Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Starting the job

I started two small oil paintings yesterday.

One is the "vine house" with the wisteria; the other is a photo of a cyclist that I liked from an online friend (just a plain side view with some attractive fields in the background). I haven't done any triathlon-related paintings before - this is an experiment. (By popular demand, I'm planning to do "Red Door" on the actual Paint the Town day if the foliage doesn't fill in and obscure everything).

There are two shows coming up I want to try showing some paintings at - both in mid-June, one at Eagleman (the cyclist) and the other at our local Paint the Town day on June 14 (some local ones).

But I have to get going on them in order to get them done in time - the drying process can take a month!

These are just the initial sketches and background work - all the outline sketch plus most of the preliminary painting will be painted over before I'm done! And sure, I can do your triathlon portrait too - for the right price!!

Update: Instead of doing a workout today while the girls were in school, I did some more work on the background of the cyclist painting. It's a small painting (8' x 10") with a lot of detail that's going to take a lot of work with the teensy tiny brushes. I may have to fade the middleground a bit with some washes later, I'll have to wait and see if it's too vivid and distracting.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I got wet today

Meaning I actually got back in the pool and did laps for the first time in a month, in the colder (82*F) of the two indoor pools at our Y.

I still was coughing slightly, so I kept it to only 1500 yards, since I think probably chlorine gas doesn't do one's lungs any favors.

But I was still encouraged to do one set of 500 yards at 10:35. Well, it was with the pull-buoy, but still, that's a pretty decent pace for me. One I'd like to see in one of my races this year with wetsuit helping float my legs into something approaching normal fore-aft balance instead of relying on a piece of styrofoam to do the job.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Great day in Oxford!

I did not run the Oxford Day 10K this year, though I do most years, since I'm still bouncing back from pneumonia. I did, however, ride my bike there (~20 miles) and had great fun cheering on my friends running! I helped out a little by reading off the splits to runners at the two mile mark. Plus I ate more than my share of pancakes after the race.

Jim Crowley, pre-race (who ended up finishing 7th overall, I think):

Bill Webb pre-race, who is planning on tackling the 4.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Swim in a couple of months (that one scares me!):

The start - with Janice, Mike, and Stuart lined up front and center:

Dave finishing:

Janice sprinting to the finish, first place in her age group!

Dave enjoying some post-race relaxation - the sun finally came out!

Hardware for both Janice and Mike! (And Stuart too, but I didn't get that photo).

And we four all took a ride on my favorite little ferry across the Tred Avon River:

I also saw the girls' teacher doing the 5K walk, plus one of the girls from Catherine's swim class (whose mom is doing the Columbia Triathlon with us). Later my husband drove over from home with the girls and we watched the small parade through town. A very fun day!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Quote of the day

". . . just increasing the amount of mileage that you run, up to about 40 or 50 miles a week, is going to help you get faster. . . . I've never done more than three miles worth of interval training."

-Olympic gold medalist and Masters duathlete Frank Shorter, Masters Athlete 5(3)2008, p. 24.

Which should I paint?

I'm scoping out a few local sights in town in the designated area for the "Paint the Town" event in June. I want to plan a couple good options so, depending on the light, wind, and weather - I can make a final selection or two on the morning of the event. The image has to be fairly uncomplicated and eye-catching so that I can capture it in about a 3-hour painting session.

Which would you recommend? These are some starting options - I'll have a few more to run past you by contest day. Keep in mind the sun, sky, and foliage are going to look much different in mid-June too - and I can omit annoying details (like the red flowerpot in #2).

Place your vote in the comments (I don't have a voting box option, sorry!). I may also have you look at a couple value studies of a few of the options once we narrow it down.

1. Workboat

2. Churchyard gate
3. Vine house
4. Red door
5. Steeple

6. Lighthouse (the iconic symbol of the town - but I'd have to paint it from a different view, from the land side - this is the only photo I had handy, taken from a boat)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On the road back

4.3 miles of walking around town on a beautiful day today, including taking the girls to school and back. No running yet.

