Sunday, May 18, 2008

Far Go-NE with the wind......

Fargo 1/2 marathon was yesterday. It was a very well run, fun event.

My race was not very well run, however....

The truth of the matter is that I just didn't train particularly hard or well for this event.

My original goal, when I signed up last fall for the MARATHON was to finally have a personal best time, having missed it at New York Marathon by 3 seconds.


I was in much better shape last fall. I've lost some conditioning and gained a bit of weight since then, due to the happy, seemingly never-ending Minnesota winter of 2007/2008.

I finally threw in the Marathon towel about six weeks ago and switched over to the 1/2 marathon distance. I had done several long runs covering 14-plus miles, so I knew I could cover the distance.

I just didn't do it very well.


The event itself was a blast. I drove up to Fargo, North Dakota with two friends, Marc and Kathy T. Marc was going to run the Marathon and Kathy, who was not racing this time around, came along to cheer us along. Hubby was going to come too, but ended up having to stay in Minneapolis. His work schedule has been a bear lately and he just couldn't get out of a couple calls in order to join us.

We stayed at the Days Inn across from the Fargodome, which was both the site of the start and finish for the races.

After I checked in, I changed in to my Team Stay Put uniform and went over to pick up my race packet. I handed out a bunch of Stay Put elastics to very enthusiastic women.

Marcia and Marty, two other very good friends, had also signed up to run the 1/2 marathon. We met them at the Fargodome, along with some other runners from our club, and enjoyed the pasta and Lefse feed. (Lefse is a traditional Swedish bread... it is very flat and pretty tasteless...Fargo is FULL of Swedes, so this was a very traditional item to have at dinner.).

The weather was clear and temps were warm, but the wind was incredible! Pretty steady at 20 - 30 MPH, with gusts over 35 mph. Race day was expected to have pleasant temps, but again, very high winds.

Race day morning was beautiful. Cool, crisp and sunny. The winds were very calm when we lined up for the start. Marathoners and 1/2 marathoners all started our events at the same time and we ran together for much of the race. The course veered off three times to add the extra 13.2 miles for the marathoners.

Crowd support was wonderful. We ran through many residential neighborhoods where the entire block was full of residents out cheering and having a great time. There were lots of bands and entertainment along the course, which is always very helpful as you're plodding along the course.

It was interesting to me that parts of the course reminded me of sections of other courses including New York,Chicago and Twin Cities.

We also ran through parks and the downtown area, having a pretty good tour of Fargo.

I ran with Marcia for a little bit at the beginning. She was going to do a six minute run/one minute walk routine and I had trained doing a 7/1 routine, so we soon split up.

Despite having a bit of a cold (picked up two days before the race), I ran pretty well until about mile 9.5. My 7/1 routine served me well and I was not feeling too tired or sore. The winds had started to pick up though, and running head-long in to them was very tough and tiring.

I caught up to Sarah Reinertsen, an athlete who is missing her left leg. She was charging right along the course. I ran past her, said 'hello', told her I liked her commercial and she said "thanks". What an inspiration!

I stopped at a portapotty and after that, I could have very well been done with the race. I'm not sure if I was just tired, or hungry or what it was, but I had very little "stuff" in the tank. I ended up taking two walk breaks for every 8 minutes of running.

I kept plodding and by the time I got to mile 12 -- one lousy mile to go, I was really spent. I tried to muster some thing to get me going in to high(er) gear, but nothing came.


The finish for both the marathon and 1/2 marathon rounds the outside of the Fargodome, eventually turning in to the building, where spectators are sitting in the stands and runners 'Finish' is captured on a Jumbotron screen. That was pretty cool.

My time was 2:38:59. Certainly not my personal best, but it was what it was.

(You get what you train for, no?)

My friends had mixed results. Marty kicked some serious butt. Marc and Marcia both said they had tough races. The rest of our crew also had some serious challenges with the winds and the day.

But, we all got through it and we all agreed that the race was fun and a great event.

So now, I start training in earnest for my next two biggies: LifeTime Tri and Pigman.

Let the training begin!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I am a Goody Girl!

I'm being sponsored again this year.

I'm part of Team Stay Put, by Goody. Goody is the company that produces all those really cool hair products. Stay Put is the brand of products designed for active women. The elastics, headbands, claw clips and other products really do work well.

I have very thin, fine hair and the elastics hold like no one's business! I just LOVE them!

