Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kentlands 5km

At the starting line (prior to race)
Cheering Ferrets (it's not every day you see Ferrets along a course!)
Enjoying a band along the course

At the finishline...5 km down, 5 km more to go to get home!
With some post race fruit (which I did not eat, I am amazed that folks eat oranges after races...and I was only up for a half a banana) But I have a co-worker who has been questioning my diet (and criticizing my LOVE for Diet Mtn Dew, so Ann, my co-worker is going to show this staged picture to illustrate that I have a perfectly healthy diet;-)
This morning my husband left for Seattle at 5 a.m. He is going to do a 6 day mountaineering expedition on Mt Baker then to climb Mt. St. Helens. When he left I started my jog to the Kentlands 5 km race. I took the long way so it was about 10 miles when I arrived at the start line (which is less than 1 mile from our house!).

My performance was pretty good. And although the course was a bit hilly I came in 442 out of 1181 runners, 25 out of 109 in my age/gender category, my gun time was 31:37 and my chip time was 27:01 (thus my pace was 8:42). It was a shockingly fast run on my part! I think it was a pretty good speedwork. Although at the finish I felt a bit nauseous (maybe a function of the speed). Or it could be that this was influenced by consuming 2 donuts and an egg McMuffin during my 10 mile run to the race. Then my friend Ann came to cheer me on and brought chocolate chip cookies, which I partook in.

After the race I ran home and did a little work. I am swamped at work and need to catch up before I go to two conferences in later September.

Completing several tasks successfully I decided to head to the pool to swim a bit. Since the pool is close to the library I first went there to pick up a few books. While doing this I noticed the Rockville Town Center was having a Jazz Fest. I grabbed a bite to eat, sat down and appreciated the music a bit. Then I swam for a while and enjoyed a very pleasant day.

Returning home, it was time to continue some work (in addition to some regular review work, I have to get prepared for my conferences later this fall). I will publish some pictures later but my network connection is a bit slow now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Adventures during the IronGirl Tri

My camera's floatation device (two fishing bobbers)
You can see one of the Kayakers who took my picture with my camera's float in the foreground
At the tranisition area with Tristan (during the race)

Enjoying a Krispy Kreme at the bike aid station
After the finish 3 hours 48 minutes later!

I will write more later today (Wed)

SWIM TIME: 45:38
BIKE TIME: 1:44:15
RUN TIME: 42:49
FINISH TIME: 3:38:12

I am finally starting to become less stiff after my IronGirl tri. I had a great time and really enjoyed the event (and we did have perfect weather). But as you can see just above, my times for each segment of the race were abysmal. I thought I set the bar low last year but clearly this year I set the bar low then started digging!

But during the event I had lots of fun and some of my extended time on the course is explained by things holding me back.

The first part of the tri is the swim. In the swim I took my waterproof camera. My camera has had no swimming lessons and I am not convinced even with swimming lessons it would not sink. Thus the camera was attached to two fishing bobbers. They were very large (approximately 2.5 inches in diameter). This did not help in my quest to be streamlined. Essentially I had my camera in my pocket. The camera had its usual wrist strap. Then I had a lanyard attached to my swimming outfit and I would clip it in when not in use. This actually was a bit cumbersome to operate, but at least I did not lose an expensive waterproof camera or have to swim like a salmon upstream against 1500 swimmers heading to the finish.

My camera’s set up caused quite a stir. People were highly amused by the journey it was taking. It also caused a bit of concern by one kayaker I was approaching to take my picture. Apparently he did not realize I came with floaties and was worried I had swum into a fishing line and needed assistance getting a hook out of me. He was ready to help me disengage from the floats but I assured him the floats were an integral part of my outfit.

Another reason my tri was so slow was that my husband brought me Krispy Kreme’s to enjoy along the way. Sadly they were not hot, but they were yummy none the less. I ate two immediately after the transition to bike and saved one for halfway into the bike portion. I really dislike biking so it was a nice treat to get off my bike about mile 10, stretch my legs and power down a Krispy Kreme. More races need Krispy Kreme’s in my world!

Finally I realized during the event I really need to learn how to bike efficiently. I bike to and from work moderately frequently, but typically I remain in the same gear (3rd or middle gear). Sometimes I have to work hard, sometimes it’s a piece of cake but it works for me. Well, during the bike event people would yell things like “use a lower gear” and “ use a bigger rotator”. They might as well have been speaking a foreign language because I had no idea what they were tying to convey to me. But because I wanted to act like I knew what I was doing I would press my one button thingy or push down on the other do-hicky (like I said I am clueless…running all you really need to know how to do is tie your shoe laces and put one foot in front of the other!).

Well, invariably I would press or push down on the wrong thing and I would come to a dead stop on a hill. Or else my feet would start spinning wildly out of control. It was not a pretty sight. Clearly I need to practice my listening skills (or else spectators need to stop yelling instructions because I have no clue what they are proposing I do).

As in every event, I decided I would NEVER do it again at the finish line. But just a few hours later I told my husband we needed to pencil in the IronGirl event in next years calendar. And I am even trying to figure out how to shave a few minutes (hours?) off my time next year. One of my friends has rightfully commented that perhaps I should spend less time in the transition. That might be a good start especially if you look at the stats that started this blog! Others could (and did) complete entire segments of the tri in the amount of time I loitered in the transition.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Book Review: 50 Marathons in 50 States

Although my game plan was to go to bed at a decent hour last night (because the Olympics are over :-( and thus I conceptually have nothing to keep me up) it was not to be.

My delay in sleep was caused by reading "50 marathons in 50 states". It is a riveting book that complements the 50 marathons in 50 states movie recently released for one night. I could not put it down because it was so interesting, inspirational and even humorous.

The book chronicles Dean's Endurance 50 (E50: 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days). He talks about people he met, experiences he had and even stories from when he was growing up that influenced his running. The lessons he presents are particularly relevant to runners but definitely can apply to real life.

He starts his book by talking about what inspired him to create and run the E50. He also briefly introducted the logistics of performing this event which were taken care of by a team of folks (Garrett, Koop, JB, Robyn, his family...) Having participated in this event, I knew all these folks. I was ready to take them home with me after Delaware because they had taken such good care of my mom who was still recovering from her stroke back in 2007. Spoiler alert skip to end of this paragraph: I was really amused by the fact that the guys on his team were trying to score ladies phone numbers. I in fact after my two runs with Dean, I was going to give out my sisters number because they were so cool and nice and at the time she was between boyfriends (the only problem with this was at the time she was in Singapore). I watch my sister's back because she watches mine when I am running endurance events!

In addition to getting to know Dean, his family and the crew you meet various runners Dean has been lucky enough to run with. He talks about the camraderie between runners in this event as well as others. I can relate completely. During E50, in Delaware I met my friend Dave. We both were going slower then the 4:00 hour marathon pace the runners set. We both had gotten lost on the Delaware course but stumbled on each other about 7 miles in. We were joined by Matt and much until about mile 15 the three of us ran together. We had formed an alliance and figured that they could not sweep us off the course if we stuck together (I had noticed in the sweep vehicle there were only 2 seats so as a threesome we had safety in numbers). Matt ultimately was struggling and had to walk. But Dave and I kept plodding along.

During our 4+ hour run togther at E50: Delaware, I learned about Dave and his family. Dave's wife was a cancer survivor and sounded like a trooper. I was very inspired by how resilant and tough she sounded. This was his first marathon and was just inspired by Dean, so Dave was tough as well! He did struggle at points but I think we kept each other moving. It was amazing coming over the finish line with Dave hand in hand. We continue to keep in touch. Dave sent me a very nice and inspiring note that was in my drop bag at the VT100 and is just a great person. I have been lucky enough to watch Dave grow as a marathoner. Last year he was supposed to run Chicago but was one of the 10,000 folks who were pulled from the course. But I suggested he consider salvaging his training by running a Marathon later in the fall. I proposed Richmond because I was running it but he ended up running the Harrisburg Marathon just a month later. We are planning to run Harrisburg Marathon in just a few months and I still have hopes I can convince him to sign up for Akron (or at least come out and run a few miles with me at that marathon:-). In addition to running, Dave raises money to support the awareness and prevention of cancer through Lance Armstongs LiveStrong foundation. Please feel free to consider contributing to the fight against this disease at the following website:

