Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Look Ahead to 2011

The saying "What a difference a year makes!" certainly is true for me. Recently I was reflecting back to the November 2009 Jingle Bell Run and remembered that I had to walk part of it because I was so out of shape. The last two weekends I ran 90 min and 75 min and tomorrow I will do at least 90 min. Last year if you had asked me if I could run 90 min, I would have thought you were crazy. Now, it may not be a piece of cake, but I can do it without stopping. My in-laws live in Alexandria Bay during the summer and I can recall watching their neighbor across the street going out for a 7 mile run in preparation for the Boilermaker. At the time I thought he was crazy for both running 7 miles and for running the Boilermaker. Today, I can run 7 miles myself and I plan to run the Boilermaker this summer. Funny how things change.

So, speaking of the Boilermaker, I am ready to release my race plan for 2011. Drumroll please...

Sunday, January 23, 1:00 PM, Cazenovia: Chilly Chili 5K
Can't go wrong when there is a chili cookoff at the finish line

Saturday, February 12, 10:00 AM, Onondaga Lake Park: Cupid's Chase 5K
Nothing terribly special about this race, just something to break up the winter

Saturday, March 5, 10:00 AM, Burnet Park: Tipperary Hill Shamrock Run 4 miles
I'm Irish and you run past all the bars in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood, need I say more?

Sunday, March 20, Time TBD, North Area YMCA: Indoor Triathlon
This will be a good way to see how I'm doing during the off-season in each discipline

May ?, Time TBD, Du at the Lakes:
My first Du of RunBikeRun

Sunday, May 1, : Mountain Goat Run 10 mile
This is another race I thought I would never do. I just hope it's not as hot as last year's was.

Saturday, June 11, 8:30 AM, Green Lakes State Park: Green Lakes Sprint Triathlon
The first of three triathlons planned for this year

Sunday, July 10, Time?, Utica, NY: The Boilermaker 15K
This is the race I thought was crazy and now I want to do it...where's the straight-jacket?

Sunday, August 7, 7:00 AM, Oneida Shores Park: Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon
A return to better my time from last year...I hope!

Sunday, August 28...I think!, 9:00 AM, Clayton, NY: River Rat Triathlon
2010 was the inagural race and I probably could have done it after Iron Girl. Mentally I just wasn't preparing for another triathlon

Right now, I think this is as far ahead as I'm going to plan. I ran 7 races this fall and I'm probably going to try to do most of them again in hopes that I will improve my time. But, time will tell if I want to do them again or if I can as long as I stay injury free.

The only other race I might do is a half marathon in October. There is an inagural race that I would like to participate in called the Empire State Full and Half Marathon. I am hoping to work behind the scenes on this race, so I'm not sure if I will be able to compete. If not, then a half marathon is definitely going to be on my race list for 2012, but that is way too far away to start thinking about.

So, that's it for now. Hope I will see some of you at these races so we can share our stories.

TTFN!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Interesting Day in the Life of This Runner

Well, I thought my next post was going to be a list of next years race plan, but that will have to wait. Yesterday was an interesting day in my running life, so I figured I better write about it.

Major Run!
As most of you know, I belong to the Kevin Collins running group through the YMCA and on Saturday's we do our long run. The first week, which was 10 weeks ago, we had to run 15-30 minutes. I chose the 30 minutes because A) I had already been running 30 minutes pretty consistently and B) there was no way I was going to drive 25 minutes to Green Lakes State Park, run only 15 minutes, then drive 25 minutes home. So, every other week, our long run would increase by 15 minutes. Therefore, on weeks 3 & 4 we had to run 30-45 minutes, weeks 5 & 6 we had to run 45-60 minutes, and so on.

Yesterday was week 10 and we had to run 75-90 minutes. Up until yesterday, the longest I had ever run at one time was 67 minutes at the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 10K. Last week I ran 60 minutes in the morning then ran another 32 minutes at the It's a Wonderful Run 5K, so that was the most I had run in one day, but not all at the same time. Yesterday was definitely going to be interesting.

I arrived at the park, got my layers on in the car, and headed over to the group. I didn't recognize anyone. Great! I have to do this alone?!?! Luckily, Kevin joined me for the first 30 minutes or so. On previous Green Lakes runs we headed out on the Erie Canal Tow Path, but I was told that the snow makes it impossible to run on. So, we ran "the bowl" which is basically up a hill and back down it, then up another hill and back down it. Hills? Great! I love them! (Not quite!)

Anyway, as we came back to the parking lot, Kevin had me go ahead because someone I knew was up ahead and I wanted to catch up with her. I ran the next 40 minutes or so with her and three other people, then her time ended. Two of the women in that group finished my run with me. I was doing great until about the last 10 minutes or so. I had bought the pair of running shoes I was wearing back in April or May. I knew I was overdue to get a new pair because they say to get a new pair every 300 miles or so. I have no idea how many miles were on them, but I knew it was more than 300 miles. And recently I could feel that I was due. The outside of my left foot has been bugging me on and off for the last couple weeks. It doesn't hurt when I run, but once in awhile when I'm sitting it will ache a little. During the last 10 minutes yesterday I got a sharp pain in the arch of my left foot. So, I decided right then and there that I was going to Fleet Feet on the way home.

So, to finish up my run story, I ran for a total of 90 minutes for a distance of 7.23 miles. It was actually a little more because my Garmin took awhile to locate the satellites and I didn't start my stop watch for a couple minutes or so into the run. Today as I write this, my legs are aching...BAD! But, its a good ache!

