Monday, July 28, 2008

Outside Ravenna Ohio

Found a lovely place at West Branch State Park in northeast Ohio - not far from Akron. May stay for 2 nights!

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Race day forecast

Sunday, 3 August
Rise: 6:41 am
Set: 9:02 pm
UV Index: 8 (Very High)
Relative Humidity: 68%
Precipitation Probability: 10%
Cloud Coverage: 54%
Wind Speed: 8Mph (12Km, 6Kts)
Wind Direction: 325° (NW)
Partly Cloudy
High 78°
Low 65°

Woot! Sounds absolutely delightful to me - we haven't seen seventies after the sun is up for quite a while! I'm packing my armwarmers just in case it's chillier than forecast!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Intervals are hard

I was going to take a nice bike ride today - only to find out my poor new tire had a blowout inside the shed. Hopefully just a pinch flat, but I didn't have time to change it and still get in much of a ride.

Decided to do some work on foot instead. Warmed up one mile. Ran half mile hard, walk one tenth, repeat for four work intervals. Finish it off with a couple shorter jogging intervals to warm down.

I hope that helps since I have nothing in the way of long runs to count toward my Steelhead half Ironman preparation. Going to have to just wing it on "muscle memory" and a few short runs.

Catherine has planned our road trip

Obviously she isn't concerned about gas prices.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jimmy Casper out

Sorry to see that 2-time Lanterne Rouge Jimmy Casper of Agritubel didn't make the time limit on Alpe d'Huez today in the Tour de France.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

No long run

It was too sweltering by the time I rolled my carcass out of bed to do a long run. The dew point has remained well over 71*F, making everything sticky and uncomfortable even when temperatures are moderate. When temps rise, it gets downright dangerous. So I settled for mile repeats at the track again. That was hot and slow enough!

It can always get worse. Last night a 60-year-old man collapsed and died at a local 8k race.

Be careful out there!

Friday, July 18, 2008

First movie

We took the girls today to see their first film ever in a theater: Wall-E. Catherine liked it (and kept up a fairly loud series of questions and hilarious commentary), Elisabeth was disinterested.

That's the first film I've seen in a theater since . . . oh, either Titanic or one of the Lord of the Rings films.

Wall-E was fun, very different for Disney/Pixar (I don't see any cuddly toys coming out of this) but visually impressive, the plot kept moving briskly, and it's ultimately a positive ending. Probably better on the big screen than on DVD, but it depends on how much your local cinema charges ($22 admission for 2 adults and 2 kids today).

Doesn't really take the cheap shots at fat people that I expected, either, although they feature in the plot.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Sitting in a waiting room. My daughter Catherine starts drawing in ink all over her legs.

I tell her to stop it. "We don't write all over ourselves."

"But Moooommmm," she whines, "When you go to a race you have ink all over."

She has a point.

I write her race number 5 (her age, as requested) on her arm.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Muddy Buddy Photos

They're up! Click here for the whole group. What fun! I want to do it again!!!

Real food for real athletes

That's what I'm all about - I try to avoid the overpriced stuff marketed to triathletes and runners!

Here's a great idea for road food for cyclists that is eaten by all the Garmin-Chipotle guys riding right now in the Tour de France: Rice cakes with Alan Lim (and no, not those styrofoam things, these look like hearty nutritious treats).

Testing the wheel cover

I went out on Buttercup with her new wheel cover and planned to do intervals of 2 miles hard: 2 miles easy for about 20 miles.

I can't say I'm impressed with the performance of the wheel cover.

  • I don't think it gives me any more speed - if it does, it's negligible. (I had one stretch over 20 mph, but I was working for it with a heart rate over 160 bpm).
  • It adds weight.
  • It was a pain to put on and it's difficult to access the air valve now.
  • It flares a bit by 2 or 3 of the screwholes which I'm sure doesn't improve the aerodynamics.
  • It interferes with the rear brake (which is still usable but rubs, even after I adjusted it).
  • I'm concerned about the screws working loose (I could buy extras and some Loctite, but...).
  • It's fairly delicate - it already took a couple divots on the rim when I ran over a piece of metal today.
  • On the plus side, it didn't seem to have too much sail effect laterally when trucks, etc., went by - I did feel a little sway a couple of times but winds were only 0-11 mph today. Not sure what it would do in higher winds.

Plus I got a friggin' flat on the front tire out on the road after running over said piece of metal (yeah, that's the big glitch about mile 17 - after which I just rode home slowly). At least I hadn't changed that tire for the new one yet.

