Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Yesterday, I hit the gym just after 6 AM to start my track workout on the treadmill. I was still tired and my legs and joints felt tight.

The best thing is after a mile or two when things finally loosen up and you feel like your self again. I ran a nice solid track workout with various longer intervals 1K-2K-1K-1K. Then I cooled down at a 8 minute mile pace feeling rather comfortable. I love how that pace feels so comfortable when I am done, but the same pace would have felt uncomfortable in my warm-up.

Running my interval workouts on the treadmill at the gym always seems to garner a few looks wondering why I am pushing myself so darn hard. I have only been at this new gym a couple weeks and I suppose they are not used to me yet. I was a disgusting sweaty mess, but I felt good.

Later around lunch I was still feeling frisky, so I returned to the gym for something different. A Hard Bodies Class. I did lots of core work, abs, pushups, shoulder and chest exercises and lots of lunges. Oh my butt and ab muscles are sore today! Yet, I am stoked about it...I just love the opportunity to do something different on occasion and with new people. I may have to make this a weekly showing!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The quick and dirty

Gosh, has it been so long since I posted??

Time flies when you are busy!

So after the half, I had an easy day Monday with an easy spin on the bike. By Tuesday I was feeling back to normal and resumed the regular schedule. Last weekend composed of a 16 mile run with regular running pals, Bob and Espeed and then I capped off Saturday night with our family's annual crazy Corn Party. I will just say it was mad fun, craploads of people, drunken karoke, hillbilly games, lotza food, and the best part was that this year it was at someone else's house!!! Sunday was recovery day...more from alcohol than runnning!!!

This week continued on the regimen although definitely switching things around a bit as mornings got messed up a couple days on account of sleeping in. Oops! This weekend friggin rocked. 20 miles of tough trail running with the gals on Saturday which left me a bit tired and dirty!! Sunday I awoke and met the Cleveland Touring group for 103 mile bike ride over to PA and I felt pretty great the whole way. We averaged a brisk pace of 18.8 mph the whole way. Needless to say, there was a lot of helping each other out drafting. I learned that in this company I am not much of a puller. Today my bicycle never would let me shift into the small gear, yet I managed to make it up all rolling climbs with no trouble. It was my first century of the year and I cannot believe how pain free I feel! Last year after the sweet corn century I was all sorts of sore. Granted it was hot and much hillier, but dang I am stoked that I feel good after today's ride, especially considering how sore I felt after yesterday's run!

Oh by the way, I am almost finished with the first book I have choose to read in years (the last several years I have only read text books required of me), Lance Armstrong's, It's Not About the Bike, My Journey Back To Life. This book is so addicting that perhaps it has impressed me so much that not only is Lance forever my idol, I may just start reading more books again for fun. "How about them apples?"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

GCT Half Iron Race Report

Friday night I did not sleep well. I awoke and started overthinking the race.

Saturday, I hit the expo quickly. I purchased a new bicycle computer as mine had been acting up lately and I could not get the speed and distance to work. Unfortunately when I got home I had the realization that it would not mount on the bar I needed it to. Crap! So we made an emerency stop at Dick's that night and bought another computer. However that computer would not mount on properly either! Bummer! So I was going to go with no computer. Grrrr!

After a short, but good night's sleep, I awoke around 4:15 to get ready. I was still not awake and managed to hit the door a little earlier than planned. No one was on the roads except a couple cops which I passed. On my way I realized I had managed to forget my water and gatorade so I made a pitstop at 5AM in Chardon at a gas station. I had to laugh as I overheard a girl say to the other worker as she looked at me, "Oh I feel guilty now. I am going to have to work out when I get off." I suppose they don't get too many crazy exercise people in there at that hour of the morning on a Sunday.

As I drove up to the race I snacked on a generic lowfat fruit and grain bar and chugged a Rockstar to wake up.

I parked right next to transition (the bonus of getting there early!) and started setting up. I had not really prepped the day before so it was taking me some time to put the numbers where they belonged. All this extra swim stuff in my transition area had me scratching my head on the best way to put it all out. The area was tight and I set my transition bag out of everyone's way over by the fence. However one of the officials made a beeline to tell me that I could not have stuff there that it had to be in my space. OK. I personally would prefer everyone to keep any excess crap out of the way since transition area is so tight, but whatever. Since I parked close, I ended up just taking some stuff back to my car and adding a few other things to the transition space.

The morning flew by as I chatted it up with other CTC folk and before long Brandon and I started on the long walk down to the start. Thank goodness he had talked me into departing when we did, as it took us a long time to walk down the shore to the start. I was feeling SOOOO lucky as I peered out into the calm lake on this gorgeous morning!

After a quick dip in the water to wet the goggles and get a feel for the water temperature, I lined up with my age group for the start. I remained nervous but felt somewhat calm as I glanced around and saw familiar faces of Mickey (the best RD) and my other CTC friends. I started in the second wave at 7:03 AM. As I darted into the water I started swimming hard out to the first buoy. It took a long time to get out to it and by the time I rounded the bouy, my form started to go. Gosh, the end looked unbelievably far away. People were splashing all around me and I was slightly anxious. I decided to take some rest breaks of 5 to 10 second breast strokes to catch my breath and remain calm. I swam bouy to bouy and even caught some caps from the wave ahead of me. There were people from the waves behind me catching me. I had to stop to let out a giant burp which was probably part water, part Rockstar! So ladylike! A funny thing happened about half way through. I finally got into a rhythm. I started taking less breaks and felt much more relaxed. As I rounded the last buoy, I started to get really excited that the swim was almost over and I did fine!!! 1 mile swim was 38 and change. Wahhooo!!! Yeah, anything under an hour was going to be cool by me on this day!

As my feet hit the sand I was taking it in and not really pushing too fast. I smiled for a picture and was excited to see all the spectators on the beach!! Unfortunately as I ran to transition I could not get the sand off my feet. I took so much time trying to get it off and was getting frustrated. After wasting a ton of time trying to get the sand off, I gave up and proceeded to Body Glide my feet as this year has been filled with blister issues. I left transition over 4 minutes later.

When I pulled my bicycle on to the road, a girl was ahead of me going slower than I wanted to go. Two guys passed us, but I did not want to pass her as I heard you could get penalized for passing in the park. So I just hung tight. As I went out on the course, I felt like I was going so slow. Was I tired from the swim and just trying to adjust or what? Later I would realize it was just a headwind that I would take advantage of on my return trip. While I was on the bike I made an effort to start drinking. The day was heating up so I alternated between my water and my gatorade. I was riding pretty conservatively as I wanted to make sure I had plenty of strength and energy left for this long event. At 10 miles in, I was at 33 minutes. I climbed the one decent hill on the course and then I rolled up on some spectators who were none other than MT and Espeed. Oh I was stoked to see them! They had even made signs!!! Oh they are the best!

At 20 miles in, I was at 66 minutes. Consistent anyways! It was slower than I would have liked, but the goal here was to have a nice steady day. I was really taking it all in and enjoying myself thanking the cops and volunteers as I made my way through the course. As I was starting the second lap, Jodi caught me to my surprise. I had assumed she was already ahead of me as I figured that even though she was in a later swim wave, that she would have swam by me! I passed her back as I told her that she realized it was going to be impossible for me not to try to keep up with her! I guess her goal of lighting a fire under my butt had worked! Sometimes when I am out in the course I start relaxing a bit too much and can use people like Jodi out there to keep my head in the game!!!

On lap two I had my first successful bottle grab of some water on the bike and I refilled my aerobottle. I cheered as I circled around to see the girls, espeed and MT again! They were going nuts, as was I, and I saw the cop directing traffic just laughing at the display! They rock!

As I neared about 48 miles in, I took a gel. I had two short loops to go still on Heisley road. I enjoyed seeing all my friends at Snakebite racings water stop. They were a spirited bunch!! I grabbed a second water on one of my loops. During these two loops and much of the last 15-20 miles, two other ladies and I kept passing each other periodically. The short two loops on the freeway had some good bumps which were not feeling so good on my lady parts at this point in time! Finally, I pulled into the park to the next transition area. 56 mile Bike time 3:02 and change. ~18.5 mph My biggest complaint at this point were my feet which felt bruised from pushing the pedals!

When I got into transition the first thing I did was pop open my cooler to chug half a blue Rockstar! Oh my was it soooo good! Mmmm! And then it was out to the run as I left transition 3 minutes later. My transitions were slow but I figured I just wanted to take my time to do what may prove to be important in them!

As I headed out onto the run, I went out behind one of the ladies I had went back and forth with on the bike. She looked pretty strong and I just followed her pace. I was hot and wanted to keep my energy high so at the first stop I took a gel and had some water. Dang, I was thirsty! As I made my way down by Pickle Bills I saw my girls again. Wooohoo! I was again re-energized and hooting it up with them while they briefly kept me company! With renewed energy I passed the lady in front of me as we got into the hilly portion of the course. I missed some of the mile markers and other hit my watch a little late but here the splits as I hit them.

Mile 1 7:57 Another rockstar burp!
Mile 2 8:51
Mile 3 9:00 Oh crap, my feet are blistered already I can tell and I had to adjust my stride!
Mile 4 8:13
Mile 5 9:49 (hit late)
Mile 6 7:27 (started late)
Had to love the energy at the turnaround as I threw my hands up in excitement!!
Mile 7 8:47
Mile 8 10:10 I hit the bathroom! First pee of the day since I started! No bike peeing for me at this point! Saw TR and wanted to catch up to him to see if he had anything funny to say, but alas my stop put me back.
Mile 9 9:56
Miel 10 8:45
Mile 11 9:19
Mile 12 9:14
Mile 13.1 8:31 little pick up at the end!!

Total time 1:56 and change ~8:50 /mile pace. All in all I felt solid the whole way through. The volunteers were fantastic!! I really think I could have went faster on the bike and run. However I wanted to play my first half safe. Plus I definitely tried to take it easy on my feet with my blisters!

Final time was 5:43:06! This ended up putting me in 5th and I got 1st in my age group! I am happy to take that for my first half! I do like this distance a lot and nothing can beat a half iron debut in your own town with all your peeps around!

I had totally winged the nutrition and strangely it worked out fine.

Totals include-
-3 bottles of water, 1 fruit punch gatorade and one gel on the bike.
-2.5 gels, water at nearly every stop, and one glass of gatorade.

At the end, I felt pretty good. However, as the day wore on, I got more sore by the minute. I started to get rather uncomfortable to the point I could not sleep well that night as I was in quite a bit of pain.


Monday I felt better. I did an easy 25 minute spin before sitting in the hottub. Lots of stretching!

Tuesday I ran a 5 mile treadmill workout at various speeds averaging out to an 8 minute mile pace. I really felt fine and back to normal already!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I came, I saw, I conquered!

Well so I did not conquer the race, but at least my goal!!!!!!

More later...Final time 5:43 and change. 5th female overall and 1st in my age group!!!

My goal was to break 6 and so I am stoked with the outcome.

No major trouble except for some sandy feet causing more dreaded blisters on my poor sore feet!

I had the best day due in no small part to so many awesome people out on the course!!!

More details later.... I am quite exhausted!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Half iron eve!

Well the longest event for me ever is tomorrow.

I would be lying to say I was not nervous.

I know I can do it.

It is really far.

I have not stuck with a plan so the whole thing sort of feels like I am winging it.

The swim is even more of a hail mary but seems a little better lately.

I could have trained more.

I could have raced less.

I could have tapered better.

I think the run is going to be hot.

I've got about 12 hours to come up with my nutrition strategy. Hmmm?

