Friday, October 29, 2010

Camp Ketcha 5K

Do you ever just randomly go to some 5K that no one knows about? Some small dinky race that you've never heard about? They are a dime a dozen these days. Last Sunday morning I was laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, and not sleeping! Urgh. Sleeping in might have nice, but no. I finally decided that I might as well get up and go do something. A normal person would just get up and make coffee. Not me, I find some little 5K and go race.

Total field ... 65 runners.

I want to take a moment to talk about the 8 year old -(Jack)- that almost beat me. At the start of the race, this little guy took off like a bat out of hell. We've all seen it. Kids that take off in a sprint only to be seen walking on the side of the road before the first mile marker. I thought to myself there is no way he'll keep up the pace. The race started at Camp Ketcha, went down Route 77, down to Higgins Beach, and then back. I chased Jack all the way down to Higgins Beach. Gaining ground but still not catching him. The guy in front of me finally caught Jack right before the turn back on to 77. I saw him slow just long enough to say something to him. I kept running and finally caught him about a 1/2 mile from the finish. The first time I passed him he sped up. Really? I stayed right beside him, said a few encouraging words, then surged ahead of him. I ran in hard and finished 7 sec ahead of him.

I want to give a big shout out to Jack ... 8 years old ... running a 21 flat 5K. That is 6:46 pace. Amazing.

A few shots from the race, courtesy of Don Penta.

The start (that's Jack to my right, facing the wrong way and wearing a wig)

The finish

I ended up winning the race (well, overall female). Of course that's not hard to do when no one shows up! Finish time 20:53. I was happy because that was my fastest 5K this year. It is so much fun to be racing again!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What do you do with all this stuff?

I was digging through the drawer with my swim stuff in it today and starting pulling out swim caps ... and kept pulling ... and kept pulling ...

Wow, I had 21 swim caps stuffed in that drawer. A few had seen their better days, which I promptly tossed in the trash. But what do I do with the rest?

That reminded me that I also have almost every bib from every race I have finished. Running, Triathlon, Duathlon, and I think just a couple Nordic Ski races.

I keep thinking that one of these days when I buy a house again I will use them to wallpaper my workout room. I know, go ahead and call me a geek but I have always thought it would be pretty cool.

I also have a box in the closet that is filled with medals, trophies, plaques, etc. that really don't mean anything to me. I do cherish some of my medals ... like both my Boston Marathon medals, the Mount Washington Road Race, my Half Ironmans, but the rest are just cheesy trophies from 5K and 10K road races. I actually tried to give these away! I called many local charities and none of them wanted them. I looked up some recycle places on-line but it would cost me a fortune just to ship the box. So, they just keep sitting in my closet.

To all my fellow running and tri friends, what do you do with all your stuff????

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I went hiking again. So much fun! This time it was a little more challenging though. I headed to Tumbledown and hiked up Loop Trail and down Brook Trail. I had some issues heading up Loop as it is very steep and I am afraid of heights. I realized very quickly there was NO way I could go back down that trail. I made it to the top only to almost get blown off the mountain by some really strong winds. I didn't get to spend as much time at the top as I wanted. The hike down Brook was really easy. Then I had about a 1.25 mile walk back to my car. All in all it took 3 hours.

I really want to hike this again, when it's not windy, and not by myself next time. I would love to hike up there and pitch a tent by the pond during the summer!

I didn't take as many pics as last weekend, but here they are ...

I took this because I couldn't believe how big this rock was!

It was really wet. I tried to be careful, but ... oops! Good thing my hikers are waterproof.

That's where I'm headed.

The trail was mostly rocks. Lots and lots of rocks.

Again, the views were great.

I'm so glad I didn't have to run a half marathon today!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Maine Half Race Report

Maine Marathon/Half Marathon day! It’s no secret that I love this race. I know last year I posted a history lesson on my participation in this race through the years. At the beginning of this year I had intentions of running the marathon, but my lack of training early season soon squashed that idea. I still wanted to run so I signed up for the half.

Again, coming into this race I was in no shape to actually race it, but I figured it would be a nice training run with a lot of company!

Being I wasn’t racing, I saw no harm in hiking on Saturday (see my previous post). So, Saturday morning I did a 3 hour hike. Saturday afternoon my back was getting tight and I was feeling it in my glutes and quads. Huh, that’s not ideal. I hit the ibuprofen, dug out my heating pad, and went to bed early. The heating pad did wonders for my back. Sunday morning I get up and am real tight in the quads but my back feels better. More ibuprofen.

Pre-race wasn’t really anything. I basically jogged from my car that was parked up by Sullivan Gym to the start. I then tried to stretch out my quads as best I could, but they were sore. Ugh. I try to position myself back a little at the start so I wouldn’t get caught up in the start of the race. National Anthem then we’re off. About two miles in I’m not feeling good. I’m tight and I’m sore and then the negative self talk starts. Can I quit? Yeah, I think I’ll just quit. I could just turn around and jog the two miles back to the start and be done with this. I keep having the conversation in my head and then I hit mile 3. My splits aren’t that bad. I thought I would just come out and run 8-8:15s, cover the distance, and log a nice long run. So far all my splits are sub 8.

Alright Robin, enough of the negative self talk. This is what you have been working to overcome the past two months!!!! Think positive, suck it up, and just run!!!! I tell myself right then there will be NO mile splits over 8 minutes. Not one. Here we go …

Mile 1 – 7.55
Mile 2 – 7.39
Mile 3 – 7.39
Mile 4 – 7.36
Mile 5 – 7.43
Mile 6 – 7.48
Mile 7 – 7.37
Mile 8 – 7.50
Mile 9 – 7.30
Mile 10 – 7.31
Mile 11 – 7.56 (that was cutting it a little too close!)
Mile 12 – 7.37
Mile 13 – 7.47
Last .1 - .45

Final time 1:40.59.

At the end of the day, I was very pleased with my efforts. Although I am paying for it! I hobbled around my house all afternoon and evening and my quads are still very sore this morning. BUT, the feeling of fighting through the negativity again makes it all worth it. Little by little I am fighting my way back to having that competitive mindset that I lost somewhere.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

South Moat

I love to hike. The past few years I haven't hiked as much as I would have liked. I told myself this year I was going to hike more. Today, I took a nice stroll up South Moat Mountain. 2.7 miles to the top.

It was a great hike! Steep and rocky in several places.

The streams were full because of the rain, which also made the rocky sections very slippery.

But the views from the top were amazing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Colby Tri Race Report

I love this race. I think I have blogged about it before, but it's the one race I hate to ever miss. I have raced it 4 out of the past 5 years (2006 I was injured) and have always done well. This is the reason I signed up even though I thought I wouldn't race this year. Just couldn't help myself. Which also led to racing last weekend too, but ....

Anyway ... I woke up this morning and proceeded as usual. Shower, coffee, breakfast, etc. I started to load up my car and when I walked outside I walked out to a temp of 66 degrees at 6:20 in the morning! Wow! Every year it is usually very chilly at Colby. Last year when I arrived at the race venue it was 39 ... no joke! I arrived at the race a little behind schedule. I pulled in at 8:10 and the race started at 9. Not much time to mess around. I grabbed all my stuff and headed down to pick up my bib. I get there and had left my USAT card in the car. Luckily they let me get my bib, get body marked, and set up transition before heading back up to get it. By the time I did all that is was almost 8:30. Pre-race meeting was at 8:45. I went for a quick run that included stopping at my car for the card. Then I quickly put on my wetsuit and headed down to the water. I managed to at least get in and get a feel for the water before they pulled us out.

This race is short and fast. The swim is only 400M so you can pretty much just go all out because you're not in the water long at all. There are only two waves, men and women. The men went off 3 minutes ahead of us. We started and I just swam as hard as I could. I hit the beach and then ran up the big hill to T1. I headed out on my bike and settled in fast. The bike is 14 miles. I passed quite a few men right off the bat. That's always fun. I passed one girl within the first few miles. I keep pedaling away, pushing hard. I passed a couple more girls and then it seems like I'm out on the bike all alone. This isn't a big race but I didn't see anyone for miles. I start thinking, am I that far behind that I can't catch the other women? (I'm used to coming out of the water pretty far back and usually pass more women). OR, did I come out of the water better than I realized - after all it was a short swim - and there was just no one to pass. I liked that thought better.

The run is an out and back and you see the runners as you come in off the bike. As I approach I see the turn around cone but no runners. I like it! I keep riding and soon I see the first male, which tells me I was in good position. Soon I see Erin, she was leading, but then Nicole was a close second and just flying! She quickly ran Erin down and ended up first female. I see another girl and then I knew I was in 4th. I came in off the bike and quickly headed out on the run. I still felt really good. As I approached the turn around cone, I saw the 3rd place girl but I knew she was too far ahead to catch. After I made the turn I saw the girl in 5th and realized she was too far back to be a threat. Relief. I ran it in hard finishing 4th female and 20th overall. Another solid performance at the Colby Tri.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lobsterman Race Report

So, my first tri of the season. I mentioned going in that I had a goal in mind, something realistic but that would push me. I had to be realistic as my longest workout of the year has only been around 90 minutes. I looked at my splits from 2008 and then how my training has been going and decided if I could go somewhere around 30 on the swim, 1:20 on the bike, and 48 on the run, I'd be happy. Add in transition and a little wiggle room and I'd finish under 2:45.

Race morning. I woke up 10 minutes before the alarm went off and flew out of bed. I was stoked. Did my regular stuff ... shower, eat, fix my water bottles, etc. I rechecked everything I had packed the night before to be sure I didn't forget anything and headed for Freeport. Pre-race was all normal. Got body marked, set up transition, etc. I went for a short run, stretched, then decided it was time to get the wetsuit and see just how cold the water was. All week talk has been flying about how cold the water was going to be. I get in and to my surprise it wasn't that bad. That was a relief!

