Thursday, July 31, 2008


Tomorrow I leave for the Steelhead race. Bikes need to be checked, racked, and left in transition tomorrow, so I'll be heading out early afternoon.

Today was just a final last tuneup, a short run with Chiarunner this am. I don't know if she was tired or we just seem to be about the perfect pace, but it was a nice run along the river. A little humid, making breathing not so easy, but my legs felt pretty good. For me, its always good to have an easy run closer to an event, just to get the kinks out and see what might be hurting. After, I did a really short swim, again to test out the new earplugs (my old ones leaked terribly, pretty much defeating the purpose of wearing them) and get my shoulders loosened up some. They've been tighter and more sore than all summer in training from wearing the wetsuit recently, I'm sure. All those pushups have made the wetsuit fit a leetle tigher in the shoulders, so I'm sure that's what is causing some restriction.

Hopefully I'll get some decent pics to post of the race and any blogger meet-ups I happen to have. I definitely hope to meet up with Karen. This is her first half also, and she just started swimming this year, so more power to her! Hopefully, we can give each other some much needed moral support. Any others remains to be seen. There are always good intentions to have a large meet-up, but sometimes schedules don't permit. And if we don't get together before the race, I'm pretty sure they'll all be packed up and gone before I finish, so again no chance there.

Am I nervous? Of course! But I'm also getting anxious--anxious to get this thing started; anxious to see what I can do; anxious to see how I manage the swim (I do not like anyone in my personal space, so this is always my biggest challenge--it could be 50 degree water with 4 foot waves but what would bother me more than that would be someone hitting or touching me!); anxious to see how I manage the heat; anxious to see how I manage the whole thing in the heat; anxious to get this thing finished.

And of course I haven't slept much this week, so tonight will be my last hope for a decent night's sleep.

So I guess this is it for now. See you all at the finish line!

Monday, July 28, 2008

TAPER TIME While I won't go so far as to think I'll be loafing around this week, I am really glad all the hard workouts are done, for now at least. Six more days until the big race, the big dance, Steelhead.
Ten weeks ago, I didn't think it was possible for me to actually be looking forward to doing this race. Four weeks ago I was still thinking there was no way it would happen. But then, suddenly, a transformation started taking place, and all of a sudden it seemed possible.
My training right now would definitely give me a PR at an Olympic distance race, but it still will only get me to the finish line at the half IM. But that's okay. I'm keeping my expectations somewhat low so I don't get disappointed and fall apart in the race if things don't go the way I think they should.
This weekend the fatigue of last weekend set in and I simply was not motivated to get all my workouts in. Saturday I had planned a short bike, long run workout. Instead, it was a short bike workout and barely a run. It was so hot and humid that morning, and like I said I had to force myself out the door after waking up at that delightful hour of 3:30 am, so I was tired just thinking of working out. But I did surprise myself doing 20 miles at over 15 mph. I know I won't be keeping this kind of pace in the race, but it definitely gives me a boost to see my numbers coming up. By the time I went out to run, the sun had broken through the haze and it was now scorching. I ran as much as possible in the shade, but after 25 min. called it quits. It was too much that day.
I did end up spending the afternoon at the beach with my son, his girlfriend, and my grandsons so I was able to get a short swim in there. The water wasn't too bad, even without a wetsuit.
Sunday it was more of the same--tired, hungry beyond belief, and just not motivated to go out and bike or run or even use my trainer. I tried to talk myself into it, but my body and mind weren't having any of that. Don and I did go to a nice inland lake nearby that we discovered and I swam 40 min. with my wetsuit, trying out something I might wear in the race. I don't know if I was still very tired, whether the bra top and wetsuit were restricting my breathing, or whether Don was having a good swim day, but I could not keep up with him at all that day, where the other day I was pretty far ahead. More experimentation will be necessary to see what works best under the wetsuit.
And then of course I came across the articles and news reports of the guy hit by the car because he failed to stop at the crosswalk on the trail I ride on frequently. This time it was clearly the cyclist's fault. I know it would be impossible for a car going 55mph or faster to stop on a dime. What is a mystery and will always remain one is why he failed to stop. All of the crossings are clearly marked and even have a warning sign as you approach the intersection. All I can think of is he zoned out or didn't see or hear the car. I've caught myself a couple of times not being focused and suddenly realizing there was a stop ahead. It always left me pretty shaky thinking of what could have happened, so I know this happens to people. I have taken extra care going by myself to always be aware of every situation. It was really too bad this happened, but I was pretty glad I didn't see it.
And then I finally got caught up on personal grooming I've put off for the last few weeks and got a new hair cut, etc. I've been fighting with this hair for about 3 months now, going from the perfect cut to a total mess. No amount of trimming, styling, shaping, etc. was working, and I was spending more and more time every day trying to work with a haircut that simply did not want to cooperate. Come to find out, my hair is changing from completely pin straight to wavy, which is why the previous style was looking pretty jacked up, with hair going totally opposite directions. I'll have to post a "bathroom shot" pic and see if you like it.
In the meantime, the countdown starts.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


