Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ironman C’oeur d’Alene – June 24, 2012

 Last June I signed up for my first (and probably only) Ironman competition – Ironman C'oeur d'Alene, which will be run on June 24, 2012. For years I've had no interest in trying an Ironman. The race is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles on the bike, and a 26.2 mile run. I've never swam, biked, or run any of those distances. Two years ago I completed two half-Ironmans and that probably was the half-step I needed to at least start thinking about what it would be like to complete an Ironman. But mostly what I thought was that it would be hell and I wasn't interested.

But last year several of the people I trained with completed Ironmen. I tracked their progress on-line and cheered their success . And surprisingly, when Craig Strong, who heads up Precision Multisport, announced plans for a group effort to train for CDA in 2012, I decided to go for it. I guess I figured if I was going to do that distance, it would be best to try it while I'm still young. Right?

A writer friend of mine insisted that I should write a book about training and competing. She recommended I keep a record of my daily training. So even though I'm technically in the "offseason" I started in September to keep a blog The Road to C'oeur d'Alene of my workouts. It's not really very interesting, but it will be helpful later if I do write a book or story about the race preparation.

So far in the eight weeks that I've been logging the workouts I've trained about 7 to 9 hours per week. Light workouts, not much intensity. When we get into serious training mode, we will average more like 14 hours a week and the workouts will be more intense.

 It will all be over in another 225 days.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Father's Ice

My short story, "My Father's Ice," has been published in Johnny America  - a literary journal.  You can purchase the publication online at these stores.  Below is an excerpt from the story: 

My Father’s Ice

I have come to the Whitney Museum today to find Harry Giles. Not the wealthy investment banker with the beautiful socialite wife. Not the man who read “Goodnight Moon” to his daughter every night for a year. I want to know about the young man who dropped out of Cornell to follow his hero to an abandoned Brooklyn tenement in the pursuit of art. What happened to that boy? The boy who would become my father.


Last week my mother, not the most sentimental of women, sent me a picture of her and my father taken at their senior high school prom. She was getting rid of clutter and this cheesy photograph didn’t make her cut. She’d attached one of her annoying yellow post-it notes, on which she’d scrawled, “Carly – Look at that hemline!!!” Mother loves her exclamations.

The photographer, naturally, focused on my mother, blonde and sunny in a red mini-dress, with her swimsuit-model perfect body. She’s held that beauty through the years, refusing to pass it on to her only child. My father, with a sweep of dark hair covering his forehead, stands off to the side and looks uncomfortable in his rented tux. His hands dangle. He can’t decide what to do with them. Of course it doesn’t matter. No one’s going to notice him.

I am my father’s daughter. Dark. My arms too long, my hands anxious when they have nothing to do. My smile always a heartbeat too late for the photographer’s flash.

My mother thinks I’m shy because I don’t share every opinion that pops into my head. But I’m not shy, just quiet, like my father. He kept his thoughts to himself. Although he once told me it was not a sin to leave a thought unexpressed, I’m sure he never shared that opinion with Mother.

There was a certain sadness about my father. I would notice it in unguarded moments – as he sat at the kitchen table not reading his newspaper or when he looked blankly at a traffic light that had turned green or when he stood in his den and stared at the walls that used to hold Gordon’s photographs.


After months of careful deliberation, I’ve decided to attend the Whitney’s exhibition, “Gordon Matta-Clark: You are the Measure.” Mother will not be pleased.

“You are the Measure?” she’d say if she knew what I were doing. Her face would be crinkled up, her words splashing like sarcasm-filled water balloons. “That’s so typical of the Whitney and their pathetic championing of obscure losers. Gordon Matta-Clark has been dead thirty years. It’s a waste of time, Carly. What do you think you’re going to find?”

Sometimes, when I imagine what my mother might say, I become angry, even though she hasn’t actually said anything. And then, in my mind, I deliver a brilliant retort.

“You know the difference between you and me, Mom?” I would ask her. And in my imaginary world she realizes I am being rhetorical and waits for my answer. “You never understood why Dad ran off to New York,” and then as she gives me that look where she raises her eyebrows as though she’s not sure she likes what she has heard but has to hear more, I look into her eyes and I say, “I never understood why he came back.”  

The entrance to the Whitney is choked with middle-aged tourists. They’re not...

The picture posted above is of one of Gordon Matta-Clark's projects.  If you are unable to find a copy of Johnny America, please let me know and I will email you a copy of the story.   

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Story Club - Thursday, October 6

I will be one of the featured writers at Dana Norris's Story Club at the Uncommon Ground at 3800 North Clark St. in Chicago on Thursday, October 6.  There is a nice promo announcement on me on the Story Club  facebook page . 

The event starts at 8 pm, but open mic aspirants should be there by 7 to put their names in for the five open mic slots.  Each writers is given 5 to 7 minutes to read / tell a story.  It's a lot of fun, the crowd is friendly and the service and food at Uncommon Ground is exceptional. The beer is good, too.

Hope to see some of you there. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Norman Mailer Writers Colony - 2012

I just returned from a one week screenwriting workshop at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony.

The workshop was led by David Black, an award-winning journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and producer. His novel Like Father was named a notable book of the year by the New York Times and listed as one of the seven best novels of the year by the Washington Post. The King of Fifth Avenue was named a notable book of the year by the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the A.P.

Among the television shows he has produced and written are the Sidney Lumet series 100 Centre Street, which was listed as one of the 10 best shows of the year, the Richard Dreyfuss series The Education of Max Bickford, Monk, CSI-Miami, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, and Law & Order, which received an Emmy nomination for Best Dramatic Show and a Golden Globe nomination.

It was fun to have a week devoted to discussing films and television shows. And since I’ve watched almost twenty years of Law & Order episodes it was fascinating to learn how a script for that show is developed. We had a great group: Jonathan Rocks (his real name), Asmara B. (concert violinist with a really long Indian name which I can’t remember how to spell), Deirdre Sinnott, Amy Crocker, Kevin Heisler, Kim Howard and Rosary O’Neill. The screenplays that the group were working on ranged from fracking to New Orleans old money, to New York mobsters to an obsession with British royalty and more.

The workshop is held at Norman Mailer’s house in Provincetown, Cape Cod. The workshop participants are housed in condos scattered around the town, all of which have kitchens and living rooms. Plus they provide us with a bike so we can navigate the town and surrounding sand dunes. It’s a unique experience and I highly recommend it to writers who are looking for a different kind of workshop experience.

Norman's Deck

Bike Trail to Dunes


Sunday, August 21, 2011

USAT Age Group National Championship – The Results

Before the Swim

Yesterday I competed in the USAT Age Group National Championship in Burlington, Vermont. It was, as expected, a well-organized event with great support from the community of Burlington. Suzanne and I enjoyed our four days there – the waterfront area and the commercial areas up from the lake have some nice restaurants and galleries and Ben & Jerry's original factory is just 30 miles away. The weather was perfect, too. Actually maybe too perfect. About mile three of the run, I would have really loved to have had some cloud cover.

When I competed in the Championship two years ago in Tuscaloosa, I set a world's record for the slowest swim time (in my defense it was against the current and the water temp was about 98 degrees so they didn't allow wetsuits – which for some reason didn't bother the other swimmers as much as me) and then after a decent bike ride, I got severe hamstring cramps from dehydration and couldn't finish the race. Not my best day.

The good news on yesterday's race is that I set a world's record for most improved swim time – improving on my Tuscaloosa effort by over twenty minutes. I managed to finish in the middle of the pack – of course I swam with the over sixty year old crowd and some of the pack were in their 70s – but those guys were all serious competitors and a lot more experienced. That's sort of the end of the good news.

