Monday, December 31, 2007

Year End Summary

678 miles running (181 hours), compared to 653 in 1996
2235 miles cycling (184 hours), compared to 2305 in 1996
132 hours swimming, compared to 172 in 1996

Green Valley Road Race 10 miles in about 2:16
Library 5K in 34:16
Sons and Daughters of Dear Old Clemson 10K in 1:17
Clemson Sprint Triathlon in 1:49, 4/4 age group
Death Valley Open Water Swim Meet: 3K in 1:53, 4/4 age group
Festival of Flowers International in 3:59, 3/3 age group
Tri-America Anderson (approx. 3/8 ironman) in 6:14, 1/1 age group
South Carolina Half Ironman in 8:15, 3/3 age group
Ride for the Raptors Century in 8:48 riding time
Cruisin' in the Country Century in 6:40 riding time

Goals for next year:
Have fun!
Do White Lake Half and South Carolina Half
I'm tempted by Beach to Battleship but don't think I will be ready

Saturday, December 29, 2007


The picture above strikes me as capturing the odd artificiality of the place we stayed in Jamaica. I don't think we will go to an all-inclusive resort again, but we made the most of it for this year. It was a good year to do it, as it was warm and low stress, which is what my daughter most needed after her first semester in school in Massachusetts.

Our first evening there I asked about where I could run. They said around the resort, as the main road was dangerous. The place was big, but particularly as there wasn't a path that circled the resort that was going to be a lot of back and forth. So the next morning I went out to look at the main road and discovered it had an eight foot paved shoulder. And in less than a mile I got to a small town and there was a sidewalk the rest of the three miles I ran. They really didn't want anyone to leave the resort, except on bus tours. We wouldn't have known there was a town in easy walking distance if I hadn't gone that way running.

Two days later I ran in the other direction, and discovered the Green Grotto Cave we wanted to visit was less than two miles away. So I wasn't happy when I was told at the taxi stand in the hotel that it would cost $10 each way to get there. We ended up taking a taxi there and then walking back to the resort.

We snorkeled several times off the beach and enjoyed it--a good variety of non-mobile creatures and small but pretty fish. I went out sailing on a Hobie Cat three times with my kids or my husband, but it required a long wait to get a turn. I enjoyed the swimming--there was space to swim fairly far along a buoy line.

Windsurfing was less successful. The problem was that windsurfers they had were small, lightweight boards (much less stable than the windsurfers I learned to said in the late 1970s) and I had trouble balancing. I was able to sail out from the sheltered area looking like I knew what I was doing, but then when I got out in the waves I couldn't keep my balance. And then I couldn't get up again, partly because I was struggling with drifting into the buoy line but mostly because I was losing the ability to balance on the board, much less pull up the sail out of the water at the same time. A man in a kayak offered to help me and I let him tow me in.

The food was a good buffet with a very large variety of items. Some items were disappointing, some better than expected. I particularly enjoyed the smoked salmon at breakfast and the caramel bread pudding that was often available for dessert.

I had hoped to go to a local Anglican church for a Christmas day service, but when I inquired on Christmas eve about church services I was told I was the first one who had asked. The person at the desk knew an employee who was going to a 5 am service Christmas day, but I wasn't able to confirm that and didn't want to risk it. Instead we had our own family service at sunset, reading from the Bible. We went out on the breakwater in the picture below.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


We are off tomorrow for five days at a resort in Jamaica. I liked being away for Christmas last year, but this is less my style. I hope it is relaxing, and my daughter who had been struggling with her first New England winter is very glad to be going someplace warm. I'm going to try to treat it as a real vacation, not even take a computer.

I've been struck recently by how much we all need what we have to give to be valued. So what I want to pay attention to this Christmas is appreciating what my husband and kids have to give.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Grades are in, and I think I've even responded to all the students who have looked at their gades and complained. I'm fairly far along with Christmas presents. My daughter is taking exams for the first time and has been studying hard. I arranged for flowers to be delivered to her today and she was very touched.

I've suddenly gotten into music. My new car has outlets for an Ipod or MP3 player, and so I bought a cheap MP3 player (a refurb from Woot) and learned how to transfer CDs to it. I set it to shuffle, and so in effect I have a radio station of music I like. And I've been very much enjoying listening to it. I probably haven't listened to anything in the car for 20 years. I thought it was that I like silence; I didn't realize how much it is that there wasn't anything on the radio I liked.

I've been buying some music--it didn't take my long to fill up my 1 gig player. New favorites:

David M. Bailey, Hope: The Anthology
The Collector's Paul Robeson
Madalyn Barbero Jordan: Presence

Saturday, December 08, 2007

one hour timed swim

It has been a strange week. I've had a bad cold--two days of not being able to breathe through my nose (decongestants make me horribly jittery). My friend Ruth and a present-day friend who is struggling with a painful situation have been much on my mind. So much pain. I went to my Centering Prayer group Wednesday and there I was able to experience clearly giving the pain over to God. In addition, it was the last week of classes. After three days of no exercise I got back in the pool today and swam a one hour timed swim, not pushing very hard. I swam 2000 yards in the hour, which I'm quite happy with.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Almost five years ago a dear friend of mine killed herself while in the acute care ward of a mental hospital. I got an email from a lawyer early this week--her executor is suing the hospital and her psychiatrist and the case is now coming to trial. She had feared that possibility, but I had long forgotten about it. I talked to the lawyer, who luckily didn't seem to want much from me. I don't have a high opinion of either side. But the startling thing I just found is a long, detailed story about the case in the New York Times last week. Remarkably, the story is accurate to what I know, with the exception of a statement attributed to a particular person that seems to me a shocking lie. The one thing that surprised me is that she left a large estate, after worrying so about money.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Sandy at Junkfood Science has a new post laying out the much-ignored evidence that a low-salt diet is helpful only for the 1/3 of the population whose blood pressure is salt-sensitive. There is apparently some evidence that in another 1/4 of the population a low-salt diet raises blood pressure. But what I had never heard that intrigued me is that a low salt diet may increase insulin resistance. If you put that together with the argument that insulin resistance causes weight gain because it favors blood glucose going into fat cells, then it may be that the goverment recommendations that everyone follow a low salt diet are one of the causes of the increase in obesity (if it exists at all). Update: a great post on why the American Diabetes Association gives such bad information is up at Diabetes Update.

