New-ier and improve-ier for 2007.


In the Swim

The air was redolent with family vacations, summertime, cleanliness. . . chlorine. The light shimmered, almost in time with the peaceful sounds -- a low burble punctuated with an occasional ker-splish. I felt supported and graceful and whole as I eased through the water. It was magical and almost otherworldly.

It was also just a dream.

My swimming continues to be a monumental struggle. It's making me dread my workouts and regret signing on for this deal at all. And there's so much conflicting advice out there -- focus only on technique; focus only on endurance and technique will come; you need to push yourself beyond where you're comfortable; you should only progress to the next drill when you've mastered the ones prior. It's paralysis by analysis.

And the few sessions I've done with a swim coach have made me feel even MORE frustrated and upset. It seems like without having achieved a base level of skill, I can't focus on improving just one area. So, I have to try to remember to keep my elbow high, only turn my head slightly to breathe every three strokes, kick slowly from the hip with just a flip at the ankle. . . and do it all while fighting down the "gonna drown gonna drown gonna drown" voice that makes me feel like panicking. There's so much to remember, and I feel as though I'm doing each bit of it wrong.

It's so demoralizing, and it's putting me in this headcase-y state where I either blow off the rest of my workouts, or half-ass my way through them.

I know if I could just FEEL the right way to do it for, like, five minutes, it would make all the difference in the world. But right now, the best guide I have is something that my subconscious made up out of memories, accumulated book knowledge, and. . . maybe the opening credits for Baywatch? I'm not sure.



With apologies to Judith Viorst

I went to sleep with a pinch in my arch and now there's a ball of molten pain in my heel and I dropped my contact down the sink and I think I might've felt a filling chip when I brushed my teeth and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

At the gym, I realized my goggles and swim cap were not in my bag. My swim cap was in the lost & found. And some noxious bitch made off with my goggles. So I had to use my old goggles which leak. And give me racoon eyes.

I think I'll move to Australia.

I failed the pre-pool pube check, but didn't have a razor.

I didn't so much "swallow" water as act as though I was Paris Hilton and the pool was filled with coke.

If swimming is a low-impact activity, then why does my heel still hurt so much?

"I am having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day," I said.

No one even answered.

Probably because adults who wander around muttering to themselves seem like maybe a special kind of crazy.

I grabbed the wrong pant/shoe combo out of the closet this morning so instead of black pants & mules or cropped pants & boots, I've got cropped pants & mules. If I get a patch, maybe I could pretend I'm a pirate. Or a privateer in Australia.

I tripped walking through the lobby at work and spilled hot coffee all over my hand which is just as well because the coffee tasted like brewed suck today anyway.

It made my heel hurt more.

It was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

I have a staff meeting today and I HATE staff meetings.

My turkey sandwich got squished and I HATE squished sandwiches.

The machine is out of Diet Pepsi, and only has Diet Coke and I HATE Diet Coke.

My best work friend, Sparky, cooerced me into taking on a suck-ass training project because he is "too busy." "I hope you sit on a tack!" I told Sparky. "I hope the next time you get a black & tan, the tan part falls off the black part and lands in Australia!"

Sparky rolled his eyes and directed me to the documentation to complete the knowledge transfer.

It is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

The Weez says some days are like that.

Even in Australia.



Waited Too Long

I waited too long to do this run.

The morning brightness has been blocked out by ominous clouds. The playful twinkles on the pond were snuffed out and replaced with mini-whitecaps, whipped into being by the west wind.

I've been feeling anticipation since I woke up. Looking out at the sunshine day, itching to get out. Move. Leave my desk behind. Counting down the minutes.

And then. Then.

Hit a snag on the project, which should just take two minutes to get through. Or five. Or forty-five and now the lunch hour is on its last legs and the window until my next meeting is narrowing and it's going to be a struggle to get out and

I waited too long to do this run.

The first mile is directly into the wind. It whines failure and discomfort and turn-around thoughts into my ears. The turn comes -- it's a simple L-shaped out-and-back, and I am looking forward to my eyes being more than tear-leaking slits.

