We are racking up various successes:
We have 3 Satellite Try-Athletes, and in different provinces!!! :D
- In AB, Eva is challenging herself, "Just want to let you know, your daily blogs have compelled me to take the "death stairs" up River Valley. I initially thought I may just deliver my baby on one of the stairs, but after a while, I realized that my legs move independently of my uterus. =)".
- In NL, Stacey is inspired to take on her own challenge. She is making new choices and has yet to decide what her big challenge will be.
- In AB, another one of our friends who has been inspired by our "Try-Athlete" antics has begun her own routine and has now lost five pounds. Congratulations!
GOOD LUCK TO BOTH OF YOU! Stay strong :)
We have online readership!
We are starting our next goal, our 4 Week Food Challenge, early.
We are ready for this. We have had some major success already. We notice it in our faces and in our belt lines. Jenny notices it more than I do. She is very observant. Starting tomorrow, it's gonna be '6 clean & 1 cheat'. Once it warms up, we are going to add in walking Harley and going for bike rides, so we are already thinking ahead for more goals. Competition apparently runs in our bones.
I'm not sure what Jenny's mom thinks, but my mom thinks we work too hard. The only thing I worry about is my little buddy being left alone too long. I'm going to take him to rehearsals so he sees lots of people all the time. Harley the Maniac Mascot, Rehearsal Dog. Ok, off topic...
And the next major success: we made it to our first ever, Sunday Swim practice! We were there before Brent, and we were very proud of ourselves... not because we were there before Brent but because we were actually there.
We got up early, and on the way down, we are talking about people and their antics at various ages. At one point, I said, "When I was 72, I was doing things like..." and Jenny said, "When you were 72? How old are you now - 105?" I meant 22, but this set the stage for the morning. Jenny had the first rant of the day, and I made a mathematical error, so you can now call me Gaia/Mother Earth... old as dirt. LOL
I did math correctly yesterday, though. Mat said he ate some hotdogs and I correctly calculated the amount of time it took him to eat. Um, genius... me. Yeah, I said it.
Back to the Swim Scene: we got there early, and we were unsure about parking because there were so many choices. It's pretty empty on a Sunday morning.
When we got to the locker room, I tried to teach Jenny how to do the Superhero Strip but it was a no-go, and then we finally hopped into the pool. Jenny remarked on how shiny the pool is when no one is in it, and I told her that is how it always looks - like a sparkly blanket of diamonds and waves upon waves of warmth and love. On the other days, you have to look past the mounds of other sweaty bodies, the inevitable sweat, blood, tears and snot; you have to try to see the positive side.
Jenny says she can't wait to go for Tim Hortons. This is why I love her.
We did a couple of laps, and I made it twice, maybe 4 times. I can't remember - yeah it was 4 times - I front crawled twice and I glided twice. Wait, I also did some backstrokes. Sweet Lord in Heaven, it's all running together. I went up and down the pool, I don't know how many times but I didn't do the whole 50m very often so I must have done a whole bunch of strokes each way. I didn't drown so it all worked out in the end. Suffice to say I won't win a triathlon yet. Suffice to say I won't be in a triathlon yet. My Try-athlons consist of Working, Rehearsing and Working Out. That's a frigging marathon day for me.
It was Jenny's turn to be Michael Phelps today. She is AMAZING in the pool! Today was a 50m swim and she completed it repeatedly.... Jenny swam the 50m many times doing various strokes. She said she had it in her head that she was going to do it, and she did. She would not give up, and her determination is awesome (and not in the train wreck way).
She was the front crawl master.
I was the exorcist.
Jenny told me that. Thanks, buddy. She gets to go home the champ, I get to go home terrified of myself. It's 'Freddy' all over again (see the blog Clawing My Way to the Top for the backstory on that one!).
I decided, after the 50m thing wasn't working out so well, that I should work on the left arm breathing situation. And by that I mean that I need to start breathing on my left side as well as my right. This is something we both need to do, but today, this was the challenge I set up for myself. Jenny's challenge was swimming the 50m repeatedly, mine was the left side breathing.
While Jenny was busy being a fish, I was busy teaching myself to breathe again. You would think that knowing how to do it on one side would automatically make it easy to do it on the other side (insert 'that's what she said' joke here) but no, that's not so. It's like handwriting: it doesn't just happen.
Now, handwriting is easy for me. I teach English language and literature. But let me tell you something about me that's a little strange, if you don't already think I'm strange. I can read, write and print forward, backward, upside down and backwards with both hands. It's messy, but for the most part, legible. I kid you not. My brain just does that. So why can't I breathe the same way? Why doesn't my brain just do that? Doesn't breathing and blinking just come automatically? Practice, I guess. They don't come automatically underwater.
And so... swim swim, splash splash, drown drown... it's like the first week all over again! But I am a winner, I am not going to give up. Stupid untrained left arm, anyway. I get the Freedomboard and away we go. I watch my left arm go up and as I am watching it, I see that it is not going very far up - it does not look like my right arm when I breathe on my right side - aha! Eureka! I am Albert Einstein. My left arm looks more like a chicken wing and it's supposed to look like... well, not like a chicken wing.
Alright, I go a little way further with the Freedomboard and flip around. I don't go too far because I figure I need little steps. I know myself - I will get frustrated enough with this chicken wing that I will beat up the Freedomboard off the side of the pool. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our little chicklet Jenny is nearing Olympic status.
The Freedomboard gets aggravating after awhile - it doesn't move me very quickly. I start bringing my left arm through the water as if I am swimming so I can practice my arm movements and this helps. Yay for practice! Even moving your arm down through the water with the Freedomboard makes such a speed improvement, you can feel yourself moving through the water.
