Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Sometimes the best presents don't cost a thing, but rather come from the heart...

From Thing 2:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Catching up...

So this is how my post-run conversation went down with Thing 1:

Thing 1: how far did you run?
Me: 10 miles
Thing 1: how long did that take you?
Me: 1 hour 49 minutes
Thing 1: what's that? Like 11 minute pace?
Me: No! It's 10:59 pace
Thing1: Oh that's MUCH better!

Children are a blessing, right????

In other news...XC is over and Thing 1 made it to Sectionals with the team. They won for the 1st time since '94.....which is before ANY of them were born. I feel old.

Thing 2 got a PR of 19:19 in JV XC in probably the most exciting XC race I have ever seen. He placed 5th for the team, (9th overall) thus scoring for the team for the first time.(XC team scoring is a complicated business, but suffice it to say that earning your 1st t-shirt is a big deal).

SD is healing after the disastrous half marathon DNF. He is on the bike and is braced, but still not up to running yet.

As for me, I am cross training like a maniac. My running miles have dropped to around 60/month but I've started spinning class (which, holy crap! Is a killer) and am doing at least 4 hour a week of core/strength training. I have also hit the pool again. I hate the shock of going swimming but i love that nice whole body tired feeling afterwards. I've also discovered the miracle of the foam roller. What a difference that has made! Wow!
My PF is still there, but I'm off the ibuprofen and my first steps of the morning are getting easier.

I have absolutely no race that I'm registered for right now, but I have several I'm considering. If you are in the Northeast, what are your favourite races in the spring?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Bittersweet Day...

Ready to run!
Red Baron Half Marathon Race Report
2:05:02 PR.....48 second PR
Avg Pace: 9:32

13 minutes from now we would be much less happy
I was so looking forward to this weekend.  We are in that sweet spot...that precious 2 week period between the end of Cross Country & the beginning of Indoor Track.  Nobody had to get up and go anywhere all weekend, we got an extra hour of sleep Saturday night & the race did not start until the wonderfully civilized hour of 1 PM (and if you've been a follower for a while, you know I'm not an early morning runner;))! It was setting up perfectly.  I have not done a lot of mileage since running Wineglass.  I have been trying to cross train and improve that blasted PF in my right foot, with marginal success....so I was REALLY looking forward to racing.  My family will tell you, I was a crazy person all weekend with excitement! I was just busting to get out there & enjoy a good hard run...and hopefully break my pie-in-the-sky goal of 2 hours.

Sunday dawned cold, windy & overcast...like I-see-snowflakes cold....so I had to break out pants for the first time this season :(  Oh well, cold is so very much better than hot!  I was dressed, taped and ready to go about 2 hours before we had to leave.  We finally said goodbye to the snoring lumps of teenage boys (they grunted their good wishes & promptly went back to sleep...they are clearly enjoying their coach imposed mandatory 1 week of absolutely no running).  SD was running too.  He has been under the weather the past couple weeks and definitely wasn't feeling 100%....but you know us runners...we registered, we're running. This was actually his goal race for the year, but he smashed his goal at the Wineglass Half with a 1:29 so he was just going to run easy, finish and earn his Wine Baron shirt for running both races. 

Red Baron is a small race...well, organized as a small race though it's getting larger every year.  412 runners this year.  Gun time only, no medals, a cotton t-shirt, only 4 water stations & well-intentioned, but out of their element nursing student volunteer first-aid....but what can you expect for a $20 entry fee.  Plus if you have run either the Wineglass marathon or half marathon & run this race you earn a long sleeve tech shirt & become a member of the Wine Baron Club.  Yup, I'm all over the shirt again this year ;)  It is point to point.  You start at the top of the hill on the campus of Corning Community College and run rolling hills for the first 4 miles, climb a big-ass hill that goes on forever to mile 5....then say 'weeeeeeeeeeee...' for the next 4 miles as you fly down hill to town where you finish on a flat 4 miles in the center of town, if you have anything left in your quads at that point!  Although they have busing from the finish to start, we took both cars, parked one at the finish and drove the other to the start....this turned out to be the best decision we made that day.  
Fun times: picking gravel out of the hand and leg

As we lined up at the start we saw tons of people we knew.  Lots of my Ragnar buddies, friends & neighbours. It really is a great community race.  I wished SD luck & he moved up front and I stayed toward the middle.  I did not expect to see him again until the finish line.  The race started at a good pace & I was feeling good.  I new the 9:09 pace I'd have to run was really pushing it for me so I knew I needed to have a strong first 5 miles & would need to 'bank' some time on the downhill.  Mile 1: 9:05....aces for rolling hills.  Then just as I come around the corner before the 2 mile mark I see SD standing by the side of the road.  I was confused...WTF????  Then I see...he is covered in blood & limping.  He rolled his ankle on something (he thinks maybe a stick) and went down hard into the gravel shoulder.  I came to a dead halt.  His hand was dripping blood & I can see his ankle is starting to swell up and he is in pain.  I wanted to quit & help him, but he tells me help is coming and he just wants my car keys.  He says he is done but he doesn't want me to quit.  This all happened pretty fast.  Before I know it, he's taking my keys and telling me to keep running.  I reluctantly went on, but now my head is not in the game the same way.  I book it to the 3 mile mark where I know our friends are waiting to cheer us on.  I stopped again to tell them what happened & ask them to go back and look for SD.  I felt a bit better after this as I knew they'd do everything they could to find him and help him out.  Mile 2 & 3: 9:12/10:06.  I was pretty sure my 2 hour goal was toast at this point but I no longer cared.  Mostly all I could think was that the faster I ran, the faster this would be over. 

The hills were as hard as I remembered...but I got through them....finally getting to the mile 5 water station where I took 2 cups and walked until I finished them both.  Miles 4&5: 9:49 & 10:15.  It was on to the downhill.  Somewhere at the beginning of the downhill I came upon one of my Ragnar buddies and I was able to stay on her heals & run a great pace until just around the 9 mile mark, when she decided to stop when she saw her husband because her leg was hurting.  L eventually finished, but I never saw her again on the course. 

Miles 6,7,8,9:   9:12/8:49/9:08/9:12

Somehow after L dropped off I found myself in that strange part of a race when you are running by yourself.  I could see a bunch of runners up ahead, but they seemed mostly out of reach. Same for those behind me.  Around 9 there was finally another water station....boy that is always a big stretch without any.  I walked again with 2 cups because I knew there wouldn't be another until around 12...another big stretch.  With no one to push me but myself, my pace dropped off.  I actually wasn't really looking at my watch much because I felt like I was going at a decent pace.  Not horrible, but not great if I wanted to PR.  It got windier around mile 10 & I started to feel cold.  My legs felt ok.  Actually, better than ok.  No knee pain, no foot pain.  Just that regular tired from going 4 miles down a hill. 

Check out that foot!
Miles 10, 11, 12, 13: 9:56/9:54/9:45/9:45

So with less than a mile to go I knew I could PR if I just kept up the pace. I crossed the line at 2:05:02 which is a 48 second PR.  I saw SD right away.  He can barely walk & his foot does not fit in his shoe! He shows me & it is the size of an orange!  So he tells me that he waited for a while for help to come to him but it didn't so he ran about half a kilometer up the road to a police car & the trooper got his first aid kit out of his trunk and cleaned him up by the time the official first aid folks arrived.  I felt HORRIBLE for him!  We didn't even grab anything to eat. I took the water someone handed me and we went home to assess the damage. SD experienced his first DNF ever.  He says that is the worst part.  He refused to go to the doctor yesterday, but today we are going.  It is not broken, but he is in a lot of pain and we are going to get it checked out. 

So a bittersweet day.  A PR for me.  A DNF for SD. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Putting It Out There...

I am lucky. I have a great husband, children, family & friends. I have a job I love....even when it frustrates & exhausts me. Even though we did sustain some damage to our house during Sandy, we still have a home when others tragically don't. I am thankful I have the opportunity to run tomorrow when others can't. So I'm going to put it on the line here. I usually keep my goals close to my chest...a quiet hope. But tomorrow I'm going for a sub-2 in the Red Baron Half Marathon. I'm running because I can....even with my bum foot, I can still run. It will not be easy...not by a longshot. When I feel tired & sore I will think of how lucky I am; how I have become strong mentally & physically. My heart aches for all those whose lives have come to a standstill in the wake of Sandy.

....& as always, I am thankful for you :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Marathon Cheater?

Have you heard the story of Kip Litton? A friend sent me a copy of this article today & I'm curious what you think? Personally, I am barely able to pull myself together after a mid-race portopotty stop, never mind orchestrate a full wardrobe change at sub-3 pace!

Amazing runner or cheater?

 Is Kip Litton a Marathon Fraud? New Yorker Article

It also boggles my mind that if indeed this is true...or even true of a few races...why on earth would you bother?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marathon #3....Check!

31st Wineglass Marathon

Mile 20.5 & happy again!
Finished: With Thing 2
We had a busy weekend! Thing 1 & Thing 2 had a big meet Saturday up in Rochester, so before driving up there, we stopped at the expo to pick up our race packets.  It was quick & easy.  I picked up an extra casual shirt & grabbed probably much more than my share of the free 'Turtles' off a table! You know it has to be a good race when your favourite chocolate treat is FREE ;-D.  Then it was off to Rochester to the McQuaid Invitational....both boys did great! I love watching this meet...there are over 6000 runners & the ground shakes when 500 boys run by at breakneck speed! Plus it's a great spectator course....you actually get to see your kid run by 5 times.  Much better than the regular drive 2 hours, see your kid for 10 seconds courses that we usually end up at. 

