Sunday, October 31, 2010

Views from a run...

Today was my last long run before my taper begins. I have mixed feelings about the upcoming Chickamauga Marathon. Mostly excitement with a little fear of the unknown stirred in. This may sound odd but mentally I see this as a training run. I have no real expectation of a time goal, I just want to have a good race. For me, this race is sort of the gateway to the beginning of my Goofy Challenge training so it may be the anticipation of the Goofy that has given me such a relaxed outlook on Chickamauga.

The only two things that have me a little nervous about Chickamauga are that it is such a small race and it is a no headphones race. I am an attention deficit disorder runner. I LOVE the distraction of big races. There will be no bands, cheerleaders or Disney characters lining the civil war battlefield. The race field is limited to 700 runners which makes me think that there may be stretches where there are few people in sight. I guess that will give me a challenge. I must entertain myself for four hours. Shocking, I know... LOL.

As promised, here are a few sights from today's 11 miler at Stone Mountain. Unfortunately, the best sight of the day ws not captured on film. I was passed by a cyclist wearing one of those silver plastic "sweat" suits from the 80s. When he got up to speed, his plasticy suit blew up like Violet, the blueberry girl, from Willy Wonka. I was trying to decide if it was a Halloween costume or an unintended effect. I am pretty sure it was the latter.

Stone Mountain is a little conflicted on how to decorate for Halloween...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three bits of randomness ...

It is Thursday after all.

1. After 2 years of owning my Garmin 305, I finally decided to look up how to mark each mile as a lap so I can look at paces after long runs without downloading the data. Why did I wait so long??? I know... The funny thing is I had it on at a race last February. The guy next to me at the start line glanced at this rather large piece of equipment on my wrist and asked me what time it was. I had to admit that I didn't know how to look it up on the Garmin. LOL. He sort of shuffled away from me like I was a big doofus. (Does anyone use that word anymore?). I made it a point to figure that out afterwards. No one has ever asked me since, but if they do I am ready!

2. I have changed up my routine and run after work twice this week instead of getting up early and going to the gym. It has been kind of nice. Weather has been in the 70s and Fall colors are starting to peek out. I am planning to meet back up with my group on Saturday AM to get 12 miles in. They might be shocked to see me 2 weeks in a row. Perhaps I should come bearing gifts. Side note, I ordered the Island Nectar flavor GU that was on special last week and just got it. Is it weird that I am looking forward to my long run so I can try the new flavor? Don't answer that.

3. I am getting my "natural" blond restored on Saturday. Woo hoo! Waaaaaay overdue due to a last minute work meeting that was tossed at me on the day and time of my previous appointment. It felt wrong to tell my boss I couldn't go because I had a hair appointment. Sacrifices must be made.... At this point, I either have to get my hair done or resort to wearing ski caps everywhere to cover my roots while my friends adopt my new nickname of "skunk". decisions, decisions...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Running in packs...

This week, after weeks (or more like it - MONTHS) of neglecting my group, I went back for a run. The timing was right. I had guilt of not having shown up to their oh-so-early runs since June and more importantly they were running somewhere that was reported to be... FLAT! As someone who had 20 miles on the schedule this weekend, flat looked pretty good. I don't get a lot of flat around here. Not that we have mountain ranges as such but it is hard to avoid hilly runs in my area of town. Needless to say, we weren't running on my side of town.

The call of the early morning Saturday run is hard for me for a couple of reasons. I have tennis on Friday nights and my CSA pickup on Saturday AM. Luckily for me, the Friday night match was a quick one and I had chosen to skip my CSA pickup this week. (Side note, we have become so accustomed to our weekly veggie pick up that even veggie hatin' CR was a little horrified that we wouldn't have fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and other veggies this week). I would give up my CSA bag every week, or at least arrange for a different pick up day, if all my runs could be as effortless as it was this week.

I hopped in the car at 6 AM to head across town to the Alpharetta Greenway. It was about a 45 minute drive from my house but absolutely worth it. Most in the group were running from 6 to 8 miles that day so my plan was to run with the group for the first bit and then conquer the last 12 on my own.

