Monthly Archives: June 2017


I’ve only worn a wetsuit once.  I was kayaking in Ireland in the winter, and we were all required to wear wetsuits.  They were slimy and it was freezing, and my wetsuit associations are decidedly negative.  However, I finally decided to pull the trigger on buying a tri wetsuit.  These usually run $150 to $200, so it’s not a small purchase.  I could (and probably should) rent or buy used, but what the hell, in for a penny, in for a pound, right?  I’d been thinking of just swimming in a bathing suit since the water should be in the 70s on raceday, but what tipped me over the edge is that the open water swim practice sessions run by the local tri club and wetsuit mandatory, and there’s no way I’m going to swim with a wetsuit for the first time on the day of the race.  Also, the vast majority of races in this area are cold enough that a wetsuit is highly desirable, if not a necessity.  So.  The plan is to try on the wetsuits I ordered from Amazon (yes, plural – free returns!) and find one I can tolerate, send the rest back, and try to psych myself up for hitting the open water next week.  Or maybe the week after.  (Don’t wanna!  It’s gonna be cold.) Honestly, thinking about it is enough to make me switch exclusively to duathlons.

We’ll see if I get hooked on this tri thing.  Right now, I’m thinking next summer I’ll try and do more longer cycling and participate in some of the major events around here.  I can spend the rest of my time running, and swim only for exercise and amusement.  On the flip side, i am tempted to join a Master’s swim team just for fun.  Except that they meet at like 5:30 in the morning, so that’s probably not really going to happen.  Maybe when my kids are older, I can swim on a team with them.

running and horses

I read about the Strava mile on the Strava app and decided to give it a go.  My mile PR is 5:52 from high school when I was 17, had had no kids, weighed maybe 115, and did a lot of speed work.   I think it’s safe to say I’m not breaking 6 minutes any time soon, which makes me a little sad.  But, no matter.  Strava thinks my PR is 7:05 or something like that, so I decided to go after a sub-7.  I found my nearest track, less than 10 minutes from my house and is synthetic; there isn’t a track like that in the whole city of Roanoke.  I headed out there at 6:30 in the morning or so and had it to myself.  I wore my watch and decided to try and target 400s between 100 and 105 s — leading to a 1600 m between 6:40 and 7:00.

My splits for 1600 m ended up being 99.5, 102.3, 102.1, and 101.9.  That’s a 6:45 1600m.  Strava clocked me at 6:43 for my fastest mile (as I kept running since 1600m is just a bit short of 1 mile.)  Overall, I’m pleased, though honestly I thought I could run a few seconds faster.  I’m inspired now to do some speed work.

Saturday, I went out for a 38 miles bike ride around the lower half of Lake Washington.  1737 ft of elevation gain.  I’ve done the ride before, but it felt a little easier this time.  I’m always intimidated by a ride that long, but it’s better when I at least know the route.  I averaged 12.9 mph, which is pretty typical for me for this type of ride.


After my ride, we headed to a birthday party with L – an equestrian party.  We live very near a beautiful area called the May Valley that has a lot of horse farms, and the party was at one of them.  L, as I’ve mentioned on here before, tends to be timid and afraid of most new things, and she has always been afraid to sit on a horse every time the opportunity has come up.  The people at the horse farm were so great.  They started with having the kids brush the horses.  L was initially afraid to touch the horse, but I eventually was able to talk her into it.  Then B got up on the horse they’d been brushing, and we all managed to talk L into getting up to.  What did it was the option to ride with her sister.  It was so sweet.  Unfortunately, I was so busy providing moral support to L that I got no photos, but I’m hoping I can get at least one from one of the other moms.

traveling East

We’re back at home safe home, and boy is it great to be back.  Nevertheless, I am extremely glad we went.  This anxiety problem I’ve been dealing with for the last year and a half has made me reluctant to travel.  Last year, my trip to Houston really did not go well from an anxiety standpoint, and it’s made me hesitant to travel.  It wasn’t long ago when I felt completely incapable of living my life, so I’ve obviously come a long way since then.  Nevertheless, there’s a difference between living everyday life and traveling.  And I’ve found traveling with the kids very stressful.  They are getting older, though, and it’s been getting a lot easier.  We had a wonderful and easy vacation to Oregon recently (four hour drive) and that made me believe it was time to go to home.   Going home is not what you’d call an easy trip, even when things go well, it’s about 12 hours from door to door.

Things did go well.  The kids were little angels.  Of course, we bribed them with lots of new little toys.  But still.  No crying.  Almost no whining.   Just stellar behavior from end to end.  The only little problem was that I couldn’t get through it without a panic attack.  If you’re counting, I haven’t had one since last
August – that’s ten months.  I’d really wanted to make it to a year.  On the plus side, my panic attack lasted less than an hour.  I was able to control it through breathing, took a Clonazapam, and quickly felt better.  I’m extremely frustrated that I can’t seem to leave this behind, but on the flip side, I’m trying to be patient and  realize that overall, life is good.  I do feel this is holding me back from doing everything I want to do, but I can do MOST things that I want to do, and overall, our life is very good, and our family’s life is good.

