Monday, December 28, 2009

Boy loves Puppy

It was a fun Christmas weekend. Lots of time with family. We have some deer who live in our neighborhood, and since Todd puts tons of birdseed outside in the backyard, they have even taking to jumping over the 5 foot fence to visit the feeders.

This weekend my whole family was at our house, and we actually ate at our dining room table for the first time since we moved into this house! My niece's five year old son is sooooo cute. He is so chatty, and says the cutest things. He LOVES my golden retriever Sam. Sam is so gentle with him. He hugs all over Sam, and Sam just lets him be as close as he wants to be. He asked me if he could take Sam home with him. I could even come visit Sam anytime I want! So cute. If Sam would actually get in a car, he'd probably be happy to spend his life with a little boy who loves him to death.

Yesterday we even got our first real snow of the year - nearly two inches! ha!, take that you northerners :-) Angela and I headed to Brown County this morning to attempt to do a mountain bike ride. Last year, she and I tried a snow ride. It had snowed about 8 inches when we tried, and I spent about 200 yards, not able to pedal more than one revolution without the tires spinning and slipping and me not moving forward. I walked to the first place I could get to the road and gave up. Today I was hopeful that with just two inches I might actually be able to ride. And I did! We had a fun ride. It was slow going at times, ice and snow and a few soft spots that just suck away either your speed or your confidence. But the trail was frozen and ridable, and we had no crashes! Yay!

I came home and ordered one of my new Splish designs!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pics or it didn't happen!

One of my goals for the month of December was to do 10 consecutive pullups. Well, I just did it! yay! Here's the proof (yeah, the last rep is pretty ugly):

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pool Snob!

I live in Bloomington, IN. Home of Indiana University. The place where Doc Counsilman, the greatest swim coach ever, the innovator of modern swimming, coached the likes of Mark Spitz to Olympic gold, world championships, NCAA championships. No place has more swimming history than IU. But you would never know that by the state of age group and masters swimming here. Bloomington is a small town, yet we have bickering parents and coaches who have splintered the age group program into two programs. And they have yet to produce great swimmers, in the tradition this town warrants. And I have lived here for almost 20 years, and am still waiting for the year when I can get excited to go watch an age group or high school meet just to see a new superstar.

Masters swimming is even worse. There is an IU Masters team. They are mostly faculty members at IU. Their workout is over the noon hour, 12-1:30. This is doable for faculty who generally who have very flexible schedules, they just fit things around their class and research schedules. I, however, am just a measley staff member, I work 8-5 generally, and I don't have 2 hours over the noon hour to go swim. And even if I did, I would not choose to swim with the IU Masters team. I like to think I'm a pretty easy going person. I don't really dislike people, and I try hard to find the positive in others. But the members of the IU Masters team are this close knit group of swimmers who have been here forever. They are the most unwelcoming group of people I've ever been around. There have been several days in the summer when I've been able to swim at noon, days off, or weekend, and only one of their swimmers even says hello to me. Not invited to train with them. In fact, (the lanes they swim in are not exclusively for them), several days I've had someone tell me, as I'm about to hop in a lane with them, that I should watch out, because so and so who is heading back is doing a set on some super hard interval and I should try to stay out of their way. I just look at them and play dumb, like I have no idea what they are talking about. Super hard intervals? Whats an interval? They just infuriate me! But that's old hat. Its been like that for 20 years, so I mainly train by myself. It works just fine for me.

My latest bitch about Masters swimming has to do with the local masters swimming committees (LMSC). Each state or area has one that governs its business. What's the business of masters swimming? I can't really tell. I assumed it was to provide an environment for first timers and highly competitive swimmers the opportunities to train and compete. ok, I get it. But the Indiana LMSC does not. IU hosts a Masters meet every winter in February. In Indiana, its the only SCY Masters meet that is held in a decent pool, one that I would consider worthy of swimming in for a meet. Ok, granted, I am a pool snob. I have swum in a lot of fast pools in my lifetime, and I don't want to swim a meet in some crappy 5 lane YMCA pool that is 82 degrees and has no warmup area, and has chlorine levels high enough to kill off the entire h1n1 virus for the rest of eternity. If I'm going to swim in a meet I want to be in a decent pool, one where I will feel like I can swim fast. If I feel like the opportunity to swim fast is there, then I am psyched to swim. SO, here's where all goes wrong. Miami University (my alma mater) also hosts a meet. There pool is newer and even nicer. Its less than 3 hours away, and I would rank it as the best facility that hosts a meet in the OH/IN/KY area. University of Louisville is the third best facility that hosts a masters meet. So, how awesome would it be to get to swim in 3 meets each winter in nice facilities. well, it would be great! But it doesn't happen, because IU and Miami always have their meet on the same day! Come on! There are 8 weekend days in the month of February, and both pools have more than that one day open to host a swim meet, I know, they both post their closings due to Varsity and Age group meets (which of course have priority, and should). SO, last year I emailed the head of the IN and OH LMSC and asked them if they could try to coordinate their schedules in the future so these meets could be on separate days. Its to the benefit of their athletes to give them the best opportunities to swim fast times, in fast pools. You'd think I asked them to give me a million dollars! They both had a million excuses, and the IN pres even said that IN offers lots of great meets in great facilities! If I had been sitting in front of him drinking coffee, I would have spit it all over him as I laughed my ass off. YMCA and little high school pools do not make great facilities!

SO, 2010 rools around, meet dates are posted, and IU and Miami are on the same day again! Feb 13. Sooooooooooooo mad! I emailed USMS and asked them if they could encourage regional LMSC's to communicate and try to coordinate schedules to do something positive for the athletes. I have yet to hear back from them.

