Friday, December 30, 2011

My 2011 Report Card

I was looking back at last year's goals today wondering how I did. Here's a report on my 2011 goal list found in this post: 11 Things For 2011

1.  Complete my third marathon (Grandma's Marathon, Duluth, MN, June 2011) DONE!
2.  Break 5 hours in the marathon.  If I don't accomplish this at Grandma's, I'll be looking to run my fourth marathon in the fall.  DONE!
3.  Complete my first triathlon (I'm aiming for Albert Lea in May if the logistics work out, otherwise I'll have to do more investigating to find a tri to practice for my next goal.) DONE!
4. Complete a half-iron distance triathlon. (Chisago Lakes, July 2011) DONE!
5.  Run 1000 miles. (This is a little bit lofty, but attainable if I work hard towards the next goal.)  Not even close...
6.  Follow my training plan (with reasonable exceptions for illness or injury.  I am also allowing myself one "I don't feel like training today" day per month.  These can be banked if not used, but cannot use more than two per month.) I give myself a 'C' on this one. I did good up until my half-iron. After that things fell apart due to an extremely hard recovery and some illness. 
7.  Read one book per month.  This may not sound like a lot, but with all the other things I have going on, getting time to read can be a challenge. 12 books were completed long before December. I quit counting after that. 
8.  Follow a cleaning schedule.  I found one online and modified it to fit our house and needs. Need to do better at this. I have customized one that works pretty well for me, when I follow it. I have found that I need a daily checklist if I'm going to get my chores done. 
9.  Reduce the amount of stuff in our house by donating clothing and other things we no longer use.  I've already got a good start on this.  The in-laws took four bags of clothes for Goodwill last time they were here. We have taken a lot more clothes to Goodwill, given away a whole bunch of baby stuff, and packed up some more for my mom's garage sale next spring. We can still do better, but I call this one a success. 
10.  Learn how to use a pressure-canner.  I've done this with my mom before but have never been confident enough to do it myself.  I'd really like to can my own beans - much cheaper than store-bought and no BPA-lined cans! Not even attempted. Canning is a pain with a toddler that wants to help with everything. 
11.  Go camping at least once per month from May-September.  This may mean putting up the tent in the yard a couple times, but I'd really like Liam to get used to camping early.  Weather forced the last-minute cancellation of a couple of our trips, but we did get a few long weekends in. Liam is a great camper and loves the tent. 

I can hardly believe it's already time to set goals for 2012!  (What do you mean it's December 30th?  It's 36 degrees out, tomorrow is supposed to be 45 and sunny!) I'll be away for a few days, celebrating the New Year with two different sets of very good friends. When I return, I hope to have a whole new set of goals for 2012!  

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why I support the Des Moines River Valley Trail

There has been a lot of controversy in Windom, Minnesota lately.  The hot topic?   The Des Moines River Valley Trail.  (See master plan here: )
The proposed trail would be multi-use for pedestrians, bicyclists, skiers and snowmobilers.  It would extend from the Iowa border, 65 miles to Currie, Minnesota.  The hope is to eventually link it to the Casey Jones State Trail near Currie and the Okoboji trail system at the border.  

I tried to write in paragraphs, but I am so passionate about this (and worked up about the opposition) that I get all rambly.  Bullet points it is!

Why I support the trail:

*Economic impact and tourism
Windom is a small agricultural and manufacturing town.  Sure, there are things to do, but not things that will draw people in not just for an afternoon, but for a weekend.  It will also keep locals in town for these types of activities.  Currently, people drive either 45 minutes to Okoboji, Iowa or 75 minutes to Mankato, Minnesota to use trails.  I am one of those people.  And, yeah, when I'm out of town, I go shopping out of town, I eat at a restaurant out of town, and sometimes stay overnight Out. Of. Town.  I would love to be the town where people come to visit and spend money.

*Safety for pedestrians and cyclists
Currently, if you want to run or bike around here, you are on the road.  The "safest" roads are the county tar roads (with no shoulder) and the gravel roads (hard to ride a road bike on).  I have been almost hit by vehicles both while running and cycling.  I have been sprayed with gravel by vehicles that don't slow down or move over.  Worse, this has happened while I have my son with me in his jogging stroller!  I wear high-visibility clothing, I don't run with music, and I try to be extremely vigilant whenever I'm out.  

*Encouraging outdoor activity in our citizens,
especially our youth.  How could creating a safe place for our kids to be active be wrong?  Not easy to measure, but what would the impact on our population's health be if more people had a safe and scenic place to exercise?  In turn, how would that change affect the amount spent on Medicare as that population ages?  
How many kids can be saved from obesity both by the exercise they get now and by the love of exercise and the outdoors that could be instilled in them?  

Now to address a couple of the opposition's arguments:

#1  We are worried about people being exposed to agricultural chemicals when farm vehicles cross the trail.
Farm vehicles drive down the same roads we are already walking, running and biking on.  They drive right through town on their way to their fields, sometimes through residential areas.  I have smelled the drift from spraying while out running/biking on the road and also while standing in my own yard.  I have been passed over by a crop-duster more times than I can count.  If you're really worried about people being exposed to agricultural chemicals, you should be working with the farmer to reduce the exposure we all get here daily.  

