Monday, May 31, 2010

Fargo 1/2 and Apple Du

My whirlwind calendar of events leading up to September 12th began on May 22nd with Fargo 1/2 marathon.

Fargo puts on a terrific running weekend, which includes a marathon, the half, 10k and 5k events.

For the past few years, my friends Nat, Marcia, Mary K and I have done the 1/2. This year, Gary joined us for the fun.

May's weather in Fargo can be a bit "iffy". We've run in the cold; we've run in the heat. The one real constant is the wind....yikes!

This year, we lined up outside the Fargodome on Saturday morning just as the sprinkles started to come. By the time the starting gun went off, the rain was pretty steady and "cool". Not cold, just cool.

Fortunately, the rain stopped by the time I got to mile 3 and the temps were mostly plesant for the rest of the race.

I ran well -- steady and feeling good. Actually RAN the first 7.9 miles of the race with out walking (except for one potty break), which I have never done before. (BIG accomplishment for me!).

The one big bummer was that, with all the rain, my socks had gotten pretty wet, so I developed a blister on one of my toes. At mile 9, just at the end of a water stop, I asked a friendly volunteer if the stop had any band-aids on hand.

"No", the friendly volunteer said, "but, I'll give you my sock. It's dry and clean".


So he gave me his sock and I trotted on to the end.

It was not a PR for me, but I did take almost 17 minutes off of my 2009 time and almost 13 minutes off my 2008 time. I was very happy with my results.

All my friends had a good race -- Nat PR'ed, in fact. We shared a great lunch after the race and are already looking forward to Fargo 2011.

I noticed a slight tickle in my throat during the drive back to Minneapolis.

This tickle lurked for most of the rest of the week until late on Thursday, when BOOM. I had a stuffed nose and laryngitis. Bad laryngitis. No voice. At all. Just squeaks.

So I did the Apple Duathlon with no voice....

The Du was my first run/bike/run event. It turned out to be a very fun event. Nat and I both entered and we car pooled from Minneapolis to Sartell MN -- about 90 minutes away -- for the race.

I really didn't know what to expect with a Du. I found out that packing transition stuff is much easier: you don't have to worry about all that "swim" stuff.

Although the field was pretty small (only about 350 people), there were a number of multisport heros participating in it: Cathy Yndestad, Julie Hull, David Thompson, Kevin O'Connor, to name a few.

It was hot and sunny at the start of the race. My first 5k was pretty good. I ran it in just a hair over 30 minutes (9:53 pace). Another first for me.

The 33K bike route was beautiful -- a few challenging hills, but I really felt great for about the first 10-miles. Then came the turn home, which also happened to be straight in to the wind -- YUCK. My mph dropped fast and my frustration grew.

Final tally: Took me about 1:17 to cover the 20.5 miles, for a pace of 15.9 mph. Boo hoo on that...

I was tired and hacking when I rode back in to transition, so I decided to take my sweet a$$ time on the 2nd 5K. I flipped off my bike shoes; grabbed my running shoes and had a blistering T2 of 1:32.

Then came my sweet a$$ time. I sat on a curb just outside transition and put on my shoes; I got a drink of water; I took my time strolling up the big a$$ hill at the start of the 5K route. Then I started to feel guilty, so I started running.

I did a run/walk for the rest of the 5K, but at a very leisurely pace. Took me 40 minutes for the second 5k.

Now, of course, I feel bad about being so "lazy" on that second loop.

Truth be told, I wasn't feeling so great and I let my mind control my feet. Silly, I know.

Bottom line: the Du was fun and I'd "du" one again.

The rest of my Memorial Day weekend was very fun. A bike ride with some friends; a dip in to the lake to get ready for next week's triathlon and a great round of golf with Hubby and some of his golf friends.

I still don't have much of a voice -- but it is slowly coming back.

Only 16 weeks until Ironman. Amazing how fast time is flying!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

fastest post ever....

Woefully behind on blogging. Work is a blur; Training is a blur; Time is just passing in a big ol' blur.

Fargo 1/2 marathon is Saturday. How the heck did that event get here so fast? (blur....)

I'll be there along with Nat, Mary, Marcia, Gary and Brenda, Kris, AmyW. and up to 20,000 other runners doing either the marathon, 1/2, 10K or 5K event....

Unlike Fargo's past, this year, the weather is expected to be warmer (up to 77 degrees) and humid, with the possibility of rain. What will be normal is the wind....Fargo seems to have a never ending supply of wind.

I'm hoping to run strong and to have fun. It kicks off my race season and I'd like to start it feeling good about where I've come over the last few months.

Time will tell....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We'll get by with a little help from our friends....

Ironman Wisconsin opened its site for Volunteer sign-up yesterday.

This "little" event revved up my excitement and enthusiasm levels in a big way. It made the event feel so real for me, as opposed to just an arbitrary date looming out there some distance (okay, now 18 weeks) away.

Last year, Nat and I signed up as volunteers so we could a) get a first-hand, close up look at the action to see if, b) we wanted to have priority status to sign up for IM WI 2010.

I was a wet suit peeler. I helped the swimmers out of their wetsuits as they came out of Lake Mendota. It was a blast.

Nat worked the swim to bike transition area, helping athletes find their bags and get ready to get out on the bike course.

Later that day, we both worked the bike water stop at Mt. Horeb. Our shift was timed so we could see bikers as they were hitting that spot for the second loop of the course. That was a fun volunteer spot too and it also interesting/enlightening to observe the condition of the riders. Some looked great -- all smiles, having a blast. Others were struggling a bit, but not giving up.

Nothing we saw along the way that day turned us off from signing up for this year's event, so the next morning, we joined the long line of other volunteers to sign an application, a waiver and a great big check. And so, the Ironman adventure began.

The other fun thing about volunteering last year was seeing other friends: Steve and Pharmie were also signed up to be Peelers; I had just started reading Mike's blog and he posted his race number. When he got out of the water, I recognized his number so I got a chance to "meet" him in the peeling area and wished him good luck.

We also ran in to lots of other people, either participating or volunteering or just spectating. All just fun, fun, fun.

Well, THIS YEAR, as Natalie and I and Matt and Sarah and Patrick and Cathy and 2,494 of our other most close and personal friends are out there on the course, we will have a long, long list of friends waiting for us at various volunteer spots:

Marcia and Marty: Swim timing recorders. One of the first shifts for the day. They will have a chance to see everyone get out of the water when we are all still feeling "good".

Rick L: Will be out on the bike course. I look forward to seeing his omnipresent bright orange hat.

Beth and Bev: Finish line catchers from 6:00 till 9:00. Beth posted on her Facebook page that she did it so she could see me, Nat and Mike finish. I told her that Nat and Mike might finish before 9:00 pm but she was being awfully optimistic thinking that I'd be there by then...(gotta keep it real, you know....)

Carla, Angel, Tim and MY HUBBY: Finish line catchers from 9:00 until midnight. What a treat it will be to see them all as I'm coming down that chute! (note the optimism about finishing before the clock gets turned off in that last sentence....).

As any runner, triathlete or other sports person will tell you, volunteers can make or break an event.

We are going to have a crew of AWESOME volunteers on September 12th. Not just the just the great folks above, but all the others that will take part of their weekend to spend it out on the course with us as part of our day.

To each volunteer, especially my friends, I say THANK YOU in advance for sharing your enthusiasm and your time.

I may not be 'happy' when you see me out on that course. I may not be able to acknowledge you with more than a grunt and a pissed-off glare. I may be crying my eyes out. But know that my soul will be happy to see you and I am ever grateful that you are my friend.