Monday, July 31, 2006

On the road in Ohio

We got to spend a lovely day with Ellie and her family in western Maryland - THANKS ELLIE! I enjoyed a wonderful open water swim with her this morning and then we hit the road. Good times!

This cost us a couple of hours, and yes, I was driving and it was totally my fault. Sigh. RV duallie tires just don't react the same way to curbs as car tires.

Thanks for stopping by, folks, I'll update more later when I have more energy!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Not much time? Ride fast!

I didn't have much time this morning before it was time to pack up for our departure. So I did a quick 30-minute time trial on my bike Buttercup, just to make sure everything was working correctly before I packed her up.

I rode to the other side of town, reset the bike computer, and took off for 15 minutes. Go a little longer, since I was heading into the slight wind, turn around, then head back and see how far past the starting point I can get before 30 minutes elapses.

9.55 miles. 19.1 miles per hour average.
15.3 km. 30.7 km per hour average (it sounds faster in metric).

That's not a bad pace, for me, and definitely faster than I can sustain for a longer ride without drafting! My back muscles were twitchy and aggravated when I was finished.

I'll try to keep it up around 16.5-17.0 mph at Steelhead on the flats. On the uphills, well, whatever it takes! Downhills, just go like hell!

Ack, I'm at 397 miles for the month, I should have done just 3 more miles to crack 400 miles per month for the first time! Two more days to do it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Here we go again

Just got an email from Steelhead race management (below). Same wave situation as we saw at Eagleman! I have more confidence now that I can finish within the cutoffs, but that may certainly not be the case for all the Clydesdales and Athenas, especially the elderly ones like me! Race directors, in the future, put us in the first or second wave, won't you please!?? Let the Clydes and Athenas have plenty of time on the course and let the fastest groups have the last wave that won't be affected by the cutoffs!! Don't mix us up with the relayers who are outpacing everyone on the course! A cushion of 24 or 30 minutes can make all the difference in how our day goes - crazy and anxiety-ridden, or calm and focused.

Swim Waves (Subject to change)

# Time Division Cap Color
1 7:00 AM Men 50+, Women 45+ Red
2 7:06 AM Men 29 & Under, Men 45-49 Blue
3 7:10 AM Men 35-39 Dark Green
4 7:14 AM Men 30-34 Purple
5 7:18 AM Women 30-39 Pink
6 7:22 AM Men 40-44 Neon Green
7 7:26 AM Women 29 & Under, Women 40-44 Yellow
8 7:30 AM AquaBike, Clydesdale/Athena & Relays Orange

Divisions (Subject to change) Race #
Men 50+, Women 45+ 1-220
Men 29 & Under Men 45-49 221-600
Men 35-39 601-885
Men 30-34 886-1115
Women 30-39 1116-1345
Men 40-44 1346-1560
Women 29 & Under, Women 40-44 1561-1790
AquaBike, Clydesdale/Athena & Relays 1791-2000

Triathlon Cut-off times
Swim: 8:45 AM
Bike: 1:00 PM
Run: 3:30 PM
Athletes will NOT be allowed to continue on the course after these times!

Steelhead water temperatures

It looks like they're going to be 73*F to 74*F. Good! Plenty cool enough for wetsuits, but not too frigid. Now the only question remains: short-sleeved or long-sleeved?

Millionaires, anyone?

I just read today in the local paper that the closest "large" town to us (Easton, Maryland, population around 15,000), has the 7th highest per-capita level of millionaires in the country. That's ahead of places like Hilton Head, Punta Gorda, Napa, Pinehurst, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara, etc. That's a surprise to me! Then I'd expect to see a lot more slick carbon-fiber bikes around here than I do, but I guess they're putting their money into carbon-fiber masts for their sailboats, swimming pools to look at but not actually swim in, and splurging on the $12.99 Friday night buffet with the other retirees at the local Yacht Club.

As for me today - I'm still not a millionaire, and my ankle is flaring up and painful. Just the normal arthritis it always has from some old joint damage, only worse. I don't know why it's acting up now, since I sure haven't been running many miles. Hopefully I'll get in an hour or two on the bike this afternoon, and maybe even a swim in the morning if I get up early. We're leaving about noon tomorrow for two weeks on the road to include Steelhead 70.3 in Michigan. It would be nice not to have to walk the entire 13.1 miles at the end of the day.

