Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Back To It - Sort of

If you missed the Nike Women's Marathon Race Report, see the post below.

After the Nike Women's Marathon, I took the week off. I always do after a marathon. I'm not sure my body liked that, though. I get too lazy when I'm not running and I seemed extra tired last week. So Monday it was time to get back to training. I hopped on the treadmill for a nice easy 3 mile run to ease back into things. And it felt good. I slept better Monday night than I did last week, too.

So now it's time to get back in groove. The only problem was that yoga was cancelled Tuesday night due to a Family Festival at my son's elementary school (my yoga teacher's kids go there, too). I didn't want to run and get sweaty before going to that and when I got home I reverted to my lazy ways. I layed on the couch and watched a special I had recorded on PBS about inactive people training for the Boston marathon. It was an hour long special that was actually pretty interesting and reminded me of the way I felt when training for my first marathon. I was probably a little more fit than most of them when I started, but had some of the same doubts and concerns. I didn't feel so bad about taking today off as it is usually a "yoga only" day when I'm not training for a triathlon.

Today should be another run day. However, as most of you know, today is HALLOWEEN. And that means it's a day to do what the kids want. Our town has "Halloween on Main Street" and we usually go to that every year. Local businesses hand out candy and I know it is safe to eat. The bad thing about this year is that daylight savings doesn't kick in until this coming weekend. Halloween on Main Street is from 6-7. We've already been. And it sure didn't feel like Halloween when it's daylight outside. And especially since it is still 80 degrees outside. The past few years have been dark and cold. That's the way Halloween should be. We're back home now and have had two trick-or-treaters. Hopefully things will pick up when it gets dark or I may have to run a lot more than planned to run off the candy I'll be consuming! My parents are coming by to see the kids' costumes and then my husband will take them around to a few houses in the neighborhood - once it gets dark. Maybe after that I'll decide I really should run on the treadmill - or maybe not. After all, it is Halloween.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nike Women's Marathon - Race Weekend and Race Report

For those of you that want the short version, go to Monday's update. The rest of you, grab a coffee or a coke (whatever will keep you awake) and prepare to be here a while. The following is my very long report of the weekend and the race, along with pictures.

Race weekend was finally here. Our flight left at 7:55 am Friday morning, so the alarm went off at 4:30. I got up, got ready, put the last minute items in my luggage, grabbed my muffins and headed out to meet a teammate I was taking to the airport. We took the new toll road to the airport, which was great. Got parked, checked in, went through security and met our other teammates at the gate. There were over 40 of us on the flight and the captain made an announcement welcoming us once we were in the air. That was kind of cool. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was the in-flight movie, so I put on my headphones and enjoyed the show (even though I had already seen it).

When we landed, we were all starving. It was almost noon our time, even though it was only 10:00 California time. We caught the Team in Training shuttle to the hotel (the Hilton in Union Square) and tried to check in. I was staying with my friend Brandi who was also one of the coaches for the season, so we were in the executive tower. Our room wasn’t ready yet. We checked our bags at the desk, gathered a group of about 15-20 people and started walking toward the expo while looking for a place to eat. When we found Lori’s Dinner we all agreed that was as good as any place.
After a great lunch, we continued to the expo. This expo was different than most of the big race expos. At most of them, there are all kinds of vendors selling their stuff. You can get almost anything you want. Not here. This expo is put on by Nike and is catered to women. There aren’t any vendors selling things, but there were free massages (full body, chair and foot) and free manicures. After getting our bibs, timing chips and goodie bags we quickly hopped in line for the full body or chair massage. You didn’t get to pick. You got whichever one opened up first. I got lucky and got a full body. It was only about 15 minutes, but felt good anyway. When we were done there, we immediately got in line for the foot massage. Aaahhhh. I could get use to this.

From here, we headed across the street to NikeTown. NikeTown is a huge store and that is where all the race day merchandise was. Let’s just say they have a good bit of my money now. On the outside of NikeTown is a wall that has all of the runners name’s on it. I found my name and got a picture.
After NikeTown several of us decided to head down to Fisherman’s Wharf to sightsee a little and grab some dinner. We decided to eat at Bubba Gump. We had a great dinner and then strolled over to Pier 39 to listen to the sea lions. Then it was back to the hotel and to bed.

