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!