Tuesday, December 30, 2008

without a doubt my favorite song right now is

Dream Catch Me - have a listen (youtube embedded is disabled, so you have to click here to go to youtube to check it out)

in my world of swimming...

Yesterday I went to the pool for my workout, and an age group club team from Illinois was at our pool for a few days of training. I was a little early before I could get in, so I watched these high school age kids training. It brought back a lot of memories from my days as an age group swimmer. These kids were working so hard, but also smiling and laughing. That’s what it’s all about – seeing where hard work can take you, but also being able to laugh when the going gets tough. As I watched them swim, I thought back to some of my hardest workouts – those are the ones you remember – 10x400IM (lcm), a 7200m IM set, 5000m for time, the list goes on and on , and marveled that I could have ever done some of them. But I did, and I will always remember how I felt when I accomplished these things I never imagined I could do. Swimming as a kid made me who I am today, and I wouldn’t change a thing about the time I gave up to be the best I could be.

Then it was my turn to get in the water. And I hopped in , and as always, I swim, and I try to be as long as I can be for a 5’4’’ swimmer. I feel generally good until I get to my main set which has me doing some 200’s, on short rest, at a pretty fast pace. I hate 200’s. I don’t know why, I was a sprinter, even though I trained a lot of distance when I was younger. I never got over my dislike of 200’s. So, I did the 200’s, and I’d say on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is a great effort/result, I was about a 6. Why I couldn’t get to the 10, I don’t know. I’ll chalk it up to mental block dating back 25 years ago.

In other swimming news, my alma mater ,Miami University women’s swimming is off to a fantastic start of the collegiate swim season. They are undefeated in the conference, and have already had lots of fast swims for so early in the season. They remain at the top of the D1 midmajor polls. go redhawks!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

questions I had on my 10 minute bike ride to work this morning

Why do squirrels jump out in front of cars? I hit my first one at age 42 – on Christmas Day of all days!

Can I count a slice of banana bread as a serving of fruit? I seem to have a problem eating bananas before they get too ripe and end up making banana bread – which I just looovvvvve.

Why do Masters swimming organizers think masters swimmers will be satisfied swimming meets in crappy 30 year old 6 lane pools at the local YMCA, instead of a nice new 8+lane college pool? And why can’t states that are adjacent coordinate their schedules so as not to schedule meets on the same day at the best pools in the area!

Why can’t I eat whatever I want and not gain weight like I did when I was an age group swimmer?

Why are some of my coworkers so annoying? And why do they always have to bring in high calorie foods to the office for everyone to eat!

Why can’t I be as fast a runner as I am a swimmer?

How many calories were in that coldstone ice cream I ate yesterday?

Why does my dog Sam hate riding in the car so much – it would be so fun to take a trip with Todd and the dogs, but Sam won’t get in the darn car!

who came up with the 5 day workweek anyways? I like 3 day workweeks!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

oh man - what a day!

Its the end of december, and its normally in the 30s here, but today we had near record highs. It was 60 degrees when I walked the dogs this morning. I met Randi and Angela for a 3 hour ride, a 3 hour ride. The weather started getting rough, the 3 girls hung tough. the winds knocked us around, the skies spit on us. And the flat tire gods decided we should practice changing a flat (no problem when its 60!). Anyways, despite the high winds, and light rain, I had a blast.

At home, my bike was FILTHY. SO, again, thank you to 60 degrees, I got out the hose and cleaned the road bike. ANd while I was at it, pulled the mtb down and cleaned it too.

Now I'm chillin.

Monday, December 22, 2008

book review - Three Cups of Tea

This book was finally available from my local library. I read it over this past week. This is now one of my favorite nonfiction books (Jimmy Carter's childhood biography being another top of my list nonfiction books). Anywyas, 'Three Cups of Tea' tells the true story of Greg Mortensen's committment to building schools (mainly for girls) in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His belief is that providing education to this impoverished country would do more for improving relations and stopping terrorism than (failing) govt diplomacy. Its an amazing story. The selflessness, all the things and time he gave up in his life for these chidren. You can't read his story and not be moved to want to do more for people less fortunate than you.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A weird morning

I woke up at 5am, normal time, ate Cheerios, fed the dogs, and tried to decide what to wear to walk the dogs in pouring rain and 35 degrees. Yes, they expect and get a walk every morning, regardless of weather. I’ll admit it was a short walk, and I was soaked head to toe when we got home. Dry myself up, dry both dogs, clean up my mess of wet towels and wet clothes. At 6:30 I had to drink 450ml of barium (355ml in a can of coke). It was soooooooo disgusting. Then at 7:30 a second bottle of 250ml of barium. Double ick. This stuff is just plain awful. Then I’m off for my first CT scan. Yep, very exciting. Two days ago, I was in for my annual checkup and my nurse practitioner thought my right ovary was enlarged. Crap. Right in for an ultrasound. Good news – ovaries were normal on the ultrasound. But they thought my iliac arteries were enlarged. What? So, she consulted with a doctor, and they want me to get a CT scan to check out all the pelvic organs. And that got scheduled quickly – this morning! So, I really think this is a waste of time, resources, and health insurance dollars. I googled enlarged iliac artery and found nothing – so if google finds nothing, how can a CT scan! Ok, so, I go ahead and do the CT scan. They shoot the dye into your vein, and you lay there a while until it gets warm in your body (even your bladder and you feel like you are maybe peeing – you aren’t). Then an awful taste in your mouth. But it all passes in a minute. They take the scan, and tell me I can go on my way. Oh and by the way, the barium is a laxative – oh great, I’ve been to the toilet already 4 times since I’ve been in to work. Oh, and by the way, by the way, when I went to the scan, two hours after walking the dogs in 35 degree torrential rain, it was 60 degrees and 30 mph winds! What the heck!

Well, all is back to normal as I’ve had my yogurt/fruit/grapenuts.

One warm day today, tomorrow cold, and Sunday we settle into an artic blast. What a joy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scientist? Magazine junkie?

I'm not a scientist. I'm a magazine junkie. I hate to admit it, because I know it’s a waste of paper to get magazines. But I have cancelled many catalogs, don’t get a newspaper delivered anymore (have not for 5 years), and I have cut back on magazines, and I won’t buy books anymore (I try to use the library or borrow from others who have already plopped $ down to buy a book).

There is one magazine I have a love hate relationship with. Outside Magazine. It’s a subscription I’ve had on and off over the years. Now I have it. And I was excited to receive last months and see Michael Phelps on the cover, and covered inside. I love reading about swimming and swimmers. Phelps is the greatest, so I like to see what makes him tick. Usually when I get a magazine, I flip through the pages, not really reading, just glancing at the articles and ads, looking to see if there will be anything that really jumps out at me. I swear everytime I get Outside, my first flip through is disappointing. I think that all looks like crap (except for the Phelps coverage). Then I wait a day or two and go back. And then I make myself start reading some of the articles. And they are really great! I think it must be the titles and photos that sometimes turn me off initially. But some of these stories are incredible. Last month was about a man named Greg Mortensen and his work to build schools in Afghanistan. He wrote a book, which I have on hold at my library (I’m 14th in line for the book! It could be years before I get to read it! argh!!!!).

This week I got my next issue, and last night I read a fabulous article about a researcher who is working on a way to take solar energy and store it. Apparently that’s the biggest problem with most energies (wind, nuclear…) is not converting it to electricity, but storing it in a form that can be used as fuel. He’s working on a way to store enough solar energy in a gallon of water to fuel a house for one day! How cool is that!!!! I’m sure I have the details a little off, I don’t have the mag in front of me. But if you have a chance, borrow it from someone, wait for it to be posted to their website, or hang out in Borders and read it. The scientists closing quote was something like ‘we put a man on the moon, don’t you think we should be able to do something like this!’. Good point. I’m extremely optimistic about the brilliant scientists of the world, and what they can do for the future of the world. If I were just going to school now, I would be a scientist. I’d want to be working on the next big scientific breakthrough.

