Friday, December 31, 2010

I'll be coming home next year

Ah yes, the last day of the year when bloggers/facebookers/tweeters/number FREAKS start talking stats.
Well, mine are low compared to years past. I knew they would be but I was surprised by how much.
This year, I ran 1057 miles. That's almost 500 miles less that last year.
I rode 1010 miles and swam 27 miles in my half baked return to triathlons.
There are several reasons for the lower milage. I stopped marathon training and longer running after Boston as I knew I wasn't doing any big fall racing. I was still struggling with the naggin PF. Loren and I had a lot of hiking planned.
So let's review some high lights shall we?
Shamrock Half 1:41:18 PR while the sub 1:40 still eludes me, I'm really close and think 2011 might be the year.
Boston Marathon 3:41:07 PR BQ My first real shot at sub 3:40 and a BQ. I'm aging up so as things now with the BAA, I need a 3:50. We'll see how that changes going forward, though I don't plan on running Boston again for a while after 2011.
On the high pointing front, it was a hugely successful year, one which I don't think we'll be able to out do. We hit 17 high points brining my total to 28 and Loren's to 31. Oh and Ms Bea now has 7. In this quest, we ascended 40,220' (this number includes La Plata, which is not a state high point but is the 5th highest peak in CO at 14,336' and is a tougher hike than it's neighbor Mt Elbert which is CO high point). We did 2 winter climbs Mt Marcy in NY and Mt Mansfield in VT. Winter hiking is an amazing thing. These were my first 2 serious winter climbs and I loved every minute of it, even that brief time when I was bonking on Marcy.
We've seen amazing, beautiful, odd, parts of the US that most people never see and/or never think about. Some serious true America. This country is beautiful and amazing. Nature is one of the few places I know of where I can go out and meet someone I know has values and ideas that could not be more opposite than mine and yet that does not matter because we have (literally) this enormous common ground. When your 20 miles out from anything, your life may also depend on a stranger on the trail with you, political difference mean little in such situations.

So what does 2011 look like? Well here are my goals:
sub 1:40 in the half. I don't know which half yet
sub 3:40 in Boston (this is all starting to sound a bit familiar)
Sub 13 hour Ironman. I haven't done an Ironman since 2004. I think I am a much better athlete now so this should be interesting.
Summit Mauna Kea the high point of HI. I'm turning 40 in a few weeks so this will be my birthday present. While I won't be there for my actual birthday, Loren and I are planning for late Jan.
Summit Mt Rainer the high point of WA. Still working on when this will be as the climbing season is short but this is very exciting.
See what other high points we throw in there.

I think that about wraps it up. Thanks for following along this year and I wish all of you a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I might be old but I'm someone new she said

As you might remember, last week, I ran a 15k in Van Corlandt park. It was wet, windy and wild. It wasn't a great run, but all things considered...
I also knew I'd be doing it again this week though in the friendlier Central Park. There was almost no chance the weather would repeat itself. Plus it wouldn't be on trails and mud even if it did rain/snow/ blow a house in my direction.
At the start, it was just about freezing, which is actually a nice temp. to run in.
I started running with old pal Megan. I knew I wanted to run faster than last week's 1:23:40 which, come on, shouldn't be hard. I told Megan I was looking to go somewhere between 8:30s-8:45. Just sorta a longish run a bit faster than a long run. Megan hasn't run that far since the NYC Marathon back in Nov.
Well weren't we just running and chatting. When I looked at my watch, I was surprised by the pace. It was hovering around 8 minute pace and didn't feel hard. This wasn't a goal race by any means so it was nice to run this way, chat through the miles and enjoy the morning.
Megan told me she wanted to finish fast and would pick it up at mile 6. I was quite content to stay right where I was, so off she went.
As she was leaving me, my long time friend and sometime coach Kelsey came by. He was out on a longish run as he gets ready to run his first Boston (fear not Kelsey, you're going to run through this winter!!!). Kelsey is a sub 3 hour marathoner so my pace was no problem for him. We spent the last 3 miles catching up and chatting. Just after mile 8, we saw Loren out running with Bea.
We came through the finish together.
This week: 1:15:59 about 8:09 pace.
I admit, I was surprised. I ran a 10k 2 weeks ago at 8:15 pace that felt a lot harder. This does tell me, however, I'm going into my Boston training pretty fit. Of course with my history of plantar fasciitis I do worry about it rearing it's ugly head (and painful heel) again. Loren and I have made a serious effort to do strength training for the last few weeks. Things that strengthen the core and hips and things that are generally weak with runners. After just a few sessions, I'm noticing a difference. Fingers crossed this is the piece that's been missing.
This will be my last race for the year. This will also be my last race (barring me getting some crazy idea in my head) as an open runner. Gulp. Yes, in a few week's time, I'll be debuting as a master. Fear not, however, I plan on staying the same immature jackass I've always been!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Against the wind

While getting back into shape, I've pinned on a number and run a few "races" the last 2 weeks. Last week was mostly so I'd get some speed work in. Look, I know I'm not in shape. No where near it. I had also just returned from my winter hiking trip which covered about 22 miles and 5000' or so of ascending and descending a couple of New England mountains that were frozen and snow covered, in 2 days.
Last week was a 10k that I ran with my pals Ishii and Rock. It actually went much better than I expected. 51:21 which is about 8:15 pace. So semi-tempo for right now.
This week however, oh this week was something special indeed. I've mentioned running cross country in Van Cortlandt park about a million times here. Well, every year, they end the season with a gift to all of us dirt devils: The Pete McArdle Cross Country Classic. Now in it's 49th year, this 15k race takes us on 3 lovely loops of the 5k course.
There are a few reasons I wanted to do this race:
1. I love it. It's crazy.
2. I really really really like 15k as a distance and it's just not a distance that's run often.
3. 15k is a nice build up for me milage wise. I don't think I've run even close to this far in months.
4. It started at 11:30 am
Now if this course isn't hard enough just on it's own, Mother Nature decided to pin a number on and come along this year. It was pouring off and on. Like sideways pouring. And it was sideways pouring because there was wind gusting up to about 30MPH.
The course is 3 loops, half hills in the woods, half flat flat flat straightaways.
Due to construction in the park, the start this year was a bit different. Instead of a nice fast straight on a lovely groomed path, we ran straight across a soggy soggy, like geese swimming in the grass soggy field. This wasn't too bad since once we hit that flat flat flat straightway, we were smacked in the face with the 30mph wind. It was relentless.
Every lap.
There's a lovely down hill that takes us out of the woods to the flats. Usually I look forward to this. I'm a good downhill runner and look forward to making up some time in the flats.
I was climbing the hills faster than I was running the flats. It was so strong you couldn't hear the person next to you, it was pulling drool out of my mouth. Such a good look. There was a reprieve for maybe a quarter mile leading back to the woods.
All things considered, I felt pretty good. I ran consistently though not fast AT ALL (1:23:40). Like 10 minutes slower than I've run 15k. Ok, yes, I know I'm not in shape, but times here were soft (first woman 1:14) though I do not think for lack of trying. I now feel like I had my ass seriously kicked.
In the end, it's all about who shows up. And today, not a lot of people showed up but the 165 who did earned their stripes. Holy crap, and those volunteers, oh man, what a great group. And or course a special thanks to Loren and Rayk who came out and did their own run while we were racing and cheered us all on.
My showing up was good for 2nd in my age group and 10th woman over all.
Lucky for me, I get to do the distance again next week, though in Central Park. That will be a cake walk compared to today.
Take a look at some photos of the race.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Wonderland

In late 2003, Loren and I planned on hiking Mt Marcy, the high point of NY. This trip never happened thanks to an insane blizzard. On the high point list, she had already done NY and I was missing it. Somewhere in my mind was the thought that I wanted to do it as a winter hike. Partially because I didn't get to do it when we first planned on it and partially because there are other mountains that are high points that require winter like skills, such as Mt Rainer, Mt Hood, and of course, Denali.
Mt Mansfield, the high point of VT isn't far from Marcy, so we decided on a double header.
Luckily with our schedules right now we can be flexible, which is a very good thing. We had planned on going the day after Thanksgiving. After keeping a close eye on the summit forcasts, we decided that 90 mile an hour winds with windchill of -20 just wasn't an option so we postponed the trip. For the next week, we watched and watched and watched until we found a window. Thurs and Fri we'd have air temps in the low teens with a wind chill of about 0 or maybe -2. PERFECT! (did I just say that?)
We drove up to Burlington on Wed. in the pouring rain. The entire way. We stayed with an old Esalen pal of mine for the night.
Thurs. morning, we headed to Stowe for the hike up Mansfield. There's a big difference between East coast and Western mountains. Western mountains are huge. They're high but generally have nice winding trails. East coast mountains are not very high (Mansfield tops out at 4393', Marcy 5244') but they are steep and rocky. The hike to the summit of Mansfield gains 2800' in 2.3 miles. It took us 6 hours to get up and back down, so do the math: less than a mile an hour.
What's also nice about East coast mountains are east coasters are crazy. About 1.8 miles up there trail (the Long Trail for those interested in the route), there's a lodge. And not a small one. 30 people could easily sleep in the bunkbed like platforms. I know in the summer it's gets a lot of use, but it does not sit empty in the winter either. People hike up the mountain all winter long, some of them then skiing back down the slopes of Stowe. We took off our spikes on the big porch (yup, spikes. The trail was pretty much a frozen stream bed) and sat inside for some tea and a snack before the last push up.
At the lodge, the trail splits giving one the option to stay in the nice warm protection of the trees for the last half mile. This is an option we took since it was very windy out of the tree line. Of course, there is a trade off for this. The trail, aptly called Profanity Trail, goes straight up and at times requires use of both hands and (spiked) feet.

Coming down it is no picnic either. I think we both fell at least twice.
Once above tree line, the weather changed dramatically. No more trees to protect us from the -0 windchill. This is not something you want to linger in, so we scurried to the summit, snapped some photos and got the hell outa there.

