Monday, March 12, 2012

3 races, 64.2 miles, lots of fun times!

That's a lot of running!

The focus this winter was trail running.  To help celebrate turning the big 4-0 this year, Bethany was going to sign up for the 50k, so naturally I said I'd run it with her.  (Do I have "SUCKER" tattooed on my forehead?!)  Turns out we were not alone--Lynn and Molly said they wanted to run it too so we had more company and the training was quite fun!

The Richmond Road Runners sponsors two trail runs leading up to Holiday Lake, a 10 miler in early December (Bear Creek) and a 35k (Willis River) in January.  Lots of our friends ran the two as well, so we made weekends out of both races.  Last year was the first time I had run Bear Creek, so I knew the course and what to expect.  This year I finished 15 minutes faster, but I think alot of that time is due to the fact that we didn't get lost in the last 2 miles like last year.  Here's a small sampling of our group prerace: me, Lynn, Bryan, Molly, Bethany, Emmie, and Jill.

Christmas came and went, and soon we were gearing up for the Willis River 35k.  This race starts in the same place as the 10 miler, but runs in the opposite direction.  That other direction must be much lower in elevation, as it was beyond MUDDY.  We're talking suck-the-shoes-off-your-feet muddy.  The course is an out and back, and I felt good up to about mile 15.  Then I got really sick of skirting around all the damn mud.  Molly and I ended up coming into the finish line together; we made the 5 hour cut off and had we wanted to keep going, we could've done the 50k.  No thanks!  I needed a shower, chili, and time in front of the fire.  We had 2 crock pots of chili cooking while we ran, and I can't tell you how delicious it tasted post race!!!  Of course I brought cupcakes.
 Dirty legs!
 Glad to be done: Cindy, Jill, Bethany, Lynn, me, and Molly
 Doggies playing!
 Joey and Lulu Snuggling
Bethany and Jake (Sophie is the brown lump in front)

At the finish of the 35k I couldn't imagine running for another 2+ hours.  I was a bit nervous heading into Holiday Lake, mainly because I didn't know what the course would be like.  I heard there wasn't as much mud and more fire roads.  The four of us doing the race all stayed at a nice B&B in Appomatox not far from the race site.  The state park where the race is held has bunk houses where most people stay--yuck.  We were much more comfy in our carriage house, which had a full kitchen, plenty of hot water, and breakfast on Sunday morning.  Bethany and I drove down together, and pulled in to the B&B just before Molly and Lynn.  We found our rooms, dumped our stuff, ate a quick bite and headed to the packet pick up/race meeting.

This 50k is really well attended by top trail running legends.  There was one guy sitting at our table that the race director introduced--he had just the previous year run ACROSS THE COUNTRY.  The kid is just 23 years old and has written a book about his experience.  Such an amazing accomplishment.  I felt totally out of my league.

Packets picked up, it was time to head home and hop in bed.  I think we were all asleep by 9:30--we were hoping to be in bed much earlier, but that race director likes to talk!  Race morning dawned, blessedly warmer than the 19 degrees originally forecast.  We had all packed umpteen different layers, so were well covered for any possibility.  We got to the race start, checked in, peed, and it was time to go!  It was dark!  The race started at 6:30am, so we're all standing around with headlamps on.  Love the low-key attitude at Holiday Lake--there was no professional singing of the national anthem, so everyone just sang on their own.  Can't say it sounded that great, but it was special in it's own way.  "Ready! Set! Go!" marked the start, and we were all off heading up the hill.

By the first aid station at mile 4 it was warm (about 40 degrees), so we all peeled off some layers and kept going.  An hour in, poor Bethany tripped and really whacked her thigh on some hidden rock.  We walked a bit, chatted her up, and tried to put it behind us.  She is one tough cookie!  Her leg was swollen for the entire race, and she had quite a contusion.  There were definitely fewer hills and less mud than Willis River, so we tootled along well for the first loop.
The last 2ish miles before the turn around, the trail hugs the lake and gets very winding and full of trip hazards.  It was here that Lynn took a bad spill, landing on her shoulder.  Like the Tough Mudder she is, she got up, brushed off, maybe cursed a bit, but kept going.  She was in some serious pain, and coming into the half way point, we could see her shoulder wasn't right. (Turns out she had dislocated her shoulder!)

