Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing


January 2010

You’d have to be crazy to bike in this weather…

…or be training for an Ironman.

Today’s brick was, I don’t even know how cold this is, colder than a witch’s titty.  (Bonus points if you can come up with where that came from.)

The swim (2000 yards) was fine – felt strong in the pool, rhythm was good, even with no iPod.  I did it in 55 minutes which works for me.  Out of the pool, out of the suit, into sweats, quick drive home, into the bike gear, bikes in the truck.  Why not just leave from the house?  Good question.

The random parking place from which we started.

Today’s weather was shit for bike riding:  cold, overcast, windy, damp.  So hubby comes up with the brilliant idea to position ourselves due southwest of town, to take advantage of the 15-20 mph winds OUT of the southwest.  We drive 80k to East Fumblebuck, Tennessee, park in a gravel lot in the middle of nowhere, and head out with a delicious tail wind.  You know how when you are on the moving sidewalks in an airport, you feel like you have superpowers?  You are going the same speed you normally walk, but are moving at twice the speed?  THAT is what a tailwind feels like:  you are exerting your normal amount of energy, spinning your feet around and around, but you are traveling as if you are on a long, smooth downhill.  Which would have made this ride perfect if not for one tiny thing.

It was 34 degrees.

34 degrees is cold.  You can bundle up and put on a hat and gloves and scarf and coat and stay relatively warm as you walk from your car to work or around town; you can even go for a walk at that speed and be comfortable.  Now imagine being in a convertible or jeep in that temperature with the top down and driving 30 miles an hour.  For two hours and forty-five minutes.  Oh yeah.

Here you will see assembled all the clothing I wore on this outing; I was still cold.  My fingers and toes were numb and my face didn’t function.  What I mean by that is when I went to eat my Snickers at the halfway point, I could not bite it, I could not chew it.  Had to resort to yet another flavor of GU……mmmmmm, GU…..

Read the whole blog so you know I'm not just trying to show you my underpants.

I’ve had 2 cups of bouillion, a hot bath, a glass of wine, and I’m under my electric blanket – I’m starting to warm up.

Still no iPod, so today’s song in the pool was:   Bubbbles, bubbles, bubbles, breathe, bubbles, bubbles, bubbles, breathe.

Thanks for reading.

End of 1st week of last big 5 (?)

For an English major, I think the post title is pretty weak.  My race is 6 weeks from today.  My taper begins 2 weeks out from the race.  Since coming home from the Christmas holidays the really intense sessions have begun – huge bricks, long distances, total nutrition.  So this week marks the end of week 1 of the last 5 intense weeks.  Clear as mud?

I have not done a very good job of taking pictures of the runs and swims, or the strength training sessions.  I’ll try to improve on that next week.  I can post a picture of me in the MAC store getting my new MacBook Pro…

If our parents would agree, I would ask the MacBook to marry me.

I can also show you the gorgeous rainbow we saw on the way up to the Mac store:

other people on Facebook have posted better pictures of this - it was beautiful.

But I’ll have to use words to tell you about the last two workouts.  Thursday was swim day and I had to go 3000 yards – that’s about 3/4 of the distance of the race itself.  I did it in the SportsCom pool and it took me about an hour and a half.  I don’t struggle too much with the swimming, but it becomes such a mind game because there IS NO REST.  Not a moment to cough, catch your breath, adjust any wardrobe malfunctions.  The good news is that at the race website, a participant is quoted in describing Lake Taupo as being so clear as to be able to see the bouy anchors on the bottom!  A far cry from the lakes I’ve been swimming in around here, and vastly different than last year’s half-Iron!

Then Friday was a 12 mile run.  I had a 12:00 appointment at the MAC, but it wasn’t a massage, just an annual health department inspection, so I needed less than 10 minutes there.  So in the interest of efficiency, I headed out from my house, ran the 5.5 to the MAC, circled the courthouse, got the inspection done, ate a GU gel (strawberry-banana:  better), and did the run home in reverse.  Even got home in time to shower before meeting a precious friend at Mellow Mushroom for the notorious beer sampler.  That weekly alcohol treat takes on tremendous importance, I promise!

