Three Things Thursday

1. World Multisport Expo – I’m heading down Saturday to the Multisport Expo in Boston for the day. I went last year and had a blast. I’m very excited to see some of the seminars and also all the vendors. Mark Allen is the keynote speaker so I’m definitely interested in seeing his life philsophy, especially after reading Iron War. I’ll hopefully have a rap up of it next week! I plan on taking some notes!

2. Hungry for Change – If you haven’t watched this documentary yet then I HIGHLY suggest that you do. It’s very well made and available to watch for FREE online through March 31st. The documentary exposes many truths about the food industry that many people do not know about. There was a good section about sodas and all the sugar that you consume while drinking the soda. Even diet sodas that claim there is no sugar and.or zero calories will cause you to ultimately gain weight over time. Apparently, many people don’t understand that fact. To me, it’s commonsense. The movie refers to sugar as a drug. I would agree with that statement because as a society we are addicted to sugar and refined “crap.” No wonder the obesity rate in this country is about 30%! The movie stresses eating for health of mind, body, and soul. Just watch it!

3. Half Marathon – My first real race of the season is next Saturday! I’m running the Race the Runways Half Marathon. I’m definitely a bit nervous and excited. The last two distance running races that I have done, were done when I was sick. As long as I stay healthy leading up to the race then I’m pretty safe to say that I will PR (unless I get somehow manage to get myself lost on a airplane runway or fall and twist my ankle). I have a goal pace and as long as I stay physically and mentally ready and in shape then I think I can definitely hit it!

Anyone else heading down to Boston for the Expo?

Happy Training!

Meet Azul :-)

On March 9th, I became a proud mama on a Scott Plasma 10! Her name is Azul and she is one pretty little bike. Most of my rides have been on the trainer so far, but I was able to take her out last Friday for a quick little ride outside and MAN, does she have some zip in her step! She’s smooth as butter and I’m head over heels for her! Who needs a man in their life when you can have a gorgeous little tri bike?! 🙂

So here she is world! Meet Azul!

Won’t she look pretty with some Zipp wheels? Someday, I might be able to afford them, ha!

Someday (hopefully soon!), she’ll have a SRAM Quarq powermeter

Mmmmm… Dura-ace

I love the paint job!

Pretty, huh? I can’t wait to take her out this weekend for a long ride to really put her through her paces! 🙂

Happy Training!

Scarlett O’Hara

Gone with the Wind is my absolute favorite book. I first read it about two years ago. It was a book I never thought I would want to read, mostly because it’s about 1000 pages long. But, the past three years or so I have been trying to read a lot of the great classic works of literature. I went to an amazing private high school because in 8th grade I refused to go to my local public high school since I was not being challenged academically. My public high school only read about 4-5 books a year in their English classes. At my high school we averaged between 12-20 books a year in Honors English, most of which were from the classics list. I probably read about 80% of them. Most of the books were really good, others not so much. I can’t stand Jane Austen!
Gone with the Wind is an American classic. It is a romance novel written by Margaret Mitchell that takes place in Georgia during the Civil War and Reconstruction Period. The story follows the life of southern belle, Scarlett O’Hara, and her journey from loosing her father’s beloved plantation, Tara, during Sherman’s March to pinning for the wrong man all her life only to realize at the end her true love was right in front of her face the whole time. 
I think the main reason I love Gone with the Wind so much is because I see myself in Scarlett. Scarlett is a dark-haired, green-eyed girl (like me) who exhibits her father’s hard-headedness personality (again, like me). Determination defines Scarlett and drives her to achieve everything she desires by any means necessary. She can be narcissistic and backstabbing to win the admiration of every young man in the county (which isn’t me), but later, when faced with the threat of starvation and death, she is determined to survive and does so by picking cotton, running her father’s plantation, forging a successful business, and even killing a man. I’ve never killed a man or run a plantation, but when faced with certain adversaries I become very determined to succeed. Throughout the novel, Scarlett changes from a spoiled teenager to a hard-working widow and a survivor. 
So what does Scarlett O’Hara have to do with my life? Well, the past two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me. If you read my post from Tuesday, then you might have guessed that I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my life. Over the past two weeks I’ve dealt with a lot of stress and frustration from work, school, and my personal live. The only thing that has kept me sane has been my training. The weather in New England has been insanely nice, which has led to some awesome early season outdoor rides (Azul made her maiden voyage Friday night!) and runs. This past week has been a recovery week for me. It was perfect timing. My body was sore and my emotions were high. I haven’t been sleeping well because I can’t stop my brain from thinking and over-thinking every minute detail going on in my life. My coach suggested that I try melatonin, which has helped (but it makes me loopy and have weird dreams). 
On Thursday I had a mind-blowing 4 mile run. I’ve always disliked running, but something happened on Thursday. I’m not sure if it was because of the gorgeous weather, the fact my chiropractor put my pelvis back in alignment the day before, or the stars magically aligned, but I fell in love with running. I averaged about an 8:30/mile pace for the first two miles and it felt like an easy 10:00/mile! Not only did my run physically feel easy and refreshing, but I was able to clear my mind and sort somethings out. Cue the Bob Marley…. 
“I can see clearing now, the rain is gone…”
Over the past two weeks I’ve felt like Scarlett. When it rains, it pours. Normally, I handle pressure and stress very well. But over time it does accumulate till I reach a breaking point. Yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of my mother’s death. I reached my breaking point today. But you know what? I needed that. Sometimes you just need to let things out and then you feel better. Over these past two weeks I’ve been acting like Scarlett… a little whiny, jealous, insecure bitch (excuse my language), but after today, I’m over it. I’m strong and determined. I can do anything I put my mind to and if someone does see how awesome I truly am, than perhaps they’re the stupid ones. And as Scarlett said, 
“After all, tomorrow is another day…”  




