Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas to all of you.
I hope you have the opportunity to spend this time of the year with your family and friends.
We enjoy our vacation in Germany very much... More to come, when we get back and then I will also put up some pictures!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I tried to sign up for Tri Swim Classes at the Middle Tyger YMCA, but those are not set-up in the computer yet. At least I was able to find out how much it is going to be for members and once again, I think USD 25.- for a month of swim classes is not bad at all. So from January until April I will be in the pool every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Can't wait... NOT! While I enjoyed the group of people this year and really feel that I improved my swimming a lot during that time, I am not looking forward to have to get into this COLD pool at 6AM twice a week, walk into the office with the google imprints around my eyes, smell like chlorine all day long, no matter how long I showered afterwards and feel hungry for the rest of the day, because the cold water is sucking everything out of me.
Yesterday, I had my last (regular training) swim on tap before the classes are starting up again. I tried to do flip turns! It was pathetic! ;-) Last year after the classes were done, I taught myself bi-lateral breathing, so why not try to teach myself a flip turn? There is still room for improvement and I will keep working on it. Of course you don't need a flip turns for open water swims, but so many sprint tris around here are done with pool swims and then it could actually be an advantage... Turn faster and while you do so, knock out a couple of your competitors.... JUST KIDDING.
Source of picture here.
Actually looking at this illustration already helps... Visualize... Always visualize! ;-)
Monday, December 14, 2009
We started the day off with a 4AM wake-up call to make our 4:45AM meeting time with Brian from our BRR team, who did the marathon as well. I was just coming along as driver, cheerleader and photographer of this event. We got to Charlotte right when the package pick up opened up and went over to the convention center to get the race stuff for the boys. Until the 7:50AM start we hung out at the expo where we also met Todd, another BRR team mate. They made their final clothing decisions (it was 28F at the start line - BRRRRRRRR), checked the bags and we started walking to the start line. I wanted to take pictures of them right after the start, but that never happened, because I never saw them run past me. Oh well... I made my way back to the race expo and got me four more pairs of my favourite running socks as well as a couple of bars of the orange flavored shots bloks that I never see in the stores. From there I went to the parking garage and changed into my running gear.
The plan was, that I combine my scheduled training run with cheerleading for the boys. So I told them, that they can expect to see me a little after the half marathon marker. I knew I had around 1:40h from the start to get there so that I won't have to wait too long, but also won't miss them. I ran around Charlotte downtown a little bit in order to get my mileage in and was at the corner of Euclid and Morehead 1 hour and 30 minutes after the gun went off. Terry turned the corner at 1:40h, I ran a couple of yards with him and he said he felt good, just had a little cramping going on in one of his knees. Four minutes later, Todd passed me and once again I ran a little bit with him and he said he was feeling good. A little after that I saw Brian and he said he was doing good as well. I kind of expected for Brian to give me his rain jacket because he has gotten warm, but it seemed like he made the perfect clothing choice for him and didn't need to get rid of extra layers.
After Brian passed me, I got my stuff together and ran to the next point that I wanted to see them. It was a little after the mile 16 marker, close to an aid station and right after the course led under a bridge. There was portions of a marching band playing under this bridge the whole time... It was LOUD, but they did a GREAT job! As I waited around, I started wondering where Terry is. This was just 3 miles and change after the last spot I saw him and time was ticking away. Then I saw Todd and he told me that "Terry is having problems". A little dumbfounded, I stood there and a couple of minutes later Brian past me and told me that Terry was standing on the sidewalk a mile back. So I ran against the constant stream of marathoners to find him. It was pitiful. He's knees locked up and he wasn't able to walk when I got to him. He was cramping from top to bottom. After a while, he was able to make a couple of steps and slowly and painfully he started walking again.
We passed the mile 16 marker and with that, we started a 10.2 mile hike to the finish line. The first couple of miles I was with him, we attempted to fall back into a jog, but that didn't last more than a minute or two at the time before the cramps got worse again. So eventually, we just decided to stick to walking. Around mile 21, Terry asked for some food, so I stopped at a convenience store and got him some Fritos and then ran to catch up with him. While he was munching on the Fritos a by-stander said the she never knew that Fritos was runner's food, but if it works for him. At mile 25 we got offered beer and if I wasn't the designated driver, I think I would have taken it. Seriously, I was ready to be done with this and I can only imagine, how Terry must have felt.
He passed the finish line in 5h23mins. He was disappointed and mad and ready to get back to this course next year to show what he is capable of. Due to his very strong first half of the race, we were able to finish before the 6 hour course cut-off. I am so proud of him that he crossed the finish line... I admire his ability to put mind over matters at times.
While Terry did 26.2 miles on Saturday, I logged around 14 miles of running and walking myself. My feet were killing me at the end and my legs were sore. That was after 14 miles of mostly walking... As I said before, I can only imagine, how Terry must have felt. He sure looked like in a lot of pain, wobbling around the rest of the day and most of Sunday.
