Thursday, November 29, 2007


I'm catching up on telling about things that have happened the last few weeks.

This is the story of the tipped water glass.We were on our way south on some Interstate or other that wasn't in good repair (they often aren't -- cracks, bumps) and the truck was lurching and I said I hated to see what the inside of the camper would look like, with stuff getting shaken all around.

Then I remembered I'd been working on a quart glass of water as we got ready to go, and told Steve I didn't remember finishing it and hoped I hadn't left it sitting on the counter. "It's finished now," he said. Yeah, probably all over the floor, warping the wood laminate.

When we stopped, I opened up the camper to check the damage. Here's what had become of the glass:

Here's a closer view. It had slid across the counter to the edge of the cutting board and somehow found a resting place there. Look at the vertical lines around it to appreciate the angle.

Here's how another shelf fared. Anything not velcroed down had tried to make a break from the duct tape we had across the front.

That angled thing on top was, in fact, attached with velcro, but had tried to fall and, kind of like the glass, ended up balanced on its corner held by a few tenacious velcro loops.

I can't believe that glass didn't continue its slide and land on the floor. Gravity is a funny thing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


.... it's a wonderful chance to get in a 16-mile ride before work.

..... it's the chance to keep up my cross-training and keep from running too much and aggravating my healing Achilles tendonitis while still training for the Austin Marathon (Feb. 17.)

Steve's job starts tomorrow which means that Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I'm on the bike to work (16 miles, steep hills the last 3 or 4 miles.)

I start work at noon tomorrow; I'm leaving here about 9:30. I'm sure I can average more than 8 mph but I haven't ridden it before so I'm being extra-conservative. The hills are major. Good training for SavageMan :-) In addition to this being my first chance to see how long it takes me, I also need to leave time to clean up and change my clothes and eat something once I get there. 2.5 hours ought to do it all (unless I have a flat tire....)

Sunny and low-to-mid 50's (I have no idea what that is in *C) during the time I'll be riding. Sounds good.

It's not commuting by bike. It's getting in a great ride before work. And then I get my grandkid fix for the rest of the day.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


If you ride your bike on roads, and who doesn't, then you have got to look at this site. Good. Better. Best. Excellent. Superlative. You gotta read this stuff, honest.

I came upon it trying to find a bikeable way to get to my new job in Austin, TX (yeah, Austin, I'm so out of date on my blog you didn't even know I was here, did you?)

So, yeah, we're in Austin for the winter, work-camping. In addition to the 8 hours a week I have to put in as my contribution to our free campsite, wi-fi and cable TV, I have taken a job at a daycare center 16 miles away, 28 hours a week. I love the little kids and enjoy the other caregivers. But Steve also just got an outside job, and our schedules are going to conflict. I either take him to work, go to work myself, then go back to pick him up afterwards, or I bike to work, he drives, and picks me up when he's done (half the mileage on our 3/4-ton diesel truck.)

So I'm about to become an urban biker. Who would have thought.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Unlike last November when I met Dean Karnazes, I knew that I was going to see Jim Cantore. And I knew who he was. And I was excited.

Our local paper had published an article with the info that Jim was set to be the Grand Marshal at the annual Garrett County, MD Autumn Glory Parade.

And unlike Dean Karnazes, Jim Cantore may be less well-known to my readers unless they watch The Weather Channel.

But I DO watch TWC, because I'm a weather/meterology/storm junkie, and Jim Cantore is one of my most-admired meterologists.

Since this parade is a HUGE event (the Garrett County, MD Autumn Glory Festival was rated #1 on a list of MSN's top 10 fall festivals), you have to get there early, and since we did, I jogged a mile uptown to where the parade entries were lining up. There on the shoulder of the road was a bright-yellow car with a sign: "GRAND MARSHALL -- JIM CANTORE, THE WEATHER CHANNEL." He wasn't in it but surely would be, before long. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later a golf cart came driving up with some "chauffeur" ferrying Jim to his parade vehicle. And he was kind enough to speak to me, and to sign my well-worn Aubon Society Field Guide to weather, which I'm referring to all the time for "cloud reading" as we travel.

I was totally tickled. Dean Karnazes may be a well-known ultra-runner, but when I met him, I'd never heard of him.

Jim Cantore, however, kicks butt. You may have seen him reporting from the field, getting blown out of camera range by a pre-hurricane wind gust. Or not. But I did. And I think he kicks butt.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


The Ironman Florida swim has claimed another life.

Dorothy Barnett-Griffin had been clinging to life by a fine thread since being pulled from the water on Saturday, and today the thread broke.

They don't know what happened. Just like Barney Rice, she was in the later part of her swim and for some reason she went under. With the wealth of kayaks on the course, she was rescued immediately.... but immediately wasn't soon enough for whatever had happened to her.

She had children, as Barney did. The children's father, though, died several years ago. Dorothy was doing her Ironman to raise money for Journey of Hope, the organization which helped her work through her grief. At this link you can read what she said about her hopes for Ironman Florida and her desire to help the organization that helped her.

