Saturday, March 31, 2012

Taper? Stop running before the race? Heck no I'm in DC!

In town and ready to sweat!

Picking up the packets.

The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler is tomorrow and I can't wait.  My anxiousness isn't because I am going to kill it because I'm not.  It isn't because it is one of my favorite race distances even though it is.  It is because:

I love to race.
I love to race in DC.
I love to run in DC.
I love to race in the same races as members of my family.  (Not with - she'll be done when I'm maybe halfway!)
I love scenic courses and this one includes my favorite routes in DC!

Out enjoying DC early this morning - with so many more other
runners than I ever see in Vermont!

I ran this morning on "my" five mile route.  We also walked many miles.  We walked a fast 8 or so miles Friday and I'm guessing another 6 or more today. DC isn't about resting and lying low for me. It is enjoying my daughter  and the city  while I'm here.  The race is very much secondary but that doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy it!

After the first run of the day - which we did separately but
we did meet up for bagels.

We ran a second time today - not far but we did it.  A double the day before a race? Crazy time!

I may have fallen and almost pulled my daughter down with me.  Another smart move just before a race. No real harm done though just a little boo boo on my knee.

I plan to take lots of pictures and soak in the race atmosphere and sights. Tonight I'll plan my outfit but the weather doesn't look as warm as predicted earlier in the week. So race skirt or capris?

This I believe is my first race where I've been in a corral. And guess what?  I am NOT in the last corral.  I am in the 4th out of 6th and when I looked at the seed times I was much closer to the 3rd than the 5th. But that was from my only 10 Miler which was last year in Lake George and I did race my heart out.  I ran it in 1:34:07.  I looked it up last night and I had a hard time finding it.  Strange.  I don't expect to do that but I expect to push myself while I am enjoying the whole thing.  I also think it is the first or one of the first times I have raced with my name on the bib. When I finish the race I will pick up the finisher's medal that I paid for and find my daughter on the mall.  Thank God for cell phones. Can you imagine finding people in a race with 15,000 runners without one?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!  If you're racing too - here or anywhere - have fun!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Many Things Thursday

1. Look at this race that is going to be in Vermont this summer!  Yowzer!  Ben and Jerry's Brain Freezer 5K.

All these flavors..........

You only have to eat ONE pint
and this is the flavor I want
waiting for me!

I have always been jealous of those of you who get to run in the Krispy Kreme 5K. It always sounded great to me.  Now I can race and eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's half way! There are 3 levels of racers.  The fun racer doesn't have to eat it all. The competitor does. You can also be a supporter and not even run.  Well I'm not one for a fun race so Darn!  I am going to have eat the whole pint!  I better start training now and I don't mean for the running part.

2. My training got a little side lined with a cold. I managed to get a pace run of 6 miles and a long run of 11 miles in this weekend but Monday I stopped!  I actually stopped so much I didn't go to work.  I made my sub plans the night before at school so I slept in except I woke to an awful noise I thought was the smoke detector and got up to make sure the house wasn't burning down.  The electricity was off - kind of and there was a god awful noise coming from something. Some things were dim but not off.  Although it wasn't long before everything was off.  I can't say no electricity bothered me too much as I just stayed in bed until it came back on and I made my big move to the couch!

3. I thought of one more thing to add to my  semi whiny post ........what will I do when there isn't a black line to follow to know where I am going?  Yikes! That is a big one!

4.  At my swim lesson Tuesday night my instructor filmed me.  She wanted me to see what I was doing wrong to help me do it right. I must admit my initial reaction was: "Wow!  I can do that?" I thought I looked great. But that is because at one time I couldn't do free style AT.All.  So....  But there is truly so much still to learn and remember. I still panic when I can't breathe soon enough. I know on an intellectual level I am not going to drown but my heart doesn't always believe it.  My instructor had me out of my comfort zone many times. Now I have some drills to practice that are hard but I will give it a try.

5. My tempo run on Wednesday was TOUGH!  The last time I did almost this exact workout on an early Monday morning I wrote "effortless" next to it in my log. Today it was anything but.  I believe a lot of you think I am not a quitter but I came close on this workout.  I may have been expecting too much. I was home sick on Monday and still felt pretty lousy yesterday. Today I felt quite good especially in comparison to the previous days but apparently I wasn't all back.  I was sweating like crazy and found the fastest parts of my tempo run almost undoable.  I.Was.So.Glad.When.I.Was.Done!

