Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Time Out

Well, we're officially tapering pre-marathon now. I love this time of year; it's Halloween, Daylight Savings Time just ended, and the temperature is in the seventies. All the leaves have turned, and they've about halfway finished falling. I'm glad the kids won't have to wear coats over their Halloween costumes.

Every three months or so, I drop off the face of the earth for a couple of days, and this past weekend was it for me. I stayed up way past my bedtime Friday night with a friend who moved to Nashville yesterday, so I missed my Saturday long run, the last before the marathon. Initially I was going to skip the whole going-away festivities--if he moves, he can't be mad at me--but I'm glad I didn't. It was raining really hard Saturday morning, anyway.

Saturday was also the five-year anniversary of my home ownership. I absolutely love my house and yard and everything about it. Now that Mom hooked up the landscape, it's even more fabulous.

So I pretty much stayed in all weekend, alternating between the sofa and the bed. I ordered Chinese, watched a movie, and read Motherless Brooklyn for Lynn's book club. At one point I almost felt slothful, but not quite. I needed the break. I answered the phone only twice.

Of course, I had to make up my long run yesterday. When I trained for my first marathon, Richmond 2004, I put in every single mile by myself. It was cathartic then, but now I've gotten spoiled by always having a trigirl or several with whom to run. Monday I split my fifteen into thirds--out to VCU and back, out to UR and back, and out to VCU and back. I even stopped off at my morning classes. After the first five, I changed into lighter clothes and my new shoes. After the second five I relaced my shoes with my Yanks. I was sorry about all the squats, lunges, and step-ups I had done that morning with Ed.

Ran six, well, five, well, maybe four and a half with Susie this morning. Met SanDee and Lynn for TRIgirl coffee, which, we are all staring to agree, is the most important part of the workout.

I still haven't biked or swum in over two weeks. Not feeling guilty, either.

Thinking a lot about job prospects for the next year. Not acting on them, so much. Just thinking. A lot. Doing a lot of thinking.

Drinking a Post Road Pumpkin Ale.
Dressed as myself.
Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Update on Training & Things I Don't Have Time For

Or, Things For Which I Don't Have Time

Every now and then I get a little busy. When I first started this blog, I was on "summer vacation," meaning I was waiting tables about seven or eight shifts a week and training for an Olympic-distance triathlon, but not teaching any classes. Therefore, I posted more frequently. Now that I'm working four to five shifts a week, teaching four classes, and training for the marathon, I have less time.

However, if Lynn is going to be a loyal blog reader, I owe it to her to post at least once a week. So here are some of my thoughts on several aspects of my schedule...

Seems like those activities have squeezed out a lot of other things I used to do. My mom came over Friday and Saturday to help my in my yard. I used to really enjoy a little gardening, but haven't had much time. My yard has turned into a bit of a jungle over the past couple of rainy seasons (that's the term we use here in tropical Richmond.) So Mom came by with tools and snacks, and we have been working on "creating a palette" for the next planting season. In fact, Mom was out at the house working in my yard this morning while I was teaching at VCU. What a terrific lady!

We ran 20 miles yesterday and I felt great. By "we," I mean me, Lynn, Kate O, Sharon, Mary, Kate T, Anna, and Grandison. By "great," I mean Lynn and I managed to walk around the outlet malls all afternoon with Not-Trigirls-Yet Kay and Sherri. While forty degrees is far from ideal for triathlon, I don't mind it a bit for a long run.

I worked a bar shift Saturday night and wore three-inch heels for eight hours. Never sacrifice fashion for marathon training. Well, okay, sometimes.

Ironman Florida 2007 registration is on November 5. That is two weeks from today.

I absolutely love teaching college writing classes. I also enjoy working in the restaurant. That being said, I have been thinking recently, and a lot this week, about applying again with public high schools. There's something appealing about benefits and retirement.

I went to two Team in Training (they say TNT, bnut we know what the acronym really is) fundraisers last week. What a great organization. Congratulations to Susie on her Olympic distance tri, and best wishes to Ashley in her marathon. I won't say good luck because she doesn't need luck. The girl is FAST.

I read "Sentimental Journeys" with my UR students last week. I love Joan Didion. I don't read as much as I'd like while school is in session, either. I'm looking forward to joining Lynn's book club for their November meeting, although I haven't gotten very far into Motherless Brooklyn yet.

I'm also going to go to Lynn's wine club meeting and Deanna's tri movie screening. The TRIgirls took over my mornings a long time ago, but now my evenings are pinked in, too.

I'm trying to plan out 2007 training, gently, and in my head. Need to focus on "nutrition" in the winter months. Looking into duct tape as a possible solution to limiting my added fats, sugars, and alcohol.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Richmond Sprint Tri Race Report

Thirty-eight degrees!

In a sport where we pay a lot of attention to a lot of numbers, 38 was the number several of us were focused on last week after Meteorologist SanDee reported the forcasted temperature for the morning of the race. So, yeah, it was cold. Reportedly, this is the last tri of the season on the East Coast.

Two other numbers I thought were exciting:
50--the percentage of female competitors
40--the percentage of first-time triathletes
I like to think that TRIgirl plays a significant role in increasing these numbers. I also think there is such a high percentage of first-timers because then most people know better than to do such a chilly race again!

And, finally, 12.
That's the number of minutes I took off my time from last year!

The pool deck was a sea of pink as TRIgirls gathered for the time trial start. Thank goodness for the pool swim this time of year. My goal was to swim 300 of the 400 meters freestyle, since I rely so heavily on breaststroke in race situations. I din't quite make it, but I was pretty happy with my percentage. I swam the first 50 and the last 25 completely freestyle, and the rest of them time was probably evenly split between breast and free. The best part of the swim--Lynn handing me my towel as I got out. Grandison was so smart to tinitiate the TRIgirl towel station! Swim time: 8:29. Including the breaststroke and the long-ass run back to transition, a pleasing time for me!

Although Triboi Bobby was disappointed that he didn't catch me sooner than he did on the bike, I felt like my ride was pretty uneventful. The first couple of miles I concentrated on the searing pain from the little daggers being thrust over and over again into my thighs. Then I realized it was just the cold air. I had by far my longest T1 time ever, but I thought it was worth the extra couple of minutes to try to make myself more comfortable out there. If there's a next time in this kind of weather, I will probably wear even more clothing. I hadn't ridden the course since the race last year, and while the hill was still long, I felt much better prepared to tackle it.

You know it's a cold day when SanDee says she's looking forward to the run as the "best part" of the race. As I started out, I looked at my feet--no lie--three times to make sure I had changed from my bike shoes to my running shoes. I hadn't realized how cold and stiff those dogs had gotten on the ride!

As always, TRIgirls were representing at the finish line. A couple more numbers here...
18 TRIgirl competitors!
4 TRIgirl volunteers!
More TRIgirl cheerleaders at the finish line.

If you want all the numbers, check out the results page.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I think I just did another race...

Since Grandison has challenged me to limit my schedule to five races in 2007, I keep packing them in this year. I mean, I have two and a half more months.
Seriously, there is no way I am going to limit myself that severely next year, either.
Yesterday was the Richmond Road Runners Club's trail runs out at Pocahontas State Park. The ridiculous amount of rain we've gotten over the past few days did not leave the trails in tiptop condition, but we had a few shining moments, anyway.
Mary Jo won the 10K for all females! Grandison came in second for her age group for the 30 K, even though she forgot to leave a trail of breadcrumbs and actually ran about 35K. I really appreciate a coach who goes above and beyond...
Kate and kept a steady pace over the river and through the wood and sometimes through the river. I'm not a huge fan of running with wet feet. As Kate put it, we really didn't need them to feel any heavier than they already did on that third loop.
It was really nice to do a "training run" that offered not only water stops, but even gels and snacks. While I didn't take advantage of the pretzels and cookies during the run, I was grateful for them afterwards.
Sharon and Mary also did the 30K, and Twila and Aimee represented in the 20K. I was glad to see Blake out there, but disappointed that he wasn't sporting his TRIgirl pink with the rest of us.
I'm pretty sure I made the better decision by doing this trail run instead of the Big Nut (formerly known as the Giant Acorn.) Susie reported that she, SanDee, the Deannas, and Cyndi braved a really rough swim. She also had to cover up her pink with a jacket for a chilly, bumpy ride.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rain & Rest Days

Sometimes it's hard to take a rest day. I find it easier when I absolutely wear myself out, or when it's pouring down rain outside.

This Wednesday, I was up at 5:30, strength trained with Ed & Lynn for an hour, had Trigirl coffee with Lynn, showered, changed, and headed to school. Taught two classes at VCU, graded two class sets of Reader Responses, had a student conference, posted a week's worth of assignments on Blackboard, moved my car to avoid a ticket, and finally headed to University of Richmond three hours afater my VCU arrival. At UR, taught two classes, chatted with Trigirl/UR professor Susie, had two student conferences, read several drafts, met with a guy who also adjuncts at both VCU and UR and is in my VCU portfolio group. Breathe. Changed clothes in the Jepson basement bathroom, got back in the car, and headed out to West Creek to meet SanDee and Susie for a bike ride. Post-bike, headed to Mom & Dad's for a quick shower and snack, and made it to work at Hondo's minutes before my six o'clock shift. Worked until 12:30.

When my alarm went off the next morning at 5:30, I had no guilt whatsoever about resetting it for a couple of hours later and skipping my run.

I have actually learned from experience that I have much better runs/races if I take a few days off beforehand--it's just hard to make myself skip a workout. Unless I skip say, two months worth. Then it's hard to get restarted!

Thursday night I got a last-minute invitation to see Umphrey's McGee at the 9:30 Club in DC. Totally worth it! As I've learned from Shannon's "Flexible Schedule," sometimes there are better things to do than workout or even... grade papers.

It started raining while I was in DC and it hasn't stopped yet. In fact, my heart just jumped out of my body in response to a clap of thunder a few minutes ago. I'm not sure "clap" is the right word--my entire neighborhood shook, and it knocked SanDee out of the shower.

I thought the rain would keep me inside and encourage me to grade the portfolios I've been neglecting, but now a ride up to the "Big Nut" with SanDee, Susie, and both Deannas sounds more appealing. We all may be rethinking our race commitments for tomorrow--they are doing the Giant Acorn Sprint Triathlon, and I am running a 30K trail run at Pocahontas State Park with several other Trigirls--but this rain has got to stop sometime! In the meantime, I think three rest days is exactly what my inner coach called for.