Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dentists, Bikes and More VCM

Emily and I at VCM.  I love this picture. (The registration director emailed 
this to us. Seriously - THE.BEST.RACE.EVER)

1. This morning I got back in the pool for the first time in a month.  I couldn't swim because of oral surgery.  My doctor may have been being overly cautious but for the money I am putting down for this, I listened.  I could tell I had lost fitness and forgotten "skills" from my lessons. Oh well, it couldn't be helped. I will work on building back up some stamina and somehow fitting in two open water swims.  Yikes. I guess I need to open up that wet suit.

2. I went to the regular dentist today (as opposed to the oral surgeon) and had a tooth drilled with no novocaine. I am one tough lady!  Actually it was very small and there was truly no pain. Plus in my I have used all my dental insurance state I loved not having anything unneeded.

3. Immediately after my dental appointment I went on a bike ride on a just beautiful day!  I did my favorite 20 mile route. It is quite hilly - up and down and I pushed hard trying to get my pace up!  I still was at 13. 5 for the whole thing.  I find 16-17-18 mile paces beyond my comprehension.  But I had a great ride!  Great!

4. Back to my dentist.  He is my NEW dentist as my OLD dentist retired. So I have met this guy just 3 times. Today he asked me if I had a  pair of sneakers to go with every outfit. Apparently he has noticed my somewhat loud shoes!

5.  I'm going to add some more pictures of VCM.  Still thrilled over how much fun I had at that race.  Tons and tons and tons of fun.
Approaching the finish at VCM!  I'm pumped to get
in under 4 hours.

We rocked it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Vermont City Marathon (Relay) Race Report

All set and ready to rumble!
I had an unbelievably good time at Vermont City Marathon this year particularly considering a few days before it I was not looking forward to it at all.

But mix:

  • a mother, a daughter and a son
  • great weather that never gets too hot but stays  pleasant
  • a well organized race
  • the best spectators anywhere
  • a scenic lake to run by
  • a fast sister/daughter to help family members get a PR or improve recent times 
And you have a great race for all of our family!

Before it was my turn to race I did some spectating catching my children in two spots before I caught the bus to the relay zone.
They're off!  

My two!

One of the wonderful volunteers.  You get a smile
on your face at this corner.

Racers coming up Church Street. I spot my guys coming
Jameson is so easy to pick out! Makes it so much easier.

Before they get to Church Street they come down

and turn up Church.......and I head for the bus.

I always like this race but today was the best of the best. It was not my best time ever at it and I have had a good time before but nonetheless it was an extra special day. No, it was not as good as my first marathon here but it came close.  I don't think I have run a whole race with my daughter before and that was extremely special. It was great to have the relay hand off from my son who had an excellent PR.  Emily never made me feel I was doing anything other than the perfect pace but just being with her pushed me more than I would have pushed myself alone.  We talked some but not too much.  (I'm not a chatterer as I race.)  I started out with one fast mile but then had my slowest miles and often when I looked at my watch I would see 10 something.  Okay I thought, this is going to be the slow half you have thought it would be so be prepared to get a PW. It just isn't going to be a fast half. I really didn't check my splits for many of the first miles. Because of the relay my miles didn't come when I hit the mile markers and I wasn't that concerned. Once I did start checking many of them were in the mid 9s.  The neighborhood that I always hated in the marathon flew by.  There were miles that I was sure were mismarked because the next mile came up so quickly. We were on track to come in under four hours (because of Jameson's stellar first half) but I knew I often blew the last three miles in a half and was not convinced the dying wasn't coming and I would blow it.  Yet, as I checked splits they seemed to be getting better and I felt great. I was passing many people on the bike path - the last 4 miles.  (It was strange as right from the start I was amongst runners that run a marathon under 4 hours and that is not my speed at all so we were passed a lot.  The relay makes it strange how you are not running near racers of your speed.) I began to have no doubt that we would make it in under 4 hours.  Before I knew it we were at Waterfront Park where there are thousands of spectators. I loved running through the crowd with Emily.  I saw my friend, Heather, who has gone with me to other races.  I saw my husband cheering us on.  And then we were at the end in 3:55:50.  Woot Woot Woot!  

