Friday, April 28, 2006


My conclusions came together somewhat better today for the last day of class. I just hope the students see it.

At Intueri I found a link to a recipe for simplicity. Actually I like better the What is Voluntary Simplicity list:
1. Limiting material possessions to what is needed and/or cherished.
2. Meaningful work, whether paid or volunteer, ideally spending no more than 30 hours per week (in order to make time for items # 3 to 12, below).
3. Quality relationships with friends and family.
4. Joyful and pleasurable leisure activities.
5. A conscious and comfortable relationship with money.
6. Connection to community, but not necessarily in formal organizations.
7. Sustainable consumption practices.
8. Healthy living practices, including exercise, adequate sleep, and nutritious food.
9. Practices that foster personal growth, an inner life, or spirituality, such as yoga, meditation, prayer, religious ceremonies, journal writing, and spiritually-related reading.
10. Connection to nature-delighting in spending time in nature regularly.
11. Aesthetic beauty in personal environment.
12. Living in harmony with values and integrity.
I think what that is telling me is that I should stop messing around my office and go take a nice long leisurely bike ride. Yesterday I did part of the Clemson triathlon course and averaged 15 mph, which is more like what I would like to see.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

the end is in sight

It is finally sinking in that this is the last week of classes. Teaching a brand new course in an area I didn't study in graduate school has been less of a huge time commitment than I expected. I still have to figure out what I am going to say in conclusion. I'm going into class today with a blank page to write notes on--the results will be up by the end of class at 12:05.

Between chairing a search committee and STS coordinating and my daughter's boarding school search this has been a very busy semester and I will be glad when it is done.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

the past

I haven't been back to the school where I spent my last two years of high school since I graduated (and my parents have lived for 10 years less than a mile away). While I blossomed intellectually there, in many other ways I don't want to remember those years. But a week from today I am taking my daughter to visit--it looks like it might be a good choice for her because it is one of the smaller of the top boarding schools. I cannot imagine how it will feel to go on a tour. So I'm trying to face some of my memories. After a lot of google searching I found a relatively recent picture of the only fellow student I connected with:
I'm not using his name because I bet he is still as ashamed of how naive we were in those years as I am.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

running after bicycling

A friend came from the other side of Greenville to try out the Clemson triathlon course today--it is only three weeks away. We worked fairly hard on the bike, though not race pace, and did the course in 43:53. That's maybe a minute or two under what my time was last year (they reported bike time combined with the swim-to-bike transition so I don't have an accurate time). Then we did the run course. I wasn't pushing myself and I did it in 34:43--an 11:07 minutes per mile pace. Last year (on a slightly different course) my time was 40:27. But what really puzzles me is how easy it felt, when the 5K on Friday, where I ran a 10:19 pace, felt so hard. I am more caught up on my sleep today, but I biked 34 miles yesterday (not pushing) so it isn't that my legs are more rested. I just seem to run better after I bike. I think that my running style settles down into something more efficient when my legs are somewhat tired.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Race Report: Take Back the Night 5K

I heard about this race only this morning, but I had slept in and not run this morning so I figured since it was in my home town I might as well do it as my run this evening. The timing was awkward--the race started at 6 pm by which time I tend to really need dinner. I ate some substantial snacks as a compromise.

I got there too early, plus the race started late, for one thing because they had more people show up than expected and ran out of pins. I knew I wanted to push myself so I started out fairly fast. Sometimes I had to slow down because I was getting too out of breath. The second mile was almost all downhill and the third mile almost all uphill, and I slowed down a lot that last mile. With a cloudy day and leaves on the trees my GPS doesn't give me reliable results. I started it a bit late and it says 2.98 miles in 28:37 minutes (8:59, 8:50 and 11:14). But my finish time was 32 something. It doesn't make sense--I can't believe it was 4 minutes before I started the GPS, but the time should be right even if the distance is not. The results will be posted on Terry Times but they aren't there yet.

I was hoping to beat 30 minutes and so I was disappointed, particularly as I did push myself hard. I suppose I went out too fast given the hills, but I'm not sure I wouldn't do it again, hoping that I'm getting stronger. I was disappointed that they didn't annouce age group results, but most of the runners were college students. I think I would be faster in the morning than on a Friday evening after a tough week, but it tells me not to expect to beat 30 minutes in the Clemson triathlon.

Update: my posted time was 32:28. I placed 102 out of 195, but that includes walkers. No results by age group.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

dead legs

Today's swim practice (5:30 am)
reverse IM warmup: 50 swim, 50 kick of each stroke = 400
kick with fins 2x100 butterfly on our backs, 100 fast backstroke
twice through = 600
8x25 breaststroke drill = 200
200 moderate free then 50 fast
200 moderate then 100 fast
200 moderate then 200 fast = 950
50 cool down
for a total of 2200 yards (the faster people probably did 3000)

When I went out running after supper my legs had no life in them. Sometimes after I warm up it gets better but it didn't today. It didn't help that it was warm--my hair is wet with sweat all the way to the end of my braid. Six miles at a pace of 13:16 minutes per mile. I shouldn't complain--a month and a half ago I would have been thrilled with that.

I like to do my long run midweek, even though it puts it on top of swimming, to save my legs for long bike rides on the weekend. I figure it is good practice to run on tired legs--I signed up for my first international distance triathlon (1500 meter Swim, 40k Bike, 10k Run) June 11.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

kindness of strangers

I was very depressed yesterday, I think feelings stirred up by the question of whether we should be looking at still better schools for my daughter. If we go up another level we would be talking about Concord Academy, where I went as a day student, or someplace like Andover or Exeter or St. Paul's. When I was in college I didn't want to be associated with the preppies and I used to think I wasn't the worst kind of preppie, at least I didn't go to Andover or Exeter. But my daughter wants to go to a school where she won't be the smartest kid in her classes or the only one who likes to read and talk about ideas.

