Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing


March 2009

40 miles down

From my house to the Cannon County Arts Center is 20.08 miles.

I am not crazy about doing an out-and-back, but that’s what I’m left with when I don’t give myself enough time to map out a loop either with the Gazetteer or the website.  I just pedaled out for an hour and a half, then visited the little girls’ room at the Arts Center, then pedaled back home for an hour and a half.  That road has a nice strong shoulder, good and wide, and the scenery actually improves as you near the county line.  The terrain turns into gentle rollers, the farms are picturesque, the traffic lightens up.  The weather also cooperated; all in all it was a great ride. 

bored on the bike...
bored on the bike...
birdkill roadkill
birdkill roadkill

Again, weird pics, I know, but I thought the bird roadkill went with the fish roadkill which went with the deer roadkill…I’ll try for that to be the end of it.

Fave ipod song:  If I Could, Jack Johnson

Thanks for reading

today’s ride

Final workout day of the week.  Strength training in the morning at Sports Com (with a shout-out to my buddy Scott, who will be doing a triathlon soon), then some work, then I’d planned a 30 mile ride this afternoon.  However, the day was wet and cool, so I struggled within, but managed to get myself out on the bike around 1:30.  I took off from the house, with the intention of getting to the Greenway as quickly as possible to stay off the roads.  There is some construction near Cannonsburgh, so I hopped on on Broad Street behind Dodge’s store. 

It has rained so much there was lots of mud washed up from the river onto the path, and if you wonder how much mud…

is this a problem??
is this a problem?? please don't tell Sam, my offspring/bike mechanic
Greenway scenery
Greenway scenery

I know the fishy pic is kinda gross, but how often do you get to see fish as roadkill??  They must have washed over the Greenway Trail in high water and expired strewn across my course.  I thought it mixed nicely with the deer roadkill picture from the bike ride Wednesday…

6 weeks from tomorrow – the countdown continues.
Fave iPod random:  Annie’s Song, John Denver
Thanks for reading…

don’t laugh…

Swim Day.

I swam 2400 yds today in 1:09.  That’s a little over the 1.25 miles that the triathlon is.  Of course, as we’ve all learned, pool swimming and ocean swimming are vastly different.  I did mix up my strokes today, using free, breast, right side, left side, and back stroke.  It was a great workout and I felt really strong, even throughout the rest of the day.  No real fatigue, no soreness – it’s all good.

So here’s my issue for the day.  If you’ve been reading, you know I’m in the last 6 weeks of a pretty intense 16 weeks of training.  I’ve been very dedicated to the plan and have missed very few workouts.  I’ve also been diligent (excepting the Krispy Kreme extravaganza) about eating clean in my usual fashion:  high protein, low carb.  With the volume of training, especially as it continues to increase, it is only expected that my weight would drop a little.  Not a problem, and in fact it helps me with the running portion to be down a pound or two.  WITH THE RUNNING PORTION.  The swim portion of the race is affected a bit differently by my bad slim self.

Hmmmm, how to put this….my entire life I have carried any extra weight on my bootay.  My entire life I have not minded this…small waist in exchange suits me fine.  It’s one of the things that makes me ME, like my turned-up nose or my long arms and legs.  So what’s the problem?? 

Fat is bouyant.  Fat is lighter than muscle and is bouyant.  Now picture a swimmer in freestyle…see that nice streamlined look?  See how that swimmer is planed out on the water?  See how that bubble booty keeps the hips elevated and the feet just below the surface of the water, making the flutter kick so efficient?  Without that nice fat hunk o’ love bobbing around back there, the hips sink, the swimmer loses that form and struggles with fighting the vertical trend that the heavy muscular glutes, thighs, hamstrings and calves add to the mix.  That’s your girl there.

