Friday, August 27, 2010

Today's Run

17 miles

My run this morning was a first---earliest run ever for me! I set my alarm for 3:49 a.m., then I kept waking up afraid I would miss it going off (I know, that makes no sense!). So I was ready and jumped out of bed even before 3:49, and I headed out to meet Jane at 4:10. I tried out my new Nathan handheld water bottle from Fleet Feet (oh, Jane and I got a big laugh when I at first strapped it onto my hand backwards! I'm such a goof!). We ran together for about 8.5 miles, then she left to go to No Boundaries, and I ran back to Asbury and met up with Madelyn, Kristen, and Angie for about 5 miles or so, and then I finished the run alone. I "ran" into my supervisor at work, an old friend from college, a fellow soccer mom, and a former teacher friend all in one run! So there really are other people up before the sun rises! As far as the training part of the run, I felt very good and strong for the entire run. My right foot hurt a little (plantar fasciitis). I drank a Gatorade and had Sportsbeans, and that seemed enough for the distance today. I also tried picking up the pace again at the end (I think it's good for my training and it helps Rick when I get back earlier). My last mile was slower because I ran into my former teaching friend (she passed by my in her car), and we got to talking. So, with the Garmin, I kind of feel bad if I stop it for that sort of thing; I mean, the clock won't stop on race day for me to get water, tie my shoe, etc. So I debated a bit about whether to stop it on that last mile because I really wanted to see how fast I had run it, but it didn't feel right stopping it so I let it run. My best piece of advise for those running in the early morning--stick to the larger, well lit roads. We did quite a bit on Hughes Road this morning and another well lit subdivision and felt very safe. So, another long run done (17 miles), and a race next weekend (Monte Sano 10K and 5K).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rick's First Blog Entry

So Katie has been encouraging me for quite a while to provide a post for this blog. We talked about a few topics that I could use for an entry, but I just haven't pulled the trigger. Until now.

The topic I've chosen isn't something I feel strongly about or something I got too excited about. I just found some time and this was on my mind. The topic is the Sprint Triathalon that happened this past Saturday. I've worked the run/bike transition for several years and the experience is very similar every year. I enjoy working this event because of the diversity in the participants. There are athletes completing the run course (~3 miles) in 17 minutes and there are kids riding their bikes with 16 inch wheels and streamers on the handle bars. There were several bikes with aero wheels and several with baskets and/or bells.

But the triathalon is also the day that I have to be a big meanie. I think I'm starting to soften some, because I had a hard time motivating myself to be a meanie this year, but I still think I managed. Why do I have to be meanie? Because it communicates to people, and it is the only way to communicate to some (some I still didn't get through to). I have to shout at spectators in a less than pleasant tone to chase them out of the transition area, or to get people to stop riding their bikes in the transition area, or to buckle their helmets.

I feel strongly about chasing people out of the transition area because I have seen what happens when they don't listen. One of the first times I worked the transition area, a family with three young girls showed up very late, after the first heat had already started the run course. I encouraged them to quickly place their bikes and move out of the area. As the time approached for the first runners to be coming through, I told them they had to leave. When they didn't leave, I asked again with more urgency. When I saw the first runners finishing, I told them they had to leave immediately. Of course they didn't leave and the next thing I knew there was a girl (probably 8 years old) laying on the ground crying after a collision with one of the top competitors. So I felt that some of that collision was my fault because I was the "transition guy." So that's why I run around encouraging people to stay out of the area and even picked up a young toddler on Saturday to carry him out to his mother. I don't want to see another kid (or adult) laying flat on their face in the transition area.

One thing I found interesting on Saturday was all of the reasons people came up with why the rules didn't apply to them.

The rule about staying out of the transition area didn't apply to them because "I just have to get something real quick," or "I was already past the tape when I realized I'm not supposed to be in here, so I'll just cross the rest of the way." One guy told me he would just look to make sure that he wasn't in a competitor's way. Do people realize what they are saying? Do they stop to think what would happen if everyone took the same approach? But no, the rule applies to everyone else... But like I said, I'm headed towards becoming a softie. One woman wanted to put an encouraging sign near her daughter's bike, and I offered to do it for her.

Most people who we had to tell to push their bike instead of ride it out of the transition area were quick to hop off. They didn't even realize they were supposed to push it to the mount line or force of habit caused them to throw a leg over and start riding. But there was also a guy who rode his bike through the entire transition area after three (maybe four) of us told him to get off his bike and push it. He explained to us that he was already clipped in and he couldn't clip out. Yeah right. If that was true, I'd like to see what happened when he got to the end of the bike ride.

