Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blog My Run Challenge

One of Amy's blog posts was the Blog Your Run Challenge.  The challenge came  from Diane.  I enjoyed her post and decided to do it myself.  I have split this into two parts.  The first part is my most usual run, an out and back 6 miler that is easy to add miles onto.  The second part is two miles out and back from my house that we sometimes tack onto a run to make it longer. So here goes:

Part 1

As I leave my house I see a small hill across from my house.  This is not the prettiest time of year but it is quite a lovely sight.

I go by many bridges. This one is closest to my house. When we had the "Big Flood" that washed away several bridges and roads, water was lapping the driving lane on this one.

I see the river all along my run. I see it like this, with the water racing after a storm, frozen solid in the winter and almost empty during a drought but it never fails to hold my interest.

The highest mountain near our house, one of the top five in Vermont.  It is a great mountain to hike as well as to simply gaze upon in all it's spendour!

I also run by many cemeteries, this being one of the nicer ones. 

Another view of the same mountain, the library and  a cemetery up on the hill

This is not something I see every day -  a cat climbing on a slate roof!

Our town center and the next bridge I pass

One of the most important places I pass.  A door you are thinking? is the door to the local church where there is always a clean bathroom available and a friendly pastor who doesn't care that you don't go to church there, but welcomes you to use the facilities anyways!!! 

On another bridge looking at the river

If you run straight you will run right up this mountain now.  This road gets closed in the winter a few miles further because it is impassable.  

The river

Just before I am back home........the HILL

Back home with the cat to greet me

Part 2
These pictures were taken a few days later than the previous pics.  But they were taken after our recent snowstorm where we got more than a foot of snow.

Okay now I am running in the opposite direction from my house.  This is the same mountain, different view.

A typical Vermont farm with mountains in the back, very picturesque

Our neighbor's draft horses, there are 3 in this field but only two made the picture

This is my favorite tree I run by.  It just does something for me, no matter the season.

Another cemetery

I love this field, the picture doesn't even begin to do it justice. In the summer there are often cows grazing there and I've often felt these cows are in one of the nicest spots around.

So that's my run!  Maybe I'll do it again in another season.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Snow/Upcoming Races/Thank You/Brain Exchange

1. Yesterday I ran in short sleeves and capris.  Today it has been snowing since 7:00 a.m.  It has snowed ALL day!  The kids at school were in the window half the day watching as if they had never seen snow before.  But I must admit that I have not seen it on April 27 so I was watching with them half the time.  My colleague who turned 37 today said there has never been snow on her birthday before. It is still snowing and expected to snow through tomorrow night!

2.  I am positive quite sure I will do these races the next two weekends.  I am looking at a 15K (Champlain Classic) this coming Sunday. I am a little hesitant as I am still lame from the half marathon and wonder if I want to spend half of next week being lame too.  But I have never done a 15K (PR, here we come!) and would like to give it a shot. There is a 5K option too if I wimp out change my mind.  I am also planning to do the Sunshine Run the following Sat. It is a 5K that is a fundraiser to raise money in honor of a student who died at a local high school last year.  The best part is my friend T is going to race them with me because she is sick of not running with me as I race!!! (When she races I drop down a place in my age group but that is okay because I love to race with friends!!!!)

2a. I am also looking at a couple of races this summer that involve traveling. One is in MD.  It has a mother/daughter division. Hmm. Who lives near MD that could do this race with me. Actually Em is the one who found it!!! It is the Run for Roses 5K.  There is a race in July in Colorado Springs and I hope to be visiting a friend. I really would have liked to do the Garden of the Gods but can't get there then. She has promised me she will run the route with me. The race that I will be there for (I hope) is The Summer Roundup Trail Run 12 K.  I have never done a trail run or a 12 K. Can you say PR?