Getting back to the book, it is an easy and inspiring read. Knowing Dean and having run with him during this event makes it even more special. As usual in this book he has succeeded in providing inspiration, insight and has made me just want to get out and run!

Monday, August 25, 2008

How I Celebrate my Triathlon Finish: Donating Blood

Powder Puff (aka "Puffie"), our cat working hard at sleeping.

Today I donate blood. This is the first time this year I am doing this. I feel a bit badly about this fact. Most years I max out my blood donation by participating in scheduled donations immediately upon being eligible to donate. I am O negative thus a universal donor--which really gets me stalked by the Red Cross but also means my blood can help many folks. Unfortunately this year my race schedule has just been too tight to enable me to feel comfortable with doing this.

I have 2 weeks until the North Face 50km, I am 5 weeks away from Vermont 100, so I think (hope) my body can handle donating just a pint of blood.

A few years ago (the year of Hurricane Katrina) I donated 4 days before the Virginia Beach half marathon in late August. This was before the extent of the damage of the hurricane was known. I am glad I donated because my blood hopefully went to good use; however, I would not recommend donating 4 days before a moderately challenging event. (This was before I was doing marathons week in and week out and I think this might have pushed my body to the limit). At the finish the Virginia Beach Half I was really fatigued.

Hopefully if I am successful in donating (my iron levels are insufficient about 5-10% of the time, perhaps because I am a female) in the next two weeks, my body will recover and at least I will beat the 9 hour limit for the North Face 50 km, which is pretty much my only goal.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Columbia I "Tri-ed" but I am not sure I succeeded

At the swim

Well, the IronGirl results have not been posted but I am not sure I made the time cuts.

I easily made the swim in under an hour (okay easily is a little optimistic considering my time of about 48 minutes). My bike was 1:40 which was slower then last year (and in a moment you will see one of my excuses). My run of 3.4 miles in ~40 minutes was actually pretty good. Add in 25 minutes in the transition my time was 3:48. A whole 45 minutes slower than last year!!!

One of my major issues was a 20+ minute transition. I thought I had set the bar really low last year. But clearly I have no idea the level of my incompetence. In my defense I did feel it was necessary to stop my transitioning to go say "hi" to Tristan who was standing outside of the Transition area (he got up early and drove 30+ miles to see me the least I could do was say hi and give him a kiss with my fresh minty breath...yup at transition 1 this year I had a small mouthwash, this may have been this highlight of my hygiene in this race). Also, because this year I had a chair for the transition, I think I got a bit more comfortable when I was cleaning my feet. But I still have no idea how 20 minutes elapsed!

The swim was tough. I do not like swimming, I do not like open water, I am afraid there might be gators, snakes, sharks, snapping turtles... in MD lakes. In addition I have no upper body strength, so my swimming left quite a bit to be desired. And of course I had a waterproof camera that took the 1 km swimming journey with me. This camera does not know how to swim so I had to attach two swimming bobbers to it to ensure if I dropped it while handing to kayakers that it did not drown. The camera made it the entire way without complaining or drowning but it did create a lot of drag along the way. I think my water shoes also did not make me very aerodynamic, but alas I never worried about stepping on anything that might adversely affect my fall running.

