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Cap 2K open water swim 2015 race report

I've really been embracing this whole Off Season thing. Ultraman last year, two 50k trail runs, and then.. not a whole lot of anything since then. Some riding in preparation for the Easter Hill Country Tour, but maybe 9 hours of riding since then, 3 of which were commuting. (Maybe I'll write a Life Update at some point and talk about that a bit. Probably not.)

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Easter Hill Country Tour 2015 weekend report.

When people have asked what I'm training for this year, Easter Hill Country Tour has been the only answer I had. Not so much "training for" as "trying to make sure I don't die out there".
I didn't even really know what distances I wanted to do, but I figured I'd aim for the longest distances each day, and SAG if I needed to.

The amount of pressure on me varied: Karen planned to join us out there, and is training for an Ironman in May. That means she would want to do the longest distances Friday and Saturday for sure. Then she had an injury and wasn't sure she'd be out there at all, so I thought, "Hey, I can just go ride the shortest distances if I'm not feeling great, and just have fun!" And THEN she was fine, and back on board for full distances. But THEN then Meredith decided to come out, too, and she needs lots of distance, so even though Karen wanted to ride with me, I knew if I wasn't feeling great, Karen would still have Meredith. Whew. Whirlwind of emotions.

We got there Thursday night and hooked up with Betsy,David,Pam,Jeff (Pam and Jeff had done their own EHCT that previous week, and were heading home the next day) for dinner at our old standby, Rails. While there, I exchanged text messages with Karen and Meredith, and it turns out Meredith wanted to start at 7 or 7:15 on Friday. Which was funny, since we'd just been discussing how the shorter distances Friday meant we could start later. Sometimes Ironman+ training doesn't really match up, philosophically, with just kinda half-ass training for nothing in particular.


We compromised and met up at 6:30 for breakfast, intending a 7:30ish leaving time. It was me, Matt, Karen, Meredith and Karen's friend Colleen, and we set out to do the 67ish mile route. Well, Matt and I did. The weather for Saturday and Sunday had a lot of potential rain, and Karen and Meredith didn't want to ride in the rain, and so they decided to do their 100 miler Friday and shorter distance Saturday. This is where I had to decide what I wanted out of the weekend. I wanted company, but I also wanted fun and no stress. And I didn't even know if I'd be able to ride a century at all on the training I'd done, much less one that I hadn't intended to do that day. So I decided as we rolled out that I was doing the 60whatever, even if they continued on to do 100.

Easter Hill Country Tour, Day 1! Matt and I rode 67 miles and crossed 30 cattleguards. Everyone counted the cattleguards in their language of choice. Dutch for Matt (dertig), Russian for me (тридцать), Muppet for Meredith (mahna mahna) and Pokemen for Kar

It was a great ride. The weather was fabulous.. cool and overcast, no real wind. The course was wonderful, exactly the reason I do this ride. Lots of cattleguards (30, we counted), but that meant lots of back roads and loose livestock and neat animals and beautiful views. We all rode together most of the time, though Colleen eventually left us behind. We just chatted and enjoyed each others' company.

When we got back near the hotel, we stopped at a convenience store to plan, and Karen and Meredith decided to do the 30 mile route to finish up their 100. I stuck to my guns and Matt and I headed back to the hotel. We showered, grabbed some sandwiches, then drove out on the route to make sure K&M were doing okay. They were doing a part of the course we'd started with that morning, so this time we stopped and snapped a few photos of the animals we hadn't stopped to photograph earlier. Found the ladies, made sure they were doing okay, and then went back to the hotel to wait for them to be done.

Easter Hill Country Tour, Day 1! Matt and I rode 67 miles and crossed 30 cattleguards. Everyone counted the cattleguards in their language of choice. Dutch for Matt (dertig), Russian for me (тридцать), Muppet for Meredith (mahna mahna) and Pokemen for Kar

We gathered back up that night, me, Matt, Karen, Meredith, Betsy and David, and ate at Grape Juice.

Dinner at Grape Juice!


Since they'd already done their 100, Karen and Meredith were okay with a slightly later start on Saturday (very slightly, like 7:45 or something). Matt continued to want to ride with us, so the three of us headed out and picked up David at the convenience store on the highway on our way out.

Up, up, up the hills in the neighborhood, then onto the highway and lots of discussion about how Karen was freaking out about Eagle's Nest again this year, even though it's never been an issue for her. She freaks out every time. So Meredith had built this up in her mind, then we went up it, and it was a complete non-issue, and we all laughed.

This year the Saturday route was mostly highways, which was a bit of a bummer. I prefer the longest ride be the one with the cattleguards and the loose livestock. Or both days! But this one was mainly highways. And chipseal. And eventually wind.

Easter Hill Country Tour, Day 2: Matt, David and I rode a course I"m naming The 79 Mile Course Minus the Bits Matt Hates, giving us 73 miles for the day. Karen and Meredith rode with us just past the camel and then headed back in. That"s a camel. Our phot

Karen and Meredith were aiming for around 60 miles, but instead of doing the 60 mile route, which would have had us parting ways really early (and them not getting to enjoy Eagle's Nest), they rode the longer route with us, then peeled off shortly before Comfort and took the highway straight back. David, Matt and I continued on, doing the longer route. We decided, given the weather and our undertrainedness, not to kill ourselves trying to do the century, and were happy doing the 75. Then Matt decided he didn't like some of the loops around Comfort, so we shaved some of that off, and ended up doing 72 miles total.

It was fun, but definitely pretty slow by the end, and I appreciated Matt and David staying with me.

That evening we headed over to the RV park and had dinner with Betsy, David, Julie and her husband, and Nancy at Julie's campsite. Tacos and s'more cones. Yum.


Sunday was the big unknown, with the highest chances of rain. Karen and Meredith had gone home after their ride on Saturday, and Betsy and David were planning to sleep in a bit and then make a gametime decision about whether they were riding at all. Matt and I decided to ride, assuming that it wasn't horrible weather.

We didn't set an alarm, just got up when we got up. The weather was overcast and windy when we went out to the breakfast buffet, but not bad. When we came back out to get ready to ride, it was drizzling. But not too bad, so we decided to go ride.

This was my least favorite route of the weekend. The whole first section was highways, which meant singlefile riding, which meant I was riding right behind Matt, who was throwing up mud and water and gravel (through no fault of his own, of course). I ended up very gritty, and couldn't even wear my sunglasses after a while.

Easter Hill Country Tour, Day 3: 40ish drizzly, dirty, hilly miles (I was behind Matt in the beginning, hence why my face is covered in mud). Too many highways in this year"s routes. And back through Riverhills, the other way this time, where that grate w

It never really rainrained on us, just drizzled and stopped and drizzled and stopped. We got on some roads that were a little smaller and less trafficked, and could ride two abreast. Some of it was pretty, but mostly it was highways. We did ride on River Road, which I didn't even realize until we were done with it and came to the rest stop, because I don't know that I've ever ridden it that direction!

The last bit of the ride was definitely a part we've never done, which was Riverhills the other way. Same way we started out on Saturday, but the other direction. Up the hill we normally fly down to the highway/stop sign, then superfast down the other side with the traffic circles, keeping our speed in check because it was so wet.

As we approached the stop sign on that side, at the highway, there was a couple standing at a car yelling that the grate was super slick and to go slowly, and not ride over it. Matt heard the former, but not the latter, and turned very slowly across the grate onto the highway. And the grate was slick as ice, and his back tire went out from under him. I managed to stop just before the grate and ride through the very narrow, nearly non-existent gap between the grate and the curb, and made sure he was okay. He was bruised and scraped and annoyed, but seemed okay, and his bike rideable. A car drove by and asked if he was okay, and said that was the 5th person they'd seen go down there already. They really need to take that out of the course in the future, or cover it with something, or give a lot better/more warning.

So that put a bit of a damper on our Sunday ride, but we only had about 5 miles left, and we managed to make it back without further incident.

Even with that ending, it was a good weekend overall. Matt did all the rides with me, which I'm sure was painful for him, riding so much slower than his normal, but he never complained. It was nice to have that time with him.

And, of course, if it fits our schedule, we'll be back next year. It's so nice to just get away from the real world for a weekend, where our only obligations are riding bikes and eating food.

Final distance totals for the weekend: 68 + 73 + 40 = 181 miles.

Good stuff.

Rosedale Ride 2015 ride report.

Oops, I don't post much when I'm not really training for anything, and therefore not doing many events, it seems. But Matt and I decided to do Easter Hill Country Tour this year, and since that involves three days of riding, I decided I should actually do some riding. I'd been riding on my trainer sporadically over the last few months, but only very sporadically. As EHCT got closer, I started doing some longer trainer rides, including several 3 and just over 3 hour rides. When the weather was perfectly decent outside sometimes. On purpose. I just couldn't bring myself to go ride outside by myself.

