Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Giveaway!

The folks at Bondi Band were nice enough to give me two Bondi Bands of my choice for a giveaway!  They are bright and flashy and seem appropriate as the Fourth of July approaches!  (The picture does not do them justice.)  I will select the winner at random on July 15.

How To Enter

1. Be a follower.  Leave a comment to tell me.

2. Post this on your blog. Leave a comment.

3. Visit the Bondi Band site and see what you would like.  Leave a comment.

Bonus Entry
***I have been trying to think about a bonus entry.  I decided I would tie it to a previous race report. So I thought about what race I liked and am choosing Half at the Hamptons.  If you left a comment previously on my post about this race you get a bonus entry.  (I did not go look to see who left a comment. This is a random choice of mine. Now I will go find the link.)  Leave me a comment telling me you did this!

"Monday" Brain Exchange - The Giveaway!

I haven't done one of these in awhile from Finishing is Winning but this weeks is perfect for me as I am about to do my first Give-A-Way.

Topic: Give-A-Ways- Love Em or Hate Em
Question:  What are your thoughts on give-a-ways?  Do you enter them often?  What entices you to enter or turns you off from entering?  Have you run your own give-a-ways?

I like give-a-ways a lot - especially when I win!  I have won 4 now which seems like a decent amount to me.  I enter them fairly often but I do not do all the things possible to get multiple entries. I never post on Facebook or become a fan on Facebook of whatever the product is. I will become a follower and post the giveaway on my blog.  I only enter if I want the prize.  I don't become a new follower unless I really want the prize and the blog looks interesting.  I like to answer a question as one of the entries if it is running related.  I do visit the product websites and come back and say what I would like but I don't "stay" long if the website isn't easy to use and the product enticing.  I entered one awhile back that was completely different from any others and I loved it.  There were very odd random questions to answer.  But having said that once I get around to my giveaway hopefully in a short time today I will follow what I have seen as the more traditional route.

Monday, June 28, 2010

New York City

Belvedere Castle Central Park

The summer has barely begun and I am back from my second trip.  Loving it believe me!  I went to Conn. with a home friend to visit a college friend. This is something we do every year with one day spent in the Big Apple!

We were hoping it wouldn't be too hot and it was hot but manageable. I love spending time in Central Park but we are always on our way somewhere so this year we decided to make CP the focus.  We took the train into the City and immediately headed to Central Park on the Metro. We had decided to start at Belvedere Castle as this was  a place we had never been in the Park.  We started on the east side and got over to where we needed to be. This was a short walk with a great deal of gawking and people watching.  We got to the castle and there was a wedding going on.  We found ourselves looking down at Turtle Pond  and true to it's name there were scads of turtles on every point.  The castle is apparently used as a weather station which seemed pretty unique for a castle.
Turtle Pond - not very picturesque

Turtles turtles on every point

From there we wandered through The Rambles and it seemed to take forever to get out of that section. Then we went to Strawberry Fields where it was the best people watching ever. We sat on some benches and enjoyed watching everyone and just relaxing.  It seemed to be the most crowded spot of the day.  We then wandered on toward the Mall and the Zoo.  We watched the sea lions for a bit and then decided to head back to the Metro for our next adventure.

Walking through The Rambles

Imagine - tribute to John Lennon

A friend had recommended we take the free ferry to Governor's Island.  I am always up for a boat ride on a hot day so off we went.  It was a short wait before we were off for the short ride.  Once there we had an awesome time!  We rented bikes to ride around the small island.  It reminded me of my wonderful runs last week in DC.  This time I was riding a bike on a beautiful day with friends with magnificent views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan and New Jersey!  It had been awhile since I had been on a bike but it was a great way to explore the island.  Next year we'll be back for a repeat of this fun time!

Can't describe how much fun this was!

Playing to get pics with the camera

Myself, B and K off the bikes to get a pic

I like this pic of my friends pausing to enjoy the view!