Last year I started utilizing a water bottle that fits between my aerobars so that I can sip from it whenever I want without having to grab the bottle from the frame or from behind me. My cycling skill /confidence level is not too high so anything that involves a lot of movement tends to slow me down. This bottle system worked great for me as I could sip continuously throughout the ride and thus could avoid the dehydration that I experienced in Tuscaloosa. The only problem was that I finished the bottle usually about mile 20 and then I had to either go without fluid for the last five miles or attempt to grab the reserve bottle from behind my seat. So this year I replaced the bottle I had been using with a larger one. I raced with it in my last race and at the finish I still had plenty of fluid left.

Yesterday, as I started out on the bike and was headed up the first hill I hit a small bump and the larger bottle popped out of the bracket. It was bouncing around held in only by the heavy rubber band that was wrapped around it as an extra precaution. When I reached the top of the hill, I stopped and pushed it back into the bracket. It held for about ½ mile but again came loose when I hit a rough patch. Two more times I stopped and repositioned it. The third time I took extra time trying to adjust the bracket and I thought I had it fixed, but it came loose almost immediately. I tried holding it, but I found it difficult to steer with one hand cupped around the bottle. I decided that if the rubber band held, the bottle was not going to fall out as it was more or less held in place by the aerobars. I remembered all of the coaching lectures on how we seldom ride a perfect race and that is important not to let these unanticipated problems derail the entire event.

So I ignored the water bottle and got myself mentally back in the game. I raced hard for the last fifteen miles, but those first ten miles cost me at least ten minutes – five or six minutes while I was stopped to try and fix the problem and at least five plus minutes while I let myself get distracted and dispirited by the mishap. I was actually surprised when I finished the bike segment in 1:26. That was eleven minutes off my goal of 20 mph, but at least I had a chance to finish the race in less than three hours. That gave me something to focus on during the run.

It was hot on the run. The first half mile is up a steep hill and it was a tough beginning. I had hoped to run the race at an 8:30 pace, but that first mile was over 9 minutes and the next two were not much better. I did finish with the last mile close to the 8:30 pace. 

I knew I was going to be way down in my age group, but I was surprised to see how far back: 43rd out of 48. Even if I had not had the bike mishap and had finished at my goal time (which I think is realistic) I would have been no better than 32nd. Of course it's a national championship – those old men are all very good athletes and tough competition.

I guess my goal of finishing in the top ten was sort of presumptuous, but it was fun thing to shoot for. I just wish I had come a little closer.

DateTotalSwimT1BikeMPH T2 Run PacePlace
GOAL2:45:0032:002:301:15:0020.02: 3053:008:2915th

At the Finish Line
(I know it looks like I'm about to collapse but
actually I'm running so fast that the photographer
almost managed to miss me...again)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

USAT Age Group Nationals – Burlington, VT – August 20, 2011

When I started this blog in June 2009, the stated goal was to chronicle my pursuit of the 2011 USAT Age Group National Championship which I hoped to compete in as a 60 year old. As it turned out I managed to qualify in 2009 for USAT Nationals that were held in Tuscaloosa, AL that year. So in a sense I started this blog by participating in the 2009 Championship (in the 55-59 age group).

I had a less than stellar performance at Tuscaloosa. The swim was in a river, mostly against the current and the water was in the 80s so wetsuits weren't allowed. My heavyweight body gets a serious advantage from wetsuit buoyancy and swimming at that time was by far my weakest event. Still, I had expected to complete the swim in 35 to 37 minutes, but it took me over fifty minutes. I had a very good bike segment, averaging about 20 mph, but when I dismounted I got severe hamstring cramps in both legs. I had probably become dehydrated from all the time I spent swimming.

It took me nearly ten minutes in transition to get ready for the run and then when I reached the first mile marker the cramps returned. I tried to work them out, but every time I would start to run the cramps would return so I withdrew from the race. It was the only race I've ever withdrawn from and I regret doing it. I think if I had kept at it, the cramps would have eventually subsided. Of course the race might have been closed by the time I actually finished.

