Monday, September 29, 2008

The ups and down of my day: with a nice run to finish

Picture: Sagwa and Powder Puff Kayaking?
Today Tristan drove me to work. It was my first day in my new office. It did not go well, although by the time I jogged home it seemed to have settled down a bit.
My first tragedy was that my computer had no internet/e-mail accessibility. The techs were on call as early as 6:30 a.m. and actually after I had spent 30 minutes putzing around trying to figure out the problem they came to my office within a few moments of my call and had solved my problem in less than a minute (bad connector).

Initially I thought my phone worked (the speaker phone did when I called tech support), but later in the day I did not have a dialtone. But this did not stop me from trying to make outgoing calls now and again. I learned that while I had no dial tone or sound I was apparently capable of making outging calls and was prank calling Tristan, my husband now and again (well at least I was sucking others down into my lack of productivity!)

After a few minutes in the office I realized half the desk in my new room was not mine (the chinese characters taped to the top were a slight clue). It took nearly the whole day to straighten out the mystery of the missing desk pieces. Somehow my desk pieces lost their tag and were abandoned on my old floor (but a different room). At the end of the day it was located. I'm not sure the resolution of my missing pieces of furniture but both items were really close to my room when I ran away from the office.

Because I did not want to have another running in the dark incident (which turned into a bus ride) I just left and hoped for the best. My jog home was pretty uneventful which was good because I was a bit worried about having some disaster just to continue my day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Running in the Rain? And to start pictures from our Adirondack Vacation

Here are some pictures from our vacation portion of our long weekend in the Adirondacks
Does this Schroon Lake Driver have a valid license?

Enjoying "Blue Ledge" along the Hudson River
Tammy and Horse at Saratoga Springs

Seriously this is the worst tasting spring ever. It smells of rotton eggs and dead animal at the same time. I tried pretty hard to swallow some to get some trace minerals but was not sucessful. It was kind of like trying to get down a gel or a matter how hard I try, I end of gagging and spitting stuff out (and of course making a horrible face:-)

Twice in the last 4 days I have ended up running in a torrential downpour. Thursday, Tristan and I took a very short jog to a local park. During our run, it started misting a bit (which was fine because we were under cover), but as we headed home (not under cover), the rain started coming down in sheets! We were completely soaked by the end.

Well, today Tristan drove our car to the local pool and jogged home and I jogged to the pool (the afternoon was predicted to have storms) to go swimming and get the aforementioned car that was abandoned. As I left the house I checked and all looked good for about 2 hours. But about 1 mile into my jog a light mist started. It increased dramatically in just a matter of minutes. It was like Vermont 100 miler all over again (except no hail or thunder/lightening which was very good). It was torrentially pouring. My positive thought was that I was going swimming anyway, this was just prepping me for my swim. My negative thought is that my iPod is getting really tired of being soaked. It has spent alot of time wet this year and unlike my camera I do not believe it is waterproof. But actually a few days ago I decided to slightly waterproof it with a ziploc bag. It's not as cool as the floaties my camera had but did seem to keep it dry today.

In addition to my iPod I was also a bit worried about my car key. Our car key has the locking mechanism right on the key. This means (I assume) it has some electronics in it. Tristan's key is already mangled and doesn't work properly (his key took a joy ride in the washer and possible the dryer), but my key had worked until today. I will hope it is tough because when we looked into replacing Tristan's key we were quoated in the hundreds of dollars! I would much rather buy a few pairs of shoes because they apparently are way tougher then keys.

Well, tommorrow the weather is supposed to improve, so hopefully my multi-tasking run/shower experiences are over for the time being;-)

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Adirondack Marathon Pictures & Ancedotes

My friend Jericho and Jesse near the start of the Adirondack Marathon
A view along the lake

Sharing my finisher's medal with a finisher's bear
The finish line 45 minutes later
Enjoying a post-race swing
As I wrote in my previous blog, the Adirondack Marathon is one of my favorite races. The course is beautiful, the townspeople are really nice, there is lots of hiking/activities very close by (which means my husband Tristan easily entertains himself during my run) and there is lots of food before and after the race (during the race there is lots of beverages, but food is more available than Marine Corps and Disney but less than Niagara Ultra, Frederick Marathon, George Washington Birthday...). On a positive note, at about mile 13 you pass the one traffic light town of Chester that has a small general store so you can always buy a ring-ding, ho-ho, snoball or yodel halfway through the race.
One of my favorite memories of this race is the spectators on the course. I am pretty convinced the townspeople bet on the runners and thus encourage you to pass certain numbers (maybe I am handicapped to be pretty good because of my age, but all they have to do is google my name and they would find out I am not that fast!). Both times I have run this race at about mile 20, I was running up Route 9 and a large group of spectators was sitting there with binocoulars and race brochure looking at the runners bibs then yelling out your name and hometown as you crest the hill. It is really neat to see so many people supporting the runners so enthusiastically. I sadly was going to take a picture of these folks however I was prevented by the rule "You CANNOT cross route 9". It is pretty amusing to me how this rule is repeated over and over. The road is closed so this rule is a bit puzzling, but regardless, the fact they say it numerous times cracks me up. It actually makes me want to cross the line to see what happens. I think the fact they mention it so much (and publish it in the brochure as one of the first rules) makes it stick in the runners mind; so it becomes a topic of conversation (a small survey I took with some back of the packers suggest I am not the only one tempted to just touch the yellow line). In fact if we could get a DNF for thinking about it I would already be disqualified for my next running of this marathon!
Another odd memory I have about this race is being last place quite extensively. Because I like pictures (of me, the course and others), I tend to have a hard time at the beginning going out fast. In fact this race I was stalked by the ambulance for several miles. I think the ambulance folks were a bit amused at my picture taking and at the finish line they commented that they felt we had formed a bond because of this stalking. I do find it a bit disconcerting to have the follow vehicle right behind me. This has happened several times although frequently it is a cop car, not an ambulance. The ambulance made me nervous because I kept thinking: what if I fell down and was bleeding...a cop might sort of laugh and point, but the ambulance folks might be tempted to fix me up and perhaps take me from the course. And considering I fall about once every hunred runs I might be just about due for a stumble. Also having an ambulance so close makes me wonder "do I look that bad?" which is not necessarily the most positive thought:-)
I really enjoy this race and was really happy that I could catch up with my friends Jesse and Jericho and hope I convinced them to 1) run the Vermont City Marathon next Memorial Day weekend and 2) pace me a little in Vermont 100. Although this course is a bit hilly it is a wonderful small marathon with crowds that although small make up for it with loads of enthusiasm!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Adirondack Marathon and skipping Akron Marathon

Picture Left: Tammy at the Start line of the Adirondack Marathon

Running the Adirondack Marathon course around Schroon Lake (which although is around a lake and thus should be flat based on the laws of physics really is VERY hilly but very pretty). Enjoying the lake during a brief period when it was warm

At the finish line with my friends Jesse and Jericho, from the 2006 Adirondack Marathon (in 2006 it was their first marathon and only 2 weeks before they got married). It was great to see them!

Today was a hard day for me. I think running around like a nut (in sandals no less) the last few days at work might have contributed to some foot issues.

Since I don't want small issues to blow up into big issues, I decided to cancel my plans to go run the Akron Marathon. This is really hard and very sad. It is better this way because of so many events and feeling so run down, but I have been looking forward to Akron since it was suggested at the Tampa Marathon last Feb. And even worse, now I will definitely be working this weekend.

Well, at least I can reminsce about my recent sucess at the Adirondack Marathon. This race was just like I remembered. The townspeople were really nice the entire weekend. They were really excited to be hosting the race and made sure the runners felt their appreciation. Friday morning, Tristan and I arrived in Albany then drove to Saratoga Springs. We walked around the town a bit and drank from a variety of springs. Some water was tasty, some so-so and a few springs were AWFUL. Seriously they smelled of rotton egg and tasted like a bottle of sea water that had an animal die in it then sat out in the sun for weeks, only worse! (or at least that is how I think Bear Gryllis of Man Vs. Wild would describe it). After a quick meal at the Putnam Market (which has really tasty sandwiches), we drove to Lake George. We walked around that town and decided to play Mini-golf. Sadly I was not on my A -game, actually I don't think I have an A-game, but this time I did really poorly. On several occasions my ball was barely in the same zip code as me. But ultimately we finished our game and although I listed my name as "Champ" and Tristan's as "Chump" I was not the victor. We then continued our journey up to Schroon Lake and arrived at our Cabin/room just in time for dinner. Walking to dinner we were able to find a race brochure. I learned I was bib 103 and it looked like I knew a few runners. After our quick dinner at a local pub, we headed back to the room.

Saturday, Tristan left about 5 a.m. to climb Gulden Peak. I was left to fend for myself. After sleeping in I wandered 300 meters to the center of town and got a tasty cup of coffee from Higher Grounds. I wandered aimlessly including walking to the Lake and up the 400 meter long main street until packet pick up opened up. I got my bib and my packet. After taking my packet to the room (a 2 minute walk) I continued wandering around the town a bit (a 5 minute walk). I found a chair by the lake and sat down and appreciated the beautiful fall weather and lovely lake. I read for a few hours then it was time to go swim a bit at the Word of Life Pool (like I said this race really treats you right). I swam for about an hour then showered. The pool was right at the location where the pre-race dinner was being held so I wandered over to the dining hall and sat down. Ultimately Tristan showed up after his hike and we had a very nice dinner. Dinner included salad, pasta, a variety of sauces (with and without meat) and veggies. For desert there were a variety of pies, cheesecakes, chocolate cake and ice cream. It was really good. Soon enough my belly was full and it was time to sleep off this very filling meal.

Sunday morning was a bit chilly. The low was in the upper 40's but the predicted high was to be in the upper 60's. There was a slight chance of sprinkles but no major rain was predicted. I decided to go with my usual marathon girl skirt, pink tank and a long sleeve shirt. I carried a poncho just in case there was rain and wore a new pair of Drymax socks that Gus (THANKS) from Drymax had kindly provided (using these drymax socks I used no Glide...with great success, now perhaps I will only use 1/2 bottle of glide in preparation for a marathon rather than nearly a full bottle since now I do not need to attend to my feet at least:-).

I left the room at about 8:30, after "sleeping in" until about 7:30 a.m. Have I said how much I love this race? It has a normal start time of 9 a.m. thus I did not have to wake up at 4 a.m. or even 5 a.m. I could get up at a leisurely 7:30 a.m. and essentially roll out of the door of the cabin.

I wandered to the start line and chatted with many nice runners. I did not see anyone I knew (I had seen my friend Joe Cleary from the Niagara Ultra just briefly at the end of the pasta dinner, but he mentioned he was starting at 7 a.m. with the walkers). Soon enough it was 9 a.m. and we were off. Well, others were off, I was just jogging along taking pictures (or having others take my picture). At several points during the first few miles I was dead last because of this. About 5 minutes into the race I heard my name. I realized it was a runner and I recognized the voice. It was my friends Jesse and Jericho whom I had met at this race 2 years ago. They got married just two weeks after the race, but somehow although Jesse's name was in the book, Jericho's was not (thus when I perused it for runners I knew I did not see both their names). I ran the majority of the first 20 miles with them on and off. It was really great to catch up with them. They still live in Vermont and I sure hope I can convince them to run the Vermont City Marathon in May with me:-) Jesse is now student teaching and should be finished his certification in the winter. We talked about running, life in general and what we each have done since our last race together. It was so great to see both of them running together. At mile 20 I ended up speeding up a bit because I was getting really chilled. Sadly a cold front came through but was way earlier and colder then I expected. After realizing I was getting quite chilled, I decided I had to pick up the pace (a few times my legs, and my knee in particular I have had issues with excrutiating knee pain because it siezes up in the cold). But after I finished, I was able to see and cheer on Jesse and Jericho.

After the race Tristan and I went to the post race party. It was pretty good (not as good as I remembered but I suspect everyone is hurting in the current economy, which took a nose dive on Friday). There was tasty salad, lasagne and lots of meat related items. I did not partake in the meat, but did enjoy the lasagne and salad. After this, Tristan and I went back to the room, walked to the lake then called it a day at 7 p.m. Overall it was a great day!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sleep, who needs sleep

So in the past two weeks I traveled to Boston for a conference (and presented), returned to DC to attend and present at a stats conference, headed up to Adirondack NY for a long weekend with a marathon and packed my office for a move that had been abruptly moved up recently (initially it was to be Oct. but 3 weeks ago it was moved to Sept 26th...well I come back from NY and one of the first e-mail messages I read says we must be packed by Wednesday...and I had these great plans to cram tommorrow). Well luckily my endurance athlete genes kicked in and I am all packed (well except some of my items don't have packing slips on them but that is another fiasco!)

Today Tristan and I went to a Ben Folds Concert in DC. This was nice but I wish I felt more relaxed. Ben Folds used to belong to the group Ben Folds Five and in fact our the first song Tristan and I danced to after our wedding was by Ben Folds Five ("Magic"). It is on the album the biography of Rienhold Messner (but just so you are warned other songs on this album have explicit/obscene words).

During tonights concert he played almost all new songs that have not been released (the new album goes on sale Sept 30th). But during the encore he played a few songs from older albums. All the songs he played are on my playlist which I listen to when I run. The opening act was really good. The singers name was Missy and she like Ben Folds gave some words of wisdom during the concert. I really liked her song "Steer" which is about ensuring you are the driver in your life and are making decisions for yourself. I think it is an important lesson that so many people don't take to heart and thus let life pass them by. I don't think my life is passing me by exactly, it just seems to be going by at warp speed currently. But hopefully by the winter I will have a bit more time to reflect on the craziness that my life has become.

Tommorrow I will write a bit about Adirondack Marathon, but I will say I had a GREAT time. The townspeople were just as nice as two years ago, I reconnected with my friends Jericho and Jesse (who were married just 2 weeks after the marathon last time) and I got to meet many new friends and see several others. My time wasn't great (and actually it was a bit faster then I wanted because during the event a cold front came through and I nearly froze to death...and the only way I see addressing this problem is running a bit faster, so apparently, cold, lightening, bears, or snakes can actually incite me to run closer to my fullest potential:-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Running on Empty?

Left: A view from my Monday morning run.

The last week and a half I have been way to busy!

Tristan arrived safely back from Mt. Baker and Mt. St. Helens and is already prepared to sign up for a mountaineering expediation class next year. We have decided I am addicted to endorphins and he is addicted to adrenaline (and we are embracing our addictions for the time being!)

In the last week, I flew to Boston for a Regulatory Affairs Professional Society conference in which I taught a section of a Technical Writing Class. Then I flew back to DC to present and chair a session at a statistics conference. And I am busy packing my office for a move within our building. I wish I could say my October calendar was less filled but in fact I have several pleasure trips (with Marathons of course) and a business trip to Slovenia.

I am REALLY looking forward to the JFK 50 miler in November when I can relax for one day!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gilligan's Excellent Adventure-Pups in the Pool

Left: Tammy and Gilligan

Gilligan swimming?
Tammy and Gilligan. Is Gilligan lifeguarding? Because he sure isn't swimming!
Yes, he can actually swim (but you will notice there is a paw on the bottom).

Today was doggie dip day at a local pool. Since it was a beautiful day and Gilligan likes swimming and hanging out we partook in the fun.
However prior to going to the pool I took a long run down a local road. I can run 15-20 miles on this road but was a bit fearful of doing this today because the last three times I ran Great Seneca there was a dead deer. It is sad and as the days progressed it was SMELLY. Luckily sometime late last week someone (or something) removed the deer, which made for alot more pleasant a run.

After returning home, I dropped in on one neighbor to see if she wanted to take her dog to the pool. Then I called a work friend to see if she & her dog were up for meeting up with Gilligan and I. The neighbor declined but my work friend agreed but said she needed a shower. I tried to convince her that showering was optional, especially since I was coming straight off a run.
Gilligan and I headed for the pool and he initially was hesistant to get in. Ultimately he would get in but then get out quickly. A few times he did swim but he kind of cheated because he could touch the bottom. Through the afternoon, both of my friends showed up with their respective dogs. My neighbor commented that after the foul weather yesterday when we were all cooped up in our houses it was nice to get out for some fresh air and exercise.
After about 2 1/2 hours at the event, Gilligan seemed a bit tired and seemed to be uninterested in swimming, since I knew we still had to clean up after his swim we headed home slowly. Of course we stopped for ice cream on the way home, which he throughly enjoyed. Then it was time for a bath. As usual it took me over an hour to bath him. He is a BIG dog! He is now sleeping (snoring loudly) and has been for the last several hours.

In just a bit Tristan should be arriving home, I hope Gilligan can muster some energy to greet Tristan. Well, if not, at least the cats should be excited.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

No North Face Endurance 50 km

Today I slept in. This was not how I expected to start my day. In fact I had anticipated getting up about 3:30 so I could get ready for the North Face Endurance 50 km, drive to VA, cheer on the 50 milers as they started their race and then 2 hours later start my 50 km journey. Unfortunately the race was cancelled. It is understandable because considering a hurricane/tropical storm/tropical depression is on it's way, the support personnel need to be ready to assist residents rather than runners. And it might not have been safe for volunteers (or runners although I think most ultra runners accept there is definitely risk in the sport).

So today I am going to do work :-( I have a bunch of business trips coming up and need to continue working on my presentations and practice (next weekend I go to Boston to give a presentation about Technical Writing at the Regulatory Affairs Professional Annual Meeting, later that week I go to the FDA/Industry workshop and present "Effective Communication Strategies" and finally in October I should be going to Slovenia (old Czech Republic, right near Croatia/Italy/Austria) to present a session at the Drug Information Association Clinical Forum, "Identifying and Pursuing Career Opportunties in the Pharmaceutical Industry". Oddly enough none of my upcoming presentations are specifically related to my career path (Biostatistician), however, I believe my willingness to say yes and enthusiastic presentation style has enabled me to be offered many speaking engagements. This should help me in the future when I try to transition into my dream job of being a motivational speaker and/or career coach.

Stay safe out there!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Where's my husband?

Picture below: Tristan on Mt Rainier in 2007. We just walked up along the Muir Snowfields on this day, but the year prior in 2006, Tristan climbed Mt Rainier...he's a nut!!!

This picture of Tristan and I at Mt St Helens was taken last year (2007). At this time Mt St Helens was spewing a bit of stuff: bus sized rocks, but the folks in Washington seemed unconcerned!?!!?
Tammy with Mt Baker. Last year I was running Skagit Flats Marathon while Tristan climbed to the Glacier Fields on Mt Baker. Mt Baker is the snow capped peak towards the left of me. Oddly enough along the course of this very nice marathon you see signs for Volcano Evacuation routes as well as Tsunami Evacuation Routes. At my pace at least pretty much I was doomed in either case!

Tristan my husband is "off the radar". I heard from him Monday night (recall I e-grumped about getting woken up at 9:30 p.m.!) and then Tuesday night he called. But since then no word.

He is somewhere on Mount Baker learning mountaineering and survival skills with the expedition group "Mountain Madness" (I hope).

I assume he is okay, but maybe Mountain Madness is afraid to call me... He suggested on Tuesday night that during their crevasse rescue he and his partner nearly got abandoned. Tristan explained climbing 50 verticle feet up a crevasse is tough (apparently the jump into the crevasse and are abandoned and have to get themselves least that is my impression, which is why I am here and not paying perfectly good money to have people torture me!). I tried to relate to climbing 50 verticle feet but perhaps I offended him by not being as impressed as a good wife should be. (I am a child of the 70's I can only use metric:-) or distances that I can relate to: 1 floor, 2 car lengths, a school bus...)

