Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween! 008

This pretty much sums up my kids in one photo:  an ancient warrior and an undead rock star.

Halloween! 004

Mr. Imaginative went with “a Boston Marathon Runner” but I was The Devil.

Our candy is already hidden away on the top shelf of the pantry – The Hubs is in full Iron Taper Freak-Out mode, so we will not be eating anything chocolate until after next Sunday.  I hope you’re having a Happy Halloween, too!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sigg Water Bottle/CafePress Review

Is there an area of your training that you know you’re totally lacking in?  For me it’s drinking enough water (and swimming, but that’s a whole ‘nuther post!)  There are days when I’ll go to bed wondering if I had a single glass all day.  Fail!  Every January 1st, I promise myself I’m going to drink more water this year and I devise some strategy to make myself drink.  I’ve had mixed success, but I figure anything that gets me hydrated is worth it.  So when the very nice people at CafePress.com asked me to review their Sigg water bottle, the first thing I thought was, “AHA!  Maybe this is the trick I’ve been looking for!”

Sigg Bottle 001

 

Made of durable aluminum, it’s got a great finger-ring top so you can hold it even when your hands are full of other stuff.

CafePress offers two sizes:  .6 L (~18 oz.) and 1 L (~33 oz.)

You can choose from thousands of their designs – they have awesome ones for runners and triathletes! – or you can make your own.

I ended up choosing a gender-neutral design because I know darn well The Hubs and the kiddos will be begging to use this bottle, too.

I put this Sigg bottle through some rigorous testing and it passed with flying colors:

  • The Cute Test – Check!
  • The Sniff Test (because I’m not drinking out of it if it smells metallic or yucky) – Check!
  • The Taste Test (see above, no metallic water for me please) – Check!
  • The Will-I-Actually-Drink-From-It Test – Check!  Yay!  Having the Sigg bottle next to me kept me drinking all day long.

Sigg Bottle 012I’m embarrassed to tell you how many of this type of picture I took to get one that looked even remotely “normal.”  Clearly, drinking and taking a selfie is outside my skill set.

Even before they sent me this water bottle, I was a fan of CafePress.  The Hubs and I have been shopping there for a few years now, and every year we make each other a special ceramic Christmas ornament.  Last year the kids both got one, too.  I’m so impressed by the quality of the printing and they seem to ship very quickly.  I was excited to see that they’ve added holiday photo cards this year – I’ve ordered from other online card places and have been disappointed.  The 20% off plus FREE shipping they’re offering is pretty sweet, too!

Christmas Day 017

Don’t forget, I’m giving away a CafePress.com Beach Tote Bag as one of the prizes in my virtual race!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spoiled

Holy crap it was cold this morning!  I got up at five with the idea that I would get my booty out the door for my five miles of speedwork sometime around six o’clock.  When I checked the weather, my jaw hit the floor:  it was 35 degrees outside!  That’s January weather, not October (and, yes, I know I’m spoiled with fantastically mild winter weather – hence my post title).  Between the cold and the dark – sunrise was at 7:27 this morning, yikes! – I just wasn’t feeling the love of the run, so I dilly-dallied until almost 7 am before I finally got going.

I spent the first mile and a half laughing at the irony of calling this part of my run a “warm up.”  There was no warming up to be had.  My hands, face and feet went numb from the cold almost instantly and I kept wondering how in the world I was going to hit my mile repeats.  I’ve been enjoying the cooler weather, but this was downright cold!  I also haven’t done any very much speedwork for about the last six months.  I used to be very conscientious about it, but it has really fallen by the wayside for quite awhile now.

I guess I shouldn’t have worried about it, because even my chilly legs still knew what to do when Garmin beeped at me to pick it up.  I ended up spanking my goal time (7:52/mi) on both mile repeats (7:43 and 7:49).  I couldn’t believe how wonderful it felt to run fast again.  Fast for me, that is.

