Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It's a start

I took my brand new personal Garmin Forerunner 301 out to the track today for my first little run with it. Well, it still has accuracy problems on the track, like I noted before, and it measured the distance via GPS about 11% longer than I calculate it from track laps. That's okay, counting laps isn't so very hard. It has my heart rate zones wrong too, but I can just adjust them in the program online.

It did catch the three times that I had to walk briefly due to a crampy gut. Ugh. Oh well, that's my eighth timed 5K run of the year, instead of the five-miler that I had hoped to complete after two consecutive rest days.

Note that it takes me over half a mile for my heart rate to get up to steady state. No wonder those first couple of laps always feel like crap!!

I can't believe what I just had for lunch

That's not food. That's a decoration.

Sheesh! The things I will do in relentless pursuit of my goals!

Of course, even shoe leather would be pretty tasty too with butter and maple syrup on top. . . .

Monday, January 29, 2007

It's here!!

I can't wait to play with it! But I can't get away from my girls to get out to run with it until tomorrow.

Maybe I can actually read the manual today.

What a novel concept!

So cute!

I just bought two of these comforters from Amazon.com and one of them arrived today. They are TOO CUTE! They feature the artwork of Eric Carle, famous for The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

My girls LOVE them, too. As soon as I got the first one out of the box they were identifying all the animals and wrapping themselves up in it and dragging it around the house.

This is just the promo photo of it, and doesn't show it off very well. I'll get some photos of them on the new Big Girl Beds soon.

I wish all my purchases for them were so successful!

OK, that's all the excitement here in the Toby Household this week. Back to your regularly scheduled tri-blogging. :-)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Springtime of Half Marathons?

I didn't plan it this way for my 50th Year Challenge, but I'm lining up quite a streak of half marathons this spring. I'm now registered for three in a row:

1. B&A Trail Half Marathon: 4 March 07
2. National Half Marathon: 24 March 07
3. Ocean City Half Marathon: 7 April 07

I just learned of a possible new race in my very own little town:
4. Bridge to Bridge Half Marathon: 21 April 07

So if that one happens, perhaps I should do this:
5. My Own Private Forerunner Half Marathon: some time 7 May 07 to 13 May 07
(Yeah, I could do the Queens, NY Half Marathon then, but I probably won't feel like traveling all the way up to NY for it. I'll look for a closer official race.)

Or maybe the Belle Haven 25K as a kickoff on 24 Feb 07.

. . . so that I do five half marathons within ten weeks, and finish up about 5 weeks before my 50th birthday!

I'm definitely NO Dean Karnazes, but it would make a nice little string o' runs for me.

The 6-question meme

I've been tagged with these questions:

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever
2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon
3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?
4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?
5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?
6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever

It had a 500-yard indoor pool swim. Ten whole laps. I'm not sure that I had swum that far continuously, ever. I remember standing up a couple of times for a breather at the end of the pool and asking the kids counting laps how many laps that was. Seemed like a million. I also remember breast-stroking a lot and being embarrassed that I kept hitting the person sharing my lane - but I just wasn't comfortable doing freestyle yet.

2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon

Ironman Florida, November 2006: Standing in the cold, cold sand with my feet freezing and looking back on all the triathletes in their wetsuits waiting for the start in a mood of unbelieveable excitement and happy anticipation.

3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?

Ironman Florida, November 2006: After I stopped, feeling too exhausted to continue, sitting near the finish line and throwing up into a cardboard box, and having the watery barf drain out the cracks of the box when somebody picked it up.

4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?

Finishing just about any time I've gone farther than I expected. I don't think I can single out one - my first 1.2-mile open water swim, my first 2.4-mile open water swim, my first 2.4-mile ocean swim are all up there.

And I don't know if I'd categorize it as thrilling, but there's something very satisfying about correctly fixing a flat during a triathlon and keeping on going, unruffled, until the finish line - which happened in my last TWO half Ironman races.

5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?

It's fine to me when I finish in the back of the pack. It's far superior to not trying at all.

6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?

This year: getting leaner and faster at medium- distance races (half marathons, Olympic and half Ironman triathlons).

You're next. You've just been tagged.

5 a day?

