Sunday, December 31, 2006

My 2006 totals

2006 swim goal (1500 meters/week or more) met: 44/52 weeks = 85%
2006 swim total: 90 miles/145 km (253% of previous year)
2006 average: 1.7 miles/week = 2780 m/week = 3040 yards/week
2005 swim total: 35.5 miles
2004 swim total: 2.5 miles

2006 bike goal (20 miles/week or more) met: 44/52 weeks = 85%
2006 bike total: 2776 miles/ 4466 km (319% of previous year)
2006 average: 53 miles/week
2005 bike total: 869 miles
2004 bike total: 121 miles

2006 run goal (10 miles/week or more) met: 40/52 weeks = 77%
2006 run total: 713 miles/ 1147 km (98% of previous year)
2006 average: 13.6 miles/week
2005 run total: 724 miles
2004 run total: 837 miles

2006 food log goal (5 days per week or more) met: 37/52 weeks = 71%

My completed 2006 events:
Goofy's Race (marathon #9) and a Half and a 5K: 7-8 Jan 06
B&A Trail Half Marathon: 05 Mar 06
Cherry Blossom Ten Miler: 2 April 06
Oxford Day 10K: 22 April 06
Bay Bridge 10K: 7 May 06
Columbia Triathlon: 21 May 06
Eagleman Ironman 70.3: 11 Jun 06
Overfalls Lightship non-Aquathlon: 22 Jul 06
Steelhead Ironman 70.3: 05 Aug 06
Chesapeake Aqua Velo: 30 Sep 06
Baltimore Half Marathon: 14 Oct 06
Ironman Florida DNF@mile 127.5: 04 Nov 06
Run for Hospice 10K: 24 Nov 2006

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Last cycling day of 2006

We finally got the kid-carriers mounted on the two old bikes and took off for a nice tour of the harbor area today! The weather was lovely, nearly 50*F and not a breath of wind. We all enjoyed it, though it's a bit wobbly getting accustomed to the new weight distribution on the bike.

I still have to adjust the position of the carrier rack on the blue bike. . . .

Yeah, we have to work on the fit of those helmets a little, too.

I put the girls through their paces on the track a few days ago when it was colder outside (440x1), so we've had a good week of workouts to finish up the year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Taking the bull by the horns

I just bought these on eBay:

OK, they're not fancy-shmancy carbon ones, but they were only $23 with shipping and insurance. And they'll give me practice replacing things on the bike. And if they get bent by tipping over, no big deal, for only $23, right? And I'll get to learn how to do something new in bike maintenance! I still have some leftover handlebar tape, too, which I hope will be sufficient. I'll document the whole process on the blog when I do the changeover.

Many, many thanks to Flatman for his great backchannel advice and assistance throughout the process and finding these for me! Next time I'm down your way I'll buy the first round.

Maybe I'll spend that $377 that I saved on a cool aero Storm Trooper helmet like Bolder.

What worked for you?

We're very close to the start of a new year, and it's time to look back and reassess where we would like to go in the next year, and reinstate the programs that worked last year.

Lots of us have challenges around the holidays to stay on track and tend to stray away from our healthy exercise and nutrition programs, but that's normal, and usually we get re-focused around the first of the year.

Here's my question for my esteemed readers:

Looking back over the year, what WORKED to keep you focused and committed on your fitness program, while still keeping your life in balance with your other priorities and responsibilities?

I have a tendency to skip workouts. At heart, I'm a slacker, through and through. It's so much more comfortable and familiar to me to sit on the couch and eat something yummy than get my rear in gear and go do that workout.

So for 2006 I tried something new. I set minimum distances that I wanted to make every week, and tallied up how many weeks I met that goal. (Separate numbers for running, cycling, swimming and my nutrition goals). I set the bar very low - about the amount that I thought I could do "easily" - so that it was readily achievable every week even when I didn't really feel like it. Every week I kept good records (in the sidebar) and kept track of whether I had made it that week or not.

Everyone says that consistency is important, but I've never seen anyone provide a workable method of tracking exactly how consistent someone is - or isn't. This approach worked great for me, and helped improve my consistency ENORMOUSLY this year.

I did a lot of workouts on the last day of my week to meet my minimums that I normally wouldn't have done. Even if I felt tired and lazy, I could usually still get out for a couple running miles to put toward my weekly total. And every week I started out with a fresh slate - that seems to be important for me psychologically. Every single week I didn't have to make up for past slackness, but instead I was able to start over from scratch towards a new tally.

It also helped me to make a weekly plan and keep my daily numbers updated nearly every day and publicly viewable in my sidebar. I only missed updating it for a very few days out of the year, usually when I was traveling or sick, but I didn't use vacations, nor an "off season" as an excuse to slack off entirely this year. Even if no one but me really checked that sidebar, and I rarely (if ever) adhered precisely to the plan, posting the numbers there daily made me feel some accountability and reminded me of what I wanted to accomplish every day. It kept my attention correctly on the daily process that's needed for fitness, without getting too overwhelmed in the magnitude of the long-term performance goals.

For the first time in 2006, I don't think there were any weeks this year that I did *no* workouts - that's a new one for me! Normally after a big event like a marathon I would take off entirely for a week or sometimes even two or three.

It also helped keep my attention balanced on all four disciplines - so that I hardly ever completely neglected running, swimming, cycling, or nutrition - as I have a strong tendency to do while I focus on "other things". (Like sitting on the couch and eating, or sitting at my computer for far too long).

