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.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Off to Montana tomorrow. We couldn't fit everything in a small rolling duffel each, we had to add another bag for our boots. I think I'm organized but I'm still running through mental lists. We had a riding lesson yesterday to remind us before we got there and my knees hurt after an hour.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

more swimming

I must have enjoyed the open water swim, I really want to do another this weekend--from Georgia to North Carolina. But I'm saved from myself, the swim is on Sunday, which is the day we leave for Montana. And I'm not fast enough--it says you should be able to swim a mile in 40 minutes, though I don't see a cut-off time for the swim.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Death Valley Open Water Swim Meet

I wanted to take pictures of the swim meet but when I got home I found my camera had been in video mode most of the time without my realizing it. How I ended up with a few pictures interspersed with the movies without my noticing either way I don't know.

My event, the 3k, didn't start until 10 am, so I slept fairly late for me and made eggs for breakfast and still got to the beach in time for the start of the first event, the 5k. From the beach we could see down to the 1000 meter buoy off a point, which seemed pretty far, and the rest of the buoys were out of sight behind the point. If you look at the bottom picture the 1000 meter buoy was near the second point, with the trees on it. All the courses were out and back.

The men's 5k winners finished in under an hour, and with 5 men finishing almost simultaneously. I posted a couple seconds of video and I've got a slightly longer video of the first woman to finish here. The picture below is the men's finish:

I warmed up before the pre-race meeting and then ate a banana. I watched the men's 3k start, then went to put on my swim cap and goggles. The women's start was five minutes later and I suddenly realized the other women were already lining up. I never thought of the card I was supposed to hand in as I got ready to start and I didn't see the person collecting them.

The worry I kept telling people before the race was that I wouldn't be able to finish under the 1.5 hour cutoff and that they wouldn't let me finish. One of the things I was distracted by was seeing that a few swimmers were still coming in from from the 5k after the two hour cutoff. So it looked like I wouldn't be pulled from the water if I wasn't done in time.

The longest continuous open water swim I had done was 1500 meters in international distance triathlons. I wasn't worried about the distance because I am comfortable swimming slow and steady and feel like I could do it for hours. But I still felt it was unknown territory--almost two miles. I worry about being slow and I was a little worried about bonking (running out of fuel). I thought about carrying a gel but didn't.

I settled myself in the back of the start and didn't have to worry about anyone else. The first 500 meters there were milk jugs on the buoy line, so it was easy to follow the line. Later, with 100 meters or more between buoys, I had to make more effort to sight the next buoy. I worried about recognizing the turn buoy, but a kayaker near me told me it was the double one. We swam out into the wind so I expected it to feel calmer on the return, but there were more and more boats going past and the waves from their wakes were annoying.

Mostly it just took a long time. My pace was considerably slower than the 1500 meters in the triathlon last weekend, so I must have settled into something less than even my race pace. I tried intermittently to keep up my effort and watch my form. Sometimes I felt smooth, sometimes it just seemed long. I had a little soreness in my back towards the end and I was generally tired, but I was neither out of breath nor were my muscles hurting. I seemed to have eaten the right things--my stomach was fine and I never felt hungry or out of fuel.

I saw the next race (2k) going out as I was swimming the last 500 meters or so. I did hear people cheering for me as I was coming to the finish--the nice thing about a meet run by my team is that even with my daughter away there were people who knew me. So I got the full finish experience even though it took me 1 hour 53 minutes 14 seconds. I was pretty proud of myself--it really was a long ways and this was my first swim meet. Next year's race is June 14.

Oops--my husband and kids are out of town; I should have asked someone at the race to help me with suntan lotion.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

July trip

I've spent several hours figuring out our trip to Glacier National Park. The kids and I first spend a week with my family at Elkhorn Ranch, then rent a car in Bozeman and drive to the park. I couldn't get a hotel inside the U.S. part of the park, but I actually like what I ended up with better. We spend one day driving through the park on Going to the Sun Highway (if it is open--their target date for opening is July 1), another day taking a different road into the park to go to the Many Glaciers area, and then two days in the Canadian part of the park. I've saved the route on Gmaps Pedometer, but it lost my route twice so I've done it only roughly. Switch to the satellite view for a better sense of the area. We spend one night in Columbia Falls west of the park, two nights in the town of Dabb east of the park, and two nights in Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada. I even got a room with three beds at all three places. I've enjoyed the two times we stayed in West Yellowstone at the Dude/Roundup Motel, and I think these places will be similar.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Race Report: Festival of Flowers International

Short version:
75 out of 79 women
swim 1500 meters 00:52:03
T1 00:03:23
bike 24 miles 01:30:50
T2 0:02:12
run 10K 01:30:41
Overall time: 03:59:09

I haven't been doing very focused training this spring, and I'm discouraged to find I'm slower than last year. But I still wanted to do this race.