Only marginally related, Kate Harding has a wonderful post on The Fantasy of Being Thin and the New Republic has an article on the evidence that overweight people live longer. I struggled years ago to get out of feeling I was supposed to deprive myself so I enjoy seeing it become a movement.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

low carb stuffing

We celebrated Thanksgiving today, since my daughter had her wisdom teeth out Wednesday. She is doing a lot better now, but it was a hard few days for her. Still, it has been wonderful to have both kids home.

We have gone to St. Christophers for Thanksgiving for three years, so this is the first time since I was diagnosed with diabetes that I have cooked Thanksgiving. So I invented my own low carb stuffing.

1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
2 large onions, chopped
1 lb. mushrooms, different kinds, quartered
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 lb. parsnips, steamed until soft
1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped

Cook breakfast sausage, breaking up, then remove from pan. Either in the fat or in oil cook the onions until they begin to brown, the add the mushrooms and cook over fairly high heat until done. Add the sausage back to the pan and the apples. Cook until the apples soften and then stir in the parsnips and sage. Stuff a turkey or warm in the oven.

I think the next time I will add some red pepper flakes--it wasn't quite as savory as I would have liked. Parsnips are fairly high carb as vegetables go, but I am fond of them and they work relatively well for me. It might be good with white turnips, which are lower carb, but my husband doesn't like them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

my story of getting started

A post on Tri-Drs asked the following questions:
What was it that triggered your wanting to get active?
What where the biggest hurdles to starting on your path?
How did you figure out what you needed to know to get started?
Where did you go to find it?
Do you know friends who have tried to get active and failed? Why did they fail?
What would you have liked to know when you started?
What would have made starting easier?
I was on the women's sailing team in college and did some bicycle touring. But after that I was a walker, didn't do other exercise. That changed when I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 48. I was very depressed for a couple of days and then got on the internet and discovered and the radical approach outlined at: I started testing my blood glucose 7 times a day and adjusting my diet to keep my readings under 140 an hour after eating, under 120 two hours after eating. Without limiting how much I ate I lost about 50 lbs.

I got more serious about exercise because I could eat a higher carb treat if I walked afterwards. I went to a week-long retreat at the beach in the late spring, and walking without hills didn't seem like exercise so I started running. My knees didn't like running, and so I decided to buy a new bicycle and alternate bicycling and very slowly increasing my running. Somewhere in there I picked up Slow Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams and was inspired by the idea that it was possible to enjoy a sport without being good at it. I bought my bike from the local bike shop so I got some help there but mostly I just rode, with the goal of doing a local organized ride in the fall. I invented my own approach to increasing my running--I was running on a track so I ran three times a week and each month I added one more lap.

By the time I got to a year after my diabetes diagnosis, I was running about 2 miles three times a week and did a century bike ride, so I decided to go for a sprint triathlon in the spring. The one wrinkle was a cardiologist who didn't like my high maximum heart rate, but a nuclear stress test showed no problems. I joined a masters swim group in January, which was one of the hardest things I have ever done because I knew I didn't know how to swim properly. I was quite comfortable swimming but with my head out of the water. It is a small group (9-12 people) and the coach taught me.

I bought some books, which other than Jayne Williams I haven't found very useful. The Tri-Drs email group has been much more helpful. I can't think of much that would have made it easier getting started. I looked around a bit for a training group but really I enjoy the alone time. One of the things that helped me with the diabetes is the philosophy "My body, my science experiment" and I have applied that to my training as well. I like my Garmin and Sportstracks.

Four years after diagnosis I've done four to six triathlons a year for three years, including my first half-ironman this fall. My glucose tolerance is a little improved, though I still have to watch my carbs very carefully. I feel great and am having fun. My A1c (a measure of average blood glucose control) is 5.8--in the normal range.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

marriage enrichment

My husband and I spent the weekend at a marriage enrichment retreat at Kanuga. The leaders were Clay and Jane Turner, who work with the Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment. The retreat was very well done--the leaders shared their own experience and the exercises were flexible enough to help us where we were. There were 11 couples and people were quite willing to share with the larger group. I was surprised that we were the oldest couple there (not counting the leaders).

Monday, November 12, 2007

new car

I didn't end up buying the Honda Element. My key problem with it is that it only seats four. Instead I bought a Toyota Scion--the new model this year is considerably bigger than the previous model and has a more powerful engine. It also doesn't look quite so much like a toaster. For somewhat less money, I got a car that seats five with significantly better gas mileage than the Element. It isn't as big a space as the Element--my bike fits in with the front wheel on lying down, while the Element is so tall that bikes fit in it standing up. I took my bike with me to the dealer to test out how it would fit, which at least kept the saleman from treating me like a little lady.

The Scion isn't as much cheaper as it would appear from the list prices because Toyota has a no-haggle policy on the Scion only, but they really wanted to sell me a car and gave me a ridiculously high trade-in on my damaged Ford Escort. I was prepared to buy then and there, but when it looked like the price was going to be close to that of the Element I was also prepared to walk out and go see what kind of a deal I could get on the Element. That gave me huge bargaining power.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ride Report: Cruisin' in the Country Century

I considered doing this ride two years ago, and this year I noticed it was on my one free weekend in two months. It seemed silly to drive over 200 miles each way, but it also sounded like my kind of ride--flat and good food.

I didn't get out of a department seminar until after 4, so I drove back roads across Georgia (77, 17, US 1) mostly in the dark. I did find a Dutch kitchen restaurant to eat dinner and got to the Scottish Inn in Metter Georgia around 9. The ride is so big and so much in the middle of nowhere that I hadn't been able to find a hotel closer than about 20 miles. Claxton is about 60 miles west of Savannah, but I drove almost the whole way through towns I had never heard of.

In the morning I ate a big breakfast at a Waffle House and drove to Claxton by a back route. I checked in and set out on the ride a few minutes before 8 am. I knew it was supposed to get warm but it was very chilly so I wore tights, heavy wool socks, and a short sleeved jersey with armwarmers and vest. The ride does not have a mass start, so while there were over 700 riders, they were spread out all the way. Even if I had been riding alone I would never have been lonely.

But I wasn't riding alone--about 5 miles into the ride I struggled to catch up with a man wearing a Black Bear Bicycle Tours jersey and draft off him, and we decided to ride together. He was doing his first century and he had already made a wrong turn and ridden about 10 extra miles. We were matched well for speed (he was at least 15 years older than me) and we rode the whole way together and kept each other going. My Garmin shows an average of 15.2 mph but I forgot to turn it on after one rest stop for about 10 miles, and that was early in the ride when we were going faster. Our elapsed time was a few minutes over 8 hours.

