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Before You Swim

Specifically we are talking about eating after waking up and before swimming, also distance swimming. Keeping digestion time in mind.

The body stores glycogen in the liver and blood/muscles. About 20% in the liver, which is lower in the morning. However the remaining 80% obviously provides more energy and is about 2000 calories, sufficient for 2 hours of high intensity exercise and is unaffected by sleep. It is however more important to eat after swimming, a mix of protein for muscle repair and some cabs to metabolize it.

I regularly don't eat at all before morning swimming and have no problems. Some of it is just experience and confidence and getting used to how my body works, and not worrying about people telling me I had to eat.

Whether you need to eat before swimming is more about personal preference than anything else. I do intermittent fasting, and almost never eat anything before I swim, or run, or bike, or lift weights, and thousands of other people do the same.

That being said, I've read from plenty of people who have to eat before they work out, so my advice is to do what works for you.

However if I am planning a longer 2 hr plus swim, then I make sure to eat.

Top of my list, like a lot of swimmers, is porridge. I hate porridge though I've gotten used to eating it. I avoid processed food when heavy training and don't believe in advocating its use as it sets bad habits.

A better solution is a home-made smoothie. I use low-fat natural or Greek yoghurt, frozen or fresh berries, half a cup of oats, and apple or orange juice. Easy to make, quick, delicious and easy to eat, 1 minute getting stuff from fridge, 20 seconds in a blender and both tasty and high in protein and carbs.

You can enhance it by the occasional addition of iron-rich water, if you do this make sure there are no grapes or grape juice which blocks metabolisation of iron.

I eat both before all longer swims, though I don't swim marathons, and while I love coffee, I mostly only drink de-caff most so that I can maximize the ergogenic effects of caffeine during a swim.

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Me Casual /= You Casual

My co-workers all wear t-shirts jeans, yoga pants cardigans plus some casual footwear like trainers. Limited make up. A lot of people here just wear jeans all week long. Then only "dressing up" when they know somebody important is going to stop in that day.

This is not who I am.

I dress casual for me. And in a causal work environment that means in a manner that I feel comfortable with and am able to give my all.

Of course I don't wear heels at the lab, and footwear that doesn't leave me hurting at the end of the day is a must. I stay true to my style which is more dressed up that casual. That is to say I wear tailored trousers/culottes, shirts/blouses, and dresses that are a little less fitted/tailored.

I feel the need to dress up more to be taken seriously in my role.

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Flip Flopper

Rainbow Sandals!

I'm from California and have pretty much lived in Rainbows for most of my adult life. So I feel that I know a thing or two about flip flops, and while they are not considered fashionable in other parts of the country. In most warm weather states – from here on known as "The Good States" – you will see them everyday. Weather permitting or not.

When it comes to Rainbows the double layer is better, it will last a little bit longer, and is worth the slightly higher price.

They are offered in plenty of colors, but we will talk about light and dark. If you pick your first pair up I would also recommend a darker color.

I have owned lighter and darker, and the darker ones won't show dirt like the lighter tan ones do. Which really depends on the amount of wear. Like I said, I had them on most days. They look nice when combined with the right clothing.

Also, remember, and I say this with the utmost seriousness; do not get the sandals wet. Here I don't have that much of an excuse to do so but I have and I know other people who have done so and they will start to crack. They will also stain your feet if you wear them wet. Not that it impacts their life, a bit maybe, the sandals will still last you a long time, keeping them dry this just ensures they will last you longer.

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Transitory: High School Girl – College – Young Professional

Girls love to watch MissAlex for one simple reason (at least it is simple to me) she can rock even when she is wearing casual clothes. The answer is that these women spend hours getting prepped, turning and sucking in and bending, taking 100 photos, then filtering the good ones out. It's a full time job

When I moved from high school to college I realized that more than one thing was in transition. College is kind of the transition in fashion as well.

You get to go from high school girl to young woman in a few short years and you see yourself differently. Then one you finish you dress like the young working professional, all of this means you will be wearing different clothes.

Finding the right look — for me it comes down to three things — my body, material, and tailoring.

I realized that really fast fashion from shops like F21 and H&M, it just doesn't work for me any more — it is because of thin fabrics, lack of structure — but most importantly my body just didn't have the same perky, tight lines to make those clothes work. This is probably the biggest problem.

On top of that even if I could make them look good I have come to the realization that cheap materials look fine in the beginning and then after light use get stretched/shrunk out of shape, colors fade/dim, and just generally look "worn" after awhile. Okay, fast fashion I know what I am buying. But I am willing to pay attention to quality when I buy clothes and focus on better materials and quality.

Which is something that I had never done before. It is easy to fall into a pattern of unflattering sloppiness, even if that it is unintentional.

Back on to the topic of fashion bloggers, I actually prefer to look at models and seasonal lookbooks. I have my favorite brands and since it is a lookbook I know that they are models. For some reason it does not make me feel bad, nor do I try to keep up.

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Putting I In Individualism

I remember reading an article a while back which talked about Pope Francis' criticisms of individualism. Turning to the saints for their examples, we see a variety of temperaments, interests, and skills. You don't the saints as the same cookie-cutter people. They were unique and that is what we as a society and a Church needs.

There seems to be a number of different ways of defining 'individualism', I've lately been wondering what Catholic teaching might say about other definitions of the word.

I read once that all heresies are truths being unproportionaly magnified or minimized.

I think the dangerous part of individualism is that it can encourage us to focus on ourselves rather than others.

This is what the Church teaches against when it speaks of individualism. Modernity, certain aspects of liberalism and certain aspects of conservatism may do that. While the saints are quite diverse, they all show a devotion to God and a concern for their neighbor rather than a self-centered focus on their own desires.

