Friday, December 30, 2005

18 MILES DOWN! (Made my hair frizz??)

We got it done.

Actually I felt good till about 11 miles, which is about 3 miles longer than I usually feel good. I was doing 6/2 intervals which no doubt explains the improvement. Time was not good, though... 4:14:20. That's a long time for 18 miles. Maybe I ran more. I did a couple double-backs and detours to be sure I got in 18.

WOW! I just measured it here, and it was almost 20 miles... 19.88. No wonder it took longer.

Journey was happy to take walk breaks by the time I started tiring, but she had worn herself out with side trips after gophers etc. when I let her off the leash on an untrafficked road. I told her she was just running farther doing those but she didn't listen.

I took the 70-oz Camelback but we were out of water the last 5 miles, with both of us drinking from it. I went through a whole 5-0z flask of homemade honey gel (I've been modifying it till it's probably 3/4 honey and 1/4 corn syrup.) I wished I'd taken a packet of peanut butter crackers, or a bag of chips. I was hungry. I took a salt capsule every 1/2 hour.

I'm glad I didn't have another 8 miles to go.

So after running I drank a bunch of OJ and lemonade and, my favorite, plain seltzer water, then cooked dinner (pork chops, brown rice, baked apples), then.... my most weirdest post-long-run activity ever.... put a home perm in my hair.

I'll have to get used to it before I have the nerve to post a picture. It's way curlier than I'd expected. Glad I didn't use the "hard-to-wave-hair" instructions. You're not supposed to wash it right away but I'm considering it, to calm it down some.

Journey has been sacked out beside the sofa for hours. Wonder what she'd do if I said, "Wanna run?" Naw, I couldn't do that to her. She wouldn't get the joke. I gave her an aspirin, since I took some myself.

ONE-GOAL DAY (Well, maybe two...)

I have one major goal today:

And maybe laundry later on (since I didn't get that done yesterday.)

Yesterday I had all these lofty goals. I accomplished two of them:
The grocery-shopping, and the run. Since I accomplished 2 out of 5 goals, ("less computer time" is an issue in itself), maybe I should set fewer goals.

All my stuff is ready for my run... my honey-gel, my salt capsules, my hair all braided, light breakfast, Camelback filled.

Here's a quick tip:
When filling your Camelback, make sure the mouthpiece is on the other end of the drinking tube. My kitchen floor is clean now, though, a job that wasn't even on the list.

I'm planning to run/walk slowly. I need this distance and don't want to have to bail early.


Thursday, December 29, 2005


A year is too much to think about.

Just for today:

Defrost the fridge DONE!

Grocery shopping DONE!

Laundromat (Didn't do this... not after shopping, which to me is a major stress, a nightmare of decision-making.)

Jog 2 miles easy (includes shower and hair afterwards) DONE! (Except I didn't shower or wash my hair... ick. Well, it was only 2 miles...)

Vacuum (Didn't make this one either.)

LESS computer time (it is really draining my time, and that drains my energy)

And these goals will probably take up my whole day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Look at the cute pin that came in the mail from P.F.Chang's RNR AZ Marathon. The "official race souvenir." I've put it on my 50-States&D.C. Marathon Hat, which will take me another 20 years to complete at this rate. The hat is from The Little Penguin Wine Company, and I got it as a doorprize at a really fun gathering of marathoning friends last February at the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa. Oops, forgot to include that one in my sidebar marathon list, gotta fix that.

So far I have:

  1. Washington, D.C. (MCM x 5)
  2. Maryland (now-defunct MD Marathon Festival; ChesapeakeMan run leg)
  3. Ohio (Columbus x 5, Athens)
  4. Tennessee (Country Music)
  5. Alaska (Mayor's Midnight Sun)
  6. Hawaii (Honolulu)
  7. Chicago
  8. West Virginia
  9. Florida
  10. Virginia (MCM... not sure if it "officially" counts but heck, it starts and ends in VA and I've done it 5 times!)

And soon I will have Arizona.

Anyway, it's a really neat little race memento. I also have a Country Music Marathon mug that holds my coffee every single morning. I had to buy that; it wasn't a perk.

I need to get excited about this race.

Folks who are doing either the 1/2 or the full marathon, please check in here!!! Commodore, Tammy, Tri-Mama... who else? (Darn, Vertical Man, wish you were coming...can't you get better in time?) I've got info on a gathering, masterminded by a member of the Dead Runners Society. I was thinking of drumming up a little email list so we could stay in touch about meeting up, etc.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

HUGE Yesterday...

First excitement: I met up with Mary Carey, a member of Tri-Drs who has been visiting the moon, um, I mean Arizona, from Colorado for Christmas. Mary and her husband were with family in Mesa, and they were able to meet me yesterday for a run. They kicked my butt. I was able to keep up, with a struggle, but it was a great run. We took a gravel road through the desert in the Superstion Mountains here, the same road on which part of the Lost Dutchman will be run. We didn't measure our distance, but went out for 30 minutes, returned in 28. My lungs and legs were burning. BTW, our route looked just about exactly like the one pictured, although the photo was taken in the Sahara (I found it on Google...)

Then, I started biking home, about 15 miles. Steve was meeting his sister and various branches of her husband's extended family for a hike, which wasn't going to fit with my run with Mary and Brian. However, a few miles into my ride, my cell phone rang, Steve calling to say they were running late and if I wanted we could meet up after all.

So.... after a really hard 6+ mile run and a negligible bike ride (about 5 miles) I went with everyone up the Superstition Mountains to the Weaver's Needle view, 2.5 miles each way. A lot of challenging rocky hiking, strenuous enough to breathe heavy, but easier than the trip down, which has left me with sore quads and a mildly twisted ankle. S-i-l Michelle sprained her ankle, too.

Then burgers and beer at her house. After appetizers. Before hot toddies. I ate too much. As I have for the last 3 days. Or last 3 years.

That was yesterday and I'm whupped. But maybe I'll go to my in-laws' RV park and do slow laps in their 88*F pool. I could use our own park's 88* pool, but it's only about 20 feet long. I'm thinking about rigging up some ropes and a belt to secure me to the side of the pool to do "stationary swimming" (I just coined that expression, although it may already be in use, I'll check...)

UPDATE There IS such a thing. I Googled "stationary swimming" and found this link. It's exactly what I was picturing making, so I don't see why I need to spend $30 on one...

This is an indication of HOPE. Once I get over my initial disappointment, I can pick up the lemons and make lemonade!

Monday, December 26, 2005


OK, everyone has things they want to improve, or start, or revamp, or redo, or work on, or accomplish in the New Year.

When you think of all the things you want to have come out differently, or better, than the past year....

What's FIRST on your list? What is the main thing where you want to make a new start, or put the hammer down, or put the pedal to the metal..... the thing above all things you want to make happen in the coming year?

I'm posting this point to ponder early.... while there's still 6 days before New Year's Day.

As for me.....

Let me think about it.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


And already thinking about, well, it must be something akin to New Year's resolutions, although I never make those, on principle. They're just invitations to failure, in my book.

However, I'm feeling urges to clean up my life, now that I can breathe again (what a terrible way to feel about Christmas.... if the commercialism would go away, would I feel better?)

Clean up my backed-up email.
Clean up my Important-Papers file.
Clean up my photo files.
Clean up my closet.
Clean up my dresser.
Clean up my head.
Clean up my heart.

