Saturday, October 31, 2009

Events # 26 and #27 - Huntersville Aquatics 10K and 5K, Saturday October 31 (BOO), 2009

Sleep deprivation is usually not conducive to great racing...or much of anything else. After a couple of weeks of challenging work hours - and limited training - that's my fault - I debated between doing the Runway 5K - a 5K on the tarmac at the Charlotte Airport. Cool - right - or these two races...seeing as 10K's in Charlotte are SO rare to find - I decided these were the events to do. Besides - it was essentially in my backyard and if all went well - I could add two more to the list...

I woke up about 30 minutes later than I wanted to - rush to the race and register. It was a gray misty morning couldn't Misty Mountain Hop out of my head on the drive over least it wasn't Paula Abdul again - so there's that.

Ran into Mike and Megan Tolley - Mike works with me at he's had the same work fun I've had - but he's a really good runner- so this'll be a piece of cake for him. Also ran into Dave Leonard a friend (now) but also the recruiter who helped me get to Charlotte and BAC...

10K line up - see a few folks in Halloween costumes - I decided I was one of the following: Lex Luthor, Dr. Evil, Lenin, Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, or just some bald guy who was out for a little run. The women wearing the wings were in for a lot of fun with those things bouncing around on their backs...I thought to myself...

Down hill start - which is always nice - but usually winds up being faster (for me) than it should be...and as I cross mile 1 just under 7 minutes...I realize yeah - time to ease up on the gas a bit...good course and not too hilly. Around mile 5 my hip starts acting up - probably more of a overall fatigue thing - or lack of training recently thing - but it's not bad. My new Karhu's feel AWESOME...nothing like a new pair of running shoes...seriously - they're the best. I glance at my watch and start is that possible? I'm going to go over 50 minutes?closer to 60? I'd have to do 6minute miles for the next 2 miles to break 50...and then - me - someone who works in a finance role, works with numbers all day every day remembers....its 6 MILES so that would be only ONE more mile - knucklehead

As we turn it towards the race finish - I start to pick it up again - as we had a downhill start - we also have a downhill finish double super duper qualms about a downhill finish...

Cross the line and I've got about 30 minutes between races. It starts to rain - nice - nothing like being sweaty and slightly chilled and getting rained on in 50/60 degree weather...I get to catch up with Mike and Megan - Mike crushed it - as expected in 45...and was heading out. Megan took some pics of us - which once I get them, I will post them to the blog....she actually had a funny idea for us for a costume - seeing as we're working on filing the 10-Q next week - she thought we should have worn a "10" on one shirt and a "Q" on the other... of course seeing as Mike was so far ahead of me - it would have been a lost joke...maybe next year.

Head out to line up for the 5K - As we're lining up - the pace leader comes up and makes us make a path - as there are still a few runners out on the course for the 10K - and they're coming we make a path and as they come through - they get hearty cheers and clapping from those of us lining woman had a look on her face like "what in god's name are you idiots doing in the road?"

As they pass - we regroup and get ready. Same start - downhill and I know mile 2 is a climb - pretty much one mile up a gradual - sometimes steep-ish hill - so at least I know - "Know Thine Enemies" which is always helpful. Many more costumes this time - a cat, a bee, the Flintstones family, a zombie or two - at least I think they were zombies...maybe just really tired.

Make it to mile 2 - and no math needed this time - I know we're in the home stretch. I get a couple "Go Team" cheers from folks as I pass them - with the 40 in 40 shirt I designed (available in the lobby during intermission) I made sure that the 40 in 40 challenge was detailed on the back...for this very purpose - genius. The best way to get the word out about what LLS and TnT are doing is through these types of events. I wish I could do more - and I try...but I can't do it alone.

Head in to the finish and pick it up - a young man was out there with his trainer - and he was slowing down heading in to the finish - I yell over to him - up over this eensty little hill and it's all downhill to the finish...turn to my right and there is a young woman to my side - big smile from her and she's like - I'm hanging with you to the finish...she starts to pick it up - I respond in kind...hey - whatever it takes to get there.

