Thursday, July 26, 2007

Slow blog

Sorry I've been a bit quiet on this blog - I've been spending far TOO MUCH time on my other blog which is only active during the Tour de France in July. Which is utterly and completely insane right now.

A couple of updates:

My left knee has been very cranky so my long runs are not doing so well in the mileage buildup to Marine Corps Marathon. I've got one 11-miler only and cut down my long run last weekend because it was hurting. I gave it a few days off (Catherine was sick too, so I couldn't get out to run anyway) and I'm back to wearing a knee strap, which seems to help it. A solid six miles today. I stopped to drink water, also to check out some plein air painters (there's a big contest and sale in town all week so painters are everywhere) and also made another very unusual detour - a little fawn with spots was hanging out way too close to the busy highway, all by itself, so I chased it back into the woods a ways. It only went off about 50 feet, didn't seem scared at all, but hopefully that's enough to keep it from becoming roadkill. Overall pace including the stops was still just over 12 min/mile so I was running mostly in the 11 min/mile range.

Then I swam with the new turtleneck swimsuit. First impression: I love it! It has a back zipper that's a bit hard to pull up, and snags my hair, those are the main negatives. Best news yet, though - no gapping and bagging, and a very fast (for me) 500-yard swim - 10:52. It DOES make me fast!!! I'd like to try it out as a trisuit paired with bike shorts, but I'm afraid it may chafe. We'll see.

The minivan is in the shop after being hit by the dizzy old lady, and needs a new rear wheel, but insurance will only pay for a used wheel, and it seems to be taking them a while to find one. Jerks. So it's a big nuisance, but not nearly as big a nuisance as if it were undrivable. Counting my blessings. . . .

Plus we've been having a severe drought. I forget if that means more jellyfish or fewer jellyfish in the fall open water swims.
Oooh, hooray! I just checked - drought apparently means fewer sea nettles! I knew this drought wasn't all bad - that's good news to me!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Beautiful day


Got my ride done today, but only 26.5 miles. I was going to do the distance of the Tour de France Individual Time Trial at the Tour today (33.6 miles) but I didn't think I had enough time. Finished with a 17.2 mph average, so I would have finished under 2 hours! The slowest guy in the Tour ITT today did it at a 25 mph average and finished in about 1:20.

And Levi has been riding a very conservative Tour, but he's in 5th place, Aussie Cadel Evans is in 2nd, and Contador on Discovery is in 3rd and the white jersey!! If you're not watching, you're missing an exciting Tour!

And GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE AT IRONMAN USA TOMORROW! FLY LIKE THE WIND!! I'll be watching for all your splits - wave as you go over the timing mats!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

'nother run done

Another 6 miles in the books, departing from the Y again. I hadn't ever been down these roads before, and there are some gorgeous views that I want to go back to photograph or paint. It was HOT, but a little closer to a tempo run effort, 11:34 min/mile average and 59% of the time above 160 bpm heart rate.

The knees are a bit creaky and painful. Today I wore a knee strap on the left one. I may be increasing my mileage a bit too quickly - 16.4 miles already this week with a long run yet to go this weekend. I'll back off the mileage if they keep complaining.

Then I hit the pool for 1300 leisurely yards, ten minutes in the sauna, and then my "me time" was all gone!

Congratulations to Linae!!

Linae is finishing up her defense for her Doctor of Philosophy degree today!! And as diehard bloggers, several of us put together a group blog to congratulate her. Please go over there and offer your congratulations to Dr. Linae as well!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New crosstraining toys

I just placed an order for two of these for us and the girls to paddle around our local harbor:
Won't that be fun? And it should fit the girls until they're over 60 pounds, which will be several years - and by then they'll be old enough to paddle their own kayaks.

Hey, I even saved money! Free shipping!! But I think it was still the most I've ever spent in an online purchase.

Can't wait to try them out! I can even volunteer to be a swim spotter on some of our local triathlons, too. Once I buy a car rack, that is. . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Turtleneck swimsuit

Here's the new suit I just ordered from Speedo. 20% off, coupon code SPEEDO82. Plus a nice new pair of my favorite Speedo Vanquisher goggles, in pretty magenta.

