Friday, June 30, 2006


I'm shocked - no, really! I am! Shocked at the turn of events with the Tour de France, and the biggest doping scandal in the history of sports. I feel like wearing a black armband on tomorrow morning's ride, right before I tune in at 11:30 to watch the Prologue. I'll probably make most of my comments about the Tour on my other blog, so stop over there if you're interested.

Despite the bad forecasts earlier in the week, we've seen a lot of sun toward the end of the week and we've been enjoying our workouts and bunny-hunting.

We've pared down those quarter-mile laps to nearly 12 minutes. Getting speedy!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Random number generator

My training buddy David emailed me this: "Okay - just for fun and motivation pick a number between 60-100 and that's how many miles I will ride Thursday. I want to ride at least 60 and not more than 100."

So I looked online for a random number generator, and found this. I told it to generate one random number with the bounds of 60 and 100.

The number it gave me?


This is the kind of thing that statisticians get a chuckle out of.

Update: He did it! He even went further: 103 miles total, average speed 17.4 mph, on a day with over 57% humidity and swarms of bugs. Well done!!!

Finally no rain today!

I got the bad news over with first thing in the morning today. I overslept, despite two alarms being set, and missed the arrival of the babysitter (I called her back as soon as I woke up sufficiently) and I missed the morning lap swim at the town pool.

But the good news is that I did get in a bike ride in, had no accidents nor breakdowns, and there were even a few glimpses of blue skies out there!

This osprey was diligently tending her nest and mewing plaintively at me. Even though they look like fearsome birds and are incredible aviators, they have the most pathetic wimpy cry.

I had a new discovery today on the road with the bike computer.

If you mount the holder upside-down, the computer part fits in just fine but it will never, ever work that way. After I installed the new one I thought that I had another broken wire somewhere, and was I ever MAD!

But I was just going in reverse. So for most of my ride I read the numbers upside-down. That worked better than a right-side-up display of all zeroes. I'll get the bike swapped around backwards to fit the computer before my next ride.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More of the same

More and more and more rain! So far today only 0.4 inches, the lightest amount in 3 days.

I suppose it would be good for my swimming if I would just grow gills in response, but the local flooded ditches aren't deep enough for a proper freestyle stroke. The streets are only flooded a couple inches deep, so that's not good for training either.

Do you think the tires on my bike will float?

Update: Make that another inch today. With more forecast for tomorrow. And Thursday. And Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday. Oh well, look on the bright side: If this were the middle of winter, we might be under about six feet of snow right now.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Another old hag triathlete

And then there's Mary Strobe, who is planning on tackling her 12th triathlon on July 15th in Minneapolis.

She went 2:57 last year in the short course race: 0.4 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 3 mile run.

It's anybody's guess if that titanium rod in her leg from last winter's little skiing accident is going to slow her down in this year's race.

Her 88 years sure won't.

More amazing old bags

I sure wish women's cycling got TV coverage here like the Tour de France does. I'd love to keep up with it. But alas, it doesn't and I don't.

I just heard on the TDFBlog about this incredible woman - "France's Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, the winningest female bicycle racer of all time, extended her legend over the weekend, taking both the French elite women's road championship and women's time trial championship, at 47!" They were her 50th and 51st national titles. She also took "time trial gold at the Atlanta Olympics . . . [and] silver in the women's road race."

Wow. Yet another amazing old lady athlete! Gosh, they're old enough to be grandmas!

Full of air

Here is my newest purchase that just arrived today. "Cycling’s first hybrid pump with backup mini hand pump feature. Comes with one 16g threaded Genuine Innovations CO2 cartridge. Intelligent Head technology fits both Presta and Schrader valves without threads or adapters. This pump can supply a maximum of 90 PSI (6.2 Bars)."

It's not much larger and probably only a few grams heavier than the one which I already had, which only used cartridges (apparently of a different type than I possess). It will be a little more reassuring to me to have that backup hand pump along on my long road trips this summer.

Especially after that cartridge-emptying debacle at Eagleman, plus the unpleasantness of being broken down on the roadside once already this month.

Thanks for the subtle hint from Bolder. He's here to help.

Build me an ark!

Make it stop! Make it stop!

Nearly 6 inches of rain yesterday, another inch so far today, and rain off and on in the forecast for the whole coming week!

It was raining hard enough this morning they didn't open the outdoor pool, and there was too much local flooding for cycling, so I had to go run in it.

