Friday, December 31, 2010

Felíz año nuevo

After a slightly less than perfect 2009, 2010 has been nothing short of incredible. While we've had our losses and sad times with the loss of our baby girl Abby, we've also ended the year rewarded with the beautiful red dog and Baxter partner in crime, Juliette.

We're fortunate to spend our New Years in our favorite place, with one of our favorite persons, Amanda. While the weekend did take a strange change in events when we went from a full house of 8, somehow we're down to 3. From car problems and friends being stranded by on the side of the road and towed home - to work emergencies and only a 16hour stay in Mexico for another friend. Either way, we have our girl A with us, and Baxter is ecstatic for his midnight makeout session.

My morning started out with a 9mile run to prime myself for the festivities. It was the perfect start to a day of celebration and to end a year of all things great. I added the miles to my log and made my year end tallies. I'm proud and happy to say I achieved my goals of 5000bike miles & 1000 run miles by year end. The final results are:

Bike: 5100.1, Run: 1018.42 and Swim: 318,648 yards.

I am very much looking forward to a happy, healthy and FUN 2011. Cheers everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dog Days of Christmas

It's been a beautiful few days here in Mexico. We couldn't have asked for better weather. Clear blue skies, temps around 70degrees and calm waters. The trip started out a little rough with Shane catching the stomach flu I had the week before Christmas. He did his best to rally and celebrate my birthday in traditional Mexico style, however his limits were reached when he left me with a fully raring fire on the deck at 7:45 pm on my birthday and went to bed. He knows I'm not going to let him live THAT one down.

All joking aside, he's feeling much better and I actually got him out of the house last night for Margaritas at the Lighthouse restaurant overlooking the town and beaches, followed by dinner at our favorite place, Reginas. Today might be the last perfect weather day as we're expected to have some rain storms tomorrow and cooler temps for the weekend. However, the sun will be back out come Thursday and we have some great friends coming to celebrate and ring in the new year. We need all the help we can get to stay up until midnight these days. I'm so excited to share our happy place with this group of peeps, and truth be told after a week of being honeymooned up with each other, I'm sure it is good for us to have others around. Nuf said :-)

Juliette has found her little piece of heaven here on the beaches of Las Conchas. This is our 4th dog we've brought here over the past several years and I think her excitement tops them all. She is pretty brave jumping in the cold waters to chase the birds and having endless miles of sandy beach at her disposal is just the icing on the cake. I had no idea that girl could run so FAST, but I am convinced she's been sandbagging a little bit on our runs.

I've had some great runs, including my 10mile birthday run. I had experience a weird back injury/pain the few days leading up to our trip so I was really uncomfortable and a little saddened that my birthday run might not happen. It's healing up quite nicely so I'm taking advantage of getting some extra running miles in here. Must offset all the extra liquid, chips and tortilla calories. I have no doubt I'll be fired up and ready to hit the training hard as soon as we get back! For now I'm just trying to enjoy this down time without going crazy being lazy!

Enjoy some of our fun holiday pics of the kids at Christmas :-)

My traditional birthday lunch and margarita at the Blue Marlin

Santa Paws hooked the doggies up!

Juliette was a great sport posing for the camera in this SILLY hat.

Probably because she knew she'd be rewarded with a trip to the beach that evening!

Typical Baxter, guarding his beach...

and... posing for the camera

I hope all of your holidays were as bright, sunny and happy! Next up.... the New Years Celebration (blog rated, of course).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2011 e21 Triathlon Team

I just found out last night that I was selected along with 24 other athletes to be part of the new 2011 e21 triathlon Team! I'm crazy excited for this opportunity and can't wait to meet the rest of my teammates.

I first heart the 'buzz' around this company, Arcadian Nutraceuticals, specifically their first product marketed in the US e21 Recovery, on Facebook (of course).

I was invited to "like" the product by a friend of a friend, and soon there after I was getting to read all the updates via the company, but most importantly, the product reviews posted by fellow athletes.

Soon I was linked up with Michelle Simmons and started following her blog. I found out she is good friends with a local friend and triathlete here in AZ, AND we are all doing Ironman CDA this year! A month or so after all this happened I was reading THIS post by Michelle. I've always been intrigued by the idea of being part of a sponsored team. I mean what's not to like? Promote and be a part of a great company and group of people doing something you love? Win Win, right?
What I liked most about the idea of this team was the product behind it. An organic electrolyte replacement capsule. With all the STUFF we put into our bodies to keep them fueled, hydrated, sugared and salted something that simple sounds fabulous, huh?

