The Mermaid race was awesome and the weekend was incredible. Our team placed 6th, and now is not the time to ask how many teams we competed against. A full race report is coming soon, but for now, check this out: I just won $150! In workout gear! Just for being clever.
The Mermaid is on Sunday, and I think I'm ready. I've done all my workouts, lifted all my weights, and spent the past week tapering. And not doing much has made me very tired.
Tuesday I walked for 20 minutes, stretched for awhile, and slept for 10 hours. Last night, I passed on the gym to run some errands and stretch for awhile. And then slept for 10 hours.
Tonight I'm going for a little swim, a soak in the hot tub, and a session with the foam roller. And then I'm going to try to meet a friend for dinner before I fall asleep. Tomorrow I will do laundry and pack. I need to take into account many weather variables.
My relay partner and I leave San Francisco on Saturday morning. We'll spend the day in Santa Cruz relaxing with other members of our team. I think there's some pasta involved, and we'll undoubtedly spend some time assessing the weather. Transition opens at 6 on Sunday. I'll be well-rested to help everybody get their gear set up, and then wait around for two hours before my leg of the race.
I'm not entirely sure what details of my weekend I'm allowed to share. Maybe I was at a birthday party. We might have been at a bar called the Saddle Rack. There might have been line dancing. And slow dancing. And fast dancing. And a live band or two. And a set that included Garth Brooks and Bon Jovi. I might have ridden a mechanical bull. We may have danced in the cage on the stage. But maybe we don't want anybody to know.
When I last mentioned my sad cold water saga, I was finally breathing again and pondering my next move. I've given some serious consideration to my problem, and talked with a lot of people. The consensus is that cold-water induced asthma is pretty common. Who knew? Many thanks to everyone who chimed in here and on Facebook with helpful tips. I've got a plan for preventing any problems in the future, and for making a return to cold water. I feel pretty good about my race plan - for next year.
But next weekend, I will not be swimming. I just don't have enough time to experiment with my asthma drugs and get enough time in the water to feel secure attempting a race. It's just not safe. I'm a little bummed, but, in light of the past 10 months, last Saturday was a HUGE victory. So, my relay team has gained a third participant. Our swimmer has done this race several times before, and she's been pretty successful.
I still get to race, I still get a swag bag, and we'll still have a great weekend. And, by staying out of the water, I can take photos of the sea lions or something. It's a pretty good deal. Probably the biggest disappointment is that I won't get to successfully put on my wetsuit in front of an audience. But I'm looking forward to next year.
In the car with a friend the other night, we got to the topic of a mutual friend, a terrific person whose antics we can't quite understand. My friend asked what was up with this friend, and I gave her my take on the situation: this friend doesn't know what she wants out of life, but instead of trying to figure out her future (and her present), she's heeding the advice of lots of other people and doing what they think she should be doing.
I said something to indicate I have no patience for this and I think our mutual friend needs to focus on herself, and what she wants, instead of listening to everybody else. She needs, in short, to get her act together.
"Yeah," my friend responded, "but you're really ahead of the game on that." She went on to point out that she wasn't nearly as together as I am when she was my age. And she's the third friend I've heard that from recently.
Aside from developing a bit of a complex, this conversation has left me doing a lot of thinking. I get very frustrated with friends who are inconsiderate, or irresponsible, or immature. And lately I kind of feel like I'm surrounded by that. And I'm feeling left out for being responsible. For taking care of myself. For not staying up all night or out all night or having the kind of fun I see going on all around me.
But more than feeling left out, I'm wondering if this is a lifelong schism. Will I always be a little more together than a lot of the people around me? Because it's not easy. And lately it's not a very good time. It's kind of like being the only sober person in a group of people who are tanked on Saturday night. They're not nearly as amusing as they think, and I'm just not having a whole lot of fun.
In the months before my dad died, I felt really alienated from a lot of my life. I was unhappy and frustrated and felt like NOBODY understood me. It was kind of like being 14, only worse, because my perception was a little closer to reality last year than it was when I was 14. Very few people could understand.
