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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Congratulations, Kara and Paula!

Kara Goucher had her baby on Sunday and Paula Radcliffe had her baby yesterday!


Can I just say that I LOVED the Kara Goucher / Paula Radcliffe Runner's World issue (it's October 2010)?  In case you missed it, there is a version of the main article on  My only gripe is that I would have liked to see one or both of them on the cover.  What, we can't put a pregnant lady on the cover of Runner's World?

I've been thinking a lot about pregnancy lately.  Well, for about a year now anyway.  In a previous life, I was strongly Childfree By Choice.  I spent a whole lot of time defending this choice.  Now?  I'm in a much happier marriage, and I'm older, and I've found myself firmly in the "dunno" camp. I haven't changed my mind, but I am reconsidering the thought of whether or not to have a child of my own.

As a result, I've been talking about my wishy-washy child decision with basically everyone.  I know that my life would be changed forever by having a child, but the one thing that must not change is my running.  So, I pay pretty close attention to Tall Mom, Racing with Babes, and My Reason to Run.  I love those blogs, and I love this Runner's World issue because it drives home an important point - when you are pregnant, you don't have to stop running.  And, when you become a mom, you still don't have to stop.  I LOVE THAT!

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the ins and outs of why we may or may not want kids, or what Todd and I have discussed when we've talked about whether or not to get one of our own.  We basically feel the same way, and we're both undecided for the same reasons.  It's a big decision, and while we've pledged to make the decision within the next 5-6 months, I wonder if we'll actually decide by then.  I do want to say how happy I am to see momma Kara and momma Paula still out there getting their miles in.  Congratulations!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Belize Aggressor III - September 2010, Part Two

Todd and I took a lovely trip to Belize aboard the Belize Aggressor III.  Here is the continuation of our trip report.  Or, you can start with Part One.
Todd got this great photo of a Barracuda eating a Lionfish

After a great day of diving in The Great Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye on Tuesday, on Wednesday, we headed back to Long Caye to do some diving with sharks.  The vis wasn't so great for the shark dives (although we did enjoy some time with the sharks and some Goliath Groupers).  On the Wednesday afternoon dive, we dove at Painted Wall, where the fish seemed to hang out with us as if we were their best friends.  Not only were there huge schools of Sergeant Majors and Chubs, there was also a Grey Angelfish who followed Todd and I along the wall, playing in our bubbles and being far more friendly than any other Grey Angel we've ever seen.

One of the sharks on our Wednesday shark dive
A Goliath Grouper at Long Caye

Me with the super-friendly Grey Angelfish

Thursday was the day that we did a dawn dive (we were in the water at about 5:30am).  We then did all of the dives for the rest of the day (the regularly scheduled ones), which meant that we did SIX dives in one day!  It was a long day, that was for sure, so when I wasn't in the water or eating a meal, I was taking a nap.  You see why I don't run while we're on a dive vacation :)  We did one of the dives at Long Caye, then a series of dives at Half Moon Caye, which was still just beautiful.  At one point, we went through a swim through that was filled with thousands of small silver fish.  Beautiful!!  The only bad part was that after one of our morning dives, a whole bunch of trash floated up to the boat.  The trash was composed of many things - shoes, bottles, nipples from baby bottles, paper, plastic stuff...  And there were little fish swimming right below the trash in its shade.  Very strange.  In the afternoon, we headed back to Turneffe for a few dives there.

Goofing off on the hang bar beneath the boat on our safety stop
There's a White Spotted Toadfish (Unique to Belize) under that rock!
Todd gets a photo of something (Jawfish, maybe)
Todd goofs off by giving a "Dive briefing" at Painted Wall

Friday, we started the day with two dives on Amber Head, which is at Turneffe Atoll.  Once these were over, we cleaned our equipment and set it out to dry.  I ended up doing every single dive that was available on the trip - a total of 26 for the week, and up to 6 in one day.  Whew, it was exhausting!  We steamed back to Belize City for more exciting adventures.
Five!  There are Five Four-Eyed Butterfly Fish in this shot!  Amazing!

Friday afternoon, we had free time, so Todd, Bill and I went and found a Geocache (that gives me a new country!).  Then, we had some excursions.  We split into two groups, and the other group went to see Mayan Ruins.  Todd, Terry, Bill and I headed out to the jungle with our splendid tour guide, Rudy.  We went cave tubing!  This was so much fun!  Basically, we got a tube, a hat with a light, and a life vest.  First, we took a dip in the river (the Caves Branch River) and then took our stuff and hiked about a mile or two through the jungle.  Along the way, Rudy would stop and show us insects, trees, and bats.  He did an excellent job explaining what their uses for and what they were about.  

