July 21, 2015 § 1 Comment
It’s the story of a family that lost an infant and donated his organs, then went to find out what had come of the donations. The podcast doesn’t harp on the pain of losing a child (though clearly that’s part of it), but rather their journey to discover the impact the short life of their son had had on the world.
At the end (SPOILER), the mother reflects on how those few years of her life changed her perception of…well, everything.
Something shifted in me. … (Before) I had felt like I was a boat on an ocean that was rocky and choppy with waves. And then I had this feeling that I’m not the boat, I’m the ocean. Like, the decisions that I make are changing other people, as opposed to just I’m a boat being slapped with waves all the time.
It has made me feel…powerful.
It’s a good one.
June 25, 2015 § Leave a comment
This is going to be the most boring race report ever.
Two weeks ago I drove up to Sunnyvale for the Del Valle 10K. I left crazypants with Mimi and Grandpa, and stayed with some old friends who were fantastic hosts/fellow racers/support crew. We got up around 5 the following morning and made the drive out to Livermore. The water was a really nice 71 degrees, the sun was out…pretty ideal.
My strategy was to go out really, really easy and hang on. Because I was terrified of not finishing.
The course was 4 x 2,500m loop around a lake.
So I went out easy. Like, suuuuuuper easy. For the first 7.5K. That is a very long time to swim easy. Fortunately I had this song to keep me company:
The. whole. time.
Lap 1: 39+ min
Lap 2: 42+ min
Lap 3: 41+min
Lap 4: 41+min
With about a 30 second break between loops 2 + 3, and 3 + 4 (I just swam by the aid station after the first lap, didn’t need a break).
Total time: 2:44:xx
Strategy made for a boring race, but it worked! I broke 3 hours, didn’t faceplant running up the ramp (which I was nervous about), and came out honestly feeling fine. I thought I could have gone further (though in retrospect, I felt like I picked it up at the end, when in reality it looks like I just held steady).
Aside from a foot/leg cramp towards the end of lap 3 that I thought was going to be the end of my race, but somehow miraculously disappeared, there was little to no excitement. I spent a lot of lap 2 worrying about a turtle biting me.
time for beer
I finished not sore, surprisingly not too exhausted, and feeling like I need to do another 10K to see if I can actually race it. …then proceeded to not swim for what is now going on 2 weeks and promptly got out of shape.
And that was it! Ready to rock Tahoe.
June 8, 2015 § 3 Comments
When you swim you spend a lot of time staring at the bottom of a pool. Turns out there are quite a few things down there. You have your hairballs, bandaids, pennies, leaves, an occasional quarter…just general debris. At practice on Friday there was something (I’m pretty sure it was a piece of plastic tangled in some leaves and sticks) sitting about 3 yards from the wall in the deep end, and every time I swam over it I’d see it out of the corner of my eye and be like, “OMG A TINY SWORDFISH HEAD!” because out of the corner of your eye, that’s what it looked like.
A few weeks ago I saw a scrunchie on the bottom of the pool.
It was also in the deep end, and during my first pass I thought, “Maybe I mis-saw.” But sure enough, on the second pass I confirmed: a navy blue scrunchie.
This was confusing on a number of levels. I spent the next who knows how long envisioning various scenarios as to how a scrunchie could have ended up on the bottom of a pool this close to Hollywood. Was it a tourist who accidentally thew it into the pool while shaking out her towel? Or maybe someone threw it in the pool over the fence as a joke, and it landed in the pool. But wouldn’t a scrunchie float for a while? At least long enough for someone to pull it out? Or maybe someone saw their friend wearing it and, in a moment of horror, threw it in the pool intentionally because (to channel Carrie Bradshaw) no respectable woman in LA would be caught dead wearing a scrunchie.
This entire internal exchange took a while and pretty accurately captures the excitement that is lap swim.