Guess I'd better mop the kitchen floor to keep the ants at bay while we're gone.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Steelhead forecast

Lookin' good!

Would you believe:

High 77*F
Low 62*F
Scattered thunderstorms

Sunrise: 6:43 am

That's going to feel like autumn has started to me! Yay, I'll take it! Especially since if there are thunderstorms, they probably won't start until late in the afternoon. But as long as I'm out of the water, they don't worry me too much! I've been riding and running in the rain, I won't melt!

Update: It's still looking good, maybe even better! Saturday is now forecast to be 78*F and sunny, in a 4-day stretch of 76*F to 78*F weather. I could do without full sun, but that's preferable to riding in rain as long as it's not too hot out.

No. No. No.

That's my response to the Floyd Landis drug test revelations coming out today from the Tour de France. I just don't want this to be happening. Please let there be a valid alternative physiological explanation.

And under the same subject header. . . .

My daughter Elisabeth apparently decided today that it was appropriate not only to take off her clothes and diaper during naptime and pee on her bedclothes, but ALSO to fling her poo all the way across the room.

My daughter had been transformed into a rhesus monkey.

Just don't make eye contact with her.

Launching the Queen Mary

Here's the RV we're renting starting on Saturday, which will take my family to Michigan and me to the Steelhead 70.3 triathlon. We've temporarily christened it the "Queen Mary", since I'm sure that driving it is going to feel like piloting an ocean liner.

It's eight feet longer than the one we previously rented, but I'm hoping that the extra room will make us a lot more comfortable.

Yes, I will try to post updates from the road, although my internet connection will be sporadic at best. (As will my ability to type on the laptop without several little fingers punching at the keyboard and trying to "play").

Now to get all my triathlon gear packed. . . .

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Steelhead ambivalence

I've got a half Ironman triathlon coming up in ten days! I'm feeling ambivalent about it, though -- not terribly excited, but not dreading it, either. It's just like it's going to be a long training day.

Except I get to (hopefully) meet Shelley and Habeela and some of the other fun triathletes that will be there! That will be great!

I haven't done any specific preparation for this race, and I'm not really looking forward to having to pack up all my race gear a full week early (since we're leaving on vacation in our rental RV this Saturday. Um, in three days). My final week training will be erratic at best while we're traveling, probably.

I have no idea what I'll do race day, either. A lot depends upon how hilly the course is. I'd like my times to be as fast as Eagleman (without any flats), but without seeing the course first in advance it's hard for me to guess. People have raved about what a good event it is, though.

I'll just take race day as it comes -- one stroke, one pedal revolution, one stride at a time. After all, that's all we can do, right?

The "skinny people have it easier" rant

When running or cycling, that is. I've known a whole lot of naturally skinnyfast people who think they're fast because they've trained a lot, when really they're just fast not because of their training at all, but because they just don't have very much weight to move around. It takes less energy for them to move their smaller body weight and frontal area, on foot or on a bike.

Then again, I've met a lot of skinnyfast people who seem to confuse the concepts of "slow" with "lazy" and "stupid". That's fodder for another long rant some day.

I guess it's just stupidity or laziness that made me run laborious 14-minute miles when I started out when you were doing 9-minute-miles easily the first time you went running, right?

Another rant I'll write some day: The skinny people with crappy diets who think they're skinny not because of genetics or a low setpoint or fast-acting satiety or a high metabolic rate or that they're just lucky, but because of their vastly superior eating habits and industriousness.

I don't know. Maybe I've just been hangin' with the wrong bunch.

Actually, most triathletes that I've met are very positive and supportive of others of all speeds. The majority of them are just racing against themselves, regardless of what event they're in.

The good news? My running is getting faster and easier. So is my cycling. It's definitely not because I've been doing more training (though that helps), it's mostly because I have less weight to lug around. I've done the same amount of training before without getting much faster, because I weighed the same. I'm sure that if I put on a 20-pound backpack, I'd be racing about the speed I did at that total body weight.