New Shoes!
Since I was on the East side of town, I thought it would be a good idea to stop at Fleet Feet on my way home. They hadn't been open long, so it wasn't busy and I got someone to wait on me right away. They brought out 3 pairs of running shoes including the updated version of my old shoes. They all felt pretty good, but my thought was that I had good results with my old shoes, so I would go with the updated ones.



During the Green Lakes run, I was very nervous about all the hard packed snow. So, while I was at Fleet Feet, I also picked up a pair of Yak Trax. Santa doesn't know it yet, but they will be in my stocking Christmas morning. (Don't tell Santa, but actually, the empty box will be there because I will be using them this week...shhh!)



I'm a little sad to retire my old shoes because I've done a lot in them. My first triathlon, my first 10K, my current 5K PR, my longest run ever.



They won't be retired completely, just worn to Wegman's instead of training. For now, I've got to look ahead to even more with my new shoes.

TTFN!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's a Wonderful Run 5K Race Report

Last Saturday I finished up my 2011 race season. It was a pretty short season seeing that I only started it in August. Next week I'll write about my full 2011 race season. But, for now, I'll wrap up what has been an interesting year of racing.

On Saturday I ran the "It's a Wonderful Run" 5K in Seneca Falls. I figured it would be a nice way to get some holiday spirit while being active at the same time.



I started Saturday morning by running at Onondaga Lake Park with the Kevin Collins run group. Coach Kelly wasn't crazy about me running, but out of the 8 previous weeks, I had missed 4 of them. I was longing to run with friends and didn't want to do a run alone. So we agreed that I would do 60 min of my run in the morning and finish my long run with the 5K. So, I headed to the park at 7:00 AM and ran with my friend Mary D. and another woman I just met that day, but now her name escapes me. At the end of the 60 min we ran about 5.5 miles.

At 2:00 I met my friends Erin and Sarah at the Y to car pool to Seneca Falls. I definitely didn't want to drive and run out there by myself, so it was great to have the two of them for company.



We arrived at the Hotel Clarence and picked up our race packet. One of the unique things about this race is that it was going to be featured on MTV. A woman from Rochester wanted to be "made" into a 5K runner on their show "Made." So this race was her graduation. At the packet pick up, we had to sign a waiver that it was OK that we were filmed. I'll definitely look forward to this show to see if we made it on TV. At the hotel we ran into another friend of ours Kelly who trained with us for Iron Girl. We then headed back out to the car to get into our race clothes and have a PB sandwich. While we were out there we ran into our friends Sue and Naiela so it was really nice to have a group from the Y there.



After we all got dressed (including putting on a loaner Santa hat from Naiela) we headed toward the start line to check things out. The start was on the bridge similar to the one in the movie.





We jogged around a little, then headed to the Community Center to warm up and get in one more bathroom break.

Everyone started to gather on the bridge while we waited for the start. The "Made" woman was nearby along with the camera crews in addition to some bag pipers.



The "starting gun" was courtesy of the woman who played the little girl in the "Wonderful Life" movie. Her famous line was "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings" or something like that (I have to admit, I've never seen the entire movie!) When she said the word "wings" that was when we started.

I started off and my legs quickly started to protest. They probably figured they had already done their run for the day and wondered why I was stupid enough to run again. I quickly lost sight of everyone else as they quickly took off. But, my plan all along was to take it slow and not go for a PR.

When we first started it wasn't all that dark out which was disappointing because I wanted to see all the Christmas lights. But, that soon changed and we had pretty lights to meet us around every turn. Many neighbors were out to cheer us on and we even had a chorus singing carols at a fire station.

As we came down the main street heading toward the finish, I was running with this older man. We passed a bank and he shouted "Merry Christmas you old savings and loan!" (Again, a line from the movie which doesn't have much meaning to me.) As we neared the finish, I kicked it into high gear and left him in my dust. My finish time was 32:27 or something around that...I cleared the time out of my Garmin and I haven't downloaded it yet to get the time again.

We hung out at the finish line to see the "Made" woman cross the finish line which she did in about 45 min or so. Even though I was pretty spent from running earlier in the day, I was determined not to let her beat me. Mission accomplished.

I did have a disappointment that day due to the race. While I was gone, my husband took my son sledding. On one of his trips down the hill, he hit a bump which knocked his loose tooth out. I was sad that I missed that. But what makes matters worse is that, because I wasn't there and didn't have it drilled into my head that the Tooth Fairy needed to come that night, I forgot to leave money under his pillow. I know that running these races is good because I have to think of myself, but it makes me sad that my son suffered some sadness because of it. However, the Tooth Fairy quickly made up for her mistake by slipping in an extra few bucks. I definitely will have to be better about those things!

That's it for now. Next blog will probably be a look ahead to 2011.

TTFN!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dear Santa,

Hi Santa! Since Christmas is two weeks away, I thought it would be a good time to give you my Christmas list. Some things I want are material things and others are not, so I divided my list up accordingly.

MATERIAL THINGS

* Specialized road bike from the Bike Loft
* Indoor bike trainer...only if I get the road bike
* CNY Triathlon Club tri top in pink
* CNY Triathlon Club membership renewed
* Entry fee into the 2011 Iron Girl
* Subscriptions to Runner's World Magazine and Triathlete Magazine
* Running shoes from Fleet Feet because I'm due
* Entry fee into the Empire State 1/2 Marathon
* Couple more pair of padded bike shorts
* Entry fee into the 2011 Green Lakes Triathlon
* Entry fee into the 2011 River Rat Triathlon in Clayton
* Kia Sorento
* Nuu-Muu running dress
* Smart Wool socks just like the ones I already have because they TOTALLY ROCK!
* Waterfront property so I can open water swim whenever I want

NON-MATERIAL THINGS
* Cool mantra to motivate me whenever I need it
* Sub 10-minute mile
* Sub 30-minute 5K
* A job or a couple of PT jobs that allow me to put time in training, have time for family, and have time to craft
* Martha Stewart like ability to keep my life running like a well oiled machine
* Family friendly job for Dan with decent pay, good benefits, and average stress levels
* Motivation, time, ability, etc to get my crafting business up and running once and for all

If the above is too much, just send 10s and 20s!

Thanks Santa!

Love, Debbie

Thursday, December 2, 2010

(Sniff) Baldwinsville (Sniff) Kiwanis (Sniff) Turkey (Sniff) Trot (Sniff) 10K (Sniff) Race (Sniff) Report (Sniff)

(A week late and, sorry, no pictures!)

Late this summer when I decided to continue working with Coach Kelly, the first thing we did was sit down to come up with a plan for training based on my desired race schedule. Since the run portion of my Iron Girl triathlon was the worst of the three disciplines (35:35 for a 5K) I really wanted to concentrate on running during the off season. I had a list of a half dozen or so 5K's I wanted to run hoping to steadily improve my time. I also mentioned to her that I wanted to try a 10K...next year. However, Coach Kelly decided the timeline would be a bit different: the 10K would be done before the end of 2010. So, she started checking the 5K's I wanted to do to see if any of them also offered a 10K. I crossed my fingers hoping none of the races had a 10K, but no such luck. The choice: the Baldwinsville Kiwanis Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I had about 3 months to prepare, so I wrapped my brain around the thought and marked it on my calendar. Although I was nervous, I never doubted I could finish it.

PRE RACE

In the week leading up to the race, coach Kelly devised a plan for my race. In a typical 5K, I run zone 2 for the first mile, zone 3 for the second mile, and all out for the rest. For the 10K, the plan was to run zone 2 for the first half, then treat the second half like a typical 5K. Recently I have been participating in the YMCA running clinic guided by local running rock star Kevin Collins. The Saturday before, I ran 1:05 in a low zone 3 and logged 5.5 miles. That was only 0.7 miles shy of the Turkey Trot, so I was confident I could finish the race in less than 1:15 which was my goal.

Two days before the race I started feeling a slight tickle in my throat and even felt a little warm. I hoped and prayed I wasn't coming down with a cold. I continued to feel the same the day before.

On race morning I woke up still feeling like crap. I had my typical PB&J sandwich with coffee/chocolate milk about 2 hours before the start fo the race. This has worked well for me in the past with 5K's, so I didn't want to fix what wasn't broke.

I got to the race about 1/2 hour before th start and got a nice parking spot only a few houses down from the start line. Cool! I jogged a little to warm up in the 25* weather and was pretty calm waiting for the horn.

RACE TIME

The horn sounded about 10 minutes late, so I was anxious to get going. We started off and the very first part was up hill and got my HR up quickly. By the end of the race I would learn that Baldwinsville was a lot more hilly than I ever knew. It seemed like I was getting passed by everyone. I started to worry that I would come in last...something I definitely didn't want. I can hold my own running 5K's because there's usually people who walk, but there were no walkers here. For a moment I really questioned if I should be doing it, but I had started and I was determined to finish...even if it was last.

I was having trouble running in zone 2 probably because of my cold medication. I ran most of the race in zone 3, but I actually felt OK doing it.

Just before the half way mark we made a left turn. I had been wanting to turn around to see how many people I was "beating," but I had resisted the urge. However, once I made that turn, I had to take a look. I saw about a dozen people. Please, God, don't let them pass me!!!! My plan was to speed up the second half of the race, so I convinced myself that they probably didn't have a cool plan like I had and they probably would be slowing, not speeding up.

Another thing that happened at about the half way mark was my stomach started growling. My PB&J sandwich 2 hours before a 5K might not be the best plan for a 10K. Will have to work on this!

I saw the last water station and estimated it was about 1.5 miles from the finish. Two ladies had passed me just before the table then stopped to get a drink and walk a bit. I was determined not to let them pass me again. There was an up hill, so I turned it on as best as I could. I even passed one more person on my way to the finish. As I turned the corner to the finish, you could practically hear crickets because most of the crowd was gone and on their way home to their Thanksgiving feasts.

POST RACE

I crossed the finish line in 1:07:44 and got a high-five from someone in a polar bear suit. He was probably wishing us slow pokes would finish so he could get out of that stupid smelly suit. I was very chilled at that point. About 2/3 through the race, I was hot and took my hat off to cool down a bit. Eventually I put it back on before the finish, but I had probably left it off too long. I was looking forward to the pizza being offered, but it was gone by the time I finished. Not only was there no celebration when I finished, but there was little food either. Very disappointing for something that was a milestone for me. The water and banana I did manage to get tasted like crap, probably because of my cold.

The walk to my car was brutal. I was freezing, hungry, and just wanted to go home. Note to self: park your car close to the FINISH line, not the start line!

Anticipating a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, I didn't eat a lot when I got home. I probably should have because I really started to feel queezy, but I did snap out of it once I got turkey, stuffing, etc in my tummy....YUM!

Although my legs really felt stiff the rest of the day, I was pleasantly surprised when they didn't hurt the next day. Maybe my body is getting used to this running stuff after all!

So, I've got one more race planned for 2010 (It's a Wonderful Run on Dec 11, a 5K). I definitely will do more 10K's, but I think from now on a 5K is sufficient on Thanksgiving Day. That way I'll actually get a slice of pizza!

TTFN!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Random Thoughts

It's been awhile since my last post and I have a lot on my mind. I'm going to steal an idea from Coach Kelly and just start rambling random thoughts...

Alarm Clocks
Why is it so difficult to find a decent alarm clock? Now that I have to get up early, I need an alarm clock. The alarm portion is no longer functioning on my old one, so I took the one out of my son's room. The light on it was so bright that it kept me awake. Went and bought another one and the light on that was worse. Returned that and bought a second one...couldn't get a radio station to save my life. Returned that and bought a third one...again, too bright. This weekend, I will return that and once again attempt to find the perfect alarm clock.

Stomach Issues
Why does a job have to screw up your digestive system? While unemployed, I would get up, have my coffee, do my "business" if you know what I mean, bring Alex to the bus, then start my day. Why can't it be like that again???

Alex's Birthday
My baby has turned 6 years old. Where has the time gone? Physically he's growing up so fast and he's developing quite a personality. Love it and hate it at the same time.

Bruegger's 5K Run at Beaver Lake
Did my first 5K race on a trail last weekend. Didn't set the world on fire, but enjoyed it. The trail was too narrow to worry about time with this one. Besides, how can you worry about time when a guy dressed like a whoopie (sp?) cushion beats you across the finish line?

Syracuse 70.3 Focus Group
I participated in a focus group about the volunteer experience at the Syracuse 70.3. Interesting conversations. Gave me inspiration to try to get back into the sports business.

Empire State Half and Full Marathon
Found out the other day that Syracuse will host its first half and full marathon next October. Would like to do the half, but I'm more interested in actually working on the race as a paid employee. After a couple of emails, I'm going to speak with Brian Collins, the organizer and brother of local running "rock star" Kevin Collins who I just happen to be working with in my running group.

Safe Running in the Dark
Bought a reflective belt at Fleet Feet and am going to Target to shop for headlamps so I can run in the dark. Daylight savings time ends this weekend, so I'll need something.

Adjusting
I'm having trouble adjusting to working again. Loved the schedule while unemployed, but hated the pay. Would love a job or a couple PT jobs to get me back to the same type of schedule while keeping the pay.

Christmas Music
Why is Sunny 102 already playing Christmas music? Seriously?!?!?!

Craft Shows
Mom and I are participating in the first of three craft shows this weekend. This weekend at Liverpool HS, next weekend at ESM HS, then Dec 11 at Soule Rd. Elementary. Planned on making more items over the summer while I was home, but as usual I procrastinated and now I'm rushing to get things done. I REALLY wanted to get my screen printed shirt ready to sell. From a distance it looks like a Christmas tree, but when you get closer, its actually the word "Believe." Maybe I can have it ready by next weekend.

Missing Milestones
Why did I have to miss the karate session where Alex got his first tip on his belt? I hate missing those types of things.

Early AM Groceries
Actually had to set my alarm last Sunday to go grocery shopping at 6:30 AM. I miss being unemployed.

Run Like a Mother
Bought this book the other day and so far I LOVE it! I connect with everything I've read so far.

Good Problem to Have
I haven't worn "real" work clothes in about two years because at my last job we got to wear jeans. As I'm pulling out clothes I'm finding a lot of them don't fit any more because of my 20 lb weight loss. Looks like I get to go shopping!

Too Many Sweets
My new place of work has food EVERYWHERE. Going to have to work on my willpower.

Early to Bed
With my early AM workouts, I have to be in bed by 10:00. I miss watching Castle on Monday's and Parenthood on Tuesday's. Coach Kelly: if you're going to give me a day off from spin or swim, assign that on a Tuesday or Wednesday so I can stay up "late." Thanks!

Well, I think that's all I have on my mind for now. Tomorrow I go on a 55 min run before my craft show. Will get to put those reflective items to the test.

TTFN!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Bucket List

Today is my 43rd birthday. Not a major one, but a milestone nonetheless. I thought today's blog would be a good one to look back and look ahead.

LOOK BACK
A lot has happened in the last year:

* Celebrated my beautiful son's 5th birthday
* Ran the Jingle Bell Run for the first time
* Joined the North Area Family YMCA
* Sold crafts with my mom at the Liverpool HS, ESM HS, and Soule Rd craft shows
* Registered for my first triathlon
* Participated in the 8-Week Ride at the YMCA
* Participated in the triathlon swim clinic
* Traveled to Baltimore for the USA Lacrosse National Convention
* Traveled to Florida with my family
* Signed up for triathlon training with Coach Kelly
* Was laid off from my job
* Participated in my first practice triathlon which included my first open water swim
* Watched my beautiful son graduate from Kindergarten
* Accepted the fact that I may only have one child and was OK with that
* Ran in the Save the River run in Clayton, NY and smashed my time from last year
* Lost 20 pounds
* Came in 4th place (1 place off from winning a prize) in the YMCA's 12-Week Challenge
* Participated in my first triathlon
* Volunteered for the Cazenovia triathlon
* Ran in the Willow Bay Run for Women
* Signed up for personalized triathlon training with Coach Kelly
* Volunteered for the Syracuse 70.3
* Ran in the Arc 5K and set a PR
* Ran in the Festival of Races
* Ran in the LaFayette Apple Run and set another PR
* Celebrated my 9th wedding anniversary

LOOKING AHEAD...THE BUCKET LIST
I have a lot of things that I want to accomplish, so I made a list of some things and surprisingly, I think a lot of them can be accomplished in the next year. I think that I might just have to post them somewhere I can see them at all times so I have a constant reminder of what I want out of life. Here is my list. Anything with a * next to it is something I think I can do this year. Anything with a - next to it is something that I need more time.

