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Ragged swim

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

As promised, after work I went to the gym to swim. I had originally thought to swim outside, and acclimate myself to having bodies around me in the water. Outside is where the kids congregate. I figured that would be good for me, to acclimate to swimming around others.

The weather, however, had other ideas, so I swam my laps indoors. Some of the kids came inside, so there certainly were other bodies around, a couple sharing my lane, and four or five one lane over.

I was a bit on the tired side... and it took until my 7th 100-yard stretch before my breathing evened out. While I was breathing ragged, I even did a half length as breast stroke, half a one crawl with my head up, and one of side stroke, trying to tamp down jitters.

The source of the jitters? An overactive imagination and the excitement of people around.

Last weekend I went to observe the triathlon, to scope out how intimidating a half ironman distance might look to me as a spectator. The one I'm doing next month is nowhere near that long, but one thinks about the future, you know?

The Spark page background is the start area of the race, while the swimmers were testing the depth and temperature, maybe ten or fifteen minutes before the actual start.

Two days after I got home, I had occasion to go look up the race online, because I wanted to confirm the distances (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run) of the half ironman. When I did so, I discovered a news story that disturbed me.

You see, about the time the first half iron participant was finishing his swim, emergency personnel, lifeguards, etc. were floating a participant out of the water, putting him on a stretcher, and sending him off in an ambulance. I saw this, did not think much of it, because obviously the man was being attended to by people who were calm and professional.

Turns out, the man died. As I started my swim, being me, I'm imagining what it is like to panic in the water. And I was not getting my breathing right. It was disconcerting. I was indoors, in standing depth water, surrounded by people who would be able to help.

I felt silly. When I feel silly, I often talk aloud to myself. That wasn't practical. So I tried breathing every stroke, and changing strokes, and those things... and THINKING my self pep talk, reminding myself to be calm, that it's OK to float, or side stroke or breast stroke, or hold onto a buoy...

And I toughed it out. Fear faced. I am not that man. I am me.

I came home, and looked up the latest news story on the incident, which suggests that the man's wife told the race director that he in fact had a massive heart attack, there in the water, and had died within 90 seconds. He was a fitness nut, and had done this sort of race before. No question of inadequate preparation. But sometimes athletes have undiagnosed conditions that show up when exerting themselves.

I have observed in myself that in a timed event like a 5K, I *do* get jittery, and I have to remind myself to calm down, and run easy at the start. I could see this evening, in the pool, it's going to be even more vital in the swim leg of the tri.

My thoughts are with that man's family. But at the same time, as I wrote my son... if anything horrid SHOULD happen to me when I participate in such an event... know that it was my choice, that I prepared myself as best I could... do NOT go blaming the organizers! It is my responsibility to recognize if I do not feel safe.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 6/24/2012 7:39AM

    Please keep in mind-you do not know what caused that poor man to die-he may have
had a bad heart-there are so many scenerios-as you said-HE is not You! I am glad
you have faced the fear-the head part is the hardest!

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MOBYCARP 6/23/2012 4:06PM

    Sometimes the mental toughness to do a major project is harder to achieve than the physical toughness. But I have confidence that you'll manage to achieve both the mental and physical toughness needed for that tri.

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SLENDERELLA61 6/23/2012 3:09PM

    I am very, very impressed with your tenacity. Your ability to calm yourself and work through some very logical unhelpful thoughts and breathing pattern will serve you well. Fear faced. You should be very proud!!

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RONNIEHUEY 6/23/2012 1:18PM

    You can do it! Don't think about what ifs, only of of I will do it!

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MIZCATHI 6/22/2012 5:01PM

    What a dramatic event! That would have put me in a bit of panic, too, because after all we have to BREATHE while we are swimming since we are not fish. And that is definitely a skill, and takes a lot of practice.

It's sad the way the man died, but what a way to go! Doing what he loves, and fast and painless. Morbid, I know. His family and friends will miss him.

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LEANJEAN6 6/22/2012 8:44AM

    Nothing better happen to you!--The poor man tho!!-----Youy faced your fear-----Good for you!!

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ALOHAEV1 6/21/2012 7:34AM

    Bet if you talked to others doing this, they have the same fears. Our daughter-in-law said she felt really foolish had to talk herself out of fear of something happening in the water not used to swimming out that far in the ocean. Like Janet said, anything can happen any time any where.

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    Seems you have a good handle on your "fears". Hey, you could slip on a floor crack your head and never wake up!
When are we truely safe and prepared from all life's challeges?

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_LINDA 6/21/2012 1:23AM

    There was just recently a man fished out of the pool in one of our city's public indoor swimming pools. There has been no word on what happened, but of course, they are investigating. I can sure understand the fear. I too, saw Jaws when it first came out and was very affected by it for a long time, and it didn't even matter if I was near water or not lol.
You are strong to work your way through it!!

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1CRAZYDOG 6/20/2012 10:21PM

    Oh my! How awful for that man's family. But, you just don't know.

