Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Surprises... Good Ones! ;-)

It's my birthday... My Facebook page went crazy today with all the birthday wishes... That was pretty cool!

Thanks to everyone for the calls, text messages, wall posts, e-mails and and and....

Since today is in the middle of the week, Terry surprised me with a 3-course dinner last Friday... yes, he cooks!

Surprise! First course!

Second course.... yummie!

Third course... With sprinkles!

Of course it's my favorite! ;-)

There was also a package in the mail from Germany... with chocolate! ;-)

So long!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Blue Ridge Relay Pt Three

This is part three of my 2010 Blue Ridge Relay race report. Click here if you missed part one or two.

3. Rotation for Van1

The third rotation in relays tend to be the ones, when things fall apart. People run on a couple of hours of sleep, a generally a little under-fueled and have already several miles in their legs. But you just have to keep on plucking along... Despite the odor levels in the van which one of my team mates tried to cure with a royal pine air freshener. That thing smelled so intense, it made me feel queasy. Fortunately, that was enough to convince my van mates to take that thing down.

Back to the running:

When Alex took over from van 2 at the Bakerville Fire Department... Where I skipped the baked potatoes... Not the pancakes as stated in the last report. Moving on. Alex took over and had to run 4.3 moderate mile. The run starts out with rolling downhills, only to have a nasty 7% grade climb in the last mile. I never ran this leg, but drove it twice by now and I personally think that leg stinks. It's a along one of the busier roads (but better at night) and it's just spooky!

Alex passed the wrist band to Christina and with this, we had the first runner in the van that was done! That's good for the runner and everyone else just looks at them in envy... Changing into... regular clothes... gasp! Moving on... Christina had 4.5 moderate miles on tap next. Again, it was a fairly busy roads and on top of that, her leg also had a fair bit of turns... Oh and did I mention the fog? Spooky.

I was waiting for Christina at the next exchange zone and I just looked at my watch saying something in the lines of "according to schedule, she should be here any minute" and there she was and I was on for my longest leg.... 9 hard miles starting with a 2 mile downhill and then rolling uphills for the remainders of the leg. Maybe 30 seconds before I started running, a runner from another team took off and I saw his blinky lights ahead of me, which makes you feel not as alone in the dark. I made him my rabbit and wanted to make sure to at least keep him in sight. The first two miles ticked by fast, but my quads sure weren't happy with more downhill running. Once I hit the bottom of the hill, it really felt like the wheels came off a little. But then I saw that my rabbit was gaining on another runner and eventually passed him, which gave me the drive to keep pushing. I passed that runner maybe at mile 2.5 and we chatted a little. My crappy fueling started to catch up with me. The turkey sandwich in the middle of the night just didn't hold me over and since I passed on the baked potato, I kinda got a little in trouble. Fortunately, I packed some Powerbar gel blasts and started eating those, when feeling hungry. I also drank a ton of water. My team was passing me around the half way point and they topped off my water bottle. Shortly after that, I passed a girl on one of those rolling uphills that she hiked up, while I ran/jogged/shuffled up the hills. It was the same girl, I passed during my night leg! In the meantime, it finally dawned... Nothing better than hearing a rooster crow when you are sick and tired of running in the dark. My rabbit was still in front of me, but he started fading on the rollers. I finally passed him around mile 7 on a hill, only to get passed back on the downhill... But I held on to my consistent pace and on the next hill I passed him for good. The remainders of the leg was pretty uneventful. Oh yes and of course I got passed by runners... 4 in total. The last one passed me in the last quarter mile of the leg. All of the runners that passed me, basically just zipped by me, I hardly ever knew somebody was there until they were right next to me. Oh well.

Jeff was off for his last leg. 7.4 hard miles that are basically all uphill. Yikes! What sticks out in my mind about this leg was, that you turn on Highway 19 and there is a parking lot to your left that may look like an exchange zone at the first glance. Only to find out that you have another 0.7 miles to run. But once again, Jeff clocked an awesome time for his leg and was done as well.

Our van really had some long legs in the last rotation. Once Jeff handed off to Ken, he was on the road for a 7.5 hard miles that had some juicy rollers going on. The first mile he was running through the town of Burnsville. When we passed him in the van we handed him his water bottle that he forgot to take and this way also had the chance to help him out with some equipment issues... That needed a little more attention later on, but after that, he was ready to roll.

Right about then, I also started to take pictures again.

For example of Joel, waiting to finally get on the road... Ready to get it done!

And the fog that I mentioned earlier was still there when our last runner (of van1) hit the road, but by the time he was done, there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

After Ken handed over to Joel, he and van1 were only 4.4 easy miles from being done. 4.4 miles with no turn, along a river with beautiful scenery. But all of a sudden, it also started to get back hot. But Mr. Joel brought it home for van1 in a great time!