But the time is here, and there is no time like the present to suck it up and give it my all.

I'm off to packet pickup.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Where to start?

So much going on and always so little time to catch up. So we will start at the beginning!!!

Twilight Trail Run

Thursday, I had signed up to do the Twilight Trail run with some of my running gals and we divided up into two female teams. Team Two Trail Freaks consisted of Solar Squirrel and Espeed. MT and I were Team Pimp My Stride. A couple days earlier I had made up some generic tanks for us to show our spirit at the race!

At least we would look good!!! We were just plain pysched to run in these bad arse breathable cotton tanks!!!

Just before the race it rained enough to make things quite messy on the trails. The race had an age graded start which made things interesting. I was SOAKING wet before I even started from sweat and between the heat that night along with the hills, it just zapped my energy. However us ladies held strong and our two teams walked away with first and second overall female team awards! The best part was due in large part to MT's kick butt performance, our team won free Brooks shoes!!! (Which I bought already and I totally love as much as my Asics Kayanos!! SCORE!!!)

This race was not one of my fastest runs, but it was one heck of a good time! I enjoyed a totally different sort of cooldown after that race!!!! mmmmbeer!

Independence 5K

Saturday when I woke up I knew as I warmed up my legs were still tight from Thursday night's trail run. Things were heating up fast and lately I have learned my breathing seems to be affected with the heat more than I like to think.

I lined up at the start and with the start I was off. Quickly the road race series female leader surged ahead with another girl and I was on their tails hoping to hang on. Mile one 6:17. As we looped around during mile 2, I could feel my legs tightening and fell off the other ladies pace. Mile 2, 6:44. My tunes were not helping me and I was pretty spent and about a half mile before the end MT closed in on me. My breathing was becoming more labored and I finished 6 seconds behind her as I worked to catch my breathe. Oh this heat and humidity really hurts my lungs. Mile 3.1 (1.1 miles), 7:44. Final time 20:42 (6:39 pace). It was not my best time, but coming off the Thursday run and given the heat, it was a pretty decent run.

At this point I should note that MT is kicking butt at the moment and her run times continue to I am going to have to step it up I suppose. Darn her and her 23 year old long legs!

Burning River Update

Whatever I comment on this will simply not suffice for what these ultrarunners endured.

The Burning River 100 is a new 100 mile run held in Northeast Ohio that travels through several of the region’s most scenic areas, including the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Cleveland Metroparks and the Metro Parks, serving Summit County.

Starting at Squire’s Castle in Willoughby Hills, the run follows the scenic Cuyahoga River Valley Corridor and finishes in Cuyahoga Falls. The course definitely has some tough terrain and they would not come to the aid station I was volunteering at until they were 91.3 miles in.

Espeed had organized the aid station and I can tell you this girl really gives back to this sport. She was up all night running around like crazy trying her best to make sure every runner coming through had the very best of care. Seriously, I give her mad credit! Our station was festively themed Hot Fiesta Party on the Burning River and we had a bunch of decorations, foods, and music to complete the feel! I worked the station from 9:30 PM to 1:15 AM and saw 6 runners.

The race had started at 5AM with 144 people and 68 finished. The course was incredibly tough and it had been such a hot humid day. I can only imagine how it wore on the runners. I felt so much for those runners as I can only imagine the pain some were feeling. The strength it took for those people to keep going just blows my mind. These runners who endured so much to finish really accomplished quite a feat! The most amazing thing was the overall male and female were both from my running club!!! How cool is that to get to run with some truly talented runners???

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

August already????

Wow, this summer is going by wayyyy too fast!

Things have been crazy hectic and although I have been getting in the workouts, they have been scattered at random times and have left me just feeling a bit out of sorts.