Eventually, we made it to a little pool where the river was deeper.  We spent about a half hour swimming around, jumping off the rocks, and generally having a great time!  Then, it was tube time.  We got in our tube and floated back down the river through caves and jungle.  It was really fun, and so nice to be in such a small group.  No photos though, since we didn't want to haul cameras through the jungle or risk getting them wet.

After the tubing, we headed back to the Aggressor, where we showered up and then had a fun cocktail party on the sun deck.  We celebrated with the crew, enjoyed some delicious food and drink, and watched the sun set.  We also got a chance to tour the Sun Dancer II, which is another liveaboard and is part of the former Peter Hughes Fleet, which is now owned by the Aggressor Fleet.  It was a nice boat, but I sure do love the Aggressors.
Todd and me, with Divemaster and Engineer Juan at the Cocktail Party

We had dinner at the Smoky Mermaid, very close to the dock.  It was SO HOT, it was terribly uncomfortable.  The service was SLOW, and the food was not so good.  I might not have cared about the food as much if it weren't for how bad the service was.  I did really enjoy my pina colada though.  

After dinner, we headed back to the boat to begin our packing and get to bed.

Saturday... our last day in Belize!  We got up early and then headed out to the Belize Zoo as a group.  Our tour guide led us around to see all of the animals there.  I particularly loved the Tapir, the Ocelot, and the Spider Monkeys.  The Howler Monkeys weren't doing an howling, which made me sad.  I also got to meet some fire ants, who loved the fact that I was wearing flip flops.
An Ocelot at the Belize Zoo

Todd and Me at the Belize Zoo

We were then introduced to "Junior Buddy," who is a Jaguar and the pride of the Belize Zoo.  Junior Buddy was born in captivity and was raised completely in the Belize Zoo.  We paid an extra $10 per person to go inside a cage in Junior Buddy's cage.  They locked up JB while we were walking through his home, and then let him out once we were safely in the cage (it was me, Todd, Terry, Bill and Nick).  Then, we were able to pet JB and feed him chicken.  He jumped on top of the cage and licked our foreheads!  It was too fun!

Getting licked by a Jaguar

Feeding Junior Buddy a chicken bone

Junior Buddy

Our tour guide took us to a little restaurant near the zoo called Amigos.  Todd and I had the weekend special - ribs - and plenty of beers.  It was really a great lunch.  Then, it was time to head to the airport.
Todd enjoys Belikin Beer at Amigo's

Amigo's - Wonderful lunch near the Belize Zoo

Todd and me at Amigo's

The flight to Houston was uneventful, and we said goodbye to our friends near customs in Houston.  We arrived past the time of the last flight to Baltimore, so we overnighted in Houston at the Holiday Inn.  We had dinner there and relaxed a little, then headed on home to Baltimore in the morning.

What a wonderful trip to Belize, and such a great time with our friends!!!

Check out all of Todd's photos in the Picasa album below.  You can also see more of his photos, as well as purchase options on his Redbubble site.

2010 Belize

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rest of the Year Plans

Since I started marathoning in 2006, I've always run one of the races for Disney's Marathon Weekend in January.  This year, we are unable to make it to Disney due to scheduling conflicts, so I've been a little lost with my plans.  I looked past the Philadelphia Half Marathon and saw a big, looming question mark.  I was thinking about signing up for another half marathon, either out of town, or perhaps the NCR Trail Marathon Relay (which we've missed since 2007 due to travel).

I decided to wait until after Philadelphia to make a decision.  I planned to start out the week after the race by hitting the bike hard and starting up my STS Weight Training again.  Monday, I did Disc One of the STS program.  Tuesday, the DOMS were terrible!!  I dutifully loaded the bike into the car before work, but by 1pm I had a sore throat.  That evening, I was feeling terrible and skipped the bike ride.  Disc Two of STS never happened.

So, I ended up spending all last week laid up due to a cold.  I don't get sick very often, but when I do, it knocks me off my ass.  No biking, no weight training, and finally a gentle run on Saturday with the group.  My body was like "NO WAY!" and asked me nicely for a break.  I gave it the break.

So... where does that leave me?  

I am running tonight, to make extra time since I'm doing a scuba class tomorrow night.  This week, I'll restart the STS program.  However, I've made a decision that I'm going to do upper body only, and leave my biking and running to keep my legs strong.  I think that will help me be successful, since I've been having a little trouble committing to the Weight training thing.