After submitting my application I received a note from Michelle, the tri team coordinator, that they were going to ship out sample packets of e21 to try the product out and wanted our feedback. I asked Michelle a few questions about dosage and what she thought of the results and after hearing what she had to say, I was VERY excited to try it out.

It just happened to be bike week when I received the sample packet. Bike week in the off season, that is. Legs were used to riding about 50-75miles (assuming I made all the workouts) per week and we were on tap for about 200+. The timing couldn't be better to try out the product.

While our rides were not too long, and the weather was cool so I wasn't needing any extra salt or electrolytes, I did take 2 pills each day. My legs were certainly tired, but what I can say is that I was far better off than my other half, Shane. By day 3 I was still feeling pretty strong and actually had Shane take a couple of the pills. He also said he noticed a difference in how his legs felt later that night. At least I could say it wasn't just in my head!

I'm very excited to use this product this spring as our AZ temps heat up. If anyone has ever trained with me or read this blog, you know how much salt I sweat, and how many salt pills I consume during my long rides and runs. After a few hours of trying to overcome salt loss headaches and popping those big pills like mad, swallowing those pills can be a bit much. Stay tuned for my followup reviews of e21 Recovery as well as their Joint Health Product.

We can all use a little help, right? I have a feeling my auto shipments are going to go quickly when Shane sees my results :-)

P.S. I haven't seen any art for our team kits yet... but I have a feeling I might be seen wearing just a bit of the unthinkable... *based on the logo*

Monday, December 13, 2010

12k's of Christmas

The 12k's of Christmas run was probably the best possible way the LaPan clan could end the year. I've been searching for a dog friendly "race" to do for well, as long as I can remember. It was such an amazing day, and I couldn't have been any more proud. You see, Saturday was the day that my boy, Baxter, officially proved something we've all known for a while.

My dog is faster than yours. My dog is a BAD ASS.

The race morning (10am, actually) was kinda crazy! Over 1500 people showed up and they had to start the races a little late because people were still trying to get registered. The park was full of little santas, elves and santa paws. It was a crazy warm morning, absolutely gorgeous!

The dogs were so good hanging out for about an hour before the race actually started! This is the first time we've had Juliette around so many people and dogs, but she did awesome! She definitely is a bit curious about other dogs, particularly little ones, but nothing to be worried about.

Baxter is ready to ROLL!

While the race allowed dogs to participate, they asked that we line up in the back. If you know anything about Baxter, he is NOT cool with that. But, we respected the race director and lined up behind the first dogs in the pack. The race started and Baxter and Shane were out of sight within minutes.

This race was all about Baxter. My boy is a true runner, and while he's had his fair share of injuries and down time over the years (haven't we all), nothing makes him more happy than running. And running FAST. So, rather than tag along with the boys and possibly slow them down (ie chase them) I decided I would take Juliette for her first race as well. I was fully prepared to walk some of the race for her since the longest we've been able to get her built up to in the short 2 weeks we've had her is about 2 miles. The race was a 6k, or 3.7 miles so I knew it would be a bit of a stretch for her, but she is a Vizsla so I had faith!

Little miss thing started out pretty speedy running up the grass hill at an 8min pace. I tried to slow her down but she was all GO GO GO. We were passing people the whole way, but it was a little un-nerving to be running in such a crowded pack when we don't have her trained that well yet. With Baxter, he understands directions; left, right, up, down, stop, fast, recover (although he chooses to ignore the last one). It makes running in traffic and crowds so easy. At one point Juliette got a little out of control and darted to the left a bit almost tripping someone. I apologized profusely and shorted Juliette's lead.

We stopped at the first water stop, just before the 6k turnaround and I tried to get Juliette to drink from the dog bowls they had out. She wasn't very interested so I tried a dixie cup, but again she also refused. We started back out on the course only to see Baxter and Shane heading our way! I was so excited. I could see how far in front they were and I had only seen maybe one other dog ahead of them. Baxter was smiling and gave me a quick look like "I gotta keep moving mom, no time for chit chat."

Juliette tried to get me to turn around and run with them, but soon gave in to my tugging on her leash. We made another stop at the water station on the way back. She was really starting to slow down so I was hoping she would take in some water. No luck, but she seemed ok so we were on our way.

With about a mile left in the race I saw a dog in front of us and slowly tried to get Juliette to pick up the pace to pass them. We finally got in front of the other dog and I spent the next half mile cheering Miss Juliette all the way to the finish.

I have no idea what kinda pace we ran with the stops and the course was actually 4 miles, but some how our brand new runner girl Juliette ran her way to 3rd in my age group and 3rd overall dog. Not bad for someone who just started running only 2 weeks ago! She is definitely a Vizsla, all heart!

Santa putting Juliette's medal on!

