Monday, September 28, 2009

Calling all Triathletes...and "Wannabe's"

Take part in the 2nd Annual Home Tri
When: Saturday Oct 10, 2009.
Distances: See Below
Entry Fee: None (unless you make a donation to a Cancer related Charity)

Hmm. This will be a rambling post. I'm just warning you now. This is a story of several things coming together all at once. And right up front, I want to give credit to my Grandmother, Mark, and Running Laur (whom I've never met, but she put a name to the crazy idea I sort of had last year.)

Where to begin? This idea begins with Mark and my Grandmother.
The second anniversary of Mark's death is just around the corner. His memory continues to inspire me: to do my job well, to remain healthy, to be a good parent, to be a good person. All of these things were important to him.
As I mentioned in my original post, Mark was a great athlete. He encouraged every one he met to be healthy. We often walked together at lunch time. Especially as his disease progressed, and he was unable to walk alone due to balance and memory challenges. His legs were so long, that I had to jog to keep up with his walk.

Grandma Jennie was another amazing force in my life. She died several years ago, when I was in my early 20's. She was a loving Matriarch. Strong to the end. She had many grandchildren, so I rarely had time all alone with her. But one day after she was diagnosed with cancer, I did sneak a little quiet time alone with her. I asked her if she was afraid of dying. She seemed genuinely surprised by the idea. And her response was something like this: of course she wasn't. She never let anything in life stop her before, she certainly wasn't going to let dying get in her way. That was a conversation that has greatly affected who I am today.

Around this time last year, I was training for my first tri The memory of Mark and my Grandmother often kept me going, when I wanted to stop and sit down.

Here is where events start to shape each other: The Tri that I was training for was cancelled because of a Hurricane that blew in that weekend. At the time, I was bitterly disappointed. I had trained all summer, and now it was for nothing. But, with encouragement from my family, we planned the First Annual Home Tri

It was incredible fun! Shortly after that, I was out running and I decided that I would send out an email to my extended family members, proposing a family Tri. The idea at the time (although I didn't call it this) was to set up a Virtual Tri. Similar to Running Laurs virtual 5 mile Fall run. I suggested that we do this in honor of my Grandmother, and instead of paying a race fee, we could make a donation to the cancer society in my Grandmothers name. The responses I received were disappointingly negative. It was one, big fat resounding "You're crazy. Thanks but no thanks."

Well, a year has gone by. I still think of Mark and my Grandmother more than I admit to anyone. And, I'm not ready to let the Tri season end for the year yet. So, I'm putting the idea out there to the blogging world.

So, here is my proposal. To anyone who is reading: A 2nd Annual Home Tri. A virtual race. Last years distances were:
600 yard pool swim
15.4 mile bike ride
5k Run.

These are the distances I will stick with, because I want to do the same course as last year. But, here's the great thing about a virtual race: You can make it your race!
Can't swim? do 200 yards.
No bike? Borrow one, or race as a relay team, letting some one else do the bike leg.
Bad knees that don't like running? WALK!

The date is Oct 10th because Mark passed away on Oct 8, 2007. So, this is the closest weekend. But, if that date doesn't work for you, pick a date between 10/8 and 10/18. Leave a comment, letting me know the distances and date you'll commit to.

Honor some one you know and love, who changed your life forever. If you've never done a Tri, this is about as non threatening as it gets. Plus, you'll definately be first in your age group!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Running Laur's Fall 5K Race Report

Earlier this week, I committed to participating in "Running Laur's 5 miler" -which she graciously also included a 5k distance in.

The idea is that you commit to running one of the distances, within the first week of fall, and then run your race. Site, time and distance all set by each participant.

So, tonight was my 5k. It's the first stand alone 5k I've entered since Teagan's run

I decided to run one of my usual routes, in reverse for this race. Mostly, because I was running during rush hour traffic, and this allowed me to make left hand turns at each intersection.

