Gift Guide for Swimmers 2017

The holiday season is upon us…. seems to come around faster with each year!

Cutting straight to the chase, here are some gift ideas for you or the swimmer in your life. It is a total Amazon list, affiliate links and all. For me it is the easiest way to shop, that leaves the most time to be swimming!

BOOKS

Before a teeny bit of shameless self promotion there are a few note worthy books to look into.

1. This book has great ideas for real food that are easy to eat and digest in training and racing. The rice cakes – I like almond butter and jam – with just the right amount of salt saw me through Tampa Bay Marathon swim in April. They were easy to make ahead, and even ended up being a light pre race dinner after a heavier meal early in the day. Winner!

2. This remains my favorite all time book. The story of the Washington state underdogs using raw talent and hard work to rise and row at the 1936 Olympics. A lot of lessons we can apply today in our training and racing. I could not put it down.

3. I totally adore Michelle Tam, she nails flavor in every recipe I have tried. Faves in my house are the cherry bbq sauce and the curry turkey bites. Whole, clean, easy food to fuel your swimming. Nom nom is right.

4. Newly listed on Amazon and Kindle is my SwimEQ book. This is a must read for any athlete that has issues managing emotions in training – yes it does happen – or leading up to a race – we have all been there – or prior to race start – I can hear your heart beating fast already – or during the race – never a good sign….. Good news is this program will give you a solid framework and sequence of tools to keep your head straight and get the best from every situation. Probably the most undertrained area of athletics, get a jump start on your competitors for the 2018 season.

5. And of course our book of 99 swim practices to keep things FRESH! Excellent prezzie for the swimmer in your life! Make a challenge for 2018, who can complete the whole set of practices – you’re on!

 

EQUIPMENT

1. Straight up I have to give a shout out to my favorite goggles. Seriously these were on my (broad, high nose bridge) face for almost 5 hours at the Swim the Suck 10+ mile race in October. Not once did I have to adjust them, not once did they leak, and not once did they irritate. I replace the factory strap with a TYR bungee for extra comfort and ease of adjustment. Go get you some TYR Nest Pro goggles!

2. I see a lot of equipment come through the swim studio. This snorkel by Michael Phelps impresses me with its sleek design and comfort….so much so Santa is bringing me one this year.

3. Feel the beat with the Finis Tempo Trainer – this is a must piece of equipment in any swimmers bag. I switch through the 3 modes in various sets to give my nervous system a little wake me up. If you want to be fast in 2018 then this is for you.

4. The New Wave Swim Buoy bag is the best around. I am particularly fond of the durable TPU version that is so robust and sturdy. Handy to carry car keys and wallets while you are out swimming in the deep blue, and of course the number one use for visibility and safety can’t be overlooked. Buoy up!

5. Once out of the water, use one of these space saving, quick drying towels to clean up. Our house has a stash of these towels that are so useful for travel I can’t say enough about them.

 

MISCELLANEOUS LUXURIES

1. I have recently jumped on the essential oil train, and no surprise it has been great. Many moons ago I used a lot Ylang Ylang for sinus issues, that worked a treat. I now diffuse daily and feel it helps clear out the sinuses or relax the overused muscles, or boost the immune system – all depending which oil or blend you use. Here is the diffuser I am using.

2. I am fairly picky about the origin and quality of the oils. Make sure you check your labels! The added bonus of essential oils, as well as those from diffusing, is you can add a few drops to a carrier oil and use as a post swim moisturizer. Chlorine smell be gone, dry skin be totally gone. For example the oil below, in fractionated coconut oil would be great, I can smell it from here!

3. Accompanying me to many a long training swim this year was my Tervis mug. It was generally filled with Tazo Ginger Green tea that kept the stomach calm. I do love a cup of tea.

4. This is on my list this year. Making a quick change a breeze or breezy….and getting dry at the same time. Win win.

5. This one is hardly a luxury…in fact they are the total opposite at times. Insert tears. However, I sure as heck feel better for doing it. These massage balls get into those deep tense spots and help release those knots. Its a fine line between ouch and aaaaahhhh!

There you have it, a few ideas for the shopping cart. Click and ship, that’s what I’m talking about! Happy Holidays!

Swim the Suck 2017

A magical swim down the Tennessee River. Towering gorges, rock formations and the leaves displaying a hint of ginger as they threaten to change into the colors of fall. The water a crisp 75F, flowing gracefully in parts, holding steady in others. The majority of the swim felt this serene. I like to recall those moments and note what I was doing to keep the feeling of calm, fluid swimming alive.
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As in any marathon swim, there were the moments where the swimming felt anything like magic.

Around mile 8 I was slipping. The overcast skies did not allow a ray of sun through, and my cold hands and feet were bothering me. My neck and shoulders were starting to fatigue and I could not decide if I was hungry or not, thirsty or not, able to keep going or not. I had anticipated to feel this way at some point during the swim. Training in the summer was disrupted by a long family vacation overseas with minimal training. I was picking back up with about 6 weeks before the race – my focus here was on carefully increasing volume in a way that I was not going to injure myself or get sick, and to practice my SwimEQ skills during every swim. These are the skills I most needed at mile 8.

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I decreased my swim intervals from 30 minutes to 15 minutes and used this extra rest time to assess my needs. I also then allowed myself as much time as I needed to breaststroke, and then transition into smaller manageable freestyle intervals. The extra rest time also allowed me to enjoy my surroundings, to get my mind back to calm – green. I saw steep forested inclines reaching up to the low hanging grey clouds. I saw many pieces of soaked wood and fallen leaves floating along with me. I allowed the cool water to soothe my tired body. I saw Damian sitting on the kayak calmly paddling along with occasional chuckle as he chatted with nearby pilots. I saw the swimmers near me, most of them we had shared several miles together in close proximity. I saw the aqua ducts of Raccoon Mountain and heard the swoosh of a speed boat from time to time. I wondered about my amazing friend Kirsten Sass who was racing in Kona – had she started her swim yet? How was she feeling in the water? This time may have felt like an eternity, but it was a morsel in the 10.36 miles of the swim, a half hour in my 4 hours and 46 minutes of swimming. It was time well spent and I enjoyed this time of grounding as much as the swim itself.

 
The final mile and a half into the finish was sweet and I felt like I had executed a great day of swimming. I began to process the day already – what did I do well? What can I do differently for the next swim? What did I learn about myself today? Making mental notes to become a better athlete, a better coach, and a better person.

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Swim the Suck 2017

Chattanooga Tennessee

Look, listen, feel, swim.