Just over a week ago I was riding my bike and was hit by a car and strained my lower back when I fell, so I worried I might have to cancel out of this race. But my back was getting better quickly, and my massage therapist said he didn't think I would do it any harm, it just might keep me from going as fast. I probably made a mistake by testing it out Saturday by doing a 20 mile bike ride followed immediately by a 1.3 mile run. My daughter and I drove down to Greenwood Saturday afternoon in plenty of time for packet pickup and then visited a most miscellaneous local museum. We stayed in a low rent Econolodge that is fairly conveniently located and has microwave and refrigerator. I took advantage of that to eat a small frozen quiche for breakfast. Doing the race for the second year I knew how to get there and we didn't have to get up so early and it was a beautiful morning.

It was windy, actually, and once the swim got out of the cove where it started there was a pretty good chop. We started into the sun and for the first leg I couldn't see the next buoy until I was about halfway there. The swim went uneventfully, and my time does include a visit to the portapotty after exiting the water before crossing the timing mat.

Transition was pretty empty, but there were a couple of people who finished the swim just ahead of me and one person who was behind me out of the water.

The bike course wasn't as flat as I remembered from last year but I was very happy to have my aerobars in the wind. I happily ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and took one electrolyte capsule--I forgot to take another. I hoped there might be someone to catch up to, but I didn't see anyone until I got to the water bottle handoff. I think the person ahead of me may have stopped to get a bottle of water, while I successfully grabbed one as I rode past. I passed her shortly thereafter, and I tried to keep my effort up to open as much of a gap as possible because she was young and I figured surely she was a faster runner than me.

The run is an out and back, so at first lots of people were coming in as I was going out. I ate a couple of gels and half a banana, and took 8 oz of water every mile and drank about half of it and poured the other half over me. It was hot--87 at 11 am in the nearest town (the town of Ninety Six). Lots of people cheered for me and that kept me from walking as many hills as I would have. I felt I speeded up around 4 miles, my splits show at least I didn't drag (13:46, 13:56, 14:51, 15:06, 14:50, 14:31). At the run turnaround I saw the person behind me wasn't gaining on me.

The run finishes up a nasty hill--a hard effort finishing.

They were finishing up announcing the awards when I finished, but I checked how many awards they had given in my age group and found I did get third in women 50-54. I was happy not to be the last finisher, as I was last year. I was 22 minutes slower than last year and I can't really use my back as an excuse--it hurt before the race and during my swim warmup then never bothered me again. Even after a two hour drive it hurts less now than it did before the race. But I feel happy I did the race, and that is what counts.

On the way home we stopped for lunch at the Jailhouse Grill in Donalds, SC. Meat and three vegetables--my pork chop was deep fried, green beans cooked to death, and classic soft brocolli casserole. The television oddly was tuned to automobile racing in Canada.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

home again

We had a difficult trip home yesterday--our first flight was late, we got onto a later connecting flight, but then it was cancelled. But we are home and settling back in.

I went to my doctor for an annual checkup. I feel like my metabolism and energy levels are slowing a little and was wondering if there were any ways to tweak my diet or exercise patterns to help that during menopause. But she didn't have any suggestions, just said that I am doing better than 99% of people.

I do watch my eating very carefully--that my A1c is 5.6 is the result of hard work. The exercise (and probably the low carb diet) help my cholesterol numbers, but I think it is mostly genetics that my HDL is 90 and my Triglycerides are 37.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Cape Cod Rail Trail

I set off about 6:30 this morning on my favorite ride up 28 to Orleans and then on the rail trail. The road was the quietest it has been and Pleasant Bay was misty and lovely:

I decided to try the old Nauset bike path to Coast Guard Beach to vary my route.

Just after crossing Route 6 there was a car coming off Route 6 that had stopped on the ramp (apparently reading a map), and as I went in front of that car a car stuck behind it went around it to the right. There was that terrible moment of realizing the car and I were going to hit and there was nothing I could do about it. I hit the side of the car and fell. I think the driver hadn't seen me at all; she stopped and came to me very concerned. I first said I didn't know how I was, I was too shaken, but in a few minutes I realized I was ok and my bike was ok. Just a slightly scraped elbow and I could feel I had jammed my back a little. The driver was very worried--I think neither of us had imagined a car could hit someone on a bike and not do any damage. But I felt well enough to continue my ride.

I don't recommend the old Nauset bike path from the Cape Cod National Seashore Eastham visitor center to Coast Guard Beach--it was empty and rather fun to be in the woods but it has a 10 mph speed limit because it is narrow and twisty. It would be fun for kids but if there were any kids on it it would be a difficult situation for anyone riding faster.

I walked down to the beach at Coast Guard Beach (the old coast guard station is above) and then continued on the road along the coast to Nauset light.

I wanted to get back on the bike path further north so I could go under Route 6 on the bike path rather than have to cross it at a light. The bike path south was pleasant riding:

There was a lot of pollen on the path after yesterday evening's thunderstorms and the bikes were leaving tracks. Total 43.35 miles.

Friday, June 01, 2007

monthly totals

40 hours training for the month of May
7 hours swimming
54 miles in 14:36 running
239 miles in 18:18 on the bicycle
I feel like I've been busy with too much else and I'm behind on my training. Not too badly; that is off maybe 10% from my usual month. I'm realizing this may not be the year I can focus on my training enough to do a longer race. I will decide after my international distance race June 10.