Tuesday, February 28, 2006


A new look for my blog!! I need some HTML help though....how do I:
1.) Get rid of the two corner arcs just to the left of my profile picture?
2.) Get rid of the green sidebar below the site counter?
3.) Change the border around my pics from white to black?

Someone? Anyone? Bueller?

Feelin' It

I'm a little tired today. Not really tired like crawl-up-in-a-snowbank-because-it-looks-cozy tired but a bit fatigued. I woke up before my alarm went off at 5:00 am so that's always a good sign...definitely getting enough sleep...but I can tell that my body is adjusting to the small volume increases. It's all good - I love when I'm more aware of how my body is feeling.

It finally snowed like crazy on Saturday so I bagged my 6 mile run and took a rest day. On Sunday, I skied on the nearby golf course for about an hour and a half and I'm a little sore...totally different muscles. I listened to the 6th episode of Get Your Geek On and I must weigh in on the peeing in the pool thing: DON'T DO IT. It's just wrong... indoor, outdoor, whatever...if it's a fixed body of water with no inlet and no outlet...DON'T DO IT. The lake or the ocean I can handle...but not the pool. Please, not in the pool. 'Nuff said.

There are donuts here at work again today. Weasel Boy has encouraged me to abstain and so far so good...I'm hoping they disappear soon though because my resolve is growning weak. What do YOU tell yourself when you're tempted by some evil food? I need some good ammo to fight it because it appears it's going to continue happening... Maybe I should go watch "Supersize Me!" again. Yeah, that will help...

We did a 200 Freestyle Relay at the end of swim practice today. I was the anchor for my lane and so swam last...our second leg swimmer has only just started swimming so we were pretty far behind by the time it was my turn but I almost caught the swimmer next to me by the end... There's only so much yardage you can make up... It's always great fun though... I love relays.

And it's official...Weasel Boy is making the trek across the big pond from IRELAND for three days of swimming at the Harvard Meet. YEEEEEEHAAAWWWW!!! Can't wait to see him... It's always good to have a weasel influence at competitions. We need an 8th swimmer on Sunday (March 26th) to make up two relay teams so if you live in the Boston area and have a USMS membership, let me know...we could use your skills!!!

Cold cold run on tap for tomorrow morning. It was -9˚F this morning when I left home. We're supposed to have a heatwave surging into the high teens today but tomorrow's temps aren't going to be much higher. Oy. Ready for spring...

Train hard!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Spin Class, Take 2

Spin Class #2 today. Intervals again.

Tell me this: when you do interval training, aren't you supposed to go from aerobic to anaerobic and then back down to aerobic, rinse and repeat? Well, the instructor today (who was supposed to be my favorite instructor Ann-with-the-great-music but was actually Brian with not so great music - i'll get to that in a second...) had us doing intervals - I think we did 4 of them approx. 3-4 mins. long where we'd go up to 92% of our Max HR and stay there and then recover to 85% HR. But isn't the threshold from aerobic to anaerobic at 85%? So weren't we staying anaerobic the whole time? Is this productive when you're doing interval training? It seems to me that it'd be more productive to recover to 75% and then go back up to 92%... I need some edu-kate-in'...tell me what you know??? Do you get the same interval training effect if you're not recovering to your aerobic heartrate levels?

All that aside, since this was my second spin in as many weeks, I used about 87% and 75% as my interval range and that seemed to be fine. I'm still amazed at how strong my aerobic capacity has become from the pool and how not strong my cycling legs are. But that's the point of the spin and I will perservere... I tried to do my 5-10 min. run afterward but all the treadmills were being used and I could tell that there was going to be a blood bath of scratching and clawing to claim the next free one...and it was snowing outside so a quick jaunt out the door wasn't such a good idea...I tried the basket ball court but it's vacation week so there were a hundred little kids shooting hoops...so I trotted up and down the handicap ramp from the 2nd to the 3rd floor a dozen times and called it done. Now I'm relaxing in an endorphin induced haze and feeling fine. Spinning is good.

