Sunday, December 28, 2008
(photos courtesy of Amazon.com!)
Ever since I can remember, I have always received several animal-related books for Christmas. I've received general biology-related books, horse books (LOTS!), cat and dog books, breed-specific books, etc. The books that stick with me are the ones that celebrate the special bonds that develop between humans and animals. It has been what has drawn me to my career (a veterinary technician) and never fails to touch me deeply.
This year is no different as I received the above books from members of my boyfriend's family. The interesting thing to me is that I didn't need to ask for these books, they intuitively knew that I would no doubt enjoy them. That's how deeply I celebrate my love for animals.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some reading to do!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
"closest book quote" game
my book quote:
The only true cure for DOMS is time and prevention.
from "Weight Training for Cyclists by Eric Schmitz and Ken Doyle; VeloPress
DOMS is an acronym for "Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness"
How to play:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note in your BLOG.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual... Use the CLOSEST.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I’d like to bring some attention to awareness of diabetes and the events being planned for “World Diabetes Day”. I know most people choose to support research geared to diseases which have afflicted their loved ones and I am no different. There are several people whom I am close to who deal with this disease on a daily basis. Through them, I have become much more aware of the long-term damage that diabetes can do to a body. I’ve also become aware that these side-effects can be greatly minimized by keeping tight control of blood glucose levels. Strict blood glucose control generally requires a combination of nutritional diligence and a regular exercise regimen.
As a result of my interest in both diabetes and professional cycling, I have been following a team of cyclists whose goal is to be included in the Tour de France in the near future. Four of the fifteen cyclists on the team are diabetic and it has been fascinating to follow their season on the team blog and see details of how they are using the latest technology to help them maintain their control. I believe non-athletic diabetics can use their success as a motivational factor to start a fitness or exercise program.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Now this morning on my way to work, you can be sure my eyes were peeled for this vehicle. It was unique enough that I figured I could pick it out if I saw it again, plus I knew that the license plate began with a “B”. Sure enough, as I approached a stop light at the end of the road, I pulled up behind a vehicle which matched and which had a license plate beginning with “B”. So again, I called the police department when I got into work. I spoke with an officer who said he’d follow up on the case. I’m not sure what can be done after 24 hours, especially since we can’t be absolutely sure that it’s the same vehicle, let alone the same driver. In my own mind though, I would hope that if the person receives a phone call from the police, maybe they’ll realize that at least they should have gone back to check on the dog. How can people hit an animal and drive off?!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
I had been looking forward to this triathlon since the start of the summer, however, life turned pretty hectic and I wasn’t able to be as consistent with my workout and sleep schedule as I’d wanted to be. Oh well, life happens! Since the start is just a couple of miles from my house, I had planned on bicycling to the park. And typically, I prefer to arrive at the venue with at least two hours to spare (crazy, I know…pity poor Janet who frequently carpools with me!) However, upon crawling out of bed, I was immediately conscious of the very relentless rain coming down. I scratched the idea of arriving early and savored breakfast and coffee, even took a few minutes to check the weather forecast. The radar showed that the rain had already moved off to the east and with nothing behind it, I figured we might have a decent day. Having tortured my long-suffering boyfriend (Dave) with my tri-day exuberance (he’s not a morning person!) and since the rain had stopped, I decided I’d better get going. On my way past fellow cyclist Kate’s house, I noticed her car was open and she was loading her stuff for her trip to
Registration, chip pick-up, body marking and transition set-up all went very smoothly. I had a bit of trouble deciding what time I wanted to put on my wet suit, as transition closed at when the Olympic-distance athletes started. That left me with 45 minutes before my start. Ultimately, the weather dictated that I put it on earlier than later, because I was starting to get cold. I did manage to get a glimpse of Janet running from the swim finish to transition…she had a fantastic swim time and really hustled up the hill to transition. That would be the last I saw of her until the finish! Finally it was time for the first of the sprint waves. Wisely, I had seeded myself in the fourth and final wave. I spent the last few minutes conversing with two other women who were very nervous about the swim. One, doing her first ever tri, started sobbing a couple of minutes before we started. The support displayed from all the other women was very moving and once again, I felt tremendous pride in being involved in an incredible group of people.