Once I transitioned (after 20 minutes!!) I got on the bike, met up with Tristan and had two Krispy Kreme Donuts (and stowed one away for the mile 10 water stop). I like donuts (my favorite are fractured prune but they are not very neat or portable). The only minor sad note is that my Krispy Kreme's were no longer hot. But alas a donut is better then anything else that I had packed myself to eat. The bike course was just as brutal as last year. Uphills, downhills, more uphills and more downhills. My problem with biking is that I am afraid of falling so I go very slowly on the down. Then on the uphills I am not very powerful (recall I did not do any bike training since May), and for whatever reason my extensive running hill work outs (and even VT 100) did not prepare me well for this. Finally I got to the water station. I busted out my celebratory donut. I was on target for about a 1:30 bike (not great but not too bad). Well perhaps this was premature. Although in my defense some of my latter race slowness was contributed by helping this poor bicycler who had something jammed in her chains. I have PLENTY of stuff in my fanny pack, and my bikes pannier (recall I used to bike to work in which case I need alot of stuff just in case). I offered up an Allen wrench and she was able to get her chain back operational. Now the issue with helping is that she was 1/2 way up a really steep and long hill. I HATE HILLS and I am incompetent on them. I basically had to run my bike the remainder of this hill. During this run I think I determined there is a Mini-Everest in Maryland. By this time in the race my hamstrings (or is it quads) were angry because I had run alot of the hills pushing my bike (anything to get off the bike, arrggh!). So I did lose some time. But I knew I helped someone. This gave me the energy to get to the bike finish. A few more hills, one turn and pretty soon it was the homestretch. I pedaled my little heart out in excitement to get off my bike for good. As per Tristan I was moving as I finished the bike portion of the race.

Well finally when I made it and it was off to the run ( although not very fast since it took me 4 minutes to do absolutely nothing except drop off my bike which I WAS SO HAPPY to get away from). I think in the future I need to attach a camera to my head to see what I actually do because I suspect this transition time may be in the lowest 95th percentile.

The run (my "sport") went very well. It is a pretty course and on a surface I like (macadam). I do have to confess I spent about 10 minutes in the bathroom that had running water along the course. During this break I was able to use the potty, wash my face with soap and was my arms with soap as well. I was probably the freshest smelling competitor at the finish. If only freshness was the goal!

Finally I was running along the lake, hearing the music and there was the finish line. A few photo's later and I crossed it!

After finishing, I thought my husband had agreed to meet at Ulman Cancer Research Team in Training Tent where I was going to meet one of Tristan's co-workers and his daughter. Tristan was not there, but I met Julie, her Fiancee Brock, Len (Tristan's Co-worker) and his wife. We chatted and ultimately Tristan showed up about 15 minutes later. Once Tristan got there, I went up the hill to get some food. As I was heading back to Tristan, I ran into Julie and one of her friends from the Ulman Cancer Research to the awards ceremony, it happened to be my new friend from the course whose bike was having issues. She was really appreciative. Even if my 3:48 causes me a DNF (I actually have no idea what the time limit it), this is still a win in my book because I burned the calories, had a great time, met lots of nice people and was even able to help someone. In the IronGirl it really is not about the competition but about the experience and the friendships and thus in my mind this was a really sweet victory!

P.S. tommorrow I will post some pictures to this report and some to a new post (I have 250+ of which 50 include me along various portions of the course:-)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Less than one day to IronGirl Triathlon!

Today was packet pick up and bike racking for the IronGirl Tri.  It also was the first time in 5 days since I saw my bike.  This may not bode well for my competition tomorrow, but alas it is too late to worry about my training (or lack thereof!)

Early in the day I set out all my stuff.  I had an internal debate about what outfit (pretty, comfortable, outfit from last year, were all in consideration...).  I decided to go with a little old, a little new, a little borrowed, a little blue....Just kidding, I am missing a little borrowed!  But I will be wearing a similar outfit as I wore last year with a few new items.  Unlike my ultra-marathoning races, my color theme will be blue/green but of course I will have some pink and a sparkley fanny pack ("blue-y", not my silver pack that takes only 50 or 100 mile journeys now)  

I picked up my friend, Ann and bike and we drove over to Columbia, MD.  We arrived a few minutes early but soon enough were receiving our packets, our goody bags and our vibrant pink wristband.  Immediately upon receiving my chip/anklet, I put it on (I hate being worried about misplacing items or the potential to forget critical items when going to competitions).  My friend did not put on her ankleband and commented that it looked like I was on probation!  Well, at least tomorrow I will know where my chip is.