Bethany's husband Bart and Lynn's boyfriend Mike had come out and were there at the turn around.  I refilled my camelback (made the mistake of adding 2 Nuun's to it--too much!), we all refueled, and headed back out. The weather was getting colder, and the wind had picked up significantly. 
 By mile 21 I was hitting my wall.  We were 5 hours in, and I just was running out of steam.  Bethany and Molly were feeling good, so they kept on, and Lynn hung back and kept me company until mile 28.  We made it to this last aid station with 20 mintues to spare before the cut off.  At this point I was almost hoping not to make it, just so I could be done.  The guys manning the tent, however, pushed food at us, and sent us on our merry way.  Ooof.  Now I was on my own (Lynn ran down Bethany and Molly and they all finished in under 7 hours).  Close to where Bethany fell in the morning, Bart and Mike found me.  Bart was a dear and ran/walked with me for the last 5ish miles.  That last aid station 4 miles out was a turning point for me.  Most of the trail became downhill, and I was able to talk myself into a little 4 mile "recovery run" to get to the end.  I was so glad I finished!  I can't believe I propelled myself, on foot, for over 33 miles!
We celebrated with margaritas and mexican food, and then cupcakes before hitting the sack!  The four of us girls were so hungry the next morning, and while our B&B breakfast was yummy, we could've eaten at least 3 times as much food than what they gave us.  Recovery after that race felt slow--I was super tired all week following that, and even swimming wore me out!  Just 3 weeks later was my next race--the Napa Valley Marathon!  (more on that to come!)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Yes, I has been a while!

Every few weeks or so, I come to my blog page and think "I really should update this."  Then I get overwhelmed by the task and put it on the back burner.  You know the back burner WAAAAAAAYYY back there.  The I-really-don't-want-to-think-about-it burner shoved into some obscure corner sharing space with the clothes you'll never fit into again but hate to get rid of, the gifts from the mother in law that you can't really get rid of either (hello, Lladro statue), and sewing projects that will never be finished, all obscured by the haze of "what do I need to accomplish today" demands.

I've had a tough year.  If you've read any of the previous blog posts, you know I was training for IMCdA.  Maybe you even gleaned that my heart wasn't really in it.  You may have realized (or if you are a friend on Facebook know full well) that I am in the midst of a single-parenting stint--hopefully NOT permanent--while the hubby is off gallivanting (and earning a paycheck to keep us fed, clothed, housed, and vacationed) in Europe.  The kids and I did spend 5 weeks over there this summer visiting, doing enviable stuff like going to Greece and the Dalmatian Coast, but since we got back and jumped whole-hog into high school and middle school, I've been floundering.  I am not one to pop a pill to make everything better.  Maybe what I need to do is just blog about it....

IMCdA Race report:

This was my first time training, and then racing, without the support of my husband.  Damn, that sucks.  Lots of juggling kid time, making them fend for themselves while I rode my bike for umpteen gazillion hours.  I think I did a fair job of getting in the majority of the workouts, and doing ok on them, but by race day I was over it.  I think it was the day we arrived in Coeur d'Alene that, while lounging on our great deck over looking the lake and drinking a beer, I told my fellow racers that I was seriously contemplating just parking my ass exactly there, doing exactly that, on race day.  A dear friend overheard and got quite upset with me--basically told me off for having a bad attitude.  And you know what?  He was right.  Ironman is a long day, and heading into it with your mind not in the game is just plain stupid.  Well, fast forward a few days and race day dawned with me looking forward to just having it over with.  The swim went surprisingly ok--I swam a 1:25:46 (IMLP was 1:24:44, IMFL was 1:25:31)--and right within range of my other IMs.  It took about 10 miles for my hands and feet to warm up on the bike, but then I started to enjoy the first loop.  I didn't like those rollers, especially since I still have some real issues decending.  The second loop of the bike plain ol' sucked.  I did find my friend DG out there struggling, so we rode together for a good part of that second loop.  I got through the bike in a not so great 7:39:30 ( but still close to my other times IMLP 7:38, IMFL 7:13) and headed out for the run.  Bleh.  Let's not talk about that.  By this point my mind was saying I wasn't having any fun, and isn't it so nice to be able to enjoy these beautiful views by walking.  I finished with my slowest IM time of 16:14:10.  The finish chute was fun, as DG and I rocked out to AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long."  It was time for the summer to begin.