Who needs to buy a tattoo when you have a sharpie?
Free Turtles...yes, please!
It was a beautiful morning! The weather I had hoped for last year! It was an easy morning, since this was our local race.  Got up around 5, then drove the 10 minutes to the finish line & hopped on a bus out to the start.  I parted company with SD here as he got on the bus for the Half marathon.  No wait, I just got on the bus and we were at the start in 20 minutes or so.  Found a bunch of my Ragnar buddies at the start, wished them luck, hit the portopotty, checked my bag and chatted with a few folks while waiting for the start.  I lined up with the 4:40 pacer. I wasn't sure I'd use him, but thought I'd give it a try since my unicorn goal was 4:39:59.  He was a good guy but he ran strangely. He'd speed up and slow down every mile.  He said he didn't wear a Garmin and always just went with heart rate.  Well, to me it seemed like I was doing fartlek's for several miles so I went on my own.  I had the race chunked into 5 mile splits and I was bang on at 5 and 10, within a minute on 15 but my left knee started to go on me in mile 17 and I lost my pace.  The ache was killing me. I pulled way over 11 minute miles 17 - 20.5. I was way behind...over 5 minutes. Then at 20.5....when the thought actually crossed my mind that I could just turn the corner and go home instead, I had a surprise visit from SD! He had gone home after the half to shower and stopped at the corner to cheer me on before going back to meet me at the finish.  It was just what I needed! Then about 20 feet after this, I saw one of the trainers from the gym and she was cheering like a crazy person for me too! A high five and I was a new person! My legs knew where I was and I was able to dig deep and I just took off! I just kept latching on to a jersey in front of me and I just kept picking people off!  One after the other, I flew past and my smile was back! I didn't count, but I know I passed at least a hundred people in the last 6 miles.  Even though I didn't get close to my unicorn goal & I missed a PR by 30 seconds, I know I gave it my all and had a strong finish! Thing 2 even gave me my gorgeous glass medal & Thing 1 wrapped me in a blanket! I couldn't ask for a better way to finish a race!

I am not the KT tape spokesperson...honest!
It's not a race without a picture in front of the potties!
I knew going into the race that I was fighting injury and was not in peak condition, so even though I had the time goal in the back of my mind, I really just wanted to enjoy this race.  I LOVE the course & it's so cool when you know so many people who organize, volunteer & run.  Familiar faces all over.  When you live in a town of 10000, a race like this really does just take it over....the whole community is involved.  I also did something I never do....I chatted with runners during the race.  I am not a group runner.  I am rather solitary. I like it that way.  For some reason though, I had some great conversations with folks from all over.  I met a guy running his 228th marathon & guy from Canada running his 1st.  I cheered people on who were struggling & thanked the endless volunteers along the course.

I am definitely feeling sore today.  I was pretty stiff this morning, so I went out and did a really slow 1.5 miles to clear some of the lactic acid.  I feel almost back to normal now.  I'm going to scale back a bit now.  Take care of myself and try to heal some of the nagging pains that have developed over a high volume spring and summer.  I have one more goal for this fall, but we'll get to that another day.  I have my eye on the Flying Pig for the spring....but we'll see.  Today I just want to enjoy that post marathon glow :)

Congratulations to everyone who ran this weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

3 Days to Marathon 3!!!!!

It's beginning to look a lot like a Marathon!!!!!

So excited to see these things popping up all over town! I had a great run today, I have been volunteering during my days off this week & tonight we are going to see Joan Benoit Samuelson speak!!!! I am getting EXCITED for race day!

Anyone else running this weekend?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wineglass Marathon Blogger Role Call...

Anyone out there running Wineglass this weekend?????

Team Crazy Canuck 2009 Wineglass relay
It's my 3rd time running a Wineglass race....1st as part of a relay team with HID & Thing 1 in 2009....I ran the middle leg. It was the longest I'd ever run. 9.1 miles seemed like FOREVER!

My all time favourite 'crazy lady' running picture!
Last year I ran my 1st Marathon there!  It pored rain, I panicked in the morning...it was still one of the most AWESOME & INCREDIBLE experiences I've ever had.

This year, Wineglass will be my 3rd Marathon. There is still a part of me that can't believe that I can do this.  I am continually amazed that I can not only DO this....but even more so that I LOVE it!  I remember way back when Oprah ran her marathon and thinking "well, that is one thing I know I will never be able to do".  I love the new me :)

2011 Wineglass Marathon
If any of you are running Wineglass too, I am excited for you.  My little hometown marathon has become a pretty big thing here.  I know you will have a great time!

So if you are coming, maybe we can meet for a photo before the race starts?  I will be by a giant tree near the back of the pack with my hot pink socks & purple shoes....if you dare to be seen with me & my outfit, stop on by :)

Oh, and for those of you for whom my 'crazy lady' picture isn't enough laugh for you today.....I went out for an easy 5K this morning with my lululemon tutu running skirt on backwards and didn't figure out what was wrong until I was almost done! Yup, that desperate for a run after working 12 on/12off for 3 days, I just laughed and kept going!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Cortland Tri for the United Way Race Report
800 yard swim/14.8mile bike/5K run

Swim: 15:49
T1: 1:48
Bike: 54:53
T2: 00:27
Run: 27:14

What a Fabulous race! I had SO much fun AND I rocked it!!!!! All of it!

This is my 4th triathlon & usually I come out of the swim feeling pretty good but then it all turns to crap after this when all I hear for the entire bike leg is 'to your left' and end up at the back of the pack.  It was sad & I always felt demoralized.