I was scouting out locations for the Paint the Town event in June, the plein air painting day held in June that I did last year. I'm thinking about a spot in the church graveyard where my training buddy Dave has his burial niche all picked out and paid for. It's actually a very scenic spot, but when the tree foliage is all filled in it may be difficult to get a good vantage point. I'm going to pre-shoot some photos and get a couple alternatives planned for the day instead of winging it at the last minute like last year. Maybe I'll post a couple options and post photos ad let my blogger pals pick which I should paint.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back in the saddle

Lovely weather today for a 26.2-mile ride on Buttercup, my first workout after 8 complete days off. My training buddy Dave was nice enough to drive over to join me. I took it easy (my heart rate meter is broken, but I think I kept it under a 150 bpm effort) and just rode steadily (despite some serious winds) and we ended up with an average only 0.1 mph less than a week ago Sunday when I was riding harder but coughing my fool head off at the same time.

I've decided to skip the 10k race this weekend (too much stress on the lungs too soon) and instead just ride my bike over to the race site (about 20 miles by road out on the next peninsula south of here) and enjoy the pancake breakfast with my running friends after the race. Then I'll take the ferry home (7 mile return leg). That should be a nice little ride!

Our Biggest Loser challenge this week is to ride 25 or 50 miles. Yeah, I think I can do that without going too hard. (Oh yeah, I just attained the 25-mile level, didn't I?) Unfortunately I had to skip the 3500 calories of exercise challenge last week.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bay Day pic

Mike Valliant was kind enough to send over a photo of our family from last weekend's Bay Day - sorting crabs! Holly will be happy to see we mostly covered up from the sun!

Seven days makes one weak

Seven days with no workouts except some mild walks. First time I've managed that in a LONG time. It's been surprisingly difficult, even though I haven't had much energy.

Pneumonia seems to have finally receded this morning - woke up without coughing fits for the first time in weeks. The sinus infection still seems to be present, though.

Three more days of antibiotics, but probably no workouts today either except maybe a walk or jog on the treadmill at the local Y branch since it's raining HARD outside. No, I won't melt, but I'm not going to tackle rainy runs until I'm 100% again.

Wondering whether I can manage to slowly walk/jog one of my favorite 10Ks of the year this coming Saturday in the lovely waterside hamlet of Oxford, Maryland, a short ride over the Tred Avon River on the ferry. Best part is the pancake breakfast after.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Catherine informed me today that she has a baby in her tummy.

But it's stuck in there and can't come out.

Good thing, because I'm not at all ready to become a grandmother. Not at least until she's five years old.

(But ewwww, she's almost too late to make Guinness record. Even though that's a category they don't keep any more, for (I hope) obvious reasons.)

Healthy or not?

Here's a fun (in a creepy sort of way) slide show on dramatic weight changes in celebrities. I say NOT.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bay Day

Still no workouts, Day 5 of the antibiotics. Coming along slowly.

Beautiful day, so we walked the girls over to Bay Day at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on the other side of the harbor.

Catherine's finally learned to swing without requiring a Mom or Dad pushing her! Hurrah!

The girls as old-time Chesapeake Bay bathing beauties:

The view from the other side of the harbor - our house is about a half-block back from the water toward the right.

They had some fabulous live birds of prey on display there that we enjoyed looking at very much, along with snakes and turtles and crabs and horseshoe crabs and all sorts of fun things!

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's summer!

Suddenly the temperatures shot up to 82*F today!

Spring cleaning, such as it is here, is almost done. Last weekend we shampooed the carpets.

Today I sorted out and folded all the long-sleeved cotton race t-shirts (about 20 of them) and put them away on the top shelf in the closet, to wait for autumn to return.

I still have to sort out the running tights from the shorts and put them away.

Now I'm down to one stack of short-sleeved cotton race t-shirts and another stock of technical t-shirts and tank tops and I'll wear those for the next six months.

But no workouts yet. Still sick. Seven or more complete days off may make me insane.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Isn't there an easier way?

So they prescribed one of these Advair things to me for my pneumonia. You know, the ones heavily marketed for asthma and COPD. Which came with 8 pages of directions.

And I still used it wrong for a whole day.

Yeah, I do have a PhD, why do you ask?

Heaven help even more elderly people than myself who get prescribed these things.

