Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MCM - Recap

At the expo - I am motivated, truly I am
On my travels home with my teammate MAC, we debriefed the, I’ll refrain from calling it a shit show, although I do love that phrase, not as much as I love amazeballs but this wasn't amazeballs so I can’t use it, marathon.

I finished what I started.  I did pace myself in the beginning and knew what I needed to hit to meet my goal, all I wanted was sub 5, 4:59:59 and I’d of been ecstatic.  I am not with 5:26:19.

My body decided that it was done being abused around the 20K mark.  I finished.  I earned that damn medal and that jacket.

This is what MAC wanted to talk about with me. 

MAC:  “How many races have you run this year?”

Me: Consulting Athlinks. “This is my 30th.”

MAC:  “How many marathons have WE run in the last year, the last 365 days, not from January 1st”

Me: “Three MAC, we've run three, your point?”

MAC: “How many competitive miles have you run this year?”

Me:  After adding it all up (not in my head because yeah, even not running I don’t do math in my head, after using the calculator on the iPhone (twice, measure twice cut once a very important adage).  “ 241.2”

MAC: “How many training miles have you logged this year?”

Me:  Consulting Strava for my total miles “876 – 241, so 635.”

MAC:  “How many miles have you biked, since when did you get that, August.”

Me: Consulting Strava “347”

MAC: “Don’t you think all that could have something to do with your performance?”

Me:  “Probably?”

MAC: In her witty brilliant and ever so appropriate New York tone: “YA THINK?”

I think I’m done feeling sorry for myself and beating myself up.

A few things the runner people in my life have said/emailed/texted to me since Sunday (there were more, and ALL appreciated):

Karen “I love your jacket.”  Me: “I earned this.” Karen:  “Absolutely. I watched your splits and I cried a little for you.”

Mike “You have logged a lot of miles in the last month.  GOOD JOB”

Michelle “You didn't quit, so you won!”

I wanted to quit. I wanted to sit right down and have a frothing fit.  I wanted to cut across the parkways post halfway and suffer the DQ just to be done with that damn race. I wanted to get on one of those shuttle buses and say take me to the finish. I wanted to give in to the pain and the humiliation. 

I didn't.

So let’s break this down.  By the 5K because I like how it guides the telling of this story.  (Thanks for your kind words and sending me this Mike)

Once upon a time… oh wait that is a different story…

5K  (11:14) -  Bobbing and weaving in the beginning is expected, the first few miles are warm up and a little slow off my goal of 11 minute pace, enjoyed the view of Georgetown. Enjoying all the people and high 5ing and thanking the Marines.  Whoopiee!!!

10K  (11:02) – This was a new part, the route was re-routed from the hill at mile 7 because the hand cyclists were having trouble making the turn at the bottom.  So we were out and back along Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway.  This was a little bit strange, as we ran out there were runners running back and catching them in my periphery made me a little dizzy and my stomach flipped.  My stomach NEVER flips, I have an iron gut.  Are you kidding me?  I did see Gabe flying by, looking fearless!  Of course more Marine’s to high 5 and thanking, oora!!

15K (11:10) – Running along the Potomic is beautiful, water to the right monuments to the left. A little chilly and my the sun was REALLY starting to get strong.  I wish I brought a water belt, I’m parched.  I spy a couple of Team Lung Love runners, we chat and run along for a mile or so. More Marines, holy cow!!

20K (11:13) – This feels good, my stomach seems to have righted itself, sort of, damn am I going to have to stop at a porta potty, you are kidding me, right?  Oh my splits are going to look good when they post, yeah!  I’m feeling pretty psyched, more high 5ing and thanking!

25K (11:46) – This is the point where the fallen soldiers pictures are.  I always look.  I never want to see one of my friends.  I think of Adam and Dennis "over there" and hope they are well and staying safe.  I think of Brian’s and Lisa’s stories from deployments. I think of Tammy and her brother Steve.  I watch some runners stop and take a moment. I shed a tear, ok quite a few, lives lost so young.   And I hear a familiar voice.  I look over and say “You ran Surftown.”  Michelle looks over and says “OMG!!! This is crazy!!”  She is keeping up a great pace and I wish her well.  This gives me a boost.  Some high 5ing and thanking!

30K (11:48) – The porta potty is inevitable. And I look at my watch and my projected splits and this is completely unrecoverable, I might as well stop.  I’m not even functioning enough to remember to jump up and down at mile 18.5.  Look at the course map.  I never ever completely lose my sense of humor, at that point I remember my friend Heidi saying, whatever you do don’t poop yourself. 

35K  (12:06) – The bridge, finally that damn bridge.  There was some walking, there were some tears, I couldn't even work up anything to spit, my stomach.  Oh would puking help?  Probably not I’ll end up with the dry heaves.  Focus, focus, focus less than a 10K, this can’t go on much more than an hour.  Plus you’ll see Lani and crew at mile 23, you need to have that same happy face you had last year.  I've yet to see the picture…

40K (12:21) – I stopped at mile 23 to talk with Lani and tell her I was never doing this again, and does anyone have a bottle of water?  I smile my big smile and soldier on.  I am running for my mom, and especially for my mom after she found out one of her college buddies passed away after her battle with esophageal cancer.  She found out by googling her friend.  She had called and the phone number was disconnected and up for grabs.  Eventually, she thought well I’ll google her and see what I find.  She finds the obituary, from over a month ago.  I cry a little thinking how horrible to find out that way and remember what I can of Bert, Chuck (he passed in 2008 from Lung Cancer) and their two kids.