NW Wine Tour:

My daughter was off at camp and my son had flown out to California with my mother in law the week before IMCdA so I was childless.  I was able to join my good friends the Mathaletes and Lynn for a little wine tour from Walla Walla to Portland.  The traveling was very relaxed--Missy was in charge of the schedule, Greg the driving, so all Lynn and I had to to was sit back and enjoy (and drink!)  It was my first time out that way and I was blown away by those endless expanses of sky and wheat.  We stayed in some really nice places, and had some great wines.  I was bummed to have to return to the real world, but I was anxious to see my kiddos.  I flew from Portland to Santa Rosa,  and reunited with Joey at my in-law's.  Such a tough life having to wine taste all over Sonoma county for another few days after all that...

 Family Vacation:

I didn't see my husband for almost 6 weeks between June and late July.  I spent my anniversary with my in-laws, bemoaning the 9 hour time difference between California and Kosovo.  I was so looking forward to our European adventure--5 weeks over there with 10 day trips to Greece and the Dalmatian Coast planned.  Lynn (otherwise known as the fourth Oliver child) joined us for the first two weeks of Kosovo/Greece.  I had tried planning a good itinerary, but messed up some timing/ferry aspects so we ended up spending ALOT of time in the car.  I must say though, Greece really is all it's cracked up to be.  I don't think we had a bad meal anywhere.  Getting around in a car wasn't bad, save driving through Athens.  And the weather was awesome.  It would've been perfect had I been getting along better with my husband.  Let's just say that long absences are not good, and leave it at that.

By the time we headed to the Dalmatian coast, Joe and I were getting along better but I was getting sick.  Stuck in a car for 9+ hours is no fun.  I truly felt like I was going to die.  I wished I could've seen more of Dubrovnik, but we all really enjoyed Kotor.  By the 5th day I was finally feeling better and we headed to the island of Brac.  Our hotel there was a funny place, but by the Adriatic was gorgeous.  I think the kids got awfully tired of eachother and us, and were ready to head home after 3 weeks away.  Such is the case with teenagers.  We did all travel home together for a last beach week hurrah.


Maddy started high school and Joey started middle school.  Unfortunately Joe had to go back to Europe on Labor Day, so he missed seeing them off on their first day.  How is it my kids grew up so fast?!  Here's a picture of them showing Maddy's first day of kindergarden next to her first day of high school:
I can't remember what I did all fall, other than schelp kids hither and yon (music lessons, scouts, etc), run some road races, and sign up for *gasp* my first 50k trail run and another Ironman in 2012. Yeah, I can be talked into just about anything.  Joe and I spent a nice weekend in St. Michaels MD for his birthday while Lynn hung with the kids at home.  Also in October we adopted another Vizsla, Jake, who came to us from St Paul, MN.  He is a big galoot of a dog--he outweighs Sophie by almost 20lbs--but is such a lovebug.

Joe's parents came for a week at Christmas, and soon I was staring down the barrel of turning 44.  January 3rd marked the one year anniversary of Joe having taken the travel job, and I felt like I had spent most of 2011 as a single parent.  Bleh.

I was glad to be able to spend some fun time with my trail running buddies.  I can't believe I am now an ultramarathoner!  The race was just a few weeks ago, and then I was able to jet off to Europe (a new concession--I get to go gallivant with the husband every now and then) for a weekend in Switzerland with Joe.  I know, I should write a race report for the 50k, and I will try!  Otherwise, that leaves you all caught up on all things Kate.  Looking forward:  Next weekend is the Napa Marathon (more wine tasting!), then TriCamp, then Easter break in Europe, then race season!  Summer travel plans have yet to be nailed down, but Joe and I are looking at some fun options.  xoxo everyone!

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Don't Think, Just Do!"

