Friday, February 22, 2008

And miles to go before I sleep....

With 7 days left in the month of February it looks like I am going to hit my goal for running...100 miles!!

Our local tri club is participating in the USAT national club challenge again this year. Each month we have a benchmark of mileage to hit for each discipline. December was swimming and I had not set a solid goal for myself so I had a very poor showing at only 4.64 miles in the pool. I was to say the least disappointed and had vowed to do better.

January was the bike month. I had set a personal goal of 240 miles on the bike. I knew I would need ~60mpw. I stayed on the ball this time though and hit my goal with 284.3 miles. It was the best cycling I had put on my bike since I bought it back in September 2006.

February, the current month is of course running. My original goal was 120 miles, but after the Dirty Dog my foot had seemed a little tender and I did not want to push too hard and end up with an overuse injury, so I settled on 100. It would mean an average of 25 mpw with one day to spare.

Week 1 (Feb 1-3) long run 9.5, Total 12.9 miles

Week 2 (Feb 4-10) long run 14.5, Total 25.90 miles

Week 3 (Feb 11-17) long run 11.0, Total 25.45 miles

Week 4 (Feb 18-Today) long run TBD, Total 13.95

Total To Date: 78.2 miles down and 8 days to get in 21.8 miles to hit my goal.

Overall I feel pretty great. I can feel the back of my legs feeling a little tighter than usual so definately gonna have to hit the stretching harder.

The latest running revolution came last night, not necessarily for me, but for the Walrus. He had not run with me since the Pigskin Classic where I still ran in the 25's and was just starting treatment for my IDA and had minimal running due to a foot injury. I convinced him the best thing to do for his tired body was to go run 5 miles with me at 10:30 at night. We overdressed and headed out. It was a beautiful night, no wind and the snow was just coming down like crazy. There was some ice on the roads so footing was a little treacherous here and there. We fell in stride and ran at a somewhat moderate pace enjoying each other's company. I truly appreciate the times the Walrus takes out from his training to keep me company during mine. He is the physical form of that person in my head always telling me to hold on and push through. We definately negative split the second half and with about .5 mile to go he took off. I stared at his back and tried to hold on to him for as long as I could finishing strong. He informed me my running was far better than it had been and I was ecstatic to hear him say that. We did a little cool down around the circle and headed inside for some stretching and my long awaited dinner... FINALLY. Another good run in the bank.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


"A New PR"
"A Day of Reckoning"
"Chili Bowl 5k Race Report"

All these titles could have headed this post. I didn't know how to do it justice, so I just settled on the time itself to say it all.

I had gotten a terrible nights sleep before the race just dozing here and there for a bit at the Walrus's house and when the alarm went off I was already awake. The walrus was nice enough to make me coffee and oatmeal (my usual pre-race breakfast ). I fidgeted around with Z watching cartoons and procrastinating, postponing leaving for as long as possible. It was nerves.

I had been taking my iron pills religiously for months now, trained hard and maintained my weight at 130 lbs. Today was the day I would find out if I was forever going to be only an 8:00 minute miler. I began worrying that I wouldn't break the 8:00 minute barrier. I thought I'd probably gotten slower and would end up somewhere between 26:00 and 27:00 minutes today. I was trying to prepare myself for a disappointing race. Realizing I could no longer wait if I did want to race I had to say goodbye. I kissed Z and the Walrus and headed out to my fate.

Traffic was light and packet pick-up was quick. I ran into AS and my now nemesis, CS. He began teasing me about kicking my ass today and having chili waiting for me at the finish, since he would be first. I laughed, but secretly I was really worried he was gonna crush my time. We made a bathroom stop quickly and I headed out for a warm-up.

I ran into Daisy who was also warming up and we jogged around chatting about the not so warm morning. It was 16 degrees. I stretched out a little before the race began and then took my place next to AS and CS for the start. AS said she felt too far up and was going to get passed so she bailed and went a bit farther back. I usually finish in the 50th percentile and I knew there were about 400 or so runners today and we were way closer than 200, so I opted to go back with her. CS was staying put. I told him I'd see him at the finish and went to stand with AS. Man was I STILL all nerves.

