Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm lazy

So I'm copying this from a friend's blog and counting it as an entry. (Thanks, Natalie.)

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Asked for a harder job without a pay increase. Camped in the mountains.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not counting sorority sisters who are now facebook friends, no.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
A member of my department at work died unexpectedly this fall. She was not someone I socialized with outside of work, but was a close office-friend and I'm a little surprised at how often I miss her.

Denise was a rare person who was both kind and hysterical. My funny moments often come at the expense of others (not proudly), but Denise could make me snort with laughter without ever uttering a mean word. We also shared a love of Twix bars and she always kept a stash hidden in her office for me. Sometimes I think she's just away on a long trip and then the realization that she's gone hits me doubly hard. I think of her often, especially when Mizzou does something noteworthy, and touch the door to her office every time I walk by.

5. What countries did you visit?
Countries? Try states. I'm a woman on a budget. Vacations for fun were Colorado, South Carolina and a weekend in Chicago.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Ability to be a better listener. Time to become a certified yoga instructor.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 12 was a big date, though it's too personal to mention why.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
It was not a milestone year except for the fact I'm the happiest I can remember being in a long time.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Being horribly unmotivated the first half of the year at work and really under-producing.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Illness, no. Injury, always. It might be time for knee replacement.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A spa day with Becca.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Rielle Hunter. Jesse James.

14. Where did most of your money go?
House, socializing, kitchen remodel, tri toys.

15. What did you get really excited about?
I can't remember.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
I have no idea.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you?
happier or sadder? Happier
thinner or fatter? Same
richer or poorer? Richer (a tiny bit)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spending time outside. Napping. Slowing down.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Facebooking. Making lists.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Sick with a nasty cold at my parents on Christmas Eve and in Newton with Boyfriend's family on Christmas day.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Modern Family. I don't have cable, so limited to network shows.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I try not to hate anyone. I do, however, believe some people to be toxic influences and I tried to reduce interaction with them this year.

24. What was the best book you read?
Unbroken. Really, really fantastic.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I'm just not that musical a person. I sing what's on the radio.

26. What did you want and get?
New kitchen countertops, backsplash and tile floor.

27. What did you want and not get?
A contractor that could finish the job.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Get Him to the Greek. True Grit was also good.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 38 and stretched it into a multi-day celebration, as I'm prone to do. Birthday night I went to dinner with my parents. Friday night I met girlfriends out for a long happy hour and then went to a Christmas party with Boyfriend. Saturday I ate massive amounts of potato chips and vowed never to drink again.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More sleep.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Comfortable and classic. I will be glad when skinny jeans go away. My athletic thighs prefer a nice pair of bootcuts. I also have more appreciation for texture. Bought my first cashmere sweater and love it.

32. What kept you sane?
Yoga. This year was the most consistent I've been with my practice and it helped me immensely.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Whichever one is on the cover of the People issue at my dentist office. (But definitely not the Kardashians.)

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The death of Elizabeth Edwards. The rise in popularity of Sarah Palin. Both saddened me.

35. Who did you miss?
My mom. My grandparents. My dog.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Boyfriend. He's funny and interesting and smart - there's never a dull moment. The best re-acquaintance was with my childhood friend Sandi. We just picked up right where we left off after a decade hiatus.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010
Don't try to run a mile in barefoot shoes the first time wearing them. Don't go to Costco on Dec. 23. Don't leave work having to go to the bathroom. Don't give your cell phone number to kids you coach.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Again, not musically inclined.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Done, done, done. With Christmas shopping, that is. The last present was delivered to my doorstep by my nice (but not hot) UPS man yesterday. With the exception of two gifts, everything was ordered online helping me avoid crowded shopping areas that make me crabby. The internet has lifted over 50 percent of my holiday stress. Which is good, because my job has added it right back. Yay.

Speaking of the job, it continues to provide new and unexpected learning opportunities. That's code for it's continuing to kick my ass. Software issues overwhelm me. (I'm a word girl, damn it.) But all my projects require mods and bolt-ons and upgrades. It's a different language, and one I don't understand. My co-worker said it best yesterday, "You don't know what you don't know." And I don't.

One of the perks of working in higher ed is Christmas break. (That and snow days.) Usually I make a long list of things I'll finally get done when I have a week+ off without traveling. And come January 1, most everything is still on the list. Goals for this break: paint bathroom, clean oven/stove/fridge, touch up paint in my kitchen, rake leaves and see lots and lots of movies. What will likely occur: seeing lots and lots of movies.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Roller Skating is for Tweens

How might I know this? Because 25 years after my last Tour De Coachlite skating party, I found myself at Skate City donning a pair of frayed laced, orange-wheeled rentals next to ski-ball machines. Sweet nostalgia.

Except it wasn't really sweet. It was painful. I realized my roller skating prime had passed when my primary concern was for bunion pain. It was far worse than stilettos. Think I developed some shinsplints, too. And to be clear, it's not like riding a bike. Trying as I might to channel Olivia Newton John in Xanadu, grace on wheels eluded me. The whole two hours was spent teetering with my arms out, trying not to fall on my butt.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Fifteen years ago I was in a car accident that resulted in a broken arm. To help it heal, they put a plate and a couple screws in the bone.

Five years ago, I broke the plate and learned the bone hadn't grown back together (non-union), so they repaired it with a lighter, stronger plate. Apparently as the plates get stronger, so do I, as this plate has broken as well. (See above.)

All of this means surgery that will either A) replace the plate and screws again or B) insert a rod into the bone to make it stronger. It's called an ulnar reconstruction. I prefer any sort of surgical reconstruction be of the cosmetic variety, but oh, well.

The hardest part will be not being able to swim for a couple weeks and no yoga for at least a month. That means I will be mean as a snake and no one will want to be around me the month of January. Don't say I didn't warn you.

On another note, Friday night I met some girlfriends out for happy hour, which lasted four hours. Saturday I moped around and swore never to drink again. Saturday night was Christmas tree time which included a debate about regular lights verses the LED ones. I lost and now instead of a warm, golden glow, the tree looks kind of blueish and space-agey. All in the name of environment.

