Saturday, March 31, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
Like TriGreyhound, I was lane leader last night. Besides being at the front of the line and showing the way by example, lane leaders are expected to keep track of things, sticking to the repeat time, counting both the number of lengths and the number of repeats completed. It's a good thing you don't need to lead the lane in warm-up, because I promptly lost focus and lost count! Luckily for the rest of the workout I didn't need to count higher than 8!
Onyx has returned today. He took a look at Houdini while she was basking in the window today. But from a safe vantage point. The floor.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Beautifully filmed with underwater scenes of stunning beauty primarily in the waters off Costa Rica and the Galapagos, the movie debunks many commonly held notions about sharks, and puts them in ecological context for the viewer. But it also depicts in detail the practices of long line fishing and finning. It is as disturbing as it is beautiful. The production notes found here provide you with an excellent overview. It is well worth seeing.
My own preference in documentaries leans to a slightly more science or fact based film. I’ll admit it, I’m a geek. I like timelines and explanations. If sharks have two more senses than people, what are they? Electrosense. And what other?
Ideally this movie will help people to question our notions of sharks, and our motives in their plunder. It is a reminder of the fragility of our world, of the damage we do to it, and of the majesty of its creatures. I wanted to swim with the sharks. And the remoras, and the rays, the various pipefish, and of course the iguanas …
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
The excitement is building! Tapers are getting underway. Mishele, Comm's, Brent, Myles -- tri-bloggers I follow will be "toeing the line". And Nytro and IronBenny will be part of the cheering section as their pal John is also doing IMAZ. Yes, folks, this is lookin' better and better! (As if a week in the desert didn't sound good already. Especially with shopping tips from the White Salamander.)
Oh, and spring is in the air, too! Why, we even had thunderstorms today! (And the resident groundhog scampered across the back 40.) So if I do toddle up to the drug store (although I might wait till tomorrow), I might break in that new umbrella ...
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I’m what I like to think of as a “planner/packer”. Even before the airlines gave us limits, I transferred shampoo and conditioner into small bottles to conserve space. I try to take what I’ll need in the smallest possible container. If at all possible, I go with only a carry on bag (and a big purse). I try to remember that if there’s something I suddenly need, I can probably buy it there. So, to that end, today I went umbrella shopping. Umbrella shopping, you say? To go to the desert? Well, you can use them for shade, too. And if I’m not prepared in advance, the deluge will likely be Biblical in proportions. Plus, Comm’s and his training partner contended with a thunderstorm on Friday …
I met Ann for a schwarma at Tasha’s, so we were good and ready for the blitz. I tend to shop with close to military precision. I know what I’m looking for, and I try to focus. So … if it hadn’t been for the fact that I openly admitted to Rebecca at The Space Between My Peers the other day that I have been searching for red patent shoes for about a year, it might have surprised me that I got just a teensy bit sidetracked from the whole umbrella thing. They won’t take up much suitcase space, have a little one inch wedge heel, and are suitable for wearing out for dinner.
Oh … and I got an umbrella. It folds down to 5” x 2” x .5”, and has an ultra light aluminum frame. And polka dots …
Friday, March 23, 2007
I see the appeal!!!! The quarter million dollar price tag is more than a bit intimidating though. Hat tip: Luxist! They call it a rocket belt, manufactured by TAM. The company's site has a video of it "in flight" on this page. (I hope it's more successful than Wile E.'s!)
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Despite lying on my belly for an hour at physio being the Hotpack Queen, including one on the Offending Hamstring, on the bus on the way to practice I felt it start to tighten. By the end of the first set of three hundreds, I pretty much couldn't turn without feeling things getting iffier and iffier. So I changed lanes and stopped turning.
KD and I did a little investigative work today, trying to see if there's something we can do to increase my ability to manage open turns (particularly the ones that require two hand touches). KD thinks because of the big difference in flexibility from one side to the other it would be better for me to turn leaning right. (Among other things, I have a psoas that doesn't love me. I've got more scar tissue in my left butt than we could ever begin to itemize.) Because we did that investigation, I think, my right side has joined the revolt and my IT band and quad are on strike.
So tomorrow, I think just a nice light swim. And maybe even a dunk in the hot tub.
On a happy and uplifting note, one of my former physios watched my 50 fly video. Her comment, "How do you do that with a fused pelvis?"
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The pool wasn't crowded, Zara was sleeping, so we took a look at my breaststroke/butterfly turns. How lucky am I to have a physiotherapist who can put her goggles on and watch exactly what is happening under the water?
