Thursday, June 30, 2005

training totals for June

Swim: 13 sessions totaling 10.7 hours
Bike: 11 sessions totaling 22.4 hours
Run: 11 sessions totaling 27.5 miles (about 6 1/2 hours)

That compares to 10 1/2 hours, 15 hours, and 28 1/2 miles last month, so I am more consistent than I feel.

accepting bad days

Susan wrote:
I'm chalking it up to needing a bad run to have a great one tomorrow.
I had just run into that idea yesterday and it is a new one for me (in life, not just in running), seeing the bad days as a step towards the good days.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


I'm not a collector, but I like using stamps that have meaning to me. The recent architecture stamps include a house I once housesat in. Today I went to the post office and when I saw stamps honoring U.S. scientists, I bought a set. I'm very amused by the selection of scientists. That there is a token woman is no suprise: Barbara McClintock. The others are Josiah Willard Gibbs, John von Neumann, and Richard Feynman. I'm surprised the Joseph Henry papers folks didn't get Joseph Henry in as the token 19th century scientist. What did it take to be an American scientist? von Neumann was not born in the United States, but he was apparently counted as more American than Einstein? Apparently there was a letter writing campaign to get Feynman on a stamp, so that may be the origin of this.

Monday, June 27, 2005

my mother

My mother has long had a tendency to take over my interests. When I got interested in horses in elementary school she went back to riding, and after I had lost interest and we had moved from New York City to Concord, Massachusetts, she bought a horse. In 11th grade in Concord I developed an interest in Concord authors. I moved on to major in history of science in college, but when my parents moved to New Jersey the year I graduated from college my mother got a very part time job working on the new edition of Thoreau's complete works.

Saturday before we left, my mother and my kids and I went for a walk. My son and I started talking about running--he is trying to figure out how I can be happy about running 13 minute miles when he feels slow running a 9 minute mile. My mother said: "In this family we reach our athletic peak late: when I was in my 40s and 50s I was winning championships." None of us asked her to tell us more and I wasn't paying much attention in those years (I turned 25 the year she turned 50), but I assume she was talking about winning championships in local horseshows.

In some old way I feel my accomplishments are less mine after her comment. Luckily it goes away when I run or bike or swim and feel myself using my body. One of the nice things about physical accomplishments is that they feel real physically.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

home again

I'm very glad to be back to my own home again. It is actually cooler here in South Carolina than it was in Boston.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


We took the ferry to Nantucket yesterday and rented two tandems. I planned what I thought was a short bike ride, but everyone else thought 12 miles was too much. I said if they didn't like what I planned they needed to get involved in the planning next time instead of leaving it to me.

Today is my 50th birthday. It isn't that I mind getting older--so far it has been a good thing--but being celebrated just makes me feel bad.

Friday, June 17, 2005


The wind was cold but the sun came out. And the herring gulls were nesting.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


It is hard to relax, but I am catching up on some sleep. This morning I took an early bike ride by myself, and then bicycled with my kids into town to shop. In the afternoon we all bicycled to the lighthouse and walked on the beach. The temperature didn't get above about 62, but a pleasant day none the less.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

pictures from Saturday

I'm in the wetsuit with red shoulders

Over 700 people is a lot

They announced my name as I was about to finish and that I was from South Carolina

race results

I finally found the race results.
swim .25 mi: 7:21
bike 10 mi: 44.48
run 3.5 mi: 44:26
Total 1:36:36
place: 719 out of 766

Transition is included in the bike time. My son timed my bike time as 37 minutes, which comes out to 16.2 mph. I'm again very happy with the running, which is a pace of 12.7 minutes a mile--a little faster than at the Clemson race in May and over a longer distance. I'm not at all sure that .25 miles is an accurate swim distance, though it is what is posted on the results page.

