Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Catherine and I did our usual morning routine - she watched her favorite PBS Kids shows (Curious George, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood), while I drank a ton of coffee and caught up on email.
When Elisabeth woke up we had breakfast of scrambled (or "crumbled", as Catherine calls them) eggs and bananas and grapes and yogurt. Elisabeth was cranky and ate little. She grumpily shook her head "no" when I asked her if she wanted to go to school.
We went anyway, and she was all happy when the teacher arrived to take her to class. Catherine and I went to Walmart and bought big things of paper towels and toilet paper and diapers and two cheap plastic flutes (fun for Catherine, therapeutic for Elisabeth). Then we split an order at "Old McDonald's" and saved some fries for Elisabeth. We had extra time and the day was warming up so Catherine got a half hour to play on the school playground. I watched her laugh and run in the late winter sunshine and wished I could remember it forever. The big kids came out to play and scared her a little, but our time was almost up anyway. We picked up Elisabeth and she was all smiles and playful laughter coming out of school. Elisabeth tried to sing along with the CD in the car on the way home, while Catherine knows most of the words but sings them off-key and half a stanza late.
We drove home and the babysitter arrived soon after and I was able to go out for a nice slow jog 5K run, my slowest of the year (38:12) which is just fine for this taper week before my half marathon on Sunday. I caught come glimpses of the swans floating peacefully in the river in the golden late afternoon sun. I finished up and returned, paid the babysitter, gave the girls dinner (partly reheated french fries), had them brush their teeth (which surprisingly didn't result in too many complaints today) and read them stories ("Guess How Much I Love You" and "The Big Red Barn") and they jumped on their beds and defied sleep for a half an hour before they finally succumbed.
After they quieted down at last, I indulged in a glass of limoncello and soda and watched a fabulous cycling movie, Hollentour (Hell on Wheels). Great way to cap off the day.
Today was just like a lot of my days. A quiet, normal, sane, peaceful, drama-free, perfectly wonderful day.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
I can't say that I was thinking such nice things during the actual running part - more like I was just running hard to try to catch him so that I could stick a knife in his back and make him stop haranging me - but I'm glad to have it done and in the books. Now I feel ready to take on the half marathon distance again at next weekend's race and run it as hard as I can.
Happy Birthday David!! Thanks for kicking my butt!!
Friday, February 23, 2007
When we walked out on the front steps yesterday in the dead of winter, she said "Where are the caterpillars?"
I think she meant the caterpillars that were there in abundance last summer, about 7 months ago. Like 1/6th of her life ago. I never expect a 3-year-old to remember that long ago, but they sure do!
A couple of weeks ago we were driving through downtown Easton and she asked "Where are the Christmas trees?". We happened to be passing a corner park (now empty) where they displayed some decorated Christmas trees in December, that we drove past perhaps once or twice. I tend to think that she's not that aware of her surroundings when she's riding in the car, but she doesn't miss a thing!
Then last Friday when we were driving away from picking up Elisabeth at school and heading towards Virginia instead of taking the usual route home, immediately after the intersection where I went the new, unfamiliar direction, she asked me "Mommy, where are you going?"
They're aware of a lot more than I give them credit for!! I can only assume that Elisabeth is aware of just as much, and remembers it, but just can't express it yet.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
B&A Trail Half Marathon: 04 March 07
National Half Marathon: 24 March 07
Ocean City Half Marathon: 07 April 07
Bridge to Bridge Half: 21 April 07
I just need to line up one more race within 3 weeks of that time, or do one more Personal Nancy Toby Half Marathon to make it official. If I do my own run, I'll have to document it fully with my Garmin and post it here to make it a "real half marathon".
Five half marathons within ten weeks as part of my fiftieth year celebrations. Should be fun!!! (Yeah, my idea of fun has shifted in recent years, too).
Sunday, February 18, 2007
And did you get a load of that FELT that Jason Donald of Slipstream rode to his amazing 2nd-place finish?
