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Humble Triathlete

Updated: 2018-03-02T11:30:39.669-05:00


Top 10 Surprises in 2010


Wow, what a special year 2010 has been, not so much because of what I did but rather because of many things I did not expect. Here are my top 10 surprises in no particular order:1. Finished my 8 year long 50 states marathon quest with 8 sub-4 marathons (3:39-3:58). They were the fastest multiple marathon race times for me since I got into tris back in 2006. Thank you, Coach Bill, for getting me to the finish lines and more!2. Entered a [...]

I've Lost My Marbles!


OMG! I just did something that I thought I'd NEVER do, something TOTALLY out of character for me!!But before I get to that, let me give a quick wrap up of what's been going on since I last posted. After the Turtle Marathon I did the Ride for Ronald metric century with Dave end of September. A week later, I tackled the Health First Olympic Tri (1500k swim, 42k bike, 10k run) on October 3. This was the second of two "A" races for me this year ("A" race means I was targeting it for a peak performance with a specific goal in mind). I'd done this race twice before in 2006 and 2007 but had always had a hard time on the swim and a disappointing run. This year my goal was to knock off 15 minutes and get under 3 hours. Unbelievably, I ended up finishing in 2:39! This was helped by MUCH nicer weather this year than we've had in the past (2006 was super hot & humid; in 2007 we raced in a thunderstorm). Still, I will not complain about a 36-minute PR or a third place finish (3/13 F45-49) in a race distance that has always been tough for me because of the relatively long swim. Booyah!The next two weeks I headed north to run the Hartford Marathon in Connecticut on October 9 and Green Mountain Marathon in Vermont on October 17. Both were "C" races so the main goal was to just finish and have fun. But I've had a streak of sub-4 marathon finishes going this year, plus I'd never run to sub-4s back to back (closest was 3:59:38 and 4:00:21 back in 2006). Would this be the year I do it?YES! 3:51:48 at Hartford (12/92 F45-49) and 3:45:40 at Green Mountain (9/62 F40-49). I think three things really helped with that: 1) good running weather at both races, 2) not a lot of downhill running on either course, and probably most importantly 3) working with a coach and training with a group. I really haven't been running much mileage at all compared to before but did a lot of very focused speed work for the oly tri and am much stronger mentally it seems.So with all these races that went well why would I lose my marbles??? For those of you who don't know, Bree Wee's has a special project where she's planning to bring Christmas to a group of Marshallese people on the Big Island living in third world conditions. These folks are originally from Bikini Island and were forced to move 56 years ago because the U.S. decided to use their island for bombing tests. To show support for them, she asked her friends to send pictures of themselves yesterday in bikinis for a bikini photo contest. This includes men and women, at work, at school, wherever they are, doing whatever they do on a Friday.Now I'm the type of person who usually AVOIDS photo contests. Believe it or not, I pretty much avoided cameras altogether until I began blogging in 2006. Very camera shy! I don't usually wear bikinis except to the beach, pool or jacuzzi. I most definitely do not wear them to be voted on by the public!!But then I thought, wait a minute, this is just another challenge, no? If I can run marathons, do ironman triathlons, jump out of planes, jump into lakes with gators, why can't I do this? So what if everyone just laughs or gasps? I'm not expecting to win, just like I'm not expecting to win races. This is to support a good cause and to help a friend.Well ... submitting that photo took probably more courage to do than any anything else I've ever done before. So SO SOOOO NOT ME! I was actually relieved when the album was first released for voting without me in it. I figured Bree had gotten her goal of 56 bikini photos and I'd just missed the cut. But, it turns out that a few photos had just been inadvertently left out. I am actually now in it. YIKES!!!PS - If you want to vote and are friends with Bree on Facebook, click here and just click Like for the photos you like. You can also vote by leaving a comment on her blog post if you have a Google account or OpenID account. Just mention the name underneath the photo you want to vote for (more than one is allowed). Only one day of voting - ends Saturday, 10/30, at midnight Hawaii time![...]