I've expanded the race report I posted yesterday now that we have our phone and internet working and I could spend more time on it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Race Report: Hyannis Sprint Triathlon

I picked up my husband and kids at the Boston airport Friday afternoon, and we hit a lot of traffic driving to Cape Cod. We stopped at the race site to pick up my packet, and didn't get to the family summer house where we are staying until around 7. My first priority was to test out the bike my parents had had checked out so I could ride it. The bike seemed to work and fit fine--I rode with friction shifters when I biked seriously in college so I don't mind them (though these were on the stem when I prefer the downtube). I had ordered a Brooks B-17S to have a comfortable saddle and I struggled to get the old saddle off the clamp to put on my new one. Things went wrong though, when I decided to pump up the tires to make sure they were right, and the pump fell apart, after letting air out of the tire I was working on. We had to drive the bike to a gas station and pump it up with the air pump there, which is risky because it can overinflate the tires. The gauge didn't work well enough to get a pressure, so I had to estimate. I feared disaster, particularly since the bike has 27 inch tires, which is no longer a standard size, but it worked out ok. I packed up my gear and got to bed not too late.

My kids agreed to come with me to cheer me and take pictures. We left the house at 5:20 am Saturday, and even then we got stuck in an impossible traffic jam the last mile to get into the parking. Mmy father's car overheated, but I decided to keep going (turning it off when we were stopped in the traffic jam) and hope it cooled off during the race. We did get parked in time for me to quickly set up in the transition area. Then there was a long wait on the beach--the race started half an hour late.

The swim was shortened--the results list it as .25 mile but I think it was shorter than that--because of wind and a fairly rough sea. We were swimming in Nantucket Sound, not the open ocean but with a south wind it is a large enough area of open water that a pretty good swell builds up. The water was actually fairly warm; I think they said 67. I breathed to one side only and enjoyed the waves. Running up the beach was no fun, and I felt very slow in transition. But I didn't forget anything.

The 10 mile bike ride felt long because I had never been on the course before, but I passed a fair number of people and ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I felt I found a good pace, pushing myself but comfortable. Pretty views, and not much traffic.

The run was longer--I've seen it reported as 3.5 and 3.6 miles. I was dragging a bit but then the last mile I ran with a woman who caught up with me. We talked, and it made the run pass very quickly. I think I also ran faster than I would have to keep up with her. She sprinted to the finish and I didn't have that in me, but I was happy.

I was a bit sorer and more tired than the Clemson race--I pushed myself a little more and felt good about it.

But then when we got back into the car the warning light went on immediately and steam started coming out. I stopped the first likely place I saw--a Honda dealer. They said they couldn't work on the car, couldn't even put coolant in it because Audis take special coolant. But they told me I was only 2 miles from the only Audi dealer on Cape Cod, which did also have Saturday morning service. The Audi dealer said they couldn't look at it until Monday. My husband was at home, but it turned out the phone hadn't been turned on after the winter. I had to call an aunt to go over and tell him what was going on. She loaned him a car to come get us. The kids and I went to get some lunch, as it would take him at least 40 minutes to get to us (it took longer, as the car he borrowed had to be jumped). When we went back to the Audi dealer they had had a chance to look at the car and been able to fix it. The radiator fan had come unplugged. It took a gallon of coolant, so I had pushed it in how far I drove with it overheating, but no damage. We had to wait for my husband to arrive to tell him the car was fixed, but then finally we could head home. I was sticky with salt and really desperate for a shower--it was very hard to deal with the car (and being optimistic for the sake of my kids and show them how to think through car trouble) right after the race.

The car trouble really took away the glow of the race, but I'm getting some of it back and hope to get more back when I get the pictures.

Friday, June 10, 2005

swim practice

I heard that the Boston Triathlon Club practiced in Walden Pond at 6 am on Friday mornings, so I showed up. The water was pretty warm--not the cold water swim practice I needed. But it was beautiful. The pictures are of resting after swimming across the pond (I'm on the right) and then setting out back the other way. There was some debate about how far it is--apparently a little under a half mile each way.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

race wisdom

From stv on Tri-DRS:
Also, this: At some point in the race, things will get hard. That's not a bad thing; in fact, deep down, most people are looking for that point. Approach it slowly & back off, or push right through it ... but just remember, it's supposed to be hard, so accept it when it comes and then deal with it how you choose ... ease back, ignore, accept & push more. It's your choice.
That's a part I haven't figured out for myself at all yet.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Flying to Boston tomorrow, spending the night in Concord. My husband and kids fly to Boston Friday and I pick them up and we drive straight to Cape Cod. I am using a 12 speed bike at the house up there to ride in the Hyannis Triathlon, which starts at 7:30 Sat. morning, so I hope we get in before dark so I can ride it after I adjust it. I do expect to have internet access, so I will be posting and maybe even catching up on email once we are settled in.

