Mileage Recap ~ 18 – 24 Sept…”There Is No Luck Except Where There is Discipline”

I love that opening quote.  So many times I hear people say, I just got lucky, to explain their accomplishments.  They got lucky on a testgetting a certain job or any other positive event in life.

The definition of luck ~ success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.  I guess you could argue there is luck in some things, like being in the right place at the right time or meeting someone by chance and winning the lottery.  But I think most “wins” in life are a conglomeration of little steps that brought you to that final “lucky” place.  So the Irish saying (Yes it’s Irish) in the title, “There is no luck except where there is discipline” just proves my point (or so I like to think:-) )through hard work and discipline…things happen.  Luck, really has nothing to do with it.  What does this have to do with this weeks running mileage recap?  Well, this week was tough for me mentally when it came to my long run.  The running schedule called for 17 miles and I r-e-a-l-l-y didn’t feel like running.  I’m tired of the heat, the nasty gels, the electrolytes, before workout products, recovery protein, my feet hurt and oh by the way I’ve already lost two toenails – WAY before the normal nail losing process.  I lose the same two every long run event, but normally after it’s done.

I know quit whining…right?  I just didn’t want to do it.  But, I got up at 4:30 am and went through the pre-run ritual and was out the door around 5:45.  It wasn’t luck that was going to take me to the end, it was going to be discipline.  Discipline to get up and do what needs to be done to reach the end goal.  This goal just happens to be the Dublin Marathon…and I’m not that lucky.  I had a guy tell me one time that he just went and ran a marathon, no training – just did it.  News flash  ***There will always be people, better then you***.  In everything you do, so know yourself and just get used to that fact.  With all things in life, for most of us, discipline is the key to your version of winning.

I kept mulling it over in my mind that any time I feel like this, it may be a good day!  For the most part the long run was a good run.  The temperature was 66 when I started and I ran that first 10 miles easy with a break for water, some dried banana chips, and a gel.  Got back out on the road and two miles in my stomach felt a little queasy (thank you gel) but that feeling quickly went away.  The next five miles were good, but a little slower.  My feet started to hurt a bit and I actually thought about quitting and finishing up at the gym.  I kept going and the last two miles were difficult.  My breathing was good – but I’m still dealing with the arch pain in my feet.  Not a good sign with brand new shoes (another post).  When my legs and feet starting hurting I focused on using my core and hip swing that does amazing things for the pain in the lower body.  I swung by the house before the last two miles and had some water.  Needless-to-say I had too much water….sigh another lesson learned (many times before – ha!).  Need to watch how you consume. So at mile 16 I was doing the sprint home!  All ended well and I got it done.  Discipline.  My average pace this time around was 13:05.  Hey, I own that pace.  I ended with 32.94 miles for the week that brings the monthly total to 100.06 so far.  I find this song was appropriate for this week.  One of my favorite Irish bands.  On the playlist for sure.  With all the aches and pains that “Linger” I continue on with 6478.05 gratefully remaining.

Happy Miles to You!!!

 

 

Mileage Recap~ 5 – 12 March and Figuring Out Aer Lingus

I’m annoyed.  Last week while I was adding my post I inadvertently deleted my menus.  I had my posts in somewhat of a decent organization and just like that when I was trying to add the Dublin Marathon tab I deleted something.  The posts are still there, but it will take a while to put them where I want them to go.  So, my site is a little wonky.  Then that brings me to my next annoyance – Aer Lingus.

I wanted to be sure I would have the true Irish experience, even when it came to flying.  Sooooo, I had the great idea that I would fly Aer Lingus.

Let’s just say, these Irish eyes weren’t a smilin’.  This was not easy to do.  I went to the Aer Lingus site and punched in the travel dates.  Lots of choices came back and soon enough I was choosing seats, meals and put in my credit card!  Yay!  Done!  Then comes the confirmation email.  “Due to some complications, your request cannot be processed at this time“.  Oh come on!  You know how you’re excited to get something done then some little glitch happens and everything comes to a halt.  Next, call customer service.  If only I could find the number.  They had a bunch of numbers on the site and you had to choose the number from wherever you were calling, Europe, Asia, United States and so on.  This also wasn’t easy or straight forward.  I call the toll free number and I get in a hardy Irish accent “Thank you for calling Aer Lingus, we are experiencing higher than normal call volume at the moment“, do tell.  So I waited on the phone for 30 minutes, after the 30 minute mark another recording comes on and says maybe it would be best to email and then the email address is given so fast I couldn’t understand it.  Again, I’m searching the site to find an email address.  I finally Googled to find the address.  Why can’t sites be specific.  You have a problem here is the email address, so easy.  I send my email, but I figure I will try and call again tomorrow anyway.