Her first "medal picture"

And wouldn't you know it Baxter ran himself into 5th place overall in the 6k, 1st DOG overall and 3rd in Shane's AG. He pulled Shane past a dog in the last mile to take the lead averaging 7min miles (pace including 2 water stops and being stopped at an intersection waiting for traffic).

And while they awarded the dogs presents (which we later found out were toothbrush and toothpaste = lame), all Baxter cared about was the BLING.

Not bad for a 9year old and 8 year old dog, eh? Yah, you can say it. My DOGS are BAD ASS. And if I can't win a race, my dog might as well, right? :-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Little Miss thing and "stuff"

It's been 1 week since we got our new baby girl, Juliette. Things couldn't be going any more smoothly. Actually, I take that back. For an 8 year old dog, she sure doesn't like to sleep through the night. While I've never been a good sleeper anyway, she's still driving me nuts moving around the (our) bed all night long. It's MADDENING.

But, other than that and the fact she has decided she's allowed on our bed any time her little heart desires, she's an exceptionally good dog. Which, is saying a LOT for a Vizsla. She's learning how to run, although if she had it her way she would absolutely do with OUT the gentle leader. We've built her up to about 2 miles, but she isn't much for pacing so it's gonna take a bit to get her past that.

On Saturday we are all heading out to Gilbert for the 12k's of Christmas run. I have wanted to bring Baxter to a road race that allows "paws" for as long as I can remember, but either the ones I found didn't work out with our schedules or he was on the injured list. Not this time. Even if it is the morning after Shane's work Holiday party we will all be there with bells and sparkle and lots of red and green on. I think I'm more excited about our outfits than anything else. Shane & Baxter will be RACING the 6k, and after Baxter's appearance banditing some of the Fiesta Bowl Half marathon on Sunday all I can say is WATCH OUT BITCHES. My dog is going to pass you.

Juliette and I will be doing a leisurely 1.2k. We will look cute though. And, isn't that really all that matters?

So, Juliette is just a HOOT. She absolutely LOVES to play. My living room looks like a playground filled with toys. She has taken over all of Abby's old dog bones, which just makes my heart melt. When we get home she is so excited she that she shakes her whole body with joy. I call her "little miss thing" cause well, she kinda is just THAT.

We are however, getting her to be a little less little. She sure does love her food and has most certainly figured out where all the goodies are. Pretty sure Baxter trained her on that. I've caught the two snuggling on more than one occasion, but if ask Baxter about his "dog" he will roll his eyes at you, or ignore your question. He's snotty like that. I know he loves her though.

In other non-dog exciting news - training has been going great. Our coach sure is keeping us go go going through this "off season." While I haven't overdone it, or done much if any speedwork, I do feel like I'm building a nice solid base. After a failed attempt at "bike week," (we made it 4/6 rides but did get in a 4hr ride!) she has threatened to give us another one before year end. I'm not sure if that will actually happen or not with our annual Holiday in Mexico coming up in just a little over 2 weeks! Either way I have a feeling I will be a lot less hurt and trashed for the Answer to the Challenge this year. Mingus Mountain, I'm coming to get you.

I do however feel confident we are going to hit my goals of 5k biking & 1k running. To date totals as of this am are: Cycling Distance: 4879.40 Mi and Running Distance: 964.08 Mi

Did you notice the red and green theme? Yah, I'm being festive this year. We even put up our fancy tree at home this year (re: fancy only because we have a Charlie Brown tree we put up in. Mexico). And, like I said above I'm TOTALLY excited for the 12k run and we are ALL dressing up. I stalked the waiter at Oreganos on Sunday so I could copycat his Santa Hat. It's not just ANY Santa hat, but you'll have to wait to see the pictures. So.CUTE. Shane might end up looking a little bit gay, but gay is usually pretty hot, right? Anyways...

It's cold in AZ. I don't think it's any more cold than any other winter, but after this summer's training I'm completely ruined. I'm cold all the time. I wear more layers than I've ever worn in my life, even when it's 50degrees out. This am, I rode when it was 47degrees. I wore tights over my shorts, a long sleeve undershirt, a fleece long sleeve jersey, vest, ear warmers, long fingered gloves and toe warmers. I'm still cold and sitting at my desk in sweats with a blanket on my legs. I suppose a shower would help, but I think those are over-rated. At least before it's dark outside, anyways.

I'm so looking forward to getting back to Mexico. My liver is even trained for the bender relaxing vacation. Tis the Season. Even if it includes a day where I get closer to my "mid 30's" than my "early 30's." LAME. I'm crazy excited for my girl Amanda and her good "friend" to come ring in the New Year with us as well. We still have one room open - HINT HINT.

