Saturday, March 29, 2014

Week of March 24 - 30 - Week 14 of 50K Training (easy week)

After a 10 minute 'discussion' with Jax that his ball could not possibly be on Dave's desk, it must be under it.  He was insistent that it was on his desk.  Well it was.  Color me amazed.  I know I shouldn't be.  I had a 6 month battle with Diesel over a ball he insisted was in a wall, or rather an open space in the wall.  He spent at least 30 minutes a day staring at that hole in the wall with his 'get my ball' whine.  It wasn't until I was home and it was day light and I decided, oh what the hell I'll take a closer look.  I looked and I'll be damned, there was a ball resting in the hole in the wall.  Jax's ball was in the keyboard tray.  Argh...

Dogs.  Amazing creatures they are, for sure.

So what have I been up to this week, other than having a battle of wits with a dog and being the unarmed participant?

Sunday - 11 on the trails in Burlingame - bliss.  Strava link

Monday - R: 0 / W: 2.6 / O: TRX

Finally back to TRX, it has been a while.  Between my friend losing her best friend to cancer and scheduling conflicts it has been what 5 weeks?  I was a little apprehensive at how much I had lost, because while I have a rig at home, um, it didn't get used...  I should know better I suck at home exercise.  We got to side planks and they sucked.  Surprisingly the side plank curl unders didn't suck.  Well until Wed a.m. when coughing hurt, or rather HURT!

Tuesday - R: 4.  /W:  2.4 / O: Spin 

Just a run.  Same old same old native american head course around campus followed by a spin class.  

Wednesday - R: 0 / W: 0 / O:  Swimming and Nap

This was one of those days where I had an eye problem (to quote GDogg) I can't see myself being here.  I had time blocked off for a nice 7 or 8 mile run, in the wind.  Got to the gym and bloody hell, no sports bra.  You'd think I'd learn my lesson, um, no...  a couple friends offered me their spare, ah, you are as big around as a pencil and I'm not...  Besides, ew gross...  dejected I went back to my desk, figuring I'd leave early and get in a run before spin.  The siren sound of the couch met me at the door.  I did wake up in time for swimming.

I made a monumental step forward.  I can swim freestyle without breathing for 1/3 of the pool.  Introducing breathing introduces panic.  Fuck...  sorry to my sensitive readers.  

Practice is on the agenda for the weekend, now to learn how to read the Y open swimming schedule...

Thursday - R: 7 / W: 2.5 / O: Spin and Weights

I think I got my crap together for Thursday, wrote a packing list ON my gym bag, hopefully that will help!  Getting back into the habit of getting up at 5 and running from home would completely solve the problem.  Yeah, that isn't happening.

Blocked off my calendar and moved meetings to have 90 minutes before spin to run 6 or 7.  Mike B said "Go left." and I trusted him on this.  I was a little iffy until I got to the part of going left I dread the long slowly increasing incline on Shennecossett.  Wind at my back.  Mike B you are awesome, thank you!!  Even though I was running into the 20 MPH wind on the way back to campus, it was down hill and absolute bliss.

With my spare few minutes I hopped on the treadmill to do a mile of 2% incline increases, up 2% every minute till I got to 12%.  12% is the incline of the majority of Mt. Washington (we won't talk about the 18% part at the end, shhh).  While Galoob will be racing this, I just want to get to the top and not die!!  

Friday - R: 0 / W: 3.1 / O: 0

Friday isn't typically a running day for me however with the pending rain if I could fit it in I was going to run.  Between a New York colleague in for the day, surprise, and other "gotta get this wrapped up before Claire retires" odds and ends, running didn't happen.  No running at night as I had an evening outing planned with the "Housewives of Narragansett" for "Dessert and Dabble", an instructor led painting class to help the youth group raise funds for their trip to Scotland over the summer.  These are typically "Drink and Dabble", being at St. Peter's by the Sea, dessert it was.  And WOW great desserts!  We went for a drink afterwards, I'm sure breaking into the sacramental wine would just be added to the list of reasons this heathen is going to hell?


Took a walk at lunch time with the usual suspects.  I suppose I could have run instead, sometimes it is just nice to walk and chat.

Saturday - R: 13.3 / W: 0 / O: 0 

Crutch organized a group run, on Thursday it was with a friend of his that runs a similar pace to me recovering from a hamstring injury.  Ok, pressure is off.  I get so nervous running with other people.  Ok so not so much anymore with the "Housewives of Narragansett" for the first few runs I was nervous. Dave was up and out the door by 6:30 for a bike ride.  He grumbled about being woken up at midnight (whine whine whine), warned me the rain was supposed to start 11ish and, finally, to have a fun run. Crutch arrives at the meeting spot and reviews the map and says Gazelle is coming.  Oh crap, I can't keep up with him!!   Gazelle was up for an easy few miles on the trails after a tough week of illness and injury.  Ok. All is good. Glad you are feeling better! 

We ran 4.5 at Long and Ell Pond, in Hopkinton, RI. Strava entry (still can't get the html to load a picture)  OMG gorgeous.  The day was warm for the weather we've been having, 40's, no sun, cloudy due to that dratted looming rain.  Even with the less than spectacular lighting.  Amazing.  It was hard to not look around and to keep an eye on the trail so I didn't slip and fall or break an ankle.  I managed.  Only one near fall.  Jeff was behind me and commented on my grace.  Lots of practice with near falling, glad it is paying off!  Thanks!  Great to have an actual live conversation with Gazelle too.  

The last climb. 
In honor of my mother doing very well in her Pulmonary Rehab, I selected the one with my thumb in the picture.  
We were all a little spent with the rock climbing and called it a day. Definitely some place for more exploring!

After a little rest I had a little something left in the tank to finish out the 10 for the day, I went out to visit with the cows, figuring I'd get about 8 in (8.8, not too bad) and hoping to beat the rain.  My last 2 miles were in the light spray of rain, not too horrible, just a little chilly.  It was very strange going from roots and rocks and climbs to flat asphalt. 