The swim pace started fast and I rather surprisingly found myself sticking pretty well to the pace and feeling almost comfortable to boot. I settled into a somewhat steady rhythm and tried to maintain that pace. When I finally had the presence of mind to look for the first buoy, I realized I had strayed quite a bit into the center of the course. I corrected, slowed down and did fairy well for the rest of the swim. I sure wasn’t able to run up the hill to transition nearly as fast as Janet, though!
T-1. Well, what could go wrong, did go wrong. My wet suit caught on both arms and both legs, my socks didn’t want to go on my feet, I had trouble getting my bike off the rack and to top it off, I was a couple of paces away from my spot when I realized I forgot my race belt with my number. I had to set my bike down and go back for the belt. What fun.
Here’s what I look like when I’m trying to quell those evil voices that keep nagging me when I’m not doing so well. I was just thankful that the swim and T-1 was over and that I was finally able to get onto my favorite leg. In case you’re wondering, this bike course starts on a fiendishly steep hill out of the parking lot and onto the main road. Leaping onto the bike in traditional tri style is pretty difficult for most people (though I have witnessed Janet mastering it!) and impossible for me. I have to get one foot clipped in before I even think about moving forward. Once onto the main road, it’s mostly down hill or flat; then there’s a 90-degree right turn and you’re climbing another steep hill. To add some excitement, the race organizers offered a hill prime for the fastest time up the hill. Now, I had told myself before the race that I shouldn’t bury myself on the hill prime and I thought I was okay with that decision. Once the timing mats were in sight though, that competitive spirit took over and I was giving it all I had. To my great disappointment, the results of the hill climb were not posted, so I have no idea how I did (I do know that I didn’t win, though). I didn’t feel as good on the bike course as I usually do, but I did have a better swim and run time than last year, so I guess training is paying off and the three events are evening out for me. I purposely held back a little on the bike, hoping for something left for the run, but I don’t really think that strategy worked. I don’t think the time I made up on the run was worth what I spent on the bike leg. Oh well, each race there’s something new to learn!
The good part, though, was that I felt pretty strong on the run; I was even able to crack a smile when I saw
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
A couple of years ago (maybe longer?), I started receiving e-mail messages about storing emergency contact information under ICE (In Case of Emergency) in one’s cell phone. Being a skeptic of all things delivered via e-mail, I didn’t act on it. I figured “someday” I’d get around to looking it up on Snopes. Today I researched it and it is indeed true that emergency personnel will check your cell phone for contact numbers. I now have the numbers programmed into my cell phone! There are a few things to remember, however. (For a full list of considerations, the Snopes review is here.)
1.) Many people have their phones password protected, so emergency personnel would not be able to access the information.
2.) Due to differences in phones, emergency personnel may not be able to retrieve information stored in a phone they are unfamiliar with (especially true if time is a premium).
3.) Cell phone may become separated from the victim.
4.) Cell phone may be damaged and non-functional.