Now our sights are set on Myrtle Beach. He is going to do the marathon and I will attempt my first half marathon. Hopefully, the preparations are going to go smoother than Terry experienced with his training for Thunder Road. Wish us luck!
9 weeks until Myrtle Beach
3 nights until departure for Germany
Friday, December 11, 2009
And what a week it was. The running was toned way down compared to last week. I was running for time more than for mileage and honestly, after the 10-miler last Sunday, my legs felt like lead on both of my runs so far this week. Other than the running, I got two strength sessions in, two swims and an outside bike ride on Wednesday.
To finish the recovery week off, I have an 8-miler on tap for tomorrow and another bike ride Sunday (trainer or outside depends on weather). The run should be on a trail. That might won't happen... The trail portion I mean. Tomorrow, Terry will run his first marathon in Charlotte and I am going to be up there with him... Cheering him on... My initial thought was to bring the hybrid along and ride to a couple of points on the course to snap pictures. Since the weather forecast for tomorrow is COLD (between 28F and 39F with 10% chance of precip) and I also have to do this run, I might bag the bike idea and get my run out of the way, while Terry is doing his race... I thought about doing the run somehow strategically, that I get at least at one point pictures of him on the course and then retire to a warm place for the remainders of the race and get my X-Mas cards done. Brilliant! We'll see what the reality of tomorrow will look like.
In the nutrition department things have been a little all over the place. The week started out pretty good and somehow I made a wrong turn midweek and haven't gotten back on track quite yet. First of all, I seem to be always hungry and of course I do have a sweet tooth, but since the temperatures haven plummeted, I feel like stuffing myself with carbs all day long... And I don't hold back a lot. I always had the opinion that winter (crap! it's really winter already?) is not the time for being on a diet. On the other hand, that shouldn't be an excuse to pack on the pounds. Fortunately, that hasn't happened yet... Somehow, after a couple of days of indulging in everything sugar, I make it back on the bandwagon eventually.
Last night we made it out to the Salsa club for the first time since Halloween. When I am there, I always wonder, why we hardly make it anymore since it's always a lot of fun. Of course things have changed a lot since we first started going. When I started Salsa, it was pretty much the only exercise I would get that week. Nowadays, by the time 9PM Thursday rolls around, I was up since 5AM that morning and have had at least one workout already that day. And dancing is exercise - believe me. I was on the floor almost the whole time last night which is TONS OF FUN, but I was exhausted after 1.5 hours. My feet in those heels where killing me and I almost got my shoulder dislocated by an over-enthusiastic dance partner... And yes, I LOVE to spin, but yesterday my stomach wasn't that crazy about it.
Even though this is still a recovery week, things have gotten very busy between work, workouts, social commitments, Christmas errands and having contractors in the house. But in a week from now, we will be already in Germany and getting pampered by my parents and can start enjoying our vacation! I can't wait!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I really like "Waddle On", but that is already being used by John "The Penguin" Bingham (Runner's World Columnist).
"Happily Yours" is also very nice, but already used by Carol Hannah, a Project Runway Season 6 designer.
I love the sound of "Just a few (thousand) miles north" even though it's not applicable to my situation.... or only if my main bulk of readers would be from Patagonia. It's the signature for this awesome Alaskan adventure blog... And it's a perfect fit for it.
A lot of blogs don't have a signature line, but I just like the structure of title and a signature line. WHAT TO DO??
By now I almost think that I make a way too big of a deal of this and whatever I will come up with, will fall short of this ambitious post! ;-)
I think this whole topic needs to cook a little longer in my head and if I start using a signature line sometime soon, you'll know where it is coming from.
Nothing for Ungood! Auf Wiedersehn and Good Bye!
Monday, December 7, 2009
When I started running last year, I didn't like it. I did it, because it was challenging my body in new ways, in a time where my weight loss slowed down. With my decision to start in a triathlon in 2009, I basically committed to stick it out since running is part of the triathlon deal. Before the triathlon was even over, I already committed to do the relay race which gave me another reason to stick it out. And somewhere between back then and now, I started to like running and I started to miss it, if I wasn't out there in a couple of days. I enjoyed to be outside and to look around while running and the solitude when I was out there on my own and the camaraderie when I ran in a group. But all I ever did was running without any focus. My whole approach to running was to log miles and a couple of weeks ago I realized that that isn't going to make me a better or faster runner.
Since I am on the coach's plan every run has a purpose, a focus, a goal and I LOVE IT. Seriously! Not only do I like running, I look forward to most of my runs. I know that I like structure, but that I would embrace the run workouts like I do, even surprised me. Even the treadmill isn't as dreadful anymore when the run is structured.
Five weeks ago, I did the first 10-miler in my life and it was a good run. I kind of did the whole thing completely unplanned. I didn't have water or food with me, just stopped by the house to drop the dog off around mile 4 and had a sip then and went out to complete the 10 miles. I was pretty spent afterwards... Thirsty and even more hungry.
