Thursday, January 31, 2008

8 x 200

Another speedwork session in the books! And here's the evidence:

Warm up, and then eight times halfway around the track at my top-end speed, followed by eight recovery jogs around the other half of the track. Turn around to unwind my legs every mile.

Yeah, the pace recording is still not good. I have to tweak those settings again. But the heart rate shows I did my job today!

Times today for those eight 1/8-mile "speedy" segments are:

  1. 1:09
  2. 1:10
  3. 1:10
  4. 1:09
  5. 1:08
  6. 1:06
  7. 1:09
  8. 1:08

Average 1:09 or 9:09 min/mile pace. Yep, faster than my current 5K pace (though I haven't raced one in ages).

I'd love to link those together and be running low 9-minute miles regularly, but that won't happen for a while. . . . we'll see!

And to my Canadian friends: You're welcome to come get your geese now. We've had quite enough of them for this winter. You're also welcome to clean up their poop which is accumulating on my track. Thank you.

10k to the good!

For my 4-year-olds, that is!

No, I'm not flogging them to run an entire 10K. Yet.

We've been keeping count of how many times we go over to the track to walk around it on one of the cute coloring-book-style charts at

We started on August 14th and it took us up until now to complete 25 outings to the track. Last week we finished accumulating a total of 25 track outings for a total of about 6.25 miles (plus about another 12.5 miles walking from our house there and back that we weren't counting!).

That's an average of a little over one lap per week. Not too strenuous, I'd say, but it's more than some adults I know! (Ahem.)

We'll have to see about doing the 1 mile kids' fun walk at our local YMCA in March.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Poor Comm

So this is what it's come to, eh? Scoliosis, "man health" (I don't want to know) and bladder infections? *sob*

Monday, January 28, 2008

This video reminded me

. . . about the heartbreak of marathons.

Kayoko Fukushi, the fastest female half-marathoner in Japanese history, covers the last track lap of her inaugural marathon no faster than I run. Of course, she fell down three times in the final lap in order to run that slowly.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Maybe I'm not cut out for marathons

Maybe ten marathons is enough.

Maybe I don't want to do a spring marathon badly enough to train on long solo runs through the depths of winter.

I'm generally not a happy camper after ten miles anyway. My 50-year-old feet and knees hurt. Not just uncomfortable, mind you, they are PAINFUL.

I'm tired of NEEDING construction site porta-potties or sections of quiet woods from frequent digestive upsets on long runs. Even when pre-emptive Imodium is in place. That gets real old.

This is what happened to my planned 14-to-16 mile run today:

Yeah, that included some extended stops (see above) and turned into trudging back to the car before Mile 7.

Fortunately in both the B&A Marathon and the Wirefly National Marathon in March I can drop down to the half marathon.

I like half marathons. It's a nice distance. A friendly distance.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm addicted

Yesterday I was feeling cranky and tired and headachy. Hmm, I hadn't run in four days. When I finally got a 1500-yard swim done I felt like a new person. Coincidence?

I'm in for a running series put on by a great running club about an hour drive from here, to put some more emphasis on running speed in the year 2008:

This message is generated as confirmation of your recent registration on You have been successfully registered for the following:

Registration: 2008 Annapolis Striders Championship Series
Purchase Date: 01/26/08
Category: Registration
Event Date: 02/09/08 - 12/14/08

Important Information Regarding Your Registration

CONGRATULATIONS! You have pre-registered for all of the Annapolis Striders Championship Series Races. On race day, just give the registration volunteers your name and tell them you are a Champ Series pre-registrant. Good luck and stay healthy!

I think I've also decided not to attempt to become a triathlon race official this year, mainly because I'd have to cancel out my sold-out Columbia Triathlon registration (and lose $40) in order to take the clinic - and my schedule for the rest of this race season is pretty full. Maybe next year - I really would like to become qualified to officiate at races. Right now I'm already doing what I can do give back to the sport by managing three different triathlon-related websites, and working with my training buddy Dave on starting up a new local triathlon group - which has taken away a little of my normal blogging time and volume.

