Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Those 2009 goals

I haven't organized myself enough to write out 2009 goals for myself. I just ordered 3 new calendars from Staples and I'm waiting for them to arrive, probably Friday. I jokingly put out a call on one of my lists to have someone write my goals for me - and I got back a list from Lee C. that was pretty good:

"Here you are, Nancy":

1. Don't do no DNF no mo'
2. Swim: 100,000 yards (~2100 yd/week average/ 48 wks)
3. Bike: 2500 miles (~52 miles/week average/ 48 wks)
4. Run: 1000 miles (~20 miles/week average/ 48 wks)
5. No pukes during races
6. Sub 16 hour Ironman
7. Sub 7 hour half IM
8. PRs at all distances
9. 9 Tequila shots
10. 10 Yummy margaritas

My reaction: Not bad at all for a first stab at it!! That 100,000 yards gives me pause, but the rest looks do-able. Except I don't have any half IMs on the schedule. I do have a marathon which wasn't exactly well-planned... a sub-5-hour marathon would be very speedy for me, so maybe I'll substitute that. I'll post again on this topic in a few days. I think I'm looking at weekly targets of:

Swim: 2112+ yards
Bike: 56+ miles
Run: 13.1+ miles
Weekly speedwork
Weekly weight training

Most of you will recognize those as the half Ironman distances. Good for minimums.

Outcome goals: I aspire to these performance goals as a result of the training (above), body composition work, and pushing hard on race day:

Sub-16-hour Ironman finish
Sub-5-hour marathon
Sub-2:15 half marathon
Sub-hour 10k

I've come close on all of those, but never quite did it. I believe that I can do better than those times, but let's proceed stepwise.

Let's make it so in 2009.

And oh yeah, I forgot one: NO BRONCHITIS IN 2009!

2008 by the numbers

Shawn set the example for me, so here it is:

All distances down this year:
Swim: 59,082 yards or 33.6 miles (1136 yards/wk)
Bike: 1660 miles (31.9 miles/wk)
Run: 580 miles (11.1 miles/wk)

Rounds of bronchitis that halted training: 3
Pukes during races: 2 that I recall (Eagleman)

5ks: 3
5-milers: 1
10ks: 1 standalone
15ks: 1
10-milers: 1
Half marathons: 4 (#33-#36) including 1 half-iron duathlon
Marathons: 0

Olympic tris: 3
Half IMs started and not finished: 2 (1 DNF, 1 turned into duathlon)

PRs: 4 running (mile, 5k, 5 mile, 15k), 1 Olympic swim split; 1 half IM cycling split; 1 Olympic 10k split

New events: 5k, 10k, 40k ITT; 40 k road race; Muddy Buddy (not counted for PRs until they're repeated and bettered)

Tequila shots: 0
Yummy margaritas: Maybe 4 or 5 this year
Pounds lost: I think I broke almost exactly even for the year

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wintery scenes

The last lights of Hanukkah:

And the cozy pub in town where we ate a lovely quiet dinner tonight:

In anticipation of a resurgence of motivation after January 1st (and a price increase), I signed up for another marathon today. A little local one in May. I wonder how long it will take before the "WHAT THE HE!! WAS I THINKING!??" thoughts start intruding into my brain. Probably they will begin on the first longer run.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last 5k of the year?

I ran 12.5 laps of the track today, which I usually count as 5k. I'm always slower there than on the roads with my Garmin or in races, but it is what it is. First lap was a warmup and then I picked up the pace from there. Finish time for the approximate 5k was 35:43.

Want some bacon?

Here you go:

Of course, you can put some bacon on your favorite website too by going to and just modifying the URL.
This is how I waste time and avoid training. And cleaning house.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 totals

Somehow I've logged 52 weeks of workouts in my sidebar, though the year isn't quite over yet. I'm not sure these numbers add up but these are the 2008 totals that I have on my Excel log:
  • Swim: 59,082 yards or 33.6 miles (1136 yards/wk)
  • Bike: 1660 miles (31.9 miles/wk)
  • Run: 577 miles (11.1 miles/wk)

I can't find my 2007 totals right now, but those are all way down from 2006 when I was training for Ironman Florida.

