Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good Old Fashioned Hardcore Training

I have run 4 times this week. The most in 3 weeks and I hit nearly 19 miles in 4 runs, so things are going well. I don't follow a training schedule yet, nor do I feel pressure to run, just doin it to do it.
Today we went to tht 'Grin (North Chagin that is). I hit my usual birdie/bridle/castle loop in 42:24 (about 5 miles) and then a cool-down for 19:50 (about 2 miles). My legs are definately shot after all this running and lifting, but I am sooooo pumped. Tomorrow though I better take a day off. I really want to run, but I need to hit some cycling and the Tri Club needs everyone to swim about 6 miles between now and tomorrow night and yes some people like JT are crazy enough to do it! I wish her the best of luck. I might go for 5000m, or maybe none who knows. I could break it up and swim 2000m in the am and go back in the afternoon. I just don't know if I will be able to move my shoulders any time after that.
After the run we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Bruegger's Bagels. I love the Western with eggs, bacon, cheese, peppers and chipotle sauce. We got to see the headmaster who is moving to Colorado for a sweet job in July. He gave me a good pep talk about going after the dreams you want no matter what the cost, and I mean cost literally. School is going to make me way more than broke if I follow this dream of mine. Anyway, we hurried home to change into swim gear and hit the pool for 2000 meters of swim drills. It was nice, nothing to taxing, but the pool is overheated for long swimming and I always, always get nauseated, although this time it wasn't nearly as bad as it has been and it passed fairly quickly I am pretty sure it is because I ewas taking breaks between drills. I am sure I will be soar again tomorrow, but that makes me feel good. It means I am challenging myself with my workouts and I WILL get stronger.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Christmas Mikey

The walrus, me, GI Mikey, and his Chicken
GI Mikey's Mom & GI Mikey

GI Mikey's Dad and GI Mikey with victory billiard shots of none other than Black Haus (eeeewww)!!

This by far has got to be one of the best Christmas's. My little brother who most of you know is in the military and has been stationed in Mississippi for the last 3 months and will soon be leaving for a year in Afghanastan came home for a little over a week to celebrate the holidays with us. It was the greatest gift.

He arrived last Monday evening and we only thought he was staying until Thursday evening and then heading back, but a phone call on Wednesday afternoon from the army had delayed his leave time until today (a week later), YAY!!
It was a stupendous week. Tuesday, the walrus and I headed to mom and dad's with our gifts to celebrate Christmas early for my brother. It was crazy. I hadn't seen that many presents under the tree in years. I myself, got a mini-fridge, a coffee table, an entertainment stand and this totally rockin' dog tag with a pic of me and the brother just to name a few. There were gift certificates, fishing equipment and cooking supplies exchange also. Personally, I thought the walrus and I had done a pretty good job on my little brother. We had gotten him a new Nintendo DS and the 2 games to take with him to Afghany. He loved it, heck so did his wife (we found out she was playing it the next day while he was napping the next day). Mom also managed to whip up a huge and delicious ham, mash potatoes, green bean casserole and 3 or 4 other concotions for a family dinner. I didn't really get much down due to a terrible stomach virus that had been plaguing me since early Sunday morning and would continue to bother me for another week.

After, the walrus and I packed up a ton of presents we had received and made a quick trip back to my house to drop off the gifts before heading back to a local hangout to meet the family for more partying and of course, karaeokee. My brother managed to sing a few songs, whip everyone's ass in pool with my dad's help and drink the bar completely out of Jaegermeister. I am so proud of him. I had too stick to some ginerale which was just as well since somebody had to drive.
I finally visited the doc's on Friday to find out I was going to need a few more days of rest and no work (darn...haha). I chose to stay at my parents though just in case my brother ever stopped by again. He did on Friday for a few hours with his wife. The night was a short one though as he too had gone to the doctor and had a terrible cold and needed a little down time.
I began to feel better by Saturday and was able to return to work on Sunday barring a stomach that just wasn't ready for heavy drinking or Mexican, neither of which would be a problem...until Chrismas Eve.
Tuesday night, my awesome roommate offered to work my shift so I could head to the 'rents early for once on Christmas Eve as this is traditionally our Christmas. I arrived around 5:00pm to find everyone already partying and playing cribbage. I watched my parents get skunked and then the real fun started. The name of the game is "ASSHOLE" and yes, my parents played and yes my parents have played before, no joke. I played at first sipping 2 glasses of red wine before switching to 7-up as my stomach was in no shape to be drinking. I became the president almost immediately after switching to soda and remained the president until we changed games again. Go figure, hmmm.? The walrus arrived and we then finished the night with Cranium and we eventually busted out the karaokee machine. I hugged my dog, who was terrified of the loud noise and told him it would be okay and they would eventually stop. Eventually came around 2:00am. I was in bed by 1:30am. I couldn't make it. The walrus rose early with a HUGE hangover, courtesy of a bottle of Grey Goose and headed home to celebrate his second Christmas with his children. I managed to walk him to the door before going back to bed till about 9:30am when I again got up, but this time to say goodbye to my little brother. He was leaving to go to the in-laws and I would not be seeing him again. I gave him a big hug and told him to have fun. He laughed and so did I because he knew I was talking about being in Afghany and not going to the in-laws, although you never can tell, he could have been thinking of the in-laws :) After he left, I again went back to bed until about 10:30am when I finally had caught up on my sleep from the late night. I managed to hang with my mom piece for piece in a trivia pursuit game that ended at 6:00pm after a good 3 hours of torture with a tie between her and me. I plan to be victorious in the re-match.
Today he left mid-afternoon. I didn't get to talk to him again, but I thought of him on and off all day and my prayers are with him. I tear up thinking about the year without him that lays ahead. I know he is a man, but in my heart he will always be "my little brother."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Confucius Says...

"Change comes from within...."

I don't know when it happened or why but I am trying to step up to the plate. I want to be the best person I can be in all aspects of my life (and I can't really figure out why, but maybe it will continue to add to my happiness, or it will insure my place in heaven, or someone else will have a better life because of me... I don't know).

This is a tr/running blog so here is the "rundown"

1. We have started recycling. We have a blue bag for plastics and glass and a brown box for paper products.

2. I am donating all my "acceptable" running shoes to warrenstriderstrackclubinc and to Warren gives them to other people and Nike uses them for athletics and playground surfaces. I think that is so neat.

3. My grandfather was diagnosed with lymphoma a few months ago and has been putting up one hell of a fight and in his honor I am going to run the Cleveland Marathon to raise money for Team IN Training I have registered for the full, but I have done that the last 2 years and had to drop to the 1/2 due to injury or under training. This will hopefully keep me on track.

I know it is only 3 things but every time I try a "BIG" thing I get overwhelmed and it doesn't work or I only do it half ass. Life is too short I need to be all I can be in this life.

On another note. Training is not very in depth, but it is still on the go. I am struggling with my anemia a bit. I have had a few cramps and my RLS is back. I am hoping it is caused by my dehydration lately. I haven't had any alcohol in 3 days and am trying to down a around 30-40oz of water a day or more. I am not really that thirsty, but my body needs it.

I started lifting this week and I actually liked it. Yea, I liked it. I even called my dad at the last minute and told him I wanted a weight set. My goal is to gain stronger legs for running and cycling which should equal faster times and just to get cut and drop off some of this pudge I have acquired. Swimming has been nil this week. I have not made it up to the Y, because we haven't changed to a family membership and I feel bad not paying. I might have gone today if I hadn't slept all morning and missed the lap swim time. Cycling is picking up. I am working on frequency more than seat time as my butt can only handle about an hour max right now. I bought some movies in hopes of distracting me from the time and to help keep my head up. It is bad form to look down and I do that on my bike when I get tired or antsy. Running, running, running,....still haven't hit the bug yet. Hoping to get it before the big snow hits and I don't want to go outside. I still am only at 10-20 miles a week. Soon here it will change whether I like it or not. Active recovery is nice, but only a few more weeks and I will have to start training if I am to make it to Cleveland and my first HIM.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's Like Cutting Grass... One Season Ends and Another Begins

The season is nearing an end my friends. I am not sure how I feel about that. I am sad that there is only one more race I am doing this year, but I am also relieved that I will have some down time. This season was just one injury after another and I need to rebuild and refocus.

Get in lots of miles of swimming for the USAT National Club Challenge.
Begin the "Build a Butt of Steel" for my planned 08 HIM
Run a few times a week NOT exceeding the 10% increase rule until I build a base of 30 mpw.
Lose 10-15lbs of fat and add some muscle (Total BW 120-125 lbs.)
Rediscover what's under that belly fat

It is of course going to be easier said than done. The weather has become increasingly colder and the snow has hit. I am hoping Ohio will not have the minus temperatures it did last year. Brrrr!!

My tenative plan for '08 is looking like this...

CTC Indoor Triathlon - Jan/Feb/March
Dirty Dog 10k - Feb
Catch A Leprachaun - March
Cleveland Marathon - May
Flag Day 5k - June
Mountaineer HIM - June
Johnny Cake Jog - July
Lake Erie Open Water Swim July
GCT HIM - August
Great Lakes Escape Tri - August
YUT-C 50K - September
Fall Marathon ???

