Running for a Cure/ Turkey Trot

I just completed my first 5k since June- the Rhinebeck Turkey Trot to benefit Ferncliff Forest, and man, I miss running races. It was a small event, but my time was 24:33–slower than my PR of  20min for a 5k, but I was happy with my result.

Note: it is not advisable to sprint a mile to get to the starting line of the race from your house because you are running behind on time. I’m always early for races, except for this one. Even still, the time wasn’t too bad, and I came second in my age group.

I’ve decided to sign up for the NYC 1/2 marathon in March, as good preparation for my race in June (since the end of Mooseman has a 1/2 marathon). My friend just completed the Philly Marathon for the American Cancer Society, and there are lots of different charities out there you can run for. When I did the Boston Marathon, I ran for the Boston College Campus School. After learning about a great aunt who passed away from a brain tumor which spread to her lungs and bone, I feel that the ACS is the charity I want to run for most. Plus, I’ve lost many loved ones and friends to cancer, know people who have beat it, and know people who are still struggling against it.

Below is a link to my personal page:

Molly’s Page

I’ve never run in New York before, so this will be a first. And there’s nothing better than running for something that’s close to your heart.

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Give Thanks

I cannot believe it is already Thanksgiving. Soon, it will be Christmas, and then, a whole New Year.

This post is not about biking, running, nursing, or swimming, although those activities may peak through.

It’s about thanksgiving, and being thankful.

This past year, or most of ’09 and ’10, were a couple of the most grueling years of my life–both physically and emotionally. It seemed as if one thing after another happened; feelings of being overwhelmed and as if I was never getting “a break.” I constantly found myself thinking, “Okay, God, give it to me, I can take it. What’s one more thing added to my plate going to do?” I felt like I was going to crack at any moment.

But I’ve learned over the years, without struggles, without pain, without tears– you cannot grow as an individual. If you make no mistakes, there’s no room for improvement. Making no wrong turns gives you no elbow room for right turns.

And, for that, I’m thankful. (In the midst of it, maybe I wasn’t.) I’m a stronger person now than I was a year ago.

I’m thankful I was able to spend my grandmother’s last days by her side, even if at the time I was jobless and physically worn down, unable to finish a 30minute jog without feeling out of breath.

I’m thankful for the job I have now–my wonderful coworkers–who have turned into friends and teachers.

I’m thankful for my family here, and overseas. I don’t know what I would have done without their unfailing love, guidance, and wisdom. Phone calls at 0200, teary eyed over life. Hour long talks over tea in the kitchen on 51 S. Chestnut Street in New Paltz. I’m thankful for being given the opportunity to spend more time with a cousin I never really knew growing up, who now has become the brother I never had.

My family is far from being a perfect family, but I know they’ll always be there.

I’m thankful for my wonderful friends who I’ve met along my journey–their advice on issues that only friends can give, their spare moments to listen to me ramble on about nothing. I’m thankful for  Thea’s birthday dinner, flowers from friends. I’m thankful for five hour long hikes, and friends not having either allergic reactions to or dying from the energybar I’m giving them for their hypoglycemic attacks. I’m thankful for all hikes, runs, rides, nights out.

I’m thankful that my friends can come to me for anything, at any time, and know I’m there for them, willing to listen and help as much as I can.

I’m thankful for my health. That I can breathe in the sweet, crisp autumn air, hear the leaves rustling in the wind, smell wood burning from fireplaces, feel the jagged edges of rocks when climbing. I’m thankful that I have the ability to run  and ride again, and now swim.

And I’m thankful for the little things:

  • the guys at the shop who fixed my tire and spent time teaching me how to use clip in pedals
  • my crazy cat who picks fights with her reflection in the window
  • State Troopers and friendly Dutchess County Sheriffs who are there to help when bad things go awry on rides
  • an elderly man who helped me find my car in the dark, packed, Walmart parking lot (yes, I once lost my car)
  • a friend, willing to help put up lights around my house.

This holiday today isn’t just about the turkey and trimmings, like Christmas is not simply about the gifts.  It’s about being thankful for what you have in your life,  and where you are right now.  It’s about family, friends. It’s about how far you’ve come, and how much there is in store for you in the future.

What are you thankful for this season?

I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving!

Dutchess County Sheriff, New York State Trooper…

…Who else will I meet while cycling?

It was too good to be true to go for a ride yesterday. The weather was too nice, and I was actually up during the day to experience sunlight and given the chance to go for a bike ride. I was pumped after not drowning in Bard’s pool, and finished having really fresh, hot, liquid caffeinated perfection at a local shop and discussing racing with a friend (I’m way to addicted to this sport)… I had to go for a ride. My bike was staring at me at home, longing for my love and attention.