2006 swim: 90 miles (3040 yards/wk)
2006 bike: 2776 miles (53 miles/wk)
2006 run: 713 miles (13.6 miles/wk)

Those numbers took some big hits this year for 3 rounds of bronchitis, and the swimming has been down lately because of nasty reactions to poolwater, so hopefully we will avoid those problems in the new year. Additionally, I have essentially stopped doing longer 2-hour-plus workouts. I will crank up the volume again in 2009 for sure when I expect to exceed those 2006 numbers. The year-end totals sound like a lot of distance to make up, but with only 3 more hours of workouts per week I would get there.

Bike ride

Mile 16 - my usual rest and refueling stop

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Out on the bike

Mile 6
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas fun

The presents were stacked by the tree. . . .

At night the transformation was made, from simple table and chairs that they had opened previously. . . .

Via a late night of work and grandpa's generosity. . . .

To a dual computer workstation that they immediately started using. They had more fun with it today than it looks, and took right to using them both, even though Elisabeth was running a nasty fever.

Catherine also enjoyed performing magic spells with the new dress-up princess items that grandma sent.
As for me - I got just what I asked for! A backup hard drive for my computer. The girls surprised me with the necklace from their "Santa's Workshop" at school.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In today's news!

Before the AP wires pick up the story, I thought I would break this important news item from Maryland's eastern shore. Catherine won the local newspaper coloring contest! She did it all herself. (They could probably figure out that I helped her with the spelling of her address, but that's all).

They print a whole page of submissions like this periodically, but this is the first time that Catherine entered. It's a nice community service of the local paper.

I tried to ignore the small print about how they select the winners randomly.

Merry Christmas, one and all!

(Catherine is going around the house today singing, "Deck the halls with lots of holly, lalalalala....")

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Festivus, everyone!

Today - Festivus! - is the day for feats of strength! Okay, I'm game!

And after that, in the holiday tradition, I have a few grievances that I'd like to air. . . .

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Nature's gift to us this morning: a big ice storm.

I think this is the first gift that we've gotten from Catherine that she wrapped herself. And subsequently adorned with stickers.

One of our gifts to the girls (a child-size wooden table and chairs): assembled and badly wrapped last night, occupying the middle of the floor where it really can't be moved until it's unwrapped.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I miss the sun

Many folks I know were grumbling earlier this fall about the time changes. Looking outside this morning exactly one hour before our usual departure to walk to school, it was absolutely pitch black-as-night. I'm glad we don't have to be out walking in that! It's about 15 minutes after sunrise when we start walking now.

Sunset is just two hours after the end of the school day.

I'm just glad that:
a) I don't live any farther north than I do; and
b) the sun is soon returning.

Bring back the sun!

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 PRs: Year in review

I thought this topic deserved its own post!

I just finished my last race of the year.

I end up 2008 with PRs at the mile (8:44), 5k (28:00), and 15k (1:40:22) distances.

My new events for 2008 (not counted for PRs until I beat my initial performance): 5k, 10k, and 40k cycling individual time trials; 40 km cycling road race; and Muddy Buddy; as well as finishing the Annapolis Striders Championship Series of running races (7th/9 qualifiers out of 23 AG participants).

In triathlon, I didn't hit any overall PRs, but I had my fastest Olympic-distance swim leg (1500m in 33:18), fastest half-Ironman bike leg (56 miles in 3:23:22), and fastest Olympic-distance run leg (10k in 1:09:34).

(I'm not counting Steelhead duathlon which should have been a half Ironman).

Still haven't cracked that sub-hour 10k time that I've been wanting to, but I only ran one standalone 10k this year, shortly after coming back from pneumonia. Oh well. I'm not sure I'll run any standalone 10ks in 2009, so that goal will just have to wait a while.