The swim. The waves went off every 3 minutes and I was in wave 5, pink caps. I got a good position in the water and then pretty soon Andy the announcer goes GO GO GO GO! (Andy - I love his voice. He announces at so many races. It's almost a calming voice when I hit a race venue and hear him on the speaker.) Off we go. I told myself to say relaxed and just swim. One buoy at a time. I've had issues freaking out in the water before and just wanted to keep a positive attitude and stay relaxed this time. I managed to draft for awhile right off the bat, which was nice. First buoy down. Found someone else to draft on after the turn. Second buoy down. You made a slight left after this buoy and then the sun was in your eyes. Ugh. Somewhere between buoy two and three I had a few issues. I finally made the turn on the last buoy and headed in. At that point I just swam hard and wanted out of the water. I hit the beach and headed into T1. Swim time 32:18. I was a little wobbly getting my bike shoes on, but I hurried as fast as I could and made it out of T2 in 1:48.

The bike. I took off on the bike and wanted to be sure I kept spinning easy since I had to climb out of the park before I could really settle in and get after it. About 3 min into the bike I glance down and see my computer isn't working. Ugh. Now, this is probably the stupidest thing I have ever done ... without thinking I reach my hand down to see if I can hit the button on the side of the sensor. Yeah. I miss and my finger goes into the spokes. OMG! That hurt. And no, I didn't learn so I did it again only this time the sensor moved, hit my spokes and flew off into the ditch! Smart Carlson, real smart. And all for what? Still not sure why I was so worried about my computer. My finger was bleeding but nothing that bad. Alright, I need to focus. I settle in on the bike feeling good. I thought the bike traffic was crazy. Especially through the first half of the race. Way too many bikes!! I pushed through the bike, all the way to the end, and I felt great. I hit T2 with a bike split of 1:21:26. Not bad considering I refused to ride my bike for over 3 months in the beginning of the season. In and out of T2 in :56.

The run. Here we go. I had no idea how this would come out. Remember me saying that me longest workout was 90 min? I've now been racing close to 2 hours. I told myself not to think about that and just run. That first climb out of the park just sucks. There is no other way to put it. After getting past the first hill I started to settle in. I have no idea what my pace was, I just ran. The miles were clicking off and I was getting tired. I just kept telling myself to keep running. Don't quit You can do this. I had about 1.5 mi to go and I started to come apart. Ugh. I kept pushing. I know I slowed down on the last few hills before the final decent into the park. I just kept pushing. I was so happy to start the decent, then I saw the water appear on the right, and I knew I was almost done. Past the gatehouse and onto the dirt. I heard Andy announce my name ... that's always cool. Around that last bend and to the finish. I did manage to run down a girl in the last 100 yards. Run time 51:06.

My final time was 2:47:31, which put me 10th in my age group. I was happy. I felt like I had a great race, pushed through the whole thing, and never gave up. AND I had fun!!!!

Next weekend is the Colby Triathlon. I'm really looking forward to it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

First Triathlon of the Season

Yes, my first triathlon of the season is this Saturday. It seems odd considering the season is basically over but I’m very excited. At the beginning of the season, I decided I didn’t want to race this year. As the summer went on, I started to get that feeling, desire, want … whatever you call it … to race again. I decided I would sign up for the Colby Triathlon since it is one of my favorites. So I started training, well, seriously training, training the way I SHOULD train if I’m going to race about 5 weeks ago.

Then, not long after, I find out that there are still about 100 spots left in the Lobsterman Triathlon. It took me all of about 10 minutes to sign up. I’m in no kind of shape to race the international distance, but decided it would be a great workout.

I am a little worried about the swim. I tweaked my left shoulder last week, no idea how, but it has kept me out of the pool for a week missing at least three workouts. Good thing it’s the shortest leg!!

I have been feeling really good on the bike. Last night I rode the Lobsterman course with a group from the Midcoast Tri Club. It was nice to familiarize myself with it again as the last time I raced the Lobsterman was 2008. I was kindly reminded of how hilly it is! After I rode I walked over to the boat launch where the swim start takes place. Isn’t the view amazing? I stood there looking out over the ocean remembering why I love this sport.

I’m ready for Saturday. I have a goal in mind. The goal is realistic given my fitness level and lack of training in the early summer but still doesn’t give any room to slack off! I’m ready for some pain!

On a side note to anyone who read my last post, I'm happy to say that I successfully took off 6 lbs to date. Hopefully I can shed a couple more before the Colby Tri on the 25th.

Looking forward to seeing all my tri friends on Saturday … game on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lazy weight ... yes, I'm currently reading lazy weight on the scale

Okay, I’m admitting it ... I’m fat. Well, I’m not fat in the traditional sense, but as an athlete I feel like I’m flirting on the edge of obesity!!!! I am now paying for three months of summer pleasures. Apparently, I still fall within the “acceptable” guidelines for a female who is 5’8” tall. I can weigh anywhere between 126 and 154. Wow! That's almost a 30 lb. swing. And then there’s my BMI, which in my opinion is a completely useless number, but again falls within the “acceptable” guidelines. Bull shit. I am far from acceptable at the moment.

