Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wouldn't it be cool to....?

How many times in your life have you started a sentence that way?  Insert dream , compete in an Ironman, travel to a foreign country, jump out of an airplane, climb Everest...  The list is endless and it's fun to think about doing something that seems exotic, or difficult,  or rare. But that is normally as far as the dream goes.  A brief and shiny day dream,  or an animated conversation with a group of friends.   Not many people take the next step to actually DO what they dreamed of.  

Back in April, Adam and Jeff,  2 recent Adelphi University graduates and members of the Track and Cross country team were at practice when someone casually tossed out the idea wouldn't it be cool to run cross country... really cross country.   The members talked about it and had arguments over whether they could actually do it,  and that was as far as it went.  Or so they thought.. but Adam latched on to the idea and started to really think what if?   He decided he really wanted to do this,  and Jeffery agreed that they could run across the US.   Both men had charities they were passionate about and thought this might be a way to both raise money for charity and attempt something beyond the norm, challenging themselves both physically and mentally. 

(Picture taken from the

They left New York on August 20th accompanied  by Ian and James.  Ian , who was originally scheduled to run with them,  but suffered a freak accident just weeks before the run,  and James would be the support crew.  Riding along in Adam's "clown car"  (he called it that)  a Yaris,  packed to the gils with supplies, including their hotel for most nights.. a tent.   While they weren't planning on joining in on the run,  they map out routes,  keep an eye on the weather,  supply meals and provide invaluable assistance to their running friends. 

We have followed their journey online from Facebook and their website.  and I was beyond thrilled that when they made it to KY,  I  was able to drive down from Ohio to hook up with them, buy them lunch ,  pester them with questions,  and then run with them a little to experience the journey from their perspective.   I was humbled by these young men,  who were so appreciative of my interest in their trip.   But I am inspired by them almost daily when I think about what they are attempting to do. 

I promised I would do what I could to get the word out about their trip.  To hopefully encourage others to donate to their causes,  to try to get other running groups,  running stores motivated to help support them along the way.   A hot dinner,  a warm bed,  a friendly smile.. or join in for a few miles as I did to get a view from the road.  I started emailing running stores this weekend. Hopefully they will return my message. 

 As I have been training for my first 1/2 marathon, 13 miles seems insignificant compared to the over 1100,  they have gone in the last 35 + days.  I ran 12 miles Saturday in the rain with a smile on my face thinking about these young men as they headed into Illinois,  about a 1/3 of the way through their journey.  

Safe Travels Gentlemen... May the road rise to greet you.  
   (Picture taken from the

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Trek Ladies Tri

  So if you are nervous about doing something new and different (a Triathlon)  you look for the safest event you can find in your area.  Enter the Trek Ladies Tri in Columbus Ohio.   All women and lots of support sounded like the perfect way to dip my toe into this sport.

  Originally it was slotted to be located at Buckeye Lake,  about 2 hours away, outside of Columbus on your way to WV.   But because of the previously mentioned lack of rain ,  Buckeye Lake turned into an algae filled cesspool and race directors decided to move it to Deer Creek in Mt. Sterling Ohio.   Cool,  that shaves a 1/2 hour at least off my drive..  Not cool...  You have to do packet pickup on Saturday...Damn...

  So we drove up Saturday to pickup my race packet and attend the expo.   The weather was gorgeous.  75,  sunny,  water was glassy smooth.   I got a chance to look at the swim course,  and after seeing the buoys in the water,  I felt better... Yeah..I could do that.    Then because I have a really smart kid who suggested it..  we drove the bike course.   Most flat country roads,  with corn fields on both sides.  Only 2 downhill/uphill combos.  Okay  I can do that.  So not a totally wasted trip,  it calmed my nerves.

  Saturday night,  eat appropriately ,  brown rice,  veggies, ...remember whatever you eat has to exit the next day...hopefully before you get on course.    That's why you see tons of port-a-potties at these events.

  Sunday ,  up at 4 am,  Lindsey made me a power smoothie to drink in the car on the way up.   Temperature outside 60 degrees.. good thing I packed my arm sleeves for the bike.    The trip up was quicker now that we knew were we were going.   Arrive in total darkness ,  with the winds gusting up to 15 mph.  The lake that had been perfectly calm yesterday now was choppy with a few white caps.  WTF!   Standing around for an hour before start,  I was jealous of all the women who had wormed their way into wetsuits for warmth.  I was freezing.. The water was 10 degrees warmer than the outside air temperature,  so I couldn't wait to get started.  

First half of the swim... I thought I was going to die....seriously.  Every time I took a breath ,  I would get smacked in the face with a wave and swallow lake water.   Started to hyperventilate a little.  Noticed the woman behind me who flipped on her back to back stroke.. Brilliant!  Did the same and getting a few breaths with my face out of the water calmed me down enough to finish the front half and make the turn for the back half.  Got into a rhythm and it went much better after that.
 Spent 4 1/2 minutes in Transition 1,  swim to bike.  Putting compression socks on to wet feet is not the easiest thing in the world.   Thought I should try to eat something,  but with  all the lake water sloshing around in my stomach.. that was out of the question,  so I threw 2 fig newtons in my bike bag and hit the road.  The bike felt great.  I was having fun,  got into a pretty steady cadence and just enjoyed the scenery.    Enter first hill.   I made it 2/3rds of the way up in the saddle and then knew I needed to stand.  After about 3 pedal strokes,  my right clip,  which had been loose before I started,  gave way and the next thing I knew I was standing in the road...OOPS...  push bike to top of hill... back on and away we go.   Try not to crash coming in to Transition 2.. bike to Run. ...

Notice the super cute rock and roll arm sleeves!  They make me feel tough even if I'm not.    2 1/2 minutes in T2.  Easier to simply pop off the bike shoes and pop on the running shoes.  Slip on my Nike+ watch and pace counter,  and out on the road... As I headed out of the chute,  the winner of the event ran by me heading to the finish line... Damn...that's a reality check.

Run was an out and back.  Lots of encouragement from the runners heading back in to those of us heading out.  That was nice.  I was glad that I could offer the same on my way in.  Secretly glad that I was able to do so to as many people as I could,  which meant I wasn't even close to being last...ha!    As I ran into the parking lot the trees obscured the eventual finish,  but you could hear the crowd and the music going.  The announcer was interviewing Lindsey!  She was telling the story of our weight loss journey and how this had been one of my goals.  It made me so proud of both of us,  and the crowd really congratulated me.  Sally Edwards came up and offered her personal congrats as well.   And I got a really bitching medal!

   Will I do this again?  That day.. I wasn't so sure,  but in hindsight.. Yes.  I need to do another,  next year we will start this craziness again.  Next up,  my first 1/2 marathon.