Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taking the Reigns

WOW! I experienced a first last night. I was totally in charge of a run that has had my number all along, and it feels good.

In the past, I've gotten through the lactate threshold runs on the Pfitz plan, but it was a mental struggle to the end, with my body not feeling much better. It turns out there really has been a change from making my easy miles easier, and adding more easy miles to the schedule in places where I previously took rest days. Last night, I was able to knock out the four tempo miles without struggle. They were challenging miles and I felt them through my entire body, but I felt strong and never backed off, even quickening the pace in the last mile. I was even able to lengthen the run an additional mile beyond what was planned. It seems that my body IS able to handle more mileage than I used to think....it's just a matter of HOW I run those miles, and for what purpose.

In other goings on....it's crock pot season. I found a nice recipe for a slow cooked turkey chili, so I'm going to try it out on the children and husband tonight. In our concerted effort to cut out any crap from our diet, we've figured out that everyone seems to like the musical fruit, and chili just seems to go well with the frigid weather as of late. It's a nice comfort food without the stuff in those heavy, creamy winter soups I used to down all the time in the winter (and, SHHHHH......I slap some fat free sour cream and a bit of cheese in there to satisfy that craving ;) ). We'll see if it's any good, and worthy of becoming a regular addition to the dinner menu. The kids go back to school and regular activities in less than a week so it's time to strengthen my relationship with Mister Crock Pot-he makes me less crazy than I would be without his help.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Just a Quickie

I love my new OxySox. I've never recovered so quickly from a long run. Yesterday I ran a good 16-miler on my treadmill, which is both the longest distance and time I've ever spent on a treadmill. My "normal" is that I am extremely sore for 24-48 hours following a long run-I just tend to be slower than some with recovery time. My achiness following yesterday's run was no more than moderate, or about how I might feel following a shorter midweek run.

Sure, it was on the mill of dread, but I've had some harder or medium-long type runs that have left me much more sore than I have felt this weekend. I'm sold on these puppies and plan to wear them for the marathon-even if I do look like the roller derby queen while wearing them.

Today was a rest day on my training schedule, but between the holiday mileage challenge and feeling the best I've ever felt the morning after a long run, I opted for a six mile recovery run today. That makes seven days in a row of running (three of the runs were easy recoveries) and I do believe this is the strongest and best I've felt in a long time. Hopefully, this will continue straight through to April 11, 2009!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Feats of Strength

Yeah, sticking with that Festivus theme. ;)

Following a really nice morning yesterday of watching the husband and kids open their presents, hanging out with the family, and getting Christmas dinner prepped, I hopped on the treadmill for a run. I randomly selected an archived Fdip podcast to listen to that just left me in awe regarding the episode subject's incredible feat of strength, his courage, and selfless actions meant to benefit the lives of others, and couldn't believe I'd never heard the story of Terry Fox before.

My couple of Canadian friends are probably rolling their eyes because I really had no idea how important and unifying his Marathon of Hope was, and honestly hadn't heard of him at all until taking up running. I'm glad that I at least know who he is now, and hope that folks unfamiliar with Terry will go check out this clip on YouTube from ESPN:


I think about how tough my one marathon seemed to me. Then I listened to the podcast about Terry, and watched this, and realized that if you want to talk about strength and overcoming adversity, Terry Fox was the real deal.

Running a marathon? Every day? On a prosthesis in a time when they didn't make artificial limbs conducive to being active, much less for a run across a country? And all to give other kids with a cancer diagnosis the best odds of beating the disease and living long? No entourage, just his friend driving the follow vehicle as he used his step-hop-skip gait for more than 3300 miles before finally stopping and learning his cancer had returned. The amount of money he raised would be incredible by today's standards. Keeping in mind that it was nearly 30 years ago, it is all the more impressive.

He had more maturity and drive at 21 years old than some people ever have in a lifetime. It did get me in the gut as a mom, listening to his story and hearing that yes, he did succumb a year later to the cancer that had returned, this time in his lungs. More than that, though, I'm moved by what this one young guy did in his short life, how proud he made his family and his country, and his legacy of hope for those battling cancer, as he did. I love that he really did live each day like it could be his last, and that if you don't put up artificial boundaries and limits for yourself, the possibilities are limitless. I know I'm probably using every Afterschool Special cliche, but man-as a runner, as a mom, as a person who admires true feats of strength and courage, I can't help but gush about Terry Fox, tip my hat, and say rest in peace-you really left this world a better place.

