Sunday, April 30, 2006

April Summary

April's workout totals aren't what I had hoped - I just got the minimums done. I won't offer any excuses or rationalizations, they won't help me on race day.

Tier 1 goals: bare minimum baseline expectations
  • Swim: 2500 m/week or 10,714 m total: Completed 11,054m
  • Bike: 35 miles/week or 150 miles: Completed 248 miles
  • Run: 10 miles/week or 43 miles: Completed 67.5 miles
  • Events:
  • 1. Finish 1 ten mile race: done (Cherry Blossom Ten Miler on April 2nd: 1:56:51)
  • 2. Finish 1 metric century on the bike (62 miles) organized or on my own: NOT DONE
Tier 3 goals: Lofty pie-in-the-sky hopes
  • Crunches/core work: 900/week or 3857 total: Completed 4200
Other events:
  • PR at 10K on April 22: 1:03:17, 3rd in AG
  • Completed two extra upper-body freeweights workouts (substituted for swims)
  • Lost over 4 pounds body weight
I've got my work cut out for me now - about two weeks of heavy-duty workouts to do before I taper for the Columbia (Olympic distance) Triathlon on May 21st.

Sad robin news

They didn't make it. I found at least three of the four babies on the ground underneath the nest, dead. I don't know how they got there - whether it was the cat from across the street, a first-time mother robin dumbly pushing them out long before they were ready, or what happened. She was gone too. I'm just glad the girls didn't really know they were there so I don't have to explain it to them!

"Nature, red in tooth and claw" - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Men in Black at the playground

We walked to the playground on the other side of town today. The playground that happens to be situated on the only road leading to Cheney and Rumsfeld's houses. There were two men in suits sitting in a black Suburban for fifteen minutes after we arrived. At the playground. On a Sunday morning.

My Mom Radar was going off. Something funny was going on.

Nobody wears suits in this town. Nobody.

Eventually they pulled out and joined a convoy of two other black Suburbans and a couple of other vehicles.

Mom was happy that the playground was safe from the long arm of jihadists. The girls were unconcerned.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I killed Buttercup

My bike. *sob*

Well, actually I just grievously wounded her. She needs some expert medical attention.

I was all ambitious today and I was going to swap out the old 12-25 cassette for a new 12-27 cassette that should be a little more suited for the continuous hills at the Columbia triathlon in three weeks. Here's the before photo. I had never done this before, but I had all my tools organized and a manual at hand to help.

The old cassette came off fairly easily.

Then I put the new cassette on and took the opportunity to clean up the bike a bit. Yes, in this photo she is upside-down with her brand spanking new cassette in place.

Notice there is no chain. I had endless problems getting the new chain together with the "easy links", and so I used my chain tool to open a link. Whereupon I managed to BREAK the chain tool. It's really quite difficult to do much on a bike without a functional chain. So I can't do anything at all until I either buy a new chain tool, or take the bike into the local bike shop for some expert attention.

I guess that means my bike trainer session that I had planned for tonight is off. I guess there's a silver lining to every dark cloud, isn't there?

It's a lot like the lilac bushes. Here are normal lilac bushes, at a neighbor's house, about a block away from our house.

Below are the sad results of my gardening efforts on our formerly healthy lilac bush. Dead-dead-deadski. Now I have to chop the sticks out and put something else in its place. Which I'll probably also kill.

Saturday's walk

Well, we walked after finishing some tough track intervals.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I found them

Catherine's glasses lost themselves this morning. I searched the house for them, high and low, for two hours. Under the furniture, in the vents, among the couch cushions, nothing. I was fit to be tied, and she was (naturally) no help whatsoever.

This is where I eventually found them.

Summer of Centuries

Okay, I've entered my last long ride event before Ironman Florida: a nice 112-mile bike ride on flat country roads on September 30, 2006. Preceded by a refreshing 3862-meter swim in the Choptank River. Among the sea nettles. Aww, it won't be too bad, especially when I can sleep in my own bed the night before.

That should give me a good workout and race-day simulation five weeks out from my first Ironman attempt!

Now I need to spend some serious time browsing online on listings of centuries and going through my calendar to plan about five more century rides between late June and mid-September. I'm hoping six organized centuries (plus my other rides on my own) will get enough long-day mileage into my legs to get me "ready enough".