And one last little thought I'll leave you with. I did my tax estimates yesterday and while my income was less than the previous year's due to lack of work flow and the economy, blah blah... I apparently didn't "spend" as much either cause I need to increase my expenses. And, wouldn't you know that my computer is a POS and I think I'm finally getting talked into the cool kid club.


Need I say more? I'm just hoping it means I don't have to hit "CONTROL_ALT_DELETE" an average of 10 times per day. It interrupts my Scrabble time, ya know?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Icing on the cake

Tis the season to be jolly (and fat), right? RIGHT.

So, I think my body has gone into complete crappy sugar withdrawals. After training hard from Jan-August and shoving everything imaginable into my mouth to keep from bonking, especially on the bike I may have turned myself into a complete and utter SUGAR addict.

Don't get me wrong, I've always been a chocolate girl. I blame my increase love for dessert on my bff from college Erin who would choose ice cream and cake over dinner if she had the choice. Taking that to a whole new level I also blame my husband. He claims he was ruined by a good friend he worked with years ago who insisted that some sort of dessert was NECESSARY after each meal. Lunch & dinner. Myself, I would never turn down an offer for a piece of gooey chocolate cake, but most of the other stuff I could walk away from.

Until recently....

So here I am, the result of living with two complete sugar heads for the last 13 years. Top that off with a year of stuffing myself like clock work with sugary calories and I'm a lost cause. I think I've been blaming my chocolate addition as of late on "that time of the month," but if I'm being honest, that's really only a few days and my cravings are far beyond a few days of each month right now.

And now, I seem to be having all sorts of other, NON chocolate cravings. Like. I can't believe I'm admitting this, but last night I was coming out of the grocery store - a QUICK trip to replenish our triple sec so Shane could make me a lemon drop (seeing a pattern here? even a SUGARY DRINK) - as I was walking to the exit I turn to the right and there is a case of donuts.

DONUTS, really? My mouth actually started to water. I honestly can not even tell you the last time I ate a donut. Probably about the last time I ate a burger, or maybe even longer. After being completely grossed out at myself for even THINKING that maple bar looked good I ran to my car and was home with a much better alternative (cocktail) in my hand. And, I made myself feel a little better by offsetting my sugary drinks by making grilled chicken and spinach salad for dinner. Totally ='s ok, right?

Don't worry, I have a few other tricks in the bag. Peanut butter and chocolate. I've always had a bp&c obsession - but I find myself DROOLING at the thought of anything with those two ingredients. I have a theory on this too. All those damn energy bars I've consumed in the last few years were of course, PB & C. SO - my alternative to this yummy goodness in the picture, is making my famous PB&C protein smoothie.

The fastest most yummy way to get a healthy portion of calories and protein in your system. Ice plus 1 big scoop of chocolate rice protein powder, scoop of PB & Rice chocolate milk blended in the magic bullet. Pure heaven....

So - what's a girl to do? Get fat and happy and truly enjoy the holidays or get my ass back out on the bike so I can resume my regular scheduled crappy sugar consumption?

Thank God I signed up for a mid year Ironman, otherwise I might just turn into one of these.....and need a new wardrobe cause none of my jeans will fit anymore.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Introducing Juliette, welcome home little girl.

Our home is no longer to quiet. Baxter no longer has an excuse to be naughty and/or counter surf. Our hearts are full and and I feel like giving this incredibly sweet girl a new and permanent home was the best Christmas gift I could possibly ask for.

Do you ever just feel like some things are meant to be? As soon as we saw Juliette's picture on the web site, and read a little bit about her we just knew she needed to be here with us. It didn't take long to convince the rescue people that we were good and would be a great family for her. A few days, a lotta miles and a couple sleepovers later and we were meeting Juliette after her long journey from Boise, Id to bring her home.

At first she was a little confused leaving the guys that drove her from Salt Lake City (they spent a LONG 14 hours in the car together through crazy road conditions and construction detours to get to Phoenix), but a 45min car ride sitting next to her new BIG brother seemed to help with her nerves.

We gave her a tour of the house, her new bed and some food in her new dog bowl. Baxter showed her the doggy door and the treat cupboard and she was soon getting the hang of how things worked here in this doggy jackpot.

It was close to midnight and WAY past the LaPan bedtime so we tucked Juliette into her new dog bed on the floor next to Shane. Baxter immediately jumped up onto "our" bed, resting his head on his pillow at our feet. Juliette took one look at the other red dog on the BIG bed and hopped right up. She draped herself across me and slept that way until the alarm went off this am.