But then Karen and I finally met up to ride outside! First ride outside since day 2 of Ultraman back in early August 2014! We rode 3 hours.... of Shoal Creek/Great Northern loops. Ha. But at least it was outside, where there are SOME hills and some weather/wind. We were calling that tiny rise on the loop Mount WhiteRock by the end. That's how out of road-practice we were. The next week we hit a very windy Parmer for 4.5 hours, and then the next week we decided to brave up and do the Rosedale Ride!

It'd been a lot of years since I did Rosedale, and I missed it. Matt decided to ride with us, and Karen's friend Leigh Ann joined us, as well. To avoid the typical mass of ill-behaved humanity involved in group starts, we started at 8, half an hour before the actual start.

It was chilly, low 50s, at the beginning, but with a short-sleeved jersey and arm-warmers I was fine. The beginning was just lovely, and we cruised along and chatted and had a great time. Of course, we were all aware that this was because we had a stiff tailwind all the way out, and that would change, but we tried not to think about that.

We stopped at my favorite rest stop in Norman's Crossing to say hi to the horses and have a cookie, then headed back out.

First time I"ve done the Rosedale Ride in... a lot of years! I had a great time, despite the wind being worse than last week, and with the headwind at the end. And I totally pet the horses before we were told it was verboten. Then one tried to eat my helm
Emo horses.

Some time after that, we pulled ahead of Leigh Ann, and then Matt pulled ahead of Karen and I. Left to our own devices, Karen and I missed a turn sign at one of the few non-manned turns on the course. As we went through, being surprised there was no sign telling us what to do, I actually commented that this was Coupland, and we usually would turn left and there'd be an aid station right there. We got to the highway, and pulled into our old favorite convenience store to check the map, and sure enough, we should have turned left. When we got back there (back up and over the hill we shouldn't have had to ride over), there WAS a sign there, we'd just missed it, and there as an aid station right there, as well.

First time I"ve done the Rosedale Ride in... a lot of years! I had a great time, despite the wind being worse than last week, and with the headwind at the end. And I totally pet the horses before we were told it was verboten. Then one tried to eat my helm
Cookie Toast!

We stopped at that aid station to pee and eat another cookie, briefly rode with Leigh Ann again, who'd gotten ahead of us during our lost period, and then eventually Matt rode back and found us, as well.

As we headed back in, into our anticipated headwind, Karen started drafting off of me. This was notable, because usually Karen is pulling me and I'm suffering and she's having to wait for me on every hill. I asked if she was doing okay, and she said she was suffering. Matt stepped up and jumped in front and blocked the wind for us the rest of the ride, pulling us up the hills and back to our cars, saving the day!

Overall it was a really fun ride. It was great to get more fun ride time in with Karen, since we haven't had as much of our usual training fun recently, and really fun to get to ride with Matt, who has to slow down 4-5 mph average to stay with us.

Surely one 62 mile ride gets one plenty ready for a weekend of nearly 200 miles of riding, right?! Right!

First time I"ve done the Rosedale Ride in... a lot of years! I had a great time, despite the wind being worse than last week, and with the headwind at the end. And I totally pet the horses before we were told it was verboten. Then one tried to eat my helm
We lived! (And found Betsy and David!)
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Creepy Crawlies & Critters 10k trail run 2015 race report.

First "race" of 2015! Er.. second RUN of 2015! Maybe a little non-ideal.

I took January completely off running. Zero miles. I was hoping that my heel pain would just magically go away if I didn't run, but alas it really didn't. So if it's going to hurt anyway, might as well run, eh? (And maybe look into other solutions to fix it. Maybe. But mostly just start running again.)

I returned to running on 2/1, with a slow and dismayingly sore-inducing 3 miles. Right around that same time, I also won a free entry to the last race in Trailhead Running's 2015 trail run series! In.. a week. They had a 5k and a 10k, and I figured since I already knew I could run 3 miles, why not give myself something to work toward (in a week), and sign up for the 10k? Which I did. I figured I'd run maybe 5 miles on Tuesday, 3 miles on Thursday, and then be good to run 6 on Saturday.

And then I got sick, and ran exactly zero additional miles the rest of the week. I felt well enough by Saturday to do the run, but I felt fairly ill-prepared, having run a total of 3 miles in the past ~40 days.

I had no goals other than to finish the 10k, and preferably not fall or injure myself. And I achieved all of those goals!

What? He was right there in the middle of the path.
Um, okay, so I started a little dramatically. But Tom was right there in the middle of the path taking pictures!

