Saturday, December 12, 2009

Motivating Movies

In the past couple weeks I went to see The Blind Side and Invictus, both great movies. I started thinking about all the great movies out there that motivate me. I have to admit that I kind of a movie junkie. I would rather watch a movie than TV any day. I think the only reason I have cable is to watch sports and movies, that's about it.

I think sports movies are some of my favorites! That is most likely because I consider myself an athlete and I know what it takes to get out there and push yourself. I have a lot of respect for athletes who strive to be the best, push themselves to the edge, to put it all out there. Some of my favorites movies are true and some are not, but they seem to motivate me the same.

Just a few of my go to flicks:

Without Limits. My favorite part of this movie is when Pre runs the Olympic Trails. Watching him "run away" from George young inspires me.

Remember the Titans. I love this movie. The scene where Denzel Washington is yelling at his team saying, "Will you ever quit?" And they respond, "No! We want some mo', we want some mo", we want some mo'!"

Invincible. I like this movie. I love it when Vince picks up the fumble and runs it in for a TD. Then he stands there with his hands in the air.

Pursuit of Happyness. This movie is the definition of dedication and perserverance. It may not be about sports, but it is about going after something you want, no matter what.

The Rookie. I know, this is a Disney movie, yeah go ahead and laugh. BUT, another person who wasn't afraid to follow his dream. It would be no surprise that I think the best scene is when he runs out on the field to pitch in a major league baseball game for the first time.

The Miracle. This might be my all time favorite movie. So many great scenes. so many great speeches. You can't even narrow it down. I love watching this movie when I'm on my trainer.

I am now adding The Blind Side and Invictus to the list. You can be sure I'll be snatching them up on DVD when they come out.

I am a visual person. I need to see my goal in front of me, it keeps me focused. When I wanted to qualify for Boston the first time I went to Boston and took a picture of the finish line painted on the road and then put the picture on my mirror. I also wrote my goal time for my qualifying marathon next to it in red lipstick. When training for my second Half IM, I again wrote my swim/bike/run splits and total time on my mirror so I would see them everyday. Currently, I have my swim/bike/run splits and total goal time for my IM taped to my refrigerator door. Motivating movies are another "visual" way to motivate myself.

What about you? What are the great movies on your list?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mill Cities Relay

Today was Mill Cities Relay. A 28.3 mile relay race, with 5 legs, that goes from Nashua NH to Lawrence MA. This was my 3rd year running. I love relays! I love the team spirit. The weather is usually bad too which makes it even more fun!!

The first time I ran this was 2007 on a Coed Open team. I ran leg 3 which is 2.5 miles. In 2008 I ran on another Coed Open team and ran leg 2, 4.75 miles. This year I ran on the Women's Open A team, leg 4 which is 9.5 miles.

Now, I was suppose to run leg 2 again, 4.75 miles. On Tuesday of this week I get an email from my friend Laurie, who is the relay coordinator for the Winners Circle Running Club. (I don't run for the Winners Circle, I run to help out my friend.). Anyway, she asks if she can move me from leg 2 to 4. Wow... 4.75 to 9.5. I thought about it for awhile and then was like, why not?! I am not in shape to race a 9.5 race, but I said yes. She emails me back and says, "That's why I love you!" On a side note, I can't complain to her because she ran leg 4 for the Womens Masters team (which took 2nd) and then turned around and ran leg 5 for a team of new runners because they couldn't find a 5th runner! And that's why I love her!

I drove to York last night to stay at Laurie's house. It makes the morning drive much better! Another girl on my relay also stayed. We had dinner and went to bed early. Early, but I couldn't sleep. I've been having back issues for the past two weeks. My back was aching. I tossed and turned and think I fell aspleep around 10:30. I got up once in the night to pee. Probably all the water I drank. Then I woke up at 4:30. My alarm was set for 4:45 but at that point I just got up. Next, shower ... wait, there's no hot water. Ugh. I took a very cold shower. Not sure if it was worth it. I tried to eat but could only get down 1/3 of my oatmeal and was not feeling well. Wow, this isn't good. We leave the house at 5:30, stop at the Portsmouth traffic circle to pick up Beth and then head to Nashua. We had to make 2 stops for bathroom breaks and more coffee. Still not feeling well. We drop off the leg 1 runner and then head to the 2nd relay exchange. We parked the car, grabbed a few items, then jumped in with Linda and drove to relay exchange 3. Another trip to the bathroom. Still not feeling well. Trying to be positive. Finalize race attire and head to the relay exchange.

Now, I listen to music when I run and when I bike, but I never listen to music when I race. Never. Today, my stomach was such a mess and my back was so sore that I thought, I need music to drown out the pain. I made sure it wouldn't disqualify my team and strapped on the iPod.

Back to the relay exchange, I see my girl coming, take the wrist bracelet, and I'm off. It is very slick in the beginning. I'm not running as fast as I should be because I'm trying to keep my footing. Finally the path gets better and I settle in. I have no idea what pace I'm running. The mile markers are painted on the road under the snow. I pass 2 females in the first couple of miles. I keep running. I finally see a mile marker at mile 4. Nice! I check my pace, just under 7:30. I'll take that. I keep running. I take a gel at mile 5. I hit mile 6. My back it starting to hurt and get tight. I just keep running. I'm trying to get lost in the music and just run. Keep to the beat. I tell myself that just leaves 3.5, that is just one loop around back bay. I do it all the time. I keep running, but I fall off a little. I hit mile 8 and some chic passes me. I thought for maybe 30 seconds and then was like NO! I can do this. It's only 1.5 miles to the finish. I pick up the pace and run behind her for about a half mile. I finally pass her back. We hit the 9 mile marker and I pick it up again. That chic is NOT passing me again. I come to the relay exchange and hand off to our last runner. Wow. I covered the last 1.5 miles in 10 min. Overall pace was somewhere around 7:25 I think. I was very happy with my race.

Now it hits me. I stopped and reality set in and my stomach went crazy! Ugh. I found another one of my teammates and we had 2 cars to drive to the finish. We finally get parked, get inside, and change into dry clothes. Wow am I sick. Eat or no? I eat. Bad decision. I'm standing there and all of a sudden I get a hot flash and I think this is it, I'm going to puke. I breathe. I find some Ginger Ale and go sit on the floor. I sat there for a long time and finally started to feel better. I have no idea what it was, but as I sit here tonight I am fine.

End result, my Female Open team took 6th. Laurie's Female Masters team took 2nd. Jeanne Hackett's Female Senior team took 2nd. It was a good day and a lot of fun, despite the stomach issues.

