Wednesday, February 28, 2007
There’s a breath of spring in the air, but it’s not yet March, so we’d best not get lulled into complacency. Houdini’s basking in the sunny window. And I guess I’ll just continue with the Laundry Marathon until it’s time to go to the pool!
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Preliminary results for the Ian Button Memorial Meet can be found here.
Based on how the meet went I'm even more conflicted about what to swim March 17. Maybe I should put some thought into whether I'm ready to give the 100 fly a shot instead of the 100 breast/free? (Of course, just because my arms felt surprisingly strong at the end of 50 metres, doesn't mean 100 will be any fun at all!) Entries are due March 7. I still have a little bit of time left to figure this out!
The MP3 thing is now sorted; I got a nice blue one at Staples for even less money, with a little help from my friend Lise. I took it on Saturday, and as I waited for a cab home I listened to the Kahuna, Iron Wil and Tri-Boomer as they got their geek on.
And today I present one of Houdini's new trainee sitters ... Miss Esther on her first meet and greet visit with the green girlie. (Can you guess where Esther found her fancy belts?) The picture can be enlarged with a click of the mouse.
Monday, February 26, 2007
To Pat, the coach on deck (who calls herself one of my Moms for good reason): thanks for calmness, evenness and just the right kind of encouragement and advice. (And congratulations on fine swimming despite that toothache! You truly rock!)
To Mike, one of my new teammates, who also took a beloved four legged family member for a final veterinary visit last week: thanks for truly understanding and commiserating, and for feeling for me as I did for you.
To Bill, a coach at Nepean Masters, for asking me why I wasn’t swimming the 800: that was the first real laugh I’d had in days! (And it was great to see you.)
To Muriel and James from Brockville (Thousand Islands Y Swim Masters), who are the same charming genuine people I knew when I was young, and who brought back good memories: what a treat to catch up with you. Way to represent! (My folks were just as thrilled to hear I'd seen you as I was to be able to give you each a hug!)
To my new teammates from Technosport for acceptance without question: it meant a lot. And the whole double arm back thing – what a revelation!
To the volunteers and officials who made it all possible: I know none of you are in it for the credit – but you sure deserve it.
To my bloggy pals, friends and neighbours: you can't know how meaningful your caring, support and encouragement is.
Mad props folks. All 'round!
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Even in warm-up I wasn’t sure if I was going to swim the 100 breast. If there’s an event where you are likely to cough up a lung, the 100 breast is only eclipsed by the 200 and followed immediately by the 50.
After warming up I had a discussion with the coach on deck, and we decided that the objective was to hit both walls with two hands at the same time on the same plane (i.e. not get dq’d) and keep the stroke long. Time would be unimportant. In fact, I had it in my head that under 1:50 would be a bonus. 2006 Worlds QT was 1:54.
I entered at 1:42, swam 1:43.something. Respectable. And then didn’t cool down because the nagging wimpy little cough would just not go away. So I coughed. For about 10 minutes. (Don’t be all cryfaced for days and try to swim a 100 breaststroke. I knew that before I went. So it wasn’t really news.)
Next up 50 fly. The ladies 50 fly was right after the 15 minute time out. I didn’t hear the announcement, and had to scoot to get onto the blocks on time. I entered at :45.0 – conveniently the Worlds 06 QT. I have swum about 42.0 in short course practice with a push start … but I wasn’t too sure how the arms would hold out over the long course event. I decided to breathe every 3. It is better for me to breathe less than more. I have good lung capacity, but not such happy lungs (especially after the leakfest that has been going on here lately). So if I can extend the time between breaths it is easier for me to breathe (one of the many reasons breaststroke = houghing and cacking). :39.81!! Woo hoo!!
Final event, 50 breast. I entered at :50. Possibly a little slow, but commensurate with the 100. I swam :46.something. Last year’s Worlds QT – :51.
So to recap … block starts, unfamiliar blocks, no problem. Good. Event performance … ecstatic with the 50 fly, pleased with the 50 breast, and happy to just get through the 100. And in an odd twist of fate (because there were gals older than I who went faster than I) I don't think there were any other women my age group swimming my events. So there is a possibility I won everything I swam. I didn't stay for the post-meet socializing, so I don't really know. They'll post the results on the web site in a few days and I'll put up the link.
The true up side may have been surprising people who hadn’t any clue I would be there. People I hadn’t seen in many years, but had known through swimming, and really enjoyed talking to again. So that last minute call to the cab company was also a good call.
But may I just say, the changing rooms were freezing, and most of the showers were trickles of icy water. It’ll save energy bills, but I go now to take a bath!
Friday, February 23, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
I feel very blessed to be a person with friends, good friends, of many ages and many walks in life. Today, as I was about to rush out the door to the pool the phone rang. Often I would just let the machine pick up, but today for no particular reason I grabbed it.
I know a wonderful couple who met in art school after the Second World War. He was studying architecture, she art. His education was as part of a program for ex-servicemen and women. He had been first a member of the Ordnance Survey, then a glider pilot. As a glider pilot he actually landed on a piece of land in France he had mapped in utmost secrecy while in the Ordnance Survey. On one mission he was badly injured, losing a leg. He became a POW, and after a time part of a POW exchange. I hold him in great esteem for many reasons.
It was his wife on the phone today, to let me know that his health has worsened again, and he is in hospital awaiting placement in a long term care facility, although his health has been tenuous enough that it may not happen. But he is well and capably cared for, and this is clearly a relief to her.
She will be moving from the assisted living apartment they are currently in to another apartment at the end of this month. It was so much more important to talk to her than it was to go to the pool.
It was a good call.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
I've been poking about with the idea for years now. The problem is, of course, I have trouble settling on something that doesn't have every single feature I want at the price I want to pay. So what did I want?
- FM tuner so I can finally divest myself of the casette/am-fm Walkman that stood me in good stead during the power outages of the ice storm and that summer blackout a few years ago (not that I have any casettes any more, but the radio's still good)
- Voice recorder so I can record lectures when I take classes, and I can get rid of the microcassette recorder I can't get new cassettes for any more (but that saw me through all the lectures associated with college horticulture classes)
- powered by a normal battery, so that I don't need to, say, take my laptop or fancy adaptors to Europe to charge my MP3 player (if I should go to Europe, which isn't all that likely)
- Idiot string (okay, neck strap)
Friday, February 16, 2007
I almost turned around and went home before getting on a bus last night. It was only -15, but the windchill took it closer to -30. Bitter. And the bus was late. 20 minutes of standing and I strongly considered bailing. Then … there in the distance was the bus! And although my transfer was almost instantaneous, I can assure you the trudge across campus was no fun either. If I’d had to take a shower I’m thinking I might have had chilblains in my toes. Naturally, though, once I was there it was worth the aggravation.
I’ve decided I’ll swim in lane 5 for a bit. After warm-up (400 free) it was suggested I lead the main set, but I declined and went second. At this point I am much more interested in making sure I pace well and don’t overdo things than leading. The main set was 15 x (50 easy, 50 hard, 10 seconds, 50 hard) – our lane was on 2:45. I didn’t boot it for the hard 50’s, instead I worked on increasing power in my pull. It was hard work, don’t get me wrong, but a comfortable pace for me. At the end of the set the camaraderie in the lane started to show. I told the young lady who went first what a great job she did leading the set. She grinned from ear to ear.
The next set in our lane was 6 x 100 choice (quality) on 2:30. I chose fly-free-breast-free. After the first 100 I was promoted to lane leader. (According to some my fly is “wicked”. I told my cohorts that was nice of them to say, but it deteriorates pretty quickly after a 25.) High fives all around after the set. And may I just say that I didn’t need to bring my water bottle yesterday. I took on more pool water than I have in years!
