Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing


January 2009

Can’t wait for spring

Brick, week 4. 

You know, it’s not the effort. 

It’s not the hassle.

It’s not the cost, equipment, or logistics.

It’s the time.

Anyone can do the training…it’s just swimming, biking, and running.  Some sessions are harder than others, there are some investments in equipment, and you do have to accomodate pool schedules, bad weather, and work.  But honestly, the bigger issue is the time involved in all that training. 

Today I planned to do my swim/bike brick (.5 in the pool, and 25 on the bike).  The first obstacle was the packing.  One bag for the pool (at SportCom), one bag for the bike (MAC), one bag for the shower, then the bag for water stuff (flipflops, towel, ipod water case, lap counter, goggles, swim cap), and my computer bag for work.  Then there is the workouts themselves.  50 minutes in the pool, then a quick shower-off, change into bike stuff, drive over to MAC, bike 25 on the stationary, then a shower.  So I’m make-upped, hair-dried, dressed and ready for the day…at 4:00pm.

The swim was great, and I can’t say enough what a difference it makes to be able to groove my tunes while I swim…it really helps pass the time.  I like mixing up my pace, and I can do it to the random shuffle – the nature of it lends itself to fast/slow pacing.

The bike ride, ehhhhhh.  Not so great.  I said I wouldn’t whine so much in this blog, so I’ll try to be brief:  Stationary bike.  25 miles.  Inside.  Daytime TV shows.  Brief enough?  I just plugged into my ipod again and settled in.  My pace was slower than when I’m outside – I may have had the tension set a little high on the bike.  Anyhow, the weather was below my 40-45 degree borderline, so I opted out.

The brick is down, and it’s only Monday! 

Thanks for reading.

Swimming and Weight Training

Great day of training today.

Today was the end of the third week of training.  It was the swim day, and the schedule was for 1/2 mile.  I worked in a strength training workout just before the swim, so I had a little fatigue going before I started, but I felt strong in spite of it.  I had all my toys in place…my ironman watch, my waterproof  iPod case, my high-tech, underwater, touch-pad lap counter.  It allowed me to completely focus on my stroke, my breathing pattern, my body mechanics – it was great.  I had a sensational swim, and I was able to put in a few sprint laps. 

I’m refining my breathing pattern – I want to stay with an odd-stroke pattern (every 3rd stroke), but I have to work that into my cardio-vascular fitness so I can sustain that at the speed I want.   I’ve also got to incorporate looking ahead occasionally cuz there is no black stripe on the bottom of the ocean.  There’s so much to think about, it really is helpful to have the lap counter for keeping track and the iPod for entertainment.

Song of the Day:  Officer Krupke from West Side Story.

Brick Day

Sitting here on the couch under an electric blanket catching up on email and blogging is about all I have the energy for right now.  Today was Brick Day (Bike/Run) and while it was a good one, I am whipped.  Seems like those are harder than the swim/bike bricks, which makes sense since running is my weakest of the 3 events.

The weather gods smiled on Murfreesboro today…a 53 degree day after all this cold.  I had company on the ride and the run.  The renters (aka my boys, aka Fez and Danny) joined us (Jesse too) as we headed out the driveway.  We turned into a headwind on hwy 96, so the boys (all 3) locked on to the G train to get to the Greenway.  It was a great workout for me and the traffic wasn’t too bad at 1:00.  We got on at the Thompson Lane trailhead and scooted through to General Bragg pretty quick.  We did the new section by the Medical Center which is SO pretty with the water feature – it’s only a mile or so, but I’m so proud of Murfreesboro for doing it.  We did the length of the Greenway (to Cannonsburgh), then rode through the square, down Lytle, Highland to Greenland, then left on 96 to home…which is the best part.  Remember the headwind???  So at the end of the loop, from Highland on, we have a rockin tailwind.  Going out we were managing 14-16mph; coming home we were hitting 25!  It was exhilarating!!  (BTW, that loop is 18 miles).

As soon as we got back to the house, it was change shoes, drop helmet and gloves, add iPod and off for a 4-mile run.  Jesse was the only brave soul to join me for that, and we turned into the headwind first.  It’s right at 2 miles from our house to Kroger, so we did our U-turn and enjoyed the little push we got on the way home.  Jesse’s calves locked up about a mile from the house, and we’re pretty sore tonight, but we got it done.

Treasure of the Day:  one old GM ignition key.  What is its story?  I’ve run this route several times and haven’t seen it on the shoulder.

Favorite from iPod Random (new blog feature):  CCR – Willie and the Poor Boys.

Thanks for reading…

Riding on the Stationary

I have never thought of myself as a complaining person, but this appears to be  one in a series of complaining blogs..what’s up with that?? 

It’s cold in Middle Tennessee.  I’m committed to this training, and I meant what I wrote when I stated that I learned my lesson about riding in the cold.  So today found me IN THE GYM, again, riding my 15 miles for the bike day of the training….bored, bored, BORED!!  I was in the cardio theatre watching a movie (Along Came Polly) for an hour, and I’m just having a hard time.  Television has never been able to capture my attention much…sometimes I can get wrapped up in a movie, and there were some funny moments in that film, but 90% of the time I’m looking around, watching the electronic monitors click away the 100ths of miles and 10ths of seconds, eeeccchhhh.  Anyhow, I got it done, crossed it off the list.

Another couple of weeks,and maybe most of this winter nastiness will be over.  I have no enchanting stories about found treasure, interesting encounters, sights I saw…the potty scene in Along Came Polly made me laugh.  Whatever.

On the lighter side, I appreciate the pat on the back from my girl Dora, for whom I have profound respect for her own epiphany and journey back to health…we’ll get that hamstring right lovey, I promise.  You rock little sister.

Amy, thanks for reading…you get the award for the family…thanks baby girl.

Pleasedonttell…you are right.  Murfreesboro is an enormous city, metropolitan, and progressive.

Thanks for reading…

Road happy

Nice change in the weather – 4o degrees felt practically tropical.  I don’t usually train on Sunday, but I’ve been cooped up for a few days and got a little antsy, so I shuffled the week’s schedule around a bit.

Today’s mileage was an easy 4 mile run, right down the driveway and out on 96.  Not so terribly visually interesting, but lots of folks in cars passing by, which brings me to the heart of today’s topic.

I’m trying to think of how I react when I’m driving my car and pass a runner or cyclist.  The first thing I usually do is to see if I know who it is.  Murfreesboro is a small town, with an even smaller athletic community.  After checking for that, I lower my window and stick my arm out and wave and smile, whether I know the person or not.  I’m happy they found the moment in their day to run or bike, and I know how they’re feeling, legs pumping, heart beating, breathing rhythmic.  I guess that’s the difference I’m finding when I’m the runner or cyclist.  So few folks know that feeling, so I get a lot of negative response from drivers I encounter.  It’s not that they try to run me down (although that has happened), or that they honk* or crowd me on the shoulder (although that has happened), or that they are giving me the one-finger salute (although that has happened).  It’s that they simply give me no response…no wave, no smile, no acknowledgement.  It’s as if I’m a bit of a bother with which they have to contend on their busy busy day…a  quick glance, a slight frown, avoidance of any eye contact.  

For the record:  Let me hear a shoutout folks.  Honk your horn*, wave, smile, give me a thumbs up….anything!  I need the encouragement, and it lets me know you see me, which is always important for runners and cyclists.  I’m not judging you for burning your fossil fuel, I’m not judging you for sucking your smokes, or eating your fast food (well, maybe I am a little); just a little smile or wave – it’ll be over in a nanosecond.

*Point of clarification:  there is a difference in a happy toot-toot on your horn and an aggressive HOOOOONNNNNKKKK to get me the hell off your road.

New blog feature:  Treasures I Found While Training.  Today’s haul:  one entire package of Marlboro 100s, one Craftsman flathead screwdriver.  Maybe I’ll put them with the cold medicine and have Glenda create an art piece of found objects.

Boring stats:  24 minutes out (the house to Mrs. Higgins’ church – 2.2ish miles), 23:07 back.  Weather:  40ish and breezy.  Mood: elevated and rising by the day…

Great run.

Thanks for reading.

First Swim/Bike Brick

So it’s 11 degrees in Middle Tennessee.  If you read the last blog, you know what kind of experience I had with the cold weather.  You also read that I conceded the battle of the temperature and gave in to the sorry notion that I did have minimal temperature in which to bike, run, and of course, swim.  I’m over that, I get it.