This race actually made me feel good about my fitness. I am looking forward to the Mid Winter Classic and feel good about what I may be able to do in about 2 months.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What is it and where does it come from?

Everyday we make decisions. Some are unconscious decisions, habits. Decisions we make day in and day out. Decisions that take a split second. Other decisions can be big, life changing decisions. Decisions that take weeks or months to consider.

Lately I have been thinking about how some decisions come so easily for some and so difficult for others. For example, every morning I get up and eat breakfast. It’s not a hard decision for me, it’s either organic eggs and wheat toast or oatmeal. I rarely eat anything different. What about the person wants to eat oatmeal but ends up eating donuts instead? I exercise. Even though I love it, there are still days I want to turn off the alarm and roll over. There are days when I get home from work that I would rather crack open a beer and sit down on the couch. I don’t. I know I’m on the far end of the spectrum, but it’s still a choice I make daily. I listen to other people tell me how they want to exercise but they just don’t have the time, or they’re just too tired, etc. so they don’t.

What about the decisions that are life changing? What about the person who decides to quit smoking or has to conquer something as difficult as alcoholism or an eating disorder? What is it that enables us to do these things? Motivation? Will power? Determination? Why is is that some have it and some don’t? Why is it that one alcoholic can stop drinking and change their life and the other will die an early death?

Are we born this ability or is it learned? I’m not sure where mine came from but I’ve had it as long as I can remember. I’ve known people who always want to change or do more or do something different but they never do. Again, what is that? Is it fear? Is it lack of motivation? I don’t know but what I do know is that I’m thankful that I have what I have ... whatever you want to call it. I wish I could share it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Being Thankful for your Friends

I’ve thought a lot about what I’m thankful for this year. I’ve had quite a year. A lot of ups and a lot of downs. As I run the list through my head, the one thing that jumps to the top is that I’m thankful my best friend is with me today. I almost lost my best friend this year. I watched him struggle for his life. It is an experience I will never forget. I will never know where he found the strength to be strong through an impossible time. I watched him fake it on the outside and I watched him fall apart on the inside. I will never know where I found the strength to be there for him. I remember the nights that I had to hold myself together while he fell apart. It drained all my energy. BUT, all that will not even come remotely close to what he had to endure. I have so much respect for him.

I can’t imagine my life today without him. Anytime something happens to me, good or bad, he is the first person I tell. My day isn’t complete unless I talk to him. He lets me talk a hundred miles an hour, forever, saying nothing when I’m nervous. He let’s me cry, and cry hard, when I need to or sometimes for no reason at all. He let’s me go crazy when I can’t cope with life. He lets me be me. He never judges me, but he does keep me honest. He always calls me on my bullshit. He always tells me when I’m wrong. He tells me when I look like hell. He tells me when I look good. Most importantly, when I really need a friend, he’s there.

Sometimes I look back and think about how we became friends. Our story is definitely a unique one ... it’s a funny one, it’s a serious one, it’s a happy one, it’s a sad one, it’s a great one. It’s our story.

This year, be thankful for your friends, tell them how much they mean to you. Don’t ever take them for granted.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I've been thinking about my swimming lately. My swimming ... that's a pretty funny story. So, I grew up in the water. I was a fish. I spent all day, every day, in the summer at the pool. Starting at like age 6, I swam all day all summer. I was a lifeguard by age 14 and continued to lifeguard and teach lessons until 19. I was on the swim team and dive team when I was younger. I have always been a strong swimmer; BUT, what I have learned is that being a strong swimmer does not mean you are a fast swimmer.

I didn't swim for many many years. Then, a running injury put me back in the pool and I couldn't swim 4 laps without feeling like I was going to have a cardiac arrest! I was like WTF? I can run a marathon but I can't swim? Like anything, it just took some time. Before long, I was cranking out 2000m at a time. Little did I know, I still wasn't "training." A friend of mine convinced me to toss my hat into the triathlon ring. So, I added swimming and biking to my regular schedule. The moment of truth came at my first tri. I thought I was a fast swimmer. Funny. Really funny. I came out of the water so far back it wasn't funny. That was the moment of truth when I realized I sucked!!!!

The next season, I was talked into swimming at the lake with a group of triathletes. I was so nervous and had no idea what to expect. But hey, it's me ... so there I went. I was the last one out to the point and the last one back to the dock. This would be my place for quite a long time ... last. I kept swimming. Triathlons starts never got any easier. The anxiety I had at the start of every race drained my energy. I hated it. It was constant battle through the swim to keep positive thoughts ... to keep telling myself just get out of the water and go. Just get out of the water. Keep moving forward and get out of the water.

In 2007, I decided to train with the Masters group in Portland. Best decision I have ever made. I had a blast. I swam more yardage than ever and started to actually get faster! I had confidence! Wow! I was training for my second half IM and really getting after it. I wanted some revenge after my first half IM. Anyway, I kept building endurance and getting faster, but I was still the last one to the point and the last one to the dock on our open water swims. My new nickname was Nemo. Yes, Nemo.

I'm not sure what happened, but one day I put it in my mind that I was going to stay with the pack no matter what it took. I swam hard, got in a rhythm, and kept going. All of a sudden I feel someone grab my ankle. Huh? I stopped and turned around and Erin was like dude! WTF? I hit the point in the front for the first time ever. I was stoked! Then, we headed back and again, I was the first one back to the dock. Erin was just looking at me and finally was like ... "what the hell did you put in your Wheaties this morning?" Ha. The ironic part, it never happened again. Ever. I went into my half with a lot of confidence and ended up swimming slower than my first by a whole minute. Ugh.

That put me into a mind set that I couldn't swim. I started saying "I can't" and "I will never" and etc etc. That has stuck with me for two years. One of my best friends said to me this year, "Stop saying I can't!" He was kind of angry when he said it, okay REALLY angry, but I got it. It hasn't come easily but I did have two good swims this season ... Rhode Island 70.3 and the Colby Sprint Tri.

I started analyzing my swim training and making changes. I deciced that I'm not stepping to the line of my first IM without some confidence. and the training to back it up.

There will be no Nemo next season!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Planning 2010

So after reading Mary’s post I realized it was time for me to look at 2010 too. I had some time on my flight from Portland to Houston so figured no better time than the present. What will my race schedule be? Which races will be my A races and which ones will I just be training through? What are my goals for the year? Is there a distance I want to PR? Is there one discipline that I want to really focus on? These questions would be easier to answer if I didn’t have an Ironman in the middle of my season. Ironman.

