Countdown to the first day we can swim!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


People have recently been asking me about how much I have been swimming. Honestly, probably not as much as I should be: about 25-30 thousand meters (15-18 miles) a week. But, of course, I am doing other shenanigans when I am not swimming. Some of which I will discuss now...

Activity: Running
Equipment Needed: A good pair of shoes, treadmill/safe roads
Muscle groups worked: Legs/glute, cardio
Details: WARNING, can be dangerous for uncoordinated/easily distracted/aquatic athletes, aka me. I fear it like the plague.

Activity: Elliptical, Biking
Equipment Needed: Elliptical, bicycle
Muscle groups worked: Legs/glute, cardio
Details: It is much friendlier to the knees than running and give me the cardio workout I need. Plus, no chance of twisting or spraining an ankle. YES!!

Activity: Lunges + wall sits + squats
Equipment Needed: walls or garbage can + friend
Muscle groups worked: Legs/glute
Details: Simple activities like walking or getting up from a chair will be painful for 2 days after. The friend is only needed to counter-balance the force exerted on the garbage can.

Activity: Aqua-jogging + vertical kicking
Equipment Needed: A friend
Muscle groups worked: Legs/glute
Details: Newly found exercise this summer. Doing 30-40 mins of aqua-jogging definitely give you a great aerobic workout. Again, the friend is only needed so you don't look silly doing it by yourself and, of course, to catch up on the latest gossip.

...and to paying tribute to an awesome Saturday in Cape Cod with Sarah, Anna, Gil, and Logan. Much thanks to Gil's family for having us over!!
*Activity: Tubbing
Equipment Needed: Boat, Tubbing gear, Lifejacket
Muscle groups worked: Arms
Details: It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt (...or until my tongue starts bleeding and forms a blood blister).

*Activity: Dancing, jumping, and killing flies on a raft
Equipment Needed: Raft
Muscle groups worked: Everything? What does dexterity count under?
Details: Who needs music? This definitely help in my training to be a ninja-sniper for the CIA. (Wait what? I didn't say anything. That's not my goal in life!!)

*Activity: Towing a dead boat
Equipment Needed: A dead boat
Muscle groups worked: Legs/glut, abs, shoulders
Details:...I apparently take every opportunity to exercise. Although, if a boat stops working in the middle of an inlet, what are a few varsity swimmers to do?

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Re: So, we're transferring to MIT... (

So, I've decided to move to Northampton...

Why you ask? Here is a list...

1. For the amazing aged trees, blooming flowers, and timeless scenery.

2. For the, actually, swimmable river...anyone who claims that the Charles River is swimmable is crazy! Swimming in the Connecticut river (legality of which was questionable) could not have been more relaxing and enjoyable. All I wanted to do was float down the river, winding through trees, and watch the clouds go by. The peacefulness of the area was only punctured by the occasional boat (a floating house-boat almost ran over me) and of course our chatter when we stopped to rest. Unfortunately,
I forgot to get a picture :(

3. For amazing people who cooks
amazing food (thank you so much Emma, Mack, and co.)!!!

4. For cheap movie theater tickets. We saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for $8.50 each. Compare this to Boston Common's $12.75!!

5. For delicious Herrell's Ice Cream. It definitely rivals JP licks and Toscanini's

6. ...and, of course, for Santa!! (Yankee Candle, Scenter of the Universe :D)

Best of luck to Emma and Mackenzie, who will attempt the English Channel at the beginning of August!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

6 Hour Swim = No Problem!

What better way to spend 6 hours than swimming in the wide open Long Island Sound? The water was clear, the sun was shining, and the sky was a brilliant blue with no clouds to be seen. We could not have asked for better weather (or a better support crew in our boat).