I was SHOCKED Baxter let her get away with this as he immediately let her know that I was his by not letting her into my office this am (he was just proving a point and all is good now, although she is taking up camp in Shane's office/dog room while he is working from home today and Baxter is sitting with me in my office).

Trying to keep to our normal routine and make sure Baxter felt secure, we went along with our normal Monday scheduled long run (aka Bubba day) with a few little tweaks. Shane took Baxter for his 5mile run and I stayed with Juliette. Shane dropped Baxter off and grabbed Juliette to see how she would do running. She made it about 2/3 mile keeping our normal pace around 8:30s, then started to fade so Shane walked her home then I headed out for a quiet and kinda lonely 9mile run.

When I got home the 3 seemed to be settled in quite nicely - Juliette has found all of Miss Abby's toys pretty entertaining. She is one of the TINIEST Vizsla's I've ever seen, but sweet as can be. We were told she is about 45lbs, but after having her sleep on me all night and barely noticing her body weight I can only guess she is closer to 35. She's skin and bones right now, but very interested in her food and the goody cupboard that Baxter told her about so it won't take long before we can put some weight on her. She has the white hair of a mature 8yr old dog, but her playfulness and energy is puppy like. It's so cute, and refreshing.

I think the 4 of us are going to build quite the happy and active family. Baxter can teach Juliette to trust in us and enjoy the benefits of living in an "iron house," and Juliette can bring out a playful side in my old soul boy. It's going to be a fun, heart warming journey for us all.

And without further adue, please meet Miss Juliette.

she lOOKS just like Baxter in these pictures, but her face is so much smaller and her body is about half his size! This was last night, shortly after we got home she found a couple of toys and immediately started to tease Baxter - he pretty much just stared her down.

such a sweet, sweet little girl

and FINALLY someone will appreciate all these toys we have here!

Welcome HOME little girl.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Casa LaPan/Adoption approval..

Since losing Abby, and just a year earlier than that our girl Sara, the LaPan house has been just a leetle bit TOO quiet. While Baxter might be high energy and completely neurotic at times, he's also EASY compared to what we were doing before. Between the medications, vet visits, puking episodes, finicky eating, etc... I really didn't realize how much time we put into caring for our little girl. Of course I would do it all over again to have her back, but unfortunately that is just not the case.

It's been about 2 months now and while at first I think Baxter was in HEAVEN being the only dog, he changed. He became more playful and fun and LOUD. At first we thought he was maybe meant to be an only dog and that it brought him back to his youth. He's been running great, full of energy.

But something in the past few weeks has really changed. He seems lonely. And BORED. Have you ever been around a bored Vizsla? Think of a 3yr old ADHD kid with out the meds. That's pretty much what it's like. I don't care if he's 9 years old, take him to Hummingbird and ask him to run hill repeats - prepare to HURT.

So, Shane started asking Baxter if he wanted a "puppy" or a "friend." Yes, you might think we are crazy trying to communicate to our dog, but don't you think twice about that. He's not a DOG and he does understand us. I wish I had his responses on video. Every single time he jumped up and down, gave kisses and smiled when asked if he wanted a dog. The final straw was watching him play with my sister's Boxer puppy over the weekend. He's usually a little stand-offish towards dogs when he first meets them, thinking he is just TOO cool, but he loved having her around and LOVED playing with her. I was completely shocked.

In typical LaPan fashion, over a bottle of wine we made the decision, officially. We were going to adopt a dog for Baxter. I decided a long time ago that the next time I raise a puppy, it will be 2 puppies at the same time. I want them to grow up together and be the same age and well get all that puppy stuff out of the way at once - so we weren't looking for a baby this time!

I am a regular Vizsla and Weimaraner rescue site stalker. I've been doing it for years. It's like personal torture, but for some reason I always look, just to see. I already knew the websites to contact and within a day or 2 Shane & I had found a couple of available dogs and were in communication with the rescue organizations. Unfortunately there are no local dogs. Wait, that's not unfortunate, that's FANTASTIC, but it was looking like we were going to have to travel to find what we were looking for.

We want a girl. We decided on a Vizsla rescue as we just can't bare bringing home another weimaraner right now. We, unlike most, want an older dog - around the same age as Baxter, but of course needs to keep up with him.

We found Juliette and both of us kinda fell in love. She looks just like Baxter, her description sounds perfect (run hike by day, snuggle by night). They have a video that shows her playing with a younger pup - again, just like Baxter. Unfortunately, this dog is in Boise so the the regional coordinator put us in touch with another foster parent with a dog in New Mexico. The story of the rescue is of course sad, but we're a little more hesitant to reach out to this dog because of some health issues. She wasn't taken care of very well, and as much as I want to give every dog a chance in our doggy jackpot of a home - I'm not sure we're up for the chance of having another sick dog right now. The dog is not totally out of the picture, but I think our gut feeling right now is we really want to adopt Juliette.

