Sunday I packed my car with the two Goon dogs, Bentley and Wesley, Photographer Allison and last but not least, Judge, as we made our way into South Boston for the Doggy 5k Run and Walk.
Wesley and I had been secretly training for this fun run for about a month with at least one run per week, maybe two if feasible. Our runs were only 2.5 miles at length and roughly only at an 8:30 pace at best. Wesley is our West Highland White Terrier who incidentally just turned two years old.
I hydrated Wesley on the drive down and we arrive in the parking lot. There’s a chilly wind along the water so I opt for a short sleeve shirt under my BIG G singlet. (Happy Spanky?) Race number on and Alpha Dog and Wesley are ready to go but not before Wesley needs to relieve his pre-race gitters . But wait, here comes Judge exiting from the port –a- john, something is a miss here, he is only wearing ONE glove. Say it aint so? YUP, dropped his glove in the toilet. Nice job your honor!!
If any of you have run the Ollie 5M before, our race started along the sidewalk near where the turnaround point was for the Ollie. Anyway, the gun goes off and Wesley takes off in front of me having a blast running with other dogs. We run up and around the castle and down again. I check my Garmin and Wesley is off to an early torrid pace, I better slow him down a little. We’re approaching Mile 1 and the first water stop, cups on the table for humans, dog bowls filled with water the K-9’s !! Gotta Love it. Mile 1 for us is 7:12. This totally took me by surprise, I better settle things down a bit, after all, I don’t want to kill my dog over a fun run. Those PETA people might hunt me down ☺ .
I could sense some fatigue in young Wesley during Mile 2 so I adjusted our pace to give us a bit of a rest before I induced the “Hillchecker Kick” for Mile 3. Mile 2 split was 7:33. As we approached the water stop I brought Wesley over to the bowls and offered water, he declined.
The course now brought us over the water for the final mile and back to start/finish. Wes was now running behind me but keeping up well, even with an occasional pull of the leash. At 2.5 miles, it’s time to go Wes! We have two small dogs in front of us to catch. We reel in the first small dog but Wes just doesn’t have it to catch the other. Needless to say, a very strong finish. Mile 3 is 7:11. Total 22:32. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/126958603
Catching that one dog at the end put Wes in the top 5 in his weight group. Outstanding job by the little guy with never have run below an 8:30 pace in training. All in all a fun day.
Wesley “RUFF RUFF RUFF” translation: Thanks for reading.
HCM and Whiz
1st Annual Hillchecker Half Ironman
On Sunday October 23, I embarked on a mission, a mission to complete the 70.3 distance of swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles and running a half marathon. This was a preconceived goal of mine for 2011. The setting “was to be” Lake Winnipesaukee in late August, also known as Timberman. Training was going well, I had completed one Olympic distance triathlon in June, another in July, and was looking forward to climbing the proverbial ladder toward the next distance. Then, on a beautiful sunny hot Saturday afternoon, July 23 to be precise, while on a training ride, things came to an abrupt halt. Squeezing the brakes too firmly while standing on my pedals (at the same time being heckled by an angry motorist) I was headed up and over my handlebars and landed on my left shoulder, before I could even say “clip out ! “
The diagnosis, a grade 3 ac joint separation. Recovery?…months. Surgery?…no, 90% of people heal on their own. Looks like I won’t make my race by the end of August that I trained for all year. My goal now? Get healthy as quickly as possible, no one likes to be on the DL, especially me.
Two weeks after, I was swimming and biking with mild to moderate but tolerable pain, running was more difficult because of the jarring my body goes through. It was several weeks before I could run pain free. Then the thought came to me about running my own HIM before the end of the year. Judge agreed and came up with the name LOL.
Fast forward to Sunday. The date was picked, the scene was set, the weather looked good but chilly, it was a go. My training wasn’t in full swing like it was back in the spring/early summer but I was confident I could rely on whatever fitness I had and the rest would be mental prowess.