The ride was as advertised--I very much recommend it. Wind shirts instead of T shirts plus hats for those who finish the century. Mostly empty country roads, sometimes through cotton fields. Not as flat as the century at Festivelo, but very gradual up and down. And great rest stops every 10 miles--homemade goodies and different food at each one. The organizations that do the rest stops compete for an award (extra money for their fundraising efforts) for the best rest stops. The 4H club had a Halloween theme and was in costume.

We had one scary moment, on a slightly busier road. A car passed us and then almost immediately put on its left turn signal and pulled over to the right, all the way to the edge of the road. I was leading and I braked and rode off the road into the grass. My riding partner Thurmond tried to go around the car on the grass but there was a sandy area and his bike slid and he fell. He gave the drive a good cursing and we rode off.

The most significant hills on the course were in the last five miles, so we were definitely dragging into the finish. But at the finish there was not only food--grilled chicken as well as hot dogs and hamburgers--but also a shower truck with hot showers!

Thus refreshed I decided I was up to driving the 4 hours home rather than stopping at another motel. It was 5 pm when I left, so I wasn't going to be late getting home, but I was driving those back roads mostly in the dark. And about an hour and a half from home I hit a deer. Luckily it hit the front quarter of my car, not head on. It was very dark and so I kept driving. It looked like my lights still covered the whole road ahead of me and the car felt ok, so I thought maybe I had gotten off easy. Half an hour later when I finally came to a gas station and stopped to look at the damage to my car I discovered that it was very hard to turn and my right front lights were smashed. I drove the rest of the way home nervously, but the car actually felt ok except when I had to turn. Only when I got home did I discover the right front door doesn't open. I had thought I might get another year out of my Ford Escort stationwagon, but it did have 170,000 miles on it. Now I hope my insurance company doesn't give me a hard time about not having stopped and called the police. I know what I want--a Honda Element--but they are so much in demand I'm not finding good prices on used ones.

Friday, November 09, 2007


The Oracle of Starbucks tells me I am either a freak or lame. It is actually pretty funny (thanks to Isis).

Jenny has a really good discussion of the controversial research results showing that overweight people live longer.

Friday, November 02, 2007


One of the first single women to spend a winter in Antarctica was asked about being in a closed community with a 5 to 1 ratio of men to women. She said:
The odds are good, but the goods are odd.
A Google search suggests that is a widely used line, but I hadn't hear it before.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I bought Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, but as Jenny says it is dense going. Still, it is good to know that the legwork is done to discredit low fat diets.

My A1c (average blood glucose) and weight have crept back up a little, and I've been experimenting with how to respond. My first thought was that my metabolism was slowing because of menopause and I should take the approach that my body just needs less food. But that hasn't had any effect. My peak training period for the half ironman, when I was putting in 15 hours a week, didn't have much effect either. Jenny has concluded that low carb diets over the long term slow metabolism. I'm not convinced, beyond that I find it helpful to eat carbs just before and during exercise. I was struck by an article in Newsweek that suggests different people get more or fewer calories from their food depending on the bacteria living in their intestines. I already half knew that (though not why)--I can digest the supposedly indigestible carbs in Dreamfields Pasta. But that doesn't lead to any useful strategies, it is just more evidence that what we eat is only a small part of the story.

I've wandered into reading fat acceptance blogs just when there is a gripping controversy going on in the community. I won't link right to it because you need to accept the culture first, but I recommend Shapely Prose as a starting point. For scientific information, check out Junkfood Science (though I don't agree with her about several topics). Reading that community reminds me that depriving myself is a negative pattern to get into, and so I have decided to eat more, or at least more freely, while being more careful to keep my blood glucose in strict control. That is what worked for me in the past.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

odd news story

Someone in my triathletes group passed on a news story about a man who has been put on the sex offenders registry in Scotland for having sex with a bicycle. I'm usually pretty intolerant about sex crimes but I don't get this one. According to the story he was alone behind a locked door. So who was hurt? Don't miss the note at the end of the story that he is not the first person convicted for having sex with an inanimate object. There is some discussion here and here.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I'm just back from the conference of the Society for the History of Technology. It was the 50th anniversary of the society, with a lot of interesting special events including a special symposium. But what I will post this morning, very tired, is the most amusing talk I heard. It was a talk by Rachel Maines on "Hedonizing Technologies, or Why Tatting and Cake Decoration are Like Ham Radio and Paintball." The focus was on how hobby technologies do not follow the patterns of progress that apply to other technologies, but instead often go backward in time. But she started out by arguing that unpleasant work often turns later into a hobby technology, from hobby coal mining to extreme ironing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Downloading photographs from Verizon cellphone

I have a Motorola cellphone from Verizon that is a year or so old (V325 model) and I spent more than an hour this morning trying to figure out how to download the photographs I took yesterday. I had the appropriate mini USB cable so I went looking for software. I tried some Motorola software which made my phone able to charge through the USB connection, but I later found information that Verizon disables downloading photographs that way.

I had better luck, eventually, with Verizon's online photo album. On the phone I went to camera and then gallery and selected a picture. I then went to options and selected To PixPlace and click ok several times to send a picture message. The trick is then to get to PixPlace on the computer--many ways of getting there give a message that the site is not available. I'm not sure whether works if you aren't already logged into Verizon or not. What worked for me is to log into Verizon first, and then do a search for PixPlace. That led me to frequently asked questions and a link that worked. I tried emailing a picture to myself but got a tiny version. But if I went to galleries and selected uploads and then click on the small version of the picture I got a decent sized version. Right clicking on that image and saving it to my computer gave me something that was of acceptable quality for my blog.

A picture someone else sent me needs first to be saved to the gallery, then it can be sent to Pix Place.

Since I didn't sign up for unlimited texting I assume I am paying 25 cents for each picture I sent to the album. But the online photo album is supposedly free if you have 75 pictures or fewer.

I'm less sore today than I was after the half-ironman, even though I hurt more last night than I did after the half-ironman. Bicycling is just easier on the legs than running. I'm already tempted by another century ride, though a flat one. It happens to be on the one free weekend I have before Thanksgiving, but it is a four hour drive.

Ride Report: Ride for the Raptors

I've done the metric century version of this ride twice, but this year I decided after the 60 mile ride every weekend I did to prepare for the half-ironman, I was in as good shape as I am ever likely to be to do the 100 mile version. I've only done flat 100 mile rides, and this one is very hilly. The organizers say 5500 feet of climbing, my calculations vary from 9115 according to Motionbased to 4619 according to Bikely (I'm actually convinced Bikely is wrong because it gave me a climb of 4769 for a 57 mile ride on many of the same roads).

