Wednesday, October 7, 2009

EF error: 'Date' is not supported in LINQ to Entities.

I got a strange error from EF today. The error was:

"The specified type member 'Date' is not supported in LINQ to Entities. Only initializers, entity members, and entity navigation properties are supported."

My query was something like this:

from log in context.LogEntries
where log.EndDate > DateTime.Now.Date
select log;

It took me a while to figure out what was going on. It was simply that I couldn't use the .Date property on DateTime in the query itself.

The fix was simple, use a local variable to store the Date value and then use that variable in the query:

DateTime today = DateTime.Now.Date;
from log in context.LogEntries
where log.EndDate > today
select log

If I had to guess what was going on, I would guess that EF must do some translation of DateTime.Now to the GetDate() method in T-SQL. So, when I tried DateTime.Now.Date, it wasn't able to do the translation to T-SQL. Instead when I used a variable it simply translated that to a T-SQL Server datetime value.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Elbow injury - "terrible triad" - Ketamine experience

This is part 3 of 4 posts I have written about my elbow surgery. You can read them all here:
Part 1: The Emergency Room 

Part 2: Surgery and Recovery
Part 3: The Ketamine Experience

Part 4: Follow Up

In the Emergency Department
I was in the emergency department for a broken arm and dislocated elbow. I was given Propofol for conscious sedation. For some reason, I wasn't completely knocked out by the Propofol and the emergency room staff was not able to reset my elbow. After a couple failed attempts, they decided to give me Ketamine to completely knock me out so they could really yank on my arm. The experience was very intense, so I thought I would describe it.

The medical staff entered my area in the emergency room, a bed with curtains drawn around it. There were six or seven people in the area. It felt a little crowded.

They did a safety pause. They said who I was and what procedure they were going to do (an elbow reduction) and what side was going to be worked on. They began to give me the Ketamine and asked me how I was doing. I think I responded once before the Ketamine took effect.

My Ketamine experience

I was knocked out and had no idea what was happening. At a measured pace, I started realizing that normal things just simply were not real. I would think of something, like one of the houses I lived in and as I pictured it in mind, it simply dawned on me that it simply wasn't real. I knew the thing I was picturing simply did not exist, as if it were a figment of my imagination. It was rather matter of fact. Every time I thought of something concrete, in my drugged state, I would realize it was fake. It felt like reality was literally falling away from me. Soon connections between things were falling away. I would picture two locations and how to get from one place to another. Within seconds of thinking of it, it would fall away because I knew it simply was not real. Now, as I realized things were not real, I would forget they even existed.

I started picturing peoples faces, and they would fall away from reality. I pictured my physical body and that fell away. Nothing I knew was real. Life simply was not real. All I saw was a huge white plain with a grid and light. I had the sense of energy coming from the light and from the point where my non-physical being was. This is what was real and nothing else. Nothing mattered, nothing ever existed and nothing had meaning. I could not even remember anything from the real world. I had no concept of people, of places, of self or even time. None of that ever existed.

I began to observe my situation. My first thought was: if this is what it feels like to be schizophrenic, I now completely understand what that feels like. The second, scarier thought I had was: is this what death feels like? Did I die? Did something go wrong during the procedure? I felt fine and happy. I thought if this is death, it's not bad -- I was okay with it. I am not a religious person, but I can see how this could be a moving experience for a religious person.

Slowly, I started to come down. I started picturing things from my life again. I pictured houses I had lived in, people in my life, and for some reason maps and roads. Even though I could picture them, I didn't know if they were real. It was really confusing and a little bit scary. I remember picturing different things and thinking over and over: "I don't know what's real." I think I might have even been saying that out loud. This lasted for a little while.

I was becoming aware of more things. I could hear someone talking to me. It was the nurse. She asked me how I was doing and I think I responded "I don't know what's real anymore." I remember feeling or seeing my bad elbow above my face and thinking that's simply not real. I remember also repeatedly saying in a slow dragged out voice "wowwwwwww". I think the medical staff was getting a kick out of that. I think I remember someone giggling a little bit.

