Another Yarn store Closeing

Bella Yarns is going out of business.  I shopped their frequently when I lived in the area and I’m sad to see another yarn shop closing.  I’m not sure if knitting is going out of fashion, or if the ecomony is just not recovering fast enough.  I went over today and it was a bit depressing to walk down 114 in Warren and see so many empty store fronts.   I picked up some eco wool and some Ito Tetsu.

Rhode Warrior Race Report

Last Sunday I participated in the olympic distance Rhode Warrior Triathlon.   I did the foolish thing and woke up at o’dark thirty and left my house at 4:10 am in order to get to there nice and early.  I was a bit anxious about finding parking after seeing how crazy everything was at the Surftown race.  I opted to pay $15 and park across from the state beach lot.  (Side note, later in the day they where charging  $13… annoying)  I’m not sure how fast the lot filled up, but at 5:36 in the morning there were a handful of cars.  By the time I got my tires pumped and left there was a pretty steady stream of cars coming in.  The free parking option was to park up at Walmart and ride 4 miles to the start.

I live about an hour and a half from the race, so I didn’t make it to packet pickup ahead of time.   The largest shirt they had left was a mens medium.  This is a bit of a pet peeve for me since they asked my shirt size ahead of time and didn’t have a women’s Xl, or even a women’s L available.  I’ve never actually gotten a women’s shirt in the size I wanted from this organizer.    However, she did send out an email about doing a second order of shirts because a lot of people didn’t get one that fit.  I’m not going to bother since I have so many tee shirts anyway.

Other then the whole t-shirt thing packet pickup went quickly since there was no line that early in the morning.  A helpful volunteer helped me find my bike rack and I set up my area and chatted to some of the people around me and choked down half a PBJ.   I wondered around killing time and eventually lubed up and put my wetsuit on up to my waist.  According to my watch it was a 1 mile walk down the beach to the swim start.  It was around this time that I remembered I don’t actually like honey stinger waffles.

I swam out to the first buoy so I could check out where the next buoy was and do some visualizing.   Then I noticed I was drifting backwards.  The packet pickup said that the director would check out conditions race morning and set the course to swim with the current.  I’m not sure if she just checked out which way the finish bouy was pulling, or if the currents changed, but it was definitely against the current.   The bouy’s were being pulled by the wind, which would have given you the wrong idea about what the water was doing.   I hope that if this was the case she’ll take a better look at it next year.  If the currents changed then thats just tough luck.  I know she probably took a lot of flack for the swim, but her races are constantly well run, and I don’t think the flack was really warranted.  If you want perfect conditions every time you race you should probably check out some sort of indoor sport.

The swim was parallel to shore, and the buoys were really close to shore. The half iron people started further down the beach ahead of the olympic folks.  There was a newbie wave for the half iron group that hadn’t made it past “our” buoy by the time the olympic men started.  Anyway i went out the first buoy pretty easy and after the turn I felt like I was really alone.  There were only 4 buoys on the olympic course, so they were pretty far apart. This meant siting was interesting and I seemed to be closer to shore then a lot of people.  I also prefer to breath to my right which meant I was looking on the beach and didn’t see anyone to my left.  The current was stronger in some spots then other and you really got the treadmill feeling a few times.  The little bit of a rip current pulled me back and forth in a few places too.   My garmin says I did a pretty crappy job of swimming in a straight line which didn’t really help me go any faster.   I spent a lot of the swim concentrating on taking nice long strokes and contemplating weather or not I would have been better off without my wetsuit.  I have a really strong kick (seriously I lap most of my masters group on kick sets despite not being a particularly fast swimmer) which really gets screwed up by my wetsuit.   I did do some breast stroke to see if it would work better in the nasty current, but it didn’t’ seem to help.  I was starting to feel hot by the time I finished.   You could really tell how much the current was messing with people because everyone was finishing way to the right of the finish.  Anyway, 57 minute swim.   I was expecting to be under 30 minutes.  That means I spent an extra 27 minutes in the water.   I went up to T1 where I took my sweet time getting the sand off my feet, downing a gel and getting my bike stuff on.   My splits got screwed up on my garmin and from the timing company, so no idea how long it actually took.

The bike ride was longer then a standard olympic, 30 miles with  around 1200 feet of climbing.  I had a really hard time getting comfortable on the bike.  There was never really a flat section, and my shoulders were angry from the extra long swim which made areo interesting.   It was mentally though for me.  I felt very alone on the course after the first couple of miles, and I suck at climbing.   The turns were marked with bright pink arrows followed by additional arrows after the turn.   I liked the arrows after the turns because I knew I didn’t’ screw anything up.  There were cops at the bigger intersections.   I had another gel at mile 15.   T2 was also pretty slow.  I really need to put transition practices back in my training plan.  I had a caffeinated gel and tucked another one in my jersey pocket.