Yesterday, I had my first 10-miler on my training plan. The outlook for that wasn't even very daunting, since I had several 7-milers in the last couple of weeks and got more and more secure in doing longer distances. My task was to do the second half faster than the first half of the run and also to start practising proper nutrition during the run. I am fine with drinking during a run, but I don't like eating on them very much. The recommendation was to take a gel every 30 minutes and I didn't comply. I had one piece of shot blok (ca. 33 calories) every 30 minutes which is way less calories than a gel (ca. 100 calories) would be, but I thought I start out easy since my stomach is not very cooperative when it comes to taking in calories while running. It worked out pretty good and I will try to increase my intake over the next long runs. The pacing worked well, too. I did the first half with around a 10:30 min/ mile pace and the second half with around a 10:05 min/ mile pace. I might have been a little conservative in the first half or/and a little too fast in the second half, but it sure was a negative split. Even more than the pacing and nutrition, I just enjoyed my run.... I felt good physically and mentally throughout the run. A good half marathon seems to get more and more doable.
People are already asking me, what my goal time is and I don't have an answer for this yet. The next couple of weeks are going to determine that and I will share then! ;-)
10 weeks until Myrtle Beach Half Marathon
10 days until departure for Germany
Friday, December 4, 2009
Let the rambling begin.
Snow on Saturday? Are you kidding me??
Tomorrow, I have a 30 mile bike ride on my handy workout plan. Not really a distance that I want to spent on the trainer, therefore I looked around for some options and found this 35/65 mile ride organized by The Great Escape in Spartanburg. The 35 mile option kinda sounded appealing until I looked at the weather forecast. Temperatures in the low 40s and a 70% chance of precipitation... I even heard people talk about snow! Are you kidding me? This is South Carolina and it's early December, that just sounds all kinds of wrong. All of a sudden the trainer ride and an America's Next Top Model Marathon (I am not sure if one is on, but the chances are pretty good) sound like a much better alternative. I know, once again I am chickening out and yes I know that a couple of weeks ago I was boasting about having the winter cycling gear now that should make it possible for me to ride all through the winter... Hmmmm... And maybe I won't be so hesitant, if it were just for the temps but at least dry! Oh well, just call me a sissy. I will keep on monitoring the weather forecast and make the final decision tomorrow morning.
Don't HONK at me!
For whatever reason, some motorists have the urge to acknowledge people that use American roads (or sidewalks for that matter) for something else than driving a humongous truck by honking at them. By using them in a different way, I mean they run or cycle on them! (GET OUTTA HERE! Who does that! ;-) When it first happened, I honestly was a little flattered because I thought the honking was the redneck's equivalent to the construction worker's whistling (this post is also on how to put every single stereotype in the world in one entry), but for whatever reason, it also always felt a little hostile. I came to the realization that honking is the seal of disapproval for the exercising community when I read a couple of articles about run-ins between motorist and runners/cyclist. Whereas the newspaper articles are pretty neutral most of the time, it's the reader's comments that really make me worry about my safety while out on the road.
You can check out the article that I linked above and I tried to find the other articles, but couldn't, so you just have to believe me here, people. The comments are CRAZY. From rants about how aggressive cyclists are (how aggressive can a cyclist be? the car will win 100% of the time) over how dare a runner can run on the road (well, if there would be more sidewalks and more well-lit parks in this country, we wouldn't have to) and I don't want a narcissistic exercise freak showing around his bare chest in my neighborhood just to make everyone else feel miserable about themselves (if someone really thinks that this is our motivation to workout in public, then those guys are way more self-centered that they give themselves credit for). People get over this!! The roads are not only for motorist and since cycling and running seem to be growing in popularity, people just have to get use to it and start looking out for them and NOT be surprised about their existence. Vice versa, cyclist that don't wear helmets, run stop signs and drive the wrong way round into a one-way street just add fuel to the fire to those that are already p***ed off at us, so PLEASE STOP doing it. For runners and walkers out on badly lit roads, I highly recommend you to use a headlamp/ flash light and a reflective vest for your own safety to make it easier for the motorist to stop you.
Be safe out there and enjoy your weekend!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Krispy Kreme Challenge is an annual, student-operated race in Raleigh, North Carolina benefiting the NC Children's Hospital. Beginning in 2004 with a mere 10 participants,the race has grown exponentially to a whopping 5,500 runners in the 2009 race and has rapidly become one of NC State University's newest traditions.
Monday, November 30, 2009
So what was going on over the weekend? It can be compiled in these handy categories sorted descending by the time spend on the matter: rest, food, training, health issues and shopping.
Yesterday, I finished up my highest mileage running week in a long time... A little over 22 miles. I am feeling pretty good about how the running is coming along for the MB half. Even Terry said yesterday while we finished up a 5-miler, that if I keep running and improving like this, than I will actually give him a run for his money at the 2010 MTY Sprint Tri, which is the ultimate baseline between the two of us... He is already adding up where he needs to save the minutes in 2010 so he won't be defeated again! ;-) Honestly, I have no doubt in my mind, that he won't let me repeat my victory from 2009, but I am determined on making it as close as possible! Between Thursday and Sunday I had on tap: a run and a lower body workout, a trainer ride (it was sunny outside, but cold, so I chicked out) and another two runs. Not bad at all.
I really didn't feel like participating in the Black Friday shopping frenzy, but my mom gave me a looooong shopping list and I kinda needed Christmas gifts, too. And there were tons of deals out there, but I sure didn't get up early early. We actually spend Black Friday on the couch, on the bike trainer (I did, while Terry was out for a run), in the car on the Charlotte marathon course and on our way back we stopped in Gaffney for dinner and some shopping. I am happy to report that I was able to get pretty much all the Christmas shopping out of the way over the weekend. Most of it Friday night and then we did another short trip yesterday and I thought I was all set until I got on the phone with my brother... Oh well, I am off tomorrow.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are
consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is
not coincidence. ~Erma Bombeck
It has been an unchallengeable American doctrine that cranberry sauce, a
pink goo with overtones of sugared tomatoes, is a delectable necessity of the
Thanksgiving board and that turkey is uneatable without it. ~Alistair
On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the
same moment - halftime. ~Author Unknown
Thanksgiving is America's national chow-down feast, the one occasion each
year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty. ~Michael Dresser
Coexistence: what the farmer does with the turkey - until
Thanksgiving. ~Mike Connolly
Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants. ~Kevin
The funny thing about Thanksgiving, or any huge meal, is that you spend 12
hours shopping for it and then chopping and cooking and braising and
blanching. Then it takes 20 minutes to eat it and everybody sort of sits
around in a food coma, and then it takes four hours to clean it up. ~Ted
The thing I'm most thankful for right now is elastic waistbands.
I love Thanksgiving turkey. It's the only time in Los Angeles that
you see natural breasts. ~Arnold Schwarzenegger
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I LOVE FOOD. I REALLY LIKE TO EAT.
There is a reason for the weight struggle that I had for most parts of my adult life. Only since I refocused on sports to offset this food love, I am able to stay at a healthy weight and sustain a healthier lifestyle. That also meant that at one point, I had to stop breaking a sweat, whenever the scale went up a little. It is an often quoted phrase in this context: As long as you stand up more times than you fall down, you are fine. For me that means to monitor my weight and whenever I indulged in food, there also must be a time when I stick to a stricter regiment.
This week was supposed to be one of those stricter regiment weeks, since it's Turkey Day on Thursday. So my original food strategy for the week was being good on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Eat whatever I want on Thursday and hop right back on the band wagon for the rest of the week. Yeah, right... It's Tuesday and it's already not working out!
Why, oh why? Gingerbread... Not the American kind... the German kind. I am defenseless and we have a big supply of original German gingerbread sitting on top of the office cabinet laughing at me. I really don't care for Christmas that much, especially if people start decorating and carolling before Thanksgiving, but I also don't classify gingerbread as Christmas food (as well as my Mom's homemade x-mas cookies)... Those are all-rounders, to be consumed and enjoyed all year round. So my food strategy until Turkey Day was bagged around 9AM yesterday morning.
Oh well... I still have Friday, Saturday and Sunday to even things out a little, but the weekend seems to be dietary bear trap lately. This mission is doomed!
Counter actions have to be defined and executed! Well, they are already defined thanks to Coach Katie and I will ensure to execute as planned, otherwise I really will break into some serious sweat stepping on the scale Monday morning... But I'll be fine... Once again, I will get up!
In addition to my regular scheduled workouts, I am planning on doing a Turkey Day hiking tour with the puppy in Paris Mountain State Park in the morning. Most likely, it's just going to be the two of us and I am planning on doing pretty much the route, I did a couple of weeks ago, but this time hiking not running. There are several Turkey Trots in the area Thanksgiving Day and also a bike ride, but I passed on all of those options, because it either means to get up really early or that I won't be back in on time to drive over to see the family. It also has the side effect, that I will wear out the puppy some, so she will be sleeping most of the remainders of the day and not even notice, that her favorite humans are not at home... Right, like that's going to happen! ;-)
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I have been talking about it for a while... Set a goal... Changed my mind. But I still had it in the back of my head to do a half marathon and I wanted to do it soon. Why I don't even really know, but it just seemed to me, that with a goal like that, it would make me work on my running... Hopefully make me a better, faster runner with more endurance. Hopefully get me in a shape that an Olympic distance triathlon next year with a decent time doesn't stay a pipe dream. Now that Terry has been battling a knee injury for the last four weeks, he most likely won't be able to run the marathon that he planned on in Charlotte on 12/12. So he was also already talking about the next possibility to do another marathon. We needed a venue with a marathon and a half far enough out for me to start building and so we decided on Myrtle Beach. We talked about it, I even hired a coach a couple of weeks ago, so things got serious. But on Friday we closed the deal. We signed up. No turning back anymore. We are committed! (They don't do refunds! :-)
That was all I did on Friday, that was sports related... I really did enjoy my rest day... Thanks for asking!