Here's the course:

Race Report:
Start time: 5:45 PM.
Pre race routine- brushed my teeth. Does any one else out there, brush their teeth before each run? Drank some water. Walked 1/2 a mile to warm up- and took off.It was at least 70' out, and sunny. I felt pretty good. There is a short hill at the beginning of the run, and then maybe 1/2 a mile of a slow incline. Funny, how I never noticed it as a decline when I run this course in the other direction.
The run was fairly uneventful. However, two things happened, just as they would in any other race.
First,I swallowed the necessary bug at about the 1.5 mile mark. YUCK!Too bad for me, there were no water stops on this course. Where the heck were the volunteers when I needed them!
Then, I got passed by 3 or 4 fast guys. I think they were the SUNY CC team. But I can't really be sure of that, since I only saw a streak of purple before they were out of sight.
The rest of the race was quiet. I got into the zone a few times, where I was pretty deep in thought, and wasn't paying attention to much of anything. So, the next thing I knew, I had done another 1/2 mile. That's my favorite part of running, and it rarely happens in a race with 100 people all around me. So, I really appreciated it tonight.

My finish was strong. I had some kick left. I love having a finish line in my driveway! I love having the kids cheering me on. Jack jumping up and down with excitement, shouting, "How was your run Mommy?" and "Running's fun. Right Mommy!"
This was the first time I've ever participated in a virtual race. Thanks Running Laur for organizing it! Jack is right, it is fun!

Finish time: 32:41
Pace: 10:32 per mile.
This is a new PR for me!

Me and Jack after the run.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Wonderful New Goal

I was procrastinating this morning, trying to avoid going for a run before the temp hit 55'. So, of course, I was randomly cruising various blogs. That's when I found this!

A virtual race! It's sort of like the Home Tri. Only a a much bigger scale! So, I signed up. How can I resist a race with no entry fee, and such a non competitive environment!

Go ahead- sign up! You know you want to.

Okay- I'm off to go train for it :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

What now?

The post race glow is wearing off.

Jeez, I'm such a junky!

What the heck am I going to do now?
Train for a 10k? I've never done one.
Train for a faster 5k? I really need one.
Plan for the 2nd annual Home Tri?
Check out my blog on the first annual Home Tri to get a sense of what I'm talking about here.
This would be a pool swim, so I could do it in early October. I like the idea of repeating the course, to get a sense of my improvements over the past year. I mentioned it to Kev, but he didn't seem that enthusiastic. He said," I'm sort of tri'd out right now." GRRR!

The goal is to make a decision by the end of this weekend. Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

DACC First Annual Tri- Race Report

Yesterday, I completed my second Triathlon of the year!

It was the first Annual Duanesburg Area Community Center (DACC) Tri! What a great race! I felt that it was well organized, especially for the first one. I traveled out to the DACC on Friday evening for my packet pick up and to get my body markings. I know it's pretty goofy, but I LOVE body markings!While out there, I drove the bike course. I'm glad I did, because I like to know where I'm going on the bike. And to know if there is anything funky with the road that I have to be careful of. This course had a couple of roads that were not really smooth.

My shoulder, neck and arm have still been bothering me. So I took ibuprofen every 6 hours through the night to stay on top of the pain. I'm not fond of taking ibuprofen, but I felt like this warranted the use.

So, yesterday morning I got up at 6 AM. Grabbed my transition bins, loaded up the bike and took off by 7AM. Hit the bike/run transition area and dropped off my running gear, plus a sweatshirt to throw in at the end of the race. Then I drove over to the bike transition area.

At this point, it's misting and the temp has not yet hit 60'. And, I'm thinking I'm an idiot for doing this. The parking area was about 1/2 mile away from the swim/bike transition, where we had to leave our bikes. From there, we walked about 1/4 mile to the start of the swim. This is when I fully committed to running this race. I thought, "What the heck? SO many people my age would be complaining just about a 3/4 mile walk. I'm already way ahead of the game." Then I thought, "I'm here. I've trained. I paid. Just do it. Commit to it, and get it done."

Every one at the swim start was so friendly. Lots of small talk from lots of people. Plus, I connected with my friend Andrea! I knew she'd be there, because we'd been talking about this race on FaceBook. Andrea is a friend from High school, that I haven't seen since HS. It was awesome! She's such a positive, healthy person, and great to spend a little time with.

One of the great things about this race, was that they kept the swim waves to less than 20 people each. So, no one was getting run over. Or....kicked in the head!! We were the 5th wave of swimmers, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. At least I didn't get passed on the bike course by 50 people.

The swim: The water was freezing! Conveniently, no one knew the actual temperature, but I know it was below 70'- probably more like 65'. I was cold through most of the swim. I really struggled with the swim. My shoulder and arm were so tired. I tried to focus on my stroke, and eventually made it to the other side of the lake.
Time 14.16!
Based on the race organizers estimate of a 550 yard swim, this was a pace of 2:35 per 100 yards. (I think they over estimated the distance, because I don't think I was going that fast.)