I had a hard time with the first mile of the run.  I started having some GI cramping which led to a bunch of walk/running.  After the first mile I settled into my nice slow run and walked the water stops.  It was really humid out and I drank water at all the stops and was dumping it on my head.  I took some skittles at one of the stops, but never had my gel.  Somewhere around mile 4 I started to notice my knees hurting, mile 4.5 I started to walk running again.   I’m not sure why my knees started bothering me so much.  They never bothered me in training.   I must have looked pretty miserable when I crossed the line since the nice ladies asked me if I was OK.

The post race food offered a nice selection of sweet and salty snacks.  I went and sat in the ocean for a while to help my knees feel better.  Then I watched the awards ceremony.  The results seemed to be missing some age groups and people.   I’m not sure what happened with the timing company, but they got it sorted out and announced the missing people about 10 minutes later.   I thought about hanging out at the beach for a while, but opted to head home instead.
There where a lot of challenges for the race director in this race, but all in all I think she did a good job.   I did find it to be a very challenging race for me between the tough swim and the rolling bike course.    There were not a lot of people competing in the Olympic distance which added a whole new level to the mental game.

Taper Taper

I like taper.  I’ve been feeling burnt out for the whole last month of my training plan (by the way 20 week’s is a LONG training plan)  and I”m so glad to back off the volume.  I’m working on getting better sleep this week, but its not easy between the stress of my first olympic/big race of the year and work stress.  Only five more day’s to go!

Crabman Race Report

I really need to take my camera to races…. sorry for the lack of pictures.

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The Crabman Sprint Tri was a few weeks ago over in Rhode Island.  It was my first real ocean swim, the rest of my salt water triathlons where in the sound or protected bays.  It was CHOPPY.  Other races said that this was the worst its ever been.  I did not enjoy the swim.  Between all the contact with other swimmers, the chop, and the difficulties with sighting I was very cranky and approaching what one might call panic.  If the swim was much longer actual panic probably would have happened.  In order to site the buoys you had to time it between waves.  This swim course was a rectangle and only had turn buoys… one in the middle would have been greatly appreciated.

The bike had a supper long run from transition to the mount line.  I lollygaged and lost some time during the run/walk to the mount line.  I did have my best ever bike average; 18.2 according to my Garmin.  Averaging over 18mph was one of my goals for this season, so YAY ME!  It was a two lap bike course and I was in the second to last wave, so the course was fairly crowded on my first lap.

 

The run was the run.  I do not like running.  I tried to run as much as possible and managed to minimize the walking.  The flatness of the course meant I could see the finish line from a good ways off… it was cruel and unusual punishment.

Tri mom productions put on a nice race.  Everything was well organized, good post race food (mmm poptarts).  However, there was a HUGE line to get your times.  They had computers set up so people could go up and check. And the overall results pages didn’t show everyone’s splits, so it was hard to compare myself to others in my age  group.

Escape the Cape

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Escape the Cape Mass edition was this morning. We got there at like6:45 because I’m an anxious person and I hate waiting in lines for registration and body marking. I set up my transition area… They had the nice racks that hold your back wheel, not the pipe kind which gives you a well defffined area to rack your bike. I was early so I got an spot on the end of the rack . Then I hung our for a while before craming myself into my wetsuit and getting about 15 minutes of swimming in before the race started. The race director says the water was 63 degrees… It felt COLD and I was greatful for my long sleeve wetsuit and neoprene cap. After anouncements you walk 1/3 of a mile down the beach to the swim for the in water start. The current (or wind?) was slowing down the first wave so they added an extra minute

between waves. I was in wave two and have swam twice in the past month (yay stiches), so I didn’t push things and cought some feet hear and there. It felt slow. I could see the bottom and I could tell Iwasn’t moving as fast as normal. I did pick off a few men from the wave in front of us, and didn’t notice getting passed by anyone in the wave behind. I swam till my chest hit the ground and then walked though transition because I needed to catch my breath.