And then I see the garbage truck.

I waited too long to do this run.

Tuesday, Grommit, is Garbage Day. And I spend the next half mile leapfrogging the diesel-belching, decay-smelling, jackass-carrying waste management truck. "Heh-Hey! Lookin' good, dere!" The comment doesn't have much luster to start, and it loses a bit more with each every-90-second repetition.

Usually, I am already back in Cubicle Land by the time Rico Suave here and his driver Charlie ThreeTeeth are making their way down my mid-length lunchtime route. But.

I waited too long to do this run

I waited too long to cut my hair, too, and now I've started to like it long again, but when I am running it falls out of the bun or the braid and wiggles around in the breeze like the standard-bearer for girly-girlishness. It will stay put if I wrest it into submission in a ponytail holder, but it then it mulishly sulks and then ultimately gets bored and starts causing mischief by tangling around itself until I need to machete it into submission with a wide-toothed comb in the locker room.

I am such a psycho. Halfway point.

The zipper of my tights is digging into the tendon right above my right ankle. My left ear is freezing as the wind tries the same seduction maneuvers that didn't work for my high school boyfriend, either. My right ear is burning now as it slowly thaws. The errant chunk of hair is directed right across my face now. Good GOD where did that damn SUN go?

I waited too long to do this run.

I am such a dumbass. So incapable of holding to schedule, what is wrong with me? And all the other failures rise up unbidden. And it's so easy to engage in the self-loathing right now. So easy to let them fall down on top of me and bury me with their familiar weight and slow me to a walk. I'm going to be late for the meeting anyway, right? What's a few more minutes?

I waited too long to do this run.

But, Garbage Truck again, so I speed up and ignore the protest in my arch, my ankle. The physical discomfort is preferable to the pain rising out of my misanthropy. My throat burns from the cold. My mouth tastes like metal, like blood.

I cast about for a redeeming quality, for a moral here somewhere. A kernel of truth about perseverance, about discipline, about setting a damn alarm on my electronic calendar.

I finish. And all I have is this:

I waited too long to do this run.




I did TI drills 1, 2, and 3 in the pool this morning. I even sneaked in a little bit of Drill 4 toward the end. It still requires a lot of concentration, and I still fairly often end up with a snoot full of water, but. . . it's getting better. I'm feeling more comfortable. And I can visualize the process that will move me from where I am right now to actual full-stroke swimming.

I might just beat this thing.



Workouts 2006-Jan-15 thru 2006-Jan-21

Sun: off
Mon: swim, 30 min, Total Immersion drills 1, 2, 3; run, 34 min, HR 140-150 (10 m/m pace)
Tue: volleyball, 1 match, fives
Wed: swim, 45 min, Total Immersion drills 1, 2, 3; swim, 45 min freestyle stroke w/ coach (horrible. screw that.)
Thu: off
Sat: Bike, 45 min spin class. New instructor, kicked my ass.

This week kinda blew. No weights. Head-case-y over my total lack of swimming skill, which messed with my desire to work out at all. Hate.



I AM Cinderelly!

Sure, it was a kicky kitten heel instead of a glass slipper. And I was hurrying to a meeting instead of home from the ball. And the handsome prince following me down the stairs actually DID catch up with me and hand me back my shoe, because I was sprawled on the floor like a gigantic dumbass.

But at least I saved the laptop.



Witches. . . are made of wood?

And sometimes you are SO DEFINITELY NOT a witch. With all the sinking, I mean. Swimming? Is hard work. Especially when you don't do it well. And you're thinking about it all too much. So your brain hurts. And you're choking on water, so your throat hurts. And sometimes, you forget about the "can't breathe underwater" thing. So your nose hurts and your stomach feels a little urky. And your helpful coach-type-person explains that in open-water swims, you actually should prepare to be able to cover TWICE the actual distance because of waves. And you want to just chuck it all and do a damn duathlon because you already know HOW to do that and you wouldn't feel so stupid and incompetent and awful.

And then, you raise your head, and look out the windows at the end of the pool. And you watch the waves ripple on the gorgeous lake where you're supposed to swim in six months. And you sigh. And you suck it up. And you keep going.

