Tuesday, January 31, 2006

long run and monthly totals

I did my last long run yesterday before the half-marathon Feb. 11. I did 11.35 miles, four times around a shorter version of the dike loop. Doing loops worked out well--it started out sunny but as I finished my second loop it started to rain. When I got to my car I put on my jacket, and rather enjoyed the storm. By my fourth loop the rain had stopped. I hadn't been sure of the weather so I started out in short sleeves but had put a long sleeved shirt in the car, so I had a dry shirt to change into for my last loop. The dry shirt felt wonderful, my legs didn't. But I experimented with walk/run intervals, and that seemed to help.

Monthly totals for Jan. 2006:
swim 15 hours 10 minutes
bike 111 miles in 10:14
run 73 miles in 19:10
That is a total of 44 hours 35 minutes training for the month.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

local news

On Wednesday I spoke with a reporter from the Greenville News who was doing a story about laptops in college, and she and a photographer came to my class later that morning to take pictures. She had told me the story would run Friday. I hadn't expected it to be on the front page with the picture above the fold. I thanked the students for making Clemson Univ. look good--the reporter saw only one student looking at something other than course material on his/her laptop, in a class of 110.

Friday, January 27, 2006


My 12 year old daughter is taking the SAT tomorrow, because she was nominated for the Duke University Talent Identification Program. I have pretty mixed feelings about the whole thing. Luckily she is looking forward to taking the SAT, not uptight about it. Singling kids out as different makes me nervous. And yet I also feel I never got the information I needed when I was young about how to make sense of my own abilities. The trouble is, the top 5% (or even the top 1%) has gotten to be a pretty crowded place. That hit me when I read an article several years ago in The New Yorker that said that Yale could if it wanted fill its entire freshman class with students with two 800s on the SAT.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

long run

In between being overwhelmed by job candidate stuff, I did get my long run in yesterday. I'm glad I did it yesterday--the coach worked us much harder at masters swimming today than he did yesterday. I ran 10.3 miles, a loop from the baseball stadium to the golf course and then along the dike to the crew house and back by the rugby fields, repeated three times (plus once around the football practice fields). A year ago I was proud of myself for running 2 miles three times a week.

I kept a pace pretty close to 15 minute miles for the first 6 or 7 miles, then really started to drag. It hurt even to walk down a steep hill by the end, but I could have walked 3 more miles, not very fast. So I should be able to finish the half-marathon, and maybe with one more long run and then proper tapering I can run the whole thing (except a few short steep hills). No blisters or chafing. I forgot to try taking electrolyte capsules. I ate health food store fig bars, but I think I will go back to Fig Newmans. My legs were sore afterwards, but are fine today, except the usual hip soreness, which is no worse.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

rainy day

The forecast this morning was for on and off light rain, starting around 10 am. So I hurried out on my bike and got in a 10 mile ride before Sunday school. I knew I wanted to move my long run up this week to Monday or Tuesday, so debated whether to do a short run today. It rained a little while around 9 am; the afternoon was threatening but only a few drops of rain. I decided I would run--my daughter was interested in trying out the 5 K she and my husband are going to walk. I also wanted to try out swimming right after running as a way of stretching, which seemed to help while on vacation. So I ran 3.6 miles and then went to the pool and swam for 50 minutes. Only afterwards did I realize I had done my own triathlon today, though the run and swim were at an easy pace. And it all started from my frustration that the weather prediction was too bad to take a long bike ride.

Seven Cherokee Myths

I'm reading Seven Cherokee Myths by G. Keith Parker. I worked with Keith for six and a half years and the strange thing about reading his book is that I don't really hear the voice I know so well. I do see him reading the journey he and I took into the story of Tsul’Kalu’, or Judaculla, the Slant-Eyed Giant. But he always saw "perfect love casteth out fear" as a fuller answer than I did. I see the issue of being seen as more fundamental to the story than the issue of fear.

The book has carefully selected texts for seven Cherokee myths and sets them in some historical context. Keith even uses Theda Perdue's analysis of gender patterns among the Cherokee. Seven Cherokee Myths reflects on the myths in several different ways. Keith grew up and now lives in the area discussed and one of the things he does is set the stories in the actual landscape, as well as in the social patterns of Cherokee culture. The primary focus of the book is on a Jungian analysis of the stories, pointing out archetypes and reflecting on how the stories speak to how individuals struggle today with family issues and the task of becoming fully ourselves. For each story there is also a reflection on how it compares to Christian theology, not evaluating beliefs against each other but rather pointing out similarities that reflect deep patterns, in some cases common to many cultures.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


I found I really wanted to do my long run yesterday, if only to clear my mind between job candidates. I listened to the impulse, since last week I had a similar impulse and did my long run on Wednesday instead of Friday, and it turned out that Friday afternoon it was pouring rain. I knew I didn't have time to increase my distance, but I figured if I did a shorter long run earlier in the week I will probably end up with one additional long run, compared to slipping it later in the week and then probably later again.

