Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Philadelphia Marathon: Episode VI - (Return of the Jedi - that's me!!)

It has been long enough. It is time to complete the story.

I made the turn at mile 20 hoping to hit the 2:45:00 I had written on my left arm, but I was at 2:46:xx. As I said before, I was somewhat brain dead and I couldn't remember if that was the 3:40:00, 20 mile split or if I had selected a sub 3:40 time. I had planned so strategically for these latter miles, knowing how important it was to be up on the clock, but not too up. I had sat down and really looked at where I had lost my race at Cleveland and here is what I discovered...

1) I was inexperienced as a marathon runner, only completing one and NOT racing it for time (Akron '06)
2) I had run a 1:50:00 first half thinking I could negative split as a "first time racer"
3) I cramped early in the second half losing almost 2 minutes between miles 13.1 and 20
4) I had NO cushion whatsoever going into mile 20.. my race was over and I picked up 7:38 in 6 miles!!!

I am a creature of habit and here is how I changed my plan for Philly..

1) Still an inexperienced marathoner so start slow, run by effort the first 4-5 miles, but get your ass through the half as close to 2 minutes up on the clock, but no more. I banked 1:39.
2) Train with fast finishes on 20 mile training runs. I was 7:30-7:50 for the last three miles on all my long runs.
3) Stay focused between miles 13-19 as one bad mile could cost me the race.
4) Be at mile 20 by no more than 2:46:00 to allow for a little less than 9:00/mile for the last 10k. I was just a few seconds slow (I think it was 2:46:12)

Anyway, back to the story. I made the turn and a huge wave of confidence washed over me. My quads hurt so f*cking bad at this point, but pain was good. It meant I was still able to dump endorphins. I ran the little rollers back through Manyuck. I had stopped looking ahead and looked only at the pavement about 6 feet in front of me thinking "get there" now "get there" six feet at a time. I saw the BF run over to a spectator out of the corner of my eye and grab something from him. It was 2 brownies! He had only taken a few sips of water and gatorade and he was not feeling well. He had later told me he had become dizzy at that point. He ran back over offering me one of them, but I passed. My stomach was no longer food friendly. He gratefully went to wolf down one of them, but he dropped it!! He was devastated and would have eaten off the ground had he not had a second one. Within seconds the second brownie was gone. I looked at my watch mile 21 - 8:12.

I forged on with 2 miles to go and then I could break out the final part of my master plan. I had prepped myself for those last 3 miles for 4 months. Mile 22 had rollers that were so painful I could have cried like a baby, but I held strong at 8:16.

With one more mile to go until I could press my red button I plodded on, but the course pushed it's red button first and after holding on for so many miles... I FALTERED!!. I couldn't remember when I went from focused runner to nonchalant runner as it creeped in on me so stealthily. I had started thinking about how much I wanted to be at the finish in this mile and I was acknowledging all the pains that were taking over my mind and body. That negative voice was getting a little louder each minute. Mile 23 - 8:29. Not good, but it was another mile completed.

Time for the plan. I took my last gel of the race.

I started mile 24 and began thinking about why I put myself through this f*cking hell people call "the marathon" and my GOAL. I wanted this so badly. I had started running 3 years ago because someone had told me I could never finish a marathon. I hate it when people doubt me. It really pisses me off and only fuels the fire inside me. Then I met all these damn fast chicks, who were training together and were still kind enough to invite me to train with them, but I knew I was too slow, so I declined and ran hundreds of miles alone. Although, my fastest 5k in 2006 was in the low 25's I swore I would join my friends in Boston. My BF, thankfully told me I just didn't have what it took. My running wasn't Boston bound. I was defiant. I knew better and so did my mom. She never onced said I couldn't being a runner herself in high school. Both my parents have watched me defy odds all my life, playing on all-star all boys baseball and basketball leagues and winning MVP awards.

The night before we had been at my cousin's for dinner and my mom and aunt were discussing travel and lodging plans for Boston 2009 when I interrupted stating I hadn't even run a qualifying time yet. They were both aghast at me. Both were scowling and my aunt sternly stated "we did not come all this way to see you fail and not qualify for Boston." My mom seconded her statement.

I remebered that statement in this mile. I could do this. Four months of training and 23 miles of hard work today was not to be for nothing. I had not worked this hard to give up in the last 3 miles. Today was the day I proved myself right to the world. I was going to qualify for Boston. Mile 24 - 8:37.

I was running as best I could, but my right hip flexor that had been bugging me since October tightened up and I felt like a robot trudging through waist deep mud! I was going numb. I was shutting down and slowing. I wanted to stop so bad. I quickly moved onto my next thought. Who is this for? My grandfather. He had beaten cancer! He had not given up and neither are you, "you son-of-a-b(tch - RUN!!" I knew my mom had my cell phone and was getting updates every 5k or so and I couldn't bear the thought of her getting a text after all this stating I was off pace. I could see her gripping my phone, standing at the finish and staring at the clock thinking "Come on Pooh! You can do this!" She had come all this way for me and I couldn't let her or my aunt down. They believed in me and I owed it to them. I bit down on my lip. It HURT!! Blood filled my mouth, but I wasn't numb anymore. O-U-C-H!!. Mile 25 - 8:45.

I had one mile to go. I was less than 10 minutes from mile 26. I remember a CTC member stating you can do anything for 10 minutes of your life and I would indeed. I would make it if I held on. My legs were getting worse. I tried to shuffle, but I had a pain behind my right knee that worsen when I did so I stayed up on the balls of my feet and took the jolts of pain to each quad upon contact with the ground. I could see the museum up ahead and I began to pray.

"Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

It took me about 1 minute to recite it and I did it over and over for 8 minutes of my life. I could see mile 26 hanging from a lightpost at the corner of the art museum and the crowd was out of control, flooding the street. I couldn't even see where to turn right to go to the finish. I could only see the runners ahead turning and disappearing into the crowd. Mile 26 - 8:41.

I had read a race report that this course was 26.5 miles by Garmin and I wasn't ready to celebrate yet. I made my way through the crowd running single file as spectators were so close they could literally touch us. I ran through what felt like a tunnel and then I just popped out into this wide open area.

It was the finish and there it was, THE CLOCK. I knew I had 10 minutes on the clock, so if it said sub 3:50 I was gold. IT SAID 3:49:xx. And just like that the emotions I had bottled up over the months washed over me like a tidal wave. I was dehydrated, so when I started screaming it was very hoarse, but the BF heard me.. "I DID IT!!!!! I DID IT!!!!!" I threw my arms up and crossed the finish mat, trying to hold back my tears. .2 - 1:54.

I almost immediately stumbled and fell once I finished, but the BF had grabbed me almost knowing I would be a fall risk :) He was also crying and wanted to give me a hug. We very, very SLOWLY made our wave over to the "C" meet area to find my mom and aunt. I saw them right away. They knew I was behind the clock, but hadn't gotten the last update yet, so they weren't sure what my time was so when they came rushing over they only had one question "did you make it?"

I managed to tell them "I made it" before I broke down crying and fell into a group hug with them in which they too had broken down and were themselves crying. I had proven myself right. I had done it in 3:39:52, although I should say we because without my grandpa, my mom, my aunt and the BF that day I would not be crying tears of joy. I would be M-Fing something the entire way home :)

Mom & AD if you read this...thanks for believing in me and supporting me!! I love you.

It's funny my dad didn't come as he had to watch "the Bails," but he was the first person I called. When I told him I did it, he was very calm and collected congratulating me like it was something he knew I would do all along too.

Below is the one of the Philadelphia marathon videos on their site and the song I sang and played over and over and over and over throughout my training for Philadelphia :)

Philly Video
My Training Song For Philly :) (I have loved this song since '95 when I saw a cameo on Superstars of Larry Bird, who I love, and this was the song they played for him. Anyway, it ends with him dropping the ball in the middle of the court with thousands of people chanting his name!!)

Victory is won!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Philadelphia Marathon: Episode V - (Beth Strikes Back!!)

As I continued back through the start and the masses of people I tried to listen hard for my family yelling my name. It was decidedly, impossible to scan the crowds, there were just too many people. I heard nothing. I mean I heard things like “Go Achilles” and “Whoo Hoo” and ringing cowbells, but not my family. The BF was looking for them too as he had stripped one of his three shirts and wanted to safely drop it off. People had abandoned so much gear throughout the course that a person picking it up could have made a small fortune re-selling it on ebay!! I decided it was time to pop an endurolyte. Mile 14 (.9) was 7:52.

The night before at the expo we had discovered there was some type of construction issue so we were to be diverted here and UP another freakin’ hill!! I could feel my quads tiring and I was getting upset that after my many months of hard training I was again to be thwarted from my goal. Determined not to be stopped today I vocally berated myself “Don’t be a pussy…run motherf#cker!!” The BF looked back just to make sure I wasn’t talking to him, but truthfully he knew better. He had accompanied me on a training runs before and had experienced my "self-help talk." I crested the hill and that’s when my quads really let me know they were tired. The downhill was so steep I had no choice, but to brake a bit as I descended. OUCH! I saw the BF right in front of me doing the same thing. His posture indicated he was no happier than me. I was panicking. My quads were checking out. The endurolyte was not working. The cramps were on the horizon. Here I took my 3rd gel and gingerly made my way through the aid station as the many cups of dumped water and Gatorade had frozen on the blacktop and WOW, it was slick. I had 11 miles to go, checkpoint 3 complete. I had to get to the next one at mile 20. Mile 15 - 8:44.

We hit the parkway which would wind itself in a chicane like manner out to Manyuck, where I had heard there were tons of crazy people to cheer those in need of a second, third or even fourth wind. I also knew the second half of the course was way flatter than the first and I had seen many people’s results showed a negative split in 2007. I dug deep and reasoned if I ran in proper form I wouldn’t need my quads. I only needed my cavs and my hammys. Completely and utterly convinced my legs managed to move forward at a steady pace. Mile 16 – 8:20.

The second half of the course is out and back so it was at this point that we saw the lead marathoners heading in for the finish. I didn’t recognize the leader as he was a little white guy from the Ukraine, but when the BF gave a shout “Go Fred!!” I looked up to see one of the Cleveland local running phenoms heading to a second place victory. The marathon stayed congested as it was a 2 lane out and back and the farther out I got the more of the marathon madness set in with people slowing left and right. I ran as close to the center line as possible focused on a girl in black just in front of me, until she pulled off at the aid station. Darn!! I lost my pacer. Mile 17 – 8:17. I was still running without my quads and the pain was manageable.

The BF was still moving with me at this point. He had not yet dropped and I only saw him sip a little water or Gatorade around mile 10. It was at this point I began to feel more relaxed. I heard music up ahead playing “I like to move it, move it!” I pulled ahead of the BF. I could see the BF’s shadow in front of me and it faltered and seemed to shuffle for a second. I was concerned, but stayed focused thinking here is where he was going to drop, but I was wrong. He re-grouped and pulled up next to me. Mile 18 – 8:16.

We had hit Manyuck with two miles to the turnaround and it was N-U-T-S!! There were people screaming and waving signs everywhere. I saw an aid station up ahead. I was surprised because the last aid station wasn’t even a mile back. I went to reach for a cup and then I heard it “Yingling Beer!” Oh shit. I can’t drink beer now! I retracted my hand, but thought what a "ballsy motherf#cker I would be if I could do it and still pull this shit off." Little rollers popped up everywhere at this point and they were painful. The quads had gone silent on the flats, but I needed them for these and they were not up for the call. I know at this point they had voted me A$$hole of the day for every downhill I made them carry me through. I popped my second and last endurolyte, hoping it would be enough. Mile 19 – 8:32.

It was like some kind of sick torture. I would run up a little hill and the quads would do their job and then on the down hills they felt like they might snap at any second as I punished them more and more. Mile 20 was included another clock you do a 180 degree run around. Time 8:22. I was still holding on as I took my fourth gel. One more checkpoint to go.

I only had a 10k left. I was a tad behind the time written on my arm, but I did the math and I had 54 minutes to get in. More than half brain dead at this point, I knew I had to run somewhere between an 8:30-9:00 minute pace. Then I realized that 9 x 6 = 54, so it had to be 8:30 to less than 9:00 minute pace. Over the months of training I had not only physically prepared myself for the last miles, but mentally too. I was constantly telling myself on many of my runs "it was going to hurt so much worse and but I could do this and push through." I was not going to go down without a fight.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Philadelphia Marathon: Episode IV

It seems I have been at a loss as to where to start. I don't know if it should be with my promise 2 years ago, my grandfather's battle with cancer or the start of the race....

I guess, I will write it like Star Wars and start somewhere in the middle.

Earlier in the year I had run a 30K in Pennsylvania and won my age group, so I found it only fitting my season should end where it had all PA.

It was 6:30am. I was standing in line for the P.O.P. in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps (most know it as the Rocky steps) bouncing up and down to keep warm. There were a hundred P.O.P's but 20,000 competitors. The line was about 30 people deep and moving slower than any other P.O.P line I had ever been in! I had gone to the bathroom 4 times already that morning, but my nerves had put me in line one more freakin' time. I was getting nervous. I was in the 3rd corral of the first wave. I heard many people around me talking about wave 2 start time at 7:11 and hoped against hope they would let me cut as they had asked my wave.."1 for God's sake...I need to go NOW!!", but no luck. I waited and waited. The Rocky theme song started and 1st call for the 1st wave went off. I was not going to make my wave. I debated just skipping the trip, but between the time I had already waited and knowing I would NOT make it through 26.2 without the stop kept me in line. New plan needed...hhmmmmm??? Screw it, I would just hit the P.O.P. and start at the front of the 2nd wave as it seemed it started around 3:50-4:00.

At last...sweet relief!! I stripped my warm-ups and made the semi-mad dash for the start line about 400 meters away. My BF had decided to run 16 miles that morning so he was right there with me brining up the rear. We made it into the corral and started weaving through a lot of freakin' people! It was taking too long. We jumped out of the corral and ran up the sidewalk through the spectators until right before the start and jumped back in, but it was too late. The 2nd wave was already off! I was behind the 5 hour pacer! I stopped to re-tie my shoe 3 times never thinking once about what lay less than 20 feet ahead of me. "C'mon focus Heier..get in the game!" The BF was panicking as swarms of runners were going by wondering if we were going to ever start this thing. No deep breath, no one last thought, I just wiggled my foot to make sure it felt okay, adjusted my sunglasses and punched my start button on my watch as I crossed into my first Philadelphia Marathon.

Mile 1 began heading straight for the heart of the city and all it's awesome architectural buildings. Unfortunately, I was on a mission. I had no intention of taking anything in, but water, gatorade and gels that day. I weaved my way through people, then I weaved my way through more people. Oh boy, this was impossible. I left the road and got up on the sidewalk running behind spectators. It was just too crowded. I couldn't afford to waste energy running all over the place. Mile 1 8:41. It was too slow, but I figured I wouldn't be on pace for a few miles anyway.

I knew my effort was right where I wanted it and hoped I just needed time to settle in as I approached mile 2, 8:19. Right on pace, only 24 to go. I came upon the first aid station, but the first few tables were completely empty!! I nearly crashed into a guy that STOPPED to wait in line for heaven's sake to get a drink. F#ck that..I was not waiting. This was a marathon, not a fast food line!!! I looked over to see my BF was still tagging along to keep an eye on me.

We ran out of sidewalk here and I stayed to the far right as the course, for the most part, runs clockwise the first half. The first 3 miles were nice and flat as I clocked a 7:58.

The crowds were insane and NOT thinning out. It seemed as if it was a slow motion 5k and people were still trying to get position, surging all over the place. I reminded myself to keep my effort even. Even effort resulted in a 9:29 for mile 4. I heard people all over commenting on the slow mile and word was garmins had beeped over a minute ago for 4. Relieved I was still on pace I wondered if 5 would be short.

Somehow however, when I saw mile 5 my watch did not record the split, but I think it was around 6:40ish. Oh hell, I'm not gonna lie. I was so focused I missed mile 5, 6,7 and 8!! The next aid station had a line too. "Oh shit!" What was I supposed to do? I couldn't run this without aid? My BF was still lurking. He is way faster, but he was hanging back. He yelled at me to keep going and stay to the right and he would find me. I skipped my 2nd aid station. A minute later he was at my side with a cup of water in his hand for me (THANK YOU BF)!! I took it and my first gel. I was relieved as the hills would begin at mile 6.75 and I knew the map showed them continuing on until 12.5. I didn't have time to look for the mile markers.

The race is advertised as "flat and fast." It is NOT flat!! We climbed the first significant hill and I saw my family. I knew they would be there and I threw up my arm so they could see me in the madness. My mom gave me a wave and a shout as I passed. I kept reminding myself "every mile counts" and looked at my left hand were I had written my grandfather's name.

***My grandpa had been diagnosed with late stage lymphoma last year and was literally fighting for his life. It had seemed very bleak, but he had persevered and won. My aunt, who was running the half and I knew if he could we could. This race was for him.***

We continued out by the Philadelphia zoo for some more hills. There was another hill with people standing at the top with big green hands on and signs that said "YOU MADE IT TO THE TOP!" I worked the downhill as best I could keeping my feet low to the ground trying not to brake and slap my heels. We made a left and we hit another hill. I was ready though. I continued to climb up the hills feeling no signs of fatigue on the uphills, focusing on keeping my heartrate in check. Again "every mile counts," and check my left hand, move forward...repeat. Miles 9, 10, 11 were done in 8:02, 8:42 (took my second gel), and 8:03. Somewhere my BF had run off to pee on the course (he didn't use the P.O.P at the start like me..heehee!!).

Mile 12 wound us back toward the start and under the bridge, so I heard tons of screaming overhead, but not wanting to get distracted I chose not to look up. The road was really cambered here and the BF was bearing the brunt of it as I was closest to the curb and it was a little flatter. We also came upon this really stinky guy. Let me tell ya P-U!!! I actually surged a little to get around him as the smell was just too much for me. Mile 12 8:16.

The noise was getting louder and the crowds were growing exponentially. I was almost to the half. I wanted to be at 1:48:00 at the half. I was relaxed and felt good. I had broken my race up into 5 mile segments, so I was more focused on getting to 15 than 13.1. I had less than 3 miles to my next gel. We split from the half marathoners as we reached the art museum. They turned left and we were sent straight a few hundred feet to a clock in the middle of the road that you make 180 degree turn around and come back up the other side of the street. Reached the official clock and split my watch. Half time 1:48:21.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Promise Kept

My first year of running was 2006 and in November of that year I made myself a promise...I would qualify for the Boston marathon.

Yesterday at 10:49 a.m. I fufilled that promise to myself when I crossed the finish line in 3:39:52 with tears in my eyes and arms raised up in triumphant victory.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Birthday Shout O-U-T!!!


I can only wonder what the next 25 years will bring....

as there are miles to go before she sleeps :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Autumn Leaves..any guesses how far?

I had put in my biggest week ever, but avoided hills and speedwork with the exception of this race. My body had definitely taken a beating for the week and I even added some cross-training by going to the state cross country meet to run around and scream for my boyfriend's kids (Mentor High School).

By the time I returned home at 8:30pm on Saturday night I was whipped and wondering if I had enough mentally and physically to take on a race Sunday. I turned my clock back one hour hoping that would be enough, but when the alarm went off at 7:00am I really wished I had to turn it back one more.

I left the house around 7:50 to head to the Farmpark, which is about 20 minutes away thinking I would have lots of time to warm-up. I knew the race was through fields and there were some hills, so it would not be a PR. There were also land mines (cow manure) pretty much everywhere!!

I however, managed to get lost, having never driven there before and forgetting the directions at home. I tried to call my boyfriend, but he was out warming up. I was about to give up all hope when I found it!! But I only had 15 minutes to race time. Luckily, my boyfriend had registered me and all I had to do was hit the bathroom and pin on my Bib. I did not again get a warm-up. I felt bad for being so late and I was really cold without a warm-up standing at the start, but I needed to get in the mileage and at a hard pace.

I went out slow as was the plan with or without the warm-up. I figured people would die off and I would just pick it up and try and pass them after mile 3. It would be a smart plan. I was passed by a lot more people than normal and even looked back to make sure I wasn't last, but as soon as we hit the first pasteur I started moving up. My garmin clipped off the first mile, but the first mile marker for the race was .1 farther. No biggie, Garmins can be off a tad.

Mile 2 was half on a road/trail and half through another field. Now my Garmin was off by .15 and I was getting slower. I was at this point, not happy. I had already passed a few people, but most were holding their positions.

The next mile went through a corn row!! I ended up in a pack of 6, which my teammate was leading. It was too narrow to pass so we ran single file. Once, out of the corn I passed 4 of them and realized I really needed to go to the bathroom again! Oh poop!! Mile 3 was by far my slowest and off by .18.

I finally caught my teammate just after 3 and worked my way through a few more grassy hills. I took the uphills and downhills at a lower intensity than normal as I was cautious of aggravating my hip flexor. I was still feeling good and passing people. Garmin beeped for mile 4 and yet again the mile marker was up ahead. The guy called out a time I can't even remember and I managed to muster his mile markers were way long.

The last mile was winding through a barn and mostly on pavement or dirt trail so after the grassy pasteurs it felt so fast! My foot turnover felt like I was flying! I sailed around the corner and BEEP mile 5 39:06, but the finish was yet another .26 miles farther!!! Blah! Disappointed the race was so inaccurate I finsihed up in 41:00.

Splits as per my Garmin
1 - 7:46
2 - 7:40
3 - 8:15
4 - 8:04
5 - 7:20
.26 - 1:53

And the weirdness continues. Lets hope this all stops by the time Philly hits.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bench Bar Halloween 5 mile...errr 5k?

I had been leading a sedentary lifestyle for nearly a week. I was resting my leg in hopes the pain that surrounded my entire right hip would go away or at least subside to a manageable level. I had managed some strengthening/stretching exercises and cycling, but that was about it. Saturday, however was time to get back on the wagon.

I dragged my butt out of bed and headed downtown to the Galleria to run yet another race through the streets of Cleveland. I had glanced at the course map and like so many downtown races included the down and up of W. 3rd street and the always windy Marginal road.

I met up with Bambi and her latest flame at registration, chatted for a bit and then went out for a 10 minute warm-up where I ran into BB from SERC. BB had a windbreaker on and I laughed as I had opted for my tank and shorts only. I was probably going to freeze my tookas!! I did accessorize though with my Nike gloves and new shoes. I had never run in them before and wanted to test them out. They were about .5 ounces heavier than my racing flats, but had the much needed support I would need for a marathon.

The race included a 5k, so all the runners started together. The 5ker's were to turn around at the 1.55 mile marker and the 5 milers were to continue down Marginal to the 2.5 mile turnaround. This meant I would not know who was in what race until the half way point.

I saw BB starting over to my left and the plan was to try and keep her in sight as long as possible. I was about 3 rows back. I was hoping to be as close to 35 min as possible. I knew the start would be fast as it was downhill and the end would be rough, which doesn't really suit me as I am better at starting easy and picking it up, but it is what it is.

I got out to a good start and saw BB had immediately pulled ahead about 10 yards. I noticed how high her stride frequency was and I was in awe. We made the turn to go down the hill and there was a fairly decent sized pack with me and ahead. WOW, fast race. I saw the first mile marker and heard... :21, :22 :23 and I thought 7:20's not really where I wanted to be as it would be even harder coming back! Then I heard my time 6:25!!! Oh for the love of God, what the hell was I doing up at that pace?

We made the turn to run down around the Brown's stadium and out to Marginal. I was feeling fine, but new I would not be at sub-13 when I got to 2. I was hoping for 7:00-7:10. I got 7:33. Hmmm, that was weird. I know my pace had not slowed like that. I knew at that point 1 was short and 2 was long. The 5ker's had also broken off and were on there way back at this point so the race got thin at this point. There was a girl though that just didn't look like a runner (but then again I don't look like a runner...haha) that was hanging right with me and I couldn't believe I hadn't shaken her yet!!

I saw the first woman and began counting women ahead. I was sitting tied for 6/7 overall with BB in 5th, just ahead. Just before the turnaround I saw BB grabbing her side. She had a side stitch from hell, but she was forging on.

The wind was now completely in our faces and flashbacks to the Cleveland marathon were running rampant through my mind. I was in a pack with 2 guys and that same girl at this point. I tucked in behind one of the guys wearing a Towpath marathon shirt and ran right on his ass. I felt shady, but there is no drafting penalties in road racing so screw it. I lost the girl at this point and managed to conserve a little energy. Got to the 3rd mile in 7:37.

I was at this point hoping the race would be over. I ran up the little incline at 9th and Marginal behind the guy until the water station when I had planned to breakaway. I focused on BB just ahead. I was comfortably sitting in 6th and clossing the gap. I pushed on the little downhill knowing the big hill was literally just around the corner. I came upon the first mile marker again, but the 4 mile was farther ahead...ha I knew they were wrong!!! Mile 4 was a blisteringly slow 7:54. At this point I caught BB, who was still fighting the cramp. I yelled at her to tuck in behind me and I would break the wind up the hill for her.

Surprisingly, I trudged up the hill in a fairly decent time and with of all things, good form. My hill running was still paying dividends to my races. I turned onto Lakeside and the wheezing began. Whoops, here we go. I surged from one block to the next with little recoveries through intersections the rest of the way. I knew BB was coming or was already right there and I just couldn't hear her. We made the turn onto the last road and then turned down a cobblestone sidewalk. I could see the clock 36:40 :41, :42. No way was I going 37+ today. BB came up on me right then and yelled "C'mon!" I put it down and took off and so did she. :55, :56, :57..come on get in there ... RUN!!!. :58, :59...TIME!! Last mile 7:28 and total time 36:59. A new PR by 1:19.

I did a 10 minute cooldown, changed shoes and got warm clothes before heading into the Galleria for the awards. They started with the best costumes as it was a Halloween run, took a long break, then the 5k, and then another long break and then finally the 5 mile. But they only did the men's stating for the third time they had would be taking another break before finishing. It was getting near 11:00am. It had been and hour and a half since I had run. I was getting impatient as I had to cook and get ready for a Halloween party.

They finally started calling the winners. I knew I was the 5th woman overall, so I figured I won something. The first woman was 35:25. They made it to my age group and called out the winners starting with 3rd, 2nd and then 1st. My name was NOT called! Had 2nd, 3rd and 4th overall been 30-34? What were the chances? They also stopped calling women's winners after age 49. What had happened to BB? No way she didn't win an award. She was 6th overall and none of those girls were her age. We approached the announcer and looked at the results. First in my age goup was 38:15. WTF!! (I have to put one of these in every race report) They didn't even have BB listed. We told the announcer our discovery and she replied, "Does it really matter? It is for charity." BB and I looked at each other and immediately bee-lined it for the Hermes people. As we walked over to her BB said exactly what I was thinking "F*ck her!!" We had run hard and wanted the correct results posted. Hermes found the error. We were both in the 5k. Man was I having some mishaps at these races lately. Luckily, Hermes is very thorough and competent and fixed our results. I also received an email asking for my address to mail me an award. I responded stating I just wanted my results right (which they are) and I know they had already given my award to another woman, so I appreciated the follow-up, but not to worry about sending me one.

The leg is definitely not right, but I have no choice but to fight through it for the next month. So wish me luck :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Stomp the Grapes 1/2 Marathon

I will start by saying...I PR'd and I felt decent for the entire race with no nagging aches or pains...and from there it was uphill (which to a runner is not good).

I arrived at the race around 8:15am to discover that I would have to park about 1 mile from the vineyards and ride the bus to the start. I asked the lady parked next to me if they had a gear bag drop at the start as it was cold and walking around with a tank and shorts pre-race did not appeal to me at all. Luckily, the answer was a yes. There was already a bus waiting to take runners and spectators, but not wanting to forget anything I opted to double check my pack job and wait for the next bus. I made my way across the parking lot and waited in line for about 10 minutes for the bus to show up. It was a little after 8:30am now and I was getting nervous. Should I have just run the mile to the start? Finally, it pulled back up and about 30 or so of us boarded. The driver however, did not pull out. He decided to wait for a minute, which turned into another minute and another. WTF?!?! It was getting later and later. One guy came runnning to the bus and informed us he had a few friends he was waiting for and the damn bus driver waited. It was 8:52 by now!!! Pull out for God's sake! Three non-runners finally boarded the bus and we pulled out. I was so frickin' pissed. I knew the race wouldn't start without us, but how much time would we actually have when we got there?

The bus arrived and dropped us off at the entrace to the vineyards. We had about a 200 meter walk/run up to packet pick-up and the drop bag area. I asked an official if we would be starting late and we would have time to get ready. He nodded and said "yes." I sprinted up and hit the porta-john and dropped my gear, when this woman told me to "hurry up" as they were going to start. I retorted that maybe they should get there buses to the race on time from now on!!

I began running back up the driveway to where I had seen the group of runners, but they were gone! An official told me to turn left and go up the road a quarter mile to get to the start. This was my warm-up. I saw a crowd of people up ahead and breathed a sigh of relief. I had made it. However, they were walking toward me. I aksed a man where the start was and he replied that it had already started a few minutes ago. What?!! "This is bullshit!" I said and kept running. I arrived at the start only to find one of the officials was about to remove the mat. He stopped and I asked him to confirm that my time would not start until I crossed. I was correct. I hit my Garmin and crossed over the mats. There were no runners in sight. I had no idea how many minutes behind the clock I was. I was furious. I ran about a quarter mile up the road to see to cycles "sweeping" waiting for me on the side of the road. I was angry and wanted to yell "don't worry it wont be long before you can follow someone else!!" I continued to run alone and then at about .75 miles in I caught my first walker. I started counting people as I passed, but when I hit 50 by mile 1 I lost count and had to focus on maneuvering passed runners and conserving as much energy as possible.

I made my way passed more and more people and was starting to settle in, when I unknowingly dropped a glove out of my pocket. Thankfully, a guy I had passed picked it up and ran it over to me as I slowed and turned back to grab it.

