Saturday, June 30, 2007
Actually, I've had the opportunity to watch fireworks from the back bedroom window for two nights in a row, as the NCC christened the LeBreton Flats "park" with Opera Under the Stars. Tonight will be number three with a longer and more spectacular show originating from Parliament Hill.
On Thursday the Rideau Canal was designated a world heritage site. The canal runs from Ottawa to Kingston, and here in town 7.8 kilometres (of the 202 total) become the world's longest skating rink when the water is good and hard! In this picture I took last month, you can see the first locks, the Ottawa River, and many local landmarks including the statue of Samuel de Champlain at the Astrolabe Theatre, the fountain at the Casino du Lac-Leamy on the Gatineau side of the river, and the curvy building of Manitoba tindlestone that is our Museum of Civilization. Click to enlarge.
And the little Canon fits easily into my purchase for IM Moo. It’s not red, though. The leather is the same colour as the strapping. I learned a lesson at IMAZ. Travelling with a carry-on and a purse is pretty close to perfection. I say pretty close, because lugging my large purse everywhere was not absolutely ideal. This will go flat in my carry-on, yet still has room for the essentials (mini-umbrella, meds, two small wallets, passport, MP3 player, phone, sunscreen … the list goes on a bit!). But I won't be leaving the large bag behind!
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
D: Are you happy with the way things are in terms of practicing on your own and with the club?
W: Pretty much. Although we were both thinking about more than one club practice a week.
Duane feels that my mileage is in the right ball park. Working out on my own allows me to tailor a light workout to my body’s needs the day following a club practice. Plus he now knows exactly how convenient Plant pool is compared to Ottawa U for me. We both feel it would be nice to be a bigger part of the team, though.
Plan: One fixed club practice per week, up to two “floaters”. So in Masters season, Thursday nights as a given (right now Tuesdays are the given). If I don’t show on Thursday night it’ll be because I don’t trust my body. And if I’d like to turn up on Tuesday night or at a morning practice, terrific. Otherwise, we’ll stick to what’s working.
D: What are your goals for next year?
Primary Goal: Keep my body moving. Anything else is gravy!
Plan: Listen to my body. Don’t go to practice if things are “iffy”. And if there’s a problem at practice, get out. Then and there. Duane says it is clear I’m putting in enough distance. My conditioning is reasonably good. I’m leading a lane and my times are consistent. I should do more cross training. Yeah, I knew that.
Secondary Goal: Race longer distances.
Duane volunteered that we, as a team, place really well in 800’s & 1500’s, and I have the stamina to race those distances. (I told him I didn’t much care where I placed. He said, “I do!” I replied that it’s his job to care! ;-) ) At this point I was thinking 400/800, but we’ll see.
“A” Competition: There are options. Worlds vs. Nationals. I’ve touched on those issues before. I've qualified 5 events for Perth, and there are other events I haven't raced yet that are well within reach.
Duane says there will be team members going to Worlds, perhaps as few as 4 or 5 up to as many as a possible 15. Their plan will be to travel early, acclimate, train in Perth before Worlds. Some may stay a week after. Then return to compete at Nationals in Quebec City. I don’t really think two meets with travel within a month of each other is something for me to even contemplate.
Plan: Come to a decision, probably by August.
Time goals: I’m sure Duane has some. I have some. We didn’t discuss ‘em. And that’s just fine.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Practice was interesting last night. It seems to be the consensus that it's a good idea for me to lead lane 5. After our 600 warm-up, I warned my lanemates I might need help with when to leave, because it seemed to involve math — and likely because I asked I didn't need it. The main set was 8 x (100 free "strong" on 1:50, 50 "fast" choice on 1:30). Items of note: my hundreds were bang on consistent 1:35's throughout despite the phlegm that was catching in my throat after ¾ of the set was done; I pretty much had to swim freestyle for the 50's because that's what the triathletes behind me were swimming; the difference between "fast" and "strong" may be lost on my body when going on 1:50! I say this because my "fast" 50's really weren't so much. What I made up for with increased kick and speed of rotation, I lost in either power or ability to breathe. The 50's were :46 or :47. Do you think there's a lesson in that somewhere?
Today is my meeting with Coach Duane to discuss the upcoming season. Gulp. I wonder what we'll decide!