Glad you worked through those feelings, though. You are so smart to prepare as you did by scoping things out to get a sense of what to expect. VERY smart.

Good luck in your continued prep.

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KARIDIAN1 6/20/2012 9:53PM

    I can understand exactly how you felt. Years ago when the movie Jaws was released we saw it in the theater. A few days later I was swimming in the pool at our apartments and I just suddenly felt creepy and remembering parts of the movie. Seems really dumb in an indoor pool. I was alone and just felt like I was reliving the movie and like I couldn't swim all of a sudden. I got out of the pool and never went back in. I still remember that after all these years.

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I'm still here...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

but I'm kinda busy. I notice my last blog was Sunday when I got home. I'm playing catch up with life... laundry, dishes, work, and the training plan.

As I noted in my status, due to the heat and humidity I opted to run on the treadmill this morning rather than out in the baking sun after work. Part of that was intentional so I could get in my two-a-day... i.e. do some strength training this evening after work. Which I did.

I find increasingly that the strength workouts are easier, and I'm having to move up the amount I'm lifting. Not by a ton, but by some.

Tomorrow, back in the pool!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 6/21/2012 1:26AM

    Well done! Sounds like you are just a humming along!! Could I borrow some of that heat please, it would be nice to have a real summer 50F is so NOT summer weather!! But it is great for working out in..

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SHARON10002 6/20/2012 10:30PM

    Yeah it might help to swim in regular water with people around. It was hot here today -100 degrees! I did see people out biking too!

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LJCANNON 6/20/2012 10:46AM

    emoticonIt is about 'Moderation In All Things' ~ Including Sparking sometimes, as SHOCKING as that is! I am glad that your Training is going well.

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LEANJEAN6 6/20/2012 9:44AM

    I do swim in our lake--daily!---Your cover page ios pretty neat Barb!---Imagine the $$$$ spent on those wet suits!--Lynda

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1CRAZYDOG 6/19/2012 10:34PM

    You are just awesome! LOVE the picture.

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MICKEYMAX 6/19/2012 10:11PM

    GREAT job! Stay cool!

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Dirty bike, cleansed soul

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I don't think there is anything more soul-cleansing than being out in nature. This morning before hitting the road, I found my way to the Wiowash state recreational trail, near Oshkosh. I discovered that it is mostly cinders, some gravel, some muddy spots from recent rain... in short, great biking for my particular bike, which is a mountain bike with the knobby tires.

I biked through some of the prettiest countryside, and I remembered the bug spray! Scared rabbits and chipmunks off the trail. Passed a couple of hikers, spotted a couple of runners, and passed another cyclist going the other way. I got about the right distance if the Spark mapping is accurate, and put in about 68 minutes.

Then I went back to the hotel, showered, packed the car, and drove myself 11 hours across the midwest to home. Granted, I probably would not drive 11 hours JUST to ride this particular trail, but since I was in the area, it was a ride not to be missed. For a whirlwind 3-day trip, this one gave me a sense of freedom and peace. Although I had access and Sparked a bit each day, I was mostly "unplugged". Ahhhh!

Hope you all had a great weekend, too! emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALOHAEV1 6/20/2012 6:50AM

    Thanks for taking us along with you, fun trip!

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LEANJEAN6 6/19/2012 8:49AM

    It sounds like "'my country""--Nice to change the routine around isn't it??--Awesome home page--love it!

Comment edited on: 6/19/2012 8:50:13 AM

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    Nice to take any kind of break from the routine!

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THEEASYKILL30 6/18/2012 12:39PM

    Sounds like a wonderful day!

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_LINDA 6/18/2012 11:53AM

    What an awesome way to finish your trip! I loved my all too brief time in nature with the one 23 km trail hike and four shorter hikes through rugged mountain terrain with my Mom. Such beautiful green, lush, moss laden trees (There was a bed of sharp little gravel laid along the trails which wasn't that great for walking on), and the peaceful quiet broken only by the rush of mountain streams.. We do have a beautiful country and I so wish I could get out in it more.
11 hours is a long drive -that is about what it took us to get out to BC. We broke it up though by staying overnight in Calgary, Alberta.
Hope you are not too tired to get back to the old work grind..

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SUNNY332 6/18/2012 10:03AM

    I am all for being "unplugged" !

Glad you are home safe.

Do have a GREAT week.


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KALIGIRL 6/18/2012 7:48AM

    Here's to being unplugged!

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MNTWINSGAL 6/17/2012 11:56PM

    Welcome home, safe and sound. Glad you had a great time!

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SHARON10002 6/17/2012 10:44PM

    Sounds like a great and decompressing weekend! I totally agree with nature's cleansing abilities. My favorite is to go out and look up at the moon and the stars. Of course, a great vista always works well, too!

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/17/2012 10:40PM

    Hooray for a fun and productive time away! Have a great week!