How can I feel that, now that Dec. 25 is almost at a close, the hard work is over, and then make a list like that for a fresh start... when I was not able to make any lists concerning Christmas? It feels like looking forward to the marathon around mile 100 of the bike ride. So eager to be able to put what seems like an eon behind me, that even running a marathon or revamping my whole life looks like a fresh start.

Despite my Merry Christmas post earlier today, and despite being a professing Christian -- Christmas.... well, I get through it. I could probably celebrate it out in a snowy forest by myself surrounded by surprised deer, but I struggle surrounded by gift-bearing humans with expectations.

This accounts for my odd and possibly depressing choice of favorite Christmas songs. (There are 2 links there for 2 separate posts.)

I like the simple thought of the favorite chosen by more than one of of my fellow bloggers: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Take it easy. Don't try so hard. And for Pete's sake stop worrying about it.

To all a good night.


For me, it's still Christmas.

There's been so much fuss this year about the Christmas season, and the fact that not everybody does Christmas.

I know that.

But.... if it's my birthday and I have a party, I invite all my friends even thought it's not their birthday. And everyone has fun.



Saturday, December 24, 2005


There's this joke: A bunch of laborers are carrying their heavy loads. Except for one, whose load is only half the size of the others'. The foreman stops him and yells, "Hey, you, Lazy Guy! How come you're only carrying half a load? The others are working twice as hard as you!" The man answers, "They're the slackers. They're too lazy to make two trips like I do."

So today I ran 10 miles, in two trips. Runs longer than about 6 or 8 miles have been making me feel stiff and sore, and my 18-miler earlier this week became an 8-miler, but I need the mileage for my marathon prep. So Journey and I went out and did a relaxed, comfortable 6. Back home, we both rehydrated, I had lunch, did some downtime in front of the TV, then went out again. Journey looked up from the sofa in astonishment when I said, "You wanna run?" Like, "You got a short-term memory problem or something? We just got back, I'm all sacked out on the couch." But she shook herself dubiously and gamely set off with me, and was a good sport for another 4 miles. I think it's the first time she's felt what I feel every time.... "I don't feel like doing this, but it feels better once I get into it."

So I got in 10 miles. I'm not sore or stiff. I am, however, starving, despite having used up all my Weight Watchers "Activity Points" and "Flex Points" as well. This brings up again the old question, "Does WW adequately address the needs of extreme endurance athletes?" I've read that you burn more calories when you break your workout into two installments, since you get a double dose of "after-burn" -- that revved-up metabolism that lasts for however long after a workout. Work out again and you get another metabolic boost. At least that's what some say. This could translate into, "You may need more refueling after two workouts than after an equivalent single workout." That's my own added conclusion, not anything I've read. Just my analytical mind grasping at straws.

I don't know whether the endurance benefits are the same if you don't do it all in one chunk, or whether 10 in the form of 6 + 4 is the same fraction of 26.2 as 10 x 1. Mathematically, 6 + 4 = 10, which is the same part of 26 any way you figure it. Athletically, I'm not sure...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Our son's longtime friend and hunting buddy Dennis was killed yesterday in this accident on the Baltimore Beltway in Maryland.

Jon called us late last night to let us know. Jon was at work as a firefighter/paramedic in Cumberland, MD, about 100 miles away, when he found out.

Dennis was at our house all the time when Jon was in high school. He and Jon went hunting every chance they got. They both joined the volunteer fire department the minute they turned 16. Jon went on to become a paramedic, and he and my husband (also a paramedic) often worked alongside Dennis at fire and accident scenes. Jon eventually became a professional firefighter/paramedic, while Dennis worked at miscellaneous jobs, like the one in which he was killed yesterday.

I hadn't thought about Dennis for months but the world still feels different without him in it. One person's death affects many lives.... think about all the people whose driving path had to be re-routed, or who were stuck on the closed highway, no doubt who had never heard of Dennis Sines but whose lives were nevertheless changed by the accident that caused his death.

We'll miss him.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Maybe I'll try this.

Today instead of running, or biking, or any kind of training, I cleaned house ("cleaned RV"), did 3 loads of laundry, went grocery shopping, and mailed my last Christmas present, which will never, never make it before Christmas.

I feel much better today.

I should know not to try to run two days in a row. I find over and over I can't do that. That's why I do so much of my marathon training on a bike. Because I can't run on consecutive days. I shouldn't have tried to run long yesterday after running even moderately (4 miles) the day before. I know I can't do that.

Now that the rest of you know, too, don't let me try that again.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I planned an 18-mile run and set out.
I bagged it.
I made it 8 miles, walking the last 3.
I wasn't tired, exactly, or sick or anything...
I just don't have it in me today.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Here are the words of the other Christmas song/carol I mentioned. An amazing and touching history of how Longfellow came to write the poem is found here, along with two verses referring to the Civil War, which were omitted when the poem was set to music and presented for public use. And if you don't know the music, you can hear it here. There is another tune, but I haven't been able to find it on the web.
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
I heard the bells on Christmas day Their old familiar carols play, And wild and sweet the words repeat Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along th' unbroken song Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head "There is no peace on earth," I said, "For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till ringing, singing on its way The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, a chant sublime Of peace on earth, good will to men.


When I referred to the "third verse" of "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear," I didn't even think about one book's second verse being another's third, etc. Some don't have at all, the one I was thinking about:

And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow:
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh, rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Come, rest beside the weary road... and hear the angels sing.

Friday, December 16, 2005


So, there's this tag game going around... KLN tagged me and it has taken me a day or so to figure out what it's about! I'm still not sure I know but here's what I've gleaned from KLN and from PuddyRat, who tagged her, and from Mark who, I found out on Nancy's blog , tagged her. I'm finding things out in my usual roundabout way.

So here's how I believe it goes:

  • Someone tags you and leaves a note in your blog telling you you've been tagged.
  • You post in your blog that you were tagged, and by whom, and share 5 random thoughts/facts/things no one knows/things you maybe don't know either about yourself.
  • You tag either 3 or 5 other people (KLN posted 5 but Mark says 3.... will the correct number of people please stand up? I wanna do this right...
  • Leave a comment in their blog telling them they've been tagged.
  • And they continue it on.

This is what I've figured out so far, anyway.

OK, eeks, 5 things about me. Most of my friends know me pretty well, maybe better than I know myself. (I kind of feel like I'm playing Truth or Dare....)

  1. I got a D in high-school P.E. in 1968 because I did not read and report on Dr. Kenneth Cooper's article on Aerobic Exercise in Reader's Digest.
  2. I delivered a baby once.
  3. I gave birth to one of our children in our TV room in our house.
  4. Sometimes I worry that I can't hold my booze and ought to leave it alone.
  5. I still have recurring dreams about my first love.

Then we have the new Holiday Memories variation:

  1. My favorite holiday memory: my children discovering that Santa had been there.
  2. Favorite holiday treat: chocolate-covered cherries.
  3. We will be in Arizona... Christmas Eve with family; Christmas Day Dinner with "campmates."
  4. Favorite holiday song: "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" for its third verse, and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." I may have to write these out for everyone, in a separate post.
  5. Family tradition: Somehow my husband, children and I started a ritual of making peanut brittle and then going roller skating, on New Year's Eve. We did this yearly for ages. I can't begin to remember how it started.

OK, next victims:

Thursday, December 15, 2005


First off, the picture here... is not my current weight.

This evening's weigh-in: Down 3.2 pounds from last week!!

Lower than what's shown in the picture.

I came home and celebrated with eggnog (which I've not had all week) with BOOZE in it (which I've not had all week.)

Back on the wagon tomorrow. A very auspicious beginning.


Has anyone noticed.... my red/green color scheme for Christmas?

I tried to add some Christmas decorations to my sidebar, but can't figure out how.

This is one of them.

More to follow in subsequent posts.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Yahoo! Avatars
With the bike, the ever-present faithful and loyal companion, the woodland (not desert!) hiking/biking trail, and the CUTOFFS, it's LOL-perfect!

This is my second post of the day... don't miss the cool sign below.

A SIGN OF IMAGINATION... and other stuff

Now, that's clever! The Gecko as seen on top is a staple of Arizona folk art. Some local resident with an enviable mix of imagination, humor, and artistic genius made the improvement in this road sign. I love this sign.

I passed it today at about mile 4 of my 16-mile run. I had taken the picture earlier... it's on the road to town and we pass it all the time.

16 miles down... I'm glad I didn't have 10.2 more to go. But I'm only 4 miles now from a 20-miler, which I know is more than adequate for a marathon. I will get there. I walked 1-2 minutes after every 20 minutes. At 2 hours I walked 5 minutes. The whole trip took 3 hours moving time (I stopped my watch for true stops, like doggie pit-stops.)

I'm tired. My feet feel stiff when I get up and walk after sitting. Either I'm getting old or I need new shoes. Probably the former... the shoes have one marathon and a long recovery period on them (worn for ChesapeakeMan practically brand-new, maybe 20 miles on them, the few short runs in the month after, and then my slowly-increasing training since the middle of November.) I don't think my shoes have gone more than a hundred or so miles. Two hundred at most. Maybe I need to take more glucosamine. I took a couple of aspirin (still my favorite mild anti-inflammatory pain med) when I got home, hoping to get ahead of aches.

Folks have been asking/pondering about Weight Watchers Points and exercise. In general, the program is not geared for extreme endurance exercise. People who do that have to wing it. I know that I earn/use/whatever about one "point" per mile or ten minutes of running. That would give me about 16 extra points for today, nearly a whole day's food. So I just forget it and eat what I want the rest of the day. The old "calories don't count for as many hours as there were miles in your run" system. Makes plenty of sense to me!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Bunnygirl asked: "Does Weight Watchers take into account your activity level? Most days I would be hungry on 1500 calories, too. That sounds like a goal for sedentary folks, not for runners and triathletes like us."

Good question. Actually, yes, they do. You get extra "points" for exercise, based on the intensity and duration of activity, combined with your weight (heavier people work harder than lighter people and burn more calories.) A lot of people see exercise as a way to get to eat more, but what I see here is WW's recognition that exercise requires fuel.

However, a lot of members are at the stage of starting to think about considering maybe beginning a walking program.... not coming off an Ironman triathlon by training for a marathon. At my meetings back "home" in Maryland I got "What are you doing here? You just run it all off." As we have seen, I don't run it all off. Well, maybe I do.... maybe I would have even more extra weight if I didn't do what I do. However, even though the WW leader here in AZ thinks the number I set for my goal weight is too light, my current weight is 14# over the maximum WW recommendation for a person of my height of either sex. They base their weight parameters on a healthy BMI of 22-25. If you go below a weight equivalent to a BMI of 20, you have to produce a doctor's note stating that that is an appropriate weight for you and giving you permission to continue attending meetings. My goal weight would give me a BMI of about 22.5. My current BMI is about 27.5, easily into the "overweight" category. Despite being a runner and triathlete.

You can also select from "eat anything" plans, higher-protein-lower-carb plans, higher-carb-lower-protein plans, and "eat as much as you want but only these foods" plans, depending on your food preferences, how willing you are to write down what you eat (on some of the plans you don't have to), or, as in my case, understanding that different activities require a different balance of nutrients.

For newcomers, they don't start you counting "activity points" for a few weeks, until you get used to the system. However, I think, since I remember about how many points (calories) I burned/earned per mile or per 10 minutes, I will credit myself for that even though I'm back to square one. As Bunnygirl described, I get too hungry on the "target" amount of food if I have run or biked for an hour.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Well. Hmph. Excuuuuse me very much.

OK, there is a leash rule. But who cares if a cat isn't on a leash?

Our neighbors, apparently. While I was out running, Steve was in the yard cleaning the camper, and Annie was meandering around sniffing things. Apparently a neighbor came over and asked Steve if that was our cat. A little while later, a campground host showed up with a copy of the "Pet Rules," with the rule in question highlighted: "All pets, including cats, must be on leash when outside the owner's campsite" (which she was, although easily in sight). A note at the bottom said that we could come to the office if we wanted to discuss it.

OK, there is a leash rule.

But a cat isn't bothering anyone, if it doesn't sneak into their house or something. Cats don't bark or walk up and bite people or kill their small dogs or chew up shoes left on the doorstep. I guess a cat might poop in someone's gravel cactus garden, but I never heard of a campground enforcing a leash rule for cats. So now if she wants to go lie in the sun we'll have to put her on a tie-out. Which will make her not want to go lie in the sun.

OK, there is a leash rule. And it does say "Including cats."

I'm still mad. Who the heck cares? And why didn't they mention it to Steve at the time instead of complaining to the office? I think that's what burns me. They ask if it's our cat and then go call the office.

I want to go soap their windows.

OK, there is a leash rule.

But I'm still mad.


Well, it wasn't working on my own. So I'm back to paying money for the privilege of accountability. I am 5 pounds over the weight at which I originally registered at Weight Watchers in Nov. 2000. Or maybe it was 1999. Anyway, I lost 22#, gained it back plus 11 more, lost 20 on my own, and have gained back 14 of that. It boils down to 25# to goal. Again. ~Sigh~

However, I had attained "lifetime" status in WW so I don't pay more that $12 for a meeting (they were $10 back in Maryland but this is Arizona.)

It strikes me as an only-in-America phenomenon that we have to pay money to lose weight. Although I know WW and other weight-loss organizations now span the globe. It seems unjust, somehow.... some people unable to scrape together the money to buy any food at all, others shelling it out to help them lose weight without, heaven forbid, feeling hungry.

Except I do feel hungry when following the WW plan. My leader and group-mates back in Maryland couldn't understand this. They had trouble "eating all that food." What "all that food?" Other than the minimum "points target" per day, the only foods with a quota are fruits/vegetables (5 a day, less than the most recent U.S. Government guidelines) and milk (2 a day under age 50, 3 over 50, and for teens and nursing moms.) Maybe they couldn't get it all in because they were a lot bigger than I was and were supposed to eat 5 - 10 points (250-500 calories) more a day than I was. My "minimum points target" is 20, which is about 1500 calories, give or take a hundred. Then I have a "Flex Account" of 35 more a week (roughly 250 calories a day) which can be used or not. I use mine. I am very hungry on only 20 points a day.

It all boils down to one more way of counting calories, except that instead of counting to 1500 you only have to count to 25 or so. Just makes it easier. But it's no different than writing down every calorie, or following a 1500 (or whatever) calorie diabetic plan (which is a very good healthy eating plan for nondiabetics also.)