If I hadn't been so tired today, I might have witnessed this.

A guy riding a recumbant on my favorite biking trail was killed when he failed to yield/stop at a crossing and was struck by a pickup truck. More than half of the crossings are at intersections where there might not be a lot of traffic but what there is is high speed, and the usual redneck speeding in a pickup truck only exacerbates the chances of getting killed.

If I had seen that or had come upon it, it would have sickened me beyond belief. I am very saddened by this and can't help wonder if he might have been someone I saw on a regular basis.

So now I don't feel so guilty that I was too tired to bike and run today and instead opted for a nice swim instead.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One way to finally get in some open water swimming! Don and I joined a group of about 10 others to swim Reeds Lake at sunrise. A couple of others were "supposed" to be there until he remembered they swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Today was Wednesday. Oh well, we're here, let's go!
I was anxious to get in the water and get going. No dilly dallying around because I had to get back home and get ready for work. This lake is about 10 minutes from home and the best thing is its free! There is no public beach or public swimming allowed on a regular basis, but apparently we triathletes are "tolerated" by the police. They've gotten used to us, and as long as there is no incident, let us do our thing. Most, if not all of us, realize you are pretty much at your own risk doing these things anyway, and we all feel if you think you can't handle swimming on your own, then you should probably stay on shore or in a pool.
I didn't know any of the people, at least that I could tell in the semi-darkness and with everyone already in wetsuits and caps. A couple of them had accents, there were young and old, men and women, and one woman with the worst breath and underarm hair so thick I could only stare (please don't swim by me!).
Even though we arrived before 6 am, the others were already suited up and ready to go, so after checking with everyone to see what they were doing, that group took off. Don and I decided to swim more parallel to the shore until we got our bearings. We both have swam in the lake for the triathlon, but the course goes straight out and back; we aren't familiar with the shoreline on the rest of the lake or focal points. There weren't any boats in the water yet, since they were not supposed to dock until 7 am, but there were a few already lined up ready to go at the boat ramp, with their engines idling and filling the air with the thick smell of exhaust. And then the boat owners were standing around pacing almost, smoking like fiends, waiting for the magic hour to approach, so they could hopefully find one of those northern pike they have found in the lake recently.
I was glad to find that my goggles worked just fine in the semi light, one less thing to have to worry about for the upcoming race. We dispersed the ducks floating aimlessly, probably still dozing, until we disrupted their quiet. They took to the beach quacking a little perturbed about getting kicked out of their domain. The sea gulls were a different story. They lined up on the second boat ramp at the yacht club until we swam by and then they started circling and diving overhead, acting like we were breakfast or something. I was surprised when I could finally see that while we had covered a huge amount of territory, it had been less than 5 minutes to that point. We decided to continue on and stayed fairly close to shore until we got into some thick weeds. Thick is an understatement! I have swam in weeds many times, and they don't really bother me too much, but these were thick to the point where they were entangling my feet and I couldn't break loose for a minute and my watch caught on them with each stroke. We were forced out farther into the lake to get out of that mess. Besides, who knew what lurked beneath??
We made our way further along the south side of the lake, an area where I had never been and couldn't see from the park on shore. I didn't realize that a few of the houses next to the school also had lake frontage. They were huge! Once we hit 16:44 on my watch, we decided to turn back. There really wasn't another focal point close enough to continue on without getting too far away, and I really wanted to be safely out of the water before the boats set sail. This is a pretty busy boating lake, even that early in the day.
My focal point returning was pretty visible, but I had no idea what I was sighting on until we got much closer, and then I could see easily that I had swam too far out and past where we were to exit the water. Total swim time was 32:23, so that was good for me. I only wish I had started this earlier in the season!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

