Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17, 2009

Gorgeous weekend here in Minneapolis. 

Yesterday it was way too cool and breezy to bike .... OK, "gusty" and 29 degree windchill, so we switched the bike and the run and that was a great choice. So Saturday, my running partner Guy and I drove over to Afton Ski Area to run 19.5 miles of trails. It was beautiful! Especially the single-track snowshoeing trails. Had to check for ticks when I got home, but small price to pay for running smack dab in the middle of nature. ;-) Now I know why Carrie always gets out on the trails - it's a completely separate sport from road running.
And while I find it much more difficult than road running, I am definitely getting better. Yesterday I felt 100% more confident than I did last week, so that is good.

I am also back in the pool - honestly! It's been almost three months since my last swim. But I went on Thursday for 33 minutes, and today for 40 minutes. I feel a little awkward, but it'll come back.

Today it was 60 degrees and clear with mild winds, so we rode 72 miles. We were joined by Julie and Cathy (who is between me and Jen L, below): 

....who both raced the Gear West Duathlon this morning... they did great!! Julie came in 6th place overall, and Cathy WON! She and Marlo were in a foot race to the finish, and Cathy just out-chipped her... by .001 seconds. Seriously! I'm so happy for both of you! Way to go. 

So AFTER their race, they joined us for about 25 miles of our ride. We were a pack of fourteen at the start, and 5 at the 72 mile mark (where I bailed.) Then Jen and Erik went ahead and did the last 28 miles for an even 100. Good job everybody!!

(Below are Julie, Jen and Erik)

Between playing with the kids, helping Ally sew a dress, running trails, swimming laps, biking, doing chores, going to church, having a nice dinner at the country club and sleeping, the weekend flew by. It always does.

Have a good one everybody.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Tonight's Run

Tonight I went for a trail run with my iPod. And no people -- very, very weird for me!

Bobby had a headache, so he bailed on me; jPod had a choir concert in which he had a solo, so he bailed. And of course Guy had to go with jPod because he's his DAD. But I actually enjoyed the solitude for a change. I'd loaded up a bunch of new songs and the time just flew by.

Much as I love marathoning, the rest of my run training will likely be on trails for the rest of the season because I am doing my first ultras this year - a 50K in July and a 50 miler in September... both on mountains, and both on trails. Anyway, trail running is NOTHING like road running. It's so much harder and so much slower! And any conditioning I thought I had on the roads does not translate to the trails. I went just over 8 miles and it took me about 1:22, for an average speed of 10:58.... and I though I was working hard!

But it is also prettier:

... and it smells nicer...

... and the creeks have little animals running around near them...

But it's just so technically foreign. Here are a few things I learned so far:

1). All your energy dissipates into the dirt or wood chips or grass, so you have to work harder for a push-off every step.

2). Going downhill is an exercise in lowering your center of gravity and using your big quad muscles to support you. If you allow your feet to take the impact... well, lets just say I didn't have to do that more than once or twice. (youch!!) You also have to LIFT your knees a little even though you are stepping LOWER. Hard to explain, but it softens your landing.

3). You trail shoes can't fit like your road shoes. All that roomy comfort I enjoy in my road shoes will leave me with blistery feet, I can tell that already.

4). Roomy shoes also means that you will actually step right out of your shoes on the uphills.

5). You can't take your eyes off the ground unless you're not afraid of tripping or jamming your toes ..... because you really don't know what's underneath all those leaves.

6). It's really pretty out there.

That's what I know so far. If I think of any other gems of trail running tips, I will pass them along!

Goodnight everybody. xoxoxo

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fargo Marathon and Mother's Day

... was a busy day at work and I was feeling nervous ALL day. Like if-I-held-out-my-hand-it-was-shaking, kind of nervous. I'm not sure why: maybe because I had only slept about 3.5 hours that night because Bobby had a school project that he'd neglected until Thursday night and needed my help for, so I was helping him while actually trying to concentrate on what I needed to pack for Fargo, I had a bunch of reports to collect data for and submit before leaving work on Friday, and I had wanted to duck out early as possible so I wouldn't get caught in a bunch of Fishing Opener traffic, and I needed to meet IronGreg on the highway somewhere on the way out of town because IronLaura had forgotten her running shoes and we had races on Saturday, and my "tire air pressure" light was on in my Tahoe. Arghhh! So many balls in the air! But I did manage somehow to get it all finished and was on the road at 2:35 p.m.

