Monday, March 31, 2008

Going the Distance

Doug finished the ING Atlanta Marathon yesterday, with a time of 4 hrs 30 minutes. He looked good coming up Marietta Street to the finish and kept running the whole time. He's a rock star!

I was better trained for the half than last year and managed to achieve a 3 minute PR even with a potty break. While I ran a better race this year because I paced myself (amazing - have never really done this before) and held off on the sprinting to allow a strong finish, I was lonely as I ran. Next year I'll have to talk someone who doesn't mind potty breaks into running with me.

Here's the report:

I got up at 4, ate Joe's magic breakfasts (steel cut oats with soy milk followed by an immodium), and rode to the GA dome with Doug and Jerry. We arrived at 5:45 to find a ghost town. There were no people anywhere and it was freezing. Signage was absent so we blundered our way to the Team 65 Roses meeting place to have our photo made. We checked our bags and I lost everyone. Doug, Jerry and I were to meet back at the potties after bag-check and we were right there with all of my neighborhood ladies. The next minute, I was alone. I waited around for a while and searched the crowd for Doug, but couldn't recapture him. I trudged to find my corral and some nice man gave me his trash bag to wear. Bless him. It was freezing so that helped a lot. I found a line of open potties, visited there and ran into Nat on my way back to the corral. I was so happy to see a friendly face, whew!

In my corral, I met a nice guy from Dacula who is doing Ironman Arizona in two weeks. He was doing the ING half as a training race and was aiming for 7 minute miles. HOLY COW. Anyway, we finally started - after some guy yelled "go" (no fireworks, no cannons). Only my group was corral #2, so we didn't go. We shuffled up to the start line. THEN, we got to go about 6 minutes later - no explanation from the race folks on this. It was weird. The corrals were much improved from last year's chaos but ING could do better with signage and directions because many people were wandering around with no direction.

I had planned (with coach Doug) to run 9:15 the first mile, then settle in for 9:00 miles and turn it up at the end for a fast finish. Alternatively, Doug recommended using the training partner function on my Garmin and keeping up with that to see if I could beat last year's time. I didn't quite remember last year's time and I don't know why the training partner didn't work but I was adrift from the start. I knew I had seeded myself OK (a little behind the 3:50 marathon pace group, who said they were doing 8:45 per mile) but people passed me like I was standing still. It was hard to slow myself down.

Mile 1: 8:13 - Oops. Need to slow down. Mile 2: 8:24 - Not such a bad pace. Breathing OK - this is the downhill part of the race so it's OK to go faster (rationalize, excuse). Mile 3: 8:25 - Maybe I'll try to slow it down a little but stick generally with this pace.

I saw the King center up close and that was really neat. We came upon it from the back and it's really a cool design. I don't remember seeing it last year. Then, we turned into the Sweet Auburn area where the Lupus foundation was manning a giant water stop with the "Rocky" song blaring. It was awesome. Those folks were so happy. I got all choked up thinking about them.

I got hot between miles 2 and 3. I took off my thermal shirt (which I was wearing over my Team 65 Roses shirt for the start). Then I put it back on. Then I put it back on underneath my team shirt. Then I got hot and took it off again. All while I was running. Without showing my jog bra. Idiot! I carried that shirt on my waist or in my hands until mile 8 until I dropped it at a water station. Little did I know that I'd need it later.

In Mile 4, I started to hurt. It was cold but I had not worn tights. AGAIN. We all know what my IT bands do in cold weather. Miles 4-6 were OK, but not as pleasant as 1-3. I averaged about an 8:45 pace while people still streamed past me. My tummy got angry in mile 5/6 and I had to stop at the place where the marathoners and half-marathoners diverged in mile 7/8. I put it off as long as possible because there were lines at all porto-potties, but it was for naught. I had to stop, and wait, and potty. SIGH. I ate my GU while I waited. The GU and the break helped me rally a little and some good songs came on in mile 7 (Wagner - Flight of the Valkeries), which helped also but miles 7-9 were my dark zone. I hobbled along and tried to hold some energy in reserve for the last 5K.

My stated goal for this race was under 2 hours but the super-secret goal was under 1:50. My running book said I could do 1:38 (HA!) so I thought the 1:50 was a stretch, but reasonable. At the 10K mark, I was at 53 minutes. I did some math, out loud, then re-did the math and came up with the conclusion that 1:50 was a virtual impossibility. This brought me down, inexplicably, because I know it was a dream to begin with. But still, I was down. The hobbling didn't help. I tried to talk to some folks around me as they asked each other questions but no dice. I was an island.

