Monday, December 21, 2009

Best Sports Endurance Blog of 2009?

DC Rainmaker has my vote.

No, he didn't even pay me for this.

But he's a fast, dedicated triathlete that trains hard and he makes a mean cupcake. And he's a nice guy to boot.

You should vote for him too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coming up

I'm still working on my 2010 race calendar. Probably it will emphasize running events of a half marathon and less, cycling time trials, and some sprint triathlons. But it's all up in the air, except this one:

Save the date: April 10, 2010 Dorchester County YMCA Crab Half Marathon & 5K Event Cambridge, Maryland

Early discounted registration until December 31st. Registration available at:
Contact: with any questions.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mission accomplished 5:23am

Checked out of our local Target by 5:23 am with a 32 inch LCD TV, DVD player, new Tinkerbell DVD, crock pot and 2 pink jackets for the girls for $313 - and got a $10 gift card back. Yeah, it was worth getting up a little early and even standing in the cold rain for a while! But the weather outside is nasty enough that I think I'll skip the local 5k/10k and stay home in front of the fireplace today with the family.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

B2B Half Ironman race report

This was something like my 100th race since I got back off the couch in 2000. Not exactly, I've lost count, but that's close enough.

I had a fabulous weekend spending time with friends in Wilmington, NC, and sharing time with them and marveling at their fabulous performances (particularly Iron Holly's first Ironman finish and Training Buddy Dave's massive 12:57 iron PR and Shawn's first half iron finish) was the real highlight of the weekend. I'll only tell my own race story here for brevity, and let them tell their own stories - and just put this one in writing so that I can refer to it in the future.

Setup: Most of the day before was spent on getting ready for the race - a practice swim, checking out the two swim start areas, attending the expo, racking bikes, etc. Very time-consuming, difficult logistics for this particular race without any sherpas along.

Summary: Post-race I'm ambivalent about my performance - it was originally supposed to be the full iron distance, but fortunately (much to my relief) I was able to drop down to the half Ironman since my training wasn't going well. The swim and the first half of the bike were fantastic, but I lost a lot of steam on the second half of the bike and never found my stride during the run.

SWIM 1.2 miles

We were concerned about the cold water temps but that turned out NOT to be a factor with a long-sleeved wetsuit. Got up too early - about 4:00 AM for an 8:50 race start - so that took a little energy out of me to start.

The swim was fantastically current-aided and as soon as we started this weak swimmer felt like Dara Freaking Torres. I felt amazingly comfortable the entire way. I'd sight for a buoy 200 yards away, put my head down and in a few strokes I was there and sighting for the next. Local resident Ron Steve had given superb advice and I stayed completely out of the fray and in the center of the channel in the strongest current. Sighted on the tall building at the exit, I climbed up the ladder with some assistance, stopped my watch, and trotted toward transition.

Watch time at water exit: 32:56* (1:33/100 yards) (faster time than my Olympic swim PR!)
Chip swim time (after showering and ~100 yard run): 34:25* (136/163 women)


I trotted the whole way through this very long transition - kind of fun at the time going between two rows of applauding fans like I was in the Tour de France! The T1 bags were located by the bikes and NOT by the changing tents for the half Ironman triathletes, so it didn't really work for us unless we wanted to add considerable distance and effort on our transition. And I didn't. So I pulled on bike shorts over my thin wet running shorts (and got considerable chafing from later, unfortunately). Had to take a little extra time to stuff wetsuits into the bag, too, and a very long trot out on bike cleats to the exit.

Watch T1: 10:11 (swim exit to bike exit)
Calc T1: 8:42 (estimated from timing mat to timing mat)

BIKE 56 miles

Once we got through some tricky roads exiting T1 and through town (lots of cars going in and out of business entrances at unmonitored intersections) we got out onto nice flat roads. A 12-mile section down the Interstate was delightful - fast and easy (speed often well into the 20s) on smooth straight concrete. Then off on a 4-lane highway. Turning off of that onto a rural road I took a wrong turn when the volunteers didn't direct us, but they yelled at me and I stopped and turned around. By that time I was getting chafed and achy and irritable. Down some rural roads for an out-and-back, and then a very long sluggish stretch straight into the wind on the homeward leg. That was slow, particularly on the final two huge bridges going into transition.

My hydration and electrolyte intake was pretty normal for training rides - 3 to 4 bottles with Motor Tabs, 2 Poptarts, a bag of margarita Clif Bloks, and a couple electrolyte capsules. I overdressed a bit with a windbreaker jacket, which I ended up tying around my waist the 2nd half of the bike. Should have just worn armwarmers with my tri-top.

