Monday, August 30, 2010

Spirit of Columbus Half 2010

The 3rd running of the Spirit of Columbus 1/2 Marathon and Relay was this past weekend.   I wasn't originally going to do this one because I had signed up for Emerald City 1/2, which is next weekend.    Then my good friend Dayspring contacted me to see if I would be interested in doing the relay.    I am so glad she did because I had a blast!     I have never done a relay of this distance so it was a new experience for me!  

We decided I would do the first 1/2 and Dayspring would do the second half.   Dayspring wanted to be able to run into downtown.    I actually preferred to do the first portion because it was easier for me to plan when to take my asthma inhaler and I thought it might be cooler! 

So, the morning started out nice and cool, sunny skies.  My friend Rick picked me up bright and early and we headed over to the race start.   Found a bunch of MIT friends, hung out a bit, and waited in long lines for the bathroom - nothing out of the ordinary for a race morning!     Very low key and about 2 minutes before start time we all ambled over to find a good spot.    Darla, Rick, and I weren't overly concerned about our times so we found  spot towards the back.   7:30am sharp, the gun sounded and we were off!  

I wasn't too sure of myself going into this race because I haven't really done much speed work this summer.  I was hopeful I would be able to do a 9:55 pace or so.    Between HHH (hot, humid, hazy) days, traveling, and being sick - my plan to work on speed kind of fell apart and really I have been doing just enough training to get by.    So, I was pleasantly surprised when Darla and I did the first to miles at an avg. of 10:05 and then 9:24 and I felt pretty good.   After a third mile around 9:30, I decided to see what I could do.   Darla slowed as she was needing to reserve some energy for the (full) 1/2.   So for the next few miles I  tried to work at a hard speed but not killer.   I didn't look at my watch and just went by feel.   I felt like I passed alot of people, including a few that normally run in faster pace groups than me.  Once I got to mile 5 I  tried to pick up the pace a little more and then nausea set in . . .so, I just tried to maintain.    6.55 miles finally arrived and I found Dayspring right away.   I was too breathless to say much of anything but I grabbed her hand and wished her a good run!    My time was right around 1:01!   I forgot to stop my watch after I crossed, so I am unsure of the actual time, but close enough.    Much better than I thought and a PR for this distance!  

After this I had to jump on a shuttle bus to get downtown.   There was alot of traffic so I was a little concerned we wouldn't make it in time.   The nice thing was that we went on the road right next to the race, so I got to see most of my friends at one point in the race or another!   Fortunately we were moving quicker on the bus and I made it in plenty of time to see Dayspring and many of my other friends cross the finish line! 

Dayspring is in the front, white hat!

Here we are:  Team 2 Runner Girls  (race time of 2:06:43)! 

It turned out to be a great race day and many of my friends had PR's!  

Congrats to my friend Michele, who got a nice PR and is now a memeber of the sub 2 hour club!

Rick also got a PR by almost 5 minutes!

And I think 75% of this group also got PR's!   Way to go Rich, Julie, Becca, Mark, Julie, and Jim!

So what else have I been up to? 
Here are my stats for the past few weeks:
8/11/10:  still sick - rest day
8/12/10:  Attempted 30 min run (ran 20 slow then ran/walked for 2:1 ratio), 30 minutes light strength  - after all this I had to take a nap, still feeling sick . . .
8/13/10: biked 15 miles at a nice easy pace (15-16mph)
8/14/10:  8 mile run with MIT
8/15/10:  40 mile bike, ridiculously hot and humid, still feeling affects of bronchitis earlier in the week
8/16/10: 30 minute recovery run
8/17/10:  45minute strength training
8/18/10:  bike 19 miles, brick run 15 minutes
8/19/10:  2500 swim, 40 minute run
8/20/10:  rest
8/21/10:  Pelotonia 105 miles on the bike
8/22/10:  10 mile run
8/23/10:  35 minute run
8/24/10:  2300 swim, 40 minutes strength train
8/25/10:  19 mile bike
8/26/10:  2500 swim, 42 minute run
8/27/10:  38 mile bike (2.5 hours)
8/28/10:  6 mile run with MIT
8/29/10:   Spirit of Columbus Relay, 6.55 mile run (1:01ish)
8/30/10:  2800 swim (outdoor pool, 94 degree weather, dodging kids)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pelotonia 2010

I participated in Pelotonia again this year and I am happy to announce that not only did I raise my fundraising goal ($1,500) but I also finished the ride from Columbus to Athens!   

