Getting thing Ready for a Birthday Party


My eldest daughter turned 3 last Sunday, and now we are getting ready for her party tomorrow! She’s really excited about it. It’s going to be her “Princess Tea Party”. In the mean time it’s all about getting everything cleaned and ready.

It will be worth it just to see her smile, and just maybe I’ll get a chance to take her to the pool tomorrow. Or out hiking, or whatever she wants to do!

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Doing Yogas: After 30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne

My little girl, who is all of 3 years old, calls stretching, posing, or general larking about “doing yogas”. Extra emphasis on the extra ‘s’. It’s pretty adorable, and she likes to do some of the yoga poses with us. Courtney and I made it through our 30 days.

So, after 30 days, what were my thoughts about Adrienne’s videos?

She’s goofy and a fun instructor to follow along, even on a video. The videos vary in length and content giving you something new every day. More importantly she encourages discovering your own practice as you move through the 30 days. It also helped us unwind at the end of the day.

We are actually planning on going back through the videos, and I’ve learned a few stretches and poses that help me recover from running and swimming.

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Split Pea and Cauliflower Soup

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It’s soup weather, and I’ve been playing around with making soup. Being new to the whole making soup thing beginning with some potato soup a few months back. Split pea soup has been an idea for around 2 years, I’ve purchased and split peas two or three times only to get rid of them or carry them across country without using them.

But I finally used them. They didn’t come out perfect, they still had a little more texture than they’re supposed too – assuming that mushy is the right texture.

I set the peas in to soak. I started with the base of a diced onion and eight small cloves of garlic in coconut oil. Then added 3 liters of water some squash, kale, and cauliflower along with oregano, salt and black pepper, and thyme to taste.

Under my wife’s urging I didn’t make it with curry powder or chili powder – my usual standbys.

Rice served as a base and it ended up delicious. Oddly the baby of the house loved it, although our brand new 3 year old wouldn’t try it.

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Interval Sets in the Pool: That and Ladder Sets


It’s a bit funny to come back from USRPT for so long and then write up something on interval sets. USRPT is entirely interval sets with a particular frame of reference. For most of us interval sets are the best ways we know of maintaining paces for long times.

It also gives us a solid foundation for our marriages to the pace clock. Marriages as you know need time, and nothing can glue your eyes to a pace clock like doing interval sets for a couple hours a day.

Ok the basics: you do multiples of a particular distance on a particular time. For instance:

Do 10 repetitions of 100 yards on 2 minutes.

Or expressed in swimmer short hand:

10×100 on 2:00

Now that means as you swim the 100s if you finish before 2 minutes you rest until the clock hits 2 minutes, then you set off on the next one. You can also set a target time with an anticipated amount of rest.

10×100 on 1:45/2:00

This means that you are shooting for the 1:45, and then take 15 seconds rest to leave on the two minutes.

Now all of this depends on what pace you can hold. You could also do much faster pace work with more rest. Or you could allow the motivation for speed to be the increased rest that comes with finishing faster. Swimming sets can also be done over longer distances allowing even more accurate measure of your pace.

Longer distances like 300s, 400s, 500s and so on give you a chance to measure your pace as you hold it for longer times. This is incredibly helpful if you are trying to improve for a long distance swim or a triathlon. For iron man swimmers, doing sets of 1000s can really help give you a sense of what pace you can hold.

I should insert a chart here to let people know how to calculate times for longer distances, but I’ll put that in on another day. Tomorrow I will write up something about how we set our pace for work outs using T30s, T3000s, and other trial sets.

For now, I will say that if traditional interval sets get old, mix in some ladder sets. For example these are calculated on the 1:45 pace:

100 on 1:45
200 on 3:30
300 on 5:15
400 on 7:00

That’s a 1000 yard set broken up. Repeating it gives you 2k, and you can do that either by climbing the ladder again or going back down. Add a crest of 500 before heading down and you get 2500 yards – just a little over the distance required for a half iron man.

On of my favorites is done with just rest intervals (10s of rest between each distance):

50 on 10s
100 on 10s
150 on 10 s
200 on 10s
Repeat 2x

That’s another 1000 yards. When you do sets on rest intervals you can check your pulse after your done to see what effort you were at.

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Hallowed by thy Name


‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

‘Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Hallowed Be Your Name

This should confuse us. Even if for a little bit.

Why does god need us to declare that he is God?

It’s a discontinuity of recognition.

C.S. Lewis declared at one point that he could not understand the psalms ceaseless devotion to praising God. Was the almighty so narcissistic that he needed our praise? It was a good question. The answer that eventually came to Lewis was this: a principle part of enjoyment is praise.

If you like a meal, you compliment it.