Transition One: about 3:30. This is an estimate, because they didn't officially break out the transition times.

The bike: I felt really strong on the bike! There was one hill that gave me a bit of a tough time. Most or all of the guys from the swim wave behind me, passed me. Oh well, that's to be expected! The thing I really loved about this course, was that the last mile was downhill. That meant that my legs felt pretty good for the start of the run.

Time: 40:43. This was a 15.33 pace!

Transition 2:As I pulled in to the transition area, I spotted Kevin and the kids!! Kevin had the video tape, which was awesome. The kids were cheering and clapping for me! In the video, you can see that I'm smiling like a fool!
Time: Approx: 2:15.

The Run: Amazingly, my legs felt pretty good for the run. No knee pain, and no cramping calves. There were 2 challenging hills on the course. I walked part of both of them. Someday, I'll get to the point where I won't walk any of the run. A few times I wanted to stop, and I implemented my "13.01!" script- it kept me going. I like that the run was an out and back course. That meant you were passing runners on the other side of the road fairly frequently. It was a great sense of support to cheer each other on! The run also ended on a down hill! That made it easy to finish strong, and smile as I crossed the finish line!
Run time: 36.23. that's a 11.44 minute mile.

Kev and the kids were there. Cheering and clapping! It was fantastic!

Final stats: overall time: 1:37:08
Finish in Age Group: 7 out of 12
Overall finish: 61 out of 72

Taking a look at the goals I set for myself:
Swim: My fantasy goal was 2:40 minutes per 100 yards. I hit 2:35!!
Bike My fantasy goal was a 16 mph pace, and realistic goal was 14.5 mph pace. I hit 15.33 mph!!
Run: my fantasy goal was 11:10 minute mile, and realistic was 12 min miles. I hit 11:44!!

I'm thrilled with my results from yesterday!! For every leg of the race, My splits were faster than they were in the Northern Columbia Tri last month!

Is that the end of the 2009 Tri season? Stay tuned...I think there's one more race to come!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Rant About our Healthcare System

AS you know, I hurt my neck and back last Sunday. I went to the Chiropractor on Tuesday, and got some relief. Unfortunately, I have continued to have pain, numbness and a feeling that my arm is a dead weight. Yesterday the symptoms worsened and traveled to my fingertips. My arm feels like I swam 1/2 a mile.

The chiropractors office is closed on Thursdays, so I called my primary care Dr. I should say that my PCP is my treatment provider of last resort. I'm not a big fan of the medical Dr's and the insurance and drug companies they are in bed with. But the pain was significant, so I went.

The first issue I had was a big sign at the receptionist desk, stating that effective August 1, a new federal law required that they take a photocopy of my drivers license and scan it into their electronic computer system. That annoyed me for 2 reasons. First, I felt they should have sent a letter out to all their patients letting them know about this. Unfortunately, the second reason it bothered me was initially a gut reaction. That means, I couldn't get it into words while I was standing there at the desk. So, like an idiot, I handed over my license. Hey-I was in pain and not really able to focus on much at the time.

Now that I've had time to process my gut reaction, here's the thing: I think this Dr is misrepresenting the law. I don't think (but I could be wrong) that the law requires them to have a permanent record of my license in their system. Plus, the guise of the law, is that medical identity theft is on the rise. (Okay- I get that, and it opens up a whole other rant that I will avoid at the moment.)So, are you really telling me that the way to prevent identity theft is to add my drivers ID number to the list of things that could be stolen!?! I'm no computer guru- but I think there are a few flaws in this thought process!

The DR. I saw was new to he practice. I felt that she was nice and empathetic. And, while I was there she was thorough. She sent me for an MRI, and told me she would call with the results by the end of the day. She never did tell me what she was concerned about, except possible arthritis.

Sure enough. late in the day, Dr. L. leaves a message on my cell. It goes like this, "Hi. This is Dr. L. I have the results of your MRI and it shows that you have severe arthritis in your neck. At this time we would recommend physical Therapy. You can take ibuprofin for the pain. If you'd like to talk more about this, you could call me in the office tomorrow. I am leaving for the day."

A DR. should answer questions, not leave you with anxiety and 50 new unanswered questions. Like, What type of arthritis? Exactly where in my neck? What are some treatment options? Is this degenerative? What is the long term prognosis? What qualifies it as severe? And how did it get to that point? The list goes on....