Saturday we woke up relatively early. Brandi had a coaches meeting at 8:00 and I met with the rest of the team to do a 20 minute run through the streets of San Francisco, being very careful to avoid those notorious hills. I heard one person while we were running say, “the race is tomorrow”. Duh! After running I took a shower and got dressed while waiting for Brandi. When she was done, we headed to Knuckles Sports bar with Brandy and Selene to watch some football and grab some lunch. We sat at a bar with 4 chairs and 4 TVs. Brandi (with an “i”) is an Oklahoma fan while Brandy with a “y” and Selene are University of Texas fans, so we had the folks at the bar put those two games on. Sadly for me, my Aggies were not on TV Saturday.

After the games we ventured back to Pier 39 for some quick souvenir shopping. My daughter collects snow globes so I found her one of those and got my son a shirt with sharks on front. It changes colors when it gets in the heat. We checked out the sea lions again now that we could see them. They are funny to watch.

Then Brandy and Selene bought a crape and it was time to head back. This time, we caught a cab. He took us though some of the hills of San Francisco. I tried to get pictures from the cab, but they don’t do the hills any justice.
After helping our staff person make some race day signs, it was time to get ready and head to the pasta party. Our team had ordered matching shirts so that we could wear them to the pasta party. They turned out nice and most of us had them on.

The pasta party was huge. When we walked in there were tons of staff people cheering for us all. We went through a balloon arch, down the stairs and turned the corner and there were still people cheering for us. I had experienced this during my first TNT event in San Diego so I knew it was coming, but some people were just plain overwhelmed by it all. I think there were around 8,000 people at the pasta party. 5,300 of them were TNT participants who had raised money. In all, over 18.5 million was raised for the LLS through this event. That’s a lot of money.

After carbo loading on our pasta, we headed back to the hotel for our “night before the race” meeting and to decorate our jerseys. The only problem is that the hotel kept kicking us out of the room or space where we stopped to meet. Finally we found a meeting room on the 6th floor and all crammed in there. We got last minute reminders for race day. When the meeting was over several of us went to a different spot to decorate our jerseys. We always put our name on the front and names of honored heroes on the back. Then it was bed time.

In this marathon, full marathoners who think they will not make the 6.5 hour cutoff can do an early start. We had a few people that wanted to do this and since Brandi (my roommate) was the coach, she needed to be up early to get them to the start by 5:30. So when she left the room at 4:45, I decided to get up and start getting ready myself. I got dressed, ate my race morning breakfast of oatmeal, made sure I had everything I needed and headed downstairs to meet the rest of the team at 6:00. We then made our way to the start line which was just a few blocks from the hotel. We checked our bags for after the race and waited for the start of the race.

We heard the national anthem and then the 10 second countdown to the race start. And then we stood there. For 10 minutes. We were so far back, we didn’t even budge for 10 minutes. And when we finally did cross the start line, almost 17 minutes had gone by. Thank goodness for chips.

When I crossed the start line I started jogging. I knew the first mile would be slow with so many people and that was fine by me. Better to start out slow and speed up later than to start out too fast. Since I just did a Half Ironman Triathlon two weeks ago, I didn’t really have a time goal for this race. I just wanted to finish. I figured if I finished in the 5 hour range I’d be ok. At each mile I hit my split button on my watch just to see where I was. I figured if I kept each mile around 11 minutes I’d be good. And I did that the first few miles.

The first few miles of the race are flat. We ran down through Fisherman’s Wharf and headed toward the Golden Gate Park. I stopped at one point and had another TNT coach take my picture with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. It was really pretty.

We had been warned that about mile 6 we would face a steep hill that continued for about a mile. Brandi had said she would be at the bottom of that hill to encourage us as we went up. I started looking for her and found her right before I started on the hill. She joined me for the first bit of the hill. My goal was to run all the way up that hill. I do hill training back home and no hill in San Francisco was going to get me. And I conquered that hill. It was steep, but not near as bad as I had imagined.

