Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Same and different

Gearing up to marathon season, I'm working on getting my long slow distance runs to as closely approximate my race day conditions as I can. Today was a 10-miler with a little walking warmup and cooldown for a total distance of 10.6 miles in 2:31, door-to-door time.

Same as race day:
  • Shoes with orthotics, RoadID, stretchy triathlon laces, lightweight socks, lubricated toes and places that chafe
  • Lycra shorts and Coolmax underpants, shirt, and jogbra
  • Visor
  • Watch starts at the beginning and keeps timing until I'm done - no stopping it for breaks or anything else (although I do time my half-mile splits to check my pace)
  • No running buddies to amuse or distract or hold me up or to wait for or annoy
  • No music to provide motivation or keep me from hearing sounds around me
  • Running on asphalt pavement, usually with a camber
  • 1 Succeed capsule every 30-40 minutes (341 mg sodium, 21 mg potassium each)
  • Take my homemade gel in frequent sips (1 ounce every 3 miles - slightly higher consumption rate than race day)
  • Good hydration (24 ounces/hour) with mostly plain water and still end up slightly dehydrated (down 1.5% body weight post-run, but also after 2 bathroom stops)
  • Please no rain on race day, like today. Race Gods, from my blog to your ears!!
Different from race day:
  • Earlier start at 6:50 AM (New York City Marathon starts WAY later, ugh)
  • No water stops nor enthusiastic, friendly volunteers and spectators
  • No sunglasses today (too early in the day), usually wear during long races to prevent eye fatigue
  • No Imodium today, but I've found in six marathons that taking it well in advance becomes increasingly important after mile 13. Sometimes critically important.
  • Run the outside line on curves instead of cutting across the tangents in the race
  • Jog up steep hills instead of power-walk up them in races over 10 miles (to stay out of my red zone). The race courses will be somewhat hillier than my training routes.
  • No knee bands today to reduce arthritic knee pain (which I sometimes wear during races)
  • Slower pace: 14:14 min/mile overall today (6:12+ marathon pace), hopefully 12:35 - 13:25 min/mile (?) average on the course on marathon day (5:30- 5:50 finish). My average pace outside of bathroom and refill breaks for 19 half-mile segments was 13:32 min/mile.
  • More casual walk breaks now and then to drink and refill water bottles (during marathons I try to restrict them to either at water stops, or one minute per mile).
  • Longer bathroom breaks in a real bathroom instead of a nasty porta-potty with long lines or behind a dumpster in the city
  • Hopefully today's weather was hotter (72*F - 83*F) and more humid (60-70% RH) than race day
  • Somewhat sloppier about my form - tended to shuffle more and use arms less than in races
  • Psychologicially easier to turn around before I had planned in training than in a race, but I didn't today
  • No eight busy street crossings with traffic lights to stop at on race day
  • Shorter mileage! Only 40% of a marathon today.
  • No heart rate monitor today - sometimes I wear it for races to help keep my pace sensible for the first 13-15 miles
  • No specific pace plan or pace chart to follow today - just keep jogging
  • Carried my water today - 20 ounces of water is 1.30 pounds I won't have to carry on race day - maybe worth a minute or two on a marathon distance.
  • Hopefully my body weight will be a few pounds less to carry around on race day, too! Every pound is worth at least a minute off my finish time!
No surprises on race day is a Very Good Thing. :-)

Monday, September 19, 2005

By popular request....

More stories about the girls! (Since I don't have much in the way of workouts to report.)

Catherine was the WORST GIRL EVER today. We went to the little park on the waterfront that's bordered by a split rail fence. The girls were being good, running around, swinging, climbing ALL the way up the ladder and going down the slide ALL BY THEMSELVES (Mom served as spotter on the ladder, and had to give Elisabeth a little boost once or twice, but that's all), climbing on the picnic tables, running around the grass, crunching the leaves, stopping at the fence when I called them. Just having a fun outing!

After a while of this freedom, Catherine ran down to the far corner by the intersection. I thought she would turn back, but NO - she went right under the split rail fence without a backwards glance, just like many very bad dogs I have owned, and ran gaily across the street and down the block for almost a whole house lot.

BAD girl! Scared me to death! Luckily it's a very quiet street! You should have seen me trying to clamber over the split rail fence and sprint after her - that must have been a sight.

But after we got home she just tried to make up for it by doing something good. I gave them small bottles of water to drink when we came home to rehydrate, and she actually PUT HERS IN THE SINK when she was done with it. That's a first!!! Of course it's never going to happen with anything capable of making a mess, though.

Later: Catherine had a straw from the broom. One she had found on the carpet after I thought I had picked up all the straws she had pulled out, one by one, from the broom, before I had taken the broom away from her grasping little monkey hands and locked it in the closet. Then I caught Catherine very carefully trying to insert it, point-first, into Elisabeth's EYE. Sheesh.

Today is the day!

Monday September 19th, 2005 is Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Here is the Dave Barry article about it.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Best wishes to triathlete and blogger AB... er, I mean the newly outed ALICIA and Matt on their engagement!!! How very exciting! We wish you every happiness!

That's not her ring - hers is absolutely exquisite and she has a beautiful story to tell about it on her blog, and you can see it there.

Safety Don'ts

These photos crack me up at the Navy Safety Center, but partly because I'm no longer employed by the federal government and I don't have to take their dumb@ss safety seminars any more and complete all the documentation every time one of my dipsh!t** employees does something incredibly stupid and gets hurt on the clock! Hah!

**Semantics note: The newer term @sshat may be more properly used in this context, but I'm an old f@rt.

Walking and calisthenics

Calisthenics. Nobody seems to use that word any more for free-body exercises. Well, if you take a look at my sidebar, that and walking and a few rounds of dumbbell upper body work is "all" I've gotten done for the last few days. Call it a bit of a rest and replenishment break. I still think I'm doing okay at improving my "average worst day" each week - a complete day off from any workout still seems to occur about once per week, usually on a day which includes the two-hour drive between Arlington and St. Michaels. This is MUCH less often than those no-exercise days used to come along!

Since setting up my new used bike trainer was a failure, and I've been taking care of my girls by myself for the past several days, that's all I could get done. I'm way overdue for a long run.

The Baltimore Marathon (4 weeks) and New York City Marathon (6 weeks) are coming up fast! Fortunately I'm not planning on setting any PRs at either one - both are fairly demanding routes, and just completing the distance, enjoying the day, and finishing upright with a smile on my face, and of course, bringing home my medal, is fine with me. Since my running mileage has been moderately low (~17 miles per week average) this may be a critical test of how much swimming and cycling cross-training helps my long-duration running endurance.

Plus I'm overdue for a long ride. Sea Gull Century is in three weeks, but I'm not sure that I'm riding it, or even if I'm riding the full century if I do it - I may drop down to the metric/62-mile route if I don't get in a couple solid rides in the next two weeks of 50+ miles. I don't really want to be stuck out at a rest stop forty miles away from the start with the same back pain that I had last weekend for the St. Michaels metric century! It's going to be quite a few more long days on the road before my creaky old body has fully submitted to aero position without complaints.

Time for my crunches....

Yay! I just found out (thanks for the wake up call, Bonnie) that it's actually 7 weeks until NYCM, and I have 3 full weeks between Baltimore and NYCM! MUCH better! That's a relief!!

Apropos of nothing

Here's a series of photos of some of the world's most expensive luxuries. None of them look very appealing to me, frankly! Well, except maybe the house, but only if one of its five pools is a 100m lap pool.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Nancy's homemade sports gel revisited

This is a slight revision of Nancy's lemon iced tea sports gel recipe #1 in a larger quantity with some lower glycemic index carbohydrates added for longer-lasting energy:

2 ounces (1 scoop) Carbo-pro powder (or other maltodextrin powder)
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp. lemonade Crystal Lite
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. peach iced tea Crystal Lite
6 Tbs. honey
9 Tbs. white Karo syrup

Dissolve Crystal Lite and Carbo-pro in lemon juice in a measuring cup with a good pouring spout. Mix in Karo syrup and honey. Pour carefully into 2 gel flasks.
Makes slightly more than 1 cup (8 fluid ounces).
Contains approximately 70 Calories/Tbs or about 140 Calories/fluid ounce.
Take 1-2 ounces per hour in small sips during active endurance sports.

You can adjust the ingredients easily to taste - use any flavor of Crystal Lite and use water instead of lemon juice for a sweeter gel, or change the ratio of honey to Karo syrup - but I find that this recipe makes a tangier, fresher-tasting gel that I personally like better than any of the sickly-sweet store-bought gels which I have tried.

You may note that this recipe contains no amino acids, proteins, or fats. For ultra-endurance sports or queasy stomachs you may want to add ingredients like protein powder. Then again, some ultrarunners I know swear by individually-packaged string cheese - a concentrated, convenient, portable, and inexpensive source of high-quality milk protein along with some fat.

Remember electrolytes are also negligible in this formula (as they generally are in most sports gels and even in most sports drinks). Be sure you replenish sodium and potassium losses from another concentrated source such as Succeed caps while you also attend to rehydrating yourself.

Pronounciation practice

If my stories about my girls bore my readers, here's yet another post to skip.

Catherine's starting to work on three-syllable words. "Banama" is one of her favorites.

She's just a beginner at speaking these difficult words, though, and I think it's hard for her to pick out fine differences in pronounciation.

So I was cueing her today with some food items on her tray, pointing to each, and exaggerating the sounds: "BanANa. ToMAYto."

With great authority, she proceeded to name each object, as if to correct my mistakes. Pointing to the banana: "Banama." Pointing to the piece of tomato: "Banama."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Conversion experience

I just wanted to let you all know that I have recently been touched by His Noodly Appendage in a vision and I have converted to Pastafarianism.

Since evangelizing and bringing others to taste of the Divine Sauce of His Noodliness is an essential part of the Mission of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I'd be much obliged if you all would convert now, too. Thanks.

May the FSM bless you and feed you!


Gotta admire the imaginations of these spammers, even though they are loathsome despicable creatures of the Devil. Today I got a spam email with the subject header (I am not making this up): "Married Mother wants to date you."

Oh, really!? Whatever for?

Actually, if she would babysit, I might be kind of interested....


We discovered another problem with this bike trainer setup today. Catherine decided to poke around at the bike and examine the chain, then try to climb on the bike chain, and do her best to hurt herself on it. When that didn't work she started wandering around the house. Suddenly I started noticing greasy black fingerprints on all the door jambs, about 2 feet off the floor. Plus marks on the floor from her greasy socks from attempting to step up on the chain. What a mess! I had to hang her over the sink and wash her hands twice before it all came off. I still have to finish making the rounds of the house to try to find all the black smudges and wipe them up. (Yes, I did clean my bike chain just a week ago for the St. Michaels metric century, it was still black).

Then we went out for a nice 3-mile walk around the neighborhood with the jogstroller. Well, it was nice until the hair-pulling battles punctuated by screaming erupted about 2 miles into the walk. I think I'm going to have to rig up a chicken wire divider down the center of the jogstroller.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bike Trainer no Survivor

So I was all set for a nice hour or so with Jeff Probst and the new used bike trainer (that a friend shipped to me a while back). Except once I got it set up I found out that the rear wheel doesn't fit on it properly. So no bike trainer tonight as planned.

My program of 100 crunches every few days hasn't yielded a firm tummy by any means, but I'm getting more endurance doing them. Now I only have to stop for a breather at 50 instead of at 20.

Let's see about a few sets of upper body dumbbells during CSI as a substitute for that bike trainer workout....

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Who said they could have opinions?

The other day at the grocery store I bought some of that awful canned macaroni with meat stuff for Elisabeth, because she usually likes baby lasagna and Spaghettios and noodles and stuff like that, and I thought this was a fairly close approximation, only bigger chunks and more protein.

Well, when we tried feeding it to Elisabeth, naturally she hated it and pushed it away.

So we offer it to Catherine. Her response, and I quote, was:


She's no dummy.

Blog search

Google Blog Search. Nice tool to bookmark.

Swim-run brick

Yurtie told me to do a swim-run brick today. Okay. I did it. Maybe not exactly to the letter of how he told me to do it, but I did it.

Damn you, Flatman, for putting your workout times up in your sidebar. Now I feel compelled to follow suit. Well, I guess they'll serve the purpose to make everyone else feel super-speedy in their workouts by comparison with me. Let's just say my workouts often emphasize the Slow part of Long Slow Distance. But "Doing Them Slow" is always better than "Not Doing Them At All", right? (As I did yesterday, the Day of Sloth, but we won't go into that now. Yesterday is gone).

Out the door in the dark, in the pool by 6:45AM. 2000m in the pool felt sluggish and awkward the whole time, except for maybe the last couple of laps when I stopped thinking and started just swimming. 1:10:39. Yeah, that's a zippy 3:31 per 100m average. Those open turns really slow me down. As does breathing, coughing, and choking. I got to share a lane with Dolphin Girl, who swims effortlessly about twice as fast as me. Smiling the whole time, gliding past me with her own little bow wave. I resented and envied her every stroke.

Then out of the pool, pull off suit, squeeze out the wet dripping hair, tug on clothes, adjust clothes that are all crooked from being pulled on half-wet, stomp into shoes, head for the treadmill.

T1 = 9:06.

My knees weren't quite as stiff as usual with the swimming warmup, which is good. But I was a bit dehydrated and pokey from not drinking anything but poolwater during my swim. Gotta remember to put a bottle at the end of the lane. I set the incline at 1.5% and jogged away at 11 to 12 min/mile, with a couple of brief walk breaks. 5K in 37:43.

Speed home. Glad that I left a full water bottle and a half a muffin in the minivan for the drive back. Arrive by 8:45AM, in time to greet the plumber. Please don't make me post the long boring story of the dishwasher, and my mundane petty gripes with Sears.com (but note: Home Depot will deliver and install two full weeks faster, for less money).

Monday, September 12, 2005

Next year's calendar

While I didn't exactly sign up for Ironman Wisconsin today in the less than seven hours hours it was open (NO WAY) I have managed to put a hefty dent in the credit card with a few other registrations:

So with Columbia and Eagleman in the spring again, next year's triathlon calendar is starting to look a lot like this year. Only faster. :-)

Who is with me!? They're great races!!!

For now, I need to:

  • Find a convenient road race in December to carry my long distance run fitness in between the NY City Marathon in early November and Goofy in early January (perhaps a local half marathon, plus a few miles, or a half followed by another 13-to-18 miles the next day). Races as supported training runs are SO much better than grueling long unsupported solo runs.
  • Cross Chesapeakeman off my list for 2005 - I probably won't do an IM relay marathon there, just volunteer and cheer on Ellie. It's possible I may DNS the Seagull Century, too, since my husband has some activities he really would like to do that day (and he's had a lot of days watching the girls when I've been training or in an event lately).
  • Decide about Ironman Florida 2006 before the NY City Marathon (#8), since registration is the following morning.
  • Find a mid-spring marathon #10: maybe Shamrock in Virginia Beach or Ocean Drive in Cape May, NJ. Then there probably will be the Calgary Marathon (#11) in July, too, with Karen and Dawn (among others). If I'm not totally burned out on marathons by then.
  • And oh yeah. Get the dishwasher replaced. Bah. Frankly, I'd rather run a marathon.

Congratulations ironmen!

Congratulations to all the finishers of Ironman Wisconsin yesterday!

Amazing! Conditions were brutally hot. I heard they ran out of some supplies on course. 18.9% of the field Did Not Finish. Wow. That's even higher than the 9.7% DNFs that they had in 2004. Another big reason that I won't tackle the tough IMMOO course for my first Ironman attempt - and maybe never!!

Congratulations especially to fellow tri-bloggers RobbyB (12:51 @ 2005 Ironman Wisconsin) and Chris (12:14 @ 2005 Ironman Wisconsin). Fabulously well done!

Morning long run

I got in my LSD run for the week this Monday morning, late, and I only got in 8 miles instead of the planned 10. That's okay. I've got a much longer run coming up next weekend. I felt pretty solid the whole run, and ran negative splits, which is a good feeling. I just didn't leave myself enough time and I had to get back to allow my husband to get to work.

I wore my Camelback Flashflo. I rarely use it. I use a water bottle carrier instead. It does hold a lot of water, which is good for activities like back-country hikes without a source for water refills, but today reminded me why I don't like it for regular running:
* If the belt is loose it bounces uncomfortably.
* If the belt is snug enough it compresses my stomach and makes me feel sick.
* I can't easily monitor how much I drink.
* It's very heavy. (A good reminder of how helpful losing only a couple pounds of body weight is).
* It has a rubbery taste.

I also started my sampling of trial energy gel products - today's sample was CarbBoom strawberry-kiwi flavor. Ugh. It tasted like some cheap knockoff brand strawberry jam that had gone bad. No thanks!

Today's assignment: picking out a new dishwasher. Ours has been making that acrid burning rubber bad motor smell for a couple of weeks, plus it's very loud when you run it. Well, it was loud when we ran it in the past. It's very, very, very quiet now. It's not going to run ever again. It died a solitary lonesome death sometime over the weekend. "It's always something...."

Sunday, September 11, 2005


This morning we walked over to our local Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum hoping to get a viewing of the Bounty replica, but "that ship done sailed". I guess she's headed up to Long Island. She might have left a little early to better avoid Hurricane Ophelia, the remnants of which may be coming here later in the week. I think the girls liked seeing the swans just as well.

I skipped the long run I had scheduled for this morning. My back still felt tired enough that I didn't think that I would run well. Perhaps I'll take another rest day today and try it for tomorrow morning, at early o'clock? My scheduled long run is only ten miles this week. (Uh, did I hear myself correctly? Did I just say "only ten miles"???)

The utility room project: Before Photos

By popular request, here are a couple "before" photos of our crap-filled 7' x 13' utility room that we're re-doing in the next few weeks with some professionally-installed storage. I hope to get the junk cleared out, current shelves removed, walls spackled, and the walls and trim painted, um, probably NEXT weekend. Or at least I'll start on it then. I'll post photos again when some progress is made.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

St. Michaels (partial) metric century

This morning I was up early and on the road cycling by 8AM as part of the St. Michaels Century. They had 25-mile, 62.5-mile, and 100-mile options. I chose the 62.5-mile route. This goes over my usual bike training route along rural roads with wide shoulders, with glimpses of the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries.

Unfortunately, I had two problems. We had a community meeting scheduled for 1PM that I had to get home and get ready for, so that was on my mind as it started getting late. I realized in my pace plan I hadn't accounted for rest stops, which take some time in a group ride like this, unlike a race. I also hadn't planned for my back and neck to start cramping up after about 45 miles. I guess I'm really not fully accustomed to aero position yet. Nothing more time in the saddle won't cure.

So at 52 miles when we went past my house I skipped the final out-and-back and turned for home. So call it 83% of a metric century. I probably would taken a leisurely stretching break off the bike and then continued if I hadn't had the time pressure of getting ready for the meeting, but my back was increasingly uncomfortable and it was getting late, so I decided to call it a day. I was pleased to see that my final pace at 52 miles was over 1 mph faster than my Eagleman pace, though, so that's progress.

I guess I have to write a big fat red DNF across the event shirt in indelible ink, eh? Well, the 25-mile people got the same shirt, and I *did* complete that part of the route....

We did have a delightful community meeting and wonderful pot luck out under the shady trees on the banks of the Miles River, watching the log canoes race.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Lid edema

Ugh. That's what I have. I've been trying something new for my itchy allergic eyes - Patanol (tm) eye drops. They worked great for about three weeks and stopped the annoying itching that I get due to seasonal allergies. Now I think I'm starting to have a reaction to the eye drops. Underneath my eyes is puffy and sore and red, and it's gotten much worse just the last couple of days. It looks awful. I thought at first I was just having some puffiness due to too much salt for a day or two, but it's persisted. I'm going to have to ditch the eyedrops and just wait for winter for the allergies to subside.

Fortunately my allergies are minor compared to Commodore's wife, but still....

I hope they don't look at me too closely at the health club this morning and keep me out of the pool. I want to take my new, unscratched goggles and "aquatic fitness" swimsuit that I got last week on sale for a test drive.

NO, I am not posting photos.

Update: Yes, I finally did that swim workout I've been putting off! 2050 meters in the pool, including some kickboard work, with the crazy lady doing water aerobics sharing my lane. At the same time the water aerobics were going on in the next two lanes, but I guess she didn't think she fit in there.

I don't think I like the new suit very much. It's that newer polyester fabric that is supposed to stand up better in chlorine, but the fabric is stiff and scratchy. Plus the square neckline acts like a water scoop. I'll wear it for workouts, but it's not going to be a big favorite.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fear of Fat justified?

As if most of us didn't have enough fear of fat - there's a chilling story out of Katrina (that I heard about at Big Fat Blog) that reinforces our paranoia. Get heavy enough and instead of getting evacuated, you could just get murdered by your hospital staff.

Edit: please note that the authenticity of this story is unverified at this time, per the comments.

Quote of the Day

I liked this quote I just saw today over at CNN. It's from the Katrina thing, but it has universal applicability:

"Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot." -- Aaron Broussard, President, Jefferson Parish

Then again, this old quote has gained new currency lately:

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”" -- Ronald Reagan, August 12, 1986

Teensy remodel

Since I don't want to talk about the swim this morning that I DID NOT DO.... allow me to change the subject. Just try to stop me, in fact.

I'm kind of psyched about our teensy little remodel at our house. We have a 7'x13' utility room which now contains the washer, dryer, hot water heater, and a TON OF SH!T. I mean, not exactly a mini-Superdome, but close -- stuff all over the place, heaped in big piles on the floor. Falling off the ugly wire shelves in place now.

I'm getting some storage cabinets and shelvings installed in a few weeks by one of those professional closet places.

I can't wait. I'll post before and after photos.

Except first I have to empty it out and paint it. This coming weekend. Which will suck.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Before photo

Here's a shot from the Annapolis Ten Miler a little over a week ago. Rather unflattering, I'd say! And that's not the worst one, by far. But the shirt is super-comfortable, even though I look porky. The waistpack belt riding up underneath my boobs doesn't help the svelte lines of the outfit, either. The good news is that I've lost nine pounds so far in the Dead Losers Challenge! Hopefully with more to come off!

I won't get in my planned swim until tomorrow, but today I'm going for a long jogstroller walk in this suddenly beautiful weather, and I'll do at least 30 minutes on the bike trainer in preparation for the metric century on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Politics as usual?

I'm thinking about creating a separate "Political and Religious Follies" blog, just to provide a safe, quiet little place for me to rant away without offending my triathlete friends.

But let me just say, whatever your political persuasion:

Now is a pretty good time for Americans to email their senators with their thoughts and recommendations on exactly what the United States government should be doing next. Here's the link to the Senate.

Here's the House of Representatives, while you're at it.

Technology confusion

This morning I was going to put in one of those bargain-bin Sesame Street VCR tapes in for the girls to watch. It wouldn't go in the slot. I examined the machine carefully and found a CD inside there - a Norton Internet Security CD. It was wedged in the machine and quite difficult to get out!

So someone in our household took the trouble to take a computer software disc out of the CD rack by the computer, take it over to the DVD/VCR player in the living room, and attempt to jump-start it by inserting what they thought was a DVD - in the big wide VCR slot. I know this technology is confusing at times, but my husband really should know better than that.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Long run done

I felt ill yesterday when I had intended to do my weekly long slow distance run, so rather than canceling it entirely I moved it to today. I had my doubts about whether I would actually do the mileage, but it worked! I did 15.6 miles today, and after 7.8 yesterday that's 23.4 over two days. Not bad! It was all slow, lots of walking yesterday and today I took walk breaks about every mile, but the total mileage and the time on my feet is what I needed to accomplish right now. And it's done! I would have actually done about 3 more miles today but I would have been late getting home, so I left it at that.

I was very pleased with how my new homemade gel tasted, so I'll probably stick with that for long runs and tweak the flavors a little. I just have to be rigorous about remembering to click the cap shut, because gel dripped down your leg is horrible! I combined it with lots of water and Succeed caps, plus half a Powerbar, and felt pretty good the whole time.

Hopefully my speed will continue to improve this fall as the weather cools off. I love when that happens!

Later in the afternoon we took the girls for their last outing of the summer to the pool, which they enjoyed a lot, until it was time to leave when it was Catherine's usual departure tantrum. Elisabeth was friendly and walked up to everyone she saw to say hello in her own Elisabeth way.

We didn't do much to recognize the Labor Day holiday other than enjoy the day off as a family, but that's part of what it's all about, isn't it?

MORE where to donate for Katrina

Here's a great blog - summarizing the jumble of places that are available for sending donations for Katrina relief. Check there before mailing anything - it may save you some money or resources, or give you new ideas.

Today I went past the location where they were collecting where I had dropped off bags of baby stuff yesterday and there was a big banner up (apparently printed fast at the print shop located right there) that read: "You're the GREATEST * Katrina relief collection huge success". That made me feel good. It's nice to hear about one little success, after so much tragedy and failure.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Just in case....

Just in case there's someone out there that either a) needs a good laugh, or b) needs to be offended (I know some people like that, who are never truly happy unless they're offended at somebody, don't you?), here's the top ten Most Funny and Most Offensive religious jokes.

Oh, yeah, those goals

It's high time I posted my monthly goals. Hmmm, that means I'll have to decide on them. I can't truthfully say I've focused a lot on these goals this month, since I've been staring in shock and dismay at CNN or one of the other networks nearly every waking minute.... yeah, that's right, sitting on my butt watching TV. Time to click off that remote. It's too gruesome.

So let's get those September goals over with:

1. Swim: 5280 yards (3 miles) just for practice. This will be - yuck! - back indoors, since the outdoor pools around here close this coming Tuesday.
2. Cycle: 120 miles (includes goal #5 mileage).
3. Run: 80 miles. This may depend on whether I do the Chesapeakeman relay on October 1st (still up in the air) and taper for it.
4. Other training: complete 1000 crunches.
5. Events: complete 1 cycling metric century (100 km/62.1 miles), which will be my first ride over 56 miles.

Some time over the winter I'm thinking about getting back to working on my bench press, squats, and deadlifts, since I think they're terrific multi-joint whole body strengthening exercises, but that probably won't happen until November.

Nancy's lemon iced tea sports gel recipe #1

I mixed this up today and it tasted pretty yummy to me - but I like strong tart flavors. Experimentation on long runs will continue....

1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. lemonade Crystal Lite
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. peach iced tea Crystal Lite
3 Tbs. white Karo syrup
2 Tbs. honey
(Optional for more liquid: 2+ ounces water)

Dissolve Crystal Lite in lemon juice in a measuring cup with a good pouring spout. Mix in Karo syrup and honey. Pour carefully into a gel flask.

Makes about 3 fluid ounces or 3 gel packets worth. More liquid, much less gel-like than most commercial gels. If you want to have a more liquid version, you can fill the rest of the flask with water. This version probably has a high glycemic index of 55 to 60 - so you'll want to take many small swigs over time rather than one big gulp. Like most gels, it isn't a significant source of electrolytes - be sure to replenish sodium and potassium separately in addition to energy and hydration on LSD runs. Use with caution at first - you may react similarly to a big dose of, say, prunes (although I should note it did NOT have that effect on me).

Follow-up: I tried this on a 15-mile LSD run on 9/5/05 and liked it a lot! :-) It was about the right amount for that distance - for a marathon I'd make up enough to fill the flask (5 fluid ounces). Plus with a gel flask there are no wrappers to dispose of, and it probably costs less than fifty cents for 5 ounces. :-)

Bad and good

Lousy attempt at a long run this morning. Weather was perfect, I slept well, got an early start, but I just felt lousy. Cold sweat and stomach cramps don't make for an optimal run. I cut my losses and decided I'd try it again tomorrow. 7.8 miles is all I managed, but if I can run on slightly tired legs tomorrow that will be good training for the Goofy challenge in January.

But you know how I always see things on my long runs that I wouldn't have otherwise? Today it was fortuitous - some good folks from local associations were up early holding a big collection for Katrina survivor relief, filling up a semi-load of goods on the other side of town. So after I got home early I packed up the three boxes of baby items I had already prepared that were sitting in my dining room, and took it all over and dropped it off. I can always donate the value of the postage I would have otherwise paid to mail the stuff to Houston!

The volunteers were also stopping all traffic going through town and extorting - I mean, um, requesting - donations from the drivers. I usually don't approve of that sort of thing, but in this situation - stopping all the Jaguars and Mercedes and mega-SUVs coming through town and shaking them down for the worthiest of causes - I thought it was great. :-)

Oh, yeah, another good thing: I was able to book my flight up to the New York City Marathon on November 6th - it didn't seem like they'd increased the airfares too hugely yet, so I was pleased with that.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mailing kid's stuff to help

I'm copying this directly from Been There, to help spread the word. We sure have a lot of old baby clothes that will be going this way:

Goodwill Industries of Houston is accepting and distributing donations of goods. I spoke to the CEO, Steve Lufburrow, who personally assured me that packages marked for Distribution for Families of Hurricane Katrina will be distributed to families. They particularly need children’s clothing, goods, and diapers as Goodwill normally does not receive those goods. You can send your packages to:
Mailing Address:
5200 Jensen Drive,
Houston, Texas 77026
Phone (713) 692-6221
Fax (713) 692-0923

No biking

Ack! I forgot my bike shoes this weekend. I had a 40-miler ride planned (to get ready for my metric century on the 10th), but that's not going to happen now, unless I swap out the pedals with the old toe-cage set. I think I need to buy a second pair of bike shoes to avoid this problem! Maybe I'll substitute a long swim late today, if the pool isn't too crowded with kids. I didn't get very far yesterday with my two baby girls at the pool. We had lots of fun, but it didn't include much actual swimming.

I sometimes have the same problem with my running shoes - if I forget to bring my orthotics, I can't run very far. I usually have to just take walks if I don't have the orthotics along. It's probably time to get a second pair of orthotics, too. Actually the old ones are three years old and starting to fall apart at the seams.

It does seem trivial to worry about such things when there's a large number of American right now with no decent shoes at all, but that's my life.

Very glad to hear today that our friend Dudley is okay in LaPlace, Louisiana; and best wishes and thanks to Jack heading down to Louisiana to shore up the law enforcement situation. I hope they let us know if there's any way in addition to sending money that we can help them or anyone else down there.

In our household, we were glad to hear that my husband won't have to leave next week for Denmark after all.

But doing something, anything, sure beats screaming at the TV in frustration and horror when I see things like FEMA Director Mike Brown saying on Thursday, "the federal government did not even know about the Convention Center people until today." Arrrrrrggghhh! I had to cheer when Anderson Cooper confronted Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu about people being tired of hearing politicians congratulating each other while bodies were being gnawed by rats in the streets of New Orleans. This is the start of an enormous upheaval which will last a long, long time and affect us all.

Followup: Giving her some credit, senator Mary Landrieu did ask the president to name a new cabinet-level official to direct the disaster effort, presumably in order to supersede the clearly overwhelmed FEMA director Mike Brown. It sounds like his credentials for heading up FEMA are approximately the same as my own (except I'm not as well-connected).

Followup to followup: Senator Landrieu is now showing some backbone, as evidenced by her response to the stage-managed Bush photo-op and her lashing out at the "abject failures of the current Federal Emergency Management Agency".

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gas prices

I'm hearing lots of folks saying yeah, yeah, yeah, that's sad about New Orleans - but complaining vociferously and at great length about gas prices.

I have to say ... in the scope of this overwhelming disaster, a few more $$ at the pump is a miniscule price to pay. I feel extraordinarily fortunate that I all I have to do is pay a few more bucks and my family can go on with life as normal.

