Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Fairfax, VA - December 31, 2008 @ 4PM
This year (2008), through December, among the Triathlons that I raced, I ran five (5) stand alone 5K events and there was one consistent factor to all these races. It seemed that sub 36:00 was out of my reach. UNTIL LAST NIGHT!!
GW Parkway Classic (May) - 36:17
Capitol Crescent 5K (June) - 38:26
Survivor Harbor Seven 5K (June) - 37:28
Rainforest 5K (June) - 37:02
Crystal City 5K (July) - 37:20
On the last day of December on the hilly George Mason University campus in Fairfax VA, in temps of 35F with wind gust of up to 40mph, I FINALLY broke through the 36:00 minute mark for 5K!
MADD Red Ribbon Run 5K: 35:42
I ran the race with my good friend Keri and while I was secretly hoping for a year end PR, I figured conditions were miserable for a hilly course so I might as well just enjoy and have fun and not worry about it. While I started my Garmin at the race start, I chose to ignore it completely. While it did a great job recording my stats and pace, I didn't let it effect my thoughts during the race. Keri and I ran and simply took it little hill by little hill.
Mile ONE Split: 11:16 - It felt like we had gone out fast and the mile race clock said 11:30 - so I asked Keri if she minded a quick 1 minute walk break. She agreed and we briskly walked for a minute to recover from the first mile - that was our only walk break of the race.
Mile TWO Split: 11:37 - "Oh my God, where do these hills keep coming from?" Keri and I just talked and grunted and giggled and got buffetted by the winds as we climbed up and down the hills. We took a brief water stop (maybe 10 seconds) and continue on...
Mile THREE Split: 11:28 - The best quote of the race came in this mile from Keri "That is NOT A HEADWIND, we are just running that much faster!!"
The last .10 of a mile to the finish line was a nice downhill to a gentle blip up to the finish line. As we ran down, I tried hard to "let off the breaks" and just let momentum take me even though I have a fear of falling on my face that usually prevents me from letting go on downhills. It wasn't until Keri saw the finish line clock and said "Holly the clock only says 35:15 - come on let's go!" that I realized how well we were doing and I took in a deep breath and pick up my big flat feet and gave it whatever I had left.
Mile 3.0 to 3.10: 1:21 - According to Garmin we ran that last 1/10 mile at a 8:39 minute mile pace - I didn't even know I could move that fast without a bike! LOL
Besides ending the calandar year with my fastest 5K for this year (2008), I would say the best part of this race was the fact that NOT ONCE did I bitch or moan or complain during the race. Not one negative thought entered my head at any point and other than the walk break at the end of the first mile, which I thought at the time was just smart recovery (and it turns out it was) I never had any desire to walk again. I knew that I could run those last 2.1 miles, regardless of the hills.
I could not have asked for a BETTER RACE to end 2008 nor a better friend to race is with!!
Life is Good! Happy New Year to you all!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Okay seriously...the cake topper is ADORABLE but when your trying to stick to your wedding budget, a $95.00 Cake Topper seems completely unreasonable and excessive!
Seriously, the cake itself is only going to cost us around $200.00. So this "miniature wedding cake topper, handmade in France" is a no go. The piece is detailed in enamel over bronze with a happy bride and groom riding tandem--plus a small white dog in the bicycle basket.
Now if the basket had two Bengal kittens in the front basket - ALL BETS WOULD BE OFF and the money would be spent cause that is the way I roll but since it does not have two Bengal kittens in the basket, I am on the search for another cake topper!
C'est La Vie! (That's Life!)
This past week Jim and I spent the week in Jackson, Mississippi, celebrating a "Early Christmas" with his family and interviewing and hiring vendors for our upcoming nuptials. There are still a lot of decisions that still need to be made but at least now we have an Officiant, a Caterer, a Baker, a Photographer, a Florist, a Tent Rental Company, AND we have bought and paid for the wedding bands. Of course we could not have gotten all of this stuff done if it were not for all the hard work that our Wedding Planner - Deborah Simmons did before we ever got into town.
Let me tell you - if you are planning a wedding OUT OF TOWN, you really ought to consider adding a Wedding Planner to your overall budget. Deborah has been fantastic so far. Not only has she been able to stick to our budget and find us good vendors but she has some great ideas on little things to add to our wedding that will really make it special (and IN OUR BUDGET!) and she really seems to understand exactly what Jim and I are looking for in terms of the "Wedding" to be refereed to from this day forward as Le Tour du Coeur 2009 (The Tour of the Heart 2009)
We managed to send out almost all the "Save the Dates" (still a few to go out...) and a lovely side effect of that is the nearly finalized guest list. Getting those "Save the Dates" out before the holidays was a personal goal. Does getting them out between the major holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas mean I kind of met my goal? In this case - HECK YEAH!