and other small creatures. Saturday morning, I got a very early start on my bike/run workout, trying to beat any possible storms brewing out there. It was like tour de rabbit on the trail! As I rode along on the path, it was like coming into Paris at the end of the tour--only with bunnies lining the road. I have never seen that many rabbits in one place at one time! They were lined up along the path, like coming into a straight-a-way lined with bunnies. It was incredible! Of course, they are just as stupid with bikes as they are with cars. They stop, look at you, and then dart in front of you. I can't tell you how many times I had to brake or swerve to avoid those pesky rabbits. And what's with that anyway? I thought they were mainly nocturnal creatures. Hello! Its time to go to bed!
So I dodged the bunny brigade for 25 miles, then got ready with my running gear and ran--get ready for this--8.1 miles! OMG, I never thought it was possible. My legs actually felt better this time than they did without biking and doing the same distance a couple of weeks back! And I pretty much kept an even pace the whole time.
The rain started just as I was heading out to run, but it was just a shower, and actually felt pretty good. I don't know what the temperature was, but it was very humid and totally overcast, so it was quite do-able.
Sunday, I again had to work around the weather. Since I haven't been able to get to Lake Michigan to swim, I opted instead for a 1+ mile pool swim, hopefully to be followed by a 40 mile bike, inside or out. When I left the pool though, it looked totally promising to bike outside, so I headed to the path again.
The original plan was to bike 40 and run 4. The rain started just as I was pulling into the parking lot, so right there I didn't know what I would be able to do. Again, it was a light shower, but as I pedaled along, the rain let up and eventually the sun came out. Now it would be hot, I knew. The plan was to bike 20 miles and then turn and go back.
But what do you know? When I got to 20, I forgot to stop, since I'm so used to doing the whole 50. By the time I realized it, I was almost at 22 and then its only another 3.5 miles to the end (just another 10 miles total), so I might as well go to the end.
I was maintaining a good pace, I felt good, so why not?? I got to the end, at 25 miles and turned back, no stopping this time like usual. Might as well try to simulate race day as much as possible. In doing this, I also wore what I hoped to wear race day, and brought nutritional stuff I hoped to use. But, I made one tactical error--originally I planned to go 40 miles and had a gel and a bar to eat along the way, but adding the extra 10 without another food item, I paid for it later.
By the time I got to 33 miles, I was really starting to feel a little light headed and woozy, so had to completely stop and regroup. After a couple of minutes, I went on and was fine the rest of the way.
Saturday and Sunday, I watched my average speed only--no time, no distance, just speed. The ride seemed faster this way, and it helped me determine what I had to do to keep my pace and how I would feel. My pace went up and down, within a reasonable increment, but I really wanted to bring it up at the end, and fortunately there was a long straight-a-way to do this. Final ride: 50.04 miles, 3:31, 14.2 mph. I think this is the fastest I have ever done on this course in a couple of years!
Then, I had to decide: run or no? I really didn't want to. By now, the sun was blazing, and it was probably about 80 degrees. I peeked at the path again, seeing it was mostly in the sun. No, I'm not going to do it.
But then something in my head nagged: you have to run. You have to see how your legs will feel. Before I made any decision, I answered all my cell phone messages, went to the bathroom, and got something else to eat. Then? I ran.
I was negotiating over and over with myself: 3 or 4? But amazingly, I felt so good I opted for 4. That proved to be a little much, as the last mile I was pretty much on a run/walk cycle. It was very hot. My breathing was very hard. So I just paced myself: run 100 steps, walk 100 steps. That got me to the end, so I can't totally complain.