Small tris
FRR series
Clay's Park

I am thinking about doing the FRR series just to make sure I stay on my training plan. I could also win a couple hundred bucks for my suffering. I can tell already with 12 events it is only going to get crazier. My other goal is too follow my training plan and not start throwing in rinky dink races this year. It is about quality not quantity. I am waiting patiently for the 08 season schedules to come out and then I will definately have my schedule set.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Trotting to a PR

I have been thoroughly enjoying the fact that I am back to swimming, biking and running. I have set no time limits on my runs and I have managed to keep my total mileage < 20 mpw until I get a better base. I do not want to spend any time hurt next year and I plan on building a foundation of mitochondria and muscle fibers even a chainsaw couldn't cut through!

I had done a 40 minute brick yesterday (20 min bike, 1:33 t2, run 18:02). I did not want to run too hard, just nice and comfortable to get in a solid workout and still save some for the Turkey Trot. I later that night managed to hook myself up with some shrimp and lobster chowder (mmm, yummy) and macaroni and cheese (pasta, gotta carb load). Oh, and 1 Bloody Mary and an Amstel Light (too make sure I was full up of course).

I had no intentions of running anywhere near a 42:00 minute 5-miler, let a lone PR, but sometimes you just feel it and there is no turning back. It was raining and windy so I really did not care to warm-up much. I jogged around the parking deck for about 10 minutes and decided to try a gel before the race with a bit of water. My only fear was my stomach would act up and I would cramp or my alter ego "MudButt" might try to rear her ugly head.

I saw a really sweet guy I used to coach at Velocity as the race started. I said hi, wished him luck and took off. The first mile was a bit congested with people sprinting by to get up to the front and other people falling back to talk and run a slower pace than me. For the most part I ran by a lot more people in the first mile than ran by me. I guess I should have started up closer, but I had planned on doing this as a training run and even when I race I am not much faster. Mile 1 - 8:18. It was about 30 seconds slower than my 5k first mile, but I wanted to make sure I had something left for the hill right after the 4 mile marker and I felt great.

The second mile was pretty much flat or downhill. There was a crosswind and the rain slapped us in the face a bit. I loved it. My windpants though did not. They took on water like a sinking ship and started flapping around my ankles smacking my other leg every time I stepped. Note to self - tights only in winter. I saw lots of people running together and chatting with a friend. I remember these 2 guys. The first guy was saying he did not feel too hot, but the other guy said they were running really well and not to give up. Ahh to have a motivator is so nice some times. Mile 2 - 8:05. I was warmed up now and apparently the gel was working. I just hoped I
wouldn't bonk and feel like crap coming into the finish.

Every race downtown it seems has to go down marginal and up W. 3rd (tha's the big hill). As we were running down on Marginal I saw ML plodding along ahead of me in his 8 layers and headphones. I waved, but of course he was in such a zone he too would PR later this day. I also looked for my friendly competitor CS. We are always joking about beating each other. I never have yet, but at our last 5-miler I almost got him. Today would be no different. Right before the 3 mile marker, sure enough there he was. I could only smile and laugh to myself. I thought about running by him behind some people and not letting him know I was there, but what fun would that have been. A little friendly competition never hurt anybody, so I ran over next to him and said "What are you doing back here? You don't run this slow." He smiled and said "You're right, Bye", and took off. I thought he was nuts we still had 2 miles to go, but he did slow after pulling ahead about 50 meters. I remained behind him, just trying to keep up a steady pace and not let the gap getting any bigger between us. Mile 3- 8:07.

One more to go and still feeling great. I was a little warm and new I had a fairly easy mile ahead. We ran up the little hill on marginal and continued on another flat, but windy section until we turn and get a brief downhill by the Browns stadium, which I had planned on using as a quick recovery before the HILL. The problem, it was so windy and yes it was a headwind going downhill with wet snow/rain in your face. I had to sprint ahead to the pack of people to tuck in behind them as best I could. It was definately helpful. My breathing was still holding, no major issues, but just the slight discomfort of knowing you have a little over a mile to go and its done so prepare to work for it. Mile 4 - 8:39. I am not really sure what happened here because it was right before the big hill. I am blaming the wind and maybe I purposely slowed to insure CS wouldn't pull me along to fast and bonk me.

Last mile started up the big hill. I had run it last week so I felt prepared and as it was it was a million times easier this week. Once again my focus was on pumping my arms to get me to the traffic light at the top. I always, always love the right turn you make onto the flat section after the hill. It is always a sign that I have made it through the rough part and now all I have to do is run to that glorious finish. I could feel the race itself pick up the pace at this point. I followed hoping everyone around me was pretty sure it was only another 1/2 mile. I stayed focused on CS's back and began to open my stride and stay relaxed. We made the turn to Lakeside (aka the finish) and I could see the crowd up ahead but not the finish.....hhhhmmm?? Was it right there or was I going to be deceived as I had at Johhny Cake? Well, better to try to hold on than have a bunch left, and secretly I knew I was close to a PR. I had no choice, I had to step up. I switched from a 5-mile runner to a 400 meter sprinter and headed for what I hoped was a PR. I began closing the gap on CS and passing a few people. One guy came up on me at my pace and tried to overstride by me, but no way. I am not going to let someone out sprint me. I hit the last of my gas and got him. Mile 5 - 8:27 (not too bad with a hill). CS was bent over when I got to him with ML. He asked me why I showed up to run these races. I laughed, gave him a hug and told him good job. Finish time on my watch was 41:36, a PR, but I did not feel I ran that hard and I thought I had messed up my watch so splits were unreliable. I would have to wait for the offical results....and there back 41:35. YEEEEEAAAAAA!!! I AM BACK and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!!!!

On a side note it is Thanksgiving and today I am thankful for the race, my friends my family, my little brother (who is in MS in the army, who's busy in Eucher tournament and will be going to war in a month) and the life I have and so much much more. Love YA :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Swim Free or Die Trying

Today I went to an awesome swim clinic...finally. I have been working on my swimming skills now for about a year, as it is part of the triathlon an unavoidable. I have managed to go from swimming 1 length of the pool and being out of breath to swimming back and forth, and back and forth until I decide I am done. However, I am by no means fast, but I am gonna be.

I learned fins are not my friend! I do not like wearing them. I drift to one side when doing drills without my arms and my toes curl out of habit and give me cramps.

We started with just kicks and rotation from side to side focusing on how the legs and trunk should rotate with each stroke almost 90 degrees and back, but the head should remain facing downward except when breathing. We then did 6 kicks on left with one stroke and 6 kicks on the right with a stroke and so forth. After floundering through that drill having my head out of position and forgetting to breathe we decided to advance to 6 kicks with 3 strokes each side (hahaha). I had think a lot more than I would have liked, but I did get in one or two good cycles. Finally got to stroke it out and put everything we just learned to the test. I can't say I was faster, but I did feel more efficient and smoother in the water.

The second half of our clinic was to grab a bite and something to drink and work on arms and tri specific swimming. We did a finger drag through the water, which I really liked. It was nice and relaxing. We also did 1-arm drills in which you breathe on the opposite side of the working arm. This is a scary sight. I lack the ability to breath on my left right now. Even when I stroked with the right arm I still breathed on the right. That drill is definately going to need lots of work. The last thing we covered was flip turns. I don't plan on doing any indoor tri's but "knowledge is power" - right? Well, first attemp to just flip I got water up my nose. SY said to blow out my nose on the flip to keep the water out and what do you know, It worked. Sweet!!! We then were instructed to swim at the cross on the wall and when we were about an arm's length away to flip and push off. This was in word UGLY. My timing was all off. I wasn't close enough to the wall and missed on a few flips and with no push off I did not make it to the surface so when I went to take a breath all I got was, yep you guessed it, water. At that point I decided to just swim a few easy laps, work on my form and call it a day. That plan worked much better for me. All in all had a great time and am very happy with the information I ganined and the people I met.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Miracle of Love

The couple above is Herman & Roma. He was a prisoner in a Jewish Camp and she would bring him an apple every day to eat until one day he told her he would be moved to another prison camp and to come no longer. Four hours before he was to enter the gas chamber at the new camp Russians liberated the camp and he was freed. He went to America upon his release and 14 years later went on a blind date. The woman told him how there was a boy she would bring an apple at a camp. He realized he was THAT boy and she was THAT girl. He immediately proposed to her and 64 years later still thanks her for bringing him food and for being with him. There love is as strong as ever.

I watched this on Oprah today and could not believe what a wonderful story this was. It made me smile from my heart to my lips. Hope this does the same for everyone else too.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

All Clear for Take OFF - HURRAY!!

After 2 trips to the doctor I am officially cleared to run. They can find nothing wrong with my foot.... hmmmmm??? OK, well I am tired of waiting. I feel like a general planning an attack except there are no guns (except the one's one's in my arms :) , and no soldiers, and no camo. Ok, but I am already trying to prep myself for 2008 as 2007 is pretty much over/shot. I might get in the Turkey Trot 5M and the Reindeer Run 5k, but after that it is sketchy.

I ran for 22min on Monday with none other than the Bails. I miss the furr ball and after spending a few minutes with him I knew we were going to be attached for at least the next 24 hrs. He missed me as much as I missed him. The run was slow, but I loved the fall leaves and just the shot at being out there again.

I took Tuesday off worked a double and drank some wine, but then today (Wed) I hit it. I went out for a 21 min run followed by a 30 min trainer ride with a few power intervals in between, and I must say I felt pretty good!! The iron pills may be kicking in FINALLY!!