I've been trying to eat 5 different fruits and/or vegetables per day, at least 5 days per week. I'm not doing so well at this goal. I can do 3 or even 4 okay, but FIVE reliably, day after day, is a stretch, especially if I don't count potatoes or popcorn. In fact, I suck at eating my vegetables. Actually, the tips on incorporating more vegetables include some pretty good ideas. But 5 cups of fruits/veggies per day? Whew!! Here is what I'm supposed to be doing:

Your results are based on a 2200 calorie pattern.

Grains: 7 ounces
Vegetables: 3 cups
Fruits: 2 cups
Milk: 3 cups
Meat & Beans: 6 ounces

Make Half Your Grains Whole
Aim for at least 3.5 whole grains a day

Vary Your Veggies
Aim for this much every week:
Dark Green Vegetables = 3 cups weekly
Orange Vegetables = 2 cups weekly
Dry Beans & Peas = 3 cups weekly
Starchy Vegetables = 6 cups weekly
Other Vegetables = 7 cups weekly

Oils & Discretionary Calories
Aim for 6 teaspoons of oils a day

Limit your extras (extra fats & sugars) to 290 Calories

I'll keep at it, since I believe it's a positive goal. It's just turning those goals into daily habits that's the hard part. Daily positive choices, frequent healthful decisions, and progress is what I'm after.

But I'm still deeply suspicious of people who believe that a particular eating pattern is the ultimate key to health, especially those who evangelize about it. Yes, I truly think that can approach being a mental illness. I'm trying to improve my diet, but not become obsessed with it. There's no magic bullet.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A calorie is a calorie

Yep - diet or exercise or both - do whatever works for you. Take 3500 calories out of the equation by whatever method you like (more or less), and you'll lose a pound. It's just not going to come off your tummy, no matter how many crunches you do. Sorry.

If you include exercise you'll probably be healthier.

It's pretty straightforward. It's not rocket science.

And yeah, a lower percentage of body fat is more important than hitting the "right" weight range in the charts.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Grabbing the Garmin Forerunner 305

I did it finally. The Garmin Forerunner 305, that I had fun playing with last November, has now dropped down into a very attractive price range for me, so I grabbed the opportunity and ordered one.

I saw a note on the TriJuice blog that they were offering a $50 rebate. Woot! So I browsed through Shopzilla to find the lowest pre-rebate price around.

BuyeRetail had them listed for the lowest price I could find (outside of eBay): $236 plus $15 shipping (no sales tax) is what I ordered it for, which will wind up at $201 after the rebate, if everything works out correctly. Not bad for an item with an MSRP of $377!

You can look forward to lots more graphs from me very soon!


This is an Appaloosa coloration called "snowflake" for obvious reasons, and it's a lot like what I looked like when I came in off the track this afternoon. Two miles into my run the white stuff started coming down thick and fast in 30 mph winds. Within two laps of the track the grass and the grazing geese were covered in white and so was I!

So it was a 5K today instead of a 5-miler. I didn't do any special pre-planned workout - it was my first run back after hurting my back (and I was also testing a new pair of Asics shoes) and fortunately it felt fine. Whew! Missed the bullet on that one! Still, I'm probably going to stay off the bike (which stresses my back a lot in aero position) until I can test it out in a swim.

That's seven timed 5Ks so far this year, with an average pace of about 11:22 min/mile. But they're strangely clustered at two paces - around 12 min/mile and around 10 min/mile, with only one in between. I guess those are two of my running gears right now - tempo run and just under race pace.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The girls' new room

Grandpa Toby has been very generous to our girls! He bought them an entire new bedroom suite. The long-awaited shipment was delivered today. Here's the before photo from this morning of their little pink bedroom and the new twin mattresses:

The shipment arrived an hour earlier than I expected, which was good because I needed all the time that I had available today to assemble the beds. (Fortunately my back felt much improved today!) They're captains beds with 12 drawers each. Lots and lots of storage is very important for our tiny house! Here's part of the assembly process (5-drawer dressers in the background):

We also got a couple of matching chairs that may remain in the kitchen for a while:

Catherine jump-tested the bed for rebound and stability:

The beds are quite tall! Those siderails aren't going to keep them from ever falling off them, but maybe it won't happen too soon while they're asleep. We'll see.

Many many thanks to Grandpa Toby for his generosity!! Now I need to find a pair of cute kid's comforters for them. It won't take long for those shelves to get filled with part of the stuffed animal menagerie!

