Monday, November 27, 2006

Turkey Trot, Etc.

...and what a great Thanksgiving Break it was!

You may be wondering, "What in the world has Carmen been doing since the TRIgirl excursion to the Outer Banks?!" Or, you may be wondering, "Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?!" Well, I can't answer that second question, but...

I took my workouts down a notch or several post-marathon. Keep in mind that I had already eliminated swimming and biking from my diet since October 15, the date of the last triathlon on the East Coast, aka the Richmond Sprint Tri, in which I, along with many other TRIgirls, participated. (How's that for a complex sentence?)

I participated in Ed's Shenanigan's (formerly known as strength training) a couple of times, and I ran two miles twice and three miles once.

Really, I may or may not have exhibited some behavior consistent with the end of bothe the semester and the triathlon season. Even though the semester isn't quite over...

So... Thursday, more specifically the fourth Thursday in November, I completed the Turkey Trot which starts and finishes at University of Richmond. One of my UR students asked me today, "So, what is that, like, eight miles?" To which I replied, "Yes, yes it is like eight miles." Because it is one darn hilly 10K. Although my training the day before consisted of some wine and perhaps a cigarette or maybe more than one, I was very, very pleased with my time of 58 minutes and some change. I was also pleased to cross that line just ahead of my dad--I am now officially competing with the Masters Men category.

Did a bit of tailgating with the TRIgirls afterwards--Deannas, Sharon, Mary, and Kate O--but unfortunately the weather was not tailgate-appropriate. Where was the cold rain when I was running the marathon a couple of weeks ago? I tell you what--some people will complain either way, won't they?

The Turkey Trot really did get me back on track for my training, though. It's easy to let it all fade away post-marathon--take a week off, which turns into two, into three... you know the drill. This is where the TRIgirl play an integral part in my "off-season" workouts.

Friday was beautiful! Went for a 20+ mile bike ride with SanDee, Gregg, Bobby, Lynn, Susie, and LB3. LB3 introduced us to a pretty ride back of Capital One--relatively no traffic, but a change from our mindless circles. I was really glad that I had procrastinated on taking my bike over to Maramarc for winter storage.

Saturday, Lynn and I met at Performance for the Early Bird specials. I am now the proud owner of bike underwear, something I would never have believed existed a year or so ago. We the sped on down to the Vita Course to meet SanDee, Theresa, and surprise guest Maureen for a run. I wasn't really sure what I was setting out to do, and the first couple of miles were pretty tough, but I ended up running five and feeling pretty good about it. Susie joined our posse for coffee afterwards, and then I met Not-Trigirl-Yet Ashley for lunch. See! I still have a non-trigirl-life! Okay, even if I feel compelled to add the "yet" to her name...

Later that afternoon, I went over to SanDee and Gregg's so that Gregg could so graciously install my new... TA DA!!! aerobars and bike computer, both purchased earlier at the aforementioned sale. So exciting!!!!!

Sunday, we took my new components for a test drive. I actually rode my fancy bike over to Stratford Hills, where I met SanDee, Gregg, and Lynn for a 20-mile loop down Cherokee and Old Gun. It really was such a beautiful weekend for running and riding. I felt really comfortable using my aerobars, even though I was fairly conservative about it on the Old Gun stretch--lots of hills, curves, and cars. The computer is such a great tool, too. Now maybe I'll even consider wearing a watch to run! I rode back home to round out my excursion to an even 30 miles.

Today, it's back to the old grind.

Monday, November 13, 2006

TRIgirls Rock the OBX

After Grandison, Lynn, and I finished the Richmond Marathon and showered, we piled in Susie Q's ride and headed south. There were TRIgirls representing at the Outer Banks Half Marathon, and we had a cheerleading favor to return!

We arrived at High Tide, SanDee and Gregg's oceanfront property to a party in progress. I didn't know TRIgirls were supposed to drink that much wine the night before their race! They aren't, really, so we reluctantly took over that job...

Susie and I modeled our Lucky jeans for everyone--I think soon they are going to have to become an official TRIgirl sponsor. Grandison was crowned queen (although SanDee and others vied for the tiara...) and I ate another million slices of pizza. And cookies. Mmmmmm... cookies. I wish I could say more about the evening, but I ran a marathon and drank a bunch of wine. That's all she wrote.

Lynn, Susie, and I (Lynn--note the use of the Oxford comma there) ended our evening by soaking in the hot tub and posing for pictures in the king size bed.

We were up early the next morning, although not as early as Grandison! Or the runners, of course. Teresa chauffeured us down the point-to-point course to Manteo High School, where we cheered Mary Jo, Deanna B, SanDee, Twila, Aimee, Deanna L, Kathleen, and Katherine to a strong, if rainy, finish.

That MHS link is for Molly, who directed us everywhere in Manteo except really nowhere at all.

Since the number of races I am allowed to enter next year has been severely restricted, I've been looking forward to being a cheerleader. Now, I'm not going to say that everything we said on the sidelines at OBX was totally helpful (e.g., "Cold wet towels just ahead!" in the chilly downpour,) but at least we kept the runner's minds off their miles and aching muscles. Cheering on racers is the perfect opportunity to apply the Golden Rule. I know I like to know what's coming up next, but most importantly, I need the energy from the crowd. Other than the focused elites, it seems as though the relationship between runners and crowd is like that of band and audience--we were more likely to cheer for the runners who smiled or waved back at us or those who picked up their pace when we cheered them on. Note to self: Remember to wear your name on you somewhere! People use it and it helps.

Much of the weekend was a blur--I always get a little stupid after a marathon. Apparently, so does Lynn, and so does my UR student Mike Kirn. She made up a song about SpongeLynn and he labeled his Christmas list "Halloween."

As much as I would like to thank SanDee and Gregg for their generous hospitality in Nags Head, I want to thank Gregg even more for the Udder Balm.

That's the kind of vacation I need to recover from!

Peace out, TRIgirls.

Richmond Marathon--Race Report

Holy guacamole! What a terribly hot day! I guess the headline news for the Richmond Marathon this year was the temperature. While many of the spectators commented on how spectacular the weather was for watching the race, it was not so comfortable out there on the course. And, yes, a few cheerleaders did complain about how hot they were out there watching. I ignored them so that we might remain friends...

The Race
I started in wave three (of four) accompanied by Lynn and Kate O. I intended to run with the 4:30 pace group, but somehow lost them right at the start line. TRIgirls make great company, anyway. I was already sweaty by mile 2, where the first water stop was. I took a cup of water and one of Powerade. Repeated at the second stop at mile 4, where the highlight was some very special cheerleading. Grandison's husband Mark was out with Matthew and Lily, and I just might have to give Matthew the Cheerleader of the Race award--clapping and jumping up and down--we'll have to get a read on this kid's vertical. Grandison attributes much of his enthusiasm to the fact that he has now completed two races himself. Runners make for great support. I remembered this at OBX the next day...

We had to get Twila's attention as we ran through her hood down on Riverside... right about mile 8 is also where we caught Kate T and Anna. Goota love the five-TRIgirl posse cruising through Southside. We make a great photo op!

At this point I was getting two waters and two Powerades at each water stop. The temperature was rising, and Kate O was in charge of shade direction. I ran ahead of the girls from the stop at mile 12, I think. Was looking for some pink around the halfway mark, but I ended up with some more tangible aid. First, a woman handed me a bottle of water, which I finished over the course of about a hundred yards. Then... Part of the reason I was searching for a teammate was to get a call made ahead for some additional course support. Although I had liberally Body-Glided (new official verb) before the race, I sensed chafing. Then, a miracle occurred. As I ran past the Forest Hill fire station, there sat a guy (firefighter?) holding out a handful of bandaids and little tubes of vaseline. Well, kids, the back pockets of a TRIgirl jersey hold more than just chicken legs and Snickers bars! I don't want to think about the alternate ending to my race without that little tube.

Carrie and Mary (former TRIgirls) were on bike patrol throughout these miles, so it was nice to see them a couple of times in the middle of the race. Jonah caught me on her bike at about mile 15 and rode me across the Lee Bridge. It was perfect timing because not only was that sixteenth mile tough, but the sun was really beating down on the bridge, and at about 11:00 the temperature was well into the mid-seventies. I don't remember what we talked about, but I was thankful to listen to her!

I bypassed the junk food stops (as usual.) Grandison and SanDee are new converts to the gummi principle, but I still have an aversion to chewing while running. I had actually acquired some shot blocks at the expo, but went with the Nothing New On Race Day mantra and left them at home. No Coke or beer for this TRIgirl on course, either.

Mile 17 brought a cold wet towel, a quick pit stop, and another mystery woman with a bonus bottle of water. The long trek up the Boulevard hill brought a Party Stop featuring Ashley, Lauren, and Kay--some more cheerleader awards need to be presented here. Ashley had broken 40 on the 8K, and Lauren had also run--her first race ever!

Just before Mile 20, I was starting to feel a little dizzy and nauseous. I had chill bumps on my arms and legs, usually a sign of dehydration. I powered up the rest of the hill, telling myself at Mile 20 I would eat a third GU, drink some more fluids, and allow myself to walk. So, walking I was, when I passed the TRIgirl party stop. I princess-waved at Beebie, SanDee, Teresa, Mooly, Derik, and the rest of the support squad. Really, I wasn't feeling so hot, so it was hard to focus on the group. I was devoting more energy to not throwing up. But as I learned from Naylor's Beach, even if you don't feel good, make sure you look good!

The next three miles were rough. I walked most of them. Highlight was seeing Cyndi and the kids for the THIRD time--what great support!

Mile 23 brough a sweet, sweet ray of sunshine. There in her miniskirt was Susie Q. She was accompanied by LB3, but more importantly, she was equipped with GU and Gatorade. I actually stood there and talked to them for about a minute, which really shows how delirious I must have been. I GUed up and took off with my bottle of Purple Rain. Ahhh! I could feel it going through my body.

Felt lilke walking some more, but was encouraged by three women who were running. They decided to walk for a minute at 24, but by then I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Two more miles! They went by faster than I thought they would.

Saw Grandison cheering in the final yards, and I had a strong finish. That's my other every-race goal! I got a bottle of water, joined Grandison, and cheered in the rest of the TRIgirls... what a great celebration! Congratulations especially to first-timers Sharon, Kate, and Kate. More cheers for Mary, Anna, and Lynn on their PRs. G--a special race for you!

Prerace: 24 oz. water, 24 oz. coffee, almond butter and banana sandwich.
One Dixie cup of water and one Dixie cup of Powerade at Miles 2, 4, and 6. Two cups of water and two of Powerade at Miles 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24.
Bonus 16 oz. bottle of water at Mile 13.
Bonus 20 oz. botle of water at Mile 17.
Special TRIgirl bottle of Gatorade "brought to you by Susie Q" at Mile 23.
One GU each at Miles 8, 14, 20, and 23.
Postrace: two 16 oz. bottles of water, one bottle of Powerade, one million slices of pizza.

Race Goals and Statistics
My original goal was to finish in 4:30. I amended that to a new PR (under 4:37:13). Then i changed THAT to under 4:45. I didn't quite make that one, either...

26.2 finish--4:45:57
20 mile--3:36:27

I finished 110 out of 200 in my age group.
588 out of 1112 women.
1866 out of 2917 finishers.

Stat of the Day
I passed 21 people in the final two-tenths of a mile!

Marathon Motto
Look good even if you don't feel good. Finish strong.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Post-Registration; Pre-Marathon

So, I had a little post-registration letdown Sunday afternoon. I honestly worried more about registering for Ironman than I think I will about the actual race (although of course that feeling is subject to change, specifically in about 51 weeks.)

Although I am still in a serious relationship with Windows 98, I managed to register in the first half hour. i had to read the paper while I was doing it so I wouldn't freak out too badly in the minutes it took for each page to load, but everything worked out okay. The only tragic event of the day was that Grandison did not make it through registration in time, but we're working on a couple of alternative entry strategies (how's that for corporate lingo?) so our head Tgirl can race with us. Other TRIgirls on board are Susie, Lynn, Deanna B, Kate T, Anna, and Cyndi. Coaches Som and Blake will also be racing with us, and Kate O is considering said alternative entry strategies.

I am absolutely beside myself about the whole thing. Not only is there the excitement of the actual challenge, but I am thrilled to be training for and participating in my (first?) Ironman with the girls and boys in Pink. Also, now that I am registered, I don't ever have to think again. I just have to do exactly what Grandison, Blake, and Som say. Oh yeah, and Ed. I will always do exactly whatever Ed says, too.

Maybe all that not thinking for a year will make me a less freaky swimmer, as well. Let's hope.

Meanwhile, back in 2006... four days til the Richmond Marathon (America's Friendliest!) I've done my training. I'm looking foward to making posters, watching What It Takes at Deanna B's, carbo loading at Kate O's, representin' at Packet Pickup, and getting my cheer on at SanDee's in the OBX all as part of the TRIgirl race weekend. Hope the five pounds I put on in pizza and Halloween candy this week don't slow me down too much!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ironman Florida

Following today; registering tomorrow.

My last tri of the season was three weeks ago. I have neither swum nor biked, but I've been doing lots of other stuff!

Today SanDee and I ran a very cold six miles for our taper. Next Saturday is the Richmond Marathon (me) and Sunday brings the OBX half (her.) We didn't hit the road until about ten am, which was a welcome reprieve from the early runs. Not that I've been to a Thursday group run recently, but it still felt nice to sleep in a bit.

Feeling tired today and avoiding grading essays--nothing new there, either.

Focusing on hydration and nutrition for this week.

Much more nervous about something going wrong with tomorrow's registration process than anything disastrous happening during the marathon...