Once we hiked out and back to the car, we stopped at the Ben and Jerry's factory to refuel. Yes, it's winter and below freezing, but come on, how can I say no to ice cream?
Then on to NY. It was about a 3 hour drive and we arrived at the Adirondak Loj at about 8:30 pm. The loj has been there since 1890 (see? East coasters-CRAZY) and has a sign that says something like "hospitality since 1882". For the winter they keep half the camp ground open. Loren and I found a lovely lean to, pitched the tent inside and crawled into our 0 degree sleeping bags. It was about 25 degrees out so we were totally toasty.
We were the only ones camping.
The alarm went off at 5am. We were up, did camp chores and hit the trail head, with headlamps on, at 6:30.
The Van Hoevenberg trail to the summit is 14.8 miles round trip and gains 3200'. There was already snow on the ground and it fell lightly all day. After about 2.5 hours, we stopped for our first break. Right after, we had a tricky stream crossing. Luckily, we both made it with out soaking ourselves. If we had, it would have been grounds to turn around. No one wants to risk what would be 6 more hours with a frozen foot. Shortly after the stream, we put the spikes on.
We saw no one else on our way to the summit. We were following foot steps of someone, I assume a guy from the size of the foot prints, all the way up to the summit. He was alone and I thought about when he was there and what his accent was like. I also thought about the young man who has gone (what seems to be intentionally) missing the week before. While search parties were sent out searching, the only sign of him to turn up was his jacket at the Marcy Dam campground , 2 miles up the trail.
As we got to the sign indicating the summit was .6 miles away, we stepped out of the trees. Like in VT, the wind picked up and every thing was frozen and covered in rime ice. The trail blazed in yellow blocks of paint on this point of the trail, were almost impossible to find as most of the rocks they were painted on were covered in snow and ice. We relied on the large stone cairns hikers build for each other so the trail can be found. Those too, were covered in ice and snow but still visible.
It was a very steep climb up what was pretty much a sheet of ice.

Here's Loren on the last stretch. Snow shoes are required if there is more than 8' of snow. Since we didn't know what trail conditions were like that high up, we both had to carry our snow shoes which never left our packs. A Cairn is off to her left.
It didn't feel as cold on top of Marcy, but we didn't linger. Getting to the top is only half way. We still had 7.4 miles to negotiate back down.

I did climb on top of this rock slab to try and find the actual USGA marker but with no luck, it's under snow.
We hustled back down the mountain faster than we went up, going ass over tea kettle once or twice.
As we got about 4 miles down the trail, I was getting pretty tired. My feet hurt from walking on rocks for 2 days, in truth (yes Loren, I believe you were right) I may have been bonking a little. We stopped at Marcy Dam sat in a lean to and had a snack. I felt so much better. We covered the last 2.1 miles in about an hour. Over all, it took us 9 hours.
Once we returned to the trail head, wet shoes/socks and gaters were removed and we packed up all our gear.
2 more high points for me, brining my total to 26. More than half way there!
Just a few things about this sort of hiking:
1. yes it's cold, but your body will generate a lot of heat doing this sorta thing.
2. yes, it can be dangerous. Very. You slip and break your leg out there, you can be in serious trouble.
3. Wanna try it? Take a winter camping/hiking class or pal up to someone with some experience. Try something easy at first.
4. Invest in good equipment. It could, with out exaggeration, save your life.
5. Don't do anything stupid!
More pictures can be seen >here starting with 131.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Just a half a mile from the railroad track

As runners across the country know, Thanksgiving is about more than just eating and wearing pants with elastic waist bands. Thanksgiving is about Turkey Trots (not to be confused with runner's trots which may or may not occur during said turkey trots). This year in the Bronx, a new tradition was started with The Thanksgiving Marathon. This is a different kind of turkey trot. For one, it's a marathon. Or a half. Or a long 10k (6.5 miles to be exact). Another thing that sets it apart is it's free. No clocks. No bibs. No tshirts. No qualifying times. Pretty much, you show up and you run. When you finish you get a fork on a ribbon with "Thanksgiving 10k (or what ever distance)" written in sharpie on the fork.
I love this. I love this idea. In an age where races are trying to be bigger and bigger and more and more expensive and closing with in minutes of opening up to a year before the event, it's awesome to show up, run as far as you feel like running, have someone put a fork around your neck when you finish, write your results in a notebook (yes, that is the official time keeping device), stuff a few bucks in a paper bag left by said notebook to cover costs, eat a banana, see familiar faces, and just have a good time.
The organizers of this race laid out a great course. While I run in Van Cortlandt park a lot, they went of the beaten paths to come up with their 6.5 mile loop. It was on a several trails I had never been on, a nice mix of hills and flats, and over all beautiful. A nice change form the usually courses up in the park.
Since this was a rather casual affair, I emailed the race director to see if my dog Bea could run the race. He replied very quickly saying yes, dogs were allowed on the trails and she was welcome to run.
WOOHOO! Bea's first race! We've been running with her since she's come to live with us and this fall we've been building her milage. She was easily running a little over 5 miles so I didn't think one loop of the course would be a stretch. The weather was cool, which is to her liking.
Loren and I wanted to make sure she wouldn't annoy other runners. There were also 2 other dogs running, one the half and one the 10k. I wasn't sure how she would be with the other dogs, it can be hit or miss. She spent the first half of the race trying to catch a female pittbull. When she finally did catch her (and left me in the dust) she just wanted to run with her. They ran the last 2 miles with each other. Being the loyal companion she is, with about a quarter mile to go, she waited for me. She had a great time, finishing the course in about 58 minutes. She even got a fork.

I'm really looking forward to more of these free, laid back "races", though I think I'll be skipping the 100 miles around the Central Park Res.
Post run family photo

more race picture here

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Deep in the heart of Texas.

Ok, not so much the heart, more like the tip of the ear of Texas. For Loren's birthday, we went to do the high point of Texas, Guadalupe Peak. We've been eying this one for a while. I don't know why, something about it seemed very interesting. It's very remote, one of the remotest National Parks. Guadalupe National Park is desert, with a big mountain. About 300 million years ago, it was under an ocean so the peak itself and El Capitan, a weird odd shape mountain across from the high point were once part of a huge reef. All these millions of years later, it still has an ocean feel to it, even the desert scrub seems like sea weed.
The summers are very very hot and subject to very high winds and thunderstorms roll in quickly. Fall seemed like the perfect time to go. Little did we know it was also when leaf peepers went. Ok, I fully admit as an East Coaster, this idea seemed silly to me. There are a handful of trees out there that turn and while yes, they are beautiful, it's just so...ok, I sound like an East coast snob. I'll just keep it at yes, they're beautiful and pretty cool to see in the desert.
We flew into El Paso on Friday, found the divest Mexican place we could find for lunch (amazing), loaded up on supplies and headed out. We got extremely lucky with the camp site. As I said, I had no idea it would be packed. There is 1 campground in the park (car camping that is, there are several back country camp grounds, but no water anywhere so schlepping in several gallons of water was not in the cards for this trip). Wally, the camp ground host, directed us to the last camp site in the park, a handicap accessible site a mile down the road from the main camp ground. It was nice enough, elevated so someone in a wheel chair could use the site pretty easily. There was one site next to us that was being used by 3 folks from a NM meet up hiking group. The 5 of us swapped stories and shared the picnic table.
Sat. morning we woke to a hard frost on our tent. One of the difficult things about fall/winter camping is the lack of sunlight. It's a lot of time staying warm and time in the tent. We made breakfast and got an early start up the trail. Guadalupe is a 8.4 hike that gains 3000'. We caught a beautiful windless day with lots of people on the trail. It was a truly beautiful day. Photos can be seen here (the last 25 or so). There are other pictures of the trip here.
Later that day, we did the Smith Spring trail as well.
Sunday we drove up to Carlsbad Caverns to see the largest cave in North America. There are trails in the cave that allow you to walk several miles through the cave. It's pretty cool.
We then drove to McKittick Canyon. This is a 6.8 mile hike, we decided to run it. It was a fairly flat though slightly rocky trail. By people's reactions to us, you'd think they never in their lives saw anyone running. The day was beautiful and this is rated "moderate" hike so the trail was packed with people. We had people laugh, call us tough, call us crazy, one guy offer us his water bottle. I really enjoyed seeing people's reactions to something that is so normal for me to be doing.
It was also Loren's birthday. Here are some pictures from the run.

So yes, I have been running! Not too much, mostly with the dog, but I am starting to ramp back up. My body has really needed this cut back. Ha, cut back. Cut back from running. Over the last few months, I've hiked over 100 miles and gone up and down about 40,000'. Even if my running milage is low this year (it will be) that counts for something! I'm looking forward to the winter ramp up and starting to train for Boston.

Monday, November 8, 2010

new york NEW YORK!

Well another NYC marathon has come and gone. I didn't run this year as I really needed a marathon cycle off to let myself (hopefully) get healthy before starting to train for Boston. As I do every year I don't run, I worked the mile 24 waterstation. This leaves me only slightly less tired than if I had actually run.
It was a great day yesterday. A day that saw the world record holder haile gebrselassie drop out and announce his retirement and new comer Shalane Flanagan finish her first marathon in 2nd place.
I also witnessed some amazing things by my friends and running partners. In no particular order:
1. Jill PRing by almost an hour.
2. Mariella, Scoops, Amy, and Annie finish their first marathon.
3. Cenk with crying face at mile 24 on his way to a PR.
4. Melissa mother of 2 year old triplets (yes I said triplets!) stop to kiss her babies.
5. Sharon stop to kiss me (well hello there )
6. Les yelling "call me a P***Y!"
7. Dr Mick giving mouth to mouth at the finish line and saving some one's life AFTER running the marathon.
8.. Sandi screaming, busting into tears, hugging me all in one motion when I told her how well Rayk ran (all while running).
9. Megan PRing and BQing.
10. Ok, I admit, this may be my favorite thing about yesterday. My training pal who helped me so much to BQ FINALLY qualifying for Boston. And doing it on her Birthday. And running a huge PR. Congrats RayK on the race of a lifetime, totally proud of you!

