Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Surprises in 2010

Wow, what a special year 2010 has been, not so much because of what I did but rather because of many things I did not expect. Here are my top 10 surprises in no particular order:

1. Finished my 8 year long 50 states marathon quest with 8 sub-4 marathons (3:39-3:58). They were the fastest multiple marathon race times for me since I got into tris back in 2006. Thank you, Coach Bill, for getting me to the finish lines and more!

2. Entered a bikini contest! Holy moly, this is something I never thought I'd do but it was to help a friend raise awareness for a good cause, not to show off my old body. Still, submitting my photo to be voted on publicly was one of the hardest/scariest things I've ever done. I'd rather run a marathon or do an ironman!

3. Ran my first ultramarathon. Thought my legs would be wanting a bit of a rest after my 50 states were done but no...
Derby 50K (actually 31.5 mi), 4:45:18, 4/19 Female.

4. Joined Facebook, finally. Finding it to be a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends and make more friends. Unfortunately though, it's taken nearly all my time away from blogging :-(

5. Found a great tri club. After years of merrily training mostly on my own, I joined a new tri club at my Y, had loads of fun training with others and I even got up the courage to do some short races. EEKS!

6. Did a 21 events this year! Started the year focused on getting my 50 states done and thinking running 8 marathons would keep me from doing much else. Boy, was I wrong...

7. Visited Australia. I tagged along on one of my hubby biz trips and got an unexpected trip of a lifetime!

8. Signed up for the Boston Marathon, again. I am really not a fan of big, expensive races but the chance to meet up with friends I'd probably never see in person otherwise was too much too resist. Now I'm just going to have to make that race worth every penny ;-)

9. Was a part of Bree Wee's Spreading Aloha to the Marshallese project. This was my first time bringing holiday cheer to folks who don't have much and the best Christmas for me in years!

10. Heard about Team Mango Racing's new half & full iron tris in Kona mid-February starting in 2011. No qualifying, no residency requirements and no race fees. It's a dream come true for someone who loves racing without much hassles or hoopla. (And I now have a new big goal that will probably keep me busy for years :-)

Happy New Year & may 2011 be full of nice surprises for you!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I've Lost My Marbles!

OMG! I just did something that I thought I'd NEVER do, something TOTALLY out of character for me!!

But before I get to that, let me give a quick wrap up of what's been going on since I last posted. After the Turtle Marathon I did the Ride for Ronald metric century with Dave end of September.

A week later, I tackled the Health First Olympic Tri (1500k swim, 42k bike, 10k run) on October 3. This was the second of two "A" races for me this year ("A" race means I was targeting it for a peak performance with a specific goal in mind). I'd done this race twice before in 2006 and 2007 but had always had a hard time on the swim and a disappointing run. This year my goal was to knock off 15 minutes and get under 3 hours.

Unbelievably, I ended up finishing in 2:39! This was helped by MUCH nicer weather this year than we've had in the past (2006 was super hot & humid; in 2007 we raced in a thunderstorm). Still, I will not complain about a 36-minute PR or a third place finish (3/13 F45-49) in a race distance that has always been tough for me because of the relatively long swim. Booyah!

The next two weeks I headed north to run the Hartford Marathon in Connecticut on October 9 and Green Mountain Marathon in Vermont on October 17. Both were "C" races so the main goal was to just finish and have fun. But I've had a streak of sub-4 marathon finishes going this year, plus I'd never run to sub-4s back to back (closest was 3:59:38 and 4:00:21 back in 2006). Would this be the year I do it?

YES! 3:51:48 at Hartford (12/92 F45-49) and 3:45:40 at Green Mountain (9/62 F40-49). I think three things really helped with that: 1) good running weather at both races, 2) not a lot of downhill running on either course, and probably most importantly 3) working with a coach and training with a group. I really haven't been running much mileage at all compared to before but did a lot of very focused speed work for the oly tri and am much stronger mentally it seems.

So with all these races that went well why would I lose my marbles???

For those of you who don't know, Bree Wee's has a special project where she's planning to bring Christmas to a group of Marshallese people on the Big Island living in third world conditions. These folks are originally from Bikini Island and were forced to move 56 years ago because the U.S. decided to use their island for bombing tests. To show support for them, she asked her friends to send pictures of themselves yesterday in bikinis for a bikini photo contest. This includes men and women, at work, at school, wherever they are, doing whatever they do on a Friday.

Now I'm the type of person who usually AVOIDS photo contests. Believe it or not, I pretty much avoided cameras altogether until I began blogging in 2006. Very camera shy! I don't usually wear bikinis except to the beach, pool or jacuzzi. I most definitely do not wear them to be voted on by the public!!

But then I thought, wait a minute, this is just another challenge, no? If I can run marathons, do ironman triathlons, jump out of planes, jump into lakes with gators, why can't I do this? So what if everyone just laughs or gasps? I'm not expecting to win, just like I'm not expecting to win races. This is to support a good cause and to help a friend.

Well ... submitting that photo took probably more courage to do than any anything else I've ever done before. So SO SOOOO NOT ME! I was actually relieved when the album was first released for voting without me in it. I figured Bree had gotten her goal of 56 bikini photos and I'd just missed the cut. But, it turns out that a few photos had just been inadvertently left out. I am actually now in it. YIKES!!!

PS - If you want to vote and are friends with Bree on Facebook, click here and just click Like for the photos you like. You can also vote by leaving a comment on her blog post if you have a Google account or OpenID account. Just mention the name underneath the photo you want to vote for (more than one is allowed). Only one day of voting - ends Saturday, 10/30, at midnight Hawaii time!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Turtle Marathon

Don't expect much and you'll be fine.

That was my attitude after Steve Boone of the 50 States Marathon Club told me the Turtle Marathon was a minimalist's race. My original plan was to do the New Mexico Marathon in Albuquerque on Labor Day Sunday but it'd cancelled. The Turtle Marathon was the only other NM state marathon that would fit into my race schedule if I wanted to finish my 50 states quest this year. Past years' results on showed usually only 20-30 marathoners and the reviews were not glowing but for only $15 (yes, $15!), why not?

I mean, who needs lots of other runners, spectators, entertainment along the course or well-stocked aid stations when you train by yourself and are used to running boring routes and carrying everything you need? Heck, it was even on the Labor Day weekend too (Monday) and though the weather would be hot, running in an arid environment would be a nice break from running in humidity. Sign me up!!

But the real question turned out to be HOW do I sign up???

All previous race-related website links seemed to lead to nowhere. Emails I sent to the point of contact (POC) went unanswered. Phone numbers were disconnected. Had the aliens abducted the race director?!? After weeks I finally came across a City of Roswell events website that mentioned the race with a new POC, Vern (Bob, the previous one, had retired). I called the number (no email) and Vern assured me the race was ON. He said there'd be no online race registration this year, however, so I gave him my address so he could mail me an application. More weeks went by and nothing. I called again, gave him my address and same thing, nothing. Does this guy want me to run his race or not? Then a month before the race Vern told me there was a new race website with an application that could be downloaded and mailed in. YESSS! Now I felt much better about getting on a plane and flying cross country for a tiny race in the middle of nowhere.

Then I got worried that if it was this hard for me to find out any info about the event, would anyone else be there? You see, in order for it to count as one of my 50 states, there had to be a minimum of 5 starters and 3 finishers. Hubby Dave suggested I bring extra cash to sign people up on the spot ($20 on race day). It'd be cheaper than flying back out to New Mexico to do another race if there weren't enough starters/finishers. But a week or so before the race I checked out the Marathon Maniacs website and saw that 5 of their members were also planning to do the race. Then fellow bloggers Misty & Brian said they were also going to be there. So by race day I knew there'd be at least 8 starters and knowing what type of runners we were, 8 finishers!

Full and half marathoners gathered in Calhoon Park at 5:30am. Man, was it dark!

Silly me, there turned out to be a LOT more than 8. While waiting for the start I scanned the surprisingly large crowd and spotted Carol, Annette's Marathon Maniac friend. We chatted for a bit and she pointed out some other guy doing his 4th (FOURTH!) marathon this Labor Day Weekend. See, and you thought I was crazy for running 8 marathons this year?!?

Me and Carol, a real Marathon Maniac though she was not wearing her MM jersey today (probably because she wore it yesterday!).

I kept looking for Misty or Brian, or Misty's friend Kate who lived in Roswell, but it was hard to recognize people you've never met in person in the dark. Oh well, I was sure I'd see them out on the course somewhere. After a few announcements and a countdown, we were off at 5:40am. I was glad I wore my headlight as it was even DARKER once we got going and sunrise was not for another hour. People liked my headlamp and for a while I running with a little entourage.

I know it looks dorky as hell but it helps keep me from rolling my ankles.

We ran on a bike path for the first couple miles and then ended up on the highway, a highway we'd be for 11 miles until the turnaround and then 11 miles back, so a total of 22 miles! Yikes, like running on an outdoor treadmill!!

But the early start kept temps fairly cool (~65 degs F at the start) and the dark also masked the nothingness that was out there. By the time it was light enough so I could put away my headlamp I was already at mile 4 or so. Where'd everyone go? The field had spread out a lot so it was pretty much just me and my compadres, myself and I.

Sorry for the blurry photo at sunrise but, trust me, you ain't missing much.

It is then that I realized I must really love running. I mean, people think running a marathon indoors on a track is boring but really the ones I've run have been a blast because there was music, runners and spectators you'd pass over and over, aid stations and portapotties every lap, and constant comfy temps the whole time. Very controlled, predictable and stimulating. This was the exact opposite: no music (at least for me because I never wear headphones when running outside), no one around me, no idea where the aid stations were or what would be at them, no portapotties (I'd heard there might be one but never saw it). Just a vast open stretch of highway for miles with an occasional vehicle passing by at 70+mph and other lonely runners way off in the distance. Oh, and an unforgiving sun that was going to cook you if you didn't get done as early as possible. What a challenge!

By around mile 5 I started to see and cheer for some half marathoners who had reached their turnaround. YAY, something new to do! There was an actual aid station table set up at mile 6.55 with one person there but you had to grab the cups yourself. Still, an aid station with cups of water and Gatorade, and our first spectator!

Coming up on mile 10, I spotted something else new ahead. Ooh, photo op!

Holy moly, a bend in the road - How exciting!

Gah, I must be nuts to be out here.

Playing with my shadow, my only companion for miles.

Boy, am I glad I decided to bring my camera. Between sips to make sure I was staying hydrated, checking my Garmin to make sure I'd moved (same highway scenery!), taking photos and eating an occasional gel, the miles actually seemed to go by faster than I thought they would. At mile 11, I grabbed a bottle of water on the ground just in case there was nothing at the turnaround but an arrow on the ground. Remember, low expectations.

These were every 2-3 miles where there was no actual aid station.

At the turnaround, however, there was another aid station table, not only with fluids but also fruit and TWO people there. Amazing!! I decided to make a full stop and chatted with them for a bit while refilling my Fuel Belt bottles. The guy told me I was right at the 2-hour mark. My Garmin said 1:58-something but I'd forgot to set it so it'd keep going when I stopped. Still, that was right about where I wanted to be.

A surprising amount of climbing on this course. For some reason, I didn't notice the altitude (usually very affected by it).

As soon as I left them I realized I'd forgotten to take a photo. Doh! But there was no going back as the woman ahead of me was the second female and I was only a couple minutes behind her. There was a chance she might come back to me (with only two 15-16 milers run in training in the last couple weeks, however, I was not going after her). The return leg was mostly downhill which was nice, but also into the sun and with the wind behind us which made the sweat pour into my eyes even in the low humidity. Temps were now well above 70 and climbing fast. The name of the game was to stay steady, stay hydrated and stay SANE.

Heading back sunglasses were a must. A lot of sweat now but my shoes were staying dry so it was drying up fast!

I haven't a clue what I thought about the next few miles but remember cheering for folks going the other way, including Carol and Misty (though she didn't recognize me). Turns out Brian was only a couple minutes in back of me which is why I didn't recognize him either (having recently run a 100-miler thought he'd either be way ahead of me or way in back). I waved to a few cars that honked as they drove past and remember wishing more big trucks and campers would roll by so I could feel the big gust of wind they created. Thankfully the hills on the course helped break up the route so I could only see pieces of highway bleakness at a time, and there was always the hope I might see the number two female again. Before I knew it I was back at half marathon turnaround aid station near mile 20!

And this time I remembered to take a photo after filling up on fluids. Thanks Ellie for being out there! (I think that was her name)

The last few miles also flew by except for the last two. The funny thing was that I couldn't wait to get off that darn highway and as soon as I did I seemed to be going in slow motion. WTH??? Did I hit the wall? Was I now running uphill a little? Was the heat getting to me? I suspect a little of all of the above but I just kept following the occasional orange cones like Hansel following bread crumbs. The area looked very different in sunlight but there were other things along the way that I remembered from before: a road that I crossed, a hole I'd avoided, a bend in the path, a hump that I went over...

The finish line from the other side after I'd gone through. The guy in red shorts was recording finishing times.

Soon there were more parked cars along the road, some familiar looking buildings and people standing around ahead. I wasn't sure exactly where the finish line was as there was no arch or clock. I ran past some colored flags lining the bike path and then heard a guy call out my race time. That must mean I'm done!

3:57:55 (9:04 pace, 3/12 Females)
Not bad, in fact, about as good as I could have hoped!

But best part about this race was still to come.

Oh my, my choice of turtles? They're all so adorable in their little cupcake holders.

Of course, I had to pick the green one as green/teal is my favorite color.

I found Vern, the RD, and thanked him for putting on a nice little event. Turns out there was a record number of marathoners this year -- 39! Plus at least as many half marathoners and many more 5K walkers & runners so a nice amount raised for the fight against MS.

Great job, RD Vern!

As for aliens, well, I didn't see any along the course but did see one near my Roswell hotel.

Thanks lil' green guy!

So let's see, what'd all I get for $15? A bright orange race t-shirt (the one Vern is wearing above), a uniquely challenging race course, much more runners and course support than I thought would be there, some wildlife sightings (2 dead skunks on the road, one bird of prey flying overhead - hey, beggars can't be choosers), no race medal but a cute handmade ceramic turtle sitting on a base shaped like the state of NM and, of course, NM checked off my 50 states list. I'd say the Turtle Marathon was a total BARGAIN!

So now I have only 3 more states left -- WOOHOO!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kona, Blackberry & Blogging

Is it possible NOT to have fun in Kona?

I don't think so, even if I crash on my bike which I did (no worries, it was not really serious). In fact, with every visit, it just feels like I'm back home. Here are a few pics from this trip:

I ran two small 10K races while there. Both courses were a bit long and pretty tough but I got in some good speed work and ended up with two first place F40-49 finishes which was nice. I'd hoped to also do two open water swim events (a one mile and a 1.2 mile) but, unfortunately, both were too soon after the crash and my shoulder and ribs were not up to swimming long so I did my own shorter ocean swims. Next year for sure!

Oh, as for the broken Blackberry in my last post, no, it wasn't me who hit it with a hammer. Dave did it, but only because he already had a new one with him and just wanted to see what my reaction would be. What a dirty trick!!

But high speed internet service was fairly unreliable on our trip so the last couple weeks I've been dabbling with Facebook. Can you believe it? Me, one of the last hold-outs. But now I see how much easier it is to stay connected with friends via Facebook vice Blogger, especially when connectivity may be limited and every click that results in a new page being loaded can be painful. So like many of you already have, I am switching to using Facebook for most of my postings. This blog will serve mainly as a place to house race reports and longer thought pieces as well as my race schedule and 50 states progress. If you're on FB, you can find me here. Look forward to connecting with many of you there!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Offline for a Bit

Oops, Dave's Blackberry had a lil accident (got hit by a hammer :-).

So now surfing is limited to ocean waves.

Got a couple of books to read.

And some quality time to catch up on.

Good luck to all racing in June & July!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Casper Marathon

Traveling to new locations, meeting fun people, running in cool places. This is why I decided to run marathons in all 50 states and the Casper Marathon in Wyoming did not disappoint!

I actually flew into Denver which was much cheaper and only a 4 hour drive from Casper. While in Denver, I met up with fellow blogger, runner and triathlete Iron Eric and his wife Nicole for lunch. They'd had a new family addition since I last saw them at Florida 70.3 in 2007.

The drive up to Casper also allowed me to see Southern Wyoming, which I'd never been through before. It was not as stunning as the Yellowstone area, which I'd seen on the drive between my week-apart marathons in South Dakota and Idaho in 2006, but having lived in the burbs all my life I never tire of seeing mountains, ranches and lots of open land. The pink asphalt on the roads was also quite unique.

The Casper Marathon was small affair with about 150 marathoners, 200 half marathoners and a few relay teams. The course started at 5270' and ended at 5100' and was mostly flat but the altitude would be a factor for flatlanders. Still, that didn't keep 50-staters like Amanda and I away (photo above; we met on the short bus ride to the start). In fact, my guess is that a quarter of the field were 50-staters and/or Marathon Maniacs. Most of us don't care about slower marathon times or the fact that the course was not certified (hence no race times would count as BQs here). We just want to run in fun places and check the state off our list!

I'd planned to carry my camera with me during the marathon but discovered in Denver that the shutter was no longer opening on its own (probably due to embedded sweat & grime). I could force it open with my fingers but decided it'd be too much of a pain to do so while running so I left it behind in my gear bag just before the 6:30am race start. Sorry, no photos during the race!

Photo of the path we ran on from the race website.

The first few miles the dry air and cool 50-ish deg temps felt magnificent but the thin air was immediately noticeable. Everyone seemed to be huffing and puffing way more than they should be so early on but I went out fairly hard on purpose. You see, another common high altitude side effect for me is having to pee often, which led to my slowest marathon time (4:32:05) at the 2007 Colorado Marathon. So I was employing a new race strategy that hubby Dave suggested: run harder so you won't feel like peeing. I also drank very little before the race even though I knew I was supposed to do the opposite especially at high altitudes. Things went great for the first half and I got to mile marker 13 in 1:53:31 (8:43 pace) with NO pit stops vs. numerous ones before but only in the first half. YAY!!!

We ran alongside the Platte River for most of the course (photo taken after the race).

But thereafter things got more difficult. Temps warmed up quickly with lots of blue sky and little shade along the nice quiet riverside path. I'd drank all the fluids I was carrying by the midway point and was now grabbing a cup at every aid station but it still wasn't enough. My pace plummeted down to the 9:30's and heading out on this long out-and-back section from mile 10.7 to 16 seemed to go on forever.

Finally I got to the mile 16 turnaround and decided to make a full stop to refill one of my water bottles and take in extra fluids. Shortly thereafter, two women passed me, one who was in her 20's and another who looked to be in my age group. Gasp! But there was nothing I could do. I'd gambled with my pacing and hydration and was now paying the price. Grumble, grumble, plod, plod ...

The good thing about heading back, though, was that many more runners were still headed to the turnaround and everyone was encouraging each other, often by name as they were printed on our race bibs. This is the type of small race camaraderie I love and it made the miles go by much faster. There were very few spectators otherwise on this course except volunteers at the aid stations and folks at the relay exchange points.

Another post-race photo inserted to break up all the words ;-)

Near mile 20, I made another full stop at an aid station to refill a water bottle and drink plenty. Now folks headed in the opposite direction were pretty much nonexistent but I was feeling better than I did a few miles back. When I passed the 20 mile marker I hit the lap button on my watch (no Garmin) and it said 2:59:32, which meant I should be able to finish within 4 hours as long as I didn't slow down much more.

But then the path made a big turn and I saw another woman less than a quarter mile in back of me. Yikes! The competitive side of me kicked in and I picked up my pace and made it my mission to not let her pass me (not without a fight, at least). Around mile 23, I was surprised to see up ahead the woman who'd passed me earlier who I thought might be in my age group. She still looked to be running strong but I was slowly closing in. He-he.

Finally after mile 25, I caught her and said "good job" as I went by. She said something similar but I don't remember exactly what. Then I saw another young woman up ahead who I'd run behind for most of the first half of the race. I hadn't seen her since the halfway point but wouldn't it be nice if I could catch her too?

I gave it a shot but it was not to be. Still, I ran the last 10K in 57:06 (9:11 pace) and finished with my best marathon time to date at 5000+ feet altitude.

3:56:31 (9:02 pace), 2/14 F40-49, 6/47 Female.

And the woman I was chasing the last few miles actually turned out to be in the F30-39 AG. Oh well! As for whether it felt equivalent to running a 3:44 race time at sea level as predicted by the Daniel's Running Calculator, I'd say it felt harder since I wasn't acclimated to the altitude. To me, this race really seemed to be more of a lung workout than a leg workout!

I actually ended up winning my age group since the 1st F40-49 was the overall female winner. All award winners got the same prize, however, a nice folding camping chair with an insulated compartment to carry food and additional pockets for other stuff. It's probably the most useful award I've ever gotten and it'll come in handy this weekend while spectating at a race.

Hanging out afterwards was a blast. I met up with a few other 50-staters while enjoying the plentiful post-race food.

Dawn Easton, the race director, came walking by so I grabbed her for a quick photo (above) and thanked her for a wonderful Wyoming race experience. Highly recommended for other 50 staters!

Just 4 more states left in my 50 states quest!!!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Oh my!

How can it be over a week since I last posted?

Well, I'll use this post to try to answer that and name 7 more random things about me since I was tagged by Aron.

1. Three friends and I recently hosted a Hawaiian luau for our tri club. It was the first party for friends (not family) that I have planned in something like 15 years. Have I mentioned that I'm really an introvert?

2. Dave & I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary the same weekend as the luau. Still hard to believe I found someone who's willing to put up with me for so long.

3. Words with "rl" in them are virtually impossible for native Japanese speakers like my parents to pronounce correctly. I have no idea why they named me Shirley.

4. Contrary to what you might think, I LOVE to sleep. I can sleep for 8-10 hours straight at night and take 2-3 hour long naps, no problem. Last week when I started feeling under the weather, I was sleeping way more than I was awake, not by choice though.

5. After my third marathon (Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage, AK), Dave and I took a glacier cruise where there were some other folks who'd done the race including the first 50-stater I'd ever met. I remember initially thinking that he must be nuts.

6. If I ever won the lottery, I might consider buying a summer home in Wyoming or Colorado. Very beautiful out here and I think I prefer high altitude to high heat & humidity. Or is it the grass just looks greener from the other side?

Casper Marathon race time: 3:56:34, my fastest at 5000+ ft.
(Equiv. to a 3:44 at sea level per Daniel's Running Calculator :-)

7. I wish I knew a way to read blogs and write comments offline like folks can read and reply to email offline using Eudora or Outlook. If anyone knows of an application that will allow me to do this on a Mac, please do tell. I often end up just sleeping on planes ...

I'll be catching up on my blog reading soon after I get back!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Change on the Horizon

I love the smell of triathlon in the morning.

The smell, you know, that I-eat-gators-for-breakfast smell, the whole place. Smelled like ... Victory.

But I was only spectating. Four of my tri club teammates were racing, two doing their first-ever triathlon.

In the first wave was one of the first-timers, a guy who I used to be faster than in swimming two months ago but he now can kick my butt in the pool. His 750m swim time, an incredible 12:24. Faster than my fastest 400m swim time in a tri. *Cry*

And fast on land too. So fast that every time I clicked my camera, he was already out of the frame. And the same for all but one of my teammates who I managed to get in the swim-to-bike transition. I don't know how the heck Dave gets any pictures of me racing!

But it sure was fun to be out there cheering for them (I'm the dork wearing the lei).

My fellow teammates all finished well with three of four placing in their age group categories. Being sorta one of the co-captains of the tri club, I felt like a proud mama.

Dave and I also went out for a bike ride last weekend, the first one together in *gasp* nearly two months. It was short (only 30 mi) but it felt so good to be spending quality time together on the roads, to feel the wind on my face, and to be back on Genie, my road bike, who has probably been wondering whether I still loved her having not ridden her much lately, my tri bike, Cali, too.

Man, how I miss riding and tri training. I thought I'd be happy to return to running marathons this year but the truth is I'm not. I want to be doing more with my tri club buddies and Dave, especially now that it's hot & humid again. Ick! Running long is really no fun when you're drenched after just one mile and would rather be doing something else.

So, I whined to my coach, who was also at the tri last weekend (with the biggest skateboard I've ever seen, nearly the size of a small surfboard!). And guess what?

He's going to let me finish my 50 states marathon quest this year but allow me to focus on tris after the Casper Marathon (WY) on June 6th. Woohoo!!!

But not half irons (1.2mi swim, 56mi bike, 13.1mi run), where I can rely on my endurance and a strong bike and run to pull me through. No, for me, that'd be too easy. Besides, my tri club buddies are focusing on short course tris, sprints and olys, so training for a half iron would still not allow me to do much with them.

So the decision: this summer I'll be gearing up for an Olympic tri. Big gulp!

My target race will the Health First Oly Tri (1.5k swim, ~43k mi bike, 10k run) on Oct 3, a race I've done twice before in 2006 & 2007 and have always stunk up the non-wetsuit legal swim and died a slow death on the hot run. To meet my goal of breaking 3 hours, I'll have to lop off 15+ minutes (!), which means a LOT more time spent swimming and doing shorter, faster bike and run workouts.

Who knows, I might even get faster running marathons (last year I ran a 3:38 in Fargo while focusing on tris). But the main thing is I'll have friends and Dave alongside me who will make training and racing a lot more fun. This is supposed to be a fun hobby, right?

As my brave new friend K told me recently, "The worst thing that could happen is that I'd throw up." And if I flop, well, I'll still have four marathons in the Fall as comfort food ;-)

Friday, May 21, 2010



Due to the post-race adjustments, Jeanine Heath moves up to our overall 3rd place; Molly Izzo to our OM 2nd place, so you will actually get a 2nd place AG award. I’m organizing the stuff over the weekend and will begin sending awards out next week.

Joel Schiller
Delaware Marathon


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Perfect Recovery Workout

Wow, it was just what I needed. A lot of huffing and puffing, sweat and even some nausea towards the end, but a lot to be proud of afterward.

So soon after a marathon, you ask?

Yes. But it was not me who did it. It was K, a new person at our tri club run workout tonight.

I really didn't have a workout scheduled but showed up just to say 'hi' to my tri club buddies whom I love dearly and miss since I've been unable to do as much with them recently with all my marathoning. I had some new running shoes that I wanted to give a test spin anyway. Knowing I shouldn't be doing any of the speed work that was assigned, I told the coach I'd be bringing up the rear.

It was hot, really hot, like 90 degs F at 5pm when we headed out for our "warm up." There were 10-12 of us and the group spread out quickly as folks settled into their easy run paces. My legs and butt felt fine (YAY!) but I forced myself to run super easy. I chatted away with some folks at the back of the pack whom I don't usually get to run with often. Then I turned around and saw K running by herself falling further and further behind.

We'd only gone perhaps a quarter mile and I could tell she was really struggling. Have I mentioned it was hot? She began walking and I fell back to check on her since the coach was further up with others. K said she was OK but really out of shape. She mentioned maybe being able to go on if she could do 1 minute of running and 2 minutes of walking. I said fine. Let's do it together.

Initially, K didn't want to hold me back and encouraged me to go on without her but I told her I needed to take it easy because I'd just run a marathon. We walked on for a bit more so she could catch her breath and the coach came by. She too suggested run-walking but doing 1 minute intervals of each. I looked at K and told her let's give it a try. I'll keep track of time.

So we set out running again. I kept chatting away as we were when we were walking not realizing at first how hard poor K was working. We were running at probably a 12-13 minute per mile pace but for her that was really hard. I told her not to talk. I'd talk when we were running and I told her about my Delaware Marathon.

3 - 2 - 1, time to walk. She told me she'd quit smoking 5 months ago and this was her first time running. She mentioned again how very out of shape she was and asked whether she should maybe do something else to get started.

3 - 2 - 1, time to run. I told her that I thought the best way to get started running was to do exactly what we're doing, just go slow and do as much as she could, unless she had any knee or joint issues. She shook her head. Then I proceeded to babble on about how some people actually run-walked marathons this way.

We got to the mile 1 marker on the bike path doing the 1-1 run-walk and then decided to turn around and go back. Others in the club were supposed to run to the 2-mile marker and turn around so we'd see them coming back.

K didn't think she'd be able to do what we did to get out here. I suggested we go as far as we could doing the 1-1 thing and then walk the rest of the way in if needed. K was OK with that so off we went.

It was still 90 degs but felt a bit cooler going back with the wind in our face. The sun also went behind a big cloud for a while which was nice. I was doing pretty much all of the talking now as K was having a hard time talking even during the walk breaks. She was just barely making it to the end of the one minute runs.

With about a quarter mile to go, I pointed out where we'd started, which was where we were to finish. K had never been on this bike path before and had no idea how much further we had to go. Knowing the end was near was a huge relief to her.

Now only a couple hundred yards left and a large sign by the end is clearly in sight. K tells me she's feeling a bit nauseous. I knew she was staying hydrated as she had a large bottle of water with her and was drinking often. It must be due to a very high heart rate. But she surprised me by saying, "The worst thing that could happen is that I'd throw up." Wow, this girl is a real trooper!

I may have given her an extra 5 seconds of rest but we began running again. It was our last run interval and I encouraged her as much as I could to keep her going. As we got closer to the sign, I realized it was going to take a little more than a minute to get there, maybe 1:05, 1:10 max. Should I tell her?

I glanced over at her at the minute mark and saw there was no need. She was gunning for the sign.

Afterwards, we gave each other a high-five and walked around a bit while waiting for the others to return. Later she gave me a hug and thanked me for running with her. She told me she never would have gone so far or pushed herself as hard on her own. I thanked her for giving me the perfect recovery workout.