The venue would be Stiles Pond in Boxford. The start was 8am as dawn appeared just over the tree line in the distance. I slid into my sleeveless wetsuit and prepped for the COLD swim. My destination was the diving/jumping platform in front of the beach at the other end of the pond. I told my wife and Goon Dog Wesley, expect me back in about 40 minutes or so. Off I go, just me and the open water. The water against my face was numbing for the first 10 minutes but then I was able to settle in with my breathing and sighting. I did however have to stop briefly twice to defog my goggles on the way out. I reached the platform in 21:06, about what I expected. The swim back went uneventful except for the fact that I couldn’t feel my feet J at this point. So I reach home in 21:28, total: 42:34. This is considered a slow swim time but remember, I am not racing and I am not 100% recovered from my shoulder injury.
Off comes the wetsuit as I wrap myself in a big towel. Brrrrr. I made my way to my car where my dry clothes await me. I start my Garmin, or try to start my Garmin, but it’s won’t respond. “are you shit’n me?” I yell out loud. After a quick reset, the Garmin responds and is ready to go. Why is this important? Because my bike route was totally improvised!
Having just ridden 96 miles just one week ago with Oli, I wasn’t too concerned about the distance. One word remains a constant reminder to multi-sport athletes… pacing. This can be the kiss of death if not done properly, just like going out too fast in a road race and holding on for dear life at the end. The bike is my favorite part, and one, I think, is my strongest event.
Two bottles on the bike, phone and nutrition in my pocket and off I go. Leaving Boxford I had one thing in mind, try and ride in the open sunlight for warmth. Ummm, not so much. I did have a goal time for the bike split of 2:48 or 20mph average, which despite the chilly conditions, I managed to hit so I was happy with that. Can I bike faster? Hell ya, but knowing I still have to run a half marathon, pacing takes precedence At mile 25 I started my nutrition, half a snickers bar, and by mile 30 I could feel my right foot again. It wouldn’t be until mile 35 that my left foot reciprocated. What a welcome feeling that was ! Salt tabs every hour and my final half of my snickers bar at mile 40.
The plan was to call Judge when I had 6 miles to go, he was meeting me at my house for the run portion. I pulled off the road, made the call, drank what I had left in my bottles and homeward bound I go. Here is my bike data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/125885901
This literally took 2 minutes. Run the bike in my house, change my shorts and shirt, grab a coke, reset my Garmin, step into my sneaks and once again the Blues Brothers are pounded the streets J .
It would have been nice to run a 1:45, but honestly I wasn’t in that kind of shape nor did I have the legs coming off running a 5K just the day before. Judge had placed Gatorade at Mile 3 and Mile 6 for me and also had a nice little surprise for me also in my goodie bag…. A Reese’s peanut butter cup, Mmmm.
We head out on our normal “out and back” course which runs down Salem St. into Boxford and returns the same way. I’m starting to feel my legs at this point but I am bloated as all hell, I felt like Violet from Willy Wonka. Ahh, Mile 3, pit stop, fluid out, fluid in, keep moving. We make our way into Boxford and Judge asks “ how do you feel?” I reply, “ I am really tired “. We reach the turn around point of 6.55 miles and turn back for the water stop. Some Gatorade and a “pick me up” (peanut butter cup) and all I can think of is, 6 more fucking miles and I’m taking a whole week off!! LOL
I feel like I’m shuffling along at a snails pace but surprising only one mile is over 9:00. The mental game kicks in the last 3 miles, I know the terrain, I know the upcoming hills. I make a statement to Judge that when we reach the cemetery hill, I am walking it, and for him to go ahead without me. He uses himself as a target for me to catch, there will be NO catching you today Coach. Inner quad cramps start but, failure is not an option, I do my best and keep him within reach. Home sweet home. Time: 1:52
Total time of 5:22 without transition. Having no time goal and knowing that in each discipline I can (and will) most certainly be faster, this gives me good optimism for next year. A fully healed shoulder should help also but that is several months away. Judge asked me “ is this tougher than a marathon?” Tough to say, it’s difinetly longer. There are a lot of similarities though.
After an ice bath/hot bath and a short nap it was off to Guno’s for BIG beers and to celebrate Doc’s
Special thanks to my wife for waiting on the beach while I drown on my swim.
A big shout out to my good friend and motivator Mickey (aka Judge) for joining me on the run portion and providing me with quotes to live by…..
“ Don’t Get Civilized!”
Superhero 5K, A Timeline
July 22, 2010: Last 5K
October 17, 2010: Last race.