Thus, Snopes advocates carrying additional means of contact information with you at all times (something I’m very lax about…but I will try to be better!)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Back in May, I wrote about a column by Michelle Singletary which quoted statistics regarding credit card usage studies. It indicated that even people who paid off their credit card balances each month spent more on purchases than if they paid cash. I have spent the past two months trying to pay cash for purchases. Here are my observations. First – I’m not used to carrying more than $20 cash!! I found I was extremely nervous being out in public with the amount of cash I needed for weekly purchases (primarily groceries and gasoline). Second, it’s terribly inconvenient for me to get to a bank to withdraw the cash I need (my paychecks are set up for direct-deposit, so no need to go for that anymore!) Third, since I have one of the credit cards where I earn a percentage back with every purchase, I would fork over the cash and mentally calculate how much money I *could* have been accruing. Fourth, since I hate, hate, hate shopping (did I mention I hate it?) budgeting a certain amount of cash is difficult because I tend to save all my shopping and do it in bunches (usually rainy days when I can’t be on the bike!) This means I need oodles of cash on one day and nothing for stretches in between. With all that said, however, I can definitely say that I have enjoyed not having to pay a credit card bill every month. I plan on continuing this experiment for several more months, to see how purchases average out. So far, my cash vs. credit expenses look to be very equal, but it will be interesting to see if there will be a difference long-term. To be continued!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Here's my verse -
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23 NIV
Lots for me to think about in the next few months.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
My good friend Janet (who is mostly responsible for getting me into triathlons), had participated at this venue previously. She decided not to race this year, instead volunteering to help with the running of the race. We were able to carpool together, which made the drive so much more enjoyable for me, considering we left well before daybreak. We drove through substantial fog, but as the morning progressed, the fog started lifting. At one point, as we crested a hill overlooking a valley, I thought the fog below took on the appearance of a lake. Janet (being of Swedish descent) thought it looked like snow. Of course, my camera was stashed in a bag in the trunk, so I wasn't able to snap a photo. I doubt that the effect would have been the same, at least that’s what I’m telling myself to make me feel better!
Janet and I stayed together through registration which was held off site and which went very smoothly. Upon arriving at the park, she departed to fulfill her volunteer duties and I got my gear set up in transition in record time. Once set up, I made my way to the body marking, where Janet was ready with the permanent marker. We were numbered in five places! Janet included some smiley faces along with the numbers and they drew a couple of comments from fellow athletes. It's always good for morale!
I had lots and lots of time to debate with myself whether I wanted to wear my wet suit or not. The lake temperature was reported to be 72 degrees, so I didn't really need it for warmth. It does help with flotation, though, and since I'm not a good swimmer (in fact, I'm a terrible swimmer,) I ultimately decided to wear it. I managed to get a good warm up swim just before the start, something that I need to do to get into the rhythm of breathing and calm my butterflies. Seneca Lake is the second longest of the Finger Lakes (38 miles) but greatest in volume. It is 618 feet deep at its deepest point and has a mean depth of 291 feet. It rarely freezes in the winter. It has waves! Bigger waves than I have ever swum in before. I realized the wet suit was helping me to roll with the waves. I mentally congratulated myself for making a good decision for once.
There was a short pre-race meeting, and then it was time for the first of five waves of swimmers. My wave was the third to start. Once again, I saw Janet as she was helping give a hand to the athletes as we were stepping off the dock into the water. It was good to see her smiling face and her calm demeanor further quelled the uneasiness in my stomach. We quickly waded to deeper water, waited just a couple of minutes and then we were off. Within minutes I had gotten swiped in the face by a wave just as I was breathing in. Uh oh. It was similar to the feeling you have when you get the wind knocked out of you. But I was in the water. I wanted to yell for help from the kayakers, but I couldn’t get any words out of my mouth. I also couldn’t raise my hand, because I was busy treading water to stay afloat. Thankfully, my wet suit helped keep me buoyant enough that I was able to cough and sputter and finally get my breath. The entire episode seemed like an eternity, but probably was 1-2 minutes at most. I was able to get back into the rhythm of swimming and managed to make it out of the water in pretty decent shape. As I was running toward the transition area, I heard Janet running beside me, shouting encouragement and reminding me to remember to drink on the bike leg.
