Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30, Ohio St

Today Jody's daughter Jill joined us. With some waves and even a chance of storm predicted we decided on Ohio St. There was just some gentle rolling chop. Getting in it felt cold but actually it was 74.5 and extremely comfortable once we got started. The buoy's marking the swim area have changed to larger yellow ones. But there are new old style buoys marking off an area near Lake street. When we got to the 1/2 mile dark red buoy near the curve we decided to check out the new area. But we didn't get far, Jody decided the sky was looking menacing so we turned around. In fact what she saw was fog around the 50 floor level of the loop buildings. So alternately we had sun, then fog for the whole swim changing every few minutes. It would have been almost a perfect swim but the high humidity made it hard for me to keep my goggles clear and it was a pain to continually stop and clear them.

Back in the shallow water by the beach I ran into my old friend Charlie who used to be a morning regular at Oakton pool. So we had to catch up a bit. He said I looked well but I have about 3 health/injury issues now and had been thinking how being in the lake nullified all of them. So perhaps being chest deep in water with a cap and goggles on is the best place to meet old friends.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Evanston, August 16

This swim was somewhat unexpected. Weather predictions were dire for this weekend, both storms and cold water, plus I didn't swim at all yesterday due to some intestinal issues. But I felt better and the weather turned out better than predicted so Jody, Joe and I did Evanston. We had 100% sunshine over our swim area, and 72 degree water which was glass flat near the beach and a long low swell with a just a bit of chop elsewhere. Suffice it to say the swim was perfect.

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11 -- Bill Mulliken

We were sorry to hear, by way of his obituary today, of the passing of Bill Mulliken this past July. Besides being an Olympic gold medalist, Bill was a long time Masters swimmer and leader of masters swimming in Illinois. One of his accomplishments was the big Big Shoulders swim. After one of the early Big Shoulders, since they had not gotten participation awards to hand out, Bill brought out a shoe box of various medals he had won in Masters and gave one to any swimmer who wanted one. I took a participation medal from the 1989 Pan Pacific Masters Aquatics games which I still have in my collection.

Although I always looked up to Bill as a senior statesman in Illinois Masters Swimming, he was actually only one age group ahead of me although his times belonged to several age groups below me. He swam a number of Park Ridge 1500's and was always a delightful and positive person to have around. As Bill has limited his swimming activities in recent years we have missed him and we will continue to miss him in the future.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ohio Street, August 9 - Sharkfest

When its warm its warm, the first Sharkfest swim at Ohio street had 75.4 degree water and sunny skies. There was, however quite a bit of chop, at places there was as much as 2 feet worth. Jody and I successfully conducted Heidi through the course. It took a while but we were not quite last. I did feel like I had swum at least 2 miles.

This first Sharksfest in Chicago, according to the organizer the sharks to worry about here are Loan Sharks which is true since Illinois has some of the weakest laws in the country against fringe financial products, attracted 204 swimmers from ages 11 to 75 and was a very low key affair. Perhaps the highlight was the deep dish Connie's pizza which was the reward for finishing. At $60 to $80 a pop I doubt I would have swum it except for Heidi, but it was fun.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Evanston, August 7

Finally the lake breaks the 70's barrier. It was 71.6 today at Evanston, thanks perhaps to a strong easterly wind. Waves, more chop than waves actually, from 1 to 2 feet. Jody has workshop to attend at Northwestern so she is detouring via the Lake on her way. So we arrive a bit early, 6AM to see the end of the sunrise. We swim to the far wall and then right back to the beach and are out by 7. A good swim. Although the bathrooms were open when we got to the beach at 6:30 Tuesday, by Thursday they are still not open by 7, so it is a beach change to get decent followed by finishing dressing at Starbucks for Jody. After a quick grande Pike I drop her off at NU and she hopes to get a ride home from a colleague.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Evanston, August 4

Conditions where probably excellent yesterday but I prefer not lake swimming consecutive days. Jody and I agreed tentatively to swim Evanston sometime this week. Sunday afternoon Jody sent me an urgent email suggesting that Monday would also be good. Unfortunately I did not get her email until late, after she had gone to bed, but agreed that Monday would be the best day of the week. Fortunately she did check her email first thing in the morning and was outside my house at 5:50 AM.

Conditions were about perfect, warmish air, hazy sun, crystal clear and mirror flat water around 66 degrees plus or minus a few tenths depending on location. We did a wall to wall swim.

We did notice more than the usual amount of algae on the bottom, but none floating. The recent news out of Toledo OH about toxic Lake Erie algae blooms has given us some concern, but our Lake seems still OK. With all the new algae growth we were, however, surprised not to see a single fish, although we did smell some.

Ohio Street, August 2 -- Heidi again

I have recruited Jody to help. We worked with Heidi in our pool and decided it would work best with two of us, one on each side. So today is a trial run back at Ohio Street. The conditions were much better, mostly flat with water temperatures varying from 65 to 68. The three of us swam together to the curve and back, the distance and location of Sharkfest although not the same course. The swim went well without incident.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ohio St, July 27

Jody and I swam Ohio St today but something was not right. According to my thermometer watch the temperature varied between 65 and 68 degrees depending on the location which should be close to ideal. The sky was mostly sunny and the water was mostly flat with just a bit of chop. So on paper this should have been a great swim. But both Jody and I were a little uneasy. The water felt a lot colder than it actually was, when we made our first check at Chicago Ave I was still cold, even with, or perhaps because of, my thermal cap. And both of us were a bit woozy as if it were quite wavy. I considered turning back but since we had made the effort to get here that would have been disappointing. By the time we turned around at the curve I was finally warm enough and we both felt a little better.

The best we can up with was that the trouble was bad vibes from the Trump tower. From the far part of the course swimming back the sun reflecting from the tower made it look like a giant icicle. Since we couldn't see the tower on the outbound part of our swim we didn't realize that this icicle was what was making us cold. But clearly the water was spooked. Our potential great swim was trumped by the Donald.