Monday, May 15, 2006

NOW! with photos!

I finally got the pictures downloaded from my camera, and seeing them makes me nostalgic already. At the gym today, my coach-friend reminded me I am pre-qualified for next year--but I am not ready to think about that yet, and CERtainly not gearing up to work that hard.

But anyway, PICTURES!

Here is the Coral Springs Aquatic Center, during the 1000 freestyle on Thursday. Doesn't that water look refreshing?

For those of you in more northern climes, you must imagine temperatures in the mid-90s F. Now, doesn't it look refreshing?

This is the USMS banner: it was so inspiring to see it hanging there when I arrived.

To me, this photo captures a great deal of what is fun about masters meets:

It was hilarious, because the cheerleaders would back away as these guys approached for their flipturns, and then come back to the edge of the deck and cheer like mad. The guy in the towel was cheering right along with them.

Here is the finish of my 50 freestyle--which I am only including because it is proof that (although they don't give "heat winner" ribbons at adult swim meets) I did win my heat!

We did not take pictures during the breaststroke events, because that would have been distracting.

Here, though, is my first medal:

OK, kids. That's it for now. Tomorrow the PP and I are jetting to France for a much-needed and I think rather well-deserved vacation. No posting from there, but I look forward to catching up with you in June.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Nationals, Day 2: Keep Wearing Purple.

Greetings again!

Do you know what? I am FINISHED, and it feels so good.

So after I last wrote, the PP and I went out for pizza, and let me tell you, I have never eaten tastier pizza in my life than I found at Rosario's II here in Sunrise. We really wanted to find a place that was local, and we were leaning towards seafood, but then I just NEEDED pizza. So we got pizza.

Then we came back to the hotel and watched the 7 pm edition of Law & Order. Joe said, "have fun tonight but not too much." Don't worry, Joe. I don't even know who killed the guy in the nightclub, because I was passed out by 7:30.

12 hours later, we got the wake-up call, ate breakfast, and found that it is much cooler here today--great!

Then we went to the meet, and I got warmed up for my first event, the 50 FR.

I was feeling so psyched from yesterday's races, that I was ready to kick butt, so I didn't hold back as much in the 50 FR, and swam to a :30.57--2 one-hundredths faster than my best. Plus? I won my heat! By 3 seconds! How cool is that? The PP says I won it on my flip turn, so I have to be sure to tell Coach Jimmy that, so he'll know how his good training helped me.

Then we tried to see Rowdy Gaines and Gary Hall, Jr. swim their 50s of free, but they both scratched. I think they were afraid of my purple suit--as they should be, because it was extra-energized after I listened to "Start Wearing Purple" on my mp3 player, and realized that I had all the super-extreme power of Ukrainian punk behind me. I told the PP that next time we go to Nationals, I want him to wave a Ukrainian flag for me, so that all my big-legged, big-hipped, big-mouthed Ukrainian ancestors will remember that I am doing the family proud.

It wasn't too long before the 100 BR came up, so I rested a little and went to the blocks. I could not tell how this race was going to go. Would it be fast, building on the fast from yesterday? Or would I not be able to sustain the pace for 2 days?

I knew, though, that the Force was with me, because once again, in the heat before mine in the other pool, Susan Von Der Lippe, a three-time Olympian and, at 40! prepping for the Beijing Olympic Trials, was swimming her ass off, beating the national record and in fact swimming faster than any masters age group other than the 18-24. Go Susan! She had been swimming fast in the heat before mine in the 200 BR also, so I knew there was good mojo in the pool.

I had another good start (read: goggles firmly in place) and got off to a decent start. I wasn't counting my strokes, but I was putting every bit of strength I had into the race, knowing that there was nothing more for me to do here. I had good turns--they felt quicker than yesterday--and swimming 100 yards is so under my control. But I felt a little sluggish, like I wasn't getting as much speed going today. But I didn't let that worry me: I just kept going as fast and strong as I could.