A small bit of running news

1. I had a great 6 mile pace run before I left where I totally nailed my marathon pace plus a bit less!

2. I had an eight mile run in a downpour where I totally killed my Ipod!  Totally my fault - I knew better. Even though it wasn't raining when I left it was obvious it would be. I just didn't know how hard.

3. Any suggestions for the I pod?  Can I bring it back to life?

4.  Two ho hum runs in Conn. through neighborhoods where it is easy to get lost, there are no shoulders and it was very hot. But I got my runs in!

Glad to be home for a bit now!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Turn to Spectate

When I first started racing I had great spectators in my family and friends.  I can remember their huge enthusiasm and support at my first marathon!  Emily made me feel like I had won the Olympic gold medal. So I love it when I get to return some of that great support.  So here is my recap from Sunday.

Up at 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning  to head to Em's triathlon.  The transition area closes at 5:30 so all must be completely done and ready before then.  The taxi is called and will be picking us up at 4:15. We get ready but no taxi comes so out we go on the dark DC streets to hail a taxi.  There are people and cars and activity at 4:15 in the morning??? I'm not at home in Vermont that is for sure.

We get a taxi and head over toward the Lincoln Memorial. The driver wants to know what we are going there for. Fair question.  It is soon obvious as we arrive to see masses of athletes, shuttle buses and the loudspeaker blaring instructions even though it is still dark. Em heads into the transition zone and I wait for her outside.  Once she is all set she wonders if it will be light before she has to swim. She is really hoping not to be able to see anything in those waters.  Ignorance is truly bliss.

Just before the swim!

Em headed to her wave for the swim start and I went down to the water to watch other swimmers. We had decided there wouldn't be time for me to watch her and get to the bike portion.  Plus in reality I wouldn't know who she was or really see her.  If I had had more time I would have watched for awhile because I was fascinated. I was particularly interested in watching some men who didn't seem able to swim.  They would swim a few strokes and head to the shore and hold on. Some were also hanging onto the skiboats that were out there to assist swimmers if needed. Are there penalties for that?  I was worried about these men. They had not gotten anywhere near the part where you head out into the river away from the shore. I couldn't imagine they could do it and suspect there were many DNFs.  

I took off and headed to the Washington Monument to catch the bike.  I found my spot and had just reached for the camera when I heard, "Hey Mom!"  Wow!  How did she get here so fast?  She looked great and was ahead of her prediction! So I woo hooed, watched her round the corner and took off down Constitution Avenue to figure out where to watch the running. There was a spot where runners went by before the finish so I should be able to catch her twice. It was very easy to see. I was on the shaded side and could see the runners coming for a  long time. It seemed forever before any women came but I reminded myself that the women started well after the men and then in many different waves. I had started my stopwatch near the time Em started and was able to gauge when she would be coming.  Not too many women had gone by when I saw her turquoise shirt and recognized her in the distance.  Wow! Was I impressed with her placement!  I didn't remember that there were women who started behind her who could still beat her but regardless....Wow!   

                                                 One of the first women I saw was my Emily!

I head to the finish which I am almost at, find a great spot and wait for Em.  One thing about all the waves is there seems to be plenty of room to watch.  Before I know it she is coming in and has a great time.  She goes and gets her receipt which tells her she may be third in her age group and to wait around for the award ceremony.  It turns out she is in fact third in her age group out of 166.  She was 9/523 women - TOP TEN!  She was 97 out of 1136 overall.  Amazing! I am so proud of her!

                                                      With age group award!
                                                       On podium!

Lincoln Medal in front of Lincoln Memorial on the way home

With her proud mother!

  What a weekend! So glad I could be here to see it and share it with Emily.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

City VS Country

I go to DC, a major metropolitan city in our country that surely has it's share of danger and crime.  All is peaceful. I come home to my small town in Vermont. I am home less than twentyfour hours before the following two things happen.

1. I receive the following email on our town email list.

Hello  Neighbors,
    Some of you may have been aware of a manhunt this morning for a suspected kidnapper/rapist.  State Police were going door to door in some neighborhoods, searching for him.  I have just been informed that there was a report on the noon news, that the suspect has been caught.  I just thought that it might help you sleep better tonight.!

I had seen a  strange man when I went for my run this morning. But would a kidnapper/rapist be strolling right down the town center? 

2. I was on the phone with my son when I realized I was paying no attention to what he was saying because the bed was shaking.  I told him I thought we were having an earthquake and then I thought I was crazy.  I looked under the bed not sure what I expected to find.  I still wasn't convinced it really was an earthquake until I saw a post on FB about it.  Here is what I found on line.

  5.0 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter located on the Quebec-Ontario border rocked Vermont this afternoon, with reports of the tremblor extending as far away as Cleveland, Ohio, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.Report: US Geological Service on the quake
The USGS said the quake, which occurred around 1:45 p.m., was centered 33 miles northeast of Ottawa near Buckingham, Quebec. Originally measured at 5.5, the quake was downgraded to 5.0.State Geologist Larry Becker in Waterbury said, “We felt it here. I was sitting in my chair and started rocking back and forth. ... It looks like it probably was an event.“

The last “event“ in Vermont came in April 2002, when a quake near Plattsburgh, N.Y., was felt in the Champlain Valley.

Reports from Swanton, Huntington, Milton, Montpelier and beyond spilled into the Free Press newsroom and are being posted online.

Mark Bosma at Vermont Emergency Management reported a stream of calls from Vermonters wondering if the shaking was an earthquake. No damage has been reported in Vermont.

Thankfully I am headed for New York CIty on Saturday where I will be safe once more!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Three Runs in One Day

Today was an excellent running day! First I got to have my first bloggy meetup with MCM Mama.  She found a sitter for her son and took time out of a busy day to go for a run with me.  It was exceedingly hot but she found us a shaded park to run in on Roosevelt Island.  I navigated the Metro for the Meet Up and everything went just great. We didn't run too far because of time committments and weather but it was great to meet her.  She's coming to a race in my state in the fall and if it works I may be able to race it too. It is even one I could talk my son into doing with me. ( A brewery is involved.)
1st run - with MCM Mama :) :)

There was a lot of time left in the day and I wasn't too hot thanks to all the shade so I decided to head to Arlington National Cemetery.  I took my time visiting the parts I wanted to see as it was feeling rather hot at this point.  When I was finished I decided rather than take the Metro to my next spot I would run.  I could see that the bridge near the Cemetery ended up at the Lincoln Memorial.  Well, I could find my way with  a huge landmark like that. So I texted Em and told her I was on my way to her office to take her to lunch if she wanted.  It did take me awhile as it was high noon at this point.  I went slowly and stopped to take pictures at various points. I loved running across the bridge to get  back to D.C. and I just couldn't get enough of running past the Memorials and Monuments.  When I was eating with Em she asked me if I was running back to her place and I said no although it had crossed my mind.  She suggested I come back later and we could both run back on a route she took me on last fall that I really enjoyed.  So I took the Metro back (Have I mentioned that small town girl AJH really rocks using the Metro on her own?) I showered for heat relief as much as to get clean and relaxed for a very pleasant few hours.      
                                                  Arlington Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial

Standing at the WWII Memorial looking toward the Lincoln Memorial
on my solo run of the day

It was still very hot when I picked up Emily but I really wanted to get in my 11 I did not run the day before and to do another run with Em on a route I would enjoy.  She very nicely went my speed for the entire way.  So once again I found myself running by the monuments and memorials. It wasn't long before we were at the Lincoln Memorial and heading for the path along the river that ends up in Georgetown.  We stopped and took a bunch of pictures fooling around with the camera to try to get some action shots.  I loved this run in spite of the fact that I was fading big time. When we got to Georgetown Em took a route that didn't involve stopping at lights and crossings.  I wasn't as sure as she was that this was a good idea. Stopping sounded great!  But we got the 11 in and headed out for one more time  to eat at Busboys and Poets!  

I'm hot and tired but the effort is worth it!

Playing with the multiple shot feature on the path home......