It was a cold morning, around 50 F when I left the house. I didn't think a lot about how to dress but I got it right--shorts and shortsleeved jersey with warm armwarmers and a vest and wool socks was just barely warm enough when I started. I ate a big breakfast at Waffle House and got an early start, about 40 minutes before the mass start, because I knew it the 100 miles would take me a long time.

The first 30 miles is flatter than the rest, and I kept up a decent pace, particularly for a good part of the first 10 miles when I drafted off two men who had also started early. Not far after the rest stop at 30 miles is the worst hill of the ride, on Maw bridge road. The picture I took from my cell phone doesn't really give you a sense--it shows a little line of grey that is the road continuing up.

Some people I know passed me after the hill and invited me to draft with them, but I couldn't keep up. Still, I felt ok about making the decision at the 41 mile rest stop to take the 100 mile option.

That part of the ride goes north to Highway 11 almost to the mountains. There are no mountain climbs--probably only one or two uphills longer than a mile and none terribly steep. But it seemed like for the next 40 miles I was either grinding uphill in my easiest gear or coasting downhill. My one complaint about the organization of this ride is that only three of the rest stops have bathroom facilities--I stopped a a convenience store and also bought a pimento cheese sandwich, as the rest stops that far hadn't had peanut butter sandwiches (the next one did, but that was 25 miles of hills later. Some of the roads are pretty but there are stretches that are annoyingly long on busy roads. Thankfully it stayed fairly cool--the long hill on highway 11 must be horrible on a hot day. I had ridden the outer loop by itself some years ago and the route hadn't changed, which mostly meant I knew there were lots more hills coming. I took the uphills slowly, at about 75% of maximum heart rate and often less than 5 mph, and I felt I could keep going that way.

When I got back to the 40/80 mile rest stop the organizers were waiting for me. I said I didn't have much strength left but I wanted to crawl my way to the end. The last stretch isn't as continuously hilly but I knew I had four fairly bad hills to go. But I just kept at it at my slow pace, though it hurt some. I thought about quitting a good bit this ride but I wanted to be able to say I had done it. And after 8 hours and 38 minutes of riding time I had. Sporttracks says I burned 6,874 calories.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

parents weekend and swimming

We went to my daughter's parents' weekend, and all reports are that everything is going very smoothly. The school does indeed seem to be the right place for her. It was so good to see her. It was hot in Massachusetts--in the 80s.

The swim team is interviewing for a new coach and I went to one of the interviews last night. The trouble is the interests of the parents of kids who swim and the interests of masters (adult) swimmers are so different. I'm actually ok with what the masters group is doing now--swimming at the recreation center without a coach but with workouts from one of our group who has at times coached us. The team doesn't have anyone to coach the masters group right now (they arranged an interim coach for the kids but not for us) and they had us swimming in the dive tank of the university pool. We rebelled.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Full Race Report: South Carolina Half Ironman

Swim 1.2 miles: 00:56:40
T1: 00:04:25
Bike 56 miles: 03:45:55 (14.9 mph)
T2: 00:04:15
Run 13.1 miles: 03:24:09 (15.34 pace)
Total: 08:15:23 place 102 out of 107 women.

Last year I had planned to make this race my goal for this year, but then I got distracted by signing up for a longer race that was then cancelled. I decided to do this race only after completing the Tri-America race of about 3/4 the distance in August. After that I got serious about my training, doing a 60 mile bike ride each weekend and long runs of 9-11 miles. What I couldn't predict was the effect of a much less hilly bike course--there isn't any place to ride that flat around here.

I have twice done Festival of Flowers, an international distance race in June that uses the same basic swim and run course, so I knew my way around. I was careful to go down early enough the day before to drive the bike course. My husband went with me and drove, which allowed me to try to imagine how the bike course would feel. I kept to my usual routine from the international distance race--dinner at Ryans, stay at the Econolodge, a frozen quiche for breakfast. (I have type 2 diabetes so I can't load up on carbohydrates.) We got out of the hotel a little later than I wanted in the morning, but everything went smoothly getting set up.

The race started about 20 minutes late--they didn't have the turn buoys out on time. The air was cold (52 F at 7:30) and I couldn't face going into the water to warm up, even though I hadn't swum in my wetsuit since June. I was organized enough to carry a banana to eat before the start.

The swim start was in the water so I did get my face in the water before I started. The water was warmer than the air--I heard 76 degrees. There was a little bit of breeze instead of the usual dead calm. I wouldn't call it a chop, but I often got a wave in my mouth when I sighted. I started off at a moderate pace, following advice to find my groove during the first third. The elites had gone off course so the kayakers were making a particular effort to make sure we were going in the right direction. To my surprise I had a few people around me all the way to the first turn. After the turn the sighting was easier and I tried to push my pace more. That section was fairly empty, but in the third leg of the course I actually passed two people. That was exciting--I'm usually close to last out of the water. I was 98 out of 107 among women on the swim and ahead of 10 men. I was very happy when I came out of the water and saw a time on the clock that translated to about 56 minutes after my start. Someone kindly unzipped my wetsuit as I went past--I hadn't even started to think about it.

I didn't rush the transitions. I started my Garmin first, then the wetsuit came off fairly easily. I sprayed my arms and shoulders with suntan lotion. Glasses, headsweat, helmet, gloves.

My strategy for the bike was to not push the first 12 miles, which was the hilliest. The course is about 2,000 feet cumulative climb with no bad hills but enough up and down to give the legs a rest now and then. The middle section is really flat and I knew I wanted to push there. About 12 people passed me in those first 12 miles and I was amazed that I had swum faster than that many people (there was only one wave behind mine). I stuck to my strategy, not wanting to have tired legs at 20 miles. It worked--I was able to pass two of those people back and keep up a pace close to or over 15 mph from 10 to 40 miles (looking at 5 mile splits). Then there was a section of rough road and then when the road smoothed out again the most serious headwind of the day, so I worked harder towards the end for less than I had hoped. I rode mostly by heartrate; my Garmin says my average heart rate on the bike was 84%. I ate two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and wished I had somewhat more food and I took three salt/electrolyte capsules with most of four bottles of water. My legs didn't hurt until the last 10 miles or so, and despite that I speeded up again the last six miles when I turned out of the wind.