There are 225 women across the US and in Canada that are on Team Stay Put. There are about 10 or 12 women across Minnesota and Wisconsin that make up the MN chapter of Team Stay Put.

Our commitment, as part of the team, is to participate in at least six events between now and the end of the year. Their commitment to us is to provide us with a uniform, samples, a website to post info and blogs.

We also get to help by participating in Girls On the Run 5K events. GOTR is a non-profit organization that works with preteen girls helping them to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running.

Team Stay Put has a number of "official" events to work throughout the country, but both events that are near Minneapolis happen on days that I'm already committed.

However, there was a GOTR event today in Eau Claire, Wisconsin that I got to participate in. Another MN team mate, Caro, also worked today's event with me.

It was a wonderful and inspiring day. There were about 120 participants -- mostly girls between the ages of 8 and 12-- many of whom were running their first race.

The course was very pretty, starting in a park on the edge of Eau Claire's downtown area, and winding next to the city's river.

Caro and I were paired up with a runner -- Mercedes, who has been part of GOTR for about a year. Today was her first 5K and she was very excited about the day.

When the race started, Mercedes kicked it immediately in to high gear. (Apparently none of her coaches talked to her about the wisdom of starting slow.... or maybe that is a technique only for people older than 12....)

I ran with the kids for about a mile and then went back to the finish chute to cheer them on as they crossed the line. I got to hand out festive lei's to the finisher -- a big hit with them, let me tell you.

It was very inspirational to see the kids running with all they had, crossing that line with such a look of pride and determination! I was very happy to be able to be part of their day.

The race also provided medals to finishers. I think this look on this finisher's face says it all...

On a slightly scarier note: I realized that within three-month's time, my tri season will be all but over.... I'm vastly unprepared and will have to kick it in to high gear myself if I'm to be successful events.

Looks like it's time for Amy On the Run...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

North Carolina and Tri Baselines

Long time, no post.

Hubby and I took a mini vacation and went to North Carolina. He found some information about a golf community where, if we sat for a sales pitch, we could stay for $20.oo night and golf for $40.00 per round. We cashed in some frequent flyer miles and went to NC for a fast, fun trip.

Our winter was so L O N G and spring has been cold and wet so we were very excited about the proposition of feeling the sun on our skin, being outside without a coat, seeing the beach and golfing.

We flew in to Raleigh and then drove down to Calabash, where the resort is located.

Calabash is part of Brunswick county, which is home to a lot of golf communities -- and not much more. There were some restaurants (mostly fish places), one coffee house and a couple of very nice beaches.

The golf resort was lovely -- lovely homes, well kept, nice golf courses. We had a blast playing golf. I had some trouble with a couple holes, but had one par and putted pretty well throughout both rounds. Hubby did really well golfing. This was a good warm up for him for his upcoming tournament season.

We had thought that there would be an actual "town" or "square" or something close by with a little zip, but.... no.

The closest to "zip" we found was about 8 miles away: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Myrtle Beach was not really our cup of tea....

It reminded us of the Wisconsin Dells on steroids. Hotels, motels, cheesy "resorts", souvenir shop after souvenir shop after souvenir shop.

On our last day, we drove in to Wilmington -- a very charming city that we both really liked -- and took a side trip to Carolina Beach.

Carolina Beach was the opposite of Myrtle Beach. Really great beach houses all painted in vibrant pastel colors, cute restaurants, really great beach.

We took a walk on the beach and down one a long fishing pier so we could take in the sites. A row of pelicans dotted the railing of the pier. We were able to get very close to them. They are really incredible birds.

Got back to Minneapolis and the weather is just starting to warm up. Thank heavens! Tri season is just around the corner. My first event is on June 7th -- about 1 month away.

I know that I'll finish Fargo 1/2 -- may not be pretty (or a PR), but I'll get through it and am looking forward to the event. Some of my running buddies are also running Fargo, and I'm looking forward to spending some time with them.

I'm looking at Fargo as part of my tri "benchmarking" -- seeing where I am before I get in to heavy training. (Sounds good, at least, yes?)

I also benchmarked a 400 yard swim (9 minutes 14 seconds) Okay, say it with me in your best Amy Winehouse voice: "Slow.. slow... slow";
a one-hour ride (15.60 miles ) Sing it Amy: "Slow, slow...slow";
and a 2 mile run (21.10.... but the first mile was 9:45...) Bring it home, Amy "Slow, slow, slow!"

I have a lot of work ahead of me to get me in to 1/2 Iron distance shape...

Let the fun begin!