Sunday, September 30, 2007

Megatransect Report

I think this photo sums up the Megatransect perfectly.

This was on the course in the middle of a steep boulder field at about mile 20.5 of the race. That's how we all felt at that point.
It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Like sheer torture for most of the day. We finished in 11 hours and 38 minutes and just barely avoided coming in dead last. It took every ounce of determination we had to finish at all.
More details to come.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Disney Vacation Plan

This is turning into quite the busy trip!

1/10 Arrive late in the day just in time for bed
1/11 Expo / possibly the 5K at the Animal Kingdom
1/12 Run half-marathon
1/13 Run Marathon
1/14 Sunset Safari + dinner at Jiko
1/15 Fort Wilderness Segway Tour
1/16 Do nothing (at last!)
1/17 Aqua Seas Tour - (swimming/scuba in the Living Seas Tank)
1/18 Do nothing again
1/19 Fly home

Obsessed with the Megatransect

Last night I went to REI to get myself a new Camelbak. I have one that's small, and holds about 35oz of water and fits into the small of the back. I stopped using it once I took up running and figured it was about time I invested in a comination hydration system / backpack.

I've occasionally carried a pack while hiking on vacation. It tends to hold our lunches, water/gatorade and binoculars and camera. I use a pretty ratty backpack for this, and it doesn't have a lot of structure. I'm also the supplemental water supply -- meaning that I share the water that Brian carries in his 70 oz Camelbak. Sharing means that we have to stop when I need to drink because I either have to drink using his mouthpiece or I have to take off my pack to pull out a bottle. It's not very efficient.

Since we're planning the long hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon next year, I thought that this would be a decent time to invest in the hydration pack since I'll need it for the Megatransect too.

I bought a Camelbak Daystar that's cut for a woman. It's a cute blue color and it holds 70 oz plus has lots of room for other stuff. I even read in some reviews that it can hold several more liters of fluid in bottles in addition to the water bladder. That's good for the GC hike. I think that this is going to be a lot more comfortable for me at the Mega even though it's breaking one of the big rules -- don't do anything new on marathon day!

The weather is still looking PERFECT for Saturday! Fitness Index of 10! The high is supposed to be 73 with an overnight low of 45. Seriously, the best it could be. I hope it's really true. I'm still scared of this event but I don't know why. I'm pretty fit, I can walk forever and I'm a fairly experienced hiker. I have nothing to fear. Except rattlesnakes. (And they should be pretty sluggish from the overnight chill!)
We can check in with the race folks on Friday night at the "welcome party". I wonder what that's all about?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekend Long Run

Horrible, horrible, horrible! That's the only way to describe my 10 mile run on Satuday. My legs felt like they weighed 400 pounds, I couldn't breathe and it decided to pour rain for a few miles in the middle of the run. YUCK.

The only good thing about it was that it probably helped secure an Eagles win in NFL Runnerbowl.

No more running for me until after the Megatransect.

Stay tuned for a post on that subject.

Sweater Update

I sent an e-mail to customer service about the cashmere sweater. They want me to send it back using the prepaid return slip.

I'm in a snit but I know it's the right thing to do.

Good-bye pretty cashmere sweater!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I've been thinking about baseball lately since the Phillies are making a run for first place and are only 1.5 games out of first and 1.5 out of the wildcard spot. It's interesting, even for somebody like me who doesn't normally follow baseball.

Tonight I came across this story about the guy who bought the Barry Bonds 756 baseball at auction. He has a website and he's letting the public vote on what to do with the ball. Your choices are: Send it to the Hall of Fame. Have it branded with an asterisk and then send it to the hall of fame, or have it shot into space on a rocket.

Here's a link so you can vote:

I chose the Brand It option.

In other news: I did go to the park and had a very mediocre run (with tons of walking thrown in) my legs weren't quite ready for all the downhills at Valley Forge.

Running / Recovering

Today is typically an off day for me but since Brian & I both had lingering stiffness in our legs yesterday we didn't meet at the park after work. I did get out for a lunchtime walk but it was pretty slow and only about a mile and a half.

Tonight is a perfect day to get out there and run (or walk) since the weather is good but I'm really busy at work and I don't know if I can beat the clock and get out of here before it gets too dark to run outside.

Tomorrow is our normally scheduled run in the park and I should easily be able to do it since I have a work-related class which will get me out a little earlier than usual.

