NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

News Break


I was reading about how frustrated one blogger was about all the bad news. I admit that from time to time I get a little addicted to the latest news. Here's today's headlines:

  • India explosion kills at least 20 Police blame Maoist militants.
  • Baghbad blasts leave 15 dead Dozens injured in 4 bombings.
  • Winter Olympics flame out in TV ratings Worst since 1988.
  • 'Times' sues for NSA records Cites Freedom of Information.
  • Two British soldiers killed in Iraq bomb blast
Okay, time for a news break. It's time for me to turn off the email news alerts, radio, cable TV, and newspapers for a while. I did this some time back and sailed on, blissfully unaware of all the messed-up happenings in the world, all the misery, and lived like the 8th-graders I teach. All I worried about was the day-to-day stuff, my hair, getting my training done. Bliss. Of course, the civics teachers at my school was nonplussed as to how I could possibly isolate myself in such a manner. But I'm not isolating myself from people, ideas, or society. Just its ills. for a while.

Right now, my gray tabby (Hissy Fit) is chasing a straw around on the floor. It's not trying to get away, so she creates a little drama by tossing it up on the air and then chasing it. She's completely in the moment. Think I"ll join her. Not literally, of course. I'm taking a news break. I'm going to concentrate on my hair, training, work, and good food, the fabulous weather in northcentral New Mexico, my fabulous Husband.

Meanwhile, here's some links to explore: PositiveNews and UpBeat.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Wanted...Dead or Alive.


We got new uniforms today!

Remember when you were a kid and you wanted desperately to have some sort of superhero costume to run around in?

Nothing lends itself more to cheesy and good-spirited fun.

Let the games begin!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Vanity, thy name is me.

Ellie posted a link to her pictures, and since we were in the same race, I had to run (virtually) and check mine. As I've mentioned before, I didn't get a medal because they ran out, so I was looking forward to at least seeing some pictures. First, I put in Husband's name to see his - his turned out wonderfully, as did Ellie's, who looks all fresh and happy. Then I put in my name:

Unfortunately, we have no photos indexed for this participant number.
Many photos have obscured team numbers.
These photos can be located by browsing through the lost and found section for the event.

Well, of course there aren't. I'll just sift through the 1700 or so slightly-larger-than-postage-stamp-sized photos to find something that looks like me...should be easy enough, just try to find a woman lumbering along with a running hat, dark glasses, and her hair pulled back - nobody else with that description in a marathon, is there?
Of course, I blame myself. You see, I don't like being cold. (I blame my southern upbringing.) So, in the absense of warming fires and cocoa, which we did not get, being the lazy half-marathoners that we are...I was wearing a running bra top, short-sleeved cool max shirt, long-sleeve cool-max shirt, and light-weight jacket. Problem is, once I start running, I heat up real fast. (I blame fried food.) So, I start peeling off layers until I'm running with layers of clothing tied around my waist, like some kind of confused belly-dancer who couldn't quite get all the scarves off.
The result is that my race number, hanging from my handy race belt, is completely obscured by the sleeves tied around my waist.
I finally found myself, eventually. Unlike Ellie, I don't look fresh and happy. I look heavy and pained, except when I'm walking. Then, I'm smiling.
There has got to be a way to do this more glamorously. Either that, or I'll have to make another painful decision between vanity and running. I cut 8" off my hair last summer, a necessary sacrifice to the chlorine god who rules my world. I practically had to get therapy just to do that. Next, came the artificial nails. God, I loved those nails. But pool water got under a couple of them and my nail turned green--I'll just spare you the details. It wasn't pretty. Anyway, here's the pictures.
I edited this to add another one from earlier in the race, so that you can get the full strip-tease effect.

Friday, February 24, 2006

More 8th-grade humor.

Pimptastic Pilgrim Love

Here's my pimp name. What's yours?

What does it take to get off the couch?

Learning about the benefits of exercise is always a nice, validating feeling. There are, for instance, studies that show that the benefits of running around like a maniac on the weekends and during my summers may extend beyond the obvious ego boost. When coupled with the information that cardiac risk is improved by exercise, it just seems to make sense.

So why are so many people still on the couch? I was humbled recently to take a fitness test and to learn that for all my running around, I'm still at the very low end of "moderate fitness" or the high end of "low fitness" in most fitness tests which means, holy cow, that the people I see walking around me every day, who sit when they can stand, drive when they could walk, are practically walking dead.

I don't say this becuase I have some sort of superiority complex. I don't. I'm just wondering why people do nothing so often. I watched helplessly as my mother sank into heart failure and then died amazingly young (61). She never exercised; she was overweight most of her adult life and nothing could get her to exercise. Now, for me, I got tired of being so weak and fat, and the knowledge that I didn't want to leave a huge gap in someone else's life the way my mother's death left a gap in the lives of my father, sister, and me.

