Thursday, May 29, 2008


I hate to admit it, but this year I got hooked on watching American Idol. Now that its over for the year and the winner has been announced, you'd think I'd be totally without a focus, or be lacking something to do on my Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Or be in total Idol withdrawal. But no, its better than that! This week, and without Idol, I am starting my half IM training in full force.

And its a good thing I don't have Idol to bog me down. This week started "two a day" workouts. Its the only way I can get all the training in and be consistent as well. But I'm pacing myself too.

Monday was a run and swim; Tuesday weights and bike; Wednesday run and swim; and this morning it was 45 min. on the trainer. I have a graduation to attend tonight, so it was the solution to getting in another bike workout. I will do my weights at lunch time. And I'm finding the trainer perfectly acceptable and as good as or a better workout than riding outside.

One thing I will say: I'm tired at night. No staying up watching any TV for me for a while!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We had a wonderful holiday weather weekend--for once. It was a good weekend then to kick off my 1/2 IM training program, even if it didn't start out the way I would have hoped.

Saturday, I had planned to do a 15k run. There is a race coming up at the end of June, a 5k and a 10k, so I thought a good route would be to do both race routes. They only overlap for about 2 miles, so I figured it would be a good way to keep from getting bored. The weather was nice enough, although not particularly warm, only about 48 when I headed out. It was cool enough too to get my nose running full force, so starting out I was really having a problem breathing. My downfall in this kind of weather is nasal congestion and sinus dripping, so unless I remember to take something at night (when it is not a problem), I end up blowing my nose constantly for about 2 hours. And that's pretty much what happened.

The first 5k went okay. My head didn't feel particularly great, but my legs seemed to be working okay. I started wishing though by the time I reached the 3 mile mark, that I had some water. The decongestants were drying my throat out enough that I felt dry and thirsty, and that meant either returning to my car sooner than planned or continuing on. Instead, on a whim, I decided to back track, first so I could get more miles in without stopping and second so I could grab the water sooner too. But by the time I got to my car, I was mentally wiped out. I was fatigued from the head/nasal congestion so stopping at the car pretty much killed the rest of the run. I ended up with only 4.5 miles, only half of what was planned.

Of course I had to beat myself up over this, telling myself I was never going to be able to do the 1/2 IM wimping out on just a run! I finally convinced myself to just forget about it and move on to the next day.

I did go to the gym after, however, and did a weight workout, then changed and went to my daughter's to help plant some flowers. I was pretty much tired out enough that I let her do all the work and just gave instructions. I was glad Don had planted our flowers the day before!

Then Don called and said to have the kids come over because he was planning on grilling, so I had to go shop for the extras. I dragged myself through the store and couldn't wait to get home and crash! But of course here too I had company coming so I had to busy myself with getting ready for that.

I decided that even though Memorial Day was early this year that it would be okay to start bringing my plants out to the porch, but then decided to just bring out a few at a time. Its a turning point each year in weather when the plants go out and then come back in, and with over a dozen large house plants, it becomes a process!

The rest of the day, we lounged around and ate, and I left the main cooking to Don.

Sunday, Don and I planned to bike. I was hoping for 25 miles, but we actually ended up going 30. I was still very tired out, not just from Saturday. My tiredness had built up all week, so I think that was also a part of the bad Saturday run.

It was a perfect day, and by 10 am, the temperature had heated up to almost 70 with very little wind. We were going to the White Pine Traill, which actually is considered a state park. It starts along the river, near downtown Grand Rapids, and, if taken all the way to the end (a part of which is a snow mobile trail only), it goes to Cadillac, about 94 miles. We started about 6 miles from the trailhead and rode north. Part of this route is very busy and popular, with another park and ride area about 4 miles from where we started. Its an area where if you don't get there early, you might not get a parking spot. Today, it was only about half full, so I was happy to see that we would only have about half the numbers out there with us. About another 4 miles from here, we go through Rockford, a town I lived in for 20 years, so I'm fairly familiar with the area. I just wish this trail had been there when I lived there--paved that is. Every time I go through that area, I am reminded of all my training runs on what was back then an unpaved railroad bed, just the beginning of what is now the beautiful trail.

The trail used to go about 15.5 miles and then turn into unpaved. Last year, the trail was extended another almost 15 miles. We hadn't been on the new part yet, and decided to go another 7 miles before turning back. North of Rockford, the trail actually becomes a false flat, with enough of an upgrade so you feel the difference in speed. Up to this part, I had been trying mostly successfully the whole ride to stay above 80 rpms, but once we hit this, it was impossible for me to do that without going to the smaller ring and downshifting besides. I am not good on hills, and this again proved my weakness. Don would ride ahead, and then coast for a while so I could catch up.

What really mystified me about the cadence thing was if I added gears to go faster, my cadence immediately dropped from the 80s to the upper 60s, no matter what I did. I'm just not sure how beneficial this is overall, but they say the easier spinning is better for building base, so I guess I'll stay with it for now.

The new part of the trail is so smooth, it was just like butter! It was great, and no "traffic" on it. Eventually, we want to do the whole new paved part, but the little over 30 miles we did was enough for me. Coming back to town, however, you do have those nice long downgrades, so I was able to keep the cadence up between 85 and 90 without much effort. And by the time we finished, the temperature was almost 80, warmer than expected.

