Monday, July 25, 2011


Only one more week of FUNemployment left and then I start work at my new job. So, I'm trying to cram as much fun into the time I have left as possible. Last week was the beginning of my cramming. Friday morning I did go rollerblading and I did manage to make it out alive and without injury. It was a lot of fun. I forgot how much I loved it.

Saturday morning, the Lowell Ladies met up for our last training run before the Old Port Half marathon (more on that later). We did 8 miles and started early to avoid the heat and hopefully avoid the severe dehydration I experienced the week before. It worked. We all felt amazing and ran a very comfortable 9:30 pace. Granted we were dripping and totally soaked by the time we finished but we finished and we all did great. Good omen for the race the following week.

Sunday, while the primary training goal of the weekend was accomplished and the rest of the Lowell Ladies relaxed and enjoyed the taper for the half marathon I had secondary and tertiary goals. Half marathon was basically going to be another training run for me and I used the 8 mile run as the first half of a goofy training weekend. My Chicago marathon training plan included a 16 miler so the 8 miler worked in perfectly to kill two birds with one stone. I got up early and headed out my front door around 6:00am to run 16 miles. Again trying to beat the heat of the brutal summer sun. Bonus to running early in the summertime, sprinklers are on! It was a great run and I felt amazing up until the last two miles. It was getting really warm and I was ready to be done. I still managed to average just over 10 minute miles and only slowed down in those last two miles so I'd say that's not too bad. Still not my pre-Boston/pre-bike crash speed, but I'll take it. Considering the week before I just about died on a 12 mile run and then melted my ice bath almost instantly, I increased the amount of ice in my ice bath to 10 bags or 50 pounds. Didn't do much good. I still melted it within 5 minutes, but the water stayed cool so I feel like I still got the benefit of the bath.

After my run and ice bath, it was time to go to my first ever baby christening. Kim and Bill's baby Ryann, Lowell's newest runner was having a very special day. Not sure what to wear so, I went for a fancy royal wedding/Kentucky Derby look for fun. I wore a simple cotton brown and white sundress complete with huge fancy sun hat and headed to the church. I was told I looked like Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman' ready to stomp divots at a polo match. Mission accomplished. It was very nice. I'm not religious at all and only really go to church for weddings and funerals so this was a new experience for me. Afterwards we celebrated with a BBQ at the in-law's house and enjoyed some fun in the sun on a beautiful summer afternoon.

The following week went by super fast, rest Monday, 6 mile run Tuesday, 7 mile run Wednesday, and with a heat index of 110 degrees we decided it was best to just walk on Thursday. Friday I got up early before the mercury hit record breaking triple digit numbers and squeaked in a nice 6 mile hill run. I looked like I had taken a shower when I finished and I didn't stop sweating even after I really did take a shower. I tried to get to bed early to rest for the weekend festivities, but it was so hot I didn't really sleep much.

Saturday morning bright and early I picked up Moe and we headed to Portland, followed shortly after by Kim and Bill and Ryann, then Cherie and Steve and their boys Aaron and Mitchell, then Erin later on. Moe and I got to Portland first and my mom hadn't even finished cleaning the house yet. It was clean, but she insisted on shuffling things around to make it look even cleaner. While we waited for the others to arrive, I took Moe to one of her favorite places - Salvation Army. She insisted she knew where all the SA stores were and she had never heard of the one I was taking her too. Well, it WAS one she didn't know about and we found some great stuff there. She got a pair of sunglasses for $2 and a few really funny t-shirts. It was getting late and we knew everyone else should be arriving soon so we went to Trader Joes and picked up some lunch food for everyone and went back to my mom's house. Within the next 30 minutes Kim and Bill arrived with Ryann and then Cherie and Steve arrived right after with Aaron and Mitchell. We made lunch and lounged by the pool for a few hours and waited for Erin to get there.

