Monday, April 30, 2007

ANd now for something completely different

I had a crummy run tonight - first mile in 11:30 - decent, but my knees hurt and I neve r really got my breath back. I ran and walked the next mile, and mostly walked home the last mile. Ordered some insoles that I hope will make my new running shoes feel better as I'm afraid they're hurting my knees. So - try this instead! It pegged me perfectly, as you can see (I'm from Detroit!) And for my visitors from other lands, if you go to this site it has some other fun options!
What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on

Northern. Whether you have the world famous Inland North accent of the Great Lakes area, or the radio-friendly sound of upstate NY and western New England, your accent is what used to set the standard for American English pronunciation (not much anymore now that the Inland North sounds like it does).

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Counting down to the Sharon Classic

Today was my last "long" workout before starting to taper for the race next Saturday. I am not quite sure how much to taper and what I should be doing - I think I'll swim Wednesday, do nothing but stretch Thurs. and Fri - not sure about what to do between now and then. A swim, a short bike, and a short speed run, maybe. Anyway, I did the 5 mile course again this morning with a few changes from Monday - I went alone, with music for company instead of my husband. (I have a very wierd assortment of music on my mp3 player, from Sarah Vaughan to the Black Eyed Peas, Dixie Chicks and Talking Heads, Iggy Pop and Justin Timberlake, Fatboy Slim and Outkast, Christina Aquilera and Lyle Lovett. It keeps me going, what can I say! Anyway, I also brought a waistpack with a water bottle so I didn't have to plant bottles and stop to drink. All in all, I was about 7 minutes faster over the 5 miles. Mile 1 was 12:28 or so, mile 2 was 11:12! Amaxing for me. The third mile was agonizingly slow(walked up some steep hills) but I picked it up for the end. My goal for next Saturday - very ambitious - to finish in 60 minutes. That would mean taking another 5 minutes off - I won't be crushed if I don't accomplish this but I'd be thrilled if I did! Who knows what the powers of adrenaline and running with friends might inspire.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Flyng blind

I have no coach, no team, no workout buddies, exactly (though Triathlon Goddess Tina is really really nice to me!) So I have no particular strategy in training, other than to try to workout longer to build endurance. I've invented a few things, like working out more intensely every other day, instead of less intensely every day. But yesterday my husband came home from running with his coach (he works at a college and they have lots of things there we don't have near home) and said they did speed work - ran a mile as fast as they could, took a break, ran another, and quit for the day. He did his first mile in 9 minutes - great for him. I thought, hey, cool, I'll try that. (The intense study and logic that goes into my training decisions!) So I did - ran the slight downhill from my house to the clocktower, and the much steeper seeming uphill all the way back and a little more (I'd premeasured in the car.) Did it in 10 1/2 minutes - GREAT for me! But was utterly exhausted after - couldn't even do another full mile. Was this a good idea, considering I have to run five miles in just over a week - should I have been concentrating on distance, hang the speed?

Just a little picture from this weekend (mostly to try out a new camera) - one hesitates to show onesself looking less than perfect but if I'm going to say I'm less self-conscious than I used to be, I have to be willing to show the world my legs in lycra! However, I just bought some new running pants that cover my knees! Mostly because the bike shorts have that diaper-like pad in them - for the Sharon Classic I'd rather run diaper-free! I also got a strap-on water bottle, a cap to keep the sun out of my eyes and some new Saucony shoes - I tried on a bunch of different ones and these fit like a dream. Haven't taken them for a spin yet, maybe later today. I'm recovering from a day in New York - I've got that spring sandal blister syndrome!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Can I brag for a moment?

After yesterday's Most-of-a-triathlon, I was utterly exhausted mentally and physically. But my husband, who is running in the Sharon Classic 5 mile race in 2 weeks (as am I) wanted to check out the course. I felt OK this morning so arranged for a babysitter to watch the kids this evening while we went out for a run - my first at this distance. I drove around it first, leaving coolers with water, sports drink and gu every 2 miles, along with goofy handwritten signs reassuring anyone who happened to find them that there was nothing dangerous inside and that we'd be sure to pick them up! When we started I was convinced I wouldn't be able to go far - my legs felt drained of energy, my feet hurt and my heartrate immediately zoomed to near the danger zone. Plus it was hot, the sun was beating down (nice problem to have, I know) and my head was throbbing. Complain complain. I stopped to walk briefly on a few hills and at our water stops, but then kept going - and got that fabled, but never before experienced, second wind, or even a runner's high - I ran the whole last mile, and more, without stopping til just before the end on a steep uphill. By my measure, it was at mile 4.9 when I finally started walking for good, and I ran at least 80% of that, maybe more. And that's FAR longer than I'd ever run in my life before. I'm quite sure that if I hadn't exercised for two hours yesterday, I'd have done it faster and better today. My time was 1 hour, 8 minutes, which is about a 13 minute mile - slow, very slow, but I think I can do an hour flat for the race (12 minute miles) - that's my new goal!