In the awkward segueway department, I'm in the middle of playing a couple of mileage games on the running forums, and decided to go on a little bit of a running streak myself this week. In the past, I said I'd never be a streaker. I decided, though, that for the Christmas/New Year's holiday week challenge, why should I limit myself and decide ahead of time that I couldn't run every day for a week? I figured that I could add some mileage on my regularly scheduled running days, and use the off days to run comfortably paced recovery runs until I just didn't feel like doing any more running. No worries about hitting a prescribed distance or pace...just freewheeling. Right now I'm on my fifth day in a row, and suddenly I'm realizing that I CAN go on little short streaks from time to time without killing myself.

Sure, it's probably not wise to just start a permanent long streak now, but this is a fun experiment. It helps when everyone else is playing the game-even though it's just for fun, you see how others are doing in the challenge, think "right on," and then say "well, no reason why I can't tack on one mile today or a few easy miles tomorrow!" I remember how challenging this phase of training was for the first marathon, and to be able to do anything extra now is a real confidence booster, and further helps me shake off any need I'd been feeling to over-analyze MCM.

It's not exactly a New Year's resolution, but I really want to go into 2009 living like Terry Fox, make each day count as far as time with my family and friends, and also work toward my running goals NOW, without putting limits on myself or saying "this can't be done." In the words of Wooderson of Dazed and Confused, you just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Airing of Grievances

Hey, it's Festivus.....time to break out the old family pole!

Good grief, I'm tired this morning. I had a parent ask if they could bring their child by nice and early today because they had to work early. No problem, I said...just PLEASE CALL ME if your plans change, even if it's early, because I'll be up. Got up earlier than usual to be ready for the child, and still nothing a half hour after said child was supposed to be here. The phone rings, and guess who isn't coming today? She said she didn't want to disturb me, even though I asked her to please disturb me, early and often, if her plans changed. That was the only child besides my own who would have been in my care today, so I'm annoyed that I got up earlier than usual for nothing.

Another grievance. I live in Colorado, so people should be able to drive in the snow here, right? It's the Rockies, after all...they shoot commericals here about all things manly and tough, like big off-road trucks, ATV's, cattle, and the like. I've been curiously watching out my window as drivers slip and slide all over, either taking it way too fast or not getting up enough momentum to get anywhere. We live on a corner, and the way the UPS guy rounded it yesterday, I'm wondering if I should keep the kids in the back half of the house so we're protected when he comes crashing through the front of the house.

Enough pissing and moaning, though-I'm just not in to doing that for more than a couple of minutes to get it out and move on. I'm now well underway with this marathon training cycle, and tried something new for my Pfitz general aerobic run with strideouts yesterday. I have to do most of these weekday runs on a treadmill, since my choices are exceptionally early or exceptionally late so that another responsible adult is available to keep an eye on the little turkeys. Anything longer than a few miles on a treadmill feels as awesome as a trip to the dentist to me, but it's typically my only option during the week.

I recently read about another runner breaking up treadmill boredom by doing what probably has an actual technical name, but what I now refer to as "we go up up up, we go down down down" (after an annoying song a friend's child looooooooooves to sing until it's permanently embedded in my brain). I gave it a try last night, and holy moly, instant boredom buster! Nothing fancy...I just started at my usual, middle of the road GA pace, then increased the pace a notch every .25 miles for each quarter mile interval. As I started mile two, I held that pace for a quarter mile, and then stepped back down. Not only did this really make time fly, but it gave me little surges that didn't take anything more out of me. Each two-mile cycle of up and down passed quickly and suddenly I was ready for my strideouts. I have NO idea why I never tried this before! If the treadmill is not your thing, or it is and you want to mix things up, give this a go.

Tomorrow morning's Christmas Eve, and I'll be joining in with a local tradition of a few of the female runners in this area. They go on an early morning run in Santa hats, reindeer antlers, or some other Christmasy costume, and then come back to the home of one of the runners for brunch. They even cover our full riverfront trail loop, which is roughly the distance I needed to do anyway midweek, so I'm excited to be doing something besides a solitary treadmill run. I found some cheap light-up Christmas socks that are delightfully tacky, and will wear them along with my Santa hat.