Once Erin arrived we all piled into Steve's truck to go get our bib numbers for the race the next day. Just a short trip to the Maine Running Company Store and we were ready for dinner. Lucky for all of us Portland has one of my favorite restaurants, Flatbreads Pizza. They use all locally grown organic products AND the food is AMAZING! We got a table for 12 and enjoyed great food with even greater friends right on the water front overlooking the finish line of the race the next day. Then to complete the day on the way home we stopped at Beal's Ice cream for dessert. I had blueberry ice cream and pretty much inhaled it before anyone else even got their ice cream because it was so good.

Back to my mom's house and to bed we all went. Cherie and Steve and their boys went to a hotel downtown to stay for the night. It was still early by most standards but we had 13.1 miles to run in the morning. My brother was over with a few friends, but they were pretty quiet out by the pool. Moe and Erin shared my old bedroom, Bill and Kim and Ryann shared my brother's old room and I took the couch. It was still extremely hot and humid so I didn't expect to sleep a lot. I actually hopped in the pool before going to bed to try and cool off a bit. Moe and Erin stayed up chatting for a while, I couldn't hear them but everyone upstairs said they were pretty loud. Then poor Ryann struggled with the rest of us to get comfy in the heat and fussed a bit before finally falling asleep. I woke up a few times in the middle of the night to strange unfamiliar noises and just discomfort of sleeping in a pool of my own sweat. Then in the middle of the night my mom's phone rang and someone was talking on her answering machine. Who calls in the middle of the night like that? Anyway, it's safe to say we all had an interesting night of sleep except for Cherie and Steve, they probably slept the best.

At around 7am we all packed into Steve's truck to go to the start line. He dropped us off and then went back to the hotel to get the boys and go then they met my Mom and Bill and my Brother to watch the race and go to breakfast while we ran. The weather was much nicer than the previous days of 95-100 degree heat wave weather. Overnight the heat and humidity broke to a tollerable 70ish and only slightly hazy heat. The first few miles of the race we had some cloud cover and shaded areas and a lovely ocean breeze. For the first time running of the race, it was very well organized and the course was well marked with tons of volunteers guiding the runners and controling the traffic.

The course started on Portland's Eastern Promenade and then followed the coastline and route 1 into Falmouth and through some nice neighborhoods right on the ocean, crossed route 1 and entered the Maine Audubon Society for a short trail run before going back onto route 1 and heading back to Portland. On our way back into Portland somewhere between miles 6 and 7 I noticed I had goosebumps and my skin was dry. I started sipping water more frequently to try and prevent total meltdown. Once we got back to Portland we ran around the Back Cove that I use to run in high school for soccer practice and cursed every step of it at the time, then past the soccer field I hated playing on and around the Eastern Promenade to the finish line on the Maine State Peir. The last 5 miles around the Back Cove the sun came out and started to really heat me up. With two miles left to go I I knew exactly what was ahead of me because it was the same course as the Urban Epic triathlon I had run the year before. Thankfully some of it was in the shade and all of it was right on the water with a nice cool breeze. I started to get tunnel vision and a little bit dizzy but I powered through it. With less than a mile left to go I saw Moe running back along the course. She had finished with a new PR and was coming back to run the rest of the bunch in. I was doing pretty good so she went to get Kim and Cherie not too far behind me. With a tenth of a mile to go I passed my Mom and Brother and Bill and Steve and the boys and picked up the pace to finish strong. I might have pushed a little bit outside my comfort zone because I was extremely dizzy and almost vomitted when I crossed the finish line, but I DID IT and I finished in just over 2:10 right on target for what I was hoping for with the heat and humidity. I got some water and ice and walked around a bit before going to stand and cheer everyone else in. I eventually made it to everyone and then Mitchell ran his mom Cherie in and we all ran Kim in. What a great race!!

The day was a little warmer than ideal running weather, but we all finished and had fun doing it. I even celebrated in the beer garden after with Moe and enjoyed a free Smuttynose beer. While we enjoyed the post-race beer buzz Moe checked the results and realized she may have placed so we stayed for the awards and sure enough, she got 1st place in her age group and won a hand painted bouy trophy. Once we finished our beers we all went back to my mom's house for a much needed dip in the pool and some food. Within only a few minutes of sitting by the side of the pool relaxing my stomach and tops of my legs (areas that rarely see the sun) burnt to a crisp. I now have a painful red midsection to go with my awesome bike short/running tank tan lines. I'm tempted to lay out today for a few minutes to get the back side of my body to even things out.

