Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Daisyhead Maisy the Geologist

The Virginia College Savings Plan recently held a poster contest called, "Drawing Your Dreams." The grand prize was a complete scholarship for 4 years of in-state tuition -- worth about $36,000.
Daisy was a finalist, drawing a self portrait out in the field with a shovel and a pick. In a font, she created out of different colored pebbles, she wrote, "I Dig Rocks." I think it was a close contender for first place (but maybe that's just because I'm biased). There were over 1,200 entries for Kindergarten and over 11,000 entries overall. Her consolation prize was $250 in her Virginia Education Savings Trust account, pretty good for a 6-year-old.
I hope we see the art again...they said they can't give it back to us, but maybe they'll make note cards or a calendar with it.
Regardless, I'm proud of her for having a dream and for drawing it! The winners' art is pretty incredible....including the kindergarden entry who beat her....drawing in cursive.

Eagleman Homestay

I am happy to stay that I've been assigned my Homestay host for Eagleman. I think it is amazing that complete strangers, who have an appreciation for the sport, open up their homes to athletes. For this I am incredibly grateful. (As I am not prepared to pay the $1,800 a night, required to rent a suite at the local hotel).
And after I experience the Homestay, I will seriously consider hosting an athlete myself when they come for the 2007 Duathlon World Championships here in Richmond at West Creek. (Although I'm not sure how Mr. Preschool will feel about that, considering it's our anniversary).

I don't want to say too much to protect the privacy of my host...but I do want to say that I am very pleased with the location... just maybe 3 blocks from the race, very close to the swim exit/bike transition.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New TRIgirls Rock

I just want to say my neighbor, and new TRIgirl, O, is such a trooper. She came running with me this morning -- her first trip to the Vita Course. Good thing I'm slow, because she really shouldn't have been running half mile repeats on her first day out! I kept telling her Coach G is gonna' kill me if she finds out I let you do that!
O was a super star, and is in really good shape because she had no problem keeping up with me for most of the workout. And I was happier with my times, doing 4 repeats is so much better than 6. I guess I'm saving the 4 mile run for Thursday...I better get there early.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Eagle -- Man

Robert Vigorito just sent us this Eagleman email about the actual Eagles at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where most of the 56 mile bike occurs. The LiveEagle cam offers a glimps of the birds and their new chicks that will arrive soon.

The Great Richmond Region Adventure

As many of you know, I work in the tourism industry and part of my job is to promote Richmond. Yesterday, I found about this really cool Richmond Region Adventure Race, May 5th, from 12-4. It costs $150 for a team to enter -- but if you win you get $2,500 plus $2,500 for you favorite Richmond area attraction...I've already decided mine is Maymont. Teams of 2 to 5 people must walk (or run, hmmm all this training could come in handy) the course answering clues and trivia. The race starts at Tredegar Ironworks and ends at the Brown's Island Cinco de Mayo festival.

I'm hoping to form a a comment if you are interested.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

1/2 mile. Repeat. 1/2 mile. Repeat. 1/2 mile. Repeat. 1/2 mile. Repeat. 1/2 mile. Repeat.

Well the half mile repeats yesterday were tough. For one, it was wayyyyyy colder than I expected. With springlike temperatures all week, I was expecting it to be warmer than the 20 degrees someone spotted on their thermometer.

I'm learning that half mile repeats (like everything else) is something that you get better at with time. I went out too fast on my first one (5:08 instead of 5:25)....and so by the time I got to number 6...I was fried....(6:08 instead of of 5:25).

I found myself thinking I prefered long easy last weeks 8 miles....something I never thought I would say. And, while I tried to stop my brain before I thought was too late...and my wish has come true. Saturday we are scheduled for an easy 8-10 mile run.

At least my kids will have Gramma & PopPop around to entertain them, since it appears I will be gone all morning on Saturday...once again.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Negative Split

Mr. Preschool made me a new mix tape to which I rocked out on this morning on the Vita course....for my 4 mile negative split. I had to cut it about 3/10ths of a mile short so Mr. Preschool could still ride his bike to work in this beautiful spring weather....but I was happy with my time 44:14.

Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake

My new favorite Daisyhead Maisy quote is ...
"We were all like sprinkles on a cupcake!" reference to her wild preschool days where they could nap wherever they wanted including on top of, and under tables.

