Friday, August 31, 2007

Finding Inspiration

Just wanted to say thanks to Sam - who couldn't resist breaking out a little Harry during the pre-race dinner - for letting the momster tag along for the Buck Creek International Triathlon last weekend. It helped me to see how the race actually worked - getting ones gear set up in the transitions, etc.
But I also appreciated men and women who were obviously - obviously - older and heavier than moi chugging past me - in swimsuits! - on that steep uphill out of the swim and steadily working to propel their bike down the road. KUDOS to all those people who were able to set aside all thoughts of "I'm not young, slim, fast, buff enough.." and just got out there and DID IT. Thank you, thank you. You spur me on.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Buck Creek International Pics

Here's a few snapshots from the Buck Creek Triathlon this past weekend. Of course, most are featuring Sam, but I figured that would be ok with Sam's fans.

I'm a novice at posting pics, so please bear with any strange layouts.

First swim wave of the sprint distance. Looked to me like 3/4 of the athletes did that shorter distance.

This green cap /dark goggles/wet suit with yellow lightning bolts might be Sam.

The sun was in his eyes, the hill was steep, but Sam, I think, was happy to have the swim behind him.

Yes, it took Sam awhile to peel off the wetsuit, but I'm not sure if anyone else who wore a full length suit did it much faster. They were all unzipping on the way up the hill, except for one fellow who sat down as soon as he reached the start of the grass hill and pulled his suit off pretty quickly. Many didn't wear wetsuits - especially in the sprint division.

I realized, too late, that if you want to take reasonably centered photos of a specific person approaching and flying past you on a bike, knowing their face, body build, and clothing/gear colors are not enough - you simply must have either a spotter or a set of binoculars, preferably both, along with your digital camera. I didn't, so I have some nice pics of riders I don't know. The first time Sam passed, all I got was a backside shot of him pedaling away from me.

Water station two miles into the 10k run.


Sprint to finish

About 60 seconds after finishing the triathlon, Sam has a gracious smile for the momster who is bugging him for yet another mug shot.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Buck Creek International Triathlon

(I do not as of yet have any pictures to post, but as soon as I get some, I'll slap 'em on here) The Buck Creek Triathlon was Sunday Morning. The Madre came up friday and we hung out friday night, and drove up saturday afternoon. There was a massive T-storm on our drive over to the park and I was excited at the prospect of an overcast day for a race.

Packet pick up was smooth, We did a little pre-race exercise at the hotel just to work out the kinks from traveling in the car, then it was off to dinner for some fish and a sweet potato, along with a salad...and some bread...and some of mom's salad...and some of her steak...I think I was done after that. Got back to the room and set up the bike and got all my stuff out and ready to go. Didn't sleep well at all, but that's typical the night before the race. I need to figure out a way to solve this.

I don't like showing up too early at races as I hate sitting around. That said, i was there at 6:40 and had almost two hours to get ready. Plenty of time. had the Garmin FR 305 all set up with Multi-sport function and ready to go. It was pretty warm, but they said the water was 76.5 F. I didn't buy it, but really wanted to give my wetsuit a shot at a race. Humor of the day: as the sprint race was getting ready to start, some dude walks up to the guy with the Megaphone...Dude with megaphone delays race start and asks if anybody has experience in popping shoulders back in place because dude would like his shoulder in correct position before starting his swim wave. Unreal.

After all the sprint waves, the 0-39 International distance wave (mine) was set to go. I was chatting with some dude before the start. He said he signed up elite and was hoping to go 2 hrs. He wasn't convinced though. He also said he thought the swim was a bit long. I had thought that the day before, but didn't really care as I was planning on going out easy on the swim and then pushing on the bike and run. My swim isn't exactly a strong point.

Swim, 1500 m + run up massive hill into transition: 32:36
I went out easy just like I had planned. The current was such that the out leg of the rectangle was tough and the back was easier. I gained on a lot of people on the back of the first lap, then lost a lot to them on the second lap. What happened was that I am not a very good open water swimmer, and I was all over the place. It's totally my fault, but I'll bet I swam at least an extra 200m if not more. I pushed a bit at the end and came out winded, thus going pretty slow up the hill to T1

T1: 2:23 :
No big news here other than my transitions need practice. I couldn't get that dang wetsuit off. Bike, 40k (23.7 miles) : 1:07:03, 21.2 mph I felt pretty good on the bike most of the time. It was rolling, but mostly flat. Definitely flatter than what I ride in KY most of the time. For the most part, people were riding a really clean race. Except for one guy, he was drafting everybody he could. It was ridiculous. I passed him on the second lap only to have him bridge the gap and draft me for 3 miles heading back to T2. I didn't want to waste energy on him out there, but I kind of wish I would have seen him after the race to let him know people know he's a rat fink putz.

T2: 1:38 :
No big deal still need to speed it up here.

Run, 10k, 44:50, (7:14/mile)
I had taken in a bottle of gatorade and two gels on the bike, which I thought was pretty good, but there was definitely some cramping going on during the run. It was pretty flat with the exception of a couple tough hills. I wanted to go a bit harder but just couldn't really on the second lap of the run. I came in feeling pretty good, all alone.

Total: 2:28:31, 6/12 in 25-29 AG, 21/90 total Int'l finishers.

