Monthly Archives: June 2012

Swimming is Hard

IMG_0981_-300x400Swimmers, please know that I have the utmost respect for you. I've been swimming consistently for more than a month and realize now that stuff is crazy hard! Growing up, I had a handful of "lessons" in the pool of a family friend when I was somewhere around 6 yrs old that provided me just enough proficiency to keep me from killing myself. I never learned how to keep my head down or breathe and picking up a few weeks agomy stroke and kick, of course, were nowhere near efficient. Now that I can breathe and no longer freak out about putting my face under water, I'm learning to put some other pieces together.

My Problems

When first starting to train, every time I became anaerobic (ran out of air) swimming I assumed the reason was that I couldn't get a good breath, which made sense because, well, I couldn't get a good breath! Since then, Amie James, a local cyclist/runner/triathlete/fitness advocate, has beat into me the proper method of turning the head (rather than lifting it) to breathe. Unfortunately, even breathing better now, I still wear myself out quickly.

It seems my next problem is my legs. I'm a cyclist. And a little bit of a runner. So when I get into the water, I expect to use my legs. In distance swimming I think now that's a serious no-no. My strokes have been too slow and my kicks too fast, so I'm working hard now to hit the right tempo on each so that I won't tire so quickly.

The last 2 times I've been out I haven't received any coaching. Hopefully the next time I'm watching everything will look golden, including the way my arms enter the water. At first, I was stretching out too far and then slapping the water. This still happens some when I'm beginning to get short on breath. Ug! This is so much more complicated than running and riding! I think also that I haven't yet developed the arm endurance to keep things going for a long time. After all, I hadn't been doing any upper body exercise before I started all this.

I've got a long way to go to get where I want to be, but I want to give a super huge thanks already for all of Amie's help, and everyone else that's been helping me; the water is a different world for me! To any serious swimmers out there, mad kudos! And come join me in the water some time!

Blessings and Shalom,
Aaron

Musical Theatre

IMG_0978-300x225I'm excited to announce that I will be playing for musical theatre for the first time next month! At the end of July, I'll be playing french horn for Port Arthur Little Theatre's summer production of "Oliver!" As always, I hope this will solidify my name as a skilled and dependable local horn player.

I've wanted to play in a pit for a long time. Stage, at least from the outside, seems to create a one-of-a-kind bond among those involved. Bringing together visual arts and music is so powerful, it's got to effect the participants in a big way. I've imagined it to have the same electric feel as marching, something I haven't done in 10 years. Now if only I could talk them into letting me play and act!

I don't yet know what the pit environment will be like at Lamar State College, Port Arthur's, theatre. I've played orchestra concerts there, but didn't notice a stage addition to cover a recessed pit. Oh, the excitement is almost uncontainable! I picked up the music this morning and have flipped through it. The part isn't incredible difficult, but certainly isn't something I could sight read at a rehearsal. I can tell the biggest challenge will be endurance; there are 45 pages of music in my part with hardly any extended rests, though there will of course be breaks during speaking.

Taking the Oliver! gig will mean cutting back on cycling for 2 weeks, but my hopes are to push hard until then and use the time as recovery hitting some late summer races. Swimming will have to continue since it's my weakest of the sports in a tri.

I hope you can share some of my excitement and, perhaps, come watch (listen to!) the show. Performance dates are listed in the Life section of the site.

Blessings and Shalom,
Aaron

Update: I learned last night that there is an orchestra pit to the side of the audience, but it is insufficient for our group and too loud for the theatre, so we will be playing in a room backstage and live music will be played on the sound system in the theatre.

Dream Job

I've decided on a dream job. I can't stand working 8-5 just to fund the things I love to do outdoors. Again, if (since) I've got to work, I love engineering, especially the relaxed environment of my current job. However, this is just not my ideal way to spend 8 hours of every day of my young life. Everyone says you should do what you love and, well, what I love most is being outside. And active. On my own schedule and unbound. That last one is what causes problems for thinking about ever changing careers.

If I were retired at my current  age, I would spent my days climbing, cycling, racing, kayaking and fishing. Now I realize there would indeed be a job that could include each of those. And since it seems to be so trendy right now, it seems that freelance writing should be my dream job. Tons of the articles in outdoor magazines are written by freelancers and it seems those mags don't seem to care too much about high quality writing. I figure I could keep pace with Bubba-with-a-5th-grade-education's fishin' log, don't you?

I can't imagine how many folks submit pieces to adventure mags about their stories, so don't look for me to quit my day job any time soon, but how nice would it be to take trips and write about the thrills of a multi-pitch in a distant land, a rod doubling over from a fish that weighs more than my kayak, or what my first triathlon was like. Perhaps if I planned on being single for a lifetime I'd take a year off and give it a shot, sink or swim. Alas, freelance does seem like too big of a jump. But that's what makes it all a dream job. And what would be be without dreams?

Shalom,
Aaron