Slog slog slog *splash* *splash* for 11 miles until my wet feet were starting to get blisters inside my wet shoes. That was enough!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I loathe ants

Isn't that disgusting? That is the result of two things:
  • Closing a cereal box in the usual way. You know, folding up the bag and then shutting the box top. Well, that's not good enough here, everything needs to be completely sealed air-tight. The ants set up a Burma Road supply line just to feast on my cereal.
  • So I sprayed around the back door which was the entry point for the Ant Burma Road. In response to the outcries of their dying brethren suffering in the Antocaust, they deployed a massive Ant Army. This is their staging ground. Right inside my back door. In my kitchen.
Or maybe it had something to do with the 5.5 inches of rain that we've had here since midnight, and they were all heading for the high ground?

In any case . . . . UGH! I've been cleaning up little corpses all afternoon.

Rainy rainy day

I had hoped to go for a long ride this morning, and got up at 5AM, only to look out at torrential rain coming down in the darkness between thunderclaps. I had to email my training buddy David and cancel. Now we've had nearly 5.5 inches of rain for the day with local flooding and I'm sitting inside looking out at it wondering what to do for a workout.

I'm also watching the Ironman Coeur d'Alene race coverage online.

Shelley is having a great race so far!
TOTAL SWIM 2.4 mi. (1:19:16) 2:05/100m 1370
FIRST BIKE SEGMENT 56 mi. (3:14:49) 17.25 mph
Go Shelley go!

Plus Natascha Badmann racked up another huge victory at Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs in Lubbock, Texas. Another great race for the Queen of Kona!

Update: Yay Shelley! Here's the data on the rest of her day at Ironman Coeur d'Alene:

FINAL BIKE SEGMENT 56 mi. (3:34:36) 15.66 mph
TOTAL BIKE 112 mi. (6:49:25) 16.41 mph 1347
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 7:40
TOTAL RUN 26.2 mi. (5:56:58) 13:37/mile 1304
1:19:16 6:49:25 5:56:58 14:21:25 1304

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Airplane! Airplane!

We took the girls on a short flight today. Full details from the pilot's POV, and some more photos, are here.

Thanks, everyone!

I posted this last night, but it seems to have disappeared by this morning! Perhaps the Blogger gods are censoring anti-Blogger posts?

Thanks for the birthday greetings, everyone!! I really appreciate you all stopping by, and especially you lurkers for coming out of the closet and wishing me a happy day.

This was Blogger's fine birthday present to me:

We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are unable to process your request at this time. Our engineers have been notified of this problem and will work to resolve it.

I couldn't leave comments on my own damn blog!!! Did I ever happen to mention that Blogger sucks?

Anyway, I had a lovely day. Went out for a 2 1/2-hour bike ride (so I rode 49 kilometers and then some), took a nice long afternoon nap, and (thanks to our Most Excellent childminder) had a wonderful dinner out with my husband at the local French bistro!

Tomorrow we're going flying. Yes, all of us. It should be exciting - if Blogger permits, I'll post photos. (It sounds like I'm entreating favors from a vengeful, capricious god, doesn't it?) Maybe I'll run 49 * 100 meters or swim 49 laps tomorrow, if there's time. Or both.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy birthday to me!

Tomorrow I turn 49. So it was a nice birthday present to receive this today! All right, so maybe it was okay that I wasn't able to change my division after all. All's well that ends well!

Chainring fixed

I picked up Buttercup from the rehab clinic today! She's finally rolling in a straight line again. Here's the "before" picture again:

And the "after" picture:
They cleaned her up nicely, but it seems that the solvent that they used turned her pretty red chain into something resembling Britney Spear's neglected manicure. I won't know if everything is adjusted properly until we go out for another ride, but I sure hope so.

Old women rock

In celebration of my 49th birthday tomorrow, I'd like to recognize these absolutely amazing women:

"Four age group women triathletes-ages 64, 63, 61 and 39-each rode 760 miles this past week. They call themselves "old babes on bikes" and are competing as a four women team in the 2006 edition of the legendary 2006 Race Across America (RAAM). They took off from Oceanside, California, at 2 p.m. on June 13 and are on schedule to arrive in Atlantic City, New Jersey about 12:30 p.m. today, having covered 3,052 miles in 7 days, 19 hours at an average speed of about 16.3 miles per hour."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Triple workout day

I got a lot done today with the girls under supervision and being kept happy.

First I went to the morning lap swim at the town pool. A couple of our local residents had the same idea.

I did a total of 2000 yards in something less than the hour it was open, including some balance drills, some flipper and paddle work, and two 500-yard continuous sets at a fairly comfortable but brisk (for me) pace in 12:13 and 12:29. Yeah, in a 25-yard pool with open turns - do you think I should learn how to do flip turns this summer just to speed up my pool times?

Then I got out Old Clunker for a ride around town, since Buttercup is still in the bike hospital. Notice the sophisticated water carrying system?