I'm not sure why my second transition was quite so slow, though I was distracted a little by a photographer who had come to take my picture for a book on sexual abuse survivors. I changed my shirt to one with short sleeves that would cover my shoulders and prevent chafing under my arms. I did forget my hat and go back for it, but I was only halfway to the transition exit when I remembered it. My legs didn't feel as badly starting to run as they had in August, but it was daunting to think I was starting a half-marathon.

The course was a double out and back so my first lap there were lots of people on the course. I walked some hills but was pleased initially by the pace I was keeping--I thought I might be able to hit 8 hours. I at a gel every two miles (up to 10) and a salt/electrolyte capsule every hour and used the potapotty once. Thankfully there was a cool breeze--the temperature was in the area of 79-81 from 1 to 4:30 pm. The second loop was lonelier, but I actually passed someone. When I started back the second time they had opened the road and many people were leaving the race--the awards ceremony must have just ended. There must have been 100 cars that clapped and cheered for me or gave me a thumbs up or honked to me or said "you go girl." At one point the cars were stopped and people stuck their hands out the window to high five me. I got such a charge out of that I didn't stop to walk during the last two miles. I wasn't as fast but I felt I was still running strong (for me). My two mile splits to 12 miles were at a pace of 14:47, 15:50, 15:26, 15:37, 16:23, 15:34. That isn't slower than my long run training pace. There was one point towards the end where I felt "I'm going to collapse soon" tired, but then it passed and never came back. The last little bit to the finish is an evil hill, but I got myself to run the last part of it.

The finish line was still up even though it was after 8 hours. I had to ask for a medal but I got one. I didn't think to ask about my age group (women 50-54) because I knew five had signed up. But it turned out only 3 showed up--I learned only after I got home that I was third in my age group. I miss my daughter (who is away at school) who would have listened to the age group awards and noticed that they only announced two people in my age group.

I felt emotional running those last few miles with people encouraging me, and told myself I couldn't cry and run. After the finish I didn't feel as emotional as I had expected. I had talked to someone a few days before about how doing triathlons had for me been a way of learning to like my body. Doing my first half-ironman was the completion of something.

After the race in August I was saddle sore and badly chafed under the arms. I took steps to prevent those problems this time and succeeded, even though the distance was longer. I'm sore today but not terribly so--I even rode my commuter bike to work (only a mile). I told my students that I don't usually brag about myself but I did my first half ironman yesterday and placed 3rd in my age group. They clapped for me. One was bright enough to ask "out of how many" and I got a laugh when I said "Three, but I wasn't last."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

preliminary race report

We didn't get home until 8 pm so I'm not going to be able to write a full race report tonight. But the quick version is that it couldn't have gone more smoothly--everything I learned from the race in Anderson in August worked. I hurt less than the August race and went faster.

Swim 1.2 miles: 00:56:40
T1: 00:04:25
Bike 56 miles: 03:45:55 (14.9 mph)
T2: 00:04:15
Run 13.1 miles: 03:24:09 (15.34 pace)
Total: 08:15:23 place 102 out of 107 women. I was the last female finisher but there was a man behind me with a time of 8:32. My bike and run were at a faster pace than the race in August that was less than 3/4 the distances (38K bike and 15K run) but hillier. My swim was even slightly faster, and this time not in a flat calm. I may even have been third in my age group--there were five registered but I only see two ahead of me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

forgiveness (yet again)

I was shaken by a sermon on forgiveness this past Sunday. What came up for me was not so much the wounds of my childhood but finding the balance in marriage of standing up for what I need vs. forgiving or not keeping score. It is so easy for me to feel I am bad for standing up for what I need.

Someone said to me today: "You don't deserve to be blamed for what you needed to do to survive when someone failed to feed you." I think what that means on a practical level is that I should try to make sure my needs are seen first, and then forgive.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

a satisfying moment

I told off a doctor yesterday, at one point telling him he was wrong and the latest scientific research said something different from what he was telling me. I was very pleased with myself when I got off the phone.

The doctor I have seen for many years retired from general practice about a year ago. Because I see a gynecologist for my annual checkup and I haven't been sick I haven't had any reason to deal with replacing him. But I've got a cough lingering from a cold a month ago, and it wasn't going away using my usual system. So I figured I would start by making an appointment with my doctor's replacement, and see if I like him ok.

During the appointment I tried very hard to communicate that I don't like to take a lot of medication, in part because I tend to be very sensitive to side effects. However, I have learned by bitter experience that I need to take medication to nip these lingering coughs in the bud. My previous doctor had given me asthma medication to help quiet the irritation, and I like inhalers because not much medication gets into my system. Partly because I was out of town when the cold started, my usual system didn't work this time. So I was really to try something more than the short-acting inhaler I have used before (along with Mucinex and a Nasacort inhaler earlier in the cold cycle).

The doctor gave me a new medication, saying that the inhaler I was using was too short acting to be doing me any good. I don't know a lot about asthma medications, so what he told me he was prescribing Advair it didn't mean anything to me. I should have worried when he said "We are going to hit it hard." We talked a little about diabetes and he told me I didn't need to keep my blood glucose as low as I do, so I was already concluding he wasn't the doctor for me.

When I got the medication home from the pharmacy I read the Advair package insert. The top of the insert has a black boxed warning saying:
physicians should only prescribe ADVAIR DISKUS for patients not adequately controlled on other asthma-controller medications (e.g., low- to medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids) or whose disease severity clearly warrants initiation of treatment with 2 maintenance therapies.
I haven't tried a plain inhaled steriod--the inhaler I have been using is Albuterol, a brochodilator, not a steriod. I got on the web to read more about Advair and found people complaining about many serious problems other than worsening asthma symptoms. I decided no way was I going to take this medication without trying a low-dose inhaled corticosteriod first.

Knowing the problem of communicating clearly via a message left for the nurse, I faxed the doctor a letter telling him I didn't want to take Advair and requested instead that he write me a prescription for a low-dose inhaled corticosteroid.

He called me around 1 pm. He thought he could simply reassure me that the most serious danger of Advert didn't apply to me, as I don't have serious asthma (at most mild-cough variant asthma, and it may not even be that but just a post-infection irritation syndrome). I said there were other side effects listed that worried me. He told me that if I read those lists for something like Tylenol or Ibuprofin I would also find scary side effects. I said that is why I take those medications with care (I don't take Ibuprofin before or during exercise because there is some evidence that dehydration can contribute to side effects involving kidney damage). I said that some of the listed side effects, such as jitteriness and sleeplessness, are ones that I often have trouble with, and there was also a warning for people with diabetes. He said I am only diagnosed with prediabetes (that is what my previous doctor had written on my chart, but I think the distinction being made is that I don't take medication for diabetes). I said I keep my blood glucose tightly controlled after meals and even a small amount of steriods in my system could make that harder. He told me I didn't need to worry about blood glucose after meals, only the average (measured by the A1c test) mattered. That is when I told him he was wrong, that the latest scientific research showed otherwise. He said that research is paid for by companies that have medications that lower blood glucose after meals. (My main source of knowledge of the scientific research is this very persistent layperson.)