Hooray for running faster and for trying new things!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quiet Waters Anniversary 15k Race Report

I ran my HILLY HILLY 15k race today on NARROW WINDY PATHS in an Annapolis, Maryland park in 1:40:22, or a 10:47 min/mile pace.

I'm very pleased with that result! It's 11 1/2 minutes off my EXTREMELY soft 15k PR from the Gasparilla Distance Classic in 2005. I don't think I've run any other 15km races - my attempt at this race last year ended up in an ignominious DNF due to a severe cramp.

I ran faster at the distance ONCE - for my half marathon PR on a perfect-weather day on a perfect-weather course with no walking at all. This pace is faster than my best 10 miler pace (10:59), though.

AND this was a very hilly course that required quite a number of walk breaks from me - at least 3 for water and 4-5 to get up steep hills and catch my breath!

I really struggled through those last couple of miles - glad I had my training buddy Pace-Guy Dave to keep me moving!! (We missed Janice out there, who was silly enough to choose to run the Honolulu Marathon instead.) But doing well on a hilly course today means that my fitness levels aren't quite as bad as I thought. All this bronchitis this year had me thinking I was going to be much slower!

It's my last race for the year and the last race in the Annapolis Striders Championship 8-race series for the year. It's possible that I moved up a notch or so from my 8th place in the AG standings, but I'm happy with just finishing the series!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lance watches Ironman

Lance Armstrong's Twitter feed today:

Christmastime cycling

One of our local triathletes, Mike Keene, made a great showing today in the local Christmas parade! I have no idea how he gets up on that thing.

There are always a lot of boats around here, in or out of the water.

Even the President put in an appearance. Well, a former president. Dick Cheney wasn't around town this year.

Grandpa is visiting this weekend and enjoyed the parade as much as the girls did, I think!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back on track

Every time I have a bout of bronchitis I seem to get slower. I'm still coughing now and then but I'm about 95% recovered this round. So I went over to the track to get a little slightly faster jogging done today.

But I just didn't have it today. (It was unseasonably warm, too: 63*F and windy). Mile repeats were:
  • 12:33
  • 10:44
  • 10:40
  • 12:59

The "fast" two in the center were about the times of my slow two in September. Oh well. It's all good. I just have to stay healthy and keep laying down the miles and they'll come around.

Whew, I have a 15k race on Sunday - I haven't run that long in ages. Last year I cramped up so badly on this course that I had to stop - I'll take the first couple of miles pretty slowly this time out there. Slow finish times are better than DNFs.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Back running

Finally got back out on the roads today after 12 days off running completely. Fortunately, I think my no-running strategy was successful this time for getting rid of bronchitis and not having it stick around indefinitely and turn into pneumonia.

It felt good. Time to start catching up on my mileage again.

The only problem today was the cold! And not to my fingers and toes and ears. I have a dental problem right now that makes me acutely sensitive to cold - such that breathing in the cold air gives me a nice sharp ice pick to the side of the face. No fun. Hopefully my "angry nerve" (as the dentist puts it) will calm down in another few days.

Farewell, Athenas

Like my Athena friends, it's become quite unlikely that I'll ever elect to participate in another NAS race: They have eliminated the Athena and Clydesdale divisions.

I usually make a point of supporting the Athena division in races because I believe in it. Body weight, pure and simple, increases the metabolic cost of locomotion. Athena and Clydesdale divisions simply allow more competitive body-weight groupings of athletes in triathlon and road racing, just as it does in martial arts, weightlifting, wrestling, and other sports in which body weight strongly influences athletic performance. Body weight is a far greater influence on performance than 5 or even 10-year age groupings.

In Beach 2 Battleship iron-distance triathlon that I've entered next year, I've entered as an age-grouper, since they offer age-weight divisions only for men (open Clydesdales and Masters Clydesdales) and only one weight class for women (Athenas all ages). However, they only had two Athena entrants last year.