Resting and waiting to cross the Finish Line

Van1 did a little happy dance and then left the transition area to head to Asheville NC for pizza and beer! We did drive the Mountain Goat leg, so that Ken could see what all the fuss is about when we talk about that particular part.

Once we parked and got some food (and beer) into us, it was time to relax and rest at the finish line.

It was pretty warm outside, so after a while we headed into a bar/restaurant right next to the finish line... for more food (and beer) until van2 arrived!

Over 33 hours and 207 miles after we started in the Grayson Highlands State Park, our last runner crossed the finish line in downtown Asheville NC.

I honestly have to say, that the more relays I do (this was number 3), the more I think that it is about the journey and not about the finish line. Relay finish lines, just seem very anti-climatic... Everybody is just tired and ready to be done with it and go home. For me it's all about the team meetings before and after, the smack talk e-mail going back and forth between team members, the actual time traveling and running and reminiscing about how your run was... Basically the whole social aspect of the experience. Of course it's also a physical challenge and I am always amazed to see what our bodies are capable of, even after you sleep deprived them and didn't fuel them properly!

We'll see team DNR is up to next! ;-)

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Here is a little gnarly filler post.

This is a video collage from fellow blogger TriTawn to show the rough and raw moments of endurance sports for a school project. This is stuff that make you wonder, why people would ever do something like this to themselves.

WARNING! This is graphic stuff, so brace yourself!!

Oh yes and I make an appearance too... It's one of the more tame pictures... Lucky me, since there are some really bad injuries shown! Once again, if you have a weak stomach, this might not the right video for you to watch. For all others... ENJOY... And feel free to shake your head at the crazy people! ;-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Blue Ridge Relay Pt Two

This is part two of my 2010 Blue Ridge Relay race report. If you missed part one, you can find it here.

2. Rotation for Van1

Van 1 took over around 6.30 Friday evening. This post is going to have much less pictures than the one before, because taking pictures at night doesn't really work with that camera and my abilities. Also, because I tend to take less pictures the more tired I get. Same goes for general reporting, since things get a little fuzzy in my memory starting in the second rotation, I can hardly keep the rotations apart basically, but I'll try my best.

So Alex took over in Blowing Rock for his second leg. He was about to embark on 7.1 miles rated "hard" for distance and elevation changes. It was also routed along a very busy road and we were loosing light fast. Certainly not the safest conditions, but equipped with blinky lights, safety vest and last year's team t-shirt in neon yellow, it was the safest way possible. While we were waiting for Alex to come to the "Blue Moon Station", we saw this cowboy getting ready to run as well. He was part of an ultra team that ended post a 7 something minute mile for the whole course. This guy took off for a 10 mile leg with a pace that most people run a 5K.

When Christina took over the wristband, it was almost dark. So no pictures anymore. She was about to head out for the Grandfather Mountain Leg from the Blue Moon Station to the entrance of Grandfather Mountain State Park... 10 hard miles with a total of over 800 feet climbing, through the woods in the dark with last year's report of bats still in our ears. Do I need to say more? We decided that we are going to wait 45 minutes before we are going to drive the leg, so we could see how things are going and support her with water and whatever else. By the time we finally caught her, she was much further along than we thought she would and even better, she was in great spirits and feeling good. So we just took one additional cheer stop and then went ahead to the next exchange zone.

80% of the elevation that Christina climbed over her 10 mile leg, I was about to loose in my next leg over 2.3 miles. ALL DOWNHILL! I got staffed out in my blinking safety vest, that I bought specifically for this relay, and soon was glad that it was a short leg because the safety vest was too big and moving around too much. Luckily, I brought my cheap safety vest with me for my long leg later on. Anyways, I was running downhill for 2.3 miles. I got passed once and I passed on girl. Other than that, I didn't see anybody around. I was just plucking along, trying to keep a high cadence. The leg was over before it really started and I was done in under 18 minutes, clocking a 7:45 minute mile... I never run under 8... But this was probably the first time ever that I was running downhill for that kind of distance! My quads got a serious beating and I was basically instantly sore... Not bad (yet), but I definitely felt the burn.

And now things start to get really fuzzy.

I handed off to Jeff and he took off for a short and sweet 3.4 mile run that in total didn't gain or loose a lot of elevation, but he had one quarter mile 9% grade to climb not even a mile into his run. But in usual Jeff performance he plowed through that leg like a champ and handed off to Ken.

Ken was about to do a 4.9 mile "moderate" leg. Which is kind of not really moderate considering that he had to climb for 1.5 miles half way through his leg. It was also one of those spookier ones.... Kinda dark, in the woods etc etc... yikes.... Oh yes and of course he was sandbagging again when giving us his projected time for the clip board! ;-)

Last one up for that rotation was Joel. Close to 6 miles and basically one rolling downhill. Well, there was one juicy climb too!