Chip bike + T1: 3:36:24 (122/160)
Calc bike: 3:28:42
Odometer average speed: 16.1 mph
Calc average speed: 16.1 mph


Fairly uneventful. My rack spot was all the way at the end of transition so I had my 2nd long run with bike cleats on. The transition bags were at the rack spot in loose dirt and gravel, and the changing tents were back about 100 yards, so it made no sense to go back to use them. Quickly put on a dry clean shirt and stuffed my bike gear in the bag. I forgot to take off my bike shorts and had to take them off outside of transition and throw them over the fence.

T2 Chip time 4:54 (114/157)

RUN 13.1 miles

Coming out of T2 I was 9:11 into a PR (compared to Eagleman 2007). But that all went away extremely quickly. My first 3 miles up and over the huge bridges were shuffling and slow, and I never was able to pick up my stride. Then at Mile 4 suddenly my left quad locked up quickly enough to make me stumble, so I quickly switched to Damage Control Mode and took some more electrolytes. My muscles remained twitchy and uncomfortable-to-painful for the rest of the run, so I just hung on and completed it the best way I knew how, alternating running and walking, grazing on grapes and oranges and getting Coke at the frequent aid stations. I think this was my 40th half marathon run in a race. It's always a great thing to see friendly familiar faces out on the course, and with the full Ironman going on at the same time I had lots of fun opportunities to greet friends on the way back to the finish.

Run: Chip time 3:17:54 (148/156)


My 5th half Ironman, 2nd fastest (for events with a full swim)
Finish: 7:33:36
13/16 women 50-54 who finished swim, 13/15 finishers
142/163 women who finished swim

Fun day. But I can do better. Onward.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beach 2 Battleship half iron triathlon: times

I finished! There were some issues with the timing mats so the official splits were messed up, so I spent some time with my watch times to get estimates:

SWIM 1.2 miles (PR! that doesn't really count*)
Watch time at water exit: 32:56* (1:33/100 yards)
Chip swim time (after showering and ~100 yard run): 34:25* (136/163)
*incredibly current-assisted

Watch t1: 10:11 (swim exit to bike exit)
Calc t1: 8:42 (estimated from timing mat to timing mat)

BIKE 56 miles
Chip bike + t1: 3:36:24 (122/160)
Calc bike: 3:28:42
Odometer average speed: 16.1 mph
Calc average speed: 16.1 mph

T2: Chip time 4:54 (114/157)

RUN 13.1 miles
Run: Chip time 3:17:54 (148/156)

Finish: 7:33:36
13/16 women 50-54 who finished swim, 13/15 finishers
142/163 women who finished swim

Aside: I think this was my 40th half marathon race run, but my count is a little fuzzy.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween 2009

The girls wanted to wear the same costumes as last year - with the addition of new light-up scepters, tiaras (which Elisabeth refused to wear), and princess shoes (that didn't quite make it into this photo).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saint Michaels Sports Boosters 5k

Teensy tiny local race that goes past my house. No mile markers, forgot my Garmin, no one to pace off of. Coughing and side stitch after being ill for 3 weeks.

BUT this "plodder" didn't walk!! That's a victory for today!

30:14 at the line.

I have the winter to take off 2:15 to get a new PR.

1:09 slower than this course last year, but it was warmer and more humid today. Hmm, but then again I was bouncing back from being sick then too! Oh well, this seems to be a habit. I still won my AG (50 to death; out of maybe 3 women in the AG who didn't walk it) and got a $20 gift certificate to the local Christmas Store!

Then I had to go rescue my training buddy Dave who got a flat on his bike and didn't have the stuff to fix it after flatting a spare tube.... and I also smashed my ankle in the garage entry door, bleeding on my socks. Silliness.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The old tree is gone

Cutting it down today. House to follow. Sad.
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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Recommended bike storage

I just installed four of these in my garage to hang my bikes from the wall and they seem to work great!!!

Also known as Gladiator Vertical Bike Hook (a Whirlpool product) - Google that if the link doesn't work.

Pretty simple to install the suspending bar (rigid plastic, but sturdier than a board; just screw into the wall studs) and the hooks just snap into it. You can also buy and hang other kinds of hooks and baskets for shoes, helmets, etc., off the same bar.

Not much more expensive than buying boards and c-hooks, and better built for the job, plus neater in appearance.

Recommended!! Someone could even put these into apartment walls if they had wooden studs and spackle over the holes without too much damage when moving out.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our new closets

These shelves, baskets, and hanging rods were installed today in our bedroom closets. Pretty exciting after living out of a suitcase on the floor for a few months!
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Monday, September 28, 2009

I switched

Thank you so much for the feedback, everyone. I really do appreciate you taking the time to consider my dilemma and think it through with me.

