Thursday, August 25, 2016

To my Sweet Summer (roo)

Disclaimer - If you are not a triathlete, I suspect that you may find me even more crazy after this post.  That's ok.  I suspect every one of us out there has our own 'roo.

Well, it's been one of those weeks.  An out of sorts week.  A "I want to pull my hair out and scream obscenities as I quit my job" week (I love my job.  Just not this week).  A "how in the hell is my baby going to preschool orientation and my other baby turning 1" emotional week.  And, of course, a fucking taper week for my upcoming half.  A week full of first world problems, I am well aware.  But a draining week.  

Then I lost, what to me, may as well be a family member.  No, no one died - I'm being melodramatic, and I know it.  But we sold off my beloved tri bike - she went to an amazing new home, and I know she will be loved.  But I will miss her.
Beautiful girl.

I first got "Summer" , my tri bike, back in 2008 after my road bike bit the dust in a car accident.  She was a brand new Quntana Roo Chiquilo - women's specific, shiny pink, and frickin gorgeous.  I called her "Summer" because my cat, Summer, was nicknamed "roo".  Don't ask.

Summer's namesake!
Summer and I had a great run -  from my first Half Ironman to my first full Ironman in Placid....she was the bike I rode the morning I got married.  The bike I rode all through both pregnancies (indoors of course!0 and the bike I rode the day before I went into labor with each kiddo. She was the bike I rode the day after my fur summeroo passed...after 17 years of friendship, the two wheeled Summer caught my tears as I mourned the loss of my fur kiddo. 

 She took me through 8 Sodus tri's, and quite fittingly, had her last ride on that iconic and special course where I first dove into the world of triathlon.  

Rob n the 'roo
She had approximately 35,000 miles on her over the last 8 years...more than most cars.  And she has some awesome life left in her for another racer, I know.  But I will miss her.  Without getting into it, it was sort of unexpected that I sold her - I knew it was time, and it was the right decision.  Right now I see myself doing tri's, but I'm done for 2016 and now was the time to explore a new bike that fits my needs as a racer now.

Summer, I'll miss you - you were an epic bike and I thank you for all of your faithful years!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sodus Tri 2016: Because you know I'm all about that run, bout that run...

Ahhh, Sodus.  It seems this race is the one constant in my life.  It's the race that started all this madness off (yep, still thanking Greg for that 12 years later!) and the one race that we make sure is on our calendar every single year.  This is the race that I jumped into Lake Ontario in 2005 with no concept of what the heck a tri really was, the race I did in 2009 as a newlywed (one week post wedding!) and the race I did as a new mom in 2013 (5 weeks PP).  This race has seen me through everything.  It holds my worst time (2:01, first tri) and my PR (1:21).  It's close, friendly, and we have done it every year in one shape or form (yes, I did my own race last year, as a non competitor!) since then.  This year, it was not about the PR.  As somewhat of a slacker in the tri department, I was well aware that if you want to do well in a have to train.  And despite my best intentions, all that promising I did post Pittsford resulted in....more running.  The pool sucks here (no consistency), and lately,  I've been running more than anything.  So rather than shooting for a PR, I decided to hang on in the swim, not die on the bike, and PR on the run (current run PR 25:05)

Pre Race:  We left the kiddos with gramma and a friend (such a wise choice) and headed out to the point.  Picked up packets, stared at the muck of choppy mess that was the lake, and got ready to do battle.  With an hour to go, the RD announced that the swim would be in the bay whih is...unheard of.  Seriously.  In 11 years, we have always thought this would be wise....turns out, the town never let them do it.  So they asked the sheriff.  Kudos, boots, kudos.  Dipped in the water for a quick warm up, tore my wetsuit (shit!) and got ready to rock it.

Swim: 17:56.  Seems that when you make the water extend the swim.  According to the 5th place OA, the swim was 950m instead of 750, and I believe it.  I was figureing about a 15:00 swim, so I felt bummed, but when everyone else has a 3 minute longer swim, you roll with it.  Swim felt a bit more congested...there were quite a few more women in the mix, and the bay was smaller.  There was also a significant sand bar that made swimming pretty rough, but other than that, no biggie.  I felt comfortable, albiet slow for me.  And when I checked my watch post swim, the PR was off the table.  Hey, nothing like relieving stress early.