Today I was talking to another mom of a girl in Catherine's swim class today who is doing Columbia (Olympic distance) Triathlon for her first triathlon. She says she needs to learn how to swim, and is not quite sure about those "skinsuits". Her husband was completely amazed when I said there are over 1500 entrants, and was in disbelief when I said some people were meeting in this weather regularly for group rides (well, actually not me in the last several weeks, truth be told), and wanted advice on how to teach her to breathe out underwater. Hmmm, yeah, it's 16 weeks away. She looks pretty fit otherwise - I'll bet she can do it if she gets some swimming lessons and doesn't freak out during the swim. It's amazing how fast relatively-fit younger people can get with just a little technique work (and yeah, pretty much all moms of 4-year-olds are a lot younger than I).

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's different for the pros

Amanda Lovato doesn't like it when she hears pros say that they're going to "participate" in a race instead of saying they're racing it.

As for me, I participate in races. Even while going as fast as I'm able. I don't entertain any delusions of head-to-head competition with anyone.

Except if I see woman with a calf number in my age group ahead of me. Then it's game on. Unless I'm mid-bonk, that is.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kiddie ballet expert

We signed up the girls for six weeks of kiddie ballet lessons at my local YMCA, starting in mid-February. I just tried their little pink leotards on them today in order to make sure they fit. Elisabeth didn't think much of it and took hers off quickly. Catherine left hers on and insisted that I put on some "ballet music". I scrolled through the music channel selections on the cable TV. She didn't want to hear the fifties rock and roll. She didn't want to hear the seventies disco. She recognized the classical music somehow and wanted to practice her smooth moves to that.

She insisted, quite emphatically, in her infinite four-year-old wisdom, "I need three things for ballet music. Violin, piano, and a radio."

She was disappointed not to have a tutu, but I explained to her that only the older ballerinas got tutus. We'll see if that sticks. Next she started asking for tap shoes. . . .

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The next step?

The next phase of things here dealing with my father's death may be quite interesting - we're seeing about getting his ashes inturned (I believe that's the word) in Arlington National Cemetery. We're still double-checking on all the requirements, but I believe he's eligible as an honorably-discharged veteran. If we can get the paperwork lined up I think we can get him a military memorial service and inturnment in a little nook in a 50,000-remains-complex they call a "columbarium" (I just pulled the satellite image at the left off Google Earth). The place is apparently right by (Omar) Bradley Drive (who was his overall commander in the First Army) but it's also right by (George) Patton Drive (Third Army - a show-boater whom he couldn't stand).

It's also very close to the start and finish of the Marine Corps Marathon (not that my father would have cared about that!) and the Army Ten Miler course passes between it and the adjacent Pentagon. (Actually I think the Columbarium is within view of the side of the Pentagon where Flight 77 struck.) I should be in the neighborhood fairly frequently, at any rate.

Arlington Cemetery is a fascinating place to me - many, many famous names from American history there, and I've always appreciated the snide gesture of burying the immortal Union Dead right up to General Lee's front porch.

P.S. Thanks for your many kind comments, readers. I do appreciate them.


I got The Call yesterday morning. I just submitted this to a local newspaper for my father, only I removed the proper names for this blog. Naturally there are volumes that I left out of this terse announcement, but they're not necessary. Rest in peace, Dad.

James [my father] died Monday, January 21, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. He was 85. Born July 13, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois, he was the son of the late [grandfather] and [grandmother]. The family moved to Asheville in the mid-1930s.

“Jim” attended Georgia Tech before WWII, when he served in the U. S. First Army, landing in France in August 1944 and serving throughout the Battle of the Bulge and the crossing of the Ruhr and Rhine rivers.

He later graduated from Northwestern University and was employed by the American Can Company near Chicago, Illinois.

He was married in 1949 to [my mother] of [small town], Michigan.

He retired in 1980 and returned to Asheville where he was active in Alcoholics Anonymous service for 25 years.

He is survived by his daughters, [sister] of [her town], Texas, and [myself] of St. Michaels, Maryland, and six grandchildren.

Interment arrangements are pending.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A little longer run

Normally I would be all self-congratulatory after finishing 12.6 miles in 5*F to 15*F wind chill. It was difficult to finish over two laps around our usual running route from the YMCA. My face was too frozen to talk without slurring my words!

But - my training buddy Dave started at 6AM before the sun came up and had finished about 18 chilly miles before I even showed up! So that kept me jogging along until he finished his 30 mile ultramarathon for the day. Congratulations to Dave the Ultramarathoner!

Yeah, that heart rate is looking good!! NOT! I'm not sure why the heart rate meter wasn't working, but that's about 80 beats low for me.

