Beyonce, Get Outta My Head and Into My Pool

>> Saturday, January 27, 2007

"To the left, to the left.
Everything you own in the box to the left."

I had a nice swim this morning, even though there were many old ladies on noodles. I did 43 laps. Yesterday, I did 24 laps in record time. My swimming is getting better. It has to be, because I've been spending so much time in the water due to my damn sore knee. I met with a physical therapist a week and a half ago, and I'm doing exercises to build some knee and hip strength. She thinks that could be the source of the problem, and I think I agree. I've been exercising, stretching, swimming, and doing a little spinning. But no running.

Anyway, back to Beyonce...

"You must not know about me
You must not know about me
I could have another you in a minute
matter fact he'll be here in a minute..."

She was stuck in my head this morning while I was in the pool. All I heard was the sound of my breathing, the occasional splash of a noodle-swimmer, and Beyonce.

Could've been worse.

Could've been better, too...

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How to Insult a Triathlete

>> Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I was recently insulted. I’m a very easy-going, fun-loving guy, and I usually don’t take anything personally, but this comment stuck with me. First, some back story:

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a college professor. Classes have just started up for the spring 2007 semester, and I have 5 different classes at 2 different colleges. On the first day of class, I always do the lame “go around the room, introduce yourself, blah, blah, blah, and tell us what you did over break” routine.

At one school (which shall remain nameless), we had gone all around the room, and it was my turn to say a little about myself. So I rattled off all of the professional things I’d done recently, galleries I’ve had work shown in, and then I ended with what I did over break. I told the class that I started training for an Ironman Triathlon.

Immediately, I heard “the comment” from one student (who shall remain nameless):

“I guess I always pictured triathletes to be buff...”

Ouch. That hurts.

The class got a good laugh. I laughed too - awkwardly.

Now, I know I’m not super buff, but I have been lifting weights fairly regularly for nearly 10 years. It was a bit of a blow to my ego.

But to be fair, they know me as a nerdy, dorky, sometimes overly enthusiastic instructor. They see me as this guy (Teacher Steve):



What they don’t know is that underneath, I’m also this guy (Triathlete Steve):



After class, I went to the Y and started my workout on the bench:

135 x 8 reps, 155 x 8 reps, 175 x 8 reps, 185 x 6 reps, and 135 x 10 reps.

That’s not the workout of a 98 pound weakling. I finished my upper body workout, and later I hit the pool and swam a mile. I was on a mission. I don’t want to be the gaunt, sickly, un-buff triathlon nerd. Heck, I'll settle for being the semi-buff triathlon nerd.

I’m not trying to be cocky; I just need to share this story. I know that the student who made the above comment will find this blog of mine sooner or later, and I can’t wait for him to find this story. Hilarious.

Good times.

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Do You Know Green Speedo Guy?

>> Thursday, January 18, 2007

Have you met Green Speedo Guy? I bet you’ve met Green Speedo Guy. There’s one in every pool. I had the opportunity to meet him last night. My Green Speedo Guy looked like this:


OK, so his hands aren’t THAT screwed up.


Green Speedo Guy first hopped into my lane without asking. He was just suddenly there. It’s just common courtesy to ask if you can share your lane. “Not a big deal,” I thought. Some people just don’t know the routine of the regulars (oh God...I’ve already become a jaded “regular”...).

Green Speedo Guy was an older gent, and he had a bit of a beer belly. But that didn’t stop him from having that “I own this place” strut. He was a fast swimmer, but only swam 2 or 3 laps at break-neck speed before stopping to catch his breath for a minute or two. He wouldn’t stay on his side of the lane - I was kicked in the forearm a number of times. Green Speedo Guy seemed to time the start of his lap by waiting for me to get part way down the pool, and then trying to catch me to show that he “still got it” (whatever "it" is that he "got"). He made wild, splashy, over-the-top flip turns at either end. Everything Green Speedo Guy did was for show.

Everything.

Green Speedo Guy completed 3 or 4 sets of 2 or 3 laps, and finally, I had my lane to myself. I was keeping track of his laps more than I was my own laps. It was great to have the lane to myself again, but it was simply much better that Green Speedo Guy was gone; I would have gladly shared with anyone else in the pool.

I kept swimming. I completed maybe 10 more laps, and guess who was back?! Green fricken’ Speedo Guy. He blasted out 2 more laps, and was gone, like a fart on a windy day.

Do you know Green Speedo Guy? I bet you do. What does your Green Speedo Guy look like? What does he (or she) do to annoy you. You’ve all met mine. I would love to meet yours.

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Don’t Judge Me

>> Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The season premier of American Idol came to you last night from Minneapolis, MN. Please, please, please...don’t judge all of Minnesota by the performances you witnessed.

