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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Soccer stars

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Swimming time trial

I finally found my old copy of Swim Workouts for Triathletes that had fallen down behind the other books on the bookshelf. So today I decided to give myself their recommended swimming standardized test: 3 times 300 yards.

I finished them in:


which I thought was pretty decent for me, an average pace of 2:14 per 100 yards. Slightly slower than my fastest wetsuit-aided triathlon swim, but within their standard of no more than 15 seconds spread between the sets.

Then I go back and look at the charts in the book and they all stop at 2:00 per 100 yards at the slow end. How deflating. It's like going to the running charts and having the slowest running pace in their charts at 9:00 min/mile, faster than all but my very fastest standalone miles.

Well, it gives me a benchmark. Guess I've got some work to do this winter.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another spectacular melt-down

Not sure exactly what happened today - dehydration, lack of long-distance runs, no taper, HILLS HILLS HILLS? I was going along fine until about Mile 8 when I had an attack of severe intestinal cramping. Bad enough that I wanted to lie down whimpering on the side of the road in fetal position and wait for a car to come pick me up. Well, no car was coming, so I hobbled along slowly until they let up and walked most of the rest of the way and my watch read 2:58:06 at the finish line. Ouch.

Really nice medals, though. . . . half marathon #36 is done.

Females 50-54
2:57:51 chip time
3:11:17 clock time
5614/6224 overall (90.1%)
2880/3673 women (78.4%)
109/181 women 50-54 (60.2%)

Ready to run!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Beautiful day!

Lovely day for a race in Baltimore, but the sun is already feeling warm and Garmin says I've walked 2.2 miles already! Sitting around now for the start of the half marathon in 52 minutes.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Ready to run

After the marathon start gets through, that is!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Baltimore Marathon start

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

A modest goal

I'm doing the Baltimore Half Marathon next Saturday. Based on my training paces lately, and the fact that I haven't run anything remotely resembling a long run since last August 2nd, I believe I'm looking at something like 11:30 min/mile on a good great day for a run of that length.

So that would give me reason to be happy with anything under 2:30 finishing time.

They're are 7 aid stations on the course - I'll plan to walk those and run the rest of the course and stop looking at my Garmin after Mile Marker 10 and just go for it.

Make it so.