Wednesday, May 27, 2009


In a simple effort to move on from the photo post below… here are a few things that have made me smile the past few days:

Road names on our bike rides this weekend: Bear Wallow Rd, Three Story Hill Rd, Greasy Creek Rd, Lick Creek Rd, Turkey Track

Saving 3 turtles on the same rides, one of them was marked with especially bright fluorescent orange markings, he was stunning.

Riding Monday with Randi and Angela in a thunderstorm, being pelted by cats and dogs, or maybe that was just big fat raindrops.

Getting one sign sprint from Randi (teeheehee, well, not really, I just sort of stole it quietly)

Eating a 3pack of hohos in the middle of one ride! Oops!

Taking my dog Sam for walks again!

Leading Junior back home yesterday morning before I went to work, picked him up to toss him in the house and he smelled like skunk! First I made the P-ew face, then I smiled and laughed at him. He is a daredevil cat, nothing scares him.

Todd finally trimmed up his Paul Bunyan facial hair look!

I swam this morning at 6am, outdoors, 10lane, 50m pool, had my own lane, sun was just coming up. Beautiful!

And lastly, I smiled big when I stepped on the scale this morning and was back to my race weight of 2 years ago! Maybe I can drop a few more pounds and carry around a little less on the old bum the rest of the summer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yesterday I had the privilege of helping to build a habitat for humanity house. Every year, in Monroe County one hundred plus women come together from various origins (schools, church groups, employers, friends, book clubs…) , raise money and then build a house for a family. This year, the group raised over $100,000. And they will build a house in 10 days. All women, only women (ok, there are a few men that are hired out to do the foundation, plumbing, wiring, and dry walling), but women do the rest of the house, and they do it in one week. Some of these women have never used a hammer. But this is a great opportunity to learn. And everyone does. What a great way to give back to your community, learn some new (and potentially) useful skills, and meet a lot of amazing women! I am truly thankful that I have had the opportunity to work on these houses, and think that as I get older, and have more free time, this is how I will spend more of my time.

If you have never worked on a habitat house, but thought you might want to try it, just do it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Went to Michigan this weekend to race in the xterra Midwest cup race at Ft Custer park, near Battle Creek, MI (home of Kelloggs - Cereal City they call it). Drove up in rain, rode one lap of the bike when we arrived, rain had stopped, wind started, and temps were in the 30's with high winds by evening. brrrr. Sunday morning, the temp at the park was 34, but the sun was coming out, and the wind was light. This race is a qualifier for the Xterra World Champs in Maui. The past 2 years this race was shorter, and nhot a qualifier, but this year they added a race in every region, and this one was chosen for the midwest race. The swim was only 1000m, not to the liking of the pros, or swimmers like myself who use the swim to build a lead (it should be 1500m for a qualifier - its like having an OLY tri with a 1000m swim). Oh well, what can you do! It was a wetsuit swim (64 degree water), but the water felt balmy since the air was cold. My swim was good, one pro women beat me, and we spotted them 30 seconds on the start. Unfortunately, only giving them 30 seconds, means all those fast pro mountain bike riders would be right behind me, and I'd be slowing them down, and having to slow myself down (even more) to let them by on the single track. They really need to start the pros 5 minutes ahead so they are clear of the age group race, and we don't effect their race, and they don't effect ours. Again, what can you do! The bike was two 10 mile loops. Lots of tight twisty singletrack amongst the forest, one knee deep river crossing, a fun stone paved drop off, and old military trenches turned into crazy fun singletrack trail. I finished the first lap still leading amateur women, but I could see a couple women on the little road stretch out and back (to the transition) and knew they were coming. I know I'm not the fastest bike rider, nor the best technical rider, but I love the mountain bike, and I just kept plugging away. The race was spreading out, and when I came to the river crossing on the second lap there was no one around me. First lap everyone carried their bikes through, including me, but this time a volunteer yelled 'go here, you can do it', and me, being the brain dead racer, thought ok. And my front wheel hit the deep mud, stopped, rear wheel kept going, up and over me, and I went down into the river, face first, hands digging into the sandy bottom, bike on top of me. I stood up, spitting muddy water out of my mouth, laughing, knowing the photographers on the other bank for sure got that wipeout. Carried myself and the bike out, saw muddy water all over my body (you can see remnants on the bike number above), had to clean my eyes and glasses. The bike was rather unhappy for 10 minutes or so, so much sand in the chain, and I couldn't get my foot clipped into the pedal. But the movement, and the wind cleaned everything out enough that she started to sputter back to life (after about 6 women passed me), and we made it to T2. I had to change socks, the others were wet, which would have been ok, but full of sand, which would have hurt running. So clean socks, and then remembered I had tightened my running shoes up for thin summer socks, and had on thicker wool socks, and they wouldn't go on! Well, eventually they did, and I was off to run down the beach! woohoo. Every step felt funny on the first lap of the run. Pins and needles in the bottom of my feet every step, I guess from them being frozen on the bike. But by the second lap they were better, and I really enjoyed the run. It was a beautiful trail, passing lilacs blooming out in the forest, some small ponds, and I was running hard, well, as hard as I could, wanting to make a few passes and move up a few places. My goal was top3 amateur women, I passed 2 back on the run, and moved up to 5th overall. Not quite what I was hoping for, but what can you do! Sometimes things just don't work quite right. But I won my rather small age group race, and can go to Maui if I want.

