Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"I WON, I WON, I WON!!!"


No. It's not a leg lamp...

It's a spankin' new tshirt from the Bolder Boulder 10K Memorial Day Race, courtesy of Mr. Bolder in Boulder himself! What a TOTALLY FUN thing to win!!! Especially because it's unlikely that I'll ever run that race myself!!! I think this will be my lucky tshirt from now on...the only lucky thing I've ever had!!!

I've never won anything in my life!!! I wonder if it'll come in a box with fancy italian words on the outside (FRAG-EEEEL-AY...that's italian,right) ??? No, you don't understand. I don't even come CLOSE to winning anything that has to do with guessing or chance or pure dumb luck. EVER. In my whole almost 34 years, I have NEVER won ANYTHING. I don't even win at BINGO. Even if I'm playing 6 cards at once (have you ever seen the lil' old ladies who are able to do this...it's quite remarkable...) So WOW. This is very cool. And very freaky. Can you believe I guessed Bold's time down to the second!!?? Who knew I had such psychic abilities? If anyone would like me to predict a time for you, know that I will never again be able to come close...I'm absolutely positive that I will never win again...I used it up. Done. Finis. Caput. Heavy sigh....

But a fun new tshirt!!! (Big grin...)

And my day got off to a pretty crappy start after an amazing weekend of sun, fun, relaxation and running. Thanks, Bold. You brightened it up considerably!!

You'll see from the comments in the previous post that everyone has their own theories and practices about fuel before and during an early morning workout. There aren't enough responses to make a chart (sorry Bold) but there are a few generalizations I'll note for you:

1.) Most of us eat something before a morning workout...usually something with good carbs/sugar and some protein. I myself have had success with bananas and lately whole wheat toast or bagel and peanut butter (glad to see that came up as Steven's food of choice). Energy/granola bars seem to give me reflux if I'm heading to the pool but aren't so bad on a run. Not sure if this has to do with being horizonal?

2.) Our timing of this fuel is all over the map... but in general, the higher the sugar content (gel/raisins/slimfast) the closer to the workout. When I have toast or a bagel, I'll eat it about an hour before...banana, a half hour before. The banana definitely doesn't last as long.

3.) Most of us are only fueling during longer workouts - typically more than 2 hours.

4.) Almost all of us have a whole food carb/protein breakfast after a morning workout. Cereal, oatmeal, milk and soymilk seem to be pretty universal. I'm a big vanilla soy fan of late and it goes great with the Kashi Go Lean Crunch... A cup to a cup and a half seems to do it until about 10:30 am...

5.) All of us typically eat something else between breakfast and lunch... a few folks, like me, eat a snack around 10:30 (fruit, nuts, yogurt) and some people are eating 2-4 times over the course of the morning. Good fuel!!

6.) Bottom line, do what works for you. You might have to try out a bunch of different things before you find what's optimum. I didn't eat before my morning workouts for a long time but lately I've been almost bonking so I've had to start fueling before hand. We're all such different machines!!

7.) Training hours don't seem to correlate all that much... seems like it must depend on body type and whether you're training to lose weight or training to gain muscle... fuel is fuel...it does a body good!

Thanks for playing along....

Only 4 days to go until race #1!!!! FIRE IT UP!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Informal Poll

If you work out in the morning before work, what fuel do you consume? I'd like to know, specifically:

1.) WHAT (if anything) you eat before your workout? How much?
2.) HOW LONG before the workout do you eat it?
3.) WHAT (if anything) do you eat DURING your workout? How much?
4.) WHAT (if anything) do you eat AFTER your workout? How much?
5.) HOW MANY TIMES do you eat/snack over the course of a morning, on any given day?
6.) Comment briefly on how your morning fuel is working for you...
7.) ON AVERAGE, how many hours of training do you do per week?

Answer just 1 or all 7... I'll try and summarize the answers in some meaningful way (charts, perhaps??) I'm basically trying to get at what food, how much of it, and when it's eaten. Thanks for your imput!!!

Caddyshack, Fairlee Style

I wish this post could include smells because the combo of blooming lilacs and apple blossoms is just incredible right now. We have 4 huge lilac bushes in our yard.... so amazing... and even more amazing that the sun came out and the sky turned blue....it's been about 3 weeks since we've seen it...check it out:

We've been slowly planting the garden too. So far the lettuce, spinach and peas are up and the green onions have only just decided to poke out. Sunflowers, corn and beans are next...and once the baby tomato plants are hardened off, we'll be good to go with those. Here are the baby peas, getting ready to climb an upside down tomato stake:

A few weeks ago, as we lounged in the hammock, we noticed that there is a HUGE woodchuck living in the bank of bushes along the side of the yard. And where there's one... We found 3 different holes and now we're terrified that all of our hard gardening work will be for nothing when he (or she) finds the rows of easily accessible beans, corn, lettuce and zinnias (a favorite among varmits...) So we've begun the occupation...have not resorted to all out war yet (that's when we call in the neighbor with the 22)... here's where the main holes are...as you can see, right next to the garden:

Before we call out the big guns, we want to try a more humane approach to capture... and release, across the river in the yard of some poor, unsuspecting New Hampshire resident (who will likely shoot it and eat it for dinner...and mount the pelt on the wall over the woodburning 50 gallon drum) but what I don't see, I don't know so I'll feel good about releasing him AWAY from my precious plants. Here's the trap we got:

We're on day 3 and still no prisoners. We may need to rethink the bait...right now it's just a crummy old lettuce heart. Maybe some banana would do the trick... We put the trap right next to the hole because we read that they eventually get tired of going around it and just try to go thru it. I'll believe it when I see it. We also covered up the hole with sticks so that we could monitor activity...

