Posts Tagged With: running hills

Sunken Logs and Legal Fireworks

Did everyone have a good 4th of July weekend? I certainly did! As I mentioned at the end of my last post, my family and I headed to the Branson area of southern Missouri last week to visit my parents. We’ve been parked there since last Tuesday but will be moving on to the fields of Iowa this week.

**This was to have been posted on Tuesday, but because my parents live in the sticks and it was raining, we had no wifi. Gasp! So here it is, two days late.

I had some major swim/bike/run plans in my head for when we were here. Nothing was going to get in the way of my Ironman training. Until we got here and started to relax.

The first day we were here, we slept in. It was glorious, especially considering we had gotten up at 4 am the day before. But the road was calling and I wanted to get some hill running in. When I say hills, I mean HILLZ.  Steep friggin hillZ.  We took off and within one mile, I was heaving up a big hill, ready to throw in the towel and give up. It was almost as humid as in Wilmington, which I certainly wasn’t expecting. Seven point three of some of the most miserable miles later, I was done. I had wanted to go ten miles, but I didn’t have enough liquid left in my body to be able to sweat it out. I figured some of the fatigue was due to the 100 mile bike ride and heavy training week the week before that, but I was really pissed off slightly irritated about not having a good run.

The towel was SOAKED when I got done.

The towel was SOAKED when I got done.

The next day, I went to the local gym and hopped on a bike. Five minutes later, I was drenched in sweat, dreading the remaining hour.  Here’s a suggestion to every gym everywhere: USE FANS. No one wants to work out in a pool of their own sweat. It was so gross. After that suffer fest, I hopped on the treadmill for a mile or two. Funny, there were fans on the treadmills so I cranked those babies up and the run ended up being relatively comfortable, and I ended up going 3.1 miles. Not too shabby.  I’d planned to swim whenever I could, but with the weird weather and pop up storms, we ended up at the pool that day. No swimming for me.

The next day, we all headed out on the lake. Table Rock Lake is absolutely gorgeous. It’s less clear than last year, due to all the rain they’ve been having, but it’s still very clear, especially compared to what I normally swim in. I had my cap and goggles, and when we got anchored in a nice little cove, I took off to swim.  Evidently the plethora of shark attacks off MY coast has gotten to my head, because I kept seeing big huge sea monsters on the bottom coming up to get me.  I was freaked out, to say the least. Then I saw a pretty big log sticking up from the bottom and in my mind, it literally was a sea monster coming up to get me, and I actually freaked out. I did the exact same thing as when I saw all those jelly fish (stop, dog paddle like mad, and gasp for breath), but this time, it was worse. I tried three times to get myself started and saw sea monsters logs on the bottom, and three times, I totally freaked out. I swam back to the boat, shaking. WTF was this all about? I’m a tough girl who doesn’t freak out about things like this, especially dead logs that have been there for eons, but I was scared. I decided to just stop, and try again another day.

On July 4th, my husband and I were signed up to run the Firecracker 5000. Well, I was; he was signed up for the 10k. We got up super early (compared to the late mornings we’d had so far), got ready, and headed to the race. We laughed at the timer chips that were to be secured on our shoes with “bread bag” twisty ties.

Must be the new "thing" in timing chips.

Must be the new “thing” in timing chips. But it held strong!

There were probably 600 total runners, the shirts were very nice, and packet pickup was easy since we got there early. We warmed up about half a mile, found the can, and lined up.

The race started a few minutes late, but we took off in the middle of Branson Landing, a cute little shopping area. The bad thing is that they didn’t even play the national anthem before the race, something they should have made sure to do on that important day.

I fought some traffic as we started, but soon, it thinned out and I was on my way. I wasn’t sure what pace I wanted to keep, and soon, I figured I needed to just GO and not worry about what pace I was going. We ran along the Taneycomo Lake, which is a very cold lake, which made for some very nice cool air as we ran along, probably ten degrees cooler than even twenty feet away from it. Crazy. We wound around a campground and neighborhood, and I felt my pace was holding pretty good at 7:20ish. I ALWAYS slow down during the second mile, but felt I was doing well and would have a good finish. We backtracked towards the landing again, ran past it, and wound around the parking lot, which was annoying, but heard the course had to be made up that morning due to flooding on other parts of the course. Oh well, I knew the end was near!

I crossed the finish line at 22:01. Whew, I was happy with that, even though I think the course was a teeny bit short. I walked with my water to catch my breath, hid it by White House Black Market, and jogged backwards along the course to find my husband and get some more miles in, of course near the lake where it was nice and cool. I found my hubs and he was going along at a good pace, so I cut through and waited for him at the finish line. He finished in 50:36, which is a new PR for him since he hasn’t run a 10k in forever.  Whohoo!

We cooled down as much as we could and waited for the awards. In the meantime, tons of door prizes were awarded, some of them being big packs of fireworks, the kind that are as tall as I am. How cool is that?! Tons of kids were called to get some mini packs, big packs, and plenty of big kids won them, too. I was happy to win first place in my age group and got a cool gold medal to bring home.  We changed into dryer clothes and walked around, finding some little trinkets to bring home.