I ended up doing my half in 2:07:24 which really killed my negative expectations I wrote about in my last post.  I am especially pleased that no mile went over 10 - I rarely do this in a half.  And my last 3 miles rocked!  Rocked!  My overall pace was 9:40.  It was my second fastest out of 4 this year.  The Unplugged was faster which is also on the bike path and is the half I "train" for.  This half was my 13th fastest out of 22 overall so pretty much in the middle which is great when I thought I was going to have  a PW!
Mile 1: 9:17
Mile 2: 9:57
Mile 3 9:57
Mile 4: 9:36
Mile 5 9:39
Mile 6: 9:35
Mile 7: 9:56
Mile 8: 9:47
Mile 9: 9:32
Mile 10: 9:52
Mile 11: 9:47
Mile 12: 9:24
Mile 13; 9:31
.19 8:32

Woot Woot Woot!  I had so so much fun!  I loved running with my kids!  We had a great meal after and took our time and just enjoyed sitting!
After the half - I should have gotten a better shot as this 
was very cute but I couldn't motivate myself to get up
and take it.

We go out for lunch and Jax settles in under the table.

The crowd for this marathon is so great!  All the people in the neighborhoods are out with hoses to cool you off, water, snacks, freezer pops (Emily thought this was the best thing ever) and watermelon.  Families set up their own aid stations and are so kind.  This is such a great race. And  I am not just saying this because I am local. I saw very few people I knew - two on Battery Hill and two at the finish so my enjoyment of the crowd was not because I knew them.  It was just fantastic - so much fun!  I wish I always felt this high after a race.

Okay a few more stats.  Here is how Jameson and I did as a relay team.
We were at 34% of the racers - all types
We were at  34% of relays - all types
We were at 36% of 2 person relays

Much better than my usual below 50%.
I negative split my second half.

89/236 for mixed teams!  We rocked.  
242/728 for all 2 person relays.

8:59 overall pace! Woot Woot!  I could never do that alone.

We rocked rocked rocked!!!!!!

And today I feel quite good. I did a brick this morning - an easy one - 12.6 bike ride (but hilly) and 4 mile run which didn't feel bad at all!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Race report to come later.  Just want to say this was a fantastically fun race!  I did much better than I expected and had a truly awesome time running with my kids. My time was 2:07:24 with a pace of 9:40 much better than the Personal Worst I expected.  Excellent excellent time was had by all of us.  Come race VCM!
Before the race.....

Emily and Jameson about two minutes into the race.
I was so pleased I got this shot.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Night Before VCM

I don't think I can ever NOT race this race.  I have been feeling a little burnt out lately with all the racing I have been doing. This will be my third half in 7 weeks and that feels a bit much for me. I was not feeling the love for racing this distance again. But two rides and one run on the bike path began to change my mood into more of an excited one than a feeling of dread.  Then Emily flies home for the race and Jameson, Em and I hit the Expo both Friday night and Saturday morning.  A fun lunch out, a walk on a very packed Church Street FULL of excited racers, banners everywhere, runners all over the city, everyone talking about the race and I am totally caught up in it.  Emily hopes to run the first half with Jameson (on her rather tired legs) and then the second half with me. It would be absolutely wonderful if that happens but of course it may not.  We are all - Jameson too - wearing hot pink and black.  Mr. AJH is going to come to the race and watch at least the latter part.  He rarely comes to my races - who can blame the poor guy when I am racing every other day- but he is making the effort with all of us being there. And believe me I have told him he is to keep June 24 free.

Let's talk about the Expo deals. First - I have to say this is one of my favorite race shirts ever. I put last year's on only to take it off and NEVER WEAR IT as it is extremely uncomfortable. It went right into a bag of unworn race shirts I am saving to give my class when I have enough for all of them.  But this year's woman's shirt - great colors and great fit!

I got two more official shirts. One is a hoodie and the other is my new favorite color - orange - to go with my newest shoes!  They were both youth sized and very good prices!  

