Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January summary

Ack! How did it already get to be the last day of January!? That month flew by!

This is my best news of the month: I'm doing very well hitting my consistency goals (in which I'm working towards a modest, attainable minimum level of training for 42/44 weeks in each discipline):
  • SWIM: Weekly swim goal (1500m+) met: 3/4 wks
  • BIKE: Weekly bike goal (20M+) met: 4/4 wks
  • RUN: Weekly run goal (10M+) met: 4/4 wks
  • NUTRITION: Weekly food log goal (5d+) met: 4/4 wks
I was also trying on for size a standard monthly target:
  • SWIM: 15,000 m per month tentative goal; did 9,500 m in January (63%) (4700 m in December, more than double)
  • BIKE: 200 miles per month tentative goal; did 167.8 miles/270 km in January (83%) including 3 rides over 25 miles (44.4 miles in December, nearly four times as much)
  • RUN: 100 miles per month tentative goal; did 67.7 miles/109 km in January (67%) including 2 runs over 10 miles (64 miles in December, 5% more)
  • CORE: 1500 crunches per month tentative goal; did 2000 in January (133%) (2350 in December, down 15%)
Conclusions for January:
  • I'm doing okay at ramping up my swim and bike distances, but I haven't yet gotten up to the volume that I'd like in those disciplines. It will come. I'll keep those targets the same for the short month of February. I've got the bike trainer and pool situation sorted out for weekdays and weekends, so I should be able to get cycling and swimming done wherever I am.
  • I think 60 - 80 miles per month running is probably a good level to maintain my running base. I'm going to decrease the running monthly target to 80 miles per month. I need to focus more time and effort on my limiters - nutrition/body composition, core strength, swimming, and biking (probably in that order).
  • The Goofy Challenge was fun, and while it did interrupt my training in swimming and cycling slightly this month, it was well worth the experience completing the inaugural event.
  • Nutrition is the fourth discipline. Keep your attention on it.


I went back and snapped a photo of the snowdrops I saw yesterday, just because "LouBob" said that it wasn't fair. It's true, it has been an unusually mild winter for us!

The daylight seems to be increasing already, too. Sunset is now at 5:29 PM, 32 minutes later than it was on the first of the year. At the end of February sunset will be after 6:00 PM, so there may even be time, once again, to run outside in the evening after my husband comes home from work!

I'm sure glad I don't live any further north than this (location: W077 06, N38 52). I grew up in Illinois and lived for five years in New Hampshire, and I don't miss the winters in either place!

My Goofy plaque

Just arrived! It only allowed one line of text, so the HM (half marathon) and M (marathon) notations are a little cryptic if you don't know what it's all about, but I like the photo.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Snowdrops in January

I saw my first snowdrop flowers blooming today. It was 65*F outside, do you believe it? So that mandated another trip to the park. Compare the photos below of my big grown-up toddler girls to the photo of two babies playing on the same equipment last April!

Longest. Swim. Ever.

Done! The longest swim for me ever: 2550 meters. Yep, that's right, EVER. Except maybe at Eagleman last June I was probably far enough off course to have swum that far, but it wasn't on purpose - in theory that course was only 1931 meters long.

My swim coach Yurtie from Australia sent me a workout that I've been scared of tackling for a week and a half now, and put off and put off, but today I finally did it to the letter (except when I forgot my lap count and did one extra):
  • 250 m freestyle, 30 sec rest
  • 150 m freestyle, 30 sec rest
  • 100 m freestyle, 30 sec rest
  • 50 m freestyle, 30 sec rest
  • Repeat above
  • 200 m kicking with fins
  • 800 m straight freestyle (this took me 27:41)
  • 100 m breaststroke
  • 4 x (25 m slow, 25 m fast) (fastest 25 m was 38.83)
  • 100 m cooldown
I couldn't stand the thought of attempting what passes for "speedwork" with me after that long 800m swim, but I did my best to get it done. I'm glad I didn't add it all up beforehand or it would have seemed even tougher than it was.

At one point I thought, "Jeez, I haven't done any breaststroke yet at all today! And last year at this time I would have done about 75% breaststroke!"

But mostly I thought, "My swimming sucks." The whole workout took me an hour and forty minutes. That's a long time to have "My swimming sucks" stuck in your head. One of my new goals for the year is to get up to 20 laps completed before the "my swimming sucks" thoughts start taking over my brain.

Somebody in the little nasty pool locker room had left a shower running full blast on HOT and apparently walked out and it was nearly impossible to breathe in there! Plus somebody, probably the same person, had left a plugged-in blow dryer sitting inside the sink with a big wad of hair. Gross.

But not as gross as the pool, which was so cloudy that I could hardly see the bottom 4 feet away from my nose. I tried to tell myself it was just good practice for swimming blind in the murky Choptank River next June.