So, while we are working on the process (Shane ready to jump in the car to go get her) the rescue coordinator asked us to send them pictures of our home. They are very very particular about where the dogs go and what their life will be like. Anyone who knows us would never question are ability or desire to care for any dog, let alone a Vizsla but we are following the rules and Shane went around the house taking pictures to send to them this am. Of course Baxter wanted to be in EVERY.SINGLE.PICTURE. What a HAM.

SO, think we'll pass? :-) Here's the home tour brought to you by BAXTER

the kitchen - and MY goodie shelf is in the pantry on the left with MY Peanut Butter

The spare room - my LEAST favorite room because it has those STUPID BIKES in there.

I'm not quite ready to get out of bed's COLD

fresh water out of the sink is WAY better than dog water

why aren't you taking the pictures of ME?

This is where I work with mom all day.

and this is where I spend my evenings snuggling and watching tv with my parents

This is the DOG room. I have my own door to outside, and a dumb dog bed, but now that I'm an only dog and can be trusted, I pretty much get free range of the whole house when my parents leave

Where my dad has to pick up all my poop from!

Not sure what Dad's doing out there - it's COLD
fine, I'll come pose for you in my yard

the doorway to heaven. We start all of our runs out here!

When mom and dad are lazy or not training, sometimes I get to go HUNT bunnies in this wash. I usually hurt myself, but it's TOTALLY worth it.

Juliette (or ANYONE), do you want to come be my sister?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

By the Numbers

I've been logging my training into this website for a few years now. It was fun at first watching the totals grow as I trained for my first Ironman. Now, well... I'm just addicted to the data. Cause yes, I'm nerdy like that. I have to also admit that while I'm not one to need THAT much motivation to train as I love how I feel after working up a sweat, it sure does help get me out the door when I see blanks on the screen as I look at my weekly log.

Anyhoo - I was looking at my YTD totals for 2010 wondering what I would end up come the end of the year. There are a couple of pretty cool numbers I might hit if I can reverse my new found motivation to sleep in until 7 and take my "off season" seriously. While I know it's important to have the rest time before we start back up in January, but I also know we have a 10day break planned to finish off the year in Mexico.

So, the question is - can I manage to to find my big girl pants and get out there in the "cold" to ride another 430 miles to reach a 5000 mile bike year for 2010?? And, it looks like I need another 90miles to reach 1000 miles of running. I have about 5 weeks to hit the bike number before we head back to Mexico, and I'm sure ill hit the run number with the extra running days at the beach...

This is definitely my biggest cycling year ever! Not sure about running, and the swimming is right in the middle. As a comparison my previous 2 years were:

09: Bike: ~2300miles Run: ~850miles (only cause of the Tucson Marathon) and Swim: 127miles, clearly a year off of Ironman!
08: Bike ~4350miles Run: ~885miles and big swim year @ 183miles.

Anyone wanna help me reach those bike miles? It's cold out there ya know!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Women's Half Marathon

Sometime over the summer a string of emails went around to a group of ladies I've known for almost 10 years. Someone was recruiting for a team to train together and run the Women's Half Marathon. I was already looking at doing the race, but the timing was a little tough being just 2 months after Ironman Canada.

The responses came quickly and I couldn't believe how many people were "in." Almost all of the girls from my very first Marathon, 9 years ago, were giving it a go. Some have continued to run, some have been busy busy raising babies and such and haven't had the time to train. I figured if these girls were going to pick up and put it all out there, I most certainly could do a couple long runs post Ironman and do it along side of them. I even got my sister to sign up, just a couple months after she did her very first Half Marathon!

The girls started training in August, meeting for weekly long runs organized by our fierce leader and Monaco Marathon alum, Amy. Amy was amazing. She provided the group with training plans, organized runs and even track workouts. Another Monaco Alum, Colleen, (who I ran side by side and finished the marathon with in 2001) was a big help to the group as well, and even helped get T-shirts made for everyone!

Unfortunately, because of my crazy Ironman training, then a month post ironman of no running, I was only able to meet up with the group for one run. Truth be told, I think my coach was ignoring the fact I was doing the race because I didn't run over 45mins-1hr until about 4 weeks from the race. I managed to get in an 8,10 & 12 miler, but only a couple of track workouts. I had no idea what kind of time I could run, and frankly didn't care. I was just happy to be toeing the line with such a great group of ladies.

