November 2005
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Month November 2005

weekend misadventure // reasons to be thankful

i decided to forego my biking trip in north ga today as my legs were still in need of some post-race r&r; (the ITB is feeling better though) and was finally able to coerce 2 friends into paddling today. the day ended up being beautiful, with some warm sun and little wind. after a great couple of hours cruising on the chattahoochee, we stopped by starbucks and headed home. we had just gotten on the highway, kevin in my car and carol in the car ahead… when all of a sudden we notice the boats fly off. i see them in the side & rear view mirrors… shocked, i immediately pull over and we scramble out. thankfully the car behind me was far enough back to avoid the boats and the cars behind them also. somehow, the boats were actually still attached to my rack. i look at my car; no rack! the entire freakin’ thing was detached. WTF?? again, thankfully, the boats stayed in their lane (far right one) and we ran out quickly and dragged them to the shoulder. since they were still attached to the rack, it was easy and quick to do. then i just stood there in shock. this whole thing had disaster written all over it and somehow, thankfully, i avoided all. the boats didn’t hit anyone. no one hit the boats. no one hit eachother when dodging the boats. the boats were not damaged. my car was not damaged. i’m still a bit shaken by this whole thing. i just used up a lot of luck. i think i’ll lay low tomorrow.

the annual turkey trek

my annual tradition of running the atlanta half marathon continued this year, with yet another goal: a sub-1:50 time. with everything going on lately, i knew i’d either kick some ass or get my ass kicked. thankfully things actually went my way for a change and with the help of my speedy friend jim (tnt coach from augusta), i snuck in around 1:49:20. the weather was fabulous for a change, a 50degree start and sunny skies ahead. the wind kept up, but not nearly as bad as last year. our first few miles were speedy and gave me some confidence. i don’t have all the times here, but a few are: 7:50, 7:50, 7:55, 8something, then a wonderous 7:36 (who cares if it was downhill!). miles 9-11 were a bit rough, with my hamstrings tightening up some and me slowing a bit, but luckily we had enough time banked to relax slightly. it’s sort of interesting to think of how well i might do if i actually trained on the road sometime :-)

update, thursday night:
looks like my unofficial time was 1:49:40 and it took us about 10 sec to get to the chip start…43rd out of 449 in my age group. while i felt good during my run, my IT bands are mighty sore tonight. i reallly hope this is temporary! my holiday weekend training plans may now be amended to include more rest (was really looking forward to checking out Pinhoti, a new-to-me section of singletrack in right now, a long paddle is on the sched for tomorrow…

weekend double feature

This past Saturday was the Currahee Adventure Duathlon. This has become the race I do each year with people new to the sport. I coerced some of my BOD lasses, Ashlie & Justine, to join me this time for their first multi-sport event. Then last minute, Jackie & Carol joined also… this worked out well since both 2 and 3 person teams were allowed. We became Team Bad Lasses 2 & 3; BL#1 was Norma, Kate, and Lisa. The race was a rogaine, so once we started, it was up to us (or rather Me the navigator!) to decide our fate. The navigation itself wasn’t difficult, but choosing how to get to each proved to be challenging. No Bike Zones dotted the course, and with no bush/bike wacking allowed, route choice was key. I think I could have evaluated things a bit better, as we ended being on our feet more than anticipated. We were close on our time, but we managed to sneak in to finish in 5hrs 45min with all checkpoints successfully tagged, making us 2nd & 3rd in the all-female division. Our truly badlassed gals #1 finished 1st, taking 4th overall (and whipping some boy booty). Kate is just getting into adv racing – the hook is getting deeper!

Then on Sunday, I joined the TrailBlazers and Tri-Atlanta for a trail half-marathon at the Chattahoochee. The weather was not as sunny as yesterday, but the temperatures were perfect. Bill Pfleuger had marked the trail with flour for us to follow. The crowd was smaller than expected, but the event was great. While I run these trails fairly often, I discovered many new ones today – esp the ones near the paper mill ruins and alongside of sope creek. I had always heard there was a creek, but never realized it was so big and beautiful. If I wasn’t in a “race”, I’d have stopped to hang out for a bit. very peaceful, with fall leaves, water flowing over rocks, geese, etc. My final time (which included a wrong turn and 2 sections of scrambling over rocks at the creek’s edge) was 2:36. a bit lazy for me, but I didn’t go all out. and I haven’t ever timed myself with this distance on a trail before. I think it is perfect timing though, with the Atlanta Half just around the corner (and I do have a goal for that day!(

Swamps & Sequins

2 big events happened this past weekend: the USARA National Championships and my friend’s wedding. While I wasn’t racing, it was a big event I didn’t want to miss, with many friends that would be in the action. Lucky both events were in the Tampa Bay area so I didn’t have to choose!