We had a late afternoon party to go to, but I felt like I needed to not only eat as soon as we got done but lie down for a while. I did eat, but never did lie down. Since this was to be an outside party, and since my nose was still dripping quite a bit, especially after the ride, I decided--for once--to take the preventative antihistamine and hope I didn't fall asleep talking with someone.

The gathering was an annual holiday party that has been going on for many years, attended by mainly runners or triathletes and their spouses/significant others. This year was also a dual birthday celebration for two of the runners who had reached milestone birthdays, so their families were also in attendance. When we arrived, almost the last ones, the number count was 49.

There were several people there who had run Bayshore the day before, a couple whom had qualified for Boston again. If you are close to qualifying and need a good qualifying race, this would be a good one to consider.

I also ran into a couple from Ann Arbor whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years since they had moved away from GR. When I mentioned I would be there next weekend for the half marathon, they both indicated they would be volunteering. Elyssa said she would be at the finish line, so I told her her job would be done when I crossed the line!

The party started breaking up early. That's the thing about runner/triathlete parties: everyone leaves early. We were home before dark actually, and I was glad to be able to go to bed soon after.

Monday the plan was to get up for a short run, and then I was going to swim after. We expected the weather to be bad, but as it turned out, we only had an early morning shower and then it cleared after that, getting extremely humid and warm. By the time we went out to run a little after 8 am, it was about 70% humidity, and the temperature was in the upper 60s. After about 5 minutes, you were soaked through with sweat from the humidity. The wind was picking up though, and running back into the wind was actually refreshing.

At 30 minutes, Don decided to turn back, but I was actually feeling so good I went on for another 20 minutes before heading back home. My legs felt good, and with the warmer air, my nose was not dripping for once so I felt much less fatigued.

After, he had some things to do with his mom and I was heading to the pool. My "scheduled" swim was only supposed to be 1000 yards, but I went on to even it out to 1200. Next week, the swimming distance starts increasing quite a bit, so I figured doing another 200 was a good way to start the buildup early. I'm okay with my swimming, but I definitely want to get a little faster by race day just to give me more of a cushion on the bike and run.

I always seem to get into these think tank moments when swimming and started thinking maybe I should do an Olympic distance race at the end of June. I've done it before, with varying degrees of success, but I couldn't help think of two years before and how bad that time was. Am I kidding myself, thinking I can really do these triathlons? Of course those thoughts swirled in my mind with each lap. And then I start doing the math: if I do xx on the swim, xx on the bike, and xx on the run, that would beat my time from 2 years ago. But was that really possible?? The bike course is not particularly easy (for me at least), and since that's where my weakness is, what are the chances...?? Anyway, I'm on the fence about that race right now.

The rest of the day was spent doing family stuff. So that wraps up the weekend pretty much. Tonight is another bike ride, and of course the weather has turned cold again, with the mention of frost tonight, so I brought a jacket, tights, long sleeves, earband, and gloves. Good old summer riding!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I just realized that I have approximately 10 weeks to get trained for the Steelhead 1/2 IM on August 2. Not that I've been sitting around doing nothing, but my training hasn't been that focused, and not until I actually counted out the weeks today and looked over a couple of possible training programs (18 weeks and 20 weeks), did I start to realize I'd better get down to business.

Truthfully, I am not that enthused this year about doing tris. I really don't know why, but I'm not. Don't get me wrong. I like to swim; I like to bike (sort of). I just don't want to have to do either. It seems to get harder and harder for me to get all this training in too. And this year, it doesn't look like Don will be doing any tris, so that also could be part of it.

For the first time in 3 years, I'm starting to enjoy running again, and am learning to have fun with it, and spending the majority of my time on that discipline, am finally starting to see some minor improvement (I didn't say I was getting faster, just that I was liking it again). And I've been having fun finding new running races to do, which then also requires me to work at the running more. I also know that improving on my run will make any triathlon easier.

But I can't help wonder if some of my hesitation comes from the struggles I had last year, and maybe mentally not wanting to "go there" again. Its been easier for me to do running races where I know I won't be last or stand out by being the slowest. I'm also starting to realize that to be good in one discipline, I can't expect to excel in all three (I'm pretty sure excel will never be a word in my triathlon resume, but I can't think of any other that would fit).

Fortunately, my swimming isn't that far off, my running is starting to look better, and I think I can pull off the bike training, but it won't leave me much time to do shorter races, so that's a little bit of a dilemma too.

Hopefully I can get out this weekend and put some miles in. Have a great holiday weekend everyone and be safe out there! Good luck to all those racing!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


With the Memorial Day weekend coming up, a traditional race Don and I have attended over the years, and each of us individually, has been the Bayshore races: either the marathon or 10k. It has one of the most scenic courses anywhere, and the flattest 10k I've ever done.

But this year, we won't be travelling north to Traverse City. Why? One reason of course is the gas prices. Not that we couldn't afford it if we really wanted to go. Its just that it wasn't on our calendar, and to go that far on a whim just isn't happening this year.

I'm sure everyone is as concerned, irritated, angry, disgusted, or whatever about the gas prices (and everything else because of it), but this may be the year to rediscover some closer-to-home races that I haven't done for a long time. What's already on the calendar will stay on the calendar, but as much as I like the adventure of a race in a new locale, I probably will do more local races this year.