Vermont is a far different venue from Tuscaloosa. The swim will be in Lake Champlain and right now the water temperature is 72 degrees so we will be able to wear wetsuits. Today I biked about 70% percent of the bike course. It's tougher than Tuscaloosa, some serious hills at the beginning and then rolling hills. It will be a challenge for me to average 20 mph. Later today I'm going to try the run course. There's a steep hill at the beginning and then it looks fairly flat and scenic – with much of it along the lake shore.

My goal when I started the goal was to finish in the top ten for my age group. I knew that would take a time of close 2 hours 35 minutes based on previous race results. My best time (in my last race) was 2:48 – and that was a much easier course – so it is not likely that I will finish in the top ten. My primary goal right now is to actually finish this time and to run a good race. Here is my goal (I am going to try and be realistic):

DateTotalSwimT1BikeMPH T2 Run PacePlace
GOAL2:45:0032:002:301:15:0020 mph2: 3053:008:2915th

They had been predicting rain all week, but today the forecast has been upgraded and there is only 10 percent chance of rain on Saturday. I'm looking forward to a good race. Tomorrow Suzanne and I are going to tour the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. I'm looking forward to that, too.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sewanee Writers’ Conference – July 26 to August 7, 2011

    A week ago I returned from the Sewanee Writers' Conference at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. I would have posted this blog earlier, but my laptop crashed while I was at the conference and I couldn't get the hard drive replaced until this week.

    I had to overcome many challenges to attend this prestigious conference.

    My first obstacle was the admissions process. Sewanee only admits about one in four applicants and the first two times I tried I wasn't one of the chosen. But I eventually wore them down and this spring my application was accepted.

    It's approximately 563 miles to the campus from my home. I started out at 5 am for the ten hour drive. At mile 16 the engine light went on in my trouble-free Chrysler 300 (the same car that overheated on my last expedition.) At mile 32, after slowing for traffic on the Skyway, the transmission refused to shift out of first gear. I got off the expressway, looked around for a garage that might be opened at 5:30 in the morning and, finding none, decided to drive home and rent a car. But when I got back on I-90 the transmission worked normally so I turned back around before the skyway bridge and headed south again.

    I made it the rest of the way without incident. I dropped my car off at the only garage in Sewanee and Harold promised he'd have it ready by the time I needed to leave.

    The conference is organized into workshop groups: four fiction workshops, two poetry and one playwriting group. There are about twelve participants in each workshop and each is led by two instructors. My fiction workshop was led by novelist John Casey, author of "Scarpina," which won the National Book Award in 1989, and novelist and short story writer,Christine Schutt. Her novel Florida was a National Book Award Finalist and her second novel, All Souls was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. As workshop leaders they made a great team.

    The workshops meet every other afternoon for about three hours. At each session three of the participants' work is discussed. It was an eye-opening experience to listen (mixed metaphor AND a cliche) to the other participants as they critiqued my work and others. Most of the folks were graduates (or attending) MFA programs and they had well-developed critical tools. I workshopped the opening of my novel and their comments have given me much to think about.  My contribution to the workshop was mostly to offer an historical perspective.

    The non-workshop portion of the conference was packed with faculty reading and craft lectures. There was something going on from about 9 am to 8 pm. Meals were provided and at dinner sometimes they served wine. Wine nights were very popular. They also had several open mics, which gave everyone an opportunity to read their own work.

    I had time to keep more or less to my triathlon workout schedule as breakfast didn't start until 8 am. The first time out on my bike I had a flat tire (it was a week for break downs) and swim workouts were a little inconvenient because the pool hours were from noon to 3 pm. But I adapted. I had a great incentive to get up early to get my run workouts in, because, despite being on the top of a mountain, it was hot and humid. On my most days it was over 90 by 10 am. And it wasn't a dry heat, either.