With that, I'm excited to start getting ready for Boston. So long run crew, I hope you're ready to log some miles this winter!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bridge over troubled water

On Sunday, Loren and I went for a bike ride over in NJ. To do this, we ride over the George Washington bridge, something thousands of runners, walkers, and cyclists do every weekend. Riding over the bridge is just that, a bridge, a bridge to great escapes and adventures. A beautiful view of the Palisades and of the Manhattan skyline. As we rode over, I noticed striped of rainbow crepe paper hanging on the bridge, I noticed it but really didn't think very much of it and soon forgot about it.
This morning, I went out on my own over the bridge. The paper was still hanging from bridge and it suddenly hit me like a punch to the stomach. It was there for Tyler Clementi.
As I continued to ride over the span, I noticed a new sign (3 of them actually). They weren't there over the weekend.

Ok, at this point, I nearly burst into tears (damn PMS).
You'd have to live under a rock to not have seen all the publicity about bulling in schools and the recent suicides of all these young LGTB kids. While it's great that it's getting publicity, this really isn't anything new. Queer kids have been killing themselves at much higher rates than their straight peers for a long long time. It's just now that it's getting some real attention. Bullying and name calling is nothing new either. I clearly remember the first time someone called me "dyke" to my face. I'm sure it never occurred to this person that I would hold that memory some 25 years later, but I do. When I heard he had dropped dead before reaching 40, that's the first thing I thought of. Who wants to be remembered for that?
While I think I got through my teen years relatively unscathed from actions like that (even surviving catholic HS) a lot of my friends have some real horror stories. A lot of kids today have horror stories, some so bad they feel they have no other way out other than to kill themselves.
I started this blog to be about my training and racing and that kind of thing, but for now, I'm stepping on my soapbox. I'm asking everyone reading this to please make a donation to The Trevor Project or donate $20 to GLSEN to give all schools a Safe Space. Skip the Starbucks this week and help a kid out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I ain't missing you

Holy crap?!?!?! Where I have I been?
Actually, I've been all over the place. Really! With a lot of time on my hands, Loren and I went on an epic trip. I think I've mentioned before my extremely geeky hobby of hitting the high point of every state. Yes, total nerd alert. Now the thing about this hobby is the USA actually has very cool and varying landscapes. I knew I needed a break from running and training, so why not go climb some high mountains?
From Sept 4th until Oct 6th, we did 8 high points, all of them in the west. The high points we did were:
Mt Wheeler NM 13,161'
Black Mesa, OK 4973' (this was 8 miles which we ran. Totally beautiful running)
Mt Sunflower KS 4039'
Panorama Point NE 5424'
Mt Elbert CO 14433' (while in CO we also did La Plata which is 14336' which is actually tougher than Elbert)
Flew back east, ran Philly distance run. And ran it slowly since I didn't train for it at all. Then back west!
Kings Peak UT 13528' (this is also close to a 28 mile hike so it was a 3 day back pack)
Mt Whitney CA 14494' The highest point in the lower 48!
Boundary Peak NV 13143'
We spent so much time above 9000' by the time we got to Whitney we were totally acclimated and had no trouble with altitude sickness the entire trip (minus a few minutes of feeling like I was going to hurl after Wheeler). I think we hiked close to 100 miles and went up and down 10s of thousands of feet.
Interested in what some of this looks like?
this album shows the first part of our trip, as well as some other high points we've done.
this one shows CA and NV.
I now have done 23 high points and Loren has done 28.

I didn't run for 3 weeks. What a great break. Today I got back on the horse. Well, yesterday I got back on the bike for an easy ride then this morning I ran an easy 4.
After following the marathonpalooza that was 101010 yesterday along with following the Kona Ironman on Sat, I got a little excited about training again. I am so glad I'm taking this training cycle off, it's letting my body and mind rest.
I'm starting to think about my next big training push: Boston in April and Lake Placid Ironman in July. I plan to spend the next couple of month with low running milage, like 20-25 miles a week with more focus on swimming, cycling and core strength. I want to go into these races strong.
Now that the heat of summer is finally gone being outside should be more fun.
Until we're under a foot of snow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Old New Hampshire Grand and Great

As many as you know, Loren and I (and a few of our boyfriends TIm and Chris) signed up for Timberman last fall. Timberman is a pretty big half ironman, attracting a large pro field and some top notch amateurs hoping to place high enough for the half ironman worlds. I fall into neither of these categories by the way.
After giving up tri training the last few years to focus on qualifying and then running Boston, I sorta crammed for this race. I didn't start swimming or riding until after Boston. While I have deep reserves in these other sports, I was a bit rusty getting ready. Yes things came back but I'd say I wasn't really in top form when I got to New Hampshire. I wasn't really worried about anything, I just felt like I could have been better prepared. But chances are, we can always be better prepared.
We made the drive up on Friday giving us plenty of time to relax.
Funny thing happened, I woke up Sat with sore legs. Sore like I had run a hard speed workout the day before sore. I'm not entirely sure why. While packing up the car, I made a few trips up the 6 flights of stairs to my apt, but I do that all the time. I've lived in a 6 floor walk up for years.
It was really annoying me. WTF. I don't want to start the race sore. I tried to be calm about it, since, really, there's nothing I could do about it. I would either feel better or I wouldn't.
I have done this race once before in 2005. This was before the Ironman corporation took it over. It is now A LOT bigger. This is a wee bit problematic. With the start on Lake Winnipesaukee, there's just not a lot of room to fit so many people. It's impossible to park at the start. We took a shuttle bus from a few miles away. We arrived at the staging area at about 6:30 am. There were 18 waves. Loren and I were in...the 18th wave. We had almost 2 hours to kill and the transition area closed at 6:45 so we needed to have all our crap in order by then.
The good thing about starting so late, is we got to watch the pros start which was really cool. The lead guy came out of the water with over a minute lead. The first woman out of the water, Chrissie Wellington came out not after. Chrissie is the current and 3x Ironman world champ. When she got out of the water and got her wet suit off, one of the pro men stopped in his tracks to let her go in front of him into the bike transition area. She is very well respected by pro men and women. After seeing the pro fields get going on the bike, we headed over to the swim start. Where we still had about a half hour to wait.
We waited as wave by wave, people went off and the crowd on the beach got smaller. At least the water was warm.
And finally, wave 18, women 35-39 were ready to go.
In the Tour de France, they call the last rider to finish the Lanterne Rouge, meaning the red light, the caboose. The end. It's no surprise that as the last wave to go off, we were given red swim caps.
Now if you've never done a triathlon swim let me tell you: it's no picnic out there. This is no leisurely laps in the pool, no quaint paddling around. This is a rugby scrum. Under water. This can be very scary and intimidating to a lot of people. Me? Well, I some how find myself right in the middle of it. Mostly because I, like everyone else out there, wants a good position. I want to be right on the buoys that mark the course so I swim the shortest distance possible. So there's kicking, and shoving, and people swimming over people. It's crazy. After a few 100 meters, it's settles down and I find a nice rhythm. The lake has found a rhythm too, and it's choppy. More than once I come up for air only to be smacked in the face with water, which I guess is better than being smacked in the face with a foot. I don't recall it looking this choppy when the pros went out 90 minutes earlier.
In the last straightaway, I stole a peek at my watch. I wonder if anyone heard me say FUCK under water. I was way off my pace. I came out of the water in 41:28, a good 5 minutes slower than I wanted. I got up on shore and ran past some very slow swimming men making their way to transition. I had a couple of kids pull my wetsuit off (note to new triathletes: if a race has wetsuit peelers, USE THEM! It makes life in that moment so much better) and headed to my bike. It did make me feel better to hear other people grumbling about the chop in the water, it seemed to slow everyone down.
Helmet on, shoes on, glasses on, on bike, off we go.
I consider my self an above average cyclist so I expected to be passing a lot of people on the bike. A lot. Esp. with this late start. I was right. I was to the left an awful lot. Though ya know what? I was lacking in some power. Stupid pre race sore legs. Oh and what's that blowing in my face? Oh that's wind. Oh hey while we're at it, let's have some rain!
I was resenting starting last.
56 miles is a pretty far way to ride, esp. when you have to run 13.1 miles after. Oh and you just swam 1.2 miles. I found a nice groove and just tried to stay there. This is a course with a couple of climbs and some rolling hills. It's very nice and does have some stretches that can be very fast. A lot of that changes when the road is wet however. Wet roads bring out flat tires and bike crashes, 2 things no one ever wants. I hate seeing riders down, I hate the thought that that could be me, it could be someone I know. So far it hasn't been either, but some knows every rider down.
At mile 25, Loren passes me. I know in every race, she's going to pass me. She spots me a few minutes in the swim but I know it's coming, and lately, it's been sooner than I expect. She looks very very strong as she goes flying by. I don't see her ahead of me for long. She's gone. I'm not riding as well as I want. In my head I'm just trying to chalk it up to not a great day. Get met to the run. I'm curious to see how my years off of tri training to focus just on running pay off.
The last 3 miles of the bike, I can see people out on the run portion. There are so many of them! Now I'm really annoyed I had to start so late.
I get into the transition area: Helmet off, hat on, shoes off, socks on (I bike without socks) shoes on, gel in pockets:GO.
Luckily, my bike rack was right near the exit to the run.
I suck down a Clif Shot.
Oh hello legs, why you feel like lead. This should be interesting.
The longer the race, the longer it takes to get land legs. They just feel heavy, I feel slow. I start doing math. Ok, I think a PR is out so let's try for under 6 hours and while we're at it, let's get this run done in under 2 hours.
I hit the first mile in a little over 9 minutes. As I go on, I start ticking off sub 9 minute miles. Not too bad. By mile 4 I feel fairly normal. I'm running with a 25 year old women (we all have our ages on the back of our legs). We're keeping a very good pace together. She leaves me around mile 7 and I pick up someone else who is my age. I'm feeling good.
The run is a 2 loop out and back. I see Chris twice, Tim twice, and Loren 3 times. The last time I saw Loren she was at mile 11. She looked at me and just said ouch.
The run has 1 significant hill which is run twice since it's 2 loops. I run so many hills where I live. I remember doing this course 5 years ago and thinking it was a monster. This time, I knew it was there, but it was no problem. I was passing people on it left and right.
When I hit mile 10, I started to pick it up. Under 6 hours was in the bag and I was feeling really good. Just past mile 12, I saw Loren on the side of the road cheering me in.
While final turn and a grassy straightaway to the finish line. I passed at least 5 people in that last stretch.
I hit my watch: 5:50. Way under 6 hours, about 2 minutes off my PR. My run time was 1:54, by far the fasted run I've ever done in a half ironman.
As I'm crossing through the finishing area, a woman out stretches a medal to put around my neck and says in a British accent CONGRATULATIONS! I look up, and it's Chrissie Wellington. Still in race clothes. She had to have finished hours earlier and here she is, giving out metals to us age groupers. I was in shock. I asked her if she won and she said yes, in the modest tone she's known for. I don't think I've ever been so star struck before, which even surprised me.
Loren met me at the finishing area and we went and sat in the lake. AAHHHH it felt so good on the legs!
After eating ( A LOT), packing up all our crap (A LOT) we headed to the shuttle bus back. It has been about 2 hours since we finished. Off in the distance, I could see Chrissie by herself, carrying all her gear and rolling her bike away. I'd love to see more pro athletes like that.
Ok, let's get to the numbers shall we? The results haven't been totally sorted out but I think there were 141 people in my age group and 2141 finishers.
Me: 5:50:25 35th in age group swim 41:28 (65th in AG) bike 3:08:46 (45th in AG) run 1:54:53 (25th in AG)
Loren 5:31:11 (18th in AG. FIRST TIME AT DISTANCE)
And a shout out to Chris (5:30:38) and Tim (5:47:47) for finishing your first (and not last I'm sure. I don't care what you say Stoia) Half Ironman.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Now you seen me, now you don't

