Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ike at Mardi Gras party

pancakes at church before ash wed...

the cats loved playing with his beads

Monday, February 23, 2009

Albany Winter Marathon --Feb 22, 2009

after the race --homemade bread and peanut butter

After race --inside the gym..
Sleet, snow and rain and a forecast of 5-8 inches of snow did not deter Rob, Frank and I from running the Albany winter marathon --a low key loop course on the campus of Suny Albany, about 2 1/2 hours away. Anthony P. was going to come with us, but since he had run the Rocky Racoon 100 miler only 2 weeks ago, the forecast gave him a reason to back out. (Plus, he has Caumsett Park 50K next sunday --me too, I think).
Saturday the 21rst was beautiful --low 40s and sunny!! But the forecast for Sunday called for anywhere from 1 to 6 inches in the Albany area, and maybe here 2 inches. So on Saturday we all e-mailed each other and had plan A, which was for me to pick up Rob (his sports car does not drive in snow) and Frank and go...or to bag the Albany road trip and run the Cherry Tree 10 miler instead. We agreed that we would wake up Sunday at 6 and see what it looked like outside. The weather advisory for Albany did not look great!!! Well, woke up Sunday to dry weather, so it was a go. We got up to about Kingston at 8:30 a.m. and it started snowing hard. 'Should we turn around?' ws the mantra in the car. No way did we want to run for 4 hours in a snowstorm...Frank even suggested turning around and taking 84 to lake waramug for the Polar bear run --(only 7 miles:).. Then, miraculously, it stopped snowing. We got to campus around 9:30, registered, and left our bags in the warm gym to go out to the start. It was snowing lightly. As I was still tired from the Florida miles and the consistent hill training this week, I elected to try for a 8:45-9 min pace.
This course is a test of one's mental strength as it's 4 loops of the campus.
In fact, one might say that it is one of the more boring courses around --BUT as ultrarunners we are used to loops; need to get used to loops; and it was even fun to see all the runners on the out and back portion and 'fun' to be passed by all the fast guys!! We did finish in 3:39 (Frank, who ran the first 20 miles at an 8 minute pace); Rob (3:47) and me (3:53)...maybe it was the weather or my stiffer new Balance shoes or the pavement I've been running on, but felt pretty quads never relaxed and my hamstrings hurt the whole time!! I was pleased that, when I reached 20 miles, was able to crank up the pace and passed 5 women. This was all of our first long race of the year, so I thought of it as an ultra -haha. In fact, the womens' winner finished with Frank, so I ended up coming third even with that slow time.
After the race, we changed, took showers, had some hot chocolate and got finishers' certificates --we had to wait around for mine and Frank kept joking that I was so slow that we'd have to leave without it:)
We then wet out to a quick late lunch at the Albany pump house down the street.
Light snow on the thruway quickly turned into real snow -arghhh. I have to say that the Toyota 4-runner drives well in the snow, and I was happy to have that 4 wheel drive when we hit the Taconic and the snow was coming down. Then, it turned to rain..
what a weather day. I am exhausted just writing about the weather. And today it is sunny again. bu windy and cold --almost worse than yesterday! I need to make a decision about the 50K on Sunday, but will probably go ahead and run it --too bad the
25K AND the NYRRC 5K are both on the same day:(

Friday, February 20, 2009

a few Sanibel Island photos

The best of Sanibel shells from the lighthouse keepers' collections...

A 1700s shell collection from a lighthouse keeper

antique valentines at the historical museum

Eating lunch while biking

The lighthouse in the background at sunset

Sailor's Valentines from the Sanibel shell museum

Our beach entrance at sunset

The lighthouse beach at sunset

Carol and I after a beach walk

Me in front of the Sanibel general store in middle of long run
With this winter weather (today, Friday, is the worst -can barely be outside, and my son going skiing for the weekend), Florida seems like years away. Well, it can't be that bad too much longer --this winter wind reminds me of the winds of March at Caumsett Park 50K and St.Patrick's day races..ugh -I hope to do both races.
But let's get this weekend over with first --a long run in the snow????????
Rob, Frank and Anthony and I (well, Anthony maybe not as he doesn't need the long run!!!) hope to drive to the Albany winter marathon on Sunday. I was actually looking forward to this race (last year ran it in 3:40) until we got the forecast of snow...we will see what happens. Maybe they will make it into a snowshoe race!

Monday, February 16, 2009

ladies' beading party

I recently attended a beading party at my friend Christine's house -she just sent me the photo...several glasses of wine later, we all made colorful creations Notice my mid-week running partner, Francoise --she cleans up well:)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2 'frozen' races --the Feb. 14 Stratford 4 miler and the Feb 15 TRR Freezer 5 miler

It was tough racing again after a 2 week layoff!