That's a distant cousin of my bike Buttercup. Go FELT!
Which begs the question, why does his Felt go fast and mine doesn't? It must be those fancy race wheels he has and I don't. No doubt about it.
Seen alongside my old saddle (below), it's quite similar, but I'm hoping that it will redistribute the forces in a slightly more comfortable way with denser gel over a slightly surface larger area. *fingers crossed*
Elisabeth loves my old helmet. Maybe I shouldn't buy a new one quite yet.
Catherine enjoyed some corn on the cob with gusto last night. It was some of that new pre-packaged pre-washed microwave-in-the-bag stuff. Quick and easy to fix, certainly, but it tasted weirdly too sugary to me. I'll try nuking regular corn-on-the-cob the next time instead.
I've done the race three times, so the course is very familiar: some hills and turns through a residential neighborhood up front for the first 3 miles, then flat rail-trail up to mile 6, big long hills for a mile at the turnaround, then pancake-flat on back to the finish line.
Last three times on the course:
2006: 2:36:23 (half marathon PR)
While I think my general fitness is better than a year ago, I haven't done any long runs over 7 miles in several months. So that second half of the course is a question mark right now. BUT my training partner David has promised to pace me on course, which should really help me keep pushing myself when I normally start to fade.
Looking at some numbers:
2006 time: 2:36:23 = 11:56 min/mile pace
Sub-2:30 = 11:27 min/mile pace
2:24:06 = 11:00 min/mile pace
Time predicted by my 10k times = 2:20:19 or 10:42 min/mile pace
What I've told David is that we should try to stick to an 11:00 mpm pace, but no faster. I'm hoping that will give me a strong start and that I can simply hang on for the last six or seven miles without losing too much time. I've been able to maintain that pace fairly comfortably on recent flat training runs up to 5 to 7 miles, but we'll just have to wait until race day to see if I'm able to maintain it over a few hills and over a longer distance without falling apart. Does that sound reasonable to you - fairly aggressive pace for me, without going out crazy-fast?
A sub-2:30 finish would make me a very happy runner!! Wouldn't that be a great way to celebrate my second blogversary and surpassing the 100,000 blog hit mark!??
Saturday, February 17, 2007
- $1000 fundraising minimum seems steep to me in this particular instance
- Their target race is one I'm not doing (Baltimore Marathon - have already run it and don't intend to again, most likely, although I could do the half marathon there as a training run)
- Supports a program I don't have a personal stake in, so it's hard to get excited about
- I'm not sure the program leaders have much actual race experience
Truthfully, while I'm very happy to support friends who are "going the extra mile" in fundraising for various worthy charities while doing their races, I'm not sure I see much sense in people donating money for me to do a race I was going to do anyway. I guess I don't see the connection.
However, one piece of good news: My "old" friends Linae and Shawn picked up a guaranteed entry for Marine Corps Marathon for me for this coming October 28th, which is the marathon I intended to run (for the second time), so I won't have to be waiting by the computer on registration day. Thanks, ladies, and congratulations on great runs at the Gasparilla 15K today!
On the way heading south we were riding into the wind and you can see my heart rate climbing and climbing as my pace declines steadily. The wind was increasing as we rode, up to about 10 mph with gusts to 15 mph. You can see a squiggle where we rode over the Knapps Narrows bridge (at miles 16 and 21) and then got into the shelter of the wind a little bit on the island.
After the turnaround (visible in the graph at about Mile 19) we were able to pick up the pace a little with the wind at our backs, but the last five miles I totally bonked. I was feeling tired and my back ached and my heart rate went nuts while my pace went into the gutter. It's nice to have the heart rate data after the fact, though, so I know I wasn't totally dogging it at the end - even though I was going slowly my heart said I was still working hard! That, dear readers, is what a bonk looks like!