ok ok ok, I've been MIA. Much to report on. Let's do some bullet points to get you all up to date.
• The day after my last post I was up to da bronx to run cross country again. Why did I think this was a good idea? I was tired. I felt like my heart was going to burst through my lungs and jump out of my chest. I didn't run well, it was more like a tempo run which is fine. Amazingly enough, I was 2nd in my age group. The killer is I got out kicked by the woman who WON my age group in the last 100m. Oh well. There was no way I could have held her off.
• 2 weeks after that, I was back to da bronx to keep my string of winning baked goods alive. I was not successful in that effort. During my warm up, I completely ate shit on the trail, twisting my ankle, skinning my knee, covering myself in dust and looking like a fool walking back to the start with a number pinned on. Since I race there often, one of the organizers took one look at me, shook his head, and handed me my $5 back. So the bake goods streak for the summer ended at 2 muffins and 1 piece of carrot cake. Not bad.
• The ankle is fine, it wasn't a bad twist. A few days off and ready to go again. Skinned knees. I'm almost 40.
• I do not remember the last time I did speed work.
• Getting ready for this half ironman has been interesting. I've been riding well and running pretty well, except for the no speed work out thing. Will report back next week post race.
• I ran the Bronx half today. I figured since I'm doing a half ironman next week I should make sure I can still run 13.1 miles. Again, not being raced. I ran 1:51:18 8:30 pace. Just fine for a long run. Thankfully the temps were down though it was still really really humid. Glad to have that over.
• And lastly, after cursing endlessly, lots of online chats, more cursing, some texts and a phone call, I signed up for Ironman Lake Placid for next July This will be my 4th Ironman. Minutes after signing up I also said to myself, this will be my last Ironman. Those are famous last words. Stayed tuned for the next, oh YEAR, as I get ready for an adventure I haven't been on since 2004.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oh, yeah, it's Rollercoaster time

Yesterday, I headed out to Emmaus, Pa, hometown of Rodale publishing who puts out Bicycling. Also home to some really really strong and really really crazy riders. Every year for the last several years, a group of these crazy riders have done what's known as 2/5/10 on the 2nd rest day of the Tour de France. Here's a little bit about the ride:
Ride the 3 hills of Emmaus (2nd, 5th and 10th streets) with a group of people who love bikes. And then, keep riding those hills 10 total times.
Simple enough right? These are no little road bumps. Some more about the ride:
Mileage per lap: 10.19 miles
Elevation per lap: 1,473 feet
Approximate time per lap: 47 minutes
Approximate time climbing per lap: 26 minutes
Approximate avg. speed: 13.1 mph
(I averaged 11.3 for the whole ride)
Highest % grade: 22% (on 10th)
Avg. grade of all climbs: 6.3%

My intention was to ride 6 laps. I'm not in shape to ride 100 miles right now and certainly not when it involves so much climbing. I got in touch with my old pal Kristy who lives and rides out there to see if she was riding. I know she had done the entire thing last year. She was in.
We rolled out of South Mountain Cycles a little passed 7AM, about 30 of us. We start the first climb on 2nd st right away. A nice flat warm up would have been nice, but oh well. I hung on to the back of the pack and tried to find my legs. I managed to hang on to the back until we got to 10th st, the 3rd climb of the loop. 10th st has a section that is 22% grade. The rest of it isn't too much better. Bye bye, doggie. I was off the back questioning my sanity. On lap 1. Kristy, kind soul that she is, rode with me.
After every lap, we roll through the bike shop where our times and laps are recorded on a white board. When I rolled in on the first lap, the group was gone already. Lap 1 took 47 minutes. HA! The rest of my laps would be about 57 minutes.
2nd time around, I actually felt better. Now I knew what was coming.
Before the 3 lap, I stopped to fill my bottle and have a gel. It was getting warm and it was humid. Climbing 2nd st wasn't too bad. It's fairly long but not too steep and in the shade. Climbing 10th st, I would sweat so much I would be soaked to the bone and sweat running into my eyes. On 10th st on lap 3, I looked at Kristy and said, I'm sitting the next lap out. I hadn't enough very much before the ride started and I was feel a little cooked. My hands hurt from pulling on the bars up the hills.
I spent the next 50 minutes or so drinking tea, having snacks and chatting with the folks hanging out at the shop.
I jumped back in with Kristy for my 4th lap, her 5th. I felt much better. The break was a good one. Somewhere on lap 4 I decided I was going to be done at 5 laps. After my 4th lap, same routine: stop, fill bottles, snack, go. I was pounding fluids. The bank clock next to the bike shop read 92 degrees.
I knew Loren was going to join the ride on her lunch break. Just before Kristy and I turned on to the 5th st climb, there she was. She had taken a short cut to find us and rode the rest of the lap with us. New legs in the group is nice (ha group, me and Kristy. But people do rotate in and out all day which helps the people going long keep going). This was my last lap. Last time up 10th st. UGH. It was a nice feeling knowing I was going to be done for the day and lunch would be waiting for us back at the shop. The whole group was back together wolfing down pizza. Kristy was in for some more and Loren went out for full loop. I rehydrated and relaxed, my day DONE. Kristy did 8 laps.
I rode just over 50 miles and climbed over 7000 feet. Ya know, just an easy day in the saddle. Check out the elevation chart from my garmin, it looks like an EKG.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The ants go marching two by two

Last week...SO.FRIGGIN.HOT. I was planning on upping my milage a bit from the previous week's whopping 15 miles, but Mother Nature had different plans. We were graced with a few days of 100+ heat. I am not running in that. No way. Even early in the morning it was hot and humid. The one day I thought I'd run I went swimming since my options for lap swimming are limited: 6am-8am. Oh well. Missing 1 run when it's that hot is not going to kill me. Running when it's that hot could, however.
Wed. it was still really hot. I knew I was going to run Thurs. and with my foot, I'm not running consecutive days right now so I rode. It's much easier to ride when it's hot since you create your own breeze.
Thurs. was Van Cortlandt Track Club's annual 2x2 relay. 2 runners, 2 miles. Of course in typical Van Cortlandt style, they are not easy miles. I've run this race several times before and like all events put on by VCTC, it was a good time. Loren and I ran as a team, though since she's a workaholic, she ran on 2 teams. First she did the first leg for our pal Amy, then she did the 2nd loop for our team. Before anything, we warmed up for 2 miles which I think we did a bit too early, there was a lot of waiting around before the start. This was also my first run with super feet in my shoes. I must say, they felt pretty good.
Due to construction in the park, the course this year was a bit different. Same distance and same idea, just starting in a different direction. I think I went out a hair too fast. I should know better by now, I've been running up there for years. I paced myself on Cemetery Hill, ran like a wild woman down the other side and out of the woods. Once making the final turn, however, I was greeted with a wall of wind. For the last quarter mile. It was terrible. Then watching people finish while I cooled down, man, people looked like they were in slow motion. Anyway, back to the action. I finished in 15:44. I wasn't happy about that. I was hopping to get under 15. I cooled down and cheered people in as I waited for Loren to come back out. She hit the line and we had a combined time of 29:30. 2 mile cool down, 6 miles on the day.
I was hoping we'd win our age group, but as it turns out, we were the first women's team over all. Our prize? Carrot Cake. Really good, baked that day across the street carrot cake.
Here we are, looking like our usual jackass selves with said cake:

Thanks to Dave for the picture.
I looked up my results from last years race in my training log. I had run a minute faster. Granted the course was different and I think I was in better running shape, but the real kicker was it was 15 degrees COOLER last year. Yea, that'll slow you down. No pain in the my foot while running, a little soreness after but I think that was from the new insoles which is not uncommon. So good signs.
I have been stretching my legs and feet every morning before I get out of bed and have been wearing shoes around the house all the time (which I hate but have gotten use to) so I think both those things are key.
As for the rest of the week, I took Friday off and Sat. Loren and I did a brick. It was hot and humid with threats of thunderstorms that never happened. We rode a zippy 35 miles and followed it with a 5.5 mile run. It was a great workout! Yesterday I did a nice recovery swim.
This week I really am hoping to up my milage. I'm also hoping the 100 degree days are behind us. It does make me happy that I'm not trying for a fall marathon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I can gather all the news I need on the weather report