As heard on TRI-DRS (in reference to swimming, but it applies to a lot of training):
  • Consistency is the act of often showing up to train and rarely missing training sessions.
  • Consistency goes beyond just showing up, it also flows into what you do in training once you show up.
  • Consistency means training focused, hard and smart.
  • You do what you need to do how you need to do it when you need to do it.
  • It means you manage your energy well during the training sessions.
  • Consistency means giving your all in training when that's what you're supposed to do.
  • Consistency means setting high standards and striving to accomplish them, especially when you don't feel like it or when you're having an "off" day.
  • Consistently splitting your practice swims correctly.
  • Consistently being mentally tough.
  • Consistently stepping up;
  • Consistently redefining your limits;
  • Consistently discovering what you are capable of;
  • Consistently using proper form.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Tab Energy sucks

I got a free sample of this stuff, "created specifically for women with a sense of style and purpose." Huh? What ridiculous hype.

Yuck. It tastes like fruity artificially-sweetened water.

It is NOT cola flavored. It is not "Tab". It supposedly has a "pink, delicious taste." Well, they got the pink part right. The delicious part is an unmitigated lie. I can't seem to find out how much caffeine it has, but some. That's it's only redeeming feature, as far as I can tell. It has only 5 calories, so "Energy" is a misnomer, too.

But probably Dawn would like it. For the pink part.

Grocery outing

Just got done with a trip to the grocery store, which leaves me exhausted when I do it with these two little monsters! Actually, only one thing bad happened. Elisabeth was the one who got to sit (or mostly stand) inside the cart with all the stuff, and she kept throwing items out of the cart. Including the bunch of five bananas when we got to the checkout stand, and one banana of the bunch went flying off and I think went underneath the checkout stand. I acted like I didn't notice it was missing. They'll find it eventually.

This scenic farm is right across the street from the strip mall where the grocery store is. I think it's about to get swallowed up by a housing development, so I took a picture while I was there admiring the view.

I just learned that the guy on the right, Tony Snow, the new White House Spokesman, is another one of our Bush Administration neighbors. He owns a house on the waterfront about eight miles from us, which is actually on the way to the aforementioned grocery store. I just hope it doesn't mean more security details and helicopters out this way!

Nap now. It's bike trainer night, watching Survivor and C.S.I. and Without A Trace all in a row, after we chat with Daddy on the webcam.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The new quads

Mama Robin has done her job!! We have four ugly-ass robin babies in the tree outside! I haven't heard any sounds from them yet - I was becoming afraid that all the eggs had died! But there they were when I finally disturbed Mama to take a look!

Today's harbor view is brought to you by the letter C:

And a couple shots out in our tiny garden:

The Nation's Triathlon

I just got an email for advance registrants which says that registration will open within 3 weeks for The Nation's Triathlon (Olympic distance) in the center of Washington, DC, on September 17th.

I can only imagine it's been a nightmare to get approvals for this event, because (despite the launch of the National Marathon this past March) even little local 10K and 5K runs are being almost completely squeezed out of downtown DC.

I think I'll register, because if they pull this one off, it will be pretty cool to participate. I think I can manage to swim in the Potomac without swallowing too much (yuck!), and it will be one-way with the current. The bike leg should be hilly and difficult, but the run around the Mall should be a fun ending!

Calorie counting update

Four weeks DONE! It's going pretty well, actually! I still spend too much time on it, but as long as I stick to paying attention to actual calorie counts on FitDay, the scale seems to move - very, very gradually.

Four week progress:
Weight change: -4.8 pounds
Bust: -1.5 inches
Waist: -1.5 inches
Hips: -1.0 inches
Thighs: -0.5 inches

Calories eaten per day, average: about 2000
Calories burned in exercise per day, average: about 370
Approximate distribution of calories: protein 19%, carbohydrate 40%, fat 41% (17% saturated fats)

Optimally I would cut that fat percentage down to less than 35% of calories, but it does seem to keep me from feeling too hungry. And I need to watch my energy levels and re-fuel well during exercise so that I can get in all my workouts.