Fortunately David, who is training for Ironman Coeur d'Alene next June, was able to ride off the front and get a little faster workout in before the end of the day to deposit in his account in the Bank of Ironman!
Friday, February 16, 2007
- "I hate exercise." Chronic laziness! Now I hate it when I take an unscheduled day off.
- "I hate running." Now I enjoy it. Knowing that I'm making progress with each step helps. Ambitious race goals also help.
- "I hate running in the rain/cold/heat." There are still lots of days when it's not my favorite weather, but now it's a very rare day that I'll reschedule a workout due to weather.
- "I especially hate running on the track." Now I choose to run on the track once or twice per week - yes, it sometimes gets boring, but more often I find it relaxing and often inspiring. Certainly very convenient for me and safer than the roads when I run in the dark. I like to monitor my pace and use the track for intervals.
- "I hate swimming laps." Now it's a treat to have a solid hour free to spend in the pool working on my stroke.
There is one I'm hanging on to, though. I can't change everything!
- "I hate getting up early." But I do it anyway.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Average pace for 7.01 miles, according to Ms. Garmin, was 11.51 min/mile. If I can keep that pace up on the B&A Trail Half Marathon in 2.5 weeks, that will give me a PR by 1 solid minute. But I'm definitely not counting any PR chickens yet! PRs are gifts from the Race Gods and happen according to their whim. PRs can be prepared for, the groundwork can be laid for them, but they cannot be summoned at will. But it should help a lot to have my training buddy David there who has volunteered to pace me, I hope! He does a pretty good job of flogging me along!
Good news! I found out a runner-mom is organizing a marathon training group from April to October to benefit the local after-school program. Since I was planning on running Marine Corps Marathon this fall anyway, this may be a great opportunity to line up some more local running buddies and get to know a few more of my neighbors - and maybe even follow a consistent and logical marathon training program for a novel approach for my 10th marathon! I checked her past results on Athlinks (I LOVE that site!) and she's done Marine Corps in a not-too-shabby 4:32. I'd better call her tomorrow!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
We even beat La Jolla which was #9, and the Outer Banks at #10, so there.
But it doesn't seem nearly as romantic when the streets and harbor are covered with ice, and we don't have a fireplace nor a hot tub at home.
I do, however, have melted red crayons on the carpet underneath the baseboard heater. And two little gremlins who try to sing the Barney "I love you" song to their Mommy. That's good for something.
The girls enjoyed opening some Valentine's Day cards from grandma. How's this for a Hallmark moment? Thanks, grandma!!
As for me, for a seasonal activity, I get to figure out how to get out red crayon that some nasty gremlin put inside the baseboard heater that melted and dripped down onto the carpet. I've been looking around the Internet for cleaning ideas, and they all look tedious. Little monsters!!!!
No, I'm not going to attempt to run or bike on slippery icy roads outside. Maybe it's time to set up the bike trainer again. My training buddies are reminding me that I have a half marathon to run in 2 1/2 weeks - ack! I haven't run anything over 5 or 6 miles yet this year! Maybe the subsequent half marathons will get easier. Can I hope?
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
This is what Elisabeth is bringing to school tomorrow (if there isn't a snow day) along with some chocolate-peanut butter treats for all the kids and teachers in her class. They're not too bad - I had one today, and duly logged the 200 calories. Catherine ate a couple and loved them. I figured Valentine's cards were kind of superfluous, since they can't read yet anyway.
We're combatting the Food Nazis in the trenches of the public school system, day by day. We shall overcome.
Ack! I just realized - peanut butter in the candies! Some people go berserk about peanut products because of allergic kids. I'd better warn the teacher. Sigh. Oh well, at least they're individually wrapped and labeled.
I just received an email for the Discovery Health National Body Challenge with the subject header, "Will This Spring Find You "Fit To Be Eyed"? There's Still Time!" filled with urgent statements like, "The time to get fit is now!"
1) Is there a rush? A deadline? Doesn't this simply encourage people to crash diet, over-exercise, and make short-term changes that they'll never be able to live with?