I don't have much memory of this leg, because we headed out right after Joel left and traveled to the next transition zone to meet up with the other half of the team and also to grab some of the turkey sandwiches that the volunteers at the Plumtree Presbyterian Church exchange sell.

2. Break for Van1

Pretty much all of us grabbed one of these sandwiches and then we chatted some with the other van until Joel came in. Actually, I might have left the group early and took a little cat nap in the van until Joel was done with his run.

After we wrapped things up at the Plumtree exchange, we moved ahead to the next transition zone at the Bakersville Fire Department. They sell pancakes there, but I just had the turkey sandwich and wanted to sleep more than I wanted to eat. So we found a spot at the back of the parking lot and Alex set-up his tent, Christina and Ken an air mattress, I pulled out my camping mattress and the remainders of the group set-up shop in the van. After maybe two glorious hours of sleep on the soft and mushy grass, I woke up and the first thing that I saw was a big fat old spider crawling over the grass maybe two feet away from my face. I am glad that happened after I woke up and not before I feel asleep, otherwise, sleep would have been impossible... at least outside.

We got our stuff together and waited for the last runner from van 2 coming in.

I skipped the pancakes again... Not a good idea if you are planning on running a 9-miler in a couple of hours.

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Blue Ridge Relay Pt One

This is part one of my Blue Ridge Relay race report.

207.1 miles from Grayson Highland State Park VA to Asheville NC
Team "Do Not Resuscitate"
Total Time: 33h 03m 09s (9:32 minute/mile)
Open Category: 41/44
Overall: 87/99


Last year, we stayed in Boone NC in the night before the race, which made for a very early wake-up call. This year, things were a little more relaxed since our hotel was just half an hour away from the start line.... theoretically... 45 minutes including a couple of detours.

Van2 decided to sleep in (can't really blame them), so van1 was on it's own. We signed in with the race officials and took our starting line picture with half of the team. The other half is going to be photo-shopped into this pic! ;-)


The sequence in Van1 was: Alex, Christina, me, Jeff, Ken and Joel

A disclaimer for the following "leg reports": I didn't interview my van mates about their legs, so please keep in mind that all of this is basically what I saw or what they mentioned after their run. Some descriptions will be more detailed and some less detailed... Depending on what stuck in my head. Each of my team mates is encouraged to add their opinion or set me straight where necessary.

1. Rotation Van1

As our first runner, Alex took the show on the road for team DNR. His first leg was downhill and the goal was to beat Joel's time from last year... and even more important, not to get passed by Fred Flintstone again, which was a no show this year, so no threat there. The van handbook mentioned to watch for wild ponies, but I don't believe there were any sightings. His 4 mile leg was done and over quick (at least for the one's waiting) and the wristband was handed over to Christina.

Christina's 7.5 mile leg was also mostly downhill on narrow gravel roads. It actually took our van forever to navigate those roads, but the views were nice and there was almost no traffic, except the team vans. She made it in to the exchange zone pretty much at her projected time and looked strong when she handed over the wristband to me.


My first leg was 5.2 miles with the second mile being a nice steep uphill (up to 8% grade) on gravel roads. The first mile, I did faster than I thought I did and still felt good. The uphill mile was a little more work, but I kept plugging along... slowly. Mile 2 according to the Garmin was around a 12 minute/ mile. But once I was done with that hill, it was all downhill to the next exchange zone - first on gravel, but then the last 2.5 miles on the road. The gravel made for some insecure footing and even though I was wearing trail running shoes (as usual), I felt several rocks poking in my feet. The van traffic also caused some dust which didn't feel to good. I good passed by several people during this leg and passed one runner. The people that passed, didn't just pass me, but they flew by me and most of them were out of my sight quickly. I tried to not get discouraged by this and just kept on running based on my abilities, trusting in my faster team mates to make some ground on their legs. I ended up with 10 minutes/mile as average for this leg and I feel good about it... It also felt good to pass the baton to Jeff.

Jeff had a 6.9 mile leg on tap as first run. He actually was the only team mate that chose to return to his legs from last year (to re-live the glory? ;-), so he knew what he was about to run through from own experience and not just watching other team mates. He also had to run on one of the first bigger roads with heavy traffic. But in true Jeff fashion, he had a fast leg despite the long nasty climb between mile 3.5 and 5.5... Carrying NO WATER... Fascinating! Time to hand over the wristband to Ken.