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And, starting this week I promise to get back to more fun things, like training and nutrition! I have some pictures of my new bike coming! But, here’s a picture of Azul and I on our maiden voyage Friday night…



Happy Training!

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day.

 

March 22nd is a day to celebrate clean water, but unfortunately over 884 million people worldwide lack access to clean water. That’s approximately 1 in 8 people, or 3x the population of the United States! What’s more disgusting is the fact than more people have cell phones than a toilet!

In the United States we take water for granted. In most parts of the country water is in abundance. We have large pools filled with water, lush green 18-hole golf courses in the middle of the desert in Arizona, large lakes in Maine filled with edible fish and water in many areas of the country that we can drink from the faucet. Many areas in world DO NOT have access to clean water. Without water there is no life. We live in a society that is very fast-paced and material driven. We freely spend our money on bottled mineral water than costs $5 a liter when we can use a reusable bottle filled with tap water that is essentially the same!

Here are some water facts provided by Water.org:

·         3.575 million people die every year from water-related illnesses! That is the equivalent of the entire population of Los Angeles.

·         An American taking a 5 minute shower a day uses more water than a person living in a developing country slum uses in a typical day.

·         One child dies every 20 seconds from a water-related disease.

·         Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth in a country. The WHO estimates that for each $1 invested there is a return on $3-$34 depending on the region and technology.

·         Investment in drinking-water and sanitation would result in 272 million more school attendance days a year!

·         In just one day over 200 million hours are consumed by women collect water for their families! That is equivalent to building 28 Empire State building a day!

As a biochemist, graduate public health student, aspiring nutritionist, and an endurance athlete I understand the importance of water. Without water there is no life on this planet. Unfortunately, many people in developed countries take water for granted. Many also choose to consume unhealthy beverages, such as energy drinks, soda, alcohol, and specialty coffee drinks. Having these items every once in a while is okay, but many choose one or even more of these a day! Not only do these items contribute to the rising obesity rate, but they are costly! For $25 you can give a person in a developing country water for LIFE! Forgo your daily Red Bull or Starbucks latte for a week and give someone a life through clean water! Not only is it healthy for your body, but you will feel good about your decision to change someone’s life!

Now, if you’re lucky enough to be out enjoying this very rare 80 degree sunny day in March in Maine, pounding the pavement on your legs or bike, you’ll probably need to take a cold drink of water or sports drink so you don’t get dehydrated. As you take that refreshing sip, remember that there is close to ONE BILLION people who do not have access to clean water across the globe!

