Michelle and I took some time off to tour Europe a second time, with a less frenetic pace. I had gotten 5 weeks extra PTO for the work I did to get The Sims Online out the door. Michelle was only working part time as she finished her master’s degree, and both of us needed a change. We picked up with some German friends for the Paganello Beach tourney. It is a high level tournament: 90 teams from 30 countries and you need to qualify to get in.
I had done a lot of prep for this tournament. I was over forty, with six knee surgeries (I blew apart my right knee a few years earlier at Worlds). But I really love competition and the Zen of frisbees and body motion. The only way to compensate was to be in top shape, and with top throws, to make up for my lessened mobility. Worse, we’d never played beach Ultimate before! We found a California beach tourney: Lai Out, down in LA, and signed up for some practice. Beach changes the game quite a bit. It is very hard to run fast or make cuts in sand. And yikes; my poor calves were mooing unhappily! The throws are different too. You spend much more time throwing to space than at people, and a couple of steps is all a receiver needs to be open on loose sand. We had a great time but knew there was a lot of work ahead of us!
Beyond the obvious calf & throw work, I added a lot of resistance band work for stabilization, balance and explosive first steps. Then, the week before our vacation started, disaster struck! I was drilling forty minutes each morning on my throwing skills and it was paying off, so I bumped time to an hour. Then I had a strong interview on the Microsoft campus and thought I should check out their sports field; a very nice astroturf-type space, well suited to the winter rains. I had a bag of dics in the car, so I did another hour of drills, just because. 😉 Then some frisbee people showed up: they had a lot of Ultimate players. It would have been rude to bail, plus I was still hesitant about the winter rains; these people might be colleagues soon so I decided to stay and throw with them. Then a pickup game started, and you can’t stop at that point either. Next morning: my hand won’t move!
I had overtrained and was now paying for it. Fortunately we had some time in Northern Italy; the Cinque Terrra area. My hand was slowly getting better, but now I was antsy for a different reason: I might be either a rusty thrower from the forced time off, or my hand would still be too weak to throw well.