My transition to the bike was uneventful but the first couple of miles of the bike leg were very crowded. The first several miles of the bike course are a gradual climb and we had a pretty stiff headwind to boot. It took a lot of mental effort to keep fighting into the wind, but I hoped the tailwind at the far end of the course would make up for it (it did.) About half-way into the course, we turned west and after another mile or two, crested a hill with a beautiful view overlooking the lake. I felt so completely happy and lucky that I am able to participate in something which brings me tremendous joy. It was about this time that I passed three women standing on the side of the course cheering wildly. They each had on grass skirts and I wondered for a minute if our own VeloBella LiLynn was there. I gave them a good “woo-hooo” as I went by and felt completely stoked!
It seemed I had a pretty clumsy dismount from the bike, probably should practice that a little more. I did hear Janet in the background, again shouting encouragement, but this time I didn’t see her. My transition into running gear went very smoothly and before I knew it I was out on the run course. It was in full sunshine and hot! Did I say hot? I love the heat, but it was hot even by my standards. I had trouble keeping my breathing deep and even. I settled into a pace I figured I could maintain to the end. Lo and behold, I started to feel better and was able to pick up the pace a little for the last mile.
The finish area was lined with spectators for quite a while, which really helped make the last few yards painless. Next thing I knew, I was handed a cowbell with a special mini-mussel finisher paint scheme and a bottle of water, which I desperately needed (even though I had remembered to drink on the bike leg!) Janet and I reconnected and after a short rest, we headed out onto the bike course for a little cool-down lap. We returned with plenty of time to get to the start of the men’s elite race. My biggest disappointment of the day came when I discovered that the battery in my camera was dead. No photos. Oh well, there’s always next year. It was pretty neat to hear the athletes’ accomplishments introduced over the PA as they made their way down the dock into the water. When the start gun went off, my overwhelming impression was astonishment at how fast they swam! As they neared the completion of their swim, we walked to their transition area so we could watch them. Since none of them wore wet suits, and their bike shoes are already clipped into their pedals, all they had to do was throw down their goggles and swim caps, put on their bike helmet and run to the bike mount line. Our original intention was to watch the start of the women’s race and the end of the men’s race, but by this time both Janet and I were feeling pretty tired and we still had to drive home. We made our way back to the car, loaded up our gear and we were on our way.
Did I mention that it was hot? We stopped a few miles down the road at a donut shop where Janet got an iced coffee and I decided on a strawberry-banana smoothie. I had never had a smoothie from this particular chain before. It was awful! I don’t have the most discerning taste buds, but this was on the verge of being un-drinkable. What a disappointment. All-in-all, I was pretty happy with the results - 8th in my age group. There's still plenty of room for improvement, but hey, that's all the more incentive to get out and train!
Friday, July 11, 2008
Just a short post today...I've really been busy exercising - even did another 10-mile run a week ago on July 4th. It was right here in my town, so I figured I couldn't pass it up. I was really happy with my overall time and the fact that I was able to maintain an even, steady pace. My splits at each mile only differed by 30 seconds. This spurs my hope that I might be able to tackle a marathon someday (but I will need a lot more steady training!) In addition to the running race, the weather here has been beautiful and dry most of the week, enabling me to bike to work four times.
Tomorrow I will compete in my second triathlon of the season, my fifth ever. I haven't competed at this particular venue before, so I have no expectations about my performance. The neat part about this venue is that they run four separate races throughout the weekend, including an Olympic qualifying race for professional triathletes. The start times are staggered so that the amateur athletes will be able to watch the professionals. Talk about inspiration! I can't wait. Hopefully I will be able to get a report written on Sunday and possibly even snap a few photos!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
If the above clip doesn't play, you can find the video here at YouTube.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Here's my public-service announcement for June. Yes, I know - it's almost July. It's actually good that I'm only a month behind...usually it's more like three or four months. It seems that June 1-7 was National CPR & AED Awareness Week. Thanks to the generosity of my employer, I was able to attend a training session and I am now certified by the American Heart Association to perform emergency CPR. I can also use one of the portable automatic defibrillators should one be available. I had taken the CPR and First Aid training course about 13 years ago and remember that it was two days of instruction! Not anymore. There have been some changes to the technique and it seems like it's much easier to remember now. Total training time was approximately 2 hours, including the defribrillator use. Interestingly, upon reviewing the course with a co-worker, we both commented that we got the impression that even if a bystander isn't sure about the exact "proper" technique for CPR; the underlying message was that it's better to try to do something, rather than nothing. I sure do hope that I never have to use this training, but I am very glad that I have a basic understanding of the technique. I definitely encourage everyone to take this training. Here are just a few facts, taken from the American Heart Association’s web site.
