Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Frohe Weinachten, Feliz Navidad

A multi-lingual wish from my mutt of a family to yours. My parents are coming into town this week and today is my last day of work for the week. If you celebrate Christmas of any variety - I wish you and yours well. Enjoy your families.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Team Fight and My Race Plans through May 2011

I've been doing some organizing and planning on my end for what I will accomplish in 2011. I have a schedule of races planned through May right now. Also, I have joined Team Fight which is a part of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. I met several people from Team Fight last October when I did the relay for the Half Full Triathlon. One of my relay mates was a member of Team Fight and another friend of mine, they all spoke so highly of the organization and team spirit that I decided I wanted to join up for 2011. I like being a part of something bigger than me and giving back to help others. I will be doing some fundraising as a part of Team Fight. My goal is $1200! You can help me reach that goal, by donating ANY amount.

First up on my schedule is the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon in Austin, Texas. I wanted to get a half marathon in early in the year, despite the chances of crappy weather in my area that could hinder training. I knew that if I actually paid and put an event on the calendar I would actually get my butt out the door or on the treadmill. Of course having my coach to answer too also helps (he & I start up again in January). I will be meeting up with several twitter running friends and a friend from high school in Austin - multiple good reasons to go!

Next on my schedule is the Cherry Blossom 10 miler on April 3! This will be my first year doing the Cherry Blossom. It is a Washington DC classic! Entry is done by lottery and I found out last night that I got in! Yippee!!

My first triathlon of 2011 and for now I am calling it my "A" race is the Columbia Triathlon. It is Olympic Distance. This will be my first year for this race. It is a lake swim, and a lots of hills bike and a pretty nice run course. I am looking forward to this race. This is an official Team Fight event as well, which makes the event even better!

After May I am not sure yet what I will do. I've got some cycling events that I want to do and I am pretty sure I will throw in another triathlon or two and some more running events - nothing more than half marathon distance though in 2011 - unless another lottery bid I have in the ring comes through. Highly doubtful, but you never know.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Twiddling my thumbs.....

Not much happening over here. Thanksgiving was nice. Good to see family and spend time with them. I tired not to overeat. I am not sure I was successful. Damn that pumpkin pie!

I ran the Turkey Chase on Thanksgiving morning. I just did it as a fun run. Not worrying about pace or time. I didn't even wear my garmin. I still ended up with a new course PR by 5 minutes. 1:08:42. I will take it for just getting out for a morning jog and for the fact that I have not run but twice since MCM prior to Thursday. It is nice to see that my running has improved over the last year.

I can't believe that tomorrow it will be December 1. Where did November go? 2010 has been a year of ups and downs for me. Parts of it I will gladly let fade into the past. And since I am a live in the present and look forward kind of girl, I am looking forward to what I will accomplish in 2011.

Still trying to figure out what kind of races are going to be a part of my 2011. So many choices! I also have to temper my choices with a vacation I am planning for my daughter and I in the Summer. And there is the nagging worry over job issues....bleh....currently fully billable and busy, but in the contracting world, in a shaky economy, one does tend to worry just a tad... I find it hard to make long range plans with financial implications when that is niggling in my brain. Also, I have to plan a move for next September that will need to be in place prior to school starting at the end of August, so that my lovely daughter can start high school where we will be moving. At this point this is just a local move, but this will take planning on my part and has implications on training and racing schedules. Hopefully, I can get some good key races onto the schedule that are just not local events, as I like to get out of town too! I do think that 70.3 is going to have to wait until 2012.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Swimming! Cycling!

I went to my masters swim practice yesterday morning. I haven't been in the pool in a while and the last time I swam was my last tri September 26. I had intentions of swimming, but it just didn't happen. IT FELT GREAT! I didn't last the full 2 hours, but 2650 meters after not being the water for while is fine by me. My arms were feeling a bit noodle-like when I decided to stop. Since I am in my "active rest" period, no need to kill myself. ;-p

In other activities, I managed 30 minutes on the bike trainer. I was watching TV and listening to music. BORING. I'd rather do the compu-trainer at the bike shop or be outside, but when those can't happen... I hadn't been on my bike since Sept 26th either. YIKES. My sitbones were a tad bit sore on Sunday. LOL. I've missed riding. I wish I could've gotten outside, but I was needing to be close to home on Saturday, thus the trainer. I hope we continue to have some dry weekends coming up so I can get out there!

I am also entertaining myself by getting back to the 100 pushup challenge, the 200 squat challenge and 200 situp(crunches really). I had started the pushups and squats back in the summer, but never finished. So I am back at it again, adding in the situps. In February, I will be gathering with a group of women triathletes and cyclists as we see if we can complete the challenge(s). We'll even have prizes. We have over 100 women that have signed up.

Keep on Moving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lost Runner Found

I have in the past said I don't like running. I don't know why. Sometime it hurts, I guess, but then sometimes cycling hurts and swimming hurts, but I am not quick to blurt out I hate cycling or I hate swimming as I have with running. I think I had just lost the runner in me for a while. Over the summer months of training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I think I found the runner again. I told my coach once, you're building a runner out of me. Perhaps that was a little wrong, perhaps we were just renovating or doing a little rehab? Okay it is a massive rebuild... ;-p
As I trained, I found that I was running beyond 10 miles, feeling good and enjoying it. Stellar! Of course, there were those runs that were just crap; where I stopped before hitting the planned miles for the day or just really slogged through them at a slower than my normal slow pace. We all have those days, but overall I think I found the lost runner in me. See she was here all the time:

I found this picture while digging in a tote full of knitting needles this past weekend. Why ancient photos of my past were in this tote, I don't know, but there she was that runner! WoW! I've been looking for her. I look like I am hauling ass across that field. LOL. This was taken when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. Dig my striped tube socks to the knees. I ran cross-county and track 7th grade through 10th grade while living in rural Illinois. This girl used to talk about wanting to do a marathon. This girl used to run sub-7 minute miles on the 2 and 3 mile cross-country courses. When I saw the photo and thought back to that time, remembering that girl's dreams I said out loud to the photo - "We did it!" In regards to completing the Marine Corps Marathon. I am still pretty stoked about that accomplishment. There has been a long, winding, and sometimes difficult road between the me in the photo and me now, but the runner has been found.
Now, if I could just channel the speed from my youth I would be set!

Happy Swimming, Cycling and/or Running to all of you!

Still trying to figure out my 2011 triathlon and running plan. I want it all! Half-iron, another marathon, and lots of fun!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marine Corps Marathon 2010 - My Story

For some of you, perhaps that it is no big deal. You've done many. For me it is a big deal. I am proud, even if I didn't meet my "in my head" time goal. There is always next time. Yep I went there...this will not be my only marathon. Imagine, I once said out loud to many people, "I will never do a marathon". ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Never say Never. Oh, endurance sports you are so addicting.