At mile 10.25, after we exited Piedmont Park and went up some big hills (which were really hard), I gave myself permission to speed up. Amazingly, it hurt less to run faster. Maybe the faster running made my legs warmer? Mile 10 was 8:41, Mile 11 was 8:00. I started to pass people and good music came on my i-pod. Mile 12 was 7:44. Whew, this part thru GA Tech was tough. I saw the best sign there: "Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much ASS!" It made me laugh out loud and then the girls holding the sign started cheering for me because they were Team 65 Roses too. Awesome! What a boost, right where I needed it. Mile 13 was mostly on Marietta St, I think, and it seemed to take forever. It wasn't a ridiculous climb like last year, but I was getting to the bottom of my tank. Mile 13 was 7:37. The drive to the finish was slow because of the sidewalk and twisty fence maze but that was because of tornado damage to the park. Next year will be better.

Garmin said 1:52:53. Chip time was 1:51:32. That's a PR by 3 minutes. Still a win despite not breaking 1:50. I'll bet I would have broken 1:50 if I had worn tights and not had to potty.

After I finished, I declined a space blanket (again, an idiot!) because I was hot, got some water and hit the potties. Then, I stood in a freezing wind to get my bag. Thank goodness I put an extra shirt in. I changed shirts in the middle of the sidewalk into a clean fleecy shirt and put the team shirt on top. Then, I high-tailed it to the appointed intersection - which was missing! I never found Thurmond St so I stayed at Marietta and Baker Street. I passed a Starbucks on the way there and used their potty. I stood in line for hot chocolate for a while, but the line wasn't moving so I left. As I was texting my location to Jerry, Joe and Nat, Jerry came by and yelled at me. He looked awesome. Strong and happy. Yay! I had missed Jennifer and Virginia because I was slow getting to the meet-up. Then, Devon and Mickey came by together. I cheered for them and all of the 65 Roses runners and anyone else who had an identifier on (Clemson shirt, pink skirt ladies, etc). The marathoners started to come thru and they looked so fast! After I thought I had missed her completely and given up, Sarah came by. Jerry joined me with some hot chocolate and then Joe came and blocked the wind while we waited for Nat. I got to introduce Jerry and Joe to Sarah as she went to hang with the Peachtree Tri Club folks. At about 3:30, Nat came by. She wasn't smiling and didn't wave so I knew she was irritated. In addition to the sea of half-marathoners, there was a group of high school kids running at the same time so the marathoners were dodging everyone. We abandoned our post and went back to the Carvel store for hot chocolate. Mmmm. The best hot chocolate ever. And a warm chair. We used Joe's phone to track Doug online. The tracker estimated a 4 hr 24 min finish so we headed back to the meet-up at that time after lingering in the warm store. Right on time, there was Doug! Hooray! We went and got his bag of stuff and met him as he came down from the finish. Then, we hiked back to the car and met at Taco Mac for post-race beer and nachos. mmm.

Doug and I have been talking about the race a lot yesterday and today. I ran a good race but was really sore yesterday. Better training would have helped this, and tights, and not eating spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner the night before. But, I think I would have had more fun with a buddy. I was lonely out there. Maybe I need to make a better distinction between my "A" races and the other ones. This was supposed to be a "B" or "C" race and I ran it like an "A". I'm sure sore like an "A". Overall, though, it was good and I'm pleased with my time. Here are times for the peeps, minus Sarah and Maja, who I couldn't find.

Marathon
Doug: 4:27:38
Nat: 3:38:18

Half-Marathon
Jennifer: 2:15:24
Virginia: 2:13:01
Jerry: 2:15:42
Devon: 2:26:19
Mickey: 2:22:42

Saturday, March 29, 2008

All Geeked Up!

Doug and I have dropped off the girls, been to the expo, we've got the bibs and have set out the outfits. Ready to GO!

If anyone wants to meet me post-race, I'll be at the southeast corner of Thurmond Street and Marietta Street (or as close as possible to that on Marietta St) cheering for all of the other finishers and waiting for Doug to finish the marathon. I'll be wearing the Team 65 Roses shirt (grey with red rose), hot pink running skirt, and light pink visor.