We got a little reprieve after the hill with some downhills but then headed right back up again. What I didn’t enjoy was that around mile 9 was an aid station right in the middle of the hill! Come on folks – put it at the bottom of the hill or the top of the hill, but not in the middle. It did help to see two of our staff folks right there cheering for us though. And as soon as we got to the top of that hill, we were rewarded. We started a long decent down the hill toward the ocean with an incredible view. From here we had an out-and-back that was also there area where the ½ and full marathoners split off. Mentally, I don’t like out-and-backs. When I’m going out, I’m always wishing I was on the “back” side. And then to see the split and know that some folks were almost done. That was tough mentally. But I kept going. I was still doing fine and enjoying the day. The weather was perfect. When we started it was probably in the high 40s or low 50s, but as the sun came up it warmed up and was probably in the 60s as we were running. It was just right for me.

I finally got to the Great Highway. This was another out-and-back of sorts. We would head out the Great Highway. At about mile 18.5 we would start around Lake Merced. This would take us for the next 4.5 miles. We had been warned that, while flat, this part of the race was boring and there was very little support on this part. Again, a mentally tough part of the race. Our warning was accurate and this is where I started walking. I’m a competitive person by nature, so part of me wanted to keep running, but I was also here to enjoy the race and not worry about my time. Since there wasn’t going to be much support in the way of water stations, I decided not to worry about it. I walked, then jogged, then walked some more. And it was very BORING. After an hour of going around that lake, I just wanted to be done with that part. And I knew once I was off the lake I would be almost done with the race.

Finally I could see the turn that would put me back on the Great Highway to the finish. And as I came around the corner I saw one of my teammates. I thought it was cool that she had finished her ½ marathon and come out to cheer on the rest of us. And then I remembered that she was doing the full. She was an early starter because she is a walker so I was confused about how she was already done. Well, she wasn’t. That’s just how she is. She had gotten to that point and just decided to stop and cheer for people for a while. That’s what it truly means to be part of the team. Jeffi is my hero!

Somewhere between mile 24 and 25 Brandi called to see where I was (yes, I run with my phone). She was at 25.5 running people in and said she would head back to find me. We passed our staff people at their cheer station again and walked a little more before Brandi said she was off to find other people. I could see the finish line, but I wasn’t ready to start running for the line yet. Then one of my mentees passed me. He had run Chicago, but his wife was doing this race and he was running her in to the finish line. I looked at my watch and my competitive side kicked in. I was close to 5 ½ hours and decided I wanted to come in under that. I started sprinting to the finish and crossed with an official time of 5:29:38. I just made it.

And the next thing I know, I’m standing next to lots of guys dressed in tuxedos with a tray of blue boxes. Not just any boxes. Tiffany boxes with my Tiffany finisher’s necklace in them. Two of the guys at once go to hand me the box. Which one do I take it from? I took the box from the guy closest to me. I had my necklace. Then I got the blue Tiffany bag to put it in. Then I got my mylar blanket and walked through the tent to get my finisher’s shirt. The next stop was the TNT tent to check in. Every TNT runner and walker has to check in so that TNT knows all participants are safe. They also had food, so I went down that line grabbing chips and a cookie.

And then I saw it. The line for stretching and massage. And I got right in line. The drinks were right next to the line, so I grabbed a coke and drank that while waiting. Then my phone rang. It was the other Brandy. I told her where I was and she came to meet me. We got stretched and massaged and then headed to baggage claim so I could get my change of shoes and sweats. I changed my shoes, but didn’t need the sweats yet. We sat on the sea wall and relaxed for a while. Our game plan was to wait for Brandi (who had to stay on the course until our last participant crossed the line) and then get in the ocean for a little bit.

When Brandi was done we walked down to the ocean. I HATE cold water, so I knew I wouldn’t be going in far, but I figured maybe up to my knees. When I stepped on the sand where the water had just been, I knew I was in trouble. The sand was cold! And then the current came up and covered my feet. They immediately went numb and started to hurt. I ran back to drier ground. I’m such a wimp. Brandi and Brandy (are you confused yet) however, went on in. They were joined by Rachel. They went out until the water was at their thighs and they stayed in for about 10 minutes. Brrrrr! I get cold just thinking about it.

The last shuttle bus was leaving the race site at 4:00 so at 3:30 we started heading to the shuttle. We caught it back to the hotel, showered and got ready for the victory party. The victory party is always fun and it’s always fun to see how everyone is walking (or not walking). Most people seemed to be doing very well. I remember after my first marathon I felt like I could barely walk. I recover faster after each one, but even our first timers were doing well.

After the victory party there was a small group of us who got a drink to toast our accomplishments. We shared some laughs and talked about future events we might do together. Friendships have been made. Great times have been had. But all good things must come to an end and it was time for bed.

We woke up early Monday to finish packing and catch the bus back to the airport for our flight home. Again, the captain announced that we were on the plane, but this time he congratulated us for having helped raise over 18.5 million for the LLS. The in-flight movie this time was License to Wed. Funny movie if you haven’t seen it. It was kind of sad to land and know that the season is over. We said our good byes with promises to get together for a reunion in a couple of weeks and to look at pictures. I dropped off my teammate and headed home where I was greeted by my kids asking “what are we doing for dinner?” That’s code in our house for “can we go eat at Casa Garcia?” So that’s just what we did. Mexican food always works well after a long weekend away.

I’m taking the week off from working out and will start back up with training next week – slowly. Brandi and I are doing the Disney marathon again in January and I may do AT&T again in February. We’ll see.

Overall, it was a very successful season and a great race. While my time was slower than normal, I’m ok with that. A half ironman and a marathon all in one month is a lot. The Nike Women’s Marathon caters to women and it is a great event. Part of me wants to do this event again next year, but there are also a lot of great events to do that I haven’t done yet. I’m assistant coach for the winter season and then will sign up in the spring to do the America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (100 miles around Lake Tahoe) with TNT. After that, who knows!
Here is a link to the course and elevation profile
Race Day Splits were:
Mile 1: 11:11
Mile 2: 10:55
Mile 3: 11:18
Mile 4: 11:45
Mile 5: 11:20
Mile 6: 11:04
Mile 7: 12:10 (this was going up the hill)
Mile 8: 11:04
Miles 9 & 10: 23:51
Mile 11: 11:32
Mile 12: 11:06
Mile 13: 11:54
Mile 14: 12:01
Mile 15: 11:30
Mile 16: 12:00
Mile 17: 11:35
Mile 18: 13:17 (this is where I started walking)
Mile 19: 13:50
Mile 20: 13:40
Mile 21: 13:53
Mile 22: 14:48
Mile 23: 15:27
Mile 24: 15:10
Mile 25, 26 and .2: 38:04 (but I forgot to stop my watch as I crossed, so this isn't really accurate)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Race Report Coming Soon

Well, I'm home from San Francisco. I had a great time while I was there. I finished the Nike Women's Marathon in 5:29:38. It's late and I still need to unpack and get ready to go back to work in the morning. A full report of the weekend and race, including pictures, will be up in the next day or so.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lazy Days and Random Thoughts

After my half ironman Sunday, I took the week easy. Monday was definitely an off day for me. I ended up working for two ours in the pumpkin patch with my daughter at my church. No workout at all. Tuesday was much needed yoga. It felt gooooooddddd. At this point, I can't even remember what Wednesday was, but I know I didn't work out. I work for an ad agency and Thursday was a "Battle of the Media Stars". I did the 3 legged race in that with another co-worker. That was my workout for the day! Friday was a wash-the-clothes-and-get-stuff-done day.

Saturday morning I met with the TNT run team and took the easy way out by only doing 5 miles. The marathon is the 21st, so it's coming up soon. After the run, we went to a cafe for breakfast and last minute reminders about the race. We head out on Friday. After that I went to Sam's to help one of the participants raise some more money by having a bake sale. And then it was home to watch some college football and finish doing things around the house.