Ken's leg routed him through the town of West Jefferson. A lot of the time, there were sidewalks available, but at one of the craziest spots there was none. Of course.  He also had tons of turns on his run, but not a problem for Special K. There was this one quarter mile 7% grade climb in the last mile of the run. Yikes. He came in way under his projected time, so Ken really has to stop sandbagging! ;-)


Time for Joel and the last leg of the first rotation for van1. Joel had two nice hills on his first leg over a total of 5.2 miles. The first mile was all hill topping out at a 6% grade and then the other hill was between mile 2.5 and 4.5 topping out at 8% grade. The handbook says to enjoy the views of the mountain and the waterfalls on the first big descent, but I kinda doubt that anyone has the nerve for that kind of thing on a gravel road while trying to recover from climbing a big ole hill. But like the trooper that his is, he brought it home and handed the baton to the first runner of van2.

1. Break for Van1

Now it was time to get some rest for van1. We drove to the Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock and set up camp at the second transition zone where we would start up again in a couple of hours. We got there around lunch time, so we hit up the same spot we did last year and stuffed our faces with burgers/wraps and fries/ sweet potato fries (onion rings for the people with the iron stomachs). After feeling sufficiently full, we got back to the van to nap. Some of us napped or tried to nap in the van, some of us where laying out on the grass like so many other runners from other teams too. I maybe got in 1.5 hours of sleep, which is pretty darn good for me in.

Funny side story from the transition zone: After we were already parked there for several hours, two police cars visited us with sirens and blue lights and stuff. From what we hear, a "concerned customer" called the cops because our van had "Do Not Resuscitate" written on them and there are people laying in the grass. Hmmm... For whatever reason they completely ignored the writing on the next van window saying "This time it's not serious... again!". Anyways, the police officers were pretty cool after we explained what was going on and they of course also had to notice all the other decorated vans in the parking lot. Weird weird story.

Stay tuned for the next part of the relay race report coming up tomorrow... maybe... We'll see! ;-)

First run post BRR2 update: It was ugly and I just made it to 3.5 miles before giving in and walking back to the Y. I still feel pretty crappy now and will call it an early night. Hopefully things feel better tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Too Soon?

Monday morning, I received this e-mail from one of my team mates:
Since Team DNR has become Do Not Return to the BRR.  Here are some details for the 2011 Bourbon Chase:
Date is 10/7/2011.
Field size is limited to 200 teams.
Cost is $1,200 if registered by Thanksgiving.  A $400 deposit is required; the balance is not due until July, 2011.
The race goes from Jim Beam to downtown Lexington.
I have not looked at all the legs, but several of the "Difficult" rated ones had hills with 3% grades, 100' over a mile or so.  Those would be rated Easy or Moderate on the BRR!
The starting line is about 6-1/2 hours from Greenville.
I'm in!  Who's with me?
Too soon?
Looks like a lot of people on the team are ready to make plans for next year already! ;-)

In other news:

There will be a local relay on November 13th benefiting the Project HOPE Foundation.

The relay is for teams of five and every runner has two legs and course is 42.5 miles in total. The start line is in the Paris Mountain State Park and the finish line in downtown Greenville SC.

Here is the race information.

This sounds like so much fun, but I am already signed up for the Camp Croft Trail Half on the same day, so I guess that means I am out for this one. Dang.


And I am still working on my race report for the Blue Ridge Relay and just give you a couple more pictures (thanks, Brian) from the weekend in the meantime:

 Carbo loading in the hotel room... Yes.... It's really water in my hand! ;-)

Van1 and Van2 reunited at the first transition zone.

Another reunion at the second transition zone.

And the third and last transition zone.

In the meantime, the recovery is coming along. I can walk down stairs again and I made it to the pool this morning for an hour of easy swimming. Tomorrow morning, I will attempt my first run post BRR2 and can only hope that my running partner is going to take it easy on me! ;-)

So long.

Monday, September 20, 2010

All Over The Place

Brace yourself, because this post is going to be all over the place.

To follow-up on my yoga post from last week, I have to confess that I didn't make it... Zipp, zero, nada and nothing at all on Thursday other than working, traveling to Jefferson NC and have a ball with my van1 team members at the local pizza joint. But due that post, Lindsay gave me this great link for some 10 minute yoga videos. Can't wait to try those out, once I can move again.

Which brings me to the next topic: Yes, I am still sore... Of course my quads are still trashed (thanks downhills), but even worse are my ankles. This is the weirdest thing, I don't think I ever had sore ankles in my life!! I just hope that what I feel is actually soreness not something more serious going on.

Due to all that, I am going to skip my planned workout for tonight and will give my body another full day of rest. That frees up the evening to go to the monthly Greenville Track Club meeting and listen to guest speaker Jeff Galloway! Can't wait!

When I posted yesterday morning, I still had high hopes that I would get in a swim, but honestly I was just too tired for it and couldn't get myself to do anything. I also planned to head downtown in the late afternoon to see the finish of the USA Cycling Pro Championship, but even for that I couldn't get my butt off the couch.