Anyway..... now I have a framework to work in, and an advisor to answer to. Hopefully it will make the difference.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Darn, you can't read the sign on the outhouse, but it says "Out Of Order." Too funny. Actually, the restaurant-souvenir shop across the road (which looks a lot like the outhouse only bigger -- it has great food and its walls are papered with dollar bills contributed by visitors from all over the world) has indoor restrooms. I suspect "Out of Order" translates into "Simulation Only, Do Not Use."

After browsing Tortilla Flat, population 6, about 50 yards from end to end, we hiked up nearby Boulder Canyon trail, which involved short sections of modest rock-climbing and an elevation gain of 700 feet over about a mile and a half. I was sooo glad to see WATER. (I didn't think there was any, here on the moon....) We drove along the lake on the way to and from Tortilla Flat and the hiking trails. It will be gorgeous to kayak on, lots of inlets into desert canyons.

I see I need to clean my lens... I didn't even notice that when taking the pictures. Ychh.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Here are two votes.... or maybe it's two abstaining.
What do you do? Walk? Stretch? Yoga? "Recovery Run?" Sleep?

I started the day by repotting two small red poinsettias into one large pot to make one large one. Very pretty. Then my husband and I set out to Camping World to buy some RV supplies and he backed over it. The new poinsettia, I mean.The plants were OK but the pot was history. So we bought a new pot, and while I was at it I bought some pretty blue pansies and primroses and a window-box-style planter to add some greenery to our desert scenery. Ate lunch at TGI Friday's, had a margarita. Back home, I fixed a Long Island Lemonade (or a reasonable facsimile), and potted all the above -- along with repotting my Norfolk Island Pine that I planted the day my dog Amber died last year. I got a white poinsettia and watered it with blue water (water + blue food coloring) to turn it blue...they were selling these for $14.95 in Wal-Mart but I bought my white one for $3.50. Remember doing this with daisies and Queen Anne's Lace? We now have a patio garden, which I plan to enlarge and embellish. We put down a patio rug (I got the blue flowers to go with this) and I had another Long Island Lemonade. Been loafing ever since but have switched to eggnog. It's no wonder I don't lose weight.

That was my rest day.
What do you do with yours?

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Check out the time for my distance! Considering that I felt lousy at the start and figured I'd jog it slowly, things went well!! Mostly due to Journey... she was feeling peppy, I guess, spurring me to 10-minute miles in spite of my heaviness, and on the return trip I thought, well, let's see how much I can keep up with her. Running with a dog provides more than just protection! They say that to run faster you need to run with someone who runs a little faster than you do... Normally I hold her back, saying, "Slow, Journey... slow...." to keep her at my pace. Today I thought, well, maybe she'll pep me up a little, and WOW! There were a few stops, for drinks (I haven't gotten a pic yet of Journey drinking from the Camelback) and I got my breath during those. But I'm sure happy with this time for a training run!

This run followed a trip with my parents-in-law to scout out a pool in Apache Junction, where they are living, and which is the closest town of any size for us. We found a gym with a pool, but the pool was only 47 feet long and maintained at a constant 88*F. Whew. Way to warm for working hard. Mom-in-law mentioned that the pool at their RV park is the same temperature, but they have an exercise room. I looked at that and wow, nice!! Good machines, treadmills, bikes. She checked on my using it as their guest and it will only cost $5 for the whole winter!! Can you imagine? It's 20 miles away so it's not inconceivable that as I get back in condition I could ride my bike to and from.

I still need a pool, but I'll probably have to go as far as Mesa to find a full-length one and hopefully a masters swim group.

Then I got info from Commodore about group bike rides near here. It will be great to find biking friends and meet Commodore!

It just goes to show.... I've been depressed and discouraged for a few days (more than that, off and on) but next time I'm feeling like that I'll know to wait and hold out... this is a test, this is only a test.... because something good may be about to happen.

Box Canyon

There was a 4-mile hike planned today among folks in the RV park, about 15 of us. It was a nice hike, very pretty scenery, but I ran my watch and our moving time out and back was an hour and 15 minutes, so I don't think it was 4 miles; probably more like 3, but it was a good recovery walk, since I'd been pushing harder than usual the last couple days. It was fairly easy hiking; level canyon bottom, no hills, but a few rocks to climb over or around, and some soft sand and gravel to trudge through (we were following a dry creek wash.) Steve did not go; he gets a free round of golf once a week for being a "course marshall," and today was his day to be marshall.

I have not messed with the color in this photograph.

Back home the strength training got crowded out as I took Journey for a desert walk, then went grocery shopping, then came home and fixed supper, then made a snack to take to a get-together in the park activity hall, and we went to that. It was the "Welcome Back Fiesta," implying that most of the people here come every year and know each other, which in fact is the case. Many of them have been friends for years. I feel like we're the new kids on the block.

The "exercise room" boasted in the campground description here is not that great. There's weight machine designed for bench press, lat pull-downs, and those things where you lift weight with your lower legs, either sitting or lying on your belly; but you have to put on and take off attachments to do the various activities, and it's kind of flimsy, and one of the butterfly arms is broken off. The park probably got it as a donation or something. There are free weights, the kind with removable discs that you screw onto bars to create the weight you want; a set of very light one-piece dumbbells (I've contributed my pair of 10# weights); a rowing machine; 2 stationary recumbent bikes (one with a non-operating display screen); a fairly decent treadmill; a broken weight scale. There's a pool but it's more a splash pool than a swimming pool. I guess it's OK for the ladies' aquacize sessions but there is no way one could do distance or stroke work in it. I've used small pools but this one just won't work. So I'm in the market for a gym with a pool (or a gym and a pool) where I can get a membership for the winter. Quite possibly the park owners are not into exercise and don't even know the equipment is limited or in disrepair. I think it's the first year with new owners. Maybe I'll bring it up.

However, there are TWO hot tubs, and a dry sauna. I've been craving a hot tub, and the sauna is a bonus. Those perks are going to be very, very nice.

Monday, November 28, 2005


That 2-hour run you see planned for today in my sidebar... here's some of it! Although I still feel as though I'm living on the moon, I'm getting to like the moon. Moonscape, um, landscape, is very beautiful, especially against an incredibly blue sky. Now, this cow... well, this bull... I have no idea what he was doing in the middle of the desert. I didn't see any evidence of a ranch or anything nearby. But there he was. Maybe there's so little to forage on in the desert that a ranch can only have one head of cattle?

Stats: Moving time 2:03. Total time including stops for pictures, drinks, squirting water out of my Camelback tube for Journey (she drinks the moving stream of water, has become very proficient) -- 2:20. Distance: 11.5 miles. A couple miles were on gravel road which isn't as efficient as asphalt; there were a few long stiff hills. It was a great run though and I do feel now as though I can run the full marathon at P.F. Chang's RNR Arizona.

Remind me of that next time I say there's no way I can train up for it...


In my never-ending quest to discover the perfect sock for running and biking, I now turn to my friends.

Do you have a favorite? What do you like about it? Do you prefer the same socks for running and biking, or do you like different ones for each sport? How come?

The one I've pictured here is the SmartWool Micro Mini. I like wool quite a lot. I have SmartWool hiking socks and have found they manage moisture so well that I can get 2 days out of them (even with hiking) if push comes to shove, which it sometimes does when you live on the road without a washing machine close at hand. They make not only hiking socks but running socks. In fact, their fiber-content description states, and I quote: "The fibers naturally regulate temperature, whether you're climbing an 8,000-meter peak or running an Arizona marathon." Is that a message or what??? I have a couple pairs of their running socks, too, but the ones I have are a little thick for my liking inside running and biking shoes. I see they make a lighter, thinner one, which I will try next. The downside is, they cost about $14 a pair, although a Google search is turning up discount prices of about $10 from companies other than the manufacturer.

Further perusal of the SmartWool site turns up cycling socks, as well. In fact, they look like what I have that I thought were running socks. Maybe that's why they don't feel quite right for running. Can sock types really be that specific???

I like WrightSock double-layer blister-free socks but I find that the layers twist a little: I have weird feet and although my running shoes are a very normal size 8.5 (bike shoes 41), socks larger than size Small are too long for me; the heels come up past my heels making wrinkles and lumps. And it's hard to find Small, at least over-the-counter.

I tried a pair of Injini Toe Socks but they drove me kind of crazy. I can see the science behind the style, and, truth to tell, I do sometimes get blisters on the sides of my "inside" toes where they rub against each other. But that doesn't drive me as crazy as these socks did. However, I know runners who wouldn't run in anything else.

I also like cheapie Haines, Fruit of the Loom, and Danskin socks I can easily snag in Wal-Mart. The question is, if I like these at $5.95 a 4-pack, why am I willing to shell out $14 for SmartWool?

Because I'm looking for the PERFECT SOCK.

I have yet to find one that has no toe seam. You know, the one on top that hits right behind the nail bed of your big toe.Whatever my sock, I turn them inside out so the smooth side of the seam is next to my skin. Even the ones that claim "flat toe seam" are only flat on the outside. They make seamless-toe sandalfoot pantyhose... why can't they make seamless-toe running socks???

Chime in, folks. I want to know what kind of socks you wear.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Oh, geez. I didn't even think of checking past results until Nancy brought it up. In 2005, gals 50-54 lined up like this:


Look at the second-placer. 4:48.
Look at the third-placer. 5:12.

Last year I had a really hard fall training season and felt like h3ll at the Chicago Marathon, but managed a 5:30. A month later I did a spur-of-the-moment race in Huntington, WV, running 4:50 and feeling great (oh, yeah, and placing an AG 4th but awards only went 3 deep.)

So, hmmm, what if I run Chang's RNR AZ feeling lousy (been debating whether to switch to the half, as you may have been reading)... could I repeat my Huntington experience at Lost Dutchman? Hmmm. Huntington was flat. Dutchman isn't. Six miles of Dutchman is on a gravel road. But if a difficult RNR makes me tough....

Oh, Nancy. See what you've started.


This is part of the Lost Dutchman course.
I have no more questions.
What was the question???

Friday, November 25, 2005


And the problem was in my pop-up blocker. Even turned off, it was blocking the Blogger Photos thing.... I can't begin to fathom why. But when I messed with it and arrived at "Always allow Blogger Photos," BINGO!!!

Anyway, this is the medal I'd get for doing the Lost Dutchman. I am really leaning that way.

Here's how I see my options:
  1. Continue on my present plan, run P.F. Chang's RNR Arizona undertrained in 7 weeks, forget Lost Dutchman
  2. Continue on my present plan, run RNR AZ undertrained in 7 weeks, do the half at lost Dutchman a month later
  3. Continue on my present plan, do both full marathons, with RNR AZ as training for Lost Dutchman
  4. Back off my present plan, run the half at RNR AZ as training for the full Lost Dutchman

Option 1 could give me a lot of stress trying to train up sooner, give me an uncomfortable marathon, and cut me out of one that could be a lot of fun.

Option 2 would give me both events but both of them would probably be uncomfortable -- I might not feel really up to either one of them.

Option 3 would be the biggest feather in my cap of the bunch, and might be doable, or I might have two really crappy marathons a month apart.

Option 4 is sounding the most sensible. I'd still get to do some of RNR AZ, and get a medal for it, and have a better marathon a month later than I would have had a month earlier.

Oh, yeah, two possible snags:

  1. I'd have to pay another entry fee -- not that big a snag unless:
  2. Lost Dutchman's field limit of 500 is reached before payday (Wednesday) when I can fork over said entry fee. It's not a lot but I shot my race-entry/athletic stuff wad on IM FL entry, and the registration fee for Phoenix Triathlon Club. I sent LD an email asking if it will most likely be open another 5 days. If not, I'll think up something.

Sounds kind of like I'm planning on it, doesn't it? I think I really might feel more comfortable doing the 1/2 at RNR AZ and the full Lost Dutchman. After I get my mind around the change of plans. And if registration doesn't sell out.


I can't figure this out. I can't post pictures anymore. When I click my "Add Image" icon, nothing happens. I took out all my pop-up blockers but it's still not fixed. I changed to another template (for some reason, when I've done this before, I've been able to add pictures.) I've cleared my cache of everything except Blogger. I've cleared that, too, and signed in all over again. I've turned off the computer, restarted.

NOTHING I DO IS ALLOWING THE PHOTOS WINDOW TO POP UP!!!! I could take this da*n computer and throw it out the window. I am so furious. This thing is part of the general conspiracy to make me feel tricked, incompetent, and stupid. Part of the world's plot to drive me crazy.


Well, I wanted to include a picture of the medal for the Lost Dutchman Marathon, but as happens more often than not, I can't bring up the pop-up window to add an image. This is driving me crazy. I'd put in a lot more pictures if the da*n thing worked.
Anyway. The Lost Dutchman, rated by Runner's World as one of the Best Small Marathons, is Feb. 19, not 20 miles from here, in Apache Junction, AZ. It looks like a fun marathon, plus.... it's a month farther away than RNR Arizona. I could do the half at RNR and then have another month before my marathon. And I'd still be getting in my Arizona marathon.

I knew there was a marathon in Apache Junction, but I thought it was the same day as RNR AZ in Phoenix, so I didn't consider it. My husband and my s-i-l told me that was nuts, why would they have 2 marathons thirty miles apart the same day? I checked this out and found I was right, it had been scheduled for Jan. 15, but was moved to Presidents' Day Weekend to get it off RNR's day. Also to allow people more travel time, with the long weekend. Smart. So I wasn't mistaken or crazy... it was scheduled the same day, but now it's changed, making it quite possibly a likelier full-marathon goal for me than RNR. (Actually the official name of RNR is P.F. Chang's Marathon, and it's just on the RNR circuit.)

With another month to train.... and still have fun at RNR AZ.... my sister-in-law and her husband are doing the half there as well.... this could make a lot of sense.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I'm in the middle of Week 8....

This is Hal Hidgon's plan for running marathons 8 weeks apart. He also has plans for running them 2, 4, and 6 weeks apart.

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
8 Rest 2 mi 3 mi 4 mi Rest 6 mi 1-2 hrs.
7 Rest 3 mi 6 mi 3 mi Rest 6 mi 12 mi
6 Rest 4 mi 6 mi 4 mi Rest 6 mi 16 mi
5 Rest 4 mi 6 mi 4 mi Rest 6 mi 20 mi
4 Rest 4 mi 6 mi 4 mi Rest 6 mi 12 mi
3 Rest 4 mi 6 mi 4 mi Rest 6 mi 16 mi
2 Rest 4 mi 6 mi 4 mi Rest 6 mi 12 mi
1 Rest 4 mi 6 mi 4 mi Rest 6 mi Marathon

Well, I can't get the columns to line up right. You wouldn't believe how much time I've spent on this. If I'd been out running I'd have my long run done for the week. I've tried copying it from the site, did a "View Source" and copied the HTML layout (which messed up my whole blog, repositioning my profile to the bottom), finally typing it out longhand.... Anyway, Mondays and Fridays are rest days, Saturday is 6 miles, Sunday is a long run, and everything else lines up on Tue., Wed., and Thurs. Your brain will figure out the line-up (the computer can't.)