How about all of you?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

MG 5K IN MAY, May 17,2008.

Today was the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation 5k. As I mentioned before, my niece, Heather, has the autoimmune disease. Two years ago she went from a normal teenager to a girl unable to eat or even go to the bathroom by herself because of the neuromuscular atrophy she was going through. She couldn't even go to school and had to be home tutored. After the usual therapies (plasmapheresis and a thymectomy, spending a month in the hospital out of town, ending up with an $80k hospital bill after insurance) and high doses of immunosuppresants, she is now back to as normal as she can be and will be graduating in a few weeks.

So when I found this race, I mentioned it to my sister and said I would do it and maybe she could do the walk. As it turned out, Don and I both signed up for the run and my sister, her husband, my nephew, my daughter, and her two kids all did the race. My sister wanted to support the organization that has helped them out so much.

After I thought about it, I realized I hadn't done a standalone 5k since last March! Lots of tris and longer races, but nothing this short in a while. I was looking forward to it, mainly to see what I could do.

The race took place at Riverside Park, where a lot of 5ks are held, and the location of the trailhead for the North Country Trail, a now 94 mile (round trip) bike path. I'm anxious to ride that as well. It was a perfect day for a race: 59 degrees, sunny, but breezy. Being right by the river though, it actually felt a little chilly while we were waiting for the race to start so I was glad I brought a jacket and decided to wear it.

This was a SMALL race--probably 50 people running and maybe 50 walkers. But these are my favorite kind of races. No crowding, no mob scene, and some of the friendliest volunteers ever. My sister and her family were already there and my daughter came with the kids. Austin had had a track meet the night before again (he's 8), so I figured he probably was still tired out. But he looked ready to go. They were all walking. I was pretty surprised my sister was already there, considering she is not a morning person and was appalled at the thought of needing to be at the park by 8 am. LOL!

So we got our stuff all ready, did a little stretching, a little jogging for warmup and then it was time to line up. Looking around, it was also a fairly young crowd, so I was pretty sure I was one of the oldest women there running. I didn't recognize anyone but one of the guys there with his wife and who wasn't running. I thought I remembered he was a pretty good runner, so maybe he was giving her her day. This was a non-chip start, but with only about 50 people it wasn't a big deal getting to the start line. The gun went off and we started running.

The entire pack immediately pulled away from Don and me. I decided not to panic and held my pace. I couldn't go faster if I tried anyway! But I did say to Don, "They'll be coming back to us eventually. We'll catch some of them." Within the first few minutes I was warm enough and took off the jacket and tie it around me. Another couple of minutes and 2 girls started walking. Oh yeah, now we're not last! But I could tell Don was struggling; his breathing was very heavy and he was not picking up his feet, so all I could hear was that annoying scuffling! I kept asking him if he felt okay but he didn't really respond. We passed through the first turnaround and were very close to the next people in front of us. Soon, we were passing another woman, and were gaining on another 2. We passed back over a bridge near the start and this is where Don started dropping back. I looked back to see if he was okay, and I could see he was struggling. I kept going and passed 2 other women. He dropped back farther, and as we approached the start area where we had to pass through to go to the other end of the park, I could see the walkers lined up. I waved to the kids and kept on through the start, down past the parking lot, over another bridge, and here I passed 2 more women. I was moving up, but I pretty much figured Don had dropped way back. I also started figuring he might have stopped, but didn't know that for sure until later.

At this point, we still had about 1.5 miles to go. The front people were already coming back. I snuck a peak at my watch: 16 something. Hmm, I hope I can stick with that pace and I'll feel okay about that. There were 2 other women ahead I hoped to pass before the finish, so I just concentrated on focusing on them, their feet mainly. Did you know if you watch the feet of the runners ahead of you that you will eventually get closer and/or pass them? It works every time. Just focus on one at a time and start picking them off.

By the time we reached the second turn around, I was getting much closer to the woman in front of me, but I still wasn't catching her. So I continued focusing on just trying to get closer. Now we had about 3/4 of a mile to go. I was still feeling okay, and was actually surprised I didn't need to take a break. No walk breaks today! But I also wasn't pushing myself beyond my capabilities, just trying to stay steady and keep my breathing steady. A couple of young girls were walking ahead, but of course once I got close enough to pass, they took off again. I just focused on staying close in case the opportunity arose to finally pass. Heading back over the last bridge, it was only about 400 yards now to the finish. I looked at my watch again and it was 31:55, so I knew I wouldn't make my secret 32 min. goal, but I figured I could make 33 min. I ended up with 33:05, and was happy enough with that. My main goal was to get under 35 min., secret goal was 32, and I finished between that.

At the turnaround I had noticed Don wasn't behind me, so I started looking for him. I ran over to the car and he wasn't there, so I ran back to the start and looked around the food tables, but he wasn't there either. Then I finally decided he might have gone to meet the walkers, so I started running the course again, came to the first bridge, and saw Austin coming over the bridge, running/walking. I asked him where everyone else was and he said behind him, but there was no one in sight behind him. There was another little boy just in front of him walking, so I told Austin if he hurried up, he could beat that kid. So I ran with him, but the other kid took off on a sprint and Austin was too tired to take him on. All in all, he came in a close second!

