Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tris? Whatever. Try a quad...

So after listening to Audrey recap her showshoe race, I was reminded of this race that I read about, the Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon. So the little gears started turning in my brain and I thought "Hmmm, I bike, run, and ski, but I only snowshoe recreationally... Wait, Audrey runs much faster than me and now is a showshoe racer..."

So I IMed Audrey and because she is as certifiable as me, we decided we are totally going to do this in February 2009 (next month is a little too soon). Just to sum it up:

13 mile bike (1800 ft elevation gain)
5 mile run (1200 ft)
2 mile ski (1200 ft)
1 mile snowshoe (600 ft)

And then you turn around and do the whole thing in reverse...

Oh yeah, and it is at elevation - topping off at over 11,000 feet, so there will be no oxygen.

So I am going to bike and ski and Audrey is going to run and snowshoe. There will be just a leetle bit of hill training involved... And I will have to get some trekking skis, as mine wouldn't cut it probably. Not that I am opposed to getting trekking skis. Especially since, by then, the University of Wyoming will have given me the job that I just applied for there and I will have good reason to buy another pair of skis.

And in another perk, our average age will be 29.5, and there weren't any women's pair teams in the 20-29 age group last year. I am not below bringing home the bling by being the only team in our age group :-)

Anyway, we thought it would be fun if we could gather up a group of several crazy people to go out and do it too. Right now, I have recruited Joe as our sherpa. I sexually discriminated and wouldn't let him on our team so that we could rock the chick power. But I am sure he would do it as part of a team. So good times people! Let us know if you want to up your badass cred with us! It's really far away I know, but time flies!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My legs might possibly fall off.

Imagine the scene. Danielle sitting at the airport gate, chatting with Audrey to see if their time in Boston will overlap and Danielle lamenting the fact she lost her car keys between her car and the airport. Danielle hangs up and hears "Danielle, come to gate C2 immediately, your plane is leaving in five minutes." Uh... So they put the wrong gate up on the monitor and I was too busy chitchatting away to notice the gate next to me loading to go to Detroit. A nice way to start my break. I did get on though, so never fear. And landed in Detroit and had to spend five hours hanging around the airport because Boston was snowed in and they wouldn't let our plane take off. I finally rolled into Boston at 3am. My poor mom! Having to pick me up in the middle of the night!

Anyway, I woke up at 11:30 the next day (I love break!) and had three hours to get ready to head up to Vermont to go skiing. Despite having a ski bum for a sister, I haven't been (downhill) skiing in three years now. Needless to say, my legs were pretty sore. But it was sort of like riding a bike - I was able to hit all the terrain by the end of day, even if I still don't do moguls in a very pretty fashion. Sunday night it poured though, so Monday there were approximately two trails open. But my dad and I skied anyway, and got some quality father-daughter time in on the chairlifts.

On Christmas, after three days of skiing, I decided I should do a long run. I was going to do it on Friday, but the plane delay sort of messed up my day. So I did a ten mile run from our house in Vermont.So, one might notice the elevation change there. There is a bit of a climb there. I would like to note that the elevation change there is the same as the elevation change (~900 ft) between Ames... and the ocean. So yeah, I am not exactly practiced in such running. I thought I was going to die. I mean, I knew it was like this before I set out, but it was only after I ran two effortless sub-9 minute miles to start that I knew I was in trouble. I would also like to note that my half-marathon training lately has consisted of only... long runs. Once a week, I run long and skip all my short runs. Totally not recommended. But anyway, I have no endurance. So when I hit mile six and started climbing I was already getting tired. That hill pretty much demolished me. My first five miles was 49 minutes. The second five miles? 70 minutes. Yes folks, I averaged 14 minute miles up that hill. It was not pretty. I was glad it was a remote gravel road, so very few people saw me suffer. And I am still in a world of hurt. I started walking the second I hit mile 10, even though it was all downhill from there (actually it was very steep so it was a little too much for my knees).

And since I forgot to bring any gels with me from Iowa, I had to improvise. I would probably not recommend Cadbury creme eggs as run nutrition. Besides the fact that they now make Christmas creme eggs, which is just plain wrong. Just like Halloween Peeps are wrong. Is nothing sacred anymore? What's next? Christmas candy corn?

Anyway, despite the fact that I swore I needed to do my short runs between now and PF Chang, I haven't run since because my whole lower body just hates me.

And did you know that there are like no free wireless places in the entire f%$@ing Boston area? I think all coffee shops in Iowa have free wireless. It's only the suckers that go to Starbucks and use their wireless for a fee. I only stomached paying the $10 day pass fee at Starbucks because I can use it tomorrow at the airport too. Gees!

After a whirlwind trip home, I am back in Iowa tomorrow to revel in the fun of politics! It's going to be good times! Obama is throwing a NYE party on campus - I might have switched candidates if he was providing an open bar, but alas cash bar. I'll still probably drop by since I typically have a lame NYE and I might as well hang out with a presidential candidate.

That last sentence just made me a little sad about my life :-)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bog Snorkelling Triathlon

Oh the Welsh!

My favorite line is:

"This is your real opportunity to become a world famous athletic hero; fancy putting World Champion Bog Snorkelling Triathlete on your CV?"

Just in case you were curious:

Just to be clear, the second video is from the World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling Championship (yes, they have that too!).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Run in the snow

I'm going to run in the snow today. I WANT to sit inside and drink hot chocolate and eat christmas cookies. But, I'm gonna run in the snow. This may have something to do with my lovely husband calling me "cottage cheese butt" last night. However, I'm ok with external motivation - I don't always do it on my own.

So, tonight, 5:30 p.m. running in a snow storm. It's going to be so pretty out. I may take a camera.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I am really excited today and thought I should share this with all of you: I finally had a breakthrough with swimming! Some background: I am not very good at learning things on my own, often needing need some kind of authoritative guide or instructor. And I would like to improve in this regard. So I have been putting off taking swimming lessons so that I could try to figure it out independently.

Today's swim session started out like most: I warmed up, stretched, said, "I'm going to try to swim 3/4 of a mile," failed to do so, coming up gasping for air after just 1/4 of a mile, got frustrated, and stretched more. I was trying to keep my head level, my elbows high, my feet close to the surface... trying to roll my body, trying to generate power from my hips, like the Internet told me to... but I could not figure out how to slow down and swim relaxed, so I was always winded after 10 minutes or so. Then I watched the guy in the next lane over. He had just finished stretching and looked to just be warming up, but he was barely disturbing the water as he swam. His arm motion had an exaggerated finish, his hand slipping into the water like a diver's body, so he was probably doing a form drill. So I thought, "Maybe if I focus on that I'll be more effective."

So I set out to do a quarter mile keying on that, and if I still felt good I'd keep going for another. And I did feel good. After a half mile I realized that for the first time it felt like running: like if I just kept a nice steady pace I could keep going indefinitely. So I decided to keep going and try for my original goal of 3/4 mile. Unfortunately a few laps after that my right calf cramped up, and then as I went to make my next turn my right groin followed in suit. Hydration! I've been really bad about keeping hydrated this fall/winter, and hadn't had any water at all since leaving for the pool on my bike. I also need to work on strength in my calves and groin, which will also help me with cycling. But since I still had to bike over to the grocer and then home with a huge load of food on my back, I figured I should stop there, save my legs, and drink tons of water.

Anyway, I'm pumped! Now I can swim like I can run (except for the part where I'm fast at running)! And now I can start taking lessons without feeling like I'm doing so out of desperation and defeat! And so might actually become good/efficient/fast! Wooooo!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

So close to DFL, I could almost taste it...

Sycamore 8 Race Report

This morning was the Sycamore 8. I urge you to click the link and note the weather update that says "PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK!" So here in Iowa, last weekend we got a slush storm, which essentially turned to solid ice the next day. Snowblowers have been futile - essentially homeowners have been chipping through an inch or two of ice to clean their walkways. Then on Thursday, we got four inches of snow on top of that. Now I love snow, so I am not complaining. But all that hidden ice makes things a bit treacherous while walking to the bus.

I signed up for this race early though, so I was going to do it. Kori, her husband, and Mike from my running group all signed up too, so at least I wouldn't be the only crazy person coming down from Ames to run it. (Although Kori ended being sick, so she didn't go.) The snow was one thing, but it is also only 12 degrees out. And that's now at 2! We got there and it was pretty bitterly cold. I had two pairs of socks, three pairs of pants, two shirts and a fleece on and I was freezing while waiting for the race to start. We waited in the car until about 15 minutes before the start and I bravely shed a pair of pants and the fleece. If I have learned anything, it is that I get really hot really fast. But I kept the two pairs of wool socks on under my Gortex trail shoes. Then I strapped on my gaiters, then put my Yak Trakkers on over that. I felt like I was going on a massive expedition, not getting ready for an 8 mile trail race.

The course was out and back and there were actually two course options, a 4 mile and an 8 mile. We all started together and we all figured we could turn around at 2 if the course was too bad. After having to go out on the lake yesterday and walk our boat, marine batteries, an anchor, etc down there because the boat launch was frozen in, I was all too aware of how slick the ice under the snow was. But Yak Trakkers are awesome! I could grip pretty decently and the going was rough, but not impossible.

A lot of people bailed at the two mile marker. I pretty much didn't see anyone ahead or behind me after that. I was pretty sure I was going to finish last, as the weaker runners turned around. But I just needed to get a long run in, so I didn't let it bother me. After I hit mile 3, I started seeing the faster runners coming back. Mike was up front! I hit the four mile marker at 50 minutes or so. Yes, 50 minutes for 4 miles! Trudging through 4 inches of snow is not easy!

The way back was complete solitude. But I did see that two people were behind me, so I wasn't going to be DFL. That was some consolation! But I kept trudging. And trudging some more. It started snowing and it was quite pretty. There was no one close in front of me or close behind me, so there was no stress. I did decide I wanted my pace to be faster than 13 minute miles, so that meant I had to come in at 1:44. When I hit the road about a quarter mile from the finish, I realized I had to book it so I sprinted the last bit (which actually felt easy after running in snow all that time) and came in at 1:43:45. Hey, I'll take it! Especially since my longest run since July had only been 6.8 miles at Living History Farms.

I crossed the finish line and they checked to see if all the awards in my age group had been taken. This was a low key operation - they had nice awards, but there was no ceremony, they just handed you one if you were one of the first three. I saw enough women around my age to figure that wasn't going to happen, but apparently they still had awards left in the 20-29 age group. Stupid turning 30! I have decided that 30-39 is a hard age group.

I crossed the finish line and Mike and Craig whisked me away, as they had been waiting for at least a half an hour in the cold. I got soup and hot chocolate and baked goods and it was yummy. Mike actually won the whole thing and got a really cool and unique trophy. Craig came in first in his age group. So yeah, I roll with fast people who kindly wait around for me at the end and cheer me in. I heart my running group!

Well my last three races have been trail races now. This has totally been a defensive move as I typically don't run races unless I think I can PR. And trail races are unpredictable, so I don't have absolute time goals. But since that was over 1:40 of running, I am totally counting this as a ten mile training run for my half-marathon in January :-)

It's snowing again - tomorrow the cross-country skis are coming out! Considering my a$$ is already sore from this morning, that should be good times!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Because Audrey asked...

As mentioned in the last post, I had straight hair this weekend. Audrey asked for pics. Of course, unless you know me in my generally curly haired state, this photo means nothing. Note the map of New England on the wall behind me - that's there because no one in this freaking state can name the New England states. How hard can it be people?! We're the effing cradle of the American Revolution! New York is not part of New England! Doesn't anyone know "Even old New York was once New Amsterdam?" See, not New England! And Delaware is nowhere near New England! Just because it is a small state, does not make it part of our club!

One other thing I would like to note. This was taken in my office. Photo one below is my desk. Photo two is my officemate's desk. Apparently I am much more of a "nester" than him...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Running? What's that?

So after running five days in a row over Thanksgiving break, I have managed to go 7 days without running. I am not quite sure how that happened. Oh yeah, it went something like:

M: Worked from 9am until 7am the next morning on a presentation for 11am Tuesday.

T: I just pulled an allnighter! Do you really expect me to run?!

W: Slept in and had good intentions to run, but then got sucked into doing political stuff in the afternoon and evening.

R: Hungover (I get paid for my political activities with beer).

F: I had to get some work done that week! And then I surprisingly had multiple plans to juggle on friday night.

S: Spa day. This resulted in Danielle having straight hair. Which means she can't sweat for at least another day because it took three stylists with flat irons to get this done in a reasonable amount of time.

S: See Saturday. Plus it was cold and icy out! Shhh - nevermind the fact I have a gym membership where I can run inside...

Plus, bonus excuse: my hamstring is starting to act up again in addition to the plantar fasciitis. My pirioformus and IT bands are sore. These are all signs of bad things to come.

Today I have a lot of stuff to do, so I don't think running is going to happen again.

I will be well rested for my 8 mile trail race on Saturday!

I can't believe I have to do a half marathon in January! And solo since Joe got stomped on in soccer and hurt his ankle and isn't back running again. But since he already bought plane tickets, we're going to Phoenix no matter what!

As an added bonus, I am supposed to have my dissertation proposal written by the day after the half-mary. Have I really started? Uh, no. Yay for procrastination!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Inauspicious end to season

I haven't posted here for a while 'cause I *gasp* haven't been running very much. Yeah.

So after I ran pretty well in my last 5k I just lost the will. I was going to go and run one last one to try to get under 16:20, but I hadn't pre-registered, registration required cash, and I had no cash that morning. Oops.

So I've been focusing on weightlifting and learning how to swim so I can do triathlons. Weightlifting is what it is. Swimming is horrible. I am the worst swimmer ever. I go to the pool and get lapped by everyone, even the people that are splashing around like they don't even care. But I am going to take lessons, and I am going to gain the ability to smoothly swim the distance necessary, even if it's really slow, and I'll just catch the swimmers on the run.

I went out to the 'burbs to see my family for Thansksgiving and ran the Elmhurst Turkey Trot. Didn't quite get far enough up to the front for the start, so the first half-mile or so consisted of getting run into and kicked by non-runners trying to push ahead of people and cut over to the sidewalk to see how close they could get to the lead before running out of gas. After it cleared up I considered just sprinting and seeing if I could catch the leaders (we get lots of good runners out, guys who will run under 16 without even trying) at the mile, and then just jog it in. But I saw one of my friends from town running, like me, semi-seriously, and I just caught up with him and we ran a pretty fair remainder of the race. First mile was through in 6 minutes, second in 11:15. So the splits weren't close to accurate. I got passed by some people in the last mile, and then tried to latch on to some of them. I was reminded why big races are a good thing. Without those guys passing me I would have fallen apart, but by hanging on to the back of their pack for a half-mile I think I ran pretty respectably to the finish in 17:15. Considering the insanity of the first mile and my lack of training that's a lot better than I thought I'd do.

I went back after finishing to run the last few blocks with my dad, who finished in 22:49. He thought that the course must have been short until we went on and verified that it really was a full 5k. And then we stayed up until 3am talking about cross-country running. He's been running pretty well lately despite that his cholesterol medication makes his legs really sore, and that he has some other nagging injuries. So I was happy for his finish.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Living History Farms

We got to the race an hour and a half before the start - just enough time for some pre-gaming! I am horrible about taking pictures, so I am just going to steal photos from Katie and Jeff, the crayons:

A girl in my running group Kris bought hats for the event. I was planning on running like a normal person, but I couldn't resist a beer-drinking German chicken to wear on my head. It was a puppet to boot!Anyway, I warmed up with some, er, coffee, prior to the run and then a half hour before the start went to the portapotty line. Five minutes before the start, I am still in the portapotty line. I guess they didn't really plan that well for 7000 people!

So yeah, an insane amount of people run this cross country race (the largest in the country!). And I would say a good chunk of them would never consider signing up for a 7 mile road race, but apparently on a trail is okay. But really, this race is about having fun, so it's all good. The crowds never bothered me. Except for the posse of high school girls dressed as bees that would buzz.

I started out running with Kris, who runs at least a minute/mile faster than me. I knew that wasn't going to last. She dropped me at about mile 2 and I figured I would see someone else I knew, but I ended up running the whole thing alone (well with 6999 of my best friends!) but I had a good time anyways.

I am a "run through the river" kind of girl, so I plowed through all the water crossings. None of this pussyfooting around for me! I wore my marathon shoes from last year that were already shot, so this was their final swan song. Ah, purple Asic Nimbus gels, you had a good life! The first crossing wasn't so bad and a nice gentleman helped me up the muddy bank/cliff and I returned the favor and helped up the woman behind me. About the third crossing, I thought I was a pro at this and went plowing through the river, only to find it up to my thighs. No worries, that's why I wore shorts, right? About 10 m later there was another crossing and not only did I totally slide right in down the muddy bank, the river was high enough that my shorts got soaked. Now there is nothing like a nice cold river in November, let me tell ya! But that's the fun of it, right? Right?

Anyway, I mostly dried off as I ran, got my ass kicked by the big hill heading up to Mile 6, which I refused to walk (I wasn't even wearing the Garmin, but still, it was the principle of it!). The first four miles I came in at 41 minutes, but the last three took me another 39 for a total of 1:20 or so, which was pretty much what I was aiming for. Like I said before, that was miraculously in the top third of women and my age group - probably because of the large amount of non-runners who do this. Somehow I also finished this race bloody and bruised. Good times!

Afterwards, we tailgated some more:
Yay for breakfast burritos!
Note that neither of those drinks in my hand are non-alcoholic - nothing like double fisting it before noon! Also, you can clearly see where I spilled tomato juice on my shirt, and then tried to wash it off with mud covered hands. Classy! Also note that even the chicken has leaves in its feathers after the ordeal! Oh yeah, and that's Mike, who ran the thing almost twice as fast as me, in like 45 minutes. Crazy!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

This gives bike porn a whole new meaning...

"A man has been placed on the sex offenders’ register after being caught trying to have sex with a bicycle."

But the question remains: was the bicycle really offended by this? I mean gees, our bikes probably get more up close and personal than any other inanimate object during their regular approved use!

In other news, Living History Farms was a blast. I'll do a race report when I get pics. Even running between 11 and 12 minute miles I was still in the top third of women finishers and in my age group. I think it was the pre-race Irish coffees and the fact I ran the whole thing with a German chicken on my head.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

This post is brought to you by the letter D

So now that Audrey is back to posting on her own blog, I guess the rest of us are going to have to get back to posting - she made blogging easy!

Anyways, this doesn't even have to do with running, but I got to be the letter "D" last night at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner:

My friend Jaymi and I noted the irony of the fact that neither of us has ever been a letter during a sporting event, but we would gladly be a letter for a political candidate. Note that Jaymi and I also both learned our school's fight song at a taping of Hardball with Chris Matthews.

Last night was pretty much total political craziness. It started with JRE leading 500+ people with a drum line through the sky walks is Des Moines to the auditorium. Then lots of time spent trying to out-cheer other campaigns. Unfortunately, the most enthusiastic of our set of letters was the "W" so she would be raising the "W" when no one else had their letters up - the irony was not lost on us.

And while I will remain utterly faithful to my man, Barack really truly is a rock star. And you can't the deny the power of 4000 supporters (almost half the crowd) screaming "Fired up!" "Ready to Go!" across the arena to each other. If he had shown half the passion six months ago that he showed last night, I probably would have stuck with him (although pretty much his speech could have been "what John Edwards said"). But if I learned anything working on the Dean campaign four years ago, it's that you need a lot more than a bunch of activists to love you (and that betting on getting new people out to caucus is a losing bet).

Oh here is some running content! JRE ran a 3:30 marathon. And he runs every day while campaigning. He apparently was running in Ames a couple weeks ago. He also graced the cover of Runner's World in 2004.

Oh yeah, more running content - I totally didn't realize that Living History Farms is this weekend! I am totally not in shape to run a 7 mile trail race. The four mile race last weekend left my quads burning! I haven't run 7 miles since... July. Yeah. And that was on the road. I have always been injured during this race so I have never done it before, but I hear that the going is pretty slow because of all the runners, so hopefully I will be okay!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Today is yet another glorious fall day.

I started it off with a four mile run, which included a graceful stumble on a major road in town. I totally bit it. I now have two scraped up bruised knees to show for that! But I kept running, since I am hardcore. And also, it was a long way home.

Then Chrissy and I did this event that the ISU Cycling Club was putting on. It was like bike bingo. You had a bingo card and they had all these locations all over campus where they had numbers written down and you had to sprint around to all of them to try and get bingo.

It was a blast. And I got a crapload of practice at clipping in and out quickly. And as luck would have it, I actually was one of the first people in. I was the fourth person to finish in the geared bike category and the first girl to finish (okay, there were only four of us). Of course, that had less to do with my biking skillz and more to do with the luck of the bingo card draw. They didn't have male/female categories, so I got no bling, but I did get free socks in the prize raffle, w00t!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I heart fall!

Fall is my favorite season. I love the leaves and the color and the weather and the smells. So I was excited to go down to the RCC Run The Woods 4-mile trail race this morning with someone from my running group. And it was a glorious fall day. The weather couldn't have been more perfect!

So I am going to admit that I even agonized over what to wear. I love my new running skirt, but I wasn't sure if that was too girly for a trail race. But then I decided maybe I could be badass getting all dirty in a skirt. So I wore it. It was good times.

Anyways, my PT told me I am not allowed to run more than four miles, unless I am running more consistently (4+ times per week). So this was the perfect distance! Even though she also told me hills were bad. And I am sure the unsteady rocks were not good for my foot either. But it was going to be fun!

There were something like 100+ runners out. The first half was pretty low key - running on gravel roads and through pastures (and around cow crap). I did the first two miles in 20:20. My travel companion Mike warned me that it gets harder so going out too fast would be bad, but I totally ignored him.

Then the fun began. Lots of hills and climbing. My quads were a-burning. Then at mile 3 or so, the creek crossings began. Mike told me they were all dry last year. So I was a bit surprised when I hit the first one and it was well above my ankles. But that't the fun of it, right?! I actually gained some ground here by running straight through the creek as opposed to trying to find a better place to cross (which several people did).

After the crossings, one woman was huffing behind me and she was on my tail the entire last mile. I hate that! I guess it made me hustle a bit. The end of the race was this painfully long hill. I thought I was going to die. And I managed to drop this chick on the hill, but then I got to the top and took a wrong turn. I managed to get back on track ahead of her, but I could hear her grunting behind me. At least I knew she wasn't keeping up with me easily! When the end was near, I managed to find something in order to sprint to the end and left her easily behind, finishing in 44 minutes or so, but feeling like I was going to throw up.

The race was sponsored by the Iowa Cattlemen's Association (or something like that) so after the race, there was beef stew. It was delicious. I spent the entire run thinking about it because they had all these little poems about beef along the course. My favorite ended with "Beef! It's what's for runners!"

Let's note the irony of this ex-vegetarian thinking about beef for four miles.

Think Poltergeist

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaack.

Let the blogging commence.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

School pride

Run 3, Bike 11, Run 2

My first year of law school did not equal fun. Plus, I'm old now and a lot more sober. I do not have one fraction of the love in my heart for my current school as I do for my undergrad. BUT, today, for the first time, I felt affection. My teammate had a jersey from our school (b/c he used to be on the crew team and is on the cycling team) and I TOTALLY WISHED I had one. Plus, we were going head to head with another local school (who also didn't have uniforms except for one person) and I was feeling all competitive. Then, as I was rounding the bend to the end of the race my teammate was shouting GO [Insert school name here]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was like BRING IT!! I was so pumped (and busy passing two women in the final stretch) and I haven't raced for a school since HS and I totally felt love for my school.

So my 22 y/o teammate apparently had this crazy finish at the end where it was him and two guys from our rival school, a 22 y/o and a 32 y/o (my ex). They both outkicked my teammate at the end when my teammate started dry-heaving from the effort. (HOW IS THAT FOR PUSHING YOURSELF!!) So my teammate came in second in his age group by about 15 seconds to the guy from our rival school. My teammate was like, it is SO ON for training this winter. The 2008 season opens with this same duathlon and he (who hasn't even been running recently) is so pumped to train.

As for me...I had a strong 3 mile run to open things up (results aren't up but I speculate ~7:40 min/miles). I don't think there were TOO many women in front of me. Then, as expected, I got my butt passed on the bike by maybe...7 women? It was harsh. I could not keep up with anyone over the 11 mile course. Since I'm not a strong cyclist AND I haven't been training properly...yeah, UGLY biking by Audrey.

I also had two less than awesome transitions. The first one I lost my bike and it took a few seconds to find the right rack. After that I just felt like I was moving slowly. I was kind of excited not to be running anymore honestly and fully embracing that by moving slowly. For the second transition I had some trouble getting my arm warmers off (I had them on with my bike jersey and I wanted them off for the run). I also felt like I was moving slowly.

I knew I had a chance to catch a few of the women that passed me on the bike since I had finished the first run before them (obviously, since they came up from behind). PLUS, one of them appeared to be in my age group so I was interested in catching her. This was a 2 mile run. I passed a women at the 1 mile mark, the one who I thought was close to my age at the 1.7 mile mark, and another woman maybe in my age group at the 1.9 mile mark. There were some tactical choices involved b/c I was extremely intent on passing the 1.7 mile woman and didn't know if I should tuck in behind her and pass her at the end (I have a strong kick) so that she didn't pick up the pace if she saw me coming if I chose to attempt to catch her earlier. However, at that point I saw the woman I would eventually pass at 1.9 miles and realized if I stayed behind 1.7 mile woman I would not catch 1.9 mile woman. But I didn't want to go too hard and bonk and pass neither....But then I decided, go hard or go home, right? So I went hard and passed them both, rallied by ex-bf triathlete saying "good job" on the side of the road as I ran by and my teammate screaming GO [INSERT SCHOOL NAME HERE] at the top of his lungs. The passes were successful (the beauty of being slow on the bike is you end up closer to people you should be able to pass on the run) and I hope there are no finish line photos b/c I had hands on knees and was hunched over immediately....This was good for 4th in my age group, 18 seconds back from third. This means in 3/5 multi-sport races this year I missed placing by 11, 12, and 18 seconds respectively.

But my school's tri team is now born. This was our first event. (And my teammate and I totally, to ourselves, made fun of 20 y/o girl (see "Converted" post below) from the rival school who was wearing ugg boots with her spandex after the race). And I do not feel bad about that at all. And I beat her but I don't take joy in that b/c she's really new to the sport and I beat her by a really large amount. I honestly think it's cool she was out there. But she needs to leave the ugg boots at home.

Finally a 10k that I didn't suck ass in...

So me and the 10k have never gotten along.

The first 10k I ran was the Rattlesnake Master, back in Urbana IL in 2003. I don't even really remember my time, but I think it was something like 1:06:something. I also know that I finished second to last.

The second 10k I ran was the Hope Run here in Ames back in June. I finished that in 1:07:something. I think I was pretty close to second to last in that one.

I would like to note that I have run ten milers to half-marathons at faster paces than these two races.

I hate the 10k distance. I start too fast, kill myself, and then have three more miles to run. So I avoid it like the plague.

But I decided it was time to redeem myself. This weekend is simply fabulous fall weather, so I figured perfect conditions to PR in. Plus, the bar wasn't too high for a PR. And for the first year I have lived in Ames, I actually have not been injured for the Run for the Roses, one of the bigger races of the year here.

So I woke up this morning and it was 27 degrees out. Brrr. I bundled up but I knew it was going to get warmer so I decided to race in pants, but with a long sleeve wicking shirt (my GRR shirt in fact!)

My goal was to negative split this race. But... in the first half, I was keeping pace with this one girl and there weren't a ton of people behind us (there is also a 5k, so the slower folks do that race), so I decided to stick with her at our "slightly faster than I would have run otherwise" pace.

But then I had two Ben Folds Five songs come on that made me run faster (BFF is great running music!) so I dropped her on a hill (on a hill! for real! I don't drop people on hills!). After the turnaround she caught up with me again and we ran together until like a mile and a half from the end.

At this point she started picking it up, and the hills, especially this one long one, were making me regret spending two hours on my trainer with Chrissy the day before. Right about this point, my ipod gave me about 15 slow songs in a row, so I kept having to slip through them which is distracting.

Finally I found a good loud Cure song that had a chorus that went something like "I want this to be the end." I found that quite fitting. She was always in my sight, but I was never able to catch her again. About a half mile from the end, I had two They Might Be Giants songs come on (also great running music!) and I tried to pick it up a bit and I was aided by a big downhill before a sharp uphill to the finish.

It was a perfect running weather day and I managed to come in at 1:01:15, so that's knocking an insane 5 minutes off my previous 10k time. w00t! Yay for fall races!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sorry to disappoint

So I run/bike a lot. And I guess I talk about it a lot. I mean, I don't go on and on about it b/c I know no one wants to hear about it, but whenever people ask me what I'm doing after work or on the weekend...the answer is usually running, biking, spinning, and/or racing. Since I lost a couple of pounds people also apparently think I look like a competitive runner of sorts.

This is very bad, however, because my performances do not meet their expectations by a long shot. I feel kind of awkward about it truthfully. For example, my officemate thought I had to be careful about what I consumed because I was subject to drug testing. I informed him that while that would be extremely flattering, even if I took supplements no one would be suspicious. My sort of boss (not the judge but his clerk) made a guess as to how fast I would complete my duathlon this coming weekend. He underestimated by about 20 minutes-and it's a short race. He said, and I quote: "But you're tiny." Sorry peeps. Small doesn't=fast. And, after running for 7 years, I don't think I'm going to get any faster. This is IT. As has been proven time and again, looks are so deceiving on this topic. I know for a fact I am going to get my butt kicked at this race by a woman in my age group who doesn't look like a typical fast runner. But she is wicked (wicked) fast! And will continue to kick my ass weekly until I turn 30....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Here is a picture of me.

Here I am running. I paid for this pic so I am showing as many people as I can get to look at it. Facebook. Parents. Bloggers. This is me out enjoying the woods. It is a way cooler backdrop than an urban bridge or building, eh?? Also, every running pic I see of myself has me looking like I am about to trip over my feet. Who runs like that?? Also, please note how much harder it looks like Al is running (see below) in his race than I am in mine.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Don't get mad, go running.

I just came back from a 6.6 mile run, the longest I have done since July.

My foot hurts a lot now (although it didn't hurt when I was running).

But my brain hurts a lot less than it did before the run.

Ah, the restorative powers of a run!

PS I bailed on the Pi Run because I stayed up late eating a delicious chocolate cake that my friend made me for my birthday.

Converted... a trail runner.

The Good: I love running

My 9.5 mile trail race today was so amazing. Hot (74 degrees) and hilly (I had to walk up some of the monster the hills) but challenging and beautiful and spectacular. It was low-key (pour your own water at the water stops) and just great. My best parts of the race were around mile 6 when I picked up my pace and passed 6 women and the last .5 mile where I was sprinting at a good clip. Total time: ~1:28. I want to move to the cute town it was in-about an hour from me. I stopped on the way home to buy tiny pumpkins for me and my fellow interns.

The Bad: I'm not in a triathlon mood and I'm afraid I won't be again.

I am totally loving running. It's going well. It's enjoyable. And I don't have to swim! I have little to no motivation to do triathlon stuff. During tri training I was running 2-3 times a week. Right now I'm running 3-4 times a week and I'm starting to think I could up it to 4-5 times a week. But, I can't. I just know I can't. I must keep the injury monsters at bay and return to my tri schedule soon.

The Ugly: I see stupidhead triathlete ex at least two times a week and will until one of us moves out of the area.

As you all know, because I am an oversharer, I broke up with 32 y/o triathlete guy who I am no longer a fan of. I see him once a week at spin class (in the winter it will be twice a week) and at the race today I had the glorious surprise of running into his teammate in the bathroom (thankfully not the 20 y/o he left me for-and yes, they are already fighting and broken up as well) and then basically walked out of the bathroom into him. Woooohhooo. Not. Because we run in the exact same tri cicle I will see him once or twice a week (at least) until one of us moves out of the area which will not be for years on either of our ends. He sucks and I am not even sharing all the sucky details. We're nice to each other in person out of necessity, but Audrey=not a fan. I guess you're never too young (I'm 27) to get left for someone younger, eh?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Time for Pi!

So tomorrow is the Pi Mile Run in Ames. There are actually two 5ks tomorrow in Ames so I had a hard time deciding which to do.

Until I found out the other one is up at the lake where I do my research. It is windy as f#%$ up there these days. I should know - my little meteorological station out there on the lake sends me data every two hours. I would like to where I put this data up on the interweb, but Danielle knows nothing about putting real-time data up, so she has neglected to do so, even though she told the city she would. Oops!

I also know it is windy up there because I ran 6 miles up there yesterday in the blowing pouring rain. I met my running group up there at 5:30 and it wasn't raining and then it slowly started. Almost everyone else was faster than me and running the Des Moines Marathon on Saturday, so I ran with my friend Bill who is training for the Big Sur Half and needed to do a slow 7. Even though I got drenched (hello! white cotton t-shirt not the best choice!), I managed to run it at 9:51 pace - go me! I haven't run 6 miles at once since Big Creek. The foot hurt while I was running, but a night sleeping with the splint seemed to help it out so I don't even notice it today.

But anyways, how happy am I to be back running? I have been sticking to the short distances lately and really it takes at least 3 miles for me to start feeling good. I felt great last night, just being out there.

The other reason I am doing the Pi run again is that this is my 5k PR race from last year. I am not messing with a good thing. I don't intend to PR, but a PR for this year would be nice (meaning anything under 30 minutes). We shall see...

The one negative is that the age groups are 25-34 which means my last race in my 20s will be done in the same age group I'll be in next year. Oh well, I think I'll survive. Plus, with the fast college girls are eliminated, my chances of being first in my age group again get better :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Operation do not be a baby

I started indoor spin class tonight. Every Tuesday night for seven weeks. Then we have a break for the holidays. Then it is every Tuesday and Thursday for ten weeks. I am a total wuss on the bike. I don't push myself hard. It hurts. When I'm riding outside people (guys who can't understand I don't have any desire to go faster) yell at me to at least TRY. But I LIKE cruising gently along. I think I found my max heart rate (183) and then proceeded to not get sweaty for the rest of the class. I was talking to the girl next to me about her dog. It was interesting. But. I. Must. Try. 2008 is my biking year. I am going to bike at least 100 miles a week and I am going to do a century. This year I maxed out at 80 miles a week. Twice. That is pathetic half ironman prep (which I am already signed up for in 08). This should be achievable with A) some effort on my part and B) my life being significantly better because I am not a first year law student. That alone deserves a great big WAHHHOOOOO!! Right now I am interning full time and I have no classes and feel like an adult again. Let's hear it again: WOOOOHHOOOOO.

In other news my dad and I went camping this past weekend. We're total newbies. It was hilarious as we checked out all our new gear (LOOK, my nalgene turns into a lantern...and SEE how big this tiny camping towel expands to!!) and a bit hard core and scary (we had to do a bit of wilderness hiking as we got TOTALLY lost on the side of the mountain) and overall truly fun. We're definitely going to go again and also hike the part of the Appalachian trail that is in NJ (only 18 miles).

I hope everyone is having fun fall adventures!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm not worthy!

EDIT: I just got an email full of race photos. And, unusually, I was able to download them, because they used a really simple URL scheme. Unfortunately there was no obvious way to access high-resolution shots, or even properly downsampled ones. I guess if they can't properly code a locked-down image gallery there's no hope for correct image processing. At any rate, the scheme was easy enough that I was able to check out photos of the guy that finished ahead of me, and I liked one of those quite a lot. In this shot, #1358 is clearly sweating at the prospect of my mighty kick (I am the dude back in the distance). He overcame his worry to beat me by 5 seconds. Until next time, #1358!

Eventually someone has to write a race report and bump Kori off the top of the page... and as bad as I feel to do it, running for less than 1/30th the time she did, and in perfect weather on a basically-flat course, I guess I can at least say my run was a total contrast to her run. Short and easy, all about speed.

So my race for the weekend was the Pumpkins in the Park 5k, down in Lincoln Park (the part of the park Lincoln Park that's in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park... I don't think they played any songs by the band Linkin Park at the race, but I wouldn't have recognized them if they did). I was supposed to train through this race, but wound up having a crappy week of training that turned out something like a taper. The race had a 4pm start, and after the intense heat for the marathon last weekend and the cold weather and high winds that followed just a few days later, the temperature rose up to a perfect one for running, with pleasantly normal humidity and no discernible wind for my race.