Just before Jim and I left town for the week, I made another big decision. On Friday night, Dec 5th, I put down the money and joined a local TRIATHLON training group called Team Z.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Race #1 was a NO_SHOW for me because my newest Nephew insisted on making an appearance 1-week ahead of schedule. It was a DNS (Did Not Start) that I was very willing to have. I would not have missed his arrival for any race!
Race #2 - Sunday November 2 - 5.5 miles - Hemlock Overlook - Clifton, VA
I have been having some on/off issues with my left achilles this fall. It seems no more serious than some tendentious but Coach Bob and I are trying to back off the volumes and intensity of my runs lately to see if I can get this issues under control before the big Ironman training volumes come into play. I was pretty bummed that "running the race" was not an-option and while I had some very good, sane advice from fellow runners to look at the big picture and possibly skip this race, I was pretty sure that my achilles was doing well enough for me to power hike the event.
My friend Keri, who recently finished her first off-road Half Marathon, was my race partner for the day. Keri, who also signed up for the 4-race series, had an excellent time in Race #1, exceeding her expectations and decided to hang-back with me for this race. Knowing that at any point mid-race, I could stop, if necessary without being stranded 2.5 miles out from the finish, made the decision to start an easy one.
The course was set up as three trail loops that returned each time to the finish/start area. The woods and trails were simply stunning! The Fall foliage, the warm 50% temperatures and no wind made for the perfect race day. The loops themselves were fun and very challenging with 3 steep, long climbs, several rock scrambles, a few water crossings and lots of technical trail full of roots, rocks and fallen trees to step, leap or straddle. (depending on your pace)
There was a mix of everything you could imagine, open fields gently sloping down hill, narrow paths winding along a lazy river, steep rocky downhills that had me VERY THANKFUL that I had trail shoes on and long stair-stepping climbs that looked "almost done" until you reach the top and the trail veered off to the right and UP just a little more. Keri and I had a great time, we set a quick pace and eventually caught up to and passed about 3 people on the course. As we got close to the finish, we were lapped by the top 10 men and top 5 women racing the 10-mile distance race (two times around the course). It was stunning to watch these men and women fly through these woods, seemingly on that edge between control and being a victim of gravity.
It took plenty of self-discipline not to break into a run in the moments when the path widened or cleared a little but I kept "July 26, 2009" in the back of my head and reminded myself that a brisk hike was still getting my heart-rate up and working my core and legs without risking injury. I had a great time and found the "off-road" running folks to be friendly and laid back and a fun group to hang with on an early November morning.
Life is Good! Even when you have to back off the pace...
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Heather and Holly in the delivery room...I was a very lucky Aunt to be able to share this moment with Heather and Rich and they honored me by letting me cut the umbilicle cord.
Introducing Kain Ezekiel, 8 pounds 2 ounces, 20.5 inches
Rowen and Aunt Cathy play tent in the soft and colorful blankies that Carlene hand-made especially for Rowen and Kain!
Rowen and Aunt Holly are having a pirate battle in their Mr. Potato-Head Hats!
"Arg, Maities!! Shiver me timbers and walk the plank!"
Monday, October 06, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Sept 21, 2008
International Distance - 1.5k SWIM - 23 mile BIKE - 10K RUN
OVERALL TIME: 4:23:16
Placing: Athena Division - 4 of 4
Executive Summary: Cold Water, Hills, Hills, Hills - Finisher Medal - I am an International SAVAGE Baby!! LMAO!
This race meant a lot to me for all sorts of reasons. It was my first olympic/International distance TRI since May 2007, it is the beginnings of my year of training for IRONMAN USA in July 2009 and the end of my very short (2 races) 2008 TRI Race season and most importantly, this race raises money to support awareness and prevention of MELANOMA, a subject that hits very close to home for me as a MELANOMA SURVIVOR myself.
When I signed up for the race in January 2008, I had grand ideas of fundraising $3000.00, a grand for every year I have survived Melanoma. Needless to say "Life" got in the way and when Jim and I drove to Deep Creek, I arrived having raised $500.00. I was happy to hear during the mandatory race meeting that every dollar donated would go straight to the Melanoma Foundation. A special THANKS to all those who were able to make a DONATION!
PRE-RACE: Race morning dawned early, 5:30 am, and even though I was not due to race until 9AM, Jim and I agreed that getting to transition early would be a good idea. Within 10 minutes of leaving the SilverTree Inn we were parked in the lot closest to the finish line and transition. I headed down to transition to do a final check of my bike (left over night ) and to set up my area. 15 minutes later I was back in car, enjoying a bagel and peanutbutter and listening to the radio with Jim. We left the car about 7:30 or so to walk toward the Finish Line/Swim Start to watch the Half Ironman distance athletes start there day. They had a 20 minute delay due to FOG but by 8:20 the first waves were under way.
SWIM: 47:41 - 1.5K (0.9 miles)
My swim wave started on time at 9:07. It was an "in-water" start and MAN WAS IT COLD! 68 degrees and even with my sleeveless wetsuit, I was having a hard time adjusting to the cold. It took about 300 yards and a whole lot of "self cheerleading" to finally relax and find a regular rhythm. In spite of my 300 yards of "putzing around" I came out of the water at 45:00 on my watch, which is when I told Jim to expect me. I have no idea where the extra 2 minutes on the chip time comes from (Jim's watch also said 45:00 from the start gun for my split.)
Transition included about a 400 yard run up a very steep sidewalk, 12 sets of stairs and all the way down the length of the transition area and then to my bike, which was racked almost exactly in the middle of transition on an end. I took some extra time to put on a long sleeve, summer-weight jersey, to keep the early down-hill chill from getting the better of me. After passing the "Bike Mount" line, I wasted about a minute trying to fix my race belt, which had come undone. So much for trying to save time now for T2 later by putting on my race belt! HA!
BIKE: 2:02:08 - 23 miles
Let's just say that after having done the International distance version of the SAVAGEMAN bike course, I have NO INTEREST in tackling the HALF IRONMAN distance bike course for this race, ever! LOL There were only 3 climbs of any significance in the short course and I'll admit that I had to get off my bike and walk the steepest grade (nearly 20% at the top). I was highly amused by the VIAGRA signs on the hardest climb but completely shell shocked when I realized that the first 9 miles of the course took me an hour to complete. I even shook my garmin (like that would help) to make sure it was actually working, I was so shocked at the fact that an hour had gone by. I would like the race organizers' to know that at one point during a climb, I thought to myself "This course is DEFINITELY just as NASTY AS MELANOMA" and I have some very personal experience in that department with the scars to back up my words - SAVAGEMAN is appropro to more than just the "general location of the race." The remainder of the course was "rolling hills" and so I was able to harness some power (while still trying to "save something for the run") and cover the last 14 miles over the next 62 minutes. Since my hope was to come in around 2:00 hours knowing this was a difficult course, I was satisfied with my efforts and ready to get off the bike and onto the run course.
Seriously, don't ask me how it could take me nearly 3 minutes to take off a helmet, bike gloves and switch shoes - it's shocking to me too!
I had two goals for this race. The first was to place top three in my ATHENA division and the second was the run the entire RUN course with only breaks at the water stops. Goal #1 slipped away in that first hour on the bike. The 3 women ahead of me all had previous races with sub-60 minute 10K times so the only place I could gain on them right now would have been the bike - so I stopped thinking about placing and simply put all my focus on the RUN. I was on track with my RUN, stopping only at water stops (every mile) to take water or some HEED (YUCK! I am such a GATORADE/POWER-AID girl...) and the first 4 miles went by with a steady 12:00-12:30 pace. My breathing was under control, my legs were moving along and I was enjoying watching the ELITE Half Distance triathletes do their thing. All the front runners were super friendly and very encouraging. Then we hit the CLIMB TO THE FIRE TOWER - which we had already been told we didn't have to do all of this year - and all I have to say to that is THANK YOU for CHANGING THE COURSE! LOL Mile 5 consisted of climbing this steep narrow fire road with rocks and skree and gullies.
As I started up it, one of the male Elite athlete's passed me and he said "That's it girl - keep it up - NO WALKING, NO WALKING" and away he went. I focused on him and did my best not to walk until I found myself gasping for breath and realized that if I didn't start doing some walking, I was going to sit down by the side of the road and not move at all. Putting ego aside that moment and just taking the climb one stride at a time, I finally found myself at the top and an aid station where I grabbed a wonderful, warm cup of COCA COLA, gulped it down and then settled in for the RIDE back down the fire road. WHEEEE!!!! It was like a barely controlled slide all the way back down the fire road, skipping over gullies, watching my footing constantly and trying to just "go with the rock flow." Very quickly I was at the bottom and in less than 2 minutes passing the 5 mile marker. Only 1 mile left to my SAVAGE day and I was feeling tired and a little hungry. My stomach growled to remind me that Cliff Shots and GU were not quite enough for a 4-plus hour effort (I was thinking closer to 3:45 when I planned my nutrition for the race) and I asked my body just to hold on for another 13 minutes. I spend the last mile (mostly uphill) just watching the runners on the other side of the road run downhill and imagined that every bike that passed me was pulling me one step closer to the finish line. Soon enough I was taking that lovely right hand turn that took me to the sweet, sweet downhill and the finish line. I was very surprised to be handed a finisher's medal at the finish line. That was an unexpected bonus!
It was a beautiful day, it was a SAVAGE race and I was completely satisfied with my race efforts - I had nothing left to give and I had no regrets at all - That is how every RACE should end.
POST-RACE: I was thrilled to get the chance to enjoy some ice cream, watch so many people finish the HALF SAVAGEMAN (My hats off to all of you!! You definitely EARNED IT!) and finally meet Tara Norton, last years SAVAGEMAN 1st place winner, a Pro-Triathlete and fellow TRI-DRS list member and 2nd-place Woman this year (due to some controversial swim-course issues amongst the first wave). Tara was wonderfully nice and kind and I'll be cheering for her in Kona at the Championships this year.
That's my race report - and I am sticking to it! I will be back next year but it will be as a RELAY TEAM with my soon-to-be husband, Jim. We decided we would relay the SAVAGEMAN Half Ironman Distance. I will SWIM, Jim will BIKE (and tackle the infamous WALL) and then I'll do the RUN.
TEAM SHOEMAKER in 2009!
Life is Good! Live STRONG!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Sprint Distance: .62 mile SWIM / 17.5 mile BIKE / 3.4 mile RUN
Athena - 39 and under: 17 of 28
1250 of 1632 overall
Swim - 28:53
Bike: 1:14:49 (14.0 mph)
Run: 43:47 (12:53 minute pace)
Summary: That felt good and was FUN, let's do that again!
Long Version: In July 2007, I raced the Danskin Women's Triathlon in Webster, MA. Just 2 weeks later I would start 7 months of physical therapy for a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder. That injury would put off swimming and all thing Triathlon for me for the next year. So it was with some trepidation and on the heels of signing up for Ironman USA 2009 that I toed the line at IronGirl Columbia.
I have a recently updated bike setup (from triple to a compact crank, the addition of aero bars and a new narrower handle bar set up, and a new saddle) that took a few weeks to dial in, I had about 6 weeks of consistent, pain free swimming under my belt, I am currently 26 pounds lighter than in July 2007 and a I hired a local TRI coach (Hi Coach Bob!) to help me keep my Ironman training on track over the next year. IronGirl Columbia would be a first chance to see how all these changes were translating.
I got to the race about 6AM and got a decent parking spot in Centennial Park. Pretty quickly, I found myself easing into the familiar routine of getting number marked, setting up transition and pumping the bikes tires. I checked in with Coach Bob on the cell phone, finished by looking for a good rack marker to recognize coming out of the swim (a tree) and left transition to meet up with Coach Bob to talk for a bit before hitting the Port-O-Johns for a quick stop and then wandering over to the swim start.
Coach Bob and I went over and said HI to our friends at the Ulman Cancer Fund tent and then we watched the other waves go off. After a quick walk along Centennial Lake to see where the first swim turn buoy was, Bob gave me some great advice (Have Fun!) and I walked over to the swim start to wait with the other Athenas and 20-24 age group ladies for the start of Wave 8. I stood close to the front of the group and as soon as they let our Wave enter the water, 7 minute prior to the start, I was in the water, warming up, getting comfy being in the lake and looking for the best line. In a short 7 minutes, it was time to GO!
Yeah, I know, SLOW SWIM TIME, I finished 24th out of 28 in my division but I found victory in two significant ways: 1) No shoulder pain 2) I kept myself calm, cool and relaxed and swam freestyle the entire time.
Where did the time go? LOL I think I spent it putting socks on my wet feet and marveling in the fact that I had a pain-free swim. I obviously need to practice some transitions this year...
Bike: 1:14:49 (14.0 mph)
Regardless of what some might call a leisurely pace, I know that I had a fantastic bike on what is a hilly and challenging course. I took full advantage of my descending skills whenever possible and it paid off in places overall. When I started the Bike, I was in 24th place overall in my division. When I got OFF the bike heading into T2, I had moved into 14th place overall in my division, passing nearly half my division. Earlier in the week, my fiance Jim and I talked about my biking time and I was thinking that I was looking at about 1:30 as a bike time based on training numbers
and a 3:00 finish overall. Jim had suggested that make a goal to break 2:30 as a finish time and try to go sub 1:15 on the bike. I was thrilled when I hit the T2 map to see 1:14:49 on my watch! I made my first GOAL!
Umm... did I mention that I need to work on my transitions? This should have been easily under 1:00 since all I did was change shoes and take off my helmet.
RUN: 43:47 (12:53 minute pace)
I had told Coach Bob that I wanted to try running the entire run leg but I didn't know how realistic that might be. I only recently began to run distances of 30 minutes without any walk breaks for the first time since May 2005. While my training runs have been feeling good, I really have not had a lot of bricks under my belt and didn't know what to expect of my legs after a hilly bike ride. For the most part, I was able to keep the walk breaks to a minimum for the first 2 miles but the big climb just before Mile 3 took a lot out of me and what should have been a relaxed,easy downhill last 1.4 miles became an effort. The cool morning had turned to a bright sunny day and I was looking for every little bit of shade I could find in that last mile but there was not much to be found. Having done the Columbia OLY distance TRI 3 times previously, I know the finishing mile very well and I have to admit I took a small
walk break at the last small incline before the decent to the finish line. I probably didn't need that walk break but I was hot and ready for some shade. At the crest of the last small hill, I lifted my head and just focused on the finish line. It wasn't until those last 100 yards that I thought to look at the race clock and realized, with a big SMILE, that I have come within a few minutes of the GOAL time that Jim and I set for me a few days before...
While I hadn't broken 2:30, I had come pretty close and I had a fantastic race day overall. Everything went well, I had no pain, I had lots of fun on the bike and when all was said and done, only 3 people in my Athena division managed to pass me on the run.
It was the best possible way to start the first race of my "Season of Training for IM USA 2009" and the season looks bright! Next stop, 4 weeks - Savageman OLY distance. It will not be an easy OLY but I am ready to use it as a benchmark for what I need to improve between Sept 08 and Columbia OLY Tri in May 2009.
Life is Good! LiveSTRONG!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
No WALK BREAKS, No STOPS ....just a steady pace.
It may not have been a blistering fast pace and some might even have called it a jog instead of a run...but I DID IT! And now I *know* I will do it again - longer, further, faster.
Time Heals...Body's Recover...Life really does move on!
Life is GOOD! LiveSTRONG!
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Well I am back and I have some much delay VACATION/ENGAGEMENT/BIRTHDAY pictures to share with you all! As for me, I am busy working, working out, and planning a wedding - oh AND still doing all my other extra curricular activities too.... I am definitely enhancing my "muti-tasking" skills....
Enjoy some pictures from Lake Placid! More to come soon...
Wallace looks handsome but
he could have used some "kitty drugs" for the trip!
Checking out the Cozy Cache Backyard in Jay, NH
Grommette on the banks of the AuSable River, Jay, NY
Wallace on the banks of the AuSable River, Jay, NY
Wallace introducing himself to the Cozy Cache Bear
What cat doesn't LOVE a Catwalk?
Grommette in her "tree" pose...
Nap time for everybody!
Race Day at IM USA 2008 - on the bike course
Even on a rainy day...the cowbell must ring...
Jim was right there, telling riders to "find their happy place"
Take note: This is just one of the "small" climbs
early on the IM USA bike course...
Later that night, volunteering at the Family Tent,
near the finish line...
Volunteering isn't busy work?
Then you have never seen the finish line area of an IRONMAN...
Jim relaxing, on the phone to home, on Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, NY
Newly ENGAGED! Holly & Jim at Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, NY
This is the other big moment of the weekend...
No turning back now....
I'm IN for next year...
July 26, 2009 - Ironman USA - My RACE DAY is coming...
July 26, 2009 - Ironman USA - My RACE DAY is coming...