A few minutes later Kyle and Tyler came walking to the finish and I asked if they had seen Don. They said he was walking with their parents. Come to find out, his Achilles tightened up and he was afraid of injuring it again so did the 2 mile walk with them. I was just glad to see he wasn't in the ambulance.

After the race, they had a huge assortment of foods: jumbo muffins; triple chocolate brownies; minimuffins; bagels and cream cheese; juice boxes; fruit; and yogurt. We had planned to go out to breakfast but with all this, it wasn't necessary. That's another thing I love about those small races: tons of food and prizes, all donations of course.

I ended up getting first in the age group and got a really nice medal, which I gave to Austin for doing so well on the walk, since he hoped to get a ribbon and they didn't give anything out. It was a fun race, a fun day, and great family time.

After, Don and I went to the Y and swam, and I was surprised at how well I felt all day.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Jan and I signed up for another race, the Dexter-Ann Arbor 1/2 marathon on June 1.

Last week at the 5/3 Riverbank Run expo, she became obsessed with the medals they are giving out at the DxA2 race. All week she has been drooling over that medal they give to finishers. She has to have it. Me? I could live without it. But...

This actually has been a race I had (not have, had) wanted to do for years, but it never worked out with my family schedule. Now that I don't have all those things tying me down, I've been able to do a few of the races I had in my head for years.

So on June 1, Jan and I will get up at 4 am to drive 2 hours to Ann Arbor to beat the deadline for getting on the buses to get a ride to the start (its a point to point race). Anything for a medal it seems.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Even with all my vacation I've had so far this year, I feel like I am badly in need of a day off. I was hoping for that tomorrow, but it looks like it won't be happening until the weekend.

I don't know how I managed it when my kids were all little and I worked full time and still managed to run 5 or 6 days a week. Now, after a busy weekend like last weekend, I feel like I need a day to myself! Its been a struggle this week, that's for sure.

Today was the first day of running since Saturday, and if Don hadn't been ready to get out there bright and early, I'm pretty sure I would have put it off--at least to maybe later today, and then there would be no guarantees!

I have been riding on my bike trainer, so its not like I have been a total sloth this week. But it has now been 11 days since I've been in the pool, so I feel like I'm really slacking there! Work has been unusually busy this week, not giving me the usual "leisure" time to catch up on blogs or even write anything myself.

So on today's run, it was just an out and back, but up the biggest hill in the area, and back down. I hadn't realized until today just how much of an "uphill" the whole route by my house was until heading back from the big hill. I could distinctly feel it as a downhill grade.

It was cold enough again today for tights, long sleeves, vest, gloves, and earband, but the sun was shining brightly, and with the first part of the run being directly east, I was glad I had put on sunglasses at the last second. I wore an under armor long sleeved shirt, which I really like except it rides up constantly, so I was glad I had something else covering me up or it would have ended up being too much of a skin show. That was very annoying actually, and I've decided I won't wear that again unless I have something under it. Made me REALLY glad I didn't wear it last week for the race.

We came to an intersection just before the big hill where they are doing construction, so for the first time ever, no cars coming through except those going up the big hill. We were able to run in the street, but even then I was still worried about the cars. I still constantly worry about someone hitting me again so that I am always looking over my shoulder.

The big hill is about 4/10 of a mile long before it curves and then almost immediately goes downhill. Don had picked out a fire hydrant around the corner of the big hill to use as our turnaround, and I was glad for that downhill break. He has been trying to build up his running strength again after the Achilles injury, but as usual he always over does everything. This is the 3rd day in a row doing that hill. I told him twice a week probably would be good enough.

Then it was back down the hill, a long gradual downhill. That part felt great, almost like it could go on forever, but then the porta potty issue started creeping up again. I still haven't gotten totally over whatever it was bothering me last Saturday, so coming up to the construction site Don said there was a porta potty there. No thanks! I think I will just try to manage without that!

We got in a nice little 3 mile run this morning. It was nice having someone to run with again. We both signed up for a 5k this Saturday, so that will be Don's first race since last August. I'm not sure how this will go, whether he will be able to push the pace, whether I will pace off him, or even what kind of pace we will be able to do. I don't want this to be totally competitive, but you know how it is when you get a bunch of people in a race! Actually, its for a charitable organization, the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation. My niece has the disease and my sister and I thought it would be nice to support the organization. She plans to walk, as does my daughter and her kids, so it will be a family event more than anything.

So now it is back to the grind of work again. I'll report on the race later Saturday.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

FIFTH THIRD RIVER BANK RUN 25k, May 10, 2008 and Crappy 10k Race Reports.

The good, the bad, the ugly. First, the good. It was good to be able to again run this 25k race on a very beautiful day. The bad: the torture of running 15.5 miles. The ugly: numerous bathroom issues.

Race day started at 3 am, when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. I tried not to think of the race and the details I had forgotten to take care of the night before, but my mind was racing. And, I was horribly stuffed up and congested, after spending Friday evening outside at Austin's track meet, where the weather was very cool and it actually started raining at the end. I should have taken something before I went to bed, but I forgot. I eventually got up at 4:30. As it turned out, had I relied on my alarm, it wouldn't have gone off anyway because it was set for Mon-Fri, not weekend time. So I lucked out there. A check of the weather showed it was going to be slightly warmer than predicted, but still low 40s at the start, so I had to make a decision on what to wear. I had more than one option ready, but didn't actually decide until later. My plan , was to get up, gather my stuff up, including food and drink, and head to the gym.

