Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bear Creek 10mi Trail Race Report

Last weekend was my first trail run of the season.  Not one to build up to anything, I signed up with friends for the Bear Creek 10mi race in Cumberland County.  Nothing like going from a max of 7 miles of road running to 10 miles of trails.  And not just any trail run, but the full on "over the river(s) and through the woods" single track hilly as all get out trail runs.  Luckily I had awesome company!  All my friends are race veterans, but this was my first year running it. 

Saturday afternoon Tyler and I loaded up our respective pups and swung around south side to pick up Jilly before heading out of town.   Deere and Sophie were quick friends and behaved well in the car on the way down.  Bear Creek State Park is an easy <1hr drive from Richmond, and has both camping and cabins to stay in.  Lynn and Mike had arrived earlier in the day and had mulled wine warming on the stove.  YUM!  The weather was overcast and chilly--the forecast was for a dusting of snow that evening with clear skies in the morning.  Fellow racers Karen, Shawn, and Sharon were staying in the cabin next door and invited us over to share hors d'oeuvres and their crackling fire as it started snowing. 

The progressive dinner continued back at our cabin, where Lynn made an awesome pasta dish accompanied by salad courtesy of Jill. Fully carbed, we played a few hands of what my family calls "Dinosaur," a card game taught to me by Shawn and Karen while at Torturefest in Placid last year. Horror of horrors, we ran out of wine and seriously contemplated schelpping into town for more. But it was after 8 or 9 at night and many of us were trundling off to bed soon. I can't say many of us slept well, poor Tyler had to put up with someone snoring half the night. Must've been Sophie....

The morning dawned early--I was the first up and tried to sneak out quietly with the dogs. We had over a half inch of snow! It was so gorgeous, and cold!  You can see the lake through the trees, just as the sun is rising over the tree tops.

Back inside as everyone else got up, we all went about getting bundled up and eating our pre-race breakfasts.  Here is our cabin ready to go:

Thank goodness for heated seats!  No need to do that 20 minute warm up Jen wanted me to do.  We made it to the start with about 10 minutes to spare.  With fewer than 150 entries, it's a nice, small field and most everyone knows eachother.  Lots of familiar faces!  After the race director gave his little talk about blazes to look for and water stops, we walked down the start of the path and....we were off!  15 yards down the trail and we turn into the woods.  We let most of the fast folks go ahead which turned out to be everyone except us and 5 other folks!  Tyler was in the lead group as he was out for the race win (he finished in a blazing 1:18!) 

Up down over stumps and trees through beautiful woods covered in a fresh dusting of snow.  It was spectacular!  We kept up some fun banter and stories as we wound our way through the wilds of central
Virginia.  I think we counted 7 creek crossings on our way out.  This year they added a water stop at the 3/7 mile marker.  The race registration page describes the course as 5% on gravel trails--I think it was more like 200 yards on gravel trails.  The rest was a little biddy path through the woods.  We didn't see many other racers until mile 4--they were all on their way back.  Did I say it was hilly?  Jen had estimated a 2 hr race, including that 20 minute warm up that I didn't do.  Ha!  We finished almost last in a whopping 2:30 ish.  We could've finished a little earlier had we not got lost at the 9.75 mile point, but what's an extra 4/10ths of a mile?  I was pretty much toast at mile 9 and was working hard to just keep with the pack for the last mile.  Getting left for dead in the woods was not my idea of a good time.  Here is the course profile from my Garmin:
Check out the overall elevation gain.  Whew!

We made it back to the start (not from the correct direction, however...) Time for breakfast!  Back at the cabin, while everyone showered and packed up, I made blueberry buttwheat pancakes (pun intended) with bacon.  Sharon made some warm cinnamon apple slices which was the perfect accompaniment!  Sated, we cleaned the remaining dishes and headed home.  I needed a nap before tackling my Revit homework, but Joe made an awesome dinner that night and I slept well.

Lessons learned:
  •  trail running is hard and taxes your brain as well as your body.  You have to pay attention to the trail or risk getting tripped up--there is very little time to admire the view. 
  • friends, good stories, and singing songs are all required! 
  • I would've paid very good money for a hot tub post-race!
  • trails are a good way of working more than just road running-specific muscles.  I couldn't walk the day after, my quads would not let me go down stairs--all those hills trashed them. Ouch.
Sign me up for next year!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Trotting, Tailgating, and Turkey!

This Thanksgiving marked the fifth year I ran the RRRC Turkey Trot.  I love this race--friends to run and party with, a challenging course, and the start is a mile from our house.  This year I wasn't expecting much in terms of times.  My running is just ramping back up, with 6-7 miles farthest I've run since Vineman in July.  As much as I would love to be able to beat my husband in this race, it just looks like it'll never happen. Joe ran a speedy 48 minute 10k, and I set a 40 second pr on the course with a time of just barely over 57 minutes. My mantra was to work the downhills (thinking all the time of my friend Jill), and to survive the uphills.  Here is a map of the course, along with elevations:
Joe was a dear and zipped home to pick up Joey and the breakfast casseroles.  Sharon brought mimosas, and other friends brought more goodies.  No better way to kick off a day of eating than with a little run and a little tailgate!

After that, it was time to pack the pies in the car and head to Williamsburg.  Cousins Maggie and Jenny were kind enough to get the turkey going, and we had a great time watching football, catching up, and hanging out.  Here I am getting some good snuggle time with Mia and Duncan while reading:
Looking ahead is a 10mi trail run on Dec 5th, perhaps a Christmas light run or 5k, time at the beach with the family and in-laws.  I can't wait for #1 son to come home from his deployment to Iraq!  He is done with his missions and is packing up.  He should be home in time for Christmas--I can't think of a better present.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hanging out with rock stars

Yesterday I had the honor and priviledge to hang with these chicks.  All ran and PR'd the Richmond Marathon.  I like to think I had some little part in their success--cowbell in hand, I cheered them on at miles 7 and 10.  I then changed and hurried to meet up with Lynn around mile 20 to pace her last 10k to an incredible 4:23.  She and I caught up with a struggling Kelly at mile 21 and talked her into hanging with us for the next few miles.  I am so proud of Kelly for sticking it out, and crossing the line with a very respectable time.  I am insipired:  these ladies have been training and racing all year (one race number per month!) and finished the year in style.