2) Is this all about what someone looks like? Or is it about health? There's a big difference.
Still, everyone has to start somewhere. But fix-it-quick strategies are not generally conducive to long-term healthy lifestyle changes.
Monday, February 12, 2007
That's out of 1201 of us old ladies who actually paid an annual membership and made it to the finishing line not just ONCE, but TWICE!
So there you go.
That proves I'm a REAL triathlete, right?
*Note: Those numbers are pretty obscure. USAT says: "The “par” time is calculated by taking the pacesetter’s finish time in the race multiplied by the pacesetter’s ranking and then divided by 100. We then drop the top and bottom 20% in order to create the most accurate “par” time as possible. Now that the par time has been calculated, it can be used to calculate a ranking for every participant. This is done by taking the “par” time in minutes divided by the member’s finishing time and then multiplied by 100 to calculate the athlete’s event ranking."
I want this. It would go perfectly with my bike Buttercup. Michellie Jones wears one, don't I deserve one too?
I just want to go on the record that I truly hate the March issue of Inside Triathlon. It's a gear guide that has me salivating.
And don't I need some new wheels too? How much would some extra speed cost? Their cheapest ones listed are $1300 per pair. Sigh.
I did order some new multi-lens cycling sunglasses on sale ($20) today (I'd like some fancier ones but I just keep breaking them), as well as a new saddle, a Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow on sale for $80. I've had continual saddle problems for the last 3000-some miles, despite trying numerous models and making various fitting adjustments. I'm hoping some denser gel in a higher-quality leather saddle will fix it. Please.
Although I did conclude that only a guy would name a bike saddle Flow. Flow, whether light or heavy, is not a positive image for women when thinking about their bike saddle. Don't get me started ranting about the cycling industry. . . .
Saturday, February 10, 2007
But the worst cold day outside on the bike is still better than the best day indoors on the bike trainer, by a long shot! We checked out the ice on the waterfront, saw a couple of hawks, and talked to my training partner David's brother-in-law the waterman, who was out working on his boat.
Friday, February 09, 2007
I was trying to compose a rant today. I need a good rant. Maybe I should rant about popular culture and how it sucks and I've got their number and how superior I am to all that. And how I hate it when Survivor is boring. Or maybe I could rant about government and how they're screwing everything up and they should all just go home and leave us alone. Or maybe I could rant about Big Food and how they're all trying to poison us and simultaneously addict us to their products. Or maybe I could rant about Big Pharma and how they're all trying to give our kids autism.
I can only compose good rants about things I truly believe in.
Instead I'll just rant about how it sucks to have sick kids at home.
It sucks having to get up at 5AM to the sound of puking.
It also sucks having your whole house smell like vomit and having to strip the beds and wash everything that was sprayed with projectile puke, including half the stuffed animals.
It especially sucks cleaning coagulated milk barf off the couch.
That is all.
Update: It's nearly noon and my two girls are having a jumping competition on the (newly made) beds and launching a "Hopping Parade" down the hallway now and then. Earlier Catherine was crawling around on the floor and insisting that she was a dog with a tail and wagging her little butt. I think they're fine, although I think it's remotely possible that I gave them food poisoning by not heating their chicken nuggets enough last night. Whoops! Catherine also insisted on tomato slices in her bowl of Froot Loops this morning, which would probably make any normal person vomit. As for me, I'm exhausted.
I'm torn. I was hoping to do the almost-half-iron triathlon that they have held with it in the past, but that's not being offered this year. They are still having the 2.4-mile swim and the 2.4/112 mile swim-bike Aqua Velo.
The last two times I was in the midst of them, I said I never wanted to do a 2.4-mile swim ever, ever again. After an hour in open water with a long way yet to go it doesn't seem like so much fun any more. Sigh.