Sunday's workout then was 55.04 miles! Only 15.26 to go!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Some of you probably have heard about all the mystery garbage that has been washing up on the Lake Michigan shoreline since last week. Oh, and dead bodies too. Other than the few alewife invasions, which left hundreds of miles of shoreline littered with rotting dead fish, the beaches and waters of Lake Michigan have been pretty clean over the years. Always clear enough to see bottom in the shallow areas.
But this is presenting a problem in more ways than one for me. I have yet to get into Lake Michigan this year, either for training or recreation, and really wanted to get in 2 or 3 swims before Steelhead, since that too will be in Lake Michigan.
The Lake can be very unpredictable. It can be as smooth as glass, but cold as ice, or rolling with high waves and riptides, and 70+ degrees. You just never know what you're going to get. But one thing you usually can be sure of is clean water. Up until now.
I'm not sure how bad it will be by this weekend, but hopefully I will be able to get in the water and practice with the rolling waves.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I've never really liked doing jigsaw puzzles. Mostly because I was impatient--impatient to see it finished and frustrated that the only way to see it finished was to go piece by piece. I would stick with it for a while as a challenge more than anything else, but then I'd give up and walk away and leave it unfinished.
I'm realizing more and more that my feelings while training for this half IM are a lot like they are when trying to put together a puzzle--its a challenge but I have gotten frustrated and have come close to walking away and leaving it undone. I have been impatient with my progress, wanting to see progress faster than what has been happening.
Last week, I was particularly down, not seeing any way it was possible to do a 70.3 race. But today? I'm finally seeing the last puzzle pieces coming together, and now the final picture is becoming clearer.
I took Friday off from specific workouts, other than my pushups, which could be considered a workout by themselves (I'm up to 46!). I felt guilty about doing it, but it turned out for the best.
I had two plans for Saturday, and ended up going with plan B, and that too turned out for the best. Plan A was to get up and do a long run and then do a 20-25 mile bike ride that afternoon. Storms threatened, forcing me to quickly figure out a plan B. Plan B ended up being 20 miles on the bike trainer, while the rain pounded outside. By the time I was done with that, I got lucky in that it had stopped raining and was just humid and overcast.
After a long transition, like 10 minutes so I could change socks and shirt and get my water lined up for my run, I headed out to hopefully run 1.5 hours. I secretly hoped I could at least make it 1 hour. This was my chance to figure out some sort of pacing plan too, since its quite obvious I won't be running the entire 13.1 miles. I'm not sure what I will be able to manage on race day, but what worked for me Saturday was to run 8, walk 2. Surprisingly, my legs felt pretty good the whole way (can I take a 10 min. transition race day??). And another fortunate thing was the sun held out breaking through until my last two intervals. I made it the whole hour and a half and probably could have gone longer if I had to.
Sunday, plan A was to swim at Lake Michigan and then do a 50+ mile ride following that. But again, we had to switch to plan B when the waves were up to 4 feet and there were red flags posted, meaning no swimming. In fact, the Olympic distance race scheduled for that day down the beach was switched to a duathlon, so there really was no way getting around the high waves and riptides. Since we had no other place arranged to swim, we went for the ride first. That was a challenge by itself due to the high winds that day (20-25, gusting to 30). I had a hard time keeping my bike upright from the gusting crosswinds, so we headed back to the path, biking directly into the wind for about 15 miles. At times, I was down to 9 mph and didn't dare take my hands off the bars to get water. I kept waiting for Don to say let's turn back, but he pushed ahead (way ahead of me) and I just continued on the best I could. I was truly hoping the wind would be mostly behind us on the way back, and that's what kept me going to the turnaround. It was such a relief to be turned away from that wind and that blowing in my ears that sounded like constant traffic. We did hit some windy spots coming back as well, but nothing like going out, and of course it ended up having an effect on overall pace and time, which was to be expected. I was okay with that, knowing that conditions were going to determine the outcome, and while I felt I worked consistently, it wasn't as hard as last week, even with the wind.
