Monday, December 28, 2009

Boy loves Puppy

It was a fun Christmas weekend. Lots of time with family. We have some deer who live in our neighborhood, and since Todd puts tons of birdseed outside in the backyard, they have even taking to jumping over the 5 foot fence to visit the feeders.

This weekend my whole family was at our house, and we actually ate at our dining room table for the first time since we moved into this house! My niece's five year old son is sooooo cute. He is so chatty, and says the cutest things. He LOVES my golden retriever Sam. Sam is so gentle with him. He hugs all over Sam, and Sam just lets him be as close as he wants to be. He asked me if he could take Sam home with him. I could even come visit Sam anytime I want! So cute. If Sam would actually get in a car, he'd probably be happy to spend his life with a little boy who loves him to death.

Yesterday we even got our first real snow of the year - nearly two inches! ha!, take that you northerners :-) Angela and I headed to Brown County this morning to attempt to do a mountain bike ride. Last year, she and I tried a snow ride. It had snowed about 8 inches when we tried, and I spent about 200 yards, not able to pedal more than one revolution without the tires spinning and slipping and me not moving forward. I walked to the first place I could get to the road and gave up. Today I was hopeful that with just two inches I might actually be able to ride. And I did! We had a fun ride. It was slow going at times, ice and snow and a few soft spots that just suck away either your speed or your confidence. But the trail was frozen and ridable, and we had no crashes! Yay!

I came home and ordered one of my new Splish designs!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pics or it didn't happen!

One of my goals for the month of December was to do 10 consecutive pullups. Well, I just did it! yay! Here's the proof (yeah, the last rep is pretty ugly):

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pool Snob!

I live in Bloomington, IN. Home of Indiana University. The place where Doc Counsilman, the greatest swim coach ever, the innovator of modern swimming, coached the likes of Mark Spitz to Olympic gold, world championships, NCAA championships. No place has more swimming history than IU. But you would never know that by the state of age group and masters swimming here. Bloomington is a small town, yet we have bickering parents and coaches who have splintered the age group program into two programs. And they have yet to produce great swimmers, in the tradition this town warrants. And I have lived here for almost 20 years, and am still waiting for the year when I can get excited to go watch an age group or high school meet just to see a new superstar.

Masters swimming is even worse. There is an IU Masters team. They are mostly faculty members at IU. Their workout is over the noon hour, 12-1:30. This is doable for faculty who generally who have very flexible schedules, they just fit things around their class and research schedules. I, however, am just a measley staff member, I work 8-5 generally, and I don't have 2 hours over the noon hour to go swim. And even if I did, I would not choose to swim with the IU Masters team. I like to think I'm a pretty easy going person. I don't really dislike people, and I try hard to find the positive in others. But the members of the IU Masters team are this close knit group of swimmers who have been here forever. They are the most unwelcoming group of people I've ever been around. There have been several days in the summer when I've been able to swim at noon, days off, or weekend, and only one of their swimmers even says hello to me. Not invited to train with them. In fact, (the lanes they swim in are not exclusively for them), several days I've had someone tell me, as I'm about to hop in a lane with them, that I should watch out, because so and so who is heading back is doing a set on some super hard interval and I should try to stay out of their way. I just look at them and play dumb, like I have no idea what they are talking about. Super hard intervals? Whats an interval? They just infuriate me! But that's old hat. Its been like that for 20 years, so I mainly train by myself. It works just fine for me.