I have confirmed my switch to the half-iron distance at Beach 2 Battleship triathlon on November 7, 2009.

I do apologize to those who have already donated to the Challenged Athletes Foundation that I won't be completing the full distance this time around - I'm sorry to disappoint you. I hope that those who have pledged find it in their heart to still consider a donation to this extremely worthwhile charity:

My training had not shown the volume nor the results in improving my endurance or speed that I had hoped this year. I realized during the Chesapeakeman Aqua Velo last Saturday (when I stopped after one 1.2-mile loop of the swim and one 66-mile bike loop) that my body wasn't cooperating well enough for a strong iron-distance finish, and consequently my heart just wasn't in it. I felt a huge sense of relief when I learned that Setup Events would very kindly allow me to change to the half.

I'm feeling a greatly renewed sense of enthusiasm in completing my training for the 70.3 distance in Wilmington on November 7, and look forward to a strong race performance there at distances my body is much better trained to handle with the training time I have been able to invest.

Thanks again for all your faith in me and your feedback! I'm very content with this decision and I'm looking forward to race day and being able to cheer on my Ironman friends over the finish line that night!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Return of Chesapeakeman

Holly and I are doing the Chesapeakeman iron-distance aqua velo on Saturday, in training for Beach 2 Battleship iron-distance triathlon in November. (Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles.) Weather forecast (*knock on wood, obeisance to the Tri Gods*) looks near-perfect: Cloudy. Highs in the upper 60s and lows in the low 60s.

I just cleaned up my bike Buttercup, checked her all out (yes, the new red tires look fine), took off the behind-the-seat chandelier bottle holder for race day, and restocked the under-seat-pack. She looks ready to rumble.

Predictions? I haven't done a huge amount of swimming this year, but instead of an extra-long mid-river point-to-point, it's a 2-lap course in a shallow protected cove this time around. Shouldn't be too bad.

Of course I'd like to beat my 2006 times:
SWIM 2.4 miles: 1:52:11 (2:39/100 yards) (8/11 women)
SWIM TO BIKE TRANSITION: 11:51 (10/11 women)
BIKE 112 miles: 6:58:50 (16.0 mph average)(8/11 women)
FINISH: 9:02:51 (10/11 women)

Let's say for 2009 goals:
SWIM 2.4 miles: 1:45:00 (my typical pool pace would give me about 1:48 for 2.4 miles)
SWIM TO BIKE TRANSITION: 10:00 (try not to collapse in a chair and start chatting this time) BIKE 112 miles: 6:48:00 (16.5 mph average)
FINISH: 8:43:00

Not sure I can do that, I've been slow lately! Race day will tell the story!

I've got a few friends doing the full - the plan is to slap on my running shoes and go out on the run course after I finish to the first mile marker and back just to test my legs and warm down and see if I can spot them.

Any last-minute recommendations for me?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vanishing landscape

My town just issued a building permit for a house right where this majestic tree stands. Criminal! Three lots down from our house.
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

2009 Annapolis Ten Miler

Back again at this classic race today (my 4th time, I think?) with 5,499 of my closest friends. Usually it's insufferably hot and humid but we were fortunate to have temperatures and humidities both in the low 70s today.

Watch time: 1:58:32/Garmin time: 1:58:40
Official chip time: 1:58:24 (11:50 min/mile pace)
Previous best on this challenging course: 2:01:24 (2005)

So exactly a 3-minute course PR. I'll take it! The entire 3 minutes can be accounted for by not walking up ANY hills this time (for the first time on this course), and indeed, there are several tough ones. I did walk for a short while several times at water stops, just to gulp down some water, but limited it to just as long as necessary to drink-and-go.

Still a long way off my ten mile PR (different course, cold weather, 2007): 1:48:52

On the final hill on the Severn River bridge, there was an overweight teenage boy really struggling and I started badgering him to get up the hill: "C'mon! We're going to run up this hill! Count to twenty and we'll be there! Lift up your chin and you can breathe easier! Use your arms! Look, just run to that flag and we're done!"

Mostly it helped take my mind off myself, of course, but it kept me going!

He did great. I passed him later but found him after the finish line and shook his hand and congratulated him.

I felt strong the whole race, very positive mentally, and got a great technical long-sleeved running shirt at the finish line that I'll wear often. Also nice to see some old friends at the start and on course!