It was in the upper 50s so I decided to pull on a long sleeve jersey… It wasn’t worth the effort. A vest or wind/rain jacket would have been easier to get on over a wet body. The bike felt good and I picked off some women and men. There were plenty of volenteers to keep things on track. The men from the wave behind me started passing me more frequently bout a mile before the turnaround. The way back was into the wind and Ikept sitting up out of areo because i felt like I was going too slow for it to be worth it and then the other part of my brain would say you ninny areo will help in a headwind. I almost wipped out when I was watchign some kids cheering on the side of the road and went to get back into areo after a turn. I cought my pinky on my bullhorns and wobbled a bit, but managed to recover.

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I was not looking forward to the run. Going into it I was planning on doing 5min run 1 min walk for the whole thing. I quickly realized that would not work and did 1 min run 1 min walk for the first mile which had the worst of the up hills. Then I ran several minutes when things flattened out and went downhill. I stuck maily to one or two minute runs with one minute of walking. Note: if you are not a good runner you deffintily shouldn’t take the winter off from running. Anyway I finished up and my boy was there to greet me. My timing chip got mixed up with someone elses, so my name didn’t get called across the line; however, the time showing up online seems to be appropriate for my race so it must have been fixed.

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Post race you got two slices of pizza and some salad, and tey do giveaways durring the awards ceremony. They said they were going to give away some lock laces, but never did., so I made boy go ask about it (I’m too shy) and I got a pai for my new running shoes. My other swag included a tee shirt, microfiber towel (the small sweat mopping gym size) that will be great for swim meets, and a hammer gel. I thought there was supposed to be a waterbottle too.. Maybe they ran out? No finsher medal, which is fine by me. While I was getting stuff packed up to put in the car when My rear tire randomly went flat (I’m pretty sure the tires that came on my bike SUCK) Once I got home I found a hole in my sidewall. I’m really lucky it didn’t go durring the race.

Gro-ables

Someone in my knitting group posted about trying the miracle gro-ables this year. I clicked on over to amazon and saw a set of 18 “seed pods” which are basically a compostable pot with dirt, seeds, and fertilizer built in for $20

From the product discrpition

Your Kit includes 18 Miracle-Gro Gro-ables Seed Pods featuring:
Salad Garden
1 Globe Tomato
1 Cherry Tomato
1 Cucumber
2 Loose-Leaf Lettuce
2 Butterhead Lettuce
1 Romaine Lettuce
1 Snap Pea
2 Smooth-Leaf Spinach
1 Sweet Pepper Plus, the Herb Garden
2 Basil
2 Cilantro
2 Dill

A couple things to note here. These pods are extremely small. I can’t imagine getting more then one plant out of most of these. I also can’t imagine setting up a trellis and planting just one snap pea or cucumber. These seeds come in a pointy pod, so you would have to rig something up to start the tomatoes and peppers inside. On a side note, the picture shows the pod sticking out of the soil, which is a no-no. If you leave the pod exposed it will wick water away from the plants roots. Plus using any kind of compostable pots also restrict root growth, and whenever I plant mine in the ground I’ll put a couple of slits down the sides of the pots to let the roots get out.

This made me curious, so I went to Ocean State Joblot were they sell 2014 burpee seeds for 50% off and added up the msrp and the discounted prices. Then, just for fun, I went to baker creek and added up their prices. Baker Creek has a store in CT, so I could drive their and buy in person.

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Ocean State Joblot also has 8 packs of compostable pots for $0.80, and the home depot website has seed starting mix for $4. I have always direct sewn lettuce, spinach, and peas… so you don’t need pots for those.

The tomatoes and peppers may have way more seeds then you need, but the unused ones will last until next year. If you search around online you can find information on the “proper” way to store seeds and how long different seeds will last in storage. You can also get two plantings in one season out of lettuce, spinach, and peas.

Roger Williams Park

Today we headed out to Roger Williams Park (which I never visited when I actually lived in Providence) and hit up their Botanical Center. I talked to one of the URI Master Gardners for a minute or two and she said they have been working hard to clean things up and take better care of it. The master gardners also made a bunch of ferry houses that were spread out around the garden. If I still lived in the area I think I’d have to go frequently and bring some knitting or spinning and sit around the plants while I worked.

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The biggest greenhouse is quite tall, there were several others off to the right.

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The big greenhouse is filled with lots of tall palms.

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We enjoyed the pattern on the cut steam.

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Pitcher plant flower

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Ponderosa Lemon?

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Giant thorns!

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The outside gardens were mostly asleep, but some trees are starting to wake up.

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Its official

I have no bees this year. I’m bummed out, but I’m not going to try to replace them at present. I will hope a swarm moves in. I knew it was going to be rough this year because the winter was so warm, and I saw the ladies out flying off and on though the new year. This means that they blew though their food and probably starved out.