Not a bad workout pace for me today, either. Not quite up to my all-time best half marathon race pace (10:38 min/mile), but not too far off, especially considering I took a few walk breaks that I wouldn't have taken in a race!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New clothes are motivating

I kept going back and looking at the tops and tri-suits from the 2008 Louis Garneau line.

So I finally broke down and ordered this one.

First swim lesson

Catherine had her first swim lesson yesterday. She did GREAT! Right now 7 of the kids just sit in a little line on the pool edge and the instructor has them practice kicking and paying attention and following directions and not crying for Mom, and then takes them out one by one for a little kicking and paddling practice buoyed up by their little styrofoam backpacks. Except for one brave boy who was brave (or foolish) enough to jump off the side of the pool into the deep water and trusted that she would rescue him. I was glad Catherine did not do that. I watched from a distance so as not to distract her, and got in a few laps myself in between watching her.

Then bundled her up afterwards because it was freezing!

It occurs to me in another lesson or two she will have more total swim coaching time than I have.

I also realized after I took this photo that I had broken the YMCA rules by taking photographs inside the locker room. Some male adult member of the club had been regularly photographing several of the much younger male patrons of the club in the men's locker room. I think he's doing hard time for it now. The posted notices remain on our locker room doors that no cameras or recording devices are allowed. Whoops!

Death of Chia

Grandma got the girls a Chia Pet Garfield for Christmas. This is what it's supposed to look like when it's "done".

It included a product registration card, which cracked me up. What, are they going to contact me when my Chia Pet gets recalled for some life-threatening malfunction? "If received as a gift, why did the giver choose a Chia Pet for you?" The selection of answers did NOT include: "How the hell should I know?"

So of course who gets to take care of THEIR Chia pet? Mom!! First thing you do is soak its little head for 24 hours.

Then you make this seed slurry, which also takes 24 hours. I should have read the directions before I started or I could have done those simultaneously, but of course I did not. Then you apply the seed slurry to the crevices in Garfield's head.

Then you sit back and wait a few days and it starts to sprout, half-heartedly. And because it's cold and drafty and low-humidity here, it also becomes a big crusty scab of seeds which starts to pull away from Garfield's head.

So finally since the seeds are no longer moistened by the clay and they don't sprout, they begin to mold and the sprouts die off. And you're left with Garfield's head with a grotesque scab peeling off of it, like his brains are separating from his skull in some horrific way.

The scab went down the garbage disposal. We'll try again in spring.

The end.


It's not often that we have to deal with wind chills of 5*F - 10*F around here, but today was one of those days. I got four miles done with five 100-yard pickups:

Unfortunately the one-second data recording setting doesn't seem to alter recording frequency for pace - I still have these vague peaks which don't capture the pace very precisely for 100-yard pace increases. The heart rate readings tell the story much better.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I hear it's possible to do marathons on only short runs

That's what I hear. I may be testing that out in March.

7 miles today - trying to get a longer run out of the way before the weather turned bad, but I had a bad attitude and cut it short.

BUT I did see a pair of fabulous bald eagles standing on the golf course eating something. They're impressive, unmistakable birds. Well, unmistakable after you see the white heads and tails and realize they're not the typical turkey hawk buzzards we get in huge swarms around here feeding on carrion.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

First snow

The first fluffy, heavy, wet snow of the year is coming down now, with 1-3 inches forecast. I just got home from walking the girls to school and they phoned me for a one-hour early dismissal. Since I just got done eating my lunch, that means no run for me today! (Actually the roads are slippery enough that I had already decided against it).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Math problems

If 7 ounces of garlic-infused olive oil is spread over half the kitchen floor and most of the clothing and four feet of two small four-year olds. . . .

What would be the half-life of getting the smell out of the house?

And how long does the coefficient of friction of the kitchen floor remain near zero?

Fortunately, we can assume for purposes of this problem that less than 1 percent of the oil by volume was tracked into the adjacent carpet.

More speedwork

Well, that didn't exactly work as planned! I went over to the track with my Garmin and did 8x100 (warmup and then one fast 100 within each quarter-mile lap of the track), and motivated myself by thinking of the lovely plot I would have with 8 beautiful little dips that went deep into Single Digit Pace Land. Unfortunately it seems that the Garmin doesn't record pace very frequently and my speediness was so quick it missed several of the sprints.