My heart was pounding so hard. I couldn't tell if it was from the warm-up or I was just that nervous. I was running without my headphones so I could concentrate on my race. I had even opted for just tights and no pants so as not to restrict me in case of wind. I knew the first turn was to the left but we were positioned in the middle of the pack on the right and I was worried we would get trapped. I was even double checking my shoes to make sure they were double knotted, but not too tightly. Finally, though thank goodness the race started and I had to stop worrying about everything and focus on only the race. AS and I wished each other luck as we crossed the mats for our first 5k of the season.

I was a bit warmer than I would have liked, but it was only 3 miles and I wasn't worried about overheating as we started out. The first part of the race is less than a 1/4 mile and on a decline, so the race started out pretty fast, but you make a sharp left and there ahead of you is THE BRIDGE. We have run quite a few races downtown and know the bridges are about 1 milea and the first 1/2 is always uphill. I was prepared. I had been running hills on the treadmill and riding on my trainer frequently the past two months. I told myself I was back on the treadmill and just had to get through this interval. I stayed relaxed and pushed forward. A few people passed me going up, but I definately passed a lot more than I got passed. I felt strong, but didn't feel any faster than last year. I even thought I might be running too slow my first mile and might come through in the high 8's or low 9's for my first mile. Oh well, I settled in to try my best. I came over the bridge and knew the first mile was just ahead. "7:40!!" I heard a girl call at the split. Holy Shit!!!! I wasn't even hurting and I knew I was about 10 seconds behind the clock, so I was really at 7:30. Last year, I would run a 7:50 mile and blow up. Today I was 20 seconds faster and fine...hhhhmmmmm. This could be dangerous.

I made the turn into Ohio City for the second mile and there was CS just ahead. He had a red bandana on so he was easy to see. I was excited. I might be able to get really close to his time today. I focused on him and kept my body relaxed. He turned another corner, but not before looking back twice!! I couldn't resist a wave. He waved me off and turned back. Now, I was always told to look back is a sign of weakness, so of course I never look back. CS always does it though so I can never tell with him. I made the turn and there he was again, but I was closer. He looked back and laid on a surge. I let him go. Now was not my time to go after him, so I held my pace. He put about 20 additional meters between us before slowing. I began reeling him in again. We came to the second mile at 15:40. Another Holy Shit!! I was sub 8:00/miles for my first 2 miles and still holding it. I did note though I had run an 8:00 minute second mile though (booo). I knew then and there breaking my old PR was definately doable. I was not going to back down today.

The final mile starts with a little straight-away before turning back to recross the bridge. Here is where I caught CS. We ran together to the bridge pushing each other. I was starting to hurt. I knew the bridge was gonna be tough. CS thought the same thing as he said "oh shit, not this damn bridge again.... I hate it." I looked over at him and said "keep your head up, focus on what's ahead, use your arms to pull yourself up the bridge." He gave me a nod and with that I took my own advice. I concentrated on getting to the crest of the bridge. I could feel my legs were getting more and more tired. I was almost there. I looked back, but CS had faded back and I yelled "C'mon" motioning him to catch up. I debated whether I should go back for him, but today was my day. I had been fighting for this moment and training my ass off. A surge of anger for having to struggle to get this far washed over me and I pushed on. I told myself to use the downhill for recovery and keep my foot turn over quick. My anger pushed me past more runners to the final corner.

I hit the last turn and could see the red lights on the clock, but I couldn't read it. Hermes always has a split person at mile 3 and I heard him yell 23:03. DAMN, I wasn't just going to break into the 24's and PR, I could go sub 24:00 if I laid it all out there. Uphill to the finsih, I pumped my arms forcing myself to watch the clock as it got closer and closer to 24:00. "C'mon Bethy, just hold on, hold on," just like I do with all my hard workouts and I hit my watch....23:52 unofficially!!!!!! I had finally done it. I had become a sub 8:00 minute miler. I was grinning from ear to ear and did the Tiger Wood's victory fist as I looked at my time. CS came through less than a minute later. I gave him a hug and asked if he was okay before going back for AS and TZ and a cool down. I felt great. The monkeys were off my back.