I hate swimsuit vendors

Ack! I was over at Lands' End and happened upon their swimsuit sales.

Arrgh! On their website in choosing a swimsuit a woman can select her "Anxiety Zones" and whether she wants a "Slenderizer"! For $23 to $92. Naturally, in the men's department, a guy only selects between water shorts, board shorts, and swim trunks ($19.50 to $34.50). Functionality, not body image dysphoria!!! Just give me a comfortable suit that's plain and reasonably normal-looking and not overpriced and that I can swim in that doesn't slip and chafe and pull and break down in chlorine.

Also, it makes me angry that Lands' End charges more for women's plus sizes, but they don't charge more for men's Big and Tall sizes. I wrote to them long ago complaining about this, but perhaps I was the only one. They acted like they didn't know what I was talking about.

Nevertheless, I keep doing business with them. It's a sad state of affairs.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Elisabeth's big breakthrough

No, she's not suddenly talking proficiently - boy, do I wish she would! But this is almost as good.

Today she was clever enough to figure out that she needed a nap and actually went to her own bed and curled up under the covers and fell asleep! That's a first! Usually she will only go under protest!

Yay! That's a girl after her mother's heart!

Tomorrow is going to be a big day! Their Big Girl Bedroom furniture is due to be delivered. I can't wait to see it! Will post photos as soon as I can. I know you're all really excited about it out there in Blogland too.

Snow day

My northern friends will laugh at this little dusting of snow (our first of the winter), but all the kids in the county enjoyed a snow day today. I was glad not to have to go anywhere, but I took the girls outside for a few minutes for a little walk just to keep them from going stir-crazy!

Thanks for your kind comments about my back, everyone! It still is uncomfortable, but I don't think it is injured as badly as I had feared when I first felt it go *rip*. Icing and tons of ibuprofen for the first day helped and today I'm just taking it easy and not exercising. I may try to run slowly tomorrow afternoon, though. We'll see. Cycling or the bike trainer is still out of the question for a while - that can hurt my back even on a good day!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ow ow ow ow ow

Ack! I just threw my back out big time, about half an hour ago. I hope it's just a torn muscle instead of something nasty like discs.

I know exactly when I did it - Catherine was having a little behavior problem and I was carrying her to her room for some time for quiet solitary reflection. She was kicking and screaming a little in the attempt to divert my attention.

Then >twang< I felt something give out in the middle of my back, fairly painfully. Ouch!! It's possible might have said a few bad words as I set Catherine and her flailing arms and legs down rather precipitously.

I suppose it's good that my back waited until now when the girls are big enough to climb up on most things themselves if they need to! Plus we have a prescription in the cabinet which I may potentially abuse tonight to get a good night's sleep. Don't tell anyone.

And I was just emailing my training buddies today about the two coming half marathons we're doing together. I'm glad now that the first one is not for another six weeks! This training week may be as light as last week if my back doesn't recover quickly.

What the Gods drink on Olympus

I'm pretty sure it's this.

Yum! My current favorite indulgence.

Not too many calories by itself, but I have an alarming tendency to combine it with a gargantuan portion of ice cream.

Now THAT is worth running a 5-miler for.

Hmm, maybe I should combine it with champagne instead to save calories. . . .

Bolder can have his variety of fruit porn. This is my kinda fruit porn.

Activity disorder

. . . otherwise known as exercise addiction or pathogenic exercise. They're frequently seen along with eating disorders. They're real, they're unhealthy, and they cause genuine problems in people's lives. Do you recognize any of these "Cognitive Distortions in Activity Disorder"?? Or perhaps you simply call it "overtraining".

Dichotomous, Black and White Thinking

* If I don't run, I can't eat.
* I either run an hour or it's not worth it to run at all.


* Like my mom, people who don't exercise are fat.
* I either run an hour or it's not worth it to run at all.


* If I can't exercise, my life will be over.
* If I don't work out today, I'll gain weight.

Selective Abstraction

* If I can go to the gym, I am happy.
* I feel great when I exercise, so if I exercise I'll never be depressed.

Superstitious Thinking

* I must run every morning or something bad will happen.
* I must do 205 sit-ups every night.
* I can't stop at 1 hour and 59 minutes, it has to be exactly 2 hours, so when the fire alarm went off I couldn't get off the Stairmaster, I had to keep going, even if the gym was burning down.