Plus the Target pharmacist was happy to dispense ampules of liquid Albuterol to me. Which requires a nebulizer to actually administer to yourself. Which you figure out only after going back to the car, opening the packages from the pharmacist, and saying to yourself WTF!?? And no, when you go back into the store to ask them about it, they don't actually stock nebulizers, without which you can't use the medicine they just dispensed to you, and only one drugstore WAY on the other side of town does. Which is just what you want to hear when you're sick and feeling like crap and all you want to do is go home and crawl in bed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Double gold medalist

They posted the results from the 2008 Eastern Shore Senior Games, so it's official: I'm a gold medalist in my division (women 50-55) in the 5K run and in the 40k cycling road race.


But somehow I thought it would feel more special.

Maybe it's because I was also DFL in my division in each event?

But I do like my first medal with a little cyclist on it. Even if it depicts a man riding a fixie.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Get well soon, Comm (and me too)

Many of my readers know Commodore, who is still in the hospital after being pulled off the course at Ironman Arizona on Sunday. Of course, our best wishes go with him and his whole family!

I might possibly have had a momentary reaction of "HOW COULD YOU, COMM!??" when I heard about how hard he pushed himself, again, and refused medical treatment. And tried to keep going long after his body had given out. How could anyone do that??

I might also have figured it out today for myself.

After some reflection today I can kind of relate to ignoring the physical stuff.

I just got back from the doc-in-the-box, who thinks I have pneumonia, after examining a couple of chest x-rays. Not to mention sinusitis and an ear infection. And who gave me three different prescriptions (and offered more, like codeine, which I turned down).

Hmm, let's see, since I started coughing over 3 weeks ago, what turned this into pneumonia? Was it the half marathon? Or the 40 km bike race? Or maybe the 5K? Or was it the freezing 10-miler in the rain?

So much for listening to my body. All my body tells me is to stop and sit on the couch and drink beer, so I guess I've effectively learned to ignore it.

And yeah, everyone told me to go to the doctor. You told me so. For a variety of good and not-so-good reasons, I didn't, until today.

Guess I probably shouldn't run the half marathon I had planned next Saturday, eh?? (I didn't even bother asking the doctor about it - if you ask, then that gives them a chance to say no, right?).

Monday, April 14, 2008

A calorie burned is a calorie earned

Or something like that.

Today I figured out that our daily walk to school and back only burns somewhere between 33 (Garmin estimate) and 44 (Fitday estimate) calories.

At that rate I'll have to walk to school and back between 80 and 106 times in order to burn a pound's worth of calories. That's ten weeks of walks to school and back.

Guess I'll have to crank up the old exercise routine a bit more than that this week, eh?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The best thing to find on a bike ride

Aside from money?? A brand new clean porta-potty, of course!! Especially one set off way back from the road enough that the tourists and construction workers aren't likely to find it.

I don't want to give away any local secrets and spoil our find, but if you're a local you'll know where it is by my saying it's right across from the regular berth of this local landmark, the skipjack Rebecca T. Ruark:

And right across from the boat that Dave used to work on during summers as a kid. My, how the years fly past.

Down at the end of the Bay Hundred peninsula, right before our routine snack and turn around for the homeward leg. 33 miles today in lovely temperatures.

3500 Calories

Burn it off this week in exercise: enough Calories to lose a pound. That's our Biggest Loser challenge this week.

My Garmin gives me generous caloric expenditure estimates (since it incorporates body weight, I believe), so that's what I'll use. Let's check some recent estimates:

Last Sunday, run 10.24 miles, burn 1287 Calories. That's 125.6 Calories/mile, or it would take me 27.8 miles running to burn off a pound. I think that's a reasonable estimate. Right now I do that approximately every two weeks.

Today, bike 33.03 miles, burn 2254 Calories. That's 68.2 Calories per mile, or it would take me 51.3 miles cycling to burn off a pound.

3 hours 25 minutes easy-pace cycling (15 mph) versus 5 hours 33 minutes easy-pace running (12 min/mile)? Heck, I'll take the cycling any old day. Bring it on. (Except I don't really think that estimate is accurate for cycling, but who am I to argue with the Garmin experts!???)

Hmm, we get more points if we burn 7000 calories. 102.6 miles in a week? I could do that, except it's been a while since I've actually done it, but it's much easier to double (or even triple, with my low cycling mileage lately) your cycling distance in a week than double your running distance.