Breaststroke and butterfly are symmetrical strokes. To turn you touch the wall with two hands at the same time, basically on the same plane. Unlike a flip turn, you can't avoid being close to the wall. So you touch, swivel, twist and push off the wall so that once again your feet are together (a flutter kick off the wall will get you disqualified) and your hands are on the same plane.
I've had difficulty identifying exactly what the problem is (see the great Swim Camp debaucle here and here) that can put me in danger of not being able to walk. I've modified my strokes (breaststroke, freestyle and butterfly, & I avoid backstroke like the plague) and flip turns to try to keep from irritating my back/sacroiliac joint. I've known since I got back in the water that flip turns are much better for me than open turns. I try not to flip close to the wall, and I don't push off, I kind of drift off the wall. When my back is iffy, and you're watching my flip turns, you'll see I'm only hitting the wall with my right foot. But I haven't known the physiology of what's happening.
France says the problem is neurological. That would also explain the mysterious and instant hamstring tightening when doing something like, say, stepping up onto the blocks. So one of the goals (that I've clearly intuitively understood) is to stay away from sudden/explosive motions. France feels that pushing off the wall with flat feet will exacerbate things, so next time 'round I'm going to try the "high heeled shoes" foot position. Another option is to try to push off right foot only.
Hopefully, in time, turn about will be fair play!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
The veterinary clinic called. There was a problem with Houdini’s blood sample – apparently not enough serum to run it. In an instant I had a stress headache. The blood work was an annual check of levels, not an urgent issue. Dragging her back involves recruiting a driver on a busy week for me. Only time slots he has open are across the city at rush hour on Friday, or during my physio appointment. Daren is on 10 days holidays after his shift Friday. Then we end up a week before my trip. Do I want to stress her then? Back to the Nothing Is Ever Simple or Easy theme in my life!
This afternoon I went to a so called open public meeting on the streetscaping and sewer rehabilitation of Preston Street (the main drag half a block from my house). Let me tell you people, there’s not much that peeves me more than a “public meeting” that is held in an inaccessible location. One step to the door. Another step up through the door. Then a short flight of stairs.
Like Nytro, but for completely different reasons, my hormones are all in a twist. It’s really not a good idea to make me cranky. And the idea of turning the newly minted Plouffe Park (beside the pool) into a sunken park to accommodate a once a centenary flooding event had me cranky to begin with.
Ideally, tomorrow will be a better day!
Monday, March 19, 2007
She weighs 2.9 kilos. She’s growing (as evidenced by the shed she is in the midst of), although Daren noted that she’s mourning George. Further evidence she’s mellowing with age? When he took blood he didn’t get a tail whip! (He pointed out he usually gets a smack in the face.)
My conversations with Daren tend to be all over the map. Part of today’s discussion was about an interesting case he had last month. Gator Meets Kong. (Yes, I’m a herp geek. I look over the exotic vet forum every so often. It has pictures, x-rays, ultra-sounds and/or short histories of unusual cases. But I hadn’t seen this one.) An alligator swallowed a kong (one of those dog toys). To get it out, the gator was anaesthetized, and Daren used a length of PVC pipe to reach through, grab the kong, and remove it. You can see from the size of the kong on the x-rays it wasn’t a teeny little gator, either. All in a day’s work!
We discussed my upcoming trip, and the new Houdini sitters. Daren emphasized that if they have any problems or questions they should call him. He’d rather have a call and be able to tell them something’s just fine than have any worrying going on. (Did I mention recently how wonderful he is?)
Our lift was an old friend I have been trying to get together with for some time. So after we installed Houdini in her happy place, MA and I went out for lunch. We tried Chaba Thai on Rochester the “sister restaurant” to my favorite Nokham Thai. It didn’t disappoint!
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Nice weekend for shout outs. Duane gave Vincent a little e-press, and the fabulous Bling Blogstress is back! She gave me a little St. Pat’s shout, so for those who like their green things shiny, pop over and catch a glimpse of some tsavorite goodness.
Speaking of green things, tomorrow is Houdini’s annual – always an exciting event. She is really not too fussy on being shoved in the carrier, stuffed in the car, and transported to the v-e-t’s. Hers is a peach, and Dr. Auger’s great with the exotics. So naturally, we have to go across the city to see him!