* People are looking at me because I'm out of shape.
* People admire runners.
* I am a runner, it's who I am, I could never give it up.

Arbitrary Inference

* People who exercise get better jobs, relationships, and so on.
* People who exercise don't get sick as much.


* My doctor tells me not to run, but she is flabby so I don't listen to her.
* No pain, no gain.
* Nobody really knows the effects of not having a period anyway, so why should I worry?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Form drag

Some people are like this when they swim. Long and lean and streamlined, they glide rapidly through the water with minimal effort.

I've concluded that even when my swimming technique is the best I can possibly do - I'm still more like this.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Home improvements?

I know there are lots of fellow bloggers who are doing their own home improvement projects. I thought I'd pass along this interesting website:


where people from all over the world are posting photos of various "real" rooms in their homes. Why don't you post some? Maybe I'll post some when I get done with this kitchen project.

Spicing up those 5Ks

As my readers will recall, I'm planning to do fifty timed 5K workouts and fifty timed 5-mile workouts this year. I'm fortunate that there is a quarter-mile track about a block from my house that practically no one but me ever uses - it's like my own personal outdoor treadmill. Most of the time I like running there. But it's true that it can get a little boring going around in circles.

So far by today, 19 days into the year, I've done five timed 5Ks at times between 31:12 and 37:12. I've done two timed 5-milers at 58:09 and 59:09. (Uh, yeah, this goal is proceeding a lot more consistently than that 5 fruits-or-veggies-per-day thing.)

Part of my objective is to just get myself more accustomed to running continuously without taking walk breaks. So the main excitement when I do these runs is to pause and take a swig out of my water bottle and maybe reverse direction every four laps or so. I do get to watch people playing tennis and the skies change and the local animals - deer emerging cautiously from the forest at dusk, bunnies coming out to graze, Canada geese honking or paddling in puddles, sometimes cats watching me curiously, ospreys overhead holding fish in their feet, and even a bald eagle once.

But I'd like to spice it up with a little speedwork, while still getting in my timed distance without taking rest breaks or stopping my watch.

Today Coach Julia had this good suggestion for me:
  • 2km run + 10 x 100m strides + 2km run
which sounded like fun way to incorporate speedwork, though I'll have to figure out how to arrange that around the track and still do the 5K distance for time. Maybe I'll do 4 laps warmup, then 5 laps where I sprint on the 100-yard straightaways and jog around the curves, then 3.5 more laps warmdown to conclude.

Do you have any other similar ideas for me? There are 12.5 laps to work with for the (approximate) 5K distance, 20 laps for the 5 mile distance.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

At least it's not paint

Instead it's my Starbucks Columbian coffee beans, sprinkled around half the living room. I think they may have eaten a few, which would explain their caffeine-fueled crazy rampage the rest of the morning.

I guess that means that Elisabeth is healthy enough to go back to school today! Hooray! Maybe that means I'll even be able to get in some kind of workout to launch the week, too, after a somewhat feeble attempt at the bike trainer yesterday.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Book recommendations

I'm a history buff. There are few well-written history books that I don't enjoy reading. But I just came across a couple of exceptional volumes of American history that I thought I'd share.

My first recommendation is Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America, by Garry Wills. I was made to memorize the Gettysburg Address some time in grade school, but I never before appreciated how those few words changed the way Americans looked at the Civil War and at their nation. This Pulitzer-prize-winning examination of the text, the political landscape, and the historical circumstances places the speech in a unique context and elucidates the manner in which it affects us all, even today.

My second recommendation is more of a traditional historical narrative, and I'm only through with a couple of chapters, but I'm enjoying it so much I can already recommend it: Mayflower, a Story of Courage, Community, and War, by Nathaniel Philbrick. This detailed, well-researched and highly readable story of the men and women who crossed the Atlantic in the Mayflower, and their traumatic experiences in founding a new community among the native residents, will give you an entirely new viewpoint on our collective American experience. Example: did you know that William Bradford's wife may have committed suicide by jumping off the Mayflower shortly after it first anchored by Cape Cod? That illustrates how incredibly bleak things must have looked at that time for their prospects in the new land. And that was before over half of them died the first winter.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Today's home improvement project

Today I'm working on removing the ugly-@ss, cheap sh!t pastel wallpaper border that has adorned my kitchen ceiling since we bought the place. Clearly the seller was trying to quickly "dress up" the place for quick sale with the unsold rejects from the bottom of the Lowe's discontinued pattern remnant bin. Yeah, somehow they even managed to find matching curtains, which are long, long gone.