So, I keep training. I want some meets where I can go and swim my favorite events. Looks like I have one meet so far this winter :-(

I know, you are thinking, I should just get over my pool snobbish self, and swim anywhere. I wish I could. I cannot. I will not. I am a pool snob. And proud of it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

best winter video

I'm sure I posted this last year, but its my FAVORITE video, and with the first big snowstorm of the year, I thought it would bring a smile:


Sunday, December 6, 2009


Its always tough when winter rolls around. Its tough to find the motivation to go outside in the cold and run, walk the dogs, and hardest of all to ride a bike. Let's face it, its even hard to run outside and get in your car that has been sitting out in the cold day and sit on the cold seat and drive almost all the way home from work before the heater is warm enough to be of use.

But its time to find the positives in winter. Here's my list.

I get to wear hats. Not visors and baseball caps, but real hats. wool hats, crazy hats, warm hats. I love hats. And sometimes I even look better in a hat than not. And it can hide a multitude of hair sins. So, let's just say that hats ROCK!

The 2/3 rule. If 2 of the 3: cold, dark, wet, are met, I get to drive the 3 miles to work instead of ride my bike. That means on the days I swim, I get to drive, because cold and dark are always met. That just leaves two (sometimes three) other days that I pray for some wet stuff to be in the forecast for the day so I can have an excuse to drive. Oh yeah, and by cold, I mean 25 or below.

I've always found it a little difficult to swim in winter, just the thought of getting in water when its single digits outside seems ludicrous. But seriously, its 80 degrees in there - air and water (or close to that). That's like freaking summer! So, when you really look at it, swimming in winter is so much easier than running and riding a bike.

Short course yards. Ok, I get to swim SCY most of the year, but its a guarantee in winter. And long course meters sucks, short course yards rules! why, you may ask?
One word. More turns! ok, that's two words. But more turns, means less swimming. And less swimming is what any retired competitive swimmer strives for. But seriously, less swimming, means your arms fatigue more slowly, so you end your workout stronger, and recover sooner. And, the number reason for loving scy is the 100IM. and for all you triathletes out there, IM does NOT equal Ironman! IM=Individual Medley. Individual Medley has been around much longer than Ironman. And there is nothing more pure fun than 100IM's in a SCY pool. Fast, fun, short. I love the 100IM.

My college swim parka. When I retired, I thought that big obnoxious red parka would never see daylight again. But as a person with dogs who get walked twice a day, every day, regardless of weather, the big obnoxious red park gets a lot of dog walking mileage. Its soooooooooooo warm. Best money ever spent back in college. (parents money, gotta give credit where credit is due).

Snow. It really is pretty. Somehow we often seem to miss the snow line. We get more ice and sleet, which sucks, but we also seem to have more dry road days than not.

Trail running is my favorite outside activity in winter. I love the quiet of the trails, but most of all I love that I get to take Daisy with me, and watch her have the time of her life. Its like she is on a happy vacation every time we go. SO many smells, so many spots to mark, critters to chase (she is a chaser, not a hunter, thankfully, unlike Sam, Max, and Junior, they are chasers/hunters/killers). And winter is when she really thrives on the trails, and she can go forever. The cold temperatures and the creeks that are flowing with water keep her cool and happy.

I am also thankful that four years ago I took up mountain biking. Because if you are going to ride outside in winter, mountain biking is a much better option than road riding. Riding on the open road is very exposed to weather, and very cold. The are much more protected from the wind, because of the hills and the woods. The speeds are slower, but you work just as hard, if not harder, so you can stay warmer.

Fires and roasting marshmallows!


I spend more time reading books, which always seems like a good thing, at least I think I should read more books than blogs, which I don't always do. In the past three days, I've been spitting my time between three books, Trying to finish Metal Cowboy (short stories about a guy who loves to bike tour - this is very funny) because its due back at the library. Trying to get through the novel, Cutting for Stone, which is a fantastic novel, I' really enjoying, but I'm trying to finish it because another book I've been waiting for at the library is on hold for me until Tuesday. I also read the Pose Method running book yesterday, can't wait to try to work on some of the principles. And I've got a biography of General Tommy Franks that my dad lent to use months ago which I started but put aside to read all of these darn library books that I was waiting for and finally became available.

Neglected house projects get a little more attention in winter. The past few weeks, my non-training weeks, I got started re-painting my dining room, a room, that we never use. But my family is coming here after CHristmas, so I think we will need to use it then. Our house was built in the 50's, and many rooms had paneling.Lots of paneling. And I counted 5 different kinds of paneling. All of it ugly. We removed much of it over the years, but a couple sections remain. The dining room had some paneling in it, half of which the previous owners painted white. But half they left stained wood. Why! Laziness? Well, I finally get to sanding, priming and painting that. And that was a slow laborious task. And now I'm painting the plaster walls. They were a dark red wine color, whuich I like, but this room is small, low ceilings, and very dark. Its becoming a nice bright light color. Should be finished by tonight or next weekend at the latest. YAY! Then on to the next project. The list never ends in this old house.

The canopy of lights in beautiful downtown Bloomington:

So, this past week, the weather really turned to winter. I'm trying to ignore the cold toes, cracked, chapped, bleeding lips, the excessive articles of clothing I have to wear to go outside, and embrace wonderful winter!

Now, if I could only find a small 29er hardtail to buy for my christmas gift to myself, I'd be over the top happy!

Happy winter everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Masters of relaxing

Most of us triathletes, cyclists, runners, swimmers, find the off-season difficult. Taking consecutive days or weeks of no workouts is a challenging test for some of us. Some of us hang out with our friends.

some of us work on stretching, pilates, yoga, and other such techniques of relaxation.

and, my favorite, the nap!

Well, I did those things for the month of November, and this week it was back to some structure. I like structure. My waistline needs structure.

My main athletic goals for the month of December are:
1) 10 consecutive pullups
2) swim a 200fly without cheating
3) ride the rock sections at BCSP without falling, dabbing or stopping. well, maybe a little dab is ok, but no stopping or falling!