I swam yesterday morning and that helped my depression a little, and then took a bike ride in the afternoon and that helped more. I didn't have the heart to ride very fast, but when I reached the point where the ride turned back towards home I discovered it was very windy, I just hadn't noticed because the wind was at my back. So I got a good workout despite myself. This morning I slept through my alarm but decided to go ahead to the sunrise service even though I was going to be half an hour late, because I do like the Great Vigil of Easter. I got there just in time for the Easter Acclamation. After church and breakfast I headed out for a bike ride, on a route I haven't ridden in months. I got hungrier and hungrier and I decided to stop and get some real food when I went through the town of Central after about 28 miles.

I went into Panchos and ordered three chicken tacos to go. There are some benches outside and the weather was beautiful--I was happy to sit outside and eat. The manager who took my money told me it I should sit down and eat, it was better for me. I said I didn't think I was in proper condition to sit down in a restaurant after riding 30 miles. He said no, no, it was fine, sit down and he would get me some chips. So I sat and enjoyed a quick lunch. I had 5 more miles to ride home with two tough hills, but the first couple of miles of that is mostly down hill, the tough hills are in the last three miles.

Friday, April 14, 2006


To Philadelphia Saturday, back Monday night after visiting Westtown School. Spent Tuesday afternoon meeting with a new colleague. Wednesday after my class my daughter and I drove to Sewanee Tenn. to visit St. Andrews--Sewanee. Spent Thursday morning at the school then drove home, getting home in time for the Maundy Thursday service with footwashing. I felt moved to sign up for the vigil at the cross, and had a choice of 2-3 am or 3-4 am. I picked 2-3 am, then did go back to sleep again but woke up in time to go to the 7 am morning prayer service. Prepared and taught my class then met with a boarding school consultant. I'm actually going to go run as soon as my supper settles a little, but then I will crash. I'm happy, actually, because I thought I would be too busy with my daughter to experience Holy Week but it has been meaningful and I was able to get to a service three days out of the five (usually I go every day).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

boarding schools

In between my classes I'm vising boarding schools with my daughter, as this is her vacation week. Westtown School was very impressive: it is a Quaker school founded in 1799 and I was impressed by how they take their Quaker values seriously.

Friday, April 07, 2006

menopause is like being 14 again

Actually it is less so than I had feared--with all the exercise I am doing I don't notice mood swings. But today I had a flood--I left my office to go teach my class and found I had blood stains running down the front of my pants legs. And I was wearing olive green pants. I had a sweater and a t shirt in my office, but no pants or shorts. If the problem had been in the back I might have tied a sweater around my waist, but I couldn't think of any way to make myself presentable with what I had.

I made a quick decision about a documentary I could show part of, went and asked my teaching assistants to start the class and show the documentary, and ran to my car and went home and changed. I got to class only 15 minutes late. I'm never going to be without a change of pants in my office again.

The medical solution to this problem sounds awfully drastic--I'm hoping I can just outwait it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Last week on Tuesday I kept coughing after exerting myself swimming, and I felt like my lungs were congested. It was the first day I was bothered by pollen, so I figured my mild allergic reaction to the pollen was putting me into exercise induced asthma. I am prone to chronic coughs after a cold and my doctor had said that was a form of asthma and prescribed an albuterol inhaler. I used the inhaler before exercise the rest of last week and the first part of this week, and was fine. I was just depressed at the idea that I have another chronic disease--I didn't really count the cough problem as asthma despite what my doctor said.

Yesterday turned into an impromtu experiment. I was hurrying out to run about 4:30 in the afternoon, wanting to do a long run and get back by supper time, and I forgot to use the inhaler. I realized it when I started running, but I decided to see what happened. I was fine; I ran 6.2 miles at a pace just under 12 minutes a mile--significantly faster than I have done before. I didn't use the inhaler this morning before swimming either and I was fine (though a bit draggy after the long run).

I was supposed to have a doctor's appointment today, but I had to postpone it (for female reasons--it was my annual checkup). I was looking forward to asking the doctor about this whole asthma thing. Am I allergic to a particular kind of pollen that has gone by? Did I just overreact to something random? Did my lungs settle back down with a week of less irritation? I have good air purifiers at home and in my office. It is confusing.

Monday, April 03, 2006

March totals

swimming: 15 workouts for 19 hours
biking: 9 workouts for 173 miles in 14 hours
running: 14 workouts for 61.5 miles in 13 hours 13 min.


I was in Detroit Friday to Sunday for a meeting of the Executive Council of the Society for the History of Technology. This trip wasn't as exhausting as many are, perhaps just because it was shorter. I did also make an effort to keep up my training. We were staying on campus, so I swam before dinner on Saturday and ran in the arboretum early Sunday morning. Combine that with long meetings and trying to get enough sleep and I hardly had a minute to myself, but I think it helped my stress level.

I got home and hurried to make a flourless chocolate cake for my daughter's birthday. Ingredients are 1 lb. chocolate, 1 cup butter, and 8 eggs, using this recipe. It is actually very low carb for a dessert made without artificial sweetener--using 70% cocoa semisweet chocolate and counting it as 14 servings it comes to 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.