Sunday:  R: 6.5 / W: 2.6 / O: 0
I need 5.5 to meet my weekly 30 mile running goal. The relentless rain sort of let up to a drizzle, about 10 a.m. so off I went, with 6 in mind, trying to stay on roads with sidewalks or less busy roads.  It was a make it up as I go along route hoping like h3ll that some bozo didn't spray me from a puddle.  I did manage to scare the crap out of someone driving a gray Land Rover.  Sorry pal!  I thought you saw me and my day glo pink shirt in the cross walk.  Whoopsie.  The rain picked up for the last 2 miles of the run and I got home dripping wet.   Dave was still at his bike race  (King of Burlingame he took 2nd in Masters Sport division - seemed pleased with himself, absolutely not a competitive kind of guy and chalked it all up to the rain and no one good being out on the course.  Hey you race who is there right?) alas no one to grab a towel for me, the dogs were more interested in sniffing me rather than helping me, so I dripped all over the house.  

Gizzy and I went out for a walk when it seemed like there was a bit of a break in the rain. Went to check out how high the Pawcatuck River was getting, definitely higher than when I ran by and over it in the a.m. The last mile it started raining and was a full on downpour when we got home.  Dave was there with a towel for Giz.  We were both drenched!

All in all a good week!  31 running miles, 13.2 walking miles, swimming, weights, spinning, TRX, and a nap!!


Beth, who can't remember why she needed to google the lyrics "Signs, Signs, Everywhere a sign." but it's "Signs" by Five Man Electrical Band.  *smirk*

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Beth, who said "I'll get it right, THIS time." many times during swimming tonight...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No need to panic!!

Monday was a rest day for me and ALL I could think about was running.  Rather unusual for me on a Monday.  I kept picturing where I went wrong Sunday (Hi Johnny!) on the Secret Trail/Sammy C intersection (to stay on the Sammy C after the Secret Trail and not go down the Duck Road - that sucked, lots of ducking!) and zigged when I should have zagged or zagged when I should have zigged and wanted to get it right.  Plus running over those domes was pretty cool.  

To quell my desire I spent lunch reading running blogs, the race recaps are so fun love reading about what happens in the front of the pack, and, took a peek on the narrative about the Ice Age 50 50K course.   Section 1:  13 miles out and back on what sounds like typical trails I run, roots and rocks, there will be several climbs (dare I say close to 100 ft), so not so much the climbs. Section 2: 18 miles consisting of two laps of the 9 mile Nordic Loop.  The 1/2 last year was two 6.5 mile loops of the Nordic Trail.  

I’m not that concerned about the Nordic Loop, not to say I’m all cocky oh I can do that in my sleep, it is that I THINK I know what to expect, long flats and a few climbs, over soft pine needles in new and old growth pine forest.  Nirvana? Eden?  Bliss?  

Blissful section of the Nordic Trail

I’ve been studying the 50M elevation profile to figure out which section is the 13 mile out and back section.  So glad this  torture, erm, fun, is first!!
Read it Right to Left AS9 is ~mile 43.3 on the 50M map  AS8 is about mile 47.6.
The last 2.4 is from AS8 to the finish.  Make sense?

The 13 mile out and back is described as:
“From AS 8 you begin your climb of Indian Signal Hill (Bald Bluff on the map) to the highest point on the course.   At the top, enjoy the view and the significance of this Native American spiritual site that (according to settler accounts in the mid-1800′s) attracted Native American peoples from as far away as Illinois and other Wisconsin areas. The very trails you run are the trails used by earlier peoples traveling to this site for centuries.

The terrain from AS 8 to AS 9 is constantly changing. Expect narrow, single track winding up and over hill after hill until you finally reach AS 9. There are some flats; but, they are few and far between. At AS 9, appreciate the hard work by Franny Keyes and other seasoned Ice Age veterans who man this critical aid station. This is your turnaround and you begin your trek back to the finish line at the Nordic Trail for a total of 13 miles.”

Sounds like Burlingame with Arcadia and Lantern Hill for the climbs?  Looking forward to Saturday Crutch!!  I promise not to whine too much!

I also gleened a little bit about the course from this blog: 

50 M course (the upper out and back is the 50K out and back and then some)
50K course


Beth, overthinking, not panicking, looking forward to the challenge!  :) 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brrr-lingame 10 miler - Recap

THIS year wasn't the snowy sufferfest of last year, WHOOP!!

Clean and clear trails, WHOOP!!

I woke up with that, I really should stay in bed feeling. My late afternoon nap didn't do me any favors and I was tossing and turning till damn near 2 a.m.  Oh well!!

The plan was the race, two laps = 10 miles then another lap and the rest of the yellow loop should get me damn close to 24 miles.  The race went well.  I paced my self and really felt Like I could run a full 6 laps (which would get me near that 50K mark).  

Met up with the usual WTAC crew, hi guys, I wasn't feeling really social today.  It happens.  Thanks Johnny for the comments about the post on the NEMBA FB page, yep that Dave Smith is my husband.  Monica and James came down from Providence to run the 5 miler, James placed in his age group!!!   Erica and Peter were there, also for the 5 miler.  Tony ( my neighbor) for the 5 miler, he was curious about these different trails in Burlingame. Nice to see friendly faces!  Just not really chatty...

The first loop, I hung towards the back with Monica and Tony.  Figured we were pretty much the tail end of the race.  Eventually I lost Monica and caught glimpses of Tony every now and then.  Erica and Peter were in a group ahead of me.  Eventually she and her friends separated and left Peter by himself.  

At the point where the trail turns a sharp left.  Where I learned my lesson about how trails are marked, I saw Peter going straight and shouted for him that he should have gone left.  He shouted back that I let him pass the turn so I could pass him.  We laughed.    He asked what mile we were at 3.3 I said and 19 bridges to cross and shouted out 19 and then 18 and decided I had enough of that.  He never did catch up to me.

The trail wound in through the camp ground, sometimes it felt like the flags were on the left and others on the right.  The RD is left handed so it would make sense that the flags would really be more on the left side of the trail, right?  (now who's scratching their head, and asking themselves: is Mike left handed?  and why the hell would anyone pick up on that detail?  of course, if I'm wrong, let me know, I'm pretty sure on this one though, lots of left handers in my family)

From the beginning my legs felt heavy and frankly it felt like my ass weighed 100 lbs, there is junk in the trunk, but not THAT much.  It was torture to pick up my feet in the really leafy sections, but I tried to keep from shuffling, although the sound of the dried leaves was really really nice!!