I arrived at the gym before 6 am. The good thing about this race is that it starts and finishes right at my work building (FifthThird Bldg.), and my gym is in the building. So all I have to do is drive to work, park in the parking garage, getting a spot next to the door, and bring my stuff inside. Then I can stay there until its time to leave, when I can exit the parking ramp and walk right into the race lineup. Its like having your own hospitality room or something. No porta potties, no lines, no freezing waiting for the race to start.

Jan arrived a little while later and we discussed what we would wear. She was planning on being all decked out in her usual way, this time wearing her 2008 Boston gear. I finally decided on long sleeves and shorts, and at the last minute decided on my pink vest and gloves.

A couple of things were bothering me that morning, one being the congestion, the other being the bathroom issues. My stomach had bothered me all week, from what earlier I didn't know, but on Thursday I did something stupid, had chocolate, and that seemed to cause a bigger problem. And it was still a problem this morning and beyond. What was I thinking, eating chocolate 2 days before a big race?? I haven't eaten a measurable amount in 5 months, so why do I lose myself here and indulge? Especially this close to the race. And to add insult to injury, I had to attend a retirement party that same night and had red wine and chocolate, for me a disastrous combination. You grow older, but don't necessarily get smarter! So between blowing my drippy nose and hitting the bathroom every few minutes, I was getting sore on both ends! Sorry about being graphic! LOL!

Going outside to join the waiting runners, I couldn't help but notice how less crowded the whole area was, even though they said there were more people than ever. I had no trouble seeing people I knew or walking through the crowds to line up, finding a spot behind the 11 min. pacers. When the gun went off, it wasn't even that long before we were moving, and I hit the start in about 3 minutes into the race. Chip starts are great though!

Even though the temp was still in the low 40s, upon starting running I was immediately too warm. Oh great I thought. I'm going to be roasting out there. I was feeling pretty good running though, and then reality set in when the 9 and then 10 min. pacers passed me. Okay, clearly you must slow down was all I could think. I will blow up by 5 miles if I keep this up. So I had to make a point to slow down. First mile ended up being 11:20. Right after that, a young girl coming up alongside of me suddenly tripped and went down, turning her ankle. I could see myself right there! I stopped and her friend helped her up, but she was limping, so I told them they should get over to the curb so people didn't trip over her. Another woman ran ahead to get help. Not sure if she was able to finish or not, but hopefully she didn't hurt herself too badly.

It was here too that bathroom issue (hereafter BI) started up again. There were porta potties right around the mile mark, but there were so many people here I didn't want to stand and wait that long. That meant trying to get to the next mile mark without anything happening. Fortunately here, the line was half as long, but it still ended up being over a 5 minute interruption. Surprisingly, I was still pretty much on a pace I could live with so didn't worry about it.

Then BI happened again, shortly after 3 miles. Between 3 and 4 miles, there were NO volunteers or spectators, and the numbers had thinned out enough that I decided to chance a trip into nature and found a dead tree to go behind that was down. Of course, this meant traipsing through waist high weeds that were in full bloom, and I nearly fell into a big crater that was left behind when the tree toppled over and uprooted itself. But this was nothing compared with the HUNDREDS of mosquitos that hungrily attacked me! I was just hoping for no mosquitor bites on my privates! I didn't even worry about the possibility of poison ivy!

For those who have run the GR marathon, the race course is on the opposite side of the river, covering miles 8-11 of the marathon course, so it is pretty shaded but deserted. It seemed like the numbers of volunteers were down through here too, but every aid station was fully stocked with water, ice, gatorade, and sometimes oranges. Both Gu stops were completely out by the time I got there though. Luckily I had my own.

So that's 2 stops and I was still thinking of getting to the 10k mark so I could count that down for the next one to follow. But once again, BI hits and I'm looking for another tree to duck behind! This was really getting ridiculous and annoying. And once again, I have to fight off the mosquitos out there looking for a meal! And wouldn't you know it? Less than a half a mile after this, I see the aid station signs and another 2 porta potties. I decide to use it again, for safety, since there was no line. This time, though, it was like I couldn't stop going. I was getting concerned, and not to gross people out, I was starting to wonder how long I could keep this up before getting dehydrated. I wasn't sick, as far as I knew; I didn't feel sick, but clearly something was irritating the stomach this week. So that's 4 times. I was at about 5 miles and was starting to fall behind on pacing, each stop eating up time. So I kept running, trying not to think about any walk breaks for a while. I wanted to get to 10k first, to follow the pattern I did at Louisville. But, once again, before 6 miles it hit again, but this time I continued on to the porta pottie. No more woods! There were getting to be too many people around now anyway. I really was starting to feel like I was going to need a Haz Mat dip when I got done running! And no way was I touching my face again until I washed!

I couldn't help notice though how nice those porta potties were! They had a shelf for your stuff, a mirror if you wanted to freshen up, and hand sanitizer, all fully stocked! Sorry, Marcy, no bathroom pics though! The mirror showed me still smiling though, so on I trudged.

