out there, I bow down. I will never be you (you can have that!).
But to log more than 10 miles of swimming in a week is pretty good for this swimmer.

Training for the Long Bridge Swim 2016 and I'm really excited to outshine my previous time, hopefully by a lot!

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Saturday, July 09, 2016


Behold, the hazelnuts/filberts on Vashon. This is the year we finally harvested a couple pounds of them from the neighbor's overhanging tree. After referencing our Back to Basics book and other resources, they are drying out for a few weeks, and soon we'll be enjoying them. Neener-neener, squirrels, we got some, too!

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Friday, July 08, 2016

Burn, Baby, Burn (calories from swimming)

I'm not racing in Fat Salmon this year; I'll be pouring wine in a vineyard far from Seattle in the blazing sun. And it'll be fun! Some of my friends are racing though, and yesterday we did a (close enough) trial run for someone who's yet to swim the course. Her time is totally within the "not going to get yanked" limits.

Anytime I swim more than 3k in a spell (about an hour depending on conditions), hunger sets in like crazy! Needless to say after 5100 yards yesterday morning I was ready to EAT MY HAND. I burned more calories than I consumed for sure; 925 of them on this swim alone, apparently.

Here's the course mapped out from the very cool gizmo my husband bought me last year. The timer was on through the breaks and course comments, so times are a little quicker for just swimming.

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