It added up! We're not quite finished with the year, but this is what I have accumulated so far:

2006 swim goal (1500 meters/week or more) met: 43/51 weeks
2006 bike goal (20 miles/week or more) met: 43/51 weeks
2006 run goal (10 miles/week or more) met: 40/51 weeks
2006 food log goal (5 days per week or more) met: 37/51 weeks

2006 swim total: 90 miles
2006 bike total: 2734 miles
2006 run total: 707 miles

I also lost about 20 pounds during 2006, and while my body weight has leveled off for a while, at least I didn't re-gain it.

I'm not burned out - I'm in a good frame of mind and fairly motivated to get started on a new year of challenges. I'll review my numbers and re-set my goals and keep rolling.

What worked well for YOU this last year??

Blog spammers

I hate 'em.

It looks like mipper checked out, too. I hate that, it's sad to see some a fellow blogger just "disappear" after following them for so long. As soon as someone deletes a blog, the address gets snatched up via the use of robot programs and re-used for spam - just like happened to Flatman a while back. Where are you, mips? Don't leave us!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


My bullhorns are bent. Actually, just the left one. Just enough to make it feel a little screwy. The left aerobar is off a little too, though it's still rideable. However, I'll need to replace them before I go through any pre-race inspections next year. Everyone says "don't attempt to bend it back!" because that will just make it more brittle. Brittle is a Bad Thing in a bike, especially when you're going upwards of 15 mph.

I'm pretty sure I did it when I tipped over at a standstill last month. So much for my nice wrap job, eh? So now I'm trying to decide how to replace it, shopping around the Profile Design website. Naturally I'd like some really fancy carbon replacements, but I'm not sure I want to spend that kind of ($400+) money. Ideas for me? (All those rubber bands are for my aerobottle - don't worry, they aren't holding the bike together).

What do you think of these? They'd run me about $210 plus shipping, retail.

These (below) are a tiny fraction of the billions and billions of Canada geese we have as winter guests down here on the eastern shore. I passed this massive herd of them out on my ride today. I like them, but lots of people get grossed out by all their poop!


My daughter Catherine is just starting to develop some advanced theories about monsters. She said she's "skeered" of them, but she scared them away and they went home.

Where do they live?

"In the hospital."

I'm pretty sure she's absolutely correct about that. Maybe that's why I dislike hospitals so much.

Bread and butter

My daughter Elisabeth, a little teensy thing who only weighs about 30 pounds, just ate half a stick of butter.

I found the empty butter dish on the kitchen counter and subsequently the remains of a stick - smeared on the living room couch, of course.

I had just made some egg bread in the bread machine (haven't used it for years, finally got it back out and cranked it up today) and I guess Elisabeth liked the warm bread and butter I gave her, except she apparently liked the butter part the best.

The bread turned out tasting great, but the crust is pretty hard and the texture is coarse (does that means it rose too fast?). I did somehow manage to stuff quite a bit down myself, despite the technical drawbacks. Like mother, like daughter.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Word of the day

I learned this one from the syndicated "Ask Mr. Know-it-all" column by Gary Clothier today:

Fear of being last:

I know a few bloggers that might have that. Do you? I've mostly worked through it myself, via a lot of real-life aversion therapy.

Here's another one I truly see symptoms of on blogs now and then:

Pocrescophobia or Obesophobia
Fear of gaining weight

What's the term for fear and hatred of fat people? I see a lot of that, too, but I don't know the technical term for it, other than plain and simple prejudice.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas fun

The girls got several sets of play dishes and plastic foods from Grandma. This should give them hours of pretend fun!

Catherine even attempted to set the table for us all by herself!

Catherine also enjoyed launching her career as a rock star, too. Her hair looks wild because she is jumping up and down and dancing crazily as she plays the keyboard. Look out Sheryl Crow, you can be replaced!

5K time trials

Merry Christmas to everyone! Here's hoping all your wishes for Christmas came true.

This is just a workout note for my own records. I did a 5K time trial (actually 3.125 miles, 12.5 laps) on the track yesterday and another on Friday. Times were quite close: 34:47 and 34:37 for an average pace of 11:06 min/mile in those workouts.

I seem to be able to push myself to run nearly a minute per mile faster in races than I do in workouts (10:13 min/mile in the 10K I ran a month ago). I think I would still not quite be able to break a 30-minute 5K. That's an excellent project for me for 2007! Of course, every pound off is said to give a runner about an extra 2 seconds per mile in "free speed", a few free seconds that way wouldn't hurt either!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Christmas meme

Okay, I usually don't respond to tags, but here you go, Dawn.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Both.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrap.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? None, right now. One bow on the lamppost and the lit tree in the living room window every night.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. Too poisonous to have around kids.

5. When do you put your decorations up? When I get around to it after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and cranberries and gravy. That's one dish if the gravy covers everything.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Can't remember. Most of the holidays in my "family of origin" involved fighting, as I recall.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think my brother told me.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Sometimes.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Fake tree with built-in lights, now. Unbreakable ornaments so far.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Dread it, mostly.

12. Can you ice skate? Sort of, very badly.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? No. Maybe a stuffed animal lion when I was about 6.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Staying warm. Relaxing.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pecan pie.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Driving around to look at Christmas lights.

17. What tops your tree? Gold star.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I think people lie about this answer! Receiving, if it's a nice surprise.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

20. Candy canes? Fruity ones, not peppermint. How about ribbon candy? I haven't seen that for years.

21. Favorite Christmas movie? Polar Express.

22. What do you leave for Santa? Cookies, milk, and carrots for the reindeer.

I'll add a question: Christmas or Hanukkah or Winter Solstice or Saturnalia or Festivus or Kwanzaa or Yule? A, B, and C.