A few months ago, I went through a period where I really felt like nobody liked me anymore. I even mentioned to a friend that I felt like nobody loved me. The look of horror on her face was surprising, but the comment that her whole family (well, the ones I've met anyway) loved me, was much appreciated. And I was being, perhaps, a little dramatic. I just felt like I didn't fit anywhere; like everyone around me had stayed the same, while the changes in my own life had been so dramatic that I no longer fit into anybody else's life. Or into a lot of the life I'd left behind last November.
At around that time, I caught up with an old friend who talked with me about her philosophy on grieving. We talked for a long time, but one thing stands out more than the rest of our conversation. Grieving, she said, is a very isolating experience, partly just because it's so individual, but also because very few of the people around the grievers are comfortable with death. She talked about the intellectual and emotional process, and a physical process, during which your whole worldview can change. And this friend wasn't the first person to mention this.
I had a moment of clarity recently, during which I realized that I really don't fit into some friends' lives anymore; or that they no longer fit into my new one. Don't worry, I'm not suggesting a mass break up or anything. I'm really not quite sure what to do, actually. I just know that the person I was last year isn't around anymore. And I'm not sure that all of her will ever come back. And I just don't see any point in masquerading - in pretending I'm having fun when I'm not - or in spending time with people with whom I no longer have much in common.
Figuring all this out could be awkward, and I hope I don't hurt anybody's feelings. Because, really, it's not you. You're fabulous. We just aren't in the same place anymore.
This is the pier at Seacliff State Beach. Yesterday's swim clinic involved getting into the water and swimming around the far end of that little ship at the end of the pier. It was 200 meters out and 200 meters back to shore. In 8-10 foot swells. In 60 degree water. Wearing a wetsuit.
The clinic was awesome. I learned a lot about race preparation and how to set up all my stuff on race morning, so that everything would be easily accessible for each part of my race. I met some really great women. I got my wetsuit on without a problem (thanks Kathleen!). I even helped some wetsuit-novices get into their suits.
We walked down 152 stairs from our meeting area to the beach. We learned how to dive through the waves into the water. We talked about the safety crew and lifeguards lining the pier, and how to signal to them if we needed help. We split up into three groups of varying abilities, and we got in. I went in with the first group.
As soon as I hit the water I realized I'd have some trouble breathing, but I was expecting that. The water was cold. My wetsuit was tight. But I felt pretty good. I kind of found a rhythm and for the first 100 meters I did pretty well. I wasn't at the beginning of the pack, but I wasn't at the end either. I swam crawl for awhile, before switching to breast stroke and then back stroke, because I wanted to see everything around me. I could hear the sea lions barking from their perch on the pier. I was hoping to catch sight of the dolphins that were reportedly off shore yesterday.
And then, during the second hundred meters, I started to cough. But not from intake of salt water. I was wheezing. And I was having lots of trouble breathing. I could see the buoy that marked the halfway point. I just couldn't see any of the lifeguards who were placed along the course on surfboards.
At about the time I started to struggle I saw two swimmers approaching me, and called out to them to avoid a collision. They were with the racing team, and were in the water to help the novices. We chatted for a few minutes, and I asked them to help me signal for help. I couldn't take deep enough breaths to keep swimming.
They tried to encourage me to go on - I was doing really well. I was halfway to shore. I looked pretty good in the water. And all of this was true. But I couldn't breath and was starting to cough again.
They helped me flag down a lifeguard, and he let me lean on his surfboard to rest awhile. I was still wheezing and coughing, and I asked him to tow me in. I definitely had the stamina to finish the swim, but not the lung capacity.
I trailed along the rear of his surfboard for awhile before he had me get on the board, and he pushed me from behind. I'd never been on a surfboard before, and riding the waves for a little while was really cool. I did ask, and I wasn't the first person he's had to tow in from a training swim. But still, I was a little sad.
I made it to shore and took a long time to get back up those 152 stairs to the transition area where the rest of my stuff, and my inhaler, were waiting for me. I met a few nice people along the way who walked with me as I wheezed and coughed. My heart rate was all over the place. I felt a little dizzy, and I just couldn't catch my breath.
I made it back to the parking lot, but I still couldn't catch my breath enough to use my inhaler. This is a serious flaw in inhaled asthma medication, and a problem I don't think I've ever had. In fact, I don't think I've ever had an asthma attack this bad, outside of some difficulty stemming from bronchitis several years ago. I haven't even had an attack in over a year, and every time I have, it's started because of a serious allergic reaction, and not from strenuous exercise.
