Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hello, Old Man Winter

After my lunch time chilly run, I'm pretty convinced Old Man Winter pulled up a chair and decided to sit a spell! It's been a long time since I had to wear a warm running hat, gloves and full running tights. I miss fall temps already! Brrrr....

Monday, November 28, 2011

HBBC Week 1

Week 1 (Nov. 19-25) of the Holiday Booty Buster Challenge is off to a great start! Sunday was my 12-mile long run, Tuesday and Friday I added in 20 minutes of strength, and Thursday was my exciting 5-mile run that turned in to a PR! 19 points by my calculation for this "doer".

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A New PR!

My previous 5-mile PR was a 52:49 in 2010 running the Bill Luti 5-Miler in Concord, New Hampshire. Today, I shattered that number and managed to finish the Hermes Turkey Trot here in wonderful downtown Cleveland in 47:52!!!!! Holy crap, Batman, that's a minute faster per mile! Woohoo!

So today, not only am I grateful for a wonderful husband/kids and family, a good job with challenging work and enjoyable co-workers, fun friends, but I am also grateful for having good health and that I am able to do something I love - running.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This Weekend's Temptation

Before dinner last night I popped in to my favorite running store to pick up some gels and drink mix. As I walked in the back door with my youngest, a girl greeted me and asked me if I was pre registered. I looked at her with the same level of excitement as a 5-year-old on Christmas morning. A race? Here? In my backyard? I asked if it was a half marathon and it was. Oh dear. I love running half marathons. And I do have a long run I need to knock out this weekend - a 12-miler to be exact...which is uhmm pretty darn close to 13.1 miles. I held tough and continued on to the gels, but I did think about how nice it would be to run with a thousand of my closest friends, to have water stations, post-race goodies. I don't need another shirt nor should I spend the money on entry fee. Devil-Angel. Both were talking to me at the same time. In the end, I held strong. I bought my gels and went next door to have a wonderful dinner (and a Bear Republic Racer 5) with my daughters.

I still need to get in my long run. So I'll be carrying my own drinks and I'll put that entry fee toward a new pair of running shoes instead.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Working on Year 9

2011 will be my 9th Turkey Trot here in Cleveland. I just love this race. Last year, it was just me and the girls. The rain was so heavy that I finished the short 1-mile race sans jogging stroller. Since having Bridget, I've been running the 1-mile race with Greg and Megan while pushing Bridget in the jogging stroller. This year, I convinced Greg to join me in the 5-mile race. Can't wait! This is one tradition I love keeping up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Newest Guilty Pleasure

Thanks to my hubs and daughter, I have entered the world of Twitter. Who am I following? Why, Barbie, of course! And you should, too. I mean, come on, with tweets like below, how can you not wonder what Barbie is doing today?!

After a few days of rain in Malibu, this doll is ready to enjoy the sunshine! Hopping on my pretty pink bike and going for a ride.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Good Week of Running

For the most part, Mother Nature was kind to us Northern Ohio runners. I enjoyed the sunshine for my 3-miler on Monday and had a comfortable 10-miler today. Wednesday's 4-miler was in the pouring rain, but it was 60 degrees - so I'll take it. I'm going to try to fit in a quick 3-miler with B in the jogging stroller on Sunday (and maybe even meet Greg during his long run!) to round out an even 20 miles. What a good week!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

RunToTheFinish: Yuengling Shamrock Marathon (Entry Giveaway)

RunToTheFinish: Yuengling Shamrock Marathon (Entry Giveaway): Go over to Amanda's blog so that you can enter for a chance to win an entry in the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon and 1/2 Marathon in Virginia Beach. If I win the entry, it will give me another excuse to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Autumn Bucket List Progress

In September, I posted our family's Autumn Bucket List. It's been so much fun checking to-do items off this list!

So far, we have:

Gone Apple Picking at Patterson Fruit Farm and visited their Pumpkin Patch

Carved a pumpkin

Made Fall Cookies (pre-made Pillsbury count, right?)

Took a nature walk (and got to pick up one of those Horseapples)

Went trick or treating and entered a Trick or Trot race

And now, we can add having a "Photoshoot in a Leaf Pile, then jumping in" to our list!

Maybe this weekend, we'll have to tackle baking pies and s'mores and, if the weather allows, squeeze in an outdoor picnic!