Free speed. I'll take it!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The weekly long ride

On Sunday Ellie and I rode the same course that David and I did two weeks ago - a 78-mile loop that finishes off with a lovely ferry ride across the Tred Avon River. YES, we started out at about 5:30 AM again! We get extra points for that, plus a few extra training points for riding part of the way in the rain.

Here's Ellie's bike Hot Flash resting up at our first quick stop about 8 miles into the ride at the landing at Claiborne. David joined us a few miles down the road on the return trip from Neavitt.

Refueling is important, says Ellie!

Buttercup is happy that I finally gave her a matching yellow front tire. You can see I'm down to my last half-bottle of Gatorade after 73 miles!

This is David's Ironman refueling secret. Breakfast of champions! I'll bet that's what Floyd eats.

Fortunately, Ellie didn't get a photo of how my ride ended. I was so tired at the end of the ride that I couldn't swing my leg past the saddle and I ended up taking a tumble all tangled in the bike on my front lawn. I was just glad it didn't happen in transition during an actual triathlon.

Ellie's version of the day's events, along with a cute photo of me and my girls, is here.

Ride notes: Felt stronger at a slightly faster pace (16.4 mph average) and still without drafting! Uncrusteables PB&J work great for road food. Powerbars are still tough to get down but work great for staying power. Didn't eat quite as much when I drank Gatorade instead of water, but no big bonks along the way. Last time I stiffened up on the ferry ride, but this time we had a shorter wait and I felt good when we rolled off.

The aquathlon that wasn't

The water in Delaware Bay (adjacent to Cape Henlopen where it meets the Atlantic Ocean) was so unbelieveably calm on the morning of the aquathlon!! It would have been perfect! I hated missing that opportunity, because I'm confident that I could have swum well in such smooth waters! (Unlike my last ocean swim debacle). But the skies were NOT calm, with rain and occasional flashes of lightning. The RD had to postpone the event until mid-August.

The surfboards were all ready for the swim leg lifeguards, but alas, they remained unused.

About a half hour after we left, the skies really opened up. It wouldn't have been a pleasant run leg in this downpour!

Instead Ellie and I went to the YMCA, did our own mini-aquathlon, and were home in time to go to the Yacht Club for a pleasant lunch with my girls, Ellie, and my husband. The girls even behaved pretty well at the restaurant!

Behind in blogging

I'm behind a few days in my blogging! Sorry, folks, I'll catch up soon and post some photos. We've been too busy with real-life stuff (like another great 78-mile bike ride yesterday!) to be sitting in front of the computer! Ellie (who has been visiting me) has managed to put up some great stuff on her blog, though, including some photos, so check in over there while I get myself re-organized.

Off to morning lap swim first thing today, though.... trying to imprint that new faster stroke into my motor programming! Later, alligators!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Short report

The aquathlon was postponed from today until August 18th due to a storm. :-(

BUT! Ellie and I did a great Delaware Bay swim yesterday afternoon and it went fabulously well!

We took our aquathlon over to the YMCA instead today after the postponement and although I was slow on the treadmill 5K (had a calf cramp; meanwhile Ellie's treadmill belt was practically smoking when she got off, she was so fast!), I had a WONDERFUL half mile swim in the pool!

Thanks for all your great technique tips! How's this for rapid progress:
So THAT is what keeping your pull straight instead of crossing over and pulling diagonally will do!! Hey, I'm starting to catch on a little!! Now I just have to develop the endurance to do that nearly five times in a row in open water!

I'll post some photos later....

In other exciting news, Catherine has peed using the correct facilities four or five times now! We are all thrilled beyond words! There is light at the end of the potty-training tunnel!! We probably won't post photos of that, though.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Today's pics

Catherine is ready to take over the leader's spot Jan Ullrich left vacant on the T-Mobile squad.

Nobody suspects Nemo in the baby pool. Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum . . .
Ellie teaches Catherine how to splash the other kids.

Swimming videos

So what do you think? Comments, please! Ellie and I made a few swimming videos today. I'll post a couple more. We were picking apart our form already, naturally, but we'd love comments too! These are a little rusty-looking since we weren't warmed up or anything, but. . . .