I called the Walrus who wasn't quite as excited, because he knew long before this day I would run well. He congratulated me, but added he thought I would have run a 23:45 actually. Uuugggghhh!!! He is such a pain :) Official results finally came up late last night and I was wrong. I didn't run a 23:52. I ran a 23:42. I called the Walrus to tell him I had actually exceeded his expectations and beat his 23:45. He let out a laugh and said he loved me. I laughed to. It was a great day for me:)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I really don't have a lot of time to blog right now since I need to get on the trainer before work, but I have the following issues....

~ dragging ass today, just want to nap
~ it is freezing in here and I just want to crawl under the covers and be warm
~ this snow has really bummed me out and I don't feel inspired at all


~ I did have a really great tempo run on the treadmill yesterday. 2.6 miles in 20 minutes
(~7:40 pace)
~ I also had an unofficial 4-mile PR at 33:03 with a 9:40 warm-up mile in that run
~ I slacked off last week especially on the bike

K, Gotta Pedal, but be back later

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Need A Baindaid

Yesterday, I woke up amazingly enough at 6:43am to head down to lock 29 to meet Daisy and the VR group for a 13-miler. I stumbled around looking for my clothes and packing my gear in all of 20minutes. I was out the door at 7:03 and on my way to getting my coffee.

It was warm out, about 40 degrees with a light sprinkel. I made the trip in about 35 minutes only to find there were no parking spots and I was still 8 minutes late...damn. I knew they were running 2 out-and-backs, so I figured I would just head out on my own toward Bolanz znd pick them up along the way. I of course made a pit stop beforehand and ran into a lady who asked if the towpath was open. I told her I didn't know and had just arrived. I found a gentleman coming up from the path and asked him the same question. He said it was only open from here to Bolanz. Great, that was only 3 miles. Uuugghhh! I didn't want to run back and forth 2-3 times so I ran back to the lady in the bathroom to tell her the bad news. She offered to run down Riverview Rd with me, but I only had my trail shoes on and they would be no good after about 5 miles, so I hopped back in my truck and made the trek home.

I knew MN and Big Sur were running at 10:00 am around home so I quickly emailed them to see if I could join. Lucky for me they said okay. I watched old episodes of 90210 for about an hour before grabbing my old somewhat weather proof running shoes (later I would regret my choice) and heading out.

I found the coffee shop with little difficulty and was happy to see the girls shortly after arriving. I had done a difficult hill workout yestIerday, so when they said they were running 14 with some good hills I was a little worried. We headed off at an EZ pace down Fairmount passing all the Jewish Community buildings, which I always find fascinating and have to look at. After about 2 miles or so the turns started and I only recognized the names of the roads, but admittedly I was lost for most of the run.

Around mile 5 I especially noticed blisters forming on the arches of my feet. I didn't want to complain, but I was concerned about trudgining through another 9 miles. Thankfully, we stopped at the local college for water and it turned out to be a fitness facility. Now, every fitness facility has a first-aid kit right? I looked for an employee and the kit, but no luck. Then we found a very young life guard in JEANS!! She pulled out the kit, but to our dismay NO BANDAIDS!! Ahhhhh!!! There was medical tape though, so I did with what I had and taped my feet. After about a 5-10 minute delay we were again moving again. We chatted about upcoming marathons and races, training plans, jobs you name it. I'd say it was overall one of the best first dates I ever had. Around mile 9 or so MN had an awful pain in her foot and not wanting to hold us back insisted we go without her. Big Sur and I feeling awful about leaving disagreed with her for a minute before knowing we were defeated. We headed on hoping she would successfully complete her run/walk.

