Saturday, January 31, 2009

24 degrees when I left my house today at noon

trying to get organized

the view ahead

staged photo just 'cause it looks funny to see Randi ride past a snowpile the same height as she is

for this:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

we finally got snow!

Sam with his head in the ground

Daisy chased a squirrel up the tree

Daisy kissing Sam's wound (caused by a Junior puncture that Sam keeps scratching the scab off!)

Wound under the snow, he's cute even with a big blobby mess on his face

Daisy with snow beard

Sometimes they think they are Cujo

Ears flying!

Belly deep in it

Sunday, January 25, 2009

my niece wrote a book about me

A few months ago, my 12 year old niece called me on the phone and wanted to interview me for a school project. She asked me questions for 45 minutes, how many brothers and sisters do I have, what kind of car did I learn to drive in, what events did I swim, what is triathlon, what is xterra, and where have I travelled too, and the list goes on and on. Yesterday Todd came home from their house with a book. This is it, its even a hardback book!:

Its the cutest thing ever! She had to make up a story about me and something I do, so she came up with a story about Todd and I going to Maui for the Xterra World Championships (although to her it is the Extera Championship :-).

The book is super cute, very funny, she has a great imagination. My favorite line is this :I got on my bike and fixed my hair so my helmet would sit safely in place. I probably looked like a blueish-purple blob. My helmet was purple with blue stripes. My biking outfit was blue with purple stripes. And my number was purple too. My bike was the same as my helmet and my shoes were white with blue and purple.

I just giggled as I read the story, what a treat that she chose to write about me when she has a whole gaggle of aunts and uncles and cousins to write about.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

my childhood pre/during/post swim meet food favorites

Tomorrow I'm swimming in my first masters swim meet of 2009. I had pizza for dinner tonight. When I was an age grouper swimmer pizza (LaRosa's pizza, extra cheese) was my pre-meet meal (for evening meet sessions). I was a pretty picky eater as a kid. My mom was great. She indulged my breakfast pickiness (she didn't let me get away with only eating what I liked all day long, I still remember eating carrots, brussel sprouts and green peppers - I still don't care for those three things that much, but I have definitely grown to like a much wider variety of good foods). She went to two bakeries and got my favorite coffee cakes at each one. Every breakfast I had a chunk of each one and a pop tart. How's that for the breakfast of champions! Maybe that's one reason I didn't become a champion! ok, I feel like I became as much of a champion as my body and mind could muster at the time, so I definitely only hold fond memories of my food habits. When I was a really young swimmer (8&under) my favorite thing to eat during meets was jello - not prepared jello, but the jello powder out of the box. I'd walk around, box in hand, finger bright red from dipping in and sucking the jello from my finger. It was delish! After meets as an 8&under, hot dogs, french chews (chocolate and vanilla) were top of the list.

Back to today, pizza for dinner still hits the spot for a pre-meet meal. But I won't eat coffee cake for breakfast - Cheerios are now the breakfast of choice. And I'll have a couple of honey stinger bars on hand during the meet if I need a little pick me up, instead of jello. All's fair game though after the meet. I get rewards just for swimming the 200fly - as long as I don't drown or get DQ'ed, its a success!

Monday, January 19, 2009


I've eaten one pear in my life, years and years ago, and I recall I didn't like it much. So I always pass them up for other fruits. But last Friday my coworkers gave me a fruit basket, and there were 2 pears in it. I ate one today and I LOVED it! So, pears have moved to the top of my fruit list!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

colder than a witches fart

ok, I don't really know what that means, because how do I know a witches fart is really cold? or that witches fart? or that there are even witches? (except for us Halloween babies). ok, point is - its cold here! and I heard someone say that the other day and it cracked me up. It was -1 this morning when I walked the dogs. The only skin exposed was around me eyes. Mositure froze on my lashes. Tomorrow I might break out some old ski goggles to walk them! And as I sit here in my warm living room, gearing up to venture outside to go to work, the news is showing the temps in North Dakota at -38! and that's not even with wind chill!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

students, swimming, cat litter, and cereal bags

what do they all have in common? Nothing. Except they are all in my random post below.