Today we bring you a look at the beneficiary of George’s remaining kibble. I call him Onyx. Miss Emma calls him Cutie. And he is. But he can’t stay. He’s a tom. And the need to mark his territory is strong. I can’t supervise him constantly, nor can I have him spraying in the house. So he comes in for short manageable chunks of time – to eat or be brushed. And hopefully in short order a Coalition of Willing (Neighbours) will get him to the Humane Society where they can look after him and ensure he gets fixed.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
For those of you who know me well, this may come as a complete surprise. Today I listened to my body. When it hurt, I stopped. And I actually feel pretty good about stopping (also a complete surprise). Because I made a conscious decision to DQ in the last 25 of 100 fly this morning and switched to freestyle, rather than get myself into serious trouble. That’s not to say I’m happy with the result – because I’m not. But I’m not worried either. I talked to the coach afterwards, and we’re both going to put some thought into how to manage butterfly turns. And that’s a good thing. (Because we all know I won’t be satisfied with the “I can only do a 50 fly” answer.)
I will never not swim injured. So a big part of the game for me is not exacerbating the injuries I live with. What I learned today:
- the blocks at Ottawa U are harder for me to manage than the blocks at the Sportsplex or Plante (and if the starter tells you to stand down, and you tell him you can’t he won’t make you – saying no, even nicely, to an official isn’t something I’ve actually done before)
- it’s a triumph for me to do a block start, so the fact that I’m a metre behind on the start is really a bonus, because I’d be more than a metre behind if I dove from the side or did a push start
- it’s not the fly that’s the problem – Coach Duane says it’s the twisting on the turns that’s the issue for me (I guess we’ll see what Dr. Don has to say on the 4th)
- if I’m not careful I could turn into a freestyler! ;-)
At today’s meet in this order, I swam a :40.low 50 fly (turns suck – I swam :39.8 long course 3 weeks ago), a 50 free I was really happy with at :36.8 (2006 Worlds qualifying time was :39.5 long course), and DQ’d the 100 fly. I now have a hamstring that is too tight and a rock instead of a left groin. But I could get out of the pool and walk, stand in the shower, and take the bus home. So overall I’m feelin’ pretty good about today.
And on extraordinarily happy note, I ran into another old friend this morning! The regular locker room entrance wasn't open bright and early, so we enter through a side gallery, take off our boots, go downstairs, and traipse along the deck carrying boots and gear to enter the locker rooms from the pool. So I was sitting taking off my still somewhat snowy boots (it started snowing last night and is still going) and there, right in front of me was Leslie C from the old days at the Y! She had a friend swimming! So the competition began with a wonderful hug!
After the meet in the lobby, I joined Leslie and Duane for a reminiscing session. Duane and Leslie go back 41 years they figure ... I've only known them 37 going on 38! What an absolute treat that was!
Friday, March 16, 2007
Speaking of Vincent, he deserves a huge shout-out. He’s doing a 100 kilometre swim challenge over ten days in April to support the Arthritis Society. Vincent knows something about arthritis. He also knows something about determination, taking charge of your life, and working towards better health through fitness. Starting his swimming journey at 410 pounds and swimming dog paddle, Vincent is such a great role model for so many of us. Visit his profile on the Masters Swimming Canada website to learn a bit more about him.
At the end of the workout, I took a brief survey. Sneaking my hand into the air, I asked my lanemates, “How many people had a toe cramp this practice?” Everyone else put their hands up, too! I knew two people had cramps that caused them to skip a 50, and I knew I had one during the last set, but that we all did certainly said something! For me, it was about stroke switching. Fly, breast and free. They all involve different foot positioning. We swam 2500 metres in an hour, so today was just a little easy swimming with France. (And I’m still reserving the right to scratch that 100 fly.)
In other notes, the event order is up for the last local meet of the season on May 5th.
- 400 Choice
- 100 Back
- 100 Fly
- 200 Breast
- 50 Free
- 200 Back
- 100 Breast
- 200 IM
- 100 Free
- 200 Fly
- 200 Choice Relay
Just for fun, what do you think I should swim? Vote early, vote often … we'll see if we're thinking along the same lines!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Yesterday afternoon I walked over to the pool with Miss Emma and her mom in the pouring rain. Emma did a good deal of ring fetching from the bottom of the kiddie pool. She and I set up courses for each other involving underwater turns. And we did some quality splashing about. After some coaching, I passed my swimming lesson. Then off to the big pool for some serious swimming. Emma did 54 strokes of back crawl in 4 goes. Impressive! And on our walk home, Emma invited me over for tea and cookies. Bonus!
We’re back to more seasonal temperatures for a bit, but no worries. With daylight savings and the disappearing snow cover, it is a given that spring is on its way!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I'm to arrive in Vegas at 11:05 April 9th. At which point I proceed to ... Bellagio!!!!! (In case the punctutation didn't give it away, that would be "take your breath away excited" in my book.)