I looked up at the board and saw 1:18.52. Pretty good! I thought, cutting about a second. I got out, and the PP was laughing his head off, showing me the time he had written down: 1:16.81.

"You don't know how to read the board," I said (because yesterday he had misread my time). "I swam 1:18.52."

But then, humbled as I so often am by the PP, I reread the board, and realized that I could not read the board and he was right. I checked it on the timer's sheet for the lane.

1:16.81! About 2.5 seconds faster than my previous best!!!!!

My split for my 50 was :36.82, and that is my best 50 time ever. In all, it was a 7th place finish, and I was seeded 9th.

So what a great meet--3 of 4 best times, and serious improvement in both my targeted events.

So now I am going to kick back, eat a little left-over pizza, get out of my lucky purple swimsuit and take a shower. Then we get to go celebrate at dinner. Maybe I'll really rock out and stay up later than 7:30.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Nationals Report, Day 1

Hey--thanks for all the great comments!!!! It is so inspiring and encouraging to have so many of my co-conspirators here with me in the ether.


I just finished my first day of competition. The meet began yesterday with the distance events, and I spent some time there, watching awesome swims (including 4 new national records--one in the men's 90+ category!), counting for someone for the 1650, getting a swim in to get more used to the pool. Then I came back to the hotel, got out of the sun, and watched Ellen. How great is that?

The PP arrived after dinner, and we had a little pow-wow, making a plan for the morning, getting my head in a good place so I could go to sleep. He is so smart, the PP, and so able to help me be smart in my thinking about big races and so forth. How great is that?

I even got a decent night's sleep (no hockey players in the vicinity), and choked down a little breakfast. Meanwhile, it was POURING DOWN RAIN outside. This was at about 6:45. Warm-ups started at 6:30, so I think the meet timeline was set back a bit, given they were using the word "hail" in the weather report on local TV.

We drove through MORE RAIN to the pool, but by the time we got there it was not raining (only 110% humidity, I'd guess). I found a good spot to plop down my towel and bag, and we got the lay of the land. The first event was the 400 IM, so there was plenty of time to look around before getting in the extra pool to warm up.

One real benefit of doing kids' meets was having the experience of warming up in a lane with about 16 other people--that made the warm-ups here NO PROBLEM. 6 people to a lane? No sweat. How great is that?

After the 400 IMs were over, they opened the competition pool for more warm ups and starts, then the 50 FL was the first event.

They are running 2 separate courses here, the "odd pool" (where I belong--heh) and the "even pool," with the odd heats in (guess which?) and the evens in the other. I preferred calling them dual pools, but whatever. Anyway, I went to the appropriate pool and waited for my heat.

In the heat before mine, a woman false started and was therefore disqualified. I felt very bad for her, but tried to refocus as I got to the block. They called the "take your marks," then we waited, then they made us stand, and 4 of us, including me, dumped into the pool.

Great, I thought. DQed in my first race at Nationals. But it turned out that the announcer had spoken over the loudspeaker after the take your mark, and the first false-starter had responded to that, so we were all cleared. How great is that?

Got back on the blocks, got a new start, and I swam :32.93, half a second off my best. Given that I was treating this as a warm up--and there was the crazy false start thing--this was just fine. The odd thing? I didn't get flustered by that false start, once I learned I could get back on the block and swim. The sad thing is I missed 10th place--and so a medal--by about a tenth. But that's OK: that's not what I was supposed to do in that race.

Then after warming down I waited around for a. long. time. Even got a little nap. Then I listened to MAKING THE ULTIMATE HAYWIRE for a while, got psyched, cooled off in the warm-up pool, and went to the blocks for the 200 BR (my target event, and the one I always dread in meets because it is so painful).

The really odd thing? I was nervous, of course, but SO MUCH less than I usually am at meets. I went to the blocks, they called for the start, my goggles stayed firmly in place, and I felt like it was going to be a great race. I pulled out of my streamline, got into my rhythm on the first length, with 7 strokes on the first length. How great is that?