The highlights of the trip were spending time with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and Daniel and his family.  I did take some photos, so I’ll hopefully get those processed soon.  It was also nice to be in lush, green, beautiful Roan.oke.  For the record, it’s much greener than Seattle.  However, that humidity.  Oh my God!  Running was torture.  I was just not used to it, and I seriously thought I would expire hoofing it up the mountain at the end of my runs.

My plan is to return to the Virginia in October, and I’m looking forward to it.  Can’t wait to see that squishy little baby!

le tour

My brother and my parents went to see the Tour de France a few years ago.  I was talking to him about this this morning, and it made me think about my life bucket list.  I’ve made bucket lists before, and the problem is that they always change.  But still.  I do think there is value in creating a new bucket list even if it’s obsolete sooner than I’d like.

1.) See a stage of the Tour de France.  According to Kevin, it’s amazing.

2.) Go to the Hebrides.  Or maybe the Shetlands.  One or the other.

3.) Do a triathlon.  May do an olympic triathlon.  I hope to check off the former this summer.  I’m nervous, but excited.

4.) Take a vacation in upstate New York.  The Adirondacks.  Or the finger lakes.  See Schroon Lake again.

5.) Do the STP (cycle to Portland).  Or RSVP (cycle to Vancouver).  Or RAMROD (ride around mt. rainier in one day).  Maybe I’ll try to do one of these next summer.  My husband thinks I’m bonkers for considering any of the above.

I’ve been getting such pleasure and happiness from exercising lately.  It’s surprising.  Running and exercising have been a chore for so long, but as has been proven in my life over and over, things are more fun and more satisfying when you don’t do them half-assed.

You might note a lack of career objectives on the above list.  After a year or two of bliss at work, my happiness has taken a sharp decline of late.  This is related to a change in projects, but perhaps also it’s related to a lack of flights lately.

At home, I’m reading Heidi to Isla at the moment and loving it.  We are both loving it, in fact.  Such a good book!  We have the Usborne edition which includes beautiful full-color illustrations.  Heidi was a pivotal book for me.  My Mom read it to me, the summer before first grade I think, or maybe during first grade.  I would have been about five, just like Isla is now.  It really cemented my love of books.  I remember my Mom reading many books to me – Stuart Little, Puff the Magic Dragon, There Are No Bears On Hemlock Mountain, The Borrowers, and so on, but none of these made the impression on me that Heidi did.  I’ve read a lot of books to Isla that I loved as a child and have been a bit disappointing as an adult, but so far, Heidi is as great as I remember.

Lake Sammamish ride

I went on my longest cycle to date yesterday, a 43 mile cycle from my house, north, around Lake Sammamish, and bake home.  It included 2140 feet of elevation gain.


About 13 miles into it, I got a flat tire.  This is the third flat tire I’ve had in about three weeks – one other on my bike, and another on my car.  That’s got to be bad luck, right?  I stopped, none too happy to be starting my ride this way.  A few minutes after I stopped, a generous rider and his friend stopped to help me.  The guy actually changed my tire for me.  So nice!  It really bolsters my faith in humanity.  I think I probably could have changed it, but it would have taken me a good hour, and I would at that point, turned around and gone back home.  However, this guy was able to change it in about 20 minutes, and he gave me some useful tips.  Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to pass it on at some point.

I kept going after the flat, and made my way up and around the lake.  I was feeling good, though as my rides have gotten longer, I’m starting to find myself getting a little uncomfortable in the, ahem, saddle area.  I bought a pair of bike shorts, but they didn’t really seem to help.  Anyway, after making my way around the lake, I hit the longest hill of the ride, a very long, gradual gradient as I rode back west.  At that point, I was nearly home, with only a few miles to go.  However, just as I hit some busy roads, there was a power outage, so the lights, including pedestrian signals, were all out.  Suddenly, my ride became extremely hazardous.  I managed to make it through the high traffic section, but it was hair-raising.  After that, I just wanted to be come, but of course, I live on a big hill, so the last few miles are always trying.  I slogged along, though, and was absolutely exhausted the rest of the day.

The whole ride took me more than four hours.  Without the flat tire, route-finding, and traffic problems, I think I could do it in closer to 3 hours.  3 hours is a very reasonable ride; 4.25 is just more than I want to do right now.  I’m undecided whether to try to do the ride again, or to do something else.  I’ve been making my way through the so-called “preparing for spring” series that a local bicycle club put together and ran in the winter.  I’m not sure I would have much liked doing these rides in the cold and the rain, though.