I knew I was in the tail end, this is where I run and as Jim the EE points out to me after doing a analysis of my races, statistically I have every right to be there.  I love my geeky friend.  Besides, if this were one of those pay a million dollars and get a medal races I'd be solidly middle of the pack, right?   So I pay $15 a couple of canned goods and run on trails I can run for free any other day of the week, where I get timed and the result is forever findable on the internets (thank you Al Gore), and wonder if this will be my next DFL, I wasn't, I actually passed 2 people! 

Lap 1 under 1 hour.  Pshew, I was happy to not have gotten lapped by the winner.  I think with the first Brrrr-lingame in 2012 I got lapped by the front runner.

Ditched my gloves (and remembered to pick them up after the race) for the second lap.  I figured I was the last one, no one behind me was running the 10 miler, right?  

And off to lap two, lost in my thoughts, and actually feeling good considering it felt like I was running through pudding.  At the bridge section I see a group of bikers ahead, and one shouts "Runner"  and the all pulled over.  One of them had on a yellow riding jacket much like what Dave has, I though, oh he came out to see me.  Yeah, right...  Wasn't him.  I thanked all the guys.  One had a camera on his helmet.  Imagine that is some interesting footage?  

And back into the campgrounds, at this point I passed someone.  Muttering they were too tired to run..  I thought, well that sucks.  And now I'm not DFL.... oh well...

Made me think about being the eldest child and how much I hated, truly hated being the first one to do anything (well other than learn how to drive) I was the experiment, sometimes it went horribly wrong, sometimes not.  Anyhoodles it was nice and I was lost in my thoughts about the lack of pressure not being first and managed to not land flat on my face stumbling over a rock well hidden by the leaves!  HA!

2:04 was my final time.  Results here.  After the first lap I figured this would be about a 2:10 venture.  My honest intent was to get in 14 more miles.  That didn't happen.  I made 4 and will give it a go on Sunday.  Feeling a little (ok a lot) of frustration with myself.  Rationally this is one run out of how many training runs and what are training runs for?  To train and to test and to learn.  Now I need to consider if Big River is a Saturday short run and I run long on Sunday or I just keep to my schedule.  I'm not quite settled on the answer to that question, but I think I know the answer, as if 2013 didn't already make it crystal clear what the decision should be.

WTAC took it for the win, of course without my help.  As Jackass would say "Beth you are the diversity hire, enjoy the ride."  I enjoy the beer.  Thanks guys!!  Someday I'll pull my own weight!  I truly am in awe of what each and every one of you accomplish, you all amaze me!

Sincerely, Beth
Enjoying the lovely weather and learning lessons.  And off for a true 24 mile run in the woods.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lucky Week 13 - 50K Training

I think my making it up as I go along endurance training is helping.  I feel less fatigued after 2 hours of either running or a combo of spin/run/weights and am fitting in a dog walk the nights of the week I’m home before 8.

Kind of nervous about my long runs over the weekend and committing to the Brrr-lingame 10 miler.  As long as I am there I’ll finish out the 14 miles getting the 24 on my schedule.  I imagine it will be OK to break it up.  It will be nice to see friends and it is supposed to be a pretty nice day on Saturday.

So what have I been up to…

I have to share this picture of a frozen Lake Erie from Lakewood Park.  I used to come here with my paternal grandparents.   My father told me how the park was built, it’s a garbage dump.  Garbage dumped off the cliff including several cars and trucks which the owner backed up a bit too far and the vehicle went sailing over the cliff.  One was a Morgan, ooops!

Lakewood Park, Lake Erie Frozen, Cleveland in the distance

Lakewood Park, Lake Erie Frozen
It was amazing to see the lake frozen like that, and my legs appreciated the hike down to the water too!

Monday – I drove home from MI, I've been comparing the different routes I went out on I-95 / CT 9 / I-84 /NY 17/ I-86 / I-90 and that is about an hour and a half longer than taking I-80 to the Garden State Parkway and over the Tap to the Merritt and back to I-95.  If you were curious, and I’m sure you weren't.  

I love the drive, anyone of the different routes I take.   Usually making a stop either coming or going somewhere I used to go when I was a kid.  In the spring I like to take a buzz by my Alma Mater, Kent State University and see the Kent State Massacre and Vietnam Memorial in the field of daffodils, and of course the black squirrels running all over the place.  I've never seen black squirrels any other place but Kent, Ohio...  It is an amazing site, all the daffodils (one planted for every life lost in Vietnam) and the four black granite tombs.  So tragic.   Neil Young "Ohio" if you want a musical reference.

Tuesday – R: 4.2 / W: 2.9 / O: Spin

It was nice to run without having to don on so many layers.  Really nice to just move. I did wish I had gloves and made a mental note to stash some in my bag.  Fortunately my sleeves were long enough to pull over my hands.  Kept a good pace and made it back with time to change my shoes for Spin class.  Ahhhh….  Gizzy hadn't been out for a walk in a while and was sure to let me know his displeasure with this and also me being gone over the weekend.  

Wednesday -  R: 7.5 / W: 0 / O:  Swim

I packed the gloves, and forgot to wear them, doh!!! The wind was strong from the East and my shirt sleeves weren't cooperating.  Did ‘the bitch’ backwards and out to Thomas and around the regular loop.  Ran Mike B's route along the water, instead of between the buildings at UCONN Avery Point.  Wind off the water was colder, but not as wind tunnelish as when I would go between the buildings.  This time I noticed the truck and averted my eyes to not witness the shenanigans going on behind the UCONN Avery Point buildings.  Seriously find a less public place for your lunch time tryst.  Ok yeah, behind a bunch of buildings may seem less public to some.  

Swimming was good, excellent, I might venture to say.  Toward the end of the lesson something started to click with turning my head and lifting my arm with Freestyle.  The instructor (Brian) had us using the kick board the hand in the water was on the board. I appreciate that level of security.  Adam (the life guard) suggested the right way to hold the board.  I’m honestly impressed with these guys and their teaching abilities, finding what is going to resonate with different people, and concern to make sure we ‘get it’.  I managed what I thought were damn close to nearly right swimming strokes and breathing. I’m still lifting my entire head out of the water but the appropriate movement is starting to click for me.  I need to spend some time at the pool practicing – after all how does one get to Carnegie Hall – practice practice practice!  I came home feeling tired and sore.  

Thursday:  R: 4 / W 5.6 / O:  Weights and Spin

Mixing it up a little bit, Ro and I did weights before Spin and then I ran Bluff Point after spin.  Don had mentioned Bluff Point on our lunch time walk.  I’m glad the weather is shifting so we can get back to these walks, nice way to break up the day.  I thought, oh that would be nice, I haven’t been out to Bluff (or Buff) Point since November, I think.

Ro introduced me to this thing called a Slam Ball.  Very cool 15 lb, 20 lb, and 25 lb ball kind of like a bean bag you lift up over your head and SLAM it down to the ground, bend over (bending at the knees!) pick it up and do it again.  We did it with the 20 and then the 25.  4 with each followed by a circuit of bi/tri/back/shoulder x 4, 20 minutes done and dusted!  Fun stuff, I feel it to day more than I felt it last Thursday.

It really is fun to throw stuff and way better than dishes to ease frustration!

I kept an easy pace for Bluff Point.  I felt like I was running through pudding, imagine that.  It didn't feel like I put in a lot of effort and based on my ‘Suffer Score’ I didn't!  There was a lot of trail maintenance done, cutting down the trees and brush encroaching on the main trail.  One of my favorite places to run, for sure.

Friday:  R: 0 / W: 3.3 / O: The best nap ever

Lunch with some girlfriends and a hair appointment afterwards.  I'm able to take advantage of a compressed work week  AKA summer hours!  They start at Spring Forward and end at Fall Back.  Reporting into NY has SOME advantages other than my boss not being in the same state! 

I got home after 4 and weighed my options, a) work on this swimming and breathing thing, b) bike ride, c) organize my books, d) nap.  Nap won.  I'm exhausted by Friday afternoon and I was out like a light till Dave called at 6 to ask if Subway for dinner would be ok.  Sure, I totally forgot to take chicken out of the freezer.  

Saturday: Brrrr-lingame 10 miler and 14 additional

Sunday:  10 miles

Beth, now wide awake after a 2 hour late afternoon nap...  crap...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Beth, our team got in! And it's only one hill!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Learning to Drive

The back story of the route I ran this morning while visiting my parents.  

One summer day in 1981, I was 14, my mother, with a cooler of beer, handed me the truck keys and said you are learning to drive.  Oh ok.  (her recollection of events was that I nearly knocked her down grabbing the truck keys out of her hands, probably true *smirk*)  She said the beer was for her nerves because she remembered learning how to drive her father’s roofing truck and it was stressful, and maybe if he had a beer or two it wouldn't have been so stressful for her.  And off we went...

I’d driven tractors so I got the whole steering and breaking thing down.  Clutches and gears function a little differently.  When you switch into a gear you just drop the clutch and go. Not like the whole easing thing with a vehicle.  I understood the shifting/clutch feet/hands doing different things at the same time concept from the few times my brothers let me ride their mini or dirt bikes.  I suppose if I hadn’t fed them so many mud pies they may have let me ride a bit more?

Anyhoodles, with a sigh my mother plopped her cooler on the floor, sat down, pulled out a beer, cracked it open and began to explain the concept of easing the gas down and letting the clutch up slowly and off we’d go around the farm.  Yeah, there was a lot of stalling, a bit of peeling out, and eventually, maybe three beers in I got the concept and she was laughing, which is better than yelling any day in my book.  

Around and around the farm I went the first few weeks, stopping and starting, the hardest part of driving a stick. Shifting up and down.  My brothers would sit in the pick-up bed from time to time and my mother’s beer consumption became less and less.  Then the big challenge came. My father mowed a narrow figure 8 in a grassy field and my challenge was to drive it frontwards, oh really, come on, and backwards and if I missed a turn they could see where I drove over the grass.  This field now contains trees.  I was pretty damn good at frontwards.  Backwards, took some work to get to perfection.  Parallel parking was taught in between metal 55 gallon drums.  Not a skill you need in farm country, however eventually this would come in handy.

So that was my summer fun in between babysitting the children from hell, pulling nails, and picking rocks.  Seriously, two boys, the devils spawn I’m sure.  Sweetest parents in the world too… Ok so the dad was a little scary looking, only because he was like 6’6” tall and 300 lbs, I swear he would pick up his pick-up and shake it out to clean it, totally not a scary acting person.  So yeah, I blocked a lot of the experiences, when I do have the chance to catch up with their mother, she enjoys reminding me of her favorite recap:  the one where I explained Bart (no seriously, his name was Bart) was running around with a lit blow torch.  To this day I do not remember that day or conversation. Actually I don’t remember too many of the experiences, probably best.  I am happy to report Bart is the father of two beautiful girls who are full of trouble and are going to give him a run for his money when they are teenagers.  His wife?  She is sweet as pie and I have no doubt she can put Bart in his place when necessary.  Matt, the older, and slightly wiser, was a quiet kid, still waters run deep?  His ‘weapon’ was his hockey stick and puck and two very fast legs that would allow him to escape after nailing Bart with one or the other. 

The next summer was driver’s ed, and my mom taking me out on the back roads.  Midwest grid straight roads are good for driving, but not learning to navigate curves.  I was going to slow on curves, so my mother encouraged me to go just a little faster.  Oh OK.  So along the curve in Neblo (the 'curvy' road in my Strava map) I didn't let up on the gas as much or apply the brake as much.  We caught some loose stones and spun around once maybe twice and ended up in a corn field.  No, my mother didn’t spill her beer, thankfully.  We got out of the truck.  Seemed like the thing to do.  Mr. Klankee came out to see what was going on and laughed, and said, well at least the corn wasn’t growing great in that spot so you didn’t take out too much.  HA!  My mother said, well get in and drive us out of here.  OK, so that’s what I did.  Back on to the road, and back home.  She didn’t take me out on hard top roads till I actually had my learners permit.  Just bend the rules, don’t break them.