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

Our stockings are hung (on the side of a cabinet right now, since we don't have a fireplace here), waiting for Santa's arrival tonight.

The tree is fully protected against marauding three-year-olds, and bare of most ornaments this year. No need to tempt disaster.

It was warm today, in the fifties, so I finally took the opportunity to set up the Old Blue, the Lotus road bike, with the kid carrier and platform pedals. I took Elisabeth and Catherine out each for a spin around the block. Elisabeth was frightened and Catherine was delighted. It handled better than I expected - the only major problem is swinging my leg over the top tube when the kid is occupying the carrier! And getting accustomed to platform pedals again is funny, too! This carrier should work for about another year, until the girls get taller or they get over 40 pounds.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Top Ten lists of the year

I always like reading the oddball collection of Top Ten lists each year. I guess it's the list-maker in me. Here' s a few to start with - I may add more as time goes on.

Top Ten Most Outrageous Comments of 2006 (by conservative commentators; there were so many they couldn't stop at ten, though).

Top Ten Stories of 2006

National Geographic Top Ten Stories of 2006

Letterman's Top Ten Archives (since 1993)

99 strangest photos of 2006 (okay, it's not 10. Bet you can't look at only 10).

Top Ten Mystery Photos of 2006

Got any more leads for me? I'd be glad to add the Top Ten Liberal Outrageous Comments, if you can point me toward them!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrated!

Message smuggled from quarantine

We're all getting over our Hanukah illnesses in time for Christmas, hopefully. I haven't bothered updating my workout log this week in the right sidebar. It's all zeroes, in case you're wondering, although I plan to swim today.

It sure would be nice to avoid all these colds and sniffles and coughs, but I think they're inevitable with a kid in preschool.

Ellie and my training buddy David are both urging me to take Airborne. I say show me the evidence. Yes, that's non-anecdotal. I'd get my Skeptic Credentials revoked if I bought some of that.

Zinc nasal spray has too many cases of loss of ability to smell associated with it. Too risky.

Zinc lozenges have slightly more research behind them, but the results are still quite equivocal. They mess with your taste buds and you have to take them every two hours, starting at the first set of symptoms. It's always too late for me to run to the store when I figure out I'm coming down with a cold, it seems.

Even Sudafed (pseudoephedrine hydrochloride) is hard to come by these days, unless you go straight to the pharmacist for it.

I'm pretty sure that eggnog and rum works best, though. Or hot tea and whiskey. And our humidifier. And quarantining the entire premises. I'll stick to those approaches for now. It's a damn hassle putting up that concertina wire around the perimeter, though.

What do you use as your time-tested home remedy?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Great photos from 2006

There's a great series of photos from 2006 over at Sports Illustrated including this one of the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon swim in San Francisco Bay. Jeez, that black water looks cold. And I just know there are sharks down there.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Not my kid

But it definitely COULD be. . . .

Shawn sent that to me because it reminded her of my kids. Heh. My kids don't get stuffed animals in time out, silly.

The girls are much, much better. Thanks for checking in, everyone! They have both nearly bounced back from their illnesses. Now that Elisabeth can actually breathe instead of fighting off pneumonia, she's a much happier girl. She may be the world's worst patient, fighting tooth and nail every time I have to give her any medicine. She probably got the pneumonia from inhaling Tylenol in between screams instead of just swallowing it. Not that I blame her, considering how many nasty medical procedures she had during her first year of life, poor kid (ventilators, open heart surgery, eye surgery, eight months of tube feeding, etc.).

Catherine has been a little trooper and will drink her medicine right out of the little one-ounce cup. Even when it tastes bad. I'm kind of amazed that she will cooperate that well, but she seems to finally understand that the medicine makes her feel better.

I still turned the babysitter away today because I didn't want her to catch any lingering germs and get sick herself. Now I regret it, because I sure could use a few miles of solo relaxation on the run.

Where's my duct tape, anyway. . . . ?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Person of the Year

ME!? Aww, thank you. I'm honored!

This Person of the Year won't be posting about any of her workouts any time soon, it appears, so if you're looking for that, sorry, wrong place.

Here's the current score in our house today:
Croup - 1
Pneumonia - 1
Mom and Dad - 0


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Naked cycling?

I don't know how I manage to stumble upon these things online. (I was doing a Google search for "bike bullhorns" and somehow this came up. Hmm.) But I'll bet she's not riding any centuries like that. Ouch. I guess I won't do it because I'd have to swap out my clipless pedals for platforms, and that's too much work!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Now THESE are some MOST EXCELLENT Christmas decorations, don't you agree? Nothing like bringing The Deity back into Christmas!!

Warning labels in larger-sized clothes?

I'm kind of slack-jawed in shock over this article. I've been rendered speechless.

"Clothes made in larger sizes should carry a tag with an obesity helpline number, health specialists have suggested. . . . [and they recommend] printing a helpline numbers for advice with all clothes sold with a waist of more than 40 in for men and 37 in for boys, women’s garments with a waist of more than 35 in or size 16 or above, and more than 31 in for girls."

But I'll bet you just did a mental calculation to see if you were above or below those numbers, didn't you?

Battle of the sexes in Kona?

Inside Tri has an interesting analysis of the winning male and female times for the Hawaii Ironman World Championship, indicating an average of 54:31 difference between the male and female champions in finishing times.

I, for one, would like to see the cutoff at the end of the day set 54:31 later for women at Ironman-distance triathlons, too, in order to be roughly comparable effort-wise for back-of-the-packers of each gender. But yes, I'm aware that very, very few purists or fast triathletes would agree with me on that point!