I wish I were a scientist.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

my washing machine decided to kill my old ipod

so I just got my new Nano! And now I have to get more music to fill the 8gb ( a sizeable increase over my old 4gb mini).

This morning I had an IM workout. To all you non-swimmers - this is not an ironman workout - I am talking about IM (as in individual medley - fly/back/breast/free). And it was great. I even had the awesome opportunity to do another 400im. And the 100fly was soooooooooooo good. No cheating - no one arm fly, no one handed turns. The whole 100 I was completely legal, and I didn't even die. My swimming is feeling so good. Can't wait for some meets in 2009!

Monday, December 8, 2008

the weekend in review

It was COLD!

Despite that I managed a mountain bike ride in an inch of snow - woohoo - that is fun!

I replaced the brake pads on my commuter bike - no more 100 decibel squealing every time I apply the brakes - 2 pads were exposing metal! oops

It was the anniversary of Pearl Harbor - watched a bit of the History channel - thinking back to high school history class - they really don't teach you much.

I bought a Bosu ball - oi! - I am bad. I thought I was coordinated (swimmer) and had good balance (mountain biker), but I really suck on the Bosu ball. This will be a great learning experience for me.

I also bought some Silk (Soy milk). Thought maybe the lactose in milk is causing my thick dusgusting mucus problem. Even though I have tried eliminating dairy before for a couple days and it didn't help, I thought I'd see if I could handle the taste of soy milk, and if so, I'd make more of an effort to try it again for a longer period of time. I tried it this morning on my Cheerios - ick - don't like soy milk.

Watched some of the events at the US SCY Nationals on swimnetwork.com. Up and coming 16 year old Dagny Knutson (from North Dakota!) will be one to watch in the future. She broke Katie Hoff's american record in the 400im - 4:00.6! She was incredible.

Waiting for my replacement ipod to arrive - last week mine went through the washing machine. So sad. Except that it was 3 years old, and now I get to upgrade.

Friday, December 5, 2008

oh yeah!

I rode my bike to work - it was 13 degrees! If I had to ride my bike to work, I would hate it in this weather. But since I don't have to, its just a challenge to see how long into the winter I can keep on riding. I probably won't be so happy when I'm riding home from the pool tonight in the dark!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

my tire has an alien baby growing in it

So, yesterday morning I go out to load my mountain bike onto the rack to check out the new trails at Versailles State Park and I find my tire has an alien inside! How the heck does that happen! So I got to try my first UST tubeless tire change, sans air compressor. Amazingly I got the old tire off with just little fighting, and the new one on in just a minute and the floor pump filled it right up! woohoo. I expected a 30 minute ordeal of fussing and crying, and giving up. But I did it. And we had a fabulous ride, the trails are sweet!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Celebrating the 400IM

The other night I had to do some long set that mixed long freestyle hard/easy efforts, with some IM work, which included one 400IM - thanks Jen! ;-)

I hate 400IM. I always hated it as an age group swimmer, as a collegiate swimmer, and now as a masters swimmer. I hate it worse than brussel sprouts or stuffed peppers.

But when you do 400 IM’s, it is worth celebrating. Just finishing one and not dying is worthy of a smile to yourself. Finishing the 100fly of the 400IM gets a silent cheer as you push off the wall for backstroke, praying to break the surface and gasp a big breath. Not doing lazy cheating one arm turns on the 100fly (and even the 100 breast) is an even bigger accomplishment. And if you never break stroke on the 100fly, then I think that deserves to become a get-out swim. But only if you don’t dog the remaining 300. So, my first 400IM after being out of the water for the month of October, and back in for maybe 7 or 8 swims was not a swim worthy of get-out status. In fact, my 400IM’s are never worthy of get-out status. Monday night, I did all one arm turns on the fly. I kicked off each wall at least 6-8 kicks to minimize the number of strokes I had to do, and I embarrassingly admit to some one arm fly! ACK! I swear next one will be better. And even though I swore off swimming another 400IM in a masters meet – ever – I’m pretty sure I’ll give in and do another this year. I want to go under that 5 minute barrier.

a collection of odd things to know

Peel a banana from the bottom and you won't have to pick the little 'stringy things' off of it. That's how the primates do it.

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

Expanding Frosting - When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

Reheating refrigerated bread - To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Newspaper & weeds - Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

Broken Glass - Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

Mosquitoes - Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

Squirrel Away! To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Reopening a sealed envelope - If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

Conditioner - Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

Get Rid of Ants - Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

Info about clothes dryers - dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh of the lint filter and that burns out the heating unit of your dryer. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box ..well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very longtime (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

an easy way to be green

something easy that we can all do is to stop receiving so many catalogs in the mail. the website, catalogchoice.org, will allow you to enter catalogs you do not wish to receive anymore, and take care of contacting all of them to have the mailing stopped.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Book Review

My Life on the Run by Bart Yasso
Bart Yasso (Chief Running Officer of Runners World magazine) tells the unusual stories of his life. Its funny and inspiring. Not only is he a terrific runner, running enthusiast, writer, he is also an avid cyclist. One chapter tells the story of how he rode his bicycle across the US in 20 days, unsupported, and solo! How awesome would that be to ride your bike across the US, by yourself. I’d have to become a better bike mechanic before I tried that! He talks about his battle with chronic lyme disease, meeting runners all over the world, his attempts at the Badwater Ultra race, and much more. Its a light, fun read.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

its 33 degrees

and this is what I'll be wearing for my road ride:

a mountain bike ride would be much more fun, and a lot less cold... but the trails are wet from all the rain so its the road or the trainer or nothing. I'm taking the road.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The things that make me smile...

cashmere sweaters, ice cream, the end of winter (wait, I'm getting ahead of myself)...

This morning when I was walking my dogs, a neighbor who I do not know well walked out to pick up her newspaper, and she was wearing a tshirt and underwear. No shoes, Nothing else. I’m sure she expected to see no one. But there I was. I wonder if she was embarrassed?

A few weeks ago as I was leaving my house to ride to work, the old man in the house diagonally across the street from my house was walking his dog (little schnauzer) on his long extendible leash, just around his front yard, as he does every morning. He was facing away from me, close to the street, as I was riding my bike toward him. I saw him bend down, then back up and flip dog poop across the street into my neighbors patch of shrubs/trees just before I reached him. 5 seconds earlier and I would have been pelted with fresh schnauzer poop! I wonder if he was embarrassed that I know his secret of not cleaning up after his dog.

Junior (my way cool cat) has started walking with me and the dogs on mornings that he is outside. Its quite a funny site to see me walking down the street with 2 big dogs on leashes, and a tiny cat bouncing around the 3 of us. They make me smile and laugh all the time. People who have no pets have no idea the kind of pure joy they can bring to humans.

On a more serious note, I forgot to congratulate my friend Emily for qualifying for Boston again! Way to go Emily!!! I guess I don’t have to ask her ‘is that all you got Nancy boy’ anymore ;-)

And another friend is heading to Ironman Arizona next week – kick some a$$ Sue!

oh yeah... the new James Bond movie is in theaters today! What's not to like about watching Daniel Craig for a couple of hours!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The calendar says its still fall, but as far as I’m concerned November marks the beginning of winter. I wake up in the dark at 5am. Walk my dogs in the dark. Run in the dark, ride my bike to work (ok, luckily since we just had daylight savings time, its now light about 20 minutes before I leave for work – but I guess that means in 20 days it will be dark!) My desk at work is at least 20 feet from the nearest window. I have to look over monitors and a book case to ever see daylight on a weekday. Then I leave work, and within 30 minutes its dark again. I really don’t like all the darkness. All weekday rides are on the trainer. I have to recharge my headlamp every 3-4 days. And this weekend the forecast is for rain, snow, and wind, and maybe highs in the low 40’s. Sunday looks to be the better of the 2 days, so I’m saying now I will ride outside on Sunday. I’m waiting for someone to tell me to just suck it up. Wear the right clothes, and hit the road for a couple of hours. Then go to Coldstone! Yes, I eat ice cream when its cold! You eat hot foods when its hot, right?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A busy morning

Daisy woke me 10 minutes before the alarm – at 4:30am! She must have known we wanted an early start so I could get to the polls and vote in addition to all the normal morning things. SO, up and breakfast with the dogs. Walk the dogs. Throw on my running clothes, and give Todd my id and jacket. I run to the polls, he drives over (after he gets coffee), we are #8 in line. I vote, then run my 45 minutes ez, followed by my first time ever to do run drills. I am sore now! Home, shower and get ready for work. Ride my old clunker mtb to work. On the way, they have decided to tear up pavement around campus in prep for laying new asphalt. One small road I usually go down was torn up, and barricaded with signs, but they weren’t working yet, so I maneuvered around the signs, and rode down the torn up pavement, then saw that the barricades at the other end had no room to snake around, so it was either get off the bike and walk up over the curb, or try out my bunny hopping skills or a wheelie up over a 5 inch curb, without front suspension(its so old, its clogged in the off position) and flat pedals and slip on wedge shoes. I decided I’m a mountain bike rider, just hop the curb. There were several people around, so the pressure was on not to mash right into the curb or have my feet slip off the pedals or face plant onto my handlebars, and somehow I made it up and over it without embarrassing myself!

Last night was my first swim test. I was so not ready to make myself swim fast, as I’ve been out of the water for a month. But I managed 1:13 average for 10x100’s with 10 seconds rest after each. Not bad, not great. At least I have something to look forward to in a couple months to bump up the pace as my swim form comes back.

Monday, November 3, 2008

3 days, 3 beautiful bike rides

It was Indian summer this weekend in the midwest, and I managed 3 bike rides, all were beautiful, and with good friends, tons of fun. Here are a few shots from the Sunday ride:

Here's the gang:

a stop for a wildlife sighting

post-ride ice cream !

and Sam told me he needed some face time on the blog, so he posed for this shot

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back in the swim of things

Last night I finally got back into the pool, after more than one month out (excluding the 1500m swim at the race in Tahoe). And it actually felt ok. Somehow I managed to keep myself in the water for 2000 yards, and after about 1000, my strokes felt semi-normal. Then after my swim, I got to be guest coach at the IU swim club practice. This was my second guest coach appearance. When I’m guest coach, I write the workout (3 versions for 3 different group levels), get the kids going, keep the workout moving, give encouragement, occasional stroke advice or other tips, and just try to be motivated by watching these kids (ok, they are 18-25 year old kids!) work hard (and they even have fun while working hard).

I also am reading the Ultra Marathon Man (Dean Karnazes). I actually read this book when it came out, but a friend passed it along to me this weekend, so I thought I’d read it again. A few things that come to mind when I am reading. First, this guy is crazy. Second, he is a strong mental athlete. When he was in high school, his cross country coach told him to ‘run with his heart’. And he does. And another coach of his told him ‘if you are not hurting, you’re probably not working as hard as you can’. I’m going to try to keep these two thoughts in mind when I am doing hard training sessions, or races

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

it feels like winter! almost

This past weekend I rode on Saturday, temp around 40 degrees, windy, and cloudy. It was the first taste of winter riding for the year. I don't know why I always get wussy about riding in the winter, because I probably tend to stay warmer than most of the girls I ride with at colder temperatures.

Sunday is daylight savings, so its dark by the time I get home from work, so weekday rides are on the trainer, or I sneak a day off work when its nice to get outside for a free ride.

This winter I am making a pact that I will ride outside at least one day every weekend, unless the weather is absolute crap (ie, below 20, sleet, ice, snow...). Having the mountain bike option is helpful, because its way better to ride on the trails when its cold, than on the roads - less wind, lower speeds, but you still work just as hard. And the more I can work on my technical skills, the better!

I just hired a coach, and we start on Nov 1! I'm pretty excited to have someone helping me structure my training more specifically to my goals, and my strengths, weaknesses, my life. To that end, I also just became the proud owner of a new wireless Powertap! Yeah, I know I don't need one. But it will be a fun toy to train with on both the road bike and tri bike.

I wonder who it was that decided that the average work day should be 8 hours. I think 6 would be so much better. I can still get a lot of work done in 6 hours, but then I could still have some daylight hours to do something outdoors, even in the shortest days of winter.

I need to find some good dvd's to watch while riding the trainer this winter. Any recommendations?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

morning on the trails

I took Daisy to Pate Hollow, trying to get her back in shape, so we can run together all winter. It was a clear sunny morning, 50 degrees. The leaves seem rather unspectacular to me this year compared to past years. But nonetheless, running on the trails is always beautiful.

just before the sun breaks the top of the hill

there's the sun

Daisy, a little blurry, but happy

even happier, getting to cool off in the lake

while she swam, I snapped a few shots

on top of the highest ridge

Daisy needed one more break before the last climb... she dictates breaktime out on the trail

a tired and happy girl

Friday, October 24, 2008

old vacation photos

When I saw the pics on Bree Wee's blog from her swim with the dolphons, I wondered if I could find any of my old favorite photos (pre digital cameras), maybe saved on cd. I did!, so I thought I'd post a few of my favorites (the quality is not great, but it was fun to find them again).

From a trip to New Zealand many years ago.
we saw lots of seals, they are adorable!

And we hiked on a glacier.

Another trip was to the Cayman Islands, we are both certified divers, and I LOVE to be in the water. I was always camera happy when we snorkled and dove. We were lucky enough that one dive trip a dolphin swam up to the boat, and we stopped and jumped in with our snorkel gear, and swam with him for at least half an hour. He seemed genuinely happy to be with us.

We also did the dive with the sting rays.

Saba is the most unusual island we have been to. WIth some diving that was amazing, and I saw the most unusual fish I've ever seen - a flying gannard. Seriously, this is the coolest fish. It flies along the bottom, by spreading those winglike things, and then snapping them closed down to his side.

and everyone gets excited when they see turtles - see all the ironman hawaii blogs about seeing the turtle at the start of the swim.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the hunter or the hunted

when I race, I'm always the hunted. When you are a good swimmer, and out at the front, and there are more faster cyclists, and even more faster runners, you are the hunted.

I need to take some cues from Junior, he is adventerous and determined. If I didn't stop him, he'd knock the local mole and bird population silly.

Monday, October 20, 2008

sometimes the husband surprises you

So, a month ago, Todd got the first season of mannix, Mission Impossible and Hawaii Five-0 on dvd. He loved these as a kid, and now he's obsessed with watching these shows. And he tries to torture me with them, but I just find something else to do. However yesterday he was watching one of the Mission Impossible episodes and I was eating my lunch in the same room, and he said 'hey isn't that Victor Newman?' I almost spit my food out, because I haven't heard that name for 20 years, and immediately remembered it from watching Y&R (the Young and the Restless) when I was in college! And here is my 48 year old husband asking me about Victor Newman! I just laughed and asked him how he knew the name Victor Newman, and he couldn't really remember. But he was right, it was a young Victor Newman on a first episode of MI. Even after 16 years, the hubster can still hit me with a surprise.

Today I'm working from home to spare my coworkers from the germs that seem to have taken up residence in my head and chest. Sam (golden retriever) is sitting at the foot of my chair, and I have the Killers playing right now. Sam's legs are moving like he is running. Maybe he's trying to get away from the music. Jr occasionally jumps onto the keyboard and then knocks the straw in my sonic strawberry slush (the best drink around) and makes a mess.

Is this the ugliest baby photo you've ever seen?

I guess I should get back to work.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm on tv! sort of

in this highlight of the 2008 xterra national championships in Lake Tahoe, there are a few seconds of me on the bike, at the 3:07-3:13minute time frame

Pain Free!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday I went back to my Brian, my ART guru, and after 2 weeks of no workouts, 3 weeks of pain identification, I was able to much more precisely describe to him my problem (it was not so easy since it was random). He was relieved to hear more description and said its likely not tendonitis (or even worse tendonosis), but more likely a nerve entrapment. So he poked around, and inflicted more pain, and sent me home. The rest of the day I was sore from the session, but not the pain I was having before. Tuesday morning dog walk was pain free, so I ran for 15 minutes, easy, but it was pain free too! Rode my bike to work (whopping 3 miles that it is) and no pain! No pain walking around the office! The pessimism of the past 3 weeks is now replaced with optimism. I saw Brian again this morning (I ran the 1 mile to and from his office), even though the pain is gone, he said the nerve is still swollen. I’ll keep taking it easy, but slowly get back into things. This is the best news I could have asked for. Daisy will be happy too as she has been begging for a run on the trails (her waiting at the garage door when I put on my running shoes is the dog language I understand).

Its funny how an injury can make you so crazy. You spend your free time analyzing every movement, every pain, every possible cause, looking for any possible treatment. As an athlete, it consumes you. And I’m not a pro, I do this for fun, and it should not consume me.

To put things in perspective, my long time training friend, Emily, donated one of her kidneys to her father several years ago. She is doing great, has qualified for Boston even. Her father has done well too. This week he’s having some health issues, and she flew to California to be with him. I’ve been thinking about them all week, and realizing how my little injury is not really that big of a deal when you are looking at the much bigger picture in life. My prayers and thoughts are with them, and I hope all the best for their family.

Monday, October 13, 2008

a walk in the woods

After spending lots of time Saturday following the Hawaii ironman online, yesterday I spent a lot of time outside (it was 80 degrees in mid October!) reading (or rather re-reading) 'A Walk in the Woods' by Bill Bryson. I was supposed t be riding in the Brown County Breakdown, 60 some miles on my mountain bike, but I'm still resting the leg. So some laughter was in order, hence the book. It really is one of my favorite books. I changed the quote at the top of my blog to one from the book.

Friday, October 10, 2008

when you have a lot of free time on your hands

that you used to fill with training, and now have free because you have an injury you are trying to heal, what do you do with it:
1) read the quarterly statement for one of your retirement funds that just came in the mail, and wonder if you will have to work the rest of your life
2) increase the blog stalking you do
3) spend way too much time on the internet reading whatever you can about the Hawaii ironman this weekend
4) scour the internet for any possible sentence about what could be the cause, and more importantly, the solution to your injury. Seriously, how can I get these shooting pain in the hammy/glute/aductor area, about one out of every 1000 steps I take. I'll have minutes, or hours, where everything is fine, then one step, not even up or down or sideways, just a normal step, and a sharp pain. wtf! how the heck is that possible. And I haven't worked out in 12 days, except for that exciting Tahoe race.
5) email complaints to the TSA and United airlines, both of whom ripped me off while travelling (broken/missing luggage, excessive baggage charges), and just receive a bunch of legalese responses back from them, assuring me that I will get absolutely no compensation from them. No more flying for me!!!

Despite all my complaining, I'm getting to enjoy 80 degree weather in October! The leaves are turning gorgeous colors. I'm going to carry my camera today and maybe get some nice fall shots. It is a beautiful time of year in the midwest. And this weekend I'm riding my mountain bike , yeah, I know, what about that injury. Well, it doesn't bother me riding, so I'm going to get outside and burn some calories.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

goals for next 3 months

since I'm finished racing for the year, and sitting here bemoaning the fact that I seem to be always injured, I thought it was a good time to consider my goals for the next few months. here's what I have:

Watch/listen to IM Hawaii this weekend and get inspired!

Get back to race weight

Better job preventing injuries – regular yoga, stretch, core work, massage, ART, and drink lots of water

Slowly build back into running after nagging injuries clear up

Work technical skills on the mountain bike – try the new expert trail at BCSP

More trail running with Daisy

1:02.x for 100fly and 100 back, 2:19 200 back and 200im

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

my Tahoe Mis-adventure

Friday I woke up at 4:30am, was at the airport by 7, paid $210 to take my bike and bag - uh $215! what! I thought about not paying and staying home, but plunked down the credit card and went through the gate (turns out they overcharged me, so I just filed a claim this morning to be reimbursed). First flight was delayed 2 hours, and I missed my connection from Chicago to Reno, and had to get a 2 stop flight through Denver to Reno. My luggage didn't make it and I arrived in Reno to rain and 40 degree weather. We drove to Tahoe, it was snowing when we went over the Mt Rose mountain pass!

It rained all night Friday night, woke Saturday morning to much of the same. And my luggage arrived! Bike box was damaged, and they had taken apart my box and not reassembled the packing the same so I feared for damaged or bent components - damn airlines/TSA! Expected high 40. The xterra Nevada swim was cancelled and turned into a run(bike/run) race. I bid on a shirt for the Jamie Whitmore (see her blog inthe sidebar to read about her fight with cancer) in the slient auction. Next assembled the bike and took it for a spin and it was ok - thank goodness! Then a race dinner, received the regional points winner jersey (very nice sugoi jersey) and off to bed.

Woke Sunday mrning to stars! yeah! Clear skies in the forecast. It was 35 degrees. Headed to race, got there early and picked a spot on the bike racks, and just hung out for a while. Wetsuits on and headed down to the 59 degree crystal clear water. The race started, and the water temp didn't feel that bad. Sun to the left, so I just breathed right so I could see. For not swimming for 9 days, I didn't feel too bad. Getting out after the first lap and running across the beach I felt a bit woozy and a bunch of guys passed me as I stumbled back into the water. Another uneventful lap (for me at least - I still can't figure out why people get so worked up on a swim and try to bash all over other people fighting for space instead of just relaxing and letting things spread out for a few seconds). Anyways, out of the water and I fumbled with cold hands and feet to put on shoes for the 1/4 to 1/2 mile run to t1. I'm always amazed how fast many people run to t1, I just manage to get there without passig out, and spend what seems like 10 minutes trying to get my wetsuit off, then camelback on, socks on, shoes on, gloves on, glasses on. The hands just don't work so well when they are cold! As I was sitting there in the sun I felt so warm, I opted for no additional clothes for the ride. Maybe a mistake.

Out onto the bike, the climb starts right away, in a half mile it turns into a sand road, and it goes on for 3 miles. And its steeper than Aynes loop at BCSP all the way to the top. I was in the granniest of granny gears I had - the entire climb! I gasped for air, and stopped twice just to breathe. Had to push bike to a spot where I could get on again and resume riding each time. I was soooo happy to reach the top. I really did not manage the climb or the altitude well. It was difficult to eat and drink, I tried to get some down, but it was cool and the stomach was not entirely happy. The flume trail section was beautiful as you ride along the edge of the mountain overlooking the lake - 2000 feet higher! You can't really look down, or you'll ride right off the edge and down for a thousand feet. After you round Marlot lake, another climb which forced another short dismount to breathe, then some more rollers and climbing - ARGH! One last dismount - this was really killing me! But then a very cool section of downhill singletrack with rocks everywhere, switchbacks for a few miles. I actually rode this pretty well considering I was in oxygen debt, and my legs and arms were screaming with fatigue. A few dabs, no crashes, and no more dismounts. The descent which took 45 minutes to climb, took just a few minutes to descend. It was a chilly downhill, and my quads were burning so whenever I could sit for a couple seconds on a smooth section, I'd sit for a second,and then get back up. Into t1 2.5 hours later! glad that was over.

Fortunately the run is flat, just snaking around the woods near the transition area. Again I had no idea what to expect, as my hamstring/glute/hip adductor had kept me from any training for 8 days leading to the race. Not the best way to prepare for a race! It actually held up well, I think the lack of O2 slowed me down more than the legs or any small loss of fitness. I managed a slow run the whole 10k, and was just happy to be finished.

My friend Bev finished is national champion in 50-54, and she rocked! From Illinois, and manages the altitude like its sea level. Her time would have podiumed in almost every younger age group.