One more thing with which to contend as long as we’re discussing weight.  In the racing world, a woman is considered a “heavyweight” if she is over 150 pounds (140 pounds in some races, such as this upcoming half-iron).  Somewhere along the line when this brilliant strategy was developed, someone suggested titling such a qualifier as “Athena” (oh yes, that’s much less offensive, for no one will know what that implies).  FYI, the over-200# men’s division is known as Clydesdales.  Thank you SO much.  Anyhow, with this training, it becomes harder and harder to maintain my division qualification.  Most races will take you at your word, but if there is any prize money at stake, no such luck.  I learned the value of hydration/dehydration at weigh-ins from my wrestling sons, so maybe that will keep me in the class on race day.

Favorite random song:  Lily Allen, the song about brother Alfie smoking pot.

Thanks for reading…

singin in the rain

8 miles in the rain.  I love this training.

I had a good strength training workout yesterday and recovered from the tough brick on Monday.  Then this morning was rainy and drippy and soggy and while I could have switched up the schedule and hit the pool today, but it’s supposed to rain tomorrow and Friday, so what’s the difference?!?!  The wind was up too, so I went straight down DeJarnette to have a crosswind both ways. 

The rain was manageable, the wind was manageable, even the mileage was manageable.  The most challenging part of today’s run were the passing cars, spraying the yummy mix of water, oil, street grime all up in my grill…

The time was 44 out, but 47 back, but I wasn’t surprised at the positive split time, because of the rain and the distance.  I’ve got to really concentrate on heading out slowly in order to get a negative.

Good training day, good nutrition, good recovery, good mood….12 weeks down, 6 to go…

Fave iPod song:   Agony of DeFeet, Parliament

Thanks for reading…

man oh man oh man

What a Brick!!

Today was a 35/10 brick…that’s cool triathlon lingo for biking 35 miles, then running 10.  And it was killer.

If you’ve been reading, you know I’ve had a couple of spastic weeks…one to go to Panama City Beach and practice swimming in the ocean, and the next to go to Colorado and ski with the fam over spring break.  Both were fabulous trips, and I certainly was active, but it cut into the OCD nature of my training program.

To get back on track today, I did the aforementioned brick.  Aggressive for the first day back after two weeks, but I’m nothing if not aggressive?  The bike ride was soooo great.  During my two weeks elsewhere, spring arrived in Middle Tennessee, so after months of layering up and bracing against the cold, I slipped on the trisuit and riding sandals only.  The sun was delicious, and the ride itself was strong.  I guess I’ll say that the biking portion is strongest event.  I headed out from the house toward Lascassas (with a tailwind – intentional, cuz I don’t know what race day will be like!) and rode 18 miles (that’s almost exactly the Wilson County Line – past Auburntown), then turned around and faced the headwind all the way home.  It took 1:07 going out, 1:12 coming back.

ready for the brick
ready for the brick
scene from the brick:  a vulture munching on a deer carcass...welcome to the country...rather pungent too.
scene from the brick: a vulture munching on a deer carcass...welcome to the country...rather pungent too.

At home I dropped the helmet, changed shoes, peed (not easy in a sweaty one-piece trisuit), and headed out.  Transition time:  3 minutes – terrible.  I chose this time to run into the headwind first, since I knew I’d need the tailwind coming home.  From my house to MTSU President McPhee’s house is almost exactly 5 miles (5.2 I think).  It took 58 minutes, and even with the headwind I felt strong.  I did the turnaround on Middle Tn Blvd, started back, got about 2 1/2 miles along, and hit the proverbial wall.  Nothing left.  Nothing.  So I walked 100 yards or so, started back jogging…still nothing.  However, when you are 2 1/2 miles from home and have to work in an hour and a half, you find yourself some motivation in a hurry.  Jesse called, cheered me on – that helped.  I listened to my voicemails…son Sam was awarded the Mo Udall National scholarship – that helped A LOT.  Heard the voicemail messages of my other significant others…just hearing their voices helped – didn’t even have to speak with them.  Walked/ran/jogged all the way home jiggety jig.

Of course, now I can’t move off the couch, but It’s A Good Kind Of Tired (that may be the name of my triathlon training manual).  The Sambuca is helping.

