Sunday, May 31, 2009

You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby

Today I rode 60 miles (61.92 miles, to be exact) around Roswell.

I thought it would be only slightly more difficult than last week's 50 mile ride.


The first 40 miles were fine. Nat, Jamie Corn and I chatted and waved to the other bikers and had a lovely ride. We even saw Kindzia and the lovely Angela down by the river. We even made fun of Natalie because she doesn't like to fuel. Insert foreboding music here.

Hey - did you know that Angela sells marathon and IM finish framing - check out her site here. It was a beautiful day and we all had a great time. After kicking my ass on the climb up from the river, Jamie peeled off to go up Lake Charles instead of down the big hill on Pine Grove (she is tougher than Nat and me). Nat and I made it down the hill and up Shallowford with only a minor stop because Nat's phone jumped out of her bento box and across the road. Nat veered off towards her folks' house at Jones and I headed back down to the river to get my remaining 20 miles, stopping at the park to refill my water/Accelerade bottles.

Here is where the story goes awry. I was OK on fuel, only a little behind on my Accelerade. I had eaten 1 Gu per hour for three hours (plain, expresso love and vanilla), so that was fine. But it was HOT and my mind got a little fried on the Coleman Road rollers. I coasted down to Inverness for my turnaround and had convinced myself that there was no need to eat another Gu. Because I was at 3 hrs 45 minutes and only had 10 miles to go. I even texted Doug at the turnaround that I would be home in approximately 30 minutes.

People, to go 10 miles in 30 minutes, I would need to ride 20 miles an hour. I don't ride 20 miles an hour. Not even in a race. And, the 10 miles I had to go was uphill - because the river is the lowest point in town.

Nevertheless, I convinced myself that it was silly to have a Gu at the turnaround because it wouldn't "hit" until I was home anyway. That would have been true IF I'd been riding at the aforementioned 20 miles per hour. But alas, I was not.

I started to realize the fuel/Gu problem as I plodded (if you can plod on a bike) up Wileo. However, did I mention it was hot? Blazing hot? Know what happens when it is hot? Your heartrate increases. With an increased heartrate, digestion slows or stops. So, with the increased heartrate, my Accelerade and water were not digesting and were instead threatening to reappear at any moment to paint my handlebars. So there was no way I could eat my Gu. I had Gus in my pocket, plenty of them (because I've made the mistake of not bringing extra before), but my tummy was emphatically opposed to any more admissions.

So, I suffered. And thanked my stars that you can coast on a bike. I hoped against hope that I would have only 3 miles to go at the top of Shallowford so that I wouldn't need to go down Stroup Road. No dice. I needed 4.5 miles. BIG sigh.

Good thing that all of the ride after Stroup is in neighborhoods because I wasn't in any shape to ride on the road with cars. Loopy! I hit upon the genius idea to use my water bottle to sprinkle myself to cool off. That helped a lot. And, luckily, the light at 92 took a ridiculously long time so that I could rest a little and get some more Accelerade in me. I made it, though, and learned (or re-learned) some good lessons for the next ride.
  1. I don't have enough bike fitness to bust out a 60 mile ride on any given day yet.
  2. 1 Gu per hour, no excuses
  3. Do not get behind on Accelerade
  4. I don't ride 20 mph

The neat thing about endurance sports is that there are so many variables. It's not necessarily about who is the fastest, but who is the fastest without making stupid mistakes. And that is hard! Even the pros barf sometimes in a race because they've made a fueling or exertion error. So, next week I'll try to do a better job because Doug and I are riding in the West Georgia 100. Look out!

And, eventually, I'll be able to bust out a 60 mile ride without blinking an eye. Just not yet.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Home Again

We are back from Walt Disney World! Let the laundry begin!

This was not our first visit to the mouse house. Because of the International Builder's Show appearing every few years in Orlando, we have been able to go several times in the past few years. We've done it the fancy way, staying on the club level at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and eating at the Crystal Palace for lunch every day.

This was not that trip.

Just after receiving notice of our income tax refund (a complete and fabulous surprise), Doug found a great deal to stay in the "budget" hotel (Disney's All Star Sports) and subscribe to the pre-paid meal plan. Game on!

We packed food, snacks and bottled water and drove down in my car. The only big thing that only forgot was Dagny's dresses - we had enough outfits for every day, but I had laid out an equal number of dresses for both girls in case they had wardrobe issues or got dirty. Oops. Good thing they wear approximately the same sized clothes.