That's it. Should be a piece of cake! Maybe.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am 43 years old. Today is the first day of my life that I will live without a living grandparent. My 94 year old grandmother passed away at 2am this morning, Thanksgiving day. I'm sad that she is gone, of course, but she lived a fantastic long life. She had a great marriage with my grandpa. But he passed away in 1976, and she lived another 34 years on her own. A full generation of my family was born and raised in those 34 years. Her first great-great granddaughter was born this summer, and she got to meet her. How many people in this world live to see a great-great grandchild? She saw this world change in leaps and bounds. But she was just my grandma. She and I shared a love of ice cream. When I was old enough to drive, I would pick her up and take her to Graeters and we'd sit and eat ice cream. She'd have mocha chocolate chip and I'd have mocha chocolate chip and chocolate chocolate chip. Wd shared a lot of time over ice cream! She outlived every friend she had. And for the last years of her life she was lonely, and ready to be with her already deceased husband and parents and brother. She was in hospice the last few days. Yesterday her pastor came in and talked with her and sang Jesus loves me, and reminded her that she was prepared for this. She responded to his voice and his words, looking at him, moving her arms and hands, I know she heard and understood him. It was her way of saying yes, I am ready. I was with her last evening, and my mom and I were talking to her through her morphine induced fog. She was not grandma anymore. But when I said her brothers name, she swung her face in the direction of my voice. I'm sure she was hearing us the past few days even though she did not respond much to our voices. My mom and her sister said yesterday they did not want her to pass away on thanksgiving day. In my heart, I thought it would be the perfect day for her to leave us. When the phone rang at 2am, I breathed a sigh of relief that she was now in a more peaceful place. And now every thanksgiving, we will remember our grandma, our mother, our great grandmother, our great great grandmother. Of course, we will remmeber her the rest of the year, but now thanksgiving will be a special day for me. Becuase it will be the day my grandma finally found her peace.

love you grandma! rest in peace.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

a Sunday Drive and Oreo Cookie Cows!

Ten years ago, Todd bought this:

Its fast. Its loud. It has 550 horsepower. It gets terrible gas mileage. We get it out maybe once a year. Almost all of 2009 went by without a ride, until he got it out yesterday, blew out the cobwebs, and today, it was Nov 8, 70 degrees, so we took a drive around the countryside this afternoon. It was a fun way to spend a few hours.

The view from my seat:

One of our favorite bike ride climbs:

The dashboard of a 1965 race car:

The highlight of the day was seeing this farm with belted galloway cows. I LOVE cows, think they are the cutest farm animals around, especially baby cows, yeah, I know they are called calfs. Anyways, way back in 1991 or so, my best friend from college got married in Maine. One of her favorite spots in Camden was a farm with belted galloways. She left us a little map at our b&b so we could find some of her favorite spots, and the 'oreo cookie cows' as she liked to call them, were at the top of my list. Every time I see some now, I think of her, and some of our favorite times together. See, aren't they sooooo cute? (you really need to click on one of these photos to see them up close) Who wouldn't love an oreo cookie cow!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Off-Season starts today - 5 days early.

After Augusta I was getting a little burnt out, but not having a great run at that race, I asked Jen if I could train for the half marathon in Indy this Saturday. She said yes, and after a week of R&R after Augusta she had me running hard. For 4 weeks I was doing runs I sometimes didn't think I would survive. At the same time I was still fighting with the 'saddle sore' I had gotten back in August (which made it hard for me to be happy getting on the bike, so I eventually stopped that hoping it would go away, and waiting for an appt wiht a dermatologist to come around). Its very hard to get appointments with the dermatologists in Btown, and yesterday I finally had one with the best doc in town. I had a marble sized cyst where my right leg joins my torso, and she cut that thing out! Stitched it up and said come back in 10 days to remove the stitches, do this, that and the other in between, which included no running, bike riding , heavy lifting or bending. ouch! so much for the half mary! And all that training down the drain! Well, not really, I still had some great sessions, and learned that I could suffer a little more than I thought I could. I just don't get to do the last run.

So, my 2 weeks off for my off-season was supposed to start Sunday, instead starts today. When you worry about tearing stitches and getting infection, its easier to take 10 days off, than when you don't have those worries. I'll be ready to go again before 10 days, I'm sure.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

a Swimless October

I went the whole month of October without setting foot in a swimming pool. And I loved every day! But I have an orange and black scary cat Halloween splish, so I decided to go to the pool today just to show off the suit. The plan was 15 minutes. I spent 5 minutes staring at the pool, not wanting to jump into the cold water, but when one of the lifeguards walked by and said 'nice festive suit!', my visit was worth it, and I hopped in.

The first 100 yards were freestyle. I felt drunk. Like I was weaving all over the place. I know I wasn't, but my arms felt like wet limp noodles. I was doing 14 strokes per lap, normal is 12-13, so I knew I was already out of shape. After 100 yards, I had to switch strokes.

Backstroke was next. I kicked off the wall 5, 6,7 fly kicks, and bust through the surface sucking in a large gulp of oxygen. The first few strokes, each shoulder felt funny, click, click, click. I knew then I had to kick far off each wall to protect my shoulders, and I'd only swum 125 yards! ugh . 75 more back, long kicks off the wall, oxygen deprivation, but eventually the shoulders cooperated once again. Kicking off each wall, I was thinking maybe the only race I'll care about this winter is 100back, just devote myself to that one race and see what I can do. Yep, I think that's my plan for masters swimming this year.

Enough backstroke. Time to change to breaststroke. I thought for sure the knees would creak and cry, but they did not. Eight strokes per lap, and I was surprised that I was on a normal stroke count, and nothing hurt. But don't overdo it!

One more 100 freestyle. I was starting to feel a little dizzy. All that back and forth of my eyes from one side to the black line to the other. I've been having this problem these past few years when I swim freestyle in a pool. Never in the lake, I think because I can't see anything, so my eyes don't f@($ with my brain. I've had a long history of motion sickness. I get sick when I ride in the back seat of a car. I get sick if I try to read in a car. I get sick if I am in the front seat of a car, on a curvy road. I get sick on boats. I've even thrown up 3 or 4 times in my regulator when scuba diving. My equilibrium is not normal. I've been getting a little worse as I get older, and experiencing this dizziness and nausea when I swim is definitely disturbing. I think I'm going to try taking a ginseng pill every day and see if that helps. If not, I'll be doing more research for other remedies.

