Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cheryl's 16 Mile 18 Mile Run.....

I should say an 18 mile run that turned into a 16 mile run.   No,  today was not a meltdown day...which was a good thing.   It WAS, however,   very hot!   We have been blessed with pleasant weather and cool temps up until today.  Today the thermometer tipped over 80 degrees and the sun beat down on us with out so much as a cool breeze.
  Cheryl,  ( wisely, in my opinion) decided to trim off a couple of the miles to limit the exposure to hostile running conditions.  Although she refuses to admit that "wimping out" on the last two miles of the long run was a good thing;  she DOES recognize that there are limits to the amount of heat and sun one can take.   And coming off of 50 degree weather without building up a tolerance for warmer temps could spell disaster.  And no one wants that....especially me!

And isn't that what training runs are all about anyway?  By acclimating your body for running in those hot humid conditions, you slowly and safely build up your tolerances so you can handle the uncertain conditions a race might throw at you.   It is simply the smart thing to do....

That being said,  sometimes overachievers like Cheryl feel like they are cheating themselves if they do not run to their maximum potential every time.  I'm not the best person too critique or evaluate such a mentality...being proud of my "slacker" status.  However, I understand  ( somewhat) when you feel like you could have done better in any given situation.

But enough about all that!    Time to look at the Cool pictures of RABBITS and BIRDS!

As promised, I somehow managed to capture a few bunnies on the trail.   Not as many as previous runs, they still managed to poke their heads up  here and there to offer a photo op.  The trail must have had the maintenance crew come out and level off the divets, rabbit holes, and weeds.  All and all, it was a pleasant trail to bike/run on today.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Running of the Hills!

Today we ran the 5 mile "hill" loop.   Yes, there are "hills" in Iowa City.   Granted, they are more of the "rolling prairie" hills than the deep chasms you may find in Colorado or Kentucky.  But...Hills non the less.

Not our normal routine,  hills provide a decent training experience for Cheryl on those hilly courses up north and around Missouri.  That way she is not surprised by a challenging terrain when she is in "racing mode."   That being said,   we choose to limit the amount of stress our training runs offer.   Simply being long distances in the heat, cold, rain, or wind is usually enough for the both of us.
#1.  DON'T!

However,  today was a pleasant day and Cheryl thought that a "short" 5 mile run through the trees and hills would be a pleasant chance the day before our next long run.   The route is familiar enough...we have bone it many many times before....  But I thought today of how the experience plays out;  and how it might be an entertaining blog post.   So here is goes!    Cheryl and Ethan's conversation as we navigate the hills.  (I'll simply highlight the important stuff in conversation mode..)

Down hill:

Cheryl:   "I can't wait to buy more shoes!  I can't wait to race again!  I love shopping for shorts!  I love shopping for clothes!  I love RUNNING!   I just read a book about running!   I just read an article about running!   I read that sleeping can help my running!   I read that runners live longer!   I read that weather helps running!   I read that running helps running!  I LOVE running!"

Ethan:   "WEEEEE!    I love going down hill!   I think I saw a butterfly over there.   I think I saw an oriole over there.    That reminds me of fish....specifically the rete mirabile  in fish that helps them with the counter-current exchange in Oxygen.   This way they can capture 90 % of the oxygen out of the water.   Did you see that tree?   I think that is some species of Cherry...judging by the bark and leaves.   Check out the topography on this landscape!   See how the water will trickle down through capillary action to the clay and loam filled pond.   The clay prevents the water from escaping and provides an ecosystem for the frogs, crayfish and other fauna...I love going down hill!"


Cheryl:  ".  .   ..   ....    ....    ..."

Ethan: "OMG!  How long is this stretch going to last?   My legs feel like spaghetti.   I can't breathe.   I can hardly peddle.  My legs are on fire!    How long IS this hill?    Are we almost to the top?   I have to take off my outer layer...I'm BURNING UP!  Now I CAN"T feel my legs!   I'm in my LOWEST GEAR.....Why is this not EASIER?   I HATE HILLS!"

So yeah,  it's kind of like that.  Remember, I'm on a bike and Cheryl is running.  Downhill, Our conversations are mostly like that....we talk at each other ..rather than to each other. ( not really,  but I for the purpose of comedy,  I thought that line sounded cool.)    However,  Cheryl shuts up when climbing hills; and I suddenly become aware of how out of shape I am.  But it all works out in our practice to be miserable.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Wisconsin Half Marathon...The Cheesiest! And Windiest Half-Marathon to Date.

 Since  picture is worth 1000 words...( And My Picture Drop site is totally filled from last year)  I decided I would let the pictures do the talking on this post.   Oh,  I'll add a little "this is happening in this picture"   to give you something to focus on.   But mostly I wanted to show off as many pictures as I could.    Here's the short of it.   We came.  We raced. We finished!   And we are OK with that.

Early Morning Start time: 5:30 AM
Weather was awesome...except for the wind....the raging, stop-you-in-your-tracks wind.  But let's get to those pictures!
SunRISE over the waters of Lake Michigan

Looks like the rain might hold off!

Almost like a postcard! Notice the calm water!

 The Sunrise was awesome!  I had to attempt to capture it on film....but it ended up looking like a postcard.

Cheryl settles into her normal pace
Bathroom visit is always a Priority!

Cheese Costumes get a spot at the front.
The Cheesehead Start Spot.
The Cheese costumes got special treatment and were able to start near the front of the race.   There were around 3000 people there, so smaller races have their perks.