Jamie Whitmore was here, announcing. She took a few minutes to chat with me, and she is a really amazing person. If you don't know what she has been going through, check out her blog, and you will be stunned, and inspired.

So, now it is a beautiful sunny Monday, and I took the day off work to get in a long ride since I was at the race this weekend. That's done, and I enjoyed a nice post ride meal of chocolate milk and cinnamon raisen french toast and bacon! Yes, bacon, and it was YUM!

and Sam is now in week 8 post surgery and he is walking great. Even though its a few more dsya before we head back to the vet, I made the executive decision to start walking him agaim, just short walks, but he is a happy boy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I almost called in fat today

Was watching the Devil Wears Prada last week, that is a funny movie. I almost peed my pants when the 2 modelesque girls were going to work and one commented she wasn’t feeling well, and perhaps should have stayed home. The other said to her without cracking a smile ‘I almost called in fat today’. I'm going to try that some day here at work.

On Mothers day, my 93 year old grandmother got to spend time with her great-great grandson. Yes, that’s 2 greats. 5 generations in my parents house that day. My Grandma–my mom-my brother-his daughter-her son. How cool is that!

Bree posted a recipe for ooey gooey caramel goodness

This weekend I have another attempt to stalk some pros at the Midwest Xterra Cup race in is-it-still-winter-up-here-should-we-really-be-racing-in-water-this-cold-we-are-talking-Michigan-in-May! I better get more photos than I got at New Orleans - which shouldn't be hard since I got ZERO at NOLA!

why chip & seal? I'm not talking potatoes and cute little furry seals. I’m talking about that crap paving technique where they lay down that awful bumpy layer of ‘chip pavement’ and then spray over it with some sealant. Its terrible for bike riders! Why don’t they ask us before they do things like that!

I want to know what dork invented the 40 hour work week! I could be happy with 20 hours. 10am to 3pm M-F, with an hour break for lunch. Perfect.

I have cleaned my mountain bike two times, my road bike one time, and my tt bike one time in the last 3 days. RAIN RAIN GO AWAY!

The Boston Globe has some of the best photos I’ve seen on any topic, for the main page to look for a topic of your interest.

I get to swim SCY tonight! The only day each week that I have access to SCY anymore until fall. I will take full advantage. Maybe I'll practice my underwater kick off the wall to 15 yards on every turn.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Limestone sculptures & lots of green

We've had a lot of rain and wind the past month. But this morning, my ride had only clouds and lots of wind, no rain! The rain has made it so green here, as I'm riding up a hill in the state forest:

On Low Gap road, there is a sculpture who has acres of property where he displays his limestone sculptures. Since I had my camera, I decided to stop and snap a few photos. This one looks like he carved Mayan hieroglyphics into the stone (click on the photo to see more detail on the sculptures):

and a few others that are close to the road that I liked.

Ahhhh swimming. I love it. I hate it.

Being an old worn out swimmer who came from an age group program of pretty high mileage training - even for a sprint/middle distance stroke person - I prefer to keep all my training sessions in the 3k range these days. Any longer and I get bored and start to lose concentration.

