Friday, January 6, 2012

Cat Ear Crud

This is not the face of a contented cat. if you look closely you can see hands restraining BeeBee following a rigorous ear cleansing ritual at Coble Animal Hospital today that unearthed quite a cache of nasty ear goo and the makings of a yeast infection.

I knew there was something not quite right with her, she always ignores me but for the last two weeks it went a little beyond ignoring, it was more like she couldn't hear things. And she had that bewildered lost look of a creature that is disoriented and doesn't quite know what to do or where to go.

So it's ear drops for BeeBee for the next two weeks. Yeah me! Administering medicine of any kind to this cat usually requires creative restraint methods and then I worry she will kill me in my sleep.

On the training side, I am reading the Book "Call the Suit" by Sheila Taormina, an Olympic swimmer who conducts clinics around the world. I'm only into the first two chapters but already am excited by the fresh approach. I learned to swim in 2008 at a class at the Y taught by a good friend. It used Total Immersion as the basis and it got me from someone who couldn't swim 10 yards to a somewhat competent, if slow, freestyle swimmer. I've been at a plateau for about a year, never getting any faster despite trying to tweak my form. This book focuses more on the pull and the catch than on the position of the body, rotation, etc. so it will be a departure from my usual routine of trying to "swim downhill" and rotating from the core, etc.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Kicking Diet Soda's Ass and the Possibility of Camping

I didn't make any New Years resolutions, at least nothing that is blogworthy. I did set a few goals about training, losing weight, blah blah blah. One thing I did decide to work on was kicking the Diet Pepsi habit. I love the stuff. It's not like I'm one of those people who drink it in lieu of coffee and late into the night, no, it's been a one-pepsi-a-day habit for years. Literally years.  It harkens back to the days of yore when I was a smoker and just generally lived an unhealthy lifestyle.

I'm not convinced that diet soda is really all that bad for you but on the other hand, there seems to be a growing body of evidence that it's not all that good for you either.

Here's a shot of me on December 31 swilling away at what hopefully will be my last Diet Pepsi. I'm trying to enjoy drinking plain water with a bit of lime. The dull headache that I predicted would hit me by the end of the first day never materialized.

On a more relevant topic, last night I signed up for the Midwest Women's Mountain Bike Clinic (here's their website) held in Brown County State Park, Nashville, Indiana, June 9-10. Unless I can talk another adventurous soul into signing up, I'll probably be hitting this one solo. And that's ok. It looks like a great get-away kind of weekend.

I struggled with what level to assign myself -- Intro, Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. I'm probably somewhere between Beginner and Intermediate.  The criteria are as follows:

 Beginner Criteria
* You have been mountain biking for at least one (1) year. CHECK
* You have decent general riding skills and good fitness, but lack the ability and confidence to tackle terrain beyond a beginner level.CHECK
* You have a basic understanding of braking, shifting and steering and can handle riding smooth dirt paths with few rocks, roots and technical areas.CHECK
* You may be looking to improve your fitness and can only handle riding for a few hours before tiring.CHECK
Intermediate Criteria

* You have been mountain biking for over two (2) years and have solid intermediate-level skills. ...DEFINITELY NOT SOLID
* You are comfortable with almost all aspects of mountain biking and can handle more technical terrain with rocks, roots and small logs (up to 6"). MMMM, SMALL LOGS ARE OK...
* You have good control of your bike on intermediate to slightly more advanced trail and are comfortable climbing on non-technical singletrack. CHECK
* You are physically fit and can handle riding for several hours at a time. ...UH, ARE THERE BREAKS?
     ~ you must be able to perform a front and rear wheel lift as well as ride logs up to 6" in diameter   REAR WHEEL LIFT??????????? wtf????

Beginner it is. Maybe I'll learn to perform a rear wheel lift.  

Being in a state park, it is suggested and encouraged that clinic participants camp.  In tents. For those who absolutely must have their air conditioning, there are hotel options outside of the park. Let me go on record by stating that I hate tent camping with a passion. Oh sure, it's all fun while you're setting things up --- picking out the spot, fighting to erect the tent, inflating the air mattress.  Then reality sets in. If it's hot, it will be hotter in the tent. Sleeping on an air mattress is hardcore shit. At night it's freezing and if you have to make a bathroom run at 2 a.m., it's generally to a building lit by a large floodlight that has attracted every species of nocturnal insect ever documented. 

In the morning your stuff is all damp. The campfire that smelled so good last night has permeated everything you brought with woodsmoke and it reeks. It is damp and smelly. You are damp and smelly.  And when you are finished camping and tear down the tent, it goes into your car and makes the long drive home, stinking up your car with its damp smelliness.  So now your car stinks and there are probably slugs and other such things that hitched a ride on the tent.  

But there is some sort of fun around the campfire after the riding is done that is probably a big part of the culture of the Midwest Women's Mountain Bike Clinic. And I would hate to be the weenie who, at the end of the day, packed up my bike and just left without a bit of socializing.  

So maybe I will have to set my hatred of tent camping aside for this one event.