Today’s workout session was the swim/bike brick.  Again, 11 degrees, so off I trot to the Sports Com pool/weight room where the stationery bikes are.  Not terrible happy about it, but resigned to the circumstances as they are:  It is what it is.  I made the vow that the most recent post was going to be the whiningest of all, so I’ll have to back down on this one.  If I can.

I used the new swimming toy – the portable lap counter you attach to the side of the pool.  It can count laps, keep time/split times, calculate calories burned, etc.  I thoroughly enjoyed playing with that.  It can track most anything you program it to, and I think it will be really useful on the long swims.  The swim itself was great if short, just a half-mile.  I swam in my trisuit, and as soon as my 18 laps were over, I hopped out of the pool, ran to the locker room, put on my cleats and went running upstairs to the bike.

The gym where I work as a massage therapist is clean and shiny and chrome-y and hip: Murfreesboro’s version of GloboGym from the movie Dodgeball.  The gym where I work OUT is old and dingy and dated and I love it:  Average Joe’s from the same movie.  There are a whopping two bikes in this gym, one upright and one recumbent.  When I went flying up into the workout area, there was already someone on the upright, so I get on the recumbent, set it to be moderately difficult to sustain 15 mph, and start spinning.  I had my tunes in, the small suspended TV was set (mute) to ESPN.

I was bored in 90 seconds.  90 seconds of approximately an hour and a half of cycling. 

I watched Eagles/Raven/Steelers/Cardinals highlights.  I watched people on the track.  I watched people lift weights.  I listened to an entire Jim Gaffigan album.  Still bored.  I got the workout done, the 20 miles knocked down.  I’m sure I will have to do this again sometime this winter, but it really is a close call between the cold and the boredom, and the cold edges out the boredom by a fraction as a deterrent to outside REAL cycling.

Week two done.  You may have noticed a missing swim workout this week if you are keeping close tabs.  It was to have been yesterday, along with a strength training workout.  I went to the gym with the intention of doing both, complete with all gear and equipment, did the weights workout, headed to the pool, and remembered the pool closes from 1-3….grrrrr.  Knew that.  Lesson learned.  Again.

Thanks for reading.


In 1999, my family went on our annual trip to Ragbrai in July to ride our bicycles across the state.  For the only time in our 20 years of riding this ride, the midwest was experiencing a heatwave like no other.  112 degree daytime heat, high 90’s at night, extremely high humidity.  Also for the first time ever, our family packed up and went home…south to Tennessee where it was cooler.  Until today, I would have said that was my worst experience on a bike.  Until today.

I expected it to be bad.  I expected it to be cold.  It was the most bitter, nasty, hateful ride I have ever taken.  It was only 10 miles.  A cinch, right?  20 minutes out, 20 minutes back.  I had on leggings and my bike shorts, sports bra, tank top, 2 long sleeved riding jerseys, a hoodie, riding gloves, socks (non-wool), and my cleats, which happen to be sandals.  About 1/2 mile from the house, I knew I was in trouble, but it was only 10 miles, right?  I had to stop for 6 or 7 minutes to dig the mud out of my left cleat (live on a farm), so that added those minutes to my exposure. 

It wasn’t just the 29 degrees…oh no.  It was the 18 mph wind, combined with my 15 mph speed, combined with the complete lack of sun and total exposure on the main road.  It was the fact that my eyes water when I ride in the cold, which makes my nose run, which together makes my face wet, which gets me even colder.  But it’s only 10 miles, right?  So I’m determined to gut it out, and by the turnaround point, I was thinking of everyone I knew with a truck or hatch vehicle of any kind who could rescue me.  But I currently have no dirt on ANYONE, so I let that go, and off I went for the 20 minutes back.  I was already experiencing excruciating pain in my face, fingers, and toes, and was even worried that I was risking my career.  I couldn’t tolerate riding any faster, but I couldn’t tolerate staying out any longer, so I pegged my computer to 15 mph and put my head down.  Then, 2 miles from home, I discovered the only thing that could possibly sustain me and help me finish.  I started screaming.  I had been gritting my teeth and groaning, but I gave in to all-out screaming…I don’t know that it kept me warmer, but it sure helped express how I felt.  No sane person was out, so I didn’t have to worry about alarming the community, but the cows all raised their heads, and if some passing driver happened to have his/her window lowered the half-inch it takes to flick out a cigarette, perhaps they commiserated with me for a fraction of a second.

