Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not my best 5k.

This morning myself, Jeff (The Sherpa for once ;) ) and Ruth Ann headed to downtown Houston to meet up with friends to run in The Astro's Race for the Pennant.  Jeff and I did this race last year and I was hoping to beat my time of 25:59.  We met up with some of the group, introduced Jeff to the 4 kids he would be supervising and then headed to the start.  I did do a little warm up job before we got going, and was feeling a bit sluggish, but it was hot and humid out, so I just chalked it up to that.  I don't do well in the heat, but planned on sucking it up anyway.

The first mile sucked, not really because of how I felt, but it was just so freaking crowded.  I truly don't understand why people who plan on walking these races start up front.  Or when they do this, why they chose to form an line across the whole lane.  And then get huffy at people who want to pass them.  So the first mile was a lot of weaving through people.  Plus, for some reason, during shorter races I get super nervous and get a huge adrenaline rush.

About a quarter of the way thru the first mile I found an opening and was able to kick it in a little more.  When I looked down at my Garmin I was doing a 7:45.  I was hurting, but was determined to suck it up.  At about the 2 mile mark we started heading up a Texas hill, or an overpass for the rest of the country, and I heard a guy yacking.  Well that did it for me.  It was so hot and humid and I was feeling it.  I couldn't hold back, but I didn't want to stop.  So I threw up in my mouth, moved over to the side, spit it out and kept on going.  I slowed down a great deal for the rest of the second mile and the beginning of the third.

At this point my friend Ruth Ann, who was behind me for the start of the race, ran past me and said, well what I heard was "come on money", when she actually said, "come on bunny" which is a bit of an inside joke. I told her I had puked and to go ahead.  We rounded the corner to the finish, where I saw my friend Ann taking pictures.  I put on a smile and kicked it in for the finish.

Ruth Ann Finishing Strong

Not such a strong finish.

I kicked it in hard, crossed the finish line, and immediately turned right and threw up again.  So much so that a volunteer at the end of the race came over to check on me.  Luckily the race finished in a tunnel so the crowd of people at the finish didn't get to watch my wonderful finish.

I didn't turn my Garmin off until after I finished throwing up, so it said 28:01.  Ruth Ann said she finished in 27:13 and I was probably about 20-30 seconds after her.  The official results aren't up yet.

I didn't beat my time from last year, but am sure that a few years ago after the first incident I would have stopped running, so overall I am happy with my performance.  There were a lot of people walking today and the fact that I kept running means something to me.  Plus, it was great to get together with friends to run the race.

  I think the combination of the heat, and the coffee I drank before the race didn't mix well.  I typically drink coffee before races, well every morning actually, so I really didn't think anything about it.  The next 5k I am running will be during my second sprint triathlon that I am doing next Sunday.  I think I am going to skip the coffee to see how that goes.  I guess only time will tell.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ironman Texas: Spectating is Hard!

This picture is from when Jeff was on his 6 hour bike ride.  I had been up since 3am and was a nervous wreck. At this point I had no idea what to do and was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Ruth Ann made me sit down and have a beer.  She and her husband Patrick (who was seeing Thor at this time) had been at the race since the swim start.  Thank goodness they were there, to keep me somewhat sane.  I am using the term sane very lightly.  But let’s start at the beginning.  Ha, what a relative term as well.  The beginning could be the start of the race, or about a year ago when Jeff told me he wanted to do an Ironman……….
Anyway, Friday night after a nice dinner with some friends Jeff and I headed to bed.  We set 4 alarms and crashed.  Before I knew it the alarms were going off and it was 3am on 5/21/11.  A date I felt like was never going to arrive.  Jeff got up and ate his pre race fuel.  I had some coffee as I had made plans to have breakfast with the wife of our friend who was also doing the race, and our friends who were coming to tough the whole day out spectating with me.  While Jeff went back to sleep I made sure I had my entire “race gear” ready to go.  My phone, check, Jeff’s phone, check I-Pad (for twitter updates), check, camera, check, video recorder, check, sunscreen, check.  Jeff got up, got ALL his stuff ready, and we were off to transition for him to check on his stuff.  For me, Jeff had an awesome spot in transition.  At the end, near the gate where I could get great pictures and see him totally.  Even stand there and talk to him.  So while I thought he was just going thru normal checks on his bike I was snapping away with the camera.