So the race. Looking at past results it looked to be the fastest field I'd faced in a long time (probably since the Monterey Bay Half Marathon last November), but that says more about my sparse racing schedule than the strength of the field. There looked to be a few guys under 16 minutes in the field, and a few between 16 and 17. At first I felt that despite all my struggles in my last 5k (16:57) that I wouldn't be able to cut more than 20 seconds off; then I looked at what I'd have to do to run even splits and realized that I could run exactly the same through the first 2 miles and still run 16:30. So I set 16:30 as my goal for today. At the starting line I lined up in the second row, figuring that that the front row would consist of the sub-16 guys and the inevitable "unintentional rabbits", well-intentioned runners that would run their mile PR for the first mile and then drop like rocks into the midpack (I have been there, and it's no fun). That worked out just great. The early fast pack was about seven very polite runners; the two sub-sixteeners and one guy chasing them separated themselves early and a few of the rest of us stuck together through the first mile, coming through around 5:10. They all turned out to be rabbit-types, and I never so much as heard their footsteps much after the first mile. So I focused on the dude in blue 40 meters in front of me. He may have gained a bit of ground through the uneventful second mile, which I finished around 10:25. The third mile had more turns and a few short hills as we crossed under and over bridges in the park; I knew I was slower for that mile, but I was pleased with my 15:46 split. It wasn't great but indicated that I at least kept focus and form. And I made up ground on the guy in front of me.

Then there's that last tenth of a mile. It took me somewhere just over 40 seconds to run it (I don't have an exact finishing time yet, unfortunately... usually chip-timed races get the results up fast but this one didn't; I finished a bit under 16:30, at any rate), which is way too slow for a tenth of a mile. Just like the last race. But after the race I figured it out: I've been thinking about the last tenth all wrong. A 5k is not exactly 3.1 miles, it's exactly 5000m. A mile is about 1609m, leaving 173m for that "last tenth", not 160.9. And I'm guessing they probably didn't measure real miles out on the course, but 1600m increments. Which would make the "last tenth" a full 200m. Over 40 seconds is not a glorious final 200m kick (in fact, it's more of a fade than anything), but I certainly didn't feel like I put on much of a kick, so it's at least believable.

So I ran my goal for today, and have now less than 10 seconds to cut in a few weeks! If I have another race with perfect conditions like today's that should be doable; without perfect conditions it still might happen if I really get some good training in. So I'll be sure to do that. 16:20, here I come! I have to run basically the same through the first mile, a bit faster in the second mile and early part of the third, and then I have to get a killer instinct in the last half mile, like I had in track in high school. If I can be 5 seconds faster over the middle, I can make up 5 more by making a legitimate move with a half mile to go. I've done it before. Time to do it again. Yeah! It's so much fun being actually fast again... although according to this calculator even if I run my ultimate goal of 16:20, at age 23, that's less impressive by 1.5 WAVA points or so than my 15:48 3-mile at 17 and by 3.5 points than my 9:52 2-mile at 18 (I've always felt that was by far the best race I ever ran, and the numbers seem to agree). And also, according to that site, my 35:18 10k last spring was pathetic, and I should be able to run close to 34 minutes. And, if I train for longer stuff, 1:15 in the half, and 2:39 for the marathon. Maybe I'm not really the long-distance guy I thought I was, because my short-distance times look lots better than my long-distance ones.

Oh, yeah, and with my 4th-place finish I missed a prize by one spot. Streak broken. If I had an amazing kick I'd have picked off third place. Time to go get an amazing kick.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I've been wearing my new shirt for three days

Thanks Danielle for the intro.

I am a marathoner. I've never felt so amazing strong and humbly weak about my body all in the same day.

I've been sick for two weeks. With a cold. A bad, bad cold with a headache that makes me not want to eat anything. The day before the marathon I was so tired, I slept for 18 hours and only ate twice. I had to struggle to get the food down.

Sunday, marathon day, the day I've been training for for three years came and I could breathe. I was tired, but I could breathe. I was also nervous. Tom sang songs to me to keep me entertained and everyone hugged before we lined up in our respective time slots.

I ran the first ten miles with a nice woman who was also a first timer. It was hot at mile one. Stiffling hot. I decided to walk through every water stop, stretch my knee every five miles and keep at it.

I'm not sure I ever hit "the wall". What I know is that it got hard at mile 14. Way to early for it to get hard. My 20 mile training run was easier than that. At mile 16, Danielle, Craig and Kimberly were there. I almost cried. I was hot and had stopped sweating at this point and was just focused on making it to 20 miles. At 20 miles, Danielle was going to join me.

Starting at mile 19, I had to walk. I got very dizzy when I'd run and my heart rate was too high. I was so glad to see Danielle. She talked to me while I plodded along.

At mile 22, I thought - "this is as bad as it gets. everything hurts and I have no energy and feel like throwing up"

At mile 24, I found out that I was wrong. It can hurt worse. I don't know how to explain it. Some of you have been there. It was a long 6 miles. Those mile markers seemed so far apart.

For the record, I hate powerade. Way to sweet and I drank it 13 times along the course knowing I needed it but yuck.

At mile 26, there were Kimberly, Craig, Sara, Laurie - yeah, that was pretty amazing. They waited more than 5 hours for me. I felt so blessed to have such great friends. And here was Danielle who was being a great sport and walking with me on her injured foot.

I jogged across the finish line. I started to cry, until the lovely Danielle said "Don't cry, cause I'll cry and I hyperventilate when I cry". Okay, no crying. I could do this.

Things I learned:
Amazing friends make all the difference.
It is really about deciding you'll do it and doing it and trusting that the training was enough.
Running while sick sucks.
It'll gross people out when your toenails fall off or when you pull the dead ones off - others (thanks Tom) will show you their feet in return.
You can have post traumatic stress disorder after a marathon (I'm having flashbacks). ha:)
You can never drink too much water - not really.
Ice baths - they hurt - they feel good - it's fabulous. Thanks Danielle for making like 40 trips to the ice machine with a tiny ice bucket just to help me out. Thanks Laurie for sitting in the bathroom with me and talking even though my brain wasn't really working yet.

Today, I'm sick again. It hurts to walk, but not as bad as yesterday. I may have to actually wash my finisher shirt, but it makes me feel so amazing to wear it. I'm gonna go back to bed and get better now. My marathon is done and work and the rest of life is waiting. I can't wait to run for fun without such a large goal looming.

I read about this run where you get a special finisher shirt if you run it naked. Not sure I'm up for it, but hmmmmm. . . .that would be quite the shirt.

Yay for Kori!

So I have to give a shout out to Kori who finally finished her first marathon! I hope she'll write a race report, but for now I just wanted to brag for her!

Kori and I began our distance running adventure together back in March 2005 when we trained for the Dam to Dam 20k with a city running group. We both had to give up on the Chicago marathon that year because of injury, although I didn't even make it to race day, while Kori made it halfway through the race. Last year, she signed up for Chicago again and was all good until her first 20-miler and had to call it quits.

So this year we signed up for the Twin Cities marathon. My stupid foot kept me from doing it, but Kori made it through all the way to race day and on Sunday finally finished! And she had a brutal day - it was 85 degrees and humid. We had a friend hoping to get a 3:10 to BQ who finished in over four hours and another friend who was hoping for a 3:30 who finished in 4:45. (Okay, at least she didn't pick Chicago again - the odds of finishing there would not have been good).

I went up with Laurie and Kimberly to cheer her on (along with the others from our running group). Since I paid for the race, I totally bandited it with my race number and jumped on the course with her at mile 20. She was walking by then, but man she was hauling ass. We walked 6 15 minute miles and can I tell you how sore I am still? I think it is easier to run 12 minute miles than walk 15 minute miles (athough not at the end of a marathon). They closed the course after 6 hours and Kori was really worried about that, but we came in with 20 minutes to spare.

When we crossed the finish line, I managed to duck the medal person, but dammit, I paid $90 so that wicking finishers shirt is mine.

I am totally breaking t-shirt etiquette.

Monday, October 08, 2007

54% of the BAA 1/2 marathon racers are women... why are they only giving out men's shirts?

I raced in 8 races in the last two months. One race t-shirt (GRR) is a women's shirt.

This bothers me...especially as I'm getting dressed and am looking for a casual, long-sleeve shirt to wear under my jacket and none of the huge men's shirts fit under my women's jacket. AWESOME that 7 of my race t-shirts are useless. They make expensive dusting rags.

Do any race directors read this? Is there an insurmountable obstacle to ordering women's clothing? I registered for the BAA 1/2 many many months ago (maybe July?) and Timberman 10 months pre-race.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I love REI. And running.

The course was gorgeous-through the "Emerald Necklace" of Boston (ie. all the parks and zoo)- but I just did not feel good. The temps were cool, but it was humid and my legs felt tired. I'm glad I did it though b/c it was a reminder to me "to suck it up buttercup." The races aren't all going to be PR's, especially now that I've been running for a few years. And, I'm not a professional athlete. I run for other reasons than to be a wonderful stupendous runner.

Just for posterity sake, I looked up all of my 1/2 marathon times:

2001 Quantico 1/2 marathon 1:51:35

2002 Quantico 1/2 marathon 2:10:47 [took the previous two weeks off with a foot injury that had me in one of those blue wooden shoes and had a bone scan. was ecstatic beyond belief to be able to run this race and finish marathon training]

2004 Austin 1/2 marathon 1:46:49 [cool temps and downhill]

2007 BAA 1/2 marathon 1:51:32

After the race was fun. Some people from my running club met up in REI (one guy wanted to buy a coat) and we were like kids in a candy store. [in case people don't know, REI is an AWESOME sporting goods store]. I bought an EXCELLENT bright yellow tapered reflective biking/running windbreaker. I'm in love. Then we went to brunch.

One interesting moment is me standing in the 8:00 min. coral and some guy coming up behind me and hugging me from behind. I catch a glimpse of him and start discreetly pointing at the guy and silently mouthing to my friend from school who was next to us, "That's him!!!" It was my recent ex. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. We made small talk for about 5 minutes while I'm thinking, why are you talking to and hugging me? Then he left to go a few rows back in the coral with some other people he knows and then went on to beat me by 20 minutes.

I actually had a pretty good day despite coming face to face with the fact that being a triathlete is slowing me down....or, by keeping me injury-free, perhaps it's allowing me to make it to race day...hmmmm. Hard to say...

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I'm not sure how I feel about race predictor calculators. I love them b/c according to them I have the potential to get some PRs. For example, based on my 5K and 10K times I should theoretically be able to cut 55 minutes off of my marathon time and easily qualify for Boston with a 3:30 (a HUGE goal of mine that I've had for many many years). But I also think people have an optimal distance, and mine is not the marathon. I decompensate. I get injured training. I can never get my mileage up high enough to actually train for a marathon (except for my first one). It's all about survival. I haven't really raced enough (especially at 10 miles or the 1/2 marathon) to say what my optimal distance is, but I think it may be around 5K/10K.

I also think the calculator is wrong b/c it says, based on my recent 5K time, that I shouldn't be able to run a 10K as fast as my PR is-but I feel fitter, and less hung over, than when I ran my PR and I think I could smash what the calculator predicts. Also, I am pretty sure I could run a mile faster than what the calculator says.

I'm thinking about this b/c based on my 5K time last week I should be able to get a PR in a half marathon tomorrow by a few minutes. But what if it's hot out? What if it's hilly? What if I haven't (and I haven't) done enough long runs. How can the calculator be valuable when all of the courses and conditions and training for each event are different? It's ridiculous.

What do people think? Are those race predictor calculators accurate? How are they supposed to work?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Repurposing my aerobars

I have a flat on my hybrid that I am too lazy to change so I am commuting on my road bike. One unforeseen advantage to this is that aerobars are a really good place to carry stuff:
Really! They are quite awesome for takeout that comes in containers that may leak!

In running news, I actually ran like 5 times last week. I am sticking to short distances (3-4 miles) but things have been okay! Although my foot randomly hurts a lot today - perhaps it is because I apparently took my night splint off while I was sleeping - no recollection of doing this, whatsoever!

And Kori is two days away from the Twin Cities Marathon! Agony of DaFeet teammate Kimberly and I are driving up on Sunday to cheer her on. Both of us were registered and can't run. Kimberly, who never gets overuse injuries, twisted her ankle on a walnut on a bike path on her second 20-miler, three weeks ago. I can't even begin to complain about my foot, when I got shut down when I was up to only 9 milers. She totally put in the work and now is out of commission. Talk about major suckitude!

Oh and just because this picture was also on my camera when I downloaded the one above - I heart Ithaca! This is from a bridge in the middle of the Cornell campus. This is also a nerdy picture because the old hydraulics lab can be seen under the bridge from back in the day when they used to use the elevation from the falls to drive the flow through the flumes in the lab. How cool would it be to have a lab in the bottom of a gorge? To continue this nerdy exposition, a lab that still uses the elevation from a waterfall is Saint Anthony Falls Lab at the University of Minnesota (it's right on the Mississippi and is also a pretty cool lab). Note that my lab is currently in the basement with a big broken flume and I fight constant turf wars with professors and grad students who think that part of the lab would be a great place for storage of their old crap that they will never use again. I returned to my alma mater for the wedding of a fellow fluid dynamicist -a good part of the cocktail hour was spent stratifying fluids with other fluids nerds. Let me tell you that red wine on top of sprite is quite striking!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm not slow-just hot

Wooooohooooo! 22:32 (7:16 min/mile). This is my second fastest 5K ever. (My PR being 21:42).

I'm actually increasing my mileage right now, I raced last weekend, and I went biking yesterday so there was no sort of taper. Just a...ooh crap, I overslept for my triathlon. Let me do some laundry, swiffering, dusting, dishes...Hey, isn't there a 5K a couple of miles away this morning? Google. Get on bike. Go to race.

There were cooler temps. It felt...ahhhhhhh. I was the third woman. The second place woman was 22:17. There were no mile markers, I never run hard so I had no idea of pace, and I was super afraid of bonking (my usual since I typically go out too fast). But I wasn't even hurting at the end. I wish I had gone after #2!!!!!

I also beat by 4 minutes the 57 y/o woman who beat me in the 90 degree 5 miler a couple of weeks ago. I think the heat affects me more than other people. I disintegrate.

I am so relieved to be running in the realm of fit. This is the longest stretch of running (since January) without injury I've had since ~2002. I wonder how fast I could go if I trained for this distance?

Finally, I also learned (again) not to predict how fast people are and get psyched out by what people look like. There were women in running clothes lining up near the front-and I passed them after 50 feet. Lesson learned-until the next time a skinny, barely wearing clothing runner out-psychs me.

And congrats Al (check out his race reports below!).

Another Race!

Because my roommate was running the Fall Into Fitness 5k today in the northwest-side neighborhood of Portage Park, I decided to go along and run it too, figuring that a larger race with chip timing would probably have an accurate course, so I could actually have some idea of how fast I was. Looking at past years' results it seemed that every year someone ran faster than I would be able to (16:30 to 16:45) and everyone else ran slower (over 17 minutes), so I predicted a second-place finish. The neighborhood has a large Polish community, and most of the past years' top finishers had Polish-looking names, or even listed their hometown as "Poland".

And given that I got no sleep because I was blowing my nose all night, was dehydrated, was racing for the second day straight, and that I didn't warm up very well because they called to line us up 15 minutes before the race started (and I actually listened, unlike the other fast people), I did OK. If the mile markers were accurate (I think they were, though the half-mile ones were off a bit) then my splits were really badly positive: 5:10 -> 5:25 (10:35) -> 5:38 (16:13), then 44 seconds for the last 160m to finish 16:57. All of those seem possible except for the 44-second last 160m; there's no way I slowed down to well over 6-minute pace for the final sprint. So maybe the third mile was even worse than 5:38. I finished second, as I predicted, behind a 40 year-old dude wearing a Poland jersey. Maybe under better circumstances I'm 7 seconds faster today, hard to say. But I still won my age division and got a $20 gift certificate to Fleet Feet, which covered the race entry fee. When you add that to the schwag from the race bag (including a $10 coupon and a 10%-off coupon to Fleet Feet), I scored pretty good profits from both of my races this weekend. Of course, the funds I got out are less liquid than those I put in, but I'm not going to complain about that. So I have a month to cut 37 seconds from my 5k to make 16:20. It will be hard, but possible. Maybe I should put some of my prize money towards racing flats. Or a Poland jersey.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Racing Short for Fun and Profit

Today my procrastination in finding a gym/pool thing to join paid off big-time. But first, some workout stories. I don't run many races, but I frequently have fun and eventful workouts. First, on Thursday I took a quick tempo run along the lake between getting home from work and going to a concert. And as I ran by a couple of twentysomething women, one of them took out a camera and followed me by with it. And probably took an unauthorized photograph of me! She'll be hearing from my agent! So if you see a picture of me running in a RAGBRAI bike jersey and magenta Big Sur Half Marathon cap, know that it was not taken by an Al Dimond (tm) Authorized Photographer.

Then yesterday, because of the race today, I ran one of my favorite pre-race workouts from high school: 3x400 with 3-minute interval. The idea is to start fast and get faster; in high school my goal was always 66-64-62, but I never made it. Yesterday I thought I might be able to run 68-66-64. So I jogged over to the track, did some strides, got loose, stood at the line, took off, finished: 68.9. Acceptable. Just have to get a little faster on the next one. Rested, got loose, toed the line, took off. Tried to run the same first half as the last one but kick it in to the finish. Obviously failed in one of those: 68.9. Gah. Rested, got loose again. Toed the line. Then it came to me: the advice my high school's sprint coach always gave on how to run fast. "Lead with your arms," he said, "If you run at any speed and accelerate with your arms, your legs have to follow, no matter how tired they are." Like magnetic and electric fields inducing eachother to make light. I had forgotten this for four and a half years and it came back to me just before starting this last quarter. So I resolved to go out hard with my arms leading. And I felt it. I felt it along the backstretch as I really accelerated and picked up my turnover. On the second curve I held it together better than usual. And the final straight, well, it wasn't exactly glorious but I didn't fall apart too badly, just pumping those arms. I thought, "Surely, this must have been faster. I felt so fast! Just like when I ran 55.7 on that relay split in high school!" Looked down at the watch, and it was indeed faster. THREE WHOLE #@*(-ING TENTHS OF A SECOND FASTER. 68.6! AAAAAAAARGH! "Screw the 5k, and all this speedwork," I thought, "I want to run marathons."