August 1, 2011: Last pregnant run…err waddle. Come on folks, let me call it a run.
August 2, 2011: Give birth. They bribe me by placing a giant piece of chocolate cake on the tray at the end of the bed. (Tuesday is free dessert day at Winchester Hospital, if anyone is wondering). I tell myself that each contraction is shorter than a 400. Mr. Triage offers to make me up a Fernando-type work out card with a bunch of 400s on it. One of the nurses asks me if the marathons that I’ve run were the 26 mile ones. She’s awesome so I let it slide.
August 30, 2011: Cleared to run by my doctor in exchange for my promise that I’ll take my comeback slow and won’t run any marathons in the immediate future.
September 11, 2011: Mr. Triage runs a 10K. I get the itch to race. My sister-in-law convinces me to run a 5K with her and my other sister-in-law. We decide the men in our lives (husbands, boyfriend, son/nephew) can be our cheering squad. We all sign up for the Superhero 5K in Cambridge on October 30.
October 29, 2011:
9 p.m. Dust off my running bag and pack my race gear.
10 p.m. Giant crash outside. Branch falls on my car, blocking our driveway.
10:10 p.m. We lose electricity.
10:30 p.m. Mr. Triage and I get to work sawing wood and dragging branches out of the driveway. Mr. Triage can’t figure out how to get the generator to work. He’s an engineer.
October 30, 2011:
6:30 a.m. We clear the snow from the driveway and pack up the dog and the kid in case we need to spend the night somewhere.
8:30 a.m. We finally load up the car. We look like we’re going somewhere for a week. Most of the stuff in the car belongs to our kid and our dog.
8:31 a.m. We remember that our dog has car anxiety. I squish in the backseat with her and the kid so as to make sure she doesn’t trample the kid.
9:00 a.m. Inform my driver (Mr. Triage) that I could really use some breakfast. He complies and we make a pit stop for food.
9:15 a.m. Arrive at the race. Mr. Triage takes the dog for a walk. Gets distracted by a dog park and is gone for a long time. I feed the kid.
9:45 a.m. 15 minutes to race time. Kid fed and in giant snowsuit. Shoes on. Still need to find my sisters-in-law who were kind enough to pick up my race number the day before.
9:47 a.m. I lose the car keys. Excellent.
9:50 a.m. Still no keys. I leave Mr. Triage to figure it out. He’s smart. He can do it.
9:52 a.m. Get my race number. Warm up consists of a run to the porta potty line. Reflect on how much has changed since August. Now I’m happy if I have time to pee. Seems to be a metaphor for my life at the moment.
9:57 a.m. Find my sisters-in-law.
10:00 a.m. Gun goes off. My return to racing has commenced! It’s cold and I have no feeling in my feet, but wearing my big G and I’m racing!
10:07:06 Hit the first mile marker. A little fast, but not “Oh Sh**” fast, so it’s ok. Start doing the math to figure out how slow I can run the last two miles and still get under my goal of 24 minutes.
10:10 Spot one sister-in-law after I hit the turnaround. She’s running well. Can’t find my other sister-in-law, but she’s in costume, so it’s not totally my fault.
10:14:53: Hit the second mile marker. Do some more math.
10:16. See Mr. Triage, kid, dog and the rest of our cheering squad.
10:20ish. Wonder if the bagel I ate at 9:00 a.m. was a good idea. Remember that I really hate to puke and soldier on.
10:21 a.m. Decide the finish line seems far away and start cursing the darn headwind (again).
10:22:30. Cross the finish line. Very happy.
10:25 a.m. Find Mr. Triage and kid. Dog is not in sight. Did my husband lose one half of our dependents in a 30 minute period? Nope, she’s still watching the race with the rest of the cheering squad. Apparently the fact that I feed her and take her running is not enough to convince her to come to the finish line to find me. Seems that loyalty is overrated these days.
10:30 a.m. Get some post-race snacks. Find my sisters-in-law. Both ran very well and are also very pleased. Make the guys take pictures of us in all our glory. Decide that my first race as a mom can be called a success.
12:00 p.m. Sisters-in-law convince me to sign up for a Turkey Trot. We decide we’ll let the boys run this one. We’re nice like that.
Goons About to Take on the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon