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Morning session #4

Posted: 07/27/2014 in Uncategorized
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Me: It’s as hard as I make it look, isn’t it?
Eric:  Yes. Yes it is.

From the comfort of the kayak after finishing the half-mile of stops & starts with which I’d tasked myself. Most of the training group was competing in Northern Ohio, so it was just the two of us out there ~ Eric adventuring out as my water safety crew since no one should swim alone.

Seriously,  how awesome is my husband that he’ll get up at 5AM on a Saturday to make sure I don’t drown?

When I was done, we switched places. He’s been listening to me talk about swimming form for almost a month. Decided to try it out.

Last time it was 10-12 strokes before the panic sets in & the feet have to find ground.  Yesterday, 14. Sometimes 20. Working on finding my breath. Staying calm. 

Half a mile in 14-20 stroke increments takes a lot longer than running it, that’s for damn sure.

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Runners, when they begin getting into any kind of distance running, start looking at mileage signs on the highway, or distance estimates on google maps and thinking to themselves “I can run that.”  10 miles to the next exit? I can run that. 3 miles to the yoga studio? I should probably run that…

When you first start doing open water swim, you start applying the same “I can run that” principle to water.  Swim-able or not swim-able?

I can’t remember the name of this little inlet (?) off the Bay in San Francisco, but it looked beautiful and calm. There was a rowing team practice going on nearby (fascinating) and these cute little painted houses (houseboats) on the other side. The picture doesn’t do their colors justice. But this little row, so neat and precisely placed, has been coming to mind all week.

Saturday beckons, and with it, swim practice.

 

 

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I’ll explain about the cover story thing later. Let’s just say I have an idea to see how long I can keep up a streak. Tomorrow will be day 3.

In triathlons, there is always some type of water safety in place for the swimmers. Kayakers. Boats. Something that represents safe haven for those that struggle or tire or become injured.

I’m kind of jealous of those kayakers, if I’m being honest. I like to be the cheerleader and the coach that’s right there next to the struggle – to be the person that helps talk a person through the hard spot. I would also be honest to say that I’m good at it. Watching a friend of mine struggle in the swim portion, and having to yell from so far away as the beach – I didn’t like it.  I wanted to be on the boat. Looks like I’ve got another skill set to research to figure out how to be on the boat – do I need a lifeguard certification? water safety course?  Lots to think about.

At least until I’m a strong enough swimmer to be in the water.

 

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A local triathlon last week at Caesar’s Creek – Sprint & Olympic distances I think . I’m still learning what those terms mean.   Also, a relay.  Friends were competing and my camera decided to keep me company while I went to go play cheerleader.

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Well, maybe not how YOU deal with it, but it’s sure as heck how I deal with it!

Because getting up to swim at 5:00AM isn’t hard enough without a little gray clouds and rain.

It’s an hour away, convenient to none of us really, but it’s open water with a decent beach. Not the goose poop, or the bourbon even, the place we meet to swim, I mean. Okay, yes – that’s where the goose poop is.

A little club of intimates show up there so early – our group starts swimming at 7:00AM, but usually there are already others there.  Doesn’t really matter though, since we all keep an eye on each other.

Yesterday was my third training session – it’s been at least a decade since I’ve been swimming to do laps and I wasn’t really into it before. I can keep myself alive in the water, but you realize when you’ve watched a triathlon, that “not drowning” isn’t the same as being able to swim.

The first session, I borrowed goggles because I didn’t have my own. I did less than half the distance everyone else did and most of that I ran in the water. Running in the water is a form of “not drowning”. It’s not swimming. Just in case you didn’t know.

The second session, there was a clinic, and coach John spent some time teaching me about form. Apparently you have to put your face in the water if you want to be good at swimming. I swim like a meerkat – head up and looking around.  Face in the water, huh? I could make it 10-12 strokes before a little panic set in and I had to put my feet down. At least I had my own goggles.

Yesterday, I did most of the distance that everyone else did, and I swam most of if – in 10-20 stroke stops and starts – and VERY slowly.  I’m getting better, but wow! it does really suck. Sometimes, your only training goal is just to suck a little less.

On the way home, you realize the inside of your mouth and the soles of your feet itch. You start sneezing. You’re pretty sure lake water has given you bubonic plague. Then you think about the geese in the water, and the goose poop on the beach – soooo much poop *shudder* – and you consider that itching is probably about the geese. You’re allergic to goosedown. Probably allergic to goose poop too. Ugh. Is it okay to gargle with bourbon before 10AM? Bourbon, I am not allergic too.
The itching and sneezing stop after a long, HOT, sanitizing and highly soapy shower. Plus a date with my neti pot because, sexy.
For some reason, when I went to observe the Team RWB folks at Tri for Joe, a little switch flipped in my brain that said “I think I could do that.”
Now here I am, doing this, BADLY, but doing this triathlon thing.
Swimming in goose poop and gargling bourbon.

 

 

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Ahhh, standard travel picture out the airplane window…you’re welcome. 

I am an apprehensive flyer. I will road trip anywhere, anytime with you, but flying…I like my feet on terra firma. Earth girl, through and through. Something to do with it being completely unnatural to be flying around in a metal tube – although, ironically, it’s all the laws of nature that make it possible to fly. Take off and landing involve a few breathing exercises and meditation.

In full disclosure, the last time I flew was 2-days before 9/11. THE 9/11. *It’s been that long.*  I wasn’t all that thrilled about flying before then. Everyone has their own 9/11 story, and there are at least 2,977 people plus all of their families and friends that have unimaginably more terrible stories than mine, so I don’t want this post to be about that. But by a narrow window and a single “No thanks”, I ended up coming home on September 9th instead of September 11th. Mainly for the ridiculous reason that I wanted a day to do laundry and get my hair done before I went back to work. My flight home would not have been one of the flights, let me be clear about that. Odds are I would’ve have been grounded in Salt Lake City, completely broke at the time, which would have been terrifying not fun. But “not fun” is still alive and unharmed. However, there is still a feeling that haunts me and makes my chest tighten knowing that a single decision about some laundry made such an impact on my experience. It’s little things sometimes. On 9/11, I listened to Eric’s phone ring over and over again through the day as people who knew I’d been traveling called him to see if I was home. Including my own sister, who, when I asked her later why she’d called Eric and not me, said “I was afraid you wouldn’t answer your phone.” Because then what? Things like that make an impression. So, terra firma.

But I’d like to travel more, so frankly, I need to get the hell over it. Just breathe.

Usually, once I get in the air, I’m fine. There is an acknowledgement I give that I am no longer in control of what happens to me once my feet are off the ground, and I just have to trust – everything. I relax a little. I breath normally.  I actually like to look out the window. See the curve of the Earth. The blues and tans and greens. The places we’ve left wild and the way we humans have divided up so much into straight line grids, as if this planet doesn’t laugh at such notions every time a weather front moves through.

In one of the periods where my mind was contemplating wanting to travel, specifically to see the Reds play in St. Louis – a road trip, one of my brothers came to visit over Christmas and invited us to visit him in California, and not just show up, but really, just. show. up. He had a place to stay for us, would let us have his car to explore while we were there, and would even let Eric use his motorcycleS. Plural. My brother has nice toys. How can you not get your ass on a plan with an offer like that?!

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I was thinking about my brother this morning. Part of what brought this photo to mind beyond that it was taken at the very, very start of our trip. More accurately, I was thinking, as I got out of my car in my office parking lot, how grateful I am that I don’t take much advice. Which is a weird thing to think, I know, but I gave up normal for some Lent years ago when I still believed in God and never took up the habit again- of God or normal. Even weirder that the thought brought my brother to mind, except that my family is like that, all STRONGLY independent spirits and detrimentally self-aware.  None of us take or offer much in the way of advice – rather, we offer OBSERVATIONS.

My brother and I had some awesome conversations while I was in California – the kind where most people who don’t share your DNA just aren’t going to understand the context – and there were lots of observations. Particularly about the way my corporate thinking doesn’t fit at all into the way corporate people should think. 

About my career.

About enjoying my life.

About really spending my time and energy the way I like to spend it.  WHEN I like to spend it on such things.

