Sunday, February 28, 2010

All Kinds of Fun

It was a really good weekend. On Saturday I was heading over to Oxford for a reunion of Miami University womens swimming. I knew 6 of my teammates from the years I swam would be there, so I was looking forward to catching up with these girls from my life 20 years ago. When I swam at Miami in 1985, we swam in a 6 lane 25 yard pool, diving boards in the deep end. It was SMALL! Now the girls get to swim in this fabulous facility:

The MAC conference championship meet was going on, and the reunion was on the last day of the meet. Its so fun that you can get together with the girls you spent so many hours with so many years ago, and despite all the years that go by still have so much to talk about and so much to laugh about. The hours flew by. And I was sad to say goodbye. Here are a few of my now grown up teammates.

Me and the 'older' girls':

Me and the 'younger' girls:

Then a quick visit with my parents who live close to Oxford. I got to have some Graeters double chocolate chip ice cream! I can get this now here in Btown, but I don't get it often. It feels like it should be more of a treat from my childhood home.

Back to Btown, and I eventually had to give in to the inevitable bike ride. I don't know why I procrastinate so when its cold outside. Much of our snow is gone, but the cold lingers, and the lake is still frozen:

To be completely honest, riding in mid 30's is not cold. Here are my dress for cold ride tips:
1) My feet always stay warm with this combination: wool socks, normal cycling shoes, toe covers, then goretex booties. Never a cold toe with that set of layers. 2) The legs and torso are easy, windblock is key. Usually all I need is one base layer and and outer windblocking layer.
3) And thanks to my friend Randi who recommended Manzella gloves, my hands don't get cold anymore. I have a pair on Manzella fleece windblocker gloves that are good to upper 20's. Today (mid 30's, no sum, 5-10mph wind), my hands even sweated occasionally. These gloves are amazing. I wore them on a run test at 5degrees, and had to take them off my hands were too warm. I have a thin pair of Manzella windblocker gloves too, they look thin and useless, but they are good for 40 degree bike rides, honestly I don't know how they work. But they do!
4) A light hat is needed below 40. Balaclava or neck warmer not required until its below 30 degrees.
ok, I have to be honest, I'm usually the last person to get cold.I'm wearing bike short longer into the fall than most people, so your mileage may vary with those tips above. But I swear by them. I NEVER used to ride outside in the winter. Why would anyone want to ride in the cold? Well, Randi has a rule, she will ride if its above 23 and she has converted me. I have ridden on the mtb in the upper teens (more wind blockage from the trees on the trails). I'll ride on the road in the upper 20's or warmer. The key is just learning what your body needs to avoid getting chilled. Once a body part , especially hands or feet, get cold, your ride will be miserable.

Back to the ride, I was riding alone so I planned several out and backs. My hip has been a little wonky lately, so I wanted to stay close enough to home if I had any problems. Plus I was alone and didn't want to be out in east bufu alone for all the crazies to harass me. On my home this morning, I drank 12oz of diet coke. I know its bad for you, but I needed caffeine to assure I'd stay alert for the 3 hr drive. When I got on the bike I spent the entire ride burping all the gas out of me. I could not stop. Burp, drink efs drink, ride, burp again, drink, feel like I have to pee, drink anyways, burp again, fluff too. Oh the joy! With 45 minutes left in the ride, I started to feel like I was bouncing along, like I was riding my suspension mtb. Of course a few more seconds and I realized it was a flat. But it was more of a slow flat, so I tried to put some co2 in it, but that didn't work. ok, change the flat. But first maybe I'll call Todd and have him just come and get me because I'm close enough to the length of the ride I had planned. He didn't answer , which was good, I need to htfu and change the flat and do the ride! Wheel off. Tube and lever and co2 out of saddle bag. Tube out of tire. New tube in, tire back on rim. Co2 in. done! sweet! I even had an audience and moral support from the farm dog where I had stopped:

I was probably stopped for 5 minutes, and now a little cold, especially the hands since I couldn't get the tire changed with gloves on. I was thinking I'm too cold, I'm taking the shortest route home. But 10 minutes later, my hands were warm again - you see, those gloves rock! And so I planned to finish the planned ride. again. 10 minutes later, I hear this thump thump thump. wtf! I slow down, still thumping, speed up, still thumping. I think its the road, I pull into a driveway and spin the front wheel slowly and watch as a golf ball size tumor on the side of the wheel appears. hmm. Must have had made a small error and overinflated the tube! oops! I let out some air, the tumor went down a little, but I know the ire is in a bad way. so, for the third time I decide I'll go straight home and will be 10 minutes short of the planned ride time. I was too anxious of having the tire blow out. I did make it home. The tire did not blow out. I was still blowing gas out of my belly when I got home. But I was home. and I had no frostbite. Survived another winter ride! And another flat tire. by myself! so proud of myself for fixing the flat myself and making it home.

A few notes about changing flats from the perspective of someone who does pretty well changing them. I used to only carry co2 in races, I thought it was just environmentally pathetic to use co2 and toss the used canister in the trash instead of using a frame pump. But the bottom line is frame pumps take way too long, and often don't work well anyways. In the cold, time is warmth, so co2 is a must for tire changing in the cold I used to have a co2 inflator that I sort of struggled with. I recently bought a new innovations inflator, Proflate 16 Bike Tire Inflator. It is a guarantee fill. You cannot screw up with this inflator (ok, yes, I did overinflate today, so I guess you can if you are a little careless, but I actually think I may have had a little issue with my tire because I've had a few flats on this tire in the past month so I think its time for a new one, and I'm going to blame the tire, not the inflation). I highly recommend this inflator.

ok, I have no more tips to share! now, who will win Olympic hockey gold???

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You can't fake a 200fly

Yesterday I swam in a swim meet. Now, I don't go into swim meets anymore expecting PR's, I just know its not reasonable with my age and my training. But I do go expecting to work hard, hope for a good race with someone, and to have a little fun. If Nadine (national champ and record holder and world champ and record holder, and best in any stroke, any distance, any event) is swimming my events, I expect a lesson in how to swim the event. She is heads and shoulders better than me. And there are a few other woman in the area whose specialties are much faster than I am in those events. But in my events, I expect to be contesting for the overall win, and I like to race.

So, first up was the 200IM. Hands down, my favorite event. Last year at this meet, my goggles taught me a lesson, and at the 200 I threw them off. And I NEVER get to practice diving in at the pools, O this Wednesday I was able to do a few dives in the diving well at HPER. I took 3 pair of goggles and 2 caps, was going to try combinations of goggles, and one and 2 caps (one on top, one under). But the first one, I tightened the goggles to the point where I thought my eyeballs might pop out of their sockets, and they stayed on! YAY! So, in wamrup I hit the blocks, and did a few 25's and the goggles held tight. One less thing to worry about in the races. SO, the 200IM had no cpmpetition, the nearest girl was 25 seconds behind, so I tried to push myself. I hit breaststroke, which is by far my worst stroke, and well, let's just say that running, cycling, lifting for running and cycling, and swim training for tris does nothing for the leg strength on the breaststroke kick. ANd breaststroke is all about a strong kick. SO I floated through that 50 and tried to sprint home with whatever was left in my spastic arms and legs. time 2:26.

Out of the competition pool, into the warm down pool and I swam easy through the 50fly and 100 breast, and then I was up again in the 200back. Backstroke was my event as an age group swimmer, so I don't like to dog this event, even if I was a little tired, and there was again no competition. The lactic acid was burning midway, and in my mind I had to get myself back to this race because I immediately started thinking if you feel tired at this point in the 200back, how do you think you will feel in the 200fly! So, I soldiered on and had a decent time, another overall win, and now I had a good hour break before the dreaded 200 fly. time 2:23.