So I came home and, in trying to find a decent version the SATC scrunchie scene (which I could not), came across a four-part lecture on the scrunchie. In addition to the lecturer questioning whether the scrunchie was, in it’s hayday, a symbol of the new world order, “embodying the qualities that made American capitalism so successful: adaptability, energy, and ruthless practicality,” he also reminds the audience that while the scrunchie may no longer experience the same following it once did, because of these qualities (aesthetics, practicality) the scrunchie is still popular among gymnasts and equestrian competitors. Good point. Maybe it was an equestrian professional at the pool that forgot she was wearing a bun and just dove in.
I also learned that there was a scrunchie present at the fall of the Berlin Wall, and that Rommy Revson, the inventor of the scrunchie, is still a kajillionaire.
Then last week, while sitting at the DMV, I saw no less than 3 SCRUNCHIES being worn on the head of (presumably) LA residents. I would never have noticed before. Diversity abounds in this great city.
…and this, my friends, is just another lesson as to how the seemingly solitary act of swimming can open your eyes to things you didn’t even know you needed to know in the big wide world around you.
June 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
Last week we went back to Kentucky for a very special wedding.
Paul officiated, Tiny played a starring role.
It was absolutely beautiful, and a great party.
I was only in Kentucky for about 48 hours, not long enough to do much except wedding. Post-wedding we left our terror in a tutu with Opa and Nana and headed, just the two of us, to one of my MOST FAVORITE places. NYC.
I lived in New York for a couple of months after graduating college. I have very fond memories of my time there. Weird things make me nostalgic…the sound of squealing train brakes, navigating the crowds in Penn Station, even the smell of the subway gives me little excited shivers. I feel like every time you step out your door it’s a mini-adventure. I love New York.
Paul had never been. So we went all over.
We even took the train into New Jersey so Paul could say he’d been to that tourist trap (aka we went to my college reunion.)
Spring in New York is awesome. The park is awesome. Everyone is so happy to be back outside. Sidewalk cafes are open. IT IS AWESOME.
But for some reason, this time around, a lot of the old heartstrings weren’t pulled the same way they usually are. Maybe it’s because Paul was with me, maybe I’m getting old and my sense of adventure is dwindling, maybe it’s that those days a getting further away, the memories a little fuzzier.
When we got back on a Sunday there was the normal post-vacation hangover and sense of dread for the upcoming work week.
But our first night home I noticed, for the first time, how quiet our street is. When I opened the windows of the house, the smell of basil and lemon blossoms wafted in. I didn’t even curse when, at 2am, I tripped on the training toilet sitting on the floor of our bathroom.
New York is awesome. Kentucky is beautiful. But sometimes there’s just something about coming home.
June 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
Summer sunrises in New York City are awesome.
T minus 11 days until the Del Valle 10K, which can mean only one thing: time to cram.
A lot of people this past week have asked me: how far of a swim is that? I answer: it is a 10K. 10,000 meters. 6.2 miles. A distance that you should probably train for.
My strategy in approaching this race thus far has gone something like this: swim about 3x a week and start off most workouts with a 2-4K straight, just so I get used to jumping in and going. Then don’t really worry about the rest. How’s that for a well thought-out plan.
I have done a few longer workouts: 7K, 7.5K, 8K…but–surprise!–haven’t been able to squeeze in my really long swims. And the 2 week trip to Kentucky/NYC from which we returned yesterday didn’t help. But it did help with this:
That’s a huge inflatable swan and day drinking. But in a pool. So it half counts.
But now it’s crunch time. Things just got real.
SO TOMORROW! Tomorrow I am going to the pool at 6am, and I am getting in a full 10K.
That is a ridiculously long time to swim alone. But if I’m going to feel any sort of confidence going into this thing that I might be able to actually finish, I have to do it. Mentally it will make a huge difference.
It’s going to suck. It’s going to suck a lot. But fortunately I got a new cap straight from the alma mater to give me extra power.
YES WE CAN.
Catch you on the flip side.