10 Days

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I checked weather.com yesterday. I usually start checking the weather a couple of days before the 10 day forecast comes out for a big event, just to start to get an idea of what kind of day I'll be facing. Today, October 5 fits in the 10 day forecast. Obviously, lots can change, but today, they're saying that it will be no higher than 60 degrees and partly cloudy, which would be PERFECT. It's been really warm the last two years, and I would love to run a cool weather marathon again. I had a pharmacy talk last night in downtown Minneapolis, and I got a little giddy when I saw the marathon signs on the lightposts. This morning, Steve dropped me off at work, and we drove through the start line area to get there. More butterflies. You'd think after doing this 9 times before, it would be old hat, but I still love the excitement.

This of course also means that my test is in 9 days. Crap. I've got a lot of cramming to do. Two more days of work, then it's 5 straight days of studying. Hopefully a run or two in there too. And I'm still hacking out my lungs. If Steve keeps sleeping in the guest room, I may have to move his dresser of socks and undies in there for him.

Despite How it Sounds, There is No Marital Discord

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1. Steve and I haven't slept in the same bed in 4 days.

2. I spent Friday night after work getting all hot and sweaty with a guy other than my husband. We went for hours, and it left me exhausted!

3. Steve was caught the other day buying flowers for his gay lover.

OK, OK. My life continues to be fairly boring - lots of work, studying, and the occasional workout so I don't die during the Twin Cities Marathon. As for the above statements?

1. I have a nasty cold. Again. Seems like I get one of these around this time every year. I've been coughing a lot in my sleep, and it keeps poor Steve up. Either he's not sleeping, or I'm awake worrying that I'll wake him up. We've been taking turns sleeping in the guest room. I seem to be on the upswing after an entire day on the couch yesterday, so keep your fingers crossed.

2. Borsch and I went for a 20 miler on Friday night after work. I had to work till 6, so we weren't done till 10:30. It was actually a pretty good run. It went by fast, and I didn't cough out a lung. I got to show him some of the tough parts of the course and hopefully get him excited for the big day. I love dragging first timers into the sport! Last long run is in the bag. Thanks for a good time Borsch!

The plan was to stop at the local gas station on the way home to get some ice, but the ghetto station that is supposed to close at 12 was locked at 10:30. Arrg! I settled for a cold water bath instead, and it worked just fine. I was shivering and my fingernails all turned blue, and Steve had to put a warm towel on my back so I didn't get totally hypothermic. But the next day, I was ready for 10 hours of moving Steve's parents into their new house.

3. Steve made a Target run a couple of days ago to pick up a few things. The young cashier commented on the last two items on the conveyor, "Well, let's see. The York Peppermint Patty must be for you, and the flowers must be for a very lucky guy... or girl." I guess a guy who regularly dresses in chicken suits, bowl full of sunshine shorts, and all of the other outfits he's come up with sets off a bit of gaydar :)

Seriously, though. The flowers are still gracing the dining room table, and Steve's been great. I've been extra whiny with this nasty cold, and with the big test approaching, he's been taking on even more housework to help out. I love you honey!

Square Lake Long Course Race Report

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Finally... A free minute to get this thing posted! My tummy is full if delicious bruschetta that Steve and I made for supper, I've got an obese cat warming up my lap, and mentally, I'm trying not to think about the fact that I've got a long run tomorrow. It was supposed to be this afternoon, but it rained ALL day, so I'm taking my chances tomorrow morning. I was the designated photographer for Steve and Matt's team du this morning. Check out Steve's blog to see all of the great pics I took. So, I'm super cozy on the couch and figure that studying can wait till tomorrow evening and it's time I put this post together.

The night before:

We got to bed a little late, but I fell asleep quickly. It wasn't for long, though. We woke up to drunk college kids screaming at each other in the alley right outside our bedroom window. Thankfully, the cops showed up and sent them all home. Grr. It's the second weekend in a row we've had to deal with obnoxious college students.

Race Morning:

Our alarm clock went off all too early, and we were off with my sister Steph in tow. She was our awesome photographer and cheering squad all day. Thanks again Steph! We set up transition, and before we knew it, the swim was about to start.

The Swim:

There were 4 waves, and I was in the last one (women). This meant that we were starting 12 minutes after the first group. I wasn't banking on catching many people, and I didn't. I hadn't swum in a couple of weeks, so the goal was just to stay smooth and not blow it all. I felt pretty good. The water was really clear, but it didn't really matter because I was alone for most of the swim, so there were no feet to watch out for anyway. I tried to draft when I could, but in two loops, we had all spread out pretty far. I exited the water feeling good.

T1: I was a little cold after stripping my wetsuit, but it was just overcast at that point, so I decided against long sleeves. Had I known the tsunami I was in for, I probably would have grabbed more clothes.

