Sunday, October 25, 2009

The First Time I Had Nothing To Contribute To A Conversation. Ever.

I like to talk.  I’m sure that isn’t a surprise to you.  I was always the girl in elementary school who had good grades but would “do much better if she wasn’t so busy talking during class”.  So I solved this problem by becoming a note passer and conducted conversations on paper.  Uh huh… that was me.  And all these years later not much has changed.  I still love to yack with people. 

Friday, at workout, I experienced something that just doesn’t happen to me.  A conversation was taking place amongst some of the women on the team, and for once in my life, I had nothing to contribute to the discussion.  And believe me, I was glad to have nothing to add.  They were talking about colonoscopies.  How long it takes to get an appointment, the diet you have to suffer through prior to it, their husbands experience with it… Yeah.  I heard it all.  Quite a bit more than I wanted to know in fact.  As I stood there and overheard the conversation, I thought to myself “My God.  Only at a masters swim workout would these words be exchanged on a pool deck”.

All I can say is that I hope they don’t come to workout while on their liquid diets.  If they do, I’m running the other way.   

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lap Swimming vs. Masters Swimming

Yesterday I discovered the difference between lap swimming and going to my masters swim practice.  I’ve been busy playing catch up with work and life since I was traveling last week, so I missed workout on Wednesday. 

Instead of just “skipping" it totally, I went and swam laps on my lunch hour yesterday.  Half the pool was filled with youth swim lessons – i.e. lots of happy, screaming kids.  The bleachers were full of parents.  The lap lanes were – empty!    Go figure!  I didn’t have to deal with the challenge of sharing a lane with an incompatible lane buddy (haha).

That said, it was … lonely.  I missed my masters buddies.  I missed having an organized workout, with a coach giving sets and advice to focus on.  There was no one to laugh with, or talk about how out of shape we are.  Or even just to say hi to.  LOL! 

It was good for me to experience this.  I won’t complain anymore about lane hogs.  Yesterday I learned I’d rather swim with a lane hog than without one.  For me, the people are a big part of the fun.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lap Swimming & Lane Sharing Etiquette

It was great to get back in the pool today after having some time off due to traveling for work.  I definitely missed the feeling of successfully completing a good workout. 

Today I shared a lane with two women who happened to be slower than me.  I have no problem with that at all, but what is totally irritating is sharing a lane with people who do not use proper lane sharing etiquette.  It was getting so frustrating that I actually finished up a little earlier than planned. 

So here is my lane sharing “wish list”:

  • If someone is faster than you and they’re coming into the wall for a flip turn, don’t push off right in front of them
  • Please don’t swim down the middle of the lane.  It’s hard for someone to pass!
  • When you’re resting on the wall, please move to the left side of the lane so the person coming into the wall can do a flip turn and keep going!

Anyway, I feel SO much better now… Thanks for letting me whine!    ;-)  Wednesday’s workout has GOT to be better!

I'm back!

I'm back in action, friends! It was a busy couple of weeks with work and travel but I'm back at it again. Heading to workout at lunch today and can't wait! Hope you're all doing well!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why Do You Love To Swim?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: Why do I love to swim? Analyzing this has helped keep me in tune with why I’ve started swimming again, or as an old friend put it today, decided to “make a comeback”. (I thought that was pretty cute!)

Here’s why I love to swim:

  • I feel good when I swim. There is nothing like the feeling of sliding comfortably through the water.
  • Along with that, I get to feel kind of like a kid again. And that is always a good thing.
  • I love the quietness of swimming. All I hear is the sound of the water and whatever thoughts I decide to have. It is absolutely peaceful.
  • It gives me the opportunity to remember what it’s like to be good at something – even though I’m not that good right now!
  • I love the camaraderie of masters swimming.
  • I get to unplug. Contrary to popular belief, I do not swim with my laptop and Blackberry attached to me.
  • I don’t care what anyone says, but I have always loved swim suit shopping. And they are so darn cute these days!