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Oscar Pereiro proved it today with his special RED GO FAST SOCKS.

Although I'm never going to ride wearing some poser pro team kit, I'm definitely going to buy some of these socks.

Ellie arrives today!

Yay! Iron Ellie arrives today! She's going to visit for a few days, do the aquathlon with me, and grind me under her boot heel during some "easy" training sessions (for her).

It's all good.

Maybe she'll housebreak my children, too. Cool!

Will blog when we have time. Is drunk blogging worse than drunk dialing, I wonder?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Warm Gatorade STOMP

Today was my three-hour ride day.

I'm all about training like you race, and racing like you train.

One thing I hear repeatedly in triathlete race reports is, "Ugh! The Gatorade on the course was warm, the stuff in my special needs bag had been left out in the sun, everything was warm and yucky so I stopped drinking it. I got dehydrated and bonked."

Well, get used to it. Suck it up, Buttercup! Warm Gatorade (or whatever drink you're using) rehydrates just as well as cold Gatorade, plus it doesn't take energy from your body to warm it up to body temperature. We don't drink it for cool refreshment, we drink it to maintain the fluid balance in our body. Gatorade is what they're going to be serving up on the Ironman courses, so it pays to get accustomed to it in advance. Think of it as medicine and choke it down.

That's what I did today on my ride! Gatorade mixed up at room temperature, warmed up in the sun on the back of my bike. Took a drink every time my watch timer went off at 10-minute intervals, and then in addition whenever I thought about it. About 50-60 ounces of it total down the hatch over the course of the ride. I covered 44.5 miles at a reasonably comfortable pace, 15.5 mph average. I'd like to increase that pace a bit, but today I was riding in 95*F and 105*F heat index, so that was my pace today, gosh darn it, and I'm going to be happy with it.

My "added value" cycling workout today was to pick it up and STOMP on the pedals for 120 pedal-strokes every five minutes - at the same time I worked on maintaining a round, balanced pedal-stroke. That gave me some great acceleration practice (about the best I can do, riding in the flatlands), and over nearly three hours of riding adds up to a lot of leg-strength training!

Monday, July 17, 2006

For parents only

If you haven't had kids, or only want to read the triathlon and workout posts, just skip this one.

Normally it's a lot of fun to have twins. A lot of work, but still mostly fun.

BUT. Did I ever mention I'm getting really tired of babies pulling off their diapers along with all the rest of their clothes and peeing on everything? Several times per day?

The whole house is starting to smell like urine. And NO, that's not from my cycling shoes.

Ellie's coming to visit on Wednesday. I can't wait for her to take a whiff. Good thing she's a nurse.

I'm starting to put diapers on backwards a lot, but that only slows them down. Duct tape is sometimes useful as well, but it can be circumvented with persistence. Then if their diapers are off and they pee on their socks, they REALLY launch a screaming session.


Heat training DONE!

Whew! I did a little work on my heat acclimatization today. It's mid-July and I'm still not totally accustomed to the hot temperatures of summer, because (like most Americans) I sit inside in air-conditioned comfort most of the time. So today my workout was a little hotter and more uncomfortable than usual, but I'm doing them in the hopes that if my next couple of race days are extra-hot, I won't be bothered by it so much.

I got an hour swim out of the way first thing in the morning. Water temperature was 82*F, so that was quite comfortable. That actually might be close to what we'll be swimming in next weekend for the aquathlon, if the buoy data is correct (78*F right now for Delaware Bay). I did two 900-yard sets (steady-eddie pace for 18 laps, open turns) to check my half-mile-plus times in preparation for my attack on the oceans of the world again in five days: 22:38, 23:01.

Then (after catching up on a little grocery shopping) I went to the track for a HOT run. I'm careful about heat - it can kill a person! I just wanted to push the boundaries a little, not really exhaust myself. It was still early in the day and although it was in full sun on the unshaded asphalt track, the pavement hadn't soaked up a tremendous amount heat from the sun yet, there was a tiny bit of refreshing breeze, and the humidity was WAY DOWN! Only about 55-60%!! Positively arid! I wore my sunblock, good wicking clothes, sunglasses and a visor.