I just wish there was a strong advocacy group in place for weight-class athletes. However, since naturally few of them make it into the overall awards, they tend to become second-class marginalized participants in triathlon. NAS will find there are few pro triathletes objecting to this decision, I'm sure.

First they came for the Clydesdales and Athenas . . . then for the challenged athletes . . . then for the older age-groupers. . . .

Friday, December 05, 2008

Pedometer watch review - in progress

I've been contacted by a few companies about reviewing their products on this blog, but I've never done it before for schwag until I was offered a pedometer watch. Wow, sure! I'll give it a try, I said - hmm, maybe it would work in the pool to measure distance and I could even use it on open-water swims to measure distance since I can't do that with my non-waterproof Garmin.

So I while back I received a tech40 fitness watch and tried it out in the pool a few times. Well, unfortunately, I did have a few problems with it swimming (which isn't surprising since it's not really designed for that). The numbers are too small for me to read with my swim goggles on, and it has some fairly complicated sub-menus so I wasn't able to calibrate it without numerous references to the instruction manual.

But I'm still working on it. I'll still attempt to re-calibrate it for swimming and if that doesn't work well, I'll try it out for a regular pedometer.

I do appreciate the tech40 company's interest in real-world testing and independent review of their products! That's always a good sign! So I'll post more about it later some time.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Christmas Concert

It's the most important night of the school year so far for the two kindergarten classes! It was just as sweet as you might imagine. They sang Jingle Bells, Snow is Falling (on my head, on my nose, on my hands, on my toes, all with appropriate gestures), and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.


She's so excited about singing in their school holiday concert tonight that she wants to leave for school 90 minutes early.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, December 01, 2008

I don't think so!

Why, oh why, am I suddenly getting numerous spam emails advertising this product every day? While I'm simultaneously seeing TV commercials for it every time I turn on the set?

AS IF I want to spend money on anything that will make me even MORE comfortable sitting on the couch, watching TV, doing nothing, and gaining fat! NO THANK YOU GO AWAY!

I'm in for B2B!

Are you in!?
Don't wait or you may be shut out! This one will sell out fast, I believe!

Thank You
Invoice: R-I-XXX98-YYYY
Payment Status: Completed
Registration type: Individual
Registrant: Nancy Toby
Event: Beach2Battleship Iron Distance 2009
Event Category: Age Group

I also booked a room at the Holiday Inn Resort on Wrightsville Beach, which is about 1.7 miles from T1 (where there will be parking, and I understand there will be beach shuttles from T1 to the swim start in the morning). They have the special B2B rate of $119/night available for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights if you call up their reservations line at 877-330-5050 (but not for Sunday night, that's the regular rate of $142 for a king nonsmoking room). Here are some hotel reviews - it sounds like a solid 3-star place but not terribly fancy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

11 days

11 days of coughing so far. I guess I'd better haul my weary carcass to the doctor again tomorrow before I lose even more training time and get even fatter. (It's only Shirley who is happy that she is fat enough, not me.)

Besides, it's time to get cracking on that training, no!? After all, I'm signing up for another iron-distance triathlon tomorrow morning, with less than a year to train.

But as you probably know already, it's Brian's fault, plus the fault of all those challenged athletes out there doing iron-distance triathlons and making me feel all puny and inadequate for not finishing my first attempt in 2006.

So despite my better judgment, and my best efforts to settle quietly into respectable, sedentary, feeble old age, they've gone and gotten me all inspired and everything. So here we go again!

Battleship or bust!

All the latest

I suppose instead of actually reading this blog you can just scan the keywords instead:

Make your own here. Thanks to Sarah for the fun link! Her words came out much better than mine - mine keeps picking up the horrible Blackberry sig that I can't seem to remove to save my life.

Gender identity crisis

This site says:

"We think is written by a man (66%)."