The race morning was gorgeous. A brisk cool 50ish degrees and sun! The course was fairly flat with a few bumps throughout. I started the run in Coral 1, a few rows back from the start. I decided to just run by feel, not aim for any sort of time. I had somewhere between 1:45-1:50 in my mind, but that was just based on my last 2 half marathons, however they were both downhill courses.

I had a great playlist on my ipod and the miles just kept ticking away. I took the first mile easy to get my breathing under control and was able to cruise along the next several miles around a 7:50 pace. Legs felt great, breathing good! I was actually pleasantly surprised. The spectators along the course were a big boost as well. I had cheers just when I needed them.

My niece Taylor at mile 5. Shane, Baxter & Sara at mile 8 and a fantastic surprise, my girl Tonsa heading out while I was heading in around mile 11.5. I actually got a little choked up after giving her a hug, thinking about what an inspiration she is to so many women. As much as a boost seeing her gave me, it also gave me a little bit of a struggle! The excitement of seeing her got my breathing a bit off and I was experience a very very painful side stitch. I was watching my pace slow down & avg pace go from a 7:55 to about an 8. I worked on breathing out on the opposite side of the stitch (no idea of this actually works) and eventually, with just about a quarter mile to go, I was able to run normal again!

I saw my time & tried to pick up the pace as much as I can to get close to that 1:45 mark, but as I saw my garmin hit 13.1miles, I realized I must have done a lot of weaving cause I still had a ways to go :-) I always seem to have extra distance as I tend to move a lot on the course looking for flat road vs slanted that hurts my IT bands.

I turned the last corner into Tempe town lake park and heard my people cheering again and sprinted to the finish. I had definitely picked it up in the last minute or so and as soon as I crossed the finish had to catch my breath!

I grabbed some water, my medal & headed out to meet Shane & my boy. I handed Baxter his medal and he of course, pranced around proudly, thanking me!

It was a great day! Almost 4000 women between the 5k and half marathon - a whole lotta PINK! I felt strong the whole run (Ironman fitness really does carry over) and even after my legs weren't tired at all!

My biggest accomplishment of the day was finishing the race with no IT band pain. This is the FIRST of any distance race since 2002 that I can honestly say that. A huge huge achievement for me!

My garmin time = 13.28miles, 1:45:47 ,7:58 pace
Official time = 13.1miles, 1:45:46, 8:05 pace

Our team, Sun Sistas came in 4th out of 28 teams, just 3 minutes behind 3rd place! Congrats to everyone!

My sister finished her 2nd half marathon in 6 months with a PR & is already planning her next one!

And Taylor is WAY excited to run "Ironman Arizona" (the kids 1mile race)!

Next up, the 12ks of Christmas - Bubba's race!

Friday, November 5, 2010

NYC Marathon, Circa 2003

Most of you know that Shane and I met training for our first marathon. We were part of the "Dream Team," raising money for UCP and running a marathon in Monaco, a first of many for me. My longest run before signing up for this was a 5k, and I had never been to Europe. We had the fabulous coaches from Racelab training us and met some of the most amazing people, most of which are still some of our closest friends.

We ran the marathon in November of 2001, just a few months after 9/11. It was the experience of a lifetime. Shane & I started dating just a few days after we returned from the trip and well, here we are 9 years later.

While on a bus ride to our "victory" party in Monaco, a few in the group may have taken advantage of our slightly intoxicated and post race highs because the next thing I knew I was back at home online registering for my second marathon, The San Diego RnR. The race was only 7 months after Monaco and I was pushing pretty hard to build some speed. I had gotten sick just days before we left for Europe and was on steroids and antibiotics for the race. I didn't get to run what I wanted, or even close so I was really trying to reach a 4hr marathon goal at RnR.
Unfortunately things didn't work out that way, as this is the race where all of my IT Band injuries started.

Shane & I had also signed up for the NYC Marathon Lottery with hopes of running it that November. One of us got in and the other didn't so we postponed the entrance for the following year so we could both try to go. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as my IT Band injury wasn't getting any better. I was doing PT 3 days a week, but honestly I was never letting it rest or heal. We also had already made plans to visit NYC so we got to go and watch the marathon and I got to experience the City for the first time. I was excited, to say the least, to get back there and run the marathon.

The following June we found out both of us had entrances into the marathon so we started training. I'm not sure how I made it through. My IT Band was about as random as could be. I could go one day with a 18miler and the next week barely make it through a few miles. Fortunately I ended on a good note with a very good final 20mile run.

We had a pretty large group heading to the NYC for the marathon, including my training partner Sara. Most of us were in the same hotel which made it great! The taper always messes with my mind and system so once we were in NYC I was starting to feel like I was getting sick. I had packed some echinacea tea inside Shane's backpack so I went to get it out and he about bit my head off. He's never ever thought twice about me getting into "his stuff," so I was shocked at his reaction. I let him get the tea for me, and he actually headed out to meet up with an old friend of his from his childhood.