But according to local triathlete Jude Apple, "Peak high tide is at 6:04AM and it is a relatively high one at that (1.7 ft above mean low water). This means that from about 6:15 on you will have a westward (downstream) current. . . . you should have a "tailwind" the whole way."
So. . . . maybe I'll think about it again if I have really good swims at Columbia and Eagleman. Fortunately this gem of a race hasn't been discovered by the multitudes yet and registration won't close too early to decide to enter. Then again, I can always volunteer, right?
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Blog of the Gods: Where He does His regular blogging just like you and me
Advice from God: Just in case you'd like to pose any inquiries to the Big Guy Upstairs
Elisabeth had a scheduled day off school today anyway, so the snow didn't give us a bonus day. Just having a slow day around the house, baking bread. This was the view out the living room window this morning, but it's 3/4 melted off now. Between those houses across the street is our little sliver of "Water View" which right now is "Ice View".
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
So I'm in no way trying to be funny when I talk about this Problem I have.
The Problem happens during afternoon runs.
You see, Command Central has determined that the official standard time to jettison excess cargo is from 0700 to 0800. That schedule can be over-ridden and moved up only for very special mission-critical functions, like races. Never moved back.
And the jettison process is NEVER EVER supposed to initiate from 1630 to 1730 when running is on the schedule.
Somebody over-rode the damn failsafe switch. Two or three times now. Heads are going to roll.
And NO, I'm not going to start wearing diapers like the astronauts do on launch or re-entry or when driving from Houston to Orlando to threaten romantic rivals. (Uh, she has twin girls too, btw. I'd vouch for an insanity defense).
Timed 5K runs, that is. My first ten out of my plan for fifty-plus 5Ks for the year.
Here are the numbers -- days of the year and decimal minutes for my 5Ks:
I'm not bragging or complaining, they are what they are. One thing I know, it's quite hard to push yourself very hard around the track for 12.5 solo laps, time after time! Especially when you're essentially an undisciplined lazy person!!!
Monday, February 05, 2007
"10 Reasons Why Cycling Kicks the Super Bowl's Ass"
which probably should be required reading for any of you who sat like blobs on a couch all afternoon yesterday watching some bunch of overpaid morons run around on a football field while you stuffed your face.
Not that I'm biased, or anything. . . .
What's your score?
(No fair if you actually LIVE in Europe, this is more for my American and Canadian friends).
I'm embarrassed to admit that my first-round score was 76%.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
My husband reported in an email to family on the surprise she gave us:
"I wanted to report something unusual. Elisabeth, as you remember, loves to sit on my lap, as well as showing considerable snuggliness when she crawls into bed with Nancy in the morning. Well, on Friday or Saturday, she climbed into my lap and before turning around to make herself comfortable, she poked me in the chest and said "Em", rather distinctly. I didn't at first appreciate what had happened. I looked more carefully and realized that she was poking precisely the middle of the big "M" on my University of Michigan T-shirt, and besides, with her other hand, she was trying to make the ASL sign for the letter M. Of course she's been watching the alphabet videos that Catherine has been using to learn most of the alphabet, but neither of us realized that she could recognize letters. Nancy tested her after I left and reports that she also recognizes the letter A. It's also notable that she is able to say the "Em" sound.
Let's see if this is the beginning of her learning to talk. Even if it isn't, it's another reason to be confident that her problem isn't cognitive. Not if she can recognize letters at age 3!"