It was a weird day overall for me and so much of it is a blur. I tend to be very focused when training or in an event. I miss most of what is going on around me. Is that good or bad? I have no idea. I get the same way when I am reading a book or listening to music. I totally focus on what is going on in the story or listen to all the parts of song. Anyway, here is the tale of the weekend and the actual race.
The weekend of the marathon was quite an event in itself. It started with new friends Sarah (@sarahthequeen1) and Ashley (@ashinmo) arriving at National Airport on Friday. I had never met either of these women in person and I had invited them to stay at my house for part of the weekend. Fun! It was extra special too, as this was Sarah's first trip to DC. I picked them up and we went to the MCM Expo at the convention center, after a quick driving tour of the monuments. After the Expo, we headed out to Dulles Airport to pick up Penny (@southbaygirl). Penny and I have known each other since undergraduate school. We were on the same floor in Hess Hall our freshman year and we shared an apartment our senior year at UTK. The last time we had seen each other was in Nashville, when we met to run the Country Music Half Marathon in 2008. That was my first half marathon. Penny talked me into that and then she talked me into the Marine Corps Marathon. She is good at pushing running. I got myself in to triathlon. ;-p
After picking up Penny, we headed over to the tweet up that Kirsten (@ultrarunnergirl) had put together. It was great to meet some of the people that I chat with regularly on twitter - you all know who you are if you are reading this post. After the tweet up it we hit P.F. Changs for a late dinner and then we were back at my place and off to sleep.
Saturday, we all got up and headed downtown to check into the hotel. We hit the Expo again and then Sarah and Ashley headed out to do some sight-seeing and Penny and I went to the DC gathering place of UT alumni to watch the UT Football game and eat lunch. Then after Jen (@jenzenator) arrived at the hotel, it was time for another tweet up back at the Expo. Again a good time getting to chat more and meet additional with twitter friends, including my coach, Josh (@speedysasquatch). After the tweet up it was back to the hotel and then off to dinner, then to bed. We all had to get up early!
I don't think I was nervous about the marathon, maybe excited and a little nervous - either way just like with any of my triathlons, I slept like crap the night before. The streets around the hotel were noisy too. On Sunday morning we were up at 5 am and getting ready to run. I ate my normal pre-run breakfast of oatmeal, banana, cup of coffee, and some water. We all got dressed and we headed out. We took the metro over to the start. It was a seemingly longish walk from metro, through the security check point, to the port-o-potties and bag check vans, and finally to the starting line. We hopped in the port-o-john line first, then hung out by bag check for a bit. I drank my coconut water, finally checked my bag and was back to the port-o-john line before heading to the start. People were lining up with the corrals by time, but in the wrong spot, so then we all had to move. In the move, I lost site of the pace person for 5:30. boo!
Finally, the race started. I got over the start line about 35 minutes after the race started. I had Santa Claus starting near me. I was surprised by the amount of people in costume. I wonder if they trained in them? Between the last potty stop and getting to the finish line. I lost Penny. After the start though, I found her. We stayed together for a bit, then I went on. Of course, I felt like I had to pee from the moment I got in the corral. Around mile 4 there were port-o-johns, so I stopped for a bit of relief. Little did I know that I would do more than pee. Ugh. I didn't want that to start happening. Stupid intestines and colon. I did feel better after the potty stop, but later in the run, my intestines and colon would be talking to me again.
Again, the race is much of a blur for me. I do know that I had a hard time settling into a pace where I was happy in the beginning and I even did a little run/walk during the first half. I think mentally I was trying to keep my pace down because I was worrying about going out to fast, but I think overall I just messed with myself completely. I kept on going. Running through Georgetown was fun and loud and a good pick me up for that point. Some where around the end of Haines point and heading out onto the mall, I starting feeling really gross in my stomach. Adding to the misery, my unpredictable nerve pain in my feet decided to make an appearance too. Really?!?! My feet felt like they were on FIRE and it HURT! After having some ups and downs during training with these same issues, I really did hope they would not make an appearance on race day. Not so lucky. But as I tend to do, I kept on going. I was finishing today, no-matter-what !!! Down the mall, past the Capital, back up the mall. I was struggling here. Then hey - I see Penny! She had been faithfully keeping her pace and there she was again. I was happy to find a friend in the sea of strangers. So we turn onto 14th Street and I tell her -we are beating the bridge... this is it! Thankfully, Penny had some Tylenol in her camelbak and still had some nuun water in it. I took the Tylenol and as we walked a good portion of the bridge, Penny's toes were hurting, ate some m&m's, I started to feel a little better. That bridge seemed like forever. As well as miles 22-26. The highlight of miles 22-26 was beer, candy and more beer! The hashers were handing out dixie cups of beer and several groups were handing out candy (Annapolis Striders - Thanks Ann! @brennanannie). And Penny had a twitter friend Dee (@deefsu) that was waiting for her to hand her a beer. I got to share some of that. :-) Thanks Dee. It helped! We continued past the Pentagon and I got to see another twitter friend that was cheering, it was Keith Dunn (@keithdunn) in his kilt. We were almost done. Once I saw the person with the sign that said 26 miles, I had total blinders on. I don't remember anything about the finish accept seeing some Marines as I turned the corner to start up the hill and I could hear people clapping and cheering, but I was just focused on getting to the finish line. And then it was there!
I got my medal, got my pictures, food bag and headed for a port-o-potty. Glorious!!
Official time 6:10:59 My first marathon. I think I have a 5-5:30 hour finish in me based on my training this summer. BUT - You never know what you are going to get on race day - be it weather, physical or mental issues - and with my stupid myelin damaged body, you really don't know -add a cranky digestive system and it can all go crazy.
I think once I start training again for the next triathlon and other things in 2011, I would like to pay a little more attention to nutrition and elimination issues as I go through training as I think that different eating and schedule in taper week, could have prevented the digestive issues on race day.
OVERALL I am still stoked that I finished!! Yippee!!!
Now I get to rest. Although, I feel a little lost without a training plan.
edited to add: cranky right hip wasn't an issue at all during the marathon. Left leg was a cranky one though. Compensating. Need to work on core strength and balance.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The final week.....

In today's thoughts...

1. Why do I always have to pee about 5 miles into a long run? Will I have to pee 5 miles into MCM? Will I pee on myself cause there is not a place to stop or because I don't want to stop? LOL ;-p

2. Went to a Physical Therapist last week. My right hip flexor and quad were REALLY angry last week after my wonderful last long run of 18 miles. I was a bit freaked out to say the least. He did some work on it. He is also a chiropractor, a certified Active Release Therapist and an athlete - so he gets it. He adjusted my hips too. I've never had that done - never been to a chiropractor before. Interesting. I have been on a regime of Rest/Walking/ Heating/rolling/stretching/core work/stretching/icing for the last few days. Things are less cranky. :-) I will do some light activity this week on the bike trainer and some wee little jogs. PT did not think things were so bad that I could not run. It is overuse and some imbalances in my body - which I knew I had too - stuff to work on this winter.

3. I am excited about running this thing! Wow! I am also excited about getting to meet a bunch of the people that I chat with through twitter. It will be great to put real faces and voices to this crew. I also get to meet my coach in person! It is going to be a fun weekend all around.

4. Next post will be next week after all is said and done!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thoughts as I enter the taper zone

Wow, in less than 2 weeks I will be starting my very first marathon! It got here quick.

1. Sunday, I ran 18 miles - some of it on part of the MCM course. My coach wanted me to keep a steady pace throughout the run. It is something that I have struggled doing on my long runs. I tend to go out too fast and then fall apart. OR start out too slow and never get up to speed. This Sunday my run was awesome. I kept my pace steady for every mile - except the last when I took a minute off my pace just because I felt good. WOOT! Now I can only hope this is how I feel as I go in for the last 8 miles of the marthon and that I can continue to hold this pace for the whole race.

2. Why is it that ONLY yesterday I realized that I had a pace alert feature on my low-tech garmin? This was immensely helpful in keeping my on pace. I felt like such a dolt when I realized this alert existed. I could have used it all summer. I new it had many other features, just not this.

3. Right quad still talking to me. Lots of rolling, stretching, icing - repeating. It feels a little stiff starting out on a run, but then warms up and feels good. It is good if I keep moving around post-run, but if I sit or stand in one place for too long it gets stiff. I hope it sorts itself out by race day or at least performs as well as it did yesterday for 18 miles.

4. I miss Orangina, my bike. She looks so sad. We haven't been on a ride together since my last triathlon race on September 26th. :-( We are schedule for a ride the first weekend of November up in Gettysburg, PA. This will be a good part of marathon recovery.

5. I am still nervous about Oct 31, but I feel more ready since Sunday's good run.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

17 Days.....

I am almost to my taper time. I have an 18 miler this Sunday and then it will be the taper coasting to the Oct 31. My goals for my runs over this week and going into race day is working on steady consistency in pace and NOT going out too fast. Starting slow and ramping up into the groove.
I have been nursing some quad and hip pain on the right side since the half marathon run a couple weeks ago. I also thought I had a kidney issue going on - turned out to be a muscle that was acting out. I am now feeling much better. Last night I ran a little more than 5 miles. It was to be an easy run. After running nearly mile with no socks to the run store (forgot to pack socks!), and then getting going I was feeling good. I could have kept running, but I am sticking to the coach's plan, that is why I have him.

Work is busy still and my world has been eaten alive by marathon training. Looking forward to race day and November being a more relaxing month.

I was so inspired watching Kona Ironman last Saturday. Not signing up for any ironman or half ironman at this point, but a 70.3 is on my list of things to do - just not sure when yet.

Enjoy your training and your racing!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Relay Race Report - Half Full Triathlon

First let me say that this was the best run event ever! Kudos to the Ulman Cancer Fund for their inaugural event in Columbia, MD.

I participated in relay match and got matched with two other women (Yvette and Theresa)- one local and one further south in VA. We met up at packet pick up on Saturday. We spanned the age groups -20's, 30's and 40's. We coordinated our Sunday morning meet up time and we were off.

Sunday morning came early. I was up at 4:30 am so I could get the dog walked, get dressed and be in transition between 5:30 - 6 am. It was chilly! I had on my CW-X summer weight running tights, run shirt, and then a jacket and sweat pants. I had a long day ahead of me. I met up with my relay team. We all got our body markings, discussed the chip hand off, and then it was time to hang out until the race start. They had area next to transition for relay teammates to put chairs and stuff to hang out. Before the race we were down at the Team Fight tent hanging out as our swimmer is a member of Team Fight (an Ulman Cancer Fund team). I even met Doug Ulman at one point in the day. Nice guy.