Statistics show that for every extra pound you carry your run pace slows 1-3 seconds per mile. The average person might say, “what’s a second?” Well, if I’m 10 lbs. over weight and I take the low side of 1 sec per mile, that’s 30 seconds added to my 5K time, a minute to my 10K time. Get the picture? A whole freaking minute. In a world where we kill ourselves on the track week after week to shave a few seconds off a PR, a minute is HUGE!

Alright ... deep breath ... again, deep breath ... I know I'm a little over the edge, but I needed to vent.

I know the number on the scale isn’t everything, but I totally admit that I weigh myself several times a week. I seem to swing between three zones ... 1) my lazy weight, 2) my normal training weight, and 3) my prime race weight. I don’t get to #3 often but I LOVE how it feels. Absolutely LOVE how it feels!!

The span between #1 and #3 is only about 10-12 lb. but, I can feel the difference. My coach once said to me, “I want you to carry a five lb. weight in each hand and go run 3 miles. Then, go run another 3 miles without them. Come back and tell me how it felt.” I didn’t actually do it, but I got the point.

I know what it takes to be at prime race weight, but damn it’s a tough road. At least it is for me. I find as I get older, now knocking on the door of being 40 -(UGH, that sounds old. Me turning 40 is a whole other post, maybe several!!)- it gets tougher. I know it's possible though. I sit back and look at some of the top athletes in Maine that are in their 40s and they look damn good. Some of it’s genetics but a lot of it is dedication to their sport.

I know what I need to do. I guess I should stop venting, get over myself, and get with it ...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Off to Alaska

Sunday morning I was on a plane headed for Alaska. My second trip out to the see the family. I wish the trip wasn't so long, but it is so worth it once I get here. And here's why ...


And Hannah

And Morgan

I am enjoying every minute with my girls!

I am taking time to run everyday. I have no access to a pool, nor do I have a bike, so running it is. They have these paths along the roads that go forever. I think what they are really for is the four wheelers and snowmobiles. I don't see a lot of people running or walking.

Notice how close the woods are to this path. Yesterday on my run I had a moose encounter. Yes, it's cool to see a moose but it's a little too close for my taste. After that I was scanning the woods for the rest of my run waiting for a moose to jump out in front of me.

I have also taken time to walk Giddy every day. I think he likes it. Check out this smile.

Only three more days, time goes too fast.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm still here ... I think ...

It has been brought to my attention that I have been MIA lately. My answer is yes... yes I have. First up, I need to report my last two races.

On June 6th I ran the EX2adventures 10K off road race. The venue was gorgeous, taking place in Prince William State Park in VA. The temps were close to 85 with about 90% humidity. Ugh. We ran about a half a mile on the road then headed out onto the trails. The course was beautiful but far from easy. There were a lot of hills, long hills. I felt pretty good through most of the race but was definitely fatigued at the end. The final section of the race was a nice long climb to the finish line. I ended up 5th in my AG and 26th OA (men and women). My time, 56:30. No, that is not a typo. The winning woman ran a 50:04, which kind of puts the course in perspective.

The finish

My 5th place glass

Me and my sis after it's all over

Next up was the Portland Sea Dogs Father's Day 5K. I am the race director of this race so running is never really a good idea since I spend all my energy making sure everything goes off without any issues. I also was fighting some stupid cold/cough thing. I hate making excuses, but I definitely wasn't 100% that day. I was hoping to finish under 21 and ran a 22:01. Not exactly anything to write home about. My only claim to fame that day was going into a coughing frenzy after the race and puking at the base of the stairs by the visitors locker room. :)

My summer has continued like this ... training, not training. Training, not training. Motivation, no motivation. Motivation, no motivation. I have been having fun though. A lot fun just living life. There has been no training schedule ... just a run here and a swim there. I have had a lot of good times this summer BUT, that doesn't seem to be working for the long haul. I don't like the way I feel. I don't like my lack of energy. I don't like how I am getting all squishy around the edges. Yuck!!

After chatting with a fellow tri buddy, I told him that I think what I need is a training partner. Someone I can train with, have fun, and also have a healthy competition with. I think what I need is a Turner-Durgin-Brackett type training partner. Yup.

I am still thinking about signing up for the Colby Tri. Anyone else out there heading to Colby?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Race Reports - Run for the Roses and Sugarloaf 15K

I raced twice last week. I know you probably shouldn't race twice in one week but I counted the first as my speed workout. I also feel like I need a steady dose of road races to help with my mental toughness. I need to constantly be reminded what it feels like to hurt … to be outside that comfort zone.