This motto is what’s gotten me through the past 3 months of training.  It has seen me through miles 56-64 of the 100 mile ride when Bart was setting a blazing pace and it was all I could do to suck wheel.  It has helped me survive yet another 100 all out sighting sprint in the pool.  It has helped me focus on just the task at hand, be it swim another 25 meters, pedal or run another mile.  I am totally doubting my ability to get through IMCdA—I don’t know why.  I’ve done the distance twice already and know I can do it.  I just haven’t felt as engaged in the training.  Single parenting is tough, and doubly so when you have to leave the kids at home to fend for themselves while out on 7-8 hour workouts.  They have been such troopers.  I am so proud of them, for putting up with Mom and her crazy Ironman aspirations.
I can’t believe race weekend is almost here.  And I’ve totally neglected to update the blog on all the to-doings.  I can’t say that it’s because I’m overwhelmingly busy, because there is always some down time just before bed, or early mornings after the kids got off to school.  So, what the hell have I been doing for the past 3 months?  Swimming, biking, and running.  Eating alot (although for the month of May it didn’t include lots of sugar), drinking (not on that “recreational sugar” list in May, thank God!), parenting, and trying to stay on top of work and house projects.  So here’s the clif notes  version of my spring:


The blog left off after the Shamrock ½ marathon.  The following week was Jen’s camp in Arizona.  Always an ass-kicker.  This time doubly so, given that I had just changed out my bike saddle to an Adamo.  Not conducive to riding 2 more times!  I think this year it only took me 3 ½ hours to make it to the top of Mt. Lemmon—I am so grateful for Bethany!  While I had no issues making it to Windy Point at mile 14, the next 10 miles are always my nemesis.  But Bethany seemed fresh as a daisy.  Once at the top, we all rendezvous’d at the Cookie Cabin for a quick bite, and started back down after climbing out of Summerhaven.  The descent went ok—by the time I got back to Windy Point, you could really feel the hot air blasting up from the valley (temps all weekend were well in the 90s).  The bumpy bumpy road back to the house really drove home how sore the crotch was and had me up out of the saddle most of the way.  Bethany and I ran our 20 min T run in the blistering heat, jumped in the pool, and called ourselves toast.  Dinner that night was at Blanco, which I think I look forward to more than camp itself.  AWESOME Mexican food, margaritas with extra salt, and all around yumminess.
The next day was our inaugural swim in the UofA recreational pool outside, in the gorgeous weather.  Angelina, Bethany, and I shared a lane, and I took care of the de rigeur under water pictures.  We rode again that afternoon, again in blistering heat.  I think Bethany and I were lucky in that we had already had a good dose of warm weather riding/running but most of the poor mid western folks were having a hard time.  I got my butt handed to me by Bethany on the bike—she worked really hard and rode well, almost 50 miles.  I literally was icing my crotch before leaving on the ride in a vain attempt to make it better and so only made it 40.  Our ride was sagged by the TriSports store, and at one point the driver asked if I needed some lube  (chafing was not the issue!)  Another 20 minute T run (hot hot hot hot hot!) and we started making plans for an ice bath back at the house.  That night a few campers joined me for dinner at Zona 78 with my friend Tom. 
The third day was our morning run at Sabino Canyon.  This was the first time I ran the Telephone Line trail.  It was gorgeous, not too technical, and such a blast.  Sooo much better than years past when I trudged almost 3 miles uphill along the paved road on the canyon floor.  What was I thinking?!  I was bummed that I didn’t have my camera with me, Bethany was bummed she hadn’t brought her trail shoes.  We ended up running about 9 miles—my longest run at camp ever.  On tap that afternoon was (to our disbelief!) another ride—back up Lemmon to mile marker 5.  I was so unhappy.  As Jen passed me on the way up, I was talking to myself, saying “Find your happy place…” over and over.  Couldn’t find it—that saddle was so painful.  A bunch of us went back to dinner at Blanco that night—we apparently didn’t get our fill the first time!
I had an early morning flight out the next day, so missed the last swim/run.  I needed to get back in time to see my husband before he left again for Europe.  I think our visit was less than 12 hours (and most of that time I was complaining about that new saddle and my sore crotch!)