But by that point he was finally ready to give up arguing with me and agree to call in a prescription for a milder medication. I suspect his revenge was to not get it done--it hadn't been received when I went by the pharmacy around 4:30 pm but they were able to call and get it. He also prescribed a dose so low that my pharmacy didn't have that dose in stock, but the low dose is what I wanted. I'm using QVAR 40 mg.x2 twice a day. It hasn't worked magic, but I think it is helping and he said about both it and the stronger Advert that I should use it for two weeks before stopping so I won't give up on it quickly.

I already have a recommendation from a friend for another doctor.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tour de Paws

Wanting to do 56+ mile rides in training for the half-ironman, I signed up for Tour de Paws, a Spartanburg organized ride to benefit the Humane Society. I did it once before, two years ago, and I didn't remember how many tough hills it has (Bikely says 4,007 feet of climbing, MotionBased says 4,577). Mostly on lovely back roads with no traffic.

The ride was 61 miles, but I checked my time at 56 miles because that is the bike distance for the half-ironman. It took me 4 hours and 7 minutes. Total riding time for the 61 miles was 4 hours 31 minutes (average 13.3 mph), elapsed time something like 4:45. That was with a good bit of drafting in the first 20 miles, but I also pushed too hard trying to keep up with the people I was drafting off and once I was dropped I really dragged for a while. That was around the time I met the hill that is harder than our local famous hill on Maw Bridge Road. I didn't have enough water for the second leg of the ride, because it was longer between rest stops and because I didn't drink enough the first leg. I also didn't manage my eating well--there wasn't much appetizing at the rest stops. Useful lessons learned.

For the race I need to be able to do 56 miles in under 4 hours. I'm feeling close enough, since the course should be much flatter. My goal for the half ironman is mostly to make the cutoff between the bike and the run--I'm not expecting to make the 8 hour cutoff for the finish. I would like to finish even if I don't get a medal, but even if they pull me off the course after 8 hours I will have achieved my longest event.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

more thoughts on empty nest

It has taken me a week just to begin to get clear on what I feel. For all that I do (and I'm feeling behind despite my extra hour a day not spent driving a kid to school), I still feel not needed any more because both my kids are now away at school. Obviously my kids still need me in other ways, but there is something that has changed. My first reaction is how can I take what they taught me to give them and spread it out to the world.

Monday, September 03, 2007

empty nest

My daughter and I both at times answered the question of what would I do when she went away with "train for an ironman." I did decide to sign up for a half-ironman at the end of the month, even though I'm not sure I can finish before the cutoff. So yesterday I did a 57 mile bike ride (with 5,700 feet of climbing) and today I ran 9 miles.

My daughter seems to be doing well--she has called only every other day and she is complaining mostly about wanting more. Her classes start Tuesday.

Today we have a Monday night football game here at 8 pm, so we get Labor Day off for the first time ever. Already the town was full this morning, and lots of people setting up their tailgating. Evening games give the fans too much time to get drunk; I'll be hiding out at home this evening.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

school start

I take my daughter to her boarding school at 11:30 this morning, and say goodbye around 4:30 this afternoon. Prayers appreciated. Last night she didn't want to be alone going to sleep and I sang her the lullabies I sang when she was a baby. I sang "He's got the whole world in his hand" as my prayer for her and for me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tri-America National Series Tour--Anderson SC

Quick version: last finisher, but there were three women who did not finish so 11 out of 14 among women. First in my age group, as I was the only one.
swim 2K--1:01:04
bike 58K--2:38:34 (average 13.6 mph)
run 15K 2:27:41 (average 15:51 minutes/mile)
overall time: 6:14:23
Official Anderson temperature at 2 pm, 91 degrees.

I first had the big ambition of wanting to do Tri-101 Halifax, but before I had to decide I couldn't make the cutoffs it cancelled. I then signed up for this race because it was close and scheduled for the weekend before my daughter goes away. It is the first race that Sommer Sports has done in our area, and not many people signed up. My summer has been full of travel and my training has been pretty scattered: I've averaged over 10 hours a week total training but only around 50 miles a week of cycling and 12-14 miles a week of running with long runs of 6 to 8 miles. That's mostly because it has been hot and I have been going slow.

Yesterday we took my son back to his school and ran late and then met friends for dinner, so I barely had time to pack. I got up this morning a little before 5 and made myself a cheese omelet. My daughter and I got to the race site about 6 for a 7 am start and it was still completely dark. I was glad I had picked up my packet yesterday and had some idea where to go. When I set up in transition the good news was that I hadn't forgotten anything.

The swim was a two loop course because of low water. Nobody swam it under 34 minutes, so I don't think it was especially short. I was thrilled with my time, considering that in June a 3K swim took me 1:53 (being more cautious). I think the two loop course actually helped me--I didn't have those long stretches where I tend to lose focus and slow down.

I hadn't had time to drive the bike course beforehand, and the bike course in our packet was quite different from the one posted online in advance so it wouldn't have done me much good. From where I live, if I ride to the northwest towards the mountains it gets hilly fast, but southeast towards Anderson where the race was tends to be considerably flatter. But in the briefing before the race there was mention that the course had been changed on the advice of local cyclists to get more hills (probably more for lightly traveled roads). It was hillier than I expected--not mountainous but my Garmin says total climb of +1411/-1276 (compared to +95/-25 for my international distance race in June). Those numbers aren't terribly reliable, but clearly there was a significant difference. Update: cleaning up the results with MotionBased shows a total climb for this race, adding together the bike and the run, of 3,450 feet.

It was a two loop bike course, and a few miles into the second loop I realized my legs were hurting. I looked at my GPS and I was 20 miles into the bike--another 16 miles to go. Not good. I passed one person at the beginning of the bike and was passed by another who said she was also on the first loop. I don't know where she came from as I don't see anyone with a slower swim time than me. I felt discouraged at times, but I kept up my effort pretty well even with my legs hurting. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and drank three bottles of water--the water bottle handoff worked well.

