Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New 'do

Basically the same, minus four inches and too many layers that were starting to grow out funny :)

Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K

It was a lovely, sunny, chilly day in Tampa last Saturday. The Gasparilla races are always fun, and they bring out tons of people. There were about 3,500 in the 15K, and 7,000 in the 5K. We watched the 5K runners take off after we finished our race, and it was just a huge sea of humanity. It didn't look like it would ever end :)

Mom and I finshed the race in 1:48:37, which is a huge PR for me. Of course, I ran Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham six days before, so I didn't know what my legs would be capable of. I bet I could've gone sub-1:45 had I been on fresh legs!

Mom, Linae, and me at the start. Yes, I am wearing a pink tiara...

Bayshore Boulevard along Hillsborough Bay. I think that's Harbour Island in the background

Me and a seven-foot-tall cow :)

Birmingham photos

Me and Kay at the start--It was cooooooold!!

Downtown Birmingham

Prison Escapees, around mile 15

Lamb Chop likes to run, too! Just before mile 9

Scooby Doo, around mile 3

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mercedes Marathon Report

Hey! I finished a race report less than a week after the race! I'd need to check, but I'm sure that's some kind of record. Anyway, here is the Reader's Digest version:

Made it to Birmingham in one piece. Only got lost once, trying to find a parking spot near the expo. It was chilly, especially for us weather-impaired wimpy Florida chicks. Wore pants and long-sleeve shirt and throw-away gloves, which I threw away too early. A pretty, well-marked, well-supported course. The hills were diabolical. This is a great race if you like hills. REALLY REALLY like hills. Big ones. With steep descents. Great medals, heavy and shiny with a pretty ribbon. Nice cotton participant shirts, nice finisher tech shirts. I finished in 5:49:08, which is almost 7 slower than my PR last December at pancake-flat Kiawah Island, but it was a much tougher course, so I'm ecstatic with the time.

Longer, slightly more detailed version:Left my house around 4:45 AM to pick Kay up in Winter Garden and get on the road to Birmingham. We made fairly decent time, plus gained an hour crossing into the Central Time Zone. Drove around the block three or four times trying to find first the expo site, then, giving up on that, the hotel. Which we found once, but then lost. Don't ask. Eventually, we figured out where we were and got settled in.

It was already chilly out, so, being the idiot naturalized Floridian that I am, naturally I neglected to bring a jacket. I *did* have a sweater, which I threw on over my LS tee, and I was okay to walk to the expo, a few blocks away. We got our packets, shirts, chips, etc., and wandered around the expo a bit. There really wasn't much there, but I guess it was okay for a medium-sized marathon. If you wanted a free beer, that was the place to go :) We then went back to the hotel, hit the gift shop where Kay bought a book and I got a magnet that says "Birmingham" on it. I started collecting refrigerator magnets of every place I travel a couple of years ago. I don't know why. Anyway, then we watched TV, read a little, and fell asleep.

Woke up early the next morning, got dressed in our warm clothes (at least I was smart enough to pack both shorts AND pants) and headed to the start. I have never seen so much makeup and hairspray on women about to run a race in my life. I saw mostly eyeliner and mascara, but there were a few perfectly coiffed women in full makeup, and, granted, most of them were doing the half, but Kay was in front of a lady in the potty line with full makeup AND a full marathon bib. I sweat too much, become covered in salt, and wind up looking like hell anyway, so I figure, "What's the point?" But that's just me. Ya gotta love the South.

I was surprised that, being in the Deep South, there was neither the National Anthem nor a prayer before the race start. They just counted down and we were off. I saw a guy dressed like Scooby Doo (not running) and a lady with a Lambchop puppet (also not running), and three escapees from a prison, in white jumpsuits with "Prisoner" and their number. They were very nice. I was talking to one of them, a guy whose name I can't remember. He asked me where I was from. When I said, "Tampa," (which I feel is misrepresenting myself, but I digress...), he said, "Don't y'all have a marathon coming up next weekend? Are you going to run it?" I said, "No, one marathon a week is plenty for me, thanks." There was also a guy running in a tutu, but unfortunately, I never saw him. Just on the news.

I got a shout-out from a band playing near mile 8 ("Hey, Number 128--lookin' good!" He lies.) Kay and I hooked back up around mile 15-ish (I think) and started walking up the majority of the hills. We met a lady from the San Francisco area named Barbara who gave us some handy hill-running tips. Mile 22 was a mile-long incline. Mile 23 was the descent. An extraordinarily STEEP descent. With a hairpin turn thrown in for good measure. I really wished I had some roller skates at that point. Kay suggested that we lay down and roll down the hill, which was sounding pretty good. The police officer at that corner was laughing at us.