Uhhh, thanks a bunch for the lead, Al. Now can you tell me how to explain it to my husband?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What is this!?

These were on the beds in our hotel room. They're like one-quarter sized bedspreads. Um, can someone explain to me what they are, and WHY!?

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wintery waves

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all my fine readers have a wonderful day!

I'm taking it easy, still recovering from bronchitis (although I did get in a few of the dreaded bike trainer indoor rides this week). Back to cracking down again next week when hopefully this cough will be gone.

Next Monday I will be registering for Beach 2 Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon! Woot! Not sure which link they will use for signups, but if you're doing it you may want to set up your personal information now! Other than that I'm trying to keep my 2009 events down to a bare minimum of about one per month. Other than that string of 3 or 4 half marathons in the spring, that is.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Can you pass the civics quiz?

Are you an informed American citizen?

Give it a try.

You answered 31 out of 33 correctly — 93.94 %
Average score for this quiz during November: 77.6%
Average score: 77.6%
Disclaimer: I should note that this quiz is sponsored by a right-wing think tank, and accordingly it does have some questionable responses.

Friday, November 21, 2008

For my photographer friends

For those of you who enjoy incredible photographic images and history as much as I do (especially public domain items), here are three fabulously rich sites that I've been spending a lot of time browsing lately:

The LIFE photographic archives


Library of Congress photographic catalogue

Bronchitis? AGAIN!!??

Third time this year. I can tell I'm just not living right.

I just bought a neti pot yesterday to see if it will help with my pool nose symptoms. Of course I tried it out a couple of times after I got it home yesterday.

I didn't think it was supposed to cause bronchitis.

In other news, we've had an unseasonable cold snap for the past several days. I brought the bike inside and put it on the trainer and even got a couple hours of riding in. Over two days. It just seems like so much more work than a normal 2-hour ride down the road!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A leisurely 1500 yards

I got back in the pool for laps today, without the kids even, which I've been avoiding since I recognized the poolwater has been giving me severe nasal issues.

I went in the cooler of the two pools at our Y (presumably with less nasty stuff in the water), wore my new Speedo noseclip, and did 1500 yards at a comfortable pace, using open turns, and stopping a few times to adjust the noseclip (ouch!) or goggles or stretch my crampy feet, etc.

Time? About 41 minutes - close to what I've swum in some races.

Sheesh! I must be swimming in circles in races or stopping completely to sight every 6 strokes or something!

Anyway, it's 3 hours post-swim and my nose is running like a faucet. Obviously we have not found the optimal solution yet. I've got a few more ideas yet to try, though.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holly rules!

I just received a surprise present from Holly: a placard that reads:


What a great friend! She can read me like a book, can't she!? Beach to Battleship triathlon is a year away, I haven't signed up yet, and already I'm worrying that I won't complete sufficient training for it.

She was also kind enough to send one to Shawn in a 70.3 version, to help her prepare for her first half iron-distance triathlon next year.

Linae (who also got the same thing) said it better than I could, with some help from Joe Cocker: I get by with a little help from my friends.

That placard is staying right next to my computer where I can see it for the entire next year!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nose news

Not much happening lately to report on. Just the regular routine of taking the girls to school each day, working out, picking them up, feeding them, going to sleep, starting over the next day.

On Wednesdays after school we have swim lessons. Yesterday I tried out a new Speedo nose clip during their lesson. Forgot it for one lap, then wore it for the rest of the time I did a short (700 yard) swim. It didn't hurt once I had it adjusted right. Then I had it off while playing in the pool with them for about another half hour after the lesson. I also quickly spritzed some saline in my nose post-swim but not a lot.

Result? My congestion is only about 10% of what it was for normal non-noseclip swims! Hurrah! That's a pretty manageable level that allows me to still breathe through my nose the subsequent night. I can live with that. Let's see what happens on longer swims.