* Run a 10K...already scheduled for Thanksgiving morning
* Run a 15K...the Boilermaker?
- Run a Half Marathon
* Start a sports/fitness themed craft business
- Purchase waterfront property
* Lose 10 more pounds
- Travel to Hawaii, out west (US or Canada) for a ski vacation, Alaska for a cruise, the Mediterranean for a cruise, Ireland, and Italy
* Take Alex to Yankee Stadium for a game
* or - Complete an Olympic distance tri
* Run a sub-10 minute mile
* Run a sub-30 minute 5K
* Learn to crochet
* Be a consistent "Clean Eater"
* Plant a really good veggie and herb garden
* Learn to preserve the veggies to use during the winter months
* Purchase a road bike
* Upgrade my Mac and/or purchase a laptop

Yup, I am definitely printing this list to remind me of my goals. Why go through life just drifting and waiting for things to happen? If I see this list constantly, I will make my dreams come true.

Happy birthday to me!

TTFN!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LaFayette Apple Run Race Report

PRE-RACE

You just can't beat a beautiful Fall day in Central New York! Days like Sunday were the reason I wanted to get married in the Fall. Although there was frost on the car when the family left to head to the LaFayette Apple Festival Sunday, the weather turned out absolutely beautiful for the Apple Festival and 5K Run.

For some reason, I haven't been sleeping well and the night before the race was no different. I would think that all my training would make me sleep great, but something is going on that is making me wake up numerous times throughout the night. Hope it goes away soon.

This race was a bit different because the start line was about 1/2 to 3/4 mile away from the finish line. Runners could either walk/jog there on their own or take a shuttle bus. Didn't see the point in taking a shuttle, so I used this to warm up the legs with a jog. And boy did they need warming up because it was still pretty chilly. When I got to the start line, I ran into a triatlon friend Michelle and we chatted while we waited for the horn to sound. Next thing I knew we were off!

RACE

Although I had warmed up my legs, my legs seemed heavy the first part of the race. I noticed that they had marked the 1/2 mile mark and when I looked at my watch it read 6:00 even. What?!?!? That means I'm running at a 12:00 mile pace!!!! I want to make my 5Ks faster, not slower! But, then I remembered the race website not only had the race route, but also the change in elevation and I recalled that the first part was pretty much all uphill. I wasn't sure how much longer I would be going uphill and hoped I could overcome the slow pace. Next thing I know I'm sensing that we're going downhill and pretty soon I'm at the 1 mile marker. I prayed that the time would be good...and it was. My watch read 10:39 which meant I did the second 1/2 mile in 4:39 and a 9:18 pace. Cool!

When I got to the mid-way point, they were handing out water and Gatorade. My mouth was a little dry and I wanted to take something, but I felt pretty good and didn't want to slow. It was right around this point when I really took in some of the beautiful scenery surrounding us. There was a farm to our right that had 5 horses out and 2 of them were very excited by all the runners. They kept running up and down the fence looking like they wanted to join us.



After that, I looked in front of us and all I saw was this solid wall of red/orange/yellow/green trees. Just breathtaking! Another runner and I were talking for a minute about how beautiful it was and that it was nice to have that to keep our minds occupied.



This runner that I was talking with was someone I was with pretty much the first half of the race. Next thing I know, I'm pulling away from her. Then I start catching other runners ahead of me. The second half of the race I was only caught by one person which is rare for me. Usually people start blowing past me and I catch one if I'm lucky. Maybe things are starting to change for me!

Up ahead, I'm now seeing runners turn right into the parking lot to head to the finish line. And at that corner are Dan and Alex cheering me on. I gave Dan my camera hoping he could get a shot or two of me running. The second one below is Alex giving me a high five as I'm running past him.





As I crossed the finish line, I looked at the race timer and with that, I would have had a new PR. Since I timed using my own watch, I did even better: 31:19 for a 10:06 pace. Woo hoo! I would love to get under 30:00 soon, but my first goal is to get under a 10:00 pace. Shouldn't take me too long for that.


POST RACE

The nice thing about having a race associated with the LaFayette Apple Fest is that you get apples and cider as a post-race snack and then you get into the Fest free with your bib. So, we went in for awhile then headed home before the crowds got too crazy.





Well, that's it for today. Next race was supposed to be the Wounded Warrior on Nov 7, but that's the only day I could schedule Alex's friend b'day party. So, it looks like the Bruegger's Bagel Run on Oct 31 will be next.

TTFN!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride

I wanted to get one more bike "race" in before winter hit. Luckily, the Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride was scheduled for today. The ride was hosted by Syracuse Bicycle and was held at Green Lakes State Park. Not actually a race, but riders had a choice between a 10 mile ride on the Erie Canal path and a 25 mile ride through the park and on the surrounding roads. Since I am running the LaFayette Apple Run 5K tomorrow, I didn't want to overdue it, so I decided on the 10 mile ride.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw my friend Shawn from the YMCA and I waved her down.