But I was not meant to go for a bike ride.

And, please, one of the reasons for this blog is to teach little lessons to others–helpful hints–I have learned along the way. And I write about them, but do I actually do what I suggest? No.

Remember my first bike ride in my cycling shoes with my Aussie friend a couple of months ago and the flat tire? It happened again.

It started out all fine and dandy. Teary eyed, and legs a bit tired from the swim, but I’ll be needing to do these types of training days in the future for the race. I decided to head down route 9 and over to Rhinecliff since most of my riding as of late has been heading north. The ride was great, it felt good to be outside again, until I felt something in my rear tire.

Hmm. That’s interesting.

My speed slowed, and I peeked down back at my tire.

You had better not be flat, I thought.

And speed continued to decrease, and I began to feel every rock in the road, every tiny crack in the pavement. The fluidity and feeling that normal tires should have was no longer there.

Oh f……………

I swear, I have the cleanest language, except for when I’m running or biking.

I had a flat.

And no cell phone. Or spare tube. Or saddle bag. Or money/wallet. Or anything other than chapstick and tissues, for that matter.

I stopped and got off and examined my tire, as cars whizzed by–like I could magically fix a tire by looking at it. Unfortunately, I do not have that magical power, although, it would be a great super power to have if I were to have one.

Hmm. What do I do. I could walk back home (it happened about 4 miles outside of Rhinebeck). But I have cleats, and route 9 is busy. Then I thought, ouu, there is a state trooper barracks a couple hundred yards from here. Maybe they can help.

So, I crossed the four lane road and walked my bike to the trooper barracks. I have never been in a police station before, and really did not know what to expect. I rang the door bell, praying someone was there, and a NYS trooper came to the door.

“Hi, I’m really sorry, I just got a flat, and don’t have a tube or my cell with me, can I use your phone?”

“Is that your bike over there?” The trooper asked.

“Yea,”

“Sure, come on in.”

This trooper was so nice. She picked up the phone and handed it to me and asked, “what’s the number?”

And that’s when I realized, I have no phone numbers memorized. They are all in my cell. And, who would come to pick me up? It’s a work day. Crap.

“Umm, wait, I don’t know.” Man, I felt like an idiot.

“All your numbers are in your phone, right?” She asked.

“Yes…Umm, can you call a taxi?”

“Well, where do you need to go?”

“Just to outside the village on 308 where I live.”

“Oh, that’s so close, hold on.” She put the phone back and then went to the back and talked on her radio. A minute later, returned to the front desk.

“Can you wait ten minutes till my Sargent comes back with a truck–I’ll drive you, it makes no sense to get a taxi if you are so close.”

“Ohh that would be awesome, thank you so much. You have no idea. I was going to walk back–”

“Oh route 9 with cleats? No, no, too dangerous.”

I love NYS troopers.

So, I spent ten minutes sitting in the trooper barracks in my cycling gear, wondering how I ended up, again, coming into contact with the Dutchess County Law on a bike ride. I don’t know how these things happen to me. They just do.

A couple minutes later, an officer in a suit came out, “Flat? And you don’t have a spare?”

“Yes sir.”

“It’s happened to me.” Man, why do these officers have to be incredibly good looking, and be cyclists themselves, and I’m always in cycling attire when I meet them?

“Don’t worry, it happens, just hold on for a couple minutes.”

I waited, and looked around. Low and behold, the female officer came out and told me to meet her outside with my bike.

Mr. Attractive in a suit came out and signaled for me to come to the truck.

“How hard is it to take that front wheel off?” He asked.

“Oh, not hard,” Thank goodness I know what I’m doing with bikes. I took off the front wheel and helped put it in the truck.

My new best friends

“There you go, take care.” He went back inside, and I got into the truck with Ms. Really Nice Trooper.

“Thank you so so much, you have no idea what an idiot I feel like now.”

“It’s okay, don’t worry.”

And she drove me to my house!

Voila, my second run-in with law enforcement. I really have no idea how these things happen to me when I ride.

So, fellow readers, please, please learn from my mistake and follow the guidance I am about to share.

1) ALWAYS carry a cell phone if you have one, or, at least some telephone numbers of people you know

2) ALWAYS bring a spare tube and saddle bag with some sort of pump. Lord knows you’ll get a flat when you have nothing with you. And money.

3) State Troopers really are friendly people.

4) If you are going to go for a bike ride with me, just be prepared. You never know what’s going to happen.

Yea, I change tires in my living room...Mother would be proud

Watch Out, Lance….

…Molly G. is speeding up.

Following my recent post about the three tests I had to do for my trainer/coach Dorothy, I have now completed two of them–the bike 10mile time trial, and the swimming test. And, I’m going to tell you about them. The times, however, are between my coach and myself.  Maybe one day I will share them with others.

1. Time Trial: Pro Cyclists- be warned!

Lance Armstrong on a Time Trial during the TdF a couple years ago

 

The weather, thank goodness, was bearable–it seems like forever since I have ridden outside (have I mentioned I dislike riding on a trainer indoors? Does not even come close to being outside). It was chilly, but I kept bundled up, and did not have to worry about my water getting warm! I started off on route 308, just outside my house to the “fork in the road” (literally, there is a fork in the road in Milan) for my time trial. It was the first time I’ve done a time trial, other than my racing in duathlons, and first time I’ve gone out on a bike ride specifically to go as fast and push as hard as I could for ten miles.

Milan's Fork in the Road

It was painful, not going to lie. If I had aero bars, and a TT bike, and an aerodynamic helmet, I would have been faster (ok I’m done making up excuses for my poor time). It was windy. Bodily fluids were flowing from my nose and eyes with no plans on stopping. If you’ve ever run or biked or hiked or done any physical activity outside with me, you might have noticed that I carry wads of tissues with me. My nose just starts running whenever I do anything, and I am either constantly sniffling or blowing my nose. Really attractive, right? I’m a sad miserable mess in spandex when I ride– nothing attractive about it.

My best friend when doing anything active

At any rate, I did it. And after the ten miles, I decided to continue for a little further, because the weather was so nice. And, as a result of having issues with runny noses, I have mastered the art of removing gloves/blowing my nose/ applying chapstick all while steering clear of cars whilst riding–I’m pretty sure if you pass me while I’m in the midst of it, I look like a clown. And probably do. But those things are small accomplishments in my eyes.

2. Pool

I spent my third morning ever in Bard’s pool yesterday morning, doing test numero deux for my coach: a  2x 100yard fly  sprints. It is amazing how different the muscles used in swimming are. I know in running, you use your legs, as well as arms. And for road cycling, you have to have powerful legs (have you seen the the pro cyclists’s thighs? You can see their rectus femorii, vastus lateralii, and vastus medii–in non-medical terms, thigh muscles, with no problems. Pro cyclists are incredible incredible shape!) But I never realized how much you use your legs in swimming either. And, you use your upper body much more as well. You can sometimes tell if someone is a swimmer by looking at their upper body–they have muscular, broad shoulders. And, now I know why. Swimming is all about upper body, too.

Let me stop here just say, pro athletes in general are in amazing shape. Whether cycler, swimmer, sprinter, triathlete. You can look at them in spandex or swimsuits and say, “Wow, you are in amazing shape. And, attractive. And, can bike, swim, and run. Will you marry me?”

Sorry for that little side note. Back to my swimming. I went to the pool when it just opened for lap time at 0730 and shared a lane with a nice older lady. I warmed up with a couple slow laps (100 yards) and then did sprint numero uno. Holy cow. By my fourth lap of that 100yards (I swim in a 25yard pool), my legs were  burning like they do when I am riding up mountains, and I had to breathe for air with every upstroke. I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing when swimming (I know nothing about the sport, except for how to spot a swimmer, as I mentioned above). When I got to the wall, my heart rate was 188 (somewhat on the higher end of my heart rate training zone for my age) and the time was 2:10–other swimmers, please, no laughing. I could have been faster had I known how to do flip turns. This is the third time I’ve been in a pool for over 13 years, let alone doing laps.

I waited three minutes, as told by Dorothy, and then did the second sprint. She was right when she told me I would hate it. It was horrible. But I did the second one and completed it.

After the two sprints, I decided I needed to spend more time in the pool to get somewhat of a workout in, so I just did laps (total of 20x 100yards, so 2000yards) alternating sprinting and using kickboards. Yes, if you are a swimmer, or coach, or know what you are doing, you probably think I am doing my swim workouts all wrong. That’s why I have Dorothy.

At this time, I’m not too fond of swimming in a pool. Yes, you can stay warm when it is cold outside, and do not need to worry about blowing a flat in your tire (that story will come shortly). But, in a pool, I feel I am getting nowhere. On a bike, or on a run, I am going somewhere, getting close to some destination. But in the pool, you are swimming from one side to the other. Back and forth. Ohh boy, this training for the race in June will be fun fun fun.