And you promise yourself that you will do it again tomorrow.



There are Fashion Don'ts

. . . and then, there are Fashion "Hell-to-the-Nos."

At my client today, I saw an ensemble that left me literally open-mouthed with amazement.

Let's start at the bottom, shall we?

1. Open-toed slingbacks. In January. In Wisconsin. At work.
2. Sandalfoot hose. Color: George-Hamilton orange.
3. Stiff polyester skirt. Color: greenish-black.
4. Pilly cotton turtleneck. Color: navy.
5. Tapestry vest. Pattern: big-ass embroidered snowman.
6. Age of wearer (estimated): 35.




Junk Mail (a mini-script)

The scene: evening at Casa de Weez. Veeg is going through the pile of "non-essential" mail.

Veeg: Honey! Guess what?
Weez: Hmmmm?
Veeg: CARE mailed us George Bush!
Weez: Seriously, WHAT are you talking about?
Veeg: It says right here on their envelope. "Enclosed: The powerful tool that helped defeat the Taliban."

On a more serious (and not unrelated) note. . . my heart aches for the Pakistani families who lost loved ones due to the US air strikes.



Workouts 2006-Jan-08 thru 2006-Jan-14

Sun: off
Mon: Run, TM: 30 mins, 9:30 pace
Tues: Volleyball, 1 match, sixes
Weds: Strength [ball plank (2x60sec); Smith squats (2x8x70); ball hamstring curls (2x15); bent-over rows (8x35,8x45); barbell curls (2x8x20); French press (2x8x20)]; Swim 20 minutes; Run, 3.7 miles, 33 min
Thurs: off
Fri: Run, TM: 30 min, 9:30 pace; Swim 20 minutes
Sat: Bike, group cycle class, 50 minutes



Note to Self:

1. When you slack your Friday morning workout and bump it to Friday night, take it easy if you've got a Saturday morning spin class, or life is going to kind of suck for you.

2. EAT and HYDRATE before morning workouts.

3. Easy Bake Ovens do not have timers.

4. The fire extinguisher is in the laundry-room closet.



Meme: Tag!

A.K. tagged me!

The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits I have" and people who get tagged then write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don't forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says you have been tagged? (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.

  1. I have methodical ways of consuming certain items. Like Pop-Tarts. And tea. And cinnamon toast. And yogurt. And grapefruit. And burritos from Qdoba or Chipotle or Baja Fresh or the like. And Fruity Pebbles. (Um, not that I eat Fruity Pebbles. Because, I am a grown-up! Really!)

  2. When I fold laundry, I divide the piles up by the area that they will be put away in. And then when (okay, okay. . . IF) I put the items away, they go on the BOTTOM of the pile, to facilitate even wearing of all items. Even though I wear the same things over and over and get annoyed when I have to dig through my drawers (. . . heh) to find the particular item I want to wear.

  3. I build pyramids of my Diet Pepsi bottle tops at my desk. It started with one of the games where you had to try to get matching things, but now has progressed to a mild obsession which accomplishes nothing but bearing witness to my obscene consumption of Diet Pepsi.

  4. If I drink beer from a bottle with a label (which, duh!), I must peel the label off.

  5. I rub my lips with the thumb of my left hand when I am thinking or stressed.

I tag Hicktown Diva, Susanne, Fire Sister, Sarah, and Paula (who has theeee cutest template)

Confidential to Garrison the Younger: I would totally have tagged you if you were blogging. Which you should be. Because. . . um. . . WRITER!



I was planning to regale y'all with the results of my 10/10 drill and whether it moves me closer to dolphin than hippo (putting me somewhere in the vicinity of. . . walrus, I guess. (Note to self: make waxing appointment.))

But I didn't make it to the gym this morning. It was warm in my flannel sheets, and I was snuggly. And lazy.

So you'll have to wait for additional tales of my aqua-humiliation. Possibly until later this evening. Because what else do I have to do on a Friday night? Lordy, I am lame.



The Sun! Is Finally! Out!