This morning we went to church, my daughter has a youth council meeting, my son has a soccer game, we have another meeting at church and then youth tonight. Busy day. And next week isn't going to be any better. But we'll get through.

I'm very excited about heading out to San Francisco for the marathon. Although I'm afraid I'm going to freeze. We are still in the high 80s and low 90s here. I checked and it looks like San Francisco is in the high 50s and low 60s. That's a 30 degree difference and while it will be perfect for marathon day, I'm going to have to take a jacket for the rest of the time.

I also wanted to say that one of the blogs I have been following is hillarious and you should check it out. It's All of us have gotten those emails from "the poor orphan whose rich uncle died, but they need someone to put the money in their bank account". Well, Kim actually responded back. They've had a few emails back and forth and it's quite funny. I would never have the guts to do that. Check it out if you want a good laugh.

I also want to say that yesterday was the Hawaii Ironman in Kona. An Ironman in itself is a huge accomplishment, but Kona is the big one. There are a few lottery entrances, but most of the people there have gotten there by qualifying. This means they placed in the top of their age group at another Ironman race. I watched some of the race last night on a live webcast. To see these people cross the finish line is amazing. Some of them look just fine, but others cross the line and then collapse. They can't even stand up by themselves. And some have very inspiring stories. If you haven't ever watch an Ironman, you should do so. They are sometimes replayed on tv on various channels and they are all usually webcast live on Check it out.

That's it for now. I'll try to update again before I leave, but if not, I'll update with a race report when I get back. That's if I don't freeze to death while I'm there.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Longhorn Half Ironman Pictures

Race Weekend Pictures
The race report is in my update on 10/7.
The buoys for the swim. That little dot in the middle of the picture
right at the horizon is a buoy.
This is the other side of the swim.

The swim exit from the water. I know the picture is dark, but it kind of gives you an idea of the distance from the swim exit to transition. And it's all uphill.

Continuing the swim exit and the entrance into transition.

My bike racked on Saturday. I got lucky and the spot to my left remained empty. Nice!!!

Race day exiting the swim.

Coming out of transition for the bike start.

Clipping in.

Taking off for the 56 mile bike ride.

Out on the run course. Those blue things in my hands are the cold, wet sponges.
They became my friends for the second lap.

Posing for my son. Only he cut my head off, so this is the picture my husband took.

Running it in for the finish.

I'm a Half Ironman Finisher!!

Me with my medal at home after the race. My daughter took this picture.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Longhorn Half Ironman Race Report

The short story: I finished in 7:29:02
I was 561 out of 728 overall
45 out of 54 in my age group
185 out of 255 women

Swim: 48:13
T1: 3:28
Bike: 3:35:59 for 15.6 mph average
T2: 3:41
Run: 2:57:39 for 13:34 per mile pace

The LONG version:

Saturday afternoon about 12:45, I loaded up my bike and headed out to the race site. I got my bib, my chip, and my goodie bag with race shirt and then joined the others in the bleachers for a mandatory pre-race meeting. They had a USAT official talk about the rule violations they would be looking for (such as drafting on the bike) (USAT is the official governing body of triathlons and there are many rules). Then the race director spoke. He informed us that water temperature was 85 degrees – no wetsuits. He also said they would mark the road in areas where there were large potholes. That’s a good idea.

When that was done, I drove my bike over to the transition area. In very small races, you can rack your bike where ever you want. First come, first serve. In other races, you are assigned a row, but can rack anywhere on that row. Not in this race. You had to rack on your number. This was good in that it didn’t matter what time you got there, but bad because you had no choice. Turned out I was actually in the middle of the whole thing, so I was ok with that. I put my bike on the rack, let some air out of my tires, and covered up my handle bars with a trash bag. (In my Olympic tri I did last spring, I didn’t cover anything up and the dew from overnight caused my brakes to squeak during the whole race. I didn’t want that to happen again. Plus, all the “experienced” triathletes do it, so I figured I might as well. Ha.) Then I left.

