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This year, I want to slim back down to where I was in 2012…

February 19, 2015, 3:28 AM

While I was between jobs, I put on a bit of weight, most likely due to reduced activity due to my being out of work, and out of a routine.  My current job, where I operate a bus, is not exactly conducive to physical activity, considering that I sit strapped to a seat for nine hours a day.  Pushing pedals and turning steering wheels does not count as physical activity, though I was getting nighttime leg cramps from it for a while. I also was a bit lazy when it came to exercise once I finished training and got my own assignment.  I work late afternoon into the wee hours of the morning, and initially would tend to sleep in a bit.  The only exercise I got was just under two miles on Sundays, going to and from a street relief that was just a shade under a mile away from the bus garage.  I also now drive to work in my car, which means that I don’t get any activity related to my own commute.

However, now that the bus has finally become routine and I’m really starting to get the hang of things (and – heaven forbid – having fun at work), I can start getting serious about fitness again.  After all, one of my more recent splash photos shows me looking like this:

The October 2014 splash photo, taken on July 5, 2014

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Acceptance testing on a waterproof camera enclosure…

July 5, 2014, 9:33 PM

First of all, I had fun at the Outer Banks.  I’m going to leave it at that for now, though, because the whole trip is going to become a photo set for Life and Times, and so it’s going to come out, but the “extended Journal entry” treatment in Life and Times is what will do it the most justice.

That said, in preparation for the trip, I bought a waterproof camera enclosure, with the intention of taking photos in the water.  The idea behind the waterproof camera enclosure was to get Duckie, my Vivitar ViviCam 6200W, out of the picture.  Duckie, to put it nicely, has a very limited operating envelope.  It’s because the ISO is too low, as 200 is as high as it goes.  That means that when you take that camera underwater, you have to hold the camera very still to get clear pictures, unless you want to use the flash (which I don’t always want to do).  It became quite frustrating, and led to a lot of bad photos.  Basically, submerged handheld photos were a no-go under the vast majority of conditions.  It worked well enough outdoors and in daylight on land, but the pictures taken under those conditions have a slight red tinge to them, which is a pain to try to correct.  Plus it has no optical zoom, and the buttons were a bit stiff, with the latter’s making the camera’s use somewhat cumbersome.

Thus I got this to replace Duckie:

The new waterproof camera enclosure with my point-and-shoot camera inside.

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Categories: Cameras, Friends, Swimming

And it goes from an Edwards to a Fire-Lite…

May 12, 2014, 11:12 PM

And there you have it.  I figured that, when Herb, three firefighters, and I had trouble resetting the pull station during that accidental fire alarm at the pool last Thursday, the Edwards 270A-SPO that had recently been installed at the pool and was the center of the action in this alarm would not be long for this world.  And I was right.  This is what greeted me when I arrived for today’s workout:

Fire-Lite BG-12

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Categories: Fire alarms, Olney, Swimming

Well, tonight’s workout was fun…

May 8, 2014, 10:19 PM

I think this describes my workout at the pool tonight:

SO YOU'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR SWIM WORKOUT?  LET ME SING YOU THE SONG OF MY PEOPLE.

Yes, I got interrupted by a fire alarm.  I was simultaneously annoyed and delighted about the situation.  On the one hand, Olney Indoor Swim Center has a Notifier voice evacuation system, and I had never heard it go off in the three years that I have been swimming at Olney.  So I was delighted that I finally got to see and hear it in action.  On the other hand, though, I take my swimming quite seriously.  I find interruptions to my workout to be quite a bother, like the time that a storm-related power outage ended my workout early back in August 2012.  So a fire alarm during my workout annoyed me, because it knocked me out of my groove.

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Categories: Fire alarms, Olney, Swimming

Amazing how much difference some light makes…

August 26, 2013, 10:59 PM

So today was the first day that my regular pool, Olney Indoor Swim Center, was open following the two week annual maintenance period.  This maintenance period usually involves completely draining the pool and scrubbing it down and deep cleaning the building.  They also tackle any other maintenance work that would be too disruptive to do while the pool is open, like lighting repairs, resurfacing the water umbrella in the kiddie pool, and welding some pieces back together on the pool that had come apart over the years.  They also replaced all of the lane ropes, which introduced a touch of red into the pool (the previous ropes were blue and white – the new ones are red, white, and blue).

But by far, the most striking change was the lighting.  For the past several months, the pool has looked like this:

Olney Indoor Swim Center on Thursday, August 8, 2013

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Categories: Olney, Swimming

Trying some new training activities in the pool this week…

February 13, 2013, 11:01 PM

So life at the pool has been interesting lately.  Interesting in a good way, though.  I’ve gotten into a nice routine at the pool.  I know who’s in on which days, we’ve all gotten to know each other, and life is good like that.  And we all laugh about when we accidentally run into/hit each other in the lanes, or other odd strikes like the one time when I accidentally whacked one of the ladies in the aqua aerobics class in the butt as I was going by doing backstroke (embarrassing!) or today, where one of the kids in the swim class in the lane next to me accidentally kicked me in the funnybone (yes, in the elbow – very odd feeling).

