In the Beginning

The school year has begun. And because I'm too lazy to write a series of individual blog posts focused on fall topics, I've decided to cram all of it into this post in a convenient (for me) list format.

1. The first week of school has a way of being rough, sometimes for me, sometimes for humanity.
Here's a list of things that have happened to me and, seriously, to humanity, on the first week or day of school, starting with this year:

  • Root canal (last Monday)
  • Cast on my foot (last Tuesday)
  • Diagnosed with mono (freshman year, 2003)
  • Hurricane Katrina (junior year, 2005)
  • 9/11 (junior year of high school)

Maybe it's a curse? Next year I may send out a warning to my friends and family so they know to be on the look out that week. The curse extends beyond me, as you can see.

2. My stress fracture is only sort of healing, so they booted me. I'm not sure how long it will last, as the doctor's cryptic words were "Let your pain be your guide."

This is my second boot. My first was in 2009, shown below, and it was more intense. Both times now I've wondered if the boot is actually helping my foot, or just distracting me by making other parts of my body hurt (hips, IT bands, ankles - it's hard to lug that thing around).

3. Triathlon Club starts this week, which means I have to be at the pool at 6:05 AM on Tuesday. I've also learned that I can register as an unattached swimmer with Masters Swimming Ontario and participate in some meets this year! Woohoo! Triathlon Club seems to be very organized and well staffed, and I'm looking forward to having an actual swim coach again. At their Q&A meeting this week they talked about all the practices, etc, but they also mentioned that they go to a bar after Saturday swimming, and that they have potlucks and a Christmas party!! They had me at potlucks.
If you'd like to watch the club's promotional video and GET AMPED, here it is. Seriously, if I weren't totally injured, I would sign up for the whole club. What with all the coaching staff, it's a freaking steal at $125 for the whole school year.

4. People ask me frequently how Bo is adjusting, and I'd say she's feeling good.

Matthew, who has decided he wants to be called Auntie Matthew, gave her this very nice UWO bandana! Purple Pride! Or, #purplereign, as I think the kiddies say.

She also managed to get a small cut on her leg that she could not stop licking, so we put a sock on her. She loved it, obviously. Here's a picture of her working on her "saddest greyhound in the world" face. It's one of her most consistent personas.

5. We made beer floats last week and they were awesome. First a chocolate stout, then pumpkin. Both awesome. 

6. I had one of the best weeks ever with my dissertation this week. I even had a good meeting with my advisor where we made a timeline to completion. It feels so real. I felt like saying, 
"Who's got 2 thumbs, reads limited 18th century French, and didn't want to cry once during her dissertation meeting?! This moi!" 
I also found a bunch of useful stuff in Rameau's Collected Theoretical Writings (ed. E. Jacobi). 

First, an awesome Debussy quote where he talks about what a great thinker Rameau was. 

Then I started reading a bunch of reviews of the treatise I'm writing about. And, for reasons that I won't bore you with, it's really helpful that they connect his Génération Harmonique with Newtonian physics. I got so happy reading it that I drew some smileys, which also help me find those passages when I need them.

7. Mama K. and I are going to Michigan in a few weeks for what was supposed to be our 10 year high school reunion. Since only a few people signed up, they canceled it. But we've got reservations at a cabin and I want to see my old teachers anyways, so we're going to go and make our own reunion. 

8. The back to school message we all need to be reminded of: 


Real Swimming Prep

I've mentioned several times that since I developed a stress fracture in my foot, I've wasted no time getting into the pool. It was time for a change. And swimming has definitely been that! I miss being out on my favorite trails, especially as the leaves start to change. But I have to say, swimming has more perks than I expected. For example, I can eat lunch and then go swimming without getting so much as a  stomach ache. If I ate even a banana just before running, I would often have actual acid reflux. But I guess swimming doesn't jostle all that food around the same way. I wouldn't eat a whole pizza before swimming, but I don't have to schedule my life around my work outs.
Also, the weather doesn't effect my work out. Thunder storm? Snow storm? Super cold? No problem, I swim inside. There has been one notable exception to this, of course. The week before we left for Indiana, the pool at UWO and the other large aquatic facility near us both closed for maintenance, so I decided to try the Thames Park Pool - a 50 meter, outdoor pool also fairly close to our house. Luckily it was pretty warm that week, and the Thames Park Pool is totally great. It seemed like every triathlete in town was there because their usual swimming spot was closed and the atmosphere was really friendly and nice.

For my birthday I received two Amazon gift cards and I spent them both on pool toys:
a new TYR mesh bag with pockets so that my wet stuff can breath; swim paddles (for pulling drills); a new pair of Speedo Vanquisher goggles; and, not shown, a new Speedo and a new TYR swim suit. I love everything except the goggles. For some reason I have trouble finding goggles that don't leak - and yes, they are super tight, and yes, I push them into my eyes to make a vacuum seal. For some reason water still gets in during my flip turns. It's not a huge deal and I want to just find away to adjust them properly. It's still nice to have goggles that aren't 15 years old.