400 yards and I finally stopped at the wall. Man that was a long 400 yards. I threw in a couple 50's drills, still dizzy. Then I thought I should try to swim a 25fly, so I went for a 100IM. Surprisingly the fly felt ok, of course, I was going at a turtle's pace. Back and breast were ok, freestyle, oh man, dizzy again.

a few more 25's, with a stop to loosen the goggle straps, and I called it a day. Climbing out of the pool, thinking I have vertigo! It took a half hour of being outside walking the dogs in the cool air before my head and stomach felt normal again. (And pizza and chocolate cake that I just ate didn't hurt either!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nothing much

October 2009 in Bloomington the temperatures have been 10-20 degrees below normal. Its bee more like December than October. It has sort of bummed me out, because October is my favorite time of the year. But it is what it is. On Saturday morning I ran in 35 degrees wearing shorts. I'm always the last one to start wearing cold weather clothes around here. I think it’s my way of trying to acclimatize to cold weather. I mean, if I dress for winter now, what will I actually do in winter! Today is the start of a 3 day warming trend. After work I’m taking the dogs to the trail for a run, in shorts again, but this time I will probably sweat!

Last week I had a great revelation about running drills. I occasionally do them, but I know I'm not especially adept at them. One day I received a running related email with a link to a video about drills. The coach discussed the drills, while his athletes demonstrated. He talked about how when we were kids we'd run around, jumping, skipping, hopping, forwards, backwards, sideways. All these things taught us balance, strength, flexibility, coordination, and made us stronger runners. But as the years went by and we stopped 'playing', this awareness of our body diminished. Drills are a way to get that feeling back. And when I thought of it, that's the same purpose of drills in swimming, which I have been doing all my life. As a small child I swam, and played, flipped, twisted, dove into the water, and I became so aware of how my body moved in the water, that as I learned proper swim technique, drills only reinforced that I should be aware of how different movements make my body feel and move through the water. Why I never put this together with running, I have no idea. But now that I've had this lightbulb go on, I'm going to work on the running drills with more gusto. And more fun factor. And more body awareness. Because, really, if you watched me run, you’d think I was a fish out of water! On Saturday morning, my workout was on the track. And when I was on my last interval, a young guy hopped on, just floating around the track, came around the front straightaway, and picked up the pace with these long fast gazelle looking strides for 100m, and then shut it down to another floating 300m. I just sort of gawked for a few minutes before I continued on with my cool down. why can’t I run like that?!

This weekend is the xterra World Championships in Maui, and I’m not there  Actually I’m ok with that, because that’s a really freaking hard race! I do want to give that course a try again someday, but I need to do it when I’m ready and able to do all the right training for the 2 months leading up to the race, and that means a lot of time on the worst, sketchiest trails I can find, and lots of hills, and lots of heat. Now that’s a little problem for where I live. Because most of our trails are all really well built trails, very little sketchiness around here, although I guess I can practice hucking myself down the hills at Nebo Ridge and Ferdinand over and over until I can fly down them without brakes! And that heat thing. End of October isn’t exactly hot here (see first paragraph). Oh well. I’ll be cheering for my friends who are there. I hope Bev wins another AG world championship! Go Bev!!!!!!!

Last week I was the lucky recipient of about 40 pounds of honeycrisp apples. My dear friend brought them home from Michigan last weekend for me! Every time I open the refrigerator the fragrance of these apples smacks me in the face. Last night I decided I better start making some apple dishes, so apple crisp was the first (of course, had to go with dessert first!).

On another food note, one of my favorite veggies is sweet potatoes. Sweet potato fries to be exact. I bake them, and they are quite yummy. There are 2 restaurants in Bloomington that fry them. And of course fried always tops baked! One of these places, serves them with a roasted garlic mayo. It is soooooooooo delish. I've tried to make my own roasted garlic mayo. I'm on try number 5. So far, I have not gotten a good match. I asked the cook, and she said she uses a gourmet mayo that costs $38 a jar! hmm, I'll keep trying! Any suggestions, let me know.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

colors of fall

Covered bridge leading to the park:

Lots of big timber to build this structure (took this as I was driving through bridge)

water is warmer than the 34 degree air:

fog in the valleys

starting to see the patchwork quilt look in the hills

Max has settled in nicely yo our home, he sleeps in funny positions

Friday, October 2, 2009

I love October

October is my favorite month of the year. Fall is beautiful in the Midwest. And let’s not forget Halloween – the BEST holiday of all. It may have something to do with the fact that my birthday is on Halloween! Happy birthday to me!!!!!!. Growing up with a Halloween birthday was awesome. It’s like the entire neighborhood was giving my birthday presents! Ok, they were also giving my friends presents too. But still, I loved sweets then, and I love them still. Chocolate preferably. And not with nuts or other accoutrements mixed into it, just plain old chocolate. Milk chocolate, that is. (because everything is better with a little dairy). Wait, peanut butter with my chocolate is ok too. Just not nuts. Yes, the nuts are the problem for me. They ruin my chocolate.

I’ve had a week of doing pretty much nothing. Except work, eat, sleep, and eat some more. Boy, I have a real hangup with eating. I LOVE it. Especially sweets (see above). I went a little overboard on the Nutella yesterday. I think tomorrow I’ll take the dogs to the trails for a long walk. That way I can burn some major calories, they can burn off some energy. I think it will be a few more weeks before I can get some nice fall pictures. Two building ups from me on campus are two giant ginko trees. They must be over a hundred years old. Beautiful old trees. Ginko leaves are perfect little fan shaped beauties. They burst into a bright gold color before they fall, and then when conditions are right, some years they drop all their leaves in a day or so, its like gold rain. I’ll start watching them next week and hoping for a spectacular show (just wish they weren’t so stinky!)

Have you seen this video? I know, you probably have. I'm a little slow. But if you haven't, you should watch it, its pretty cool.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Augusta 70.3 weekend

Friday morning I started out on my 12 hour drive to Augusta. Yep, 12 hours. (Next summer, I'm only doing local-ish races, no 4 day weekends). When I was a small girl, 4-5 years old, I lived in Georgia. My only memories are diving off teh steps of the pool and cutting my head open, getting the chicken pox, and coming back to Cincinnati and being made fun of because as a young kid, I picked up a nice southern accent. I've driven through Georgia a few times, and went to a mountain bike camp there a few years ago, and now I was heading back for a 70.3 race. I stopped in Lexington to pick up my mom (my travel companion for the weekend), and off we went. The miles of I-40 east of Asheville are like driving on a roller coaster. I just wanted to throw up my hands and have fun, but I could tell by my mom's grabbing of the door handles, that she wasn't fond of the speed I was taking the curves at. Oh well, you gotta find your thrills somewhere!

We finally arrived, checked in to the hotel, and found an italian restaurant a block away. WHile sitting outside waiting for our table, I had my first tri-geek encounter - man wearing his swim goggles at the restaurant ! LMAO!

Second tri-geek encounter was the next morning at breakfast, 2 woman just back from a swim in the river, come into the restaurant wearing swimsuits and towels. I mean, really, no shirt no service! Have some decency please!

SO, I check in, check my bike in, walk around in the heat a little, and just rested. Another walk the other direction of the hotel looking for Saturday evening food, found little, but a cafe where they lost our order (other than the smoothie I got), and I gave some local girls the gift certificates they gave us as apologies (they would not refund our money). So, I was feeling awfully generous, and hoping for some good pay forward at the race Sunday morning.

Which dawned early for me, up around 4am, I just don't sleep late, and definitely not before a race. Got down to set up transition, and the shuttle bus line back to swim start was so long, I just walked alone, it was only 15 minutes, and I had 2 hours before my start (I was the last wave, 9:06 start time). Went and found my mom, and went and sat around and watched every one else start.

9:06 did finally roll around, and I jumped in the water, and the 1/2knot current was noticeable, you could just hang in the water and float down river. There was a lot of 'sea'-weed in the river, did not like that. The gun went off and a few girls sprinted to my right, no one to my left, and within 30 seconds they were all behind me. I swam in pretty clear water most of the way, had to navigate around a few people in earlier waves, narrowly missed 2 kayaks and a few piers, and somehow managed to find the swim exit, looking into the sun with my clear goggles (it was dark heavy clouds at 7am, so I opted for clear, at 9am the sun came out, of course). It was a ridiculously fast swim with the current pushing us along.

Onto the bike, I was worried about a smallish saddle sore I have been nursing for a couple of weeks, and I have to say that today it is an angry saddle sore (from TN I called the dermatologist today and have an appt tomorrow to get it 'taken care of'). Anyways, I loved the course, lots of gently rolling hills. Being in the last wave, I passed lots of people, and I can't tell you how many awesome men cheered me on, telling me to go get 'em, and looking strong. That goes a long way in helping to push you on. Eventually a few girls in my AG passed me, I kept pushing on, trying to alleviate the saddle sore pressure, and still, after the whole summer on the bike, I still have to work on dialing in my position. At home, when I ride the TT bike, there are so many hills sprinkled in to every ride, that are non-aerobar hills, that I must not ever be able to be aero long enough to notice the leg stiffness/cramps. So there is more homework to be done this winter to get the bike ready for Louisville in 11 months. With 5 miles left, a groups of 4 girls in my AG blew by me, all riding in a little pack, and I laughed and said to myself, shame on them if they have been like all of the ride. I hope they weren't, I don't like to think that my competitors cheat. But since all of them kept forging ahead together, my gut feeling was not 'shame on me' for thinking that. ANyways, they have t live with it, not me! I think I ate and drank well on the bike, 2 bottles of gatorade, 1.5 bottles of water, and a half a gel flask. I was not feeling energy depleted at the end of the bike.

On to the run, and it was hot! Out of t2, I was running with a tall lanky runner girl, and I tried to stay with her. At the first aid station, the water and gatorade was warm, and right then, I knew I'd have to slow down or I'd blow up in this heat. SO I did, and some of the aid stations had ice, some did not. The ones that did, I walked more and more, and on lap 2, I was carrying cups of ice away from those with me just to stay cool. I drank way too much liquid at those iced up aid stations, and had to deep belly breathe to settle the side stitch. I knew it would happen with the amount I was drinking, but I was so hot, I had to drink. I knew I was not prepared to handle the heat. I had been running in the mornings at home, where it was 60 degrees, until the last week and I remembered I better run later. But even then, it wasn't hot enough, or long enough in hot weather to be ready to cope. It was a good lesson for ironman Louisville next summer.

I felt a bit nauseous after the race, and couldn't really eat. I stiffened up fast, and it was a chore to get down to the transition area and gather up my things. As I was walking from our parked care a quarter mile from the transition entrance, another athlete offered me a ride, he said he was going to drive up as far as he could get. I cannot tell you how nice that was. I was having such trouble walking. The groin hurt from the positions I was sitting on the bike for the saddle sore, and the heat of the run was cramping me up. It was a small act of kindness, but one I will remember.

After slowly loading up the car, we set off, aiming for Asheville, NC, 3 hours away. Mom drove, and she made me so nervous! (sorry mom). But I'm sure my champion back seat driving made her even more nervous. I just like to be in control in my car. 45 minutes of sitting in stopped construction, 14 miles before our selected exit, left me longing for pizza. How lucky that dominos delivered to our hotel (and I don't even like Dominos, but at that time, any pizza was top notch!).

I drove the rest of the way home Monday, with a stop to pick up my mom's cat (who was staying at the luxury pet suite), and we crossed the Ohio River back to her house, via the car ferry. I always loved to take the ferry when I was a young girl, and it had been a while. The wind today was super high, 30+mph, and the river was moving. Those guys know how to read that current, and landed the ferry perfectly. I was wondering what it would have been like to do the IM Lou swim in the river today. I think they would have canceled the swim, it was really rough.