Saturday it was a whole different ballgame....

with HID...he rocked it too @ 1:21:40
This summer I turned to cross-training because my foot has been giving me a bit of trouble and my husband suggested that cross training for triathlon would help make me stronger overall.  Not having a good record with sticking with cross training, I found a relatively local triathlon that was still open for entry (all the big ones were full, but I like a smaller race anyway so this was a perfect fit).  So since the beginning of August, I have been adding in swimming and biking to my weekly workouts.  We were up at 4:30AM for the almost 2 hour drive to the race.  It was a cool morning & I have to say I was pretty worried that I was going to freeze my you-know-what off in the water (I don't have a wetsuit)!  We arrived at Dwyer Park at Little York Lake in plenty of time for packet pickup.  Everything about this race was well organized & efficient.  Volunteers were everywhere and they were all in great spirits.  We got a nice tech shirt, collected our race numbers and chips, set up transition & then just hung out until the race started.  HID was in the 1st wave & I was in the 3rd.  Air temp was in the 50's but the water was 68 degrees so it actually felt pretty warm! Waves were 5 minutes apart and I was stunned to see the leader come out of the water at just over 9 minutes...just before my wave started! Simply amazing swimming! Soon the horn blew for my wave and we were off. I lined up at the front because I have always had a decent swim so I figured I'd just go for broke and battle it out up front.  It was an out and back loop and I was in a clump of about 5 women and it was pretty tight. I had to watch out for kicking legs but found an easy rhythm pretty quickly.  The water was calm and I even passed a  few guys in the second wave, finishing the swim in 15:49! My only complaint about the race is that I had absolutely no idea what my time was at the splits.  Coming out of the water, I figured I was doing about what I usually do, but there wasn't a clock that I could see so really didn't know how much time had passed.  I got to transition, quickly threw on my jersey & shoes, grabbed a drink and was off.

The bike leg was reasonably flat.  Some rolling hills but no major elevation changes. The wind, on the other hand, was pretty fierce going out the first 6 miles or so.  I had strapped my Garmin to my bike so I knew I wasn't hitting all my splits, but I hoped that the wind would be in my favour on the back half of the ride.  It was and I had some great mile splits on the back half of the course!  The great part of the bike was that I not only held my own, but I was only passed by, I think, 4 riders and I passed about that many myself!  I actually finished this leg 109/159 riders...which I am THRILLED about!  My goal was to crank at 15mph pace and I ended up 16.4mph....yay me!  What completely different bike experience! Who knew the bike could not suck?!?

Once again though, I didn't know what my cumulative time was, so I was not sure how I was doing at this point.

Being a clipless pedal scaredy-cat, I was already in my running shoes, so my T2 consisted of throwing my bike in the rack and dumping my helmet.  27 seconds. Enough said.

The run, I was SO happy to find out, was on the park trail (yes trail...OMG...Per-fect!). It was 2 loops, with a just one, not too bad hill at the beginning of each loop.  I couldn't get my watch switched to run mode, so I just let it run in bike mode for the run. I have to say, I had a girl in pink that I had been trying to catch since she left transition onto the bike just ahead of me.  I couldn't catch her on the bike and she was about 25 seconds ahead of me, but since my T2 rocked, she was maybe 20 yards ahead of me coming out onto the run course.  I kept at a steady pace and slowly came up on her.  As we neared the finish, I sprinted and caught her, but I went too early and she caught me at the end.  I felt bummed until I saw the '22' on her calf....bwahahahahaha...girl, you almost got beat by an old lady twice your age ;-D

Pink chick getting me, me laughing at her '22'
Collecting my AG award!
It wasn't until we rounded the last corner and came within about a 100 meters of the finish that I finally saw the clock.  You have no idea how awesome it felt to realize that I killed my PR and did my best ever in every single leg! Plus, I had none of that 'oh my god, why on earth did I think this was a good idea' feeling when you start to run.  My legs felt good.  By the time I had run out of transition, across the grass and onto the trail, they felt fine. No rubber legs.  My goal was to get under 30 minutes. I came within a minute of my all-time 5K PR.  27:14!

3/11 in my age group
89/159 overall

I am doing this again :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Trail of Terror

Snakes....Why did it have to be snakes????? 

Just call me Indie ;-D
Channeling my inner Indiana Jones, I ran (officially) a 24.35 mile trail race through the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon the last weekend of August (I know....I am a delinquent blogger).  It was a last minute thing...happened upon an ad for the race in my works' internal weekly newsletter and thought 3 things:

1. That 24 miles wasn't much
2. I was due for a long run that weekend....how convenient
3. It's close by
and most importantly....
4. I bet I can convince trail buddy to run it with me.

So, in an whirlwind of psychotic enthusiasm we sent in our race entries the Monday of the race. 

What a mistake that was.

It was like Twilight Zone met Wild Kingdom.....I kid you not.