It's very frustrating to me that somehow, this Dr. felt that giving me a diagnosis in a voice mail, with no follow up appointment or real instructions, was even remotely acceptable.

So, at this point, I'm still planning to race the Tri tomorrow. I don't see why I shouldn't. I'll see my chiropractor on Tuesday, and discuss everything with him. At least he'll give me some answers, other than "Take ibuprofin."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An Update

The DACC Triathlon is in 4 days.
This weekend did not quite go as planned. We spent much time on Friday and Saturday doing some home maintenance to get ready for the winter. So no official workouts happened on those days.
I threw my neck/back out on Sunday morning. Of course, that happens on a holiday weekend, when the Chiropractors office is closed until Tuesday. I did manage to ride Krumkill with Kevin later on Sunday, and I felt pretty strong. My pace was faster than last time, and the hills were a little easier.
My neck has continued to hurt, and my arm has felt weak and numb. So I got to the Chiro yesterday. I LOVE this guy! He treats several local triathletes, so he understands what our bodies need. I feel better now- but not 100%.

I sucked it up and ran on the treadmill last night. YUCK!I haven't hit the pool in 2 weeks (it was closed for maintenance)

So, here's what I'm looking at:

Swim- 1/3 mile: This will be slow. I'm okay with that, since I have ignored it lately. Plus, my arm is still feeling chronically tired (for lack of a better term) from whatever I did to my back. So, Maybe 3 minutes per 100 yards.
Fantasy: 2:40
Realistic: 2:50
Definite: 3:10

Bike- 10.4 miles: Last tri was an incredibly slow 12.1 MPH. Assuming I don't get kicked in the head again, I'm hoping to increase that to 14mph.(In my fantasy world, I will smoke that time!)
Fantasy: 16 mph
Realistic: 14.5 mph
Definite: 12.5 MPH

Run- 3.1 miles: Last Tri was a 13.01 pace. Remember that? My goal this time is to hit a 12 minute mile pace. That is still insanely slow, but I'll have the winter to work on my running.
Fantasy: 11:10 minute miles
Realistic: 12 minute miles
Definite: 13 minute miles

I'm curious: If you are a triathlete and your reading this: How do you set your goals for each race?


Saturday, September 5, 2009

One week From Today...

Next week at this time, I will be posting the race report for my second Triathlon of the year.

I'm ready! This is a shorter course than the last race, which has some benefits. Hopefully, I won't get kicked in the head during the swim this time.

Tomorrow I will ride Krumkill Road and do a 30 minute walk/run as the final hard training session before the race. After that, I'll try to get in the pool at least once this week. And do some running, but all the real work is done by now.

I'm excited because a friend from High School is traveling from Vermont to compete also. We haven't seen each other in years, but it will be great to know some one at the race.

I'll spend some time this week going over my race plan in my head. I have my scripts that I've been using during training sessions,and they seem to be working well for me. Part of my strategy is to look at who is racing, so that I get a sense of what I'm up against. As of yesterday, there were only 57 people registered. 9 of them were women in my age group. That number will probably jump to a total of 70 by the race. We'll see how it all falls together.

Kevin is not entering this race. He still hasn't recovered from the swim experience of the last race, so he will bring the kids to cheer me on.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Things That Make Me Happy: # 41 through 60

Perhaps I'm not the happiest person around, because this is surprisingly hard. For any one who's new here, I decided in June that I would list 100 things that make me happy. And I decided to break the list into groups of 20. It's not easy!

Any way, here's my next list:

41. Jumping in a mud puddle
42. Remembering that my little brother used to call them, "Muddles"
43. Lunch with my Mom
44. Daily emails from my Aunt Liz.
45. A boss that makes me laugh
46. new socks
47. A pedicure. That reminds me....
48. Watching one of the survivors I work with, Graduate from college.
49. Seeing a Newfoundland.
50. Lying on the beach for an afternoon
51. Raking up a huge pile of leaves
52. Jumping in the huge pile of leaves.
53. My bike.
54. A new bathing suit.
55. Seeing fireworks with Mackenzie and Jack.
56. A phone call from Shayna, when I can hear the happiness in her voice.
57. Eating dinner on my front porch.
58. Real mail- that isn't a bill.
59. Post cards
60. Fresh strawberries from our strawberry patch.

Go on...Start your own list.