Thursday, August 18, 2016

Odds & Ends: Last Day Before Vacation

Today marks my last work day before we start next week’s vacation, and I am super excited.  We don’t have much in the way of specific plans, and for once, we’re not going away.  Nonetheless, I can’t wait for a little time off.
Don’t get me wrong.  2016 has been a pretty good year.  We joined the Housatonic Boat Club, the oldest yacht club in the state of Connecticut, and got our kids enrolled in sailing and ballet and ever more gymnastics.  They both also did very well in school.  All that stuff is great.  But it keeps us hopping, and for as much as I enjoy the club, reality all summer has kept us away more often than we’d have liked.  It’s been hot these last few weeks as well, and we’ve had a bit more excitement at times around my office than I’d prefer.  

Bottom line, I can use the break.
Hoping to swim some this week.  I feel better in the water since deciding to try to come back and put down a 500 free in under 5:39, the cut time for Master's Nationals.  However, so far all I’ve seen is better stroke mechanics, endurance, and easier overall swimming in general.  I’m definitely NOT faster.  I am as yet nowhere near my goal pace, and last night’s workout was a prime example.

2 x 200 free @ 3:10
Main Set #1
3 x 500 pull @ 7:00
200 kick
100 easy/drill
Main Set #2
2 x 200 IM @ 3:30 (tempo)
100 easy cool-down
That stuff was all fine, but though I felt comfortable, I struggled to keep the pace through the 500s.  Meanwhile, the IM sets turned out to be brutally tough.  I wasn’t swimming fast so much as I was trying to work the turns and pull-outs, and even then, I just didn’t have the kind of lung power that my muscle memory keeps expecting to be there.
I’m sure I’ll get there eventually, and indeed, I take some comfort in feeling better in the water overall.  However, I also feel like people sometimes read this blog or follow our social media presence and get the wrong idea.  Sally and I have a lot of fun, it’s true, but we also work very hard, sometimes to little effect.  
That’s how I feel in the water right now.  I’m sure speed will return--on a relative basis, at least--eventually.  Right now, training feels like a tough slog.

Hell, all of life kind of feels like that.
One thing we’re doing this week is the Bridgeport Bluefish “Homers for Heroes” event.  Saturday night’s game has become a summer social event for the West Point Society of Connecticut, among others, with Sikorsky sponsoring and all proceeds going to various veterans’ charities.  My beloved Bluefish have been in and out of the basement in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball’s Liberty Division, but they’ve played much better in the second half of the season, and I’ll admit to holding out more than a passing bit of irrational hope that they can somehow stay hot long enough to sneak into the playoffs.
It doesn’t look likely, honestly.

Anyway, the ‘Fish won last night, and hopefully they’ll win Saturday as well.
One of the biggest regrets I have from my Academy days is not finding a way to play water polo during swimming’s offseason.  I went out for the team for exactly one day, but when the swim coach found out, he was not happy.  And look, I get that I was recruited to swim, that I’m a better swimmer, and that swimming therefore had to take priority.  I still think that I could have found an accommodation if I’d fought for one.  I regret not doing that.
In fairness, playing pole would have precluded playing intramurals in my last two years.  Those ended up being worthwhile as well, so maybe it was for the best.  Still, I’d have been beyond happy for an excuse to miss even more drill.
Alas, the nearest master’s team is all the way in Stamford.  I got on their mailing list for awhile, but in six months, I never actually made it out to play.  I do not think I ever will.
Anyway, the gold medal game is Friday at 2:30 pm.  Hopefully, I get a chance to watch it.

Oh good.  That ought to calm things down immediately.

If you're wondering, I finished the first draft of my memoir late last week.  It came in at just under 75,000 words.  That feels about right, but I need to re-look how much time I spent on some of the early stuff.  It's really a story in two parts--my swimming career and then rediscovering athletics after my dad died.  I've no idea how folks are going to react to that combination, but I guess we'll see.

In the meantime, I started rewriting some old short stories, perhaps for the long-awaited would be anthology project "Tales from Danno's Lair".  I spent some time on "Drakar and the Order of the Blackened Glaive" this week and will probably tackle "Centurion Six" next.  After that, I need to finish a couple of stories and maybe even wind up "The Return of Dr. Necropolis," though even thinking that makes me feel beyond tired.  I planned that project to run WAY too long.

I could use a couple of test readers, if you're interested.  "Drakar" is ready right now, and I expect the re-written "Centurion Six" will be done before football season starts.  If you've got some time, and you've always wanted to know what my fiction looks like after it's had a modicum of editing and rewriting, now's your chance.

I think I’m done here.  Have a nice day.

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