We show up to the race early due to race day packet pickup, not wanting to get caught up in lines. We are the first ones there.  I suspect something is up when my race number is '3'.  It turns out that the race is a field of 4.  Really.  Now I wonder if they are actually going to go through with the race or cancel it, but the race organizers are super excited and really want to carry on...even if it's a learning experience for next year.  Okay.  Then she personally highlights the route on a map, making note of the 'bushwacking' areas (wtf?) for each pair of participants (turns out it was Trail Buddy & I versus 2 guys power hiking). I am a little scared but already Trail Buddy and I are laughing and ready to 'lead the field' ;-D
Trail buddy showing off her mad walking stick skills!

This is a 'trail'???
And we are off.  The first 1.5 miles were ok, then we hit a rocky logging road with about a 1000% grade that we could barely walk up, let alone run.  It went straight up for over a mile.  The first aid station was around 3.5 miles and we were happy to just be able to run again.  Unfortunately, a ton of the terrain was un-runable.  It was very frustrating. There were a few nice patches, but rarely more than a mile or 2 before you had to stop to walk because the grade was so steep or it was just plain unsafe underfoot to run.  We had several areas where there wasn't even a trail and we were fighting our way through the forest & scrounging for walking sticks to help us up the hills.  It was sad.  

Then there were the bears.  That's right, bears, as in plural.

The first we heard it up ahead of us.  Pro's that we are, we started yelling our conversation really loudly and it took off.  We did not see this one, but it sure sounded huge! The next one was smaller and up ahead of us crossing our trail. Scared this one off too.  Most likely they were thinking "we better get out of here, only crazies run in these woods!"

Then we got lost. Yes, lost.  Completely lost the trail.  Went back a couple miles and still couldn't find the markers.  We ended up orienteering out of the woods, across a stream & up a cliff to get to an access road to catch the trail again....all on the last 10% of my iphone battery.  We were pretty scared for a while.  We figure we added 2-3 extra miles on the course.  By the time we got to the next aid station, the power hikers had caught up to us....claiming (& smirking!) that they didn't get lost.  We are convinced they were lying.  I was pretty thankful to be out of 'bushwacking' territory.

And then it gets better....

Yes, this is real!
More awesome 'trail' along a cliff
                                        down a logging road, 22 miles in, within 4 or  5 miles of the finish I almost freaking run on a freaking rattlesnake! I hate snakes. You know I hate snakes.  This guy was 4 feet long and as thick as my forearm...and it was stretched out across the road looking and hissing at us.  There was no going back.  22 miles in, folks.  We were tired. It had taken MUCH longer than either of us anticipated.  We had NO cell service and no way of letting our husbands know we were going to be late....and now a rattlesnake?!?  Well, it took about 10 minutes of strategizing & freaking out before we mustered the courage to throw a big branch between us and the snake and run like hell past it.  I had no idea if one can outrun a rattlesnake, but luckily it did not follow.
Entrance to the PA Grand Canyon

We get to the last aid station and tell the guy about our close encounter & he says 'cool', leaves us there and jumps in his truck to see if it's still there so he can take a picture of it!  We then are a little freaked about what might be underfoot as we head into another bushwacking section on the way to the finish.  We finally finish, me just a couple minutes ahead of Trail Buddy & here is my claim to fame:

Yup, 1st overall.  See, I knew I'd entered the Twilight Zone ;-D

But, it was for a great cause, to raise money for a very sick little boy....so I'm still glad I went. But I will never, ever run in the PA Grand Canyon again. 

Next up.....it's Tri Time!!!!! Yup, tomorrow I am re-entering the realm of the triathlon. I'm hopeful there are no snakes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hills, Speedwork & 2-a-days

Like most parents my life revolves around my children's activities...my running included. During the school year I still only run on my days off work, but the majority of those runs occur while they are at school. For my rare weekends off I tend to save shorter runs.

I spent all of my spring on the trails. After the ultra, school was over so it has proven impossible for trail buddy to get out during the week so I have been back on the road. It's not a bad place to be. After all, I do have a fall marathon to train for...but the transition has been more difficult than I imagined. Back on the road I am less carefree, less fun. It's not that I dont enjoy the road...I still love to get out there and run, but my mind has transitioned from time on my feet training with no numerical goals to hill repeats, Speedwork, hitting my splits, etc etc. I certainly get satisfaction from meeting those training goals and working hard, but I have come to mostly look forward to my 2-a-day workouts.

They happened by accident. Sheer luck. My sons' XC coach assigns his runners summer workout programs, but also hosts 2 group runs a week. These happily have involved the local running clubs' summer XC trail series on Wednesday nights & another night at another local trail. In order to motivate myself to do the hills and Speedwork, I schedule them as my morning workout on group run days, then reward myself with a safe trail run in the evening. I figure, I have to drive a herd of teenagers to these locations anyway, I might as well run too. I have become 'that mum that always runs too'...the kids even occasionally acknowledge me as they blow past me on the trail.

Tonight, my kids & their friends ditched the XC series because it was too hilly and decided to meet at the park for a group run. At first I was bummed, but then I realized that any run is a good run & I could run the dike and still get 5k in. Then, I still had time to blog, read my book & enjoy this beautiful evening....

