Monday, May 31, 2010

Vermont City Marathon Two Person Relay 2010

Early A.M. Ready to Race

Early A.M. Making initials

Whew!  Thank goodness I had four goals as the fourth one is the one I met.  But I am going to go with what Miss Zippy said, "Good luck! I think it is such a good idea to always set a couple of goals; that way, you are going to be happy no matter what!" So yes I did not make goal #s 1, 2 or 3 but I am happy.  I did not truthfully think I would make 1 or 2 but thought I would make 3 - beating my time of last year.  More about that later.

Shameless Promoting
 VCM is a great race and I can't recommend it enough. I am always choked up when it starts and we turn the corner and head up Pearl Street.  One of the first musicians on the course to greet us is The Accordian Man in his speedo. It brings a big smile right away and off we go!!!  Maybe it is time for me to think about doing the whole marathon again although winter/spring training does not fit as well for me.  If you are looking for a great late spring marathon this is the one to do!!

R and I at Battery Park before the start

Race Highs:
1. Absolutely running with my kids.  I did not see Em race but she was there to cheer us on as she had the second leg.  She saw the two of us on Church Street and said she got a great picture.  J ran with me for about the first four miles which I didn't expect but I loved it so much!  What a feeling to be racing in one of your favorite races on a beautiful day with your son by your side! ( I felt a bit choked up at times as he ran alongside me.) He took off around mile four and the next time I saw him he was a marathoner!  I will let him tell you his story on his own blog. But he is in the midst of moving and has spotty Internet connection so it may not be quick.  E had an excellent unbelievable half but I will let her tell you on her blog.

2. The crowd support is phenomenal.  I suspect it can't be beat many places. Everyone is out widely supporting this race with their enthusiasm.  The only drawback to this is it's hard to get to a good spot to see your runner at the finish.  

3. Beautiful day with a decent temperature after warnings of 85.  

Race Lows:
1. I fell apart and I do mean apart in the last mile and a half.  I wondered if I would have to walk or even sit down. I felt awful and had nothing left with no idea why. Did I not drink enough? Eat the wrong thing?  Do some miles too fast?  I suspect drinking had a part to play in it.

2. As I was running near the end I decided I did not know why I said half marathons were my favorite distance.  I decided I was never going to attempt a marathon again. If this was as painful as it was becoming who needed marathons?  I was way into negative thinking.  

3. Not beating last years time in this race. I was about a minute slower. Last year it was just a race I tacked on.  This year I trained and tapered for it.

Race Stats:
1. It is actually my fastest of 3 half marathons this calendar year. That amazed me when I got home. I felt so much better during my Feb. half.  My miles were even and I did not slow at the end.  The range was from 9:16 to 9:39.  Today's mile splits went from 8:57 to 10:40.  I managed to tweak out a faster half today and it was hillier so let me take a little credit there. My splits were quite similar to last year's but the last two slow miles took their toll on my overall time.

2. My time was 2:04:54 with a pace of 9:30.  My team was 10/15 in our division - not so great - but 384/707 out of all relay teams.  

Fun Moments:
1. When I finished my half I walked more than two miles to the finish with two heavy backpacks. BTW this is not the fun part.  When I got there I walked to get to the finish past this huge line that I had no idea what it was for. Well as I got toward the front I realized it was to go across this bridge that went above the race to not interrupt the runners. This was good  for the runners but I DID NOT want to wait in a long line. I was exhausted and wanted to see my kids as they were running. I turned to go toward the back when I cut was invited into the line by two men standing there who interpreted the distraught look on my face correctly.  One said to me, "Hey, let's catch up." and started talking away to me.  Of  course I had never seen either one of these guys before but I stopped and "caught up" with them feeling less guilty not guilty at all for cutting into the line to chat with my new BFFs. When we got to the other side of the bridge I said goodbye and told them I was glad we had the opportunity to catch up.  

2. I love seeing people I know both in the race and watching. It is a big city event and because of the various relays (2-5 person as well as the two person) many people take part.  The whole city is happy.

3. Chatting with other unknown runners about racing, running and our love of the sport.

How is racing like childbirth?
As I said above I had thoughts of hating half marathons and never wanting to do a marathon again.  Already forgotten now that the pain is gone and the endorphins kicked in.

Fashion Highlights:
Today I wore my new running skirt. (Skirt sport -  gym girl ultra  model)  I know I know don't wear anything new on race day. Well I did. And I have to say I love my skirt!  It is long enough for me, extremely comfy, and has two useful pockets.  I put my Ipod in one and threaded it through the hole provided for easy access and I put some chomps in the other pocket.  I felt like I looked good too.  It was all good!

Couldn't get a good pic of medal. It is nice,  particularly the ribbon.  
Here it is on calendar with running pics from last year's VCM

I am planning to take off five days or so. I often do this after a half and always after a marathon. I did not do it after either of my previous halves but feel I could use a break.  I am on an interviewing committee at work this week with two late evenings involved so it works out on that front too.  So I am not planning on running until next Saturday.

My son the marathoner!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Day Before

It is one short sleep before the VCM!  Today in Burlington the city was crowded with runners!  Church Street was packed and the atmosphere was so much fun.  I went to the Expo 3 times. Once last night to get my stuff and then with each of my kids to pick up their stuff. I love doing a race near home where you run into so many people you know.  A lot of people are going to watch tomorrow who aren't runners.  The marathon really brings the city alive. I have heard before how many spectators  runners bring and it is a huge number overall.  After the Expo or maybe it was inbetween appearances we started carbo loading at lunch!  Jameson is a bit nervous for his first marathon but once he hit the Expo the excitement started to build. Emily had the added bonus of running into many people she hadn't seen in a long time.  

I used Runner's World calculator to figure out the pace of my four goals.  The first two - especially the first - made me gasp!  We shall see!  Non time goals are:
Don't go out too fast!
Save some for the end!
Be consistent!
Have fun!
Have lots of fun!
Have some more fun!

I have been agonizing over my outfit. After letting people know what I am wearing I am still changing things.  I have settled on my NEW black running skirt that I got at the Expo (Wow are those things comfy and the little Ipod pocket and another pocket for shot blocks!) I don't need to wear a belt! I am wearing a yellow shirt and a pink hat.  I AM ALL SET!  I do not need to think about it anymore!  (I am writing this for me, not you.) 

Here are some pics of Expo buys and the family being foolish at the Expo.
Very comfy Saucony shirt 40% off!

Very comfy bright orange Nike shirt! 50% off

Bright Aisics 50% off Can you see I like bright?

The race tech tee, I think it is ugly, J liked it, Em agreed with me, maybe too mannish
But there was a great string bag!

The fam growling - why you might ask?  
Mentally preparing to be tough or 
being just plain silly?

J extends his monster arms and takes a picture from on high. We love these.

We are a strange and different family!

I am waiting for the kids to get here so I can hit the sack and get up and race!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Half Marathon Goals

Big Lake two years ago

I always struggle with setting goals.  If I set them high am I being unrealistic and setting myself up for failure? I think my biggest fear with setting them too high especially in a marathon is that if I don't meet them I will be disappointed. I feel doing a marathon is an achievement in itself no matter how many one has already done. It is something to be celebrated not feel disappointed about.  Having said that I will admit  I was disappointed with my marathon last fall and am looking to redeem myself this year.

Back to halves.  My high pie in the sky goal is to beat 2 hours.  My best time ever was 2:00:55 and that was 2 years ago.  My slowest half was 2:12:10 and that was following a period of no running at all due to minor surgery.  I was just glad to be allowed to run it.  I have run 12 half marathons so I am very comfortable with the distance in fact I think it is my favorite race distance.  When I ran in the exact same race last year I ran it in 2:03:46. It was not my goal race, that had been the Big Lake Marathon two weeks previous (where I got my best time the year before).  Last year I ran it in 2:02:35.  Half of my times are 2:05 or slower. Okay so I will set four goals with one being a true reach goal I don't expect to reach.  Jameson would say that is such a bad attitude that of course I won't meet it!

Goal #1 - To be under 2 hours.

Goal #2 - To PR

Goal #3 - To beat last year's time in this race

Goal #4 - To be less than 2:05.

Going out slow won't be hard as it will be crowded.  It is not as flat as the half I did in Feb. (darn) but not as hilly as the one I did in April (yeah).  I know it will be fun as I will see spectators I know, I am racing with a coworker and my children will be in this race too!

It has been more than 24 hours since I started writing this because we had a bad thunder storm last night and lost electricity for more than 24 hours.  No coffee, no shower, no internet this morning. Not a good way to start the day.  But now I can get this posted, get ready for my girl to come to Vermont and enjoy Memorial Day Weekend!
Big Lake last year

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lucky Me- Brain Exchange Monday

Wow!  I won two giveaways recently!  First I won from Julie this giant bunch of loot including a movie I have been wanting to buy!  Then I was reading blogs when lo and behold I saw that I had won again from
Running Diva Mom.  She has lots of giveaways and it was great to win one!  Thanks guys!  I am entering some current giveaways a little more vigorously as I now think I have a chance!

I have missed the last two Monday Brain Exchange from Finishing is Winning but this week I am going to give it a go again because it is a subject near and dear to my heart.

Topic:  Summer Racing
Question:  What are your summer race plans?  Are you trying anything new this year?  What race are you looking most forward to?
I plan to race as much as I can this summer.  I am racing in two new states, Maryland and Colorado. One is a 12K Trail Race. Both the distance and the trail aspect are new.  The Maryland race has a mother/daughter division.  I will race as always on July 4.  I hope to do the Stowe 8  Miler.  I love the distance, the scenery, and it is a loop!  It will depend on if I am home. I was going to try a 10 miler but I will be gone when the one I wanted to try is happening.  I hope to run the Susan G. Komen 5K. I have had to miss this the last couple of years.  I am going to race the 100 on 100 at the end of the summer with a team of 6. This is an awesome race and I found out last year how much fun it is to be part of a team.  Next weekend - is Memorial Day kicking off summer - I am racing in the VCM, a half marathon component!  I am wildly looking forward to this.  I know I will find some other races to run, hopefully some I have never done before.  I may try some new ones in June but it depends on how overwhelming the end of the year is at school.  

Last night I ran and accomplished something which rarely happens up here in the hills! But one of my students told me his baseball team was playing in my town so after supper I ran to the game. Two of my boys were on the team plus several students I have had other years.  I sat and watched for a couple innings - time enough to see everyone hit (Or attempt to) before I ran home.  I had a great time and was glad I took the time to do it.
I also need to be posting my half marathon goals for this Sunday! This is the one I've been training for!  Coming soon!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rock Your Socks Virtual 10K

What a beautiful day in Vermont for a run!  I got up early in spite of many nights without much sleep.  I needed to run TMBs Virtual 10K as part of my 8 mile taper for my half next week. I decided I was going to run it not race it which is much easier to do in a virtual race than in a live race. I decided not  to race it as I am tapering for a half next weekend.  I did not wear knee high socks but wore my flashiest low socks in honor of TMB. I wore my hot pink running shirt and my compression racing shorts.  I felt like I was ready to go!

 I did want to run a good run like last Sunday!  I was hoping to be in the low 10s for my pace.  Usually I have a hard time not racing but with no one else around it wasn't bad!  The 10K was part of an 8 mile run that I was running today.  My splits for this race were 10:02, 10:04, 10:03, 10:05 (a hilly one, very pleased with this one).  Then I turned around and headed down.  9:14 and 8:59!  Woo Hoo!  I don't know what the .2 was but the whole 10.2 was 1:00:10 for a pace of 9:43!  I'll take it. This was better than I expected.

Playing with the self timer

Then I had two more miles to go and apparently I was somewhat in the racing mode as I kept up my faster pace for an overall negative split second half.  My 7th mile was 9:28 and my 8th which is my hard mile was 10:00 flat. I was very happy.  The pace for all 8 was 9:45.  It was a  run that was very easy to do and I could easily imagine going another 5.  I run so much better in the morning especially before it is hot!!
I'll take it! It was a great run.

New York City

Saturday I went to NYC for the day. It is about 5 1/2 hours so it is a lot of traveling. I went with a local group on a bus to see a show. We got there about 10:15 and the show was at 2:00 so we had some time. My friend and I had decided we were going to have a no stress wander around time -see what we see with no plans. We wandered around Times Square and Rockefeller Center playing tourists.

 We went by St. Patrick's Cathedral and headed up to Central Park my favorite place of all in NYC!

We got some lunch at a deli - nothing special and cheesecake at Roxy's very special!
Then we headed to the show.  It was fabulous. Disney knows how to put on a production.  I got just as much enjoyment from watching the little girl next to me as I did from the actual show. She was probably 5 and dressed so sweetly.  She was so into everything.  We were in the lower balcony.  When Mary Poppins flew up to us at the end I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head!  

Then back on the bus, a seemingly longer ride home and a late night for me!  

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A great teacher thank you

A parent made me this really cute thank you card!  She used candy for many of the words, it is very clever and fun.  It is in two parts to help you see it and some repeats.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Versatile Runner

Thanks to Molly at I'm a Sleeper Baker and Darlene at My First 5K Blog for the Versatile Blogger award.
I'm supposed to list seven things about myself, and pass it onto 15 new blog friends. So let's see if I can think of 7 things I haven't already told. I won't promise I'm not repeating myself.

1. I eat most of my calories in the latter part of the day. I know you are not supposed to do it this way but it works for me. Don't worry, I am NOT skipping any meals!

2. I am a cat person. I am not just a cat person but a yellow cat person.  All of our most recent cats bar one sweetie that J picked out have all been yellow.  Maybe I am turning into my aunts who always named their cats the same thing.  No problem remembering the name then.

3. I am a big Crosby Stills Nash and Young fan. I like all four of them, the main 3 or just Crosby and Nash.  I have seen them quite a few times several in Saratoga. When I was very young I saw them at Boston Garden.  I like David Crosby the best.  I am fascinated by a person who can change so drastically for the better.  I have read a few biographies on this band.  I always like to know where the ideas for songs come from. I am going to miss their Saratoga concert this year because it is the night before my 100 on 100 relay.  This year they are playing there with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  The things we give up for racing.

4. If I had to pick a favorite food it would probably be bagels.  Love them!

5. I only weighed 3 pounds when I was born and that was many many years ago. I am lucky to be here!  My own babies  were 8 and 10 pounds plus.  

6. I was a walk racer before  I ran.  When I walked I actually won some races.  I started running because there were so few walking races and I didn't like fun walks. I am too competitive.  The very first time I ran was in a 4 mile race. I decided on the spur of the moment to run since it was a fun walk and "didn't count."  I won 3rd place in my age group!  I was hooked.

7.  I much prefer colder climates over hot.  I used to go north to Northern Quebec over my February vacations when everyone else was going south.  I haven't changed much and the only cruise that appeals to me is an Alaskan cruise.

Okay now to pick 15 blogs.  Here goes.  I will do the best I can at picking some new ones.

Well I got to 10 and I need to go watch GA the only tv show  I watch.  Five more bloggers who want to do this please go for it. I would love to know more about you.  I have some followers I have never heard from. It would be great if you would do it and leave me a comment so I can get to your blogs!

Happy Running!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Best I could find. I don't know how to edit photos like so many of you do by crossing things out, writing etc.!!! 
I would have added Run.

I.  I ran to work and back today for National walk/bike week.  (My husband told me tonight he thought I was only running to work. ????? I asked him if he thought I was pulling my car behind me for the return trip.) It rained a lot today but I avoided it both ways.  Going to work was downhill, coming home was up.  It took a lot of planning and organizing.  I took my clothes,  soap etc, lunch and breakfast to work on Tuesday.  It was there for me today.  Tomorrow I will bring my clothes etc. home.  How do people do this on a regular basis?  I had letters to mail and realized it wasn't happening today.  Little things but we (I) are so dependent on cars and the ease they provide.  I liked it  enough that I think I will do it again in June.  I did talk to my students about it but couldn't pressure them to do the same as 8 year olds cannot simply decide to bike to school on their own from the country. But they were impressed and hopefully have a file in their heads as this may be something to do in the future. A teacher that works in a different school biked 25 miles each way on Tuesday. Impressive.

2.  I ran at home on Monday - a slow run. I was worn out from the weekend runs I guess. I probably should have taken the day off but can't run Friday or Saturday and wanted to get my days in.  I had a speed workout on the treadmill yesterday and was very pleased with how I stuck to it. It is my last speed workout before my half. I need to start planning my goals for that.

3. I am going to NYC on Saturday to see a show on Broadway. We will have a little time for tooling around Times Square and area - on foot- my favorite way.  I love love love NYC and can't wait to go.

Simply.....The End

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Glorious Glorious Day

Peeking through the trees on the Burlington Bike Path

I had a wonderful weekend of running from yesterday's awesome pace run to today's long run. The weather today was incredible.  I treated myself and went to the Burlington Bike Path which is my favorite place to run.  The plan was to do 12 miles at a decent pace in the 10s. When I do longer runs I tend to be very slow. (10s would be good, the lower the better. I am often in the 11s.)  The temperature was perfect. I was a bit cold to start but knew it wouldn't be long before I was fine.  The sun was out and sky was blue blue blue!  I went north first because my favorite part is south.  (That is why I gain weight - saving the frosting/whatever for last, maybe I wouldn't eat it all otherwise!)  There were a lot of people exercising on the bike path. The Vermont City Marathon is in two weeks and I imagine a lot of people were training/tapering. I am doing the half marathon relay so I was doing my long run this weekend.  Being on the bike path and seeing the signs around town for the marathon really hyped me up for the race which is an excellent marathon!
Another one of my favorite views 

Approaching the bike bridge that Howard Dean was responsible for

The Winooski River on one side/Lake Champlain on the other

Turning around to head back south

One of my favorite spots to take a break

I started out well.  My pace was great, in fact I kept questioning all morning as to whether my Garmin was working right, because it was much better than usual.  I varied between 9s and 10s the whole run.  I did stop and take pictures because it was such a perfect day for them.  I love this path and was just filled with well being - not trying to be sappy but I felt like it was just an incredible day. I was thoroughly enjoying myself.  I thought of all of you racing marathons and other distances. I hoped your weather was as good as mine.  

Burlington - our biggest city

I kept my pace up to where I wanted it even as I got farther into the miles.  I was having such a good day that I was playing with the idea that I would do the whole bike path and therefore go 14 miles instead of 12.  It was never too crowded and I didn't see a soul I knew.  I did decide to do the whole 14.  This put me past my half marathon distance in two weeks and that felt good.  The last couple miles I was thinking about the Chocolate Milk I had brought with me for after. I had found Soy Chocolate Milks that didn't need to be refrigerated and bought them for this purpose. I was practically salivating. My one HUGE disappointment of the day was when I discovered that I had not brought one after all!  But that one disappointment was not enough to dampen my spirits.  My overall pace was 10:12 for the 14 miles which was much better than I expected for this long run.  If only I can keep this up!

Almost done, playing with the self timer

Is anyone planning to walk/run/bike to work this week for National Walk/Bike to work week?  I am trying to figure out the logistics but I think I am going to try it.  It will take a lot of planning to have clean clothes/lunch etc. there the day before as I don't want to be carrying anything beyond the normal!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Excellent Pace Run and Some Sappy Fun Stuff

Wow!  I had a great run today. I ran a 5 mile pace run, the same run I ran the other night when I felt sluggish. That night I ran it in 53:30.  My goal today was a 9:30 pace or in about 47:30.  That was a 6 minute improvement so I wasn't sure.  Well, I started out very well and kept it up the whole time.  My overall time was 45:29 for a pace of 9:06!!!  An 8 minute improvement!  I was thrilled as I usually never can pull that off except in a race.  My splits were 8:56, 9:11, 9:06, 8:50 (my favorite section always) and 9:23. I was very pleased with the last mile as I usually slow down much more than this. I am always tired and it has two hills right at the end!  So I am pumped!!!  Tomorrow I run 12. I won't be doing a pace run but hope to have a time in the 10s.  I did listen to music today which I don't usually. The Dixie Chicks helped me with that speedy time!
Thumbs up for my great run and post run chocolate milk!

I spent 4+ hours at school today - cleaning. I have lost some important papers. I always do a spring clean type deal in my room but it is usually a little later.  I wanted to look really thoroughly for the papers I lost plus we have gotten these awesome document cameras and I needed to rearrange my room for that.  I have a lot of students and rearranging is tricky. Well I got it done, the room is organized but no luck on the papers. Did I send them home by mistake?   But I did find most of the assessments I need to recreate the papers so I am not so stressed about it.

Then I went to the next town over to run some errands. Traffic had to stop to let a bridal party go by.  There was a school bus of high school girls. The bride waved to thank them and the girl went nuts woo hooing out the windows and shouting congratulations. I choked up at the sweetness of it, everyone enjoying the moment and not getting annoyed at the hold up.

Okay I am going to try to put a video. I have never done this. Still in the sappy heartwarming department it is a proposal that was part of a commencement speech.  I may do a link as it has an article that tells the words if you can't make them out.

Okay no idea how to do a video so here is the link.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Three Things Thursday- Be Warned - Some Complaining

1. I didn't have a very inspired week of running.  Two days in the gym - one with a terrible tempo run. Today I got outside but felt sluggish.  Looking forward to stronger runs this weekend. I pretty much always take Fridays off.  So let's hope that rejuvenates me. Maybe I'll try to get to Burlington and run on the bike path.

2. It has been very stressful at work.  There is way too much to do, with way too little time to do it.  I may go in on Saturday to catch up some but home is busy too.  Tomorrow is an in service day with no kiddos but it is all planned with no time on our own to do any catching up.  There is lots to fit in the days to come for assessment and other unusual activities so it is hard to fit real teaching in.  I feel like I'm juggling too many balls.  I am also trying to finish up some assignments for a computer course I took. I am making a VoiceThread with my students. Has anyone used it?  It is a great program and fun to use but time consuming.  I would say the kids have been very motivated by it.

3. Our kitty is still safe and avoiding the fox. We have been doing many things to keep our cats alive and out of the predator's jaws for the last year. A lot of effort goes into it particularly from my husband. He has a route he walks on our land each morning to show his presence, scare them all away.  He had not done it the morning the fox made his charge after our cat.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Too Much Excitement Before the Run Even Starts!

Miserable fox - stay out of  our yard!!

When T and I started our morning run we weren't prepared to have more adrenaline than in a race in the first few minutes.  We were headed down my driveway when I saw a fox on steroids loping across my yard.  I headed back to the house to tell my husband it was there but I wasn't too concerned.  Before I knew it T was screaming, I looked back and the fox was closing in on my cat in a hot pursuit.  The cat veered into the house as my husband shot out of the front door to help. Meanwhile T was holding the side door and hurredly closed it as she thought the fox was going to follow the cat inside!  Too much excitement before we even got out of the driveway! (The cat is fine, the  fox has not given up though and was just spotted today in the upper field.)

The snow wasn't sticking to the ground but it is certainly on the blossoms.

Once we got going on our run it started snowing. Yes, snowing. Last week we raced in 80 degrees. This.Is.The.Strangest.Spring.Ever!  It snowed the entire 11 miles and always seemed to be in our faces spitting in my eyes and mouth.  I had to get out  some of the "winter" running clothes I had put away!  Enough already!

A Mother's Day gift from my son!
Life is great....Fitness makes it better!

Two workouts at the gym this week.  Not very good ones. I think I prefer the snow even!!!