My latest bitch about Masters swimming has to do with the local masters swimming committees (LMSC). Each state or area has one that governs its business. What's the business of masters swimming? I can't really tell. I assumed it was to provide an environment for first timers and highly competitive swimmers the opportunities to train and compete. ok, I get it. But the Indiana LMSC does not. IU hosts a Masters meet every winter in February. In Indiana, its the only SCY Masters meet that is held in a decent pool, one that I would consider worthy of swimming in for a meet. Ok, granted, I am a pool snob. I have swum in a lot of fast pools in my lifetime, and I don't want to swim a meet in some crappy 5 lane YMCA pool that is 82 degrees and has no warmup area, and has chlorine levels high enough to kill off the entire h1n1 virus for the rest of eternity. If I'm going to swim in a meet I want to be in a decent pool, one where I will feel like I can swim fast. If I feel like the opportunity to swim fast is there, then I am psyched to swim. SO, here's where all goes wrong. Miami University (my alma mater) also hosts a meet. There pool is newer and even nicer. Its less than 3 hours away, and I would rank it as the best facility that hosts a meet in the OH/IN/KY area. University of Louisville is the third best facility that hosts a masters meet. So, how awesome would it be to get to swim in 3 meets each winter in nice facilities. well, it would be great! But it doesn't happen, because IU and Miami always have their meet on the same day! Come on! There are 8 weekend days in the month of February, and both pools have more than that one day open to host a swim meet, I know, they both post their closings due to Varsity and Age group meets (which of course have priority, and should). SO, last year I emailed the head of the IN and OH LMSC and asked them if they could try to coordinate their schedules in the future so these meets could be on separate days. Its to the benefit of their athletes to give them the best opportunities to swim fast times, in fast pools. You'd think I asked them to give me a million dollars! They both had a million excuses, and the IN pres even said that IN offers lots of great meets in great facilities! If I had been sitting in front of him drinking coffee, I would have spit it all over him as I laughed my ass off. YMCA and little high school pools do not make great facilities!

SO, 2010 rools around, meet dates are posted, and IU and Miami are on the same day again! Feb 13. Sooooooooooooo mad! I emailed USMS and asked them if they could encourage regional LMSC's to communicate and try to coordinate schedules to do something positive for the athletes. I have yet to hear back from them.

So, I keep training. I want some meets where I can go and swim my favorite events. Looks like I have one meet so far this winter :-(

I know, you are thinking, I should just get over my pool snobbish self, and swim anywhere. I wish I could. I cannot. I will not. I am a pool snob. And proud of it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

best winter video

I'm sure I posted this last year, but its my FAVORITE video, and with the first big snowstorm of the year, I thought it would bring a smile:


Sunday, December 6, 2009


Its always tough when winter rolls around. Its tough to find the motivation to go outside in the cold and run, walk the dogs, and hardest of all to ride a bike. Let's face it, its even hard to run outside and get in your car that has been sitting out in the cold day and sit on the cold seat and drive almost all the way home from work before the heater is warm enough to be of use.

But its time to find the positives in winter. Here's my list.

I get to wear hats. Not visors and baseball caps, but real hats. wool hats, crazy hats, warm hats. I love hats. And sometimes I even look better in a hat than not. And it can hide a multitude of hair sins. So, let's just say that hats ROCK!

The 2/3 rule. If 2 of the 3: cold, dark, wet, are met, I get to drive the 3 miles to work instead of ride my bike. That means on the days I swim, I get to drive, because cold and dark are always met. That just leaves two (sometimes three) other days that I pray for some wet stuff to be in the forecast for the day so I can have an excuse to drive. Oh yeah, and by cold, I mean 25 or below.

I've always found it a little difficult to swim in winter, just the thought of getting in water when its single digits outside seems ludicrous. But seriously, its 80 degrees in there - air and water (or close to that). That's like freaking summer! So, when you really look at it, swimming in winter is so much easier than running and riding a bike.

Short course yards. Ok, I get to swim SCY most of the year, but its a guarantee in winter. And long course meters sucks, short course yards rules! why, you may ask?
One word. More turns! ok, that's two words. But more turns, means less swimming. And less swimming is what any retired competitive swimmer strives for. But seriously, less swimming, means your arms fatigue more slowly, so you end your workout stronger, and recover sooner. And, the number reason for loving scy is the 100IM. and for all you triathletes out there, IM does NOT equal Ironman! IM=Individual Medley. Individual Medley has been around much longer than Ironman. And there is nothing more pure fun than 100IM's in a SCY pool. Fast, fun, short. I love the 100IM.