Oh and that damn hill at the very end, mile 26, there are Marines encouraging us to “Take the Hill”  Take the hill? Are YOU kidding me? I want to take a seat!  Carry me?

42K (12:26) – The shit show, oops I wasn't going to say that, is over.  A Marine puts the medal around my neck salutes me and I shake his hand and thank him.

Now it is time to find some water, a banana, one of those nifty warming jackets, and the shuttle bus back near the hotel to reunite with my team.

Me, Erwin, MAC, Gabe, Andrea Team MAC

I asked someone standing in a line if this was for the shuttle, they said “Nope for the Metro.”  I found a different line, asked the same question “Yep”.  It moved I moved.  The cop told me a different story.  “Mam this is just a line, I have no idea what these people are waiting for.  Go over there and THAT is the line.”  Oh thank you!  I hobble to that line, downhill.  Yeah, downhill.

Before I got on the shuttle I made sure it was going back to Crystal City.  One never knows where they are going to end up standing in line.  I dated a guy who ended up in the Air Force after standing in line!  True or not the story always makes me smile.

Perspective : 

First - I started, I didn't quit, I didn't cheat, I finished, and that my friends really should be enough.  The time on the clock is the time on the clock.   As Don said on our walk today:  “Age happens quickly; smarts do not.”  This was on one of the many trivets his father brought back to his mother after visiting the PA Dutch country.  I think it is very appropriate. 

Second – I need to run races to race, not just to run, even if it is ‘just a training run’ it isn't it is a race and it takes a lot out of me.  As I figure out what I want to race in 2014, it will be limited.  I've committed to a few races, one I absolutely cannot back out of.  Three others, I may.  I've run each of them two times before. 

Third – Marine Corps was grand the first time, the second, not so much, the reason why?  Partly, I've been there done that.  Partly, I’m exhausted. Partly, my heart wasn't truly in it.  And that my friend is it:  My heart wasn't 100% in this race, period.

Beth, glad she didn't poop herself crawling across the finish line of the marathon (because when people run a marathon, they never forget to add that fact to every sentence they speak for the next month, even if they aren't proud of themselves).

Monday, October 28, 2013


Yesterday I earned this...   And I earned perspective, well needed perspective.   Stay tuned...


Beth, sore and anxious to get home 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bourbon Chase - Recap

Bourbon Chase 2013

It is hard to know where to start with this recap.  I’ve scratched notes here and there.   How does one recap a 200 mile relay race?

Some facts and figures
2 vans
2 drivers
5th year the race has been run
12 runners (2 injured at the end)
33 hours
36 legs
200 miles
315 teams (303 12 person teams; 12 6 person (ultra) teams)
3,708 runners
All teams finished

Shortest finish 19:01  (HH:MM)
Longest finish 33:54  (HH:MM)

Results:  Click Here  A data junkies dream come true!

We, Van 1, kicked off at 8:30 on Friday a.m. and all crossed the finish line 5:27 p.m. on Saturday evening.  307th out of the 315 teams.

At my Tuesday night running group one of the gals had just finished Ragnar and I asked her for some tips.  She said “Everyone gets grouchy at the same time.”  I took note of that.  I also asked her about running in the dark.  She said it was very meditative and her favorite leg.  I took note of that and it also quelled my anxiety over running unfamiliar roads in the dark.

My plan was to start out my drive to Lexington KY on Wednesday afternoon finishing up on Thursday so I’d be at least presentable meeting 14 people I didn't know, at all.  

Wednesday the plan was to: sleep in, pack, maybe go on a bike ride with Dave.  

  • Sleeping in didn't happen, per usual, Jax decided he needed to wrestle with me and who am I to refuse that cute mug?  
  • Packing was an adventure, I packed the stuff on the list, added in a few things and ended up with two bags of stuff, one big one and one to keep with me in the van with small stuff I’d lose in the big bag.  I have a better idea how to pack for NEXT year.  
  • Bike ride didn't happen, it was very evident Dave’s cold wasn't getting much better and mine was borderline, so I vacuumed and we picked up the house a bit and I reviewed my race legs with him and what I knew of the race.

Then I took off.  The sad faces on our pups always breaks my heart.  Figured I’d drive 8 hours or so…

Made it to Morgantown, WV and found a shopping center and a hotel.  You can buy beer in the grocery store in WV, how cool is that?  You can’t in RI, just in a package store.  After 14 years of this no booze in the grocery store it is a novelty to me to find booze in the grocery store.  Even more so when I visit my family in MI because you can buy hard liquor in the grocery store!  The strangest things entertain me.

It was nice to have the bed to myself and not have to move an 83 lb Gus from my legs every time I wanted to turn over. I also figured a good night’s sleep was important as this was going to be 30 some odd hours with little sleep and what was left of the head cold Dave gifted me was nearing its end, yeah!

I arrived at the hotel in Lexington, which had changed its name in the last few weeks.  I was in a bit of a panic because I had the right street address but was this really the place? A quick text with our fearless leader confirmed that I was in the right place and three of them were arriving shortly, after a quick tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort KY.  I headed to the bar to have a drink to quell my nerves a little bit.  

Meeting the other participants.

I met Dana, Tonya, and Steve.  Dana and Tonya I had gotten to know a little on Facebook.  Dana did set up a FB group for our team Run Bitches Run!! I didn't really check out much on the other members of my team.  I figured they were runners so they were ok.  They were better than OK!  With so much going on between training and races and work and family commitments everything is getting minimal attention these days, which isn't exactly how I like to run my life.

The plan was to meet all but three of the team members and go to dinner.  Three had friends in the area and had made plans to meet up with them.  So 9 of us loaded up in the passenger van and went out to dinner. I had a hard time with names, but by the end of the race I think I had it all figured out!  We only saw the 7 in the other van at the exchange points and at the end so I only got to know a couple of them over dinner and then at drinks post race.  Hey, they are runners, so it is all good.  

We were 3 and 4 to a room, sharing a bed with a stranger, I knew would happen, hence the importance of a good night sleep on Wed night!! We all have our weird sleep things and I need the right side of the bed, Tonya needed the left side, so yeah, that worked out well. I was just happy to not have to share the bed with one of the guys.   

Guess that lays all the ground work and now to get into the nitty gritty the race.

We were van 1 so we kicked off the event.  Started in Clermont, KY at the Jim Beam distillery.  It was a bit of a chilly foggy morning, the weather promised to be warmish and sunny.  Someone said this or hoped it, I’m not sure, it ended up being nice so no worries.

Beautiful View

I was runner 5 so I got to see a bit how the exchanges worked.  It is a relay race, and our baton was a plastic bracelet.  Beautiful.  I haven’t had to pass off a baton since HS track…

Exchange - no pressure!

Sally kicked us off with a 7.1 mile run
Sara  6.2
Dana 3.9 
Tonya 5.2
Me  4.7
Steve 6.0

Mine was mostly up hill.  The runners guide said the view from the top would be worth it, and oh it was!

Worth the run up!

All in all the run was great.  Nice and sunny, yet cool and a nice breeze once in a while.  The strange thing were all the Wooly Bear caterpillars all over the road.  For this leg stepping on one of them would have been my only 'kill' (over taking another runner).  I was 'kill' for maybe 5 runners.

This was my first hand off to Steve and it went well.  I got the bracelet off and he was on his way.  

Exchange point 1 was at Makers Mark, this is where we handed off to Van 2.  Nice distillery, couple of bourbon balls and some bourbon lemonade thing.  I picked up a bottle of MM 46 and was able to put the red wax on myself.  Had to get all dolled up in an apron, arm protectors, gloves, and safety glasses.

We had two hotel rooms reserved so we could shower or nap or eat.  Ordered pizza, showered and tried to nap.  I know I wasn't able to. 

About 6 we got the call to meet van 2 at the exchange point 2, for a 7:30ish hand off.  Now was the time to sort of remember the other runners names.  I did OKish… 

Sally kicked it off with a 5 mile run

Sara 4.9 miles.
Were to meet her in Danville.  Janet got a call she twisted her ankle.  Knowing Sally had to run Dana's leg and Tonya had the most difficult of the legs and Steve was a part time runner I volunteered to run.  And who knows what got over me.  After we got to Sara and she was OK, nothing broken I took off like a bat out of hell and 2/10 of a mile in I realized I didn't have the baton (a rubber bracelet) or directions.  Well the directions should be OK my first leg was well marked.  I had no idea how far we were into her 4.9 mile leg either, I figured I had less than 3 miles to go to the exchange point.  This was the only leg where I made a kill.  The rest of the legs I was a hash mark on someone else’s van.

This gave me a bit of a feeling for what it would be like to run in the dark in KY.  Although it was along US 127 so busy and well lit.  My 8.6 later in the night was going to be with NO street lights, just the moon and my head lamp.

Now to figure out what to do about this bracelet hand off business.  OH I have my Lung Cancer Alliance bracelet so I have something to hand off, cool, problem solved, now I wonder if they realize I don’t have the bracelet.  

They did, and as I handed off to Sally, she said “How did you get the bracelet?” I said “I didn't you have it?”  She said “Yep” and off she went.  I got back to the van and they explained they told Sally to fumble around with the bracelet so it looked like we changed something.  HA!  Brilliant minds think alike.  After Sally’s run we compared notes and laughed a bit about it.  They all teased me for taking off  like this was some foot race we could actually win…   

Caught that did ya, I handed off to Sally…  Sally was subbing for Dana because she is coming off a leg injury, fractures up and down her tibia and fibis from jumping off something at a Tough Mudder (that took that event off my to do list, at least for the moment, never say never), Sally volunteered to run a double.

Tonya’s 6.5 was a tough all up-hill hilly run.  By the time she met me at the exchange point at 11:30 on Friday night she was done, stick a fork in her done.  

I took off for my 8.6 night time hilly run, there weren't too many wicked ones but it was a night and like Jeff said “you won’t know what is coming, just run”  ok seems that is the advice I get from most people, just keep running.  Strava says 555 climb, so there must have been a hill or two!

Super Safety Dork!

 Once out of town it got dark, not completely dark, there was a full moon, behind me, casting eerie shadows at times.  I passed by a few grave yards and just ran along KY 309 up and down hills around corners, getting passed A LOT.  The problem with all of this was I was in such a trance running, the sloshing of my big ass water bottle (I should have grabbed the smaller one) and the stupid peace sign button clicking along and my breathing and foot strike pattern sounds.  Nearly every time I got passed I let out a scream because they didn't make enough noise to either pull me out of my trance or alert me they were behind me.  So point to note, when over taking a runner, announce yourself, and even if you have don’t expect they noticed!  I think I scared one of the guys with my sharp scream, sorry dude, really sorry.  I was kill for maybe 10 guys... I lost count.