6.When I got home from my workout I slung bags off several arms like a pack mule. I carefully carried a carton of eggs, a full cup of coffee and flowers  all to prevent two trips to the house from the car.  We are talking 20 feet.  Really?  Does this make sense?  I go to the gym and workout very hard but I can't make two trips from the car to the house?

7. I also got up an hour and fifty minutes late on Wednesday morning!  I made it to work on time but nothing got done. No stretching.  No coffee ( I did stop and buy some). Left a sink full of dishes which I hate!  No reading the paper.  No prepping dinner.  No casual morning on my non swimming morning.  But I have to think I really needed the extra sleep.

8.  Friday I get up very very early but that is okay because I am getting up oh so very early to get on a plane and fly to DC to see my girl, do lots of catching up, eating out, running, gawking and race/run in the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!!!  No goals for this race. I am going to run as much as I possibly can ahead of it and I am going to take scads of pictures during it and I am going to have fun!!!

9. I just looked up the course of the race and it is on my very favorite running spots including part of my very own DC route!

10.  Friday I go to DC!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Most people buy a house and put frames with pictures in them on the walls.

Not my son!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thoughts that keep me awake at night.....

Why have I told everyone I was doing a triathlon this summer?

Why have I talked about my swim lessons on FB and included the fact that I am learning to swim for a triathlon?

Why did I decide to do it in the first place?

Why did I ever think I could do the swimming part?

Why do I think I can compete be in an event with most people being much younger than I am?

Why do I think I'll be able to swim in a wetsuit and get it on and off?

Why do I think I'll learn to use clipless pedals in time?

Why do I think I'll decipher the salesman bike talk and be able to pick out a road bike of my own?

Why do I think I'll do not one but perhaps three triathlons this summer?

Why am I still telling people I am going to do this?

Why aren't I willing to just keep doing half marathons, 5Ks, 10Ks and maybe even a marathon again?

Why have I told my co workers that I am attempting to do a triathlon?

Why do I think the race volunteers won't have gone home before I finish?

Why do I imagine I'll be able to fit even more training time into my already busy week?

Why haven't I kept this goal a secret?

Why am I going to do an open water swim without the safety of the pool walls next to me?

Why don't I just run and do a relay since that is the part I have no worries about?

Why do I think I'll be able to figure transitions out?

Why am I not more worried about what I am going to wear under the wet suit?

Am I nuts to be attempting this?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. It's very hot here. As in 80s should be summer hot. As one who likes her seasons to be "right" I'm not loving it.  It's very hot in my second story southern exposure nonairconditioned classroom.  How much learning do you think happens in the afternoon when all the students and teachers are grumpy from being so hot? It has always been hot in the late spring in my classroom but now we have some guy with not enough to do going around checking to see if we have wedges in our doors.  No wedge in our door creates no air flow whatsoever!  It also makes you feel snooty and unfriendly.  We also don't have fans. Yeah, bring back some cold weather.  More than 2 months of this before summer vacation would be way way too much.

2.  I also don't have my "warm weather" clothes out yet. I usually switch things around over April break, a month away.  So I don't have many options and today went casual with my Nike elevators/stairs shirt.  I don't think I ever got so many compliments in one day. Forget the dresses and skirts.  I'll just wear my Nike gear.

3.  I did come home and run in the heat Monday rather than go to the gym as planned.  It was nice to be outside and I thought it was time to get acclimated because who knows what it will be like for my next two races.

4. I did receive a couple of emails from my swim instructor who forgot the lesson.  She was mortified and offered to come to my pool to give the lesson, extend my lessons and add an extra lesson.  My pool is for relaxing and I couldn't see making her get there at 5:30 a.m.  That seemed to be a cruel punishment that didn't fit the crime!  She also gave me her 50 cents worth on wet suits. I have asked many people about the whole sleeve vs. sleeveless and gotten so many opinions. It is very confusing.  But my instructor has seen me swim, works with lots of swimmers, conducts tri workshops and swims in these waters so I may lend a little more weight to her opinion. She is going to bring me her suits to try if I want.  When I got into this whole I am going to do a tri thing I wasn't going to wear a wet suit. I think if I thought I was I may have decided not to attempt the triathlon.  And why did I decide I wanted to do a tri?  That will have to another post!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Now this is mud season

This email came from out town clerk yesterday.