On another note I had a fantastic time in Columbus this past weekend. I found my new pride and joy. They are rambuncious, way too curious about sex. loud, obnoxious and my favorite damn high school cross country runners!!! That is the trouble you see above :). They were 8th at state's and ran their hearts out. I am excited to spend this weekend with them and watch them have fun!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Things I Love About the TRI...

1. The black numbers on my skin letting me know today, I am a competitor

2. The Big A$$ gatorade bottle at the transition zone!!

3. Knowing I am most competitive with my old man in the water (GO TURTLES!! YAY)

4. The way the sun looks above the water in the early a.m. from the shore

5. The tightness in my stomach pre-race that lets me know I am gonna push hard today

6. The big huge transition, start and finish inflatables

7. The awesome volunteers

8. The calmness I feel when it's me and the water

9. The lactate building up in my legs on the bike, knowing I have to run yet

10. Washing my feet in the bucket to get all the sand off after I get done with the swim

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SCS - Still Can't Start

Friday morning I received a call from my doctor confirming I did indeed have iron deficiency anemia. Great, one more thing to hold me back (or an excuse to be as slow as I am). I wish I had discovered this ailment sooner, but I guess it makes sense. I have many of the signs, cramping, restless leg syndrome, chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, irritability and slow to heal. The doctor recommended this iron supplemant called Slow Fe which is supposed to cause the minimum amount of constipation and stomach irriatation as possible. So far so good. I am doubling the dosage in hopes of coming back sooner than a month.

As for the foot, well the jury is still out on that one. I am still waiting until next Wednesday to go for my MRI. I hope whatever it is I can fix all this once and for all. It is kind of bumming me out to hear all my friends going off to fall races and knowing I can be there on the roads with them. I am hoping to get my lazy ass up one of these mornings and start hitting the "Y" for some early a.m. swimming as soon as the iron pills take effect and I don't need to sleep 10-12 hours a day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Piece by Piece

That's how I am going to get healthy and back into running.
Back to the doctor again for my foot, my cramps in my legs and arms and my inability to breathe when under stressful conditions.

The pain I had been experiencing in my left foot over the last few months when I get up outta bed and after a run had not gotten any better. I took off from running for 2 weeks in July hoping it would help, but it didn't. I ran the river run on September 9 and have not run since, but that didn't help either. It still HURTS!!

Got to the doc's at 2:30 and after check in found out one of the residents that was shadowing my doc was a childhood friend. She looked great and was graduating from OU with her focus in pediatrics. the doc had me take off my shoes and socks and gently pushed all around looking for tender spots. She found one very localized spot on my 3rd metatarsal. Her guess was a stress fracture, but she wanted x-rays. I walked for her to demonstrate my slighltly gimped walk and then headed over to x-ray with my paperwork. X-ray took all of about 15 minutes and then I was back in my doc's office and guess what.... NO FRACTURE!!! She explained that it should show up by now, but you never can tell with these sort of things, so she ordered an MRI which I am going to try to schedule next week.

On another note I had explained that I thought the cramping in my lower calves was due o some of the tendonitis but she thought it could be related to an iron deficiency so again I headed to another lab for a blood test (CBC, iron, ferratin).

I also found out I may have been misdiagnosed with regards to my asthma. Asthmatics have trouble getting the air out, but I have trouble getting the air in and the inhaler has not been effective. My doc once again made an attempt to fix me by stating that I may have vocal cord syndrome in which the vocal cords close upon inhalation and air can't get in!! Now that sounds more like it. She wrote me a script to go see a speech pathologist that takes only 1 trip to her office to fix it!! I am in for that. I see RECOVERY in my future.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One Spoonful of Stress Please

I am trying to keep up on this blogging thing for my brother who is as I stated in my last blog in Mississippi preparing to go to Afghanastan.

Stress, stress, stress. I try to keep my blogs positive, but the shit has really hit the fan. My brother has left for the military, both my grandfathers are not doing well, I think I have a fracture in my left foot and to top it off I think I may have moved in with the roommate from hell!!!!

I know I can be a cold bitch and compartmentalize my emotions when I find it is futile to communicate with someone or change a situation, but right now I just want to sleep. I keep praying my family will remain safe, and hoping my roommate will come around. I wish we could agree to disagree, but it just seems like no matter what I do I feel as if I am offending her. I can feel myself going on the defensive and wanting to do prepare for a war, but then just like a romantic relationship I get to the point where I realize she can't hurt me and I will be the bigger person no matter what the situation. The big downer though.... once again I see another selfish person that lacks hope and faith and can forgive. Once again another person that believes revenge and being angry are the way to go.

Oh, well on a positive note it will be a constant reminder of why I need to get my nursing degree and better my life.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

30 Already??!!!

It has finally happened. I turned 30 two weeks ago and I hate thinking I am not in the 25-29 AG anymore. I do like the fact though that most people guess my age at 25-27.

I have been so busy. But here is the shizzy.

My brother left for Mississippi on October 1st for 3 months and then to Afghanastan for a year. I miss him already and there is no address to send him stuff to available yet. I send him text's but he is very busy and I have only gotten one. I bought bands that say "Support the Toops." Everybody at work wears them and so do my parents. I try to pray for him every day. He is a soldier, but in my eyes, he is my little brother.

I moved into my new rental. It is a wash. I am happy to be on my own as I am 30, but I miss my dog and the shores and the lake. I miss a few hundred dollars every month now too (ha ha). The rental is okay. I have painted and done a few minor things to fix it up. I bought a big television, towels and everything is coming along okay. My roommates are pretty sweet. Some minor issues to work through.

My boyfriend is still wonderful. He has been helping me move my stuff and no matter what the task or activity we enjoy being in each other's company (even when painting or moving in the hot, humid heat).

I am also enjoying my Muscular Phys class and hating my immunology class. I am barely passing. It is soooo much harder than I thought. I am debating whether I should drop the class now. Oh, well we took our first test on Friday. If I got a C I will be satisfied.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

River Run 1/2 Mary

The River Run 1/2 marathon was today and boy was it wet! This race is pre-registration only and as a seasoned runner who knows she can survive a half I felt obligated to make an attempt at running in a possible down pour. I had told the Walrus I would meat him at the finish and drive him to the start since it is point to point and we did not want to ride the bus from the finish to the start or vice versa. The rain was sooooo bad on the way out there in some spots my wipers on high were barely allowing any visibility. I knew I was in for a wet, wet day. I picked him up around 6:45 am and we headed to Berea leaving dry clothes and his car in Rocky River. This is when Murphy's Law kicked into high gear. I had one gel with me for the day, but decided it would be best to take a second. I asked my dealer (the Walrus) for an extra and to my dismay he did not have any (not even one for him). I knew I was running this race as a training run and decided I would just give him mine and hope not to "bonk" somewhere in the race. One of my favorite quotes is "The Body achieves what the Mind believes." Well, I knew I could make this run, just might not be anywhere near a good time for me. Next I asked what he had done with the keys to the bad scandanavian auto (the Saab - the piece of shit). He held them up and I said "are you going to carry them to the finish?" He looked perplexed. He didn't want to lug keys around. Thankfully our friend JR would be there and we hoped she would take them with her. We were in luck she did.

We got to the park at about 7:25 am hit the bathroom, switched into our running gear and grabbed hats. Lisa Mathews and I decided to run together and chat for the first part of the race and I actually got to look around and enjoy the scenery. I was running right around a 9:00-9:30 pace which was a bit slow but it was a training run. My feet became soaked by mile number 4 and stayed that way for the remainder of the race.

The rain never completely stopped but I did enjoy watching everybody coming and going around me. Around mile 9 I had to go to the bathroom as always seems to be the case this year (Blah!!). I was going to stop at the port-o-potty but this tall blonde beat me and I did not want to waist THAT much time waiting so I plodded onward in hopes I could literally keep my shit together :) I began to relax at mile 10 and opened up my stride for the last 3 miles and decided to finish as best I could with only a bit of gatorade and a mint.
I crossed the finish in 2:03.01. Not even close to my PR, but I found success in the fact that I had a comfortable run, finished with no gels, could still walk, didn't feel like shit and beat a girl in the Road Race Series that I had yet to beat!!

Now I need to rest the foot. Still can't figure out what the heck is going on with it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Where the Hell did yesterday go???

Crap!!! Has it really been so long since my last blog.

As always I am swamped with too much to do and not enough time.

Here is the 3 week recap.

After the GCT I went to the doctor and had my pulmonary test done. The findings.... I have a 33% increase in my smaller airways with an inhaler. Normally, people don't even need them, but when running or doing intense activity they are utilized, so now 2 puffs about 20 minutes before running.

The following Saturday I ran the JCM 5k in Hudson. I used my inhaler for the first time. I decided to run it as a tempo run and NOT kill myself since I had the Perfect 10 miler the next day. The first mile was at 8:00 flat. I felt good and just tried to stay relaxed. The next mile I slowed and that was where I stayed for the rest of the race. The inhaler did not seem to make a difference. I was still wheezing a little the last mile. I finished in 25:30 thinking I would probably get 3rd in my AG, but I was just a bit too slow that day. I took 4th (uuuuggghhhh). I did however, win a gift card to Yours Truly restaurant.

