Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Creedmore Cruise

Nice bike ride this morning, though to get to the pretty and mostly empty country roads, I have to go down some busy ones. 1327 has nice wide shoulders, but it leads to the county dump facility, so tons of garbage trucks go by, kicking up a lot of dirt. And Slaughter Lane is always a little nerve wracking, even though it has a bike lane. But cool weather, birds singing, and a mild breeze made for a pleasant morning.
Though I had a close call on S 1st when a truck behind me didn't give me the right of way turning left, and instead decided to try to pass me from behind in the intersection because he wanted to go straight. He forced me off my bike and came within an arm's length of me. That was scary, and it makes me angry that these oblivious drivers in metal boxes think they own the road. I don't agree with the aggressive downtown bikers that run red lights and pass in between cars either- I think they're wrong too. But perhaps a little courtesy and following the law by both drivers and cyclists would be a good thing. And when you're behind the wheel of a potential deadly weapon, then you need to pay attention and yield the right of way to the vehicle in front so you don't kill someone!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Muddy Buddy

Sunday was the Muddy Buddy in Johnson City. Five miles of alternating running and mountain biking, interspersed with obstacles. I was worried about the obstacles, in particular a wall climb, as I'm not so good at hoisting myself over tall objects. But the obstacles were not the problem- the other participants were. First, let me remind you that Johnson City is in the Hill Country. Lots of hills, with lots of loose limestone rocks. So the mountain biking is not on a dirt trail, it's on a hilly, rocky jeep trail. I have a hard enough time pick my path on a mountain bike, and when you add in 900 other people hauling ass unsafely down the same path, it's a disaster. I had a number of close calls, but luckily no big falls or injuries, though a number of other people were not so lucky. And the alternating with the buddy part meant there were always faster people coming from behind. And the mud pit was kind of fun, but with the cold front that came in on Saturday, it was about 65-70 degrees on Sunday, which was a little chilly. But I'm glad to have experienced it.

My Muddy Buddy loved it though, and was surprised when I told her to count me out for next year. I just don't want to go fast, and get irritated when people around me want to go fast and jeopardize my safety to do it. I think the nice, relaxed charity ride in Schertz has soured me on competitive races. Or really, maybe I just need to do more charity rides! Next up- Tour de Cure!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Post #100!

I can't believe I've posted 99 times already. It's been 11 months since the first one, and time has been moving quickly. I feel like I'm more focused on my training and nutrition recently, and I'm finally making some good triathlon friends and feeling more comfortable at workouts and get-togethers. I hope that continues to grow, and I still have hope that the right guy will join T3, we will train together, fall in love, and get married by Bill Reilly after finishing IM Kona, all filmed for the TV show to make people cry. Fairy tale? Yes. But I can dream, right? Hey universe, are you listening!?
I've had a couple of good early morning workouts this week, and I have found that I am much more energized afterwards. I really liked the spin followed by a Barton Springs swim this morning. Spin was tough- lots of climbing, and I did just one lap at BS, but it was nice and chilly, and I was able to take that cool feeling until about noon, so that was awesome. I'm not sure how it would work if I actually had to go to work afterwards, but it was a good start.
And five months and 12 days until Longhorn! Maybe post #200 can be my race report...

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Rookie race report

I was looking forward to The Rookie because it's a sprint at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels, and it is the same course as my first adult triathlon (not counting the Ironkids tris when I was 11 or 12) last year. I was interested to see how I compared to last year and hopefully I had improved. And I did, but barely:

  • 2008: 1:30:28
  • Swim 8:13; 2:44/100 m; T1 3:39
  • Bike 47:47; 13.8 mph; T2 1:38
  • Run 29:08; 14:34/ mile

  • 2009: 1:30:14
  • Swim 8:37; 2:52/ 100m; T1 3:26
  • Bike 47:23; 14.2 mph; T2 2:08
  • Run 28:38; 14:19/ mile

There's a rumor that the swim this year was long- a 400m swim vs a 300m swim. That would make a difference, though the swim was tough because the mud and silt were really kicked up on the second half- more like swimming in chocolate milk than water, and I was sighting a lot more than normal. The water was actually really disgusting- a bad sulfur smell, and knowing the goats are pooping in the water, along with 1000 people peeing in it in the pre race warmups. Gross. But the improved bike and run times are exciting, and if I hadn't left my gloves on, and then turned around to put them back, then T2 would have been shorter and I could've broken 1:30.