Oh, the music...Before I incite another backlash and the U2 marathon going on over at Bolder's Blog becomes a U2 Ultra marathon, I have to say that I like U2, I really do... But not to spin to...I like them when I'm driving or as background music...but spinning, not so much. And I also really like Elton John. I might be happy spinning to the Crocodile Rock or I'm Still Standin'...but Candle in the Wind or Benny and the Jets, not so much. I will say about Brian the Spinning Instructor...he seems to have grown a personality since the last time I attended his class and it was a good workout with good motivating comments goin' on...but the music just didn't help me thru it today. I have to learn to not expect Ann and then I'll be happily surprised when she's there instead of totally disappointed to the point of bailing on the class when she's not. Expectation is a dangerous thing...it'll wrap itself around your ankle and dump you on your head if you're not careful...

Long run on tap for tomorrow...6 miles I think. Looking forward to some Get Your Geek on Episode 6 and some upbeat tunes. Time to revamp the running playlist.

Have a great weekend and, as always, train hard.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Back to Basics Wednesday

Yesterday started out fine. I woke up feeling rested at 5:30, ready to do my cold, dark run...but there were 2 fresh inches of snow and while I'm certainly not going to let 2" scare me, I did feel worried about traffic in the early morning dark and the fact that we haven't had enough snow this winter to remind people that they don't know how to drive in it...and I had a backup plan to go after work...so even though I climbed back in bed and "missed the bus," it was ok because I would get it done later. All good.

So the problems started when it was time for breakfast. Tuesday night I got off the couch and while cleaning up dinner, decided it would be a good idea to make chocolate chip cookies. The plan was to have a few and put the rest in the freezer but somehow it didn't happen and so there were cookies for breakfast. And oatmeal...but the cookies just got me off on the wrong foot for the day.

Then, when I got to work, the plan was to be industrious...and I was for a little while...industriously reading blogs, sending emails and chatting thru gmail chat with Weasel Boy in Ireland...and when it was time to finally do some work, the boss man shows up with donuts. Donuts are a big problem for me. You may remember the donut intervention I needed a few months back - thanks to all of you in blogland, I managed to skip the donut that day but not yesterday. It was really yummy.

OK, so no run, chocolate chip cookies, donut...and then I finally had to admit to myself that my job isn't really slowing down. There was a huge push from about December 1st until the Montreal show ended on Feb. 11th...and I was thinking my year was pretty much on coast until October...trouble is, I forgot that there were a lot of things that got put on the back burner so that I could get ready for Vegas...and now those things are all pressing and need to be done yesterday. My fantasies of blogging and surfing all day are just that - fantasties. I actually will have to EARN my living for the next 6 months. Oh well. At least I love my job. But I will need to attend to it more than I had planned. Reality check...no coasting allowed.

Which is just as well because when I coast, when I'm complacent, I get sloppy and I don't want to be sloppy. I have finally accepted this reality. But yesterday it made me a little resentful... Still, I was ok. The day was fine, I still had a sense of humor.

Then, I finally got in a groove and the blank screen in front of me was forming itself into a mildly dynamic ad for a big ski magazine, things were chugging along nicely...when someone, who shall remain nameless as he occasionally reads this blog, made a comment to me that hit me like a bat to the side of the head and I went into a tailspin to rival all tailspins. His comment pushed buttons in me that I didn't even know still functioned...buttons that went back to highschool, to college, to the present day...and it not only upset me because it was a personal attack but also because I let it bug me so much - I gave him the power to make me mad. The one good thing I'll say is that I didn't respond and I didn't sink to his level - I just walked away. But it left me so sour and the dark, dreary, negative mood usually held at bay by the zoloft induced happiness that typically governs my days took over. I had on my longest, thickest, most insulating CRANKY PANTS.