The next day I headed out to Mayfield for the Perfect 10 miler. It was overcast and big chance for rain. I wanted to beat my time from last year but I knew from yesterday's race my legs were still a bit tired (probably from the GCT). The course was a bit different from the year before due to construction, but 10 miles is 10 miles. I hooked up with some friends before the race joking about who was gonna beat who. The horn sounded and I began my longest race thus far without the comfort of my I-pod. My first mile was too fast. My second mile was even faster. What was going on??? There were some girls playing the Spice Girls on the radio around mile 3 and my time was still too fast, but slower. I later found out the mile markers were off. I was on my way to mile 4 when I realized I had NO gels. What a dumb mistake!!! It wasn't my first race!!! Shit!!! This could get ugly. The next 2 miles dragged on. I was tired. I couldn't relax and my breathing was a bit labored and I was picking up time every mile. I saw AS ahead of me and focused on just staying with her. I liked her pace. She was running very well. I made a decision then to run with her as I knew my PR was a very long shot and she was going to blow her's away. We stuck it out to the finish and she got one person by 2 steps at the finish!! I was stoked and gave her a big hug. Finished in 1:30:05 (I think). Not a good time for me. Chalk it up as long run for the week.

The next week I ran a 26:48 at Penitentiary Glen's 5k cross country course and then ran it again as a cool down and chatted with some friends before going out with my BF KK for drinks that tasted soooooo good!!! Best Bloody Mary's.

That Sunday the Walrus and I went to N. Chagrin to run with a group but my breathing was shitty and as I was on my way back to the car to get my inhaler a sweat bee stung me in the throat and motherf#cker did that smart! My throat swelled a bit and turned red but after some ice and walking I was gonna live. I opted to end my run at about 30 minutes that day and wait for everyone else with my coffee.

Wednesday I went to the Buckeye Trail to run for an 1:10 before class only to find not only was it treacherous, but there were coyotes! Yeah, frickin' coyotes. I heard them yelping nearby and could only pick up the pace and hope they did not eat turtles. I picked up a stick and as I ran for my life I looked at every tree wondering if I could climb it. Needless to say I made it out of the woods to the safety of my truck. I don't think I will do that again.

I have since then gotten in a couple nice long runs at N. Chagrin without falling, rented a house, partied with my brother who is leaving for Afghanastan in 3 weeks (which deserves a blog all of its own - soon to come) and managed to start another semester of school while working around 35 hours a week and prepping for my marathon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The "GREATEST" Cleveland Tri

The Walrus and the Turtle right before the start
Almost Done!

Just a .1 miles to the finish!!

Our photographers!!

I am the 3rd cyclist just coming out of the park. The walrus is back there, RIGHT behind me!!!

Transition Area

The Walrus coming for his new shoes!!

Swim Finish!!

My Race Recap goes like this...

Swim - I bet my fast, older boyfriend a new pair of running shoes I would be out of the water and across the first mat before him. I had a 3 minute head start being in the 15-29 sprint wave. He was in the 30-39. He took the bet. I hit the water and after a minute or two many people were pulling ahead of me. I was worried but then at the first buoy I began picking off quite a few. I found a rythm and swam comfortably all the way in. My father had come to watch me for the first time ever and I was dead set on making him proud. I got out of the water and hit the beach running for fear my boyfriend would pass me on the run to the mat (how much would that suck??!!!) My dad and some friends were screaming as I came out of the water that I had beaten him and I let out a "WHOO HOO" and thought go, go, go, get to the mat.

Made it to T1 and about 1 minute later there he was!! I knew it was over for me on the bike but I was pumped. I left T1 behind a girl and followed the no passing rule. There were about 5 people right behind me and then 3 because a girl came flying by and then a guy in the park. I yelled "you can't pass" but they did not care. I was a little mad, but was not going to cheat. As I exited the park my boyfriend went flying, I mean flying by me. I smiled and knew now he would only get faster as he had the fastest run and was 12th on the bike that day. I did get pedaled down by 10 or so men and only 3 or so women. Some cyclists said "way to go CTC" and "keep going CTC" I said thanks and told them to keep moving too. I was mishap free and almost back to the park on my way back up Heisley less than a mile to go when a buck ran across the road. Never thought I would have to worry about hitting a deer on my bicycle, but then another buck even closer came across. Needless to say I made it into the park without hitting anything.

T2 was okay. I should have taken more time to get all the sand off my feet (ended up with 2 blisters that are small but hurt like hell), but I already wasted time hitting my inhaler and taking a gel.

I went out for the run and grabbed some water, said hi to Matt and headed out to chase the girl less than a 1/4 mile ahead. I did catch her and we had battled on the bike course so as I ran by I could only shake my head and say to her "Man you are tough." She smiled and said thanks as I finally passed her for the last time and broke away. The run is always my worst of the 3 events. My boyfriend calls me the turtle cause I fall apart. Today I still fell apart, but not as bad as I usually do. I kept my stride open and encouraged everyone I passed or that I saw on the way in to keep going and good job. A fellow sprint CTCer high fived me on the way in (Thanks!!) and with that I pushed the pace the entire way back to the finish for 3rd in my AG and a BIG HUG from my father. It was awesome. I won my first award ever in a TRI, a new pair of shoes and my father came up to cheer me on and tell me how proud he was.

Also, congrats to Adam on 2nd in his AG in the Sprint, Kevin on 1st OA in the 1/2, Brian for winning his AG in the 1/2, Janet 1st in her AG and Brandon for kicking some arse in the 1/2, Jodi for surving the Aqua-bike under adverse conditions from the night before, everyone else who competed and the fantastic volunteers.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bow Wow Beach

Today was another scorcher. I had been promising to spend some quality time with my dog, "The Bails." I had read an article about a park for dogs in Stow called Bow Wow Beach and with the weather in the 90's I figured why not today.

I grabbed his leash and my sunglasses and off we headed. It was about a 20 minute drive and when we got there I could see it was fenced in as described in the paper and there were about 20 or so dogs running in and out of the water chasing tennis balls, there tails and each other.

Bails had seen the same. His body was erect and you could just see the excitiement. I had him leashed and he patiently waited for me to open the door. Then the patients ended. He began yanking me everywhere sniffing this and sniffing that. Whoa, stop slow down, but there was no stopping him today.

We got in the gates and he immediately started barking and chasing the other dogs. He was just playing, but he was indeed bullying them. I yelled at him to be nice and stop it. We walked to the water, but he wouldn't go in. People can't swim there, but I had sandals on so I walked in a little ways. He hesitantly followed for a second, but then jumped out to bark and chase a 3-legged dog. I yelled at him again to no avail.

A good samaritan who trains dogs came over and explained to me that I needed to leash him for a bit, tell him to be nice and then praise him when he was nice to the other dogs and scold him when he barked and bullied them. We began walking the beach introducing ourselves to each doggy that approached and I petted Bails and told him "be nice" and "good boy" repeatedly. We worked on this for about a half hour and then tried it off the leash. He was much better, but still slipped up every now and then.

We walked down to the other end of the beach and I waded in about mid thigh trying to coax him in. He would come in up to his chest and then run back out the first few times until he finally gathered up enough courage to go a bit farther. I was so proud of him. He was swimming!!! I thought he was an alligator circling me with his head above the water (haha).

We got out and walked back toward the exit when he ran into a black lab named Nick who was just a puppy but definately looking for a buddy. Bails tackled him and barked, chasing him all over and Nick did the same. I shook my head and yelled to be nice. Nick loved it. Oh no!! His owner came over to explain how her dog had no common sense and friended every dog even the bullies. Finally, the two dogs stopped goofing around and seperated. Bails took one more dip in the lake before we left.

The park provided us with a hose (Thank God some dog had taken a dump in the lake and there were fish too. Eeeewww!!!) so one more shower for Bails today. He trotted to the truck and shook off before jumping up into his seat. He laid down almost immediately in the truck for a nap and now two hours later is still chilling. Although, I myself skipped my swim and will have to make up a 15 mile run tonight after work at 11:00pm it was all worth it to see my doggie smile.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Johnny Cake and Eat It TOO!!

The PowerWalker, T, and the Headmaster Pre-Race

The Walrus and B.D. Pre-race (probably discussing race strategy).

I set my alarm for 6:30am for the JC 5-miler, but for some reason I awoke at 5:30. I didn't feel too bad, but knew that a hard race the night before, some post race cocktails and 4 hours of sleep was going to make for a rough race today. I layed there for a minute or two debating whether I even wanted to race today and then after decidining I did I spent another minute or two debating whether or not to go back to bed for another hour. What the hell, I got up and started packing. I figured if I went back to bed I would have a very difficult time getting up in an hour. I was packed dressed and ready in about 20 minutes.

I stopped and got my coffee and then headed to Mentor. I called the Walrus to see if he was up and what he was doing. He was of course doing his race routine of packing and prepping mentally and physically. I was going to be at the race about 2 hours early so I decided to meet him at his house and follow him out. This gave me a chance to watch some of the TDF since I don't get that channel at home. We left about a half hour after I got there.

The weather was beautiful, sunny and cool, just the way I like it. I kept thinking what a perfect set-up for a 5 mile PR, but with my high mileage and hard run last night I was in no shape for a PR this morning. We were as usual one of the first to arrive. We said hi to the race director and his family since they are friends of ours and then it happened....