I did mile repeats much like I'll employ at Ironman Florida: run a mile slowly, then walk a lap until my heart rate is normal and I'm cooled down again. Repeat. Due to the heat I dropped my speed down to the 'barely moving' range - averaging about 12:30 for the mile segments. I also slugged down about 30-40 ounces of Gatorade in the process (one reason it's nice to work out at the track where I don't have to carry the bottle).

I was hot and sweaty, but the 3-5 mph breeze still felt refreshing and I never went over the red line into feeling light-headed or getting goosebumps (in which case I would have stopped promptly and gone home).

When I got done, before 11 AM, it was 90*F air temperature and 98*F heat index.

Let's see, my next BIG race is Steelhead 70.3 in Benton Harbor, Michigan, on August 5th. (Actually, it's a "B" race while I'm on vacation, just for fun and the practice, but it's still a long one). Let's compare:
  • Typical temperatures here in Maryland, now: Average High Temperature is 86 F, historical range 73 F to 95 F
  • Typical temperatures there in Michigan on race day: Average High Temperature is 81 F, historical range 65 F to 97 F

No sweat!! Barring some extremely bizarre recordbreaking weather pattern, those temperatures will probably feel great, and I'll be ready!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I can't wait!


A Heat Advisory Means That A Period Of Hot Temperatures Is Expected. The Combination Of Hot Temperatures And High Humidity Will Combine To Create A Situation In Which Heat Illnesses Are Possible. Drink Plenty Of Fluids... Stay In An Air-Conditioned Room... Stay Out Of The Sun... And Check Up On Relatives And Neighbors.

A Very Hot Air Mass Will Continue To Build In From The West And Be Centered Over The Area Monday And Tuesday.

There Will Be An Increase In Humidity For Monday And Tuesday. The Humidity Combined With The Heat Will Result In Dangerous Conditions. Monday Should Be The Hotter Of The Two Days With Some Locations In The Area Are Expected To Reach 100 Degrees. Afternoon Heat Index Values Are Forecast To Range From 100 To 108. For Tuesday... Temperatures And Heat Index Values Should Be About Two Or Three Degrees Lower Than Those Of Monday. However... Conditions Will Remain Quite Oppressive And The Advisory May Need To Be Extended.


I'm pretty sure I have Bolder to thank for this hot air mass coming my way. Let's see, it doesn't officially start until a half hour after my swim should be done, so maybe I can get going on my bike before it gets real bad.

But no, don't worry, I don't practice "train like you're trying to ensure it's going to be your last day on earth" like some people....

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It's the humidity

I don't think humidity should be measured in percent. Why? I'm pretty sure we had MORE than maximum humidity for our long run this morning. It rained overnight, and in the morning all the windows in the house were steamed up, and it was so foggy outside that the sun was just a pale disk in the sky.

Weatherbug says the humidity was "only" 100 percent, but I'm quite sure it was more than that. Much more. I promised my training partner David that I would make sure he got in more than 10 miles for our long run, but 9.7 miles (with some walk breaks) was all I was good for. All my clothing was dripping wet. I was wringing out my ponytail and the sweatrag-bandana that I had on my wrist. David's shoes were squishing with each step as if he had gone wading.

If I can't change the humidity system, at least I should get extra credit mileage for running in beastly conditions, shouldn't I?

Update: I may have been feeling chipper after swimming and riding yesterday, or even after swimming and a short run the day before, but this morning's run in the sauna exhausted me! I ended up taking a 90-minute nap this afternoon. After I watched today's Tour de France stage, of course.

It sure is a good thing that the run leg is last in triathlons, or I'd start to get really worried about 26.2 miles at the end of the day on November 4th.

Sheesh! I was very, very diligent about rehydrating and taking electrolytes on our run, and the temperatures weren't terribly high (about 80*F when we finished), but now, 7 hours later, after a meal and a snack and plenty of fluids, I'm still down a full pound of body water weight. No wonder I was wiped out!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Riding and raining

Today was just a normal everyday old workout day.

