Monday, November 28, 2005

Home Safely

Made it back without too much fanfare. We were able to make all of our connections and I walked in the door to a wagging woofie at about 8:30 pm on Saturday, glad to be home.

It was a really nice Thanksgiving. Everyone was cheerful and happy and there were no squabbles or hard-to-hear jokes. I only caught one or two liberal bashing comments and no mean jokes at all. We've come a long way. It was nice to have a bouncing 6 or 9 month old to chill with...both are so so sweet with wonderful dispositions...the 6 month old weighs about 10 more lbs. than the 9 month old so we called her "Bubba." She was all smiles the whole dad kept saying, "That kid knows something that the rest of us don't." Too funny. It was a nice time...

So now I've got to get back to it. I ran for about 30 minutes on Friday but have not been in the pool since Tuesday. The swim meet is coming right up this weekend...I'm looking forward to everything but the 100 IM. Not sure what I was thinking on that one as I can just barely do butterfly. Oh well, my time wasn't the slowest on the psyche sheet so that's something.

Finally finished my blank 2006 Training log this weekend and will send it of to my friend at my old office to be printed. It'll feel good to get some stuff on paper so I have a plan to follow. Thinking about biting the bullet and signing up for a 25K Ski Marathon...I think it makes a big difference to me to have a race scheduled rather than just saying I'm going to sign up. Stay tuned on that's a bit more of a stretch for me as I've never undertaken a winter race of this type...

Not at all sure what it means that I didn't get any comments on my travel posts...hopefully it's all good but whatever... it kept me busy and entertained and I learned how to use wi-fi...and now the newest toy on my xmas list is a G4 laptop... someday...


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Boarding like a herd of buffalo...

This is insanity. There are so many people going to Baltimore. Found the bro and his chick, all is well. I've only gotten about 1 hour of my wi-fi time and now i must sign off. perhaps there will be dial up capabilities once I get to the eastern shore. If not, I'll likely have to find a local Borders... wish me luck... over and out..

Travels with Spence II, Logan Airport, 11:00am

Well, we made it to the airport and I'm pleased to announce that I made it through security without a hitch. Actually, I forgot to take my silver bracelet off and the thing beeped until I remembered. Problem averted...

Almost lost my breakfast on the bus - the snow was pretty heavy for awhile and there were cars off the road everywhere - mostly SUVs - but we finally crossed the snow/rain line at about the MA/NH border and I'm relieved we'll be taking off in the rain rather than the snow. The sky actually looks kind of light, like it's thinking about clearing off. We were only about 20 minutes late getting here so that's a good I have two whole hours to kill before my flight.

I'm at the gate waiting for my darling brother. Located a wi-fi hot spot but unfortunately it costs $7.95 for 24 hours. WTF!!?? At first it sounded like a deal - that's only, what, $0.30/hour? But then I realized I'm only going to be here for two hours and that sends it to $4.00/hour!!! Sheesh. We'll see how desperate I get (OK, the fact that this post is up tells you I have no willpower - so $7.95 poorer, here we are. Incidentally, the courtesy phone across the way from me only costs $29 for an emergency call!) Maybe my brother can call his friend who is a Tufts University alumni and see if he knows the Tufts wireless password.

So the airport is a little bit of a mob-scene. I haven't traveled by plane on Thanksgiving in about 20 years. I think there's a good reason for that. oy. So what's everyone else doing right now? I'm looking forward to hearing all about everyone's Turkey Trot races...

Travels with Spence, Thanksgiving Day

OK, here we go. Yippee for the holidays. I'm headed from Hanover to Boston to Baltimore to Maryland's Eastern Shore to see my Dad and his side of the family. I've been thinking about this trip for awhile now and I decided that measures had to be taken to somehow keep myself connected to sanity while en-route and ensconced in the wild and crazy group that is my family. My Honey was able to procure a sweet G4 laptop from work and I'm charged up and ready to connect to the first wireless network I can find. OK, deep breath. I think if I can stay connected to you all I'll be ok...

At the moment I'm sitting on a bus to Logan Airport, driven by Ed. It's 7:23 am and I've been up since 5:30...It's only a 25 minute ride from home to the bus but it's snowing and the roads are pretty girl is spewing about how she spun around on the way here and almost hit a telephone pole. You live in the Northeast...learn how to drive in the crap for crying out loud! Then there was a crisis because there's no room for anyone in the parking lot. Thankfully my office is right across the street so I left my car there with a sigh of relief. Spin Out Girl took my advice and did the same as she's returning tonight and would be sad if her car was towed.

Anyway, I'm meeting my awesome brother and his amazing girlfriend at the airport and then we'll fly together and end up at our destination by about 5:00 tonight. My cousin is an ICU nurse in Annapolis and has to work today so we're having Thanksgiving tomorrow. Thank the goddess for my bro is all I can say. See, I don't know this side of the family all that well. My folks were divorced when I was 7 and I only ever saw them on holidays and sometimes not even then. It's ok - they're cool people - all three of my cousins went to Dartmouth which is pretty much where I live now so we have some common ground around's fine.

OK, time for some new info... you see, this is the side of the family that didn't know I was gay until long after I had come out to myself and the rest of the world. I just wasn't sure how it would go. After the 7th or 8th gay joke of the holiday (8 or 9 years ago) I pretty much decided that I'd let them figure it out for themselves. No need to ruin everyone's day, especially mine.

So now they know and it's interesting because there will be some gay slur or joke and then they'll realize that they're talking about ME and somehow they think, "Oh but you're not like that..." even though they don't say it...and I'm thinking, "Oh but you're right, I'm not like that...and neither are all of the other gay people in the world and you really are talking about me..." Somehow I'm not like "one of them." Heh... funny how people perceive it all...they're evolving slowly - a few of them have even come out as (shocked gasp) Liberal Democrats which has actually garnered them much more criticism and ridicule than my admission ever's been a few years since we've all been together and now there are 4 babies to play with so hopefully the focus will be on them...and I'll get my kid fix for awhile too... joy.

For me, if you know me, you know this about me. I don't hide, I'm not ashamed, I believe that coming out is somewhat of a duty - visibility is important and coming out helps people realize that we are, in fact, everywhere and most of us, like most straight people, are productive, talented, worthwhile human beings...but I don't just come out and tell you until it's relevant. When I meet new people, I get to know them a bit, I gain their trust and kind of feel them out to see if they seem homophobic...and once I have a pretty good idea that they'll be ok with it, I let them know. And the deal is that I usually do it before I've invested too much in the relationship so that if their reaction is negative, oh well - I didn't need them as a friend anyway. Alas, I hope I don't lose any readers as a result but if I do - whatever - feel free to click that little black "x" in the top corner of your screen. But I hope after a few months of reading about my world, you've already learned enough about me that this new bit of info is just that - info. But what would all this be about if it wasn't about taking risks, right? Right.

I'm getting better at the touch pad on this makes me feel like i have four thumbs, especially on the bus. They're showing "My Best Friend's Wedding" with Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz. And Rupert Everett, who, I might point out for those of you not in the know, is gay in real life too. It's not my favorite movie but Julia Roberts is pretty fun in any role so that' good...

OK, I've never been able to read in a moving vehicle without getting car sick and it turns out that typing isn't much better. Ed is slamming his foot on the brake every 20 seconds or so which makes for lurching and queasiness. More when I get to the airport... over and out...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Flip and Flip and Flip and Flip and...

OK, I'm happy to report that there was no donut or chinese food scarfing occuring for this kid on Friday. I was completely good and didn't indulge and you know, it's easier today to say no because I have that "I already said no once before" track record going for me. And I was rewarded with a Sunday morning weigh in of 2 lbs. less than last week. I guess it remains to be seen if I keep it off through the next 7 days. Why is it that we are such gluttons over the holidays? Isn't it supposed to be about friends and family and being thankful? I'm hoping I can focus on that rather than the 8 different types of pie. Moderation, right? Thanks to all of you who checked in about the donuts. They are evil. And they stayed out of my belly. Yippee!!!