The other interesting thing was I was able to push really hard on the bike, passed a lot of people on the first half where it's pretty flat, but once I hit the hilly section on the second half, I was hurting, and that was not a good omen for the run. I started the run with an older overweight woman with a green tri top on, and I thought "she's not any better than me, I'm going to catch her," which shows that I do have some hidden competitiveness in me! But even though she was walk/running, she was staying 10, then 20, then 50 feet ahead of me. And at the half way point I realized I was not going to break 1:30, and that was demoralizing. But I trudged along, and was happy to finish.

A lot of the T3ers out there, a couple of fast folks that got awards. The race was well organized- High Five puts on a good show, even with a huge crowd of ~1000 triathletes. The only beef- I always stick around for the awards, not only to cheer on the winners and keep a bigger audience, but most of them give out door prizes, or other freebies, and I figure that's the only award I will ever win. And at the end of this- zero door prizes, so boo on that.

And even with all the prerace drinking water, and trying to stay hydrated during, I still came home with a bad dehydration/ exertion headache, which lasted most of the afternoon. But a good race, and the first of the Texas Tri Series- in the bag!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pictures from the garden

The garden has been coming along nicely. Some days I go and look, and things are sprouting and blooming before my eyes. And then some days, I think that everything is looking puny and about to die because I haven't watered enough, or I watered too much, or whatever. It's a little bit different, using the containers rather than just dirt in the ground. They are a little more picky about water. The tomato plants suck up water like a sponge, and always seems dry, while some of the squash have tiny mushrooms and some white fuzz that might be trying to be mold. I think location also plays a part, because the deck is the sunniest, but Lumpy Dog takes offense to some plants and knocks them over. So I moved those to the side yard, which is sunny, but has a tall fence and the house, so it's direct sunlight for only about 4 hours or so. And there has been weird, overcast, but hot and humid weather recently, so that probably doesn't help.

The marigold is in the front yard and I have really enjoyed seeing the color every day. I am not much of a flower person, but I think I will add a couple for color throughout the year after the experiment with the marigolds and begonias (which have mostly withered already).

Here is the biggest plant- four yellow squash in a big planter. I probably should have thinned them, but they all look so good, and I ran out of planters so I would've had to throw away whatever I thinned, and that's just no fun.

In the mornings, there are huge yellow squash blossoms, and after they are fertilized (I think, but I'm not a horticulturalist!) they start to form the squash vegetable. From all the blossoms, it looks like I'm going to have a lot of squash!

So far, I haven't used any pesticides, but I have used some Miracle Grow. I'm not a huge organic or die kind of person, and really, I just don't know what else to use. And with the containers, all the plants have is that little gallon of soil, not the whole vertical section like in a dirt garden. In a dirt garden, I could work in cow manure, or any of the other supplements, but with just the container, I'm not sure what else I could use.

And in the back yard, I had an old compost heap from the previous owner that has not been used- Lumpy Dog loves to eat compost, so it doesn't actually get to compost. It's pretty shady, but the plants I put out there are doing pretty well, including the bush beans, which had pretty little purplish flowers and are now sporting some beans.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


So I've always thought I was a heavy sweater. I do not glow or perspire, I sweat. Compared to some of my fellow triathletes though, I am not as sweaty as I think I am. At work, I get uncomfortable with the temperature, between the cap, mask, surgery lights, heating pads, and gloves. And then add in the nervousness when something doesn't go quite right. I can sweat up a storm!

But while exercising, I don't seem to sweat as much as the next person. I went to AM spin this past Tuesday morning, and it was probably 80 degrees and 80% humidity, which was pretty uncomfortable, though the big ass fan does help. I sweat primarily from my head, and mostly it seems from my forehead, so the sweat drips down into the eyes all the time. Next is probably my neck, them forearms and then upper arms. It's funny, but I really don't sweat from my armpits much at all- maybe the antipersperant does work. So when I am working hard, it drips from my head and elbows and you can see the drops on the floor. I usually have a ring of sweat around the collar of my tank top, but the rest of the shirt is not wet, but maybe a little damp, same for the shorts.

Now compare that with one of my coaches who will remain nameless for his protection. After the five minute warmup, he has soaked his tech T shirt. He doesn't just drip, it pours off of his head, arms, and legs like a faucet. There is a lake of liquid underneath his bike. After the most recent workout, he got off the bike and was walking around, leaving puddles where it dripped off, ran down his legs, and out of his shoes. It looks like he just got out of the pool. How is that possible?

And I do see some people that are not really sweating during the workouts. Maybe just the drops above the upper lip type of sweating. I know that how hard you are exercising doesn't necessarily have anything to do with how much you sweat. A lot of it is individual, your personal sweat rate. But at the same time, I feel like I've accomplished something if I get a good sweat on.

I have done a little research on sweating, and found that you can measure your personal sweat rate. Weigh yourself naked before exercise, then go out for an hour (or 10 or 30 minutes or whatever). Then weigh yourself afterwards. Add in any water you drank or subtract if you had to pee. That is your personal sweat rate per hour. It ranges from 0.6-1.4 L for average people, to a the record of 5 L per hour for someone sitting still in a hot room. For perspective, a small bike bottle is 0.6 L and there are 2.2 L per gallon. The sweat rate will increase with exertion, temperature, and humidity. I've also heard that the more in shape you are, the more efficient your sweating is, which means you sweat more to cool off your muscles earlier in the workout and produce more sweat. I haven't seen any research to back that up though, though by the sweat rate of my coach, maybe it is true.

So I like to sweat when I'm exercising. But I hate to sweat when I'm in real clothes. If I'm hot enough to start sweating, I get irritated. In Texas it is hot from March to October, so that is a long time that I am irritated. And I think it ties back into the old pattern and the negative thoughts come in. "If you weren't so fat, you wouldn't sweat so much." And I do think that there is truth to that. I am wearing an insulated coat- of course I'm hot. But really, when it's 100 degrees outside, just about everyone is sweating, regardless of how much they weigh. I also think thin people wear fewer and lighter clothes- tank tops, shorts, skirts, etc. And the more skin is exposed, the more sweat can evaporate and cool you down. So why don't I wear things like that more often? Because I think I need to cover up more skin to hide my fat.

Well, forget that. I've started wearing capri pants to work- mainly because I brought a little fan and it cools my legs off. I wear thin wicking socks and crocs with the holes in them. I also use an ice back on my lower back- sometimes my back is sore, but mainly to lower my core temperature. I am also trying to swim in the mornings before work at Barton Springs because that water totally lowers my core temperature! I am occasionally wearing tank tops too, and not just when I'm working out. But that does make me feel a little exposed, and that will take some getting used to.

And then on the mental side, every time I notice I'm hot or sweating, I am going to say "yay, I'm am using up energy to produce this sweat, and I am sweating out the fat." Hopefully that will help me keep a positive perspective. And then I will go jump in Barton Springs to cool off.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Nice ride

It's been two weeks since I've ridden my bike outside due to wet weather and work scheduling. I've been getting in some good, consistent spins at T3 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it is just not the same as getting outside. It rained early this morning, but by 9:30 it was drying up and the sun was coming out, so I was off. I had 30 scheduled and planned to do the Kyle out and back.

It was great- lots of wildflowers- mealy sage, cowpen daisies, coreopsis, bluebonnets, Mexican hats, Indian paintbrush, spider wort, pink cups- I'm sure some of those are made up names, but whatever. Everything was blooming. And I was feeling strong. Made it out to 1626 in less than an hour, and then tried to add on some mileage to see if there was an alternate route back. And there is, it's just the IH 35 frontage road, which is suboptimal. But up to the next crossover and back to Old San Antonio Road and back home. Lots of other cyclists out and about as well, and one guy in particular in a Violet Crown kit- he passed me, but I was able to hang with him on the mild downhills- very cool. He took off up the next incline and was gone though, until he passed me again on South 1st- he must have done a loop around Akins or something. And he said "almost done, keep it up!" which was nice. Wound up with 28 miles, which was fine.

Back home, mowed the yard while I was still dirty and sweaty, then shower, lunch, computer and kitten time, and now a nap!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The computer is dead, long live the computer

My 2005 HP laptop died last week- the screen went out, and while I could hear the motor whirring, I couldn't see anything. I took it in, and the said 7-10 days before they could look at it. So this past week I've been using computers at work, at Kinko's, at the library, and finally gave in and bought a bottom level Toshiba. I don't need bells and whistles, only internet, word, and excel. I am hoping I can use the old computer as a backup, if it is fixable, otherwise, I hope I can get my pictures, and documents off of there. Remember that thing about doing periodic backups? Right...