- About 75 percent to 80 percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home, so being trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can mean the difference between life and death for a loved one.
- Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a victim’s chance of survival.
- CPR helps maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain and increases the amount of time that an electric shock from a defibrillator can be effective.
- Approximately 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital.
- Death from sudden cardiac arrest is not inevitable. If more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved.
The course was a combination of video training, instructor training and hands-on training with a manikin. There was no written test, you were simply observed by the instructor to be sure you demonstrated proficiency at the procedure. Quick, easy, painless and quite possibly lifesaving. What could be better?
Monday, June 23, 2008
Besides triathlons, one of my biggest passions is cooking and baking - especially baking. Unfortunately, baking leads to eating, so I don’t bake often. When I do, though, I’ll try to post some recipes here. Today, I’ve made a batch of rhubarb cake. This is from a recipe that came from one of my Dad’s aunts. Since my Dad favors pie over cake, my mother didn’t make this cake often, but it was (and still is) one of my favorites. Interestingly enough, before today, I’d only made it myself one other time. That first time that I made it, it came out extremely moist – too moist for my taste, so I have modified the recipe just a bit.
½ C butter or margarine
1 ½ C brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 C sour or buttermilk
2 ¼ C flour
½ t salt
1 t baking soda
2 C finely chopped rhubarb
½ C sugar
1 t cinnamon
½ C chopped nuts
Cream butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix flour, salt and baking soda in separate bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Stir. Add the rhubarb. Pour into a 9x13” pan. Then combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over cake batter. Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes. (The baking time is where I’ve had to do most of the adjustments with this recipe. The original recipe says to bake for 25 – 30 minutes. The first time I made this, I started testing at 30 minutes and it wasn’t done. I left it in for another 5 minutes and it tested done, but it was still pretty gooey in the center of the cake. Today I started testing at 35 minutes, still not done. I ended up leaving it for another 10 minutes, making the total baking time 45 minutes). Now, I do not have a thermometer in my oven, so it *is* possible that my oven temperature is off; however, I have no troubles with other recipes. I suspect the moisture content of the rhubarb plays a significant role in the moistness of the cake.
Since writing this up, I have googled "rhubarb cake" and came up with several almost identical recipes. Hmmmm. So much for this being an old family recipe! Incidentally, they all say to bake at least 45 minutes, some closer to an hour. Just goes to show - I should have googled it first and left it in to bake a little longer.
Rough calorie count = 343 cal
(aka Fayetteville Triathlon, Syracuse Triathlon or YMCA Triathlon)
This is where it all began for me one year ago…my first triathlon was here in 2007. I never got around to documenting that first triathlon, but I do remember the terrible time I had during the swim leg. I remember resorting to every stroke, even the doggy paddle, just to maintain some semblance of forward momentum. I was seventh to last coming out of the water that first year! This year I did much better. I settled into a nice rhythm and even had the energy and presence of mind to enjoy the beautiful aquamarine blue water. The lakes are each about 200 feet deep and swimming is usually confined to a shallow beach area. As far as I know this triathlon is the only time that people can swim legally in the deeper portion of the lake. I even managed to get my wet suit off without too much difficulty. All other times I have swum with the suit on, I have struggled to remove it (in my mind I imagine it must be somewhat like having a full-grown octopus clinging to your arms and legs which you must remove before you can hop on your bike). Who wants to bike 12 miles with an octopus clinging to them? Once on the bike, I felt strong on the flats, but a little weaker than usual on the hills. I did get a burst of adrenaline from fellow bicyclist Kate, cheering us on at the top of the steepest climb. Amazing how someone screaming at you can do that! Silly pride!
