Thursday, July 31, 2008

Couches and Coaches

Yesterday we said goodbye to a couch we'd had, jumped on, slept on, peed on (not me of course), snuggled on and just plain lived on for ten years. Building Futures Now needed a couch for a family, and we were looking to replace this one just for kicks, so Noah and I hoisted it out of our family room and into the driveway yesterday morning after I slept through practice.

Tim picked it up in a Suburban, and now someone else has our couch. May it be as well-loved as it was here! Incidentally, here's what I love about Tim as a coach and a human being (aside from his swim-studliness of course): he picked up the couch. He got Menlo Masters into this whole Building Futures Now thing with a huge heart aimed at helping EPA kids and families, and he is still willing to spend the middle of his day driving around picking up donation items. Most organizers of huge efforts such as BFN would delegate and send an email to the team "Anyone have time to deliver...?" Instead he does it himself. It's easy to give money when you have too much. It isn't easy to give time when you never have enough. Kudos to our team, and our coach, once again.

*warm up: 400 easy, 4 x 50's strong

*4 x 400's "inefficient swimming": first bit fast (25, then 50, 75, 100), and last 50 fast, swum like "an overaggressive meet swim"

*400 broken at the 100 with first 25 of each 100 fast

*400 broken at the 50 with first 25 of each 50 fast

*400 warmdown

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Back to reality

If I have to be back at work and workout, at least it kicked off with one of my favorites.

*warmup: 3 x 250's free, natural descent

*straight 1,000 done as: 250, 50, 200, 50, 150, 50, 100, 50, 50, 50 (50's backstroke, other freestyle)
Repeat 2x

*4 x 100's descending, each with a 50 fast afterwards
100's on the 1:30; 50's on the 45

*200 warm down

Friday, July 25, 2008

Stop and see the fishes

This morning I swam with a fish that changed my opinion of purple.

I hate purple. Or hated. When I see purple I think of my bedroom during my eleventh year: a disgusting display of pre-teen pastels, unicorns, rainbows and a big life-sized poster of Bon Jovi. The Bon Jovi part was at least tasteful in a retro hip kind of way.

But purple. Yuck. Words like whimsical and magical flash by my brain when I see it--words I don't like. But this fish...this fish was like an electric technicolor kaleidoscope. No pastel rainbows about it. And it swam with me until I stopped, mid-stroke, just to look. Then it swam away. Done with me. Then other fun fishies surrounded me. One with pink lipstick. One with some sort of Chanel-looking makeover mistake that turned into a gorgeous shmear across its body.

Aloha to the fishies. I'm off on a red eye flight back home tonight. Mahalo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just another day in paradise

Here's my son's version of swim workout here in Ko'Olina. I'm off to do mine. Hope you are all enjoying the pool, and to be honest I can't wait to get back so my mouth won't be puckered up like a raisin after my workouts (but that plus Tim's stellar workouts will be the only plus of being back :).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lagoon Hopping

So. Here I am in paradise. It would be so even if there weren't four man made lagoons like this one, restricted for swimming only, all in a line with beautiful grass in between then for running. But, that exists here too, so, I'm in heaven.

I will bet my life that my workout this morning beats yours, even if you did long freestyle back at home :)

*warm up: stretch on the beach to attempt to work out the coco loco drinks consumed last night.
*cross one lagoon - jump out run to next lagoon.
repeat four times.

*do laps across lagoon #3 for 20 minutes, with push-ups at each end.

*have coffee and go decorate coconuts with the kids to send back home

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Menlo Masters at practice this morning

Okay obviously these are images of our "better swimmer selves", Michael Phelps, Amanda Beard (check out the not-oft-seen dragon tattoo!), Aaron Piersol, Ryan Lochte (he and Phelps are in perfect, what I like to call "David and Gary form" there), and Dara Torres, but we can dream right? It's just so cool that they are working out down the street. These are pics from last Saturday, courtesy of Peter. Thanks Peter!