Note to self: Next time bring a snack or mix up some Gatorade for anything over an hour swim!

Women marathoners - in Pakistan

Here's a real success story for the international running community as well as for enlightened thought in the Muslim world - women participating in a marathon (plus a separate 10K and 5K) in Lahore, Pakistan yesterday, in part to raise money for earthquake victims. This despite violent protests against their participation in which more than 400 people were arrested.

Results aren't yet posted on the race website. The site included a history of marathoning there which talks about Roberta Gibb running the Boston Marathon for the first time in 1966. Finally, after 40 years, those freedoms have reached Pakistani women, too.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Difficult days

Take a moment to go check in now with our friend PuddyRat, the Ironman Dreamer. She's had one of the toughest days you can imagine. Our hearts go out to her.

And if you have another moment, stop in with our friend IronAyla, who is also having some sad and challenging times.

Best wishes and kind thoughts to you all.

Track running

No, none for me today. I'm taking a day off from everything except core work. I should be swimming, but I'm not. Tomorrow. For sure.

But Sooz asked in a comment about standard track markings and distances. There's a pretty good explanation here with photos.

I don't really know about all the track markings, myself. The track I usually use (pictured, a couple of weeks ago) is an unmarked asphalt-paved quarter-mile track behind our local small-town high school. I don't think the school has a track team - if they do, they probably train at the fancy rubberized track at the nearby larger town. This track seems to be only used by recreational walkers and joggers. I've only seen high-school aged people there once or twice. I use it usually once or twice per week.

The biggest advantage of this track is that it's one block away from our house. So even if weather is bad, I'm feeling unmotivated and lazy, as long as it's not a blizzard or a blinding rainstorm, I have no excuses for not getting myself out there for a few laps.

I used to loathe track running. Now I tend to use it for nearly everything under 3-4 miles. It sure beats the treadmill at the health club any day! What makes the difference for me is paying close attention to my split times for each lap around the track. I log my times fairly carefully (as well as recording them on this blog often) and compare my times for various distances from one season to the next. Now I find it fairly interesting and informative about my running progress.

One of the best parts of track running is when you can just turn your mind completely to other things and not think about running at all, just do it. That makes the time pass quickly. Many, many times I have wished that my swimming would get to that point, where I could just complete stroke after stroke automatically and effortlessly - but I'm a long way from that. When I'm in the pool I'm concentrating on the stroke itself all the time, one after the other, and constantly tweaking it.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Bad 5K decisions

Whose idea was it to procrastinate on my last 3.5 miles that I was due to complete this week and put it off until Saturday afternoon, after my massive (for me) 29.2-mile bike ride?

Oh, yeah, mine. Duh.

Plus Mean Linae is making me do a 5K time trial. What a creep. I'll fix her! I'll do it on a day I can barely put one foot in front of the other!

12.5 times around the track. That's WAY MORE than a 5K. That's 3.125 miles instead of 3.107 - I ran a whole extra 28 meters!

Splits of 11:21, 11:33, 11:38 (fading really fast), and 1:29 gave me a 5K finishing time of 36:03.

THEN I still had another lap and a half to finish up to make my 3.5 miles. Groan.

Paint like this

Totally unrelated to anything . . . .

Don't you think these interior paint jobs are pretty cool? Not that I'm re-doing my own living room that way, mind you. But maybe
*jeanne* can consider it for the Pooh room.

WHOOPS! Sorry, didn't mean to link to the nasty stuff that link was changed to show LATER... THOSE JERKS!!

Update: It looks like they've re-posted the painted room photos here, but click at your own risk in case they change it to something nasty again!!

Another swim I'm not doing

Lewis Gordon Pugh has now completed long distance swims in the five oceans of the world. Including Antarctica.

More power to him!

But count me out! Under 78*F water temperature and I'm crying like a little baby for my wetsuit.

Creeping old age

I have one major problem with my wonderful bike, Buttercup.

I'm too old for her.

Don't laugh if you're reading this and you're under the age of 45. Your time will come, I swear it, with God as my witness.

I'm too stiff and my hips are no longer flexible enough to swing my leg to the rear and up to dismount her properly. Especially with the added height of the bottle cages just behind the seat.

(If you're older than 48 and actually still bicycle and don't have this problem, just close out this window in your computer and move right along. I don't want to hear your smartass comments. Uh, it's that little x in the upper right corner, techno-whiz.)

Getting on I do okay, even though I've never managed this maneuver. Actually, I've never even attempted it. Age has given me a teensy bit of wisdom.