At this point, I think the staff went to get my girlfriend Kate. She later told me they seemed a little panicked, as if they wanted her in my area as soon as possible. She came in and talked to me. I opened my eyes and saw her and it was great. I was so happy to see her face and know she was real. I was slowly starting to feel grounded again. I was pretty sure Kate was real now, and I knew I was in a room surrounded by a curtain, but I had no idea what was outside of the curtain. I was talking to Kate and the nurse, but for some reason I couldn't really see the nurse's face. It is hard to describe.

Nothing existed outside of my little curtained space. I now started picturing more physical things in my life and somewhat realizing they were real. I still had doubt in my mind that all these things were simply my imagination and that only that plain of white was real. As I talked to Kate and the nurse more, I came back to the real world again. I felt like I had been gone for an unmeasurable amount of time. It could have been days, but I think I was only out for 5 or 6 minutes. I'm really not sure. I do barely remember at one point having an MRI taken, but I have no idea when that was.

I'm not really sure, but I think it was several hours before I felt fully grounded in reality. It was as if I had quickly gotten back to 95% reality, but the last 5% took a while.

Looking back, I think that "white plain of energy" was actually the white drop ceiling of the hospital room. I remember there being a grid in the plain and it was about the same size as the ceiling tiles. That seems rather dumb now.

Also, the experience was very reminiscent of the Matrix movie. This is not one of my favorite movies, so I really doubt the movie had any influence on my during this experience. If my experience is typical of someone on Ketamine, I would venture a guess that the person who wrote the Matrix was inspired by a Ketamine experience. Really, it seems like the Matrix is a Ketamine trip with a little plot thrown in.

So, that's my Ketamine experience. It wasn't that bad, but it wasn't that good either. I guess I would say it was unsettling. I wouldn't do it by choice, but if I needed it in a medical emergency I would say yes. When I went in for my surgery a couple days later I asked them to avoid using Ketamine during the procedure if possible -- it was very unlikely, but I wanted to make sure they knew how I felt.

One final note to end on is that the ER staff mentioned that Ketamine is actually used in children more. Yikes!

This is part 3 of 4 posts I have written about my elbow surgery. You can read them all here:
You can read them all here:
Part 1: The Emergency Room 
Part 2: Surgery and Recovery
Part 3: The Ketamine Experience

Part 4: Follow Up

Monday, June 22, 2009

Elbow injury - "terrible triad" - surgery and recovery

This is part 2 of 4 posts I have written about my elbow surgery. You can read them all here:
Part 1: The Emergency Room 

Part 2: Surgery and Recovery
Part 3: The Ketamine Experience

Part 4: Follow Up
In my last post I described how I broke my arm/elbow and the experience of the emergency room. This post describes what happened after the emergency room.

After the Emergency Room
In the days following the visit to the emergency room, I was drugged up pretty heavily on oxycodone. I was also taking some over the counter medication to counteract some of the side effects of the oxycodone. Oxycodone is a diuretic and can cause severe constipation. (I bet your glad you know that now.)

My arm was now pretty stable in a sling and splint made of cast material. The splint wrapped about 3/4 of the way around my upper and lower arm. My elbow was about 90 degrees. If I moved my arm away from my body it would hurt quite a bit, but as long as I didn't move it too much it felt okay. Again, I was on pain killers.

On Tuesday I went to the hospital to take care of all the
pre-surgery data. I met with a nurse practitioner and she talked with me about what I should expect the day of the surgery. The procedure I was having involved three steps. The surgeon was going to be doing an "open reduction and internal fixation" which from what I understand means that he would be opening my arm to put the elbow back in socket. Also, the surgeon would be reconstruction two ligaments. And finally, the surgeon would examine the end of my radial bone and determine if it needed to be replaced. We also discussed anesthesia and that I might get a "block" in my shoulder. From what I understand, it is a numbing agent (maybe Novocaine, I don't remember) that is injected directly into the nerve that goes to your arm. Essentially, it means you are under less general anesthesia, which can be good. The pre-surgery meeting was pretty quick and efficient.

Day of surgery 
My surgery was scheduled for 11AM, I believe. I could not eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery. I think they said I could have clear liquids or coffee, but I just avoided everything.

