Thursday, July 30, 2009

new shoes!

Every girl loves new shoes, and I just got some! Check out my new Avi Stoltz trail running (racing) shoes, designed by Conrad Stoltz and made by Avia. They hit dirt for the first time this morning, and I LOVE them! LOVE LOVE LOVE them. So light weight (especially compared to my other klunky addidas trail shoes), and they fit perfectly, and they are awesome colors. These shoes are just plain awesome. Can't wait to run again (on the trails)!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Post Tour Depression

It hits you on the Monday after the tour is over, and you realize that while you are at work, that you can’t tune in to see how today’s stage is going. And in the evening you can’t sit and watch the cyclists, and the French countryside, and listen to Phil, Paul and Bobke.

And you feel a bit sad, dare I say, depressed? Well, NO! Because now the Swimming World Championships are going on, and in two days there have been record smashing swims already!

15 year old Swedish girl broke the world record in the 100gly, swimming ala Michael Phelps, last at the turn, and then you’d have thought she had a turbo charger that she flipped on, as she rocked the last 25 and blew by the entire field. It was an incredible swim!

Arian Kukors, third at the trials, only swimming at worlds, because Pelton decided to not swim the event, and she smashes the 200IM world record by 1.5 seconds in the semis, and then takes another second off in the final. 2:06 is smoking fast. A really beautiful swim to watch.

Pellegrini becoming the first woman to break 4:00 in the 400 free was simply awesome! Ohhh, to swim freestyle like her.

Rebecca Soni a new world record in the semi’s of the 100 breaststroke. She just keeps getting better and better. Her stroke is beautiful to watch.

Yeah for the women!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Little sad for Aaron Piersol for misjudging the effort he needed to put out to make it into the finals of the 100 back.

Cracking up at Ryan Lochte’s comment that he is happy that FINA is reverting back to the old fabric suits, that he likes it old school, and would race in a banana hammock. He had the whole media room in stitches.

Can’t wait to see Lochte and Phelps swim some individual events.

You can catch any and all of the action on

Also, just saw on twitter that George Hincapie does have a broken collarbone – he’s such a bad ass, climbing Ventoux and pushing the pace on the cobbles in Paris, with a broken body.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

my new niece

My brother just became a grandpa again! Liz had a baby girl. Kayla was born yesterday.

Here she is! Happy Birthday Kayla!

I'm not producing any grandkids, all of my kids have been spayed and neutered. Here are some pictures for my kids grandma:

Junior doesn't realize he'smissing out on some action up on the bird feeders just a few feet away.

Instead of trying to catch the squirrel, he opts for just sticking his tongue out at him.

And I guess he'd rather take a nap.

Big Sam smiling for the camera

Pretty much the only thing Sam will play with, other than squirrels, chippies, rabbits and deer.

Daisy hates the camera, but I made her pose with the geranium.

Isn't she cute?

Friday, July 24, 2009

On my mind

Why does honey slide off peanut butter, when both peanut butter and honey stick like glue to everything else!

Weird how the nasal irrigation system that I started to use pulses water up one nostril and it comes out the other, and it feels like you are swimming and continuously getting water up your nose for a few minutes.

Why is it that your mind willingly allows you to swallow food that you put in your mouth and chew up, even though it may be bigger than a giant gumball, but when you put a pill-like object in your mouth to swallow, your mind just wants to make you gag on it!

Why do our bodies like to tease us? I mean, I have not been injured for months (yes, I knocked on wood), and I sit on my a$$ at work, and stand up from my chair, and my right hip screams in agony for like 5 steps, and then it is normal. Or, I’m out for a run, and all is well, then I have 5 steps where my right foot wants to curl up in a ball, then its normal. Seriously, it’s enough that I over analyze every little feeling in every joint, muscle, tendon, ligament, and cell in my body, why throw me into these situations of temporary insanity!

How do dogs learn the meaning of words? My friends dog, Tili, who stayed with us often over a span of 3-4 years (more than 3 years ago), passed away this week. Daisy was laying on the floor by Todd, and I walked over to her and said ‘Daisy’, and she looked at me without moving. Then I said ‘do you remember Tili’, and as soon as the word Tili came out of my mouth, her tail was thumping wildly against the floor. I like to think that she remembers Tili. She loved having Tili over at our house. We all did. Here's Tili:

Tili - I hope you running around in a great big field of grass, next to a beautiful lake that you can run and jump into any time, rolling around in any stink that you desire, and getting all the belly rubs you want. Rest in peace sweetie!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Like a mermaid.

I learned to swim when I was a baby. My mom taught swim lessons, and she would take me to the pool with her, and I would swim. I can remember watching an old 8mm film that my family took of a family vacation in Florida when I was a year or two old, and I was paddling around the hotel swimming pool. Happy as a lark. I swam on my first swim team when I was 5. Our team suits were so awesome. They were red white and blue with dolphins. I remember being so small, we had to tie the straps together with shoe strings. The photo of me wearing our team sweatshirt looks like I’m wearing a floor length dress instead of a sweatshirt. I was completely spoiled on that team. I’d run around bugging all the older kids. At swim meets I’d eat cherry jello straight out of the box with my finger, and walk around the whole evening with a bright red finger. I also had my events written on my arm. (My first coach is now my parents GP). My first practice meet was in a pool without lane lines. I had to swim 25 backstroke, and I went from lane 3 to the wall in lane6 and hit my head. A childhood friend who still belongs to the swim club told me I still had a record form when I was swimming there – 30 years ago. The first few years, we just swam 25 yards and meters. One day we went to Coney Island for a meet. The pool was 50 meters. It was so scary. I think it might have been 200 meters. I was maybe 8. Somehow I survived my races. But I don’t think I liked it! Then I started swimming in the winter too. I was swimming all year round, with a few weeks off at the end of each season. Not every day during my first few winter seasons. But I kept improving. My little local coach came to our house one night and told us that we were losing our pool time at the start of the year. And she thought I should go swim at the Marlins (she coached there too). I was terrified. This was a BIG TIME team, and I was just small potatoes. Somehow she convinced my parents, who convinced me to give it a try. My first practice was over Christmas break. It was long course (my first long course practice, ever.) I was shaking before practice. Really, I was never so nervous. The first practice had a main set of 10x400 IM. Yep. I did them. I didn’t die. I almost died. I know I cried inside my goggles the whole practice. I didn’t want to go back the next day. Mom and dad convinced me to go. We did 40x50 fly. I cried some more. I know I had to cheat to finish the set. I finished the week. Then two weeks, then 5 years. Swimming was my world. I met so many great friends. Got to travel a bit. Learned how to suck it up big time, suffer, and win. And lose. It was life. It was fun. It was hard. It was painful. It was my life.

I swam in college too. Although I was teetering on the brink of burnout. But swimming in college was even better. Maybe not the swimming. I had few PR’s by then (in the 400im!). And motivation was up and down, but the girls I swam with were my family, and they got me through 3 years with lots of smiles and laughs.

Then I got to retire! By then I was ready, and so happy. I didn’t swim for many years. I didn’t even know how to ‘play’ in a pool with the nieces and nephews. I have a photo of me doing a flip off a small diving board in my early 20’s. I was a dork. But even though I didn’t do any swim training, when I got in the water, I was like a mermaid. I was so at home in the water. In a pool, in a lake, in the ocean. The ocean was great. Swimming, snorkeling, diving with the fish. With the sharks. With the turtles. Dolphins. What a magnificent water world!

The years roll by. And now I swim again, and have been back in the pool for years. My training is up and down, on and off, but sometimes I can still surprise myself when I blast a 1:03 from a push in a workout. But, really, I don’t like to train hard in the pool. I like to be relaxed in a pool, just swim with enough effort to feel fast, but not too much to feel tired. Like a mermaid!

Today I have a swim workout. It’s kind of hard. No, it’s not kind of hard. It is hard. Hard for me. Lots of freestyle. Short intervals. That means, swim fast, feel tired. Mermaids don’t sprint around at max heart rate. They flow through the water, enjoying the movement and the freedom. I’m not going to get to be a mermaid tonight.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I am the master...