It is time again for me to work on my 2011 goals.  There is still so much I need to figure out: prep races, interim goals, what to do after June.  Life has been in such limbo, but I'm hoping by Thanksgiving I'll have a good sense of how far out I can plan.  In the meantime, I am trying hard to get back into the workout swing.  I have the run test behind me, the bike test coming up, and a rest week next week to look forward to.  The hard part is just balancing that with the work load I have right now--I'm a juggling fool!  I am loving having a close friend on a similar workout plan, and look forward to our once or twice a week sufferfests in the basement.  TRX is kicking my butt, but in a good way, just the way Jen would like it. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Not totin' the ol' 44, but definitely feeling sore.  I'm trying hard to jump back into "training" mode.  Checking off at least 5 workouts per week (which is better than where I was, belive you me!)  It seems that two if not three of these are early early mornings where the alarm goes off around 5:30.  Combine that with a full workday of up on my feet all day, moving furniture, and by the time I get home in the evening, I am TOAST.  Need to catch a 10 min nap in order to stay awake long enough to eat dinner kind of toast.  This work stuff is for the birds!  I don't know how my friends who have full time jobs AND families figure out how to stay up late enough to ensure that kids are 1) fed 2) homeworked  and dishes/laundry/house stuff is done still train for anything longer than a sprint.  Poor Joe takes it as a given that I'll be in bed, lights out, and asleep before at least one of the kids.

Tried the TRX thing this week with Bethany.  And just for the record, let's say that what happens in Bethany's basement, stays in Bethany's basement.  She and I are contemplating a TRX class in the spring, which at least gives me more time to work up to a "lets not make a fool of ourselves" level of proficiency.  I suck so bad, I cannot lift my arms, hug my children, or wash my hair.  (Thank goodness for swimming! Of course I kid.)  At least we know I still remember how to ride a bike, but don't take me out for more than 35 miles.

This week is also a week where I need to contemplate my 2011 goals.  For those of you who are coached by Jen, you know what this means.  Essay questions.  (Screw IMCdA...maybe my one goal for next year should be to actually do one whole pull up unassisted.  Given my current lack of upper body strength, it probably would take most of the year to build up to that.)  Last year my goal sheet ended with Vineman and had a whole lotta nothing after that, other than a contemplated fall marathon.  For various reasons, I don't know how far past CdA I can plan for this year coming up.  It's scary to think so short term, however, given what happened this year training wise after Vineman, rather dangerous insofar as keeping in a modicum of shape post CdA. There are, of course, extenuating circumstances.  Like where will we be?!  But I think I owe it to myself to plan long term and then if the situation changes, roll with it and see where it takes me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hello again!

Several fine folks had left little messages on Facebook asking when I was going to update my blog, but that was over 2 months ago!  Do you really care about a few missing race reports, beach trip happenings, job to do-ings?  At this point, there is just too much to catch up on and the thought of bringing the world up to speed on life chez moi is overwhelming.  Let's instead just summarize, shall we?
  • Trip to California this summer was awesome.  3 weeks spent in wine country, doing some training, visiting some wineries, and hanging out with the inlaws is rough, I know.  Vineman, however, was no cakewalk.  A gorgeous race, a shame the swim was so darn shallow.  After the turn around, my hands were scraping bottom for most of the way back to transition.  Bumpy, technical bike course.  I need to get over my chickensh*t fear of descending.  You pass winery after winery, thinking "if only I could stop and taste..."  It got pretty darn hot.  I stopped half way up Chalk Hill to give some spare salt tabs to a guy whose quads were totally cramping up in a horrible way (he repassed me on the bike, only for me to pass him on the run with his legs locked up again).  The run was HOT and HILLY.  No personal best, but so glad it was done.  Hung out with fun friends post race!  Molly = best Vineman sherpa ever. 
  • Beach time!  Only one week this year, and interrupted with showhouse to-doings and threatened hurricanes.  Ate, drank, lounged, didn't train much but got my butt handed to me on a Fat Frog ride.  I have totally fallen off the workout wagon this fall, averaging a whopping 3 workouts a week (if that...)  Can you say LAZY ASS?!  It has been nice though, to just run when I want, eat what I want, drink what I want and decompress.  Job stress is at an all time high in our house, and I needed the break away from that aspect of my life to make room for other concerns. 
  • Richmond Symphony Designer Showhouse.  I loved my room, and felt that everything that went in it was absolutely perfect.  There was some nail biting at getting the wallpaper in on time, but it all worked itself out.  Here are some pics: 

  • I'm back at work for a 6 week stint with Lumber Liquidators.  It's challenging coming up with 2 "designed" rooms to be photographed per day, especially in the same two spaces where the walls are never repainted and the windows are not in places they'd be in a real house.  Having new "stuff" (furniture, pillows, art and accessories) is nice at the beginning, but it all gets old after having been in one or two shoots.  Click here, here, and here for examples of what I did for them back in March.
  • I did do another triathlon this season, on a whim, in late August.  An all-women sprint of 300m pool swim, 14mi bike, 5k run.  I didn't do so bad, but not too well either.  I was slow on the swim, and I even passed about 5 people in the pool.  The bike was great!  I just hunkered down and tried to hammer.  Passed a slew of folks.  The run sucked!  When you stop running for 3 weeks, even a lousy 5k is tough and I got passed by many of the girls I had passed on the bike.  I think I placed 11th in my age group. On the positive side, I was able to break in the new tri kit.  Check it out:

  • It's fall!  Cooler weather, changing leaves, kids back in school, Kate back in school.  I'm taking a new computer class to learn new AutoCAD software--LOVE IT!  Will make drawings and plans so much easier!  We have been to the beach house almost every weekend this month, and were in the ocean just this past Sunday (ocean temps were 65 degrees).  As Jen would say, "Lovely!"  I have been much better this week about getting back into "training" mode.  Or should I say "base building mode" since....
  • I'm signed up for IM Coeur d'Alene next year!  Ack.  Back on the crazy train with 30 of my closest friends.   I'm looking forward to Jen's TriCamp in AZ yet again this year, with Bethany in tow!  Hooray for company on the grind up Lemmon.
  • #1 Son is still in Iraq, but should be home for Christmas!  While we were brewing in hot temps here this summer, he reminded us that 100 was downright chilly where he was.  It'll be so nice to have him home.
  • Kids are good and enjoying their last year of elementary and middle school, respectively.  We already had our first high school information session.  I can't be old enough to have a high-schooler.  Joey is a flag safety (raises and lowers the flag every day), and made Safety of the month and Safety Captain.  He was so proud.
I'll try hard to update more regularly, especially as the training gets back into full swing.  I hope everyone enjoys their off-season, no matter how long  or short!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Feelin' hot hot hot

I don't believe I was ever in an "ole ole ole ole!" frame of mind, but at around mile 8 of the Eagleman run course I did break into song for some guy that I kept leapfrogging with.  His bib number was 1999.  He promised that the party started at the turn around, when we were heading for home.  I think it came much later, at the Hyatt pool when the margarita was in hand.

Eagleman weekend started with a party too!  Good friend Karen turned 40 and threw a marvelous backyard barbeque.  I was a good girl, limiting myself to 2 small glasses of wine alternating with LOTS of water.  The next day I rode up to Maryland with Emmie, who was smart and just signed up for the aquavelo (swim and run!)  We made pretty good time, pulling into Cambridge around 1:30 or 2.  Packet pick up went well, and we were able to say a quick hello to Jen and Jerome.  It was so good to see her and hear her say everything would be fine, that I would be fine.  Jen and I had the pre race talk earlier, and I knew my focus needed to be on racing smart, hydrating, and getting in the electrolytes.  I think at that point we were all still hoping the 90 degree temps forecasted would not happen, but I was planning for the worst.  While I did have ambitious goals, I knew they could be thrown out the window if the weather dictated dialing the effort back.

Emmie and I drove over to the transition/race area to drop off our bikes and get in a quick little swim in the Choptank.  Oh was it hot out.  We decided against wetsuits, thinking the water would feel good, which it did.  There was some chop on the way out to the bouy, but none on the way back.  Mission accomplished, so we headed back to Easton to check into our hotel and shower for dinner with Bart and Bethany.  Here's Bart's harem post dinner:

We all trudged home and were in bed and asleep by 9:15.  Race day would start at 4:45.

Emmie and I slept well, and were up on time.  We were a little late getting out of Easton, however, so I was a little stressed that we might not find any parking.  It all worked out though, and by 6:15 we were headed to transition.  On the walk from the car, there were a few people walking in the other direction who let us know they had made the call that the race would not be wetsuit legal.  That was fine with us--I knew it would slow me down a little bit and Emmie had just finished ProK's swim camp without using hers.  We got to the race area, got body marked, and all set up quickly, only to have them delay the race start by 15 mins.  By this time we found Bethany and tried to talk her down from the ledge.  I like the "bring your own TP" idea.

I found Jen in transition too.  I looked for Beth, but didn't find her until it was almost time for her wave to go off.  She got to start side by side with Jen!  I also met a couple of Kim's friends, sporting their Ballou Skies kits.  Many Richmond friends were also racing, and I got to see them all before the start.

The Swim

My goal on the swim is always to not dick around and keep my head down.  JUST SWIM!  I was surprised that this time I didn't have the "wtf am I doing?" thoughts and I was instead concentrating on staying with the pack, kicking strong, and getting to the next bouy.  It took what seemed like a long time to get to the first turn bouy, but I resisted the urge to look at my watch.  I had already started passing the stragglers in orange caps from the wave in front of me, so I knew if there was a current that I was doing ok.  I swam inside the yellow bouys to the second turn since it seemed like a straighter line.  By this time, the fast guys in the swim wave behind me had caught up.  I tried to catch a good draft and get on some heels, but those guys were too fast and I was getting tired.  Man the finish seemed so far away!

By the last bouy, you could stand up, and I did pop up quick to see who else was around me.  Still quite a few purple caps (my wave).  Dolphin dive, dolphin dive, dolphin dive, and it was time to exit the water.  NOW I could look at my watch.  What?!  49:57???  You have to be kidding me.  Turns out some folks' garmins said the course was long, by almost 500m.  If that is the case, I was swimming right at my ususal 1/2IM speed.

Thoughts of PRs quickly were dashed.  Ok, time to regroup and get ready to bike.  My rack was right at the swim exit and no wetsuit, so T1 went quick: 1:05 faster than last year. 

The Bike

I knew I would get passed on the bike considering the two swim waves behind me were the men 16-29, and women 16-29.  My three goals for this leg, considering how the swim went, were:

  • to get off the bike before Jen finished the race

  • to keep 18mph on my odometer

  • and to stay on top of nutrition/hydration/electrolytes.
At every water stop, I refilled my profile bottle and dumped the rest over my head.  I alternated taking 1 or 2 electrolyte tabs every 10 miles too.  I could feel how hot it was and I hoped that would be enough.  The wind didn't feel too bad--there were just a few areas where a headwind and slight drop in speed were noticeable which was a plus.  On the minus side there was not much hiss. 

Reading back over this, I can't believe that's all I have to say about a ride that took over 3 hours.  I thought they had changed up the course somewhat, but it turns out I just didn't remember it all.  It seemed to be going pretty well, then at mile 40 I was really ready for more water.  The bottle they gave me at the handoff was hot, and only half full.  They had apparently picked up a discarded bottle from the side of the road and then handed it to me.  Bleh.  So that lasted until mile 50, and then there are no more aid stations until transition.  I was pretty parched coming into T2.  At the timing mat, I wanted to throw my bike to whomever wanted it (I think I told one of the volunteers that I was breaking up with it) but rolled it into transition, sat in the grass to change my shoes, and peed.  Total bike time was 3:14.  (This may be TMI, but I usually pee about 4 times on the bike during a half iron.  This time I didn't pee at all on the bike...)  T2 was 1 second off my previous year.

The Run (here's where it gets ugly...)

Heading out of transition, I hit the aid station.  Cold, wonderful water!  1 cup went over the head, another on my face.  1 cup of ice went down my bra.  I drank the gatorade, and that was blessedly cold too.  Shuffle to next aid station (roughly 1 mi down the road).  Repeat 13 times.

Oh. My. God. It was so damn hot out there.  But my sucky pace really doesn't explain how I think I did pretty well.  Let me explain.  Yes it was a struggle to just get from aid station to aid station.  But I ran in between, at a decent enough pace.  That pace just went out the window when I stopped to walk at every aid station to load up on ice, water, and salt tabs, gatorade, and/or gu.  I must also add that I did take full advantage of anyone spraying a hose.  There was one lady, I think it was the house next door to that party house betwen miles 2 and 3, and the water from her hose was so blessedly cool.  I didn't want to leave.  Because after soaking yourself at every opportunity, you'd be bone dry just 3 minutes later.  Everyone was shuffling along at their own pace, and telling eachother "Good job."  I think we all needed to acknowledge to one another that just being out there, still alive, still moving forward, was worthy of praise.  And it was. 

I overheard someone around mile 11 tell his running partner, "Aren't you glad you're not one of THOSE people?!" pointing to someone just heading out on their run.  And while inside I was shouting "Halleluja!" I had to give those folks kudos and prop them up if I could with encouraging words.  Here it was, late in the afternoon and it was questionable if they'd be able to get the whole race done in the time allowed if they had to walk the whole run portion.  But they still started what they set out to do.  I had promised Joe that I would try to first and foremost run a safe race (given my propensity to end up dehydrated in the med tent...) but I still knew I wouldn't DNF even if it was 102 degrees in the shade. 

So, overall, nowhere near a PR--with a finish time of 6:45 (13 mins slower than last year).  But I learned how to handle extreme heat and come out ok in the end.  Onward and upward.  Vineman!

I did find Jen, Jerome, and Beth at the awards ceremony just after I finished.  It was nice to check in with Jen and know she placed in the top 5 of her AG.  Beth killed it!  I saw her with just under a mile to go and she was looking so good and strong.  I had no idea she spent much of the run puking.  I didn't stay long though.  They were all sitting in the sun and I was fried.  Done.  Kaput.  It was time for margaritas (with salt!) by the pool (which was rudely cut short by a storm, but offered a rainbow when it was done).  And food.  And maybe wine too.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Random Musings

1.  We had the MOST gorgeous weather at the beach on Tuesday.  Joe and I headed out around 9 for a short run.  Although we complained to each other the whole way down how hot it was, something happened after we turned for home.  The until-then calm was gone, the wind picked up (hello, headwind), and thus cooled we happily trotted back and jumped in the ocean.  The water temperature was in the low 70s and perfect.  With the wind there were quite a few waves, but the tide was out and you could stand out there in the water forever diving through 2-3 foot waves.  Sophie got to ride a few waves too.

2.  We got alot done while at the beach house.  The outdoor shower now has new plywood, we have new (NICE!) chaises and hammock for the pool deck, my parent's old Mexican sideboard was delivered and stocked with lots of games and puzzles, and Maddy's room was reorganized with new lamps and TV stand.  I also was able to get the drapes hemmed and rehang some window treatments and mirrors. Whew.  I will leave the cleaning to others before the renters come in this weekend.  Unfortunately we don't have the house to ourselves again until late August.  Boo.

3.  I am hydrating and trying to keep on top of my nutrition this week because....

4.  I have a race this weekend!  Ack.  Eagleman.  Maybe if I go into it like I did Rev3 I'll pr...

5.  On Saturday, Melissa and I headed out for a ride.  Cheeks were on seats at 7:10 and by 7:12 we were sweaty and hot.  Heat acclimation for E-man--Check!  I was glad to be done and off the bike by 9am.  

6.  On Sunday morning, Joe and I ran the Stratford Hills 10k.  It would've been an awesome run in say April or November, but that day at the 8am race start it was already hot and HUMID.  Here are Sunday's actual temps (Saturday were almost exactly the same.)

Heat acclimation for E-man--Check Check!  No pr, but just a run that was a slog fest and one I was happy to be done with.  I must say, I love the race pic of me at mile 5.  Check out my quad!

7.  We are pretty excited to have new neighbors!  Welcome Melissa and Greg.

8.  News like this is a grim reminder of how others sacrifice for us.  Thank you to all our service members and their families! 

9.  The next two weekends are busy busy busy with races and weddings.  Lots to celebrate.  Then it's on to California!  3 weeks in wine country, with a little Yosemite and Vineman thrown in.  Can't wait to see friends and drink wine.  Yippee!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rev3 Race Report

....or how to place in your age group without even trying!