I do watch a lot of men's professional cycling on TV when the Tour de France is on. It's the only team sport (and yes, it's most definitely a team sport in which the team gets next to zero public credit) in which I have any interest at all. This year I'll try to catch a few other races on Versus (all times EST):
Tour of California:
Prologue: Sunday, February 18th (5pm-7pm EST)
Stage 1: Monday, February 19th (11pm-12am EST)
Stage 2: Tuesday, February 20th (11pm-12am EST)
Stage 3: Wednesday, February 21st (11pm-12am EST)
Stage 4: Thursday, February 22nd (11pm-12am EST)
Stage 5: Friday, February 23rd (11pm-12am EST)
Stage 6: Saturday, February 24th (11pm-12am EST)
Stage 7: Sunday, February 25th (5pm-7pm EST)
Criterium International - April 1 @ 5 PM
Ronde van Vlaanderen - April 8 @ 7 PM
Paris-Roubaix - April 15 @ 5 PM
Amstel Gold - April 22 @ 5 PM
Tour de Georgia - April 28 @ 4 PM and April 29 @ 5 PM
Liege-Bastogne-Liege - April 29 @ 5 PM
La Fleche Wallone - April 29 @ 5 PM
Tour de Suisse - June 11 and June 18 @ 5 PM
Tour de France - July 7 - 29, Live AM coverage with nighttime reruns
Paris-Tours - October 14 @ 5 PM
Tour du Faso - November 25 @ 5 PM
No coverage of the Giro or the Vuelta!? Sigh. And let me know if you ever see any women's professional cycling broadcast, ever. I don't think I have, although I'd love to.
No cycling for me this weekend, either. It was below my "too-cold-threshold" of about 30*F when eyes water and any skin exposed to the wind gets pretty darned uncomfortable on the bike. I just went out for a little 5K jog around the neighborhood all bundled up and came back home to soak in a hot bath.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
It seems I had a little upwards heart rate creep even while my pace slowed down slightly by the end. I wonder if there would have been less heart rate creep if I had carried water and didn't get very slightly dehydrated by the end. I'll check that another day!
It did pick up the one time I walked at about 0.75 miles to remove and stow my headband after I warmed up. Darn, can't put anything past these devices!!!
Hmm, I may not get in any biking at all this week. Just a little too cold to be enjoyable outdoors (high of 32*F and windy) and I'd rather pull out my fingernails than ride it on the trainer tonight, to tell the truth, mostly because I don't have a good DVD to watch tonight.
Friday, February 02, 2007
I'm thinking up all this dreadful stuff about how maybe she had an aneurysm from a congenital brain abnormality and lost all vision in one eye and the world is going dark and she needs to be rushed into the emergency room.
Instead I think she meant she had a stray eyelash in her eye.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
My January totals:
Swim: 8900 yards (4 swims)
Bike: 120 miles (all but ~10 outside)
Run: 35 miles (including 8 timed 5Ks on the track)
Walk: 9 miles (I just started logging these separately this year)
It's been a quiet, relaxing month. Where's the angst!? No Scimitar of Ironman dangling over my head, the late-spring triathlons are still comfortably far away, and I've mostly enjoyed my workouts instead of kicking myself out the door to get them done. I've been concentrating on the nutrition side this month but not making a lot of headway in poundage, though I've been gradually incorporating more fruits and veggies in the diet - trying to form a new habit by logging five different ones per day instead of approximately zero is something I have to pay a lot of attention to.
I tried something new yesterday which was pretty tasty - Green Giant frozen premixed Lo Mein. Now I usually think of mostly noodles with Lo Mein, and this was mostly veggies with a few scant noodles, but it still tasted good. Mostly frozen broccoli and carrots with a big frozen packet of sauce. Very quick and easy to make - I just thin-sliced some sirloin (it called for chicken or pork, but beef was still good) and stir-fried it in a pan (I even added some diced orange peppers) and added the stuff and it's done in about 10-15 min. Ate a huge half-the-pan portion for not too terribly many calories (500 or so) and saved the rest. My girls even liked it (which means it wasn't very hot-spicy). I'll buy it again! (Especially when the nearest Asian restaurant is a dozen miles away.)
Ran a nice peaceful 5-miler today on the roads at a very comfortable 12 min/mile pace. ACK! My new Garmin Forerunner was out of juice already, so I wasn't able to use it! I hope I didn't get a unit with a faulty battery? Re-charging now and hoping for better days ahead.
Maybe a snow day tomorrow. . . .