It was a different story for me on the run, however. Upon starting the run, I was seriously out of breath, even though my heart rate was reasonable, considering my exertion level. Within a few hundred feet of the start of the run, I entered the part of the path where I had hiked with my parents a couple of months previously. This is what it looked like then….
I felt a calm come over me and I just kept telling myself not to worry about staying ahead of the other competitors, just to do my best. I expected to get passed by some men, but deep down I was hoping to stay ahead of the other women. I did end up getting passed by a couple of women, including one from Cazenovia whom I had met at a training clinic. This was her first triathlon and she did terrific! She even had a few words of encouragement for me as she passed by. Somewhere between miles two and three, I was really starting to have trouble maintaining my pace and was starting to really slow down. This also happens to be one of the prettiest views of the lake.
Another runner passed me and again I heard words of encouragement and we commented to each other on the beauty of the lake. Soon enough, I was approaching the finish area and by this time my good friend Janet (who had already finished her race with an awesome time) was there to cheer me on. Again, another burst of adrenaline and I was able to get to the finish.
Janet and I walked around a little bit to cool down and search for Kate, but we never found her. We both considered another dip in the lake to cool off, but realized we needed to get our gear out of the transition area so they could start tearing down the equipment. By the time we loaded our gear into the cars, we were both ravenous and headed over to the picnic area where the volunteers had been preparing tossed salad, hamburgers and hot dogs. Mmmm! There’s nothing like some exercise to work up a hearty appetite.
All in all, I managed to shave almost six minutes off last year’s time, which I was very happy with. I placed 8th out of 22 in my age category and Janet placed 7th out of 12. Most of all, I am inspired to keep steady training and maintain my goal of Ironman Lake Placid in July 2010.
Finally, I’d like to leave with a link to a YouTube video – “The Triathlon Song.” It sums up this wacky lifestyle perfectly. Feels so good when you are done!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The other thing he rigged up for me was a fine-mesh wire cage to put around my pot of basil. We don’t have space for much of a garden, but last year I decided to plant some basil in a large pot. It did well, except the squirrels kept getting in the pot and digging it up. I managed to get enough basil for one batch of homemade pesto (my favorite!) before giving up. Against my better judgment (and because I’m an eternal optimist), I decided to plant some more this year. Within a day and a half, the squirrels had uprooted the basil! (Had I been blogging earlier, you would have been privy to our struggles with the squirrels in our attic). Maybe if I ever run out of things to write about, I’ll fill you in. Suffice it to say, I have no love for squirrels. The basil stayed indoors (where I had to protect it from the cat) until he could rig up the basil enclosure. It does look a little funny to have the container of basil completely enclosed in mesh on our front porch. We joked about putting up a sign warning against the “Attack Basil”, but thought the mailman might stop delivering since its right next to the mailbox. So far, it is keeping the squirrels out and most of the basil is doing well. I may lose one plant; it was the one that was dug up the most by the squirrels. Darn things!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
One of the subjects I've wanted to write about is a father-son duo who compete in marathons and triathlons. Today's title links to their web page, if you click on "Who are we", it opens their story. My original intent was to summarize their story, but I don’t trust myself to convey it like they can. I've also included a link to their video below. If you get a chance to watch it, I don't think you'll regret it. Their story is so amazing to me and inspires me to try to be the best person I can every day. They are extraordinary. Go Team Hoyt! I hope I can meet you at a race someday. YouTube link here.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
As if to shore up that notion, I received a phone call from a good friend yesterday and she invited me to go swimming with her today in one of the local lakes. She's one of those friends where we don't get together very often, but when we do, it's very uplifting. She was my inspiration for doing triathlons and is continuing to be my mentor. She's 11 years my senior, but she can beat me in any triathlon we do! Of course, when we made our plans yesterday, the temperature was in the nineties and it was easy to think about taking a dip in 60 degree water. I was having my doubts as I was driving to the lake this morning, though. But, with wet suits on, we jumped into the lake at 8:30. It was beautiful!! Bright blue sky, perfectly white fluffy clouds and calm waters! We enjoyed about 45 minutes in the water, now it's time to get some work done.
