Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Harley in School

This was the 3rd week at Beginner Obedience for Harley. While she is doing pretty well, this most recent class session was chaos. Of course having gone through the class already with Dexter, my views are tainted a bit. But the instructor was getting very mad at the class, so I don't think it's just me.

Harley's worst subject is Staying Quiet. (This shouldn't be a surprise to any of you.) She's extremely excited for the first chunk of class, barking randomly as well as every time we switch directions while walking in the ring. She's eager to go go go! I had to give her the lime juice treatment in the beginning of class. I think lime juice worked better than the lemon juice– there were less mmmmmm this is tasty! licks following the squirt into her mouth. As for the barking at home progress, I think what we'll have to do is make Harley lay down when people come in and make sure she doesn't bark by pinning her and squirting lime juice in her mouth. It's a lot of work and is going to take a lot of practicing.

I kind of yelled at another at least in the direction of the owner via her dog? It was stressful. This woman wouldn't make her dog do anything, she didn't say boo to it the entire class, and it was being aggressive toward Harley during the sit-stay exercise. So a big NO DOG! came belting out of me. People proably think I'm a b!$*# but I just didn't want a fight.

Over all, Harley is having a good time. Greg comes and watches (and laughs at the chaos) and says she looks completely content and happy to be there.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bashful Ostrich 5K Race Report

Greg and I did the Bashful Ostrich 5K race on Memorial Day morning. It is a race that benefits survivors of sexual abuse. Smallish race with a new location this year - Scarlett Oaks - where Greg did autocross in his Focus... so it already had a "speedy" feel. It was just in the parking lot surrounding the campus of Great Oaks. Kinda boring, if you ask me, but it was flat at least.

The sun came out while we were there waiting to start, and I didn't have my sunglasses. Nor did I remember my watch. My goal was to run sub 10:00 pace (as in 9:59 would be just fine) since I ran my first 5K of the Duathlon at 10:07 pace. Greg was trying to beat his 25 minute something time from the Duathlon. In short, Greg met his goal. I did not.

My first mile was 10:12, and of course I had no idea when that first mile was coming since I didn't have my watch. Who knew I was so dependent on a watch? I knew when I heard the guy call out the time that I wasn't going to be able to pick it up any to reach my goal. I was already not feeling great– the sun was beating down and I was getting really hot for some reason. But I kept telling myself it was a race and I'd be mad later if I didn't race it. So I pushed on.

Picked off some people who kept walking then running. Then, after the 2 mile water stop (never heard the time called here) where I dumped one cup on my head and one in my mouth, I was passed by the lead race-walker. That's right, a very strong man race-walking passed my slow butt.

I thought about catching the race walker, but I just couldn't. Then I came to a part of the course where you could see the finish line and I picked it up, only to realize I had to pass it and do another small loop before it was all over. Ug. So I slowed back down and mourned the energy I just wasted, possibly ruining a strong finish. I picked off another person and my head was really really getting hot. I turned the last corner and Greg was there to run me in. I told him, "HOT". But thanks to him encouraging me and running just a bit in front of me, pulling me along, I was able to at least finish strong and look like I had actually ran a race.

So my official disappointing time was 32:43, a 10:33 pace. Oh well. Better next time.
Greg's time was 24:43!!!! A 7:59 pace. He PR'd we decided, because he can't remember his best 5K.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tri For Joe Race Report

Sunday May 18th, Greg, me, Paula (who came down to do the Pig) and Daryl woke up at 5:00 a.m. for a windy drive down to Coney Island to do the Tri for Joe race. There was both a triathlon and duathlon event. Paula was doing the tri while Greg and I were doing the du.

This was my 3rd duathlon (1st in 2 years) and Greg's first! While it was my third, it was going to be my slowest– but I already knew that. I was only looking at it as a long workout, not a race, and a hopefully fun season kick-start. Greg and I both weren't prepared, but I knew Greg would do well. For those who aren't familiar with the sports, a duathlon is a run - bike - run format and a triathlon is a swim - bike - run format. The transition area is what you visit to transition between the different parts. This particular du of ours was a 5K (3.1 miles) run - 18 mile bike - 5K run. Yay! Daryl was kind enough to take pictures of all of us. I can't wait to see how awful I look!