Ok, it's not working. Chicken wing + left side breathing = drowning. My coughing is so loud that it is echoing, which makes me laugh. I'm getting really good at coughing up stuff from my lungs. MacIsland has great echo power.
I spent the majority of today going back and forth in 10-15 feet of water (the water was deeper than I was actually swimming lengthways :-P ) working on the left arm business, and that was more tiring than just swimming. Drowning, or trying not to, is hard work.
There was a lady next to us who was walking who was actually going faster than me. Walking. In 25' (or so) deep water. I don't know how she was keeping her shoulders and head above water (maybe she was a frigging demon or as Jenny said, she was wearing some sort of submarine flotation device), but she was givin'er. She didn't get her hair wet. If she was a little higher out of the water, walking that quickly, I might've thought she was trying to be Jesus. I'm not being blasphemous, I'm just sayin'. She was nearly walking on deep water and not getting the top half of her body wet.
At that point, I decided that the board has to go. It's do or die, now. I tell myself that I'm not coming up for air unless it's on the left side. If I drown, I drown. "Tell Mama I love her." (Glen Pysell).
roll right left in left out right out,
roll right left in left out right out,
roll right left in left out right out,
roll right left in... aaannnnddd I'm drowning a little bit
I AM GOING TO GET THIS. PEOPLE SWIM EVERY DAY.
If I could bang my head against the water, I would.
I know what you are thinking - 'stop overthinking it'. Listen, sweetie pie, honey face, lover bunches of oats, how about 'thank you for your advice'... when I can do it, then I will stop thinking about it. Otherwise, I'll just be hanging out in the water, not doing the right things.
Jenny and I made a little plan for her to watch me so she could see what I was doing wrong. I told her I couldn't get enough air so by the time I was getting up, I was gasping, which made me get water with my air.
She said, "Turn your head faster. Maybe because you are swimming faster now, you need to turn your head faster because your arms are going faster."
"Hmmm," said I, "This is possible, although I don't think I am going faster. I will try it though because I do need air faster. Let's do it up. Michael Phelps is the boss of me today." And so I did.
And so it worked.
Which led me to look like Linda Blair, the possessed girl in The Exorcist. I may never sleep again. :( Although, if I could flip my head around like that, swimming would NEVER be a problem on two levels: I wouldn't run out of air because I would swivel my head around ANNNND other athletes would be too afraid to swim near me. Exorcist FTW!
I then put it all together:
Rolling body to the right: check
Swiveling head like the exorcist girl: check
Arm not like a chicken wing: check
Legs still kicking: check
I did alright. Jenny yells at the top of her legs that it was the best she ever saw me swim ever. That's not too shabby. I was actually swimming faster than I thought I was. Wow.
I practiced a bit more but it was about ten minutes 'til closing time and I was pretty exhausted. It was early. On Tuesday my challenge will be to put right arm breathing and left arm breathing together. Sweet Lord almighty, it'll be like learning my multiplication tables again.
Jenny was floating around, doing backstrokes and frontstrokes, being all Olympic and stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if she did a triple axle dive off the diving board one day (or are triple axles only in skating?). Whatever, she could do it, skating or not. She'll soon be like the Chuck Norris of swimming.
Oh, and P.S., the Triathlon Swim Coach saunters (because you know, swim coaches always 'saunter') over and says that Andrea (aka Alanna) has done a really great job with us. So hats off to Alanna, once again.
Then Albert Einstein and Michael Phelps get out of the pool and plan to go for Tim Hortons after the Arctic Locker Room showers.
In the locker room, we go for showers and are able to do so quickly because it is an empty ghost town in there. As I get dressed, I realize I have become one of those Locker Room Naked People. Those white plastic curtains do nothing to save passersby from viewing naked showering people, and there is a 3 inch gap between the wall and my curtain. I realize, belatedly, that if a child walked by, her poor psyche would be traumatized by the Superhero Stripper behind the curtain. I don't care about the other strippers - they have seen it all before; they have the same parts. I hauled the curtain across only to have it gape open on the other side. Sweet God. More crimes getting racked up. I better put in a call to BatNan and ask her to say a few extra rosaries for me. As in, whole sets of rosaries.
When we walk out of MacIsland, it's daylight. We have never walked out of there during daylight hours.
"A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming"
(Alan Menken, Tim Rice)
We can do anything...
... because we have a whole day ahead of us, and because we are out of bed early.
Jenny makes fun of me because I tell her I want to put sound effects in the blog. I don't know how to do this on facebook, though, but I think it might be possible on blogspot, and it's definitely possible on my website. She looks at me kind of like I am growing snakes for hair ('Why hello, Medusa') and says, "Oh excuse me, I didn't know I was hanging around with Michael Zingleburger". Michael Zingleburger? Oh, the facebook dude - yeah, that's me. "Mark Zuckerburg," I correct her but she says "Whatever!" I don't remember why I wanted to put sound effects in here now, but at the time it was a great idea because there was something in particular we wanted everyone to hear.
Jenny's Blueberry car has a little sign on it that says it's a Vancouver Olympic Podium edition car. She doesn't know why it's there but it was actually on the car when she bought it. "This is fate!" I say, "I was taking pictures of the place in Gregoire Lake where the real triathletes go swimming and you were buying the Olympic sized car before we ever decided to become 'athletes'!" We laugh hysterically at this, mostly because we are tired. She tells me not to tell anyone about the sign but that is too good to keep to myself.
We drive around in an Olympic Podium car, and we are Try-Athletes. F'in right, b*tches.What's up!!