I call the next day and I finally get through.  The gal on the phone was super helpful, got me booked and I sighed relief that it was over.  Only it wasn’t.  I get an email from my bank the next day.  FRAUD ALERT – someone in Ireland is trying you use your credit card!  Sigh.  I’m glad I called.  I let the bank and card company know, yes, I’m going to Ireland and I made the charge.  Isn’t it a little intrusive you have to verify some of the stuff you do?  I mean I see it both ways for security, but I can’t tell you how many times my card was denied when traveling and I would have to call them to verify, yes it’s me.  Lesson, call the bank and card company and let them know you will be traveling.  I almost want to say it’s none of your business where I am at the moment!  I’m glad though, I had two plane ticket charges because of the online submission.  Unfortunately, the representative never took off the ticket reservation I made on line.  It happens that the flights are a few different carriers under the Aer Lingus flag.  I will be flying United Air, British Airways and Aer Lingus.  I’m glad I got this part out of the way, but will be double and triple checking to make sure everything is still lined up.

This weeks mileage was pretty good.  I didn’t run at all this week, trying to get the fluid on my knee to subside and letting my back rest.  I have foam rolled, did yoga to stretch out my overly tight IT bands and glutes, and focusing on core strength.  It seems to be working.  There were a couple of days with some extreme pain but I can tell there is improvement.

More exciting news – I have broken the 7,000 mile mark!  I was looking at my spreadsheet and low and behold I have made it into the 6000s!

This week saw a total of 30.24 miles.  I rode the stationary bike for 6.2 and walked 3.57 and rode my bike 20.47 .  I have 6974.94 miles luckily awaiting.  Happy Irish Miles to You!

Ride Recap of El Tour De Tucson ~ I Did It!

You know you’ve been away from blogging when the virtual snow has appeared on Word Press.  I will admit it’s kind of a nice feature.  I took some much needed time away from thinking about blogging, but I’m back.  Merry Christmas!

There are a lot of emotions and angst about my latest endeavor.  First, I will start with a recap.  Forgive me for repeating myself to those who follow this blog.  This blog came about and is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Karen Ellen Dennis Mastromonico who died at a young age when I was only eight and my brother was three.  I started it as a way to honor her, my health and the beauty of life that can be taken so quickly.  It is still and foremost dedicated to that purpose, but on most occasions I dedicate an event, i.e run, race or ride to an individual(s) who may be struggling with health issues of their own.  I have raised money for cancer and MS and many other of life’s struggles while participating in various events over the years.  Participating in the El Tour de Tucson supported the Easter Seals and is considered the United States largest perimeter ride at 106 miles.

This past summer I had reconnected with some high school friends and we decided to take a girls road trip from Colorado to Arizona and had a great time.  Shortly after the trip was over, I received an email from my friend Jen (one of the high school friends I travelled with) about her husband Tim.  He was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.  So, of course I dedicated this ride to Tim and his recovery.  The power of physical prayer is what I like to call it when I participate in these events.  I am sad to say that Tim lost his battle with cancer this month.  He was a young man taken too quickly and too soon.  In her last email what resonated with me the most is we still had stuff to do.  Every time I sat down to write about something that was a triumph all I could think about was Jen’s loss of Tim.  It was a hard thing to swallow.  I feel so badly for Jen and her family.  It happened so quick.  It is mind numbing that just six months ago I was having a drink with Jen and Tim in their home.  Life indeed is unpredictable and short.

This was the first ride I participated in, ever.  I guess for most people who cycle, there is some building up to this massive event.  You know, shorter rides (just like runs) before you go all out.  But….no I decided to go big, first time.  That’s pretty much how I roll…a lot.  For better or worse, that’s how it is.