Laura and I stayed at her mom Betty's house. As soon as I got there we went to the grocery and liquor stores and then just hung out at the house. 
Ahhhh - the medicinal benefits of Summit Pale Ale, talking and chilling out. 
And laughing. I don't know why, but we can laugh about everything,  including (ok maybe especially) ourselves. We were falling off the chairs at one point. Ask Laura to tell you about the neighbor's dog; and the story about Greg at the IHOP. OMIGOSH - especially the IHOP story. ("[ringing cell phone] Can you please bring me some paper towels?") I can hardly type this I'm still laughing so hard. It is the best story. And "Brian's shoes". Sigh. Laughter is good. Especially in light of all else that's been going on in the past few months. I love you so much, Laura!

Fargo Marathon
So we got to the FargoDome about 30 minutes before the start. IronKaren (and baby Violet on board!!) and Betty sherpa'd all our gear and cheered us on. 

Lots of Laura's friends from Fargo also ran the half marathon. Here is Krysta - you may remember her from the wedding pictures. She was a bridesmaid back in November at Laura and Greg's wedding.

It was a great day for a run. 40 degrees and cloudy, breezy, but not gusty. The course was two loops and fast. All my friends had bailed on the full marathon due to injury, pregnancy, new job etc., so I was running alone. This was my 30th marathon and I can't remember EVER running by myself! But a flurry of txt messages from my cool, collected, always-says-just-the-right-thing running partner at home, Guy, as well as a bunch of others calmed me down and I put my game face on. It looked like a great day to go for a Boston Qualifier. I prayed at the start, the gun went off and so did I. 

I felt great from the first mile. At about the 4th I started running with a soldier carrying a flag. We got to talking and I told him about Robert, one of our tight circle of friends whom I ran Fargo with last year, but who is in Basra right now. I was going to ask if I could carry the flag for a bit in his honor, but then he told me that his friend was just killed in Iraq and he was carrying the flag for HIM. So I just started crying and I think he felt bad and then he promised that MY soldier would come home but I just said I was really sorry and then backed off and let him run ahead instead. I can't cry and run. And Robert IS coming home. He just is. I can't even go there.

One of my account managers, Dustin, was there and cheered for me a couple of times, and I saw Karen and Betty a couple times. But otherwise, it was quiet. Here are my splits. They look pretty consistent, eh???:

1). 9:14
2). 9:15
3). 9:18
4). 9:02
5). 8:56
6). 8:50
7). 8:58
8). 8:56
9). 9:07
10). 9:07
11). 9:00
12). 8:59
13). 8:57
14). 8:54
15). 9:38 (lightening fast potty stop)
16). 9:00
17). 9:02
18). 8:52
19). 8:48
20). 9:03
21). 9:00
22). 9:12
23). 9:07
24). 8:57
25). 8:49
26.2). 10:38
Total 3:56:54

So that's a BQ, and my personal best ever for this distance. I felt great all the way to the finish. 

Here are a couple of friends I ran into on the course: Jonny Jensen (in green), is the the trainer who hosts the inSANE spin classes I've posted about. 

After the race we took showers and then headed out to a barbecue at Krysta's house with a bunch of other friends who raced the half or full.

... and I had my first Wonder Woman shots. I need to get the recipe because they are great! It's "X-rated" (whatever that is) and some kind of blue energy drink, so it's purple, but so dang TASTY. I think I sipped at three of them.... between rum-and-Cokes, Jason's homemade beer, and a Mike's Hard Lemonade that we toasted Robert with (that's his beverage of choice). We went to a concert at the FargoDome to listen to a cover band - they were good, but I don't remember their name. It was getting to be a long day, so we went home and straight to bed.

Then I drove home this morning a little hungover. But what a great race! It couldn't have gone any better for me. I received lots of Mother's Day txts and calls, and when I got home I was so happy to see my kids!!! They were sleeping out in the tent in the back yard, but they were thrilled I was home. They and Bob gave me a new blender, a couple of plants, and Bobby had written me a prayer. I also got flowers, candy and a card from Robert in Iraq. Debbie Clift and I are like his two moms - always looking after him, trying to set him up, sending him cookies and videos, etc. That was so sweet of him to remember us! I hope you are all writing him. His address is on his facebook page.