She had remarried and was doing IMFL together with her husband, who finished the swim earlier and was on the bike course when he was notified and taken to the hospital.

I feel so sad.
We all do.

Please pray.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


7:25 CT -- It's underway! The pros are starting their second lap, the age-groupers are well into their first.

The race organizers are taking no chances on repeating last year's tragedy: there are over SEVENTY watercraft out there watching these athletes (last year, I saw 2.) And I've seen at least one helicopter (might be the same one in different places.) It hovered over the log jam at the first turn. Boats, kayaks, and jet-skis are wandering all over the place.

One poor swimmer has been off course almost from the get-go, swimming parallel to the shore for quite a while. A kayaker is following him but doesn't seem to be telling him to turn around to get back on course.... maybe that's outside assistance. At ChesapeakeMan, the boats delineated the course for us: if you came close to a boat, you knew you were off; all you had to do was swim between the boats.

Somewhere in there, Linae Boehme-Terrana is pulling long, smooth, powerful strokes closer and closer to the end of her first lap and into the second to complete the swim of her first Ironman. The weather is perfect for the swim, no wind, the Gulf of Mexico smooth as silk (except for the splash of the swimmers.)

7:40 CT -- age groupers exiting their first lap thick and fast now. I'm hoping to spot Linae: she'll be the one in the black wetsuit.
I went out for my "long" Austin-training run, 9 miles, wearing my IMFL Finisher shirt and hat to send good vibes to Linae. While out there, my text-message tones went off.... she was out of the water in 1:25:57 (14 minutes ahead of her goal) and on the bike after a transition under 9 minutes. GO, LINAE!!!
Linae's through the bike checkpoint at 73 miles, bike so far 4:37:54, averaging 15.76mph. Paula Newby-Fraser says it's hot and "relentlessly" sunny, which is taking a toll on the athletes. The Weather Channel website says it's 75*F with wind at 7mph. Pretty warm to be working the bike that hard for that long a ride. "Relentless" sun adds 10*F to the way it feels to athletes. KEEP ON PEDALLING, LINAE!!
New York has sent out some sad news: a 28-yr-old man, former Notre Dame football standout and runner, died this morning in the Olympic Trials, after running only about 5 miles. What a shame. They said he was married just 4 months ago.
3:44p.m. CT -- Linae's in!! 7:05 on the bike. Add her 1:25 for the swim and she's at 8:30 total time. A 6:30 marathon will give her a 15:00 finish; 6 hours will give her a 14:30!! I got a text message from Holly and she said Linae looked great getting off the bike. GO, LINAE!!!
Meanwhile, at 6:30 ET, the Navy is up 8 over Notre Dame in the third overtime, hoping to break a 40+ year losing streak to ND. This is a real nail-biter, even though I don't usually follow football (sorry.) I've been following it today (with IM live running simultaneously) since the 4th quarter. GACK!!! ND just got a touchdown. Now it's 46-44 Navy. Uh-oh, foul by Navy. HOT DAMN!!! It's over!! Navy won 46-44, first win over ND in 43 years!!!!! I have a soft spot for the Navy. The man I came close to marrying was a sailor. I married Steve, though; the Navy guy became a Catholic priest.
5:36p.m. CT -- Linae's finished half the run and looking at a 14:30!!!! Hallelujah, baby!!!
13.1 mi. (2:40:11)
She did it!!! Even better .... she did it in 14:19:15!!!!!

Friday, November 02, 2007


My Ironman Purple Heart plant froze last night.

Last year during the days around Ironman Florida, I picked up a sprig of ground cover at our campground and started a new houseplant. As days and weeks went by and the plant took hold and grew, I pondered how appropriate the Purple Heart was because I felt as if I'd been wounded in the race..... I had nightmares about the swim, wouldn't eat ice cream because I never ever wanted to feel cold again, and felt I was pretty much done with triathlon. As a matter of fact, although I've been running and biking recently, I still haven't been into the water since that day.

I didn't expect it to get so cold last night.

But as I lifted my plant's frozen branches, I saw that there were a few places underneath that were still alive. I trimmed off all the frozen parts and left the living leaflets. Purple Hearts are determined and these little pieces will grow and renew my plant.

It's the perfect image for this point in my life when I have become sure I will do another triathlon after all, in fact the toughest one in the world, yes, tougher than St. Croix, the SavageMan half-iron in Western Maryland .

My SavageMan plans grew out of my frozen Appalachian Trail plans. Those plans, however, are in suspended life; just dormant for a year.

Karen sent an email today about an "Inner Triathlete," a "joyful memory spark that says do it again," and the image came alive for me when I saw the surviving sprigs underneath.

Hope is alive. I wish I had thought to take pictures when I saw the frozen plant still erect and edged with frost, then thawed and wilted indoors, before I trimmed it. But I didn't see a blog post at first... all I saw was a dead plant. The picture is what is left of what was a dark-purple flowering plant with branches 18 inches long. It should remind me always to see the possibilities.

The triathlete that was frozen at IMFL is still alive and is determined to grow back.