I have to say that we had just as much fun in the budget hotel as in the posh one. Yes, the food at the lodge was better and the setting was way cooler, but the rooms were about the same size with similar layouts. Really, at Disney, anything more than a room with beds and a bathroom is extra. We would have been more comfortable in a two-bedroom with Wifi, but it wasn't a big hardship to share the internet cable and be silent while the kids napped. Other than the fact that the meal plan gives you ridiculously large amounts of food and is very dessert-centric, it was a perfect set-up. We ate dry cereal or granola bars for breakfast every morning, had a self-serve lunch and had a sit-down dinner every night in the day's park. The food was all tasty and it was nice not having to worry about how much everything cost, especially since Dagny ate nothing the whole trip.

Coincidentally, Doug's sister Katie was going to Disney the same week. We saw them a couple of times, but their schedules did not mesh with ours because they didn't require naps. Fools. Naps are mandatory at Disney, everyone knows that!

Waiting for the opening of Epcot:

Here is Dagny posing for me in the Magic Kingdom while Doug and Annika rode Splashwater Falls again. We were surprised how much the parks freaked Dagny out. She is a control girl, and usually the life of the party but blankie rode a lot of rides with us and she spent a lot of time in the stroller. You should have seen her vibrating with excitement to meet Aurora and Tinkerbell, though. It was awesome.
We had dinner at the Biergarden in Germany at Epcot one night. The food was awesome - tons of sausages, cabbage, saurkraut, potato dumplings, pretzel bread. Yummo! A polka band played a set every few minutes, including at least one drinking song. As they do in Germany, we sat at a big table with another family. They sang their "hie, hie, hie"s with Coke instead of beer. Needless to say, they were not impressed with our singing and left quickly. Too bad, because the restaurant was really fun. Michael, our delightful server, was super-fast with the beer refills and Doug and I had more than our share. We completed Annika's Kim-Possible adventure and watched the fireworks before toddling home. We had a great time, but really suffered through the "Magic Hour" (and all of the other hours) at the Magic Kingdom the next day.
Here is Annika polka-ing with the other kids. That could be Dagny with her - it was hard to catch Dagny because she was so fast. Or, it could have been the beer, I don't know.

Chicken Dance:

We had a blast. Disney just knows how to move large crowds of people. I love them.
In other news, Doug has signed up for the Beach to Battleship Ironman in November. I'll be volunteering because there is no way to get two of us into ironman shape in six months. I'm still doing the Amelia Island race, though, because Aunt Gena has thoughtfully agreed to let us stay with her and Uncle Pat. Now, if I could just get my run distance up.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Doug Rocks

And Natalie rocks too!

They ran the Twisted Ankle Marathon in Summerville, Georgia yesterday. For those of you that don't know, Summerville is in the mountains. We got up early and drove to Sloppy Floyd State Park under overcast skies with sprinkles of rain.
The runners started at 9am. Everyone lined up to hear the instructions. This was a very low-key race, so the RD just yelled "go!" and they were off. The girls and I trekked back to the car and got money and the stroller and lined up for the ($5) kids' race. We ran across the playground and jumped a creek. At that point I decided that my run would NOT be on any trails - hefting a double jogger over a creek (even that dinky one) was too much. When Dagny and I caught back up to the group, Annika was crying and talking to a volunteer. She had fallen and twisted her ankle. I babied her a little and then said "let's go". She blubbered that the other kids had left her. I gave her some firm words about how if she kept crying like a baby and walking with me she would never catch them but she could be running and getting closer every second. And then, she took off. I tried to keep up. We eventually caught the end of the group and her new friend Christina. She was thrilled. Didn't care a bit that Christina sprinted at the end and left us in the dust. The RD made special ribbons from the buttons they gave all of the adult racers so Annika was absolutely thrilled to get one. I gave Doug's button to Dagny and all was right with the world.

Annika complained that her legs were tired so I put her in the jogger with Dagny and we started my run. I had planned to go 4 miles so I decided that would take about 45 minutes. We ran around on the roads of the park, which are not flat. At all. We actually ran for about 50 minutes so hopefully I got to 4 miles. Doug had my Garmin so who knows.

Then, it was back to the car to get the lunches, stow the jogger and on to the playground. Muddy. Ick. The girls had a good time on the playground and we noticed some weird bugs hopping all over the ground.
Turns out that they were toads. And when you picked them up, they played dead so it looked like the kids were smushing handfuls of toads, until they put them down and the toads hopped off. That is Dagny's arm for a size comparison. These toads were about as wide as a pencil eraser.

Dagny was even able to pick them up. Here she is showing them to me. Check out her button from the race.

Then, Dagny got hungry so we made our picnic by the finish line and watched the half-marathoners come in. Do you see the bridge across the lake in the photo from the park? That is the route to the finish line! The runners come across the bridge and the announcer reads their number and announces their name and everyone cheers. Awesome!
Annika and I had a little talk about how she kept going in her race even though it was hard. I gave her big praise for keeping going. Then I explained how that was "sucking it up" and we talked about "Suck It Up, Buttercup." It was a good lesson. Doug reinforced later with the "discomfort is temporary, quitting is forever." Annika has the button on her bulletin board so she is very proud of herself for finishing.
Then, more playground and frogs. The boys were throwing rocks at the girls. Then, the boys got on the merry-go-round on their bellies and spun as fast as possible while trailing their hands in the mud puddles. Whew, boy am I glad I only have girls! I packed contingency clothes for everyone but thankfully didn't need them. Some of the kids were running around with no shoes (squishing frogs!), even.
Then Dagny got tired and needed a snack so I was able to convince her to spread out the picnic blanket and read stories. Just in time because it was 4 hours into the race and Doug had predicted a 4:30-5:30 finish. The lady (Desiree) from the Rogue Runners group that I met thought that was optimistic. I was worried. Just as Dagny and I were almost finished reading "It's Not Easy Being a Bunny" (after she had run around like a crazy girl for 45 minutes and made the boys cry while I chatted with Desiree), we saw Doug! He looked great coming across the bridge! No shuffling and he didn't lose body temp. after the race! Yay! As we got him some fluids, Nat came across too. She wasn't shuffling either and really enjoyed a nice Coca Cola at the end. She said it was the shoes that got her to the finish. She couldn't quit and not get to wear the shoes. : ) hee.

And in other news, here is Annika's swim team doing the kickboard. You can't tell here but Annika was first in line with her kickboard. her lane is the middle one with the blonde coach holding the yellow kickboard.

And here, they are kicking while on their backs. Notice how Annika is crashing into the kid behind her.

Instantly after I took this picture, she started to cry because the kickboard slipped away from her. It was downhill from there. Low fuel, cold water, performance anxiety, and nerves all combined to undermine her confidence. She told the coach she couldn't swim so she had to move to the 4-5 year old group on the steps - you can see them in the top photo. Oh, the humilation. We talked all evening about how to get back to the "big kid" group. And now she only swims with the big kids - all of her friends from school.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where It's At

For years, my run speed has been increasing. In 2001, I struggled to run just 1 mile in 8 minutes. I would warm up on the treadmill and then set it for 8 minutes per mile and hold on while I ran as fast as I possibly could. Then, I ran more and got faster and could do a 5K at that speed. I remember breaking 25 minutes in the Polar Bear Run 5K in 2002 the week we found out I was pregnant with Annika. I had thought I was just hung over on the day of the race. As I increased my run volume, my speed increased. It was amazing!

Last year at this time, I ran my 5K PR at the Big Peach 5K in 22:45.

On Friday, I ran 3.08 miles around my block in 33 minutes.

Now, I wasn't trying to go fast but it felt really difficult and I was sweating like a pig. It is the first time I have timed my run since the week of Thanksgiving. I should have left the Garmin at home and basked in my ignorance.

It was disheartening to know that all of my hard-fought run fitness is gone. Doug has trained for and raced one marathon (ING) and has trained for and will race a second next week (Twisted Ankle) in the time that I have gone from 17+ miles as my long run to 3 miles.

3 miles used to be nothing!

And now, it's work.

But, 3 miles is still way better than 0 miles - which has been my run volume for the past 5 months. So I just have to keep telling myself that I took time off when I was pregnant and I came back so there is no reason I can't do the same now. And the same thing goes for the extra lbs and cellulite that I've put on. I've taken it off before and I can do it again.

Too bad bathing suit season starts next week.

In other news, Annika is still sick with the weird flu. Which sucks because her first swim team practice is tomorrow. I'm SO excited about the swim team. I really hope she likes it. Just wait until I post a photo of her in her fish swim cap. It is awesome.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Easter Photos

In lieu of an actual post, here are some photos from the Heslin's Easter Party.

The hunting begins. . .

And by "hunting," I mean "picking up."

Dagny approves of the candy. Notice that she is dressed as Cinderella. Nothing would do but to wear a pretty dress for the party. And Cinderella is the prettiest of them all when you are three.

Annika begins to enjoy the loot. She did her own hair after a nice trip from Grammy for a trim.

Dagny drives Wyatt's car.

This photo isn't from Easter, but is from Annika's school field trip to the farm on Wednesday.
Price of field trip - $17
Price of pants that might be ruined from mud- $8
Photo that Aunt Katie sent with her phone while I was in an interminable meeting - Priceless