Anyway, Ally ended up at a friend's house and Bobby and I laid out in the tent for about an hour just snuggling and talking. The cool breeze was blowing through the screens and we just talked. I can't believe I have an eleven year old son. I love him so much and feel so blessed by so many wonderful people and so "much" in my life. Sometimes it's easy to get frustrated and disappointed with the usual stuff I struggle with, but all I really need to do is look in my kid's eyes from time to time and the whole world makes sense again.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms. And thank you so much to all of you who thought of me today.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

May 2, 2009

Well, the one thing I have to say about going back to work is that the weeks just FLY by. I can't believe I've been with Coca Cola for 6 weeks already. 
It's a blast. 
The people are top drawer - every one of them from the VP to the managers to the drivers to the merchandisers -- everyone who touches our product in whatever role, does so because they WANT to. The culture is that of a team and everybody wants to win. And they also want each other to win. Seriously, I keep thinking something must be up because there is no way any corporation could have assembled such a fun, competitively friendly group of winners all under one roof. People are working; I'm not saying it's all playtime, but all day you hear people laughing and having fun while they are aggressively pursuing the competition and opening new accounts. I could not love a job more than the one I have.

Below is my boss on the left, and his (our) boss on the far right. In the bike clothes is Chuck, the owner of one of our best convenience retail accounts, NewMart/ Marathon Gas in Eagan. He is a big shot mountain biker and was out on a training ride and stopped by. See? Everyone's always having fun at Coke! How many of your clients choose "your office" as their destination on a training ride???!!!

I rode with Chuck and his family and friends in the MN Ironman Bike Ride last weekend. Below is a pic of me on Chuck's brother's bike -- he actually rode this baby in the race.... eliciting laughs and smiles from everyone who passed us. It was about 40 degrees and pouring rain, but it was still fun. Sort of like being on the Survivor show. I mean, there were buckets of near freezing water pouring on our heads for 3 hours. But I'm still glad I did it!

I will be doing my first Ultra trail runs this year (31 mile and 50 mile), so I'm working on getting a lot of training on that terrain. Road running totally doesn't translate! Becca, Maggie, Guy and I did the 25K Trail Mix a couple weeks ago and it was so hard! It's really hilly, and the spring from your steps dissipates into the grass or dirt, so I find it very difficult. Not that Guy wanted to intimidate me, but he did tell me that the terrain for our upcoming trail races is way WAY more technical than Trail Mix. So I am doing more trails to prepare.

Below are Bobby and jPod, who joined me on a one hour run last week. Guy had just returned from his Ultra Marathon in Chippewa and was recovering, so he just walked the trails with his camera, but the boys and I ran. We have a really beautiful park system here in Minnesota. This is at Wolsfeld Woods in Orono.

Speaking of jPod, he's a hockey goalie (that season is just wrapping up now) and he had a great game last night.... at least 45 saves! Way to go jPod!!! Here he is enjoying a very wise selection for his recovery drink. It's what all the best athletes drink and of course it's made and owned by Coca Cola. ;-) Thanks, Jeremy. You can have your dollar now.

Friday night I rode with Cathy and the crew from the Lifetime Bike Club. This is me with Normal Eric. (We already have a Crazy Eric in our club, so when this Eric joined we had to name him Normal Eric. I think he's OK with it). Anyway, he and Guy ran the Chippewa Ultra last weekend together. He's also a great biker and I'm riding with him tomorrow (Sunday for 3 hours). 

Today (Saturday) I rode with 5 girlfriends for 53 miles. It took us 3:03 of ride time, but almost 4 hours total because we stopped at gas stations to refuel, and Laura had to fix a flat. Was a beautiful day!! I was pretty beat because I did a one hour kettleball class beforehand (it's way too hard for me!!) Anyway, our ride was great - our fastest 5-mile split was 21.8 mph!

Now I am heading to a trunk show for some much needed shopping, then off to IronTim and IronKaren's house for a barbecue. Feels like it's summer already.

Have a great day everybody.