On the garden front, the monarch egg pictured Sunday hatched out overnight. I got a decent shot this morning of another one that will hatch soon—the focus is a little soft but passable. Click to enlarge, look carefully and you'll see a blackish spot inside. That's the caterpillar's head cap! In this picture you can at least clearly see the conical shape of the egg.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I found the caterpillar that hatched on Saturday afternoon! Still on its milkweed plant, but a different leaf. Click to see the little guy better (in this instance I'm quite thrilled with the little camera's achievement), and his munching pattern, too. He's grown twofold, but is still awfully wee. There's evidence of another first instar larva (from munching pattern, but I haven't seen the critter yet) deeper into the Field of Dreams.
There's a heat and smog advisory today, so we weak lunged folks are told to stay inside. Naturally, I'll be going out. To swim practice ...
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
In garden happenings, the first monarch egg I've been able to watch religiously started "changing colour" Friday, and a teensy black spot was visible yesterday morning. The black dot was its head cap. With 10 power magnification, one could barely see the little caterpillar curled up. By mid-afternoon it had broken out of its shell, by late afternoon the wee critter had eaten the proteinaceous morsel and because it is so darned tiny, I have no idea where it is now. But I'll be keeping my eyes peeled! For those who haven't seen one, there's a monarch egg on the upper half of milkweed leaf near the margin — the best I could do with my little camera! Click for a better view.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
The company was good, too!
Friday, June 22, 2007
In my Unusual Adventures this week I:
- went with a friend and her two dogs to a clinic in Osgoode — where one had doggie physiotherapy on his rotator cuff (including acupuncture and laser)
- went to people physio, overheated, and for the first time I can remember terminated a session myself halfway through
- went to a compounding pharmacy for Houdini's last pharmaceutical kick at the can — the anti-inflammatory & anti-biotic combo hasn't banished her colitis (apparently it becomes the talk of the drug store when they prepare meds for an iguana)
- discovered one of George's old toys that my star boarder actually enjoys (please forgive the soundtrack, I was watching Canada AM when Onyx sprang into action) — for those few of you who've seen him up close, you'll note I'm making progress grooming him, too!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Coach Duane said something like: "38 years a go there was a little girl about this high ..." needless to say his hand gesture wasn't very high, " ... who's still about (pause) this high." You guessed it. His hand position returned to the same place. "She came to swim with me at the Y, and she swam her guts out at every single practice. I'd never seen anything like it. I didn't hear from her for a long time, but this year I did. She's coming back from a terrible accident. She started coming to practice, she joined the team, and she's swimming as fast or faster now than she did then." (That last comment seems a bit of an exaggeration to me, with the possible exception of a 25 fly. But who am I to question the coach?)
There really isn't a higher compliment from Duane than "swimming your guts out". Never was. Not even 38 years ago. Suddenly it seemed to me I had earned the respect of the fellow sitting next to me, who had swum for Duane some years ago at the intercollegiate level. But maybe I was just imagining it ...
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The Banquet was at Tuckers, so there were lots of buffet food choices. There were several slide presentations on the hijinks of the past swim and tri season. A motivational talk by a multiple IronMan Technosport* member who has been tri-ing for 20 years and has competed around the globe. He reminded us that individual sports are also team sports, and we find inspiration, support and encouragement in our teammates, friends and family members. And, naturally, there were awards. For exemplary achievements like best practice attendance (because you can't succeed if you don't practice!), best multi-sport athlete, best national placing, (assistant) coach of the year and so forth. Then Coach Duane did some "mugging". Fun awards for folks whose contributions or achievements were in some way worthy of special mention. Some were long standing sherpas and volunteers, some were team members. As you can see, last night I was mugged. In a good way. And in very good company.
Today, though, back to the pool!
*Technosport is primarily a swim and tri club, but there are other facets to the team as well.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
A neighbour had some growing in his lawn more than a few years ago now. I asked him if I might dig some up and transplant them. Well, what I think I said first was, "Do you want all of those milkweeds?" He looked at me as if I had just stepped off Planet Ten and told me I could have every one. I didn't need quite that many, but I wanted some. Clearly he thought I had misplaced a significant number of my marbles, so I explained, "Milkweed plants are the food source for monarch caterpillars. You can't have the butterflies without them." Suddenly I had gone from the wacko woman down the street to a fast friend. I dug some up, and he decided to leave the remainder.
With the milkweed well transplanted, the tiny garden became its own Field of Dreams.
