What’s in my Swim Bag?

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I’ve been swimming pretty much all my life.  I grew up in swimming lessons, I lifeguarded and taught swimming for six years, I swam masters, and I swam in triathlons.  Though my love affair with swimming is a bit of a rollercoaster, I always end up back in the pool… But first, I have to pack my bag.  And that’s never an easy task.

What’s in my Swim Bag?

1. A suit (of course).  The longest lasting swim suits are made of a lot of polyester (check the tag).  Without it, chlorine will chew through your suit very quickly.  Always make sure you rinse it out in fresh water after swimming in a chlorinated pool!  I have a long torso, and long torso styles are few and far between, but this Nike style fits great (I think because the back is so open).

2. Flip flops.  So important if you want to avoid a brush with plantar’s warts. Trust me. Do not go to the pool without flip flops.

3. A swim camp.  Some pools require them, but they’re a lifesaver if you have long hair anyway.  I’m cheap so I just keep the free ones I get from triathlons, but they aren’t too pricey at Walmart.  Again, rinse with fresh water after, or they will get gunky.

4. Goggles. Baby shampoo can help stop them from fogging up.

5. Finis Swimp3– an underwater mp3 player.  I hesitate to recommend this because a) it’s a little buggy and b) you’ll never be able to go back to non-music swimming again.  Seriously, these revolutionized my swimming.  This particular brand is great because it works through bone conduction, so you don’t have to put ear buds in your ears (which I imagine would be brutal while swimming).

6. Two towels. I always need more than one.  Lucky people everywhere get free towels at their gym, but not me!

7. Pull buoy & flutter board.  I like drills because they break up an otherwise monotonous swim.  Some people also like flippers and hand paddles, but I just use whatever my pool provides.

8. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, face lotion.  I’m not normally someone with a long beauty routine but chlorine is an absolute monster on your hair and skin.  Rinse, cleanse, and hydrate after every swim. 

9. Hair brush.  To rip out those monster tangles.

10. Lululemon “sweaty unmentionables” bag.  My Lululemon gym bag came with great little bag (pictured above) that I can throw my semi-wet suit and goggles, etc. in for the walk home.  It stops everything else from getting wet.

 

That’s about it for me! Am I missing anything key?

What’s in your swim bag?

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Merrells are a Foot’s Best Friend

I have been through an arduous journey with shoes.  It took me years to find a pair that worked for me.  I have very flat feet and overpronate.  Years of figure skating in a high, tight boot left some of the muscles around my ankles underdeveloped, which meant that once I started running, my ankles started rolling.  I was always prescribed shoes with a big ol’ arch support, and I spent a couple years in and out of physical therapy. Then one day, after a 5 km fun run that took me 45 minutes to limp out, I gave up.

But of course, I didn’t give up for very long.  Thanks to some prodding from my mom, I decided to give barefoot shoes a try.  I didn’t ease into it. I bought the least soleful shoe could find– the ZemGear Ninja.  I started slow, and at no more than 3 km runs.  The calf DOMS were brutal, but I pushed through.

Eventually I needed something with a little more structure for longer runs, but I didn’t want to lose the minimalism of the show I had.  I learned to love the feeling of the ground under my shoe.  It kept me grounded, it stopped from rolling off the high heels of traditional shoes, and once I started lifting, I realized the great benefits of a zero-drop shoe while squatting and deadlifting.

Enter the Merrell Vapor Glove.  This shoe is incredible.  I have been through three different pairs of the wild color schemes, and I’m never looking back.  It has a little more structure than something like a Ninja, and a little more sole too– but I can still grip the ground and feel what I’m stepping on.  I use them for running, hiking, and lifting.  While an endurance runner may need something with a little more cush for long runs, I did hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim in these babies– so they have some staying power.  They just require some foot training.

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I love the zero drop, the lack of toe curl, and the super breathable mesh.  These shoes have saved my athletic life.  If you’re looking for something more minimal than the popular Nike Frees or New Balance Minimus, check out the Merrell Vapor Glove.

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