Buckeye After Thoughts

I have been thinking about what drives one to go from a 13 mile run to a 31 mile run and also why on earth my legs have not retaliated in the normal pathetic manner they do after 18 miles+ of abuse.

Here's the only explanation I can offer for the mindset it takes to sign up for a half marathon and end the day with an ultra.

First you show up with the intention of running 13-18. This initial wobble room is easier to stretch than if you had said you were doing 13, period.

Second you start out with friends running longer and your ego takes a blow. If they are going to run 26-31 at this pace, certainly you cannot only do 13.

Third your friends use some persuasion. They remind you that you have nothing else going on that day, why not run long? What will you blog about if you only run 13. 31 is much more exciting. Think of your readers! (Not kidding BH did bring up the fact that blogging about an ultra would be much more exciting)

Fourth you start to listen to your friends and think to yourself. Well, I really don't have anything else going on today. David is visiting friends and I have no work to catch up on.

Fifth you decide that as long as your body isn't in pain there really isn't any reason you can't run longer.

At this point the deal is pretty much done. The only thing left is to avoid the temptation to stop at 13, 18, and 26 which are conveniently located at the 31 finish line.

Since my body did not complain one iota and I never had any mental breakdowns, I really had no reason not to do the 31 miles.

Oh and did I mention you have to be absolutely nuts and think that running 31 miles in 40 decreasing to 35ish degree weather on muddy icy trails, icy cold stream crossings, with tons of stairs is fun.

And well I think we all know by now that I qualify as a bit nutty ;)

As for why my legs feel so good. My theory is that it is a combination. 1) Yoga. I know I have only taken two classes, but I think the flexibility played a role in my legs staying looser the entire race. 2) Stairs. I have been taking the stairs at work (6 flights) every day for a few months. The course had lots of stairs which probably would have done more damage if my legs weren't used to them. 3) ibuprofen. I took an ibuprofen before and after the race as well as 2 during. I don't normally do this but 4 of the pills was well within the daily allowed dosage and I wanted to prevent inflammation. 4) youth. I think my body is adapting to the long stuff and I think it is recovering faster now that it is used to it. 5) fuel. I think Tanya put something miraculous in that Chili. I also had hot chocolate right afterwards. I think refueling right after the race probably eased the DOMS that never occurred.

The Problem...

with two rest days in a row is that now I am contemplating making it three rest days in a row. See what happens when you mess with the schedule?

I feel absolutely fantastic. In fact I feel like I might actually be able to crank out close to the tempo run that FIRST calls for. But frankly I do not want to drag my butt out in the cold and dark. Blah. I am seriously contemplating an indoor trainer ride instead so that I don't have to drive through the snow to the Y or to the park.

All this warm weather has spoiled me.

Week 2- Pig Training Run Down

Well not everything went as planned but I am going to go ahead and call this a Good week!

Run Down
Monday- 24 minutes Pilates
Tuesday- 6 mile run
Wednesday- 2800 yard swim
Thursday- 3.25 mile run, 75 minutes Yoga
Friday- Dancing!
Saturday- Winter Buckeye 50K
Sunday- Rest

Monday I squeezed in a quick pilates workout. Buns and thighs, Mari Winsor style. My hip flexors definitely got a work out!

Tuesday I headed over to GRes to run with my regular Tuesday crowd. My training plan called for a 1 mile warm up, 5 miles at about 7:45 pace, and a mile cool down. Instead we did a mile warm up then ran the next three at tempo pace. With the ice that ended up being 7:59, 8:08, and 7:53. Then we did 4*20 second pick ups, then 4 hill repeats, then 4 more pickups. My legs were tapped by the end but I did a good job on the pickups and the hills so I was very happy with the run.

Wednesday I actually got out of bed in time for a swim. It was basically a mixed set of 600 swim, 8*50 on 1 minute send offs, 500 swim, 8*50 on 55, 400 swim, and 8*50 on 50. The last few 50s were rough but I survived!

Thursday I was supposed to do 1 mile warm up, 4*800 at 6:20ish pace, 1 mile cool down. Instead I ended up with 1 mile easy, 3:30, 3:23, 3:51 then I bailed on the workout. I just blew up on the third 800. I couldn't keep pace and was worried I would fly off the treadmill. I swear this treadmill was faster than the one I used at Jen's work. I called it quits at 3.25 and walked for a few minutes before calling it a day. My body just wasn't up to the task.

Thursday night I headed back to yoga and left feeling great. I am glad I finally got around to doing something about my flexibility and relaxation!

Friday night David and I went out to dinner with Wild Bill and his wife and a few running friends. Then I headed out dancing with Wild Bill and Mrs. Wild Bill. David headed over to some friends in Canton. We danced through one set of the Spazmatics. As we entered the bar the lead singer grabbed me and ushered me onto the dance floor before I even got my jacket off. They played some fun 80s music (Including Whip It, hence the video) that I used to jam along to in elementary school (I was an MTV baby) so I had fun singing and bopping along. It was smoky and my throat is still sore. I can't wait for the day I can go out dancing and not worry about ruining an entire outfit and my lungs with second hand smoke! We left after about an hour and I stayed with them since they live about 15 minutes from where the winter Buckeye 50K was starting the next morning. It is so nice to have friends that are willing to let you crash at their place so you can go out dancing with them and still get a good nights sleep.

Saturday I went out with the intention of running 13-18 miles on the trails and ended up feeling so good I went for 50k and PR'ed by almost an hour despite lots of hills, stairs, mud, and ice. I had a blast and I don't feel an ounce guilty for missing my second swim this week. If only every run could be so much fun! (Ahem dumb treadmill!)

My legs feel eerily good today. I'll be the first to admit now that a trail 50K is MUCH easier on your body than a road marathon. If you had told me that I would be able to climb up and down stairs today with no trouble yesterday during the race, I would have laughed in your face. But I swear I feel like I could go out and run a few miles with no pain right now. Scary! So I think I will stick to some house chores today and putting my feet up. Don't want to take too much advantage of my body.

Winter Buckeye Trail Run

This morning I woke up bright and early and headed down to Peninsula for the Winter Buckeye trail race. They have the options to do a half marathon, 18 miler, full marathon, or 50K. I signed up late for the half marathon and was on the waiting list, but made it in when someone else dropped.

So I went out today with the intention of getting in a good hard effort 13 miles, perhaps 18 as I had 15 on the schedule.

The weather was incredibly warm, which was a shock after the bone chilling temperatures we have had the past few days, so I was surprised to read 40 F on weather.com after I had already dressed in two pairs of tights, two long sleeve techs, a jacket, gloves, and ear warmers. I shedded the second layer of tights but kept everything else in case it was windy.

We started at 7AM and it was still pretty dark out. The snow allowed for some vision but the crowds and uneven footing kept the initial pace slow. I started with Tri-Erics' wife, but we parted early on unfortunately. I ended up running with MB, BH, and some of their friends on the first 5 mile out and back loop (Brandywine Falls). The pace felt good but I felt bad knowing I was only running the half and all of the people I was running with were doing the marathon or 50K. I decided I was definitely going to do 18 and see how I felt after that.

Had to make a quick bathroom stop at 2.5 miles. Never a good sign! But I managed to catch my friends after some hammering the next mile. We came through the first 5 miles in about 50 minutes, which was pretty quick considering the conditions. I stripped off my jacket, gloves, and earwarmers and left them on the porch as we headed out onto the 8 mile out and back (Pine Lane).

We made good time through Pine Lane and chatted. The pace felt quick to me but doable. The group was already busy convincing me to do the whole 50K at this point. When we hit the turn around I grabbed three cookies a potato chip and got in line for the restroom. My stomach wasn't feeling great and I didn't eat much after that, which was disappointing as the food is why I love ultras so much!

My legs felt good though and as we came through the half marathon at 2:31 I decided to head back out for at least another 5. I filled my handheld with Gatorade and marched ahead as my group changed some clothes. I hadn't brought a drop bag since I thought I was doing 13 miles and wouldn't need anything.

I did my best to hustle but my friends caught and passed me on the uphills. I listened to my body and kept my own pace. I knew if I wanted to go long I couldn't push it too much. I noticed on the second time through Brandywine that it was hillier than I thought on the first loop. I had convinced myself the 5 mile loop wasn't so bad and that it was "just 5 more miles." I took a few pretzels and a cookie at the aid station but ended up carrying them with me the 2.5 miles back to the start/finish/porch, and threw them away. My stomach was not down with solids. I contemplated stopping at 18 but knew I was going at a good pace and wasn't sure if anyone else was doing 18 so I moved along back out for another go at Pine Lane, promising myself I would walk all the hills and the minute I stopped having fun I was allowed to walk the rest of the way.

I had fallen about 5-10 minutes behind my friends and was pretty slow on the uphill section starting Pine Lane. I still felt good and despite being by myself for about 8 miles I was enjoying myself. Having fun getting muddy and watching the trail progress from snow, to ice, to mud throughout the day. As we hit the section of road before the actual rooty pine section the trail is named for I was caught by another female runner and her friend. I decided to hang onto them as their pace felt comfortable and it was easier to move faster with company.

This ended up being a good move on my part as we stuck together the rest of the race. The hills on Pine Lane had turned into pure ice and I finally had my two spills of the day coming down one of them. Two falls right in a row. I was more in shock then anything, and after the second fall gave into gravity and slid down on my butt a ways. I figured it was good as I was icing my hamstrings :) I got back up pretty quick and we made our way across the stream and up towards the aid station. The cold water felt good on my feet and my shoes seemed to dry pretty fast.

The aid station had soup so I decided the stomach could handle the broth and asked for a cup of ramen noodles. Yum!

There were tons of runners out today and it definitely took its toll on the trail. There were sections that were just full of mud, but I had fun slipping and sliding my way along. I am sure the good company made a difference. Eventually we came to the marathon point. I looked at my watch and with it at 5:24 I decided I should continue on to do the 50K, as I would likely PR by close to an hour. I could have stopped and "won" the women's marathon as none of the 3 women in front of us were only doing the marathon, but I figured a 50K PR was better than a marathon "win," and we headed out onto the last 5 mile loop.

The 5 mile loop wasn't much fun starting off. It was towpath for a ways and flat, boring. My legs don't respond well to the flat stuff late in the race I guess. I was waiting anxiously for the hills and mud so I could enjoy myself a bit more. The stairs had started to melt a bit so they weren't quite so slippery the last time around, but man are they brutal! I still feel like my quads haven't fully recovered from JFK. Anytime I tackle stairs or steep hills my quads just feel tired. But eventually you get up the stairs and then you get to fly down hill :) Coming down the stairs was a slower process but the muddy downhills were a blast! I was surprised when we got to the last aid station so quick. I chatted with JA who has a stress fracture right now but came out to work the aid station all morning. We made a pact to run a marathon together this fall. She's speedy but hasn't got a BQ yet so I think if we tackle a flat marathon together with the goal of an even pace 3:40 we can get a BQ easy.

With 2.5 miles to go my third wind came and I hammered all the downhills and chatted my way up the steep hills and stairs. I felt like my new friends had pulled me quite a ways and I needed to earn my keep by pulling us in strong! I wasn't looking forward to the towpath but knew it was only about 3/4 miles once we got to it, and anyone can run 3/4 miles!

I was really pleased with my pace and as we neared the finish we all grouped together in a line. We came across at 6:22, and walked over to the race headquarters to check in with Tanya and give her our time, and collect our shirt!

The shirts are awesome! And despite my late entry Tanya still managed to get me a medium which I am very grateful for. She made the best chili and I sat down to chow a bit and grabbed some hot chocolate before begging for a ride to my car about 3/4 miles away. My toes were getting cold and I wanted some fresh clothes!

I was surprised how great I felt today and how much fun I had. I am not sure when I made the transition mentally to someone who could go out with the intention of running 13-18 miles and end up running 30, but it is definitely an interesting phenomenon.

My right knee is a little sore, but I think that was from the spill, and I have a nice bruise on my behind and a small scrape on my arm but otherwise feel really good. No hobbling even. We'll see how it goes tomorrow once DOMs sets in.

So it ends up my first race of the year is an ultra. I think it's appropriate as it seems like the most fun I have been having running lately has been out on the trails. As a bonus now I don't have to feel so guilty when I wear my Buckeye 50K shirt (I got one because I thought they looked cool), as now I can say I have done the Buckeye 50K!

Check out some other fun race recaps!

Rob "Buckeye" Powell

It is so interesting to see how others felt about the run.

Must Resist

In an attempt to be more conscious of what I consume I am tracking what I eat this week and attempting to count calories. I'm not great at it as I have no clue what is in a lot of the things I eat nor what a 3 oz piece of meat looks like, but I am doing my best ;)

So today my boss brought in a box of dunkin donuts. Which I have had to pass multiple times on my way to and from the printer, the microwave, the bathroom, the water fountain, etc. And sit through our office meeting with it open for all to see on the conference table.

I must say I am beginning to feel like the mayor in Chocolat, and am afraid at any minute my will may fail and my coworkers will find me under my desk fast asleep with donut crumbs all down my front.

Only one hour until yoga and safety from the donuts, until tomorrow!

Moving Along

Last night's run went really well and now I am up on time and getting ready to hit the pool.

Focus today will be on keeping my head down and making sure my right hand passes under my body. It's amazing how quickly you fall into old habits, so this is usually harder than it sounds. When I used to keep my head up I would watch my hands as they entered the water, now that my head is down I can't do that so I am sure that has played a small role in my right arm entering too wide. I swear that I thought having my head up a little so I could look forward was what I was supposed to be doing but the new coach says nope and that I was actually dropping my legs because of it. I wonder if I was swimming with my head up for the purpose of sighting in open water, hmm. Regardless, its head down for me now.

Monday and Tuesday were crazy busy at work. I will get some reprieve today I think but have another deadline coming so work will be nuts the next few days. Yesterday I didn't get time to eat until 3:30. I actually managed to convince our new coworker who started Monday that I was indeed at work on Monday, that I just had never left my office.

Week 1- Pig Training Run Down

I think the week went pretty well. Haven't had much time to post but hopefully at a minimum I will be able to sum up every week here.

Monday- Rest Day
Tuesday- 4 miles treadmill
Wednesday- Rest Day
Thursday- 2700 yard swim, 75 minutes yoga
Friday- 6 mile treadmill
Saturday- ~2 hours 15 minutes on the trail, about 13 miles
Sunday- 2550 swim

Not quite as many workouts as I am hoping to get in and I was short 2 miles on Tuesday's run but I am really pleased that I got in three runs and 2 good swims.

I learned on Tuesday that initially I am going to have to lower expectations on the treadmill workouts. I decided to try and go out at my goal pace 7:03 for 2 miles and felt like absolute crap and instead of scaling back the pace a bit to still get in the workout I just blew up. Forced out 4 miles with about 1 mile at 7:04-7:34 pace. Not so great.

Wednesday I hit the snooze too many times and missed my swim. But I made it up Thursday morning. Picked out a shorter workout and headed to the pool. I was really happy to make all my sets on the fast send offs despite my arms feeling like crap when I first started the workout. I was doing 200s on a 4:00 send off, all around 3:30 and the 100 pulls right around 1:45.

Thursday night I participated in my first yoga class with Jen and Trisaratops and one of my coworkers. I really enjoyed the class. I almost got one of my feet behind my head! Not bad for my first time. Although I was caught a few times doing a pose with the wrong arm etc. Ooops! I loved the relaxation time at the end and felt really good when I left the class that night. I will be making this a regular thing now.

Friday I headed over to Jens' gym to get in my speed workout. I backed the pace way off my goal and opted for 10 seconds slower than marathon pace, marathon pace, and then 10 seconds faster than marathon pace instead of 6:29 which may have killed me and also left me upset rather than really pleased with the workout which I was. I was impressed I could stay on that damn treadmill that long without blowing up. Progress!

After the run I headed out to a party with my Cleveland Triathlon Club peeps. Had a good time and ate way too much pizza and pretzel bread (And I was so good the rest of the week!)

Saturday morning I woke up early and headed out onto the trails. This was the first time I ran on real trails in the snow. It was much better than I imagined and I had a really good time. Only slipped once and managed to finish the run with about a pound of snow/mud balls attached to my pants and shoes. Really got me thinking about never running roads again ;) (Wished I had a camera along to share some of the bautiful scenery, snow covered pines and trickling frozen water crossings, but hey, if you don't get out there and run I guess you don't get to see it for yourself!)

Saturday afternoon I picked up my two sorority sisters and we headed to an alumni dinner at my alma mater. The actives did a really nice job with the event and I feel bad for anyone who missed out. It was a lovely time and I enjoyed catching up with some of my sisters.

I was up bright and early this morning after little sleep and on my way to Oberlin for a swim class. I picked up Sam B and we made our way to the pool. When we got there I was excited to hear they would be video taping us all individually swimming and was super glad I didn't sleep in instead. Of course they only ended up getting through half the people so I will have to wait another few weeks for my analysis but I am looking forward to that. We worked a bit with drills today and then did some pacing and hard effort sets. I was right on the money with my 200s today and very happy considering how tired I was. Of course it helped that a new speedster was in our lane who literally caught and passed me on one of the 200s. Nothing like that to motivate you to move along. 6*200 pull 3:10, 3:14, 3:14, 3:11, 3:10, 3:07. I was really surprised after Thursdays 200s being at 3:30 but very happy. Our last set was 4*25, 2*50, 100 all at about 90% effort, all supposed to be at the same pace. I went out at a pace I thought I could hold for the 100 at the end but damn if that effort didn't take everything out of my arms! I had to pretend I was in the Olympics to squeak out the 100 even close to pace. 19,18,19,19,40,39,81

Week 1 complete!

Hope everyone had as good a week as mine! Congrats to Su on her half mary PR. Rockin girl! Looks like those wicked fast treadmill splits are paying off!


Just wanted to post quick to let everyone know the status of the foot is good. I ran 4 miles Tuesday on the dread with no pain.

Tuesday night I found out the whole speed on the treadmill thing is going to be ugly. Treadmills are not my friend! I swear someone slows down time while I am on that thing and also mixes up the paces. 7:04 pace should not feel like 5:04 pace yet it always does for me on the treadmill. Uggh! What does not kill me...

I signed up for Flying Pig and we will just have to see whether it is a race day for me or a pace day for me. I have lots of friends aiming for BQs so I could end up pacing one of them if I am not in shape for a run at a PR level.

I am off to the pool now and tonight I am trying out my first ever yoga class with a few coworkers and my buds Jen and Sara. Looking forward to it!

Something to think about

I am cleaning out some old random boxes and found one full of stuff I had on my walls in high school. Lots of cut outs from magazines, old poems, notes, etc.

Found this quote most likely cut out from an Adidas or Nike add in a copy of Runners World:

"Don't ask me to be faithful to only one treadmill, only one class, only one free weight.
I will flex and sweat and work out according to my goals, and how I feel now, this instant.
Not according to what day of the week it is."

It's funny how many of these things I have cut out. I haven't really paid attention to ads in Runners World lately. I wonder if the advertisers still have so many of these perfect little phrases that I used to use to define me by displaying them on my walls.

Rambling Thoughts

Since JFK I have gone through a huge range of mindsets related to training. I went through the post race high, through what I thought was enlightenment, I went through some negativity, I have felt exhaustion, felt like I will never get my speed back again, and wondered what on earth I do this all for in the first place and how I ended up where I am after the past few years of racing.

I definitely don't have an answer to that last one but I have been analyzing it. Trying to figure out what I want to do with running and why I think I want to do it in the first place. The past few years it feels like my schedule laid itself out for me. It all seemed logical and I just followed the path. Now it doesn't feel so certain.

I found myself putting distances on my schedule just because it was what I did last year. I have no idea why I put a 70.3 on the schedule. I didn't even enjoy my first one that much. I enjoyed the training and I liked knowing that if I wanted to I could go longer. But you know what. I didn't want to go longer in the tri, and I still don't. Dreaming about being an Ironman or racing a killer 70.3 is one thing. Actually wanting to do it is a completely different thing. Just because I could be good at it doesn't mean I have to want it.

As for running I think I found out training for the ultras that I don't need to be fast to enjoy running. A 4-6 hour trail run at 12 minute pace is just as fufilling to me as a 3:30 marathon. But as much as I enjoy the longer ultra runs I know that right now I don't feel fit. I feel slow and I don't like it at all. I am not entirely sure this is because I actually want to be faster or because I feel like I should be or have to be.

Something keeps me striving towards being a better marathoner. I know with proper training that I could probably run under 3:15 in the next few years, and because I know that I feel like I have to strive towards that. But I honestly don't even know if that's what I want, or if that is what I have been influenced to think I want.

At the end of the day does it really matter if I never BQ again? Does it matter if I never compete in another triathlon? Does it matter if I run 100 miles or complete an Ironman? Does not accomplishing those things take away from everything else I have achieved? It shouldn't.

All these random thoughts have been rolling around in my head so I am hoping to air some of them on the blog. Prepare for some possibly incoherent rambling in the upcoming weeks!

Unsupported Run

Last night I headed over to my regular Tuesday group run. And no this run is not usually "supported" but last night was a different kind of unsupported run. I got dressed at work and realized I had forgotten a key piece of gear. Yep that's right, shook out my bag and found... no sports bra inside. This especially made me mad because normally I have 2 or 3 backups of every piece of running gear I own either in my bag or in the trunk, but last night I did not.

So I decided to head to the run anyways. I mean how bad could it be right?


We'll leave it at that.

On other bad notes. By the end of the workout my right foot was in severe pain. It finally snowed last night and the snow was making the path pretty slippery so the only thing I can figure is that my foot was sliding in a way it normally doesn't and it didn't like it one bit. After the first 6 miles the guys wanted to tackle another 2 but I didn't think my foot was up for it. So A and I hit the real trail which I thought would feel better on my foot, plus I had my headlamp so it would be my first time trying it out on a trail. Yeah, it made my foot feel worse. It felt like my arch was going to rip in half. Not good, not good at all.

So I have been icing and taking ibuprofen. Woke up this morning and it still hurts when I walk on it. The only way I can relieve the pain is to sit still or to walk on tip toe. Lovely.

The plan was for marathon training to start next Monday. Early sign up fee rises for the pig on January 19th. I am giving my foot a few days off and if need be until the 17th to make a decision on the race.

Stats from last night weren't much better than the rest of the mess of a run.

2 miles: 19:34
2 miles: 18:29
800 meters (up hill): 3:36
800 meters: 3:34
800 meters (snow directly in face high winds): 3:40
800 meters (down hill): 3:19
5 minute cool down on the trail

So if my foot decides to miraculously heal then I will have my work cut out for me next week. Tuesdays tempo run calls for 2 miles easy, 2 miles at 7:04 pace, and a 2 mile cool down. Yeah 7:04. So my thought is that (if I am healthy) each week I will aim for the goal pace and see how close I get. I have my doubts that I can run 2 miles at 7:04 pace right now, but hopefully I will be closer than I think I am.

On a good note, at least the actual winter weather is finally here! It was beginning to feel ridiculous wearing t shirts and shorts for runs in December and January!

Flying Pig

For lack of anything really drawing me and the convenience of the race being located near David's sister and a few of our good friends I am putting Flying Pig up on the race list for 2007 as my spring "A" race. It's not an easy course but I am going to aim for a PR regardless and realize that I may fail.

It won't be for lack of effort though. I've jotted down the FIRST program and am going to make friends with the treadmill for speedwork on those days when the track isn't accessible this winter. I guess I have decided that jumping down to the 5k PR by February doesn't make much sense and I will most likely get there along the path of training to PR the marathon anyways.

I have definitely lost some speed with the lack of regular weekly mileage and the long weekend workouts. It's starting to come back. We'll find out shortly how much. I think my first speed workout is for the week of the 15th.

The training plan for the marathon is 16 weeks and includes 5 20 milers. Seems heavy to me but it also is only 3 runs a week so I think it is doable. I also have started to realize that my body responds well to repeated long training. I kind of adapt and the more long workouts I get in the better my body responds to going longer. Let's hope this holds true this time around.

So this is what the next 16 weeks of training are going to look like.

Monday- Swim and Strength
Tuesdays- Tempo Run
Wednesday- Easy Group Run and/or Swim and Pilates
Thursday- Speedwork
Friday- Strength or Pilates
Saturday- Bike/Swim
Sunday- Long Run

Depending on how I take to the earlier wake up call I may try to include a mile run every morning before doing anything else. See if I can start a streak!


This year I am going to focus on being a bit more disciplined. More disciplined with training and also with time management. This will most likely mean a bit less sleep and more early morning workouts, but hopefully it will also mean more quality time with my husband, family, and friends.

I want to try and remember to do the things I most enjoy everyday. Mainly snuggling in the morning, enjoying a cup of tea in my North Country Trail marathon mug every morning, and running.

I am toying with starting a streak and trying to run at least 1 mile every day. We'll have to see if it fits with the new training plan or not.

I have definitely put on weight with the longer weekend runs and low mid week mileage. I felt pudgy when I finished JFK and looking back at pictures from Boston I know I can be strong and look a little more tone. I am not actively going to try to lose weight but I am hoping the disciplined workouts will result in a more ideal running weight.

Hopefully this year I will find a way to consistently cross train year round. I would like to get in one bike a week, 2-3 swims, and strength training/pilates. I have always struggled with this, mainly because I don't put it on my to do list other than in my head. This year everything I should be doing will get written down every week. If it's in writing it has to get done ;)

As for more personal goals I want to make an effort to stop stretching myself so thin. I need to consider what the best use of my time is and commit to it. I need to realize that I can't please everyone and perhaps, for me, it is better to focus on making a huge impact on a small group than on making a small impact on a huge group.

Tagged by Trisaratops

The tag is as follows:

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.

Son of a Witch (Just finished, was very good!) by Gregory Maguire (I also recommend Wicked, Lost, and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. I wasn't that impressed with Mirror Mirror)

"They merely mocked, as stars were created to do.
He hugged himself, for here the wind swept in without interference. He pulled the cape like a blanket about him, and clutched the broom as if it were the Piglet, and he could will it back to life."

The boys are playing Warhammer this weekend so I entertained myself with a movie last night, some Game Cube, and today some time at the computer.

I rented "OH in Ohio." While the subject matter is obviously scandalous ;) I thought this movie was very cute and really enjoyed it. My parents signed us up for Blockbusters version of netflix so we have watched 4 movies in the past two weeks including Clerks, Clerks 2, and The Last Kiss. I see much more lazy nights on the couch with the hubby in my future. I must say I do enjoy movie time and snuggling!


I haven't had much time to reflect on the year yet.

It made for an awkward New Years Eve as I really didn't feel like a year had gone by. I am not sure what causes us to use January 1st as some deadline for reflection and resolutions but it seems to be ingrained.

Overall I am really happy with my progress this year. I obviously stepped it up quite a notch with race mileage in both the tris and running but was able to get in a few faster races too.

Major highlights from the year were obviously competing in my first half ironman, trail marathon, 50k, and 50 mile races. As a bonus I managed to PR a half marathon and ran two BQ marathons.

I met a ton of people locally and via blogland who I am truly grateful for. Doing all of these events is so much more meaningful when you are competing alongside friends.

I keep striving to find a balance between family, work, and training, oh and doing other things I enjoy like blogging, reading, and partying. I haven't got it down yet but I am getting there.

Statistical Highlights

#s raced
2 ultras
1 half ironman
3 marathons
3 half marathons
1 10 miler
1 sprint tri
1 marathon relay
2 5ks

Best Race of 06
Probably a tie between Boston and River Run

3:31 at Boston was an improvement over last years Boston by 18 minutes. At the time I was disappointed not to get a PR but I ran a tough race and am very pleased with the result (Plus I looked cute in my wild bill tee)

PRing at River Run was a double edged sword. I was ecstatic to run so fast when I was feeling like I might not be capable but that race was the beginning of all my end of the year injuries. Next year I should probably consider a different half as I always screw something up at this race.

Most surprising result

Definitely JFK. At the beginning of the year I hoped to run 9 hours here and/or place 1st in my age group. After all my injuries and extremely light training I backed off my goal to 10 hours. Coming 23 minutes from my original A goal having never even run a 50 mile week in 06 really told me something about myself.

8.4 to go: JFK Part 3

As we got off the towpath I don't think it really hit me that I had less than 9 miles to go. I was astonished that I beat the reflective vest and was still hooting and hollering in disbelief as I approached a monster hill and started walking up.

I was next to a male runner with a long pony tail here and we struck up a conversation. I sucked down a gel with caffeine to make the hill more productive. This was his 4th or 5th JFK I think and he definitely knew what he was doing. He gave me lots of encouragement up the hill and I said I would stick with him until we got on the flat and he had to pull back due to his quads seizing. I wished him luck and trucked on catching a young man with a huge camelback on.

I remarked that he was much more hard core than I was with my handheld and he replied that he was worried with the handheld he'd leave the race with one bicep larger than the other and not be able to bend his arm the next day. This got me thinking and I realized I probably wouldn't be able to bend my arms the next day and especially my right one since I really hadn't switched it back and forth as often as I should've. (luckily I was wrong, my arms were about the only thing that wasn't sore after JFK)

We ran together and walked up the hills and eventually I saw a sign that said 7 miles on it. I asked him if that meant 7 to go and he said it did. I think I muttered some more "Holy craps" here and talked with him about how surreal it was to be running this part of the race in the daylight. I had imagined the last 8 miles in darkness and it was completely unreal knowing I would finish before sunset.

I started running up any small hills and ditched the 20 minute run 1 minute walk plan for a plan of run everything but inclines and aid stations.

I started to do some more math now that I was closing in on the finish and realized I might finish under 9:30. I had a secret goal of beating an ex friends JFK time and I knew then that I just might pull it off. At some point I also realized I could walk and finish under 10 and was just so elated.

I mostly ran by myself through the last 8 miles, passing many runners with orange bibs and only getting passed by a few runners from my start. I stopped for chicken noodle soup and cola at every aid station and watched as the mile markers counted down.

It was getting harder to start up after every walk break so I tried my best to run everything. I kept estimating my time left using 11 minute-13 minute miles and kept chugging along at 10:20/mile pace. I ended up next to the man with the "Size Matters" shirt for awhile and he asked how I was doing. We traded PR stories and he asked me if I had ever run the Steamtown marathon and highly reccommended that I do it. He said I would be treated like a queen and could probably win it. I must say that sounds awfully tempting to me ;) He said it was a fast course and pretty much a guaranteed PR. I thanked him for the tip and pulled ahead just before the second to last aid station.

I got some cola and headed for the portalet and then made my way to the finish. With 2 miles to go I stopped for a cola and started watching for the 1 mile to go sign. I prepared mentally for the finish as my goal was to finish pumping my fists and having a good time. No bewildered race finish photos for me!

I passed the mile to go sign, then turned a corner where volunteers informed me I had less than a half mile to go, just over the next hill and I would be able to see the finish line. Sure enough I climbed a small hill and there less then 800 meters away I could see an RV and a finish line with people lined up on the left cheering runners in. As soon as I neared the spectators I started screaming and raised my hands in the air. I smiled for the cameraman and as I received my medal I shouted "Hell Yeah" then promptly apologized for my language as the volunteers handing out medals were about 10 years old (oops!)

I walked backwords through the crowd to cool down and found some of the fun spectators I had seen at every aid station along the way. They told me I was the best finisher all day and proceeded to offer me hot cider which I gladly accepted, and I also took them up on the rum that they offered to put in it! Yay for awesome spectators!

I found RootsRunner and Dr.Louis and we waited to see B50 finish. She came in with Steph who I didn't see at all out on the course but I must have gone by at some point or perhaps multiple times. Eventually I made my way inside and called my husband and family. I had plenty of calls to make so I grabbed a slice of pizza and phoned everyone. I found Steph and we took some photos and chatted about our races. I finally got my butt to the food table and then into the showers.

I took off my shoes and found that I had stuffed a whole forest of leaves in there along with a few blisters. I finished my hot chocolate and then headed to the shower. I have never seen so many naked runners in my life! The showers were in the middle school locker rooms and bless that school they were hot showers! I laughed as the lady beside me sang "I'm in heaven" and danced around in the shower.

Eventually I found all the friends I came with and we headed out for some festivities. We stopped to pick up some beer and then went to a hotel party where I was greeted by my spectator friends with the cider! We all talked shop for a few hours before hitting the hay.

Before tucking in for the night I managed to get in an ice bath while reading LOTR and then finally went to sleep for the first time in over 24 hours. I thought for sure I would sleep until noon but surprise surprise I woke up at 4AM.

I didn't know what to do with myself so I had just decided I would have to sit in the bathroom and read when my roommate (B50) announced that she was up and hungry. Thank goodness! So we lounged around and got dressed then hobbled the 2 miles in the dark to Bob Evans for a small feast. Our ride was at a hotel across from Bob Evans and we headed over there after our breakfast to find Rootsrunner and friends eating in the lounge and Dr.Louis fast asleep. I quick logged into their free internet for a blog update before getting ready to head back to our hotel to pack.

We made the long trip home with Dr.Louis at the wheel, and I could already tell I was paying the price for my lack of training as everyone else seemed much more limber than me on all of our rest area walks. Dr. Louis and B50 even raced to the rest stop once with a gimpy Rootsrunner and I lagging behind. I finally arrived home that night and my husband and I headed out to dinner to celebrate.

I know this post has not flowed well at all and I guess that is kind of appropriate. I think doing something this big on less than ideal preparation leads to some chaos afterwards. I feel like I am still recovering physically from the race and I never really had a chance to just soak it all in. Hopefully now that I have it all typed out I will be able to reflect better on it and accept my accomplishment for what it was, quite an amazing feat.

Video and a DNF

So I technically DNFed on my first tri of the season. I never found the time to get in the bike. But it was a great day spent with good friends throughout! So I quick did the ride today and hopefully that's good enough for the GYGO New Years Tri since it said you could do it through the 2nd :)

Check out this link from the local news stations coverage of the polar bear plunge! Of course I'm the one with Lake Erie muck on my face!