My first race of the season was the Olympic distance race at Lake Anna, 3 weeks after camp.  Joe was back and handled kid care, and I headed out early morning with Bart.  The weather absolutely sucked.  It was blustery, rainy, cold and so so nasty.  No one was looking forward to the race, except Caroline L!  I should’ve done that swim a couple of times.  Cold, choppy water is what we have here in Coeur d’Alene in spades.
It was raining as we all set up our transitions.  Everything was wet and cold, which makes putting on a wetsuit for the first time in almost a year very challenging.  It must have taken Bart and me a good 15 minutes to get those darn things on, all while trying to stay out of the rain at the back of the car.  I was very glad to have rented a full wetsuit from 3Sports, but the only one they had really was a size too small.  Talk about stuffing a sausage.  Oooof.  I couldn’t breathe too well, but it sucked everything in nicely and I looked 10 lbs lighter.  As we all stood around waiting for various waves to go off, we shivered and shivered.  You expend so much energy shivering, and then when it’s finally your time to go you have no breath left.  I couldn’t really find a groove at all and at one point past the first turn bouy I popped up right as Shawn and Rick did.  “Hello”s all around, interspersed with a few “this sucks” and “does this swim feel long to you?”s and it was time to put the head back down and keep going.  38 minutes later….
I was so darn happy to get out of the water.  I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the bike (had never ridden that course before) and so I had no idea what to expect.  The wind seemed to be settling down, thank goodness, so that was a good thing.  I rode the first loop conservatively, then knew the bad weather was pretty well done so I could pick up the pace.  Lynn passed me looking awesome; I just wish I could’ve kept up with her!
The run was a 2 loop out and back, with a small cut through in the woods after the first loop/finish chute.  I tried hard to work the run, watch my fueling/hydration and keep a steady pace.  I think it worked (I can’t remember my bike/run splits).  The first lap went pretty quickly, minus the part through the woods.  We’d had so much rain leading up to the race, that it was complete mud, probably at least 2” deep.  Bleh.  Ended up with a time of 3:09 and 9th in my age group, which I’ll totally take!


One short month later was the Kinetic half, still at Lake Anna, just in a different part of the lake.  I had driven up with Maddy, who volunteered for almost the entire race.  She was a trooper, having been rudely awakened at 4am to work from pre race until I finished around 2pm.  The weather was overcast, but calm, making the swim soo much more manageable.  For a good part of the swim, I was beside Jill, but she didn’t recognize me and she looked like she was in her zone.  Much less popping up on my part, so I swam a decent 39 minutes.
Again, I had never previewed the bike course, so didn’t know what to expect.  Melissa said it was pretty flat, but it felt all like a false flat to me.  My watch was off time wise, so what I thought was a decent bike split, was a 3:11.  There were just a couple of small hills, and my first time up one of them some other biker rode up behind me, slapped me HARD on the ass and said, “Giddy up that hill!”  The surprise was on him though—it was my friend Rick—who thought I was Jill and when he realized it was me, rode right into a ditch and fell over.  Ha!
The run course at Kinetic is a bitch.  3 loops (yuck yuck yuck) with a huge hill coming up out of transition that you get to do 3 times.  The rest is fairly rolling, with a nice downhill before the finish.  My goal here was to, like at Rumpus, keep a steady pace, not walk, and just run.  The one saving grace about the run (other than the music blaring from a cabin on the back part of the loop) was being able to see/high five all my friends on the course.  I ran my third fastest open ½ marathon time—a 2:14—which I am super proud of.  While I was hoping for close to a 6 hour half, I still pr’d by over 20 minutes!!!  That night my husband got back from Europe, and I was so glad to have the race behind me to be able to spend Sunday lounging around with him!


