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.