I don't think I'll do all those longies... 2 16's and a 20. I think I'll go easier there, maybe 14 or 15 in Week 6, 16-18 in Week 5, 18-20 for Week 4's long run. I see what he's doing, alternating long-run weeks with runs not quite so long. We'll see. I never follow any plan exactly, even my own.

Last week, I guess, was Week 9. My marathon is more than 8 weeks from my last one but I'm just getting back to actual running after my post-IM slump (which I'm still in, actually.) I did get in that 8-miler last week, and the "first" week of this program, Week 8, looks very doable from where I am.

So, today is Wednesday of Week 8. I didn't run :-/ We went shopping and then stopped at my in-laws to surprise them, then ended up going out to lunch (late, like 2p.m.), then got home around 4, and I was depressed about a bunch of things and went to sleep. When I got up it was to late to come back to consciousness and then do a run. I went and sat in the hot tub.

But I did the 2 miles yesterday, with a 5-minute walk as warm-up and cool-down, making 30 minutes and a total of 2.6 miles. Maybe I'll do the 4 tomorrow morning, after making the cranberry-orange relish to take to dinner at my sister-in-law's. We're headed to mom-and-dad-in-law's by noon to head on up to Michelle's for dinner. No doubt we'll get back pretty late, too late to run.

Michelle lives in Scottsdale (oh, yeah, forgot to blog about traveling to the Phoenix area.... we traveled to the Phoenix area). There is actually a sprint tri there tomorrow morning, but I don't have it together to get up way early, talk my husband into going up there way early, pay the $70 bucks and do the race. If I'd had more notice I could have gotten my mind around it and talked him into it, and gone over to Michelle's from there. Michelle and her husand are actually runners and bikers but they are way, way faster than I am. Even if I could talk Michelle into RNR Arizona, it wouldn't work for us to train together.

I'm joining up with the Phoenix Triathlon Club, but you can only join by mail and tomorrow's a holiday w/o mail. They have an online forum but you have to be a member to use it. I am dying to find a pool, a masters swim program, a swim coach. There is a pool here at the campground where we'll be for the next 4 months but.... it's about the size of our RV living room. No way can I swim laps in it.

If I don't find some friends around here I will go crazy. Running/biking/swimming friends. Tri friends. Any readers of my blog live near Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Apache Junction, Florence?

Friday, November 18, 2005


I wrote this in response to posts on Messies Talk,, and realized it follows pretty naturally after my "On The Road Again" post. Everyone here knows what it's like to be a triathlete, but hardly anyone knows what it's like to live full-time in a camper.

K writes(wecanmakethedifferencewearethedifference): I am soooo tired of doing laundry. I know I shouldn't post it, I dont
want anyone NOT doing their laundry...There is only two more loads on
the laundry room floor.butttt there is one in the dryer and one in the
wash, dh's work bibs,so there again its four loads and not just two.
My reply: Until my husband and I started living out of laundromats -- that is, while our family lived like a regular family in a house -- everyone over about the age of 7 or 8 did their own laundry. I taught them how to set the dials on the washer (always use the "cold wash" setting because kids can't be expected to sort colors) and dryer (warm, not hot), reminded them to check to see that the cat had not jumped into the dryer before they turned it on, and they were on their own. Each kid had a laundry basket in their room and if they needed clean clothes, they knew what to do. My husband also did his, or took his work uniforms to the cleaner's. Nowadays, though, we use laundromats, so I'm usually the one who does it. ~Sigh~
Which brings me to:
"butter_flysin2005" writes: Do you and anyone else live in their campers all the time? my sil wants
to do this in a few years. When a person is in the camper or a small
space it is hard work to keep room in it. I am constantly picking up
in it so there is room to move about.
Oh, yes. There are thousands of people who do what we do, living full-time in their RV, "Full-Timing," it's called. Check out,, and for starters. Unlike a lot of full-time RV'ers, we had not taken RV vacations or even used one before we decided to retire into one. We dreamed about it and searched the internet and RV shows for a couple years, bought one, took it for a couple weekend trips, sold our house to our son and waved bye-bye. We're a little young to be retired, early 50's, but my husband had been at his position with the State of Maryland Forest and Parks Service for 30 years, so we came by it honestly. I had been a nurse, but only for about 12 years, having spent most of our married life raising kids. I was 41 when I got my nursing degree. It wouldn't have earned me retirement, but maybe being a homemaker all those years did...
Geez, my husband's cell phone just rang, to the tune of "On The Road Again...."
And Andrea writes: I love hearing
your hikes and things, and wonder how you have much space or time
left over
to be really untidy?!
Believe me, it's not hard. When you have such a small living space, just living in it messes it up very fast. I have never gotten the hang of putting things away when I'm finished with them. Maybe because I don't know when I'm finished with them.... I may very well come back to them in just a little while and I want to be able to pick them right up.
I've gotten so much help from just one idea from "The Messies Manual":
"IF A JOB WILL TAKE LESS THAN 30 SECONDS, DO IT NOW." This means, like, putting away my biking or running shoes when I finish biking or running. Closing a cupboard door even though I'll be opening it again to put away whatever I got out. Washing my dinner plate. And silverware. Both my husband and I have a habit of leaving the dirty silverware in the sink and then there's no clean silverware, since we only keep a service for 4. Things like getting up off the sofa make a mess... the afghan is all scrunched up and the pillows are all over. But I may be going right back to the sofa, so I don't fix these things. But then things happen and I don't get back to the sofa, so the mess is just there. I think, as in a house, books, magazines, snack dishes, beverage containers, and odds and ends are the worst offenders. But a small mess in a little place looks like a big mess, especially if you stumble over it (my husband's shoes.... he thinks he's a Cleanie and I'm a Messie but he leaves his shoes right in the path from the living room to the front door and bedroom.) Most of these are normal messes that occur in houses as well as RV's, but in the RV, they're a lot more noticeable, and a lot more intrusive.
We have a lot of stuff... pets (toys, fur); computers (papers, receivers, gizmos); a piano (music books), small stringed instruments (music books and stands); I have long hair (barrettes, brushes, scrunchies, curling iron, which I put down to cool and then there it lies); my toiletries/cosmetics organizer overflows onto the sink counter; I change clothes a couple times a day (biking, running, hiking) and leave my "street clothes" out b/c I'll be putting them back on, except I decide to change into shorts instead of jeans and there lie the jeans on the bed for the rest of the day, because I have to move my guitar to access my jeans drawer. Or I leave out whatever activity's shoes, to let them air out, since I sweated a lot. And there they sit. But not in the main traffic pathways, like my husband's :-) Just out, making a mess.
Believe me, it doesn't take much time or space at all to make a mess!!
This post has gone on long enough. I am trying to analyze my situation and figure things out as I write it. And I do love this life. Except I was sorry to leave my job in the doctor's office. I still miss it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


....that's what gets us where we want to go. I am tired tonight. I haven't done much. Yesterday when we arrived at our overnight campground (not in El Paso, after all... in Deming, NM) I shoed up and ran 5 miles. No big deal. Today we traveled again, landing in Tuscon, AZ. After we set ourselves up I took out my bike and rode 8 miles (4 out and back) to plot out a route for running. When I got back I realized, duhhh, I don't have to pre-mark a route, I carry a GPS. Oh, well, I got in an 8-mile bike.

