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! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Someone get me off this rollercoaster, please!!!

Sometimes I feel that there is at once too much and too little to blog about.  How, as bloggers, do we balance the need to keep the world abreast of what is going on in our lives while maintaining a semblance of privacy so you don't end up alienating, offending, or exposing ourselves and others to prying eyes?  While honesty is a great virtue, there are probably very sensible limits to how much we should reveal about ourselves online.  I'm not convinced that these new media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter) really help us develop deeper relationships with our friends.  Maybe they do the opposite--they keep us from meaningful discussions with the people with care about on topics such as life, love, and (pardon the poor grammar) where our heads are at.  

I have spent the past year living from one month to the next--very unsure about all sorts of things.  Now, I never considered myself much of a planner, but there is something very grounding about knowing, in general terms, where your life is headed.  Recently I've done quite a bit of thinking about the assumptions I made long ago about my future life.  Think about that.  When you were younger, did you know instinctively what type of person you were going to marry?  What you wanted to do when you grew up?  What type of parent you wanted to be?  Of course I knew I wanted kids, but never imagined what sweet individuals they would turn out to be.  I always knew that I wanted a professional life, that I would have something outside of being "mom" and "wife" that I found interesting and fulfilling--but I'm not sure what I'm doing now qualifies as a "career."  And while I've never been a whiz with money, I always figured there would be enough to live comfortably.  Life doesn't live up to expectations, but it can also exceed them in wonderful ways!  Is that what a mid life crisis is: realizing that dreams are just that; you can bank on some disappointments; and reality can be a bit messy at times?

With no firm ground below me, it is nice to have a training regimen that provides a plan--and that is the main reason I signed up for IMCdA.  I know that in 2 weeks I'm running a 1/2 marathon, a few weeks after that will be my first Oly distance race, and so on.  I can't say I'm very excited about the culmination of all this training in June (CdA as a race scares the shit out of me), but I look forward to the time suffering training with friends. After the race we're back to free fall: no races scheduled, and more uncertainty.

I am in a rest week, but this week doesn't feel very restful yet.  The same number of workouts, just different intensities (can you say run test?) and "shorter" long bricks.  I am trying to eat well and dinners are going well, but there are really limited good lunch options close to work.  (The lunchtime dilemma should be resolved after I get back from Tucson, and am no longer commuting to Williamsburg for work.)  I have been very encouraged that I am improving on my swim, and set a new 100m PR!  My Wednesday morning swims have been very drill/technique focused and it has paid off.  I haven't been very good at getting the kids or myself in bed by 8:30, and those early morning swims require much earlier bedtimes!  I become a grumpy bear with not enough sleep.

Ok, enough with the woe is me/training update post.  Let's finish off with something light and mindless!  The ABC's of me.
A. Age: 43
B. Bed size: Queen but lately I'm thinking King...
C. Chore you dislike: mopping the kitchen floor.  White sheet vinyl is NEVER a good design choice, people.
D. Dogs:  Sophie the Vizsla!  Before her, it was Trooper the Mutt.
E. Essential start to your day:  Coffee, preferably Starbucks House Blend made in a French Press.  Light with one tsp of sugar in the raw, please.
F. Favorite color:  Yellow--it's happy!
G. Gold or silver: whatever matches the outfit or other jewelry...
H. Height: 5’9” but I slouch horribly.
I. Instruments you play(ed): very briefly the recorder and clarinet.
J. Job title: Interior Designer.
K. Kids: 3 Jim, Maddy, and Joey.
L. Live: Richmond.
M. Mom’s name: Betty!
N. Nicknames: KateO, Honey, Crash, and Boo.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Kids being born, a kidney infection while pregnant with Joey.  Does staying overnight while your child is in the hospital count?  Done that several times too.
P. Pet peeves: Stupid drivers that, when they miss a turn, don't continue to the next turn and instead STOP in the middle of traffic!
Q. Quote from a movie: "Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash. But I would be proud to part take of your PECAN PIE." (When Harry met Sally)
R. Righty or Lefty: RIGHTY
S. Siblings:  My older sister Molly.
T. Time you wake up: usually 7 am during the week, earlier for swimming.  On the weekends it depends on whether there is an early workout or not.
U. Underwear:  Uh YEAH! Except under workout clothes or pajama bottoms--yuck.
V. Vegetables you don’t like: Okra.
W. What makes you run late: Nothing, I'm just ALWAYS late. 
X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth, Knee (ACL), Chest (pneumonia as a kid)
Y. Yummy food you make:  I consider myself a pretty good cook, but I did have to promise #1 son that I'd NEVER make tuna casserole ever again.
Z. Zoo animal favorites:  I like most of them except reptiles. Giraffes are my favorite.