Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back to the Grind

Before school teacher meetings began yesterday. The first day back is always interesting. Reuniting with co-workers you haven't seen since the end of June and catching up with others from around the district. It was a good day. Today was filled with department area professional development. The afternoon session was great, but the morning was a waste of time.

I am catching up on sleep lost while helping at an aid station for the Cascade Crest 100 endurance run. It was a blast to watch people who had just run 53 miles come into the station. I helped get soup and food, take garbage from runners, get drop bags, record who came in and who left and just talk with runner's crew members. It was very inspiring.

After the shift ended and we closed our station we went to sleep. It was 4:00am. I woke up at 7am and laid there till 8am. Eventually we cleaned up(in the pouring rain) and left for the finish. Several of us had planned on going for a run, but the weather and not wanting to be wet and cold for the remainder of the day kept us from taking that run.

The finish was fun. Even more inspiring to watch runners complete their 100 mile journey. Gets me thinking about doing a 50 miler. I'll tuck that into the dream files in my brain and see where it takes me.

I am doing PT now to help my IT relax and stretch out. I am supposed to run less days of the week and cross train. That means the 3 or 4 days I do get to run will all be longer runs from 7-10 miles or more in length. I overslept this morning and missed Michelle's Hill run +2 for 8 miles. I'll run 8-10 this evening. I am supposed to stay away from cambered roads which will be challenging. I plan to run through the park near my house on paved trails and do 5 figure 8 loops and around the sports complex twice. That will be 10 miles. That way I will stay on even surfaces. I'll try to make Michelle's shorter run in the morning, but we'll see. It may be another evening run for me!

On a side note, I found out a wonderful woman I have worked with for going on 6 years has an aggressive form of breast cancer. Her name is Brenda. Please pray for endurance and that her treatments will slow and eventually stop the spread of the cancer cells. She is such a dear and inspiring person. It is hard o see her so sick. I know God will use her and teach her and others many things through this experience. Thanks.

Grace and Peace to you.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Danskin update

Well, it was raining the entire drive up and for set-up in the transition area. Luckily I know to bring garbage bags for everything and to cover my seat and handlebars the day before to keep them somewhat dry.

It stopped raining for the start of the swim (at least my wave and those right before and after). I think it just began to rain as I began the bike section. Anyway, the swim went well and I finished in 16 minutes.

For the bike, it was wet already, and so I had already decided that I would take it easy on this portion. There are so many people in this triathlon and a huge number of them are first timers, you never know what can happen. I was a bit ticked when the volunteers were getting people to get off their bikes at one point to go up a steep section onto the I-90 bridge. I just wanted to stand up and go. I hopped off and ran my bike up, going around as many people as I could, just to keep moving quickly. Once on the bridge, I found my cadence and keep to it, adjusting gears as needed. Once inside the tunnel it was quite warm. I had decided to wear a vest for added warmth on the bridge. I got to the turnaround and headed back. Once through the tunnel again, I found it to be pouring heavy rain and slowed up on the downhill portion and picked it back up on the flat. I could see a few people with aide who had fallen. Again, the volunteers were trying to get people to walk their bikes down off the bridge. I stayed on, just pushed along with one foot on the ground and took off once passed a gal who had crashed trying to get back on her bike. Another gal crashed trying to get off her bike once at the transition area. I made it around her and ran back to my rack. I couldn't get my bike on the rack due to the closeness of bikes, so I just stuck it in between the bikes. I bought a neat black race belt skirt at the expo and was eager to try it out. It is a wrap-style that lets you attach your number right to it. I liked it, though it did twist and my number did not stay in front. It velcros and buckles like a regular race belt. I thought it might be hard with both, but I was able to fasten it well while I was running. I left the vest on and my bike gloves. I didn't want to waste time taking them off.