I don’t have a lot of time before my IM to participate in any other triathlons. The Mooseman is too close to my race which leaves me no choices unless I want to pick one that I have to travel to. I think this IM thing is expensive enough so I think I’ll pass on that option. And since I have no idea how I will feel after my IM, it’s tough to think about the rest of the season. I’m hoping that taking the month of July to recover will do the trick and I can enjoy the rest of the triathlon season in August and September. Those are the best months to race anyway! With all this in mind, this is what I‘m thinking about for 2010:

Mid Winter Classic 10-miler
New Bedford Half Marathon or the Hyannis Half Marathon
Polar Bear Tri
Ironman CDA
Kennebunk Tri
Lobsterman Tri
Colby Tri
Maine Marathon

Obviously, IM CDA is my A race, my main focus, my entire life basically from Jan to Jun. I would like to make a good showing at the Mid Winter Classic. I would also like to really throw down at the Maine Marathon. I love that race and I love the course. The last time I ran the Maine Marathon was in 2004 when I clocked my 3:31 PR. I would like to try to PR again and make a great showing at home! The other late season triathlons, well, I just want to have some fun. I know me and I will probably jump into some other road races here and there, but not many. My weekends will be taken up with lots and lots of biking and running. Wow, this IM thing certainly is going to be an adventure... and boy am I looking forward to it.

The other thing I do is start thinking about the things I’m going to need! Yes, more purchases of triathlon stuff. The list looks something like this: 1) A new pair of bike shoes. I have been wearing the same bike shoes for 5 years. They are beyond worn out. 2) An aero helmet. Yes, I have finally decided I need an aero helmet. I know they are more for the really fast folks, but I want one anyway. 3) Hammer. Not a hammer from the hardware store. Hammer products, a lot of hammer products. I need to stock up on gel and heed and sustained energy and recoverite and electrolytes. 4) New racing flats. This will probably also require a new pair of yanks. Matching my yanks to my flats is a necessity for me. Yes, another one of my quirks. 5) Two or three new pairs of running shoes. 6) Two new pairs of bike shorts. 7) A new racing outfit since my team is no longer. That should do it. Actually, that isn’t too bad. At least there are no big purchases this year like a new bike or a new wetsuit.

Here’s looking at a great 2010 season.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Pumpkin 5K race report

Last week I decided to jump into this little 5K in Yarmouth. The 3rd Annual Pumpkin 5K. Why not? It's kind of fun to bust out a 5K now and then. Besides, my last few 5Ks have been slower than I'd like, 21:30ish. Oh, remember the days of always clocking a 20 something, and then the few 19 somethings I have to my credit. Anyway, races have a way of motivating me. If I do poorly, then I want to train harder to get better. If I do well, then I want to train harder to get better ... yeah, funny how that works. I also believe that I shouldn't go too long between races because I need to be reminded how it feels to be outside my comfort zone.

5K start. There were a lot of people dressed up but I didn't. I did wear an orange shirt trying to be in the spirit of Halloween. Runners ready ... go. We're off. I tried not to go out too hard. I counted the women in front of me, 3. Two of them I know I cannot beat so kept my eye on the third, which wasn't hard since she was wearing these black tights with bright orange bats on them! I settled into my pace and felt good. I don't know what that was because I decided not to look at my watch and just run by feel. I kept getting closer and closer to the black tight lady and finally passed her about a mile in. Then I passed a guy on the next uphill. He passed me back once we were back on the flat. I kept my eye on him and I caught him again around two miles in. We ran side be side for awhile, but I didn't like it. I surged just a little and he came with me. Ugh. Why do men hate being passed by women? I decided right then that this guy wasn't going to beat me. I took the inside on the next turn and we had another uphill. I kept pushing up the hill and pretty soon he fell off. Yup. We turned into the school and had to run around to the back and onto the track for one lap. I was actually feeling good, pushing hard, but feeling good. I hit the track and picked it up as best I could. Then, the one thing you hope never happens happened ... about 150 m from the finish some chick comes flying past me. Seriously?? I tried to go with her but she was really moving! I give her credit, that was a hell of a kick. She beat me by 2 seconds for the third place spot, putting me in forth.

Final results:
21:10, 4th female, first in age group, 17th overall.

I'll take that. I smiled at the time and thought yup, I'll be posting 20 somethings again soon!

Did a cool down, collected a freshly baked pumpkin pie for winning my age group, and headed home. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning. The pie is still sitting on my counter. I'm wondering how long before I cave and dig in ...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Winter Training

Yes, winter training is upon us. The season is over and next year’s season seems very far off. The days of summer are gone. The days when I head out for an early morning run and the sun has already risen; the days of standing on the dock and looking out across the lake at 5:30am and can't wait to swim across; the days of being able to bike until 9pm; yes all those days are over.

In winter training I get to roll out of bed every morning in the dark and know that it is cold outside! Oh how easy it would be to hit the snooze or to just turn off the alarm completely and stay in my nice warm comfy bed! But no, I have all this to look forward to …

Leaving my house at 5:45 am to drive to the pool in the cold and in the dark.

Spending long hours on a trainer pedaling away but never going anywhere.

Running on the ice and snow.

Winter running … that is whole separate topic in itself. Now, I love running in the first snow. It’s awesome. Making new tracks. Hitting the roads early in the morning when there are no cars out yet, just plow trucks. Unfortunately that only happens a few times all winter.

Mostly what you get is sidewalks covered in ice and snow and roads that get narrower and narrower with each storm. You run for an hour and you never feel like your muscles ever warm up. Surviving winter running in Maine is quite a task. I’ve taken many falls on the ice, had close encounters with many vehicles where I though I was going to have to dive into a snowbank, and come in from long runs frozen to bone! My option … taking it to the gym to run on what I like to call the dreadmill. I do believe the dreadmill has its time and place, but it’s just something I hate! But what has to be done has to be done and it’s a great place to do your speed workouts or hill repeats when the weather conditions just don’t suit. I remember training for the Hyannis Marathon in 2006 and it seemed like every time I needed to run long I would wake up to freezing rain and stiff winds. I somehow made it through one 17 and two 20 milers on the treadmill that winter. Yes, I said I ran 20 miles on a treadmill… twice … wow, maybe I am crazy! Actually, that is right up there with the day I decided to run 19 miles on the track because I thought it would help condition my mental toughness for my upcoming marathon. Yeah.