I cooled down/warmed up for a good 20 minutes until my legs felt decent. And put on layers of clothes and socks and shoes to stay warm until the 200fly. Now, you can't fake a 200fly. And honestly, swimming 3 hours a week is not really anyway to prepare for a 200fly. 100fly, no problem, but 200fly is painful, and when you hear people say the piano dropped, when its on a 200fly, you literally cannot get your arms out of the water. I'm not really sure what possessed me to enter this since I'm not really ready for it, but I guess I felt like I needed to push myself in something that made me really uncomfortable and anxious. One other woman was swimming the 200fly, and she actually swims at IU too, but I don't train with her. She swims on the masters team, I think she swims 7 days a week, 365 days a year. She is a good flyer and distance freestyler. She walks out to the blocks and she is wearing one of the high tech lazers! WTF!! I was cracking up (for one I thought they were not legal anymore) and secondly, this is just a rinky dink little masters meet. ANyways, my goal was to try to go out easy and just try to stay even with her. If I went out liek my normal sprinter self, I'd pay big time. Every turn we looked at each other, and at the 100 I thought ok, this is not too terrible, you're doing ok, pace is ok, stroke is holding up ok. But at the 125 turn I only kicked 4 kicks and started to feel some weakness in the arms. Try not to think about it, auto pilot. At the 150 turn we were still even, and mid way down that lap the piano was starting to fall, and all I thought was 'oh shit, this is really going to hurt'. Off the wall, I tried to kick but4 kicks again was all I had and every stroke got shorter and shorter and she just pulled away. I honestly thought I was either going to be dq'ed because I'd have to swim freestyle, or I'd just sink to the bottom because I was too embarassed to cheat to save my life. My normal stroke count is 9-10 on fly, that last 25 I took 19! yes 19! oh my, it was excruciating! Somehow I made it, the gal next to me put 5 seconds on me in one 25! I flopped out of the pool, flopped over into the diving well and flopped some more until I could swim again and pondered what the last even was going to feel like. time 2:28 (ouch)

The 100IM was next, I LOVE this event, but warming down I thought maybe I'd just bag it. But I like it, and its just a 100, and its just so darn fun. Suck it up princess and just do it. I was next to a couple of 20 year olds and I didn't know them but thought they might be good spinters. For some reason I couldn't see a thing the whole race, and I just put my head down and turned the arms over and kicked as hard as I could. It was a decent swim, and I hit the wall first. Not bad.

So, no PR's this meet, unless I want to start tracking PR's per age! I like that idea. Its a good idea. That way you get a PR every year.

I don't know if there will be any more swim meets this year, schedules just aren't really falling into place. But who knows. I still would like to swim my 100's. Heck maybe I should swim a distance free event too. You know, a 200free or something ;-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

canine face time

superbowl time

a friendly kiss

looking cute

a hidden smile

she hates to have her photo taken

play time! (yes, that's our Christmas tree on the deck, root ball and all - waiting for ground thaw to be planted)

these two hated each other when Max joined the family

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Train in the WInter

David Letterman does his top 10 list, I thought I'd do one too.

Here are my top 10 reasons for training in the winter:

10) keep the winter blubber gain to a minimum

9) going to the pool is like a mini-tropical vacation several times a week - its 80 degrees in there!

8) get to wear all that winter gear that I've sunk so much money into over the years

7) get to test the not so successful fueling strategy of go long with nothing but a few sips of water, because your water bottles and camelbacks freeze and you can't manhandle the food out of your pockets with heavily gloved hands, and you can't stop to eat because you start to freeze when you stop

6) don't have to beg your coach to do sprinting and IM in the pool, since tri season is a long way off yet

5) taking on the winter potholes and road conditions is a good test of your reflexes, and certain to give you opportunity to change a flat or two, and you can never have enough practice at that

4) when the roads are slippery, its a valid excuse to slow down on the run, and no, I don't own a dreadmill, so its a valid excuse for me!

3) I love TRX ,and I get to do that in the warmth of my house. And when it warms up I can even take it outside in my backyard and fling it over a tree branch and enjoy the outdoors while I torture myself.


1) you can truly consider yourself a badass if you ride outside when the temperatures are below 25 degrees! And maybe a dumbass too ;-)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Haiti Relief... read this if you live in Bloomington

IU is collecting material for a container to be shipped to Haiti. Specifics are below:

What: "Cram the Container!" Hoosier Haiti Relief
When: Now through Feb. 13
Special collections dates: Feb. 10, 2-7 p.m. (focus on IU community) and Feb. 13, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (focus on larger community), South Concourse of Memorial Football Stadium. Collected items can be delivered to the container. The Feb. 10 men's basketball game also will focus on collecting for the relief effort.