    The conference was definitely long enough (at least for someone who isn't use to attending classes) and by Saturday I was ready to get home. I had picked up my car from Harold on Friday and everything seemed to be fine (only cost me $587). Saturday morning I packed up and headed home – skipping the wrap up dance, which I am sure disappointed many. Five miles down the road, the engine light went on and by the time I got to Nashville the transmission problem had returned. I made it home by driving 70 mph and not stopping except for gas. It worked fine until I hit traffic in Calumet City. After that I got off the expressway and took surface streets for the last twenty miles. I took it to the dealership and they replaced a few more parts, which cost me an additional $1,800.

    I've been home for a week and so far nothing else has broken. I was impressed with the conference. It is well organized and both the instructors and participants are engaged and enthusiastic and most are extremely talented writers. It was a great experience for me. Daunting, but very much worth the effort - even with all those extra difficulties.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1st chapter of American Jukebox awarded Honorable Mention!

Maybe the exclamation mark is overkill, but it was nice to get some recognition for American Jukebox, the novel I’ve been working on for four years.

This week the first chapter of American Jukebox was awarded an Honorable Mention in the New Millennium Writings competition for fiction. The chapter is titled, “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes.” New Millennium will publish the top finishers and a few of the Honorable Mention stories. I won’t know until September whether my story will be selected. I would be happy to send an electronic copy of the story to anyone who’s interested. Just send me an email at

American Jukebox is “finished,” but right now I am having it read by an editor, Sue Williams, who works through Grub Street, Inc. – a creative writing center headquartered in Boston - to make sure the manuscript is as perfect as I can make it.

I plan to send out agent query letters (again) starting in September.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Evergreen Lake Triathlon Results – July 16, 2011

While the water was too warm for wetsuits, we did catch a break on the weather. It was overcast and not blistering hot as had been predicted. I was grateful for the cloud cover on the run.

Despite all of the difficulties on Friday, I slept well and had no problem getting up at 4:45 to have my delicious apple juice and carbo-pro breakfast. Ever since having to endure apple juice smells when the kids were little, it has been my least favorite juice. It didn't help that the hotel had run out of ice.

Swim:  Without the wetsuit buoyancy I knew my swim time would be slower than it had been in Phoenix. I was satisfied with my performance I just wish it was faster. I swam from buoy to buoy, never veering off-course, and I exerted myself (sometimes I have a tendency to sort of cruise on the swim, but this time I pushed it). My time of 35:51 was basically the same as it had been back in 2008 when I wore a wetsuit and two minutes faster than 2009 when I didn't wear a wetsuit – so it seems clear that my swimming has improved. Just not enough.

Bike:  I was hopeful I would exceed 20 mph on this flat course. I got off to a decent start and pushed hard for the entire distance. This segment is about the same length as our Tuesday morning workouts so I knew I had the stamina to push for the entire distance. I finished in 1:10:39, a 21.1 mph pace – five minutes faster than my last race here.

Run:  While my swim and bike times have been improving, my run times have been declining. Some of this is probably due to exerting greater effort on the first two segments. In this race I finished the first mile at 8:36, which is not a great pace, but one I thought I could sustain. But each succeeding mile was slightly slower and the last three took over 9 minutes per mile.

I need to build endurance so I can sustain my pace throughout the run and finish strong instead of weak.

Overall: My time of 2:47:11 was 4 minutes short of my goal (mostly due to the swim portion).

This was my personal best for this distance – two minutes faster than my time at Tempe last year.

Next race:  USAT National Championships – Montpelier, Vermont – August 20, 2011

This is the race I targeted two years ago when I began my blog. My goal at that time was to finish in the top ten and I figured it would take a time of 2:36 to accomplish that goal.

Vermont is a difficult, hilly course and given that I only finished 5th in this Midwest regional race, it's extremely unlikely that I will be able to finish in 2:36.