Pelotonia started Friday night with registration, a catered meal, motivational speakers and live music.   I was honored, once again to bring Eileen with me as my guest.   Especially important to me as a celebration as she is "in remission" for lymphoma, which she has been battling for 2 years!   We met earlier and carpooled together.   Probably should have got there sooner - the place was a zoo with over 4,000 riders and their guests.   We waited in the registration line for about an hour.   Fortunately we saw several people while we waited in line, including Eileen's brother Henry, and my friends Anne and Jeanne.   This helped to pass the time, alot!    Once we got through line, we stayed with Jeanne, found some supper, and claimed a spot on the grass to watch the opening show.   Chris Spielman was the guest speaker this year and it was especially touching, as he lost his wife, Stephanie to breast cancer earlier this year.   He showed this video as part of his talk: 

I don't think there was a dry eye in the house by the time it was done.   Good thing the three of us had sunglasses on that evening!     After Chris, the main headliner, Counting Crows, played for a bit.   I found a few more friends - Ryan, Nate, Rocco, and Susan and forced them to take pics with me!    Unfortunately we didn't stay too much longer after this, as we had to be back at CAS early in the morning for the ride!

Saturday morning started way too early (4:30am on my clock)!    I decided to go down early because I was unsure of the parking situation or how long it would take to get my bike, given that there were double the riders from last year.   I got down there without issue, lucked out on a close spot, and got my bike pretty quickly.   At 5:45am, I had nothing to do until 7:00 am so I found a spot and just observed.   It was humbling to be amoung all of those riders, seeing survivors, and realizing we were all there for one purpose - to find a way to fight cancer!   It felt awesome!   I also got to see my friend Leighann, which was great because I hadn't seen her the night before. 

After a few trips to the bathroom, I met up with Jeanne and we decided to find a place to get into the line of riders.  Much to my surprise, our friends Tammy and Lisa (from MIT) found us to wish us a happy ride and see us off for the day!   Shortly after that, we randomly found some friends of mine that ride with COTT.   Couldn't have planned it better, but it wonderful to find Sara, Ryan, and Stephanie - it gave us a bigger group to ride with on this fine day!!    They also informed us, we would meet up with 4 more people at the first stop, this would give us a group of 9 to ride with for the day!!  Yay!!

At 7am sharp the ride started and we were out on the course!   Riding through Columbus at that time of day was slow, but alot of fun.   Lots of people cheering us on and much discussion about how different we felt on some of the roads on marathon day!    Less than 3 miles into the ride, I happended to glance over and saw my friend Ann that I swim with a few days a week!   We chatted for a bit and she stayed with us for the next 10 miles or so - such fun to see all these people that I know! 

At the first stop we pulled over and eventually found everyone.   It was good to have the crew all there, my "peloton" for the rest of the trip included:  Jeanne, Rocco, Susan, Ryan, Sara, Stephanie, Julie, and Melissa.   It was a great group, one that I was happy to be part of that day!

The next 15 miles went by pretty quickly and before I knew it we were upon the 2nd stop, we pulled in - most of us had to go to the bathroom by this point.   We also saw some more familiar faces - Susan' parents had driven down to see everyone and had a wonderful sign for Rocco and Susan!   We also ran into our friend Katie, who also runs with MIT!  

After this stop we started to get more of a headwind and we started to get into some rolling hills.   Funny, but I didn't really remember these from last year and I kept thinking "who put these hills here?"    After some discussion, Julie and I decided that the wind must have been the reason the hills seemed harder.   Oh boy, we aren't even half way there and I am already getting tired from the "hills."   Fortunately, about this time, my two favorite cheerleaders, Teri and Brenda, were spotted on the side of the road.   You could hear them about a quarter a mile up the road and they had on their bright orange MIT shirts, so it was hard to miss them!   I LOVE spectators and seeing them was awesome!  Just what I needed to get me through to the next stop!

The "half way" stop, Amanda, soon appeared.   I think this is misleading to the riders that do the Columbus to Athens route, in reality we are only about 40% of the way there.   But, it is a good time to stop - afterall, most of us had been up since 4:30am so it definately felt time for lunch.   OUr group had separated a bit, but we all regrouped and ate lunch together.   This was the last time all of us would be toghether until the finish.   As the bigger hills started I knew we would get separated - thank goodness for cell phones so we could all stay in touch! 