One that did manage to get my attention beforehand ran a few steps with me and said ‘Why are we doing this?” I said “I dunno about you but I do it for the booze.”  A little while later I hear him say “I thought about it, I do it for cheeseburgers too.”  I wished him well and thought about cheeseburgers till I hear Margaritaville off in the distance and know I’m getting approached by a runner.  NO headphones were allowed but you can play music.    So I transitioned from Cheeseburger in Paradise to Margaritaville in my head and we exchanged good jobs while he floated past me.

It was a foggy chilly night (temp), there was frost on the gras!!  At one point I looked over my left shoulder a couple times and caught something green and glowing.  Took me a little bit but eventually I looked long enough over my shoulder and my eyes focused, cows, standing there staring at me, probably with a “What in the world are YOU doing, you fool human?”  look on their cute faces.

I’m quite certain I passed some beautiful ranches, just based on the elaborate mail boxes and gated driveways.   I kept thinking about all the ranches in Dallas and who shot JR.  yeah yeah, I was in KY not TX at that point I was kind of going out of my mind a bit.

The fog and the moonlight and lack of sleep and eating garbage played tricks on my mind as I kept thinking I saw something or heard something, nothing identifiable, fleeting images and sounds.  In between the times the other runners scared the crap out of me passing me.  

When I saw that 1 mile left sign I was ready to collapse, hungry, tired of getting passed, chilled to the bone and soaking wet.  I couldn't get the damn bracelet off my wrist and I was slightly delirious.  Sally was good and put her arm around me and got me back to the van.  I noticed we were at a gas station and all I could mumble was I want a chocolate milk.  They were closed.  Seriously?  Sara had chocolate soy milk and that did the trick.  Note for next time pack some Zico, I really wanted chocolate coconut water that was just far too much to say or even expect to find in BFE.   

Eventually I got the bracelet to Steve who was off for his 5.3 miles.  We were going to exchange point 3 for van 2 to do their second legs.  

In Danville I managed to get into dry clothes and hopefully didn't flash the whole town, just most of it I am sure.   Pretty dry and comfy  I snuggled under my blanket with the heat cranking to warm up, eventually we could get to the motel and sleep.  Sleep was all of 2 hours.

Van 2 rocked their second leg the driver also managed to pull the roof rack off of Cay’s personal vehicle so they were more focused on getting that taken care of than giving us more than an hours warning to get to exchange point 2.   After that bit of confusion they were off to get some sleep and deal with the roof rack while we ran our 3rd legs.  This was an easy leg for me, mostly downhill with up hills still direction-ally going downhill.  This is also when the rain started picking up, oh yeah…   Fortunately I was smart enough to grab my Marine Corps jacket and that kept me warmish and dryish.  The hat kept the rain out of my eyes for the most part. 

It was a nice rolling easy 5 miles, Space Watch only recorded 4.8 So not sure what is going on with that.   Lots of beautiful horse ranches and cow pastures. I didn't get passed as much, 4 times, and that was a bit more soothing on my ego.  

This time I was prepared for the bracelet hand off to Steve and didn't flash the whole town getting into dry clothes.  I was done d.o.n.e. done.   Yeah.  Once we finished exchange point 3 it was off to the hotel in Lexington to shower and wait for the final run in.  

A real shower was fantastic, a beer would have made it better.  I was not functioning well enough to even think about a beer.  Clean dry clothes, awesome.  

We got the call runner 12 was off with an expected finish of 5:20ish.  We were all changed into our finish line shirts and met Danny to run and limp across the finish line with him.  That was pretty cool!  After a bunch of paperwork checking we all got our medals and our picture taken and were off to find food showers for who hadn't and then off to the Blue Martini Bar to celebrate our victory.

Really hard to know how to recap this race.  It was EXTREMELY well supported at the exchange points.  Clean porta potties and the opportunity to buy SWAG as well as food.  

Some final thoughts:

There is a lot of traffic, and some of the distilleries are not located in places where there was the ability to go in one way and out another.  Where it was one access point in and out these places got pretty jammed up.  So expect some points of utter frustration with the situation.

Having distillery stops along the way was nice.  A chance to use a real bathroom, sample some bourbon, and spend some money.  We sampled a bit of bourbon and spent money because you can’t put a price on a real bathroom once in a while. The Race Officials were pretty serious about no drinking and if someone offered a sample, I wasn't going to turn it down, nor was I going to get in line 2 or 4 times.  Just not the time or the place.  We know of no one getting DQ for drinking or wearing ear buds, so that is a good thing!

The race does take a toll on your body, things just don’t function normally and don’t expect them too.  Also you have to figure out how to fit in your pre and post race rituals, like stretching because you spent  A LOT of time sitting in the van if you aren't careful. Once you stop abusing it with lack of sleep and bad food, it does bounce back pretty quickly.  Just be prepared!!  I’m a bit tired, however absolutely itching to run.  My body is sore my mind a little fuzzy and I need one more good night of rest and will run tomorrow.  Plus I do have Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday and need to focus on running that not just running because I feel like it.  If that makes any sense?   I don’t want to be wiped out or injured I think is more my point.

Packing tips:   Pack a second bag, in that keep it with you in the van, your wallet, change of dry clothes, safety equipment, nutrition.  These are the things you are going to need handy.  The bag with the rest can stay in the back of the van and you won’t need to sift through it to find what you need.  Pack your main bag thinking about what you are going to wear for each leg and pack these together.

We had a great team captain.  She set up a FB group so we could chat with each other and find out our assignments and who we owed what to.  I volunteered for van decorations and finish line shirts, possibly not the best thing to do but not the worse.  No one was all that into having a costume, there were plenty of groups with matching costumes some were a set of super heros, that was very cool, and probably really easy when you all live close.  Our  14 people were from AR, IL, MO, OH, and RI  some knew each other through the event the previous years some through other events, and me, just virtually.  

This takes a lot of organization and planning.  Dana was at it a year planning and re planning and finding runners and then having runners drop out. Coordinating the logistics of hotels for the team and assigning tasks like food, decorations, team spirit and hoping like hell people followed through on their commitments. It really is a commitment one person makes to a team.  We lost one runner 6 weeks before due to injury, she quickly found a replacement.  I couldn't imagine trying to convince anyone I know to come with into a situation I don’t even know what to expect.  Next year though… We lost one runner two days before due to a family emergency, the injured runner decided she was OK to run 2 of the 3 legs and worked a deal with another to run one of her legs.  A week before we lost a driver, fortunately one of our runners was able to convince her wife to drive for us.  It all works out, but I can’t imagine the stress for the team leader!

All in all it is a fun event, you get to know your van mates really really well you all get on each other’s nerves and at the end of it all call it a job well done and either vow to never do it again or put your name in for the 2014 lottery and hope for the best!

Beth, probably still a little fuzzy happy you stuck with this to the end!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bourbon Chase 2013

Our team finished up about 5 tonight. Couple of injured runners.  Blog post to follow!   Let me know any questions you have about the event, maybe help me focus my recap!

Till then!  Peace Love and Bourbon!

Beth VERY exhausted. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Newport 1/2 - Recap

Going into this I had no designs on anything, just running 13.1 miles with Nicole.  This was the race I PR'd (2:09) last year and wasn't feeling like working that hard this a.m., I just wanted to run and enjoy the sights of Newport on foot.

Nicole and I were to meet up with a few people.  Rebecca, who we found though the miracles of texts!  Yeah!

Rebecca (Marathon), Nicole, Me (we are the sane ones doing the 1/2)
Me sans my usual smile...  Alas perhaps I was a bit pensive over my activities yesterday, mostly the plate full of BBQ (neither the 5K or the bike ride were a concern - I really NEEDED those) and I just wasn't feeling this racing business.  Of course I wanted to run, so that I did, ran and chatted with Nicole.

Nicole was on the look out for her friend Patty, we didn't see her till we stopped for a potty break @ mile 4.5.  We caught up with her around mile 6 and hung for a little and then were able to see her finish!!

The race started about 30 minutes late, I have no idea why.  Probably getting people to the start, I think this was also a problem last year.  Remembering the traffic jam last year I aimed to be parked and on my way to a shuttle bus by 7 a.m.  CHECK.  Took a few minutes to get across the starting mat, per usual.  Well those of you up in the front may not know this so, yeah, the runners of the group have this hurry up and wait and waddle to the starting mat business!  We ran with Rebecca for the first couple miles.  Nicole had already run 3 per her Philly Marathon training plan. Better woman than I, I never managed to do the additional miles, call me lazy?  Ha - hardly!

We started out slow as per our plan, this is a training run, enjoy it.  The first mile greets you with a big hill and we could either waste energy trying to pass people, or just run up it with no bobbing and weaving.  Rebecca, did all she could to hang back for a little while, she found some Marathon Maniacs after the hill and started chatting with them, we bid her adieu.  Spunky gal, we will catch up again!!

The first set of porta potties looked appealing, something about a late race start gets the body all confused.  We passed them and figured the line would be less for the second set.  It was, we lost about 6 minutes, it was time well spent (the BIG spike in the pace chart).  Chatted with a gal from Philly (Nicole's hometown) who ran the Philly Full 5 years ago and was running the Newport Full. She gave Nicole some tips on the race and how nice it was to run in their home town.  As luck would have it Nicole spied Patty running past, pshew, Nicole was relieved, she sort of talked her into the race and then they forgot to exchange phone numbers to catch up with each other pre-race.

After that we picked up the pace a teensy bit to catch Patty, eventually we did around mile 6, I didn't check my watch, it may have been earlier.  She was happy to see a familiar face, even for a few minutes.  

At about mile 8 Nicole happened to mention her 1/2 PR is 2:34. I checked my Garmin, we were 1:38 with 5 miles to go.  OH hell yes, she was going to get a PR, little did she know I had a goal.  I let her know a few miles later what my goal was.  This sent my endorphin level spiking.  I LOVE having a goal, super geek!!  As the miles clicked down it became apparent we could get this thing done in under 2:30.  I pushed her along a little harder and backed off as she really needed to.   I kinda forgot she was 3 miles ahead of me for the day already!!

At mile 12, the sub 2:30 was in sight and I pushed a little harder, there was just enough of an incline that we could slow down too much and miss my goal, erh our goal, ah her goal... oh whatever.

As we went down the hill I was pulling Nicole along, by the time the finish chute was in sight and we saw Michelle (HI!) she got some kick in her step and I had to work to keep up with her and be a stride ahead, so she wouldn't let up.  She saw the timing clock with 2:32 on it as we crossed, I could see some happiness in her face and a little bit of a bummer to not be sub 2:30.  I said, "1:29!! Remember we didn't start till a few minutes after the gun" She was all smiles!!  I'm so proud of her!!!  She hung with it and totally gave me a reason to love this race (besides my own PR - which pales in comparison to helping someone else achieve their goals!)

After our race we looked out for Patty and cheered her across the finish line and then set about finding some food, snapping a few pics!  I bailed on the last 2 of Nicole's total miles for the day, headed to the bus to go home.  She knew I would, I knew I would, I should have stuck around, she found beer, bummer.  I had my sights set on beer and pretzel sammiches with Dave....

