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Posted 11/20/2008 9:47pm by Catskill Merino.
SportCount Lap Counter
Often, I forget the lap I'm swimming. "Is this 22 or 21, damn."  I always assume the lesser figure to re-begin the count—a healthy penalty—but the lapse annoyed me.
Never again. With my index figure (the inviting finger) I slip into my new ring which is a one-button, thumb operated lap counter that also records split & elapsed times.  At the completion of a lap (2 lengths of the pool) I thumb the button. After my swim, I enter the number of laps swum and the time it took to swim them in a spreadsheet to compare average lap times from swim to swim marking successive personal bests in red,
if and when I swim them.
This is my first piece of jewelry—part time jewelry that I swim in. I like it. The display is large enough to be read  through fogged up swimming goggles.
Life is a series of temporal pleasures, like my new ring,  and this evening in the pool all 24 turns were flip turns that quickly compound oxygen debt.  I haven't done that since high school; to flip my turns again leaves me gasping, but is another fleeting pleasure.
SportCount  $29.95
Posted 11/6/2008 3:26pm by Catskill Merino.
Now that the weather becomes too cold and too wet to ride my bike comfortably, I swim laps at the high school pool of the Warwick Wildcats 4 nights a week from 8:30-10:00 PM.  Go Cats!

I like to swim; I was captain of my high school's swimming team.  Since then, almost everywhere I've lived I've found a place to swim.  I've swum in the pools of San Francisco, Paris France (a swimmer's paradise: 50 meter pools in every arrondisement), Manhattan and now I swim upstate.   In Ibiza I swam in the sea.
Even though I'm a good swimmer, this September I took a private lesson from Total Immersion in an Endless Pool at their facility in New Paltz.   If you know something about swimming you will appreciate the novel approach to swimming the front crawl as advanced by coach Terry Laughlin founder of Total Immersion:
  • Achieve balance by "cooperating with gravity" - relaxing the head into an aligned position and using the leading arm like a "trim tab" (fingers down and wrist below elbow from the moment of entry). This helps bring the legs into a horizontal position with minimal kicking.
  • "Actively streamline" the body throughout the stroke cycle through a focus on rhythmically alternating "streamlined right side" and "streamlined left side" positions and consciously keeping the bodyline longer and sleeker than is typical for human swimmers.
  • Use body rotation to minimize disturbance to the water flow and to minimize turbulence and drag. Rotating enough so each shoulder clears the water is sufficient to achieve these benefits.
  • Create propulsion by using the extended hand and arm to "hold your place" in the water then spearing the entering hand past your gripping hand. Produce energy and power by driving down the "high side" of the body rather than using arm muscles to push water back.
  • Emphasis is placed on developing balance and awareness of the dynamics of swimming, over and above the development of simple strength and power.   From Wikipedia
To focus on the execution of Total Immersion stroke mechanics and imprint these techniques in my physical memory, I swim a mile (1800 yds) in 36 fifty yard intervals pausing for 20 breaths between each interval.
I enjoy my evenings in the pool and come home relaxed and very clean.

Posted 10/15/2008 10:06pm by Catskill Merino.
The Heritage Trail
The Heritage Trail
After tending the sheep at the farm in the morning, I spend some of the afternoon riding my Cannondale road bike on the paved-over tracks (now a trail for bikes & roller blades) of the Erie Railroad, originally laid in 1841, that ran from the village of Goshen to the Hudson River at Piermont. 
I ride a 16 mile course round trip; I push myself to ride it in less than an hour, recording my progress in a spreadsheet, measuring speed, cadence and heart rate in 4 laps, each lap measures 4 miles, with my handlebar-mounted wireless cyclocomputer. 
I ride from March when the trees redden with buds, through the humid green flush of July, until a day in November when snow flakes begin to gently fall through the gray barren branches.  And every October I'm sure that somewhere along my way I'll come upon Claude Monet at his easel.