Just trying not to forget how cute she is....despite the fact that we are now up to 8 caveties...4 trips (at least) to the dentist....and well over $500 in the whole. If I could just make them go away with no pain...I'd pay twice that much.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

An 8 Mile Run

Yesterday, after an pretty brutal biking session, I had my longest run ever. Overall it was great. TRIgirl Cheryl was a sweetie and wanted to run with me despite the fact that I'm slower than her. She has one of those cool Nike chips she puts in her shoe and tracks her run. The results are far better than I expected:
Distance 8.52 miles
time 1:44:34
Pace 12:15

For the sake of my conscience I should mention that I think her computer was a little generous to us. I think the run technically should have been 8 miles, meaning that our pace time could have been a bit slower, closer to a 13 minute pace.
The run started at Willow Lawn and we ran down Monument Avenue all the way to the Downtown YMCA and then back. The Y let us in to get a drink of water, and we tried to pee, but couldn't (figures) our time doesn not include the 10 minutes it took for us to find our way into the locked bathrooms (and up and down the stairs) and back out again.

Some of you may know this but when I came to Richmond in 1991 I lived right on Monument Avenue, well actually Franklin Street in Johnson Hall...the dorm. Each year, I would just a couple of blocks farther west. And until about 2 years ago, I lived right at Willow Lawn (901 Parrish St). So this run was a journey back in time for me. As I worked my way closer and closer to the dorm that I started my adult life in, I was reminded of stages in my life, not too long ago, but oh so long ago at the same time.

First, Lafayette Street, would take me to my favorite apartment -- 3923 Park Ave. The one where I ran/walked 3 miles every day often with Mr. Preschool. I didn't know this until recently when I ran into my across-the-street neighbor from that time ...but apparently we had quite a reputation...for kissing on the front lawn. It wasn't really like was like 7 am and we'd just be getting back from the run. We'd sit on the little bank in our front yard and I would do my sit-ups while Mr. Preschool would hold my feet. Then we'd switch. But more often then not, I guess, we'd end up rolling around in the grass kissing. We were newlyweds...what can I say?

Then, Roseneath Ave at the Ashe Monument. We lived at 3409 Hanover...and I had one of my best gardens ever...built from scratch. And we had a really cool neighbor named Bruce.

When I crossed Davis, at the Jefferson Davis Monument I was reminded of 2 apartments. At 109 N. Davis, we rented the bottom floor. We loved the place... the only problem is we had to go into the freezing cold unfinished basement if we wanted a shower. This was the apartment where I lived when I found out my mom had leukemia. This is the apartment where I lived when I got married. And, this was the apartment where I quit smoking. We weren't allowed to smoke inside -- only outside. And it was seeing myself outside on the back porch in the pitch black sick and coughing trying to get a smoke that made me realize I had to quit. I crushed out the cigarette, went back inside and slept for 2 days. When I woke up...I was a non-smoker.

The second apartment was 2339 W. Grace Street. When I lived at this apartment my motorcycle was my only transportation one winter. I remeber going as fast as I cold to get to VCU in the morning...just so I could get it over with. And when it snowed or iced, I didn't go anywhere. This was also the apartment with a band downstairs that seemed to practice all the time. Hans and Ginger lived upstairs in another apartment with their pit bulls. Whenever we ran into them in the hallway we had to pretend like we didn't hear them having wild sex all the time. This is also the apartment where I met Mr. Preschool's parents for the first time. And where we lived when we found my favorite cat, Biko, who always smelled like fire.

Before I knew it we were passing my friend Leigh's apartment facing the Lee Monument where I had my first Thanksgiving without my family in 1992. At the next intersection, we crossed Lombardy/Stuart Circle and I was remineded of the apartment where I fell in love with my husband -- 1604 Grove #6. 1604 was also where I bought my motorcycle and where I spend some of the happiest and unhappiest times of my young adulthood. I was 19 when I moved there and met my future husband. And found that riding my motorcycle was one of the only things that could always distract me from myself.

Then, we passed Johnson Hall, the dorm and my husband's dorm facing Monroe Park. It's funny how it is so much the same and so different all at the same time. Bikes, kids, homeless. Same buildings...and yet new buildings stood where none where before, like Rhodes Hall II.

During this time of reflection, I had run 38.51 minutes straight without really noticing. For me, that is huge since typically I'll stop every 3-4 minutes. I'm not sure what happeded...I guess I was in the zone and between running with Cheryl and reflecting, I was able to continue without walking.

The Chrono recap from my watch is below, mostly for my records... but it is interesting to see how much longer I could run when I was with someone.

R means Run... W means Walk. can see the times I ran with Cheryl and also, when I went it alone. Pretty funny how my running times got shorter and shorter towards the end! But you can also see the big impact having someone to run with had on me!