Baby dolls and boots

Elisabeth will still have nothing to do with baby dolls, but Catherine is starting to have a rich imagination life. (They say this develops along with expressive language, which is why Elisabeth is behind). (And they both cling desperately to their Security Guard Tigers.)

Catherine is frequently carrying one of their dolls around now as her baby, and having me put its little hat back on all the time. Now and then she brings it to me for hugs and comforting and pats on the back when "baby is crying".

Then last night she brought me one of her red rubber rain boots and told me the boot was crying. I told her boots don't have eyes so they couldn’t cry.

I think (I'm not entirely sure I got this part right) that she indicated then that the boot was crying because it didn't have any eyes.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A food blog that I love

"Junkfood Science: The truth about food, fat and health. Learn the science that mainstream media doesn't report and how to critically think about the junk they do that's not fit to swallow."

I love a good skeptic that presents an alternative point of view to what we are blasted with by the media, day in and day out. The author, Sandy Szwrc, also did a fabulous review of the contributions of Dr. Ancel Keys on our knowledge of the detrimental effects of dieting on the body in his classic WWII volunteer study.

Triathlon 101 cutoffs

I just got the good word on the cutoffs - promptly and politely - from Shannon from Tri One O One:

"Each event will start with the men and women pros in two separate waves followed by 45 minutes of waves starts for age groupers. We will start some of our older age groups first to allow for more time on the course, followed by the remaining age groups in age group order. The swim cutoff is 1 hour and 45 minutes after the start of the last swim wave. The bike cutoff is 6 hours after the cutoff of the swim and the run will close 4 hours and 15 minutes after the bike course has closed. This allows for a total of 12 hours to complete the entire event after the start of the last wave of the swim. "

I like the distances, I like their customer service, I like that us slowbies start first, I like their ambitious plans for the events. . . . all that remains is for me to decide WHICH ONE?

The Mug

This is The Mug, of which I was a very proud recipient today.

This is how The Mug began - at the finish line of the incredible efforts of Hurricane Bob Mina at the Eagleman Half Ironman in 2001. "Mina has since made peace with The Mug, reportedly allowing fellow Tri-DRS members to drink from The Mug and now offering it up as a traveling exhibition."

According to one-time Mugholder Rick Smith, "The value of The Mug stems from the story of valor and courage shown by Mina that day in June 2001. Once you have seen The Mug it defies logic that anyone would suffer such a difficult combination of swimming, biking and running for such a cheap and pathetic reward. Personally, if I had been in Mina's sweat-soaked shoes, I would have quit. The Mug captures the essence of the finisher's prize: a pitiful return on a priceless emotional investment, but a testament to the true joy that drives the majority of the athletes of this sport."

The mug came to me from Ironman Cathy Taylor (whom I was privileged to meet at Ironman Florida, where she finished in 16:33). Thanks, Cathy!

I'll do my best to do The Mug justice in the coming year and pass it along to a worthy recipient at the end of 2007.

Update: Hurricane Bob Mina posted his conclusion to the story here. But the Legend of The Mug lives on.

Old bicyclist

I'm always posting things about old ladies who cycle and do triathlons. In the interests of promoting positive relations between the genders in this Season of Saturnalia, er, Christmas, um, Hanukah, whatever.... here's a nice story about an old coot approaching 90 who still bikes 4 or 5 times per week. Good for him!

I'll bet his back hurts when he's down too long in the aerobars too.

The war on Christmas?

I don't think so! I think it's another axe to grind for the self-styled "persecuted" majority.

Here's an informative discussion on the basis of federal rulings concerning religious and secular holiday displays on public property.

It seems most religious displays are allowed on US government-owned property (contrary to many allegations) when they are in a secular context (including Santa and reindeer in a holiday display, for example) and don't represent a tacit endorsement of religion by the government (solely religious displays and deliberately excluding secular content, for example).

Then again, it seems the Bushes have declared "War on Christmas". The White House 2006 holiday card is just out – and it does not once mention the word “Christmas.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Soon to be stripped of her medal

Catherine decided it was a good idea today to try on Mommy's jogbra and medals.

I don't care if she wants to wear my clothes. (She's still got a few years to learn how to put on a jogbra the right way around).

But obviously regarding the medal I didn't raise her right.

The proper response to a kid like this is, "You want a medal? Go earn one your own damn self."

Fortunately it was just a 10K medal. I had to pry her grubby little fingers off the half Ironman medals.

More on the 101 series

Phil updated his nifty triathlon-time calculator so that you can estimate your times for a 101 triathlon.

Also, he pointed out to me the schedule on the website, which suggests that the cutoffs for total time on course will be in the 12 to 12.5-hour range:

Sunday, May 6
5:00am - 6:00am Bike and Run Special Needs Drop-off
5:00am - 6:45am Body Marking
7:00am Pro Men Start
7:05am Pro Women Start
7:10am Age Group Wave Starts TBA
10:00am - 7:45pm Merchandise Tent Open
7:45pm Race Ends
8:00pm - 9:30pm Celebration/Awards Party

I emailed the organizers asking for a definitive word on the cutoffs, but haven't heard back yet.

I think I could do that! It sounds like a pretty reasonable long day's work to me, so most of us can finish before we drop from exhaustion and don't have to keep slogging in the pitch dark until close to midnight!

Update: I did get a prompt response from the 101 folks, which is always an encouraging sign from any race!

"While we haven't finalized the cutoffs yet . . . we are thinking that 12-13 hrs should be reasonable. Yes, there will be cutoffs for each segment of the event: swim cutoff, bike cutoff, 1/2 run cutoff. As soon as we establish them, they will be posted."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Still Beta Free!

