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Brain tumor survivor | triathlon & duathlon finisher | wife | cat mom | friend to many | supreme smart aleck. I'd like coffee and a book please.

Friday, October 30, 2015

What I Have Learned

The Course Strategy Session
It has been two weeks since we have been in PA for the BIG event put on by Runner's World and I miss it! This isn't going to be about why I miss it, this is going to be about what I have figured out about runners as a whole. 

Overall, all the people that we enountered from the back of the pack runners (me) to the much faster elite runner (Deena Kastor) and every type in between - I figured out that runners are very encouraging and a cheerleader for just about anyone! 

That's what I love about running - runners know what it takes to do any distance. Whether it's a 5k or a full marathon. Every distance is a victory no matter who you are. Especially if you are a beginning runner. It is a huuuge accomplishment. 

So, my take away from the Runner's World event is that runners are seriously cool people and hey we like other people who run. 

I guess that makes me a cool people...hehehe....

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Back at it...I've adjusted to Pacific time!

A couple of more bibs for the garage
This week has been a tiring week - stuck on eastern time since returning home Tuesday afternoon and waking up at hours when I should be fast asleep. Earlier this week I thought that I would try to get out and run on Thursday, but that didn't happen as I was still up at 2:15 and in no mood to actually put on running clothes and go out in the dark of the morning, by myself.

That morning, after my second cup of coffee at a local coffee spot, I had little more clarity I settled on running Saturday (today) if I happened to wake up at a reasonable time and felt good.


Ended up waking up around my regular weekday wake up time and once I had fully woken up, felt pretty good. Cup of coffee was downed and we went out for an easy 3 miler. 

Our route was truly flat and I was able to actually run the whole thing without the obligatory walking break - yay me. I must still be feeling the affects of the Runner's World vibe that we experienced all last weekend - it was a glorious thing! Tom opted to leave the knuckle lights at home, so I was a little concerned as we passed through one very dark section, unsure if there would be a rogue walnut ready to make my ankle roll. NOPE! Didn't find anything out or back, awesome! 

Now that we have done our first run since RW - I plan to start to doing the things that will make me a better runner (so it has been said) - stretching, weight bearing strength training, cross training etc.

We'll see how things go over the next few weeks - Hot Buttered Run is out they switched things up and are offering a Half in place of the 12k. I'm not in the mood to do another half and a 5k just isn't long enough, that's just a training run! We have decided to do the Turkey Trot 10k. That should be a fun one, it's practically in our back yard on the Salmon Creek Trail. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Going Mobile

Since I  have been on vacation this week I have been playing around on blogger...race "report", cleaning up stuff and changing up the look of my blog. At one point I saw that I could get the blogger app on my phone. I  had already tried the app on my kindle and it wasn't that good.

What the heck - I'll try this out.

So, this is my first post using my phone. Tricksey, I know. This will take some getting used to. This may be the only post. We'll see I guess.

It's  good to try new things!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hitting the Road Again?

This week has been kind of a mixed bag of stuff. We started the week in Pennsylvania and here we are a couple of days later all settled back at home. I'm in transition as I continue to wake up according to Eastern Time which is the only thing hanging on as a reminder that we went to a place far away from home.

Tomorrow is my last day of vacation and I do not plan to run. I am entertaining the thought of running on Saturday, but I am not convinced yet. The day that I wake up at my usual early time and not PA time, I'll know that I'm all rested up for real and ready to hit the road again.

For now I will enjoy being at home, having coffee with friends and getting out only when needed.

Lazy can be good.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Runner's World Half & Festival

I have been a subscriber to Runner's World Magazine for quite awhile. I don't exactly remember how long I have been getting this magazine, but I know it has been a while. I love everything about the magazine and with the more recent changes to the format of the mag I think I might love it even more. There are so many inspiring stories and tips on how to improve running, strength...nutrition etc.

Every month when the latest issue arrives the first thing that I read would be the Letter from the Editor and the next thing would be the last page which is where the "I'm a Runner" is usually found. The editor David Willey has such great insight of all things running and it is plain to see when you read his letter. I like that the I'm a Runner section is usually someone who has some celebrity, but is not an "elite." These people usually are made up of actors, politicians and other known people who happen to run. Always a good read.

So last Christmas when Tom and I were thinking up something that we would like to do as a destination run the Runner's World Half came to mind, it took a couple of days, but it finally popped into my head. I wasn't sure that Tom would actually go for it - it IS somewhat extravagant and would require some planning. I was a little surprised that he said, "Yeah, we could do that" that I almost couldn't hardly believe it. 

After a couple of months of wondering if this would actually happen and after a few dropped hint here and there, Tom registered the both of us for the event. Me for the half and he for the Hat Trick. WoW!

Okay, so we ARE going to do this! 

Since then I just went along and did my thing and trained for the events that we had already committed to and others that just kind of "showed" up because they were cool. This year's events were basically the same as the previous year(s) and the idea that we would travel someplace distant felt a little exotic.

Fast forward a few months to October...

Now it's travel time! So my training kind of went sideways leading up to when we would be traveling. I didn't let that bother me as I had enough confidence within me to say that I could do it. Also, I think back to when we did the North Country Wine Run - a half - which was THE hardest thing that I had done up until that point. Even the triathlons and duathlons seemed easy by comparison! Want to relive that race go HERE. We left Vancouver the Wednesday before the event to give ourselves a couple of days to acclimate and get into a little bit of a groove before race day. Tom's races would start on Saturday while I could slum until Sunday. 