Yesterday, I had a bike ride on my plan. It was a gorgeous day, so of course we decided to go outside. We haven't been to Donaldson Center in a while so we ended up going there. I have to say that I underestimated the temperatures and had one layer to less on me up top. But what can you do, you just start pedaling and hope that you warm up. Which I did... At the end of the first loop, I felt fine even if I would have still preferred to have a little more fabric on me. Halfway in my second loop I hit that rough piece of road that sends little shock waves through the body and just in general shakes you around a little. Under normal circumstances that wouldn't really bother me, but then I noticed that me toes froze in the meantime. The shock waves due to the road wasn't a big deal, but the vibrations that I felt in my toes made me cringe. But fortunately, that is only part of the road and as soon as it got smoother again, I was back in the game. It's really weird how my toes go dead first, especially since I only had half gloves on and my fingers felt great. After three loops around Donaldson center, I called it a day. But I was glad that we got the chance to ride outside in the sun.
Today, I wasn't this lucky. 2 miles into my run it started coming down... BAD! My own fault, if I hadn't procrastinated all afternoon, I guess I would have been fine, but no. 10 minutes after it had started raining hard, I was soaked... soaked... my clothes were not able to take on any more water. If I remember correctly than this was my first rain run EVER. So far I was always lucky that it subsided to a drizzle or light rain by the time I headed out OR I just bagged the outside run and opted for the treadmill. But honestly, I rather run in the rain and get soaked than spend an hour on the treadmill. I got back to the house and left my shoes outside, peeled off all my layers and left them in the sink before I headed into the shower for a long hot soak. I didn't realize how cold I was until I felt my hand and legs hurting from the hot water... But fortunately it didn't take long to warm up.
Hopefully, I will have more luck with my run tomorrow... We'll see! ;-)
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Since my body is also still adapting to my new workout routine, I try to put emphasis on getting enough sleep these days. It's funny that the coach's plan has so much of an impact on me, since really, my weekly volume hasn't increased, but the intensity certainly has. Every workout has a purpose, which is good, but boy am I glad that tomorrow is going to be a rest day. In favor for one hour more sleep, I once again skipped the weight lifting class this morning and instead did a run and strength in the evening.
And so I am keeping on pushing through the sniffles and the adaptation process... Wish me luck! ;-)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
- My102.5 radio station is on my black list for the rest of the year. This morning I tuned in and heard the first Christmas song of the season for me... You might have guessed, but I am not a fan of Christmas music and especially not this early.
- Today is Friday 13th... Living here in the South in the middle of the Bible belt, it surprises me time and time again, how superstitious a lot of people are. That really doesn't make sense.
- I need to catch up on sleep, yet again. Unfortunately, according to this, we can't since we can never offset sleep debt. And I don't even have a great story to show for it... I just slept pretty bad all week due to the wind and the rain and the noise that came along with it. By now, I am dragging my feet a little, hopefully tonight is going to be better.
- Tomorrow, we (Terry, the kid and I) will run the Dan Davis Memorial Turkey Trot 5K at Furman. Last year when we ran this race, we'll had around 32F at the start line. For tomorrow they forecast it to be in the high 50s and sunny. That sounds like some nice running weather. My assignment for tomorrow's race is to focus on pacing and get faster each mile instead of going out to fast and then fade. I guess, I'll see if I can figure out the Garmin pacing function to help me with that.
- I am highly disappointment in my two favorite shows: In Project Runway, because they didn't send the best designers into the finale and in Biggest Loser, because a woman has been send home that managed to loose 100 pounds in nine weeks.
- The weekend is still in "no plan land"... I am kind of un-bothered (I don't think, that's actually a word) about it...
- I think, I hate the audio book that I am on right now. Sometime on my morning commute, I switched over to the radio (see point 1) because I just couldn't take it anymore... I really consider to abort this mission and move on to the next, but I always have a hard time to start a book and not to finish... Actually, that pretty stupid, especially since I feel like I am wasting my time... On the other hand, I always think that it can approve... Predicament.
- The countdown is on! Five weeks from today, we will be in Germany... I have already set up a small class reunion with some of my high school friends... Can't wait to see them!
- Oh wow... TGIF!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
1:25:05 (12:28 min per mile average)
This race was a last minute decision and I don't regret it whatsoever. This was a fun trail run on a wonderful day.