At 10k or maybe a little farther, there was one more potty stop, and I was telling myself here that if I had to go again, I was stopping. I was starting to get really hungry! I took another gel, and so that's my Crappy 10k Race Report!

Just another 10k and a 5k left I told myself.

Once you get off the road along the south(?) side of the river, you cross a bridge and head to the north side, and through Johnson Park. I knew Don would be here somewhere waiting, and I'm sure he had been waiting A LONG time. When I saw him, it was just before 7 miles. Secretly, I was SO glad to see 7 miles. Almost half done. And the good part? No more BI! I told him what was going on, and he says, what did you eat this morning? This morning? This was from 2 days ago!

At about this time, there was a REALLY OLD WOMAN (ROW) trudging along, slowly but never stopping, and SHOE SCUFFLER (Scuffler). I also was at a point where I needed to start taking walk breaks, earlier than planned, but with all the chaos earlier, I was getting tired earlier than I had hoped. So here are the three of us: ROW would pass me when I walked, but I would pass her when I ran. Scuffler was driving me nuts with his shoes scraping the road with each step, and after a while it was like fingernails on a blackboard. Here too the sag wagon was making its rounds repeatedly, creeping up behind you and then blaring its horn so you'd move! I was getting really annoyed with this too, and I would bet it happened abut 10 times after that. Needless to say, I was clearly entering the bite me zone (BMZ). That's when I get annoyed by everything going on around me because I'm tired, sore, or whatever. I was both. I wasn't focusing any more. And I still didn't know for sure if I was going to finish this race. I knew I wanted to try and wasn't quitting unless something more drastic happened.

So on I trudged, with ROW and the Scuffler, and I did my best to go to another place in my mind to block out the distraction and get myself focused again. After the 8 mile mark, my entourage included another younger woman, and a man and his father. We continually traded spaces with each other, but I usually kept ahead enough on the running portions.

And OMG, at 9 miles a woman walking passes me, and I could not believe it was the Arm Flapper from last year, at almost the exact same spot! I thought for sure this woman was going to take flight she flapped her arms so much as she walked. And this year, she had a friend doing the same thing. And like last year, I didn't actually lose her until probably 12 miles, when she flapped on down the road and I couldn't catch her. Clearly I need to try this as a training trick!

Between miles 8 and 12.5 there are a series of hills, giving added value to the course. None of them are that bad, but they are relentless, and the downhills were killing my feet and toes. I had made a dumb mistake (another one, see I don't learn) and wore my new shoes. I knew last week on my training run that they were not broken in enough, but totally forgot today, so my toes were getting pinched and numb. But they still felt better running than when walking, but the last downhill at 12 miles killed. I ended up walking here longer than planned, but also took another gel here, and I'm telling you, I did not want to start up again.

The entourage (ROW, guy and his dad, and young woman walking) was getting away from me. We had lost the Scuffler somewhere and I wasn't unhappy about that. But then this woman in pink shorts and her husband had the nerve to blow by us all here, making me wonder where they had been all the race. I took 3 walk breaks between 12 and 13 miles. But then sweet revenge here: once I started running again, I caught up with the entourage and pink shorts and her husband, who were either all walking or running slowly enough for me to pass without effort. I just needed to get to that 13 mile mark badly!

I didn't make my half marathon time from 2 weeks before, but with all the stopping and going, I wasn't too far off the mark. Once I got to the 13 mile mark though all I could think of was the wise Forest Gump, who ran and ran and ran and one day he just got tired of running and wanted to go home. That's just how I felt. I wanted to go home!

We entered the zoo park here and mentally I was having a tough time. I walked through the entire park but then looking at my watch I knew if I didn't start running soon I might not even beat my time from last year. So I started running again, and after 2 blocks caught up with the entourage and everyone else who passed me. Then I walked again. I started bargaining with time here, knowing I could still beat last year's time, but the margin was dropping significantly.

I walked a block and ran again. Turning a corner, I could see the 14 mile mark ahead, but I could not force myself to keep running. So I walked to it. At 14 miles, I ran again for a few blocks and then walked again. Funny thing here though, I was walking quite a bit but still caught up with and passed all those people again. That's when I decided I needed to make sure I kept going long enough without a break so they would not catch up with me again. And that worked.

Once I hit the 1 Mile to Go sign, I turned another corner but had to walk again. Then one of the people did catch me, but she faded quickly after that. We were entering the college campus area, so then I had to come up with a plan to get me through that last horrific mile. I ran to the crosswalk signs and then walked a little, ran to the next crosswalk, walked a little. At 15 miles, some young girls started running with me, but I said please! No thanks! I need to walk again! Unless you want to run my number in! LOL! My toes here were so sore I could hardly stand it. I knew it would take me quite a few days for them to recover after this, but I had to keep going, obviously. Just another few blocks for that medal you know!

Then a woman I know came up behind me and was encouraging me, etc. I was walking here; she was out "cooling down." Um, yeah. How about you run my number in?? We talked some and then she said she had to get going. And me? Do you not think I need to get going??