Bike: 42:14.  Hit the bike feeling good - helmet on correctly, check (yes, I am the moron that put it on backwards in 2014) and I was ready to rock.  Hit the small hills in the beginning without much incident, and settled in to ride.  I had crap luck with my bike in Pittsford, but Greg tuned it for me, so it shifted nicely, felt great, no worries.  I didn;t really have the speed, but held 20ish on the flats and didn't dip too low on the hills.  Passed 7 women and coasted into T2 in 42 minutes and change, about 2 minutes off my bike PR, but feeling good.

Run: 24:05:  YESSS.  The run.  I glanced at my watch runnign out of T2, and knew I needed a sub 27 to get under 1:30, which was my B goal....(A goal to PR, such a pipe dream).  I knew I could do it, but a sub 25 was really the goal.  I passed one woman coming right out of T2, and settled into the run.  I felt pretty strong until .5 mile when a woman about my age passed me like I was walking.  Hmmm. ...keep her in my sights!!!  Halfway in I was at 12:25 so...turn it up a gear!  I passed said age grouper at mile 2, and we ran together for a bit.  We confirmed that we were both ...33.  Game. On.  At 2.75, I felt awesome, told her I was turning it up and to come catch me.  I blasted it in the finish line (kept her at bay!) at 24:10, a 7:48 pace and almost a full minute PR.  YESSSS.

Overall time was 1:27, no PR by any means, but I was proud of my run and that's what I came to do.  I also now had something cool to request for my birthday (a wetsuit, lol) and a sweet 2nd AG award, 8th woman OA.  Seeing as the woman that won my AG came in 2nd with a 1:15 and did Kona I felt...pretty legit.

Sodus, you are an awesome race.  Every year you throw it down in some way, and I remember why I love tris.  Just next time...I promise to train.  For real.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Month 11: Oh My God....What Happened to the Baby??

Wow, kiddo.  Seems like just yesterday, we were heading off to Highland in our Mickey shirts (blame bro) to welcome our new kiddo....and now, here I am, with you and said bro hanging out, playing cars in the next room, a first birthday party invite on the fridge, and a scrapbook in the making on the table next to me, filled with 335 days of the Biz.....where did the time go??  (I feel I am a broken record.  I say the same thing every month.  But it's do the days fly by so fast???)  Well, like it or not, here we are.  The last monthly edition of you, the Biz, by the months old month t this time, you will be the big ONE year old lady!!  Wow, wowee, wowzers.  Insane.

Size - 21 pounds.  You are as healthy as can be, little one.  Next month we will find out how tall you are, but when I even attempt to feed you on the boppee (so hilarious), you just fall off.  Such a far cry from the little nugget who basically fit in my two hands!

Likes:  Basketball!  We have a little fisher price set and you love dinging the basket (sometimes you even throw the ball in, too, lol.  You love reading, playing cars with bro (you are getting good at it!) racing in the czy coupe, and playing with your bulldozer.  You also have a weird fascination with the toilet, which is gross yet funny....we call you Mario behind your back (ok, to your face, too!!)

Dislikes: Still not too much other than the obvious.  You aren't a fan of canteloupe or bananas, which is kinda weird, but in the food dept (more below) anything else is A OK.

Sleep: Seems to have hit a regression this month, dammit.  You go down usually about 730 like a dream....then wake up anytime from 11pm to 2am screaming for me.  Yes, only me.  Who needs sleep anyways?  I guess I can do that in 18 years.  Maybe.  But the upshot is, we do get soem good snuggles in.  Even if you want to talk about boys at 2am.  Too soon, Biz.  Too soon.