Oh, please, please, please may there be time and energy enough to press my nose against the glass at Fred Leighton, Tiffany's, Bottega Veneta and Hermes ...
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
April 10, we proceed to Bullhead City, Arizona, meet up with our Uncle and hang out.
Then, at a time to be named later, possibly April 12, go on to Phoenix. Why Phoenix? Besides the tantalizing possibility of meeting up with the former Across the Road Gang? Brent’s doing IronMan Arizona April 15th. Hopefully, we’ll get to see some of the bloggers real life and in person that we’ve been following for some time, too. And I can test my ability to cheer like a crazy person.
On April 17th we’ll head back to our respective home bases. And that's pretty much the plan. Brilliant, no? (I sure hope so since I bought my tickets yesterday!)
Monday, March 12, 2007
In truth, I've known him since he was hours old. (The flash washed out his eyes a bit, but he was a reluctant subject.) I knew his late mother when she was a stray. (She only tamed up when she was with kittens.) She moved in two doors over from George, and throughout the rest of their lives they were good friends.
He has great affection for George’s comb, although he also has keen interest in cords, something that has to be actively discouraged. (Inspections that include biting my modem cable are frowned upon.)
Houdini hasn’t seen him, but she knows he’s here. But by the time she’s bathed and ready to start her day, Nathan will have taken his leave …
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Miss Houdini doesn’t much care for chocolate or oranges, but loves greens, some flowers and some fruits. Last night took her green bean baby food from her new sitter, and was as gentle as could be when her newfound friend took her off the ramp and placed her up on her perch. Miss Esther and I watched with glee! Iguana wrangling 101: check!!! (In fairness to the green girlie, she really required no wrangling at all, and completely deserved her watermelon treat before lights out.) Did I mention Miss Esther and her Mom are also a treat? It is so exciting to have someone tell you what a great opportunity it is to have her daughter hang out with your iguana!
We had freezing rain this morning, the Environment Canada warning lifted just before 1:00. So I weighed the benefits going out. I decided to salt the steps, and see what it was like. I slipped while salting my next door neighbour’s steps. No falling, just jarring. So I decided to stay home till supper time, and let my fingers do the walking instead of risking life or limb or some combination of the two. More on my virtual shopping excursion later ...
Friday, March 09, 2007
On the walk home from the bus I encountered a brave bunny on the snow in front of a house on Preston Street. Not only was it more than brisk outside, but I was remarkably close to it. Then I saw the ginormous carrot a couple of feet from the bunny. I suspect the bunny wasn’t really that brave – just highly motivated! Or maybe I just looked all bedraggled and non-threatening ...
In the Things I’ve Learned Lately file: tote more than one pair of glasses to more than just the movies & theatre. When you wear headphones and a hat with ear flaps the glasses just don’t stay put. Gazing through the wrong part of the bifocals just isn’t helpful!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
So, when you are having one of those days, and you are offered Harvey's burgers and fries as a goodbye lunch to one of your favorite people at the physio clinic, you might jump at the opportunity. Note to self: Do not, under any circumstances eat a Harvey burger on a day you plan to swim a hard workout. The benefits of Alka-Seltzer notwithstanding. Sara, you will be missed!
I also appear to be going through physiotherapists at a record pace. My current physio, KD, will also be leaving the clinic in short order. A word a little stronger than "phooey" comes to mind!!
For tonight's workout, I led lane 4. Lanes 4 & 5 went on the same pace, and lane 4 was less crowded. For those following along at home, the workout is here. The 25's fly were really on the ragged side. As soon as I break stroke I lose the rhthym, particularly because my kick is minimal. I hate to clip anyone, so I break stroke to avoid it. Ah, well, all in a day's workout!
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
- No more unattached results for this kid! Henceforth you can put the call letters TECH after my name. The MSO (Masters Swimming Ontario) registrar sent me an email saying I could “consider it done”. So I’m officially part of the Technosport team. (In the foreseeable future I might even be cajoled into swimming a relay.)
- I’m trying desperately not to join Comm’s & family, GeekGirl and the White Salamander on the too sick to train roster. At the moment I can certify the location of some of my sinuses. We’ll see how it goes! (Conveniently I have a regularly scheduled visit with Dr. Susan today!)
- Effing cold out this morning!!! -25 C, but with windchill at this point -38 C! Our friend and Elm Street neighbour A, who puts on great teas and blogs in Haiku, said this morning:
After my porridge
and cocoa, off to the pool!