I've officially transitioned from "obese" status to merely "overweight" status, based on my Body Mass Index, currently 29.3. (Yes, I'm aware of all the problems with interpreting BMI, and I am somewhat more muscular and heavier-boned than the average woman my height, but let's just keep it simple here). It will take me about 28 more pounds to graduate to "normal" status (BMI less than 25.0), but based on body fat percentage charts and my measurements, I'm in the "acceptable" range of body fat for women (huh? acceptable to whom?), but I'd definitely prefer to be down at the "fitness" or "athlete" level!!

Yes, I've still got a long ways to go! For non-smoking "older women", there is still an overall increased mortality risk at BMI levels above 25.0 (and for women under 55 years old, above about 21.0). But it's nice to be going in the right direction instead of the wrong direction!

It's a work in progress, a journey and not a destination, yadda yadda yadda.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Twenty reasons to do triathlons

A great list that Steven posted. Check it out!

As for me, I'm TIRED.

It's only 8:22 PM.

And I'm going to bed!

After all, tomorrow is another day. . . .

The fun week of no swimming

Today's harbor view brought to you by the letter I.

Last night I did a pretty good upper-body workout with my twenty-pound dumbbells to target deltoid and biceps/triceps strength, in the absence of swimming this week. They're just about the right amount of soreness today - not too much, not too little. Let's hope a few more of those workouts this week will have some beneficial effect.

Today was another adventurous day with my girls, Chaos and Entropy! Ahh, the life of two-year-olds . . . .

At one point I found two little girls gathered around the toilet bowl. It had been suspiciously quiet for too long and my Mom Radar had gone off.

The bowl was filled up solid with wads of wet toilet paper, plus a juice box. The girls were also festooned with wet toilet paper. When I arrived on the scene Catherine started taking the toilet paper OUT of the bowl and cleaning up by throwing it on the floor. She's helpful that way.

After that, Catherine started running around the house with my race waistpack and heart rate monitor strap looped artistically around her neck for a dual necklace, and admiring her stylish reflection in the glass on the front of the oven.

No photos of those events to share, though.

It was definitely time to take them to the park to see if they could exhaust themselves. Fortunately, it worked.

Monday, April 24, 2006

My new chamois cream

I'm done buying Chamois Butt'r, especially since it costs $14 freakin' bucks for 8 ounces and doesn't seem to work any better than plain old hand lotion, for me.

Here's my new discovery, that works FABULOUSLY well for chamois cream, and costs about $5 for 8 ounces, and is available in all major drugstores:

Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion. Fragrance-free and non-irritating. The best part is that it contains dimethicone, which makes everything nicely slippery. Kind of like teflon coating for your chamois and everything else in the vicinity. :-)

Marathoning with multiples

Okay, it's not easy with twins (actually surviving triplets).

But at least I didn't have to freakin' push QUADS in a jogstroller. Up hills. With a 6-year-old hanging on.

Chapeau, Vanessa Tull (2006 Los Angeles Marathon, 6:45).

Our walk today

3.7 miles in the jogstroller around the neighborhood, including a view across the harbor of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum:

And the Church of Reckless Drivers:

And some running-wild time in the muddy local baseball diamond:

We all needed baths when we got home, before our naps.

No swimming?

For a variety of reasons, mostly due to my husband being out of town and there still being a high incidence of flu around here (so I don't want to put my girls into the YMCA child care yet), I probably won't be doing ANY swimming this week. So far this year I've swum 1500m or more for 15 out of 16 weeks, but now it looks like it will be 15 out of 17 when this missed week is over. I'm a little anxious about that, because swimming is my weakest discipline and I need the time in the pool, but I'll still have three weeks to prepare for my first triathlon of the year.

I'm hoping to balance it out by putting in some extra time with upper body freeweights (blasting my deltoids to hopefully give them a strength boost) and some additional core work and bike trainer time. Not exactly the same thing as getting the swimming workouts done, I know, but it will have to suffice!

While my bike mileage outdoors isn't yet as high as I would like (even though I've had 6 rides over 22 miles in the last 17 days), my consistency has been good on the bike (with a nominal amount of bike training in every one of the last 16 weeks), and from my 10K PR last weekend, along with 16 consistent weeks of training in that department, I think my running is reasonably solid.