I drove down Thursday morning, arriving 7.5 long hours later. Race check-in was bustling, which of course made me jealous. I wasn’t a racer; I wasn’t race staff… just a spectator. I hung out with Dan, Monica & Jay (Litespeed) and helped Paul at Checkpoint Zero with his new Checkpoint Tracker program (online live race reporting).

Friday morning came early for me (and even earlier for the racers, who had to be ready to go at 5:45am). Since I was pseudo-Media for the day, I had insider info that they would be transported to the actual race start, which would be at 7am and was therefore able to press snooze and hit Starbucks before heading to the Fort King Trailhead. My camera luck continues to be non-existent with the battery being totally dead in my 35mm (Paul gave me a small video cam to capture some action though). The start was on foot and involved a great river crossing in Dead River Park, where I staked out hoping for some good footage. Teams had the option of using a canoe to cross, swim, or traverse a cable footbridge. ASM came thru first, opting for a canoe. Then I heard Litespeed and prepped for some good shots…. but they keep going. Hmmm! I didn’t have a course map, but figured they might have another crossing in mind (as it wasn’t mandatory to cross at our location). I did get see other friends and local racers (NADS/Cycleworks, SEAR/Cycleworks, Misguided, Flight, Mighty Dog, Tally Ho, Blazing Saddles). I also saw what 1-2 hours of bushwacking in FL swamp will do to one’s unprotected legs: slice ‘em up, thanks to the razor-like edges of the saw palmetto plant. Just imagine what a 30 hr race will look like… all of a sudden, I wasn’t so jealous of not being out there racing!

My next stop was Oak Ridge Equestrian Area in Hillsborough State Park. This was a beautiful area where racers continued with their foot orienteering. A group of us spectators staked out a checkpoint near scenic suspended bridge spanning Hillsborough River (that they would later paddle). First through was Wedali 1 & 2, quickly nabbing the CP located in a small depression. Soon afterwards was Litespeed – yeah! However they passed right by the point and kept running. Argh! It killed me to see them blow by it and not return for about 10minutes (and losing 7 positions); but is was way early in the race and I was certain they’d bounce back. After the foot section, racers transitioned nearby to canoeing, where they paddled up the HB River to a CP near some rapids, then came back down and through the 17-Runs area: an unmaintained section of the river that challenged racers with a plethora of fallen trees. I got in my car and scooted over to Sergeant’s Park for CP3, my final viewing area before wedding duties kicked in. I hung out on a boardwalk waiting for some action (and trying to dodge creepy fuzzy caterpillars that were everywhere). Mighty Dog was the first team thru. Within 30 minutes, Litespeed came checked in. They were around 18th, but well within sight of the front pack. All is good!

Then I headed to St Pete for wedding duties… some last minute prep with the bride, then rehearsal and dinner. While some of the others went out, I went back to the hotel to grab a race update. The wireless connection at the hotel was intermittent at best, which was totally frustrating. I finally got a page to load and saw Litespeed was near the lead again! (They were in the lead, but at that time a “nav challenge” was costing them time.) Excited to see them finish, I headed back to race HQ and grabbed some winks (not as much as I wanted due to a touch of food poisoning or something that woke me up.) After 2 hrs of sleep and another 2 of mere resting, my restlessness took me to the finish line. The winners had come in a bit earlier (and 2nd place, some of Dan’s friends/other teammates)… I tried to snooze on a bench while waiting, but didn’t accomplish much except more rest (which actually does do some good). Around 8:30am Saturday morning they rolled in, tired and wet but looking good in 11th place (12th overall, as 1 masters team had come in). After they showered, we all grabbed some bfast, then they all went to bed, while I returned to my wedding duties.

The wedding itself went well! And yes, I did have some sequins (on my shoes) – we were all dolled up :-) (I’ll post a pic when I get one). All the bridesmaids managed not to trip on our dressed (it was a close call). The bride is Vietnamese and the groom Slovakian, so the customs, languages, food, etc was all unique and made for a memorable weekend.