As you see two distinct ways of viewing the same subject with two very different outcomes.

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Flexible Goals Are My Stratagem

I don't reach goals, I just change them and update them. This works for me and allows me to move in a direction that is both rewarding and encouraging. It's not really about reaching goals for me anyway, but to maintain my health.

Let me explain.

My goal one year ago was to run sub 50 minutes 10k. Now, my goal is to run sub 45 minutes 10k.

This is just an example, of course, as I have more goals. I learnt to go by performance, rather than aesthetics, as with only aesthetics it feels sort of useless. I mean you reach your aesthetic goal and then what?

It's not like you can just stop and remain there.

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The Wire

When the Wire came out I was blown away. And in truth I still am. It's so far ahead of anything else I've ever watched that I almost wish I hadn't watched it, because it has set the bar too high for both television shows and films.

I think the last season was the weakest by far. I get what they were doing, but the serial killer storyline was just ridiculous.

The Baltimore Sun storyline was tedious.

It lacks the subtlety, nuance and elegance of past seasons in regard to the way it explores its themes. It's not horrible or anything, and I still like parts of it, but the writing just wasn't up to par in general. Every other aspect of the season is weaker and more in your face as well. Even starting with Bunk practically winking at the camera with the most on the nose dialog ever.

I've seen people excuse it with the cliché "the worst season of The Wire is still better than most TV," but that's a nonsensical metric.

Let's be real for a minute in our make believe world. The majority of television is just trash, as is true of any medium. That it's better than shows that aren't worth watching in the first place doesn't mean much. It not unreasonable to expect quality on the level of what had already been achieved in earlier seasons, so for me it disappoints. Especially right after season 4, which was probably my favorite.

Season 2 was great.

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Improving My Kick

Just a quickie today. I am working to improve my kick. When you swim you need to have your motions flow smoothly. Kick from the hips. Make sure that you do not keep your legs completely straight (here is a good example). That means that you need to allow enough bend in your knees that you slightly break the water.

Your knees can bend but not too much. If you are kicking and your knees are coming down and forward, then you'll actually be propelling yourself backwards.

Make sure you're rolling your hips as you kick with each leg and that your legs are slightly turned inwards so that your feet aren't just slapping up and down.

Imagine you're kicking in a bucket. Obviously point your toes. This should work as a cue. You don't want to take big sweeping kicks, but rather smaller ones so don't kick any wider than the width of a bucket.

Kick faster not deeper if you want to move forward more.

Good form is the most important thing in pretty much every single sport, but much more so in swimming and running. It is easier to get it right from the start, and knowing the right drills to help with that will definitely put you at an advantage.

Swimming, unlike nearly every other sport, has no 'shock' movements.

Water workouts, by their nature, are 'replenishing'. Think of a rehabilitating runner, where do they start? With water-work. The water 'soaks up' injuries.

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Blending Reality

I think that color does as much for a movie as the story, acting, and direction. For example the vibrant use of neons in Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon. Both of these films are hypnotic. Everything about both of those movies pops off the screen.

Michael Mann's LA films have an aesthetic, both Heat and Collateral are some of my favorites. Drive replicates it to an extent too. Yet for me Miami Vice contains some of Mann’s best cinematography. It is a film that is usually overlooked.

The whole production did some amazing things on the digital side, as well as seamlessly mixing occasional 35mm footage throughout. The original series was filmed in 35mm, it was an extreme expense at the time for most series, and used similar colors. The production values helped set it above others.

The film Miami Vice drew a lot from the original series not just the aesthetics but the whole ambiance which was skillfully crafted together.

Mann is one of the greats.

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A Hymn Before Vatican II

Why Catholics Can't Sing by Thomas Day

The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph of Bad Taste

Have you realized how bad the US hymn selection is when you attend Church?

Then I would suggest "Why Catholics Can't Sing," written by Thomas Day. He is a professional Catholic organist who lived through the Vatican II era and also taught sacred music at university.

Italian, Spanish, and Mexican parishes have long had boisterous vernacular hymns, but these "ethnic" Catholic cultures were never really mainstream. Yet, we have long been left with the standard Catholicism, which in its roots was Irish American Catholicism, which hated high church innovation and had a very weak, very new repertoire.

The Irish Americans also were proud of their silent and somber heritage, though. For this reason, high masses were avoided in favor of music-less low masses.

And even though Irish Catholics in America were suddenly in a land where they were free to sing, and sing, and loudly, what would they sing?

There was no culture of hymns from their motherland, because you can hardly sing congregational hymns while under persecution. Were they supposed to adopt Anglican hymns, now that they were in the New World? How could they, after having to bear the humiliation of walking past proud and vibrant Anglican churches singing hymns loudly while attending secret masses in barns. Instead, you got a collection of hymns that mimicked the style of music popular among Irish American urbanites- and a small repertoire at that.

In.. the '40s? '50s? A liturgical revival started, which enthusiastic lliturgists started assembling little boys choirs and scholas. They started trying to reintroduce chant and polyphony into masses.

This was cut short in the '60s by Vatican 2.

People have asked me why I don't always sing along. And I give the standard answer, the one where you just say it to move on. "I'm a bad singer." Actually I love to sing, but I just don't like the songs that we have to choose from. They sound like hack music. And some are just plain bad.

How do you tell the bad from the good? Look through your hymnal for things copyright before 1960s for examples.

When you find one notice that the hymns all end with doxologies- a verse of praise to the Trinity.

This is a feature of hymns that should be reinstated to our current use of them, because it reminds us of the purpose of our singing which can so easily be forgotten with some modern music.