Sunday, November 7, 2010

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Race: Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
Date: 11/6/2010
Location: Downtown Indy

It's been a long race season. I've done 21 races this year. That number includes running, triathlon, and bike races. I'm tired. I'm kind of sore. I'm ready to not race...for a little while anyway.

I signed up for the full marathon with Cyndi like six months ago. It was her first full and I needed to prove to myself I could run another marathon before Ironman. I knew this race wasn't going to be fast and that's okay. I just got back from 10-days in Europe in which I ran 0.0 miles. I didn't need to be fast. I needed to finish.

The day before the race, work was super stressful. I went to lunch with some co-workers and for some reason we decided that Chinese Buffet was a good choice....riiiight. Jarrett and I finished prepping food for the party and made it to bed about 10 pm. I slept like crap. Up every hour. Too hot. Too cold.

The weather was cold but sunny. Race morning started at 5:00 am. I ate my typical pre-race meal of two Pop-Tarts and decided to have a small special treat of Halloween Bar to top off my calories. We headed over to Cyndi's and split up. Jarrett was driving seperately since he was running the half. We parked at Jenn M's house down by the Canal and Cyndi and I hoofed it over to gear check at around 7:15 am. We dropped of our stuff and situated ourselves in the 11 minute mile pace crowd. We were lucky enough to run into one of our friends from Purdue, Amanda C who came all the way from Pittsburgh to run the half. It was awesome to see her and we ran the first 7 miles with her. At mile 7, the race split and the marathoners headed one direction and the halfers went another. I have to admit, the course was very well planned. My favorite part was running through the Indianpolis Museum of Art property. We also saw parts of White River Parkway I'd never been to before. All in all, the race was fun. Cyndi finished her first full and I can say I did another one.

My time is fairly irrelevant. My plan was to stick with Cyndi for the day and that's what I did. We finished in 5:33. Nutrition during the race was excellent. I mixed it up with Chomps and Honey Stingers and drank water and Gatorade on course. About mile 17 I had a few pretzels. Happily, I had no tummy troubles during or after this race! My feet also faired pretty well. I had a few blisters but nothing outrageous.

After the race we hosted a little party at our house. Lots of good food and good friends. We will definetly have another party next year, I'm just not sure I'll be racing the full.

As with my first marathon, I have no real desire to do another. It's a long distance. The next marathon I plan to do is in my Ironman in June. Starting tomorrow I'm in a maintenance mode. I'll be biking 4 days a week, swimming 2 days a week and running 3 days a week. I haven't figured out an exact schedule yet, but I'll work one out soon.

I'm also looking forward to spending some quality time with Frosty. I haven't talked about him much lately, but he is great. I didn't compete as much this summer as I had planned, but I'm okay with that and so is he. Actually, I enjoyed my time with him more when I didn't have to worry about getting ready for a show.

European Vacation

We have had a busy year around here. Between work, training, taking care of the animals, and all the other life stuff that we all have, Jarrett and I were ready for a break. About 8 months ago, we booked a trip our first trip to Europe. We decided to visit Munich, Vienna, and Prague.

My parents were kind enough to take care of our pups while we were gone. We dropped them off and then flew from Chicago to Amsterdam and then on to Munich.

Munich was a beautiful city. The people were very kind. The first day we we visited the Marienplatz, Michaelskirche (St. Michael's Church), Frauenkirche, Peterskirche, Viktualienmarkt (outdoor food market), and the Hofbrauhaus (Bavarian Beer Hall).

Day 2 we visited Shloss Nymphenburg. It was the suburban royal palace and home to the royal stables. The palace was huge and the grounds were amazing. There was a museum dedicated to the carriages and sleighs of the royal family.

We also went to the English Garden and walked through part of the park. It was a very beautiful area and we could have spent an entire day just in the park. The one thing Jarrett and I both loved about Munich was how bike friendly the city was and that you could take your dogs everywhere! The only place they seemed to not be allowed was in grocery stores.

On day 3 we took the train from Munich to Fussen. From Fussen we took a bus to Shloss Neuschwanstein and Shloss Hohenschwangau. Neuschwanstein is often referred to as "the Sleeping Beauty Castle." Walt Disney based the castle at Disney Land off of the architecture of Neuschwanstein. This was Crazy Ludwig II's fantasy castle that he never finished. Only 15 rooms were completed before he mysteriously died. Hohenschwangau was Ludwig's boyhood home and is complete. It is not as fancy as Neuschwanstein but it was still very beautiful. The castles are built on a mountain. You have to climb a very steep hill to get to the castle but it is well worth the hike.

Day 4 we traveled by train to Vienna. It was about a 5 hour train trip. We did a quick walk around the area surrounding our hotel and grabbed dinner at a very good Italian restaurant. The local wine in Vienna was great.

Day 5 we spent at the Spanish Riding School. It happened to be a national holiday and all of the stores were closed and the museums were free. Sounds great? Well, that means everyone in Vienna was out and trying to visit the museums. The Spanish Riding School is not owned by the government so it was open and we were lucky enough to have a chance to watch the morning practice and take a guided tour of the stables. It was very cool! The Lipizzaner stallions are amazing horses and having a chance to watch them up close was a great experience. In the evening we attended a concert held at the Hofburg palace. There was a small orchestra that played some standard Vivaldi, Strauss, and Mozart while accompanied by opera singers and ballet dancers. Vienna loves it's desserts and there were tons of cafes and coffee shops with pretty treats. They also love their Schnitzel.

Day 6 we headed to Prague by train. It was about a 6 hour trip from Vienna. Prague was an amazing city. We saw so many beautiful churches and buildings during the three days we were there. It was by far the most beautiful city we visited. The people were very kind but it was a bit expensive. Our hotel was amazing and the location was perfect. We visited all of the standard must-see sites: Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Church of St. Nicholas, St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle, Wencelas Square, Tyn Church, Kampa Island, Basilica and Convent of St. George, Loreta Church, and much more.

We stayed in Prague for three days and then flew home via JFK. The flight was long and we were tired. We walked a TON. We estimated that we averaged 14 miles a day during the trip and took 435 pictures.
The pups were very glad to see us when we got home. After spending the night with my parents, we headed back to Indy. Chloe cat missed us and decided that while we were gone she would open all of our cabinets. Luckily she doesn't destroy anything. She just thinks it's fun.

We loved Europe and are looking forward to going back soon! We are thinking of France or Italy for 2012. 2011 is already busy. Ironman Idaho is in June and we may be going to Disney in the fall.

Indianapolis Half-Marathon

Race: Indianapolis Half-Marathon

Location: Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park - Indianapolis, IN

Date: October 16, 2010

This race was NOT in my race plan. I didn't even sign-up. Cyndi P called me the Wednesday before the race and said she was getting over being sick and wasn't up for running it. She asked if I wanted to do it instead. Before I know what is coming out of my mouth I say sure! Yes - this is against the rules and you are not suppose to race as someone else for safety reasons but I'm not much for following all of the rules.

I have a history with this race. It was my first marathon last year. It has more hills then any other race I run. I hate driving to Fort Ben. Parking blows. There are a million reasons I should have stayed in bed instead of run this race...but I did it. I PR'd the course by 8 minutes over the last time I ran it as a half.

Finish Time: 2:06:51

Am I happy with my time? I don't know. I've been trying to break 2 hours all year and I have just not been able to do it. I knew after mile 1 that this wasn't going to be my race. What I wasn't expecting was the extreme pain I was in after the race. Everything hurt. It felt like I had been hit by a bus, run over by a truck, and dragged by a horse. The pain lasted almost 3-days. I have not felt this bad after a race since I ran it a year a marathon and even then I was only sore for 2 days. Alas, I recovered and in the end, it was a good training run, the weather was beautiful, and I have a few really nice finish line photos. Please ignore the name on the bib ;)

Hilly Hundred - Unrace Report

Unrace: Hilly Hundred
Location: Ellettsville, IN
Date: October 8-10

Jarrett and I rode in our first Hilly Hundred this year. We had an AMAZING time! This is event is not a race. It's two days of friends, food, riding, and HILLS. We were lucky enough to stay with our friend Carrie F who lives about 3 miles away from the start line. We drove down to Ellettsville on Friday evening after work and picked-up packets and enjoyed a wonderful pasta dinner with friends. Everyone was up early on Saturday to get started. Since it is not a race and several thousand people participate each year, there is no set start time. You can start anytime between 8-10. We started the course around 8:30. I was not sure what to expect. I'd ridden part of the course over the summer but I had not been on my bike much since Augusta. This was Jarrett's longest ride in months. I have to admit, I was very nervous at first. There are tons of people with varying abilities and the rodes are not closed to traffic. After making it to the first SAG stop, I loved it. Saturday was definitely challenging. It was a ton of climbing (5205 ft in 54.5 miles). I was only forced to walk one hill and it was only because I was cut-off in the middle of the climb by some old dude. I managed to unclip and get a foot down before falling or hitting him. I'm not strong enough to start from a dead stop in the middle of a serious climb, so I walked the rest. By the end of the day, we were all pretty exhausted. We went back and the seven of us killed some pizza's and I think we all were asleep by 9:30!
Day 2 was a little more relaxed. The hills were not as close together and there was only 3986 ft of climbing. We climbed my favorite hill, Bean Blossom on day two and my least favorite hill, Mt. Tabor. Mt. Tabor kicked my butt. I got within a 100 ft of the top but couldn't make it. It's only 0.2 miles long but it's a 20% incline.

What made this event different was that it was NOT a race. Everyone was so nice and we had a great time hanging out with friends. Even the old dude that cut me off apologized every time he saw me at a SAG stop. The other awesome thing - Apple Cider (YUM) and Fried Chicken. The weather could not have been better for the weekend and Jarrett and I are both looking forward to riding next year.