And it's supposed to be 50 degrees here today. Which is amazing.

Though I did not bring my running gear (I am still too out-of-condition to run two days in a row without coming perilously close to the line between normal training aches and actual injury), I am going to get myself some sunshine at lunch.


I've always had a hard time keeping my emotions balanced in the dead of winter. Getting up when it's dark and driving home when it's dark is just not good for my psyche. Add in that most of my work time for the past five years was spent in a basement cubicle or a fishbowl room in the middle of a windowless industrial plant. . . and you've got a recipe for a Seriously Psycho Veeg.

Today, I am working in a light-drenched, airy environment. (I can see the soul-restoring blue of the sky without even moving from my chair.) And I've finally gotten it through my head that getting up early to work out increases my energy levels far beyond the impact that I'd get from the sleep I give up as a trade-off.

For the first time in many years, I'm looking at February and March stretching before me without feeling like I'm staring down the barrel of a gun.

And it feels good.



Sources of Motivation

On the days when I reallyreallyreally don't want to go for my lunchtime run, I need someone to remind me how much better my hair looks when I re-do it after my workout.



The swim went better this morning. I figured out if I turn my head FURTHER toward the ceiling, I can get more air. I'm still only breathing on one side, though, which gives me a great tendency to smack into things. Like lane ropes. Or walls. Or lane partners (Sorry, Lane Partner!). Also, I can't do more than a lap without feeling totally winded. It may be hyperventilation -- both because I'm not breathing in deep enough and also because I'm still teetering JUUUUST on the edge of panic.

But I didn't get any water in my goggles.



He's just "TAKE, TAKE, TAKE"

In my Inbox:

To: Veeg
From: Jesus
Date: 2005-Jan-10
Subject: Loan Request



Real Model

I discovered a new role model while watching my DVR'd "Dancing With the Stars" this weekend. (Yeah, yeah. Shut it.)

Tia Carrere just had a baby a few months ago, and is on the show. . . actually looking like she just had a baby a few months ago. Tia, I love you. You are beautiful. Thank you so much for having the guts to go on national television without starving and Pilati-cizing yourself back into a size 0. Thank you for saying out loud, on TV, that losing weight is hard for you, even with the tremendous pressure that you feel from the business that you're in.

Thank you for looking like an actual person.




Suggestions for my playlist, that is.

Here's what I've got thus far. Hook me up, people! What songs make you want to rock out and push through the unpleasantness?

Ying Yang Twins: Shake
Black Eyed Peas: Pump It
Nina Skye: Move Ya Body Girl
Missy Elliot: Pass That Dutch
Drowning Pool: Let the Bodies Hit the Floor
Black Eyed Peas: Let's Get It Started
Nelly: Flap Your Wings
Carl Orff/Front 242: O Fortuna from Carmina Burana/Techno Mix
Gwen Stefani: Hollaback Girl
Black Eyed Peas: Don't Phunk With My Heart
Depeche Mode: Personal Jesus
Missy Elliot: Pump It Up
House of Pain: Jump Around
Kid Rock: Bawitaba
Nelly: Country Grammar
No Doubt: Excuse Me, Mister
Offspring: Why Don't You Get a Job
Nelly: Hot in Herre
Prodigy: Smack My Bitch Up
Gwen Stefani: Rich Girl
Ashlee Simpson: Didn't Steal Your Boyfriend (shut.up.)
Chris Brown: Run It
Will Smith: Boom! Shake the Room
Coolio: Sumpin' New (1-2-3-4)
Britney Spears: Do Something' (also.shut.up.)



Workouts 2006-Jan-1 thru 2006-Jan-07

Sun: run; 4 miles easy pace
Mon: run; 30 minutes, 9:20 pace
Tue: volleyball; 2 matches, 1 hr ea. 1st match set for sixes, second match 4s.
Wed: strength workout: ball bridges (2 sets/60 sec); cable rows (2x8x20 lbs ea side); weighted squats (60 sec x 35 lbs); bench press (2x8x65 lbs); bicep curls (2x8x12 lbs); tricep kickbacks (2x8x20 lbs); ball crunches (2x35x5 kg ball); 20 min swim (though mostly just learning and flipping out)
Sat: 45 min spin class; 15 min swim (just to continue working through the breathing fear)




I don't want to jinx anything by mentioning specifics, but let's just say that if my sucking it up and pushing through swim training has the same ratio of time-to-results as sucking it up and pushing through sleep training, by this time next week, I should be flying through the water like a pro.