Anyway, my point is winter training is when I have to remind my self constantly why I’m doing this ... and that would be because I love it and it will be worth it in the spring!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Internal Drive

Before almost every race, I get nervous. I get anxious. I know what is about to happen. I’m going to hurt. It doesn’t matter if I am lining up at a 5K or a Half Ironman, it’s going to hurt. The level of pain and the length of pain will vary, but believe me at some point during the race it will hurt. If it doesn’t, then I haven’t given it my all. One of my friends asked me once, “Why do you do it? Why would you want to go through the nervousness, the anxiety, the pain?” My answer, “Because I love it.” I remember telling my parents after my first half ironman that if ever spoke of signing up for another one to take a shovel and hit me upside the head. Since then I’ve completed two more and have now signed up for an ironman.

Where my desire came from and when it started is unknown. I grew up watching sports. All kinds of sports. I loved it. I remember watching Julie Moss crawl across the finish line of the Hawaii Ironman in 1982 and thinking, I want to do that. Not the crawling part of course, but finishing an ironman. I was only 11. During the Olympics I am always glued to the television. I love watching athletes achieve their goals, live their dreams. Admittedly, I cry almost every time I see an athlete stand on the podium and receive their medal.

More recently, I remember watching the finish of the 2009 Boston Marathon’s women’s race. The drive that Kara Goucher had coming to the finish was amazing, but what choked me up and what I will always remember was the look on her face when she came across the finish line. After turning herself inside out for 26.2 miles, she came across in 3rd. She made it no secret that she wanted to win and the look of disappointment and tears that followed told you everything. I understood. Although I’m nowhere near the caliber of athlete that Kara Goucher is, the drive to reach your goal is still the same. The joy of crossing the line knowing you reached your goal and the disappointment when you don’t is the same within all athletes. I’ve experienced both many times.

Those moments of joy stick with you …
• Finishing my first marathon and running every step of the way
• Getting my Boston Qualifying time
• Breaking 20 min for a 5K for the first time. After missing the mark on this twice, I spent 4 weeks of intense speed workouts and hill repeats to ensure I wouldn’t miss again. Result, 19:45.
• Crossing the finish of my second Half Ironman knowing that I finished 30 minutes faster than my first one

And those of disappointment do as well …
• Crossing the finish line of both my Boston Marathons in severe pain, way off my goal, and failing to re-qualify
• DNFing my first race … not even making it to the finish line because I quit
• That feeling you get at the moment you know you are going to have to walk, because that’s when you know it’s all over
• Multiple races that the outcome was not at all what I had planned

What prompted this post is my recent decision to finally do an ironman. I have had “ironman fever” for awhile; however, after I signed up this turned to what I’m going call “ironman fear.” All of a sudden I doubted whether or not I could do this. Whether I could handle the sacrifice it would take to do the training. Whether I could handle the pain I would have to endure to reach the finish line. Is this me? I couldn’t believe I doubted myself. I couldn’t believe that I was shying away from hard work. I couldn’t believe that I thought I couldn’t handle the pain. Then, I reminded myself how bad I’ve wanted to do this. I thought back about how many times I have watched ironman races on television. I’ve been watching them for over 25 years. As a child, I had no idea I would actually become a triathlete but I always knew I wanted to try. I want to know the feeling of crossing the finish line after 140.6 miles. I want to hear the announcer say, “Robin Carlson, you are an ironman.” My “ironman fear” is dissipating and is now being replaced with “ironman drive.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Balancing Act

Food, it is an essential part of our life. Without it, we could not live. Some people live to eat and others eat to live. I’m not sure I was ever a person who lived to eat; however, over the years the phrase eating to live took on new meaning to me.

Almost ten years ago, I decided to revisit this idea of being an athlete. I had not participated in anything that remotely resembled exercise since High School. In April of 2000 I started running. Actually, let’s call it jogging. Somewhere it turned into running but it definitely was not that when I started! In August of the same year, I entered my first road race since high school. That was it; I was completely hooked and have been racing consistently since that day. Soon fueling my body became an important part of my training. I started becoming very conscious of everything that I put into my body. I read many books, including Eat Smart, Play Hard by Liz Applegate, which I would recommend to anyone. I started to learn which foods were the best for me as a female and as an athlete. During my beginning years of running I also developed a chronic iron deficiency, although common among runners, sometimes difficult to resolve. Another round of research of all the foods rich in iron and a search to find an iron supplement that did not make me sick. Luckily, after a year of trying at least a half dozen different iron supplements I found one that worked. Another year of taking the supplement and I was finally able to maintain my iron levels. Anyone who has experienced low iron knows that it can wreak havoc on your energy levels.

In 2005 I decided to throw my hat into the triathlon ring and give the sport a shot. This brought me to a whole new level of balancing my caloric intake against caloric burn. For example, when you start your day with a 4 hour brick workout that results in a 3000 calorie deficit, it’s hard to intake enough food to replenish the body; however, if you don’t, your future workouts suffer. Throw in a strong desire to be the ideal race weight and you have added another component to already difficult balancing act.

I have lost my balance several times. They say that for every pound you take off, you can save 1-3 seconds per mile. Wow, when I learned that I won’t even tell you the calculations going on in my head! But, there is a point of diminishing return and you know when you get there. Your body cannot take the stress that you are putting it through. I have learned the hard way about not eating enough and being married to your scale.

I recently became very focused on my nutrition and weight again after losing my balance, which is what prompted this post. I am very in tune with my body, as most athletes are. I know when I’m on and I know when I’m off. I have all the tools and the knowledge to stay balanced; I just have to make that conscious decision every day to stay that way.

You will hear many triathletes say that proper nutrition is the fourth discipline, because without it we could never swim, bike, and run.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Peak Performance Maine Marathon Relay Race Report

Maine Marathon weekend!!!! This is my favorite road racing weekend ever! Cool fall temps, everyone comes out to join in for the full marathon, the half marathon, or the relay. And if you aren't running you are volunteering. All the athletes show up on this day ... it's such a great day! Looking back, I've participated in the following:

2001 - Half Marathon (my first)
2002 - Half Marathon (ran with my dad)
2003 - Marathon (my first marathon)
2004 - Marathon (my second marathon and first Boston qualifying time)
2005 - Marathon Relay (set the course record for the female relay, which still stands today)
2006 - Injured ... ugh!
2007 - Half Marathon (turned myself inside out for an 11th place finish and PR of 1:31)
2008 - A volunteer

And that leads me to 2009. I debated for awhile on this. I originally was going to run the half, but after a long season I didn't feel the need to tackle the distance so decided to put together a relay instead. Besides, relays are so much fun. I sent out an email to my Nor'Easter teammates and instantly had a team put together. Erin - leg one - 6 miles, Nicole - leg 2 - 8.8 miles, Kiely - leg 3 6.2 miles, and Me - leg 4 - 5.2 miles. We're a go ... the Nor'Easter Girls!