I'll be getting out my hose and bucket hat soon...Bill Murray would be proud... Two years ago, on the day before we planned to harvest, raccoons ate EVERY LAST EAR of corn from our garden. They took it just beyond the edge of the yard and chowed and made an actual PILE of corn cobs, like they were taunting us...making us feel bad that they didn't invite us to their party. The budwieser cans alone took all day to clean up. Bastards... Defeat will be declared when we decide to put up a fence...

Our other tactic right now is convincing the woofie that she should pee all around the garden. You can see how that's going...

My run training is still going really well. I upped the mileage for my base run from 4 to 6 miles on Monday (well, Tuesday actually) and it felt ok. My left quad is still a little sore so the ice pack has been my friend lately. Seems to help a lot. Tonight is one more fartlek run...distance will depend on how I feel... shooting for 50 minutes this time with 3-4 minutes of work and 2-3 minutes of recovery time. I'm feeling dependent on my iPod lately so I think I'll leave it home tonight. I say that now but we'll see... I don't plan on racing with it so I might as well practice that way.

I did a slow easy ride twice around the lake last evening and took pictures for you to enjoy.... have a look:

I run around this golf course when I don't run around the lake. Everything is so green and yummy smelling right now.

Here's the Town Beach where the transition for the Great Fairlee Triathlon is set up. It's amazing that they find room for 600 athletes in this tiny little space. Note the nice sharp gravel in the parking lot...quite enjoyable on the bare feet. The swim happens just beyond...

Here's the swim course...they put big orange buoys out for us to swim in a counterclockwise direction. It always looks REALLY far to me...it's only 0.75 miles but compared to sprint courses it's crazy. I can't wait to see what half IM courses look like... oy....

And here's what it looks like coming out of the water and into transition...except there's a chute and a kiddie pool to rinse your feet off. I always pray for a rack on the grass...so far I've been lucky...

Here's the view looking Northeast from the West side of the lake...I used to live three houses down from where I took this photo...a GREAT spot to be. If you ever get a chance to live near water, DO IT. Somehow it feeds my soul... Mt. Moosilauke (pronounced Moose-i-lock or Moose-i-lockie) is the big mountain way in the back...it's a 6000 footer along the Appalachian Trail in NH.

Here's the view back toward the Lake Morey Inn which is right next to the Town Beach... I drew in the swim buoys again... This one is taken from camp back toward the south.

Here's the main house at camp - check out the huge porch. My favorite thing is to get coffee after breakfast and sit on the top step in the sun as the mist burns off of the lake... the smell of warm wool and fleece and the feel of snuggling close to good friends...

I tried being artsy but I really need a better digital camera (suggestions welcome - I'd love the video option too). Sometime I'll bring out my Dad's old fully manual Nikon with a telephoto lense...then we'll have artsy...

And LAST, I promised Weasel Boy a surprise for him on this post today. He's dilligently planning my next month of training for me...this past month of run training has been amazing so I asked for more and I have no doubt he'll deliver. It's like having a free coach!!! So Weasel, remember this?...

WELL, now it looks like THIS:


Stay safe and train hard!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Flatman -The Return

Flatman has recovered from his recent blog-jacking. Here's his new digs. Change your bookmarks, links and bloglines!!!

UPDATE!! Flatman's hijacked blog has been returned to him!!! Make sure to change your bookmarks, links and bloglines BACK to the original URL!!! Flatman apologizes for any inconvenience...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's Working!!!

Weasel Boy set me up with a running plan from the first week of May until my first race, the Covered Bridges Half Marathon, on June 4th. The plan seems to be working quite well... basically it calls for one base run (3.5-6 miles), one fartlek run (3.5-4.5 mi) and one long run with various focus points. There's also room for a short (2-3 mi. EZ) run if I feel like I need it. The plan includes my normal two days of swimming and two days of easy 1 hour bikes. My focus will switch to the bike after the half marathon.

Last weekend I did my first 2 hour run and didn't feel all that great...I managed about 8.5 mi. in 2 hours and it was kinda painful...12-14 minute miles. But I did it and that's what counts.

This week I had a FANTASTIC run on Monday - base run, 3.5 mi. and held just over 11 minute miles, which for me is fast. Thursday I did a fartlek run and, on Elizabeth's advice, I lengthened my "work" time from two minutes to four minutes and my jogging/recovery time to 3 minutes, so that I was working for longer than I was recovering. Did this over 3.5 mi. and it felt ok but not as great as Monday...avg. about 11:30/12:00 min miles.

Fridays are complete rest days which is good as Thursday is a double day (swim/fartlek) and that brings us to today, my first 10 mile run.

Weasel suggested I choose a comfortable pace for the first 5 miles - I decided on 12:00/12:30, hoping that I wouldn't feel as tired as I felt last week. Then, based on the fact that I'm shooting for a 2:30 half marathon time, we picked 11:45*, the pace I'll need to hold, for the second 5 miles. This would hopefully give me a good idea where I am two weeks out from the race.

*OOPS!!! Just did the math again and realized I'll need to hold a 10:45 for that 2:30 finish...read on, after yesterday it may still be possible... **

** DUH. I wasn't converting correctly... 2:30 DOES call for 11:45ish miles.... now I'm SO PSYCHED because I think I can hold a faster pace than that even!!! Sorry for the mileage confusion...

WELL, I'm not sure if it was because I only did a third of my planned ride on Wednesday (completely rained out) or because I had a donut and an apricot scone with coffee this morning (I know I know...don't ask...it was a moment of weakness and I justified it by knowing that I had to do the run...), or if it was a perfect time of day for me, but CHECK OUT these numbers:

Warmup - 10:45, EZ ~0.7 mi. jog, included stashing my jacket, powerbar and gatorade in some bushes and some light stretching

Mile 1 - 10:43, avg. HR 137 (66%) ( I KNOW!!! I could hardly believe it myself..started really working hard to slow down because I wanted to conserve for the second 5 miles...but I felt GREAT)

MIle 2 - 11:18, avg. HR 138, still feeling great
MIle 3 - 11:11, avg. HR 140
Mile 4 - 11:27, avg. HR 143
Mile 5 - 12:02, avg. HR 140 (this was a long mile - I missed the marker)

Remember, I was HOPING for 12:00 / 12:30 but not at all sure I could hold it. Imagine my surprise!!