After 3 years of cleaning my mountain bike drive train weekly, I have finally mastered the most efficient and effective steps to clean it. And since a clean bike is a fast bike, I cannot share my secrets. Because I’d rather have you riding a dirty slow bike! ;-)

As I realized this yesterday in my under 5 minute cleaning, I was thinking of other things I wish I could master. Here are a few I wish I could master this year:
1) Cornering the mountain bike at high speed
2) Wheelie-ing over a 12+inch log
3) Track stand
4) Opening a bar wrapper on the bike in winter without taking off the winter gloves, without crashing, and without having to stop
5) The 15yard underwater kick off the wall for backstroke (I am determined to master this in the fall/winter this year)
6) Teaching my dogs to obey every command I give them (this has very low likelihood of every happening)
7) The art of making a tasty, healthy meal in under 15 minutes

In other exciting news, I made it one week without dairy. Well, I've had a few small items with what I call ‘trace amounts of dairy' (ie, m&m's MILK chocolate). It’s difficult to know if this is helping. Generally I think not. But there are moments when I think the throat congestion feels looser. And then, it doesn't. I'm still committed to giving it a fair shot, I even bought a few more non-dairy products at the grocery today. I bought some vegan monterey jack cheese, and while it sort of looks like cheese, and smells like cheese, and sort of tastes like cheese, it doesn't behave like cheese. It cuts smooth and easily, not like cutting through a block of real cheese, and it doesn't just melt nicely if you drop it on something warm. Its not bad. Not really cheese, even though the label calls it cheese, but an ok alternative. I'm also reading a book, 'The Sinus Cure'. It recommends daily nasal irrigation as a first treatment, before dietary changes. It also says do not drink cold drinks, only warm and hot ones (keeps the cilia working better). How can you possibly not drink cold drinks in summer! I just can't do it. I am enjoying popping my papaya enzyme tablets. They taste like candy - sort of like eating Flintstone chewable vitamins as a kid.

I was out at Brown County for a mountain bike ride and short trail run Sunday, and I was amazed by the number of girls I saw on the trail. I LOVE that. In Bloomington, we see plenty of girls riding on the roads (especially during the school year), and that is so cool. But usually not so many on the trails. But today, I saw many new girls. They could be from out of town, and probably are, our little trail is earning quite a reputation! It’s a beautiful state park, just not quite as beautiful as the French countryside! I know, hard to believe. When I was watching the Tour this weekend, I was ooohing and ahhing over how beautiful the French countryside is. I’ve been to France once, in winter. It was cold! I’d love to go back some time in summer. Ride a bike, eat yummy food. No big cities, just the little towns, the countryside, the mountains. I’m just a small town girl. Don’t like big cities, not even just to pass through. They make me nervous. Too many people, too many cars. Too much concrete. Too much noise and commotion.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 10, 2009

I’m getting a little (no, a lot) tired of the no dairy diet.

I’m on day 5, and I’m not really noticing any real difference in the state of my throat mucus/phlegm. It’s the same is it was yesterday, same as it was Sunday, same as it was last year, and the year before. So, no benefit yet, and I hate having to think so much about what I’m eating. No cheese. No butter. No yogurt, milk or ice cream. I popped an m&m in my mouth yesterday only to realize its MILK chocolate! And the last piece of banana bread I had left to eat – made with butter! And after a killer bike ride last night where Randi and Angela totally put the hurts to me, I wanted a tall cold glass of chocolate milk. I made chocolate ‘milk’ with my almond milk and hershey’s chocolate, and it tasted like dirt! Poor tasting chocolate milk is very disappointing. Chocolate is supposed to make everything taste better!

I popped over to the library at lunch and picked up the book ‘The Sinus Cure’, and this weekend I’m going to read up as much as I can on sinus issues, phlegm and throat mucus. It’s such a pleasant topic, I’m sure I’ll be completely enthralled with this reading selection. I did sneak a peek at when I came back to work, and it talks about papaya enzyme being a mucus thinner, so you know what I’ll be buying tonight!

I also picked up a book called ‘The Engine 2 Diet’. I didn’t pick it up because I’m going to switch my diet and follow it , because it sounds way to whacked for me. I need meat! But it was written by Rip Esselstyn, who was an Olympic swimming hopeful back in 1980. And when I was a young teen age group swimmer at Cincinnati Marlins, we had a dozen or so top Olympic hopefuls come to train with us that summer. It was quite a way to spend a few months, watching these world class athletes train, and prepare to attempt to qualify for the Olympics. Rip was one of the swimmers who came to our pool. Then he became a top triathlete, now he is a firefighter, and apparently a newly published author of this unusually named ‘diet’ book. I was just curious to see what he had to say.