It's an awful, tedious process - standing on the kitchen table (we don't have a stepladder), scoring it, spraying it with the toxic remover gel, waiting 15 minutes, peeling it off in shreds, wiping off the excess. If this wallpaper remover gel stuff gets in my eyes I'll be too blind to ever blog again.

I'll be glad to get it done! I already have the paint that's going on the walls when I'm done (beige eggshell finish), and I'm considering putting in a chair rail and some wainscotting. Our dreadful faux-cutting-block Formica kitchen countertop may be next to go.

Glad they're not mine

And I thought a little creative painting practice on the spare bedroom wall with their pink bedroom paint was bad. . . . mine certainly had that same "I'm SO pleased with myself!" look, though.

Keeping busy

My girls are still sick at home today, so I'm using my time productively online - spending money on entry fees! "My name is Nancy, and I'm a raceholic."

I signed up for the new Olympic-distance triathlon that I'm really excited about in Annapolis, Maryland on September 9th. The course hasn't been finalized, but it looks like the swim will depart from the Naval Academy grounds - either a point-to-point across the Severn River, or a loop in Back Creek. I'm familiar with the run course from the Annapolis Ten Miler, and it's going to be brutal! Up and over the Severn River Bridge twice, which is sailboat height, then straight up and down the vertical riverbank on the opposite side (maybe this year, just once, I'll be able to actually run up it and not walk it). Ouch!

I also signed up for the Blackwater Traverse Duathlon in July, which will also be a killer! It will probably be about 200*F and 200% humidity that day. It's an ITU World Long Course Duathlon Championship qualifier, which means a total of 20 kilometers running, and 73 kilometers (that's 45 miles) on the bike. Plus it goes over that awful section of washboard road! But hey, how often do I get to compete in a world championship qualifier just 45 minutes from home? Not that I'll actually qualify, or anything. It's going to be no fun seeing all those other folks finished and wearing their medals when I roll in off the bike course and I still have eight sweltering NO SHADE kilometers left to run. . . .

But: I'll be able to stay at home and sleep in my own bed for both of these, so that will give me the famous Home Court Advantage, right?? I'll need it!!!

Monday, January 15, 2007

A clean bike is a happy bike

I spent the day wishing I could be outside but instead taking care of two sick little girls who didn't want to even eat, let alone go outside. Fortunately in this round of colds the fevers didn't go over 102*F and haven't yet turned into pneumonia (knock on wood).

I was able to go out on the deck and give Buttercup a thorough cleaning, though - half a roll of paper towels and half a box of Q-tips later, here are the results. I even touched up some scuff marks on the flat black metal surfaces with a black Sharpie, at Flatman's suggestion, which worked reasonably well. Then I brought her inside with good intentions of riding her on the trainer tonight, but I'm too beat. Now that the girls are finally tucked into bed I'm more inclined to take a long hot bath with a glass of wine.

Just for comparison, below is an older photo of the previous set of bullhorns. Pretty similar but straight instead of slightly downswept. I still might need to re-adjust the angles a bit.

Good old Buttercup! She's nearly two years old and is starting to show just a little bit of age. We've been around the block a few times, she and I, since she came to live with me. About 3700 miles worth. She's served me well and I hope will continue to do so for many good years to come. That's why I like to treat her well!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sub-hour half marathon

The first one in the USA. Run today by 24-year-old Ryan Hall in Houston. 59:43 at the finish line after 13.1 miles on the road.


I can't even imagine. I'd be delighted to run a 2-hour half marathon some day. Actually, I'd be delighted to go under 2:30 in March. We'll see. Heck, I feel pretty darned good when I can cover five miles in under an hour.

Update: Correction - that may be the first by an American citizen (?) Here's a list of 41 sub-hour half marathon performances prior to this. Thanks for setting things straight, Comm!

Bullhorn installation

I replaced the bent bullhorn on Buttercup today, and realized halfway through the dissassembly that I had promised photos to my faithful blog readers.