    Quaker Street is officially closed due to unbelievable MUD!  The road crew is desperately trying to find a solution for residents on that end.Dirt roads are especially bad all over, presumably because the frost got so deep with such little snow cover over the winter.  We ask you to kindly refrain from driving on the dirt roads for a while if you don't have to.  Extra traffic will make the conditions worse, and the residents on those roads will appreciate your willingness to drive around if you can.  Your vehicle will probably also appreciate it if you avoid the muddy ruts for a little while too.

It is not typical for our dirt roads to be closed during mud season.  Our road is completely dry as is our yard.  But when I rode my bike Sunday I did hit some pretty soft dirt roads but nothing like the picture below!

A woman I work with lives on Quaker Street and she told me her husband took this picture.  They got the truck out by hot wiring logging equipment that happened to be nearby. This truck was pulling sap to make maple syrup. I hope it was still usable!  

Gripe of the day: 

I drove all the way to Burlington tonight after a long day - aren't they all - for my swim lesson and the instructor didn't show up.  I like her but..........

And still trying to decide on full sleeved vs. sleeveless wet suit if you can only get one. I have a coupon code to use and may order soon.  Thanks!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shamrock Shuffle 5K and the bike leaves the barn

First, Jaxon wants to say Happy St. Patrick's Day!
He's a little sad he isn't going to be racing with us.

There were about 40 people running in this race.  T and I were easily the oldest runners by far.  Once we started racing I thought this would be good practice for my triathlon as I thought I  would be last.  I didn't think anyone was behind me and didn't envision passing anyone.  But somewhere near the end of the first mile I passed this guy that by muscles/looks it didn't seem like I should be passing so I fully expected to be passed back.  I never was and ended the race ahead of 5 or 6 people at least so I was worried over something I didn't need to be worrying about.
First race of the year with Jameson :)

My mile paces were all over the place.  My first one was very fast (8:13) helped by a downhill and my last one while slow did not get into the 10s(9:48) hindered by an uphill.   It was not an out and back instead doing a turn into the woods to give us some trail running on parts of the second and third miles only to hook back with the bike path we started on to finish most of the third mile.  I felt like I did okay on the hill and my overall pace was 9:04 so I'll take it.  It was my first new race of the year and also my first race of the year with Jameson!

Sunday I had a long run -10 miles -with T. While not fast it was better than some runs have been and I felt good.  The weather was very nice although it warmed up drastically from start to finish. I've decided I need to stop complaining about the unseasonal like temperatures and go with it. So today I enjoyed no snow and a warmish run.  I also got out on my bike for my first ride of the year. I only went about 11 miles because the dirt roads were so soft and hard to ride on.  I did not hurry at all and it felt good to be out there.   Then when I got home before I cleaned up I washed my disgustingly dirty car!  Lots accomplished!
Starting out for the first ride.

Riding along the river.....

Some of the dirt roads are tricky riding 

and driving as far as that goes!

Friday when I was in Burlington I looked at road bikes. It was overwhelming! They could have been speaking a different language. So many things to think about.  While there I bought myself a new bike shirt for inspiration to get riding. Must be it worked!
Isn't it pretty!

While in Burlington on Friday I also took Jameson to lunch.  We had a great lunch and then ....yum..... cupcakes after.  The pumpkin one was my favorite. Surprise surprise!

And I'll end the way I began with one more picture of Jax and Jameson. I got to spend a lot of time with both of them this weekend!  

Friday, March 16, 2012

By the Numbers

0 - the number of times I will run between Monday and my race on Saturday known as  life got in the way

4:00 a.m. - the number on the clock as I was doing my tempo run at the gym on Monday.  Truthfully it was 5:00 which was bad enough but the clock hadn't been turned back and that number was freaking me out.
And it was a completely awesome tempo run that felt pretty effortless! Where did that come from?

6 - the number of times I tried to set my own clock for the time change (I am generally good at this) before giving up and changing the time zone instead.

3 - the number of days I got up early - very early - this week to get a workout in.

infinite - the number of times I ran to the bathroom during my colonoscopy prep fun fun fun NOT (sorry if TMI)

4250 - the number of yards I swam this week

1 - swimmer who approached me in the locker room that told me she didn't learn to swim until she was 30. Apparently she saw me swimming during my lesson and thought I needed some encouragement.  (She was right.)

3 - the number of students in my class who have come to school with pink eye.  How many more will get it and when will it be my turn?