And I know how my swimming jives with the others’ swimming, i.e. faster, slower, about the same, etc.  I most enjoy swimming with people that swim at a similar speed to me, or are faster than me.  With slower folks, when we’re swimming three or more in a lane, passing gets old after a while.  Folks I swim about the same speed as are folks that I know I’m not going to run into, and then faster folks are a challenge!  See, when I have a faster swimmer in the lane with me, I try to keep up with them.  I am up to that challenge, though my success varies.  Lately, there has been a small group of 17-year-old girls that come on Monday nights.  They also swim competitively, and so they go really fast.  If I can, I try to get a lane with them.  My goal is to see how long I can stay in front of them.  And I push myself to stay in that spot.  They usually pass me a few times over the course of a workout, but seeing how long I can stay ahead of them before the inevitable occurs is the challenge.  And with the goal of my swims’ being to get physical activity, push myself, and keep things interesting for me, their speed provides me with a good workout and also is something to aspire to.  I would love to be that fast one day.  Will it happen?  We’ll see, I suppose.

This past Monday, they were doing “dolphin drills”.  As I understand it, a dolphin drill is a training technique for improving one’s performance in doing the butterfly.  I don’t have any particular interest in swimming the butterfly, but the training technique intrigues me.  I observed the process in action and then discussed it with them, and got something of a handle on the process.  What you do for a dolphin drill, in a nutshell, is go down to the bottom, push off the bottom, come up, do butterfly arms, and then repeat.  In other words, this:

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Categories: Swimming

New fins means new things to try in the pool…

December 3, 2012, 11:40 PM

Look what came today:

New swim fins!

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Categories: Swimming

Taking the swimming outside for a week…

August 16, 2012, 10:52 PM

So this week and next week are when Olney Indoor Swim Center, the place where I normally swim four days a week, is closed for its annual maintenance.  During that time, as I understand it, they drain the pool and acid clean the pool sides, do maintenance on whatever systems, change any lights that need replacement, deep clean the entire building, and then fill the pools back up.  I’m told it takes four days to properly drain the main pool so as not to overload the wastewater system by letting too much water come through at once.

In the meantime, I am continuing to swim.  This year, I know what I’m doing in the pool, and so the annual maintenance period does not coincide with a nasty case of swimmer’s ear.  Last year, you see, the where-to-swim problem resolved itself with the whole ear infection thing, since that kept me out of the pool entirely for that time.  This year, I decided I wanted to try an outdoor pool.  I’ve been to the other county indoor pools, and each of them had various qualities that made me pick an outdoor pool over them.  MLK Swim Center is really old and closes kind of early.  Montgomery Aquatic Center (pardon – “Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center”) is of reasonable distance away, but the staff there really gets on my nerves because they’re so uptight about everything and act like they’re doing me a favor for stuff that the staff at the other pools would do without all the whining.  That and aside from late night laps (i.e. 9-10 PM) on Mondays and Wednesdays, the pool is so booked up with other programs that there is no room for evening lap swimming anyway.  Now Germantown Indoor Swim Center is a gorgeous facility, which I’ve been to once before.  I love Germantown indoor pool, but Germantown is just too far away, being in the northern part of Montgomery County and all of that.  It’s a bit of a hike from my house, and if I left right from work, that would be double the distance and in rush hour traffic to boot.

So with that all said, I decided to give an outdoor pool a spin while Olney was closed.

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Categories: Swimming

The world’s loudest swim jammer…

June 14, 2012, 11:08 PM

I believe that I have found the world’s loudest swim jammer.  Take a look at this:

My Dolfin Winners jammer in "Firefly Blue"

Oh, yeah.  I’ve been going swimming in this suit all week.  Dolfin Winners, “Firefly Blue“.  The way I figure, swimming ought to be fun.  And companies like Speedo and Tyr will make exciting suits for women, but the equivalent jammer suits for men are decidedly blah.

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Categories: Clothing, Swimming

Car shopping, and getting in shape!

November 8, 2011, 11:55 PM

It’s a Video Journal! Enjoy:

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And tomorrow, I’ll be treated to a lovely view of Virginia from the inside of an Amfleet coach…

September 20, 2011, 10:57 PM

Indeed, tomorrow is going to be fun. I’m going down to Stuarts Draft to visit the family, and unlike every past trip I’ve ever made between DC and Stuarts Draft, I’m doing it via public transportation. Specifically, I’m taking the Cardinal, Amtrak train 51. Since it’s only a four-hour train trip, I’m going in coach. That will be a new experience, because aside from like ten minutes in coach on the Capitol Limited in 2007, I’ve always traveled in a class higher than coach, being in the sleepers on the Capitol Limited, and then traveling business class on the Acela and the Downeaster (though it should be noted that the Acela does not have a coachclass section – business class is the lowest class of service).