I tried to follow the race over the live stream on the official website, but that thing was a nightmare! After getting really frustrated, I finally grabbed the dog and headed towards Old Buncomb Road which was part of the course. That's not even a mile from the house and since I should be doing at least a little bit of physical activity to loosen up those muscles, a little walk sure wouldn't harm. Half way there, I heard the helicopter and police sirens and I was worried that I would miss the cyclists by a couple of minutes, so Karma and I started a little shuffle (yes, quite painful). We made it just in time to see Ben King (the winner) leading with around a 10 minute gap to the peloton. I also scored a water bottle that one cyclist tossed away close to where I was at. Once the peloton passed me, I made it back to the house and rest up some... 20 minutes of walking is ROUGH! ;-)

So long! ;-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First BRR Pics

WE ARE BAAAACK! I caught up on some sleep in the meantime and now I am ready to look at the first pictures from the relay.

We had tons of fun as usual and there are so many stories that need to be told, once it's all sorted out in my head. If I remember correctly, we ended up under 33 hours in total for 207.1 miles from the Grayson Highlands State Park VA to Asheville NC. I ran 16 miles out of that distance and am happy with them. The soreness settled in as soon as I finished my last leg and has just gotten worse from there. I can't remember the last time I was this sore. My ankles (????) and quads are killing me right now. So the plan for today is to do some walking and maybe some swimming, to shake things out.

Here are the first couple of pictures off my camera and I hope to have tons more as soon as everyone has uploaded their stuff in Facebook.

Some people in Van1 thought it was a good idea to have pizza pre race... Actually, not the two on the pic.... Not me either! ;-)

We made sure, that everyone knows our van means business!

Van2 decided to sleep in, so Van1 represented team DNR at the start line... There will be some photo-shopping!

Some people warm-up with push-ups, they are so hard core! ;-)

Parts of Van1 and Van2 at the transition area in Blowing Rock. Van1 about to take over for the second time.

Van1 right before we send our last runner on the road. Ready to be done!

Team Do Not Resuscitate at the finish line in Asheville NC. GO TEAM!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Keep The Yoga Going

My inspiration.

My execution... Rocking the Recovery Socks.

A couple of weeks ago, I put myself on a challenge to do Yoga once a week for the rest of the year. I stuck to it so far. Today, I missed my regular "Sunrise Yoga" class at the Caine Halter YMCA, because I am somewhere between the Grayson Highlands State Park (Virginia) and Asheville (North Carolina) to run the Blue Ridge Relay with team D.N.R.! This is a scheduled post, so while I type this, I still have a question mark about if I was able to squeeze in some yoga moves on Thursday to relax a little after our drive up to Jefferson where we stayed the night.

Have a great weekend everyone and I should be back tomorrow with a quick update from the finish line... If I am able to keep my eyes open that long. Otherwise, I will work on the race report a.s.a.p.

So long! ;-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Packed And Ready To Roll

This post is schedule to be published around the same time as "van one" is planning to pick me up at the house.

On the road again and super excited. The only thing that sucks about this little trip is the fact that my dear husband decided not to join in the fun this year and with that, I lost my personalized and customized pillow.

I just finish packing a couple of minutes ago and ended up with a huge bag that normally Terry hauls around. But really, with the van rentals, I didn't worry about packing more conservatively.

What I think I need for this relay:
  • three running outfits including socks, arm and leg warmers to make quick long sleeves and pants in case it's getting cold at night
  • 2 safety vest with blinky lights, 1 regular safety vest, 2 head lamps and 1 red rear lamp (Christmas in September)
  • two pairs of running shoes, 1 pair of sandals
  • compression sleeves and recovery socks for in between the runs
  • big towel, so I don't have to sweat into the car seat this time (it's just a rental... yummie)
  • TOMS (tons of more stuff)
My biggest "innovation" for this relay is having three string bags (race goodies) in my big bag. One for all the safety related gear, one for all running gear (Garmin, glasses, headbands, Road ID*, nutrition) and one for "medical" needs (tape, nail clippers, aspercreme, biofreeze, sunscreen, tums)... Hopefully, this approach will save some time and nerves.

*reminds me, that I have to update my insurance information in my RoadID profile

After I got all my stuff together, I did a little photo series about Karma and me:

My fellow "model" obviously was a little distracted.

Here we go!

And here another pic with some crazy eye action.

Every time the flash went off, Ms Karma was going into a little frenzy, jumping all over the place and on top of me... She's lucky, that she's cute.

And here is a Runner's World's "Daily Kick In The Butt" quote from a couple of weeks ago:

I think there is too much emphasis placed on the distinction between the people in the front and the people in the back. I happen to feel that the sensations are exactly the same for all of us.
Kenny Moore, marathoner and writer

In that sense, I expect for team D.N.R. to rule the 9 minute/mile division at the BRR!