A good day for running, and a solid training run in the bank!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bad plan

Don't start a century on tread like this. Like I did. (I'll blame starting in a thunderstorm for not noticing it.)
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Century didn't quite go as planned today. After the thunderstorms let up, I got in 35 miles at a EZ 16 mph pace but then my worn-out bad tires had their revenge. Went flat on the road and then wouldn't hold air. Bah! Bagged it for today and caught a ride back to the start. Ride another day (after I put on the new tires, duh!)

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Sunday, August 16, 2009


She says "Can we go home tomorrow?"

Me: "Why?"

E: "I want to go home."

Me: "This is where we live now! This is our home!"

E: "This is not home. This is the New House."

Can't put anything past her.
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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not much blogging going on here.

Sorry so quiet! I've been:
  • Driving kids to summer day camp and back, which ended last Friday
  • Following the Tour de France on my other blog and Twitter, which ended last Sunday
  • Doing some training but (of course) never quite enough (as you can see in the sidebar)
  • Breaking in my new Adamo saddle, which I like but which is taking a long time to get accustomed to
  • NOT racing, haven't done any races since a slow half marathon in April (they tend to take too much time out of my training anyway)
  • Trying to figure out how to get in my training at all now that the kids are not in camp until school starts August 25th
  • Getting the new house ready to move into (STILL remodeling, will post some photos when there's something actually completed to show. Today's excitement was starting the new garbage pickup service over there)
  • Getting the old house ready to move out of (YES, we have a great offer on the table, but have to finish up all the final details of fixing up the old house)
  • Putting up random links and interesting things on Facebook lately instead of here on the blog like I used to
That's all for now!

Friday, July 03, 2009


My husband took this cell phone photo late this afternoon of all the boats moored out in the nearby Miles River in anticipation of tonight's firework display.

Mommy turtle

Back again in our driveway
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Thursday, July 02, 2009


Our new countertops were installed today - sand-colored laminate. We'll probably replace them with stone in five years or so but for right now it saved us several thousand dollars that we're spending on other things! I think it looks great, anyway. We're hoping the whole job will be finished within a couple more weeks. However, I just gave the contractor another job today - installing marble flooring in our half bath and a couple new toilets. It's always something!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Solo training camp

The girls are in day camp from 9-4 M-F this week, so I'm trying to get some increased training volume in a solo training camp by myself. (The slight glitch in this is that my new Adamo bike saddle arrived Monday, and it's going to take me a few more miles than I expected to get accustomed to totally new pressure points. I'll post a review soon).

Here are my completed workouts (I'll update this and add as I do them):

SWIM 0:44 0.99 mi 44:47 min/mile 396 cal
BIKE 1:02 17.29 mi 16.7 mph 691 cal
Painted 1 laundry room, grouted cracks in driveway, filled 1 rotten windowsill with wood putty.

SWIM 0:49 1.10 mi 44:12 min/mile 440 cal
BIKE 2:36 40.80 mi 15.7 mph 1632 cal (slow and sluggish)
Also spent too much time adjusting the bike seat, putting on the behind-the-seat water bottle cages for summer long rides, etc.

SWIM 0:42 0.96 mi 43:47 min/mile 384 cal
RUN 2:07 8.30 mi 15:18 min/mile 830 cal (call it heat acclimatization training - hot and slow)

RUN 0:60 5.00 mi 11:54 min/mile 500 cal
BIKE 1:19 20.07 mi 15.2 mph 802.8 cal

BIKE 2:13 35.20 mi 15.9 mph 1408 cal (cut it short, had intended 50-70 miles)

RUN 0:49 4.24 mi 11:30 min/mi 424 cal

Plus some walking that I won't count! Whew!

Baby bunny

Eating up all my grass. Punk!
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Friday, June 26, 2009


I didn't take many photos last week when we rented a house at the Outer Banks in North Carolina, but here are a couple that make me smile:


Group of 7-8 deer on my run route today
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New cabinets

Still being installed, and no appliances nor countertops in place, but at least it's progress!

Here is the "before" photo of that stove area in the center. We are keeping the same stove, in the same location (only it will have a microwave above it instead of the vent hood), but that's all that remains of the original kitchen and layout:

Bad photo, but at least you can get the gist of the 2-sided glass cabinets between the sunroom and the kitchen:

This is about the same view, before remodeling (nothing in this photo is still in place other than the doorway I'm shooting the photo through). The new dishwasher is going approximately in the same place as the old one that is barely visible on the right far side.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Starting Over

Here we go again. I have 24 weeks in this year's log and 20 weeks to Ironman, more or less.