Today's workout:

*warmup: 5 x 125's free with last 25 kick

add fins for:

*12 x 50's decreasing by 5 seconds after each 3

*2 x 100's fast free followed by 3 x 50's (back, stroke, whatever)
repeat 3 times

*I strongly believe there is more I am not remembering but it did involve fins, all of it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hawaii Prep

p.s. (pre-script in this case: Fave My Blog with the green button on the right, por favor!)

I'm off to Hawaii tomorrow night for a much needed vacation (albeit WITH kids :) and it's a good thing. I'm still sore from last Friday's deck-out extravaganza and I'm looking forward to swimming with the more laid back Hawaiians (such as my step-dad and his family pictured above) for a bit, in water that looks like seaglass. Especially after today's sprints. Oy!

*warmup: 400 free, 100 kick, 100 drill, 100 IM

*100 broken at the 50 fast, 150 chill, 50 broken at the 25 fast
repeat 3 x

*5 x 100's: streamline for 4 blue lines, kick for 4, sprint for 4, sprint full broken at 25, chill
repeat 2 x

*final fast 100

Monday, July 14, 2008

Let's get Dara to Burgess

I think Haim suggested this a few days ago, and Texido just sent me the link as well. Hey, lots of us own Priuses (or is that Prius') and as good as Tim is at swim clinics, it would be totally freaking cool to have a piece of female Olympic history there to give us tips (let's face it, if we win we'll just have a post-Olympic party with her at the pool, no?). I'll bring the beer.

Anyway, click here to get us some votes.

Here's what I put in:
"We are a team of mostly Prius-owning parents :) that does much more than just swim. Our coach Tim Sheeper is a world-class triathlete who has spearheaded numerous community outreach programs and who keeps us all inspired every day, in the pool and out. We think Dara would love our club, and we all look up to Dara."

You can just write "we want to win" in your comment post if you want of course.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Check out the story on Eric Shanteau here.

Yet another American swimmer going to Beijing to beat all the odds.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New research shows shoulder muscles connected to memory retention

So yesterday we did those deck-outs and minute-long push-ups and band pulls to make us look very toned and fast and this morning not only was I sore and struggling to complete a full freestyle arm rotation but my brain could not retain more than one set element at a time.

I have therefore concluded that deck work is hazardous to our mental health and should be eliminated from all future workouts.

On a less serious note, I've been meaning to tell the crew that my current swimsuit is on sale at PA Toy and Sport for $35. It's a Speedo FlipTurn and I love it. I mention it because I have gotten quite a few compliments, not because I think everyone wants to wear the same suit as me.

Today's workout:
*warm up: 250 free, 150 kick, 250 pull, 150 stroke

*4 x 25's done as fast kick for 12.5 then fist free
*2 x 50's first 50 fast, second 50 recovery
*2 x 100's first 100 fast (broken at the 25 for 5), second 100 recovery
repeat 2 times

*100 fast, 25 easy back, 75 swim drill scull
repeat 6 times (first 100 broken at 50, second at 75, third straight, repeat twice)

Friday, July 11, 2008

All Lochte'd Up

So last night I took three fired up little boys to see the USA v. AUS water polo match at Stanford. I called three times during the week to inquire about tickets which didn't seem orderable online. The peeps there assured me there would be tickets at the door.

In my normal anally on-time fashion I arrived an hour a sold out game. Many tears (not mine, I swear) and an hour of people watching (this was like a gathering of the Valley's most toned, bronzed swim obsessed folk so it wasn't hard to watch) later, Ryan Lochte emerged from the gates of the pool, clearly fresh out of his work-out and ready to eat. If this guy isn't washing all of his shirts on his stomach then his Maytag is doing unnecessary work. Even amid all the swimmercandy on campus last night, Lochte (shirtless, thank you Ryan!) looked like some sort of past-age prince of the pool. I know he's 24 and I'm not and all but if Dara can still swim in the Olympics at 41 I can still drool over Olympians at 36. Yes? Okay, well, anyway, the Lochte sighting was worth the trip. For those of you who are wondering, I luckily (by a narrow margin) did NOT scream his name and run after him to get an autograph. Thank goodness my kids were there.

