Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crunch Crunch Crunch Crunch...

"Crunch Crunch Crunch Crunch" was the sound that filled my ears throughout our 14 mile training run in below zero temps this morning. I have often found a sort of settling comfort in the sounds of all of our feet running. There's just something about everyone's shoes pounding the pavement together that makes everything okay. Never mind if it's an ungodly dark hour like 5:30 AM, or in the middle of a seemingly endless 20 miler, that sound reminds you that you're out there with your friends, and for some reason it's FUN. Today the sound was not shoes rhythmically hitting the asphalt, but rather shoes crunching across the packed snowy and icy streets of Rochester.

Yes, today we had several conversations questioning our sanity and level of craziness, deciding ultimately that we were okay since we were all in it together. Who cares if we saw a couple of people in their cars laughing at us? Or if the cashier at the coffee shop shook her head in disbelief when we walked in to use the restroom? There's a marathon in a few months and you can't just skip a long run. Nope, today's run was not for the faint at heart. And we survived.

I wore two pairs of pants, wool socks, trail shoes, four layers on top plus a jacket, a balaclava, a hat, two pairs of gloves... I should have opted for mittens since my hands were balled into tight fists gripping handwarmers for the entire run. My water bottle was frozen solid by the end of the distance. My vanilla GU was like thick ice cream, and no, it didn't taste good.

Despite the conditions, it was actually fun to be out there with a group of people. Somehow we filled the miles with a fair amount of laughing, telling stories, and talking about random bits of nothing. We reminded each other that conditions could have been worse had the wind been blowing. But even the locals who have lived here much of their lives said today was one of their coldest runs ever, so what an accomplishment for all of us! What would I do without that favorite sound of feet hitting the roads?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

One Sprint Tri and Two Marathons...

And where did the fall of 2008 go anyway???? Sorry for not posting in five long months. Life happened with busy schedules, my new addiction to facebook, and sheer laziness in posting here. I did manage a brief summary of the end of 2008.

Sodus Sprint Tri - August

This is Kim and I after finishing the tri--she is my bike training partner, we have lots of fun training together!

Went out for a fun little sprint tri that I thought would be easy and it was the exact opposite! I still had fun and loved being out there, after surviving the ocean-like lake swim in a very rocky and rough Lake Ontario! Seriously, it was such rough waters that me and my rented wetsuit contemplated swimming back to the shore and calling it a day after only a few short minutes of being tossed and thrown around by some extremely choppy water. But alas, I sucked it up and decided to get around all those big orange bouyies and make it to the end. Next came an unexpectedly hilly bike ride, suddenly 13 miles became much more difficult then originally anticipated! Finally the run, I somehow ran a decent average in the hot temps of the day and made it to the end. The most memorable part of this tri was meeting a girl who happened to have the same exact tri attire on as me! Quickly we realized we also had similar looks and have ever since referred to each other as "TWIN!" We snapped several pictures and still laugh about that day. She is also a vocal music teacher like me, go figure! Colin and I got to ring in the new year at her house and had a great time meeting new friends and enjoying her husband's fabulous cooking!!!

A pic of my TWIN Tiff--we had a blast laughing about our similarities!!

Rochester Marathon - September

April, myself, Karen and Dave

HOT! Can I say it was incredibly hot and humid? It was sheer torture! Water stops were only every couple of miles and needed to be every mile in that heat! AND the stops ran out of gatorade by the end, okay that's an exaggeration... But at MILE 22 they really did run out of gatorade!!!!! And what the other stops tried to pass off as gatorade was so watered down and weak it tasted like water to me! No I won't be running the full in Rochester next year, I will however run the half marathon! The best thing about the race-besides crossing the finish line and ending my misery-were my three awesome friends who flew up from Little Rock to run the Rochester Half Marathon! We had the best time that weekend-lots of laughter and fun memories! Karen, April and Dave are amazing runners and friends. I truly miss our Tuesday-Thursday 5:30 AM runs when I lived in Little Rock. Of course they still are there every week to run the long standing and wonderful training course! Anyway, this was my 13th marathon and my slowest in the last 10 that I have run due to the excruciating temps!
Karen, Dave and April after finishing their awesome races--Karen even won her age group!!

Memphis Marathon - December

Me, Raquel and Bailey the morning before the big race...Raquel ran an awesome half and Bailey PR'd!!!

My fourth time to run this full marathon and I've also run the half a couple times. I love this race! It benefits St. Jude's Children's Hospital and is incredibly emotional for me every time I run it. I have both PR'd on the course and fallen on my face, but I've always finished, and each time with a renewed perspective about what in life is truly important. Seeing those beautiful children's faces and recognizing the battle they are fighting for life suddenly puts my mile pace or finishing time in a pale light. My run itself was not a complete disaster, but tough mentally and physically. I stayed the course and crossed the finish line in 4:06, better then my Rochester race, not outstanding... I got to see lots of incredible friends at the race! Shared a hotel room with my tried and true marathon training partner Raquel, and her Mom, and a new friend, Bailey. Saturday night after the race I spent the night in Little Rock at April's house and saw MANY special friends at a party she and Craig hosted that night. It was a wonderful weekend and I'm so blessed to have been able to go and run another marathon and see my friends.

Raquel and her Mom


So what's next??? Funny you should wonder.... So far on my wish list is the LR half marathon in March but I don't know if I can make the air fare for it. In May I plan to run the Pittsburgh Marathon with a group from Rochester. And I have a long list of tri's and bike rides for the summer in preparation for my next big endeavor, Ironman Florida in November 2009. Stay tuned for more details. And I'll try not to wait five months before the next post, but I make no promises!