Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guess What I Saw on My Brick This Morning?

The photos in this post may have been simulated after the actual brick but no duathletes  (and believe me I am using that description very loosely) were harmed in the simulation.

I did my first real brick today. It wasn't ideal with the half marathon yesterday but I had the day off so I made it work. Before I left my husband reminded me to switch head gear in between the bike and ride. Funny guy.

The bike went well. I wasn't as fast as last week but it was close enough.  When I got home and started out on the run it was pretty bad. I started out sluggish and never really improved.  I tried to pick it up a couple of times but I just didn't have it.  I felt good for getting it done but hope to do better next weekend. I am going to take tomorrow off and give my body a day of  rest.

The exciting part of the day was on my ride when I came around a corner to see a moose in the road. I  don't know who was more startled him or me. I tried to get to my camera but I really wanted to keep my eye on the moose to see what he was going to do.  He ran away from me down the road for  a short ways and then he turned and went up this very steep heavily wooded bank like it was a flat road.  I couldn't see him for long before he disappeared.
When I took this I was on my run. When I was on
the bike, a moose was right here.

I am probably  going to register for the Adirondack Marathon tonight. I have a few races I am mulling over and I need to decide.  It will be a challenging marathon but very scenic which I love. I question the wisdom of a hard marathon when I am having a harder time with running but I like it because:
it is close by
it is in September so the marathon doesn't completely take over fall races
I can stay with a bloggy friend
She will be running the half (maybe I should do that too?)

I do question as to whether I really want to run a marathon. Last year I ended up getting injured in my training and doing no running for months.  I am doing somewhat better with cross training.  If I do it I may decide to do a run/walk method.  The money isn't bad esp. if I register by June 1.  It is a marathon that has been on my list for quite awhile.  If I stop doing marathons for the second year will I ever pick them up again?  Being at VCM made me want to be part of it again but maybe I should wait and do VCM next year.  If I do this I doubt that I will want to do a marathon so quickly again.  As you can see my thinking is all over the place.

The other race I am wondering about is a 10 Miler. I have never done one and have wanted to for awhile. I feel like it might be just the race for me as in all the halves I do I seem to "die" after Mile 10.  There are two 10 milers in late June. One is in Vermont. The other is in Lake George, NY and was recently written up in Runner's World. It looks great and the reviews are amazing.  Can I justify the gas when the other one is much closer?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Vermont City Marathon Two Person Relay 2011

In the parking lot - first time
I've seen Em since Boston

Before the race start

I love this race. I imagine you're sick of my saying this but what a great race. I did not get the time I wanted at all but overall I had a blast and have such a good feeling tonight!  What a great day!

Always Fun

The accordion man at the top of the first hill.  Usually he is a speedo. Today he had on speedo briefs?  But he still wasn't wearing much standing there in the rain playing his accordion and letting so many of us start the race with a smile!  I always look forward to seeing him.

The crowd support is phenomenal particularly in the first half.  

I love reading all the t shirts and signs. Favorite sign that I can remember was one a little kid was holding that said, "Worst parade ever."  Favorite t-shirts were being worn by a young couple.  Just on  one, Married on the other. Apparently it said the same thing on the front, the opposite word. I had to catch up with them so I could congratulate them.  

I love seeing friends I don't even know are going to be there.  I am VERY good at picking people out in the crowd.  Perhaps this is why I don't get the time I want. Too much gawking! I got to see cql before she ran her first VCM marathon relay!

Best Race Moment

This one is easy........when Jameson jumped in at around Mile 11 to race the last two miles of my half with me! What a treat and support.  I did warn him I wouldn't be chatting and he said that was fine. He  conversed with me. Plus he took lots of pictures. After my half he got me back to the race finish and continued on his way to do the same thing for his sister, who was running the whole marathon.  He was told he couldn't go on the bike path but I didn't raise a kid without a brain and he found a way and ran her in.  He called to tell me she was okay and asked me where I was. Therefore I saw them coming as he knew where to look for me. With his height and bright pink Team Halnon shirt he was easy to spot. I may not have spotted Emily on my own!  I also loved meeting Emily out on the beltway. She looked strong and fast.
I have to say the miles flew by. When I ran the Sweetest Half at the beginning of the month I remember counting down the miles rather laboriously. This was not the case at all today. I remember realizing I was already more than half way. The last half also went by quickly. There was no counting or agonizing over when each mile was going to be done.  IT IS JUST A GREAT RACE!
This right after Jameson first started running with me.

Almost done!