My college swim parka. When I retired, I thought that big obnoxious red parka would never see daylight again. But as a person with dogs who get walked twice a day, every day, regardless of weather, the big obnoxious red park gets a lot of dog walking mileage. Its soooooooooooo warm. Best money ever spent back in college. (parents money, gotta give credit where credit is due).

Snow. It really is pretty. Somehow we often seem to miss the snow line. We get more ice and sleet, which sucks, but we also seem to have more dry road days than not.

Trail running is my favorite outside activity in winter. I love the quiet of the trails, but most of all I love that I get to take Daisy with me, and watch her have the time of her life. Its like she is on a happy vacation every time we go. SO many smells, so many spots to mark, critters to chase (she is a chaser, not a hunter, thankfully, unlike Sam, Max, and Junior, they are chasers/hunters/killers). And winter is when she really thrives on the trails, and she can go forever. The cold temperatures and the creeks that are flowing with water keep her cool and happy.

I am also thankful that four years ago I took up mountain biking. Because if you are going to ride outside in winter, mountain biking is a much better option than road riding. Riding on the open road is very exposed to weather, and very cold. The are much more protected from the wind, because of the hills and the woods. The speeds are slower, but you work just as hard, if not harder, so you can stay warmer.

Fires and roasting marshmallows!


I spend more time reading books, which always seems like a good thing, at least I think I should read more books than blogs, which I don't always do. In the past three days, I've been spitting my time between three books, Trying to finish Metal Cowboy (short stories about a guy who loves to bike tour - this is very funny) because its due back at the library. Trying to get through the novel, Cutting for Stone, which is a fantastic novel, I' really enjoying, but I'm trying to finish it because another book I've been waiting for at the library is on hold for me until Tuesday. I also read the Pose Method running book yesterday, can't wait to try to work on some of the principles. And I've got a biography of General Tommy Franks that my dad lent to use months ago which I started but put aside to read all of these darn library books that I was waiting for and finally became available.

Neglected house projects get a little more attention in winter. The past few weeks, my non-training weeks, I got started re-painting my dining room, a room, that we never use. But my family is coming here after CHristmas, so I think we will need to use it then. Our house was built in the 50's, and many rooms had paneling.Lots of paneling. And I counted 5 different kinds of paneling. All of it ugly. We removed much of it over the years, but a couple sections remain. The dining room had some paneling in it, half of which the previous owners painted white. But half they left stained wood. Why! Laziness? Well, I finally get to sanding, priming and painting that. And that was a slow laborious task. And now I'm painting the plaster walls. They were a dark red wine color, whuich I like, but this room is small, low ceilings, and very dark. Its becoming a nice bright light color. Should be finished by tonight or next weekend at the latest. YAY! Then on to the next project. The list never ends in this old house.

The canopy of lights in beautiful downtown Bloomington:

So, this past week, the weather really turned to winter. I'm trying to ignore the cold toes, cracked, chapped, bleeding lips, the excessive articles of clothing I have to wear to go outside, and embrace wonderful winter!

Now, if I could only find a small 29er hardtail to buy for my christmas gift to myself, I'd be over the top happy!

Happy winter everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Masters of relaxing

Most of us triathletes, cyclists, runners, swimmers, find the off-season difficult. Taking consecutive days or weeks of no workouts is a challenging test for some of us. Some of us hang out with our friends.

some of us work on stretching, pilates, yoga, and other such techniques of relaxation.

and, my favorite, the nap!

Well, I did those things for the month of November, and this week it was back to some structure. I like structure. My waistline needs structure.

My main athletic goals for the month of December are:
1) 10 consecutive pullups
2) swim a 200fly without cheating
3) ride the rock sections at BCSP without falling, dabbing or stopping. well, maybe a little dab is ok, but no stopping or falling!

That's it. Should be a piece of cake! Maybe.