I'm bib #12056 and Doug is bib #819 if you want to track us. Here is the link: http://www.inggeorgiamarathon.com/Race_Info/Race_Day_Results_and_Tracking/Map_Track.htm

Have a great race, everyone!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pick Your Poison

At long last, I'm IN!

I've been trying to get on Team 65 Roses since we talked about doing the ING race this year. Unfortunately, I registered for the race with Active instead of the team. So, today, FINALLY, someone responded to all of my pestering and I'm in.

So, now when you go to Team 65 Roses to do your donation (I already did mine), you can put Doug's name in or mine. Apparently I was wrong and they do keep track of how much each athlete raises, but there is no minimum. We will see who is the better fund-raiser, but I think Doug has an advantage since I posted his plea here, and on both of my mom's boards and only sent mine out in an email. I'm crossing my fingers, though.

In other news, Annika has her first official after-school playdate today. We discussed more than three times the need for her best behavior and listening and following directions. I'm crossing my fingers for this too.

And, so that it doesn't get lost - go over to the Becoming Ironman blog because XT4's post is beautiful today. I'm repeating this in case it gets lost because I've posted twice today. And that never happens.

Beautiful

XT4 has a beautiful post today on his blog. Go and check it out.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Don't Worry - Be Happy

The UPS store near us has a slogan (which does not appear to be on the internet) that says "Don't worry, we'll take care of it." Please allow me to tell you again that I LOOOVE our UPS store. Today I hot-footed it from my swim to Target to get the present for my cousin's wedding shower (on Saturday), picked up the girls and then dashed to the UPS store to ship the present. I had purchased a box at Target, which I picked out by assembling all of the boxes in the packing aisle and testing to see if the gifts fit in them. The girls and I packed the gift and wrote the card in the car and were ready to go once we got to the UPS store. We had an appointment to meet my Grammy, you see, to try on the bodice of Annika's dress, so we needed to hurry to make it on time.

I clunked my box on the counter while the girls headed straight for the stash of toys they keep to occupy youngsters while their parents are shipping things. "Oh, no" I thought, "the guy isn't here." The guy is the man who owns the store. He is very tall and solves every problem I bring to him. He is the fairy godmother of shipping.

Clink.

The Pyrex loaf pans were banging against each other in my very carefully packed box. Crap.

"Is there glass in there?" the UPS lady asked, in a matter-of-fact tone while she gave me the eye. She was not looking very friendly. I started to get nervous.

"Um, yes. Just these two pans, but I've got the dishtowels folded between them. Do you think they need more cushioning?" (Pursing lips and wrinkling brow)

"If they are glass, they need bubble wrap." "And this box is way too small." "You need one two times this size." I'm was frowning and envisioning how we are going to repack and not wanting to do it. But, there was no arguing with this woman. She didn't want the pans to get broken.

"OK," I sighed and bit my lip as I fought the idea that the shipping would cost more than the present itself.

So the woman took my stuff in my box and bubble-wrapped those pans like they were going to the moon. Seriously - one was as big as the whole box I'd wrapped everything in before. Then, she packed them with the other stuff (all supplies to make the recipe that I was required to send with the present - pretty good idea, eh?) in a gigantic box, which she taped on all sides and filled with packing stuff. For $6. Including the cost of the box. And shipping wasn't that much - even though I had waited until the last possible moment to send the gift to get there the day before the shower.

So, don't worry. My UPS store will take care of it. Even if the guy isn't there and you are a dumbass and wait until three days before the shower and pack incorrectly in a too-small box.

I don't know if the recipe/supplies thing was what we were supposed to do or not. The instructions just said to send or bring a recipe. But, I remember when Doug and I were in college and first married and how I'd have to buy a pan or some other piece of cooking equipment every time I tried to make a new recipe. We even used a Waffle House cup as a measuring cup because someone (Mike, I think) told us it was 8 ounces. So, after I wrote my recipe this morning, I thought I would just include stuff from the registry that my cousin would need to make that recipe. I think I covered all of the bases except for a liquid measure and cooling racks. : ) Hopefully someone else will take care of the liquid measure. Jen, Emily?

And, by the way - did you know that Target's registry prints out with the aisle numbers on the page next to each item? How cool is that?