Lesson learned:  I do have a minimum riding temperature.  It is far above 29 degrees.  I will have to resort to those awful bikes in the gym on these worst days.  In addition to that, I will be going to see my friend Krista at Fleet Feet for some kind of glove/sock combo that will help on warmer but not quite warm days.

11 hours later, and I’m still not recovered.   Not after a shower that drained the hot water heater.  Not after an hour under my electric blanket.  Not after the glass of wine at dinner, or the cup of tea afterward.  Not after sitting in front of the fire for all of Jon Stewart and Colbert. 

I cannot tell you about my exertion level, my time, my split time, my heart rate.  I vow that this will be the whiniest blog I will write during this training.   Hold me to it.

Thanks for reading.

Tri training week 2

So on this balmy 40 degree day I ran 4 miles…down the driveway, out onto 96, to Kroger and back.  For some reason my iPod keeps dying after about 30 minutes, so I had to finish in silence, but that has its own appeal anyway. 

It was cool, but I got warmed up as I got going, and about a mile and a half into the run, I get that euphoric, can’t-stop-smiling, all’s right feeling.  I’m sure passing drivers wondered what I was smiling about…then my iPod shuffled onto Jim Gaffigan doing the Hot Pocket routine and I was downright laughing.  Made breathing a little harder but it was worth it.  Try that if you are struggling getting through your mileage:  download a comedy routine – Ellen, Dane Cook, you pick – and play it through your distance, especially if music doesn’t keep your attention.  I did that quite a bit when I trained for a marathon and had those 3 and 4 hour training runs.

Three unusual and interesting things happened over the course of the run:

  • I started the run with my cell phone in my hoodie kangaroo pouch.  About a mile into the run, I noticed it was missing..what a drag.  I did the full distance out, running against traffic, then turned around and headed back, crossing over to run with traffic at the point where I noticed the missing phone so I could search for it.  No luck all the way back to the house, so called hubby to ask him to begin continuously calling it as I got on my bike to retrace the route…about halfway down the drive, I heard and saw it – balanced precariously on a rock beside a large juicy puddle, vibrating its way to its death.  It was very visible; I jogged right past it.  Lesson learned.
  • When I got to the turnaround point, I went to do a U-turn across two lanes, and wanting to have my negative split time, I sort of shot through a gap in traffic with much more speed than my regular pace; somewhere in the turn and the speed, I tweaked my left calf, and it has left me with a limp for the rest of the day.  Don’t run again til next week since this week’s brick is swim/ride, so maybe that will help.  One of the perks of owning a massage therapy business is access to massage therapists….
  • While running the shoulder on the main road, I saw on the ground a blister pack of medication.  I picked it up…full pack, no damage, info printed on the back identified it as some kind of cold medicine/decongestant.   A mile further, I picked up another unopened pack (not the box, just the full, unused blister card) of a DIFFERENT kind of cold medication.  On the way back on the OTHER side of the road on the shoulder, yet another full pack of cold relief tablets.  Such a mystery.  This is middle Tennessee, we do have a meth problem in the state, and I know that cold medication is used for that…some connection?  Delivery truck accident?  Far too random.  I don’t guess I’ll ever know…

Today also included the obligatory strength training session, my favorite, and day one of week two was complete.  Have the pain in my left calf, but what’s training without something on your body asking for attention?

Thanks for reading…

End of week one

One week down, 17 to go.  But as everyone who does sequential training knows, each week is higher mileage/longer sessions than the last.

Yesterday’s session was a quick 10 mile ride.  Those are fun…I just take off down the driveway on my bike with my heart monitor on, my bike computer set to distance, my buds in my ears.  I just start peddling until I reach the half-way mileage, then, wherever that may be, I turn around and head back, and a 10 mile ride takes about 30-35 minutes so it really is a quick dash.  I wanted to go further, but I know that in the weeks to come the mileage will just increase, so I’m trying to save and bottle up some of that enthusiasm for those days.

I also did a strength training session, always my favorite, at SportsCom, which completed my week of training.  Today is miserably cold, wet, and rainy (a typical Tennessee winter day), so I don’t intend on even leaving the house today.  Then the next week starts all over again tomorrow…

Thanks for reading…good wishes for your week to come.

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