It's the getting off part that's terrible, especially after a hard ride when my legs are tired and my back hurts. I have been forced to do this stupid-looking awkward maneuver where I tip the bike over and step off over the top tube -- which makes me feel like a conspicuous dumbass old fart every time I do it, especially when it occurs in the transition zone in a triathlon when skinnyfast triathletes are zooming past me on both sides and cursing my slowness under their breath.

BUT! I've learned a new way to dismount that I can do. If I turn and face Buttercup, I can swing my leg far enough up to the side that it manages to get over okay. It just seems to work better in that direction. Maybe I retained that from dismounting horses for many years, who knows?

I do have to consciously remember to dump all the water bottles out of the rear bottle carriers before I reach T2 in any triathlon. That extra inch or two of water bottle height could spell my downfall one day, quite literally.

Poor geese

Today is the last day of Canada goose hunting season in Maryland, and also the end of duck season. Yay! I don't particularly object to people hunting geese as long as they eat them, since they are certainly abundant here, but I get uneasy when I'm cycling along alone down country backroads and I hear lots of gunfire fairly close by. That makes me quite nervous.

I'm glad that my bike Buttercup is day-glo yellow.

Too nice not to bike

My plan was to get in another swim this weekend, but now it will have to wait until tomorrow. We had the luxury of another unseasonably warm January day (35*F - 48*F, sunny, wind 5-8 mph) so today was much better suited for another bike ride down the peninsula! It's important to take advantage of these nice winter days when they happen!

So I did 29.2 miles, averaging 16.2 mph, done before noon. That's 0.6 mph better than my last ~30-mile ride 2 weeks ago, so I think the slight adjustment I made in increasing my seat height and shortening my aerobar length helped a lot. My knees no longer hit my elbows and I get a more complete leg extension.

I was finally able to try out my hot new Sidi bike shoes, since I finally put new cleats on them, and they were incredibly comfortable! They have a strange ratchet mechanism and release, which snugs down nicely on my foot and feels comfortable while pedaling, but I always forget how to release it and have to spend a little while figuring it out again. I need to get that part memorized before I frantically try to get them off during any triathlons!

My lower back muscular endurance and getting my neck and shoulders accustomed to aero position still seems to be my limiting factor on the bike. I could keep pedaling, but the knives in my lower back and the crick-that-won't-stop in my neck induce me to call it a day.

I still need to get in another 3.5 miles running this week, which will have to happen late this afternoon when my husband gets home from his flying lesson. It might be a little hard to boot myself out the door then, if it didn't promise to be a spring-like 55*F by then!

Friday, January 27, 2006

More running in circles

Put in a few miles at the track today at a 10:50 to 10:58 minute per mile pace. I was wondering if today might be a good day to try a few quarter-mile repeats. It wasn't. I almost blew chow after the first one. That was so much fun I walked a while and then tried another. That was enough to make me decide that I'd had quite enough! They both came in at 2:11. Not at my PR for a lap around the track (2:06) but close enough for today. I wonder if I'll be able to run a sub-9:00 mile this year? Ever? Ah, no, it's not a concrete goal, because I'd have to actually train for it if it were a concrete goal, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The consequence?

Flatman sent this to me. He thinks my Incentive Plan is not a great idea, and this will be the result. Heh. I think that 5AM alarm is more likely to kill me first!

Anyway, it's not the last Big Mac you eat that kills you, it's the preceding 300 Big Macs. . . .

Arrival in Frostbite Falls

I made it to Frostbite Falls this morning! 1500 meters in the pool put me over the top of my 6000 meter swimming distance goal to make it there for a 6950 meter total so far for the year.

I'm tempted to insert something self-deprecating here about how that was just a small goal, I swam it very slowly, most "real swimmers" can do that distance in one or two swims, but HEY! Cut it out! That was my goal that I set back in December to make sure that I averaged a minimum of 1500 meters per week in the pool for the month of January, and I DID IT! So there!

I'll throw a few logs on the fire and toast some marshmallows and heat up the Maryland crab cakes that I brought to share. How soon will you be arriving?

The incentive plan

I think I need a reward if I'm able to make it into the gym before 6:15. So far that's about the earliest I've managed, which means that even though I get up at 5AM, I dawdle around and drink my coffee and don't get my ASS in gear for a while. Now Bolder recommends a half-pound bar of chocolate, eaten in one sitting, as an incentive. While that does hold certain attractions, I'm not usually hungry for chocolate first thing in the morning.

So this is going to be my incentive. The first time I manage to get into the health club and onto the treadmill or into the pool before their clock reads 5:45AM, I get a treat. My reward will be to stop at McDonalds for one of these on the way home. I love their sausage and egg biscuits, but I don't often allow myself to get them. 500 calories and 32 grams of fat apiece -- that's precisely why they're so yummy.