Worst Somewhat Bad Race Moments

I don't know if I would go so far as to say there were worst race moments. I would have liked to have been faster. I would have liked no miles in the 10s but one was close to 11.  I had a hard time coming up the hill in the beltway and that is where I started to slow down.  But unlike last year in spite of the slow 12th mile I did not die and want to quit in the last two miles.  I felt fine for the most part, just tired. I picked up the speed of the last mile by almost a minute. Yeah, me!  I drank at every station but one.  I ran through all hoses the wonderful people in the neighborhoods had set up. I did keep the negative thoughts at a distance for the most part.
When I finished and was lamenting a bit over my time, my son pointed out that his fit 25 year old friend finished more than 5 minutes BEHIND me. Thanks, Jameson.  I needed that.
One of the worst race moments was BEFORE the race when my Garmin watch strap broke.  Emily got it to stay on with a hair tie.  Has anyone bought a watch strap replacement for the Forerunner 405?
Who knew how useful a hair tie could be?

Things You Shouldn't Do At Races

I wore new clothes.  Worked out fine.  I drank Gatoraid even though I haven't been training with it. I ate a Gu with caffeine even though I have determined in the past this is a bad idea for me.  It was okay. I did have stomach issues but more after the race than during it.  

Race Stats

Relay placement (thanks to my partner)
194/682 overall
23/66 Mixed Relay Masters

Mile 1 9:53
Mile 2 9:26
Mile 3 9:32
Mile 4 9:08
Mile 5 9:26
Mile 6 9:48
Mile 7 9:51
Mile 8 9:46
Mile 9 10:14
Mile 10 9:19
Mile 11 10:10
Mile 12 10:51
Mile 13 9:53
.19 10:00
My time was 2:09:10 
Pace by Garmin 9:48 (will be less on race website as a little long)

This was about 3 minutes plus slower than last year. Oh well.

What's Next

Tomorrow I do a brick to get ready for the Duathlon!  I can't wait.  At some point I need to rest (maybe that is my problem?) but not yet. Too many good races, too little time.

Here are some pics Jameson took when he ran with his sister.

We always like to do these long arm pics.
My friend, H, who is a great spectator.

The Weather

I haven't mentioned the weather. It started out raining. You can see the puddles in a lot of the pictures. It wasn't bad as it kept the heat away. But once it stopped the heat and humidity were pretty bad. The humidity was at 90%. A lot of people complained about it.  I don't feel I can do too much complaining since I did the first half.

After the Marathon

Emily, Jameson and I went out to lunch joined by a couple of friends.  A leisurely lunch on Church Street on what turned into a gorgeous day while spending time with my children is the best.  Then that evening the whole family went out to enjoy flatbread pizza and great salads outdoors on what was continuing to be a great day weather wise, something that has been in short supply.  What  a wonderful ending to May.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

VCM Half (Two Person Relay)

Woo Hoo! Tomorrow is the 5th time I have participated in Vermont City Marathon.  I have run it as a marathon twice.  I started running marathons in the fall instead because it is so much easier for me to train in the summer but I may have to talk T into running this next year as her first marathon. I would support her in her training and run it too!  This is the third time I have been in the two person relay. One year since I started running I JUST watched it and it was torture. It is absolutely a race I want to be in.  I used to go watch it before I was a runner and even then I so admired the racers, although I never believed for a minute I would ever be one of them.  I had so much fun my first time in this marathon (my first one ever) in 2004. Sure there were hard times but they are long forgotten.  I love how many times you get to see the people who come to see you.  The first year I ran it I had a lot of family there and a small crowd of  co workers who were there for the whole thing.  I smile just remembering that day.  Since then both of my children have raced it.  Jameson first did the two person relay with me and last year he ran the whole marathon.  Emily has done the whole marathon twice I think?  She has raced so many now I am losing track.  The year Jameson and I ran the relay together I kept seeing Emily as I ran.  Passing off the bracelet to him was wonderful.  Last year Jameson ran a few miles with me as he started out.  We passed Emily who was watching it as she was doing the second half of the relay.  Love love love running with both my children. This marathon totally has my heart.

Tomorrow is supposed to be unusually hot. Today was the first day I wore shorts this year and it is also supposed to be humid.  Speed records are not going to be set but I hope to do well. I have been hydrating a ton and will continue to do so tomorrow. Last year I was in a bad place near the end of my half and I think it was due to not being hydrated enough.  I don't want to repeat that.

I will look at my time in this other years but I am hoping to finish in about 2:05.  My times have been off lately and with the heat that may not happen but it is what I am shooting for.  Once I finish I will need to get to the finish line and try to catch other racers as they finish.

I did hit up the Expo last night.  First I spent $2 on two pins. Thrifty, right?

Then I went back though and couldn't decide between two hoodies I really like. One is a soft cotton very comfy one and the other is a tech hoodie.

The front of the cotton hoodie, nothing special

But I love the back!

Design on the front of the tech hoodie

And oh yeah I got a hat too.