Later in the afternoon we began thinking about dinner and someone mentioned seafood. We were in Maine afterall we should truly enjoy the best and freshest seafood you can find (Sorry Mass, Glouster ain't got nothing on my hometown). So, my mom used some of her connections to order up some fresh off the boat Maine Lobster. (Special thanks to E.A.T. Lobster in Scarborough, ME - We got some corn on the cob and steamer clams to go with the lobster and had a good ole fashioned lobster bake to finish out a perfect weekend.

It's going to be really tough and damn near impossible to top that in my last few days of FUNemployment, but it's not going to stop me from trying. I have lots planned. A few fun runs, a long run, maybe a bike ride or two, then my first full century bike ride next Saturday followed by another triathlon Sunday. I might even try to squeeze in some extras like maybe kayaking or something else I've never done before. The year of new challenges continues stay tuned for more. I'll try to post some pictures soon too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Run, Bike, Run some more, occasionally swim...

I guess that's an ok triathlon training plan, but I REALLY do need to get my butt in the water more. I'm an ok swimmer, but it is definitely my achilles heel in the triathlon. Maybe if I swam more it would help me regulate my body temperature in the extreme heat and humidity too.

Last weekend I did my first International distance triathlon. It's a 0.9m swim, 26m bike, 10K run. The day before I did a 12ish mile run in extreme heat and humidity and just about died. I'd say considering the conditions both events went very well, afterall, I didn't die.

Saturday morning was the long run with the Lowell Ladies. My plan was to run to and from Kim's house making the 10 mile group run into a 14 mile training run for Chicago. We started early in an effort to beat the heat. Apparently 7:00am isn't early enough. It was already almost 80 degrees when we started with probably 80% humidity. By the time we were 6-8 miles into the run we all ran out of water and had to stop at McDonalds. I haven't been to a McDonalds on YEARS and usually refuse to even partake in their Newman's Own Coffee because I just don't want to support their business of selling obesity in America, but I was desperate for some water. They were very nice to us and even gave me a few salt packets too. We all finished the run, I just barely made it. I felt so sick and dehydrated by the end I didn't dare try to run home so I hitched a ride instead and cut my run short. I lost about 5 pounds in sweat. Lesson learned - start EARLIER.

After the run, I went to Rite Aid for my ice and bought 8 bags because the 6 bags I bought the week before melted too fast. Well, my core body temperature must have been sky high because I melted the 8 bags (40 pounds) in less then 5 minutes in the tub. It kind of made sitting in the cold water pointless because I wasn't really getting much benefit from the "ice" bath without the ice. Afterwards, some of us decided to take a trip to the mall for some new running skirts. I lucked out and found two at Lululemon, unfortunately they didn't have enough sizes for everyone. Wicked bummer. I need to write a letter to the company requesting additional sizes. Shopping (and the running before) made us hungry so we went to Flatbreads for lunch. YUM! All locally sourced organic pizzas that are out of this world! I love it there. It has to be one of my favorite pre-race carb loading destinations.

Speaking of races, Sunday I had to get up early for my triathlon. I was a little nervous and had boo boo belly all morning. The race started at 8:00am. I was in the first swim wave. The swim was the part of the race I was most nervous about. The water was warm and calm but it was REALLY far to swim. I decided last minute to wear my wetsuit and I'm glad I did because the extra boyancy definitely helped me out. The swim was in the Merrimack River. We started going upstream and turned at the halfway mark and swam the rest downstream. I thought it would be easier once we turned but it wasn't. I struggled the entire way. I just can't relax and control my breathing in the water and I die everytime.

