Tag Archives: Swimming

Lesson: Sometimes multitasking makes you look crazy.

7 Sep

Having seen a number of photos of myself lately in which I look like Trudi from Facts of Life, I’ve decided it’s time to get back in some semblance of shape.

Oh, I’m generally pretty active (I walk between 20-25 miles and hit yoga 3-4 times per week), but I eat like crap. There’s just too much food that I enjoy, so rather than diet, my solution has always been to compensate with activity.

Except recently, I haven’t. I’ve been on the road for work (with more of the same in the near future), and I’ve been content skipping the hotel gyms and leaving my sneakers at home. Hence why you might call me Trudi.

So yesterday I went to the lap pool for the first time since the beginning of summer. In addition to burning calories, I find swimming therapeutic. It’s a good way to clear my brain when I’m feeling like I’ve lost the battle for work/life balance.

The problem with being an awesome multitasker, however, is that even as I swam my therapeutic laps, I was planning my to-do list and mentally preparing for conference calls. Not exactly “clearing my brain.”

Recognizing that my default setting is ACTIVE, I decided to channel my multitasking urge toward meditation, since I’ve been meaning to try that anyway. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m not good at sitting still and meditating. But there are moving meditations where you meditate on a specific mantra while you’re doing something. That struck me as more my speed.

So as I swam freestyle down the length of the pool, I thought, “I’m balanced. I’m balanced. I’m balanced.” And on my return length of breaststroke, I thought, “I’m grateful. I’m grateful. I’m grateful.” (There is no correlation between the stroke and the mantra, for the record.)

The first challenge with this plan was finding a way to continue counting my laps. I usually do a mile, which is 70 laps. I keep track by repeating the number of the lap I’m on the entire time I’m swimming it.

So this turned my thought pattern into, “Four. Four. I’m balanced. Four. I’m balanced. Four. Four. I’m balanced…”

And then I decided that swimming laps and chanting “I’m balanced!” with numbers spliced into the mix sounded less like meditation and more like a crazy person trying to convince herself that she’s sane.

Which is probably somewhat accurate, since I’m pretty sure the point of meditation is to have a sole focus, NOT accomplish it while doing something else. Which probably means I’m not cut out for meditation. Which then led me to think about what a crazy swimmer would actually look like. And I decided it would look like THIS.

Which is exactly how I plan to swim all my laps in the future. Multi-tasking at its finest.

[LATER: Alan just pointed out that the fat character in Facts of Life was actually Natalie. And that there isn’t even a character named Trudi. It was Tootie. Because she had gas? Apparently the real moral of this post is this: Kids who are only allowed 30 minutes of television — PBS at that — each day, grow up lacking cultural reference points. No wonder I can’t focus. Television didn’t numb my brain. THANK YOU, Mom and Dad. Even if I don’t know Tootie from Natalie from Fruit Loops. Whatever.] 

There’s a moral to this story: Better a crab than an ass.

22 Jul

It’s been hotter than a warlock’s balls this week, and the forecast tells us Saturday will be even worse: 103 without the heat index (120 with it!). Know what that means? I’ll spend a fair portion of the weekend standing in Alan’s pool, reading a book.

Yes, you heard me right. I’ll be standing in the water reading a book. Kind of like how hippos stay in the water with only their eyes and nostrils out when it’s really hot.

The thing is, I’m not the only person that does this. MULTIPLE people who live in Alan’s community do the same thing — in fact, I learned this trick from them. Somehow, it has become “normal” to me in the past year, and I didn’t think anything of it, until Margaret came out the other weekend. (Remember Margaret? The Red Baron?)

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This is how you end up walking on your hands.

11 Jul

Do you remember in Peanuts how sometimes Snoopy would get super enthusiastic and end up looking like a show-off? No? Well, here’s a refresher:

Why is this on my mind? Because this weekend at the pool my friend Margaret  pulled a Snoopy.

It was incredibly hot, so we spent a fair amount of time in the water. Near the end of the day there was a group of four women standing around in the shallow end talking. Margaret and I jumped in and she challenged me to race a lap.

As we clung to the wall post-race, catching our breath, one of the girls from the group attempted a few strokes of butterfly. She clearly wasn’t strong enough to pull it off, so it petered out pretty quickly. But not quickly enough that Margaret didn’t see it.

Next thing I knew, Margaret was on her way toward the deep-end, swimming a powerful butterfly past the girls, clearly showing up the chick who had just sunk. (In her defense, Margaret was just curious to know if she could manage a whole lap, not overtly trying to be competitive.) In any case, it struck my funny bone, and by the time she reached the other end, I was snorting with laughter.

“What?” she called from the deep end. I shook my head.

About this time one of the girls tells her friends, “My stroke was always backstroke…”

And lo and behold, here comes Margaret, heading past them via backstroke, arms cranking like a windmill.

© Charles M. Schultz

I’m clutching my stomach by the time she pulls up next to me. Fortunately, instead of completing the triple-play by starting a lap of breaststroke, Margaret proposes a handstand contest.

And that’s how I found myself upside-down, holding my breath and acting like I was twelve again. I think I have a new nickname for Margaret: The Red Baron.

Not that it’s a bad thing.

Any “Modern Family” Fans in the House?

31 May

In the true spirit of the Inaugural weekend of summer, I kicked off Memorial Day weekend with a book in hand, relaxing next to Alan’s pool. Despite the temperature pushing 90, there were only a handful of people there with me.

Fortunately, the only gay couple there bore a striking resemblance to Cameron & Mitchell from Modern Family, so in addition to cooling off and relaxing, I was able to blur my eyes and imagine I was chilling at a private party in LA instead of a community pool in the suburbs of DC. Because these are the places my mind goes.

Shortly after claiming two deck chairs, they both reclined. The heavier of the two (whom I was mentally calling “Cam”) draped a towel across his eyes, as if he were at a spa. (Apparently I wasn’t the only person imagining myself elsewhere.) “Mitchell” pulled out his phone and was preparing to dial when — all of a sudden — PPBBBBFFFFTTT!

A rather noisy fart broadcast from Cam’s suit. I knew it was Cam because: a) there weren’t really any other people in the vicinity from which the noise emanated; and b) Mitchell just started shaking his head from side to side, eyes closed.

“No. You. Didn’t,” he finally mustered.

“Oh. Yes. I. Did,” Cam replied.

Rather than even ask for an explanation or lecture him about being foul, Mitchell just kept shaking his head in silence, as if resigned to it.

Watching this whole exchange over the top of my book, I was amazed with the nonchalance. It kind of reminded me of when my sister tore up a stall at the YMCA with really bad gas, then made eye contact with the other guests and — by way of explanation — said, “Didn’t want to do that on the bike.”

Screw it. If other people aren’t going to get embarrassed, then neither am I. So I pulled out my camera and took their photo. I was practically inviting them to call me on it:

Probably not a great celebrity look-alike if it means you have to cover your face with a towel.


Warning: Men might want to skip this one.

25 Jan
WARNING: Today’s post is brought to you by the Flashback Machine and True Stories of Teenage Girls. If you are a man, hate embarrassing stories, or don’t care to take a trip down memory lane, then you might want to skip this one.

Wow. That didn’t throw you? Good. Because I’m pretty sure my third paragraph will.

I swam a mile before work yesterday at one of DC’s public pools. A local high school swim team was there practicing as well, which always brings back fond memories of my own high school days… even though I was a diver an couldn’t be PAID to swim laps at that point in life. (Probably because of my preternaturally high metabolism.) I digress.

So what is memorable about yesterday’s swim is this: the bloody footprints leading into (and around) the locker room.

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