Over memorial day weekend, my swim coach organized a training camp for several of us CdA athletes, and others.  As a single mom, I wasn’t able to ditch my kids for the whole long weekend (and didn’t really want to either…).  I only attended the Saturday long bike/swim session, which was fine since their long run was planned for Sunday and I had run my first 16 miler two days before.  #1 son was a dear and took the kids out to the beach house on Friday afternoon, allowing me to hit the hay at 8pm unashamed.  Bryan and John met me at my house at some ungodly hour.  We loaded up and headed out for a promised 7am “cheeks on seats” start time. 
We surprised everyone by showing up on time; they had counted on me to be late (Who, me? Late?! Never…) So we had a few extra minutes to hit the potty, load the bikes, and waste time heading out about 7:30.  Coach ProK mapped out a 51 mile loop.  The first 10 miles were nice, then we hit the hills.  Holy crap.  Up two of them I was zigzagging trying desperately to remain upright.  The downhill after the second was kind of scary—twisty so you couldn’t see oncoming traffic.  Melissa ended up FLYING by me at one point, scaring the beejeezus out of me.  The third hill was a grinder, much longer and tougher.  At this point I was desperately looking forward to the sag wagon at mile 25.  The course after that became much more rolly, which I didn’t expect as similar to CdA, but I’m now very grateful for.  Meredith and I got dropped in this section.  At about mile 46 was the turn off for the out and back to the house, which she and I decided not to do.  I was biking on tired legs (having run 18 miles in the heat just 2 days prior), and was seriously doubting I would want to get back on my bike at the house.  So we set off on loop #2. 
If I thought those hills sucked on the first loop, they were downright MEAN the second time around.  It was all I could do to talk myself into not unclipping, telling myself to zigzag, hold on almost there!  After that, the downhills were pretty pleasant.  We made it to the turn for the sag wagon—having looked forward to it for the past 10 miles, and it wasn’t there! Luckily Meredith turned the corner where Blake had been parked, and we saw him just up ahead in the shade.  Ah, cold Coke and water!  We missed the 51 mile refuel stop by not going all the way back to the house, and were running low on fuel.  I was so glad to hit the last main drag.  Poor Meredith ended up dropping her chain a few times, but kept up pretty well, and we made it back to the start for 93 of hard-fought miles in about 6 hours of ride time.  LUNCH!!!
After what seemed like a really short rest, we headed out for our open water swim, in a “lake” that was more like a glorified pond.  As we were struggling into our wetsuits (in 90 degree heat…) we saw a big black snake slither away.  Good riddance!  We also had to avoid standing/walking in lots of goose poop.  The water was pretty murky, and not so refreshing.  I think the pond was spring fed, however, since there were a few spots where you could feel cooler water down by your feet.  After a half hour, or about 1500m, we called it quits.  It was Miller Time! (Or in our case, Corona time!)
Drive 2 hrs back to Richmond, drop off John, drop off Bryans car, and it was time to head to the beach (and another 2 hours in the car…).  Sunday it was all good, as we lounged on the beach thinking of our friends running long in the hot hot weather.  Bliss.   

So now you’re all caught up on the major training events prior to CdA.  I will cover race week as part of my race report.  Please follow the race online at  My bib number is 519.  I will be channeling my mantra, "Don't Think, Just Do" all day Sunday.  Wish me luck!!! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

(Sham)rockin' some PRs!

Spring, wherefore art thou?  It's snowing this morning!

I have raced (and PR'd!) the past two weekends (this weekend is a blissfully light one!): a 5k that doubled as a run test, and the Shamrock 1/2 marathon in Virginia beach.  The 5k was a great neighborhood event in Forest Hills that I ran with Sharon, Lynn, Molly and Maddy.  It was "canine friendly," so leashed dogs could run with you, and a nice little one hill course winding through the park.  The hill was a beast though.  My mile splits were roughly a 7:46, 9:15, and 8:30.  Sophie was having a ball, and would've won top dog had I been able to run faster. Pictures show all of us in the background:

I've been biking mostly outside with Bethany, and she's kicking my butt.  She and Bart, along with the Deals, stayed with me at the beach for the half marathon. Shamrock weekend I was totally overbooked-- Friday night I took Maddy and a friend to her then-prospective high school performance of Guys and Dolls; Saturday was the JDRF gala set up and party; and race was Sunday morning at 7am.  Something had to give and it turned out to be the gala.  I'm so glad I didn't go--the kids and I drove to the beach around 4 and met Bart and Bethany at the greek place we like for dinner.  A little schluk of wine back at the beach house and it was bedtime!

Race morning was early, but for whatever reason I didn't hear my alarm go off.  I rolled out of bed at 5:19 and we were due to leave the house at 5:45!  Ack.  Over coffee in the kitchen Bart and I looked at eachother at 5:40 and had a moment's panic--overnight the winds had picked up considerably and we weren't relishing the thought of battling a headwind for the first half of the race.  Down the coffee and jump in the race clothes--weather be damned!  I was putting my shoes on and wondered why my "new" shoes felt so roomy....same socks I normally wear.  I turned on the light to see I had grabbed the wrong shoes.  The ones I brought that had been lying on the floor of my closet weren't the new ones--instead they were over a year old and had absolutely NO liner/insole/orthotic!  Over a quick skype with Joe, I was feeling totally screwed.  Bethany wasn't feeling quite herself either, so we had a mini pity party but we decided quickly that we couldn't not race, so may as well make the best of it.  At that point I was resigned to at least a couple of good sized blisters.