After Amanda, the ride goes into Hocking Hills.  This is my favorite part of the course, but also the hardest.   The hills get bigger but the views are spectacular - much of the ride is along a large creek, with winding roads and tree cover.   It really is a beautiful ride.    Jeanne and I decide to stop at the next stop, Amanda Clear Creek Park.    It is a quick stop and we also see Ryan and Sara (3 of the 4 of us has to use the bathroom), everyone else has gone on to tackle "the beast."    Shortly after this stop is the biggest hill on the course.   At one point on the climb, there is a 15% grade!    It is also decieving because you get up part of it, it levels out a bit, you round a corner and then there is more!    Last year I made it up all the hills without having to walk my bike.   Unfortunately this year I didn't.    I made it 2/3 of the way up the beast (including the 15% grade part), but the bronchitis that I battled a few weeks prior caught up with me.   I was wheezing, slightly dizzy, and the legs felt heavy, and then I saw that second incline.   I felt it best at this point to get off and walk the bike.   I was still short of breath 5 minutes after I had walked up the hill, so I felt it was a good decision at that point.  The hill was also a little harder this year - rather than smooth black top it is covered with that gritty, gravel like surface that seems to increase friction and make the bike stick to the road!    Jeanne and I regrouped at the top and went on with the ride.

Shortly after this we came along another (unofficial stop).   We weren't going to stop but someone shouted "homemade baked goods" and I spotted Stephanie and Melissa eating something fabulous -so Jeanne and I quickly swerved our bikes over to join in on the action.   Glad we did - best stop.   It was put together by neighborhood ladies, they had all kinds of fabulous baked items, water, wet wipes, it was lovely.    They had my favorite too - no bake cookies!! Yum!!  I only ate one, but in hindsite, I should have taken a package of them with me, they were GOOD!

After this we tackled more hills, Jeanne and I stayed together for most of it and we pulled into the Logan stop after awhile.   This was a relief - only a little over 30 miles left!   I can do this during the week, no problem.    We ate some more (homemade banana bread here - good stuff) and waited for Julie, Melissa, Sara, Stephanie, and Ryan.   Rocco and Susan had left us all behind by this point and were on a mission to finish.    Shortly after we got there it started to rain.   So, we left this stop rather quickly and headed back on course again.  

This part of the course kind of sucked, well it really sucked.   I don't mind the rain, but there was also alot of traffic.   This made me nervous, I had a hard time seeing much because of the rain and I always worry the people in the cars can't see us.   So, we slowed a bit to get through all the traffic and to make sure we were staying safe.   The rain felt good because it cooled us off, but it definately slowed everything down.   Stephanie passed all of us and took off, she is a strong rider and I had actually expected her to do this much sooner.    This section also had the last hill.   It isn't especially steep, but it is long and it is late in the ride so it seems much harder.   I remembered this hell (I mean hill) from last year and everytime we went up a bit, I kept thinking "is this it?"   We finally got to it, 75% of the riders didn't even try, they just shook their heads and stepped off their bikes.   I tackled it - took it slow and steady.   Oddly, it didn't seem as hard as last year!   Ryan passed me at some point and stopped at the top to wait, once I saw him, I pulled over as well and waited for everyone else to arrive.   One by one, Julie, Melissa, Sara, and Jeanne finally appeared.   Sweet!   Only flat roads from here.  

Last stop was at Hocking College.   Stephanie was waiting for us once we stopped there.   My bike had been squeeking alot so I decided to check my brakes.   Sure enough they were offset and I had been "dragging"  on the front brake!   Oops, no wonder everything felt so much slower . . .wonder how long that had been going on???  For those that don't know, if the brakes are "draggin" it slows the wheel down.   So ultimately I had been riding for God Knows How Long, with my brakes pressing on the wheel!   D'oh!  Oh well, it was easy to fix and then we were off for the last segment.   Jeanne and I were last to leave this stop, so it was just the two of us for the last 12 miles.

Blessed bike trail!   From here on we were on a very flat, paved, and smooth bike path!!  Yay!!  Less than an hour later we finally found the finish and the rest of our friends!   

I am sorry to say, but after we got to Athens, we learned that a rider had died.   Michelle Kazaluasky was struck by an oncoming truck at 2:15pm than afternoon and had not survived her injuries.  It is devastating to hear of a fellow rider being struck and killed, especially in event where she was riding for a great cause.   I only hope that she did not suffer and that her friends and family have plenty of support in this tragic time.  

Despite this bittersweet end, once again Pelotonia was a wonderful experience, made better by all the friends that I rode with and saw along the way.    I congratulate all the riders that did the fundraising, training, and met their goals.   I thank all of the people that made this happened and supported all those riders in their efforts.    Most of all, I hope that the cure for cancer is closer, because we put up a great fight this year and I know it will continue in the coming years! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Have I Been UP to these last few weeks?