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I shouldn't write about self-consciousness when I'm barely conscious at all, having just done my longest, hardest workout yet, about which more, briefly, in a sec.

But I was reflecting, as I biked today, on the issue of self-consciousness, that scourge of fear and anxiety about how others might judge us, that prevents us from enjoying life and trying anything new and unfamiliar. How many times, indeed, have I been laughed at, have I felt like I've made a fool of myself? Many, for sure. And how many times have I let that hold me back from experiencing life to the fullest? Many, in the past, but no more. How about you?

There is no doubt that I don't look like an athlete when I'm out there in my shiny spandex shorts. With my genetic endowments, I probably never will - these thighs will never be thin.

I think having some theater and dance background helps in overcoming this problem - one gets accustomed to putting onesself out there in front of an audience. But it's getting outside your comfort zone that's frightening - singing a solo part, as I tried, not very successfully, a few years ago in "Gondoliers," or lining up with 500+ lean and speedy athletes, six weeks from now (!) to compete. I'd write more about this, but suddenly realized I have to go lie down - having swam 550 yards, biked 10 miles (mostly hills, around Sharon) and run for 25 minutes, I'm done in!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Other ways to pledge

A number of you have contacted me to let me know the "widget" doesn't appear on your computer. You can get the latest version of Flash, or you can just click here to go right to the Paypal payment page. Many of you have chosen to donate offline, via check, and if you prefer that route, you can send a check to the
North East Community Center
PO BOx 35
Millerton, NY 12546.

Also, as my dad kindly pointed out, traditionally people pledge and only pay AFTER the person actually does the event! In the event that you watn to pledge per unit of exertion, I'm doing a 600 yard swim (aka 24 lenths in an olympic size pool), 12 mile bike and 3 mile run.

Tomorrow is my next "mini-training-tri" - I'll report back tomorrow afternoon! I have all kinds of cool new gear to play with - a bike computer which will tell me MPH, distance travelled and other useful bits of information; pink suede cycling gloves; a little saddle bag to store my new camera and my new "Gu" - a yummy tasting chocolate nutrition gel, and some fancy sunglasses. I tried on some new workout gear at Target but nothing quite hit the spot. Though I enjoyed how much better everything fits these days!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thank you!!

As of now, seven people have pledged - woo hoo! Great Start! (It's kinda like the start of my training - when I could run for five minutes without stopping I felt terrific!) The amazing thing is, two of the 7 are people I don't know!

Now that I"ve broadcast my quest to the world, this whole thing feels pretty wierd, actually, mixing the personal and professional this way. I'm not used to talking quite this much about things like being fat and out of shape in front of people I have more formal relationships with! But we're all dealing with struggles, right? And the wonderful warm emails I've been getting feel great!

Now here's a story for inspiration: this man finished dead last in the Boston Marathon. He started out training last year, weighing well over 400 pounds, and had lost nearly 100 by the time he entered the race (unofficially.) His story is incredible and definitely got me up and out this morning when I just wanted to crawl back under the covers!

I was pretty proud of myself today, actually - did the hardest spin class ever, THANKS, Helen. And ran up Low Road (UP being the operative word) and back again, about 16 mintues total. More than I'd thought I could do, and stronger too. My legs feel odd now - a bit quivery and limp! But I will do my second mini-tri on Saturday -swim 1/3 or so; longer bike (hopefully flatter - maybe towards Millerton this time) and longer run - 20 minutes after all that? Why not!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Welcome to my triathlon diary!

If you're here for the first time, it's probably because you just got my email telling you about my quest to complete a triathlon (sprint distance!) and raise money for a new Care Car for NECC. To the right on this screen should appear a little "widget" where you can pledge - let me know if it doesn't show up as some older computers may not be able to display it! Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

First Mini-Tri - DONE!

I was quite nervous about this - it was a lot of firsts all at once. Not only my first time combining all three sports in one day, but my first time out on the road on my bike in - oh, nearly 10 years! I had developed a bit of a phobia about it - the narrow rough shoulders, the steep up and down hills, the trucks that barrel along way too fast. But it had to be done. So:
Into the pool at 9am, 24 laps in about 19 minutes or so. Slow and comfortable - it's quite easy for me now to swim that distance. After the initial wobbliness in the first few minutes after getting out (quick rinse, quick change) I felt perfectly fine getting on the bike. But in trying to choose a direction (from where I was starting, I had four choices) I quickly realized I'd chosen wrong - I was going down, down, down hill, for miles. Looking ahead and seeing only more downhills, I turned around to come back up. So I only did about 6 miles, 3 of them riding the brakes and praying not to tumble off head over handlebars, and 3 of them struggling for every breath, stopping several times just to get my heart rate back to where I could see straight. Overall that took 30 minutes. One more shoe change, shed my windbreaker, and decided to do the run on complete flat ground: the baseball field. I set off around it, feeling about as I expected - leaden feet - but still OK. I made it twice around the field in about 9 minutes, and decided to call it a day - a total of nearly 60 minutes of exercise, more than I've done in any of my workouts (excepting Pilates) but not nearly as much as I'll need to be able to do 7 weeks from today! I think each week I should add a few miles/minutes to each leg (except the swim) and work my way up. Now - I feel wonderful! A few issues I'll have to research: it seems that bikers pedal on the downhill as well as the up. But the way my gears are arranged, I can't really pedal going down - the pedals just spin and I don't get traction. Plus I end up riding my brakes the whole way as I don't want to go too fast. I'm sure that's not what you are supposed to do! To be continued!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Real progress

This week I've kept to my new plan - I went for a long run tonight. My intent was to do some intervals - sprints and then brief walks to get my heart rate back down. I stuck to the plan and did well over three miles - definitely my longest run yet. I didn't time it = I've misplaced the watch that goes with my heart monitor and all my regular watches are either broken or need new straps! I know it was slow though. Even so, I feel strong and starting to be a bit optimistic! Tomorrow morning I'll do my spin/run set, take Friday off (or maybe a short swim if my morning apopintment doesn't take too long) and then do my first full mini-tri on Saturday!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My New Plan

Here's how the next eight weeks are going to go:

Once a week (Thursdays): a bike/run brick - spinning class (coming in early to extend it to a full hour) plus a run - a few more minutes each time. I started with six last week, will add 2-3 minutes each week so that I'll be up to 22 or so by the week before race week. (The last Thursday before the race I will rest.)

Once a week (Saturdays) I'll do a complete mini-tri - full-length (1/3 mile) swim plus bike plus run. Starting short - ~4 mile bike and ~ 5 minute run - and adding minutes/miles each week so that by the Saturday before race week I'll be somewhere in the neighborhood of full distance. The only Saturday I'll not do this is May 5 when I'll be running in the Sharon Classic.

Once a week: a longer swim - 1/2 mile or more. I did a swim today but it was only 1/3 - ran out of time.

Once a week: a longer run - at least 40 minutes total even if there is some walking in between; I'll include some faster work too.

Twice a week: weights/stretch/abs/back - I've slacked off on this and need to get back to it!

That's only 4 days of hard training, but it has 2 each of bike and swim, and 3 runs. If I can squeeze in one more workout (preferably a run) I will - whatever fits. But I find I do better with a day of rest between workouts, so I think this will really be a good plan for me.

How does that sound?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

a teeny tiny brick

I've been sick this week - a giant allergy attack sucked out all my energy for a few days. So all I've done since the weekend is a 20 minute swim on Monday without goggles - ick. Today I went to a spinning class - it was intense but short - only 30 minutes, so I tried a brief jog after - 6 minutes, mostly flat. My legs felt like lead, or jelly, or jellied lead. But I felt a bit better by the end. (Probably went no more than a half mile, though.) Tri-Goddess Tina invited me to train with her and her equally goddessy partner on Tuesdays- they do full-length triathlons twice a week! (half-mile swim, 10 or more mile bike, 4 or more mile run.) It makes me tired just to think about it!