I'm counting my blessings.


"Your comment on Katrina's effect on energy prices is being considered for publication in a special collection of responses on the Opinion page of The Christian Science Monitor's print edition."

Putting it in perspective

It's difficult to get a mental grasp on the scope of the Katrina disaster, and so I looked up some comparably sized US metropolitan districts. Think about any one of these cities suddenly ceasing to exist:

  • 29 San Antonio, TX MSA 1,592,383
  • 30 Norfolk--Virginia Beach--Newport News, VA--NC MSA 1,569,541
  • 31 Las Vegas, NV--AZ MSA 1,563,282
  • 32 Columbus, OH MSA 1,540,157
  • 33 Charlotte--Gastonia--Rock Hill, NC--SC MSA 1,499,293
  • 34 New Orleans, LA MSA 1,337,726
  • 35 Salt Lake City--Ogden, UT MSA 1,333,914
  • 36 Greensboro--Winston-Salem--High Point, NC MSA 1,251,509
  • 37 Austin--San Marcos, TX MSA 1,249,763
  • 38 Nashville, TN MSA 1,231,311
  • 39 Providence--Fall River--Warwick, RI--MA MSA 1,188,613
  • 40 Raleigh--Durham--Chapel Hill, NC MSA 1,187,941
  • 41 Hartford, CT MSA 1,183,110
  • 42 Buffalo--Niagara Falls, NY MSA 1,170,111
  • 43 Memphis, TN--AR--MS MSA 1,135,614
  • 44 West Palm Beach--Boca Raton, FL MSA 1,131,184
  • 45 Jacksonville, FL MSA 1,100,491

Or imagine one of these cities of comparable size in other parts of the world suddenly being wiped out:

  • 293 Copenhagen Denmark 1,400,000
  • 299 Lille France 1,375,000 incl. Kortrijk (Belgium)
  • 304 Volgograd Russia 1,375,000
  • 305 Liverpool Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1,350,000
  • 311 Düsseldorf Germany 1,325,000
  • 314 New Orleans USA 1,325,000
  • 315 Phnom Penh Cambodia 1,325,000
  • 318 San José Costa Rica 1,325,000
  • 329 Prague Czech Republic 1,275,000
  • 331 Sheffield Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1,275,000
  • 333 Auckland New Zealand 1,250,000

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

One-legged cycling drills

I learned to ride a bike when I was perhaps 7 or 8. So let's call it 40 years now that I've known how to ride a bike.

It took until today to learn how badly I suck at pedaling.

Lots of coaches recommend one-legged pedaling drills to improve efficiency. A few different people have recommended them to me - like Yurtie, and the trainer who did Kona that I rode with for a few miles out on the road who noticed how I was pedaling all stupid and pointy-toed. She unclipped one foot and demonstrated how smooth and easy it should be, then switched feet and demonstrated with the other foot. Never missing a beat, while going easily at about 16 mph.

I tried it on the road by myself when there were no cars around and nobody was watching. I was riding along and unclipped one foot and held it out to the side. Then I proceeded to lose all control and nearly fall down in the middle of the road.

I abandoned that idea until my next trainer ride, which I have cleverly been able to successfully postpone until today.

I started with five minutes warmup. Then I unclipped one foot and pedaled with the other by itself. Fortunately the bike trainer prevented me from falling over. But I was definitely "pedaling squares". It felt clumsy and awkward and as if I had never pedaled a bike in my life. Worst of all, it was *really* tiring. I lasted about one minute.

Then I tried it on the other leg. Not surprisingly, with similar results. Also very tiring.

I repeated the sequence once. That was enough.

A few weeks ago I saw one guy with a bum leg pedaling around easily on a bike with a pedal on one side and a little platform on the other side for his bad foot. I noted it, thought it was interesting, but I was not nearly as impressed by it as I am today, in retrospect.

I sure am glad I have two relatively good legs, so I can hide most of my inability to pedal in a circle. I won't make the mistake of doing that one-legged stuff again.

At least not where anybody can see it.

Katrina's ongoing effects

From a post on the WWLTV discussion boards:

"They interviewed a man in DC that said he used to live in New Orleans.. I think he put it best.. He said "The country needs to understand that a MAJOR US city is in ruins.. Over a million people are without homes, without jobs, without ANYTHING".. I can't believe no one else is emphasizing this fact!! Also, last year in Florida there were FOUR hurricanes in a short span.. In all that time only 5 relief teams went in.. There are FORTY in the city of New Orleans.. The gov't has moved FOUR Navy ships to the area to help with rescue and medical needs and has more forces on standby.. Why don't people understand the gravity of this situation?!? Also, I think it needs to be said that some sort of relief and aid efforts MUST be promoted nationwide.. We spend MILLIONS of dollars on other countries, yet people in Jefferson parish have no water?? This is ridiculous!!"

Here again are those links to relief organizations. Please be generous:
Page of relief organizations
Red Cross

Katrina's spinoff effects

We're all going to experience some repercussions from Hurricane Katrina, though they will be miniscule effects compared to the folks directly in the path of the storm.

Gas prices are forecast to rise by as much as $1.10 per gallon by this weekend. We're filling our tanks now.

My husband may have to go to Denmark for a week to cover some duties that would normally be handled by some employees from a branch of his company located on the Gulf Coast. That may mean I will be on the bike trainer more than usual, will be doing a lot of jogstroller walks, can't go to the pool, and I may have to DNS the St. Michaels Century ride on September 10th.

A little interruption in my training and a little heavier burden at the gas pump seems a very small price to pay. On some of my email lists we still have no word from some of the members in Mississippi and Louisiana - hopefully it's only due to power outages. I think I'll postpone setting my numerical September goals until our personal situation becomes a little more clear.

Hearing the details of disasters like this does add a little grounding to the importance of physical training, though. Would I have the strength to hold onto a tree all night, battered by waves and hurricane-force winds, the way some survivors did? Would I be able to swim to safety from a flooded building? Would I be fit enough to walk down 75 flights of stairs to get out of the World Trade Center in time? Would I have the stamina to carry my children to safety? Physical fitness is NOT trivial in those situations. There were times in my life, not so long ago, when I was heading in the direction of NOT being able to do those things. Hopefully I'm headed in a more positive direction now.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Geezerjock performance standards

The Summer National Senior Games will be held in June and July of 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky. I turn 50 on June 23rd of that year, when the Games are underway, so I may not qualify until the following games (possibly depending on which state I qualify in).

That technicality aside, I've got a little less than two years to train to meet the qualifying standards for 50-year-old women. Let's take a look at the standards in place in 2005 for some selected events:

Track & Field/Running:
100m: 17.40
200m: 35.70
400m: 1:30.70
800m: 3:31.50
1500m: 7:00.00
5K road race: 25:08 (2005 winner: 21:07)
10K road race: 55:00 (2005 winner: 47:03)

50 yd freestyle: 38.20
100 yd freestyle: 1:30.10
200 yd freestyle: 2:46.10
500 yd freestyle: 8:53.40
50 yd breaststroke: 49.50
100 yd breaststroke: 1:54.60
200 yd breaststroke: 4:03.50

They also have cycling competitions (5k, 10k, 20k, and 40k) and a sprint triathlon (400m swim, 20k bike, 5k run) that don't appear to have published performance standards. Here are the 50-54 year old female division winner's times:

5k cycle: 8:13.1
10k cycle: 18:20.8
20k cycle: 36:06.9
40k cycle: 1:13:10.8
Sprint tri: 1:06:51

I'm a long way from any of those times. I guess I have my work cut out for me, eh? It's nice to have benchmarks to shoot for, though!

End of month summary

This all seems trivial after watching the life-and-death drama going on in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but ... well, one of the important reasons I work out is to better prepare my body to handle emergencies. So there's a link.

I had an *outstanding* workout this morning - 3 miles on the treadmill and 2100 meters in the pool, and it all felt relaxed and easy (except for the complaining my arthritic ankle did for the first mile on the treadmill, then thankfully it shut up). It feels so virtuous to be stepping on the treadmill at 6AM, and to be all done with the workout and showered up by 8:30AM. :-)

I probably won't do much tomorrow on the last day of the month, maybe a half an hour on the bike trainer and some crunches. So it's time to look at my totals for the month again, and contrast them with the goals I set at the beginning of the month.