Walk / drink / eat: 5:18 (paced around in circles actually), avg. HR 114

So at this point, given that I hadn't pushed at ALL and my HR had stayed below 75%, I figured I'd pace myself by keeping my HR at about 79-83%, making sure to not go anaerobic...so for me, that's about 159 max. Anything above that is too high. Here's how the second half went...and yes, I kept moving for the whole time I was eating/drinking to simulate walking thru water stops, which I plan to do:

Mile 6 - 10:48, avg. HR, 145 (75%) - STILL feeling pretty good, much to my surprise
Mile 7 - 10:46, avg. HR 152
Mile 8 - 10:56, avg. HR 153
Mile 9 - 11:42, avg. HR 154 - big hill on this mile
Mile 9.5 - 2 hour mark, 1 mile more than last week in 2 hours
Mile 10 - 11:15, avg. 156 (still long but I used the same marker as at mile 5)

SO psyched about this. This is a great place for me to be 2 weeks out. I'm looking forward to next week's long run...not sure what the plan will be next week ...maybe to see if I can hold all 10 miles to the pace I ran these last 5. All I know is it feels great!!!

Train hard!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Freestyle Critique

Lately I've felt like my swimming has been stagnating. I sort of thought that it was just fitness, that I just needed to train harder and put in more time and yardage... which is true, to a point. But I've also come to the conclusion that a few other things are going on, like...

1.) I AM getting faster and stronger, but my lane mates are too and they seem to be doing it at a slightly faster rate than I am. So comparatively, I feel stagnant.
2.) None of my lane mates do much besides swim - two of them are thinking about triathlon...but they arrive to the pool fresh and ready to swim hard.
3.) I'm ususally pretty fresh and well rested...but I've also ususally run or bike for 1 hr.+ the day before...and I've been really increasing my volume lately so this could explain some of the more sluggish swims I've had lately...

When we were at the New England Masters Short Course Yards Championships at Harvard in March, Weasel Boy took this quick video of me swimming freestyle to point out some things to me that he thought I could do to be faster. It's always alarming to watch yourself swim on video - you have this picture in your mind's eye of what you THINK you look like and it's a whole lot different than what you actually look like. In an effort to address my stagnancy, I took another look at myself swimming and I noticed a LOT of things that I can work on that will make me faster. This gives me great hope and motivation as EASY speed is so much more fun to find than speed gained thru hard work and yardage!!!

Here's the video (please let me know if you can't see it - I'm having issues with YouTube today and have embedded it in HTML with a LOOP for your viewing convenience...it works ok in Firefox and Safari - you just have to wait a bit to let it load, so sorry...)

Take a mintue to think about what you see in my stroke...where do my hands enter, what's my catch like, where is my arm when I pull, how is my body rotation, is my breathing upsetting my balance... there's a lot to think about when we swim, huh? Yikes.

The most obvious problem I see is with my pull on the left side - Coach was helping me with this just yesterday and now that I see it again from the deck, it's VERY clear. It's WAY wide and the first third of it is with a straight arm...I'm not bending my elbows. The ideal catch should happen just as my hand enters the water... I should grab water and hold it...and my elbow should bend almost as soon as I start to pull...as if I'm pulling myself out of the pool - or over a barrel. Check out where my left arm is in this frame:

I do eventually bend my elbow but not until very late in the pull. You can see it bent here but look how far back my arm is - almost time for the recovery...

Now look at Karlyn Pipes-Neilson's catch - check out how much water she's holding just before she starts the pull. She's not missing ANY water...

And look at her bent elbow here... this is the image that I try to swim with when I'm focused on this part of my stroke. Pure beauty...

I'm doing it a little bit on the right side too but not NEARLY as horribly... take a look here...

And what makes me feel all kinds of better is that my catch on the right side is really early and my elbow bends almost immediately - look how much earlier in my pull I've initiated the bent elbow. It's SO much more powerful...

I'm not sure if the left side issue has anything to do with my breathing - I always breathe on the right side (although I've been working hard at breathing on both sides, once every third stroke) and I think when I rotate to breathe, my left shoulder doesn't want to engage the same way as when I'm flat in the water. But now that I see what's happening, I feel like I have a much better idea how to fix it.

The next thing I see is that I could work harder on front quadrant swimming...you know why we do all those catch up drills? If you're not familiar with front quad swimming - it's a total immersion thing where you work to begin one stroke before the already stroking hand has left the "front quadrant" of your body... this makes you more streamlined and allows for the longest glide... I'm doing it pretty well here:

Overall though, my front quadrant swimming could use some focus... note to self for tomorrow...

Things that I see I'm doing pretty well are body rotation, relaxation in the water and correct hand entry...I'm not crossing my midline as my hand enters the water. We've spent a lot of time this winter focusing on wide arm entry (if you've ever seen "Tarzan drill" on our practices, that's the wide entry drill) and I'm really looking forward to seeing how this affects my open water swimming...I HOPE it helps me track in a straighter line!!! Here's my left side hand entry:

And the right side entry:

SO, all that said here's what I'm going to focus on for the next few weeks, in order of importance:

1.) Left side pull, early catch, EARLY bent elbow, pull more underneath me rather than out to the side.
2.) Front Quadrant swimming
3.) Bilateral Breathing, especially to see if it helps correct my left side pull
4.) Keep the good right side pull and wide arm entry working for me...
5.) DON'T GET FRUSTRATED if I feel stagnant...it's not really happening, it's just relative to the others in the lane...