So today my race was only a 2-miler: the North Park River Run, put on by North Park University. My roommate had sent me a link to it while trying to send me a link to the race he was running, and I thought at the time that 2 miles would be a good distance. I was a bit sick, and didn't know what the competition was going to be like; I figured that with competition I could run 10:30. I also figured that lots of good 5k runners might appreciate an opportunity to race at a shorter distance, just like me. Some of the guys running warmups looked good. But when we stepped up to the line my hopes dropped: I was the only person that stepped all the way up to the line, while everyone else held back, as if to let the real runners through. I knew then I was going to have to lead wire-to-wire. So the race was totally uneventful; the pace cyclist led me through the course and I finished in 9:56. Which means the course was short. Because there's no way I ran just 4 seconds off of the best race of my life (senior year of high school, on a track, in spikes, with good competition, after a whole season of intense training focused for the 2-mile) today (mixed-surface race, in trainers, nobody within a minute of me, two weeks into the interval-work phase of 5k training). I probably would have run closer to 10:40 on a real 2-mile course, but that's a total guess, because I didn't see the 1-mile mark and didn't really trust the 1.5-mile mark, which had me at 7:50.

Oh, well. I guess I'll just have to give in and run big races if I actually want to have times. So anyway, they were giving out awards at this block party over by the university after the race, so I went over there, grabbed some lunch and waited for them. Then my nose started bleeding. Fortunately I had pocket-packs of Kleenex because I was sick... I went through 5 tissues and got blood all over my face, hands, clothes, backpack, and the sidewalk. Boo. So of course they wanted a picture of the winners after the awards, and I looked like I'd just come from a war zone. But the procrastination-paying-off thing: the prize for winning the race was a year membership at a health club! So by not going out and finding one, I now avoid duplication. It's about four miles west of me, which means biking over could be a nice warm-up. If they have a pool I can learn to swim now! Plus I won a Fleet Feet gift certificate so I can get one running shoe for free. And another running duffel bag. Woo.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ode to Danielle's Foot

I have a friend names Danielle
who has entered running hell
she has fasciatis of the foot
and can't get at the root
of what is causing the problem
I'm at home full of phlem
from this cold that I have
and it makes me very sad
that she can't run the marathon with me


Yippee! Yikes! Yea! Yeah! Yippee! YeeHaw! Yaw! Yowsers!

Why do all the good exclamation words start with a Y. After the alphabet was created, did people feel like Y didn't get enough use, so they came up with all these great Y words? Then why didn't they do that with z?

And, Y is both a consonant and a vowel. The only letter like that.

And, Y is the only letter that is both a letter and when you say the name of the letter it is also a word "why".

Oh. . . that's not true - then there is J as in "Jay" but that normally has blue jay or something like that in front of it instead of just jay.

These are the things I ponder when I mix my nighttime cold medicine with mountain dew.

8 Days to TCM

If you know me, you know that being more obsessive actually alleviates my nerves. So, I started packing today.

Twin Cities Marathon is 8 days away!! yippeee! yikes!

I packed my gu, my race book that I must have to pick up my bib, and my shorts. I have not yet found the matching sock to my favorite pair so I'm doing laundry. Do I need to carry extra socks with me even though I don't on training runs? In case it rains? Does someone know this stuff?

I read my race book. They give shirts and medals to you after you cross the finish line and if you don't finish in 6 hours you don't get to be an official finisher and have to get on the sag wagon. That scares me. Truly, if even on my slow, slow long run days I won't be pushing 6 hours, it's the "what if's" that have started. What if my knee hurts? What if I have to walk. . .how much can I walk and still come in in 6 hours - Danielle, can you do some math for me? What if this stupid cold that I have settles in my chest and I have to cough and can't breathe?

Something's wrong with me. Seriously wrong. I am nervous 8 days early! It may not be helping that I've been taking nighttime tylenol cold medicine all day long today. I'm a little weird.

Now, I'm going to do an experiement - what if I take cold medicine with mountain dew. What will the effect be. . . . .

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm famous!

On C-Span! So I am just posting this because other than the one time I was on the local news during a grown-up Easter egg hunt, I haven't been on TV before. And national TV at that! National TV that only political nerds watch, but national TV still! Oh yeah, there was this time too.

This of course has nothing to do with running. But I am all about blatant self-promotion. In good news, today at PT, she said she could barely feel the plantar fasciitis in my foot anymore and reduced my visits to every two weeks.

A small bit of background - Chris Dodd asked if there were any former Peace Corps volunteers in the audience and so I raised my hand and then he came up to me after the talk when I was hanging out with the John Edwards kids and the following is what ensued. I would like to note that Chris Dodd gives the best hugs ever!

(Note you need Real Player to see the video - stupid C-Span! My friend couldn't get the link to work on his computer, but it works on mine.)

Me on TV!

Update: Apparently this link only works on my computer. Alternatively you can go to the search page at C-span, click on the top link there (the link is the search results -it should say in it somewhere "Chris Dodd attends a barbeque") and then fast forward to approximately 1:24.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Aren't distance runners supposed to get faster as they age?

This summer I was all...I'm a triathlete. I'm so healthy. I don't care how well I do, it's all about participating and loving it all!! I'm so well-balanced. Joy!!

Um, that lasted until this month. B/c what I DON'T like is being slower than I used to be. And. I. Am. And I don't like it. Yes, I'm finally running in all the fall races I usually miss b/c I'm injured. But yes, I'm slow.

Basically, I've been comparing the conditions surrounding my 23 year-old self in 2003 with my 27 year-old self.

was doing speedwork for the first time in my life
a long run every week
lived in a very hilly area
set PR's at distances from 5K to 13.1 miles
[but then got patellar tendinitis that lasted a year b/c i was way overtraining]

5 pounds lighter
but my diet sucks. it's lacking in nutrients/variety
less junk food which is good
long run every 9 or so days
never run fast
weekly running mileage is 2/3 what it used to be.
live in a very flat area. NEVER run hills.
only race when it's hot.

Sooooooo. I could run more. But then I might get hurt. But I don't like being slow. I have to find some hills. I ran in a 10 mile race today. 80 degrees. Hilliest course I have been on in my entire life. 1:29. Personal worst for the distance by 6 minutes 30 seconds (and I ran the 1:22 time with bronchitis). In some ways I'm like...BOOO. This bites. In other ways I'm just really can't compare this course to the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in DC in April. That is way easier and cooler. And I just need to run more. And faster. And if I want to get faster I need to put in these slower miles until I get there. Sorry I'm rambling. But I'm WAY MOTIVATED right now. BRING THE RUN!! (and for the love of god hopefully in cooler temps).

I am losing my motivation

For those of you that don't know, I need to explain that I have trained for a marathon for three years. Not continually. But, my ITBand has flared up every year and prevented me from running. This year, I seem to have managed that problem and am pretty much ready. A little update.
  • I have 10 toes and 6 toenails.
  • I have yet to find a pair of shoes that remains confortable and blister free for 20 miles.
  • I foam roller four times a day
  • And, this week, I've completely lost my motivation to run

Really, I have a marathon in two weeks and I'm doing everything I can to avoid running. I don't want to run. I want to sink into slothdom, eat sugar and watch movies. I psyco analize myself and wonder if I'm nervous about this marathon so am avoiding the whole running thing all together. I don't really know. I need an excuse for running to be fun again (like our relay). Any input?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sound of Silence

So... haven't had much to say lately since I haven't been running.

Or biking.

Or swimming.

The slothfulness is starting to get to me.

The foot starts to get better but then I have a day where I walk around a lot and it kills me.

I officially have to wear a splint at night now:
(Hot! It's a good thing I'm single! Note that isn't my leg - I may get lazy about shaving, but at least I'm blonde.)

It is all rather depressing.

And I went from hanging out with runners, who mostly are a good influence on me (although Kori and I sometimes manage to eat back every calorie we burn in chips and salsa and margaritas after a workout) to hanging out with political staffers who buy me beer and are otherwise a bad influence on me (Guess who overslept after dollar pint night last Wednesday and almost missed her flight to Ithaca! Let me say that flying in the clothes you passed out on your bed in the night before is always classy! And how come, for the first time in like ten years, I actually had a plane seat next to a cute boy?)

Sigh. This foot needs to get better ASAP!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Summer Reading

I just finished reading Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon. She's the one in the famous pics with her boyfriend bodyblocking the official who tried to physically grab her and pull her out of the race.

Yes, the book describes her training for the marathon and the incident in Boston. But the book also describes why she started running; the lack of athletic programs for women during her HS, collegiate, and adult years; and Switzer's profound impact on women worldwide. Her professional career directly focused/focuses on bringing running opportunities to women, but hearing her speak (through the book) about the broader impact sporting opportunities have on women and communities also illustrates the indirect impact of her work on the status and well-being of women.

Reading the book made me feel incredulous about how things used to be not too long ago, grateful for the work of people before my time, and empowered. And incredulous again. It wasn't really that long ago that most women didn't play sports. I started playing soccer and baseball AFTER my younger brother (two years younger than me) b/c my town didn't have girls teams and my parents didn't think it was a good idea for me to be the only girl. So I didn't play organized (or too many unorganized) sports until I was 9-even though my dad taught me how to play catch when I was 3. We eventually moved to a town with girls teams and when I expressed interest in my brother's soccer team my dad suggested I might like to play the following year (on a girls team). I was eventually allowed to play baseball with the boys b/c the softball program in my town was pretty awful. But years later, I'm the athlete and my brother isn't. It's still weird to me to think about the unequal start we had.

I hate to think what my life would have been like if I had been born at any time in human history other than the present. In a lot of ways I'm a perfectionist and conformist and I doubt I would have wanted (if it had even occurred to me) to be the first female little league player, EMT (still a male-dominated field b/c of its association with firefighting), lawyer, runner, etc. In addition to these recently opened doors, sports have also made me more confident and independent in all areas of my life, and no matter what else is going on, I have always athletics to count on. In a strange way athletics is a best friend to me.

So a big thank you to Kathrine Switzer and the many others who made my life and lifestyle a possibility.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm an idiot. But I'm on workout vacation.

Hey. I'm still kicking. But I'm not exactly fit. I'm on a workout vacation. I'm still running 3 times a week (I just raced 5 miles in 90 degree heat for a personal worst by 5 minutes) and occasionally biking and even less occasionally swimming. But I'm definitely less fit. And I don't really care. This is a huge rest and recovery moment before I start training with vigor for triathlons in 08. I lifted once. For fun. I did some sit-ups. I'm doing random things that haven't made it into my schedule previously.

I had a whole bunch of triathlon races on my schedule this month that I am just not going to. B/c I don't feel like it. I'm RESTING. And it feels lovely.

I'm in the thick of organizing my school's triathlon team. We got the school's blessing and funding last week. Since I have no desire to race, one teammate was hit by a car while bike riding, and the others didn't know whether or not we would be approved, we aren't competing this year. We are basically organizing in 07-08, competing in other random events, and then will compete in the collegiate league in fall 08 (god-willing my last year of eligibility since i graduate in spring 09.) Tonight I went to my school's cycling team's first organizational meeting of the year to recruit triathletes (and got 6!). I walked away from the meeting wanting to do some crazy bike riding in all kinds of events I don't even know what they are-except that all of the leaders of that group have crazy scars all over them. I mean, all over. Yeah, they're hard core. The tri stuff is cool b/c my teammates range in age from 27 (me) to 18. There are grad and undergrad divisions so 18 year old guys don't have to compete against 27 year old guys. How no fair would that be??

I'm also dating the triathlete AGAIN. I really shouldn't write that since I complained about him on the blog. But it's different this time. :) I write that to be funny b/c I know that sounds ridiculous. Oh well!! I'm an idiot. But we like each other!! I have to go to sleep but I am waiting to see if the contact that is behind my eyeball comes out. So far no such luck.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Okay, we're going to try this again...

My last race declaration was for the Twin Cities Marathon. Considering that is in a month and my longest run has been 9.5 miles and my plantar fasciitis is bothering me a lot, running that isn't even a possibility.

I contemplated trying to do the Des Moines Half-Marathon in 6 weeks, but I am pretty sure I would be disappointed in my result. I'm just one of those people who doesn't like to run a race unless she can PR (especially longer distance races). I have actually only run three half marathons (ha! 2004 Danielle would find the *only* part of that laughable), my PR being 2:15 in Toronto last year, so the bar isn't ridiculously high, but I need to be training more consistently than my foot allows now.

So, in possible pursuit of Rock Star status, WWR teammate Joe has convinced me to sign up for the Rock n Roll Half-Marathon in Phoenix in January. Registration fees go up $15 on 9/15, so I bucked up and registered.

Now I have four months to get this foot better and get in some semblance of running shape. I figure that isn't overly ambitious, right? Is there a goat I can sacrifice to the plantar fasciitis gods to expedite recovery?

Well anyways, I declare "Game on!" once again!

Aside: In somewhat convenient news, Phoenix is the weekend before the Iowa caucuses which means that I will be able to avoid the craziness that is Iowa when every candidate and their mother rolls into town. Scratch that. That was just a brave facade, as a political nerd like myself is somewhat sad that I will miss the pre-caucus hubaloo - although at the rate things are going, the caucuses will be in December! Since the odds of me being in Iowa in four years are essentially zero, I am actually really excited to be living here during this time. Go JRE!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

GRR Day 2 continued.: Overachievers

(Insert blaring 70s music here)


About an hour after we lay down to sleep, one of the vans (I'm looking at you MN RED) pulled in near us and started blaring music. All of us were unconscious before this started. I probably could have slept for a couple more hours contently on the concrete.

Kori and I looked at each other. We were not amused. When I am hungry and/or sleepy, I can be a total beeyotch, so I walked up to them and asked them to turn it off, guaranteeing that we wouldn't be getting the Homecoming Team award. They nicely obliged and I went and laid back down. Sleep was coming again then...

The Worst Effing Band in the Entire Universe

Ragnar Relay gets major boo points for not only having a loud band at an exchange where people were trying to sleep, but having the crappiest band I have ever heard playing.

We were not amused.

So we got up.

We still had a couple of hours before Van 1 was going to roll into the exchange so we just hung out, getting nervous about how hot it was getting.

Kimberly went off to be alone so that she wouldn't be mean to anyone.

I started looking at our legs and realized we had 30 miles to go. At this point, Kori and Nisha had already run three legs and Kimberly had to run 10 of those 30 miles. If we were lucky, we would average 10 min/miles, which meant at least 5 hours of running.

When Audrey rolled in about noon, it was really hot in the sun. The shade wasn't so bad actually. Audrey handed off to Nisha, who had a 6.5 mile leg. Nisha was a total trooper and walked/ran this very hot and exposed leg. Lots of people were walking as we passed them in the van. After about 4 miles, she wanted to give up and have Tim finish for her, but Kori pep talked her into finishing it up.

Nisha handed off to me for my final leg, which was 5.2 miles. I lucked out here. My last leg was pretty much mostly downhill. The first mile and a half was on city streets (including running on a dirt path that went under the I-94 overpass). It was hot, but I got to turn onto a bike path after 2 miles. That was just wonderful. It was a downhill, shady, beautiful path (that had no forks to get lost at). I totally had my groove going. A little after mile 4, I had about a half a mile of gradual incline along a major road that sorta sucked my mojo out of me, but I got to turn into the woods again for the last half mile. I did get passed by a dude in the last quarter mile, but I was just happy to finish. I did that leg at a 9:54 pace, and I felt it when I finished. It took a while for my heart rate to come back down again.

I handed off to Kori, who also had an exposed leg along the river. She finished up her 23 miles for the relay and handed off to Kimberly, who was doing her third of four legs. Kimberly's route wasn't along the road, so we didn't see her until the end of her leg. While waiting for Kimberly, I managed to score a ride for Tim back to Rochester so that I didn't have to do it. I was soooo not looking forward to a two hour trip either that evening or at 6:30 the next morning! We sent Tim off and then pretty much got on our way to the final exchange, since he is speedy! Kimberly got about a half an hour to rest before doing the final leg of the relay.

This is where the real fun began. We sent Kimberly off and stopped every mile for her. She was beat, but she had a determined attitude and was going to finish that mofo up. She was looking good the first two times we stopped for her - she didn't want water or anything. We saw her at about mile 3 (out of 5.8) and she said "give me the map the next time you see me!"

If that wasn't foreshadowing...

At this point, the route got a little crazy with all the last minute detours they had to do because of the I-35 bridge collapse. We left the river and climbed into town and there were several turns. Each turn was marked.

I pulled over about mile from where we left her last and we waited.

And we saw the runners who had been ahead of her.

Then we started seeing runners we didn't recognize.

Then we finally decided she was lost.

In Minneapolis.

Nisha and I got in the car and turned around to the last place we saw her and drove around, trying to figure out which arrow she might have missed. The enormity of this task was dawning us when we got a call from Kori that Kimberly had arrived and that she and Tim were running the rest of the way.

Kimberly had missed one arrow and had ended up at the University of Minnesota campus. She tried calling the police to see if they knew about the relay and where it was ending. She called the city parks department to ask the same thing (the race ended at a park in St. Paul). She didn't have a cell phone or our numbers, so finally some nice couple let her borrow their phone and she called her husband who looked up the directions for her. By the time she found us, she was almost in tears but she totally finished up the leg, running an extra mile and a half (so 24 miles total), earning the title of Team Rockstar.

So after 33 hours, the Agony of DaFeet finished up the Great River Relay. Between Shaun and Kimberly, we added an extra 4 miles onto our race, because we are overachievers like that.
The Agony of Dafeet: Shaun, Kori, Laurie, John, Kimberly, Audrey, Al, me, Nisha, John

There was apparently much hunger amongst the team because we weren't even allowed to go and shower after finishing before we headed off to eat. We went to Grandma's, which seems oddly just wrong to me, since I consider it a Duluth sorta place (which came first? the restaurant or the marathon?)

Then we went back to the hotel where there was bathing, hot tubbing, sleeping, and imbibing of blueberry flavored alcoholic beverages (blueberrytini! blueberry mojitos! yum! I also had a blueberry Naked Juice for breakfast).

The End.