As I think back on the races - there were so many folks out there - doing the 10K and 5K probably a few hundred - all shapes and sizes, all ages and abilities - as with any race really - but it was kind of moving for some reason today - they're all out there doing this for their own reasons - fitness, fun, possibly their own personal challenge...who knows.

Today's races are dedicated Wendy O'Donnell, the sister of Barbara Entwistle, a woman I work with at BAC. She told me about her sister the other day. The prevalence of blood cancers is frightening. It effects so many more people -oftentimes - folks we know - and yet - their strength, their battles and challenges are unknown to us. Here is some information Barbara shared with me.

Wendy O'Donnell lived at Sloan Kettering, fighting her battle for a year. She was diagnosed and died from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Barbara told me that honoring her here with one of my races would be the greatest thing. Her son would be so proud as well as the whole family. "It was the worst year and best year of my life. We met so many wonderful people. It was very hard going back to "reality" after that."

I hope I did make them proud - and I am honored to honor her with these events. The impact to families is far greater than any of us who have not had a battle such as this to deal with can imagine. I ran for her - in her memory - and did so proudly myself.

End of the day - good races - two more down - 13 to go.

Next up -Dowd Half Marathon - next Saturday.

10K: 48:44

5K: 24:28

Oh - and as a side note - when I was running at a 5:56 pace (clearly downhill) and my heart rate hit 190 beats per minute...I realized (despite the heart rate) it would be a good day...


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Some time off - time to get back on the road

It's been a hectic week at the time off has been welcome - to a degree - but with 15 events left - it is CLEARLY time to get back on a regimented training program. A couple of short runs and spins this week helped get the legs loosened up, but back at it in the AM with a run - a swim on Monday and time to toss the bike on the trainer at home. I found out about my "penalty" in the race - apparently I got dinged for drafting....ironic don't you think seeing as I was complaining about the guy drafting off of me?

Oh well.

I still get psyched about the fact that the race went so well and I had so much fun doing it (nothing like 6 hours of competition to rev one's self up I guess) despite my missteps with planning and prep.

Next up - looks like a 15K next weekend...great prep for a half marathon and even better excuse to get off my butt.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Event # 25 South Carolina Half Ironman, Sunday October 4

Net - net - a GREAT day! 4:30 AM wake up for some breakfast (ensure and oatmeal - lots of it). Got a great nights sleep - which I attribute to the stress of my McGyver activity earlier and most importantly the massage I got the other night.

It was cool - mid to upper 50's at the race site at 5:30 - and the water was 74 - wetsuits baby! After getting set p in transition, body marked etc..and making chit chat with folks - met a couple guys from SC TnT teams - it was 7:20 - time to get this party started....or - get in the water anyways. With the overcast skies - we had ideal conditions for the race. No sun in our eyes on the swim - which can make sighting and swimming in general tricky, and no major threat of unbearable heat. Perfect.

We start at 7:34...and head out - good swim - although at one point I swore I must have made a wrong turn - as there were two extra turns on the swim. But I saw folks in front of me (not necessarily a good means of swimming as if the guy up front makes a wrong turn - we all make it.) But eventually make the final turn and head into home. Swim was really relaxed and I actually felt good the entire way. Except of course at one point when some guy - swimming up along side me managed to grab my head. Not touch it - GRAB it and kind of hold on...what am I a buoy? Dude - get I push him off with my leg...and spend the rest of the swim pondering wtf? Seriously. Make it to the shore and up the boat ramp - promptly slip and almost do a face plant on the slimy concrete...but somehow right myself and get going to T1. For those of you who know me - I am not known for my grace - so not falling was a miracle in and of itself.

Quick change over. Strip off the wetsuit - pop on the riding gear and head out. Now - it's overcast and probably 60 - 65 degrees. But feel comfortable. Spin for awhile and start to pick it up after the first big hill.

