Monday, August 31, 2009
As my husband commented on Sunday afternoon (when I was heading for my second nap of the weekend), in the past 8 days, I have been in an athletic event 50% of the days.
First I did my IronGirl Tri, next I ran a marathon near my hometown I grew up in, Saturday I ran a 5km race near my new hometown and finally Sunday I finished off my week of athletics at the Annapolis 10 miler. For some of these events I tried to do well but really did poorly (IronGirl--although word on the street is that the swim might have been long!). One event I was keeping company with a friend and wanted to run her pace regardless of what it was (CJ's Race to Remember on the C&O Canal). One event I wanted to ensure I went quick enough to spend some quality time afterwards with my dad (Self Transcendence Marathon) and one event all I wanted to do was finish in the alotted time.
In summary I did the
IronGirl Tri in 3:40
Self Transcendence Marathon in 4:58:13 (5 seconds slower then my dads picture!)
CJ's Run to Remember in ???? (because they still have not posted the results.)
My best guess is about 50 minutes for this 5 km run.
Annapolis 10 miler in 1:41:05
I have pictures in my camera that I want to post; but so far I have not downloaded them.
My lame excuse is that I am too busy working on the statistical conference I am the co-chair of, which is less than 4 weeks away. Current enrollment is over 600 attendee's (with a cap of 750 statisticians, which we just may meet!)
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The one who Competes with himself,
The one who Crosses the finish line first
And the one who Finishes the race
Here is a picture that my dad took as I finished this race. So far this year my dad has been with me at two events (Rock and Roll Marathon in Arizona) and the Self Transcendence Marathon. He has seen me finish only one of the two because I predicted my time would be between 5-6 hours. Clearly I need to alter my prediction to 4:50 to 5:50 because that time range would have incorporated my finish time in both events. This event my dad showed up early to pace me a lap. By the end he was winded and tired. And yesterday and today during phone calls he has mentioned how sore he is (after running just 3 miles--he needs to toughen up!!!).
The self-transcendence marathon is a very cute, well-run, low key marathon. And it doesn't hurt that it is only a 10 minute ride from my Dad's house.
This past Monday I hopped a train ride from DC to Newark Liberty Airport where my dad picked me up. After one errand on our way to his house, we arrived at the house I grew up. A few observations about this:
1) My dad does not use air conditioning (not in the house or in the car) and it was moderately warm. Luckily I am heat trained.
2) My dad has roped off half his backyard so his lawn service doesn't mow it. Why didn't he do this years ago when my sister and I were responsible for mowing the lawn?
3) My dad owns about 20 fitted sheets and only 2 flat sheets for twin beds. In Tristan and my household the elastic fails after several years giving us the opposite problem. Since I was only staying one night, I was relegated to sleeping on top of the bed with a flat sheet above me and a flat sheet over me. It was very similar to a hostel-in fact the lack of air and weird bedding made the accomodations very hostel-like.
Upon getting to my dad's house sent me to the garage. I was hoping for a new car, a treadmill he would ship to me, a new bike. But alas it was a rabbit, which was pretty cool. But the rabbit, Bugsy is a neighbor's which my dad was petsitting. Apparently my dad wants the rabbit to come out of it's cage and wander around the garage (and the door is always open) but the rabbit sits contently on it's litter box most of the time.
After straightening out the flat sheet fiasco and a quick shower (which another comment is that my dad does not use fabric softener and he hangs his cloths out to dry...this means towels are very rough. I feel I exfoliated for the year when I dried off!) and confirming with my ride that I was in New City, I headed to bed.
At 5:15 a.m. I got up and started getting ready for my marathon. I inadvertantly forgot contact solution but it was my lucky day and I got my contacts in in one try, go me! Getting dressed was easy as this was "only a marathon" and now that I use drymax socks I do not need to spend 30 minutes on my feet. In fact after the marathon, my dad and I went to ice cream and my dad commented on how nice my feet and toenails looked. I mentioned my drymax socks are the best investment ever!
At about 6:15, my friend Steve from kickrunners picked me up.
I knew at the race I would many friends including some kickrunners and blog-friends: Steve, Frank, Staci, Linda etc. During the race I was pleased to run into many of my running friends from kickrunners, marathon maniacs and the 50 states club: Mama Jean, Elliot, Henry, Larry M., Ed C. among others. It was great to catch up with so many friends and meet so many new friends.
After packet/bib pickup and a brief visit to the restrooms, I walked to the starting line. While waiting for the start (which was a bit late) I had the chance to chat briefly with Mama Jean. After a moment of silence/meditation, we were informed the race was about to start. One of the really neat things about this race was that the "starting gun" was a gentleman blowing a conch shell. It was a really interesting way to start the race.