This morning, many years later, some newer, younger neighbours joined me watching and stalking with cameras. There were two orange and black butterflies, a male and a female in the garden. The female didn't want us too close. She was busy. And so four people who had never seen such a sight before (and one who had) watched with joy and wonder as she lighted on various plants and left some of them a tiny egg. With luck we will be able to follow a progression from egg to caterpillar, caterpillar to chyrsalis, chryslis to butterfly as I have done throughout the years. It doesn't always work out. But when it does, it is nothing short of miraculous.
This Father's Day morning was full of thoughts of Dad, who taught his children about the wonders of the natural world and the incredible journey of complete metamorphosis. And of my neighbour, since moved away, who after leaving his milkweed to grow filmed a monarch emerging from the chrysalis it had made on his porch light. How lucky I am to be able to share their gifts with others. And to still have my Dad and be able to tell him all about it.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
There are so many of you I want to see! Greyhound, going for Iron after such a miserable pain in the neck! And Bold, I want to see you and the bike IRL. (Okay, I've had the pleasure of meeting Bold. But I've not yet seen him in spandex!) Tac Boy, with TriMama and the tribe in supporting roles. Roman, whose book (My Training Starts Tomorrow) made me laugh till I had tears rolling down my face.
IronPol, who'll be racing in Louisville but sherpa-ing in Madison. Mishele, who I rang the cowbell for and yelled at in Tempe, will be catching some of you IronMen at the finish line. And of course there are many others. Like the RaceAthlete sponsored bunch not mentioned above, whose blogs I have been stealthily lurking on and whose podcasts I've listened in on.
Brent's one thing is also about the opportunity to watch others bring it home. And I'm really looking forward to yelling for him again too. Still more cowbell!!! Because today I bought a ticket. Ottawa-Chicago-Madison. There and back again.
Friday, June 15, 2007
My shoe connection is having trouble getting the sneakers (in my size) I was so sure would be perfect and liftable. Most runners these days are full of sole technology, and fancy soles often mean they can't be sliced to give me a little lift. (I need a 1.5 cm lift built onto the sole of walking shoes to come close to evening out a leg length discrepancy.)
I've not been feeling 100%, and neither has Houdini. In fact, she's been feeling poorly. So with some much appreciated help from Lise, Houdini had a return engagement with her v-e-t this morning. After poking, prodding and x-rays (plus some discussion with me) the conclusion was: Houdini has colitis. So we're going to see if a course of pain meds (3 more days) and antibiotics (5 days on, 3 days off, 5 days on) will reduce the inflammation and result in a happy pain free iggy. Ideally it will, because should it not ... well, that's just a bridge I'm not wanting to cross. Conveniently he gave her a shot of metacam today, reducing the number of syringes that need to come her way for oral dosing. Because let me assure you, she's had more than enough of me stuffing things down her throat!
On the up side, it does amaze me how even when I'm feeling somewhat ill and out of sorts, how going to practice can help. Last night's practice coach called "easy and fun", which it was. There weren't boatloads of people, so he moved me to lane 5 where I lead the repeats. I offered to let the fellow behind me lead more than once, but he insisted that swimming 1:35 hundreds on 2:15 was fine with him. I didn't swim over 1:35 or under 1:32 over the course of 8 repeats that made up the main set. It was one of those occasions where I felt smooth, strong and easy in the water; capable of holding the pace for significantly longer. It's such a fine feeling you'd just like to bottle it!
And on the garden side of things, here are two things you've seen before together now like peanut butter and chocolate, but without the calories. Clematis 'The President' and Centaurea dealbata. The photo is clickable if you'd like to see them larger than life.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Its been a blast reading all your race reports and long training for upcoming races. I have read a trend though of bloggers bemoaning their personal times as slow. Then I read those times and I realize those times are my times or faster. Wendy even wrote to me that doing her double-breasted-decaf-half caff-back stroke at 2 minutes per hundred was "pig slow". And that was "on 2:00" which means she was finishing her 100 and resting for a few seconds before going again.Uhmm...this is uncomfortable. 2 minutes per 100 is a few seconds faster than my Ironman pace which is vigorous freestyle or as I call it, "The Keep Going Or You'll Drown Stroke".
Hey ... I resemble that remark!!! Said with a smile on my face, as Comm's was teasing me a bit.
What I think I said was I was particularly pleased with the set I posted about on Tuesday, because double arm back* is pig slow. The joy of individual medley (IM)** is that you can make up some of the time you spent lollygagging around in your most deficient stroke in your other more competent ones.