Morning lap swim at 7:30AM. I finished off 42 laps (which makes 1920m in metric units), working on my stroke mechanics with some hand-paddle work and isolating my arms using the pull buoy, also a couple of straight 500-yard sets. Pretty straightforward.

Then I checked the radar before going out on my bike. All clear, no blobs at all. That's funny, the sky is looking kind of dark to the south - just where I'm headed.

So naturally the skies opened up on me not once, but twice. (No, that's not me in the photo, I just liked it for the cycling in the rain theme.) I thought to myself, "Thank you, Madame Pele, for bringing me rain to strengthen my resolve and to prepare me to ride through anything that may happen at Panama City in November." It didn't last long each shower, didn't rain hard enough to hurt, I didn't have to do any maneuvering on slick places, and didn't have any effect one way or the other on the humidity, actually. It's all good.

I put my watch on 10-minute beeping intervals and did 6 or 7 repetitions of 4 minutes of higher cadence (90-94 rpm), 5 minutes of lower cadence (80-84 rpm), and 1 minute of stretching and drinking water and eating my apricots and cashews.

As I approached home at about 11AM, two of the Presidential helicopters flew directly over my head. That means that Cheney or Rumsfeld (or both) knocked off early for the weekend and headed out to the Secret Undisclosed Location, which happens to be on the other side of town from my house. (So I told my workout buddy David, who is also a gummint employee, that it was okay for him to knock off too, since the Boss was already gone).

This felt like a pretty routine workout day, although I was pushing myself for a lot of it. Funny how one's perspective changes, isn't it? Not too long ago this kind of three-hour workout would have had me sleeping away half the afternoon just to recover. Instead I feel fine and I'm ready with plenty of energy for getting up tomorrow for a nice long run (10 or 11 miles?) with my workout buddy David. I guess that's one reason we train, eh?

The humidity is forecast to plummet to a mere 91% when we're going to start tomorrow morning. That's going to feel absolutely desert-like, I expect.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My new plaque

It didn't photograph well, but I think this is my favorite plaque so far! Then again, I'll probably like some future plaque even better when I can get one with a faster time on it! You'll notice that I changed the photos in the sidebar a bit and added years, which someone suggested when they observed I looked chunkier in last year's photo than I am now. Sure, happy to oblige!

They're back!

This was only about 2 or 3 hours after one of my girls apparently forgot about her cookie in the living room.

I thought that I had killed them all, but they outsmarted me and came in through the front door instead of the kitchen door. ARRRRGGHHHHH! How disgusting is THAT!?!?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The best news ever

We have all had a very long day with lots of doctor visits, plus a very stressful wait while my tiny 26-pound girl was put under anesthesia, but we just got the best news we've had in YEARS:

My daughter Elisabeth has perfect hearing. She's just over 3 and not really speaking yet, mostly due to a pretty rough start as a 28-week preemie with open heart surgery at 5 months old. During her recovery from heart surgery she was accidentally overdosed with a drug which causes hearing loss, and we've never been able (despite numerous attempts) to get a complete and accurate hearing test for her yet.

The doctor said that she may have had some problems in the past with fluid in her ears and not being able to hear well because of that, and her left ear is not quite as good as her right, but today it was PERFECT. :-)

Elisabeth also said a new word today, very clearly: UP. (She said it when she wanted to be taken out of her crib, and also again when she wanted to be put up on the hospital bed). Since she only has about 3 other clear words, every single word is a huge success.

I'd rather have that than a 9-hour Ironman finish any day. :-)

Elisabeth is going to talk when Elisabeth wants to talk, and not a single day sooner.

Training is called off today, and we're all going to go eat ice cream to celebrate, besides.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The God of traffic jams

So I went out to pick up some Chinese carry-out for dinner, and I get stopped in this humongous traffic back-up on the way home. Right in the middle of evening rush hour. I sit through it and sit through it and finally creep ahead to discover the source of the problem.

A big delivery truck had broken down in the middle of the road and everyone had to go around it. On the back of the broken-down truck that was sitting across two lanes, in large script, was painted: "Dependable Delivery. God ensures your deliverance on time."

Yeah, He did a real bang-up job with His truck today. I wish I had taken a photo.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Great ride today!