When I got to the end of the bike I could hardly stand up, wasn't sure I could get off my bike without falling over. I haven't done any bricks (workouts where you run right after biking) and I just hoped that when my legs got used to running it would be ok. I started out the run feeling my legs hardly worked, but sure enough after a mile or so they actually felt pretty good.

I had biked part of the run course, which was hilly, and heard before the race that the part off the bike course was even hillier. So my strategy was to walk up the hills and try to run the rest. That worked really well--there were times when I was looking forward to a hill so I would have a chance to walk.

The run course was an out and back, done twice. The second time around I was the only one on the course, but the person picking up the tables waited for me at each aid station. At one point I told him I had worried whether this race company was friendly to slow people and I was very impressed, and he said he would wait for me as long as it took me. I felt I could still run at a fairly good pace for me--mile six was 14:34 even with a significant elevation gain. I ate 3 gels. The last mile or so a police car drove in front of me with his lights on. As I was running on the left he caused great confusion to the cars that passed. Sometimes it is not fun to be last and aware of a cleanup vehicle behind me, but in this case I believed they were not impatient with me. My daughter ran the last bit to the finish with me.

I was sore and started to stiffen up right away, but I didn't feel as badly after the run as after the bike. I was happy I had done it--a good bit longer than my longest previous race (which was 1500 meters, 24 miles, and 10K). And it was the first time I have won (been the only one in) my age group. Everyone got a medal and the age group prize was a mug. SportsTracks says I burned almost 4,000 calories and my average heartrate was 83% of my maximum.

Friday, August 24, 2007

first week back

Classes started on Wednesday and so suddenly the university has been at full swing again. I'm pleased with how my class started out, but a lot of what I do these days is deal with students with questions about Science and Technology in Society (from "can I get into this course?" to "evaluate the course I took somewhere else for transfer" to "will my architecture independent study count for STS?").

My daugher and I shipped off four boxes of things she wanted to take to school in Massachusetts (two of them containing winter clothes). I fly up with her next Wednesday to deliver her to the school on Thursday. My son goes back to school tomorrow.

Yesterday the weather report said high of 90 on Sunday, today it says high of 94. So I'm not optimisitic about the weather for Sunday's race. And I'm very discouraged because I read carefully the schedule for race day and it says the course closes at noon. I don't think I can finish in 5 hours--I was expecting it might take me six. This isn't the race production company I usually race with, and I have no idea whether these people will be serious about their cutoff. There are 39 registered in my race and 37 in the shorter race held at the same time. So far no one else is registered in my age group so I have a chance to win my age group for the first time, but I'm afraid I won't get to be an official finisher because I won't make the cutoff. I was swimming yesterday at a pace that would say I could do the swim in 50 minutes, but I don't know that I can keep that up in open water. The bike at 37 miles is shorter than 3/8 ironman, but it will still take me between 2 and 2 1/2 hours. My goal time for the run would be two hours. I would have to have an awfully good day to finish in 5 hours, and it is instead going to be beastly hot.

Update: I got good news in reply to my email to the race organizers:
Actually we do not have an official cutoff for this race. The times listed in the timetable were based on our Clermont TriAmerica race which was held under much better weather conditions. You can concentrate on your race without having to worry about a cutoff time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

bicycle ride

I took my favorite Kanuga bicycle ride today, which goes mostly through a river valley (so is quite flat!).

There is more corn planted this year--I wonder if there is an ethanol plant in the area or just a higher price.

There is still some traditional culture around.

But so much sprawl--the large machines below seemed to be building a golf course.

The apple orchard is still there--old trees pruned as if they were espaliered, so old that the branches sag and then the young branches grow upward.

A lovely 30 miles.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Because of our kids' activites we moved our week at Kanuga to two weeks later than usual. Luckily this is a less crowded week and we were able to get a cabin, in fact the same cabin we have had the past two years in an earlier week.

Today I took my long run in the morning. I had a loop in mind I had done before, but I wasn't sure how long it was. It turned out to be 6 1/2 miles long. I would have added a little extra to it, as ideally I would have liked to run 8 miles for my long run today in preparation for my race in two weeks. But it started raining steadily just about when I was at the farthest point of the loop, and I didn't enjoy the second half. I'm glad I didn't push on--as it is my arms just above the armpit got badly chafed by my wet shirt.

I went to church in the morning and then this afternoon took a hike with my husband and kids and a cousin (who is here with his family--we didn't know they were going to be here) up Eagle Rock. We ate some icecream and then I hurried down to the waterfront to do the dam swim--about half a mile total across the lake and back. A good day.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Barbara Crafton writes:
I judge myself harshly, looking uselessly around for something to blame when I fail, as if failure were a moral category. It's not. It's just a fact of human life. We fail at things sometimes. It's not such a big deal.

Every time we try to deny this, we get into trouble. It's usual these days to avoid the word failure altogether: it's judgmental finger pointing, we tell each other. There really aren't any failures. There are just challenges.

Oh, please. Let's not minimize the pain of not being able to do something you want very much to master, the sharp sting of it, the way foolish tears assemble behind your eyes and threaten a march down your face when it happens. We don't have to wear a damn smiley face every moment of every day. Embracing the truth of failure could de-fang it for us, let us know that it's okay to feel terrible about not being able to do something because the feeling will pass. You will try again. You will learn how. Having failed doesn't make us failures; no person is ever a failure. We may have failures -- and, for honesty's sake, I want very much to embrace the painful truth of mine -- but we never become one.
My issue tends to be mistakes rather than failure, but the two are very close. I'm beginning to think that remembering that the feelings will pass may be the most useful approach to a lot of things.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Outlook/Exchange and GTD

For years everyone at my university has been told to use Eudora for email, because Microsoft Outlook was too prone to viruses. Then they hired a new vice president for computing and suddenly we are all being changed to Outlook 2007 with an Exchange Server (which means our mailboxes are stored on the server, something that we used to do but were told a year ago was no longer the policy).

I'm actually happier with Outlook than I expected. There are certainly things that aren't as convenient, but I love being able to flag emails that I need to respond to.

A couple of months ago I started using Google Calendar, and it has really paid off because it makes it possible for my husband and I to share our calendars with each other. I know at least he has the information (whether he will remember is another matter). I quickly found that I was having trouble keeping Google calendar matching the Daytimer I have used for over 20 years. So I bought an inexpensive PDA, a Palm Z22, and CompanionLink for Google Calendar software that allows me to synchronize the Palm, my Google Calendar, and Outlook (two at a time, not all three at once).