I felt sick after the race - very bad headache and a bit of nausea. 8 advil and 6 hours later and I felt more human again.

I don't really feel the need to go back to this race. I wish they could move the race from Tahoe to east cost each year so the altitude isn't such a factor. But they won't, so I probably won't go there again. I'm glad I went and know what it was like, but that race is not for me.

Now I'm taking off a couple weeks to let nagging injuries heal. I hope I can control my sweet tooth! Happy October! (my favorite month of the year)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

its honeycrisp time!

If you like apples, and you have never tried a honeycrisp apple, you are missing out on the best apples in the world! They are sweet and always crunchy. If your local grocer does not carry them, you can have them shipped to your house from the apple growers. And they stay crisp and yummy for up to 4 months.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the anatomy of selecting a race

me: xterra nationals are in tahoe again, as they are every year. you shuold go.
me: no, I get headaches and nausea every time I go to the mountains.
me: you should go. try it. you'll never know until you try.
me: the race is in october. I train in warm weather to go to a national competition that is in october in the mountains. doesn't that seem kind of stupid?
me: yes, its stupid. but you should go anyways.
me: the water will be very cold.
me: that's why you bought a full sleeve wetsuit, stupid.
me: oh yeah, that's not a good excuse. but the trail is tons of sand, often deep, lots of climbing.

me: you can climb, and so what if you don't pratice in sand. just go try it.
me: i don't know. it just seems so silly to go all the way out there for a race at altitude, when I live at sea level, and don't get to practice on that kind of terrain, and it could be real cold, and a million other reasons not to go. and now the hammy is acting up.
me: suck it up princess. you already bought your plane ticket!
me: yeah, you are right. it will be an adventure.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I love saran wrap

I desperately wanted to get in a mountain bike ride today. I leave for xterra nationals on Friday, and my hamstring has been annoying me and kept me from 2 days of any workout. SO I had read this summer about some pro wrapping their hamstring in saran wrap, so I tried it. And it worked! I rode the whole ride without a single pedal stroke where I had any hamstring issues! Now I'll try a run tomorrow wrapped in saran wrap.

Here are a few pics from the ride.
Low clouds hang in the park when we arrive.

local flock of geese

Saran wrap under my shorts - yes, it was rose colored saran wrap (from Christmas time)

Angela and Mike:


Thursday, September 25, 2008

niggles and jiggles

What is a niggle? A niggle is the unexplicable stab of pain/discomfort I get on random steps while running or walking. I’m just going along, minding my business, getting in my morning tempo run, or walking here in the office, and randomly, with no warning, and no trigger (like a step up or down, or a turn to either side), and my stupid hamstring seizes with a sharp pain. Sometimes it lasts for just one step, sometimes 2. Then its gone. And it might be gone for a minute, or an hour, or many hours. Its most annoying.

What is a jiggle? Well, that’s easy, that’s the little bounce in the soft spot around my midsection as I bound up the stairs. Caused by too many hohos, ice cream, birthday cake, and other sensational sweets! I better get myself back on track.

In the fight against jiggles, I’ve noticed the 3 of my male coworkers started riding their bikes to work this summer! Yeah for them! I think they have all lost a few pounds, and are actually enjoying it, and adding a few minutes onto the life of planet earth. I’ve been thinking I will try once again to ride my bike to work through winter, instead of wimping out and driving in when the weather turns angry. We’ll see how that goes. Maybe a new commuter bike will help!

Which is more green? Tossing rotting bananas in the composter or making banana bread. Last night I was ready to toss them, and went for the bread instead. I think the bread is less green, since I use the energy to run the oven for 45 minutes. Oh well. My oven doesn’t get much use since I’m a craptastic cook(thanks to Randi for the new word in my vocabulary – craptastic. I like that).

On my run this morning I was thinking about my upcoming trip to Tahoe (10/3), and was feeling guilty that I am flying on an airplane. The money, the fuel burned up by planes, the noise pollution. I hate planes. I hate flying. I get nervous, and I think they are so NOT green. I was googling ‘passenger miles per gallon’, and planes generally rank well below buses, and slightly below automobiles. If a car has more than one person, it doubles a planes passenger miles per gallon. So, carpool everyone (when you have to drive)! I keep thinking next year I will go back to Maui for Xterra Worlds (assuming I qualify), but oh the flying really gets to me! And then I look at other races I want to do, and a few others could require flying! Ack! I’ll be scaling it back.

I wonder if solar panels for residential homes in Indiana are even feasible – its not like we get 300+ days of sun each year. I’ll have to look into it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

France, springtime, pave, rain, mud

Well, not exactly. Its September, Indiana, 80 degrees, and dry. But last nights ride was over 'pavement' that doesn't deserve the word 'paved'. The June flood ravaged roads in the valleys east of town were washed away down to the dirt and gravel, or chunky, at best. Then there was the farmer plowing his corn field, dust and fine corn stalk particles burning my eyes, and three big climbs. This ride could dislocate joints and knock teeth loose! I don't know how 6 of us came out of it without a single flat. It was enough to make me cross this route off my list for years to come!

In other news... I'm hiring a coach for next year!

Monday, September 22, 2008

save 11 Illinois state parks

The state of Illinois is threatening to shut down 11 state parks (some of which have excellent mountain bike trails).

Please fill out this petition to stop this from happening.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

what I can learn from Junior (my 1 year old cat)

This week Junior spent his first night outside - all night. I was so worried for him, and just wanted him to come back home. He did - 12 hours later, looking quite content. I wonder if he made some new friends?
What can I learn -> be adventerous! Life is short, step outside your comfort zone sometimes.

I carried him inside and he ate some food, and crashed on the sofa, asleep in 5 seconds.
What can I learn -> there is no place like home. You alwyas have to return to your comfort zone sometime. And rest is good. It renews you and gets you ready for the next adventure.

I called the dogs to let them outside before I went to work, it was going to be a beautiful day for them to enjoy. Junior had other ideas than sleeping the day away inside, and he bolted out the door, even before the dogs!
What can I learn -> Be excited about the next opportunity, who knows what lies outside the door, maybe you'll find another chipmunk (although I hope not for the chipmunks sake).

Enjoy the weekend! I'm going for a mountain bike ride shortly - always an adventure.

In fact, here is where I'll be riding:

Friday, September 19, 2008

beautiful birds

ok, so I was just checking out some info on bats and hawks, because I was worried that my little Junior spent the whole night outside last night, and we have bats (see previous post of one that got in my house!) and I was wondering what the likelihoof of them infecting my poor little Jr with rabies was. Also recently saw a hawk swoop down in my backyard to go after a cardinal, and worried about him picking up Jr and taking him far away from home.

But I got a little distracted by this site that had the most beautiful photographs of birds. Here are a few of my favorites. I don't see birds/ducks like this in Indiana!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

if I were to advertise companies on my self as I raced

here's who I'd be willing to have plastered on my clothes (or my skin - temp tattoos only!)

1) Splish - I am a swimsuit-a-holic. I have always owned tons of swimsuits, usually kept near 20 suits in my rotation at a time, and when I discovered Splish, the numbers grew. Maybe if I start self-designing suits from them with splish.com on the butt, they'll realize how good an advertiser I am, and send me some freebies.
2) I always wear socks on the bike and run, I just have not gotten to the point where I can go without. And this sock girl loves the Sock Guy socks (they are as fun a splish swimsuits, almost)
3) tifosi sunnies - these glasses are great , and affordable, and mine have lasted forever, even after flying off the roof of the moving car
4) petzl headlamps - I average 2 hours a day using my headlamps (walking the dogs and running) in the dark mornings, more than most campers/hikers probably use in a year.