It took me about 45 minutes to complete the swim, I wasn't the last one out of the water though and that's all I cared about. I was a little dizzy and disoriented walking from the water to transition, but once I mounted my bike I was fine. I tried to catch up and pass people but everyone was so spread out on the course it was tough. I managed to pass two or three people, but I also got lapped by the really fast guys so it wasn't much of a morale boost for me overall. As I approached the transition I just thought to myself, "just a nice easy 10K run and you're done" but really I was thinking "oh God I hope it's not as hot as yesterday's run". I racked my bike and started running and I actually felt really good. I made it to the first water stop and dumped a cup over my head and sipped another cup and kept running. I passed another couple of people along the way and then at the water stop just after the turn around they had baggies of ice! BRILLIANT! I stuffed the bag under the straps of my tank top on my back and continued running. I actually picked up the pace a little and passed MORE people. With only one mile left to go there was a girl just in front of me that I tried really hard to catch, but she must have picked up the pace too because I just couldn't catch her. I finished in 3:18. Not too bad. If I actually trained for the swim I would have placed, but I came in 4th in my age group instead.

Monday I took a rest day and I'd say it was still a pretty awesome day because I accepted a new job! Booyah! FUNemployment didn't last long. I'll start in a few weeks and still get to enjoy a little summer fun before getting back to the routine of working. I can't wait. It's exactly the type of job I've been trying to find for the past two years. Now I get to do something challenging AND collect severance from my previous job. Cha-ching!

Tuesday I celebrated the good news with a short 23 mile bike ride and finished off the day with the Good Times 5K. Hot and sticky again, but not nearly as yucky as it had been and I felt really good in comparison to previous runs too. I'm still not as fast as I was pre-Boston, but I think getting hit by a car might have set me back a bit too. I'll get there eventually, it'll just take a little extra time and training.

Wednesday, I had plans to go for a run in the morning and then do a celebratory lunch at Life Alive. It was still hot and sticky out but we managed to finish the 5.25 mile run in decent time and felt pretty good while running it. A little sluggish and slow towards the end but that was to be expected, none of us brought water with us! Lunch was AWESOME and then I was invited to dinner too. Sweet! One of our running buddies and Kim's neighbor, Shannon, made some delicious baked fish with veggies and feta cheese. It was AMAZING!

Thursday, I got up early to watch the Tour de France. I've been following it all month. I want to make sure my future husband (Andy Schleck) stays out of trouble and avoids the crashes and stays in a good position to beat the super-douche Alberto Contador. I was inspired by the extreme distance and mountains they were climbing in the first stage over the Pyrenes so I got dressed and decided to do my own little tour. I set out to complete my first metric century ride (100K). I didn't really know where to go to get 62 miles in, but I figured I didn't have to be anywhere so I just started riding and got lost. I went east towards the coast and rode through Andover, North Andover, Boxford, all the way to Topsfield then back through Boxford and got lost a few times and rode in circles through Boxford and North Andover for a while before I found a road I recognized and then headed home. I over shot the mark a little and rode 71 miles instead of 62, but it was great. I felt awesome and had fun exploring the backroads.

I got home, took a shower, and ate some lunch and then headed right back out to meet up with Shannon to go for a run. I sort of expected my legs to feel like jello, but they actually felt really good and we ran 3.6 miles at a 9:25 pace. Not super fast, but faster than I have been running lately.

Today should be a fairly easy day. I'm just going to go rollerbalding with Nutter and Shannon. My skates have dust and cobwebs on them so it could be quite entertaining. I'm taking it easy though because I've got a goofy weekend planned. 8-10 miles tomorrow followed by 16 miles on Sunday. Today needs to be a "rest" day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another busy week

Summer has officially arrived with 4th of July weekend and hazy, hot, and humid weather. Last weekend I did a 12 mile run with friends on Saturday and spent the day at York Beach in Maine on Sunday. On the holiday Monday, I ran a 5K in Nashua, NH with some friends. I ran with my friend's dog Daisy and even she had a little bit of a tough time with the heat. She dragged me up the hill in the first mile and then I dragged her across the finish and into the shade at the end.

Tuesday was the usual Good Times 5K. This week's theme was 'coaster toss', you are given a coaster before the race and at the first water stop you have to try and toss it into a prize bucket as you are running past. It's not as easy as it sounds. I missed.

Wednesday, I got up early and met Kim and Nutter and our new running buddy John for a morning run in an attempt to beat the heat. We started at 8:30 and did a little over 5 miles and failed to beat the heat. It was a little slow and sweaty, but we finished it.