The cat's who ate the canary!!!

Texted Dave that once I found my car I'd be on my way home.  Yeah, finding my car.  The busses were doing us a favor by going to the different parking lots.  I had no idea where I was parked unless I walked there from where I picked up the bus.  After a lap or two in the parking lot I did find Vinnie and we headed home, well sat in traffic.  I knew this is going to be the case.  Called Dave and he was done biking (Big River) and on his way to 55 with the guys.  Damn it on many levels, I was hungry and all I had was a damn Cliff Bar and a couple bottles of water and what I wouldn't give for an icy diet coke at that moment, then I really want to try 55, and well pretzel sammiches are off the table.  Blargh.  Getting between me and food is, well, not a good idea.

I foraged around when I got home and came up with an orange, some cottage cheese and coconut water.  Who does the grocery shopping in this house?  Ah... whoops...

Awesome race day all the way around!

Beth, who eventually did get beer and pretzel sammiches! Yummo!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Free to Breathe 5K - Recap

Nicole sent a note, meet me at the US 1 Park and Ride with the tower, 7:40/5.  OK sure.  As I got in the car at 7 this morning I thought, do I even know what she is talking about?  Yeah, I think I do...  Off I go, I made it a whole block before I realized I forgot my watch!!

Arriving at the park and ride early, I was there maybe 5 minutes and along comes Nicole's impossible to miss truck.  I waved to have her come to my car, I'd drive.  I commented we are both chronically early, it was all of 7:35.  She commented I had liked her post on FB and there was no way I was FBing and driving so I must be at the Park and Ride.  HA!  

Off we went.  I realized I had forgotten the printed directions to Dagget Farm at Slater Park.  In my mind we were going to Slater Mill, ah yeah, no... Fortunately we arrived at the right place, VERY early, like 8, the race didn't start till 9:30 so we picked up our bibs and chatted with Sally. Took a walk around the mile loop. Signed up for a few silent auctions (fortunately someone out bid both of us, pshew, but hey someone has to get the bidding started)....

Nicole, Me, Sally
Sally was on the organization committee for Free to Breathe Providence - 6th year! she had everything well under control at the chaotic registration tent.  Just over 100 people registered in advance and nearly 100 more the day of the race!  Awesome turn out.  There was a 5K race, 5K walk, and 1 mile walk.  

I really liked how they set up the races, the 5K run started first, then 5 minutes later the 5K walkers, and 5 minutes later the 1 mile runners.  Helps with that whole walkers lining up front at the start.  Nicole looked around and said, "I think we may win this thing, doesn't look like a lot of tough competition."  We laughed, because, yeah, no...

The race coordinator explained the course, the 5K runners, go right at the first cut off, go around the circle, past the start line then left at the cut off and around the park.  We looked at each other and said, oh boy, did you pay attention?  The race coordinator then said, and there are signs and people directing.  We looked at each other again and said, like there were for the Shawn Nassaney?  Well let's hope for the best!!  (two of our team zigged when they should have zagged, with the confusion on that course)

We vowed to just run this easy and we did. It has been more than a month since we've run together and had lots to catch up on, her kids and school, was a big topic.  What is it with the school administration these days?  First one of my work buddies son has a full day kindergarten curriculum compressed into a 1/2 day.  Woah, kindergarten curriculum?  you're joking right, isn't that about socialization and playing.  Poor AJ hates school and it is a battle every morning for he and his wife to get the kid up and ready for school.  He has to sit at his desk for the full 1/2 a day?  Krikies.  Nicole had a similar story with one parent wanting to ban recess because her child got hurt on the playground.  Her son is in 2nd grade, and all boy all the time, he NEEDS recess... krikies...   Then there was the debacle over her volunteering in the class room and how kids add these days.   don't know how you learned but we learned to add in columns... apparently adding by 10's is the fashion?  Both her father and my husband learned adding by 10's so it isn't a new concept. But wow... Although we both wondered if this is part of the reason neither of us do math well in our heads?

At one of the confusion points we were told 5K go left 1 mile go right.  I questioned the guy as he was pointing right and saying left.  Yeah yeah he said, go right.  Ah ok.  Wonder if this is what happened to Connie at Shawn Nassaney?   We giggled and said, held out our hands, remember the left hand makes and L.  

All in all a very fun race and a beautiful location to have a race!!!

I stopped off in Narragansett for the YNSC 5K and picked up my bib, I had an hour before the 12:30 start and thought, oh forget it.  I'd like to spend some time with my husband, maybe he would be game for at 20 mile bike ride.  Arriving home I found him cleaning out his truck.  Apparently figured out why he had no water in his hydration pack earlier this week, it leaked out and created quite the gnarly smell!    That was all well under control and was told to bring down my running clothes he was putting a load through.  I came down stinky clothes in hand with my biking gear on and was greeted with "Ah, what are your plans?  We have a cook out to go to at 2."  I rebutted with "Ah, it is noon and a 20 mile bike ride is 90 minutes or less, I have some more energy to burn, plenty of time to be in Charlestown by 2."

Well there was some fiddling around with pumping up of tires, he bought the appropriate tire pump and it is very easy for me to operate and pump up the tires, which apparently needs to be done before EVERY ride.  Who knew?