June has come and gone. Don't know how that happened. It came and went with very little running milage for me. I ran 52.6 miles for the month. Yes, the month. During marathon training, that would be for a week. I'm not concerned. I intentionally took time off when my foot started flaring up. The flip side, with getting ready for timberman, cross training is a must. Duh. I logged 280 miles on my road bike, throw in incidental riding around town ( I cut way down on this during marathon training and now I'm back to it. Boy did I miss it!) I rode well over 300 miles in June. I also swam 5+ miles. I also got a very high compliment when I went to get my bike tweaked by Lori. She had me on my bike all wired up to a machine that checks wattage and cadence and all kinds of stuff I never actually think about. She said to me where did you learn how to pedal? Damn your smooth and efficient. Fixed gear city riding people. They're not junk miles, they make you a better cyclist.
This week I saw PT Pete again and we have a plan of action. I do think my foot is getting better. I am feeling it creep up a little in my OTHER foot. The plan is: New shoes. I switched to the Brooks Adrenaline. Are they the lightest shoe in the world? No. Do I care? No. I can't be concerned about shoe weight right now. It doesn't matter how light my shoes are if I can't actually run. When I did the tri a few weeks ago, I raced in my DS trainers so I think I can still race in those. For right now, however, no racing flats. Period. Also, for the time being, I'm adding super feet insoles to my shoes. I've run in the news shoes but haven't added the insoles yet. So far so good with the shoes. I like them. I'm also stretching every morning before I even get out of bed. It takes less than 10 minutes and I'm not having that first step out of bed pain. Arnica gel 3x a day, ice, and all my PT stuff on top of it. Pete said if it's not better in 2 weeks, we look at another shot in the foot. I'm really hoping I can avoid that.
I ran 15 miles last week, my longest being 7 miles. Feeling good, I think much like before, I can't really run more than 3x a week and maybe not more than 25 miles a week. With the cross training, I'll think I'll be ok. How FIRSTish.
Yesterday, Loren and I went on a long hilly ride. I haven't done this ride in....I actually have no idea. It's very possible it's been 10 years. It ended up being just about 69 miles door to door with lots of climbing.

It's a beautiful ride but man, it got hot. Our plan was not stop until about 50 miles but by 46 miles, all 3 of our water bottles were totally dry. It got hot and hot fast. Luckily, there was little humidity. I felt really really good the whole ride. Of course I spent the rest of the day rehydrating. Today my legs are tired but not at all sore. My cycling form is really coming along, I'm very happy about that. My new bike is so awesome. Have I said that before? I'm gonna say it again. I love it. I so look forward to riding, it's amazing.
This week looks like it's going to be terribly hot, like high 90s up to 100 all week. Ugh, Running will have to be at crack of ass AM. Those few days of cool weather last week, oh how I miss them already.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising,

The heat. Yes, blah blah blah, you all know the drill. It's hot, it's humid, the running sucks. But I did run today. First time since my tri about 10 days ago. I should have gone out earlier that 8:30, when it was already over 80 degrees with high humidity. Loren's outa town, however, and I like to give Bea as much time outside in the morning as I can. I can deal with the heat better that she can and she's been feeling a little cooped up. Even though I have the AC on, I think she likes being able to be outside for long stretches of time. In this heat, she just wilts and her little tongue hang downs to the ground.
Anywooo. I've been giving myself time off from running, trying to get this foot under control. PT twice a week is now down to once a week along with stretching, icing, taping, and all that stuff. Really, I'd like it to just be better. And of course there's the fear it's going to hurt when I run. It did a bit when I started and loosened up a bit. I'd say it's about 80-85%. I ran 4 miles. I easily could have done more but I didn't want to push it and it was disgusting out.
My half ironman is in 8 weeks. The good news, I have some serious running fitness coming off of Boston (still!) Would I like to be running more? Yes. And I will, but it's not going to be high milage. For one, clearly I can't right now. Also, I do have 2 other sports to work on, so silver lining. I don't think I'm going to give up too much running fitness though I would like to run more. Right now, I'm thinking 3 runs a week (maybe 4 with a brick).
My cycling form is coming along. I rode over 100 miles last week. Sat. Loren and I did a great 50 mile ride with some serious intervals and hills. I love love love my new bike. The swimming is coming around as well. We headed out to Coney Island on Sunday for a nice open water swim. For me, I don't even worry about time on these swims, it's just practicing in the open water which is totally different than the pool.
So right now, the thorn in my side is running, which does bum me out. I am planning on an easy fall, but man, I'd like to have it under control!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Balancing on one wounded wing

Let's pick up where we left off shall we?
Last week, I ran a 10k. Ok, I ran a mile and a half of a 10k then jogged to the finish line with a foot in a lot of pain. I thought for sure this was more than the usual PF I've had off and on and I'd be taking a nice long running vacation. On Monday I went to see my trusty physical therapists to see if I could get to the bottom of this (har har, foot...ok, never mind). John saw me and work on my foot and my calf and thought I had perhaps strained something a little deeper on my foot. He figured at least a week off of running. On Thurs. I went back and saw Pete. It was feeling better. I have been doing everything I'm suppose to with this foot of mine and also decided to started 10 days of ibuprofin to try and blow out the inflammation. We talked about what caused the flare up, Pete didn't think it was just running. It could have been aggravated by running in flats that day but the most likely culprit: walking the dog. I walk the dog at least 90 minutes every day and while I wear good shoes, clearly my fairly flat foot isn't getting enough support. He suggested putting superfeet insoles in my dog walking shoes. I have a pair in my hiking boots, so they're going in my dog walking shoes. I asked about maybe running this weekend. Pete looked at John and they both sorta shrugged. I signed up to do an Olympic distance tri as a tune up for a half ironman Loren and I are doing in Aug. I hated the thought of paying so much money for a race and not doing it or doing just the swim and the bike. My plan was to do the swim and the bike and see how I felt in the run, if it hurt, I'd stop. They were both fine with that. They figured I might aggravated it a bit but not do any harm.
Being totally honest, I really hadn't trained for this race. An Olympic distance race is a 1500m swim (I've been swimming again for about a 6 weeks), 24 mile bike (I've ridden maybe just over 100 miles this year and they had to cut the bike 2 miles), and a 10k run (which was about a third of a mile short, very annoying).
We spent Friday night at Loren's friend Marge's house and drove to the race very early Sat. morning. Triathlons, require so much stuff which makes them kinda a pain. We checked in, unloaded the car of bikes, and crap, squeezed into wetsuits and got ready to go. It's been about 2 years since I've done a full on triathlon. This should be interesting.
The women were the 3rd wave of the swim. All the girls gathered at the edge of the lake and got ready for the start. Once we were off, I settled into a rhythm quickly. I was also in a nice little pack, trying to avoid feet to the face. We were swimming into the sun which made it very hard to sight. I knew this wasn't going to be my best swim ever since I'm just getting back into swimming shape. As I got out of the water, I looked at my watch, just over 34 minutes. Not terrible, I should be at least 2 minutes faster. Out of 29 people in my age group, I was 19th. There was long run from the swim exit to the bikes. I wasn't too happy about doing this in my bare feet with my foot feeling the was it was.
Get into transition, get off wet suit, put on helmet, put on shoes, go. Transition took me 1:54.
Off to the bike.
Immediately, I started powering on the bike, passing people just settling in. Faster guys from the swim wave behind me passed me in the first 2 miles or so of the bike, but that was generally it. I've been cycling for about 15 years. That really really helps. Cycling relies a lot on muscle memory so even when I'm not in top cycling form, it comes back very quickly. This was a tough bike course, there was a lot of climbing. On every hill, I just settled in...a passed a ton of people. I would pass women and notice them trying to hang on. Nope. Nice try.
One woman passed me on the bike and stayed in front of me.
It happened at mile 13 and it was Loren. I was actually surprised, she usually passes me, but it's in the run. She's getting better at swimming and hilly bikes courses are her strength. About 22 miles in 1:20. I had really hoped to have a faster bike split, but those hills...ugh. I had the 4th fasted split in the bike in my AG (Loren had the 2nd as far as over all women, Loren's was 8th, mine was 14th). Off the bike, rack bike, off with helmet, off with bike shoes, on with running shoes. Ok, I wasn't sure what to expect here. It felt ok. It was a little sore. I figured I'd just see what happens. The run is a 2 loop course so if it sucks, I can drop out after one loop or sooner and just walk or hobble back. I think it was really nice and warmed up from the bike and swim. First mile, I look at my watch: 8:18. Ok, that's pretty good. It's a little funny trying to get land legs after a bike and difficult to gauge how I'm actually running. Plus, the first half of the first loop was down hill. Before the turn around, I saw Loren heading the other way, she looked really good. After half a loop, I knew I was going to be ok and started targeting people to pick off. It was a little more difficult on the 2nd loop because I didn't know if I was passing people or lapping people. There were also only 2 miles markers so after the 2nd turn around, I wasn't really sure where I was. I was ready to be done, that's for sure. I started doing runner's math, which is never a good idea. I figured maybe I'd get in under 50 minutes for the 10k which I thought was a little crazy given the week I was having and the fact that I had a hill to run up before I finished.
I was really really happy to be able to actually run. Seriously.
Last straight away then a left to the finish. PHEW! 2:47:08. Really really not bad. My run time was 47:48. The course was short. If it was right, I may have edged in under 50. What's so annoying though is there was another women (in my AG with the same run time who I think came in before me so she was placed ahead of me. There was another women 1 second ahead of both of us.) I was 9th in my AG on the run. Loren? Well, Loren was first in our AG on the run. Oh yea, she also had the fasted run of any woman that day with 41:13. Hot damn that girl is fast!
So when all is said in done, this is what it looks like:
Loren 2/29 in AG 14th woman over all.
Me 6/29 in AG 23rd woman over all.
This race was the regional qualifier for the Olympic distance Nation AG Championships, we both qualified. I'm pretty ok with that result all things considered!
My foot really held up. It was a little sore after, but not bad. There was someone there doing active release after the race and he worked on it which I think really helped. I think I'll take another week off of running and go to PT 2x again this week and take it from there.
With the half ironman 9 weeks away, I'll start hitting the pool and the bike just a wee bit more seriously. I'm not too concerned with my running fitness so while I'd like my foot to be 100%, it's not and I can deal with it as we go along.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