Weather forecast predicted rain. It poured the night before, including wind, thunder, and lightning; however, I woke up on race morning to a calm, overcast, dry day. Perfect! I made it to the start early and slowly rounded up my teammates. We reviewed logistics of getting everyone to and from the relay exchange points. Erin was out lead leg so Kiely, Nicole, and I watched her start then headed out. We all piled in my car and headed to exchange point one. We dropped Nicole off and wished her luck. Kiely and I headed to Yarmouth to drop her at exchange point two. I then headed back to Falmouth to park and get ready at exchange point three. Off with my warm-up clothes, on with a throw away shirt, a quick change into my running flats and I was off. I arrived at my exchange point with an hour to go.

Okay, time to warm-up. After a good warm-up and stretch, I started to look around at the competition. Now, we all said we were doing this for fun, but c'mon ... we're triathetes!!!! I sized everyone one up and decided I only saw one other lady who might be my competition so I approached and asked ... sure enough, I was right. More warm-up, waiting, waiting... the other women's team took off and I started clocking the time between hand offs. 10 minutes later Kiely came over the hill and tagged me ... I'm off. First mile was fast but it's hard when you take off all psyched up and it's all downhill. I settled in and was feeling really good. I tried to keep relaxed and in rhythm. I could here my best friend echoing in my head about over striding and keeping my arms relaxed. I kept checking my form. The miles were clicking off fast. I heard a lot of cheers for the Nor'Easter team. As I turned onto Baxter Blvd I had just under 2 miles to go. I knew my teammates were waiting for me near the finish and couldn't wait to see them. As I approached about a half mile to go they joined me and we all ran in together. That was such a boost to me! Crossing the finish all four of us side by side was great. There is a great dynamic to a team effort!

I took a minute out of the other team and we finished in second place. I was very happy with my run and felt that I had nothing left. That is the way you're suppose to feel... tired, hurting, out of breathe, and happy knowing you left it all on the course.

Another great day on Maine Marathon weekend!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Colby Triathlon Race Report

Saturday was my last tri of the season. The Colby Tri has to be one of my favorite races! It is low key, lots of fun, and always the last race of the season.

I had my toes done Friday night. A little pre-race ritual when I'm really excited about a race. I laid out all my gear Friday night as well. Packing was tough as it was suppose to be fairly chilly Saturday morning. Well, fairly chilly it was!! It wasn't even 40 when I arrived at the race. It did warm up a little by the start but it was by no means even close to being warm.

I checked in, got body marked, set up transition, went for a warm-up run, and then into my wetsuit. Did a quick warm up swim and then waited for the start. As I stood on the dock, I was thinking of the advice my best friend gave me ... "Lay it all out there, don't leave a thing behind ... end the season on a high note."

Alright, show time. When they said go I went. I swam harder than I have ever swam before in a race and I survived! Something to take into next season for sure. Into T1 and out on the bike. I had not been on my bike for almost 6 weeks so it took me a bit to feel good, but once I warmed up things went fairly well. I didn't break any records, but I went as hard as I could at the time. I did drop my chain around mile 11, but I was able to put in back on in seconds. Into T2 and out on the run. My feet were pretty cold from the bike but overall I felt good. I met Catherine coming in for the overall win as I was heading out. She looked great. A few minutes after that I met Nicole coming in for her second place finish. We did a quick high five as we passed. I was feeling really good on the run and after the turnaround really pushed the pace. As I was coming in for the finish Catherine and Nicole had both come up to the road to cheer me on ... always nice to be racing with your teammates. Finished 6th female and 1st in my age group.

As I was getting in my car, Catherine rolls down her car window, leans out and says, "Season's over. Now what do we do?"

Good question.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What if ...

Shel Silverstein said, "Last night, while I lay thinking here, some what ifs crawled inside my ear and pranced and partied all night long and sang their same old what if song."

We all run the what ifs through our mind ...

What if we had done more
What if we had done less
What if we had said no
What if we had said yes
What if we were better
What if we were less

Does it ever make any difference? My thoughts, no. All the what ifs do is take up a lot of time and energy. Life is what it is ... roll with it, accept it, live with it. We are all just who we are and we all just do what we do. Does everything happen for a reason, well that's a topic for another day ...

Monday, August 31, 2009

My Aunt Linda ...

My Aunt Linda passed away Thursday, August 27th 2009. I spent a lot of time with her as a child, but did not get an opportunity to spend much time with her as an adult; however, we had a connection that ran deep, really deep. She had battle with cancer that lasted 35 years. I have never met a woman that had so much courage and will to live than her. I would like to think that played a part in who I am today, and I will forever be grateful.

She always said that we had a connection that she couldn't explain, even though we were not able to spend time together. I was named after her, looked like her, and now as an adult I display the qualities she had. I only hope that I can make her proud by living the way she did. She was an amazing person and the world is definitely a lessor place without her. I will miss her dearly.

As much as I grieve over her death, I feel some relief knowing that she no longer has to suffer. She deserves the best and I know, without a doubt, she is in a better place. I love you Linda Sue ...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Here we go...

After long thought and discussion... contemplating many
options, I finally decided.

I signed up for Ironman CDA... 6/27/2010.

It is official!

Like I said... here we go...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Race report catch up ...

Wow ... so I moved into my new apartment May 1st and just got around to hooking up my computer so am way behind in blogging.

I have missed multiple race reports in that time. I don't have the patience to blog about each one, so here are the highlights:

May 1 - Polar Bear Triathlon
First tri of the season. Raced a few weeks post Boston, still fatigued and very tired from moving the entire day before.

May 16 - Bedford 12k
This was the 3rd race in the quest for the jacket. Raced extremely tired from finals at school, some personal stress, and an impromptu trip out of town.