Late that day we were watching TV in bed - The Friends episode where Rachel (I think) gets the absolutely UGLY engagement ring? All I know is I was laughing at it and Shane started asking all these crazy questions about what was wrong with it, why was it so bad, blah blah. I had no idea why he was so annoyed. We had never talked about rings and I didn't wear much jewelry so it was all just kind of weird.

The night before the race we headed to a group dinner. Everyone was nervous and none of us felt very confident about the race. Did I also mention that Shane had been diagnosed with a hernia just a few weeks before the race, but decided he had trained the whole way, we missed the race the year before so he was doing it anyway. Little did I know why.

We were such babies....

That night we didn't get much sleep. Shane was tossing and turning and driving me absolutely insane. If we had another bed in the room I most certainly would have moved over to it. We had a car service taking our group to the start line so we didn't have to ride the buses. NYC marathon start is a little later than most so you are usually sitting in the freezing cold before the race for hours. We were prepared with lots of layers, but this time we got lucky and it was a crazy hot year for the race.

Somewhere close to the start Shane reached into a bag and said he had a present for me and handed me a plastic wrapped running shirt. I thought it was sweet he got me something special to run in, but then I started looking at it and it wasn't just any old shirt....

Somewhere in my complete and total shock Shane had gotten on 1 knee and started saying all sorts of sweet things to me. None of which I actually heard, or remember because I was still staring at the shirt. The shirt had a picture of a ring that said, "He asked and all I got was this crummy T shirt!" and on the back it said, "Go Krista Go! The ring is at the Finish!"

If you hear Shane tell the story he will say I stood there with no response and he just stopped talking and asked me to marry him. I do remember him going on and on about how it (the ring)wasn't like the picture, it wasn't gold like the ring on the Friend's episode. It was platinum and so pretty but if I didn't like it I could pick out whatever I wanted and blah blah blah....I can honestly say I have never been so surprised or shocked in my entire life. My friends were SCREAMING and I think that is what finally made me realize what had happened. I finally answered him, obviously saying yes, and we were off for one of the longest marathons EVER.

With all the excitement we had missed the start of the race. We couldn't find the bag drops and were scrambling. There were two starts to the race, one on each side of the bridge and we were assigned colored bibs to match. Shane was in a faster paced group than Sara & I so we went our separate ways. Sara and I had the most clustered start ever, hopping over railings from side to side and even running about a half a mile backwards on one side after we were told we missed the timing chip.

We were going WAY too fast for the first 2 miles of the race trying to catch up. The temps were creeping up in the high 80s and we were stopping at every aid station. Somewhere along mile 4 Sara and I lost each other and I was left on my own. My IT band was already tugging, getting worse no matter what I did. By mile 6 I was stopped in some of the worst pain I had ever experienced in my knee wondering how in the hell I was going to survive the next 20miles.

I had taken advil that morning, but the race was sponsored by Tylenol 8hr so there was no advil to be found. I was asking, no begging everyone that I ran by if they had any. I started day dreaming about a cortisone injection, pain pills... ANYTHING to take away the pain. I could run, or more like sprint for about a quarter mile then I would have to stop and stretch and adjust the IT band strap I was wearing. At one point I had the thing so tight, it actually caused chafing so bad I was bleeding down my leg.

With the support of the endless crowds and constant cheering I somehow made it through the most painful 20miles of my life. I hobbled to the finish just one minute faster than my first marathon when I was sick. I just wanted to find Shane, my new FIANCE'!!!

Unfortunately I had no idea where I was, couldn't remember where I was supposed to go and ended up wandering around for an hour trying to find everyone. After what seemed like a lifetime Shane & I were finally back together. He was in as much pain as me, running just a bit faster than me in agony from the hernia.

In the end it was all worth it. We both made it to the finish line, and he had his friend waiting there with my ring.

The New York City Marathon is this weekend, which inspired this post. It also just so happens that Sara had found these old pictures and recently sent them to us so I just had to share our story.

While we have finished countless races together since (well, Shane always finishing first), this was our last stand alone marathon together. We have both run a couple each, but at different times. Shane got the chance to go back to New York a couple years ago, but I wasn't able to go or run.

To this day the race is my absolute favorite. It's crowded and noisy, but the culture, the support and the beautiful scenery can not be beat. I would love for us to go back there someday, maybe to honor a special anniversary....

If you haven't done this race yet, Do it. You won't regret the experience of a lifetime!