However, that was in preparation for an 8-mile run, hopefully tomorrow, and at the moment that is daunting. I think I need to go to bed early. What I REALLY need is a very long, very hot, very deep bath. But we don't have a bathtub. Neither does the campground. It's a rare campground that has a hot tub, and this isn't one of them. The best I can do is go over to the shower house and take a long, hot shower. This is subject to how hot the water gets... in some places it's not very warm.

Maybe I'll just go to bed early. Running will look better tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On the road again

Tomorrow we're heading out of New Mexico, overnighting in El Paso, TX, then west with the eventual landing target of Phoenix, AZ, Nov. 22.
This means I need to secure all our worldly goods so they won't break apart on the road. You wouldn't believe how many of those worldly goods are stuck down to their home surfaces with Velcro. But some things in daily use need special treatment.
The fish bowl goes in the sink covered with Saran Wrap secured with rubber bands. I love my fish. His name is Chessie. He knows me and swims happily to the side of his bowl when I come near.
My house plants go in the shower, where they can't do any harm if they get knocked over. When I put them there, I water them thoroughly and let them bask in the moisture and humidity... there's a skylight in the glass-doored shower and on the road the next day they will get light, solar heat, self-projected steam, and a general spa treatment.
But the shower's usual inhabitants, our laundry basket and the vacuum cleaner, have to go elsewhere. The laundry basket goes on the bedroom windowsill; the vac in the bathroom. (We just move them out of the shower when we want to use the shower for its intended purpose.) If the laundry basket falls off the windowsill, it will only land on the bed... no harm done. I can't just put it on the bed... read on.
The cat goes in a cat taxi-carrier on the bed, with pillows around her to keep her from getting tossed around. Our two guitars go on the bed, in cases wrapped in the bed's comforter. Things I keep down beside the bed, go on the bed... offbeat stuff like a weather radio to warn us of oncoming hazardous conditions, the electric blanket controls. My fiddle and my husband's dulcimer go between the sofa and the wall, with a sofa pillow stuffed in to keep them from flopping out. The piano... yes, I have a piano in a 300-sq-foot RV... well, an electronic keyboard, but nevertheless a full-length 88-key piano gets held in place by the dining table when we pull in the slides (see a couple paragraphs down for explanation). I used to put it on the sofa wrapped in afghans and cushions but discovered that the table and chairs hold it well... it's not going anyplace.
The computers (my husband and I each have our own lap-top, saves fights) get unplugged and go on the recliner with a sofa cushion on top of them. The toaster-oven is OK on the counter on non-slip shelf-cover stuff, I've discovered; I used to stow it on the recliner but found nothing happens to it if it's left on the counter. The TV has Velcro straps around it. The throw rugs all get rolled up and go on the sofa. (Yes, we have to have throw rugs. Otherwise the carpet would get ruined just by being lived on. Why do they put w-t-w carpet in campers?????)
I have to get all the dishes washed and put away so that Chessie can go in the sink. Along with pet bowls, which get taken up from the floor because when we pull in the "slides" (expandable sections of the camper that enlarge living space when parked) everything gets compacted. And our one what-not cabinet, which goes between the dining table and the wall next to it. The "what-not's" are velcroed to the top of it. The cabinet underneath holds our wine etc. It goes in the aforementioned little space, in front of the cat-litter box, which is one of those deals with a cover, over which I drape a piece of fabric matching our curtains, so it doesn't look like a cat-litter box.
Bedroom/bath area -- towels have to come off the hooks on the wall b/c they'll get caught in the bedroom "slide" when we pull it in. Closet doors have to be latched. We've found out what happens when we forget these little details. Over the months, I've Velcroed the wall-clock and various wall decorations I used to take down and stow but forgot once, and once was all it took. Open shelves (books etc.) get duct tape plastered across the fronts.
It might be so much easier just not to have decorations and books. But this is our home.... we need our family pictures, the plaster impression of the grandkids' handprints when they were toddlers, etc.
Anything out of place just gets thrown onto the bed, where it will come to no harm, and cause none, and I'll take care of it when we "land."
The dog goes in the truck with us.
As does lunch. And my camera equipment (you never know what you'll see on the road.) And dog treats for rewards when she holds her peace instead of barking at the toll-gate attendant. And the travel atlas and road-trip directory. In the stow-it compartments in my door of the truck are: travel books; a cloud-interpretation book; hairbrush and scrunchies; reading glasses; hand lotion; individually-packaged hand-wipes; pocket-pack of Kleenex. In the back seat with the dog are a water bottle, a collapsible water dish, her leash, plastic bags for picking up dog-poo at rest stops. And a couple toys and something to chew on.
The electric power hook-up cable gets disconnected from the campsite and the back of the trailer, coiled into a milk-basket, and tossed inside the front door. Steve takes down the satellite dish that enables our TV and computers; it, too, goes just inside the front door. The outdoor chairs go inside. Our bikes go in the truck bed. Oh, and our kayaks.... they used to go on top of the truck but lately Steve has jury-rigged a rack for them on the back of the camper. It takes two of us to hoist them up and tie them down. Oh, and water.... the water hose gets disconnected from the trailer and the campsite spigot, coiled up, and stowed in one of the under-camper "basement" compartments.
It sounds so organized and put-together. But I'm always winging it. Steve is always in the truck cab with the engine running while I'm still tying up loose ends in the camper, stepping over outdoor stuff that's been stowed inside for the trip.
Then everything goes into reverse when we pull into the next campground, usually about 5 hours and 250 miles later. We can't just leave everything stowed, spend the night, and be on our way in the morning, b/c so much of our stuff is stowed in our living space. At least half of it has to get moved so we have a place to sit down, and can sleep in the bed. This is a major reason why we don't do many one-night-stands at campgrounds. When we stop, we usually stay for several days at least.
Believe it or not, though, packing up to leave only takes about an hour, with sips of my morning coffee in between. Often I have to crawl in over all the stuff to rescue the forgotten coffee cup from the counter, though, just before we take off.... or there will be coffee all over everything when we stop. A few tablespoons of coffee left in the bottom of a cup make a huge mess when the road is bumpy. Ask how I know.
Anyway.... some of it is done now for tomorrow's take-off; some will wait till morning. In the meantime, I think I'll go to bed. Just writing about it has made me tired. Especially since we hiked 5 miles in the desert today. It wasn't hot or hilly but it was windy. Wind takes a lot out of me. Takes the wind out of me, you might say.

Guadalupe Mountains

Well, again my "Add Image" icon is not working, and it doesn't even matter, because -- I don't know what I did, but none of the pictures I took today are on my camera card. We hiked 5 miles in Guadalupe Mt. National Park, and I took shots of the mountains, and cactus fruits, and wonderful gnarled old juniper trees perfectly framing the distant mountain peaks; the close-ups of the mule deer.... all gone. Whatever I did, they're gone. It's the first time I've hated digital. But they're gone.

