Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I've heard that wearing a wetsuit increases your buoyancy and thus helps your time, and so if it's legal to wear one, you should. But I'm having a hard time believing that my suit makes me faster. It always feels like I can't reach as far as when I swim in just a regular swimsuit. And it seems super slow if I try to sidestroke or breaststroke. And I feel so big and bubbly.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
I tried and tried to make myself need to use the bathroom. Tried being nervous, but I wasn't. Tried thinking about running. Nope. When I finally reached the blue box, nothing happened. Durn. I knew I'd have to stop somewhere along the way. Oh well, can't force Mother Nature.
We lined up at the start and took of at a slow jog when the cannon started. A lot of folks passed us in the first half mile or so, but that was okay. We were taking our time, enjoying the beauty of the river of colorful runners winding around the base of the freshly sunlit hills. It was stunning. And a bit chilly for that first mile or so, but we started to warm up after a while.
The course followed the Bitterroot River for the first few miles, which was just stunning. We jogged along at an easy steady pace. Nice and comfortable. Around mile 3 or 4 we ran over a bridge crossing the river, and cheesed it up for the photographer. Around mile 5, we were beginning to get into more tightly-spaced houses, and of course, that's when I began having urges to go. We passed a porta-potty, but there was a line, so I decided to hold out for the next aid station.
By the time we reached the aid station at the half-way point, there was no holding it any more. Amy decided to eat her Sport Beans while I waited in line for the potty. There were 4 girls in front of me!!! I waited for over 3 minutes, uncomfortably dancing around trying to hold it. Ugh! Finally I got my chance, did my duty, and popped out of the box ready to go.
Bummed that we'd taken so much time out to wait in line, I decided to pick up the pace a little bit. We started taking 10 seconds or so off each mile, which actually felt good. But I was hesitant to push our pace too much, knowing that the 6.5 mile marker isn't actually the half-way point in a half marathon-- it's the 9 mile marker that really marks the split between two parts of the run. The first nine miles are pretty comfortable; it's the last 4 that can really test your preparation.
We were winding through tree-lined neighborhoods in the early morning hours. At several houses, folks were sitting on their porches having coffee, watching the runners pass. Some shouted encouragement, some just smiled and nodded. Some had music blasting. And one house was even wafting the smell of bacon out into the streets (for once, bacon didn't smell good-- not after running for so long!)
All was going well until right after the 9 mile mark, when my side cramp reared up its ugly head. It wasn't too bad, so I kept running and breathing, hoping it wouldn't get worse. At the same time, Amy's knees were starting to pain her a bit. Yep, this is where it begins to get hard. Do we run faster and hope this all ends sooner, or do we keep it slow and not risk increasing the pain?
Well, we decided on a little of both. We kept increasing our pace ever so slowly, and by mile 10 were doing better. It's just a 5k now! We started noticing how many people we were passing... one or two every few minutes. Folks we'd been following the whole time were starting to slow, or at least weren't picking up the pace like we were. Others were tiring and starting to walk.
Around mile 11 it began to get fun. We started running through the University district, where more fans were out and more folks had music playing. Gold's Gym had parked their Hummer along the route and it was blasting out "Groove is in the Heart." Whoo hoo. That music really got me going. We cranked up the pace a good bit more, walked through our last aid station to revive ourselves for the final push, and then let loose.
Well, as loose as we could given that we'd already run over 11 miles. But we went hard enough that we weren't able to chat easily anymore. Conversation was limited to "you're doing great," and "wheww..." and "almost there."
The finish line was terrific. The last 0.3 miles or so took us down Higgins Ave, one of the main streets in Missoula, which had been closed off for the occasion. We could see the arch of baloons, hear the announcer in the background. Fans lined the bridge across the Clark Fork River and cheered us on as we ran strong to the finish. We High-Fived each other as we crossed the finish line, and I appreciated my second-in-a-row race finish in which I didn't immediately fold over and gag!
Craig found us at the water/PowerAid tank, and gave us a congrats. We spent the next half an hour or so wandering around in a semi-daze, our minds clouded by the exhaustion of the long run and the buzz of the crowd. The Good Food Store had a food tent set up, so after my stomach calmed down a bit and I got my appetite back, I grabbed a small plate of pasta salad and a couple slices of watermelon.
After a quick photo shoot, Amy and I parted ways. I returned to the bridge to watch the marathon runners and half-marathon walkers coming in. As I sat there, the river running below me and the mountains filling the background, I got a little misty-eyed. I thought of how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place, to have good supportive friends and family, and to have a body that can take me nearly anywhere I want to go. And I also welled up with pride for the perfect strangers who were running by-- what great accomplishments they'd made.