rusted wheel can't move on

I had some high hopes for the NY Mini 10k. I really like this race, it's women only and has a very unique course in NYC, starting on Central Park West out of the park. The first mile is fast and flat. It also has a huge pro field and a great history. There's a really cool video about it here. After missing my 10k PR by 2 seconds right before Boston, I was targeting this race. The last few weeks I've done specific speed work on what's the 3rd mile of this course as it historically gives me trouble. And there's something else that historically gives me trouble: my foot.
It's felt fine. I ran low milage going into Boston, I've run lower milage since, adding swimming and biking. After a hill workout this week, it really flared up. Frustrating as I've been doing everything I'm suppose to be doing to take care of it. There is a theory that perhaps swimming and biking is aggravating something. While it doesn't hurt while doing either of those things, perhaps it's just manifesting when I run. I'm going to PT on Monday, I want to get this taken care of and if that means no running for a while, fine.
Anyway, back to the race. Since this is all women, I get a nice start up in the front (blue bib as those of us in NY call it, since first corals have blue bibs). Historically, I run the first mile way too fast. I found my pal Megan to start with. We had talked during the week about trying to keep that first mile under control. And we did. 7:33. The pace felt great, I thought it was a good way to start. Then I just got this terrible pain in my foot. I felt like I was altering my gait and it just plain old hurt. I decided to ease up. I ran a 7:44 2nd mile and decided to phone it in. Stopped to stretch (miles 3, 4, and 5 were in the 9s) and finished with an 8:28 mile 6. Total time 53:27. Meh.
After I was very frustrated. My friend Sharon asked if I was frustrated because of the pain or because I didn't run well. It's the pain. I don't really care that I didn't PR. It's a 10k. Not something I've ever specifically trained for and not like a marathon that if you blow it, you can't try again for months. If I was totally healthy, I could do it again next week no biggie. I can easily (well, sometimes) just let the race go if it's not going my way, chalk it up to a throw away. Not to mention I can look back to a time when this was my race pace and now, my HR wasn't even up for the last 5 miles.
So PT Monday and we'll see where we go from here. The next big just running race I'm planning on isn't until Sept. I do have 2 triathlons before that, one isn't until the end of Aug so I have time to just cross train, I know my running will come back quickly if I have to be on the shelf a bit. Plus, I have this totally beautiful new bike that I'm really enjoying getting to know.
And finally, Megan's smart start today really paid off. She ran 43:40 (7:02 pace!!!!) for a big PR. Girl, you're inching ever closer to that sub 7 pace. I hope I'm there when you do it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

He's racing and pacing and plotting the course,

This is a bit of a delayed report about my first XC race of the spring. I'm sure I've talking about running xc in Van Cortlandt before. It's great to have such a great course so close to home. I like xc because I ran it in HS and that was my first foray into any kind of distance running. Funny, these days I think of 5k as very very short. Also, it's like trail running light and it takes me out of my usual routes and routines. The gang at VCTC who put on the races are really nice and it's a laid back evening. Oh except for the running. The course has changed a bit this year due to construction in the park. I like the change, it takes us away from a very long flat start that I always run too fast and pay for later. Once in the woods, we have about 1.5 miles of hills, up and down. It's challenging, but gets easier the more you run it.
I had a good start, I marked a woman who looked to be a bit older than me and decided to run with her. Then I looked down at my Garmin and saw yes, in fact, I was going too fast, so I eased off. Normally I wear xc spikes on this course but with my PF problems of late, I opted for racing flats that have a hair more support. It was dry so I didn't think the spikes were needed.
Well low and behold once in the woods my shoe came untied. At the bottom of a hill. I was so pissed. Honestly, I do not remember the last time this happened. A quick stop to retie, but that costs time, esp. in such a short race. I didn't want to risk leaving it and going ass over teakettle while barreling down hill.
I made up time lost someone, or position anyway.
Coming down the final down hill and out of the park, the guy directing people told me I was 6th woman. It's a deceptive 700m or so to the finish from here. Woman #7 came right up on me. We sized each other up. I looked at her and said "I'm not going" and she chuckled. We really pushed each other. A glance down at my garmin told me I was going sub 7. The course finishes on a long straightaway which seems endless. With in the last 100m, she went and I couldn't hold on.
23:24. 3 seconds slower than I ran last year. Stupid shoelace.
I did finish 7th woman and won my age group, so I took home a nice carrot muffin.
Luckily, they do this every 2 weeks so I can try again. I hope to get under 23 on this course this year.

In other news, since I was so close to a 10k PR right before Boston, I've been going out and doing speed work on sections of the 10k course for the Mini 10k. It's a course they only use for this race and there are sections that traditionally slow me down. I'm hoping to avoid that this year.
I'm also relearning to balance working out in 3 sports for my upcoming triathlons. And ya know what? I'm finding myself just wanting to run.
On that note, I have a beautiful new road bike that was just built up and keeps whispering to me when I walk by "ride me", so that's what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

shoutout "go Brooklyn", they representin it

On Sunday, I ran the Brooklyn Half. I didn't make a big deal out of this since I hadn't trained at all for it. I was just piggy backing off of my Boston fitness. Last year I ran it 3 weeks after the NJ Marathon and PRed. This year, it was about a month after Boston. I did exactly 1 double digit milage run before this race.
I've run the Brooklyn half 6-7 times. People get very excited about this race and well, Brooklynites get very excited about Brooklyn so that's pretty cool. The course use to start in Coney Island and end in Prospect Park which was a bit of a killer since the last 3-4 miles of the race were hilly. Now they've reversed the course so it starts in the park and then heads along Ocean Parkway to Coney Island.
It's a nice course but not with out it's issues such as:
1. 2 loops of the park. While not hilly, there is a hill and some rolling. Last year was a disaster with people getting lapped but they seemed to have fixed that this year with tweaking the course a bit.
2.7 am start with train that goes to the start not running. Luckily, I got a ride. I still had to get up at 5am.
3. 6 miles on Ocean Parkway. It's just endless. And people claim it's flat. It's not. You can see by running on it and seeing nothing but the road ahead of you it's not flat. You can see the mile markers coming but it's difficult to tell how far from them you really are.
4. Ending on the board walk. It can be sketchy trying to kick on the board walk!
But I digress.
So I decided I was going for it. I really want to break 1:40 and I am a firm believer in throw away races. Yes, I have a goal, but this is not a goal race so why not take it as an opportunity to just throw it out there and see what happens? If I blow up, so be it. It's an opportunity to see where I am and what I need to do to get to where I want to be.

I started with Rayk and Da PIng, both also have the sub 1:40 goal. Ishii started with us too which surprised me since she claimed to not want to run that fast.
Mile 1 8:00 nice start, not going crazy on the downhill
Mile 2 7:54 hill
Mile 3 7:36 some down hill, trying to work that. All 4 of us are still together
Mile 4 7:33 more down hill, 2nd lap of park
Mile 5 7:52 climbing again. Rayk asks me if I wanna run even in the park and pick it up on the parkway, I say yes. Get these 7 miles done then run the last 10k like a 10k
Mile 6 7:52 how consistent. I notice I'm looking around to see who's still with me. I see Da right on my shoulder and say to myself "stop looking!" they're either with me or they're not.
Mile 7 7:21 down hill leading out of the park on to the parkway
Mile 8 7:37 Da come up in front of me, I keep my eye on him
Mile 9 7:41 I think this is when he started pulling away and I just couldn't stay with him, but I keep him in my sights.
Mile 10 7:46 yup, this is my pace right now. I know coming up to mile 10 Team Cheers Beers and Coney Island will be there (they've were Team Cheers Beers and Chowdah in Boston, Team Cheers, Beers, and CHeesestaeaks in Philly. Convenient all those Cs). Generally, I can take or leave crowd support, but it's TOALLY different when it's people you know and you know where they'll be.
Mile 11 7:45 I just don't have any power to go any faster. Hello no training.
Mile 12 7:55 Here Ocean Park way turns right and then there's a nasty sharp left up a steep ramp up to the board walk. Like she was last year, Sandi was standing at the ramp cheering her head off. See above comment about people you know cheering.
I'm trying to stay on the straight part of the planks which are easier to run than the slanted ones.
Mile 13 7:47 I have an idea where the finish is but hello I'd like it to be here now. I look at my watch and see how close I am to my PR (1:41:07) and am a little annoyed that I'm going to miss.
.1 43 seconds.
Finish: 1:41:28
Da broke 1:40. Ishii PR by 3 minutes, and Rayk ran a really solid race coming off her own spring marathon campaign.
I'm really happy with my time all things considered. I know I need to get some speed work in and I'd like to try and solve the piece of the puzzle of looking for more when I need it. That might just come with speed work. I do think by the time the Philly distancerockandrunhalfmararoll rolls around in Sept, I'll be read to smash 1:40.