Last night I had 4k on th eplan. Yuck. 4k of nothing but freestyle. Double yuck. ANd the pool was going to be LCM. Triple yuck! Well, things started looking up when I arrived and the pool was SCY - yeah! at least 4k SCY is less than 4k LCM! I don't like to be in the pool for more than 60min, so I knew there would be no dilly-dallying on the warmup. Which is a bit difficult for me, as I like to take advantage of all warm up yards and swim nice and slow until my arms start to come around. And last night I had 1000 yards of various warmup, so lots of time to stretch out, but then get down to business and get 'er done! Nairy a swim goes by that I don't have an issue with someone swimmig close to me. Last night was no exception. I had my own lane (not hard when we had 20+ to choose from, it was a Friday night in a college town, and the night before graduation - who was going to be at the pool at 5:30!) But of course the girl who got in the lane next to me had to kick, with fins, feet coming out of the water, smacking down, making tidal waves lapping over the line into my lane. As annoyed as I was, I decided not to move lanes and look at as good tri practice. The first 500 at half IM pace was nice and easy, and my attitude improved. Had it felt like crap, the attitude would have needed some serious adjusting. So, I kept plugging away. Lap after lap of freestyle, turn after turn, dolphin kick after dolphin kick off the wall, the pattern continued. The only thing to change was the pace on various repeats, and an occasional pull instead of swim. The last few hundred yards, my arms were tiring, I just wanted to be out of the pool, and then I was! 58 minutes! I made it under the hour.

Some of my pool observations:
1) any time I have a person swimming next to me who is not swimming quietly (ie, making too much splahs or waves) I want to stop them and tell them that's not faster!

2) whenever the pool is SCY and was supposed to be LCM, I need to buy the lifeguards beer (they are college kids after all)

3) it drives me crazy that I can't see any of the pace clocks at my pool when I come off the turns. I only see the time at the end of an interval. It makes me crazy. In SCY, we swim across the pool, and the clocks are these nice easy to see digital clocks (when I'm at the wall), but they are on the wall behind the pool, not to the side, so I can't see them when I breathe off the wall. LCM they are just too far awy, and my 40+ year old eyes just can't focus on them fast enough to see them. I think if they were analog clocks, I could see them and generally know where the second hand is, but the digital is too hard to read when my head is only turned for a second. All the pools I swam in as a kid had clocks that I could see off every turn. That's how I paced, and how I kept count when I swam more than 100 repeats.

4) You see, I have trouble counting over 100 yards. Becaue I have this compulsive need, no, its not even a need, it just happens. I count every stroke, all the time. My brain just can't disengage and not count.So if I have to do a 200 or more, the counting of strokes and counting laps require a lot of discipline. Then throw in an occasional set where I have to do a breathing pattern that is not my normal breathe every 3, and my brain is on overload. Counting strokes per lap , counting laps, and counting strokes between breaths. It sends my brain into overdrive.

Despite all my bitching about the pool policies where I swim (there are a lot of stupid policies), and the people I have to share lanes with (there are a lot of annoying people I have to share lanes with - I'm sure they are not annoying people, they are just annoying swimmers), considering I don't train with a masters team and have the luck of the draw at open lap swim, I am lucky to have such great facilities, and I should not complain. And I will try not to complain too much. And if those water joggers would stay away from me, and the water aerobics people would turn down their music and microphones, and heck, if I could just have my own private lane whenever I am at the pool, and if we could keep my swim workouts to 3k or less (teeheehee), then I might have more love and less hate for swimming.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Its almost Mothers Day

see you in a few days mom!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

book review: Force of Nature... mind, body, soul, and of course, surfing... Laird Hamilton

I picked up this book at the library, knowing just a bit about big wave rider, Laird Hamiltion, I thought it would be interesting to see what makes this guy tick.

Opening the book, the quote he chose to be on the first page is:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

... quote is from Mark Twain.

what a great quote. The book talks about what drives Laird to be, possibly, one of the best all around athletes in the world, and the best person he can be. He is a big risk taker, and sees no reason to not experience everything in life. Fear is not to be a deterrent in trying, it should be respected, and used to channel your energy into success. He has no fear of trying new things, being a beginner at anything. Being a beginner may result in failure, but failure is just a stepping stone to learning. He uses his mind to make his body be capable of doing things most people would not dream of trying. And he thinks most people think their bodies cannot endure as much pain as they actually can. Most of us don't learn to push ourselves to what we are truly capable. As much as he works on making a stronger mind, he works on making a stronger body, one capable of allowing him to be more successful. Some interesting things he does from a physical workout routine, is a lot of barefoot walking. This strengthens all the tiny muscles and tendons in the feet, and while this seems easy when you live in Hawaii, it makes sense, and I will try to do more of it this summer. He also does a lot of upper body work while standing on the bosu ball (flat side up), so his core is completely engaged and being worked to be stronger for any activity you might try.

Lots of other interesting ideas in the book, from specific exercises, both physical and mental, food, recipes, and even tips on becoming a surfer (which is only a part of the amazing athlete that he is, albeit, the sport that made him world champ!). And lots of awesome photos.