But we'll see.

EVERGREEN LAKE International Distance Race Results

DateTotal TimeSwimPer / 100T1 BikeMPHT2RunMin/Mile

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Down and Out in the Land Beyond O’Hare

The key to a successful race is preparation. I was prepared for the Evergreen Lake Triathlon. On Friday I had checked out all my equipment, done a mini-triathlon training set (20 minutes for each segment) and started drinking Gatorade and water to get ready for the expected heat and humidity of downstate Illinois.

I drove away at 1:15 PM and figured I would be pulling into the race site right after it opened up at four o'clock. I would get my bike racked in one of the coveted outside positions and then check-in to my hotel for a leisurely early dinner.

The route that Google maps had plotted for me went through Chicago on I-94 and then south on I-55 to Normal. There was construction on I-94 and traffic was slow but still moving and I figured once I got to I-55 everything would be fine. And sure enough, as soon as I took the exit off 94 the highway was virtually empty. Until I went around the last bend and then, for as far as they eye could see, I-55 was a gigantic parking lot. We crept along at about 3 mph for forty minutes.

I wasn't worried. It was cool and comfortable in the car and even if I got to the race site at 6 pm, I would still have plenty of time to set up.

Then I looked at the car's temperature gauge.

It was almost to the red zone – the engine was close to overheating. I immediately turned off the air and opened the windows. The needle dropped back a fraction. I figured once the traffic jam ended I would be fine. The airflow would cool off the engine once the car started moving. We continue to creep along and the stream of cars and trucks ahead of me appeared endless. And now it was full-fledged Friday afternoon rush hour and more cars were anxious to join the parking lot. The needle crept upwards again almost touching the red zone.

At 3:45 I called my friend Andy for advice. He owns the service station where I take my car. He said to turn on the heater full blast. He told me why that was a good idea, but it was so loud with all the trucks all around me I couldn't hear. I followed his advice and the needle dropped, slightly. I was sweating like I was already in the race. I started drinking my race day Gatorade.

At 4:20 we turned a bend in the road and I saw the problem. A tractor trailer truck had crashed on the ramp and there were emergency vehicles and police everywhere. After I passed the carnage, the road was relatively clear. I accelerated to 60 mph, expecting the needle to drop back to the normal zone. It didn't. It moved into the red zone.

I called Andy again. He said it might be that the thermostat is stuck – preventing the radiator from providing coolant. I wasn't going to make it to Normal without getting the car fixed. I live in the northern suburbs. It had taken me three hours to get to the land beyond O'Hare.

I need a new plan. I wasn't going to make it 120 miles. I needed to get the car fixed. Quickly. On a Friday afternoon. And I had no clue where I was. I took the first exit I came to. I stopped at a ramshackle gasmart and asked the kid behind the counter if he knew where there might be a garage. He shook his head. Apparently only paying customers were allowed to hear his voice. I just stared back at him hoping I was using the look that my daughters said used to scare their friends.

Finally he told me there was a Broadway station up the street. I drove there. It was another gasmart. I asked the counterman if he knew of anyplace that could help with an overheated car. He pointed down the road. AutoDoc on Highway 83, he said. I pulled into AutoDoc at 4:55 PM. It looked promising. Multiple bays with real mechanics and a guy working the front counter, with "Mark", embroidered on his workshirt.

Mark was friendly and professional, but he told me they couldn't get to the car until Saturday. He asked if I wanted to leave it. I asked if there was a rental car nearby. My luck had changed. Next door (literally) was an Enterprise location and they had a small SUV that would accommodate my bike easily. It was $132 per day, and I had to rent if for the whole weekend. I told Mark I'd leave my car, and then switched all my gear to the rental car and was back on the road by 5:30 PM.

I made it to Evergreen Lake minutes before they closed down for the evening. I racked my bike and got my race numbers. I drove on to my hotel, checked in, and then hustled over to Steak and Shake for a pre-race meal of cheeseburger and fries (I only ate half). I was four hours behind schedule.