I have one special shout-out and kudos today, too. I've got a friend who pops in to my blog sometimes, and she recently ran her own personal 5K race on her treadmill after embarking on the Couch to 5K program. There were times when she didn't think she could do it along the way, but she did, on her own, without course support or cheering crowds-which I think is all the more impressive because that's just a runner and their body working together! You know who you are, you kicked butt, and it's an awesome thing. Love the exclamation point on the 5K race, too, in that moment of "did I cover the distance or not?" and adding the extra .1 to be absolutely certain. All runners know a little something about running math, and have stories of trouble combining running with thinking about pace and distance.

I hope everyone has a fun and memorable Christmas, and special thoughts for those who are struggling with any issues or problems during this time. Run long, run strong.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hurts So Good!

Oh yeah, baby. I am feeling the confidence boost of not giving in to the fear of running "fast (for me, relatively speaking)."

Last night was my first Pfitz lactate threshold run of this training cycle. I'd nonchalantly visited the McMillan training calculator page earlier in the day to figure my training pace based on most recent results, and reality knocked me upside the head when I discovered the pace range I should be hitting now. Couple the more brisk pace with the fact that I had to do it in the evening, on the treadmill, and I was a little scared.

I ran the first few miles on a relatively brisk clip, and then started the first of four miles at the prescribed 15K to half marathon race pace. The instinct to reach up and power down the treadmill speed was strong at first. I fought the urge to do the easiest thing and power down a bit, telling myself to just relax and see how long I could hold that pace. Then, if absolutely necessary, power down-but keep repeating that "faster you run, faster you're done" mantra. The truth of the matter is also that if I want the best odds for a BQ in April, I've really GOT to push myself and do things that are uncomfortable during training.

The first two miles went decently, but then I started to doubt myself. I opted for a quick attitude adjustment at this point, choosing to begin counting off laps for certain people. Four laps were for various individuals with serious health issues who either cannot run now, or couldn't run in the past due to those issues. The final four were for each of my four kids. I couldn't believe it when the last mile was completed....these tempo runs were a bit of a struggle last summer and fall. They feel better now, relatively speaking.

After my run, I had a nice bowl of the Tired Daddy's crock pot chili and a True Blonde pale ale (whoops.....so much for that "no beer during the week" thing), and slept like a log overnight. Pfitz calls for a four mile recovery run today, but I am planning to gently boost my mileage this time around, and will do five or six instead. The other tweak here is that I'll take those easy miles VERY easy so that the medium long run that follows isn't an exercise in futility.

I'm coming back to edit this post, because I can't believe I forgot to include my big news for the day. I officially ponied up my money and registered for the Eisenhower Marathon in Abilene, Kansas on April 11th! We already had lodging arrangements, and my Dad's made his plane reservations to come hang out with the little monkeys while Frank and I make the trip, but I'd really been itching to make it official. I feel rededicated to training as it is, but parting with hard-earned money really helps add to that focus.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All We Are Is Dust In The Wind

Oh man-that wind sure blew me this way and that today! This is probably a good thing, since it's not just a Kansas stereotype....there's a very real chance I could run my April marathon in gusting winds.

Today was a thirteen miler for me, and first medium long outdoor run of the winter in the "Spidey Tights," as my husband calls them. (I prefer to holler "honey.....WHERE is my SUPER SUIT?!?" when I wear them.) Those cw-x Stabilyx tights leave nothing to the imagination, but I don't care. They wrap and support muscles and joints as well as advertised, and I ran all last winter with nothing but typical minor aches and pains that all runners experience.

My pacing was really good on the middle miles and kind of dropped off in the final few miles, mostly due to those gusting winds. Overall, the run was probably still paced a little faster than my second week of marathon training for MCM, so I would say that I am on track to shoot for a 3:40 marathon goal by the end of this training cycle, even though I am not there today.

