Saturday, April 23, 2011

Welcome To My World

Under the encouragement of my beautiful "apprentice tiger trainer" daughter, I am making this blog with the thought that today is as good as any to start ....

"Slow and steady" has been my motto for quite a while but I'm working to change that to "a little faster and steady" with the help of my coach and a regular training schedule which beats the impromptu "wing it" schedule I have lived by for the last couple years. My "fly by night" approach got me through quite a few races including my first marathon (Stone Cat Trail Marathon to be exact) but I paid the price running ... more like limping ... through it with a misdiagnosed stress fracture finishing at the back of the pack but not quite last. I hobbled through the next 3 weeks before I finally convinced my doctor that it was more than sore muscles and I needed an MRI. Surprise, surprise .... stress fracture. I suspected as much but who was listening ... also pedaled my way through my first and second mountain bike races in my slow and steady style ... the first was a 12 mile course and I encountered some rock gardens like I'd never seen or rode before ... and a few narrow bridges which kicked my claustrophobia into high gear but I made it through with minimal mishap ... next was the Vermont 50 ... nothing like taking the leap from 12 to 50 miles with your eyes closed! Starting with a combination of nerves and a lingering stomach bug, I had to walk my bike up a paved hill only 2 miles into the race because I was feeling dizzy and sick .... only 48 more miles to go ... a great start! Made it to the first aid station, ate a little, rested a few and headed onto the first of many miles of twisting climbing trails. Again at the back of the pack, I was in awe as the first and fastest of the runners caught up with me with a little more than 40 miles to go. I rode with a small group from Canada for a little while, chatted with a few runners along the way but spent a lot in my own solitude praying I didn't get lost. Pretty much spent the last 15 miles with the same group of runners - passing them on the downhills with them catching up on the twisting single-tracks and climbs. Pure determination got me through the last miles as I could hear the after-race party and announcer broadcasting finishers as they came down the mountainside finish. Looking over my shoulder, I saw another girl rider catching up to me and slipping into competitive mode, thinking "pedal damn it, don't let any one pass you now!" I rode as hard as my tired legs would let me. On the downhill finish, passing a few runner friends I'd made along the way and cheers of "Go Girl!" I crossed the finish line in just under 10 hours. Not a spectacular time ... last in my age group of 9 women (it would figure the girl that got me moving in the end was in a younger age group!) but I did it! Slow and Steady. I probably walked about 10 miles or at least that's how my feet looked and felt after hoofing it up some of those bigger hills with my bike in tow - bike shoes weren't made for this ... and my first thoughts at the finish .... I can't wait to do this again next year!!

And that brings us to this year ... started riding my mountain bike as soon as the snow melted from the trails and found myself a coach to help with the running ... started the season with my classic "wing it" style by running the Hyannis Half with less than 15 miles (3 at a time) total running for the season under my belt. Finished 30 minutes faster than my first half (Hartford) which was a pleasant surprise although my IT protested for the last couple of miles. Its been a little slow going since February, keeping the IT in check, with a lot of mountain biking and minimal running but everything is falling in place.

Ran a 3 mile trail race a couple of weeks ago - another slow and steady - but finished with minimal IT pain and ready for more.

This week ... ran 7 miles with the team last Saturday and no IT pain .... celebration! This week I racked the miles up on my mountain bike - Sunday - 7 miles of trail - Tuesday - 13 miles of trail and 3 mile run ... Wednesday - 9 miles of trail ... Thursday -8 miles (trail & road) pacing my coach on his run, although he paced me on the trails - he can run like a mountain goat being chased by a lion! And that brings us to today .... a 3 mile run and an easy ride are on the agenda! My mountain bike buddy is away for Easter so I'll be at it alone this weekend. My regular trails are a little crazy with riders preparing for tomorrow's mountain bike race so I'll probably do a little more running then riding.

That's it for now!!

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