In other news, I know I can do my swim! For the 5K swim in June, I've been increasing the distance of my long swim by 500 yards every 2 weeks. I don't know how you are supposed to train for a swim of this distance, so I've been trying to do a long swim every week just like my long run. Then, the other days, I do a recovery swim or drills just like I would if I were running. So today my long swim was 5,500 yards, which is just slightly over 5k (5,468.066 yards, according to the internet). I did it! I know that the pool is way easier than the open water and I could easily have miscounted because 220 laps is a lot of counting and I get loopy when exercising that long but wow, that is a big hurdle. Now, to get faster. . .

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Stephie Don't Preach

I've been telling everyone - Nat, Wes, and Charlie among others about how they need to be doing more recovery time and tapering.

So, did I listen to my own advice?

Nope.

Yesterday, I couldn't decide how much to do for my pre-race long run. I consulted my running book and decided that all of the half-marathon training plans were inapplicable to me because of their weekly mileages (40 miles a week!). Regardless, I settled on 6-8 miles for my last long run before the race next week. I ran in the morning and it was not a fast run, but it wasn't overly painful.

Annika was at the GymDogs with Grammie and Grampa, so Dagny and I went shopping and to the park and ate lunch. Then, Doug smiled upon me and kept Dagny while I rode bikes with Natalie. We had two hours so we rode for 30 miles. Oops. I thought my legs felt a little tired, but it was at easy pace and we had an awesome ride. It was probably a bit dumb to do on the weekend before the race. Then again, I'm only doing the half and it's not even an "A" race so who cares if I'm tired. I'm so excited about watching all of the finishers. If I have a decent race, I'll get to watch everyone come across this line while I wait for Doug's finish. FUN!

Annika adored the GymDogs and spending the night in the RV with Grammie and Grampa. We had a great time at Easter church, brunch and the egg hunt. Annika and I did a recovery walk today to keep the streak alive. A lovely weekend overall.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

I've got some favors to ask, dear reader.

Favor #1: Internet and triathlon goddess Sarah is once again hard at work on a contest with folks at Evotri. Please link over to her blog and follow the directions to vote for her. No cash required - just an email. If you have not watched her video yet, do it now. It is truly inspiring.

Favor #2: My dear husband recently sent the following email to all of his friends:

Dear Friends,

At the end of this month I will be running my first marathon as a way to remember a friend that passed and to raise money for a cure for the disease that took her. I've done the training to get myself ready for the race, but I haven't started my second goal. I need your help to raise money for a cure to cystic fibrosis. If you are interested in helping, please follow this link to learn more about cystic fibrosis and to donate. http://www.milesforcysticfibrosis.org/

Thank you,

If you can spare some cash, could you please link over there and donate what you can. 65 Roses is not a fancy organization and they aren't keeping track of what each athlete raises, but runners are requested to seek donations for the team. Those of you that are running, keep an eye out for the runners on the 65 Roses team (purple shirts with red roses) at the ING Marathon/Half Marathon and give them all a big shout-out. Doug didn't publish the story about our friend, so I won't either but she was truly an amazing person and we are lucky to have known her.

Thank you for your support.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'm a Loser, Baby

Yesterday, I fell down on my exercising and laid a big fat goose egg for the Challenge.

I have any number of excuses, but the fact remains that I chose to abandon the search for the yoga DVD and get in bed after we put the girls down at 8pm. I felt the heavy mantle of guilt, especially since I promised to fight Paul for the 10th place spot and Wes got up at 11pm on Monday to get his 30 minutes in. I did get up once, but only to remove the soccer beverages from my car and stow them in the fridge in preparation for being the snack mom at soccer today. Then, I fell immediately to sleep because today is a big day.

It's 8:30am. I've run 12 miles, made oatmeal, fed myself and the girls, filled goodie bags for Annika's party, checked the RSVP list twice and arranged my sister's visit this morning. All that remains now is to hit the Publix to pick up the cake and ice and get us all dressed. Thankfully, this morning's rain has cancelled Annika's soccer practice and game so I don't have to leave the house ten minutes ago like I thought I would.

Which is good, because I am back in my pajamas. Now there will be time to shower!

Name, days in current streak/goose eggs in 2008
Steph Bachman, 0/4

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Relaxation - Not for Me

Yesterday I had planned to do my long swim if I got out of jury duty in time. Alas, no. So, I came home and put on the Yoga for Triathletes DVD so that Annika and I could get my 30 minutes in for Paul's streaking challenge.