As for the rest of the year...  Well, I just am not feeling another half marathon.  I'm signed up to run the Indianapolis 500 Mini-Marathon in May, but that's the only big race I'm going to be prepping for.

This weekend, I'm running the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Relay, where my friend Lu and I will be running the race as a team!  I'm doing the first half and Lu is doing the second half.  I've never run a relay before and frankly I'm a little confused about how the relay exchange area is going to work.  It seems as if there might be something like a thousand people waiting there to start, and I just don't know how Lu and I are going to find each other.  All and all though, it looks like it's going to be a super-fun race, so I am really looking forward to it!  I admit, there was part of me that really didn't want to do it because we've been so busy, but October is such a nice time to visit Florida.

Once we've done Wine & Dine, my next race is going to be the Cold Turkey 10K.  This will be the first official 10K that I've done besides the Race for Our Kids, so it will be interesting to see how I do.  What's really exciting about this race is that it is run at my high school - which I haven't visited since 1997.  In high school, I would have laughed at the thought that I would be coming back to my school to RUN of all things (I mean, didn't graduation mean I didn't have to take gym again??), so part of me running this race is to kind of give my old high school the finger...

There's one race left for my 2010 racing year!  The Celtic Solstice 5 Mile Run, which we ran in 2008, but we were snowed out with a blizzard in 2009.  I'm looking forward to that one, it is a really nice race when it's not snowing.  

So, that's what I am up to this year.  I'm guessing that after the Celtic Solstice, I won't have another race until the Shamrock 5K in March.  This is the biggest break I've had in quite some time from doing races 10 miles and above, so it's kind of making me nervous (will I lose motivation????).  It will probably be nice to take a little break...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Belize Aggressor III - September 2010, Part One

Todd and I had a lovely trip to Belize!  We had visited Belize once before, in 2008, and had horrible weather, so we were hoping for better weather.  Plus, we were meeting up with some friends that we had traveled with before, on the Turks & Caicos Aggressor II.
Image Credit: The Aggressor Fleet

Getting There
We left Baltimore painfully early on Saturday, September 4.  Our plane was initially supposed to leave around 8am and we were supposed to go directly to Houston.  Instead, that Houston flight was canceled and we had to take a small jet at 6:50am to Cleveland and then a plane to Houston.  That meant we woke up at 3:30am to get ready to go to the airport.  The airport and the flights were pretty uneventful (besides the fact that I forgot to pack our Bonine stash, remembered in the car, and managed to grab some in BWI).

Once we arrived in Houston, we enjoyed a lunch at Pappadeaux.  I'm jealous of whoever has Pappadeaux near them, because they rock.  After lunch, we headed to the gate and on the way ran into our friend Bill!!  He was waiting for his sister, Terry, his brother-in-law, Nick, and his friend, Gary.  All of them had been in Turks & Caicos with us in 2008.  Once we got to the gate, we met Stefan, who is not in our group, but happened to be the only other person booked on the boat.  It was very nice to have a boat with an 18 passenger capacity with only 7 guests!

We had an uneventful flight, but then madness and chaos ensued in Belize City.  My bag was very late coming off the plane, so we were at the very end of the line to get through customs.  There was no real line, though, just a mass of people trying to get up to one or two customs officials, who seemed to give every single person the third degree.

We finally sort of reached the front of the line and we were pulled aside to have our luggage searched.  We had four bags piled high on a luggage cart, and of course, the customs officials felt that they had to search the one on the bottom.  My dive bag.  They poked around my BC and dive equipment, asking what things were.  They forced Todd to open all of his camera equipment, asking what things where and WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THIS?  First, they accused him of bringing it in to sell.  Then, when he insisted he wasn't in Belize to sell photography equipment, they insisted he was secretly shooting a documentary film.  Dude, I wish.  They were rude and arrogant and it was not a "Welcome to our country" type of moment.  I was hot and annoyed, but couldn't yell at them, so I had to satisfy my anger by throwing my bags around when asked to open them.  Finally, they let us leave the airport.

Off we went to the pier and the Belize Aggressor III!
The dock in Belize City

How It Worked
Scuba diving liveaboards are a lot of fun.  The motto of the Aggressor Fleet is "Eat, Sleep, Dive" and that is really what we did.  Once we were on the ship, we unpacked our dive equipment on the dive deck first.  We each had our own locker, hanging space for wetsuits, and a tank.  We put our equipment on our tank and kept the same tank all week.  Once the dive is complete, the crew will come by and refill the tank with more air and we're ready for the next dive!  It's very, very cool.  We had lots of room to spread out because there were so few people on the ship, so that was really nice.
Todd and Bill on the Dive Deck before a dive.

Terry listens to the dive briefing

Once that was done, I unpacked my clothes (I never feel comfortable until I'm unpacked) and Todd put his camera together.  We had a lovely dinner prepared by Chef Yanis, and I went to bed pretty early because I was really tired from the long day of travel.

Bill shows the "Sleep" part of Eat, Sleep, Dive

Sunday, we were knee-deep in Eat, Sleep, Dive and each daily schedule went like this (at least for me):
6:30am:  Alarm, wake up.  Todd was typically up by about 5:30, and he would go up and get his camera and our equipment ready for the day.  That meant I could spread out in the bed for the last hour each morning! (yay!)
7:00am: Breakfast!
8:00am: Morning dive.  This was usually a totally new dive site each day.
10:30am: Second morning dive.  Usually, this was the same dive site as the 8am dive.
12:00pm: Lunch!
12:45pm: Nap time!
2:00pm: First afternoon dive, usually at a new dive site.
4:30pm: Second afternoon dive, a little dusky.
6:00pm: Dinner!
8:00pm: Night dive, usually at the same place as the 2pm and 4:30pm dive.
I jump into the water (Captain Marc on the left, Todd on the right)

The Diving
Our first dive was at a site called Sandy Slope, which was very close to Turneffe Island Lodge, where we had stayed in 2008.  This was supposed to be a nice and easy checkout dive, but things were looking a bit green from the top of the boat.  The tide was going out from the mangroves at Turneffe Atoll, and boy was it GREEN.  We jumped in the water and I was sick with disappointment.  We had a maximum of about 20 feet of visibility, green tinted water, with a one knot current or so.  Turtle grass, other organic debris, and tons of jellyfish were floating by in the current.  We swam with the current, which was a bad idea, but I went with it anyway.  At 100 feet, suddenly it was clear and the temperature dropped (it was 88 degrees on the surface, well above coral bleaching temperatures).  The current disappeared, and things were about normal.  However, you can't stay at 100 feet for a long time, so as we ascended, we had to get back to the boat, and we had to fight against a pretty strong current to get there.  We made it, but it was rough.  I was upset, thinking this would be the way all of the dives were going to be.

Our second dive at Sandy Slope was better.  Still current, but a lot less, and it was clearer.  We started to see some critters, but my brand new mask was fogging, despite the fact that I'd already scrubbed the coating off that was supposed to make it fog.  The boat moved to Front Porch (right outside of the Turneffe Island Lodge and a dive site we'd dove before), and the vis was much, much better.  My mask was still fogging for the 2pm dive, but it was slightly better.

After the 2pm dive on Sunday, Todd started to feel sick, so I dove the 4:30 dive without him (I buddied up with Nick), and I got to spend some quality time with a couple of reef squid.  Getting back on the boat after that one was scary, though.  The wind had picked up quite a bit and the boat was BOUNCING.  It's scary to be in the water trying to get close to a boat to get on it, when you're watching the dive deck fly up in the air and then back down again.  I hung onto the line behind the boat waiting for other divers to board and got hit in the neck by the rope as it flew up and down.  Ouch.  I had trouble getting my fins up to those on the dive deck, but once I'd done that, I just put all of my weight on the ladder and that kept it down in the surge.  At least my mask had stopped fogging.

Since it was so rough, we went ahead and made the 2 1/2 hour or so crossing to Lighthouse Reef.  This was a BOUNCY ride, and I was happy we'd bought the Bonine.  I holed up in the cabin with the still-sick Todd and rode it out.  Once we reached Lighthouse, everything calmed down, but during dinner we chose not to do the night dive since none of us had dove that site before.  Captain Marc agreed to schedule a dawn dive for later in the week so that we could make up the dive.

Instead of the night dive, we did a fish identification game.  Guess who won?  ME!  I know my fish :)

Painted Tunicates.  Would you have known that?

Monday, we dove at Long Caye, which had much better visibility than Turneffe had.  Aquarium and Long Caye Ridge were both pretty dive sites, and I was so excited to get to see some Spotted Eagle Rays, as it seems like we never  get to see Spotted Eagle Rays.

Tuesday...  The Great Blue Hole!  Everyone had done The Great Blue Hole in the past except for Bill.  We all agreed it was great to do, so everyone except Stefan and Terry went down into the hole.  Basically, the Blue Hole was once a dry cavern when sea levels were much lower.  As the ice caps melted, the sea level rose.  The weight of the water above the ceiling of the cavern collapsed the roof into a perfect circle.  It's about 400 feet deep, and at about 130 feet you can see stalactites coming from the ceiling from when the cave was dry.  It's a huge deal only because Jacques Cousteau made a big deal out of it.  Otherwise, it looks more interesting from the air than from the surface or from underwater.  Still, it's something all scuba divers should do once, and now we've done it twice!  Todd and I went to 140 feet, which sets a new record for us.