Thursday, I spent the day babysitting my friend Kim's little girl Ryann (aka - the cutest baby in the world). It was rough, we watched the Tour de France together and played in her bouncey chair and swing. Before I knew it, her dad was home and my work was done. I headed home for some dinner before going to my third 5K race of the week. Berna's Great Legs just a mile down the road from my house. It was hot and humid again and after the run to the race I was already dripping sweat. I started out the race with my friend Kim, but she quickly adapted to the heat better than me and I told her to go ahead. I barely managed to finish under 30 minutes and probably ran my slowest 5K in years. It was disappointing and depressing, the heat beat me.

Friday I rested because I was still totally wiped out from the night before physically and emotionally. So, I spent the day watching the Tour de France and finishing a scrapbook I made of all my 2010 races. It came out really nice and I already started a 2011 scrapbook. I can't wait to put the tough mudder pages together.

Saturday I had planned to run 14 miles and I ran from my house to Kim's to meet up with the Lowell Ladies for the long run. We started at 7:00 in an effort to finish before it got hot, but it was already 70 and humid when we started. Only 6 miles in we were all out of water and dying so we stopped at a McDonalds for water. It was the first time in probably at least 10years that I set foot in a McDonalds. They were very nice and gave us all the water we needed and even some salt packets too. We continued the run and I struggled a lot with the heat. I was totally drenched and dehydrated despite our pit stop to rehydrate. I had goosebumps and dry skin and started to throw up the water I was drinking so I slowed my pace to a crawl and finished up the run, just barely. Sitting on the steps at Kim's house sipping more water I decided to cut my run short and did a little under 12 instead of the planned 14. I felt sick and shakey and really dizzy so it is unlikely that I would have finished the last 2 miles anyway.

I hitched a ride home with Cherie and went to Rite Aid for my ice. I melted 6 bags of ice the previous week so this time I tried 8 bags, 40lbs. I sat down in the ice bath and didn't even need my hooded sweatshirt because I was so hot and within 5 minutes the 40lbs of ice was totally melted and the water was warm. I bet my core body temp was over 100 degrees. I spent the rest of the day shopping and rehydrating and capped it off with a BBQ at Moe's with a bunch of friends.

I'm up early today for my first international triathlon. Praying that I am recovered enough from yesterday's run and refueled enough too. It is suppose to be 90 degrees and humid today so it could be really ugly. I'm hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Busy, busy, busy......

FUNemployment is a full time job. I have been so busy I haven't had time to write. Where do I begin? I guess right where I left off. Last Wednesday, the dust had settled from the layoff and I started working on really important stuff like my bike short tan lines. I got a nice 21 mile ride in and a 6.35 mile run too. Thursday I took it easy and just did a 4.5 mile run with Kim and our new running buddy John. It was rainy and gross out and we had planned on just doing 3-4 miles but once we started it was just drizzling and it felt kinda nice so we kept going.

Friday morning I got up early and had my usual breakfast before heading out to do my long run for the week. It was still spitting rain, but not too bad. I did just over 14 miles and felt great. After the run I had to pick up some supplies for the weekend's events. Saturday I was running a marathon relay with the Greater Lowell Road Runners(GLRR). Their singlets are green and gold and not extremely flattering so I made my own hot pink GLRR singlet.

Saturday morning I got up and headed over to Kim's house to meet up and go to the relay. It was still rainy and gross but the forecast had it clearing up in time for the race to start. Just after we all got loaded into Kim's car there was a flash of lightning and a loud crack! It started pouring. The rain was coming down so hard it flooded the track where we were suppose to run the relay. They delayed the start of the race for 30 minutes and the rain eventually stopped just in time. The relay was 12 teams of 26 runners each doing a mile and one runner doing a speed lap for the .2 miles to make it a full marathon. Some of the teams were totally stacked with super fast runners and some of the teams were just there to have fun. It was a great event and my homemade singlet was a hit.