Looking back now, it was a good run. Definitely felt easier than the first half I ran-- probably because I knew what to expect! It actually felt pretty good to run faster for the last few miles, and made me want to go out and see how fast I can really run a half. And made me ponder more about whether or not I'll ever want to do a full. We'll see...
Sunday, July 13, 2008
But I know some of you are DYING to know how it went, so here's a little teaser....
Okay, okay, a few more tidbits. We finished super strong, and neither had too many pains or problems, save for a few minor incidents. Here's the mile-by-mile breakdown of time splits and my average heartrate (and rough % max):
Mile 1: 9:45***, 158 (76%)
Mile 2: 11:37**, 160 (77%)
Mile 3: 11:28, 153 (74%)
Mile 4: 11:20, 160 (77%)
Mile 5: 11:07, 160 (77%)
Mile 6: 11:06, 163 (78%)
Mile 7 & 8: 21:17***, 165 (79%)
Mile 9: 10:54, 171 (82%)
Mile 10: 10:41, 171 (82%)
Mile 11: 11:16, 169 (81%)
Mile 12: 10:40, 172 (83%)
Mile 13 (plus .1): 10:08, 174 (84)
* all agreed the first mile was marked incorrectly
** second mile marker made up ground for mile 1
*** didn't see the mile marker
Total time: 2:25.18
Total time spent running: that minus a 4 minute bathroom break and walk breaks through each aid station
Pride level: high
Number of people we picked off as we increased our speed in the second half: lots
Certainty that we can go faster next time: very high
I hope that gets everyone their fix for now. I promise to write more after food, a nap, and some chores (laundry, dishes... yay).
Saturday, July 12, 2008
So by yesterday afternoon I was tight, tired, a bit dazed. Mamie said I looked "shell-shocked."
I needed to run. I was hungry. It was warmer than I usually like. I was tired. Usually I could use any of those excuses to talk me out of a run, or at least make it feel more like a chore than something I really wanted to do.
But yesterday afternoon, the one thing in the world that I KNEW would make things better was a nice run.
Mamie joined me, and we took off at a nice, slow pace. Really slow. Like when I first started running.
I left my watch behind. Didn't bother with a heart rate monitor. Didn't have a route planned and pre-mapped ahead of time to know how far I needed to go. Nope, this wasn't a workout. This wasn't training. This run was all about running because running is good to me.
We jogged along, chatting about some lighter topics (I've written before about how hard it is for me to think or talk about heavy subjects while running). So we talked about buying shoes, about our new toys (my bike, her kayak), about how pretty the neighbor's flowers were. And we just ran around.
After a while, my nicely-tapered body was ready to rock. I did a few bursts of speed, and enjoyed the feeling of my legs turning over smoothly and quickly. But there was no intended purpose to this. It just felt good.
With each step my mood brightened. The heaviness on my mind lightened. I became more human again. I smiled a little bigger. And I gave thanks for the fact that running can fulfill me in so many ways.
(Tomorrow I'll try to remember that feeling as I go out for 13 miles of "therapy"!!!)
And now the rest of the story:
How was my eating for the day (especially after the run, when I was super hungry and headed out for Thai food?)
First, I'd done fairly well earlier in the day: a bowl of cereal for breakfast; half a bagel with light cream cheese mid-morning; a half roast beef sandwich (no cheese, no mayo) for lunch when I went out with co-workers; and a 12 oz skim iced latte mid-afternoon. Good mix of good carbs and protein. Very low on the excess sugars/fats end of the spectrum. Good portion control.
So for dinner, 4 of us went to Sa-Wa-Dee for Thai. We rode our bikes there from Kev & Mamie's house, which was fun. We decided to order 4 different entrees and swap around family-style. So I had a small portion each of: Pad Thai, MaSaMan curry with chicken, Curry fried rice, and Red curry shrimp. I probably ate a total of 1/2 cup of rice (rather than the full cup that I could've easily shoved down). And I didn't dig in for seconds (except for grabbing one more shrimp!). Oh, and I had one glass of white wine.
We got done, and I felt satisfied (and slightly warm and fuzzy from the wine), but definitely not stuffed. It was a nice feeling. Then someone said Ice Cream, so we hopped on our bikes and rode down to Big Dipper. I ordered a kid-size cup of El Salvadore Coffee ice cream. I ate it slowly, savoring the flavor, and didn't even want more. The half-scoop was plenty.
So, a successful day. Even though I went out twice, for lunch and dinner, I was able to maintain good portion control. And as a result, I felt so much better at the end of the day than I would have if I'd done my usual tact of eating double the portions. And instead of waking up this morning feeling fat, I feel flat (in my tummy area, that is). So I'm going to put on a skirt and tank top, and head down to the Expo to pick up my race packet, then wander over to the Farmer's Market, and perhaps stroll around downtown looking for new shoes... basically dawdle around all day and enjoy the "calm before the storm"!!!