The day started out around 6:30AM. I got up and had some pita bread for breakfast and water. No granola bars this time, because of the GI disaster of last race. Stuck the foot out of the door and made my clothing choice: capris, a thin long sleeve, thin headband, gloves, SmartWool socks and my trail running shoes. Grabbed a couple of other things and then we were out the door. Terry didn't do the race, but he came along for cheering and photo taking purposes! ;-)
We got to Paris Mtn State Park at around 7:30AM. I picked up my number (lucky 124) and one of those gym bags. No t-shirts, but a pair of socks if you finish. By now, I have tons of race t-shirts, but I have to say, that I am always a little disappointed when they don't have one. Well, I'll get over that! ;-) On the way to the starting line we ran into Chris, our Blue Ridge Relay team captain and on the starting line we also found Alex and Dave also team members from the relay. With Kerrie being the sweeper at the race and Terry the journalist (and later involuntarily one of the volunteers! ;-), we had half of the relay team assembled... Only four made it into this pic though.
By the time we finished our little chit chat, it was almost time to rock'n'roll. I shed my additional layers and off we went. Since I was planning on taking this one pretty slow anyways, there was really no need to warm up. You ask why taking it slow? Well, it's a trail race, you have to be super cautious where you place your foot basically with every step you take and besides, I know this terrain, not the exact course but partially... I knew what was in store for us... No need to blow yourself up in the first two miles and then be exhausted by the time you hit the steep section of the Sulphur Springs trail. According to the Garmin we did a total of around 2,000 feet up and down in these 11K and here is the elevation profile.
The race started out on the road and then we turned onto Mountain Creek Trail. I stayed with Chris for the first mile or so and we spend the time talking a little. After a while, I started to pass people when possible... And it's not always possible since the trails are sometimes so narrow, but on the other hand, people are just so much nicer and talking to each other because the space is so limited at times. On the other hand, being stuck behind people every now and then helped me not to go out too fast. By the time we hit the steepest portion of the trail, we were all hiking instead of running. Time to take a couple of sips out of the water bottle, get rid of the gloves (stuffed them into my pants) and get a little breather. On top of Sulphur Springs, we made a left turn towards Firetower Trail and from there to Kanuga. Kanuga is tons of fun! Rolling downhill and beautiful views of the lake. I almost fell twice in this area and still don't know, how I was able to stay upright. From Kanuga we turned onto Brissy Ridge Trail and there I started hiking again every once in a while, but also was able to pass some more people in this section. At the end of Brissy Ridge Trail we crossed the parking lot at the top to pick up the Sulphur Springs Trail again. Terry was waiting on the parking lot to snap some pictures of us coming by. But he also directed the other participants to the trail. The signs they used to mark the course were fairly small and he had to tell several people where to go, so they wouldn't go down the hill on the road.
This is the picture from the top of the mountain, halfway through the race. I look exhausted but I actually felt pretty good.. If you look hard enough, you can see my double thumbs up sign! ;-) And the bumps on my knees are the gloves that slid down to my knees!
On that side, Sulphur Springs starts out with a short steep uphill and then a very steep down hill for the next half mile. They did the MTB Downhill Race a couple of weeks ago on this portion of the trail. Here, I tripped two more times and I am still surprised that I didn't fall flat on my face. When the trail finally flattened out, it felt great... The pounding was over. From then on, it was all rolling down hills to the finish line. I crossed the finish line, got my pair of socks (badge of honor) that turn out to be pretty nice and have the race name and the word "finisher" on them! ;-)
Dave and Alex were already done and had their first couple of pancakes. Yes, they had pancakes at the finish... Isn't that nice? I first downed a bottle of water and then got some pancakes myself. We waited until Chris came in, had a little more chit-chat and took off.
This was a nice race! A lot of fun! This is already the first race out of the 2010 Xterra series and I think there is a good chance, that I will do the other two races (15K and 8K) as well.
Friday, November 6, 2009
This picture is completely unrelated to anything in this post, but I just thought it was cute and don't we all feel like this every now and then?? ;-)
- I am done with the first audio book bargain from the used book sale a couple of weeks ago. I started out with Bushworld by Maureen Dowd and really enjoyed listening to it. It's a collection of her column pieces from 1999 through 2004 about the Bush campaign and first presidency. Very insightful to read/ hear about this a couple of years after they have first been published... It took me a while to get into the groove of the book, the writing style and the content. It's also one of those pieces that you can NOT zone out for a couple of pages and still know what is going on. I have been talking to co-workers about it and will pass along for others to enjoy.
- On Wednesday I got smacked in the face so hard by the puppy, that I was swollen and my face and teeth hurt. Yesterday still wasn't all that great, but today I finally felt like myself again. She always gets so excited when I come home that she starts jumping around. While jumping around she knocked the remote off the couch and I bend down to pick it up again... At that exact moment she jumped up once more, smacking me in the face with the back of her head. Good times... Of course, she was completely unaware of what she just did.
- Since this week, I have a coach. For a while I have been talking about running a half marathon and even though I don't necessarily need a coach to accomplish that, I wanted to have some help to improve my running overall since it is my weakest discipline out of the tri sports. So now I am on the coach's plan and that is of course way more structured than the training plans that I created for myself in the past. With more structure I mean, that it not only tells me when I have to train which discipline, but also what intensity, length of workout, even down to drills and HR range. I know that this will take some time to get used to, but I have trust in Katie that she knows what I need to do, to get better.