I had a little shoulder pain last week, so Massage Therapist Sam suggested that I back off the distance and add some stretches to my warm up. The pain is virtually gone, but I did ease off on the over all distance. It's not like I'm training for a race or something, so I decided to take it easy. I just need to get back in shape in time for Triathlon Club to start. 

I've had a lot of luck with this site: 100 Swimming Workouts and I'm especially a fan of their intermediate work outs. I like this one with the 25 meter windsprints and the 400 IMs. I enjoyed this one that focuses on breast stroke and freestyle. This site also shows the total distance of the work out so it's easy to plan how much or how little you want to do. I gradually increased my distance with work outs like this one until I reached one that totaled 3000 meters. But then my shoulder was unhappy with that and I reduced to between 2000 and 2500, 3-4 times per week. Between the reduced distance and real stretching (and a whole new level of pain in my massage therapy sessions), my shoulder is doing fine and I've been able to start building distance again.
It will be nice to have some real structure once the Triathlon Club starts so that someone else can come up with the work outs. Until then, it's nice to be back in the pool. As my high school swim team used to say, "Fast girls have good times."

BoBo in Bloomy

We decided to take Bo to Bloomington over Labor Day weekend. Partially, we wanted to get out of town one final time before school starts. But we also wanted to introduce Bo to my parents and their dogs. We loaded up her pink blanket bed in the car and brought her favorite toys to keep her happy. Bo does well in the car, so she spent most of the trip laying down, sleeping, or looking out the window. But I hadn't counted on how nervous she would be at the rest stops. She is very uneasy around traffic, and the noise from the semis followed us no matter where we stopped. 

We planned to get breakfast in Ann Arbor, thinking it would be fairly quiet and she could calm down enough to go to the bathroom. Instead, Zingerman's Road House, the restaurant we had mapped out in advance was on a busy street and she was pretty freaked out. But the donuts made it worth it. Holy crap, these donuts. They told us it would be a few minutes because they were making them from scratch, and they were totally worth the wait. Zingerman's is a large group of restaurants, bakeries, and delis in Ann Arbor and the Road House has a special coffee/breakfast trailer stuck on the front of the building. The breakfast burrito with cheese and green chilies I had really hit the spot, and these donuts kept us satiated for several hours. On our return trip we stopped at the Zingerman's head quarters where they have a bakery, coffee shop, and creamery. It's right off I-94 (exit 175, I think), but far enough from the interstate that Bo couldn't hear the trucks, so I think we'll stop there again.

After we made it inside the IN state line, we decided to find a place where Bo could actually have a rest stop that didn't scare her. Since we'd previously stopped at Pokagon State Park, we decided to let her walk around there and take a quick dip in the lake. Pokagon is also conveniently located just off I-69 (an exit in the 350s, I believe), and it was worth it for Bo to relax a bit and finally eat her breakfast.

Bo conked out for the rest of the trip. She and my parents' dogs never really hit it off, but they were amicable. I think she really liked the rug in the living room since it meant more room for her to stretch out. She also enjoyed the blanket my mom knitted her out of scraps from a blanket she knit for us several years ago. 

It was fun to walk her with the other two dogs in our favorite walking spots around town, especially Jackson Creek.

Dog walking is a family affair on Sunday mornings in Bloomington.

Of course, we also squeezed in a few non-Bo related activities in Bloomington. We went to the Rail with Mark and Jessica, where I had a Bandera for the first time: 

From left to right: a lime cordial (sans alcohol), VERY smooth tequila, and a Sangrita, which tasted sort of like a very light tomato juice. The server explained that it's customary to drink from left to right in small sips, but she also encouraged me to drink it however I wanted. I followed her advice and I was surprised how much I liked this drink. The lime and tequila at the beginning make it taste like a margarita. But the tequila and tomato at the end reminded me more of a Bloody Mary. I want to find the tequila they used, but I would need to be careful not to drink too fast. It was so smooth that it was like drinking white wine.

John did a few runs in Bloomington but he also accompanied me a few times to the IU Outdoor Pool. I'm still swimming a few times per week, but I wasn't sure how much I would want to swim while on vacation. But Bloomington was so hot and humid that the pool was especially inviting each day, and the facility itself is excellent. I plan on posting some of the swim workouts I've been doing, so prepare to have your minds blown.

My parents generously took us out to some of our favorite Bloomington spots, including Upland. Dad is a good sport about posing for funny photos.

And then we had to say good bye to Bloomington until October; we'll make a stop there when we're in IN for the marathon this fall. Now it's time for me to reach deep down and find some grain of enthusiasm for the semester to start.