I continued on, but there were more mishaps to be had. The first water stop was at 2-3/4 and then there would not be another until mile 6, so it was important to take in some fluid. As I came upont the aid station a gentleman was yellling "water, gatorade." I yelled, "Gatorade!" He pulled one arm back and just as I went to reach for the cup he pulled that back too and threw out his other hand. CRAP! I missed the cup. Arrrgghhh!! Was I going to get a break today?!!!

We moved on down through some neighborhoods before the first relay exchange point at mile 4. I refused to look at my Garmin and when I saw their clock for 4 miles it said 33:48! I knew I was not running that pace, figuring I had about 2-4 minutes on the clock. The next section of road was a bit windy and I was still easily passing people, which was a good sign that I was safely under 8:00/mile pace. I did catch this one guy that I had seen at the Huntsburg Pumpkin Run, whom I believed to be a NERC member that absolutely did not want to get passed. As I passed him, I saw out of the corner of my eye that he dropped his head down and seemed to dig in like a bull and sprint up ahead of me about 10 meters. I thought nothing of it at first, but when I caught and passed him for the second time, he did it again. This occurred two more times and on the third pass he grunted loudly and pushed ahead. I debated telling him that I had 3 minutes on him anyway and he was just blowing himself up before the race was half over, but stayed silent as I did not feel obligated to provide advice to any runner today, but myself. I knew he wasn't going to be able to fend me off any longer and as I passed him on the fourth try I ended this cat and mouse by surging letting him know he should forget trying to catch me and focus on his own race. I never saw him again until he finished when I congratulated him as I was going back out for my cooldown.

I continued to advance my position runner after runner. I saw to my right that runners were already coming back along the towpath and new I was still way behind.

Mile 6 was at the start of the towpath and so was the aid station. I took my first gel and some water, hoping to keep my energy level up. I was just getting my gel down and dripping water from my mouth and chin when I noticed a photographer taking pics. Oh geez, what a Kodak moment that will be!!

The towpath was beautiful I must admit, covered in colorful leaves of fall (there was some horsey dung too, but that wasn't really pretty). It felt great on my feet and legs and I was still passing people, but fewer and not as quickly, so I knew I was A) tiring or B) catching those near my pace. I was of course, hoping for option B. I came upon the second course clock at mile 8 and forced myself not to look at it or my Garmin. I still had no idea what my pace or time was and I didn't want to know now for fear it would be disappointing or I would run too hard too soon.

Just as we hit mile 10 I hit the 3rd aid station and took my 2nd and last gel. I had heard the last 5k of this race was the hardest part of the course and I wanted to be as ready as possible. Mile 11 started with a HILL and ended with a HILL. It was tiered and just kept going up. I could see a few people walking up ahead and there was girl I had run behind on the towpath passing guy after guy going up this hill. I focused on her and began taking the same guys down one at a time. After what seemed like forever (as it turns out forever is 8:16). I finsihed the hill and mile 11.

The wind picked up a tad coming down Carmont before making the turn onto the last street and there were rollers the entire way back. By this time I was pooped. I was wheezing and realized I had left my inhaler in the truck. I wasn't really worried about having an attack as my wheezing was minimal and consistent. I have been able to really put the hammer down the last 3 miles of my races lately, but today the hammer had put me down. All I could do was hold pace and focus on markers up ahead every 200 or so meters, a mailbox, 5 telephone poles an intersection. I forced myself to push on the downhills in hopes it would negate the uphills. I was ecstatic to see mile 12 just past the crest of a hill.

I had less than 10 minutes to run. I could do this. I was hurting and losing focus. I told myself you ran hard for 12 miles, don't give up. Everybody is hurting now! You are not the only one...MOVE!! It is this moment in a race where you must decided to push or hold on. I pushed. All these days of training needed to be worth something. I hit one more freakin' hill before you could turn into the driveway and head for the finish and pushed passed one more guy. I ran with everything I had until I hit the mat.

Total time was 1:44:50: Garmin and Net time was 1:41:12. I had PR'd by over 15 minutes in the half and on a hilly course!!! I quickly threw my finisher's medal in my bag where it is still sitting unopened today, drank some water, took an endurolyte as I was crampy, and headed back out to cooldown and run in with Jules. I found her about 1.6 miles from the finish. I chatted with her and KZ all the way back to the finish. I had hoped to get in 20 miles today, but with less than a mile warm-up and the trashing of a half marathon I only managed 17.

We hungout and pigged out on Subway, bananas and wine before heading home. I was extremely happy with my performance all things considered. I had really hoped to be 1:40:00 or faster, but after hearing from Daisy that it was definitely hilly, I knew it was going to be a little bit harder.

I got home to find out that even though the race was chipped you were still ranked by your total time and not your net time...Sh*t!!!

I was ranked 66th overall, 17th for the woman and 6th in the 30-34 women.
My net time ranks me 55th overall, 12th for the woman and 5th in my age group.

I am really happy with my performance, but all these mishaps and rankings irritated the heck out of me. I am glad I did not run a net time to place in my AG or OA as I would have felt cheated. I know as a runner things happen, so I am going to chalk this up as a success and assuming I park at the vineyards where I don't have to catch a late-ass bus if I ever run this shouldn't be too shabby of a race.


1 - 7:38 (angry about the start of the race)
2 - 7:35
3 - 7:25
4 - 7:32 (still angry)
5 - 7:25
6 - 7:34 (and still angry)
7 - 7:40 (maybe not so angry anymore)
8 - 7:48
9 - 7:49
10 - 7:57 (definitely not angry)
11 - 8:16 (big hill)
12 - 7:53
13 - 7:47
.1 - :45

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Akron Mary Part II: 10.7 to the Finish

My leg began when I heard Solar Squirrel yelling for me as I started out, but I couldn't see her so I threw my right arm up and waved in acknowledgement. I was furiously focused on the 3:20:00 pacer up ahead.

I had split my watch when Twizzlemiester gave me the bracelet and I came through the first .5 in 3:29 and I knew that was way too fast for me. So I split my watch and tapped the running brakes. I tried to tell myself to run easy and if need be admire the scenery a little as I ran through Sand Run. As I looked around, I did not recognize anything, even though I had run the full marathon only 2 years ago. Mile 17 went by at 7:32. It hadn't felt that fast, but I had been in the shade and it was still early. I hoped I wouldn't pay for this. I decided to tap my running brakes a little more for the next mile.

I could see the 3:20:00 pacer had managed to put some distance between us and I knew I had slowed. Mile 18 7:58. Ohhh!!! I hadn't wanted to slow THAT much. I had 8.2 miles to go and I needed to get it together, not just for me, but for my teammate. Mile 19 7:46. I could tell I was starting to settle in and my hamstring was at bay. The twinge I had felt earlier was non-existent. Somewhere around this time I had crossed the final relay point for the 5-person and left the park. I like nature, but in a race it does me no-good. I like crowds, noise and especially hype. As I have said before, I am an emotional runner and coming into the neighborhoods with the crowds of people cheering and screaming gave me a push to stay on target. I saw salty hanging out at the last relay point waiting for the 4th Speed Bump to arrive and heard her cheer for me as I ran by (thank you). I had my sunglasses on, but was scanning the crowds of people, feeding off their energy and pushing forward. I popped a gel and a little after that, I hit Mile 20 7:43

Now, this is where I faltered, became distracted and lost a little focus. I had just come through an aid station when a cyclist rode up next to me. I thought he would continue on by, but that wasn't the case. I knew he was part of the race because he was wearing an official's vest, but I didn't know why he was with me. He then began talking to me, literally in the middle of my race!!!

Cyclist: "Are you in the women's 2-person relay?"

Me: "Yes" (Why was he bothering me? I had a race to run.)

Cyclist: "I am going to ride next to you, tell you when a turn is coming up and give you the inside line."

Me: "Okay....Why?"

Cyclist: "Because you are the 2-person women's leader."

Me: "Really? I AM!!"

Cyclist: "Well, right now. We can talk or move in silence, whatever you like. I am just here to monitor you."

And that was the last of the conversation. I was dumbfounded. Twizzlemeister had really set me up to look pretty. I was shocked and nervous. I did not want to blow this for us. Mile 21 7:43.

As I ran on I noticed how distracting this guy was to me. Riding next to me, I could see him change gears, or change his cadence which indicated a speed change or lack there of on my part. It was unnerving. I was letting it get to me. On top of everything else, my stomach had started acting up. I wanted to hurl, uugghh!! I hit "Heartrate Hill" and went up it easy trying to keep my stomach from getting any worse. I knew an increase in my heartrate would make the nausea worse. My time for mile 22 reflected the ease 8:04. Sh#t! I was going to have to run harder and take the chance of puking on myself like it or not.

We entered Stan Hywett and looped aroud. I saw JC, running just ahead. She was in the full so I yelled some words of encouragement to her. She waved and smiled, but her form had definitely faltered from when I had seen here in the earlier miles.

As we left Stan Hywett, a woman wearing 2-person relay bibs passed me and without out even a nod or a good-bye so did my cyclist. He began riding by her and all I could think of was..."you had the lead handed to you and now you blew it! Idiot!!" I was not going to give it up without a fight. She wasn't running that much faster than me and I was going to do my damndest to stay with her. Maybe, she was running too hard and would falter at the end and I too would be hurting, but just maybe I could get her. I picked up my speed and went after her. Today was not going to be easy, but I wasn't going to hand over the lead. Mile 23 7:38.

That had hurt. My stomach had gotten 10 times worse at that point. I had resorted to taking in only water at that point, no more gels or sport drink. I had also grabbed an extra cup at each aid station to pour on my head. The humidity was taking its toll on my body. I had to stay cool.

But then, the cyclist dropped back!! What!?!?! He explained she was in the mixed relay. Oh God! I had hurt myself for nothing. Well, not nothing, but I took that as a warning that there were other women behind me and if I slowed they would get me. I caught JC at this point and as I ran by told her to keep going and hold on. Mile 24 was 7:57.

I made the turn onto market street and new I was in the home stretch. People were screaming and cheering yelling "go girl" and "get 'em girl" and "you look great." I was 2.2 from the finish. I was overdue. It was time to go. I picked it up. I began thinking about how this marathon had hurt me 2 years ago and I picked it up even more. I was not to be stopped this time. Mile 25 7:12.