I left work thinking that the run wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, I had downloaded a bunch of Simply Stu's podcasts and listened to one of an interview with Frank Farrar...and by the end of the 25 mintues home, I was thinking if Frank can pull off all that he has, I could certainly endure 30 minutes of running. But I was met with the tupperware of chocolate chip cookies when I walked in the door. Three cookies and one very snippy, obnoxious comment to my Honey later, I was out the door. I had to salvage something of the day...

It was 30˚F and smelled like spring. It was dark but warm. It felt good to move. My iPod seems to know what songs I need to keep my feet moving and the shuffle kept landing on perfect selections. I lengthened my normal loop a bit by adding on one more street...I had planned on doing two loops but after the second, I was still a little cranky so I did a third. And 45 mintues after I'd stormed out of the house, I arrived back and apologized for being snippy, and then breathed a relieved sigh that such a roller coaster day had ended...

I wonder if the day would have gone differently if I had run in the snow at 5:30 am. Probably not. But it ended on a high note and none of the crap seemed to matter any more. I can move, I can train, I can run and swim and bike....and that's all I really need to think about to feel good. Sometimes it's just that basic.

Train hard.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy President's Day

Bolder's post today reminded me that it's President's Day...and that I'm at work too...and that I recently received these tidbits, all of which have been attributed to our current leader and all of which convince me that I really ought to think harder about moving to Canada...

"The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country." - GWB

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." -GWB

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared.'" -GWB

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future." -GWB

"The future will be better tomorrow." -GWB

"We're going to have the best educated American people in the world." -GWB

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe." -GWB

"Public speaking is very easy." -GWB

"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls." -GWB

"We are ready for any unforseen event that may or may not occur." -GWB

"For NASA, space is still a high priority." -GWB

"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children." -GWB

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." -GWB

"It's time for the human race to enter the solar system." -GWB

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."


I mean REALLY. He should just shoot himself...or maybe Cheney would do it for him??

Friday, February 17, 2006

Certified Torture Device

Yep. There it is. My best friend and worst enemy. It will make me strong, fast, fit...but it will do it by trying to crush me.

I'm not sure why but for the past few years, I've gotten away from spinning until February rolls around...In the spring, when it gets warm, I head outside and stay there until the snow flies and then I just don't feel like spinning until I come back to it right around now...The first spin class back is always a doozy and this one was no exception. It was a noon class with my favorite instructor who is a whiz with her iPod and designs all of her classes to follow musical mixes that coincide with whatever she's got planned for us, down to the minute. And it's ALL my favorite music - I've actually never met anyone who has the EXACT SAME TASTE in music as I do but she does. Crazy. Today was intervals and I got my ass kicked. The thing is, my aerobic capacity is great because of all the swimming but my cycling legs are still hibernating. I've only really done 1 half hour session on my trainer - mostly because 1.) I hate it, 2.) it's in the dark, ugly basement with no entertainment (although the recent Get your Geek On Podcasts have helped on that front) and 3.) it still has a flat tire. So 45 minutes of intervals was a rude awakening. I can certainly feel my quads now...

K.G., one of my coworkers, came with me and is fired up for more. She's planning on getting into the tri scene this summer but is in sick shape already and hardly broke a sweat while holding a cadence about twice my pace. Holy cow this woman is strong. It'll be good to have someone else in tune with what I'm doing and to drag me out the door when I don't feel like it. She's like the energizer bunny. Excellent...

I also managed 10 minutes on the dreadmill afterward, something I'm trying really hard to do after any cycling. I've found that doing even 5 minutes of running after biking makes a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE difference in how my legs feel coming out of T2. Just this tiny amount of time helps my legs to accept the transition to different muscle groups and ELIMINATES calf cramps and that cement cinder blocks on your feet feeling. And it's nice to run when you're all warmed up too...feels pretty easy.

It's going to be COLD this weekend so I'm heading to the pool.