Pam and I started together, and ended up running the entire thing together. We just spent the whole time chatting and catching up and amusing the people around us with our nerdy, endless banter.

Pam.. is desperately trying to give me bunny ears?
I had no idea Pam was trying to give me bunny ears. PAM!

The course was lovely, not technical, and full of volunteers, most of whom were also friends, so it mostly went by really quickly. Well, except after 2 miles, I was already tired and a little sore, and mentioned to Pam that 5k really seemed like a delightful distance.

Pam shoving me into the cones as we came through the first loop.
Pam got really shovey as we came through the first loop.

But we finished the first loop and didn't question heading out for a second, and had just as much fun on the second loop as the first (but with a bonus stop for hugs and chatting when we came across Jody, doing her first trail race).

Fun! We are having it!
Fun! We are having it!

Overall, I had a lovely time. I was ridiculously sore for only having run 6.2 miles, and for only having run it in 1:12, but it really just shows you how quickly you can lose fitness if you don't use it.

Love this shot that we had no idea was being taken!
I love this shot that we had no idea was being taken!

Fortunately I also know from experience that it comes back really quickly, if you're consistent. And hopefully now my illness is over, my hiatus is over, my motivation will return, and I can pretend to be a triathlete again.

Jazz Spock! (What? It"s a thing.)
Emily, Pam, Amy and Betsy celebrating their completed 10k with some Jazz Spock!
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Run Like the Wind 2014 race report (again), this time the 6 hour version.

(Technically I already did Run Like the Wind in 2014, since 2013's edition was postponed until March of 2014. But I decided to do it a second time!)

As mentioned previously, I signed us up for a couple of training races, in preparation for Matt doing the Rocky Raccoon 100 in 2015. I looked at what was available, picked a race in November and one in December and figured that would be perfect. I didn't, however, notice that one race was at the end of November and the other at the beginning of December. Which is how I ended up accidentally running a 50k, then two weeks later, running a 6 hour run. Oops.

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Thundercloud Turkey Trot 2014 race report.

I didn't really notice when I signed up for Wild Hare that it was less than a week before Thanksgiving. When I noticed, I thought, "Eh, I'm just doing Wild Hare for fun, and the Turkey Trot for fun, so not a big deal."

Turns out, 31 miles, even for fun, hurts afterward. (And duringward.) Especially with the addition of a sea of slidey mud.

But I can't not do the Turkey Trot! It's the only race I've done every year since I first started doing events (for a while the Rosedale Ride held the same honor, but I failed that several years ago), and it would be my 10th anniversary! So I signed up.

I had my doubts when I still had to descend stairs very slowly and deliberately on Tuesday, but by Wednesday my quads felt a little better, and I knew at the very least I could run/walk the Turkey Trot. Or hoped I could.

On race morning I parked near Zach Scott Theatre, figuring I'd warm up to the start line, and that would be my test as to whether my legs would even work at all. Good news is: they did! I felt very slow and my quads were sore, but I was able to ambulate successfully to the start line.

I chatted with Josh in the start chute, happy that I'd convinced myself to underdress rather than over-.. the temps in the 50s made a lot of people wear long sleeves and tights, and with the late start and the sun shining down, it was definitely shorts and short-sleeves, or even sleeveless, weather.

I started fairly far back, knowing I wasn't going to be running as fast as normal, and so there was a bit of dodging and weaving at the beginning to find some open space.

And then I just ran as fast as I could convince my legs to run. The uphills were tough, with the aforementioned full sun, but they were much more pleasant on my sore legs than the long downhills, which tortured my poor left quad.

I never looked at my watch, just ran by feel. And I never ended up taking any water from the three water stops, because I just didn't feel like negotiating with the press of humanity that tends to surround them. And before I knew it, I was rounding the corner onto the bridge, heading toward the finish line.

43:51 (8:46/mile)

Definitely the slowest Trot I've had since I really figured out how to run faster. But I wasn't convinced I could run sub-10s on those tired legs, so averaging 8:46s made me really happy! And picking it up as I warmed up, in addition to having most of the uphills be at the beginning, gave me a nice progressive pace run, THIS time in the right direction!

9:05, 8:52, 8:35, 8:23, 8:17

Wouldn't have figured my legs had an 8:17 in them less than a week after running a 50k!