I told myself that I wouldn't let the disruption affect my race performance.

Sometimes I listen to myself. Sometimes I don't.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Next Race: Evergreen Lake International Distance Triathlon – 7/16/11

Christine Anderson - 2010 Evergreen Lake Triathlon
1st Place Finisher - Women's Pro Division

Tomorrow morning I am competing in the Evergreen Lake International Distance Triathlon, just outside of Normal, Illinois.  I always look through Google images for photos of previous races at the venue where I am going to compete. The course is not classically scenic so this picture of Christine Anderson finishing in 2 hours 12 minutes last year was the best picture I could find. I never see anyone like her on the course when I'm racing but that's because they've all finished and gone home by the time I get across the line.

It's going to be hot and humid and right now the water temperature of Evergreen Lake is 82 degrees, so unless there is an unexpected rainstorm, wetsuits won't be allowed.

Two years ago when I raced here and didn't use my wetsuit it took me over 38 minutes. I think I can do a lot better now, but I probably won't be below at the 30 minute pace that I achieved in Arizona earlier this year. I figure the wetsuit probably makes me 3 to 4 minutes faster. Of course I will save about a minute in transition as I won't have to take it off.
This morning I did a mini-tri – 20 minutes in the Lake Michigan (water was great, just a little chop), then 20 minutes on the bike and a 15 minute run. My hamstring has been sore for the last week, but it felt great this morning. This is a flat course so I should have my best time ever on the bike. I'm hoping to finally average over 20 mph. The table below shows how I did the last two times I raced this course and my goal for this year.

Total Time
Per /100

I'll post the actual results on Sunday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ricky Byrdsong Race Against Hate - Results

Suzanne got to the race in time to watch the finish, but for the third year in a row managed to miss MY finish, so we had to settle for this sweaty post-race pic instead one of those great finish line photos

It was a great day for the race. Cool and overcast, but a little humid. I finished 2nd in my age group with a time of 48:19. The guy who finished first in my age group was three and half minutes ahead of me, so I'm going to have to increase my rate of improvement if I want to catch him before I turn 90.

Here are my times for the last three years:

2009       49:15      7:55 pace
2010       48:48      7:52 pace
2011       48:19      7:44 pace

My goal for the race was 47:59. I ran the first half at a pace of 7:41 and the second half at a 7:46. The fourth mile was my slowest at 8:06 and I finished strong, which was good.

I started training this month with the Evanston Running Club and even though I've only had a couple of workouts with them it definitely helped me prepare for this race. And during the race I shadowed two of the other club members for as long as I could, which helped me to keep my pace steady.

Next race: Evergreen Lakes Olympic Distance Triathlon - Bloomington, IL July 16, 2011

(note: I reposted this because there was a problem with Blogger posting the images to Facebook;)

Monday, June 20, 2011


Elegant Burgundy Wool Cloche

This is one of the featured hats In my daughter Nicole's ETSY store:     Chapeau Nouveau

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ricky Byrdsong Race Against Hate - June 19, 2011

The 11th annual Ricky Byrdsong Race Against Hate will be run tomorrow, June 19th.

About the Race

On July 2, 1999 Ricky Byrdsong, the former coach of the Northwestern University Men’s basketball team, was shot and killed while walking with two of his children a half-block from our home. His murderer was a white supremacist who had randomly decided to drive through our neighborhood. After a weeklong spree of shooting violence in which he killed a Korean-American student and wounded several Orthodox Jews and three black men, the neo-nazi took his own life.

His widow, Sherialyn established The Ricky Byrdsong Foundation with the mission to “arrest the growing epidemic of hate in violence in our society by and against our youth.” One of the first events that the foundation sponsored was the Race Against Hate, which was started in 2000.