I'll file off the divots and try it again Friday, but after that unless I have an impressive workout then I'm taking it off. Just not worth the uncertainty in how it will handle on race day (since I don't have an extra wheel I can swap out for it easily, and removing the cover itself is a big job involving the removal of the cassette).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The new wheel cover

First of all, am I raising these kids right OR WHAT!? Here's my barely 5-year-old Catherine doing her chores, pumping up Mommy's tire to the proper pressure. She gets a time-out if the pressure is off by 5 p.s.i.

Next, here is the new wheel cover, painstakingly installed. What a pain in the butt! I sure hope it makes me fast! If so, it's worth the whole $65 and more! It dings up pretty easily too, I've already noted.

I'll ride with it and report back in the next few days.

The problem with mermaids

Catherine said yesterday: "Mom, I want to talk underwater."

I began an explanation about how that didn't work very well because air is necessary to transmit the sound when she interrupted me:

"But what about Ariel?"

Um, yeah, Ariel can talk underwater in the movie just fine. You do have a point there.

Can those pesky Santa sleigh logistics questions be far behind?

Monday, July 14, 2008

This is going to hurt

I just submitted the entry for my 2nd and 3rd individual cycling time trials: 5 km and 10 km, on Saturday, August 9, at the flat and fast Church Creek Time Trials. They're the Maryland Senior Olympics cycling events.

If I get first or second in my age group at either distance it will qualify me for both of the individual time trials at the National Senior Games at Stanford next year. (I'm already qualified for the 2009 National Senior Games in triathlon by virtue of living in a state that does not offer it in their state games, and having completed two triathlons in 2008).

I've looked online for some sort of compilation of Maryland state time trial records for age group women and have come up short. Any links anyone might have on that would be appreciated!!

In 2007 the National Senior Games medalists in my age group rode the 5K time trial in 8:04 to 8:21, or 22.2 to 23.0 mph.

In 2007 the National Senior Games medalists in my age group rode the 10K time trial in 14:52 to 15:09, or 24.5 to 25.0 mph.

The 2007 Games cycling time trials times seem to be considerably faster than the 2003 and 2005 times. Not sure if that's the caliber of competition or the course.

Whew! I have no idea yet what I can do over those short distances, but I rarely see speeds like 24 mph without a huge tailwind. The really big question mark I have right now is how well I can ride on the day after we return home from a 2-week road trip vacation. I'll just have to do my best and see what happens!

(I've also never found results posted online for the June 14 time trials at the same location, but I was competing against beginners of all ages in that event and got passed by many of them, so I didn't really worry about where I placed!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Muddy Buddy

My muddy buddy Holly and I completed this event today in Richmond, Virginia and had TONS of fun! Really recommended for a very fun change of pace! Many fun costumes on hand plus children's event made it festive. We dressed up as the "Mud Kittens" with custom-designed shirts (courtesy of Holly) and cat-ears on our helmets.

Over ~6 miles of trails, with 2 runner/riders and one mountain bike (people leapfrogging and alternating on bike or running) we traversed:

4 obstacles:
Climbing wall
Balance beam
Ranger wall (climb over/under)
Cargo net climb/ vertical slide

Plus river crossing (~knee high water which poor Holly had to carry the bike over) and crawl-through mud pit

Trail running/biking was extraordinarily fun - I'm already thinking about buying a mountain bike for next year's event, naturally!

We finished near the back of our competition group (don't know exactly where yet - grouped on the basis of the sum of the participant ages) but the bike had a flat and Holly had to run the bike in for the last leg - but I'm pretty sure not many people had more fun than us!

Yeah, yeah, we'll have some muddy photos for you soon. Right now I'm doing laundry!

Update: Here is the climbing wall - the first and (for me) most daunting obstacle since it was about 8 feet high, up the climbing wall on the right and down the rope ladder - and I have little upper body strength and a lousy strength/weight ratio! It's also fairly difficult to get a good purchase on the wall with standard running shoes. Fortunately we checked it out the day before and got our bodies over it a couple of times for practice and to gain confidence. Holly has a great photo essay on her site so I'll direct you there for more muddy fun!

We were 20th out of 24 teams in our division:
1747 Toby, Nancy Mud-Kittens 51 F 1:17:47.8 20
1747 Gannoe, Holly Mud-Kittens 37 F 1:17:47.8 20

I think without the flat tire in the last leg of the race we would have moved up only one place, maybe. 18th place was more than 5 minutes ahead of us.

