Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Spirit of the Marathon" -- inspiration renewed!

Finally, finally, finally the temperature got above zero this week!

As a matter of fact, we hit the mid 30's today. This was in incredible welcome relief, as we've had 21 days below zero since the beginning of the year, most of which happened during the very short month of February.

The rotten weather has created havoc on my "get-back-to-a-regular-workout routine" intentions. My workouts have been sporadic to say the least.

The really bad news about that is that Fargo Marathon is only 12 weeks away.


Combine the whole "not really training" thing with my knee and back issues that have been bothering me since December and you can figure that I'm a little scared about having signed up for the event right now.

However, three things have come together to form the Perfect Motivational Storm, if you will:

1) nicer temperatures today encourage me that spring, indeed, is coming and parkas will be shed.

2) I'm going back to Tempe for about 10 days in total over the course of the next two weeks. I have fully committed myself to getting my workouts in and am pledging to use my blog to keep me honest and accountable.

3) I got a chance to see the "Spirit of the Marathon" movie last Thursday.

I went to see it with my very good friend, fellow runner and blogger, Dori. Dori moved to California last fall and, although we keep in touch via blogging and emails, I've really missed seeing her.

She was in town with her SD and it just so happened we were both free to see the movie. I think we both walked away inspired and ready to get back out there and train.

The film covers the training and preparation of six marathoners getting ready to run the 2005 Chicago Marathon. Two were professional athletes -- Deena Kastor, who went on to win the women's competition, and Daniel Njenga, a Kenyan who trains in Japan.

The best part for me, though, was watching the "regular" people training for the event. A couple women were doing their first marathons. One young guy was hoping to qualify for Boston and then there was Jerry -- a 70 year old man training to run his 5th marathon. He ran his first when he was 65! He finally inspired his daughter to run her first with him, so they trained together.

The movie really was well done. Great stories weaved together; wonderful commentary from many of the legends of running: Beardsley, Switzer, Weitz, Galloway, Burfoot, etc.

Dori and I both got very caught up in the movie and we both ended up very teary-eyed.

I also got wistful and sentimental for other reasons. Although Chicago Marathon was a disaster last year due to all the problems with heat, humidity and lack of water or resources, I have a very soft spot for that event. It was my first marathon and I still am in love with that city. (I lived there for three years and had the time of my life).

I also got sentimental about my training partners. We've all been living our various "off-season" lives since last fall, that we have not had a lot of time to see each other over the last few months.

(Perhaps more accurately stated, I've been "off-season". Mary, Marica and Cheryl have all done at least one 1/2 marathon since last fall. Nat joined Marcia and I at Tri-U-Mah a few weeks ago. It's really been me who's been the slug.

In any event, I got nostalgic for my training friends and for a big, organized running group. I also got inspired to get out there again and to really prepare for Fargo.

To help, I also had a massage today from a guy who owns The Fix. His company is offering my tri-club a discount on massages. Larry, the owner, has worked with Pro and Olympic cycling teams and was very knowledgeable about my knee/back issues.

My plan is to work with him a few times to try to workout the "kinks". He also has a Coach on staff that works with triathletes. I may check that out too, so I can be fully ready and prepared for tri season and my first 1/2 Iron.

Inspiration rocks!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tri U Mah -- kickin' off the year...

Today was one of the coldest days of the winter for us here in Minnesota, so it must be TRI U MAH!

Tri U Mah is an indoor triathlon held at the University of Minnesota. The event is held at the U's Rec Center and participants spend 30-minutes each swimming, biking on a stationary bike and running on a treadmill. The total distance covered over the entire 1 1/2 hours is then calculated as results.

This is the fourth year that the event has been held and it seems to always happen on the coldest day of the winter. Today was no different. When I got up this morning to get ready to go to the Aquatic Center for my heat, the air temp was around -18 degrees -- windchills were more than 20 below. Brrrrr...

Even though it is always such a cold day when this event happens, I love the fact that we can do the swim a pool (makes site-ing so much easier!) AND the sponsors have really great give aways. I've received some really nice gym bags and shirts plus the post-race food always rocks.

This year, some of the sponsors set up some booths to hawk their wears. There was a woman who designs "tri" jewlery and items. I got a couple of bag-tags and a key chain. The photo a the top of the page is of the key chain.

My heat started at 10:20 am. Several of my running/tri buddies were also signed up for the event. Gary's heat started before ours -- Marcia, Nat and Marc were in my heat, along with a friend of Nat's, Heather, who was doing her first tri.

The U has a GREAT aquatic center. The pool is wonderful. I felt very confident in the water and swam well. My swimming has really improved since I started this whole triathlon thing a few years ago. Not that I'm a great swimmer (meaning I'm not very fast OR confident in open water), but I am happy that my endurance is stronger and that I really do like the activity. Except for the whole "goggle-eye" thing, which is HORRIBLE for me, swimming is a wonderful activity that I can see doing for many years to come.