On Wednesday, I headed south to Salisbury MA to run an all women’s 5K, Run for the Roses. It was a last minute decision … and a good one. I met up with one of my good friends and we warmed up together. The race started on the road, then headed onto a trail within a few seconds. We ran the trail for a little over a mile, then back on the road for less than a mile, then back on the trail to the finish. It was a good course, although I always think the trail part slows you down. I ended up finishing 8th with a 20:58.

On Sunday, I raced my first Sugarloaf 15K. What a great race. Not only would I do the 15K again, but I now I want to tackle that marathon! The course was beautiful.
My long runs right now are just hitting the 12 mile mark so racing a 15K seemed iffy. I decided that if I could run 7:30s and come in at 1:10 I would be happy. Of course on race morning, I started to doubt if I could hold that pace. I warmed up, did some strides, and headed to the start. I had been told that this race takes off fast so I was ready for that and told myself not to go out too hard. The first 1.1 (the race starts .1 of a mile before the 17 mile marker) was 7.52, followed by 7.20, 7.25, 7.29, 7.26, 7.26, 7.19. I’m not sure what happened but somewhere between mile seven and eight I started to feel really bad. I worked through it but posted an 8.08 split. I was not happy with that at all. I was able to pick the pace back up and clocked at 8.47 for the last 1.2 miles, which is 7.19 pace. Finish time was 1.09.18. That was good enough for an 14th place finish and 2nd in my age group. I was very happy with the outcome.

Not only does racing teach me how to hurt, but it makes me want to train harder.

Next up … 10K trail race at Prince William State Park in VA.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hannah Grace ... in photos ...

Some old favorites

Looking angelic

Looking serious

And being really happy

She just makes me smile!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Running and moving ...

I've been delinquent in blogging because I've been busy! I recently moved, not far, but to a new place. Moving can completely suck ... packing, boxes, more packing, more boxes, etc. All the phone calls to transfer your electric, gas, cable, etc. Sending a change of address to everyone who needs it; although this has become easier now that you can do most of them on-line. And then there's unpacking, let's not forget that. This can be good and bad ... it's tedious, but at least everything is clean and organized ... at least for awhile. Even the "junk" drawer in the kitchen is organized with, well, junk!

One of my favorite things about moving is finding new running routes. I have already found my favorite go to run. It takes under a hour, just shy of 7 miles. I can see it being my favorite loop, well, it already is. I have figured out how long it takes to get to the closest track. I need to work on the loop getting there as my first attempt was not enough warm-up, but found a good route home that won't kill me after a hard track workout. I'm still working on the long run, but I'll figure it out.

The other thing I like is finding my morning regulars. So far there is the guy at the bus stop. He's there every morning, coffee in hand, waiting for the bus. We exchange good mornings. Then there is the guy in the blue jacket (well, that will probably change with the seasons, but hey, I've only been here 3 weeks), that walks every morning. I catch him at different spots depending on how early, or late, I head out. I have spotted a "runner" on my favorite route. He looks to be in good shape and runs the opposite direction as me so we usually pass each other twice. I'm still taking in all the dog walkers.

The best part of my new running routes is being able to watch the sun rise over the ocean. I've seen some absolutely beautiful sunrises on my morning runs. Sometimes I just want to stop and take it in.

On a side note, I went to Boston last Monday to watch the marathon. I love the Boston Marathon. I'm not sure how many years I've watched it now, but I love watching the runners ... not as much as I love running it, but if I can't run I want to be there watching.

I want to give a big shout out to the following girls ...

Jeanne went 3:15
Laurie went 3:16 (PR for her!!)
Ann went 3:35

Hopefully I'll be back in 2011. Bring on the running season. Next up, Sugarloaf 15K ...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New chapters

I look at my life and think of it as chapters in a book. I've come to the conclusion that my life is writing a novel that may be quite lengthy, as it is already comprised of many chapters. Some chapters have begun by choice and others by necessity. Just a few that come to mind are-

When I had my first child ...
When I got married ...
When I moved away from home/family ...
When I got divorced ...
When I decided to get healthy and start running ...
When I decided to go back to grad school ...
When my kids left home ...

As I look at these chapters, I realize that perspective is a really important factor. Most of my life I have only understood by looking back, after I had experienced it. In the moment, I had little perspective. That reminds me of the saying, "Life must be lived forwards but only understood backwards." There is a lot of truth in that statement.

Some of these chapters I want to read over and over, some I want to use as a reference tool, and some I want to forget entirely. In the end, these are the chapters that make up my life. They are the experiences that have made me who I am today ... good and bad. I've learned that it is important to know the difference between the good and bad.

Someone used to say to me, "It's never to late to start your day over." Well. I believe it's never too late to start a new chapter. So, I am embarking on a new chapter now. This one by choice. I think it's going to be a good chapter ... one I may want to read over and over.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring fever

I officially have spring fever. 68 degrees today in Portland. I took my bike on the road for the first time this spring. It is always the best feeling. Being unhooked from the trainer ... free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last! All those things we miss being on our trainer...