Here we go, partly taken apart:

The new bullhorns, pre-installation. I bought them on eBay for about $23 with shipping. The tricky part is that there are at least two diameters of tubing on the market, and not all of them will accommodate the aerobars correctly in the center. These are swept down slightly on the sides, whereas my previous ones were straight across, but otherwise they fit perfectly. Thanks to Flatman for his expert advice!!

The new bullhorns on top, the old ones on the bottom (slightly bent on the right side in the photo). I was glad the new ones had a mark at the center - it would have been difficult to get them exactly even without that. The new ones are a couple centimeters wider than the old.

Today I finally removed the Ironman Florida number from last November as I was cleaning the bike up. Tried to keep all the loose parts together - didn't want to wind up with extra pieces.

One of the aerobar pad bases had gotten a little askew. I was afraid it was bent, but when I took it apart I realized it was quite a simple adjustment to alter the yaw angle on the aeropad. I turned both of them inward slightly to more correctly follow the line of my forearms.

The trickiest part was getting the cables all straight. I had to remove and replace one of the aerobars twice to get it all bending correctly. Here's one wrong version:

Finally done (notice it's getting dark outside!). All the bars are re-wrapped, the aerobars are slightly closer together than they were, the aeropads turn inwards slightly now, and the new bullhorns are in place with the brake handles aligned straight. Quite a number of small changes - it will probably be a couple of hundred miles before I'm absolutely certain that everything is correctly positioned and I'm confident it won't fall apart on the road!

Ride 'em

The rocking pony went for a wild ride the other day.

Apparently one of the dolls got sick and needed medicine. It's probably Thorazine. This is a lot like when I have to give medicine to Elisabeth, except I have to pin her arms down too. Plus it involves a lot of screaming.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Training partner = slavedriver

My training partner Dave is a big meanie to old decrepit ladies!

This morning we rode a 35-miler at a fairly brisk pace for me - 16.3 mph average on a windy day.

THEN he expected a strong 5K run out of me! The whole last mile he was verbally flogging me. "Keep it up! Stay strong!"

Blah blah blah blah blah.

But he did get me to run a 5K in something less than 31:12, according to his Forerunner 305, which is only 46 seconds slower than my current 5K PR. Not bad for running off the bike, for me. I think that 5K PR is ready to go the way of the dinosaurs. I hope that bodes well for some of my triathlons later in the year!

I guess Dave is okay after all. On the bike ride he pointed out a local house reputed to have held orgies while he was growing up. The things one learns. . . .

I had up this illustration: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Legree.png which at least one person found offensive. Did not intend to offend, so I removed it following that suggestion.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Today's comic

I rarely read the comics, but I noticed this one today. I can relate. (You might have to click to enlarge). How long did I sit around and look for "reasons" I was fat - rather than not worrying about the reasons, simply accepting the situation, and just getting off my butt and moving more and eating less!? (Um, that's a rhetorical question. You don't need to attempt an answer.)

Today I did another 5-miler on the track! Woo hoo me! Not nearly as boring as Tuesday - it DID get shorter!!!! And a minute faster to boot! It occurred to me that there are people who will be training intensely from now until the Beijing Olympics in August, 2008 to shave off much less time than I shaved off in two days!

Traffic cones

Linae has some interesting stories about traffic cones and dolphins. But I won't relate them here, I'll leave that to her. . . .

Catherine was playing with a few traffic cones in the school lobby when we dropped off Elisabeth today, mostly stacking and re-stacking them. She wanted to play with the ones in the school driveway, too, but I told her no because they were dirty.

She suggested, brightly, that we put the traffic cones in the washing machine.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

First fiver

I got in my first timed 5-miler of the year on the track yesterday. 59:09 including several stops to drink water, reverse directions, feel sorry for myself, agonize over how bored I was, etc., etc. I sure hope those five miles get shorter as the year goes on because I've got 49 more of them to do on or before December 31st. Hopefully not all of them on that day.

Today Catherine was chanting to herself in the car: "You can do it! There's nothing to it!" I have no idea where she heard it, but it's a nice little mantra. I think I'll steal it.

Speaking of the car. . . . we went to the grocery store today. When we were in there somebody put a flyer on my car, along with all the other cars in the parking lot. Which always annoys me because I have to get out of the car to remove it. The flyer was some rant about "the real AXIS OF EVIL" and went on about "a despotic infrastructure of technologies (gps tracking in cars and cellphones, facial identification software, public cameras, easily monitored internet and computer use) that can be used by corrupt governments or entities to monitor or harass persons with contrary viewpoints." It had no attribution. I was looking around for a table hosted by the Society for Paranoid Schizophrenics, but I didn't see anything like that. If I still worked for the federal government I probably would have a much easier time finding them using one of our standard government-issue monitoring devices, I'm sure.