4.59 R with Cheryl
1.17 W
3.57 R
1.11 W
4.19 R
.57 W
11.28 R with Cheryl
1 W....ran to catch Cheryl
38.51 R Cheryl
1 W
17.54 R Cheryl
1.11 W
3.56 R Cheryl
1 W ....Cheryl went ahead by herself
2.36 R
.26 W
1.54 R
.40 W
1.17 R
.53 W
2.07 R
.33 W
3.26 Run down Staples Mill to Maramarc

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Little Secret

First of all, I want to say a huge thank you to all you folks out there who are reading my blog and posting comments. The support that you offer me is amazing. Actually, I think most of us underestimate the positive influence we have over other people's lives when we make the effort to support them. The influence is huge....and I know because I think about all the encouragement that you guys give me while I'm running.
On another note, while I'm dishing out the thanks, I owe a big shout out to Nytro. Her entry earlier this week on "toe-flicking" while running up hills nailed it for me. And for the first time ever I "toe-flicked" up that little hill on the Vita course without having to slow down (well at least the first 2 times around).
And lastly, (I should warn you, you might not want to read this part if you are grossed out by bodily functions)....I want to tell you a secret. I had to pee so bad this morning before our run, that despite there being 40 or so TRIgirls out for our first official TRIgirl workout of the season, and despite many of them having never met me before, I pulled down my tights right there in the middle of the street, by my back tire and peed. I'm not sure how it goes...did the cold make me need to pee so bad or did pulling down my pants when it's 20 friggin' degrees out make me colder and have to pee even worse. We'll never know. All I know is I didn't get caught...I pulled up my pants just before the headlights drove up. And for all of you who are deviants like me and who are wondering....
Yes, when I came back to my car after the run...It WAS frozen a Popsicle!
I hope nobody slipped on it...
P.S. Mr. Preschool said I should NOT tell this story...Did I exersise poor judgement?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Making Progress -- a PR on My 1 Mile Run

Good News. I made it to the 7 a.m. run on Saturday despite the temperature being somewhere around 17-22 degrees. Even better news is that I was rewarded for showing up by getting a PR (by 1 second) on my 1 mile time. I know it is a slow, slow, time but for me, it is great: 10:20.
For my December and January timed miles my times were 11:05 and 11:03, so it is a significant improvement. Several factors contributed to the faster time including not having run the night before (for I while I was doing these crazy 3-5 mile Friday night runs, just because that was the only time I could squeeze them in) and not eating breakfast....just grabbing a banana. Another contributing factor was that instead of running the entire mile, like I did for the 11:03 and 11:05 times, I walked several times. Although it is counter-intuitive, walking actually makes me faster. Also (thanks to the temporary JCC membership), I went running 4 times last week -- for a total of 14 miles in one week -- another record for me.
The bad news is that the cold air aggravated my asthma and started having symptoms on the second part of the mile. Three of us on Eagleman/IMFL team have asthma and luckily mine is the least severe. D used a surgical mask to help her warm the air so her lungs wouldn't be aggravated by the cold. And I think both of them remembered to use their inhaler before running. Unfortunately, I forgot.
I tried breathing through my neck gator to warm the air like D's surgical mask but it just made me feel like I was suffocating. Since I didn't have the spacer for my inhaler I decided to wimp out and change my 4 timed half miles to 2 timed half miles. I felt like such quitter for skipping them that I tried to squeeze in a third timed 1/2 mile on the way back to Maramarc...but it was a lost cause...It must have been about 1/4 miles because my time was something like 2:30.
Next Saturday we we bike 60 minutes on the trainer and then run 8 miles. OMG. I've never run that far before. I figure it'll take at least a couple hours. Hope the team is still at Starbucks when I finish.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Reasons to Stay Awake at Night

I've been having trouble sleeping. Too much going on, at home and in the world. My 10 day trial membership at the JCC has made working out in this cold easy. The childcare workers watch Redfish (and Daisy if needed)....I run, run, run on the treadmill and lift weights in the nice warm air. I waited until the last week in January to use the membership because my running workouts had been suffering. It's just too cold to drag Redfish out into the teen degree air just to get a run in.

At the same time, I knew I had to do something. I was falling so behind on the runs, I knew I was at a point of make it or break it.

Oh, but I'm getting sidetracked. ...What I wanted to say is that running on the treadmills at the JCC just makes me feel like the world is ending. No less than 6 T.V.s to watch all, all on different channels, foretelling different stories of doom on the closecaptioning.
I try not to watch it. I have my ipod stuffed in my ears. I try to concentrate on my intervals. But Dr. Phil sucks me in with 4-year-old boys who weight 187 lbs and steal Twinkies from the locked cabinets. CNN sucks me in with "Anna Nicole Smith 1967-2007: Former Playboy Bunny found collapsed in Florida Hotel" ....with just a minor mention that she has a several month old baby somewhere and no one knows who the hell the father is. "Chemical Fire burns out of control in Kansas City, Missouri....residents evacuated.".... Yet another "US military helicopter is shot out of the sky in Iraq"..... And "Letter bomber strikes again in Britain."