She came over to the car and I was happy to hear she was also doing the 10 mile ride, so we decided to stick together. After the organizers addressed the crowd, they sent the 25 milers on their way and then it was our turn to head out.



The weather couldn't have been better. A perfect, cool Fall day. It's days like this that make me happy I live where I do. The ride was an out and back ride and it was smooth sailing without many obstacles except for an occasional pile of horse poop. Man, some of those piles were big!


I know this is gross, but I just had to take a picture! It looked like a dinosaur had been through!

At the half way point, we stopped for water and M&Ms, then we headed back to enjoy more of the scenery.





Toward the end of the ride I saw what I thought was the biggest pile of horse poop I've ever seen, but it ended up to be a snapping turtle.



After the ride, we were treated to some pasta and pizza. They ended the day recognizing some breast cancer survivors and handing out some door prizes. Shawn was lucky and won a nice Trek tech shirt. A fun day was had by all.



Next up, tomorrow's LaFayette Apple Run 5K. Can you say hills?

If things go as planned, this will be the site of my next tri (The Green Lakes Triathlon) in June 2011.



TTFN!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Festival of Races Race Report

The Day Before

On Saturday, I went to Dick's Sporting Goods in Shoppingtown Mall to pick up my race number and long sleeve technical shirt. I'm definitely starting to love technical shirts, especially long sleeve ones. Since I was in the neighborhood, I drove the race course to check it out. There was a small up hill climb at the beginning, but it wasn't too bad. Besides, the up hill climb at the beginning would mean a down hill toward the end of the race which was fine by me! The rest of the course was flat which definitely made me happy.

Saturday evening, I joined my husband at Labrador Ski Mountain to celebrate their National Ski Patrol's 50th anniversary. The plan was to have a couple glasses of wine at the beginning of the celebration then drink water the rest of the evening so I wouldn't be hurting on race morning. My mistake was drinking RED wine which will give me headaches on occasion. By the time I started drinking water, I already had a headache. After I drove my drunk husband home, I took some ibuprophen and crashed on the couch for awhile. I was in and out of sleep, but the headache wouldn't go away. Finally I headed for bed after taking some more ibuprophen. Unfortunately I felt a little nauseous when I laid down. How could I be feeling this way after only a couple glasses of wine?!?!?! I was not happy!!!!

Pre-Race

Woke up and still had the headache. Crap!!! I took more ibuprophen with my home made iced mocha and PB&J toast and eventually the headache went away. Unfortunately, I was having trouble getting rid of the "I drank too much and just want to get back in bed and sleep all day" feeling. Not a feeling you want when you're about to run a 5K.

I had trouble figuring out what to wear. I love running when it's cool out, but I always seem to over- or under-dress. The temp was in the 40's, so I went with a long sleeve tech shirt that had a half zip front and also wore long leggings. When I got to the race site, I got out of the car and was freezing, but I knew that wouldn't last once I started running.

Race Time!



Coach Kelly's plan for the race was to do mile 1 in Zone 2, mile 2 in Zone 3, and mile 3 all out. After the gun sounded, it felt like all 3 miles were all out. Immediately my HR jumped to Zone 3 and I hoped there were ambulances throughout the course because I feared I might just need one. As best as I could, I stayed in a low-Zone 3 for mile 1. I reached the mile 1 marker at 10:29, which was OK and, considering the condition I was in, I was happy. After that, I upped my HR to a high-Zone 3. Unfortunately, they didn't have a sign at the mile 2 mile marker, so I didn't know when to really kick it up. They did have the km markers, so when I reached the km 4 marker, I kicked it into high gear. I had a couple of runners ahead of me in my sights to catch and I'm happy to report I caught one, but not the other. Again, considering how I felt, I was happy. Needless to say, I was never happier to see a finish line as I was today.



Post Race

According to my watch, my finish time was an even 32:00 for a pace of 10:19. I figured I would be no where close to getting a PR, but believe it or not, this was my second best time ever. Just think how well I could have done if I felt better. Note to self: if you've spent money on a race, there will be NO DRINKING ADULT BEVERAGES THE NIGHT BEFORE!!!!! Lesson learned!

I have to say, I was pretty impressed by the post-race grub they had at the race. Tops was there with bagels, bananas, sports drinks, chocolate milk, yogurt, etc. Salsarita's was there with chips and Salsa, and Applebee's was there with salad. No way you would go hungry after the race.

USA Track was there with some merchandise and I bought a nice short sleeve neon yellow tech shirt. I've wanted both short and long sleeve shirts in this color for better visibility.

Another booth that was there was a new company named I'm Faster Than Yesterday. They weren't selling shirts, but they had three women's short sleeve tech shirts and three men's short sleeve tech shirts on display. All had a running themed design on them and if you filled out a survey about your favorites, you might win one. I would love to do something like this and come up with cool triathlon designs and screen print them on tech shirts to sell. I'm making a killing selling my wine coasters to all my YMCA friends, so maybe I could be just as successful. Why not?!?!?! I've been thinking about getting a starter screen printing kit, so maybe I should do just that. Stay tuned!!

Well, that's about it from the 2010 Festival of Races. Next weekend is a busy one with the Breast Cancer Awareness Ride on Saturday and the LaFayette Apple Run on Sunday.