Down to the last 7 weeks of training, the last 2 of which are the taper, with limited training sessions.  Here’s where the rubber meets the road, where it separates the men from the boys, all those other canned expressions.  It’s a part-time job from now til May 9.  I’ve reduced the taper from 3 to 2 weeks, so I’ll be doing my last Bike/Run brick at the Country Music Half.  Which means riding the marathon course twice at 2 a.m.  You read that right.  Who’s with me???

Fave random song:  hard to choose from 4+ hours of music:  RESPECT, Aretha (just seemed to fit the training).

Thanks for reading.

running without oxygen

Just want everyone to know I’m committed to this training.

I’m out in Colorado with the kids on their spring break doing a little snowskiing.  I skied yesterday and had a great time….days are warm, snow is good.  However, in the training schedule I have a 10 mile run to do this week.  Last week’s schedule got a little upside down cuz of the trip to Panama City, and now this week’s schedule is gonna be a little crazy, so I really wanted to get the run in.

Ummmm, the altitude here is about 8100 feet.  Do we need to review what happens to the oxygen at higher altitudes???  I was seriously and literally sucking wind.  I don’t really know how far I ran; I just went for the usual amount of time.  I had to occasionally walk and allow my heart rate to go down a bit, then I’d pick back up again.  I had a really good time – I could see the mountains, the sky was so blue, the snow was pretty, and I was feeling strong.  I hated to miss a day of skiing, but I’m so glad I got it done.

mom and ben in beaver creek
mom and ben in beaver creek

I’ll ski tomorrow and Thursday maybe and try to finish out the week’s workouts at home.  Maybe the skiing will help with strength and cardio fitness??  Let’s say it will…

Fave iPod random:  Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash

Thanks for reading…

Making nice

Day two of the first series training in the Gulf.

Today was as different from yesterday as yesterday was from regular pool training.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that today’s ocean training was more like traditional pool training than it was like swimming the ocean yesterday!!  Biggest lesson from that:  It is anybody’s guess on race day what the current/waves/temperature/tides are going to be.  That’s the case with every race you run, but it takes on tremendous significance when something as powerful as the sea is involved.

day 2 of Florida training
day 2 of Florida training

It started just like yesterday…putting on the wetsuit, et al, diving in…but…baby, tiny, miniature surf.  The technique I was going to implement…the diving under the breakers?  Ummmm, no breakers.  But it was good anyway, because it gave me more time to work on the actual swim itself.  It was a great workout, and I got accustomed to the termperature pretty quickly…I even unzipped the back of the wetsuit and let in a little more cool water.

Here are the things I’ve learned from my Florida expedition: 

  • From now on, during my swim workouts, I will incorporate every stroke I know:  free, back, breast, even side (both sides) with scissor kick.  The swim in the ocean is so organic, I used every stroke I have in order to try to manage the tide and movement.
  • I will come back sometime in April if I can to see what the sea has to offer.  The race in May 9, so if I can have one more opportunity, I think it will help solidify my confidence.
  • I will prepare myself for the possibility of ANY conditions on race day.  I’ve raced in heat, rain, wind, cold…in a triathlon, there are even more variables, and it’s my intention to expect the worst, and hope for the best, as the saying goes.

Many thanks to Mom for being WAY out of her comfort zone doing her spotter job.  Today was even more difficult because it was so hazy for both sessions.  She did a champion job and I’m so grateful for her help.  We also had a great visit, as we always do when we’re together! 

mom and me
mom and me

Thanks for reading…next post will be from Murfreesboro!

That was tough…

I am a strong girl.

I am a strong swimmer, and I’m fit.  The ocean kicked my ass today.  I’m not over it yet.

If you’ve been following the blog, you know that I’ve been a little freaked out about the ocean swim in the race in May.  Between the temperature, the turbulence, the saline, the sun…I have known there is a vast difference between the swimming I’ve been doing in the indoor pool at Sports Com and the actual swim in the ocean during the race.  How right I was.