Happy running!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

So I Married A Half-Ironman!

Signing the "Wall of Mussel" mural
This spring/summer has been a whirlwind of training activity in our household. You all know about my adventures with The Toronto Marathon, Ragnar Cape Cod & the Big-Daddy of them all: becoming an ultra-runner with a 50K trail race.  What you don't know is that SD has been triathlon training like crazy for his 1st Half-Ironman....yes, 70.3 miles of triathlon grit in mid-July heat.  With a crazy real-life job, he's been fitting in training at 4am, lunchtime & late in the evenings. His commitment was incredible...though he would argue that doing this might result in him having to be committed ;-D. I have to admit, up until this weekend I had sworn off triathlon...mainly because I suck at the bike ride...because the last one I did I really didn't find it very fun at all. 

However, watching all those athletes compete at the Musselman 70.3 might have me a little tri-envious! For all the triathletes out there, if you are looking for a well-organized, fun sprint or half-iron triathlon that is located in a pretty town that is very family friendly, this is it!  There is even a kids tri & a micro-tri on tricycles, which I'm told is pretty hilarious.  The Sprint distance is on Saturday & the Half-Iron is on Sunday.  They even have a Double-Mussel category for those masochistic enough to want to compete in both! Oh, and you can also do Aquabike in the Half-Iron distances. 

Coolest medal: Re-purposed bike gears!
I just like this picture :)
We drove up (about an hour or so from where we live) on Saturday after I got in 10 miles in the morning.  We went directly to packet pickup, which was at Hobart & William Smith College.  This is a very convenient location for athletes as the college offers up their dorms for rent during the summer.  We did not stay there as it was already sold out by the time I got around to thinking about accommodation, but it is a pretty neat set up.  The dorm set up is in the Olympic Athlete Village style and there are even 3 bedroom condo's you can rent for the weekend if you are traveling with your family or couple athlete families.  Anyway, packet pickup was quick and organized.  They made each athlete weigh themselves and write their weight on the back of their race bib so that medics could better assess for dehydration if that became an issue.  The RN in me was thrilled at this detail, especially since temperatures could potentially reach into the 90's on Sunday.  After packet pickup we headed over to the local bike shop as SD wanted to look for a couple things.  With the race forecast as being a hot and humid one, SD bought a hydration belt just to be safe.  Then it was on to the mandatory pre-race meeting for all Half-Iron Athletes.  It lasted about a half hour and reviewed the course, mentioning any changes and why from the previous year, and reviewed the safety measures that have been instituted.  They also reviewed the time cut-offs for each leg & what would happen if you did not meet the time cut-off for each leg.  Just thinking about that makes me a little sick....I can't imagine what that must feel like to be told you can't continue...absolutely heartbreaking.  Luckily on race day, only a couple riders didn't meet the cut-off.  Btw, kudo's go out to the local bike shop: Geneva Bicycle Center, who HAND SWEPT all 56 miles of the bike course! They also provided bike support and were out there helping with flats.  They also checked every single bike in transition for flats while the athletes were doing their swim! Wow!

We then drove the course & attempted to rack SD's bike. Unfortunately we couldn't take advantage of the night before secure racking because we left the race packet back at the hotel & you had to have your bike number attached to rack your bike....D'Oh!  

Carbo-load pasta dinner....the boys liked this...of course they did, they are teenagers and it involved food.

Race morning we were up at 5 and out the door pretty quickly.  Things moved pretty quickly pre-race.  By the time SD got transition set up and we headed over to the water to check it out, they were announcing that the water temp was 78.4F....wetsuit illegal.  Well, according to the rules, you can wear a wetsuit between 78-84F (I think), but you are then not eligible for awards.  It was a big decision, wet suit or no wetsuit.  SD decided at the last minute, no wetsuit.

He was in the 3rd wave and had a great swim....36:31 for the 1.2 miles
T1: 3 minutes
Too bad I can't zoom this...he has a good pain face
Rockin' the bike!
Then it was on to the bike course.  Clouds were coming in and I hoped the rain would hold off for at least a while.  It didn't.  By the time I drove Thing 1& Thing 2 to McD's for breakfast it was coming down buckets. I hoped SD was ahead of it for the biggest downhill portion at least.  Luckily he was.  I fed the starving hoards and then we headed out on the bike course to see if we could see SD around mile 40.  We did and he was surprised to see us! We cheered like the maniacs we are!
Bike: 2:55:10.....way faster than he anticipated! Great ride, Babe!
T2: 2:25
Then it was off on the run.  He looked good coming out of transition, but the sun had just come out and the humidity was hanging like a wet blanket over everyone...I was a little worried, but thankful that he at least had a hydration belt to carry him through aid stations.  There were 11 aid stations on the course, that were well stocked with water, Heed, Endurolytes, food and sponges.
Half-Iron Dad!!!!
Run: 1:48:12
Total Time: 5:25:18!!!!!!! 31/110 Age Group & 153/1000

So, Yeah, he has earned the right to be known at Half-Iron Dad (HID) on this blog from now on! ;-D

Congratulations, HID! You Rock!!!!!!