My mother went with me to the hospital. We checked in and went to the family waiting room. It was a little isolated from the rest of the hospital, had a pretty big library, televisions, free snacks and side rooms where you could get a little privacy if wanted. They gave us a pager, like you get at a restaurant and told us it would go off when they were ready for me. My mother would get the pager while I was in surgery and she
would be paged when the surgery was done. I haven't had a lot of experience with surgery in other hospitals, but I was very impressed by the efficiency and thoughtfulness that went into the process. It really made the process a lot more tollerable.

The pager went off and a tech took me to get ready for surgery. I was brought to a changing room where I changed into a hospital
jonny and robe. I was taken to pre-op. Here, they gave me an IV. I met the anesthesia team and circulating nurse for my surgery.

[My girlfriend works in the operating room at this hospital and she was able to request most of my surgical team. We had wanted a nurse
anesthetist (we have two friends who are nurse anesthetists), but instead I had a resident anesthesiologist.]

They gave me some drugs and wheeled me into the surgical room. I think they gave me the block in the
pre-op room, but it is a bit fuzzy. I remember being wheeled into the surgical room and looking around at all the people and equipment in the room. They knocked me out and the next thing I remember is waking up in my hospital room.

Post surgery 
I don't remember being in post-op at all, but I guess my mom was there briefly to say hi. Obviously, I was still out of it. I woke up in my hospital room and don't remember anything in between. It wasn't at all like the experience I had with Ketamine, which is good.

In my room, they gave me a "
PCA" (patient controlled analgesic), also called a pain pump and showed me how to work it. Essentially, I had a button that was hooked up to a machine and I could request more pain meds by clicking the button. The machine is programmed to not over medicate and I could get a dose every 7 minutes if I needed it.

I was very warm in the hospital. I don't know if it was really warm, or if it was because I was on a plastic mattress, or if it was a side effect of the surgery or drugs. Who knows for sure. Anyway, at one point, with the nurse's permission I changed into my boxer shorts and took off my hospital jonny. That made me a lot more comfortable. So, if you're having surgery, I would suggest bringing some shorts or boxers to wear.

Kate, my brother and his Fiancee, and my mom came to visit. I was still in a bit of pain and I probably wasn't too much fun to visit. After a while I decided to get some sleep.

PCA - torture device?
 So, at first I thought the PCA was a great idea. If I was in pain, it would help me out and I had some control over it. My opinion changed later that night. The PCA is configured to only dispense once every 7 minutes. I think they do this so you can't easily remember when you can hit the button again. The night after surgery was horrible. Here is what happened all night long. I would hit the button a couple times and get my pain under control. I would then fall asleep for a small amount of time. Then I would wake up from my sleep in severe pain. I would then have to click my PCA button and wait seven or 14 minutes to hit the button multiple times. Eventually my pain would be under control and I could fall asleep again only to repeat the process. Sometimes, I would use the pain pump too much and it would start beeping. I would have to page the nurse to get the beeping to stop. I don't remember how many times I went through that process, but it felt like the night took forever to pass.

The PCA was horrible. I had no information about when I could get another dose. I had no information about how many doses were left, and the doses didn't last long enough for me to get a decent sleep. By the time morning came I wanted to throw that
PCA thing out the window.

The Morning After 
The following morning, I was still in a decent amount of pain. The surgeon came and visited me and did some evaluation and explained how the surgery went. It turned out that the end of my raidal bone was broken into so many pieces it was beyond repair. He had to replace it with a fake bone. Because of the pain I was in, he thought I might have to stay another night in the hospital. That was a little disappointing.

My mom came to visit and said I should ask the nurse if she could do anything for the pain. The nurse took gave me some IV pain killers and started me on some
oxycodone pills. She took me off the dreaded PCA machine. The pain killers kicked in and I felt a lot better. I really started to feel like myself again -- the pain wasn't bothering me at all.

The occupational therapy person came to show me some exercises and how to take the sling on and off. I said I was thinking about leaving the hospital that day and she said that was fine with her and got the ball rolling to get me released. Kate was getting off from work at 7 that night and my brother was coming to visit at the same time. I was released from the hospital and my brother drove us home.