The race was 8.75 laps around the ~3 mile loop around Rockland lake. When I was a kid, my family would walk or bike around this lake fairly regularly and I thought it was so far. But alas I now have longer legs and better endurance. Along the asphalt recreation path we ran there were a variety of Sri Chinmoy disciples playing a variety of instruments. There were sitar players, drummers, accordian players, drigible players, young ladies singing/chanting, a gentlemen reading from a scripture. For most of each lap you would not go much more than 400 or 600 meters without having someone singing, reading or playing an instrument. And by the start/finish line there were musicians every 200-300 feet. It was very relaxing and peaceful.
And in retrospect I think some of these musicians also served dual roles as massage artists during the race. Later in the race one of the sitar players was massaging a runners legs. Next year I might try to figure out how to get a massage mid-race, because that would be alot of fun.
I started the race with some of my kickrunner friends including Steve (my ride) and Stacey (Divaleh). We ran several miles together and chatted about a variety of subjects. At some point I decided to move a little faster because I wanted to minimize my running in the heat of the day and I wanted to ensure I could spend a bit of time hanging out with my dad.
After my first lap, I called both my dad (to tell him my progress 10-11 minute mile pace and a few minute delay in the start) and Tristan. My dad suggested he would come over around 11 in the morning after he finished some chores since he had picked me up from the airport coming off a 5 day trip to the Jersey Shore.
The next several laps I continued my 10-11 minute mile pace and chatted with many different runners. There were so many different accents. Many folks were on holiday from Europe, Australia and Asia thus the race had a very international flavor. And all the runners were very nice and polite.
The aid stations included regular marathon food (cytomax, watermelon, bagels, M&M's, banana's, etc.) every mile or so. And the main aid station near the start/finish had Seaweed. I had heard of this food based on others blogs and race reviews so it was not unexpected. I will suggest Seaweed is an acquired taste. It was a bit chewy and salty. The volunteers were very nice and really encouraged the munching on Seaweed suggesting it would make you stronger or run faster. I am not sure this is true but each lap until I developed sour stomach about 20 miles into the race I would take my little cup of Seaweed.
My middle laps were fairly uneventful. While we were running the same course over and over and over and over again, I never felt bored. The musicians, other runners (both those I was running with and those who lapped me) kept me entertained and occupied. Early in the race we had extensive shade and the 1/4th of each lap that was sunny was not too bad. As the race progressed I think I was not the only runner who dreaded the exposed sections of the course. I think by the time I finished the temperature was in the mid/upper 80's, so it was quite toasty. But there were plenty of aid stations and many real restroom facilities to get water to cool down.
As I ran the course I started lapping people. I knew to look out for several friends but some friends I stumbled on were a complete suprise. I saw Larry M. (who I probably have run 15 marathons with and have the VT50 km coming up in Sept), Henry and Elliott (from the DE marathon), Mama Jean (from the 24 hour race around the lake in 2006 and several MD marathons), Ed C (from Rocky Raccoon). I was lapped by Frank C about 4 laps in and we chatted briefly. He was looking really strong and having a great race. As I caught up with folks I recognized I would tend to slow down a bit to chat and catch up. It was so nice to talk with Jean, who is planning to run her 69th marathon on her 69th birthday later this year. Ed C asked for some advice about ultra-running and I suggested it was a brutal day (which it was) at this marathon, so he shouldn't get discouraged. Larry and I chatted about upcoming races and he suggested I could successfully run the VT50 miler, but I just don't want the pressure of the very stringent cutoffs for the 50 miler. Both Henry and I and Elliot and I spent a bit of time trying to figure out which races we knew each other from. Considering we all have well over 50 marathons, this became difficult and in fact I suspect we did not completely determine which marathons we had seen each other. Overall it was a great day for seeing and catching up with my friends.
Perhaps because of too much seaweed or perhaps because of the heat, I ended up getting a sour stomach about 6 laps into the race. I was a bit concerned I would have a bojangles experience (read my report RE: Umstead in 2009 for this code) or else I would be puking. I was not looking forward to either experience if they occurred. I called Tristan during this time for some sympathy and to tell him of my plight. I also called him because I wanted to have some encouraging words if I did puke. During the IronGirl a few days prior, Tristan, his mom and step dad were waiting for me to finish. As a runner came along several hundred meters from the finish she apparently stopped, threw up then continued jogging. A spectator was heard to say:
"Way to puke and rally"
That's the kind of encouragement I was thinking I might need. Luckily my stomach seemed to settle down when I stopped munching on Seaweed, although I did stop munching on nearly everything so perhaps it was just too hot and my stomach did not want food.
As I finished my 5th lap, I called my dad to tell him of my progress and to arrange where we would meet up. I ended up suggesting the boat ramp parking lot where we always parked when I was a kid. He suggested he would arrive at 11 a.m. and oddly enough I was finishing my 7th lap about that time, so just had to go a few hundred meters to meet up with him.
When I finished lap 7 and started my 8th lap, I called my dad to inform him of my progress. As I rounded the bend for that section of the loop I was pleasantly suprised to run into Ed C. who I had caught up to earlier in the race. We chatted and caught up. It was great to see Ed. Finally we made it to the boat launch area and my dad was there taking pictures. After he finished, he put the camera in the car and caught up to Ed and I. We jogged together and chatted about Rocky Raccoon 50, Umstead and running in general. At some point Ed decided he needed to resume his pace so my dad and I continued on alone. We chatted about the race and how it was progressing.
It was pretty hot but initially my dad had more spring in his step then I did (fresh legs!). So I scurried along. I told him to expect to see musicians along the course, which I think he found to be interesting. One of the Sitar players was not playing her instrument but was massaging a runner. I pointed out to my dad this (both the musicians and mid-race massages) were unusual. As we continued on we passed by the numerous aid station. I offered my dad some water from my bottle and some cytomax. He seemed content to just take a sip of water now and again. I am glad he did not ask to inspect my bottle because I am not convinced it does not have some mold! As we approached the start/finish line I told him about the seaweed but did not take any
Later while waiting for me to complete my final lap apparently he did ask the volunteers if it was okay that he have some raisins...the volunteer handed the little cup of seaweed to him and said, "Sure you can have some seaweed" apparently my dad felt bad about rejecting it so ate the little bit of seaweed but was disappointed it was not raisins.
My dad continued running with me until we got to his car. At that point I dropped him as a pacer. We split up and I continued my lap and he got a magazine and his camera. The final lap was pretty uneventful for me. It was getting quite hot and my stomach continued to be a bit unhappy. Each time I came alongside a friend, if we were in the shade, I would slow down to their pace, which was nice.
I passed the young ladies playing the keyboard and singing, then the young ladies playing the xylophone. Finally I passed by the gentleman playing the sitar and the gentleman drummers and I knew there were less than 400 meters to the finish. I continued jogging and approaching the finish line I see my dad. Unlike the Rock and Roll Marathon in Arizona he does get to see me finish. Sadly I have very little pep in my step as it is hot and I am tired. But I finish.
I still do not know my time but suspect it is around 5 hours.
After I finish and grab a drink and bite to eat, my dad and I walk the course backwards. We cheer on the runners and I introduce him to my friends Larry, Jean, Henry, Steve, Stacey, Elliot and Ed. Overall I had a great time and really enjoyed the race. I definitely will be back in the future.
After walking backwards on the course for nearly a lap, my dad and I drive a mile or so to the firehouse on the hill. We then walk about a mile on a state park recreation trail to the Hudson River. We sit by the river for a bit, then all to soon it is time to head home. After a quick shower, a trip to Wally's for ice cream and a brief visit to the local library we head to the train station. My trip home is a bit interesting in that we are sent from the Newark airport station to Newark Penn Station to catch the Amtrak train only to have the train I did catch stop at the Newark Airport station. It is an odd experience. But finally I get to Washington Union Station and then I am able to get on the Red line metro to Shady Grove. Tristan kindly picks me up from the metro station and about midnight (~16 hours after I got up), I get home and fall into bed exhausted.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Here I am with a sign that I find personally very encouraging...I know that Tristan did not put it up, however, I will take my encouragement any way I can get it!
Here I am approaching the finish line. I am really close but alas not quite there. I would like to suggest that I loitered here for about 1-2 hours, but in reality this picture took perhaps 15 second tops. I guess I just really have to come to grips with the fact that I just really stink!!!
They have posted preliminary results of the IronGirl Triathlon, which I finished yesterday. My time was 3 hours 39 minutes and change. This is about 1 minute slower than last year and 30+ minutes slower than two years ago. So I am de-proving with age (or whatever the opposite of improving is).
This year my legs felt like lead when I woke up, I have been fighting chronic knee problems since about 2 weeks ago and I was pretty nervous about getting a massive cramp during the swim. And during the biking portion since I have way too many pieces of equipment on my bike (since it sometimes doubles as my "vehicle" to/from work, I was able to help a young lady, Patty whose chain had disengaged then got stuck in the gears). Alas regardless of my slow swim, slow bike and super slow run, I finished within the 4 :30 cutoff, which I am happy about.
I will write a more detailed report and include pictures later (including several from the swim).
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I have not swim, or biked a significant distance (well except once: the practice swim and the tour de cure bike event) since last year. And I have not run a significant distance since VT100. But alas I am planning to fake my way through both events. If I just believe I can do it, I can do it.
And the weather looks perfect for both events, mid to upper 70's/lower 80's and sunny for both the Tri and the Marathon. Of course weather.com has been known to be unreliable so I could end up continuing my streak since the spring of doing events in the rain.
I plan to take lots of pictures during both events. The IronGirl is such a cute event. And at the Self Transcendence marathon I have lots of friends (who will be lapping me numerous times). And if the weather is sunny and nice, my pictures will come out. My camera has it's floaties on and is attached to the lanyard so it is already for the swim.
I am not sure I will particularly well at either event because I am not well trained. And I am incompetent at swimming, biking and to a lesser extent running. For my last IronGirl Tri, my time was about ~3:40 and the previous one ~3:20. And for my last marathon my time was about 14 hours. Although perhaps I have set the bar so low, I can only improve:-)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
My Grandma (who I just visited) is 91 years old today. While not biologically related, she is the only grandmother I know on my dad's side. In fact she has been my grandma for well over 30 years (and that pretty much is how long I can remember back).
To celebrate her birthday early (and to check up on her), I flew down to Tampa this past Saturday morning. Catching a 7 a.m. flight, I was able to make it to her house by noon. After she got ready we headed to the Clearwater Aquarium. We looked at various critters and planned to do a boat ride. Between aquariuming and the boat ride, we went to the Columbia Restaurant in Clearwater. We both had a yummy meal, I a large salad and my Grandma a cuban style chicken dish. We returned for our boatride which was promptly cancelled due to an afternoon thunderstorm.
Sunday we initially planned to go to Weeki Watchie Springs so I could do some swimming and to watch the mermaid show in the spring. Unfortunately the weather was not predicted to be great so decided to go to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. As we drove there, we decided neither of us had visited Busch Gardens so impulsively changed our plans. I figured while Busch Gardens is large there are lots of theatres and opportunities to sit down. We ended up getting an unlimited meal plan so had quite a few meals and beverages throughout the day when we needed to take a break. Unfortunately at one point we ended up being between two places when it torrentially poured. We both got wet and at that point we decided to head home pretty early. But seeing the birds, a few shows, doing a few tame rides and other creatures was very nice.
Monday I woke up pretty early and went for a walk around my grandma's neighborhood. I waited for 8 o'clock, 8:30, 9 o'clock and finally 9:30. My grandma typically had gotten up at 8 in years past. By 9:30 (when there were landscapers noisely mowing the developments lawns) when she was not up, I got really anxious. Had I just walked my Grandma into the ground? She still plays 18 rounds of golf twice a week so I was pretty sure she was up for all our walking but I was worried. I called my sister to see what she recommended but she did not pick up. Then I called my dad to seek his advice. He said knock on the door. She got up, which was good. After about 1 hour 30 minutes she popped out of her room (each day this occurred, which was alarming because last year it only took her 30 minutes to get ready). And on Monday she actually headed back into her room for another 30 minutes to do her hair, which I guess she had forgotten.
This trip was actually quite disconcerting because she did seem a bit confused at times and while her long term memory is quite intact, her short term memory is not. About 15 years ago I noticed small issues, but this time it was very noticeable and sporadically she would make contradictory statements or forget critical items.
Monday when Grandma was ready, we headed north to Weekie Watchee Springs. This used to be a small theme park but is now a state park. There are still mermaid shows, a river cruise as well as a water park next to the spring. I took advantage of the spring for a little bit while my Grandma (I believe) had lunch. We then watched a show about the history of the spring and mermaids. Then we went on the river cruise and finally saw a mermaid show. After this we headed back to the waterpark so I could swim a little more in preparation for my Tri this weekend, but that did not work out as another thunderstorm rolled in. We then headed to sweet tomatoes for a tasty and healthy dinner buffet, then headed home.
Tuesday morning I caught my shuttle to the airport at 4 a.m. and by 10 a.m. I was in my office busily working.
Today is my Grandma's birthday so I have already called her wishing her a happy birthday.
It is also our youngest cats birthday: Puffie. This past weekend Tristan went to Richmond to see his dad and to pick up some stuff from my mom's trailer. While there he got a cake from Ukrops that says "Happy Birthday Puffy". Sadly Tristan does not know how to spell our daughter cats name! But alas she will enjoy looking at it and sharing it with us.
I will post some pictures of my adventures with my Grandma and Puffie enjoying her cake later this evening.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
It is kind of anarchy in our household with Tristan and I just hoping they do not form an alliance and vote one (or both) of us out of the house. We are optimistic that they realize we bring home the big $$ so they are reliant on us for kibble! Although I guess they could turn on us and start munching on us a la Cujo.
In fact our household now reminds me of the cat lady in the Simpsons (well except we have both cats and dogs)...and we do not grab under our clothing or in our hair and find a random cat to toss.
Here I am with my Grandma (on my right-Pink Plaid shirt) and my mom (on my left-Panda Shirt) during the Tampa Marathon. It was so nice to run a race with both my Mom and Grandma there to cheer me on. This was the first race my Grandma saw me run, but about the 10th or so Marathon my mom watched and cheered me on. I miss my mom.
My grandma is related to me via my dad; although she is my dad's step parent. I do not remember my dad's mom and in fact I think my Grandma married my Grandfather when I was in Kindergarten or perhaps even pre-school.
With a busy work schedule (thanks to the continued presence of H1N1 Influenza) and a pretty busy running schedule I am trying to squeeze all sorts of other life obligations in.
This weekend I am excited to be visiting my Grandma in Florida. I have not seen her since last year, so it will be nice to catch up with her. It is a bummer that Florida will be brutally hot; however, hopefully we will find ways to keep ourselves cool (and perhaps my heat training I did in preparation for VT100 will help:-)
With my sisters help/direction, we have been working on resolving issues with respect to my mom's estate. My mom's trailer is being given to a friend. My sister and I foolishly did not state that with the camper comes a cat, so the biggest challenge that we face now is my mom's cat.
Pocohontas is a very sweet cat, but is diabetic (which means daily shots-which she easily accepts; I just have to remember to give them!). For a while Pocohontas stayed with my sister, but now she is with me (and my sister has stated she will not be taking Pocohontas back). Since my mom adopted Pocohontas, the organization may take her back; however, they plan to simply list her on pet finders. I am not sure this is something I could live with. I sure do want to be able to continue to have visitation with Pocohontas or at least know she is going to a good home and I could communicate with the owners. Thus, I have been approaching all sorts of friends, colleagues and neighbors to find her a suitable home.
Pocohontas walks on a leash pretty well and considering she and my mom lived in an RV together, she really does not need much space. Pocohontas is declawed and has short fur. She is fairly "dog-friendly" in that she just hisses, spits and swats at the dogs making a ruckus, but I sometimes hiss and spit at Billy because he definitely invades everyones space!
You can see her picture at the beginning of this post.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Changes and revisions in my life: DNS Dahlgren 50 km and Added to my schedule Self Transcendence Marathon
I got up bright and early Saturday morning, brushed my teeth, washed my face, took my meds and then started thinking about how tired I was. Then I started thinking about how my knee had bothered me pretty badly 3 out of the 7 days prior to the race. And I made a decision to snuggle up to Tristan, Zaboo, Sagwa, and Powder and go back to bed.
I ended up sleeping until 10:30 a.m.! Ah the life of liesure I dream about but do not typically live.
In fact this worked out pretty well because once I did get up, Tristan and I took Gilligan and Billy (who we are babysitting again) to Lake Frank for a hike/swimming. Although it is hot in MD, by having access to the lake and feeder stream, the dogs could get wet every 10-15 minutes. Gilligan made full use of the water while Billy just waded knee deep.
After this, we all headed to Carmen's for half price Gelato day.
Then after a quick rinse off in the backyard, Saturday afternoon, Tristan and I went to the pool.
Sunday was a repeat of Saturday except I did not sleep in quite as badly (although I did not get up until 8:30). And in the afternoon Gilligan got a full bath with shampoo and Billy got half a bath in which I soaped up his undercarriage and legs (bathing two 120 lb dogs would have taken 3+ hours...not just 1.5 hours as it took me).
In the evening, Tristan, Billy and I headed to Sugarloaf for some hill training. Billy and Tristan hiked to the top while I ran up and down the mountain once.
My excuse for my recent exhaustion is that last weekend (Aug 1) I donated blood. Perhaps I should have waited until after my 50 km to do this; however, someone who desperately needs blood cannot wait. And in the summer I know supplies dwindle signficantly.
Finally, after DNS-ing the Dahlgren 50km, I decided I did need to commit to a long run in Aug. So I decided to sign up for the self transcendence marathon in Congers, NY. My dad lives in New City, NY (where I grew up), so I will get both a family visit and a marathon in this short trip up north.
Now I just need to stop wussing out on events!