swim

Gym-Free Swimming Challenge

Monday I got home a little before noon. Michael was golfing with Charles on the way home from our camping trip so I had the day to do whatever I wanted. I unpacked, did laundry and then headed to my old pool. Being gym-free on swim days are stressful. I didn’t have any other options than to go to Mt. Scott Community Pool. It was where I started swimming to lose weight. It was where I worked really hard to lose over 100 pounds. I have very fond memories of Mt. Scott.


I also have some not so great memories of the place, which I remembered once I was there on Monday to swim. I arrived about 11:45 and was expecting it to be empty. I mean, it was the middle of the day on a work/school day. I paid the drop-in fee and got changed in the locker room. The pool wasn’t packed but it was busy. The whole pool was dedicated to lap swimming. Every lane had at least 2 people in it. I groaned inwardly and remembered what I disliked about community pools: sharing the lane when it was crowded.


I got in the fast lane with two other people already in it and they circle swam. I also remembered another thing I didn’t like about sharing a lane: everyone goes at a different pace. Even being in the fast lane with other fast swimmers, it’s so hard to find the right pacing. I had to slow down and sometimes stop in the middle of the lane because the guy in front of me wasn’t quite faster than me. I know it sounds petty to be annoyed with other swimmers in the lane but it really is hard to find swimmers who are evenly matched in pace. It’s hard to get a good workout when you have to stop a lot or slow to a breast stroke or dog paddle because you’ve caught up to the person in front of you.


Eventually one of the people in my lane left and we didn’t have to circle swim anymore. The rest of my swim was really enjoyable. It brought back fond memories of my time spent there. The pool at Mt. Scott really is a nice one.


By the time I was done with my 1.5 mile swim the lanes were all empty. Can you believe it? I guess I just picked the wrong time to go.


I relaxed in the hot tub and then took a shower. Where I remembered yet another thing I didn’t like about Mt. Scott: the showers. They are small and the water only stays on for about 15 seconds at a time before automatically shutting off.


You wouldn’t think that’s a big deal but it is when you’re in the middle of the shower and your water shuts off every 15 seconds. It’s these little things that remind me why I must have a gym membership somewhere.

Don’t let me discourage any Portlanders from using Mt. Scott, however. It suited my purposes just fine for 3 years. I used to work out in their small gym:


It had treadmills, ellipticals, weight machines and free weights. It was convenient to where I lived and in my price range. The pool is really nice, too. I definitely recommend Mt. Scott to anyone in the area looking for an affordable option. I just moved beyond this place and needed more in a gym.

Swim Stats:
Time: 57 minutes
Calories Burned: 400

Despite my minor annoyances, I was really glad I went and got in a swim session. I love swimming so much–it would be a really hard thing to give up. Until I figure out the gym thing I will probably drop-in to Mt. Scott for awhile.

The other part I disliked about swimming there: it took me two hours on Monday to swim. I had to drive to Mt. Scott, change, swim, sit in the hot tub, shower, dress, and drive home. Two hours? Two hours out of my life. It’s just not a convenient location to go to for me. 🙁

Monday night’s dinner was a quick and easy dinner. I didn’t feel like going big grocery shopping after camping all weekend. I bought a rotisserie chicken from the store and made us salads, complete with tomatoes from our garden.

It was a good, quick dinner when I really didn’t have much motivation to cook.

QUESTION: If you are a swimmer, how do you deal with pacing when sharing a lane with other people?

Wait, What Night is This?

I had to change my normal swim routine this week because of plans. Instead of swimming on Friday nights (which I love because it’s quiet and usually uncrowded) I went after work on Thursday. All day on Thursday I felt like it was Friday as a result. I had to remind myself it wasn’t Friday yet, and then I felt disgruntled. 😉

I received an email from a reader, Maia, that officially made my Thursday awesome:

“I have been reading your blog for about 9 months now, all throughout my own personal weight loss journey. I was focusing primarily on jogging to lose my weight but because of a bad mental blockage during a 10K I decided I needed to start doing other exercise. I had always wanted to swim, but it was because of your blog and your talking about your experiences with it and sharing tips, etc, that I  FINALLY got over my phobia over wearing a swim suit again (even after a 60 pound weight loss!) or venturing into the unknown territory, and got my butt to the gym pool. It’s been a couple of weeks now and I’m IN LOVE with it! So, I just wanted to thank you for helping me break through a wall and find something that I love.”

That made me SO happy! I am excited that my blog was able to inspire a reader to try swimming. I am also happy to see that Brie is growing to like swimming too! It’s catching! I love swimming and I think it’s the best exercise out there.

If you’re a new reader, how I lost 110 pounds was through swimming. I didn’t become a runner or a cyclist until much later in my journey. I swam three to four days a week. It was a slow start. I was nervous about being seen in a swimsuit at 250 pounds but I was determined to lose the weight and knew I had to just get over it.


I was really slow to start. I used to be a good swimmer as a teen. I was on the synchronized swimming team, I swam laps a lot. But I hadn’t been in a pool in years. I didn’t beat myself up though. I took it slow and swam within my limits–resting a lot. I eventually got faster. I didn’t have to rest as long, or as often, in between laps. I got better and more precise. I was SO happy the day that I swam 1/2 a mile without having to stop and rest. And then I was able to swim 1 mile without stopping or resting. Now? I swim 1.25-1.5 miles twice a week like it’s nothing. It just takes practice. 🙂

Thursday I had a pre-swim snack of plain Greek Yogurt with pineapple added to it. My swim was great. It was actually kind of nice to change up my normal routine, even though the pool was crowded for the water aerobics class that started at 6:30.


I swam just shy of 1.5 miles (100 lengths = 50 laps). I think 110 lengths in the pool is 1.5 miles. The water aerobics people were invading the pool so I had to call it quits.

Swim Stats:

Time: 56 minutes
Calories Burned: 409

After swimming I went home for a makeshift dinner of whatever we had leftover in the house. We both looked at the barren fridge and decided to go out! It was slim pickings.


We went to Portofino in Sellwood. I’ve been there a few times and always had delicious food. They had their bistro seats outside set up so Michael and I sat outside and enjoyed the cool evening.


I was famished from swimming so I partook in the bread and olive oil. Michael refrained since he’s still on the diet.


I’ve been craving scallops for about a week. As soon as I saw “Seafood Risotto” on the menu I knew that’s what I wanted! Shrimp, Scallops, Dungeness crab, Clams, Wine, Garlic, Herbs & Saffron Risotto. YUM!


It was amazing. The scallops were perfectly seared and crunchy, but soft on the inside. Perfect. I wish it had been all scallops instead of shrimp because 3 scallops just weren’t enough.


I ate half of the entree and saved the rest to take for lunch. I felt content and satisfied. My glass of Pinot Grigio went well with the seafood. It wasn’t a sweet wine.


It was a nice teaser for the coming summer. I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time dining outside! Preferably commuting there by bike!

QUESTION: Is your workout routine pretty ingrained or are the days flexible? What’s your favorite exercise?