In other unrelated news, if you're interested in some of the blatant cheating that goes on in triathlons these days, you'll be interested in this post. Yes, I believe that drafting on the bike = using fins on the swim. Same-same.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Peak flow

I'm so psyched about peak flow. And no, I'm not talking about some woo-woo psychological thing.

I'm talking about the incoming tide at Wrightsville Beach for Beach to Battleship iron-distance triathlon next year.

Peak tidal flow is going to happen about 4 minutes before the start of the swim leg in 2009. Which should hopefully carry me to the swim exit in a very very nice extra-quick time, well under the longest swim of the 2008 race, 1:32.

That extra 20-30 minutes or so could make all the difference to me on race day! Because this time I WILL FINISH the full 140.6 miles. By the cutoff. Just in case you were wondering. If only to collect all the charity money that people have promised me after I finish this thing.

And then I can retire from iron-distance racing. And marathoning.

My next sport

This is going to be my next sport. Triathlon is too hard. Except I think you need to go to librarian school to learn how to do it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Happy Anniversary CAF

The Challenged Athletes Foundation is celebrating their fifteenth year of changing lives, one athlete at a time.

Take a look through their slide show of their festivities and I'm sure it will touch your heart and you'll quickly understand why I'm proud to be raising money to support their mission as, over the next year, I work my way towards the finish line of the 2009 Beach 2 Battleship iron-distance triathlon.

I just received my CAF "Race for a Reason" shirt in the mail yesterday. It gives me great motivation!

At the pool

Last night I took the girls back to the Y indoor pool for the first of six swimming lessons. They both loved it! They are much fonder of swimming than soccer, that's for certain! Catherine is starting to swim underwater quite well for short distances. Elisabeth still flails around a bit and she's so skinny she sinks easily, but she's learning to paddle with her arms better and control her breath.

After the lesson we met one of the other moms. She struck up a conversation with the girls and Catherine started talking about how Elisabeth goes to speech therapy, and the woman told them about how she goes to physical therapy. She ended up pulling up her pants legs and showing the girls her two prosthetic lower legs and explaining how she got them (apparently some kind of terrible septicemia led to a double amputation). I thought that was really cool that she would "show and tell" all that to the girls, and it made me feel good about fundraising for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. We'll see her again next week.

I got in a quick 600 yards during their lesson and was only halfway congested last night, so there seems to be a length-of-exposure factor in my reaction to the poolwater. I'm waiting on a new shipment of noseplugs to test out to find one that doesn't hurt to wear.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Fast guy Noah Wood was kind enough to send me this photo of my amazement at winning my age group and a generous gift certificate at the Sports Boosters 5K a week ago:

I voted - twice!

Once here:

and once at my regular polling place. I voted (you guessed it) basically a straight Democratic ticket, although a straight ticket didn't seem to be an option this time. Except I voted against a local guy running for school board who has had nasty disputes in his personal life splashed all over the papers for months.

They had a mock election at the elementary school yesterday and both of my girls voted for McCain. Catherine said it was because her Daddy likes McCain. Hmm, they pick up all kinds of things when you don't even realize they're listening, don't they!?

Obama ended up winning the elementary school election in a landslide, however. It was fun watching the African-American principal of our school help an African-American fifth grade boy wearing an Obama shirt proudly announce the school election results over the school PA system.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween 2008

As promised, some Halloween photos from school! The girls really got into it this year - switching princess identities from last Halloween. OF COURSE Catherine was Ariel, her beloved mermaid. Elisabeth decided to be Cinderella - using Catherine's old costume from last year. We get a lot of mileage out of these costumes since they like to play dress-up in them about once per week.

Elisabeth got to show us her favorite classroom activity - like Mom, like daughter!

Steve was even able to attend the festivities at school this year and enjoy a cupcake with his girl.

We went out trick-or-treating in the neighborhood for the first time but only made it around one nearby block and that was enough. We acquired plenty of candy at only a few house visits. The girls started battling over possession of the single flashlight so I decided that they were tired and sugared-out enough for this year!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Go Iron Jim!

