I love Pool Part Deux

February 28, 2009

As I’ve mentioned earlier, we live about two blocks from the University of Puget Sound.  I emailed them and phoned them to see if I could work out an arrangement for using their pool once a week.  Nobody returned my messages.  I spoke with my friend, an alum of UPS, about this and she said I should try to just use the pool.  She predicted that there would just be some work study student who could care less watching over things.  I tried it yesterday and she was right.  I even went up to the young man’s table and asked him if I needed to sign in or anything.  He said “no,” so I hopped right in. 

The UPS pool is 25 meters; all the other pools I have practiced in have been 25 yards.  The difference is only about 6 feet, but I sure felt it.  My big swim at the triathlon will be 1500 meters, so the sooner I get used to  longer distances without stopping, the better.  Yesterday, I took it easy on myself, though – I felt that finding a place to swim was enough of a victory for one day.

Funny note in the embarrassing category: rather than shower and change there, I opted to pull clothes on over my wet suit, rationalizing that I only had two blocks to drive and then would shower at home.  As I approached my car, I noticed that things looked a bit fuzzy and realized I’d left my glasses at the pool.  By the time I retrieved them, my wet suit had soaked the bright pink knit material of my pants, darkening them through the seat and between the legs, making it look as though I’d had an accident.  I wondered if the students I passed were laughing at me and then decided I didn’t really care if they were.  You’d think this realization would be liberating, but in truth, it just made me feel old.

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P.S. Please Donate

February 24, 2009

Tonight, Team in Training is hosting a fundraising workshop.  I think the focus will be primarily on letter writing, with some discussion of special events.  I have them beat on the letters – I spent the weekend writing my own.  TNT will pay for postage on the first 50 letters, so I wanted to have my finished in time to give to the woman at the workshop and save myself a trip up to their Seattle office.

In good librarian fashion, I did some research about fundraising letters before writing mine.  It turns out that when someone opens a fundraising letter, they read it in this order:

1) Signature

2) P.S.

3) Opening paragraph

4) The rest of the letter (if they get this far)

I did my best to “tell the story,” to explain the mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and why it is important. 

I must add that I am particularly proud of the envelopes I am using.  I bought them from Paper Zone and they are part of the Eames line (I think).  They are an eye-catching shade of green and a bit heavier than most envelopes, and, of course, I wrote the addresses by hand, so I doubt people will immediately discard them as junk mail. 

In each envelope, I included the letter, one of my special “business” cards (with a green stripe that matches the envelope) and a self-addressed stamped envelope.  All in all, I am proud of the final product.  It represents my best effort.  Time and incoming donations will tell how successful my best effort is.

Today was warm enough to go on a real bike ride!  My number one fan and I donned our gear and headed out.  After about 1.4 minutes, it became clear that my rear tire was flat.  I have been using a bike trainer (a stand for regular bikes that turns them into stationary bikes) for the past few weeks, so I had not noticed.  In fact, I wonder if the pressure from the trainer caused my tire to go flat.  Anyway, N very chivalrously changed it for me while I sat and watched.  As he neared completion, he said, “What!? This tube has a patch on it!”  I told him before he started that it had a patch, but sometimes the listening skills are not so much there.  I should have changed my own tire, anyhow, but it was really nice to let someone else do it.

Before embarking on the real ride, we stopped at the local independent bike store and bought two new tubes.  Then we set off for real.  We rode up to and around Point Defiance park, then down to Ruston.  For those of you not in Tacoma, Ruston is a stretch of road that goes along the Puget Sound with a spectacular view of Mount Rainier.  The road itself is not very kind to bicyclists, but there is a walking/biking path so we used that.  This part of the ride did not do much for us aerobically but it was great for people/dog/scuba diver watching.  We must have passed twenty people getting on gear to go scuba diving.  It had me humming, “Scuba, scuba doo, where are you?” over and over.  It may surprise some folks to hear that people dive in the Puget Sound, a body of water that is freezing all times of the year.  It’s possible; in fact, N and I have done it.  All it takes is a full body wet suit, a shortie wet suit over that, gloves, booties and a hood.  You have to really want to do it.

After Ruston, we headed up some really challenging hills, then levelled out and had a pretty easy ride home.  All told, the ride was about 16 miles maybe.  Although we could not feel our toes at the end of it (it is February, after all), I don’t regret it for a minute – it sure beats trying to approximate real riding while on a stationary bike in a stuffy room!

Don’t hate me for this post

February 19, 2009

My right shoulder has felt a bit crunchy, particularly when I swim. It doesn’t hurt exactly, except for a very minor dull ache, but it doesn’t feel quite right, either. I went to the doctor today to have it looked at – mostly for assurance that I won’t wind up a hunchback if I keep swimming.

She did some strength tests and felt the muscles along the shoulder and recommended some steps – stretching, anti-inflammatories, etc. I will also start physical therapy next week, but these steps are all to make swimming easier, not because I am in danger of really harming myself. The PA did say if the physical therapy does not have enough of an impact, she will recommend me for massage therapy. Am I a horrible person that I hope the PT won’t do quite enough?

That is not what the title of this post refers to, however. While discussing my muscle/bone structure, the PA described me as “very thin.” It embarrasses me how many voices piped up in my head as soon as these words hit my ear. One voice said, “Did you hear that? She thinks you’re very thin!” Another voice piped up, “You’re not THAT thin – you could definitely be thinner.” Still a third voice – I think of it as the little feminist in my brain – told both of the other voices that they were being ridiculous. Shouldn’t I be liberated enough to take those words simply as descriptive and not as some sign of affirmation. In addition to all those voices, a final, quieter voice began describing the scene so I could write about it in my blog.

I can’t say that I am proud of the circus in my head, but I suspect others (women, at least) would recognize it so I wanted to share.

Thanks to my friend Liz for introducing me to this video. She tells me her family has spent many a Friday night projecting it onto the wall and dancing in front of it. Warning: it will haunt you.

I love pool?

February 14, 2009

I am looking for a pool.

My training schedule requires me to swim twice a week.  Our team has a coached swim practice on Tuesday nights, leaving one swim a week for which I need a pool.

Two weeks ago, I tried out the only public pool in Tacoma that operates in the winter.  Unfortunately, the window of time I had coincided with free swim time.  The pool staff used lane ropes to cut the pool into quarters.  I swam, but getting any sort of distance in 12.5 meter lengths is a bit trying.  Plus, rust coated the lockers in the locker room, leaving me feeling a bit dingy.

Yesterday, I visited a local gym and sat through the 45 minute spiel to receive a guest pass.  I like the pool and facility overall seemed new and clean but I would like to avoid paying forty dollars to swim four times a month.  One funny thing happened: I made an incorrect assumption that they would have towel service.  They did not, so after my shower, I dried off the best I could using the hair dryer.  Luckily, I swam during a slow period so there was no one in the locker room to witness my embarrassment.

My next plan of attack is to see if the University of Puget Sound will let me use their pool.  I live only two blocks from the campus, so this would be ideal.  The pool staff has not yet returned my phone call, but I will go during free swim and talk to the attendant.  If they say “no,” I have a string I can pull (hi, Anne!) I’ll keep you posted.

In other news, my team might have a booth at the Tacoma marathon in May where we sell stuff as a fundraiser.  Any suggestions on what type of stuff a marathon runner might want to buy?

Bonus points if you can tell me what movie my title post references.

Jacob’s Ladder

February 11, 2009

I swam a mile last night!  Not all at once, but still . . .

Afterwards, I ate a plate of french fries and drank two pints of beer, so on the health scale, I am back where I started.