So, my (mostly) non dairy diet rolls on through 5 days. I’ll give it another week. But I’m also going to be trying other remedies, so how will I know what works, if something actually works? Hmmmmmm, dunno! I guess I’ll cross that path if I actually come to it.

In the meantime, I have to go clean my lunch dishes that are sitting here at my desk, because as much as I like tuna, I don’t think I can tolerate smelling it the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dairy Free Day 2

Is also Day 4 of TDF (another exciting day of bike racing in France)
And is also Day 1 of US Swimming Nationals , which are also the World Championships Trials ( a week of fast swimming just up the road in Indianapolis)
How will I get any work done with all this going on!

Well, I survived day 1 of no dairy. Wait, I may have slipped just a little. I had a left over piece of birthday cake (from the best bakery in the world), and I’m thinking that butter was probably used in the making of said cake and frosting. But, I’m giving myself an A- for effort yesterday, because that was the only slip I had, no major crash.

I hit the grocery last night. I had to get more things for lunch at work. Usually I bring half my lunch to work, and go to one of 4 places for part of my lunch (bagel shop, burrito place, deli, and a pasta place). Unfortunately at each of those places, my normal order involves CHEESE! OUCH! I did pick an alternative at the bagel shop yesterday of chicken salad, and it was quite good. For a minute I had to think if mayo was dairy, the girl behind me assured me its just eggs and oil. Now at home I have fixins for my own tuna salad. I made it this morning, and OMG, Junior (cat who thinks he’s a dog, and only comes home for food and a dry place to sleep) went absolutely bonkers. I don’t think he has ever had tuna, at first he just smelled it finicky like, then gobbled it up, then I couldn’t keep him off the counter, off the cutting board (carrots and celery) and out of the bowl with the tuna. He was a MONSTER. The dogs stood pathetically by watching his antics, wondering why he got to be up on the counter, and they were on the floor. Well, Junior was on the floor, every 5 seconds, after I threw him down. But then he’d jump right back up. This went on and on and on. All I can say is it took way too long to make some basic tuna salad!

Eating out less at lunch is going to be a little sad, maybe after I get over the 10 day hump, and figure out if the dairy thing is a go or no go, I’ll be able to give myself a little more time to find new things at my favorite spots.

I’m wondering if I’ll give in to the temptation of getting a chocolate chip cookie at the bagel shop tomorrow. Wednesdays I always get a cookie (well, only if they are perfectly undercooked, and filled with double chocolate chips, which they often are). But I know they are made with butter. Damn the butter. Why does it also have to be a dairy product? Not that I put butter on anything (well, maybe cinnamon raisin bagel), but it’s used to make things (ok, bakery goods, yeah, I should just give them up too).

Of course this morning when I woke up, my brain immediately said ‘hey, the mucus and phlegm is gone!’ Of course it isn’t after just one day, and probably no different, but my mind is trying to will myself to believe it. I’ll withhold judgement for another week.

Looks like Astana is crushing the Team Time Trial.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dairy Free Day 1

For years I’ve had this nasty excess thick mucus in my nose and throat (I know that's gross and disgusting). I’ve just lived with it (since the only allergy med that helped also made me break out in a nice rash all over my body), and suffered through the occasional exercise induced asthma attack, caused by constricted airway from the thickening mucus and a hard workout or race, and especially humid conditions. But I'm tired of living with it and suffering if there is more I can do.

I’ve been denying that diet changes could help. But now I’m ready to give it a try. Starting today, I’m eliminating dairy from my diet for 10 days. And we’ll see what happens. This is HARD for me, as I LOVE dairy! I’ve tried soy milk before and didn’t care for it too much, so this morning I tried almond milk (thanks to Melissa for that recommendation) on my cereal and it tasted ok. And I just ate some soy yogurt with fruit, and it was ok too. Not as good as dairy yogurt (I’m biased), but I can eat it. Giving up cheese will be tough, especially giving up pizza! :-(

If 10 days dairy free doesn’t make a difference, then I think I’ll be cutting out gluten also for 10 days - along with the dairy – maybe I should have done the gluten and dairy together starting today – but I’m afraid the gluten will be extremely difficult – and it will require some education to find non-gluten foods that I can eat. Everything has gluten in it!

Ok, so wish me luck! And if you have any great ideas, send them my way.