3 - the number of books I have read this week I just finished The Provence Cure for the Broken Hearted by Bridget Asher. I liked it enough to want to read other books by this author.  It is a light book with a lot of characters I loved.

- the number of weeks until I begin what I will call official tri training.

5 approximately - the number of tri plans I have looked at this week. I am not finding one that fits me. I appreciate the suggestions I have gotten.  Yes, I can do the miles so I am not concerned about that.  The beginning tri plans have you running for 15 minutes and swimming 500 yards or less and the bike is short too.  That is not me.  Should it be?  If I "gear up" I want to put some time in and feel I did something worth calling a work out.  I am fully prepared to come in last in my tri but I don't want it to be because I didn't put time in.  Plus I have 3 more half marathons this spring and I don't want to show up unprepared to do the distance.  I am thinking I will come up with my own plan.  As long as I am biking, (ahem I will be soon), swimming and running a decent number of times in the week I should be okay. Right?  Well, this got a little long winded for this post. Obviously very much on my mind.

Yes, bike I will get you out soon. I know I should be riding

Yes, I do remember how much I loved you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Three Things Thursday a little early

1. Great great tempo run on Monday! Where do those come from?  I broke all the rules of training by 3 hard days in a row.  Saturday - pace run  Sunday - long run Monday - tempo run  But my week is insanely busy and that is how it had to be.  The tempo run was effortless in spite of being the third of the hard workouts.  It was 5 in the morning (felt like 4 on the second day of DST) which isn't my time of day. It didn't help that the clocks in the gym actually said 4:00.

2.16, 12 or 10 - the number of weeks most training plans I've found  for a sprint tri.  Any recommendations as to which is best?  Although the ship for 16 weeks has already sailed. Any suggestions for good training plans?  Or I may continue what  I am doing.  That would be swimming 2 times a week with adding a third. I am running 4 times a week and need to cut that to 3 and throw in biking!  I have done none since October. Should I be worried?  I'm not.  Last year I got my bike out over April vacation and entered the duathlon in early June which was about the same distance.  I plan to get it out by early April at the latest and then ride 3 times a week.  I'll see. I am not sure what will be manageable. I hate cutting the running down to 3 days but I think I will need to.  Make that I KNOW I will need to. There is only so much time in a week.

3. I just picked out my March race. It is at UVM this weekend and the tri club is putting it on.  A shamrock shuffle what else on March 17! Jameson is going to run it with me.  My goal will be to beat my Jan. 1 5K time.  I'd like some of those good tempo/pace/speed workouts to translate to a race.  I guess it will depend on me and what I put into it. I have no idea what the course is but there are bound to be hills.

Quick add ons............Only one parent didn't show up for conferences tonight.....progress.........Tomorrow I swim in the morning and get my second lesson in the evening at 7:15. That is about as late as it gets for exercise in my life........I had a colonoscopy on Tuesday and am ever so glad that is behind me now.  Now pun intended...........I had parents suggest I should keep teaching for 7 more years so I can teach their youngest child :)......................I don't know if I should keep reading the book I am reading, The Baker's Daughter, any thoughts?...............I wish the cherry blossoms would slow down because I want to see them at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  Last year when I was in DC at this time there wasn't a cherry blossom to be seen anywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Finally......a fantastic run!!

It seems like lately all I preach is biking and swimming I love while doing them but running I love when I am done.  Not today. Today I loved my run!  I caught myself with a wide smile on my face more than once.  When I first got up I was disappointed as there was a fair amount of snow. I had a pace run on the books for today and I had been looking forward to it and part of that anticipation was due to the dry roads.  I didn't even know there was snow in the forecast so I was rather surprised.

 I resigned myself to wearing my Yak Trax for the second time this year and just dealing with it.  But by the time I left I was fine and did a prepace run dance. It's okay, Michael and Jim, to dance before a pace run and not just a race isn't it?  I was listening to Dixie Chicks sing Ready to Run and it was working. I was on my way to embracing the snow. 
I have no shame posting this geeky picture.

Once outside I headed to the road ready to better my last week's pace run. Last weeks was officially a 3 mile pace run according to my training plan and today's pace mileage was 4. Both weeks I was running 6 with the concentration being on the lesser amount but keeping a faster pace up for the whole run.  Last week I was pleased with my efforts because my runs outside have been so sucky that it was definitely an improvement.  I was shooting to be 10 or under. I was actually slightly over for the 3 miles but I was okay with it. But I knew I could improve this week and was anxious to give it another try.