Today we got up bright and early for one more run together. We headed for the National Zoo!  We didn't see animals but did hear some might roars!  All too soon it was time to head for the airport!   I had a great time in DC with my lovely daughter!  It is great that we both love running so much as that really makes a vacation the best!

......and at the Zoo.

The Last Run!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Run for Roses

Em and I before the race

Saturday Em and I were up very early in a taxi heading to MD. We decided a taxi would be the most stress free way of traveling - more about that later.  We arrived at the race with lots of time to spare.  We got ready and tried to stay out of the area of the announcer who was seriously annoying broadcasting stupid jokes for more than an hour.  It was hot but it was just as hot for all the racers as it was for us. It was chip timed even though it was a 5K.  We lined up near the start  ready to roll!

Em is ready to run.

We began and it didn't take long to feel really hot.  I quickly thought this was not my day for a great time. Between the heat and the fact that this was my 8th day of running in a row. But I still wanted to give it a good shot. It was a little hilly both up and down.  A lot of it went through a park and was really quite pretty.  There was a spot where we met the leaders and I looked for Em but didn't see her.  I did slow down before the finish because I thought it was farther away and could have kicked myself once I saw how close it was. Em was at the finish cheering me on giving me a little extra oomph!  I came in at 27:26 for a pace of 8:50.  I was 71/324. This was a women's only race and I would say there were a lot of first timers.  I was 3/29 in my age group but wouldn't you know they only gave prizes to two.  But Emily ,,,,,,,, was 5th overall and 1st in her age group! She won a $25 gift certificate to Fleet Feet but not one close to her.  Then they announced the winners for the mother/daughter division.  We won it!!!  Yeah yeah yeah!!!  Em carried me for sure. Her time was 21:37.  We just beat the second team by 15 seconds.  We won a basket of roses (which we had been eyeballing and saying we hoped we wouldn't win.  I won a pizza gift certificate which she can use and she won a bracelet. We asked if we could trade the basket of roses for water bottles which we did!  

Em and I with our roses after the race

Eating watermelon - the best hot temperature post race snack ever!

With the roses before we traded

Em getting ready to carry home her loot.

We had about a mile to walk to the Metro.  We made it fine but I had to pee in the worst way. I had been trying to rehydrate after the race and now I was knowing it big time.  We got on the Metro for a 30 minute ride after a long wait for it's arrival.  Well, so we thought.  I thought okay I am a big girl, I can hold it.  After about 20 minutes at one stop the whole train offloaded.  There was no good solution so we started walking home.  Should have gotten a zip car, not stress free at all! The good part was we stopped at  a Starbucks which of course had a BATHROOM!  Okay!  Got some drinks and now my walk felt much more pleasant.

Eating Sweet Flow at Sweet Green (there's the water bottle)

Em early in the race

Me early in the race

Em charging up the hill.

Heading up the hill!

The 5th place finisher.

I'm done, looking like I finished a marthon, not a 5K.

These two younger women BEHIND me looking just as bad.

Em accepting her age group award.

I had  a lot of fun racing with Em and winning the M/D division.  That is huge for me. But truthfully this race was pretty small potatoes to Em.  Today in the DC Triathlon Em was outstanding.  Outstanding! She has not done all that many triathlons and her results were amazing.  Amazing. I can't say how proud I was of her and how much fun I had being her sherpa and her supporter! I will blog about that another day and she might post about it herself.  Hint - she had to stay to attend the award ceremony- in a race of many serious athletes!!

I think we walked  10 miles today. I have bagged my plans to run 11 miles.  I just can't face it in the heat!  I feel like all this walking should count for something.  

Happy running!  

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In DC! Lots of pictures!

Wednesday was a busy day.  I worked from 8-3 trying to finish all I needed to do to close my classroom as I was leaving at 3 to catch a plane to DC. I managed with not one minute to spare.  The flight was uneventful in spite of sitting on the runway for 20 minutes due to thunderstorms somewhere??  I arrived in DC to find my beautiful daughter meeting me at National Airport! We jumped on the Metro and headed to her apartment.  As soon as we got home we headed off on a run hoping for a night run but it was still a bit too light out.  Nonetheless it was a great run!  It is not everyday I run by signs directing me to The White House.