Train hard!!


Eyes on the Prize

OK, this is the next prize I get for my next accomplishment. Trouble is, I'm not sure what to set my sights on. Perhaps it should be a swim meet devoid of any open turns, only flips? OR, a weight goal? Not sure that would be productive. Maybe the first 6 mile run I complete in under an hour? Or a week of no sugar? Hmmm...have to think on that one. None-the-less, it's on the radar and is something that I feel I must acquire. What do YOU reward yourself for accomplishing?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Geeked OUT for the swim...

Swimming is just the coolest sport EVAH. I love it, love it, love it. I wish when I was young I aspired to the heights that I now aspire to in the pool. Why is hindsight always 20/20??

We worked on flips Tuesday and by going nice and slow and steady I can do one after the next after the next at the end of each length...and i have enough air. My plan for this weekend is to do 2000-2500 SLOW steady easy yards with lots and lots of flips (because I am, after all, tri training and LSD workouts are part of the plan too). Coach showed us this picture, again of famed masters swimmer Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen, before we did flip drills and practice and it helped me so much. The focus is to watch your feet and knees as your feet hit the wall after the flip - it gets you to really see where you're placing your feet and how horizontal you are before the pushoff. I found I was much more consistent with streamlined pushoffs and I wasn't launching myself to the bottom of the pool or skidding across the top of the water. And it feels SO much faster.

Chris commented on my 100 yd Freestyle video that I don't seem to be losing much time with open turns compared to the swimmer next to me who does flips throughout the race. (Thanks Chris!) HOWEVER, if you watch carefully, you'll see that I have more streamlined pushoffs after the turns than the woman next to me and I'm gliding further (translation=using less energy) but I'm still with her once we both emerge...thus, I AM losing time on my turns. If I could flip, then push off with the same streamline, I'd be golden. The time loss is especially evident at the last turn when I'm tired and come almost to a complete stop, losing all the momentum I had going into the wall. I remember knowing that I'd been even with that woman the whole time and wanting badly to beat her...just because. I pushed hard on that last leg to beat her to the wall and I spoke with her after the race and she thanked me for pushing because it made her swim faster. (gggrrrrr... not fun to hear that!!) But, had I been flipping, I think I would have come out ahead... Easy to say now I guess but if you do the math...

I know flip turns have nothing to do with triathlon...why bother, you might wonder...but for me they will give me confidence that I am an accomplished swimmer and that goes a long way in the tri outlook. Nothing like a little extra ego when churning about in the washing machine of wet suits that is the open water swim...

Today we did a test set to predict our 100 yd. Freestyle race time. It worked pretty well and I look to be on track for a 1:20 race - 3 seconds faster than my PR at Exeter. AND, I've entered the 200 IM (for those not in the know, IM is Individual Medley - 50 yds Fly, 50 Back, 50 Breast, 50 Free, in that order. If you mail it in on the fly and have nothing left, you're sunk.) Not sure what possessed me...I think I want to be afraid - to know it's out there, looming, and I know I have some work to do to be able to pull it off. Kinda like my Ironman for the next month...

Good run yesterday (prompted the poem - sorry but it just came out - I can't explain why...) Returning to spin class tomorrow and very much looking forward to it.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ode to My Stuff

Thanks be to you,
My watch alarm
How your cacophony rankles.
But it's you that screams me awake
To meet the day, to catch the bus.

And to you my dear iPod,
You of a thousand songs,
Who lures me from my zombie sleep
Into the dance of the Zombie Jamboree.
Who calls to me to rise from the nest
And run into the dark,
To run from the dark.

Oh streetlights
How I shall miss your glow
Once Mr. Harrison bids you farewell
And sings my legs forward in a chorus of
Sun Sun Sun.
The dawn arrives, light sky and the moon.