I must say, it's nice to not have a marathon on the horizon. No long crazy runs (except with Sharon) no feeling like I'm totally beat up and more time for other things. Don't get me wrong, I'm still loving my running, it's just nice to have a different goal that I can recover from relatively quickly and try again sooner if the goal race doesn't go well.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

swimmin, swimmin in the water

I feel a little bit all over the place right now, trainingwise. I took 7 days off of running and my first run back was yesterday. It was ok. 5.5 miles with Rayk and Ishii. I have no foot pain while running, and a hint of it after. It's frustrating. I'd really like to try and get to the bottom of this. The upside is I don't have any huge distance races (like, ya know, a marathon) in my future so I don't need high milage. As I've mentioned before though, I've gotten use to running a lot. I just have to switch my mindset a bit. I think I'm going to go back to PT next week and just get really worked on. I've been extremely tight ever since Boston even with all the stretching I do.
In other news, since I'm not running what I normally do, I've gone swimming several times this week. This morning I dragged Loren around the pool for a mile. Quite a change from how it goes when we run together. Being in good running shape has gotten me into decent swimming shape. Obviously totally different muscle groups, but aerobically, no problem what so ever. I also went for my first real bike ride this week. River Road is just over the George Washington Bridge and runs along the Hudson. It's a beautiful road to ride on with almost no car traffic. It's a good work out with some nice climbing and a 26 mile round trip from my house. I admit my quads are a little sore, those cycling muscles have ben hibernating for a while.
So yea, I'm staying in shape. I'm getting ready for that that tri next month. I would like to be running more. I think low(er) milage is in my future for the time being, but clearly that didn't hurt me in Boston so I'm sure it'll all be ok in the end.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

right here right now

Well, we're a few weeks out from Boston and I'm sure many of you are sitting there thinking....hhmmm...I wonder what Doggie's doing?
I've done several 4-5 mile runs since the race and was feeling not too terrible. The I started getting the PF feeling in MY OTHER FOOT. Unlike last year when this started happening after NJ, I decided to take a week off. No running. At all. I hate it. I've become so accustom to running. Better now by choice than latter by force. Since I'm not doing a fall marathon, I don't have anything of that level coming up and right now is the perfect time to do it. So here goes (only 3 days left).
What have I been doing instead you may ask? Well, Loren and I are signed up for 2 triathlons. The Pat Griskus which is an olympic distance race and Timberman which is a half ironman, a distance I love. I did my first tri about 11 years ago , so it's not like I don't know what to expect. The last few years, however, I have been pretty much just a runner. Sure, I'll sprinkle a ride in from time to time and maybe go for a swim, but I am not in tri shape. So, I've gone swimming twice this week. To my surprise, I can swim a mile fairly easily. It's been at least 6 months since I've been in the pool. In the next few days, I'll get back on my road bike as well. I'm waiting for my Calfee to be built up. I'm actually pretty excited about that.
With all the pure running I've been doing over the last few years, it should be interesting to see how I do in these races. The weight loss won't hurt either. I do, however, expect Loren to pass me in the first few miles of the run. Well, maybe I can hold her off in the Half, that's totally new territory for her.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

pick the beat up and kick your feet up

I'm not even sure to begin with my Boston experience. I guess I'll start with my finishing time for those of you who dont know:
3:41:07. (8:26 pace). That's a PR of almost 4 minutes!
Now those who read regularly know a lot about my journey so I'll spare everyone the entire story.

This was an amazing weekend. I was very excited about going and meeting so many of my BQ Babes that I had yet to meet in person. Oh yea, I was excite about the race too, but also rather calm. I didn't feel any huge pressure since all the pressure was just getting to Boston.
I got in Sat. after noon and met Kat and Flo to hit the expo and number pick up. After, Flo, my roomate for the weekend, and I grabbed dinner just the 2 of us. Later that night, it was off to Beerworks for more mingling with interweb and real life pals.
Sunday morning, Flo and I did a nice and easy 3 mile shake out run. The weather in Boston had been cool bordering on cold and off and on rain. Later that morning, another get together. Let's face it, this weekend is one big runner's party. All the girls got together for brunch. I had the afternoon to relax. My mom and Ruth decided sorta last minute to drive up to Boston (about a 5 hour drive) so I got to hang out with them for a while. By the evening, Loren and my BFF Tracy showed up. We ordered take out from a local place and ate at the hotel. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing in the hotel and getting everything ready. Rocky was on TV (though very poorly edited). I watched the whole thing.
Monday morning, up at 5. Eat, get dressed, get it together. Met a crew in the lobby and off to the buses. Since Boston is an out and back, it's a long trip on a school bus. A school bus packed with runners. Once at the Athlete's Village, there's time to kill, portopotties lines to wait in, and people to see. Since I was in the 2nd wave, I had even more time. As the first wave went to line up and start, most the folks left behind were women. I was hanging out with my BQ Babes from wave 2 just waiting or the start of the thing we'd all been waiting so long for!
Nina and I had talked about starting together since our goals were similar. We both wanted to requalify but really wanted to go under 3:40.
For my pace band, I used Greg's pace chart set for 3:39. He's figured out elevation and effort/fade into his formulas. On my other wrist, I had hill locations, up and down and length. I have Flo to thank for that idea. It was very very helpful.
Here we go, mile by mile. First I'll post my actual split then what my pace band said
1 8:31 (8:51) ooops. I bit fast but feeling relaxed. Which I should. It's MILE ONE
2 8:14 (8:30) ok, still a bit fast. Trying to keep it under control. This race does pretty much just go downhill to start
3 8:18 (8:09) that's better
4 8:08 (8:03) it's still fairly crowded here, but not insane. Racing in NYC all the time, I'm use to crowded.
5 8:26 (8:20) first gel. Had also been thinking about peeing but only if I saw an open portopotty
6 8:12 (8:11)
7 8:15 (8:12) still a little ahead, still with Nina. Feeling pretty good. I think I saw Paul here.
8 8:16 (8:19) Saw Tracy cheering!!! Or she saw me!
9 8:38 (8:14) I decided to pee. It was annoying me and figured I'd just keep thinking about it if I didn't. Bolted off to a portopotty just as someone else went in so I said screw it and went behind. I was joined by 2 other women and we looked like a little row of ducklings just peeing behind the portopotties. Yes, runners do this kinda stuff. I lost Nina for a mile or so but then found her again. This stop put me exactly on pace. Every time Nina and I crossed a tracking mat, we joked about our pals following along online and if they'd figure out we were running together.
10 8:04 (8:20) this I was a little hyped off from having stopped
11 8:05 (8:20) um yea. Now ahead. I think this is when I rejoined Nina. Gel 2
12 8:09 (8:07)
13 8:16 (8:18) still feeling good. Still on pace or a bit ahead. 2nd half coming! Since most of the down hills are in the first part of the race and the ups in the 2nd, most people run a positive split, meaning the run the first half faster than the 2nd. My pacing was set to have me do that by 1:21. I came in half way at 1:48:33
14 8:16 (8:17)
15 8:26 (8:21) I'm starting to notice that I'm running.
16 8:11 (8:00) The Newton hills start just after mile 16. I was starting to feel tired. Then I heard someone SCREAM my name, I turned to the right and saw the cheering squad of Cheers Beers and Chowdah going nuts. It was just the boost I needed at just the right time. Not 100 yards later, I saw the young and pretty boys of FRNY cheering as well. I was totally reenergized. Sometime around here, I lost Nina again. She said she was going to use a the bathroom and I didn't see her again. :(
I was hoping she'd catch me again.
17 8:32 (8:38) Let the hills begin. They go from 16.7 to about 21. OH GOOD TIMES TO BE HAD! I felt pretty good. I was running them well. I was passing people. Gel 3
18 8:43 (8:38) um. Hills? Ok, still moving well. Not worried about my time.
19 8:32 (8:11) My goal's slipping. I dont feel terrible.
20 8:50 (8:31) The thing's WHEN the hills come! I'm still running them pretty strong. I'm still passing people, some who are walking, I just don't have a lot of power and my legs feel like cement blocks.
21 9:01 (8:51) my only 9 minute mile. Remember when I use to say no 10 minute miles? Now I say no 9 minute miles. CLose enough. Gel 4. Heartbreak Hill is mine, and the cherry on top, I see Loren, my mom, and Ruth. I give a big wave.
22 8:23 (8:10) even going down hill hurts. I know at this point I'll pretty much have to completely blow up to not get under 3:45 even if I'm just pulling away from 3:40.
23 8:39 (8:16) I'm really having an are we there yet moment. I pass my pal Miranda who I rode the bus over with. I hate passing my friends, esp when I know their goals and they're not having the best days. I shout out encouragement.
24 8:33 (8:26) From here you can see the ginormous Citgo sign, it's looming in the distance. And that is a hill. The last one.
25 8:51 (8:18) I hear someone scream my name, and I see Todd cheering like a madman. Thanks so much Todd, great boost for the last mile. And the famous words....left on Boylston. The crowd is huge and loud and crazy and holy crap there's the finish line will it not come soon enough.
26 8:50 (8:24) I think I hit my watch late for this split. I'm really moving as fast I can can to get under that huge banner.
.2 1:34
And scene.
Holy crap, I PRed and I BQed. By a lot. For both.
I am so happy. I feel actually pretty good. I waited to a few minutes to see if Nina was behind me but was hurried along (Nina finished in 3:44:29)
I have to say now a day out, I dont feel that bad. I certainly have felt worse. I think I felt worse after Steamtown.
I had an amazing weekend with friends old and new. I plan on going back next year and bring some friends all know who you are!
Thanks to everyone who came up to Boston and who cheer from afar.

Friday, April 16, 2010

wicked little town

Welp, the time is almost year. YEARS in the making. I'm leaving for Boston in the morning. I did my last real work out yesterday, 7 miles with 2 at marathon pace. It felt great. This is the most relaxed I've been for a marathon in a long time, since this is the big pay off.
I'm so excited to get up there and hang out with all my real and imaginary friends. I'll be rooming with Flo which if our past experiences together are any indication, will be a total friggin blast. Loren is away for work so she'll joining us on Sunday.
I wanna thank all of you out there who read this for your support through this journey. It's been amazing, it really has. I know some people, most people, never get to Boston. I'm happy to share this experience with all of you.
And a big thanks to everyone who is coming up to Boston: Loren, my mom, my SIL, my BFF, the FRNY who are making the journey, and the special group of insane girls known as Cheers, Beers, and Chowdah.
Oh and if you want to track me, my bib #18236.
Full report when I get back!

