Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fun Stuff in October

I can not believe it is the end of October - already.

It seems like only a blink of an eye ago, the weather was warm, the days were long and winter was a long, long way off.

This morning, we woke up to frost on the cars and crunchy grass (frost). We've turned on the heat in the house a couple of times already, sweaters are back in the drawer and I no longer feel compelled to go for a quick swim every time we drive by Lake Calhoun or Lake Harriet.

October has been a great month, though.

Started at the beginning of the month with a great run for me at the TCM 10-Miler event.

Mid-month, Hubby and I traveled to Orlando, Florida, where he played in The Golf Channel Amateur Golf tour's national event. He's played in the tour for the last couple of years.

It is a very interesting tour. There are teams in pretty much every state across the U.S. and in Canada. The teams play events in their area during the summer; have some regional events and then "The Biggie": The Nationals.

The teams are "flighted" -- meaning the players are broken down in to handicap groups, so no one is playing anyone much better or much worse than they are. (Similar to lining up in a running event at the corral spot where you expect to finish. This, for me, means I typically line up waaaay in the back.).

Hubby has made some great friends, played some really wonderful courses and has been a flight winner of several of the events, which is how he qualified to go to Nationals.

We were there for a week. He played golf every day; I worked a lot. Even though it was "vacation", I had several classes to deliver ("Language and Culture in the Workplace"; "Managing UP, the Art of Influencing").

We had a condo at Orange Lake, so we had a lot of space and a kitchen, but no internet connection. I had to go to the business center every day to connect to get my work done.

Fortunately, the business center was located right next to Starbucks, so I was happy as a clam to link in, do my work thing and have some coffee.

I did get to play golf once; I swam a few times in a really nice pool early in the morning before either the sun or the hoards of kids were up. I also ran a few times "training" for the Monster 1/2 marathon -- my last big event for 2008.

Hubby did pretty well for his first National event. His game - and his confidence - improved a lot over the summer. The best thing is that he didn't check his Crackberry once during the whole week and actually got to relax.

We had some fun during the evenings. We had dinner with some of his team mates and their significant others a few times; we went to Downtown Disney a couple of times and wandered around. All very fun.

The weather was hot and humid -- just the way I like it. So, it was very much a shock, as you might image, to get off the plane back here in good, old Minnesota. BRRRRR

However, the fall leaves have been just beeeuteeeeful. Kind of a trade off.


So, running Monster 1/2 last Saturday was quite lovely.

The course starts and ends at Lake Harriet, so my friends Mary, Marcia and Brenda, met a our house before the race to conserve parking spots close to the event.

Hubby drove us downto the lake/start, where we waited for Dori, who was in Minneapolis with her SD for the weekend. She signed up to run the 10-mile event. It was GREAT to see her.

Monster 1/2 was just one of the events held that day. Team Ortho also hosts a 10-mile event, a timed 5K and a 'fun run' 5K for trick or treaters and pets. People have a lot of fun at the events and there were a lot of people and animals there wearing some very cute costumes.

As we were near the bandshell taking pictures, I noticed a costume that caught my eye: Grim Reaper hood, scythe and "yellow bowl of sunshine" shorts. Yes, it was Steve Stenzel, who was there to run the timed 5K. (He came in 3rd by-the-by).

I called out to him, introduced myself and Dori as fellow bloggers and he took a couple pics with our group. Dori had the photo on her camera -- it is posted on her blog.

The race started at 8:45 and followed Lake Harriet, down Minnehaha Parkway almost to Cedar Avenue, back to Harriet and then looped around Lake Calhoun.

I started out with Marcia, Mary and Brenda, but by the time we got to the Parkway, I broke a head a bit and just did my thing.

The route is so familiar to me -- I live near it and used it a lot during the spring and summer for my training. I love the route, though. Every time I run the lakes or follow the parkway, I'm so grateful for being able to be out there, enjoying the day, the trees, the lakes, Minnehaha creek and more.

I settled in to my run and just observed every thing around me -- runners, spectators, costumes, fall colors... I just took it all in.

I had a nice pace going (just over 10 minute miles).

Another good friend, Gary, was volunteering along the course, so I got to see him a couple of times during the event.

By the time I got to mile 5 or so, I had to go to the bathroom, so I pulled off at a portapotty. There were three other women waiting to use the portapotty, but, once in, they took FOREVER to do their thing.

Now, I'm a female. Presumably I have the same body parts that they do. I was not wearing a costume; they were not wearing costumes.

Can someone, then, please explain to me why, oh why, did it take them over 1:30 minutes to do thier thing once in the john? What do they do in there?

I go in, I do my thing, I grab some Purell, and I'm OUT OF THERE. Forty-seconds TOPS. (Yes, I timed myself).

But, I had lost almost 5 minute waiting. I decided to just enjoy the day and not really worry about my finish time.

Good thing too! By the time I hit mile 10 (1:51 -- 4 minutes slower that TCM 10-miler), I decided mentally that I was done.

I was tired, mostly out of gas and was really looking forward to being finished. My last three miles were very slow, but did finally hit the finish line at 2:30:50. (11:30 / pace).

Dori had already finished her 10-miler (with a big, fat PR no less). She found Gary at the finish and they both were waiting for the rest of us to cross the line. Mary's significant, Tom, and her kids were also there, along with our friends, Cheryl and her husband Derek.

I found them all at the finish line and waited them for the rest of our crew to come in. Everyone enjoyed the race -- and we were all very proud of Brenda, who had just completed her first 1/2 marathon.

Everyone came over to our house, where Hubby had made coffee and breakfast for us. It was really fun to have everyone there enjoying good food and good company.

And so, the official events of 2008 come to a close! Kind of like fall. Just like "that" it's over.

I'll probably run the Thanksgiving Day 5K -- will also do the Polar Dash on New Year's Day, but that is really the first event of 2009....

I've already signed up for Tri-U-Mah indoor tri (February); Fargo 1/2 marathon (May) LifeTime Fitness Tri (July) and Natalie and I will do our second 1/2 Iron distance event -- Chisago (July). Gary is also "this close" to signing up for Chisago.

I'm considering doing the Minnetonka Triathlon (June), a couple nameless other Tris, maybe another 1/2 Iron distance for August or September and will throw my hat in, along with Mary, Dori and hopefully Marcia and Gary for the New York Marathon lottery.

I also have secret plans on being in Madison in September to watch IronMan Wisconsin. My goal is to sign up for IronMan Wisconsin 2010! Shhhhh...

For now, I'll just try to bask in the glory of a great 2008 season and have another piece of Halloween candy....


Dori said...

Great race report, Amy! That really is a beautiful place to run. That's too bad about all the lost time waiting for the potty, but you still finished in a respectable time.

Nancy said...

It's very nice place.


Hubby made coffee and breakfast?! Damn--I'll do the race next year just for that! Sounds like you are really enjoying life in general. Woo Hoo!!!!

Steve Stenzel said...

First off - WHOOOO to IM WI!!

Nice to see you out there - I'm glad you reeled me in!

And why do women take so long in there? It's great that you timed yourself!!

I might see you next year at LTF and at Chisago (if I'm not doing the B2B tri that weekend).

Happy off season!!!

Nat said...

Okay Amy. Now you have me feeling like I want to do New York and that I want to do IM WI......damn it! Didn't I just say I wanted to cut back?

In other good news...I finally found a dress! Woo-hoo! Thank God I don't have to think about that again!

Marcia L said...

Wow - you're plans for future events are nothing short of spectacular!!! You go, girl!

Congrats on the awesome finish at the Monster Half Marathon.