The second part of our run took us along a few more hills and down Richmond Rd to Cedar. We were almost home. We looped around Cedar to So Green and stopped to walk and eat a Cliff Block to refuel. I had the Margarita flavor which turned out to be pretty good and not nearly as sticky as a gel is. We passed lots of people out walking also enjoying the nice weather on our way back. We turned down Fairmount, thank goodness because my legs were pretty tired. Two hard workouts back to back had finally taken its toll.

We hit the coffee shop in 2:18.37 (9:47/mile). MN came around the corner and we decided to grab some food and warm up. We chatted for about 40 minutes and warmed up with the most delicious after run cafe mocha ever before heading home. I was beat, but I had had a great run and I had one more thing to do. Take a nice long HOT shower...mmmmm.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Training Buddy Bails

Last night I needed to hide from my life so I packed my bag and headed to my parents house. Without digressing too much as so many bloggers often due I had a very very long and tiring night Tuesday and did not want to deal with any drama on Wednesday. There, now back to the run.

I was going to grab the Bails and head to the track for some 400's, but it began to rain and although the Bails likes to get wet and muddy with the best of dogs my parents, specifically my father thought he might melt (completely BS, just doesn't want me to get any mudd in the house). My mother however, surprisingly encouraged me to cover my dog in mudd and brave the elements. By then it was 7:00pm and I knew one of my friends would probably want to meet and eat at the Lizard, so I opted for an interval/fartlek run around my parents development.

I borrowed some running pants from my mom slipped into my still favorite running shoes and headed out to our starting line. Bails had taken a dump beforehand for once and I was running with poop tonight. We were both feeling good and the first EZ mile was 8:33. Whoa! I told Bails we needed to slow it or we would blow up on these 800's to come. We ran EZ for another 3 minutes and some change and then picked it up for 5:00 min. I felt really good, but I have been fooled by that first interval so I kept checking my breathing and making sure I wan't pushing too hard. DONE. One down three to go. We slowed or pace for recovery for a 4:00 minutes or so and then we hit another hard interval. This is where things went wrong. We were going good for about 2:00 or 3:00 minutes when I noticed the Bails wasn't quite keeping up as well as I had hoped. I hit the split and immediately slowed.

I love my dog so much. He is although a dog, also a deeply loved family member. We spoil him rotten with scooby snacks and new toys. He has been the best running buddy a girl could ask for. He has run many miles with me and never quit or complained. That night though he just didn't have it in him.

I told him it was okay and he kept pace next to me looking around and letting me rub his head affectionately. The plan was for 5 miles, but we were just shy of 3 and I didn't want to take any chances. He started to pick it up a few minutes later and I thought maybe we would be able to hold that pace and have a medium effort tempo run, but nope he slowed again. I was at his mercy.
I started to zone out to my tunes when all of a sudden he bolted forward like lightning. Now, I run with the leash wrapped around my waist and not being ready for it he caught me off guard and twisted me 90 degrees in the air and I just missed falling on my arse. It was such a hard jolt that I had to slow and take a second to regain my composure. I looked at him and he seemed fine. No panic on his face, no squirrels or rabbits in the vacinity. What the hell had happened??? Not knowing what else to do we continued on with our run now at a leisurely pace and that's how it stayed... leisurely. We ended with a cooldown run around the the culdesac before heading in to get cleaned up.
Ahhhh, oh well, I will always go for a run with my Bails even if it means pooping in the middle of the run, trying to rip my spinal cord out of my body or chasing that bunny or squirrel outta the way. These are the moments I will cherish because someday I will run alone.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What the Hell is Up with this Line Spacing

I just had to put this disclaimer in now after suffering through the madness for almost a year now.

I DO put spaces between my paragraphs!!! The damn blog moves it together sometimes. I also have tried double spacing and it squashes those together into one long post too.

So I apologize for the distracting error filled publication that is my blog....

