Monday, January 26, 2015

A Wig, a Bike, a Big Mouth....

What a weekend! I am learning to embrace going out of my comfort zone. What is the saying? Growth begins where comfort ends?

Friday night I got to enjoy amazing home made Indian food with some amazing tri friends and then Saturday was a whirl-wind of events including a lovely quick trail run on which I performed a public service and confirmed that gravity is still indeed working on our planet.

Then dinner with some FB friends in real life...
Happy Birthday, Dash!
And then a NGTC social in which these simple yet delish treats disappeared almost before I got them down on the table.
Cheesecake filled strawberries and chocolate covered strawberries
Then there was Sunday....The Hot Chocolate 5K/15K in downtown Atlanta. I don't like the course and I find it expensive, so I opt out of racing it. However, I knew many people who were and a good friend invited me to come down and cheer with her.

This was my first time spectating a race AND wearing a costume. Cheering I could handle, it was the wig and tutu I wasn't necessarily excited about. But then this happened....
In a moment of being humble: I looked adorable and the sign says: In search of a good man with BETTER endurance.
A special thanks to my sister who loaned me her bicycle. Yes, I have two of my own, but neither is a comfy beach cruiser!
Me and Stacy on our way from Mile 1 to Mile 9 to continue cheering.
Thanks for the picture Richie Rich!
I loved seeing friends on the course. A couple even took time to stop for a quick picture. Others came by for a high-5 or a hug. I thoroughly enjoyed cheering on EVERYONE. The fast runners, the walkers and everyone in between. I got lots of laughs and when I realized (which I already knew this race would be mostly women) I was cheering a pack of women I just yelled, "Tell your brother to call me!" and "I'll be on this corner later too!" Lots of laughs, high-5s and even some random pictures.

Milia at the end of the race (she turned around and came back for me)!

Dash at the beginning
These lovely ladies suggested we take our picture with them. I probably shouldn't out them and say, I think they wanted an excuse to stop. But look at them, they looked awesome!

I had so much fun. If you remember I had fun volunteering too! What have I learned? There is much joy to be found just being part of the race day. Volunteer, spectate, race just get out there!

After the race Stacy and I were having so much fun with the bikes, we took them down to the river to keep riding. We had a blast remembering that we used to ride our bikes for fun. I must admit if my trainer had the saddle this beach cruiser has, I'd pedal away everyday. No hoo-ha issues!!!

Thanks Luis for the photo. Thank you Steve P. for the streamers!
After a fantastic weekend (I also found out I'm going to be attending the USAT Level 1 class in April!!) I had a blah start to Monday. How hard is it to remember to pack your panties in your gym bag? AND while this is not the first time I have forgotten an under garment, I also packed the wrong jeans. I packed my skinny jeans and not my baggy jeans. Why is this a problem? One, I don't feel 'skinny' and two, the skinny jeans sit tight on my knees that are banged up from the weekend. Good thing I work in a 'no dress code office'. I'm in my running tights for later!

And a funny dating bit since I know many of you enjoy these. I haven't heard from this man in 3 weeks. This is the text I get today:

I'll leave you with this thought....changes are in the air. Watch this space for developing information!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

That Was a Dopey Idea.....

Back in April 2014 in some sort of delusional state I, and about 7000 other people, signed up for runDisney's Dopey Challenge. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Challenge shirt and 6 medals
At no point in my training after IMFL did I ever get excited about going out to run. Was I happy to spend amazing moments on foot with friends, yes, but the run part, meh. Then leading up to my last long weekend of training, I began to have legitimate calf and arch issues. My handy network of trusted advisors and massage therapist all advocated I ditch the long workouts and just begin my taper. This development did nothing to change my attitude of impending doom of 2:45am alarm clocks.

I kept telling myself I would get more excited as the event got closer. Meh.

I met up with Joel and Tammi Wednesday morning and we made the drive down together. Headed straight to the Orlando airport to pick up Kemper and then off to the house we rented to unload the car. Driving down has its privileges. A lot of things I had to buy last year I just brought with me.

We piled back into the car after claiming rooms and then picked up Jason to head to the expo.
Jason doesn't know what to do with his hands if he's not photo-bombing.
I was very disciplined and only picked up 1 thing I wanted (new green tiara visor) and 1 item I forgot (spibelt - duh!). Otherwise there was nothing commemorative I needed as Stephanie had already picked me up a magnet and that was the only souvenir I was getting. With my registration fees I was given 1 t-shirt and 5 long sleeve tech shirts. Why do I need more event clothing?

