My Early Morning Swim in the Detroit River AND a Visit to the Largest Farmers Market I’ve Seen

I had a good, sweaty time taking my friend Geoff’s High Octane class last week, so when he invited me to another workout, I jumped at the chance. All I had to do was show up at Belle Isle Beach on Saturday morning at 8am. Wait, what?

dip-my-toes-in-the-water

In addition to teaching at Detroit Body Garage and cooking up healthy meals at Better Woodman, Geoff is also a coach with Be Bold Crew, a Detroit-based endurance training program that helps athletes prep for triathlons, long distance running or cycling events, and more. This morning was their open water swim training session, in the Detroit River.

I knew exactly where to go, because I ran past the Belle Isle Beach two weekends prior during the Escape to Belle Isle 10K race and, by the way, Detroit looked striking in the early morning light.

Detroit-skyline-from-belle-isle

I grew up on swim teams, but I don’t have tons of open water experience. I did a 1.2-mile open water swim race four years ago in the Pacific Ocean, and since then, I think I’ve only gone open water swimming while on vacation in Cozumel.

Open water swimming is a whole different animal, because there are currents and waves and it’s easy to get off-course, especially if you have shitty long-distance vision, like I do without my glasses.

The swim area was marked off by buoys, way out in the water, and it was a big swim area. But the river was shallow, and warmer than I was expecting, and I always felt in control and safe.

Geoff had us start by swimming three big squares out and around the buoys and back. Can you see the buoys? (Hint: The arrow is pointing at one. And there are two more.)

Detroit-River-bouy

Then we swam upriver, along the buoys. There were probably 12-15 of them, and Geoff had previously measured that the total distance was 525 yards. Swimming upriver and back downriver equaled 1,050 yards. Geoff snapped a photo of me, which reminds me of that famous Loch Ness monster photo:

david-swimming-detroit-river

I swam one more time out to a buoy and back and the hour-long session was over. It felt great, and it was just what I needed: swimming is the perfect exercise for a foot that’s on a mend. Thanks for the workout, Geoff!

geoffrey-david-belle-isle-beach

My morning wasn’t over, though. From there, I drove 10 minutes and met my friends Debbie and Eric, and their son Quinten, at the largest farmers market I’ve ever been to.

eastern-market-detroit-exterior-sign

Eastern Market has been serving Detroit since 1841. That’s 175 years! The entire Eastern Market district covers 43 acres, with most of the activity centered around a series of buildings that stretch a few blocks. 45,000 people shop there every Saturday. Most of the vendors set up in big cavernous buildings called sheds. This is one of them…

eastern-market-interior-shed

…and there’s two more just like it, plus more vendors along the walkways between the sheds. There’s table after table with all sorts of locally-grown produce…

veggies-eastern-market

…but there’s lots of other stuff, too: meat counters, baked goods, prepared foods, gourmet foods. There’s over 150 vendors total. Look – a local celebrity helped fund a renovation!

kid-rock-community-kitchens-eastern-market

I found all sorts of great food, like an Amish variety of onion called a candy onion (it’s apparently the sweetest onion ever)…

candy-onion

…the largest zucchini I’ve ever seen (and it only cost me one dollar!)…

giant-zucchini-eastern-market

…and an eggplant with a weiner! (I didn’t buy it, but I was tempted.)

eggplant-weiner

We took a break after walking around for an hour and munched on cucumbers.

david-cucumber-eastern-market

I made out like a bandit. Some staples, like tomatoes and melon, plus some new-to-me items, like the candy onion and something called kohlrabi.

eastern-market-produce-haul

I didn’t waste any time using all these goodies, either. Come back for my next post, which will be a veggie-centric recipe!

Keep it up, David!

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