The run was good. I again found myself passing lots of people and decided to stick close to the center cones and just go into the other lane to go around until there were people on the other side. I noticed early on another woman who was able to keep a good pace. This is kinda rare, as it seems so many people walk or just go really slow. She must have been trying to stick with me because I slowed down a bit. I was having some interesting tightness in my left shin, like when you walk too fast uphill and your shins begin to hurt. I was trying to point my toe when I picked up my foot to stretch it out without stopping. She came up beside me and told me to pick it back up. I did, I lost her though for a while, I think she stopped for water at the last aide station. I powered it up the killer steep hill close to the finish and at the finish chute she came up behind and said "Alright, let's finish this, let's go!" and we sprinted in about 100 yards and finished together. It was neat, because I am usually the one to do this! I thanked her for pushing me and she was lost in the sea of thousands of people at the finish. My upper hamstring didn't really like that last push! It is tight now and I will be stretching it all evening.

So, I finished in 1:36:14. Not a PR, but I wasn't going for one. I finished last year in 1:29. So, not too bad for taking it easy in the rain. I was in the top 100 for my age group of 350., 99th to be exact and 689 of 3496 overall. I'll take it! Now I'll rest!

Grace and peace to you.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Danskin Weekend

I took it a bit slower this week and plan to only run 25 miles( including the 5k in the tri). I did manage to get two practice swims in this week. It would have been good to get another one in, but it is so hard to give up scheduled runs.

Last year I did the Danskin Triathlon in Seattle and thought I would never do it again. Way too big, 7,000 women many of whom it is their first triathlon. The main problem was the expo and bike racking on Saturday. I had to drive forever to get there, park in BFE and then wait in huge lines, then drive not too far away to the bike racking transition area, but it took 1 1/2 hours in traffic to get there. I then had to park 1/2 mile away and ride my bike to the transition area and squeeze it on a rack in a sea of 7,000 other bikes. It took me about 6 hours round trip. I swore, never again.

But then Sunday came. Yes, there were thousands of people there, but the cheesy camaraderie was great. The event itself is very well supported and I had a PR. So, Come February 26th, I registered( this event closes in literally 2 hours).

I was dreading the expo and when an email came to attend a women's financial seminar before the expo and the attendees would get an early bird entry into the expo to pick up their packets, I signed up. It was well worth sitting through the seminar, it was good info. My husband and I already have a financial advisor, so I just ate the free food and listened. Then when it was over we headed down to pick up our packets. I was out of there just as they were letting people into the expo. There were thousands of people waiting in line to get in. I was thankful to be out of there!
Then it was off to the park to rack my bike. It was 9:45 and the transition area wasn't supposed to open till 11am. I thought I'd just wait, but when I got there, they were letting people in. Sweet! I was out of there by 10:30am!! There was a bit of traffic on the way home, but by 11:30, I was done for the day and ready to just double check my bag for tomorrow and to set my alarm for 4:50am.

I still plan on a just for fun race, no time goals. It might be pouring down rain. That's okay, I've done events in the rain before, just is a bit slower. It will be fun no matter what. I'll let y'all know how things turn out with an update tomorrow afternoon.
Till then,
Grace and peace to you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Catching Up

Since I have been home from DC, I feel like all I have been doing is catching up. Catching up on laundry, cleaning, emails, blogs, unpacking, running, and family time. Everything is moving so fast. I can barely catch up!

There is now officially three weeks until kids arrive at school, two weeks until I have to go back for meetings, and one week until an optional meeting. It's been a good summer, but as usual, way too fast!

I just want to sit on a quiet beach with my husband, sip margaritas and reread the entire Harry Potter series.

I was happy to run 30 miles this week, but my hips are entirely way to tight. My IT band has gone from stabbing pain to just utter and complete tightness when I am not running. All I do is stretch! I will slow down a bit this week and go for 25 miles, maybe ab it less. I will be doing the Danskin Triathlon this weekend.