- I postponed returning to the DMV to Wednesday. I just couldn't take this mayhem two days in a row. So on Wednesday I finally mustered up some courage to give a new driver's license another try. My initial waiting time has been way shorter than in the other office on Monday, but overall it took me the same amount of time to get back to work than in my first attempt. I was FUMING by the time I left the office and won't even go back into the details... Just too frustrating... But at least I have a new license now with a new picture that is going to make it so much easier to be identified as the person on the ID by the Wal-Mart cashier when I try to buy beer... I have to agree with all of the peeps that doubted it, since the picture looked nothing like me anymore.
- Did a 5:30AM easy morning run around the Caine Halter Y trial today. Oh boy, it's getting cold out there. During the day, we currently have sunshine and nice temperatures, but it sure gets cold as soon as the sun is gone. I really have to think about what I am going to wear for the race tomorrow. It's almost 7 miles, the sun will be out by the time we start and a lot of the leafs are already on the ground, so the woods are not as shaded anymore. I am thinking shorts and a light long sleeve. This morning I got warm 1 mile into the run and the sun wasn't even up by the time I was done.
HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE! ;-)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
English Translation: "I am sorry, Franky. I have to go back to my ex."
I am all for mending broken relationships! - Really!! But the number GM brought with deciding last minute to keep the Opel subsidiary, just made me shake my head. Nobody knows, if the Opel employees would have made a better deal with one of the potential buyers. But still... To keep potential buyers and governments of several nations busy with negotiations about selling this brand and then just cancel the deal after SEVERAL MONTHS of back and forth! Are you kidding me? I hope someone sends GM a big old bill for all the efforts, but I kinda doubt that that is going to happen.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
To get that out of the way and also to finally get a new driver's license with my new address, I headed over to the DMV (for my German friends: Landratsamt) over lunch. I picked the DMV closest to work and hoped it wouldn't be too busy. Yeah right... A girl can dream right?
I thought about taking my magazines to read during the waiting time, but of course I forgot and since I wasn't occupied with anything, this 18 year old (I know, because he told me) redneck started talking to me.... That was kinda frightening but let me recap. Now I know, why he just getting his license now even though he's already 18. Also he shared with me, why "the man" is bringing you down... This one was a little confusing... There was a reference to the bible, then there were laws and then someone invented the stop sign... At this point I told him "not to go there" which finally shut him up. Then he started talking to the woman next to me and when she wasn't so talkative, he started talking to the girl standing on the other side. I tried to see on his application what box he checked on the question with the mental illnesses... Oh wow...
I got there by 11:58AM and finally made it to one of the counters around 12:30PM. Getting my registration was a two minute deal. Then I asked to get a new driver's license since my address has changed and while I pushed the paperwork over to her, I told her that I am not a U.S. citizen... Out of experience, saying this upfront, speeds up the process... Also in this case, but not as desired. She looked at my paperwork and then asked me if I have proof of citizenship. I showed her my passport with my visa. Then she told me, that she needs proof of naturalization and I didn't know what she was talking about... Once again, I pointed to my passport. Then she asked a co-worker to come over and once again I was told that they need a proof of naturalization, since I need to proof that I am a U.S. citizen. Then I said: "I already proofed that I am NOT a U.S. citizen!" Then the light bulbs went on and I was told, that they cannot issue driver's licenses for non-citizen in this office and that I need to go to the office on the other side of town.
We'll at least I know, what I will do tomorrow for lunch!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Yesterday I reached a milestone in my running. I did my first ever 10-miler and when I started running that day, I didn't even plan on doing that much. After getting some stuff around the house done in the morning, I got ready for my run. I decided to take the puppy along for the 2 mile loop around the block and then drop her off at the house again. Instead of the 2 mile loop, we did a 3.6 mile loop before I dropped Karma off. I sure wore the doggy out... Terry said that she curled up and fell asleep as soon as she got back in! ;-) I made a little pit stop and had some water and actually told Terry, that I will shoot for another 6 miles since I felt good. And I kept on feeling good looping around the neighborhood streets up and down the side of Paris Mountain. I just enjoyed the fresh air and the light breeze and the little drizzle of rain every now and then. Around mile 8.5, I started to get hungry and thirsty... I didn't have any water with me nor any food. That was quite a blond moment right there. But I stuck it out even though the last half mile was just tough. As soon as the Garmin beeped for 10 miles I hit stop and walked back to the house, which was another half mile. But the walking felt good by then... I had a smile on my face the whole way back... My first 10-miler... Now, that I seriously think about doing the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in February, it just seems so much more doable. Funny thing though is that I seem to have only one speed, a 10-minute-mile. No matter if I do a 4-miler on flat terrain like on Wednesday or a hilly 10-miler like yesterday... I have a 10-minute-mile pace... That needs to change!!!