Am I the only one who sits around and thinks about these things?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Swimmers, Take Your Mark!

Whoa.  Those are four words I haven’t heard in a really long time!  And, I didn’t know I’d be hearing them today, either!  I arrived at workout to discover that we would be doing relays following our warm-up.  Cool!  I haven’t swam a relay in, well, a long time.  So after warm-up, coach split us into 3 teams.  There were only 11 of us, however, and I ended up on the team with only 3 swimmers (of course!).  So for each relay one of us had to do 2 legs of the relay instead of just 1. 

We started off with a 100m MR.  I swam back and free.  We did alright, but my backstroke start totally sucked!  I had about a half second to process the fact that I had to do a backstroke start before hearing the infamous “Swimmers, take your mark!”!  Wow.  Hearing those words was kind of weird!  It was definitely an “Oh Crap” kind of moment.  As in, Oh Crap, I really am doing this!

After the 100m MR, we did a 100m relay of each stroke.  In total we did 5 relays and in 2 of them I swam twice.  All of us that were there today have varying abilities and are at different places, so on some of the races coach gave different teams a head start, to make it fair. 

I had forgotten how much fun relays are!  We were cheering for each other and giving thumbs up and high fives just like we were 12 years old again.  It was awesome!  To top it off, our team won!  We earned points for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and our team was the top scoring team!  Wowzer! 

And thank god I went to Big 5 on my way to practice to pick up a new suit.  If I had worn my old, stretched out and faded suit that I had been wearing, it would have ended up around my ankles after diving off the blocks!  I found a Nike suit that will be good for practice.  And, it didn’t end up at my ankles when I dove in.  Bonus! 


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tape Measure Tuesday (Yes, I’m Cheating…)

I forgot to do this yesterday!  I was so stoked about swimming 2,000 meters that I forgot to update my measurements!  Here’s the latest on my total inches lost:

Waist 2 1/2”
Hips 1 1/2”
Chest 2 3/4”
Arms 1/2”
Thighs 1”

Crazy, huh?  Swimming can do all of this, and more for those of us trying to lose weight and inches.  And speaking of weight… I’m officially down 18.8 pounds. 

If I keep this up I’m going to have to go shopping for a training bra. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

2,000 Meters

2,000 meters! 2,000 meters! 2,000 meters! Okay, so probably not that impressive of an accomplishment to most of you, but I am pretty darned excited! It was my longest workout since getting back in the pool. Here’s what today consisted of:

  • 100 warm up
  • 4x100 backstroke
  • 4x300 IM
  • 300 warm down

Yay, simple and easy! I am even feeling a lot better in the water and am finding myself looking forward to Wednesday’s workout. I wonder if I can do more? I wonder if I can start doing intervals?! So far I’ve just been doing sets with a certain amount of rest in between each, instead of sets on intervals. I haven’t been ready to commit to doing intervals yet, and chance not making them.

I’m glad I finally took my own advice and stopped comparing my present to my past. Because that was really getting depressing! You know what else I’ve noticed? I like swimming. I swam for several years without liking it. I got to the point, during my age group years, that I was just a little robot. I swam because that is who I was. I truly believed I’d be nothing without it. My manipulative and controlling coach drilled that into my head until it became a fact to me.

So, 2,000 meters. I know it’s not that far. But it might as well be a million meters from where I was when I stopped swimming. I did it because I wanted to do it. And I didn’t stop because I didn’t want to stop. And guess what? I swam 2,000 meters. J

Friday, October 2, 2009

This Just In...

I really needed a good laugh this afternoon, and well, I got one. Someone landed on my page by googling "Is snorting water good for you?". I about died laughing! So, to whomever is wondering if snorting water is good for you (quite frankly, *I* am wondering why *YOU* are wondering! But whatever. To each his own.) I cannot tell you whether or not it is "good", but I can tell you it hurts like hell.