And as you must have guessed, I got both hoodies!  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thousands of Things Thursday

  • Tuesday I rode my bike to school. A colleague drove by me but as she was approaching me she was thinking, "I wonder if that is AJH.  No, it can't be, her legs are too muscular." But lo and behold as she went by IT WAS ME, MUSCULAR AJH!
  • Wednesday a different colleague stopped me in the hall to tell me she had seen me pedaling home from school on Tuesday and man were my muscles in my legs ever defined!
  • Soooo I may not be thin. I may not be fast. But my colleagues think I am muscular. I'll take it.
  • Look at my side bar and my upcoming races. I need to be muscular because I am registered for my first duathlon in two weeks!
  • I need to remember that I have a half marathon this weekend and that the duathlon has du in the title for a reason and think about my running too. I have been spending most of my planning and thinking around the bike.  Monday I am going to do my first brick. I know, pathetic two weeks before the race but better now than not at all. And I have done tons of doubles, just not the bike first and not right together.  
  • Speaking of "du", two things are worse on a bike than while running. Having to pee is much worse. I don't know why but it is.  And I get much much hungrier riding.
  • Completely unrelated - one of the bad bad occupational hazards of being a teacher is lice. I have never had them but!  They are rampant in the school now and the first child in my room has them. Do you know how many times she told me yesterday that her head itched? Do you know how badly my head began to itch?
  • I front loaded my workouts this week. I ran Monday at the gym. Tuesday I ran in the early a.m. and then biked to school and back. Wednesday I ran in the early a.m. and then rode on the bike path in Burlington.  Today I rode in the early a.m.  ( I think the last time I rode a bike before work I didn't have children and my "children" are in their twenties!)  Now I rest until the half.  
  • I'll get to my goals later.  Right now it is thundering like crazy but at least the tornado warning is cancelled. Yes, tornado warning in Vermont.  Nuts!  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Burlington Bike Path (AKA Flooded Lake Champlain) - Lots of pics

I had an appointment in Burlington today so I brought along my (old) bike.  I rode the whole thing, first chance I have had to see a lot of it since the flooding. It was a beautiful day!  My appointment was on time and short ( a skin check - always a good thing to go well and it did!)

I got to the bike path and put on my sun screen and off I went. Well, first I tried to park at my usual spot at the fishing pier because it is free but it was closed. Once I was on my bike I went to investigate.
The fishing pier parking lot

The fishing pier was covered with water at one point

Lots and lots of debris everywhere

The fishing pier parking lot from the other direction
I went north on the bike path first. Most of it is pretty high up in this direction.  North Beach was closed but I didn't go down to look. I reached the northern part before the bike ridge. This last section of houses is what has been on the news and in the paper a lot. There is still a lot of water everywhere.  Some cars were parked on the bike path because there is nowhere for them to be.  I would be very discouraged if I lived there as the houses have been flooded for a few weeks and there is still plenty of water and it is receding very slowly.  

These houses are on the Winooski River side.  The other
side of the bike path is the Lake Champlain side.

Just a nice day on the bike path on this part

Getting ready for VCM! :)

The ferry access - not so much

The above picture and the ones below are from my favorite little park.  It is closed off but you could walk into it.  This is where they will have to reroute the marathon.  

Standing in the park looking north.  This is supposed to be bike path.  But it is all
still under water. Notice the lamp posts in the distance. The picture
below shows it a little better. I have always loved this
part of the path because it is right on the water.  (Change the o to
an i now in on.)

A little beyond the park where the trees are uprooted due to erosion.

The two pictures below I took last fall in the same spot.

Looking back at the park.  Usually you see a lot of ground surrounding
this. It looks very different.

I was doing a lot of gawking today on the bike path.  I imagine a lot of marathoners will be doing the same on Sunday.  It was good for me to be in Burlington seeing all the signs and preparation for the marathon.  I have not been focused on it AT ALL. I am doing the half but I have been so focused on my bike and the duathlon.  I will put some goals in my Thursday post.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Triple?

Guess what I bought Friday night?

Sunday I did a triple - sort of.

Part 1
 I got up early to get a five mile run in.  It was sunny and the temperature was great.  I got home, did my stretches and got ready for part 2.

Part 2
I joined one of my students and his family for a walk for Juvenile Diabetes Research.  My student was diagnosed just a few months ago.  His life has changed considerably and he is handling it like a champ.  When he first knew of this walk he asked me if I would walk it with him.  I was pleased and honored to join him for the event.  It was an easy walk three times around a trail. I walked with him some, his father and younger brother for quite a bit of it and a family friend.  One of the girls from my class who ran the Girls on the Run Race yesterday was there.  Yesterday she ran 3 miles, today she was back for more! (All of the girls were still very excited today. One girl who always shares about all the tv she has watched shared about the race. Yeah!  The favorite part for all of them - the huge puddle at the finish line. Seriously.)