Remember, the guy who was “Urban-Amish” was from Wisconsin. Crazy cheese-heads.

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Good News / Bad News

>> Monday, January 15, 2007

First, the good news:

On Saturday, I went for my longest swim ever. I did 50 laps in the Y’s 25-yard pool; that's nearly a mile and a half! I didn’t push off the walls at all (to mimic open-water swimming), and my total time was 1 hour, 0 minutes, and 22 seconds. I know it's slow, but this is major for me.

Now, the bad news:

It snowed. That’s not the bad news. I don’t need to get anywhere, so I can let the snow plows work while staying in my neighborhood. The bad news is that my favorite winter activity is extreme sledding, and because of my damn knee, I need to stay away from climbing hills. Dagnabit. A good afternoon of sledding would probably put my IT band recovery back 2 months. Oh well, no sledding for me.

Oh, one more piece of good news / bad news: Our big order from Swimoutlet came in. That’s the good news. The bad news is that my sister-in-law’s “grab bag” swimsuit is SUPER ugly. Although, due to the hilariousness of the situation, I guess that’s also good news (at least for everyone in the world except for her). Sorry Steph!


She's not sure whether to laugh or cry

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Swimming Etiquette: Blog Poem #2

>> Friday, January 12, 2007

Note: My first posted poem was so popular, I thought I’d try it again. Enjoy.


There’s one thing I don’t understand,
and there are some people that need a reprimand.

When I go to the pool at my local gym,
all I want to do is go for a quick swim.

I hop in the pool and what do I see?
Twenty old ladies looking back at me.

Now, that’s not a problem, I don’t discriminate.
But sometimes they make me so mad, I could amputate.

The rule is simple: Shower before entering the pool.
If they can’t understand that, they should go back to middle school.

I don’t want to sound mean, I don’t mind them being there.
But my biggest issue has to do with what’s in their hair.

If you don’t shower before entering the pool,
all of the crud on your hair filters into the water, you fool!

Every time one of them gets near,
I feel an invasion to my atmosphere.

These women have too much crud in their hair, I bet.
It’s like before coming to the pool, they’ve emptied 3 cans of Aqua Net.

Hair spray, hair spray, HAIR SPRAY!
With that much crap in their hair, I’m surprised their heads don’t decay!

It’s assault on my lungs when I’m gasping for air.
Breathing suddenly turns into a horrible nightmare.

All these old, fat people floating around on their Noodle
stinking up the place - the whole kit-and-caboodle.

Not only that, but when I get near the deep end,
I see those large clumps of hair that slowly ascend.

I fear those clumps - it's like they’re after my soul.
They scare me so much, I nearly lose bowel control.

If you’ve swam laps before, then you know what I mean.
All of this makes me so upset, I could go drive into a ravine.

So if you want to come to my pool and hop in the water,
please shower before entering, or I may be inclined to slaughter (you).

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Bloodiest Ride Ever

>> Sunday, January 07, 2007

My ride was going fine. It was around 31 degrees and a little breezy. My knee was holding up OK, which was good. I had blown a few snot rockets (or “farmer blows” but I resent that term) because it was a bit chilly and I was still getting over my cold.

When I was around 4 miles from home, I blew another rocket, and it caught my eye as it flew over my right shoulder. It was blood red. And I had a bloody, bloody taste in the back of my throat.

"Super," I thought.

My nose started dripping blood like a faucet. I was trying to snort it all up, and spit it back out. I was sending red, snotty loogies all over Summit Ave. I wasn’t getting it all out; I had to swallow a lot of it. My mouth tasted like death. I was wiping up all I could with my gloves, which soon became horribly stained.

I thought about stopping at a grocery store or gas station, but I thought I would scare cute families out for a Sunday stroll. So I just kept going.

My nose mostly dried up after 10 minutes, just before I arrived at home. I got in the house to clean up.


Notice the blood ring around my mouth. Yummers.

I was surprised when I looked in the mirror - I thought I was going to look much worse; I had pictured blood all over my face. Anyway, I got home and threw everything in the washing machine. My right glove looked like I used it to help an elephant give birth. My thin jacket had blood up and down the right sleeve, and a few pools on the shoulder. My tights had drops all over them.

I went out and cleaned up my bike. There was blood all over the aero bars: on the bars, on the hinges, and a few nasty drops on the forearm pads. I couldn’t get everything out of the pads. Gross. My little aero bar pouch had blood all over the Velcro. One of my water bottles was splattered. And, worst of all, my white phat-wrap on the handle bars will never, and I mean NEVER, be the same again.

So be careful if you are on the north side of Summit Ave between River Road and Lexington Ave - there may be some gooey, slippery spots that could stain your clothes or small dogs. Man, I don’t know how I had any good stories to share before I started all this triathlon stuff!