Finally, it was time to get the show on the road. I found 2 of the 3 guys that I knew were racing and wished them good luck. And watched all the swimmers get on their way. This race did the swim start as a time trial start, so the people in each wave entered the water two at a time and started their swim. Everyone seemed to liked this very much. While our swimmer, Yvette, was swimming, Theresa and I headed up to transition. She prepped and waited. And I hung out at off the side to cheer the timing chip hand off and Theresa out onto the bike course. The relay wave was one of the last waves to go off - so it seemed like forever when all the individual athletes are coming to T1 and taking off. In reality it wasn't really all that long, but patiently waiting hasn't necessarily been one of my strong traits. Yvette comes in, takes off the chip, Theresa puts it on and she is running with her bike out of transition. Okay NOW the real waiting starts. 56 miles......with HILLS.... I felt bad for Theresa as she had not had the opportunity to ride this course prior to the race. While she was out cycling, Yvette and I hung out at the Team Fight tent. Yvette had to leave for a family event, then I finally went up to hang out in the "relay lounge" in my chair.

I had worried about nutrition for this event. Since I would be up and out the door early and then waiting a long time until I ran. I ended up doing okay I think. I had a pb&j and banana in the morning along with my joint juice (it is helping my old joints) and some coffee. During the wait period I had another banana and a cliff bar. And about 30 minutes before Theresa came in on the bike I had another banana. I drank water all morning and pee'd about a 1000 times it seemed before I ran.

So 4 hours passed and Theresa was in yet. I was starting to get worried. She had an injured calf which is why she was not running and then I knew those hills were tough. I heard from one of the race coordinators that there were some people getting picked up on the course and that there were some women who were walking up the hills. oh no. The bike course was to close at 1:30. We were inching closer to 1 pm. I needed to get a long run in today whether or not it was a part of this race and I was hoping since I had been here all day that it would be at the race! I was so happy to see Theresa coming up the hill into transition! Yes, she made it in. And no she was not one of those women walking up the hills. I high-fived her and put on the timing chip and headed out to the run. It was just after 1 pm.

I have been working on my run form and at the same time trying to just let myself run without stressing about every little thing and looking at my pace all the time. So while I had the garmin on, I tried not to look at it while I was running. I just tried to find the pace that felt good. The run course was great. It did have hills that were tough, but I powered through them. For the first half (and first loop) I did have others around me. I had one guy run with me as I was keeping him going since I was fresh and he was wearing down as he was doing the whole race. I ran into Roy, one of the guys from my tri-club. He was walking and didn't have much further to go, so I egged him into running with me until we split - him to the finish and me off to the second loop. That worked well. I was on my own then at that point which was approximately 7 miles. I just kept going. I was feeling really good. The hill going up around mile 11 is when I started poking a bit. My knees were starting to ache. I just kept going. I wasn't going to walk. I knew I could do this and finish strong. The volunteers were still out there and the aid stations still well stocked. It was great as I knew I was one of the last people out on the course. As I came into the finish area, it was a bit quiet as there weren't many people left. There were a few people cheering and Theresa my from my relay team was there waiting for me to come in. I was done! My knees were talking, but I was done. 2:37:21. A new PR for pokey me on the half marathon - and I love that it was on a hilly course AND I stopped to pee at 3.2 miles where there was a port o john at the aid station. Did I mention I was well hyrdated? ;-p

I got my finisher shirt and medal and went to the food tent. YES while there were only a handful of people still out on the course they still had space blankets, shirts, medals, and food and PLENTY of it. I could have had a free beer, but I knew that would not have been good at that point. I tried to eat the banana and part of the chipotle burrito that they handed me, but I couldn't. I was just tired. I did drink part of a coke.

I waited around at the finish to see the very last person come in. Thankfully, she also had some family and/or teammates waiting for her too. That is a lonely spot to be in.

Nice race. I am glad that I decided to do the relay match even with up early and wait around part. Having a good half marathon run before the Marine Corps Marathon is good too. Now, let's hope my knees hold out for the next few weeks.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Naylors Beach Triathlon Race Report

I signed up for the Olympic distance event for this race put on by Richmond Mutisport in Virgina. These people put on a great event and a GREEN event. Well done!!

Now as you all know I have been training for the Marine Corp Marathon and pretty much that has been my focus since the beginning of July. There have been some swims and some cycling during these past months, but the focus has been more on running. Going into this event I was not sure how I would do, especially since I haven't been in the pool in a few weeks.

Saturday, I drove down to Tappahannock and Warsaw VA from my suburban Maryland location. Amazingly I didn't hit any traffic on I-95 South - that never happens. I went to Naylors Beach campground (start/finish area) to pick up my packet and attend the race briefing. The race organizers were placing the buoys for the swim in the river while I was there. They looked FAR away. "gulp". The river looked like it was really moving too. "double gulp". At the race briefing, the race director tells us that the tide will be going out during the olympic distance waves and should be flat for the sprint distance. Okay. Tide going out, helpful ? maybe?

After the briefing I headed over to my hotel. Checked in. Go to room. Someone else has already occupied this room. Go back to the front desk. She tells me, "Uh oh! This can't be. We are fully booked! I am going to have to call corporate." I am thinking - YOU WILL FIND ME A ROOM HERE OR SOMEWHERE ELSE - and before I have to get uncharacteristically nasty - she flips through some papers and realizes I am to be in room 103 not the 303 she gave me. Whew! After that, I grabbed some dinner and then did some reading and tv watching before calling it a night.

This was a race with reasonable start times. Compared to races in Wash DC, which have really early times. Transition opened at 7 and my wave start was 9:10 am. I got up, dressed, ate some food and headed over to the course. Since this was a small race, I easily found all my Ancient Mariner (my Master's swim team) friends that were also racing. We had people in all the categories - both the olympic and sprint tris, the duathlon, and the aquabike, and the swim -run (I don't know what that is called). This event definitely had something for everyone. I set up my transition, hit the bathroom, donned my wetsuit and went to play in the water. All morning I debated the wetsuit. It was a wetsuit legal event, but the water was comfortable without a wetsuit. The air was in the mid-70's at start time. I ended up wearing it.

SWIM - The swim was in the Rapphannock River. This is a swift moving river and it is a tidal river. Tide was to be going out with our start. It was an in water start and we could stand were we started. The course was set that you went out on a diagonal to the first turn buoy then straight down the river to the next turn buoy and then back into shore. The first two waves went. Then my wave went. I am swimming and swimming. I am feeling constricted and tired and can't catch my breath. The first turn buoy doesn't look like it is getting any closer. I freak momentarily and call a kayaker over. I hang on for a bit. I consider get out. I am thinking "Why in the hell am I doing this?" The kayaker tells me, "you have gone quite a bit. You can do it." I catch my breath and thank her and start swimming again. The tide/current pulling me and everyone else off course. FINALLY I get to the first turn buoy. I get around that and I am just wiped out. UGH, I still have quite a bit of swimming to do. There is a kayak nearby I hang on his tip for a minute. Again considering getting pulled out of the water. WHY DOES THE MIND DO THIS - WHY DO WE GO THERE? The kayak guy says something encouraging and I head out again. With the help of the tide/current I make it fairly easily to the next turn buoy. Then it gets really fun..... NOT . This was the hardest part of the swim. I was right at the yellow turn buoy when I turned and I am swimming and sighting and all of a sudden the red marker buoy is way off to my left. The tide/current is pulling me and many others way off course. I felt like I was swimming in place and not getting any closer to the shore line. I was so happy when I could finally touch ground as that meant I was closer to shore. I swim and walk in to the shoreline. I am beat up at this point. I climb up the berm as I am taking off my wet suit and head into transition. 37:16 for 1500 meters. I bet I swam more than 1500 meters with all of the off course business that happened.

T1: 3:30 - I walked to my bike. I was wiped out from the swim. There were hardly any other bikes left in transition for the olympic distance. I was thinking negative thoughts - like YOU REALLY SUCKED ON THAT SWIM MICHELLE. Helpful, I know. I got the rest of my wetsuit off, tried to get the dirt and crap off my feet - I did put socks on - can't go without -then shoes, got my helmet and glasses, grabbed my gels and gloves and I was out. I was lucky my rack spot was right next to the bike/run out.

BIKE - I was still a little shaky from the swim. I drank some nuun water and just pedaled. I grabbed a gel and proceeded to eat that and goo it all over my left hand, handle bar. Yuck what a sticky mess for the rest of the ride. LOL . Pure talent that is me. While it had been a bit cloudy in the morning, then sun was starting to break through and a lovely breeze (NOT) had started up. First turn and I am heading into the wind. GREAT, first the tide now the wind. But I just barrelled through. I had been warned about a couple steep hills on this course, and there was one that was steep and one that was a long, slow climb - nice rollers for the most part. I was able to pass a few folks so that made me feel a little better after the crappy swim. I needed anything I could get. Edited to add for Tri Diesel's benefit - I had a burp with substance while on the last part of the bike. It hought I was just going to burp, but there was more to it. Blah! It was gross. I was rinsing my mouth out with my nuun water spitting on myself and on the road and trying to keep up the pace. Towards the end of the course the olympic distance merged with the sprint. Those sprint distance folks looked so fresh. (The sprint waves started an hour after the last olympic wave). As you came into the dismount area you hit a road with speed bumps. LOL I started prepping my legs for the run by standing up and going over the speed bumps. I dismount in my normal awkard and slow manner and trot into transition. 1:28:43 - 26 miles. I will take it.