For more information on World Water Day, the water crisis, or to donate check out:

Please watch this short video on the water crisis:
Remember: Water = Life!

Reflections…

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, especially during my long bike rides and runs. I turned 25 about a week and a half ago and this coming Saturday marks the 3 year anniversary of my mother’s death so I’ve been spending a great deal of time thinking about life and what I want out of it. People often say that life is short. In reality, life is long. Certainly life does get cut short for some people, whether by one’s own doing or God’s will. Whether I live to be 101 or 28, I want my life to be meaningful and make a difference in at least one person’s life. Too many people get caught up in our fast pace society of climbing the corporate ladder or buying the latest technology. I don’t want to be one of those people. I use to think I wanted the BMW and the gorgeous house over-looking the ocean. Who wouldn’t? But would that really make me happy?
If you asked me 5 years ago where I would be at age 25, I would have told you I was in medical school on my way to be an award-wining oncologist. If I had my way then I would have gone to John Hopkins, where I would have done my residency and then worked at one of the top cancer hospitals in the world. But, life has a funny way of changing your plans. Whether you believe it’s God, fate, serendipity, or pure random events in life, you can’t deny that things happen for a reason. I like to believe you meet certain people for a reason. You go places for certain reasons. Hell, you eat certain foods for a reason. But, I’m still working on figuring out why good people have to die so young. It’s not fair, but it’s part of life. You take the lessons you learned from that person and put it to good use.
I’d be lying if I said my mother’s death didn’t have a profound impact on my life. It completely changed my life. Seeing someone take their last breathe in front of you leaves a lasting impression and one that I will never forget. But my mother would not want me to lay in bed and say “whoa is me” for the rest of my life. She would want me to live my life to the fullest, because she sure as hell did. She was a skier at heart. She travelled all over the West and Europe to ski in her younger days before she married my father and had my sisters and I. She was a worker. She was the one who taught me hard work paid off. She worked long hours so she could afford to cart my horses and I around New England to horse shows for 10 years. She was an amazing woman, and I’m not just saying that because she was my mother. 
After her death, I realized that the path I was heading in life was not the direction I truly wanted. I was lost for a while and I think I have finally found what I want to do in life that makes me happy and will make an impact on other people’s lives. I certainly have a long path still to get where I ultimately want to be. And to be completely honest, I’ve been very frustrated with that. I’ve never been a patient person. I get that from my father. When I want something, I generally want it now. I’m 25. I want to start my career and settle down. Eventually, with a little hard work and patience, I’ll get where I’m going.   
I read a quote recently that made me really think. 
Most of the time what you are looking for is right in front of you” 
Most of the time what I am looking for is right in front of me. Usually the stapler on my desk that I’m always looking for is right it front of me! But, physical items aside, I think the quote is so true. Often times we go around looking for something that doesn’t exist. Or sometimes that thing exists, but once you find it, you realize it’s not what you really wanted in the first place and want you really wanted is right in front of you. I think this is really true about people. In my past 25 years I have realized that the people that really matter in your life are right in front of you. Sometimes they might be waving their hands frantically in your face saying “HELLO! Look at me!” Other times they are in the shadows secretly waiting for you to realize that you’re there for them. Sometimes we all need to step back once and awhile and smell the roses. Realize what truly matters in life. Who or what makes you happy? If something happens to you tomorrow, are you truly happy with your life? 
Don’t forget to tell the people in your life that you care about them because you never know when they might not be right in front of you anymore…


My Birthday Gift Guide!

So my birthday is on Thursday and I’m going to be a quarter century old! Man, does time fly! Of course, I’m totally awesome and you all want to buy me a kick ass gift, right? So I figured I would give you my birthday Top 8 List.