The bike course map did NOT do the hills justice. They were much larger and more frequent than they appeared. Still - my McGyver gel flask is helping and the enhance water is really (or so it seems) doing just what it should. Good fuel and good ride. Chatted with a lot of folks on the ride (probably not the best use of energy but still) which helped make it move along. As we're going along I decided to chuck the ride, or break it into manageable pieces, 10 miles down, 20 miles down, 5 more, halfway...damn these hills. One woman and I kept switching position - until around 35 - when I pulled away. Also - right about this time I was thinking - hmmm - not too many have passed me - although the rest of my wave and the one before us was clearly ahead of us....and then....

One guy, 52, another 50, then three mid forties...then three women - 28 - 35 years old...well - there goes that. Oh well. Keep chugging along. Spin, spin, I try to stuff a fuel pack back in the pocket on my tri suit - a guy who is behind me goes "A little higher" telling me the pocket is up just a bit. so I thank him. We trade spaces a few times - me passing on hills - him on the flats....last hill when I see him - he says "$10 bucks you pass me on this hill" I credit the recent bike fitting to my improved cycling speed - so thanks again TrySports - and thanks for getting me over that hill.

Not one to pass up a bet, although I didn't think it would happen - I do...and then I don't see him again.

One guy - kept drafting off me - right after the marshalls passed (the folks who monitor this kind of thing) he'd speed up and get in my slipstream...I can hear him - so I try picking it up - he keeps pace - so I slow down - dude - just pass me - don't cheat...he does - and he's not even in my age group. The drafting rule is in effect for everyone - not just those in your age I pass him we get to mile 50 - I hear someone behind me - it's him AGAIN...fine - draft - I hope you get penalized or disqualified.

Make it into T2 - off the bike and now for the run - the part that has worried me almost as much as the swim due to my recent leg speed issues and the fact that my training has been - well - choppy.

Run starts out well - much better than White Lake last year when my knee flared up and made me walk by mile 2.

So - Mile one down - small bio break - due to all the fuel I took in during the ride - and then mile 2 - so far so good. Miles 3 (past the "wonderwomen" water stop - they were hilarious) 4 and I make a deal with myself.

Self - if necessary - you can walk water stops after mile 7 - a little gift to me for having done better and feeling good thus far. But AFTER mile 7 and only if necessary.

Mile 7 down - mile 8 water stop coming up - grab some water and gatorade - no stopping...up the hill and turn to the final turn around. Mile 9 and here comes 10...make it to ten and take in some water and electrolyte pills...those things were my saviour today...and turn to the second to last water stop. Pass a couple guys I had talked to in the morning, make it to the water stop - and walk through.

Now walking through a water stop in any race can be challenging....well - the getting going part is challenging. But I down the gatorade and water and get going again. A little less than 3 to go. The walk allowed me to get in what I needed versus dumping gatorade all over myself - which as it began to heat up - would have been sticky - and made the drive home less than ideal. My legs appreciated it too.

Mile 11, 2 more. Turn back into the park and start singing (in my head- I probably would have been disqualified or rushed to the medical tent if I sang out loud - what is that god awful noise he's making) random bits and pieces of songs, Beast of Burden, 500 miles, Start me up, White Wedding, Straight Up (yes - somehow Paula Abdul crept in there - not real sure)...walk a bit then get going again...

Make it to the finish area and make the final turn towards the finish line.

SC Half has a lovely hill at the end you have to run up to the to meet the masochist who decided that after swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 and running 13.1 that we should finish up this ridiculously steep - albeit short - hill.

Cross in a PR time compared to White Lake last year. At White Lake - the wheels fell off during the run, and my swim was slow... there is still room for improvement, but not this season - as tri season is over (for me) and I head into running events for the winter.

Oh - and the dude who was drafting off me on the bike - I made 100% certain I passed him on the run. Draft off this jerk...

This race - as noted in the previous post is dedicated to the memory and extraordinary lives of Bill and Alice Faisst. They're battles with blood cancers did not slow them down and they lived lives that continue to inspire their family and me, although I did not have the honor of knowing them, to this day. Thank you Justine for sharing their story with me.