L.L. Bean jacket, windblock, reflective tape,
When you begin your hibernation
I won't miss you.
But I'll remain forever grateful to you
For your warmth and reflectivity,
And windblockiness.
We've got a bit more travelling together,
But only a bit.

Mr. Simon, it isn't Late in the Evening,
It's Freakin' EARLY in the morning,
And there are no girls out on the stoop,
But your drums, your drums,
They move my feet,
They wake my brain.

And you, oh hair elastic,
my devoted haystack retention device,
I shall never again forsake you
And decide that my hat will suffice in your place.
Such foolish logic.
Please forgive me,
I will never again leave your stretched form
On the bedside table
Because I was too lazy
To run back upstairs.

One Hour Postal Swim

Coach wrote an article about the January Postal Swim at Go Swim and I'm famous!! Check it out here. I'm still trying to decide if I like the hour swim or the 50 yard freestyle best...it's a toss up. ;)

More Swim Meet...

Here's me swimming the 100 Yard Freestyle - I'm in the furthest lane from the camera - again, green suit, blue cap. I REALLY want to be able to pull this race off with 3 good flip turns. Next race it will happen...

And here's me in the 50 yard breaststroke. I love the breaststroke. I would like to increase my stroke rate and coach has promised we will perfect the new pullout technique. I'd like to work on my starts too. Once the gut has started to shrink, I'll be better able to reach the edge of the starting block...sad but true...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Phillips Exeter Swim Meet

OK!! As promised, here is a video of me and Milkshake Girl swimming the 100 IM in the most recent swim meet. It was great fun...as you'll see I got my ass handed to me by M.G., especially on the Butterfly leg but I rest easy knowing that she's going down if I have anything to say about it! She's thinking about tri but hasn't yet taken the leap so my advantage is I get 4-5 more workouts than she does each week... heh. yeah...and the fact that she started Masters a full two years after me and she's come up from the pokey lane to totally blow by me in the tweener lane doesn't make me bitter at all...NOT. AT. ALL. Now if I can just convince her to come with us to the next meet, she'll rack up points she never thought she could and we'll have a top ten finish for sure!!

So the video - yeah, I'm the perfectly rotund figure in the middle lane, green suit, blue cap (WOW is it ever hard to see myself in a swimsuit right now...) and M.G. is to my left in the black suit and yellow cap - I didn't realize it until now but she won the heat! Excelllent... I look really tired thru the whole race - I just KNOW I can go faster than that. I'm FIRED UP to get there... OK, here you go...

We did dryland abs and shoulders again before swimming and it was great. Even after two sessions I felt stronger. It's going to make a huge difference, I can tell. Also went for a short 30 min. run last night when I got home. It was just after dark so I took my headlamp with me and it works great! I felt very visible and safe. Will go again tomorrow morning - hopefully not in the dark as it's finally light in the AM now..

Going to post a bunch of swimming stuff for the next little while...we practiced flip turns and flip turn drills today...I can totally do them I just never have enough air to get away from the wall with a good push off. It went well. I'll get there...they're better than they used to be. I want to be able to do all flips at the next meet.

For total inspiration, go watch Dave Denniston's new video at Project Walk...after you get to the Phase III page, click on Dave D.'s picture. Then go do some crunches and give thanks that you are able to TRI every day...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Sputter, sputter, put, put...

Haven't posted in TOO LONG and now I can't get started again because there's just so much to tell... Here are the highlights and then hopefully I can fill in the blanks...

1.) Back on East Coast time - woke up today at 5:30 and felt rested. THANK the goddess (and many naps...)

2.) Mini Swim meet was a success and quite fun. 5 of us swam and more are fired up for Short Course Yard Championships at the end of March at Harvard. Coach is going to get us physically and mentally ready over the next 6 weeks. Had a couple PRs - see sidebar for results. No team points this time but we're shooting for a top ten finish at Harvard. Milkshake Girl kicked butt...hoping to have upwards of 7 swimmers, including one new teammate who is nationally ranked in the backstroke in her age group of 76+!! Bring on the points baby!!!