Anyways, I'm back home, and before I got home, my work called, they were having database problems, so I was online working from home within 15 minutes of my arrival. Home Sweet Home!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

almost there!

In a few days, I’ll be racing my last tri of the year, Augusta 70.3. It’s been a long season. I’ve never done a race as early as NOLA (first week of April), and that was a half IM, which meant training for it started in very early 2009. And now it is the end of September. I admit, my motivation is waning, so it is good that the season is wrapping up.

That said, it’s been my BEST ever year of training (thanks Jen!). I have NOT been injured (I just knocked on wood), and that is just the cat’s meow as far as I’m concerned! And I’ve backed up good workouts with good workouts. There were times I’d read the workout on the schedule, and I wasn’t sure I was capable of getting it done, but I surprised myself with my effort and with my consistency. Ok, I’ll admit, I did skip a few swim workouts this year (sorry Jen!), but I’m pretty sure I did every other workout on the plan, and most of the time I think I did them pretty much as they were supposed to be done.

I learned a lot this year. The biggest thing was learning to push myself in workouts so I was really suffering (in a good way), and knowing I can survive them. Now I have to go to Augusta and suffer a little, and know it won’t kill me. It just gets me to ice cream that much sooner!

So, off I go. Knowing that my body is ready for a good race. I’m trying to keep the mind in check, so the mind doesn’t blow it for me!

And when I get back… I’ll show my mountain bike some LOVE. And I’ll slowly get Daisy back out on the trails for some walks/runs. And I’ll stay away from the pool for a month! Yes, a whole month. I need the break from the swimming. And after a month I’m sure I’ll have to buy myself a new swimsuit for some inspiration to get back in the pool.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The calendar says mid-September, but…

The weather says its still summer! And I am loving every day. We have had almost no rain in weeks (I know we need some, but we had a lot all summer, so I’ll take a few dry weeks). And the weather has been downright balmy, above average for September. I wouldn’t be surprised if our average highs for September are higher than the average high was in August.

Last week, I got to swim outside at the lake twice. And WITHOUT a wetsuit! The water temperature must be upper 70’s, it was soooooo pleasant. I’m hoping that means Augusta will be no wetsuit, I mean, how can Georgia water temperatures be lower than Indiana water temperatures? Of course, I'm sure the RD will 'find' a spot in the river where the temperature is low enough to allow wetsuits. All I can say is I'm taking my speedsuit, and if its wetsuit legal, but in what I think is a fudged temperature, I'm wearing the speedsuit, and not a wetsuit! fingers are crossed!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Love-Hate relationship with Training

I really do love training. Most of the time. But there are just some things, and some times, when I REALLY HATE it.

I do all my swim training by myself. I do 90% of my run training bymyself, and this summer I have done more than 50% of my bike training by myself. I really don't mind training by myself. It provides a lot of time to reflect and be thoughtful. Or just be brain dead. Living in a small university town, so many of the people I know and spend time around have advanced degrees, masters and doctorates, and me with my lowly bachelors, I feel pretty humbled by all the academics around here. So the tendency for me to lean toward the brain dead side of thought when I'm alone is just a reflection of the direction my intellect has taken in the twenty years since I graduated with my little degree. Seriously, swimming, riding, and running alone does provide a lot of time to keep myself company. And you know what, I'm pretty damn boring company for myself! When I swim, I count. Over and Over. You'd think I'm in grade school again trying to learn my math tables. But no. I'm just counting laps, counting strokes, counting seconds until I'll be finished with the set, with the interval, with the lap. And then I move to advanced math, yes, I do occasionally stretch the reaches of my little pea brain and try to do multiplication and division
while I'm swimming. I calculate what percentage of weekly yardage I do now compared to when I was in college or an age grouper, then calculate how much slower I am at a particular interval, or race, and see how the 2 percentages compare. Usually I get so confused though, I have to stop and go back to the simple counting. Its much more mesmerizing. Put me in open water and I still count. I count strokes up to one hundred, and then start over. Then I try to remember how many one hundreds I got to during the whole swim, then figure that in open water I probably average 40 strokes per 50 meters, 80 per 100 meters, so then to make the math easy, I round up and say 100 strokes per 100 meters and guestimate how far I swam, then I multiply it by a factor of 1.1, (or just add on 10% for those of you mathematically challenged folks :-) and have a pretty good approximation of how far I swam. And that's it for what I think about when I swim. Now if that doesn't bore anyone to death, I don't know what will. Now you see why I'm such boring company for myself!

But, wait, you ask, where it the lova/hate in all that math? Thanks for reminding me! There is no love/hate in math. Math is so pure, it just is. (hahahah - only a loser math major would say that). Really, I do love swimming. I have been swimming as long as I can remember! But there are times I do hate it. I hate it when I feel slow, and when I compare myself now to what I could do when I was an uber competitive swimmer. I hate it when I have to do long freestyle sets. And I hate it when I do breaststroke and my knee decides it does not what to come out to play. Or when I do backstroke and my shoulder decides its checking out for the day. But in every swim there is always one point that I love it. When I jump into the water, and push off the bottom in a nice tight streamline and kick half or a whole lap just gliding through the water. Like a fish. That's when I love it. So I feel that every time I swim, and it reminds me why I will always love swimming. There is no feeling like that glide through the water.