I would LOVE to hear if anyone sees anything else that you think could use improvement. Or if you just have comments about the video or pics in general...post away!!! We're all in this together, right?

Now, GO SWIM!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The burr in my saddle...

I started today's post about something totally different...well not totally...but let's just say I wasn't going to go here...but here I am and it's what's weighing most on my mind right now. so here it is... And I know I'm going to get crap from my honey and Weasel Boy for posting about this but I'm hoping to exorcise the demons here, one last time, in an effort to let it all go. It's a complete waste of my precious energy. Consider it one step closer to enlightenment...or one step further from adult maturity. Sorry guys... skip to the * if you don't want to hear a lame ass hissy fit...

You see, there's this person, whose very presence makes my blood boil. I used to work with him...we'll call him...Tic...because that's what happens to me any time he's in my presence...I tic and twitch and itch with discomfort because he bothers me so much. I could go on (and often have) for HOURS on all the reasons why I think he's so horrible. But the truth is, he makes a fantastic first impression...and in fact, it took me more than 3 years to realize what lies beneath...I bought it, hook line and sinker...and I hate myself for it in so many ways. So now when I see him laying it on thick with other people and acting all...the way he acts...I just want to go pull the curtain back and reveal him for the gigantic fake that he is.

He is:
- Classist
- Eliteist
- Sexist - On MANY occasions, he'd refer to us as "the girls," obviously forgetting that we were RUNNING HIS FREAKIN' BUSINESS for him...I kid you not, once he asked me how to "make the numbers stop swirling around" his computer screen... duh, dude - wiggle the freakin' mouse so the screen saver turns off...
- Misogynistic - see sexist, classist, eliteist...
- I can play "The Name Game" with the best of 'em...been around a lot of people in my life and have an uncanny memory for names and faces... but I don't drop names to get attention or impress people. Ever.
- He was in the Marines and boasts about it frequently...but neglects to tell you that it was ROTC and he didn't do much more than go to the officers club...and correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Marines needed to know how to swim...at least a little bit? My cousin is a Marine. He spent time in Iraq. He's the real deal...and he hardly ever talks about his experiences there...

He is all these things underneath the surface, and yet he comes across as a nice guy who you think has respect for you and what you do and know...and in general, he's a perfect fake. It makes. ME. CRAZY.

I no longer work with Tic, thankfully. He's the reason I left my last job and never looked back. Life would continue on it's merry way and in a perfect world, I would have absolutely NOTHING to do with him....except for one little thing.

He has joined my swim team.

My place of refuge. My arena of success. My world away from work thoughts. The place where I go to be with friends, teammates, athletes.

It's like being 15 and having your weirdo uncle show up for tryouts to the cheerleading squad. To legitimately try out.

My swim coach, being the fantastic, awesome, welcoming person that she is, of course has no choice but to welcome any new swimmers. And it's not MY team...anyone can and should join. I would never expect her to exclude anyone... I've talked to her about Tic - in fact she's known for a long time that Tic and I worked together because I GAVE HIM HER NUMBER back when I thought he was a decent human being. He took private lessons with her for almost a year before joining the team. She knows how I feel, she understands, she knows that I realize that I'm being a little bit immature, and she knows that I know that she can't discourage him. For a long time, she thought he would never join but he has...and it looks like he's here to stay. We recently got coach a gift - all of us chipped in $6 each...and all of us signed the card, including him. But he never chipped in his part...and I know this because I ORGANIZED IT and collected money from almost 50 other people. It's all about LOOKING like he's walking the walk and talking the talk.

At practice I pretend I don't know him. I don't make eye contact, I don't go near him, and I work really hard to swim fast enough to stay at least two lanes away from the lane of shame where he is the slowest swimmer WITH the fins he wears the whole time. He follows my lead and doesn't typically attempt conversation. I know this is a waste of energy. I know it. But I can't get beyond it. I want to. It just seems like the only thing that will help me is if he leaves. And he's not one to leave - I guarantee you when he was at his ivy league college playing sports, he sure didn't play much but you can bet he was the first one there every day and the last one to leave every night and he did the best job that any bench warmer could ever do. The one the coach feels bad about not playing because he's so dedicated to the team... but the reality is, he's only on the team so he can wear the jacket and say he's on the team. It's all about status for him, not about swimming. I know this because I watched it emerge over 5 years. But no one else can tell he's a complete fake. And now he wants to try a triathlon. This community is just too damn small. I don't WANT my refuge space, my outlet for my depression and stress, to include him. He was the cause of so much of that crap...

Anyway... I'm sure I need to grow up and just move on...use my energy for things that are way more productive than despising Tic. I'm just not there yet. I'm not sure what it's gonna take for me... I suppose for now I'll just focus on swimming faster to stay as far away from him as possible...and thank the goddess that he's not in the locker room with me...


On a lighter, happier note, I had a good 2 hour run on Saturday and an AMAZING run yesterday. On Saturday, the rain held off until the last 20 minutes...I managed a little over 8 miles in two hours...there was about 5 minutes of walking after the first loop around the lake while I drank some gatorade and I also walked the last 5 mintues to change muscle groups a bit. My quads were kinda sore on Sunday but were fine by yesterday...

And yesterday was 3.5 miles but I told Weasel Boy I felt like I had rockets on my feet. You know that light, empty feeling you get...not hungry, perfectly fueled and hydrated, well rested with no aches and pains....and you can push in any direction and your body listens... I haven't had a run like that in almost a month and it was a welcome reminder that my body can and will listen if only I can be patient, do the work, and take the needed rest. Here are the numbers:

Warmup: 3:38, avg. HR 123 (60%)
Mile 1 - 11:56, avg HR 138 (68%) (I had to take my jacket off and then had iPod issues so there was some walking)
Mile 2 - 11:05, avg. HR 146 (70%)
Mile 3 - 11:02, avg. HR 149 (74%)
To Finish - same distance as warmup: 3:15, avg HR 155 (80%)
Warmdown walking
Total time: 40:88, avg. HR 143 (70%)

I haven't seen numbers like this since last season... it's time to up the LSD pace and this is a great start for me. I'm totally looking forward to my fartlek run on Thursday evening... KG and I are thinking about going over to the track - can't wait.

This week's Song of the Week is up - dedicated to my friend Scott who has all kinds of positive stuff going on...Keep it up dude - your momentum is contagious!!!

Stay dry...we're drowning in the puddles up here in the northeast...and thanks for reading my little (ok, not so little) hissy fit... ;)

Friday, May 12, 2006

First Fartlek

Weasel Boy mapped out the next three weeks for me to help me focus for The Covered Bridges Half Marathon which is coming right up. Yesterday's plan called for my usual masters swim in the AM and then an evening run as well, which consisted of a 30-40 min. fartlek run. He suggested 5 whole miles of it but my body suggested that 30-40 mins. would suffice and my body won...sorry Weasel, you're in Ireland, not much you can do about it!!!

Anyway, I started with a 5 minute easy jog warmup and then set my Timex Ironman countdown timer to beep at me every minute. I did an easy jog for 2 minutes, a tempo run that felt a little faster than comfortable for 1 minute and then a 10 second sprint at the end of that minute. Then 1:50 of easy jogging until the next minute of tempo. I was able to maintain this for a whole 40 mins, which is good, but I definitely see LOTS of room for improvement. I think I'll stick with this 1:50/1:00/:15 sec. timing as I don't know that I could manage much more than a minute at the tempo pace I chose. I could probably extend the sprint to 15 or 20 seconds though. The EZ jog felt really good... as expected. For next week's fartlek, I'll extend the time 45 minutes and see how it goes. I'll decide after that if I want to extend the time of the entire run to 50 or 60 minutes or extend the intervals. Anyone have any reasons either way to go one way or the other? Longer run, same interval or longer intervals? Would love it if some of you speed demon track stars would weigh in...

In true Weasel Boy wisdom, I have today totally off and then a 2 hour run tomorrow. Should be interesting...I'm up to 1:20 hr so this feels like a big jump but I need to remind my body that it can go for that long before the race. There may be a bit of walking...

And I'm not really sore today - only a little stiff - which worries me. Will the pain kick in tomorrow? That won't add much to the joy of my predicted rainy 2 hour jaunt. Good thing I've got an Otter Box for my iPod...

Hope everyone has a great weekend - it's supposed to be soggy up here so soak up some rays for me, wherever you may be!!


OK, thanks to Cliff and a little persistence, I fixed it. Turns out it was working the way I was doing it but I hadn't republished so it wasn't showing the fix. Yesterday's comments are still white - I have no idea why - but the rest is fixed. Phew! I was getting all OCD about it. Now I can relax...


OK, it's been brought (thanks Chris!!) to my attention that if you click on my timestamp at the bottom of each post so that you can see the post and the comments in the same window, the comment text is WHITE on a WHITE background. I realized that when I revamped my blog and changed all the backgrounds to white, the previously white text on TEAL background became invisible. I never noticed because when you click on "comments" and open comments in another window, the comment text is black and all is right with the world.

SO, I realize I have no business messing with my html because I pretty much know enough to get myself in big trouble...but how do I simply change that comment text to black?? or just something darker than white!!!

Here's my comment code as it appears now... when I add a color:#000; line to the comment-body chunk, nothing changes. This seems like the most logical place to change it but nothing happens. HELP!!!

/* Comments
----------------------------------------------- */
#comments {
margin:2em 0 0;
border-top:2px solid #356;
#comments h4 {
margin:0 0 .25em;
font:bold 150%/1.4em Helvetica,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif;
#comments-block {
.comment-poster {
margin:0 0 .25em;
font:bold 112%/1.4em Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif;
.comment-body, .comment-body p {
margin:0 0 .75em;
p.comment-timestamp {
margin:-.25em 0 2em;
#main .comment-timestamp a {
#main .comment-timestamp a:hover {
.deleted-comment {

What to do, what to do... who can rescue this fair damsel in distress.... who???

Thursday, May 11, 2006


When I got home last night, I didn't feel like riding. I didn't really feel like doing anything. The sky was light but dark clouds loomed and it looked like rain. But a ride was on the schedule and I'm sticking to the schedule so out the door I went. I was cranky, grumpy, kinda depressed, a little hungry and my legs felt like lead. The first hill isn't even very much of a hill but I was swearing to myself as I ground up it, feeling it in every part of my tired quads and hamstrings. (Note to self: DON'T spend two whole days planting seeds - standing up and kneeling down repeatedly - unless you plan to have a hamstring transplant before EVER biking or running again...) I just felt like crap.

But Amelia has a way of talking me out of my funk. The soothing click of her gears, the quiet whirr of her wheels, the smooth ride she always delivers...how LUCKY am I to be able to be out there, just riding? Why all this wasted energy on feeling bad when I could be putting it into getting up this hill? Be in the now, she says to me. She always gets me out of my own head. She gets me to appreciate all that I have and all that I am grateful for. She is an amazing woman, that Amelia. I'm keepin' her.

The first leg of the ride was into the wind, then the turn up the mile long climb...by the time I got to the top of the climb I had let most of my "stuff" go... and I rounded the corner to turn home, with the wind at my back, and was treated to a scene much like this:

I rode in and out of showers and sunshine and remembered that I was ALIVE, that there was nothing but NOW to worry about and that everything else could just be DONE. I know it sounds cliché but by the time I got home, I'd left it all out on the road. And I slept like a baby. And when I woke up this morning, I still had that calm, quiet aura.

Life really is great. Make the choice to live, EVERY day.

Train hard....

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Suffering from writer's block this week. I guess I've been stuck in my head a lot. It'd be good for me to climb out soon, stop perseverating, blah, blah, blah...

Yesterday was weigh-in day #3 and I'm thankfully back down to the weight I was on weigh-in day #1 (190.5). At least this week I'm moving in the right direction. The better news is that my clothes feel better - my body is definitely changing. But it's SLOW. I was right on the border of giving up a few days ago - feeling like it wasn't making a difference...but I signed up for three months and three months I will commit to... slow has to be ok...plus you all are watching! I'm learning that I'm truly an instant gratification kinda woman. I can do this. It actually hasn't been too bad so far...but I think I need to give it one more week with what I'm doing and if things don't continue on down the scale, I may have to stop using all my activity points....see I get 24 points worth of food/day...and exercise adds points...so for say, an hour of swimming, I get an extra 9 points. Well, I've really needed those points because I've been really hungry...but if I'm only maintaining, I gotta shift it down a bit - maybe only use some of those extra points. And I'll have to be more strict about my weekends...

1-1.5 hr. ride planned for tonight. I'm pretty tired still...my honey was sick all weekend and so far I've managed to not catch whatever it is but I think my body has been fighting it because I'm exhausted for no apparent reason. I'd like to just cruise with a nice easy spin but I need to get out of my comfort zone a little.

Does anyone have a source for Gatorade Endurance Powder? The Gatorade store says it's temporarily unavailable - does that mean that they're busy making more? I can't find the powder anywhere, only the bottles... what gives?

Hope the block is gone by tomorrow...I feel out of touch when you all aren't writing in to comment!! Does that mean I'm comment operated in the coin operated sense? ;) It's definitely possible...

Here's a picture of our garden being fertilized with COW POOP!!!

Train hard!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ah Gut Nothin'

Not much to report out on today so I'll just toss out a question that I've had for awhile:

WHY do people put big, gigantic, red decals on their trucks and cars that say "Red Neck?" Why?

I mean, isn't it a negative thing to be a redneck? Don't people understand that most of the population thinks BAD things about people who are "rednecks?" And that the Dukes of Hazzard was meant for VIEWING enjoyment, not for historically correct re-enactment??? It's one thing to be a redneck and not know it - for those folks, I sometimes feel sorry - but why in the world would you proclaim proudly on your vehicle that this is what you embrace? Is it like my rainbow sticker? "Redneck Pride" - reclaiming the redneck label? I just don't understand... Jeff Foxworthy is credited with this list...but I'm sure it's evolved beyond him. I deleted out some of the more offensive ones.... but if you want to read all 664 reasons YOU might be a redneck, you can click here.

You May Be A Redneck If ...
- More than one living relative is named after a southern civil war general.
- Your home has more miles on it than your car.
- You think that potted meat on a saltine is an hors d'ouerve.
- You consider a six-pack and a bug-zapper high-quality entertainment.
- Fewer than half of your cars run.
- You honestly think that women are turned on by animal noises and seductive tongue gestures.
- Your family tree doesn't fork.
- Your hairdo has ever been ruined by a ceiling fan.
- You've ever barbecued Spam on the grill.
- Your brother-in-law is your uncle.
- Your only condiment on the dining room table is the economy size bottle of ketchup.
- The rear tires on your car are at least twice as wide as the front ones.
- You prominently display a gift you bought at Graceland.
- You use the term "over yonder" more than once a month.
- The diploma hanging in your den contains the words "Trucking Institute".
- Your mother keeps a spit cup on the ironing board.
- You've ever worn a tube top to a wedding.
- The most commonly heard phrase at your family reunion is "What the hell are you looking at, Shithead?"
- The first words out of your mouth every time you see friends are "Howdy!" "HEY!" or "How Y'all Doin?"
- You have more than two brothers named Bubba or Junior.
- You think a Volvo is part of a woman's anatomy.
- You think that the Styrofoam cooler is the greatest invention of all time.
- You've been too drunk to fish.
- You've ever used a weedeater indoors.
- You have to go outside to get something out of the 'fridge.
- You've ever financed a tattoo.
- Your idea of a 7 course meal is a bucket of KFC and a six-pack.
- Someone asks to see your ID and you show them your belt buckle.
- The directions to your house include "turn off the paved road".
- You owe the taxidermist more than your annual income.
- You have lost at least one tooth opening a beer bottle.
- You have a Hefty bag on the passenger side window of your car.
- You have a very special baseball cap, just for formal occasions.
- Your house doesn't have curtains, but your truck does.
- You consider your license plate personalized because your dad made it in prison.
- You have been fired from a construction job because of your appearance.
- You need an estimate from your barber before you get a haircut.
- You have flowers planted in a bathroom appliance in your front yard.
- Someone in your family says "Cum'n heer an' lookit this afore I flush it."
- You mow your lawn and find a car.
- You are still holding on to Confederate money because you think the South will rise again.
- You consider a three piece suit to be: a pair of overalls, a plaid flannel shirt and thermal underwear.
- There is a sheet hanging in your closet and a gun rack hanging in your truck.
- You think the Mountain Men in deliverance were just "Misunderstood".
- You consider a good tan to be the back of your neck and the left arm below the shirt sleeve...
- Your biggest ambition in live is to "git thet big'ole coon. The one what hangs 'round over yonder, back'ah bubba's barn..."
- you have 5 cars that are immobile and house that drives!
- You gene pool doesn't have a "deep end"
- Your belt buckle weighs more than three pounds.
- You think that safe sex is a padded headboard on the waterbed.
- You think that John Deere Green, Ford Blue, and Primer Gray are the three of the primary colors.
- Yer mom calls ya over t'help, cause she has a flat tire...on her house
- You fish in your above-ground pool
- When a sign that says "Say No To Crack!" reminds you to pull up your jeans.
- "Buck Naked Line Dancing" isn't a videotape, it's "Ladies Night" at the local bar.
- You're moved to tears every time you hear Dolly Parton singing "I Will Always Love You".
- You have spent more on your pickup truck than on your education.
- Your mom gives you tips on how to sneak booze into sporting events.
- Exxon and Conoco have offered you royalties for your hair.
- The blue book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas it has in it.
- On your first date you had to ask your Dad to borrow the keys to the tractor.
- Taking your wife on a cruise means circling the Dairy Queen.