1. Wind. Sometimes good sometimes bad.
2. Real hills. Not simulated hill climbs, but real hills.
3. Downhills. Oh, you mean I can actually rest for a moment? Something you never get on the trainer!!
4. Other bikers to chase down. Always fun to see bikers ahead of you and try to reel them in.
5. Traffic. This would be the negative. I was reminded today of how stupid drivers can be. Yes I said stupid! I actually have some others words but I will refrain. When you're the one on the bike you can call the people who don't share the road anything you want.
6. Bricks. The ability to do brick workouts, ummm, bricks that I like. I hate winter brick workouts. Trying to get out of your sweaty bike clothes - and being on your trainer they are definitely sweaty - and into winter running clothes just sucks! Not too mention your hair is wet/sweaty so you freeze when you head out.

I'm sure there is more but that's what comes to mind. Being out on the road is just a different feeling and to me it's motivating!

Spring also means less laundry. It is so nice when a run only produces a pair of shorts, maybe a shirt, sports bra, and socks. A run in the winter produces a whole load in itself!!

I think we have snow in the forecast this coming week. I want to say, seriously WTF? I wanted snow all winter and didn't get it and now I want warm temps and sunshine and they say snow. Whatever ... I know spring is just around the corner...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Me and Mt. Washington

Me and Mt. Washington, we have a history. My first experience with Mt Washington was driving to the top with my family. I remember it well. It seemed exciting at first, but then we were above the tree line and it wasn't so fun anymore. I am afraid of heights. I was sure we were going to go off the road and our mini-van was going to roll and roll and roll and take me to my death. No, I'm not exaggerating. I unfortunately had the same experience years earlier driving in Rocky Mountain National Park. We finally made it to the top and was relieved to be out of the vehicle! We walked around and did our thing. But then, I knew I had to get back in the vehicle to drive back down. I can't do this! I ended up laying flat in the back of the van so I couldn't see out the windows. As I'm laying there I'm thinking ... I'm never doing this again.

2007, I decide to put my name in the Mt Washington Road Race lottery. I thought any "true" runner should have this on their resume. 7.6 miles, 6288 feet in elevation, 11.5% average grade. That sounds fun, right?

When the list came out my name was on it. Wow. I really have to run up that mountain now. Gulp. I wasn't sure how to train. I did a lot of hill repeats and continuous uphill runs on the treadmill. I didn't do it right. It did not prepare me for the race. I was told that my finish time for the 7.6 miles should be equal to my half marathon time; or at least close. I thought I would finish around 1:40. Final time was 1:49. not even close. I can't even tell you how hard this race was for me. It was a very warm day and the skies were clear. Every time I looked up all I could see was the road ahead of me winding upward with no end. When I finally reached the top and crossed the line I just lost it. A nice volunteer put a medal around my neck and I walked off by myself in tears. It was that feeling of complete and utter exhaustion. I said to myself ... I will never do this again.

2008, I sign up for the Ski to the Clouds. This is advertised at the "North America's Toughest 10K."

I can't ski. Seriously. This is only my second winter of Nordic skiing and I'm not good. I mean I'm really not good! I'm still not sure why I signed up. I show up the day before the race and pick up my bib. The nice lady asks if I have packed my warm clothes bag. I say no, I'm not sure what to put in it. She says well, you probably need an extra top layer and maybe dry gloves to stay warm while you ski down. Uh..... WHAT???? I say, we have to ski down? She asks if that is a problem and I say no. Remember my fear of heights earlier? Yeah, skiing downhill is kind of like driving down for me. I have no doubt that I will fall to my death. I guess I'll worry about that later.

So, race morning comes and I have no idea what I'm doing. I warm up a little and try not to get nervous. My goal: to finish and not come in dead last. Some goal huh? Well, this was realistic. The race starts and we ski 4K through the trails and then we turn to ski 6K straight up the auto road. I never thought I was going to finish. I was having flashbacks to when I ran up! The faster skiers who had finished were skiing down and yelling nice job ... you're doing great... etc. Wow, I was a back of the packer. I know I'm getting close to the finish and I see this guy with a radio. I could tell he was reporting back to the finish line. I asked him, how far? He answers a half mile. Then I ask, am I last? He says no, there is one guy behind you. OMG, I wasn't last! I reach the finish which is two women with a stopwatch, the snow cat parked on the side of the road with my warm clothes and some water. No people. No other skiers. That was it. I put on my clothes, grabbed some water, and headed down. All I'm going to say is that I think it took me just as long to ski down as it did to ski up. Get the picture? When I arrived at the lodge the award ceremony was over and almost everyone was gone. I did look at the results. There was one sixty something year old man that finished behind me, but I was the last female. I packed up my stuff and headed back to my friends house to shower. When I walked in I said ... I will never do this again!

Are you seeing the pattern here?

Well, I just put my name in the lottery for the 2010 Mt Washington Road Race. Do I ever learn? Stayed tuned to see if I get in ...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Laughing is good for soul ...

