Friday, October 31, 2014

Dead Men Walking

It turns out that not all swim meets are all unicorns and rainbows and creative body marking like my first one.  Your meet event line-up dictates whether you are saddling up a unicorn or a velociraptor.

If you ask any pool swimmer the three worst events to compete they will agree and those are the three we swam this past Sunday.  If you ask the same pool swimmers what the fourth worst event is after those three, they might not agree, but no matter their answer, it's something we swam on Saturday.

200 back
200 breast
500 free

400 IM
200 fly
1650 free (aka The Mile)

Sunday PM:

We were pretty much dead men walking, and when we weren't walking, we were sleeping.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Meet Honey Bunny (aka Yolanda)

Please allow me to introduce to you Honey Bunny (aka Yolanda).

Long story short: she's a stray from the animal shelter, disgustingly adorable, and lives with me now.

Also tiny.  I put her on my digital food scale and we're entering her in the super light flyweight class at 1 lb 10 oz.  Size-wise, she's probably a kinda large guinea pig, and looks bigger than she is because of fur poof.

My family and I have had plenty of pets, but never rabbits.  I am learning all about caring for them and greens, parsley especially, are a HUGE hit.  It's like watching a wood chipper devour a small tree, coupled with the imagined sound effects of a buzz saw.  

The parsley stalk goes in....

And GONE.  All of these pictures have the same time stamp and were shot in quick succession.

We have become a pro-greens household.  Consumption continues unabated at all hours of the day and night.

If you're wondering where her name came from, it should surprise no one who knows me that it's from Pulp Fiction.

We're working on her ability to pack heat like Amanda Plummer, but I will not be responding to Pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lions And Tigers And Bears, Oh MY

My weekly trips to the ASPCA have continued.  I am heartened (and saddened) by the fact that many of the animals are not there week to week because they have been adopted in the intervening six days.   So I pretty much have no idea what or who I am going to find.

"This is my lap.  Get your own."

A tuckered out schnauzer puppy.

We've got our eyes on you.

First I was tested as a viable jungle gym.

Then I was tested for drift compatibility.

Sometimes its a snooze-fest.

Sometimes you meet new people who are the same color as you, but don't speak the same language.

Sometimes you find out that animals that do nothing actually are pretty fun (and what you look like after being sick for a week).

Occasionally I drag people who are related to me, there.

Occasionally I drag people who are not related to me, there.

And sometimes the two of you run into the professor who assigned you the group project that got you together on a Friday afternoon in the first place.

Which is definitely the weirdest thing that has happened to me at the animal shelter.

The First Swim Meet Of The Rest Of My Life

When you've done as many sports as I have at as many levels as I have there are few true "firsts" left in sport.  This weekend I crossed a big one - "first swim meet as a swimmer"- off the list.

As book-ends go it was a good one.  On Saturday, the Ironman World Championship was held in Kona, Hawai'i.  Five years ago I was there, racing one of the longest mainstream sporting events currently held, and on this Saturday I was racing the 50 free, the shortest event in the Olympic swimming line-up.

The comparisons don't end there.   I was warned multiple times about what to expect for the meet warm-up.  Basically every competitor has access to the pool for the same 30-45 minutes to complete their team and/or personal warm-up.  It is "dangerous" and "chaos" and I was going to get "swam over" and "flip-turned on" etc etc.  We dove in and after about 200 yards I had to laugh.  There were approximately 1975 fewer swimmers trying to maul me during meet warm-up than during an IM mass start.  It was so tame.

Despite being half my age, my teammates held my hand through it all.  They answer my very basic questions without laughing (too much) and often look at each other and say "oh yeah, I guess that is something we do at meets."  To them all of this is second nature, just like I could set up a triathlon transition area blind-folded, and we all take that for granted in our own sport(s).

I think that I am enjoying swimming at this advanced commitment level because so much of it is brand new to me.  I might as well be one of the adorable 8-year-olds whose arms and legs and back are covered in permanent marker.  They start with event number/heat/lane on their forearm and get very carried away....

Early in the meet I was timed by a pair of women who carefully mentioned my age, which immediately follows my name on each heat check-in sheet.  I confirmed that I was in fact the oldest competitor by 14 years and they were floored.  I heard from several teammates that these two ladies had asked them "do you know there is a 32-year-old swimming this meet?" not even realizing we were on the same team.  They were just announcing it to random people.

Little do they know that if it was a triathlon I would have been required to write my age on my calf.  Next meet I might do that and write "eat my bubbles" right below it - just like all the other newbies.

One of the lessons I learned this weekend is that the hardest part of any event is the climb out of the pool after its over.  Almost didn't make it out after the 100 back.

I could easily have titled this post "Swim Meets: As If I Needed Another Reason To Love Rice Pudding And Chinese Leftovers".

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Not Buying The Ick That I'm Selling

Never in my life have I been in such constant proximity with so many people in such a confined space.

Now imagine the germs.

Two Thursdays ago one or some of those germs dropped a hand grenade into the middle of my relatively ordered life and walked away with the pin.  I felt fine at the beginning of swim practice and had a sore throat by the end.  So began a frustrating seven (but more like nine or ten...) days.

Hot mess doesn't even begin to cover it.  Swim coaches were forbidding me from attending practice, office mates were holding their breath walking by my chair during the times I was required to show up, and little dogs were cowering in their handbags.  Ok, no little dogs, but those who knew better were staying well clear.

I lost my voice by Saturday afternoon, but since I live alone I didn't know it until I was standing at a counter trying to order a sandwich.

Due to an administrative debacle a couple of weeks ago, my basketball section has already used up its one acceptable cancelled class.  So I was teaching, unable to yell and unable to borrow a whistle because the next person would be doomed.  Layering on the germs, I found out I have one student in the ICU and another diagnosed - on Tuesday, after coming to class Monday - with strep, which is something I did/do not have.  But I bet only barely, since we all share basketballs.

One of the days I was starting to feel better I rode the shuttle to campus and everyone was sniffling and lightly coughing.  Everyone.  It cannot be escaped.

I realized that after these upcoming years, I am going to be either a Super Solider or a shadow of my former self.
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