"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

15 Mile Trail Run: Quicksilver Park

13 miler in Aptos - last Sunday 8/24/08

I have been trying in vain to get a network of people to train with and finally I was invited to run with two girls from my tri training clinic that from this spring. Remember the "Mean girls"? Well, these gals were the least mean of the mean girls.

I feel like my relationship with these girls is much like that of one with a guy you meet at a party. You have a couple of laughs, exchange phone numbers, and he never calls. You wonder if it is you. Are you just a big loser? Then you meet up again, by chance, a few more laughs are exchanged and you actually set up a date. It is a good date, not a great date, but again he never calls. Now, you are certain you are a big loser.

Whatever. I'm over it.

I ran 13 miles on a beautiful trail in The Forest of Nisene Marks. I already felt like a big nerd with these girls, so no pictures. Photo credit: Kevin Gong (some dude's picture I found on Google images) This is the trail we ran on. Loma Prieta Grade Trail.

Elevation for run ( I forgot to start my Garmin until a little less than a mile in. After comments were made about "For real runners, running is not about the numbers" Whatever.)

Open water Swim Clinic No. 2 - Saturday 8/30/08

This was the second of a four clinic series.

We had to buddy up. I asked the slowest swimmer from last week, but she already had a buddy. I decided to swim with them anyway. Long story short, there were harbor Seals in the water that were very fascinated by the odd, inefficiently swimming seals and they kept popping up to check us out.

When the first pair popped up about 5 feet from us she kind of freaked out, so I stayed with her and we made it through the 1000 yard ocean swim at a pace that literally made the seals laugh at us.

Funny thing, that morning I read Steve in a Speedo's post about watching Jaws the night before his tri. Then my mind started racing and that had me a little spooked (Thanks for that by the way! You were swimming in a RIVER. I was swimming in the OCEAN, where sharks actually live! Sheesh Louise). But once I was in the water, the seals didn't bother me. They got closer to us than any of the other swimmers since we were going so slow and she kept stopping. They are beautiful though.

Picture: Stolen from Google images. Dude didn't put his name on his blog and hasn't updated since April, so no love for him!

Next week is the dreaded swim around the Wharf. NOT happy about that one. Especially since all the faster swimmers drop you like a bad habit and I end up alone. I doubt my partner from this week will do the swim next week. Awesome.

15 mile trail Run - Today! Sunday 8/31/08

FINALLY! Some good news!

Today I set out to do a 15 mile trail run. My LA Run buddy is up for the weekend and she said she wanted to go with me. She wasn't ready for 15 miles but she said she would do 7 and wait for me in the car.

Picture: Pre-run ham shot.

We went out to the trail where I saw the rattlesnake two weeks ago. No snake today, and no, I did not tell LA Run Buddy about the snake. She would NOT have been happy.

We did, however see a small family of deer as we descended into the valley and the morning sun! LA Run Buddy has not done any trail running except for the one time I dragged her up an unknown, nasty 2.5 mile trail with 1200 feet of gain. Oops! Unfortunately, I once again did not have a clue what the trail held for us after the first 2 miles. She ran 3.5 miles with me and then turned around to head back. It had more climb than she bargained for, but I think she enjoyed herself.
Picture: LA Run Buddy feigning excitement over the deer (the deer are the tiny dots WAY in the distance). She is sooo damn cute!

When we reached the highest point of the trail we were only about 2.75 miles in. This meant that we started to descend. And descend, and descend, and descend. At 3. 5 LA Run buddy turned around, but I was only at 3.5 miles, but I had 4 more miles before my turnaround.

I was starting to get concerned about climbing back up this mother of a hill. At mile 5 I turned up another trail and told myself repeatedly to not turn again so I would not get lost.

Picture: My trail gaiters! I think they are so cute and I have gotten several compliments on them!

At the top of this trail, I tried my first attempt to use the timer function on my camera to get a tr
ail gaiter picture, but you can't see them too well, and you see entirely too much ass. That is probably more due to excessive cake consumption and less about the camera.

I also snapped a few shots of the incredible view and the ever present FSB's !

I only took one slight detour on the way back which I will count as a win. All in all, beautiful run and I felt good for the whole thing. Hell of a way to spend a Sunday!

Oh, and just to improve my street cred here is the elevation chart:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ghost Run

School started this week. This is a multi-day musings post that I have stopped and started 10 times.

I have 157 posts in my Google Reader.

I don't have time to scratch my own ass these days.

It is going to be a long semester.


This weekend I went for a long ride with my hubby. It went through an old neighborhood, by an old hospital, by lots of haunted places. God, this isn't even where I hit my bottom, but it was still kind of like a movie flash back sequence through some of the low lights of my life. I'll spare you the details.

That, coupled with my severe lack of sleep lately (insomnia. averaging about 2-3 hours a night for the last week and a half) and the start of both the high school that I teach at and the semester at State where I both teach and take classes, has resulted in less than stellar mental health status.

Tuesday morning I got up at 4 am to run my 4 miles and she was out there.

I could swear, I even saw her. I saw her dirty hair and yellow skin sitting on the couch half passed out. On each loop, through half opened eyes, she would laugh as I passed.

Why are you running?

Who do you think you are?

You think you are a runner?

Ironman?! That is fucking hilarious!

C'mon on, you know who you really are. You know who you will be again.

Fuck you. I am not you.

Not anymore.


After a 15 mile ride in 99 degree heat yesterday, I ran at 4 this morning (5 miles) and it was already 75 degrees and about 50% humidity (that is a lot for California) but at was a whole lot better than running at 3 pm in the 100+ degree heat that was projected for today. I seemed to have exorcised the demons and this run was decidedly less haunted than Tuesday's.

My schedule this semester has been seriously fucked over by class changes at State and I have a narrow window in the middle of the day on three days of the week to train. On the other 2 days of the week that window is too narrow and only leaves 4 am or 10 pm for training time. I have to grade and prepare for my classes at some time, so 4 am seems the only option.

I have to say, although it is painful to get out there at first, I enjoy running at that time. My mind works a little differently, it is quiet, even with my iPod, and I somehow feel lighter in the quiet.

That is nice. I haven't felt very light lately. Literally or figuratively.

On the upside I think I have a really good group of kids this year. We have been having a lot of fun the first few days. Hopefully the honeymoon will continue.

I am off to pre-masters swim class. My swimming has been piss poor lately.
Need to fix that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Triathlon at Pacific Grove: A Look Back

I went to another open water clinic today. It was the first of a four Saturday clinic to help get me ready for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove. I can't sleep so I thought I would write some of my thoughts about the history of my upcoming race at Pac Grove.

I have done the Pac Grove Tri every year for the past three years. I wanted to write my history with this triathlon because it has been a life changing event for me. I hate swimming in the ocean but I will go back there every year because it changed who I am.

2005: This is the first year. I trained with Team in Training. (Here is the back story if you are interested) and did it in 4:19:42

The details:



I had a BLAST! I did all the training in the 4 months with TNT. Met one of the most amazing people you could ever hope to meet, my LA Run buddy. Became best friends with Run Buddy nad LA Run buddy from our time together in TNT. I worked for it and I was THRILLED to finish. I ran with my run buddy and we finished together. Awesome, awesome, awesome experience!

Immediately after Pacific Grove, we ran in the Relay for Life from Calistoga to Santa Cruz, and then...

I. Did. Nothing.

All Winter.

2006: After a winter of doing nothing but eating like there was no tomorrow Run buddy, LA Run buddy (she wasn't in LA yet) decide we are going to go back to Pacific Grove, but this time as Team RBR (from a poster we saw in the crowd at Pac Grove that said "Run Bitch Run" which we thought was the funniest, fucking thing we had ever heard! So we stole it.)

We followed our TNT training plans somewhat diligently (I was inconsistent about the swimming and biking) for 3 months this time and added some extra running because I wanted to try my first 1/2 marathon at the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll. This time I didn't have the fear of God in me about not finishing and it showed in my lack luster biking and swimming during training. I finished in 4:10:32

The details:


Nine minute PR solely because of improved run time. My swim and bike were worse. I was dead last out of the water in my wave. BUT I had a BLAST again! We decorated RBR shirts, we cheered laughed and joked around on the course. We wore pink. I puffy painted "Thank God the Swim is Over" on my race jersey, and I had my best buddies racing with me. I was one of "those girls" (All you ladies know what I am talking about. If not, you are one of 'those girls' already. Congratulations!) I felt amazing! We decided this was going to be our annual thing!

Afterwards we did a relay at the Sentinel triathlon. Run Buddy swam (her favorite event), LA Run buddy cycled (her favorite event) and I ran (duh!). Again were the last relay out of transition (Sentinel is WAY hardcore) both times, but we had a BLAST! Then Run buddy and I did the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 marathon (Time 2:59:42) and then...

I. Did. Nothing.

All Winter. (hmmm, a pattern, no?)

2007: Another winter of inactivity and massive food consumption. Spring comes. Fat, unhappy and seriously depressed. I have to change something. I decide to go back to TNT and train for Nike Women's Full Marathon.

I trained hard for the marathon. I ran every mile and did every workout, but I rode a grand total of 12 miles on my bike, swam a whopping 1000 yards for the entire summer. I did not do a single open water swim and had not been in the ocean since the previous year's triathlon. I thought the marathon training would carry me through the tri.

I was wrong.

Seriously wrong.

I finished in 4:16:32

The details:


Worst swim and bike ever. I was dead last in my wave of the swim again. I had my own canoe escort. I threw up in the swim. I almost bailed in T1 and sat down deciding whether to keep going.

This time I did NOT have a blast. I was miserable the whole day. My hubby spends the day at Pac Grove every year to take pictures. My dog Lucy comes to cheer me on and I wouldn't even stop and pet her or give him a hug because I just wanted to be done.

Not cool.

So not cool.

I get injured before Nike and can't run the whole thing (melt down report here). Friends at the weightloss blog that I started doing help me turn my attitude around and I walk/run Nike with Run Buddy (Nike race report) and decide to run the Napa Marathon (race report). The rest, as they say, is history.

Now as I am 19 days away from my fourth time at Pac Grove I have come to the realization that whether I have fun at a race isn't about the time it takes me to finish (sure, I would prefer to not finish with, or behind, the 80 year olds) but more about the satisfaction in knowing I have done the work to be there. really there are only a few minutes between all of my Pac Grove times, but there are very different feelings.

I want to feel like I did at the first two. I want to feel like I did at Barb's Race (well, most of Barb's anyway). I am not going to win, or medal, or even reach the top 50% my age group, but God dammit, I want to have a good time. For me that means I have to earn my finish whether it be slower or faster (Better be faster. If that old fucker beats me again my coach is fired.) This year at Pac Grove I will have earned my finish. And you know I am going to have a good time!

Time to bring out the puffy paint!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Horton: the cat who loved too much

This is Horton.
He is stunningly beautiful, isn't he?

My husband got a call one night from another contractor about a feral kitten that had been left by its mother. The mom cat had moved the rest of the litter that morning and he figured she would come get the little guy, but when he got back home that evening there sat the kitten alone, cold, and hungry. The call went something like this:

Contractor: "Doesn't your wife rescue cats?"

Husband: "Yes, but we need another cat like a hole in the head, so forget it"

Contractor: "If you don't tell her, I'll call her when you're at work. Then you will have another cat AND she will be mad at you."

Husband: "Asshole"

He was the cutest kitten I have ever seen.

Now 12 years later, as I sit on the couch entering my ride miles and time from tonight, Horton (yes, from Horton Hears a Who. Long before the lame remake) lays next to me intermittently reaching out with his paw to show me love and YET AGAIN snag my bike jersey. Every flippin' exercise shirt I have has snags in the waist from loverboy here.

But when he looks up at me with the same sweet, greens eyes I fell in love with 12 years ago, when he was a 10 day old, abandoned baby, covered in fleas, that had to be fed from a bottle all through the night, I smile and give him a chin scratch and say "Mama loves you too."

There are worse things in life than to have a cat that loves you too much.

I can buy new spandex.

There is only one Horton.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reluctant Brick and the Official end of summer

My quads are still mad at me about Saturday's trail run and Sunday's long ride wasn't hard, (or particularly long supposed to be 2 hours, only went 1:40) but it wasn't flat either. Picture: elevation for Sunday's bike.

Regardless, I was ready for a rest day yesterday and not particularly ready for my Bike/Run brick today.

Not ready, but I got it done.

Scheduled: 1 hour bike w/ intervals followed by 30 min run off bike
Actual Mileage: 18 mile bike w/ intervals on bike trail (1:21:01), 3 mile run easy (32:30)

I felt surprisingly good on the run. Quads and calves were tight, slight soreness in the right ankle. All attributable to the long, steep downhill on Saturday.

When is the official end of summer?

For some the end of Summer is marked by the first day the kids go back to school.

For others it is labor Day.

For me it when I have exhausted my supply of Starbuck's gift cards from the end of the previous school year.

Today, I owed 0.35 for my Grande Skinny Vanilla latte.


It's officially over. Time for mama to go back to work make some more Star "Bucks".

Saturday, August 16, 2008

13 mile Trail Run

~13 miles, 3:10:52 (the "~" will be explained later)

Today I went back to the Sierra Azul open space preserve to do my 13 mile long run. I wanted to start getting in some trail running in preparation for Skyline to Sea 50K.

This is the toughest training run I have done, I was going to say in a while, but I think it may be ever. Unless you count some of the organized trail runs I used as training runs.

Here is the elevation chart. You can probably understand that there were many moments when my thoughts were, "Sheesh! What the hell was I thinking? I am turning around"

I had run 3 miles of this trail as an out and back for a total of six miles. You can see in the elevation chart that a 3 mile out and back is challenging, but very doable. It is very beautiful out there, so I thought "hey, that would be a nice trail to be on for 3 hours." Picture: Pretty trail views! Isn't it a lovely day!

At mile 4, I had already changed my tune.

At mile 5, I was cursing Theodore Roosevelt himself for instituting government funded parks programs and plotting the demise and eventual extinction of several species of, what I like to call, "fucking sticker bushes" or FSBs. The FSBs were growing all over the trail after mile 5 because NO ONE except my dumb ass continues to go up 2 miles of exposed trail with over 1200 feet of vertical gain.

Well no one, but me and the creator of this little gem!

For those of you that do not find comparative physiology of vertebrate digestion as fascinating as me, this is MOUNTAIN LION shit.

Yep, M O U N T A I N L I O N shit. A smidge unnerving, wouldn't you say?

This is when I said, "Screw a 6.5 mile turn around, 6.3 is FINE BY ME! I am outta here!" Yeah outta here, but I still had 6.3 miles to run. At a pace , I may add, significantly slower than a mountain lion.

After I got back down to where the trail looked like it was used more frequently by humans, my mind settled down and stopped seeing things moving in the bushes above me. But now I had steep, rocky downhill to navigate. This was part of the reason I was out here as well, to train my legs for long downhills which I will see at Skyline to Sea 50K and the Bizz Johnson Marathon.

Here is the rocky, downhill where I decided that I didn't care if trail gaiters cost 10 million dollars I am ordering them tonight!

Here are what gaiters are and the fabric I chose from DirtyGirlGaiters.com BTW, I was pleased to see that they are NOT 10 million dollars. Only $13 AND free shipping!

At mile 8.5 the trail was downright perfect! Shaded, soft footing and a gentle down hill that was not bone jarring.

Gear Review of sorts:

I had worn my hubby's 50 oz. Camelbak (he has the one with the chest strap. Mine is cheap and for biking only and no chest strap) and carried 8 oz. of "emergency water" on my run belt. I had emptied the CamelBak by 9.3 miles and had to nurse the 8 remaining oz, until mile 11 when I was out of water for good. Bummer.

It was much hotter, and miles 4-6 where much harder, than I had planned for, but I was ok until the end. I am going to experiment with a 100oz. Camelbak (also hubby's) next time, but it looks REALLY big so I am not sure how it will work.

So the review part. It was not bad running with the pack. I thought it would shake, or chafe, or just generally be irritating, but it was ok. The water sloshing was loud and would have driven me bat shit crazy, but I turned up my iPod and I couldn't hear it. This could be a problem for running w/o and iPod and/or with a run buddy (i.e. Jane may shove me off the trail at Skyline to Sea.)

Other concerns: I would need to get a woman specific model if I decided to go this route, because you have to tighten it as you drink the water or it does shake and could chafe on a longer run, and at a certain point I couldn't tighten anymore.

Ok, back to the run. When I got in I was only at 12.6 miles and I wanted to do 13. This bugs me. Maybe some latent Type A personality, but it bugs me. So I proceeded to run across to the other side of the trail head to get the extra 0.4 miles. That is when I ran into this:

This is a horrible picture of a rattlesnake. A RATTLESNAKE! It is a horrible picture because after I scampered back I was NOT going to get close again. So I zoomed, and cropped and at least you can tell that it is a rattlesnake.

Ok, game over.

Back to the car for a total of 12.82 miles.

Whatever. I'll get over it. That was enough nature for one day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

On the road again!

Man, for a self-proclaimed homebody and agoraphobe I sure seem to be traveling a lot lately.

Hubby and I went to Puyallup, Washington (it is so a real town. Look it up) to visit his mom and sister. It was a quick 3 day trip. Picture: Hambone Run Buddy coming to take us to the airport. She is so freaking adorable!

We get on the plane and THIS is what I found! An Ironman article in the airline magazine and Athena water!

The first night we went to have dinner at my mother-in-law's (MIL)) and sister-in-law's (SIL) house. They live together and my MIL is having some problems with her arthritis and isn't up to going out.

**WARNING: Hormone magnified rant and general bitchiness**

My SIL started working out with a personal trainer and dieting about 6 months ago and has lost a TON of weight. She looks fabulous. My MIL is a tiny, little Japanese woman (seriously, you could put her in your pocket) and SUPER critical of people about their weight. The FIRST thing she says to my hubby after "Hi" is "You look like you are getting fat. Have you gained weight?" He says something like, "Yeah, thanks for noticing mom." Then she says. "I noticed that about you guys right away."

You guys! Meaning me too. Fuck you, you nasty little troll!

At this point this my SIL starts laughing and says, "it is sure nice to have that said about everyone but me."

Excuse me, I mean, Fuck BOTH of you nasty little trolls!
Picture: Fat husband and his fat wife. According to my asshole in laws

I have been under a microscope about my weight my whole life. It was either from my 'concerned' family members, my poor partner choices, or self-inflicted. I DO NOT REACT WELL TO IT.

Picture: Some people drink when they have a stressful experience, some people eat. I don't drink anymore, so the 24 hour free cookie and lemonade bar at the hotel took a pretty big hit on this trip. Keep 'em coming, barkeep! It's gonna be a long night!

My hubby kept trying to bring up my triathlons and marathons (I have done 3 marathons and 5 triathlons since they last saw me.) But no one cared. His sister tried to school me on how I needed to stop all the aerobic exercise and concentrate on building my core and lean muscle mass if I really wanted to drop the weight. I tried to explain that it wasn't about weight loss, it was the challenge of completing these things and she and her mom gave me a look like, "Why did you bother doing all that shit if you didn't lose weight doing it? And especially since you GAINED weight doing it."

Never mind that she can't run a mile (LOTS of excuses...err, reasons for that, believe me. Funny, how not one of those reasons was 'not fit enough')

**Rant over. For now anyway**

Day 2 we went with SIL to a park called Northwest Trek. Very cool place. You take a tram tour through a 600+ acre park and view free ranging bison, caribou, elk, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Picture: Male bison sunbathing

After Africa is was a little anti-climatic since it was warm out and the animals were mostly either sleeping in the sun or shade.

Much better day with SIL. One on one, the in laws aren't so bad, when you get them together it is a nightmare. I include my hubby as one of the reactants in this chemistry experiment gone bad.

Day 3: Let's not talk about Day 3. Moving on.

I was able to work out at the hotel. Treadmill running in an non-air conditioned room and swimming 15 billion laps in a microscopic pool to get 1000 yards, but I did it.

I know everyone thinks their family is less fucked up than their spouse's family, but my family is truly less fucked up than my spouse's family.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Race Report : Dammit Run 2008

Race Report: Dammit Run 2008. Los Gatos, CA

Today my dad and I ran the Dammit Run. It is our second year running this race together. It is a tough 5 mile trail run that is a benefit for a local high school track program.

Picture : Race schwag. How cute is that shirt?!

My dad and I have had a complicated relationship. It very cool that we are able to do this together.

This race starts on the high school's track and you do one lap and then head out on the trail. After a 2 mile gradual uphill trail there are two climbs in this race. Usually the first is a diagonal cut up the face of the dam, but they are doing construction on the dam so we had to go up a MUCH steeper billy goat trail along the side of the dam. and then across the dam and up the dreaded (by me anyway), just as steep, but longer climb up another billy goat trail. Then back down the hill back to the high school.

Picture: Alternate trail we had to run. This picture was taken during my 20 miler before San Diego.

Since I was wearing my Garmin (which my dad, the engineering nerd, was VERY impressed with. $20 says he bought one on his way home) I could tell that the mile markers were off by 1/4 mile. He really wanted to beat our time from last year. I was skeptical because I had a little race a week ago that I was still recovering from.

He runs much faster than me and and always tells me to set the pace and then ends up pushing me a little faster. The timers calling out times that included an extra 1/4 mile made him push faster. Today, I couldn't cut the mustard. At that pace I couldn't adequately explain to my uber-competitive dad that we were ahead of pace.

Picture: Dad still running up the billy goat trail. RBR WAAAAY in the back walking (jeez, is this a new trend?) looking like a lumberjack. Why do I look so damn wide?!

When we reached the top I caught up. Ok, at the top he realized I wasn't there next to him and he slowed down.

Whatever. You say To-may-to, I say to-mah-to

And I tried again, as he picked up the pace, to explain that even after the tougher climb, we would be faster than last year, but he ran on. Hmmm, at that pace I can't talk and he can't hear! Here is the elevation chart for our run:

Our splits for last year: 2007

total time: 59:47
pace: 11:57/mi for 5 miles

Mile 1: 12:04
Mile 2: 11:55
Mile 3: 15:09 two hills
Mile 4: 10:21 top of the hill but most downhill
Mile 5: 9: 51 downhill

Our splits for this year: 2008

total time: 59:10
pace: 11:16/mi for 5.25 miles

Mile 1: 10:33
Mile 2: 10:45
Mile 3: 15:16 two hills (one much tougher than last year)
Mile 4: 10:50 top of the hill, but most downhill
Mile 5: 9: 42 downhill

Go us!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

An Ode to My Blogger Buddies!

I started to blog on a weight loss site after I found myself, at my highest weight in 17 years, more depressed than I had been in a long time, and generally unhappy with the state of my physical and emotional being. All I ever did was related to work and school. The number of diets I had failed at over the years were to numerous to count.

I had never kept a diary as a kid or journaled about anything. I actually was very embarrassed about my writing skills for most of my life and avoided any type of public writing.

I found that journaling about my struggles and victories with diet and exercise helped keep me on track. The site was full of courageous(Tracy), inspiring (Andrea), fun(Shelley), and amazingly supportive(Angela) women and I credit them with a great deal of my success in reclaiming my life.

Over time I became more focused on the exercise portion of the equation which inspired me to create this blog. I also put on my big girl pants (I am like a kid with a new toy. I'll get over it) and changed the blog name to Run Bitch Run instead of the watered down, un-Stacey-like, Run Baby Run and started to write more like I think and, frankly, talk (Sorry mom. Not that she would be surprised).

What I didn't expect by blogging was to find friends. Real friends. I have even been lucky to meet several of them. Shelley, Andrea and I ran a 10K together in April. I was surprised how easy it was to talk to and have fun with people I had never met. I decided I really wanted to meet more of my online friends and this past weekend I was lucky enough to meet two more blogger buddies Willie and Calyx.

Willie was crazy enough to decide to do a marathon halfway across the country at the last minute, 'cuz that's how he rolls. Lucky for me I happen to live near this stupid bridge that people really like and that meant he was coming to my hood! He also said he was going to drive up the day before to see my race!

He hit TUO in MFN (traffic of unknown origin in the middle of fucking nowhere) and was worried that he would miss my finish.

Not to worry, my darling! I would help by taking FOREVER to finish Barb's, so he had time to spare!

When I came in for my second loop at Barb's Race to say I was demoralized was understatement. I was hot, tired, and generally unhappy about having to return to the seventh level of hell to finish this race. As I crossed the announcer's booth I heard "Run Baby Run!" (because Willie is altogether classier than I. But don't go getting a big head about it buddy. Most strippers are classier than me.)

Anyhoo, I was VERY excited to see him and recognized him right off. Now, that is no small feat. I had lost the ability to read my watch or form complete sentences several hours before, so the fact that I picked a man that I had never met out of a crowd is pretty impressive. I ran over to give him a hug. I can't remember what I said. It was something eloquent and touching like, "It is so fucking hot out here!"

As I ran to the exit of the turnaround, there he was again! Did he have a fucking teleporter or was I really moving that slow? My LA Run Buddy and I finally finished and met up with Willie and my Run Buddy (she just did the swim for Barb's. Smart girl) and he was thrown instantly into the mix of full scale RBR Girls. I think we are great, but most people can not handle us all together at once.

We can be, ummm... a bit much. Something like foul-mouthed, cheerleaders on crack.

But Willie held his own and we had a fantastic time! Of course, I TOTALLY fell down on the job and got NO pictures! That tells you how hellish the race was. When do I EVER forget to take pictures?! Lame.

The next day we were going to get up at 6 and go down to see Willie (race report here) and Calyx finish the SF Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. Here is my brief rant about this. The fucking thing started at 5:45am and had TWO different finishing lines! Double lame.

Long story short (read: I had to stop and get Starbuck's) we missed both finishes. Lame squared.

We decided to meet up with Calyx and her partner Donna at Starbuck's near the finish of Willie's race. We were all squeals and craziness when we met. Very cool. Calyx had an AWESOME race!
Donna had an experience similar to my race minus the blow torch treatment from God. Be we all hit it off famously!

Here is where the 9.5 hours in the sun the day before started to hit me. I got tired, then hungry, then cranky. Sorry guys! I have two modes: obnoxiously hyper, or sullen and bitchy there really isn't a lot of in between with me. The RBR girls were fantastic and fun and I am sure everyone loves them infinitely more than me and wishes that they would blog instead of my bitchy-ass, but, as my eloquent hubby would say, "Wish in one hand and shit in the other, then see which fills up first." That is why I married him. He makes me look classy!

Again, no pictures except this one because I am LAME. Picture: L to R Willie, Donna, and Calyx

All in all it was a fantastic weekend! I am so lucky to have such great friends! We get to meet up again in September for The Triathlon at Pacific Grove.


Ok, creepy stalker moment that I wasn't going to write about but I feel I must. This isn't nearly long enough. I was also lucky enough to meet Iron"GeekGirl" Misty author of The Athena Diaries and her husband S. Baboo.

First off, Misty is REALLY pretty and super fit so all that "lazy and fat" stuff is COMPLETE BS. She is also really nice. Her hubby is quite a hottie himself and also super nice. I was a little star struck and we weren't really close enough at dinner to talk, but it is pretty cool to meet the two people that inspired me to start all this in the first place.

Ok, that is it. Creepy stalker moment over.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Race Report: Barb's Race 1/2 Iron Distance

I am splitting my "Weekend with the girls and meeting blogging buddies" into a separate post since this race report is already entirely too long, but then again so was my race...

**Updated with official times at 10:45 am 8/4**
Mary's Race 2008 (9:22:19 yep, that is a nine)
Picture: My puffy paint race jersey. Classy? No. The reason I finished? Hell yes!

Quick Review of the Barb's Race 1/2 Iron Distance (Women's only)

If you were looking for the flames of Hell this weekend, they were busy heating Windsor, CA.

I am going to start this report by calling for the head of whatever asshole at weatherchannel.com who said that it was going to be 80-81 yesterday.

Ummm, hey buddy, let's try 98! Yep, 98 f-ing degrees! I don't think a 23% error is acceptable in anyone's profession.

Good news was that it only felt like 112, so ....yeah.

Overall: Great race, highly recommend, will do again, but prepare for heat (see above).

  • Raises money for breast cancer research
  • Volunteer force comes year after year and the race runs like a well oiled machine.
  • Beautiful course (clean, calm, relatively warm water. Challenging, but doable bike course. Pretty vineyard and livestock views. Run course has one real hill, but the rest are rollers)
  • Well stoked well supported aid stations on bike and especially run.
  • The community is very kind and supportive of race.
  • No cut offs for bike and run since there is a full iron distance at same time
  • Can be hot!
  • Long stretches of no shade cover on bike and run. Wear sunblock!
  • A stretch of run course (about 1 mile) from high school to first aid station where the running space for two-way traffic is REALLY narrow.
  • Point to point course, two different transition areas. This may be a pro to some, but I am not a fan.
Ok, back to me!

Swim (1.2 miles, 54:29 min.)
Picture: RBR girls, pre-race ham shot

As always, I was worried about the swim. This was my longest and fastest open water swim ever. Yay me! Water temperature was 74. I wore my wetsuit (full suit) I was concerned about being too hot, but I was comfortable for the entire swim.

It was a deep water start (start in the water where you can not touch the ground), which was a first for me as well. It was an out and back. My plan was to keep my face in the water other than brief sighting and breathing pattern of 1 stroke, breathe, 2 strokes, breathe. I find that counting strokes like this helps me calm down and just swim instead of constantly thinking about wanting to be done. It must have worked because I swam it in ~53 minutes (2:30/100 yd) which my fastest race swim. Go me!

When I got out of the swim I was surprised by wetsuit strippers. WAY COOL! It was almost a little disconcerting how quickly they ripped that sucker off, but versus wrestling myself out of the neoprene straight jacket, I thought it was AWESOME!

T1 (8:11, hey I just got over vertigo. Don't judge me!)

I started feeling a little queasy on the swim, but not until the final 500 yards are so. I took my time in T1 (thank you Jane, excellent advice) ate some fig newtons and drank some water. I started to feel better and I was off. My Garmin on my bike was dead when I came out of the water. Rats! I want credit for the race profile I worked hard for it! Picture: Run buddy setting up transition

Bike (56 miles, 4:18:06. Shade break to keep from puking ~3 min)

The bike was absolutely gorgeous and I felt fantastic for 46 miles. Now, I am taking that as a huge win. Really, I was only trained well enough on the bike for a 40 mile ride. I had only one long ride at 56 miles and it didn't go so well. The fact that I was laughing, joking and cheering people on, for 44 miles says that I felt much better than I expected. Chalk Hill wasn't really a laughing, joking moment. It was tough but not impossible. Had it not been 12 billion degrees I would have done it without stopping. I took a shade break about 100 yards from the top (I didn't know I was that close) but I really felt like I might throw up so I took a break. Even though I stopped, I did not walk my bike. I wanted to ride the whole hill and I did. The downhill following it was wonderful.

The last 10 miles were brutal, just plain brutal. No hills, just flat, but I got REALLY hot. I had goosebumps on and off during Chalk Hill Road, but now they were constant. I felt like I was panting even when I was coasting, which I did A LOT at this point. Picture: Random out of place picture to break huge block of text. RBR girls at pre-race meeting.

What I was happiest about on the ride was that for the first time I got my nutrition right. I never got to that dark place where I wanted to throw my bike in a ditch or fell victim to, what I have heard called, Cyclist Tourette's, where I scream obscenities at no one in particular. I ate 4 Fig Newtons (regular, I hate the whole wheat ones), 3 Cliff Shot Blocks, and one Gu in the first 3.5 hours on the ride. I also drank about 2 liters of water. I probably should have drank more, but I used another liter pouring water on myself instead of drinking it to keep from bursting into flames.

T2 (13:41)

When I got into T2 I was hot and cranky. The thought of running 13.1 miles was about as appealing as lighting my hair on fire. I decided to sit in the pitiful shade of one of the trees in transition before heading out on the run. Random observation: Did they plant all of the trees in Windsor last week? Those are the skinniest-ass trees I have ever seen!

Run-ish ( 13.1 mi, 3:47:51. Hey, at least I beat my full marathon time. I wasn't sure I would for a little while out there)

I am actually a little embarrassed to call it a run. I probably only actually ran for about 3-4 miles of the 13.1. After running out of transition, I made it for about a mile before I had to walk. Not a good sign. I ran a marathon 2 months ago. Running is my thing. If I can only make it a mile without walking, I am in trouble for the next 12.1.

Truer words have never been typed. I was seriously in trouble. I took ice, water and coke at the first and second aid stations. I saw my LA run buddy at about 3 miles. She was about 2.5 miles ahead of me and hurting as well. We reluctantly separated and went on our way. After the turnaround I had a brief running stretch of about a mile when there was a long down hill. It was my last continuous run stretch of this length. I was so hot. So, so, so hot. My skin felt like it was on fire. My brain felt like it was on fire. I was heading back in to the transition/finish area and could not imagine heading back out for the last 4.4 mile loop. Mentally, it was very getting dark and thoughts of not being able to finish flooded my brain.

**Cool inspirational moment read this** (I know you are skipping stuff. It is really ok!)
At one point during this dark hour, one of the full iron athletes started walking next to me and asked me who Mary was (from the back of my shirt). I said "She is my friend with breast cancer and why I am doing this race. She died on Wednesday. I have to fucking finish, but I am in trouble." He told me words that turned my run around, "You are moving forward. That is how you finish. You keep moving forward. You will be fine. Mary would be proud."

Yeah, yeah, I cried a little. Big sap. Whatever.

I don't know if it was the coke and ice, iron dude's cute ass as he ran away,... ummm, I mean his inspirational wisdom, but I decided right then I was going to finish no matter what. I had until 11 to finish this fucker and finish it I would, even if I had to walk every last fucking step.

I started cheering and joking around again. I asked the ANGEL (some Windsor resident) at mile 2 that was spraying runners and playing rock music to marry me. I made the photographer retake my picture so I could fake run and gave him a high five as I went past. The volunteers at the aid stations were AMAZING. Let me repeat AMAZING. Fun, friendly, excited, efficient. Just plain AWESOME!

I wasn't running, but I was having fun again. When I came back in to turn around for the final loop I heard "Run Baby Run!" It was Willie!! So exciting! He came out to cheer me on and it was like a shot in the arm I think I ran for about 50 yards that time. Seriously it was WAY cool to see him. I ran off course (shh, don't tell the race officials they make take away my age group award) and gave him a hug then went back out to the surface of the sun to do another 4.4 miles.

I saw LA Run Buddy when I was about 1.5 miles into the second loop and she was about 3 miles into her second loop. She decided to wait for me at the Mile 1 aid station so we could finish together. We had both had a long, tough day and it was very touching that we finished together and is one of the MANY, MANY reasons I love her to death.

I had really wanted to finish in under 8 hours so that I would have made a cut off if there had been one, but when you pretty much walk the entire run that is not going to happen.

I was here to finish. I had to remind myself several times that I was here to finish and I had to get "other people's 1/2 iron distance" times out of my head and run my race. That is what I did and with help of my best friends, my new blogging friends, 1000+ awesome volunteers, citizens of Windsor, and the Barb's race race organizers, I was able to finish my first half iron distance triathlon. Plus I set myself up for a pretty sweet PR on the next 1/2 iron I do.

Thank you all! Your encouragement, inspiration and support are very much appreciated and were instrumental to my finish!

Bloggy friends and heroes coming soon!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thank you for your kindness about Mary. She passed last night at 11:15, as was expected. She was very loved and will be very missed. I can not thank you enough for your sweet emails and comments. I tried to I email everyone to say thank you personally unless I didn't have your email address. I wanted to make sure everyone knew how grateful I am. Thank you! MAry would have been touched, laughed, and loved everyone of you. Especially if you are of the "generally dyfunctional, fucked up" variety. ;o)

I am off like a herd of turtles!

Mary's Race Weekend 2008 officially begins today.

I am packed, but of course, feel like I am forgetting something. I am picking up the RBR girls and we are out of here about 10:30 so we should be in Guerneville around 1:00. I am so excited to meet everyone I can barely stand it. My run buddies aren't bloggers so I think they think I am a little crazy (well, I KNOW they think I am crazy, but it may have nothing to do with blogging) Anyhoo, they are so fun and sweet that they are excited to meet everyone too.

I am bringing my computer and OF COURSE my camera! I will post updates as they become available!

Alrighty, let's ROCK THIS BITCH!