Finally, today was strength training, which, because of all the other workouts, felt like a day off.  I’ve really been concentrating on my lats and shoulders for the swim; my legs are already so much stronger from the running and biking.  Nutrition all week has been great- my weight is right at 150, and I expect it to drop down another 5 by race day, which is just where I want it.

The MacBook purchase has come at a good time – gives me a little something distracting as I’ve started my obsessing over the race.  I visit the website 5 or 6 times a day to see if they’ve added something new.

This week’s schedule looks a lot like last week’s, and the Middle Tennessee weather is not cooperating….who’da thunk:  winter in January.

iPod is in rehab at the Mac store – miss it desperately!  Jesse has been so kind to lend me his shuffle, but there are only so many Marty Robbins songs I can listen to.  I guess the favorite on the run was Big Red the Ranger with the Big Iron on his Hip on the Streets of Laredo with Falina at Rose’s Cantina.  Not that they all sound the same…

Thanks for reading!

First of the big 5 bricks

It is 10:40pm.

I got up at 6:45am to begin the day.

Since I have been home, I have taken a shower, started a load of smelly laundry, and had a delicious diet Coke. 

Otherwise, I have been training all day.  (Disclaimer – 3+ hours of driving to and from Natchez Trace, dinner at Applebees)

The Natchez Trace is an historic Indian trail that reaches from Nashville to Tupelo (about 460 miles).  It takes a bit to get there, but it’s a fabulous road for training.  I’m sure the high season is the fall when the leaves are colorful, but this time of year it is seldom used.  It’s a well-maintained 2-lane road; the terrain varies from gentle undulations to rollers to serious granny-gear ups and downs.  We chose to ride the section south of Nashville to the turnaround just south of the Meriwether Lewis monument (site of his death and burial).

very important piece of equipment in the seat bag....
...and using that equipment before getting on the bike...
...and my pleasure of Jesse being in charge of the camera.

Over the course of our 120k round trip, we saw all three types of terrain I mentioned.  However, we had a head wind, and the particular section we chose included an elevation gain on the outbound leg.  So the trip that took us 3.5 hours out took us only 2.5 hours coming back in.  We spent a half-hour at the monument and got back to the truck just before dark. 

Meriwether's monument: Was he killed? Did he commit suicide? Just ask Grandpa Jay...

At about this point, Jesse took a little detour off the Trace toward a town for a treat run:

I'm not telling if he ate all of'll have to ask him

So, back at the truck, off came the bike shoes, on went the running shoes, and off I went, with Jesse behind me in the truck for my 14k’s of running.

bad pic - he said he wasn't as tired as this looks
my quick break before running
me hatin the Gu flavor - blueberry pomegranate I think
practicing for running in the dark at the Ironman!

The bike ride was tough with the hills and the headwind, but the run was pretty strong, considering.  I had a strong rhythm though about 11k, then hit the proverbial wall.  I walked a bit and attempted to recover, but I was so lightheaded and dizzy and it was so late, I chose to bail.  It makes me feel guilty to do that, but I know better than to push myself too far.

So here I am, vegging on the couch, attempting to recover, before tomorrow’s strength training and DELICIOUS massage from my girl Janet at the MAC (THE premier reason for owning a massage therapy practice!).

Favorite shuffle:  All This Joy, John Denver, which I heard in the dark while watching deer off the road by truck headlights.

I ate ONE of the Snickers.

Thanks for reading!

80k ride – in the mud…again

Someone PLEASE remind me next time it rains that the Greenway is not the best choice for a bike ride!!

high water at the rapids

I had a big 50-miler to do today, so I started out early – and it was COLD this morning!  I had on my usual smashing outfit to brave the cold, but it warmed up beautifully by the time I finished.  The riverside Greenway is so wonderful, and I’m so proud of Murfreesboro for having seen the need and potential and responded to it, but seriously?  Check this out:

oh yes, I most certainly did...