There was one last incline up the street we finished on, and then I coul see the finish line ahead. I just put my head down and ran to finish. I was SO glad to be done. Finish time: 3:26:50. Last year: 3:30:00. I didn't make my 3:15, but at least I beat last year's time. And I beat all those people who had been with me from about 7 miles on. All of them except Arm Flapper. But I did beat her friend!

But I could barely walk through the finish area, so I hobbled to take off my chip, get my medal, and then to the food tables. Nothing looked good, and I didn't want to eat anything that would set me off again, so I bypassed that. I didn't use my beer tent ticket either because of the stomach thing but also because it required walking up 5 steps and then another 150 yards across the plaza. No thanks!

I hobbled back to my building, using the handicap ramp to get up to the level where the door was, got in the building, took the elevator down to the basement level, and I was done!

The weather was perfect today. The race is hard. Its never easy. I've had some good years, some pretty good years, some bad years, and some really bad years, but only once have I not finished this race. When I started running this in 1989, it was basically just a running event: no 5k, no 10k, no walkers. Numbers were probably less than 1000 participants. Over the years, the race has grown to be a community event, so now it includes the 5k, a 10k, a 5k competitive walk, and a 5k noncompetitive walk, with numbers this year over 16,000. In 1989, and for many years before and after, the "gold standard" for race time was 2 hours. Anything slower and you were considered not a serious runner. A few years ago, with all the walkers doing the event, they extended the cutoff time to 3 hours; last year it was 3:30, but they weren't strict about it. So its changed a lot, and has grown with the community, as a new focus on fitness has taken over! I'm just not sure I ever want to run this again! LOL! Its like having a baby though; you forget the pain soon after.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Someone like you intimidates me. Words spoken by a woman attorney I work with who is preparing to run her first 5k tomorrow. I had to resist the urge to look behind me to see if maybe Deana Kastor or Paula Newby-Fraser had walked into the room, but I realized she was talking about lil 'ol me.

"Me?" I laughed. "Why?" still amused. "Because you do so much, you run all the time, and do all these races..." "Thanks, but..." and then I stopped myself. I didn't say what I was thinking "but I'm really slow; but I'm not that good; but anyone can do what I do." I decided not to verbalize my negatives and instead said, "Thanks, but I do it because its fun and keeps me in shape."

That was a big step for me. So you see, I'm getting better about not putting myself down, trying to stay positive on what I do, and looking at it as something fun to do instead of a contest.

Tomorrow I'll be doing 25k. My foot/ankle seems to be okay, just more of a strain than anything else this time, thankfully. I'm not going to stress about my pace, just try to plan it out so it ends up being successful, and not get disappointed no matter what my time is. 25k is not a run around the block. It will be a long day. I know that. I also know I am not racing it. I know I'll be out there with a lot of other people my pace or slower, so I'm going to enjoy the day. I'm going to treat it as two 10ks with a 5k cooldown. I'll use one of my "10k times" for the virtual race: 10k on the 10th and hopefully I can come up with a good race report.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Last night was the kids' run connected with our big 25k race on Saturday. They have always run it separately from the big race, although now that they have a 5k run and walk on the same day, the kids can do both if they choose. The difference though is the kids only race is NOT competitive, while the 5k run/walk is. Most of the kids who run the kids only race, however, are there because of school contests that start in April, getting the kids out running, and if they run 25 miles in the month of April, they get a free entry to the kids race. My two boys both have done the race, as have my sister's kids, and now my grandsons are participating. So I've been to many of these events over the years. Its always a lot of fun to watch their enthusiasm, and its amazing to see all the runners from the area volunteering to help these kids enjoy the sport like they do.

What got to me last night though was not the 3000 kids and parents who were there, not the somewhat disorganization of the race directors, and not all the screaming excited kids. No, what got to me were the parents.

When we arrived, they had already started the half mile heats. Austin was going to do 1 mile, so he would be running later we found out. There were already hundreds of kids on the track running their two laps, some with parents. That was okay, since some kids were just too little to be basically thrown to the wolves, with all the kids running all over the place. What was not okay, to me anyway, were all the parents out there like they were in a parade or something, in whatever they happened to be wearing, running along, waving to the crowd, stealing the kids' thunder.

This only got worse with each heat. One guy, who really irritated me, was out there running when we got there at 5:45 and was almost one of the last people off the track at 7 pm. He did have 2 kids, but it just didn't add up that they would be running for that long. He obviously was out there doing his own thing.

Austin ended up being in the last heat doing the mile, and this only after my (and a few others') insistence that they better not forget these kids, since they were already calling the start of the 5k kids race. When they finally let these kids onto the track, there were almost as many parents who joined them. Okay, I guess if they want to run, was all I was thinking. And then, the next thing I knew, the kids were running but the parents? Not! Only a couple. The rest? Stood in a line on one lane of the track waiting for their kids (most 2nd grade or older) to come around the track each time. I realize they were out there cheering them on, but at the same time, so was I (and my daughter), but we were standing where they should have been: on the other side of the fence. And of course, with all these people on the track, they blocked the view of the kids as they came around, so we almost missed Austin each time until we finally moved away from the crowd.

Then to make matters worse, the 5k kids were running through the neighborhoods but were doing 2 laps on the track. So these same oblivious parents were now exiting the track with their strollers, dogs, etc. while these other poor kids were trying to get around them. A couple of kids got tripped and fell, but fortunately got up and continued on.