I think this is either Cheney's or Rumsfeld's place. Nobody else has a steel gate and a flag at the end of the driveway. Not to mention the bizarre camera in the box on the right, badly disguised as an owl house.

After all that I still had another half-hour of free time, so I went over to the track for MORE! I finished a couple of miles - I didn't feel too peppy, and it was getting hot, but I jogged them in 12:17 and 11:51.

Yay! That's not a bad day's work for me! Seven workout hours so far this week, including a complete rest day, and it's only Wednesday! Woot!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sabotaging an Ironman

I enjoyed this article:

How to Sabotage an Ironman
by Coach Wendy

Let's see, have we seen any fellow tri-bloggers make some of the mistakes listed, on shorter races or in their approach to an Ironman?

I'm just askin'. . . .

"Ironman is about you getting through 3.8km of swimming, riding 180km and running a marathon. It is about you and no one else. The ability to hold that mental focus for the entire day is a huge skill and often one of the most neglected. Focus on the smartest way to swim the next 10 strokes, the most efficient piece of road to ride on for the next 200 meters and the best posture for the next 20 steps on the run. You won't have time to focus on anyone else and if you find your mind wandering - bring it back and zone it on YOU. It's your butt out there, so let other competitors do what they like, your race isn't over until you cross that finish line and the sooner you can get there the better."

Monday, June 19, 2006

New swim gear

It's probably because swimming is my weakest discipline, but I get much more excited about new bike gear than I do about new swim gear. But hey, gear is gear, and new stuff always makes your workouts a little more interesting, right?

Here are a couple of my newest purchases. On top are Zoomers swim fins. The blade is just a few inches longer than your toes, which makes it a lot easier to move around with the fins on and doesn't create such a huge effect as very long-bladed fins. The short length also makes them a lot easier to fit inside of a gym bag. But they still work! In this morning's workout I found that they tended to rub the tops of my toes too much. I won't be wearing them for great distances, probably 500m max, so they're a good addition despite that little annoyance.

My second new purchase was a pair of these hand paddles. Again, I'm not going to use them for very long distances - I've heard too many horror stories of people messing up their shoulders quite badly with paddles! I'm just going to use them for 200-400m here and there to work on technique, helping to correct my hand entry and pull in the water. Today it felt like I was wearing dinnerplates on my hands, but I could definitely feel that my anterior deltoids were getting a workout! I'm going to have shoulders like cannonballs!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Why do I bother?

Two out of four residents of this household have voted that clothing is entirely over-rated, and should be declared optional.

I only wish that the laundry was optional when they pee all over their socks and clothing and tromp their urine-soaked feet into their blankets and stuffed animals.

Time to start my training!

On the road to Ironman Florida - so far this year we have completed 24 weeks of training. I've completed Macro 3 in my training and I met most of my Tier 1 goals.

My consistency has been good, which has been the biggest key to my improvements this year. My standard weekly targets have been a very helpful tool in ensuring that I keep a balance between disciplines and do a minimum amount nearly every single week.

Here are the numbers for the past 24 weeks for me:

Swim, weeks 1-13: average 3451 m/week
Swim, weeks 14-24: average 3167 m/week (Tier 1 goal)
Swim minimum 1500m per week: 22 of 24 weeks

Bike, weeks 1-13: average 43.9 miles
Bike, weeks 14-24: average 54.5 miles (Tier 1 goal)
Bike minimum 20 miles per week: 23 of 24 weeks

Run, weeks 1-13: average 14.9 miles
Run, weeks 14-24, average 15.9 miles (Tier 2 goal)
Run minimum 10 miles per week: 24 of 24 weeks

Crunches/core work, weeks 1-13: average 623/week
Crunches/core work, weeks 14-24: average 613/week (Tier 1 goal)

Training time, weeks 1-13: average 9.4 hours/week
Training time, weeks 14-24, average 10.1 hours/week

Food logs completed at least 5 days per week, 22 of 24 weeks
Body weight down about 14 pounds in 24 weeks

Events: Finished 1 Olympic-distance triathlon under 3:59:59 (Tier 2 goal)
Events: Finished 1 half Ironman triathlon under 7:45 (Tier 3 goal)

There are 20 weeks remaining before the big day, which I will break down into two macro cycles:
1) From now until Steelhead 70.3 Triathlon on August 5th: 7 weeks
2) Final build from Steelhead (starting with 1 week vacation) then training through Chesapeakeman Aqua Velo on up to Ironman Florida: 13 weeks

This is when the real Ironman training commences for me. Right now. Today.

This next 6 weeks until I taper a little while we're on vacation immediately before Steelhead is going to be when I need to start making some major deposits in the Bank of Ironman. I need to bring up my swimming and running volume somewhat, and keep steady attention on my nutrition (less weight = free speed!) but most importantly I need to drastically increase my cycling mileage in the next month and a half.