1) honey stinger - simply the only energy bars I've found that I actually really like the taste of. I could eat as a snack (if I didn't have chocolate or cookies or ice cream around)
2) sharkies - yum, and what swimmer wouldn't be a good advertiser with a little sharkie tattoo swimming up her arm during a race
3) gatorade - not gatorade endurance,not infinit, not any other. Just plain old Fierce Grape flavored gatorade. I LOVE it.

favorite foods
1) Graeters ice cream - I grew up in Cincinnati eating chocolate ice cream every night of my childhood. Graeters also was born and grew up in Cincinnati, and every Cincinnatan knows it is the BEST ice cream in the world. I would wear their logo over a big ice cream cone anyday
2) hostess hoho's - I loved these as a kid, and still love them as an adult. And I'm not ashamed to say it! ;-)
3) hershey's chocolate - might as well go with 3 unhealthy food choices!

local Bloomington companies
1) Pizza Express - pizza must be on any athletes list. They might not be my favorite pizza, but they are in the top 3. And they are fast delivery. And they will take old used batteries and recycle them! How cool is that (of course I use recyclable batteries whenever possible - see headlamp usage above), but sometimes you have to use normal batteries.
2) Bloomington Bagel Company - the best bagels in town , the BEST chocolate cookies anywhere, and fortunately right across the street from my office. I'm a regular. They know my order. And the owner is a top triathlete age grouper in the area. And they recycle, use local products, show local artists work, they are a great local company! (congrats Sue on your achievements as a local female businesswoman, and a triathlete - kick some a$$ at IM AZ!)

ok, that's all. Its time for a run.

Monday, September 15, 2008

book review

Over the weekend I read ‘Stuffed’ by Patricia Volk. This is Patricia’s memoirs, funny stories about her extended family, about growing up in New York City in a family that was in the restaurant business. This book is funny, and her love and enjoyment of her family makes you look at your own past and reach back into your memories for those special times with your own family.

It also reminds me of another book I read this past year, ‘The Glass Castle', by Jeanette Walls. Another memoir about a woman’s childhood. The stories and experiences are quite opposite, but both are great reads.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

editorial rant

This mornig I watched cnn as they re-entered a Texan woman's house after she returned from evacuating furing hurricane Ike. The water had risen 3-4 feet in her home, and had already receeded. She walked through her house thenstarted crying as she came upon a dog crate and she whispered that her 2 lab puppies had to be left behind in the crate and had drowned.

I AM LIVID. How can you be a pet owner, and leave your pets behind in an emergancy. She and her son left in a suburban. I'd say there was enough room for 2 puppies! And why did she have to leave them in a crate to drown. At least if they had been free in the house they could have swum, and climbed on counters or other high things.

I hope she is prosecuted for cruelty to animals for torturing her dogs and leaving them to die a certain painful death.

If I ever evacuate due to emergency the only things I even will care to take are my dogs and cats. They are the only things of value in my home.

I'm so sorry little Texan lab puppies. Rest in peace.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wapehani – its no longer ‘whop my heiney!’

Wapehani is a local set of mtb trails just a couple miles outside of Bloomington. Its small, but challenging. There’s not much there for beginners, and I remember the first time I rode there, years ago, on a very basic mountain bike, with no mtb skills at all. I crashed, and a vein across my shin swelled up, skin did not break, and it looked like I had a blue sausage link across my shin. It was soooo attractive.

Last night I rode at ‘the Wap’. And now I love this trail. Its fun, challenging, and a great change of pace from the smooth rolling singletrack at Brown County. The Wap doesn’t get a lot of traffic anymore with Brown County being so close, and being such a fantastic set of trails, so the trail is narrow, at times overgrown, debris (branches, twigs, pine cones, nuts, rocks, piles of dirt) covered, which makes even the few smooth sections a challenge. There are also roots. Lots of them, in places to give you that extra challenge going up over a short steep climb. The first third of the trail is narrow, rooty,tight and twisty. Very challenging if you ride it with any speed. The back half is a set of maybe 6 hill pairs. Up and down, six times. Steep, loose, rooty, rutty, and super fun! One of the uphills is so steep, the front wheel is often off the ground. You have to stay low over the handlebars, or you are off the bike. Throw in more rocks, and branches, and lots of loose dirt and this uphill is the toughest around. The hills are not long, they take a few minutes to climb, but with your heart maxing out from the steepness, the challenge is always there. I love this trail. I used to call Wapehani ‘whop my heiney’ because it always did whop my heiney. But not anymore! That’s not to say I don’t screw up sometimes. I still do. But I can ride the trail, and enjoy it, and often ride laps cleanly. It may be an ugly lap, but it is clean.

The name Wapehani must be Indian. But its odd that I don’t know of any other cities, towns, parks, or places in the area with Indian names. So its weird that this little park is called Wapehani. And for those Hawaiian readers out there, did you notice that it only contains letters in the Hawaiian alphabet. My college roommate grew up in Kailua. I visited her one summer in college, and she tried to teach me to pronounce Hawaiian words properly. Its not always easy, or obvious, when you are a novice. One day she had me pronouncing street signs. We came to an exit on the highway for ‘Dune St’. I yell out ‘Doo-nay’ and she cracks up at me. Its just the English word ‘dune’, as in sand dune. So, I was a slow learner. But I can say humuhumunukunukuapuaa! And I'm from the midwest! Can you?

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday… HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

living young

Some good things about living in a college town is that it makes you live young. I'm always around people in the 18-14 age bracket. No matter how many years go by in my life, I'm always around 30000 other 18-24 year olds. They never age!

Life is good.

So is Junior's. This week I started to let him spend the days outside with the dogs. He loves it outside, in fact, I can hardly keep him inside. Yesterday I got home, and this is where I found him.

Monday, September 8, 2008

You know summer is almost over when

You can ride yourbike to work and arrive without being too sweaty..

The students come back to town and you fear for your life riding my bike a measley 2.5 miles to work. They are crazy drivers, lawless bike commuters, and even worse pedestrians.

Fresh fruit at the grocery stores sucks. Its tasteless, mushy or hard. Ick.

The dogs actually don’t mind going outside for the day when I go to work, since the weather has mellowed out a lot.

You look back on your season, and can’t decide if you are ready for it to be over, or not..

You try to decide how you are going to train in the off season.

You have to design and buy more splish suits to keep your motivation up for going to the pool to get you through your last race.

Pre-work runs are done in complete darkness, and headlamps are once again required.

You wonder if you will be a wuss again this winter and not ride outside when it gets below 40.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

ohhh, almost forgot...

best purchase of the weekend is my new splish fishy suit, designed by me!

surely that will get me to the pool more often.

my best crash of the year so far!

Today I hit the trails at BCSP with all the usual suspects. Was a little tired as I had already taken Daisy for a little trail run early. On the beginner loop I was second in line, following Kenny (who had just done the Leadville 100 this summer - yep, we had people from Indian, do the Leadville 100!). Anyways, one small split in the trail where some folks had gone off the trail, and he went the wrong way, yelled for me not to follow, but I was going way too fast , corrected too late, and I was heading straight for a tree. In a split second I thought, oh, this is so gonna hurt. I corrected slightly to the left, and smashed the right handlebar, plus right hand fingers into the tree, flipped over the bars, somehow told myself to go limp, tumbled, and stood up. I thought for sure, I was going to be hurting somewhere, but I moved the neck, legs, arms, and all that hurt was my right index finger, which took the brunt of the tree. The bike is ok except for a little shifting problem now, I'll work on that tomorrow. I was shaky for the next 10 minutes, just getting my mind back in the game. But somehow got it back together, and back on the technical trail, with Heather leaving early, and Kenny riding ahead, I rode my pace, constantly reminedd myself to look ahead, and cleared the whole trail, one small dab, but it didn't even break my pace. First time ever to ride that stretch so cleanly. Going the other direction opn the same stretch is not so good. but we took the road back today, and I will keep working on that stretch this fall. Off to the pool this evening for my own local triathlon (ok, its broken up over 10 hours), and I'm only swimming out of guilt since I haven't been in the water since Monday!