Boring to look at however lots of memories on and off those roads!

Why did I learn to drive so early?  Well my parents were sick and tired of the endless trips to drop off or pick up one of the three of us and hoped I could get a licence at 15.   They live on a different planet sometimes...   

Driving to me to this day is the ultimate freedom.  Sure it is annoying when people don’t use lanes properly or are distracted when they drive.  All in all being able to pack up the car and just go is my ultimate vacation.  To drive from RI to CA in a convertible during the summer is something I lust for. Dave would prefer to just get to the destination.  Suppose he will fly while I drive?  To be able to go anywhere and stop anywhere and explore what’s not to love?

The run was good.  It was a combination of mud, ice, snow, and slush.  It was nice to see a friendly face and the childhood homes of many of my friends.  The last 3 miles were all into the wind, ugh. I was ready to be done, for sure.  Sitting for 14 hours yesterday one would think I'd be ready to move move move...  not so much.

Beth, with a little glimpse into the past.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Week of 3/10/14 - 3/17/14 Updated Wed / Thur

Monday:  R: 0 / W: 3.3 / O: Sufferfest "Revolver"

Daylight Savings time combine with a couple hard runs made sleep not come easy to me.  Even with a stiff drink and a couple Vitamin I p.m.s…  Ridiculous…  by 1:30 a.m. jealous of Dave and the dogs blissfully sleeping I crawled down to the couch.  My quads a little bit less sore after the afternoon run and evening walk so the stairs weren't incredibly painful to navigate.  A glass of milk and a wander around to find a pillow and quilt and I tucked myself in, 45 minutes of Words With Friends and I was out.  We don’t have one of those big wide puffy squish into it couches, ours is remarkably comfy despite its narrow victorianish settee stodginess.  

I woke up to some semblance of daylight, a dusting of snow, and Dave and the dogs were still out, are you kidding me? 

Monday’s aren't a running day for me and TRX was cancelled, so I decided on trying a new Sufferfest, Revolver, followed up by some serious foam rolling.

Revolver 'agenda':
  • 7:30 Warm-Up, featuring footage from the Women’s 2012 Track World Championships and the 2012 Downhill Mountain Bike World Championships.
  • Then the main event – 15x 1:00 intervals, with 1 minute rest in-between each interval, for a total of 30 minutes of intervals. 
  • The ‘on’ intervals are not for the faint of heart. They should be done at 9/10 on the RPE (recommended perceived exertion scale). They feature footage from the UCI Track World Championships 2012, the UCI Cyclocross World Cup 2012 and World Championships 2013 and the Women’s UCI World Road Championships 2012.
  • The ‘off’ intervals features some beautiful footage descending the Col du Soler, from
  • 4:00 warm-down featuring some footage from a bike ride around Norwich, UK in 1935.
Ummm… they lie, 16 intervals.  Probably because they knew there would be a wimpy one buried in the middle somewhere?  I know #7 and possibly #8 weren't quite up to par.  I did give it all I had for #15 and may have sworn out loud when 16/15 popped up.  Really?  The video is cool to watch of the bikers.  I missed a lot, keeping my eyes closed, eating the stem, and trying to fly my feet around in circles as fast as I could manage.  Fortunately they have audio cues so you know when you get to take a break for a minute.  Forgot my HRM at home, drats.

After this I could navigate down stairs much easier, not quite skipping, mind you.  

Got back to my desk to hear Jackass wonder out loud if I’d worked off the box of Girl Scout cookies I ate.  Thanks pal, we weren't going to speak of me inhaling a whole box of Samoa cookies, at what 1,050 calories, after lunch.  They were good, don’t judge!  

Tuesday:  R: 4 / W: 0 / O: Spin

The weather couldn't be more perfect, shorts, long sleeved shirt (could have went with short sleeves) 4 miles on the plan and it had been a while since I did ‘the bitch’ so I did.  Felt it by the time I got to the top; suffer I must as it was all downhill back to campus.  I’m sure I had a goofy smile.  I shaved a second off my best time!  Hill work is paying off, imagine I could have shaved off 5 seconds after an easy weekend of running?  Bwahaaa... Which Muppet said "I crack me up!" or was that ALF?

"The Bitch"  0.2 mile 9% grade hill 21 ft to 116 ft (95 ft gain) 

Hidden segment -
I really don't want to be depressed looking at Mike B's results, but now I may be forced to open it up?
When I got into the locker room Addy, one of the trainers at the gym, said there was an issue with the hot water (none) after the noon class, one of the two water heaters for the women’s showers was not working. She went back to the showers and checked, the water felt warm so maybe we’d be lucky.  It wasn't cold or hot, warm and seemed to be getting cooler as the seconds ticked on.  I was glad it wasn't freezing outside and I was banking on the shower to warm me up.   Addy did mention her shower got warmer, yeah once the other gal and I got out.  Honestly, she works hard in the gym and deserves a respectably warm shower!

Back to the grind for some odd ball required meeting on the flavor of the month to improve morale/culture.  I'll spare you my comments.  And then back to the gym for Spin. :)  

Wednesday:  R: 7.9 / W: 0 / O: swimming ~400 yards

Work has a rah rah site meeting, the weather and timing was absolutely perfect for me to sneak away for 2 hours and not really be missed.  So off to the Gold Star Bridge I ran.  Totally forgot my space watch so I turned on Strava and put the iPhone in the SPI belt, and found my tunes.  Not really worried about pace, ok I lie, I do.  I ran and enjoyed it very much.  Very cool!  Map My Run (thanks Mike B) helped me figure out what was going to get me closest to 8 miles and I ran that route.  

The rain held off till later in the afternoon, yippee.

I felt rather silly using my umbrella to walk from the parking lot to the Westerly Y considering I was going to be in water for the next 45 minutes.  

