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.

Monday, November 07, 2005


What fun! Mica got in touch with me and said she lives near where we're staying in Texas, and today she came over and we went running. I just love this... meeting friends for the first time as we travel. We had a great time. I had run before she came but had quit because it was so hot (85*F). You can tell I'm not from Texas. So waiting for Mica I changed clothes into my trademark one-piece swimsuit with, not running shorts, but a Nicole DeBoom-style running skirt (which I made myself after viewing her website.) I was a lot cooler than I had been in tri shorts and t-shirt.

Mica and I talked and chattered the whole time, walked some, ran some. I had a really good time. She seemed to, also! (Eh, Mica?) Journey went with us so we were a threesome. Mica had lunch with me afterwards. What a cool visit!

Thanks for coming, Mica!

Friday, November 04, 2005


Obviously, Chessie is a fish.

He's my second attempt since I wrote about the death of Fish. Actually my third... I started with a couple pretty fantail guppies, then made the mistake of adding a betta. Some fish are betta-compatible, but apparently fantail guppies are not, and he named himself Killer. But he died. I don't know why. Sometimes new fish do that.

So this is Chessie. "Chesapeake" seemed like too long a name for him, plus "Chessie" is a little like "Nessie," the Loch Ness Monster. Chessie's color in this photo surprised me. He's green/blue with red fins when swimming toward you; lavender when swimming away. With flash, he became yellow --- he's like the Horse of a Different Color in The Wizard of Oz. He already knows me, and comes swimming towards me when I come close. I don't know why I think of him as "cute," but.... he's cute!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

MY NEW HERO (well, one of them...)

I've just "met" Cherie Gruenfield on Ironmitch's blog. She wins Ironman triathlons in the 60-64 age group. Now, I'm not sure I want to be quite that skinny, but I'd like to be that tough 10 years from now, and I'd like to have her muscles. And, Cherie uses her sport to reach out to troubled youth and head them in a more positive direction.

This is something that nags at me.... how can I help others benefit from my training and racing? I am self-conscious that it's "all about me."

  1. But I've had folks tell me I've inspired and encouraged them. A fellow racer at Chesapeakeman told me he'd entered the race after he started reading my excited, enthusiastic posts on a local email group. He entered the race because of me, and I hadn't even done an IM yet! Dawn told me she ran 15K without walking at all, for the first time ever, thinking of me finishing my IM -- during which I walked a lot!! WJ decided to train for an Ironman, after I "survived" mine... she said she'd been wanting to but needed to know someone who had done one. Nancy had already decided but I suspect my survival reassured her.
Over the years I've had other followers... my husband Steve started running and completed a lot of local races and 2 marathons, and lost 40#, back in the 1980's. Our daughter Val in Ohio also started running and ran 2 marathons, pushing 2 children in a jog stroller during most of her training. Neither of these folks still runs, though, so I must have slipped up somewhere (maybe gone too far overboard in my own endeavors?) but they started running and achieved goals they never entertained before, because of my running. And I guess it doesn't have to be a lifelong addiction to have been a positive influence and something they're glad they did. Daughter-in-law Jamie runs when she can fit it into her working-commuting-night-shift-day-sleeping-mom schedule and has "indefinite definite plans" to run a marathon for Team in Training, which I did a few years ago; her mom's youth group raised money for me, selling candles. So I encourage Jamie, and I affected those kids, too. Then there's the young boy who was my TNT honored patient. I have a picture of him running a 5K a couple weeks after I finished my marathon for him. He didn't survive his leukemia. But in the picture he is radiant. He and his family were so happy about my running in his honor. We stayed in touch for years, even after he died.

So it's not all about me. I've been told indirectly by a member of the extended family that there are better ways to spend my timef; that some other family members "used" to run" before their priorities changed (read "for something more important.") But if just by putting one foot in front of the other I can touch, encourage, and inspire a few people here and there to achieve goals... I have a mission. Maybe a calling. Maybe even a responsibility.

Thank you, Cherie Gruenfield!

I inspired "myself!" I went and ran. I mean, how can I inspire people to run if I don't run? 35 minutes, with a 5-minute walk at the 20-minute mark. Then, just at 35 when I was "done," a message was sent to me in the form of a girl running towards me, who turned out to be on her out-trip of a 6-miler, running my pace. So I turned around and went with her, ending up with an hour of running. She just did the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon for TNT. I told her how she was inspiring me to keep running! I told her about my return to running after my Ironman and she said I was her new hero. What goes around, comes around!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Steve drove our truck-and-trailer combo onto one of those weigh scales at a truck stop and...
We've gotta unload some of our stuff.
Last year we were at 20,000 pounds even... which is the exact pulling limit for our truck.
Now we're 700 pounds over that.
We have acquired: a big heavy satellite dish for our TV's and computers. 2 kayaks. Some kind of big surge-preventor electric box. A cast-iron Dutch oven with cast-iron lid (Steve makes chili over the campfire.) A document scanner for the computer (to scan slides and photos.)
And I don't know what-all else.
I am unloading some of my books and some of my clothes, although I feel I'm at the bare minimum for both already. I gave our daughter all my beautiful egg-shaped rocks from the shore of Lake Superior. I gave our other daughter several of my plants. I consolidated the rest of my plants into one planter (way less soil.) I could unload all of my possessions and still not come close to 700 pounds.

One thing we've decided to unload is 40# of our combined extra body weight. 20# each. A joint effort. This will be fun, hopefully. And 20# lighter should make my next Ironman a lot more comfortable!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Specifically, Lewistown Lake Park, Lewistown, TX, just north of Dallas. It's real pretty. The campground is within the park, which has smooth, flat, paved roads perfect for my return-to-running-after-the-Ironman running.

A gorgeous big lake. For kayaking and for Journey's swimming. Maybe mine too?

Birdsong... Great-Tailed Grackes, my National Geographic Birds of North America tells me. They make lovely long, clear whistles, and contented purrs, and excited clucks.

Beautiful weather today.... 60*F, sunny, no wind.

I ran 21 minutes, 2.1 miles. My legs hurt after the first mile; during the return mile, I walked or even stopped periodically until the ache went away, before continuing. The pain was gone as soon as I was done. That was an hour ago, and I just went and did 5 minutes easy; no pain there. Maybe that's how I'll get my distance back: run 5 minutes an hour all day, or something.

I downloaded flexibility/strength exercises for what I have determined is rotator cuff tendonitis in my shoulder. Maybe I'll eventually be able to swim again...

We are going to Lowe's to get stuff for our interior redecoration. Steve doesn't know yet about the redecoration... thinks we're just going to get new blinds. :-) But I want to go to Wal-Mart for fabric for new curtains (I know just the print I want and they better have it here in Lewistown); while I'm there I might get my hair permed. I got layers cut into it in Missouri and I'm so happy. Now I want waves. If I keep on going, pretty soon I'll have carefree Tri Hair!