Ask me if I’m doing a race, and I’ll probably say no. Tell me you’re doing a race and ask if I want to join you and, depending on the event, I’ll probably say I’ll think about it, and then sign up (especially if it’s a swimming event). What is it about knowing others in the fray? In most races, I don’t even see the person I signed up with except for before and after. Different age groups, different speeds, what have you. It’s not exactly peer “pressure” – I like to think I’m an adult, so if I really don’t want to do something, I won’t. I’m stubborn that way. Ask my husband! So why am I so sure I don’t want to compete, and then easily let myself get talked into stuff?! And then, here’s the kicker, I have a great time!!! …after being a wreck leading up to race-time, that is.
I signed up to do an olympic distance aquabike in August. Hurray, no running! And I think I’m committing to 2 tri relays over the summer – phew, just swimming: the easy part!
Swim: my usual pool has been closed this week. ARGHH!! I hope to get in the water before Cambridge Masters’ 100x100yds – Miles for Marly challenge on 12/31. No, I’m not doing 100 of them. I’ll shoot for around 50. And then there’s the USMS 1-hour swim in January – see how far you can swim in one hour. I haven’t done it in years. I swore I wouldn’t do it again about 10 years ago. But then a friend asked me to do it with her. I’m such a marshmallow! But it’s not like I wouldn’t swim more than an hour in any given practice, right?
Bike: finally put my back-up bike on the trainer. And I even rode it! Wonder when that will happen again…? Next week I go back to spin classes at my gym.
Read (and eat!): Just finished Mapping the Edge, by Sarah Dunant. Don’t bother.
Just started Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels. Wow.
Let Them Eat Vegan!, by Dreena Burton It was a Christmas present. Thanks, Shady! A little daunting. Lots of ingredients and involved recipes, but if the winter veg. pot pie is any indication, it will be worth the time and effort. I’m vegetarian and trying to eat less dairy, so it’s helpful to see how vegans work around milk, eggs, and cheese. Watch Vegucated if you get a chance.
Here’s to a Happy Healthy New Year!
What makes a good bike ride leader? I’ve been on some big group rides, and I never really thought about the leaders. You get the cue sheet and/or find out what road-mark to follow, faster people take off, and then rest of the riders get moving, in some semi-organized way. Or not. There may be some weaving around and jockeying for position as the better riders zoom ahead and the stragglers straggle. I tend to look around to figure out where I fit, and try to avoid the yahoos AND the wobblers. Usually there’s someone around my speed that I end up riding with if I haven’t brought a riding buddy.
But what about smaller “no-drop” rides where the leader might actually matter? Sure, these kinds of rides tend to give a pace range, but there are always riders at both ends. Have you led this type of ride? What do you find works best? I had the opportunity to lead some no-drop rides over the summer – kind of by default: I came up with the routes! My philosophy is that everyone should get the workout they want. I am definitely NOT the fastest on any of the rides I lead, but my strategy is to provide a cue sheet and suggest some strategic waiting points. It has worked so far…
Thoughts? Ideas? Experiences?
Spin class before work
Swim practice mid-day: 4300 pain-free yards! I found out on Monday that I do NOT need to have shoulder surgery. The doctor told me to take Aleve (or the like) AM/PM, do my shoulder exercises, and consider getting a cortisone shot if the pain persists. Wow, drugs really do work when you give them a chance… I still have some degeneration in my shoulder but apparently nothing serious. Anybody have cortisone stories to share?
Read: just started The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. So far, so good! I’ve been fooled by her before though. I think I liked Secret Life of Bees until about 3/4 of the way through. We’ll see. I could use a good book. I was underwhelmed by 2 out of the last 3 I read.
And EAT! Soymilk hot chocolate for a “recovery” drink. Any excuse for hot chocolate works for me. Veggie mash mash-up for dinner – that means I’m starting with Frugal Feeding’s recipe and going rogue from there. Not sure what’s going in yet, but it will be hot and tasty and vegetarian.
Let the weekend begin. I might even have a drink! Hold the vermouth.
or, how to tell if you need a new suit and what to do about it:
Early warning – it feels fine when you put it on, but seems a little looser than usual after getting wet. You might want to look it over. Closely. In the mirror. While wearing it wet.
You see some striation of the material. Time to start shopping
The outer material is no longer speaking to the inner lining – they should be as one. You really need to start shopping. Obviously this only applies to lined suits.
You feel something tickling the back of your thighs, and it’s the butt of your suit. Whoops – ‘cause by now, your suit probably isn’t doing a great job of keeping things hidden, OR in their proper places.
Believe me, I’ve seen all of the above. If you swim regularly, you probably have, too.
More subtle clues:
You get odd, sometimes pitying, looks as you walk along the deck
The lifeguards look away – or anywhere other than your suit. Or they can’t help BUT look at your suit. Maybe with a look of astonishment, embarrassment, unbridled lust or disgust… you get the picture (for better or worse).
I go through a lot of suits, and I like to have back-ups on hand. Or I should say I used to go through a lot of them until I stumbled upon suits made from tougher materials, which kind of takes the fun out of my SAD (Swimsuit Acquisition Disorder). On the other hand, it’s a lot cheaper. Now I get bored with my suits before they wear out. There are a lot of fun styles and patterns, and you can pay a lot for them. Or not. It depends on how particular you are about getting a specific design. I don’t like to pay $70+, so I search around for options, and increase my tolerance for “not me” colors. I’m still a snob about certain brands, though. I just can’t help it.
TJ MAXX, Marshalls – not reliable stock, but sometimes they have Speedo, TYR and Nike brands, and when they have them, they’re cheap.
AGONSWIM – they mainly do team suits and make extras so the grab bag option is great if you like the excitement of not knowing what you’ll get (beyond style and material). It’s like Christmas! Or your birthday! The grab bag suits are about ½ the price of choosing your own print which I find very inviting. There are a lot of options for styles and materials, so the site can be a little overwhelming. I’ve had good luck with their customer service when I’ve needed to return items. Last time I ordered from Agonswim, I found that the lycra suits wore out quicker than I expected, though. I’m thinking of giving them another try, but this time I’ll get Duramax or MaxResist material. If you go with one of the tougher materials, you might have to order a size bigger due to less stretch in the fabric.
METRO SWIM SHOP and SWIM OUTLET – very similar in terms of price and offerings. I’m often enticed by a featured suit (on sale, of course) only to find out that they don’t have my size. Grr. But persevere – the deals are there. At $28-$35 for a Speedo, Tyr, or Nike, it’s worth it. And they often have other brands for even less.
Regular store – WAY too expensive for me. I’m not spending $70 or more! Keep an eye out for sales, though – I hear they happen.
I could go on and on about swim suits and the various styles, but I’ll save that for another time. Oh, just one other thing: if you’re competing, make sure the suit you buy is legal for your event. FINA-governed competitions do not allow suits with zippers or clips, for instance. There are rules about materials and lengths and coverage and… you name it!
Happy swimming (and shopping)!