T2 - 2:18 Legs are feeling tired by not totally trashed. I really need tri-specific cycling shoes for these events. I fumbled trying to get my shoes off and I need to put zip ties on my running shoes. Then this would be faster. I grab some honey stingers and pour some water over my stinky gel hand and head off.

Run - The sun was out fully now and it was heating up. So much for the forecast of 69 as the high. It was warmer than that when the race started. Legs are feeling okay, but I am having trouble getting any kind of speed going. I just feel tired. I proceed to run/walk the whole 6.2 miles. At one point, I misstepped off the road and roll my right ankle. (Now I have rolled both ankles in one month). I cuss, rub my ankle, spit on my left knee that is bleeding now and get back going. I walk for a bit then start up my shuffle. You would think with all the running that I have been doing this would be better. NOT SO MUCH. I wasn't the last person on the course, but I was close. 10k - 1:21:34 pitiful

My Official finish time 3:33:20 This is not pretty.

Overall women's olympic distance winner's time - 2:32:59. How awesome is that and she was 16th overall!! Even more wonderful - she was in my age group (45-49). She BEAT many people much younger. And due to her amazing performance, that left myself and one other person for the age group awards. So even with my not so stellar performance I GOT FIRST IN MY AGE GROUP. I will take it as it may never happen again. The joy of a small race. Also getting older - less women in the brackets.

Next up - 13.1 miles to run at the Half Full Triathlon. Yep - I was the bike leg (56miles), but the runner on our relay team can't run as of last week. She is able to bike or swim. Well our swimmer is unable to do 13.1 miles, so since I am in marathon training and this should be something I can do - I am now running. I am not totally unhappy with this switch as MCM is only 33 days away. I need to be running.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far!
Happy Training and Racing

Monday, September 20, 2010

Revenge of the Penugins Race Report

So for my first 20 miler ever and part of my training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I did this event. It is designed to fit nicely into the schedule for those running MCM as the group that organized this event also trains people for MCM among other races. Anyway.... I went to bed Friday night as a decent hour. I did my usual night before positive visualizations of me running strong and feeling good. I know it may sound silly, but I feel that it really works for me to do this as I am drifting of to sleep.

I got up Saturday morning BEFORE my alarm as my darling, elderly dog walked into my room POOPING and walked out. Gee, Sampson, perhaps a little bark before the poop and I could have gotten you out the door. Oh well. Cleaned that up, then got back in bed for the 5 am alarm. Now this race didn't start until 8 am, but where the start/finish line was in the park had a parking issue and I still needed to pick up my bib, tshirt and timing chip. I took Sampson out, ate breakfast, prepped my bottles of nuun, got my Honey Zinger chews in the container and then I was off to the park.

This race was held on the C&O Canal towpath. It had a 10 miles option as well as the 20 mile option I was doing. We started at Carderock Recreational Area. I haven't run the towpath in all my training thus far. It is dirt and gravel. I was a little apprehensive of this as I can twist my left ankle all too easily on nothing. Anyway. I park, get my bib, tshirt, and chip. Walk around a bit. Sit in my car and reading tweets and playing angry birds. Go to the bathroom twice and then it is time to start.

I wanted to start out slow, but run steady. I am aiming for 12 min/miles or better. I know I am truly a penguin. First we run up towards Angler's Inn and then turn around and run down towards Georgetown. So I get into my pace. A few people around me. Get to the first water stop and turn around point, my Garmin had already gone past 2 miles. The race organizers had said this water stop/turn around was 1.5 miles. Uh oh.... how off is the rest of this course? I get a little water, eat a few honey stingers and keep on going. I find a couple women that are keeping my pace and I stay with them. I am feeling good. Go past 5 miles (according to my Garmin) and of course I have to pee AGAIN! I think my body is conditioned to have to pee at 5 miles. Every single one of my long runs, I have to pee at 5 miles. I am pissed that I have to pee (LOL) cause that means finding a nice spot behind a tree and then losing the women I am pacing behind. I hold off for a bit, but then I can't do that any longer. I find a spot, drop my tights, pee and then I am back up on the course. I am able to get back up on my pace and stay there even without the women I had been pacing behind. As I am running, I am calculating in my head about how far the turnaround should be for the 20 miler. I get to the 13 mile mark and I am still feeling pretty good. I had my fastest consecutive 13 miles ever on this run. I was thrilled! Then I hit 14 miles and my knees decided they had enough of this pounding. It was weird how it hit and then my running form just fell apart from there. The cadence and pace chart on my Garmin download it is so evident to. I am steady and then bonk......all over the place. I found myself not breathing right. I was holding my breath, I wasn't keeping my posture. I tried to focus on form and breathing and it would feel better for a bit, but I just could not get my pace back up or keep it to anything reasonable. Once I got to about 16-17 miles I started walking with the running. My knees were screaming. I can't remember which aid stop I hit, they said "Oh you only have XX miles to go" and I am looking at my Garmin and thinking uh oh the course is wrong - this sucks. But I have no choice but to keep moving towards the finish. My Garmin hits 2o miles. No finish line in site. I keep going not sure if my "jog" was any faster than my walk, but it felt a little better on my body. Everything is hurting now. Finally I get to the finish line and go over the timing mats. I am happy I am done, happy I came in under 5 hours (the 20 mile beat the bridge cut off for MCM) and I look at my Garmin to hit stop and I am at 21.42 miles. Course off by almost a mile and half!!! Measure much??

So while this is the Revenge of the Penguins event - I get down to where post race food and water is. NO FOOD LEFT. NONE! Really people? The true penguins of the day are shafted. There are still others on the course and you have no food left. Oh wait there were some individual slices of warm cheese....gag....really?? I am tired, sore and REALLY NOT HAPPY at this point.

I stretch for a bit then get in my car to drive home. I stop at the grocery for my 20lb bag of ice for my ice bath. While I sat in the ice bath I drank my Generation UCan recovery drink and marveled at the fact that I just ran 21.42 miles (well if you call what I do running) not too many more at I will be at 26.2. While I was in pain and miserable for the last several miles on Saturday, I could have kept going to 26.2. It would not have been pretty, but I could have done it. I spent the rest of Saturday on my couch. I ordered a pizza, had a beer, watched college whole body was sore. My poor running form at the end really beat me up. Sunday, I was still quite sore. I didn't go to swim practice but I did spend some time with the foam roller. Today I feel pretty good, a little bit of soreness.
I have a triathlon this Sunday. What was I thinking?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting excited!

While last weekend's run was supposed to be 18 miles I only ended up with 12. I mentally pooped out. I was also having some gastrointestinal issues, but I think the bulk of it was mental. The funnier part is while I thought of it as a crappy run, my numbers were not so bad. Oh well...

I am excited about this weekend. It is Revenge of the Penguin time! This is an organized race of 10 or 20 miles. No time cut off other than darkness. It will be a great test to see if I can beat the MCM "beat the bridge" cut off as I am doing the 20 miler. My first ever!!!! Ankle is feeling good and even though I have had some things aching lately all is feeling pretty good this week. Woot!!

Earlier today I tweeted asking for suggestions for 70.3 triathlons for late summer/early fall 2011. I can't believe I am thinking about this already, but I want to tackle this next year. Let me know if you have any suggestions!!

I will post a Revenge of the Penguins race report even if it sucks!
Until then - Happy Training and Racing!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Running long

Last Saturday was a long run of 17 miles. Just shy of 9 miles, I stepped on a patch of uneven pavement and my crappy, weak, left ankle rolled. UGH. I was in a groove too. After a few choice words shouted at the sky, I sat down, rubbed my ankle, did some twists with it and then I was up and moving again. It was a run/walk deal for the next 2 miles. I had no other option that start moving towards home. After about 2 miles of run/walk, I mostly ran the rest of the way to get in the 17 miles. It wasn't the prettiest. My cadence was off, but I got it done and only 6 minutes slower than my 16 mile run from the week before. Obviously something is moving in the right direction and I am keeping my pace better.

This Saturday is 18 miles and the 18th will be 20 miles. Woot! I have been running alone and without music. Your mind goes to some strange places while out there running long on your own. I have a Chi Running metronome too to help with my cadence - I am starting to get it. Sometimes, though, I tired of the metronome noise and turn it off. It does help you keep a rhythm and keep mindfully on the task of running. On the 18th my 20 will be with other people. It is a organized event - Revenge of the Penguins! Fun.

This Saturday and Sunday I am volunteering at the Nation's Triathlon. I had no interest in doing this race, so I decided to volunteer. I am working packet pick up on Saturday and then I have finish line area duties on Sunday. It should be fun.