The Walrus is a very intense person and even worse on race days. We usually have some type of death match before every event and today I thought we might make it, until he cracked. He came over to the truck and began yelling at me. I was furious. Why did he wait until we got to the race to do this!!!???? Every damn time!!! I told him to go away and leave me alone. He eventually did. I proceeded to lock myself in my truck and fill out my registration form, but then I stopped and looked out the window. I thought maybe I should just scrap the race and go home. I hadn't planned on running hard and I was upset with the Walrus. He came back over and tapped on the window about 10 minutes later. I hesitated to open the door as I did not want to go through another fight. He apologized and gave me a kiss, but it was too late, tears were coming down my face. Thank God for sunglasses. I told him to go prep for his race and I was fine, but he knew he had hurt me. I just wanted to be alone. All I could think was after this morning's shit he better go run an f#cking PR now.

I calmed down a few minutes later and gathered myself enough to go register and hit the bathroom. I saw the headmaster and his girlfriend in the pavillion area and talked with them for a minute before grabbing my headphones (yeah, I still wear them to warm-up and center me). I had about 20 minutes so I decided to run to the first mile marker and back. I went out slow and easy. I mean really slow. The first mile was about 10 minutes. My legs didn't feel a thing!! What was going on??? I should be exhausted. I noted the big hill at the start of mile 2 and did a u-turn to head back to the start at what felt like a comfortable pace and then picked it up for the last 200 meters. I checked my watch...8:20. What??!!! How could I be feeling this good? I went to the truck to drop my headphones and hit the starting line, but at the last second I changed my mind. I kept my headphones. Today I was going to break the rules and indulge in my bad habit.

I lined up with some friends. We had all run last night and were thinking this would be a hard recovery run, if that makes any sense. Somewhere in the back of my mind though I had decided I was going to go for it and see if I could pull a PR out of my arse today.

The gun went off and instead of starting out hard I fell into a nice easy pace. The first mile was fairly flat, shaded and quick. I ran about an 8:24.

The second mile started and so did the hill. I cut my stride length and dogged it up the hill trying to relax and use the beat to "Downfall" by Trust Company to carry me through. No problem. Crested the hill and started to catch people right away. I was feeling great. Mile 2 was about 8:46. Uuuuggghhh, no wonder I felt good. I had slowed a lot.

Mile 3 was uneventful. Grabbed some water. Maintained speed, tried to stay in the shade and still run a decent line. I did find this old guy ahead of me that had a red and gray shirt on that I had for some reason decided to use as my goal marker. He would get a little closer every step, but just not close enough to catch. Split was about 8:18.

Mile 4 began with less shade and more sun. I was getting a bit tired now, but I wanted to maintain my pace. I kept telling myself only one long straightaway mile to go after this. My friend C.S. was also running and I knew he was somewhere ahead of me. Our times were getting closer and closer every race and as a motivator I kept telling myself he was somewhere up there, so go get him! I grabbed some water at the last aid station before rounding the corner to Mentor Avenue. Last year I remembered there was construction the entire way up the road to the finish and this year was no different. The shade disappeared and I began to get hot. Mile 4 was in the 8:20's. I knew I was going to PR if I could make it through this last mile.

Mile 5 started with a rebirth of new energy due to the fact that I might PR. It lasted for about 2 minutes. I thought I slowed a bit and then a guy pushing a stroller passed me!! Oh hell no, this was not going to be the finish of my 5 mile PR. I pushed my pace onward and stayed with stroller pusher for about another 2 minutes before passing him. Good! I had totally forgot about the old guy in the gray and red. I did not know if I had passed him or if he had taken off ahead. Oh, well there was another goal ahead of me. I just did not know it yet.

I saw the sign for 880 yards to go and the race director jogging back. He did not see me and I did not want to waste any energy waving or saying hi so I pushed on, but then I saw the Walrus jogging up to him and they began chatting, probably about there races. I did not know if the Walrus had come back for me like he usually does or if he had wanted to talk to the RD. I didn't care. This was going to be my PR, my way, not to mention I was still a little angry and not up for hearing him talk me in to the finish. I also, assumed he thought I would be running slow and thought he had a few minutes to talk, well surprise, not today. I pushed forward even harder trying to get away from all the B.S. of the morning and on to my PR. Boy was he gonna be surprised when he doesn't see me coming. I knew I had less than 5 minutes of running, maybe 4 if my legs could maintain pace and my breathing did not go to hell. Then it happened!!! After months of joking about running C.S. down there he was. I passed him and it did not even register that he was the guy trudging along in the camo shirt that I had just passed. HOLY SHIT!!! I was so excited. I looked up for the finish and there was the banner. He wasn't moving very fast, but I was tiring and did not know if he would try to run me down. I regrouped and picked it up. I was not going to let him get me. I stared at the banner and ran for my life. I could feel him bearing down on me. I did not want to look back as it is usually read as a sign of weakness and I was full of it at this point. Run dammit. He is coming was all I could think. I got to the banner and no finish line.....oh no, they had moved the finish line up from the banner about 200 yards due to the construction!!! I waivered, I did not know if I was going to make it. He had not been running very fast when I passed him, but maybe he was storing it for some lightning kick at the end and drafting right off me now!!! Still scared to look back my pace faltered for a few strides and then I regained my composure. Not today, I would not quit today!!! There it was the finish clock. Run, Run, Run he is coming was all I could think. I was one step from victory when it happened. He buzzed me at the line, can you believe it???!!!!! I let out a loud "NO!!" as we crossed. People must have thought I was nuts. I followed C.S. through the shoot for about 2 steps before he sat down on the curb and began coughing and dry heaving. I asked if he was okay and started laughing at him. He of course was he had just pushed himself beyond what his body liked. Good for him.

We pulled ourselves together and compared perspectives and laughed. I was ecstatic with my official time 41:53!!! A new PR!! Yeah, biznotch!!! We cheered C.S. wife to the finish and then the Walrus found us about 10 minutes later. He looked confused. He asked if I was alright and if I had finished the race because he had gone back to get me and I did not come through. I explained to him that hell yeah I had come through in record time and had went after C.S. till the finish. He smiled and gave me a hug. He did not get his PR, but he ran a good race and was still happy for me and my PR and because I had nearly run his buddy C.S. down (side note: C.S. just "always wants to beat the girls"). It would be nice to beat him one day, but I think it is more of a joke between friends. Of course, the day his wife gets him I can't say I wont be calling the Plaindealer, hahahaha. The official results somehow got messed up and ranked me ahead of him, but I know in my heart he did once again beat me!!! Oh, well it's on NOW!!!

What a frickin' awesome day!! I ran a great race, PR'd and will never forget how hard C.S. pushed me (thanks, but look out :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Wheezing Lizard 4M

Ahhh, another night race. I was of course pumped I had PR'd at my first night race (Flag Day 5K) and then broke that PR 3 days later at the OCRWC 5k (also a night race) this year. I also had been training better and had my own privately hired (for free) pacer - the Walrus. He had planned to run hard the next day at Johnny Cake and needed me to keep him in check tonight and make him run an easy easy pace. This would not be a problem :)

Got down to Cleveland in 25 minutes or so. How you ask? Cause I took the bike. Yep, I packed up my running gear, threw on my jacket and jeans and cruised downtown looking like a badass. I parked by the Walrus so I could stash my gear and change into my running clothes before heading for the bathrooms and checking out the scene.

It was a bit hot, but not too bad. Last year had been in the 90's and I had run terrible. This year my body had learned to acclimate itself to the heat and run better. We only did a short warm-up as was all that was needed with the heat. I told the Walrus I was going to go to the bathroom one more time before the start. The line was still kinda long, but the race was chipped and I had about 15 minutes. I finally got my chance and as I was sitting down on the toilet I heard "One minute until the start of the 4 miler!" What the hell? I checked my watch 5:24, I still had 6 friggin' minutes. Dammit!! I pulled up my pants and jumped out of the porta-john. I began jogging up to the start looking for the Walrus, but too late. The race had begun and I was still 200 meters from the start. All I could think was... "it's always something." Last year the race had started 10-15 minutes late. What were they doing? Making up for lost time??

I looked around and looked around but could not find the Walrus. Time was ticking away and most of the runners were through the mats. I knew I was going to be starting with the slower runners now and would have to fight my way through the pack. Shit!!! I had no choice. I left without my pacer. I began weaving my way around runners and trying to stay to the inside but it was so congested. I was already breathing fairly heavy, but was not too concerned as I have been going out hard the first mile as of late. Before we made the turn to go up Hell Bridge 1 as I call it I sensed someone running up like a bat out of hell behind me. I thought this guy is going to blow up or he is like me and got a late start, but then he fell in on my shoulder and I took a minute to look and it was none other than the Walrus. He had found me!!! Sometimes the dedication the Walrus puts into his training makes me wonder if he remembers he has a girlfriend and what her name is because he is soooo busy with it, but then days like these where he runs through 1000 people to find me so he can push me through the race for a PR and take a very slow time for himself reminds me how much he does care.

It was time to focus now. He knew I had to get up in the pack. The inside was jam packed with runners so we had no choice but to cut to the outside and begin passing. I was definately breathing hard when we got up the bridge to the first mile. My watch was all messed up so all I know is it was sub 8:00. Good that is what I wanted, even better because it was uphill. The second mile I tried to relax and catch my breathing but it just wasn't coming. I was all over the place. I saw my friend Carol ahead and we caught her right before the water station. I was barely moving at this point. Mile 2 was around 8:46. What was going on??!! The Walrus was furious. He began barking orders at me to control my breathing, relax my body and use my arms. He said an 8:46 mile was bullshit and he was just not having that. I started to get pissed, but knew he was only trying to push me, so I had no choice but to channel that anger and try to pick it back up. Mile 3 was better around 8:10-8:30, but then Hell Bridge 2 loomed ahead. Another uphill. The Walrus yelled to use my arms and I did and it worked!! I was up the hill in good time and on the downhill, but my quads were shot. The question was now would I be able to hold on.