This morning I had a bike workout to do. I normally ride in the evenings, but I have to work late tonight, so I get to do an unusual morning ride. Its not getting light here until 7am, and I was chomping at the bit to get going - since I get up at 5am every day! At 7am I rolled out, with a light on the front of my bike, and a red flasher on the back of my jersey. I was on my TT bike. I have a love/hate relationships with bikes. All my bikes! Well, all my 'road' bikes. I only have a love relationship with my mountain bike. It always makes me smile, even when it decides to crash me into a rock or a log or a tree, or just nothing at all. But the road bikes, argh! Why somedays I just want to kick them. All winter I ride my road bike and get all comfy and happy on it, and I ride with the girls, and I'm so happy. Then it gets warmer and I have to start riding the TT bike to be ready to race, and my neck hurts, my shoulders hurt, my crotch hurts (ok that hurts on the road bike too), and I ride by myself a lot so I can do the proper workout, and do it on the TT bike without freaking out other folks on road bikes, or having them laugh at me (because Bloomington is the land of roadies-a-plenty, and I love them!). But then as summer moves along, the TT bike becomes my friend and on the rare occasion that I hop on the road bike, then my shoulders and neck hurt, and I want to be back on the TT bike (I can't believe I'm saying I love the TT bike right now more than the road bike!). I'm so fickle! SO, back and forth I go, happy one day with one bike unhappy with the other, then I flip flop. Anyways, today I was on my TT bike, very happily riding along. Except for my other hate relationship with riding (not bikes specifically). Pavement. I mean, seriously, why can the county I live in not pave roads properly. And why do squirrels like to play kamikaze with me, and almost make me crash just so I don't kill them. And why is it when I'm alone, the only thing my mind does it make bets with myself as to what will hurt first, the girl bits, or the neck and shoulders? But I can't complain too much. Where I live, the riding is absolutely fantastic. And when I do ride with others, they are the BEST riding partners a girl could want!

I should say something about running. Its the toughest for me. My body is designed for swimming , not for running (short legs, long torso). But I keep plugging away.
I know my age is soon to be a limiter. I'm not getting any younger. I don't think of much when I run. Mainly how much it hurts. Except z1 running. I love z1 running. Everything else is hard for me. When I see z4 on the schedule, I weep. But when I hit the trails, I am all smiles. No matter how short or how long, or how hilly, or how wet or how cold or how hot or how painful. The trails are my friend. And when I get to take my best friend (Daisy) to the trail and see how happy she is running around, smelling every tree, branch, rock, peeing on every blade of grass, I forget the pain and I just smile. And run.

ahhh, I wish I was on the trails right now.

Friday, September 4, 2009

IM Louisville 2010

In a moment of delirium I signed up for IM Louisville 2010! It’s been 10 years since I did an ironman. This time around I will be expecting more from myself.

But for now, I’m going to try to put it out of my mind for 6 months. (is that possible?)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


So, I love to read interesting blogs, and always curious as to what my friends will post on facebook, but truly, twitter is where its at! I don't tweet myself, but I follow a lot of famous athletes, and a few other famous folks.

My favorites:
from the world of Triathlon
Conrad Stoltz - he is just one bad ass caveman, and his blog is the BEST ever
Julie Dibens - poor Julie - I hope she doesn't crash anymore this year. I always pull for her if she is racing - gotta stick with the swimmers!
Mel McQuaid
the clan (Heather, Paula, Roch, Huddle)

Dara Torres - she is the UBER twitter! She tweets about anything and everything.
Ryan Lochte - jeah! (if you have to ask, then you don't follow Ryan)
Natalie Coughlin - olympic swimmer, dancing with the stars 'star', cook and gardner

Lance - he is the master of twitter. He has turned it into his own PR system. One morning Lance tweets that he is in Glasgow, Scotland, and will be riding at such and such a park at 5pm, and asks people to join him, and over a thousand bike riders show up!
Levi, Hincapie, Phil Ligget, Johan Bruyneel all tweet here and there, between them you can stay up on what's up with cycling

Ryan Hall & Josh Cox tweet about some of their unusual runs out in Mammoth, Josh has frequent give aways via twitter.

Shaq! - he is the funniest! Love his new show where he challenges other athletes in other sports. He is funny, humble, giving, and an incredible athlete.
Andy Roddick and Serena Williams are frequent and sometimes funny tennis tweeters
Tom Crean - new IU basketball coach is twitter crazy. If you want to know whats going on with IU basketball, follow him. He loves and lives basketball. As do most Hoosiers.

ok, time to go see who's tweeting what!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

fall is coming

This weekend has been cool (but pleasant), a warning to us that fall is just around the ocrner.

Friday evening I watched the celebration for Ted Kennedy. Really, what an interesting man he was. Full of purpose and passion, adventure, and many talents. A great advocate of public service, and a rock for his family, and the people of his state and this country. I'm 43 years old, and have lived in the midwest all my life, and in all the years I did not hear or read much about this man. Now I wonder why I never read or heard much about him. Because what I heard Friday night, and then again in the bits I saw on Saturday, showed me an incredibly fascinating person. I'm looking forward reading his memoirs. They are due out September 14. I just ordered it. I never buy books. I only get them at the library, too much wasted paper to buy a book, when I can borrow one from the library, but this is one I want to read and have in my house.

Saturday morning came early and a 7am start time for a bike ride. It was just getting light out, and a little foggy, but a beautiful morning. I always set out for a ride hoping to see things that make me smile or ooh and ahh. Usually its wildlife or a beautiful pastoral scene that I ride by. This entire ride passed, and very little wildlife, lots of pleasant countryside, the favorite Bear Wallow climb, that doesn't make me oooh and ahh, rather huff and puff. But it does bring a smile after you climb over a mile (which is a long climb for these parts), and then get a similarly long fun downhill.I finished up my ride with a ride down Shiloh road. Shiloh is my favorite road to ride that is within an hour of home. It loses (or gains, depending on the direction you ride) a few hundred feet in elevation, but over 3 or more miles. Its a roller coaster road through the forest. For miles, you make a tight left turn, then drop down 30 or 40 feet, then a sweeping right turn, a short uphill, a loping left, down, up, right. Over and over. Even going in the uphill direction it doesn't feel like you are going uphill because of all these roller coaster turns and dips. I take every chance I can to ride Shiloh, either direction. At the end of Shiloh I came to a small group of cyclists, then another, then a tandem (I don't really understand the interest in riding a tandem, I could not spend a bike ride staring at the back of someones head), more bikes, then a sag stop. I wasn't aware of an organized ride in the area, I usually hear of them, even if I don't ride in them. I wound my way back home, through campus, packed with new students, old students, thousands of cars parked in lots that have been empty all summer long, and I felt a little claustrophobic, even though I was moving on my bike. I suppose I'll get used to it, as I do every year.

