After signing up for the 10-mile Kingdom Swim in July I realized it was time to get serious about planning out my training. Going to masters workouts 2-4 times each week just wasn’t going to cut it. When friends Laura and Louise signed up for the swim as well, everything got easier and more fun (another post later about the power of training buddies!). Now I swim 5 or 6 days a week, which means I carry wet stuff in my backpack almost every day. Having been swimming with the masters group for a year or so, I already had a pretty good routine for toting my gear around the city on work days. In fact, I’ve been asked so many times about my dry bag and organized gear inside, I thought I’d share it here.
I’ll start with the bag. After months of ineffectually using plastic grocery bags to keep the dampness of my gear away from the books and other papers in my backpack, I realized I needed a more permanent solution. The most logical solution I could think of to use was a dry bag. Although the intended use is to keep the wetness out and the contents dry when doing activities in and around water, I figured it would do just as good of a job keeping the wetness in. And it does:
I bought this bag from EMS in Soho, but they can certainly be found in most outdoor stores and on-line. They also come in all different sizes. I bought the 5L, because it was the smallest bag into which I could cram all of the essentials. And it holds a lot (click to see larger):
Cap and suit: Speedo and TYR and nothing special. I have a few of each and grab whatever is dry. In fact, I’m in need of a new cap that doesn’t ride up on my head as I swim long distances. If you have a good recommendation, pass it along!
Shower kit: Because I shower at the pool more often than I shower at home (as in 5:2), I find it important to have a good kit. I fill small, sturdy reusable containers with TRISWIM chlorine-removing shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. I also bring a small box with a bar of Pears soap for my face. I refill the containers about once a week.
Towel: I need it to be small, so I use a tek-towel which usually dries overnight when hung up in my bathroom.
Goggles: I just bought these Sable Optics goggles last week, and I LOVE THEM. I have a horrible time with foggy goggles– my last pair of Speedo Vanquishers were fog-free for just 3 workouts! I had begun to wonder if perhaps I have a steamier face than most. But these Sable’s are crystal clear. At $50, instead of the more common $15, they are supposed to last much longer than ordinary goggles. Let’s hope they do!
Watch: This watch is new to me as well. It is the newly released Swimovate Pool-Mate Pro. The watch counts laps, speed, time, strokes, and calculates a number for efficiency, which is similar to the number you get when calculate speed and strokes for swim golf. The “Pro” version also transfers data to your computer (via USB) and presents it in handy tables and graphs. (Note: The MAC software is still in BETA and is super lame. The PC version looks lovely.)
Nutrition: Louise and Laura and I have been doing a bit of experimenting and so far, all I can really stomach during a swim is Gu and EFS electrolyte drink. Of course, the longest workouts we are doing are our 4 mile Saturday mornings (with nutrition and hydration breaks at the mile marks), and they only take 2 hours. I am going to need to find another source of calories for swims that are 4+ hours (Kingdom Swim) and 6 hours (SwimTrek training in Gozo). I am hoping to learn much more about nutrition on long-distance in Gozo, which is coming up in just about 2 weeks!
Alright, so I’ve shared the contents of my swim bag with the world. I’ve enjoyed it, and perhaps someone out there will find the information useful, or vaguely interesting. The problem, really, with blogging, is that I’m doing it at night and it’s keeping me up way later than usual. This could become a problem, as I am meeting Louise and Laura at the pool at 5:50am in the morning. I will have to exert better self-discipline so that this blog doesn’t sabotage its own content.