Today's workout:
*warmup: 6 x 100's swim, 3 x 100's kick
*crazy circuit training:
4 x 50's varied speed, 1 minute of sit ups
8 x 25's fly or breast, 5 deck-outs at each wall
200 free fast, 1 minute of push-ups ("hahahahahaha" -heard coming from Tim at side of pool)
200 IM, 1 minute of band pulls

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Now, I'm tired

After a week of inspiring Olympic swim trials and feeling like "hey, if Dara can train that hard for 30+ years, I can make a simple swim practice" I'm tired. And today's workout helped push me over the tired edge. As I said when asked if I wanted to go ahead of another swimmer this morning: "I'm barely still in the pool."

*warmup: no idea - just followed the dude in front of me
*pyramid from H*ll: 200, 300, 400, 500, 400, 300, 200 (usually one of my favorite sets but today? Not so much).
*less H*llish pyramid: 25, 50, 75, 100, 100, 75, 50, 25


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Definition of an American Hero

Happy 4th Dara! Wow.
Read her story and be inspired!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Last name, please

So, all this time, since Peter has completed the first ever successful double crossing of the Maui channel (10 mile stretch between Maui and Lanai), I've been unaware that the Peter in my lane is the MAUI PETER.

For nearly a month I've been seeing this guy, who has set a world record, in his Speedo, practically naked, pre-dawn, and what have I been saying to him? Not "Holy crap, you did it! Way to go! I'm so jealouswishIcoulddothat" but, "You want to lead or me?" and "Leave on the 30?" and "Okay, later that's a rap."

Lanshin finally enlightened me yesterday, just in time to hear that famous L2 boy is moving to San Diego. Great. Just as I find out I'm rubbing shoulders (or crashing paddles) with a world class open water swimmer, he preps to leave. If I had just known his last name, I could have enjoyed my proximity to greatness longer. So, I'm instituting a last name "make sure you know who you're swimming with" rule.

I'm Sarah Eisner, and here was today's workout:

*light warm-up of free that I never got straight
*4 x 400's free, done in a confusing but fun descending order of drill, moderate, threshold, power by 100 pattern
*4 x 250's free done in same sort of pattern by 100, 75, 50, 25

Now, here, for those of you who didn't read it yet, is Peter's account of his swim. BRAVO!

Short version (plot spoiler):

Started at 5:32 am in calm water, had a relatively painless trip to Lanai,
current picked up and made the landing difficult. Took 5:05 to get there.
Return trip started well, but what we lacked in wind (never over 20 knots,
and only for a brief periods of time), we made up for in strong current.
Last 3 miles took 2 hours, 40 minutes, swimming at 45 degrees to land the
whole time. Landed near Black Rock in Kaanapali about 6-7 miles north of
where I started after 11 hours, 43 minutes, 57 seconds of swimming. Jill
and my friend Ashley Snyder were on shore to greet me, which felt better
than I'd imagined it could over the previous 12 hours...

Long version:

The start was beautiful coming out of the Lahaina harbor, about 20 minutes
before sunrise, water was glass. One thing I planned to do different for
this swim was use mouthwash every hour. I feed every 20 minutes, so every
third feed was accompanied by a small bottle of Scope. By the end of the
first hour I was glad we were going ahead with this plan, given what seems
to be a higher saline concentration in warm water. Speaking of warm water,
the water temp was 80-82, which was actually quite uncomfortable, as my
personal "sweet spot" is about 66 to 72. In the middle of the channel
there were occasional cool streams of about 70 degrees. Nothing felt

My boat captain, Claude Moreau is a seasoned pilot, having accompanied 9
solo swimmers on the one-way crossing. While he understood my desire to do
the first double crossing of the channel, he was absolutely committed to my
safety and made it clear that if anything wasn't going well, he'd yank me
out. As a result of this, I did not want to ever give him such an
impression. At about the one hour mark I got stung by a jelly fish - no
big deal, happens all the time. However, over the next 90 minutes I was
probably stung a total of 15 times: nose, arms, chest. It was stinging a
bit, but I didn't want him to think things were not going according to
plan, so I didn't mention it.

