Saturday, August 2, 2008

18 Miles With The Girls

How about an overcast morning, steady, light rain, cool temps around 70 degrees, and green leafy trees and lush green grass surrounding a group of girls out for a run? It was great, the rain actually lasted for about half the run and it was perfect running conditions. Six of us started out together and the more we chatted and laughed the more I realized how inspiring they all were as women and runners!

One girl told us her hilarious experience of running with the local hasher running group and we all decided we would skip out on that one. She also sang snippets of her all-time favorite disco music throughout the miles, forcing us to smile and have fun and sing along maybe... Another woman completed some tri's this summer, including placing third woman overall in the Shoreline tri! And she is signed up for Iron Man Lake Placid for next summer. It was so much fun to run with just the girls and keep each other going. Especially for me in a new area where I'm still getting to know people. These women really were inspiring and so comfortable to hang out with for a run. They were accepting and made you feel like part of them even though I had just met several of them for the first time.

Most of the little group made it for 13.5 miles together, then two went on to make it 15 and three of us stuck together for 18. The two I was with picked up the pace for the last four and half miles! I had them in sight the whole time which really helped me not slow down and keep a steady pace. I couldn't hang with them though! In the final mile, (which ended up being my fastest mile, go figure) we sang James Brown's "I Feel Good" and ran it in on sheer adrenalin and a "Shine On" mantra with every step. It was definitely a highlight of the weekend and great start to the day! Shine On Girls, until next time!

Shoreline Triathlon

Last Sunday marked my first tri in a couple of years! I had some anxiety over whether to sign up at all because of little training time on the bike and swimming but I managed to sign up anyway! Then I worried about how choppy and cold the lake might be on race day! Well, talk about worries for nothing!! It was the most perfect, beautiful weather for the entire race, including warm, calm lake waters! I had sheer fun for every minute of the tri!

Most people wore wetsuits for the half mile swim in Lake Ontario and I rented one for the event. It was a good swim, I never panicked and didn't get kicked or bumped into by any other swimmers. (That was a first!) I was not fast of course, the swim is always my slowest part. In fact I was 163rd to get out of the water out of 220 people! Then a barefoot run up a grassy hill to the bike transition area...

My new friend Kim came into transition seconds behind me and we actually spoke a little bit during the mad rush of pulling wetsuits off and getting into bike gear. It was so much fun to go with a friend and laugh and talk and stress pre-race, and then see each other throughout the race too.

On the bike, I just flew! It was crazy, we had an awesome tail wind for several miles until a turn in the route changed it to a head wind! But overall it was gorgeous country side, clear blue skies, cute houses and the 15 miles flew by! I averaged 18.1 on the bike which was a surprise to me! Colin said why can't I ride like that with him??? Because, it's not a race and in a race I know it's only a short distance and I push through the leg pain while trying to forget I have to run next...

I was the 111th person to finish the bike and then off for the four mile run with concrete legs. I always forget how hard it is to run in a triathlon! I felt like I was doing 10 minute plus miles as I ran along the marked route. It was in Hamlin Beach park, through some trails, some paved path and some road. While I was running I saw all the people ahead of me who were faster and beating me! I just plugged away with the energy I had left. My legs warmed up for the run after about a mile and a half or so. One woman told me I was running strong and looked great and then sailed past me! It was great, she actually helped me with her comment and she looked amazing herself, I couldn't catch her!

Alas, I reached the finish line! I was the 94th person overall to finish the run, the 10th woman overall to finish the run. My 10 minute plus pace was actually more like 8:30 for the 4 miles, but it didn't feel like it! I was the 129th person to finish the triathlon overall and I actually got third in my age group! Okay, so there were only 7 others in my age group, but it was still the first time I placed in a tri before.

I liked it so much that I signed up for another sprint on August 17th, Sodus Point, another Lake Ontario swim...Guess I better buy a wetsuit, to be continued...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Our New Home

Start spreadin' the news....NEW YORK

Wow, Surprise, a NEW post!!! My apologies for not getting on this but we have had a ton of "life" happen lately and there went all my free time.

So quick update: Colin graduated, out of state family came in for a visit, sold our house in Arkansas, bought a house in New York, packed up all of our "stuff," left some behind b/c it didn't fit on the truck, drove to NY with the dogs and everything else, flew back to AR, finished school, exams, grades, packed my classroom, said many tearful goodbye's (SERIOUSLY, lots of tears!) and made the treck back to NY with a fun stop in Indiana visiting Grandma Grace, aunts, uncles and cousins. :) [including an 11 mile run on the Monon Trail with my aunt Lisa, cousin Rose and her friend Amanda, in a mild thunderstorm with a steady light cooling rain, it was awesome!]

Whew...arrived safely in Rochester and went to work applying for jobs. Applied to 16 districts then looked around at piles of boxes and didn't know where to begin, almost shed a few tears over that one! But progress is being made, can't wait to be done unpacking and start painting rooms. :)

Meanwhile, I got online and looked up local running groups, found lots that meet for various workouts and long runs. Well, I just happen to live a quarter mile from a cool running store that is the meeting point for several. I mean God just totally picked this house out for us, it's also 3 miles from the hospital. (Colin's job, not future running injuries, I hope)

So Friday night I head out my front door and am at the running store in less than two minutes for their weekly "Happy Hour" run at 6 PM. How perfect is that?? I met a super nice girl and we ran together the whole 4.3 miles with a couple of challenging hills. (Did I mention it was hot and humid?? They've been having a heat wave this week, feels like I'm back in Arkansas. But I'm assured it won't last.)

By the end of the run, my new friend and I had planned to run together the following morning (Saturday) for a long run. There is a group long run every Saturday from the same store, they are a Rochester Marathon training group, go figure. :) So we met up again at the same running store and I got 14 miles, my longest run in awhile. It was slightly humid, but not bad, overcast and a breeze every once in awhile. I can't complain even though I was soaked and salt covered by the end.

Next plan is to meet at my new favorite running store on Tuesday night to run over to a local track for a group speed workout. And yes, I'm planning to run the Rochester Marathon on Sunday September 14. I know of a free hotel for any of you runners who might be interested and need a place to stay, it's called the Davis Extraodinaire and we'll try to get the bed set up in the guest bedroom by then. (there is also a couch, a futon and various floor space.) Unless of course, you're already running Berlin, in which case we are also planning to be in business for the Fall 09 Rochester Marathon. (Flat course BTW)

Colin is doing well, working like mad on the kitchen floor and other odds and ends. He needs some down time before he starts orientation on Monday. I guess he'll have to go to work to take a break! Dogs are happy and all is well. Miss my peoples but I promise to stay in touch!!

I'll try to post about Boston and throw a picture up to go with it, sometime....

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snow in MARCH

We have actually had snow twice in March this past week! And it was our first and only snows of the winter, so crazy!

Tuesday morning it was beautiful coming down and just barely starting to cover the ground. Went and met my running group at 5:30 and we all had slow recovery runs after racing on Sunday. But it was so cool to run in the snow. Of course nothing was canceled because the roads were fine and it was business as usual.

Then Friday we got dumped on, at least dumped on for Arkansas. Everything was canceled and lot's of people missed work. The snow continued for the most of the day but roads were no more then a little on the slushy side. Colin and I ventured out to the gym around noon and after lifting we headed to Murray Park to run in the snow.

The trail was slushy and cold, wet snow was falling pretty heavily at that point. Off we went with the wind at our backs. Our feet quickly got wet in the slush with each step and after the turn around we had the wind in our faces! We were soaked, pants were wet, feet and socks were wet. My jacket had a thick layer of snow sticking to the front. My baseball hat didn't keep the snow out of my eyes like I had hoped. I had to squint the entire time because of the snow pelting me in the eyes. But it still beat a treadmill! Somehow we ran a negative split even with the head wind, probably because we wanted to get to the end!

Finished 4 miles with an 8:36 pace and felt a lot better then I had in my earlier runs this week. Rough recovery from the race last weekend. So for this run, the only factor was the wind and snow in our faces! As we were driving away, I could finally open my eyes and see how beautiful it was out with everything snow covered and a curtain of white steadily falling.

I love snow days! A break from work, we were the only ones at the gym and the only ones on the trail. :)

LR Half

First of all, I just looked at the countdown and I can't believe it's only 6 weeks till Boston----That really freaks me out!!! I'm starting mile repeats this week, I have to! Tomorrow is my second 20 miler and then I'll have one more 20 three weeks out. So close to race day...

Okay, back to the Little Rock Half which was last weekend! I have had a crazy week at work, no time to post or read anything.

Got to the start in shorts, a tank and long sleeves after much stress over parking, streets were already closed, we finally got there. I have so much race anxiety over getting to the start in time and finding my people. Colin is way more layed back and once we finally got downtown, stopped at a pre-race porta pottie, he stopped to talk to someone and I had to jet out of there! Found Rock and Brenda and some other cruisers and I was finally relieved. When I realized I was sweating before we even started, I shedded the long sleeve shirt and Tim kept it for me in his bag with Rock's stuff. (Thank you!)

At first I was really annoyed by the slow start on a narrow street but soon realized it kept me from going out too fast, which was a GOOD thing. Of course I have to say if you're going to WALK and push a STROLLER, please, line up at the end of the crowd, not up by the 3:00 and 3:30 pace groups!!!!

Started out okay, but I was feeling tired early in the race and I truly think it was the heat!!! Ran the first mile in 7:52 and the second in 7:28, the first mile was good the second was too fast. Loved crossing Broadway and running past the Gospel group in NLR and then the Guitar playin' Rocker just before Karrot--those people have no idea how much energy they give off! In the beginning I looked up and I was holding pace with all my friends who I train with through the week, and we hadn't even started together! Kristen, Lea, Whitney all right there. Rock and I started together and she was just ahead of me. But by mile 4, I was already feeling that Heat-Fatigue business and had to let them ALL go ahead. It's okay, you gotta' run the race you have on that day.

By miles 8-10 I slowed down considerably and it felt so hot to me out there. Passed Dave, who trains with a group I meet on Tuesday-Thursday mornings and he was slower then normal too, like me. We finished just together within one minute at Wynne last November in 1:43, and today we were on a slower pace. I carried my own water and started to think I was going to finish it all off before the finish! Stopped one time for gatorade at the aid station after running Capitol. Took two gu's and probably should have taken a third.

Well, by mile 11, adrenalin started kicking in, I knew we were almost to the end. I was disappointed to turn off early and not get to pass Central, but glad for the shortened route. A couple of people were blaring "Walk This Way" from their mini-van on that street and it just cracked me up! I knew it was the marathon 12 mile sign after that because we had turned off early and plus my garmin had the distance, so the two 12 mile signs didn't throw me off. At this point, I had known for a long time that this was no PR and at least 6-7 minutes slower then my goal finish time, but I just wanted to get to the end!

I caught up to Lea in the last mile where she was getting water and I cheered for her to come on and run it in, she picked it up with me. I love it when people help me like that and know that's what we need out there! She pointed out Rock to me just ahead, and I was surprised to see her. I thought she would have been finished by then but the heat got to her too. So I started picking it up to try to catch up to her. By the last mile I had some SERIOUS adrenalin and wouldn't you know that was my fastest mile all day? I ran it in 7:24 and was so glad to be finished!!!!! Disappointed in a hat for my efforts instead of a shirt, but still got a medal! This race was just motivation to get in gear and start doing speedwork before Boston gets here.

Loved seeing all my friends at the race and sharing our misery in the heat and the joy of finishing anyway.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Great Run...Hard Recovery :)

Today's 18 miles was a great run for me, ran with my friends which is always good, and kept a decent pace-thanks to those good old friends! Why run alone? My right foot (the same PF problem) was noticeable and bothered me more for the last 5-6 miles but still maintained an okay pace. Unlike last Saturday's 20 miler which was extremely HARD mentally and physically painful for my foot and another favorite old friend--the left IT band. Oh the 30's, such a new world of aches, pains and injuries! I'm told that in my 40's I have even more to look forward to experiencing! Ha! I'm fine with all of it because I have so many friends in their 50's and 60's who are amazing runners and still running marathons. So, I'll count these aches and pains as "rites of passage" and reminders to STRETCH!

I'm really feeling like I'm into my training by now with two 18's and one 20 under my belt. Next week is the LR half marathon, which I don't expect to run fast, but it will be good training. After that I have just two more 20's (or a 21??) and one 18 for my ultra long training runs, with some shorter weekend long runs mixed in. (a 13 and 14 here and there.)

As for my recovery today, YUCK! I've accomplished nothing except the 18 miles and finally a shower! Unless you count laying on the couch, eating, and watching one and a half movies! My "to-do" list for tomorrow just grew another foot: house cleaning and laundry, grocery store, and a pile of school work! I'll survive. I actually have to get dressed and put make-up on for a birthday party tonight! But it will be lots of fun with our friends.

And I really need to post some pics of my weekly running groups! They have no idea how much I love meeting up to run with them on our assigned schedule of days, routes and distances. (I join a group that meets consistently on Mondays and Wednesdays and another consistent group on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I trade off meeting different groups for weekends depending on scheduled distances etc.)

Time to go accomplish SOMETHING! :) [besides 18 miles in 2:35:12 at an 8:36 pace.]

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Officially in Training...

I have officially registered for Boston and been accepted so now it's on for real...Hotel reservation is taken care of and the only thing left to do is get my flight and train. I'm so excited for the "Girls Weekend" in Boston with Lisa (My aunt from Indianapolis---our third Boston together), Melanie (from Stuttgart, our second Boston together) and Raquel (from Cabot, her FIRST Boston)----so exciting!

So training is going okay, ran 13 last Saturday with patches of ice and the dam bridge which was ALL ice and I had to walk/slide across the whole thing while holding the railing, really fun, let me tell you. But I made it, logged the miles. Today I met the LR marathon group at 0:dark O'clock in the morning (6!) and ran 16 miles on rolling hills, which were great actually. It was a decent pace until about mile 12 when my plantar's started to bother me but I finished in 2:18 with an 8:40 pace.

My true goal is to somehow become injury free by April 21 and be able to run the marathon with only the normal amount of pain involved with 26.2 miles, and not excruciating pain levels of injury. (which I have experienced several times-two IT band flare ups and one painful PF marathon...)I'm told it is possible for the PF to be gone by then, time will tell...I must STRETCH!!!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Running with Rock

Today was a great morning for a run-cold, clear, sunny and definitely brisk! I headed out to Cabot to meet up with Raquel for a long run. We hadn't seen each other since October so it was great to run and chat it up for the entire run. Of course in classic "Kirsten" style--I was late! (I seriously need therapy on that one, I have the best of intentions....) So the group took off promptly at 7 and Rock waited until I got there. (thank you!)

We ran into Arland and Kelley and they told us which way to go for the route. We muddled through and ended up making up our own route in the middle,adding a couple of extra miles on to the original loop. It was awesome to run on all my old training roads from when I lived in Cabot, complete with several dogs running out at us! Nothing at all threatening though. In the middle we decided to add a loop knowing it would make our route longer. Raquel wanted 18 today anyway and I was fine with going a little more so it worked out great.

At the end Rock went out to finish her 18 and I called it quits at 16.5. By the time I changed my clothes across the street in the public RR, Brenda, Cindy and Lisa had finished up so I drove back over to say hi. It was good to see them and chat for a few minutes.

All in all, there is nothing like running with a great friend. We had a blast catching up on the latest, sharing training tips, laughing at ourselves and nothing at all, and just enjoying the run.