Just a quick overview of my training for the last few weeks:
7/23/10:  rest
7/24/10:  7-8 miles with MIT, no timing.
7/25/10:  Kewpee Sprint Triathlon:  1:30:44
7/26/10:  5.1 mile run ( 51:25)
7/27/10:  2450 swim, 45 minute strength
7/28/10:  bike 19 miles (1:06)
7/29/10:  40 minute run
7/30/10:  25 minute open water swim - Lake Michigan
7/31/10:  10ish mile run during Steelhead 70.3, great way to spectate!
8/1/10:  36 mile bike (1:35), checked out 1/2 the bike course from the race
8/2/10:  5 mile run + 1.5 mile walk (no timing)
8/3/10:  2400 swim, 45 minutes on the trainer, 30 min strength
8/4/10:  50 minute run
8/5/10:  2400 swim, 30 strength
8/6/10:  rest
8/7/10:  7 mile run (no timing), 21.3 mile bike (no timing)
8/8/10:  60 mile ride (4:05 hrs), 20 minute brick run
8/9/10:  rest (sick)
8/10/10:  rest (found out I have bronchitis)

Kewpee Triathlon 2010

Long overdue race report, but since I am sitting at home with Bronchitis, I thought now would be a good time to do this.  

The Kewpee Tri/Du was a blast this year.   We had quite the group turnout from the MITers which made it even that much more fun!    The day started out grey, overcast, and with a steady drizzle.  Fortunately this actually made it cooler for the race, which was a nice change.  

The water was a toasty 82 degrees, so wetsuits weren't legal.   Also made it for a nice place to "warm up" while waiting for the race to start.    The men got to start 1 minute ahead of the women.    Not sure if this was the best decision, because it didn't take long for most of the women to catch up and pass much of the men's group.   For me, this just meant trying to navigate through more people without getting hit and kicked.   Was challenging around the first 2 buoys, but luckily I found a clear path so the second half of the swim felt good.   I was out of the water in about 8:15 (500yds)!  

Transition went fairly quick, I just had to put on the bike shoes, helmet, and race numbers.   The rain had stopped, but my stuff was still soaked!  Overall a quick transition and by the time I hopped on the bike, I saw the first of my MIT friends (Aimee) emerge from the water. 

The bike felt good.   Aimee passed me pretty quickly into the first leg of the bike and I just saw the backside of her for the rest of the race.   There was only one other girl that passed me on the bike, but I passed her as well and it went this way for most of the ride.   By looking at her, I could tell she was going to be a strong runner, so I really wanted to beat her into transition, in the end I got a few minutes on her.    I have no idea how long my bike was, because once again I managed to stop my watch.   However, I think I rolled into transition just shy of 49 minutes (15 miles).    At this point my wonderful spectating friends told me there were only 3 or 4 women ahead of me on the run course.  

Quick T2 and I was out on the run.   It still wasn't raining but the humidity had picked up a bit.   This always seems to affect my breathing and it was no different on this day.   I felt sluggish and short of breath for most of the run.    The run was on a trail which was newly paved, so this was a nice change from running on the road like last year.   It was also an out and back route, which was great b/c it gave me a chance to check out all the competition.   As I predicted, the girl on the bike, passed me on the run after the first 5 minutes - she looked very strong.   Up to this point, the only person I had seen in MIT was Aimee and I knew she was well ahead of me on the run.   I didn't see anyone else until I hit the turn around.   Much to my surprise, Kristen and Jeanne were only a few minutes behind me.   Kristen, I expected, her running has been kick ass these past few months.    Jeanne, I did not expect to be that close.   Jeanne is a stud in her own right but fairly new to the multisport.   So, I really was expecting her to be a little further behind me!    So, for the rest of the race, my only thought was "I have got to beat Jeanne back to the finish!"    Kristen  passed me shortly after the turn around and ultimately went on to win the ladies Du overall!    I didn't dare look behind me b/c I didnt' want to see how close Jeanne was to me.   I felt like my running was slowing down and I did get passed by Ben at some point, but no Jeanne.    I also got a chance to wave at the rest of my MIT friends:  Erin, Jennifer, Carolyn, and Steve, who were all still working on the first leg of the 5k.    Finally the finish line was in view and I stumbled across it, Jeanne was only about a minute behind me at that point!    Great race Jeanne and thanks for the motivation to push myself a little harder than I probably would have otherwise! 

So, the results of the day:
I finished with a 1:30:44, I was 9th out of 30 women for the tri and FIRST in my age group out of 5 women!  Aimee ended up 3rd overall for the ladies tri and Kristen 1st overall for the women's du!   Everyone else placed in their respective AG's, so all in all it was a great race!