At about hour 3, I noticed a little fish - about 6 inches long - swimming
10 feet below me. I didn't think much of it, but about 5 minutes later I
noticed he was still there. After my next drink, I resumed swimming and
sure enough - he was still there! For the next hour and 20 minutes he
stayed with me and circled me when I fed. Sounds silly, but it really made
me happy to see him. I even played a little game with him. I would swim
to the left, he would follow. I would speed up, he would fall behind then
catch up. Sadly, as I approached Lanai, he got board and ditched me.

At the 4 hour feed I looked up (something swimmers rarely do for fear of
the psychological trauma that results from trying to guess how much further
you have to swim) and realized we were less than a mile off Lanai. I could
see the details of the trees and what looked like beautiful sandy beaches.
Jim and Forrest let me know that we weren't going to land here because the
current was stronger than expected. Effectively, if we landed where we had
planned to, we risked not being able to hit Maui on the return trip. After
40 or so minutes swimming parallel to shore against the current, they told
me to head in. Piece of cake, I thought. In the days before the swim, we
had worked out an exact plan for the requisite 10 minute break I was
permitted on land. (While this particular channel had never been double
crossed before, double crossings of the English and Catalina Channels have
been done, so we adhered to those rules). During my "break", I planned to
eat some solid food, re-apply sunscreen and grease, and stretch.

All that went to hell pretty quickly. Forrest had my stuff in 2 sealed
bags and was going to accompany me in to shore from the kayak. About 50
yards off shore, the coral reef become very shallow and the break hammered
us. Forrest was thrown off the kayak and into the coral (which cut him to
pieces). I tried to get out the way from a large break and out of nowhere
a sea turtle half my size zipped under me at what seemed like 100 knots.
I hate to think what would have happened had he been two feet higher and
rammed into me. The next 20 minutes displayed me at my least graceful,
trying to escape jagged coral. I was only cut on my hands, feet, and
shins, but not too excited about bleeding into the ocean. My plans of
eating and stretching didn't materialize on shore since my food was washed
away when Forrest was flipped and we needed to run down the beach to find a
more hospitable place to take off. Luckily, Jim jumped in and swam down my
back of sunscreen and grease.

After what was essentially a 4.5 hour trip to Lanai (total time was 5:05
because of the extra time to swim parallel to shore and the flail to get
out the water), I expected the return trip to be 5 - 6,hours as I knew the
wind was coming. At 7 and a half hours total elapsed time - with about 5
miles to go - I felt great and at a feed said to Forrest and Jim, "You guys
know what I'm thinking, right?", to which they responded, "What?", to which
I responded, "You know...", to which they respond, "A triple crossing?", to
which I responded, "We should at least consider it...", to which they
respond, "Shut the f*ck up and swim!". I would pay a very heavy price in
the coming hours for such hubris.