I also made the annual Christmas fudge. Ugh. A total of nine pounds. I'm pawning it off because it has to be out of my house soon. Very soon. So if you find a tin of fudge outside your door, you're welcome.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


That's how old I am today. 38. Two away from 40. 62 away from 100, if I'm lucky enough to be an centenarian. Speaking of 100 years, have you ever listened to the lyrics of that song? Depressing.

No significant plans. Dinner with parents, drinks with the girls, a little holiday party. I try to stretch out the celebration for several days. Yes, I'm one of those people. I still think birthdays are a big deal and get frustrated by people who downplay them. Celebrations are good, people. Take advantage of any occasion.

Speaking of special days, yesterday was "hug a swimmer" day. I was told this last night at practice. Honestly, I think they're just hormonal tweens that want to hug each other instead of doing dry land. Because I'm a pushover, I let them.

Back to birthday. Some people make New Year's resolutions on January 1. I use birthdays for this. And since self-improvement resolutions rarely work, I'm making easy ones for my 38th year. Here they are:

1. No longer buy any magazines that tell me how to physically improve myself. I've been reading fitness literature for 18 years. If I don't know it by now, it's not that important.

2. Never pass up cake. Ever.

3. Express road rage all I want. Just not when I'm on the phone with someone.

4. Order a soy latte every day, instead of just on Fridays. (Okay. I started this in October, but it still counts.)

5. Get a massage every month.

6. No longer apologize for my crappy taste in music.

7. Incorporate more hats into my wardrobe. Cowboy ones, especially.

8. Drink more Baileys.

9. Get certified to teach yoga. (That's a little self-improvement-ish.)

10. Not be too scared to race the 400 IM.

Last weekend I went to dinner with some girlfriends, including one I hadn't talked with in about 20 years. It was an excellent time, though I could give or take the restaurant (Extra Virgin). Pig ear salad and duck tacos...nope. I don't think "adventurous" need apply to food choices. But that's okay. The company made it entirely worthwhile.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Locker vulture and swim meet

1) Sandi and I with our jell-o. 2) The start of the 100 IM. Just trying not to fall off the block. 3) Awards. 4) BF and I at bonfire after the meet. Baileys and decaf post-meet hits the spot.

I was attacked by a locker vulture this morning. Where I swim, the locker room is shaped like two U's pushed together (basically, an E) with probably 50 lockers. While I will take any locker, usually one on the end is available because I get there so early. Today was no exception. This continually frustrates a woman who shows up for water aerobics 10 minutes before I'm done.

Water aerobics woman (WAW) does not like this. Though there are 47 other lockers available, she waits for mine. I spent some time organizing my gym bag before leaving and this did not go over well. She stood holding her stuff - audibly sighing (wheezing?) - waiting for me to finish. Really, WAW? Is your day ruined if you don't have this exact locker? Is this what you want to play your rude card on? I was there first. I'll take as long as I want. And the back of your swimsuit is entirely see-through.

Annoyance vented.

The swim meet went well. I'm a sandbagger, but I hadn't swam in a meet for so long I had no idea how to seed myself. Therefore the results show I cut significant amounts of time. Outstanding! 50 fly was 33.07 (decent), 100 IM 1:14.xx (good), 200 IM 1:39.97 (good) and 100 back 1:14.xx (total surprise). The 50 breast? Well, I won't be swimming that again. Most importantly, Sandi and I had a great time eating jell-o and gossiping between races.

There were some seriously fast people there and some not-so-fast. There was a woman in her 80's who raced multiple events. There was a dude who looked like a tatted-up UFC fighter who went 22.xx on the 50 free. Amazing stuff.

So I'm totally geeked-up about swimming again. So much so, I'm back to coaching for the Blazers. Tonight is my first practice since last June. Bring it on, tween swimmers. I'm ready for you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Library Love

I love to read. I love books. So one might assume I have a longterm relationship with libraries. But the truth is, I dumped libraries after college; trading up for bookstores. B & N. Borders. Even Rainy Day Books, when I wanted to support the little guy. But books are expensive and I never walked out with less than four. The math wasn't pretty.

Then my friend mentioned checking out library books and I had an epiphany. I, too, was welcome at the library. I, too, could read books for free. Eureka! So I visited my neighborhood branch and in a few minutes, I was an official library card toting reader again.

Thing is, some things are different now. Card catalogs are obsolete. Learning the Dewey Decimal System as a kid wasn't necessary. Most computers have teenagers checking Facebook. And the whole be quiet in the library rule has disappeared.

But the library does have some advantages. Primarily, I can check out books on a whim. If it's not a good read, who cares? I can expand and limit my horizon as I see fit, free of charge.

A small embarrassment is my love of chick lit. (Hello, Jen Lancaster!) I'm almost 38. Shouldn't I have moved on to historical biographies or American Classics by now? To balance this shortcoming, when checking out books I allow myself unlimited mindless novels as long as I include one literature-type book. Then I use that book as my beard so the librarian will think that I'm an intellectual. At least until she see's the four books underneath. Whether or not I finish the highbrow stuff doesn't matter. It's the intent.

For the record, I didn't check out The Poetical Works of Keats. Even I know my limits.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween/Swim Meet #2

No Halloween photos. (Sorry, Becca.) When costumes are marked down 50 percent, there's a reason. In this case, we would've looked like Star Trek pop tents. While my stepmom graciously offered to alter them, it just felt like too much effort. So the party on Saturday was skipped.

We did, however, attend a Harry Potter party on Sunday. BF picked up lovely matching capes at CVS and a witch hat for me. Hmmm. What does that mean? Oh well. We made cauldron cakes (look it up if you're not a HP fan) and joined in the festivities, even though I'm probably the last person on the planet who hasn't read a HP book.

Five days until the swim meet. I've upped my swims from 2x to 4x per week. It's amazing how the fear of embarrassment is incredibly motivating. I was feeling pretty good about myself after this morning's workout. Then I checked the master's national qualifying times and my ego deflated. A 2:36.60 for the 200 IM. Uh, right. Or maybe a 32.07 for the 50 fly. Yes, this is short course yards, but still, I'm a month shy of 38. For pete's sake, when do the times start dropping off?