I noted in his comments section that often when I competed this year, Lynn Marshall was competing, too. While she looks to break world records, I look to finish with some degree of competence. Everything is relative. Comm's makes a fine point.
But here's a bit more. In the mid-nineties only 15% of Americans were doing 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity 3 or more times a week. (See: the CDC on Physical Activity and Health.) So if you're gettin' out there and training, you have the jump on about 85% of the population. Pat yourself on the back, continue setting an example, and take Fe-Lady's advice: Play hard! Or go congratulate Spokane Al on 30 years of running.
* Double arm backstroke is usually swum as a drill, but can legally be swum competitively. Both arms do the backcrawl motion at the same time instead of alternating, kick options are whip, dolphin or flutter. I told Comm's it's like upsidedown butterfly, but (for me) way far slower. Go ahead and try it. If you're not a backstroker, it is sometimes as quick as your sidestroke. My elementary backstroke and double arm back are comparable in speed.
** IM/Individual Medley involves equal distances of the four competitive strokes in this order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle. A medley relay also involves the four strokes, but begins with backstroke followed by breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Here's an interesting article (in pdf format) from Inside Triathlon on bilateral breathing and open water sighting. (Hat tip: Southern California Aquatics blog.)
Time to set up a meeting with Coach Duane about the season ahead. That means I ought to be clear about my goals. Or work on an either/or scenario ....
There was myself and one of the Big Tri Guys in the quick lane this morning. He asked me if I wanted to do a set of 5 x 100 IM on 2:00, so I went along for the ride. Considering I did double arm back (except one where I substituted slow freestyle) that was an extremely successful set. Woo hoo!
Other than that, I've got nothin'! Although I'm hoping to see The Waitress tonight, in what becomes my continuing (summer) mission ... to seek out air conditioning.
Monday, June 11, 2007
So now I wonder, have I angered the Swim Gods? Is there some offering I can make to appease them? Or are they acting in my best interest, forcing me to rest some muscles and joints that are clearly somewhat displeased with me?
Ah, well, in lieu of watery tales, I bring you this Centaurea dealbata. Click for detail, if you'd like. Or perhaps I should offer it to the Swim Gods, as I'll be wandering over to the pool again in a matter of minutes.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
You see, Lise and I went to the Lansdowne Park Farmer's market fairly early this morning. There was a small crowd gathered at the back entranceway. Because there, in all their glory, were two Clydes in their working attire. And a wagon. And a driver. And an owner. And me with no camera. However, I bring you this picture of Willie in his Sunday best (although I don't really think it does him justice). All-Canadian Clydesdale. Also in the Guinness World Book of Records, his owner noted. They had been there on opening day, but proved so popular people kept asking if they were coming back. This was, in effect, a surprise visit. But I'm told they're hoping to find a sponsor so they can come on a regular basis. Ideally, next time, I'll have my camera!
We had a bite to eat, some good conversation, and I picked up some asparagus, a small pie, some ostrich burgers (maybe to try for Father's Day) and some hot sauce (definitely for Dad!).
Photo credit: Canadian Clydesdales, Willie, All Canadian, 2006
Saturday, June 09, 2007
So today I went downtown, did a wee bit of banking, and stopped at the sporting goods store. One plain black Speedo endurance fabric pro back , one pair of black Teva Olowahu sandals (pictured in pink because they're easier to see), and $100 later, I left! But I left a happy camper. One of the sandals will go to visit the chiropodist, who will have a lift built on, and I'll be able to traipse around in comfortable cushie summer shoes but with a more even gait.
I think I may be sick, though. On the way home I stopped in at the Birks sale and wasn't even tempted by anything ...
Friday, June 08, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
This was followed by a series of pokes and prods on both sides, for comparative purposes. “I would guess it doesn’t!” That would be because hard as a rock doesn’t quite cover it. Then there was a pause of some length. His eyebrows moved to somewhere between quizzical and confused. “And you swim like this???”
“Well, YEAH,” I replied while giving him the Very Official Look that clearly communicated I was somewhat surprised there might be any other option.
He went and got the ultrasound. I didn’t tell him it was better today than it was yesterday. Somehow it just didn’t seem like a good plan.
But I can take a hint (sometimes). No club practice tonight.