After practice Duane weighed in on the Quebec vs. Winnipeg debate and asked me not to rule out Quebec City …
Thursday, February 15, 2007
So here's my challenge for March:
Arthur Inglis Invitational, March 17, Short Course Metres
Event Order (7:45 warm-up, 8:30 start, 11:00 finish)
200 Choice Relay
Bearing in mind that I'm not a freestyler, my first thought was to swim the 50 fly, 100 breast, 100 free. My second thought was to have a bit more fun with it and swim 50 fly, 50 free, and 100 free, as my plan next weekend is to swim (long course) 50 fly, 100 breast and 50 breast at the Ian Button Memorial Meet.
Nationals are in Winnipeg May 18th -21st. There will be one more local meet (May 5th, event order not yet available) prior to Nationals. I want to do one away meet this year, and the one Technosport is peaking for is not at a particulalry good time for me. If I can swing pet sitting, I'd rather go to IMAZ (IronMan Arizona) and cheer than go to Quebec for their provincial championships. Here's the challenge for Winnipeg:
Friday May 18, 2007
200 Individual Medley
4x100 Medley Relay (Mixed)
4x100 Medley Relay
Saturday May 19, 2007
400 Freestyle (Women)
400 Individual Medley (Men)
4x50 Medley Relay(Mixed)
4x50 Freestyle Relay
Sunday May 20, 2007
400 Individual Medley (Women)
400 Freestyle (Men)
100 Individual Medley
4x50 Free Relay (Mixed)
4x50 Medley Relay
Monday May 21, 2007
Break / Warm-up
4x100 Freestyle Relay
4x100 Freestyle Relay (Mixed)
Breaks of 30 minutes for officials will be taken each day with timing subject to change.
I haven't yet committed to the meet, but here's what I'm thinking. Skip Friday. Saturday swim the 50 free (unless I decide in the next week or so that I can actually whip myself into good enough shape to swim a decent 100 fly). Sunday 100 IM, 100 breast. Monday 50 breast.
So this is your chance to weigh in kids. What do you think?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
The panel conceals a cable manager for neatness ... and if you squint you can probably see the shelf for "components".
Now, how you keep track of all the remotes is completely up to you!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
The Rideau Canal, 7.8 km of skating rink, is now completely open for business. Which is good, because it is weekend #2 of Winterlude!
According to the birding column in our local paper today, the horned larks are back. Spring = Around the corner!!! (Yes, I know. The first of the migratory birds. It's a long way around the corner. But nevertheless …)
Gotta Run at the local CBC station had 565 entries to join team leader Lucy van Oldenbarneveld in the half mary on Race Weekend here in the Nation’s Capital. For you tri-junkies, the 12 selected team members will be coached by Rick Hellard. Those of us who are at practice on Thursday nights, or who live in places other than Ottawa can view the weekly segments online here.
Friday, February 09, 2007
The plan (subject to modification) is training with the team 1 practice a week for 4 – 6 weeks. Then we’ll look at whether or not that’s enough, or if we should add Saturday mornings. For those of you following along at home, the main set was 5 x (3 x 100 on 1:40) :30 between sets. I swam in lane 5 because lane 6 had 7 people in it. The big boys did 6 on 1:20. The next set was X x 100 IM (I led, and our lane did 5 on 2:15).
As I told Duane last night, an equal consideration to the practice itself is getting back and forth. One of the things that is difficult for me is standing. After practice I need to trot across campus to the bus stop … and stand. Then walk through the mall to another bus stop and stand. This brings me to last night's "Adventures with OC Transpo" anecdote.
While I was on the number 2 bus (oddly enough also the second in my odyssey home), Russell, a lane swim buddy of mine got on and sat across from me. So, naturally, we were talking swimming. A large (in the tall and big sense of large) woman had chosen the first seat on the bus, two seats away from me.
Suddenly (and it did feel completely out of the blue) she yelled at me and asked what the h*ll I was saying to her. I told her I was just talking to my friend. Then, pretty much at the top of her lungs she accused me of looking at her. It took a bit but she finally understood my explanation: I was looking to see where the bus was so I could get off at my stop. The situation defused just fine, but it seemed awfully dicey at the time. Both Russell and I were completely convinced she was going to come after me!