My training buddy David and I started on the road at FIVE-FRICKIN'-THIRTY this morning and had a beautiful day for a long ride! We ended up with 78 miles with a 16.1 mph moving average (14.3 mph including all stops) deposited in the Bank of Ironman. Our route took us mostly around the Bay Hundred peninsula to the small waterfront towns of Claiborne and Tilghman and Neavitt. My back cooperated and didn't get too cranky on me, and David flagellated me unmercifully when I started slacking, which was entirely appropriate. :-) Actually he was very encouraging and kept me moving much more briskly than I would have on my own. Good job, pardner!!

Then we headed around the edge of Easton over to the road to Oxford.

Toward the end of our ride we had a nice rest break taking the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry across the Tred Avon River. It's the nation's oldest privately operated ferry service. Bicyclists crossing pay $3. It's a popular scenic cycling route around here, but this is the first time I've done it other than in a car.

Buttercup wants me to buy a boat now.

Ride notes: 4 large-size 24-ounce bottles of water, 3-4 Succeed capsules, and a truckload of food (apricots, cashews, and a Powerbar) kept me pretty well hydrated and fueled for that distance, without negative side-effects. Powerbars suck to try to eat when you're thirsty, though. I would have needed more water on a hotter day, probably, about a bottle per hour in that case. A couple of pre-ride ibuprofen helped too, although I don't want to make a habit of that unless I need to. Keep the watch timer set on 10-minute intervals for a reminder to stretch and hydrate - that seems to help me a lot when I pay attention to it and do it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Smart girl

Catherine said the whole alphabet today. In order. All 26 of them. She did say it along with the DVD.... but she still said 'em all.

On the other hand, she threw a huge tantrum when we walked through the carnival again on the way back from the playground. And then when we got home asked about the fire truck she wanted to see, but we skipped because she was so flipped out.

Good news!

I got my answer!! And the answer is GOOD! WOO HOO!

"Hi... can use a wetsuit...good luck"

That makes me feel a lot better about my upcoming repeat attempt at ocean swimming practice in 2 1/2 weeks, after my personal DNF debacle last weekend!

BTW, I'm not posting my training chart to elicit compliments, but just to remind myself how far I've come! But I still have a very long way to go. This is the neighborhood where I need to be going consistently in the next couple of months with my training volumes:

Weekly PEAK training load two months prior to Ironman event:

  • Total weekly hours: 13.7
  • Weekly swim time: 3.3 hours
  • Weekly swim distance: 4590 m
  • Weekly bike time: 7.1 hours
  • Weekly bike distance: 143 miles
  • Weekly run time: 3.9 hours
  • Weekly run distance: 27 miles

Actually, for a slower triathlete such as myself, those distances will take several more hours per week to achieve. But whatever. It takes what it takes, right?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

26 weeks

Here's what my first 26 weeks of 2006 looked like, in training hours per week (starting at the bottom and working up). A fairly steady increase, except for two dips around the time of the Columbia (Olympic-distance) Triathlon and Eagleman half Ironman. Yes, my training hours decline around a big race, which is the reason I'm not doing any marathons this year, except for the Goofy Challenge last January. And the Ironman Florida run in November, if I get that far. The rest of my weeks this summer are going to have to look a lot like that topmost week in order to be ready.

Cycling is one tough sport

Just wanted to point out the essay on that topic by James Raia. Well said. "The [Tour de France] field has ridden nearly 20 hours in five days and it's averaging nearly 27 mph."

It felt tough to me today! It was threatening rain all morning, but I still got in 2000 yards at the community pool for starters. I was surprised that the pool didn't close. It feels weird to be swimming along and all of a sudden start feeling rain on your back.

But then the clouds lightened. I headed out on the bike, on my usual marathon-length round-trip ride to Knapps Narrows. 26.3 miles at a 16.3-mile average. I kept riding hard in the 18-to-20 range with the wind at my back on the return leg, watching the average speed on the bike computer, and trying to crank it up, but I just couldn't get it to tick over any higher than that. It's funny how trying to push that number just one teensy tenth higher will get a person to ride hard for several miles, though.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Today's ride

I went out early today to get in a 2-hour ride while my husband was still here to watch the girls. Everything went well on my usual route to Claiborne to visit the osprey (pictured), where I saw a distressing concentration of sea nettles (jellyfish) in the water. Ugh! I hate 'em!

