NO WALLS, NO BLACK LINES, AND NO LANE LINES- WOOHOO!

Ever since tackling my first open water race at the 2012 Georgia Games Open Water Meet, I’ve been hooked on racing in open water. Although it’s not as challenging as swimming in real open water like I used to swim in as a kid back in California, it’s still a greater challenge than racing in a pool. After all, the pool provides the security of lane lines separating each swimmer, and the visibility is perfect. Just follow the black line!

At Lake Allatoona, all I could see was my own arm out in front of me. Beyond my fingertips, I couldn’t see anything, including the bottom. At an estimated 84 degrees, the water was also much warmer than the cool 78 of a competition pool.

Seeing the buoys was also a challenge, because there were some blind curves of the land separating the 1K buoys from the 3K buoys which meant waiting until I swam around the point before sighting the next buoys I needed to turn around before heading back towards the finish line. Besides, it was so humid this morning that my goggles fogged up even after preparing them with anti-fog spray!

Don’t mistake these as complaints, though, because I couldn’t have been happier than when I was racing those 3K and 1K races today. As a matter of fact, as I was running up to the finish line of the 1K race, I said to myself, “Oh, bummer! This is about to end and I don’t want it to be over!”

I was truly in my element today and very happy with the results! Coming in at :49.35, I took about 12 minutes off my 2012 3K time. According to Rob Copeland who set the buoys, he said the two courses were accurate 3K’s. (Last year, everybody came in much slower, and Rob admitted the 3K course was longer than a 3K. At 1:17 for my 2013 3K time, I would have to agree!).

Although I was pleased with my 1K swim as well, I believe I came in slightly slower than 2012, but much faster than 2013. I’m not sure of my time today, because I saw the clock several seconds after I crossed the line. It was at about 20 minutes, but I’ll have to check the official results when they get posted.

Today’s fun was capped off with two silver medals to show for my efforts! The 3K gold medalist beat me by about three minutes, so I know I couldn’t have won. In the 1K, you can see from this photo that I didn’t lose by much. Pam McClure (in front) beat me by a relatively small margin; however, she swam the 1K fresh having passed on the 3K.

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My buddy, Mark Rogers did great today. He beat me in both the 3K and 1K, and he earned a silver and gold!

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One surprise today was running into a member of Sun City Peachtree’s Board of Directors, Ted Turner. As it turns out, he also won a silver medal in the 3K, but I happily beat him by around five minutes. :)

ElaineKrugman,TedTurner

The following photos show the conclusion of the 3K race:
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What a blast! Can I go back and do it again? Oh well, it’s time to turn my focus back to the pool to finish preparing for the 2014 FINA Masters Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada. After I finish on August 8, we’ll head to Quebec City for a few days before flying to Maryland for the 2014 USMS Summer Nationals at the University of Maryland.

In between competing and sight seeing, I plan to write when time permits. Stay tuned for more blog posts to come! (If you don’t see any posts before our return, they will be posted shortly thereafter!)

EDIT: Times are posted, and I came in 33rd overall of the 81 men and women who competed in the 3K race. In my age group, I came in 2nd of 7 women, and my time was 0:49:35.49. I also beat out 20 of the 33 women who were in younger age groups.

In the 1K, I came in 21st out of 69 swimmers, and I beat out 13 of the 22 younger women. My 0:20:13.39 time was four seconds out of first, but 2nd place of six women in my age group.

…BUT, NOT A PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITER!

The new issue of Kitchen Drawer is out and available here: http://issuu.com/kitchendrawer/docs/6_4_final
In this issue, I write about Susie and Zack Whatley (Page 50) and Laura DuBose (Page 59).

Would you like to receive Kitchen Drawer digitally on a regular basis? Make sure to subscribe at http://www.kitchendrawer.net/pages/subscribe .

Meanwhile, I thought I would make an attempt at re-writing my swimming anthem, “Aqualung,” by Jethro Tull. You will soon come to the conclusion that I am NO songwriter (nor do I ever hope to be)! This is just something I had to do for this song, though, in honor of my husband, Bruce who dutifully hums “Aqualung” before I race. You see, he calls me “Aquadog.” As a competitive swimmer, the nickname stuck and the song gets me psyched up!

So, que up “Aqualung” on YouTube and sing these words to the tune, instead:

Standing on the starting block–
psyched up for the race with good intent.
Crouching down the whistle blows–
exploding from the blocks off I go!
Hey Aquadog

Racing hard with all my might–
my flying arms are quite a sight!
Hey Aquadog

Feeling lactate in my blood–
I hope I don’t finish this race with a thud!
Whoa, Aquadog

Oh, I’m feeling old–
my arms slowing and struggling.
Getting through
the only way I know.
Arms hurting bad,
as I try to finish this race–
I dig down deep
my heart wants to succeed.

Feeling alone–
other racers are up ahead
if I’m to finish strong
it’s going to be all up to me.

Aquadog I am–
I will fight, not give up easy.
I may be slow, but
I’ll achieve, you’ll see.

I still remember
how fast I used to be–
when I swam faster butterfly,
back and breast, and even free.

“The older I get the faster I was”
that is my motto now,
but nothing is going to stop me,
my passion is swimming.

Oh, I’m feeling old–
my arms slowing and struggling.
Getting through
the only way I know.
Arms hurting bad,
as I try to finish this race–
I dig down deep
my heart wants to succeed.

Feeling alone–
other racers are up ahead
if I’m to finish strong
it’s going to be all up to me.

Aquadog I am–
I will fight, not give up easy.
I may be slow, but
I’ll achieve, you’ll see.

Aquadog I am–
I will fight, not give up easy.
I may be slow, but
I’ll achieve, you’ll see.

Standing on the starting block–
psyched up for the race with good intent.
Crouching down the whistle blows–
exploding from the blocks off I go.
Hey Aquadog

Racing hard with all my might
My flying arms are quite a sight!
Hey Aquadog

Feeling lactate in my blood–
I hope I don’t finish this race with a thud!
Whoa, Aquadog

Whoa, Aquadog!

BELIEVING IN YOUR DREAMS

Kitchen Drawer is a very cool (“Free to a good home”) magazine based in Griffin, Georgia. I started writing artist profiles for the magazine last year, and my first one appeared in the November/December issue. In addition to my artist profile in the current issue (Volume 6 Issue 3), another article I wrote was published. Check it out here: http://issuu.com/kitchendrawer/docs/6_3_final?e=0/8465165

Thanks to Betsy Harris, my writing mentor/editor/friend who encouraged me to submit this article. Allison Smyly and her staff at Kitchen Drawer get a big thanks for choosing to publish it! Finally, the biggest thanks of all goes out to my husband, Bruce Cook who always patiently honors my request to photograph and/or video my races. I love you!

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These are photos Bruce shot that didn’t make the cut:

My surgeon, Dr. Richard Braun

My surgeon, Dr. Richard Braun

ElaineKrugman

MY SWIMMING TWIN?

My swimming buddy, Debbie Duane is at USMS Spring Nationals and found my swimming twin! I’m not so sure she really looks like my twin; however, I’ll leave that for you to decide.

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We do have similarities that make me smile. Deb says Michal has a “bubbly personality” like me, and she is also a breaststroker in the 50-54 year old age group. Cool!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet my twin in person. I passed on attending Spring Nationals in Santa Clara, California in favor of spending my travel budget this summer. I will be competing in Montreal at Masters World Championships as well as USMS Summer Nationals at University of Maryland. There are a few days in between the two competitions, so we will be taking the train from Montreal to Quebec City to see the old city. From there, we will fly to Washington, D.C. and drive to College Park, Maryland for Nationals.

Meanwhile, today I competed at the Gwinnett County Senior Games. The good news is that I won six gold medals! The bad news is that I was the only competitor in my age group. I was the baby geezer at the pool!
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IT WAS GREAT WHILE IT LASTED

2012 Georgia Championship Series Award

2012 Georgia Championship Series Award

2013 Georgia Championship Series Award

2013 Georgia Championship Series Award

For the second year in a row, I won the Georgia Championship Series for my age group. This series is a United States Masters Swimming year-long competition that takes place in the state of Georgia. The trophy is awarded to the swimmer in each age group with the most accumulated points in a designated short course yards (25-yard pool) swim meet, long course meters (50-meter pool) meet, open water competition, and short course meters (25-meter pool) meet. To qualify, a swimmer has to participate in at least three of those four competitions throughout the year.

By no means am I the fastest swimmer in my age group. The way I win is by competing at all four events, swimming the maximum amount of races allowed at the pool meets, and racing the hardest events that most women my age would never attempt. Last year, only 16 women in the country in the 50-54 year old age group competed in the 200 meter long course butterfly, and 24 raced the 400 meter individual medley.

At the open water competition, I raced the 3K and 1K back-to-back both years and discovered how much I really enjoy swimming long distance events!

The Lotto motto is, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” My motto is, “You can’t win if you don’t show up!” Of course, for me, I also can’t win unless I race all of the difficult events that nobody else wants to swim. How else do you think I win 1st places in those tough events? I’m the only one in my age group crazy enough to race them!

I’m not that slow; however, there are a couple of my teammates who are Top Ten swimmers in the country. The gal who won high points at the first 2014 Georgia Championship Series meet is #1 in the country and used to swim for UGA (University of Georgia). At least I beat out the other three gals to place second for the meet.

Winning two years in a row was a combination of hard work, motivation, endurance, having tons of fun, and being lucky enough that the faster gals didn’t show up to all of the meets. This year, it looks like Ms. #1 is planning on competing at every meet—including the open water competition. Oh well, she’s a super nice gal and an awesomely fast swimmer.

It was great while it lasted!

SNOWPOCALYPSE AT “SUN” CITY PEACHTREE, GRIFFIN GEORGIA

For a town that averages two inches of snow per year and had no snow in 2013, this has been quite a frosty year!

We were housebound yesterday from an ice storm that caused thousands to lose power to their homes. Thankfully, our utilities are underground, so we stayed warm and toasty.

This was the scene this morning:
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LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW!

As a Southern California girl, snow isn’t something I have experienced very often. Before moving to Griffin, Georgia, I could count on one hand the times I had ever seen snow either falling or on the ground, and I had only seen it actually snow once. Since moving to Griffin in 2009, this is the second good snow storm we have had. Just like in 2011, this storm is expected to leave us with a few inches of snow on the ground, just enough to build a snowman just as Bruce and I had done during our 2011 storm.

Bruce and I just returned home from a rehearsal for a play (ironically, he performs “Summertime” in the prologue) that is supposed to be performed tomorrow and Thursday. I say “supposed to,” because we all just might become housebound due to black ice!

As I sit here writing this post, the snow is falling, and the temperature is 29 degrees and on its way to a low of 18. The predicted temperature for Saturday is 64/50! Is this crazy or what? Normal temperatures for this time of year are mid-50′s for the high and low-30′s for the low.

Here are some pictures taken just before returning home:
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