Also - Saturday there is a blogger meet up for the DC area. I am hoping I can stop by at least on my way to volunteering. If you are in the DC area and what to join in on the fun - see below from Liz Runs DC:

As some of you saw on my blog or on twitter, I'm planning a blogger potluck picnic. I know some of you have already told me you can't come, but I wanted to include you on a DC email list for future meet-ups. Here is what I'm thinking for the meet-up. If a lot of people have conflicts we can schedule it for earlier in the day (but please not too early since I have a 16 miler that day!):
When - 9/11 at 1 pm
Where - Rock Creek Park. If we get enough people I can see if we can reserve one of the small pavilions, but otherwise let's plan on doing it old school (picnic blankets).
What - Potluck picnic. Everyone brings something to eat or drink, and some people bring blankets. Afterwards, people can run, bike or hike together in the park, but you'll probably be too full!
Please respond to the following:
Are you coming?
If so, what do you want to bring?
Do you want to be on emails for future meet-ups?
Feel free to post this on your blog as well because I'm sure there are other DC bloggers I don't know about. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Still Here! My life in bullets

58 days until MCM

Daughter started school yesterday. 8th grade!

I ran my longest run EVER last weekend - 16 miles. Wow. 13 of them were good miles the last 3 totally sucked!!! 17 miles are on the schedule this weekend

I have been on the bike and need to get on it more. 24 days to next triathlon and the course has hills.

Work is still super busy

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

67 days.....

Why do we second guess ourselves? I really hate when my mind goes to those places. Live with the decision and get going! I think I must have gone there since my activity over the weekend was totally NOT running related and no real training occurred. Thus I have been having those what am I doing moments and saying things like You can't run a marathon. I DON'T LIKE THAT!!! I don't say can't! The hike on Saturday was good, but being the sweep is a test in patience. I had some women who were painfully slow that I had to prod a few times to pick up the pace. Thus rather than getting the 9 miles I wanted done, I ended up just shy of 7. ARRRRRRRRHGGGGGGGGGHHHH. But it was a beautiful day and all hikers had a great time.

Sunday, I was up at 4:30 am to go get donuts and coffee to take to my tri club's tent at the IronGirl Tri in Columbia. It was great to watch an all women's event. I got to see some friends who were racing finish. I saw the first and second place para triathletes finish - INSPIRING. The weather was a good temp, but it rained off and on all morning. One of my friends said at one point during the bike she couldn't even see because it was raining so hard. KUDOS to all that raced in the pouring rain.

After I left the triathlon, I got home showered and had to run to the fairgrounds to pick up my daughter's art work that she had entered in the fair (she won a couple ribbons too) then off to meet up with 3 friends for a late brunch and some spa time. We were celebrating my friend Katie's birthday. Brunch was awesome and then we hit the Red Door. It was a great afternoon. Very relaxing. I actually began to doze off while I was getting my facial. LOL I was so tired. I was in bed by 8:30 - 9:00 on Sunday night.

Monday - I was going to get up to run, but I got up to a stuffy nose and just felt gross. I think the grass and weeds are getting to me. Time to get the allergy meds rolling again. Last night I went to a stride clinic at my local Fleet Feet. I got some great information from this session and will work on getting my running form better. I got told I run like a cyclist with strong quads. LOL I need to focus on my glutes and hammies doing more work when I run - like a runner. Good to know as I am now in the moving all the miles up and up and up. I want to get through this !!

Beat the Bridge: Runners must maintain the 14 minute per mile pace to reach the 14th Street Bridge and successfully "Beat the Bridge" just after mile marker 20. The 14th Street Bridge will reopen to vehicular traffic making it unavailable to runners after 1:15 p.m. Any runners unable to "Beat the Bridge" will be required to board the straggler buses and be driven to the event finish area.

If I can keep my LSD pace of 12:30 from miles 1- 20 this won't be a problem. YIKES! I guess I will see how things go in the next few weeks with my long runs. Sept 18 will be a good test as that is a 20 miler Saturday for me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Five

1. I had a good conversation with my coach yesterday. I like the way he thinks.

2. Work is making me a bit crazy. Too many women/estrogen/something. Can we please have a bit of testosterone added into the mix???

3. The hike I am co-leading Saturday is a go. As of right now I have 33 people signed up. That is a good bit! The bus will hold 47. While I was secretly wishing it wasn't a go earlier this week, I am now happy to be doing it. I realized yesterday, that I really need to do an activity I haven't done in a while. Since we have 12, 9, and 7 mile options and I am the sweep, I am hoping that all coming are will be keeping a good pace so that perhaps I can get at least the 9 miles done. Good cross training with all the elevation gain too. I will add a run on Sunday to make sure I get a total of 16 miles in over the weekend since that was my schedule long run distance this weekend.

4. Sunday morning I will be up before dawn to go get donuts and coffee and meet my other tri-club peeps at the Iron Girl event in Columbia MD. We have some members racing. I have some friends racing. Also, the club is trying to generate interest and new members in our fledgling tri-club. I am looking forward to it. I also just found out that one of my relay teammates for the Half Full Tri in October is racing, so I hope to meet her too.

5. What does it say that while I miss my daughter (who is away until Aug 30) that I am not missing any of my parental responsibilities that come with her being home with me? LOL I am going to enjoy it all I can until then... once she returns school starts and then schedules of her activities and my activities have to be coordinated. It is good that I can ride and run just about anywhere.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Consistent pace?

Why are my running numbers all over the place? I cannot seem to keep a consistent pace rolling when running. Now I do live in an area that is filled with rolling hills, thus where ever I run outside (unless it is on a track) it is constantly changing. I feel like my run pace has just been crap lately. For my long runs, my LSD pace should be 12 to 12:30 min/mile. During last Saturday's run I was all over the place - 9:43 min /mile at some point and then the low point (that last really crappy mile) was 15 min/mile - I think I walked a good bit of that one. And in the end I was off of the 12 to 12:30 min/mile pace overall. Ugh. Need to work on this. I will discuss this with my coach this week. We are scheduled to chat.

I have 16 on the schedule this week - and coach is mandating NO IPOD - just run what your legs want to do. Uh oh. I am not sure where I am going to fit it in. I am co-leading a hike on Saturday and sadly I am secretly hoping it gets cancelled so that I can do my long run on Saturday. If not I may be up early on Friday morning plodding out 16 miles before work. YIKES. I will definitely only being doing the short hike on Saturday if that is the case. Signed up to co-lead back in the Spring before fully realizing that I would be in the middle of marathon training. DOH!

Sunday I am volunteering at the IronGirl Tri in Columbia. My tri club wanted to set up a tent as we have members who are racing. It will be fun to cheer for everyone. This is one of those races that fills up the moment it opens for registration, so I missed the boat to race it this year.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Insominia post

Things I have done since my last post

1. Spent a weekend with old friends, one I had not seen since I was 16. Which is a long time ago!! I haven't laughed so much in a long time. It was rejuvenating. I miss that I don 't have friends like that here.

2. Did some training. Thunderstorms and killer headache thwarted me a bit last week, but I managed one bike/run brick, some speed work on the treadmill, and Saturday's long run was 13.1 miles. It was a fine run until mile 9 or 10 when my knees started getting cranky. The last 2 miles really sucked. Today was swim practice. It felt good to be back in the pool after two weeks of no swimming.

3. Re-dyed my daughter's hair pink. She looks good with pink hair. So much fun. If they had made pink hair dye when I was her age I would have been all-over that, but I am certain my parents would not have allowed it. LOL. I am lenient when it comes to hair and as long as she does what she is supposed to do.

4. I can't believe that I am wide awake at 1:45 am. I am not prone to insomnia. Oh well. I guess I will read, since I have now posted.

Happy Monday to all. Hope you all got some sleep!!

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Where did the week go?

Busy here. Will post my stuff from the Catoctin Challenge next week. It was a blast and we had awesome weather.
Heading out to meet up with some people from my way back past this weekend in a place I haven't been to since 1981. It is going to be lots of fun. I cannot wait.

Training is all over the place this week, but happening some and I added the 100 pushup and 200 squat challenge to the mix this week just for fun.
Happy Weekend All!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Friday Five!

1. I got my iPhone4 this week. So far I love it. Have any apps that you love and cant' live without? Please do tell! I am new to this smart phone/iPhone stuff.

2. My other purchase this month was a netbook in order to have a second computer in the house to surf/twitter/etc. My daughter discovered the wonders of skype via the netbook w/webcam and I have had to pry it out of her hands so that I can use it. She is not your typical teen - I usually have to remind her to charge, turn on, and take her phone with her. So to come home to find her skyping was quite funny. She says its the visual and voice connection that is more appealing to her. She is an artist! What can I say.

3. I received my relay match this morning for the Half Full Tri October 3rd. I am excited! I will be doing the bike leg, which is the leg I really wanted!!

4. This Saturday is the Catoctin Challenge! I will take photos and have a nice weekend report to share next week. I am still trying to get to $500. I am riding for Habitat for Humanity. Please donate if you can. Thank you!! Even if it is only a $1 or $5 -it can help. In total the group is hoping to go over $100,000 this year, which would be amazing. We are getting close!