Thankfully the rain stopped before we were to the race, but it was a chilly morning! Paula had a 64ยบ pool to look forward to... sans wetsuit! We picked up our packets, sat in the warm car while we sorted through everything, then got out and took our bikes to the transition area to rack.

Greg and I were on the same rack. I laid out my towel and goodies, thinking through the order of everything. It was a "do it in this order" stacking of equipment for when I returned from the first run: Clif Bloks to eat while I did everything else, shoes, bike helmet, sunglasses, grab bike and go! I already had my gloves on, hoping to save a little time there. While I wasn't racing this race, I did want to see if I could work on getting faster in the transition area– as with all other things with me, my transition times are s- l- o- w.

After some milling around, it was time, and Greg and I left Daryl and Paula to toe the line for the 5K. There were NOT many people there, so I figured I'd be running alone. A gun went off and I started jogging. Probably about a 10th of a mile into it, I was already last. :) It's OK! This is just a workout!! I watched Greg bopping along way in front of me until the curves of the path prevented me from seeing views of the people in front. The course winds through Coney Island, a little carnival-esque "amusement" park. For the rest of the run, I felt OK and just kept going on my slow 10 minute per mile pace. I grabbed some NASTY energy drink by mistake at one of the water stops. The course is an out-and-back so I got to slap hands with Greg on his way back.

Coming into the transition area, I was indeed already tired and sweaty. My bike hung waiting for me all alone, since I was now second from last (I passed a very old dude). Being last makes it easy to find your bike!

I wiped my face off with my towel and stuffed some Clif Bloks in my mouth. Then I put on my bike shoes, helmet, ate more bloks, sunglasses and grabbed my bike. Turns out my T-1 time was 2:27...13 seconds faster than when i did it 2 years ago. My only "PR" for the day.

I was still munching on bloks when I began biking. Finished off the pack, chugged some water, then I was ready to get serious. I saw Greg and Paula on this little part of the first 5 miles that has a turn-around. Never saw Greg again, but saw Paula one more time.

The bike was pretty normal. I didn't recall the course being so hilly, but enjoyed the downhills best I could. I passed people on mountain bikes, and I was passed by many of the triathletes who had come out of their swim waves. The course went down Kellogg Avenue, turned into Lunken Airfield onto the bike path loop (including the worst part of the course- a bumpy gravelly section near the end of the loop), back onto Kellogg where you turn around and then head back. Nothing exciting really. It felt a little long. My pace was all over the place. I was hoping for an average of 15 mph.

When I got back to the transition area and got off my bike, I couldn't feel my feet. My legs also felt like they weren't of my body. I woggled (walk-hobbled-jogged) into the t-area with my bike and put on my running shoes. I laughed at a girl who started running with her helmet on. She caught her mistake within a few steps.

The last 5K was by far the ugliest of my life. I seriously felt like the lower half of my body was somewhere still on Kellogg, or perhaps had gone back to the car to relax (not a bad idea!). Nothing was bending or moving properly. But, me and my two stubs for legs kept going, as I hoped it would just take a bit to loosen up.

Nothing loosened up. I gave up the hopes of not stopping and made a plan to walk through the water stops hoping that would help. I got to the half way water stop and took a long walk. At this point I wasn't even out of breath anymore since I was going so slowly. Now I just wanted it over and hated that it was being drawn out. I ran then walked then ran then walked the entire way back. My legs just said nope, we're done.

I saved up enough energy to "sprint" the last bit to the finish line. And by "sprint" I mean that I was probably psuedo-running at this point. To me, it felt like I was on my way to break a record, but in reality I know I must of looked like I was acting out a slow motion scene from Chariots of Fire. I finished with a smile for whatever that was worth.

I had some chocolate milk (yum!) and an orange. Then I was done with the food for awhile as my body went through it's typical post endurance race nausea. Nothing major. We checked awards and Paula got 2nd in her division! ...out of 4 ;) Greg and I both placed last! There's only up to go from here!

So here are the awful details, of which I'm ONLY sharing because later this year I will have MUCH better times and I can look back at this and laugh!