Me, checking out a stalactite in The Great Blue Hole (140 feet)

After The Blue Hole, the Aggressor parked near Half Moon Caye and we took a small motorboat to the beach at Half Moon Caye.  We walked along there to see the Frigate Birds and Red Footed Booby Birds that nest on the island, and explored around.  We had lunch (Cheeseburgers in Paradise) back on the beach.  It was HOT!  Then, we headed back to the boat.

Bill and I at Half Moon Caye
Red Footed Booby at Half Moon Caye
Half Moon Caye, with the Aggressor in the Background
Todd photographs the Red Footed Boobies
Todd enjoys Cheeseburgers in Paradise

For the afternoon dives, we dove at Half Moon Caye, which is beautiful.  Some of the best diving anywhere.  That's where the night dive was as well. 

Todd, Me, Bill, Terry, Nick and Gary at Half Moon Caye

... To Be Continued in Part Two!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are Women's Marathons OK?

Yesterday on Jezebel, I saw this article:  Women's Marathons Use Tiaras, Hot Firefighters To Keep Men Away.  Both the article and the subsequent comments bring up some good points.

First of all, most of you are familiar with the idea of women's marathons.  Some big ones include Disney's Princess Half Marathon (one I really want to do someday) and the Nike Women's Marathon, but there are just tons more of them.  I volunteered for the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon in June, also a women's race.  These races are designed to attract women - usually from a women's theme (such as Breast Cancer or princesses).  At some races, the awards are for women only, but usually men can race as well (I double checked on IronGirl, because someone insinuated over the weekend that men can't do that race, but I don't see any evidence that men can't register).

So, what do you think of womens marathons?

Personally, I wouldn't mind men-only marathons.  It wouldn't bother me at all, and I do think it's a bit of a double standard that we can have women's races, but a men's marathon would seem wrong.  I mean, at the Olympics, the two events are split, right?

As for the tiaras, the hot firefighters, or whatever, I don't care about those things.  I don't like dressing up for races because I like wearing running clothes for races.  Those things just don't appeal to me, although I'll take them.  The only thing that attracts me to women's races are the ones that give out necklaces instead of medals.  I love the idea of being able to wear a necklace over and over, rather than having a medal that goes on a shelf or in a drawer or something.

What annoys me about these races, and what has prevented me from signing up for a women's race up to this point is the fact that I love to run and race the same races as my husband.  I love him running beside me or ahead of me or whatever.  He is not interested in running the "Princess" race.  And, since we race together, I haven't done it.  For this reason, I tend to stick to races that are for everyone.

What do you think of women's races?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon 2010

(Pictured above is part of my running group before the race.)

Todd and I ran this race last year, when it was still the Philadelphia Distance Run.  2010 is the first year where it is officially part of the "Rock & Roll" series.  Last year, everything for the race was just perfect.  The weather, my training, the course, the race itself, everything.  I ended up running 2:37, which was at the time an unthinkable half marathon PR and I even felt great at the end!

So, I signed up for 2010 only a day or two after the race, and we went back up this year to race again.

First, we decided last year that we wanted to see more of Philadelphia, so we booked the hotel for Friday and Saturday instead of just coming up on Saturday afternoon.  Friday after work, we headed up to Philadelphia (surviving both Baltimore and Philadelphia traffic), and had dinner on Friday night at my roommate from college's house.  It was so good to see her, and it was great to see her house as well! :)  After that, we headed to downtown to our hotel

A slight note about the hotels:  Last year, we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown.  It was very nice and we liked it, but it lacked the kitchen that we usually like to have on race mornings.  Instead, this year we booked the Residence Inn Center City, right next door to the Courtyard.  I think the Courtyard is the nicer hotel, but doesn't have the nice kitchen that the Residence Inn has.  The Courtyard only has a fridge.  The Residence Inn has a full breakfast, but it irritated me that they didn't start it earlier on race day.  It also really annoyed me that I requested late checkout when I reserved the room, when we checked in, and the night before the race, but they wouldn't commit to letting me check out later until race day.  I was only asking for one hour, it seemed ridiculous that I had to go so far out of my way to get it.