We swam again on Sunday but with less enthusiasm than the previous two weekend practices. I wanted to work on turns and my teammates agreed that was a good idea so we did the following after warming up (~400 EZ):

3 times thru (600 yds):
The idea was to do the appropriate turn for each transition as you would in an IM race (order is fly/back/breast/free) with flip turns on the free/free. It gave us ample opportunity to practice each type of turn. I still didn't have it all down by the end but it was good practice and helped me know where I need to focus for the next two weeks.
50 - 25 Fly/25 Back
50 - 25 Back/25 Breast
50 - 25 Breast/25 Free
50 - 25 Free/25 Free

100 EZ recovery

Then 4x thru, broken 100s (400 yds):
25-Choice, 10 seconds rest (I did IM order on the 25s - fly/back/breast/free)
50-Choice (I did Freestyle on the 50s), with flip turn, then 10 seconds rest
25-FAST-Choice (I did whatever stroke I'd done for the first 25)

We did this twice and then did 100 EZ to recover, then did it twice more. On the fourth time thru, we did a true broken 100 and did 4x25 at race pace with 10 seconds rest in between.

200 EZ warmdown

Overall I think I learned that I still have a lot to learn about swimming. My goals for the meet are to have fun and not get disqualified because of an illegal turn or start. There's a LOT to think about! It helped to force myself to flip on every turn so that it's becoming more automatic. My timing is off and I keep getting too close to the wall but it's not about the mechanics of the turn, it's about not having enough air to cruise into the wall and push off all in one breath!! I'll get there but boy do I have a LOT of respect for the folks that are at the top of this sport. They must have HUGE lungs.

Train hard, my good people...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Kick Ass Practice

Check out Kaitlin Sandeno's freestyle catch. Similar to Karlyn Pipes-Neilson's in how she's holding the water. Pure beauty.

Coach served up some kind of a practice yesterday. Holy moly. I was dying!! It felt good though. Well, it felt good after I stopped seeing little green men on the bottom of the pool. Sheesh!! I think the extra day IS really what's making a difference. After I thought about it, I realized that this summer when I was swimming really well I was also doing an extra open water swim day. So it's all good. I'm really looking forward to the meet although I'm trying not to obsess about it. Weasel Boy is obsessed. Which is good because now there's no chance that either of us will bail. Excellent.

So yesterday I was able to hold the 4x100s at about a 1:36 which is FAST for me. We were getting good rest - like :30-:45 seconds in between but I was swimming at about 80% effort so I needed it. But just a few short months ago I couldn't hold a 1:40 over 4 100s so that's progress. I'm not usually hung up on my times but a few seconds feels like a lot right now. Now I have to make my flip turns happen. In the three turns of a 100, I can do the first turn but by the time I get to the second wall, I'm dying for air and need that extra breath at the wall that comes with an open turn. By the third turn, there's no way I can pull it off. Not sure what turns I'm going to do at the meet but I guess I better figure it out. Nothing worse than panicking as you're heading into the wall and realizing you're too close to flip but that's what you were planning on so you end up coming to a complete stop. UGH. nightmare. We're swimming on Sunday this weekend so perhaps I'll focus my practice on turns. And starts...

There are donuts in the office this moring. I want one. But I'm declaring right now that I will not have one. For I am Triathlete Girl and I don't need donuts to train. No siree, I do not. I will not. (Someone please check in with me in the next two hours to be sure that I do not. Pleeeeeaaaase... ;)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

THIS is what i'm TALKING about

Check out how much water she's "holding." This is Karlyn Pipes-Neilson, holder of 49 (!!!!) Masters Swimming World records. I'm constantly trying to gather mental images of swimmers doing things right...and this is exactly what I want my catch to look like. I have a hard time with having enough strength to keep my elbow high on the pull thru. Hopefully coach will set up her underwater camera again and we can see how we're doing.