The Bike:

Again, in accordance with my "winging it" plan, I decided to go out pretty easy on the bike. I knew the course would be SUPER hilly, and if I pushed it too hard, I'd die on the run. Everyone and their granny passed me, but I wanted to keep it steady. It was hard not to set goals in the middle of the ride, so I stopped looking at my speed. I got stung by a wasp within the first mile, and it hurt like a mother. It took my mind off the course for the first loop, and just as the pain started to subside, the skies opened up. It just sprinkled at first, but before long, it was pouring rain. Freezing. Cold. Rain. Rain that was reminiscent of IM Moo 06, and just like Moo, my toes were numb, my fingers were so cold that I had trouble shifting my bike, and when I tried to take a drink from my water bottle, my thumb barely worked to squeeze it. The uphills were the same, but the downhills on the second loop were tough because I had to brake a little. Visibility wasn't great at that point, and I didn't always have a lot of shoulder to ride on. I didn't want to get smucked!

I realized with a few miles left that the "emergency" socks I had tied into a plastic bag in case it rained weren't going to do any good since I hadn't done the same for my SHOES. Doh! I was glad to be done with the bike, nonetheless, and as luck would have it, the rain stopped when I got out of T2.

T2: Nothing exciting here. In and out but now sporting squishy wet running shoes instead of bike shoes.

The Run:

I felt surprisingly great on the run. I'm not sure why I felt so good. Maybe it was the cool weather. Maybe it was the fact that I wasn't wearing the fuel belt that I've been sporting on my long runs lately. Maybe I left too much room on the bike. Whatever it was, I was hoping that it would last. It took 2 or 3 miles to regain feeling in my feet, but I felt really fresh otherwise. I was cheering everyone I passed and everyone I met, and that always gives me a boost too. I started to feel it a little by mile 6 or 7 but was able to keep pace and even managed to pass another 4 people in the last mile. I came in with a run split of 2:13:59, my fastest run split ever during a half.

Overall Numbers:

Swim: 45:51 - PR
T1: 3:17 - slower than Steelhead, but I had steps to run up and a wetsuit to peel off this time.
Bike: 3:33 (I think it was about 1.5 miles short too) - gotta work on this one, but without a lot of training, not terrible on a super hilly course.
T2: 2:13
Run: 2:13:59 PR on LOTS of hills.
Overall: 6:38:25 - slower than Steelhead, but I actually had a swim this time. My old 70.3 PR was 6:47, so even adding on another 6 minutes for the missing bike distance, It would have been a PR. On the hills. In the rain. Without much training.

Final Comments:

Yikes I'm hard on myself! I knew going into this race that I wasn't trained to actually race it, but somehow people passing me and not finishing anywhere near the top half of my age group got me a little down. I quickly realized that I needed to take a step back and realize that not only should I be happy that I haven't lost a ton of fitness, I had a freakin PR!

I would definitely recommend this race to others, but not high maintenance athletes, and not first timers. The course is really pretty and fairly challenging. The only bathrooms were in transition. At least the corn's tall enough this time of year! There's only one water stop on the bike (could be problematic in really hot weather), but the run is well supported. It's pretty cheap price-wise, so if you're thinking about it, go for it!

I'm already looking forward to New Orleans. I'm a little nervous about the heat, because quite frankly, I'm Minnesotan. I have a lot of room to improve on my swim, and I think I'll take a few form lessons over the winter. I've got room to pretty easily cut 10+ minutes off. I'm excited for a flat bike at NO. I've never had a flat course for a 70.3 bike, so a PR is definitely in order... As for the run, I'm getting there, but slower than I'd like. I discovered doing intervals at the Metrodome this past winter, and I think I'll be doing more of them during our snowy months. In the mean time, I've gotta pass this crazy pharmacy test.

Maybe I Should Not Train More Often

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Haven't swum in a couple of weeks. I've been (sort of) training for a marathon and fitting some long rides on the weekends, but probably not working out more than 3 days a week lately secondary to needing copius amounts of study time.

Quick summary of today's race:

* The swim was pretty uneventful, and since I was in the last wave, I didn't see many other swimmers.
* The bike was a bit short, by around 1.3-1.5 miles
* I didn't know that I was going to need an ark instead of a bike for the last hour.
* Hilly was an understatement for the bike. There may have been two or three miles' worth of flats, but definitely not more than that.
* I still managed a PR, even if you correct for the short bike.
* I felt SPECTACULAR on the run, better than I've ever felt in a half, and I came in with a 4 minute PR on hilly run course.
* I looked down at my arm at mile 1 of the bike to see a wasp trying to pull his butt out of my arm. It still stings, and now it itches.
* Steve made a lot of friends dressed up as the Grim Reaper on the run. His nipples, however, are no longer his friends.

More later! We're exhausted, and I've got to get back to Ironmanlive.

70.3 Me Asap

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The big race is tomorrow. Well, it's a big race, but I'm totally winging it. I picked an interesting race to wing - solid hills on the bike and run. Guess I won't be going for any PRs. Hope to still have fun, though, and be standing upright at the end. Plus, it'll be fun to see Steve dancing around like a crazy man in a grim reaper costume at the end, cause you know he'll be outrunning me even in full costume!

We should be back in time to write a quik race report and watch all of our friends finish IM MOO. People we'll be looking for:

Madison Duo
Rural Girl
JP Severin
Iron Min
Ms. R

Anybody we're missing? Good luck everybody! Have a safe race!