I took the Friday off before the race from work, so I could take my time getting ready and attend the Expo in Tucson, AZ.  I found the Civic Center, where the Expo was held with no problem, but I will say it was a little stoic walking inside and looking at the different booths.  Please fellow cyclists don’t get offended, but the cycling crowd and the running crowd are very different.  The cycling crowd seems to be a lot calmer, whilst the running crowd ~ loud and proud and a little rowdy.  Very interesting.  I picked up the packet and walked around waiting for a “required safety” briefing that never happened.  As I sat in the front row, waiting for the briefing, there was this older gentleman passing out maps of the event.  He starts talking to me and asks what event I’m participating.  I tell him the century, as a matter of fact, and he looks at me and says….are you physically capable?  At first I was like, you have to be kidding me.  That Scorpio mindset was about to blow.  Then I composed myself and just said yes, the century.  He looked at me and smiled and said good.  Humph!  I took my map and sat for a couple more minutes until an announcement was made the briefing was going to be delayed due to the interview with a cycling pro that showed up.  I ended up walking around and stopped at a vendor selling pickle juice.  I didn’t know that pickle juice helps with cramps.  I tried a sample and it was great!  So I bought a six pack.  I love pickles anyway so this was good!  There were vendors selling all sorts of stuff.  I bought some arm warmers and decided to call it a day.

pickle-juiceexpo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made reservations for a hotel advertised on the ride site.  I thought this would be easier since I’ve never been to Tucson.  One thing is for sure, when I go somewhere new I don’t like to get too crazy.  Or to put it lightly something fairly easy to access and easy to get to the event.  This hotel was an Indian run casino, so cray it was and easy it wasn’t.  It was about 13 miles out of town.  So, I was overcompensating getting up and getting to the event on time.  I was on edge and didn’t get any rest.  I brought my bike into the hotel because, no way was I going to leave it in the car at a casino parking garage.

in-the-hotelIn order to make the 6 o’clock start time I left the hotel around 4:45.  Kept the French fries and fruit from the night before as an early breakfast, along with some pickle juice.  Hmmm…tasty.

Just like in a marathon, there are corrals for the ride.  The fast people up front and slow people in the back.  I was surprised when I arrived at downtown Tucson, I was able to find a parking spot fairly close to the start line and there were so many people around I just followed everyone else to find my way to the start.

When I arrived at the starting line there was a gate that housed all of the faster riders.  Their bikes were upside down like they had slept there the night before.  Then there was everyone else.  I found my way to the back.  I didn’t want to take any chances being “trampled” by the herd.  It was cold.  As with most of these events it’s always hard for me to gauge how much clothing to wear.  It was cold, but not crazy cold.  I bought a “throw away” shirt to wear that I ended up not having to bring, which I was glad because I thought it was too nice to ditch!  So I found my spot and waited for the ride to begin.  There were photographers walking about taking pictures and people moving around deciding whether or not to “move up” or go back. Last minute checking of gear and the bike to make sure everything was in check.

Then the gun went off and it was time to ride!  Similar to a large run, the caterpillar effect was in full force.  My left foot was clipped in as I guided with my right just moving myself along.  We did this for about a quarter of a mile then the flow started to even out.  I was a little put out because I forgot my cellphone in the car, so unfortunately I didn’t get to take any pictures during the ride.

As I have said in previous posts the first 50 miles isn’t a problem.  It’s the last 50.  The ride started out good, I was pumped and was moving along nicely.  I trained for this moment.  I road close to 80 miles and this was going to be fine.  I was going to be fine.  About 30 minutes into the race the wind started blowing… hard.  When I say hard I don’t mean a strong wind, I mean almost knock you off your bike gusts.  It was really unbelievable.  This type of wind went on for 4 hours straight.  It really slowed down my normal pace and of course caused more fatigue early in the ride.  The route contained two washes that needed to be crossed on foot.  Now washes in Arizona are there for the rain.  When it rains in the desert, it happens forcefully and fast.  Those rocky washes can look like raging rivers in 30 minuets flat.  Normally they aren’t very large width wise.  This wasn’t the case for the first wash I had to cross.  Of course it wasn’t.  It was a quarter mile of sandy rock.  This is why I wish I had the phone.  Just imagine 9,000 people, that’s right there were 9,000 riders, crossing a wash, carrying their bikes.  You surely can’t ride it across.  Not a road bike.  So carry it you must.  It was grueling.   I began to have flashbacks of Army road marches.  Yet strangely, there is a solace when you are doing it with people who think like you in the same situation.  There was a Mariachi band that made the crossing…less of a task.  As much as I liked that part, it was a bit of a time waster.  More of that later.  Stopped for a porta potty break took a gel and headed back out.