I drove down here yesterday, with my mom in tow to serve as my shore buddy.  My precious brother has a condo down here (Panama City Beach) and it’s coincidentally where the race is to be held in May.  I have purchased a wetsuit and intend to practice this weekend and a weekend in April before the big event.

So today’s air temperature was around 75 – perfect – and the water temp was around 63…rather chilly.  I donned the suit, goggles, and cap,  positioned mom on the shore with a cell phone, and into the surf I ventured.  The flags were flying yellow, which is between green (not much undertow) and red (beaches are closed to swimming).  That was good to practice in, since I don’t know what the waves will be like on race day.  I waded out to waist/chest level, then as the waves began to crash over me near my head, I raised my feet and commenced swimming.  Let me rephrase that:  I raised my feet and began to flail about fighting the waves flinging me back to shore.

I could see before I entered the water that as soon as I crossed the breakers the sea was calm.  So as I struggled against the waves, I was determined to get past them to calm water, which I ultimately did…but at a great price.  I was so fatigued, and my heart rate was so elevated, once I passed the whitecaps, I had to spend several minutes treading water/floating on my back to catch my breath and settle down.  After I accomplished that, I was able to begin swimming in almost my regular pattern (water still a bit cool and affecting my breathing).  I made the decision then to focus on that breaker-crossing rather than the rhythmic swim I had planned to rehearse.

Back to shore I go, struggling once again through the force of the tide, got out and walked to where mom was keeping sentry, wriggled myself out of the top half of the wet suit, rested a few moments, and then began again.  The effort was a fraction easier this time out, but just as I was reaching calm water, I got overconfident, turned my back to incoming surf, and was immediately hammered right in the head with a tremendous wave.  My goggles went flying, and it knocked me silly for a second or two.  I didn’t exactly choose to rest, but I found myself lying on my back getting my bearings again…my goggles float gently past me, and I watched them for a moment before I snagged them.  It took me a few minutes to recover from that event, then back to the routine.  Swim a while, get my groove on, then back toward shore.

I repeated this effort one more time, then dragged my sorry, exhausted ass up the sand to collapse on the beach surrounded by hormonal spring-breakers.  (Why the funnel?  Why not just drink a beer if you want one??)  I’ve spent the rest of the day ruminating on tomorrow’s plan of attack for the same beach/waves/ocean.  The kid in the lifeguard stand suggested diving through and under the waves on the way out instead of riding over the top…I’ll try that.

after the swim
after the swim

So, ultimately, it was both easier and harder than I anticipated…the swim was easier, crossing the breakers was harder.  In the actual race it is a long oval I think, so I only have to pass through the gauntlet once on the way out, and then again on the way in.  And swim 1.2 miles in between.

No iPod today, but lots of words of support and encouragement echoing through my brain as I took to the water.  Thank you for every one of them.

sunset in Panama City Beach
sunset in Panama City Beach

Thanks for reading…

Wicked Brick

Okay, here I sit, recovering.

Today’s brick was a new distance:  30 mile ride/8 mile run.  And like every other effing bike training day this season, the winds were high.  Fortunately, it was rather balmy, but in my excitement at discovering the website, I neglected to take into account the wind direction.  I was having such fun clicking on intersections and building a 30 mile ride on rural roads, I just took off to the north – with a lovely tailwind.  17 miles later, I made the turn for home, and you guessed it – that’s when it occurred to me that I was kinda toast.

Anyway, got it home, then Big Jesse volunteered to take me 8 miles south, so I could run all the way with the tailwind…is that technically cheating???  There was a protest on the MTSU president’s lawn regarding the dropping of several majors, so I stopped there for a few minutes to lend emotional support and join in a few protest chants, then I toodled on down the road.  It was a sluggish start for about 2 miles, then I got my groove on and actually ended up with a pretty good time.

Today's brick...this is me with a tailwind
Today's brick...this is me with a tailwind

Now, however, I’m lounging on the couch with the dogs, and I’m not sure I’m gonna transition to my bed for the night…I’m pretty comfortable right here.

Best random:  Such Great Heights, Iron and Wine

Thanks so much for reading…

Blog at

Up ↑