Monday, February 22, 2010

Kona Memories!!!

My friend just sent me these pictures from Kona! I had to post them because they make me happy. The lady waving is Maine Rockstar Kim Cole! I'm standing in front of her staring out at the course....Next to me is the other Maine Rockstar MaryLou Lowrie. Great Moment..... And here we are at the Finish!!! I was so happy...Can you tell? This is the only picture I have of Mark and I together that day. Thanks Rachel!!!

Another really really great moment that I will NEVER forget.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My View

I went for a nice run today. It was nice because I got to run naked and let loose. What? That means I got to leave the HR monitor home and go fast! That's what Jen tells me, leave the heartrate monitor home and run naked. Gotta love it. I was told to work the middle 4 miles. I was fired up for this run. I've been waiting for this kind of run. I've been on the keep it moderate list for way too long because of this foot but now I've been let out of my cage. This is also a rest week. (sort of a joke because it's school vacation week and I have 3 boys and very little snow to play in and so there isn't a lot of resting going on for this Mama bear.) But in terms of training, yes, the load is quite light. So back to my run. Since I was given instructions to push push hard on those middle 4 miles, I intended to do just that. I had two choices. I could stay in my neighborhood, at the top of the hill (you'll see) and run 1 mile loops to keep the course flat and fast. If I did that...I could report a nice speedy pace back to Coach on Training Peaks. Hmmm. OR...I could make the choice that will make me faster. And stronger. But it's the course that would hurt more and appear slower. The pace that I typed into that little block on TP wouldn't be nearly as impressive. Here's where I ran.

Out my door and UP the hill. It's 1/2 mile up. I start every single run of my life...up.this.Hill.

I decided to finally take some pictures of this running route I love. The pictures really really don't do it justice. But I'll try. After cresting the hill above, I turn right and head down the one flat stretch of road. It lasts about . 3. yippy.

and then I climb this bad boy.

Here's where my photo tour falls apart a little bit. Idon't have shots that show all the hills in between that last one and this down hill. Trust's a continuous game of up and down. The climbs are steep and quite long. It's beautiful and it's unforgiving. It's the best training land around. You can't find an easy 6 miles regardless of how hard you try. Unless of course, you want to run around and around and around in circles.

I took pictures of these downhill areas because the sun was behind me. The shots going uphill were overexposed. But remember, I had to turn around and go back Up these puppies. You know, the pictures aren't that's hard to get the full picture.

Here's the best thing....our natural spring water stop. The water is tested and 100% clean and safe. It's absolutely delicious on hot summer days. I can stop here for a drink multiple times on my runs on this route. It's perfect.

This is actually the toughest climb on the road. It appears immediately after the water stop. The picture is blurry...but trust goes on and on and on. When I say these are steep, I have to fight to break 11 min miles on these. It's tough stuff... What you see as the top in this picture, isn't really the top. It turns and keeps going. And it's much much prettier with snow on the trees...maybe next year.

Here's the point of this post. Don't take the easy route. We all want to break barriers. We want to be faster and stronger. We want to beat the person we haven't beaten before.
There are lots of ingredients to getting there. You must work hard and keep your eye on the prize. So when you are given a choice, the easy route or the hard route, never never take the easy way out. It won't get you to that new --faster---stronger--place.
Just go for it. Every time.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Polarbear 5K Race Report!!

I ran a race!!!! The time has finally arrived. I was given the green light to put some intensity on this foot and race hard. Yes! I was excited. But was I ready?

I arrived at the race site one hour before the start time. I saw my friend Bob immediately and we headed in for our numbers. From there, we headed out for a nice warm up and pre-race chatter. He noticed that I was nervous...and commented that he hadn't seen me like that. We haven't raced together before since we just got to know each other at the end of the '09 season. For those who have experienced many races with me, I know you're laughing right now. I am the epitomy of the nervous athlete before race starts. I actually thought I was pretty mellow and calm yesterday!
I was surprised to bump into my brother (not racing), his wife Leigh (racing), her sister and neice, Leigh's parents, my neice and nephews and then my parents arrived!! I knew a few friends were running with me but I had no idea there would be all that great family support! It was really fun. My parents are amazing. They have been popping up at races and meets all my life. Of course throughout my childhood and HS, but in college they would even surprise me by appearing in the stands at pools in upstate New York (for example) armed with bags of homemade goodies to feed the entire men and women's swim teams, or driving to Vermont just to watch a mid-week dual meet. They rock. They hinted this past week by saying, "so what time is that 5K? Where is it?" I didn't answer their questions and instead said, "'s a 20 minute race. I'll fly by for about 12 seconds. It's ok!" But no, they came of course. It made it really fun too. I'll get on to the race details in a minute but I'm afraid I quite possibly provided the worst ever 'end of race face' for the camera.

We lined up and prepared to suffer. Last year, I actually won this race. It was a total surprise to me. I had never won a road race. I have actually only raced in a 5K about three or four times now. It's not my favorite distance. (it's really really painful!!!!) So I said to my friend, "I wonder who my competition is this year." I scanned the crowd and saw this tiny woman in front of me. She had 'that look.' I hit Bob and said, "oooh,she looks like she could be good." He looked at her and very confidently told me, "yes, she'll beat you." Thanks Friend!Ha! It was true though. He was right. This lady won the big 10 mile race last week in 60 minutes! She represented Maine in the Olympic Trials for the marathon too. She is a top elite runner. Ok. So my goal became to hold off anyone else.
That's about all the pre-race prep I had for this! Next thing I knew, "GO!"
And off we went. Bob and Mike were with me. We flew out of the gates and headed down a hill. Bob was hysterical. Within about 75 seconds I was already gasping for air but impressively, he had enough to rally off our pace every 15-30 seconds or so. It seemed that way but I was unable to look down at my watch to actually know. I was appreciative of his help... but I was utterly mystified at how he could Talk!! Seriously? I couldn't even breath! I know, we were only .7 into the race but I was already emptying the tank. We hit mile one 5:51!!! (he said 5:56 but my garmin says 5:51 so I'm going with that :o) ) I did muster up enough oxygen to mumble, "PR!" How funny. We did have a lot of down hill assistance to get that sub 6 mile but still...that's crazy. I had decided to run as hard as I could the entire pacing involved...and this was proof.
Right around that time, Bob hollered out, "Mike, is that you back there?" and he answered, "yes! it's me but barely!" Again, How can they TALK?? My husband is like that. He chats away. I choose to breath. Impressive boys.
Shortly after we passed our first mile mark, Bob edged away from me. I couldn't get back to him. He was wearing a yellow baseball hat so I just focused on that hat and tried to keep it close. Mile 2 was long. At least twice as long as mile 1. It was mostly flat and it was Hot! I desperately wanted to rip my gloves and headband off but again, I had no extra energy to expend on such unnecessary movements. It was all about going forward and going forward as fast as possible. I was gasping for air loudly. I felt like all others around me were in complete control and quiet. I was making quite a racket. But I must say, all the others around me were Men! Ha!!! That's right.....women were not allowed to get me. That's all I cared about. Holding my pace and keeping the women at bay.
Finally, mile 2 was done.
Mile 3 was cruel. It started with a Big big climb. I slowed to an 8:00 pace during the one moment I looked at my garmin. I was hurting so much. I was suffering harder than I've suffered in a long long time. I crested that hill and began the final stretch to the finish line. I am quite sure they were moving that line back further and further as I went down that road. It took hours to get there. I had visions of Ironman bliss. Did Ironman hurt this much?
Was I crazy? It was a 3.1 mile run! But I ran my heart out! I pushed my body so intensely! I was determined to run fast and start the season off in true form.
I ran past my family cheering and smiling! I don't even think I managed any form of smile. Poor little Griffin held his hand out for a slap and I couldn't do it. I was working myself into a pile of mush.
And then...just in time...DONE.
I staggered around the little chute and tried to catch my breath. I think a few guys moved in past me and handed the bottom part of their # to the official before I did. That's ok. I lost a few spots but no women slipped by. 2nd place. Not bad. I think the next woman was 1:40+ behind me.
20:19, 6:31 pace (my splits are kind of funny...5:51 (with downhill), 6:35 (flat), 7:06 (big climb) 2nd woman -19th or maybe 16th overall. I think there were ~300 runners.
2010 season is officially here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010







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Monday, February 8, 2010

Cape 10 Mile MId-Winter Classic Race Report!!!!

Yesterday was the big race. It's the first big race of the season and each year more and more runners come out for it. I believe over 800 toed the line for this one.

Here's the twist to my race report. (hint: note my white sweater in the picture below.) I didn't run. That was tough. It was very tough. I had to play my 'smart card' yesterday and suck it up. I had a stress fracture this past fall. I was off the roads for months. I'm back now, but my training to date has not prepared me for an intense 10 mile run. Any 10 mile run, yes, I could do it right now. But not that 10 mile race. That 10 mile race is Intense. There was no way I would head out those roads and not give it 110%. So in order to be safe and not risk causing a setback, I had to take on role as Spectator and double Mom.

Here's how my day went. The alarm went off in South Paris at 6:30. I was down to two boys because one of my kids had a sleepover. So Mark and I scurried around our house feeding the kids (takes foreeeeever....they eat half the fridge each meal) and heading out for the big race. I felt like I was running. I had butterflies. I just can't let it go...

We finally arrived in Cape Elizabeth (where I grew up) and ran into the High school. The cafeteria was packed. I immediately found Alina and her 3 kiddos (there to cheer Mary at the start), Steve (read his blog for a great recap @ MaineSport) and shortly thereafter, Bob. (Read another Great race report @ BootstrapBobTurner). I had a blast chatting with everyone as they donned their race clothes. I was envious but having fun living vicariously through them. Mary and Andy showed up with their kids. I was going to watch their 3 little ones while they raced. So at that point, 8 of our kids were swirling around reuniting with each other! It was impressive. Somehow I managed to get a nice picture of the three girlfriends before we all split up for the day.

( Alina, Ange and Mary) Alina left the race and headed to her daughter's 10 & U swim meet, I raced around cheering on my friends with 5 kiddos in tow, and Mary went on to crush her old PR. Pretty good day I'd say!!

Bob Turner and Dave Brackett getting ready to warm up.

Here's the gang!!! The gang of kids that is! (minus my son Cameron--at a sleepover party.) The 8 kids here belong to me (the two boys on the right), Alina and Mary. Their kids are mixed together but adorably paired off: the two youngest girls on the left (Dara & Lara), the boys in the midde (Noah & Ethan) and in the back the big girls (Maria & Jordan.)

My goal was to be cheerleader extraordinaire and also, photographer. You can start to see from the shots below that I failed at the photography thing. I was too excited. And cold.

Alina and I headed out to the start with our 8 little kids. They rolled around, jumped on stairs, straggled away, complained of the wind, or took off their mittens & pretended they were too cool to be cold. We got quick hugs from Mary and Stacy. I waved from afar to Mark. ( He is quite tall and wore a dayglo yellow coat so I could see him amidst the 800 runners looking our way.) We shook our heads at the 3 or so guys wearing shorts and tank tops. Later, I learned one guy ran the race Barefoot!!!! Seriously? Ouch. Brrr. Ouch!

It was less than 20 degrees and the wind was fierce. Now, I am a Mainer. I have always been a Mainer and I claim to even like winter. But the weather here just stinks lately. There is very little snow and it's been freezing. The wind will not stop howling. So even though the temperature wasn't too impressive yesterday, there was a lot of wind. At least where we were standing! We could barely handle watching the start....our eyes were watering and we had to hold our hand over our faces to stay sheltered. Alina commented that I was probably happy I wasn't racing in that.

Nope. Not the case. You are miraculously warm while running...if dressed properly.

I knew I would have been warmer if I was running. And as it turns out, they all said it wasn't too bad.

The race director yelled, "GO!" to all 800 people. Off they went. True to form, Mark smiled and waved as he ran off. I sighed and tried to wipe the poor me feeling off my face.

Alina and I hugged goodbye and I rallied the kids.

I got to the car and tried to encourage them all to wait for me so I could help arrange them into my car. I had figured out how to fit 5 car seats into our car but it required the kids to climb over seats, little Lara to be in a 5 pt harness seat and other little manipulations. The kids were adorable. they did great and all climbed in and buckled up. I wiped little Lara's glasses off for her and offered them all ritz crackers. We headed down the road towards the runners. I know this town inside out since I grew up there and spent years and years running those roads. I knew just where to go to watch them run by. I would see them around mile 6. I told them all to throw their gloves, hats, extra anything to me if they were hot at that point. That was my plan. And I would also take lots of pictures as they ran by right in the middle of the race. The trick was to get back in time to see them finish. With my speedy friends, 10 miles is not a lot of time!

I had to drive slow because many runners were still making their way off the first road. I saw a lady hobbling along. she was walking back up the road. When I got close I realized I knew her! She was a teacher who worked at the school I worked at 8 years ago! She had stepped in a pothole and twisted her ankle. She offered my ride. She got in the car, let out her initial frustration, and then turned around to see 10 little eyes staring at her. "Whoa!" She didn't knwo what she got herself into. I ended up doing a big loop around town to drive her back to the school so she didn't have to do the cheering shuffle with me.

It all worked out and I got to my spot Just in time. I pulled all 5 kids out of hte car and hussled them over to the curb. The wind was whipping and it was cold. We could see them all coming....within minutes of our arrival..."GO ANDY!!!!!!!!!!!! "

As expected, Mary's husband was flying. I'm so excited he's doing a lot of these races with us now. He is seriously impressive to watch! The kids were no on top of a hill taking turns running down as fast as they could without falling head first. They didn't seem to give one little hoot about their parents running by! Hmmm..... Still. I think they'll look back some day and think about what rockstars Mom and Dad were. Right? :) Maybe.

Note the great picture of Andy running by......

Ooops. Sorry. I told you I failed at that part. It all was happening too fast and I became a crazy lady yelling at every person going by!!

I was so desperate to jump out onto the road and run along with them!! Also, at road races like this, it's basically a few volunteers watching intersections (2 cars came by...we're in a small Maine town...not a lot of traffic), and in this case 5 spectators. (I'm not counting the kids.) It was me, my parents, and one other lady. Ok, that's 4 spectators. I was the only one yelling!! I knew every other person that went by it seemed. But they can hear every single word echo across the road. I felt a little nutso out there. But I continued to holler away. I loved every minute of it.

here comes Mary....she's to the left of the guy in orange. (pictures are really lame..I had to be DONE taking pictures by the time she got to me so I could SCREAM!) That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Here she is...that's a good one! GO MARY!!!

There's Mike...on the right. He was having a Great race as well!!! He tossed me his gloves...they went STraight up in the air and back on the road. Right in the road. In the path of the 700 runners behind him. We laughed pretty hard..I had to dodge runners for the next few runners trying to get those gloves. Good throw Mike! :) I'll forgive ya...

Ok...I'm feeling bad now because I didn't get any pictures of my husband running by. Ooops. Or my brother. Sorry Jeff... and Mark...I'm sorry. Again, I was too busy screaming!!! I was running back and forth hollering with excitement as I watched Mike and Bob fight it out. They were shoulder to shoulder and pushing hard. Right behind them was Steve and Jeff! And then Stacy and Erin! My friends were ALL flying by. They were all racing hard and suffering and taking full advantage of all the freindly competition we find out there on the roads.
It was inspiring and motivating.
It was exciting and very impressive.
I saw most of them run by and realized I was on the clock myself. In order to get back to see Andy finish, I had to Hurry!!! He was running 6 min/miles, he had less than 4 miles to go, I had been watching friends run by for 10 minutes after him...."COME ON KIDS!" We scrambled to the car and snapped them in. I drove back to the school but couldn't find a place to park. We had to park at a store next door. From there we had a bit of a walk to get back to the finish. Runners were coming fast and furious. As we were heading down the road, sure enough, There's Andy! GO GO GO !!! He was flying. Absolutely flying. My Dad was helping me and was carrying Lara. Mary's youngest daughter. I was running along with the other 4 kids.
We missed Andy's finish but we at least saw him run into the school. We would see the rest finish.
And that is when I really got loud. But the funny thing is, I doubt any of them heard a word I said!! I had also planned on taking shots of all of them as they ran down the final hill to the finish. Their faces were priceless...I wish had my camera ready.
Mark came first---and I saw the clock. He was breaking 1:10. unreal. I must take a minute to marvel at my husband. I have chosen to not let it bother me. He has an insane ability to run really fast on very very little training. He ran 10 miles ONE time before this race. He runs 2, mabye 3 times/week. There is no real plan involved. Those other 4 or 5 days is he biking? swimming? No. Nothing. He's working. Or making breakfast for the kids while I swim or bike. He gets out there to race a few times a year and just flies. He beat almost all my kick a$&* Tri friends (all except 3). It's remarkable. I wish he would train for real...he'd be unreal.
Talk about less is more. He could be a spokesperson for this method. He ran a 1:09:22. He beat my PR by 44 seconds. I'll have to take care of that next year.
Right behind him...Steps behind him was my friend Steve...and steps behind him was my friend Bob. (read their blogs...I put links to them above). Right behind them was my brother Jeff, in 1:10:07! So close! The guys took Minutes off their PRs!!! It's fantastic! Right behind Jeff was Carrie, and Stacy, and then Mary! (Ironmatron) , Erin and Mike, and Martha! You can see we had a very impressive race out there! These are a bunch of my triathlon peeps and I was just so proud and excited for all of them. They ALL crushed their times and kicked off the season in high form.
Way to go guys. If I forgot someone, I am sorry. I watched you all and was inspired.
It was a strange day to sit back on the sidelines. I know I did the right thing for my season ....I need to be sure this foot is ready for May.
Watching that race reassured me of one thing. I want to race. I love to race and I am as eager as ever to get out there and do my thing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Find your Comfort Zone....And Get OUT of it!!!

I dive in the water, warm up, swim some 50s and build my pace and after a 1000 or 1500 yards it's time to start. The Main Set. Sometimes it's 100s, or maybe my favorite-200s, or if I'm really lucky (note sarcasm) 10x400s. (right Jen...actually I did like that set even though it sounds totally dreadful). The point is--I have my speed. I know how fast I can 100s, 200s, 400s. I know what I can do. I push off, streamline and kick harder than on other sets. I'm pushing it. I'm working hard. All is well.
I'm cruising along....thinking I'm working hard....really really pushing....and I hit the wall. Ok. Yup. That's my time. That's my "I just worked hard on a 100 yards time..."
It's not enough. I have more.
So on the next one, I push harder, I dig deeper as I pull, I engage muscles that are dormant most days, I find a new place....a place that I don't find every day. I'm breaking away. OUT of that comfort zone. OUT of that safe fast place. Into a new zone...a new speed....the speed that will make me faster this year. The speed that will get me ahead just a little bit more. And maybe that's all it will take.

When I run, my comfort zone is the easiest to find of all three sports. It's just where I go. It's my pace when I'm told to 'just run' steady. Yeah feels so good. When you're cruising along: step step step step step and before you know it you forget you're running. I love that. Some days, you need to throw some speed in the mix. Let's say I'm running 4 minutes fast......4 times. Not so bad. I can do that...I can run fast for 4 minutes! I can push it! And you know, I know about the pace that I should do on a moderately flat route. (no total flats in my neighborhood) And that pace hurts. But I can make it hurt more...and I must. If I'm going to have a fast season and go faster than I did before, I need to push beyond where I think it hurts. I Must get Out of my comfort zone.

You can work hard or you can tear it up.

I believe it taking things one step further. If you think you are working hard...challenge yourself. Make it hurt MORE. Dig deep deep inside for one more gear. One more zone. One more level. Proove to yourself that you can find the place that will make you better. If you want to get better (and I think we all do) you must challenge yourself.

That comfort zone is a dangerous place. We all have it. And if you can't figure out how to're stuck.

So GO FOR IT! Next time your coach gives you the green light to PUSH just that...only push HARDER than you thought you could. You'll be proud when you finish.