After Tahoe, its time to come up with my swim goals for the winter. I just checked the USMS top 10 results for the year. I wound up top 10 in my AG for 4 events, all places a tad lower than last year. I guess I shouldn't expect any more than that considering how little I actually train in the water. One of these years, I'm going to have a 6 month swim focus, and go to USMS nationsal and see what I can do. If I could just crack 1:03 in the 100fly and 100back I would be a happy 40+ year old girl! Its time to really work on the underwater - think Micheal Phelps off the walls.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

baaaaaaaaaddddddddddd hammies

My hard run on Monday really tweaked my hamstrings. Still sore yesterday, especially the right one, I took my TP massage ball to work and sat on it a good part of the day, rolling it around. Then I got the neglected road bike down and Todd and I went for an easy hour spin to the water treatment plant and back. They felt weak, but the worst part was the last downhill before home, I tried to get my chin down to the bar to be aero for the descent, but half way between upright and the handlebar, my hamstrings screamed loudly enough that I could go down no further! OUCH! I have got to get myself on a new program to improve the strength and flexibility of this 40something year old body. I need Dara's program! ok, I don't have a few millions lying around for that, I'll have to create my own.

Monday, September 1, 2008

a day in Louisville

however you pronounce tha name of the city Loiusville, one thing is for sure, if you go there in summer, its going to be HOT! I woke up at 4:30 and met Heather in Columbus at 5:30 and we headed down to L'ville with our mountain bikes, and a plan to watch parts of Ironman Louisville, try to find some of our friends who are racing, and get in a mtb ride, and get some ice cream at Graeters!

We arrived before the start, stationed ourselves at the swim finish, heard the cannon fire, and waited for 45 minutes for the first pros to arrive. Tri swims are usually pretty uneventful, and not all that strategic, as to the lines a swimmer shooses, but swimming in a river, the 4 lead swimmers opted 50 yards away from the buoys, out toward the middle of the river to catch more downriver current. They had a good lead, who knows if they took a faster line, or if they are just faster swimmers. Maybe both. Either way, we watched swimmers stream out of the river, and watched a t1 area filled with what I'd estimate at $6,000,000 worth of bicycles dwindle down as swimmers became bike riders.

Time for Heather and I to become bike riders too - but of the trail variety. We found Cherokee Park and hit the dirt. The first section was pretty technical, rocky rooty, and I was a bit anxious about the rest of the trails being like this. But it eased up and we found a few guys and asked if we could follow them. They led us around the loop which dumps in and out of the woods and crosses the road frequently. But it was a fun trail! We soon learned they don't even ride that technical section we rode! We had a great ride, finished with a nice layer of dust, no crashes! and a good hunger growing in our tummies.

Off to lunch, we found a brewery that had pizza, and then we hit Graeters. They have the best ice cream in the entire world. I grew up with Graeters, and while they have expanded to a few cities outside of Cincinnati, they haven't made it to Bloomington! But they are in Louisville, and I made sure to find the closest one so I could introduce Heather to Graeters.

Back into town to catch the bike to run transition. It was super hot! Some runners setting out with a shuffle , some looking strong, like they were ready to take this marathon by the throat. It is pretty motivating to watch athletes really push themselves. It didn't make me want to do an ironman, but it made me want to train hard, and keep racing.

on that note, this morning, I headed out for an out and back run. 4.6 miles, 4.6 miles back. The out was in 41 minutes, the back in 36. 9 miles at 8:22 average, or something like that. That is a good run for me! A little cold bath, some chocolate milk, a little blog reading, and I have the day off work! The outdoor pool is calling me today for my last outdoor swim.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a bat in the house!

Yes, last night we had a bat in the house. Just after I went to bed, I hear Todd yelling there is a bat in the house, Daisy is barking like crazy. I just paryed he didn't ask me to get out of bed to help him catch it. no way do I want to have to be near a bat. That's Todd's job :-)

He shovelled the dogs into the bedroom with me, Junior into the garage, and 15 minutes and a few nibbles on his fingers (through golves) later, he had the bat out of the house!

I was going to put a photo of a bat on this entry, but ick! they are so ugly, I couldn't look at it.

Ran again this morning, first run since the race. Right hamstring is a bit sore (it is always sore though), but other than that I felt fine. Back on the mtb tonight out at the Wap! Can't wait!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

almost SKUNKED!

They are cute, BUT..., while walking the dogs this morning at 5:30, I spot one walking towards us from the other side of the road, as we are walking up this short steep hill in my neighborhood. One we always mosey up nice and slow at Sam's hill pace. As soon as I see that white stripe I yell 'SKUNK!' and take off running up the hill, the dogs trailing me, probably wondering what the heck SKUNK! means. Slowing at the top I look back and see him running the opposite way towards cover. I guess he was as afraid of us as I was of him. Of course, I'm sure the dogs wouldn't have minded a little stink, they roll around in the worst smells they can find. But fortunately we made it home without requiring skunk cleansing baths.

I'm still a bit sore today. So I'm just going to enjoy a sunny swim at the outdoor pool after work. I have to laugh at the luck of the weather. All last week was mild and low 80's. The weekend mid 90's both days. Monday I don't even think we broke 80 as the clouds from hurricane Faye clouded up the sky off and on all day. Today will be similarly pleasant.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nuclear Meltdown

I went to the Great Buckeye Challenge yesterday. The temps in the last 2 weeks have been mild, low humidity, very pleasant. saturday the high hit 95, and I was concerned for the race. They hold 3 races, a sprint, middle, and half, all on the same course. The sprint goes first, then the middle, and the half starts last. Not sure why, other than we need more challenge like running 13 miles at noon in the 90+ shadeless heat!

Anyways, the swim was uneventful. Swam around lots of people, nothing new there. The course may have been slightly long. I was out in 35min. Normally I'm 28-30. Not a single man or woman was under 30. But the odd thing was the awful chafe on the inside of my left bicep from my Desoto suit. I've been getting this every race, and each time I attributed it to my other top on the run, my camelback... But now I know what it was! Well, I won't be wearing it anymore because I got a nice little gash in it too. ok, so next year I get to buy something new!

The bike was ok. I didn't feel the heat until the last hour. Its a 2 loop course. One stretch of 4 miles was full of potholes, nice manuevering on the tri-bike. But I love my bike. Very comfortable for me.Split was 2:51. ok for a rolling hilly course.

I fumbled around in t2 as someone next to me had hung their wetsuit in my bike rack spot. Very nice, thank you. I was worried starting the run. It was very hot. My feet were hot. There was no shade. I stuck ice in my pockets, in my top, on my head. A 2 loop run again. I made myself run the first 6 miles no matter what. But then it was all over. I made deals with myself. Run 100 steps, walk at most 100. This went on for the whole 7 miles. Plus longer stops at aid stations trying to get my temp down. Trying to get my heart rate down. I knew this was my worst race ever. I don't wear a watch when I race. And sure enough, I recorded my slowest ever hald ironman. The first one I did 10 years ago was 5:45. Yesterday 5:46. Best time ever is 5:15 (last year). I felt pretty squashed. Heat races are out for me now (well, I can manage shorter races, but when I start running 13+ miles after noon, I can't do those anymore). Long races are also questionable in my mind. I don't really have the mental toughness that I thought I had. I'm ok with that. I love xterra, and I love my new bike, and will keep working on run speed, and do more short races. Life is too short to do something you really don't enjoy - when its something you just do for fun!

After the race I stood under a cold shower for a few minutes. Body temp was still high. Got to my parents one hour away, and went to bed with a mega-dose of advil, and cold cloths on my head. Managed a milk shake a few hours later, and was basically in bed for 12 hours. That is not the way I want to ever finish a race again.

No work today! No workout today! Just me and the pups and Jr hanging out at home.

I went to Ohio for a PR and came away with heat exhaustion

too sick to drive home last night. Was in bed from 5pm until now - 4am. more later

Thursday, August 21, 2008


There are 3 things I obsess about a bit more than I should:

I love food. Especially food high in calories, and sweet! Ice Cream. Chocolate. Cookies. Hohos. Cherry Pie. Peach Pie. Chocolate. Ice Cream. You get the picture. The last few years I’ve learned to control my love of sweets, but there are some days, even some weeks (this week being one of them) where I just can’t eat enough to satisfy my sugar tooth. It bums me out when I don’t exercise that control. I really have to do better.