My other lengths got a little less efficient, a couple of 8s, a couple of 9s, and then 10s and 10+s. But throughout the race, I felt GREAT, like I knew how to swim this race, like there was no question whether I could make it through the whole thing.

I finished with a time of 2:49.72--a best time by almost 3 seconds! HOW GREAT IS THAT????

I sat down for a second, got my wind back and got the little spots to go away from my eyes, and reveled in that moment, of knowing I swam a good race AND being able to see the scoreboard to know what the finish time was. I was the only person in my heat who did not swim in one of those fancy fast suits, and that felt kind of cool, too. But THEY did not have my lucky purple swimsuit, picked out for me by the PP and our friends from Asheville who came down for my last meet in Greenville. And who knows the power of the lucky purple swimsuit?

Warming down felt so good--being done with that race, and having honored my coaches and competitors with the best swim I could give--it all felt great.

And then I realized: given that my swimming background is summer league, and so outdoor meets, I had a natural advantage in this meet that I never have in the indoor meets. Swimming in that beautiful blue sun-filled water just felt so perfect, so cold, so familiar.

So one day down, and the PP and I are trying to decide what to eat for dinner. How great is that?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Greetings from South Florida!

Good morning from the highly air-conditioned lobby of my hotel. It is not, mind you, anywhere near the level of air conditioning in my room, which I had to set at its warmest setting in order to take off my coat.

The weather here is amazing--highs in the upper 80s, sunny. It is sunscreen central for me, but that's OK, because after all the winter meets in drafty aquatic centers, it will be great not to worry about keeping my muscles warm and loose.

I had my swim yesterday at the Coral Springs Aquatic Center, which is gorgeous. I was able to swim in the competition pool, to get used to the walls, which are (at the end without the touchpad) a tad slippery, so I'm glad to get the practice there. It has been a long time since I have swum outdoors, and while I was swimming backstroke I had to be careful not to get distracted by the birds flying around or the dragonfly perched on the wire supporting the backstroke flags. There were a number of people around, but there not so many that I did not get the swim I wanted. I did see Dara Torres with her new (very new!) baby. Let's just say that Dara 2 weeks after giving birth looks better than I ever have.

I'm also loving the radio stations around here. So far I have found 2 fabulous Spanish-language stations playing mambo, Spanish versions of hit songs ("Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" is great in Spanish, by the way), and Latin hip hop. Awesome. Also a great West Indian station. So I almost hate to get out of the car to go into the pool.

I've done my grocery shopping (the hotel even has a fridge--excellent), although I forgot to get any little baggies to carry my pbj sandwiches in. I'll rectify that today.

Today are the serious distance freestyle events--the 1000 and 1650. I'm heading over to the pool now, to watch some swimming and get in my last pre-competition practice. Here's to no slipping on the walls!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Real-time results.

I am off. I see that USMS is posting real-time results for the meet. I don't know whether I'll be blogging from Coral Springs, so if you can't wait for the post-mortem, you can check up on me.

Here are my entries:

Event 7, Heat 15, Lane 3 (50 FL; entry time :32.48)
Event 13, Heat 14, Lane 2 (200 BR; entry time 2:52.59)

Event 23, Heat 20, Lane 5 (50 FR; entry time :30.59)
Event 25, Heat 16, Lane 8 (100 BR; entry time 1:19.43)

See you on the other side!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Making the ultimate haywire go nuts.

OK, I think I have my act together.

Joe reminded me not to forget the contact lens accoutrements, and lucky me, the boxes of spare lenses I ordered arrived today. So lenses, spares, case, cleaning solution--CHECK.

And estaminet in her wisdom reminded me to bring undies and spares--CHECK.