TTFN!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ironman Syracuse 70.3: The Volunteer Point of View



Quite awhile ago I decided to volunteer for the Half Ironman and I did it because I wanted to:

* be involved in my new sport
* experience an international race
* be able to cheer for people I know
* be involved behind the scenes in a sporting event again
* get the tee-shirt
* to help out the CNY Triathlon Club
* to do something besides sit on the couch and get frustrated while job hunting
* to see pro triathletes up close

Originally I was only going to volunteer Saturday and Sunday, but when I knew I still would be out of work, I added my name to Wednesday and Friday as well. So, in this blog, I will write about my volunteer experience.

Wednesday, September 15: Packet Stuffing



I arrived at the Holiday Inn Wednesday morning to stuff athlete packets. Some of us were assigned the duty of filling the drawstring bags and others, myself included, were given the duty of filling the athlete's envelopes. We were each given a crate with the items for 100 athletes. Each athlete had a large envelope with instructions on it and we filled it with the following:
* Race numbers for their bike and clothes
* Color coded swim cap
* Numbered ID bracelet that they had to wear once they checked in
* Ticket to be able to get their bike once the race was over

The first bin I worked on were men ages 35 to 39. I filled a few envelopes then I looked at the next one and saw the name "Kelly M. Covert," Coach Kelly's husband. Cool! Once I finished that bin, I then went on to another. After finishing that one, I went to help another woman with her bin because we were pretty much finished at that point. Her name was Melissa and she was originally from Boston. She moved here to Syracuse and, like me, had recently lost her job. She's a runner, so she wanted to get involved and to have something to do while job hunting. Although our shift went until 5:00, we were done by 1:15, so we headed home for the rest of the day.

Thursday, September 18: It's All About the T-Shirt

Although I could have waited until Friday to get my shirt, I decided to get mine on Thursday since I was so close by. I really liked the color of our shirts. At first I liked them a lot better than the athlete's shirts which were white, then I discovered that theirs were tech shirts. Hmmm...I might have to think again which I like better.

Friday, September 17: Poster Rolling

I arrived at the Holiday Inn at 9:00 and was assigned the duty of rolling the posters that were given to the athletes. It wasn't a bad duty with the exception of getting a number of paper cuts. The athletes starting checking in at 11:00, so we handed them a poster along with their tech shirts. I saw a few people I know checking in including Coach Kelly. I also saw my friend Gina who is a Sport Management professor at Syracuse University. She was doing some research on the event about volunteer satisfaction and also some on the out of town athletes. I would be very interested in reading her results when she has gathered everything. At 2:30, the new crew came in and I headed home for the day.

Saturday, September 18: The Gate Keeper

Friday was pretty mellow in terms of the number of athletes checking in. Saturday was another story. It was very crowded when I arrived at 1:00. Saturday's duty was to greet the athlete's as they arrived and direct them to the check-in desk. I also had to let friends and families know where they were allowed to go, show the pros where their check-in table was, and answer questions to the best of my ability. I had a few highlights during my day:

* I had the pleasure of having a GORGEOUS athlete walk through my area a number of times. I have more to write about him during my Sunday duty, but he was VERY easy on the eyes and for a minute or two each time he walked by, I forgot about how much my back, legs, and feet were hurting from standing all day.

* I actually recognized one of the female pros when she walked through. I saw this little red headed woman walking toward me that I thought I knew then I realized she was Samantha McGlone who writes an article for Triathlete Magazine.



At the end of the day, we started helping pack up everything for the Ironman staff. They told us we could each take a tech shirt and drawstring bag. I had been informed that it wasn't very cool to wear the gear unless you did the race, so I grabbed a small for Alex. Then they told us that we could take as many bags as we wanted because they were just going to throw them away. Excuse me?!?!? So I grabbed a couple of boxes to give to some of my training partners who were also volunteering and some friends of my son's.

Sunday, September 19: Water Girl

Headed out of the house around 7:30 and it was cool and drizzling. Luckily the drizzle stopped by the time I got to my water station in front of Speach Candy on the corner of Court and Lodi.





I met my water station mates and the first thing we did was get out the sidewalk chalk to write inspirational messages on the road.











I even did my best to draw a huge M-Dot.



After that, we had to wait awhile for our supplies to come. Eventually, two trucks showed up with tables, lunch, and cases of water and Gatorade mix. We got to work pouring drinks in anticipation for the first athlete to arrive. I had friends who were working at another aid station two miles before us, so she texted me when the leader, Paul Matthews, came through. It was pretty exciting when he came through just before 11:00 AM.



Within the next few minutes the second place athlete came by, Maxim Kriat.



As the fourth place athlete came through, I held out a cup of water for him. As he approached me I realized he was the GORGEOUS man from yesterday. He ended up taking the cup from me as he ran by and I acted like a school girl all excited that he touched my hand. OK...let me compose myself for a minute....OK, I'm good now. I later looked him up to discover his name is James Hadley. Oh, did I mention he's British? So, not only is he hot, but he's got an accent too. I've got to volunteer more for these pro events!



The next exciting event was when the first female came through and it ended up to be Samantha McGlone.



The second place female was Rachel Challis.



The rest of the day was spent standing with my hand held out yelling "Water!" and encouraging the runners to the finish line which was less than a mile away. However, there were more notable moments:

I got my camera out when I saw the familiar Trakkers green jersey of Kel Covert:



I got it out again when I saw that familiar green on Kelly Covert:



This isn't actually my picture below, but this guy was awesome. I loved his pink shirt and rainbow shorts. Our aid staion had a "Fiesta" theme and one of the guys at our station was wearing a sombrero. This guy asked him for the hat and wore it to the finish. You might as well have fun if you're going to torture your body for 70.3 miles!