Oh well, I'll wear the heart rate meter next time which has a higher sampling rate and shows more detail.

My LEGS know that I've done some speed work (and that's what counts), even if my pace plot doesn't show it.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Just for the record, I adore the Maryland state flag. I want a bike jersey made up of it. Its eye-catching combination of the Calvert arms and the Crossland arms would surely ward off all evil cars.

But this guy has the audacity to diss my favorite flag. "Maryland is worth special mention for managing to jar the eyes without resort to an easy out like excessive typography or detailed portraiture." Harrumph.

His analysis is based on the methodology of this grading of the flags of the world, which I thought was hilarious.

Disney again? AGAIN?

Every time I go back to the Disney races I swear them off forever, mainly because the logistics of dealing with the races inside the parks are usually horrendous. Not to mention those 2:30AM wake up calls.

But registration just opened again for the 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon ($110+), Half Marathon ($100+), and Goofy Challenge ($235+).

But I'm not STUPID. I'm thinking I'll just do something little that won't kill me for walking around the parks, like maybe the half.

And maybe the kids' races with the girls, of course!

Can't wait to hear Holly's race reports!

Five miles around the neighborhood

So I cut my long run short yesterday - a little over 7 miles instead of double that number that I should have done. So I figure I'll do a little extra running this week to "make up for it", even though making up for it is generally a bad idea. But my legs felt okay today and I did a little over five miles, looping around the neighborhood.

It was good to see my pace got stronger as I went along, except when I stopped to check out "house for sale" flyers, even though I wasn't especially paying attention to pace.

Hmm, so far about 45 miles for the month and it's only the 14th. I wonder if I could break 100 running miles for the first time for January?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Here we go again

Going back again to Michigan to see if I can get it right this time! (Have you ever noticed that's how triathlon sucks you in and keeps you coming back? There's always one or two things that you could have done a little faster or more smoothly).

Note to the Race Gods: No flats, this time, please!? K THX.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I can't get anything done in 25 minutes

That's what I was thinking when I looked at the clock and realized that I had frittered away almost all of my valuable time when the girls were in school today. But then I caught myself and climbed out of that negative thinking trap - SOMETHING is better than NOTHING today, right?

So I headed over to the school track for a quick few laps before I picked up the girls.

Let's see, if I do this right I have time for 8 laps. I'm ready to go after my walk over.

1. 3:02. Ouch, I'm feeling creaky.
2. 2:51. OK, my knee stopped hurting. Now I can run semi-normally.
3. 2:44. That's not so creaky, starting to warm up.
4. 2:43. I wonder if I can do every lap faster than the last? Let's hit it!
0:22. Pause to remove hot vest and gloves.
5. 2:23. Woot! Whew, that got me out of breath. Not bad.
6. 2:44. OK, I can breathe again. One more time, faster than the last.
7. 2:22. That's better.
8. 2:55. OK, warm down, and go get the girls.

22:10: Total time for 2.0 miles and pause including a half mile at 9:30 min/mile pace.

Not a lot of distance by endurance athlete standards, of course, and not a lot of speed by most runner standards, but it's still probably more distance than a lot of people ran in the entire year of 2007. In less time than many moms spend sitting in their cars waiting for their kids to get out of school every day.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Warm weather cycling

Woo hoo, another wonderfully warm day today! High of 66*F here today. I don't usually ride my bike much while my girls are in school, because I'm paranoid about crashing or flatting and being late and having no one able to pick them up from school. But today I couldn't resist! Even though the winds were gusting up to 30 mph, I couldn't resist taking Buttercup out for a spin on our nice country roads.

Gosh, it sure felt like I was working harder on that return leg to maintain some speed, but the heart rates tell the tale - I was working just as hard on the way out into the wind when I was only going 14 mph. I guess that's just going to be my Poor Woman's Power Meter because I'm not going to spring for the real thing.

I realized something else new on this ride: a new important cycling safety feature. My NEON DAY-GLO WHITE LEGS in January in cycling shorts are a big deterrent to cars. I was surprised that none of the drivers had to scream and cover their eyes from the glare.

My body composition work is going well in preparation for my March races - I'm 80% decided that I'll do the full marathon instead of the half marathon on March 2nd, and so far I'm 2.4 pounds down for the first 8 days of 2008. More than a kilogram less to carry around the course! Hurrah! I'm definitely hoping to keep this trend going in the same direction all the way until race day!