If you bought VCM merchandise you got sweaty bands free! They retail for about $15 so that was an excellent benefit!  I got a button too which I get every year pretty much. I should organize these in one place.  

Today I got a bib belt mostly for my triathlon but I may try it tomorrow.  I got a couple gus too.  Who knows why?  

Okay I guess I should think about goals.  Last year I was really disappointed with my time as it was a lot slower than the year before.  This year I think I would be okay with that time! I am running later - lots of waiting around, some walking to get to the midway point, heat perhaps certainly somewhat more although it is not looking too bad. Last year my time was 2:09:10.  My most recent half was more than 2 minutes slower than this. Last year my Maple Half and VCM had similar times. We'll see. I am guessing I will be 2:10 to 2:12.  Of course I hope to have fun and look forward to running with my children. I hope to see people I know as I am running. One of my students is working in the food tent and I want to see her when I am done with a smile on my face!  
I hope another year to see some of you here!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Three Things Thursday - The Race Edition

1. Today is May 24. Why is that significant?  June 24 is one month away.  So what?  Believe me that is a very big deal because it is the date of my first triathlon.  When I did my first marathon I counted down the days for months! I......COULD.....NOT.......WAIT.  I can't say I feel the same way.  Often I can't wait but equally often I don't want it to come. I don't generally get nervous before races but all bets are off for this one.  I expect to be MEGA nervous!
Find the fastest looking swimmer and it's me. HA

2. This weekend is the Vermont City Marathon.  This is the best race in the world. I am not excited about doing another half marathon but I am excited about VCM. It was great to bike and run on the bike path this week and get in the excitement mode for this race. I am doing the 2 person relay with Jameson, my son.  Emily, my daughter, is running it too.  So it is a real family affair.  The crowd support for this race is unbelievable and so much of it is on my beloved bike path.  Until this year when I  have done the relay I have run the first half. This year Jameson wants to so I will do the second. I will miss running on Church Street - twice. I will miss the excitement of the start. I even like the beltway where you do an out and back and see everyone. Many people don't like this but I always do.  I will miss doing it when it is cooler.  But I will like running on the bike path and I will like finishing at Waterfront Park which I haven't done in a long time. I won't miss trying to find a good spot to watch the finish in the crowd.  VCM - heat or not - I'm getting ready!
This is after the race last year.

I was having so much fun here. Jameson ran the whole 
thing. I ran the half and at this point he was running
with me. Bliss. Two years ago.
Jameson ran the half with me and EM the whole 
thing three years ago.

Church Street

3. Guess what the next race is the 3 of us will race together?  I could just as easily ask guess WHERE the next race the 3 of us will race together.  It is Garden of the Gods Ten Miler in Colorado.  Woot! Woot!  This is a race I have wanted to run but generally my school gets out later than this year and I can't.  I still wasn't going to but Emily signed up as she is near there for work and then she is staying with my friend. The two of them worked on me and I signed up and then Jameson jumped into the fun and is staying with a friend of his in Denver!  This will cover many of my goals: 
Race with family - CHECK
Race a new race - CHECK
Race in a scenic location - CHECK.
I had said I was overdoing it leading up to my triathlon (I am) but I couldn't resist this.  I will do more than one triathlon this summer (gasp, I think) and life is too much fun to not participate when you can!  
The day after school gets out I am heading to Colorado!  
That's me in the pink on my last visit.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My doctor suggested I run how??????

The weather forecast was lots of rain and thunderstorms.  I had packed my bike and my running clothes as I had an appointment in Burlington mid afternoon and planned to do both afterwards.

When I went to work it was raining.
During the work day it was pouring.
When I went to my appointment it was sprinkling.
It is now raining cats and dogs.
All of these pictures were taken on my run.  A vast improvement
over what it had been.

But earlier today...........the weather cooperated.

