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.

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