Monday, January 07, 2008

What's a decade of your life worth?

In a survey of 1000 women age 18 and older in Fitness Magazine, 21% of respondents said they would trade ten years out of their life if it would allow them to be their ideal body weight.

How very, very sad. Obviously it's not Psychological Fitness Magazine. The anguish inflicted upon overweight women by themselves and by society is far more damaging than any direct impact of excess body fat on their health.

Spring is here!

Today it got up to 68*F here! It was gorgeous!

I should have run, but instead I just took a lovely walk down to enjoy the peaceful water views in our harbor.

Life is good.

Same for tomorrow - hurrah! Maybe I'll take a nice long bike ride again. We're marking out a flat flat flat and fast 40 km Individual Time Trial cycling course along the highway near here and hopefully I'll have enough time to ride the whole thing and double-check the turnaround.


Do any of you fellow bloggers have someone who reads your blog religiously - literally for years - but pretends that they don't? ("Huh? What bizarre behavior!" Yeah, I know. Of course that person can never admit to having seen this post, either.)

It cracks me up. Gosh, why in the world would they be interested in my ramblings?

You know, it also cracks me up when someone who professes to be Christian uses the Internet to post anonymous slams at people. Repeatedly - even takes the time to make up a fake name just to leave comments with. What a testimony of courage and compassion! Gosh, that's certainly what Jesus would do, isn't it? Matthew 18:15-22, Matthew 19:17-19.

In other blogger news, if you were a member of the Running Blog Family, please head over to their newly revised site and re-submit your listing. It will be great to have the running-related blogs indexed by all those different variables.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Time is running out!

Do you believe in a God who responds reliably to prayer? Do you believe in the supernatural? Do you know anyone who has paranormal powers? Do you think those guys on TV really get messages from dead people?

James Randi's One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge is still in effect - a million smackeroos to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.

However, it will end in two years. Get your application here.

Now remember - don't burden them with theories, philosophical observations, previous examples, anecdotal evidence or other comments! They are only interested in an actual demonstration. They also will not accept claims of the existence of deities or demons/angels, the validity of exorcism, religious claims, cloudbusting, causing the Sun to rise or the stars to move, etc. - just show them the evidence under controlled conditions.

I really think Pat Robertson should apply, since God has been talking to him about the results of the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Or is your God so omnipotent that He can deliberately mess up the results of any experiment that any mere human can devise to demonstrate His power? What, He won't cooperate even if the money was to be donated to a good cause? That just doesn't seem nice.

He didn't respond positively to prayers for the recovery of over 1800 people undergoing heart surgery - in fact, He induced more complications in the people who knew they were being prayed for. Nor did He help heart patients being prayed for by Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist groups in another study involving 748 subjects. Now that doesn't seem very kind and merciful - in fact, He seems pretty obstinate and cantankerous. "Gosh, Mr. Heart Patient, it's a darned shame that you were enrolled in that prayer study, because otherwise God surely would have responded to those intercessory prayers and you would have been fixed up right as rain. . . ."

Friday, January 04, 2008

First swim of the year

Just got back from the pool at the Y - signed up the girls for 6 weeks of ballet lessons starting in January!! What fun!

Also just wanted to record my times for reference later in the year. I did what I think of as a 3 - 2 - 1 workout: Sets of 300 yards, 200 yards, and 100 yards. Repeated three times today with a short warmup and warmdown to yield 2000 yards. Keeps it a little more interesting.

300, 200, 100 * 1: 7:11, 4:36, 2:22
300, 200, 100 * 2: 7:08, 4:49, 2:22
300, 200, 100 * 3 * pull buoy: 6:53, 4:40, 2:18

Planning on running a slow half marathon workout tomorrow, plus maybe another 500 yards for a nice warmdown swim (or warmup, depending on how cold it is in the morning).

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Racial issues

I was fairly concerned when I heard my 4-year-old Catherine saying something about "black Negro".

It seems she was eating a pretzel and part of it was slightly blackened. So she was calling it by a Spanish word she had picked up somewhere, negro (which means black).

But I have no idea where she picked up that particular pronounciation. I corrected her and told her that the Spanish word was nay-gro.

Nation's Triathlon

This Olympic-distance race is looking pretty darned good for next September 14th, I think! The new course looks fabulous!