And I have made myself a new playlist and loaded it on the mp3 player: Yuri Yunakov, the Pogues, Brave Combo, Gogol Bordello, Les Negresses Vertes, the Ukrainians, Taraf de Haïdouks, Charming Hostess, Balkan Beat Box, Squirrel Nut Zippers--you get the idea. I am ready to make the ultimate haywire go nuts.

Huh? Let me explain.

Here is a bit of something Pem sent me by way of inspiration. I know it is about running, but it translates well to swimming too. It is from Jeff Johnson’s Border Clash 2001 inspirational remarks. He has some good things to say about running generally, but here is a part about competition:

So here’s another question for you: Why do you compete? Why do you race 3.1 miles? That’s gotta hurt. Why do you do it?

For most of you... I imagine that you race for the challenge... the danger... the rush of putting yourself in a place where you must do your absolute best...

... Because the race requires it. To give your best is to honor your fellow competitors... your teammates... your coach... your school... your family... your community... and all the good people who have worked so hard to put on the race.

To give your best in a race is a matter of honor... and duty... and you know that going in. You know, also, that the course will challenge you... that your competitors will challenge you... and that you will challenge yourself. You know, too, that there will come a critical moment in the race where you must make the decision to lay it on the line... to take your shot... or to fall back and regroup.

And you hope you’ll be up to the challenge, but you’re never entirely sure... and it’s that uncertainty that calls to you... because it is there, at that moment, that moment of decision, that you offer yourself up to be measured: by the clock... by your legs and lungs... by your guts, and by your heart.

And if you want to win the race, in that moment of decision, you’re going to have to go a little crazy.

That, friends, is why I made that mix: to remind myself to go crazy, or as Eugene Hutz says, to make the ultimate haywire go nuts, bunkers buck wild. Because, my friends, it is nice to be hammered in the brain!

But back to Jeff Johnson:

You race, then, because races are a big deal. ...

Races are a big deal. Races are the culmination of all the forces that have brought you here:

desire... commitment... focus... sacrifice... suffering... self-discipline... hard work... responsibility. You race because you are invested in effort, and you are invested in success.

Moreover, you are invested together.

Look around you. Go ahead. Do it. Look around.

Who are those people you see? Do you think they are your opponents? People who oppose your quest for excellence?

Well they aren’t. They are not your opponents. They are your fellow competitors. In fact, they are your co-conspirators, for to compete is to enter into a conspiracy.

The conspiracy is revealed in the word itself: compete, which comes from two Latin roots, com and petere, which means “to strive together.”

Al Oerter, the 4-time Olympic gold medalist in the discus, once said: “I’ve never competed against anyone in my life. I’ve always competed with people. To compete against people is a negative thing. To compete with people is a celebration, a celebration of human capability.”

And so it is. The worthy competitor is essential to the race, not as an enemy, but as a co-conspirator. The race, you see, is a secret form of cooperation. The race is simply each of you seeking your absolute best with the help of each other.

Steve Prefontaine said: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” What gift do you think he was talking about? The gift of your talent, surely. But perhaps also the gift of opportunity... and the gift of youth... perhaps even the gift of life itself.

In any case, you give your best to the race as a matter of honor. You can do no less, because your competitors are giving their best to you.

So before I go, a quick shout out to all my co-conspirators: it is my duty and my great honor to swim this race, to conspire with you, whether that conspiracy happens in the pool or not. Bolshoye spacebo to the PP for EVERYTHING and especially the support (and getting my ass out of bed at oh dark thirty several days a week), to Coach Jimmy and Coach Jim, and to all the Masters Team, and to everyone who has ever said anything encouraging (and dahlings, you know who you ARE!)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Stretch out and wait.

Grade exams and enter final grades . . . CHECK!
Buy sunscreen and new deodorant . . . CHECK!
Get garden ready to not die while I am away . . . CHECK!
Provide for the kitties . . . CHECK!
Confirm flight, car reservation, hotel reservation . . . CHECK!
Send travel info to the parents . . . CHECK!
Call credit card company so they don’t freak out and stop my card . . . CHECK!
Make back up copies of my research materials and tell my co-editor where they are . . . CHECK!