First place in the "thirty-something and above" age group (40-44)

First place in the “thirty-something and above” age group (40-44)

When we got back, we got headed to the lake, unbeknownst to us this would be our only nice lake day. It was great! We relaxed, drank, cannonballed, floated, and hung out. Perfect. Then it was back to the house for food, back to the lake for fireworks, then back to the house again for our own firework show.

Boats piling up to watch the firework show.

Boats piling up to watch the firework show.

There were so many going off all over and echoing in the hills, it was like what I imagine Beirut is like except we were having fun. I love those little novelty fireworks, like tanks, fire trucks, the parachute ones, and fountains. The boys loved everything else. We had a blast (pun totally intended).

My dad and the kids with our show stoppers.

My dad and the kids with our show stoppers.

The next day, we slept in til about 9:00, which is so unusual for us, but with the dark and quiet room, soooo nice! We couldn’t really do much outside due to the strange storms, but we hung out and relaxed.

On Monday, I ended up running 6 miles of hillz again, and then we all headed to the shooting range for a gun safety class and some guns!  I have to admit, I’m not a gun person. I have never really been around them, but I’m definitely not against them. My dad has been collecting interesting sorts of guns for several years, and wanted to teach my boys about guns in a safe way. They loved it! I loved it! We all loved it! Feeling the power of a gun going off in my hand was, oh, let’s say it was scary in a good way. If that makes any sense. After over two hours of shooting various rifles and a 9 mm, we headed to lunch and then the boat.

9 mm Diamondback

9 mm Diamondback

Wait, crappy weather again so the pool. Wait, storm popped up so once again, we were trapped in the house for the evening. We played some games on the deck as we listened to more thunder and rain. My husband and I ended up going to have a few drinks at a total dive biker bar and picked up some fried green beans on the way home. I love those things.

Every time we went out, it was like this.

Every time we went out, it was like this.

I was planning to get a swim in on Tuesday. Since I was a little freaked out, I needed to face my fears anyway, so figured I could go to the campground swim area that’s right around the corner from here. Nope, torrential rain with no sign of ending. So I went back to the house of sweat (the gym) and thankfully, this time it was a little “less hot”. I went an hour and 20 minutes hard on the bike and then did some strength on the machines. My husband was desperately trying to get internet connection, but was finding the equivalent of 12k dial up, so I didn’t get any treadmill running in this time. We headed back to my parent’s house. My mom and I took the kids for a walk around the campground during a rain lull, and of course, it started raining again before we were done. Damn. Everything was starting to flood and the lake level was rising, which is crazy since the lake is ginormous.

This was the norm for the entire week we were there.

This was the norm for the entire week we were there.

On Wednesday, we will be heading north to Des Moines, Iowa, and I’m planning to meet up with Kickass Kecia from Push My Limits sometime on Wednesday afternoon, assuming our travels go as planned. We are then going to Field of Dreams so my kids can say, “Dad, wanna have a catch?”. Then we’re headed to our old stomping ground in Sioux City to visit friends until we head back to Kansas City for our flight home on Tuesday. Whew. I’m tired even typing that.  Meanwhile, at home, my yard is dying because there’s no rain and it’s still hotter ‘n a whore in church, my cats are dying from the lack of attention, and it still as hot as the gates of hell.  I guess that’s what we’re going to get when we arrive back home. I’m hoping we get just a tiny bit of dryer air in Iowa. Just a little less humidity would be just what the doctor ordered. I can only hope.

How do you manage training when on vacation?

Categories: iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, open water swimming, running, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Attitude Adjustment in 10 Easy Steps

Some days I wake up grumpy and I don’t know why.  I always get up on the same side of the bed, so it’s not like I’m getting up on the “wrong” side of the bed. I had a 10 mile run on schedule for this morning in downtown Wilmington so I could get some hills in, although the “hills” of Wilmington aren’t big or long. They’re better than just running on the flat surfaces and I can always tell when I run them, so I know they’re doing some good.  I didn’t have the best day yesterday, for no reason in particular. I was bound and determined to not be grumpy about it, even when I had an “undesirable” run in 40 degree rain, my kids were arguing over who touched each other’s Lego’s, my awesome dog won’t stop digging in the back yard, and we had to attend an outdoor birthday party for my son’s friend.  It was 39 degrees. And that was just before 1:30 pm.

So when I got up this morning, I knew I was grumpy and I knew I didn’t know why. I made it through Saturday ok and I can think of a million things that could have made the day actually bad instead of irritating, so I figured I’d be in a better mood today. Wrong. I drove downtown and started running.  It’s pretty quiet at 8 am on a Sunday, and I found myself really enjoying the silence, only broken by the low volume of my iPod in my ears. I could hear the birds, a few cars, and then, pretty much nothing. Oh, I did hear myself say, “Holy crap you scared me” when another runner passed me when I didn’t know he was behind me.  Gotta love those exhilarating moments that get your heart rate right up there. Besides THAT part of it, it was exactly what I needed.  I felt better after my solo excursion, and no matter what happened to me the rest of the day, I was determined to make it a good day.