I'm tired of suits that bag out in the chest and create a windsock in the water and slow me down.

I'm sure I'll be MUCH MUCH FASTER in this one. (And I'm sure my figure will look exactly like that in the suit too).

Uh, that, and some fast swim training would help too. . . .

Another run done

Another medium run from the Y (6.7 miles - yeah, "medium" is getting shorter) while the girls were in camp. Not much notable to report - it was hot, average pace was a comfortable 12:23 min/mile, and I was having some serious house envy since I was running through the million-plus neighborhoods. The kind of nouveau-retro neighborhood with highly restrictive building codes where all the driveways and sidewalks and porches and foundations are made of brick and they have alleys. And the maintenance guys were out weed-whacking the woods so the surroundings all look like a nice park.

Then I finished my run, drank several gallons of water, and then swam until all my free time was gone. And I realized I really need a new swimsuit, because the current one is worn out and sagging and bagging where it shouldn't.

I really like this three-hour block of "me time". Only 1.5 more weeks remain of Y summer camp, though. But preschool starts soon!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cruisin' in July

Fun times in the summertime with the girls! We went over to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum yesterday as we often do and they walked around while I did some sketching.

Then this morning we took a short tourist cruise on the Miles River on board the Patriot:
Captain Catherine even got to steer the ship:
Did some sightseeing on a beautiful day which included spotting Greta Van Susteren's little boat:

The Schooner Sultana was visiting too:

Always fun to play tourist in your own home town!

The Yassos begin

Back to the track today. Yassos - half mile repeats - were on the schedule. Five of them. Ugh. Yassos suck. And they're way too hard. And there's way too many of them. And each one takes way too long to complete. But they work. I kind of faked five of them by using the first one for a warmup. That evasion is not going to work as well when I'm supposed to do 7 or 8 of them in a few weeks (all leading up to the Marine Corps Marathon on October 28):

Here's the data you've all been waiting for:

1. 5:21
2. 4:37
3. 4:48
4. 4:53
5. 4:56

And a chart! Hooray!

Just for reference, this is what my training paces are supposed to be right about now. 4:37 to 4:50 for Yassos. I guess I'm close enough, for a first attempt this year.

Or more simply:
My easy run training pace is: 12:08 min/mile
My tempo run training pace is: 10:11 min/mile
My maximum oxygen training pace is: 9:13 min/mile
My speed form training pace is: 8:32 min/mile
My long run training pace is: 12:08 - 13:36 min/mile
My Yasso 800s training pace is: 4:43 min/800m

Friday, July 13, 2007


Yep, that's what the old lady did to my minivan as she came out of the Lowe's access road without even slowing down. She was so discombobulated she wasn't even going to get out of her car to see if there was any damage.

Fortunately owing to my lightning-fast super-triathlete reflexes, I swerved away from her enough that all her '97 Buick did was push her front license plate into my rear wheel, which tore her plate and frame off and sent it flying across the street. Damage to my minivan's wheel was only cosmetic, as far as I can tell, and no damage on the body at all. And my girls were in the Y camp at the time. Whew!!

But that ended up cutting short my time available for the pool, so I just hopped in for a quick 500 yards today. Just enough to calm down my shaking hands.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

One longer run done

The first of my long runs working towards my fall marathon is done. A couple weeks late, but it's done. 11 miles, which was all the distance I could manage while the girls were in their 3 hours of camp and still have enough time to mop myself off and catch my breath before I picked them up. Pace was a modest 12:45 min/mile, including some walks for water and Clif Blox and salt. I did two loops of most of the 10K route from Easton Y, minus a little part at the beginning. There's a lot of nice roads out there to explore - I'm glad to have my Garmin which will allow me to explore some of the other side roads on a long run next week and still know my distance and pace.