Saturday, we slept in some, had breakfast in the hotel, and then headed over to the Expo.  We bought fleece sweatshirts (as if I don't have enough of those), and Todd gave Yurbuds a try.  It was a pretty good expo, with lots of things to see and buy and such.  I can't say too much about it, though, as it was pretty much the same stuff you'd expect from a large half marathon.  Nothing spectacular or unusual.

After the expo, we dropped our stuff back off at the room (waiting for a while for the maid to get out of it, and then deciding we'd waited long enough and went into the room to see her on her cell phone in there).  Then, we went sight seeing.  We went to the usual historical sights in Philly - Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc.  And, I did some Geocaching.  Everything was so crowded.  We had a cheese steak as well, and then headed back to the hotel room to rest up before dinner.

Dinner was at Portofino.  The food was good, but the service was a little slower than I would have liked.  However, it was great.  We were a party of 16 because we just had so many people running the race (pretty much my entire running group), so it's understandable that things were a little slow.  Then, it was back to the room for resting.

Race day!!
We met in the hotel lobby at 7am, and then headed over to the starting area.  We finally met up with everyone, and I went ahead up a bit in corrals to my corral so that I could get the best start possible.  This worked well.  It was about 30 minutes before we crossed the starting line, and the leaders were even passing by just as we started (they were on mile 5).

Todd and I started out with two others, but by mile 2 we were by ourselves.  The beginning of the race is in the downtown area, and while I was doing ok, I was already feeling hot.  It was about 10 degrees warmer than in 2009 (last year, I was shivering at the start, this year I was comfortable).  The sun was hot.  I kept it at about a 12-minute pace, though, which was what I wanted.  I really wanted to do a 2:37, which was last year's time for this race, and my miracle time was a 2:33, which would match my half marathon PR that I set at Lehigh Valley in April.

We headed down into the second part of the course, which took us out along the Schuylkill River.  They had reversed the course from last year, so that we went out along the river on the opposite riverbank that we did in 2009.  Someone said this was more shaded, but I thought it made the course a lot more boring than the year before, and also resulted in the last half mile or so being uphill.

On the riverbank, I kept it at a 12 minute pace, but I was frankly fighting to keep that pace up and I started to doubt I could really beat last years time.  We crossed the river and I had a couple of slower miles.  I felt like the other riverbank was uphill slightly, where the first riverbank was not.  It was getting hotter and I was struggling.  I told Todd that I felt as if I was working just as hard as I was at Lehigh Valley, but that I was slower and that was frustrating.  Of course, it was raining and 48 degrees at Lehigh Valley.  

When we were in the sun, it was hot.  Between mile marker 12 and 13, I started getting nauseous.  I feel like I ran Annapolis fine (and at about the same pace), and it was hotter.  I don't know, it didn't seem like it was that hot, but I wasn't prepared or something, and I felt like I was frying in the heat.  It reminded me a lot of the Baltimore Half Marathon in 2008 - that race was also not as hot as Annapolis, but started late and I was sluggish and unhappy.

I still managed to push through, and I admit that the only thing that got me through the last 2 or 3 miles was that I just wanted it to end as soon as possible.  I finished with a time of 2:40:17, pretty good, but slower than my goal.  I can't help it, I still feel disappointed by that time.

So, some things that might have contributed to me not having that great of a race:

  • Hydration.  I tried to hydrate, but I think I didn't hydrate as much as I could have on Saturday.  I don't think this was my biggest issue though.  I definitely felt thirsty through most of the race, and I probably should have gone ahead and brought a water belt for this one.  I typically don't wear one for half marathons, though.  I would drink at the water stops and then I would feel OK, but then I was very, very thirsty by the time I got to the next one.
  • Food.  I brought my usual gummy worms, but I would get so thirsty that I didn't want to eat.  Then, by the time I was nauseous at the end, I really didn't want them.  I only ate about 4 of them, and I should have eaten more like 10-15.  This may have given me more energy.  Then again, I have completed half marathons without eating anything, too, so who knows.
  • Heat. Like I said, it was hot, but didn't seem that hot.  I don't know what the daytime high ended up as, someone said 84.  So, I guess it felt like I should be pushing it and so I tried, but it was a little too hot and I should have just slowed down.
  • Belize.  I went on a vacation before the race, which disrupted my training schedule. I did do the best I could at getting the runs in, but I don't know if it was good enough.
  • Weight.  I weigh a little more (maybe 5 pounds) than I did in 2009.  I can't find the statistics now, but I believe Jeff Galloway has said before that it something like 2 minutes added to a half marathon time for every 5 pounds of weight gain -- so that's about right.
  • Long Run.  We did our last long run (17 miles) on August 14.  I felt like that was far too early and it really should have been at least 2 weeks later, but probably 3 weeks later.  The schedule just wasn't right for us for this race this year, and that was really annoying.
So, I had some things to keep in my head for this year, but in the end 2:40 is very respectable and I'm Ok with it.  