1. A Horse!

2. Scott Plasma 10 (Well, I own it, but someone could pay for it?)
3. A Quarq Power meter (Don’t worry, I have the Garmin already!)
4. A tropical vacation!
5. A new car (perferably a Subaru)
6. Someone to pay off all my student loans 🙂
7. To find the perfect graduate degree program where I can either get my masters or PhD in both Exercise Physiology and Nutrition!
                                                      
                                                                      8. A pair of Zipp wheels!

Ok, so I’m kidding. Although the above items would be nice, I’m not a materialistic person. I consider myself lucky that I have my health, a job, my education, and loving family and friends. All I want for my birthday is to enjoy the beautiful weather (did you hear it’s going to be 60 degrees?! And a full moon!) and to spend time with some lovely friends! Of course, if you do insist on getting me a gift. I really want a pony! 🙂

Irish Rover 5k Race Report

Finally… a good running race! After my failed attempt at running a good, strong race at the Cape 10 miler I needed a good race. I haven’t run a stand alone 5k in about a year and a half so I was overdue for a running race and a PR. If I didn’t PR then I think I was going to hang up my running shoes and give up now.

Anyway, I had a huge PR!! 25:55 is my new personal record! One minute and thirty seven seconds better than my 2010 PR! Yay! I finished 8/28 in my age group (this is my last race in the F20-24 age group, I officially age up on Thursday. Oh Boy.), 97/468 out of the women and 299/862 overall.

My coach told me to aim for 8:40-8:50 for the first mile and then hold on and finish at or around that pace. The gun went off and we all started. I had to fight for some ground to get around some people and keep my pace. I looked down at my watch and saw 7:59 pace. Wow! I haven’t seen that number since the one-mile time trials that I use to do with my run group. It helps that the first mile was a downgrade, but I knew the “big” hill was coming sooner than later. I considered slowing down because I wasn’t 100% sure that I could hold the pace. However, I felt good so I said screw it and just went for it! I huffed and puffed up the hill on Fore St, which sucked, but I have done that hill sooo many times that I knew I could do it. Then it was down by the cannons and back up to the turn around at Turner St. I got passed by at least one 9 year old and 70 year old. Damn, they were fast! At this point I was running about a 8:20 pace. I had definitely over dressed for the race and started heating up. Off came the hat and the gloves. Down the hill and up India St to Middle and to the finish. I was huffing and puffing and kept telling myself I was almost there. I’ve been reading Iron Wars so I started channeling my inner Mark Allen and Dave Scott (and if you haven’t picked the book up yet, I highly suggest it!)! I could see the finish! My legs were starting to get tired, but I was almost there! A friend yelled to pumped my arms and get moving, so I did! I could see the time clock ticking… 25:45, 25:46, 25:47…. damn, I want a sub-26:00! I pumped my arms and crossed the line at 25:55! Wahoo! 🙂

And then I wanted to puke, but I didn’t! I had a great race and I’m super pumped about it! It’s amazing what can happen when you actually start training correctly! I haven’t done much speed work, but I have done a lot of endurance runs that have definitely made a difference in my running! Plus, it helps that I have actually done all my run workouts. I have a half marathon in about 6 weeks so I’m excited to see what happens at that race. I hope the hell that I PR at that race, since the only other Half Marathon I did was when I was really sick!

 Here’s a lovely picture. I’m in the red (and yes, I got beat by the little 9-year old in blue)
Happy Training!