I am also unsure where the cell phone spends the day while Tristan is at mountaineering class. It is old so perhaps the battery died (or it could be cold again contributing to the batteries death). Or maybe it goes climbing with him and it is now crushed, lost or abandoned. Or maybe Tristan is using up battery and minutes keeping on top of important news and world events (like who's pregnant, who's going to rehab and how the republican national convention is progressing). Or maybe Mt Baker blew up but other pressing news is keeping us unaware of this.

Speaking of bad news. Saturday is North Face Endurance 50 km. Last night runners recieved a discouraging e-mail warning us that the race may be cancelled. After Umstead (24 hours of rain) and Vermont (thunder, lightening, hail), a hurricane seems like a natural progression for the challenging weather I have experienced during this years Ultra's. I can only ponder what JFK50 will bring...actually I am a little hesitant to speculate because a blizzard, ice storm or other natural disaster may be tame compared to what I'm in store for.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Umstead 100 Bound!

At Umstead 100 in 2008
Running to the Finish in 2008 (in under 29 hours...maybe this year sub-28??)
I have just sucessfully signed up for Umstead. I am mentally prepared. Now I just need to get physically prepared. I have a good 6 months, so I should be good to go!

I really enjoy the Umstead 100 experience. The race personal are all really nice, the course is manageable and I love the scent of Wisteria at 4 points during each lap. I am really excited to be able to add this to my list of upcoming events.
I hope my sister will be able to crew and pace me next April. I have fired Tristan at Vermont 100 and am not sure I will have forgotten all his transgressions and deficiencies as a crew and pseudo-pacer within the next 6 months! Actually I was just reminded a few weeks ago while visiting a friend in Colorado about how at Umstead when Tristan paced me the last lap, he comandeered my RAINJACKET!!! Pacers shouldn't take their runners stuff especially when the runner is cold and wet! He's definitely fired!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How I spent my Labor Day: Hill work on Sugarloaf Mountain

Left: Me, very far in the distance running Sugarloaf during the spring. The Azalea's and Mountain Laurels are beautiful during the spring!
Taking a walk break

This past weekend was filled with lots of outdoor activities. I ran. I swam. The only part of a Triathlon I did not do was bike (my butt is still sore from biking at the IronGirl, so I won't be doing that anytime soon!)

Sat, Sun and Monday I went to our local pool. Sunday after jogging about 10 miles, I then jogged to the pool to swim. I took the easy way out to get home and hopped a ride on the bus (aptly named "Ride On Bus").

Monday was my most intense workout day with 7 trips up and down Sugarloaf Mountian. I need some hill work before JFK 50 miler and I will be pretty busy with Marathons between now and mid-November so decided hillwork was in order. I would guess it is 1.5 miles up this hill and I think Tristan suggested his less than reliable watch/altimeter says it is a 500 foot from where we park the car. Most laps it took me about 25+ minutes to get to the top and less than 15 minutes to return to the base. Thus I think 3 miles round trip is close.

A few times I cheated and did not make it all the way to the halfway point or all the way to the bottom. But I am only hurting myself, right?

After this workout, I drove to the local pool and swam for about 1/2 hour. For some reason our local pool has imported some REALLY cold water. I have to actually swim to keep warm. A few weeks ago, the pool was bathwater temperature and at least I was happy. Now each time I jump in, I am shocked that I do not break a sheen of ice!

Tristan, my husband, called me last night to wish me a Happy Labor Day. He was suprised and happy that he had phone service on the mountain. I am not sure I would say I was as happy about the availability of phone service. He woke me up (at 9:15 p.m.) and I had been asleep for about 2 hours and was a bit groggy. Oh yeah, and I was angry about being woken up. Our family has house rules about calling and #1 is NEVER call after 9 p.m. unless it has been okayed up the supervisory chain (that would be me). It was good to hear that he has not fallen off Mount Baker and the mountain so far has not erupted. He did however, mention there was some cold rain and sleet. I proposed this might have been karma for waking me up but apparently there is some question about this logic based on the timeframe (I was groggy, remember)