Not to mention my personal life. Daisy has 6 -- count 'em 6 cavities. And I should mention we don't really eat candy...and she does brush her teeth....but the spacing on her teeth and genetics have contributed to a disaster area. Not to mention the fact that the pediatric dentist is trying to rob us blind in her McDentist teeth factory. ...Redfish is trying to get in to a highly competitive preschool that we can't afford....but our back-up school called to tell us they were closing. So many tasks at hand each day that I can' t get done. So much so that after tossing and turning all night...when I finally when I wake up at 5 or 5:30 in the morning...I have to come downstairs and try to work on solve the problems because I can't go back to sleep.

But, actually, that's not the only kind of sleeping trouble I'm talking about. ... I'm also talking about when I leave at 6:45 p.m. to go cycling. The kids are in the P.J.s, their teeth are brushed, stories are read when I leave. When I come home at 8:20, I walk in the door and Mr. Preschool tells me not to do the dishes because Redfish JUST fell asleep.
"What did you guys do for the last hour and a half? I had them ready for bed when I left!"
"We'll," says Mr. Preschool, "I just went up there for the 4th time of him calling me with different excuses why he couldn't sleep. You know he had to pee, then he needed water....You know what he said the last time I went in there?"
"No, what did he say?"
"Dada, I have a soft BUTT!"
OK Redfish -- go to sleep already. You'll have plenty of time to worry about the problems of the world later.
As for me, I'm gonna run outside in the cold....and try to solve the problems of the world while I run....not while I'm on a leash on the treadmill feeling the weight of the world. No wonder I can barely walk when I get off that thing, it's like a bad dream...and getting off of a boat at the same time.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Tag -- I'm It

TRIgirl teammate TRIgirl 40, and Ironmom are playing a little Tri Blogger Tag and tagged me with 6 questions about me and triathlons. interesting can I make this?
And in the meantime....I'm going to tag some of my favorite bloggers. Let's just see how small this Triblogging universe is.

Iron Wil
Tri Greyhound
and Roman

If you've been tagged, answer these six questions, then tag six more folks.

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever
2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon
3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?
4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?
5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?
6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever

My first triathlon ever was the 3Sports Triathlon in July of 2002. I wasn't even sure I could finish. I remember being shocked that they were going to write in magic marker on my B-O-D-Y. A badge I tried to flaunt in the tank tops and shorts I wore that day and the next, because I was proud that I did finish.

2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon

I'll never forget the amazing feeling I had riding my bike to Sandman on the boardwalk in the dark. I'd never biked to a race before. Somehow it felt more empowering to leave my giant transition bag (otherwise known as my car) at home. It was so freeing to know that I had all I needed to do this race riding on my back. What started out as riding at dark, quickly turned into a twilight-like sunrise. There is nothing like a sunrise at the beach on the East Coast. I loved the contrast of the quietness of a city still asleep and the waves rushing against the shore. The calm before the storm.

3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?
We'll how about in you really need to know this? I went to the ACAC Richmond Tri Club Monthly Coached swim and If you've ever been to these training sessions, then you know they are tough. We usually swim 3000 to 3500 meters. ...But sometimes it is not the distance but the intensity that kicks your butt. I had to leave a few minutes early in order to make it to work by 9 a.m. I think I swam even faster than normal because I was late. Anyway, my arms were so know the feeling JELLO. And we were at the deep end of the pool where it is like 12 feet deep. I tried to hop out of the pool and my arms we so tired and jello-ey...(is that a word?) that they collapsed and I fell back into the pool. Coach P was watching, trying not to laugh at just how bad he'd kicked my ass.

4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?

I was racing the inaugural IronGirl event at the site of the internationally know Columbia Triathlon. I was particularly concerned about the hills and making sure I was trained for them. I was doing fairly well and coming down a giant hill, only to go back up the final monster hill when I switched gears from big chain ring to little chain ring and my chain fell off. I was actually totally freaked out. So much so that I didn't refuse when 2 little girls -- who were maybe 8 years old -- offered put my chain back on for me. Actually, they standing there waiting for it to happen...and they were helping many folks, waiting as a sort of pre-pubescent pit crew. It took them about 2 minutes, but I was so moved by them and in complete awe. Those 2 girls , Emma and Greer, really did bring new meaning to the word IRONGIRL for me.

5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?

I've discovered that triathlons make me a better person in every way.

6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?

Eagleman 2007 is the immediate goal. We'll see after that.

Richmond Tri Club

We'll I did't get elected to the Tri Club Board of Directors. Lots of incumbants who were running for their same seats again made it a tough competition. I am glad I ran even though I didn't win. My teamates were hugely supportive...sending in more absentee ballots than RTC had ever seen and wishing me luck. Plus I got to meet some great new people. It just wasn't in the stars.