Can I say again I LOVED this run?  It may have been because of the snow instead of in spite of it.  I have apparently missed my stormy runs.  It was beautiful out although I didn't take my camera because I wanted to concentrate on my pace.  It was slightly snowing which I love and at times a lot of snow would blow on me out of trees. Bliss!  I did not love the wind or slush especially when cars would go by too close and throw a fair amount on me.  Jerks.  

I was watching my watch each mile and pleased with the results. Although I didn't have last week's times memorized I knew I was improving them.  I may have thrown a fist pump after Mile 4.  Here are the stats. The first number is last week, the second was from today.

Mile 1    10:07     9:29
Mile 2    10:09     9:52
Mile 3    10:58     10:19
Mile 4    10:06     9:28
Mile 5    10:20     10:07
Mile 6    11:35     10:41

Better, right?  Cause for celebration!  And I am going to improve more especially on that last pesky mile.
There is nothing like a goal that you achieve although the joy in my run today was from enjoying the glorious day and being able to run in my own winter wonderland and fully appreciate and revel in it.
The crowd when we got there..........just getting 

My friends and husband

Saturday afternoon we headed to Middlebury to the Chili Fest which our friends have been to several times but we had never gone.  You pay $3 which goes to a charity (Irene relief this year) and then you sample all the chili.  There were at least 45 vendors and most had several versions of chili. The vendors were restaurants for the most part but anyone can participate.  We got there early which was smart because at that point there were no lines and you could try a lot of chili quickly.  Once you got down into the main part of town (Main Street was closed) it was thick with people and the lines were very long.  So we waited for some but there were many many we never tried. You get 3 tokens and vote for your favorite 3.  My husband voted quickly which makes no sense to me as you have only tried a small amount.  But I have to say going back to leave the token later meant you had to remember where you had that good chili!  There were def. some I didn't like at all!  After we went to one of the restaurants nearby to warm up and have a beer. I was exhausted when I got home! Didn't know food sampling was so tiring!

9 miles today (now Sunday) with T rounded out my exercise for the weekend!  

And here is one more picture of Jax.......this is after I picked him up from his Doggy Day Care on Friday.  He was exhausted from playing with all his buddies and went into his kennel to sleep!  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Answers to recent comments etc.

1. A sugar house is where they make maple syrup at least around here.  Many of you were curious about sugarhouses and the term was new to you.  This is what I found on a sugar makers (maple syrup) web site.
When you travel to Vermont be sure to include time for visiting sugarhouses - each one is different and has its own personality. From small, traditional sugarhouses deep in the woods to large sugarhouses using equipment with the latest technology, you can watch the pride and care that goes into producing Vermont's first agricultural product of the year.

2. People also commented on my ability to remember all my races in my Race Superlatives post.  Well, of course I can't remember all my races!  I have to admit I have scrapbooks, not the fancy kind - just binders where I keep stats and pictures of my various races.  When my kids were small I had swimming scrapbooks for them where I kept their ribbons and info from all of their swim races. Occasionally they would look up a race they were going to do to see how they did in it the year before but for the most part they couldn't  have cared less.  Now I make my own (because I have become an athlete) and I love it.  I look things up frequently.

3. Also related to my Race Superlatives post - I now remember a boring race. I did one of the winter series races in Albany and you simply ran around the campus (not a pretty campus) twice.  It was so cold I concentrated on keeping warm rather than the boring part I guess.

4. I went swimming this morning and didn't remember much from my swim lesson the other night. At one point I gave up and just swam "the old way' but then I went back to trying what I did remember.  I have only had one lesson. Don't expect too much.  I have only had one lesson. Don't expect too much.  I have only had one lesson. Don't expect too much.  I have only had one lesson. Don't expect too much.  I have only had one lesson. Don't expect too much. 

5. Huge annoyance!  I left my house at 5:30 this morning and returned at 6:45 tonight which is a long day for me.  I had parent conferences after school.  I sent home a sheet asking people to give me 3 choices on the days/times I had listed.  Everyone got one of the top 3, many people got their first choice.  I waited around until 4:30 today before I even had a conference.  That was okay though as I got stuff done I  needed to do. But during the time conferences were scheduled two different sets of parents didn't show up! Really?  You chose a time, I stay late for your convenience and you don't come?????  I could have had the parent who came last much earlier and we both would have gotten home sooner.  GRRRR!

6. Tomorrow I pick Jax up at his doggy day care to take him home. I am on the approved list for picking him up.  Good way to start the weekend.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hard Running, Good Swimming News and a Little Jax

Jax is learning to do some tricks!

Monday I DID NOT WANT TO WORK OUT!  I wanted to go home and curl up in bed with a good book.  But I let my car find it's way to the gym in spite of my desire to go home and the much later than usual start time to my workout.  When I got there a friendly soul asked how I was and I grumbled, "Okay."  Then we both dished over how we didn't feel like being there at all.  People I work with assume I love working out......always! That is so not the case.  At all!  Monday did turn out to be a good workout.....isn't it funny how that often happens?  I ran more miles than usual with no break and felt quite good during the majority of the run and left with that great post workout feeling.  That's why I don't go home and skip the workout.

Tuesday I got up very early and swam a mile. I love getting to the pool early and getting the lane next to the wall.  There were never very many of us and it was 100 times better than my swim last Wednesday evening.  Yet Tuesday night I was back at the same pool of the super sucky swim for my first private lesson. And I loved it.  I felt so different leaving this lesson than I did the group lessons.  I felt like I had hope that maybe at some point I will at least partially get it and be able to swim more efficiently. She started out by telling me what I was doing right - my kick was half way decent and my body didn't have a lot of drag.  Well those are both things I have been working on so yeah me!  She had me do lots of drills and man I have been swimming very incorrectly.  I have a lot to learn but I felt like she gave me some good drills and strategies to learn.  I am overwhelmed with all I need to think about (I have a hard time feeling it and do more thinking) but I also think I will get there. I liked the rolling thing and swimming more on my side but it messed up my breathing. I breathe when? And how often?  My instructor always seemed to have something good to say (a wise woman) before telling me what to work on.  I wasn't going to be able to go next week but I think we figured out a way. My lesson will be a different day at 7:15 at night but I don't want to go two weeks before another lesson.  I went out to my car after and did a voice memo on my phone to help me remember some of the stuff. The instructor is also going to email me some drills.  I bought 8 lessons, the most you could buy at once. The more you bought the cheaper they were.  Well worth it!  My feeling after this lesson could not have been more different than after my group lesson.  I know I swam slower tonight (if that is possible) and have so far to go but it is so wonderful to have someone helping me get there!  

Then I went to see Jameson and Jaxon who I didn't get to see last weekend.  Jaxon excitedly greeted me with several kisses and Jameson let me tell him all about my swim lesson so it was  a short but good stop. 

Wednesday a speed workout on the TM.  Working out after work is hard.  Sorry I know I just said this.  Getting up to swim early is making me tired. I was never willing to get up very often before work for running but I seem to be doing it for swimming.  But I need to start going to bed early.  Sorry if I didn't make it to your post but I'm beat!
Jax still loves me even though I didn't see him last weekend.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Race Superlatives- What are your most fun, most difficult, most scenic ............

This post is about top things about my races.  It was fun to do and I invite anyone who wants to do their own, changing it as you desire. I got the idea from Darlene at My First 5K.  Thanks, Darlene.
 I’ve run a total of 174 races
                                                                         **Most Fun Race — 

This is hard and it isn't hard.  I have run so many fun races but Vermont City Marathon is always the best.  It could be because it is my hometown race.  I always see people I know cheering for the runners, generally my family is running in it too and the Burlington bike path is one of my favorite places to run.  My favorite VCM was my first one which was also my first marathon. I loved that race so much. I had so much support at the race!  My family was there and co workers came too.  I had a huge smile of my face for a lot of the race.  I was great at finding my supporters in the crowd before they saw me!  When I finished I felt so accomplished!  Who ever thought I would run a marathon!
**Most Difficult Race — 

My most difficult race was my fifth and at this time last marathon in 2009, Portland Marathon (Maine not Oregon.)    I had high hopes for that race and they didn't happen.  I trained well, the weather was  a little hot but not terrible,  I just didn't have it that day.  I had to readjust my goal as I was running many times from BQ to PR to less than 4:30 to just keep running and don't walk.  I fell hard at about the half way point and it was embarrassing but it didn't hurt me.  I ended up taking about 18 minutes longer than the year before.  My husband was at the finish line getting very worried. I knew I would finish I just didn't know when.  Ironically I won an age group prize. I was 2/10 in my age group. It was a nice water color with a plaque that they mailed to me.  I never considered that I got a prize so I never even checked.  I didn't plan for it to be the end of my marathons but the next year I was injured and then I turned my attention to the duathlon last year and this year heaven help me a triathlon.  I may get back to it but I am really enjoying halves for now.  
**Most Scenic Race —
Familiar shot on my blog but this is in the fall

  This is a tough one. I think I have run quite a few scenic races and it is no secret that I particularly like racing on the ocean. I think the nicest one was the All Women and One Lucky Guy half in York, Maine which is where I often run and post pictures of.  I have only done one race there but I now use some of that route as my "regular" running route when I am there because it was so beautiful.  They have now moved the race to Mass. and while I am sure it is fine I can't believe it is anywhere as scenic as this coastal race was.  The year I ran it I had recently had surgery and had not been running so it was my slowest half but I loved it.  (I did have my doctor's permission to run it.)

**Most Boring Race —
I checked all my races really. I have not run boring races.  So none here!
**Best Post Race Party — 

The best post race party I will give to the Santa 5K in Burlington last year.  Good food, tons of people, in a bar if you felt like having a drink.  Over all a great time.
**Most “Nostalgic” Race — 

Hmm.  I can't say that i have run races that have a nostalgic feel to them.  I decided I would go with the Inauguration 5K that I ran with Emily in 2009.  It was following the election of 2008 of course and was out with the old and in with the new.  When  I signed us up for it I was looking for a Feb. race and it sounded fun. But I got Dartmouth and Durham NH mixed up so it was MUCH FARTHER (3 1/2 hours) than I anticipated especially for a 5K.  It may have been the coldest race I ever raced in, if not it was right up there.  But the cold may have spurred me on as I had a great time  (26:14) and Emily and I won many prizes, both age groups and random.  We were both third in our age groups.  Plus we got our names in New England Runner - always a huge thrill for me. I may need to see if they have a repeat of this race next year.  Would Em come up from DC to race it with me?  They also gave prizes for anyone with the middle name of Walker, top three runners named George and Laura and the best presidential costume.  Part of my nostalgia might be for when Emily lived here and was game to do races with me at the drop of a hat.
**Best “Feeling of Accomplishment” Race — 
I have many races where I felt quite accomplished beginning with my walking races where I actually won some to my first marathon. But I am going to choose the Mad Dash in 2003when I unexpectedly ran it having never run a step beforehand. So why did I run?  Well, it was a race but a "fun" walk and I hate fun things where there is no competition.  So I had registered as a runner but with plans to walk it. But at the last minute - when in line at the start - I thought what the heck I might as well try running and see what I can do. I ran the whole 4 miles!!! I can remember being amazed at the end and talking with the girl who came in near me. It was her first race.  I called people on the way home who didn't believe I RAN it!  The most amazing thing was I won an award in my age group. No wonder I think age groups rock!  It was a four miler on roads and trails and I did it in 39:23. I got a medal and believe me I was hooked!  

Most Fun Thing Done Racing (to replace boring race)
This also started when I was a walker not a runner. I was doing races and reading Runner's World when I read an article about a guy who ran home from every Metro stop in DC. When he did the last one his wife had a finishing tape on the porch for him.  I love things like this and brainstormed what goal I could set for myself. I ended up doing a race in every county in Vermont (14).  It was fun. My husband would go with me to the farther counties to see more parts of the state.  The most northeastern county is very small and not very populated and I could never find a race there. So I made my own. We drove up one Saturday and found a dirt road around a lake that looked good.  But I quickly discovered when I packed my "race bag" I had brought two left shoes.  Umm. I couldn't tell my husband I wasn't going to do it so of course I put them on  and ran in them.  It was awkward but doable. He would go ahead of me in the car and stop and take pictures. We took a picture near the county line sign to prove that I had done this county. I did not do it as my last county as I wanted that race to be more special.  For a person who likes lists, checking things off and doing new races this was a very fun goal.  At my last race I won maple syrup and extremely delicious bread!  Yum!  A great ending.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Good Runs this Weekend

We had great weather here this weekend for running.  What I call great weather may not meet your criteria but in the low 30s with no wind was quite nice!  Saturday was supposed to be super icy and I wasn't sure if it would be safe to go out.  But there was just a crunchy snow and not much of it.  I attempted a pace run and I was going for under 10.  Well, I didn't hit it but I still felt good because it was a heck of a lot faster than anything else I have been running outside.  (I had a killer tempo run on the TM the other day.)  It was just a 3 mile pace but I pushed it for the six I ran.  Miles 1, 2 and 4 were very slightly over 10.  Miles 1,2 and 3 are a gradual uphill with the next 3 being the opposite as it is an out and back.  Mile 3 was almost at 11 and mile 5 was in the mid 10s.  Mile 6 was well over 11 so you can see I was all over the place but there were 4 miles I considered quite decent!  I felt great. I had gotten up and was running by about 6:20 because I had to get to a dentist appointment due to a broken tooth.

So Saturday started out great but then went downhill.  I went to the dentist to find out my crown cannot be glued back in as so little of the tooth was left. I was not shocked as I could tell that.  The options were not great mainly because we are talking major dollars.  I need to figure out how to best time it so to make maximum use of insurance (not a lot) or flex money.  It may not work but I'll make the effort.

Then I went to school and worked on report cards for 3 hours plus.  I got a lot done but it wasn't my first choice for what I wanted to be doing.  But I am a bit overwhelmed at work right now and even with the time spent Sat. I will have a lot of late nights over the next two weeks.  The thing that always stresses me is fitting in my workouts along with all the work stuff.  But it will happen. I think I have this week figured out at least for workouts.

Then I left school and bought the needed items for my colonoscopy prep. Joy.  But that isn't for another week. It was just the thinking about it. Yuck.

Then I came home, headed to bed with my computer and a book and relaxed!

Today we ran 8 miles with more good temperatures and completely bare roads.

Later my husband and I went to a sugarhouse so he could get some new syrup. As in just boiled!  When we got there we got a sample of it - still warm.  Talk about satisfying my sweet tooth!  It was outstanding. This particular sugar house is owned by a former student of mine.  If I had favorites (which of course I don't) he would be my all time favorite student - just a terrific kid who has become a great young man who makes incredible maple syrup! The trip was worth the smell alone - I could have stayed in that sugar house for hours.

 It's snowing and looking like winter, a great ending to the weekend.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Sweet Tooth

I have a serious sweet tooth.  Serious.  I decided to take pictures of some of the things that satisfy that craving. Most of these I eat on a fairly regular basis but there are some seasonal sweets I eat once a year.  One thing I love is Halloween pumpkins!  Yep!  I also like candy corn (not with chocolate) but I prefer the pumpkins.  The other seasonal candy I like is jelly beans.  But I only like Brachs spicy jelly beans. I don't like jelly bellies and Harry Potter beans and all the others that have flooded the market.  Most stores sell all the popular ones and it isn't easy to find the ones I like which is just fine.  I had a fairly sucky day today in some ways (after a great morning run) so I indulged myself.  I won't open them yet but it's good to know I have some when needed!

There are many things I didn't take pictures of because I eat them at least somewhat seldom.... whoopie pies and  cake (a particular favorite) to name a couple.

Here is one I eat quite often......Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.  I like most kinds but truthfully the plain vanilla ones are my favorite.  I like them really frozen, not squishy soft at all.

A new favorite thanks to Christa posting it on Facebook is Green Mountain Creamery Maple Greek Yogurt! It is awesome.  If you read the comments following her posting I think she should be getting a commission because the stores are selling out.  Then she later sugggested putting it in the freezer for 20 minutes first......even better!  I like my cold things really cold and my hot things (coffee) really hot.  When I first bought it I bought 6, three for me and three for my husband.  They disappeared quickly.  This week there are 14 new ones in our fridge.  They won't still be there when I shop next week I am sure.

The next item is also a fairly new find and probably my least favorite of all the items in this post.  But I love anything ice creamish and for now these are doing the trick.  They have a good texture and taste.

This next item satisfies my need for chocolate.  Stick it in the microwave and it is bliss!  Melting chocolate chips surrounded by chocolate! Yum! These are expensive but so far I seem to be willing to shell out the money.  I've looked for a "substitute" with no luck. The maple yogurts are also expensive but so so worth it.  

I know this last item would be cheaper if I wasn't buying single serve packages but I would eat tons then so the single servings work for me. I love yogurt covered pretzels.  My favorite are the vanilla ones but I also like other flavors.  

What can't you resist? Do you have a sweet tooth? Can you bake a batch of cookies and use restraint?  Can you bake a cake and not eat a ridiculous amount?  I have some desserts I make for company that are outstanding but I don't make them for just my husband and me. He can eat a reasonable amount and doesn't even want any some of the time.  I like to bake but I don't any more because I want my clothes to fit!