Shall I swim, or skate?
But at least it’s sunny, right? (For those of you unaccustomed to cold climes -40 is where the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales see eye to eye.)
- Mom mentioned a few times how "cold it is here" when we were on the phone last night. I told her it was difficult for me to be sympathetic, being that she's in Florida!!!!
- For reasons unknown the garbage men failed to collect the contents of my blue box. I called at noon yesterday, spent ten minutes on hold, and was then asked “did you do something wrong?” by the city staff person. (So not amused. I’m positively obsessive-compulsive about recycling.) I was then assured that someone would be back to pick it up. Dashing out to put things in it in this morning was not helping me stay happy and upbeat!
- I have been derelict in not mentioning Spokane Al's wonderful "Tri-Bloggie" post of March first. Al, you're a gentleman and a scholar! (And thanks for your kind words.)
Monday, March 05, 2007
For those of you tri-bloggers (Duane, Tri-Mama) who’ve been after me to see the underwater swimming footage, small steps of progress have been made. It’s now on DVD (thanks DAK!) and in my possession. The next trick will be to either find someone who can convert it to an avi or mpeg file for me, or to find safe and free (or next to free) software to download. Again, folks, I expect this will take time. In these types of initiatives I am definitely the tortoise not the hare!
I think I may have decided on my events for the 17th: 50 fly, 50 free, 100 fly. Although I confess, the white-out bottle will be kept handy till the 4:00 post when I’ll mail my cheque!
Today, instead of a swim, France and Zara and I are hoping to go for lunch! (I will either do pulleys or have a short swim later in the day.)
Here's a little something for the birders out there, or for those who just like tracking things, this year’s Ruby Throated Hummingbird migration can be tracked and sightings reported here.
And for those who'd like to catch up on my brother's recent travel (mis)adventures, stop by and see him here!
Saturday, March 03, 2007
But today there are sunny window moments for the green girlie. There was a picture of one of her distant Costa Rican cousins in today's newspaper (taken by Citizen photographer Rod MacIvor). If you'd like some rainforest images (including more nice iguana shots and a cute little tree frog), stop by his pictorial blog.
Today I bring you a little bling, because (a) Duane suggested to me in email that I should have a blingy weekend (b) my froggie pin lifts my spirits (c) according to a young lady I know, I'm all about the sparkly things (d) The White Salamander is going jewellery shopping so I thought I'd provide a little amphibian inspiration ...
P.S. He's only a very little frog. The pearl is 13 mm. I could have spent a great deal of time trying to get a better image, but you get the idea ...
Friday, March 02, 2007
I’ll keep Houdini where you see her in the hot room today, just in case there are power issues. There have been lots in southern Ontario, but here so far so good.
Yesterday was just one of those days. I woke up with a neck that would turn one direction. Luckily it was physio day, and KD convinced it to move some. I've had a twitchy muscle for several days under my left eye that is starting to make me crazy. My left s-i joint was less than happy with me, and then somehow I caught Salty War’s calf cramp at practice last night. (I wasn’t the only one, either.) Here’s the workout our lane swam:
- 400 free, 200 kick, 100 easy warm-up
- 3 x (4 x 100 free hard on 1:50) :45 rest (I led the first and third sets)
- 8 x 50 choice hard on 1:10 (I chose fly up, free back, and medium speed instead of hard)
- 3 x 100 easy pull
Third 25 fly and my calf cramped. Swapped free for fly on number 4, and completed the set with a lurking cramp and some one arm fly. The workout was followed by lots of shower stretching and a nice walk across campus to the bus. Incidentally, it was a very quiet night on the number 2!
I was paid a very nice compliment by one of my lanemates after practice. He told me that I did a good job leading, that I had good endurance (really, it didn’t feel that way), and I was really motivating him. He was swimming last in the lane, and he didn’t want me to catch him.
Tomorrow I’m hoping to see a matinee (The Last King of Scotland) with a high school chum.
In other notes, by all reports the Humanitarian Dinner I thought better of attending last Friday was a smashing success. A friend reported "Your necklace looked beautiful, Wendy, and when I last checked it had a bid for over $200."
Thursday, March 01, 2007
In other news, we have a beautiful day ahead, and a winter storm warning hot on its heels. Looks like Friday's cross-training may be shovelling. Some 15 - 25 centimetres of snow expected starting tonight. So far this winter we haven't had great mountains of snow ... the pessimist in me thinks it may all come this month, although the long range calls for rain next Wednesday.
So does that make March in like a lamb or a lion?