1. Swim 3520 yards (2 miles) just for practice: Swam 9078 yards (5.1 miles). Blew that goal absolutely out of the water. 257% of goal. A+.
2. Cycle 80 miles: rode 119 miles. 148% of goal. A+.
3. Run 80 miles: ran/walked 77 miles. 96% of goal. A.
4. Other training, complete 1000 crunches: 1100 crunches. 110% of goal. A+.
5. Events, complete 1 ten mile road race: Did that, at a pace over 1 minute per mile better than my last 3 runs in the same race. I'll call that an A, just because I'd still like to have a faster finishing time than I actually did.

August grade: A+!!!

The goals that I set were fairly modest, which was important after a few months of not hitting my goals. The bottom line is that I did a great job of meeting my goals for August, my consistency was excellent, I did some very solid cross-training, and I just need to set somewhat more demanding mileage/yardage goals for September. I'll give that a day or two of thought.

Three new things that have helped me train this month:
  1. Slightly milder weather than July, for the most part.
  2. Setting out my weekly workout plans and accomplishments in the right-hand column on this blog. Making it public keeps me accountable.
  3. The advice, encouragement, and wisdom of my friend Simon Hayes, aka "Yurtie", a TRI-DRS member in Australia who, when I was dithering about the Ironman Florida decision, stepped forward and volunteered to coach me online and set up workout plans for the last six weeks and the weeks leading up to the IMFL decision date. Yurtie just plain rocks. He's been a great help in showing me the way to prove it to myself (or not) whether I can do the training it will take to finish an ironman triathlon next year. This month's results certainly make it look much more promising than it did one short month ago. Thank you, Yurtie, and good luck in the Sydney Marathon on September 11!

Hurricane Katrina aftermath

I've been watching the devastation on CNN this morning. Incredible.

Please join me in making a donation to the Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund to help victims of this catastrophe.

Or any other relief organization - here's a whole page of them. (Thanks for the link, Bunnygirl).

For those interested in Katrina news updates, there's a local news feed here:

Monday, August 29, 2005

Energy gels

2 questions for my readers:

1) Does anyone mix up their own gels? I was just thinking about mixing up my own carbohydrate concentrate, since I can't seem to find one I really like. Read http://www.cptips.com/gelown.htm for some ideas on this topic. I'd like to mix up a thick slurry that I can swig out of the gel flask and combine with water from the water stops, either on the bike or on the run, and get the energy I need, supplemented with electrolyte capsules. There's a few recipes online here, too.

2) Is there a commercial gel - any brand, any flavor - out there that really tastes GOOD to anyone when they're working hard and hot and sweaty? I've run through several of them on the market - Powergels, Clif Shots, Hammergels, CarbBooms, etc., and they all taste like warm crap to me when I'm hot. I take them because I know I need them and feel better if I keep my nutrition up, but I really have to choke them down when they start tasting bad.

Recommendations I've gotten so far (I'll keep a list here as I receive them):

  • GU chocolate
  • GU plain (Linae says it 'sucks the least')
  • Hammergel apple cinnamon
  • Hammergel(?) vanilla
  • eGels
  • Hammergels
  • Cytosport Gulp 'n' Go vanilla
  • Another vote for eGels (I think I need a polling feature).

Here's a table of nutrient composition of various gels (thanks Phil!).

Congratulations to IMC finishers!

Congratulations to TRI-DRS member Katherine Hobson on her phenomenal 11:46 finish at Ironman Canada yesterday, and to all the other 2049 Ironmen and Ironwomen who came across that finish line! Well done!

It had the largest one-wave start in Ironman history, and over 30% of competitors were female. It was a tough day for many, with an 8.6% DNF rate.

Many thanks to IronAyla for sharing her great photos of Penticton and the Ironman competition with us.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Run Nancy Run!


When I left the house it was a torrential downpour. When 3900 of us (or so) gathered for the start of the Annapolis Ten Miler next to Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, it sprinkled on us. Then not a drop for the entire race! We were lucky indeed! So while the humidity was maxed out, the temperature was much cooler than usual for this race, which helped a lot.

I ran well! Started sensibly with the first three (mostly downhill) miles in the 11 mpm range, then slowed once I hit those wicked hills as I anticipated. One Carb-Boom and a Succeed cap just after the 3 mile mark, and another dose of both just after the 6 mile mark, and I stayed well-hydrated at the frequent water stops along the way. I didn't care for the taste of the two Carb-Booms that I tried (orange-vanilla and apple cinnamon) but at least they didn't make me gag.

I worked hard for a finish time (on my watch) of 2:01:24. How hard? My average heart rate for the entire race was 175 beats/minute. I glimpsed a reading of 181 on the heart rate meter on the final cruelly steep uphill toward the finish line, even though I was trying my best not to look at it then. :-) (So much for the old "220 minus your age" for maximum heart rate estimation - that yields only 172 for me!)

That's my 2nd fastest ten miler, and more than a minute per mile better than my three previous outings in this race! Yay!! I think I could have gone a little faster if my legs were fresh, but my old hamstrings still felt a bit stiff from the 30 miles on the bike 2 days ago. But just like that day, what a difference 10 degrees makes! So I'll count that as a pretty darned good training weekend and take a full rest day again tomorrow. Ahhhhh!!!!!

Hmmm. I just noticed that there were only 3867 finishers - and yet entries were capped at 5000. Wow, over 22% no-shows and non-finishers!?!? Amazing.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Annapolis Ten Miler Packet Pickup

I went to packet pickup today for tomorrow's Annapolis Ten Miler. This is an awesome race with which I have a long-term love-hate relationship.

It's VERY hilly and usually VERY hot. It lures you in, chews you up quite thoroughly, and spits you out. It would be a challenging course for October or November, but it's held in the dog days of August - so relentless heat, humidity, and sun are big factors. Add on 1 to 2 minutes per mile to your usual ten miler pace and lots of blood, sweat, and tears and you have the Annapolis Ten Miler.

I've run it three times now. It used to have a lovely route through the United States Naval Academy, but since 9/11 it's been routed around it for security reasons.

One of the big lures of this event is phenomenal schwag, and this year is no exception. We received a very well-made wind vest with an embroidered logo at packet pickup. I was delighted to see when I picked it up that the back is mesh and it includes pockets along the rear side edge, like a cycling jersey. This is going to be a perfect foul weather cycling vest! I'll wear it a lot.

Other years I got a polo shirt and a pair of warmup pants. Nice stuff that gets a lot of wear from the happy recipients! Last year I also got a hand towel with the race logo embroidered on it that they gave out after the race. This year the finishers' premium is an acrylic sailboat.

The course is deceptively difficult. I'm pretty sure that negative splits are impossible on this course. Tomorrow we'll start at Navy Stadium and the first mile just takes you on a loop around the stadium parking lots. That's your warmup, enjoy the horizontal surface because that's the last you'll see of it.

Then the course heads down toward the old section of town. Take the roundabout around the Maryland state capitol, then head down the old cobbled main street. Literally down, because there's a fairly steep slope down to the harbor. Take advantage of it and pick up some time here. We'll need it later on.

Swing past the harbor and Ego Alley where the big yachts come in, past the statue of Alex Haley reading to children and the plaque noting that the auction of the famous Kunta Kinte was held near there.

Then swing over by the Naval Academy gate and begin climbing up that hill you just came down. Take some water from the Naval Academy midshipmen and thank them for their enthusiastic support. Take a right at the top and you'll be heading straight up the old Severn River Bridge. It seems to go on forever and it's impossibly steep - don't forget that it's tall enough for sailboats to go clear under it! Enjoy the climb, because you're doing it again soon.

Down the other side of the bridge, almost to sea level, and then take a right and you're heading back up a steep hill into residential neighborhoods in the cliffs looking over the Severn. Up and down and up and down and winding around through this neighborhood you go. Fortunately there's good support from the local residents and they'll be out cheering you on.