In other news, the Canyonlands lottery just closed, so in the next week we should hear if my oldest daughter, 9 years old, was drawn for the 5-miler. She ran this as one of two races last year beyond the 5K distance (the Bolder Boulder 10K being the other race), and had a lot of fun, along with scoring an age group placement. We divided and conquered last year (I ran the half marathon), but if she is drawn this year, we've already decided to run together this year. She saw how cool the Kokopelli trophies for age group winners last year were, and decided she wants as much help as possible from Mom with pacing to try to earn one this time around.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Living Up To My Blog Title Today

I'm in my second week of a new marathon training cycle and due to changes in my daily schedule, I can't run on the treadmill during my younger kids' naps anymore. Today's Pfitz schedule calls for a medium-long ten mile run, and of course, it's also the night of the annual winter concert at my 9- and 6-year-olds' school. The run can't get moved to tomorrow evening because that's adult ballet, and darnit, I paid for that class. I'm not skipping it. The only real option is to lay out my shoes, running clothes and water bottle by the treadmill, making it as easy as possible to get started quickly once we are back from the concert.

Yippee! Can you feel my excitement? Running right before bedtime is a runner's dream, right?

On the upside of things, I had a good progression run on Monday. I'm going to monkey around with more progression runs over the next four months, and see if it helps me fight the fade in the final miles at Eisenhower. I don't want to be desperate and trying to squeak in under the wire again, and I think progression runs may give me a physical and psychological boost beyond mile 20.

And now...off to check out my 4-year-old son's monster truck action coming at me from the dining room (and it's not even Sunday Sunday SUNDAY!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's Not Just About Me, And My Dream of Doing Nothing-The Winter Sun 10K Race Report

Okay, the poorly kept secret is out. I am a huge fan of the movie Office Space. ;)

That's literally how I felt going into this race. A month ago, I was dreaming of a BQ-on Saturday, I was sucking down coffee at 5:30 a.m. with zero motivation to get in the car, drive down to Moab and run a 10K. My motivation to do anything besides phone it in could be described as less than zero. At my recent turkey trot 5K, I went in like gangbusters, big dreams of a 5K PR, but felt kind of lousy while running and didn't come up with the race I'd hoped for. I had made arrangements, though, with two friends to ride down together for Winter Sun, so it didn't matter what I wanted to do with my Saturday (and maybe this is why I made the plans...to get myself out the door and down to Moab).

My friend Suzanne was coming in to meet me at my home at 6:30 a.m.. She lives an hour east of me, and I live four hours from nowhere, as my father likes to tell me every time he tries to fly out west for visits with my family. She was also coming off a fall marathon, as well as an injury she suffered while running said marathon. We're in the same age group and have some ridiculously spot-on PR's at a variety of distances.

When she made it to town, we headed over to pick up Carl, who lives just around the corner from me. Carl had not initially registered for Winter Sun, essentially citing a lack of enjoyment with his racing and running at the time. He'd been saying how great his last few weeks of runs and most recent races had been, though, so I decided to poke him with a stick, sending him an email on Friday reminding him that there was still a seat in my car if he was hankering for a last minute entry into the race. There was a recent development that members of our local running club could pick up a guaranteed entry into the Canyonlands Half Marathon or 5-miler by running Winter Sun. As a club member, this was extra incentive to run, so he decided that he was in as well, and hence we had the Party Prius loaded up and ready to go at 6:45.

When we got to Moab, it was sunny, crisp-cold and clear, and just so much nicer than last year's race weather. RWOL sometime-poster Josh, who lives in Utah, was also there so we all got to meet up and chat before the race. I got warmed up and did feel pretty good then, but wasn't thinking too hard about the race. I think the comment I made about how I was feeling is that "my give a (darn) was broken."

I think about 350 or so people ran this race last year. This year, there were close to 600, probably in part due to the nice weather. We were lined up somewhere in the middle of the waiting pack, and I still was very much in the "whatever" mindset. I just wanted to beat last year's 48:59 time, and crack into the top ten in my age group this year (I was 11th out of about 67 or so last year). As my mileage is close to double where it was a year ago, a fast course ahead of me, and with results in the past six months that would predict surpassing that time, it was not exactly a "pushing it" goal for me. The gun went off, and off we went.

It was rather congested in the first half mile but I kind of wiggled here and there when there was room to move, but took it easy and didn't kill myself trying to push my pace or pass as many people as possible early on. First mile: 7:52.

The second mile includes a couple of ups and downs, and the only significant hills on the course. My breathing was good and the body just felt decent in general so I just tried to use good downhill form and move steadily on the uphills. Mile 2: 7:17

The middle miles were pretty nice. I felt like I was working really hard yet still enjoying being out there, and not wishing I was somewhere else. I would pass runners here and there yet I wasn't on a mission to do so-if I came upon one I'd creep on past and keep on running my own race.