I'll let you know if it happens.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

2005 Marathon Statistics

One of my favorite websites, www.marathonguide.com, released its summary of statistics for the 2005 year in marathons. It's got a lot of detail - naturally, I checked the stats to see where I fit in the big picture.

I finished (6:33) the biggest marathon in the USA in 2005, the ING New York City Marathon, with 36,872 finishers. It seemed that Staten Island would float away from all that pre-race pee.

Baltimore Marathon, where I (5:59) was one of 2410 finishers, didn't make the list of the biggest 25 marathons in the country (3249 finishers and up). The closest big race to us, Marine Corps Marathon (19,110 finishers), moved up one place to 5th largest marathon.

Overall, men's finishing times averaged 4:32, while women marathon finishers averaged 5:06. I'm still much slower at the marathon distance than the average finish in my age group (women 45-49), which was 5:11, but as I age up in another year I hope to get much closer to the average time (overall and in my age group). In the 50-54 age group, average women's finish time was 5:31. There's still hope for me to catch up with the middle of the pack - just give me time!

Monday, January 23, 2006

In today's fat news

Three items that caught my eye in my web-browsing today:

Xenical (that fat-absorption-blocking drug) may soon be available over the counter. Jeez, I wish I had stock in GlaxoSmithKline. Users have reported an average of 5.2 to 6.2 pounds weight loss over 6 months. I'm not sure that I would be crazy about "excess gas and uncontrollable bowel movements" along with that, however.

Did you know that in the US, if something is labeled ZERO percent trans fats, it can have up to 0.5 grams per serving? That's just plain old misleading, especially for those of us for whom a serving means the whole entire container.

And tofuburgers don't benefit your health, either. Good thing, because they taste like crap.

I won a prize!

The YMCA, of which I'm a brand new member, just telephoned me to today to tell me that I WON A PRIZE! Woo, I'm thinking! A custom-installed 50m lap pool? A new treadmill? A leftover sweatshirt?

Nope. A "fitness assessment".

Is it just the natural skeptic in me that tends to believe that everyone who signed in at their open house on Saturday got a phone call that they WON BIG and got a fitness assessment?

I'm reasonably certain that it doesn't include a VO2max measurement or underwater weighing or a blood lipids profile, and might possibly involve those humiliating body fat calipers, and would most likely focus on a tour of their weight machines, so I think I'm probably going to skip it. I think my usual mile repeats around the track and 200m swim times tell me just how fit (or unfit) I am right now.

Today's maps

I love maps. I'm going to keep checking on the national flu map this spring and waiting for the day it turns all green. Since my preemie girls are still extremely small for their age and haven't been exposed to many bugs, and suffered miserably from their last round of colds, we don't want to take them to the YMCA day care until flu season is over. Even if it is free. Call me overprotective, tending sick kids for two weeks straight is a lot tougher than one swim workout! The last time that they both got sick they didn't even touch any other kids, they just climbed on the baby rides at the mall and that did them in, one after the other.

At least we're not underneath the purple stuff! Or worse yet, the blue or yellow stuff!!

My chakras are clean

Clean as a whistle, apparently. Because I can seem to absorb calories from the air and water, just like this lady. Yeah, absorbing "cosmic energy as a source of nutrients", that's me all over, "feeding on original energy the way minerals, plants, and plankton do."

That and the Angus beef burger I grilled last night and had with crusty Italian garlic bread. Yum!

I don't think I've started photosynthesizing yet, but that's probably next for someone with a metabolism as efficient as mine. Tanita craves big numbers, it seems.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Riding a horse of a different color

This morning I was cursing again. I brought with me over the weekend my cycling jacket, technical top, tights, shorts, socks, booties, extra spindle, etc., -- everything except my cycling shoes. Again. Gack! I even had my wonderful new cycling shoes with me, and new cleats also, but I hadn't mounted the cleats yet and I didn't have the all-important proper screws to affix the cleats to the shoes.

So instead of trying to find some suitable hardware at the Local Bike Shop or hardware store early on a Sunday morning, I rode our old clunker $150 Walmart Mongoose bike with platform pedals around the backroads. It was about 40*F and windy - maybe too cold for Bolder, but just fine with me.

Now that was weird. I've been riding with clipless pedals for about a year straight now. Today I'd lift my foot up off the platform pedal and instantaneously have a startled reaction - something's wrong! My cleat just let go! Oh, yeah, duh, I'm not using cleats.

It was sort of fun pedaling s-l-o-w-l-y around the rutted gravelly backroads and over grass and sand where I would never ride Buttercup. Even so, I definitely will get the cleats mounted on the other pair of cycling shoes this coming week so that I'm fully prepared wherever I am.

I saw a few Eastern Bluebirds today on my ride. I didn't realize until recently that they stayed around here all winter!


commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

This was intended to help combat comment spam.