I am glad that I have been doing some spinning over the last few weeks. I'm always surprised at how tough spinning can be. I keep thinking that, because I have bigger-than-the-average-bear legs that I would have a lot of power in them and that biking should be much easier. Ha! I was just glad that I got through the 30-minute segment.

My run went pretty well, considering I'm really not running well right now. I kept my heart rate at a comfortable Zone 3 level (about 163 bpm) and ran for 20 mintues before I needed to take a bump off my inhaler. I slowed down the belt but then had a problem with my treadmill. I couldn't get the speed adjuster to move up or down.

Some of the volunteers came over to try to help me, but no one could get it to work, so they moved me to a different treadmill. I lost some time/distance having to do switch machines mid-race, but am not really sure how much of either I really lost.

I cranked up my pace for the last 8 minutes or so and had an "okay" time for the 30 mintues. (Although I am still much, much slower than I was last fall.).

My friends all did very well in the event. Gary blew everyone away with his biking -- covering over 9 miles during his 30 mintues. Nat, who says she hasn't been training much, really did very well; Heather had fun during the event and covered a lot of territory. Marcia, who has done 2 other winter events already (including a 1/2 marathon) looked very strong. Marc did really well too.

Here are my final stats:

Tri U Mah Over the Years

After the event, we all went out for lunch. I had a great time catching up with everyone. Traveling so much has taken me out of my normal "friend" time and I really miss it.

I have to travel again this week -- going back to Las Vegas for a Sales Conference. At least I'll get out of the cold for a few days. But, I'll miss my Hubby and my buddies.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What happened?

I'm in Arizona (again). I'll be traveling here quite a bit over the next few weeks. I'm involved in a project for work which involves a lot of travel time. The good news is that the people are nice, the project is coming along and I get a little break from winter.

The bad news is that I'm away from my Hubby, the cats and my normal routine more than I would like to be.

I still have to get in training runs while I'm here.

I went out for what I thought would be a six mile run, but ended up only doing about 5:86. LOVE that Map My Run!

But WTF?

I'm running so sluggishly and so slowly compared to last summer and fall. My breathing is horrible. My heart rate zooms up, but my pace is slower. Its bumming me out in a big way!

My weight is up from the summer -- that may have an impact -- although it is still down from this time last year.

The really bad thing is that my slowness grates on my mind, telling me I've bitten off more than I can chew athletically this year ---

I've got to figure out a strategy to turn ouff hte commentary and to just zone in on the joy of being out there, continuing to plod along.

My first event of the year will happen on Sunday -- Tri U Mah indoor triathlon, where we swim, bike and run for 30 minute segments each. I'm excited to getting back in to a 'real' season, but am nervous (already) about the results.

First things first.

I'd just like to get home.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

O-bama O8 and more

A quick update to the weekend and then something cool:

With John Edwards out for the bid for Democratic nominee, I was sort of torn between Hillary and Obama.  

Like both candidates -- thought Hillary's experience could be beneficial, but there was that spark about Obama that I just couldn't ignore, ever since I first heard him deliver that wonderful, rousing speech during the 2004 Democratic Convention.

I've also thought that he's carried himself very well during all the recent malarkey the Clinton campaign (aka "Bill") was throwing his way.  (Honestly, if she was going to sling at all,  I felt that Hillary was sort of stuck in a lousy place.  If she had done the slinging, she'd be labeled a bitch.  Instead, she (or her campaign advisors) had Bill do the mudslinging, which made her look as if she was having her husband do the heavy lifting).

I also love the message of CHANGE that Obama is promoting.  I think he has some real ideas about how to make things better and he isn't afraid to tell people that CHANGE will be HARD.  (Ask any person who came to athletics in middle age after years of eating McDonalds and sitting on the couch.  They can attest that change is HARD...)

The announcement came the Obama would visit Minneapolis yesterday came out last Wednesday.  I jumped at the chance to go to hear him in person.   

I was one of 20,000 people that filled the Target Center to hear him.  The doors opened at 1:30 pm and he got up to the speaking platform about 4:00 pm.  

Yes, 20,000 people waited 2 1/2 hours to hear him speak.  

He was very engaging and very inspiring.   In his 54-minute speech, he talked about why it is so important NOW for change.  

We are at a defining moment where we have the ability to turn around our economy, our health care and education systems, our image and place abroad, our environment.  

I think he can inspire us, unite us and lead us and I'm proud to say I'm a Obama supporter.  

Other cool things:

Hubby and I went to watch the Luminary Loppet event last night on Lake of the Isles.  There were hundred of cross-country skiers carving pattern in the snow and ice on the lake.  The event sponsors lined the lake with hundreds of luminaries made out of ice blocks.  It was really beautiful.

Final cool thing before I leave for a Superbowl party:

I DID get my goofy 1st long-slow-distance run in as part of my Fargo training.  I was hoping to run 7 miles, but ended up going about 8.35, according to

This 'training on my own' thing is going to be very difficult.  I'm going to have to come up with some good alternatives to get me through.

Anyway, MapMyRun has a feature that allows you to post your run, so... here it is.  

I think that is flippin' cool.