So in order to help anyone else out there who may be suffering from the “it’s still winter and it ain’t done yet” blues, the “my kids won’t stop getting on my nerves” annoyances, or just anyone who may be suffering from a case of the Monday’s on any given day, I thought I’d devise and share a plan to help you get through it, or more importantly, get over it.

STEP 1:  Go running.  If you want to or not, just go. You’ll feel better.

STEP 2: Look around at your surroundings.  Appreciate it.  I looked over the Cape Fear River when I got to my destination and that immediately made me feel better.  Maybe it’s freezing out where you are and you’re looking at the nice digital numbers on a treadmill.  Well, aren’t they GORGE?  Beautiful, huh!? Those glimmery numbery things.

Looking over the Cape Fear River Bridge.

Looking over the Cape Fear River Bridge.

STEP 3: Do something nice.

I saw several sanitation workers downtown who were cleaning up messes from the day and night before.  I felt for them because I do the same exact thing, just in my own house. I’m sure they were thinking “WOW, these people are so damn messy”.  Yup, that’s exactly how I feel at home.  So I picked up a few pieces of paper I saw and threw them in the trash.

I also saw a situation that pissed me off and decided to go “help”.  A guy was standing there yelling at his girlfriend with her little son just standing there watching the entire thing. I didn’t appreciate it and wanted to be sure the girl was ok. So I inserted myself in a situation that could have turned out to be volatile, but I wanted the girl to know I was there and was watching.  I said a few unsavory things to the guy to which he replied and blamed it on her, but I’m the “fight” kind of person in a “flight or fight” situation like that, especially if there’s a child involved.  I didn’t feel she or the kid was in danger at all, so I left.  They probably didn’t think I was helping, but I smiled at the kid and he smiled back.  That’s all that mattered to me.

STEP 4: Work hard.  Push it.

I was there to do 4 miles of hills and the rest not-so-hilly.  I ran two miles out and back and then did the figure 8 on the three streets that have the short but steep hills. There’s some steep parts (shown in picture) and then the streets between them have a nice slope as well.  When I got to the hills, I worked it and I added a few hills in when I wasn’t supposed to, just because. My legs felt tired, my breathing increased, I sweated. Good work will almost always make you feel better. If you’re not doing hills, give a few miles a push, and that should do the trick too.

They're short, but they're steep.

They’re short, but they’re steep.

STEP 5: Listen to good music. When I’m irritated, I like to listen to music that includes swearing (Eminem anyone?).  So I listened to some of that, and then as I started to relax and got the cobwebs out of my head, I listened to my 5k play list.  That always makes me feel good and energized.

STEP 6: Make lemonade out of lemons. Yesterday’s one-hour run could have been a nightmare. I don’t normally mind running in the cold or the rain, but the cold rain really bothered me this time.  The minutes ticked by slowly, and I counted down.  “Ok, one fourth the way through, one third the way through….” until I was done. I pushed all the negative thoughts away because 1) I knew I had to get my run in and 2) I had to get my run in and 3) it wasn’t snowing.  There was no reason to let it bother me.  I got to talk to a good friend at the cold birthday party too, so that was good. Negativity begets negativity and I didn’t want to allow it in.

STEP 7: Do something different. If you’re having one of “those” days, try to shake up your routine.  I went down town to run, something that I’ve only done once, and it was a nice change.  After I was done running, I went to a little coffee shop and had something I normally don’t get.  First of all, I rarely get coffee from any other place than home.  Second, I normally just get coffee.  So this morning, I had an amazing white chocolate raspberry latte.  It was worth all the calories.  I savored it all the way home and even shared some with my son who happens to love coffee. Well, coffee with something else in it besides coffee.

A White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Latte

A White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Latte and Green Machine

STEP 8:  Be thankful. I have had major injuries from running before, and I know how much happiness I get from running. I was very thankful that I was able to run.  I GET TO RUN THE BOSTON MARATHON.  I was happy that I have a family to come home to, a warm house, a goofy dog, demanding cats, and all those things.  Yes, they irritate the crap out of me sometimes, but I’m thankful they’re all there to irritate me.

STEP 9:  Listen to this song and believe it to be true.   

Chances are you’ll be singing along too.  All day. And then the next.  Who can’t be in a good mood when you’re always singing about how awesome things are?!  Thanks Lego Movie.  YOU are awesome.

STEP 10:  If all of the prior nine steps fail, go home, pour yourself a glass of beer or wine, sit your butt on the couch with your feet up, and watch your favorite show.  I’m limiting myself to only ONE glass because of my training.  And there you go.

Only ONE glass!

Only ONE glass!

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blog at