Registration is open NOW for USAT members only, opens tomorrow to everyone. Less than last year, I think, also: $150 (plus $10.75 to

I'm in!!! I'm starting to like the Olympic distance as my favorite triathlon distance. Long enough that you don't have to sprint the whole race with your eyes bleeding; short enough that you aren't dead and can actually do something else the same day.

Who's with me?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

First run of the year

Around the neighborhood for 5.2 miles at an 11:30 min/mile pace. That'll do for now! Not very substantial compared to my crazy training buddy Dave who rode 120 freakin' miles yesterday, but anyway, I'm sane and he's not. ;-)

And what do you know, I'm down 0.8 pounds and 0.4% body fat for the year to date! Gosh, if I could keep that up all year, I'd have zero percent body fat and weigh less than nothing!! Er, maybe that means I'd be dead. . . . let's not tempt the Fates. Let's call it daily variation in the correct direction. Yeah, I don't want to be obsessive about it - I just wanted a starting point on the first of the year, and then doing my usual weekly weigh-in today, which I do on a Wednesday to avoid the fluctuations from weekend workouts and indulgences.

It's going to be a great year.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Those pesky goals (here we go again)

I had a truckload of process goals for 2007. Frankly, way too many to track and pay attention to very well. But things were going along well enough until I had a major computer crash in midsummer and lost the Excel spreadsheet on which I had been keeping my records. I think I have it back now on a rebuilt computer, but the recordkeeping ground to a halt when that happened.

I started just logging my workouts in the sidebar, and totaling them manually, which was such a pain that I developed an enormous backlog of un-summarized records that I still have to clear up. Right now I don't even know how far I swam, ran, or rode in 2007, although I believe my totals ended up lower than the previous couple of years.

I enjoyed my events this year quite a bit, and made lots of progress in my speed and fitness levels - setting a total of TEN PRs while maintaining my body weight. My 2008 season is going to look a lot like 2007, with a few more running events. I plan to complete (carpooling with my training buddy Dave) an 8-race Championship Series put on by one of our local running clubs, Annapolis Striders (at least 7 of the races, that is - I may have at least one date conflict with a triathlon, but 7 races should be enough for me to make the top ten in my age group and work up from there in the 2008 standings).

For right now I'd like to keep my 2008 process goals simple and pegged on simple weekly goals, which seems to keep me on track in continually improving my fitness and performance:

  • Log my intake at least 5 days per week, striving for a 500-700 calorie daily deficit until I hit an 8% body fat reduction (from January 1st, 2008).
  • Swim at least 2500 yards per week.
  • Run at least 12 miles per week.
  • Ride at least 25 miles per week.
  • Count the weeks for each of the above, striving for 80%+ completion (42 weeks out of 52).

Those swim, bike, and run workouts should include at least one long less-slow distance workout (1+ hour swim, 2+ hour run, 3+ hour bike) and a set of high-intensity intervals (speedwork) every 7-10 days, but I'm not going to quantify that right now, just work it into the routine.

I think I'm going to start this year keeping my Excel workout log on Google docs to crashproof it and keep it in a place that I can get to from any computer.

Body composition work

I'm starting 2008 1.0 pounds heavier and 0.9 body fat percentage points fatter than I started 2007. (On January 1, 2007 I was 19.0 pounds less than my highest weight of January 2006).

Actually, the January 2007 and January 2008 readings are well within my normal day-to-day variation - I basically maintained the same body weight throughout 2007. But I'd prefer to be moving in the negative direction instead of the positive direction, of course.

In the first 4.5 months of 2008 I'd like I plan to drop that body fat percentage by about 8.0 points, in order to carry much less weight around the hills on the Columbia Triathlon course in mid-May. That should get my BMI down to the "normal" range of 25.4 or less.

How will I accomplish that? I've got about 19 weeks to do it. A 500 calorie deficit per day should just about meet my goal - and that's not such an extreme calorie restriction that I will start feeling hungry and deprived (and consequently, have rebound eating from excessive hunger). It's eating at maintenance on days I run 10 kilometers. More exercise equals more food for me! NO it's not a diet - it's sensible HEALTH monitoring and very gradual change.

The hard parts are a) doing it consistently day after day, and b) tracking every calorie in and out.

But the results will be OH SO WORTH IT!! FREE SPEED!!

Let the Games begin!