After we shopped a little at the EXPO, we headed over to the Centennial Lake to rack our bikes. Like the EXPO/packet pick up we were a little early so took a short lap around the lake.  It is a pretty course but a little hilly.  After our jog, we were able to rack our bikes.  Somehow I TOTALLY scored an AWESOME spot.  I have an end spot about 7 racks away from the lake.  It will be easy to get onto the bike course and easy to transition to the run.  Now all I need is to focus!  

As I write this blog, I am watching the men's Olympic Marathon.  They are really moving (I think 2:05 is the current pace...even on my bike I couldn't go 26 miles in 2:05!).  

Finally, I am hoping my friend Jamie is doing really well at the Lean Horse 100 mile.  She previously came in first at Badwater just over 4 weeks ago and is using this as a training run in preparation for the 24 hour World Championship in Korea in October.  I know she will do really well at Lean Horse.  And of course I am confident she will do a GREAT job representing the US at the World Championship as both as an athlete as well as a representative of our country.  

Well, my goal at tomorrows tri is to finish sub-3 hours.  Maybe if I focus I can break 2:45 but regardless,  I hope I meet lots of nice people, have a good time and enjoy the excitement and camraderie of the IronGirl! 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Columbia Tri Results from 2007

In preparation for this year's IronGirl Triathlon I have refreshed my memory about how poorly I performed last year. I was shocked to find out it took me nearly 15 minutes in transition 1 (from swim to bike). Olympic quality athletes could be 1/2 way through any one of the sports in the time it took me to clean my feet. Clearly I am lucky feet cleaning is not an essential part to my typical life because I really stink at it! My husband very politely informed me that based on this I am in the lowest 99th percentile of transition times...gotta love him and his statistics!

Here is a summary of my stats from last year (on a positive note: I think based on my 2007 performance I have set the bar at a fairly achievable level, right?):

OverallFinish .... AgePlace ......... FinishTime
1641/1702 ......... 348/359 ......... 3:03:30.25

SwimPlc ........ SwimTime..... Trans1Place .... Trans1Time
342 ................. 37:35............... 358/359 .......... 14:10

BikePlace....... BikeTime ..... BikeRate ..... Trans2Place ....Trans2Time
342 ............... 1:31:38.......... 11.5 .............. 312/358 ............ 3:14

RunPlace ........ RunTime ..... RunPace
261 .................. 36:56.............. 10:52

My friend Ann and I at the pre-IronGirl swim a few weeks ago (this was before the swim when the race director itook our picture at this sign... guess someone is illiterate, eh?)

Taking a Victory Lap around the lake after our swimming efforts!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Running home

So this year I have resumed my self-propelled commuting to and from work this summer.  This is the 4th summer in a row I have tried to commute to/from work using "Tammy Power" several days a week.

This summer I have been moderately successful with my husbands help who frequently drives me to work.  Then in the afternoon I jog home or jog closer to home and meet up with my husband somewhere (the local pool, the grocery store, panera bread company are among frequent meeting points).  Sometimes I bail on my run and actually hop a local bus, but this is a bit difficult because I have to figure out when the bus will pass me and potentially where on my various routes home (it's like a bad SAT question...Tammy leave's work at 4 p.m. traveling 5 mph, the 46 bus leaves Rockville traveling 20 mph, assuming Tammy needs a 15 minute head start to jog to get to the bus route, when and where the bus pass Tammy??).

Well today was my first time running all the way home from work since VT100.  I was pretty happy with completing this distance (I think today's course was about 7 miles because it typically takes me about 1.5 hours).  This followed Tuesday's "speed work" when I had to return abruptly to work 1/4 of the way to the pool because I forgot some items (aarrggh!).  

During my jog I nearly had a wildlife incident.  I was running along a major 4 lane road.  It was near some green acres including a marsh.  I heard a rather large commotion and large branches breaking in this area and of course my first thought was "Cougar", of course realizing I was not in CO, I realized it was more likely to be "Bear".  I was in a panic.  Finally I glanced over and saw a buck and two smaller deer.  I was no less panicked.  About 3 years ago, I nearly was charged by a deer in the fall along a different road relatively close to our house when I was training for JFK50 in 2006, you can read more at the following website:  And I thought DC was supposed to be an urban area!

Well after this, my run continued fairly uneventfully.  

Only 3 more days until the Columbia IronGirl.  My bike is resting comfortably at my friends house (no longer generating interest and taunting me by sitting in front of my office).  And today it was only about 80 degrees thus I deemed it too cold to swim.  Anyway after yesterday when my husband kept beating me at 50-100 meter races, I got a bit discouraged with my swimming capabilities).  Well at least the 3.4 mile in my tri should be a cake walk for me, right:-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Gold Medal Watching: the 2008 Olympics

I have been watching the Olympics virtually every day since it started.  Granted the first few days I was on business travel/vacation so all I was able to do was see a TiVo of the opening ceremony and read the newspaper results.  

But since arriving home last Monday I have spend from 8 p.m.-11 p.m. watching the competitions on NBC (we do not have cable/digital) so this is the only way I can get my fix!  Saturday was the highlight of my Olympic watching when the Women's Marathon was held.  I was so excited to see women compete at an event which I consider my specialty (only because after ~40 marathons I consider them fairly manageable; 50 milers I always wonder if I will finish and 100 miles are definitely a wild card!)

The marathon was riveting and I was bummed when it was over in less then 2 hours and 30 minutes.  Oddly enough several of my co-workers asked me if I could run about this time.  I had to break the news that pretty much my time is 2X an olympians time.  But then again I have a real job so I am not highly motivated to go very fast.  Also I have lots of tasks I need to do during marathons including taking pictures, using real bathrooms with running waters and chatting with kind volunteers.  I did not see any of the elites performing these tasks.

Another question I fielded (because I suppose in many other non-athletes eyes I am an expert) was about the winner doing lap after lap after she completed.  My response was that if at all possible a victory lap is typically done and unless you have completely put it all out there, you can typically jog another lap or two and in fact it might help prevent stiffness and muscles from tightening.  I also suggested that perhaps with all the adrenaline she was primed for a few extra laps for good measure.

I now am getting mentally prepared for the men's marathon.  

In addition to my excitement about the marathon, I was really amazed by Michael Phelps swimming.  He is just a swimming machine!  I have to admit his last race I was asleep (I am pathetic, I tried so hard but I am happy I was able to watch as many of his events as I did).  

Finally, I have been really excited about the beach volleyball.  The American's May/Walsh are such an impressive pair.  They make beach volleyball look easy.  But from the few times I have run on beach sand I have the utmost respect for all the beach volleyball players because it is REALLY tough!!!

In addition to watching olympics I have tried to throw in a few runs and swims.  Since VT100 I have been slacking off a bit and my IronGirl and subsequently the North Face 50 km race is coming up fast!  

Monday, August 18, 2008

Craming for the IronGirl Triathlon

Completing the swim portion of the Triathlon at the IronGirl in 2007

I have less than 6 days until the IronGirl Triathlon. I am really ill-prepared. I have not taken my bike for a ride since "Take your Bike to Work Day" in May. And except for a competition with my husband at our local pool (which I totally won), I have not swam much either.

Guess like many other events I sign up for, I am going to have to either cram or fake my way through it!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Brief Picture Summary of Denver

As I mentioned in my previous blog, last week I was in Denver for a statistical conference.  I think my presentations went relatively well (I got some laughs and my husband who was in the audience was highly amused when I mentioned that sometimes Adverse Event are not reported when people do not go to the hospital when health issues erupt and find out weeks, months or years later they had some issue...basically I used as an example when people have a heart attack and only find out later when blood tests show out of norm enzymes and my comment about this occurring was "Bummer"; I guess he is right perhaps this was not the socially acceptable response, but it is a bummer!) 