All of the folks on the BT boards are always talking about how they love the yoga and how it helps them and keeps them healthy (uninjured), etc. My friends love the yoga. I'm not disputing that some flexibility work would help me, but really?

I just would rather sweat than yoga.

Annika insisted that we do all 3 sections of the video (Energy, Strength and Flexibility). That is an hour and a half of yoga, folks. Without even sweating much. What is the point? Dagny was napping or we would have gone out for a walk instead. Luckily, I was able to fast-forward through the "Strength" section while Annika wasn't looking. She didn't follow the directions or even face the TV. She thought it was fun to sit on me while I did the poses and make forts out of her sections of the mat. Then she got mad when I used part of her mat (she wasn't on it at the time) to cushion my knee. She really wanted to watch Madagascar more than do yoga. So, I got through my hour and quit.

Yoga might make you more flexible and ease your muscles, but it doesn't make any endorphins. None. At all. I might still have to log a goose egg for this. It feels like cheating to count yoga as working out.

In better news, today I did my long swim (thanks to Doug) and rode my bike on the trainer. I watched "Kill Bill Vol 1" at full volume. This is not a bad trainer movie. I bought it after Annika was born and we hadn't watched it yet. It had good music so I was able to get my rpms up to a 93 avg (for me, this is awesome) even without the spinups. And, since I couldn't read the subtitles for the japanese language parts of the movie, it won't be annoying to watch again. : ) Please note, however, that there is way too much violence to watch while kids are in the house.

And now, Annika and I are going outside to run. She has Mark's camelbak on and wants to try it out.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Technology

I'm in jury duty today. And they had Wifi in the jury waiting room.


How cool is that?


You guys all need to update your blogs now because I've already done the work I brought with me and I'm bored. So far I've met some characters here. In the interest of privacy, I won't tell you about them, but very entertaining. Lots of people want to talk politics, but I'm avoiding that stuff. I'll have to break out my newspapers in a minute. My group was required to be here at 7:45am. I was worried about traffic so I was even early. My buddy that works in the record room is in the office now so I have no one to talk to. It's nearly 10 after 10 and we haven't done anything except watch the Brenda Wood orientation video. SIGH!


While I'm sitting, here are some photos that were stored on my computer for your viewing pleasure.

The first is a photo of Annika with her basketball coaches. Bless their hearts. You can't even tell that she was the worst one on the team. They really tried hard to have every player get involved in the games (keeping a chart on who had been in, who got to take the ball down, who got to shoot, etc).



For all of you who've not done a triathlon yet, here is a photo of my bike in the transition area at my first race last year. Notice that I'm the only idiot who put her stuff under the back tire. Duh. You want your stuff to be where the handlebars are (even though there is less space) because you take your bike off of the rack from that direction. Otherwise, you have to run all the way around the rack to get to your stuff or take your bike down to ride. Annika lent me her blue strawberry towel because it matched my outfit.


Annie - what about that triathlon? Have you picked one? Are you registered? Do you want me to run with you? Volunteer and cheer you on?

To update on my sickies, Annika had an ear infection. She is doing much better now. Dagny's fever finally broke on Sunday night but her chest was crackly so we went to the doctor's office yesterday. She seems to be doing better and only woke once last night. Doug isn't even sore after his 17 miler on Saturday and I'm starting to get rid of my soreness today (finally!).

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Wonder of Running

Taking down the Christmas lights gives you a lot of time to think. So, the thought that I just couldn't get out of my head as I wound the strands around my arm on Saturday was this -

"Can you believe that fat-ass Steph just ran six miles at a 7 minute pace? Boy do I ever owe Ty Robinson an apology!"

Ty Robinson was the kid in my 4th grade class who beat everyone in the President's Physical Fitness Test with a 7 minute mile. I barely finished my mile in 14-16 minutes that day and it hurt like heck, I tell you! I remember giving Ty a hard time because his dad was a runner and he was a fool for running when no one was chasing him. I just wonder if the gym teachers were dismayed at the pathetic shape we were all in (except for Ty, obviously).

My fitness did not improve until after the 40 lb weight gain from 7th-8th grade and Kim Thompson's comment about my fat ass. Yeah, the kid I "went with" in 7th grade did call me Fat Albert upon the inevitable break-up but it was Kim's comment that stung. We had been friends since kindergarden. I was even present for her first kiss in the exploratories hall one afternoon. She didn't mean anything by it - it was an offhand remark to a mutual friend about something that was clear for all to see but it was a wake-up call for me.