This was along the newest section out toward Cason Lane, and this picture is a few minutes later:

Question my judgement, but do NOT question my commitment!!

That’s my sock I’m wringing out on the left side of the picture – the water completely covered my ankles, soaked the legs of my pants – keep in mind it was about 37 degrees out there this morning!  So after 80k, all on the Greenway, this is what my gear looked like:

and the bike looked even worse!

By the time I finished, as I said, it had warmed up nicely, and I took a post-ride stroll into the river – I strongly advocate this to all my running clients – cooling one’s legs down after a run or ride greatly reduces inflammation and speeds recovery.

evidence of practicing what I preach - thigh deep smack in the in cold water!

I’ve decided to leave my bike computer on kilometers through the race – NZ uses k’s and they don’t mark the bike or the race course in miles.  So from here on out I’ll be training in kilometers – I kinda liked it today – they’re smaller than miles!  (Don’t burst my bubble by trying to convince me it’s the same distance overall – I like my delusion.)  From Thompson Lane to Gen Bragg to the Battlefield to the new section by the Medical Center back on the Greenway through Old Fort Park, out the new stretch to the dead end at the 99 bridge and back to Greenway to Cannonsburgh is 25k.  (15.5 miles according to my handi-dandi iPod conversion app).  If you take the Greenway straight back to Thompson Lane it brings the total to 32k.  I did this loop twice, and added in about 5 loops around the “criterion” at the Battlefield to make the whole 80k.

One last picture:

You can't see how unbelievably messy the house is - but the bike gets cleaned!

Huge day tomorrow – 120k ride/14k run (75/9 miles for you Yanks); Jesse and I are going to the Natchez Trace for the ride – he said he’d be really supportive during the run by going to get something to eat while I ran AND he’s not committing to the full 75 miles…but I get it – HE’S not training for an Ironman.

iPod is in dire need of rehab – got one song this morning before it died – gotta make a trip to the MAC store in Nashville.  That one song was an ABBA song, but I don’t remember which one.

Thanks for reading!

Great run on the farm

60 minute run on the farm today – felt good, felt strong.  It helps more than I can describe to have my running companions with me…

not a great pic, but these girls just wouldn't cooperate!

It was cool and overcast-y, and a little bit muddy, but it was good to get out on the property.  It was probably about a 5 – 5.5 mile run (60 minutes); yesterday was a great strength training event.  Kinda boring, but sometimes that what training is.  Favorite shuffle today was  Bread and Roses, John Denver.

I wrote in an earlier post that I wanted to blog about a few different things, and since this post is a bit short about training, I’m going to blog about one of my favorite Christmas presents:  My New Kindle.

Jesse gets the credit for this, but I’ve been whining about it for a while – he knows how to shut me up!

So this is Amazon’s electronic book, if you don’t already know.  It can hold about 3,000 volumes and most downloads are about $10 and take about 60 seconds to beam into my device.  There are a lot of books that are considered public domain and are free:  Sherlock Holmes, most classics like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, many children’s stories.  There are other sources for book downloads, but I haven’t begun researching this yet.  Not every book in available in Kindle form, but it appears they are growing exponentially.  You can also subscribe to newspapers or magazines – you get them even before they hit the newsstands!

The Kindle is a pure delight to use.  It is not a lighted screen, so you must have a source of light in order to read, but it is incredibly simple to use.  There is a font size option, and a words-per-screen option.  I use a smaller font if I have my reading glasses handy, but can enlarge it to readable size if not.  The page-turning feature is on either side of the 6″ x 8″ pad (about 1/3″ thick) and the black leather cover protects the surface.  It takes a charge in about half-hour and will last about 4 hours reading, I think.