One thing I've noticed is when I start to feel like an athlete again, my body lets me know those days are gone. I'm like Shaq pimping the Icy Hot. (Except I don't make $20 million a commercial.) There's that brief moment of victory - "I'm a swimmer!" Followed by "I'm a swimmer with a snapping shoulder, tight hamstring and some sort of weird groin pull." Maybe Shaq can send me a complimentary Icy Hot patch. It seems to work for him.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall festivities

I really should change 3athletejen to something more appropriate. Maybe swimmerjen or yogajen. Or iheartpizzajen. Whatever.

Last weekend at master's practice, I was coerced into signing up for a swim meet. This will be my first meet in three years. The last meet I attended was a rude awakening. Apparently muscle memory does not apply to diving off a swim block. It was ugly and it hurt. My times were lackluster. Basically, it was a huge ego blow.

But I've been feeling a little competitive lately. I've also been feeling a desire to fit into my skinny jeans before the holidays. So voila! I signed up. My events are 100 IM, 200 IM, 50 fly, 100 back and 50 breast. It's not coincidental there are no free events. My fly is faster than my free, which is both a compliment and an insult. The meet is Nov. 6, so hopefully I will have good results to post. My goal is just not to be DAL.

I just realized Halloween is this weekend and I need to piece some sort of costume together. This is always stressful. You want a costume that's funny and witty, creative and current, and one that hopefully is attractive. (My freshman year of college I went to a fraternity party dressed as a giant beer bottle. It was a great costume and also horribly unflattering. All my sorority sisters were dressed as sexy witches/devils/PB bunnies and I was a big beverage. It sucked. Lesson learned.)

However, I just don't have the time and energy to come up with anything. My brain is fried. And BF wanted something that could incorporate his newly grown beard. I suggested Burl Ives, but was vetoed. Because I'm lazy we're going with Star Trek. (BF like sci-fi and I like things on sale. Win.) Keeping fingers crossed this isn't a disaster.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bumper Cars

I hate bumper cars. Hated them the first time I ever tried them. I got in the little car, excited to get to steer. The signal goes off and all these people I don’t know are out to get me. One second I’m facing one way and the next I’ve been blindsided by some bratty ten-year-old, my car has done a 180 and the back of my head hurts.

My life has been a bit bumper car-ish lately. If you’ve read any of my previous entries, you get the gist I’m a control freak, so quick directional changes are not my thing. But sometimes you don’t have a choice.

Yes, this all sounds a little vague. Some of the changes I can put on my blog, others aren’t as appropriate. Appropriate changes: I’ve started in a new position at the college as a project manager. It’s challenging and fun, but the learning curve is steep and I still sit in many meetings taking notes about things I completely don’t understand. (PeopleSoft, anyone?)

Secondly, I lasted through two sessions of my first grad school class. I’m embarrassed to admit this. I feel like a quitter. (Okay, I am a quitter.) But the classes just didn’t do it for me. Not that they were too challenging – it was organizational development, for Pete’s sake – but it was just a touchy-feely, human resourcey program that does not match at all with my personality or strengths. I’m finally old enough to realize that when things feel wrong, it’s okay to step away. So I did.

The less blog-appropriate changes will remain under wraps. I guess the reason I’m even documenting this is to explain why entries have been MIA lately. It’s hard to type in a bumper car.

Next time, I’ll be more light-hearted and witty. Maybe something about my current kitchen remodel (sigh) or maybe a new dog (awesome). Either way, I’ll try not to wait so long.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to school

I remember when back to school meant breaking out the Bee Gee’s lunch box, buying new tennis shoes and a trip to Venture to pick up school supplies. Sweet nostalgia, how times have changed.

At age 37, going back to school doesn’t have quite the same lore. Last week I started graduate school. A four-hour class, one night a week, for eight weeks equals three credit hours. Pack in five hours of reading and 1-2 papers per week and there you have it – my life outside of work for the next three years.

Let’s look more closely. Four freakin’ hours of class. Yes, it’s as long as it sounds. By the last hour I’m doing the econ head-bob I perfected in undergrad. (Taking econ as an 8 a.m. class is just stupid. Every class was an exercise in not falling asleep. Hence, the head-bob.) This class is 6-10 p.m. I usually get up at 5:30 a.m. You can see the problem.

Weekend intensive courses are another gem. While appealing in theory, the reality looks awful. Friday night 6-10 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. In advance, please read these 200 pages and do three case studies. I wonder if bringing some sort of caffeine drip would be inappropriate. Or my laptop to watch Project Runway.

Last night the instructor handed back our first graded assignment. 40/40. I was feeling pretty good about myself until she said she gave everyone 40/40. What???? Her reasoning was the paper was due the first day of class and we couldn’t have known her expectations, so she just rewarded the effort. Does she realize how long I labored over that stinking paper? (A ridiculously longtime, by the way.)

So the journey begins. When contemplating getting my masters, a friend told me the time will pass anyway, so might as well start. She was right. She just didn’t mention about the time passing so slowly.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to reality.

After nine days in the wonderful state of Colorado, it was back home to Kansas City. Sigh. We had a fantastic trip, visiting friends and family in Denver, camping (yes, I made it through camping), relaxing at Beaver Creek and watching the Leadville 100 mountain bike race.

Our one night of camping (thank god) was fairly uneventful. A giant bull moose came through our campsite, which was awesome. I was taking pictures like paparazzi, until BF warned me that moose can be aggressive. I got in the car.

Being a logistics person, I was concerned with the details. Primarily, where do you go to the bathroom. (There were no port-a-potties at the campsite.) Most triathletes are adept at relieving themselves on the road, so I've never had a problem peeing in the great outdoors. But peeing wasn't the concern. What do you do when you have to GO. And the answer is you dig a hole and then bury it. Fascinating. And kind of gross. My first thought was what if I dig a hole where someone else already dug one? But fortunately, that didn't happen. So moose spotting and hole digging were the two most interesting things about camp.

BF and I had aspirations of doing all sorts of activities once we arrived in Beaver Creek. We had mountain bikes, hiking gear, swim stuff and there was even a yoga studio. The reality was quite different. We ate, lounged, slept and shopped. In three days, there were two hikes and a yoga class. It was awesome.