So I know I'm way too amused by all these videos on YouTube ... but I thought I would share to give my girls who have been grouchy and down a laugh. Best line ... "Have you seen my hot ass?" Oh the perks of being a runner!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Changing up 2010

A few changes to my 2010 triathlon season have occurred. The first, I am now a member of the Midcoast Triathlon Club. I'm excited about joining the team and being able to train and race with my fellow teammates. I ordered my new tri top yesterday. I'll be anxious to see what they look like.

Second, my race schedule has been changed ...

Polar Bear Tri - May 8th
Pirate Tri - June 13
Black Fly Tri Weekend - July 9-11
Beach to Beacon 10K - August 7
Fireman Tri - August 29 (this is a maybe)
Lobsterman Tri - September 18
Colby Tri - September 25
Maine Marathon - October 3

You will notice that my A race is gone. Yup. I know that is going shock a few of you. This was a decision made for personal reasons and not an easy one. Luckily my family was very supportive and understanding. My IM dreams are going to have to wait for another year and I'm okay with that. At least I am now... it took a bit to digest it. In the meantime, I plan on having a lot of fun this season and kicking some serious short course ass!!!!

Luckily my ankle seems to be healed up. Not 100% but close. My training is going well and I feel stronger than I have in a long time. I have few people joining me in the pool on Mondays & Fridays and a hoping to start running more with Ann.

So .... new teammates and new training partners. Safety in numbers! Counting down to the first tri of the season.

Monday, February 1, 2010

No one said this would be easy ...

Nothing is easy. Well, maybe sometimes, but overall ... not really. Everything you want to succeed at takes work, dedication, determination, motivation, and perseverance. Whether it be in life, at work, in relationships, in athletics, in school ... if the bar is set high and you have goals to reach, it's not going to be easy.

I started thinking about this tonight during my bike workout. I was doing a ladder workout ... every 2 minutes shift up and up and up ... I just shifted up for the last time and my legs were really feeling it and I was breathing hard and I started to think ... yeah, no one said this would be easy. I almost laughed out loud. Yeah, we do this on purpose.

After my shower, I cracked open my books for my MBA class to be sure I had all my homework done for tomorrow.

After that I was looking at my work calendar to see what I had going on and when and trying to be sure I knew where all my workouts would fit in.

Last week I spent 3 days in an insurance class and then took a 20 page, hand written essay exam at 8am on Saturday morning. I am doing this to obtain a professional designation. This was test 3 of 5. As I walked out of the test room I text my best friend the following ... "Fucking brutal. Why do I have to be so career driven? I think I'll become a ditch digger ... "

Well, obviously that's not going to happen but my point is some of this is self-induced. I don't have to try to excel at work. I don't have to get my masters degree. I don't have to be a triathlete. I don't have to do an ironman. I think you get the drift.

Now, let's skip to the part we don't have control over. Or at least little control. All of this started me thinking about the rest of my life. I never planned on being divorced. I never planned on being a single mom. I guess you could say that these were choices. I chose to have my children. I chose to get married and divorced. But these are the choices that you really have no idea what the outcome will be. OR how they might effect the rest of your life.

At any rate, we work hard sometimes out of choice and we work hard sometimes out of necessity. I just do what I need to do and I do what makes me happy. But no one ever said that would be easy ... and let me tell you it's not!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

23 weeks...

Yes, 23 weeks until my first IM. Wow. Every week that goes by makes it more and more real. I look ahead at my training and take a deep breath.

I have a mixed bag of emotions that run from excited to anxious to scared to confident. Some days I get excited and have that feeling I KNOW I can do this. Some days I start thinking about the distance and get a pit in my stomach. I'm sure this will continue for awhile. I'm hoping that by the time I step to the start line it will be a feeling of confidence, but also keeping a very healthy respect for the distance.

I am getting ready to swim bike and run more than I ever have in my life.

This is going to be one hell of journey.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sickness and Injury

Sickness and injuries are an athlete's worst nightmare. I've had my share of both. I started with shin splints as a beginning runner. This is something that plagued me through my entire basketball career. It took a few years to learn how to deal with that. Then I moved onto some serious hip/IT issues that took me out for the entire 2006 season. I remember when I finally gave in to seek treatment. I was up really early that day and running with the PR Racing team for the Relay For Life. I did my six miles on the track and then a bunch of us headed to Mechanic Falls to run the Pottle Hill 10K. After the race I was trying to get in my car and had to physically pick up my left leg to get it in the car. I learned from that episode not to wait so long before calling my PT! That hip/IT issue has become somewhat chronic but I am learning how to deal with it and can see, or better yet feel, the early warning signs.

Let's not forget the winter I fell on the ice and broke my arm. I remember asking the ER doctor if I could still run. He laughed and said if you can stand the pain, sure. I soon learned why he laughed and didn't run for 2 weeks. I'm sure I looked really awkward running with a cast that held my arm at a 90 deg angle. More recently, my spill over the handlebars at the 2009 Mooseman that left me with a broken finger. A broken finger seems minor but let me tell you, any broken bone hurts. Again, I got some crazy looks swimming in the pool with my cast. Talk about fitting the Nemo nickname! And trying to get my wetsuit back off over the cast took 3 people!