So long! ;-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits Vol 10

  • Since I was all about gear love in last Sunday's post, I completely forgot to mentioned that we tried out a completely new route for us... It was all back country roads with wonderful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Paris Mountain, that came at the price of having tons of climbs on the roads. There was hardly any traffic and on several stretches not even a lot of signs of civilization. A wonderful route, that I would do again, but I wouldn't try on my own, because it's just so far away from anything.
  • Seriously, I think I start forgetting some of my German. Especially when talking about the running and stuff, since I didn't do any of this when I lived over there... I sometimes, just don't know the German word for it or it sounds really really weird. I am worried.
  • I skipped my run last night. I just felt tired and judging from how the ride was on Sunday, it was probably for the better, especially with the relay coming up.
  • Instead of running, I took the doggy out for a longer walk. I really have to start taking a camera on those walks, now that the leaves are going to start turning colors any day.
  • Recovery socks are really tight! My compression sleeves are really tight too... Why do I have monster calves?
  • This morning marked the return to the pool after over a month of absence. I took it easy and the shoulder was only mildly irritated.
  • I was in a lane next to the water aerobic class and the only thing those ladies seemed to exercise was their mouth... The instructor had the hardest time to break up the chatter! ;-)
  • It was downright chilly when I left the house at 5am this morning.... Goody goody... Hopefully it's going to be the same tomorrow morning for my run!
  • Just two more days of work until we take off for the Blue Ridge Relay.... I am very excited. The thing I am looking forward to most are the post-race beers at the Mellow Mushroom in Asheville while we are waiting for van two to finish up the race... Of course we are going to interrupt our MM session for a quick crossing over the finish line with the team!
  • I haven't packed a thing yet and I should really check the weather forecast. The night run might get really cold and the day runs probably blazing hot... Are they calling for rain? Oh well, anything can happen in those mountains I guess.
  • It is amazing to see pictures from races in other parts of the country and the people a clothes in long sleeves and pants... I can't even remember what long sleeves and pants are when I am outside. Inside it's another story,  I have been using the heater under my desk throughout the summer, because that stupid A/C is keeping the room at temps under 70. I know I am the only one complaining here since I am sharing the office with boys and they are always warm. Men are from Mars etc etc etc.
So long!

Oh and don't forget to smile! ;-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I had a packet in the mail yesterday with my amazon order of my new cycling shoes. It's a pair of Pearl Izumi's TriFlyIII.... SWEET! And the timing was perfect too, since I just got some Speedplay pedals and a new cycling helmet earlier that day! DOUBLE SWEET! Especially, since I have some birthday cash to spend that I actually don't have yet, because it's not quite my birthday yet, but the shoes were too much of a deal to let that one pass. And of course I didn't want to wait with all the other stuff then.

When I started back cycling on my hybrid a couple of years ago, I eventually wanted to get some clipless pedals. Because I didn't know, if this cycling thing is going to stick with me, I ended up with SPD cleats and mountain bike shoes. It was a simple more bang for the buck type deal, because shoes with SPD cleats could double as my spinning shoes and seriously, the mountain bike shoes I got were so much cheaper than any regular cycling shoe I saw.

Now that it's two years later and that cycling thing seems to really stick with me, I thought it was time for an upgrade and BAM! here we are... New shoes, new cleats and new helmet... Oh the helmet was actually really due, because you are not supposed to use a helmet longer than two years... At least that's what I read somewhere.

It took us a little while to get the new pedals on the bike and the new cleats on the shoes, but eventually we made it out on the road. And then had to stop again to make some additional adjustments to make it easier for me to clip in and out... So that I won't tip over at the first stop sign.

We headed out for a 30 mile ride and it took us a little longer than usual. There was a lot of wind and I picked a really really hilly route... On top of all that, my legs just felt dead. But we got out there and that's the important thing.

First impression of the shoes/cleats/pedals/helmet:

Shoes: I think I like them, but I think it's going to take my feet a while to get used to them. Those shoes are so much stiffer than my mtn bike shoes. A big plus in comfort is that I picked a larger size for those shoes. My old ones are really snug and in the winter, I wasn't able to wear a good pair of socks without cutting of the circulation to my shoes. Oh and they are soooo light.... so sweet and light.

Speedplay: I just hope I figure it out really fast! But I do enjoy the 15 degree float. Unfortunately, the way we set them up currently, gives me full range on my left foot and pretty much none on my right. Gotta fix that before I hop on the bike the next time.

Helmet: It's worth spending a little more to get a helmet with sizes and not one of the universal size type helmets. All the helmets are just as safe as the next, but having a sized helmet, just fits so much better and feels so much better. It's also lighter than my previous one and has more airflow...  All good so far.