True Grit

I am learning to swim.

Now, don't get me wrong. . . I could fairly effectively keep myself from drowning. I could (and have) moved myself from one side of the pool to the other, repeatedly, over a span of time, for exercise.

But now, with the goal of the triathlon in mind, I decided that it is time for me to learn to freestyle. Which means putting my face in the water.

I hate putting my face in the water.

First, there is the eye factor. Even with goggles, you get some water near (or, God forbid, IN) your eyes. I've spent the majority of my life as a contact-wearer. So, while I am not squeamish about *touching* my eyes, I am always fearful about getting "stuff" on or in my contacts. Also, there is the even-more-deep-seated fear, which may actually only be based on an urban legend, that my contacts will actually float off of my eye, leaving me blind as a bat.

Then, there's the water-in-the-mouth thing. It does not belong there. Period. Especially not when trying to BREATHE through the mouth. That sensation has seriously hampered any attempts at leisurely resort-type snorkeling in the past. (SCUBA is okay, though. No water in the mouth at all!).

And last, but not least. . . claustrophobia. The feeling of having something pressing in all around you, and not being able to just suck in air when you need to. . . oy. Just thinking about it is making my heart beat faster and the flail-y, gasp-y feelings start right now, and I'm sitting in a chair in the middle of a wide-open room.

So the deck is a leeeetle bit stacked against me re: successful freestyle swimming.

But, I did it. It took Training Partner a good 15 minutes of easing me into breathing exercises while hanging onto the edge of the pool, and then another few false starts wherein I burst to the surface, freaking and splashing like some sort of deranged hippo. But I managed to swim several lengths with some semblance of freestyle form and bilateral breathing.

And because my day hadn't required QUITE enough mental toughness. . . we're starting the exquisitely painful process of helping Bitty Child teach herself how to fall asleep without outside help.

Time to knuckle down.




Not that I don't recognize and applaud the efforts of all the Fitness New Year's Resolutionites out there, but when I went to the gym last night, there was exactly ONE cardio machine open (fortunately, the kind I'd be planning to work on). This was at 4:30. And my gym is not suffering from a shortage of 'mills and ellipticals. It was wall-to-wall people. And I. . . don't like people, so much.

While I really am glad to see the Resolutionites hauling their cookies to the gym and moving around, and I do wish them well with their efforts, I will be just ever-so-slightly *more* glad to watch their attendance fall off as the month goes on.

Except for the really cute boy with the Pacers hat two treadmills down from me. He can stay.



Getting the ol' heart rate up

Due to a total lack of snow in Da Nortwoods, plans of a New Year's Eve spent snowmobiling and drinking schnapps-spiked cocoa in a cozy cabin were kiboshed. So, we Weezes hosted a little gathering because we are generous like that and also because when your NYE plans get whacked two days beforehand it is IM-FUCKING-POSSIBLE to find a sitter.


We had all children fed, bathed, pajama-clad, and bedded before our guests arrived. However, an hour or so into our soiree, I heard the telltale pitter-patter of Small Child feet in her room.

I walked upstairs, opened the door to her (newly-finished) bedroom, and experienced a full nasal assault in the form of nail polish fumes.

It appears that Weez was repairing a small crack in her white bureau. With white nailpolish. Which Small Child decided would look lovely on her toes. So, she applied it. On the (newly-installed) laminate flooring.

So, not only did my heart rate skyrocket, I also got a pretty serious bicep workout while restraining myself to only spanking the child once. And my jaw muscles are feeling the burn from all the clenching I did while mopping white footprints off the floor with non-acetone polish remover.

Startin' the new year out right, I'll tell you what.