I do not think that electronic devices will ever fully replace books.  Everyone with whom I’ve spoken about this Kindle has the same response:  “But I want to TOUCH the book, FEEL its pages, SMELL it”.  I get it, I get it.  I like to do that too.  But here’s where I think the Kindle has an application.  When I travel, I usually take 3 or 4 books with me…sometimes I finish one on the travels and need a new one, sometimes I am reading several at once, sometimes I want to refer back to something.  So far I have downloaded 8 or 9 of my most favored volumes, and a couple of new ones I’ve been wanting to read, along with the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and On The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin.  I am reading a most of them simultaneously, which is the way I typically read books.  I beamed in the latest edition of Newsweek, to which I have a subscription, but I didn’t really like it on the Kindle, because it has no ability to show pictures, and I really missed that.

It was perfect on the airplane, and on the couch, and in my bed.  You can also highlight, make notes, save passages, and add bookmarks.  It has the ability to be online, but since I have an iPhone, I haven’t really pursued this ability.  I’ll see how it goes in my usual routine here at home – I’ve had it with me for the last 2 days, but haven’t found an extra couple of minutes at Starbucks yet! 

I was given the option of naming the device, so I’m waiting for inspiration; so far it’s Read Even More, but that’s a little weak, so any suggestions are helpful??  My rating is TWO thumbs up.  I’ll continue to analyze it as I use it, so stay tuned…

Thanks for reading

Back in the Boro, back on the bike

Well, the Christmas Party’s over…

What a fabulous month it was with the kids in Colorado!  The skiing, laughing, eating, drinking, talking, all surpassed my highest hopes.  What a joy and a pleasure to observe and interact with one’s children as adults!    I love hearing their opinions, listening to their senses of humor,  sympathizing with their concerns, celebrating their choices, and anticipating their futures.  I am so grateful to them for their letting me into their lives like they do, and I’m so proud of the people they are.

Jesse and Aden were the first to leave on Tuesday.  He was such a pleasure, and I’m  so grateful to John and Shannon, his parents, for letting him join us for a few days.  He did great on the slopes, and we even had him saying that he shredded the half-pipe, which of course he did!

I love his face in this picture!

Then on Wednesday, Amy drove Glenda and me to the airport in Denver, where we would fly together to Atlanta, then go to England and Nashville, respectively.

goodbye at Denver airport =(

Then, finally, this morning, back to reality.  Back on the bike at around 2:00 for a quick 15-mile ride to pick up Jesse’s truck in Smyrna.  I had on my new riding gloves, which I loved, and my freaky goggles, which I LOVED, and I was on the Baixbaix.  It was cold as hell, but the bike felt good.  We had a little tire mishap before riding out of the driveway – one of my slick red tires had a littleblowout when Jesse went to add air, but he got it fixed in a flash and we were off.

not enough clothes!

I’ve begun making the arrangements for my accomodations in New Zealand.  Son Sam and girlfriend Laura will be in school in Palmerston North (near Wellington on the North Island), but that’s a fair distance from Lake Taupo, so I’m looking for a hostel/hotel for about 2 weeks before the race.  Sam’s 2-day Coast-to-Coast New Zealand race (kayak/trail run/mountain bike) is Feb 12 and 13  (he and I are experiencing the same pre-race freakouts:  “What am I doing?  WHO would attempt a race like this!?”), so I have a need for a home for about 2 weeks, preferably in the Lake Taupo area, so I could possibly train in the area and even swim the lake!  I’ve sent a couple of emails, and I’ll post when I hear something back.

No iPod today because we were on main roads, but my iPod has experienced Epic Fail; when I restored it on iTunes, I lost all my music!  Not good, cuz I don’t have all my music on my laptop.  Sad.  So I’ll start re-downloading what I have and reconstruct from there.
Thanks for reading!

I’m still here

I know the posting has been weak – still in Colorado with the fam. 

Swam and strength trained yesterday while Glenda played with Aden in the pool.