Monday, November 7, 2011

No Longer a Minor

How can she be 18? Time flies way too fast! Yesterday, we celebrated Megan turning 18. As a special way to celebrate, Meg enjoyed opening 18 gifts for 18 years over 18 hours. At 6am, she woke up to her first gift. Her last gift was supposed to occur at 11pm, but we were too tired ad #17 and #18 were received at 9:45pm! What a wonderful kid to raise and be with. Time needs to slow down because I don't want to share her with college! No way, no how! Love you, Pumpkin!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Retiring an Old Friend

We all have wardrobe pieces that we hate to give up - something that either holds special memories or is so instrumental to your success as an athlete. For me, it was my armband. I have used this darn thing for 2 years, wearing it during almost every race I entered. The first time it started falling apart was at the Stowe 8-Miler in July 2010. I went to the medical tent to ask for tape and got lectured on how runners shouldn't be listening to music while running due to the safety risk. I carried my phone, not for music, but in case my daughters had an emergency back in the hotel room. I didn't need a lecture on safety - I'm old enough to know that - doy! Eventually, I started using duct tape...because duct tape is like miracle tape.. Then, during my Alaska race, the duct tape started having more and more trouble sticking. I just couldn't give up the armband yet - it had never given up on me. But with 5 races in October, the armband needed to be retired. I loved that thing :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thank Yous All Around

Thank you Mother Nature for providing such spectacular colors and autumn temps.

Thank you Metroparks for providing me with a well-maintained all-purpose trail to run.

Thank you to my husband for the massage gift certificate that I used last night. It gave me the needed flexibility to knock out an amazing and enjoyable run today.

Hope your week was just as great!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Morning with George Hincapie

Let's begin with arriving in Charleston. After a wonderful morning in Savannah, Georgia, we headed out for our 2-hour drive to Charleston to check off our 38th state. Our first stop was at a local, reputable bike shop that rented road bikes. I had pre-reserved a road bike for this event. I had exchanged emails and phone calls, but still had that feeling in my stomach that they would drop the ball. And drop the ball they did! I arrived to pick up my bike and it had no pedals. Are you freaking kidding me?! The person in charge (and who I had been communicating with) said I should have brought my own pedals. I reminded him that I had explained I needed clipless pedals and I'd be bringing my shoes. Long story short, he tried arguing, I politely stood my ground with details of our exchanges, Greg came to my aid, and eventually bike shop guy relented and did the right the end...and almost an hour later. He even gave me three samples of Hoo-Hah cream (as if that helped my near panic attack...well, eventually it was helpful!). At any rate, I had my bike WITH PEDALS and that's what mattered.

If you've never been to Charleston, you really must go. The town is beautiful with all the Southern mansions. It is full of amazing history. We were impressed with the restaurants, the shopping, and the large number of dessert places! The night before my ride, we had a delicious meal at Coast. The lobster ceviche as incredible, all our meals were rave-worthy, and the service was outstanding. After dinner, we stumbled across a cupcake shop, while looking for a macaroon shop, where we indulged in a few (hundred) extra calories.

So the night before the race, I had I was so anxious about meeting this Metric Century Ride goal and even more excited about seeing George Hincapie. How could I sleep knowing that I was meeting one of my cycling crushes in the morning?!

Before the Ride. Would you believe it was warmer in Cleveland than in Charleston? Uh oh. I had been watching the weather with more obsession than Megan watches the Kardashians. It was supposed to be pleasant - low 50s to start and ending with mid 60s - perfect cycling weather. As I lined up, it was a frigid 37 degrees. The ride was delayed by 15 minutes to allow all riders to assemble. That was 15 additional minutes for my thighs to turn bright pink. My legs looked like a Lilly Pullitzer Christmas tree! My ensemble included the most heavily ass-padded shorts I could buy, my white long-sleeve Nike running top, a blue sleeveless cycling jersey (yep, Meg said I looked liked Alice in Wonderland on a bike), with a last-minute add-on of Greg's brown NF long-sleeve. I then looked like a petite Chewbacca! As my fingers were going numb from the cold, I panhandled till I found a kind soul who loaned me his spare gloves. He did so only after telling this Cleveland girl he was a Steelers fan! Whatever, my fingers felt much better.

As I was lining up, George Hincapie arrived. It was my kind of red carpet experience. He was dressed in BMC clothing as if he had just finished a ride in the Alps alongside Cadel Evans. SWOON. I am such a cycling dork that I began smiling like a teenager with a crush. He is as marvelous in person as you'd expect. I did not have the cycling speed to ride alongside him for the event, but I did see him pass by me on the return loop and I grinned all over again!

The Ride. The Ride was advertised as a 100k+ event since it was measured at 67.61 miles. However, all road markings said 70k! I know, right? What's 3 more miles when you're already doing 67? This charity ride was a smallish group of riders who mostly maintained speeds of 25 mph. No worries, I was here to test my limits, to burn a few calories, and to have fun. I did all three with an average speed of 14.7mph (when you subtract the rest/water stop time).

The first 20 miles I rode by myself. It was so freezing cold, I was more concerned with trying to keep myself warm that the miles ticked by fairly quickly. I couldn't believe the sign that read "15 Miles". And I had to keep my focus and not let myself realize that I had 55 more miles to go! As we know, the mental challenge always outweighs the physical.

The first rest stop came at 20 miles. It was here that I ran into two wonderful ladies, Beth and Jan. Beth regularly competes in triathlons and Jan had just finished a 1600 mile trek on her bike from Portland, Maine. The three of us spent the next 47+ miles together. So glad to have company and both ladies were incredibly interesting. Beth shared my passion for the Tour de France and she even had a fantasy TdF team!