At one point I asked Jeff to smile for the camera, when is when he informed me that he had a flat tire.  I can’t imagine how he was feeling, because at that point I almost threw up. He changed his tire, and was pumping it up (I had walked over to the trash to throw away the first tube) when I heard a loud boom.  I thought, man that sucks for someone.  That someone was Jeff.  At this point I really had to hold the vomit down.  Thank goodness his friend Patrick was there to help change the tire.  Crisis averted!!!  We then headed over to the swim start.
The mood lightened up a bit on the walk over and we snapped some pictures, the boys got body marked and then it was time for them to head off.  I told Jeff good luck (not that he needed it) and have fun and he was on his way.  While I was waiting for my friends to get there I had to go to the bathroom so bad.  The line for the bathroom was like 30 mins long, which just wasn’t going to work.  So, let’s just say there was some off roading (the first of many times) into the bushes.  Though the other times were to get good spots to watch the hubby!

We headed off to watch the swim start, which was crazy and exciting.  When the gun went off the fact that this was happening finally sunk in.  At this point in the day I decided to hand my camera over to our friend Patrick (not to be confused with the Patrick racing) who takes awesome pictures, and had a much steadier hand than I did at that point.  We watched for a couple of minutes and then started our trek, off the beaten path to watch him come out of the water.
I can't believe you made me walk thru the brush!

When the time he predicted that he was going to be out of the water approached I told Patrick to point and shoot.  I had showed him what Jeff was wearing from a picture on my phone, you know because we weren’t going to have enough pictures that day, to which he replied everyone is wearing that same thing Annie.  Jeff was about 5 mins past his time when I kept asking Ruth Ann, do you think I missed him, maybe I missed him, oh crap, I hope I didn’t miss him.  To which, she later told me, she was thinking.  Oh crap, maybe he got a cramp, I hope he isn’t out there hanging on to a canoe somewhere, or worse.  I am very glad she kept those thoughts to herself!

When I saw him get out of the water I experienced so much relief, and pride.  I took off and saw him grab his bike gear bike, then headed over to find a spot to watch him head out on the bike.  Ruth Ann was right behind me the whole time.  We staked out a spot, and and waited, and waited, and waited.  I had no idea Jeff was going to take his sweet ass time in transition.  Then finally we saw him.  At this point I was trying out the new Kodak video recorder we bought for the day.  It is pretty cool, but my movie making skills need some work.  I soon as I saw Jeff I got so excited I started jumping up and down.  Not such a good idea if trying to focus on one person!  

So he was off, and we had 6 hours to kill.  And even though I knew I had 6 hours to kill I felt like I had no time at all, and if I didn't get back to transition I would miss Jeff coming back in from the bike.  So, given how crazy my thoughts were at this point we met up with racing Patrick's wife and a couple of friends that were volunteering and had breakfast. 

After breakfast I went to charge my phone, I had twitter updates to send out after all, and then met back up with Ruth Ann, and that is when she decided I needed a beer to calm down.  If it hadn't been for her I probably would have been standing at the bike in staring off into space for 6 hours.
After the beer I felt  a little better, and we walked back to the hotel to get our signs and drop them off at our tri club tent. A quick side note on the signs.  I came up with some signs, and my friend Elizabeth helped me make them, but Ruth Ann definitely won the best sign award for the day.  Here are her signs

1. Hurry up, the world is ending
1.Jeff Irvin, do you still heart TX?
3.Specating is hardwork.
4. People are sweating out here
5. Run slower, get your money's worth.
6.Thank you Hilary Clinton, Love Jeff Irvin
7. Jeff Irvin: Fat Ass to Bad Ass.
Most of these are inside jokes, but thanks to her we all had a sign to hold at some point for him.

Anyway, after dropping off the signs  we headed back to transition and waited for Jeff to come in.  It was very exciting and inspiring to watch racer after racer finishing the bike.  When Jeff came in off the bike I ran along with him on the side of transition to his spot and caught him starting the run.  He came over, gave me a kiss and was off.  He was still looking strong, and I knew at that point that all the months of early to bed early to rise, of not making social events with our friends, of all the sacrifices, of all of his training had paid off.  I never doubted that Jeff would be an Ironman.  Not for one minute.  But seeing Jeff still smiling when he was about to start the marathon sealed the deal for me.  I can not express the pride that I felt in that moment.  And even though there were hundreds of other people around, just for one second I felt like it was just the two of us.

At this point we headed over to the run course.  The run course was so awesome.  I was able to see Jeff a total of 6 times.  He had a smile on his face each time.  It was so inspiring to watch him.  And even though I am pretty sure that I did at least a 10K if not more that day, it was so worth being there for every second of the day.  The rest of the Team Carrot support crew showed up for the run, and in between his loops we had a few beers and cheered for other racers.  They tired to get me to each, which I hadn't done since breakfast, but just couldn't seem to do.  To them I seemed very nervous and anxious, which I am sure I was, but I was also just so excited for Jeff that I couldn't stand still.  After seeing Jeff for the 5th time, which was the start of his third loop, and getting a great big kiss from him we took off for the finish.  As most of you know, he really picked up his pace at the end, and we made it just in time.  I saw him coming around the corner and tears started streaming down my face.  In my flip flops I ran along side of the finishing shoot with him and heard the announcer say "Jeff Irvin, you are now an Ironman."  And even though he was a sweaty, disgusting mess I gave him a huge hug and kiss.  It was such and awesome day and awesome experience, and I can't wait until he does his next one!