5. I recently secured the services of a coach. Main goal is to get through Marine Corp Marathon training, but he totally gets my triathlon addiction and is a cross training supporter. So I still have bricks on the plan as well as bike time and swim time. I am hoping this will help my run overall and perhaps my run leg of my tris will be better too!

Everybody have a GREAT Weekend! And PLEASE Donate if you can.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Riley's Rumble Half Marathon

From the MCRRC website: "Riley's Rumble is the evil half that your mother warned you about. Don't be seduced by the lush bucolic countryside of rural Montgomery County. This race will challenge the best runners. If you want the 3 H's (hills, heat, and humidity), this is the race for you. It is a good workout if you're preparing for a fall marathon but Riley's may not be advisable for your first half marathon. "
As they promised we had the 3H's.
Yes I finished, but it was not pretty. We have been having incredible heat and humidity here. Saturday's heat index was something like 108 degrees. The dew points have been in the high 70's which just makes the air feel like soup. I made sure to hide in the AC and keep hydrating on Saturday as much as possible.
Sunday morning the temp was in the low 80's around 6 am when I got to the start. The race organizer actually decided not to chip time the event due to the poor air quality and heat. The race started at 7 am. The whole time while people were getting their numbers and such, the announcer kept talking about the brutal conditions, etc. I was ready for him to stop! No chip time, but they did have clock for the overall start and so you could see an end time when you finished. My time was something like 3:04. I'll take it in all its crappiness. This was, after all, just a training day for me. I needed the miles. This event is free for club members. So it all worked out and I had nice, smiling volunteers handing out water, ice, Gatorade, GU, candy and POPSICLES during the race and I got my miles done. Actually Popsicles were only at mile 8.42. I got 2!! I found a nice group of three people to run with a the beginning and we stuck together through the whole event. Thankfully, we had a decent amount of shade for the run, there was one out a back leg that was all sun and then in the last three miles you have not shade and some HILLS to go back up to the finish. I would have liked to have stayed on my LSD pace of 12:30/mile - but that didn't happen. There was some (more than I would have liked) walking going on during the second half of the race and even during the last mile. My knees were talking and then my innards were talking a bit. I am glad it is done. I am glad that I did it even if it didn't come with a t-shirt or bling. My first 13.1 since 2008 is in the bad. On my way to the Marine Corp Marathon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Training ups and downs

Not much to post about. I have been dealing with a cranky IT band for the last bit and my left knee too. I've been spending some time icing, stretching, foam rollering. Of course this hits when I am trying to get into the swing of my training for the Marine Corp Marathon. I did have my bike fit reevaluated last week. So far with the couple rides that I have done since the fitting, nothing feels worse, so I am hoping the few adjustments that were made helped. It was funny to see myself on the TV on my bike. While I was at the bike shop I decided to get a new saddle too. I had been thinking about it, since Orangina still had the stock saddle on her. After a 35 mile ride on Saturday, I am happy to say I am glad I made the change.

I ran 3.3 miles this morning. Nothing hurts worse. I take that as a positive sign. And I was good and rolled and stretched after my run.

This week I will run again on Wednesday and then a wee run Friday and then Sunday is Riley's Rumble a low key club half marathon. While I don't think I am totally up for 13.1 miles, I should be at 9 or 10 according to my training plan, I think I am still going to go out there and do the run walk thing as part of my training. If anything starts to hurt then I will just walk. I will also get in some bike time and some pool time. 12 days to the Catoctin Challenge. I hope it is not as hot and humid as it has been lately or that is going to be a brutal 65 miles. Have I mentioned the hills?

Work is still crazy busy and I got promoted in responsibility at the end of last week. I am taking it on, so I hope that it will translate into some extra $$ - our review period starts in the fall with salary changes in December. I will be tooting that horn!
Happy Training to all!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Half Full Triathlon

Today I decided to sign up to be matched for a relay team for the Half Full Triathlon which benefits the Ulman Cancer Fund and Livestrong. I will do either the .9 mile swim or the 56 mile bike.
FUN! October 3, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fund raising plea!!! Please Help!!!

This is my one charity event that I do every year. Please consider helping me to reach my goal of $1000. No amount is trivial. Every dollar helps! You can follow the link below for an online donation or if you prefer you can write a check out to Catoctin Charities and send it to them. The ride is July 31 –Aug 1. I will be riding 65 miles on Saturday and 40 miles on Sunday. Have
I mentioned that Greg LeMond will be joining us for this years Challenge? If I meet my goal of $1000 I will get a Greg LeMond signed 1989 replica Tour de France jersey. A cyclist can always use another jersey! I am still $795 away from my goal.

I am riding in this year's Catoctin Challenge benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County Maryland and 1 in The Catoctin Challenge is a very difficult and mountainous journey. My personal goal is to finish this two-day ride alive! The overall goal of the Catoctin Challenge is to raise $150,000, or enough to support the building of a new home for a family in need and to provide support for the 1 in initiative to help adult men who experienced unwanted sexual experiences in their childhood. Would you please consider sponsoring me in this year’s Catoctin Challenge? You can do so in two easy ways:1. Follow the link on this page (credit cards and bank account drafts accepted)2. Send a check made out to Catoctin Charities inc. to Catoctin Charities inc. Catoctin Challenge Bike Ride, 8322 Jordan Valley Way, Frederick, MD 21702
(Please note you are sponsoring me with your check if you send it directly to them)

Thank you so much!Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support Catoctin Charities
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Quiet Long Weekend

After working until after 6 pm on Friday, my weekend was good. My daughter is out of town - so you would think I would be partying or something like it since I have no parental duties. ha ha ha . I was just happy to RELAX! Work has been insanely busy over the past month and is not letting up.

The weather at the end of last week was just awesome. Saturday morning I got up and it was still awesome so I headed out for a 6 mile run. It was wonderful. This is also the start of my training for the Marine Corp Marathon. Exciting! I ran at my slow marathon training pace and felt really good afterwards. I wore my XU calf sleeves when I ran and then spent some special time with the foam roller after I showered and I have had no calf or shin issues at all.

Since I had lots of time on my hands for Sunday, I decided to ride my bike to my swim practice and back. I used one of the local multi-use trails for most of the ride. 1. to avoid some VERY busy roads between my house and the pool and 2. It is in the woods so it had lots of shade! Sunday started out cool, but got hot hot hot as the day progressed. Originally I planned to ride from my house to the trail and then to the pool, but I was running a bit behind in the morning so I drove to the trail head then road. I live about 6-7 miles from the trail head. So I didn't get the full mileage that I was intending for the day, but it was still a good ride. Swim practice was in the middle and was good as always. The pool water was cool too, unlike last week when it felt like soup. Before I made the ride back I stopped and had a yummy everything bagel with egg, cheese and bacon at Bethesda Bagels and an Orangina. The ride down I didn't see to many people, it was 7 am on a holiday weekend Sunday after all, but the ride back the path was a bit busier. I nearly ran over an infant that a parent was letting crawl on the path in a blindspot. Thankfully, I had slowed cause I thought I had seen something up ahead.

Sunday afternoon after I had showered and just before I took a nap on the couch, I had a feeling of total relaxation. It was awesome. I hadn't felt that in a while. It made for a good nap too! Then I was up and out to a 4th of July/40th Birthday party.

With the extreme heat of yesterday and being a bit tired from staying up late Sunday night. I just relaxed and did some cleaning tasks around the house yesterday. I did venture out in the late afternoon as I needed to go buy Sampson his dog food.

All in all a Great, quiet weekend complete with training!
I think I found my next Triathlon too - Naylor Beach in Virginia in September.

Back to work!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Semi - Wordless Wednesday

Today is dedicated to my giant, lovable, goofy dog Sampson. He is an old boy, but he still keeps me hopping. In the old house he used to sit on the toilet in the bathroom during thunderstorms as seen in this photo. In my new place, he likes to stand in the bathtub.
Can you believe it is July tomorrow already!? Where did June go?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ahhhhhhhhhh - Friday Five

1. I took it easy this week. I needed it. Work has been insane busy this month and it is not letting up for most of the summer. Road 10 miles on Tuesday, 20 miles last night and will get in about 40 miles on Saturday.

2. Monday after some stressful personal stuff I had to deal with in the afternoon, I had a massage. I think this should be done after every race. I rarely follow my own advice, but at the urging of another I scheduled it. My quads (and the rest of me) were sore from the race. The massage therapist did an awesome job. JUST WHAT I NEEDED. I was amazed at how tight my feet were. They have felt AWESOME all week since they got worked on. I went to a Massage Envy and have decided that as I move into MCM training - massage will be necessary. I signed up for a year of monthly massages.

3. I am searching for another tri to do between now and the end of September. Olympic Distance. Any suggestions? Is there anything that isn't sold out yet? The races in the mid-Atlantic region sell out so fast!