My Hero

This is the man. I love this show. I love this character. My mom got me hooked on the show a few years ago when it first came out and I haven't stopped watching since. I even spent last year taking a pool from my college buddies what kind of doctor he was. Some suggested a neurologist or an immunologist, but after thinking about it I had perked up their curiousity and had to resort to looking it up on-line. Turns out his is a diagnostician with a team that involves and surgeon, neurologist and an immunologist.
Not only do I find his inappropriate and outlandishly witty comments hilarious, but the way this characters mind is set to not only think outside the box, but to just BE outside the box is refreshing. He is so unique in his approach to diagnosis of his patients I can only envy him. Self-sacrifice is not in his vocabulary, yet he works in the medical field where he spends hours helping people. He even has a motorcycle and a crotch-rocket at that.
He does however, have that gloom and doom trait that all heroes carry which keeps him from finding happiness and inevitably leaves him alone with his bike at the end of the day.
I guess what I am getting at is, sometimes I wish I was that intelligent and that tough throughout my life and my day, even at the cost of my own personal relationships. I sometimes think that life would be so much easier if it were just me and my bike.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who Said 300 Miles to Graceland!!!???

The weather has been officially rocking in my book the last (2) days and I haven't done any training. Yep, that's right, the weather breaks and I do nothing.

After a successful monster training month for me in January I have now set bigger goals with (2) less days in this month of February.

Swim ~ at least (2) days a week, focus is on form
Bike ~ 300 miles for the month (did I set that goal, what?)
Run ~ originally it was 113 miles for the month, but my left arch is soar and I am not going back on the DL list so it has been reduced to 100 with super EZ runs when needed.

All that said I took yesterday off and haven't made it off the couch today. I am hoping for an EZ 3-4 miles running and 20 or so biking today. The weather is so nice I have to go outside by default whether I am scheduled to run or not.

This Sunday is my longest run yet at 14 hilly miles. I am doing it with the Achilles people so hopefully I am well rested and ready. I feel stronger than ever and with the DD unofficially being 6.5 I feel even better knowing I was moving at sub-9:00/mile for a trail run. Maybe I am just fooling myself this year, but I truly feel I am going to make great improvements.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dirty Dog 10K

The alarm went off on time at 6:37 am, which of course was way too early for me on Saturday. I rolled outta bed and grabbed my gear and was out the door with my bowl of oatmeal on the way to Dunkin' Donuts by 7:20 a.m. I was a few minutes behind so I text messaged JE I was about 5 minutes back so she wouldn't leave without me. It turned out I wasn't the last one anyway. A few others in our party were also behind.

We got to the race by 8:15 or so and grabbed our bibs and headed back to the car due to the windy conditions. JE and I were ready to race by 8:40 when we both realized nature was calling. We looked for some porta-johns, but no luck. Rumor had it they had been ordered for the race....just not delivered. We hurried to the Burger King up the street and did our business and hurried back just in time.

The start of the race was to run across an icy parking lot and then hit the trails. I jokingly asked BL for a piggy back ride to the trails and he graciously offered. The race director yelled "READY, SET, GO!!!" and I had to resort to using my own 2 legs.

Started off a little fast, but knew it and opted to go without my headphones so I could keep my breathing in check. I felt good and had my sweetass new gortex waterproof shoes on. I lost site of JE and BL right away and I knew AS and TZ were somewhere behind me. I got passed for the first 5 minutes a lot more than I passed, bu they were men and it was a training/fun run.

There are no mile markers posted, only ribbons and arrows to indicate direction so it is imperative that you pay attention. I of course just follow the runner in front of me, who in turn follows the runner in front of him and so forth until you got about 10 people ahead of me. Now, this guy was apparently following the beat of his own drum, not the runner in front, because suddenly someone yelled.... "turn around, we went the wrong way!" Crap! I did a U-turn and started once again following people back. I had no choice the trail wasn't really a trail at that point, just a single track path weaving through the trees. I think I lost about a minute, so not really a big loss and ... it was a fun run. I got back to the trail and saw AS, so I knew we were literally back on track.