We were on our way and noticed the headwinds (more like side winds) on the way out to Watch Hill.  Turning right past the Ocean House we caught a HUGE HEADWIND off the water, lots of white caps, usually you can coast a bit.  Backing off on the pedals we would have stopped at a minimum, more likely went backwards!!!  Ocean View Road was slow with the wind at a 45 degree angle.  Hoo boy Atlantic Ave was going to be right into the wind and a bitch.  It was. We made it!!  The slowest time ever along that stretch of Atlantic for me.  Done and dusted we went up Weekapaug Road to take Shore Road back to Winnepaug Road and home.  The tail winds along Shore Road were nice with the hills and curves.  We played catch me if you can, that was fun!!  Dave is difficult to catch, I manage, but I think he may slow down so I can catch him!!

(the pic isn't appearing for me... hmmm)

We were a little late to the picnic, oops, and were teased unmercifully because really, bike ride over bbq and beer?  Where are your heads!!  Endorphin addicts, end of story.

Beth, exhausted and ready for Newport 1/2 tomorrow a.m.!!

Friday, October 11, 2013


Running home along Elm Street I hear a guy yell "ALIEN" out the car window as it zooms past me.  I suppose I did look rather odd with the headlamp thing, white light in the front and flashing red light in the back with my orange shirt stating: What Part of "Princess" Don't You Understand? reflecting on the back. Yeah, he had a point, I'm sure it was a sight.

Back of the shirt - crown on the front 

I went out with the sole purpose of testing out this headlamp before I wear it next Friday night running leg 17 (8.6 miles mostly along KY300 past grave yards, hoo boy) in the Bourbon Chase.  That will by my 2nd of 3 legs in the 200 mile journey 10 women and 2 men take starting at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont and ending up at the Town Branch Distillery in Lexington.  Of course this is the longest and most difficult leg, in the dark, the week before a marathon.  It will be awesome fun!!!

The whole trip will be awesome fun!! I have never met any of these people in person, only 3 virtually.  We share a common bond of running, whiskey, and wicked sarcastic sense of humor.  Good times will be had, I am sure.

I fiddled with the headlamp quite a bit while I ran. The Black Diamond Sprinter, came highly recommended and had the required front lamp and red flashing back lamp.  It felt a little tight and I loosened it up and tightened up the strap across the top.  Thinking I may be happier with it with a hat or a headband, felt like the front lens was digging into my forehead.  Need a couple more evening/night runs this week to test it out.  Why do I insist on waiting until the last minute?

All in all it lit up the sidewalk and roadway very well.  To be more comfortable I need to try along some darker roads, as I doubt KY300 will have many street lamps!  Guess I'll venture down the West side of the river Monday night, maybe Sunday?  I'll see how I'm feeling after the Newport 1/2.

Tomorrow I'm signed up for two 5Ks.  I'll do one of them and if I happen to be in Narragansett by 12 I'll run the second, or at least pick up my shirt.  The first is Free to Breathe at Slater Park in Pawtucket.  Nicole and I will run together and take it easy!  Plus I'll be able to see several people I met at the Lung Cancer Advocacy Summit in Dallas last month.  It will be nice to catch up!!  The second is Your Next Step is the Cure I've been trying to get in touch with the local folks connected to the organization to expand my Lung Cancer advocacy network and I've had no luck, so that sort of pisses me off, well no it really pisses me off.  This is a bastard of a disease and all these different organizations really need to work together, or find a way to work together, they have the same goal after all.  Yeah yeah, take off your rose colored glasses and be real, it is about who can be there first and raise the most money, I'm sure.  20 some odd years in corporate America should have taught me something, yes?

Anyhoodles, I'll have a smile on my face and see what connections I can make. The consummate diplomat...

Sunday is the Newport 1/2, this was a great race for me last year.  I will enjoy it, a beautiful course and Nicole will be there and one of the gals I met at the Lung Cancer Advocacy Summit, plus this will be a friends first ever marathon and I'm pretty psyched for her.  Although I can't imagine running this as a full, as you pass by the 1/2 finish for 13.1 out and back to finally finish...

Beth, a little over committed for the weekend, but it will keep her from getting stressed over the next two weekends!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Marathon Training - Starting week III Counting Down to MCM 2013

I started a post about family, not genetics, related, as in connected to in some way.   Not really sure I remembered where I was going to go with it.  I started down one path and fizzled out.  Writing has a way of doing that.  What SEEMS like a good idea when you are driving through PA and you pull over and make some notes, just doesn't pan out, it happens. 

On my drive back I made a stop at Pymatuning Lake.  My paternal grandparents used to take me there during my two week vacation in the summer.  My vacation from my parents and my parents vacation from me and my opportunity to be the Number One Special Grandchild Ever.  We were ALL quite happy with this arrangement.  I remember going to feed the carp, and that is about it.  My 2 weeks with my grandparents stopped in 1975 when we moved to Wisconsin, bummer, understandable though.  But hey, I remember bits and bobs feeding the carp, and there may be some photographic evidence some where.

This was the beauty I saw. 
Checking in with one of my groups, we post our miles weekly towards a goal,  I have no recollection what the goal IS however apparently I have surpassed it.  Anyhoodles, I noted on my marathon plan I was off, way off.  Yes, I do have knowledge on my marathon training plan, I carry the damn thing around with me - yes, geek, I own that!

