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Archive for June, 2009

Lap Swimming Etiquette

cat-in-pool

I’m in a bad mood, because I haven’t had a relaxing time swimming lately.  Last time, I was in a lane with someone who kept switching sides.  This morning, I was swimming side-by-side, when someone entered the lane and ran head-on into me.  Ouch!  After that, I swam circles, but constantly had to keep an eye out for other people.  Spotting isn’t easy for me.  I get dizzy and it messes up my rhythm.  I know that I’ll be better prepared for an open water swim, but I would rather relax in the water, especially if I’m trying to get through a long set!

I have to say, I don’t think I was very polite to the person I collided with.  It would be nice to apologize and see if he’s okay.  I have such a temper and feel badly about my rash “calling out.”  I (loudly) told him that he needed to let each person in the lane know he was there.  I told him we would gladly switch to swimming circles.  Still, he left the pool.

Oops.

I know that this pool is very convenient, because it’s in my neighborhood and it’s free.  Still, I’m starting to think that I need to go to a pool a bit farther away that is $3 per swim, but has more lap lanes.  Either that or I need to drag myself out of bed early enough to swim during “lap swim” time.

Some rules for lap swimming:

  • Ask the people already in the lane if you can join them.  It’s polite.  Do it.  Plus, it lets them know you’re there.
  • If there are two or more people in the lane, make sure they all know you’re joining them before you start swimming.  That means waiting until they finish a lap and make eye contact with you.
  • If there is only one person in the lane, ask if they want to go side-by-side or in circles.
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I want to do a triathlon.  They’re so much fun.  First, I need to really be ready and in shape.

Yes, I know I could get out there and try a sprint tri this weekend, but it wouldn’t be the same as if I were fit, slim, and able to do each leg of the race without effort.  If I did a race this weekend, I would be fine on the swim, would be in pain on the bike, and would have to walk most of the run.

I don’t want that.

I want to do a triathlon to compete.

I want to get in a lake and elbow my way to the front of the swimmers.

I want to pass people on my bike.

I want to keep a steady pace and not have to walk the run portion of the race.

I want to kick butt.

I want to be able to do more than one triathlon in a season and see my times improve.

So, why haven’t I done a May race and a June race and why aren’t I signed up for a July race and an August race and a September race and an October race?  Why?

Well, let’s go ahead and lay out the excuses, shall we?

I like chocolate, including ice cream, cookies, and candy bars.  If I see chocolate, I can’t say no.  Seriously.  Ask my friends.  They have a heart attack if I actually refuse a cookie.

I’m 20 pounds overweight.  Honestly.

My previous weight loss program failed, because the weight loss center closed and I didn’t feel like talking to someone over the phone instead of in person.  Plus, I didn’t care about following their plan anymore.  Thus, the weight came back.

More recently, I’ve been sick the past few weeks, and I’m finally feeling well enough to exercise.

Also recently, I’ve finished the school year, so I have quite a bit of nothing to do right now.  It’s just perfect to get a lot of exercise in.

I’m going to continue using my current training book:  Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-By-Week Training Guide.  It has workouts for 10 different levels of triathlete fitness.  Levels 1-4 are for people preparing for a tri for the first time or after a bit of an absence.  Levels 5 and up are for seasoned triathletes wanting to improve their performance.

I’ll be sticking with Levels 1-4.  I’ll be training for a sprint triathlon.  The programs for sprint triathlons are 12 weeks long.  Since I’m off work for the summer, I’m going to try to get through those weeks much faster.  Instead of doing one workout a day, I’ll try to do 2-3.  I’m thankful to the parent of one of my students for giving me a massage certificate, because if I can do this new training program, I’m going to need it!

Since swimming is going well, I will do Level 4 swims.  I have a pool less than a mile away (Finally, a local pool is open for the summer!).  Level 4 swims are usually about 1,600 – 1,800 yards per session.

I’m terribly unfit on a racing bike.  I’m also scared to ride it outside!  I’m fearful of being run over by a bus.

Anyways, I’ll be doing Level 1 for cycling.  Before, I tried Level 4, but it really was too much time on the bike at a time.  My shoulders couldn’t take holding the cycling position that long.  Pedaling wasn’t a problem, but arm and core strength were.  Workouts will be 20 – 30 minutes, which I think I can handle.  I want to build up endurance, so that I can get comfortable being on my bike.  I’ll probably use my borrowed bike trainer to bike inside, especially if I finally get around to biking at later times in the day.  I don’t want to be around traffic.

Running.  For a while, I went to a free jogging group nearby, but I felt it was getting to be too hot a time of day, I didn’t like that it cut into dinner time, I didn’t like waiting for the group to start, and when other people were in the group, I was so slow that if I went my own pace, I got left behind in the dust.  Either that or I’d try to match their pace and I’d have to start doing a lot of walking, because I would get too tired.  I think I’m better jogging on my own right now.

Since I want to continue to build up my running endurance, and I want to be able to do a running workout without walking, I will go back to Level 1. Increasing my speed with quick sprints and intervals will have to wait until later.  They just tire me out and I have to walk to finish my allotted time.  My running workouts will be 20-25 minutes long.  I’m okay with 20, but I see 25 minutes as pushing it.