I started walking the summer after 8th grade. I walked all over our neighborhood - until I was sore, even. Granted, I had ulterior motives because the boy I liked lived only about a mile away, but somthing changed. We moved at the end of the summer and school started and I made sure I was in some kind of activity (band, tennis, swimming) every season so that I had to move. Even in college. And that is how I escaped the fat Steph. She comes back, sometimes, and I have to outrun her but I can do it now. She can't do 7 minute miles : )

So, Ty Robinson, I'm sorry I gave you a hard time. You were right.

In other news, Dagny's fever seems to have broken (finally!). She was still up 4 times last night but never with the glowing-heat of the fever. Pshew! We are going to the doctor today, to have them listen to her chest because her cough sounds really scary.

And, we took the ride-along for a successful test drive at the river yesterday. Doug (with his superior balance and grace) took Annika with that while I towed Dagny in the trailer. It was really fun and now we know that we can risk a longer ride at the Silver Comet. Whoo! Thank you to my boss for giving us this marvelous toy.

The title is from the Innocence Mission's song "The Wonder of Birds." I still love that song.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Super Duper Fly

or, the Chattahoochee Road Runners 10K race report.

I was late leaving the house (surprise) and had to book it to get to the race site on time. Doug had given me excellent directions and I got there with time to spare with extra clothes, my visor, a towel, my i-pod, my garmin and water.

Warm-up was two trips to my car from the porto-potty area where Nat's car was and a quick loop around the parking lot in which I had to slow Nat down with the "this is the warm-up" reminder. I met Dani, a blogger friend fo Nat's but never saw any of the BT crowd. Luckily I wore my blue running skirt because Nat had on her pink one. Can't be all matchy-matchy. I had eaten Joe's magic breakfast (steel cut oats with soymilk) for breakfast but the takeout chinese dinner from Friday was not helping me. Stood in the potty line 3 times.

We dashed from the potties and ran to the start line just before the start. It was not marked with a banner but we quickly figured out where the front was (they had a tape in front of them) and jumped into the crowd behind them. We fought the humanity to get back from the front. Nat stopped about 50 yards back from the start but I kept going back. I was worried about being caught in a flood of 6:30 pacers like Doug did last year. I got to a lady who said she planned a 9:46 pace and figured I was safe. Until the lady on the other side started talking about 10:00 pace. Oops.

Oh well, too late because we were off. I dashed in between the other racers and allowed several men to "break the trail" for me. It was hard to breathe from the start - I felt like I could only draw shallow breaths and my phlegm kept coming up. Doug and I later decided that this is because I ran most, if not all, of this run at or above my LT. Meaning, that I kicked ass.

Anyway, the clouds were parting and the sun was starting to come out and I got to mile one just as Garmin beeped and it showed a 7:09 first mile. All right! Not the 6:46 it felt like! Hmmm, could I hold this pace? I decided to give it a try, but I turned up the tunes to give myself a mental boost.

Mile two was equally fun. Nice rolling hills, beautiful homes to look at, nice volunteers and police to wave at. 7:18. I was trying to catch up with Nat, but I didn't have her in sight.

Mile three started to get hard. I found Nat and realized that either (1) I was running over my head or (2) her legs were killing her. I tried to shorten the distance between us because it was HUGE but it was slow going. This mile was 7:10! I gave myself some raise-the-roof for keeping such a constant pace. Only 3 miles to go.

Doug had told me the mile 3 into mile 4 was the big hill. It didn't feel horrible, except that I was gasping for air. The sun started to get in my eyes and I wished aloud that I had brought my visor. No one around me responded. Tough crowd. I had some water and was gaining on Nat more steadily now. I argued with myself over whether I should stay behind her, pass or run together. Would staying behind be cheating since she was pacing? Would passing make her mad because her legs hurt or would we run slower if together? Turns out, all of the conflict was for naught; I couldn't hold the pace anyway. I caught up to Nat, said hello, told her I was sucking it (which I was), heard that her legs were locked up and then fell back again. Mile 4 - 7:04.