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1CRAZYDOG 6/17/2012 10:26PM

    Sounds like you had a wonderful 3 days. Good for you!

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KARIDIAN1 6/17/2012 10:19PM

    Sounds wonderful Glad you remembered the bug spray. They are out in force in Minnesota.

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UMBILICAL 6/17/2012 9:46PM

  I love biking.

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I did not compete... was a spectator...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

but still managed to log over 25,000 steps on the pedometer, and the body media says I was "moderately active" for 7 1/2 hours. I walked a portion of the running route. Was thoroughly intimidated by where the half ironman buoys sat out in the water. But it was a blast. Talked to a lot of athletes and their families. Got my canine fix, including a pets for a very personable GSP named Ellie.

And I'm about to meet Mary (Love_2_Laugh) for dinner tonight before I head home tomorrow! The jeans with a story are going to come with us. emoticon

This has been a great trip, so far, feeding soul and body. Being out in the beauty of nature AND being active? What could be better? emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARON10002 6/17/2012 10:48PM

    Hope you learned lots, and had a great dinner and visit with Mary. Safe trip back home, too. . .

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THEEASYKILL30 6/17/2012 10:39AM

    25,000 steps without being a participant is pretty impressive. emoticon

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_LINDA 6/17/2012 9:52AM

    Wow! 25,000 steps sounds pretty amazing to me! Just being there counts for something, you rock! Enjoy your meet with a Spark friend! Whay an awesome day!!!
Well done!!
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ALOHAEV1 6/17/2012 9:02AM

    Moderately active, what did it show after meeting with Mary! Wonderful...

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DEBRITA01 6/16/2012 9:15PM

    Since you were in WI, I was wondering if you'd meet up with Mary...hope you have fun at dinner. Your weekend trip seems like it's been a great one for you. emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/16/2012 9:15:56 PM

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1CRAZYDOG 6/16/2012 8:54PM

    Wonderful! Hope you and Mary have a great dinner together tonight.

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SLENDERELLA61 6/16/2012 8:05PM

    Can't imagine anything better: friends, activity, nature, meeting new people with similar interests, pets, food = WOW! Good for you.

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SUNNY332 6/16/2012 7:48PM

    Oh, do enjoy your evening with Mary and have a safe trip home.

Glad you enjoyed the outing even if you didn't compete.

Hugs, Sunny

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CONCHA77 6/16/2012 7:03PM

    sounds like a great time, for sure! Safe travels.

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KARIDIAN1 6/16/2012 6:47PM

    Sounds like a great time. Have fun at dinner and have a safe trip home.

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KRISZTA11 6/16/2012 6:17PM

    It was a great idea to watch the race, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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KASEYCOFF 6/16/2012 5:28PM

    Now that is a day to remember, ain't?

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WATERMELLEN 6/16/2012 5:25PM

    Sounds terrific!! Active and connected: can't be beat . ..

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    It sounds like you still had a fabulous day - enjoy the dinner and drive safely.

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LOONG Day... but satisfying, too.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rolled out of bed at 4:20 a.m., as usual. Swam my 1000 yards at the gym... then went home and had breakfast, made sure the kitties have everything they need to survive for three days without me, and backed out of my garage at 7 a.m.

Hit a heavy downpour between Omaha and Des Moines, on a stretch of road construction. Visibility lousy. But got through it. After that, much easier drive. It cleared off and I saw some parts of the country I haven't before, and some I hadn't in a while... windmills have sprung up in Iowa that weren't there the last time I drove across.

I managed to find my way to High Cliff State Park to the expo where the packet pickups were happening, so was able to pump a many-time participant for what I need to know to be a spectator tomorrow. It is my plan to arrive plenty early and have an active time while I watch. My training plan calls for a 40 minute run... I think I can tuck that around being a spectator.

Now... best get myself to bed so I will have the vim and vigor for that active day tomorrow.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARON10002 6/17/2012 10:46PM

    Another adventure for you! Hope you did well in your endeavor.

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ONUTHIN125 6/16/2012 5:26PM

    emoticon You have the most energy! Spark On! emoticon

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RONNIEHUEY 6/16/2012 1:03PM

    Have fun! emoticon

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SUNNY332 6/16/2012 9:28AM

    Thinking of you today as you compete. I just know you are going to SHINE!


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1CRAZYDOG 6/16/2012 8:23AM

    You are such an inspiration!!!! Good job. HUGS! Rooting for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment edited on: 6/16/2012 8:24:23 AM

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MNTWINSGAL 6/16/2012 12:02AM

    Such a smart move, Barb! Now when your tri comes up you will have all the info you need for success! Enjoy Wisconsin!

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WATERMELLEN 6/15/2012 11:02PM

    All best!!

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LEANJEAN6 6/15/2012 10:58PM

    OMG Barb--Is the race to-morrow??-----And you are Sparking???--And you were up at 4am???--Amazing!--Lynda

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