2004: 52:24 (10:29/mile)
2005: 52:45 (10:33/mile)
2006: 47:54 (9:35/mile)
2007: 44:35 (8:55/mile)
2008: 39:48 (7:58/mile) (suspect it was short)
2009: 40:59 (8:10/mile)
2010: 36:35 (8:05/mile according to official time) (definitely short)
2011: 40:29 (8:06/mile)
2012: 38:58 (7:48/mile)
2013: 39:45 (7:57/mile)

Glad that I decided to go out and give it a try, and happy 10th Turkey Trot anniversary to me!
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Warda Wild Hare 50k trail race 2014 race report.

Matt was planning on doing the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler in January, so I picked out a couple promising training races he could do, one of which was the Warda Wild Hare 50 miler in November. We did this race in 2012 and really enjoyed it. And I figured since I'd have a lot of time to kill, and hey, maybe I'd do the Rocky 50 miler in February, I'd do some distance while I was there, too. I did 25k last time, but maybe I'd step it up and do 50k this year!

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Rogue Rescue Run 5k 2014 race report.

Still continuing my "do fun things after Ultraman" initiative! It's been too hot to really get the dogs trained up to run 5k, but we got some extra walks in with the sorta-kinda cooler sporadic days of Fall we've had, between the inevitable resumptions of Summer. We figured they could at least WALK 5k, even if we didn't think they could run the whole thing.

Because the course starts on the road leading in to the venue, we were asked to get there no later than 7:30am. The race didn't start until 8:30, so we milled around, met other dogs, had a tiny donut hole (Hilda was so distracted that she wouldn't even eat her tiny donut hole fragment. Enzo was perfectly happy to eat hers, too.) And just generally completely wore the dogs out before the race even started. I don't think they realized this wasn't THE event, and that they needed to conserve some energy.

At 8:30, the non-dog 5k went off, and then the dog 5k started just after. We set off at a nice, easy pace, Matt with Hilda and me with Enzo. They were so excited! Enzo was trying to run way too fast! They could do this forever! Yay!

Around mile 1.25, Enzo realized we weren't going to run for 1.25 miles. We were going to keep going. And he decided he was done. He started slowing down. Then walking. We'd try to get him enthusiastic again, and sometimes he'd break into a trot again. For about 30 seconds. Then walk again. We got some water at the halfway aid station, which gave a brief second wind, but then the slog resumed.

Around mile 2, he started walking even slower. The volunteers at the turns were all very supportive. I mean, seriously, the little guy just looked DONE. Tongue hanging out. Head hanging down. Long legs trudging along.

To be fair, even though it was maybe 80 degrees, the course was completely treeless, and the sun was very present overhead. So it was tough conditions for a little undertrained black greyhound.

Didn't even realize someone took a picture of our chaos as we neared the finish line! Thanks Chris MacCleod!

As we neared the last turn, Enzo got a little burst of energy from the people cheering on the side of the road. Poor Hilda wasn't really getting any cheers, because she looked fine. It was all in support of tired little Enzo. A little kid, who'd presumably finished his race, fell in with us, pacing Enzo. He kept glancing back at him and making sure he didn't get too far ahead. It was adorable. But then Enzo had to walk again.

This is one Done greyhound. So glad someone got photographic evidence.

Despite the cheers, Enzo kept walking slower and slower and slower. Matt and Hilda were hanging back with us, and Matt and I were telling Enzo he could do it, just a little further. Then at the mile 3 marker, with 0.1 miles to go, Enzo decided he was just done. No more. And he stopped. And the second he stopped, Hilda took that as a sign we were done, and laid down. Meanwhile we were blocking the finish chute for the people who actually wanted to finish the race. So we got everyone back up and moving again, and trudged ever-so-slowly across the finish line.

Yay, dogs!

Of course, then we had to trudge even more slowly back to the after-party, where our car was parked. We stopped by the water bowls to let the dogs get some much-needed water, and Hilda stepped straight into the baby pool full of ice and water and watermelons that was notably not already full of dogs or dog debris, and thusly probably was not intended for dogs, and we got a dirty look from the human in charge of the pool. Oops. We made Hilda get out before she flopped her entire shepherd down in the icy water, much to her dismay.

Then a slow, slow, slow trudge back to the car. Honestly I was a little worried about Enzo. He was so worn out. More tired than I've ever seen him. And when we got home, he just completely crashed.


But then 2 hours later, he woke up and was just fine! And wanted to know why we weren't off doing fun dog activities, like maybe another 5k!

Our splits, which give a very clear picture of how Enzo's race went:

Proud of my fuzzy little children.