A lot of observations to think about. A gratitude for not taking much of the advice I’ve been getting lately (none of which came from my brother) to be more corporate and to hide my way of thinking. Stifle myself. Keep my opinions quiet. Go with the flow. Don’t make waves. BE MORE NORMAL. Stay on the path, put on blinders. It’s funny how corporations will hire you for the way your thinking doesn’t fit in the standard size box, then spend the next few years trying to stuff you back into the standard size box. That, my friends, is an observation. Which brought me back to this picture and a quote that keeps playing through my mind:

“… the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.” ~ Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

I love that quote. And so…the picture that makes me think of the curve of the Earth, and my own road down it. 

Friends, we tend to fear the road we can’t see far down. We keep a white-knuckle grip on our blinders so we don’t have to fear change and opportunity. We can be like everyone else. Normal.

But if you aren’t willing to travel the path, to see how far the road goes, how do you know there isn’t a beautiful land on the other side of it?

Random Thursday observation for you.

Good morning! Hey – I’m still alive!  Isn’t that great?!

At least I am until the coffee runs out anyway. Then Zzzzzz…

I’ve been traveling – not something I get to do as often as I’d like – and my body is catching up with the time changes SLOWLY. My sleep is meandering its way back to reasonable, while my wake up time is on normal schedule. OUCH!

My suitcases, while unpacked, still need put away.

My laptop, which made it through our trip safely, but almost completely unused (I swear, I did not use a real computer for 12 whole days – AND IT WAS GLORIOUS!), promptly died on arrival of our plane into the gate. I’m not even joking. On the plane, fine. At home the next morning, you know, when I wanted to log on and load up all our vacation photos, the thing wouldn’t even boot up. Apparently it’s still on California time too. So anyway, whole new laptop and all new photo editing software had to be purchased on short notice. (Total first world problem, I know.)

There are literally a THOUSAND photographs to edit.  And that doesn’t include the projects I had pending BEFORE we left.

But friends, vacation was absolutely INCREDIBLE! Might be the best one I’ve ever taken – every day something new, something fun, something beautiful. Good people, good food, fantastic weather. Seeing things in reality that surpassed my best imagining. Getting to spend some serious downtime with the husband. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

So, stories and pictures to come from that as I make it through the stack.

Between naps.

Tri-inspired Part Two

Posted: 05/29/2014 in Photos, Uncategorized
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Y’all, every time I work on photos, I swear this camera has been one of the best things that I’ve ever gotten.

 

Tri-inspired

Posted: 05/28/2014 in Photos, Uncategorized
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Since May 10th? Really? It’s been an eventful two weeks and I’ve got a bit of catch-up to write, but first – this – because I took a lot of photos and they’re on my mind.

Stuck like a song except that you see it every time you blink. Imagery tends to stick with me.

I’ve been spending a bit of time with a local organization called Team RWB (go check ’em out!) and part of that time took me down to spectate a local triathlon called Tri for Joe. I’ve never spectated at a triathlon before.

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45 seconds between each swimmer launching themselves at the pool. Wait, wait, wait and then it’s on like donkey-kong with your best effort. So many nervous faces.  

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And then after weaves and turns and dunking under lane markers, this part is over.  I can not even imagine. I consider myself a strong swimmer, but not for this.

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All the gear to organize, and disorganize in hustled transitions.  Trying to find your stuff when you’re soaking wet and exhausted.

Wow. Just wow.  And now too much thinking going on for my own good.

05-05-2014 12-44-19 PM

Well hey. Welcome to Monday #2,012. Not Monday 2012, because there were 52 of those, which would be confusing. Rather, it’s Monday #2,012 in this girl’s life.  Yes, I’m still counting because weird numbers girl, that’s me.

It was a pretty decent weekend, started off with a Reds game on Friday night. A friend offered me a can’t-refuse deal on a couple of tickets and frankly, the husband & I, we needed a date night. So off we go! It also happened to be a Fireworks Friday, and a Star Wars weekend, and a Reds Social Media Night, AND a raffle night where the Reds wives/girlfriends made of baskets of  THEIR favorite things (rather than roster-dude’s) to raffle off in benefit to a local women’s shelter/cause.