Last weekend didn't go quite like I thought it would.  Going into that weekend, I was feeling undertrained, ill-prepared, and a bit down on myself.  Life is like that right now (Joe and I are in a place neither one of us could have ever imagined, so we're feeling ill-prepared and down on ourselves), but sometimes you need things to start out wrong to end up right.  It's amazing how everything has a way of working out--and this past weekend was a good lesson in how our life will turn around too.

Getting to Knoxville
I had planned on driving down to Tennessee on Friday afternoon, but as I was cleaning my house (can't leave house filthy--don't want to come home to dirt and mess) Joe and I were called by Joey's school for a medical emergency.  Four hours in the ER and a CAT scan later, we were back home with Joey who spent the rest of the day sleeping and resting.  I scrubbed the bejeezus out of the kitchen floor late that afternoon while debating with myself if I should even race.  By early evening, it was clear that Joey was feeling much better.  Since the guys were still planning on attending their camp out the following night, we decided that it would be fine for me to go.  Maddy care was lined up--she had a crazy busy weekend of volunteer activities--and that evening we had a nice family dinner and watched The Blind Side. 

Saturday morning I was up and out of the house by 5:30.  I was anxious to get to Knoxville early enough to have time to check in, drive the bike course, hang with Molly, Lynn, and possibly Kari.  I had never driven farther south than Lexington on I-81.  I don't know quite what I was expecting (other than lots of tractor trailers), but it was a beautiful and scenic drive.  Winding through Blacksburg, I thought about my friends signed up for Mountains of Misery in a couple weeks.  Such a shame that I can't join them for it (NOT!), since the ride is 2 weeks before Eagleman.  Just as I pulled into Knoxville, I got a call from #1 son, home from Iraq.  Poor guy was greeted at the door by just the dog--everyone else was gone.  He was able to have a nice lunch with Maddy in between her outings and sleepover. 

Molly met me in the lobby of the hotel and we schlepped bike and bags upstairs before hitting the expo/athlete check-in.  We walked down to find transition and the swim exit.  The river looked quite nice, and there were still people in the water.  After a quick lunch of barbeque and chatting with Lynn, we headed out for a preview of the bike course.  Can you say technical?!  Narrow, narrow roads.  No shoulders.  Winding, blind descents.  Some steep climbs.  We doubted how they could close the course, given all the homes along the way, and hoped it wouldn't be much of a problem (more on that later).  On the way back to the hotel, we laid in some food and post race libations and made plans to join Lynn and her mom for dinner.

Our dinner was ok--the food was decent, but the service was far from it.  I think we had the newest, youngest waitress who asked us 3 times what kind of wine we had ordered.  Salads came after the dinner, as did the soup.  After several pleading looks at passing managers, they got it right--with 2 comped deserts for our troubles.  We were back in the hotel and lights out by 9:30.  I was surprised how easily I fell asleep, and stayed zonked until the alarm went off at 6.

Race Day
After some iffy attempts at brewing my own water for oatmeal, we found coffee and hot water at the restaurant on our way to transition.  I think I need a new transition bag--Molly had hands free with her neat back pack.  I ended up spilling some of my oatmeal while trying to juggle the food and my stuff.  We got body marked, said hello to this guy who is stalking me (I swear he's at every race I do!).  

(What the hell is up with those bags under my eyes?!)

While I was saying good morning to Michael Lovato, dear dear Lynn showed up with a Starbucks latte for me!  That is how I like to start Mother's Day.  Bless you Lynn.

It was so cold out, I think the air temps were in the 40s.  I was a little worried about the water temps given I decided to wear my own john style wetsuit.  After setting everything up in transition, we walked barefoot down to the swim start and met up with Lynn's mom and Brian.  I was in the last swim wave, so I got to see everyone off, including Tara Costa who was participating in her first tri (and she kicked butt!)  Soon it was time for my wave to get in the water.  The water felt great!  So warm in comparison to the air temps.  Time to go!

Swims are always funny things for me.  I knew I had a good start, since I lined up at the very front and there were just 2 or 3 people swimming at my speed from my wave.  Sighting was ok, even given the sun coming up straight ahead of us.  There was a riverboat close to the turn, so I just aimed for that.  Not much current either.  I still dick around too much on the swim, popping up to look around, wave at kayakers, and check out my surroundings.  I made the turn easily (there was no one else there...) and headed back down stream.  Sighting got a little harder, since there weren't enough bouys marking the course.  But I knew the swim exit was just past the railroad bridge so if I swam straight for one of the piers I'd be ok.  I got to the dock in about 24 mins (someone said the course was short) and held on for a second extra.  A couple volunteers asked if I needed help getting out, but I told them I needed to pee before exiting.  They were a little surprised at that.  Peeing done, I hopped out and started the jog up the ramp to T1.  Total swim time:  25:42 an oly-distance swim PR of about 2:45 (so I don't think the course was short). 

What a gorgeous morning it was turning into.  It was a little breezier than I would've liked, given I had just put my race wheels back on my bike.  (See here why I'm not a fan of race wheels, wind, and hills.)   T1 wasn't my fastest ever.  I struggled to get the arm warmers on, but knew I'd need them. 

As I was crossing the mount line, I heard some one say "Have a great ride, Kate."  I looked up and it was Brian, waiting for Lynn.  I can't believe I didn't find Lynn on the swim.  I can usually recognize her swim stroke from a mile away.  Time to hop on the bike and get it done.  My goal for this leg was to get up the hills fast, get down the hills however I could, and try to enjoy the back part of the course.  Getting out of town sucked--two big climbs right off the bat, then down a street that was under construction.  We had less than a normal lane width under a train bridge and with bikes heading out and in it was a bit disconcerting. 

