Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where did the summer go???

WOW, where is the time going???? I can’t believe how fast the days have gone by. It doesn’t seem like it has been almost 3 weeks since I last posted an update. So sorry I slacked. The good news is although I slacked on updates I have not been slacking on my training. Plus, my new job is AWESOME! I’m wicked busy and learning a ton and the people are great. What a change from the boring routine and stagnant career path I was on before. I seriously couldn’t be happier and the severance checks definitely don’t suck.

So, anyway, back to more important stuff like biking and running and races. Where I left off, I had just completed the Graniteman Triathlon and I was bummed I didn’t get a chunk of granite. I’m determined next year I WILL get a piece of that illusive stone even if I have to trip someone and take it by force (OR I’ll actually train for the swim next year). I know, I know. I said the exact same thing last year.

Well, I continued my training with after the tri with more miles on the bike and mid-week medium long runs (7+ miles) and a little strength training mixed in for fun. The weekend following the tri was supposed to be back to back Spartan Race days, but Hurricane Irene ruined that plan. I wasn’t too upset because two days before the race the organizers announced a $10 fee for parking (after already paying $50 to register for EACH day). The Sunday race got canceled and I was pretty happy about it.

Saturday my start time for Spartan was 11:30 and since there was a hurricane coming I wasn’t going to get my long run done on Sunday so I squeezed it in BEFORE I left for Spartan Race. I got up super early and ran 6 then met the Lowell Ladies for the last 10. I scrambled home and changed and my friend Scott picked me up to go to Spartan. I was in such a rush to get ready I didn’t eat or drink anything between finishing my 16 miler and leaving for Spartan Race (Epic mistake#1). The sun came out and I didn’t have sunblock on (Epic Mistake #2). We got to the race just in time for our heat to start and off we went. I did Spartan Race last year and it was a lot of fun, this year I was so angry with the organizers about the parking fee and several other changes to the race that I didn’t really enjoy myself.

The course was only about 3 miles long and last year it took me about 45-50 minutes to complete. This year it was the same distance, but the course felt a lot longer. The obstacles were kinda of lame and flimsy and there were lines at a lot of them so I skipped and opted for the 30 burpees instead. Well, after doing the first 90 burpees I was done with burpees, I did a total of somewhere between 100-150 burpees mostly because I was impatient and didn’t want to wait for a stupid obstacle that I knew I could do or because I didn’t want to risk injury falling off an 8ft wall. Last year there were ladders on the back side of the walls this year it was a straight down drop. No thanks. I walked a lot of it because the terrain was uneven and again I didn’t want to risk injury with more important races coming up. Plus, I’d be willing to bet not a single other person on the course ran 16 miles BEFORE the race. Only one water stop on the entire course, 6-7 people taken off the course injured in the time I was running it, crawling under barbed wire only 8-10 inches off the ground which was thick nasty mud on an empty stomach and severely dehydrated = not a happy camper. I finished in about 90 minutes.

When I got to the end they had gladiators with jousting poles and I just looked at the first guy and said “I have a half ironman in two weeks, if you hurt me I’ll break you.” He was nice and let me pass. I stopped at the water they had at the finish and chugged cup after cup while Scott and his son Zach waited just outside the finish area. I remembered from the previous year that water was $1.50 outside the finish area so I got my fill for “free” (cost covered by my registration fee). Oh and along the course I saw where the parking fee money went – a brand new Mercedes SUV with Spartan Race logo on it parked at the water stop. I was just glad it was over and ready for a hot shower and a nap.

The next day Hurricane Irene showed up and she was totally lame. I went for a fun run right at the peak of the storm through 40mph sustained winds and heavy rain. It wasn’t bad at all. It was wicked fun. My friend’s husband ran with me. There were a few trees down and some flooding, but no major damage.

The next week I sandwiched a nice brick workout (18m on the bike followed by a 4.5m run) on Wednesday with two 7+ mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday and rest on Monday and Friday. Then the Lowell Ladies and friends rented a house in NH for the long holiday weekend.

The house we rented was literally in the middle of nowhere, no cell service and mountains on all sides. Oh and it was on ‘Crystal Lake’. We totally should have rented some of the Friday the 13th movies for the weekend. Saturday I woke up before everyone and planned my 18 mile run. I mapped out a 9 mile loop around crystal lake that I would run twice. I left to do the first loop alone and then picked up Kim on the second lap. I should have known by the roads I picked that it would be tough. Every street ended with the word ‘hill’ or started with the word ‘mountain’. The first 5 miles were relatively flat, elevation change of about 100 feet overall. Then miles 5-7 climbed 300 feet straight up. Miles 7-9 were rolling hills back to the house and then I started the second lap with Kim. After the first mile she said “I thought you said this was the flat part”, I said “wait til you see the other side of the lake”. Although it was super hilly and challenging I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Kim did great too. She kept saying I can’t believe you ran this twice!

After the run I took an ice bath and we chilled by the lake all afternoon. I was a little bored so I read the entire book ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that was on the coffee table in the cabin. Kim and her husband Bill made ribs for dinner and we played Just Dance and Wii Sports. Oh and then there were fireworks! The fireworks were so cool. I don’t usually care for them, but the sound carried across the water of the lake and echoed through the mountains for a totally different experience than your typical “oooo, aaaa, look at that one” fireworks show.

The next morning we got up and had breakfast and then we all went for a shorter 5 mile run, still very hilly, but not nearly as bad as the 9 mile loop. Again everyone spent the day at the lake. I’m not a beach person so I went kayaking with Moe and then took a nap. By 4:00 I was so bored I couldn’t take it anymore so I walked to the beach to round everyone up and see if they wanted to go into town. We piled into cars and drove to the nearest town. By the time we all got moving it was already 5:30 and I forgot it was Sunday. When we got to the town, everything was closed or closing. We went back to the house and watched a movie and had dinner. Monday we packed up after breakfast and headed home.

It was a wicked fun weekend. Lots of laughs and good times and I still squeezed in my long run. Next time we have to choose a lake house to rent that isn’t surrounded by mountains. AND we need to plan more activities and less sitting still. I can’t take just sitting on a beach doing nothing. I get bored WAY too quickly. I’d rather be doing something than sitting still.

This week I’m tapering for my half Ironman and I’m going nuts already. I did a FAST 5 miler with Kim Tuesday. We started slow and eased into it, but negative split the run and ran the last mile at an 8:30 pace. Plan for the rest of the week is one more short easy run, then rest and race.

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