If your friend helped you through a troubling time, you thank them.

If you had a good run, you grunt in satisfaction as you stretch – always stretch after running.

This however does not really account for adding the words Hallowed be thy name. It would be nice if it did, if this were an outflowing of praise.

Instead what we get is this discontinuity, God is God, but we here are called to hallow, not keep hallowed his name. It is a prayer to God, which implies that this is part of a request and part of the requests that follow. By God’s power is God’s name hallowed.

Which makes sense. Hallowed means to make holy or to be holy, and only by God’s power can anything become holy.

This discontinuity recognizes something true about us.

We do not know that God is God in our hearts, minds, lives, communities, churches…

We find it much easier to live as practical atheists – when we say we believe in God but our hearts and minds are far from him. Recognizing God, means accepting what God is doing, wants to do, and will do in us, with us, through us, and even without us.

This little clause makes this implicit: we need to be reminded every day about who God is to us.

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A Blessing for my First Born on her Third Birthday!


My daughter turns three today. It’s really hard for me to believe that she has survived three years of my parenting. Courtney is truly a saint. Only yesterday, I read Augustine to her late at night to help her sleep and sang Charles Wesley Hymns to her in the hospital. Well, maybe it was longer than that. She’s picked up books and memorized songs all since that day, and I cannot help but think she’s learning and growing faster than I will ever be able to really come to terms with.

But oh can I wonder and oh can I marvel.

So, this blessing is for my daughter Jane.

Holy Father,
bless the child of your making.
Let her know who you are all the days of her life,
In waking let her love you and serve you,
In dreaming let her have your peace to surround her,
Make her paths straight to come to you,
and give her happiness every day of her life.

be her companion,
and her shield,
Be her friend,
and her inspiration,
Comfort her in affliction,
and soften her heart for service.

Teacher, Spirit,
show her the ways of wisdom,
show her the ways of courage,
show her the ways of  justice,
show her the ways of temperance,
ground her in hope,
build her in faith,
and overflow her with love.

Teacher, Spirit,
May she find your horizons ever before her,
May she find curiosity that never ends,
May she have discipline to play and create,
That she might explore her creator,
That she might explore herself as creation,
That she might wander at the works of your hand.

Warm her heart that she might desire you,
and bless her family that they might serve you together
and grow in your grace and love always,
to your glory and honor, now and forever.

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Heart Rates in the Pool

nother day, another debate with my friend the TI Coach. This time it was over heart rates during training. I don’t usually consider myself having pushed myself until I’m hitting around 180 for my heart rate, and my warm ups are usually around 100-120 heart rate when I am really slacking.

When I swam for Texas Aquatics age group team back in high school, I was first introduced to swimming for heart rate. To be fair, I wasn’t the best at listening to my other coaches, so they might have had us doing heart rate work earlier than this. This is when it stuck in my head, during meet warm up we would do 3-5 x 50 yard swims on peak heart rate. It was a way of prepping us to race.

Measuring heart rate in the pool isn’t the same as on land. No one really has a fancy gizmo that can measure it for you. Put your fingers to your neck and count the beats for 10 seconds. For swimmers that are slaves of the pace clock already, this is really easy to do. For everyone else, think of this as acclimatizing to the insane slavery to the pace clock.

If you measure your hear rate for 10 seconds between parts of a set or at the end of a set you should get somewhere between 15 – 35 (90 – 210 beats per minutes). You can figure out what it means for you to have 80% or 90% of your max hear rate by doing a little mental arithmetic (220 – your age = max heart rate). Divide that max hear rate by 6, then that should be 100%.

Now experience triathletes and runners know that you can push this past that max heart rate, but that’s not advisable without an incredible cardio base and CONSULTING A PHYSICIAN – probably not the one in the pool with you with their heart rates above max.

Quite simply put – the closer your heart rate is to the 35 or whatever your max is the harder you are pushing yourself. If you aren’t getting your heart rate up increase your recover rate and put more pressure on the water while maintaining good form. In other words: GET MOVING! My TI friend works pretty hard over long distances, but I think he needs to get his heart rate up to really see any improvement.

Not all parts of our work outs need this type of intensity, but knowing what you can hold for long distances also determines your speed for long distances. For instance, my heart rate is around 100 for sets on the 1:30 pace freestyle, and I can hold that indefinitely. But if I push to a 1:06 pace, my hear rate is 160+ which I can hold for about 10x100s when not in great shape (like right now). As I train to hold the heart rate higher for longer, it takes more work to get that heart rate range – in other words to get my hear rate past the 160 range I have to go very hard and cannot hold it for long, but after a few months/weeks I can go the same speeds with a lower hear rate.

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