To help myself plan my workouts better, and to be able to do several in a short period of time, I typed them up in Excel.  Here’s a picture:

June Tri WorkoutsTo explain a few of the abbreviations:

SWU2 -swim warm up 2

SDS2 -swim drill set 2

SBI7 -swim base intervals 7

SKS2 – swim kick set 2

SCD2 -swim cool down 2

CRR1 -cycling recovery ride 1

RFR1 – run foundation run 1

Now, I know that any seasoned triathletes out there reading this are going to say that I need to do strength training.  Yes, I know.  For strength training, I might use exercises from my previous triathlon training book: The 12-Week Triathlete.  I might also use shows on the Fit TV or Exercise on Demand channels on my TV.  Also, I could use my Wii Fitness Coach.  We’ll see.

As for losing those 20 pounds, besides exercising, I’m trying Slim Fast again.  We’ll see how that goes.  Yesterday, I got so hungry on it that I went for Chinese food and make cookies.

I think my main concerns in starting this rigorous training program is that I’ll:

  • get injured
  • have to go out of town where I won’t be able to keep up with my exercise or eating plans

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First, let me say that I am not a fan of cockroaches.  This past year, one of my students put a fake one on my desk as a practical joke.  It didn’t go over well (for her or for me).

The best “disposal” of a roach I’ve seen was from my younger brother who once spiked a football at one.

The worst (and most dangerous, yet creative) attempt at a roach disposal was from my roommates when I was studying abroad.  They tried to go after the cockroach with a lighter and hairspray.  Not good.

This morning at church, I was standing in a pew near the front of church during hymns today, minding my own business, when a cockroach crawled on the floor nearby.  I jumped, of course, and turned to see if anyone else had noticed it.  No one had.  I turned to a boy behind me, pointed out the roach, and asked if he could get him.  I thought it was appropriate, because the roach was on it’s way to visit his pew.  Unfortunately for me, but good for the roach, the little bugger was fast and went to visit some other churchgoers.

I moved to a pew at the back of church.

Not too long after that, as I was sitting listening to the sermon, the roach decided that he missed me.  There he was, crawling up near me again.  I jumped.  Again.  I put my feet up on the pew (not easy in a dress on a narrow pew).  I flapped my scriptures to scare off the bug, but he kept coming back.  Again and again.  I told the people behind me, but they just looked annoyed that I was talking during the sermon.

I moved to the other side of the church.

On the way, I passed one of the ladies in my handbell group.  I told her about the roach.  She jumped (Finally, someone who understood!) and looked on alert.  I sat down and saw her wink at me as she lifted her purse high off the ground!  The roach never ventured my way again, but I kept an eye in his direction.  Still, I kept expecting him to make his way across the church for a visit…

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I’ve been reading Beating the High Cost of Eating by B. Salsbury.  It’s a great “course” on marketing and advertising.  I’m learning a lot about how grocers and food companies work to convince you to (1) buy their products, (2) spend more than you planned to at grocery stores, (3) stick with one grocery store, etc.  It’s a great book!

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Most recently, I’ve been collecting coupons from coworkers and neighbors, keeping track of any possible coupon I might need in a spreadsheet on my computer, finding great sales at stores and cutting out and taking these multiple sets of coupons to the store to buy these items, and…

Here are some things that I’ve found happen when I try to use my coupons:

(1) the store will not accept my newspaper coupons, because there store uses their own coupons for the items I’m trying to buy on sale

(2) the store puts a limit on how many items I can buy (usually limit 1)

(3) the house brand (Kroger, HEB, Safeway, Sam’s Choice, Market Pantry, etc. – whatever the store’s name is) is cheaper, even if I were to use my coupons on those items; example: coupon brand $.99 with coupon, store brand $.75

Every now and then, my coupons do work well, but I’ve found that I’ve put a lot of tiresome work into couponing.

Well, after reading what I have of Beating the High Cost of Eating, I’ve decided to implement a few changes in how I will do coupons:

(1) I will continue to gladly accept any coupons my coworkers and neighbors offer me.

(2) Instead of putting every possible coupon I might need into my spreadsheet, I will only list the ones for name brand items that I absolutely have to have, instead of going the cheaper route for house brands.  For example, I really like Ken’s dressing.  So, if I see a coupon for Ken’s dressing, I’ll type it into my spreadsheet.  The next time I need dressing or Ken’s goes on sale, I’ll stock up with my coupons.  On the other hand, I won’t type up whatever name brand cream cheese, because my local grocery has a house brand that’s much cheaper.

(3) I will attempt to purchase more house brands, if they are the better price.  I’ve learned that coupons (don’t laugh, I’ve been learning…) convince you to buy certain brands, which often cost more, and they also work to get you to have brand loyalty.  The cost to make the coupons, do commercials, and other advertising helps raise the cost of name brand products.

(4) I’ll still keep all of the coupons, so that if any incredible deal comes along on a name brand, and coupons would really help it along, I’ll search through my coupons for that particular coupon.

Well, we’ll see how this goes!

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