Sunday I was doing the Warrior Dash a wussier version of a mud run/obstacle race, nothing like Tough Mudder. I ran in a "Babe-a-lonian warrior" costume. The race itself wasn't bad, but the organization of the event was an epic fail. It took me 90 minutes to park my car because they had everyone parking on a huge grassy hill which had turned into a mud pit with all the rain we got the day before. They actually had to bring in truck loads of gravel to put down because cars were spinning out in the mud and unable to park. When I finally got to the race I got my bib number and just went straight to the start because I had no idea what time it was and I knew it was well past my registered start time. The course was basically a mud run/walk. The obstacles were kind of lame and not very challenging. Then once I finished the volunteers filling the water cups at the finish had stacked the cups in a way that made all the mud and dirt from previous finishers go into the cups so all the water was dirty. The only other water available was for purchase. I waited for my friends to finish and then cleaned off and got in line to get on a shuttle back to my car so I could get my water bottle and some food in my car. Just as I made it to the front of the line a volunteer came by saying that the shuttles were stopped due to an accident in the road and we would all have to walk to our cars - 2 miles away!!! Most people chose to just wait for the accident to be cleared, I started walking. It was hot and humid and super sunny - perfect conditions for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Luckily for me I made it to my car and chugged the water and electrolyte drink I had. Needless to say, I was so tired and frustrated at that point I didn't go back to the race area to hang out with my friends. I just went home to clean the rest of the mud off and get some food.

Monday I had to go back to my former place of employment for a "separation meeting". Before the meeting I squeezed in a short run and a deck of cards workout with Kim. We did Squats, Push ups, box jumps, and dips - 100 of each. Then I biked to work for the last time to go to the meeting. 25 miles round trip. After I got home and ate some food I went for another run. 5.35 miles with Kim and Nutter.

Tuesday was my brother's birthday so I told him I would bike his age in miles. I over shot the mark a little and did 36.5 miles. Happy Birthday Bro! After the long bike ride my 5K time at the Tuesday night race was not exactly fast. Not only were my legs a little tired, but I think I was a little dehydrated too because I had a serious case of boo boo belly. If I ran any faster it would not have been pretty.

Wednesday I didn't have time for much because I had an interview in the afternoon. So, Kim, Nutter, and I did a nice easy 4 mile run in the morning. I rushed home, showered and got ready for the interview. Drove into Cambridge and found the company pretty easily. It was located on the same street I ran the Winter Classic 5K on and around the corner from the bar that awarded the damn Lobstergirl the costume prize! The interview went well and I headed home to get some dinner.

Yesterday I wanted to get more miles on my bike so I got up early and headed out. I biked from Lowell through Tewksbury, Wilmington, Reading, Wakefield, Melrose and back through Wakefield, then Reading, North Reading, Andover, Tewksbury, and back to Lowell for a total of 50 miles. It was great. About 35 miles into the ride I almost ran out of water, but then just when I was praying to see someone out watering their lawn or some way to refill my bottles I passed a huge cemetary and saw the faucets they have for watering flowers on graves. My prayers were answered and I refilled my bottles and finished the ride.

I was registered for a 5 mile race in Quincy in the evening so I ate some late lunch/early dinner and got in my car and headed to the race. I left super early and didn't think I would have any issues until I got to Boston and traffic was totally stopped. I sat in the tunnel FOREVER and made it to the race 2 minutes AFTER the gun went off. I was meeting a friend there so I walked to the finish line and waited for her to come in. Time went by fast because some of my favorite people and products were at the finish - Mix 1 and NRG Bars. If you've never tried them you are seriosuly missing out. Mix 1 is an all natural protien recovery drink that is absolutely delicious. It's not chalky or gross tasting and it is made with all natural stuff that is easily absorbed by your body and doesn't have any of the crap and chemicals your body doesn't need. Basically, it's like an awesome fruit smoothy with bonus benefits that help you recover from your workouts. NRG Bars are also all natural and delicious and they had their new flavor - lemon flax - available to try and it was so yummy I immediately bought 2 bars! So, I didn't get to run, but I did get to see some friends and enjoy the beautiful evening in Marina Bay, despite traffic ruining my plans.