Day 13 (Sept. 16): Easy Breezey

I can’t believe I forgot to update yesterday! I guess it just slipped my mind, which is weird because I remember putting it down on my list of things to do before going to bed:

  • Read CBC News
  • Read the Ottawa Citizen
  • Read the Globe and Mail
  • Watch Global National

It wasn’t until this morning when I was sitting in my 9 a.m. journalism class that it hit me like a sack of potatoes. Luckily, it’s a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon. I’m finished all my classes for today and I think I’m going to set aside some Ah-it’s-finally-the-weekend time to get caught up. That is, before I dive right back into school work.

Yesterday was a pretty relaxing day. Aside from it being the coldest, rainiest day we’ve had in Ottawa since the beginning of school, it was altogether perfect. I didn’t have class until 11:35 a.m. so I lazed around in my room for most of the morning. I was reading over CP Style and my notes on the Ottawa municipal elections, getting ready for the quizzes in class.

I guess all that studying paid off (in terms of CP Style anyway)! I got 10/10 and pointed out a punctuation rule that our prof didn’t even know. To be fair, we were allowed to use our CP books. Our prof said the point wasn’t to watch us fail miserably while he throws his head back and cackles. The point was to get us in the habit of double- and triple-checking our style.

Side note: The rule I pointed out pertained to quotation marks. They’re used for titles of compositions since italics don’t work in all situations. For example, TV shows like “The Tudors” would be subject to this rule. The prof almost dismissed it as capitalization only … until I pointed it out, and indirectly made everyone else in my class lose a mark. So now I’m the public enemy, but at least I have perfect CP Style!

The municipal elections quiz was a different matter. Fortunately, it wasn’t for marks because I only got about three of the 10 questions. What can I say? I tried! I really, really tried, but Ottawa mayoral candidates just don’t rock my world. I have more interesting things to occupy my mind – like seeing how water becomes ice.

We spent the rest of the class talking about news values. It wasn’t bad at all! I really like our professor. He used to work at the CBC on and off for about 20 years so, as he likes to remind us, he’s not just a failed reporter who decided to teach instead.

After class, I had the whole night ahead of me, which I diligently used to get my readings done. It was too rainy to go anywhere anyway. Before I knew it, it was 8 p.m. and time to go swimming!

In swim practice, we focused on Individual Medley (IM), which is a combination of all four strokes into one race: butterfly, backcrawl, breaststroke and frontcrawl. Butterfly is my sworn enemy. Personally, I don’t understand it’s existence. It doesn’t look particularly graceful, even when you’re watching it in the Olympics. There’s just a whole bunch of splashing around. And for the vast majority of swimmers who are not anywhere near the Olympics, it just looks like you’re dying in a very complex manner. It’s the one stroke that is sure to give me a foot cramp, and my arms feel like they’re going to pop out of their sockets.

Breaststroke is really my favourite. It looks relaxing and yet you can actually move around pretty quickly. To my delight, we focused on breaststroke for drills. That’s good enough for me! In one particular drill, we had to focus on reducing the number of strokes we needed to take in order to complete one length of the pool. I got it down from 11 to seven. The art of the glide is truly lost.

The main set of IM didn’t turn out to be as bad as I thought. I was surprised to find that while my brain was strongly against the very idea of butterfly, the rest of me was working behind the scenes on correcting my stroke. What do I mean? Last practice, the people in my lane decided to swim IM when we were given free choice, and we have to swim as a lane. Case in point, I was floundering across the pool for a good nine laps in the ugliest butterfly I’d ever seen. It was horrible. I felt like the lifeguards were going to dive in after me any minute (of course, the fact that we’re in the shallow half of our 50 m pool didn’t help either).

But yesterday’s practice was a whole different experience. I was actually moving forward, not bobbing up and down in the same spot, flailing my arms uselessly. I daresay I kind of enjoyed it! Butterfly may not be very practical, but in small doses, I guess it’s not so bad.

Hoorah Moment: I was leading my lane for the whole practice! That’s right. I even beat that old lady who always passed me when I first started out. I think the swim cap made a big difference, but I like to think I’ve been improving.

This weekend, there’s something called Sport Day in Canada. I may be wrong, but I think it’s yet another government attempt to stop obesity. On Saturday, there’s going to be a free training session at our pool. The two Whitecap Masters coaches are going to run a free swim workout focusing on technique. It’s open to all intermediate and advanced swimmers. I can’t wait! It’s at 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., which I think is a good way to start the weekend.

There’s something so relaxing about swimming. For one hour, I don’t have to think about whether my sources are going to call me back, whether I can get my readings done, who’s going to be our next mayor, who the chief of the UN Nuclear Agency is, or what the difference between offensive and defensive realism is. For one solid hour, I can just enjoy being in the water, hearing and seeing absolutely nothing of consequence. If it weren’t for swimming, I don’t think I’d survive university! You can always tell how stressed I am by how often I go to the pool. At Christmas exams last year, I swam about five times a week.

So there we have it. I guess I was too tired after swim practice and blogging took a back seat, making way for sleep. I’m definitely feeling the aftermath of that workout. My arms and legs are so sore! I need to stretch.


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