I spent the next several days taking my pain
meds every two hours and sleeping a lot. I spent most of the time in bed or on the couch watching television. My surgery was on Wednesday. I came home on Thursday and did essentially nothing until Monday. I slowly reduced the amount of pain killers I was taking. On Monday I was able to do some work (I work from home) and it made me feel much better to be doing something normal. It also made the time go by much faster. 

This is part 2 of 4 posts I have written about my elbow surgery. 
You can read them all here:
Part 1: The Emergency Room 
Part 2: Surgery and Recovery
Part 3: The Ketamine Experience

Part 4: Follow Up

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Elbow injury - "terrible triad" - the emergency room

This is part 1 of 4 posts I have written about my elbow surgery. You can read them all here:
Part 1: The Emergency Room 

Part 2: Surgery and Recovery
Part 3: The Ketamine Experience

Part 4: Follow Up

Three weeks ago I broke my arm/elbow. I thought I would document my experience so far.

How it happened 
I was on my road bike, with my feet clipped in. I was going up onto a curb and had to avoid a fire hydrant on the sidewalk. I was not really paying attention. My rear wheel did not make it onto the sidewalk and slid along the the curb a little bit until my bike abruptly stopped. At this point I tipped over with my feet still clipped in. I put my arm out to break my fall. My hand hit and I immediately felt my arm do something it should not do. I rolled over grabbing my arm and immediately yelled "Call 911" at my girlfriend, Kate, who was biking behind me.

Emergency Response 
The first couple minutes were not too bad. I laid on the pavement and kept my arm as steady as possible. It was across my stomach. My girlfriend called 911 and after some discussion about what town we were in an ambulance was on it's way. It turned out we were right on the border of Newton and Brookline. They directed the call to Brookline's 911 center and in about 5 minutes the Brookline emergency services showed up.

Everyone was very nice and asked me about 10 times if I had been wearing a helmet -- and I had been. After a couple minutes, they got a stretcher. I got up and walked to the stretcher with no problem. The ride to the hospital was uneventful. The driver and medic made corny jokes the whole way about how fast they were going and if I wanted to drive, etc. I think this is part of their spiel to keep the sick person awake, but I am not really sure. They got me to Brigham and Women's Hospital (by my and Kate's request) and got me right into the Emergency Room.

Emergency Room

In the emergency room they started an IV and gave me some pain killers. Up to this point I was only really in pain when my arm moved. After what seemed like a long time, I was taken to get x-ray images of my elbow. The x-ray process proved to be very painful because they needed me to move my arm around to get images from different angles. When the first image was taken, I heard the technician let out a gasp when he saw the picture come up. That is never a good sign. After 2 images were taken and I was in excruciating pain, I thought the technician said she needed to take one more image. I jokingly responded that I was beginning to hate her. She laughed, and said that actually we were all done for now.

I was wheeled back to my emergency room area. They examined the x-rays and determined that I had dislocated my elbow and that they were going to try to put it back in socket. They also warned me that sometimes these injuries are so bad that they require surgery. Yipes.

Conscious Sedation
They decided they would give me something called conscious sedation with a drug called propofol. Essentially, it would knock me out for only a couple minutes and they would put my arm back in its socket. Once they got the drugs from the pharmacy, they started the process. There were about 6 people in my room and they started giving me the drug. Every so often they would ask "Are you still with us?" and I would respond "yes". Eventually, they decided I wasn't going to go fully unconscious and tried to set my arm while I was still responding. They yanked on my arm and got it back into socket, or so they thought.

It turns out they had given me enough propofol to knock out a 200 pound person. They were very surprised that I was conscious through the whole thing. I believe I was actually the talk of the E.R. for a brief period. "Did you hear about the guy that talked through propofol?" I heard they even searched on Google to see if they could find something similar. They think it might have been because the blood pressure cuff was on the same arm that they were giving me the propofol. I remember the entire thing, which I guess is unusual.

Second Attempt
I went back for a second set of x-rays. When they lifted my arm to get an image, I (and the technician) felt my arm slip out of socket. They brought me back to my ER room and tried to put my elbow back in place again. It just wouldn't stay. They decided they would have to really yank on my arm to get it back in place and that I should be really knocked out for that. They decided on giving me Ketamine.