All in all, I thought the ride went well, except for the two times I dropped my chain at the top of a climb.  I noted to be careful with my gears when gearing up for the downhills, and it didn't happen again.  Through the shady parts it was downright COLD, but the sunshine felt oh so good.  I was suprised the course was completely open to traffic, and I'm not sure how much warning drivers had that there would be a race happening that morning.  I like this series of pictures of me passing these two guys.  The ambulance in the last frame was for some poor guy who crashed and had possibly broken his collarbone.  Doesn't the guy on the left look a little like the Geico caveman? 

On the way back into town, I had to face those two hills we climbed up.  I should've pulled up the big girl pants and bombed down, but the wind had picked up quite a bit and I chickened out.  I'm sure the cops directing traffic were wondering this one chick barely inched down the hill when everyone else was flying down.  Oh well.  My next race is blessedly FLAT!  Total bike time:  1:39:53, 4 minutes slower than my Columbia bike time.

T2 is always so nice.  Throw everything on the rack, sit down, and pee while putting on the shoes.  Some lady in the rack next to mine was bemoaning having to pee heading out and I told her to just sit and do it while she put on her shoes.  She was surprised, but it saved her from stopping in a nasty portapotty. 

I got out on the run, picked what felt like a quick pace/cadence and thought to myself, "Let's see how long you can hold this."  Turns out I held it pretty well!  I felt good and was passing people (which NEVER happens to me on the run).  Just before the first mile, I saw Kari on her way back in.  Water and gu at mile 2, and some over the head.  The breeze was nice and kept the temperature just perfect.  About a 1/2 mile before the turn around, I saw Molly and gave her a high five.  I wished I could have caught up to her.  I ran the first segment at an 8:51 pace and the second half at an 8:56 pace.  Turns out I ran a 55:09 10k!!!  Which is an oly-run PR.  I was so happy with that.

So overall I came in at 3:07:22.  Not the quite time I was thinking I could do, and probably should have done with out the mental crap I was putting myself through before the race, but still a PR.  Molly met me at the finish line and we grabbed food, then decided to get our stuff out of transition before we didn't have the energy to do it later.  We found Lynn in transition getting ready to head out on her 1/2 marathon, looking strong.  Sadly, the volunteers still in transition were a little too busy texting/talking on their cell phones, and Lynn didn't see where the run out was.  We got her pointed in the right direction and let her know we'd see her at the finish with her mom and Toby.

While waiting for Lynn and Brian, Molly wandered off and found an ice bath AND mimosa.  Then they started the awards ceremony.  Molly wasn't around to see that the young chick who was paced by her volunteer boyfriend took third in her AG.  So annoying.  When they got to my AG I was curious to see how fast these women looked--but then they called my name as having placed THIRD!!!  Holy sh*t!  Had I known I was going to get called onstage, I would've worn something nicer.  I got a nice plaque and a new fuel belt.

Soon afterwards, Lynn and Brian came running home.  Lynn's mom had never seen her race before and was beaming with pride.  I was bummed that they couldn't stick around for a while--would've been nice to share those Mike's, margaritas, and cupcakes with them.  All in all, a good day!

Monday morning I was bummed to find the hotel hot tub closed for cleaning.  I got all packed up, said goodbye to Molly, and headed to visit my old TriMoms friends, Matt and Kim.  Matt had been the swim coach at UofR, but now coaches the LadyVols.  Their new facilities are AMAZING!  Also so nice to catch up with them and tell them about how far some of their TriMoms have come--quite a few of us are now Ironmen, something we never imagined while training for our first sprint in 2004!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

If the suit fits...

I am good at purging.  Not a month goes by that I am not assessing what I have in my closet and chest of drawers, asking myself if I haven't worn such-and-such in over a year, is it really worth keeping?  Usually the answer is no. 

The cleaning people have always been very grateful for our hand me downs.  They've scored some good stuff--upteen gazillion suits and shirts of Joe's, even a bag of over 50 ties thanks to "business casual" at Joe's new company last year.  (It had to be a pretty darn good tie to make the final 20 that stayed on the rack.)  They also got lots of things from my side of the closet with labels that read either "Talbots" or "Ann Taylor." Heck, they even got my old shearling coat from Poland.  When I think about it, that was a lot of money that walked out the door!

Regardless of whether you're a keeper or purger, I think many of us must have, stashed away somewhere deep in the bowels of our closets, an article of clothing from a past life.  One in which we were younger, skinnier.  It hides back there, forgotten for the most part, but every now and again we pull it out, pull it on (if we can), and reminisce.     

Mine is a red linen suit--my former power suit--from the days when I worked at the CIA.  I loved that suit.  It made me feel invincible.  I'd usually wear it on days that I had important meetings, or when I needed a little boost of confidence.  I had a couple of different scarves that I'd wear with it.  One was very nautical: red, white, and blue in a sail boat motif; another was black with big red cabbage roses on it; and a third was another floral, but with shots of acid green.  The cut is very late '80s:  big shoulders, short skirt, long jacket. I like to think I was that chick in the Cake song, with the right allocations, fast and thorough, and sharp as a tack:

I haven't been able to fit in that suit for a looooooong time.  I remember trying to put it on after Joey was born and I literally couldn't get the skirt up over my hips.  Very depressing.  I'd been tempted over the years to relegate it to the give away pile, but I've always held out hope that I could fit in it again. 

Today in the shower I was wondering if those last intervals in my 9+ mile fartlek run were so sucky because I was dehydrated.  (Yeah, yeah, ELF. Excuses excuses.)  I had just recently read Michelle's post about losing over two pounds in sweat--so it is possible.  It wasn't that hot out today, but I know I've been really off in the past few weeks about drinking enough water throughout the day.  (I have been very good about drinking enough wine, however.)

I don't like scales and only bought one because Kim told me to.  So I got on the scale straight out of the shower to see if I weighed less than my usual.  For the past 2-3 years my weight, even at the doctor's office, has not varied by more than a couple pounds. 