Side note: I had run my long run on Thursday of 15 miles and done speedwork on Tuesday and swam and biked on Friday. My "A" goal was Columbus in October, so I knew these weekend races were "B" goals. It did not matter though I still wanted to run them and run them well.

The Walrus told me to use the downhill as my recovery before the push up Huron to the finish. I tried to recover and keep my foot turn over up as we accelerated down the hill. Finally, we made the turn to Huron with about .6 miles to go. I hit the last uphill and the hill hit me back. Uugghhh!! I started to slow again and the Walrus began pulling away. No, No, No. If he had sacraficed his race to push me I was not going to give up without a fight. I bullied my way forward. My breathing went to hell and the wheezing became erratic and loud, but I made it up the hill and managed to pass a few people. He turned around one last time on the straight away to the finish and yelled, "C'mon lets get some people." "Yeah lets, " I thought. I felt like I was dying inside my legs were turning to cement and my lungs were on fire. I could not get any oxygen in or out, but with whatever was left in my body I pushed on and tried to catch the Walrus as he pulled ahead. Finally I crossed the mat in 33:27, but it was not over.

I was wheezing bad. I had a headache and felt disoriented. I went to walk it off but after a minute I had to sit. About 5 minutes later I regained my composure and grabbed some water the Walrus had found for me. The Walrus told me "Good Job." I had PR'd by 1:33. Sweet!!! I ended up 29th in my AG which was very very disappointing until I found out there were 125 women. I was only a little disappointed after hearing that.

The Walrus ate a sandwhich and hung aroud with me before heading home to rest for his big day tomorrow. I on the other hand had busted my ass all week, raced hard tonight and hung out with some friends and enjoyed a margarita before heading home. I was happy I had beat my old time, but as usual just cranky I was still 23 seconds a mile off that sub 8:00. Oh well, tomorrow would be either a rest day or an easy easy run at Johnny Cake or would it????

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

SpeedWork You Say???

This afternoon's workout had a need for speed. I grabbed my Kayanos and headed up to the track with my #1 Key Workout Plan, my I-Pod and lots of water. When I got to the track there was a woman running at what seemed to be a fast pace for her as she was breathing heavily and a very tall guy jogging with none other than a CTC t-shrit on. Sweet!! I walked over to the start line and chatted with him for a couple minutes about the tri's and training. He was very nice and told me once I do my first Ironman the rest is easy in comparison.

I hit a 13:16 warm-up (1.25 miles) and stretched out for 3 minutes. I had worn my i-pod for the warm-up but now it was time to get down to business so I set them aside and prepared for my downward ladder.

Distance Time to Hit Rest Interval (200m) Actual Time Difference
1200m 5:50 2:06 6:04 +14
1000m 4:45 1:37 5:07 +22
800m 3:46 1:51 4:11 +25
600m 2:46 1:50 3:03 +17
400m 1:50 1:49 1:57 +7
200m :49

I did a 12:38 cool-down (1.0) before grabbing some water and stretching for a bit before going to the truck. Total miles today was 6.5.

It appears I could not hit the broad side of a barn today! Sh#t... Well I got it done. Speedwork has always been intimidating to me and I have shyed away from it, but now that marathon training has started I have no choice if I plan on blowing my time out of the water this year. Next week goals are to hit speedwork times.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Painseville Recreation 5 Miler

Today started off way too early as usual with a 5:00am wake-up. I hit the snooze while the walrus jumped out of bed to hit a quick shower as he always does to wake up. I pulled myself out of bed a few minutes later, dressed chowed down a Special K bar and grabbed my gear.

The plan was to get to the race an hour early as we were not pre-registered and still have plenty of time to warm-up. We were the first runners there. However, warm-up was short that morning as the people at the race were a little slow to process our registration and packets. I also as usual had to make 2 stops at the portapotty. Uuugggghhh, will this never end. I began my warm-up in my new Mizuno shorts and after about 10 minutes decided for luck to wear my Pearl running shorts. The course was said to be very hilly, but I thought I might still be able to pull out a PR since my running was improving this year. So I jumped in the "bad Scandavian auto," as the Walrus so lovingly refers to it and made a quick wardrobe change before finishing my warm-up with an easy jog to the starting line.

The race was not chipped and there were only about 50-70 people there (mostly men), so I still got a good postition near the front of the start ing line. I had signed up for the Columbus Marathon and acknowledged I would not wear headphones or risk disqualification, so today would be my first race without my crutch. I was needless to say a little nervous. Why did I not start without them on a 5K? The race director had an easy RSG and away we went.

The first mile was fairly flat. Most of the field was already ahead of me even though I thought I went out hard for me. We soon turned off the first road and there was a hill in the distance. I saw JB just a bit ahead of me and figured I would try and stay with him. I hit the first mile at 8:00 minutes and realized I was running a bit faster than JB and would be held back if I paced with him. I looked around for some women but there were none to be found. There were however 3-4 guys ahead. I guess was just going to have to chase the boys today.

The second mile had some hills and one of the guys I began chasing was more of a wrestler type than a runner type. His footfalls were very heavy and very loud. He seemed to be struggling at his current pace and I knew I would get him early on. I passed him right before a downhill, but what do ya know. He picked up his pace and sprinted down the hill by me and started his ascent with me right behind him on the uphill. He once again started to slow and about a quarter mile later I passed him and pulled away. Other than that mile 2 was uneventful at 8:35.

Mile 3 the rode flattened out and we entered a cemetary, yup a cemetary. I passed another guy with a Hermes 10 miler shirt on, but then some short guy passed me. We switch backed through the cemetary 3 times. There they had set-up an aide station and as I grabbed water and continued on I heard a guy yelling behind me, "outta the way, can't slow down, come through fast." I started smiling and turned around and sure enough it was the wrestler type barrelling down the path like a bull. I saw him grab a cup of water and splash himself in the face before I turned back and refocused on my running. Too late, the guy in the Hermes 10 miler shirt came back on me and passed me. Damnit!!! We were about to exit the the cemetary when the 3rd mile marker came up 8:53. Geez, am I slowing like a car running out of gas or what!!!

Mile 4 started with a huge downhill. I forced myself to lean forward and relax. I told myself here is my chance to recover, but keep up a good pace downhill. I knew what goes down must come up. When we reached the bottom of the hill it turned to the right and the uphill began. It was only a short distance but the grade was steep. A volunteer was pointing into a park indicating we were to run on the path. As I was coming up the hill to make the turn I saw the Walrus coming out and going up the steepest part of the hill. Yeah!!! Inspired I made the turn and started focusing on the Heres 10 miler shirt in front of me. We wound around the park with a few up's and down's and time just kept passing. I looked for the 4th mile marker ahead but no such luck. WTF, where was it? I did not want to check my watch as I knew this would by far be my slowest mile, except I was holding form and did not feel I had slowed much. My PR seemed to have flown the coop, but then there was the caution truck and a man was standing there calling out the times..."35:58!" What??!!! How could that be it took me 10:41 to run a mile. I yelled to him, "is this 4?" "Yeah," he said. Then he added "well a little bit farther than 4." What does a little passed 4 mean 4.1, 4.25, almost 4.5? How much farther do I have to run. UUUUGGGHHH!!!

I kept on running and grabbed a water at the next aide station not knowing where the hell the end was. I made the turn to attack the hill where I had seen the Walrus coming out. Man was it steep!! I began wheezing and I debated if I should slow or continue on this pace. I decided to continue on. Boy did it get bad. I sound like I was in an oxygen depraved room. I crested the hill and saw the Walrus running back for his cool down. He yelled at me to get moving and finish strong. I was already gasping, no chance to regain my breathing without stopping so I picked it up and tried to run the guy in the 10 miler shirt down one last time, but without success. He beat me by about 8 seconds. Mile 5 was a 7:51 NOT, it had to be short.

Turns out the course as per a Garmin was 5.3 and my unofficail time was 43:51. That was good enough for 2nd place in my AG, even though there were only 3 of us and TD had won 3rd OA. Not a bad way to start my Sunday morning. Now I just needed breakfast, a shower and a power nap in that order.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Exercise Induced Asthma you say???!!!

I finally caved after weeks of putting it off. I called an allergist/immunologist this morning. I have been wheezing and rasping so many times while running this summer that the straw that broke the camel's back had finally been laid. It happened in Lake Erie at the Tri this past weekend and then again the other night while swimming with the Walrus. I could hardly breathe. I sounded like I was running out of oxygen. So, it seems I may have a case of Exercise Induced Asthma. I am not happy about going to the doctor yet again this year. It is just going to be a pain and I know that my insurance will only cover so much. I have to take a Pulmonary Function Test first to measure my forced vital capacity. I have done this before and only the middle of my exhalation seemed low. When I am done with that I will have to go down to another office for a consult with an allergist for the results of my test. If I pass, or in my case, fail I will have to return to the Pulmonologist for more testing and then maybe a bronchodilator or inhaler. The first (2) appointments are on 8/16 and the third will depend on the results from the other (2) tests. It is always something :( If it makes me better though I will be ecstatic that I finally went and mad because I did not go sooner.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summer Sprint Triathlon - yes another race recap

My 2nd Tri of the year was another sprint distance with a 1/4 mile swim, 14.3 mile bike and a 5k run. The Clay's park Tri a month ago would have been a logged as a disappointment for me except that it was my first sprint and I thought for a large portion of the swim I might drown, so I had to mark it as a wash. This tri though was going to be much more successful. I had bought a wetsuit and begun swimming in open water 2-3 times a week focusing on my form and breathing. I had also upped my cycling to 3-5 hours a week. My running remained around 30 miles a week which included races, tempo runs and a bit of speedwork. I was nervous as always but was determined to improve on my 1:38 even though my the bike was 1.3 miles longer.