5K 31:38 (10:07 pace)
T1 2:27 (ooooh! a 13 second PR!)
Bike 1:08:54 (16.2 mph...better than I thought, and the same speed as when I did this race 2 years ago)
T2 1:40 (a 16 second PR...I did at least do better in my transition times)
5K 38:27 (oh the horror. 12:28 pace)

TOTAL: 2:23:17
a wopping 84th place out of 90! But not last! :)

Greg (who hopped on the bike ONCE before the race) did really well. 1:58:00. He's a natural!
Next up, Caesar's Creek in July. Various 5Ks in between. Let the games begin!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Steph Likes to Spectate

As most of you know, neither Erin nor I did the half Pig this year. Erin is injured and I am slow. In training for the duathlon season this spring and summer, I decided to opt for trying to increase my speed over increasing distance (my body can't do both right now).

I did go to the Pig to root on my friend Paula. She did the half in 2:00!! A 9:16 pace... after having only ran 8 miles as her longest run!

A co-worker of my husband's, Jeff W., did the entire marathon in 3:32...qualifying for Boston! Oh and did I mention he's 54!?!!

A current client, Jeff P., finished his first marathon with Team in Training in 6:13!! And he raised TONS of money for the cause.

I had a really great time spectating. Paula and I got up at 4:45 to leave by 5:00 a.m. We didn't leave until 5:15, but still made it down to the hubby's parking lot, using his pass. We zipped past all the cars waiting in line trying to park in designated lots and had plenty of time to walk to the start. We went in Paul Brown stadium for a potty break and stretching. Paula was nervous and I have to admit I was a little nervous for her. I don't think I'd be able to run 8 miles and then go run a hilly 13.1!

I left Paula in the crowds, setting up her illegal iPod, staged somewhere in the 4:30 - 5:45 pace block. I took some pictures and began to plan my spectating route. The route first goes into Kentucky and then back to downtown Cincy, so I had plenty of time to head up to mile 5's water stop on 7th street. I even made it up in time to see the leaders come through, men and women. Amazing to watch.

Paula is in the middle...above guy in black hat looking down

Umm...spectating dog in pink collar and ribbons.

I had a ridiculously loud clapper thingy that I got at the Expo on Saturday, so I slap-clapped my arm off. After the leaders went by, the amount of runners in the road slowly increased until it was a full-on stampede, and water/Gatorade cups covered the ground. I wasn't sure if I'd see Paula, but suddenly she was right in front of my face, chomping on her Clif Blocks. We said hi and she looked like she was having an OK time. I spectated a little longer at this spot, then headed back down to the finish line.

I climbed the stairs to the baseball stadium a couple times, trying to figure out where the runners ended so I could find Paula after she was done. Since the streets were corralled, I couldn't easily switch sides and had to go up and around. So I got a stair workout in :) I never did figure it out and decided to try to follow the crowds later when people were finishing. After plastic slap-clapping on one side of the street, I decided to switch sides so I had a better view of the runners. I picked a spot all by myself, around the last mile marker, almost to the crest of a small hill, and started slap-clapping and cheering. It was so fun. I know how important it is for people to cheer you on when you're running...especially in this last stretch of the race! I love to hear the words "almost there" in a race, especially when I know that is in fact true. I saw a lot of heads facing the ground suddenly perk up when I yelled at them, some of them smiling. Usually the people were spread out enough that it was like I was cheering just for them.

Suddenly I saw Paula's yellow shirt! She was early!! I cheered and took a blind picture into the sun, which turned out OK :)

I ran along the route for a bit more so I wouldn't miss her after the food line. Up the dang stadium steps again, and back down to Sawyer Point. Amazingly, I spotted her coming out of the caged off area. If we hadn't found each other there, I'm not sure how much longer we would have spent wandering Sawyer Point!

Though I was so disappointed that I wasn't running too, I thoroughly enjoyed my first spectator-ing at a race. I saw some very interesting gaits (even among the fast people), the guys that run in hospital gowns with prosthetic butts, people dressed up because it was their birthday, a war protester, pig noses, and plenty of pink skirts and tutus.

All done!

And now on to the Tri for Joe, May 18th. Paula is going to come down again for that race and Greg and I are also signed up. None of us are completely prepared on varying levels, but I'm sure we'll have fun!