Lo and behold, the scale posted a number I haven't seen since before I was pregnant with Maddy.  I thought to myself, "That can't be right."  I think I got on and off the scale three times before thinking that the only way to check was to drag out that red suit and try it on.  The weight litmus test if you will. 

17 years of marriage, 2 more kids, 5 years of triathlon et voila: me in the red suit!

Where the heck is Camp Buehring anyways?

The past month has been a busy one, and these days I barely have enough energy to look at the computer much less blog or even check facebook.  I will summarize:

1.  Main family news:  #1 Son has deployed.  I was able to get down to New Orleans (and drive to Camp Shelby) for Tiger Day, the last day families were allowed to visit their soldiers predeployment.  It was a bittersweet day--we had a nice time (just under 5 hours) hanging out, but at 4:45 just before we had to leave the camp, there were lots of tears being shed.  I am so very proud of him--soldiers really are a special breed.  ADC's facebook post a couple weeks ago said it best, and please let me paraphrase: "A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to their country, for an amount up to, and including, their life! That is honor! THANK A SOLDIER!!"  Some pics from my visit with him:

2.  Other family news:  Maddy was in her school play last weekend.  The entire cast and crew worked SO HARD, and it showed.  The week leading up to the performances, they were in practice every night past 6, dress rehearsal nights past 7, and she was still able to keep up (mostly) with her homework, dance class on 2 nights/week, and volleyball on Sundays.  I think she's still recovering, and digging out of the "in over her head" hole.  We are very proud of her!  Way to go, Quince!

3.  I started working on a project for a national flooring company, helping them with the room schemes for their next catalogue.  The job is a 40 minute drive from home, and I work from 8 until about 5.  Fitting in workouts has been interesting and basically means more early mornings!  The job is tough--I am busy the entire time.  We shoot at least 2 "rooms" a day, so that means making sure the floors are installed well, placing all the furniture, staging it (Pier 1 is not going to like it when I return all those accessories...), and then helping the photographer decide on the angles, lighting, and if things should be moved around.

....ok so I started the post back in March and I'm just now (late April) publishing it.  Life does get in the way.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What's on my mind?

"Dear Kathryn,

Are you ready? We hope so! The inaugural Olympic and Half Rev races sponsored by REV3 are only four weeks away. You’ve signed up, you’ve trained and you most likely have tapering on your mind. "
Tapering?!  Who are they kidding?  I'm still training.  Or at least thinking about training.

There may be too much to blog, if you want to know what's going on in my life, call me!

Friday, February 5, 2010

10 Things that Make Me Happy

1.  My Handsome Guys:

Joey is our comic relief in this family and oh, do I love him so.  He has some great signature dance moves, and will on occassion come and snuggle with me in the morning.  That is the BEST way to start the day.  Soon he'll be too old for that, so I grab every chance to love on him.  He is a nice kid, and tries hard to be responsible about his diabetes. 

My husband is my greatest cheerleader and best friend.  It's funny how we as girls tend to choose guys very much like our own fathers for husbands (although mine has MUCH more fashion sense than my dad!); my dad would not deny my mother anything.  My mom was right when she told me my father was the one that would love her always and regardless of anything--and Joe is the same with me.  He can be really goofy at times, especially with the kids, which makes him the best kind of dad--engaged, loving, and thoughtful.   

2. My Beautiful Moo

Every day I marvel at what a smart, beautiful girl I have!  She is a far better student than I ever was, which I credit to her love of reading.  She is an adventurous sort and is usually willing to give new things a try, from food to sports to travel.  I am so glad that she has some very close friends--girls that have been in her life since before preschool!  I know she will grow up to be a confident and independent woman.

3.  My friends--both near and far, old and new

My friends challenge me:  to do new things, to push myself, and to reach for things I want.  I love that they see things in me that I can't and believe in me when I don't.  Without you guys I would've never become an Ironman, much less tried a triathlon in the first place.  Peer pressure can be a good thing!  (Although that fourth vodka gimlet was not a good idea.) 

4.  Sophie

Wouldn't it be nice to wake up everyday in the same "Gee, I'm happy to see you!" mood?  It has taken a while (4 years) for her to get over the piddle-in-submission greeting, but Sophie is always ready to go for a run or snuggle on the couch.  She absolutely LOVES the beach in any kind of weather which makes her my kind of dog!  Now, if only I could break her annoying habit of carrying shoes around in her mouth. 

5.  Cupcakes

Now, I'm sure you thought this was a given, but it's not the cake itself that makes me happy (although I am a total sucker for that coconut/lime flavor YUM!)  Cupcakes to me are about making other people happy because shared indulgences are the best, especially with folks from #3.

6.  The Beach

Like my dog, I love the beach in any kind of weather.  We are so lucky to have our house at the beach and it has become our "happy place."  There is no clutter, no demands on our schedule, and no hassles (other than home repair issues.)  It is a time to read, do puzzles, lounge on the beach or in the house, go for runs or bike rides if the mood strikes, and generally just hang out.

7.  A Clean House

....and preferably one I didn't have to clean myself!

8.  A Good Book

I am the type of person that gets easily sucked into a good book.  I will ignore everything else, and just read read read.  I've been known to stay up waaaay past 3am to finish a book.  It doesn't happen very often, which I guess is a good thing, since then the house would be a total wreck and my children would be dirty and starving.

9.  Nice Hotels and Flying First Class

I don't do camping.  I don't like to be cold, sleep on the ground, or have to use a flashlight to find the bathroom in the middle of the night.  I much prefer a bed that is freshly made every morning, down comforters (love the fact that more hotels are going in this direction), and clean towels every day.  My husband has spoiled us--we have stayed in some pretty swank places on our travels and been able to cobble together some good itineraries on flights that let us fly in style.  The days of tighter budgets will be a sad thing when and if we get to go overseas again.