Now here is where I think I had the easiest running as it was single track and I got stuck behind people that were slower. I didn't want to go around them because 1) it was too much wasted energy 2) I didn't want to cut the course and cheat 3) I didn't want to take the chance of getting lost 4) it was a ... fun run, so I plodded along thinking my legs felt good, my breathing was in check and my form seemed relaxed. Shortly thereafter we came out onto a dirt path that was much wider and I managed to pass a few people. I remember catching two girls, but one who had her hair down was just not having that. She picked up the pace to match mine and pulled a little bit in front and took the lead for the next 1/2 mile or so. I stayed right with her feeling nice and easy. She finally started to slow and I told her the aid station would be coming up shortly and not to give up. She thanked me, but faded a little. I trudged ahead to the main road that I would be running along and when I say running along I mean NOT ON IT. It specifically states in the rules running on the road is an automatic DQ! This was definately the toughest part of the course as there was no real path and the terrain was bumpy and overgrown with little rolling hills and small water hazards to jump. I was still comfortable, but not quite as comfortable if you know what I mean. I had run it last year and though the conditions were still tough, they were nowhere near the over the ankle loose snow like last year.

I plowed ahead and came upon a young man walking. I reached out and patted him on the back telling him not to give up and to my surprise he began running. He ran right off me through the toughest part of the course. I told him we were coming up on some water and I could sense his relief. He asked if he knew how far along we were and I told him about 1/2 way. We made it through the overgrown mess and made the turn to go downhill to the aid station. I asked the guy at the station if the water was frozen. He said "nope." Sweet, I began to smile when..... uugghh, oh crap, I hit some ice and started to slide into the aid table. Thankfully, I caught myself and didn't crash into the aid station. What a mess that would have been. I grabbed some water with the young man and said "c'mon stay with me." He tossed his cup and followed.

Our next challenge was to run across a big field which turned out to be pretty smooth with the exception of a little slipping here and there and some water hazards. As we hit the woods to re-enter for the return trip we again caught a few people. I was feeling good too. We trudged along and picked up another guy. He was nice and we chatted about upcoming marathons and this course. Both of the guys I was with were newbies and wondering how much farther. I told them I hadn't checked my watch, but there couldn't be more than 2 miles left. We ran down another girl in the meantime, bully for me :) Finally we hit some rolling hills, which were thankfully not too icy. We came made a turn and came into a clearing. I recognized the path we had originally run on and told them we were really close, no more than a half mile. I explained that we would be coming up on the cemetery and it was 200 yards or so to the finish so that would be a good time to run hard if they wanted to kick.

Now, I don't know if I picked it up or my crew faded, but by the time I hit the cemetery I could only hear footsteps behind me. There was no one running with me. I didn't want to look in case it was someone coming hard or that girl had hung in there, so I just pumped my arms and kept my stride frequency up. I saw a guy ahead of me and I focused on him. I didn't run him down, just kept up a good pace and right at the very end I got him. He gave no kick. I would not have tried if he had sprinted.... it was a fun run. I crossed the finish in 56:30. It was a 13:30 improvement over my time from last year. I saw JE and BL eating cookies and hanging out. I told them congrats and headed back out to get AS and TZ. I found AS about 5 minutes later and turned around to run back in with her. I then turned around and bee-lined back out to find TZ, but after running for an additional 30 minutes after my own race I had no such luck and there were no more runners coming in. I was almost a mile from the finish when I turned back thinking something must have happened. I got back to the finish to find everyone packed up, even TZ. She had been forced to DNF with an injury, and I mean forced. She should have probably stopped at least a mile beforehand, but TZ is a hardcore tuffy as I learned.

We loaded up and caravaned to Mary Yoder's amish restaurant for some really, really good food. I ordered a cheeseburger and french fries and yep, I ate it all. As we left I saw a stop sign that said "WHOA", what a hoot. We really were in amish country, haha. I couldn't wait for a hot shower and a power nap, but aaaaahhhhh, once again what fun. Welcome to the 2008 RACING SEASON!!!!!