It will be fun as tri's always are, but let me just say that I will not have a PR. I have not yet stepped into a pool for swim training and the event is 6 days away. I do plan to swim tonight and a couple more times this week, just to practice my stroke. All in all, I just want to have fun and not go for a certain time. I always want to do more triathlons when I am done, so we will see if I do indeed register for a few others this fall to end the season. It was only two summers ago that I completed 7 triathlons in one summer. I have not tried that since the marathon bug bit.

So, I hope all is well with you out there in the blogosphere. Oh, a new thing I wanted to pass on from my C-SPAN conference for all of you folks who like to You Tube or watch other video sites. If you like to download video a new, easy and FAST way to do it is to use the new Real Player 11 Beta. Just download it free from the Real Player site and anytime there is video a download option will pop up. just click it and it will download simultaneously to your hard drive. Or you can choose portions , make a library etc.. it is very cool and FREE! Check it out!

Grace and Peace to you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Running Hot

I returned very early this morning from Washington DC where it was 100 degrees plus humidity for what felt like 110. It is wonderful to return to75 degrees and minute humidity. I like going outside without breaking out in sweat.

Myself and Brian Lamb

The C-SPAN conference was amazing. We started out with greetings and a message from Brian Lamb, founder and CEO of C-SPAN and host of the fabulous show Q&A. Let me just say what a great person Mr. Lamb is, I was truly impressed. We learned so many useful ways to incorporate C-SPAN into education of civics, government, history and many other core subjects. Using the video they provide truly helps bring the people of politics and government alive for young people who have little concept of things they deem so far away from their own world. C-SPAN in the classroom truly can help me bring the adult reality of active participation in government into the techno-savvy world of today's teenager. And that is precisely my job. To bring my reality into their reality. Young people will have no interest if I try to bring them into my reality. It just doesn't work. With the world of technology at my fingertips and the 3 TV stations, radio station, and 14 websites, C-SPAN offers an endless list of resources just a click away.

That first evening, we were invited to take part in a press conference C-SPAN was holding to announce an upcoming series on Presidential Libraries. The series of 12 shows will look at never before seen or rare artifacts, video and documents from the 12 presidential libraries that are a part of the National Archives System. IT was neat to be a part of this press conference. Before the festivities, I had my photo with Allen Weinstein, the National Archivist.

Myself and Allen Weinstein.

As you can see it was a fancy affair, cocktails included! After the Press conference we had dinner. The entire evening was hosted by Johnny's Half Shell, a famous Washington hot spot. After dinner, we were treated to the hilarious stories of C-SPAN's Political Editor, Steve Scully. He currently finished being the journalist coordinator for construction of the new press room at the White House. So all of those press conferences by Tony Snow, White house press secretary are in the room in which Steve coordinated the design and construction. He told many stories of covering different administrations and events. It was a great evening.

Here is a shot of the two of us, Steve Scully and I.

Needless to say, I was feeling like I was rubbing elbows with many influential people!

This is a photo of my wonderful and very funny table-mates for the conference. They are, left to right, Dru Bescoe, Tipp City, OH, Becky Griffith, Newland, NC, Jenny Appel (me) Puyallup, WA, Brian Sirmans, Lakeland, GA, and Mary McCullah, Plantation, FL. There were 25 of us in all, from all over the USA, only two from the West coast though, mostly from the East of the Mississippi. It was a fantastic two days of learning and collaboration I will cherish and do my best to use everyday in my classroom. An amazing opportunity. All you educators out there should check out http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/ and see for yourselves (as well as the 13 other web pages C-SPAN hosts).

As for running in DC, well, it was hot and humid! Friday, Sunday and Tuesday I ran at 6am and it was almost 80 degrees already each day. Friday was a 5 mile run around The Mall. Here are some of the sites I had along the run (the photos were not taken while running, to much sweat to carry a camera and a waterbottle, but are taken along the same route).....

The Capitol, Senate side closest.

The Washington Monument, from the steps of The Lincoln Memorial, yes, I ran up the steps!

The Korean War memorial, which was much more impressive while I was there alone with no one else there early in the morning. I would say the same thing about the other memorials, the less people, the more awesome and intense.