Off we went, speeding toward the Virginia Beach oceanfront.  Parking was going to be a bear, but I showed Bart our secret lot next to a 7-11 that no one knew about.  We gathered up our stuff, kissed Bart goodbye, and headed up to the race start at a nice jog.  WINDY!  We dropped off my post-race bag and lined up for a last pee at the portapotties.  Found Lynn and Sharon and good-luck-hugs all around.  The national anthem was playing while we made our way to the starting corral.  Bethany and I had the same time goal in mind, but given how we were feeling back at the house, we knew it was going to be a mile by mile race to overcome and agreed that if either was "feeling it" to go on ahead.  After standing around for another 5 minutes, it was time to start!

In discussing the race plan with Jen, we agreed that I would start out conservatively.  Build and hold was my mantra.  First three miles I'm always afraid of starting out too fast, or not fast enough... Our mile times were good:  9:25, 9:14, and 9:17.  Right past mile 3, the course turns west as you head to Fort Story and the trees provided some nice wind break.  I felt good.  Bethany told me to go on ahead, so I did.  I knew several runners around me were aiming for about a 2:00 half, so I decided if I could keep my pace steady, hang with them, I'd probably be ok.  The race clock at mile 5 said 47minutes and change, but was from the first gun.  I was doing good!  I vowed not to look at my watch until mile 10--just keep this pace and I should be fine, and don't walk the water stops.  Between mile 7 and 8, the course is right along the beach, and man did it get windy!  I found a tall guy running my pace and I tucked in right behind him and let him break the wind.  I gu'd every 3 miles, and tried to drink a little water in between.  My feet were definitely feeling the rubbing in the shoes but it was nothing horribly unbearable.  My splits for miles 4-10 were 8:47, 9:00, 8:50, 8:46, 8:47, 8:55, and 8:56.

Mile 10 is close to the gate leaving the Fort, and I finally looked at my watch.  I was right at 1:30:00 so I knew then that I was going to make a sub 2 hour half.  I was totally pumped!  At this point I knew I could do it even at a 10 min mile pace, but wanted to be under that 2 hour mark by as much as I had left in me.  The next mile went pretty quick (8:44), but then the fatigue started to settle in and the legs started to hurt.  Mile 12 was a 9:05 and I told myself the faster I ran, the sooner I was done but my legs felt like there was no turnover left.  Halfway through mile 12 you turn back onto the boardwalk and hit the wind again.  One of the race pics taken at this point isn't very flattering of me; I was in pain! That tall guy from mile 7/8 showed up right beside me and told me to push it in.  I asked him to carry me please!  Final mile was a 8:54, and the last .2 miles (I started my watch before crossing the start line) was 1:30.  My official time was 1:57:59--I did it!!! 

Melissa was right behind me, also with a 1:58, and the rest of our peeps came in shortly after that.  We all had great times!!! It was time for a beer!

Nikki was a dear and let the kids sleep in and brought them down post race to the beer tent.  We made it through 2 beers and decided it was time for pancakes!  Oh my legs hurt so bad.  Walking up to Pocahontas Pancake House, the wind was blowing and we cheered for the marathoners running by.  Bart, Bethany, kids and I headed back to the beach house to let the dogs out and take a well deserved nap.  And yes, I did have some pretty gnarly blisters.
This past week I have been in race recovery mode.  Running wasn't feeling too great on the calves, but hopefully the massage I had yesterday will help.  Time to finish off the Lumber Liquidators project and pack for Arizona!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011


I hope the quality isn't bad--I took these pictures with my cell phone.  Spring is popping out!  I've been outside riding for the past several weekends, which is such a blessed relief from the boredom of the trainer.  Bethany kicked my butt this past Saturday--60 miles with a head- or cross-wind for the second half of the ride.  I'm trying a new Adamo saddle, and it's making staying aero much, much easier on the pubic bone.  Not pain free in the private region, mind you, but such an improvement overall!