Overtraining: The Facts



It seems that many people throw the term “overtraining” around without actually knowing what the term truly means in the world of sports medicine. It’s actually quite a controversial syndrome. Some researchers even question if overtraining exists because a majority of research that has been conducted in this area investigated overreaching versus overtraining1. One of the major problems associated with research in this area is the lack of common and consistent terminology. For the purpose of this article I will use the terminology from Halson and Jeukendrup
  • Overtraining – An accumulation of training and/or non-training stress resulting in long-term decrement in performance capacity with or without related physiological and psychological signs and symptoms of overtraining in which restoration of performance capacity may take several weeks or months.
  • Overreaching – An accumulation of training and/or non-training stress resulting in short-term decrement in performance capacity with or without related physiological and psychological signs and symptoms of overtraining in which restoration of performance capacity may take from several days to several weeks1.
You might also hear people call overtraining syndrome the following: chronic or persistent fatigue (overfatigue), physical fatigue (staleness), emotional exhaustion (burnout), excessive use (overuse) and excessive work (overwork)2. All these different terms have caused confusion and difficulty when a diagnosis is needed. 
Overtraining occurs due to an imbalance between stress and recovery2. It other words, if your body is being stress through training and then not properly allowed to recover than you are putting yourself at risk for overtraining. However, several researchers have found that other stressors, such as psychological, lifestyle, malnutrition, and infection, may also be responsible for under-performance3
True overtraining is actually relatively rare. Gould et al. conducted a study of 296 athletes from 30 different sports at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. The study showed that 84 athletes (28%) were in overtraining2. In another Gould et al. study, it was observed that 8 out of the 83 American Olympic athletes (almost 10%) from 13 different sports at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Nagano reported to be in overtraining2. However, other factors may have been contributing to the athletes under-performance, such as excessive trips, decrease of resting periods, and jet lag2. A consensus of researchers have suggested the incidence rate of overtraining to be between 7% and 20%3
Athletes, especially endurance athletes, often engage in very hard training persistently to achieve better performance without being aware of the fact that physiological improvements in sports only occurs during the rest period following hard training2. A smart athlete and/or coach will include recovery in a training plan. Generally, one’s race season can be broken down into segments known as macrocycles consisting of: general conditioning (base phase), specific preparation, peak (competition cycle), sport-specific(usually after tri season), and regeneration phase (rest & recovery)4. Within each macrocycles are microcyles, which usually consist of several weeks of hard training followed by a recovery week of a reduced training load to allow for the body to response to the previous weeks of hard training. If training is not done correctly an athlete may suffer a physical or emotional injury and/or possibly overtraining.
Numerous signs and symptoms of overtraining have been identified but not all of them are necessarily present in each overtrained athlete. Also, just because an athlete might present any of the symptoms of overtraining does not mean he or she is overtrained. The ultimate determination of overtraining is if performance is impaired or plateaued3
Symptoms of Overtraining:
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Change in resting heart rate
  • Increase respiratory rate
  • Changes in arterial pressure
  • Increased basal metabolism
  • Depression
  • Mineral deficiencies
  • Increased susceptibility and severity to diseases, colds, and allergies
  • Recurrent viral or bacterial infections
  • Decreased performance
  • Extended recovery needs
  
The above list is only a sample of possible signs and symptoms of overtraining. It is important to note that excessive training is rarely the only reason for overtraining. Various factors such as general health and nutritional status, mood, personality type, age, medical conditions, socio-economic and psychological stressors, training history, environmental conditions, sleep, and drugs can all increase vulnerability to the overtraining state3
There are several possible underlying causes of overtraining syndrome and how the overtraining processes are initiated theories that have been suggested by researchers. These include: the Glycogen Hypothesis, the Central Fatigue Hypothesis, the Glutamine Hypothesis, and several other theories3. Diagnosis of overtraining syndrome is very difficult. Currently several markers (hormones, performance tests, psychological tests, biochemical and immune markers) are used, but none of the markers are generally accepted because they vary depending on the athlete5
Overtraining is rare, but an athlete can take steps to prevent it. The following are suggestions from several researchers:
  • Monitor performance through the training and competition cycles
  • Progressively increase the training load through periodization, but do not increase the weekly training load in more than 10%   
  • Keep a balanced diet
  • Control, the best of one’s ability, the psychological stressors external to physical training, such as family and professional pressure
  • Use active and passive recovery processes 
The key lesson to take away from this is that the physiological improvements in sports only occurs during the rest period following hard training. So train hard and recover hard!

References
  1. Halson SL, Jeukendrup AE. 2004. Does Overtraining Exist? An Analysis of Overreaching and Overtraining Research. Sports Med; 34(14): 967-981. 
  2. Alves RN, Pena Costa LO, Samulski DM. 2006. Monitoring and Prevention of Overtraining in Athletes. Rev Bras Med Esporte; 12(5): 262-266.
  3. Bandyopadhyay A, Bhattacharjee I, Sousana PK. 2012. Physiological Perspective of Endurance Overtraining – A Comprehensive Update. Al Ameen J Med Sci; 5(1): 7-20.
  4. Hobson W, Campbell C, Vickers M. 2001. Swim Bike Run. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 
  5. Meeusen et al. 2006. Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of the Overtraining Syndrome. European Journal of Sport Science; 6(1): 1-14. 
Happy Training!