After the race, we headed back to the hotel for a shower and then drove on back to Baltimore.

Nearly my entire running group ran this race, and most of them set new PRs. I am so happy for them, because that was my biggest goal for this year.  YOU GUYS DID GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(This is part of my running group after the race - I'm carrying my Spibelt and some fruit cups that I'd shmuggled from the post-race area...)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Linky-Loos

Away for a week, but now it's back!  These are my favorite posts for the last TWO weeks, since I was on vacation.

Food, Health and Fitness

  • 65 Cheap, Healthy, One-Dish Meals with Good Leftover Potential:  I love it when Cheap, Healthy, Good does posts like this.  I so can use these recipes!
  • What Sustainable Seafood?: Discusses how the Marine Stewardship Council is not exactly doing a good job of labeling seafood as sustainable.  There's some information there I didn't realize, and it's very sad.  Just like everything else, big corporations win.  Everyone else loses.
  • Will Running Give me Osteoarthritis?:  This is an excellent question, because people have gotten after me before about "Ruining my knees" from running.  Actually, I had more knee problems before I was a runner than I do now.
Other Things

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three Things Thursday

  1. I announced my Sportshield Giveaway winners -- Congratulations to Kovas and MissZippy!  I have another giveaway waiting in the wings, so stay tuned.
  2. I'm back at work this week and things are no less busy.  Really, things started getting busy for me in May or June and I don't see an end to it until November.  By then, we'll be into the holidays, so I guess I really don't see any end to my busyness.  Todd and I have THREE trips to Florida between now and the end of the year - two visits to family (my sister lives in Tampa, his brother lives in St. Cloud and his parents live in Leesburg), and one visit to the Mouse.

    I'm in the process of getting a trip report together from my trip to Belize.  I have it about half written, and I think it's likely to be split into two posts.  Maybe I'm being too verbose, who knows.  Todd is also getting his photography together.  I know I say this every time, but I really think that this is some of his best work that he's ever done.  You can see a sneak preview on his RedBubble site, although there are still more photos to be added.
  3. This weekend is the Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon!!  I'm totally psyched!  I don't have a specific goal for the race, since I set a PR for a half at Lehigh Valley in April and I just don't know if I have it in me to beat that PR this weekend.  I've gained a little weight since then (maybe about 5-6 pounds).  I feel like my training was better over the winter than it was this summer.  I've felt so sluggish lately.

    Regardless, I'll probably race it as best I can, and maybe I can set a course PR (which seems a lot more doable).  Pretty much my entire running group is running this race, so we are having dinner Saturday night for a total of 16 people!  I'm excited for everyone who has worked so hard this year to train for a faster time, and those who are doing a half marathon for the very first time.  It's going to be great!

    Look for a race report for Philly on Sunday evening or Monday.  We're heading up to Philly Friday night so I can spend time with my roommate from college, Cheryl.  Saturday, we're going to go to the expo, relax and do some sight seeing.  It's going to be a fun weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Last Chance

It is your last chance to win Sportshield!  Go here to leave comments for the giveaway!  I had to move the giveaway to a second blog, but don't worry, if you posted on the original, your comments will still count. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

How do you keep up???

I'm back!


How do you keep up with blogs?  I mean, really?  When I got back yesterday evening, I finally checked my email.  We were 100% out of touch while in Belize - I last checked my email or the internet at about 10pm on September 3 and then I didn't log in again until the morning of September 11 when I needed to get my Continental Airlines check-in reservation, and the ship was finally back within internet range.  Most of the week, it was not in internet range and the only communication option was satellite phone ($5 per minute) or satellite text email account ($1 per email).  Even when I checked my email to get my airline reservation, the only other thing I did while in my account was to check and see if anyone was signed up for my Scuba class I'm teaching tomorrow night.

So, I finally got home Sunday (we overnighted in Houston Saturday night, but I didn't connect to the internet at the hotel and relaxed instead).  I checked my email and had about 250 emails (note that most advertisement type things - not spam, but actual ads that I want - go to another folder and skip my inbox).  That wasn't a big deal.  But I when I checked Google Reader - 1000+ new posts!!!

I really want to keep up with everyone, and I haven't yet gotten into the "Running" subfolder of Google Reader.  I have 362 new posts to read as of right now.  About 200 of them are from running blogs.