Third Attempt
The did a safety pause, which I thought was cool and then gave me the Ketamine and I was knocked out. I hallucinated and everything. (I will go into more detail on the Ketamine in another post.) It was very interesting, but not something I would want to do again. While I was knocked out, they put my arm back into socket. They also took CAT scans, which I vaguely remember.

So, my arm was back in socket, and my arm was in a split made of cast material. I also had a sling to hold my arm. The Ketamine eventually wore off, and I was given some pain meds. I slowly began to recover. Eventually, at 3AM we left the Emergency Room. They told me a doctor would look at my x-rays and CAT scans to see if I needed surgery.

 The next day a doctor told me I would need surgery to fix my elbow and scheduled surgery for Wednesday. I will go into detail on my surgery in a follow up post.

Of course, it was not a fun thing to go through, but I have to say that everyone involved was very professional and friendly through the whole process. The staff at Brigham and Women's Hospital were great and I really appreciate the work they did. The emergency response crew was also great.

This is part 1 of 4 posts I have written about my elbow surgery. 
You can read them all here:
Part 1: The Emergency Room 

Part 2: Surgery and Recovery
Part 3: The Ketamine Experience

Part 4: Follow Up

Triathlon update - broken arm

Well, this weekend was the triathlon I was training for. Unfortunately 3 weeks ago, I fell while on my road bike and broke my arm. I'll go into more detail on that in another post.

So, unfortunately, I couldn't participate in the race. I will have to find a race in the fall that I can enter.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reminder: creating service for svnserve

Note to self: To create a windows service to run the subversion svnserve server, use the following command line:

sc create Subversion binpath= "C:\Program Files\SlikSvn\bin\svnserve.exe --service --root C:\svnreps --listen-host" displayname= "Subversion" depend= Tcpip

(This is for a SlikSvn installation, obviously.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Capturing context data using log4net

It was a little bit of trial and error to get this working, so I thought I would post the code.

The problem we were trying to solve was this: we wanted to track which batch job was logging the given message. In our situation, each job is a separate class. Each job had its own unique ID number. So, we needed to use some context to determine which job logged the message.

Here is the solution we came up with. First we created a custom attribute to hold the metadata we needed:
public class BatchJobAttribute : Attribute
public int ProcessorId { get; private set; }
public BatchJobAttribute(int processorId)
ProcessorId = processorId;

For each processor class, we add this attribute:
class SampleProcessor

Note: It would be very nice to use an enum instead of magic numbers. This would be a fairly simple change.

Then we created a context class. The ToString() method on this class is called each time a message is logged. In this method, the code walks up the stack trace looking for a class that has the custom attribute. Please note, this is using reflection and is called every time a message is logged, so be careful in performance critical situations. This particular situation was for off-line processing, so performance was not as critical.

class ProcessorContext
private const string UnknownValue = "-1";

public override string ToString()
StackTrace stackTrace = new StackTrace(false);
foreach (var frame in stackTrace.GetFrames())
var type = frame.GetMethod().ReflectedType;
var attributes = type.GetCustomAttributes(typeof(BatchJobAttribute), false);
if (attributes.Length > 0)
var procAtt = (ProcessorAttribute)attributes[0];
return procAtt.ProcessorId.ToString();
return UnknownValue;

Finally, when configuring log4net at application start, we add the context class as a thread context property. This is what causes log4net to call the ToString() method on each call.

log4net.ThreadContext.Properties["ProcessorContext"] = new ProcessorContext();

In the configuration of the adapter, we add a pattern layout to display this property:

<layout type="log4net.Layout.PatternLayout">
<param name="ConversionPattern" value="%d{yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss} %-5p %c{1} %property{ProcessorContext} %m%n" />

And there you go. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone else. Please keep in mind there are other solutions that may work better in your specific scenario. One good option would be the context stacks described in this article. Another option would be to simply use the class name which is already part of the metadata captured by log4net.