Sickness. Yes, I have trained and race through some tough times. I remember getting sick the week before the MidWinter Classic one year. I hadn't slept well for 3 nights and then decided I would race anyway. I actually had a great race, I'm not sure how, but then got even sicker for a week after. Hell, it's worth it right? Then a few years ago I caught what I would like to call the death plague. I had the flu so bad it landed me in the emergency room and I was put on bed rest for a week! About 10 days later I tried to go to spin class and almost passed out on my bike. Okay, so maybe that was a little too soon. 2 weeks after that I decided to race the New Bedford Half. I made it through and then went into a coughing frenzy at the finish line until I started dry heaving. Lovely sight.

And the whole reason for this post is that I got sick last Thursday. I woke up with a scratchy throat and was sneezing all day. Friday morning I woke up with the full blown cold. Sore throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and absolutely no energy. It continued all day Saturday and into Sunday. I missed an entire weekend of training! This morning I felt better. I thought I might just be able to hit the pool after work to test how I felt. BUT THEN, I fell down my outside stairs. I live on the second floor so I walk down a flight of stairs everyday. I walk out the door carrying my purse, my lunch bag, a bag of returnables to leave by the dumpster for the homeless man, and my coffee. I'm probably five steps from the end and I have no idea what happened. I think I caught the heel of my boot maybe, but start to fall, I try to catch myself, took a step, rolled my ankle, and then fell forward down the other four stairs onto the landing. Of course the first thing you do when you get up is look around to see if anyone saw this! Then I took inventory ... scraped shin, sore ankle, spilled coffee ... I think I'll survive. However, as the day as progressed my ankle has gotten worse. It is very very sore to walk on, in fact I cannot walk without a limp. It isn't too swollen (yet) but is starting to bruise. All I can think about is how long will this set me back? Not a great way to start the week.

So, sickness and injury ... I have no patience for either!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hangover Classic Race Report

Running the Hangover Classic is becoming a tradition for me. This was my 5th time running. I had to go back and look at my past results when I got home today. The times vary because the weather varies drastically. I've run in 40 deg and rain. I've run in 10 deg with stiff cold winds. I've run with the roads covered in snow. This is what my past 4 races looked like:
2005 - 5K, 3rd place, 20:03
2006 - 10K, 7th place, 41:19
2007 - 5K, 6th place, 21:09
2009 - 5K, 3rd place, 21:52

The other part of this race I like is that you have an opportunity to "take the plunge." Yes, jump in the Atlantic Ocean on Jan 1st ... and all for a mug! The first thing I did when I arrived was walk up to the beach to check out the waves.

It looked good and at a balmy 32 degrees plunging was definitely an option this year.

I went down to register and signed up for the 5K. I'm still nursing a sore and tight left hamstring so didn't think I could make it through the 10K. I did a 2 mile warm-up with Laurie and Linda then went inside to really stretch my hamstrings. I went back to the car, pinned on my number, put on my flats, and changed my shirt. I jogged a little more and then hit the start line.

Now, one of my pet peeves is races that start late. There is a reason we warm-up and it's not to stand forever at the start line. For some reason the race director found it necessary to delay the start to let a few runners get through the port-a-potty line. Seriously? Urgh!!!!

We finally started and I got trapped behind a few slow starters. After we rounded the first corner I made my way through and had room to run. I settled in and felt good. I hit the first mile marker in 6:45. At about the half-way point, we take this little detour around the block before we head back. At the first corner they ran us over some person's yard to avoid a flooded street. The footing was horrible but luckily is was only for a few seconds. I was still feeling really good except my hamstring was starting to get tight. When I hit the two mile mark it was tight enough that I could feel my gait changing slightly to compensate. I crossed the line in 21:02. I had no idea where I was until I turned the last corner and saw the clock. For some reason I never looked at my watch again after the first mile. I ran hard and was happy with that. I was also pleased that my overall pace is about 6:47, which means I never slowed down after the first mile.

I collected my mug for being in the top 25 finishers, walked down the finish shoot, caught my breath, then headed to the beach. Yup, it was time to take the plunge. Off with the shoes and socks, off with the stocking cap, off with the shirt. I trotted toward the water in my tights and sports bra. In order to get the mug, you have to fully submerge yourself. I've learned from the past that you have to be careful of the waves, especially when your legs are tired from racing. I walked out and waited for 2 big waves to roll into me then under I went. I came up and headed back up to collect my second mug!

I jogged back to the car barefoot, not very smart, but I didn't want to get sand in my flats. I grabbed my bag and headed inside to change. I'm always amazed at how much sand accumulates in your hair and bra in the 20 sec you are under water. Amazing! Putting on dry clothes felt wonderful.

My 21:02 gave me an overall 3rd place finish. My 5th hangover classic, my 3rd ocean plunge. It really is a great way to start the year.