I realized today that I’ve also become very spoiled with my early morning traffic.  Apparently people are in a huge hurry at 7 am, and can’t bother to wait for a runner to cross the street at a signal with the pedestrian crossing sign flashing at them.  At one intersection, I was inches away from setting foot in the street, when not one, not two, not even three, but SIX cars made a right hand turn directly in front of me!  There may have been some swearing and hand gestures, but I’m not admitting to anything.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Have you entered my virtual race yet??  Click the icon on my sidebar for more info.  I’ve heard rumors of wigs and moderately illegal shenanigans so far – I can’t wait!!! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

“Not Your Average Adventure” Virtual Race!

It’s MY birthday coming up, but I’m giving YOU the presents, Bloggy Friends!  I’m ridiculously excited to host my very first virtual race:

Average Adventure Virtual Race Logo See how I worked my blog title in there?  Yeah, I’m clever like that.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND:

A few weeks ago, I participated in Marcia’s virtual race, The Power of 10+, and had so much flippin’ FUN!  It really got my hamster wheels turning.  I know that you guys like to have fun and be creative and race.  And I know that I really enjoy celebrating my birthday - it’s not until November 9th, but why not start now?  So what better way to celebrate than a virtual race with awesome prizes?!?!?

THE RACE:

This is a choose-your-own-adventure race – have fun with it!  There’s really only one rule (but I’m going to list a bunch of them so it looks more “official”):

RULE #1 - (Almost) anything goes.  Please don’t do anything illegal or life-threatening.

RULE #2 – Pick a theme, a distance, and a venue.  Feel free to go with some sort of birthday theme  :-)…or something to do with the letter P…or, see Rule #1.

RULE #3 – You don’t have to RUN this race.  Currently injured athletes are welcome here!  Any form of human-powered locomotion will be accepted – kayaking, skating, sledding, bicycling, surfing…see Rule #1.

RULE #4 – But you CAN run a race if you want to.  Not feeling all that creative?  No worries, you can still win!  Just submit a race report from ANY race you do between now and the end of the contest (see below for dates and details).  You wanted that NYC Marathon to count for something, right??

THE PRIZES:

Race schwag doesn’t get better than this – I’m giving away some of my very Favorite Things (some people get delusions of grandeur, apparently I get delusions of Oprah):

CafePress Tote Bag

Custom Beach Tote from CafePress.com (full review coming soon – they have terrific customizable gifts, holiday items, shirts, you name it!)  “Pain is temporary, but your finishing time posted on the internet is forever.” 

  • 100% cotton (14 oz.) canvas
  • Dimensions: 12" x 16" x 5¾"
  • Outside pocket with Velcro® closure
  • Inside pocket with flap

     

    road_idRoad ID - if you don’t already have one of these, you need one NOW.  The Hubs has the Wrist ID Elite and loves how comfortable it is – he says he doesn’t even realize he’s wearing it.  I have the Shoe ID, which gets attached to my new pair of shoes the day I buy them so I never have to think about it.  Wear it for your own peace of mind and for those who love you.  One lucky winner will get to choose their own Road ID product!

     

    Suntech Optics / Bugaboos Eyewear“Vela” sunglasses by Ryders, makers of high-performance eyewear that even us non-elites can afford (full review coming soon, but you’ve probably already noticed in pics that I wear my Ryders all the time!)  The Vela model is a medium fit, perfect for men or women and features adjustable anti-slip nose pads, anti-slip temple tips and interchangeable lenses.

     

    Spinervals LogoThree lucky adventurers – yes, THREE of you! – will win a Spinervals DVD.  Just because it’s cold or windy or snowy outside doesn’t mean you can’t ride your bike – a Spinervals workout is guaranteed to kick your booty from the comfort of your indoor trainer.  Winners will get to choose from “No Slackers Allowed!” (featuring our very own Miss Zippy as one of the cyclists!!), “Sweating Buckets,” and “Ultra Conditioning:  Ultra Full Body with IronGirl.”

     

    HOW YOU CAN WIN:

    All entries must be received before Friday, November 12th. 

    Entries can be submitted as a comment on this post (no need for separate comments, I’ll be transferring everything to a spreadsheet for randomization) or by emailing me:  PahlaB2@gmail.com

    There will be one Grand Prize winner, chosen by me, for the most creative adventure race.  The Grand Prize winner will get to select TWO of the prizes listed above – wow! 

    Four other winners will be chosen at random.  The first random winner will get to choose from the remaining prizes, then the second random winner and so on.

    Up to six entries per person:

  • Be a follower or become one (one entry)

  • Post a link to this race on your blog, FB, or Twitter (one entry per link – up to three entries)

  • Submit a race report, either by leaving me a link to your blog post in a comment or by emailing me:  PahlaB2@gmail.com (two entries – because you’re awesome)

    I hope everyone has a lot of fun with this race – I can’t wait to see how creative you get and read all your race reports!  Happy Adventuring!!

  • Sunday, October 24, 2010

    You Just Never Know…

    Or, “How My Two-Hour Run Turned into Over Three Hours Away from Home.”

    I woke up and saw this for the weather forecast this morning:Rainy Day Forecast

    I thought to myself, “Cloudy doesn’t sound too bad and I can handle Light Rain.  The wind is a little much, but I’ll head out and see what it feels like.”  I wore my compression socks, a skirt, a tank top, arm sleeves, gloves and a hat – for a normal 58 degrees this would have been way too much clothing, but I worried that the wind would make it seem colder.

    Rainy Run 003 Pre-run kitchen shot.

    Within the first two miles, the gloves came off and the sleeves were pushed down – there was barely any rain and I lucked into a cross-wind, so it felt nice and balmy out.  Yay, the running gods were smiling on me and obviously, this run was going to be easy-peasy!

    Or not.  Right around three miles, I screeched to a halt.  Hello, big unleashed dog!  I looked around, but there was no owner in sight and now I realized that this poor baby looked scared.  I took a step toward him and he bolted off across a major (three lanes in each direction) street.  I watched him for a bit and he trotted with such purpose that it looked like he was heading home.  I hoped he knew where he was going and I started running again.  Well, not two minutes later, there he was at my side again.  He was wearing a collar, but it didn’t have any tags on it.  He didn’t stay with me very long before he darted into the street again, back to where he’d been before.  At this point, I knew I needed to help him out, so I crossed over to the median to get him.

    The median has a bit of a rise, and as I got closer to my new buddy, I finally understood why he’d been leading me out there.  There was another dog, lying in the road, who’d obviously been hit.  She was still alive, but couldn’t get up to move out of the street.  Oh, man, the sight of her broke my heart.

    Buddy and I ran across the street yet again to the parking lot of a grocery store where I desperately flagged down a really nice man with a cell phone.  Why, oh why didn’t I have mine on me today?  He called Animal Control and explained where we were.  While he was on the phone, a car stopped near the dog in the street, so I ran back out to see if he was the owner of the two dogs.  He wasn’t, but he took the injured dog into his truck and said he would take her home and help her out until Animal Control showed up.  He gave me his phone number and I went back to Buddy, who was now cozied up in the nice man’s trunk (not by invitation, by the way.  The nice man was putting his groceries away and Buddy hopped in)!

    It took quite awhile for Animal Control to get there, and in the meantime at least three other people had stopped to help.  The Animal Control officer easily gained Buddy’s trust and assured us all that she would do what she could to reunite both dogs with their owner.  I really hope their story has a happy ending.

    By the time I finally got on the road to finish my run, my legs had stiffened up and I was so cold that my fingers and toes were numb.  I considered bagging it and going home, but I really wanted to finish what I started, so I kept going.  The rain had been picking up while I was waiting for Animal Control, and within a few miles it was really coming down.  I enjoy running in the rain, so this wasn’t a big deal.  Ahhh, but when I turned around at the halfway point, I realized that I hadn’t been running with a crosswind so much as a tailwind and now that full 18 mph gust was in my face!  I had to hold on to my hat while I ran and the wind whipped the headphones right out of my ears more than once.  Needless to say, the second half of my run was significantly slower than the first half!

    Rainy Run 006 This pic doesn’t do justice to the soggy mess that I was upon my return home!  I weighed my hat, gloves, clothes and fuel belt (without the water flasks) and it came out to over 2.5 pounds!

    In the end, I managed 14.28 miles in three and a half hours.  Ha, ha!  Thankfully, only about 2 hours of that was actually spent running. 

    So how was your run today??

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Running with Little Boy

    This morning I went out for an easy 3-miler.  The weather was my idea of perfection:  50 degrees and a little cloudy from last night’s rain.  I don’t have to work today, so I woke up cheerful and not feeling rushed to get my run in.  Little Boy wanted to run with me and his company was pretty much icing on the cake of my morning.

    Running with Little Boy 005 Pre-run shot.  I’m not a big hat wearer, but I wasn’t sure if there was more rain to come.  In the background you can see our front yard “cemetery.”  We love us some Halloween around here!

    Before we took off, Little Boy and I decided on a game plan:  run half a mile, walk for ten seconds, repeat.  Little Boy enjoys running, but he tends to take off fast and burn out quick, so I’m trying to teach him how to regulate his pace for longer runs.  He loved looking forward to the walking breaks, managed to keep a really steady pace and didn’t complain at all during the run.  We ran a nice, relaxed pace and chatted while we ran.  I put him in charge of the camera and every time he took a picture he asked, “Are you going to put that one on your blog, Mom?”  Yes, Little Boy, I am.

    Running with Little Boy 008 We saw three huge cranes in this field, which of course didn’t show up in the picture.  Bummer.  At least the morning sky looks pretty, even if that desolate field doesn’t.  My runs are pretty utilitarian as far as the scenery goes.

    Running with Little Boy 014Action shot.  I am well aware of the fact that wearing gloves with a strappy tank and running shorts sort of made me look like Minnie Mouse, but my hands get cold way before the rest of me does.

    Running with Little Boy 011 Mastering the art of taking a selfie while running takes time.  What a goof.

    We ended up having a terrific run, and beat Little Boy’s previous best time by over ten minutes!!  Final stats:  3.1 miles in 29:40 (this includes our walking breaks but not the two red lights we stopped for).  I couldn’t ask for a better start to the weekend!

    Stay tuned for a really exciting announcement on Monday (hint:  there will be prizes!)  Happy Friday!!

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    A Few More Marathon Thoughts

    During my long day on Sunday, I noticed a few things about the marathon experience:

    • Some spectators are there to yell for their person and some spectators are there to yell for everyone.  The LB Marathon had pretty hit-and-miss spectator support, but the worst was the long stretches of people who weren’t really cheering for anyone.  Obviously, they were caught up in looking for their runner, but come on people!  You can clap or ring a cowbell even while you’re scanning the crowd for your husband/son/brother.  The students on the Cal State Long Beach campus were awesome, though - they were full of energy and cheered boisterously for everyone, even a bedraggled girl like me.
    • Lots of runners lose their timing chips.  LBM used D-Tag timing and I saw quite a few of them littering the road.  Can you imagine getting to the finish line only to realize you weren’t being timed?!?!  That would SUCK.  I suppose a few of them were from runners who DNF’d, but still.
    • Lots of runners lose their pace bands, too.  Every time I saw a pace band on the ground, I wondered if it was because they were running so fast it shredded and fell off, or if it was torn off in a fit when the runner realized they weren’t going to make that time goal after all.
    • Nobody cheers for the walkers.  Seriously.  I can’t count how many signs I saw that read, “Good Job Runners!” or how many people cheered, “Way to go, runners!” to the other people around me while I was walking past them.  The guy in front of me who was barely shuffling along at my exact pace elicited high-fives from the spectators, who then turned silent as I trudged past.  Dude, if anybody needed cheering, it was the barfing/stumbling/crying girl!
    • Only a few people got my joke.  The bibs for LBM were personalized, so I had them write “Go P!” on mine.  In the early miles - when I was still running and people were still cheering for me – I was surprised how many people called out my number to cheer for me, but didn’t call out my “name.”  The few who did were all laughing, which I liked.  And one funny fellow who saw me heading toward the port-o-potties called out, “Are you going to ‘Go P!’?”  Ha!  I laughed so hard I threw up.
    • People who volunteer at races are the very best people on earth.  It’s on my bucket list to be one of those people some day, because I can’t tell you how grateful I was for every cup of water and every kind word along the course.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    LB Marathon = Epic FAIL

    I’m going to spoil the ending for you right here in the first sentence:  the Long Beach Marathon ended up being a PW for me by about twenty minutes.  I had a flat-out awful run (that was more like a really, really long walk).  But I managed to learn some lessons and meet some fabulous bloggy-friends and still brought home the medal because I didn’t quit.  Even when I wanted to soooooooo bad.  Here’s the weekend in pictures:

    LB Marathon 002 At the expo, picking up my shirt and bib.  The expo was a little small.

    LB Marathon 004 But it had these really awesome balloon sculptures!

    LB Marathon 008 At the starting line, ready to rock and roll (or so I thought).  I had a backpack full of my Gatorade/Perpetuem mix.  The plan was to drink every half mile at the beginning, so I wouldn’t get dehydrated and suffer the nausea/vomiting that I have at past marathons.  The problem with the backpack is that I couldn’t tell how much I was drinking – I thought I was sticking to the plan, but when I went to clean out the bladder, I’d only had a third of what I was supposed to.  Oops.

    LB Marathon 021 This course had lots of out-and-backs and looped back to the start at Mile 6.  Here I am, still thinking I could have a good day.  It didn’t last much after this.  Around Mile 8, I ran into Rad Runner!!!  I was so excited to meet her – she was running strong and I can’t wait to hear all about her first marathon experience.  We chatted for a mile or two - and took a pic of course! - then I lost her in the crowd.  I took my first walking break at Mile 10 and didn’t see her again.  I stopped to use the port-o-pots at Mile 12, hoping to relieve some of the churning in my gut.  I knew already it wasn’t going to be a day of glory, but at that point I still had hopes of a decent time.  I called The Hubs and let him know I was slowing down significantly from my projected finish.  At Mile 13, I saw The Running Green Girl, just the boost I needed!!  We girly-squealed and hugged and she took a bloggy pic, then she cheered me on my way.  Her awesome enthusiasm carried me through Mile 15.  I was still running a little (albeit slowly) and walking a lot until about Mile 18 or 19, when things went south.  All I wanted to do in the world was quit.  There was a lot of crying, I’ll be honest.  I didn’t think I had it in me to go eight more miles.  Thankfully, I saw Green Girl again, running with her friend Michelle, which distracted me a little longer.  At Mile 21, the puking began.  I knew it was coming and I was glad it held off so long, but UGH!  My stomach continued to turn itself inside out every half mile or so for the final 5 miles, but I kept walking and wishing that I could just sit my butt on the curb and never move again.

    LB Marathon 033 With the Finish Line in sight, I was able to run it in, even though I burst into tears when I saw The Hubs waiting for me.

    LB Marathon 043Calling my kids to let them know I finished, which was probably the best part of my day.  They cheered for me over the phone and told me I’m a rock star.  Finish Time – 5:43:27.

    LB Marathon 049 On the 7+ hour drive home, we saw this, so it must have been a good day after all, right??

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Goals, Routines and Superstitions

    GOALS

    Now that race day is just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about my goals for the Long Beach Marathon.  Runner’s World had a great article this month about setting race goals and I really like the idea of setting a “non-time” goal.  So, here’s mine:  I want to will give it everything I’ve got.  I plan on crossing the finish line feeling like I couldn’t possibly have run faster or more.  No, this doesn’t mean I’m going to push past dangerous pain warnings, nor does it necessarily mean I’ll finish fast.  But I’m going to do my best.

    Of course I have time goals, too, but I know as well as anybody that sometimes a time goal is at the mercy of factors that aren’t strictly within my control:  the weather, race nerves, stomach issues, wardrobe malfunctions, etc.  My biggest time goal is that I’m aiming for a PR.  This isn’t news, I aim for a PR at pretty much every race I enter.  If I’m having an excellent day, I’d like to chop a big chunk of time off my current PR, but I’ll just have to see how that plays out.

    ROUTINES

    I have a few race routines that I follow, but nothing that’s always set in stone.  Well, except my coffee – gotta have my cup of coffee!!  I usually lay out my clothes the night before, but I don’t pin my bib on until the morning of the race.  On chilly race mornings, I wear The Hubs’ old ARMY sweatshirt, even though it’s not very warm anymore.  I almost always wear my hair in pigtails, even though I never wear it that way on regular runs.  I usually take a picture in the house before leaving, at the Starting line (one with kids, one without), as many as possible at the Finish, and the “Pic of Glory” afterward.  I like to program my iPod for the exact amount of time I think I’ll be running.  In fact, I tend to overthink this routine a little.  Okay, a LOT.  In fact, this routine is much more like a…

    SUPERSTITIONS

    (Nice segue way, huh?)  Okay, I admit it, I’m superstitious about the amount of music I put on my iPod.  And, honestly, I can’t decide how much music to put on Sunday’s marathon mix because of this crazy superstition.  I’m pretty sure I will err on the side of “I’m having the race of my life.”

    I swear, I’m not superstitious in real life about, well, anything.  But there’s something about racing that brings out the crazy in me.  Case in point, I’m nutty about bib numbers.  Again, in real life, I don’t think of myself as having a lucky number, but I’m always happier if my bib has threes or sevens, preferably both.  So imagine how happy I am that my LBM bib number is 378.  Seriously, I did a little happy dance today when I got the email, as though that bib number was the last little reassurance I needed.

    What race day routines or superstitions do you have??

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Three Things Thursday (Wednesday Edition)

    I’m T-minus four days for my race and my ability to think coherently is gone, so here are your bullet-points for the day:

    • I (finally) got to see my Sports Doc and PT yesterday! I love them, in spite of the three week wait to get in.  After a very thorough exam, the doctor explained that, yes, the problem is my IT, but not because it’s tight (like most IT injuries).  Apparently my left hip abductor is weak, which causes my right hip to drop every time I take a step on my left leg (your hips should remain level when you walk or run).  When my right hip drops, it pulls the left IT band taut, which is what’s causing the inflammation and pain.  Okay, good to know!  My PT gave me some exercises to work on the abductor, and both of them were cautiously optimistic about me running a great race on Sunday.
    • It’s all about the ice, ice, baby. ding ding ding da-da ding ding  Both the doctor and the PT said that pretty much the only thing that will help me between now and Ice Ice Baby 2Sunday (because the abductor exercises are more for long-term recovery) is to ice my knee four or five times a day.  Can I tell you how strange it feels to ice something that doesn’t hurt?!?  But here I sit with a bag of blue ice and a dish towel around my leg, because I’m all about maximizing my potential.
    • I have a serious case of race week paranoia.  When my kids come to kiss me, I skitter my feet back so they don’t accidentally step on me.  When The Hubs hugs me, I worry that he’s going to break my ribs.  While out for my run yesterday, every crack in the sidewalk loomed like a canyon, waiting to trip me.  I’m deathly afraid of my cat or my dog jumping on me – I’m not sure how much damage a 9-pound cat or a 16-pound dog could do, but it freaks me out anyway.

    I hope you’re having a great week – Happy Whatever-Day-it-is-that’s-Not-Quite-Race-Day!

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Getting a Fever

    Nope, not the bad kind of fever.  I am finally – six short days before my race – getting Marathon Fever!!

    Saturday morning at 8 am, I took Big Boy to karate class.  Oh, yeah, another piece of the crazy puzzle that is my schedule these days?  Big Boy has two hours of karate on Saturday mornings from now until December when he gets his Black Belt.  Add in the 45-minute (one way) commute and I think you can imagine how thrilled I am.  But I managed to turn this development to my advantage by skedaddling out for a run while Big Boy was punching and kicking his way through the morning.

    And what a glorious run it was!  The street I ran on is part of the course for the California International Marathon (my PR race).  It’s funny, because I have driven on this street quite a few times since the race without thinking too hard about last December, but seeing it again on foot really brought back memories.  I was filled with that race-day excitement, thinking about the crowds that lined the street and the relief of being more than halfway done.  I spent most of my run thinking about how great it feels to conquer that distance and how I can’t wait to run Long Beach!  Nine miles flew by in a happy breeze.

    When I got home, I finished getting ready for Big Boy’s birthday party and then plunked myself in front of the computer to watch Kona.  Talk about race-day excitement and drama!  The pro race was awesome, but my favorite part was when the announcers were done and they just put the camera on the finish line.  The elation, exhaustion, happiness and occasional disappointment on the athletes faces was so compelling to watch, I spent most of the afternoon and evening at my computer.  (In my defense, Birthday Boy and his friends were nerding out with video games in the next room, so it wasn’t like I could actually go anywhere or do anything productive.  And, in case you were wondering, 12-year old boys talk about boobs A LOT when they think adults aren’t listening.  They also try to swear at each other, just to be cool and grown-up, but they don’t do it very well, which made me laugh.)

    Today I was just too tired to get out and do much (12-year old boys also have the ability to stay awake much, much, MUCH later than I do), so I plunked myself down in front of the computer again and tracked some of my bloggy peeps running Chicago and Portland.  I am SO incredibly proud of you guys!!  The weather played a big part in the race at both locations today and you girls toughed it out like nobody’s business!  Marcia and Middle Name Marie slogged through the heat in Chicago to show that race who was boss and Stacie battled rain and injuries in Portland to finish like a champ.  I didn’t online-stalk Char, but I read the update from her very first marathon ever and can’t help but be awed by the time she ran.  YOU GIRLS ROCK!!!

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Power of 10+ Virtual Race Report

    Race day dawned this morning, pretty much like every morning, with me slamming down coffee and hollering at the kids to eat breakfast and brush their teeth.  I wasn’t really nervous about this race, but I sure didn’t know what to expect.  The Race Director’s instructions were a little vague:  do some sort of distance of 10 and do something with purple.  Hmmmmm.  Well, alright.  As long as it’s for a good cause (which it totally is:  The Lupus Foundation of America is dedicated to finding the cause of and cure for lupus, plus they provide services and support for people affected by lupus).

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 004 Pre-race living room shot.  Sadly, I don’t own any purple running clothes, so I went with its complimentary color.  Orange you glad I did?  The sparkly headband is making its second virtual race appearance.  It was a little bit chilly this morning, hence the arm warmers.  Hard to miss me in this outfit, huh?

    This was something of an adventure race, being held all over the city at ten different “purple” locations.  First stop:  Lavender Way.

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 005At each destination, I ran up one side of the street and came back on the other for the entire distance of the street.  Lavender Way clocked in at .1 mile.

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 008 *whew*  Done with the first leg of the race!

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 009 Next up, Amethyst Way, which was slightly longer (almost a quarter of a mile!) and featured my first spectators.  The woman who was out sweeping her front porch wasn’t really sure what to make of me, but her dog woofed his enthusiastic support!

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 015 Stop number 3:  Purple Skies Ct., which took me approximately 13 seconds to cover.  I think this is my new favorite race distance!

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 019 Lilac Fields Place, #4

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 022 Ironically the least scenic leg of the entire race, Lilac Fields Place featured trash on the street and gigantic power lines.

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 024 The Neighborhood Watch on Purple Finch Ct. (#5) probably put out an APB for a crazy lady wearing a lot of orange.

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 030 Violet Ridge Ct., #6

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 031 The Violet Ridge Ct. leg of the race in its entirety.

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 039 Iris Meadow Way, #7

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 040 This section of the course was so long, the Race Director provided a bike escort.

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 041 In fact, this section of the course included two more of my destinations:  Iris Spring Way (#8) and…

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 042 Lilac Blossom Place, #9

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 044 This part of the race was super speedy - at one point, I was even ahead of the bike escort!

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 045 The last leg of the race, Purple Martin Way, #10.  A Purple Martin is a bird, btw, I looked it up.

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 048 WOOOO HOOOOO - done!!

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 049 Well, it wasn’t the longest race I’ve ever run, but it was sure a lot of fun!

    Power of Ten Virtual Race 052 Many thanks to Marcia for hosting this awesome race for the benefit of a terrific charity – GOOD LUCK in Chicago, Marcia!!  In fact, good luck to everyone racing this weekend in Chicago, Portland, Kona, or even in your own back yard!  I’m really looking forward to all the race reports!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Random Ramblings

    Things have gotten crazy around here.  Taper-crazy, Ironman training-crazy, school-crazy, birthday-crazy, scheduling-crazy, you-name-it-crazy. Here’s what my life looks like right now:

    • The Hubs’ work schedule changed this month to a late-night shift, which is ridiculously inconvenient for all of us.  This shift means I can’t do any training in the early morning, because he’s gone, and I can’t do any training in the evening, because that’s when he is out on his rides and runs.  During the daytime is also not really working right now because…
    • Little Boy is off-track this month.  Our local elementary schools are on a year-round schedule, which is why he started school back in July.  However…
    • Big Boy is still in school because middle school is on a traditional schedule, so mornings are still hectic and now have the added bonus of, “I hate going to school when my brother gets to stay home and play all day.”  Oy!
    • Monday afternoon I was able to steal out for a spur-of-the-moment “long” run.  There was literally no other time (see above) to squeeze it in, and I was feeling pretty do-or-die about getting in some mileage.  Leaving the house in running shoes at 3 PM felt so strange!  I managed 12 miles at a relaxed pace and even though my IT let me know it was there, I felt good enough to run the whole time.  Yay!  I am encouraged, relieved and ready to taper now!  Taper from what, I don’t know, but I’m tapering anyway.
    • This is the worst training I’ve ever done for any event, ever.  So I’m probably going to kick ass at this race.
    • Last night, out of the blue, The Hubs announced that he thinks he’s lactose intolerant.  Ah, yes, Ironman Madness is alive and well in our house.  To be fair, he is having some GI troubles during his long runs.  But he has also drastically changed his diet lately in an effort to eat super healthy, so his intake of fruits and vegetables has gone way, way up, as has his intake of training supplements.  There are literally dozens of reasons why he might be having GI issues, but he is convinced that it’s lactose intolerance.  OK, honey.
    • This weekend is Big Boy’s birthday!  Bring on the wild birthday guests, we’re all mad here…

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Weeding

    It’s been a rough weekend and I’ve had a lot of negative thoughts weighing me down.  I set out Friday morning for a long run (my last before the marathon in two short weeks) and it was a big fat FAIL.  Baseball-bat-to-the-knee pain stopped me at mile 6.  This morning I went for a bike ride where – in spite of feeling pretty strong the whole ride – my average speed was the slowest I’ve seen (off the trainer) in at least six months.  Waaaaah.  Wasn’t it just a month ago that I was in awesome shape?  I was running fast and riding hard, but now I feel like every time I turn around I’m slower and weaker than I was just the day before.

    When I got off my bike, I had a big grey cloud over my head.  I actually mean that literally.  It was a cloudy morning and blissfully cool, so I decided to tackle some of the yard work that I’ve let slide all (hot) summer long.  I changed into gardening clothes and grabbed a bucket to start pulling weeds.  It was unbelievable how overgrown my small front yard was!  We have a flagstone path from the street to the front door and there were thousands of weeds in between the stones.  The flowerbeds were choking with weeds and the flowers sorely needed deadheading and trimming.

    Weeding is such a thankless task - which is why I procrastinate doing it - but the house looks so much better when it’s done.  I ended up spending almost three hours doing yardwork.  My mind wandered a lot while I was working, but came back frequently to my current training troubles. 

    While I was picking the insidious clover out from between the flagstones, I kept walking down that dark mental path of self-doubt:  what if I can’t run the marathon?  What if my training doesn’t ever pull out of this slump? 

    As I cut back the ice plant that had taken over most of the front flowerbed, I tried to figure out where my current problems started.  My training has been “off” for a lot of the summer, since I started my job.  How much longer until I adjust to this schedule? 

    As I worked on the largest flowerbed, I started thinking about blogging, pondering how to write about the weekend without being such a Debbie Downer (no such luck, huh?).  I was nearing the end of my task and was getting hungry, so my mind was jumping from one thought to the next pretty rapidly, when I spotted a HUGE weed behind the oleander bush.  Seriously, this weed was almost as tall as me and it did not want to come out of the ground.  For some reason, as I was pulling on that thing, I was thinking about Rock Star Tri's Star Wars Quote of the Week about two weeks ago.  “Luke:  I don’t believe it.  Yoda:  That is why you fail.”  My next unbidden thought was, “I don’t believe I can run a fast marathon.”  And just like that – YOINK! – the giant weed came out of the ground.  As I stood there with that big ugly sucker in my hand, I realized that I couldn’t have made up a better metaphor if I’d tried.  It’s time to get that horrible weed-like thought out of my head!