Bring it on!

Making Fitness Easy

Here's the article in U. S. News and World Report by Katherine Hobson in which I'm quoted. It's long, but well worth reading - especially if you're using a few favorite "reasons" over and over for not getting those workouts done!

Also, here's the article in which our favorite cancer survivor triathlete, Holly, is quoted.

Classic triathlon photo

Think you had a bad time at your last triathlon?

It can always be worse. (Caution: Not for the squeamish!)

(According to Bari, this competitor continued and finished the race, taking 10th place in the youth 16-17 division and 16th place overall for youth, out of 38 entrants. )

Friday, June 16, 2006

Eagleman official pics

Here are a few of the official photographers shots at Eagleman. I like this one the best, where I look like a leering cyclo-maniac:

Although the first-ever wetsuit shot of me ACTUALLY JOGGING IN T1 is fun, too. (As opposed to my usual staggering onto dry land like a shipwrecked sailor shot).

But really, does it look like I'm a little bit time-obsessed? Since my front tire isn't flat in this shot, and the dismount area appears to be in the background, it must be T2:

Boat show

Today I took the day off from training. First I took Buttercup to the bike hospital (a new one) for an extended stay and some spa treatments and much-needed psychiatric counseling after her traumatic episode yesterday. Hopefully she'll emerge with a little better attitude.

Then I got a haircut - chopped off all the long stuff and now it's shoulder-length. I think when I summon the nerve the rest of it's coming off - it's still hot and in my face. It grows fast and thick. Kind of like it's time to jettison the excess of everything that doesn't resemble an Ironman. And it sure would be nice not to have hair in my face during a swim for a change.

Then my husband and I packed up the girls in the jogstroller and walked over to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for a stroll around the Antique and Classic Boat Show. Beautiful day for it!

These crabs are inlaid in the top of a beautiful handmade kayak. I'd be afraid to use it, though!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Nancy Toby makes the news

Check out this Monday's edition of U.S. News and World Report! I was interviewed for an article about juggling the demands of fitness and child-rearing. Thanks to Katie Hobson for her work on this important issue which affects lots of people!

Things I learned today

Aside from the fact it's probably not a good idea to ride along taking pictures on the bike when there are cars whizzing past you at 60 miles per hour. . . .

Today I learned that if you happen to look down when you're riding all alone down a rural backroad and the two chainrings aren't running parallel when they turn, it's a very, very, very, very bad thing.

I also learned there's no cell phone coverage on said rural backroad, so if I am in trouble, I can't get through to our home phone anyway or let our babysitter know I'm going to be late. I'm on my own.

I think I already knew that it's definitely not supposed to look like this:

Everything came clear when I stopped and got off the bike to take a look. Of the five bolts that hold the two chainrings together, three were completely missing. The penultimate one fell off just as I was dismounting, and the two rings fell apart held together by only one bolt. As I was sitting on the side of the road, I worked hard to try to snap the two rings back together by hand and fit in the one bolt, but they just wouldn't go together at all, not even enough to limp back home. So I was totally stranded and had a 9-mile walk in bike shoes to look forward to if somebody didn't pick me up.

I have no idea when the bolts fell out - during my triathlon? I didn't really inspect the bike after that, just filled the tires and hit the road today. I guess it's a good thing no more than three fell out during my triathlon!!!

I also learned that a bike shop tuneup (by the Felt dealer that originally assembled this bike) and two separate pre-triathlon bike inspections in the last two months won't necessarily catch major problems. Double-check everything.

I also learned the name and number of a very nice contractor who lives a few blocks away from us and who was kind enough to pick up me and my bike and give us a lift home, and will drop off his portfolio soon for when we start thinking about putting on an addition.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I am not a dumbass!

"I am not a dumbass! I am a human being!"

But I'm feeling a lot like a dumbass right now.

Item #1. My internet connection was down all afternoon. I tried everything to fix it. I sat on hold for 25 minutes, waiting for a technician to tell me a tree fell on the lines or something. Instead, he tells me to turn off my wireless router and turn it back on. Problem solved, I was back online. It's a good thing that the webcam wasn't on so he couldn't see how red my face was.

Item #2. Those damn CO2 cartridges. I took a closer look at them today. As it turns out, I was attempting to use non-threaded cartridges with a system that uses threaded cartridges. I've been carrying these around for MONTHS thinking they would get me out of an emergency flat on the road. As it was, they never ever ever would have worked. Ever. It was good I learned it when I did. Or maybe I'm just doing something WAY wrong and these are still the correct ones. I have no freakin' clue. I see where it's supposed to take both kinds, but it sure ain't workin' for me.

There's something to learn every day.