We'll see. First I have to get serious about getting rid of my nasty hacking cough.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The event isn't over until. . . .

. . . until the results are posted online!!!!

Take heed, race directors!

Some results are posted from last weekend, but I'm still on pins and needles about my standings in the AS Championship series. I think I moved up 3 slots. I was 8th in my age group in both races, but 3 of the women ahead of me each time were different (which I think should move me into the 5th slot). I may not be fast, but I can be persistent. Yeah, I got through college by consistent attendance and taking good notes - maybe it will work here too, because I'm not going to move up as a result of my brilliant bursts of speed!

Nothing's changed at all since before the games last weekend on the Eastern Shore Senior Games website, as far as I can tell. I guess they all suffered cardiac arrest.

Good luck to my friends at Ironman Arizona this weekend! My major athletic activity this weekend will be shampooing the carpets. Woot.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Home repairs

If your TV cable box gets water poured all over it by BAD GIRLS, sometimes (only sometimes) using a blow-dryer on it (aimed into the little vents on top) can fix it. If you're really, really lucky and your hard water doesn't fry it first.

If your sink and garbage disposal gets all clogged up, you can use the plunger on it. Sometimes it's successful. However, it WILL spray greasy water with coffee grounds in it all over your whole entire freakin' kitchen.

Just so you know.

Just sharing today's life experiences here. . . . listen and learn.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The helping hand

I think this (above) may be my favorite race photo of me of all time. This is one of the fabulous soaking wet frozen volunteers helping a soaking wet frozen ME over the stream crossing yesterday. I couldn't do it without you!!

Another shot of the same volunteer helping another runner at the same place - you can't tell from the photos that the air temperature (and probably water temperature) was a very uncomfortable 42*F at the time.

Another of me, blurry, but at least you can tell I was laughing:

The whole race photo album is here.

The photographer is Jon Valentine, and I believe the volunteer's name is Donna, but I'm not certain of that. They rock!

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Looks like a nasty day for running (Cherry Pit Ten Miler in Edgewater, MD) and a good day for hypothermia. 45*F.

PLUS they re-routed the course to include some nice muddy trail and stream crossings since the State Roads Department pulled their permit at the last second. Oh, joy.

I can only hope I finish the ten-miler and all the intelligent runners sleep in and I pick up a few placings in the Championship Series standings.

Yeah, I do this for fun.

Today's goal: finish.

Update: Mission accomplished. Race run, finish line crossed. I sure hope it improves my standings in the Championship Series!

BUT it was probably the suckiest most miserable horrible race I've done, maybe ever. Not because of the management and volunteers, which were as great as usual - but cold cold drenched to-the-bone wet hill hill hill hills that don't stop and then two slogs (1 mile each, out and back, between the two red arrows below) through deep slippery shoe-sucking mud and thorn bushes and two stream crossings. I was soaked head-to-toe with mud to my knees. I finished, that's all that can be said for it, but I was one of the last across the finish line.

On the way there, a guy passing me said, in a massive understatement, "I don't think I'll do this one next year". I replied, "Why? The weather can't possibly be WORSE!" People are going to be talking about this race for a long time.

It was so awful all I could do was laugh. I suppose it's great training for my Muddy Buddy with Holly this coming summer!

Plus Dave and Stuart rode along with me so it was fun to have company on the drive. Unfortunately Dave's knee was acting up so he couldn't run, but I'm sure Stuart did well.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Eastern Shore Senior Games quick report

They need a better marketing person. Very small attendance at an otherwise good event!

40 km bike race, 9AM: 3rd place overall, 2nd place woman - out of 5 total riders, 2 of which flatted. And 1st female 50-54, of course. Average speed only 16.2 mph, mainly because I rode with a 70-year-old the first half to keep her company (she was going to withdraw from the race because she felt 'out of her league', but we all insisted that she do it) and the second half it rained hard. Yes, I brought home a cycling medal in my first real bike race! So I hit my Goal #2. And Goal #3!