I wish I could have worn my Garmin to generate a map (and distances) of the course! But I wasn't going to take it through that mud pit!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dinner tonight

All food all the time no training ---->road to ruin.
Oh yeah, I'm tapering for Muddy Buddy.

One of our favorite usual restaurants about 3 blocks from home.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Driving in the car with Catherine

After many discussions about how she wants to be Ariel the Mermaid next Halloween, as Catherine was looking out the car window today she came up with this thought:

"The birds want to be airplanes for Halloween."

Maybe they do. Just maybe they do.

Water bottles

Pursuant to this rant - many triathletes and runners have gone way overboard on carrying water. It's OK to end a race or a workout a little bit dehydrated, folks!

Next time you're tempted to carry an extra water bottle, remember:

24 ounces of water plus bottle weighs 1.6 pounds. Or over 700 grams.

How much do people spend to carve 700 grams of weight off their bike? Hundreds and even thousands of dollars!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Race Report: John Wall Mile

Today I ran the John Wall Mile in Severna Park, Maryland. This race commemorates John Wall, an Olympian who apparently represented the United States at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games (the games at which Jesse Owens dominated the athletics events).

This was my first actual track competition of any distance, and I was dreading the pain of running hard for a mile!

They ran the race in heats of about 20-30 runners, starting from slowest (estimated finish over 10 minutes) to fastest. I seeded myself in the 8-to-9 minute heat.

I think I did not warm up enough close to the start of the race - I walked and jogged about 1.5 miles, but cooled down while watching the heat in front of me. Once I started running it took me over half a mile for my heart rate to get up to speed. It shows my maximum is still around 185 bpm, though. I maintained a good effort level while running - I don't think I could have forced myself to run any harder today.

Finish time: 8:44. PR! I've never run an official one mile race before, so any time would have been a PR. However, it was still 11 seconds faster than my fastest-ever Garmin-timed mile at the start of a 5K.

This gives me a good benchmark to work from. Let's see if I can beat it next year! Alas, I would have to be 1:14 faster in the mile in order to meet the qualifying standard for the 2009 Summer National Senior Games (about 7:30 for the mile for age 50-54 women, that is, 7:00 for 1500m).

Vive Le Tour!

Things on this blog may be rather quiet this month while I cover the events of the Tour de France on my Lanterne Rouge blog - so stop by!

Friday, July 04, 2008

My Muddy Buddy

I'm sure glad Holly is training and getting ready for our upcoming foray in the Richmond Muddy Buddy.

Because, uhhhhh, I've never been on a mountain bike before. Where are the aerobars?

Happy Independence Day!

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Take the candy bar quiz.

I got 17/20, missed 3 on the newfangled candy bars that I never tried. Yet.

"There is no such thing as too sweet." - Nancy Toby

Accelerations on the bike

Today I had an hour to ride so I tried to make some good use of it by doing a series of acceleration exercises: At every new mile, accelerate and stomp hard on one pedal and pull upwards hard on the other one for 25 repeats of each leg.

It ends up being a pretty good workout. I just would like to be able to maintain those 23-24 mph speeds I was seeing at the end of each acceleration! They don't show in the speed data, though, I guess I decelerated again too rapidly for anything to show up!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Halfway through the year

I just realized we're halfway through 2008.

Feeling puny.
  • Swim: 31,992 yards (18.2 miles)
  • Bike: 645.6 miles
  • Run: 313.5 miles
I'll do better the second half, especially once school starts in the fall (yeah!). I also refuse to get sick again this year, I've had enough of that nonsense for 2008.


I have a one mile track race on Sunday. I'm dreading the Big Hurt. I wouldn't do it except it's part of the local Championship Series and I need the points to maintain my lofty 4th place in the age group standings!

Today to get my legs warmed up to the challenge I did quarter mile intervals on the track. The fastest one I managed to do was 2:12, but I truly doubt that I could do four of those in a row. Garmin says my best quarter was 2:09 for a an 8:40 min/mile pace, but I'll believe the actual track before I'll believe Garmin. Then again, you never know what's going to happen on race day with some extra adrenalin in my system!

My maximum heart rate didn't get above 174 today. I don't think I'm able to get it well up into the 180s any more - I think my maximum has dropped. But we'll see.


Test message of one of the turtles that keep digging up our driveway.
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