Shawn got a new job and moved on.  We had a new student, Jim (much closer in age to me - biker looking to learn to swim well enough to compete in a sprint-tri). And I've forgotten the instructors and lifeguards names (I want to say Eric or Ernie?).  How horrible of me.  

The lesson was a little different, slightly confused, but all in all the instructor and the lifeguard gave me the right tips to get me to get my face in the water and breathe.  The goggles helped.  Dave was aghast, his comments as I recapped class:  "Why didn't you wear the goggles for the first class?"  "I can't believe you don't know how to swim."  I protested that I do know how to not drown and that is swimming, no?  He laughed.  I chided him for his Swim Team and his private school.  He wondered out loud why I didn't join the swim team in my high school.  I said "You are joking right?  Clinton had an outdoor pool at the middle school, that closed shortly after my mom signed up me and my brothers for swimming lessons.  Swim team, HA!  

I explained the explanation, first of to keep an eye on my hand on the side I'm most comfortable breathing on, that will help me pull my head up at the right time.  Dave gufawed at this and then demonstrated freestyle and had to admit, that would work.  What is it with husbands and having to know better?  Then we got to the breathing part and keeping my ear in the water, blowing out the bubbles, talking to the fish and then keeping my ear in the water to hear their response.  THIS time he did supply me with something useful.  After finding the explanation ridiculous, it resonated with me and that is what is important, right?  That when I turn my head there will be a divot (wrong word) in the water allowing me a water free space to breathe in air and not water with my ear still in the water.  Aqua dynamics or something. I kept envisioning turning my head and my mouth being halfway in the water.  Huh.  Yeah, Dave, you won that one! 

Thursday:  R: 4 / W: 0 / O: Spin & Weights

The weather turned brutal, 25F with 25 MPH winds and a feels like 5F...  Forgeddabout it.  I have stuff to do and will run on the treadmill before spin, and maybe redeem my pace for the week.  Success, although I was totally not into the run or spin.  Exhausted much?  

Ro tortured me with some weights and this thing called a Smash Ball, 20 lbs pick it up over your head and throw it down pick it up lift it over your head and throw it down.  So fun!!  She ended with "OK 200 crunches."  I laughed and said "Goodie"  She said "You think I'm being sarcastic don't you?"  I retorted with "You are aren't you?"  Um no.  Break it into sets of 50 and it isn't so bad.

My mom called to let me know the snow was drifting and to stay on the hard top roads and not go the back way, and the road is a disaster, the plows haven't been down, yet.  But it might get up to 45 on Friday so maybe it won't be too bad, but most likely the county won't plow till Saturday.  Good to know.

Friday:  R: 0 / W: 0 / O: 0

Driving to MI &  listening to “The Aviators Wife” by Melanie Benjamin

Saturday:  R: / W: / O: 

10 on the schedule – have to see just how much snow is still left on the roads if I can do a “Back to the Future” themed run ala Mike B.  I did do one last June; there are a few places I'd like to revisit, depending on the snow conditions, they are due for 8" Wed night...

Sunday:  R: / W: / O:

6 on the schedule – see Saturday’s comment

Monday:  R: 0 / W: 0 / O: 0

Driving to RI and listening to… 

Beth, is it really only Tuesday?  and yeah it is Thursday and I get to spend the day being very sedentary tomorrow, yippiee!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

50K Training Week 11 - kinda long, grab a beer or coffee....

Hard to believe I am 11 weeks into this 20 week 50K plan.  I'm on the downhill towards the finish, or rather the race. Whoop!  I'm nervous and excited and hopeful.

Ice Age 50, here I come!!

Unfortunately one of the two gals I was to run with has dropped out, glad Dana let me know earlier than later.  I'm not discounting Tonya, yet!!  Training is a huge time commitment and Dana just couldn't afford the time away from her family.  I get that.  In a lot of ways I am very lucky to not have a huge family commitment and a husband who, after a few years, is finally getting the amount of time it takes to train and how much running means to me.  Hoping Tonya makes it to WI.  Considering she was the one who roped me into this last year for the 1/2 and bailed after jacking up her hip flexor kicking a goose.  Given my feelings about geese, I was ok with this.  Vile creatures they are.   The best goose is the one my mom and now my dad cook for Christmas dinner.

My cousin Tobi will be volunteering at the race so I'll get to see her after the race and catch up.  She has been volunteering at this race for 15 or so years.  Pretty freaking awesome when I found that out last year!!  It is nice to see a friendly face, and especially a cousin, my very first friend, I was 2 months old when she was born so we've known each other her whole life, that is pretty cool!  It has been in the past few years through the miracle of Facebook we've really reconnected.  Well that and her father's death and my mother's cancer, but for sake of happiness let's say FB.

Christmas '72
9 weeks from this past Friday I will age another year and 9 weeks from yessterday (Saturday) I will have completed my first 50K.  Simple as that right???

So what have I been up to this week training wise.

After another battle with the plague, I think I am finally healthy, truly healthy again!  Last week was a piddly 16.6 running miles and 7.3 walking with one spin class.  Tis what it tis and better to focus on regaining health, right?

Monday:  R: 0 / W: 3 / O: Spin

I did the Sufferfest A Very Dark Place again.  There are three other videos (is that the right term) through Strava Premium so I loaded Strava on my work iPhone which has access to WiFi in the gym (in the basement) so I'll be able to try Fight ClubRevolver, and Rubber Glove.  Not going to hook my personal phone to work WiFi, (cell signal wasn't strong enough to keep the video streaming) keep your eyes off my biz big brother.   No plans on being a bike racer however I do enjoy the challenge, the video, getting my heart rate up, and sweating like crazy.    

Tuesday:  R: 0 / W: 2.6 / O: Beer?

New York day.  I arranged a lunch for my boss with the cross-functional team she leads.  It was nice and it was sad.  I have to figure out if I can make it into the city for her retirement dinner on the 19th (that is swimming night - do I miss class or no?)  Claire has been a great boss.  She took a chance on me and I on her and it paid off big time for both of us.  The sweetest thing she said to me "Beth, if you didn't show up with your skill set, to fix this problem, I'd of retired."  *GRIN*  

So I opted for a couple Goose Island Honker Ales for the train ride home, better than the Miller Lite I usually get because it has a screw top cap.  Decided to not run when I got home and took Jax for a short walk.  He would run with me, 9 p.m. is probably not the best time to experiment with running with him.  Since it is going to be lighter later and later I'll pick a night after work to maybe, just maybe get in some dog jogs with Jax and Gus.