I haven't changed over this blog to the new beta Google version - that is, I haven't buggered it up mightily like some of our bloggy friends out there.

I feel your pain.

22 months, 88,701 hits, and still beta-free. It ain't broke, so I ain't gonna fix it.

Raw beef dangerous? Try lethal lettuce!

"Fresh raw vegetables like lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and green onions were responsible for the illness or deaths of nearly 19,000 people nationwide over a five-year period. Vegetables are nearly as dangerous as under-cooked meat when it comes to transmitting deadly food illnesses like E. coli, salmonella and hepatitis, according to a study of federal outbreak records. . . . No other foodstuff came close to the threats posed by vegetables and meats, the study found. Seafood like raw oysters and tuna was a distant third, causing fewer than 3,000 deaths or illnesses."

I always knew there was a good reason not to eat your vegetables. I am vindicated. Take that, you self-righteous uber-health-conscious vegans!

Followup: There are some articles like this online that say that washing veggies helps, but it has to be fairly extreme (5-minute) washing. If the veggies were grown using a lot of manure for fertilizer, those nasty microbes in the manure can travel right into the plant. So much for healthy organic produce, eh? We're not buying bagged lettuce any more, and I wash my veggies and strip off the outer leaves on iceberg lettuce, but that's about all we do.

101: The new standard tri distance?

That's 101.06 miles - a 1.86mi (3km) swim, followed by a 80.6mi (130km) bike and finishing with a 18.6mi (30km) run for a total distance of 101.06 miles.

A new series of three races and a championship in Texas in 2007, and 20 events promised for 2008.

Sounds very interesting! I like those distances! Well, except for maybe the 3000m swim, but I can survive that. Will this be the new "Ironman Lite"? Without, of course, using that trademarked I-word.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Love those holiday TV specials?

Here are some new and improved versions. Hilariously not safe for work.

Stop the dieting madness!

This refreshing article from a fit and fat (her term) woman makes a great case for abandoning diets. Think about it when January 1st rolls around and you're hit with that urge to "finally lose that last XX pounds once and for all". For the 17th year. (Some of the comments at the end are pretty crass, though.)

What I did instead of cycling last weekend

I missed a nice warmish Sunday in December when I could have been out on the roads with Buttercup! Grandpa is getting the girls a lovely bedroom set with "big girl beds" and I needed to get the room painted before it arrived. Here it is, nearly done in a shade Dawn would love:

Then my husband bought me a new chair for the computer desk for Christmas, which just arrived today. As soon as I unpacked it, Catherine started to remove the protective seat cover, and then decided its proper use was for giving Tiger merry-go-round rides. Doesn't poor Tiger look like he's ready to vomit?

I was just browsing today in some genealogy resources online, and found a huge treasure trove of information on my husband's side of the family, going way back to Morocco and 16th-century Spain. Fascinating! I emailed the gentleman who compiled it (apparently a very distant cousin of my father-in-law, although he didn't have those links complete in his family tree) and hopefully will hear back from him.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Now that I'm a senior citizen (almost)

In 2007 I become eligible to participate in the state-level senior games since it's the year that I turn 50. I can compete in the the Virginia State Games (May) and also the Maryland State Games (Sept), I believe, because we own property in both places. I could also perhaps go to some of the out-of-state games that allow non-residents, too.

Unfortunately I won't become eligible for the Summer National Senior Games until 2009, but they'll be held in San Francisco that year, so that's one of my long term goals out there on the distant horizon.

Unfortunately also, few of the state-level games offer triathlon. The running and swimming events are quite competitive, and I would have to work very, very hard in those to become eligible for the Nationals. But that's always possible.

2007 National Senior Games Qualifying Standards (age 50-54):

50 yard freestyle: under 34:20
100 yard freestyle: under 1:16:20
200 yard freestyle: under 2:46:10
500 yard freestyle: under 8:01:70

1500m: under 7:00
5k: under 25:08
10k: under 55:00

Fortunately for there don't seem to be any national qualifying standards in cycling nor triathlon. Also there seem to be very few female cycling competitors, so I might be able to pick up a medal at one of the state games in the 5km, 10km, or 20km time trial cycling events. Another drawback? They're all held on the same day, one right after the other. Ouch! The national games finishing times are also pretty speedy, so I'd be challenged to do well at that level. I'm aiming to go and participate and have fun.

Working on my all-around fitness this year could reap benefits in any of those events, though. Especially if I keep working on it from now until 2009! That's the long-range plan!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Year 50 Challenge

My 50th year on earth will end on June 23, 2007. However, I work better on calendar years, so I'm going to devote the entire year of 2007 to my Year 50 Challenge. I *want* to do something rather spectacular, but what my body really needs is more week-in, week-out consistent training. So that's the bulk of the program.

Here's the plan so far. I may add to it before the end of this year, when I get it all worked out in ink on a wall calendar. Some parts are quite conservative, some are ambitious. It doesn't allow much time at all for illness or injury, so I'm skipping those in 2007. I'm also not planning on doing as much in the way of travel to destination events as I have lately. All told, it should add up to a year of consistent hard work:

50+ miles total in the year
5+ 5*500m swims (2500m)

5+ 100 mile rides (five centuries)
5*500 miles total in the year (2500 miles)

50+ 5K timed runs (one or more under 25:00!)
50+ 5 mile (or 5*1 mile) timed runs
5+ 10K timed runs (one or more under 55:00!)
5+ timed half marathons
5*5*5*5 miles total in the year (625 miles)

Log food 50*5 days/week
Lose 5*5 pounds (25+) from Jan 1st to Jan 1st

5+ triathlons or duathlons
(Some of the 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons above will be in road races, some not).