10.  Tulips.

Tulips are my favorite flower, but I especially love parrot tulips that are variegated and have the raggedy edges.  Joe knows birthdays are better with tulips!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

We're already how far into the new year?

I was reminded in an email that I haven't updated my blog in a while.  I must say that I have become a little lazy, figuring if you really need to know what's going on in my life you can check my Facebook page.  But there are quite a few things to flesh out now that we are, indeed, well into a new year. 

The Race Schedule

Jen H has her athletes fill out a goals form at the beginning of every year, listing A, B, and C races and other "want to accomplish" types of things.  I started filling mine out on New Year's Day, but still haven't finished it.  I am in a quandry on the why's and wherefore's of my racing this coming year.  Don't get me wrong, there are definitely races I'm signed up for and looking forward to, but once past Vineman in July there is a whole lot of NOTHING looming.  Do I want to do another fall marathon?  Do I try and squeak an IM-distance race past my hubby and go for Beach2Battleship?  Do I sign up for IMMoo or IMFL in 2011? (good reasons to do either, can't imagine doing both.  I think Jen would have to line up right behind Joe to throttle me if I did that.) 

There is also the whole "sick of being slow" sickness going around.  Anyone who did IM distance races last year, with the exception of quite a few of my local training buddies, are swearing off them for at least another year and are focused on SPEED!  Frankly it kinda scares me that even with that as a goal, I may still end up woefully slow.  All my "benchmark" road races--in which I would seriously try to set a PR--fall on dates that don't mesh with the training schedule.  I will be gone for the Monument Ave 10k.  Carytown 10k is the weekend after my first big race.  Then there's Shamrock.  Do I go for that sub 2hr half just 4 days before climbing Mt. Lemmon?!  Jen says no.  Damn damn damn.  Can't win for trying.

Amidst all this race schedule planning, Joe and I need to fit in some other stuff.  Going to New Orleans to see Jim before he deploys to Iraq.  Vacationing in California and hiking in Yosemite, just before Vineman.  As always, none of this racing or traveling is free.  Since Joe changed jobs last year, finances are a little tighter, spoiling any plans for new kitchens, major beach house repairs, and a Powertap.  We are very lucky--Joe has a good job, we have food on the table and a roof over our head, and we can still afford some luxuries (thank you, Belmont Butchery!) but it's still a joy-kill. 

Anyways, back to the race schedule.  So far it looks like this:
  • Next weekend, Frostbite 15k.  LOTS of friends running, including Joe, so it should be a good time.  I've signed up for this race 3 times, and never run it.  This year there's no backing out.
  • Mar 21st Shamrock 1/2 Marathon (I guess Jen should be glad I'm not doing the Dolphin Challenge--8k on Sat, 1/2 mary on Sun)
  • Mar 24-28th Tricamp in AZ!!!
  • May 8th Rev3 Oly Knoxville, TN (still trying to talk Lynn into this, but if not will see Florida tricamp buddies there!)
  • June 13th Eagleman (this time NO BONKING! More on this later)
  • July 18th Vineman (with Marit and some new friends!)
Mixed in there will also be a couple of small local triathlons.  Still on the want to do list:
  • a 10k--one that I can go for a sub 50 on.  My pr is 52:30 so it's do-able.  Now I just have to find a 10k that fits in the schedule...
  • The Army 10 Miler.  I LOVE this race.  This year was huge for me--took 10 whole minutes off my best time.  I'm 1:31 away from breaking 1:30:00 and I know I can do it.  Maybe this year I can talk Joe into running with me!
  • Patriot 1/2 in September.  Last time I did this race I DNF'd.  Time to finish some un-finished business.
Nutrition Issues

This has been a perennial entry on my "want to accomplish" list--nailing down my nutrition, on race day and otherwise.  I really am sick of bonking on runs in IM and half iron distance races.  Plus, if I could move some stuff around, like take away what's on the back of my hips and put it instead into more muscular thighs, it could only help my running.  "Lean up" instead of slim down.  ELF mentioned something about body composition having the most impact on your running/speed (we won't go into the "consistency in training thing") so we'll see what I can accomplish on this front.  I have been much better so far this year about cutting out the weekday-night drinking.  1-2 glasses of wine a night was the norm, so I now try to keep any alcohol intake to Friday/Saturday only. (Although last night was an exception.  Nothing like kids vomiting, dogs pooping, and giving blood all in one morning to make one turn to alcohol.  I was glad to be able to hold out until 7pm before pouring a large glass.)  Poor Joe isn't very happy with me, says it makes him feel like a lush if he's drinking alone.

The Job Search

In the past month, I've started an honest job search.  I can't believe it's been 18 months years since I finished the Master's program at VCU!  Time flies, especially when training for two IMs and a marathon.  It is time to get serious on this front.  The kids are in a good place--happy in their respective schools with some, but not too many, after school activities.  They are pretty self-sufficient, as long as there is someone around to monitor Joey's eating/blood sugars.  While it seems most of the great jobs are in DC and NY, I have found a couple of leads worth pursuing.  I even have a job interview this Friday!  This would also help the Oliver-household finances, and maybe even pay for a new kitchen...  I have put together an online portfolio.  You can see it here.


Soon my daughter celebrates her 13th birthday, and just after that I will celebrate turning 29 for the 13th time.  I can't believe I will be 42--that's just not possible.  I feel like I should be 34ish.  Is there someway to just stop aging?  Or should I just not celebrate it at all, and let it pass hopefully into obsurity?  NAH!  Maddy's having some girlfriends down to the beach house, so I figured I could invite some too!  Hopefully we'll get a good group and all have  a girly-girly weekend!

This week is test week for me.  Soon I'll be off to do the dreaded swim test.  Ack.  Wish me luck.  I did pack the new goggles!