Wednesday:  R: 6.2 / W: 2.4 / O: Swim 30 min

Mike B IM'd me asking when I was going out running, looked like a nice day.  We were both going out about the same time and left it with 'see ya outside'.  I was a little undecided on which route and went down an extra block to get in another 1/2 mile of flat.  I'm glad I'd been skipping this because the sidewalk on Rainville was still pretty icy in spots.  Debated on 'doing the bitch backwards' or the usual route.  I did the usual route.  Mile 1.9 I get the crap scared out of me.  Mike B.  I shrieked he laughed...  ha ha.  Figured he'd stick around a mile or so...  and the miles ticked off and me telling him to just go I'm a lazy runner were met with "You're still talking, come on."  I spent most of the time chasing him, and I'll tell you the stare at the feet of the runner in front you thing Steve clued me into does work because it helped to close the gap between the two of us.  Or Mike slowed down...  well you can see the splits, they did get slower as the miles ticked.  

Wednesday night was the first swim class that has its own entry.  I gave my mother a slightly different version and she wrote back "That was the best laugh I've had in a while, it was supposed to be funny, right?"  Thanks Mom, of course!!  Good to know she got a laugh, I know she needed one, it has been a rough winter in MI.  Fortunately her cancer still remains dormant and she is doing very well with her physical therapy to help increase her lung function, she actually got in to a little bit of trouble for going to fast on the treadmill, yeah my teeny mom being mischievous!!

Thursday:  R: 3 / W: 2.3 / O: Spin and Weights

Meetings were moving around all day long.  I was happy to have a 4 - 4:30 drop off the calendar!  Treadmill run @ 1% incline before spin, they are getting less horrible.   Ro did some weight training with me after class.  I have a few things I can do on my own with free weights, yeah!!!  I need more work on my core.  TRX has helped A LOT, still a ways to go.  

Friday:  R:0 / W: 3.4 / O: Nap 

Mondays and Fridays are cross training / rest days.  Cut work short by a few hours, I needed a nap, that counts as training right?  Muscles repair during sleep!  Even managed to get in a walk with Gizzy mostly in day light!  Yippiee!!!  Dave took Gus and Jax to the beach, all three zonked out, ahhh.....  made for a nice quiet evening for us.

Saturday:  R: 20.5  / W: 3.1  /O: Nap

My plan was three laps of Burlingame.  After discussions with Dave through the week and over dinner on Friday, he said, the trails are going to be crappy, you won't enjoy it.   He went over early for a group ride, he was going to text if it seemed good for a run.   I piddled around and texted saying I'm just going to run roads.  He texted back "good idea".  It actually was.  I did something similar to my 20 mile training run for MCM.  There was a bit of wind, a lot of sun (got a start on my funky runners tan), and temps in the 40s by the time I got out the door.  Shorts, long sleeved shirt, no hat, no gloves, WHOOP!!!  All in all this has to be one of my favorite long runs.  I figured I'd stay in the 11's for the first half and 12's for the second half, and I pretty much did that with a 1/2 mile downhill sprint at the end.  I'm more than pleased with this run and how I felt during it and after it.  There were moments of kicking myself, and the quick realization that I enjoy my pace of running and enjoy running and what a spectacular day to be outside (OK so running into the wind for most of the time sucked, honestly the sun was out and I wasn't freezing).  It was great to be lost in my thoughts for 4 hours too. 

This was simply a great run!

Sunday: R: 8.7  / W: 3   / O: Nap  

I volunteered at the Ocean's Run 1/2 this a.m. it is a great race, flat fast course, with beautiful views.  Learned my less on about using races as training runs, and while I so wanted to run it when I saw friends running the race and at the finish, it was best I stick to my plan so volunteering it was.  I will also get comped an entry to a TriMom race, which is great.  I've been tossing around the Crabman Sprint Tri in July, I stuck it on my race list just in case.  Talking with 5K after the race he said it is a great first tri, so hmmm... Thanks for letting me know!!  Great job with your race today, so cool seeing out out in the lead!!

My post was mile 3, a right hand turn down a residential street for the 1/2 marathon and when the last 1/2 marathon person passed to move up a street for the last left hand turn for the 5K race.  I secretly hoped the timing would work out so I could see the first finishers.  No luck there...  But hey I did get to see every runner and that was very cool!

Flagging at a race is not always the easiest job because you have to deal with traffic.  Sorry a small rant here.  I have a on going battle with motorists when I run, and dread the part of interacting with traffic.  We aren't allowed to direct traffic, we don't have the authority, however we can help suggest they slow down or wait to turn.  Apparently down this road is a church and mass was at 10 a.m. The race start was 9 a.m. so the last runner would be through 9:40ish.  Plenty of complaints from the early arriving church goers.  Not having been raised with religion I was really shocked at some of the comments, perhaps my heathen up bringing wasn't so bad after all?  All that aside I will make sure to let the Race Director know about this and maybe next year have something put in the church newsletter about the race and to forgive the slight inconvenience of runners in the road.  Who knows maybe she she already had that base covered and knowing what I know of the RD  I am sure she did, you can supply people the information but you can't make them take it on board right?

Flagging at a race is one of the most fun jobs!  You get to see all the runners and if the sun isn't in your face recognize them.   You get to chat with spectators and help them understand the course and where to find their runner.  It was great to see the WTAC guys, disappointed I missed cheering on Michelle and Amanda.  You both did great!!!  You were just running so fast you were a blurr!!!  Awesome seeing the gals I run with during the summer!!!  Next up was the 5K race.  There was a bit of confusion with the front runner (not me causing it THIS time) and he turned a little early, quickly got back on course with a little redirection from the police office.  I only knew one person running, the Young Gazelle, I think I startled him when I cheered him on.  Sorry!!!    After the last person passed I was off to the finish line.

