What a year!!

When I think about all that has happened this past year, I am astounded, and if I had to sum it up in one word (not easy for me) I would have to say it was a year of FIRSTS – first half marathon, first half Ironman; first century; first divorce; and the most astounding of all – the first time I have fallen in love. There are not enough words to describe this amazing relationship we have except to say that it is everything I could have ever hoped for, and so much more than I could ever have dreamed … We’re best friends, training partners, and have so much fun together… we would rather spend time with each other than with anyone else. I am so very thankful to have Michael in my life, and am looking forward to all of the fun adventures we are going to have in the coming year, and years.
So much has happened – moving my household (again), moving Michael’s household, moving my office to real office space, it’s been a whirlwind of activity, and although at times I wish life would slow down, I think that because it is by my own doing, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is to be lived, and we sure do pack a lot of living into every day – mission accomplished. If we can lay our heads down at night exhausted, having lived this one day to the fullest, there is a peace in that that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
As far as my training, I have always had the attitude that I just want to get up every day and do what I love to do, run, lift, swim, bike, or whatever. I have not traditionally done a lot of races because #1, the cost, #2 time: and and #3, the fact that a race can mess up perfectly good day f training. If I would just rather run for an hour and a half, why would I go do a 5k, or some other event? I can be done with my work out before the race even starts! So was my attitude. Now, because one of my goals for 2010 was to go faster and farther, I started doing more mileage, and just going faster – intervals, and tempo runs….. since I started training with Michael the distance is just there – one of the things that I love about him is that nothing I could ever do could ever be considered extreme by the man who ran 148 miles across the Utah desert for 6 days. I know, right?! Yikes!!!
Our schedule involves the possibility of three workouts a day – 5 a.m.; noonish.; and after work.
So this year, starting at the end of April, Michael and I started training together, and competed in several local races :

BFAST #1, #2, & #3, placing in all;
Jax Tri Series #3; placing 2nd
Big Bang 5k; 3rd woman over all
Swampman – my 1st Century
ACT – 1st Half Ironman – 2nd in AG
Jacksonville Half marathon –
Pumpkin Run 10 miler
Outback Half marathon – 1st 1/2 marathon

So after a year of so many firsts, where to go from here?
Following are races on the horizon for the coming year:

Donna – my 1st marathon
Ironhorse – 50 miler
Guana River 50k Trail Run
Gate River Run
Jetty-2-Jetty
BFAST Duathlon
Tour de Forts – our anniversary ride
Florida Challenge
MS 150
ACT – Atlantic Coast Triathlon Half
GFT – Great Floridian Full
Outback Half Marathon
Jax Marathon

SO, there you go…. The rest of this whole thing will be about what we do to get there, what we eat, and all the fun we have in between…….

The Weekend

Well I can honestly say that we did all that we could to wring the most out of the holiday weekend…

*one* of us even knocked off early on Thursday to try and get a jump on things… but… someone else… has a practice to run and not some cushy corporate job…



 
UNF Trails



Nevertheless… we hit the trails with a little daylight to spare on Thursday.

Now we run these trails at UNF frequently… I would make fun of other folks having directional issues on the trail but… I guess I do too…. So after “trying a new section of trails” that led us back to the start after less than a mile Doh! We ended up getting 4.5 in total… with a couple of up tempo miles in the middle just for good measure.

Friday was a holiday for many… and for us as well… We met Mark athe Brooks YMCA at 0730 for a “10 miler” and a swim.



I was just not feeling it on Friday… felt like I was dragging a cinder block around all day… and… I am *the bestest* route maker… our 10 miler measured exactly 11.4 miles… everyone was happy!

After the run we had a swim planned… The pool was kinda full… and the aquabiddies had the first 3 lanes reserved so we did what amounted to a “ceremonial” final swim of 2010 of 500 or so meters…



 
Loaded with Gear for a chilly bike ride



Just to show you what nerds we are… on New Year’s Eve we did not watch football… or go out to a club…. Or to a party… or even out to a show or dinner… we sat at home and watched movies… well… it’s not because we are nerds at all…. It’s because we had *big plans* for New year’s day

The original plan was for 100 miles… but with short days and an actual party invitation (for 2 PM on New Year’s Day… not exactly refuting the nerd stereotype here….) we decided on 80… 40 miles solo and 40 with the tri club.



We hit the road a little late… 0730 or so… a photo op… my poor distance/time calculations and a potty stop later and we are assured to miss the start of the group ride… no matter we decided to improvise and ride our own route and since we are heading towards St Augustine where I lived for nearly a decade… I put together a perfect route in my head to see some of the sights around the city… stay on low traffic roads and keep our mileage on the mark…



 
Photo op on the first of four ICW crossings for the day



A couple of hours later… after two dead ends… a flat tire and a bit of hairy traffic we were headed back home… we even encountered the tri club folks on the way and said hello. We ended up with 72ish miles… not too bad for January

We made it to the party… flat “threw down” until well *after* 6:30 PM…. And were fast asleep by 9:30.

But…. That’s okay because Sunday morning dawned grey and heavy with clouds… and found us 10 miles into our weekly long run.

We decided to run an out and back at the beach… even though we only had 12 planned we still needed to get started by 0530…. It was sprinkling as we drove over the Intracostal…. And pouring when we parked at 16th Ave S. By the time we got set to start it was back to a sprinkle… and a bit windy…. Before we’d covered a mile it was pouring again… and I was grinning like a jackass eating briars… I love running in the predawn darkness on Sunday…. But throw in some inclement weather…. And I’m like a pig in slop. The precipitation ranged from mist to downpour for the out part of our run… near our turnaround point I convinced Judi to do a little lollipop loop on the end to make it a 13 miler…

The return trip was drier but the wind was in our face and a bit chilly. We ratcheted up the pace for the last 3 miles and ran each faster than the preceding one…

During the run in…. the clouds cleared a bit and the sun rose over the Atlantic we were once again treated to the wonderful spectacle we call creation…