The students have all come back to Bloomington for the start of spring term. It’s a big adjustment going from our sleepy town over the holidays to crazy pedestrian traffic, cars everywhere, long lines at the grocery, and an abnormally high number of users at the rec-sports facility (you know they all have to get in shape before spring break!). So I headed to the pool after work yesterday expecting the 25 lanes to be pretty full, and possibly half of the lanes usurped by the little munchkin age group teams who pay money to steal lanes away from the IU students/staff/faculty (I’m not bitter or anything, I just like to have my own lane!). But I was happily surprised to find there were no swim lessons, no age group teams practicing, and I had my own lane for my entire hour long workout. That should be highlight enough for a swim, but last night I knocked out 10x50’s fly on 1:00, getting tons of rest, no one arm fly, no one handed turns, no one handed finishes. 6 dolphin kicks of every wall. I was completely legal the whole set! I was swimming ala Michael Phelps. Ok, not really, because he would probably do 50x100 fly, or something ridiculously embarrassing like that. But this 42 year old was happy enough with her 50’s.

Then I had to stop and pick up some cat and dog food. I noticed some cat litter that is made from corn. My sweet dogs, Daisy and Sam, like to eat the cat poop straight from the litter box (I know, it’s disgusting). But when they are all at home, and we are not, who is going to stop them! Of course, they don’t just get the poop, they also get the litter (and you know that stuff can be like cement, and its going into their stomachs!). So, I thought corn based litter was a great idea. Now they will just be eating all natural ingredients!

Another recent realization is not to throw away the wax paper cereal box liners. You can get at least one reuse of them, if not many, as storage bags. So next time you finish off a box of Cheerios, save the bag, and reuse it a couple of times, the earth will be happier for it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

since chocolate milk is such a fabulous recovery drink

I was wondering if chocolate ice cream would provide the same benefit?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Urban Ride

When its too cold for an open road ride on the road bike, and the trails are just a bit too soft and wet, and you don't have a trianer ride to do, the next best thing is the urban ride. Bundle up, hop on the mountain bike and ride around town for a couple hours (lower speeds on the knobby tires, but you work hard to overcome the additional friction to go faster). Early weekend mornings are best, before much traffic is out, here were the highlights of this morning's urban ride:
empty parking lots with big curbs and parking lot dividers - perfect for practicing pedal wheelies and push wheelies (that's what I call them). I must have done over 50 of each. My pedal wheelies were kicking butt. IU stadium parking lot has this short steep (50ft long) grassy hill with a big curb at the top. The uphill is a 'get way over your handlebars so you don't lift your front wheel off the ground' climb. The downhill is a good pedal wheelie start, then (even though you don't have to, you can practice) getting your butt way back off the back of your saddle, stomach close to the saddle for the descent. The old state police post at 446/Fee has a short 10 ft burm with several small boulders out of the ground, good practice going down. The yet developed rails to trails section is a good 1-2 miles of big chunky gravel to practice on. And in town, always lots of small hills to practice a sprint up for a little extra heart rate elevation. Occasional stairs on campus to go down (not very easy to go up), and a few other places I probably shouldn't have ridden, so I won't mention those!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

if you commute to work via bicycle, read this...

I just read that as part of the October giant bailout bill passed by the US Congress, there are some buried tax savings for employers and employees, applicable to employees who commute by bicycle at least 60% of the time.

Here is a link to the verbage of the bill specific to this:

and a more English interpretation:
so, talk to your HR folks and see if you can get them to give you some tax breaks!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I used to be a pretty good swimmer

Then I became a retired swimmer who put very little effort into her occasional swims.

As of last night, I think I can call myself a swimmer again!

Jen gave me a challenge:
6x100 on 1:30, 200IM ez,
5x100 on 1:25, 200IM ez,
4x100 on 1:20, 200IM ez,
3x100 on 1:15, 200IM ez,
2x100 on 1:10, 200IM ez

I so wanted to make the last 5 with plenty of rest, not just touch and go, and definitely not touch, miss, and go. I gave last night's workout my best swim effort in 20 years. I made all the intervals, with lots of rest! The first 3 sets I was cruising with 15 and 10 seconds rest. Then I hit 1:06,1:08,1:10 on the 100's on 1:15, and 1:04 and 1:06 on the last two 100's on 1:10! I was so psyched! Seriously, I have not put such an honest effort into a swim since I was a declining collegiate swimmer. And it felt so good. I finished, smiled, thinking the people at the pool who saw me smiling must have thought I was a total dork. Here I am a 40 something swimming next to the little age group swimmers a few lanes over, I must look so out of place. But I don't care. For the first time in decades, I enjoy swimming again. Can't wait to hit a few masters meets and see what kind of times I can throw out in a race.

happy swimming!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Weekend Update

This morning I tated my first batch of make-my-own yogurt. And guess what - it tastes like yogurt! Here is the recipe I used.

