Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done Booking Through Thursday. I just love this topic!

“So here today I present to you an Unread Books Challenge. Give me the list or take a picture of all the books you have stacked on your bedside table, hidden under the bed or standing in your shelf – the books you have not read, but keep meaning to. The books that begin to weigh on your mind. The books that make you cover your ears in conversation and say, ‘No! Don’t give me another book to read! I can’t finish the ones I have!’ “

These are the books by my bedside – and some have been in this pile for many years. When I do finish one from this stack I replace it with a book from a whole other shelf containing “books on the queue!”

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery: Since I read before falling asleep at night this bedside book is one that I’m actually reading right now.

New Orleans Morning by Julie Smith: I don’t usually read mysteries but this was about New Orleans and I couldn’t resist. I’m saving it for a light read – which I need occasionally.

Carved in Sand by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin: I heard the author interview on NPR and had to get it. It’s about all the different things you can do to enhance your memory. Once I remember to read it I’ll be all set.

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich: I love Louise Erdrich.

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore: I try to keep up with a book club I used to belong to when I lived in Syracuse. I haven’t got to this one yet.

Zorba The Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis: I try to mix up my books with a classic now and then.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski: This one is for my vacation read.

The Reindeer People by Peirs Vitebsky: I saw this in a Daedalus flyer and had to have it.

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates: I enjoy her books. She’s lecturing in town this summer and I plan to go see her.

The Ghost Stories of Muriel Spark by Muriel Spark: Who couldn’t resist a book of ghost stories by the author of “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie?”

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson: I actually started this for book club but haven’t finished it yet.

Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin: This is a work in progress. It has changed my life.

A Shooting Star by Wallace Stegner: I love this author but haven’t gotten to this one yet.

An Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron: Just because I want to be an artist someday.

Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling: My sister lent this to me and I’ve finished it. I like to keep books that I’ve finished by my bedside (before moving them to the "read" shelf!) so I can look at them for a while. Each time I look at a book I’ve read some excerpt will pop into my head.

Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin: I just love this author too. I’m hoping to start this one soon.

The Lives They Left Behind by Penney and Stastny: I heard about this book in our local newspaper. The story haunted me so much that I had to have the book.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: This was a “used book gift” one of my book clubs does during the winter holiday time from two years ago.

Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay: Another “used book gift” from three years ago.

Klutz Juggling for the Complete Klutz by John Cassidy and B.C. Rimbeaux: Because someday I want to learn to juggle.

Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson: There is an essay in here that my husband recommended I read.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Better DFL then DNF

Oh – it’s been too long since I’ve posted – and I want to post about my last race. I did not finish last!

The triathlon took place in one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. Green Lakes State Park has two meromictic lakes – one of which the swim portion of the triathlon took place in. A meromictic lake is a lake that does not turn over in spring or fall – therefore the upper and lower layers do not mix. As a result, the two lakes are a beautiful turquoise green. There are only 7 of these types of lakes in the United States – of which 6 are naturally occurring.

There were 20 competitors in the Empire State Senior Games and I placed 17th with a time of 2 hours 12 minutes 21 seconds. We were the last heat in the swim (we were tagged onto the end of the Syracuse YMCA Triathlon). I spent a few minutes getting used to the water and getting comfortable with front crawl breathing before the gun went off.

I have to say – the swim part of this race was a bit tough. It was early in the year so I didn’t get much lake swim time in the weeks prior to the race. While I had no problem with the distance in a pool – I found it tough in the lake this time. My arms got tired and I had to side kick more than I’d have liked to simply due to fatigue. It is tough to get lake swim time in CNY before June 20th – many of the lakes nearby are simply too cold even for a wetsuit. However, I still had a reasonably well swim time – and was happy to come in 16th at 19 minutes 11 seconds.

Here I am coming out of the water and taking off my cap.

I was ready for the bike part – had spent time both in spinning class developing strength and time on the road getting better at shifting gears and doing hills. This course had a lot of up and down hills. There were two very long up-hill sections where participants were getting off of their bikes and walking them up the hill. I was determined not to do this – and there were times when I was biking slower than some were walking. Now that I know what to expect from this part of the course I will be better prepared to deal with short, steep up and down hill climbs. I did the bike in 1 hour 7 minutes 59 seconds – putting me at 19th out of 20 for this portion.

Starting out on the bike.

I may look casual here – but in reality I was frantically looking for the start of the bike race!

The run was still tough for me. I have to start doing some interval and pace training to improve my speed here. I was also tired at this point. My time for the 5K was 37 minutes and 18 seconds – placing me at 17th in this category. There was this one unbelievably steep hill in the run – with three wonderful cheerleaders at the top who cheered and encouraged me all the way to the top!

I just crack up at this picture of me running! I really look like I’m dragging my butt to the finish line here! Yes I was tired – but my posture wasn’t quite that bad at the finish. Something about that angle and the color blocks on my shirt make me look like I’m really hunched over!

I think I can knock about 25 minutes off my time for next year – which might actually enable me to place in my age bracket! I need to strengthen my arms for the lake swim, work on a quicker swim to run transition, and run more prior to the race next year. A racing bike would also give me a tremendous improvement in my biking time.

Here’s Coach John trying to look tough as he delivers the “Go get ‘em” speech!