That brought us back into downtown Birmingham, where it was relatively flat. Hallelujah! We walked a bit, me with my iPod in one ear, giving Kay a concert. Sorry I'm not a better singer, Kay ;) We started running just past the 26-mile marker, all the way to the finish. Got our chips off, got our medals, a mylar blanket, our finisher shirts, some water and headed into the post-race party. Our goal was to simply beat the six-hour cutoff, which Kay and I were both worried about, and we had originally planned to draft off the Balloon Lady. Turns out we didn't even see her except at the beginning and at an out-and-back portion of the course around mile 21 (I think). She was about three miles behind us; that's when we knew we were all right. She finished about 15 minutes after us (we slowed down *just* a bit in that last five miles, LOL)

Went into the party--they were out of BBQ (not that my stomach could have handled BBQ right after a marathon anyway, but still...), but snagged a Coke and waddled up into the stadium seats to watch the awards presentation. Neither of us got a chance at the Mercedes, so we managed to make our way back down the steps and back to the hotel. Showered and took a much needed nap, then ate a steak AND dessert at the hotel restaurant :) Went to bed pretty early, then drove back to Florida the next day. It really really hurt getting out of the car.

My second favorite marathon to date :) Pictures to come next week.

Bring on Atlanta! And more freakin' hills...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Heading Up to Alabama

I'm going up to Birmingham tomorrow to run the Mercedes Marathon on Sunday. My friend Kay from Winter Garden is going up with me. Please send us some good vibes--we're gonna need them! We're both juuuuuust a bit undertrained for this one. There's a six-hour cutoff, and you have to finish ahead of the Balloon Lady, the last official finisher. Our race strategy is to draft off the Balloon Lady for 26 miles and then blast past her in the last quarter mile :)

I'll have a report and some pictures next week!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Beer in Mexico

I changed my e-mail signature line to a quote from a Kenny Chesney song:

"I'll sit right here and have another beer in Mexico
Do my best to waste another day."

Oh, how I wish I was sitting on a beach in Mexico drinking a beer.

I wish I liked beer.

Maybe a margarita instead.

Maybe the stress wouldn't be quite so much if I drank more. I dunno. I'd certainly be more fun!

Gotta go to bed. Since I'm not drinking Coronas in Acapulco, I have to get up at 4:45 to get ready to drive to Tampa tomorrow morning :(

Night, y'all...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Props to the Colts

I gotta give props to the Indianapolis Colts, who won Super Bowl XLI tonight. They beat the Chicago Bears 29-17. They were pretty awesome from the second quarter on. I wasn't all that interested in the outcome since my team wasn't there, but I would have liked to have seen da Bearsss pull it out, just because no one gave them a shot in hell. Turns out they were right. Bad Rex Grossman showed up for Chicago, and it was pretty much over from the first offensive possession.

I was fairly unimpressed with most of the commercials. There were a few funny ones: A Doritos one with a cheesy guy and a clumsy chick; A Blockbuster ad with a bunny, a hamster and a mouse; and a commercial with a squirrel throwing acorns at a guy. I can't remember what that one was for; I only caught the last half of it. I hope to see it again though! It was cute.

Entertainment: My boy Billy Joel sang the national anthem. He was pretty good. Of course, I *heart* him, so I may be biased. Prince was the halftime show. He was okay, but I wish he had sung some different songs. Where was "Kiss?" "1999?" "Little Red Corvette?" Yawn.

So, that's my Super Bowl XLI report. And next year, Super Bowl XLII?


Suncoast Classic 10K Report

**Disclaimer: This will probably be a boring race report because it was a drama-free race. Just a nice, relaxing jog through St. Pete with friends :) **

Had a fun time at the Suncoast Classic 10K yesterday. Got up early and drove 50 miles into St. Pete. Parked in the parking garage, picked up my packet, got my chip, went back to the car to dump the goody bag in my trunk and got a call from Linae. Met her and her friends, stood around and chatted, then lined up to run. Two of her friends were walking the 5K, one of whom was doing her first, if I'm not mistaken. The 5K and 10K start together, so we got to see them on an out-and-back part. They did great, beating their goal time by 3 minutes.

It was a nice course and a very well-run event, probably my favorite St. Pete event so far. The weather was fabulous, cool and slightly overcast, and it sprinkled on us a little. Linae, and I paced her friend Molly to a 10K PR, which was fun. Molly was a hoot, and I love Linae to death, so it was a really fun run. AND, we ran the entire 6.2 miles with only two quick walk breaks (and those only long enough to drink a bit of water), which I have never done before. So WOOO HOOO!! We finished in 1:14-ish, according to my watch. I'm pleased with that :)

After the race, I went to Linae's. She made me a fabulous strawberry-banana smoothie, and I made friends with her lovebirds, Keiko and Bubba, and met her hubby Joe. Then I drove allllll the way back up to Hudson, showered, took a quick nap, and went to work at the Hellhole. So it was a *mostly* fun day ;)

Next up for me: Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama with Penguin Kay. I'm a bit undertrained for this race, seeing as how I lost over a week of training when I was down with the Crud at New Year's. But I got a long run of 17 miles in, and a few hill workouts, so I'm hoping that's enough. No PRs for me at this one, but I'm cool with that. My race strategy is to draft off the Balloon Lady (last official finisher of the race every year--you have to finish ahead of her to get an official time) for 26 miles then blast past her at the finish ;)