I headed for the bike path figuring I would give it a try. During my bike ride it sprinkled with some sun thrown in.  During my run it was sunny.  It was  a GREAT day on the bike path. It wasn't crowded.  You could go fast on the bike path at least until those annoying road crossings which came rather frequently.  But I had fun, lots of fun! The only  problem was I had to pee badly on the bike. I had my place all picked out but when I got there it was closed.  Oops.  I finished the bike ride and got ready to run, not a quick transition at all.  I need to work on that but I was working out of my car, I had to lock up my bike and nothing was ready. Then I headed out for the run, at first going very slowly as I had not gotten to the bathroom yet but this time at least it was open.  Whew.  Then I could settle down to business. Well kind of.  Even though I didn't ride that far on anything remotely hard (15 miles) my legs were heavy.  And they stayed that way.  Let's hope I can do a better job picking it up on the day of the triathlon. I feed off other runners in races and there may not be any other runners left by the time I am running!  It's all good though. First tri - automatic PR and it will be all about finishing particularly that dumb swim.  Back to today. I had a great run in spite of heavy legs. I loved being on the bike path. It was beautiful out (a bit muggy) by that time and I loved fitting both these things in easily "after work."  I drove home with  a big smile on my face.
 These pictures are for the Black Knight - Coast Guard boat
and Station.

First I made a quick stop to see my son and his dog, get a cup of coffee and a seltzer from him and change my clothes - a real bonus!
 This picture is for Kandi who wondered why I didn't
post any after my last visit to Jax.

I am hoping to ride my bike to work tomorrow.  The forecast is iffy as the whole week seems to be.

I have had 3 appointments in the last two days.  The first one was with my doctor. I found out part of why Saturday's long run was particularly unpleasant. I have a bad yeast infection. She seemed incredulous that I had run not one but both weekend days. She knows me though as she didn't even try to tell me to stop running but did let me know the best thing I could do was to run in the nude!  (Keep those areas cool and dry. Sorry if TMI.) Somehow she knew I wouldn't be following that suggestion but I did tell her about Ewa's report of Bay to Breakers.

Next appointment was with my oral surgeon who informed me I still couldn't swim  and continued to need to eat soft foods.  Really?  Wow.  I wasn't expecting that.  It will be at least 3 weeks in between swimming.  I am getting worried about that.

Last appointment was with the dermatologist and all my moles look fine.  Big whew.  I didn't have time to read a word from my book at either of these appointments today which is partly why I had so much time on the bike path!  Love it!  Doctors right on time are the best. My own doctor was rather late I will say but I love her so much I forgive her.

Here's hoping to more good runs, rides and swims to all of us.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Another Busy Weekend

Ride Your Bike to Work Day

  My son texted me about Ride Your Bike to Work Day Thursday night when I was on my way home from my race.  I quickly decided I needed to do it and somehow I got up early enough to do it.  I wish I rode more often but so many things get in the way.  Some years I've tried to organize and get others to ride on this day with limited success but this year it was just me. 

Saturday I ran a 12 miler. I guess it was one of those character building runs because it was awful.  It was hot, I was tired quickly, it was long, I was hot, I was tired.  But I did it.  Truthfully looking back I wonder if I should have quit. I worked hard to do it all but now I have this very negative memory of my last long run before next weekend's half. I will focus on running with my kids in a great race and not worry about the distance.  I am worried about the heat but it will be what it is.  
Taken early in my long run.  I don't run by
these falls that often, I'm more apt
to be on my bike.

I had a little recovery time before we went to a wedding. It was a beautiful wedding. The reception was at Sugarbush Resort, a ski area not too far from here. I failed at taking many pictures but I have a great one of the groom and his mother (my good friend) and the gorgeous couple.  They will have beautiful children.  It was  a relaxed reception with lots of laughter, dancing and good times!  

Sunday I took an early morning 4 mile run which restored my confidence some.  I was tempted to add miles but decided no I was going to stick to 4. I was planning a bike ride later and wanted some time before that.  When I did go on the bike ride I was in Burlington and went on the bike path. Not a brilliant idea on a gorgeous Sunday. EVERYONE was on the bike path, many people with no clue about bike path etiquette. ( I was a little nervous with my very new clip in skills but I did not have any problems.)  I managed and added on some miles off it too. Overall it was  good ride and I stopped to see Jameson and Jax at both ends since I parked at his house.  A great place to park for a bike ride!  

Same spot as last year - but new bike!

The path has been repaired since last year's flood.  This
year the marathon won't have to be rerouted.

One of many many beautiful views on the bike path.

This is from last year approaching where the sidewalk above
was replaced.  You couldn't see it because it
was around the corner, completely flooded.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Racing is FUN! The Corporate Cup 5K

Two of the teams on the Statehouse lawn

I have known for quite awhile that I run to race.  There is just something about racing that I love! I almost always enjoy races but last night was the best of the best. It was a Corporate Cup where you raced in teams of 3 with people you work with.  I have no idea how we placed (what? competive AJH) nor do I care.  I do care how I did but that is it. I have finally convinced people at work of this and the last two years I have gotten people to do this race.  This year there were 3 teams: 2 teams of runners and 1 walking team.  There were 3 racers who had never raced before and they all loved it! One of them is already looking for another race and telling others about it!  I don't think they're going to become the racing insane person I am but I know they'll do more. One girl's boyfriend races incessantly and he was thrilled she loved it.  I can't describe how much fun it was to see how pleased these women were with themselves when they completed the 5K.  Many times last night I was very aware of just how much fun I was having and how glad I am that I began running and racing.  This was  a big race (around here - 3000+ people between both races) and quite a first race.  
My team on the way

The non matching team before the start

The matching team

To begin with we all had to find parking which was not easy.  The race takes place in our state capital, Montpelier and there are generally not 3000 extra people there.  Then the whole meeting on the Statehouse Lawn thing, yeah right.  But somehow we did all manage to find each other before the race began. Once we saw people lining up I convinced 3 others to head toward the front with me. This is a crazy crowded start and last year I was weaving around people forever.  I had a very slow time last year and the only thing I could really think of that caused it was the start.  No starting timing chips for this race but they could truly use them.  

My goal was to have fun and to beat last year's time although I couldn't remember what it was until I looked it up race morning.  It was 29:11. When I got to the first mile he called out 9:00 so that was a decent start especially with the crowd. I hadn't had to do nearly as much weaving this year and even though it was crowded I was in a flow with the crowd instead of being held back.  At the second mile I was less than 18 so the second mile had been faster. (When I checked my Garmin splits they were rather different than these.)  I had not seen my runner friends as there is a loop kind of in the middle and you don't meet everyone.  I did meet the three walkers as I was heading into the third mile and they were walking together all smiles.  A good friend that I only know from racing ran by me about a half mile from the end.  I was not looking at my watch but knew that my pace had slowed as I was tired.  The biggest hill is not far from the end and I was trying to save something for going up it.  Once at the top you go flat for one street, and then it is downhill, and a turn to the finish. I heard the announcer and heard that it was 27......  I poured it on - really and thought I had touched the mat in 27 but nope - I found out later it was 28:01. So my official pace was 9:01.  Just like my halves near the 10 mark. My Garmin gave me 8:47 for the pace as it was longer. I am sure with the crowd I did not run the best tangents.  I would rather be on the outside than in the middle of a crazy crowd at the start. My mile splits by Garmin were 8:35, 8:44, 9:16 and hold your breath--- 7:24.  I can only guess they just stood somewhat near the mile mark for for these to be so different.  Whatever. I was thrilled.  You don't get age group or gender spots for this but overall I was 762 out of 1695 runners. I am always happy to be in the top half.  The women I ran with thought I was speedy fast which is always nice to hear!  I saw most of them come in although I missed one person on my team.  Everyone was so thrilled with their race, it was a real pleasure to be part of it.  
My good friend just before the finish!  She
picked it right up when she heard me yelling.

Our walking team coming in

The walking team - I didn't get their picture before the race

On the way home we stopped at the same bakery/deli we stopped at last year.  I had the same thing - grilled cheese and you can't imagine how good it was. I am still eating soft foods so it was perfect.  (I ate it with a fork and knife- strange but it worked.) I may have had a maple cupcake too plus I brought one home to my husband.  We all had  a beer - very relaxing.  There is never time to talk at work so the whole evening was pure pleasure!
This is always a pretty place to race

The t-shirt