Flight goes at 9:30 a.m. (EDT) on Wednesday. That means the PP can take me to the airport. I do my final practice with the team (but not doing their workout) tomorrow. Then I get a massage!

Things I am taking care not to forget: my special Clemson Aquatic Team cap that says “NATIONAL TEAM” on it, goggles and spare goggles, swimsuit and spare swimsuit, ear drops, my fab new warm-up jacket, 5 Clemson Aquatic Team t-shirts for wearing at the meet, my good-luck pjs, copy of my USMS license, mp3 player with special meet and pre-meet mixes, my new cheap sunglasses, swimming notebook (with info re times at previous meets), copies of hotel and car and flight reservations, camera and spare batteries, copy of my meet registration, a book to read and a spare book, nice clothes for going out to dinner, a hat, my glasses and my prescription sunglasses (just in case), my heating pad and earplugs and neck pillow (for high-maintenance sleeping)--what have I missed?

Heat sheets.

I have emerged VICTORIOUS from Battle Grading!

Now it is on to meet preparation. My heart went pitter-pat on Friday when I discovered that the heat sheets are up. O my Gods and Goddesses, I am actually swimming in this meet! Then I had another freak-out when I saw the estimated meet timeline. I am really becoming able to envision these two days.

Here is something you should know about my entry times: they are OK, but not all that.

For instance, the 50 freestyle:
O Mighty Isis, age 34: entry time of :30.59
Ambrose Gaines, age 47: entry time of :21.90
If you do not recognize this man, it may be because you know him as "Rowdy." By the way, his is not the fastest time in his age group: that honor goes to Paul L. Smith. I would love to be Paul L. Smith if he beats Rowdy Gaines--how cool would that feel?

And just for kicks, let's look at the 50 butterfly:
O Mighty Isis, age 34: entry time of :32.48
Gary W. Hall, Jr., age 31: entry time of :22.98
That's right--just because it's a 50 does not mean he won't beat me by ABOUT TEN SECONDS!

But that's OK. I don't mind losing to former Olympians.

O My Queen . . .

. . . said the royal sorcerer to Hapsetphut, with this amulet you and your graduate assistants are endowed by the goddess Isis with the powers of the poets and the pedants. You will create difficult exams as T. S. Eliot creates difficult poems, grade with the speed of gazelles, and command the elements of paper and pen!

3000 years later, a young English teacher dug up this lost treasure and found she was heir to--the secrets of Isis! And so she became a dual person: Furious, teacher, and Isis! dedicated foe of interminable grading! defender of exhausted hands! champion of being done with the semester!

And so I venture this morning into my last batch of grading. And while I don't have a "grading psych-up" mix, I am finding that my meet psych mix works just fine.

Wish me the speed of gazelles!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

GR&R: the Sunday afternoon edition

You may remember my post about race rehearsals, where I lamented not making the target times that my coach-friend had set for me.

He and I had a couple of discussions in the meantime, and determined that trying to do 4 race-pace swims (2x150 + 2x75) was not such a hot idea. I was intensely tired the following day, which is not the goal of Getting RESTED and Ready.

So on Friday I swam one 75, trying to muster my race pace for the 100 BR, and my time was :59 (instead of 1:01).

And today I swam one 150, trying to muster my race pace for the 200 BR. My time was 2:03 (instead of 2:07 and 2:09 last week)--well within the goal range!

And seriously, I think the rest is making all the difference. I felt like I was kicking ass (and taking names) during the swim, that it was not an impossible swim to do, and then I was able to recover quickly afterwards.

Now, speaking of Getting Ready, I have some packing to do.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Friday Random 10: Editions Edition

I know you have been wanting to ask: O Mighty Isis, what are some of the most rewarding aspects of textual editing? Well, it's your lucky day!