The route was mostly scenic, offering great views of old oak trees dripping with spanish moss. We crossed a draw bridge (thankfully, down) with the water glistening and even seeing a pelican diving to catch food. At one point, we were stopped behind an old pickup truck for about 5 minutes while waiting for a train to finish crossing. The pickup truck had a bumper sticker about eating Yankees. If questioned, I was going to keep my hometown to myself!

We passed by a road named Dolly Dimples and, of course, that provided a good laugh for a bit. At one point, Jan asked me what my longest ride had been so far. I asked her how far had we gone already. She said 45. So I said my longest ride was 45 miles!

Prior to reaching the third water stop, we crossed a beautiful marsh where we saw a family of turkey vultures. The crosswinds were tough, but the natural beauty of the marsh was a treat in itself. At the third water stop (around mile 52-ish), the volunteers were outstanding. One guy held my bike while I stretched and he told me that he had been a Browns fan since the Brian Sipe days. He shared that his college roommate had graduated high school with Brian Sipe and he had been a fan ever since. It was a nice story that took my mind off all the pedaling for a few minutes. I do love hearing stories from people about their Cleveland experiences or connections.

I won't lie. The last 10 miles took a hundred years to finish. At least it felt like a hundred years. I will tell you that working in a team makes all the difference. Because Jan had just come back the previous week from her 1600 mile ride, Beth and I took turns pulling. Working in a team also makes you work a little harder so you don't let down the others. I really think this helped me finish as well as I did. And it was during this final stretch that Jan saw me squirming for comfort and she yelled out that, at this point, changing positions in the saddle wasn't going to help me. She was right. It was a "soreness" that I cannot describe, but does rival childbirth. Ouch is all I'm going to say about that!

As we rounded back into Park West I began to get excited because everything looked familiar. It was so cool when the firefighters at the station cheered as we rode by! But how is it possible that the beginning miles are quick and light and the final miles are long and hard?! Fortunately, I was full of a sense of accomplishment and that amazing feeling carried my sore ass and tired legs to the finish line! I even finished a full hour sooner than Greg predicted. Yay me!

Jan, Me, and Beth Post-Ride

At the finish line, Beth, Jan and I enjoyed a plate of pasta. Because we had finished so late, the dinner forks were gone so we had to use those big catering forks. Hysterical! As wonderful as a pasta dinner seemed, I couldn't really eat because I was plum tuckered out!

Greg and the girls had spent the morning at the Charleston Aquarium and joined me shortly after I finished. Some tots at Sonic for Meg (what would a trip to any southern state be without a stop at Sonic?!), a quick shower for me, then off to historic King Street for some window shopping. We stumbled across a great little college bar, plopped ourselves down, and enjoyed a celebratory ale. Dinner topped the evening with ribs and pulled pork at Sticky Fingers. I had collard greens and Carolina baked beans with my dinner. I'm pretty sure my dinner had the same number of calories that I burned earlier in the day!

And with the help of family and friends through their generous donations to the Jerry Zucker Charleston Ride for Hope, the 38th state was checked off!

Kim, are you ready for the next adventure in Vegas?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Podium Finish for My Pumpkin

As usual, the Clevelanders brought the rain again. And, as usual, this race is another example of why I love small town races.

A Halloween race has become a tradition. I am all about strange or silly traditions. Since moving to Cleveland, I have not missed a single Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day, running either the 5-mile (if alone) or the 1-mile (if with family). Even 6 months pregnant with Bridget, I still ran the 1-mile race earning me a Pregnancy PR. This month will make my ninth Turkey Trot in downtown Cleveland.

The new running tradition is that I run a Halloween race with Bridget in the jogging stroller. Last year, she and I ran the Day of the Tread 10k in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This year, Meg surprised me by agreeing to run with us (she might tell the story differently, you know). We truly made the Savannah Trick or Trot 5k A FAMILY AFFAIR!

The morning of the race, it rained. No worries as we don't mind a little of the wet stuff. The race was held at the May Howard Elementary School in Wilmington Island, a few miles from the center of Savannah, Georgia. Costumes were encouraged and, of course, we wore ours! Bridget and I were witches while Meg donned her cheetah outfit.

The course was a nice loop around stately plantations, opening up to breathtaking views of the water, passing s beautifully landscaped golf course and country club. And best of all, Meg won third place in her age group! This was her first AG medal and, as you can see from the picture, she was proud! She wore that medal all day like it was a prized heirloom piece of jewelry. Even at dinner Saturday evening, she was still sporting her medal. Awesome day with my girls!

We celebrated completing our 37th state at a great little brunch spot in the historic district. Such a small world as we found out our waitress had recently been to an outdoor concert in Logan, Ohio. Afterwards, we walked around the town, enjoyed ourselves sampling 5 different kinds of honey at the Savannah Bee Company, picked out handmade soaps at Nourish, eating ice cream at the famed Leopold's, then got in the car for our 2-hour ride to Charleston, South Carolina.

Great day - and congratulations Megan!