To me, I think these people should have been told to wait on the other side of the fence UNLESS they were also running with the kids. The majority of them were not. Maybe they thought the kids couldn't function without them hovering! It was more like they couldn't function without the kids or they were afraid to let the kids out of their sight.

I know a lot of this was poor organization by the race volunteers, but at the same time I couldn't help feel that the parents were just too much. It was a kids run, so why did they feel it was necessary to practically hold their hands throughout?

Maybe I'm making too much out of this, especially now days when you just can't be too safe with your kids. On the other hand, the parents seemed a little stifling to me or way too pushy, like the kids HAD to get out there and beat everyone. Okay, rant over.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I got a call this morning early from my son's girlfriend saying he had a high fever, was throwing up, had a back ache, and a bad headache and had been sick for more than a day. I guess moms are the last to find out these things, once there is another woman in their son's life.

Since he had just recently gotten his own insurance, I knew he wouldn't have a regular doctor picked out yet, and also figured he wouldn't be able to get into his old one because of a change of carriers.

"Take him to emergency then," I said. I could only think it might be meningitis, and I didn't want any more time wasted going to a walk-in clinic. "And be sure you call me when he gets there so I know where he is," were my other instructions to her.

She called a short time later to say he couldn't find his wallet so couldn't find his insurance card or ID. "Just take him anyway, or should I come and get him?" Of course she didn't want me butting in--too much anyway. I knew they could always get any insurance info later.

About an hour later, she called to say he was in the hospital ER, so I left work then to go see him. I debated about walking there, since it was only a few blocks from where I worked. At the last minute, I decided to just drive there. Later, I couldn't help but wish I had walked.

The hospital emergency parking ramp is shared by radiology, and was already filled by 11 that day, so I had to drive all the way to the top to park. Then, the elevator was out of order, so I had to walk down. This wasn't that big of a deal, but I couldn't help but wonder about old or infirm people having to walk that far just to get either to emergency or the radiology department, and it seemed like every handicap spot was filled. But then it became a big deal when I stepped off the last step of the stairway and into the parking lot and didn't see another step down, so once again, down I go on both knees and twist my left ankle again, same as last summer!

So I'm sprawled out there in a heap, my purse having gone flying and the contents spilling all over the parking lot, and I'm trying to get my wits about me and assess what I might have done. The first thing I knew though was my ankle hurt badly and my clothes were dirty, but surprisingly not ripped. I was glad I had pants on that day or my knees would have been skinned up. As it was, one knee did have a scrape, although how that happened would be hard to explain, since my pants weren't even dirty on that knee.

I was so mad at myself! Furious in fact. All I could think of again was another injury! I managed to do this right next to the ambulance bay, so someone did see me and helped me up. I felt like a feeble old woman! They also helped me into the building, to the security, and suggested I fill out an accident report.

First, though, I wanted to check on Justin. After finding out where he was, and going back to check on him, I went back and filled out a report, and then they gave me a bracelet and scheduled me for an exam and x-rays. I said I wanted to stay in his room, and they could check with me there.

As it turned out, after they examined him, took blood work, etc., it was determined he had a bad case of the flu, and thankfully not meningitis or anything worse, and for me, just another ankle sprain.

We were at the hospital until 4:30 before they finally released him, after dispensing an anti-nausea drug, pain killers, and a tylenol prescription. I had gotten an ice pack, an 800 ibuprofen, and propped my foot up during those hours, so by the time I left I was pretty much okay.

I'll still have some soreness and discomfort for the next little while, but hopefully it will clear up before the race on Saturday.

Justin should be okay in a day or two as well. Only in my world could something like this happen, it seems!

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Thinking back to my recent training runs and comparing them to the half marathon last weekend, I couldn't help but wonder why the race had gone pretty well. I was happy with it. I hadn't been happy with my training runs. Only one, I felt, had gone well enough to get me by. This week, I think I finally figured it out, like a lightbulb going off or one of those "you could have had a V8" moments.
I had fun at the race. My training runs hadn't been fun, and part of that was because I hadn't let myself have fun. I think I struggled so much last year the fun just got sucked out of me. I totally lost the point of why I run or do races.
And then another thing happened yesterday, when I ran into a woman from the running club. I congratulated her on her Boston finish. She said she was happier with her time this year than last, but it was going to "cost" her in the 25k next weekend. "I just know I'm not going to have a good race next weekend." I said to her that having just run Boston, her time in the 25k would be proportionate to her ability and recovery, and not to worry so much.
Worry has been my middle name the last year or so. I've worried about being slower; I've worried about others being faster, mainly in the age group; I've worried about not being able to do it any more. What I should have been doing was worrying about why I wasn't having fun.
All I could think of today on my run was all the "fun" I used to have training, before training became a chore. But it was fun because I ran with others, so training became secondary to having a good time. Again, I have been so consumed with not being fast enough, I haven't allowed myself to run with anyone any more. And, unfortunately, I am pretty slow, so it would be hard to find too many people to run with anyway. So then, how will I have fun with my running again?
The thought occurred to me that I should be entering races and using them for my training runs, instead of being afraid because I think I'm too slow. That way, I'll have lots of company and hopefully will have some fun with my workouts again.
So what do you think? Good idea?