Paige and Charlie spotted me at the expo and then they joined us for dinner. After dinner there was a quick trip to the grocery store and then to our home for the week. It didn't suck! 5 bedroom, 6.5 baths, pool/hot tub, home theatre, pool table, natural gas grill and the best stocked kitchen I have ever seen in a rental property. If you want information on staying here on your next visit to Orlando, let me know.
Each bedroom had a king sized bed except for one which had 2 twins.
This trip was different from last year. Not saying it was better or worse, just different. Last year everyone in the house piled into cars and headed out together for each race and waited for each other at the end. This year groups divided and fended for themselves. Last year even though we had the house for the weekend, we ate out every meal (or ordered in). This year I ate out a total of 3 meals, everything else we cooked in the kitchen. Okay, this part was better. I really enjoyed cooking at the house. We ate less, we spent MUCH less, and it was quiet and we were able to talk with each other. We had pancakes and bacon, make your own fried rice, chicken and veggies from the grill, baked ziti. Simple and easy. Many meals thanks to Joel's peer pressure were cell phone-less.

Last year I met up with some tri friends I had connected with through a Facebook group for single triathletes. We met at Downtown Disney and it was loud and hard to talk to each other. This year I offered to host it at our house. I made some food. Michele brought salad and Tobias and Mark brought some fruits and veggies. Most memorable though was that Tobias brought Rittersport chocolate from Germany. I may be in love. I digress. We just sat around the table and chatted about different things and ate. I think Andrew might have even managed to stay awake the entire time.

Outside of the races it was a nice relaxing weekend. Hung out, talked with new friends, watched a movie in the home theater and just kicked back.

But the part you are really waiting for is the race reports. Yes, plural because if you missed it, the Dopey Challenge is 4 events (I choose to not call them races.) in 4 days. The 5K starts at 6:15am and then the 10K, half, and full all start at 5:30am. That's the Dopey part...waking up when half the country is just going to bed.

The whole goal of the weekend was to have fun and take lots of pictures. Stephanie and I knew we were going to run the half and full together, the 5k was just an added bonus.

The 5K is Disney's Family Fun Run. It stays within Epcot and you weave back and forth a lot. I was in Corral B with Stephanie (of course because all of our races have been together!). We both hid in the car as long as we could because it was cold and windy. There was a wind advisory. I don't think I'm going to race in Florida ever again. While waiting in the corral for the race to start, everyone just huddled up. There was no such thing as personal space. It wasn't desired. B-list characters, long lines, and chilly temperatures had us skip the posed pictures and just take some scenery ones. Nice relaxed 5k, some posed pictures at the end because the lines weren't too long and it was home to eat.
These 'Bananas' were awesome at IMFL too!
The 10K started from the same place as the 5K, but 45 minutes earlier. Stephanie was going to run with her friend and I decided to run with my housemates/new friends: Charlie and Kemper. We agreed to run slow and easy. Stop for pictures and walk every 5 minutes or so if it didn't overlap with a character picture. When I'm not running for time, I LOVE running with others. We got some great pictures and had a nice time running with each other. The 10K is part Epcot and highway. It isn't an exciting race. But it also isn't that long. The weather was slightly better and I was able to run in long sleeves and capri pants. The crew from the house decided that this morning was a good one for getting breakfast out. Woot-woot...Perkins! We don't have these in Atlanta.

The Half was a lot of fun. Stephanie and I met up at gear check and walked out to the corrals. The corrals are probably about a mile from the parking lot. T-shirt Guy found us at our corral and we were able to wish each other good luck (this was our first race together last year). It's really easy to meet up with someone as there are unique signs all over the place. 

Stephanie and I ran. We took pictures. We tried to keep each other reeled in when one of us picked up pace. We had a lot of fun! Very excited about putting together a book for this one and 2014. Funny, both of us were 'done' at mile 10, but neither of us said anything about it. We confessed it during the marathon the next day. The only issue from the half was one blister on my foot. We got home to pancakes and Canadian bacon made by Joel, Tammi, and Paige!
Lane is basking in the glory that he beat us, but it didn't last long as we got him on the full.
The Marathon is one race worth 3 medals. When you finish the marathon you get a medal. Then you also get the Goofy Challenge Medal for finishing the half and full and then the Dopey Challenge Medal for finishing all 4 events. I'm not ashamed to admit it, I really don't like the marathon distance. This was the part of the weekend I was dreading the most. My arches and calves were acting up and I already had one blister on my foot. During the half marathon Stephanie assured me she didn't care how long it took, she was not dropping me. We would get through it together.

The ugly: I must have messed up my nutrition or my blood sugar must have dropped because at one point I took a moment to whine out loud about what was hurting (HUGE, I mean HUGE blister on my toe that I could feel sliding around and my quads and arches) and I started to cry. A few miles later, I grabbed some miniature Hershey bars (I NEVER eat the stuff they put out on the course). I ate them and half a Twizzlers a child was handing out and almost instantly, the pain wasn't any better, but I could process and cope much more rationally. Oh, and we skipped Everest. We got there too soon, lol. It wasn't going to start running for another 10 minutes and I was really afraid if we stood still in line for 10 minutes, I might not be able to start running again.

The good: The miles just ticked off. Running with Stephanie is always a joy. She's such a strong runner and positive person. We took lots of pictures. I got to see my friends Ada and Martin as they volunteer at a medical tent. We talked to other Ironmen on the course. We walked through every water stop to sip on water and/or Gatorade. We thanked the volunteers. We kept moving forward. There was a time getting in and out of ESPN that we noted how freakin' boring the course was, but considering how long it took us to get through the course, the time really flew by.

The villains were awesome. It was absolutely worth the wait. Special thanks for the cast member who refused to take pictures of a woman who cut in from the other side.

This marathon was by far the hardest, the slowest and the toughest I've ever run. I never had any doubt that I would finish (even though I didn't really want to start it). Let's be clear: I'M NOT DOING THIS AGAIN NEXT YEAR!

The most awesome part of Dopey last year was running the half and full with friends, especially Adam. The most awesome part of running Dopey this year was getting to run with Stephanie. It was a fun trip and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know some of my housemates better and enjoyed getting a chance to meet some friends from the interwebs in real life. It was also nice to just be. To my friends that knew I was in the area but I didn't reach out to: it wasn't personal. I didn't really leave the house after I returned from running.

I'm buying all the photos, I'm just waiting until they sort them all out before doing my download.
Here's the bottom line: I did it twice. I had two good experiences. It's time to find a new experience to conquer (and it's up to $550 before Active fees). Before you say it, yes, I'm thinking about an ultra, but not until 2016. 2015 is the year of IMLou and only other stuff that gets me better prepared for it.

Calling it quits on a high note.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Any Idiot Can Run.....

It takes a special kind of idiot to run 4 races in a row that requires one to wake up at 2:30/3am for 4 days straight.

I can't wrap  my head around why I'm so indifferent about this event. Maybe because I'm going with a different crew than last year... maybe because I never took any time off after IMFL. I don't know. I am going with some great people and I'm running with Stephanie for the long races. Our goals match perfectly and I know it will be a lot of fun. My house is even hosting a meet up for some friends on Saturday. It'll be tons of fun and lots of pics to prove it!

I just can't get psyched up for the event. I'm in a Facebook group and everyone is wigging out and freaking out and I'm sitting over here thinking: Eh. Is it over yet? I know once I'm packed and on the road, I'll start getting more excited. Last year I had 3 PRs for slowest times for each distance. Maybe I'll see if I can get all 4 this year!

Some of this disinterest I'm crediting to still adjusting to not having a coach. I've never needed the encouragement to get out the door. I have found that I'm missing the accountability of someone looking at my workout to see that I did it as assigned. I'm thankful for a good friend who has promised to help me with some things after Dopey. After I recover, I want to work on strength and speed to build my base for lacrosse season as well as prepping for IMLou training (another issue and it's still 9 months away.)

Yes, Barry, I'm still dating. There was the kid Christmas Day. What the heck, I'll open up my age range...he was a kid (legal but young). And he was wigged out because we knew people in common. Then there was a guy New Years Day. I thought it went well. We met up for a drink and talked for about 2 hours. He's a cyclist and a runner. Again, we knew people in common. To be honest, I'm legitimately confused as to why I haven't heard from him. I'm also over it.

It's a new year and time for renewed focus. I'm trying to figure out what I want this blog to be. Do I just keep spewing the thoughts from my head?
Do I try to become a brand like some other bloggers and some of my friends? Do I want to expand my reach or just keep sharing my 'diary' with people who, for the most part, already know me? Do you have an opinion?

So many decisions....