But then, guess what? I REMOVED IT!! Making that change stripped off every comment ever made on this blog! I guess I'd better read the fine print on the auto-install feature before I try that again!! Good thing they prompted me for a backup of the template, eh?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

New Y member

I finally went over and joined the local eastern shore YMCA (10 miles from our weekend place) so that I have a place to swim in the winter on the weekends (and I'll just use that crappy 3-lane pool near our townhouse on weekdays). They have two 5-lane 25m pools - one warm (87*F, pictured) and one cool (82*F). I'm going to think I'm in heaven.

Even BETTER than that - they have free regular child care during workouts, but best of all, they have PARENT'S NIGHT OUT. Four golden hours, 6PM-10PM, once per month. FREE with a family membership. WOO HOO!!!!! My kind of place!! Actually, we'll probably wait until after cold/flu season is over, but after that I'm hoping that my girls will be regular attendees. That and Mom's Afternoon Out and Mom's Morning Out, too! Yeah, baby!!!

For a while this afternoon I watched the kid's swim meet. It was fun - the little girls swimming along, struggling and doing their very best with their heads out of the water Tarzan-style, and occasionally stopping to hang on the lane dividers to catch a breath. I can definitely relate!

A few things about me

I don't know if they're really odd or not, but here are a few somewhat atypical things about me, in response to Kewl Nitrox's tag. I can't think of any real superstitions or obsessive-compulsive-type behaviors or weird habits that I practice, can you?
  • I have an unconscious tendency not to screw down jar lids, but instead just set them on top of the jar. It drives my husband nuts.
  • I didn't do anything at all athletic until my mid-20s when I started running the first time. I rode and showed horses for years before that, but really didn't get much exercise from it. That's it. It bugs me when people claim that they were never athletic, when actually they did organized athletics for years and years.
  • I'm shy, though I can hide it well. I usually hate meeting new people. I hate making phone calls to people I don't know well. "Small talk" drives me nuts. I used to loathe professional-type cocktail parties when I was supposed to be networking. Job interviews are the worst form of hell. The Internet was made for folks like me.
  • I've been somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist for over thirty years now. I think any omnipotent God worth His salt wouldn't be so insecure that He wants people fawning over Him and telling Him how marvelous He is all the time, and if He designed the universe correctly in the first place He would have no need to resort to supernatural magic tricks (aka miracles) to make His point. That said, there is something psychologically reassuring about familiar rituals.
  • Along with that, I'm a huge skeptic about nearly everything. Show me the data.
  • I'm impulsive and make decisions very quickly - sometimes to my detriment. This trait has cost me a huge amount of money - for example, when I bought a house that I had to move out of about six months later when I took a new job in another part of the country.
  • I have a great sense of direction and can read and remember a map quickly. It took me a long time to realize that not everybody does this.
  • Until I was about 35 I was convinced I didn't want kids. For another decade I was convinced that I wouldn't have kids even though I wanted to. Through modern science, at age 45 I had triplets - one kid on 5/9/03 and another two kids on 6/1/03.
  • I'm a packrat, a lousy housekeeper, and have a tendency to be sloppy. Most of the time that really doesn't bother me.
  • My hands are double-jointed.
  • I believe that there is no such thing as a too-big dog, a too-fat cat, or a too-sweet dessert.

Update: I also asked my husband about this. He says I go through museums too fast and don't look at everything. I said that I really do look at everything, I just visually scan very fast and read very fast so I don't have to take as long looking at exhibits as most people. He also said that I'm intimidated by car mechanics. I said I'm not intimidated, I just loathe car mechanics with a passion. Okay, it's pathological avoidance. In my defense, I hate tradespeople who try to gouge me and take advantage of me, and that's happened to me far too many times with car mechanics.

Running on

Yesterday I did speedwork on the local track - that is, what passes for speedwork at my fitness level, mile repeats at my 5K pace. It was a very unseasonably warm day again (it doesn't look like the Chesapeake will freeze over this winter!) and there were lots of walkers out on the track. They were all going counter-clockwise, so unwisely, I ran all my laps counter-clockwise also. Plus I had to run back and forth around them since nobody seemed to agree on what side of the track to walk on, or whether to just walk several people abreast on the track and block the whole damn thing. So I ended the day taking Advil for a sore knee and a pulled muscle in my left leg.

I needed at least 7 miles to finish up my goal for 10 miles running per week, though, so it was back out again this morning. Down around my favorite neighborhood in Martingham (where I'd love to buy a house one day) and back for 7.3 LSD miles in the logbook. Fortunately I wasn't still sore enough to affect my gait.

Back on the blog, I had to turn on comment verification again, despite Boulder's many appeals to the contrary. 3 or 4 spam comments accumulating per day were really starting to annoy me.