One of the best parts of swimming in the Sound is its sheer size. Nothing to run into right? Wrong! I proved that notion false within the first 30 min of the swim when I swam smack into a huge orange buoy. Among the other "obstacles" we encountered include

1. About 10,000 jellyfish. Thankfully they were very small and harmless,but it was still strange to be grabbing something squishy about every 5 strokes
2. Seaweed - this was small and not too much of a pain, although Qing found some still in her ear the morning following the swim.
3. A blue claw crab? Actually neither Qing nor I saw the crab, but the boat crew claims one was chilling near us at one point. I have no idea what a crab was doing swimming near the surface of a 120 ft deep sound, maybe he was in training too?
4. Each other! Who knew swimming could be a contact sport? Qing and I both smacked each other in the face and I elbowed her in the nose, but she retaliated by bouncing a jellyfish off my head...totally uncalled for I know.

Despite such daunting obstacles, we prevailed and finished the 6 hour swim without major incident. We were both nervous going into the swim, especially since we had heard stories from friends that had not managed to finish their qualification swims, so our confidence was greatly boosted by our success. The swim also showed us areas we were unprepared for or need to work on for the August crossing. First and foremost, Ibuprofen or Advil is a must. Qing had some problems with a micro-tear in her shoulder and my left shoulder was screaming at me by 5 hours in. In fact, when we got out of the water I realized my left arm was basically useless. Fortunately my shoulder has returned to normal after a few days, but I know it will be my weakest point. Shoulder exercises and ice here I come! Vaseline will also be an important item as both Qing and I both endured chaffing from our suits. We were adequately prepared with food and drink, and the string attached to my water bottle proved to be an effective method of delivery. The mouth wash Qing brought was a life saver and really cut down on the awkward swollen feeling we got in our mouths after swimming for a few hours. Interestingly Qing and I both encountered a period of nausea a little over an hour and a half into the swim. It was not serious enough to impact our performance, but it was a reminder that throwing up while swimming in the ocean is not uncommon.

On the topic of nausea...thanks to those who helped out on the boat! Especially to our sea-sick passenger who shall not be named :) The biggest thanks of the day goes to Mr. Luchsinger who generously took us out on his boat. My mother and both of Qing's parents also came along to help out which was hugely helpful when providing food, water, mouthwash, and Vaseline. The only complaint I heard from the boat was that they didn't have any beer. Don't worry guys, we will make sure you are well stocked in August :)

Qing, Mr. Luchsinger, and I as we sail out of the marina. Smiling like fools to hide nervousness.

Looking at how close to each other we swam its no wonder there were multiple collisions.

Success! And still smiling at the end!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

From Boston Massachusetts, Happy 4th Everyone!!

Last week brought brilliant swimming conditions both at Walden on Wednesday and Nahant on Sunday. Since the Walden swim was followed by a social, I actually ended up biking for an hour and catching a ride to Walden early to swim an extra lap. Probably because of the biking, I wasn't able to feel the water until the second loop.

Compared to the weekend before, the conditions at Nahant could not have been more different: the weather was beautiful, the water temperature was 65 degrees, and the waves were basically non-existent. The group ended up swimming two and a half hours (9000 yards), stopping 5 times. Again, like at Walden, I didn't feel too great until the second half. Conclusion: I need to keep swimming, keep warm, and just relax.

In other news...

Inspired from a recent conversation about first world problems, I have decided to post some of the first world problems (and other issues) I ran into as I train for the Channel.

1. I forgot to shave my armpits before Nahant. The chafing was so bad I couldn't put my arms down. Well, at least now I smell nice from the lavender and chamomile Vaseline.

2. I keep wearing a different swim suit when I swim outside and always forgot to wear sunscreen. My back looks like someone chopped it into a million pieces.

3. I'm not coordinated enough to be on land. Running (suicides) ==> Fail ==> In love with sports tape

4. Fruit flavored gel packs taste disgusting...especially the raspberry

5. Training alone is super lonely. But I guess it is a little bit hard to talk to people while swimming long distances.

Speaking of long distances...6 hour swim this weekend with Syd :D

...'Til next time!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Shout Out!!

Happy Birthday Mrs. G*!!! You're Great!

*AP US teacher, See Post Number 3 for Reference