On a completely unrelated but nevertheless interesting sporty blog note, you can stop by Simon Whitfield’s blog and see what Reuters is reporting about Olympic blogging. (A short bio of Simon can be found here.)
P.S. George reports that you shouldn't let the sunshine and -16 on the weather channel icon fool you. There's a stiff breeze. Feels like -27. Not so good for cats ....
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
Somehow, I missed the teensy little oval in an innocuous colour on the label that said “new fragrance”.
I’m one of those highly allergic people. This winter I’ve been at war with my sinuses. Yesterday, in a reaction to said new fragrance, they staged a coup. They revolted and filled up at what felt like lightspeed. I sneezed. My low grade headache quickly escalated. And then, adding to it all, I failed to sleep more than 30 minutes at a time last night.
Still with the offending headache this morning, a good friend of mine helped me venture out in the weather (-39 with windchill) and hunt and gather tins and meds for George - and replace the offending detergent with Sunlight. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that! (George, too, as he had no intention of venturing outdoors.)
So, that said, I was mentally prepared for a less than perfect outing to the pool at noon. And you know what? It was just brilliant!!!
Twice or three times a week I swim and work with my former physiotherapist France, who is back in the pool after the birth of her daughter 6 weeks ago. Our pool outings started a year and a half ago after she injured her ankle and couldn’t run or play soccer until it healed. Then 50 metres was hard work for her. She has worked diligently, learned to give up noseplugs, found goggles that work for her, and has come to truly enjoy the time she spends in the pool. Even if I hadn’t had a good swim today, I would have come out of the pool on an incredible high.
At the end of her workout (that totalled 900 metres), we worked on fine tuning her head action when she breathes.
Mad props to France! She swam six 25’s of the most beautiful and graceful freestyle she has ever swum! Her elbows were always higher than her hands, she had wonderful position in the water, and she was bilateral breathing all the way. I came out on a high so excited for her it wouldn’t have mattered how I swam.
As it turns out, I swam just fine, and my sinuses are happier now than before I went. Not happy, mind, but happier ...
Sunday, February 04, 2007
- Best shout-out in history!!! Okay, at least in the very short history of this particular blog. The White Salamander says: I got my butt kicked by a girl! (Again, many thanks. You absolutely made my weekend!)
- Very, very cool lamp over Luxist. (Furniture you can play with!)
- I promised I’d report back to Rebecca about my Valentine’s gift to me. (Sorry Joe, I think it just might be the chick gear pictured right! But I must say I enjoyed the fashion highlights in your post today.) It is especially apropos after all the purse discussion at Rebecca's blog The Space Between My Peers.
- TriMama's working on Not Racing For a Cure ... as I understand it the concept is that people don't enter a race and donate their entry fee to charity.
- Better than the Stupour Bowl (at least in my world) ... head on over to Comm's blog and check in on his updates from Vegas (where it's nice and balmy compared to here).
- Wind chill warning tonight as parts of Eastern Ontario will dip down to what will feel like minus 40 (which conveniently is the place on the scale where degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius see eye to eye).