I plan on watching the running of the Belmont Stakes this afternoon, hoping that Big Brown will pull off a Triple Crown win. I think it would be a fitting memorial to Eight Belles, the filly who gave her all in the Kentucky Derby this year. Hopefully all horses will make it around without incident.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
The duathlon was scheduled to start at 6:15 PM, but duathlon participants were encouraged to arrive early to watch the racing of the “Porsche Clash”, races which featured many different models of Porsche’s. I am not a car enthusiast, but I did enjoy watching the drivers negotiate the turns. I walked over to a woman who sitting by herself because I had a few questions regarding the race and we ended up chatting throughout the race (difficult to do, though, because of the roar of the engines).
Soon enough, the Porsche's were done and it was time for us to start warming up and getting ready. I was able to get one lap of the track in before it neared the start time and I realized I had underestimated the difficulty of the bike course. After checking my equipment over in the transition area, I walked to the start of the race. By now the wind had picked up, the temperature had dropped to about 60 degrees and it was sprinkling. While waiting for the race to start, the rain started downpouring! It rained all through my first run (15 minutes) and all of the way through my first bike lap (about 11 minutes) before stopping entirely. By this time everybody was soaked to the bone, but the worst part was that we all had to take the bike laps easier than we would have otherwise because the track was slippery from the rain. Still, it was pretty awesome. I started out at a higher pace than I should have and kind of burned out pretty fast, but when starting my last run, I thought there was a chance I could finish in under two hours. I pushed as hard as I could on that last run - didn't make it in under two hours, but did it in 2 hours, 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Now I have a concrete goal to shoot for next year! My time was good enough for third place in my age group, so I was really pleased with that. After going back to the car, drying off and changing clothes, I made my way over to the tent where there was a post-race gathering. Some hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and a really classy awards ceremony! This was the hardest race I've done to date, but also one of the most exciting. I will probably never forget the feeling of swooping through the turns on the track and feeling so lucky that I've been blessed with the ability to get out and enjoy pushing my body to the limit. (Additional race photos can be found here).
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
However, while taking my afternoon walk with my dog, I noticed the above poppy from the American Legion laying on the side of the road. I do usually try to purchase a poppy, but I had not been in any stores the past few days where I ran into anyone selling them. It made me happy to have found this one! I took the photo for Morning Dove, because she's having to go without photos on her blog.
I had spent the past couple of days visiting my parents - taking walks in the woods, playing with my 5-year old niece, having dinner with extended family, and helping my parents with light chores. It is always like a mini-vacation to spend time at their house. We stay busy, but I come home so relaxed, just from the peace of mind from having spent some time with them. They have recently had solar panels installed on the southern exposure of their house. It is so cool to see their electric meter running backwards on a sunny day!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Since it was almost time for the first race to start, I turned my attention to my marshaling duties. Primarily, this meant being aware of pedestrians who may try to cross the street while the racers were approaching. This might seem to be a no-brainer, but when the riders are approaching speeds of 30-35 mph, the general public underestimates how much time they have to get across the street. Luckily (?) the threat of rain and the cool temperatures kept many people from attending the event.