Kewl Nitrox tagged me to post 5 strange facts about myself, but I'm having a tough time thinking up 5. I'm pretty non-strange, I think! Any ideas for me, anyone? I'll work on it.

I'm still debating about those spring marathons. Some folks say yes, some folks say no freakin' way. Flip, flop, flip, flop. Oh well. I can always test my long distance running fitness at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in April, but I'm going to have to work really, really hard to break that PR set last April on a cold, windy day.

Off now to our local eastern shore YMCA for their open house to join up so that I can swim in a better pool on the weekends!

For those who are looking for it, the unofficial Goofy Results are now posted here. Thanks again, Joe! And RobbyB!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Moving forward in the water

My emphases in this macro cycle (#2 of 5 training cycles leading up to Ironman Florida) are to work on improving my swimming performance as well as boosting my core strength. Naturally that involves putting in more sessions at the pool than I was previously, and doing lots of crunches and other torso-strengthening exercises.

Holly and I just signed up for a Swim Technique Clinic in February. That should help! I'll work for the next month ramping up my distances and swim endurance and general comfort level in the water, and then the clinic should help improve my biomechanical efficiency, I expect. What's more, is they will take an underwater swimming video of us and give us the footage on CD, so hopefully I will be able to email those files down to Yurtie in Australia for him to critique, too. That will save me a lot of messing around with the camcorder and video files, etc. But Flatman, I seriously doubt I'll permit those swimming-porn images to be posted on the Internet. Sorry. Maybe Holly will?

After that I need to continue working with a live swim coach periodically, or attend one of the local weekly stroke clinics, or get together with a Master's swimming group regularly for a few months. I know that optimally I would be swimming 3 or 4 days per week, but with my two little time commitments I doubt if I'll be getting in the water with that frequency very often. (Unless I can count laps chasing my girls across the baby pool next summer).

I'd also really like to find some different pools to swim in - though the little 3-lane one at the club is the closest one to our townhouse right now. I sure would love to find a 50-meter pool with a lap swim that's not super-crowded. But then everything will change in June after our local outdoor pools open for the summer, but unfortunately not in time to get me ready for the Columbia Olympic-distance triathlon and Eagleman half Ironman.

Meanwhile . . . in other disciplines, I'm still maintaining my running base with 10 or more miles per week, doing some baseline time on the trainer, and getting outside on the road on Buttercup whenever the weather and the baby-minding situation favors it. I'm starting to think that (with the babies around) I'd be able to run more consistently if I bought a treadmill, but the cost and the space requirement in the house is still putting me off of that idea.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I'm amazed!

My Performance Bike order arrived this morning before 11:30AM. Incredible! I just ordered it online yesterday!! Now that's service!!

The pink jersey is a lot brighter than the online photo - I think Dawn would approve.

New shiny gear cassettes sure are purty. I hope they work as well as they look.

My Inner Whiner

I had a difficult time managing my Inner Whiner today. She was loud, persistent, and obnoxious.

First thing when I woke up: "I don't wanna get out of bed! Nobody should have to get up before 5AM just to exercise!"

Response: Shut up. Millions of people get up before 5AM to go clean other people's toilets and flip hamburgers and drive taxis and even worse jobs. And you're complaining about getting to go to a swimming pool?

At the gym: "It's too crowded. All the treadmills are full. Stupid resolutionists. I don't wanna wait for one."

Response: Then get your fat butt on the exercycle and start pedaling. You haven't finished even twenty miles for the week. Not to mention you haven't run a step all week. You've got nothing to complain about.

In the pool: "2000 meters is way too much. I've got water up my nose. I can't breathe right. I'm coughing. I don't wanna do it. My shoulders ache."

Response: Your choice. You want to repeat that horrible Eagleman 1.2-mile swimming debacle you had last year? Or do you want to be prepared and feel comfortable and competent in the water?

In the pool: "Oh, yeah, that. But that's still four months away. And my shoulders still ache."

Response: Okay, okay, I'm sick of listening to you. It's true the shoulders ache, which might have something to do with the fact that you actually managed to get your sorry carcass into the water for two whole swims this week, which is more than double what you usually do, and you're not conditioned to do much swim distance yet. We'll cut it a little short since we're out of time with all your whining. But don't forget that we've got 3862 meters to do at one crack at Ironman Florida in November. Yeah, we're talking 78 laps. So you've got nothing to complain about yet. Nothing. Shut up and keep swimming until I tell you to stop.

Does anyone have any better tips for dealing with that miserable nincompoop in my head? I don't want to start stalking around the gym talking to myself like Holly does.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Goofy results!