3. I want to give a big shout out to Robin at Running Circles Around the Turtles.  I won a magazine subscription from her but she didn't want to make me wait for it to start so she sent me a magazine in the mail!  How nice is that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. Monday's Brain Exchange question from Finishing is Winning is,  "Have you told your family and friends about your blog?" "What do they think of it?"  Well, as many of you know my daughter and son are in this bloggy world too so they know about it and must think it's just fine!  My husband knows about it and is mildly interested.  Many of my friends know about it.  I have even gotten a few of them to become followers but I have discovered they never read it or never comment.  Most aren't interested as they aren't runners.  They don't GET IT!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Sweetest Half

Before the race, I did ditch the long sleeve shirt

It couldn't have been a more beautiful day to look at for The Sweetest Half.  It was cool, sunny and the sky was brilliantly blue.  Unfortunately  there was a fairly strong wind.  I could not make up my mind what to wear. I decided on my compression shorts but was still undecided about my top. I hate being cold.  I had on a short sleeve shirt under my long sleeve.  Just before the race began I did decide I could hack it and only wore the short sleeve shirt.  It was the right decision as I was never that cold and the second half the race was quite warm.

There were about 500 runners.  This race also had a two person relay which was divided 7/6.1.  I had a few friends who raced this as their first race longer than a 5K.  The course was beautiful. (I heard MANY people talking about this.)  The course was hilly.  (I heard EVEN MORE people talking about this.)  I did not appreciate the beauty as much as I might have, perhaps because I am so familiar with parts of the route. I did certainly notice though not appreciate the hills!

The race was very well organized and started right on time.  We headed through Middlebury which is  a picturesque Vermont town.  We headed out of town eventually going through a covered bridge. I couldn't see the boards well in the dark and was worried I would trip.   We went past the Morgan Horse Farm.  Again - very picturesque.  The Morgan Horse is the Vermont state animal for those of you who like trivia.  This was about 4 miles north and we had been running into a wind.  We turned west for a short ways before we headed south on a dirt road.  All through these miles were some rolling hills, some more than what I think of as rolling!  I was watching my splits and realized that as I had thought this would not be a PR.  I was trying to run around 9:30 but unlike my February marathon, my miles were all over the place.  Most were in the 9s, two were in the 8s, and the last few in the 10s.  When I raced in February I managed to finish faster than I began but that was not the case today.  I felt like I was working hard the whole race but not getting quite the results I wanted.  Enough about that for now, back to the race. We did the 6th - 7th mile on the Middlebury College campus and it is a beautiful campus!  This was also the relay exchange. Students were out cheering.  I assume a lot of Midd. Kids ran from the cheering I heard for some around me throughout the race.

 (When I got there in the morning I couldn't find anyone I knew so I asked a girl I was standing by to take my picture.  Instead of simply taking a quick picture she suggested we go over by the race sign to make it better.  I was very impressed by this Midd. Kid who was there to support her friends as she was injured.)

Then we went back by the hospital where we had begun.  As we ran by the hospital we began to meet runners coming in!!! I kept telling myself that yes I could run 5 more miles.  This part was an out and back so as we went down hills we knew there was a price to pay later. Overall the mile markers seem to come quickly but in this section that was not as true. I just wanted to turn around and head toward home.  I saw my principal who I will be running my next half with and then I met C at the water stop.  This was her first race longer than a 5K and she was beaming. I had not seen B, her relay partner, in the first part. C had also yelled for me as I went past the relay exchange!!! After finally turning around I knew I could do it and I was trying to maintain a decent pace. It took lots of effort to just hit in the 10s. I didn't want to slow down any more so I continued to push.  When I rounded the last corner to run the last .1 I did not feel as I had any big kick in my legs. But I did it and was very happy to FINALLY.STOP.RUNNING!

It didn't take long before I was freezing. It was cool and still quite windy.   Just putting on my long sleeve shirt didn't quite take care of it but my car was parked about 1/2 mile away.  I was in the food line when I had some stomach issues so I got out. When I came back the line was huge.  I waited but found most of the food unappealing.  The undercooked chocolate chip cookies were the best thing.  I ran into a few people I knew since this was a local race.  Then I headed home as I was still very cold. I was exhausted, more than usual following a race. When I got home I took a long hot shower to warm up and then crawled into bed!

Oh yeah, the stats!  My Garmin time and clock matched exactly as well as the distance. That never happens.  My time was 2:06:18 for a pace of 9:39.  I had thought going into it that I would be happy with a 2:05 or 2:06. As I was running I didn't think this would happen. This is about a minute slower than my half in February which was a very flat course with no wind. So I am fine with this time.
I was 5/16 in my age group.  I was 107/198 women.  Overall I was 237/353.

My splits were:

8:36 (.1)

Now I need to plan my next races. There are many many races around here in May. There are at least a couple to choose from each weekend coming up.  I may race the next two weekends but I haven't completely decided. Next weekend there is a 5K or 15K and a 5 miler that is a partner race.  I have never done a 15K but am not sure I want to do it a week from now.  I have time to decide.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Five for Friday

1.  Which will I reach first?  100 followers (I have 87) or my 100th post (I've done 72.)  I'm looking forward to both!

2.  Was I really only at work 4 days this week?  It felt like many more.  Being on vacation and then going to Boston before going back to work made this week very hectic! It is always hard coming back from a vacation but having that one extra day - though wonderful in all ways - made getting back to work harder than usual. Everyone else had already adjusted and was quickly back in the swing of things.  But it was worth  it to go to Boston and cheer Em on!

3.  Lulumon just opened up a studio in Burlington and I had to support it so they will eventually open a store! I added my name to the email list to be notified of new offerings. Dangerous!

4. After a wonderful, magnificent, awesome, amazing week of running in the Outer Banks I did all my workouts on the treadmill this week!  :( :( :(

5.  Can't wait for my half marathon on Sunday!

I am not original or clever with the post titles!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spectating Boston -Congrats to all the Runners

What a crazy wonderful weekend!

First we drove 15 hours back from OBX on Saturday, arrived home, slept, and left for Boston Sunday morning.  My son went with me so it was a great catching up time too!  We arrived in Boston in time to go to the Expo and buy a few things. There were SALES since the Expo was ending.  Good thing since Mom was buying for both son and daughter!  I had to get myself a little momento of Em's first Boston too!  Then we (Em's friend, Tall Fella was with us too)found a place for dinner, (sorry I don't remember the name but it was near NikeTown) where I had absolutely one of the best restaurant meals of
At dinner  the night before
my life. It was pasta, chicken, gorgonza cheese maybe??? and butternut squash with a killer sauce!  Yum!  Then Em and I headed back to the hotel while the Young Men hit the town.  Before I knew it Em was up and getting ready to race her first Boston!!!!  I took some pics of her and off she went to catch the shuttle.

Ready to race!

The three of us - myself, my son and Tall Fella headed out. We ended up avoiding the subway and walking all the way. It was a beautiful day and the public gardens were beautiful!!
In Boston Commons
We found the place we wanted to stand near the finish line.  I texted Emily to let her know where we would be. We had some time to peruse the area with two of us staying put.  Tall Fella knew where the clean indoor bathrooms were, one of many reasons he made spectating this race so much fun!!! I got some free coffee, free Ben and Jerry's ice cream, a free latte and free hot chocolate. Good thing I knew where the clean bathrooms were!  I found a Lulu on the way to the bathroom but in spite of going through it 1 3 times I resisted!!! As it got more crowded all 3 of us decided to stay put.
Emily's cheerleaders walking to the Marathon
Before we knew it the first wheelchairs were coming in! Wow!  They were amazing!  Then the women and of course the elite men. Yes they were exciting for sure but I love seeing the "regular people."  I cheered and rang my cowbell for hours.  I have a cowbell blister but I didn't let that stop me.  We were surrounded by people that were really into cheering also. For some reason my text alerts weren't coming so the lady next to me texted her brother who was tracking people for her. From that point on he tracked Em for us!!! They were from Seattle - such friendly people just like all the bloggers from Seattle!  Emily was on track with her prediction so we had an idea when she was coming.  Thank goodness for Tall Fella who could see her a long ways off.  As he said he helped her pick out that running skirt for 4 hours at the expo so he would have known her anywhere!  She saw us and heard us and all the people around us going NUTS FOR HER!!!! It was an emotional moment for me seeing my daughter rocking Boston! I'll let you read her specific info in her race report.  We made our way to the finish area and collected our girl. We all went out for a congratulatory meal! It was very fun to be part of this huge crowd in Boston. So many people feeling so proud and so happy enveloping everyone in a huge feeling of good will!

With her proud brother

With the two tall guys

With her very proud mom

Now I Need to RACE!!

This coming Sunday I am running The Sweetest Half.  I am not tapering for this half and it is somewhat hilly.  The half that I am specifically training for is at the end of May. But I am looking forward to this race. It is a new race for me and should be fun. It is very close by and I have heard it is well organized and scenic. That works for me! Here is my favorite racer who ran it  last year.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Four Things Friday/The End of Vacation at OBX :(

1. This may have been my highest mileage week ever.  I have run slightly over 60 , yes 60 miles this week in the Outer Banks!  Technically I keep track of my miles from Mon. to Sun. but the 7 days that I have run here it has been more than 60 miles.  Why?  I have run all seven days which I don't usually do.  I have done more runs of 7 or more than usual.  I ran twice or two days although one day that only added on two miles.  I love running in an ocean setting and it has been spectactular so I keep running and running and running.  The women I am with think I am nuts I believe. But I have loved the running here.  There is a race tomorrow but I need to get home and head to Boston!!!!

2. This morning I was up in time to see the sun rise and it was spectacular!  Enough said, see the picture.

3.  I'm beginning to switch gears and get ready to spectate at Boston.  I have made posters and gathered some "spectating wear".  It should be beyond exciting!

4. I hate to leave the Outer Banks but it is always good to go home!
One more time playing with the self timer!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wind and Soft Sand

At our friend's house for dinner in the evening - we drive 800 miles and we still have colleagues in the next town!

Wednesday I wanted to run 10 miles.  I headed south out of town with the wind at my back. I knew it would be hard when I turned around but I didn't have a clue.  I got past 5 miles, watched the kite surfers briefly who were thrilled about the wind and headed back to town, planning to run the last 3 miles on the beach.  The two miles on the highway were hard. I turned off my Ipod which I couldn't hear due to the wind. I had never run in such hard winds but the worst was yet to come.  When I got to the beach the surf was way up toward the dunes.  The sand was mostly soft again although not as bad as Tuesday.  The roar of the ocean was impressive.  I could see NO ONE and wondered if I was out of my mind.  I progressed very slowly stopping more often than I care to admit.  I would tell myself I wouldn't stop until I had gone a certain distance but I wasn't making it!  There were more kite surfers here and they were flying!  I was glad to see some other humans!  I eventually realized my "running" just wasn't cutting it and decided to head back to the road at the fishing pier.  I NEVER change my "goals" I have set for my runs but it just wasn't happening. It felt good to get back to the road just to be out of the extremely relentless wind.  I made it back to our house, having completed the 10 miles but not quite in the fashion I thought I would.

Wonderful hard sand!!!
Thursday I managed to fit in two runs!  I got up early - although not quite early enough to see the sunrise and managed 6 miles on the beach. The sand was hard and so much better than the last couple of days!  I loved it going my favorite northerly route. There were no dolphins and just a few fishermen some of who were quite unfriendly. Oh well, probably why they didn't catch much!

On the ferry to Ocracoke!
Then we were off to Ocracoke Island on a wonderfully gorgeous day!  The ferry that connects Cape Hatteras to Ocracoke - a car ferry - about a 40 minute ride - is FREE!!!!  Unbelievable!  It was a great day to be there. We rented a golf cart and tooled around. We had a car and had no reason to rent a golf cart other than that it was fun.  We had a wonderful seafood lunch!  Yum!

When we got back to our "house" even though it was late I took off for another run.  I have not been on the beach at the end of the day and it was wonderful. Peaceful and calm.  There were a few surfers and myself.

 Then it was my evening to cook. FAIL!! I told everyone: As Richard Nixon once said, "I am not a cook."

Cards tonight and guess who won!

One of my housemates going out for a sunset kayak ride - gorgeous!

And last but not least Good Luck to all the Boston Runners - especially ESH at Sweat Once a Day my sweet daughter!!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nesting Birds/Tempo Run Success or Fail/ African Night

Yesterday we went to a store where there was a sign that no NPS allowed or they would be arrested for trespassing.  I had to do some research to find out what NPS even was.  It is National Park Service and I think the big problem is they are trying to close off part of the beach for bird nesting. This is apparently very controversial.  People want to be able to drive on the beach anywhere they please.  Today I ran farther north than I have run before and came upon the fenced off place.  There were signs explaining why the area was fenced off - a small section of beach with fences on both sides.  BUT in between the fences were many many tire tracks - very upsetting.


        So today was supposed to be a tempo run. Was it a success or a fail?  I ran 7 1/2 miles total and was trying to run quickly.  The tide was coming in and it was soft!  I tried to pick up the pace but my Garmin told me the pace was slow.  My effort  was increasing and my heart rate was certainly up there. I was exhausted! When I turned around to go back the tide was heading out so I hit some harder sand but was too tired to pick it up at that point.

One of my friends spent a month in Africa so tonight was African night. We had an African meal, clothes and pictures. Her photographs from the Safari are incredible!  A good time was had by all!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another Beautiful Day in the Outer Banks!/Monday Brain Exchange

Could life be any better?  Perfect temperatures!  Great friends! Good food!  No schedule!  THE OCEAN!

"Beach Kill - I can never resist taking pictures of beach kill."

You reach the top of this path and there it is!

Only if you have really good eyes will you see the dolphins in this picture!

I went for two runs today. The first one was this morning. I ran on the beach, a great deal of the time with no one around but the ocean and me!  I went more than 6 miles and it took me a long time. I ran fairly slowly and stopped to watch dolphins and take pictures.  There was  a dolphin feeding very close to the shore. I tried to get pics but blew it.  The sun was so bright I couldn't preview what I had taken!  I saw many dolphins but had the most fun watching  one feeding close to the shore.  As I was headed back I saw what I thought was  a bird after something on the beach.  As I got closer I realized it was a seal. It headed back into the water.  I watched it for awhile but then went back to running and looking for dolphins!  Overall I was just having a great time.


I came back and got in the hot tub and read my book.  The whole day was all about doing nothing constructive.  Later in the day everyone headed back to the beach. I decided to run again.  When we got there I was very distracted from my run by ALL THE DOLPHINS! They were everywhere.  They were in pods of 9 or so and everywhere you looked you could see them feeding.  I would run a few feet and stop to watch them  again.  They were in one area in particular and even jumping out of the water.  I had SO MUCH FUN watching them.  I asked some fishermen if this was common and they said in all the years they have been coming they have never seen so many  going so "crazy." I did get a whole two miles in but it was very very hard running because the tide was in so far that you had to run on very soft sand and it was tough!  I tried but without a lot of success.

Now for the Monday Brain Exchange from One Little Tri Girl:
How do you train?  Do you use a schedule, have a coach or go with the flow?  Do you train alone or with group?
I definitely use a schedule if I am training for a marathon or a half marathon.  I use Hal Higdon most of the time and am rather anal about following it. If I am not training for a longer race I go with the flow.  I run five days a week and have a minimum number of miles I "have to do."  I have never had a coach but love the idea.  I don't run with a group but would love to at times.  I do have a great weekend running partner!