Hmm,  Maybe the bad weather will come
Sun on one side,   Clouds on the other.
The clouds were holding off on the predicted rain, but they did bring in a cold front that brought very strong wind!

The sun was still shining on parts of the sky.

Find Cheryl in this picture...
Give up?   How about now?
I wanted to show off Cheryl's  Ninja Skills.  Namely:  Her ability to disappear behind anything...and remain hidden until she is past you.   Hopefully the pictures will be able to demonstrate this.

Cheryl runs by mile two.
I was able to get better shots here

Pretty good form....against the wind.

She finally noticed me!

My "Flash Photo"   Get it?
The Poka-Holics....Singing about beer.  
The Polka Band...which was an interesting touch.   Live music is always "special".  But these guys take it to a new level.  Well,  They probably sound good to drunk people at weddings.

Can you guess where she is?

How about now?

Ah!  There she is!  Hidden in Plain View.

Perhaps my favorite.  " Invisible Cheryl!"

And then "POOF"   she appears!

I was able to run along side her for this shot

Ninja Cheryl....staying hidden.

Ninja Cheryl appears to make her move!

Sprint towards the end!

And down the chute for the finish.

Cheryl with her LOOT!
 Looks like SpongeBob...But It's CHEESE!
So that is all!   We did not stick around for the results....everyone had a bad day except the guy who won the race.  ( He set a new record for the half-marathon....Must have been his goal.)   The wind really did a number on everyone.   People lost hats and anything else that was not attached.   The finish had cheese, beer and brats.   What German Fun!   Those Deutschers sure know how to celebrate!

It also has a CAPE!  With Words!
One last note,  despite the wind and cooler temps...The rain held off and the sun came back out to warm things a bit.
Notice the Wind and Waves NOW....
 Cheryl said the race course was actually quite wonderful....
completely along the Lakeshore with  the cool temps keeping everyone from overheating.  Too bad the times were not the greatest.   But we were not here to chase new achievements.   We came for a break from scoring, car troubles, and to re-familiarize ourselves with the half marathon distance.   Cheryl pointed out that this was the fist finishers medal she had received since last year!     So...With a little luck and no more car repairs or injuries...we can begin adding  additional medals to Cheryl's achievement wall once more. We shall see.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cheryl's Race to Home..2016.

1st place age group!
The Trophy Table!
Cheryl ran the Race to Home today...and did pretty well.   She placed 2nd overall female.   Meaning there was only one woman that was faster than   Not too bad I guess.  The bad news is that even though she placed first in her age group....she did not get a medal.  And I was soooo looking forward to that.

The 2nd Overall Female Prize!
But...She did get a bat....which is kind of cool....and USEFUL!   Even though we do not play baseball,  we can use it for home security.   And keeping those rascally dogs at bay.  Cheryl urged me to think up a bunch of Baseball puns to add a little zest to the post.   I'll see what I can do....
Early Morning packet pickup.

But before we skip ahead too far....let's change gears and switch things up  back to the beginning.
Cheryl checks out the Goodie Bag.

Time to dress light for the race
We were forced to get up way too early this morning.  We had a short window to pick up out packet in Davenport.   As with the previous race....doing a race for a second time is so much easier.    We missed the window, but still had an hour before the race began...and picked it up then.    Easy!   Cheryl inspected her goodies and had a much easier time securing her bib and chip.
  (Even though the safety pins were missing...)
Cheryl feels like she is being watched...
By someone...or some- THING!
Cheryl had to make a decision on how to dress and eventually went with the lighter clothes....since it was warming up rapidly.    I snapped a few pictures of he start.  To Cheryl's delight,  there were plenty of dogs there.

Herding the slow group along...
Race officials applying motivation
 I know that they are there mostly to provide motivation for the slow group.   But if they end up helping Cheryl run faster..then I guess that is a good thing.

Cheryl at the start!
Cheryl in the Fray...
Start photos are always a hit or miss thing.  Sometimes I capture Cheryl in focus and alone.....other times I strike out totally.   Today I mostly caught her shoes and a few glimpses of her back.  I quickly ran to the finish line to see if I could do better.

Cheryl runs by
As she ran to home,  I barely noticed that only one other female had come in before her.   When we looked up the results, we found out that she had, in fact, placed 2nd  as the over-all female finisher.
Cheryl running up to the gate.

It was a bit confusing at first because they did not have a medal for her...but then they remembered they handed out bats for the top three overall finishers for male and female.   Cheryl really wanted one of those bats...

Running home.
Just don't slide....

At the finish!

Time for Beer!
So after the award ceremony,  we headed back to home.   It was a late night and early morning...and I'm hitting the part of the day where a nap or anything else that does not require my brain sounds the most appealing.   So a result....I'm afraid this blog post will suffer a bit.   But who really cares what I have to say anyway?   It's all about the pictures after all.
Second only to Super Girl!

Cheryl show off her bat
I guess I should point out that Cheryl put in her second fastest official 5K time.   (22:32)  Second only to that infamous "Turkey Trott".   At least she did not hurt herself on this one.

Time to play Jedi Master
And pose with the T-Shirt

I think they spelled the "K" backwards.
   In reading past blog postings;  last year,  the day after this race,  we ran a long 20 mile run that ended in a melt down 18 miler.   Similar to what happened last Sunday.   So...I'm hoping that we already got that meltdown run out of the way and can look forward to a nice pleasant long run tomorrow without the drama or blood loss.   We shall see.