Christmas parade

We bundled up the girls into the double jogstroller and took them over to one of the major annual events in our little town: the Christmas parade. No appearances by local part-time resident Dick Cheney this year. It mostly consists of loud motorcycles, ambulances, fire trucks, boats on trailers, antique cars, and the dazzling bevy of local beauties shivering in convertibles: Miss Talbot County, Miss Miles River, Miss Tilghman, and so on. Elisabeth liked the llamas the best. (No, not those lovely Friesians, real llamas that I didn't get a picture of this year).

Friday, December 08, 2006

Nine questions for 2006

On the TRI-DRS list, Cathy Morgan posed 9 year-end questions recently. These were my answers. What are yours??

1. What one word describes your 2006 season?

* Priceless!

a) Does it match what you said last December in anticipation of 2006?

* Not really. I didn't expect to have as much fun as I did.

2. What one word are you looking for to describe your 2007 season?

* Mo'fun. That's a word, right? Or funner. Or funnier.

3. What did you accomplish during 2006? (can be both triathlon and not)

* Gained condition, confidence, and competencies.
* Swimming and cycling both drastically improved in quality, speed, and volume over 2005.
* Will end the year well over twenty pounds lighter than last year.
* Started living full-time (as a "single" parent of 3YO twins for five days/week with husband commuting on weekends) on the Eastern Shore in June, and still managed to juggle in some of my training.

4. What was the most fun or biggest surprise you had all year (in an athletic setting)?

* Had FUN during the swim at Steelhead Half IM in Lake Michigan in August, plus my best open water swim time yet.
* The Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World way last January was loads of FUN too!
* NOT fun, but a pleasant surprise: had flats during two half Ironman races and still kept a level head and kept going.

5. What was your favorite race in 2006?

* It was the best and worst of times: Ironman Florida. I loved training for it with my local training buddy throughout the year; the surrounding festivities; my six wonderful, fantastic friends who traveled there to volunteer and cheer; plus meeting lots of fellow triathletes. I didn't love a lot of participating in the day itself, particularly my DNF at halfway through the marathon. I'm concluding that either running or cycling for well over 3 hours at a stretch is not often something that I have a lot of fun doing. But IMFL was an incredible experience, all in all.

6. What is your race schedule for 2007?

- Still in progress:
* National Half Marathon, Washington, DC: 24 March 2007
* Oxford 10K (local): April 5?, 2007
* Columbia Triathlon, Columbia, MD: 20 May 2007
* Eagleman Ironman 70.3, Cambridge, MD: 11 Jun 07
* Blackwater Duathlon, Cambridge, MD: 8 Jul 07
* Chesapeakeman (one of the events OTHER than the full), Cambridge, MD, late Sept.

7. Did you meet your goals for this year?

Arguably, yes. My major 2006 objectives were:
* Train intelligently and effectively for an iron-distance triathlon while keeping my life in balance with my other responsibilities.
* Get to the Ironman Florida starting line (Nov 4) in the best shape of my life (age-adjusted, this is probably true)
* Enjoy every race day as a celebration of my training, bringing away lessons from each race.

I'll meet or exceed three out of four of my process goals for the year, though I'm still finishing the running.
* Run: 10 miles per week or more for 42 weeks
* Swim: 1500 m or more for 42 weeks
* Bike/trainer: 20 miles (or 80 min trainer) or more for 42 weeks

* Nutrition: Keep detailed food log at least 5 days per week for 42 weeks - no, I think I'll only have a total of 38 weeks in the nutrition discipline by New Year's Eve. Had I kept with it better, I would have lost more weight.

8. What are your goals for 2007?

* Still being formulated. I'll review and re-emphasize the weekly process goals, since they helped my consistency and training balance in 2006 enormously, and kept me from abandoning one triathlon discipline while focusing on another. Probably my best new tool in my bag o' tricks. My training will probably be less total volume (i.e., less time per week) in 2007 than in 2006, but hopefully emphasizing quality and speed at shorter distances.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sunset day

Thanks to Doug Dodd for this piece of good news: Today is SUNSET DAY!

"This is the day of the earliest sunset of the year in mid-northern latitudes; after today, the sunsets begin, ever so slowly, to be later, according to clock time."

Thank goodness! Tonight I was able to get in four miles on the track before it was pretty much pitch dark, but in accordance with Nancy's Maxim that one is always rewarded in some way for getting out there and running, I watched a spectacular sunset this evening as I went round and round and round.

Until sometime later in 2007, I'll have more and more daylight each evening now for running.

Best wishes to Shawn and friends running the Kiawah Marathon this weekend!

Mapping personality awareness

I'm not big on these silly online personality profiles, but I think this one is an exception. Quick and easy and it provides some interesting insights! You can contribute to this one or make your own if you wish. You may have a problem in that it doesn't provide any really negative choices like mean and petty. This is me - the good side, at least! Thanks to all who have contributed so far - let me know if you make one and I'll contribute to yours!

(I guess I do okay on not maintaining a façade, since I don't claim any traits for myself that nobody else identified).