I was excited. The anticipation that the finish was less than 10 minutes away was all I could think about now. I made the turn down Main Street and remembered someone saying how you don't realize how far down you have to run to get to the stadium. I didn't care. We had done it. I knew no one would out run me to the finsih from here on in. I could see the crowd ahead blocking main street. My cyclist turned to say it was a pleasure running with me this was where he got off as they would not allow him to ride into the stadium with me. He asked for my name and our team name. I smiled and said, "it's Elizabeth" and our team name is "We Got the Runs!!" He said he would look for us in the paper tomorrow. I thanked him and with that I ran the last block alone. I was looking for Twizzlemeister so we could finish together at this point and then I saw her. She was walking with my other roommate and she was in a sweatshirt and pants!! I slowed and yelled at her "let's go!!" She brushed me off and said "nah" and to keep running and finish it. I must admit I was a tad disappointed. I picked it back up and ran down the little hill before turning into the stadium.

It was different than 2 years ago. Back then we had run down the side by right field, but as I entered the stadium this time there was the FINISH banner straight ahead down center field (this was way cooler). I ran in and immediately heard party boy yell "Yeah, Beth!!!" over the thousands of other cheering spectators. I smiled and saw the clock was at 3:21:xx. We had done it! We had won!! I started screaming "YAY!!!" and pumping my arm in the air all the way down. I even slowed a bit to take in the moment of what a great experience it had been to do this with my roommate. It was an amazing day. We had came, saw and conquered in 3:21:02 and I couldn't have done it without the Twizzlemeister :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Akron Marathon Part I: The first 15.5

The Twizzlemeister as you see to your left was my partner for the 2-person (women's) Akron Marathon this year.
We had jokingly discussed being partners early in the summer should she be recovered from her first 100 miler. Little did I know she would be up and running, as she put it " a few miles" (~15 miles) by the end of the week after the Burning River 100. Working hard to regain her speed she began hitting the track once a week for a few 400's and 800's. Before I knew it she was out clipping off 3:00 for an 800 meter.

We had decided she would do the longer leg, which for some reason I had thought was the second leg through the hills. That was of course fine by me, but alas I was wrong. It was the first leg. I asked if she wanted to switch but got shut down instantly. I begged her to meet me on Main Street then at mile 26, so we could run into the stadium together. She hesitantly agreed. Now we just needed a cool name.

Some suggestions were...
Witness the Quickness, Run like You Stole Something, Miss Steaks (since we both work at steakhouses), but nothing seemed right when one night our other roommate had been teasing us about our #2 problems and voila. Twizzlemeister suggests "We Got the Runs." Completely, appalled and surely cursed I signed us up.

Now, I had looked up the course record for a few years back and it seemed to be 3:26:00, which seemed fairly easy. We decided we would go for it and see if we could put up a better time. We figured with the hills and what not we would shoot for 7:45-7:50. Knowing I had the shorter leg I felt a little pressure, of my own doing of course, to run my ass off. Twizzlemeister, of course modestly told me she would do her best, but not to be mad if she didn't come through on pace. I was worried, usually when she says such things she is underestimating her talents and blows through the course faster than expected. I told her to do her best and have fun and I would lover her crazy ass either way.

Friday my roommates, a friend and myself hit the expo and picked up all our gear for Saturday. That's when the nerves set in for me. I could feel the anticipation and excitement building. I felt ready to rip it up until I saw the humidity was supposed to be 90%!! Oh sh$t!! Thank goodness for party boy. He texted me to chill out and I would be fine and when it got tough to remember "MOM THE MEATLOAF.....F*CK!!!" - Wedding Crashers. I laughed and it worked. We made it through the expo in about an hour and as we left I asked Twizzlemeister if she picked up a snap bracelet. Nope, we get them at the start tomorrow. Onto dinner and bed early, not even a little debate watching...nada for me.

Race day hit and the 3 of us piled into the car and made it at about 6:20am. My other roommate was doing the half so they bailed on me to run a little warm-up and meet me at the start. I wandered around saying hi to friends and wishing them luck. I felt awkward. I was racing, but not yet. My body knew it was race day, but not my race time. I found Twizzlemeister in line for none other than ... the port-0-johns. "We Got the Runs" was in full effect!! I asked her if she had picked up the snap bracelet and of course she had not. I jokingly, told her WTF, she had one job that morning before the race. She busted up laughing at me stating she had to stay in line to use the bathroom. I ran over to the tent and wrangled one up for us. Sheesh!!! I swear she does that crap to me on purpose just to get a good laugh :)

When she was done it was nearly 7:00am. The countdown had begun. We walked over to the start, which was jam-frickin'-packed. She wanted to station herself between the 3:20 and 3:30 pacer, so I told her I would see her soon and it was on!! She hurried off and I lost sight of her. The start was awesome. There were bells, rock music blaring and people hollering. I was pumped.

It had begun. I knew her goal would to be to be at the relay point in 2 hours so I had time to hit the bathroom myself and head down one street to see the runner's come through at the 3 mile mark. My mom and JL were also there cheering and snapped some pics of both my roommates. I checked my watch and both were on pace! It was on. I had faith my roommate was gonna rock it!!

Bummed, I couldn't wait for her to come back through campus at mile 10 we headed to the car. I wanted at least 20 minutes to warm-up, 10 minutes to walk to the relay point and additional minutes for a lot of bathroom stops. I could feel the thickness of the air...oh boy.

Party boy called me when we got to the relay point to wish me luck and tell me he would be waiting at the finish, even though he had, yep you guessed it....stayed up all night to party. My mom had offered to watch my racing flats and gear while I warmed up so I headed out for 10 easy minutes. My body felt relaxed and ready to run on the way out, but then on the way back I felt a twinge in my left hammy. I was not pleased. It must have been a heat/humidity cramp because I was peeing like crazy and it was crystal clear. I had eaten oatmeal, a banana, had a little bit of coffee and had been sipping on water for almost 3 hours. It had to be the humidity. I popped an endurolyte just in case then I changed into my racing flats. I could see runners coming through now. They were yelling out numbers, but I was at the very far end of the relay point. I hit the bathroom ONE MORE TIME and told my girlfriend to keep a lookout for 290 (that was us). She started laughing, thinking about how funny it would be if I was on the toilet when Twizzlemeister came through. Hahaha, yeah really funny.

After making my final drop before my leg began I nervously stretched and bounced around. My mom was on the other side of the road looking, camera ready. I kept thinking "C'mon Twizzlemeister, you can do this!" I checked the clock 1:58:00. I had started my clock at the start of the race and figured she had some time on the clock, but didn't know for certain. And then it happened I heard the announcement.... "290!!!" Time to go. I knew in my heart she had run with everything she had and would be coming in fast, but she would be hurting. I left my assigned gate and began sprinting back to her (screw the rules, my gate was way passed the mats). I was on clock and I needed that bracelet. She had it off and out ready for me like a baton. I yelled at her that she was frickin' awesome and with that I turned away from her and was off. I saw 2:00:00 hours on the clock. She was right on the money, but I was wrong.

She had run a 1:59:00 I would later find out. She had not run a 7:45-7:50 pace. She had gone 7:40. YEAH BABY!!! I knew she could do it, but now it was my turn.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Who's Got the Runs??"

Hell yeah, "We Got the Runs!!!!"

Quick and to the point...

We came, we raced....we rocked it!!!

1st Place Women's 2-person relay in 3:21:02!!

Recap will be up soon. I really it will be :)
Thanks to everybody who cheered for us!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Potato Stomp 9 Miler

It ended good, but it really didn't start that way....

Friday night I did not request off from work and of course my boss scheduled me until close, so I knew I would not be getting home from work until midnight or a little after. However, as luck would have it a fellow co-worker offered to close so I could beat feet and get some sleep before the race. Elated, I busted my hump to get all my work done before I was cut from the floor. I had already packed my gear and taken it to work as my parents only live about 15 minutes away from Mantua and I planned to sleep there, but as luluck was not on my side and my freakin' contact popped out at work and I lost it!!! Uugghh, now one way or another I had to go back home that night to get another one. Damn!! I called my parents and told them I might not be coming afterall, but my dad persuaded me that one way or another I would have to make the trip so just to come tonight and not in the morning. I took his suggestion and by 1:00am made it to bed at their house.

I did not sleep peacefully as I never do the night before a race and to make matters worse when I woke up my knee was stiff from where I had fallen on it earlier in the week, my nose was stuffy and my throat was scratchy. WTF! I thought "I mut be coming down with something - GREAT!" I had already paid for the race and I was going to meet up with some friends. I really wanted to use this race to gauge my training and where I was at for the marathon relay. I got dressed and went downstairs to eat breakfast and complain to my mother about all my problems. She put out her cigarette and told me to quit whining and just go run. I left with a full, upset tummy worried today might be a disaster.

I arrived to Crestwood High School around 7:40am. I needed to get in 16 miles that day so the plan was to run a 2 mile warm-up, 9 mile race and 5 mile cooldown. I was one of the first cars there. That was odd the race was at 8:30am or so I thought. I walked in and picked up my packet, which consisted of only a bib as I opted for "no t-shirt." (I have so many shirts I don't even wear and yep, I am a cheap mothertrucker so I saved myself $2). I did stop by to vote for my favorite mile marker, which was 2nd!! Number 1 was completely frickin' cool, but it didn't win (bummer).

By the time I started my warm-up it was 7:50am and there still weren't many cars there. Hmmm, that was odd for an 8:30 start. It was sprinkling a little so I decided to not to warm-up in my racing flats or my jersey. I wanted the dryest gear possible today. I had forgotten my body glide at home and I was hoping to avoid getting a blister on my feet. I jogged almost out to the one mile and back and around the parking lot for 20 minutes, which I knew would be at least 2 miles. It was very blah. My legs felt dead and I was wondering if running 4x800 repeats 2 days prior had been a really bad idea. I then ran into Jules and family and discovered the 1-mile started at 8:30am and the 9 mile started at 9:00am...Duh!!! Now, that made way more sense. By this time the lot was now filling up. I debated whether I should run a few more miles to stay "warmed-up," but decided hanging out with friends was more fun and I had to hit the bathroom a few times that morningtoo.