Rob, Frank and Kate

Chris, on the right, hammered the course in 23 minutes and came in third overall.
Brian and Kate

Brian, Kate, me and Frank ater the 4 miler --hardware all around

Ronnie, Paul and Sherry

talking with Lee after the 5 miler (left)

Ed and Joe at the awards ceremony (we got our awards from the 2008 dinner:))

Frank and Bob after the Freezer 5 (below)...
It was a drag to come home from Florida to this cold weather. On the other hand, I had so much fun at the Stratford 4 miler. Frank and I teamed up to win our division --even though he and a bad chest cold, and I was tired from all the Florida miles, we still ran a combined 56 minutes (his time was 27:56? and mine was 28:13?) to win our team age group. The Stratford race --always hilly and cold --is a fun event as the team divisions give everyone a chance to win, young or old. In fact, Ronnie had a 75 year old man for her partner and won her division! Chris and Sal came from NYC to run. Kate teamed up with Brian to come in third in their division(Rob was sick and got lost, showing up 10 minutes before the race start so was not teamed up but he still ran a good race considering that his mom may have given him pnemonia). It was great to see Sherry out running (after months with injuries) --her partner was Marty. Don volunteered. A good time was had by all! Check out Kate's photos and Frank's photos
On Sunday I went up to 'jog' the Freezer 5 miler (Frank raced it in 34 and change)and to see Lee about the July 4 race. But mostly, it was a social time with all the Taconic people -Joe Pecora, race director, did a great job!! Greg, Bob Tom, Ed, Lee and others were helping!!! Despite the cold, it was a nice course and hilly. I was tired from sat. and got a good hill workout. Cookies, bagels, coffee and beer were available after. Do not miss the next Taconic event --the March 15 St. Patrick's day races. Guaranteed to be cold also!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sanibel photos

Sailor's Valentines

Ike with parrot at Parrot place

Carol and husband Pat, who just returned from bike ride

Carol at lighthouse beach --end of the island

A real turtle..

A turtle sand sculpture

Carol, walking over to meet me on beach

Done! with the long run...

the boys and my mother-in-law at beach

Ike at Bowman beach

beach chairs on Captiva island road

At Blind Pass beach (sideways photo:()

going through alligator territory on my long run
Carol lent me a camera cord, after a great bike around the island.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

long beach walk with carol from CT

Imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail from my Ct running friend Carol, saying that she and her husband Pat were biking on Sunday and saw me running! Not only is she an awesome trail runner, having won many USA age-group trail awards, but she is an accomplished marathoner. She is recovering from back surgery and a stress fracture so just getting back into the training after many months. They own a condo down here, and are here until the end of March. Carol and I made plans to walk on the beach, since they are near where we are staying --we walked to the lighthouse and back, and saw 2 turtles --a cool turtle sculpture and a real tortoise...It was good to catch up --I gave her the info on the CT winter racing scene and got all kinds of Sanibel info from her. We talked about trail races (Escarpment and seven sisters), regular races (Boston), and hill climbs (she is in Mt. Washington hill climb and will have to do hill climbing on treadmill). The weather was delightful. Since her husband had been out biking I got inspired and went biking for an hour. A fun Sanibel blog (s)I discovered is Tootsie-check out her photos of Sanibel critters and scenes, especially turtles. Thak yo Tootsie for allowing me to publish the photos below.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sanibel island --training and eating

A 14-foot alligator seen by Sanibel blogger Tootsie (in her neighbor's yard)

Sanibel shells --photo by Tootsie

Sanibel and Captiva are about 17 miles long...
It's not easy being on a vacation with a teenager and 11 year old but i am trying! It's a compromise between what I want to do (museums, shelling, art galleries)and what my boys want to do (eat ice cream, play frisee, swim)...they are actually very happy at the pool and on the beach, and my mother-in-law wants to be with them. So, no excuses not to train... We flew down Sat a.m. and the weather was so perfect --70 degrees with no humidity that I put on my running stuff (shorts and sleeveless top -a shock)and went out the door with no plan except to do 12 miles or more. Since we come here almost every year, I knew where to run, and what trails to enjoy...Sanibel is 50 percent nature preserve, and no buildings are more than 2 stories high. No MacDonald's on this island.
I quickly went through a hand-held bottle of water after an hour so stopped at the nature center for more ---then went through the fancy neighborhood loop, and back toward the end of the lighthouse and long the beach ---ended up running for 3 hours -plus stops, so about 16-17 miles. I was happy to get in the afternoon training, as wasn't sure how I would feel....and after the 20 degree temps, will take it!
Since we had gone to the grocery store before checking in to our condo, I came home and inhaled everything --even junk like fritos and chocolate pretzels -yes, I was the one who bought this junk -never go grocery shopping with kids.
Then Sunday a.m., in honor of the rocky racoon people and the CT racers, I started out at 8:30 (well, RR was over by then) with the idea of running from one end of the island to the other --Sanibel Island is about 12 miles long and Captiva is about 5 miles long -- I started out at the lighthouse on the Eastern tip and made it to the end in about 2 1/2 hours, with a longish stop at the store for snacks, fruit and drinks...then made it about 3 miles into Captiva but turned around as I am not a fan of running on concete beside cars..(had been running on a dirt path along a bike path -perfect -and on trails)...Captiva was flattened in 2005 by a huuricane, and roads and houses are completely gone. The sides roads are gone. Also, at about 3 and half hours, the heat caught up with me and started to feel alittle lightheaded. Stopped at a beach for more water and a break --got a ride from my mother-in-law for 3 miles (I know, it's cheating)...then ran the 6 miles home and felt good --mentally, felt more positive, and was able to keep up a 9 min pace..ended at the beach at about 5 and a half hours, where I stepped in the water --I figure it was about 28 miles. Ike said 'mommy, why do you have to run so much?' and I said 'yeah, that's the question I ask myself' --but told him it's only one day and a quarter of what I will have to run in April:( I took lots of photos -no alligators, unfortunately,and will post them later. Oh on Captiva Island I met a G.A.C runner who recognized me! A woman who is friends with Chris and Susan of G.A.C. Last night I split an ice cream cone with Hank..after a rather large dinner of calamari, octupus, and more fish. So that was my reward.
This a.m. ran 7 miles --then biked with Ike (spent $20 on shells on side of road -also cheating-better to find them for free). Collecting shells is a hobby of mine, and I am told that you have to get on the beach at 5:30 a.m. at low tide maybe tommorrow! Ike is up for getting up-wish I had my headlamp.

Friday, February 6, 2009

off to Florida..maybe one long run?

Tommorrow I leave w/the family for Sanibel island (from white plains to fort meyers -one of Jet blue's daily flights to FL from white plains) to stay next door to my parents-in-laws who are in Florida for the whole month of Feb --return late at end of week...this is a good opportunity to get a longer run in (the April 5 Umstead 100 miler is looming closer and closer. Hearing the Beatle's 'Rocky Racoon' on the radio today reminded me that Tammy, wayne and anthony are running 50 and 100 miles tommorrow!!!!!!! so they will have a great push in their training (heck, Tammy has been running a marathon a weekend)..

So, in Florida while the others are sanely sitting in the pool or walking the beach (I do that too), will try and get a couple long-run days in..Sanibel island known for its Alligators so maybe will 'run' into one....
I am missing the 20K (good luck rob, frank don) and/ or the Bronx 1/2 (good luck Pam) and spring-like temps. Am missing Joe and Gail's Apres-20K brunch:( I return for the weekend, to run in the Stratford 4 miler which will probably be 10 degrees. Was supposed to go to Martha's Vineyard for the 20 miler but that fell thru!
Ike is all excited about looking for shells (our typical morning routine is to walk to the lighthouse and back to the condos in the early morning (-we stay at the end of the island) and about biking. Hank told me that he doesn't want to bike or hike but he will walk the beach! I will try, every morning when we come back, to go for a run --Ike can bike with me. But I also know that I can't cram too much mileage in as my body is used to 30-40 not 60-70. and I have been so fortunate not to get injured this winter (probably from lower miles!). On Sunday or Monday, will try and run 30 miles by myself, which is a drag --but packing 2 hand held water bottles, that ridiculous runner's vest, hat, sunscreen, and so on, to be prepared to run to Captiva island and back (15 miles to tip of island). I still feel on the weak side from the chest cold -only today am I getting my usual energy back.
Then, will run 20-30 miles the week of the 16th. Then, Caumsett park on March 1 (50K)...bring on some warmer weather!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

empire state run up recap

Mary Wittenberg at the finish

The winners, an injured Suzy, and Thomas being interviewed

Me and running legend Nina Kusick (she won NYC marathon and boston! in 1970s).

Ana, John, me and Frank after finish

Thomas Dold (10:07) of Germany and Suzy Walsham (13:27) of Australia repeated as the NYRR Empire State Building Run-Up champions on Tuesday, February 3. Dold's victory was his fourth straight in the race, while Walsham marked her third consecutive win.

I forgot how much fun this race is --even on the tail-end of a flu-chest cold, I survived. In the middle of the race, I had to stop and walk slowly --I knew that was an extra minute..ran through the snow on the 86th floor to finish in 17:07. Frank came in 7 out 177 men in 15 minutes and change!! A good time was had by all --the NYRRC does a great job with this event -baggage check, t-shirts, medals to all finishers and lucite empire state building paperweight age-group breakfast -coffee, bagels and pastries. And we get to take the elevator down. After I finished, I saw the first woman, Suzy Walsham, in a stretcher ---she injured herself somehow (will have to read the reports) and still won. I also met an ultra-woman, Suzannah, who is in Massanutten. She ran this 3 days after running the cape cod frozen ass 50K...and John G., who works around the corner, came to the finish. And we saw our friend Ana, who is running Caumsett park 50K. And, the best part -Frank introduced me to marathon legend Nina Kusick -she is 70 and has done the run-up 8 times.
Meanwhile, I am bummed to miss this weekends' bronx 1/2 or 20K (travelling to FL-good weather but no races) as will be healthy and it's supposed to be 50 degrees --go figure.