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2006 Athletic Totals

>> Saturday, January 06, 2007

Everything from 2006 is tallied up. Well, at least to the best of my ability - I kept track of everything from January through July, and then again in December. August though November, I didn’t do much (physically speaking) and was pretty busy teaching and trying to become famous (with regards to my photo career). So these numbers are close to exact, but not 100% accurate.

2006 Totals:

• Biking: 1,214.5 miles
• Running: 194.1 miles
• Swimming: 42 times (I have no idea how far [it’s not far])
• Lifting Weights: 117 times
• Mountain Biking: 2 times (roughly 25 miles)
• Spinning: 2 hours, 20 minutes (2 classes)

Notes:

• I still can not swim in a straight line. I need to swim much more this year.
• My biking total is down from 1,764.5 miles from last year, but I hope to log 2,000 miles this year.
• I wasn’t quite able to break the 20 mph average on the bike during an event. I did about 19 mph at the LTF Olympic Tri, and 19.5 mph at the Chisago Lakes Sprint Tri.
• I realized that I can run faster than I thought. I thought biking was my strong suit.

2006 Highlights:

• 22:05 5K PR (as part of a triathlon)
• Longest run: 7.5 miles
• Longest bike: 100.37 miles
• Longest swim: 1,600 meters (in 25 yard pool)
• Ms. Pac-Man high score: 48,130

2006 Events:

• Ironman bike ride
• LTF Indoor triathlon
• Unofficial Olympic Distance Triathlon (total time: 3 hours 21 minutes)
• Apple Duathlon
• LTF Olympic Distance Triathlon (shorted due to the heat)
• Chisago Lakes Sprint Distance Triathlon
• Turkey Day 5K

In 2007, I hope to due a few smaller events early in the season, then a half IM or 2 (probably just one), and then IM Wisconsin in Sept. Here’s to hoping!!

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Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon

TRI IT INSIDE!

I recently received a pleasant e-mail: Lifetime Fitness is going to be hosting their second Indoor Triathlon. I’m already signed up. And if you know someone who is interested in doing triathlons, but is a little intimidated, have them sign up for this one. Maybe it’s you!

On February 25th, there is going to be an indoor triathlon at the Lifetime Fitness in Chanhassen, MN. Last year was the first one, and they are hosting it again this year. Last year, the indoor LTF triathlon was my first ever triathlon, and it was a blast. Everything is time based, not distance based. You lap swim for 10 minutes, then transition for 10 minutes, then bike on a spinning cycle for 30 minutes, then transition for 5 minutes, and finally run on a treadmill for 20 minutes. The distances you cover in all 3 events are measured against everyone else who competed, they’re given a numerical value, and then your place is figured. I am a slow, slow swimmer, so I was around 75th out of 100 in the swim, but then I was 6th in the bike, and somewhere in the top third of the run. I ended up 25th out of 100 in the end:



It was SUPER FUN and SUPER LOW KEY. If you’re new to the sport, this is a great opportunity to give it a shot. If you come, find me and say hi!

There are also similar indoor triathlons being held around the US, with 3 in Texas, 2 in Illinois and Minnesota, and 1 in Virginia, Arizona, and Michigan. Here is the official link with more info on the event, as well as how to register:

http://lifetimefitness.com/events/2007_indoor_tri/

Do it. Don’t wait. See you in Chanhassen.

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Spooky Story

>> Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I had just gotten home from the Y when I heard a slight noise. I brushed it off; it was probably just some snow falling off of the roof outside. No big deal.

A minute later, I heard something again. I quickly spun around. I swore it was coming from nearby, but I was home alone. Was it the cats? No, they were both sleeping in the sun on the floor.

A few seconds later, I heard it yet again. It sounded like a muffled voice, and it was still coming from nearby. I froze, waiting for it to sound again. If I stood silent and still, I would be able to hear where it was coming from. My heart was racing. My eyes were wide open. Sweat was forming on my brow.

A few seconds later, a muffled voice came from under my feet. I slowly looked down, and then bent over. The noise became clearer.

I realized it wasn’t coming from under me, it was coming from a part of me! Where was it?! What was speaking?!

I brought my hands near my face, and the voice became more emphatic. It was my left hand!... no... wait... it was my new watch that my parents gave me for Christmas.



It was speaking to me! I brought it to my ear. I heard a forced, wheezing voice. But a truck drove by on the street, and I couldn’t hear exactly what it was trying to say. The voice was definitely coming from my watch. I stood as silently as possible, with the watch pressed against my ear.

There it was! That voice... I could make it out! It was a creepy, quiet, whispering voice. It quietly but clearly said:

“...you’re a fucking slow swimmer...”


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