I know that Jeff had and extremely hard day that day.  But I know he was prepared for it and am so extremely proud of him, not only for that, but for toughing out months and months of training.  At one point towards the end of his training Jeff expressed to me his guilt for all the time he was putting in training, and that he felt like he was neglecting me.  I never once felt neglected and I hope he knows that.  I hope he knows how extremely proud of him I am.

Me and my Ironman!

And finally, some things I learned about spectating.

1.Don't forget tennis shoes, flip flops do not cut it for walking and running around for 12:19:51.

2.  Have one of your very good, very logical, and very structured friends there with you to keep you as sane as possible.

3.  Don't bring a book under false pretense that you will be able to concentrate and read it.

4.  Wear your Garmin.  I would love to know how many miles we did that day.

Thank you to all of our friends, Ruth Ann and Patrick, Jim and Elizabeth, Ann and Chris, Yvette and Steve, Dave and Jenn who came out to support.  You guys are so awesome, and may even see Jeff again now!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Action packed Weekend!

As you can probably tell from my last blog post, or my lack of current posts, I am not finding time to post anymore.  It is wierd, but working a Monday-Friday, 9-5 job as left me feeling like I have less time than I did when I was working in retail working 40+ hours a week.  Overall I like having a set schedule, and I am loving my weekends of "freedom."  I use the term freedom lightly since every weekend since I have started this job we have had something going on.  Whether  that something is races or training, or finding time for chores.  I seriously don't know how I am going to handle grocery shopping on the weekends!!

Anyway, this past weekend was no different.  An action packed, not time to rest weekend.  Not that I am complaining, it was an awesome weekend!  On Friday night after work I ran a couple of errands, came home, ate dinner and went to bed.  Saturday morning I did a 5k with two friends.  I woke up at 5am, did the usual pre-race breakfast of coffee, and a wheat bagel with peanut butter.  I let the pugs out, got dressed and headed out to pick up the girls.  We drove to downtown Houston, parked and got to the race around 7:00--start time was 7:30.

I actually prefer running longer distances, so I am not sure why I signed up for this race.  Other than my friends were doing it as well, and I was having an urge to run a race. Otherwise, what is all this running around my neighborhood for??  I decided that I needed to do a couple of warm-up laps since I typically don't get into a good groove until 3-4 miles into a run anyway.  I remember being at one of my first races and seeing people doing this and thinking, man they are crazy, we are about to run a race, why WOULD they run before we start?  Funny how I am one of those crazies now.  After the warm up, we headed to the start, where we spotted pace group signs.  I have never seen pace groups at a 5k before, and sine I didn't have Jeff there to pace me, I decided to take advantage.  I lined up right behind the 8 min mile group.  This plan worked well for me.  I kept a steady pace of 8:16 the whole race, and had a PR by 5 seconds.  I felt good the whole race, and could have maybe even pushed a little harder.  Overall a great start to the weekend.

On Sunday, one of the girls that ran the 5k with me and I, and one of her friends signed up to do a super sprint relay.  Somehow I ended up volunteering myself for the swimming portion of this race.  It was only a 200m swim, so I wasn't too worried about it, though I did get a little nervous before the race.  I could have worn a wet suit for this race, but really didn't feel like dealing with it for only 200m.  Plus I have another sprint coming up in June, which will not be wet suit legal, so I wanted to get a feel for open water swimming without one.  This was also my first true mass start (in Galveston we got to jump in the water ahead of time and stake out our spots).  I am glad I got to experience this before June.  I got kicked, grabbed, whacked, and whatever else happens out there. This threw me a little off, and it took me a minute to get a good groove going.  At one point I had to kick someone off of me who kept grabbing my foot.  I did ok, but was tired at the end of the swim.  As a relay team we did awesome, and took 3rd place in the relay division!  This swim was an eye opener for me, and  I will definitely be swimming 3 times a week until my next race, or I will not be surviving the 600m.  Actually I guess I am going to have to start training in all three areas, not just running if I am really going to give this sport a shot.

In between all of this.  I went to celebrate two birthdays with good friends, got a pedicure, went grocery shopping, went to a sign making party for Ironman, and went to dinner and a movie.  It was a busy but great weekend!  Hoping I can figure out this schedule thing soon!!