So - question of the day - How do you keep up?  I admit, I have trouble keeping up with everyone on a day-to-day basis, but when I skip a day I really have a problem!  In this case, I skipped a whole week and I feel so behind!!  And, more are coming in!  I'm so swamped!


Don't forget to enter my SportShield Giveaway!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Been Away...

A little secret:  I've been out of town for a week now.  On September 4, Todd and I headed down to Belize to do a diving trip aboard the Belize Aggressor III.

We went to Belize before, in 2008, and had some not so great dive conditions and weather.  If you would like, you can read our Belize 2008 Trip Report.  While we were hoping to someday return to Belize, we weren't really planning on it this year.  Money and vacation days are both scarce, due mainly to our big trip to Indonesia that is coming up fairly soon.  However, we found some funds, and then I started looking at trips a few months ago.  We were thinking of going on a trip to Baja, Mexico on the new Aggressor boat there, but I checked with some friends of ours (that we'd met in Turks & Caicos) to see what their plans were.  They really wanted to go to Belize, so we made it work!

I'm pretty excited about the trip (note that I'm writing this before we left and timing it to come up later).  I'm not sure how the running schedule will go while we're away.  It's impossible to run on the boat itself, and we never go to port like a cruise ship does (except potentially on the day we go to the Blue Hole -- pictured above).  We are overnighting in Houston on the way home, so hopefully I can run there.

Once I'm home (we return home Sunday, September 12), I'll be gearing up to post a trip report.

Don't forget to enter my SportShield Giveaway!!

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Monday, September 6, 2010


Marlene tagged me for the Happy 101 Award!

The rules are to name 10 things that I like, and then pass along to 10 bloggers.

So, things I like:

  1. Sunrises (because everyone loves sunsets, but there is something really special about getting up early and seeing the sun rise)
  2. Todd (How can I not include him?)
  3. Good food (I recently decided that I don't care about my weight as long as I can still run at the pace I want, and as long as I can eat good food all the time)
  4. Fall leaves (I looked to see what Marlene had written, and so much of it was about fall.  It made me excited for fall!)
  5. My running group (they're the best!)
  6. Cupcakes (because of that photo above, yum!)
  7. Hot tea (specifically Earl Grey)
  8. Grouper (but not to eat, to play with underwater!)
  9. Flowers (who doesn't love flowers?)
  10. The Bug (I know Todd would be upset if I didn't include my cat on the list)
And 10 Bloggers... I'm actually writing this in advance, so I apologize if you were already tagged:
  1. Sandra at Strongchemistry (I keep tagging her for things, hoping she'll blog again)
  2. Lacey at Common Objects and Everyday Events
  3. Jill at Finishing is Winning
  4. Jen at Journey to 26.2
  5. MarathonMaiden
Ok, that's enough.  Ten is a lot.

Don't forget to enter my SportShield Giveaway!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Linky-Loos

My favorite posts for the week!

Running and Fitness
Other Things


Don't forget to enter my SportShield Giveaway!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stats as of 31 August 2010

August 2009
76.4 miles
16 hours, 37 minutes
Avg Pace: 13:16/mile
Annapolis Ten Mile Run 2009:  2:01:47 (12:11/mile)

August 2010
75.7 miles -- .7 miles less than in 2009
16 hours, 14 minutes -- 23 minutes shorter than in 2009
Avg Pace: 12:53/mile -- 23 seconds faster than in 2009
Annapolis Ten Mile Run 2010:  2:00:54 (12:05/mile)

Total running for the year, 477.3 miles, 12:50 per mile pace.

My total mileage isn't that much lower than my 2009 stats.  I was really thinking the difference would be bigger.  Last year, I was training for a full marathon.  This year, I am not.  So, for the rest of the year, I'm likely to be WAY under the total miles for each month than I was last year.  That's ok, though.

This month, I faced a lot of motivation challenges.  I was feeling down on running.  I think things are getting better, since the Annapolis Ten Miler made me feel pumped for the fall.  Cooler temperatures, beautiful changing leaves!  It will be awesome.

I'm only two weeks away from my target race - Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon!  Hooray!!  I am very excited for the race, but I'm left with one question - what am I going to do after that???  I have a relay on October 2, and then I plan to do a Five Mile Fun Run in December, but basically after Philly, I am race-less.  I need one.  I need to think of what I want to do.

Don't forget to enter my SportShield Giveaway!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review and Giveaway: SportShield

This post has been moved here, but any comments here or there will still count for the giveaway!
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STS Progress


This Week's Workouts