Mile 3: 7:58
Mile 4: 7:11
Mile 5: 7:06

In the final mile last year, I felt pretty lousy and got passed by a couple of runners. As I entered the final mile this year, I was able to overtake a few more runners, and then really started kicking and pushing myself to finish strong. The last lap is around the track at the high school, and there's a race photo of my last year coming in looking like the poster child for people who hate running. It was pretty ugly a year ago. Seriously...I looked like I was having convulsions or seizures as I looked down at my Garmin in those photos, thinking "please put me out of my misery."

Today, I was certainly ready to be done by the time I hit the track, but I just had better control of my running at the end and broke the last lap into short stretches without looking back or thinking about the whole thing. I also didn't want to get caught by anyone I'd passed in the last mile and hold on to my position-I really wanted a top ten age group finish and didn't know how many women were ahead of me.

Mile 6: 7:14
Last .2: 1:47 (7:03 pace)

Final time: 46:24, a new 10K PR by 2:35! Granted, we don't have tons of opportunities to race 10K's right around here, but a PR is a PR so I will take that.

They don't have age groups broken out on the website other than the top three, but know I was 14 out of 279 among women, and counting down on those results, it appears I was 5th in my age group so I am very, very pleased with that.

Carl, Suzanne and I had a very nice lunch at the Moab Brewery and hit the road back to our neck of the woods. Carl had a great race too-he had his best 10K in three years. Did I mention that Carl is 75, and a cancer survivor? He came in in under an hour, and said that he had the same type of feel-good run I'd experienced out there. Suzanne, who ran very little coming in to this race due to her foot injury, had an outstanding race. It was not a PR for her but very close to how she did last year, when she was in a "racing machine" mindset and not dealing with injuries. So, it'll be just uphill from here for her now that she's back from the injury and getting back into training again.

This race is tremendously well-run and organized so it was SO worth it in the end to make the trip, even though I was dragging my feet before heading out the door. It was just a very joyful day as it wound up NOT being about me, and not caring about the race. That sun did shine brightly on us during the race, and it wound up being a great day with friends and acquaintances getting together to share a run together in a beautiful setting.

I'm looking forward to going back again next December, and who knows...maybe tricking myself into thinking I don't care before races is good for me. When it comes down to it, it really would be just tricking myself, because as soon as I get moving I realize how much I DO care, and that I shouldn't waste the opportunity when I'm out there running by not caring.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hoping there really is some Winter Sun in Moab!

I haven't checked the weather forecast for tomorrow, but really hope the race lives up to its moniker, and doesn't wind up being the Snow Blowing Sideways 10K. I suppose that might be good preparation for the Eisenhower Marathon, though. April weather in Kansas=total crap shoot.

The Winter Sun 10K was a race effort of which I was very proud last year. It was the last event prior to my partial thyroidectomy and a necessary four week break from running following surgery, and my motivation was high to go out with a bang. Of course, I got sick in the days prior to the event, and didn't meet my goal of cracking the top ten of my age group, but ran hard and finished with nothing left. That's a good feeling regardless of time or placement.

This year, I am riding down with my friend Suzanne, who lives an hour east of my home. We didn't know each other last year but discovered while checking out race results that we came in back-to-back at Winter Sun, with some other crazy-close finishes, including the 2008 Canyonlands Half Marathon. We both are running Winter Sun coming off of our first marathons in October, so this ought to be interesting. Coming off five weeks of marathon recovery and beginning a new marathon training cycle, I'm still running higher mileage than this time a year ago, and have had some better results at shorter distances without a dramatic difference in perceived exertion. I think I can run the race faster this year between increased weekly mileage, being free of illness, and not having last year's worry of surgery a week later. We'll see if those factors result in a new 10K PR this year.

Above all, I just want to have fun running tomorrow. The course direction and race management at the Winter Sun are outstanding, the shuttles to the start are well organized and there are nice door prizes (including coveted Guaranteed Entries in to Canyonlands!). Last year, my friend Jess couldn't find her gear bag after the race and the race director personally tracked down the runner with a similarly numbered bag who had accidentally picked it up. If you'll excuse the bad pun, they really go the extra mile to make this a quality event for those of us out here in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah, making it well worth the drive.