Saturday evening at 6:00 we met about 36 other people for dinner at Bucca De Beppo. (not sure on the spelling). These people were all people who post on We did name tags so we’d know who each other was, and it was fun to see who the person behind the screen name was. After dinner it was home to finish packing my transition bag, watch a little bit of the Aggie football game while I rolled on my foam roller and then it was bed time.

This morning I woke up at 4:10 a.m. I got dressed, ate my oatmeal and hit the road. I got to transition a little after 5:30 and started laying everything out. I pumped up my tires, loaded my bento box with food for the bike course, loaded my water bottles on my bike and made sure everything was how I wanted it to be.

I got a little nervous. Since this was a Half Ironman, they had USAT officials really watching to make sure everybody was doing everything right. You can only take up so much room in the transition area and the lady was having people move stuff and fold up towels so the space wasn’t too big.

At 7:15 it was time to head to the swim start. I wasn’t really that nervous which I thought was good. I was the fourth wave to go off. We got out in the water and started from the water. I positioned myself about the 2nd or 3rd row back and to the inside on the right. The swim was clockwise, so all buoys we passed were to be on our right. I like to be by the buoys so hopefully I don’t swim any more than I have to. When the horn blew, I started swimming. I had to remind myself that I had a long way to go and I just needed to swim my race. This wasn’t a race against other racers like the shorter tris are for me. I just wanted to get through it. My main goal was to finish in under an hour and a good goal for me was to finish in about 45 minutes.

When I rounded the first buoy and was looking for the next one, I noticed that I had caught up to at least one male swimmer from the wave in front of ours. Sweet! I love when I can catch up to the wave in front of me because it means I’m not the slowest swimmer. By the next buoy, I noticed another color. Did I catch up to the wave two in front of me? Uh, than would be a no. I was being passed by the guys behind me. And the fast ones were barreling through. Yikes. By the time we got to the buoy to head back to shore, I noticed there weren’t a lot of red caps (my wave color) around.

When I exited the swim I glanced at my watch – 48 minutes. Wahoo! And then I saw my family. Yeah! I high-fived my kids and headed for transition. When I did Danskin here, I ended up with some twig or rock or something in my shoe and it cut my toe during the race. Since this was a longer race, I sat down and tried to wipe my feet off. They were gross. I got them the best I could, put my socks and bike shoes on, put my gloves, sunglasses and helmet on, threw some gels in my back pocket and took off.

Right as I was mounting my bike, I saw my family again. I told them I’d see them again in about 4 hours and was gone. I had no idea how long the bike would take me. The longest training ride I did was 42 miles. And when I tried to ride the course a couple of weeks ago it was mid afternoon and scorching hot and I only made it 40 miles. During the race today it was slightly overcast. I hoped it would remain that way throughout the bike and for the most part it did.

I kept reminding myself on the bike to not push too hard, especially in the beginning. I can do that in a sprint because I only have 12 miles to go, but today I had 56.7 (remember, they had to change the route and it added a little extra mileage). I felt good with the areobars and I kept taking drinks about every 15 minutes. Every hour I took a Cliff Shot energy gel. And in between, I dug into my bento box and pulled out either a piece of a Lara Bar or some gummy bears. That seemed to do the trick. But I think at that point I had had too much to drink and hadn’t sweated any liquid out yet. At mile 10 I had to pee. Now hard core triathletes learn to pee while they are riding the bike so they don’t have to stop. Not me. I knew there would be an aid station about 12.5 and I knew I would be stopping. When I turned off the highway and saw the aid station I was happy. And there was an open porta potty. I bet I was there less than a minute total and I was on my way again.

During the bike I kept checking myself. I’d try to push a little on the flats and downhills (I reached 37 mph today on one of the downhills and hit high 20s many times) and I’d spin in the easy gear on the uphills (sometimes only doing 6 mph). When I hit 40 miles I was happy. Only 16 more to go and I was doing ok. When I hit mile 47 it was even better. The countdown was on. I was glad to get off the bike. The aerobars really helped. I was just ready to get off that seat.