For the first time in the 18 years that we have lived in Bloomington, we have a niece who is starting her freshman year at IU. SHe moved in this week, and her family came down to help her get everything she needed to settle in, and so Todd's whole family came to town and we all had dinner together. I would usually never go to dinner the first week of students returning to town, every place is way too crowded. But near Lake Monroe, which is about 10 miles south of town, a restaraunt recently reopend. Its called the Scenic View, because its perched atop a hill that looks toward one of the very few cuts in the hills surrounding the lake, and you have a beautiful of the lake, and the tree covered hills surrounding it. SInce its out of town, we assumed it wouldn't be too crowded. We were right, and we sat outside, it was a beautiful 70 degree evening. Had a good meal, and everyone stopped by our house to meet Max. The little kids wore out the dogs, and we didn't have to walk them last night! That doesn't happen very often.

Its Sunday morning now, and I just came back from a run. I'm not a fast runner, and when the run is a z1-2 run, I'm definitely not fast. As I was running through one of the local parks I hear a lot of chatter and laughter coming towards me, and the IU mens track/cross country flew by me. Oh the humiliation! They were absolutely beautiful runners. Oi, I felt like an old goat. Then I told myself, 20 years ago, I probably could have trounced them in the pool, and maybe still today I could hold me own against half of them. I felt mildly better. The feeling passedquickly, and I trudged back home, greeted by 3 dogs who can't stop licking the sweat off my legs, begging for a drop or two of the chocolate milk I was drinking, making me smile and laugh.

Sam is staring at me with his big beautiful brown eyes as I type this. I think he is smiling.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

guard dogs

My guard dogs every morning when I get out of the shower. I think Max and Sam are feeling pretty relaxed around each other now. Daisy is still the leader of our pack (even though that should be me!), she takes no shit from anyone. That's the way it should be - the girl is boss!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

slip n slide

this is awesome (and of course, its NOT real)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bob Knight

Indiana loves to hate Bob Knight, and hates to love Bob Knight. They just announced he is being inducted into the Indiana Athletics Hall of Fame. Boy I can hear the cheers and boos already! Despite all his flaws, he had a lot of good in him, and he did a lot of good at IU, most of which people will never know, because so much of it had nothing to do with basketball but with people, academics, libraries, students... In all the years he lived in Bloomington, while I also lived here, I only saw him in public one time, at a movie. He and his wife were sitting in the back of the theater, just normal people out for a movie date. Not biggger than life. Just living life.

Life here in Bloomington is going to change dramatically in the next few days as 35000 students return to our small town. The doubling of our population makes me appreicate the times like my bike ride with Randi yesterday where we were out in the country side, in the state forest with trees towering over us, in the farm land surrounded by 8 feet high corn, just two girls on bikes, pushing each other up a monster hill, enjoying the lush green surrounding us every direction we could see - even over head. It was a fabulous ride, especially after having two rough weeks, and a big rest week. I feel like my body is back, and ready for a few good weeks of training.

This morning I got to run on the trails. I picked my favorite trail down by the lake. No dogs this run, its been too hot, and no water in the streams, so it was just me and the trees, and a few nasty spider webs that wrapped themselves around my face - ICK! I heard one tree fall, and saw it smash into the ground down the hill, and it made me think of the saying 'does a tree make a sound when it falls if there is no one to hear it?' well, of course it does. That's such a stupid saying. I just LOVE running on the trails. One hour on a trail seems like 30 minutes on the road. Two hours on a trail like one hour on the road. Trails ROCK!

Someday I will hava a small house on a lake in a forest, and I will wake up and run or walk through the forest, and swim in my lake, and smile at my fortune of being able to live in a place so simple and beautiful.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Climbing out of a hole

One week ago I was wrapping up 3 good weeks of training, did a race with very steep long quad/calf busting hills (turned out to be a duathlon which was even worse), followed by a long run the next day with the last 30 minutes hard, and my body rebelled. For 2 days I had trouble walking, on a scale of 1 to 10, my muscle pain hovered around 10 for 48 hours, then slowly improved. But even though the pain was gone, my body was just worn out. I had dug the hole and was not climbing out quick enough, even with a lower volume/intensity rest week. So, being the smart one that I am, I still raced on Saturday, as pitiful as I was (because I HAD to get my 3rd xterra in for the season for the points race). But yesterday I had a day off – on a weekend – I can’t remember the last time I took a day off on a weekend! And now I have HUGE rest week. I will be a super rester, and be ready to go for my next race at the end of September.

What will I do with a HUGE rest week? Well, I’ll sleep, I'll rest, and I'll try not to overeat. I’ve also been having restless leg syndrome this week when I go to bed. I've been sleeping in compression shorts and socks to try to give the muscles a different feel. I eventually fall asleep. I'd like to get past that RLS also. Hopefully I can get a massage this week and claw my way back out of this hole!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

open water swim

There is a large lake south of town where I occasionally open water swim. The lake's main use is by motor boats, but the finger of the lake on the north side of the lake, closest to my house is more than one mile long by one half mile wide of no wake zone. So that was the destination last night. Air temp was low 80's, bright sun. The water was the most perfect its been all summer. Water was probably 76-78 , and no debris, no nasty gas film on the water, perfectly calm and almost mirror-like. Just me and a lot of open water and any ugly catfish hovering below waiting to nibble my toes (I try not to think of those, since the visibility in the lake is about 6 inches). Oh, and my escorts who watch out for me!

Thanks Emily and Barb!

And we picked up a floatilla of kayaks too!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Meet Max!

We adopted Max last weekend. He is 7 years old, and a super sweet dog. All the dogs get along, and once Max and Junior (cat) stop barking and hissing at each other, it will be one big happy family. He has some skin allergy (which you can see in the last photo where his fur has been shaved while its being treated), other than that he seems to be in good health.