Eating:  OHMYGOD.  All the things.  Except, of course, cantaloupe and bananas!  You put away steak and burgers like a dude, and you adore cheese (don't blame ya).  Grapes are fun, and of course, the old standby, yog.  MMM..  my little nomser.  I got my email of the month from strong moms, talking about how its about time to wean from purees...HAH.  Like, 4 months ago.  Such a brat you are.  And I love it :)


Stairs!  You climb them like a champ.  I am in serious trouble.
Boat ride:  We went to the 1000 islands for a long weekend, and rode in a big boat! You loved it.
Vacation:  See above - We had a blast on vacation, you loved exploring and hamming it up for everyone.
Standing, unassisted:  Walking any day now, running soon to come I am sure.
Clapping:  You are your own biggest fan.
High Fives:  You love them!  They make you giggle, you get so impressed with yourself!

Best Moment: Watching you zoom up those stairs.  It was sort of bittersweet, because i know the baby days are nearly over....but watching you explore and take chances, and the big grin you get when you scale those steps....just melts my heart, kiddo.  Mommy is so darn proud of you!

Looking Forward to:  Your first birthday!  Invites are out, and we are going to have a book party, complete with your fave, Sophie (and all the giraffes).  I can't wait to see you in your pink party dress and, of course, said party dress all smeared with cake :-).

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Walworth 5k 2016 - Hills? What Hils?

Well hello there, faithful readers!  And I do mean faithful.  Every time I decide to get sorta regular about this blog (hey, I really do enjoy writing, I promise) something happens.  Toddlers.  Baby teething.  Work deadlines.  Relatives in crisis.  20 mile training runs (yeah, I know.  But I could have a worse addition, amiright??.  It seems there is never, ever enough time in the day.  I've been off all week, as our nanny is in Quebec for a wedding, and "write blog post" has been sitting there on the to do list since Sunday, among the other fun household stuff like staining the deck, finally ditching the maternity clothes out of my closet, and pulling out the wedding dinnerware I got for a shower gift in 2009.  No, I didn't stutter.  I'm sure my mother in law is smiling down on me, as we did battle over those plates for years.  What?  If I got divorced, I didn't want to feel bad.  KIDDING.  My plates worked just fine, so why open the new ones?  I'm a weirdo, but half of our shower gifts, including some nice towel sets, pyrex, and a bunch of glassware are sitting in the guest room closet, just waiting for the old stuff to break.  It feels kinda nice to open new stuff a few times a year :-)  In this case, our kitchen is being re done to a cherry theme (pics as I progress!) so the cherry berry corning ware had to come out.  It makes me smile, so it's worth it.

Anyways.  Enough rambling.  It's been a great week off with the kiddos - we have played, hung out together, snuggled, and I've gotten in some house stuff that's been bugging me for months, along with some quality runs (it's amazing what having a sleeping kiddo does for your long run pace - I threw down a sub 7 minute mile on my last mile of a 17 mile LR because the baby was waking up.  Sweet).  We head to Alex Bay tomorrow for a long weekend - my best friend from high school has a few family cottages up there , so it will be a mini reunion with him, his family, and one of my other buddies that hung out with us.  No reception, no laptop, water front, kayaks, beer, and cards.  Perfect.

BUT.  This was supposed to be a race report, right?  Right!  I'll make it short and sweet.  Last weekend I raced the Walworth 5k - this race is super awesome because it's exactly 2.3 miles from my house.  It's only 20 bucks, benefits the Lions Club, and we always know people there.  I did it last year for the first time (it aways conflicted somehow before then!) and at 7 months pregnant, threw down a 30:12.  It's bitch of a course, with a quarter mile 8% grade hill within the first 200 yards, and has more of an elevation gain than the half marathon I'm running in next month.  Yikes.  Greg signed up as a birthday present from my uncle, and I debated running it if we had childcare, which we did.  So race morning, I forked over my $20, got my shirt, and got in line.  It's a small race - 90 people - and I had no idea what to expect.  I've started doing some speed work in the last few weeks, but nothing amazing.  I figured a 26-27 minute finish, as Mendon was flatter, but I was pushing a stroller then.  Good to go.  Pre race, I had a waffle, changed a diaper, scrounged for some fruit snacks for a toddler, said hi to some of the other Gananda running moms, and got in line.  Good as any prep.