Looks like the weekend is almost over.... I hope you all had a great weekend. For me, it's just 3.5 days of work and then team D.N.R. is back in action at he Blue Ridge Relay... YAY!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Confidence Builder

Some runs are trying to break you and some runs are going to build your confidence. Today, I had a total confidence builder on my hands.

I started out in Greenville on the Swamp Rabbit Trail close to that Children Park and went all the way up to
Furman and back for a total of 13.1 miles. Yes that's right, I ran a half marathon today. And on top of everything, I wasn't exhausted afterward! I did the whole distance in 2h 20mins and I am very confident that I am able to pull this off in 2:10h come race day - at least.

The run was based on heart rate zones and after a 20 minutes warm-up in Z2, I did two Z3 and two Z4 efforts for each 25 minutes. I know I should be able to at least sustain Z3 for the whole distance, if not even Z4! Seriously, I am totally pumped with today's run... So excited!!


After the run, there wasn't much rest for this weary soul. I got back to the house, grabbed a shower and something small to eat and off I went again to go to the Relay for Life Corporate Event at the BMW Performance Center. DRX was invited to join them this year and the company (it's employees) ended up raising around 10,000 USD in a couple of weeks... What an accomplishment!

I stayed until the opening activities (survivor lap, care giver lap and team lap) were over and then took off to run a couple of errands.

I will post a couple of pictures from the events once I downloaded them. Our team tent looked AWESOME, you'll see! ;-)

So long! ;-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Still Alive And Kicking

Even though it has been mighty silent around here, I am still alive and kicking.

Work has taken over some this week which made for longer evenings and by the time I got my workout done and had something to eat, it was almost bedtime again. Something's gotta give and this week it was the blogging. Oh well! Right now, I am just having lunch at my desk (rice and beans leftovers, no picture because it really looked like... well... not good) and will keep it short anyways, I just wanted to type out what was going on this week.

Since my labor day 9-miler for the Blue Ridge, I did two more 6-milers, one on Wednesday and one yesterday. Same distance, very different runs.

Wednesday I didn't get back home until 6.30pm and by the time I finally started running it was after 7pm and we all know that it's getting dark so much sooner now. Anyways, Terry decided to tag along with me and since I didn't wanted to aggravate him with my heart rate zone training (Garmin beeps around a lot), I just went out and ran with him. That gave us one hour of uninterrupted couple time. We went out and back on the Swamp Rabbit Trail between Furman Lake and Sunrift Adventures in TR. By the time we got back to the car, it was pretty dark already.

For yesterday's run, I was a little more proactive and packed my running gear to go to the Caine Halter Y right after work instead of going home. Firstly, this way I really start running right away because there is nothing to distract me (dish washer, laundry etc) and secondly, in the case I got out of work really really late, I am not worried about running in the well lit roads around the Y... That's also my morning run territory when I am on my own. I actually got there and out running my 6.30PM! SCORE! I did the heart rate zone run that I skipped the day before and have to say that things went really well. Of course the lower temps do wonders for my running performance. But on top of that, slowly but surely I see my pace increase in the same heart rate zone. SWEET!

I hope to keep my "running momentum" going on the 2h 15m endurance run planned for tomorrow.

On Tuesday, I wasn't lazy either. I ended up doing a one hour trainer ride with some nice intervals. Here the same thing, I seemed to have to pedal more to get my heart rate were it's supposed to me. Well, for the first round of intervals... The second round, not so much a problem anymore.

I am so glad, I broke down last year and got myself a trainer... It was certainly a good investment in my training. When I first got the trainer, I thought I am just going to use it during the winter months, but it has been in use over the whole summer as well. Whenever the downpour started or when I lost daylight or when I had some time constraint that had me go for quality over quantity*.

*a trainer ride is more efficient than riding on the road, because you will have no rest, no cruising, no stop lights

Ooops... I guess, I had more to say than I thought... Anyways... Lunch break is over!

Happy weekend everyone! ;-)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where Carbo Loading Is Yummie!

I haven't featured a restaurant review in a while, but I actually wanted to talk about this place and kept on postponing it.

Brioso Fresh Pasta is one of the new places in the Cherrydale area and I what I heard about it, said that they have really good food. Looking at "urbanspoon", the reviews have been very mixed. Not many people complained about the food, but several people about the service.

Brioso Fresh Pasta on Urbanspoon

The first time I had something from there, we actually just ordered to go. If my memory serves me right, I had the portobello mushroom ravioli with the marinara sauce and I loved it! But of course, I couldn't quite get the full picture if I never actually ate there.

So last Sunday, we finally made it. The set-up of the place is a little funny, since you order your food and drinks on the register. If you have never eaten there before, things can get a little confusing, but the staff on the register was very helpful.