Organizers of an Indiana University Haiti relief effort say the response from the IU and Bloomington communities already has been strong. As fundraising efforts continue , the focus has shifted to a material aid drive, encouraging donors to help "Cram the Container!" a 1,280-cubic-foot container provided by the university.

The cargo container, once full, will be shipped to the Dominican Republic, where the contents will be distributed to relief efforts on the ground in Haiti. The shipping logistics will be facilitated by Charles Beeker, director of the Office of Underwater Science in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and an affiliated researcher of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS).

Beeker's experience and contacts with the Dominican Republic government and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will assure effective distribution of the items. The container will be trucked to Miami, and shipped to Haiti. The Dominican Republic will expedite entry of the items through customs, and USAID will coordinate delivery of items by truck and helicopter, in collaboration with other relief agencies.

CLACS, which has been serving as a collections site for relief materials since news of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, will now help coordinate the collection for the cargo container, said Bradley A.U. Levinson, director of the center.

The following items sought for donation are listed in order of priority and groups are "strongly encouraged" to focus collections and fundraising on these. Levinson said donated boxes of goods should be carefully inventoried, with the inventory clearly marked on the outside of each box. Different categories of supplies should be packaged separately.

"We urge the community to make donations count," Levinson said. "Please don't send unwanted, damaged or badly worn items."

Disaster relief and recovery:

* Power (solar, generators)
* Temporary shelter, including tents, cots, stakes, mosquito nets, duffle bags
* Solar powered flashlights
* Ropes, bungee cords, zip ties
* Large water containers for storing, transporting, dispensing
* Plastic sheeting/tarps
* Batteries, flashlights
* Folding and camping chairs and tables
* Sleeping bags, sleeping pads/ air mattresses, foot pumps for air mattresses, blankets
* Sunshades and hats
* Cooking items, such as pots, pans, utensils, propane stoves (no gas), can openers, fire starters, paper plates/bowls/cups, plastic utensils
* Small fishing kits
* Extension cords and worklights/spotlights
* Hygienic and toiletry kit items
* Pocket knives, hand saws, multi-purpose tools, hammers, wrenches, pliers, miscellaneous tools, shovels, trowels, scissors, tweezers, duct tape
* Compasses, work gloves, clothes lines, clothes pins
* Sewing kits, first aid kits, bug spray, sunscreen, soaps, light sticks, matches, lighters, ziploc bags, aluminum foil, garbage bags
* Water purification supplies or equipment
* High-nutrition non-perishable food, including canned food
* Please note: No clothing. No cookies, candies or other low-nutrition foods. Please pack food items separately from all other items. Canned items will also be lowest priority for now.
* Medical supplies: Antibiotics, antibacterial liquid soaps, pediatric formulations, analgesics, wound care, bandages, needles and surgery threads, IVs, asthma medicine and tents, orthopedic.
* Please note: No small quantities of medical supplies, unused personal medications or expired products.

If organizers successfully fill the container and receive too many items, priority will be established and the overflow will be stored for shipment to Haiti in late spring or early summer.

The final loading of the container will occur on Feb. 10 and Feb. 13 at the South Concourse of Memorial Stadium, accessible from 17th Street, Gate 5. Organizations that are collecting items are encouraged to bring their supplies here on the two special loading dates.

If organizations would like to help staff the special drop off sites, the relief effort is looking for volunteers to help from 2-4 p.m. and from 4-7 p.m. on Feb. 10. On Feb. 13, volunteers are needed to help from 9-11 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1-4 p.m. Organizations or individuals interested in staffing these shifts should write to

Disaster stats, according to media reports:

* 9 million: Population of Haiti
* 3 million: Estimated number of people affected by the quake
* 1 million: Estimated number of displaced people
* 800,000 to 1 million: People who need temporary shelter
* 235,000: People who have left Port-au-Prince using free transportation provided by the government. The number who left by private means is undetermined.
* At least 50: Aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or higher that have hit Haiti since the Jan. 12 quake

For more information, contact CLACS at 812-855-9097 or More information about IU relief efforts can be found at

For information about IUPUI's response to the disaster, see