Finally you have a long steep haul back down the hill, and another tough shadeless climb over the old Severn River Bridge again. If the temperature is high (and it always is) you'll be scorched on this treeless stretch and working hard over the bridge. Lots of folks will be walking. But after you clear it you've only got only one mile to go - but it seems like the longest on the course. I'll be one of the stragglers at this point and the aid stations will be starting to clean up.

Keep trudging through a zig-zag, and finally you'll see the stadium up ahead. But the course has one last bit of nastiness to leave you with - you have to go all the way around the backside of the stadium, where you're presented with a horribly steep climb to get to the finish line.

Cross the line, congratulate yourself, and pick up your finisher's sailboat. Enjoy your trophy and display it proudly. You've completed one of the toughest ten mile road races in the country!

Fortunately this is a "C" race for me this year - just a 10 mile workout as I gear up for marathon season ahead. I'll use this race to test my longer distance endurance, try out a new running shirt I got at the expo today, and test some new flavors of Carb-Boom gel to see how my stomach likes them during races. My three times (on the two slightly different courses) have all been between 2:11 and 2:14. I'd like to beat those, and tomorrow promises to have the coolest temperatures of my four attempts, but also with the possibility of showers. Let's just get out there and run the best race we can!

DVD recommendations?

Thinking ahead, I'm starting to assemble some DVDs for bike trainer rides when the weather turns bad this fall. I want to head off that tired old "It's too boring" excuse. I don't want to lose the performance gains I've made this year over the winter.

* Ironman DVDs - http://www.ironmandvd.com/ironmandvds.html
Do you recommend any particularly inspiring years??

* Spinervals DVDs - http://www.spinervals.com/
Any that you found especially helpful and motivating?


My two biggest movie recommendations for the trainer right now are:
Running On The Sun (2000)
Chariots of Fire (1981)

I may also order the Overcoming DVD about the CSC professional cycling team, of which I'm a fan.

Others? Thanks in advance for your recommendations! I'll compile a list when I get a few together!

Recommendations received (I'll keep a list here):

Overcoming - link to order inside USA

Ironman 1995: Karen Smyers victory, PNF collapse, Mark Allen comeback
Ironman 1997: Bob Jordan tearjerker
Ironman 1999: The Hoyt's journey

Breaking Away
American Flyer
Remember the Titans

T2 sunblock for speedy application

Here's a great product for spraying on the sunblock in transitions in a big hurry, if you haven't seen it before: waterproof, sweatproof SPF 30 sunblock in a pressurized spray. I like to use it on my daughters, since it goes on very quickly while they're squirming around getting excited about going outside.

I also like SPF 36 Bullfrog in the pump spray, but it takes a little longer to get on. And after a while I my finger gets tired from pumping it.

Your skin will thank you. (Just ask Oldman and Holly).

Friday, August 26, 2005

What a difference!

Wow! what a difference 10 degrees makes! Today's bike ride - in only 80*F - was wonderful!! Plus very little wind helped, too.

Here's my route around the Bay Hundred peninsula, from St. Michaels to McDaniels and Claiborne, then to the bridge to Tilghman Island and back. 30 miles, with some nice glimpses of the Chesapeake Bay along the way. Flat and fast on wide shoulders.

I made an all-time high average speed for a longer ride: 17.2 miles per hour! On fire! With an average heart rate of 145 bpm. That's a massive improvement for me! I only made 16.2 mph in my last race on July 31st. Perhaps it helped that I paced myself most of the way with my watch timer: 5 minutes riding hard down in the aerobars, then 1 minute for sitting up briefly or standing, stretching, and taking a drink of water. That worked well to keep me fresh and my back lasted a lot longer before it started complaining.

I know I can get faster - more time in the saddle is the key! Finally I'm getting to the point where my creaky old body - including my crotch, which gave me discomfort for months and months, is finally getting used to the job I'm asking it to do and I'm riding strong!

Or is it that I'm finally getting Buttercup trained!?

Happy swimmer

I've turned on word verification for comments because I loathe comment spam. I'm sorry they've ruined it for the rest of us. :-( I also loathe cowardly commenters who use the cloak of anonymity to leave nasty personal remarks and other filthy evidence of their vile personalities while lacking the courage to claim their own words. That goes double for quasi-anonymous folks, who have gone to all the trouble of signing up for a blogger account yet put no other information about themselves on the site, with the sole objective of spewing rudeness and ugliness in their derogatory comments. You know who you are. "Uh, tell us how you really feel, Nance." But anyway....

For my *nicer* readers, here's one of the happiest little bears you're ever likely to see. I wish I looked that happy when I swim! I think I probably look just about that plump.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Great IMMOO tool

For those of you doing Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2005; or contemplating it for another year, there's a fabulous online tool for calculating all your split times. I haven't seen anything like it for other race locations.

Swimming stats o' the day

My swimming has a long way to go. But it's coming along. Today was just a run-of-the-mill lap swim day, 1250m. Just for fun I counted strokes (and timed it) for 100m of breaststroke and 100m of freestyle, just so that I can track it in my training log as I (hopefully) improve. I was not pushing it, just swimming at my normal lap swim pace that I feel I can maintain over a distance.

Here's my data, just for the record, alongside some data from elite female swimmers, 13-14 years old, during 100m races. It's not a valid direct comparison, certainly, but it's the first such swim stroke data I could find in a quick net search.

Breaststroke speed (meters/sec) : Elite: 1.27 Me: 0.54 (42%)
Breaststroke speed (sec/100 m) : Elite: 78.7 Me: 183 (43%)
Breaststroke stroke length (meters/stroke) : Elite: 1.61 Me: 1.04 (64%)
Breaststroke stroke frequency (strokes/sec) : Elite: 0.79 Me: 0.52 (65%)
Breaststroke, strokes per 25 m: Elite: 15.5 Me: 24.0

Freestyle speed (meters/sec) : Elite: 1.59 Me: 0.54 (33%)
Freestyle speed (sec/100 m) : Elite: 62.8 Me: 185 (35%)
Freestyle stroke length (meters/stroke cycle) : Elite: 1.90 Me: 1.31 (68%)
Freestyle stroke frequency (stroke cycles/sec) : Elite: 0.84 Me: 0.54 (64%)
Freestyle, stroke cycles per 25 m: Elite: 13.1 Me: 19.0

What does this tell me?
* Not that I don't compare well to the elites. That's obvious - I'm about 1/3 as fast! It's not my objective to challenge the elites, that's laughable! Besides, I wasn't even RACING. ;-) I was in a 25m pool and I don't even know how to do flip turns. Yet.
* My objective is to see how my own performance improves gradually over time, and the numbers hopefully move in the right direction, as I repeat this little test periodically in the future as my swimming improves. Today's test gives me baseline data.
* My breaststroke is comparatively better than my freestyle. They were approximately the same speed today.
* Both my distance per stroke and stroke frequency should increase in order to get faster, over time. (Although most experts say work on the technique first to enhance efficiency, then work on stroke frequency and power later).
* I'd like to find some better comparative data, say, for example, female masters swimmers. If you have those numbers for stroke frequency and stroke length, please send them my way! (Like this study, showing that world record times for older female masters swimmers for 1500 m are in the 25-minute range, and anything under 30 minutes is pretty darned fast).

Here's some more swimming data I was just referred to in another great source: the 2000 women's US Olympic Trials (thanks, Jill!):

Breaststroke, 200m, speed (meters/sec) : Elite: 1.22 - 1.34
Breaststroke, 200m, speed (sec/100 m) : Elite: 74.6 - 81.9
Breaststroke, 200m, stroke length (meters/stroke) : Elite: 1.61 - 2.01
Breaststroke, 200m, stroke frequency (strokes/sec) : Elite: 0.665 - 0.770
Breaststroke, 200m, strokes per 25 m: Elite: 12.4 - 15.5

Freestyle, 800m, speed (meters/sec) : Elite: 1.58 - 1.74
Freestyle, 800m, speed (sec/100 m) : Elite: 57.4 - 63.2
Freestyle, 800m, stroke length (meters/stroke cycle) : Elite: 1.70 - 2.22
Freestyle, 800m, stroke frequency (stroke cycles/sec) : Elite: 0.73 - 0.94
Freestyle, 800m, stroke cycles per 25 m: Elite: 11.2 - 14.7

That is just sick, isn't it? I mean, those Olympic freestylers could do a full lap in our 25m club pool in 29 seconds flat. And those aren't even the sprinters.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Evidence found

I found it. Conclusive evidence of Shelley's nefarious activities. Right over there on her blog for the whole world to see.