Three Things Thursday

1. Insomnia – I’ve dealt with chronic insomnia all my life. It sucks. My parents will tell you that I was a pain in the ass baby. I would sleep for a couple hours, wake up, cry, get fed, fall asleep while eating, sleep for another hour and repeat the cycle over and over again. Yea, I was a nightmare. In college my insomnia was so bad that I had to take sleeping pills some nights. I hated taking the pills because I always would get the side effects. Major dry, bad taste in the mouth in the morning. So NOT fun! My insomnia has gotten better over the years. Having a regular daily routine and minimum stress level has made a huge different. But, the biggest help is exercise. But, my insomnia has reared it’s ugly head recently. Lately, I’ve been super stressed with lots of things going on in my life. We just got a HUGE contract order for a product that is due in about 6 weeks so it’s go time at work! I also start two new classes for school in two weeks. I finish up with my current class tomorrow and I’ll receive an A, which makes me very, very happy! I need two more A’s this semester to make up for that one B+ on my transcript I got in Health Economics last semester. I’m still mad about that. Grr… I’ve done pretty well so far balancing everything in my life so I just need to continue to stay on top of everything. Life is one big balancing act.

2. Tri Bike – My new ride will be here on Monday! SO SO EXCITED! I wasn’t so sure if it was going to happen about a month ago when my car died and I had to pay almost 2k in car repairs. My budget is tight, so I wasn’t so sure I could swing it. But, I forgot to take into account that my road bike will be paid off next month and thus frees up money to pay for the new one! Yay! I was originally planning on getting the Scott Plasma 20, but Scott kept pushing the manufacturing date back several months. It’s not available in my size until April 2nd. I considered waiting until then, but it was getting really close to Mooseman and I want as much time as possible to get comfortable on the bike. So I decided on getting the Scott Plasma 10. I have only ridden a tri bike once, on a trainer, so it will be different. I’m definitely a little nervous on my first road ride with her. I’m thinking a big, empty parking lot will be a good first ride…

3. Iron War – I just started reading Iron War by Matt Fitzgerald and I absolutely love it! I’m about half way through it and every time I pick it up I don’t want to put it down! Both Dave Scott and Mark Allen are amazing athletes and not to mention have the mental toughness that I lack. I’m definitely inspired by the two men and hope to channel their inner toughness during my races this year! If you haven’t read it yet, go buy it!