So - once I figure out what I got penalized for...I may consider adjusting my time by 4 minutes, but at the end of the day

Swim: 38:04
Bike: 2:57:45
Run: 2:07:37

Total - including my penalty 5:52:48

Thank you everyone for your support and words of encouragement. I could not have done it without you - and we would not have raised $17,000 in seven months.

Thank you so much.


Dedication of Event # 25 SC Half Ironman. Sunday October 4

Before I get into race details, I wanted to post an email I received from Justine Faisst, an acquiantence from CA, who joined the "40 in 40 Team" on Facebook and has been an ardent supporter of the cause. She always asks after each event "How'd it go" even though we don't really know one another. Justine lost both of her parents to blood cancers. She sent me an email, which I tried to paraphrase a bit, but was fearful I wouldn't do it justice. Her email in its entirety is below. It honors their memory and the amazing things they did in the face of adversity, in their battles. The battles Leukemia patients are faced with and the impact on their families - is so profound - and unique for each family.

Here is her email. Thank you Justine. Your parents were clearly remarkable.

Bill and Alice Faisst.

My father was born in 1915 in Brooklyn, New York, the only child of German immigrants. His parents moved to San Francisco in about 1921. My father was raised in San Francisco, when to the University of California and then served active duty in the Army from the time he graduated from college until the end of World War II. My mother was born in Sacramento, California in 1914. She was the first daughter and third child in the family. My grandfather worked as a miner, shop keeper and eventually a California Highway Patrol officer. My parents met on the eve of the bombing of Pearl Harbor; my mother was visiting her brother and his family and my father had been invited to join them for lunch (and then dinner) on December 6, 1941. My parents were married in 1946 after my father returned from Europe. My parents were luck to have found each other. My mother never grew tired of my father and my father remained totally enraptured by my mother. My parents raised their three children in the San Francisco Bay Area.

My parents were not particularly remarkable people. Neither of them did anything newsworthy, they worked hard and loved their family, their friends, and their pets. My father was a CPA and a Boy Scout leader. My mother was a housewife, volunteered for school field trips, and always had fresh-baked cookies in the house. After the three of us kids were grown and on our own, my mom went back to college, got her BA degree, and for about 10 years, had a career of her own. During the "empty nest" years, my mom volunteered at Children's Hospital in Oakland. She knit countless hats and booties for the preemie babies. My dad's job was to make tassels for the hats; he had learned this skill as a child working in his father's knitting factory. My parents travelled some, to Europe and Egypt, where I was working in the early 1980's. Despite the time he spent in North Africa during WWII, my dad was left with his mouth open at the site of a woman walking down the street carrying a basket of live chickens on her head! The trip to Cairo was after my father's first bout with lymphoma. At one point, he needed a rest day, so my petite grey-hair mother and I went off to the camel market and pyramids! My mother's urge to travel was greater than my dad's; after the war years, he was happiest being at home with a cat on his desk, a dog at his feet, and a pot roast waiting for his dinner!

My dad's second bout of lymphoma was in 1987. A second course of chemo was more than he could handle. He lived to see me get married, but not much longer.

If there could be a silver lining in death, my mother found it. A few weeks after my father died a neighbor lost her husband. My mother was able to offer consolation and companionship to an old friend. The two ladies checked in with each other every day, shared gourmet meals several times a week, and even went on a couple of far-flung Elderhostel trips. Right after my first son was born, my mom went off to mine opals in Utah. Before my second son was born, she was in scrambling around ancient ruins in Turkey. She also ramped up her volunteer efforts and did bookkeeping for a couple of my dad's former clients. In 1994, my mother's last planned trip, to Thailand, was halted by treatment for multiple myeloma. She lived for about a year and died just a few days short of her 81st birthday in October. In keeping with her character, before she died, she combed mail order catalogues and selected birthday presents for the family members who had not yet had birthdays that year. She wanted to make sure everyone got their "fair share" that year!

We learn from our experiences with cancer that it is a tragedy, but we also learn that there is always someone else worse off. My parents lived long, full lives. They raised their children, they contributed to society, and they used their gifts to help others. They didn't loose a child to this disease, they didn't leave young children behind without a parent, they didn't loose all 4 grandparents to the disease (as my niece did).