First, there are the stylistic conventions that a series might silently adopt. That might mean, for instance, that although you have never written anything that adopts British standards of spelling and punctuation, you must use them. Never mind that the conventions of quoting seem counterintuitive, if only because you are not sued to them. Also note that titles of books, operas, periodicals, long poems, statues, plays, paintings, and drawings are in italics, while titles of stories, poems, and songs are in quotation marks. For you, that means identifying the nature of the work for each title that appears in the text. Should a philosophical treatise go in quotes or italics? How about a fictional book?

Then you get to decide which of your author's innumerable errors (well, maybe the author's, maybe the publisher's) to emend, and which to leave, in order to retain the sense of the crazy book that was privately published, only to be fixed up in its later edition. Sometimes special terms are capitalised. Sometimes they are italicised. Sometimes they are italicised and capitalised. Sometimes they are randomly abbreviated. And which of the author's favourite specialised vocabulary should you also capitalise in your own annotations, when you know full well that this guy capitalised all over the place? You May Find Yourself Deciding That It Is Easiest To Capitalise Everything. And Also To Italicise Everything.

How about page references in annotations? For which should you use roman numerals and for which arabic? How do you distinguish a reference to volume + page number from one to book + chapter + verse? Act + scene + line? And what about classical texts that are routinely cited by paragraph numbers?

Drinking, people. That is the only cure.

This is definitely the kind of rewarding work that led me to choose this profession. And it's why I get the big bucks. Or excuse me, British Style, I should say the supreme quid.

Please note that this week's random 10 is presented in British style (insofaras I am capable), and that all ampersands have been expanded to 'and':

1. 'Exactly Like You', k. d. lang and Tony Bennett (A Wonderful World)
2. Vivaldi: 'Magnificat, et miericordia', John Alldi Choir and the English Chamber Orchestra, cond. Vittorio Negri (The Great Choral Masterpieces, disc 1)
3. Bach: 'O Sacred Head', Richard Stoltzman (Spirits)
4. 'Sad, Lonesome and Blue', Queen Ida and her Zydeco Band (Caught in the Act)
5. 'Dead Letter', Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet (The Juliet Letters)
6. 'Free Your Mind', En Vogue (Funky Divas)
7. 'Airport', dZihan and Kamien (Gran Riserva)
8. 'Smoke Rings', k. d. lang (Drag)
9. 'Maria Moita', Rosalia de Souza (Garota Moderna)
10. 'The Hero's Return', Pink Floyd (The Final Cut)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Garden Heroes!

In all my focus on swimming, I have forgotten to update you on the status of my ultra-super garden.

First of all, there is progress in the world of broccoli. If you look down into the center of the biggest of the plants, you can see the florets beginning to develop.


And my curry plant, installed last year, I believe, is thriving.

And because it has needed pruning, we're cooking with curry leaves a lot. You can use the leaves of this plant (which look but do not smell like rosemary) in a variety of Asian flavas. For instance, tonight the PP is doing a repeat on Indianish stir-fried shrimp with curry leaves and zesty tomato sauce. The sauce tastes almost nothing like tomato, because there is also cilantro, coconut milk, salt and sugar, garam masala and cumin in there. You add the curry leaves to the shrimp while it is stir-frying. Yummy!

I am not having such good luck with the arugula, which is supposed to be a cinch as long as you water it at least daily while it is very young. But you can see that mine has already gone to flower, although it has not really produced tasty leaves.

But this year the new, exciting addition to our salad days have been edible flowers. Here are some nasturtiums (nasturtia?) that we'll be able to eat in a day or so.