My Goal

I've run this race every year since it began (except for one year when I showed up an hour late). Three years ago they added a 10k race, which is what I will be running tomorrow. My previous results and goal are shown below:

YEAR            TIME             PACE

2009               49:15                7:55

2010               48:48                7:52

GOAL            47:59                7:43

I am going to try and go out a little faster than I have in previous races. I’d like to do the first two miles at around 15:10 and then try to hold my second mile pace.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

September 30, 1966

I grew up in Canandaigua, New York. Close to Rochester, but not so close that we were a suburb or anything like that. It was a small town, but not real small. It was on the northern tip of Canandaigua Lake and there were lots of places to go and things to do. When we were younger we had the Goodie Shoppe on Main and the movie theatre where we could meet girls without having to ask them out and Little League baseball and Sonnenberg park where we played important character building games like tetherball and jarts, without any adult supervision.

When we moved on to high school we spent our summer days at Kershaw Beach where we could meet girls without having to ask them out and then later, when we had mastered the fake IDs, we could go to Clarkie’s Bar to meet girls or the drive-in theatre if we actually had a date. We also had high school football.

Our house was across the street from the football field. I started going to games when I was ten and, while I loved all sports, the one thing I wanted to do above all others was catch touchdown passes for the Canandaigua Academy Braves. I wasn’t crazy about the contact part of the sport – didn’t like getting hit all that much – but I loved to catch passes.

Sophomore year I was playing for the Junior Varsity, and the coach would have five or six of us JVs suit up for the Varsity game just to give us that experience. The first three games of the season I watched from the sidelines. But in the fourth game, we played Eastridge High School. They were overmatched. By the fourth quarter Canandaigua was ahead, 33-7, so the coach put the JVs in the game.

I can remember stepping on to the field for the first time. It felt like the field was electrified. My legs trembled. We ran a couple of inept running plays and lost about twenty yards. That pissed off our coach and he yanked the JV quarterback and re-inserted Tom Elliott, the varsity QB.

Elliott called a pass play to my side. I ran a corner route and I was wide open. Tom waved at me to go deeper and as he hurled the ball down the field. I remembered thinking, damn he's thrown it too far, but I leaped high and managed to tip it with one hand. I kept running and caught up to the ball and suddenly there was nobody between me and the goal line and I was going to score on my first varsity play, and I was preparing to celebrate when someone grabbed me from behind and I went down on the 13 yard line. It was a 63 yard pass play.

It was two more years before I actually caught a touchdown pass. I think, if I worked at it, I could attach some heavy metaphorical import to that catch, positive or negative depending on my mood, but I prefer to just remember the play.

A couple days ago for my sixtieth birthday my sisters presented me with a dvd, which they had made from my dad’s home movies. They extracted all of the footage he had taken of our football games. Dad was a good photographer, but he never got the hang of the movie camera and most of the film is pretty much unwatchable.

But he did have “the catch.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tempe International Triathlon - Results

My sister Carol and her sign

Last Saturday when I ran in the Wisconsin Half-Marathon. The weather was supposed to be cold and rainy, but it turned out to be a pleasant 50 degrees with spotty sun. I remembering thinking around mile six, that this race was actually sort of fun. While it got less fun in the second half, I have to say that when I was on the run segment of the Tempe Triathlon yesterday, that fun notion never popped into my head.

The start of the race was delayed for 45 minutes so I went in the water at 8 am instead of 7:15, which meant that I started out on the run at about 10 am and instead of 9 am. The temperature was in the high 80s by then. Anyway that's my carefully constructed excuse for the poor run.

I didn't have a great race, although I did finish 2nd in my age group (out of 7). I had a strong swim, but I went too wide on the return and swam farther than I needed to. If I swam the course more expertly, I'd have made my goal time of 30 minutes. I had the same bike time as last year, but on the run I just started slow and got slower. I know I can run a lot better than a nine minute pace.



Next race: Evergreen Lake Triathlon July 16, 2011

The New Age