I sure hope that syringe is full of EPO. Because I may just need it.


I love the Tri-geek Kahuna's rant: Blog or else! Yep, if the blogs on my sidebar can only muster one or two posts for the entire summer, they're getting culled off my list. That's ridiculous! There are no vacations from fitness! Show me a triathlon blog with infrequent posts and I'll show you a blogger who isn't training.

Also, another blogging pet peeve: If you're going to stop by someone's blog, why not take a moment to LEAVE A COMMENT? It only takes a moment and it's a nice compliment to the blogger that their writings are having an impact out there for their readers. Blogs are meant to be more or less interactive - so COMMENT already!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's Shelley's fault

I can't believe that Shelley talked me into this.

The Ford Ironman World Championship selects 200 athletes each year to participate through a lottery system. One hundred and fifty of the athletes will be selected from the United States applicants and fifty athletes will be selected from other countries. The Ford Ironman World Championship is one of the most in demand athletic events in the world. Qualifying gets more difficult each year, so the lottery is another option to enter the race.

This message is generated as confirmation of your recent registration on Active.com. You have been successfully registered for the following:
Registration: 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship Lottery
Purchase Date: 08/23/05
Team: United States
Category: Lottery Application
Event Date: 10/14/06

The 2006 Event will be held on October 14th in Kailua-Kona, HI. The lottery results will be posted on April 15th, 2006 at 12:00 pm EST on www.ironmanlive.com. Athletes who are SELECTED through the Ironman Lottery must have completed a Global Tri Group (GTG) endorsed event within one year of the 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship to validate his/her lottery slot. Lottery winners should plan on completing the validating race before August 31, 2006, and all validating information should be received in the Kona Race Office by August 31th, 2006. Failure to comply will result in forfeiture of the lottery slot.


It's amazing how two 2-year-olds can turn a simple trip to the grocery store into an adventure fraught with unpredictability.

Let me say first that we're incredibly lucky to have Peapod grocery delivery by the Giant grocery stores in our area. I don't know what we would have done without it in the last couple of years. We're able to shop online and get all our groceries delivered within a two-hour window for a nominal charge. It's pure luxury. I honestly don't know how parents who have to take two or more little ones to the store simultaneously do it without going nuts. When we need to make an emergency run to the store, my husband or I have always done it while the other watches the girls. A couple of times we have taken Catherine, but not often.

But today we were out of milk, Steve wasn't here, and I was forced to take both girls with me to the store. Together. For the first time in their little lives both together, believe it or not!

Catherine threw a tantrum first getting into the minivan because she apparently thought we were going for a walk instead of driving somewhere. Wrong. But she settled down when we were underway.

At the store parking lot I got a cart and I strapped Catherine in the seat and put Elisabeth in the basket. Elisabeth remained seated quietly the whole time in the bottom of the basket like a little angel, just taking it all in silently! What a good girl!

As I was going in, I passed a woman exiting with a cart overflowing with 87 bags of groceries, two tiny girls traipsing alongside, and a baby in the cart seat. It put things in perspective for me really quickly.

Inside the store the girls seemed overwhelmed and were as good as gold! I was not expecting that! I asked Catherine if she wanted one of her favorites, watermelon, or "wa-muh", and she was happy to help me pick out a slice.

We went through the aisles and I piled up the groceries around Elisabeth in the cart. The only little problem was when she tried to open the little carton of fresh mozzarella swimming in water. I didn't think that was a good idea, but some rearranging solved it.

Otherwise they were quiet and happy the whole time! *shocked disbelief*

The only time Catherine was unhappy was when I took the watermelon out of the cart and put it on the checkout stand. I think that she thought I was giving HER watermelon away to the cashier.

One of the older checkout ladies started asking Elisabeth, "Will you give me your curls?" I thought that was a little creepy. But fortunately we were all done shopping without incident and I was able to pack up my groceries and hustle my girls out and take everything back home again.

This was definitely a lucky break today. I know I'll have to pay double for this one some time in the future. Just wait until they learn to wheedle for me to buy them things....

Monday, August 22, 2005

Speaking of slimeballs

I couldn't be more delighted that that cowardly human sewage Eric Rudolph got life in prison without hope of parole for the deadly bombing at Centennial Park at the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games in 1996. In fact, I think a substantially harsher penalty would be entirely deserved for his terrorist acts, including his deadly bombing of an abortion clinic in 1998.

I was at Centennial Plaza that very day for my work at the Olympics, just a few hours before the bombing occurred.

Another interesting Google mapping application: Map the registered sex offenders that live near you. Uh, if they're registered. Take a look at Washington, DC: there's a pretty scary concentration of them in the Southeast quadrant of the city.

Two extremes of athletes

A couple of my correspondents wrote today about a woman who participated in the 18th Central Park Triathlon (1/4-mile swim, 12 mile bike, 5 mile run) yesterday. She apparently omitted one of three laps in the swim and still tried to claim an award for the 55-59 age group. The race director was on to her tricks, though, since she apparently was known to have done this kind of thing previously.

The woman from whom the LOSER CHEAT was so eager to steal the first place AG award, Dr. Harriet Kang, is back-of-the-pack runner and physician who does a lot of volunteer work at marathons (Boston this year, I believe) and with Achilles runners, and is extraordinarily supportive of everyone she runs with. That first place finish couldn't have gone to a nicer first-time triathlete. :-)

Contrast that ugly mental image of the LOSER CHEAT with a far different picture of courage and indomitable spirit (from a message in the new Big Bike Forum, check it out!):

"If you ever wanted to make an excuse for not going that extra mile, forget it. After watching this video you'll never have another excuse again. If you don't know them, it is about Team Hoyt. I actually saw another video of this and it brought me to tears."

Here's the video: http://www.jeffiscool.com/films12/TeamHoyt.wmv

Here's their web page: http://www.teamhoyt.com

Equivalent birthday (postponed)

Over the weekend we had a bit of a non-event: my girls' 2nd "Equivalent Birthday". That is, August 20th is two years from their due date. If you think back to how long ago I posted about their 2nd birthday party (2 years from their actual birth date) on June 1st, that tells you how seriously premature they were - they missed out completely on about twelve weeks they should have been in utero. They've come a long way since they were teensy 2-pounders!

We're very lucky that these girls are happy and healthy and doing great. Catherine is perhaps a couple of months behind a regular developmental schedule, but talking away and jumping and running and doing everything right in sequence. She is seriously far-sighted, though - a opthalmologist appointment this week may tell us how soon she needs to get fitted for glasses. They're inevitable by the time she's 4 or 5.

Elisabeth has substantial speaking delays. Since she had a bad heart (that was repaired at 5 months) she was very weak her first year. She only learned to walk this April at 22 months, and hasn't quite learned to run yet. She was fed mostly through a tube until about 8 months, which delayed the proper development of her speaking musculature. She only said her first word within the last few weeks, after much coaching and prompting - finally she says "mum mum" for "more" food. She knows dozens of signs, though, and adores watching her signing videos.

We had a breakthrough today, though: Elisabeth signed a sentence on her own! We were having breakfast together and talking about how Daddy left earlier. Elisabeth signed "bye-bye", "car", and "all gone" all in a row, showing me she knew that's how Daddy left! Even though she makes clear progress every day, it's still reassuring to Mom to see that her mind is working and thinking about conceptual things that aren't visible in front of her!

We're looking forward to having a family celebration of their "Equivalent Birthday" in a few weeks when their paternal Grandpa visits and we can combine it with a celebration of his 80th birthday.