4. My daughter leaves next Thursday for 16 days. I will miss her, but I will also enjoy my parenting-free time. This will allow me to get back into my training routine. I gotta start MCM training! Early morning running here I come.

5. Sunday swim practice has moved to the outdoor pool! I am excited about this as I like being outside and this is a long course pool (50 meters). I can't remember if I ever have done practices in a long course pool. Maybe when I was 9 or 10 and very serious about swimming.

Have a Great Weekend! Happy Races to All! GO CDA IRONMAN RACERS!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Inaugural Washington DC Triathlon Race Report

Well, I finished! I move up to the Olympic Distance with moderate success I do think.
I am proud. I love the medal. It is my favorite one so far. IN TRI WE TRUST! Indeed!
Stats for those that don't want the long, long read:
  • Overall: 3:20:37
  • Swim 1500m: 34:20 (I want to shave off 4:30 please!)
  • T1: 4:4:5 (omg this is so bad!)
  • Bike 40k: 1:18:24 (I am happy! Still want to be faster!)
  • T2: 3:48 (no idea why so long)
  • now here is well it fell apart
  • Run 10k: 1:19:21 (gee think I might need to work on this!?)

So for the long story... first a little history...

I think back to March 2006, where I was in a hospital bed in the acute care unit on the stroke ward at GW University Hospital wondering what was happening to my feet, legs, hands, arms, head, eyes...etc. I had not done a triathlon at that time. I had thought about them. I grew up as an athlete - swimming, running track and cross country, playing soccer, riding my bike everywhere possible. As an adult I had not given up on those things, I just wasn't doing them all that much. Obviously, and I've mentioned it before, getting a rare syndrome was my epiphany. I completed a mini-sprint tri 6 months after getting out of the hospital...but I didn't do another until last June. I certainly do not know why I waited so long! Although, I will say my life was a bit of a roller coaster between Sept 2006 and June 2009.
ANYWAY.... I am happy to be here doing this, no matter the time. I do have a bit of the competitive bug still though. I want to be faster. I want to get better. But I also want to have fun. If it stops being fun, then I shouldn't be doing it.
Saturday I took Gina (my bike) on the metro to go to packet pick up, the expo and to leave Gina in transition. I love riding around downtown DC. I need to remember to do that more often. Packet pick up was well organized. The volunteers were absolutely AWESOME! Expo was tiny. Not unusual. I saw my favorite bike shop peeps, bought some Hammer Gel and Heed packets. Then I was off to transition. I road Gina down through DC with a couple other women. This was going to be their first tri. This race had a TON of first timers. It was well promoted and supported with training groups for newbies. I think that was great. Got to transition, racked Gina. She was flirting with the cute boy Cervelo on the rack next to her. I took a little air out of her tires as it was HOT HOT HOT and to keep her in line. Some one's tube exploded while I was there...I don't think they were thrilled to find that on Sunday morning.
Then it was off for a practice dip in the Potomac. They had the course marked, but with just little buoys. On race day they had GIANT cubes every 100m and the turn spots for the sprint and olympic. It was nice! Last June, I did the Dextro Energy Triathlon - sprint distance - with the very same swim location. I think the mighty Potomac river won that day. Last year the river was running colder and was rough due to recent storms. Last year was wetsuit legal. This year though.. the temps were up. You could wear the wetsuit, but you would not win awards. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about that, but then I thought - who cares! You know how to swim either way. Back to practice dip. I jumped in and did 750 m. I felt fine. I was happy. Time to get something to eat and head home to relax.
I engaged in my pre-race ritual of painting my toenails, watched tv, chatted with a friend - which helped a ton!, and finally decided I should try to get to sleep, although I was keyed-up. Like most of us, I don't sleep well the night before a race. I think my dog picked up on my vibe, cause he was being a nuisance too. I think I got up to pee 2 or 3 times in the night. Well hydrated I was. Finally 3 am rolled around and the alarm went off. I got up had my pre-race oatmeal with blueberries and a banana, coffee and of course water. Took the dog out to pee - and hit the wall of humidity. Yuck. I was 3:30 and the air was thick. No fun! I gather my stuff, check of my list in my head and headed out the door. I had to park about 2 miles from transition and then catch a shuttle to transition. I got to transition a little before 5 am. I had to touch up my markings as I had gotten marked on Saturday, pick up my timing chip and set up my area - all before 5:15 which is when transition was to close! I was a little nervous that I wouldn't have enough time or I would forget something, but I got it all done. Then it was just the waiting game.
Race complaint #1: ~20-25 port-a-potties for 2500 racers! Are you kidding me!?! Also they were crammed around near the corrals for the start. Just not efficient. Now, since it was now 5:20 I did have over an hour to "hang out", but I really didn't want it spent in the port-a-potty line, but wait I did. I chatted with the people in line and that was fun. Met more newbie women. While in line the announcer starts telling us the start will be delayed as there are still trying to get all the roads secured. The first sprint wave was to start at 5:30. I think they ended up closer to 6 am for the start. My original start time was 6:35. They did shorten the interval between waves to help with the time though. I wasn't happy about standing around longer, but not much I could do about that so I wasn't stressing it. I took in a gel and some water while I waited. I had thought on Saturday I might need something more substantial, but I had butterflies so eating wasn't really an option at this point.
Swim :Interestingly, my age group which tends to be one of the last waves at most races was going off right after the Olympic distance elite age group racers. I didn't mind, but it was different. Finally, it is my turn! We jump off the floating platform, tread water for a bit and the horn went off. I started swimming. It was a bit crowded and I bumped into a few people, but I just tried to get it going. My left arm is a bit weird (I think from above mentioned illness) - it takes awhile for it to warm up. At about 400m all was feeling good. I just kept think strong arms, consistent strokes, steady your breathing, breath both sides. I got a little off course a couple of times. At the turns things were a little congested. Lots of jostling and there were some men from the wave after mine that were catching up and getting into the mix. You are fighting the current the first half of the swim and then it is with you the second half of the swim. I am not sure if I noticed the difference. So I get up the ramp. I was happy with my swim. I didn't let the Potomac get the best of me this year. Also, I was happy to not have to start wrestling out of a wetsuit and make my way to T1.
T1 - was slow. Now it was quite a distance from river's edge to my rack spot, but I know I am slow in this area. I think I may try no socks on bike next time. I think it could work. I also put on my shoes. Then have to run out in them. Not very quick. One day I may master the shoes on bike maneuver, but not a real priority at this time.
Bike course was 2 loops for the 40k. The course had four 180 degree turns - so I got them twice. I liked the course. The false flat up Rock Creek wasn't bad. I had no technical difficulties. I kept my cadence up. I worked on trying to get my heart rate stable. I could tell it was getting hot out there. I took in a gel when I got going and then again at the start of the second loop. I kept hydrated. I took in all of one bottle and part of the second bottle. I enjoyed my ride. I was very happy with it. It was a little shy of my goal, but I am still stoked about it!
T2 - getting off the bike, running in my shoes to my rack. Bleh! My legs had that gee you just got off the bike after averaging 19 mph and you want me to do what feeling. I had to move a rack mates bike over so that Gina could be on her spot. Took off the shoes,helmet, sprayed on more sunscreen, drank some more. put on shoes, hat, grabbed a gel and headed out. My legs were not happy
Run I love running past the monuments! So I am heading out. I start jogging next to another woman and we comment about the heat and humidity. Her name is Pauline. We decide to stick together. I am glad I did. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I needed a little enthusiasm for this run. And she was doing her first tri ever!! We jogged for a bit and then would walk for a bit and we continued that through the whole course. Again the spectators and course volunteers were awesome. Pauline saw people she knew and her husband was also out on the course. I will see the pictures soon as we have been in touch. Towards the beginning of the course I saw my friend and former running coach - Jenn (Coach_Jenn on twitter). Her husband John was also racing. I got a shout out on the course! I was happy. I don't ever have spectators! The hills on this course were tough. Shade was very limited. Motorcycle playing music in the 9th street tunnel was wonderful! Nothing like a little Van Halen to perk you up. Pauline and I were singing. At one aid stop I had the volunteer just toss the cold water on me. I told her that I loved her. It was hot, but the aid stations were ready with cold wet towels, ice, water, powerade. It was nice. I had ice in my bra, my hat, down the back of my shirt. Now, during the run my stomach was not being friendly. Did I take in too much liquid on the bike? I started burping. Yuck. My run buddy was also having some issues. I think we were meant to run together yesterday. The cruel part of this running course was that you run past the finish line and loop around near it before you actually start making your way down Pennsylvania Ave to the finish. Not nice! I love the view from Capitol Hill, but I really didn't need it on the course yesterday. We turned onto Pennsylvania Ave, Capitol Hill at our backs. Pauline and I high-fived it and said lets finish this thing! I kicked in the last of what I had. The announcer said my name as I crossed the finish (a first for me), I put my hands up in the air and shouted a woo hoo! I got an ice cold towel, my medal, hugged Pauline and thanked her and went to find a trash can - the nausea was coming..I had tears in my eyes. I truly thought I was going puke up what ever gel, water, heed, powerade I had taken in. Stomach cramped and I had that feeling in my throat, but it never happened. I went by the food tent. They had burritos! OH GROSS! Not after a tri! No bananas left only oranges. Acid fruit no thank you. I did grab a cookie, but I couldn't even eat that. I drank water. The Pom Juice booth was handing out Pom Juice recovery smoothies. I took one. I kept it down and it was delicious.
Post race:
I got my gear bag, changed into dry clothes. Took the shuttle bus back to transition. Packed up my stuff and then made the awful 2 mile trek back to my car. I think I would have tried to ride my bike, but I had my pump and my pack felt heavy and awkward. I didn't want to risk crashing post race. Thankfully, one of my rack mates was walking back that way too. She and I chatted and tried to find the shady sides of the street. That will be my complaint #2 about this race. It is a lovely venue, but parking near where transition is quite limited. And I totally get why there are not shuttles to take you, your bike and gear back to parking, but man that sucks to have to trudge after you gave your all on the race course.
Time to find the next Tri and start into my marathon training plan.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pre-Raced Jitters??!!??