Monday, June 06, 2005

weight and health

While I'm no longer overweight, I am still angry at doctors who blame all health problems on being overweight. I've lost 60 lbs. and turned myself into an athlete and my diabetes is no easier to control than it was when I started. I have to watch my diet just as carefully to avoid my blood sugar going too high. I feel a lot better, but that is mostly the result of controlling my blood sugar. My blood pressure and cholesterol panel haven't improved either, except a 10 point rise in my already high HDL.

Anyway, there is a useful overview article in Scientific American on the growing critique of the medical prejudice against overweight, which I learned about thanks to Alas (a blog). My experience certainly is that pre-diabetes causes weight gain rather than being overweight causing diabetes. When I started controlling my blood sugar I wasn't hungry all the time and lost weight without trying (even before I started intense exercise).

a picture

is here.
How did my helmet get so crooked?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Fletcher Flyer

I left the house at 6 am to go ride in a bicycle event in North Carolina called the Fletcher Flyer. They had a big crowd, and I had to park in overflow parking and then go back to overflow parking to put stuff in my car after I registered, so I got off a little after the start. I tried to catch up, figuring there would be some slower groups, but that only worked for a little while when a big group missed a turn.

Initially the weather was cool and beautiful, but it got really hot. The high was supposedly 85, but it felt hotter than that on the road. I ate peanut butter and jelly or banana and peanut butter at each rest stop and drank a full water bottle between most rest stops (12 to 15 miles) and took a couple of salt capsules. There were times I was miserably hot but at 25 miles (2 hours) I decided I would continue with the metric century route instead of switching to the 50 mile route but slow down to more of a touring pace instead of pushing myself. Then I began to enjoy the scenery and be less bothered by the heat.

I was pretty well alone for the next 14 miles, but at the 39 mile rest stop the lead pack doing the 100 mile route passed me, which was fun to watch. Then I saw more bicycles on the road, but didn't ride with anyone. It wasn't as much fun as the triathlon.

It took me about 5 1/2 hours to do 63.4 miles with a cumulative vertical gain of 3037 feet. The same club puts on a ride called the Hilly Hellacious Hundred, with 8035 feet of vertical gain in the 100 mile route and 5097 in the metric century. Today's ride is supposedly their flattest possible route, but outside of Asheville North Carolina that isn't very flat. No long climbs, anyway.

Summer is suddenly here. Yesterday was also a beautiful sunny day and I got a sunburn on the back of my shoulders just from swimming for 45 minutes in the lake about 1 pm. During the swim was the only time my shoulders were exposed.

Friday, June 03, 2005


I was hoping the Clemson Aquatic Team would have an open water swim practice tomorrow, but it has been cancelled because of the rainy weather (which was supposed to end today and didn't). I haven't tried swimming in my wetsuit yet, so I need to do it on my own tomorrow. I did run my usual 2.5 miles this morning and it felt good, so taking Wednesday off because of a sore hip seems to have worked. I'm thinking of doing the Fletcher Flyer bicycle ride Sunday, but not the full century because I haven't been training long enough distances and don't want to push myself too much a week before the Hyannis triathlon.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

let God

One of the things I learned in my spiritual director training was "let God be the spiritual director." A current situation has me thinking about that. I really believe that my inner healing is following a path that God opens before my feet, and I want to work with people who trust that rather than trying to guide me. I believe in that approach very radically. I have a friend who has been struggling with very difficult medical issues and I try not to even wonder which course of action will be best or what outcome I hope for. I once ranted to a therapist that I didn't want to change, it was too hard to live in a different world. And he said "I will stay with you wherever you are."