The final leg of the journey was to Leadville to watch a friend do the race. I was blown away watching these folks push themselves. I imagine it was like what Ironman was 20 years ago. And like watching Ironman, by the end of the day I thought I could do this race. BF and I will both enter the lottery for next year. Secretly I hope he gets in and I don't. This may be an event I'm better suited to cheer for.

For the record, I didn't wear the cowboy hat the entire time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Outdoorsy Me - Ha!

I'm going camping. Outside. With a tent and sleeping bags and other sorts of outdoorsy equipment that I'm unfamiliar with. My friends are delighted by this. They don't believe I will make it. Not that I'll be eaten by a bear or something exciting like that, but I will demand to be taken to the nearest hotel by 10 p.m.

It's true that I'm not much of a camper. I'm more of a bedder. I like beds in rooms with climate control and adjacent to bathrooms. The last time I camped was when my mom and I went to girl scout camp in 1980. I came home with three ticks on me. That was the end of my camping career.

This is an attempt at revival. I've been informed what this is is car camping, as opposed to backpacking. (Apparently, there's special camp terminology.) I did buy a pair of hiking boots, though. When the lady at Backwoods asked what kind I was looking for, I answered "the least unattractive pair you have, please." They're still unattractive, but at least they were on sale.

There better be s'mores.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Race That Wasn't

Not sure how the mesh-thingy from my aero bottle got wrapped around my fork leaving transition, but it did. Fortunately, nothing beyond me looking silly occurred.

T1 - the speediest part of my race.

Axel had rockstar parking.

With Boyfriend before the start. Unfortunately, the Cycling Jesus shirt
did not bring good luck this time.

Yesterday was the Shawnee Mission Triathlon, or half of it anyway. Weather was not friendly in Kansas City, and Mother Nature unleashed a tirade about halfway through the race.

Part of me was happy because: 1) I had not been on my bike in two weeks, 2) I had eaten a large amount of cheese with a side of sangria the night before, and 3) there has not been much pep in my step lately.

It would have been nice if they’d called the race before the swim. While herding in the water there was ample lightning in the distance. Figuring the race director was just trying to do his best, I started the swim thinking it was on a 50/50 chance I would be allowed to finish.

The swim just felt off. I’d lost my good goggles at Topeka and was using my back-up pair that fog in 30 seconds. Bad move. I was all over the place. Several course volunteers tried to direct me, but I was literally swimming blind. So a 500m swim was probably more like 700m.

High point: my transition was fast. Yay for me.

Halfway through the first bike loop the rain started and a volunteer let us know the director had called it. Took my time into the transition, as was soaked. Boyfriend had already bagged up all my stuff and took Axel to the car for me.

The drive home was more nerve-wracking than any race, as we decided to exit the highway (no visibility) and drive through the bottoms to get home. During a torrential rainstorm. Because we’re smart like that. Eventually got home safely and rewarded ourselves with French toast.

In light of how crummy I’ve been feeling, I almost didn’t do this race. However, ten years ago this was my first triathlon. I remember being incredibly nervous, making a complete change of clothes in each transition, falling off my bike, and puking on the run. But I absolutely fell in love with the sport that day. I was so proud I didn’t even wash off my body marking the rest of the day. (I did shower, though. I’m not that gross.)

So even with the rainout, I’m glad I went. It had a nice, nostalgic feel. Happy decade, triathlon.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I should blog about my trip to Chicago, but like scenic vacation photos, it's not interesting to those who weren't there. I'll keep it brief. Eating, drinking, shopping and fireworking ensued. Workouts did not. We did not go to the Taste, seeing as the Apple Store on a Saturday is too crowded for me. We did, however, cruise Lake Michigan during the firework celebrations. All in all, an excellent weekend.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Supersize me

The tray is smaller than standard size. I swear.

Tofu, noodle, lettucey goodness.

"I'm eating the other half." That's why I love her. Because I wanted my other half, too.

There's really no comment for this.

My friend Heather and I had lunch at Longboard’s today, a place that epitomizes American-size food servings. Wraps as big as your head and they are oh-so-good. We used to eat there regularly, but traded out for healthier fare a couple years ago. But today was an “I can eat a horse” day. And if horses can be made out of tofu and rice noodles, I did.

My watch battery died so I stopped at a jewelry store to have it replaced. While waiting, I hesitated next to the counter with a Panerai Luminor, my dream watch. The sales lady ever so kindly offered to place it on my wrist. “Run! Abort! Leave now!” My mind screamed. My feet, however, remained planted as I stared longingly at the timepiece I’ve wanted for a decade.

She could negotiate some off the price. They could ship it to save on sales tax. It was so tempting. I thought about it over lunch, even asking several people whether this was a good idea. (My friends, not just random people.) Surprisingly, even my most frugal friend said to go for it.

Back to the store I went. (I still had to pick up my old watch.) The Panerai was waiting on a plush tray. The sales lady was smiling and eager. And I decided….


Ugh. Practicality trumped spontaneity. I heard my friend Judith’s voice in my head, “When you have money in your pocket, you have options.” When I have a Panerai on my wrist, I just have a really amazing watch. I chose options.

On the training front, I’m cramming a full week of workouts into four and half days. Next weekend looks to be more social/less workout as Boyfriend and I head to Chicago. His friend is having a wedding reception on a yacht on Lake Michigan on the 4th. (I like to say yacht. It’s very Thurston Howell III.) Somehow I think there will be delicious beverages involved. I love a good holiday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

In favor of naps

Yesterday was one of those days when intentions are good, but energy is nonexistent. Training schedule said 80 min. bike; body said nap. I napped.

There's a fine line between pushing through minor fatigue and ignoring my body's warning signs. It's only taken me decade to recognize this. And 58 different injuries. My mentality used to be "if some is good, more is better." While I still apply this to cookie-eating, I don't when training. And my normal injuries seem to be staying at bay.

