Thanks Fred

So this past week was pretty routine. A job workshop, phone calls with recruiters and researching on-line. I listened to a couple of lectures and finished a good book. I played in my first official Ultimate Frisbee game, as I had networking events during the first two games and I planned a short excursion for the weekend.

Friday was a swim day for my triathlon training, which is going moderately well. My swim practice so far is going very slow, taking lots of breaks and trying to get the technique down. Needless to say, I suck at swimming. I can doggie paddle like no other and have no problem staying afloat – but moving forward efficiently is a problem. I know WHAT to do, it’s just hard to ACTUALLY do it. So Friday, I was going slowly, thinking, “legs straight, head down, breath early, long arms” when another guy walks into the pool area. This is the first time someone’s come into the pool area, so I told him I was going very slowly so I’d just stick to the left and he could have the right side. It’s a lap pool, so there isn’t a whole lot of space. Needless to say, as awkward as being the only two people in the pool area was, we struck up a conversation. He was an American too, so we exchanged the pleasantries on the election and got to talking about triathlons and swimming. From what I understood, he is doing a three day trek up the mountain used as Mount Doom in LotR. Pretty cool. And, as luck would have it, he was a lifeguard and has done a bunch a triathlons before. He gave me some awesome tips for practicing and for race day. For instance, he suggested I practice occasionally using the frog leg kick, which is a great way to sprint ahead of someone during the open water swim, as well as a good way to get folks to clear away from you as they will want to avoid being kicked in the face. He said I definitely need to practice my arm position more, which I knew, but he went on to give me an exercise where you face the wall and practice the swim stroke with about 5 inches between you and the wall. It’s harder in the water, but it helps to know where your hands should be. One of his best suggestions was to swim in a figure 8 when no one else was in the pool. I could practice turning (great for race day) and I can also swim continuously, which is great since I have not been able to efficiently kick off the wall. I used to be able to do it in high school, but haven’t tried nor thought I would ever need to since then! So, all in all, I wanted to thank Fred for some great advice! I feel a lot better about moving forward with the swim portion of the triathlon.

Once or twice a week I swap the training I’m supposed to do for some Frisbee or a long hike. On Thursday I played ultimate. The girls on the other team were FAST! They could sprint so fast it was easy to get discouraged, but I just did my best. It’s just a social game anyways. It was fun to hang out with friends and play a bit competitively. We lost, 9-5, but it could have been significantly worse. Afterwards I went for a short run, just to make sure I wasn’t copping out with the sprinting in the game and then we watched our team captain play in an advanced level league. It was pretty crazy, those guys were fantastic! They wrapped up just as it started to rain.

On Saturday, which was supposed to be a bike day, Andrew and I headed to Rangitoto with some friends. A five hour hike felt like a good replacement for a practice on the indoor bike machine. Besides, both old bikes in the gym are stuck on the highest resistance. Which might be fine if  I was just working out, but I suspect that it’s not the best approach to training since I’m pretty sure the triathlon is pretty flat.

Two weeks into training and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m excited to continue to work out and get in shape. I haven’t felt this good in years! And to top everything off, I am happy that Andrew and I are hanging out with some friends from where Andrew works. On Friday, Andrew spoke with a co-worker from Mexico and found the most authentic Mexican restaurant in the area. We went with some friends from Oktobor and had some fantastic totopos with guacamole and salsa and some pretty darn good tacos at Jalapenos. Not the best Mexican food ever, but it wasn’t all bad either. Afterwards, we went for ice cream. One of our favorite ice cream places in Auckland puts toppings on the ice cream according to the flavor you get. One of the guys in our group got strawberry shortcake, below, but I prefer the tiramisu ice cream, mmmmm.