I really can't go tonight but I want to because I need the miles for the NFL Runnerbowl challenge.

I really can't make up my mind! A smart person with this problem would be WORKING at work instead of typing this silly blog post.

Call the fashion police!

I was shopping at Garnet Hill (Awesome but super expensive company. I check the Sale of the Day every day!) and I decided to splurge on a couple of skirts from their fall catalog. I also added one of the 'sale of the day' items to my order - a plain black v-neck t-shirt that cost $16.

When my box arrived it had the two skirts I'd ordered but instead of the t-shirt they sent me a black, v-neck, cardigan, cashmere sweater. It's very nice and if my investigations on the website are correct, it costs $138.

So here's my dilemma: Do I just consider myself lucky and keep it or do I contact them and try to give it back?

I am dying to keep it since it's nice, and it fits, but I think I feel too guilty to do it. I just sent them an e-mail about it and I'm hoping they never respond so I can feel like I did the right thing and yet still get to keep the sweater.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My thoughts turn to the Megatransect....

Check out the course profile. Is this enough to scare you away? It's scaring me!

I'm hoping that there is a lot more of this:

and a lot less of this:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's a Beautiful Day in Philadelphia!

Nice medal, huh? Course record for me at 2:23! Yay!
I'm back from my half marathon today and I had a pretty good day overall.
Here's my race report done as a tribute to one of my favorite kids books (it's called Fortunately).
Fortunately, Philadelphia was blessed with perfect race weather today! Beautiful blue sky, and sunny with a light breeze, in the low 50s at the start. Even now, at about 3:00, it's only in the mid-60s.
Unfortunately, this gorgeous setting had me off and running way faster than my normal snail's pace.
Fortunately, I knew that was not good, so I tried really hard to force myself to slow down.
Unfortunately, that totally ruined my rhythm for the first 5 miles.
Fortunately, things started looking up when I spotted some friends and they kept me on track for the next 3 miles.
Unfortunately, they stopped at a port-o-john and I was on my own again.
Fortunately, the course takes a turn at mile 8.5 and heads into a long straightaway to the finish.
Unfortunately, my fashion choices started to backfire on me on this stretch. (Cute running skirt, why did you decide that today was a good day to chafe?)
Fortunately, I am too tough to let a little chafe ruin a PR for this course!
Unfortunately, they moved the finish line this year so my finishing kick ran out of juice a little short of the finish like so it was really more of a finishing shuffle.
Fortunately, they still gave me a totally awesome medal!
Also Fortunately, my 15 year old niece did the race too and finished with her own PR of 2:16 and Mr. hmonkeyruns also finished with a PR.
Pace Splits & times from the website:
5K: 10:40 33:07
10K: 10:43 1:06:43
10 mile: 10:55 1:49:04
overall: 10:59 2:23:49

Monday, September 10, 2007

Very worried

I'm doing some more reading about the Megatransect. I'm very worried. It's going to be so hard.

I really thought we were going to be off the hook!

Different Sort of Weekend - Bikes & hikes

I was completely frazzled by the end of the workweek and I also noticed that my right shin was feeling pretty sore so on Friday night I decided to skip Saturday's PhillyFit run. I decided to cancel mostly because the run was being held downtown, at Kelly Drive, and that meant at least a 40 minute drive to get to the starting point instead of the usual 10 minute drive. That was just a little too much sleep for me to give up so I opted for sleeping in.

Brian had a plan to ride our bikes for awhile and then follow up with a walk but we wound up just riding our bikes. We went about 15 miles, mostly on the flat, but there was at least one killer kill. I found it pretty fascinating that I was able to pedal the bike to the same point on the hill before I had to walk it as I managed when I was running. It's at least 3/4 of the way to the summit and probably more than that...maybe 4/5 of the way to the top. The big difference was that when I was running, I probably didn't have to stop at all but I did when I caught the runner ahead of me. It was a mental shift down not a physical one. On the bike, I was ready to die by the time I got to that point....I really couldn't pedal anymore and it seemed like FOREVER before my HR came back down.

As it turns out there was a huge cycling event going on in Philadelphia on Saturday so there were tons of "real" cyclists out on that hill at the same time as us. They were doing either 65 or 100 mile rides and I was happy to see that they were mostly struggling up (or even walking up) the hill and hurting nearly as much as me. These are people with might lighter bikes and more cycling experience than I have. Of course, they'd also ridden at least 40 miles at that point, so I suppose they were in a different spot than me.

