Saturday, September 26, 2009


Since you can't finish what you don't start, I am putting "DNS" (rather than "DNF") in the log books for the Help Make A Difference triathlon. At the last minute, I decided to pull out of the race. The day began at 4:30am when I decided to get up. I tossed and turned all through night, hoping that the rain would clear out for the race. Chad woke me up around midnight or so when he got back from studying to let me know that there was flash flooding going on in our county...great! When I woke up on Saturday morning, I looked outside and all I saw was heavy rain. I decided to go ahead and get ready and head to the race site, hoping that the weather would clear through the morning.

I packed my bags and loaded my bike, and headed to Danville. I knew that the race probably would not be canceled due to the weather, but I kept struggling over the decision: to race or not to race...that was the question. Before I left the house at 6:15, I woke Chad up and told him that the weather looked horrible, but I was going to go to the race site to check things out. He planned to leave the house at 7:15 to head to the race site, but I told him that I would call him once I got there to let him know if I was going to race or not.

My drive to Danville was really stressful - it was dark, pouring rain, foggy, and I was pretty much hugging the steering wheel. Once I got to the race site, I rain into the gym/wellness center that was serving as race HQ. As I ran inside I noticed that there were only 2 bikes set up in the transition area. By this point, I had pretty much talked myself out of doing the race.

I've only ridden my bike twice in the rain, and it wasn't very fun at all - I had no confidence and I went so slowly around curves and on downhills, trying to avoid crashing. Plus, we are in this sucky "in between buckets" stage of our medical insurance where we have to pay 100% out of pocket for all medical expenses, so the idea of riding on dark, water-logged, foggy roads with 100 other people in a downpour didn't seem like the smartest choice to me. I held out a small hope that they might decide to cut out the bike portion of the race due to the flash flood warnings and have a swim/run duathlon, which would have been awesome, but alas that didn't happen.

I hated to make the decision, but I just knew that it wasn't worth the risk of crashing and/or getting sick from racing in such dismal weather. I called Chad to tell him that I was headed home, and I know that he was relieved. He was really afraid that I'd break my neck out on the course! Three of my friends planned to come to the race, but I told them on Friday to not come if it was raining - I thought it would be miserable for them to have to stand out in the rain for two hours! So even though I knew they probably weren't coming to the race, I called my friend Sarah to let her know I wasn't going to be racing, just in case they had decided to come. To my shock, they said they were about half-way to Danville! I couldn't believe that they were willing to come out in the terrible weather to support me. I shouldn't have been surprised, because they are just the kind of great friends who would do anything for you, but I was still pretty surprised. Since they were already on their way to Danville, we decided to meet for breakfast instead. Having breakfast with good friends in a warm coffee shop definitely beat racing out in the rain!! Kelly, Sarah, Amberly (and kiddos Morgan and Cora) - thank you for coming out to support me, even though I am a quitter!

So, I only got to do one triathlon this season but that's ok. I have two (maybe three) more running races this month that I'm going to focus on, and then I'm going to take it easy and just run, bike and swim for fun through the rest of the year. I'm already starting to line up my 2010 running/triathlon calendar!

Here are some things I found yesterday afternoon about this crazy weather we've been having - the report from the meterologist came at 7:59am, 1 minute before the race start! Luckily today is sunny and things are finally starting to dry out!

How Heavy Is The Rain?

By: Meteorologist Tom Ackerman
Posted: Sep 26, 2009 7:41 AM
Updated: Sep 26, 2009 7:59 AM

1.84" in one hour at the Somerset Pulaski County airport. That's an almost 2" per hour rainfall rate! 2.31" in 2 hours from the Kentucky Mesonet site near Winchester. Flash flooding is almost certain close to torrential rain like this... use extreme caution if you're out and about this morning.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Help Make A Difference triathlon tomorrow

My second triathlon is fast approaching. I am not nearly as nervous and adrenaline crazed as I was before my last one in August. We have been deluged by rain all week long, and I'm really hoping that the weather is clear for the race in the morning! The race is in Danville, KY, which is about 20 miles away.

My gear is packed and ready - I've checked and re-checked my packing list a few times. I had a simple dinner of spaghetti with marinara sauce, and I've got my breakfast all planned out. I'm going to eat oatmeal with a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter mixed in - it has worked really well this season as a pre-long run meal.

I think I am most concerned about the swim. I feel really confident about the distance - 300 yards. But I'm not too confident about the swim being in a pool, as I've heard they can be a little more messy than open water swims. I've really been working on my breathing and my stroke over the past two months, so I am excited to see how I do tomorrow.

I'm really looking forward to the bike and the run - I was convinced that the bike was 18 miles, but I found out this week that it's only 15 miles! So, that is a bonus, as I've been training for a fast (that's relative, of course!) 18 mile ride. The course is a 7.5 mile out and back, so I feel good about having a better idea of the course on the way back to T2.

I hope my run will be much stronger in this race than it was in the Lame Duck tri. I really didn't put in the run work I needed before Lame Duck, so I've made sure to really put in the necessary work this time around.

One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is how happy I am that I was raised in such an active family. I am extremely thankful to my parents for this, and I hope they realize it. From the time Megan and I were in kindergarten, we were playing sports - basketball, soccer, t-ball, softball, lacrosse, and even a brief stint with roller hockey!

The other thing that we always did as a family was go on walks. We would leash up our trusty Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix Scout and hit the roads. We would walk down to the local lake, down to our elementary school to play on the playground, or just around the neighborhood. We would go to mass as a family on Saturday evenings, and then spend our Sunday mornings out at our local park with Scout and a mini-van load of skateboards, roller blades, and bikes. My parents would also take us to the local high school to play tennis and run around the track.

This was such a great way to grow up, and it has really helped me to appreciate and enjoy being active and spending time outside. While Chad and I are still a few years away from having kids, I am already looking forward to taking them to parks, taking them for walks, taking them to t-ball practice.

So all that to say, I will be thinking of my mom and dad and my sisters and niece tomorrow as I race. I am so thankful to them for all they have done to make me the person that I am today! I've got to go wipe up these tears and get my game face on!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Little Friend Harper

This past Tuesday (technically Wednesday at 12:30am), our friends Rob and Kat welcomed their beautiful baby girl into the world. My friend Charis and I had a chance to visit them at the hospital on Friday night. She is such a perfect little baby! Rob and Kat are going to be fantastic parents to this little one. Here are some pictures from the evening.

Holding Harper - she is so tiny! I look more comfortable than I felt...
I am always terrified to hold little babies!

Kat, a tired and proud mama - she endured a really long labor that ended in a C-Section.
What a trooper!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

J.D. Crowe Bluegrass Festival 5k race report

Yesterday morning I ran the J.D. Crowe Bluegrass Festival 5k race in Wilmore. The race was held out on the trails in Icthus campgrounds, which I try to incorporate into my Saturday morning long runs.

I went into the race with high hopes of running a sub 25 minute 5k. This has been my goal for every 5k race I've done for the past year, well probably the past two years. I always get close, but never get under 25:00. In the spring I finished several 5ks in the 25:40 - 26:30 range, but could never get close to 25:00. This summer I have been trying to get in at least 4-5 runs per week, in the 3-6 mile range. I've been doing speed work and hill repeats, and I know this has helped me.

I've also been running in Nike Lunarglides for the past two weeks - these shoes are awesome! It was time to hang up the pair of Mizuno Wave Creations that I got in January, so I decided to branch out a little bit and look for a lighter shoe. I think the Mizunos weigh around 13oz, while the Lunarglides only weigh 7...this made a big difference! The Lunarglides have really good arch support (which is good for my high arches) and lots of ankle support. They are pretty roomy in the toe box area, almost a little too roomy, but this is actually good for me as my toes tend to fan out with each foot fall. In my first pair of running shoes (Asics) my little toes actually burst out of the sides of the toe box due to this fanning out phenomenon - ha! But I really love the Lunarglides - Runner's World has really been pushing these shoes, both in their September issue and on their website, and I can see why.

So, yesterday morning I woke up and got my stuff together, ate a piece of toast with peanut butter and drank a Doubleshot, and headed into Wilmore at 7:15 for the 8:00am race start. The morning was cool (in the 60's) and clear, and runners were just starting to arrive when I pulled up to the race site. I checked in, got my t-shirt and my number (no bibs, just "18" written on my left hand with a Sharpie) and then went for a 10 minute warm-up run. I hoped that my training would pay off and that I would set a PR, but I was also realistic about the conditions...this was a cross-country race, held on gravel trails, grassy paths and sections of paved road. The gravel trails at Icthus have chewed me up and spit me out in the past, so I've tried to incorporate them more into my training lately in preparation for this race. I also made the mistake of eating a late dinner on Friday at Zaxby's...instead of being smart and eating a "zalad" with grilled chicken, I ate a grilled chicken sandwich (not too bad of a choice) with fries (bad choice) and a whole order of fried mushrooms (real bad choice)...with ranch dressing.

Needless to say, my stomach was just a burning after my warm-up run. Oh well, there was nothing that could be done at that point, so I just decided to suck it up and do my best. Shortly after 8:00am, we all lined up (there were probably 35 runners or so) and off we went at the sound of the starting gun. I started at the very back of the pack, but made my way to the middle and settled into a nice pace. My stomach burned and churned through most of the run, but I kept pushing and could see that each of my mile splits were setting me up for a finish in the 24s. I crossed the finish line in 24:54 - just making my sub 25 minute goal, and earning 1st place in the 25-29 age group! It was a fun local race that I look forward to racing again next year!

Last week, we watched our little friend Max for a few days while his parents (my co-workers) went to New England for a vacation. Emma enjoyed having a friend around the house, but she had her bouts of jealousy, too. Here are some pictures from Max's visit, with my commentary:

"Yes? Can we help you?"

Max, settling back into the old red chair

Emma, reclaiming the red chair...""
(this is one of my favorite pictures of her, ever!)

"Max, I don't want to play with your toy sheep, but I don't want you to be able to play with it,
so I am just going to sit on it."

This was either before or after the battle for the toy sheep...