So I ran 7 1/2 miles. After several wrong turns I asked someone and found out how to get onto the south end of the newly re-opened lower dike. That gave me a distance of over a mile almost entirely on grass, which I ran out and back. I also ran over a mile around the football practice fields on grass at the beginning and end. I think the grass probably helped more than the other things I tried--a tight belt around my hips (which helped this problem before) and shoes whose soles had been cut to make them more flexible. In any case, my hip was somewhat sore most of the run but it isn't any worse after running than it has been all week. We did hard kick sets at swimming in the morning so my legs were pretty tired by the time I finished my run, but I'm impressed that 7 1/2 miles now counts as easy.

There was talk at the rec center where I swim about the half marathon. A group ran the course last Sunday. The word is it is hard, with a lot of long uphills and a tough uphill to the finish.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I'm not willing to leave behind the needy child feelings inside me--part of my journey has been to say that such parts of me need to be comforted and healed, not rejected. But yesterday I got a piece of another way of thinking about it. The real issue is not that I need to be taken care of (I'm a pretty independent sort). The real issue is that that child part of me needs to feel that she/I deserves to be taken care of. If I can feel I deserve it then I don't necessarily need it.

My hip is pretty sore--my massage therapist says it is the minimus muscle, which is a hip stabilizer. I went by the running shoe store to get new shoes and the owner cut the soles of my old shoes and said to try that out and see if it helped. I think I'm going to postpone my long run one extra day first.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

windy day

This morning I timed from 8 am to 1 pm at a swim meet hosted by the club whose masters group I swim with. It just means starting and stopping a stopwatch (or pushing a button and writing down times) and one can sit down except for the finishes, but it is so nonstop--we must have timed over 120 heats in one morning. Sometimes when the faster kids were doing 50 yard events we would start the next heat less than a minute after the previous heat started (not ended, started). There are about 900 kids swimming at this meet so they were trying to run it very efficiently.

I knew it was a miserable day for a bike ride, and going out for my afternoon bike ride knowing that, it didn't seem too bad. Wind averaging 14 mph and gusting to 41, with temperatures in the low 40s and dropping. I just did my 12 mile route out Old Six Mile Road and back past the middle school. It is mostly uphill the first 5 miles--my slowest mile was 8:44. Then there is a mile and a half downhill--my fastest mile was 2:28. You can see I'm enjoying my GPS.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Today I asked a question of my class of over 100 students--what environmental issue do they worry about? When not very many replied, I then called on the back row to answer the question--first the person in the far corner and then the one next to him and so on for six people. To my surprise all but one had good answers. I've told them if they are taking this course, in environmental history, they have to care. Since they are all taking it to meet a requirement, that is a tall order. But it is a brand new course I am developing as I go along, and I can't do it if they just sit there passively. So we shall see how it works.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Long Run

mile 1 12:24
mile 2 14:46
mile 3 15:44
mile 4 14:38
.57 mi 8:34
mile 5 14:03
mile 6 17:13
mile 7 15:16
mile 8 16:02
.79 mi 13:52

Total 9.36 mi in 2:22:42 (not counting 8:48 in rest time) for an average pace of 15.14. Rolling hills the whole way but the worst hill was in mile 3. Today was harder than last week's long run, but last week I ran in the morning, while this week I swam hard in the morning and started my run at 6 pm. I tried to eat a fig newman per mile, and that seemed to work fairly well. I had had a little dinner before I went out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

not ready

Classes start tomorrow and my syllabus isn't done. I'm chairing a search committee, and two candidates are coming in, each for three nights and two days, next week. The third candidate come in the following week. Several people I care about are having tough times. I guess it is time to focus on one small step at a time.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


I do want to write something about our trip. We were at the beach, but in the southern part of Belize--60% of the tourists go to the northern coast. The resort where we stayed had 8 cabins and was located in the hamlet of Maya Beach about 10 miles north of the town of Placentia. Placentia is at the southern tip of a peninsula served only by a dirt road. At our resort, there was special tap in each kitchen dispensing filtered rainwater, which they told us we could drink and we did. The rest of the water, including the showers, was groundwater and was brown and smelled distinctly like a swamp. There was indeed a long white beach right outside our front doors, and you could walk along it for miles, but it was narrow. Walking out in the water the bottom was sandy for a while, but became grassy maybe 50 feet out, before the water was waist deep. The food was of some local interest, but not plentiful or much variety.

The people were very friendly. Belize is much less poor than the countries around it, in fact the workers at the banana plantations in Belize come from Guatemala. Because Belize was isolated by its barrier reef, it ended up a British colony and has a large Afro-Caribbean population. Other people we talked to described themselves as Mayans. The area where we were was on its way to rapid development, although I think that will only happen if the road gets paved and the telephone service upgraded (the resort where we were said they could only get one phone line).

Guides took us on trips up a river to see howler monkeys, to the Jaguar preserve, and to the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich. Our favorite guide was Dwayne of Joy Tours.

Friday, January 06, 2006

year end totals

I finally got to my year end totals:
Swimming: 120 hours
Biking: 202 hours
Running: 385 miles

That is about 418 hours for the year, or 8 hours a week. I'm pretty impressed I am averaging more than an hour a day.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

home again

Much too much to do today, but here is a picture: