Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Easy Run (not so easy) and race prep

I went for my typical Valley Forge run last night but since my fuel tank was very low (I forgot to bring a pre-race snack) I found myself struggling at times and did more walking than normal. I guess that's OK since I shouldn't be knocking myself out since I really hope to have a good race in Virginia Beach on Sunday.

I hear that the weather in Virginia Beach is supposed to be great this weekend (Weather Channel Fitness Comfort Index of 8 for race day!) and I hope that means that I won't get killed by the humidity like I normally do at this event.

I'm trying to decide how to pace myself and what I want to shoot for but I think the best idea is just to go with the flow, see how it shakes out in the second half, but think about running a PR race at the Distance Run in Philadelphia when the weather is almost sure to be better for me.

I think I'll try to run with the 2:22 pacer and see how that goes. My major plan is to finish under 2:30, hopefully under 2:25 and on a perfect day, under 2:19 for a PR.

Monday, August 27, 2007

LiveStrong Challenge

What a totally fun day! I am dying to run out to the bike store to buy a road bike so I can be in this even on a bike next year. It was still cool on foot, but the runners really were just sidekicks to the main participants on bikes. I look really nerdy in that picture, I know!

The day had a 5K run and walk plus 10, 40, 70 and 100 mile bike rides. There were thousands of particpants, mostly on bikes. Lance was there and I managed to get his photo when he was on stage but when he was 2 feet away on his bike, I only managed to catch his left arm. That's him riding right out of the frame. He's the one with the watch. I don't know who his unidentifiable sidekick is. (You can click on the picutes to make them bigger!)
The weather was hot and humid but it was overcast in the morning, which was a blessing since the run was still hard even with the cloud cover.

I took a lot of pictures before during and after the event and you can see them all by clicking this link to the slideshow.

I don't know how I did because I was struggling a little with the humidity and I stopped a few times to take photos. I did, however, run as fast as a I possibly could at the end from the point where I took this photo to the finish line which you can see if you look close -- it has to be no more than a quarter mile from the photo point. Maybe less. The point is that I ran hard enough at that point that the kid barely had time to unhook the timing thingie from my ankle before I totally hurled over the corral fence into the grass. I have done 20+ races and I've never even had a hint of throwing up from exertion before but here I was doing it for Lance. Crazy!

My friend from work was here today too doing her very first 5k ever and she did great and had a great time. She was as excited as I'd hoped she be when she finished.
Since is is all about fighting cancer, if you'd like to Donate some money to the Lance Armstrong Foundation you can do that by clicking on this link.

The t-shirt we all got was neat too. It has the LiveStrong logo in the center and it's surrounded by these yellow words:

LiveStrong means....knowing not all heros wear capes
LiveStrong means....honoring my child with every mile
LiveStrong means....challenging myself
LiveStrong means....having the courage to take a walk
LiveStrong means....defining my own finish line
LiveStrong means....pushing through the pain
LiveStrong means....having the courage to take a ride
LiveStrong means....turning tears into sweat
LiveStrong means....having the courage to go for a run
LiveStrong means....channelling attitude into action
LiveStrong means....pedaling my heart out
LiveStrong means....pounding the pavement to make a difference
LiveStrong means....knowing that courage is taking the first step
LiveStrong means....digging deep when I want to quit
LiveStrong means....knowing not all winners finish first
LiveStrong means....being scared and showing up anyway
LiveStrong means....believing in myself
LiveStrong means....knowing it's about the journey and not the finish line
LiveStrong means....knowing I'm stronger than I thought
LiveStrong means....
never, never, never giving up

Unity is strength. Knowledge is power.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday Long Run - 10 miles

Blah! Yesterday was gross. We started the run at 7am and it was about 74 degrees and 100% humidity. You heard me, 100% humidity. I think Bobby Julich (yes, the real one from the Tour de France...I'll explain later) said it best when he said it was nasty like being in a rainstorm but without the actual rain. The day would eventually heat up to the mid-90s and we had a heat index of 105 degrees.

Brian was at PhillyFit testing his hip for next week's race and I wasn't all that interested in running 12 miles with the group because of the icky weather and because I was running a 5K on Sunday morning at the LiveStrong Challenge. We wound up doing a solid 10 and spent the rest of the day rehydrating and complaining about the oppressive heat.

We went over to the LiveStrong Expo to pick up our numbers and stuff and it was just horrifyingly hot. Just standing still in the sun had sweat just pouring off of you. Even the inside of the gym where they were having the displays and handout was oppressively hot.

Bobby Julich was at the expo signing autographs and mixing with the people. I've always liked him and I'm still a little sad that he didn't win the Tour when he had the chance and now I can say that he really is very nice. I had nothing of interest to talk to him about, but he really spent time having actual conversations with the people in line ahead of me and he sat outside (in a tent but it was still really hot) signing autographs for FOUR hours in 100 degree heat. Lance wasn't doing that and it was his event! I got my picture with him but I forget how to get to it so I probably won't post it here but I did meet him.

So now my exciting celebrity autograph collection is: Deena Kastor, Grete Weitz, and Bobby Julich.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday Walk/Run

We met at VF last night and did a test run on Brian's sore hip. He's trying to ease back into things and figure out if he'll be able to do the race next weekend at Virginia Beach. He's looking positive but he's not sure. I think PhillyFit tomorrow will tell the tale for him.

I did mostly walking and then a slow run at the end up the big hill. It wasn't a great run but it did help me clear out my head of some of the stress that's been building up at work.

I'm worried about tomorrow's long run since the high tomorrow is supposed to be 93. The heat index is 105 and the humidity is supposed to be pretty bad. We have a 12 mile run scheduled and I'm not sure I want to tackle all 12 in such conditions -- it'll be cooler at 7am when we start but it's still probably going to be a hard day. I don't know if I want to put myself through that with the race next weekend looming and with the Livestrong 5K on Sunday.

But part of me really does want to run all 12 so I'll have a better idea what to expect next Sunday where I know conditions will probably be hot and humid.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Megatransect in Jeopardy!

We might not be able to go! Brian is having a flare-up of his hip problems and I'm not sure he's going to have enough time to get better and put up enough training miles to tackle the Mega.

We both really want to go but I don't think I'm brave enough to tackle the hills and snakes without him and I really don't want him to get hurt out on the course.

Stay tuned...

Saturday Long Run - about 12 miles.

I had an absolutely great run on Saturday! The weather was awesome -- very cool and no humidity and the group went out for 9 miles on Forbidden Drive. It was so easy it felt like half the distance.

I ran most of the 2nd half with a guy in the group who is also running at Virginia Beach and he's training for Marine Corps. We decided to tack on a couple of extra miles and wound up running about three extra miles. We had to cut it a little short since there was a pit bull on the loose on the trail. The dog didn't seem mean, but it did run right up to us a couple of times, and while it stopped short of jumping up it seemed like it was pretty fiesty. Not aggresive and scary, really, but since it was a pit-bull and it didn't have a collar, we weren't taking any chances so we turned around. If it had been a lab or something, we probably would have kept on running.

In any event, the run was fabulous and other than being a little sleepy in the afternoon, it was like I hadn't done anything at all. Way to go, legs!

Sunday was super rainy so no running.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Saturday Long Run - 10 miles

We were scheduled for 10 miles today and we went to Forbidden Drive for the run since the weather was supposed to be pretty bad. The forecast was for mid-upper 90s with high humidity and while it wasn't quite that hot when we got started, it certainly was humid. Blech!

Not far into the run, maybe a mile or so, Brian stopped to do his normal stretching and since none of my normal running buddies were around I decided to stay with him. That was probably a good idea since it was just shockingly humid and he wasn't having a great day so it was good for him to have a buddy to walk him in for the last mile or two.

I actually felt quite good during the parts of the day that I was running. I took plenty of walk breaks and walked all of the last 2 miles, but while I was running I felt suprisingly strong considering the weather. It gives me hope for VA Beach!

After our run we changed shoes and went for a short hike to give the Megatransect shoes a slight workout. We were both kind of grumpy and not too into it though so we only went about 2 miles.

Sunday we broke out the bikes and went for a short, flat 10 mile ride. This was a test for Brian's sore neck. Hopefully it didn't set him back any and we'll be able to do some more riding. There's an awesome bike trail where we're going this weekend (Pine Creek Gorge) so I hope we'll be able to get some cycling in.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Reality Check - we need to schedule some big miles!

Last night, while we were walking the loop, Brian mentioned that we really need to be upping our miles before the Megatransect.

I'm such a dope! I've been so busy worrying about shoes, hiking poles, and water supply, that I didn't even consider the fact that it's 25 miles long! Sure, 25 miles of hiking, stretched out over up to 11.5 hours, isn't quite 26.2 at your best effort, but a lot of it is uphill and no matter how you slice it, it's 25 miles! We have to start making some changes.

The good news, is that our milage isn't so far off yet. For instance, last week we probably should have put up 15 but we did 12 instead. This week, the schedule counts 10 for both the group we run with and our Mega schedule. Where we get into some trouble is when we should be putting up a 20 mile hike. Our group is only doing 11 that day so I think we'll be on our own for sure. The other thing is that it falls on the "off" week between Virginia Beach and the PDR.

Here's how my next few months shake out - Long Runs only.

Blue is Mega miles, Green is NYC, Red is running group

Aug 4: 10 12 10
Aug 11: 13 9 12
Aug 18: 13 12 9
Aug 25: 18 8 12
Sep 1: 12 11 8 1/2 marathon VA Beach
Sep 8: 21 15 11
Sep 15: 8 10 15 1/2 marathon Philadelphia Distance Run
Sep 22: 6 13 10
Sep 28: 25 18 13 Race Day! Megatransect
Oct 6: 12 8
Oct 13: 21 12
Oct 20: 8 21 Urban Dare
Oct 27: 6 8
November 4 - New York Marathon

Oh yeah, and I also need to be planning for the Goofy Challenge!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Death-eaters at work?

I am a horrible person because the more I read about the bridge collapse in Minnesota, the more I keep thinking about the first chapter of the Half Blood Prince where Fudge is explaining to "the other minister" that it's Lord V. and the death-eaters who are causing all kinds of problems in the muggle world. One of the primary examples is a completely unexplained bridge collapse.

It's such an awful, real-life thing that I feel guilty associating it with a book but I still can't stop thinking it!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Spending money is so easy on the Internet...

I just blew about $300 in just about 5 minutes.

First, I registered two of us for the Philadelphia Half-Marahon and then I bought a pair of "limited edition" hiking poles. Is that the most ridiculous way to spend money?

I am pretty skeptical of the whole hiking pole thing but it seems as if most folks in the Megatransect use them and that they are highly reccommended for the Grand Canyon hike. I was shocked when I saw how expensive they were at REI.

Today, when I was over at the website for the American Hiking Society I saw these nifty limited run of LEKI poles that have the snazzy AHS logo on them (it looks like a boot print). I loved the cool print but the price tag is what really sold me. A bargain (HA!) at $67.50. The cheapest I saw at REI was $59 and that wasn't a LEKI, which seems to be the unquestioned best.
Hopefully they'll arrive before we head up to the Grand Canyon of PA next week.

A new medal! How could I have forgotten this?!

Do you believe that I forgot to report that our PhillyFit coaching team handed out medals at the end of our run on Saturday?

It was great. It was a big fat gold medal on a ribbon that was even engraved with Philly Fit and the fact that we'd run 10 miles. We got the medal after a particularly humid 12 mile run but the medal was for people crossing the 10 mile benchmark the week before. It was very nice and I know a lot of our runners have never run that far before so it was especially nice for them.

We were having a picnic after our run so the medals added a nice extra zing to the party atmosphere.