The weather.  OMG.  At 8:30, it was already in the upper 70s, with stupid humidity.  Sweet.  Keeping this in mind, when the gun went off, I went up Walworth's version of cardiac hill semi easy, keeping a slow trot.  I hit the top, took a few deep breaths, and said fuck it.  This will hurt  So let's go.  I picked off a few people, settled in to some trap music (thanks Rob) and coasted to mile 1.  In 6:43.  Bull hockey.  The guy next to me was wearing a garmin and confirmed it was .9, not 1 mile.  Good to know.  Miles 1 to 2 were uneventful - I saw Greg, who was suffering in the heat, but soldiering on.  Coming up to mile 2 was a gradual .25 mile uphill, then a sharp 200 feet climb.  Hit the water stop at mile 2 in 15:02, which was (NOT) mile 2, rather, mile 1.9.  Good to know. The last mile was a series of turns and rolls until the last half mile, which was alllll down hill.  YESS.  I hit the down hill, kissed my quads goodbye, and gave it my all.  As I hit the last 100 yards, chasing down some unsuspecting sucker (yep, passed him) when another guy blew past me like I was standing still.  I crossed the finish in 24:42, and almost passed out.  Success!  I confirmed with my Garmin guy that the course was 3.15, which made sense for the long last mile!  Finished 2nd out of 6 in my age group, and 6th OA female out of I think 40 total.

Overall, SO MUCH better than I was even hoping or, and I felt good.  7:58 pace is right where I want to be for 3 hilly miles, and I feel great about the Black Diamond Half on August 28 and Syracuse in October - that sub 4 is MINE.  Up next - Sodus Sprint Tri on  August 7th, stay tuned for more of...I've swam 3 times this summer and ridden my bike....maybe 5 times more.  Shit.

Hittin the lake this weekend, wet suit packed!!  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Month 10: The Biz-Monster!

Seriously, kiddo.  It's not funny anymore.  Can you please just stop growing?  As I stuck on your 10 month badge yesterday and you pulled yourself up, looked down at it, took it off, chewed it, and bent down to throw it out I baby is growing up so damned fast.  In less than two months, you won't even be a baby in name anymore!  How sad.  When I feed hang off the boppy.  You eat food all by yourself, no help from mom.  And you loco motor better than any 10 month old has a right to.  You antagonize your brother, then grin as if to say "look how cute I am".  Biz, you are no baby.  And I miss those super snuggly baby days so much!  But....without a doubt, you are growing into the best damn personality in the world and I wouldn't trade that for a zillion snuggly nap sessions.  Plus, you still like to cuddle.  I'd say you got it goin' on, girly - q!

Size - 20.5 pounds, 70th percentile!  You are also in the 80th percentile for height, measuring 29 inches tall.  Obviously, you are a well fed and super healthy kiddo - Doc S agrees that we must be doing something right!!

Likes:   Swimming and anything water.  We put you in the pool last month and you love kicking in your baby floater!!  You also love driving the cozy coupe....Rob pushes you all around the kitchen and white room.  You are a little too short to pull a Fred flintstone sans floor panel, but you think it is super fun anyways!!  You also are starting top love cars (Thanks Bro!) and try to play monster trucks with Rob all the time.  Grass is hilarious to you, and you also have made raspberry blowing your new jam (hah, see what I did there??)

Dislikes: Wow, I must have a brain fart here.  Other than strangers, teething and napping when something is cooler happening (all duh) I can't think of much.  You sometimes get frustrated because you aren't walking yet, but that's more of an impatience to go go go!!

Sleep: Through the night!!!  Thanks Dad!  When I was in Vegas last month, Greg trained you up and now you usually sleep for at least 7 hours a stretch, which is super awesome.  Sometimes you even go for 8!  Now we wake up anywhere between 4 and 6 for noms, and if it's earlier, we get some mommy/biz snuggles in.  Twist my arm, baby girl.

Eating:  Pasta is your new jam, specially pas-ghetti.  You suck it down and find it hilarious.  You also love eating corn on the cob.  Ice cream is a new fave, too - chocolate, of course (mommy is severely outnumbered in this household!)