Special shout out today to Ironman Jim Creighton, who successfully finished Ironman Florida yesterday! Way to go!!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Down's Park 5-Miler

Had a lovely race today (even though I ran very hard) around a lovely park next to the Chesapeake, with good friends! Jeanne was my rabbit and led me the whole way except when she sprinted past me several times after walk breaks at about a 6 min/mile pace.

Results are already posted!
48:39.67 = 9:43 min/mile pace
192/243 overall = 79%
Better than my average finish!
I think it's a PR (I haven't done many 5-mile races), though that pace still wouldn't buy me a sub-1:00 10k.

As far as I can remember, the last 5-miler I did was a turkey trot in 2004 when I ran 54:10 - so in 4 years I've lost well over a minute per mile.

One of the best parts was that they had their technical singlets and cycling vests on sale for $5 each. I bought 1 singlet and 3 vests!

Will post some Halloween photos tomorrow. . . . tired now. . . . zzzzZZZZZzzzzZZZZzzz

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Swimmer's nose

Skip this post if you don't want Too Much Information about my nose, but - I may have the nose issue nearly fixed! I brought 3 things with me to the pool today to test:

  • Vaseline
  • Plastic swimmer's nose clip
  • Bottle of nasal saline
Before swimming I put Vaseline up my nose, which is gross but better than having a 3-day "cold" from nasal irritation.

Then I put on the noseclip just before I started swimming, being sure to wipe off the excess Vaseline off the outside of my nose so it didn't slip around! Well, the nose clip didn't work so well. It hurt and my nose was running out through the clip. More ewwww. So I stuck it out for about five laps and then tried to adjust it and just ended up breaking the nose clip. Oh well, I have another metal one somewhere. I continued swimming without it.

The rest of the swim was pretty normal, I was doing a lot of work on keeping my elbows high and paddling like I'm on a surfboard, and that seemed to help my speed a little.

Then 5 or 10 minutes in the sauna after the swim like always, and then off to the showers.

I hid inside the shower and sprayed the insides of both nostrils with large amounts of saline and got all the Bad Stuff rinsed out.

Now, about 6 hours post-swim, I have some congestion but it's approximately cut in half from what I would usually get. If I can breathe tonight we're approaching a solution. If I can swim routinely without a noseclip, I would definitely prefer that!

Update: FAIL. Everything was okay until I went to bed, and then I stopped breathing. Well, at least breathing through my nose. Next up (I'll try one change at a time to see what is actually effective):
  • Find the other nose clip for my next swim
  • Swim only in the cooler pool
  • Get drugs

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saint Michaels Sports Boosters 5k

I won!!!

Well, I was first in the eldest age group (50+) of female participants at our local tiny town 5k race (perhaps 50 runners and walkers) that started two blocks from my house out in front of the elementary school where my girls go to school. But I ran pretty hard (NO Garmin, just my watch but it didn't help with no mile markers out on the road - glad I had it because there was no finish line clock at all) and finished in 29:05, my 2nd fastest 5k. I think I was the slowest runner that didn't take walk breaks, though.

Of course I had to double-check the course distance when I got home from the satellite map and it seemed to be accurate. I hope that means I've fully bounced back from my protracted lung disorders of this year and I'm ready to start running a little faster again!

I was awarded a $50 gift certificate at one of the nicest clothing stores in town, too! Hooray, I'll go out and spend it this week on something fun!

Congratulations to Noah Wood who completed his quest to run a race in every Maryland county within 6 months - and who also won the race easily. Well done!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I thought I had terrible allergies

Every few days I've been having a terrible runny nose and blocked sinuses like the awfulest cold you can imagine that lasted for about two days. I thought it was probably the autumn pollen - ragweed, or that big ornamental grass thing outside my bedroom window, and going away when the weather changed.