Friday, July 11, 2008
Sunny, with a high near 86. South wind 5 to 13 mph becoming west. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph.
Let's hope that's a Tail Wind!!!
* Swimming laps in Missoula's new 50m pool with Jenny
* AMY: complete her first real 1/2 M (she did the Snow Joke a few years ago with two other gals, but they walked much more of it than they ran, so she's hoping to truly run a 1/2)
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Friday night: Margaritas! And super-humongous nachos at the Iron Horse with Jim, Jenny, Liz, Dan, Kevin, Mamie, and Chris. Sat on the patio, chatted, lounged. It was great. Those ‘ritas hit the spot!
Saturday early morning: Thanked myself for only having 2 drinks :) Felt great, got up early, enjoyed hanging out in the house with the windows open and a sweatshirt on, enjoying the cool morning before the onslaught of the sun. Washed dishes, did laundry, etc. Appreciated quiet time.
Saturday mid-to-late morning: Did some more bike shopping. Rode several different makes and models at several shops. All seemed “okay,” but not great. Even the higher-end ($2200) Ruby Elite I test-rode just didn’t seem as great as I remembered the Trek being last weekend. So I returned to Open Road bike store and asked to ride the Trek 2.1 again. As soon as I hopped on, I knew. It was my bike. I giggled the whole ride, and went back to the shop with wallet in hand.
Saturday afternoon: Headed up the Blackfoot to go kayaking with Kevin and Mamie. Had a blast! It was my first time in a kayak since 2002, and it was great. I really felt like I was better than I was before! Perhaps the arms and abs are useful for something besides just triathloning!
Saturday evening: Kev and Mamie joined Jim and I for a cookout at our house. On the menu was grilled BBQ chicken, fresh corn on the cob, a big green salad, and lima beans. De-lish. Made even better by the fact that Kev and Mamie did most of the work while I sat on the porch and got toasty off of two light beers :)
Sunday morning: Met Amy for a 2 hour (approx. 11 mile) run in the Rattlesnake. The first part of the run was pretty nice, but by the end it was really getting hot (like, oh, 80 or so). Ugh! I got a super painful side cramp for the last few miles, which put a damper on things. But otherwise the run was okay. Hard, though. Nice to have that over with. It was our longest run before our ½ mary on the 13th.
Sunday mid-day: Went to the Good Food Store for salad bar and bread after the run. Then went back to Open Road to meet my awesome bike salesman Arthur who came in on his day off to help me get acquainted with my new ride. We spent a little over an hour going over the mechanics, ideal gearing, maintenance, tire changing, brake care, etc. It was totally cool of him to help out like that (new bike, dubbed “McDreamy” for it’s dreamcicle colorations and dreamy feeling, wouldn’t fit in the car the day before, so I had to pick it up on Sunday).
Sunday afternoon: Joined Amy and Jenny for an afternoon at the water park! We had a blast riding water slides, lounging around the “Lazy River” on inner tubes, and even doing a few laps in the 50m pool. A great way to spend a hot afternoon!!!
Sunday evening: Tracked Jim down in the hay fields. Took him a much-appreciated bottle of COLD water and rode around with him for a bit while he baled hay. It’s a little loud, but at least the tractor’s air-conditioned, so it’s not a bad place to hang out and chat on a hot evening (okay, so not really, but it was the only chance to get to see him, as he was going to be working til after my bed time).
Whew, what a great weekend. Exhausting, though!
And, as a note, I did really well with my “mindful eating” program this weekend. While Friday was an intentional splurge night, I planned well the rest of the weekend and ate well, enjoying good, tasty foods, but watching my portion control. For example, on Saturday for dinner I had just one piece of chicken (rather than the two or three I would’ve normally eaten), and shared an ear of corn with Mamie, used a smaller than normal amount of dressing, and had just one serving of the delicious limas. No seconds. No dessert. Two beers. I went to bed feeling satisfied but not overly full, and felt great the next morning. Yay.
This coming weekend’s agenda:
Fri: Get up and run 8 miles, shower, then hit the road for Livingston. We’ll meet up with Jim’s mom at the rodeo grounds in Livingston, where his brother David will be working the rodeo as a pickup man. I love rodeos on the 4th of July—what better way to be All-American?! It’ll be nice, too, to spend some more time with David’s fiancé Sarah, whom we’ve only met once. We’ll share a model room with Jim’s mom that night (ooh, yeah, romantic, I know— we all decided that with gas prices and such, saving $100 on a room would be worth it for one night).
Then the next week I’ll be in Missoula for work the whole week, which will be nice. What will Jim and I do with all this time together?!?
The travel and weddings and such will present some challenges to the diet goals. Anyone got tips or suggestions for how to stay reasonably on track when out of your normal element? I’d love to hear them!