The Mall was packed!  There were so many tourists everywhere.  One thing that amazed me more than anything  was what many of these groups chose for their outfits.  It was humid and hot out and I saw dark outfits, long sleeves, corduroy, stockings, jackets, jeans, suits.  These people must have been dying. I saw one of the groups again the next day with the same multi layered outfits. It is only getting hotter folks!

We ran by the White House, many of the monuments, through the streets back to Em's apartment.  We "just" ran 5 miles but it felt much longer to me.  When I ran at home Tuesday morning at 5ish it was 38 degrees. To say I am not acclimated is putting it mildly!  After we changed we headed out to eat. I suspect between walking home from Metro, run and walking to and from dinner I put on a lot of miles on Wednesday!

Whew! I thought it was hot! Here I am glistening, Emily looks cool as a cucumber.

Thursday I took my time getting going (this is vacation) and then met Em for lunch.  I got to go to the office where she works and meet some of her coworkers.  Then we hit up Sweet Green always a good place for a great salad.  It did not disappoint.  I then headed off and did a lot of walking and visited The  American Art Museum and National Portrait Museum. I enjoyed it especially the Impressionists.  Then I walked and walked and walked and finally found the Metro and headed home.  I changed into my running clothes and headed back out to meet Emily at Independence Avenue and 14th?   Can't remember but I met her.  We then headed to Hains Point where I ran and she biked. Perfect workout for both of us. She did 5 loops plus a little to my two.  I had run here during the MCM Marathon a few years back but barely remembered it as I was pretty tired by that point. It had a ton of cyclists, not many runners.  The loop we were doing was slightly more than 3 miles.  It is a peninsula of land and you are running along the water. It was quite windy when we rounded the corner to go back but it felt good.  When we finished I headed home via Metro and Emily rode her bike.  Then out for another great meal. 

 Emily very kindly walking her bike to stay with me on the way to Hains Point.

Hains Point

Hains Point - another view

Today - Friday - I headed to the Mall to do the Runner's World rave run!  I started out by going to the Jefferson Memorial, my favorite part.  Then I visited FDR, another favorite.  I followed the water watching carefully as the signs that say - careful low hanging branches - are not kidding.  Last fall I bonked myself good!  I got over to the WWII Memorial and spent some time there before I headed to the Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Monument, Vietnam Memorial and over to the Washington Monument. Then I headed along the Mall toward the Capitol before I headed back to catch the Metro.  I was in heaven in spite of the very hot temperatures!  It was magnificent!  Then I caught the Metro, hurrying so I could get home, shower and get back to the same area to meet Emily.  Well, I was just congratulating myself on how well I was doing with the Metro when I heard next stop Chinatown.  Wait, I have never heard that and that is not on my way!  I quickly got off to find I was going in the complete wrong direction. So up to the next level, down the escalator to the platform on the other side. Oh well, a mistake that was easy to fix!  

Jefferson Memorial - I personally think it is the most beautiful one.

Washington Monument from Jefferson Memorial 

Franklin D. Roosevelt - very impressive memorial

WWII another impressive one

Korean War Memorial

The White House

From Lincoln Memorial

From the Washington Monument looking toward the Lincoln Memorial

This afternoon after another lunch at Sweet Greens with Em - I had a Capitol Tour  It was just Emily, myself and Ben, the tour guide from her office!  He was a great guide with lots of fun facts. I love stuff like this and had a great time.  Em had to go back to work so I went to The Natural History Museum for a quick tour.  Back to the Capitol to meet Emily and at this point I was fading big time.  I went to Happy Hour with Em and her coworkers and I must say a beer revived me!  I should be getting to sleep to be ready for our race tomorrow. 

At the Capitol standing in the center of the city, supposed to be good luck

The Museum of Natural History