June 6 - Mooseman Triathlon
I arrived at this race after 4 days in NJ for an insurance training class. Drove straight from the airport to the race site ... little tired but nothing major. Slept great in my tent. I love sleeping in my tent. Weird. Race morning was good. All was pretty normal. I was trying not to freak out about the swim as I have been having issues with that lately. Start ... swim didn't go to well. I kept feeling like I couldn't breathe and having to stop. My swim split was slow. Then, coming out of T1 I mounted my bike and then somehow got tangled with another girl. Our handlebars hit, my bike went down, I went over the handlebars and hit the ground, hard. I got up and took off, shaking. I kept telling myself to shake it off and relax. I kept riding and then realized that something was wrong with my bike. Dismount. It was just my brake rubbing. I fixed it and took back off. The first time I reached up to shift, pain shot through my hand and I thought, wow ... that's not good. I looked down at my right hand and it was already swollen and bruised. I kept riding and fought back a few tears. I soon relaxed but was having problems shifting and getting my water bottle in and out. Half way through the ride the road was really rough and the vibrations were sending shock waves through my hand. I tried riding with one hand for awhile then frustrated and in pain, I started to cry. Okay, this is not me. I started to yell at myself in my head ... dude, suck it up and get over it. There's probably nothing wrong. No excuses. Luckily the road smoothed out and I was able to drop back in my aerobars for awhile and got myself together for the end of the bike. I was really happy to get off that bike. T2 proved a challenge as I had a hard time getting my shoes on with one hand. Once I headed out on the run, I felt good. Adrenalin took over, the pain went away, and I had a really good run split. However, the moment I crossed the finish line I knew something was wrong and the pain came rushing back. I went straight to the med tent for ice. They told me something was probably broken ... which was confirmed 2 days later. Ugh.

June 7 - Rhody 5k
The 4th race in the quest for the jacket. This was the day after the Mooseman. I woke up tired, with a swollen hand, and still in pain. I drove almost 3 hours, ran a 5K in a pretty respectable time given the circumstances, then drove almost 3 hours home. Wow, earning the jacket... that's all I have to say about that.

June 21 - Portland Seadogs Fathers Day 5k
Nothing to say here ... ran it as a workout.

July 12 - Rhode Island 70.3 Triathlon
My Half Ironman and what was to be my BIG race of the season. Unfortunately, having a splint on my hand for a week and a cast for 3, put a damper on my training for this race. I went down, did the distance, and finished. Maybe the only good thing that came out of this race is that I had a good swim with no freak outs and my fastest bike split in a half yet, which is ironic seeing that the bike is what I trained on the least.

Many more races to come this season ... 3 more triathlons and 3 more races in the quest for the jacket. Stay tuned ...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Balancing Act

I remember sitting in the living at the age of 8, or maybe 9, listening to a man talk to my sister and I about the importance of positive thinking and setting goals. My mother had brought this man to the house, had him talk to us, then bought tapes for us to listen to and posters to hang on our bedroom walls, all to help encourage us. My parents "encouraged" us to always be our best. Give everything 100%, or more.

I am very thankful that my parents taught me that I could do many many things and be successful if I worked hard. Motivation and hard work, Think you can, You can do it, Never quit, and I could go on and on.

My parents never limited me. I attempted a variety of activities, some with better results than others. Swim team, diving team, weigh lifting, track, basketball, tennis, gymnastics, cheerleading, golf, rodeo, baton twirling, piano, marching band, concert band, jazz band. Did I miss anything?

This is all well and good; but if you are not careful you can collapse under the pressure. The expectations set, although maybe not intentional, can be so high that they are unattainable. This attitude has driven me to be very successful in my adult life. However, I continue to set the bar extremely high for myself and many times falter under the pressure. It is a balancing act ... and for those who know me, know that I don't always have the best balance...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Who am I?

Do you know who you are? Do you know what you believe? What do you want in life? Are you afraid to voice it? Can you answer these honestly? I can, thankfully today I can.

I admit, there were times many years ago that I didn't know who I was. I was searching for something, I'm not sure what, but it was a long road. I made bad choices. Choices that at moments I regretted; wished I could change. Choices that effected me for the rest of my life, or so it seemed. I was vulnerable, easily influenced, and I couldn't stand up for myself. People who know me today probably find that hard to believe. Now, looking back, I wouldn't change a thing because that journey has made me who I am.

Today, I never apologize for who I am. If I'm wrong or harm someone, I will always apologize, but I never apologize for being me. Not everyone is going to like me. Not everyone is going to agree with me. I just am who I am ... and to be honest, I like who I am.

I've been looked down upon for being a teenage Mom. I've been looked down upon for being divorced, more than once. I haven't always made the right decisions, but all of these things, all of these challenges have made me who I am today. Every time I see a mountain in front of me, I climb it. I don't turn around and look the other way. I know that whatever comes my way, I can handle it. (I give a lot of credit to my mom for that.) It may not be easy, but life never is.

When I find something about myself that I don't like, I change it. I don't change it for anyone else, I change it for me. One thing I have learned over the years is that you cannot change for another person, nor should you expect another person to change for you. It doesn't work. You have to do it for yourself ... no one else.

So, who I am? I am a 38 year old single, divorced female, mother of 2, grandmother of 1, successful business woman, grad student, talented athlete, and a great friend. Egotistical? Not a chance. I call it confidence. I know exactly who I am and I am proud of it.

I challenge you to find out who you are ...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Boston 2009 Race Report

Boston Marathon 2009 ... 2nd Boston, 6th Marathon. Good intentions that never came to be. I thought twice about posting this because my splits were, well, almost embarrassing. Goal going in was approx 3:30, ~8 min pace. My 2nd Boston went something like this ...

Didn't sleep too bad. Was asleep by 9:30, tossed a little, but then woke up a 3 am and had a hard time going back to sleep. Finally got up at 4. My parents dropped me at Boston Common at 5:45, boarded one of the first buses and I was on my way. Arrived at the athlete's village and the temps were low 40s with a wind. I found a spot under a tent and sat down to relax. Nothing too major pre-race, everything went fine.

The start ... wave 1, corral 13. National Anthem, then the fly over ... that always gives me chills. It took about 8+ minutes to get to the starting line from my corral and then we were off and running. I felt good through the first half ...

Mile 1 - 8.21
Mile 2 - 7.58
Mile 3 - 7.57
Mile 4 - 7.52
Mile 5 - 8.05
Mile 6 - 8.00
Mile 7 - 8.02
Mile 8 - 8.01
Mile 9 - 7.55
Mile 10 - 8.03
Mile 11 - 8.05
Mile 12 - 7.56
Mile 13 - 7.57

Not too bad eh? I thought well, maybe this year will be different ... uh, nope. First, I had to stretch a cramp in the left hamstring during mile 14 then had to hit the porta potty at mile 15 - (necessary or I would have never stopped).

Mile 14 - 8.50
Mile 15 - 9.52
Mile 16 - 8.26 tried to come back but just wasn't the same after stopping ...

Then I hit the Newton Hills that rocked my world ... and not in a good way either.

Mile 17 - 9.28
Mile 18 - 10.13
Mile 19 - 10.14
Mile 20 - 10.11
Mile 21 - 10.33

I really tried to rally at this point now that the hills were over; but honestly, my legs had taken a beating at this point and were starting to really hurt.

Mile 22 -9.10
Mile 23 - 9.30
Mile 24 - 9.16
Mile 25 - 9.51 (not real sure what happened here)
Mile 26.2 - 10.57 ( which is 9.07 pace)

So I rallied slightly and brought the pace back down a minute per mile, but not enough. Final time 3.50.51. 8.49 pace. 2nd time I've ran Boston and 2nd time I failed to re-qualify.

Now, this is Boston and I find it an honor to run. I am happy that I have completed the 26.2 mile trek again, but not happy with the result. This is definitely not my last Boston. I will learn how to run the course.

Next up ... Polar Bear Tri on 5/2, Bedford Rotary 12K on 5/16. Bad races only motivate me. It's going to be a fun season ...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

confessions of my rituals ...

we all have them, those little things that we do before every big event. routines, superstitions, idiosyncrasies, rituals ... whatever you call them and for whatever reason you do them, they are there. i remember early on in my basketball career i established a routine that i went through before every free throw. step to line, look at the basket, three dribbles, roll the ball in my hands, bounce at the knees for a 3 count and swish (well, most of the time it went swish). did it contribute to my high free throw percentage? i have no idea. all i know is that i just didn't feel right if i didn't go through the ritual. i have another every time i tee off in golf. as an athlete, we learn that the mental aspect is just as important, if not more, than the physical. we can train all we want but if we are not in the right space mentally, we will never realize our full potential. we will never get where we want to be.

that being said, i am confessing a few of my own ...

* shower - now to some that may seem silly. especially when heading to a triathlon to get in the water. doesn't matter. sometimes i even wash my hair.
* shaved legs - yes, the legs must be shaved either the night before or the morning of... no exception.
* painted toes - this is a must for every triathlon. big triathlons even constitute a trip to the nail salon for a full blown pedicure and a fancy paint job.
* splits - i have to write out my splits before hand. road race and triathlon alike, i have to know exactly where i want to be.
* meditation - i have to mentally picture myself during the race. i know i'm not alone in this one! all i need is a little time to put on my mp3 player and close my eyes and go through the race start to finish.
* music - we have the songs that mean something to us. i have songs for all occasions ... when i'm happy, when i'm sad, when i'm trying to cheer myself up, when i'm trying to pump myself up, when i'm trying to relax. my favorite pre-race song ever is up around the bend by CCR. something about the line "there's a place up ahead and i'm goin' just as fast as my feet can fly ..."
* go to phrase or song - i need something in my head to think about, repeat, or sing when it gets really tough. it changes from race to race but i do have some favorites. for big races i usually come up with something new. one year while racing my third big lake half marathon, i sang the abc song over and over to get through the 4 miles of really tough hills. crazy but it worked.
* hair ribbons - this is my newest and most off the wall yet. for some reason i decided that i needed ribbons in my hair for my first boston marathon and they had to match my singlet... blue and orange. i have no idea why or where this idea came from. There is something to be said about feeling better about yourself if you think you look good ... yes, back to the mental aspect. so, as i was preparing for boston marathon #2 i realized i needed another set of ribbons. yesterday i picked up my new singlet to check out the colors so i could get matching ribbons today. this time, blue and silver... and they sparkle!

do any of these things make me perform better? i have no idea but i don't think i'll change them ...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

3 days and counting ...

I'm having the normal jitters for Boston ... not ready, not ready, not ready. Actually I'm not. Or am I?

Felt really good up until New Bedford then something came apart a little. Mental or physical? Not sure. Doubt is creeping in. However, Wednesday night I was out for an easy run and started thinking I was slower than death so I clocked a mile split ... 7:19. Uh, yeah. Said to myself ... "Carlson, this is suppose to be an easy run ... rein it in!!!!"

One would think that heading into marathon #6 I would be better. Nope. Not a chance. Having flashbacks of my worst and most painful marathon ever ... yup, you guessed it, Boston.

One thing I have learned is to put the goal out there. You have to say it out loud so it is real. (I love that saying ... think I'll say it again ... you have to say it out loud so it is real. Believe it.) Okay, back to the goal ... started out at sub 3.25. Not going to happen. Not in a million years. Wait, it WILL happen but not on Monday. I felt as if I was in pretty good shape a month ago so probably just playing mental games with myself. Okay, how about an easy 3.40 ... yeah, okay slacker. Let's be serious. 3.30. 8 minute pace. Doable without killing myself. There it is, let's go with it ... goal is 3:30.

Counting down and getting ready ... stayed tuned for the race report...

Monday, April 13, 2009

where's the instruction manual?

All of life is such a learning process. Our parents guide us, but we still have to make our own mistakes and hopefully learn from them. I told my mother once that if we learn from our mistakes I should be a genius by now. So many times I have wished there was an instruction manual, a reference book, anything to help make the decisions in life that are just too hard. The saying that life must be lived forward but only understood backwards is oh so true. Many times we have no idea why things are the way they are, especially when you are right in the middle of it, but once you have moved out or moved on things suddenly make a little more sense. All the good times, all the tough times, all the mistakes ... they really do happen for a reason - even though I hate that phrase - it's true. Well I believe that most things do. Sometimes I wish things in life were different or that I could change something, but I realize all of that has made me who I am today. All the things I have experienced, the places I have been, the people I have met... it's all part of me. I will be facing another birthday in a week. Almost 38 years have gone by ... they have been pretty good and I'm looking forward to a few more.

Thought today... Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

true friends ...

reflecting today on how lucky i am to have a handful of true friends in my life that are always there for me ... no matter what.

that let me talk over and over about the same things ...
that drop everything to have coffee with me ...
that drop everything to have a beer with me ...
that let me call whenever needed ...
that will let me cry whenever needed ...
that are honest with me and tell me the truth, even when i don't want to hear it ...
that love me despite my faults ...
that will just be there even when i don't want to talk ...
that understand ...

thank you ...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

feeling spring ...

Coming back from vaca in Costa Rica where it was in the high 90s to the Maine temps was tough. But, today on my run the sun was out and I was sporting shorts ... spring is just around the corner.

The snow is mostly gone leaving behind piles of sand and rocks. My skis are packed up (sadly). My hats and gloves are packed back in the tote. The days of filling an entire washer with clothes from one workout is over. No more longs runs coming in frozen and feeling like your muscles never really did warm up ... even after 15 miles. No more trainer.