(known to self and others)

brave, independent, intelligent, organised, sensible, witty

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

able, adaptable, bold, caring, cheerful, clever, confident, dependable, energetic, friendly, happy, kind, knowledgeable, logical, loving, powerful, quiet, responsive, self-assertive, shy, trustworthy


(known only to self)


(known to nobody)

accepting, calm, complex, dignified, extroverted, giving, helpful, idealistic, ingenious, introverted, mature, modest, nervous, observant, patient, proud, reflective, relaxed, religious, searching, self-conscious, sentimental, silly, spontaneous, sympathetic, tense, warm, wise

Dominant Traits

63% of people agree that nancytoby is intelligent
54% of people think that nancytoby is self-assertive

All Percentages

able (27%) accepting (0%) adaptable (18%) bold (36%) brave (18%) calm (0%) caring (9%) cheerful (9%) clever (9%) complex (0%) confident (36%) dependable (9%) dignified (0%) energetic (18%) extroverted (0%) friendly (18%) giving (0%) happy (9%) helpful (0%) idealistic (0%) independent (36%) ingenious (0%) intelligent (63%) introverted (0%) kind (9%) knowledgeable (36%) logical (9%) loving (9%) mature (0%) modest (0%) nervous (0%) observant (0%) organised (27%) patient (0%) powerful (18%) proud (0%) quiet (9%) reflective (0%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (9%) searching (0%) self-assertive (54%) self-conscious (0%) sensible (36%) sentimental (0%) shy (9%) silly (0%) spontaneous (0%) sympathetic (0%) tense (0%) trustworthy (18%) warm (0%) wise (0%) witty (27%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 8.12.2006, using data from 11 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view nancytoby's full data.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I own my own words

Just a couple thoughts . . . .

Those title words are not mine, but a maxim from one of the longest-lived online communities, the Well, founded in 1985.

I don't do anonymous posts, ever. Or anonymous emails. Ever. I think they're cowardly. If I have something to say, I say it straight out. If I don't want to send it claiming proper attribution, I don't send it. I wish all the people posting comments on blogs would do the same.

You'll note by the title that this blog is about as non-anonymous as they come. No pseudonyms here. I'm not publishing my social security number or my credit card number, but my address has been tracked down from my blog. It's okay. I don't have a huge problem with that. I'm not paranoid about my cyber-identity. If somebody does get my credit card number, I cancel it. It's happened. No problem. Yeah, I might be a bit more circumspect if I currently had a career outside the home, but I wasn't any more secretive online when I did, so I honestly doubt it. I could tell you some cyber-stalking stories, too.

I don't delete posts sent to my blog, either, with the exception of blatantly irrelevant spam. If I post it, I feel that puts it out there in the public eye for feedback. Some of the feedback I don't like, or don't agree with. So be it. I'm leaving it up there for other folks to view the full discussion and debate in context. I love a good debate. I'm a big girl, I can handle it. I've had some of my comments on other blogs arbitrarily deleted, though, even by people who claim that they "don't delete". Okay, whatever. It's your blog.

I own what I say in the sense that I like proper attribution if someone uses my stuff, too. A link is always nice. Last year someone copied an entire blog post of mine verbatim and published as their own, which I found rather annoying.

I may be a smartass or terse at times, certainly. I don't mean it in a nasty way. I'm truly sorry if it comes off that way occasionally. I'll apologize if I realize that I've said something wrong or in a manner that I didn't truly intend.

I am a mean and petty person sometimes, though, I admit it. In the holiday food donation bin at school I put in a box of saltines that had an expiration date 6 months ago. Is that a sin?

Creative babysitting

My babysitter's little sister (who I think is about 9) came to the door yesterday while the babysitter was here for my session at the track. The little sister loves playing with the girls! Fine with me, more activity and attention for them!

After they left for the evening I found a list that she had written out for her agenda entitled "What to do with the twins".

It read (spelling as original):

1. Play catch
2. Play with blocks
3. ring around the roseie
4. Watch a move (there choose)
5. Seattle down
6. have dinner! there choose

(followed by four more lines for more activities to be filled in later, I suppose.)

That cracked me up! All for less than 2 hours with the girls. Very sweet, and it's clear that she wants to be helpful. Plus she's well-organized. I can recognize a kindred soul in a fellow list-maker. Maybe in a few more years when the big sister goes off to college I can give her a job, too!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Uh oh, Santa's coming

Santa? You've got some 'splainin' to do, scaring the holy living crap out of all those kids. Heck, as drunk as you look in some of those photos, I'd be scared too.

My reward

Every time I put in the effort to go out for a run I'm rewarded in some way. Today I was doing mile repeats on the track in the gathering darkness, slower than I had hoped (averaging 11:02 min/mile, so it really only qualifies as a tempo run).

It got very dark and cold out there.

But on my very final lap around the track, I was treated to the sight of a spectacularly beautiful enormous full moon rising through the treetops.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The secret double keystroke

Did you know that there's a particular combination of keystrokes that will instantly turn your entire computer monitor display sideways into portrait mode?

Yeah, well, neither did I.

But apparently Elisabeth did. When I was giving her some time at the computer (she's addicted to Kneebouncers), she hit that magic combination. I'm pretty sure she did it on purpose. Suddenly Mom got very upset with her. And took her away from the computer and turned the monitor sideways and started going to all these other weird pages like "help" and "system" and "" and the like.

There was no information anywhere on how to change it back. I was going to have to use my computer sideways forever.

Fortunately (after I gave up and headed for the Tylenol) my husband finally found an arcane fix in a checkbox on a sub-sub-sub-menu way deep in the bowels of the Display. I was very very grateful.

And Elisabeth isn't allowed back at Kneebouncers for a very, very, very long time.

The definitive running pace calculator

Steve J mentioned the McMillan pace calculator, so I plugged my recent 10K time into that. Here's what it came up with. And I don't even have to write it all out!