And oh yeah, even that sucky calorie-counting thing is going quite well (even though I hate it). I'm down 4.4 pounds in 4 weeks, and 14 pounds from the beginning of this year. For me, that's fantastic progress, and every ounce that I lose sensibly should give my speed a boost on race day.

It's just that monster-in-the-water thing that worries me. :-)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

GW Parkway Classic

No, I didn't run this race this year. But Jeanne did, and she rocked it, at a 10 min/mile pace! Her reflections on the improvements in her running time for the same race in 1999 reminded me to try to dig up my time on that course in 2000. It was one of my first runs back in my "new" running incarnation (after 11+ years layoff).

Yes! They were still online! Here I am, 6 years ago this month, before I got married:
402 41:04.7 4146 NANCY DEUEL ST. MICHAELS MD F 42 13:14 40-44F 25/29 232/266 54/74 5

I worked HARD to get that 41-minute 5K finish time, as I recall. I did run:walk intervals and pushed the pace, but at close to my all-time high body weight, it was a lot of work to move!

My current 5K PR is 30:26, from last November. If my memory serves, it was EASIER to run that 5K at age 48 ten minutes faster than the one 6 years ago. Even after a year totally off of running in the intervening years, healing a stress fracture and having triplets. It was easier thanks to a few years of minimalist training, and a forty-odd pound difference in body weight.

As Jeanne said, "Who said getting old sucks?"

Life is good!

The duck parade

Three ducks waddled over from the cove to visit today. Everything was still all wet from the torrential rains we had yesterday.

That's the $959,000 house for sale in the background, just in case you're interested.

I had been playing with the girls out on the deck. Naturally they were entranced by the ducks, so I bribed the little quackers to stick around to entertain us for a while in exchange for a little bread.

I also found out that I had falsely accused the Devil Squirrel for the mess in the grill. My husband spotted the culprit along with some newly deposited evidence. It seems that it's a particularly stupid grackle. After cleaning it AGAIN I stuffed up the holes in the grill temporarily with steel wool in the hopes that she will find another suitable nesting box.

Apricot ride

Dried apricots are starting to be one of my favorite foods to take along on the bike. About 17 calories each, they're loaded with energy and potassium and Vitamin A. They also travel well in a snack-sized ziplock in the bento box, are tart and moist enough that they still taste good when you're hot and parched, and can be easily popped in your mouth one by one. Plus they don't melt, and they don't go bad if you forget and leave them stored on the bike for a couple days! I don't yet know what they do to my digestion over a very long ride, though, so I wouldn't want to rely on them heavily before they undergo further testing!

This morning I got in 34 miles on the bike, riding at a comfortable recovery pace along the highway and through some of the local residential neighborhoods. I was still a little creaky from my 10km race yesterday, and the dark, cloudy, chilly (~51*F), dank day didn't give me much inspiration to put the hammer down. It still felt good to be outside! Plus I enjoyed eight juicy dried apricots at my turnaround place. Yum!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Oxford Day 10K

I ran this wonderful 10K today and got a PR (1:03:17) and (if you ever saw me RUN this would amaze you) got 3RD place women 40-49, and would have gotten 1st place Lady Clydesdale (except they only gave awards in one category, so I took the age group).

Race report? Maybe not. Then I would probably be forced to admit there were only something like 77 runners in the whole entire race, and I finished 65th. I'll probably never know if I actually beat anyone in my AG because this RD often doesn't post results online, so he probably won't burst my happy bubble.

Intermittent thunderstorms had been forecast, which kept down the number of runners, but fortunately we had no rain at all until the end of the awards ceremony. What a fun event!

Fantastic check-in site on the waterfront bar of Schooner's Landing, on the banks of the Tred Avon river:

Jude (sporting the Cambridge Multi-Sport colors!) and David:

David and me (we talked about doing some open water swim practices on the nice beach behind us. Hmm.... don't know if that's permitted, but it sure looks nice):

The start along the Tred Avon River (it's a new course, starting and finishing on the waterfront, which I loved). The oldest continuously operating ferry in the United States is in the distance. That's how flat the whole course was.

The cute awards! 2nd and 3rd in age groups (like ME!) received nice medallions. Jude finished 3rd Clydesdale!