But that's just me. What does it take for people to get off the couch?

By the way, I don't mention this often, but I have two master's degrees. So I get a little paranoid when I'm perusing the articles about exercise and read things like, "Higher education may be tied to faster Alzeimer's decline". Hopefully, any negative effects of my brush with being a professional student will be offset by becoming a triathlete, since "Exercise and Heart Health May Keep Dementia at Arm's Length".

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Half marathon recovery

I've been looking up stuff on the Internet and have found tons of post MARATHON recovery info. I wonder if they hold true for half marathons? Is there a recovery period after a half marathon? I'm wondering also, because my swim on Tuesday (2 days post) was the slowest I've ever swum in my life, except when I was three years old, doggy paddling in Hoover, Alabama.
Most of all, I'm interested in this
sudden rapid weight gain (about 4-5 pounds) that I got afterwards. What's that all about?
On a related subject, we're thinking about getting a Tanita Innerscan Scale. I'm not sure why we need this new toy other than, well, we haven't bought any new toys for a while. It's supposed to provide, basically, everything about your body that you would want to know (weight, BFI%, bone mass, hydration, etc.). I'm naive enough to think, if they claim that it can, then it will. As near as I can figure, the difference between it and the Tanita Ironman Innerscan Scale is perhaps $20 or so more and the Ironman Logo on it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fresh meat.

Weird! Did you know about this? I remember learning on an old Quincy episode about how carbon monoxide poisoning caused blood and tisues to turn bright red. And, hey, it's used for fish, too.

Carbon Monoxide.
It's what's for dinner.

...still, it could have been worse.


Deer Joins Marathon

Monday, February 20, 2006

Lost Dutchman 1/2 Mary (Race Report)

Well, here I am again in Arizona, standing around at dawn shivering, wondering what on earth has posessed me to do this. My husband, I know, is 26 miles away awaiting the start of the full marathon. (At his start, I find out later, they have cocoa, coffee, cinamen sticks, and warming fires. For us lazy half-marathoners, however, we have only each other. There are no Athena or Clydesdale awards for the half marathon, either.)
At 8:00, the half-marathon and 10K start. We take off together, the 10K-ers and the half marathoners. I don't know why, but I always seem to warm up s-l-o-w-l-y. The first couple miles my feet are burning. I stop a couple times to stretch, and am treated to the sight of a tall thin man running the 10K backwards. At least, I hope it's the 10K, because it's not too many more miles later that he passes me on his way back, and it would be disconcerting to know that a man running backwards that THAT much faster than I am.
I set my sights on people ahead of me who seem to be matching my pace, so that I can keep track of, well, being on track. Large sweaty man. Swinging arms race-walking woman. Later on, the three of us will take turns passing each other. The large man is inspiring. He never stops, never slows down. There are aid stations every mile, as promised, and they are full of cheery, encouraging people telling me how GREAT I'm doing! Rather than weigh myself down with water, I take along gel packs and take water whenever it is offered, drinking a few ounces per mile. Eventually we reach the first 5 K where there is what appears to be a stage prop, a fake "wall", and a significant portion of the crowd, the 10K-ers, turns back. The rest of us plod along down a hill that, I dread, on the way back, will be heck to pay, heck, I tell you.

The weather is gorgeous. Before the turn around, I have already removed my zippered jacket and overshirt, tying both around my waist. The course is hillier than I'd thought it would be. Contrary to my usual negative self-talk, though, I realize that although I'm not very fast, I AM enjoying myself. Normally I would be angry at the hills. Sometimes I get angry at the wind, when I'm cycling. Today is not that day, however. I'm truly enjoying myself. I had started out running 6 minutes and then walking one. As the miles tick by, I switch to running five, then walking two. I stay ahead of the walkers, but am at the very back of the runners.

At the turn around point, I run up and hug a very started race volunteer. I am VERY happy to see him! I trot around the turnaround and start back toward the park. On the way back, I climb the large hill to the top and run under the wall - I find out later that Husband reached out and smacked it, so that he could say he, "hit the wall - and It's down to the last 3 miles of the race. At this point I am walking five, running five, and then I start making up little rules, like, "unless there's a hill, in which case I'll walk, or there's an aid station, in which case I'll walk, or there's a photographer, in which case I'll run, because Lord knows I don't want my picture taken mosying." Large sweaty man is still ahead of me, by about a block. I find out later that he's from New York and not used to hills. He inspires me during the race to keep going, because he never slows down. The muscles that run down the front from my trunk to my quads - I don't know what they are called - are the first to start really protesting. Feet, legs, everything else is okay, but lifting the legs and moving forward it proving to be a challenge. By this time I've warmed up considerably, even with the wonderful cool breeze blowing toward me, and I'm down to my running top/bra with several items of clothing tied around my waste. I pass a volunteer who tells me, "just one more mile to go!" and I reply, "good thing, because I've run out of clothes to take off!"
Now, at this point, I've accepted that I have no chance of placing, no warming fires or cinamon cocoa at my start, and I know it should be all about the experience, and personal best, right? I should be satisfied that my goals, (beating 3 hours, not being dead last) will be met. But, one thing that keeps me going is the idea of fingering my nice cool finisher's medal. I round the corner and there is a smattering of applause and encouragement as I shuffled down toward the finish line. People take my picture. I stop after crossing the finish line, but am told to go "over to that table over there".
Where, I am informed, they have run out of medals.It seems there was a rush of last minute applications, and they have just plumb run out of everything except the full marathon medals. No medal for me. "We'll mail it to you". I start to fill out the little piece of paper, too exhausted to be angry, just immensely disappointed. I find that I can barely write because I am so tired. It is legible, but looks like it was written carefully by a fourth grader. Here's my virtual medal, until they mail me one (I lifted the picture from http://elliesjourneys.blogspot.com/)
Overall, however, I did like this run. I like the weather and the topography was just right.
I loved the weather and the goofy "purple ladies" at one aid station. I think I may make the Lost Dutchman my first full marathon; its starts out in the desert near the "Superstition Mountains" and winds its way back to town, through truly gorgeous desert scenery.
But I tell you this - they better have a medal ready for me when I'm done with my 26.2 miles, or there will be heck to pay.
Heck, I tell you.

Friday, February 17, 2006

So much for those post-race slushies.


As a science teacher, I'm always interested in finding that student who does a truly original project. Thought I'd share this one with you, and perhaps it may make you rethink that drink order.

But don't be startled by what she found. Be startled that it meets the accepted standard for clealiness.

Weighty matters.

I've been reading a lot of blogs and bulletin boards lately and I feel their pain. A lot of people are obsessing over the pounds they've gained over the holidays, and wondering how to lose them.
One observation I've made lately is that I weigh the same now as I did when my husband and I were dating. We were in grad school together, eating crappy food and drinking mudslides. (I used to make "heart attack soup": it was a pound of cheese, pound of potatoes, and pound of bacon, undrained, and chicken stock. Delicious but deadly.) It wasn't a healthy 165 pounds, and I wore a size 16. Not long after that I dieted down to 140, it wasn't a healthy weight. I did it by dieting, couldn't exercise my way out of a paper bag, and had dizzy spells. I wore a size 10. I'm pretty sure my body fat composition was fairly high, because I sure didn't have any muscle tone.
I weigh 160 now (I'm 5'6", and fluctuate between 155 and 165) but I wear a size 12. I haven't lost an ounce in nine months, but I have lost a couple dress sizes. I found out that equal volumes of fat and muscle have about a 3-fold difference in weight, meaning that muscle weighs 3 times as much fat of the same volume.
My doctor showed me my weight over the years and told me that this is where my body likes to be, and I'm healthy. I don't know what my body fat composition is at this time, but I think it's within normal limits.
Would I like to lose a few? Sure, if it makes running easier! In the mean time, my quality of life right now is good. I love the pre-race pasta meals. As eating goes, I'm a semi-pro. Our diet is Vegan, so we eat a lot of carbs, which is fuel we need. I'm not going to get upset about a few pounds. As long as my clothes fit, I'm happy.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Yikes!

Husband and I went out for a drive to take a look at the bike route for the Rio Rancho Duathlon in April.

Wow.

Better get crackin'. The route covers the worst of the rolling terrain around here. My quads need to be in good shape to do this.

At right --> A topographic map of northern Rio Rancho.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

go, ME.


I, today for the first time in my life, swam 1.2 miles (the swim required for the half iron distance, which I'm doing in September at the Redman) without stopping. Took me 59:52.

Go, me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

OUCH.

Yesterday I started incorporating weight training into my training plan for the OK Redman 70.3 this year. I took the sequence and adapted it from The Triathlete's Training Bible by Friel. I remember that the last time I did some serious weight training I was really happy with how strong I felt, and I'm looking forward to feeling that way again. Plus, it will help my performance. I started off yesterday with bench press, lat-pull-downs, and many others...I think it's the bench that's making me go OUCH, I think. That means, of course, that I needed it!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

John Stermer Duathlon

My first duathlon! Not one of my better performances. I don't honestly know what my time was yet, except that I know it was appallingly slow.
Now, let the litany of excuses begin.
First, it was c-o-l-d. 27 degrees. The run went out into the desert outside White Sands, and was a good little run - I just wasn't expecting the pockets of sand on the trail; (I know - it should be self evident, right? desert, sand.) I couldn't seem to catch my breath, despite the extra asthma puffs I'd taken earlier. It was slightly uphill, maybe about a 1 - 2 rolling grade, and then back down to the transition area. At the end of the run I was 2nd from last. Yay! Hey, at least I showed up, right??
Then, on to the bike. In transition, I finally decided to throw out my insoles, which keep folding up whenever I try to get my bike shoes on. This was the time for me to find out if my bike fitting, provided by Husband two days ago, would be a benefit. I can tell you it was. The ride was smooth, rolling grade 1 - 2% down on the way out. So, on the way out on the bike course (30K, or 18.6 miles) I was thinking to myself, "Wow. I'm sooo fast. I kick ass". Then I turned around, facing INTO the wind, and inched my way back, saying every curse word I could think of. It was still c-o-l-d. I was muttering all my favorite profanities under my breath. It wasn't pretty. I finished the bike 3rd from last, but was one of only two Athena's to show up, so I took 2nd. Kick ass.
Husband took 1st in the Clydesdale division. Son, 15, did it with us and was a finisher.
My new glasses (RecSpecs) worked really well. I forgot I had them on.
Nice little duathlon. I'm going to do it next year. Better. ;-)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

I have the hardest time remembering to drink all the water that I'm supposed to drink. I don't particularly care for the local water in the first place, especially when it's room temp, and I work in a classroom for 6 hours straight where I don't have access to a cooler. So, I mix it with powdered Gatorade, and I've taken to setting my watch alarm for 60 minutes, so that every time it goes off, I drink a half to a full cup. I'm trying to get all nice and hydrated for this week's duathlon.
The thing is, I also use this alarm to remind me when the kids have been on the computer (students) long enough, and it's someone else's turn, or when it's time for them to rotate to another reading station...to the point that, now, when my watch alarm goes off, students will look up and ask me, "do we move now, or are you supposed to drink some Gatorade?"

Monday, February 06, 2006

8th-grade humor. enjoy.

Check this out:


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Spinervals' HILLACIOUS (Review)

Long Bike Day on my training plan. Today, I cracked the seal on the Spinervals DVD's that I got for Christmas. In case you don't know, these are serious training DVD's for cycling enthusiasts and competitors. The one I tried today is the "Hillacious" one. My bike is hooked up to the new Cycle-ops Fluid 2 trainer (Read reviews here)we got in December, and away we go.
It's a hell of a workout. I live in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, where there is rarely a spot that is flat for any length of time. It's mostly hills, hills, hills but it's been too cold for me to really get out and train on the bike. You hike the front end of your trainer up, and then the DVD starts out with several intervals in which you use your shifters to simulate climbing up about a 4% grade. You alternate 8 minutes of this (your front is on the largest ring, and your back is on about the #15 ring). Then you 'soft pedal' for about 4 minutes. This is about half of the hour-long workout. The second half of the workout is "rolling hills" in which you start out pedaling at a cadence of around 100, front ring large, back ring on #21, then downshift about every 5 seconds or so until you're in #12 on the back. This is repeated 4 times, until you're dripping sweat, and then you 'soft pedal' on small chain ring front, #15 on back, for 2 minutes, and then repeat it 3 more times. I'm still s-l-o-w, so I wound up going around 15 miles according to my cyclometer, but the hill workout was just was I needed. If you live in a really flat or traffic-congested place and/or are a cold weinie, like me, I highly recommend a trainer and the Spinervals DVD's.
Like all the Spinerval DVD's, there is also recommendation for settings for stationary trainers, as well as a display of what your heart rate % of maximum you should be in. (If you're not training with a heart rate monitor, you should be).

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cool New Rx Sports Sunglasses


I love my new glasses.

I may marry them.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Real Pictures (More to come)

Feb, 2006:
NEW UNIFORMS! Introducing: The incredibles Me, Son, and Husband.



Lost Dutchman Half Marathon, Apache Junction, AZ

Jan. 2006: Cool new RecSpecs
n


Tuscon (AZ) Marathon 2005 (I'm on the right)


Husband at Ghosttown 38.5 mile ultra marathon. On the left, right before it started, middle, about the 20 mile mark. On the right, after he was done. (Be honest: would you look that good after running38.5 miles??)













Stealth Triathlon 2005. Holloman AFB, Alamagordo, NM


My first triathlon: The Cotton Country Sprint, 2005. Leveland, TX. (Husband is on the left, below) We both placed 1st in our divisions.


A tiny picture of me crossing the finish at my first 5K at the Duke City Marathon






My alter ego.