For Halloween we went to a party that a couple of Salsa buddies give every year... And as every year, it was a great success! As I mentioned previously, my scary fairy outfit kept me pulling down the skirt all night Thursday, so I decided to go as a TRIATHLETE! ;-) I know, that was super creative, but I tell you something... The costume was readily available in my closet and I was SUPER comfy all night long. Here are a couple of (random) pics from last night.
Cop and criminal... Just a couple of centuries apart! ;-)
The Shimmy Girls!
Mafioso and Triathlete dancing Salsa.
Since the party was so much fun, we kinda got in bed late... For us it was late anyways and Karma also made sure this morning, that we wouldn't sleep in. ARRRRGGGGHHH!
In the early afternoon, we set out to do a short bike ride. Both Terry and I haven't been riding the bike outside for maybe a month... The weather was perfect! Around 60 degrees, light breeze and dry... I actually overdressed a little and was warm after 5 minutes on the bike. We rode from the house to Travelers Rest and back and then did our 4 mile running loop. We ended up with a little less than 14 miles and a lot of hills. My legs felt crappy... I guess due to the run from yesterday and the fact that I didn't get a lot of sleep last night... The food and beverage intake at the party might have played into it on top of it. Crappy legs or not, it still felt great to be out there on the bike again. But honestly, I think I have to opt out of the Leaf Tour next Saturday. I think I would be able to make it, but it sure won't be pretty. Well, I still have almost a week to make up my mind about that!
Friday, October 30, 2009
I think I have to put together an alternative costume for the Salsa Halloween party on Saturday... And I think I have an idea. Here is a clue: body marks! ;-)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
So far, I haven't met a person through endurance sports that wasn't pleasant, but when you get into the nitty gritty of things there or certain topics out there, that just get the tempers going. There have been several controversial matters lately, that made the web buzz and now I also want to throw in my two cents... Why? Because this is my blog and I decided so! ;-)
The iPod Discussion!
Superficially, this discussion seem to be black and white. Either you are pro or con using MP3 players while running or cycling on the road. But since this topic is so widely discussed EVERYWHERE, we come to find out that there is a lot of in between as well. For example, only using when training, only when the sun shines, only one ear bud. A lot of races don't allow iPods to be used due to safety concerns and if you don't comply to this rule you are at risk to be DQed if an official sees you. So you either go without player or don't complain if they disqualify you. For me personally, I choose not to use an iPod while running or cycling on the road, because it makes me uncomfortable to be cut off the noises of my surrounding e.g. chasing dogs, approaching cars etc. For others, this is not a concern and that is fine with me too. At the end of the day it's to each it's own.
In case you haven't heard this expression yet: If a girl beats a guy in a race, then he "got chicked". And I see that for some guys, getting chicked is a real problem during a race or a great motivator to go faster. But I also heard several women telling tales that they chicked a guy. I wonder, if this is just a topic for the people that race for podium positions or if this also applies to to mid of the pack people such as myself? Hmmmm... I have to confess that I caught myself thinking a couple of times things like: that girl looks like she is in my age group, I have to try to pass her etc. And I still find great pleasure in the fact that I beat Terry in the tri that we did earlier this year, also with the knowledge that this would be most likely the only time I will be able to beat him... But I never thought of it in terms of to chick him, but more as healthy family rivalry! ;-) But if all of us mid pack people are honest with ourselves, than we have to agree that it doesn't matter how you place compared to others (324th out of 678 or 321st out of 678), as long as you reached the goals that you set for yourself. One eye opener moment in this regard for me was the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K this year in Charleston. My 1st goal for this race was to run it under one hour and my 2nd goal was to improve the 10K time that I ran a month earlier in the Reedy River Run in Greenville. Looking at the results in the paper the next day, I saw that a lot of the 14 and under age grouper are faster than I am and a lot of the 70 and over age grouper are faster than me. But bottom line was, that I reached my 1st goal, but missed my 2nd one and those are the only means of measure for a race that should count for me.
Marathon As Elite Event?
Marathon is defined as "foot race over a course measuring 26 miles and 385 yards (42 kilometers and 195 meters)". The definition doesn't say how fast the distance has to be travelled in order to count as marathon, to travel this distance by foot is defined as a marathon. It makes sense to me to have some sort of cut-off time in a marathon event, because there is just a lot of logistics going into this and the longer they have to close down roads the more expensive the event is going to be for the organizers. But telling people that they didn't really do a marathon only because they didn't make it in a certain time frame? To some runners a 14-minute-mile feels just as hard of an effort as an 8-minute-mile to others, just like the 8-minute-mile participants they put time into their preparation, paid the registration fee and had pre-race jitters. I prefer a person that walks a marathon over a person that stays on the couch any time... Honestly, I admire everyone that even attempts a marathon, just because as of now, I still cannot wrap my mind around the idea of being on my feet for 26.2 miles. Probably this is just mental for me and maybe step by step I will tear down this wall in my head, we'll see.