Saturday was an awesome day. I ran the Buckeye Trail for the first time ever with the girls. All went amazing well with the new running surface for me. Yet, with such fantastic company of the gals, I think it would have been impossible not to have a great day. We were targetting to get in 16 miles. However after a 12 mile loop and heading out another 30 minutes, I was calling shenanigans on Espeed's 2 mile turnaround to get in the total 16. We ended up going out 3 miles before turning around, so we ended up with 18 for the day. I am sure I was a bit fatigued by the end of the day as I kept tripping as I must have started dragging my feet the last couple miles!

Sunday I awoke with a stiff back and tight quads. Just perfect for the start of Sunday's Century Ride. I had stopped in at the bike shop the prior day only to hear that they changed the course this year to make it as absolutley challenging as possible. Fantastic!

Upon my arrival, there was no one I knew that was heading out for 100, except for one speed demon on Team ER who I could never keep up with. So I headed off on my own which was sort of a bummer. (OK Jodi I am missing you!!!) But all was fine until my computer quit working 4.9 miles in. Crap again! Two guys breezed past me with the green 100 mile bracelets, so I thought I would try to keep up. All was going well. I was enjoying the ride and talked with a few others out on the course and my legs were loosening up nicely. We hit the first stop at around 23-24 miles in. I grabbed some pretzels and some water and hopped back on the bike talking with another CTC member. That CTC member rocked by the way. I recognized him from Wednesday night cycling. This year he was turning 60. It was a big year-First grandchild, first half ironman year and today was his first century...quite amazing his acccomplishments at 60!!!

Another few miles down the road and I knew something was wrong. A flat. Luckily I have had my share of these this year so I said I was fine and started to change out my tube. However every flat has always had a regular pump nearby for me to utilize. This time I was not so fortunate. Luckily I had 4 of these CO2 tubes. However I had no idea how to make these work. Just as I was scratching my head, some more familiar faces rode up and stopped by. Yeah, what perfect timing!! However no one had used these tubes before. Then I had the realization you need a tool to pop these tubes (which I did not have!). Duh, now I know! However we were having trouble getting this to work and one guy had a hand pump so we used that too. What an ordeal to just pump up the tire! And then as we took the pump off the tip popped off and I knew it would not hold 70 more miles. Not only was the tip off, there was a weird bump or bubble in the tire that I could not see but I could feel riding down the road. I was going to just take it easy and hit the bike shop in Pennisula and change out this tube.

Upon my arrival I was saddened to see the store was closed for another 2.5 hours. Crap! Then I saw the free air sign! Woohoo! So I changed out the tube. I went to pump it up but then had the realization that the pump was not one I could use with my valves. It worked fine for the guy on the hybrid riding down the towpath but I was SOL. Now what??

I sat there debating who to call. After a bit, I thought to look at the map and saw the SAG phone numbers! I called and they were coming!! YEAH! After awhile they arrived and I said I needed a pump. They did not have one (seems like a logical thing they may want to carry wouldn't ya think) but they could take me to the start to have the bike sponsors pump it up. Well as that was my best option, I took it! Back at the start they were pumping it up and no sooner did they pump it up, it exploded! I think this day is jinxed! Lucky for me I was now back at my car so I went for a third tube. During this time Eddy's checked my tire and rim and everything was fine, so I am not sure why everything was being so difficult. However this third time was the charm and alas I was ready to ride again.

Now I was very behind. The 100 was out as I had other places to be that day. So I cut down a few roads to ride the last half of the 50 mile course. Since I was not riding 100, I made it a point to push through my miles as hard as possible. It felt good to pass lots of riders as I climbed the hilly course.

At the end of the day I ended up with only 60 miles, but still ended up enjoying myself. By finishing early I got to eat lunch and hang out with some friends who had done the 50. I was glad I had went back out to tack on the last 30 miles as the thought did cross my mind to just call it a day when I was having so many flat issues! What a day!

Monday I had a overdue rest day. Tuesday was a fantastic swim with TriSaraTops followed by a kick butt track workout with Espeed and MT!

This week on tap I have a fun team trail race Thursday night, a 5K Road Race Series race Saturday and then some volunteering at the Burning River 100 mile race! Time is flying by!!!!!!!