Didn't get much discussion yesterday on the physics of swimming. I guess folks are busy - which I should be too as I'm totally swamped at work. I think I'm in denial about it though. Take a look and leave a comment if you get a free minute!!

Oh, and send warm vibes to our MN friends...Trimama has posted a totally grim weather report.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Physics of Swimming

Ok, some discussion is warranted. We've been talking a lot about stroke and technique and how to go faster in the water. Today in the pool, I smashed a previous PR of 3:15 for 200 yards of freestyle by swimming a 3:07 that felt effortless. I couldn't believe that was the time but I was in the middle of the lane - one person ahead of me, one behind me as we circled and their times were on either side of my time so it's really true - I bested my PR by 8 whole seconds. This from adding one extra swim day/week for the past two weeks. Coach was floored.

I was skeptical. Nah...two extra swims can't be the only reason. I've been really working hard on my catch (when my hand enters the water) and my whole pull. Coach stopped our set the other day and said "If 6 out of 8 of you are crossing over your midline when your hand enters the water, we need to do some drills to correct that." So we did and I think it's helped a TON. Enter the water directly in FRONT of your shoulder - not too far out, not across the midline - then pull straight down along the side of your body and almost make it feel like you're UNDER your body when you finish. OK, so this seems to help. 8 seconds worth of help over 200 yards translates to big gains over 3/4 of a mile...and 2.4 mi...

WELL, I was looking at THIS and I can't quite figure it seems to me that the "paddle wheel" pull is less efficient because from the bottom of the arc to the back of the arc is sending the water UP, not BACK...I would pick the Caterpillar model as a model to strive toward. I can't tell which model the article is saying is most efficient. In a canoe, it's totally inefficient to use the paddle wheel model - we call those paddlers "paddlewashers" because they're not doing anything productive except getting their paddle wet. It's much more powerful to pull straight back. So what's the answer? Would love to know what you swimmers out there have to say...

Sending in my meet entry today. I was looking at the psyche sheet for the meet - the sheet that lists all the entrants and their seed times. I'm pretty much going to be swimming against 55-75 year olds with my times. Oh well. It's better to have lots of room for improvement, right? That way the only place to go is up!! I'm going to enter the 50 Free, 100 Free, 100 Breast and 100 IM (Fly, Back, Breast, Free) and then we're doing the 200 Medley Relay and the 400 freestyle relay. Should be FUN!! I hope... ;)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Random Monday Ramblings...

Hey ya'll,
Things are really winding up all over the Triathlete Blog Alliance. There's a buzz out there...even though I'm not signed up for IMFL, the energy of those that have is contagious and everyone seems to be thriving on it, myself included. Just to highlight a few notable places to visit...

Kona Shelley is on a bit of a blogging break but we're able to catch her presence at the newly re-vamped Bolder in Boulder site with this amazing tribute - she's a TV star!! Just the fact that Bolder has returned is total 100% inspiration in itself. We are so so glad he's back and working toward an IMFL finish - only great things to come from this guy.

Meanwhile over at Tri Geek Dreams there are humorous postings about naked guys along with the new "Ask The Kahuna" feature. There's some great info about swimming and how to get better at it so definitely check it out. For more practices, both masters and elite swimmers, also check out On the left sidebar, click on team's practices are under Masters and then under CCB Masters practices. My coach is also a level 1 USAT coach and many team members are also triathletes (two just did IMFL 2005) so coach is great at having us on a macro cycle over the course of the year with endurance now and more speed work closer to sprint racing time. Check it out...and feel free to print, cram in a ziplock and tote to the pool the next time you go...

