I joined a gym. I have a personal trainer. She kicked my butt today.


Ice cream shop mannequin. Playing with wide open enthusiasm.

I started my day with a long walk to the bank. Some checks came in over the weekend and that always makes me happy. I could have deposited them via a phone app but I think any excuse for a good, long walk is a great excuse so I headed into the downtown area, parked my car a mile and a half from the bank and did the round trip. It's weird to actually go into a bank. I have one bank in San Antonio that I've done business with for nearly 40 years and have only physically been there once. It was when I had to deliver documents for an estate, in a hurry. I use an investment firm at which I have never met anyone -- in person. Amazing to me that we trust strangers to handle our important money when we'd never hire an assistant or doctor or lawyer without meeting them in person first. But I digress. I made it to the bank and then back home and the walk was pleasant. Even nicely cool.

I took a camera, shot some photos, looked at them when I got back to the office and then erased them. They weren't "bad" photos but they weren't interesting either. 

After doing mindless chores around the house and the office I changed into "workout" clothes and it was weird. With swimming it's the same wardrobe every day. Swim cap. Black Speedo Endurance Swim Jammers and a pair of Speedo goggles. On a cold day maybe a pair of Crocs on the feet to get back and forth on the freezing cold pool deck. But for time at the gym you need a whole different set of clothes. And shoes. And they have to be clean and not smelly. 

Loose t-shirt, athletic shorts (whatever the hell those are...) and a close-toed athletic shoes. Mine are Tevas. A protest against Nike? Naw, on sale at REI. And if you want to conform and be a pleasant gym member it's pretty much advised that you come not reeking of sweat and other noxious body odors. 

I joined the gym for two reasons. First, it's free because a gym membership is included in my health insurance policy. There's a convenient and well run gym less than a five minute (mid-afternoon, not rush hour) drive from the office. Makes it easy. The second reason is that my swim coaches and fellow swimmers keep proselytizing about the absolute need for older swimmers (over 50? over 40? Over 60? what?) to lift weights and do more weight bearing exercise to maintain muscle mass. To fight sarcopenia. And to swim faster.

I've been to the gym now three times. The first time I overdid the bicep curls and paid for it for days. But the facility offers a free hour of personal training so I decided today to take advantage of it. I met Renee, my personal trainer, at 2pm for an hour of fun torture. Renee is short, dark, ridiculously fit, and has a larger than life personality. But as nice as she seemed when we first met today she knows how to cajole, demand, request and coach more work out of a client than I ever imagined. Not that I'm complaining. Too much...

She took me on a painful tour of all the pertinent machines of torture on display there. I bench pressed and leg pressed and worked all manner of upper body muscles with a vengeance. We ended the hour with some much needed stretching. I enjoyed the pain, the expertise, and the external discipline so much that I'm contracting  with her to coach me once a week for the next few months; until I become my own strength/fitness expert....

We did all the major muscle groups and then concentrated on swim muscles. Tomorrow I will either feel faster in the pool or I'll be so sore I'll need Floaties (those inflatable floats little kids wear on their arms when first learning to swim...)  to survive the masters swim workout. But if it weight training  works......yow! Look out. 

So I am adding three days a week to my schedule for visiting the gym for an hour of grunting, lifting and machine handling. That's in addition to the five to six days of swimming and the three or four walking adventures each week. I may not have enough time to actually work on work. Does anyone know if you can get paid for just staying in shape? Maybe some sort of advertising ambassador-ship with Pfizer or Abbott? 

In photo news: The Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 lens was a fun experiment but it's heading back to its owner. Why? I tested it head to head against the Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4 and decided that I liked the overall look, out of focus rendering, and even the handling better on the Zeiss. So why endlessly duplicate? My friend wasn't at all chagrined. He imagined I might chose the Zeiss. He's breathing a sigh of relief that the V58 lens will soon be back on the front of his Leica SL; where we both imagine it belongs. 

Still interested in testing a few more 50mm lenses but more interested in planning a shooting trip somewhere interesting. Just waiting for B.'s return. 

Now playing around again with the Leica CLs and the weird collection of lenses I have for them. Look for a lot of CL work to be done in a couple of weeks when Austin "welcomes" SXSW. Always fun and always like shooting fish in a barrel. All while riding the city buses into the town's center for a change ( the only way to get into and out of downtown without having to invest in massive amounts of time trying to find parking....). 

time to just put those cameras into Program mode and start shooting. Why overthink it?