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,, 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