The thirteen virtues

I'm not sure that Ben Franklin really practiced all these, but they're interesting to consider, as we're still charting our route through the new year. I think I may be possibly maybe weak in a few of these areas. Maybe. There's an off chance. How about you!?

These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:

1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judg'd it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone thro' the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arrang'd them with that view, as they stand above.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Disney sticker shock

Whew. I've been trying to figure out a way to take the girls to Walt Disney World while I sneak in a triathlon in the fall - either the Disney Olympic Triathlon on September 23rd, or the Florida Challenge (half Ironman) Triathlon on October 20th.

Except I'm breaking out in hives over the prices. To get (non-expiring) all-park/water park tickets and camp there in our own RV for four nights for just me and two four-year-olds, in their low season? Over $1100.

That's not even including all the crap you buy and food for all of us! Nor tickets for my husband, the Disneyphobe. It's not much more to stay in one of the cheaper Disney lodging options like the All Star Movies (cheapo motel, but they don't call it that).

Sigh. Yeah, there are lots of money-saving ideas out there, and we really do not need to go to one of the Disney parks and a water park in the same day, and we're sure to use any non-expiring tickets before long, but still. . . .

It would sure be fun. . . .

I was amused by Catherine's new term for the scrambled eggs she gobbled up this morning: "Crumbled eggs".

Monday, January 08, 2007

Is it just me?

I'm on a few various email lists around the Internet, naturally. On one "healthy" weight-loss list people post their daily weights and calorie intakes.

One guy reports that he has lost something like 9 pounds since January 1st, on a diet averaging 800 calories per day. That he intends to keep up until he's lost about 25 or 30 pounds.

I want to just scream, "Do you have any idea how screwed-up that's going to make your metabolism!? Not to mention your mental status!?"

But somehow I manage to pull my fingers off the keyboard, one by one. Chalk that up as one suppressed rant for the year 2007. Maybe I should keep a YTD tally of that. . . .

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Defender of wildlife

I was trying to buy Catherine off tonight and get her to be quiet and go to sleep by offering her one of their stuffed animals: a duck.

She examined the creature and became somewhat disturbed when she realized it had no ears.

I explained to her that sorry, ducks don't have ears. (I left it at that, not wanting to get into the anatomical and functional technicalities with a three-year-old).

Now she insists that we go to the store tomorrow on behalf of the duck to buy it some ears.

A do-over?

One of my friends suggested that we start the year over today. Sounds good to me! I like having my workout targets set week-by-week, since that lets me start over and have a January 1st clean slate every single week.

I really was glad I could start over today! Last week I got in ZERO swimming, because of a little mis-communication between me and the spousal unit. So I did a swim today (navigating around the clueless Resolutionists bouncing around in my lane, grrrr), but my week ends on Saturday night - that still gives me a 0 for 1 in swimming weeks to start the year. But I'm good for week 2 even if I can't get to the pool again this week.

On the other hand, I did *3* 5K time trials last week on the track!! Not all full-out except maybe the last one. I'm using decimal minutes in my log, which keeps Excel much simpler:
  • 37.52
  • 37.74
  • 32.03
The last one was within 37 seconds of my 5K PR, so that's pretty zippy for me for a track workout around 25 consecutive turns! That tells me my race 5K PR is pretty soft and set for breaking soon. Good!

Then again, I was hoping to do one of my fifty planned 5-milers for the year for at least one of those, but I cut it short at 3.1 miles. At least that's 3 out of 50 5Ks completed for the year and down in the record books!

I'm sipping on a limoncello and soda now. Yum! This is a non-food-logging day, so it's a freebie.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A rare day in January

It was gray when David and Bill and I started out at 8AM this morning from David's house, but it was over 60*F. The clouds gradually broke up and it turned into an absolutely gorgeous day. We had a great ride over 32 miles of Talbot County backroads, venturing north over the border into the next county. There were even some hills en route - who knew there were hills around here!?!

Forecasted high over 70*F later this afternoon!!