If you live in the area, you have to check out this greenway. I have heard it can become crowded so I may have just hit it at a good time but it did not seem overly crowded to me at all. The path itself was made of concrete and was flat as promised. In fact, the only hills were slight inclines leading to bridges.

The first 6 miles were easy and done before I knew it. I managed to pick up a second group that was headed out for 8 more miles as I was finishing my first 6 which meant that I only had to run 6 miles on my own. By the time we looped back around and I hit the 14 mile mark, I only had 6 more to go which seemed like a breeze! I really did not feel tired at all until mile 19 which was a miracle considering the less than comfortable long runs I have had this summer. My legs were a little difficult to unfold from the car after the hour ride home but all in all I felt pretty good.

My takeaway from the day was never underestimate the value of running in groups. I was doubting my ability to get 20 miles in on my own and the group helped make it seem easy. I might even have to start showing my face on a regular basis ... Who needs fresh cucumbers? ;)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Virtual Racing...

Have you seen the press release from Lifetime Fitness about their new relay options for the Toyota Triathlon series? There are two new facets to bring people to the series, the "fantasy" and "match" options.

The fantasy is a little like a fantasy football league with a "non fantasy" leg thrown in. From what I understand, you choose one leg of the race to run yourself and then pick your fantasy people to run the other two. So if I decide to do the swim leg, I can pick Chrissie Wellington to bike and Sarah Haskins for the run. They take my time and then add in the time of the other two ladies. Might be a little too "virtual" for me. It seems like it would feel incomplete somehow. No one to hand off the timing chip to, no teammates to cheer on. You step out of the lake and you are done. A little odd. Maybe it is just me.

I do like the "match" option. Basically, you put your name on a list and the race director matches you up with a relay team. I think that is a great idea and am surprised there isn't something in place for that already. I can think of plenty of races where I would have been up for leg of the race but not the full thing and didn't have enough people to make up a relay. What do you think?

In the non-virtual race world, have you seen the coupon code going around? The Rock N Roll series is offering a $20 discount on any of their upcoming races. The catch is the code is only good on 10/10/10.

SAVE $20 on 10/10/10
For one day only!

On October 10, 2010
SAVE $20 on ANY race in the
Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

Use Online Code: SAVEON10
Coupon is only valid on 10/10/10 from 10A to 10P PST.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What are you afraid of...

I got stuck in a bathroom stall this week. Again. As I shimmied out from underneath yet another bathroom door, I realized I may now be developing some sort of unnatural fear of bathroom stalls. It could have been worse, at least this time I was in tennis gear. The last time I was at our corporate office on the executive floor in a suit. As I shimmied out from under the door then, I could only pray that none of the other “suits” decided to pop into the bathroom. Crisis averted.

I have a 20 miler on the schedule this weekend. I can feel myself beginning to fear it. Maybe not fear so much as a weird mix of excitement and a feeling of not being sure if I can do it. It is not like I haven’t conquered that distance before. I think the summer heat has really played a number on my confidence. The plan this week is to get up early, grab my CSA bag from the farmer’s market and head straight out to run. It has been wonderfully fall like here with some 50s and 60s in the AM so I will have no excuses. I am pumped to get ‘er done and conquer the doubts!

Four weeks until the Chickamauga marathon! Since it is only 2 months before the Goofy Challenge at Disney, I am planning on doing Chickamauga more as a training run with no specific time goal in mind. Enjoy the race, finish it and be proud – those are my three goals for Chickamauga. Ironically, they will probably be the same goals as I have for the Goofy. Why get too creative and confuse things? Since Chickamauga is a civil war battlefield, my Aunt asked me if I was going to dress up like a re-enactment character. As much as I would love to run 26.2 miles dressed like Laura Ingalls I am going to have to pass on that idea unless someone wants to follow me in a covered wagon with snacks, water and supplies....

In other news, there must something to that moderation thing… the bag of Hershey’s Kisses I received for the moderation nation project is still alive and well. Normally, CR would have killed it on the first night!