#2  We are worried about water quality in the Des Moines River.
A trail is not going to be a major contributor to water pollution.  Again, work with the farmer to reduce agricultural spills, runoff, and to create a larger buffer zone between their fields or animals and our waterways.  

**Note** My dad is a farmer.  He supports the creation of a trail and thinks both of these arguments by the trail opposers are bunk.  

#3  I don't want a trail through my land and if I don't sell it to the state, they'll just take it.  
The DNR has stated, as well as demonstrated by past precedent, that they will not use eminent domain to procure land for this trail. 

#4  We should be spending money on ( insert other funding need here) instead of a trail.
The argument I hear most commonly is that we should be spending money on education instead of a trail.  I agree with that.  Education in Minnesota is severely underfunded.  However, the money for the trail is likely to come from the Legacy Fund, which is designated for outdoors, arts, and culture.  Money from this fund cannot be used for education or roads or a health care or a stadium (don't get me started on that or this blog post will never end!)

In closing:
Being a runner and triathlete, this trail project is near and dear to my heart.  But that isn't the only reason.  I love this community and would love to have my son feel the same someday.  Windom isn't going to survive on agriculture and Toro alone, especially when most of our young people leave and don't come back.  We need things here to attract visitors and new residents alike as well as serve the current residents.  This trail could be an incredible addition to that package.  

If you would like to express your opinion about the trail to the Minnesota DNR, a public comment period is open until December 31st (only a couple more days!).  Please contact the following people for more information.
• Suzanne Rhees, parks and trails planner, (651) 259-5586;
• Phil Nasby, area supervisor, 831-2900, ext. 225;

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Training log Dec. 11-24

There isn't much to this training report. I've been having issues with fatigue, nausea, and dizziness for a while now. I finally went to the doctor but the tests he ran were all negative. So I still have no idea why I feel like crud. He has me changing back to a multivitamin that includes iron and doing a food journal to see if particular things set off my nausea. I also ended up in the ER the night before Christmas eve with vomiting and severe stomach pain.  Made me feel a little silly when it was just a viral gastroenteritis, but I'm glad I was able to go and get the IV anti-nausea and pain meds and the IV fluids.   
Anyway, I'm on bland foods and rest for a few days, then the food journaling and new multivitamin begin.  I hope it all just goes away. I am not a good sick person.  I get kinda whiny. 

So here's the brief training log. Hopefully the next one will look better!

Sun: P90X Legs & Back, 30 minutes worth, dizzy & extremely fatigued
Mon: run 6 miles, 1:04:35, dizzy last 3 miles
Tues: sick
Weds: sick
Thurs, Fri, Sat: no workouts
Sun: 3.95 miles, 39:16, dizzy last 2.5 miles
Mon-Thurs: no workouts
Fri,Sat: sick

Hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

How I got into triathlon

As part of an effort to encourage applicants for the new spot on Team Evotri, it's current members each wrote about how he or she got into triathlon. They consolidated all their stories here.  

They also encouraged others to write about their own triathlon story if they felt so inspired.  Apparently I have been inspired to do so, because here is my story:  

I've been a runner as long as I can remember. I've never been fast. Middle-of-the-pack when I'm well-trained, back-of-the-pack when I'm not.

I remember the first time I ever saw a triathlon was in high school, watching the Kona Ironman on television. I thought, "I think I could do that. Someday I will."   And that was all the more I thought about it for a long time. It would pop into my head now and again, but the resounding thought was "someday I will".  Emphasis on the "someday". 

Fast forward through the years where I had other priorities: boyfriends, friends, work, getting married, even owning a small business for a while. I continued to run on and off through these years, even fitting in my first couple marathons. But boy does training for a marathon take a lot of time, and I was only in my 20's, surely time was something I had plenty of, right?  

Well, life changes faster than you realize and I found myself a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom.  Wait a second, I thought, how old am I??? Already???  I knew it would realistically take a couple years (at least) for me to be ready for a full Ironman.  "Someday" was going to disappear if I didn't do something soon!  

Of course, I got my sister on board with me right away.  We set up a plan to do a half in 2011, and a full in 2013.  We searched for our half-distance tri based on location, time of year, and reviews, ultimately picking Chisago Lakes Half-Iron.  (In the end, my sister had not been able to fit in the training and backed out of the race.)

When I became pregnant, the first thing we bought was the baby backpack.  The second the jogging stroller, and the third the child bike trailer.  I knew that I wanted to raise my child in an active family and I began running as soon as I could after a c-section (a severely sprained ankle prevented me from running through most of my pregnancy).  The run really didn't worry me.  I had, after all, been a runner for almost 30 years.  I may not be fast, but I knew the distance was manageable, even if it meant walking.  The only part of the run that really worried me was how I'd feel after swimming and biking. 

I hadn't done any swimming since I took swimming lessons as a child.  I grew up in a small town with only an outdoor pool so we had no swim team.  I knew the basic movements of the strokes and could tread water for a LONG time, but my form was (and still is) terrible.  Swimming is by far my weakest sport in triathlon.  I joined the closest gym with a pool 30 miles away and hired a swim coach.  She and I were not a good fit and I struck out on my own (with a lot of help from Total Immersion videos and books!)  I was lucky to find a triathlon-specific swim clinic an hour away mid-March and just that day with them helped me a lot.  

My first open water swim and my first swim in a wetsuit were both my first triathlon on May 22, 2011.  This was a sprint distance tri, worked into my training schedule for the purpose of practice.  The week after, my (semi-)local multisport club started doing group open water swims.  After panicking in the cold water at my first tri, I attended every one I could.  

As far as the bike, I'd purchased a decent road bike a couple years before when my husband and I did RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa) and learned how to ride with clipless pedals.  The challenge for me here was finding myself on a new bike one week before my goal race after hubby had forgotten it was on the top of the Jeep before pulling into a garage.  The new bike and I did not get along right away and I ended up driving more than 2 hours each way for a proper bike fit 6 days before my race.  Again, I knew I could get through the bike, barring any mechanical failure, it just might take me a while.  

On July 24, 2011, I completed my goal and finished my first half-iron distance triathlon.  I had some sort of issue in every leg of the race, but my only goal was to finish, so none of them caused too much frustration.  I am proud to say, that in a very athletic family, where all my uncles, cousins, etc. are athletes - some of them very good- I, the middle-to-back-of-the-packer, was the first to complete a half-ironman distance triathlon.  

The iron distance race goal has been moved back to 2013 for me.  After doing a half, I see how much more improvement I need to make.  I won't win my age group, or even be close.  The only medal I will get is the one that says "Finisher".  But I will get that medal, and then I will return for another.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I won!

I'm super-excited to have just won a 2012 Rev3 race entry in TRIJUICE's holiday giveaway!  

Thank you TRIJUICE and Rev3!!!

Now to decide, use it for the Rev3 race I was planning on doing or add another race to my schedule...hmmm...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Application For Team Evotri

As promised, here is my video application for Team Evotri:

I encourage you to check out Evotri on their website and Facebook page.  And if you're interested, submit your own application!

Wish me luck! 

Training Log Dec 4-10

I did a little better this week than last.  I didn't do as much as I should have, but I did okay.  

Sun, Mon: off
Tues: 5 miles on treadmill, 51:53, + walked .5 mile cooldown
Weds: Off
Thurs: 2.35 miles.  Planned 3, but I was running during Liam's nap and he woke up.
Fri: Off
Sat: 60 minutes worth of P90X Yoga.  I pushed the first part pretty hard and I was completely wiped out after 1 hour.  

I had two days that I ate enough fruits and veggies to count for HBBC points, bringing my HBBC total for Dec. 3-9 to 9.85 points.  Kinda thinking I was a little overambitious when I placed myself in the Advanced category!  But really, any other time of year I would be.  

Now that I have my 2012 race plan in place, I started working on my training plan.  I'm giving myself the rest of December to kind of play around with my schedule, then I'll start a more structured schedule.  

In the past, I have penciled out a whole training plan onto a calendar.  This works until I get off-plan and have to readjust.  This time I wrote each week on an index card, then on the calender just wrote which week of the training plan I should be on (i.e. marathon week ten, 70.3 week one).  This way, when I get off schedule, I don't have so much rewrite, I can just pull out the appropriate card.  (Can you say organizationally obsessed?)  

In other news, I am working on a video to submit to Team Evotri in their search for a new team member.  I'm hoping to finish and post it this week.  My technological devices have been conspiring against me so I'm ending up with a fancy slide show instead of actual video footage of myself.  I can't even get the microphone to work appropriately to narrate my slide show.  Thank goodness for royalty-free music!  I'll post a link to it once I submit it.  

Goals for this week are to get my homemade Christmas presents done, and get packed to head to the in-laws for an early Christmas celebration!  Looking forward to doing some running with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ready for 2012!

Finally, I am getting my races for 2012 figured out!  I am trying to keep a good base for next season, but was having a hard time getting motivated to do much regular training without specific goals in mind. Here's my race calendar for 2012.  Races in bold are definitely on the schedule, all others are tentative depending on training needs, injury, etc...

Feb 12: Lace Up Against Breast Cancer Half-Marathon, Rochester, MN
Mar 17: Get Lucky Half-Marathon, Minneapolis, MN
Apr 29: Cannon Falls Duathlon, Cannon Falls, MN
May 20: Land Between the Lakes Triathlon, Albert Lea, MN
May 27: Med City Marathon 20-miler, Rochester, MN
Jun 16: Grandma's Marathon, Duluth, MN
Jun 30: Okoboji Bike Ride, Okoboji, IA
July 7: Elysian Rookie's Tri, Elysian, MN (possibly as part of a team)
Jul 22: Chisago Lakes Triathlon (sprint), Chisago City, MN
Aug 12: Rev3 Wisconsin HalfRev, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Sep 15: Turkey Day 10K, Worthington, MN
Sep 23: Quad Cities Half-Marathon, Davenport, IA
Oct 20: Mankato Half-Marathon, Mankato, MN

I noticed as I was typing this up that the half-marathon distance is the most prevalent on my race calendar.  This is my favorite distance to race.  I love the marathon and the 70.3 triathlon distances also, but they take so much preparation before and recovery time after.  With a half-marathon, I'm always in good enough shape to go run.  Not always "race" shape, but it's a distance that is do-able and fits well into my training schedule most weeks.  

I loved the Irongirl Duathlon in Bloomington this past year and was hoping to do that again as part of a girls' weekend.  But, I am proud to say, that my husband will be running his first marathon that weekend!  He has decided to take on the Quad Cities Marathon in 2012.  

I hope to also be keeping my Saturdays in April and May busy leading a Couch-To-5K group.  I'm on our local Community Ed board and plan to propose this at our next meeting in January. I'm pretty sure it will go through since they never really turn anything down that they have a willing instructor for.  

Next project: outlining a training program for 2012. Looking forward to having some structure again!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Training log Nov. 27- Dec 3

Enter a big fat ZERO for this week. Between not being able to sleep and my gall bladder acting up this week, I haven't felt very good and I didn't do any training. I managed to get one measly point for the HBBC challenge by eating 8 servings of fruits/veggies one day. 
Here's hoping that I feel better and get some sleep soon and can get back to training.  I really don't feel like I can do much, but I also feel like such a slug!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Training Log Nov 20-26

Wow, this week is getting away from me already! Its's already Tuesday and I'm just finally getting around to posting last week's training log.  Oops!

This was my first official week of the off-season.  My goal for this off-season are to maintain my running base and increase my strength.  I'm using P90X for the strength training portion.  Starting in January, I'll also hit the pool and start working of my swimming.  It desperately needs it, but with all the holiday stuff going on, I just don't have time to take 3+ hours out of my day to swim right now.  

I'm still having some nagging hip issues, so this week is light on running.  I'm hoping that will remedy itself with rest, ice, and lots of stretching.  It's getting better, I think.  

Sun: run 3 miles, 29:06, felt great!  18 degrees outside today; P90X yoga
Mon: P90X Legs/Back- only did 20 minutes and was TOAST.  Need to make an effort to do these workouts during L's nap instead of waiting until the end of the day.
Tues: P90X Kenpo
Weds: Rest
Thurs: 5K Turkey Trot 30:51, with stroller, roads were very slippery in some spots- used the stroller like a walker!
Fri: P90X Shoulders & Arms
Sat: Unplanned rest day

I kind of feel like I should be doing more, but at the same time I feel like, "Hey, it's just the beginning of the off-season- take a break now while you can!"  I'm trying to let myself take days off when I feel like it without feeling guilty.  There is a ton of stuff I need to get done before Christmas and some days I have a hard time fitting it all in.  Just like everyone else.  So to everyone whose race season is over, take a break if you need to and don't feel the least bit bad about it!  And have another glass of wine while you're at it, too...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It's gotten so people treat it as "Pre-Christmas" and that irks me greatly. But, since I could rant about that for a LONG time and still not get anywhere, that's all I'm going to say on the subject.  

Amanda at RunToTheFinish, one of my favorite blogs, posts a daily gratitude journal.  This is something I have considered adding to my own blog, but for now I am just making a conscious effort to think about what I am grateful for every day.  

In honor of Thanksgiving, I am going to post several of the things that frequently find their way onto my list.

1.  I am thankful that I can give to charities instead of needing their services.  Life circumstances can change in the blink of an eye, and you never know when you may need to be on the receiving end.  Especially this time of year, requests for donations abound.  If you can afford to, please consider donating to the cause of your choice.  

2.  I am thankful that I can run/bike/swim.  Sure, there are days that I don't want to, but when I think of the alternative, well... I'm thankful each and every day.  

3.  I am thankful that my mother taught me to cook.

4.  I am thankful that we have too much stuff instead of too little. 

5.  I am thankful that my son is a champion cuddler.

6.  I am thankful for my cat, Tipsy, who brings much happiness and entertainment to my life and knows just when I need cheering up.    

7.  I am thankful that my husband has a good job that allows me to stay home and raise our son.

There are so many more things that I am thankful for.  As a family, we are so blessed.  

I hope that all of you reading this can say the same and find something that you can be thankful for today and every day.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Have some fun with Team Rev3!

Earlier this year, I applied for a spot on Rev3's age group team. With over 600 applicants my chances of making the team are slim to ...well, very slim.  BUT, I'm still joining in the team announcement fun and you can to!  

Most days Team Rev3 is giving its fans a challenge to complete before that day's new team member announcement. Past challenges have been 'liking' Team Rev3's Facebook page, posting a picture with Rev 3 gear, a "chubby bunny" video, and playing "Ash in MASH" (check out the page, it requires too much explanation for me to give here!)  Today's challenge is to write a poem about Rev3. Here's mine:

Rev3 should pick me
Though I don't race briskly.
But I've got heart
And I'll do my part. 
To sing the praises
Of Rev3's graces.

Best swag in the business
A sign of their coolness. 
And athlete support?
They don't come up short.

Rev3 is the bomb,
Won't you come along? 
And race with the best
In a Rev3 contest?    

Is any of this likely to garner me a spot on the team? Probably not, but it's fun!  Plus it's fun to see who they picked and find some new athletes to inspire me, blogs to follow, etc.  C'mon and join in!

Find Team Rev3 Triathlon's FB page here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Training Log Nov. 13-19

This was a recovery week for me and the first official week of the off-season!  

Sun: last race of the season, Silver Strand Half-Marathon
Mon- Fri: REST! Lots of dancing with the toddler and LOTS of foam rolling!
Sat: 3 dreadfully slow and uncomfortable miles on the treadmill followed by P90X  Shoulders & Arms

Total weekly mileage: 16.24 miles run (half-marathon was a little long)

My goals over the short term are to follow P90X while maintaining a running base and to plan out my 2012 season, both workouts and races. Races I've decided on so far are Grandma's Marathon, Rev3 Wisconsin HalfRev, and our semi-local and not-to-be-missed Turkey Day 10K.  

I am also participating in Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge hosted by RunToTheFinish. There's still time to sign up and be eligible to win all sorts of cool prizes. (Late entries are only eligible for the weekly random giveaways, not the overall prizes). 

Also, I got a new iPad and I'm currently trying out the Blogsy app.  If this comes out looking all effed up, let me know and I'll try to figure out where I went wrong.  

What do you most look forward to during the off-season?
What are your must-do races for 2012?

The Ugly: San Diego Day Three, Silver Strand Half-Marathon


I should have known this wasn't going to be a good day as soon as the alarm went off.  Usually the night before a race, I can hardly sleep and wake up before my alarm jazzed up and raring to go.  Not that day.  I had to pry myself off the bed to start getting ready.  I just felt exhausted!

I made coffee in the room, drinking it right away, hoping it would work its magic!  I ate breakfast while I got ready.  I usually eat a whole bagel with cream cheese and a whole banana before a long race but I could only stuff down half a bagel and 3/4 of the banana.

I grabbed some water to go and headed downstairs to catch the shuttle to the race start.  It was a 15-minute ride to the start and I was starting to get a little more nervous.  It was finally starting to feel like a race morning!

The start area

Once again, the grass was wet so I laid down my gear bag and sat on it to stretch.  As it got closer to start time, I took a Hammer gel, then wandered a little to find a garbage can for my gel packet and empty water bottle.  They had several pacers for the race (1:30, 2:00, 2:15, 2:30).  The 2:00 and 2:15 pacers were really close together, plus from prior experience the pacers tend to go out a little faster than even splits would be, so I lined up just in front of the 2:15 pacer.  Just a few minutes of waiting, and we were off!

I wanted to avoid the bonk that happened in Mankato, so my plan was to use the first couple miles as my warmup as a way to keep my pace at a sustainable level.  I also had my iPhone loaded with music for this race (I usually only run with music when on the treadmill) with the first couple miles worth not being all out pump-me-up songs, but more moderately tempo-ed, yet still inspirational, music.

Mile 1: 9:31  Mile one was a little rough, but right where I wanted to be for pace.
Mile 2: 9:45  A little slower than I wanted and still feeling rough.
Mile 3: 9:43 Still slower than I wanted, but at a pace for a PR so okay with it. Stopped listening to the music, as I didn't think it was helping.
Mile 4: 14:18  I had to make a potty stop at 3.5 miles, only the second time I've had to do this in a race, and the first time in a running-only event.  Apparently, even though my coffee had worked its magic earlier that morning, it hadn't worked well enough.
Mile 5: 10:27 I had thought that the potty stop in the previous mile would make me feel better and therefore run faster.  I was wrong.  Things were starting to fall apart.
Mile 6: 10:43 Partway through this mile, I knew that a PR was too far out of reach so I decided to just
keep going at a steady pace and enjoy the scenery.
Mile 7: 13:15 Enjoying the scenery didn't last long.  At about the 10K point, I started to feel extremely dizzy, so I stopped to walk.  I walked for about half a mile, starting to cry at one point when I thought I might have to take my first DNF (Did Not Finish).  However, it was another mile to the aid station where I could drop and I wasn't any less dizzy walking than I was running, so I started to run again.
Mile 8: 10:58 I managed to make it to the aid station, and felt a little better.  Still dizzy, but better so i kept going.  By golly, I paid a lot of money to go to San Diego to race.  I wanted my t-shirt and my medal!
Mile 9: 10:40 Just kept plugging along. 
Mile 10: 10:09  I have no idea where it came from, but from mile 9 to 9.5 I had a little bit of a runner's high and was running at 9:15 pace without any extra effort.  Too bad it only lasted a half a mile!
Mile 11: 11:14  Right back to slow.
Mile 12: 11:31 Not too bad considering I walked 0.2 miles at the aid station.
Mile 13: 10:20 I just wanted to be done.  I was sooo tired.  And still dizzy (that got better on and off during the race, but never went away).
Last 0.24 miles: 2:11 (9:09 pace) REALLY just wanted to be done.  All I could think about for this last part was getting to the end and lying down.  Stick a fork in me, I was done.
Total Time: 2:24:43 Not my worst, but FAR from a PR.

I wandered through the finish line chute, grabbing a water, a muffin, and half a banana.  I sat down and forced myself to eat the muffin, knowing it was the right thing to do.  I couldn't manage to eat the banana, though.  I decided it really sucks to do a long race like that with no one waiting for you at the finish.  Especially when all you want to do is cry, pass out, and go home, not in any particular order.  I wandered around till I found the t-shirt pick-up, grabbed my gear bag, and boarded the bus back to the hotel.  I had hoped to meet Marison again after the race, but I was feeling so lousy I just wanted to go back to the hotel.

It was a good thing I went straight back to the hotel, because I was still upset and it took me a long time to get my sh** together.  My mantra for the race was "The gorilla's not tired yet" (based on the quote below).  I decided that this race had been a whole different sort of gorilla than I was used to.

As I checked out of the hotel, still all I wanted to do was go home.  I considered going straight to the airport, but I needed to fuel up the rental car.  I wasn't going to do that on Coronado, gas was at least 50 cents more per gallon.  So I headed toward the area I had stayed in the first couple days.  It was only a couple miles away, and I knew where a gas station was.

After fueling up, I felt a little better so I got a coffee and decided to go get some fish tacos at Joao's.  Fish tacos are good for the soul, because I felt much better after eating them.  Of course, the margarita probably didn't hurt.  It was a beautiful sunny day so I headed back to the walking paths near my first hotel and plopped myself on a bench for a couple hours.

Of course I ate all of that, silly!

View of the walking path from my bench.

I stayed as long as I possibly could before heading back to the airport.  I was excited to go home, but sad to leave (quite a change from my attitude a few hours earlier!).

More of those BEAUTIFUL birds of paradise. 

San Diego was a great trip to face my shyness.  The people were all really nice, especially my fellow GOTRIbal ladies.  It really just shows me that my fears of meeting new people are really unfounded and I should do it more often!

I was sad that I ended my trip (and my race season) with a disappointing race.  At the same time, I am ready for the race season to be over.  My race season started in May so it's been a long one.  I am looking forward to planning out my 2012 races and training plan, setting new goals, and doing something besides swim, bike, run (think strength-training and yoga!)

Bring on the off-season!

The Slow: San Diego Day Two, Girls On The Go 5K

Surfers at Torrey Pines State Beach- Picture randomly thrown in to make up for lack of photo-taking that day!
Saturday morning I awoke to rain.  Blech.  I had a passing thought about skipping the race, but I had already registered and a little rain usually doesn't stop me. 

I got ready, donning one if my running skirts.  After all, it was a women's race.  I ate a bagel, same as the day before, except this time I ate a whole bagel since it I had more time before the race.  I packed up and checked out as well since I was changing hotels that night and wouldn't be back before noon.  I also grabbed some coffee for the road.  LOVE that they had a Starbucks right in the hotel.  If given a choice, I usually won't choose Starbucks, but in this case it was very convenient!

The race was in Del Mar, about a 30 minute drive.  It was being held in conjunction with a women's expo so it was at the fairgrounds.  They had several other things going on at the fairgrounds that weekend.  Apparently I parked on the wrong side since I didn't see any other runners when I arrived, but it was just a short walk to the correct building. 

Check-in was quick and easy, then a LONG wait for the start of the race.  Because of the rain, they were going to change the course.  Then it stopped so they weren't.  Then they were going to start the walkers at the same time, then they weren't.  We finally started about 20 minutes late. 

My plan for this race was to go slow and use it as a recovery day.  I probably should have run a little slower than I did, but I found out it's kind of hard to run slow on purpose during a race!  I kept telling myself it was just a really big group run.  I did a pretty good job of keeping it slowed down until about 2.5 miles when a girl cut me off around a corner, seemingly on purpose.  (Really, lady?  We're running 10 minute miles here and you feel the need to cut someone off?  WTF???)  I instinctively started to go after her.  I knew I needed to keep it reined in though, and started repeating to myself "Let her go.  You have to pick your battles, and this is not it.  Tomorrow is your battle."   I backed off and returned to my previous pace, finishing in 30:19.  The course was significantly short, only 3.01 miles instead of 3.1 miles.  And I definitely wasn't running any tangents.  It was a good thing I wasn't trying to PR that day or I'd have been really pissed. 

Mile 1: 10:11
Mile 2: 10:09
Mile 3: 9:52
Extra 0.01: 7 seconds 

This was not a race I would do again.  Two of the three miles were through the parking lot.  The middle mile was on a trail, but I couldn't tell if it was scenic or not, I had to watch my footing the whole time.  The worst part about the race was no water station at the end!  They did have some electrolyte drink, but it was a kind I've never had.  I wasn't about to try something new the day before the half-marathon.  I hung around after the race just long enough to get my shirt and goodie bag.  Thank goodness there was a bottle of water in the goodie bag!  I also quickly devoured the Chocolate Cherry Almond Luna bar from the goodie bag-- delicious!

I headed back to the car, thought about finding a place to eat, but remembered I still had all my grocery store snacks so I chowed down on another bagel with cream cheese, a banana, and some chocolate.  I used a paper towel and some water to clean up, changed in the car and headed to the beach at Torrey Pines. 

It was cloudy and cool (about 55 degrees) so there weren't many people at the beach.  But the weather was causing some higher surf, so there were surfers out.  I wondered what the water temperature was since they all had wetsuits but very few had anything on their feet or head.  I never did find out. 

I found a comfy rock (yes, there is such a thing) and sat down to watch the surfers and read my book.  I had a nice couple hours by the beach before I started to get rained on again.  I didn't feel much like being wet, so I went back to the car and took a nap. 

Just as I was waking up from my nap, Tanya (yes, THE Tanya from GOTRIbal) sent me a text about getting together that afternoon.  We met for fro-yo but when I got there, I was still full from the morning's chow-down so just she ate while we talked.  I have really got to get over my fears of meeting new people.  Tanya was SUPER-nice (Cherie from the day before was too).  It was great to meet her and learn a little more about her and GOTRIbal (already one of my favorite things).  

Well, for someone that doesn't usually like to talk to new people, I managed to talk to Tanya just a little too long.  I was late for packet pick-up for Sunday's half-marathon!  The ladies assured me that I could get it in the morning and I started to head back to my car.  One of them came running after me and said to follow her and they could quickly get it for me as the timing company hadn't left yet.  I was thankful and very relieved!  I also got to briefly meet Marison, another GOTRIbal member.  We talked just a little and hoped to meet up the next day after the race.

On the way to Coronado Island, it rained HARD!  I just wanted it to get all of the rain out of its system that day so that it could clear up and be nice on Sunday.  I wanted to explore Coronado a little more, but between the rain and just being tired, I headed straight to my hotel. 

I checked in, let the valet park my car (only $5 more than self-parking and it was still pouring!), and headed to my room.  After getting settled in, I decided to order room service for only the second time in my life (and the second time this trip!)  And for the second time, they forgot something.  What are the odds?  The meal wasn't nearly as good as the other hotel.  The steak on my sandwich was tough.  There was supposed to be blue cheese on it, but I couldn't taste it at all.  They forgot my fries!  The asparagus was okay, but some of it was very woody. 


The dessert, however, was wonderful!  I had ordered the Brulee Trio.  There was supposed to be one each of Chocolate-Chipotle, Lemoncello, and Hazelnut.  They put two lemoncello brulees on and no hazelnut, but that was just fine with me!  They were decadent and delicious!

I topped off the supper with the last glass of wine from the bottle purchased Thursday night and promptly fell into a food coma.  I had the TV on, but I couldn't tell you what I watched.  I set the alarm for 5AM, double-checked to make sure my stuff was all laid out for the next day and went to sleep. 

Next: The Ugly: San Diego Day Three, Silver Strand Half-Marathon

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Good: San Diego Day One, Heroes 5K

Friday morning I woke to cloudy but comfortable.  It was mid-50's, perfect for running!  I woke up WAY too early- not adjusted to the time zone.

Morning view of the city from my balcony

I was wide awake, so I got up and made some coffee.  It was the first time I've actually LIKED the coffee that was provided with the hotel room!  They had K-cups of some sort of espresso.  It wasn't quite as good as my coffee at home, but it saved me a stop at Starbucks before the race.

I ate half a bagel (they were huuuge!) with cream cheese and walked the half-mile to the race start.  I considered my brisk walk my warmup and did some stretching before the start of the race.  The grass was wet, so that limited my stretching somewhat, but I don't usually do much stretching anyway.  It basically just gives me something to do pre-race other than stand around.

I'd never seen a chip like this!  Apparently they're common out there, I had the same kind the next day. 

The race started and finished in the same place in NTC Park.  The race was all on trails or sidewalks.  Because of the wet grass, it was a little treacherous right at the start heading onto the sidewalk.  I saw one guy slip and totally biff it.  He was okay, though.  He got right back up and kept going.  Except for one short pass underneath a bridge, the trails were all in great condition.

My previous 5K PR was 27:44 and was from 2004.  I wanted to beat that, but knowing I had 2 more races that weekend, didn't want to completely wear myself out.  My plan was to run the first 2 miles around 9-minute pace and speed up for the last mile.  My plan worked perfectly.

Mile 1: 8:49
Mile 2: 8:55
Mile 3: 8:34
Extra 0.1:  39 seconds (7:25 pace)

With about 3/4 of a mile to go, I passed an older guy who said, "I'll follow you, take me on in."  He fell in about 6 feet behind me.  I yelled, "C'mon!", and he said he was coming.  He encouraged me from that 6 feet behind "Nice pace!", "You're doing great, beautiful!" until I started to struggle a little to hold the pace and he passed me.  I tried to go with him.  I sped up, but wasn't able to quite keep up with him.  I crossed the line in 26:58, a new PR!

I found him at the water station and thanked him for helping me get that PR.  He thanked me for keeping his pace up for the last little bit.  After a little conversation, I discovered that he was 75 years old and would also be running the Silver Strand Half-Marathon on Sunday.  We wished each other luck and went our separate ways.

Youth Naval Cadets formed a finish line chute and handed out dog-tag style finisher medals.

I hung around the finish to cheer for the rest of the finishers, including a girl I had spoken with at the start line who was running her very first race.  After checking the final results, I jogged back to the hotel to get some breakfast.

There was a cafe in the hotel that served Starbucks so I headed there for some grub.  I had a caramel latte and a monstrous egg, feta & spinach wrap.  It was delicious.  It was still cloudy but was 60-some degrees so I ate on the patio. 

My HUUUUGE breakfast burrito

After my shower, the sun came out so I brought my book, water and some pillows out onto my balcony and laid down to read with my feet up.  Since I didn't eat breakfast until after 10AM, I just snacked on my grocery store goodies in lieu of lunch. 

Laying with my feet up for recovery purposes.

Hotel water glasses are so small, I had to double-fist it all day!

I bought this book specifically as inspiration for this trip.  I highly recommend it!
After laying down for a while, I was getting restless so I walked around Point Loma for a while.  I kept my walk to just a couple miles so I wouldn't be on my feet too much.  At the end of my walk, I sat down on a bench to enjoy the sunshine a little more and my legs muscles started twitching.  Good thing I hadn't walked any further.  I went back upstairs and put my legs up again. 

Since I had only snacked for lunch, I was hungry for supper early.  I walked over to Oggi's Pizza and Brewery for supper.  I had the "Marathon" flatbread pizza, chosen partly for it's name, but mostly because it looked good.  Um, ok, so all pizza looks good, what can I say?  They brew their own beer and I had a California Gold Blonde Ale (I think that's what it was called).  The waiter said it was a lot like a Stella Artois.  It was similar and very good. 

Beer!  (Screenshot from Oggi's website)

I walked back to the hotel to find that one of the GOTRIbal ladies had called while I was out.  I called her back and we decided to meet up and she could get supper and I'd have a drink or dessert. 
I met Cherie at Joao's.  (Again, for me this is a HUGE step out of my comfort zone.)  She was super nice and we had a lot in common to talk about.  While she had supper, I had a margarita and  garlic shrimp taco for "dessert"- I could smell them when I walked in and they just smelled too good to pass up.  I'm actually don't have that much of a sweet tooth and often will have another helping of something at supper rather than dessert.  Anyway, I had a great time meeting Cherie.  That meet-up going well made me more confident in planning to meet a couple other people later in the weekend. 

I had another 5K coming up the next morning so I needed to get to bed early.  I went back to the hotel about 8pm, watched some TV, rolled my legs and went to bed. 

Up next- The Slow: San Diego Day Two, Girls On The Go 5K

The Good, The Slow, & The Ugly: San Diego Race Weekend Preview

I just got home from my "3 days, 3 races" vacation in San Diego.  As indicated by the title of this post, I did not have three good races.  I am exhausted (I think I have a vacation hangover!)  and after the "ugly" race, have had a ridiculously hard time collecting my thoughts to start writing these reports. 

Overall, though, I had a wonderful time and met some great people!  This was my first trip to San Diego and won't be my last.  Here's how my weekend started out...

Thursday was a cool day in Minnesota (38 degrees, brrr!) so I was glad to be headed to warmer temps.  I dropped Liam off at Grandma & Grandpa's and headed toward the airport in Minneapolis.  By the time I got to the airport, I was anxious and shaky.

This trip was a big deal for me.  Going by myself?  NOT something I would normally do.  I generally hate to talk to people I don't know.  I avoid calling people on the phone, complaining about anything, walking into a restaurant or bar first (I don't let my husband hold the door for me, I make him go first), or generally drawing attention to myself in front of people I don't know.  This trip was a challenge to myself to come out my comfort zone and lose a little of my shyness.  (On a related note, I also posted a video of me doing the "chubby bunny" on Team REv3's FB page.  I'd say my attempts to be more outgoing are working!)

After arriving at the airport, I got checked in and waited in a LONG line to go through security.  Because I was in the security check line for so long, the wait to board the plane wasn't long at all.

After an uneventful flight, I arrived in San Diego just in time for rush hour!  I picked up my rental car and headed out to brave the traffic.  I had to pick up my bib for the following day's race at Road Runner Sports.  Boy, was that place a zoo!  They had their Thursday night Fun Run going on at the same time and there were people everywhere! 

I got in and out as quickly as I could and headed to the hotel.  I didn't get lost, but I did have to turn around a couple times.  I hate it when the name of the road in the GPS isn't the same as the name of the road on the sign!

After I checked in, priorities were set.  The first thing I did was go looking for a grocery store and some wine!  I originally went looking for Trader Joe's but found Von's instead.  It was a perfectly acceptable substitute and I picked up some snacks, pre-race breakfast food, and a bottle of wine especially chosen for it's screw-off top!

Also bought but not pictured:  bananas, bagels, cream cheese & pears.

After returning to the hotel, I was exhausted from my long day of travel and decided to just get room service so I could sit on my balcony and drink some of that wine.  Supper was a delicious salmon with a pepita  & cilantro crust with some sort of spicy sauce, grilled veggies, and Yukon Gold garlic mashed potatoes.  I had ordered a house salad, which they forgot, not knowing that the veggies were going to be included.  It was fine that they forgot it because there was plenty of food! I ate my supper, then sat on the balcony and enjoyed the cool (but still warmer than Minnesota!) air.

San Diego skyline as seen from my balcony.

The balcony overlooked the pool and courtyard area.
I finally went to bed at 11PM after setting out my race gear for the morning and finding the directions to the start.  Friday's race start was only 1/2 mile from the hotel!  I couldn't have planned that better if I tried.

Stay tuned for: The Good: San Diego Day One, Heroes 5K

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vacation Hangover

I've been back since late Sunday night, and am still exhausted!  I'm working on race reports to be presented in several parts but my brain is like mud so it's taking a while.  I hope to have the first part posted tonight. 

Time for some extra-strong morning coffee!