I am psyched and nervous about tomorrow's race. Perhaps I will feel a little less after I got to packet pick up and the practice dip in the river today. I also have to rack my bike today.
On Sunday, transition opens at 3:30 AM! Transition closes at 5:15 AM and the Sprint distances starts at 5:30 and the Olympic distance starts at 6:30. I am a little worried about morning nutrition. I will eat before I leave the house, my usual prerace oatmeal and banana. But then I have a vast amount of time before then and race start. I am not sure what I will take to eat after I set up in transition and the go WAIT for my wave to start. I have over an hour from transition closing and my start time.

Okay time to keep all the positive visualizations of me as a strong swimmer, cyclists and runner going. I have trained. I am ready. HUMIDITY be damned! Gotta love living, training, and racing in the swamp of Washington DC.

Race Report will come with photos even!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Wacky Bridge Ride

Or I would name it the Hills and Valleys Ride or the Road Kill Express (skunks! stinky!)
On Saturday the 12th, I joined up with my Frederick County, MD friends for what Phil, the ride genius, called the Wacky Bridge Ride. True enough we did cross three bridges that all kind of looked the same, but they were indeed different bridges. We started at 7:30 am and while the temperature was still on the nice side, the humidity was already quite thick. The ride started out innocent enough, until someone noted on the route sheet, "NOT SHOOKSTOWN!" That was the first of many tough climbs of the day - and that was at mile 4! We even had a rest stop at mile 9 to replenish fluids. We road on Bennie Hill Road LOL! It was hill too and the 1st of the three wacky bridges was on that road. I thoroughly enjoy riding out in the countryside. I have gone on roads and been through towns that I would have never driven on or through. I am finding little towns that I want to go back to explore.
We climbed up Arnoldstown Road to Gapland Road which is where Gathland State Park is located. That is the picture of the arch and some of us riders in front of the arch. The very first picture shown is on the road heading in that general direction. The dip or gap in the mountains (above the mail boxes on the left of the photo) is where Gathland is and Gapland Road. Gapland Road was an AWESOME downhill right into the town of Burkittsville. Anyone see the Blair Witch Project?? Right here people! We road some more and more...and finally had a rest stop in Jefferson, MD at the Jefferson Market. COLD Water! A bathroom! FOOD! I was hot, sweaty, covered in road debris, we had gone on some roads that were seemingly a mix of mashed dirt, gravel and just a dab of pavement, surprised we had no flats, and I was HUNGRY. This was mile 32.5 of what was "advertised" as a 50 mile ride but was really only a 45.43 mile ride. LOL. The heat and humidity were on and while I had been drinking my fluids, I am thinking perhaps not enough as later on Saturday I was feeling a bit dehydrated. So from here we didn't have much left, but of course because Phil designed this ride and we are in a hilly area there was more climbing to be had. Thankfully the last few climbs were nothing like the climbs earlier in the day. It was a great ride and a ride of extremes in the mph department. At one moment your flying down a hill at 35 mph and next you are barely making it up a hill at 4 mph! I was wishing for a third chain ring on a few of those hills! I was so happy I remembered to bring a change of clothes so I could shower at Phil and Jeanette's house before driving my 40 minutes home. That was an awesome shower!
Next up! DC TRIATHLON! Woo hoo! They just sent a great email with loads of info and my race number! 2143! I am getting excited!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Behind on Blogging and Embracing the Taper

Last week was super busy at work and it won't be slowing down any time soon. Since I am behind I will recap from last weekend

After a traffic-filled Friday night drive to my Aunt's in Chesapeake VA (VA Beach), I was up and out the door at 6:30 on Saturday morning to get myself something to eat and meet up with a Fat Frogs Bike Shop in Chesapeake for their group ride. What a well organized bike shop group ride. I highly recommend if you are in the area to check it out. They had 5 pace groups, all with a designated leader. They kept to strict pace lines and everyone took several turns pulling the line. I picked the B pace group 16-18 mph. We were not to go over 18 the leader said, unless we got the wind behind us and it "pushed" us a little faster. The terrain is FLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT. Not even a roller. I am so not used to that! It was awesome. I would say it was an easy workout for me. I picked that group, but could have worked a little harder and probably managed just fine in the B+ group. Next time. I hope to get down that way a few more times this summer, since I have a free place to stay close to the beach, it is hard to pass up!

Sunday after a Saturday afternoon and evening of graduation party for my cousin, I got up to run. While I got out early, I should have gone even earlier. It was so hot and humid already. I managed to eek out about 4 miles. I can only hope next Sunday (June 20) is not super humid. I do not like running in extreme humidity!

Sunday afternoon my daughter and I hit the beach in the intense sun and heat. We were successful in not getting burned and enjoyed the still chilly Atlantic Ocean. I even did a bit of swimming along the shore line. After a yummy pizza dinner, we hit the road and didn't have too much trouble with traffic on the way back. It was a good weekend!

This past week, I got a wee 2 mile run in on Wednesday, a 10.5 mile bike on Thursday and a 45.43 HILLY tough ride yesterday (Sat) - the Wacky Bridge Ride. I will post about it this week. I took pictures!

I am officially one week out and am in taper week. Last night I was thinking I would get up and run 6 miles and then go to swim practice at 8 for at least an hour of it. Well I am sitting here at the computer at 7:41. Doesn't look like that is happening does it. he he
I didn't set an alarm when I went to bed. I let myself sleep until I woke up. I needed to honor my body's sleep need and I did have a hard ride in the heat yesterday. I made it to 6:30 am. After I took the dogs out (I'm dog sitting), I looked at my training plan that I have been quite loosely following all these weeks. I decided I need to embrace the taper and follow what it on my plan all week. Today 30 min easy run, Monday 30 min swim, Tuesday 30 min run - sprint intervals but not too hard, Wed 30 min swim, Thursday Easy bike ride, Friday rest, Saturday easy bike spin to loosen legs and then SUNDAY IS RACE DAY!

I am nervous and excited about moving up to Olympic distance. I think I am ready!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I am being good to myself and my training plan. I am quite happy about this as June 20 is coming soon!

Last Friday I met friends out around 8 pm, 'cause I needed to get out and be social. I stuck to drinking water - need to hydrate for this heat - and went home at 11 since I had to be up for a 40+ mile bike ride on Saturday morning. It was a good ride. It was titled the NICE HINEY! ride. All due to the fact that we ride on Hiney Road for part of the route. hee hee. I did take some pictures, but communication between my phone and the computer has been at a standstill. Can't they just play nice? I did see cows, llamas, peacocks, and goats! And we road through one covered bridge. I love riding out in the country where the traffic is light to nonexistent. We did have a couple HUGE tractors that we had to move around, but other than that hardly any cars. LOVELY!

Now, I am going to the VA Beach area this weekend for my cousin's high school graduation (can we say National Merit Scholar and Cornell Scholarship recipient!!??!!). I am proud of him. Now, I tell my daughter and my neices -be like your cousin! No pressure! ha ha h ha Anyway, I have a training plan to keep, so I have found a bike shop near my Aunt's house with an early Saturday (and Sunday too!) morning bike ride of ~21 miles! CHECK! I will be up and out before anyone else is stirring. AND then I just went to map my run and planned a 6.2 mile run from her house. So the plans are there - I just need to execute. I am quite motivated, though, because I do want to finish and finish strong on June 20! I am thinking ride on Saturday morning and run on Sunday morning. I know this plan is missing some swimming, but I will do some laps in my Aunt's tiny pool.

Of course my trip won't be complete without some beach time. There better be beach time! I love the beach. I need the beach. The Atlantic even at VA Beach is still quite chilly this time of year, but I am sure I will still go in.

Okay back to the crazy short work week.


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