The swim went like this. I felt confident so I decided to stay with the pack and use my new stroke I had so often practiced. The water was fairly warm and calm for Lake Erie until we got out passed the break wall and then all hell broke loose. The chop had some waves that seemed to be rather high. I had never been in Lake Erie before and I had told mself to be prepared for anything. I still managed to keep my stroke and breathe without feeling any panic, but then a hand grabbed my head and pushed me under. I pushed back up to the surface and again was pushed back under by the same hand....WTF. I pushed back up for the 2nd time and for a 3rd time the hand pushed on my head but I was ready. I turned my head and yelled some "get the hell off me" at some girl who looked about ready to drown. She grabbed onto my shoulder but I shrugged her off and pulled forward with my arms. I was pissed, but still okay to swim. The water was clear so I began making my way passed the first break wall trying to stay on a straight line. I began passing girls in the water and trying to avoid being kicked or punched, but no luck, some chick roundhoused me right in the cheek. Geez, was this a tri or the ultimate fighting challenge??!! I swam on for a bit but had to stop and fix my goggles as the chop was so strong it pushed water into my goggles and I have learned with regard to the tri, fix it now and lose a second or two or fix it later and lose a lot more. I made the turn into shore after the second breakwall and made my way to shore. The women had yellow swim caps and the men who were 35+ had red caps and had started 4 minutes ahead of us. I was shocked there were about 4-5 red caps with a few yellows around me. I had swam well :) I swam unitl the water was below my waist and then stood to make a break up the hill and into transition. Time: 9:32. I was very happy.

I wanted to have 4:00 for T1 and T2 today so I figured no more than 2:30 for T1. I popped up my wetsuit and began dressing for the cycle portion. The Walrus was already way ahead of me, but the other guy on our bike rack was right there with me. Today I may get my 1:30 afterall. I took my gel and some gatorade and ran out of transition.

The bike - I had a little trouble clipping in for some reason, so I lost a second or so, but nothing major. I knew my heart rate was up and I needed to get it down. I was in my warm-up gear that I use on my trainer so I started focusing on my breathing and relaxing my upper body. The course was a big loop. We headed west on Rt. 6 for about 5 miles before turning off. It was fairly flat but there was definately a head wind. I could not relax and I got passed by a few girls and guys in the tri on this part. The Duathlon had also started and the top competitors had gained on me. My pedal speed was not very good, about 15mph. My legs were tight in the hips too. Something had to be done. I started focusing on my single leg 5's and siting the riders ahead of me. It worked my body fell into sync. I began catching those I that had clipped me in the beginning of the cycle. about 8 miles in 2 more cyclists in the Du got me, but this time I decided they were not getting away. I pushed forward to about 18mph. I had had enough I was going to work hard the rest of the way in or die trying. I hit the 12 mile marker and continued on hitting 19-20mph here and there. I turned into the park where the transition area was set-up. I jumped off the bike and realized I had not hit my split when I left T1 so total bike time and T1 time was 53:06.62. I saw my time was 1:02:38. I was right on my goal time. I need to transition in 1:30.

I dumped off my bike ripped off my cycling shoes and pulled on my Asics. One more discipline to go. I needed to run a 26 minute 5k to finish in 1:30. I transitioned in 1:29:36. Here is where things went haywire.

I looked around to confirm run exit was at the bike exit. I yelled where do I go and someone pointed me up toward the front of the park. I began jogging to the exit, and then to the road. Someone yelled at me that I was going the wrong way and needed to turn around. Damn IT!!! I did a U-turn and headed back in where I saw TriSaraTops who directed me onto the path. Thank God for her. My legs were heavy, but I figured they would relax after a couple minutes. I had lost about a minute running around looking for the course but there was nothing I could do. I was almost a quarter mile out when I saw the Walrus coming in. He yelled some encouraging words at me, but all I could think about was how hot I already was and how I wished I were him on the way in instead of the way out. The course was was almost completely in the sun and there were lots of turns. I was a bit disoriented and new I was dehydrated. I found some shade and ran down the sidewalk instead of the road. I needed some friggin' water. I was overheating BIG TIME! I went down a hill and made a turn and then another turn and there it was, the turnaround and the aid station. I took a gatorade to drink and a water to dump on my head. I was out in about 16 minutes. Whoa, again WTF??!! I wasn't running that slow, but what choice did I have but to keep going. On the way back up the hill I saw the Journey Woman coming down and yelled at her to keep going. It was only about 3 minutes to the turnaround. Ahhh, this course was long, I was exhausted, I still had about a mile to go. He was topless and tired, but he was running back. It was my hope and determination coming back to me. It was the Walrus. He jumped in along side me and started encouraging me to keep going. He told me about the race and how he did. It was of course, Great. He pushed me forward and I told him I just wanted to finish and I was exhausted. He said I had busted my ass and worked hard for and hour and a half and I might as well finish strong and give it everything I have. I sensed a girl coming up behind me with a quarter mile to go. I held my pace though for about another minute and then picked it up until I hit the finsih. run time was 32:45. Very disappointing. The course felt long and with the misdirection in the beginning I had buried myself on the run.

My total time was 1: 36:55. I was 6:55 off my goal time and I lost it on the run. I was still about 2 minutes faster than Clay's Park with an extra mile on the bike course and a longer run course. I had made strides forward, but I still needed many more . Next up Painesville 5-miler!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

YMCA Canton 5-Miler

The alarm went off as promised at 5:00am on the 4th of July, but I had already been awake for about an hour. The Walrus and I both got ready for the hour drive down to Canton, grabbed some breakfast and were out the door by 6:00am for the 5-miler at 8:30am.

Now my legs had been very slow in the last 2-weeks and after my poor poor display of what I call running at the Most Excellent 10K on 6/24 I decided I would just go out and run an easy 5-miler today and enjoy the spectators and the scenery. I did not want my hip flexors to tighten on me and spend 45 minutes suffering, nor did I want my GI system knotting up on me as it had been doing lately.

I did a short warm-up with DaisyDuc and MT. We chatted about past runs in the last 2 weeks and wished each other luck. The race was chipped but only at the end so we got really close to the starting line as not to lose time trying to get to the start. The canon, yes the canon went off and scared the sh*t out of me. I hit my watch and took off. I got passed by quite a few people the first 2 minutes, but I did not care I was feeling great. I felt relaxed and my form was decent today. I hit the first mile and thought I might be going a bit fast, but I still felt great so I continued on. I got to the second mile still feeling good. There were some hills on this course as I was learning, but they were not very big. However, there were many turns. I started passing people as I started out on my 3rd mile even though I knew I was running slower than the first mile. Still felt okay. I had decided to take in water at every available stop and see if that would help. It did my stomach did not really start until about mile 3 and it was very manageable. I hit the mile 4 and was very pleased that I was not in distress and really enjoying my run. I kept trying to remember the name of the last street, because I knew there was a little uphill and then a dead out sprint to the finish (total distance about 300 meters). I finally saw the truck at the top of the hill and cut my stride length and pushed up the hill. I had told the Walrus I was going to enjoy the race today and I figured he would not come back for me as he usually did, but at the top of the hill...there he was. He looked spent, but he fell in beside me and pushed me forward to the finish. I picked up the pace and easily began passing people, so I picked it up even more and yet again passed more people. The finish line seemed farther than I thought, but I did not want to give up until I had crossed that mat, so I closed my eyes and continued on. Finally, I crossed that finish line : 42:37 (4 seconds off my PR!!) I was very happy with my time even though I wasn't nearly fast enough to win an AG award.

The post race food was Subway and bananas. The awards were very quick. MT won her AG and DaisyDuc who courageously rode her motorcycle to the race took 2nd in her AG. The Walrus who went out at a blistering pace for about 2 miles payed for it for the next 3, but pushed aside the pain and pulled off a 30:15 and 4th place out of 52 in his AG. We said good-bye to our friends and jumped into the car excited to go home shower and drink a few cold ones while celebrating the 4th with the family for the day.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Willoughby Hills Duathlon

The race was at 8:30am on Sunday, but it started for me at about 9:00pm Saturday night.

After finishing up the Ohio City 5k and grabbing my new PR and a cold beer I hurried to LongHorn to grab some food and get home to jump in another cold bath in hopes it would help my recovery for Sunday's race. I easily fell asleep and woke up way too early.

I arrived very early as the sponsors of the race were still setting up the registration and transition areas and only 2-3 other participants were there. As a result I got a sweet parking spot. The Walrus showed up shortly thereafter and so did the headmaster. We checked our gear and then Lisa and I went for a 15 minute warm-up as he was doing the 5K.

I saw another coach from my other job had showed up along with some of our clients. We talked for a few minutes at the starting line and wished each other luck.

Now most people had opted for the Biathlon (5k run, 13.4m bike), about 20 were doing the 5k run only and 52 did the Duathlon (5k run 13.4m bike, 5k), but you did not know who was in what because we all started together.

The first 5k I went out at an easy pace in hopes of having enough for a stong finish. The miles were not marked and somewhere between 1-2 we hit all sun and no shade. Also, I did not wear my headphones and I could hear this guy pounding the ground so hard it could only annoy me! The last mile was down the lake though and it was beautiful, but that is where the first problem happened.

There is a cone with a sign that says "Race" with an arrow pointing into a little trail in the woods. I had run this loop to warm-up so I knew to turn, but about 3-4 people ran by. I have learned the value of sportsmanship and I love winning, but only if it is fair, so I yelled "Wait, turn around, you are going the wrong way!!!" They looked back and realized I was talking to them. The ran back and yelled thank you's to me. I finished the last quarter mile and hit transition in 26:58. Not too bad for the first 5K, but I am feeling a little bit more tired than I had hoped.

The Walrus had left me a power gel with my bike. Gotta love him. I did not go quite as slow as the Clay's Park Tri. I hit the road within 2 minutes or so and was on my way. I had previously biked the course so I knew this section was where all the speed would be. I moved my hands to the drop bars and settled in for 2 hard laps. I could see people ahead of me and knew today I was going to use my cycling to catch as many as I could. I attacked the 2 hills at the end of the loop and as I was coming to the start of the 2nd loop I got cramps in both my cavs. Uuuhh Ohhh!! What am I going to do?? I have another loop and a 5K run yet!!! I wasn't going to quit and the cramps were manageable so I changed my pedaling a bit to try and stretch the muscles as best I could and continued on. I went around for my second loop still chasing other riders. I got about 8 people and was coming back when I saw the Walrus running. I of course started yelling at him to run. He looked back and he was not happy. His face was contorted and he was running with everything he had. I passed by and went into transition again. Bike time 45:27. I was very happy with that.

Lisa was in transition telling me good job and keep going. I told him I had cramps and I my legs were shaking and twitching. I was spent my legs were exhausted. I went out for my 2nd 5k telling myself I would make it. I was running very very slowly and not in my normal economy. The cramps were still manageable as I got to the first turn. It looked like I was going to make it. I saw 1 girl quit and another guy hobbled over trying to stretch. I told him not to give up. He smiled and said he would not. I staggered down in the unshaded 2nd mile baking like a potato. As I came out to the last mile that guy with the cramps caught me and so did another girl. She passed me!!! In the past I always ran my own race, but I knew as tired as I was I could run faster. I decided right then and there I was going to stay with her, so I ran right behind her to the trail that leads out to the park and more importantly to the finish. We both picked it up a little for the last quarter mile, but then instead of making the turn to the finish she ran straight to transition. Once again, my sportsmanship reared its head and I yelled no that's not the way turn right to the finish and run come on run. She yelled thank you and made the turn in front of me. I couldn't win unfairly. I was hurting, but somewhere in my heart I told myself to run harder and get her and I DID!!! I ran her down and won by 3 seconds. 5k number to 30:11. Not good, but I did my first Duathlon. Time was 1:45:36 and I was 5/6 women and 48/52 overall. This means there is nowhere to go but up!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Back in the Saddle

As things have been very hectic I have not been as diligent with regards to this blog. I am currently missing blogs for ...

a) Willoughby Hills Du
b) Adam's Birthday Surprise Party
c) The Double Drop Falls
d) Tequila - No Te kill ya Night
e) Race Report for the not so Most Excellent Run 10K

Check that, they are not missing. They just don't exist yet. Ahhhh and with July (the month of 5 milers and the brink of marathon training about to begin I am in for hectic x 2!!!

I had one week of craziness with (4) races and (4) PR's followed by a week of easy easy training in which my butt barely got out of bed, followed by a crappy race and then 3 days of partying with only 2 days of cycling, although it was quality cycling and now I have turned over what appears to be a new leave.

I cycled in the afternoon for about 1:10:09. I did about 40 minutes at a decent pace and 30 for warm-up and cool-down. Around 9:00p.m. I hit a short swim until it was too dark to swim anymore and then transitioned into a short run around the shores until natured called. I made a decision to just run a loop to my house stop off in the bathroom for about 2 minutes, yes I timed it and then run for about 13 more minutes back to my truck.

Took my 3rd shower that day and felt happy about getting back on the horse. We do have a 5 miler in Canton on the 4th of July, but I am concerned about the Lorain Tri we are doing on the 8th. Clay's Park was not a good swim and I have refused to allow myself to bonk before I hit T1. Dr. J. did her Ironman, I can surely do a sprint....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ohio City Run Walk Crawl 5K

There is no way I am going to better my unofficial time of 25:10 from Wednesday. The heat was in full swing and my legs were not. I was feeling sluggish all day and even an ice bath did not seem to do any good.
I left early once again to get downtown by 5:30 as I knew parking would be a bit tricky. I remembered a lot across from Great Lakes and with luck there was a spot for me and parking was $5, much better than $10. They were still setting up the registration tables and only a few runners were here besides me so I took the time to walk to the square snap a few photos and just enjoy the scenery.
After, packet pick-up I headed off the find a bathroom. Just as I found one the phone rang. It was the Walrus. He was a bit lost. He had taken 2W instead of 90W so I did my best to direct him in and lead him to the oh so close parking lot. No worries.
We grabbed a map of the course which seemed to have a lot of turns and decided to run it as our warm-up. It was only 6:00pm we had an hour. The course was really really flat with one tiny incline toward the end of mile 1. There was not a ton of shade, but some and we found mile marker 1, 2 and the H2o stop with out difficulty.

Here is my question...When coming off a hard turn why is the H2o station always right after on the far side of the street???? I had previously missed H2O stops in races simply for that reason and was not going to waste time bee-lining back, but today I was ready. As we came down the last mile, which was pretty much a straight shot the Walrus indicated all the things I was thinking 1) This was not a PR course 2) Here is where the pain sets in 3) I better be running my ass off from here on out or he wouldn't talk to me for a month and a week 4) How are my legs going to be after running a PR just 3 days before???

We took some pics with other running buddies when we got back, discussed the route with them and stretched before lining up on the cobblestone. I watched the people at Great Lakes Brewery sitting in the shade drinking their beer and relaxing and started to wish I was one of them and crap I am not ready to run hard in ..... and then the race started....
I figured I had nothing to lose by pushing the pace the first mile so I went out hard. I did not have to wait long for the pain and heavy breathing to start. I tried to stay calm and not panic. This is what happens when you go out hard. Yeah, but will I have enough left to finish? Mile 1 - 7:39. I was elated. It was flat and it was faster than Wednesday.
The second mile was a bit rougher. I kept looking for W58th street while trying to relax, breathe, look up a bit so I did not look like a troll as the Walrus says and catch anybody in front of me. Finally, it came and I made the turn. The next turn is the H2O station and I was ready. I grabbed some and took about 2 sips and poured the rest on me, knowing if I overheated it would be all over. Mile 2 - 8:36, yup I knew I was going to pay for that first mile. One more to go though. It isn't over yet.
As I came down the long straight away I started thinking about what the Walrus said about the pain really starting here and what do ya know, it did. I knew he was on his way back to get me and I thought about slowing to recover a little, before he got to me and pushed me, but something said no, not today so I pushed forward. There he was. I hit the stop on my ipod and began listening to him instead of my tunes. Sometimes I really miss my tunes. My breathing was very labored and I was tiring at an exponential rate. We came to Mile 3 and he yelled at me to go get this girl about 5-10 feet in front of me at the corner. I could see 10-20 other people in front of me to struggling to finish, but he wasn't saying anything about running them down.
Now, I don't know where it came from or how the idea got in my head, but somehow I found it. I screamed at myself to just "GO," and with that I easily took that girl, but it wasn't enough, not today. I passed them ALL. I heard the Walrus behind me telling me to keep going and I did. I have not felt that fire in my heart or lungs for that matter in a long time. I was no longer breathing as I crossed the finsih. I was hyperventilating. I check my watch 25:01. Sweet, another PR to replace the Wednesday PR, but sh*t I missed a sub 25 by 2 seconds!!!! Blah!

The Walrus came running over and gave me a big hug and some water. He helped me to sit for a second and catch my breath. He too had gotten another PR, 17:48. Awesome, I was so proud of him. He went for a cool down with some friends and I caught my breath and then went for my own with MT.
At the awards MT managed to get 3rd in our AG even though it was 10 years again and not 5, while the Walrus had managed to pull out a 1st in his AG. A few of my other friends had grabbed some PR's on this course today too and we all decided to stick around a have a beer to celebrate, even though I had less than 12 hours until my first Duathlon.
I made it home before 10:30pm and jumped in for a quick ice bath, hoping it would help for tomorrow. I started packing my gear and although I was trying to focus on the next race tomorrow my thoughts kept going back to my new PR. I was happy I got it, but a 2 seconds, 2 seconds. Then the official results came out on Sunday afternoon....24:58. Oh my God, I did it. I broke 25. I have never been so happy to have my watch run slow. I called the Walrus who was taking a nap after the hellish Duathlon we had just done and woke him. "Guess who broke 25, " I said. Of course he knew, "You did. Awesome job Baby! Now it is time to break that 24." And all I could think, "YES IT IS TIME!"