5 km running race. 1PM: 1st place woman, out of 1 female entrants. (Well, there was a 70-year-old female entrant who didn't show up for the start). And 1st female 50-54, of course. Smallest official race field that I've ever done! About 6 runners total (with me finishing DFL behind all the guys). I was skeptical about the course distance (2 laps around the Salisbury University campus) but I checked it against the satellite maps (forgot my Garmin at home, oh no!) and got a distance of 3.09 miles. Close enough. Time 29:19 on course, which would make it my 2nd fastest 5k ever! (Hello to Peter who ran today and learned about the event on my blog!). I got a 1st place medal! Felt good at the finish, though I ran hard, and so I hit goals #2, #3, and #4.

Had a great day, did NOT race like a dipsh!t, kept the rubber side down and feel like I can run a reasonable (I said reasonable, not necessarily fast - my butt muscles were cramping!) ten miler at Cherry Pit tomorrow.

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Declaring my... the usual.

Declaring my intentions before race day, like usual. Yes, I retain my usual distrust of people who announce that they had secret goals after the race has already been run. (Uhhh..... why?)

Got a jam-packed weekend coming up. Weather is going to be a big decider here - it's forecast to be rainy tomorrow but mid-60s (fortunately with light winds), plunging to the mid-40s and possible rain for Sunday.

Tomorrow I have two events:

Eastern Shore Senior Games 40 km bike race, 9AM:
Dream goal #1: Finish under 1:22 (18 mph average).
Goal #2: Bring home a medal.
Goal #3: Finish my first bike race with no exciting crashes or spills or dramatic fishtailing on the bike. Boring is good. Lanterne Rouge finishes are still honorable.

Eastern Shore Senior Games 5km race, 1:30 PM:
Goal #1: Finish under 28:02 (PR).
Goal #2: Finish under 30:00 (2nd fastest 5K).
Goal #3: Bring home a medal
Goal #4: Start with a positive attitude and finish without limping

The next day (Sunday) I have a tough, hilly 10-mile race. I'll try not to think about it until late Saturday night, when I'll assess damages and try to forget the effort on Saturday. Mostly I just want to finish it to get my Annapolis Striders Championship Series participation points, so I'm not too concerned about time.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Drink more water for health?


Can we puh-leeeze lay that old folklore to rest now?

Every time I read some amateur nutritionist or armchair athlete telling people to force themselves to drink eight glasses of water per day, I want to scream. Swinging a dead cat around your head would be just as efficacious for your health, and probably better for your triceps and biceps.

This is not to say that you shouldn't replenish sweat and electrolyte losses during exercise. You should. And the losses are probably more than you think, unless you do a weigh-exercise-weigh procedure. But otherwise, there's no need to force down that 64-ounce jug of water on your desk every day. And no benefit, either.

Buttercup is rarin' to go

My bike Buttercup is ready to begin her race season at the 40 km road race on Saturday! (Yes, they are permitting tri-bikes to race in this non-sanctioned event, I called in advance and checked). I took off her bento box so now she's hungry, which is a good thing for a racing bike. I also removed the behind-the-seat bottle cages and put on the sleek black rear skewer so now she feels fast.

I'll leave on the seatpack with the flat-fixing supplies until I determine that they will have an adequate sag wagon on the course, but probably that will stay in the car on race day.

I did two little 5k time trials on the painted course which happened to appear out on the highway near here last week. 5k with a tailwind on the outbound leg = 10:01 (18.6 mph). Return 5k leg with a headwind = 10:58 (17.0 mph).

Maybe I would have shaved off a second or two if I had taken off the water bottle cages before I rode instead of after. . . . but I still think I'm leaving the new aero helmet at home Saturday. I'll save that for the Columbia Triathlon and a course I've raced on before.

I'll have my work cut out for me making 40k in 82 minutes to make it a 18.0 mph average on Saturday. That's a good aspirational goal for me, but it will only happen if everything comes together and I get a great ride.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Are you having a good day?

Two days ago I went into the local Y branch for my Biggest Loser weigh-in. The lady doing the weigh-in asked, just to make conversation, "Is this going to be a good day or a bad day?" (meaning, was I going to weigh low or high). I responded, "A good day - I don't let my body weight determine what kind of day I have!"

I'm basically maintaining right now. I'd like to have a deficit, but in order to do that I need to kick up the exercise level a bit. That will be easier once it warms up a bit and the high winds calm down and I am willing to do more cycling in the warmer weather.