We placed our orders and then got a table in the outside patio area... Got our beverages, water refill bottle, olive oil and herb bread to start us up....

The food was there fast.

My choice was the spinach gemelli with the siciliana sauce (eggplant, mozzarella, and basil in tomato sauce topped with shredded ricotta cheese). I enjoyed every single bite of my bowl!

Terry was so hungry, I couldn't wait for me to take the picture! ;-) He had spaghetti with bolognese sauce (classic Italian meat sauce) and some meat balls (meat with a side of meat ;-). He said he really like the spaghetti and sauce, but didn't care so much about the meat balls (bland).

The great thing about this place is that you can combine any pasta they have with any sauce. They also offer gluten-free pasta options and with all the different sauces, there is plenty of choice for the vegetarians too.

The place is super cosy and the interior design is very Mediterranean without being kitschy. I think it's odd to order at the register in a place that looks like so inviting to just hang out. But the food is great and I will certainly go back.

Thumbs up!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dress Rehearsal for the BRR

Happy Labor Day!

This blog post comes to you from my bed and was written while watching silly series on TV. Yes, I know the weather is beautiful and such, but you know what.... I have the house to myself today and I will just take it easy. Besides, the weather is beautiful for around five months now... At one point, one just needs to curl up in bed.

Oh and yes, I already ran 9 miles today, so I think I am alright.

I used the long weekend to do my usual relay dress rehearsal. The Blue Ridge Relay is in two weeks, so this was my last chance anyways! ;-) My sequence in legs is 5.2, 2.3 and 9 miles and that's also what I was planning on running for the rehearsal.

For the last couple of months, the only thing I did was long slow distances with a couple of intervals sprinkled in and a race here and there. So my goal for all of these rehearsal runs, was just to run them... Not paying attention to heart rate and just get them done.

The five miler was done Sunday morning around the neighborhood. It is going to be the hilliest out of my three legs and our neighborhood is hilly.... Perfect. Thanks to the cool temps, this run felt great and it was faster than anything I have done since... I don't know how long. Success.

After the run, I failed to hydrate properly which resulted in a nasty dehydration headache that I just wasn't able to shake for the rest of the day... No matter how much water I had after the headache already started.

Due to that headache, I bagged my second run for the day. Especially since it was just a two miler and I didn't think it was worth the hassle. But I took the dog for a longer walk, doing that two mile loop that I was planning on running. This way, I at least spend that distance on my feet and got a good upper body workout in, since Miss Karma is just incapable of walking civilized on the leash and kept dragging me along.

I spent a good chunk out of my Labor Day morning just being lazy and of course got a late start on my 9 miler. Actually, such a late start, that the swim after the run wasn't going to happen, because the Y closes at 1PM on holidays. I still drove to the Y and ran from there for a little change in scenery and it was totally worth it. Even though the trail sometimes was very crowded with all the people out... But this way, things never got boring, because there were always things to look at. 9 miler done and done and at a decent pace too, even with the day already warming up again.

Well, I guess I am ready for the relay now. ;-)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Export Routes From Bikely, Import Courses To Garmin Training Center

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I struggled to get the the bikely route into the my Garmin Forerunner 305 to try out the "course" function. Let's do a little tutorial here.

First of all, bikely is a GREAT resource for bike rides in and around Greenville, since the Greenville Spinners seemed to utilize this page a lot. But you can search for routes all over the world and the data base grows daily. I like it more than mapmyride, because there is no advertising floating through the maps and the site also seems to load faster. Another plus point for me on bikely is, that cue sheets can be attached to routes... ready to print.

But let's get going with the "tutorial".

Step 1: Pick a route or draw your own route on bikely.

So just assume for a minute that I am in France and happen to have my bike with me....

In the map view, you can see the elevation profile of the course. If there is a cue sheet maintained with the route, you can just click on "cue sheet". As mentioned yesterday, I recommend having a back-up to the Garmin along for the ride.

Step 2: Download route to your computer.

While in the map view, click on "Share" an select option "Download .GPX".

So far, this is pretty straight forward. The problem now is, that you can only download .GPX and .KML out of bikely, but Garmin only understands .TCX and .CRS files.

Step 3: Convert GPX download to TCX file

 Visit Convert site and upload your GPX from the route that you downloaded earlier. Then choose TCX format and click convert and save the new file on your computer again.

Step 4: Upload TCX file to Garmin Training Center.

File> Import> Courses and select your course file.

Step 5: Upload route from Garmin Training Center to your FR305

Of course you have to connect your Forerunner to your computer first and then send course to device in the training center software.

DONE! All that is left to do now:

Step 6: Get on your bike and ride the course!

Garmin FR305> Training> Courses> Select your course> Select "Do Course"
In order to switch between the data fields and the map press the "mode" button a couple of times.

Happy riding! ;-)