AND, how cool is THIS!!??? Iron Wil has her new Through the Wall 3 ONline shop open!! This is an excellent place to christmas shop for your triathlete, or to spend the money you saved by not eating junk food while you're training. I got two shirts myself and can't wait to sport my "Why I Tri" shirt. My submissions to the top 10 didn't make it onto the shirt (well, I did suggest that it's for the Tshirts...but I'm guessing I wasn't the first and so can't lay claim to it) but I did well in the polls with the couch being unable to go 40mph with a tailwind on a beautiful day...and to run thru the streets with hundreds of other soaked, half naked people without getting arrested. Maybe she'll make a top 11-20 shirt??? probably not. But the contest was fun and my congrats go out to John for the #1 Grim Reaper reason. Buy this shirt. you won't regret it.

In other alliance news, Flatman (who is coming down the home stretch of his marathon training program and has done a FANTASTIC job sticking to Mr. Higdon's plan) is 007 and Trimama is Laura Croft...check out their sites for more info...

As for me, Weasel boy and I have recruited two other masters swimmers to join us at our first swim meetand we met on Sat. at 8:00 am again to do some intervals and get some times. At masters meets, you send in your approximate swim times and are seeded against other people with similar times rather than against similar ages. This is good since I'm sure there are lots of 33 year olds out there that could WHOOP my a$$ in any swim event. We also practiced starts from the blocks and how we'll work the relay team. I'm going to swim the first leg (backstroke...ICK!!) of the 200 Medley Relay and I think we're considering the 400 Freestyle relay too. It was a good workout and Saturday's weather was beautiful so we got lots of outdoor projects done. I feel good about swimming right now...and I'm planning my half marathon training schedule too. It's not until June but I'll need all that time if I want to avoid achillles injury... ice and ibuprofen will be my friends...

Then, I actually took a WHOLE DAY OFF yesterday. Since buying our house, there has not been much weekend time for leisure and Mondays have arrived with that "crap, where did the weekend go I'm still exhausted" motto...we finished up the winterizing projects by insulating a bit of ceiling and then decided we wouldn't do anything on Sunday. It was grossly indulgent and lazy - there were movies, there was knitting, card playing, eating and just lounging. Today I'm ready to face the week with renewed energy...I recommend taking a day off every now and then - from training AND from other responsibilities....

OK, until later my fine friends...gotta get some work done...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Saturday's Swim

OK, so we met at 8AM at the pool which took some negotiation. Despite the fact that Weasel Boy was the one suggesting/mandating this "extra" practice, it took considerable banter to get him to give up his Saturday morning "lie in."

Coach suggested we do some speedwork but stressed that the best thing to do is short intervals (50s) with less and less rest in between so we're taxing our aerobic capabilities. We started with the ususal EZ 400 yd warmup with fins and the rest looked like this (in a 25 yard pool):

2x50 on :15 second rest interval
2x50 on :10 second rest interval

100 EZ with fins

Freestyle, on a :30 base time (we ended up getting about 5-10 seconds rest):
25 EZ, 25 FAST
50 EZ, 50 FAST
75 EZ, 25 FAST

Then without any rest we went right into the same thing for Breastroke only we were on a :35 or :40 second sendoff (again, 5-10 seconds rest):
25 EZ, 25 FAST
50 EZ, 50 FAST
75 EZ, 25 FAST

100 EZ with fins

Repeat the 2x50s on same RI (:15 and :10)
Repeat Freestyle and Breastroke sets

2x50 on a :55 second send off (5-7 seconds rest)
2x50 on a :50 second send off (we bailed on this and held :55...we were both dying...)

1x100 IM for time. All I'll say is that we both were under 2:00 so that's something. All you competitive swimmers out there, have sympathy for those of us who have only been introduced to the butterfly in the past few years!!

EZ warmdown followed by bagel breakfast sandwiches. Probably not the best thing for us but next weekend we'll abstain...or I will anyway.