Try this:
  1. Fill up the bath tub with warm water
  2. Get in the bath
  3. Stick your face in the water
  4. Snort in with your nose as hard as you can
  5. Burn, baby burn
  6. Continue to feel like you are stuffed up for the next 10 days
How can that possibly be "good" for you? I mean, I don't think it's going to kill you or anything, but.... "good"? 8-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Swimming Dives Deeply Into Our Lives

I read this article today and was quite touched by it. This writer so articulately described all of the great things that swimmers are doing and what the sport has going for it. In a world of sports stars being plagued with problems – assault, murder, dog fighting, steroid use – it is nice to see swimmers receive the credit they deserve. It is also a great reminder of what the swimming lifestyle is really all about and how it affects each person in a different way, for different reasons.

Swimming Dives Deeply Into Our Lives

By Bob Schaller // Swimnetwork Senior Writer

As the two students talked about pop culture, Dancing with the Stars came up.
And Natalie Coughlin got rave reviews for her appearance and “grace.”

As an assistant professor, it wasn’t my place to jump into the conversation and tell these two students how amazing Natalie is, the quiet dignity with which she carries herself, that she’s an accomplished photographer, that she could probably pretty easily become an interior designer, or that despite not putting on pounds of muscle, she’s created a diverse and unique event portfolio that is a once-in-an-era kind of resume.

Here we are, more than a year removed from Beijing, and swimming is still the sole remaining surviving sport on America’s mind.

The growth of the sport depends upon these experiences, building the “brand” of swimming, selling it as something great for the kids but also for adults of all ages, and for older citizens too as a low-impact way to physical fitness. Swimming is a lifestyle more than it is a sport, or even an exercise program.

Michael Phelps, post-Beijing, was on Saturday Night Live (guest starring would have been better than hosting) and did a ton of work promoting the sport in New York upon setting foot back upon American soil. Margaret Hoelzer came out as an advocate for abused children. Cullen Jones’ work in the pool with kids and safety is incredible both in his appearance as an articulate spokesman, and the number of young people he is reaching.

Aaron Peirsol is promoting a great cause as a spokesman for clean waters everywhere, and regardless of how you feel about global warming or climate change, having clean oceans is good for humanity, not to mention sea life. Dara Torres is on the “Got Milk” ads, and in her 40s is a role model for not only women her own age, but for young women who are trying to figure out how what they are learning and doing now will tie into what they will do, and what they will become, later on in life. Jason Lezak has been active in his faith, and wherever he goes he is acknowledged as the most significant part - even if not financially compensated - of the Phelps eight-medal campaign.

Taken individually, these are all “nice” stories – and good causes. Collectively, though, is where the sum becomes so much greater than the parts. I can name one or two track stars, and I cannot think of any gymnast off the top of my head. The other sports are unremarkable in marketing sustenance, a key in the what-have-you-done-for-me lately mindset of the shopping public. Swimming is stepping up in a way that will help build not only momentum toward 2012, but for the future of the sport.

While everyone saw the Olympics on TV, the more remarkable meets to me, as a swim fan, are the YMCA meets, the college duals, the high school invites, and scads of incredibly well organized club meets that lead up to sectionals, which are all feats of accomplishment worthy of praise from every corner of the media globe.

My son – inspired in 2004 to take swimming lessons – got in our new pool here, and did a perfect breaststroke across the pool so fast I started churning numbers in my head, extrapolating the 15 or so seconds it took into what that would translate for a 50 or 100 breast. I laughed it off, taken aback by the look of pride on his face as people he passed praised him as one “fast little fishy.” Because of some physical handicaps or conditions, we’ve always been a “Nemo” sort of pairing, with me being the overprotective father as he overcomes his “one bad fin” in life with hard work, tenacity and a perseverance that he could not get running around a track, or pumping iron, simply because of physical limitations. But in the water, he is home, and free of the boundaries that land-based sports have in his unique case.

Get in the water, and do something good for yourself, and those who love you. Swimming – the one good thing going around right now that is highly contagious.

And – oh yeah – vote for Natalie.