I headed back to transition to get my run gear. I decided to change socks because the ones on my feet were still wet from my wet feet after the swim and I really didn’t want to run 13.1 miles with wet socks. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have changed. You’ll read why in a little bit. I stuffed some pretzels and gummy bears in my back pocket, put on my race belt with bib number, grabbed my Gatorade and headed off. My legs felt fine off the bike so I started out with a slow run.

And that’s when I realized how hot it had gotten. On the bike you are going fast and have a breeze. Not so on the run. And I don’t do well with the heat. So at the first aid station I grabbed some cold sponges and sqeezed them on my head. And where did the water go? Right down my legs and into my shoes. So much for dry feet. I decided to run when I could and walk the hills. And that’s exactly what I did for the first few miles. And then I got really hot. I knew at this point I would finish. And I knew even if I walked the rest of the way I would finish under 8 hours. All I wanted to do coming into today was finish so I decided not to push myself and just started walking fast. I still ran on some downhills when I felt like it, but by the time I got to the second lap I was pretty much resigned to walking the rest of the way.

About mile 7 I saw my family again. I needed that. They had just gotten back and were walking to the transition and finish line area so they weren’t expecting to see me again right then. They stopped and whipped out the cameras. My son had his digital and was wanting to get a picture so I stopped. I guess he was in too big of a hurry though because my daughter said he cut my head off. Oh well. My husband got some. I told them I was on the second lap and would see them at the finish.

About mile 8½ I started walking with a lady from Colorado. We walked and talked for a couple of miles but then she was ready to run again. With the heat, I wasn’t going to. I told her to go on and have a great finish. I just kept walking (and mind you I wasn’t leisurely walking) and grabbing new sponges, Gatorade and water with ice at all the aid stations. I’d dump a cup of water on my head, drink the Gatorade and save some water with ice to drink until the next aid station. I was glad when I entered the park again because that meant only about 3 more miles to go. And I just kept walking and drinking. I’d talk to anybody that came along, but I was pretty far back at this point. After I climbed the last big hill I knew I was close.

I wasn’t going to start running until mile 13. When I hit that, I dropped my sponge and cup and took off for the finish line. I didn’t see my family going down the chute but they were there because they got pictures. And I don’t remember hearing my name being called out but I think they did. It didn’t matter. I knew I was done. I knew I had just completed 70.3 miles with my own body. I knew I could call myself a Half Ironman finisher.

I was so excited I didn’t even look at my watch or stop it. I got my ice cold towel, my medal and my finisher water bottle. Then I found my family before heading for food. We sat down for a little bit while I ate what I could and then I gathered my stuff and had them help me carry it all back to the car – two miles away. Ugggh!

I'll add pictures later. Hopefully tomorrow. It's just taking too long and I need to go chill on the couch and watch tv.

I enjoyed the race. I’m glad I did it. I don’t know if I’ll do it again next year or not. It takes a lot of time to train. And if I do it, I won’t be training for another event at the same time. I have a marathon in two weeks, so that’s why I didn’t really push it on the run. If I didn’t have that coming up, I might have pushed a little harder and finished under 7 hours. Who knows. Maybe I wouldn’t have.

I do have thoughts of one day doing a full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run), but after doing the Half Ironman today I have a better feel for what it will take to be able to do that. It will take tons of time and right now I don’t have that. Maybe in 2009 or 2010. But not right now.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Getting Ready For Race Day

This week was a hectic week, so it's a good thing it was a taper week. Tuesday night was open house at my son's school. I didn't want to workout before open house because I didn't want to go sweaty and I didn't want to have to take a shower and get ready all over again. By the time we got home and got everything done, I wasn't in a mood to do anything.

Wednesday evening I had a coaches/mentor meeting for Team in Training. I live way north and work way south. The meeting was south. I thought I was going to have to go home to pick my daughter up from school and then come all the way back to the meeting. It turned out that my husband was able to get her so that I could stay south. But, I hadn't planned on that and didn't have any workout clothes with me. By the time the meeting was over and I got home, it was almost 10:00. No workout again.

