Sunday, February 28, 2010

Learning to Fly

The butterfly stroke has always intrigued, and eluded, me. My childhood swim lessons – two weeks each summer at the small community pool – covered basic strokes only. I watched with awe whenever the pool manager’s children, both college students who had learned to swim elsewhere, occasionally did a length or two of butterfly. From observing them, I understood what the arms were supposed to do, but I couldn’t figure out the kick. Eventually, whenever I tried to butterfly, I did a sort of aborted breaststroke maneuver. It was neither pretty nor efficient for the ten feet or so I could manage it.

Last week in Masters class, though, those of us in the “baby” lane focused on proper butterfly technique. First, we concentrated on the kick. To keep my feet from going awkwardly awry, Coach D. said to visualize my big toes tied together tightly. After a few lengths I began to feel more “dolphin-like” as I undulated through the water. Next we added arms – one at a time, then both. I was more moth than Monarch, but I could fly.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Considering Spring

As I was shoveling the last bits of snow off my sidewalk today (because I was tired of waiting for it to melt), I noticed my daffodils have started to grow. Those one-inch green shoots were the perfect tonic for my winter-battered psyche. Of course, the imminent arrival of Spring means no more excuses for the weather-induced inertia I’ve had for the past several months. I’ve been doing some indoor cycling, strength training, and swimming, but not with the same intensity as in past years. And I’ve just started to run again. I’d wanted to do the Smithfield Sprint on March 27, but I’m not ready for competition yet. Stuck in the depths of winter, I was wondering if I’d ever be ready, but, like my daffodils, it’s time to start blooming again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Making “Ice Cream” from Ice

Last weekend I’d planned a full slate of activities – indoor cycling followed by a few laps around the indoor track at UR and a massage on Saturday, swimming on Sunday. Plus, I wanted to go by an antiques mall where a friend has a booth, and I thought I’d check out some new bikes. The Specialized Ruby Expert got a good review in the latest issue of Bicycle. I test rode a Ruby Pro model in 2008 and liked it, but it was way out of my price range. The Expert is still more than I reasonably should pay for a bike, but it’s less than what some of my non-tri friends spend on exotic vacations and interior decorating, so I figured there was no harm in “just looking.” However, Saturday brought snow, lots of snow, and nothing I’d planned happened.

This weekend is shaping up the same way. The storm here doesn’t appear to be as bad as last weekend’s was, but it’s still cold, the roads are a mess, and since I really don’t have to go out, I won’t. Instead, I’ll try to find something constructive to do, like start on my taxes. Maybe my expected refund could be the start of a “new bike fund.”