I was glad not to feel any lingering after-effects of the hot and nasty 7.5 miles I ran in the duathlon on Sunday. Speed and pounding definitely weren't my problems that day. But you can see from the map that yes, we have a little humidity around here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

They are targeting my weakness

How in the world do I get on the emailing lists to receive this stuff? I'm pretty sure some of my Athena competitors must be surreptitiously adding my email address to these lists.

Mmmm creamy crispety crunchety. . . . they're playing my song.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The data tells the tale

Yes, I was fully instrumented on Sunday when the meltdown occurred, just like Laika the Space Dog.
Here are our ambient conditions for race day, with the race starting at 7:05AM. On the way to the race I drove through several patches of fog so intense that I nearly had to stop. Notice the temperature and dew point going up in lockstep until 8:30? And hardly any breeze at all?

Here is the sad tale - heart rate in red, pace in blue. Heart rate climbing up past 175, despite my repeated and frequent attempts to bring it down, resulting in an ever-slower pace on the run course. That wouldn't have been a problem if I had been finished after the run - but there were still 45 miles to go in the event!

My heart rate while running during long-course events needs to look a lot more like this day, in the 150s and 160s. Going over 170 before the first mile was even finished was Bad News for Nancy.

Laika the Space Dog died from overheating and stress. Yes, that could have been me -- I think I could have put myself into some trouble if the weather had stayed the same and I had continued at a high effort level. My core temperature was probably rising throughout the run and with my surface-to-volume issues, I just don't dissipate heat as well as those skinnier folks.

Fortunately the humidity did start dropping just as soon as I stopped, but that temperature kept climbing. Only 2 women out of 46 starters (4%) had paces well above 10 min/mile on the first run leg of the duathlon. On the second run leg, 15 women of 43 finishers (35%) had paces above 10 min/mile. I'm surprised it wasn't more of them.

How I racked up another DNF

I stopped after the 12k run today at Blackwater Duathlon. Those folks were tough and fast - at 1 mile into the run (that I hit at 9:59) the other women looked like they were all a half mile or more in front of me! (Only I and one other woman finished the first 12k at a pace slower than 10 min/mile).

It was just too freaking hot for my state of fitness. I couldn't keep my heart rate under 170 and still jog. Too early in the day to race with a higher heart rate than 170, with 40 miles on the bike and 5 miles in the run yet to go. I had to keep dropping to a walk to get the heart rate under control. Started gettting goosebumps. I finished 12k in 1:23 (12:22 min/mile) with each mile dramatically slower than the last (plots to follow if I download them from my Garmin). I found my bike was the VERY LAST in T1. It actually started to go a little bit dark for a moment there in T1.

I figured that I'd have to walk most of the second run in order to finish. I just didn't have the gumption to want to walk the second run for 5 miles.

Instead I opted to ride my bike out (after I recovered a little) and work the last aid station during the run instead. I had MUCH more fun, and helped the other death marchers make it home.

I might have qualified for the World Championships if I had finished - there were only 3 finishers in my division. (And I hear the duathlon World Championships course in Richmond this year is pretty hilly and brutal.)

But that's racing. There's always next year!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The snake

Today I spotted this little guy (about 18 inches long) out in the garden so I caught him in a plastic container and brought him inside to show the girls. They were pretty astounded by him! We let him back loose and he went under the deck.

Now if I could only get Elisabeth over her panic when she sees bees (or flies that she thinks are bees). I don't know why she's suddenly sent into a major panic when she sees them, but she is.

In other news, I won the Prologue and I'm wearing the freakin' maillot jaune today. In a fantasy league. First place of 1378 teams! But in the Performance Bike fantasy league, I'm merely 510th out of 2616 teams after the Prologue. Although I'm eventually going to win that too.

Race tomorrow - forecasted high is 92*F along with over 40% humidity, no clouds. Pant, pant, pant.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I just saved a bunch of money....

. . . on my entry fee! By signing up almost 9 months early for the National Marathon next March in Washington, DC, I saved ten whole entire dollars. That (and Marine Corps Marathon in late October) will be my prep races for Big Sur at the end of April.