3.) Work was crazy for one more week last week and now it should be smooth sailing until next fall.

4.) Went to Montreal for the first time on Friday to set up one last show booth...VERY cool city. I got to try out my french and was surprised at how well I understood people. Looking forward to a return but also looking forward to going to FRANCE sometime too. French is a very cool language.

5.) Got a flat tire on my trainer. Go figure. The curse of the Flatman has invaded my basement. Must've pinched the tube. Will try again tonight.

6.) Started a half hour of "dryland" before swimming twice a week. Shoulders and abs... will start doing an extra swim and dryland session on Sundays starting next weekend.

7.) This week will welcome a spin class or two back into the schedule. Can't wait to see my favorite spin instructor on Friday...

8.) Getting back on the morning running routine too...it's light now at 6am!! What a TREAT!!

9.) We didn't even get an inch of snow over the weekend when NYC, Boston and points south got upwards of 2 feet!!! NOT FAIR!!! Either snow or bring on spring!!! Soon I will start my bulb countdown with photos of my croci and daffodils as they start to poke their little heads out...

10.) Saw The Persuasions and Rockapella on Saturday night. HOLY COW batman. Rockapella just left me wide eyed and star struck. I have a total crush on Scott Leonard. I know. Really bad. But he is so incredibly talented I just can't stand it. Do yourselves a favor and check these guys out. Jeff Thatcher's Mouth Drumming is INsane. Wow.

OK so that's the run down. I have photos and video of the swim meet - coming up...

I'm BACK baby!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Let's get it started...

OK, been at work now for almost two hours and have done nothing but read blogs and check email. I'm bad. I'm exhausted. Travelling across the country is an endurance sport. Got home at 12am this morning and collapsed into a cozy bed that smelled of fresh laundry and lacked that disgusting stale tobacco smell. Bliss... And the big woofie snuggled in between us made it all the more sweet. I'm home...

Now it's time to light the fuse...

I feel like crap because no matter what you do, it's so so hard to eat well when you're on the road. I really wanted to swim this moring but waking up at 5:30 felt like waking up at 3:30 and I just couldn't make the bus - when I finally did wake up I was confused about where I was and why Vermont Public Radio was drifting thru my dream about not being able to get where I wanted to go in Vegas because it was too damn far away.

But now it's time.

Being away from home makes you realize how much you love home. Being unable to pull off a workout schedule because work has you going 24-7 makes you realize how much you really love sticking to a workout schedule. I can't WAIT to get back to the routine. A few days to catch up on GOOD sleep and a good plan for this weekend and next week's schedule and I'll be back in the game.

Going to hit the pool tomorrow for sure and hopefully for a bit on Saturday. Sunday is the mini Masters swim meet at Phillips Exeter Academy...It's only from 8-12 - a quick morning meet - but should be fun and will get me psyched for the upcoming SCY Championship meet at Harvard at the end of March. Yes, it will be great. And maybe Weasel Boy will even make it!! How fun would that be?? Very cool.

OK, so yeah... there will be no more missing the bus...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Travelling again...

Back across the country...Salt Lake to Phoenix, Phoenix to Boston, Boston to Lebanon, Lebanon to Fairlee. I can't WAIT to get home...and back to some semblance of normalcy. I haven't been sleeping at all and know it's because I need more EXERCISE. It'll be a welcome return.

Skied on Monday at The Canyons in Park City. It was nice but so warm that the snow was really heavy! I know I shouldn't complain but I don't have ski legs yet, I only have swimming legs!! And running legs just don't cut it in mashed potatoes...still it was super fun and not at all crowded so we had a good day. Next year we'll try and stay at the mountain and forego all the travelling up and down the canyon.

I'm excited to get back to home and routine... later!

OH, stay tuned for swim meet #2, coming up on Sunday!!