.......& maybe I will think about getting back into Tri for next season...Hmmmmmm.....

Monday, July 16, 2012

Finger Lakes Fifties Race Report

 Sorry for the delay...we took off on vacation race night and went completely offline for a whole week...thoroughly needed & enjoyed!  And a warning...this is a long one!
Don't let the cows out!

Mr Bigglesworth & me chillin' on the front step at 0415 ;)
Race day started early with a 3:45AM alarm. I had everything laid out and ready to go, so it was get dressed, grab a coffee & bagel, load my hydration pack and head out the door. Trail buddy picked me up at 0430, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts in Watkins Glen along the way and arrived in Finger Lakes Forest around 0530. It took about a half hour to unload our stuff at the entrance, park the car, & then hoof it all the half mile or so into the starting area/half way loop point. This was a pain in the butt but there really is not another way to do it...it IS a run in the forest! There was simply not enough room for 200+ cars to drive in there. C'est la vie...it is part of the whole trail running package. We set our blanket of 'stuff that we might need at the half way point & after the race' in the shade and hit the port o' potties just in time to get back to the road for the pre-race announcements (basically, shut the gates & don't let the cows out or we'll never be able to race here again)...not your usual pre-race instructions! The weather forecast was for +90 degrees, we were thrilled & relieved when we were told that ice would be available at aid stations starting around mid morning...phew!

We are off!
Through the first cow pasture
Couple of dorks on the trail blocking the path
The clock hit 0630 and we were off! A short run down the road & we soon hitting the trail. It was great! We even ran alongside a cow pasture & the cows ran along beside us! Very cool! About 3 miles or so into the race we hit a service road that went seriously downhill for most of a mile...I believe this was the beginning of my undoing. We started downhill not thinking that it was going to go on freakin' forever! We hit it too fast and I trashed my quads and think this is where I might have tweaked my knee. I KNEW it was too fast...I KNEW it...and I just kept going...sigh. At the end of this downhill was the first Aid Station...aptly named "The Morgue". The volunteers were awesome asking if we needed help refilling water bottles or hydration packs, offering food, water & Heed. Never used Heed before but it was good. We grabbed some M&M's, water etc and were back on the trail. The next part had some hilly sections, but they weren't too steep or long and we just walked when we needed to and plodded along, finally hitting the next aid station, which was named "South Beach".  We would do a loop and hit this aid station a second time.  It was indeed starting to feel like the beach out there and we were looking forward t the next aid station as we hoped the ice would be arriving soon!  BTW, whomever thought up the simple idea of the 'ice bandana' was a genius!  Works crazy well! I believe it was in this section that trail buddy took a header on the trail...a root just reached up and grabbed her out of nowhere and down she went, taking the brunt of the fall on her hip and shoulder.  No abrasions, but that hip started swelling right away and she was feeling it pretty quickly.  She shook it off and kept going though.  Thank goodness it wasn't too severe.  Another runner we know came across a woman lying facedown on the trail with a compound fracture of her wrist...yikes! When we arrived back at 'the beach' for the second time the volunteer told us it was about 3 miles to the next aid station.  It seemed a whole lot longer.  I think it might have been 3 miles to the next checkpoint where Search & Rescue volunteers checked you off their list in the continual effort to keep track of runners.  The organizers were very careful...you were required to make sure that your number was recorded at each aid station and S&R checkpoint.  It's good to know that they were going to make sure whomever went into the woods came back out too!

Thanks Steph, for taking our picture!
After the S&R checkpoint we headed out across an open field.  It was crazy hot & sunny.  The grass was about up to my chest but a path had been mowed and we were treated to a spectacular view overlooking the area surrounding Finger Lakes Forest.  We stopped and had a fellow runner take our picture...a very sweet girl who I realized after the fact was a blog reader of mine.  So, thanks Steph, for taking our picture and I'm sorry I didn't realize who you were...though we kind of met on the trail as we kept running into each other for quite a bit of the race!

We hoped they wold not have to be deployed for us!
We finally arrived at "The Library" to find ice & the best tasting Pringles ever!  And some pretty incredible volunteers who boosted our spirits and chatted with us while trail buddy checked out her hip and figured out what was going on in her shoe that was bugging her.  After about 5 minutes or so we were back on the trail.  This section started out single track, then we went by a horse camp and ran along a horse path dodging horse patties along the way...not super fun as it smelled a bit here.  After this it was a long, long gradual climb that was more out in the open in a grassy area.  A few trees but not much shade to be had.  It was along here that we were overtaken by the 25K racers who had started an hour after us.  We cheered the frontrunners on as they went by.  The next aid station was cleary the party station...we could hear the music blasting from it before we could see it!  Everyone there was screaming and cheering! So cool!  It was fabulous!  After a drink and some watermelon it was through the gate and through another cow pasture where the partyers final words to us were: Make sure you close the gate on the other side and don't let the cows out! I laugh just thinking about it!  No worries though, the cows must have been sleeping because they could not have cared less that we were running through their pasture.  We were 2.79 miles from completing our first loop! It seemed to take forever! Through some more single track, around I think 3 ponds and we finally started seeing the tents from the campground that marks homebase and the end if the first 16.5 mile loop!  What a feeling it was crossing that lap mat...knowing we were half way done and still feeling good! I immediately hit the portaloo and then grabbed some food.  We ended up stopped here for about 20-25 minutes....I'm not exactly sure how long it was.  But we finished the first loop right on track @ 4 hours 5 minutes.  I was absolutely thrilled with the time! It took a LOT longer to get going again than I anticipated.  Trail Buddy changed her socks, inspected her feet and a fabulous volunteer took my backpack, told me to grab something to eat while she refilled the hydration bladder.  I was SO glad to not have to fumble with it and just be handed back a pack all ready to go.  It was MUCH appreciated! As we were here the 50K winner came through. It was humbling as we were only half done.  Finally though, we set back out and were back on single track weaving through the forest.  Unfortunately, almost as soon as we hit that long downhill road section my legs started to feel like crap.  They were so tight and my left knee just started to ache like a you-know-what.  I actually had to ask trail buddy to stop and walk a bit down the road as i knew any more pounding was going to be the death of me.  I think during the stop at the half my legs might have thought the party was over and those muscles started tightening up big time....ugg!  20ish miles in and I'm starting to really feel it.  Once I stopped for a bit the ache went away but unfortunately it would return over and over again through the remaining miles.  I was going really slow and walking fore than I really wanted to. It was very discouraging as the rest of me was raring to keep running hard. 

At "The Morgue" ~ mile 20ish
At the bottom of the hill we arrived back at "The Morgue" and the wonderful volunteers who correctly interpreted the looks on our faces and quipped 'we ordered that downhill extra steep and long just for you'...LOL! They were great, volunteering to take our picture and just generally checking out our well-being to make sure we were OK to continue on.  Everyone was big on reminding us to take care of our electrolytes.  We had our own Hammer Endurolytes, but they had some available at the aid stations too.  I have never used them before, but I could tell the difference when we waited too long to take them.  We took them at every other aid station the first loop and every aid station the second loop.  We didn't experience any cramping and we stayed mentally clear.  Well, as mentally clear as anyone gets who thinks that running 33 miles in plus 90 degree heat through a forest is a fun way to spend a Saturday in June ;-D

Officially ultra @ 26.3 miles ;-D
We definitely were starting to wilt a bit in the heat, but the ice in the ice bandana and added to the hydration pack helped keep us cooler.  We were soon off into the forest again.  Things slowed down through here...though strangely hiking up the uphills was easier on my legs than the downhills.  It was hotter. Because of the aid station that you hit twice, we crossed paths with some runners that were ahead of us.  Some had bloody scraped knees & hands and others told us they were downsizing from their intended 50 miles to the 50km distance due to the heat.  The nice thing about this race is that if you register for either the 50 mile or the 50km, you are actually registered in both and depending how you feel race day, you can decide to stop after the 2nd loop or go on for a 3rd. The only stipulation is that you have to complete 50km before the 8 hour cutoff in order to qualify to run the last loop and complete the 50 mile option.

Me not letting cows out!
At around 8 1/2 hours my Garmin died.  It was 28.77 miles at that point.  I knew it was going to happen so had started my Nike+ app on my phone a few minutes prior to this but we no longer knew exactly what mile we were at and how much overall time had elapsed.  It was really, really weird for me and it affected me mentally.  I knew roughly where we were but I couldn't figure out how long it would be to the next aid stations.  I guess if I keep up this ultra thing I need a watch with a better battery life.  The worst section was the last.   From the last aid station it was 2.79 miles to the finish....it was the longest 2.79 miles ever.  I think it took over an hour. I got a text from my concerned husband asking me if I was done yet at around a mile to go.  I was getting a bit fuzzy through the last mile.  I was OK, but I really just wanted to be done.  My legs hurt and I was just plain tired by then.  I had been out for over 9 hours and just wanted to see that finish line pop up around every corner.  And seriously, every time we went around a pond I thought it was the last! I forgot there were 3 of them.  Anyway, finally we saw the campground, I waved trail buddy off and told her to go ahead and finish.  I was about 45 seconds behind her and when I saw the clock it said 9:59 and was creeping toward 10.  I gave it everything I had...which was not much...but managed to cross the line at 9:59:53.

I was done! I was happy, relieved and exhausted all at the same time! Trail Buddy and I managed to get over to our stuff and collapsed onto the ground.  We didn't even bother to get a picture standing...we asked the woman sitting beside us in a camp chair to take a picture of us.

We are Ultra Runners!!!!!!

I took my shoes and socks off. My favourite rainbow socks had holes and my feet were full of blisters.  I am glad they did not bother me while I was running, but I sure as heck felt them as soon as my feet were bare....holy moly, am I glad we had aquaphor to lather them in!  Trail Buddy had packed some sweat towels in ice water in our cooler and we laid back for a few minutes with our feet wrapped in the cold towels.  It felt like bliss.

I cannot wait to do this again!

33 miles, almost 10 hours, happy Ultra Chicks!