The Lincoln Memorial, by far my favorite, I am a Lincoln fan.

Abraham Lincoln, inside the Lincoln Memorial.

This is a photo of the Jefferson Memorial, across the Tidal basin. On Tuesday, I ran down to the Lincoln Memorial and then around the tidal basin trails and up into the Jefferson memorial.

The front of the Jefferson Memorial.

Inside the Jefferson Memorial

The Vietnam War Memorial

The new WWII Memorial.

Some details of the Memorial.

The Smithsonian Red Castle(This is only part of the castle), The Archives, The Supreme Court and the Library of Congress are also buildings I ran past.

For those of you who know Michelle,I took this photo for her. These are the blisters I received the during the first day's run and endured the rest of my stay. By the way, I called Michelle from the museum of Natural history on Sunday morning just to ask her for blister advice, to drain or not to drain. I chose not to drain until I got home!
So, I think the combination of heat, humidity and sweating more than usual caused these blisters. I am not usually prone to blisters like this. But I endured! My week ending on August 5th contained 24 miles. I wanted between 20 and 25! I ran 5 miles around the Mall on Friday, 8.5 on Sunday, running around the Mall, across the Memorial bridge to the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery and back and 7.5 on Tuesday, running around the mall and the Tidal basin and back ( so a good start for this week!). I would say DC is a great place to run with so many cool things to see.
I was able to see and visit so many awe inspiring places on my visit. I started with the Russell Senate building and a trip to Senator Patty Murray's office for tickets to the Senate and House Galleries. A couple of fellow conference attendees were with me and one of them asked if they could take us on the Senate subway into the Capitol, they did! This is the train-like subway that the Senators (and House members) take from their offices into the Capitol without having to go out into public and cross the streets. That was cool. We sat in the Senate chamber, but they were on a recess, so we got to see pages sitting around and other aides coming in and out. The line for the House was very long because they were in session after the Republicans walked out the night before! We ran into Senator Spector (R-PA) as we were leaving the Chamber. And quite literally, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) ran into us! We were standing in a hall, outside the restrooms waiting for the men's to be done cleaning so my new friend Seth could use them. Apparently we were standing (a little too close) in front of a meeting room door and out came Rep. Murtha and another man. I stepped back in time, but poor Seth got the door in his back! We stood there for a few more minutes and Rep. Murtha came back. This time Seth asked for a photo. I'll post it when Seth emails it to me. We had a group shot.
The next day I went for a walk to the Eastern Market, the longest running public market east of the Mississippi, it has been running continuously since 1890ish (or so I was told by a vender). It was a neat mix of farmers, craft persons and flea market. On my way back I went to the Library of Congress and the House office building, the Rayburn Building. Sunday I went to the Museum of Natural History. Very cool museum. I wandered around for a couple of hours before catching the Metro subway out to RFK (Robert F. Kennedy) Stadium for a Washington Nationals baseball game. They were playing the St. Louis Cardinals. Nats won 6-3. Great game! Monday I took the Tourmobile. $25.00 for a open window narrated tour bus that goes around to all the monuments and Arlington national cemetery and you can get off and on as you like. This is the only bus that will take you on a tour of Arlington national Cemetery. Again, I have done this before almost 20 years ago. I stopped at the major monuments as well as took time to tour both the National Archives, that houses the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation, the Magna Carta and many many more important national documents and the Air and Space Museum. Tuesday I went to the National Art gallery West and East Galleries before catching the MARC commuter train to Baltimore Washington International Airport. It was a wonderful trip. There are so many more places to visit that I would love to see. Next up is the Spy museum, Shows at the Kennedy center, Portrait galleries and so much more.

Another highlight of my trip was getting to have dinner with Amy, Tim and Kyle who are transplanted Y run club members. We had a good time on Friday night out in Pentagon City. Thanks you guys for bringing me back to my hotel afterwards! It was a great trip! That's all for now

Grace and Peace to you.