As devastating as cancer is to a person and their family, as we go through life we can celebrate the good stories. Both my brother and mother-in-law were successfully treated for early stages of cancer with surgery, without chemo or radiation. We celebrate when friends have their last chemo and radiation treatments, when they have their pik lines removed, when they go from 3-month to 6-month to annual check-ups, when they reach "5 years", when they move on with their lives and run a marathon again. We contribute when our son does a Relay-for-Life or complete stranger takes on a crazy challenge to mark his 40th birthday!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thank god I plan accordingly - too bad I screwed it up.

So - as mentioned previously I am a bit obsessive with my tri bag gear check. Several checks each time regardless of distance. This week I packed in advance so I could check it once per day and once right before I left today.

Cutting to the chase - about an hour and a half into my 2 hour drive I realize...oh CRAP! I forgot my gel flask - which attaches to my bike so I have solid fuel while riding to go with H2O and enhanced water with electrolytes, proteins, carbs, etc. Oh SHIT - I forgot one of those bottles too. Both of those were or ARE in the fridge...nice and cold for when I return. Oh and when I stop to get gas - I realize a bar plug (a little piece of necessary plastic that plugs the end of the handle bars so if you crash and get pitched forward you IDEALLY do not impale yourself on the open bar end...) has fallen out. Freakin PERFECT!!!

So after not having a gear "expo" at the race, despite my cautious optimism that they may (they did at White Lake last year - same distance, same race company sooooooo I thought, maybe...) I go into McGyver mode, or McGruber, or McMullen-Gyver-Gruber mode.

Look for sporting goods stores, closest with anything like I need is 1 hour + away...too far. I swing through a couple grocery stores - thinking a cake decorating gadget may work for the flask..nope

And then - there on the horizon - the bane of all mom and pop stores existence - Wally World (WalMart).

So - thank you TSA for the 3-1-1 rule...while it usually does not effect me, not a lot of shampoo or conditioner to carry...they have three ounce squeezable bottles - get two. Grab some velcro tape to attach it...grab some black electrical tape to cover my bar end, so it is at least "legal".

See - if the bar end is open, they may penalize me (time-wise) or not let me ride at's those rule - now (shhhhh) it appears closed or plugged - so I'm good.

All gear is set and packed - bottles are filled and chilling in the "MicroFridge" a lovely 70's era item with a "college size" fridge and an antique microwave attached to the top of it.

now I am going to do the Seinfeld-esque clock check, back up alarm check and a potential wakeup call....but given how things have gone thus far - I may rely on technology.

pray the lights don't go to get off my feet and watch whatever is on the tube. 5 AM wake up...and a few miles to get in. BRING IT.

Go Team! I am still FREAKING out.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Kindness of strangers

So I went to get a LOOOONG overdue massage tonight at the constant recommendations of Kevin Collins and many others in preparation for Event #25 - the SC Half Ironman on Sunday. Many reasons to get one - to obviously relax you, work the acid out of your muscles and in this case - all of that as well as try and get my mind off the race.


So I spent some time talking to this one person there before and ran into them after the massage. I had told them about the 40 in 40 during our conversation. Turns out they are kind of between jobs, working but not in what they ultimately want to do, but they were genuinely interested in the 40 in 40 and TnT.

Went got my massage - and am now mush at this point.

As I was leaving, they came up to me and gave me $50 and said - "to help you reach your goal"

and that was it. No chance to say , "No I couldn't", but I managed a stammering, somewhat choked up "Thank you so much"

A complete stranger - some brief conversation - and quite possibly one of the most generous donations I have received. Not discounting the others, mind you - but it was truly touching and greatly appreciated. The human spirit, the ability and willingness to support someone else in their quest with no chance of recognition...amazing.

Off to recheck my tri bag and try and hit the rack. Have to catch Kevin Collins tomorrow AM at the Race for the Cure - sporting his skirt again and a fresh mohawk!