Plan B also included a 50 minute swim after for me at the pool. I kept wanting to cut it short, but stuck to it until done.
I am feeling better about this race for the first time. I wasn't as exhausted this week as last (not much at all in fact). I still have some pieces to fit into the completed "puzzle," but hope I can figure those out in the next 3 weeks.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I found $15 in one week? Technically, I suppose I have spent that money already, but in reality I hadn't actually spent the $5 or the $10 I found. I kept them tucked away in my wallet for something, maybe to bring me good luck in finding more, I don't know. Today, I figured out what to do with that money.
A woman I work with has recently had her life turned upside down. First, her husband who has been suffering from cancer for quite a while learned recently that it is back again, so he will have to go for more chemo. Then last weekend, 3 of their four kids were involved in a serious car accident. A young girl hit them head on when she was distracted by a bee in her car. One of the kids has a closed head injury and will have to go to a local rehab hospital to recover. Another has numerous broken bones, including a shattered femur, broken wrist, and broken ankle, all on different limbs. He too will continue to be hospitalized until he can be moved to the rehab hospital. A third child was lucky to have gotten only minor injuries.
And when it rains, it pours. A fourth child was driving home from working third shift and was headed to the hospital to visit his family when he apparently fell asleep driving, crossed the center line, and struck another vehicle, killing one of the occupants. Fortunately for him, his injuries were not serious. But still, this will haunt him forever, I'm sure.
Its times like this that make you realize how lucky you are. You have to wonder how one family can endure that much in, especially all at once.
Some people in the office are taking donations to help the family with incidental expenses while they are spending all their time at the hospital, which likely will be many months including the rehab time. I went ahead and added that $15 to the fund. I hope they get some kind of good luck from it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It was so humid this morning while running my whole body felt heavy. My legs especially felt like lead. But it was also so humid, my legs felt like sausages about ready to burst their skins. It was that bad out: 75 degrees, 86% humidity.
I know part of it was that I was still recovering from weekend fatigue, but after only 15 minutes, it was almost impossible to keep moving and breathing at the same time. I was glad whenever I got a traffic light or had to wait for a car. In fact, I encouraged the cars to go and let me wait!
I ran to the zoo and saw a girl coming toward me with green shorts on and thought it was Chiarunner, but she was blonde. Same shorts though! Too weird.
Somehow I managed to run 42 minutes, walking a few times to cross streets and try to catch my breath. I really don't know what is worse: high humidity or heat. Either way, they both suck the life out of you!
Not sure about biking tonight yet. I really feel like I need to hold off on biking tonight and do a longer bike ride Thursday and catch up on my running today and tomorrow.
Update on pushup challenge: I should have been on week 3, day 1 yesterday, but the count went up so drastically I decided the best thing to do was either do week 2 over or try week 2 of the second column (I've been on column 1). Even that was about a killer! My count from last week to yesterday went from 24 to 38! I can definitely feel those today too! This is getting hard!

Monday, July 07, 2008


Nothing too special to report on the weekend. Did a long run Friday, almost got caught up in a parade, but luckily didn't have to practice my parade wave.

Did a long bike on Saturday. The first here was being able to maintain 14.2 mph over 53.25 miles, with a total bike time of 3:45. I know that kind of a pace isn't fast to most people, but I had to work very hard to maintain that speed for that distance. Its not that I have never done it; its just that I haven't been able to do this pace for 2 years, so I see some progress there. The fact that I could push myself hard enough and long enough to reach that was also a first for the year. I was glad Don was willing to pace with pokey me. We also rode part of this on the road, instead of all trail for me, another first for the year.

I doubt I will ever feel 100% comfortable or confident riding on the road again, so it was pretty bold of me to suggest that we ride part of the ride on the road, a newly paved road. With traffic, although not too much. We found out that there was a serious accident about a mile from where we turned to head back to the trail, and later learned it was a fatality. What scares me about riding on these country roads is the speed of the cars, the carelessness of the drivers, farm tractors slowing down traffic and making drivers impatient, and the fact that so many people go through stop signs, hitting innocent people. Of course all of this was involved in the fatality, and we saw enough other stupid things on our own. There is also the general attitude of drivers that they do not have to yield to bikes, that bikes are just in their way. I can truly understand this feeling, especially when they are going 55+ mph and a bike probably no faster than 20 mph. But once again, they have to realize they are not the only vehicle on the road. One car attempted to pass 4 vehicles, and when I looked up it was headed right at me in my lane. The fool pulled over just in time. I actually came to a stop and got off the road. Scary. Don isn't phased by this stuff that much, but he has never been involved in an accident. Its different for anyone who hasn't. Of course everyone has scary moments, but I think for me even a minor scare is magnified based on past experience.

So yeah, I was happy with the ride. I was pretty tired after though, the rest of the afternoon and evening. Which led me to start thinking how I could ever hope to run 13.1 miles after a ride like that, because I will have to maintain that kind of pace to be confident of finishing in the half IM. A half marathon by itself is hard for me right now. So, I'm not sure of myself right now. I guess you have to wrap your head around the big chunk of time for each event and not think of being done until you are close.

Sunday was a first season open water swim. While the water was warm enough to not wear a wetsuit, I wanted to get mine on and adjust to it a few times before actually needing it. I assume I will be using it at Steelhead. Its Lake Michigan after all, totally unpredictable, but usually predictably cold. Where we swam, across the lake and back we have always estimated at 3/4 of a mile, and my time was right on for what I do in the pool, so that also could account for going off course some.

I was glad I had decided to use the swim day as a recovery day instead of another hard ride. I had not taken a day off since two weeks before so it was needed.

I guess my one dilemma now, being so close to the race is, do I continue to push myself hard for the next 2-2.5 weeks and then taper or work hard on the bike days especially and give myself easy days around the biking? I hear people say you have to push harder on the bike to get stronger, and I can see where that can be true. But if I push so hard I don't recover for a couple of days, is that too hard? Or should I just assume that I will will be tired and continue to train tired, or plan an easy couple of days after? I feel like I'm not where I'm at with my training yet, but at the same time I'm finding myself tired after the weekends, to where I want to slack off on Mondays.

Insight people, insight!

Thursday, July 03, 2008


One of my favorite tributes to this wonderful country of ours, and to all those who have in the past and continue to this day to fight for our freedom. We should always be thankful and never forget.


This probably could qualify for "Wordless Wednesday" also, but I have to add some commentary.
Talking with Don yesterday morning around 9 am, he mentioned he might walk to Blues on the Mall that evening. I said I had heard it was going to be raining some time that afternoon and into the evening. But looking at the radar, the only storm system showing was well north of the area, and another system was west of Madison, Wisconsin, so it did seem doubtful we would get anything, at least until later in the evening.
Fast forward to about 2 pm, and already we were getting storm warnings. By 2:30, it was as dark as night, and very soon after the torrential rains started, along with a lot of thunder, lightning, and hail. That lasted about 45 minutes and then we were in a lull until about 4:30 when it started again.
By the time I left work at 5, the rain was coming down so hard, and it was so dark, it was like night. Water was running in rivers down the parking ramps into the basement where I park and a big pond was forming. And now I had to make my way home through this mess and all the idiots on the road besides, just like in winter storms.
I decided not to take the highway for fear of getting trapped there by some accident or just a jam up, so went through the Heritage Hill section, near downtown. One street was already seriously backed up, and there is no way I sit in traffic jams if I can help it, so I made my way around that only to come upon one street near one of the hospitals starting to flood over. I worked my way through that and turned off as soon as I could, only to again come to an intersection with the traffic lights out, and it looked like a little farther down the street there were some branches or trees down. All this time my windshield wipers were going at full force. Its times like this that I again love my SUV. I kept the 4 wheel drive on for a while, but it was pretty clear that wasn't going to make much of a difference on streets where the water was inches deep.
I finally made my way through this area and closer to home, and all the lights were working here, but there was a serious accident blocking one street. I could see the cars backed up for at least a mile. Once again, no way was I sitting in that mess, so I immediately did a U-turn and got out of that one before someone pulled behind me blocking me in.
Eventually I made it home safely, working my way through the neighborhoods where I run a lot of the times, thankful I knew my whereabouts pretty well. Anything to get off the main streets.
My daughter came over later with the kids. The weather was in a lull for a while at least. The part of town where she lives was hit pretty hard, with one main road flooded out, lots of areas without power, and a branch did come down in her yard. But she still had power. I warned her if she was coming over to be very careful.
A little later in the evening, another storm system rolled through, raining so hard I couldn't even hear my cell phone ring and I was standing right next to it! It was my other daughter in NJ who said they could see on the radar that we were going to get hit with another batch of storms. No kidding?? Hear that rain? She could hear it through the cell phone. We got at least 3.36 inches of rain, with some parts getting over 5.
I know a lot of areas around here either have damage or are without power. I was pretty lucky not to have either. And many intersections were still flooded out, all over town, so there was no rhyme or reason to where you might come upon that. Downtown this morning, when I was running, I couldn't help notice there was mud caked up over the curbs, all over the street, and onto the sidewalks in a couple of areas near a road construction site, where it looks like there was a mudslide. Nice mess to shovel that stuff off! The street sweeper wasn't having much success there.
One area where I frequently run downtown is right along the river. There is a trail system that goes for a couple of miles. I thought at first it might be flooded over, but it wasn't. The water from the river was right up to the sidewalk, but had not gone over yet. Then I got to thinking about all the homeless people that sleep under the bridges or hang out in this area. I wondered how they had made out with the storm. Usually I see one or two wandering around in the morning, maybe another 1 or 2 still sleeping at that time. Today, I saw 7 of them, just sitting on the benches, like it had been a long night. One had his beer in a brown paper bag. Yes, I'm sure it was a tall can. One of them yelled out to me, "if you keep doing that, you're going to get healthy." What do you say to someone like that? "I hope so."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


A new month. July already. The summer flies by. With our short season of "good" weather, sometimes I feel like a squirrel scurrying around gathering nuts for the winter, as I cram in all the training I can manage in a short amount of time. Before you know it, my big event of the year will be here, and then its a downslide to the darkside again.

And here's a new concept for me, although its nothing new of course: actually keeping track of my mileage, rather than just my workouts.

I learned a lesson last night as I did something quite out of the ordinary for me: I totalled up my monthly mileage for swim, bike, and run. I have NEVER done this in 20 years of racing. Why? I don't really know. As a Virgo, I should be quite anal about such things, but I never have been. I would start, but after maybe 3 days would forget to record anything, and then it was back to keeping track in my head. That was certainly doable and easy enough when my brain cells were still young and fresh, but now I'm finding if I don't write it down, its likely to be forgotten quickly.

And what did I learn last night? I learned that had I actually been keeping track, meaning subtotalling through the month instead of just writing down what I was doing (which, by the way, became a new form of discipline just a year ago, so I was gradually working up to this), I would have known that I had:

Run: 57.5 miles
Biked: 199.3 miles
Swam: 8.25 miles
Pushups done: 59

I could have easily rounded all those off without any effort had I just been keeping track.

That being said, this month I WILL keep track and also try to beat last month's goals besides.

Its never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.