The reason I’m taking the train is because I will be hosting a visitor as soon as I get back to DC. Specifically, Mom! The reason it worked out like this is because of a perfect storm of events. Sis and Chris are going to be in Virginia to attend a wedding in Blacksburg, stopping by to say hello and have lunch with all of us on Thursday. And of course, I just won’t pass up a chance to see my sister and my brother-in-law, since they live so far away and I don’t get to see them often. Then there’s the National Book Festival in DC, which Mom has attended for a number of years. So because of the timing, it seemed silly to drive down to Stuarts Draft in the Sable, and then take two cars back to DC. So the Sable is staying in Maryland (and it’s likely already parked where it’s going to stay for about four days), and Mom’s Scion is making the trip up and back. But we’re going to be leaving at 4 AM – yecch. I’m not going to the Book Festival, though. I’m just going home. So while Mom’s out meeting authors, I’m going home and taking a nap, getting the rest of the sleep I won’t be able to get on Friday night.

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So let’s file deep water running at Sandy Point under “ideas that sounded good on paper”…

July 24, 2011, 9:45 PM

You may recall that about a month ago, I discussed having taken a deep water running (aka aqua jogging) class, and how fun it would be to go deep water running over at Sandy Point State Park.

Well, I did it.

I went out to Aardvark Swim yesterday and bought a deep water running belt, and then went out to Sandy Point today to give it all a spin. Unfortunately, the verdict ended up being that while this sounded like a great idea on paper, it didn’t work out quite as well in real life. That’s not to say that I didn’t get a good (enough) workout, though. I did get to work my arms quite a bit. The problem is that the water wasn’t quite as deep as I thought. Last year, I went there some time in August, and I remember not being able to touch bottom when I was out as far as the white buoys. This time, either I had a growth spurt (unlikely), or my recent weight loss allowed me to sink further (plausible but also unlikely), but I could touch bottom almost the entire time today. And for deep water running, you want to be in a place where you can’t touch bottom so that you have room to make the full leg movements. If you can firmly stand on the bottom, you’re not in deep enough water. This isn’t to say I didn’t try, though. I tried pulling my legs up and doing the movements short-legged, but I inevitably would end up rolling forward onto my front, and the idea with deep water running is to stay vertical.

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Categories: Annapolis, Swimming

“I am not a boy. I am a TXL Series 4 computer.”

June 27, 2011, 11:34 PM

Today, I received a second retro t-shirt that I designed for myself. Check it out:

Holding up my "TXL SERIES 4" shirt

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Categories: Swimming, Today's Special

So I took the “deep water running” class this evening…

June 23, 2011, 10:16 PM

So I took the “deep water running” class at Olney Swim Center this evening. That was a new experience. This is also called “aqua jogging“, and involves strapping on a flotation belt and jogging in the deep end of the pool. The idea is that you’re doing all of this while staying vertical. If you’re on your back, your front, or otherwise not vertical, you’re not doing it right.

The class lasted an hour, which is the same amount of time that I normally would spend doing lap swimming. In the class, we first did a few laps around the pool just running. Then we did it like cross-country skiing, with arms and legs straight and going back and forth. We also did cross-country legs with breaststroke arms. We really mixed it up, working things one direction, the other direction, and side to side. We even did jumping jacks in the water on a few occasions. Then in the second half of the class, we worked with foam dumbbells to give extra resistance.  I was actually disappointed when the class was over, because I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The idea of deep water running definitely has potential for me. However, I didn’t get that great post-workout buzz that I normally get after doing laps. That’s not to say I didn’t get a workout. I certainly worked certain muscle groups, and I can feel some after effects of the workout, but it’s not quite enough to satisfy me.

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Categories: Olney, Swimming

So let’s go swimming!

May 16, 2011, 6:09 PM

So… I went swimming today at the Graham S. Little Natatorium, aka Olney Swim Center. I had never been before, so while I had an idea about what to expect from going online, it was still a new experience. For those wondering, the Olney Swim Center is an indoor swimming pool in Olney, Maryland, owned and operated by Montgomery County.

I got there just before 2:30, and, after changing in the locker room, I got in the water right at 2:30, and swam mostly continuously for an hour. I believe that this marks the first time that I’ve done any serious swimming since I quit Rhonda Dossey’s class, and that was twenty years ago! And I certainly got a workout from this, that’s for sure. I started doing the front crawl for a few laps, and then switched to backstroke. I did that for a while, then did the breaststroke for a bit. Then I spent the rest of the time doing the backstroke. I did the backstroke most because when you consider that I’m just getting back into things, I couldn’t quite manage to get the multitasking together to stroke, kick, and breathe doing the front crawl and the breaststroke. So I decided to work on just stroke and kick, and we’ll deal with the breathing in another session. Something tells me I should work on the breathing with a kickboard for a while and then try to put it all together later. It’s okay – don’t want to overdo it, and I don’t have any swim instructor standing on the pool deck yelling at me about my stroke.

There is one other thing that I need to work on, and that’s direction. When I was a kid, I had no problems swimming in a straight line. Tell me where to swim, and I could get there in a straight line. Kind of like this:

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Categories: Fire drills, Olney, Swimming