An Apology of Sorts

It has recently come to my attention that several people did not like a few things I mentioned in my previous post. I apologize if I offended anyone personally. I was not attacking anyone personally and perhaps my humor on the topic was not well received. Perhaps, I could have chose my words more wisely, but in all seriousness pool and/or lane etiquette is there for a reason. And that reason is for SAFETY. I lifeguarded for three years in high school. Between my swimming experiences and my lifeguard experiences I have pretty much seen it all, but last Sunday was a completely new experience. Now, I have absolutely no problem swimming with anyone in a lane, whether they are fast or slow. For example, I swam tonight it a lane with a local high school swimmer who regularly lapped me because I was slow. I also swam with a 10 year old girl who I often lapped. We made it work because we followed the rules.
The rules are generally posted on the wall at every pool. I hope that everyone reads them, but that is probably not the case. There were 50+ people in the pool on Sunday. Too many for two lifeguards. As a former lifeguard, this is a dangerous situation, and one that the lifeguards at this pool are not particularly use to. I talked to one of them after my swim to address my concerns for safety. 
I was at the pool for a little over an hour. I like to be in and out of the pool in an hour’s time because I know pool time is scarce and I want as many people to be able to get their workout done. During that time there were anywhere from 12-20 people trying to lap swim (plus the other 30 or so in the open pool area). During my high school swim years I regularly swam with about 10 people to a lane. I can deal with many people in a lane, but there is certain etiquette that needs to be followed to ensure everyone’s safety. Swimming is a dangerous sport. You can drown and you can die. It happens, and I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone I know. 
When entering a lane you should always make yourself known to the person(s) in the lane swimming. Don’t just jump in and go. If it is just you and another person then you can split a lane and stick to that side for the duration of the workout or until another person enters the lane. When a third person enters the lane then you begin swimming in a circle. Circle swimming is done counter-clockwise (you’d be surprised how many times I have seen people go the wrong way and then they crash in the middle). If you need to take a break then try and squeeze to the side of the pool lane so that the swimmers have room on the wall to turn. During my swim on Sunday I was not given any wall space to turn off of at one point because it was being blocked. Also, while people are swimming you don’t stand or stop and tread water for no reason. People, like myself who is in the zone, might not see you and swim into you causing injury. If you need to practice flip turns, please try to do it when someone is not swimming into you or during your laps. Also, if you are floating on your back on a pool noodle gossiping with your girlfriends, please either stop and swim or move outside of the lane. Lanes are reserved for people who are trying to swim laps. The open pool area is reserved for floating around and having yourself a good time.  
I have been swam over by several swimmer in high school and have swam over a couple myself in the past. I, by no means, wish to drown the person, but you learn pretty quickly how to work with a group of swimmers. There will always be someone faster than you and someone slower than you. I am no Michael Phelps, but I can hold my own in a pool. I enjoy swimming with faster people (generally HS, college or master swimmers) because they push me harder to become a better swimmer. I have no problem if a slower swimmer or a newbie would like to join me in a lane. I will answer any questions politely too. Just don’t be stupid and put yourself and anyone else in danger. Most pools have cones that mark swim ability levels. I try my best to find the correct lane that suits my swimming ability. The markers are there for your safety and also it is no fun to get in the fast lane and realize that you don’t quite make the cut. I’ve been there. I moved to a different lane because I was not comfortable. Please use commonsense.
As far as swim attire. Certainly, you are allowed to wear what you please, but please remember your audience and use discretion. I saw too many Ta ta’s fall out of some women’s little bikinis than I ever wanted too. There were also many young children at the pool. Personally, I don’t like seeing people’s private areas and I certainly don’t want anyone seeing mine in a public area. Besides, bikini’s cause drag in the pool. Some swimmer’s want this (i.e. that’s why it’s common to see a swimmer wear two suits at a time during practice), but generally you see women swimmers in a one piece bathing suit. Most pools require you to wear a bathing cap if you hair is longer than your chin. Personally, I think everyone should be required to wear one. It’s for hygiene reasons, just like you should always take a shower before entering the pool and also why you shouldn’t urinate in the pool.  
On Sunday after my swim I was in the locker room changing back into my street clothes. There was a mother in the locker room with her son that appeared to be about 8 years old. I had just finished toweling off and about the put my shirt on. The mother yelled at me because my breasts were exposed and her son was staring at them. I smiled politely and reminded her this was the women’s locker room. In my head, I was definitely saying something completely different. I was not trying to flash her son. I was trying to change. I’m sorry, but 8 year old boys do not belong in a women’s locker room. Next time, please have your son use the men’s room or try to find a separate family changing room. I understand that some pools do not have this option, but please do not yell at me because I did nothing wrong. 
When I am swimming I get in the zone and just want to be left alone. On Sunday I was not in the zone because I was very frustrated by the lack of commonsense at the pool. When stupid people do stupid things then bad things can happen. One summer I was lifeguarding at a local swimming hole. On really hot days we could easily get over 1000 people in one day. Those days were tough because you really had to pay attention because things can turn dangerously very quickly. I remember one day there were two boys, about 12 years old I would say, that were out on the raft playing. They started doing backflips. Flips of any sorts were not permitted in the park for safety reasons. We had a three strikes and your out rule at the park. We warned the boys once, and then the second time we called them in for a 5 minute time out at the lifeguard stand where we informed them the dangers of backflips. About an hour later one of the boys attempted another one and landed head first onto the raft. Luckily, the boy was fine and only ended up with a bloody nose and a big bump on the head. We found the boys mother (who was sleeping in the sun and not watching her children like she should have) and informed the two of them that they needed to leave the park for the day because her son was not following the rules. This situation could have been much worse. The boy could have easily broke his neck and died. There are rules for a reason.
I was very frustrated when I wrote my last post. I tried using humor to get my points across. Perhaps some people just didn’t get it or just thought it was in poor taste? The beauty of this country is that we have the freedom of speech. Do I think I could have said things differently? Of course. Will I take back what I said? No. If you want to call me stupid or not want to be my friend, that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.  

If you would like more information on proper etiquette then I suggest that you check out this website: http://www.cartegic.com/pooletiquette.htm.

Happy Training!