As the start time neared I changed into my racing flats and jersey. I even switched into clean, completely dry socks. I had my gels and took 2 endurolytes just in case my hammy's decided to pull a crampfest on me today. While, we were standing at the start waiting for the potato chip start line to be laid one of my friends that I had known since high school arrived and whoo hoo!!! It was great to see him. He was with his sister who teaches in Mantua and I got big hugs from both. She just had another baby and he is running his first marathon this weekend (which I am totally going to...GO DANNER!!!) We chatted for a minute, but start time was here so they wished me good luck and moved away.

"Okay, Heier it's now or never. Get your head ready." We, runners took "our marks, got set...and WENT!! I started about 2 rows back and "stomped" my chips as I crossed over to begin my first mile. I hadn't run anything over a 10k race since the marathon and was trying to be conservative. I wanted to go out at a good pace to hold for 5-6 miles and then hammer the sh%t out of the last 3, but it seemed like the runners were ALL pulling ahead of me right off the bat! Oh no, was I going out that slow? The first year I ran this race I just wanted to finish and made it in 1:27:xx, then 2 years ago I finished in 1:18:xx, but this year I was confident I could run sub-1:12:00 (8:00/mile), It seemed however, that I was moving like a turtle in comparison. I was a bit worried. I have come to accept that I am a slow starter, in the way that if I push too hard in the beginning I will blow up, but if I go out and pick it up I am much more successful. I had no choice, I lied to myself and said, "it was okay, let them go." But it wasn't okay. In past years, I always managed to pass people after mile 5 so I was hoping that was the case again and I would not be one of the people getting passed.

I slogged through the first mile with this woman that was a heavy breather and a heavy foot striker. Oh brother, that was annoying. She was kinda running right with me to. This was going to be a long race if she stayed with me. Mile 1 - 7:41. Hmmm, that wasn't so bad. I felt fine and 19 seconds in the bank.

The heavy breathing/footstriking woman had managed to pull away from me, I think she had surged on me. I was fine with that. I thought, I will just get her later. I had felt like she was pacing off me and making this into a 2-person race in the first few miles. I was relieved she was gone. Mile 2 there was still some jockeying for position as those who started off a bit too fast realized they needed to slow and settle into a more doable pace and those who were already doing the correct pace began overtaking them. I was thankfully an overtaker. Mile 2 - 7:41 with 38 seconds in the bank. I was holding steady and felt great. All my early morning ailments were cured. There was of course that little voice in my head that told me to stay right in this little zone as not to push too soon...and 7 to go.

Now, this course definitely has some rolling hills, but nothing devastating like Devil's Hill at Mountaineer, so I can only use the excuse that I hit one here. Mile 3 - 8:04. I am not that inconsistent on my pacing (unless it is a 5k..haha). I did at this point also catch the heavy breathing/footstriking lady and pass her quite easily during this mile too, so there had to be a hill :)

I remember thinking "nearly 40 seconds up and you just washed 50% of it that away in 1 mile jackass!" I swore to reassert myself and settled back in to staying focused and holding good form while keeping my foot turnover going. I often feel as a race goes on I get lacks and increase my stride length and decrease my frequency, which contributes to why my hip flexors tighten up so easily on long runs (Cause I am a wimp and can't hold form...duh!!!) There was a guy running right with me here. He was not a heavy breather or any of that and he was pacing right on. I was stoked I just ran right off him. It was like a mini-running vacation. Mile 4 - 7:41 I had made my time back and was on pace.

My pacer falter though in the next mile and I had to leave him behind. I could only focus on 4 runners ahead of me. I was slowly passing 1 at a time, but the funny thing was when I would pass one I would see a new one up ahead. This was by far the mile with the most hills and when I passed the 4.8 mile water stop I took my gel. The 5th mile ends with a right turn that goes up one more steep (which I think is the steepest of the hills on this course) hill. Mile 5 - 8:05. Geez, Heier what the hell are you doing? It seemed like the effort I was giving was still as intense as the 7:41, so was I tiring already?

I crested the hill and was still fortunate enough to have a few rabbits in front of me. I passed 2 guys and was working on a 3rd, who was not a heavy footstriker, but a strange breather. He had this strange double exhalation noise and when I passed him he proceeded to pick up the pace and pass me right back. Okay, fine go ahead of me. He pulled a few feet ahead and then as if he knew he was not supposed to be running like that he just backed off and I flew by him. It was strange. I turned onto Limeridge Road, which is normally the most dreadful part of the course as it is in the open, there is no shade and with the sun beating down, yep you guessed it...nice and freakin' HOT, but not today. It was overcast and cool. It was just perfect for the long stretch of road that lay ahead. I was ready. It was almost time to really start racing. I caught a girl right at mile 6 and told her great job. She told me thanks, but this was a most boring part for her. I shook my head and said "nah, this is the fast part where you lay it on and take off!" Mile 6 - 7:54, it was time to go.

I didn't realize it at the time, but apparently I had finally flipped the "ON" switch for my body. I felt better than ever at this point and laid it down. I saw my friend PN up ahead and thought, he must have died or been hurting becase I hadn't seen him all race. I focused on catching him. Mile 7 - 7:21. I am not sure where that came from, but there was no going back now. I pushed on and then my damn shoe came untied and I had knotted the mother 3 times!! I stopped to fix the problem about 200 meters into mile 8. I also stopped my watch for some strange reason. It took me all of 7 seconds as that was the difference on my watch vs. my official time. I knew I had to haul ass if I wanted to break 1:10:00. I saw a woman up ahead that I was quickly gaining on and right at the 8 mile marker I passed her. I told her to keep going and she said she didn't want to. She was having a bad race and planned to drop and she should be at least a minute/mile faster. Now, this just pissed me off. WTF was wrong with her. I hate people that give up. I don't think I ever have had a "perfect" race day, but I finished every race I ever started. She wasn't injured she was being a baby!! Running is a gift. It is a privilege. There are people that can't get out of a wheelchair to stand, let alone run and this frickin' woman was bailing cause she was having a bad day. Like I said, I was pissed. Mile 8 - 7:21 (7:28 with the shoe incident). I was all lit up at this point. She told me to go get 'em and even though she wished me well I was still mad about it. I began talking aloud to myself here and there at this point. I told myself I can do anything for less than 8:00. "C'mon Heier, don't be a f*ckin' pussy run. This is not a training run. Today is a race, run hard, c'mon harder." I knew I had run hard for the last 2 miles and thought I was too spent to finish hard. I was going to have some 8:0X for 9 miles. I was gaining on PN and I yelled at him to "GO!" He heard me and gave me a wave. Hold on I told myself keep going, you can catch him. I came up on SG who was coming back for a cooldown and waved to him. He said he was going to run with me, but then changed his mind and said I was running too fast and that wasn't going to happen. I was elated. It was the best compliment of the day. I just kept pumpin' away! I saw Danner up ahead and he was yelling my name and cheering for me. I knew the finsih was getting closer. Whoo hooo!!! I crested the last little hill and there was the crowd, but I was starting to die. I was on count down to blow-up. I ran for what seemed like forever and finally hit the finsih feeling completely spent. Mile 9 - 7:07. Where that had come from I have no idea!! I was pumped I had really hammered the last 3 miles, but at the same time I realized I should have run a lot harder for the race and if I had just run 8 frickin' seconds faster I would have had my last mile as sub-7:00..DOH!!!!

I ended up winning a $25 gift card from Applebee's, a hand towel and a plate. The big winner though was Jules, who took home a GSX-R 50!! No joke, she won herself a mini-motorcycle!! The day had turned out to be not so bad afterall.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So My Cousin is Jockin' ME!!!

My little cousin in Philly has always loved basketball...because I did first.
Then last year he got into running...because I did first.
This year I told him about my triathlon experience and now he is biking...TOTALLY JOCKIN' ME!!!!

But I love him. Here is his latest project.


I am writing to let you know that I've signed up for the MS Society City to Shore fundraiser ride, from Philadelphia to Ocean City, NJ. We'll be riding 100 miles on Sept 27th to Ocean City and 75 miles on Sept 28th back. All donations go to the MS society in support of research, programs, events, and education about the disease. As this is a fundraising event, I am asking for your sponsorship in this endeavor. Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated. Please help me to reach my goal, but more importantly, to help the MS society successfully reach its goal of $4.5 Million. And one more thing, hope for good weather that weekend.

Joshua Croston

Here is his personal page.

Thanks for taking the time to check him out :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lighthouse Triathlon

What!!??!! Two blogs in less than a week...hell yeah!

Again, this was a month ago, so I will probably fail to mention a large amount of details that had I done this sooner I would have included.

First, I really like this triathlon as it is cheap at $25 and the course is FAST. The swim is a 500 meter, parallel out and back within the breakwalls of Fairport Harbor, followed by a possible windy 12.4 mile out and back on the bike and then a looped 5k run.

Since the marathon, it seems I had misplaced my drive to push myself. I had debated whether or not I should go all out for this one as the HIM was only two weeks away or just take it easy. I had done a 35 mile ride the day before in hopes of finding some clarity for race day strategy. I finally concluded that going all out was the best plan. I figured I would be one of the faster women at this triathlon and I was going to hunt every woman down in front of me until there were none left!

I was there early enough to get my choice of rack, which was nice as last year I remember there being so many bikes just laying in the grass as there was no rack space left! I chose a spot on the end, one row back from the bike exit/entrance.

**There is always some thing that seems to annoy me at a race so here is the first. I was thinking I had a sweet spot, but of course this guy shows up with his mechanic's bike stand and sets his bike up at the end of mine so I can't even squeeze in on the left to get to my bike (CHUMP!) I found the guy and made him move over. I have just as much right to a spot as he does and he was in kayak race anyway. They should have racked all those participants together in my opinion.

I warmed up with a mile or so run and then threw on my wetsuit and finished off with a swim. I noticed it takes me about ten minutes of swimming before my core loosens up to let me glide through the water. I only came out of the water to let the kayakers start, but as soon as they called the first men's wave I was back in. The water was nice and smooth. I planned on swimming harder than normal, focusing on my pull and keeping my elbows high and in. I started on the outside, thinking then I wouldn't have to fight through the clusterf*ck that is a tri swim. I wished TZ and JC's friend good luck (see I can't remember her name because it has been nearly a month).

The horn went off and I hit it. I decided I had been swimming fairly straight lately so sighting would be minimized today, however within in the first 150 meters my dumbass was headed toward the center of Lake Erie. I immediately fixed it but I had lost some time, so I started swimming harder and telling myself "C'mon Heier, pull!! Get your lazy ass through this!" I had no idea where I was in my wave. I figured I was in the top half, but I can never tell because the field always pulls away at the start and then I swim people down after about 5 minutes. At this point I was also catching men in the slower waves ahead of me, some where even run/walking through the chest deep water as swimming was no longer there best method of travel through the water. I kind of laughed to myself at this point as I remember my first sprint when I had to run for part of it as I was so tired I thought I might actually drown. I knew my heart rate was up there, but at this point I no longer care anymore in a sprint. If I wanted to go after the a top spot there would be no room for holding back. I swam until my hand smacked the ground and then jumped up and ran my ass up to transition. Swim and run time 10:44, not good I had my work cut out for me.

I dicked around in transition for 1:31, which probably could have been 1:00, but I always worry about not getting the sand off my feet or forgetting something for the bike. Should I ever get my shit together I should practice transitioning.

The bike exits UP a nice steep climb and goes left through a neighborhood for about 2 miles before you hit the open road going east. I had to focus and have the best bike yet this season as there were women ahead of me from my so-so swim and there was an additional wave of 35+ women, 5 minutes behind me that I would have to contend with. If any of them caught me they would beat me on time. This course is flat as a pancake and usually has a tailwind that allows me to push 23-30mph on the way out. I was hoping for only 23-25mph as the faster out you go the harder back you will have to work. I managed to pass quite a few people (mostly men) about 5 women. I was at the 6.2 mile turn-around in less than 18 minutes. I saw about 10 women still ahead of me, but some were in the kayak race and I figured I could get a few more as I was closing the gap. I knew I could keep the splits pretty close, but I was going to have to work my butt off the second half. I was still following the plan of going all out too. I knew I could blow up on the run for pushing too hard on the bike, but I didn't care. All to often, people hold back or give up because they worry they may not make it, but I always make it, to not go hard would only put me farther behind the leaders and today I wanted to be one of those leaders. My back was getting tight from riding on my aeros the entire time, but I knew it was saving me time. I could hear my labored breathing as I caught another girl and then another. 2 DOWN, 8 TO GO!! I came up on these two guys with about 4 miles to go and there was some blatant drafting. I shook my head and blew by them. The guy drafting said something to me and gave me a dirty look. Now, on my motorcycle if that was a guy in a car giving me some shit I probably would have kicked the door, but I was clipped in and didn't want to waste time unclipping, trying to kick him and getting DQ, nor could did I want to waste my breathe saying something back so I kept moving (I am a frickin' badass!! Good thing there are no triathlon cops or I'd be getting a reckless op. from them too!) I passed another girl and then with about 3 miles to go I caught one more girl. I could tell she was getting tired of fighting the wind. I told her to keep pushing as we only had one more mile to go to get out of this wind. She seemed renewed with energy and stayed with me just a few bike lengths back the rest of the way. I hammered it as soon as we hit the neighborhood again and was pushing 22-24mph back in, hit my split at the dismount line and racked my bike. Back in a little over 19 minutes. Damn, I had worked hard and still lost over a minute with that wind.

I was completely driven at this point. I didn't care about anything, but the women between me and that finish line. I pulled on my racing flats, which I should have put Yankz on as I again lost time in T2 to tie those bad boys. I didn't even bother putting on the visor or sunglasses until I was already running for the transition exit. Somehow, my goggles had gotten attached to my visor and I noticed I had them in my hand. Crap! I didn't have time to go put them back with my gear so I just dropped them right on the pavement in transition. I would have to get them after the race. T2 - 1:00

I grabbed some fluid at the aide station and started running up that same steep hill. The girl that had stuck with me on the bike had beaten my 1 minute T2 time and was running ahead of me. Hmmm, she didn't look as good on the run as I did and I closed the gap. I caught her and said she was doing great. She told me this was her worst event and she was dying. I told her everybody dies on this part, but just hold on. I had other plans though. I didn't give a shit how bad it hurt today. I was on a mission. I couldn't believe my legs were holding from the hard bike throught the run. I felt hot and my breathing was labored, but it was controlled. I just kept running by people one at a time. There were 2 or 3 guys that passed me on the run, but I didn't care they were not going to make up 5 minutes on the run, so I had all them. I managed to run 2 more girls down. Yay!! There couldn't be more than 3 or 4 in front of me. I saw one more girl with about a mile to go way ahead. I could catch her, but I would have to maintain this pace and throw in some surges to pull within striking distance. I knew the only way I was going to get here is if I could out sprint her at the finish. There was no way I was going to expel all this energy surging and then be able to hold her off for 3 more minutes. I would only have one shot at this. The other key would be to hope she didn't look back, see me and take off like a bat out of hell to the finish. My plan was working, I was almost there when out of nowhere this other chick comes running by me. Aaarrgghh!! "Don't let her go!" I thought. I had to stay with her. I picked up the pace and wow did it really start hurting. We had less than a half mile to go, but I was hurting badly. We caught the girl I had been working my way up to and no sooner had we pulled even then she took off!! "For the Love of GOD!" I am at a sprint and still minutes away from the finish. My breathing went to hell at that point as I tried to hold on, but the 2 girls, both in the 25-29 AG had gotten into a pissing contest and pulled ahead. I kept pushing, but they kept pulling away. I ran down the hill to the beach and hit the sand. Almost there, just get to the boardwalk and then less than a minute. I caught two guys at this point, but the girls were too far ahead. Finish time PR. Run time was 25:00, but according to many the course was .2-.3 too long for a 5k, but it was equally skewed for everybody.

I was about 4th/5th overall until the 2nd wave of women finished then I got bumped down to 9th (I think), but rumor has it a few women that beat me were drafting. It kind of bums me out, because without the drafting they might not have beaten me :( I won my age group and got a really nice trophy and a hot pink gear bag (what's wrong with blue or green for girl?). Best news of all, I only missed winning the women's overall by 2:10. Heck, if I fix my transition times, swim straight and run a little better, maybe next year I will win the damn thing!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Johnny Cake 5-mile Again

Although I ran this race a month ago, here is the late-late rundown.

The weather was humid, which to any runner is a bummer. I really wasn't stoked or trained to run this race, but since it was our team race and we were "representing" I felt obligated to participate.

I made a quicker bathroom trip than the walrus, which never happens (he said the line was forever - yeah right, he is so uptight, haha). I decided to warm-up in my short sleeve dri-fit shirt instead of a my racing tank top just to see exactly how hot I was going to get. It was only a matter of a few minutes before the super slow jog brought about an overabundance of sweat. My shirt was soaked! It was going to be a rough one. I jogged the course backwards down Mentor Avenue about a half mile and back to wrap it up before changing shirts. I stopped at my truck to take 2 Endurolytes as they seem to have been minimizing the cramps in my hamstrings this seaosn, made a quick decision to tuck my tank under my sports bra as it is loose fitting and annoys the shit out of me when it gets wet and moves around and went to the starting line. Belly hanging out and all, I was ready :)

The entire course is flat with the exception of one hill at the beginning of mile 2. It is also USAT certified and has a cash purse, so quite frequently Kenyans have shown up to participate, along with some former members of TGR. This year there seemed to only be local competition. Hmmm, the non locals are probably gearing up for the Olympics ;)

The start was fairly tight as the course was changed due to construction and we had to run around the fairgrounds on a dirt path. Unfortunately, someone went down and cut her head pretty good at the start. I saw my teammates and a few of the Mentor varsity girls pull ahead of me almost immediately. I wanted to try to stick with them, but going out too fast in this heat would cost me dearly on the backside so I stayed where I was.

I felt a little tight coming through the first mile at 7:30, but had expected myself to go out too fast like usual. I have now just accepted it. I will always run my first mile faster than projected unless I have a pacer or wear my garmin.

I hit the hill and whoa!! I felt like my legs had just stopped. I tried to pump my arms and look ahead. I was just not feeling it, but then I heard this terrible awful labored breathing like an animal that is suffering and should just be shot and put out of its misery. It was a girl and she was H-U-R-T-I-N-G! It was only the start of mile 2. I thought, "how could you run like that and hold on? She definitely needs to slow down." Not to mention her breathing was bugging the heck out of me. She was literally breathing down my neck. She was thankfully, running with two guys that told her it was okay to slow. They realized her breathing was severely labored and eventually the slower jog dropped to a walk. Bang! Just like that the humidity had taken a runner out at the start of mile 2. I made it to the top and made the turn relieved I would have some shade and a nice flat road ahead. I could see my 2 teammates up ahead. They had put a good distance between us. I really wanted to catch up to them, but it seemed impossible and now was not the time for me to start pushing. I was pretty much completely recovered by mile 2, but the hill had cost me. Time 8:08.

The next 2 miles I could only keep my teammates in sight and slowly work my way up. I was consistently passing people who were succumbing to the heat. I thought for a second maybe I had picked up the pace after mile 3, but no my splits showed I was holding, which meant others were fading. I grabbed 2 cups of water, one to drink and one to pour on myself. I had to stay cool or risk overheating. There was a moment in the race at the end of mile 4 when everything seemed to go still and the heat settled in on me. I recognized this feeling. It is one of the first major signs for heat problems for me before I become dizzy and nauseated and then passout. I shook it off and tried to focus. Mile 3 - 7:36 and Mile 4 - 7:40.

Finally, the last mile. This is somewhat brutal as it is straight down Mentor Avenue for what seems like forever, there is no shade and with the construction you can not see the end until you come around the CAT equipment by the bank. I checked for my teammates and to my surprise had closed the gap. I caught the first one. I tried to encourage her to run with me and catch our other teammate, but she was completely red faced and not breathing normally. I asked if she was okay, but I knew she wasn't. She told me to go and try to catch my other teammate. I was worried, but she said she would be okay, so I plodded on. Only a half mile to go and I caught my other teammate. She said I looked great and was getting faster all the time. She is a police officer so I admittedly told her how all the blood doping I was doing truly was the key. She smiled and told me to keep going. I passed her and headed for home.

Now, on top of chasing my teammates, there was this one chick that had beaten me at the Jim Klett 10k, who happened to be at this race too. I had kept her in my sights and until the last 1.5 miles or so I had not made up any ground on her. I was getting closer and closer, but I was running out of road! I wasn't going to make it. I needed another mile. Damn! She finished about 20 seconds ahead of me and to top it off this other chick came flying by me at the very finish. ARGH!! And yep, she was in my age group too. Last mile 7:36 with a half ass kick.

I finished in 38:31 taking 5th in my age group. Of course, 3rd and 4th had to be those other two girls I mentioned (someone has a bad sense of humor). I missed my PR by 13 stupid seconds, but have I mentioned how humid it was? I grabbed some water immediately. The nauseated feeling passed within a few minutes and I knew I would be okay. There were however, quite a few people dry heaving and puking what little they had in their stomachs in the garbage barrels near by. I was satisfied with my performance. Not an "A" race, but I had put forth a consistent effort. I have been all over the place with my times this year and I know I am in triathlon season right now, but man can't I be good at everything?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Never met him, but I miss him

I originally started this blog for my own personal reference regarding mostly racing and training, and kept it hidden (not purposefully), for about a year from other readers. However I know some of you have discovered my blog and check in every once in a while...THANK YOU.

So if you are checking today...

Below is a link to Randy Pausch who I discovered about a year ago. He completely inspired me and motivated me to live my life to "my best" with 1 lecture. Please take the time to click on this link and watch. He died this past Friday at his home in West Virginia and will be soarly missed. I hope this inspires you and you can take away what is most important for your life.....

Thanks again.

"If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself," Pausch said. "The dreams will come to you."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Missing in Action

I am as usual too busy to blog so I will highlight my last 2-1/2 weeks.

And this picture has nothing to do with my update, but it is too funny not to post!

  • 4th of July my dog Bailey turned 6 and he ran his first 5k ever with me. We have run together since he was a pup, but never in an official race. We managed a 3rd in AG and finished in 25:07 with 2 stops to rehydrate. I was so proud of him as we normally train at 9:00/mile and he never gave up (he did poop out with about a 200 meters to go).

  • Same day my little brother is officially kicked out of the military due to the injury to his knee during a live fire drill so he will never be returning to Iraq. I can't explain what a relief it is and how it still brings me to tears to think about it.

  • A terrible awful cannot explain the rauchiness of the smell came about downstairs in our laundry room about 2 weeks ago. Long story short (as I may vomit just to think about it), a nasty, filthy rat had crawled in our dryer duct and died! There was maggots and lint everywhere...eewww...ralph! Thank goodness for my roommate Twizzle who bravely cleaned it up while I stood dry heaving and holding the bag. Needless to say we replaced the duct and the stench is gone.

  • Last Wednesday the walrus and I took Austin, his son to the Maple Leaf track meet to run the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m. We also saw KP and his twins, who just like there daddy are fast. I got some great pictures and Austin managed a 2nd in the 400m at 1:40. He is only 8! I am so proud of him. We stopped at DQ on the way home to get him ice cream, but I had to get in my run, so while the boys ate ice cream I ran home for about 5 miles and got no ice cream...booo!!!

  • The HIM is looming like a dark cloud. The nerves have begun to accumulate. I had a really fun brick last Sunday cycling with Daisy and MN. Started out wet, but got nice and hot just in time to run (of course). Daisy mentioned how quite a few jokes could be told starting with "A brunette, blonde and a red-head go cycling...." There was also some water fighting with rear wheels going on. We managed to stop for a bathroom break and to refuel quick a little over half way through the ride and Daisy and I managed to pack sand in our cycling shoes preventing us from clipping in for a few minutes until we conceded to pull over and bang the sh#t out of them. Picked up TZ for a few miles and rode the windiest stretch of headwind ever out near Fairport.

  • Monday night the Walrus and I decided both our legs were just hammered from the week before so we went down to Wildwood to swim with B-bop (my single roommate ladies). The boys, of course wanted to swim outside the breakwall. I had originally planned on going sans wetsuit, but it was way too choppy. We donned our suits and as soon as we passed the breakwall .... it was insane! Chop coming from all directions. The walrus described it as being in a wash machine. I could see both the boys pulling ahead of me and I felt so uncomfortable I even panicked a little. I thought..."this is how people drown...isn't it?" I immediately silenced the voice in my head and began swimming after them. I was not to be stopped. If they could do it, so could I. B-bop was having a little trouble at first keeping the water out of his goggles so I caught up to him, but that only lasted until he replaced his goggles and began swimming away again. It was rough and the longer I swam the more adapted I became to the random chop,but at the same time just couldn't find a comfortable rythm. I was getting tired and working way too hard to try to close the ever widening gap on the boys. Lucky for me they would stop and wait every 50 or so meters. I felt bad and offered to cut in, but they would have none of it. I had made it this far and if I could keep swimming, they would keep waiting. Onward I went and 15 minutes later with a few stops in between we reached the end (.25 miles). Yes, it was that choppy. I told the guys I would swim back on the inside so as not to slow them up, but when I made it inside the breakwall there was trash and dead fish floating everywhere and I freaked out. I began hyperventilating and splashing around trying to get out of the water as quickly as possible. I was so grossed out I thought I might hurl. There was a guy sitting on the rocks looking at me funny. He probably thought "girl you swam through all that chop outside the wall and now you are drowning?" As I ran out of the water and explained to him how all the debris in the water was freaking me out. He laughed and said we were crazy for swimming outside the walls. He then asked if we were in the Olympics. I smiled said no and re-entered the water on the clean side. I swam easy all the way back through the smoothest water ever (or so it seemed) in 9:00 minutes. We decided to call it a day after that.

  • Same night we hit up the Tavern Company and picked up other roommate, Twizzle and watched her drink (2) 16-oz chocolate milks. Now, that may mean nothing, but the second one she sucked through a cocktail straw in 52 seconds thanks to the "Walrus timing system." I do think however that had the walrus not made mention of her sucking talents and refered to the possiblity of "sucking a golf ball through a garden hose," she would have finished sooner. Her eyes got really big and she made a very strange sound in her throat before all was said and done. I was trying to scold everyone for being so immature at dinner, but we all ended up laughing. Ahh, I love Monday nights with the roommates and the walrus...good times.

  • This past Tuesday after work I hit the track around midnight with the Bails. I managed a 2 mile warm-up and then 6x400 with one lap recoveries, followed by a half mile cool-down before heading home. It was nice and cool. I would have liked to have done a few more as I was feeling good and it was my first speed workout this year, but Bailey who was NOT on a leash of any kind and free to run around and explore took it upon himself to run every darned lap with me. I even put out water before the workout for him, but he is so stubborn. Tongue hanging and heavy breathing (and no I am not referring to myself) I called it a night. I wasn't sure where I needed to run but I figured in the 1:40's would be good. It was dark though and I couldn't check my watch, so I had to run by perceived exertion (P.E.) and what do ya know, I hit everyone except the first (1:51) right in the 1:40's getting a tad faster each time. I am hoping this is a sign I will be running sub-7:30's in stand alone 5k-10k now. I also saw the fallen police officer's shrine on Glenwood. It was right on Corbett's farm property. I stopped my truck for a minute to say a little prayer for the officer's family. I grew up in Twinsburg and to think some dumb motherf#cker shot him just pisses me off to no end. It wouldn't shock me if the shooter was killed before trial and that would be justice!

  • Last night I was supposed to do a long ride, but the kids really wanted to see me so I opted to hit a recovery trail run with a group at North Chagrin as I was on a time crunch. I arrived early to hit a quick warm-up and confirm my legs were available for use. I did not want to embarass myself by lagging behind and making the group wait on me, not to mention the heavy hitter e-speed would be putting in an appearance. I was good to go and met up with a group of 5 and we headed out for about an hour. I managed to stay with the group and chat with e-speed for most of the way. She was "trying" to taper for the Buckeye 50k, but she made mention of how her legs just don't understand what days off are and she finds tapering is just another thing to drive you crazy the week before a race. I have to concur. We hit Squire's Castle around 50 minutes and from that point on I knew one way or another there would be a nasty climb coming. The one I am used to usually causes my heart rate to sky rocket, but we turned off and did a hill that had 4 or 5 tiers which I liked much better. E-speed and SY took off up the hill like rockets. I just pushed forward nice and easy, but the hills were steep and my breathing became labored. I was okay though. It was nothing like Devil's Hill at Mountaineer. I could hear someone coming behind me. It was one of the guys in our group. We reached the final summit pretty much together, behind e-speed and SY. We turned to see AY, SY's wife coming up the last tier too. E-speed and SY felt it proper runner etiquette to go back down and check on the remainder of the group. The 3 of us thought it proper etiquette was to wait at the top :) We regrouped and took the non-scenic route back to the park entrance for exactly one hour of running. It was great. I always hated running in groups because I always struggled. I would run as hard as I could to keep up and the group still had to wait on me. It became so frustrating I trained alone for the entire year last year. I know there were certain people in the group last night that would hand me my arse in a race anyday, but it was nice to run with them even if only for a training run.

  • My career is non-existant. I graduated with honors in my undergrad. I have 3 classes left to complete my master's, again with honors and no one will hire me because I don't have 2-3 years experience and ACSM certification, which is $400+ dollars. I thought about getting a different degree, but I am tired of school. I thought about going back to the company I used to work for that wrongfully laid me off because they want me back, but none of that seems right. So here it is, I am finishing my master's, called a local hospital, explained I had a degree and some work experience in cardiac rehab and voila they gave me a job working for FREE. The plan is to get more experience, get my ACSM certification as you need 600 hours of clinical work and I have about 300 hours and then get a job anywhere. This means next summer I may be leaving my walrus and friends in search of my career. I have hinted at this, but it is time to sh$t or get off the pot.

And here I am now, sitting in the air conditioning finishing this up before starting my workout and hitting the lake and then off to work. Blah!!

PS. - I am also really disappointed, once again tour riders are testing positive for drugs, specifically my boy Ricco. DUMBASSES DRUGS ARE ILLEGAL!!!