Part 3
When I first got home I took a nap - too many days of getting up early. I was out for about an hour. I woke up greatly refreshed and got a few things done.  Then I headed out on my new bike!  Yeah that's what I bought - big surprise - not!  I also rode it yesterday and I love it!  It is a pretty low end "hybrid" type bike. It is so much lighter than the bike I had. The shifting is completely different and of course way skinnier tires.  It worked just fine on the dirt roads.  I found myself being the most careful on the downhills on the pavement.  It goes a bit fast for me on those.  I rode the same rides I rode a few weeks ago and was much faster and more efficient.  I loved it!  I rode with a big smile on my face!
Here it is!

 If when I sign up for the duathlon I need to think about the rest of my training. I know nothing about bikes and training. Do I taper?  How?  As I am riding should I be doing recovery days?  I feel like lately I am pushing it all the time on the bike.  Help!  Any advice appreciated. Plus it is hard to get ready for my half this weekend - a tiny bit of tapering - and continue to train for the duathlon.  My goal before I go to bed tonight is to register.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Corporate Cup 5K and Girls on the Run

This has been a couple of days of really fun races.  Thursday night I ran in the Corporate Cup with friends and had a blast BUT I just get slower and slower! Today I watched the Girls on the Run and had just as much fun as when I race.

 First the Corporate Cup
Before the race

  It has been raining all week but it was wonderful weather for this event!  A bit muggy but nothing terrible.
We had two teams running from my school.  Rumor had it there were 2800 runners/walkers in all.  There were certainly a lot of people and I had envy over the t shirts many of the teams had chosen. I guess when you work for a non profit no one buys you matching t shirts. Get over it AJH. That is reality.

Before the race - Our Team

The best part of the night was how much fun the new runners from my school had.  I have to say one runner who didn't come to the Sunshine Run but was able to come to this race may have picked the wrong one. She likes trails and running alone.......not exactly the atmosphere last night. But she is always a good sport and still had fun.  She questioned my sanity at liking being amongst hundreds of runners.  I have to say I think I can blame a little bit of my time on the weaving and crowd that went on all race but particularly in the first mile. It was nuts. But I do love big races. The trouble is in a 5K it is hard to make up the time the crowd makes you  lose. My grade level colleague LOVED racing (she did no preparation whatsoever) and wonders how she can increase her time with the same level of non preparation in the future. 
 I think some of us are going to do the Komen Race for the Cure in July.  I will have to see as I need to go to Ironman Lake Placid to spectate or my life won't be worth living. I think I can fit both in though.

The Corporate Cup is a  fun race that crosses the river 4 times once on a bike bridge that gives you motion sickness as everyone crosses.  I loved seeing the runners ahead of me crossing the bridge, the sight of it is inspiring. Some of it was on small back streets through my state's capital.  There were a lot of people there to watch. One of my students told me she saw me on the news.  (Crossing the finish line first of course)
Our goofy I did it picture

Don't they look like they enjoyed it/

 I don't know any of my mile splits because my Garmin stopped working! It never does that. Oh well. It's fine now. I think sometimes it gets turned on in my bag and loses it's power because it was on 0% charged even though it had been fully charged.  

My pace was slower than my hilly 5K last weekend and my overall time was 29:10.  I have never been in the 29s for a 5K.  I will just keep working on it.  In spite of that it was an exceedingly fun race.

Girls on the Run 5K

Today I got up much earlier than I usually do on a Saturday and went for an 8 mile run. I wanted to fit it in and still get to the Girls on the Run 5K.  There were about 12 girls who ran it from third grade to sixth grade and 5 of them were from my class and 3 from the other third grade.  I had lots of kids to cheer for including some older kids I used to teach.  The course was a muddy mess. It poured this morning, in fact there was lightning (after my run - the 6:00 thing worked beautifully).  The kids didn't care in fact the puddles and mud probably delighted them.  

I only saw one kid at the start.  So I moved over to try to catch them in another spot. I stayed put as I would be able to see them twice. I saw many of them pass by me. I yelled and generally they spotted me and were DELIGHTED I was there. ( I felt like a visiting rock star.)  I had my cow bell to make lots of noise. I saw a lot of the kids twice and when I cheered they would grin ear to ear and start sprinting. I loved it!  Sometimes if I didn't see the kid a parent running with them would see me and give a yell.  After the race I went over to congratulate them. They were so proud of their medals and the fact that they ran 3.1 miles! This was a huge huge huge accomplishment for many of "my girls." There were family members there with most of them which was not a given at all!  I loved watching this and had every bit as much fun as when I race.  I got choked up more than once!  I can't wait to see them on Monday and hope they still have that glow!  A few were talking about future races!  More converts!  What a great program Girls on the Run is!

When I got home I managed to get in a bike ride - a great one between rain storms!