Averages per week this year:

  • Swim: 334 yards (zero for fully 20 of those weeks, since I never got meds to swim in the indoor pools, and I would get sick without them. Fortunately outdoor pools seem okay so far.)
  • Bike: 29.8 miles (better than I had thought!)
  • Run: 10.6 miles (fairly average for me).

Hmm. Compared to this time in 2006, when I was preparing for Ironman Florida (which I DNFd halfway through the run), that's about 2975 fewer yards swimming per week, 19.4 fewer bike miles per week, and 4.8 fewer run miles per week. That's not good! But my paces are faster now and my body weight lower, so that's in my favor. And while I'm 3 years older, I've also got 3 more years of base training and triathlon experience.

Now I need to gradually bring up the swim total within a week by about, oh, roughly 10X - 20X, the bike by about 4X-6X, and the run by about 2X. Not in every week, though, the overall weekly averages in the next 24 weeks will be somewhat less since I'll focus more heavily on single disciplines each week.

Bring it on.

Home again!

Home again from vacation! Yay! I'll post some photos when I find my camera (buried somewhere in unpacked luggage, I hope).

Major events of this week:

* My birthday! My math says it's my 52nd, but that can't possibly be right.

* Summer day camp starts! Hurrah!

* MORE work on both houses proceeds, slowly. Photos to come, also. Two sets of beautiful upper cabinets are now installed in my new kitchen and 3/4 of the beautiful floor. It's still going to be several weeks until moving day. The old house is listed for sale and we've had a few looky-loos so far.

* 20 weeks to Beach 2 Battleship iron-distance triathlon means that SERIOUS tri-training begins this week! I'm using a modified free canned training program, which looks good, along with logging my workouts there. They have a "friends" function, though I'm not sure exactly what the friends thing does.

* I just ordered one of these funny-looking bike saddles. It's my only hope for riding long distances without being in serious, serious, SERIOUS discomfort after 2-3 hours. Nothing else has worked, and I've tried everything. Everything. And yes, red is fast.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hot tub

The girls are loving it! Yes, we have the temp turned down so they don't cook. But maybe we'll get one at home one of these days!
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New carpet

In the middle of carpet installation today throughout the new house (everything outside of the remodeled area and bathrooms). This is in the girls' bedroom, but the color goes very well with the tan, yellow, and brown shades I've used for the walls throughout the rest of the house. Sure beats faded 80s dusty rose.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Swimming at Claiborne

My training partner Dave and I did another short open water swim this morning at Claiborne, Maryland. There's a sleepy village which many years ago used to host a bustling ferry terminus. These days there are more ospreys and crabs than people.

You might be able to see a flag in the middle ground which showed the wind to be 8 or 9 mph. The water had a bit more chop than I would like, but the temperatures were pleasant enough and there is no sign of the sea nettles yet. We did, however, pause to let a very large swimming snapping turtle go on his way. Since it's completely open to the west it can get a lot of wind coming off the bay and a lot of chop, making swimming there a bit of a challenge. Plus it's only deep enough to swim there when the tide is out - otherwise it's only hip height out to a half mile offshore. Today that allowed me to stand up and rest and take a breather whenever I felt like it!

The crescent-shaped bay is just to the south of the "A" on the map below, on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Blowup pool

I don't think I could fit an Endless Pool in it, but we're enjoying the new back yard before we have even moved in!
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Don't like

"Race Day Packet Pickup (each) : $10.00"

Oh well, won't be registering for that race either.

Friday, June 05, 2009

New floor

Finally the floor installation begins!
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Update: VERY glad to see our new flooring finally going in! It's Bruce "Butter Rum" prefinished 3/4 inch oak. Can't wait until it's done!

New blinds

Just installed these in living room
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Update: They are great shades! I'm very happy with them. I got them on sale online at JCPenney (Spencer II Roman Shades), about $50 per shade with shipping - they have a sheer portion and a heavier room-darkening portion (in lots of colors and a few patterns, this is called "Sienna Scroll" in a very rich-looking fabric). I'll probably use them alone for a long time and then put drapes on top of them, or maybe just a valance. VERY easy to install, I was surprised!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Birthday festivities

I had hoped to have a real backyard birthday party this year, but that idea got dropped when the remodel wasn't anywhere near finished. But we ended up with several fun days of celebrating six years with my girls anyway!

Starting with the ever-popular rainbow cupcakes with buttercream frosting (48 of them took me all afternoon to make). I think I need to find information somewhere on "How to Frost Cupcakes".

I brought them to school on Monday to help fuel the kids for their outdoor "Field Day" which is lots of fun.

We had our own outing at our private beach cove on Saturday which was great! Too bad the jellyfish will arrive soon.