Since Disney/EMMI didn't do it, fast runner and TRI-DRS member, Joe Bator (1:26 2006 Disney half, 3:26 2006 Disney marathon, 19th place overall Goofy) compiled the overall results for the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World in 2006 and shared them with me. Thanks, Joe!!

My chip time total of 9:52:24 for 39.3 miles put me in 2169th place out of 2315 finishers (93%), 966th/1069 women (90%), and 158th/177 in my age group (89%), which is right about where I usually rank in marathons.

Jeanne's chip time total of 8:17:04 for 39.3 miles put her in 1539th place out of 2315 finishers (66%), 578th/1069 women (54%), and 55th/117 in her age group (47%).

Not that we were actually racing or anything. It's just nice to know!

Note: If he puts his compilation of the results online, I'll be sure to post a link here.

Shopping spree

You would think I'm tapering! My credit card seems to be burning a hole in the Internet!

Unfortunately I didn't delete the sale email from Performance Bike quickly enough, and things started catching my eye. Arrrgh! They got me!!! But they have good stuff on sale!!

First was this nice women's technical bike jersey for $25. I deliberated over the purple until I realized that I already have a long-sleeved purple bike jersey. I know it's not as neon-bright as Dawn prefers, but it proves I don't have a total prejudice against pink.

Then I realized I *really* need a new cassette with an easier granny gear (12/27) for Buttercup for the Columbia Triathlon (Olympic distance) this coming May. It's much hillier than anything I usually ride on. Those hills killed me last year, and I'd really prefer to get up them a little more quickly and easily this year without burning out my quads. Yeah, yeah, I'll go find some hills to ride on later this spring, too. I hear training helps.

I bought the Ultegra model on sale ($65) rather than the Dura-Ace, in order to save $45. I hope I don't regret not spending enough! But I'll only use it for the one triathlon this year and then go back to my usual 11/23 cassette.

To go with the new cassette, I need the tools to swap it out with. I already have one wrench for it, I just needed the whip tool to take it off and on, but I thought I'd get a couple extra toys along with it. $15 for the set.

And then just so I wouldn't be the only one in the household to get new stuff, I pre-ordered the Lady and the Tramp 50th anniversary DVD from Disney for the girls. I think it was one of the first films I ever saw in a theater, although it was probably a considerable period of time after the 1955 release (seeing as I wasn't born yet then). I remember after that I had a little porcelain cocker spaniel figurine after that I treasured.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Torino 2006

Is anyone else getting psyched about the Torino Winter Olympic Games coming up in three-and-a-half weeks? I am! The flame was passed through Venice yesterday.

Time arrived yesterday at our house with Bode Miller on the cover. Can't wait to watch that bad boy tear up those slopes!

Freedom and fear

"Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: "Men feared witches and burnt women."

"The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

"Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

"Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars?

"It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same."

-- Al Gore, January 16, 2006

Cat murder

For those who just can't get enough....

2006 Training Plan

I realized from some of the comments I received that I haven't posted my overall 2006 Training Plan. I'm the planningest person I know! Part of the reason I haven't posted about it here is that I have it all written out on my household calendars and entered on my spreadsheets and I just didn't take the time to type it in the old blog.

That's not to say that I have a fixed workout assigned to every day and do it on the exact day and the exact distance described. That doesn't work well for my temperament and my lifestyle right now. Flexibility and working towards general weekly and monthly targets works much better for me in practice, as well as helping to keep it fun for this recreational athlete and has seemed to prevent any athletic injuries (knock on wood, since I came back from a metatarsal stress fracture in 2002). I might also mention that I don't work with a coach telling me what to do in my workouts - one reason is that I never take kindly to being told what to do, and another is that I have a PhD in exercise physiology, sports nutrition, and sports biomechanics. I do have a highly experienced swimmer in Australia, Yurtie, advising me on my swim training right now.

I frequently use races for their training mileage value as well, since otherwise I do all my workouts by myself and I find it a lot more fun to go the distance during races than slogging it out alone. For example, I used the Baltimore Marathon as my final long run before the New York City Marathon three weeks later, but previous to that I had a series of progressively increasing long slow distance runs, as well as numerous shorter runs and track workouts. (I'm not saying that worked out great for my marathon performance at New York, but that was my approach. Live and learn.)

I establish concrete targets in advance for each month and more recently each week and then work out with those targets in mind, incorporating some flexibility from day to day for weather, family demands, and "listening to my body". Most of the time I do a reasonable job of getting close to the targets that way, although it's true that I am a slacker at heart and I usually set my targets at levels such that I almost never hit them at 100%. (I also make a set of written advance performance goals before each race, and achieve them at a reasonable frequency, and then use them in adjusting my training as it progresses).

