Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Pie Run 2013

Busy week, but I managed to go on a couple of brisk walks with my husband to knock out a handful of HBBC 2013 points.  But have to admit that running in single digit temps in the mornings just hasn't been appealing.  I know you just wear the right gear and suck it up, but I found every excuse in the book not to.  Thankfully, my sister had mentioned doing the Thanksgiving Day race that is fairly popular here in Jeff City.  So I took the race entries over last night and pre-registered (in record time - no line, no crowd SO AWESOME of JCRRC).  Then this morning we got up and got going (after a minor hiccup with her leaving her running shoes at home in WI - thankfully mine are only a half size smaller and she said she could make them work for a 5K).

We got to the race, parked and stood in line for the portopots.  Before we knew it the 10K folks were off and we moved toward the start line and then we were off.  Sis wanted to know how much I could run and not walk.   My first goal was the first mile.  After a half mile, we played a game counting the folks we passed.  We tried not to be rude and count out loud.  And a few repassed us and we took them out of our count.  This is a big race with a lot of folks that aren't necessarily "regular" runners so you always have some people that go out too fast (plus all the kids that do the sprint at the start and peter out a half mile in).

We hit the first mile in about 11:45.  Not a bad pace and generally sustainable.  But there was some superelevation on a curve that was making my legs scream (slope on the road).  Then, my legs (shins, ankles, knees, butt) never really stopped talking to me.  I was never particularly out of breath.  We chatted about exercise physiology stuff (sis is PhD) and what research says about training and so on.  I carried on a conversation the whole time.  I just felt like I couldn't make my legs go any faster.  But I kept running.

Second mile was slower - 12:27.  But I was still feeling like I could keep "running" (and yes, I realize this is a relative term at that pace).  So I kept pushing on.  As we closed in on three miles, I felt myself picking up the pace ever so slightly as I just wanted to be done.  I don't really have a finish "kick", but I did the best I could once we hit the last straight away.  Last full mile was 12:13 and then the 0.16 mi was 10:22.  So not overall awful paces, but not great either.  We did pass 50 people in our game though.

I was annoyed that I finished what I think is damn near my slowest 5K in a couple of years having "run" the whole way and not walked.  Garmin says it was 38:03.  I guess I am better at my usual approach - run until my lungs hurt and then walk until I catch my breath - because I ran this almost 4 min slower than last year.  Boo.  But I did enjoy the time with my sister.  We shared half a donut and got some water bottles and then sat in the car for a bit because the finish line was between us and the exit (no wonder no one parks over there).

Came home and took a couple pictures.  One of the two of us for Facebook and one with the Daily Vitamin F Thanksgiving Virtual Run bib. Now for turkey time!

Me and my sis post Pie Run

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Phoenix Trip

Apparently I got busy before, during and after my trip to Phoenix as I just looked back and it has been over 3 weeks since I blogged.  Work has been relatively crazy plus I had all the last minute logistics and packing to do.  And I haven't been as diligent as I would like on the workout front so here we are.

All that I have on my Garmin was a run to the bank (3 miles) on 11/2.  I know I went on a walk with my husband a couple of times in there, but maybe I didn't actually "run" again until last night.  Wow!  Good news is that I had a VERY active vacation (even if all of that activity was offset by all the wonderful food and multiple margaritas). 

Last Wednesday (11/13), I had a haircut in the morning, packed and drove to KC for a meeting with a client before my 5:00 flight to Phoenix.  Yes, I love that I can now deduct my mileage to and from KC.   I landed a little early and my friend Lori was waiting for me and we headed to her house.  Getting there fairly late left just enough time to see her kids off to bed and visit for a bit and get myself settled.  After a neighbor's dog barked half the night, I was up before the sun and checking on my kids getting ready for school completely unsupervised (which went way smoother than I had imagined it would - praise the Lord!)  After her kids were off to school, we headed to the Heard Museum, had lunch at a great hole in the wall cheesesteak place and then went on to hike Piestewa Peak (aka Squaw Peak).

The stuff I found online indicated a hike of about 1.2 miles to the summit.  I failed to note it was a 1200'+ elevation gain.  So in my mind, this was going to be a fairly short and easy hike.  Lori had done it once before and said it was hard, but also said it had been pretty hot when she had done it.  I should have taken note because this was not the little crushed gravel trails I'm used to.  This was super rocky and damned near straight up.  I really wasn't sure Lori was up for it.  But a few times I kidded and said "Suck it up" and a few times I gave her the option to let me go on alone to the top.  I wasn't going to let this thing beat me, but I was huffing and puffing along too.  We stopped every so often to catch our breaths and kick ourselves for taking water bottles in hand instead of a camelback.  Note to self for future hikes made.
Lori managed to smile after she caught her breath

Enjoying the view of the valley of the sun from the top of Squaw Peak

Taken by some folks who didn't like being told "only a little further"

Kicking back my feet while checking out the view below

After about an hour, we made it to the top and the views were a nice payoff for all the hard work.  My legs felt a little like jello, but I knew it was a great workout.  Unfortunately, we still had to go back down.  This is when I realized I have a little fear of heights and as the trail is rougher up higher, I was a bit nervous coming back down on my shakey legs.  But we powered through and made it back to the car as the sun started to set.

After showers, we headed out for drinks with another friend of mine.  Lori and I split some appetizers (still way too much food - geez my guts hurt from all this eating). 