I'm sorry, but I did not get the camera out before we ate two of them last night. You can find an accurate photo here (perhaps those came from the same source as ours). There would have been more nasturtia, but some cold temps did most of the plants in one night; only 2 of the 6 sent up new shoots. The calendula are also doing well:

But be warned (and look closely at the center of the photo): there are little bugs that love to walk around and hang out among the petals and the center of the calendula. They are really really tiny, but you can see them when they boogying around your salad. The PP was a bit grossed out by that. Mind you, few things gross out the PP. He is, after all, a waste-water engineer, and is used to dealing with all many of nasty stuff. He does not cringe at cat-litter clean-up, cat puke removal, big scary bug eradication, etc. But the wee calendula dwellers did not make him want to eat his salad. So we removed the offending flower from his bowl and I ate it.

"Ugh!" he said. "Now you have bug mouth!" and he pointed out that no one wants to kiss a bug mouth. He also mentioned that the bugs would no doubt reproduce in my stomach, kind of like how cherry trees grow out of cherry pits. He would not explain to me how those cherry trees could do it with no source of light. But still: beware the little bugs.

We've enjoyed a bit of baby romaine lettuce, too, and I think we'll need to harvest some more at the baby stage, or else all our lettuce might reach maturity while we're in France.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

That funky Tut.

If you were not a watcher of the Shazam!/Isis hour, then you may be wondering who that is in the photo at the upper right. No, no, not the GODDESS with the long hair: if you didn't figure THAT out, then there is no hope for you. I mean the other one. On my arm.

This, my friends, is Tut.

Here is the way Tut looks when she is not in costume:

Tut has not gotten that much attention over at Fury, what with all the discussions of Jacques Monod. But that is OK with Tut, because, she has a lot more dignity than to go around quoting from Glengarry, Glen Ross. She does not get up right in your face and diss you. She does not whine like an idiot when canned food bowls are clinked together.

Here is the kind of thing Jacques Monod would do:

Tut would not do that.

At an earlier time in her life, Tut was the first mate on the good ship High Bough. During her adolescence she wrote moody poems and was known to stalk around the house quoting from Hamlet's soliloquies. She was a big fan of The Cure. She once explained to me that she wore black on the outside because black was how she felt on the inside. And then she'd add that she is feline and she needs to be loved, just like everybody else does.

Ever since she took on this alter-ego, however, she has felt much less angst. She feels that this time of her life is so much richer, so much more well adjusted. Now she would remind you that a tail is nothing but a long booty. And when she says things like that, how can you help but ask, "How'd you get so funky?"

There is no answer to that, but perhaps you'll join me in a little hymn to the praises of Tut?
Dancing by the Nile,
(Disco dancing)
The ladies love his style.
(Boss Tut)
Rockin' for a mile,
(Rockin' Tut)

Getting rested and ready, part next.

Today was my biggest practice, in terms of yardage and intensity, until after Nationals.

I took a rest day on Monday, and I did a "prep" practice yesterday (getting the rust out). But today was also my first "race rehearsal" day, which meant that I did rehearsals for both of my target events. Here is how it worked:

500 general warm-up
1000 prep: 20x50, doing the following 4 times:
* 25 drill/25 swim
* 50 build
* 25 fast/25 easy
* 2 x 50 easy
1800 race rehearsal
* 150 BR
* 350 easy
* 150 BR
* 350 easy
* 75 BR
* 325 easy
* 75 BR
* 325 easy

There were no intervals for any of this. I was aiming for a 2:00-2:05 on the 150s, and a :54-:56 on the 75s. I did not make those times. For the first 150, I swam 2:07, but I was able to realize that in trying to pick up the pace over the course of the 150, I was throwing myself off. So the second time I swam, I focused on maintaining my rhythm, which meant that I swam 9 strokes per every length, instead of starting to mess up on the last 50. The time was slower, though: 2:09. I can attribute some of that to having already swum the previous 150, which I was definitely feeling in my legs. And the pace I swam still sets me up for a best time, just not as fast as my coach-friend believes I can swim.

On the 75s, I swam 1:01 both times--again, slow. But I am hopeful that a certain amount of that was a result of having already swum the 2 x 150s, because my rhythm felt really good, my legs felt strong, and I felt as though I was getting a good pull every time.