Total Yardage: ~2200 yards
Time in the pool: 1:15

We had to jockey for space to work around the Chubby Club Aerobics class - nothing like simulated open water swimming - HOLY WAVES, Batman!! It was great, I'm glad we went and I felt sharper this morning. We worked a bit on my catch and pull - I tend to pull too far to the side rather than underneath helped to think about pulling on a rope in order to move forward. And I renewed my full gym pass so it's off to the weight room for a bit this week. That's the plan anyway. OH, and there's one more swimmer interested in coming to the meet - just one more and we'll try and do either a Freestyle relay or Medley Relay event...anyone in New England going and want to swim with us?? Later...

ps. That's Carly Piper swimming amazing freestyle. I love having a picture in my head of someone doing it right...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Weasel Boy Takes a Page outta Robo-Stu's Book...


80s movies fans the world over will recognize the frightening face of Sergeant Hulka and will recall (with fits of giggles) Bill Murray's line when the Sergeant, previously thought to have been "blown up, Sir!" emerges, ALIVE, into the room after the platoon arrives in Germany.

Well, Weasel Boy has arrived and clearly has taken a page or two out of Robo-Stu's book. I tortured him for two days to sign up and get excited about this swim meet at the beginning of December..."It'll be great fun!!" I said, with true conviction. "Who cares about our times, let's just go see how we measure up..."

So he finally agreed it would be fun and sent in his $20 to join USMS and we've been perusing the events wondering what we should swim. Then last week rolled on by and there was the mushroom post and then I found out that my Honey's nephew is going to be the lion in the Wizard of Oz and we want to go see the play on the weekend of the meet...and the excuses came rolling in and when WB gave me the option to discuss bailing, I took it and admitted I was considering it.

Well, here's what I got for a reply and I must say, I'll never consider it again!! In order to best appreciate the tirade, you must know that Weasel Boy hails originally from Great Britain:

Consider this your exercise intervention for the end of the year.

WE ARE GOING TO THAT BLOODY SWIM MEET. You can go to the play on Friday, and either drive down afterwards (how long is it anyway?) or come early on saturday. Either way, you're not interested in the first few events, so you can get there on Saturday in good time. It will be fun to hang out and take it all in, and we won't sweat too much about our times. It's a benchmark for the future.

IN THE MEAN TIME, we are swimming four (yes four) days a week. Two with Masters...and two on our own. On Saturday we will meet and do another practice, and on Sunday you are hereby committed to going on your own and doing some drills. No more self pity when it comes to swimming - we are taking no prisoners. The rest of the week you are committed to streching/yoga and doing whatever the hell you like.


I'll call you tonight

Well he did call me and we discussed and agreed to the plan. There will be much swimming in the next few weeks!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Our First Trick-or-Treaters!

We had halloween trick-or-treaters last night for the first time!! For the past 10 years we've lived too far from the road to have any visitors but last night we had 7!! I turned on the front porch light and carved a goofy looking jack-o-lantern - I guess it's true that if you build it, they will come!!

The first visitor was a princess, the second some sort of knight with a big scary sword (well, he would've been scary but he was about 4 years old and the cutest thing I'd ever seen)...then there was a duo - another sort of princess and what looked like Robin Hood except he was wearing a Jason ski mask...and then there were three older kids that came a little later on...they had lots of makeup and gore and black but I couldn't tell what they were. I gave them most of the candy...

We decided that for each year we're at our new house, we'll carve one more next year it'll be two. Looking forward to it already!!! As long as I don't have to dress up...

The Girls have NOT let me down...

Yes, they are truly amazing. Not only has the time changed and allowed me to wake up in the daylight, the sun has come out and I have a new soundtrack running in my head. Go buy Rarities. I feel like a dolt that it's been out since June and I didn't notice. Usually I get their stuff the day it comes out. Oh well. The timing was perfect and my funk has lessened...had a good swim today - it was hard but I gutted it out and got thru it. And the sun is shining in my window. Thank the goddess.