Thursday when I got home, I got on the treadmill for a quick 3 mile run on the treadmill. I needed to do something. Then my daughter and I went to watch my nieces cheer at their school's volleyball game while my husband and son were at soccer.

Today when I got home, I took my bike off the trainer and took it for a quick 15 minute ride outside. I wanted to make sure everything felt good. My knee has still been giving me issues every now and then and I think it's from the bike. I'm hoping I don't have problems with it Sunday. The weird thing is that it doesn't hurt at all when I run. After those brief 15 minutes, I was soaked with sweat. Of course it was 5:00, but I certainly hope it's at least a little bit cooler Sunday. The front that was suppose to get here and cool things off into the 80s won't be making it until Tuesday or Wednesday. It will probably be in the 70s to start and in the 90s by the time I'm done. The race director took the water temperature today. It was 85 degrees. That's hot! And that also means no wetsuits. For me, that means a slower swim time. Oh well.

Tonight I'll start getting things ready and lay them out so I don't forget anything. My son has soccer skill training and my daughter and I enjoy the girl time by watching Ghost Whisperer. So, we'll watch that and I'll relax.

In the morning I'm scheduled to be aid station for the TNT Nike team. We are then having a pot luck and will go over race preparations with the team. After that I'll head home to get my bike and head out to the race site to pick up my packet, check out the expo, and rack my bike. There is a mandatory meeting that participants have to go to, so I'll do that at 4:00. At 6:00 several people who post on are meeting at an Italian food restaurant for dinner, so we'll meet them there. That should be fun and it will allow me to meet people so I'll see familiar faces during the race. After dinner, it's home and to bed.

The transition area opens Sunday morning at 5:30 and I plan on being there when it opens. I like to get there and make sure everything is just how I want it. The race starts at 7:30 with the elite wave and goes from there. I'll be in the water before 8:00. I have no idea what time I'll be anywhere else Sunday. I'll get done when I get done. I'll let you know how it goes. Until then......

Monday, October 1, 2007

Allergies, Weather and Race Day

My husband was out of town Thursday - Saturday of last week, so I missed my long run with Team in Training. Instead, after running the kids around all day, I did 6 miles on the treadmill. It felt good. I could have kept going.

Sunday was just as hectic with church meetings and such, so while my husband went to the grocery store, I hopped on the trainer for 2 hours. I think my body just doesn't like the trainer. I can ride over 3 hours outside and be fine, but I get off the trainer and I'm hurting. The latest pain is under the ball of my left foot. It feels like a bruise. Sometimes when I'm on the trainer, I actually sit up (you know, "look mom, no hands") while I'm pedaling. When I do this, I think my feet slide forward a little bit in my shoes. And I think that's what caused my pain Sunday. I'm hoping to get the bike outside one last time on Wednesday, weather permitting.

Speaking of weather.....there are tons of allergens in the air right now. Lots of ragweed, fall elm and mold. I'm allergic to ragweed and mold, but the ragweed really gets me. And the news said this may be the worse ragweed season we've seen in the past 15 years. Just what I need right before race day. My nose runs all day and then stops up at night so I can't breathe, which wakes me up. Then I can't get back to sleep. And I'm constantly sneezing. Got the itchy eyes, too. And YES, I am taking Allegra and sometimes Benadryl at night.

I also watched the news tonight to see what the forecast may be for race day. We're still hovering in the low 90s here and that is a little above normal for this time of year. However, the news tonight said they expect a cold front to come through sometime Saturday night or Sunday. That would mean temps in the mid to high 80s. That would be wonderful. But, there is also a 30% chance of rain. That's not much, but I'd prefer if the rain held off until say 4:00 in the afternoon or so.

Since race day is Sunday, I'm taking it easy this week. I went on a field trip with my son's 4th grade class today. Boy was that interesting. I had to laugh though as we were walking and some of the kids were complaining. I'm thinking "we haven't even walked a mile yet". When I got home I got my bathing suit on and went to the gym. I swam 2,000 meters tonight and that's all I'm doing. I'm going to pop some popcorn and veg in front of the tv.