Saturday, February 03, 2007
- becomes vaguely uncomfortable when nobody is there to take tickets
- becomes more uncomfortable when the emcee asks pillars of the Centre to stand when they hear their names read and most aren’t there
- flat out squirms in her seat when the music to the opening act fails and the emcee asks the belly dancer to do some moves in a music free environment
- hopes the hip hop performers don’t understand that the smile on her face is a reflection of her outstanding ability to stifle paroxysms of laughter; she hopes they’ll chalk it up to enjoyment of the performance (certainly nothing to do with the led lights on the blinding white sneakers either)
- understands the sum total of “Colt 45”, “pimp”, something about gangs and a blood bath, semi-rhythmic groaning noises, from the lyrics
- learns from the emcee that “children are still close to the hole in the universe” (okay, maybe she meant “whole”, but all Wendy could think of is Wile E. Coyote’s portable holes manufactured by Acme and how useful they might have been at that moment)
- learns that closing remarks from the High Commissioner of an African Country = random stream of consciousness words set to the piano stylings of a choirmaster effectively commanded to play while the HC addresses the audience
- learns that her history studies have betrayed her and apparently there was a time in human history when all the people on the African continent lived together in unity and oneness
- also learns she can feel positive about attending the worst fundraising event of her life because the company of an old friend and her sister was good ... and in fact, she hasn’t laughed that hard in a while
Acme catalogue available at Amazon.com
Friday, February 02, 2007
There comes a time when it is very difficult to make progress on your own. When no matter how knowledgeable you might be about your sport, you need a coach to provide you with feedback. Or you need other people to push you. Sometimes just the camaraderie can bring you further than you otherwise thought possible. You might need to chase the big boys to ramp up your speed (or if you are really quick you might need to be chased). And sometimes you have something to contribute to a group ...
It took a half hour from my front door to the University locker room. (It took longer to get home. Workout is 6:00 - 7:00. Uncharacteristically as I traipsed through the mall where I transfer buses, the call of Burger King was very loud! I got home around 8:00.) But sandwiched in the middle was a workout in lane with 5 people helping each other out. Not with words of encouragement, unless you count confirmation of the number of repeats swum. But by being. By concentrating, and focusing, and having a common goal. After the Swim Camp Experience, Duane had the good sense to put me in a lane where I didn’t have to lead. In fact, I started at the back, and ended up in the middle.
I don’t usually post my workouts here – instead there’s a link in my sidebar that takes you to what I’ve been up to. But this one does deserve a bit more. The workout gets posted set by set on the white board, with the fastest lane’s times, and then the repeat times are modified verbally as Duane works his way from lane 8 down to lane 1.
After the warm-up, in lane 6 our main set was 4 x (4 x 100 IM on 2:15) 30 seconds between sets. (Lane 8 swam more repeats on 2:00.) Not a set I would have assigned myself, but also one not particularly conducive to swimming in a lane swim situation. Because Wendy = Backstroke Avoidance I swam catch-up free for the backstroke leg instead. IM is the four competitive strokes in the following order: fly, back, breast, free. I started last in the lane, and by the final set was swimming third. I gave myself permission to swim fly drills, yet I swam them all full fly. But here’s the important bit – I was also swimming comfortably between 1:45 and 1:50. Not that I wasn’t working.
Aside: Lane 8 has its own lane line. Then there are lane ropes between lane 6 and 5, between 3 and 2 ... so when you've got a bunch of people swimming up the middle with no rope, it gets a little choppy. Especially when you're swimming fly! We swam in the shallow end (which is deeper than my home pool, and I found myself hopping around between repeats – oh the trials of being 5' tall!). It's the far end in the picture above. The bulkhead was set up at 25 metres, and the net was down as the deep end was full of teenage water polo players.
There was a sprint set that followed: 6 x 50 your choice fast on 1:00, 4 x 50 easy on 1:00. I chose to make it 4 x 50 easy on 1:00 and call it a day.
When I got out of the water the Duane helped me up. He smiled and said he was proud of the way I swam. He told me my strokes looked long and smooth and he could see I was concentrating on what I was doing. (He didn’t have to tell me that the fly looked a little sloppy at the end of some of those 25’s. I knew that.) We talked about the consistency of my holding times. (I'm no Kim, Joe, but I was pleasantly surprised with the workout.) We discussed the events I had chosen for the Winterlude meet, the coach that will be on deck. So that’s what for!
I really earned the spinach and cheese cannelloni in vegetable sauce that was waiting for me at home! And the cookies, too ...
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Nor do I want an adorable Moppel. (Hat tip: Shiny, Shiny.) But I confess, if I had a desktop machine, I suspect I would!