And don’t you know, I won this HUGE basket of goodies put together by JJ Hoover’s girlfriend, Megan-Kate! HOW COOL IS THAT? First off, winning goodies is cool all by itself, even if it’s just a box of tic tacs, but also, I think pretty highly of how JJ conducts himself around the Twitter machine and like him as a player. Even more cool than that? (and JJ, this is probably where you should cover your ears…no eyes…no ears…you know what I mean) From what I can tell on twitter, Megan-Kate has my dream job. She works at the zoo. With animals. And SHHHHH! It is entirely possible that I think her job is cooler than pitching. Really, SHHHHHHHHH!

What seems like a lifetime ago, I worked at the zoo too. Mainly just with taking tickets at the front gate and camel rides, but when I got into college there was a whole season of working in horticulture that I still count as being my favorite job of all the jobs I’ve had. I got sweaty and dirty and stinky like a champ helping put in some of  the Jungle Trails landscaping, but I also slept amazingly well the entire time. I LOVED being at the zoo every day even it meant shoveling a lot of mulch and I still think it is one of my favorite places in this entire city, maybe even more than the ballpark (sorry GABP). I can sit and watch Red Pandas for days, and now that I’ve gotten into the photography thing, it’s been on my to-do list to take my camera and see what I can learn about photographing animals. The more connected I get to the garden and the animals in my life, the more I wish I would’ve stuck with that type of work. When I retire, I plan to go wander around the zoo until they realize I’m not an exhibit and stop feeding me.

Winning a basket full of things from the Zoo and the Reds – was a pretty sweet thing to happen.  Then I got it home and started to unpack it – and here’s the final awesome thing – when my husband saw all the things that were in the basket, and then later when I told a friend what was in it – they were both a bit in shock. Mainly because if someone were to custom make a basket full of all the things that I like most, it would be that basket. Red wine, coffee, things for my dogs, Reds things (including a JJ-signed ball!), Zoo things – there was even a Zoo shirt that was exactly something I would have picked out for myself and the right size. HOW COOL IS THAT? It’s kinda uncanny too, but SERIOUSLY COOL!

It included a stuffed Okapi – which is the animal you see in the pic. I like Okapis.  Probably because everyone gets them wrong – except for people who work at zoos. I knew what it was as soon as I saw it, but Eric, he never worked at a zoo. Okapis are like when you have one of those last names that no one gets right – even when it seems like it’s spelled pretty simple, but no one ever pronounces it right. I have one of those. It’s the white/black stripes that get mispronounced. Okapis aren’t in the zebra family, but people think zebra-mating went awry and poof – there’s an okapi. Me and the okapis – no one gets our geneology right.

There was even a book in the basket regarding meditation – which you know has been on my mind & in my writing lately – and flower seeds, including one for mallow. Which I’ve been looking for as an already started plant at the nursery and have not been able to find. Never dawned on me to get seeds (so I wasn’t the best horticulture employee…)

Then the topper, because when you’re around on social media, it’s nice to meet the people you tweet with – when I put my raffle ticket in the basket, I got to meet Megan-Kate and her dog Brewner. REALLY NICE LADY!!!  I always like it when you think people are nice and then you actually meet them and it turns out they’re nice. Makes the world so much better. Also, Brewner – true definition of “gentle giant”. Amazingly relaxed in a chaotic environment and much bigger than his twitter photographs. (Some day, Fred. Some day you will be that well behaved.)

JJ put it on twitter this morning that today is Megan-Kate’s birthday, and that everyone should blow up her phone with good wishes. I thought to myself, Cynthia, you could do that – or you could write her a birthday card. When you work hard on something and make it a thoughtful present, it’s a gift to know that the person who was on the receiving end really appreciates the work that you put into it. Megan-Kate, your basket was a very thoughtful present, and it ended up in the hands of someone who really appreciates all the things that went into it. It was a joy to meet you and Brewner. Thank you & I hope you have a great birthday! 

(Also, where’d you get the strawberry licorice?! That is GOOD!)