I need to speed up the swim just a bit, and definitely get the sighting worked out. I need to keep improving bike fitness as it was definitely in better shape. And transitions, I think I could easilty take a minute off just by working on those. Other than that, nutrition needs to be figured out for the 1/2 in miami. Let me know if I missed anything.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Am I scared of pink? No. I even sport it to work from time to time. But I'd like to say that Spencer Smith is in possession of a set.
Wow. Just. Wow....But I'd take that bike (even in pink) if they gave it to me. And I'd ride the crap out of it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh ya...It's on!

Here we go. Bring the jitters and the excitement. It's race week. The race is the Buck Creek International Triathlon. The course maps can be seen here. The race organizers describe the course as rolling to sometimes hilly, but from looking at it on Google Earth, and it being Ohio, It looks kind of flat to me. But we'll see.
I certainly pump the excitement as I write here, but the most difficult thing with all this stuff is staying relaxed around the race. So that's the focus for the week, especially friday through sunday. I'm looking forward to testing myself and pushing it this weekend. We're also hoping to be able to stop by IM Louisville on the way home as well. Should be gangbusters. If moonpie wants to make an appearance, he should bring it.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Check out some George Sheehan quotes here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Training For Life

So why on earth would Sam invite a 52 year old woman to contribute to the fitness torch blog? I think mostly to encourage me, but perhaps also to share a little perspective from farther along the age spectrum. Not "the other end of the age spectrum" because I think I should have a good 20-25 years before I get to that point.

I've been a morning walker for much of my adult life, with fitness classes and running worked in for a couple years, and regular leisure biking for several multi-year periods. But at the time this photo was taken (Kayaker's Cove on Resurrection Bay south of Seward, Alaska) I was in a fitness slump that lasted over 2 years.

In the months previous, both my father-in-law and my father had died after slow physical declines and our son and daughter-in-law had returned from several years of volunteer service among the street people of Calcutta to live with my husband and me. They and their newborn lived in the guest room just vacated by a young friend who had lived with us for several months - for a few months while they saved for a home down-payment. We were in the midst of helping both sons move into their first homes - one in Kentucky and one in Florida - and we had just co-signed a loan for the purchase of a large office and warehouse space for our 30 year old business.

I was spending large amounts of mental energy trying to sort through major questions about the existence of God, the suffering in the world, and personal life purpose - questions I never expected to be wrestling again with at age 50. On top of all that I was trying to return to a 30 hour work week (with my husband as my boss :-) after 6-7 years out of the business and I was in the throes of a chaotic peri-menopause complete with sleepless nights, unbelievable hot flashes and night sweats and simmering and expressed anger the likes of which I had NEVER experienced.

It was a crazy, stress-filled time, and I coped by going back to bed after my husband left the house at 5:30 am- the only time I seemed to be able to sleep for two consecutive hours- and eating and drinking more - I was cooking for 4 or more adults most nights now and hoagies, pasta, rice, potatoes and ice cream made frequent appearances on my plate.

I slowly realized that I woud quickly become unable or unwilling to continue to help my husband and family if I did not get fit again. This past fall I finally started walking and biking again on a limited basis and then, since I had been following Sam's marathon training, I went to Chicago to cheer Sam on as he ran his first marathon with knees that had endured several major injuries and surgeries.

WOW. Watching over 40,000 runners of all ages stream past me was awe inspiring; and finally catching a glimpse of Sam at mile 20 and watching him cross the finish line brought a huge lump of joy and pride to my throat. He had disciplined himself intensely for many months to do something he didn't think he could do (and most "sensible" people didn't think he should do, given his knee history) and he had made his time goal.

At the end of January, after several months of walk/running, biking, and skating in fits and starts, I joined a women's gym and began weight training with a personal trainer once a week and other days on my own. It was just what I needed to fuel my "Can she do it? YES, she can!" engine. So for 6 months now, I have been weight training twice a week, doing some form of cardio 4-6 days a week and gradually feeling better physically and emotionally. Thanks to the exercise and progesterone cream, the hot flashes are no longer debilitating and I sleep much better at night. My weekend bike rides are increasing to pretty respectable distances, Sam has gotten me seriously thinking about my first triathalon, and I am thinking that running a marathon by the time I've finished my 55th year of life is a reasonable possibility.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

But we need a little Contro-versy

So there are numerous "reports" that aspartame, and sucralose and whatever other compounds people choose to use are poisons and are slowly killing them. Now, it's obvious that there are many things that people use or are subjected to that are technically "slowly killing them." For instance, drinking water that has been treated (depending on your location) has somewhere between 1 in 50 million to 1 in a billion chance of killing a person if one does the environmental engineering math (so many oz a day for 75 years, etc). We consider this an acceptable risk.
But it seems impossible to find information about these sweeteners that is truly substantiated and valid. I'm not saying I know what's going on with them, but I use them sometimes. If in fact, they are making me stupid, giving me headaches (which they don't for me), or slowing my metabolism, I'd like to discontinue the use. So does anyone have any good info on this stuff? I'd like to hear some reasoned opinions. Now as I say that, all us diet coke drinkers are gonna have to drink a caffeine free one and calm down before we get upset about the perceived perfection of our drug of choice. Seriously though, I wanna know what the deal is.