Still, I saw them. I wanted my friends to see them too. I framed all the shots, took special care, in order to have just a photojournal blog of today's hike.

But I saw them. I don't have a record, but I saw them.

I don't know what I did wrong in my camera. But my human brain excels over the digital imitation, and I remember that I saw them.

And they were beautiful.

Trust me. Imagine.


.... the one about the Super Hero Quiz that "pegged" me as Pirate Jack Sparrow. The long link I had included messed up my sidebar position, putting it way down at the bottom of all my posts, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it in that one post. Everything I tried got me "Post not accepted, tag not closed, tag broken, etc. etc. etc." Finally I deleted the whole post and now my blog is fixed.

Sorry about that, and I apologize to the couple folks who had comments on it. I just couldn't figure out how else to fix it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Shucks. I tried to copy and paste my post from the Ironman Florida 2006 blog, but it wouldn't work. So I have to start over here. I tried to include the picture I included there, but my picture icon isn't working now.

And I'm not running. I think the last time I ran was last week with Mica. Last Tuesday, I think. I haven't run a continuous distance over 6 miles since ChesapeakeMan, and have no idea how I'm going to be ready for RNR Arizona in 2 months. Maybe I'll do "doubles" -- instead of 8 miles, 4 in the morning, 4 later. Four miles feels doable. If I can get up to a long run of 15 or so miles a couple weeks before the race, I'll go for it. I've done that before. If I don't pick up my running soon, I may change my registration to the half, if that's possible. I haven't checked. Or I could walk the marathon. That would work.

Running just feels so lousy since ChesapeakeMan. The pain is gone, it's not that. I just feel slow and heavy and leaden. And here in Carlsbad, NM, it's been windy windy windy ever since we arrived, 20+mph all day every day, uncomfortable for running; plus, we're "parked" right in town, can't just run out the door, have to drive someplace to run, AFTER I find a place, which goes against my grain.

But today we went to Carlsbad Caverns, the "Natural Entrance" (as opposed, I guess, to the "artificial entrance"), walked down and down and down, something like 750 feet of switchbacks. Beautiful in there. It boggles my mind, thinking about all that stuff happening all by itself for millions of years underground. No one suspected until the 1920's when someone wondered how all those were rising out of the ground every night. We took the elevator back up (the "artificial exit," I guess.)

Then we hiked on desert canyon trails down to "Rattlesnake Canyon," although we saw no rattlesnakes, indeed no animals at all except a few sparrows. But the desert plants are beautiful, so perfectly adapted to their dry, inhospitable ground. Prickly-pear cactus; some kind of tiny oak bushes with little acorns half the size of peas; several varieties of yucca; cacti growing in formations like balloon-animals; a shrub with leaves like holly; wild sage scenting the air like turkey stuffing. My hiking boots hurt my toes, being as how my feet seem to have grown longer in the last year or so. On the way home we stopped at Wal-Mart (even out in the desert where there's not another breathing animal besides just us for miles around, you can stop at a Wal-Mart on the way home) and I got new boots. Wal-Mart doesn't carry hiking boots for ladies, at least not real ones, but I found some that feel good in the smallest men's size they had, 7, and with a cushiony insole slipped in (I have a lot of those on hand, being a packrat) they feel like heaven.

Now if I could only motivate myself to run...

Afterthought, Nov. 14:
I discovered, re-reading my own blog, that the last time I ran was just 3 days prior to writing this post. I didn't even remember it till I read it. I think I'm in some kind of a black hole....

Thursday, November 10, 2005


So we've left the Dallas area, and are staying the night in
Anson, TX, just north of Abilene. We're still practically in central Texas. It reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder's description of crossing the great prairie in a covered wagon: "The prairie formed a great circle, and all around it was the sky, and in the middle was their wagon. All day long the horses walked and walked, trying to walk out of the circle, but all day they were still exactly in the middle of it." That's not word for word, but it's close. Texas is a w-i-d-e state to cross. Laura was not in Texas when she made the observation about the horses; maybe Kansas. I forget exactly.

I went running after we set up "camp" (we plugged in our electricity and connected water and sewer, and TV/internet satellite, but haven't gotten out any of the things that have been secured away for travel). We don't call what we do "camping" but for just an overnight stay, the term is good enough.

Anyway, the road seemed flat but wasn't...prairie has swells, and, again as Laura observed, "It was flat, but it wasn't flat." That is the only way to describe prairie. She hit the nail on the head. So I ran over a couple miles of gentle rolling swells, and back again, for just under an hour, 5.6 miles. I felt like a block of concrete. Maybe from sitting in the truck all day. Journey barked at cows grazing in the scrub bushes. Maybe she thought they would be fun to chase, like deer. On the two-lane Interstate 180, there was very little traffic, and nice wide paved shoulders. It was great for running, temperature 61*F. I still don't know how I'm going to manage a marathon in 2 months.

There is a cotton-milling facility next to our campground. Cotton grows alongside the roads in great fields of rough, twiggy little bushes, poufing in fluffy white gobs about 2 inches across. Little balls of it lie all along the shoulders of the road where they've blown off bushes or maybe farm machines. I've never seen cotton growing before, and I've certainly never seen it being milled (ginned?) A conveyor hoists the raw cotton way up high in the air and dumps it into a hopper, and cotton fluff comes out the bottom, free of seeds. The air is filled with cotton lint. I think you can get some kind of pulmonary disease from breathing it all the time... something like black lung, only white lung. I'll have to look it up. Or not. I'm only staying overnight.

Tomorrow we should finish crossing Texas and land just across the New Mexico border, near Carlsbad, where we'll pick up mail, and we'll stay a few days, hoping to go to the Caverns, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Even though all the picnic areas here in Lewisville Lake Park are named after fish... Perch, Walleye, Catfish... even so..... This one is too much! I think I'd rather open my basket at the Bluegill Picnic Area.

I suppose, if you're a fisherman, it just sounds like the name of a type of fish. Kind of like, to a person from Garrett County, MD, "Accident" is just the name of a town.

Funny, what you get used to, and what seems peculiar when you're an out-of-towner.

However, this picnic area isn't all that attractive, compared to the others in the park, which are grouped under lovely shady pine groves. Maybe they did do it on purpose.


OK, if you haven't already, you gotta go read Nancy's NYCM Race Report. The general public, and a lot of runners who don't understand what greatness really is, are interested to know who "won" -- not realizing who the true winners are.

This gal inspires me to keep on going. Way to go, Nancy! You are a winner!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I should have taken the picture while it was still bleeding.

Ultimately the cause was biking in sandals instead of my bike shoes. You read right. We were lazing around in beach chairs at 5:30p.m. and Steve suddenly said, "Want to go for a short bike ride before it gets dark?" It gets dark at 6. He was already halfway onto his bike. This was an unusual invitation and if I took time to change shoes (a) he'd be gone and (b) I'd be a geeky jock for needing bike shoes for a casual ride around the park.

My whole leg reach, pedal stroke and therefore my balance were majorly affected. Out of habit, I'd go to pull up or push back on the pedal, and my sandal would fall off. I made it till the very end, where we had to walk the bikes in through a narrow space in a gate. Re-mounting, I lost my balance, compensated with a body lean, and hugged the chain ring with my calf.

But it was a really nice ride, strolling easy in the deepening dusk and cooling air and wafting breeze. I hope we go again. But I'll wear my bike shoes.