Our travel to the event was a little messed up and it was good that we arrived a few days early as we definitely needed Thursday to rest up after a very long day of traveling and I do mean long, but that's a different story altogether. 

Since the event would be held at the Bethlehem Steel campus we had to make a trip to check it out before the weekend. Mind you, I am in no way interested in industrial stuff, but this was pretty cool - again, a different story.
Bethlehem Steel
Saturday, Race Day #1

Tom's first race started at 8am. We arrived around 6:30 to do packet pick-up and to get Tom ready to race. According to the schedule there was to be a warm up session somewhere, but we either missed it or it didn't happen. Tom ended up doing his own warm up which also included standing in the sun. It was COLD on Saturday! 

The national anthem was sung by the Lehigh University choral group and then the race was started. As it was a 5k I waited for Tom at the finish.

Kinda got a shot of Tom at the start
Finishing Strong
Race #1 DONE
 10k Race was up next at 9:30a which was an hour wait time for this one - just enough time for runners to cool down and then have to start running again. This course was a little more hilly (I think) than the 5k, therefore making it slightly more challenging.
Done for the day! 
We spent the whole day on Saturday at the Festival - races for Tom and seminars in the afternoon. We did take a walk to look for some food, which took us a few blocks away from the venue, but it was kind of nice to be away from the crowds.

The seminars were free and since I wanted to go to these, I signed us up for My Life on the Run with Bart Yasso and the Half Marathon Strategy session. That Bart Yasso is an interesting character - so if you happen to do the Vancouver USA Marathon - make the effort to meet him...he's awesome! Here is me 'n Bart...
Yup, I'm a goober!
The last thing for the evening was the dinner with the editors - Tom picked a table that was being occupied by 4 other women, thus making himself the only guy. These ladies were seriously funny about running and the event and just life in general - runners, yeah...kinda fun people. We all joked about wanting more food to show up at our table and when the RW editor at our table said don't be shy get more food we ALL got up, nearly at the same time - hahaha.

Our day was long and we were both pretty tired so we decided to start making our way out of there after David Willey, Deena Kastor and Bart Yasso were done with their "welcome" presentation. BUT - before we left, I saw that the editor, David Willey was not yet seated, so I made a bee-line over to him to meet him and chat with him for a minute or so. Such a nice guy! So humble and personable. I don't know why I tend to think that people whose letters or articles you read on a monthly basis would be unapproachable...well, this guy was seriously cool. Glad that I got brave and got to meet him!

Yup, still a goober!
Yeah, so a pretty great day overall! Which helped me get excited for the next day - even with all of my mediocre training I was ready to hit the road and do what we traveled all the way to Pennsylvania for. Half Marathon #6.

Sunday, Race Day #2

We were up early to get ready for the day. Made it to Bethlehem Steel by 6:30a and started to WAIT. We arrived early to park in the lot that was free and fairly close to the ArtsQuest Center. The only trick to this was that we would not be allowed to leave the lot until after 11:30a. Which is when the roads would be reopened to traffic.Which was no problem because someone is pretty slow...hehehe.

I decided to try to stick with a pace group and did alright for more than a couple of miles, then the hills happened and my confidence plummeted (I need to work on hills - I know not a new thing). Once we got to the first significant hill, I decided that the pace group would be too much for me to hang with. He would be continually running...I would not. 

Plan B - keep moving as swiftly as possible. Which I was able to, lots of walking, but plenty of running too. That in itself is improvement, so I'm happy about that. The flat as a pancake (but Bart likes blueberries) route was not as horrible as I thought it would be...ahh, more improvement! However, about half way through, the wind started up and I was getting annoyed. I have not made friends with the wind, it would be easier for me to like hills first! 

As I kept moving along I started to think that I would be able to PR at this event - a sub-3 hour half would be cool! My body had other ideas and between mile 10 and 11 - I landed wrong or something and my lower back just got angry. Every time I tried to run, the pain was VERY evident and I was really annoyed. Once I had made the turn to go across the bridge that leads back to where we started, I was walking. Very briskly and very disappointed. No PR this time - waaah. After another mile or so I made my peace with having to walk the last part and just kept chugging along. I held it together long enough to start running again by the time the pavement turned to brick and I ran through the finish. We do not walk through the finish arch - EVER. 

In the end I'm still pretty happy with my time - 3:08:25. If I were able to run a PR would have happened. Oh well, there is always Vancouver USA Half next June! That helps and so does a nice shiny medal at the end. 
The day ended with us returning to the house we were staying at and getting cleaned up and resting during the afternoon. I don't even remember what was on the dinner menu - I was that tired and out of it. Being old and traveling to a different time zone will do that! Okay, well I'm not old...just the time zone thing is goofy.

Anyone who is a runner needs to experience this event. Everything about it is so fantastic! The whole weekend was very inspiring and makes me want to continue working on becoming a better runner.

Oh and just in case anyone is wondering Tom's combined time for all three events was: 

Placed 300 - Time 4:14:48 
9044   Thomas Bennett  M 55 TO 59  00:29:57 5K 
29044 Thomas Bennett  M 55 TO 59  01:05:56 10K 
39044 Thomas Bennett  M 55 TO 59  02:38:55 Half