Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beach Weather

I've been wanting to get out to a lake to try swimming in some actual open water, and I've been just waiting for a day like today.  It was 85 degrees F and sunny, and it's been warm for the past few days - enough to raise the temperature of the lake to a tolerable chill.

After a leasurely morning and a good breakfast, I packed my swimsuit and my biking gear and drove over to Millenium Park just north of the Grand River.  My coworker suggested the beach at Millenium Park as a good, clean, safe place to swim.  It's also a small lake so likely to be much warmer at this time of year than something like Lake Michigan.  Also a bonus - an extensive set of trails (the Meijer Millenium Trails and the Kent Trails) runs through and around this park, so it provides a great home base for hours of riding.  Which I planned to do after my swimming experiment!

I found my way into the beach area of the park and was pleasantly surprised to see that they're not charging to get in yet.  It's usually $4.  I came dressed in my biking clothes, so I'd be ready in case the water was too cold.  So, I walked down to the shore to test the temperature.  Tiny children were laughing and playing in the lake.  How cold could it be if four year olds were swimming?  And indeed, it felt chilly as I walked in up to my knees, but I adjusted to it quickly.  So back up to the changing rooms I went to put on my suit.

The swim didn't go too badly.  The water freaked me out a little.  In reality, it was clear, clean, sandy and shallow.  Nothing to be freaked out by.  But I did see minnows, so that means there are bigger fish in the lake somewhere.  And I have this thing about feeling fish brush by me in the water.  It just creaps me out.  I never saw a single one, but the possibility was always in the back of my mind.

I didn't get much actual swimming in.  Just a couple times up and down the lake inside the barrier of the swimming buoys.  But it was good to start getting used to being in a real lake.  I'll have to practice a few more times before race day.  And as far as the temperature went, the water was cold but tolerable.  With the warm air outside the water, I never felt really uncomfortable.  If race day is like that, it'll be great.

My training plan called for two hours on the bike today, but my body felt tired this morning.  I decided to make it a really easy ride.  I'd take it at a comfortable pace and give myself the freedom to stop and take pictures.

Since I don't live close to the Kent Trails anymore, it was fun to explore the area again.  I saw some new paved sections in the Millenium trails and an extension of the Kent trails behind the Coca-Cola Bottling plant.

I made my way up to John Ball Zoo to see the 2009 Art Prize competitor, Nessie, which was moved from the Grand River to the zoo, so people could continue to enjoy it after the art contest was over.  I really liked this piece and was eager to see it in person.

The trails were beautiful.  Spring is bringing out the green again.  Wild flowers are in bloom.

Cotton seads were falling from the trees so heavily that it looked like it was snowing.  A little farther down the road, helicoptor seads covered the road instead.

I've seen lots of animals while riding on the trails, but never before have I seen turtles.  Today, I saw two!

Here is sun-kissed, wind-blown me being happy and silly as I enjoy a long ride on a hot day!

Friday, May 21, 2010
Swim 1400 yards
100 warm up, 8x25 sprints, 1000 endurance, 100 cool down

Satruday, May 22, 2010
Run 40 minutes with 3x3 at tempo pace, 6x100 strides, drills
Total distance somewhere around 5 miles.

Sunday, May 23, 2010
Swim at Millenium Park Beach - maybe 300 yards
Bike 2 hours - 24.9 miles
Great first open water swimming experience!  But I need to get more comfortable with it before race day.  I hope my hubby will come to beach with me!  I'm sure I'll have to really twist his arm to make that happen.  *wink*


  1. P.S. I can't believe I still haven't pealed the sticker remnants off of the front of my helmet from the Dunes Du last fall! What a slacker. ;)

  2. For what it's worth - I doubt very much that you'll ever have a fish brush up against you. More likely you'll run into a piece of free floating plant - a stem, leaf, reed - something. Really, the fish are much more scared of you than you are of them. They'll be happy to keep their distance.

  3. Brian - That is true. I'm sure with all those people in the water, the fish will be long gone. The seaweed still kind of wierds me out, but I'll deal with it. :)

  4. Fish rubbing up against me freaks me out too. I have a hard time with deep water in natural places.
    You are such a badass, training for a Tri. I could only do the cycling part and even that would freak me out.

  5. Thanks for the great photos and post. Looks like a very cool place to ride ... and I loved Nessie! Good luck on your upcoming race!