Since yesterday became a rest day, I hoped to awaken this morning with some zest. Despite being only mildly refreshed, Axel and I were at the downtown airport by 5:30A where I knocked out a 25 mile ride and 2.5 mile run. It was a gorgeous morning. While riding loops gets monotonous, watching the sunrise reflect off the skyline never gets old. Sometimes the workout itself is the reward.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thank god for treadmills

When the humidity is so high that a run feels like a swim, it's time to take it inside. Which is what I'll be doing in the next hour. On a treadmill.

Physically exerting yourself in this heat makes no sense. (Unless, it's a job. People gotta make a living.) But running in this? There's no prize for most dehydrated.

That's all I've got today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Racing for booze

I survived my first triathlon in three years. I laughed, I cried, I puked. Kidding. I didn't laugh or cry. However, I did throw up after crossing the finish line. Hate sprints.

The swim was great, the bike was good and the run simply sucked. Out of 125 short course female racers, I was 2nd on the swim, 2nd on the bike and...wait for it... 17th on the run. No big secret what I need to work on. Final placement was 4th overall and 2nd in my age group, though I was awarded first since the overall winner was in my age group. (Love how that works.) Prizes were specially labeled bottles of wine from Les Bourgeios Winery.

Last week I was motivationally deficient. I whined to Boyfriend (and anyone else who would listen) about how I didn't want to race. At all. For the rest of the summer. I was ready to retreat to yoga-world and put Axel (my bike) on Craigslist. But Boyfriend appealed to my frugality, pointing out I'd already paid for the race, so may as well do it. I conceded.

Nothing like spending a morning with sweaty, intense type A's to suck you back into racing. But it did. I'm pleased with my results, but anxious to improve. So looks like Axel has received a stay of execution. Lucky bike.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Setting the bar low

So tomorrow’s my first race in, oh, about three years. I have squelched all expectations. Here are my excuses:

1. My running has been minimal.

2. My bike training has lacked hills.

3. Two nights this week I’ve had cocktails with friends and woken up a mild hungover, one of which is this today.

4. My nutrition has been crap and included way too many gem doughnuts.

5. This is the shortest possible distance I can do and still consider it a race.

6. I’m not familiar with the race course and clearly don’t care enough to go drive it ahead of time.

7. Racing a sprint hurts.

8. I don’t like pain.

9. I’m old.

10. For sprints I like to wear a one-piece swimsuit with a chamois. But they must not make them anymore, because I can’t find one anywhere. Damn it. So I will be chamois-less. Post race should be interesting.

So why am I even racing? I’m not sure. Maybe just to see if I still enjoy it after a three-year layoff. Should know the answer by 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

For the love of all things chocolate

Last night, I lounged in my recliner reading Women’s Health while eating a Heath Bar. Ah, the irony – reading about fitness while fattening my ass.

But it got me thinking about the whole workout/nutrition/body composition situation. One of the biggest reasons I exercise is to eat. And by eat, I mean food I love. Like wedding cake. Or cheese dip. Pizza. A protein shake is not food; it’s a punishment.

I love food, always have. You know those people that say they “forget” to eat? Huh? That’s incomprehensible. I’ve forgotten to bring my lunch to work a couple times, but it wasn’t on purpose. And I still managed to eat. (Popcorn, oatmeal and a Twix make a perfectly fine lunch.)

Even as a kid, I was a huge eater. My dad nicknamed me Horse after I literally made myself sick eating roast beef and mashed potatoes. His comment went something like; “I hope you’re always into sports because you sure eat a lot.”

It stuck. At 37, I’m still a big eater. (According to Boyfriend, the biggest eater he’s ever dated. Awesome.) Fortunately I still work out. An extreme version of this is actually an eating disorder – diligently tracking calories and making sure exercise burns them all off. I’m not this extreme, mostly due to laziness. Tracking calories is tedious.

To be clear, there are many workouts I love just for the activity itself. Swimming. Yoga. Short runs. Saturday morning bike rides. But then there are those 60-minute sessions on the elliptical that are good for nothing more than calorie burn. I would like to make a sweeping statement like “Never again!” regarding this type of workout. But it would be a lie. And if I lie on my blog, it will be on the Internet to haunt me forever.

There’s no tidy way to wrap this up. No behavior will change. I pledge undying love to all candy bars and cheese items. I still plan to workout. But maybe I’ll cut down my elliptical time. Just a couple of minutes.

Monday, June 14, 2010


In honor of my dad’s 73rd birthday, here are some of his finer words of wisdom:

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Yelled to my sisters and I first thing on Saturday mornings.

“Patience is a virtue.” Whatever.

“Jennifer Rebecca….” That meant go to my room. Quickly.

“Sitting in a chair, twirling a whistle and working on your tan is not stressful. Quit complaining.”

“Always ask for extra malt.” When ordering a malt at Baskin Robbins.

“If you don’t find a summer job by Friday, Popeye’s is hiring. I’ll fill out the application for you.”

“You missed a spot.” Yelled at me from the deck when I mowed the lawn.

“Jennifer, you can do many things. But under no circumstances should you major in sociology. You are the most unempathetic person I know.” Good call.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Also a Billy Ocean song.

“Easy Money…” His name for an individual whose name he forgot.

“Nothing good happens after 11:30 p.m.” Which is why this was my curfew until high school graduation.

“There’s a ham sandwich on the table.” My dad believed BBQ healed a broken heart.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Eating - or not eating - animals

I finished Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer this week. A quick read if you find factory farming interesting. Or horrifying. This is the latest attempt to better educate myself about the journey food takes in getting to my stomach.

Gory details aside, Foer lays it out there. You do not want to know how a chicken breast becomes juicy or the actual amount of waste that is produced on a factory farm and what’s done with it. (Maybe a fecal fountain to go with a side of asthma?)

No judgment is being passed, since I have eaten meat in the past month. The occasions are few, but it’s easy to fall back to the “I eat it because it tastes good” mentality. Or when my dad grills steak because he still thinks it’s my favorite meal. (I loved steak so much as a kid I would eat the leftover fat.) Clearly my convictions are not stronger that the desire to please my father.

My journey to vegetarianism is obviously not complete, but is getting close. The more I learn the less meat I eat. It’s becoming harder to ignore the terrible treatment of the animals, appalling factory working conditions, massive environmental effects and resulting health issues. (Read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.)

But not everyone wants to know. It’s easier to stick fingers in one’s ears and sing la-la-la. (My dad did this when my sisters and I discussed the movie Food, Inc.) At 73, no way is he giving up pork products.

So I’m on a farewell to meat tour, which should wrap up by 2011. On the schedule: filet at Capital Grille, Kobe burger at Blanc, Paco shrimp at JJ’s, chicken at Stroud’s and maybe even a few Taco Bell Tacos. (I’ve been told their meat comes in boxes stamped “Grade D Edible,” but maybe that’s a myth.) And I’ll wrap the whole thing up with bacon ice cream.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I love Russell Brand, even in skinny jeans

Training is about a B- right now. Running has been minimal due to some calf issues. I blame the feet shoes.

Boyfriend and I saw Get Him to the Greek last night and found it surprisingly good. (Unlike Hot Tub Time Machine, which we had high hopes for and was only ho-hum.) Laughed to the point of tears several times. Russell Brand can actually act and P Diddy is hilarious. If you like Superbad type humor, you will like this. I ranked it above The Hangover, though Boyfriend didn’t quite agree with that assessment.

Followed movie with a scoop of chocolate-peanut butter from Baskin-Robbins. Perfect summer night.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Weekend Highlights

1. If you have a temporary crown, do not eat Milk Duds. If you ignore this, know that Fixodent may be required to reattach the crown to your now nubbin tooth.

2. The Sunflower Bike Shop in Lawrence is fantastic. Their people are helpful, but don’t hover. I will not specifically call out any Kansas City bike shops, but several could learn tips about customer service from Sunflower.

3. My old tri shoes were starting to mildew, so I bought a new pair. They remind me of the shoes Uncle Eddie gave to Clark in the movie Vacation.

4. A new helmet was also purchased. My old helmet was involved in an altercation involving a “Road Closed” sign. (Yes, my head was in it at the time.) I used it for three more years, not realizing helmets are good for one collision only.

5. If a restaurant is good enough, I have no problem eating there two days in a row, as was the case with Esquina in Lawrence. The tofu tacos are especially good.

6. While I like the concept of open water swims, I am squeamish about things touching me while in the water. Twenty of us showed up to swim 3,000 meters around the perimeter of Weatherby Lake yesterday. Problem is, the perimeter is where all the lake crap (seaweed, lakeweed, whatever) is floating. Love the people, love the lake, but do not love having tentacle-like vegetation brushing against my face.

7. Do not leave cupcakes with buttercream frosting unattended in your car when it’s 80 degrees out. That’s a no-brainer, but I’m a slow learner.

8. When riding yesterday on an unfamiliar bike path, I see a sign showing a bicycle on a steep descent. So I ride my brakes and proceed slowly down the hill. To a large creek. So while someone thought to alert riders to steep and technical, they didn’t think the fact the path ended in a waterway was important. Huh.

9. Boyfriend and I met some friends Sunday for a bike ride. It was going to be Sundae’s debut. (Sundae is a mountain bike that Boyfriend built for me out of his bicycle graveyard.) It took me .38 miles to break the chain. I felt awful because, well, I broke it. He felt bad because the chain was defective. Clearly, we're newly dating since we both assumed responsibility. If this had happened a year in, the conversation would’ve been much different.

10. Finally, we watched a show last night on KCPT about international cemeteries where U.S. vets are buried. It was touching, sad and beautiful. But mostly, it was a nice way to remind me of what the holiday is about.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Typos, pool etiquette and why guys should have short hair.

As I was looking over past blog entries, I realized there was a “per” where there should be a “pro.” (As in prospective.) Argh. It has been corrected. How I can consider myself a writer and constantly misuse and make up words makes no sense. (Or since.) However, if you do it with enough confidence, most people won’t question you – at least not to your face.

My favorite time of year is here – outdoor pool time. The dome came off at Roeland Park last week and practices have a whole new feel. Part of it is the switch from yards to meters, which doesn’t seem like much, but my triceps beg to differ. Especially when swimming long course meters, like last Saturday. As I stared at the black line below me, one thought repeated itself. Where. Is. The. Freaking. Wall.

Saturday also included a confrontation with a grumpy old man in my lane. I’ll spare you the details, but all you need to know is that I was right. What I was the most proud of was when he said I should move to a faster lane, I swam right past him. Yep. Made my point. Who was he to tell me to move? Why couldn’t he move to the slower lane?

And then reality hit me. I will never be an Olympic swimmer, so was this really that important? After the set I moved to a lane by myself to finish the workout. But I stood my ground for the main set, proving that I refuse to miss my interval. Take that, Mr. Grouch.

Remember when I mentioned there’s not much excitement in my life to blog about? Now you understand.

Oh wait. I do have one funny story that is non-triathlon related. Last week, Boyfriend and I went to Lulu’s for dinner. We were eyeing the entrĂ©es of the people in the next booth, one of who’s back was to us. So I asked the waitress what she had ordered. And the waitress pointed to the girl facing me. And I say, “No – her” indicating the girl who was facing away.

Except it wasn’t a girl; it was a dude. With long, flowing hair. The waitress did her best to cover, but I was loud and rather insistent. Sadly, I didn’t realize my mistake until 30 minutes later when I gasped to Boyfriend, “Holy smokes, that’s not a girl!” He smiles. “You knew that was a guy?” I ask. “Yeah, but I didn’t want to make you feel bad,” he responded. Perfect response, since I felt like a complete idiot.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Picture Says It All

The first whole week of training is on the books. Totals ended up being:

Swim: 3:45 hrs. (11,700 yds)

Bike: 3:20 hrs.

Run: 2:20 hrs.

Weights: 1:30 hrs.

Yardwork: 2 hrs. (Okay, that doesn’t count. Just so proud I finally did it, wanted it recorded somewhere.)

I’m tired. My calves are sore. My back is sunburned. A new callous is forming on my foot. Basically, I’m a pig in shit.

While these numbers aren’t anything exceptional, the difference between training with purpose and exercising is wider than I remember. Case and point – a speed workout at the track yesterday. The word “lumber” comes to mind. Trying to sprint 200s left me holding my knees and gasping, trying not to puke in front of the young football players. Transitioning from endurance to speed will be harder than originally thought.

I’m also eating everything but my shoes. Stale crackers? No problem. Ice cream with a protective ice cap? Just dig underneath. It’s edible. I’m trying to make healthy choices, but 30 percent of the time it’s whatever’s closest to the front of the fridge.

And finally, I will admit what I’ve been avoiding. I bought a pair of feet shoes. They are the ugliest things ever put on my feet. A decade of bad knees drove me to this choice. It’s part of the barefoot running craze. I made it .9 miles (you read that right, not even a mile) before screaming calves forced me to halt. But my legs and knees felt remarkably good. So it will be a slow conversion, partially due to pain, mostly due to vanity.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Do I Know You?

In my effort to blog more consistently, a new problem has developed. That being, my life is not all that interesting for daily updates.

When blogging every three months, that was plenty of time to gather a funny or interesting perspective and share it with my three readers. But the pressure of providing something funny everyday? I’m just not that good. Therefore, entries will be more a running commentary on everyday occurrences. Riveting, I know.

So as I lament personal details of my life across the interwebs (nod to you, BF), yesterday was the first time I wished for the pre-Facebook, myspace, google-a-prospective-date days.

Last night, I met Boyfriend and company at a midtown bar. Upon joining them, the server came by to take my order. After making eye contact, I realized we had gone to high school together and though not close friends, had run in the same crowd. Sally (not her name, but pseudonyms are cool) and I did the double take and half hug that often follow not seeing someone in 19 years.

Her first comment was that she wouldn’t have recognized me except I looked just like my Facebook picture. And the same was true for her. Except I knew that her daughter was graduating high school this weekend and had been a cheerleader. I knew she still lived north of the river and various other details that were previously only known by friends that actually kept in touch. And she could know equally as many details of my life.

So there’s the weirdness. I encounter someone not seen in two decades, but still know her life details. Are we out of touch or not? Are we friends or merely voyeurs living an actual “I Know What You Did Last Summer?” And last Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And even two weeks ago Thursday.

My second experience was at lunch yesterday. As I ordered at the deli counter, I noticed a girl standing by me who is the now girlfriend of my old high school boyfriend. Not that I know her; I’ve seen her on his FB page. But the fact I recognize her just supports my theory that all women are slightly interested in what the ex’s current significant other looks like. Doesn’t matter how long ago it was.

But the disconcerting part is she whispered something to her friend who then said “The one right behind me?” Which was I. Maybe I’m just paranoid. Scratch that. I’m definitely paranoid. But was she referring to me as HSBF’s old girlfriend? Maybe. Maybe not. Doubtful I’ll ever know.

But I do know one thing – I miss a little anonymity.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tri Toys

Half the reason for racing triathlons is the gear you have to buy. (The exception being lycra shorts.) Dri-fit, polarized, carbon, compression items that you absolutely can’t live without and are never on sale.

I’m a sucker for the toys. Especially when starting out in the sport a decade ago. Computrainer? Check. Treadmill? Check. Powercranks? Don’t ask. But check.

My Softride Rocket TT (bought when I got a lottery entry to Hawaii) was an especially indulgent purchase in 2001, mostly because I was far too slow to deserve such a pricey bike. But also because beam bikes were a short-lived trend that soon went the way of 650 wheels. It had 650s, too – double whammy. Live and learn and then get a Felt B2. It hides the shame.

Because I’m fairly set as far as gear goes, not much needed to be purchased for this season – hurrah! One exception was a Garmin. Last night was my first run with the 110, a smaller, lower-tech model with heart rate monitor. It was freaking fantastic. How did I go so long without one? I checked the thing so often I’m amazed I didn’t face plant. Its name is Gigi.

On a sad technology note, my Ipod Shuffle has disappeared. Hopefully not stolen, as who would want all my bad 80s music? Not sure how long I can hold out with no music while running. Maybe an excuse to get a new one. See? More gear.

My workouts have been good this week. Of course, it’s only Wednesday. There’s still plenty of time to oversleep and miss a few.

Weekly stats through today:

Weights: 1 hr.

Swim: 2:30/7,900 yds

Run: :30

Bike: zilch

Monday, May 17, 2010

New coach

I’m not talking about the purse. Though I could have bought a nice one with the money I spent. Instead I hired one. Because holding myself accountable only to me is not working, so now Coach K bears the burden.

Maybe you think the tide has turned and I’m doing Wisconsin. But, alas, that is not the case, because at the age of 37 I’ve come to accept reality. And that reality is I suck at long distance. It only took a decade to figure that out.

Instead the focus will be on short-course, which is far less sexy than an Ironman. But I’m okay with that. Ironman is like the burn-your-face-off hot wings. They both involve a fair amount of discomfort, looks of disbelief from others and both result in a pain in the ass the next day.

Don’t misunderstand. Finishing an Ironman is amazing and the closest most people will come to feeling like a rock star. It’s the icing on the cake after months of training and perpetually sore hamstrings. I have the highest respect for triathletes that race IM year after year.

But it’s not for me. At least not this year.

So I’ve set my sights on qualifying for USAT Nationals in September. It’s an Olympic distance, which is my favorite. Long enough to reward myself with Nutella, short enough to be mobile the next day. A win-win.

I’m excited to work with Coach K. My training plan for the first week arrived today and it looks promising. No workouts longer than 1.5 hours. Excellent. And it came with free swag. I'm a sucker for swag.

So now I can actually start blogging about what my screen name references. Try to contain your excitement.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Freakin' Flowers

I have a love/hate relationship with my yard. While I love owning a little piece of the planet, I hate maintaining it. And let’s be honest, Citimortgage owns the majority of my yard. But they don’t offer to help, so it falls to me.

Last night was the first adventure in landscaping for 2010. While I rake leaves year-round (damn oak tree), my neighbors are ahead of me in the pretty-it-up phase. Fortunately the previous owner had no problem getting her hands dirty and planting all sorts of things that need constant attention. Including daffodils.

I love daffodils. When they’re in bloom. Afterwards they look sloppy all bent over and covering the walkway. So in my OCD-ness, I fold them into thirds and tie twine around them. It looks much neater that way. And also strange, judging from the looks the neighbors gave me.

Then I started trimming up all the shrubs, annuals and bushes that are already starting to look jungle-like. FYI – if you’ve never had the pleasure of trimming hedges, it is hard. Last year my landscaping ended up scalped in my overzealousness. Like over-plucking eyebrows, once you get going it’s hard to stop.

Next up are flowers – the only part of yard work I actually enjoy. So I pulled the pots out of the garage and placed them strategically around the front yard and porch. No pots are in the back yard because no one would see them and since I’m all about appearances, that would be a waste of time.

Then I went inside and made a frozen pizza because tying 200 daffodils is tiring and the Lowe’s nursery will be open tonight, too.

And yes, I’m counting this as a workout.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Summer of Imposition

Blah, blah, blah, it’s been a long time, blah, blah. I know. This is why I don’t own plants. My maintenance is subpar.

The desire to race Wisconsin has waned. Instead, sleeping in and brunching is far more attractive. Maybe I will race some shorter distance stuff. Maybe not. That is the joy of indecision.

Instead, Boyfriend and myself have coined this summer “The Summer of Imposition.” If friends or even acquaintances own any of the following, we will be calling: lake house, beach house, boat, extra room anywhere in Colorado, Chicago or extra tickets to Chelsea Handler.

This past weekend, however, there was no imposing. I continued on the Meet the Friends Tour (last week was Meet the Family) with an outing to Lawrence on Friday. I forget how much I enjoy Lawrence. And the company was great. Such a relief that I sincerely like Boyfriend’s friends and didn’t have to small talk my way through the night.

Brunch yesterday at 180 in Westport. Excellent food. My proclivity towards brunch originated with a love of breakfast food combined with being allowed to eat twice as much since it’s two meals. Heaven.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Meditation, Mantras and Road Rage

As part of a feeble New Year’s resolution effort, I have tried to incorporate meditation into my routine. This has not been a roaring success.

Meditation is the effort to quiet one’s mind and possibly find peace and clarity. For me it goes something like this: Sit quietly cross-legged on the floor, usually in my living room facing the window. Close my eyes, hands resting on my knees with the palms up – a receiving position, according to my instructor. (Let’s face it, I’ll take any help thrown my way.)

Then I attempt to clear my mind. This last about 2.8 seconds. Breathe. Calm. Closed eyes. My forehead itches. Can I scratch it? Wow, it’s light out. Better open my eyes, Geez, that tree still has a lot of leaves. I’m gonna be raking forever. Do I have time this weekend? What am I doing this weekend? Grocery store? What do I need to buy there? And on it goes until I realize this would be way more effective if I just made a list. Meditation time is officially over.

Okay. Clearly I need to focus. Maybe a mantra would help. But I had to steal one from a magazine. Apparently repeating, “Don’t hit the jaywalker, don’t hit the jaywalker….” is not appropriate. (My road rage is legendary among friends.) So this is what I picked, primarily because it rhymes and has the cadence of a limerick.

"May I feel protected and safe.

May I feel contented and pleased.

May my physical body support me.

May my life unfold smoothly with ease."

I’m up to 12 seconds. Success.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baby Steps

I often attempt sweeping changes, failing nearly every time. Like when I became a vegan. That lasted until I went to Sullivan’s and ordered a filet. Medium. With wasabi mashed potatoes. Another was daily morning meditation. My alarm is already set for 5:15 a.m. After two days I decided my quiet intention time could take place between snooze alarms. There went meditation.

So instead of making another broad January resolution, I decided to try smaller incremental changes. One change a week to shake me out of my comfort zone and maybe even improve some small facet of my routine-following life.

In this spirit, I swam with the Blazers Masters Team this morning. This may not sound like much, but the majority of these people are really fast. And instead of being a big fish in a small pond, I’m a minnow in the Atlantic. The workouts make me want to scurry back to my old pool where I can do a lazy set by myself.

On the coaching front, I worked my first meet last weekend. Being a lousy split taker, it was stressful. But talking to swimmers after their races was awesome and seeing their improvement even more so.

Last week’s training hours were lackluster. Swim (30 min.), bike (2:20), run (2 hrs.) and yoga (2 hrs.) Yikes. This week will be better, if for no other reason than girl scout cookies were delivered and I’ve already downed one sleeve of thin mints. Good thing I don’t track calories.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I’d like to coin this phrase, but no doubt someone’s beat me to it. However, it’s been more prevalent in my vocabulary lately. Somehow it seems kinder to say someone suffers from “dumb-assness” verses just calling him or her a dumb-ass. Like it’s beyond their control that they do completely stupid things. There are several great examples I’d like to share, but am afraid one of my two readers may know of whom I speak and that would be bad.

Onto even less interesting news…training for IM-Wisconsin has officially begun. Yeehaw. Last week saw totals of: 3:20 hrs. on the bike trainer, 2:15 hrs. on the treadmill, 10,500 yards in the pool and 2 hours of yoga. Throw in a couple nights coaching the Blazers swim kiddos, and my permanent scent has a strong chlorine base to it.

Speaking of coaching tonight is one of the two nights per week I get to shape young swimmers into the great athletes they aspire to be. Okay, that’s a lie. I’m the coach that has resorted to prizes purchased at the Dollar Store to get the little buggers to complete a set. It’s amazing how hard they’ll work for a key chain. The exchange goes something like this:

Me: Okay, guys. We’re going to do a set of four 50’s free.

Kids continue to bob around in the water completely disregarding me.

Me: Guys. What did I just say? What set are we doing?

Kids stare blankly at me through their bug-eyed goggles.

Me: Okay. Whoever can swim the four 50’s with the best form and a PROPER flip turn gets whatever prize I’m holding behind my back.

Kids (simultaneously): Oh, pick me! I can do awesome flip turns! I never win anything! I really want the prize!!!! Pick me!!!

50’s are completed and Tyler is declared the winner. There is much ceremony to getting out of the pool and him picking which of my hands contains the prize he wants. And what does his hard work earn him? A Bic pen. I’m the worst coach ever.