Doug said after mile 4 was all downhill except a small rise at the very end. Whee!! I figured I could hold the pace if going downhill but it was very hard. I spent a lot of time with my eyes closed. Pigtail girl in the black hot pants left me in the dust. Turn, turn, turn, I chanted to myself (not like the hippie song, more like a drill sergeant). My running book advises quick turnover with small steps on the downhills so I tried to do it. I got a horrible side stitch. I tried rotating from side to side, breathing on the other foot, lifting my arm in the air - nothing worked. Some kid passed me like I was standing still. He made it look easy. Later determined that he was 11. Mile 5 - 7:00; Mile 6 - 7:17. Ow, this was getting hard. A big guy in a red shirt ran next to me for a while. Then, he hung right on my left elbow. I couldn't shake him off! I don't like people to run that close to me. We came down a long curving hill and turned up into a parking lot. The announcer cheered for me, which made me laugh. He joked about my big smile. I knew I was running fast, so I was thrilled. Then, I turned the corner and could see the clock. 44:13. Holy cow!

Could I do it? I put on every bit of speed I had and sprinted to the finish. Small steps gone, I dashed like my life depended on it. Whoosh! I got under the clock at 44:45:90.

I walked for about a minute to outrun the stars that were crowding my eyes, found Nat, stopped my Garmin and we grabbed water and headed for the buses. We turned in our bibs but realized that we were supposed to keep the numbers. Ooops. The chips were in a pocket behind the numbers like a Fedex or UPS envelope. Do over. The guy collecting numbers dropped them all on the ground for us to paw through. Got our numbers and hit the bus. Nat and I got our shirts, the nice race volunteers helped me get Doug's shirt and we decided that since there was no possible way for us to place, we left.

I was thrilled. My stated goal was under 48 minutes. All racers have a super-secret goal, though - one that is probably outside of the realm of possibility but which we'd really love to hit. 45 was my super-secret goal. I had not even told Doug about it - only Nat, in a fit of trail running weakness. Nat was not so happy because she thought she could have gone faster but her calves rebelled. We calculated that her optimum pace was actually 8 seconds per mile faster than she went (HA!) but she will get it next time when her legs are healthy.

Great race! Will definitely do it next year!

Results:

Nat: 44:33:05 for a 7:11 pace, #262 overall, 36th woman, and 1st in the 35-39 age group
Me: 44:45:90 for a 7:13 pace, #266 overall, 37th woman, and 2nd in the 35-39 age group

WHOO! I've emailed the CRR club and said that I would meet them at a time and location of their choosing to pick up our hardware. : )

And, Doug ran 17 yesterday and I FINALLY took down the Christmas decorations. Neighbors, you can thank me now.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Back in the High Life

We had a marvelous evening planned for yesterday. It was Virginia's 9th birthday (leap year baby - she is actually 36) and we were going to drop the girls off at Nana/Papa's house for a sleepover and run the Chattahoochee Road Runner's 10K race this morning. Then, the plan was to go to Sarah Anne's birthday party at lunchtime and then to Pete and Sara's house for homemade lasagna dinner.

Alas, the plan was foiled.

Dagny had a fever on Thursday but nothing to worry about. When I got home yesterday, Doug said that her fever was 105 degrees. With the ear thermometer.

Holy cow.

Party plans and the shower gel that had spilled all over the back of my car were forgotten. We dosed her with Tylenol and held her while waiting on hold for the doc's office to answer the phone. Then Katie called and I had to hang up. Luckily, the fever started to come down (to only 102) while I talked to Katie. However, while Dagny's fever was coming down, Annika's complaints about her ear intensified to the point of crying.

So, I loaded Annika in the car after Doug triaged the soapy mess and took her to the minute clinic at CVS. Ear infection. This is not a surprise since she's had a cold/cough for a week. We are still medicating Dagny with tylenol and motrin, but she is completely OK when her fever is down. I'm guessing roseola.

Doug took Dagny and went to pick up chinese food. We met back at home 45 minutes later to share the takeout goodness and start Annika's antibiotics. The food was awesome - click here for other reviews. We know the owner and he is a nice guy, too!

Doug decided to take one for the team and sit out the race so I could run. Instead, he's out doing his long run now in the beautiful sunshine. Annika is feeling better and is at the birthday party. I'm having leftover singapore vermicelli noodles and listening to Dagny watching Oswald. I had a blast running the race with (behind) Natalie, and Doug used the results to figure out my approximate LT. I'll post a report on that once the official results are posted and I've collected Annika from her party, but the upshot is that things are looking up today (that's a 5*8 song, in case you were wondering - almost used that for the title but I enjoyed my High Life so much last weekend that I used that instead). Champagne of beers, indeed.