Sunday, July 31, 2011

5 Beautiful Sights Seen on my Route

I'm tired.

It could be the heat, it could be my mileage, it could be my age.

 I'm going for my mileage.

This week I worked out 6 days with 4 of them involving both running and riding.  It was an unusual week in the biking arena.  My run miles were 26.3, nothing unusual if anything a little low.

But my biking miles were the highest for a week yet, 107.2

Today I ran 9.  T and I got going early before it was too hot and it was one of those stunningly beautiful days.  It didn't take too long for it to warm up though and I was amazed at how much I was sweating after just 4 miles when we stopped to use the bathroom.

Once I got home I was going to stop for just a short time so I could be back out there biking before it got even hotter. But I needed some rest so I took more than an hour.  Then I went out for a short ride and this time I took my camera. I decided I was going to challenge myself to take 5 pictures of beautiful things. I took my time going on a familiar route looking for things to photograph that I hadn't already taken a million pictures of. I was not entirely successful but I did explore one new road and at least got a different view.  Enjoy!

Beautiful Sight # 1
My neighbor's flowers

Beautiful Sight # 2
I love the river I run and bike beside.
This is looking down into a ravine. I only see
this on a long run, it's a good place to
take a break and have a snack.

Beautiful Sight # 3
Same mountain I love, different view from a new road today

Beautiful Sight # 4
This one is totally  a repeat, but man 
do I love this road.

Beautiful Sight # 5
You may be wondering what is so pretty?
Well this is just before a very long steep hill
and I was about to go down it on my bike

Share 5 beautiful sights you see on your route.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Biking an Errand And Memories Bad and Good

I have no race this weekend which feels a little strange. I could have found one but I was gone last weekend, I'm going to be gone next weekend and I decided some down time at home might be just the ticket.  I am also trying to get in some extra biking this week as I won't have much chance next week. I am working with my teammates to prep for the fall curriculum the first 3 days next week and then I head to DC.  Yeah!

Originally I had a route from my bike book picked out that I was going to try. It was the right distance and not too far to get to.  But I needed to go to Middlebury to run an errand and I had already been this week so I thought rather than drive it again I would bike it. Love getting things done while I am getting my workout in!  I made it a loop as much as I could and avoided heavy traffic areas.  I didn't get going as early as I would have liked to avoid some of the heat. (I ran first with T, went to recycling and ate breakfast. All necessary stuff!)

So I was off at about 9:30 sporting my new bike shirt that I got on sale.  My lovely son burst into laughter when he saw it as it is a Switchback shirt and the idea of me wearing a shirt that advertises a beer (quite a good one IMHO) is unusual  to say the least. My husband seemed rather surprised too.  But when I went to look at bike shirts and shorts I found out something.  Trying on bike clothes is not something to do when you are feeling a little fat as you will feel very fat before you are done.  All the shirts were on sale but oh so many of them did not fit me.  Or if they fit me I didn't like the feel of them. Ride for miles in something that doesn't feel good, no thank you.  I also liked the colors of the Switchback shirt. So I got it.  I won't be wearing it on my work commute but other than that it will do just fine.
Before the ride

The ride down went very quickly.  It was cloudy for part of it - read not too hot - and just a delightful day.  I wasn't setting any speed records but was going a respectable speed.  I did notice all the poisonous parsnip which is along so many roadsides.  Not pleasant stuff at all.  A fall into it would result in horrible blisters and some pretty nasty scarring.  My town doesn't have too much because a real effort has been made to get rid of it but that is not the case in so many places. It is an invasive species that is just taking over.  Google it if you want to know more.  
Lots of poisonous parsnip next to corn fields

Time to turn and try a new road

When I got a little farther along and came to the bridge above I veered left onto a back road I am not familiar with.  But it avoided traffic and a killer hill. Win Win!

I have not ridden any of this route I took today in a long time  but when I lived in Middlebury and Bristol I took multiple routes through here.  I kept seeing different roads and reminded myself of all the great rides I have taken in the past. I need to branch out more and go on some of these.  

The Pleasant Memory This Ride Gave Me

When I was in my 20s I got one of the best presents I have ever gotten, a speedometer for my bike.  There were no computers then, this looked like a car speedometer. It kept track of present speed and distance covered. I had been doing a fair amount of biking over the summer and my roommate gave me this.  I had never even thought about it but it was such a great gift. By mid August it was installed and I loved loved loved knowing how far I was going each ride I took.  Between the time I got the present and put my bike away  in the fall I put on 600 miles. I remember being very impressed with myself.  I am still extremely anal about distance covered. I remember making my own little biking log that summer to keep track of routes and distances.  

The Unpleasant Memory This Ride Gave Me

I was telling my husband before I left today that when I lived in Bristol I rode to Middlebury a lot but an incident I had stopped me doing it.  I was riding home on a road that while not isolated was certainly not full of houses but very wooded.  Three motorcycles pulled up behind me - Harley Davidsons and the bikers were wearing those half helmets.  They followed right behind me at my speed for awhile making comments.  Then I asked them to get going and they told me sure and got right in front of me, going the speed I was going.  After awhile they took off but the rest of the ride I was sure everytime I went around a curve they would be waiting for me.  It could have been much worse, they only harrassed me and intimidated me. I don't know why I am using the word only as it was plenty.  I have not ridden that route again until today and it was before I had kids. Well before I had kids and both my kids are young adults.  I'm glad I got back out there and made this route mine again!  

I crossed the bridge into Middlebury, went to the library, picked up my book,  (yes that was my errand, a real geek here) used the bathroom, filled my Ironman water bottle ( my daughter did the Ironman  you know) and headed back going on a different but equally pleasant route.

Corn, green and mountains

I was hotter and ready to be getting home when I used my husband's suggestion.  I took a  road to avoid a killer hill to get in a longer workout and be more fit.  It was exceedingly pleasant and shady. I am a sucker for shady tree covered roads and this one went next to the river.  

But even though I missed one  hill the worst one was yet to come. I made it up it and it made my hills home seem not so bad. So 32 miles yet again this week, no gas used to do my errand and a great ride.

And what was the book I rode 32 miles to pick up?  There it is below.  I liked the first book the author wrote so I'm giving this one a try too.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Back in the Islands for another beautiful ride on the
east shore. 

Trying to show how windy it was

My friend, P. We're on the west shore looking
toward New York State

1. I've had a couple of great bike rides this week but not so great on the runs.  I got back to the Islands to do yet another bike ride along with the ferry to New York.  I took a friend with me this time.  We just did 32 miles which felt great. I felt like I didn't want to try to increase my mileage this week.  Do you do step back weeks in cycling too?  I felt like I needed one.

 Today on my bike I ran into two of my teammates from last summer's 100 on 100.  First I ran into K who is an amazing distance runner.  She almost had me convinced I should do the Vermont 50 - either KM or Miles.  Why would I think that?  I  am not even doing a marathon this year.  She said it was easier because of the different terrain - it is on trails. I have a feeling her easy and my easy are very different things.  She is a large animal vet and was kicked by  a horse not too long ago.  It laid her low briefly but she was out there today looking just fine.  I also was telling her about my Ironman daughter (believe me I am telling anyone I can) and turns out there is a lady in our town who won Kona twice. I don't know much about Ironman but I do know Kona is a big deal.  Then I ran into my other teammate and she was gushing about Emily.  Many many years ago Em was one of her babysitters.  Yesterday when we went biking I told the woman who came with me the whole IMLP story in great detail.  She seemed interested but she was kind of a captive audience so maybe I was taking advantage.  Tuesday when I was running I stopped and told a guy who is a fan of Emilys from a Memorial Day Speech she gave one year.  He thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.  He loved hearing about her newest accomplishment. Gee who can I tell next?  Oh yeah, I got my hair cut today and told my hairdresser. Again, a captive audience.

2.  Speaking of my hair cut............I was riding my bike when I heard my phone ringing. I stopped and got it out of the bag in case it was either of my children.  Turns out my hair dresser was calling because I hadn't shown up for my appointment that morning.  Now I pride myself on knowing when my appts. are and not missing them.  When I am making an appointment and they ask me if I need a card I always say no. I get more annoyed than not when I get those reminder phone calls from the doctor or dentist.  But today..........I totally missed this one.  Luckily she had some other cancellations and I still got in. I make my appts. with her two ahead because she is one busy lady.  Guess I won't be so cocky next time someone asks me if I want a  card.

3. I'm going to ride on Emily's coattails a little longer put some more pics in of the Ironman I stole off Emily's blog. The Rocketship and Jameson def. took better pictures than I did. If you didn't see Em's Ironman race report go take a look.  It is excellent reading!

A better picture of the finishing chute

LOVE this pic that shows her excitement
pre race

One swim lap down, on her way to another

How does she always manage to look so happy?
Same thing as above

Monday, July 25, 2011

IMLP It's a Long One and You May Want Your Kleenex Handy

Just as some of you said it is great for Emily to have a mom who gets it when she does things like IMLP it is great for me to have bloggers who get what I am talking about.  My Facebook status said: Emily is an Ironman! So proud of my amazing daughter!   My cousin who is a sweet sweet person commented:  what did your daughter do for you to be proud...let us know....  

So here is my Parent/Spectator Report for my blog friends who will get it.

First off - I am exhausted. Some of it is from not sleeping well the 3 nights I was there but I truly think some of it is from a very emotional day.  I didn't have to work today and I did not bike or run although I had time.  I just had a lazy me day.  Poor Emily had to work as did my husband and son and the Rocketship! I feel guilty.

IMLP was a day full of ups and downs. Mostly ups but yes the downs were there. I am still teary at so many different things. I am sure I am going to skip all over the place as I write this. I'm going to try to separate out the start/swim/bike/run/finish and hope I put all I want to say.  If you ever have a chance to go see  someone in an Ironman DO IT!  It was amazing.  

Early Morning

Getting marked

Team Halnon is ready for the day!
Everyone was up early and we got to the race seamlessly by around 5:30.  Emily got marked and then went to take care of her special needs bags.  We saw her brother right away but it took awhile to find her dad.  My phone chose this day to basically die but the cell service was lousy - even with lots of bars - and my husband doesn't text.  But all worked out.  We found each other and had time to do some team bonding before the start.
Look at that expression. Does this girl not
know what she is going to do today?

J sending out the first of many tweets


Almost time - still that same expression!

Our two great kids!

The Swim
I had heard more about the swim start than anything else and you know what? I don't know where Emily started. There were many people up front near the flags.  There were people way back near the shore.  And there was a large group over on the side. From listening to Em talk with some of her friends earlier I think she may have been on the side.
Heading into the swim

Still excited!  This is the first of many pictures
I took where Em is on the side.  I decided 
it was more important for Emily to hear and see
us cheering than for me to get good pictures.

Before the start

She was off and we had some time to wait. She estimated 35 - 40 minutes a loop.  Jameson went and got in the water to take some pics as she crossed the dock and took off on her second loop.  I had a great time talking to a couple women I was sitting near. One woman's boyfriend was doing this for his 11th time and was trying to qualify for Kona.  The woman on my other side's husband  was 57 was doing it for his first time.  There was definitely a spirit of camaraderie all day amongst the spectators, not just the athletes.  Em was out in 35 minutes and off for her second loop.  We headed to find a spot to see her transition to the bike.  Jameson stood on a bank to tell us when she was coming so we could yell and cheer for her and get make a poor attempt to get pictures.
She's off to the far right. I think even with my lousy 
photography you can see she is still smiling.  She did an
awesome job on the swim.  It was a long transition to get to
the bikes.

The Bike

Being the awesome spectators we were being we now made it over the the bike transition.  We did catch her coming down the hill out of transition but it was crowded there. I didn't think she saw/heard us but she did.

She is on the far left blue top.  All day we kept thinking 
about what she was wearing.  Always thought the women
wearing hot pink would be her on the bike.

Now the support team had some serious wait time as Em headed off to ride her first loop.  Estimate from 3:15 - 3:45.  
First order of business - breakfast and coffee.  I had had none of either!  Talk about putting my children first!  We hit a buffet, nothing special.  Then wasted time, tried to nap - little or no success.  
This is what one Iron Parent did during the first bike loop.

I drank more coffee and read.  Then we headed back in plenty of time to see her go by.  J was again up high trying to tell us when she  would be coming. We saw lots of major eating as the bikers went by us here.  We saw one woman drop her whole sandwich and hoped that didn't mess up her whole nutritional plan!
Here she comes, I think it took her around 3:30.

Then of course what to do during the second bike loop?  Too wired to accomplish anything.  Too tired to be productive.  Spent some time drinking more coffee - iced as it was rather hot.  Looked for a place to veg out with no success.  Ate Ben and Jerry's ice cream with no discount for being a Vermonter.  Then we headed back to our same spot but on the opposite side of the road. We scoped it out to make sure we could get to the transition to see her leave for the run.  After the swim earlier we had to make a long walk - a very long walk -a very long hilly walk to get to the other side as there was no crossing the race course anywhere.  We learned our lesson for the day. Plan ahead.  
The second bike loop is when my worrying started.  Many of you also follow Em and know she was very sick the week before last. This was in the back of my mind all day.  She didn't come and didn't come and didn't come.  The guys next to us who were cheering someone Em's age had their biker come 15 min. later than expected and it was hot. That relieved my worrying a little but not for long.   But once Emily came we found out she had had a flat and that was what slowed her down.  Her total bike time was 7:42 which was really in the ballpark.

The Run

Run transition looks great - yeah look again
in the picture corner.  She had changed her clothes - surprised

Running is Emily's strongest area. We knew she might be tired but we thought we knew when she would be coming back. We took a break and had some water and found spots to just sit and veg.  We regrouped after a bit, may have gotten something to eat.  Things are beginning to run together.  The run course was a loop so we started looking for Em after 1 hour and 30 minutes figuring we would be very safe.  I think she had started on the run at 3:37.  So 5:00 came and went.  No worries yet or not too many.  But another half hour went by.  I am not sure how much longer went by but it seemed to be forever.  Emily was running much slower than usual. 
After a long wait Emily approaches us. At first
she looks fine but she isn't.

 Finally finally we saw her coming but she told us she was having major GI issues and was obviously upset.  She said she would finish if she had to walk the whole thing when the mother in me said she might not be able to. I didn't want her in the hospital hooked up to an IV bag or any of the many scenarios running though my head. She took off and then we all shared our distress over how she must be feeling.  The guy next to us smiled at me very sympathetically also having seen  Em's anguish.  In what seemed like a surprisingly short time she was going back out for her second loop. 
She looked better but said nothing as she 
went by.


So now we needed to wait again.  My stomach was in knots but she had just looked good so I was hoping against hope that her problems were over.  At this point we started really concentrating on cheering on the runners that were behind her, the ones just heading out for their second loop (although there were many runners still to come in from their first loop.)  The names on bibs really helped when it came to cheering. Jameson was great at being a support to people who really needed it.  By this time we were seeing a lot of the same people.  We saw runners in slings that must have gotten hurt on the bike - do the whole marathon!  We saw people walking oh so awkwardly and painfully - do the whole marathon!  People are amazing with their grit and determination.  The "I have a goal and I am going to meet it attitude."  These athletes were Ironmen!  

Again Emily doesn't come. I get to the point where I can't distract myself by cheering for others. Where is she?  I walk down the road we are cheering on until I get to the corner and go around it. I stay there for a bit and do some more cheering but always looking down the road  for my daughter.  She's not coming. So I go down this road (a very steep hill everyone is struggling on - there are very few people running at all) to the next corner.  No Emily.  I decide I am walking this whole !@#$%^ course until I see my daughter and know she is okay.  I desperately need to use the bathroom though. I am about to describe Emily to a volunteer so they can tell me if she goes by while I am in the Portalet when she comes - running - around the corner.  I can't tell you how I felt.  There is my girl, she is smiling and okay.  I start screaming.  I jump in beside her - need to pee completely forgotten - and run with her.  She tells me to slow down - Emily telling me to slow down is a once in a lifetime experience believe me!  I jabber away and then think maybe she is finding it annoying. I am just so happy to see her and be with her and know she is okay!  She tells me it is fine and even talks with me. She informs me she is okay but is going to walk up the hill.  Then she asks me if I am wearing my running shoes. Well, no but........who cares?
We continue and finally round that !@#$%% corner we had been staring at forever.  I am sure the Rocketship, her brother and father are as thrilled to see her as I was.  Her father runs down and joins us.  When we reach the others I tell Em I am leaving her to go to the finish but her father continues with her.  

The next part is the best of this entire long post! Imagine uplifting music here.

We  get as close as we can to the finish.  We know she wants to be under 14 hours and it is very possible she will be.  But once again we are waiting and getting nervous. But the people presently coming in were ahead of her. I could have stood there all night cheering for all of them.  I cannot imagine how they were feeling as I was feeling so darn excited for them. Their own individual feelings must have been unreal.

Then................there ............she ..................finish................chute!

Here she comes! We are going crazy!!

She had done it! She was under 14 hours.  Mike Riley would soon be announcing:" Emily Halnon You are an Ironman!"  

We still needed to get to her over at the finish and believe me we did!

There were so many other stories of the day.  When I went back along the course to get Emily a pizza there was a guy barely moving surrounded by 10 of his friends encouraging him every step of the way.  There were people still heading out for their second loop in the dark.  No one was just saying they couldn't do it. I continued to be amazed and touched by all these athletes.  If you ever get a chance to support a friend at an Ironman I highly recommend it.  On so many levels yesterday was just a fantastic day.  

Here is a section of an article. I am crying as I read these. It was so amazing. This says what I was feeling very well.

As she spoke, Trudy Mammina stood in the sunshine along the Ironman bike route on Parkside Drive watching for David, Nicole or Trudy's brother Joseph Bencivenga, who was also competing in his first Ironman.
That's how most Ironman spectators spend the day, hoping to catch a glimpse of their loved ones on the race course, the bike and marathon legs of which pass twice through the village. Spectators stand shoulder to shoulder along the barricades, ringing cow bells and holding up signs, eyeing each approaching cyclist or runner closely to see if it's their husband, wife, mom, dad or friend.
When that familiar face turns the corner, it's the beginning of a brief, exciting and emotional exchange between the competitor and his or her family and friends.
"It brings tears to my eyes, happy tears," said Sonja Paradise, of Huntington, Long Island, as she stood with her daughters in front of the Olympic Center, scanning the passing cyclists for her husband, four-time Ironman Michael Paradise. "You want to see them, make sure they're OK, and that they have a smile on their face. That's what's most important."

As each one ran or biked by, Therese Wells described it as "an exciting moment, but also a relief."
"We want to know that they're doing OK," she said.
Just up Main Street, about a dozen supporters of first-time Ironman Dan Fay of Shamong, N.J. had just seen him on the course for the second time. His father, Bob Fay, said it was worth the wait.
"We had ten seconds, if that," Fay said. "But it was exciting. We held our signs up. We cheered him on and he saw us. It doesn't get any better than that. It's phenomenal."
Many of you follow Emily at Sweats Once A Day and will see her report when she gets it up. It will be quite different from mine and I am anxious to read it myself as there is so much I don't know about the race.  After the race she and the Rocketship headed back to DC and we headed to Vermont.  I told her I would call her but I don't want to call too soon. She must be so exhausted and emotionally high and spent all at the same time. Everyone but me had to work today, I don't know how!  She will have some great photos up too. I don't know when she will get her report up but I do know Emily is one amazing woman!

Emily is an Ironman

Amazing, exhilarating, worrisome, scary, fantastic, proud so proud!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lake Placid Ironman - the Prelude

A ferry to get there but no PD in sight!

Em's ready to swim the course!

If you click and make this larger she is there with her red cap!

Lake Placid is a mad house but an athletic mad house! I have never run/biked with so many people when it wasn't a race. There are people swimming, biking and running everywhere all the time!

The first night I got here Em took a swim and did one loop of the course while I read and athlete watched.  Should have gotten my suit on as it was sweltering. And everyone is talking about what a wonderful lake - Mirror Lake - is to swim in.  I may need to come back another year and do the Lake Placid Half Marathon. What an area!

We are staying in cabins a distance from Lake Placid.  No internet, no AC, no cell service. We're not spending a lot of time there.  This morning I decided to go for a run.  I stayed off the main road as there is so much traffic. Well I went down this rather isolated road but told myself there was no need to be paranoid.  Then I saw what looked like a wonderfully pleasant old school.

As I got farther along - maybe not an old school!

 But wait, they don't usually put tall barbed wire around schools.  Wow! This is a rather large Corrections Facility.  I continue along not letting this deter me from getting my workout in.  Soon I come to a sign on the left that announces a Federal Corrections Facility!

 Okay if I see anyone coming out of the woods I am going to set some speed record but I continue on. What gets me to turn around?  Man's best friend - unleashed - a growling, snarling dog.  Back by the corrections facilities, back to the crowded highway.  I go across the road to some state office parking lots.  I am not too proud to run in parking lots if it's going to help me get my miles in.  One of them is a state police complex and what do I see out back?  More brick buildings surrounded by tall barbed wire.  Nonetheless I did about another mile and headed back to the cabin.  Nothing stops this athlete from getting those miles in.

We have managed to hit the Expo twice. I feel a little out of my element as I don't even know what half of the stuff is or what it is used for.  I  splurged on a water bottle, a cow bell and one pair of socks!

Lake Placid is a very picturesque town.  Tomorrow the rest of our family join us and they are going to be leaving at some ridiculous time in the morning.  I'm staying put rather than driving home to just turn around again.
After our run

Running along Mirror Lake

Yesterday and today I ran next to Mirror Lake which is the lake the swimmers -all 3000 of them will be in tomorrow at 7 a.m.  The youngest athletes are 18 and the oldest man and woman are 64 and 74 I believe.  The Welcome Dinner last night was rather fun and inspiring.  The above mentioned participants were on stage as well as many others.  There was a  very emotional clip about Matt Long and then he spoke. I know some of you have mentioned reading his book and now I want to.A.Very.Inspiring.Story.

Yesterday we also biked the run course.  It was once again, very scenic and yeah, a little bit hilly.  Not like the bike course but these people are going to be running this twice and that hill going into town is going to be a real pain!  I will be cheering loudly especially for Emily of course!
The Ironman out riding yesterday were 
nervous when they saw me ripping along 
the road on my Hybrid!

When our ride was done.

On the run course

Em on the run course

This afternoon Emily spent a lot of time organizing all kinds of bags.  It takes some serious organizational skills and forethought to be an Ironman!

Good luck to all the athletes participating in tomorrows Lake Placid Ironman!
Good luck Emily!