Good luck!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Training Update 2

I finally decided on which triathlon I'm going to do. I'm registered for the Eastman Splash, Mash and Dash Triathlon in Grantham, New Hampshire. It is a 1/3 mile swim, a 12 mile bike ride and a 5k run.

The race is 11 weeks away now and I have started a training schedule. I looked around on the interwebs and found a couple training schedules for sprint triathlons. The schedules seemed a little wimpy to me. I don't really consider a sprint triathlon wimpy, but these training programs had training days that would consist of a 12 minute run. Some schedules even worked up to running by including walking days. So, instead I decided to overtrain. I know, I know, overtraining is bad. I'm increasing the chance of injury. I just felt I wanted more of a challenge than the training programs I had found.

I took a training schedule for an olympic triathlon and adapted it slightly. The schedule was balanced, meaning it did not stress any one of the 3 sports. The only thing I changed was that the swim times seemed quite long, so I halved them. Even halving the swim practices, the shortest swim practice is longer than I think it will take me in the actual race.

A couple months ago I made up some goals for myself. I really didn't have much to base my goals on, so I found some data on the web and chose average times for my age group. Now that I've been training a little bit, I can get an idea of how close I am to those relatively arbitrary goals.

My swim goal was to shoot for 1 minute per 50 yards. For 1/3 mile, that is just under 12 minutes. I timed myself in the pool a couple days ago and I swam 1/3 mile in a little over 13 minutes. I tried not to push off too much on the turns, but open water is going to be significantly different. My swim started at a decent pace, but I slowed at the end. With a little more endurance I think the swim goal will be reached, at least in a pool, without people kicking me in the head.

My bike goal was to average 15 MPH. For a 12 mile course, that would be around 45 minutes. I think this goal is going to be difficult. I went for a ride today and averaged 12 miles an hour. The bike is still quite difficult for me, I don't think I have my bike muscles back yet from the winter.

My running goal was to run at a pace of 7:30. Right now that seems a little ridiculous. I'm finally feeling like I'm back to my normal speed before taking a break from training over the winter. My last run felt great. The course I ran is quite hilly and longer than the race distance. I averaged an 8:42 pace. I have a serious amount of time to make up if I want to meet my goal.

Well, at least my goals are stretch goals. I may have to adjust my training as I go. I may swap out a couple swiming sessions for biking or running.

Okay, that's it for now.

Friday, February 13, 2009

MSTest error: The location of the file or directory 'log4net.dll' is not trusted.

Today, I upgraded to the latest version of log4net. All my code worked fine, but my unit tests were simply not running. The unit tests were not failing - MSTest was failing to actually run any unit tests. Clicking on the test details led to the following error message:

Failed to queue test run '[test data]': Test Run deployment issue: The location of the file or directory '[path]\log4net.dll' is not trusted.

I did a little research and it turns out Vista has a feature that doesn't allow DLLs to load in certain situations. The strange thing is that my application ran with no problem, but MSTest did not. The solution I found was to unblock the DLL using the file properties dialog.

Unfortunately, no matter how many times I clicked the 'Unblock' button, it just didn't seem to take.

I'm not exactly sure what the true nature of the problem was, but I think it had to do with the fact the DLL was now under source control. I deleted the DLL, got the latest version (the one I had just checked in) from TFS source control. TFS is still a little clunky to me. A simple 'Get Latest' did not work. I had to use the 'Get Specific Version' option and had to use the option to 'Overwrite all files even if the local version matches the specified version', even thought I had deleted the DLL.
At this point I checked out the DLL and used the properties dialog to 'Unblock' the file. This time it worked, and all my tests ran again.

I find it odd that MSTest was not able to load the DLL, but my application ran fine. I guess MSTest is running in some sort of partial trust mode, but I really don't know.

I also find it hard to believe that I've download and installed so many things and this is the first time I've had to 'Unblock' a DLL.

I hope this saves some time for anyone else that has this problem.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Web design links for the design challenged

One thing I am tremendously bad at is making a web site look nice. I recently found some great resources that I think are very useful.

Open Source Web Design
This is a big collection of open source site designs. You can use a design as-is, or just browse the designs for ideas.