*lightbulb moment*

I'm actually having a reaction to the chlorine in the swimming pool. Ugh. It's a tissue reaction to the irritation of the chlorine, not an allergic reaction. So my normal seasonal allergy antihistamine didn't help one little bit.

Looks like I'm going to be swimming with a noseclip from here on out unless I'm in open water, and maybe experimenting with fun barrier methods like Vaseline up the nose. I'll have to see if it's a little less bad in the cooler of the two pools at our YMCA. People have also recommended neti pots (ewww) but I think a spray of nasal saline is more or less equivalent. I've also heard Atrovent up the nose does a great job preventing it as well, but I'll wait and see if non-drug approaches work first.

Ugh. What a pain.

I think this might be a great justification to buy an Endless Pool, don't you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Swimming laps

Just trying to get back in the habit of getting in the pool a couple times per week and pushing myself for a few lengths of the pool. I did some timed 100s (yards) today at the end of my swim just to do some time-checks on some different techniques - adding some more body roll, some more glide, some more shoulder shrug. The only thing I concluded is that smoother is faster. Yeah, I'm a regular Einstein.

100s today in:
  • 2:07
  • 2:15
  • 2:16
  • 2:10
  • 2:11

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm in: B2B iron-distance triathlon for CAF

I'm planning to register for Beach to Battleship iron-distance triathlon when registration opens on December 1st. The race is planned for Saturday, November 7, 2009 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Through this effort I will be raising funds for the Challenged Athletes Foundation which supports people with physical disabilities in sport, always a huge inspiration to me.

My CAF donation page is at:

I know many of you have pledged to donate AFTER I cross the finish line, and that's fantastic! I've recorded your names, so I plan to be back bugging you in mid-November 2009!

Famous CAF triathlete and amputee Sarah Reinertsen didn't finish her first iron-distance triathlon, and the distance also defeated me on my first attempt at Ironman Florida in 2006 when even with two intact legs I only made it 127.5 miles. I hadn't planned to attempt the distance again, but Pusher Extraordinaire Brian Gatens made me an offer I couldn't refuse: If I finished, he would make a substantial donation to the charity of my choice. How could I turn that down!?

This second time around - just like Sarah - I'm going the full 140.6-mile distance, along with several of my best triathlete friends. We're keeping a blog on the details of the race and our preparations at

Thanks in advance for your support both of me and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Old medical records

When I was going through boxes of old stuff over the weekend I found some old medical records.

1995-1997 when I was stressed, sedentary, and gaining weight:
Total Cholesterol 197-230 (less than 200 "desirable")
HDL 44-52 (above 60 "some protection against heart disease")
TC/HDL ratio: 4.42-4.48 (ideal below 3.5)

Last June:
Total Cholesterol 179 (less than 200 "desirable")
HDL 68 (above 60 "some protection against heart disease")
TC/HDL ratio: 2.63 (ideal below 3.5)

So I think that positive difference in ~11-13 years is probably completely due to lifestyle, exercise level, and stress reduction. It's not age or body fat, since I'm over a decade older and still fatter now! Of course, it's possible it could have just been a random incorrect test in June too.

The lowest body weight that I could find was about 20-22 pounds lighter than I weigh today, in 1991 when I was 34 and getting a lot of exercise. That's not a bad goal for the next year.

Getting healthier, not older!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Washington DC weekend

We had a quiet weekend working on cleaning out our townhouse near DC, with a break to take the girls on their first Metro ride down to see the Smithsonian. The Metro ride may have been the second-best part:

The merry-go-round on the Mall took top honors as the favorite attraction of the day, rating far higher than either the big elephant in the rotunda of the Natural History Museum or the Spirit of St. Louis:

Elisabeth lasted about a nanosecond into the ride before she freaked out, but fortunately there was a bench nearby that we enjoyed for the remainder of the ride.

But after much walking, two tired girls decided to stage their first sit-down protest on the National Mall. I hope it's their last major political statement for a while.