I've changed some things this year to improve my adherence to the overall plan, in particular focusing on concrete weekly minimum targets (rather than emphasizing monthly goals) to ensure training consistency (see the right sidebar), in order to help improve my compliance and my performance result.

My training in 2006 will generally incorporate a minimum of 6 key workouts per week, at least 2 in each discipline (swim, bike, run). I've got the distances for the longer of the 2 workouts in each discipline each week already written out for 42 out of 52 weeks in my paper calendar, and 5 months marked out on 2 big laminated wall calendars (see photo). One workout will be shorter and focused on technique, strength, or speed, and the longer workout (blocked out on the calendar) will be focused on muscular and cardiovascular endurance.

Right now I'm in the 2nd of 5 macro cycles leading up to my two "A" races of the year, Eagleman Half Ironman in June and Ironman Florida in November. The distances that I've blocked out in my plans progressively increase within each macro, and then back off at the end of each macro to provide some recovery and recuperation. The other races on the schedule are all "B" and "C" races that I hope to complete without major interruptions to the overall training scheme.

My question about the spring marathon(s) is whether I can complete them effectively as "B" or "C" races while still not making extensive alterations in my overall training scheme. For example, it's true that since I considered it a "B" race I didn't do much specific distance training in preparation for the Goofy Challenge, (although I was reasonably sure my base of 2.5 marathons plus 2 other races for 3 PRs in the previous 12 weeks, not to mention my innate stubbornness, would carry me to the finish line). I'm still working with the numbers on the calendar to see whether I think these spring marathons are possible. Thanks for all your positive feedback and suggestions, folks!!

And remember . . . just because someone is slower than most, it doesn't mean they're not working hard.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm considering....

... entering the 45th Annual Washington's Birthday Marathon in Greenbelt, Maryland on February 19th, in 5 weeks, as my 10th marathon. After 3 PRs in late 2005 at distances from 5K to the half marathon, I'd like to see what I can do if I push myself on a standalone marathon.

Here's the Gmaps course map that I made from the race map. (Now corrected with elevations, but you have to scroll way to the right to see them. Wicked hill right at the end of the course.)

  • Maintain my long, slow distance running base
  • Keep a focus to my run training
  • Small, local, stay-at-home race
  • 10:30AM start time
  • Make a marathon PR attempt with no overnight travel
  • Good race reputation for a very small event
  • The entry fee is cheap enough that I don't mind cutting it short as a training run and DNFing if I choose to
  • 3 loop course may be boring
  • Hilly course may keep time slow
  • Weather can be terrible
  • May disrupt some bike and swim training
  • Preparation and recovery may compromise training
  • Possibility of injury
  • I'll be one of the last straggler finishers (based on previous results) even if I PR
  • May choose to DNF if not on pace after 2nd loop (and just get a ~19 mile supported workout)
If I choose to DNF and just use it as a long workout, that could still serve me well as a long run launching pad for a PR attempt at the Lower Potomac River Marathon (flat, scenic course) on March 12th, just 3 weeks later.

What do you all think? Recommendations?

That didn't take long

A 2006 Mickey (marathon) and Donald (half marathon) set for sale on eBay. Bidding is up to $81.99 today.

I hate that.

Also a couple of 2006 Mickies for sale by one person. Perhaps a medal thief working the finishing corrals?

But I didn't see any Goofies for sale. Yet.

Back in the pool

Here's the pool I've been swimming in this winter (when I manage to get my butt to the pool). It's at the Skyline Sport & Health Club on Leesburg Pike in Falls Church, Virginia. It's often crowded, has only 3 lanes, and one of the lanes (as you see) has the ramp in it most of the time and is usually occupied people doing some type of exercises in the water. When classes are going there is only one lap lane open. Today the water was cloudy and it looked like shreds of toilet paper were laying on the bottom. Yuck!

Today was quiet because (as I forgot) it's a holiday. So I had the pool all to myself between 0630 and nearly 0700.

I managed 1850 meters. I thought that was a pretty darned good distance, except when I came home my husband told me I should have swum 2 more meters to make it an even nautical mile. Sheesh! 1.15 statute miles isn't enough!?

It felt VERY sluggish and VERY stiff. I swam 500m in 18:12. My fastest length (25m) was 39.2 seconds. I know I can do much better once I get back into the routine, but I have to sputter and flail and drink a lot of that murky pool water *gag* first, before it feels comfortable again.

But it all became a little more clear when a man came into my lane to share it, who walked with crutches and had a twisted club foot, which dragged behind him as he dog-paddled along. I'm not sure that I would have as much tenacity as he demonstrated. He called my swimming "fast". Thank you, Mr. Tenacious, for adjusting my perspective today.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The fridge

I'm just posting these so that Bolder and Susan can feel good about themselves. And that's not my Haagen Dazs.