This is a CSS framework to give your CSS development a jump start. They have a grid thing which is a little strange, but you can do cool things with it. Here is a sample page.
The thing that I don't like about the grid is that the layout starts invading your HTML file. I like the idea of separating design an content using CSS and this feels like a little step backwards.

Reset CSS file
This is a CSS file that resets all the basic style settings. When you use this as a starting point for your CSS it will hopefully eliminate annoying differences among browsers. (This is how I found Blueprint, which uses the Reset CSS script.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Learning to swim gear list

I just started swimming a month or two ago and I'm really enjoying it. I thought it might be interesting to list the equipment I am using.

(It looks like is having some server problems, so the links may or may not work. It's hard for me to believe they are still using plain old ASP to write their site.)

The essentials:

Swim suit: TYR Square Leg
This swimsuit has been fine. It is a little more modest than brief-type swimsuits, which is good. Every time I see my swim suit I think of the jingle: "who likes short shorts? we like short shorts" (Okay, to be honest, I only know that jingle from the Simpsons, but I'm guessing it was a commercial back in the day.) Long story short: I would get this swimsuit again.

Goggles: Speedo Vanquisher
I haven't had a great experience with these goggles, but it hasn't been all bad. Sometimes I have trouble with leaks. I think I would try a different pair next time.

Swim Cap: Speedo Silicone Swimcap
This swim cap has been fine. Originally, I thought I would be going through swim caps pretty frequently. I'm not sure why I thought that. This one has been fine and it's all I've needed. I have a latex cap as well, but I haven't used it.

Sandals: Nike Swim Men's First String Slide
I am very surprised by these sandals. I bought the cheapest ones that looked decent. I've never had sandals like these before and I was expecting them to be very cheap feeling and uncomfortable. These sandals are actually very comfortable. I highly recommend them. I also count these as essential equipment due to the various forms of foot fungi that are likely covering the locker room and shower floors.

Lock: Pad lock for your locker
A combination lock might be nice, so you don't have to worry about a key. I only had a key type lock, so I've been using that.

I would guess that fancy pools will provide you with a towel. I'm using a towel I got for free.

The non-essentials:

Bag: Speedo Mesh Equipment Bag
This bag is decent, but the strap is too long. If you put the strap over your shoulder, the bag is down at your shins. It's fairly annoying. Maybe you're not supposed to put the bag over your shoulder.

Pull Buoy: Speedo Pull Buoy
I just got this as a gift and have only used it twice. It seems pretty decent so far.

Shampoo: Ultraswim Shampoo
Evidently chlorine can do strange stuff to your hair, so I bought this on advice from my brother. It seems to be doing its job. I haven't noticed any chlorine related strangeness in my hair.

Anti-fog stuff: TYR Anti-Fog Spray
Umm, I'm not really sure if this stuff does anything. My goggles fog up regardless. Maybe if I applied this each time I went swimming it would work. Foggy goggles don't bother me too much when I'm swimming. The only time the fogged up goggles come in to play is when I try to read the clock, which isn't too often.

Soap: Some manly shower gel
Bringing bar soap into the shower is a bit annoying, so I went and bought some random brand of shower gel.

Stuff I don't have yet:

Travel bottles:
Carrying the full sized bottles of shampoo and shower gel is a little annoying. It would be nice to have a couple nice flip-top travel bottles.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Training Update

My training is slowing down a bit due to the cold weather. I haven't gone running for a week and a half due to the cold weather and the snow and ice on the ground. I'm wimping out, I know.

I have been swimming weekly and I went today. At the end of my little workout, I decided to time myself for a couple 50 yard laps. I did one lap fast, almost at a sprint speed for me, and it took me about 50 seconds. I then caught my breath and did one lap at a more reasonable speed and clocked in at 1:05 - 1:10.

So, that's pretty close to my goal of about 1 minute per 50 yards. Right now, I don't think I could maintain that speed for a 1/2 mile, but at least the goal feels achievable at this point.

There were very few people at the pool today, so that was quite nice. I had a lane to myself the whole time. I tried to practice a flip turn, but it didn't go well. I ended up doing a full flip and facing the wall again. I need to look into that a little bit.