At the meet, I will swim:
FRIDAY: 50 FL + 200 BR
SATURDAY: 50 FR + 100 BR
so on neither day will I need to do as much racing as I did today. That means that on future "rehearsal" practices (and I think I will try to swim 3 more), I will only swim 2 fast swims per day.

Meanwhile, please send all your super good wishes my way as I try to improve on those rehearsal times.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dedicated foe of Bush.

Today I am using my ultra-super powers to bring this article to your attention. I guess Bush is the Decider after all.

Now in her own magazine!

The time has come, O My Friends and Readers, for me to dig up my secret amulet, save (with a mighty hand) every man every woman every child, drink my Chemical X, be forged in the heat of battle, leap tall buildings in a single bound, go to the batmobile, because, friends, all the world is waiting for me to look the coming week and a half in the eye and KICK ITS ASS.

Can Isis survive the final week of training? Can Isis manage to grade her remaining exams before the due date? Can Isis complete the research project that will not die? Can Isis' power defeat the other women entered in the 30-34 age group in the 100 BR and 200 BR?

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Getting Rested & Ready

I wrote on Friday about the theory of GR&R, but I thought I would say a little about my Saturday's swim, because it shows something of the way this works.

Usually on Saturdays I swim 6000+ yards. This time it was 3700, about the same distance as a weekday swim.

Here is how the workout broke down:

1500 Warm-up:
* 300 swim
* 200 kick
* 300 drill/swim alternating by 25
* 7 x 100:
-- 2 x 100 moderate
-- 2 x 100 build
-- 1 x 100, 25 fast / 75 easy
-- 1 x 100, 75 build / 25 easy
-- 1 x 100, 25 fast / 75 easy

1000 Main Set #1
* 5 x 50: odds = BR descend, evens = moderate FR
* 250 easy, alternating 25 BR / 50 FR
* 3 x 50 BR on a :20 rest interval
* 350 easy, alternating 25 BA / 25 BR / 50 FR

1100 Main Set #2
* 4 x
/ 25 fast [FL, BR, FR, BR]
\ 5 x 50 moderate free @ :50

100 Cool-down

So first, let me explain the theory behind the first main set. I was building up to swim 3 x 50 BR perfectly, to simulate the last 3 50s of the 200. So the first round of 50s was sort of a practice, and that's why the 50s of FR were in there. So I was trying to descend the 3 x 50s of BR in the first part of the set (so that by the third one I was swimming my target pace for the 200), with a little recovery during the 2 x 50s of FR in between. I took the first 50 BR out really smooth and strong, and came in at :41. That was the target I thought I was going for by the end of the set. My coach-friend was also surprised, and suggested I just maintain that pace. So during the second one I tried to swim the same way, but then I got nervous that I was getting slower so I took the second half a tiny bit harder. I came in at :40. Then the last one was :39. So it did turn out to be a descend after all, but at a much faster pace than I anticipated. My coach-friend was also very pleased with how the stroke count was during this set: I was swimming 10 strokes/length on the first 50, then 9/length for the other 2.

Then I did the 250 easy and then the 3 x 50, which I swam at :39 low, :39 mid, and :40 flat.

The result is that if I could swim just like that during the meet, I'll be much, much faster than I have been in the past. I don't know what to make of that, whether to hope that this better training could cut time off my best time. We shall see shortly.

Then the second set was sort of a speed + aerobic pace set, where you swim your ass off during the 25s and then recover during the 50s. I was pleased with how that set, and it really seemed that by the end of the fourth round I felt better and stronger than at the end of the first round.

And then I was done! That was an amazing feeling, after so many Saturdays when I would be just past half-way.

Today is a rest day, then I continue with the GR&R the rest of the week, starting my daily yardage tomorrow at 3000 and shortening down to ~2500 by the end of the week.