Those sound a lot better! 9:33 to 9:55 miles for my "speedwork" give me a lot more latitude, and I might even be able do a repeat. One, maybe.

Those sub-5:00 marathon predictions really kill me, though. My PR from 9 marathons is a LONG LONG way from that (5:52). I'm pretty far from running that 2:21 half marathon, too (PR 2:36). My running endurance sucks! Oh well, the only thing to be done about it is practice, practice, practice until I get it right!

I'll stick with these targets for my runs for a while. That means long runs all have to be 12:52 min/mile or faster, do you hear me!? And tempo runs below 11:05 min/mile, because that's what I'm capable of. Even though it feels much more comfy and familiar to be plodding along much much more slowly.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Why I need to write out my training plan

I am thinking seriously about adopting the minimalist 3-days-per-week marathon training plan from Runner's World. I was figuring out my FIRST training paces based on my last 10K race in which I finished in 1:03:24.

But I didn't actually write any of it out - I was just figuring out the paces partly in a spreadsheet but mostly in my head.

Then yesterday I went over to the track thinking I'd try to see how I did on four 1-mile repeats. I had a 2:20 lap/9:20 mile pace in mind for repeats for some dumb reason. Which, in retrospect, makes absolutely no sense at all, because my one mile PR right now is 9:23. And I finished a 5-mile track workout just 2 days prior.

So I managed ONE 9:46 mile, at a maximal effort level. And limped around the track for another few miles in the 12-minute range.

This is what happens when I don't do my usual meticulous planning! Winging it just doesn't work! Back to the drawing board. . . . Yeah, I could pay a coach to do the math for me, but I trust the calculations more if I do them myself. And then write down my answers, circled.

Training gone all to hell

It's probably best not to add up your workout totals in a month that includes an Ironman attempt right at the beginning. Those do-nothing recovery days add up fast! Here are my November totals, which seem pretty puny to me:
  • Swim: 6019 meters in 3 swims
  • Bike: 172 miles in 3 bike outings
  • Run: 51 miles in 14 runs
But it's funny how your perspective changes, isn't it? Here are my totals for 1 year ago, November 2005, which seemed more or less adequate:
  • Swim: 1500 meters in 1 swim
  • Bike: 44 miles
  • Run: 53 miles

Finding old race results

Looking for old race results for yourself or some other athlete? Check out Athlinks! It's still under construction, but it has a pretty amazing database of road race and triathlon results already! I found lots of old race results listed for me that I had long forgotten about or lost in old computer crashes. If you've lived a number of places in the last few years, you may have to do a little digging to find all of your results. Some of them list gun time and not chip time, which makes a big difference in races like Marine Corps Marathon when you may not get over the starting line for 20 minutes after the gun.

Event Name & Course State Date Bib Plc A Plc G Plc O Final
Whirlpool Steelhead Half Ironman MI 8/5/06 1968 47 418 1400 7:48:11 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
The EagleMan Ironman 70.3 Triathlon MD 6/11/06 - 37 366 1358 7:30:34 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
The Columbia Triathlon MD 5/21/06 - 23 338 1223 3:44:25 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Governor's Bay Bridge Run MD 5/7/06 2493 97 845 1961 1:08:33 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
B&A TRAIL MARATHON/HALF-MARATHON - RUN - HALF-MARATHON MD 3/5/06 - 35 284 594 2:36:23 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Disney World Marathon - Run - 13.1Mi FL 1/8/06 22590 578 6684 11169 3:14:35 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Disney World Marathon - Run - 26.2Mi FL 1/8/06 - 457 4486 9412 6:45:35 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Gar Williams Half Marathon VA 12/3/05 - 4 80 196 2:37:50 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Baltimore Marathon - Run - 26.2Miles MD 10/15/05 2812 58 798 2262 6:02:21 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
30th Annapolis 10 Mile Run MD 8/28/05 - 174 1544 3769 2:01:20 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Bluemont 5K VA 8/4/05 - 5 49 165 34:53 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Blackwater Traverse Duathlon MD 7/31/05 - 1 1 52 1:25:39 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Women's Distance Festival/Run After The Women 5K MD 7/9/05 - 20 133 216 31:49 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Eagleman Half Ironman MD 6/12/05 - 30 351 1337 8:50:52 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Columbia Triathlon 2005 MD 5/22/05 - 18 367 1194 4:06:59 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
B&A Trail Marathon/Half Marathon - Trail Run - 13.1Mi MD 3/6/05 - 18 207 500 2:39:54 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Bank of America Marathon & Half Marathon - 13.1Mi run FL 2/6/05 21560 84 739 1430 2:49:32 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Bank of America 15K & 5K - Run - 13.1Mi FL 2/5/05 21560 82 734 1412 2:49:32 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Bank of America 15K & 5K - Run - 5K FL 2/5/05 20560 188 2223 4637 40:19 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Bank of America 15K & 5K - Run :: 15K FL 2/5/05 560 167 1391 3371 1:51:09 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Suntrust Richmond Marathon VA 11/14/04 4389 95 1155 3142 5:51:34 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Goblin Gallop 5K VA 10/31/04 942 17 241 540 34:27 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon 2004 IL 10/10/04 - 775 13102 31717 5:59:48 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
St. Patrick's Day 10K DC 3/14/04 - 73 2009 4171 1:12:19 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Penguin Pace 5K MD 2/1/04 160 15 86 206 34:36 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Marine Corps Marathon - RUN - 5K DC 10/26/03 231 16 270 522 36:43 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.
Marine Corps Marathon 2001 WA 10/28/01 - 447 5418 13759 6:34:29 Click to Delete this Entry from your profile.