I'm breathing pretty much fine now, 24 hours later, but it took until last night for my chest to really clear. I think the wetsuit combined with the cold water really did me in, and I'm not quite sure what this means for race day. My relay partner and I might try to do the duathon (walk, bike, walk and no swimming), but we still need to figure out the logistics. And I want to get back into the water with some asthma medication in my system, and see how it goes.
Overall, though, this was a great day. I got to spend some time on the beach and hang out with some really cool people and get my first pseudo-surf lesson. And now I know what to expect for next time. And I can get my wetsuit on and off. That itself is a huge accomplishment.
Many days, I read my daily horoscope. On days when I find it particularly creepy or amusing, I sometimes post it to Twitter. I never take it seriously, but it's a fun diversion. Yesterday morning I was a little concerned about its message, and I sent it to a colleague with a warning. Here's that email:
Subject: my horoscope today is worrisome
Email message: And, just in case it's even remotely accurate, you should be fully informed: "A reshuffling at the office has dramatic consequences. Thankfully the earth energy coursing through your horoscope provides the protection you seek."
And then, at about 3 pm, my boss announced his resignation.
And now, I vow to read my horoscope every day. It's always good to know what's coming.
I had no idea what stress my previous apartment was causing me. Seriously, I had no idea the extent to which dealing with my crazy landlord - or even seeing his car in front of the building every evening - made me anxious and uneasy until I moved out.
And now, I feel the difference. And it's incredible. I love my new apartment, and I'm excited to get settled. But more than that, I really feel at ease here. I've met a few neighbors, and they all say the same thing: it's a great building with quiet tenants and everyone is very happy here. And there's no crazy landlord. And when the manager has to enter my unit I'm notified in advance. And chances of a break in or arson, though they exist (I live in a city, after all) are pretty slim. And I'm confident that the building owners and manager aren't doing anything to stoke the flames of violence.
I'm hoping this is an apartment I can stay in for awhile. Even with towers of boxes in the middle of the room; even though I'm still living out of boxes; even though fully unpacking will take months; I'm already very happy here. And being settled in my home makes everything else a little easier to handle.
I have missed the blogosphere immensely. But, I'm all moved in (or at least all moved), the DSL gods have shone favorably upon me, and my Internet is finally working again. If my Internet debacle hadn't ended tonight, I was tempted to start blogging from my office, but that seems, well, like a really bad idea.
I've been busy lately - I must really be feeling better. I took a trip to Lake Berryessa last weekend. It was beautiful!
I joined some friends for a pool party and barbecue. Photo credit there goes to my friend Mel. This might be the best photo anybody has ever taken of me. I went to a baseball game that the Giants won! I've visited with friends and started unpacking and really feel like I'm finally back to living my life. I've done some serious swimming in preparation for my triathlon relay at the end of the month, including two 1,000 meter workouts. That's 20 laps; slightly more than a half mile, and it's a huge accomplishment considering I couldn't swim five laps a few months ago. I am thrilled. And I'm hoping that an extra workout or two a week means I won't drown on race day.
I rented a wetsuit. It came today, thanks to Kathleen's wetsuit rental recommendation. In fact, the suit is sitting on my bed right now, mocking me from across the room. Anybody want to give me pointers on how to get the thing on? I have a week to practice before my swim clinic.
After unpacking lots of boxes and finally tracking down my ethernet cords and plugging in all the wires, it turns out my Internet provider never switched my DSL line to my new address. So all that time I would usually spend blogging was spent, last night, in the pool. Swimming 1,000 yards. I feel awesome. And also very hungry. Regular posting will resume by the end of the week I think, but right now, I need more breakfast.
Updated to include that the lap lanes are measured in meters, not yards. Obviously, the hunger was overwhelming.
Writer. Marathon walker. Sometimes-photographer. Cyclist. Musician. Lover of cheesecake, San Francisco baseball, and comfy sweatpants. See Jane Run Ambassador. Team in Training cyclist. My philosophy? Life is not meant to be lived on the sidelines.
All written and photographic content are the sole work of the author, and cannot be reproduced, in whole or in part, without her permission. See something you'd like to borrow? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.