I also read a book yesterday.
How Many Hills to Hillsboro? by Fred Bauer
It was written in 1969. Its about a family that decides they want to experience the adventure of riding their bikes across the US. They want experience the people, and places and do it as a family. This is a family who did not even own bikes, they purchased bikes with 5 speeds, started their first ride of 2 miles! ANd planned to do the ride from east to west (can you say HEADWIND!). Its a comical story for those of us who ride a lot of miles on our bikes. Also inspirational - makes me want to do it too!

And if you love dogs, this is an amazing video clip of a military veteran returning from a 14 month tour of duty, to his home, and being greeted by his best friends. ENJOY!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

making my own yogurt

So, in a constant effort to reduce my carbon footprint, I analyzed my habits, and determined that those little plastic yogurt containers are the next thing to go in my life. So, I have my first batch of 'make-my-own' yogurt sitting on a heating pad, attempting to curdle. I hope this works! And that it taste good. I'll report back tomorrow when I can taste the results of this little science experiment.

if I can make my own yogurt, here's what I figure I save:
5x50(weeks)=250 plastic containers that won't go into recycle anymore.
10 additional half gallons milk container that goes into recycle, but can also be reused at my house (watering plants, gardening...)
250x$.5=$125 dollars not spent each year buying yogurt
$1.25x10=$12 spent buying milk to make similar amount of yogurt each year

Maybe I can find someplace that sells milk in cardboard containers instead of plastic.

Friday, January 2, 2009

It’s the new year... time to do some new things.

So, I ran a race on the first day of the year. I’ve never run a race on Jan 1. I have not run a stand alone running race shorter than a half marathon since 1997. Why, because I’m not that fast, and it always seemed like such a waste of time to spend money to just go run a race moderately fast, when I could just do that for free (I’m so cheap sometimes). But I’m resolved to learn to run faster this year. And learn to suffer this year, especially when I run. (I guess also when I swim -which I know how to do, I did it for 20 years, I just have chosen not to for the past 20- and also when I ride. )

So, yesterday I head up to the big flat city to run a race, so I can do another HR test. I could do one 3 mile loop, or 2, as fast as I can go. Well, as I said I’ve never been particularly fast on two feet, and I truly have no idea how to run fast, how it should feel, how my legs and feet and arms and core should feel. I know its going to hurt, and I know I’m going to be gasping for breath. But its not something I’m familiar with. I’m more familiar with a little slower for a little longer. But as I said, I’m committed to getting out of my comfort zone and making myself learn to suffer on the short fast stuff.

This race was a non-scored race, just a fun run so to speak, but the course was closed to traffic, had mile markers, and a timing clock at the start/finish line. I’m standing about 5 rows back from the front at the start, far to the right. No one wanted to go to the front. I sure wasn’t. I’m not fast. The race starts, and some people take off way faster than me, but not a lot. Jen said to run as fast as I could, I think I started too fast. I was going to do 6 miles fast, but at mile 1 I was a shade under 7min (I’ve never run under 7min on a track for a single mile, and I have done no speedwork since , uh, August). I was already hurting at mile 1. The 15 degrees and 20 mile mph wind slapped me in the face for the second mile and I hit that at 14:20! Uh-oh, I was feeling the blowup coming. I was telling myself just do 3 miles, don’t worry about the 6. You can do 6 in the next race. Just suffer for another mile. Luckily the next turn was a side/tail wind, and somehow it pushed me home in 21:05. I felt like I wanted to barf. I stopped, a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t start a wee bit slower so I could do the HR test for 6 miles, but happy that I averaged right around 7min miles for 3 miles (not bad for this former fish who dreams of being able to run effortlessly - like Todd). I shivered and ran back to my car, maxed out the heated seat and blasted the heater for the hour drive home. First thing I did then was to check local race calendars, because now I’m determined to do these short races and make myself suffer and most importantly, RUN FAST!

Other new things for 2009? Hmmm, maybe I’ll swim a 200fly in a meet this winter, just to add to my 2009 sufferfest.

Happy New Year!