Two hours later it seemed we had made little progress. The swells were
over 3 feet and I was starting to mentally fatigue. Many people ask me
what the hardest part is about marathon swimming. I always say it's the
mental component. Mistakes happen when you lose focus, and for me, that
point is usually around 7 hours. So by 9 hours I could clearly see Maui,
but we were aiming what I thought was the "wrong way" - towards the
southern part of island. It turns out, we had to be aiming that way to
neutralize the impact of the current. Again, lucky to have an experienced

At the 9 hour feed, Forrest said, "Peter I have some bad news, some good
news, and some bad news" I wasn't sure what the 'glass-half-full' approach
was, but I was listening. He continued, "1) The wind is really picking up
and we can see the gnarly wind-line moving across the channel, and it will
be here shortly. 2) You are only 3 nautical miles from shore. 3) It will
take you another 3 hours to get there." While we had expected strong
winds, the current was much stronger than we had anticipated. It was
hitting me perpendicular to the direction I was trying to go at about the
same speed I was swimming, roughly 1.7 knots, effectively reducing my
ground speed by 50%. Forrest, Jim, and Claude made it crystal clear that
the game was won or lost in the next 3 hours. We were currently on target
to miss the island (which may seem ridiculous, given the size of the
island, but if I ever got pulled past Kaanapali, I would be swept up to
Molokai and not be able to make it back to Maui).

The following hours were certainly the toughest. My fingers were
surprisingly tender from the cuts I sustained in Lanai, my shoulders were
starting to feel a bit tight, and the sun was beating down. They gave me
my splits from the gps every 20 minutes and I started doing the Pythagorean
math in my head to figure out how fast I was actually swimming. Forrest
and Jim took turns pacing me in one hour blocks, which made all the
difference. The last thing I remember was Forrest saying, "You have 0.83
nautical miles to go", which is almost exactly one statute mile. In my
long training swims, especially my last three on May 5 (12 miles), May 12
(14 miles - thanks to Jason Pyle for kayaking the entire 14 miles, which
included getting flipped 54 times), and May 19 (16 miles), I always tried
to swim the last mile faster than the others. So with that, I told them
this would be my last feed and I was putting my head down, picking up my
stroke rate and cranking in. I increased my stroke rate from 52 to just
over 60. All I can say is I've never swum so hard to travel one mile in
what turned out to be nearly 44 minutes!

As I was approaching Black Rock I did lift my head to see Jill standing on
the beach with Ashley. What a sweet sight that was. In a very weird way,
I find the last few hundred yards of such swims to be kind of sad. It
takes so many months to train for such things, and the realization that
it's almost over leaves one feeling a bit depressed. Despite my earlier
laps in judgement and temporary hubris (re: contemplating the triple
crossing at the 7 hour mark), I was honored to be the first person to do
this swim. After climbing out the water, Jill put a lei around my neck and
gave me a hug, despite the grease.

In reality, I had "conquered" nothing, but merely was lucky enough to find
a day the channel was willing to tolerate me. Being prepared is a
necessary, but not sufficient factor to success in the ocean.
Many people think of marathon swimming as an individual sport. However, it
is more of a team sport than I can often convey to people. This swim
absolutely could not have been done without the expertise of my boat
captain, Claude Moreau. Furthermore, without Jim and Forrest on the boat
and in the 2 days leading up to the swim, there was no way I could have
done this. Most importantly, without my wife who tolerates me spending
every free moment in the water, there was no way to prepare for such
silliness. I do owe her everything.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How did the week escape?

Since last Wednesday I've been wanting to write down the workouts, plus a few other things, and just not getting to it. Time waits for no man, and as I like to runs like hell from every mommy.

Anyway, I'm the proud mommy of two newly made racers. The boys did their first running race in Sunriver Oregon this past weekend - part of the Pacific Crest Triathlon weekend. Phew, I did the 5K and boy was I glad I wasn't doing the Half Ironman. It was hot hot hot, and hard enough to get through the little run in order to jump in the river afterwards. This river swimming is just about as good as it gets in life for me, and we played, mudslide surfed, skipped rocks and did swim challenges in cold water for three heavenly days. We drove the 8.5 hours home very dirty and tired, and I am still ranking this trip very high on my list to do again. If you haven't been here, go soon.

Still, a good old fashioned pulling workout in a pool felt pretty good today. Rivers are refreshing, but that current really makes a long swim tough!