I did try to offset all of those corrections with some encouragement too. I clapped and told people, "way to go" or "nice job, keep it up." So maybe not everyone sees me as the transition meanie.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Birthday Run

Well, most people may not think this was the best way to start my birthday, but I got up at 4:30 am this morning and met my friend Alice for a 16 mile run. I had a great time; it's been awhile since I've run that far, and I am getting excited about the upcoming marathon season! We started a little faster than normal (9:45s) and ended her section of the run with me with a more comfortable 10-10:30 minute miles (miles 5-10). It was SO dark, and it was just the two of us, so it was a little scary in the neighborhoods (though we were wearing lights for visibility and carrying pepper spray). We also took a couple of wrong turns since our usual friends that are super good with knowing the courses were not there. We had a great time catching up with each other about the first weeks of school and about our busy lives. She had to get back to Asbury and finished right over 10 miles. Not really knowing the rest of the route I wanted to do, I headed for a familiar route that was pretty hilly but also more scenic than the busy Hughes Road! I put in my headphones and picked up my pace. Around mile 14, I realized that I was running short on time because I was still a long way from Asbury. I used my husband's GPS watch (or Garmin or whatever they call it!) for the first time, laughing at the word "bezel" as he instructed me on it last night. Anyway, the Garmin was set to show average pace and distance, not duration of the run or the current time! And I was afraid to push any button thinking I might accidentally turn it off! So, as I passed Bob Jones High School, I read the clock which said 7:07, and I knew I was LATE (had to be back at my car at 7:08 to make it home in time for Rick to leave for work). I booked it back to my car, running near 8 minute miles and feeling very tired! And then I called Rick quickly and jumped into my car and raced home. Then I hurried to get the kids ready for school, got myself ready, and taught my class of 8 1 1/2 year olds until 1. We had a small birthday party for my twin sister and me tonight, and now I am getting ready to crash! Yea for the weekend, and yea for the long run for the week already being over before Saturday!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cotton Row Pictures

Here are some pictures of our family at the Cotton Row Run on May 31st.

Our children are cheering on the 5K runners. Don't they look cute in their patriotic clothes and waving their flags?

Rick and our son running side by side in the 1 mile. They finished near 14 minutes.

My two-year-old daughter loved running the 1 mile and did a good job--around 17 mintes. Her running pace was my walking pace, so I walked next to her along with my friend, Linda. When you are two, you can wear cute bows when you run!

They finished all hot and sweaty. They are holding their finishers' ribbons.

Our family at Cotton Row
We met so many friends at Cotton Row. This picture was taken by one of them, Corey. Thanks, Corey!

from HTC News

September 20, 2009 Maui Marathon

If you are a Huntsville runner (even a very casual one), you really should consider becoming a Huntsville Track Club member. I remember, before joining in 2001, that I had no idea what it was or why I would want to join a track club (it seemed like something for maybe high school or college runners?). I have no idea of the history of the name, but it is not only for high school and college runners in our area, but for all ages of runners (my children are actually members too--we have a family membership). A benefit I have found is that I receive a large, booklet-type newsletter regularly in the mail from the HTC. It has good articles and some race results and the results for the competitive Grand Prix. I love these newsletters so much that I have started saving them all. I think they will be great to look back on someday, which brings me to the awesome article that Harold Tinsley wrote in the July/August 2010 issue called "What Will Your Memories Be When You No Longer Run." It may seem sad or even depressing to think about that, but I find that it helps me appreciate so much more where I am right now. Here is an excerpt:

"Take time to enjoy your accomplishments. They will have a lot more meaning later in life if you do. You ran a PR, or won a race, or won your age group and you had that feeling of accomplishment that you trained so hard for. Did you give it the importance of something you may never do again? Probably not. Everyone expects the next race, or one soon to follow, will be a new and better accomplishment. And early in your running that may very well happen, even frequently, but one day you will have run your ultimate race. Not until later will you realize that." (emphasis added)

I have hopefully not reached that stage yet, but I certainly got slower after having children, and this made me ache for when I felt good while running. The wins and PRs are nice, but I want to remember when running was fun, and when it made me feel alive. I have a lot of bad knees in my family (and a mom who swears I am doing so much damage to mine right now), so I know my running days may be numbered. Let me use Harold's wisdom to help me fully appreciate where I am today.