That's all Ah gut taday...

....but there's a new song of the week over here--------->

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sobering News

From the Tahoe Tribune, Yesterday, May 4th:
A Tahoe City woman died Wednesday morning at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort after she struck a lift tower while skiing on the Sherwood side of the mountain, according to a Placer County sheriff's sergeant.

A call came into 911 at 9:50 a.m. that a skier had hit a ski lift tower and went down, according to Sgt. Bill Langton of the Placer County Sheriff's Office. Alpine ski patrol was on the scene and paramedics and a Care Flight helicopter were called, Langton said.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate the 24-year-old skier, but she was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 10 a.m. The woman was skiing intermediate terrain when she started going into the splits, caught an edge and lost a ski, authorities said.

Langton said the skier was not wearing a helmet.

This is at least the second death at Alpine this season.

The South Shore has posted two skiing-related fatalities this season, both at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Northstar-at-Tahoe had six fatal accidents, which excludes one heart attack victim. Mammoth has had four ski- and snowboard-related deaths this year, which doesn't include ski patroller deaths.

I know this woman. I knew this woman. She was a camper and counselor at my camp, she grew up in the town I live in, she played on the field hockey team that I coached, her family still lives in town... She was busy living her life and I'm sure never imagined when she got up on Wednesday morning that the beautiful sunny morning would be her last. Makes me want to lock all the doors and never leave the house...

Life is so precious and accidents like this are proof positive that we just never know what lies in store for us. It's terrifying actually. We take risks like she took every day - riding our bikes, driving our cars, stepping out of our doors - and we assume we're taking adequate precautions. But you just never know. It can all come to a screaching halt in a split second.

So take good care of you and yours and tell the people you love that you love them - every day, as often as possible.

And for everyone you love, and everyone that loves you - wear your freakin' helmet.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

2006 Race Schedule

OK, I think I've got it figured out. Here's the plan...

Sunday, June 4th: Covered Bridges Half Marathon

Last year it rained for ALL. OF. MAY. The entire month. And the temperature hovered around 45˚F. Great running weather. WELL, you can imagine the surprise all of us faced on race day with a 10 am start at 85˚F and about 90% humidity. At least 12 people went to the hospital with heat exhaustion - the background music for the race was ambulance sirens. I finished but at around mile 6 it became a race of survival - no longer a race at all. Official finishing time was 2:54:23... I was hoping to hold 12 minute miles but that plan was scrapped at the mile 6 survival realization. I'd like to break 2:30, which sounds like a big jump from last year - but I think it's doable as it was my goal last year. I'm just hoping for a little cooler weather...and if all else fails, I'd just like to beat last year's time. Running has always been the hardest of the three sports for me. I make sure to get this one on the calendar early so that I'm sufficiently terrified and put in the running miles to prepare. Otherwise, it's too easy to just hop on my bike and skip the run training...

Sunday, June 18th: Vermont Sun Sprint Triathlon

I try to do one of these races every year - there are usually 3 sprints but this year there are only 2. This is the first race I ever did...my times aren't all that much different from that first year but each year it feels better. It's a really small race and very low key - lots of fun and supportive people and many racers from my swim team do this one. It's a great warmup for my first "A" race....which is ....

Sunday, July 9th: The Great Fairlee Triathlon

This will be my third showing but only my second finish. Last year was the lame ass bike crash...this year will be all about focus and mental preparedness. I feel like I've got a good jump on things so far - two more months should complete the solid foundation. It helps that I train on the course every day I'm not in the pool. One more week and I should be able to tolerate the lake. Global warming is my new best friend.

Saturday, August 5th: Shelburne Athletic Club Sprint Triathlon

Never done one of this series before but it fits timing wise so I'm trying to find out more. I think they're pretty low key races - kind of like the VT Sun races but we'll have to see. I've had a hard time finding anything going on between July 22nd and August 10th...that I don't have to fly or travel overnight to. Maybe organizers think that it's just too hot during these weeks? Dunno...

And my second "A" race, the longest distance I've ever gone...

Sunday, August 27th: The Cranberry Country Triathlon
I'll stay at Mom's for this one and it'll hopefully be the first weekend of my summer vacation - the one week that I get off this year. I wanted to do another longer race in an effort to prepare myself for the Half Ironman Goal of 2007. This one got rave reviews, plus the bike course is relatively flat so I figure that plays to my and Amelia's strengths. Hopefully most of the summer's training on hills will have me hauling on the flats in So. Mass. I like doing races where I've never seen the course and don't know anyone racing. Something about feeling like I'm totally on my own gives me a thrill...

I was thinking I'd also throw in the Timberman Sprint Tri on August 19th but I was also thinking that might be too close to the Cranberry Tri and I didn't want to jeopardize my A race. Timberman was a BLAST last summer - REALLY fun race and crowd. My sights are set on the Timberman Half Iron race in 2007 - my first half distance...so I guess it can wait until next year. I'd love to know what people think about the timing...could it be just another long training day one week before my A olympic race? or would that be pushing it? I'd have to decide in the next two months as it usually fills long before race day...

Then I'll round out the fall with the Leaf Peepers Half Marathon on October 1st. There is a possibility that I could join a Reach the Beach relay team on the weekend of September 15/16 but that will be a last minute deal... it's kind of a gruelling race so I'll do it if my coach's team ends up in a pickle with one too few runners (the hardest part about this race is getting 12 people to the starting line!!)

That wraps it up!! I'm feeling really excited about finalizing all of this. It's a lighter schedule than I'd like but I think I need to focus on LSD and really make my A races quality races and spend more time training and less time racing. The sprints are more for fun and practice...I'm excited to see how I fare in the longer distances...I feel like I may be better suited to them all around.

Stay tuned for how it unfolds!!!

Pack of Dogs Kill Gator in Florida

What an Unbelievable Display of Cunning Pack Mentality!

At times nature can be cruel, but there is also a raw beauty, and even a certain justice, manifested within that cruelty.

The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally considered the "apex predator" in it's natural eco-system, can still fall victim to implemented "team work" strategy, made possible due to the tight knit social structure and "survival of the fittest pack mentality," bred into canines over the last several hundreds of years by natural selection.

In the attached remarkable photograph courtesy of Nature Magazine, note that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator, preventing it from breathing, while the remainder of the pack prevents the beast from rolling.

Not for the squeamish! Be sure you can handle the raw blood and guts nature of this photo prior to viewing!!!

We strongly recommend that you preview this privately before determining it's appropriateness for a younger audience.

Heh. Gotcha!! I just love puppies...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Stargazers, Overtraining and Curls

Isn't this an amazing flower? It's a Stargazer Lily and I hope to get many of them in the garden very soon. My honey got a whole vase of them from the folks at her work since she's such a good doobie. So pretty. And they smell really nice too...

Had a rough swim yesterday. Ran 3.5 mi. on Monday after mostly resting on Sunday...when I got back from my run, I found myself asking, "How do you know when you're overtrained vs. just tired?" Are they one in the same? Usually I know exactly when I'm overtrained because it's almost identical to PMS. But since I had that going on too...it was hard to tell. My run started off kind of slow but after the first mile I picked it up and it felt good. Deduction: must not be overtrained. 43 miles is a long way for me to have ridden on Saturday...but I felt better on this Monday's run than on last Monday's run so it must be progress. Nope. It wasn't until I got in the pool on Tuesday morning that the overtrained-ness kicked in. We started with 8 x 25 with fins doing dolphin kicks - no problem...felt a little tired but ok. Then coach announced it was freestyle distance day. Uh Oh.

3 times thru of this:
400 free, every 7th length is backstroke - pay attention to stroke counts (n)
2 x 25 kick
2 x 25 swim, stroke count at n-2

The 25s were basically active recovery....

So apart from the 400s being 400s, the other issue is that I've been struggling to keep up in my lane. The two top swimmers are capable of hanging with the fishies if they choose but I'm just as happy to have them stay in my lane because, although it busts my butt, it's good to have to try and hang with them. Well, not this time. They were swimming sub 6:15 400s... on a good day, I can swim 200 free in 3:15...so double that and add a little you get about 6:40 for a 400. Not happening - the two fast kids were lapping me by about the 9th length of the 400. So right off, I wasn't getting any rest after the 400 or any rest in between the 25s. And the tears of frustration that always accompany overtrained were bubbling to the surface - no question this time. So I just put on my fins and made it a "go thru the motions" day...which was really ok. I still had to swim to keep up with them...but it wasn't killing me and I stopped being frustrated. There's just no sense fighting it when your body says enough. So today is a rest day, albeit unplanned, but I'll return to the pool tomorrow morning, hopefully feeling better. And it's supposed to be sunny on Friday so perhaps my Wednesday run will shift to then...it's cold and rainy today. Nice day to curl up on the couch and watch a movie...

Yesterday was also weigh in day and there was no weight taken out of the backpack last week. I'm still on track, although I'm a little disappointed, but it's actually motivating me instead of rendering me defeated. I feel strong and more fit - so maybe my body is just changing shape...the numbers will show next week - I feel sure about it... But I think it was contributing to my frustration in the pool yesterday... whatever, I'm over it...

So since it was doggy haircut week last week, we decided it was Mumma haircut week this week. I have not had my hair cut by anyone other than myself for about 4 years. You see, it's curly...not just curly, super curly...and when it gets scraggly or split ends take over, I just cut the ends off and move on. Well, it was time for a change. So now it's short. And layered. And crazy curly...especially today since it's raining. Here's the outcome....I actually really like it... I need some product education - perhaps it's time to go thru all the TiVo-ed episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I'm thinkin' Kyan might have some good tips for me...

Hope you all are well and training is strong... be happy!!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Song of the Week II, and NAKED DOGGY!

Here we are, Song of the Week, Week 2!! Head on over to the sidebar to hear some fine tunes from my girls, complete with banjo and mandolin. This one always makes me want to get out and GO...even if I'm not really going far.

Friday's doggy haircut was likely more traumatic for the doggie mummas than for the doggy...but everything turned out ok and we are now watching naked doggy bliss. She's like a little puppy - so excited and happy to be FREE!!! Here's the before pic, just as a reminder:

And here she is after the shave!!! I would strongly reccomend this to anyone with a big hairy dog and hot summers. She's thrilled - even though she doesn't look it in these pics. She was romping around and got upset when I made her sit still and pose for the picture. She intensionally wouldn't look at me.... silly woofie:

OH, and don't let me forget about my fantastic ride on Saturday...the longest yet this season and it felt really good. I've discovered that mile 25 is about where I start to feel uncomfortable...but on this ride, things started to click back in around mile 35 and I finished feeling pretty good. A little sore on Sunday...and actually felt a little cranky and overtrained...but it passed and I'm back to it today. The weather is just amazing...I LOVE global warming... So, the ride:

Total Ride time: 3:07 hr.
Avg. Speed: 14.0 (up a little from last week and over a longer distance)
Max. Speed: 44.5mph (cool!!)
Total Distance: 43.78 mi.

Gotta love the Cateye, eh? Progress is sweet....

Happy Monday!!!