And So a New Chapter Begins…

Yesterday afternoon I made my way down to my old ‘hood of New Paltz to meet with the woman who will be training/coaching me for Mooseman in June. Yes, I said it, coach me. For the first time in my life, I have decided to actually train for something. I know in my other posts I’ve written about training. And, I guess it is safe to say that I have attempted to stick to training plans in the past, for marathons, or duathlons, but life just got in the way, and would throw my schedule out of whack and even though I’d continue to run and bike, they were never considered really training. I’ve touched upon that subject mutiple times in posts in the blogs. This daily look into the life of Molly will look at my first meeting with the woman who will whip me into triathlon shape, and prepare me for the hardest race I have yet to compete in.

After looking at different training plans, all of which are quite overwhelming, I came into contact with a fellow night shift nurse who trains for triathlons too. I knew it was possible for people with my schedule to participate in endurance activities (just a couple years ago, a local ER nurse won the S.O.S. Triathlon).  Knowing of someone who is training for the same distance race-a half IronMan, gave me even more hope that I will be able to compete in it.

Our meeting was super–my coach, D., was enthusiastic and full of energy, asking me about my prior races and about my life, trying to grasp a picture of who Molly is. We spend an hour together, going over how the training plans work. Unlike most training plans for ironman distance races, my training plan will be customized to fit my schedule. I told her, days I work, I dont have more than 1-2hrs to train if I want to get any sleep (since I have to work 12hr night shifts). I then told her on my days off I can train longer–3-4hrs. I’ll be giving her my weekly schedule and around that she will figure out when my run workouts will be, my biking, and my time in the dreaded pool. The weekly total of hours spend training will vary, between 10 and then 12 hrs closer to race day. I’m not sure if I am terrified of what I have gotten myself into, or excited, or a mixture of both.

Until next year (in Jan 2011), i’ll be working on base training, getting more time in the pool which is my weakest area of the swim-bike-run race. I might consider getting a coach to help with my swimming technique. Then come early spring, the real hardcore workouts will begin.

I am actually training for something. And I am terrified.

The training will actually start after Thanksgiving. Before then, I was given three tests to do, which can help give D. more information about the person she is working with.

1. I’ll need to do a 10mile time trial on my bike. The only time trials I know of are from watching the pro’s completing their time trials in the Tour De France. Move over Lance Armstrong, here I come! This is so she can get a feel for my speed and heart rate min/max/average throughout the trial.

I'll be getting lots of use out of my Garmin Forerunner

2. I’ll need to complete a one mile sprint, which I can do at Rhinebeck’s High School on their track (that was the first time I found out Rhinebeck has a high school track ). It just so happens D. spent years working out of Rhinebeck, so she knew exactly where I could go to do these tests. With this one miler, I’ll be clocking how fast the  mile is, as well as each lap is (one mile is four laps), and my max and min heart rate.

3. I’m to go to Bard and do 2x 1oo yard sprints at a perceived exertion of 8, time them, and, again, record what my min and max heart rate are.

I have only been in the pool three times in the last month, so this last test should  be really interesting. Even still, watch out Micheal Phelps!

Target Heart Rate Zones

It’s happening! My life for the next 6 1/2 months will be swimming, biking, and running.

Falling star?

 

The little dipper I saw- minus the arrow pointing to the north star and the lines...

While being up unusually early for a Saturday (my body still has not seemed to have adjusted to working night shifts), I decided to go for a run at four am. Maybe that’s not so unusual for early Saturday night workers, or late Friday night owls, but for a run, it’s early. Mega reflective gear and head lamp on (boy, I won’t forget my hat next time), I was off. Mid way through my run, down a street with no road lights–like most roads in the area, I looked up at the sky and actually stopped in my tracks. I don’t usually notice the sky when I’m running in the dark, because I am so focused on the road. This time, for some reason, it really struck me. The sky was lit with millions of glittering stars. I turned off the headlamp and just stood there, staring up at that magnificent sky. Lo and behold, I saw a falling star (or, to be more correct, meteorite). No, it didn’t shoot across the sky, it fell.Spectacular. Never had I seen the Little Dipper so distinctly, nor Orion’s Belt with such clarity. Yes, I’ve seen gorgeous sunrises and sunsets when running, but rarely have I seen the stars. It was if a painter just took millions of stars and splattered them with a paint brush across the sky. It was breathtaking.

I know, short post. And, I apologize, no advice on running. That’ll come later

When was the last crazy post written?

November 2010
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