Barring injuries and the Chesapeake don't rise.

Registration: Wirefly National Marathon and Half Marathon
Purchase Date: 07/06/07
Category: Full Marathon 26.2 Miles
Event Date: 03/29/08

Glad they reminded me how freakin' far a marathon is. Damn, this one is 26.2 miles too.

Disco Dream Ride

THIS is funny.

That's me all over, a cycling underdog.



Just got back from jogging 5K around the neighborhood in the heat of the day. Heat Index was 89, which was hot but not too terrible, and still mild compared to what I will be racing with on Sunday. If I didn't have that race coming up and need to get a little more heat acclimated, I would have waited to do it in the cool of the day. If it had been longer I would have carried water. I went at a comfortable pace and wore my heart rate meter and checked it often.

Some idiot was out there running in one of those old-fashioned plastic sweat suits. That's INSANE. All that will do is get a person dehydrated and hyperthermic. I know of no legitimate use for them, with the possible exception of training for the Badwater Ultramarathon.

I think I just rolled my eyes a little and said, "Jeez, good way to get heat stroke."

He didn't answer. Probably too close to passing out to talk.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hardware and stuff

I received my hardware from the 2007 Eagleman half Ironman today!!

Well, gosh, if I had a pickup with a gun case and a collection of deer head trophies, it would look right at home with them, wouldn't it? First time I've seen a silver eagle that wasn't on a coin, I think. Yeah, last year's was much nicer. Well, still, I'd rather have that than a crappy badly-run race with cool hardware, like Geekgirl, you know?

And since I'm posting photos, here's an obligatory few of my cuties, since you all haven't seen them in a while.

This (below) was at dinner at the very casual outdoor patio at our local yacht club for my fiftieth birthday. Hmm, maybe it's time for that chin lift, eh? ;-)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Blackwater course revision!

Ack! The course was changed. The bike leg is now 66 km, not 73 km.

Let's see, that's 41.01 miles, which should take under 2:25 at 17.0 mph.

Which gives me 15 extra minutes! Yay, I should definitely be able to finish under 5 hours!!

OK, let's make it 4:45. Which isn't nearly as tidy a number.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blackwater Duathlon goal

OK, got out for a 5-mile run around the neighborhood and I was still coughing, but I got it done. I may just be able to finish this duathlon coming up Sunday if I don't catch another virus by then!

Here's the ideal plan:

12km run/7.45 mile run @ <11:00 min/mile = under 1:22

T1: Under 2

73 km bike/45.36 mile bike @ >17.0 mph = under 2:40

T2: Under 2

8 km run/4.97 mile run @ <11:00 min/mile = under 54

Total: Under 5:00

I didn't cook the numbers to get that result, but it's a nice neat one. I'll go for it. Under five hours it is.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Tour is coming!

The 2007 Tour de France begins on July 7 - this coming Saturday!

I mention this for a few reasons.

This blog might be kind of quiet in July, because during Le Tour I spend a lot of time on my other Lanterne Rouge blog, plus I've also been spending some time working on the new TdFWiki.

And I officially hate Holly because she gets to go to London to watch the start of the Tour. Even though she designed a stunning, awesome header for my Lanterne Rouge blog.

Riding bare

No, not bare like that.

Today I did a little experiment by riding in my unpadded Lycra running shorts, to see if that might be an option for my duathlon next Sunday. It's definitely going to be long (12 km - 73 km - 8 km), and it's probably going to be hot.

It would be nice if I could get away with just wearing my running shorts for the whole thing and not having to run in bike shorts with a big wad of padding up my butt. Well, actually my favorite cycling shorts aren't too bad to run in, but if I could leave off the padding I'd be just as happy.

I learned today that I can leave off the padding for bike rides up to 26 miles. It worked okay, meaning only the average amount of chafing and no horrendous weeping sores nor blisters nor gaping bleeding holes where they don't belong nor horrific amounts of bruising.

But on longer rides I don't know. One or more of those things might happen.

My duathlon involves a 45-mile ride.