Me and my friend Janine

Another poor night of sleep, but Lori had invited me to go with her to spend 30 min with her personal trainer to do a mostly upper body workout at 8 AM.  I wasn't sure what to think, but soon enough we were doing all sorts of things with the weakest muscles of my body.  OUCH!!  My arms were limp noodles and I just thanked God it was only 30 minutes.  In the shower back at Lori's house, I could barely raise my arms to shampoo my hair! 

We headed over towards Scottsdale and took a wonderful tour of Taliesan West (Frank Lloyd Wright famed campus).  I wanted to be an architect when I was younger only to realize I had no artistic ability whatsoever so I went into engineering.  However, I am still totally enamored by beautiful structures that other genius minds  create and while the tour was kind of pricey, it was fantastic and lasted nearly 2 hours!  We ate a late lunch and then Lori dropped me off with my friend Anne Marie so Lori could head back to Peoria to spend the afternoon/evening with her daughter who turned 9 that day.

Anne Marie and I changed into hiking clothes and headed over to Pinnacle Peak.  We did a lovely out and back trail that totaled about 3.5 miles with some up, down, up, and down mixed in with lovely views.  You never actually make it to the summit, but you still see lots.  We cleaned up back at her house and went for dinner (another margarita for me and a beer for Anne Marie).  Then we strolled around Old Scottsdale peaking in all the gallery windows and such before she took me home.

Anne Marie and I on the front side of Pinnacle Peak

My favorite shot from the Pinnacle Peak hike

Saturday, Lori and I headed to Sedona for the day.  It was interesting to see the landscape changed as you headed up in elevation.  And it was much cooler there (so I was thankful I took a jacket along - though the weather was amazing the whole trip, it was fairly overcast and had just rained in Sedona).  We mostly followed a self-guided driving tour I had found online to see several notable rock formations, etc and get some great pictures (which was easy there).  We stopped and shopped for a bit and had lunch with a gorgeous view. 

At airport overlook in Sedona
After the sun went down, we walked through an area with a bunch of galleries and then grabbed some dinner (where I had another margarita that was very strong and got a little silly suggesting that the older gentleman at the next table would get lucky if his wife finished her margarita - I really though I didn't say that out loud, but Lori assured me I had - oops).  We did a nice little hike - probably 2 miles total with a little elevation gain to get up to a lookout.  But this was mostly a day in the car with a fairly late drive back to Phoenix.  I could definitely spend a few more days exploring other hiking areas in Sedona.  So pretty!

Toasting a wonderful day

Sunday, we headed to the Desert Botanical Garden which was featuring an installation of this artist that works in glass sculpture.  It was cool to see the added color since most of the plants weren't blooming.  We learned about a lot of the plants in and around the Sonoran Desert area and answered a few questions Lori had since she has only lived out there a year.  We had lunch there and walked around a little more before heading over to Hole in the Rock.  This actually was a short/easy hike, but still provided some nice views. 

But before it got too late on us, I wanted to do some IMAZ spectating!  So we found a place to park along the run course and walked toward the finish.  We saw a few cyclists coming back to transition and cheered them on.  We saw a handful of the fast folks finish (about the 9.5-10 hour mark).  The transition area was a site in itself to behold.  But soon, Lori was worried about getting back to the car in the dark and was sure we could park closer.  So we headed back, cheering runners along the way.  I loved some of the signs along the route and was continuously inspired by all competing.  We had dinner (more margaritas) and went back to the finish for the folks finishing in the 13-14 hour range.  Even watched a guy bend down on one knee and propose in the finish chute.  Is it terrible that I was thinking "Hey dude!  This is a race!  Finish before you do that!"  But I got some high 5's from folks that were enjoying their finish experience and cheered on those that looked like they were struggling a bit more.  So very inspirational.  I tweeted that and was asked if I signed up for next year - the answer was "no", but I have to admit it was tempting.  I definitely will sign up for some kind of new triathlon challenge - just probably not IM yet.

We headed home about 9.  I sort of wished I could stay until midnight, but I was wearing out my hostess and it was a ways to get back to her house and cleaned up for bed.  Exhaustion got the better of us.  Got up in the morning and hugged her kids goodbye as they headed off to school and we headed off to hike Sunrise Mountain that is literally a stone's throw from Lori's house.  To some, it may not be so much of a mountain as a big hill, but it was a perfect little hike to end the trip with.  We sat enjoying the morning breeze at the summit and took a few pics before going back to shower and pack up. 

We grabbed lunch after a quick stop through Bed, Bath and Beyond (I got a cute Tervis cup with little lizards to remind me of my trip and how much I had to drink water constantly on it).  I squeezed in one more margarita for the road and then we went to the airport.  It was 79 degrees when I got on the airplane in Phoenix and 43 degrees when I got off in KC and down into the 30's by the time I drove back home.  Back to reality.

Have spent the last few days catching up on hugs from my kids and some loving from my husband.  Nothing like absence to make us appreciate each other more.  Of course, I've also had the usual mom duties of piano, basketball, grocery shopping, etc. My daughter got to tell me all about shooting her first deer (a doe on opening morning of the regular firearms season).  But I also realized that the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge started this week.  So last night, after dinner and even though it had gotten dark, I drug my butt out the door for a little run around the neighborhood.  It was about 40 degrees, but I was a little overheated when I was done.  I hate that about this time of year that you always start out cold and then are overdressed after fully warmed up.  I never get that right.