Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eagle, swim, snow.

Several times in the past few days people have stopped out in front of our house, gotten out of their cars, and taken photos. It looked like they were either taking shots of our boat docks or the buoys out in the river.... but why? Bill finally walked out to talk to one of them yesterday and we both saw the reason for their interest--a bald eagle is hanging around right in front of our house! I saw it yesterday and again today. No photos though. Not yet anyway. Perhaps it will nest in one of our big trees? I don't know their habits. Here is a photo of the snow, alas no eagle.

What do cyclists do in the winter? It depends. If you live in Florida like my friend Dianne, you ride your bike all year. If you live in Michigan (or other northern states) you find something else to do. For me it is weight training, spinning, some running, and swimming, lots of swimming. It is the season to improve swimming techniques and times, especially for those of us who plan to do triathlons later in the year.

My swim team competed at a local meet on Sunday and we did extremely well... I swam in two relays, taking first in both. This was a meter pool (not yards) so our relay age was the combined total age of the 4 people in the group. We were around age 200 in my group, but there was one foursome whose age was 360! Yup, they averaged 90 years old! I spent some time talking with a 92 year old woman who was part of that group--she was a lot of fun, very lively and interesting. She swam several individual events too. What a role model for us youngsters still in our 50s!

I was satisfied with my times in the individual events, finishing well ahead of my seed time in all three. I took first in the 50 meter freestyle, and went on to set a PR in the 50 yard freestyle at practice the next day. Translation: I am getting faster! I took second in my age group in the 100 meter breast stroke and the 100 meter IM--the person in my age group who took first in the IM beat me by 0.29 seconds, yes, that's less than half a second!

My team also did the Postal Meet--a national swim meet swum on the local level. I don't have place results yet, but I swam 50 yards farther than I did last year in the one hour allotted for the swim. Teams all over the country swim for a strict one hour time, with a timer logging all the lap times. Teams then send in their results by US Mail (thus the name Postal Meet) and the results are posted later in the spring. Last year I swam 2,775 yards in the hour; this year's total was 2,825 yards (1.6 miles).

I am busy planning trips for this year and next. In a few weeks I'll be going to Curacao with my bike and a bag full of swim gear for a 10 day training exercise (that includes a lot of eating and drinking). We will have the Russian swim coaches again, and two bike coaches. All that training ought to put me in good shape for the first big event of the year: St. Anthony's Triathlon in Florida April 25. I'll fly down to Tampa a week ahead of the event to get used to the weather and to ride my bike and play Scrabble with Dianne, at whose home I will be staying for 12 days.

There are 2 duathlons in my area in May, so of course I entered both! Then a triathlon in Monroe in June. I have not yet decided which distance to do: sprint or half-iron. My results at St. Anthony's will make it clear to me which one I should do.

Middle of June I fly out to Seattle with Dianne and we'll be riding our bikes from there to Fargo.
I'll be home the third week in July, in time to get ready to kayak down the Mississippi River with Bill and many others the first week in August. After that we'll be hauling the sailboat up to the North Channel in Lake Huron for some sailing adventures.

Middle of September Dianne and I will meet up in Eugene, OR to ride our bikes from there to San Francisco, where I hope to meet up with Barbara (my roommate from the Cross Country trip).

Life is good! Very busy, but good. We've already started planning for 2011...

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