Word - You busted out the momma and the dadda, but also said cat.  That counts.  Smart girl!
Race-We did our first mommy-biz 5k!  You, of course, beat me by .5 seconds.  ALWAYS.
Zoo Visit- You thought the cats, especially the tiger, were epic.
Sleep Through the Night.  You rock (Especially for my FOMO children!)
Fireworks - Albeit in the distance.  You thought poppers were so cool!
Picnic - Mommy's work picnic!
Amusement Park Ride - We rode the carousel!  You had a blast!

Best Moment: Enjoying all of the summer moments with you - playing outside, in the water, sharing an icee, going for walks.  We have really soaked up tons of small, everyday fun, and it's just amazing, kiddo.  The little things really are beyond amazing.

Looking Forward to:  Our first vacation (1000 islands), berry picking, and mommy's week off in a few weeks - I get to spend all week with my two favorites!!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Rob Cat - My threenager

Holy cats.  Where has the time gone???  Yesterday and today, while on facebook, the "timehop" feature came up to show me pics of the 2nd birthday, the 1st birthday, and when we brought our little peanut (errr, turtle) home.  I can't even believe 3 years have gone by, then I look down at my little dude and realize how much he has grown and what a big guy he really is!!  I'm super tired, super out of touch with anything resembling a life, and way too vested in Lightning McQueen and Blaze but....I have never been happier.  Rob-cat, you are the best thing that has ever happened to Dad and I - you made us parents and we can't imagine life without you!!

So what's my "threenager" up to these days?  What ISN'T he?  Well, aside from telling everyone he is Ten (buddy, stop it!), this has been another huge year of is our yearly update!!In pics.....
One week old...
One year old!!
Two Years Old

My big 3 year old!!
Size - 31 pounds.  You are about 35%, we find out for sure next week.  You are such a freakin good eater but you never stop moving, so this is probably why!  No worries, dude, Daddy was a scrawny little kid and now he has all the muscles, so it's all good.  You are 3 feet tall and sometimes I look at the size of your feet (so big!) and wonder how you fit inside my tummy.  Yikes.
Likes: You are beyond obsessed with cars, planes, and trains (wait, where is Steve Martin??)  hah.  You love Lightning McQueen, Mater, Dusty, Blaze, and Paw Patrol.  You still are in love with your Czy Coupe and love to ride bikes.  You adore dancing and are obsessed with "Party Dance" (Oiki - thanks Dad for the Trap obsession!!).  You are bananas
about your sister, you protect her and love on her so much.  You still love reading, and we read books every night.  You also have a sort of girlfriend named always want to play with her and have some definite ideas involving snuggling, smooches, and underoos.  Oh man....  

Dislikes: Eating dinner.  You have things to do!  Bedtime (of course), nap time. Basically anything that shuts you down for .5 seconds is NOT cool.  You also still are not a fan of most meats, but you love beans, so we gotcha covered.  
Sleep: Mad regression here bud.  I think the addition of a newborn and the addition of so many new cool skills and experiences leaves your head spinning at night!  You sleep through the night about once a week....otherwise you wake up at least once when you have a bad dream or your little head is just spinning.  Now that we are working on ON potty training. sometimes that's a reason, too.  Mommy snuggles make it all better but....part of me can't wait until you are that teenager who sleeps till noon!  (Remind me of that in 10 years....).
Eating: You love food....when other things aren't more interesting!  You still adore your fruits and veggies, love turkey dogs, yogurt, pouches, and ANYTHING chocolate.  You are totally your mother's kiddo in that respect!!

Milestones/Firsts:Oh so many.....Counting to 20Learning the alphabetlearning to play soccerLearning to swim!Becoming a big brother!Getting potty trained (daytime)Just to name a few!!  We have preschool coming up's going by so fast!!  You have at least 1000 words in your vocab, if not more, and you talk in complete sentences.  The other day, you told me "Mommy, you're so transparent".  Ugh.  Maybe you really ARE 10!!!
Best Moment: Watching you and Biz.  Buddy, when you were born, I truly did not believe I had a bigger capacity for love.  I was wrong.  Watching my big boy and my baby....the two of you are just simpatico.  It is amazing.  I love you both to buts and pieces, and my life is so much better because you are in it!!
Looking Forward to: Everything.  Preschool.  Summer camping.  Going to amusement parks.  riding bikes.  raking leaves, snowball fights, family game night.  Buddy, I am so lucky they picked me to be your mommy!  I love you!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Running With the Devil Marathon: We ain't in Kansas anymore (or NY!)

Vegas is a fickle animal.  You travel (in my case, thousands of miles) to this strange little mecca in the middle of the desert, filled with gambling, alcohol, food, debauchery and every other kind of gluttony, topped off with heat so intense you could literally fry an egg on the shimmering blacktop.  So when my boss asked me to present at a conference in the city, I accepted with the curiosity to see such a place in action - a place that pretty much defined modern america to a T.  Oh, and I found a race 30 minutes away that took place the next day.  Cause that's what normal people do, right?  Run a a marathon in the middle of the desert in June?  Yes? Good.

The race took place Saturday - pre race was just hilarious.  I flew across the country Thursday, presented Friday morning, spent Friday afternoon with a co-worker walking the strip, wearing a tank top, flip flops, no sunscreen, drinking a margarita, and eating french fries.  In the 111 degree heat.  What, they were carbs, right?  Suffice to say I did EVERYTHING wrong pre race is an understatement, but at least I killed the booze by 4pm and we only walked 7 miles in said flip flops (yes I am rolling my eyes at myself).   Oh, and did I mention I did my presentation in heels and was rocking an excellent blister on my foot?  I amuse myself with my idiocy sometimes.
 Race morning, my alarm went off at 4am for a 5am departure to the desert - race was about 45 minutes of the strip.  Luckily?, I never acclimated to Pacific time, so I was up by 3:30, pumping and prepping.  as I opened the door of my bedroom in the air bnb we were staying at to take a co worker walked up the stairs to go to bed after a night at the casino.  We looked at each other and just laughed - what a defining moment of the dichotomy of Vegas.  Here he was, super happy that he had a great night out, drinking and playing poker and black jack for 6 hours, netting $50 and drinking for free for 6 hours.  Here I was, getting up at o dark o'clock to run an intense heat marathon in the middle of the desert.  It takes all kinds.  We said good morning/night, and I finished prepping - woke my insane but awesomely good natured boss up, who was my ride (seriously, he got up at 4:30 to drive me, how cool is that) and grabbed my pb bagel and coffee for the road,

The ride out was spectacular - after about 10 minutes we were headed for Red Rock canyon, where the race took place.  We were amazed at the stark contrast from the strip - here was Vegas in it's natural beauty, here was the reason I would visit this place.  When we got to the venue, I did my normal prep, stretched out, got my gear, and got ready to run.  The race required you run with at least 48 ounces of water, so I had my camelbak, a white hat, hoo rag for neck cooling, and plenty of 50 SPF in my goody bag.  Speed?  No way.  It was a small race - 65 people total, but super friendly.  You figure anyone dumb enough to run a race in 108 degree temps at least has a sense of humor about their mental state, so in a sick, twisted way, these races are somewhat of a social hour, since no one is dumb enough to try to PR in a desert marathon in June.  With some pre race chat about aid stations and heat exhaustion, we were off.

Miles 1-10....sucked.  I run a 4 hour marathon (yes, I am chasing that sub with all I own) so I figured, with my strong, yet slow base and the heat, I was looking at about a 5 hour marathon, or, an 11 minute mile.  So I took it easy and slow, which wasnt difficult, because at 7am, it was already 90 fucking degrees.  (Yes, the "f" bomb is appropriate here, folks).  Mile 1 clocked in at 10:44, which was...disheartening.  You naturally slow down in a race, so I was hoping to hold a ten minute mile for the first few hours.  Damn.  Miles 2, 3 and 4 were about the same - 10:30-11 minute pace.  The terrain was super hilly, water stops every 3 miles (I would have died without my camelbak) and you simply could not hold a comfortable pace without a walk break every 5 minutes.  I chatted with runners as we leap frogged each other, and seriously questioned my decision making to run the full.  The race was an "m" shape - out 11 miles, switchback 2.1, out 2.1, back the 11.  Mile 5 was allll downhill - lost 1000 feet elevation in one fell swoop.  I whooped as I actually ran down the curves, taking the beauty around me - felt like a mini grand canyon.  Then....I realized that what goes down, must come back up, and we would be hitting that delight at mile 21.  $hit.  Well, I'll think about that in 3 hours.  I hit mile 6 in 1:07 and realized I was probably looking at a 6 hour race.  Yikes.  I started chatting with a few guys that had been running near me, and we all agreed that this race was a special brand of torture fun.  One guy had DNFed it 4 times.  Yikes.  It was also obvious that out of all of the people I spoke with, everyone was either from California, Nevada or arizona...and used to running in this shit.  Oh, did I mention that in addition to the heat, we were now cruising at 6000 feet elevation?  You got it.  (Rochester sits at 500 feet).  No wonder I was sucking wind.  Yes, I am a moron.  So....10 miles in, doing my little run/walk, I sat at 2:12.  I was seriously wondering if I had it in me to keep this up for 4 more hours when a little angel walked into my life.

Mile 18.  We rock.
Miles 10-20:  Angel?  Yep.  His name was Steve.  He was a 50 stater...almost twice.  He had qualified for Boston several times, run a marathon on every continent, and was running his 122nd (no, thats not a typo) marathon.  And he was hurting.  Just like me.  With a dude that has run almost every marathon sub 4....I felt much better about myself and my course struggles!!  We decided to motivate each other as long as possible, which was perfect timing, as my Ipod decided to die right in the middle of Antiserum and Mayhem's "Hustle" which wasn't all that friggin motivating anyways.  So.  We trekked along to mile 11 checkpoint (yes, there were volunteers recording our bib's manually, this race was everything ultra) hi fived a few guys we had run with, then turned around.  And flew.  Apparently we didn't realize how uphill we had been going, so when we ran straight for 2 miles at a 9:00 pace we were so stoked!  Hit the halfway point at 2:47.  We turned around again to do the 2 mile uphill, but knowing the turnaround would bring better miles 15-17 made the interim so. much. easier.  So we got to know each other.  Apparently Steve, who had 5 kids, managed to scrape not one runner out of the lot, so he adopted me for 3 hours.  Hey, I was down.  We hit mile 15 without alot of pain, and coasted downhill again. netting mile 17 in 8:55, my fastest mile of the race (said no one, ever).  We decided to run walk as much as possible, since mile 21 was going to suck, and we hit mile 20 at 4:15.

Miles 21-26.2:  We topped off at the aid station and prepped for our hill climb at mile 21.  The dudes we had run with were long behind us, so we were reasonably sure we were either A- doing pretty well or B - almost DFL.  We revised our goal to 5:45, which felt odd decreasing a goal, since at mile 10 we were pretty sure we weren't even gonna finish (except we are stubborn like that).  Made it through the slog, ran most of mile 22, and hit mile 23 at 4:55.  At this point, we knew, even with our stupid slow mile 21, that a 10-11 minute pace was reasonable and we could go under 5:30.  So we played a game the last 5k, picking one sucker off at a time and playing games in the desert. It was oddly satisfying and actually fun - something I was seriously doubting hours before!  With a half mile to go, we decided to run it in hand in hand, finishing with a smile in 5:28, a 12:30 pace and probably one of the toughest races I've ever done (including Ironman).

After the race, we saw a few of the speedier folks (winning time was 4:30 for reference!) and grabbed something cold to drink.  I was amazed that my stomach had no issues during the race (thank you electrolytes) but food was pretty unbearable.  As we were celebrating, the RD came over and told me there was no award ceremony because people finished all over the place, but I was second woman in - HOLY CRAP, I came in second?  I was amazed.  In tri's I can usually place in my Age group, but NEVER in a marathon.  Epic.  I couldn't believe that after flying across the country, in wicked heat (it got up to 108) with my idiocy the day before.....that I not only finished, I friggin placed!  Sweet.

Post race...well, that was a mess.  We won't go into that.  Five days later I still feel it.  But would I do it again?  You betcha.  Now it's onto some speedwork to prep for the Syracuse marathon...I feel a PR, baby!!