A moment that was scary at the time was when a 70-yr old atlhete named Lee came down the street barely able to walk. Bob got on one side of him and another volunteer got on another and helped him to the finish. Not sure how "legal" that was, but he made it to us on his own. At 70-yrs old, that is an awesome accomplishment.

Well, that's my report from Ironman Syracuse 70.3. I really want to drive the course this week to see what the route was like. Maybe that will help me decide if I will actually try this thing in a couple of years or not.


TTFN!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Iron Girl: The Photos

With 8 days to spare before the deadline, I finally purchased my official Iron Girl photos today. Had to make sure I had enough room on the old credit card! Anyway, this should wrap up all of my 2010 Iron Girl posts. Hard to believe we're only about 3 months away from registration opening for Iron Girl 2011. Crazy! Here are the pics and some of my feelings about them:

Coming Out of the Water



Why is it that my first thought when looking at this picture is that I look fat?!?! For crying out loud I just did an open water swim in a wet suit. No one looks good, skinny, etc. after doing that. I can't stand that society has us women brain washed like we are.

Coming in Off the Bike Course



This picture, on the other hand, makes me happy. I have such a look of determination (or is it pain?) plus you can see some muscles on me. Proud when I look at this one.

Coming in from the Run



I definitely like this one too because I look happy. I'm not sure if this was taken before or after I gave high-fives to Dan and Alex, but either way, I know the end is just yards away.

The Big Finish



I was FLYING when I crossed the finish line. I think the lady behind me thought I was racing her, but I was just so pumped to be finishing that every ounce of adrenaline came up and moved my legs faster than they have ever gone.

Pure Joy!



I was beyond happy in this picture. I wanted to laugh and cry. I couldn't believe it was over.

So, that should be it for Iron Girl 2010. My next post will be about Ironman Syracuse 70.3 and my experiences as a volunteer. Not quite as exciting as participating, but it will be fun.

TTFN!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Arc 5K Race Report


(Me in my Arc tee and wearing my HR monitor watch)

Pre-Pre-Race
My pre-race actually started yesterday. Coach Kelly wanted me to use this race to establish my training HR zones, so I met her at the Y to make sure I did, in fact, know how to use my HR monitor. After some time on the treadmill, we got it figured out and I was prepared to get my time, max HR, and average HR during the race. If this didn't work, I was going to be tortured with a sprint workout on the treadmill that I was definitely not looking forward to. I was going to make this work one way or another.

Pre-Race
I have to admit, I was very nervous about this race. Sure, I've run 5K's before, but this was the first that I had orders to push myself and had to determine HRs. But, I want this and this is why I signed up for coaching, right? The race started at 9:10, so my plan was to get up and eat breakfast by 6:45. Because of my nerves, I was gringing my teeth so much that I woke myself up around 5:15. After tossing and turning for an hour or so, I got up to quit torturing myself. I had my standard pre-race breakfast of a PB&J sandwich and an iced mocha, then got ready and headed out. I had Dan and Alex come with me because they had a "Family Fun Zone" I thought Alex would enjoy, but I was wrong and my 10 min pre-race walk only ended up to be about 5-min so I could help Dan with an Alex meltdown. I met up with Erin Donovan and her friend Jessica (Erin-please let me know if I've got her name wrong...I'm horrible with names!) Having the two of them to talk with helped calm some pre-race jitters.

Mile 0-1
Kelly's orders were to start 1/4 back from the front of the pack and to start my timer when I crossed the start line. Problem was, the start line wasn't marked, so I guessed as best as I could. She also wanted me to run the first mile at my normal pace. I checked my watch at the mile 1 marker and I was at 9;50. Too fast! I think nerves and adrenaline got to me because I usually run about an 11:00 mile.

Mile 1-2
For this mile, Kelly wanted me to go a little faster than normal. Since I was already accomplishing this, I figured I should just try to maintain my speed from mile 1. At the turn around point, I was around 15:00. Still going pretty good. However, at the mile 2 marker, I was around 20:30. I wasn't happy that I slowed down, so I had to kick it up a notch.

Mile 2-Finish
It was "go time." Kelly wanted me to push even harder miles 2-2.5 then really push it to the finish. I definitely pushed the first half, but once in awhile I could tell I was slowing down when I wasn't focused. I did this a few times. Once I approached the one-lane bridge leading to the finish, I really pushed. Going up the bridge was tough, but I used the down side and another slight hill leading into the parking lot to pick up some speed. Even though I knew my actual time was quicker than the race clock, I saw the race timer and it was approaching 32:00. I DID NOT want my time to be more than 32:00, so I really sped up to make sure that didn't happen. According to my watch, my time was 31:36. A new personal record!!!

Post-Race
Kelly wanted me to finish feeling that I couldn't have gone any harder and I feel I accomplished that because it took quite awhile to catch my breath when it was all done. I was happy with my accomplishment, but I want to do even better next time. My rate per mile was 10:12. Mile 1 was 9:50, so I really want to be able to maintain a pace like that (or better!) throughout the race. (That would give me a finish of 30:29 or better!) I'm sure it will come in time. Next race: Festival of Races on October 3. A lot of work between now and then.

TTFN!