What could be better than swimming, biking and running through some of this country's most gorgeous wine country? Why, eating and drinking your way through wine country with great friends too! Time to plan your summer vacation with a little 70.3 thrown in for good measure. Sign ups for Vineman open this Sunday at midnight (is that 11pm or 1am with the time change???)
Jen C and I have been scheming and this is what we've come up with:
- We have a couple of ideas on houses to rent in the area, all that would accomodate 6-10, and all have a pool.
- Jen has her professional chef friends lined up to prepare an awesome post race meal, complete with wine pairings!
- We were also thinking of organizing a little barrel tasting too (can you say carb load???)
- Thank you Molly for offering to be our sherpa and cheerleader extraordinaire! She's done this race twice so she knows how this whole point to point thing works. Yey Molly!
Race day is July 18th. I figure we'd need the house from Friday, July 16th to Monday the 19th. Let me know if you're in and I'll get working on it. Ideally I'd like to keep that cost down to about $100/night per person. If we have fewer than 6 we MIGHT be able to just horn in at my in-laws house which is just 20 mins from the race start, and 5 mins from the race finish, but I have to clear that with them. The chef's meal would run about $75 (that includes wine!) Who's in???
On a less fun note, I guess I need to talk/blog about the Marine Corps Marathon. For all my chatting about getting faster, I didn't deliver. I posted a disappointing 4:55, 4 mins off my current best time. It was a beautiful day for the run. You couldn't ask for better weather--sunny skies, breezy, and about 60 degrees. I was able to make it to the race start in plenty of time, and seeded myself in the 4:30 to 5:00 time corral. I looked all around for my high school friend's husband and he found me just after the gun. I was so glad to have someone to run with! Thank you Tony for the company. The first few miles went by really quickly, with the first hill up Lee Hwy and then down Spout Run. 30,000 is a lot of running company, and it was very crowded (yet only 21,000 finish). There was a lot of people dodging and maneuvering.
Running up Canal Road was beautiful and shady. We made it up the second hill to the reservoir fine and I took in my first gu at the 7 mile point. The downhill back into Georgetown was steep! I knew we'd fly down it, but kept in mind that such steep hills make for owie legs later on (thank you IMLP for that lesson). Lots of crowd support all the way down M Street, and then another downhill and around to the Kennedy Center. This part of the run is familiar since it follows roughly the same path as the Army 10 Miler. Joe was hoping to be at the Lincoln Memorial around mile 11, but didn't make it. There were TONS of spectators around there, which really helped, and I doubt I could've found him in the crowd anyways.
Then came the flat flat flat portion of the race out to Hains Point and back. Nice views along the Potomac and more shade. Aaah. Around the corner, beep beep over the 1/2 way timing mat. At this point I was hanging in there with the 4:30 pace group and doing ok but then I lost Tony at a water stop. And between here and mile 16, the wheels came off the bus. Maybe I should blame that Russian dude that started running with me and chatting up a storm (see pic below and can you believe his name was Boris?). He had been a professional volleyball player in Russia, moved to the US and took up beach volleyball, and now was getting into IM training. He seemed nice enough, but just kept talking my ear off. I wasn't sorry to lose him at a water stop. I knew these miles coming up (18-20) would be the toughest since you loop out to the Capitol and back along the Mall and didn't want to talk about how he should train for Ironman Nice.
At mile 18 I checked my phone and sure enough Joe had texted that he and the kids were waiting for me at mile 22. Not close enough! I found Tony again, poor guy was massaging out cramps just before the Capitol turn around. I asked if he wanted me to stick around and he said to keep going! I finally made it to the 14th Street Bridge and knew if I could make it to Joe, I'd be ok. That bridge is long. It's the last 2 miles of the A10M course, so I know the feeling well of running running running (along a freeway, no less) feeling like you'll never get to the Pentagon. The guy dressed as the Grim Reaper had it somewhat right: he was holding up a huge sign that said "THE END IS NEAR" which 22 miles in is technically correct, but it still feels impossibly far. I was so glad getting off that ramp into Pentagon City, and then saw Joey looking out for me! Yey.
I hit my goal time of 4:30 at the 24 mile point. For a few moments I did consider just stopping at that point. I had just seen my family (for the first time during the race) and the car and hotel were just behind me. Ahead lay 2.2 more miles of pain and frustration. Luckily the handsome young Marine with a bullhorn started talking to ME ("Hey, Ironwoman, get your ass moving! Just 2 more miles!" was about what he was saying) and motivated me to finish it up. I did find Tony again (he must've passed me as I was in the Cosi bathroom at the turn around at mile 23), and he used the phone to call his wife to let her know his expected finish time. He urged me to run it in if I could, so I took off, cranked up the ipod and tried to ignore my legs.
Coming up the final hill to the Iwo Jima memorial was bittersweet. Tons of spectators, lots of young marines, all cheering you up the hill (it's a steep one!). You can't let them down and not RUN up it. Ow ow ow. And whew, the finish line. The medals they give you are impressive--big hunks of metal of the globe, anchor, and eagle. I immediately called first Joe to say "come get me!" and Jen to weep into the phone, and tell her I finished...but.
I have been training for long distance racing for over a year and a half--I started training for IMFL in May of '08. That's a long time to be devoted to distance training, with no emphasis on speed. In talking with Jen H, we agree that my goal time is in me, somewhere. I need this coming year to see if I can translate my improved shorter distance PRs (Shamrock and the Army10Miler) into more consistent speed. Until then, I need to keep ahead of Joe. He's thrown down a challenge that he'll beat me in the Turkey Trot this year. I'll give him a run for his money!