Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween


Lots of candy ready for those cute little goblins that will be visiting the neighborhood tonight. Note the curious absence of Almond Joys and Baby Ruths...hmmmmm


Working from home today, I took a bike ride at lunch time. It was the first time in a very, very long time, that I actually got on my bike.

Beautiful ride; beautiful day. Only "huffed and puffed" a little bit; not enough to blow a house down...


The Scale. My nemesis. My arch enemy. My "Newwww-man...".

Tomorrow (after all the Almond Joys and Baby Ruths are gone...) I will face the music and get back to reality.

My birthday is coming up and I want to be able to face my first morning of "50" with grace, dignity and slightly looser pants.

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....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

TC 10 Miler: wet but wonderful

I ran the TC 10 Miler today (part of Twin Cities Marathon events).

The first thing I have to do, is thank my good friend Mary and her daughter, Layla, for coming to the race to cheer me on.

They waited in the freezing cold, pouring rain (see below) to watch me cross the finish....and, because of the layers and bulk of all the clothing items people wore, missed me in the crowd. Still and all, they were there, and after the race, they they took me to breakfast. What wonderful friends.

The race started at 7:13 am (right before dawn) and it was very chilly and very cloudy. It had rained a little bit before 5:40 am, making the roads slick, but it had stopped by the time were were lining up for the start.

As I was putting my warm clothes bag in to the shuttle van, I ran in to an old running buddy of mine: Heidi. I met Heidi several years ago when she was training for her first marathon (Grandmas). We trained together with some other really fun friends including Amy P and Mary B. As happens, life sort of got in all of our ways in the forms of babies, moving out of the city; moving out of the state, etc. It was great to see her and it reminded me to send out a few emails to reconnect this week...

(What a difference a year makes. Last year, my friends and I ran == or attempted to run == Chicago Marathon. As many of you may recall, it was hot and humid and the course supplies (like, uh, water....) were in very short supplies.

Chicago ended up shutting the race down. People were dehydrated and over heated. One person died. Many, many went to the hospital. My friend Nat and I got to mile 18 before they closed the course and diverted us back to Grant Park. Other friends, Marcia, Mary and Cheryl were slightly behind us on the course when they got sent back to Grant Park.

TCM was held the same date as Chicago last year. It was hot and humid here too, and I heard that the temp was in one degree shy of shutting down the race here.)

So today, "layers" were the smart thing to wear -- to keep warm. Not to help with runner recognition.

I ran very well, despite not having much "training" around this one, and ended up PRing this event by about 7 minutes and 41 seconds (off gun time); 8:32 off of chip time.

2008: Chip time: 1:47:38; gun time: 1:51:25

2005 (last time I ran TC 10 Miler): Chip time: 1:56:16 Gun time: 1:59:06

I've been sort of slug since the end of August. I'm swimming (a little); running (some); biking (not at all). Work is out of control; I'm in a little funk (still). But Greg says that it is okay to pull back after a peak event, so....all is not lost.

(By the by, Greg ran the marathon today, keeping pace for his girlfriend Devon. I think it was Devon's first marathon. They both finished in about 4:02. Very impressive for a first time result and running in the rain).

I really like the 10 mile course. It starts at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis and winds west along a beautiful river road, crossing up and over in to St. Paul. We share the same last eight miles with the marathon course, stretching along Summitt Avenue, a wonderful street lined with huge homes.

I wore a long sleeved light dri fit shirt and layered it with a dri fit tee. I also wrapped a Sugoi jacket around my waist (which annoyed the crap out of me) until I hit mile 8.5 and the wind picked up.

It got C O L D. Needless to say, I was no longer annoyed with the jacket...

About mile 9, it started to R A I N.

Soon, it was C O L D and R A I N Y. Really RAINY. I was very happy I had that jacket.

As I rounded the last turn at the Cathedral and moved towards the Capital, I started to look for Mary and Leilah. We just missed each other in the crowd.

By the time I crossed the finish line, I was pretty well soaked. I got a MEDAL! I did not get one in 2005.

(Not sure if they gave medals this year because it is the 10th anniversary of the event, or if they do it as a regular "perk" now....who cares! It's just always nice to get a medal. That is the "tear" or "raindrop" looking item in the lower left corner of the photo above).

I got my warm clothes bag, met Mary and we hightailed it to the car and seat warmers!

So: one more longer distance race to go for the year: Monster 1/2 Marathon (10/25). Mary, Marcia, Gary and I are running it.

Should be a spooky fun time.