In addition to attending and presenting at this conference, my husband and I were fortunate enough to spend several days in the Denver/Rocky Mountain area which was great fun.  

We walked around Boulder a beautiful mountain town, we hiked extensively and were able to visit with some friends who live in Colorado.  Below you can see some pictures from this trip.  

The first picture I nearly froze to death while my husband set up the perfect composition of me standing in Boulder Creek.  We had considered tubing down this river but in retrospect we were ill prepared for the near freezing water temperatures.

The next picture is of me attempting to climb the Flatirons, a mountain range(?) right near Boulder.  They are beautiful mountains but after this hike I learned that 1) there are rattlesnakes along the path 2) there are potentially pumas, cougars or mountain lions along the path and 3) lightening seems to be following me no matter where I go.  Based on a recommendation of a local we met at the REI, we went to the Flatirons after a quick trip to Broadway Joe's Bagel.  Both recommendations were top notch!  Hiking up to the Flatirons was uneventful except for a slight addition to our hike because we missed a turn (it was a bit confusing how to get to the Flatiron that you could hike to the top).  I turned around earlier then Tristan because I am sissy.  This worked out well because towards the end of my hike a lightening storm arrived and I was able to book it the last mile or so (which was a very runnable trail).  

At the visitor center I was able to ask lots of questions.  This is when I learned of the presence of frightening wildlife.  I also learned that in Colorado the use of the word ranch does not necessarily indicate they are growing animals.  Near Boulder there is a park called Boulder Valley Ranch.  There was a picture in the visitor center of a prairie dog sitting up.  I thought it was very cute and would be cool to visit a ranch where they raise prairie dogs.  I asked the ranger about the ranch and if they raised any other creatures and got a very puzzled look.  The response was basically why in the world would this state raise/breed prairie dogs?  In my defense I think of a ranch as a place domesticated animals are bred and raised.  And yes, I do think Prairie Dogs could be considered domesticated creatures because they are so cute.

In addition to several trips and outings in Boulder, we also hiked in the Rocky Mountains.  One day we spent hiking at the Wild Basin section of the Rocky Mountains.  We climbed past Calypso Falls to the top of Ouzel Falls.  Because Tristan was attempting to summit Longs peak the next day our hike was only about 7 miles long.  We also went to Lily Pond and ran around this 1.4 mile loop.   I wish the trails in Maryland were as nice as some of the paths we hiked and ran in CO.  (actually we also really like the trails in Oregon and Washington, for some reason they are alot nicer and I stumble and fall considerably less out west).

We also were luck enough to hang out with some family friends which was really nice.  It is always nice to get to catch up with friends when we travel.  

At Boulder Creek, trying not to freeze to death

Attempting to climb a FlatIron in Boulder CO

Hanging with the Big Dogs in Longmont CO (he reminds me of Gilligan)

Running Lily Lake at Rocky Mountian National Park

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dean Karnazes 50 marathons in 50 days Movie Review

I am in Denver on a business trip, but have a few minutes downtime that I can write a small review of the 50 marathons in 50 days.

It is an AWESOME movie. It was made even better by the fact that I participated in the actual event and it reminded me of the amazing journey Dean went through in 2006.

Dean is an amazing athlete and a wonderful person. He has energy, enthusiasm and is very genuine and down to earth. This came through in the movie. You could feel the challenges, the triumphs and the camradie that the participants were lucky enough to share. During the movie, you were part of the 50 marathons journey and saw the beautiful courses that Dean was fortunate to run on. You also saw some of the challenges facing Dean and the other runners and at least I could relate to these. But I think most marathoners, runners and ultramarathoners have the realization that runnning like life has challenges and the best weather these with grace and aplomb. It is inspiration to see everyone face these.

The audience was also lucky enough to meet and get to know some of the participants and the variety of stories that led runners to partipcate. I am really looking forward to buying the book later in August and look forward to the day when I can purchase the DVD.