Am I training well? I seem to be tired a lot. My legs felt fatigued for over a month. My swimming usually feels like crap. And I want to nap all the time. So, am I training well, and just need to wait for the part of the training/race cycle where the legs will come around, or am I overtrained, or am I undertrained. I worry about it a lot. I think I’m overtrained, so I want to rest. But I worry that I’m undertrained, so if I rest, I’ll be even more undertrained, so I better not rest. Then I’m still tired. Its such a vicious circle.

Am I ready for my next race? I have my first half ironman of the season this weekend. Of course, I want to race well. I’d be very happy with a PR. I rarely feel ready for a race. I sometimes wish I was just staying home. But sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. So, that’s what I will try to do this Sunday. As I read in one of my favorite race reports of the year ‘I will eat pain for breakfast!’. Well, I’ll try! After years as an age group swimmer, suffering was what you had to master to go far. I feel like I suffered a lot when I was young, training so hard, and racing to the max, sometimes its difficult for me as an adult to push myself quite that hard.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


do we have so many freaking mosquitos this summer!

and why won't my sweet little cat Junior just stay in the fenced in backyard, instead of always hopping the 5ft tall fence so he can escape into the big bad world

and why do I have to work! I took a day off today, last minute, and oh, was it nice!

and why do all the best tasting foods have to have so many calories! I feel a little pooch redeveloping :-(

why did it have to be so hot early summer, and now so nice. I spent $65 on a membership to our outdoor pool ,and have swum there 5 times because the water got so hot so quickly - just a measley $12 per swim! ugh. Today it was perfect. I'll try to go a lot in the next 2 weeks before it closes to get my money's worth.

and WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY does summer have to end, and the students come back to town. I love it when they are gone. No long lines anywhere. Quiet streets. Empty campus. In less than a week it will be chaos.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

so sad olympic swimming is over

but, wow, what a week of swimming!

what can you say about Phelps? He's redefined what's possible.

and Lochte, well, he's one of my favorite swimmers, so glad he won individual gold.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

what dog days of summer?

August is typically hot, humid, icky, typical 'dog days of summer' weather in southern Indiana. But the last 5 days or so have been absolutely perfect. upper 70's, low humidity. And throw Olympic swimming on top of it, and the only thing that could make my days more perfect is to not have to go to work!

More impressions of the olympic swimming...

I can't say enough about Micheal Phelps. The guy is simply amazing. In my opinion he is the greatest swimmer ever. period.

The other person I'm so impressed with is Aaron Piersol. Yeah, he just swims backstroke (in the big meets), but his attitude is so awesome. He is so laid back and relaxed, but at the same time such a fierce competitor when it comes down to the wire. The 200 back showdown with he and Ryan Lochte will be fabulous. I want to pull for Ryan because I think he is such an amazing athlete, who just happens to swim the same events as Phelps and Piersol, so he always has his work cut out. Maybe they can tie for gold! After all the both hold the world record in the 200back (at least they did at the time I wrote this).

A Bloomington local, Joel Stager, is in Beijing watching the Olympics. Joel is still a fantastic masters swimmer, and runs the Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming at Indiana University. He has been blogging his time in Beijing.

Mark Warkentin (olympic 10k swimmer) is also blogging, its a great read.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

what I've learned from Michael Pehlps


Practice the little details - they can make all the difference

Don't skimp on breakfast (typical Phelps breakfast: two egg-and-cheese sandwiches, a bowl of grits, a large omelet and a tall stack of chocolate chip pancakes. )

Monday, August 11, 2008


yeah, yeah, I know. KFC isn't exactly the food of champions. But Sam loved it!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

those numbers!

I’m a numbers person. Always have been. Always will. I think in numbers a lot. I have a bachelors degree in math. Math always came easy to me. Swimming was a great sport for me growing up because I found swimming was all about numbers – how many hours will I swim today, how many yards, what’s the next set, how many repeats, total yards, what’s the interval, what’s the pace, when will I leave on the next repeat, how many strokes per lap for different efforts, and different degrees of fatigue, what’s the cut to qualify for this meet or that meet, or to make top8 in this event, or what’s my pr, what are my splits. My mind just thrived on how the numbers could occupy my thoughts all about the sport I lived. And its stuck with me all these years. Yesterday at the pool I hopped in and started swimming. Immediately I knew it was going to be a good workout. My arms and core felt strong, but loose. Each stroke was long but strong. I usually take 13 strokes per 25 yards, for a comfortable moderate effort. Yesterday I was at 12, and felt so easy, and was holding 1:20 pace. So I skipped a warmup and just did an 800 for pace, and maintained the 12 strokes the whole way, nipping under 1:20 per 100 the whole way. I love it when my body just works right. Then some IM, some drills, some kicking, some sprinting. Just mixed it up so I could feel the water in all the different ways I like. And counted strokes, counted kicks, counted underwater kicks, sendoffs, what time will I finish up the workout. Those Numbers!

This is an awesome article about Michael Phelps and how he works the numbers too.

Long run this morning. I’m not quite as good at the number thing when I run, but they are still there. I have no way to gauge pace, miles, since I’m just out running on the road. But I could steps to that next light. How many cops is that I’ve seen today? How many more minutes do I have. If I turn here and loop over there, that gives me an extra 10-15 minutes. I make myself guess exactly how many minutes it will be, and then check my guestimate when I get to that point. Today’s run was boring. I ran alone for 2:20, and when I went for my second gel, it wouldn’t tear open, and I squeezed it so hard while I tried to tear the top off, it squirted out of the bottom all over my stomach. Its supposed to go IN my stomach, not all over the outside of it! I did survive the run. I’m actually often surprised that I get through them. I don’t have the most positive attitude towards long runs. I really do try, its just not easy for me. I’ll keep trying.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

things are exploding!

Last night I had a short ride with some hard intervals on schedule. I started with a dull headache, and between a helmet on my head, sunglasses on the bridge of my nose, and above my ears, and my neck and eyes straining to look up off the aerobars, within 30 minutes I thought my head was going to explode. I suffered and almost called Todd to come pick me up, but it seemed so ridiculous to not just get home. I fell onto the floor and let the throbbing in my head stop, and my legs stop shaking, and my stomach settle down. explosion #1.

This morning I had a hard run, with 2x10min at z4-5. ugh. The legs felt heavy, the humidity was 93% before I left. I opted for 1 15min z4 interval, because I was just feeling to darn tired to do 2. And after a couple minutes I thought the lungs would explode! I'm becoming such a wimp.

Then I noticed we've had a mini explosion of apples on our apple tree! The deer must be so happy. Maybe that's why we have so many deer in our neighborhood. The families are so large, several new babies these past 2 weeks. They are very cute. I feel bad for them though that they don't have more forest to hide out in, just patches here and there. I also had another fox sighting this morning when I walked the dogs. I always get a bit nervous when I see him, until I remind myself he's probably more scared seeing me than I am seeing him! I hope they all get some rest today, it looks like another hot one.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I have to swim tonight

and my nice 50m indoor pool is closed for the month of AUgust for repairs. The outdoor 50m pool is 88 degrees - too hot to even cool off in, let alone actually swim in. SO, I'm off to swim at Royer pool. Its a small 6lane,25 yard pool. It will probably be crowded with rec swimmers, and I'll get pissed off, and I really can't afford to. I have to get in good swim workouts for the next two months, and my options are not good!

On a more interesting swim note, yesterday I watched a special on National Geographic channel about the design, building and eco-technologies used in the Swim Cube in Beijing. It was fascinating. Can't wait to see the olympic swimming competition! Here are some interesting facts about the Beijing swim cube if you are so inclined to read more about it.