I was keeping a good pace in the 17+ mph range but managed to accidentally reset both my bike computer and my watch en route, so I don't have exact numbers.

I was able to pass some other cyclists (which is always fun, especially when it's a guy wearing a yellow jersey during the Tour de France) and I scared a couple of deer into the woods, but otherwise it was just a fairly routine workout, putting the mileage into my legs.

Happy Independence Day!

Monday, July 03, 2006

The annual town carnival

Our local small-town carnival is held each year on the school grounds a block from our house. Last year the girls were too young to "get it", so we were interested in seeing if they might enjoy the sights and sounds this year, and maybe even like to go on some rides.

Nope. They were petrified. Catherine screamed just watching several of the rides.

But their first corn dog was a big hit.

Back on the track

Track running is hard. Track running in 91*F heat index is even harder. So that was my poison of choice after yesterday's non-event biathlon. Just to punish myself, you know.

Mile repeats, starting off at an easy effort level and cranking up the effort while going slower each mile:
  • 11:11
  • 11:20
  • 11:36
  • 11:41
Even after drinking a 24-ounce water bottle and taking my electrolytes on the track, I was still down over 3 pounds of sweat when I got back. Now THAT'S sweaty.

Oh, yeah, about that non-event - thank you for the support and encouragement, folks! I do really appreciate it. I hate like hell to DNF. It does get under my skin. (Although sleeping 11 hours last night improved my attitude!) I especially hate like hell to DNF when it involves four hours of driving! But perhaps it will help me stay more serious about getting the necessary swim training done consistently. Plus it will help to have Ellie with me at the nearly identical event in three weeks. I also wrote the race director to see if I can do it in a wetsuit, even if I'm not scored. It's supposed to be USAT-approved, which means wetsuits are legal for age-groupers up to 78*F water temperature (84*F if you want to be ineligible for awards), but I don't see any wetsuits in the photos from last year.

June totals

Swim: Completed 14,497 m or 3383 m/week (Tier 1 goal)
Bike: Completed 245 miles or 57 miles/week (Tier 1 goal)
Run: Completed 88 miles or 21 miles/week (Tier 3 goal)
Crunches: Completed 1650 or 385/week (Tier 1 goal)

Finished a half Ironman in 7:30

Also lost a little training time due to a bike breakdown and some unusually heavy rains.

I'd like to maintain the running, bring up the swim distances to over 4000m per week, and crank up the bike mileage considerably to over 400 miles in July. Gradually I'll nudge those totals closer to realistic Ironman training levels over the next three months.

But, I must admit, the time crunch is getting difficult. It's hard to get in all the training each week that I want to do. I'll have to settle for getting in the training that I'm able to do, emphasize consistency, prioritize the bike, and hope that will be enough.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Dave Reynolds Biathlon non-report

Up at 4 AM, then a 2-hour drive to the Delaware shore.

It was supposed to be a half-mile swim. This was the finish turn buoy.

This buoy marked in the distance is the HALFWAY buoy. The start buoy is an equal distance farther down the beach.

It was a non-wetsuit event. The ocean water was very cold and despite appearances, rough. The buoys were small (basketball-sized) and very hard to sight. I did the walk down the beach a half mile with the other starters, got in the water, and fought my way freezing nearly out to the first buoy, doing mostly Tarzan strokes to try to see it. I found myself drifting far from the buoy, behind most of the other swimmers. I was already cold and struggling, and it felt like I was swimming in place.

I gave up. I told one of the lifeguards that I was going in, and turned back for the beach. Even returning to shore was difficult.

I got back to the beach after about 7 minutes elapsed (though it seemed much longer), and I think that it would have taken me at least 35 minutes (judging by when the other people came out of the water) to have finished the swim. It was some consolation that at least two other fit-looking men DNFd and were walking back in the same direction, though I'll have to check the results later.

I have another almost identical event at the Delaware shore in 3 weeks. My confidence is shaken. I have a lot of work to do before then. Damn.