In summary I would have run about 100 miles (my limit) to go and attend this movie, which is equivalent to 5 stars on a 5 star scale. The scenery, special interest stories and the overall positive and motivational aspect of this movie was great and if it plays again by a theatre near me, I will be attendance again.

To validate my assessment, my husband, my sister and Imelda all really enjoyed the movie as well (although perhaps we are all a little biased as we are all runners). I would highly recommend it to both runners and non-runners.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Items in it for the long haul: Vermont 100

Picture: Can I have any more Handkerchiefs?? Seriously, by the end of the day when I was jettisoning handkerchiefs, I had over 5 around my neck (and a "cool cat" gel filled handkerchief type item)

As you can see from my race pictures, I always run with an ultimate direction fanny pack. Because it makes me happy, I “sparklerize” my racing fanny packs. I currently have two packs that are race ready and thus sparklerized, one silver and one blue. In my fanny pack I carry a lot of items, but sadly most of these items do not see the light of day. The following lists items that took all (or a portion) of the Vermont 100 mile journey with me:
Distance ... Item
100 ........... Black diamond small flashlight
100 ........... Small container of Advil
100 ........... Barrett and Ponytail Holder
100 ........... Spare Camera batteries (*1)
100 ........... 3 spare AAA batteries
100 ............ Mojo Energy Bar (*2)
100 ........... Several snack sized Ziploc bags of toilet paper
100 ........... Several individual packages of Wet wipes (*3)
100 ........... Several individual packages of salt (*3)
100 ........... Individual insect repellent wipes
62 ............. Expired License and Health Insurance card (*4)
57 ............. Sunglasses (*5)
57 ............. Waterproof Olympus Camera (*1)
57 ............. Insect proof Bandana
55 ............. Niagara Falls Poncho (*6)
50 ............. Copious amounts of water (*7)
48 ............. Rob A.
45 ............. A Bunch of Handkerchiefs (*8)
43 ............. Small container of glide
38 ............. Black Diamond Headlamp (worn mostly around my wrist)
17 ............. Petzl e-lite Headlamp
7 .............. Patrick M. and Gary
(*1) Even though the camera only travelled with me 57 miles, it is good the camera’s batteries joined me on the entire journey, right?
(*2) On a positive note, I did eat my second Mojo bar about 65 miles into the race.
(*3) Thanks McDonalds!
(*4) Who needs insurance and an ID after 57 miles??
(*5) I wore (but did not even really need) sunglasses for about 2 miles during the race!
(*6) When the poncho was needed during the 4 major rainstorms, it was on a break and I did NOT have it,
(*7) The lack of poncho enabled a lot of water to collect in my fanny pack since it does not have good drainage, despite the TSA’s admonition about “no liquids in carry-on” it actually made it all the way back to my home in MD!
(*8) See picture above of me taunting everyone with my numerous handkerchiefs!
As you can see many items took a ride with me but were completely useless during VT100 (those I never used or even thought about using are in italics).
Sadly, I am getting into the habit of taking many items on a 50 or 100 mile journey just for the sake of it. Essentially similar sagas occurred at Umstead 100 in both '07 and '08 as well as the JFK 50 miler in '06, '07, and '08! In fact, during JFK 07, I even took my set of three house keys for the 50 mile journey (although in my defense at mile 17 near Harpers Ferry I can turn right onto the C&O Canal to continue on the course or I can turn left on the C&O Canal and head home; so maybe I was keeping my options open!)
During one weigh in, I was a little concerned I was not drinking enough. I jumped on the scale with my fanny pack and weighed over 4 lbs greater than my initial weight. The volunteer observed my fanny pack and requested I remove it. I was ~1 lb less than my initial weight, thus I conjecture my fanny pack weighed about 3 lbs. (Note: I can do the math; it’s just that my 20 oz water bottle was fairly full!) Okay, I can’t really do the math (I’m a statistician mind you!) but I would say my 95% Confidence interval for my fanny packs weight was 3-5 lbs throughout the race!