Included in the day’s events is a kids’ race, which is quite well-attended. Participants included kids from a local program – B.I.K.E. Syracuse. In a nutshell, it’s a program which uses bicycling as a way of introducing disadvantaged kids to positive role models. Volunteers with the program spend Saturdays going on a bike ride with the kids and spending valuable time with them. These kids provided me with my most memorable event of the day. Before the kids’ race started, there was a group of older, un-chaperoned BIKE Syracuse kids who were approaching my intersection. I knew the riders would be approaching soon, so I asked the kids to please wait where they were until the riders passed. The kids immediately stopped and waited (even though they could have made it across, I felt it was in everybody’s best interest to have them wait). They didn’t question my decision, didn’t act rude or put out and we even talked a little about the race and how much they were looking forward to participating. What a refreshing breath of fresh air!! Gave me hope for the future, it did!! As a result, I have decided to name BIKE Syracuse as my “charity of choice” for the B-Fit B-Day challenge. Who knows, if I get really adventuresome, I may even do some Saturday rides with them.
Pictures taken by the local newspaper (The Post Standard) can be found here. Look in the middle column under sports photos, then 14th Annual Race Weekend.
Pictures taken by a fellow corner marshal can be found here. Hope you enjoy!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
1) Swim the number of miles in the first number
2) Run the number of miles in the second number
3) Bike the number of miles in the combined number
So a 45-year-old athlete would: 1) Swim 4 miles 2) Run 5 miles 3) Bike 45 miles
Since “0” Birthdays like 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and so on are important milestones the "0" in your birthday represents a 10. This means that on those “0” Birthdays you get to celebrate this big milestone by running ten miles.
This should give me adequate incentive to actually put some thought into my training, rather than just stringing along whatever I feel like doing on a particular day. Hopefully this will improve my consistency and thus my overall performance. Since this is a "0" year for me, I will be trying for a 4 mile swim, 40 mile bike and 10 mile run.
You can navigate to the B-FitB-Day home page by the banner on the left, or by the title of this post. My personal page within the B-Fit site is here. There are three different time frames to accomplish the birthday mileage:
Bronze: Do all three (swim/bike/run) during the week of your birthday
Silver: Do all three (swim/bike/run) in the three days before, after, or on your birthday
Gold: Do all three (swim/bike/run) in 24-hours to celebrate your birthday!
I plan on taking my birthday off of work and will attempt to go for the "gold" challenge all within the 24 hours on my birthday. Come to think of it, maybe I should take the day *after* my birthday off, too!! The site has some great training plans and tips for getting started with exercising -- I could spend way too much time there!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Our cycling club organizes a stage race every year in May. It consists of a road race on Saturday morning, a time trial Saturday afternoon/evening, and a criterium all day Sunday. Usually, I participate in the fun of racing, but this year I decided to help the club by volunteering. I started Saturday morning at the registration desk. Thankfully, with the advent of online registration, this job has gotten much easier. Participants who choose to pre-register enter their appropriate category and payment online and then we just have to check that they are currently licensed by USA Cycling and hand them their bib number.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
…one step. My first step is to admit that I have an unhealthy relationship with food. To those of you who know me, you will probably be very surprised about this. I’m not carrying a lot of extra weight. Sure, I’d like to lose a few nagging pounds, but I don’t think most people would view me as overweight. See, I’m a closet eater who then proceeds to exercise compulsively. I never perceived this as a particular problem until, while perusing the library shelves one afternoon recently, I stumbled upon a book about healthy eating habits (or rather, unhealthy eating habits). Entitled Runaway Eating: The 8-Point Plan to Conquer Adult Food and Weight Obsessions, by Cynthia Bulik and Nadine Taylor, it focused my awareness that I really did have a problem. Here's a review. I have found two tips to be particularly helpful for me. First, if I have a “craving”, I do something entirely different to get my mind off of eating that desired food item (lucky you, that’s when I usually do some writing). Second, you can’t eat what you don’t bring home from the store. Whatever your weakness is, if you can resist it in the store, you won’t have to resist it at home. Yes, I’m still working on that one, as there are occasional bags of M&M’s that end up making their way home with me (hey - I said I’m working on it). I highly recommend this book for helping to establish healthier eating patterns.