There were rest stops about every 10 to 12 miles.  In the beginning I stopped when I felt I needed too.  I didn’t want to stop too much because what should have been a 5 minute stop turned into a 15 minute stop because of the amount of people using the facilities and the chit chat.  I felt comfortable knowing there would be a place to go to the bathroom and not some rattlesnake infested ditch.  Around mile 30 I found myself riding with another woman named “Sally”.  It’s interesting when you are doing an event like this how you just kind of come together as what I like to call “necessary friends”.  We just started talking and decided to stick together and offer each other support.  Sally was from Tucson and she had just completed another century two weeks before.  I took this as a positive sign and listened to what she had to say.  She mentioned the “wind” wasn’t normal…of course not and the big thing about the century is finishing on time.  I kept hearing this over and over from different people, but I had done the work and the calculations and 10 hours should be more than enough time.  Every time I looked at Sally I just wanted to sing…”ride, Sally ride”…I know, I can’t help it sometimes.  After about an hour of riding with Sally, I began to notice that Sally was kind of dragging me down.  One thing I learned around mile 40, and this is going to sound like an episode from the Walking Dead, sometimes you gotta smile, and leave them behind.  That’s right…cut bait, move on, see ya!  I had to leave Sally behind, at the rate she was going, I would never make time.  I know it sounds brutal, but I had to do it.  I wished her well and was on my way.

Around mile 48 is when my first real test happened.  It’s always a slow motion realization, that something big is about to happen.  You’re not really sure, but you know it’s not going to be good.  I turn a corner and there was the biggest hill I have yet to climb.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it.  Not that I didn’t want to attack the hill and try, I knew that physically, at this point in my training, I couldn’t do this without stopping.  I unclipped my right foot because I knew I would have to stop and I didn’t want to fall on the pavement because I couldn’t unclip fast enough.  I just put my head down and a part of me deep inside just said do what you can.  I made it half the way up before I had to fully stop and walk the rest of the way up.  I felt like I was going to throw up and I was breathing so heavy at the top.  I was at mile 50 and I felt like crap and I was seriously beginning to wonder if I was going to finish this ride.  Seriously.  I was stopped on the side of the road checking out what I thought was a loose clip on my shoe when one of the maintenance team stopped and asked if I needed assistance.  It was around 12:30 pm.  I said no, just checking my equipment.  He looked at me and said you are 45 minutes behind schedule, do you want to finish the ride?  I was like who the hell is this guy.  I looked at him square in the eye and said are you kidding I’m going to ride until they have to pick my ass up!  He gave me a wink and said good to hear, and drove off.  I get back on the bike and continue, then out of nowhere I hear this voice behind me in a strong Spanish accent say, “you can do this, what is your name”?  I turn and there is this sweet young Mexican woman in all white on an all white bike!  Her name was Brenda.  Brenda hung with me for 20 miles.  All the way saying my name in that accent!  It was so cute!  She would say. “Lawwwrel we are strong women, we can do this”!  After a while Brenda had to leave me behind too around mile 70.  Hey, I totally respected that I was now the one, slowing her down.  At this point I was feeling good.

A very strong piece of advice ~ those that are in the lead don’t necessarily know where they are going.  How can you be on a route with 9,000 other people and find yourself alone.  That’s just what happened around mile 80.  I do have some criticisms of the ride.  One, the turns were NOT well marked.   I found myself pretty much alone at one point.  I mean really, how does that happen!?  About a half mile ahead of me I did see two riders and so I just followed.  I am a former Army officer.  I have read maps.  One was given to me.  Did I read it? Heck no, didn’t even know where it was.  So, I just followed the people it front.  I’m pedaling away and I see this guy in a truck following me.  He’s trying to say something out his window..and you know how you shake your head trying to be nice but you don’t even know what this guy is saying.  So I smile and keep on riding.  Then he comes up to me again and this time I hear him ~ “you’re going the wrong way”!  OMG, you have to be kidding, 20 minutes of wasted time.  I begin to panic, because I was trying so hard to make up the time I had fell behind.  This unfortunately was a critical mistake.  I turn around find the right path and continue.  REMEMBER, trust your own instincts…lesson learned.

Around mile 95 my left toes started to go numb and hurt badly.  To the point I almost was in tears.  I started to laugh to myself because I thought surely if anything was going to hurt it would be my back or my thighs.  The pain must have shown on my face because again out of nowhere there was this young man riding next to me.  His left arm had tattoos that formed a sleeve, he looked at me and said, “the pain is worth it” and rode off.  I can remember saying a silent prayer asking to just take the pain away, and like that it was gone for the rest of the ride.  I saw the same man at three other stops and he would just look at me and say the same thing, the pain is worth it, nothing else.  At about mile 101 I didn’t see him again.

The next five miles were filled with angst and anticipation.  I was desperately trying to finish under or at the 10 hour mark and I was drinking water at a crazy pace.  The sun was setting and I was pedaling as hard as I could.  So hard, a couple people took notice and commented on my ending strong.  In the end I finished in 10:02.  Two minutes shy of the 10 hour time limit.  I was pleased with myself that 1) I finished and 2) I cut my 45 minute deficit down to 2 minutes.  I was a little put out I didn’t get a finisher medal.  I was hard to walk through the crowd and see that I just wasn’t good enough that day.  I was also proud that I had no mechanical difficulty with my bike.  I chalk that up to good maintenance on my part.  There were a lot of people who had blow outs or chains off early on, so for that I am grateful.

To put this in perspective, the man who won the race finished in 4 hours.  Can you even wrap your brain around that?  The first woman 4-1/2 hours, just amazing.

I can’t tell you enough how endurance races/rides are beneficial for the soul.  It’s at events like these one has to use all of their mind/body/spirit to move on, over come and succeed, just like in daily life.  106 miles ~ I’m truly grateful.

My only picture!  The funny thing was my number is my birth year! It was a coincidence.

My only picture! The funny thing was my number is my birth year! It was a coincidence.

Over all I enjoyed the race and I’m ready for another.  It was challenging and fun.  I would have liked to see more snacks at the stops, especially if you are advertising that is the case.  I think a lot of people gauge how much food they will carry.  And the route needed to be marked a little better.  I later learned that the promoters were pulling up signs early.

So far I have completed 4,211.73 with 7,103.27 remaining.  I look forward to completing each mile with gratitude, love and a smile on my face.  Happy Miles to You!

 

Mileage Recap ~ Week 7 Century Ride Training…The Ricky Ride.

Week 7 officially means I’m past the half-way point training for the El Tour de Tucson.  If you’ve ever trained for a race (any race), what would you say is the hardest aspect to the whole process?  For me, it’s time.  There never seems to be enough of time.  I’m getting antsy just thinking about the time it takes to train.  It’s jubilant and annoying all at the same time for me.  The excitement of getting out there and achieving more miles, than the stress of other crap I have to do on the weekend.  Plus, as we speak I still need to wash my bike.  Saturday’s are pretty much a wash for me.  I get up early, do the ride then just relax and do little things.  Or at least that’s my excuse!  Then Sunday I do what I have to do.  #whatever #stopwhining

whateverDon’t want to bend over that crown might fall off!

 

 

This was the first week that I used my new shoes and clips for all three rides.  I thought I would manipulate my clip on the right foot, just adjust it a little for comfort but I totally screwed up the way it was supposed to turn.  I should have turned the clip inward not outward for a more comfortable fit.  That was a very uncomfortable ride, but it was short so I just powered through.  I definitely would not recommend doing that as you can screw up your knees.  The clips are good but not very easy to release.  It takes a good bit of turning and I get nervous from time to time.  Something quick happens I’m going down.

I added another water bottle attachment to the bike this week.  I’ve only been riding with one, but last week I blew through some water.  Having two water bottles is a smart move in the desert.  I don’t have to “ration” because I don’t want to stop.  I’ve also incorporated my house as an aide station.  It’s sort of in the middle, so I can stop if I need…aide.  I had some snacks, top off with water, and needed bathroom breaks.  I wanted to make sure that I’m drinking and eating to keep my energy up.