I'm struck by how the change from a Daytimer to a PDA is like the change from an analog to a digital watch. I resisted changing to a digital watch because the analog watch gave me a bigger picture--when you look at the minute hand it gives an intuitive picture of how long until the next hour. But I finally switched to a digital watch because I wanted the other features--I use my chronometer, timer, and three alarms. Similarly, I miss the big picture of my schedule the Daytimer gave me, but I like the new features of the PDA, such as alarms, and the smaller size.

The calendar change has inspired me to focus on getting more organized this summer. I'm partially using the Getting Things Done approach. I'm not interested in the system of folders, but given the opportunity provided by a new email program I'm trying out keeping my in box empty. I do think writing everything down is what I need. I'm using Simple GTD software so I can keep several to do lists (one for work and one for home is most obvious) and have one step of a project on the list. Now I have to get better about doing the things on my to do lists.

For something entirely different, read The Song of Myself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


My son had a little more than a day off between sessions of the sleepaway camp where he is a junior counselor, and so rather than drive 3 hours each way back and forth we stayed in Aiken. I took my bike down there and had a nice bike ride this morning, then went to buy a 25 lb. basket of peaches, then we packed up the car and headed to the camp.

I was going to take a fairly straightforward route to the camp, but using a road I hadn't taken this visit. I forgot it jogs going out of town, and I realized after driving a while that I wasn't on the right road and had ended up much too far south. So I headed north again and was pleased to see Wire Road, which is the road the camp is on. The trouble was, I started following Wire Road and after a while we came to a Y and neither of the roads going forward was labeled as Wire Road. I thought maybe the sign was turned or confusing and so I kept going on what I thought was the same road, but after following it a long ways through open country with no place to stop and ask directions, I finally decided it must be wrong and turned back. After going a long ways back we came to a tiny convenience store at an intersection and they gave me the wrong camp. I thought we might be on the right road but I wasn't sure which way to go on that road. I asked a boy outside his house and he told me to go left (and said he wasn't sure). The way he suggested was towards town and I decided that was the safer direction. Looking at the map we would have gotten to the camp by going right, but it would have been another 5 miles or so of nothing and I don't think I would have had that much confidence. I was in tears of frustration. I didn't have the camp phone number to call and ask directions from the other camp, and I couldn't reach my husband to have him look it up for me on the internet. So we drove much of the way back to town until we met up with a road labeled as taking us to the interstate, from which I could find the camp. We were an hour late--what was supposed to be a half hour drive took an hour and a half.

Driving home after that and after dropping my son off, the mural in Saluda NC struck me as tragic:

(click on the picture for a larger version)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

catching my breath

I actually have to go to Aiken for a couple of days next week, because my son gets a short break from being a junior counselor at a camp and it isn't worth a three hour drive each way there and back to bring him home for one day. Still, the big traveling is done and I feel like I'm beginning to catch my breath. A lot to do, though I'm through the part of my online course where I had to prepare material relating to a new book. Now the grading has hit.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thoreau Society Session

I had organized a session for the meeting on using the Life with Principle DVD. The original plan was that two teachers were going to talk about using the DVD in quite different classrooms, with hopefully some students adding their voices, and I would just chair the session. But both teachers had to back out and the program organizer didn't want us to cancel the session, so my daughter and I decided we would do something on our own.

I couldn't speak directly to how the video went over in my daughters classroom and I hadn't used it myself, so instead I talked about the history of Montessori schools to make the point that a Montessori classroom was a particularly good fit for Thoreau's ideas. I didn't find any direct connections, but there are some correspondences, particularly an emphasis on individual self-realization. Montessori sounds rather like Thoreau when she writes:
But if for the physical life it is necessary to have the child exposed to the vivifying forces of nature, it is also necessary for his psychical life to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature. The method for arriving at this end is to set the child at agricultural labor, guiding him in the cultivation of plants and animals, and so to the intelligent contemplation of nature. (The Montessori Method ch. 10)
My daughter then talked about what happened in her classroom and we used quotes from other students to start discussion. There were clearly a group of people glad of a chance to talk about education.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


My daugther and I are in Concord for the annual gathering of the Thoreau Society. Actually, today we made a big shopping trip to buy her things for boarding school, but tomorrow we are on the program. I had a lovely run this morning on the battle road. Tomorrow I plan to do the triathletes 6 am swim across Walden Pond.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Back to Bozeman

Yesterday there was a doe with two fawns outside our cabin when I got up:

We spent the day driving the 350 miles back to Bozeman. It made for a long day, and with record high temperatures (107 in Bozeman, 100 in Helena). We stopped at a Museum of the Plains Indian and at a dinosaur museum:

(Click on the picture to see it whole--if part of it is getting cut off by the sidebar.) The dinosaur museum looks like a Mom and Pop operation, but it is actually a fairly serious research center based around the Two Medicine site where the first dinosaur nest (showing that dinosaurs cared for their young) was found. The Wikipedia story doesn't credit the local woman who found the nest: Marion Brandvold.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada

We had formal tea the first afternoon at the Prince of Wales Hotel, visible on the right hand side below

We are staying at a nicer place than in Babb, but it isn't special looking, it is that we have a cabin with a kitchen. The town is full of what they call nuisance deer, though this one was near where we got off the boat:

Today we took the boat

to the end of the lake with views like this:

and then hiked back 8 or 9 miles to town. It was called the Lakeshore trail, but it went up above the lake a good bit. We crossed the border on foot:
There was some minimal immigration control by rangers at the boat landing (though it is 30 miles to the nearest road on the U.S. side) but nothing at the border but a couple of posts and a line cut in the trees.

Glacier National Park

Glacier is amazing--this picture is from a hike we took at Logan Pass, at the top of Going to the Sun Road. Most of the hike was on slushy snow.

After driving Going to the Sun Road we stayed in the little town of Babb, population less than 50.

The picture below is loose horses hanging out outside the Babb Fire Station.

Our motel was in a similar style--check in at the general store next door.

For our second day we drove into the Many Glacier area and spent the day hiking there

Yes, that is a moose in the lake.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


The interesting thing about this place is how much it is set up around the idea that nothing changes. One guest told a story of the year they bought a different kind of soap and the guests rebelled--it had to be Ivory.

I'm riding half days only and that is working for me--I haven't gotten to the point of unbearable knee pain.

I rented a road bicycle, though the only place to go is down highway 191. It runs along the Gallatin river--I'm starting a few miles south of where "A River Runs Through It" was filmed. In about three miles the road enters Yellowstone National Park, though not the tourist part. Smooth riding and a pretty view.