Wednesday, January 30, 2008

M.M. Swimmer of the Year/Killer Quad Awards Party

I had a full weekend devoted to M.M. stuff. I got up at 4:00 a.m. in the morning on Saturday, timed at 6 a.m. for someone else for the Hour Postal, swam at 7:05 a.m., and counted again at 8:10 a.m. I then went shopping, attempted at a run (unsuccesfully, as I was too tired and sore from the swim), attempted at a nap (slightly more succesfully) then cooked Chicken Biryani for the potluck for the M.M. Swimmer of the Year/Killer Quad Awards Party.

Sunday, I did a longish run in the rain. There's a song on the radio that I probably wouldn't value for its music, if I didn't appreciate what the lyrics have to say. "Feel the rain on your skin, no one else can feel it for you." It's been raining a lot lately, and I've forgotten how much as a child I use to love the rain. Maybe that's why I'm a swimmer. I've always loved being wet, as long as I stayed warm enough. I used to walk home in the rain with no umbrella or rain coat at least once a year. Sometimes I did catch cold, but the joy I felt made it worth it. The song also reminds me to try to feel and experience what the moment has to offer. As I jogged through Big Basin, I passed by a waterfall. On the past jogs I've done, I've always skipped it, wanting to get the run out of the way. But I decided instead to look at it. Sure, I'd seen it before, but this time it would be different. With all the rain, it would be louder and fuller, and the greenery around it would be different in this season. Besides, experiences aren't things to check off your list, store in your memory, and be done with them. Beauty is something to reach out and touch, to view, to smell, and to hear. Anyway... I hadn't even intended to go on a tangent about that, but maybe that was the best part of my weekend.

After my run, I threw the Chicken Biryani in the oven, showered, and got dressed for the M.M. party. My wardrobe is in a depressing state, I think. I seriously need more clothes. I threw on an outfit consisting of v-neck, pink, beaded empire waist shirt, a brown short skirt, and black tights and boots. It all seemed to work out, but I thought better of it, and put on jeans and a black long sleeved crewneck shirt, and kept the black boots. I figure being a married woman at a party without my husband, it was better not to stand out too much. I thought about a funny line from one of my favorite shows "Pushing Daisies" that a grouchy old lady says to a single, middle-aged woman in a provocative outfit "You wouldn't need so much bait, dear, if your belly was full of fish." I haven’t found M.M. to be very meet-market-y (I haven’t been hit on once, Yay!), but I’ve learned the hard way that people can sometimes jump to the wrong conclusions.

I arrived at the party and found that it was full of tables full of people. I found Ultra-M and she invited me to sit with her and a bunch of other people. Yay!!! One hurdle down. I have somewhere to sit and people to talk to. A game was passed out where we had to rank 10 "Sheeperisms" from fast to fastest: e.g. "Is quick faster than snappy?" I didn't really participate, but appreciated the diversion. Coach then talked a bit about the team and its direction, and had everyone who had been there for 5 years or more stand up, and called them the core members of the team. I applauded, and whole heartedly admit that most of the people who have formed my entirely favorable impression of the team are people who stood up, but I was a little hurt that as someone who has been only been on the team for 1.5 years, but has given it a lot of my heart, was left feeling like I'm on the fringes. I know that isn't how it was meant, and it is true that if it wasn't for people who stayed on the team for years and years, the team wouldn't be what it is, and everything I love about it. I also know, that even having swam there for almost a year, I found myself trying to shake off my habit of calling myself "new to the club", so I guess I do get what he meant.

Coach did the Killer Quad awards first. We were told that we had to give a speech, tell people something about ourselves, or do some kind of performance, to give back to the team for the award. Having a fear of public speaking, I was very nervous about this, but I was glad in the end that everyone did this. People said such nice things about the club, so I was glad to hear how much everyone loved it as much or more than I do. It's been hard for me to make sense of how much M.M. means to me, or how much F.F. used to mean. I feel like a weirdo becoming so attached to something, but I guess I'm not such a weirdo. I got up and quietly expressed my appreciation for the team, and gladly took my M.M. sweatshirt (I'd wanted one for a while) from Coach's cute little 5 year old son.

My Catalina Channel Relay team received an award for having the best team effort. Other people recognized were Sig, who did the most yards in February (207500) for our annual can drive/yards competition; Lisa, Peter, and John S., who "Swam the Cycle" of all 18 pool events; and Karl, who battled cancer this year. Lisa and Murray, previous swimmers of the year, gave nice funny, sincere speeches that introduced the two new swimmers of the year, Sue and John G., both of whom I've had the pleasure of being acquainted with and can vouch for their kindness and contributions to the team.

I've said in the past on this blog that I hate parties. As far as parties go, this was actually pretty nice. It was well organized, entertaining, and full of sincerity. I realized how much M.M. is full of my kind of people, and how much credit for this can be given to Tim, our coach, for shaping us and attracting people who are focused on self-improvement and the improvement of the lives of those around them. I didn't prepare a speech saying all I appreciated about the team, so I'm making a list here:

Top 7 Things I Love about M.M.:

1. Having a coach who is interested in his swimmers' goals. Tim provides the team with inspiration, encouragement, enthusiasm and wisdom.

2. Tim always says at the beginning of the workout "Know the people you're swimming with." Sharing a small space in a lane in a crowded pool takes a lot of communication, and starting off by knowing the people in your lane, even if it is just an introduction, or eye contact and a smile makes everything go more smoothly

3. The welcoming nature of the people of the team. The first club I ever swam with, people barely spoke to me until months later when I did my first open water swim. From the get-go at M.M., I had people invite me to meets, ask me about myself, and make me feel like I was part of the club.

4. The team's focus on the community around it. With the Building Future's Now outreach to students in nearby communities, all the positive energy from the team can be channeled in something that will make the world a better place. Keeping so many people healthy and happy I'm sure makes the world a better place in and of itself, but it is great that the team goes beyond that.

5. Being surrounded by people who are so accomplished, not just athletically, but professionally and personally. I've always had mixed feelings about my own successes. I was my high school class valedictorian, but I chose a less prestigious college, and have never brought my natural ambition into a career. I've struggled with my ambitious nature a lot of my life, feeling it was self-centered. The attitude of Tim and others on the team is starting to change my mind about this. They are successful in their goals, but they use the joy this brings to build people up, not to hold it over them.

6. Tim's leadership qualities that make the club a safe supportive environment to swim in. I've never seen him actually take anyone down, but I am 100% sure that he somehow kindly but firmly doesn't tolerate people whose ambitiousness interferes with the training of other people in the lane. Again, having seen what a club can be like in the absence of such leadership, I know there is something there that comes from the top down.

7. Sharing an activity with people that also love it, and being provided with support by my teammates, and being able to provide it for them. It's everything I've always wanted from club sports, so I'm glad to have found it at M.M.

Hour Postal 2008

My description of this event in 2007 was rather lengthy. Since I already blogged about my expectations of it, I don't have a lot to say, other than I did 4100 yards, beating my previous personal best by 180 yards, but not quite making my goal of 4200. Oh well. Goals are just there to motivate you. If you make them, that's great, but if you don't, at least it got you through some workouts with a bit more focus. I was pretty nervous before the event, even days before, which says how seriously I take this. I was impressed by people who just showed up and did it without even having trained much, and knew they wouldn't do a personal best going into it. This is an odd reversal of attitude for me. I mean if training is something I value, why would I admire people who do an event without having trained for it particularly hard? But training is just one part of life I guess, and rarely will anyone ever train perfectly for an event, so I think letting go of perfectionism in that sense is something I have to learn. I think doing an event either just to check in with where you are at, to have fun with it, or just as training for a different event are all great reasons for doing it. When I first started swimming, my attitude was that a race, like nearly everything else in life, is just practice for whatever is next.

M.M. had about 80 people do the swim this year so far, I think. Awesome! Hope this puts our results up near the top of the teams.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2007 Summary

I had a very full year in terms of athletic events. I was out of gas by July, unfortunately, but somehow ran on fumes until September. The following is a list of my results last year, mostly for my own amusement and reference. One more bad example of me using this blog to toot my own horn. I'm my biggest fan, but I figure someone has to be.

January 2007

Hour Postal* - swam 3920 yards, previous P.R. of 3845

February 2007

Swam 108750 yards for Can Do February

March 2007

Blue and Gold Meet - 10 events in 2 hours. Any P.R.'s under such circumstances are either miracles or flukes.
  • 100 Breast 1:41.50 - first time

  • 200 Free* 2:33.09
    previous P.R. of 2:39.02

  • 50 Back - 39.38 - first time

  • 100 I.M. - 1:24.4 - first time

  • 100 Fly - 1:26.47
    P.R. 1:20.71

  • 100 Back - 1:22.87 first time

  • 200 I.M. - 3:04.04
    P.R. 2:52.50

  • 50 Breast - 47.99 - first time (probably last time)

  • 50 Free - 34.57
    P.R. 32.79

  • 100 Free - 1:11.97
    P.R. - 1:11.56

Rinconada Meet
  • 100 Free* - 1:10.30 (The timer said I did a 1:09.75, so I ended up being bummed with this P.R. anyways when I saw the official results.)
    Previous P.R. - 1:11.56

  • 1650 Fly* - 29:44.70
    Previous P.R. - 30:28.06

April 2007

Did a 7.1 Mile Open Water Swim, completing my goal of doing a swim 10K or greater

PMS SCY Champs
  • 1650 FREE 22:56.38*
    Previous P.R. 24:04.00

  • 400 I.M. 6:11.74
    P.R. 6:11.02

  • 200 FREE 2:39.82
    P.R. 2:33.09 (Lost Goggles)

  • 500 FREE 6:36.49 First Time

  • 100 FLY 1:22.17
    P.R. 1:20.71

  • 200 BACK* 2:45.70
    Previous P.R. 2:51.84

  • 200 FREE 2:29.57* (Split as first person in 800 Relay)
    Previous P.R. 2:33.09

May 2007

Menlo Masters Run-Swim-Run-Swim-Run Duathlon - Time doesn't really mean anything, because I don't know how far I ran.
Mother's Day 5K - 36:57 - Blech!!! Sore from Duathlon, and had only been running a couple of weeks.

June 2007

Lake Berryessa 2 Mile - 57:15
Stevens Canyon Splash and Dash 1500 Meter Swim, 5K run - 0:59:24

July 2007

Stevens Canyon Splash and Dash 1500 Meter Swim, 5K run - 59:14
Trans Tahoe Solo - 11.5 Miles - 5:54:10

August 2007

Cruz Cruise - 2 Mile Ocean Swim - 47:36.78 (Nice, but meaningless P.R. in a swim that was clearly not 2 Miles)
Catalina Channel Relay - 20-21 Miles, 10 hours 3 minutes
Stevens Canyon Splash and Dash 1500 Meter Swim, 5K run - 1:08:43.4 - Exhausted from Catalina trip
Tri-For-Fun Sprint Triathlon - First triathlon! Finished! No time results! Yeah!!!

September 2007

Dynamic Duo - Relay with one other person consisting of 20 x 50's apiece. Ouch!

October 2007

Hour Swim on Halloween

November 2007

50 x 100's
First time ride up Old La Honda

December 2007

75 x 100's

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hour Postal Tomorrow

Yeah!!! I'm doing the hour postal tomorrow.


I set a goal for myself of swimming 4200 yards, which means I'll have to hold 1:25's for an hour.

Can I do this?

Positive answer: Yes! I did 3900 yards last year, and wasn't nearly as fit as I am this year. I swam 100 x 100's on a 1:30 base, so swimming less than half that amount holding 1:25's should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. I'm in great shape. So what if swimming 500's averaging 1:24's on plenty of rest a couple weeks ago kicked my ass? I'm going to bring all my will power to this event, and I'm going to do what I set out to do.

Negative answer: Waah!!! I swam 2 x 20 minute swims earlier this week, and maybe did 1350 yards, and lost count on the second. This would put me at only 4050 yards, if I was able to keep the pace I think (though am not sure) I did on the first 20 minute swim. (I feel kind of dumb, but when I did the math after my swim, I thought I did hold 1:25's by doing 1350 yards, but that's a little off. I got all excited about it, figuring I'd make my 4200 yard goal, but duh... Can't swim and do math at the same time or something.) I also feel stiff and sore, my neck and back especially, although my body tends to do this to me whenever I have a race.

Positive, less number oriented answer: I &hearts swimming! I'm going to enjoy myself tomorrow, get in and see what I can do with that. If I feel like going hard, I'll go hard. If I don't, I'll be happy with whatever I get. It'll be great if I do the 4200 yards I wanted to do, but I have other things in my life that are fulfilling outside of this goal. The hour postal is great for finding your groove in your stroke, and it will be fun doing it in a pool full of other people in this event that people all around the country are doing. And whatever yards I do will go to our team total. Maybe M.M. will make the top 5 this year!

So I dunno. I actually haven't been all that focused on my goal of 4200 yards lately. I never was as excited about the goal as I tried to be anyways. We'll just see. Tomorrow, I'll swim happy first, and swim hard if it makes me happy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

New Blender

I got a blender as a present from my parents, probably 7 or 8 years ago. That same year, my in-laws got me a blender as well. I wanted to take the blender from my in-laws back to the store, but Raybon wanted me to keep it. I remember we had a big fight about it. It didn't make sense to me that I should keep something I didn't need. The stupid things you fight about when you're a newlywed... Honestly, though, sometimes I think I should fight more with Raybon about stupid little things, because it is probably good practice for learning conflict resolution.

This morning my blender jar fell off the drying rack and into my sink, and broke. Raybon gleefully pulled out of the spare room closet the blender his parents got me 8 years ago. The blender has moved with us from Campbell to Mountain View to Boulder Creek. Raybon knew exactly where it was, which oddly enough was readily accessible and not in a box in our outbuilding, where most of are other stuff we don't use regularly is.