Maybe just a nice little swim at Plant now that it’s open again. Or maybe I'll just commune with the ice pack.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Today I had tea with Ann Clayton (some of you may remember my posts in which she and her late husband were mentioned), as a bit of a belated 80th birthday celebration at the venerable Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Not just a cup of tea, mind, but a proper tea at Zoe's. There were loose leaves (Ann chose Darjeeling, while I chose the Fairmont centennial blend), graciously served by our tea sommelier pictured above. Pictures enlarge with a click of the mouse. Wee sandwiches, melt in your mouth scones, lovely Devonshire cream & jam, regional cheeses & water biscuits, and some desserts rounded out the spread.
As we chose "The Canadian" tea, our sandwiches were: smoked East coast salmon on a mini bagel with creamed cheese & capers, lemon & onion; smoked duck with a confit; creamed cheese with a fig chutney. Our desserts were maple mousse (light as air, so probably virtually calorie free) with a dark chocolate medallion on top, and Nanaimo bars.
It was a leisurely couple of hours and a lovely visit, that finished with a promise to have lunch either late in the summer or early in the fall.
Right now I should be at the pool burning off a miniscule number of the total calories taken in, but there is a hitch in my getalong. The web site reports the pool is closed until further notice and the phone message backs it up. Perhaps I should take this as a sign from the pool gods ... one shouldn't swim after afternoon tea!
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Letting your swimmer get into the pool by suddenly dangling his lower legs directly in front of the cross hatch (exactly where people are supposed to turn) as another swimmer is approaching the wall = Accident Waiting To Happen. A more aggressive swimmer would have just turned on them. Literally. Monday night I was more passive-aggressive. But he got a dirty look as I saw the legs and immediately switched to heads up crawl.
Having your swimmer push off the wall just in front of someone is only acceptable if you know he or she swims significantly faster than the person about to turn. Otherwise it's really just rude.
I don't blame the swimmers. I blame the coach. And maybe my hormones for the crankiness ...
Monday, June 04, 2007
I took this picture for the bedraggled Clematis 'The President', but when I saw the way the camera had fixed the water droplets sliding down the linear leaves of the daylily, I immediately thought Il Pleut (click and scroll down a bit for the poem).
So it is a happy accident that Apollinaire will come along to class this afternoon, along with a print of this picture and we'll add some concrete poetry to my planned discussion of tailoring layouts to the words we write.
But I'll have to bundle things up well in plastic today. Or take a cab ...
Saturday, June 02, 2007
A funny thing happened at the pool on Friday night. A woman came into the locker room carrying a towel. Ordinarily, this would be, well, ordinary. But she asked each person she walked by if they were Roberta. When someone finally responded in the affirmative, the woman said, "Your husband is out there worried about you. He says you forgot your towel, and wanted me to bring this to you."
There was a pause before Roberta said, "That's the dog's towel!!"
The locker room absolutely erupted in hoots, hollers and giggles. We knew his heart was in the right place, but each of us could imagine the smell of wet dog and the transfer of dog hair that would happen if we dried ourselves with the dog towel.
As I have a preference for lockers by the entry door, I was privy to the conversation that followed on the other side. The woman whose errand it was to rescue Roberta explained to her husband, "Ummm ... Roberta says this is the dog towel. She actually has hers."
The pained, "Ooooooohhhhhhhh ..." that followed pretty much said it all. And I laughed all the way to the pool deck. I just couldn't help myself.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Chocolate + Exercise = Good For You. See? Helps you remember. (Particularly if you are a mouse looking for a platform hidden in water. But let's not quibble.)
I have recently been enjoying chocolate in this particular form. It even links chocolatey goodness and exercise on the packaging. Must be good for you ....
For me, May was all about refocussing on training, increasing distance (and keeping the heart rate low) after a break in April. I put in 28,850 metres, and I think that's pretty close to the maximum my body wants to put in for a month's training.
Comm's pointed out Tuesday that LSD training is no good for weight loss. In fact, while I know that I'm doing my body all kinds of good, I feel like I'm slackin'. But more than that, it's just not as much fun for me. So I know how IronBenny feels about abandoning the LSD. And I only do it in one discipline! So, yay for zones 3 & 4!!!
In other notes, I took up my new black DKNY jeans yesterday. Near record time. Under two weeks. So now I'm wearing the "new" high waisted look (although still below my belly button). We'll see how the reviews go. In an ideal world, they won't be mistaken for Mom Jeans ...