By the time we finished our ride, we were starving and it was pretty hot out so we just blew off the walking segement of our workout. That was OK with me because we had a plan to go hiking on Sunday and I really didn't want to stress my sore shin because of the Distance Run coming up next weekend.

On Sunday we went out for a test hike to see if Brian's hip would be cooperating enough for us to still do the Megatransect at the end of the month. It wasn't 100% but I think he did well enough for us to do the hike. We were out at French Creek for about 3 hours and we tested out our new trekking poles and stuff. All in all, a good day. Today my wrists and hands are sore from the poles but other than that I think I really liked them.

Post hike we came home and watched that horrible Eagles game on Tivo. I think I could field punts better than those guys. Tonight I plan to watch the Men's final of the US Open even though I already know what happened.

On schedule this week: a couple short runs plus some walking to rest for the Distance Run on Sunday. The early weather forecast looks awesome -- sunny with a high of 68!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon - personal Course Record

So the Rock'N'Roll Half was on Sunday and once again the weather tried to kill me. Actually, the weather was probably the best we've seen for this race. I'd say it was in the low 70s when we started running, with a nice breeze, and relatively low humidity. By the time I hit the finish it was probably just over 80.
I had one and a half Oatmeal-to-Go bars with a small cup of Endurance for breakfast and sucked down a caramel PowerGel right before our corral started around 7:20. I wasn't wearing my fuel belt. I started the run with the 2:22 pace group and hung with them for the first half of the race but between mile 6 and 7 (Camp Pendelton) I faded, despite taking a gel at mile 5 with the specific intention of avoiding the doldrums at Camp Pendelton. I'm convinced that my fade was totally mental because while it was sunny in that section, there was a great breeze and I should have been able to run right through. Instead I slowed to a walk and kind of took stock of things. I didn't feel able to keep up with the pacers and according to my watch they were running close to a minute ahead of the pace and that was just too hard for me to maintain.
Anyway, as we left the Camp I was a little bummed out that the neighborhood gang that usually has the best cheer station was missing. I guess their leader must have moved away. I did Ok on the return miles and walked over the bridge but I did manage to run on the roundabout section. I tried running as much as I could down Atlantic Ave but this section (about 2 miles) always seems to me like twice as far. I really wish they'd put a water stop in the middle of Atlantic Ave. I ate my last gel right before 10.2 when they handed out the free ones on the course.
Rounding onto the Boardwalk I still felt OK but I knew that there was no chance of hitting 2:22 but I knew that I would be unde 2:30 which was my primary goal for the day. The Boardwalk was really sunny, like usual, but there was a breeze blowing from behind and slightly off the ocean so it didn't feel as awful as it has in years past. I also knew that the whole distance was about 2 miles and that's really not far and that helped me feel better. At this point I was really feeling tired and I was thinking I was dehydrated, despite drinking at every water stop. I'm really used to taking in much more fluid on my long runs and I was beating myself up for not wearing my fuel belt.
Along the boardwalk I also started to take extra cups of water to pour on my neck and back to cool me off a little and I did head into the misting stations when I saw them. I usually hate that kind of thing but at this race it feels really good and I know that even if my feet get wet, I'm really close to the finish line.
I was playing this annoying game of pass and fade with a racewalker guy -- who was really awesome and kept an incredibly steady pace -- but I think I finally passed him for good about mile 12. It was around that time that my crazy Nike+ decided that I'd finished the race. There's nothing quite as pesky as hearing a voice tell you that you're all finished when you have more than a mile left to run!
I ran it in, and felt pretty strong in the last quarter mile or so. My final time is 2:25:16, which is about a 9 minute improvement over last year (2:34:11) and is by far my best time on this course. I probably could have been more disciplined and run more in some sections when I let my brain get the best of me, and I think I would have run better if I had my fuel belt (if only for a security blanket). My point is that I might have shaved a minute or two of the 2:25 but there was no way in the world I could have bested my PR of 2:19 yesterday, and therefore I'm pretty satisfied with my overall race.
I'm hoping to do better at the PDR in 2 weeks but we'll see. I'll be wearing my fuel belt!
They served Accelerade on the course, which I actually liked quite a lot, I just don't think I drank enough of it.
Blogger is going crazy and is squishing this whole message into one giant paragraph even though when I look at it in the editor it has normal paragraph spacing. Hopefully that will sort itself out and this post will be more readable.