Soon I will be coming in from runs dripping with sweat. The road bike will be back on the road ... where it belongs!! And I'm counting the days to jump in the lake and try out my new wetsuit.

I do love winters in Maine, but my the end of March I am definitely ready for it to be over.

Speaking of Spring, what will April 20th bring? What will the weather be like at the start line in Boston ... cold, hot, rainy, snowy, windy ... Boston has seen it all. Spring weather in New England, have to love it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The countdown begins ...

3 weeks til Boston ...

16 weeks til RI 70.3 ...

wow, does time fly!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

when is enough, enough????

when is enough, enough? when do you draw the line?

i was confronted with this question just yesterday. somehow i knew this day would come. it has been several years in the making and deep down, i just knew it.

the day came ...
i said enough ...

now thinking, wondering, hoping that i was right... that it really was time to say when ...

Friday, March 20, 2009

A day of many emotions ...

Oh, how should I start this? I awoke this morning feeling very anxious ... I had so much to do in one day, so much on my mind, and just needed to get through the day. Not that it would all be over at the end, but since I'm leaving on vacation, just trying to get through the day and at the end be ready to enjoy. Wish I could have ran this morning to unwind, but that was a no go as I had so much to do I was at my desk a little after 7.

So, first ... Big day at work, but isn't it always when you're leaving for vaca. For some reason I seem to think that "my" world at work can't go on without me. Pretty egotistical, eh? I was in and out a couple of times making the day go by in a flash. Through all the rushing around was glad I took a moment to have lunch with a friend, which made me stop and relax for a bit. All was good in the end and left feeling like I left my desk clean with almost no loose ends. When I got up from my desk I realized I was the only one left ... not unusual if you work late on a Friday. Out with the lights, set the alarm, out the back door.

So, second ... backing up slightly, disappointment yet again with my son. Had this pit in the bottom of my stomach from the moment I awoke that plans would not unfold as they should and they didn't ... not much to be said ... should be used to it by now.

So, third ... had to make phone calls to the fam before I leave on vaca. Call to my sister was good, as it almost always is. Call to the folks ... yeah.

So, fourth ... had to say goodbye to one of my best friends. She is moving to Tampa while I'm on vaca. I spent Monday night with her, but tonight was the true goodbye. Really tough because you don't have that many true friends in life and she was one ... really, really going to miss her. Really.

So, fifth ... with all of that, still REALLY stoked to go on vaca!!!! In dire need of a week of relaxation. No work, no school, no kids, no boys, no cell phone, no computer. None of it. A week of me and my best girl. I can't think of any way I would rather spend my vaca.

Yeah, that should about cover it ... and I'm off ...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Boston Marathon ...

bib # assigned ... #13969 ... wave #1

very end of wave #1 ... guess it will keep me in check ...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Bedford Race Report

2nd race in my quest for the jacket ... New Bedford Half Marathon.

Trying to think if this is the 4th or 5th time I've ran this race, can't remember! Luckily, this is the first time the weather has ever been nice! Almost 50 at the start with no wind. Unbelievable!

Goal for this race was to run about 15 sec per mile faster than marathon pace for Boston and be consistent. MP is 7:50 so aiming for 7:35. I know the course so first mile is always a little fast, then a few miles of hills, then the long stretch of downhill and flat that you have to hold yourself back or you will be suffering in the end. A few miles along the coast and then the dreaded last mile uphill back into town. That last mile always has and always will suck!!

Splits went like this:
7.24 - little fast
7.41 - end of the hills
7.19 - nice consistent miles but thinking I need to slow down
7.46 - not that slow!
8.30 - the last 3.1 ... ummm, yes the dreaded last hill and that is a horrible split! Ugh.

Felt good, in control, and very comfortable through the whole race. Little tough that last mile but to be expected. Hit the 10 mile mark in 1.14, which was a minute faster than I finished the Amherst 10-miler a few weeks ago. Overall pace ... 7.34. Mission accomplished.

Feeling good but still a little anxious about Boston ... 5 weeks to go ...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

DH Jones 10-miler

One of my goals this year was to run all 7 of the NE Grand Prix races so at the end of the season I could earn an iron runner jacket. Yes, on a quest for the jacket. Going to be tough as twice I will need to double road races and triathlons in the same weekend. Plus will need to run two marathons in one year... Boston and Bay State.

Sunday was the first race, a 10-miler in Amherst MA. Going in I had a 5 minute window for a goal ... 1:10 to 1:15. Weather forecast originally wasn't good but then the storm slowed and seemed as if we might make it through the race without the cold rain and snow. Funny side story, my gf called Sat morning to see if I was still "up for it." Of course, I said yes. She laughed and said I knew you wouldn't bail!!!! Weather doesn't mean much to me ... I race. Period.

Pre-race was good, warm-up and such. Although at the last minute I thought I needed to change up into shorts, but didn't. In the end, a good decision.

Plan was to start conservatively, given the course, then settle in and give it more at the end. I did well. Mile splits were irrelevant given all the hills, but overall did run negative splits. I looked at my time at mile 6 and realized that to get a 1:15 I needed to pick up the pace. I maintained the next mile, then picked it up. The rain started at mile 7, but still my last 3 miles were good! As I came into the finish, my girlfriend was cheering -(who finished about 3 minutes ahead of me because she rocks)- and then said, "you have company" so I picked it up to the finish. Final time, 1:15:45. I'll take it. Truth be told, wasn't sure I could go 1:15 so was very happy.

It has been a long time since I crossed a finish line not only happy, but stoked! A feeling I thought I might never feel again. I love that feeling ...

Called my coach on the way home ... answered the phone not with a hello, but "how did it go?" When I gave my time, he said really nice job. Not something I hear very often from him. Very good feeling.

Ready to tackle the remaining six races. God, it feels good to be back!!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

a new year ...

wow, haven't posted anything in months! maybe because i finally got busy and stopped thinking about myself so much.

things they are a changing ...or better, already changed. after what seemed like an endless roller coaster ride of emotion ... i finally was able to step off!

life is good today. oh yes, there is stress, but i seem to be able to handle it. definitely feeling back to my old self.

only a few weeks into 2009 and looking forward to a new year.

quick run down of my ambitions this year:
* sub 3.25 at Boston
* sub 5.25 at RI 70.3
* run all the NE Grand Prix races and get an "iron runner" jacket
* put a major focus on my swimming

* finish 3 MBA courses
* complete 2 CIC courses

* exceed my new sales goal at work

* be happy!

Here's hoping for a much better year!