Cycling and running are very different on the body, or at least for me.  When I ran my marathon it was tons of sweat and I burned about 2000 cals when I was through.  I wasn’t really hungry during the race at all.  Cycling is a different story.  I start to feel hunger pangs after two hours and I’m into the 2k for cal burn with these long rides…weekly.  I’m making sure I take a gel every hour, drink sips of water throughout and eat the snacks I’ve brought.

That brings us to the “snacks“.  That was a really good nutrition bar, said no one ever.  I’ve just come to the conclusion nutrition bars are just that, for nutrition and that’s it.  There is no cheesy grin like in the Mentos© commercials.  Hey that was an awesome chia bar dude! So, I have decided I may try my own pomade of power snacks.

mentos

 

 

 

 

Bacon.  Bacon dipped in some type of power powder, dipped in chocolate.  You think I’m kidding…I bought two packs of Applewood smoked bacon today…hmmmm.

By now you’re probably wondering…who is Ricky.  This is Ricky:

rickyI was at my second stop eating (I use that term loosely a 2nd Surge Gel™ when out of the blue…Ricky was just there.  He just came up and started talking…really fast.  The conversation started off with him saying gettin’ some miles in…then after that it was a blur.  Ricky was talking so fast I had to count my gel packs to see if he downed one without me looking.  He’s been climbing these hills for 66 years! (He said he was 70).  All, I got out of that was he lived there before anything was built and that he was a fighter and he kicked someone’s ass.  I asked him if I could take his picture.  He was sweet as molasses… if you could understand him.  Here’s to you Ricky, keep on rolling.  I slowly got on my bike and pedaled away and left Ricky to attack those mountains.

Training takes dedication and planning.  I am a planner.  I think I like figuring out how I’m going to complete the training as much as training itself.  I make charts and track my progress. The process of getting up and that first initial thought of what lies ahead of you.  There is a pang of nervousness and a feeling of being overwhelmed that must be pushed aside.  Isn’t that how we live our lives in other aspects too?  An overwhelming task before us and the struggle to meet, attack and complete that task.  Mental mountains.  I open my garage and this is what I see:

week-7-morningDarkness.  A beautiful moon, some stars, and the place I hang my hat at this moment in time.  I take a deep breath, knowing I have four hours ahead of me.  There is that quick glimpse of…how to accomplish this task?  How will I do this?  How do I complete this monumental task before me.  Then I throw my leg over the bike…and I don’t fall down.  Whew, this morning is starting off positive.

Surprisingly I felt pretty good on this ride.  I have passed some major mental battles of distance and clock watching.  I know where I am on the route with time and distance.  Around three hours in I felt a little delirious.  I popped my third gel and I felt better and finished strong.  Four hours looked like this:

week-7-long-ride

Pace was the same as last week!  Thought that was interesting.  Finished 71.94 for the week and 7466.23 miles gratefully waiting.  Happy Miles to You!

 

 

Into Everyone’s Life A Little Pain Must Fall ~ Mileage Recap 18 – 31 May

May was great for two reasons: 1) My completion of the Grand Canyon Half and 2) My daughter came home from college (at least for a while) .  Needless-to-say we have been adventuring!

I didn’t want to lump all my miles into one post so just decided to finish up with May.  May was a strong month for me and I have been busy to say the least.  I finished up a little under April by about 8 miles.  Mostly running miles and now I  begin to focus more on cycling and my goal to complete a century.  I’m finding training time and availability of races an issue, but I will keep going forward to complete this goal.

This month also celebrates a milestone ~ I finally have fallen off the bike.  I can’t tell you how many times I have told myself before taking off for a ride that eventually it’s going to happen.  Now I wish I could tell you that it happened while I was powering up a hill, escaping from some wild animal, or cruising around some corner.  Nope!  I was screwing around trying to get something out of my pack….lost my balance and over I went.  For a moment I just sat there…dazed really.  It all happened in slow motion too…I just toppled over.  I broke my fall with my left hand…so I felt that jarring pain the next morning for sure.  My left handle was a little worse for wear.  I’ll have to get that into the shop soon.  Still works but annoying as heck.

Left Side of the handlebar is bent.

Left Side of the handlebar is bent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I try to remember to turn on my Garmin to capture my miles, but sometimes I just forget.  I was able to capture a little bit of hiking mileage at one of Arizona’s “swimming holes” at Camp Verde called the bullpen.  Just two hours away from Phoenix the desert turned to green and offered up miles of clear water and green.  To get there was five miles off the beaten path and a mile walk after that, but well worth the effort and a good time.

Camp Verde CampVerde_BullPen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finished the month of May with a total of 68.42 miles.  I have completed 3,236.20 miles so far and 8,078.80 adventures await.  I hope this finds you well.  Happy Miles to You.

 

 

 

 

Special Edition Post ~ My First Boston Marathon Experience by Kathi White

I have this lovely friend Kathi White.  She is not only a wonderful human being but an avid and talented runner.  I met Kathi when I was living in Belleville, Illinois.  Needless to say we have maintained our friend and running relationship through our distance.  The creed of my blog says: Never.Give.Up.  It means so much more than you probably think.  It’s not just about running and cycling and completing a race to earn a medal or a T-Shirt.  It’s about fighting the hard fight to finish a task you may find important and your journey.  Experiencing the failure, working hard and turning that failure into YOUR victory.  It can be running or something else.  Maybe completing school, preparing for an interview or pushing yourself to new limits to complete something you didn’t think you could ever achieve.  It’s not about being first.  It’s about doing it…whatever it is.

Kathi is a perfect example of the Never.Give.Up creed.  Here is her story and journey about her experience to eventually qualify and then complete the Boston Marathon.  Total respect.

Boston MarathonMedal Medal 2  Start Swag The Unicorn Thumbs Up WonMedal

Opening dialog from Kathi:

My First Boston Marathon Experience by Kathi White
Wow! I don’t even know where to start! So, I will simply start at the beginning. On Sunday, 17 Apr 2016  when I walked into the expo at the John Hynes Convention Center before I even picked up my runner’s bib, the emotions began to kick in and the tears began! I suddenly realized at that exact moment that this is really happening and I am finally here. 4 years of hard work and seven marathons later this is it!
Fast forward to the next morning, Marathon Monday…I was able to connect up with my friend Jill and ride the bus to Hopkinton with her where Athletes’ Village awaited us. We decided to start the race together. We were in the same Wave but different corrals. You can move back to higher numbered corrals but not move up. Jill decided to move back with me. We had a plan/strategy in mind to run a certain pace and to even try to re-qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon. We soon learned early on after the first 5-6 miles that may not be possible and we should not stress out about our times and to simply enjoy the race for what it is, the tough course, amazing spectators and everything in between from the beginning Hopkinton until reaching the famous finish line on Boylston Street. After all, I had to stress about my time to even get to Boston in the first place. Why do that now that I was there? Enjoy it I thought. Around mile 10 I decided to pull back and let Jill run ahead of me. She made sure I was ok and not hurt and I assured her I was and to have a good run. I even stopped and jumped on a mini trampoline (actually there was about 6-7 of them lined up with kids jumping on them) that was set up along the course!  Yes, this was my first Boston and I decided to enjoy it, soak it all up and enjoy the experience and the people of Boston and the city’s hospitality. I truly felt like a celebrity amongst the spectators! They almost live for this day on the third Monday every April:),,,Patriot’s Day! The course was tough…rolling hills so I began a walk/run marathon until I finished. This story has a pretty cool ending. I had wondered about Jill after we separated at mile 10 or so and if she had already finished before me, perhaps even requalifying. Just before the finish line, I caught up to her. Unbelievable that we reconnected given we were two of over 27, 000 runners on the course!! Definitely a God thing that we found each other again! You can’t make this stuff up! So we got to finish together what we both started back in Hopkinton!! After all of this I do plan on qualifying again for Boston…it may not be for 2017 but perhaps for 2018! I do plan on going back! It is an awesome event and my favorite marathon of all!! Thank you to everyone for all of the kind words, motivation and encouragement along the way!

Questions from editor:

1.  Why did you want to run the race?  What was the motive for you as a person.
Question 1 Answer–I wanted to run Boston because it is the “Taj Mahal” of races for amateur runners such as myself. I figured if other friends of mine can run it or even people that aren’t trying to qualify and are running for charities, what about me? I can work hard and try and make it my goal to run there too. The motive for me was to keep pushing towards my goal of qualifying for Boston and running there and to not give up even if I didn’t get the time I needed after my very first marathon.
2.  Did you have any detractors?  If so what and how did you overcome them.
3.  Describe your feelings when you tried to qualify but didn’t make it for the time qualifications.
Question 2 and 3 Answers–My detractors were different marathons I would run and not getting the time I needed or being misled to believe I possibly qualified. Two of my marathons I ran early on in pursuit of a BQ (Boston Qualifying time) were Run for the Ranch in Springfield, Missouri in December 2012. It was a loop course,,,I don’t recommend this at all. I was supposed to loop it 8 times. I only did 7 after volunteers shouted for me to come back to the finish. I thought it was strange because I thought I had another loop to run. Needless to say, I listened to the volunteer and finished. My time ended and I was led to believe I had qualified for Boston. Not true. Another race I became too hot and so I listened to my body and from miles 16-26.2 I walked/ran until I finished. When I would try to qualify and didn’t I would get discouraged until I could find another marathon to run and qualify for. I was not going to give up easily and let one or two races define me. The marathon I did qualify at after running two years prior was the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in Champaign/Urbana. April 2013 I missed my BQ by 41 seconds. I had pr’ed (personal record) by 6 minutes! I was upset to be so close, however I finished in the top 10 in my age group! April 2014 is where I became really hot as explained above. April 2015 was my year! I got my BQ time for the 2016 Boston Marathon by nearly 5 minutes! Boston, here I come!
4.  Talk about the race what to expect so other people may learn from your experience.
 
Question 4 Answer–I pretty much answered this in my Facebook post above. For first time Boston marathoners, run the marathon for enjoyment and not to requalify! I had sheer intentions going into it I too wanted to requalify there. I realized after Mile 10 it wasn’t going to happen. The course is tough and a lot of gentle rolling hills. You definitely want to take it easy in the first 5 miles as it is all downhill. If your used to running rolling hills, then you may have a good chance of requalifying there. I decided  to take past runners’ advice and run the course, enjoy it, soak it all in, the spectators, everything about it. As I stated earlier, I worked hard to get there,,,,why stress so much now?
5.  Do you plan to run again?
Question 5 Answer–I definitely plan on running it again! out of all of the marathons I have ran, as far as enjoyment, Boston is my favorite! As I write this, I am already looking to BQ for 2018! I registered for my 9th marathon, second for this year. The town I live in is having its first inaugural marathon this September. The Belleville Main Street Marathon:-)
Happy Miles to You

Mileage Recap ~ 22 Jun – 30 July The Great Cycle Challenge Completed…And A Little Rest Earned

The break felt good ~ from miles and blogging.  I completed The Great Cycle Challenge for the month of June.  I logged 300.69 miles on the bike and raised a little over $600 for children’s cancer research.  Although the donations were raised for children, I dedicated my ride and miles to my Illinois neighbor and friend, James Boivin.  I love a challenge and it was for a good cause.  The month of June were the most miles I’ve ever logged in a month.   Even on school days I had to get up.  I got up every morning and tried to get out before the heat.  I think there were about 3 days I didn’t ride due to rain or other circumstances.   Well, worth the effort and time.  When I first thought about the challenge I was throwing 500 miles around, I’m glad I came off of that number just a bit….;-)

During June I finally took a bicycle maintenance class.  Especially, since my chain fell off on one of the long rides and I had to learn on the fly.  I can now replace the inner tube and reset the chain.  The correct patch to use because of the high heat.  I know what I need to carry just incase.  I’m glad I went and I understand the mechanics of my bike much better.  Also very important to carry a phone.  I was warned that someday all of the above just might not work.

It has been a challenge to re-engage running after riding for a month and basically taking the next month off.  I have gone on a few small runs.  The first one I had to walk just a bit.  Breathing a little too hard.  All in all I’m getting it done.

I completed 300.69 for June and 23.90 for July ~ another 324.59 to add to the count.  So far a total of 793.99 for the year, already passing 2014 total.  There are 8,740.76 challenges remaining.  Happy Miles To You!