I knew I missed 5K, Gazelle, Mike B, Seth, Amanda, Michelle, and Jackie finishing.  I was sure Crutch hit his sub 1:40 goal and I missed his finish.  Sorry on both not PRing the race and missing your finish!  I did get to see Nicole, Jenn, and Mary finish!! Their kids were so excited to see them in the finish chute and couldn't contain themselves, Jackie tried, but no luck!  They shot out to see their mommies and all of them ran across the finish line together. A quick check of the clock and this was a PR for Nicole!  So happy for her, she has been struggling with coming back from an injury.  This was a great comeback race for her.

All in all a great experience.  I got thanked a half dozen times on the course.  That is always so nice!  Remember tip your bartenders people!!!

Of course I still had to get in 10.  Decided I'd run out to see the cows on Boombridge.   Dave assured me Burlingame was still crappy, although based on Johnny's post it may not have been.  Hmmm...  Anyhoodles, the first 4 miles my quads were not happy.  Just keep plugging along this is the purpose to get the legs used to running when they would "prefer not to" (Bartleby - oh I love that story).  I think eventually they lost feeling or just gave up protesting or I stopped caring.

First up were the calves!!

Why yes I do say HI and talk to them and they look at me like this!!!  No surprise there right?

And the steer, wondering what the heck I am doing!!

I cut the run a little short, I should have went out another mile to catch a pic of the milk cows (complete the family portrait I started?)  Feh, there was a 3 mile dog walk so I still have the time on my feet?   It was so nice to leave for a run in the late afternoon and know I wouldn't be getting home in the dusk/dark and also this weekend was perfectly sunny running weather.  

Another great run!

Beth, looking forward to an easy training week and a trip out to MI to see her family next weekend (stay tuned for grid running) for St. Patrick's Day celebration!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Swimming Lessons

Wednesday started swimming lessons. I had no idea what to expect or to bring or anything. So I changed into my suit, took the mandatory shower, brought my towel, goggles, and swim cap and sat down on the bench, on my towel. Someone came by to tell me that I could get in the water. I said “I'm waiting for the "In the swim" class”. He looked at the clock (I was 10 minutes early – go figure, right?) and said "Oh Shawn teaches that he is over there." I kinda shuddered at a young kid teaching but hey, you get out of stuff what you put into it. 

Shawn and his clipboard came over asked if I was Beth, I'd be one of two students. Oh ok. He asked my goals. I said, I can swim, or rather I can propel myself from point a to point b and I'd like to learn how to do it properly and get some stamina and maybe speed. I'd like to complete a triathlon. He took notes.

It was just me for my first lap, Chris (yikes, I think that is his name) hadn't shown up. Shawn asked me to swim a lap, freestyle. Um, erp, that means what exactly? He said, just swim how you swim. Oh ok. I kicked and pulled myself through the water. I am sure he thought, holy crap I've got my work cut out for me here, they don't pay me enough for this!

When the life guard got up out of the water and walked along side my 'freestyle' swim this made me a little nervous. Do I look like I am going to drown? Panic set in a bit. Eventually I figured this was a safety measure nothing about me. And if it was otherwise, let me live in my own little world, I feel safe here!

I got back to the shallow end and Shawn said “Couple of things” and smirked, ok this is going to be fun. “First, don't bend your knees when you kick, keep your legs straight and just flex at the feet, that is what is going to propel you forward.” Me: “Oh ok” “Second, you’re not a big fan of getting your face wet, I take it?” Me: “Um yeah...” “That needs to change.”

Shawn handed me a kick board and said down and back, just kick. Shawn didn’t offer any instruction, I didn’t ask. Hmmm I’ve heard of these things, kick board, guess I hold it under me, in front of me? I tried a couple different ways, making sure I kept my head out of the water. I’m sure I looked like a panicked turtle! I really put some effort in keeping my legs straight and wow they weren't as worn out when I got back to the shallow end.

Chris shows up, hops in the pool, Shawn has him ‘freestyle’ and assess his form. Apparently, after a discussion with my swimmer husband, freestyle is an actual stroke or something. Dave says, "I didn't know you didn't know how to swim." I said, "But I can swim." The look on his face was priceless.

"OK fine I can propel myself from point A to point B, the only thing I know about freestyle I learned from Flight of the Conchords" and (because I am a Michigan girl,) Eminem.” He rolled his eyes and laughed, “I need to see this.” Oh great, I told him no spectators, doesn’t he have a ride on Wednesday nights anyhow?

Now it’s Chris’s turn with the kick board. Shawn explains how to use it!!! I TOTALLY did it wrong, who knew you weren't supposed to use it like a body board? Chris goes down and back, Shawn mentions, while Chris is at the other end of the pool, this is the biggest age gap I've had with students, 23 years. I'm twice as old as Chris. Oh great, I'm old enough to be his mother I say. Again, I need to keep my trap shut. Only now I'm wondering if I am the anomaly or Chris is the anomaly.... oh does it really matter?

Chris gets back and now it’s time for both of us to go down and back with the kickboard. So much easier holding it way out in front of you but wow I REALLY need to get my face wet and not panic when I do!!! I should have put on the goggles it think being able to see will help???

All in all it was fun and definitely a work out, even the little swimming I did and mostly kicking with the board or on my back. I can seriously cruise kicking and floating, well at least I think so, and that is what counts right?

Shawn assured us, we would sleep well on Wed night! I’m sure the run with Mike B, swimming, and then a 2.5 mile walk with Gizmo factored nicely into zonking completely out until a.m. – something that doesn’t always happen. Oh if you’re scratching your head, really Beth, walk the dog? Believe me if you’ve met Lord Giz of the Mo you know how adamant he can get about what he wants. I am sure he knew it was his turn for a walk, he started in on me the minute I got home from work to feed them and change and bolt out to the Y and when I got back from the Y. It was either listen to him whine at me until bed time or just take him on his damn walk. Walking was far more pleasant than listening to the whine, but boy did the temps drop and with wind kick up from the nice sunny warm run in the afternoon.


Beth, who thinks the swimsuit spinner thing in the locker room is pretty awesome and wishes she didn’t sit on her towel, hard to dry off with a damp towel!!