Monday, April 12, 2010

mad world, mad world

Taper madness. It's real. Really. Someone should study it. I thought I was going to escape it this time around since I was coming off an injury and wasn't sure how my running was going to go. Also, my last few races have been trying to GET to Boston. This one IS Boston.
Well I was wrong. I came down with TAPER MADNESS.
To keep the voices at at least a whisper, I went on a planning spree.
Loren and I planned 2 high point trips. First one is a early summer road trip hitting PA, MD, and WV. Bea gets to come on this one too! The next one is in early Sept, hitting NM and CO. I also hope to hit VT and NY since Loren has both of those already and they're easy enough to get from here.
I've also been thinking about another ironman. It's been 6 years since my last one. And I fully admit the sport has changed and gotten douchy. I try to ignore all of that because I'm a pretty good triathlete and I like it. I just ignore all the dick measuring. I'm also curious to see how I'd do after years of just focused running. I was trying to decide which race to do. Do I do something new? Do I go for a course I know? These things are crazy, you have to sign up A YEAR a head of time. As I was looking things over, I had an idea:
Next year marks 10 years since my first IM in Lake Placid. I got to thinking that might be the thing to do, return to the scene of the crime. Not only should I return to the scene, I should take the people with me who got me there in the first place. I shot off an email to my pals Les and Claudia. We all did LP together and it was a first for all of us. I shot off an email to them saying let's get the band back together and do a 10 year Lake Placid reunion. With in the hour, I got 2 replies, both saying yes.
I have insane friends.
Of course I'm getting ahead of myself, I still have to run this little race on Monday, but it is fun to plan.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm taking time out in the name of love

I'm taking a time out from talking about my own running for a moment to acknowledge the loss of a great running mind.
The man behind the name Jim2 passed away on April 1st.
Anyone who frequents the runners world forums knows Jim2 as he has helped countless runners become more knowledgeable about running and taught us how to train smarter and hit our goals. His web site is a cornucopia of information and stats that is a must read for any geeky running nerd. (a fave is the Boston Qualifying statistics ).
Even through out his illness, Jim had a way of making his stories of treatment for cancer interesting, informative, and often hilarious. Having lost my own father to cancer almost 9 years ago, his recountings of his treatment rung familiar to me and I was saddened to hear of some one else going through this battle. His strength though his illness was an inspiration to me and something I will take with me from Hopkinton into Boston.
Rest in peace Jim2, you will be missed and remembered on roads and trails everywhere.

Friday, April 2, 2010

under my thumb

Remember I told you all about the idiot who stepped in front of me to have his picture taken?
Well here he is!
Thumbs up and all!
And this was the first time he did it, as you can tell by the look on my face I am not pleased or impressed. (he's in the red jacket)
He did it again and then I left him in the dust.
Dude, if you can do this while racing, you're not running hard enough.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

OOPS! I did it again.

I PRed in the Colon Cancer 15k. I must say, I was very disappointed (as were many others) that NYRRs didn't have the giant colon you could walk through like they did last year. Apparently Central Park charged them too much to have it there because it was too big.
On to the race: I claimed I was going to run this with a number, not really race it. I warmed up 3 miles. Actually, I just ran to the start from home. And ya know, I don't feel like I raced it. No, I didn't hang back and just run it easy, but until the last maybe .1 of the race, I didn't run all out either.
Let me tell you, there was this guy, man, I really wanted to kick him in the pants. 4 times he stepped in front of me and slowed down. Once because I think he didn't want to be passed by a woman, the 2nd time at a water table, and the last 2, oh get this, WAS TO POSE FOR THE FRIGGIN PHOTOGRAPHERS. The 2nd time he did that I said dude, come on and I passed him. For good. Jack ass.
Anyway, I didn't even know what my PR was for the 15k until I got home and saw I PRed by 5 seconds.
The wrap up:
over all: 422/2407
AG 6/319 (what?!?!)
Women 71/1267

Friday, March 26, 2010

So these are my scheme and these are my plans.

I'm at that point in the marathon training cycle where I'm ready to be done. A hair over 3 weeks to go, I'm ready to be done! All the excitement is starting to brew. After Sunday's awesome race I came into this week with a ton of confidence, though not a ton of desire for what the week had in store.
Monday I took off except to go to PT to get stretched out. PT Pete says I'm looking really good and it turns out, he and his partner John have a bet about me and Hilary and Boston, though neither would disclose the details. Silly boys. Hilary and I dont even get competitive with each other.
Tues: 9 miles with 4x1200. I did these around the Res. in Central Park. It was windy. I was tired. I averaged about 7:20 pace for the repeats. I know I can run them faster, but coming off the race and all...that'll do.
Thurs: off
Today: Last 20 miler!
Before I go into details about that, let's back up to yesterday:
Yesterday was International Waffle Day. To celebrate, I went out with Liz, Mariela, and Sharon. While these girls claim to be my friends, they let me eat a nutella waffle sundae for dinner. It was gross. I ate the whole thing.
I had a totally awesome 20 miler today! Ishii and Sharon joined me for parts of it. While the forecast was calling for rain and even snow, we had none of it. Wind, however, we had. The temp. just below 50 and by the end, mostly blue skies.
I averaged 9:05 pace, running the last 6 miles under 9 minute pace. Man, I felt SO GOOD. All this on lower milage than last cycle.

So I've been toying with Boston goals. So hard to say up until now with my lower milage and the mental and physical aspects of coming back from an injury. All that said, I think I'm going to go for something in the high 3:30s. All signs point to me being able to do that, but as we all know, I still gonna run the thing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Come sail away

Why did I go to VA Beach to run a half marathon? Why that is a very good question. VA Beach is near nothing. Ok, it's not anywhere near me that's for sure. Well, one of my BQ Babes came up with this crazy idea of going down there and running it. Then the crazy idea turned into let's do it as a team. The time worked perfectly as a Boston tune up and these girls are a good time, so I was in. I talked Loren into it too.
To break up the trip, Loren and I headed to my mom's on Friday night. Flo met us there Sat. morning and we headed off to meet our team captain, Kat, down in VA.
A word about google map directions: ok, really, who reads completely through them before heading out on a trip? I never do. I will from now on! Believe me, if it says "ferry" any where on the directions, you're getting on a boat. With your car. We ended up on the Cape May Ferry. And boy were we lucky. We got there about 15 before the boat was leaving and they only run 4x a day. If we had missed that one, we would have been screwed. That little adventure started us off.
We got to the hotel and met Kat and got to the expo will little time to spare. Big shout out to Kaptain Kat for finding us a hotel 4 blocks from the start and about 6 blocks from the finish. It was perfect. We ran to the start and didn't need to check a bag!
The morning of the race, the alarm went off at 5:30. Got up, did all my PT, shoved food down my throat. Loren was not feeling well, she had been having stomach issues. I wasn't sure she was even going to start.
At 6:30, we collected the other girls and jogged over to the start. We were all in the first corral. The sun was barely up, it was just under 50 degrees, a perfect start.
At the gun, we were all off. At mile 1, I was concerned I had gone out a little fast but I felt good. That's a trap. You always feel good at mile 1. Unless you're Loren, then in this race, you feel like you're going to puke. She tucked in behind me and said she was going to hang with me. This was an odd feeling for me. When and if we ever race together, she's either pacing me so she's in front or she's just no where to be seen because she is a lot faster than I am. It was a little strange having her just hang on my shoulder and I couldn't help but worry about how she was feeling.
I didn't have to worry for long. By mile 4 she was ahead of me. By mile 5, I couldn't see her anymore.
Around mile 4, I caught Kat and I was feeling good. I noticed I had fallen in step with a guy about my age. He and I ran a few miles together silently. It's amazing these unspoken relationships you have out there running. We knew we were running together, but not a word was said and I was glad to have him. Then, as can happen in relationships, I left him.
Even though I was concerned I may have gone out too fast, I was feeling good and showing no signs of fading. I took a gel at 5.5 miles and decided if I still felt good at mile 7, I was going to pick up the pace and run the last 10k like a 10k.
And that's exactly what I did. I was passing people left and right and my pace was dropping.
The course is and out and backish course with a loop. It's known to have some strong winds. For most of the race, it was not a problem. As we made the turn, I could feel it sideways but it didn't impact my pace.
Let me just say, this is a beautiful flat course with tons of support. And beer at mile 3 and 9.5, which yes, I saw people taking both times.
Mile 9.5 I took my 2nd gel. I use to be a 1 gel gal for halfs, but I've found a 2nd one late in the race just tops off the tank enough to give me a nice push.
Here we were back on the out and back and I could feel the head wind. I was trying to tuck in behind people but I was a bit in no mans land. I would come up on someone and end up just passing them.
Just before mile 11, I was in a pack of 4 women and we were all working together. I dropped 2 of them. Me and 1 woman were really pushing each other, back and forth. I thought good, she's gonna get me to the end strong. The wind was slowing me ever so slightly but I was using her to get me going. Then and mile 12, she just stopped and stepped off the course. I had a second of looking back to see if she was ok and thought about calling to her to get her going, but ya know, no time for that now. I pushed on.
With about a half mile to go, we heading on to the boardwalk. From here, you can see this huge statue of Neptune and the finish line. It seems ENDLESS. There's something tough about seeing the finish line and it just not getting any closer.
Push push push....huge crowds. I hear the announcer call my name and I stop my watch.
I'm thrilled, beating my old PR of 1:42:02. Slowing chipping away, soon I WILL get under 1:40.
Flo and Loren were waiting for me just after the finish line. Flo finished in 1:35:02 and WON HER AGE GROUP. Loren finished in 1:38:25. Kat wasn't far behind me with a 1:44:01, a PR for her as well.
Once we all finished, it was off to the ocean for nature's ice bath. Man the water was cold but felt so good on the legs and we were all giddy as little kids.
As far as the team race, we won the women's open division. We were also 3rd team over all, out of 32 teams. The only teams in front of us were a men's masters team (1st over all) and a men's open team.
That's right, the women bring home the hardware. Except there was no awards ceremony of even results posted anywhere.
While we had great conditions for our race, the marathoners didn't fare so well. They started an hour after us and things heated up quickly with long stretches of the course having no shade. We hung out at the finish and watched pace group leaders come to the line alone. Sad sad sad. So sorry for everyone who was out there doing the marathon death march.
While our drive home was very long, we did manage to avoid any and all ferry rides.
Here are the splits/stats for the race:
.1 .44=6:53 pace

over all 379/6546
women 96/4030
AG 12/683