I'm editing this post to include one little unrelated footnote. At my husband's urging, I recently emailed Steve Runner, host of the Phedippidations podcast, with a link to my Marine Corps Marathon race report. My email to him was basically a thank you note, as there was a very helpful mental trick I heard him mention in an archived episode as he was running a marathon. The mental trick/mind game just made sense to me, and I used it with success through most of my running of MCM. It was cool to actually get an email back from Steve, because his podcasts often kept me company on my treadmill during the week, or outdoors on the weekend during long runs.

Well, imagine my surprise this morning when I did my usual Friday check to see if the new episode was available for download....there's a link to my blog in the show notes! I've always enjoyed listening to other people's race reports on the show, and it was a pleasant surprise to be included this week (especially since that MCM race report is as long as War and Peace ;) ). I figured I'd go ahead and share the direct link to the race report, as it is archived back in my October posts now.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Turkey Trot 5K

I'm a few days late with notes on this race, but then again, I'm always behind on blog race reports, so for me that's right on time.

This was the second annual running of our city's turkey trot. Strangely enough, we never had a local race on turkey day even though this is the largest city on the western slope of Colorado. The race took place about two minutes from my doorstep so there was really no reason NOT to be there. Being that I'm between marathon training cycles, and that almost all 5K's around here are events where I don't race, and instead pace one or the other of my two oldest girls, I figured that this was a good rare opportunity to throw caution to the wind. My plan was to run as hard as I could from the start and hang on as long as I could.

I did not run the race last year as we were in Park City, Utah, visiting friends. I had been told, though, that it was a pancake flat and fast course covering the roads and paved trails in our riverfront trail and Connected Lakes area. Awesome-today might be a PR day for me. At least, that's what I was thinking beforehand.

My oldest daughter and I lined up for the start on the overcast, cool, but not yet rainy day. We'd decided to lone-wolf it this one time, so we wished each other good luck and were off a few minutes later down the road near the physical therapy clinic where all the runners, friends and family gathered for the race. First mile: 7:00. So far so good.

Well...imagine my surprise when a course marshall directs us off the road and onto muddy, wood chippy, slightly rolling single track trail through the woods. (Note to self....take a look at the course map next time.) This slows me down a bit but it's a good thing because I took the opening mile a bit too fast. It was a bit more humid than I'm used to in our area due to all the rain overnight, and I didn't exactly feel like doing jumping jacks and backflips. Mile 2: 7:38.

When I re-entered the paved trail portion of the route, I was remembering why I don't love the feeling of an all-out 5K effort, and why I leap at the chance to pace the girls whenever asked. Luckily, I could hear the announcer on the mic at the finish so that was enough motivation to say "suck it up, sister," and keep moving along. Mile 3: 7:40. When I saw the finish approaching, I tried to kick it and lengthen that stride as much as possible. Last .1 split was :38. The guys at the finish yelled "23:05" as I finished, which would've been a one second PR for me. My Garmin, though, read 23:06, and when I got my time card it said 23:10. The sub-23 mark eluded me again, but I'll take that on what was a variety-filled cross country course, NOT a pancake flat road race.

I was handed a sweet potato pie at the finish, and my very intelligent husband suggested that we put that in the freezer to save for Christmas (and save me from myself-I would've wolfed that thing down and nobody else in the family likes sweet potato pie). I watched for my 9-year-old daughter to come in, and got to watch an exciting three-way race to the finish between her, the daughter of a friend of mine, and some third girl who was unaware that she now had a target on her back as the other two worked to catch her at the finish. Alexis finished about thirty seconds faster than the last 5K she'd completed a month earlier, and she was quite proud of herself because this course was more challenging and without the wall-to-wall friends and family of GOTR races. She had some tall runner step in front of her approaching the finish, so her Dad, AKA the family race photographer, wasn't able to catch the action, but she was nice enough to re-create the big finish for Dad's camera as she cooled down a few minutes later.

All in all, we had a nice time at the race, and I can't think of a better way to get the metabolism revving prior to a day of eating and football watching. And now, back to my regular programming-the beginning of training for my spring marathon and the quest to eliminate six seconds over the course of 26.2.