Avon, CO Rec Center

Strength training was, well, strong, swim was weak – still having oxygen issues up here at 7000 feet.  That’s compounded in the pool where my breathing pattern is highly defined, so to speak.  So I worked on form, sprints, etc, before joining Glenda in the delicious whirlpool for a few minutes.

Today was a ski day, and a delightful one at that.  Temperatures have finally risen above the 10-degree mark, so the sunshine was great.  We had our five-year-old entertainment saying that he shredded the gnar on the halfpipe…why have children if not to make them say funny things?

Aden pulling Ben down the mountain

OK, fam’s rushing me to go get pizza…more to come when I get back…

So, back from pizza – doesn’t sound much like a training diet, does it?!  It’s not.  Neither is all the beer and wine I’ve had, or the cranberry cake, fudge, pork roast, sweet potatoes, brownies, and “slope cookies” I’ve had since I’ve been here.  Oh yes, at Beaver Creek, at 3:00 daily, warm, fresh chocolate-chip cookies get brought out to the skiers:

3:00 at the Beav

Life returns to “normal” next week and I’ll be back on the high-protein/low sugar Ironman nutrition plan, along with resuming the bicycling along with the running and swimming.

Life is so very good, and this trip has been spectacular.  We start dispersing tomorrow, and I’m trying not to think about it.  Son Sam was not able to make it in, because of his training/schedule/work in New Zealand, but we’ll see him next month when we go for his HUGE race a couple of weeks before mine.  Daughters head back to Paris and California for school in  a couple of days, but what a trip it has been.

No music on the slopes – too much fun laughing and carrying on with the kids.  We do the Kennedy thing for our last run, minus the football, but you can hear us for miles.  I am so lucky to get to spend time with these people.  Right now we are all rolling on the floor crying looking at the Cakewrecks website.  Google it.

Thanks for reading!

Back to Colorado

Alright, a few delightful days in Tennessee to check on the house, the dogs, the mail, train a bit, enjoy friends a bit, play a bit; now back to beautiful cold Colorado with one more of the offspring in the mix.

Daughter Glenda arrived from Paris on New Year’s Day at the Atlanta airport for a quick night with my parents, my brother, Jesse, and me, then on to Beaver Creek for a sweet reunion with her twin and big brother.  Sam is still supposed to join us from New Zealand, but standby flights are weak, so we wait.

Yesterday’s training (remember the oxygen issue!) was a strength session (strong) and pool session (fair).  Take a look at the view from the gym windows:

Tomorrow is January 6.  My race is March 6.  Whatever your interest is, whatever you strive for, whatever deadlines you are pressured to meet, you know the feeling of pressure that begins to increase as time marches its inevitable course.  It was far off in the distance when I made the commitment to it, and now, tick, tick, tick, it looms ever so much closer to the present.  I will try to limit my freak-out posts, but part of the point of this blog is to document all these emotions and feelings in addition to the mechanics of what the workouts entail.  Excited.  Apprehensive. Determined.  That’s where we are now.

On a different note, I visited my friend Ted’s blog ( and was delighted to read about his adventures and opinions; I was also inspired to throw in a few posts that are not limited to training and travel (or food porn, my third most-used category).  My life is consumed by those things, and while after March 6 I’ll still be travelling, the training will change focus a bit, and I want to keep up the blog.  I’m working on a post about Rules, and I’ve got a couple of book reviews I want to add.  Stay tuned for those.

Life, as always, is spectacularly complex and beautiful.  I’m profoundly grateful to be marinating in the presence of the kids for these precious days.  Even at their ages (20-somethings), I can’t get enough of simply staring at them; I’m amazed by who they’ve become, astounded at their growth, humbled by their intelligence and compassion.  That may be magnified and compounded by their distance from me,  the time between visits, or the intensity of having them together; it matters not, I’m still in what we in the south call Hog Heaven.

three of four

Thanks for reading!

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