So, I have this very cool training plan with the miles I’m to run.  I mark off what I did to what was planned.  I’m behind.  I’d do the math to figure out how much but that would make me cry.  Instead, this is a new week and a new start and there is no doubt in my mind I can run 26.2 miles, I mean really, not a problem.  Not being arrogant, but when I truly set my mind to something, it happens.  Right Scott? Breaking 5 hours, well, that is in question.  Yeah yeah, there are plenty of sub 4 and sub 3 marathoner runners out there, yippiee!!!   That takes serious work and dedication, I get that and I ADMIRE it!!    For me, I figure it takes A LOT of patience and stamina to stay on your feet for 5 hours, I’m just the patient person to manage that! (Mike and I talked about this in the fitness center - along with how awesome a show WTAC put on for their races this weekend).  Anyhoodles, as I finally figured out, I’m a runner not a racer, I enjoy the running part, no matter how long I'm on my feet.  Just wait, 50K in WI next year, could take me 6 hours...  LOL!!!!   Just a little poking fun at myself, no harm no foul, no whining intended, not a pitty party.

Tis' a beautiful thing, no?

 Maybe NEXT year I’ll get focused on this whole business of speed work and being faster, or maybe not, life is a crap shoot and I’m all about enjoying it.  So I'm behind on miles, I'm over the top with fun and enjoyment, guess it all balance itself out, right?

The only thing that does worry me (oh I have worries, believe you me, I'm over the top with those too) is being part of a parade, or some insult to the prestige of the Boston Marathon as a charity runner.  I may always keep the note from Mass General Cancer center to run Boston as a charity runner.  Acting on it?  Probably not.  Surely I shouldn't offend the elites like Chuck Engle and those of that ilk?   Besides I'd rather run the LA Marathon and see family (oh yeah and a beach house in Oxnard for a week is pretty DELUXE, no?).   No disrespect to Boston and the qualifiers, but really if you want a qualification only race outside of the Olympics, run Gansett.  Seriously. 

Ok enough of my soapbox, if it can even be called that...

I've COMPLETELY lost the point of ANY of this... if you can figure it out, let me know, please!!!

Oh wait!  Some of y'all may remember Burr-lingame in 2012, I was the person who came in last, dead freaking last.  What you may not know was that was my FIRST 15K race, ever.  I was so ready to hang it up after the first loop when I KNEW I was last.  Mike and Becky just said KEEP GOING.  Thanks for that!  Even when I finished I think Becky said, "Oh there is someone else out there." There wasn't and all y'all were probably waiting for me to get out of the woods so you could collect your Gansett beer and go home!!!   Thank you for your patience, little did I know all y'all were really cool and warm people!!

To sum it up:  Family is not genetics, it is being connected through a commonality, through a community. 

Beth, sorry if I kept you from your beer, but hey, what I know of REAL runners, all y'all aren't wigged out over the slower of the pack!!!  Thanks for that!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday - I haven't a creative title....

Another family weekend....

Saturday night my cousin Michelle, and her husband and their 7 month old, Dawson, are having a Life Celebration.   Kind of an impromptu wedding took place, in a helicopter, in February after Dawson was born and well the bleeding just didn't stop. Michelle is not someone to let a little thing like bleeding out stop her from being a mother to her son.  She and Steve were married on Life Flight from Girard OH to Cleveland.  At 41 Michelle was quite healthy enough to have a normal pregnancy, well, apparently not a normal birth.  Michelle is a tough woman, no doubt.  She is at about 85% of what she was pre-near death/birth.  Yeah, the nurses said, "well we've never seen someone live through that"...  Yes, women still die in childbirth in the 21st century.  Scary.

Enough of the drama.  Michelle has always been someone you didn't mess with, started at birth, and continues on.  Tough bitch, nice, actually; she doesn't take too kindly to being crossed, ever.

Saturday I am off to Austinburg, OH to see her and as many family members as are able to gather.  I'm told there is a nice running trail by the Ramada.  We shall see.  I remember the farm she grew up on and that was in the midst of a nice Midwest grid, so I'll get some miles in when I arrive and hopefully before I leave on Sunday.  My youngest brother will be there and well, there could be drinking...

I still remember when Mark visited me in Grad School (Kent State University) he had just turned 21 and we went to the QD (like a 7-11 but with booze, I'm still, after 14 years, trying to get used to this Packy business in RI) to pick up some beer and the cashier carded ME the OLDER sister...  Mark got a charge out of that.  Let's just say now that I'm way closer to 50 than he is, he looks much older.  Muwahaaaaa!!!

Nice run at work today.  I left the usual way and went a little further figuring maybe I'd tackle "the bitch" or not....  I did it (I'd say her, but well, yeah) actually a little longer than the hill on Meech, just as steep and not as long as the hill on Oak (local to me at home).  Aptly named, no doubt about that.  Next time I'll run on the asphalt instead of the rocky curb.  Did that and went back to my usual loop.  Logged 7.7 miles.  Not too shabby.

Nice high 5 from Mike got me through that last mile!!

Felt pretty good when I got back to my desk as evidenced by my glossy eyes and smile.  Made the rest of the afternoon bearable including paying for Vinnie's latest repairs.  He needed two rear wheel bearings, that makes a full set in the last year.  Blargh.  At 170K he is pretty much rebuilt and should last for another few years.  Better start planning what to get when I turn 50!  BMW?  Thoughts?

And that wraps the week up.

Tuesday - Spin and TRALP (Tuesday Running And Libations Professionals - I had a nice Blue Pointe at the Harp and Hound in Mystic after 2 miles)

Wednesday- 4ish mile lunch run and a nice mind clearing bike ride out to Watch Hill.  Getting faster!  Woot!!  I need to take that segment back from M, now that I know what QOM means - thanks Jeff!!

Thursday -  rest day, Spin and what did I do when I got home, mail I think...

Beth, thankful for the miracles of modern medicine and looking forward to meeting Dawson in person!  (oh yeah and seeing her parents and one of her brothers)