Turtle Marathon


Don't expect much and you'll be fine.That was my attitude after Steve Boone of the 50 States Marathon Club told me the Turtle Marathon was a minimalist's race. My original plan was to do the New Mexico Marathon in Albuquerque on Labor Day Sunday but it'd cancelled. The Turtle Marathon was the only other NM state marathon that would fit into my race schedule if I wanted to finish my 50 states quest this year. Past years' results on showed usually only 20-30 marathoners and the reviews were not glowing but for only $15 (yes, $15!), why not? I mean, who needs lots of other runners, spectators, entertainment along the course or well-stocked aid stations when you train by yourself and are used to running boring routes and carrying everything you need? Heck, it was even on the Labor Day weekend too (Monday) and though the weather would be hot, running in an arid environment would be a nice break from running in humidity. Sign me up!!But the real question turned out to be HOW do I sign up???All previous race-related website links seemed to lead to nowhere. Emails I sent to the point of contact (POC) went unanswered. Phone numbers were disconnected. Had the aliens abducted the race director?!? After weeks I finally came across a City of Roswell events website that mentioned the race with a new POC, Vern (Bob, the previous one, had retired). I called the number (no email) and Vern assured me the race was ON. He said there'd be no online race registration this year, however, so I gave him my address so he could mail me an application. More weeks went by and nothing. I called again, gave him my address and same thing, nothing. Does this guy want me to run his race or not? Then a month before the race Vern told me there was a new race website with an application that could be downloaded and mailed in. YESSS! Now I felt much better about getting on a plane and flying cross country for a tiny race in the middle of nowhere. Then I got worried that if it was this hard for me to find out any info about the event, would anyone else be there? You see, in order for it to count as one of my 50 states, there had to be a minimum of 5 starters and 3 finishers. Hubby Dave suggested I bring extra cash to sign people up on the spot ($20 on race day). It'd be cheaper than flying back out to New Mexico to do another race if there weren't enough starters/finishers. But a week or so before the race I checked out the Marathon Maniacs website and saw that 5 of their members were also planning to do the race. Then fellow bloggers Misty & Brian said they were also going to be there. So by race day I knew there'd be at least 8 starters and knowing what type of runners we were, 8 finishers!Full and half marathoners gathered in Calhoon Park at 5:30am. Man, was it dark!Silly me, there turned out to be a LOT more than 8. While waiting for the start I scanned the surprisingly large crowd and spotted Carol, Annette's Marathon Maniac friend. We chatted for a bit and she pointed out some other guy doing his 4th (FOURTH!) marathon this Labor Day Weekend. See, and you thought I was crazy for running 8 marathons this year?!?Me and Carol, a real Marathon Maniac though she was not wearing her MM jersey today (probably because she wore it yesterday!).I kept looking for Misty or Brian, or Misty's friend Kate who lived in Roswell, but it was hard to recognize people you've never met in person in the dark. Oh well, I was sure I'd see them out on the course somewhere. After a few announcements and a countdown, we were off at 5:40am. I was glad I wore my headlight as it was even DARKER once we got going and sunrise was not for another hour. People liked my headlamp and for a while I running with a little entourage.I know it looks dorky as hell but it helps keep me from rolling my ankles.We ran on a bike path for the first couple miles and then ended up on the highway, a highway we'd be for 11 miles until the turnaround and then 11 miles back, so a total of 22 miles! Yikes, like running on an outdoor tre[...]

Kona, Blackberry & Blogging


Is it possible NOT to have fun in Kona?

I don't think so, even if I crash on my bike which I did (no worries, it was not really serious). In fact, with every visit, it just feels like I'm back home. Here are a few pics from this trip:


I ran two small 10K races while there. Both courses were a bit long and pretty tough but I got in some good speed work and ended up with two first place F40-49 finishes which was nice. I'd hoped to also do two open water swim events (a one mile and a 1.2 mile) but, unfortunately, both were too soon after the crash and my shoulder and ribs were not up to swimming long so I did my own shorter ocean swims. Next year for sure!

Oh, as for the broken Blackberry in my last post, no, it wasn't me who hit it with a hammer. Dave did it, but only because he already had a new one with him and just wanted to see what my reaction would be. What a dirty trick!!

But high speed internet service was fairly unreliable on our trip so the last couple weeks I've been dabbling with Facebook. Can you believe it? Me, one of the last hold-outs. But now I see how much easier it is to stay connected with friends via Facebook vice Blogger, especially when connectivity may be limited and every click that results in a new page being loaded can be painful. So like many of you already have, I am switching to using Facebook for most of my postings. This blog will serve mainly as a place to house race reports and longer thought pieces as well as my race schedule and 50 states progress. If you're on FB, you can find me here. Look forward to connecting with many of you there!

Offline for a Bit


(image) Oops, Dave's Blackberry had a lil accident (got hit by a hammer :-).

(image) So now surfing is limited to ocean waves.

(image) Got a couple of books to read.

(image) And some quality time to catch up on.

Good luck to all racing in June & July!

Casper Marathon


Traveling to new locations, meeting fun people, running in cool places. This is why I decided to run marathons in all 50 states and the Casper Marathon in Wyoming did not disappoint!I actually flew into Denver which was much cheaper and only a 4 hour drive from Casper. While in Denver, I met up with fellow blogger, runner and triathlete Iron Eric and his wife Nicole for lunch. They'd had a new family addition since I last saw them at Florida 70.3 in 2007.The drive up to Casper also allowed me to see Southern Wyoming, which I'd never been through before. It was not as stunning as the Yellowstone area, which I'd seen on the drive between my week-apart marathons in South Dakota and Idaho in 2006, but having lived in the burbs all my life I never tire of seeing mountains, ranches and lots of open land. The pink asphalt on the roads was also quite unique.The Casper Marathon was small affair with about 150 marathoners, 200 half marathoners and a few relay teams. The course started at 5270' and ended at 5100' and was mostly flat but the altitude would be a factor for flatlanders. Still, that didn't keep 50-staters like Amanda and I away (photo above; we met on the short bus ride to the start). In fact, my guess is that a quarter of the field were 50-staters and/or Marathon Maniacs. Most of us don't care about slower marathon times or the fact that the course was not certified (hence no race times would count as BQs here). We just want to run in fun places and check the state off our list!I'd planned to carry my camera with me during the marathon but discovered in Denver that the shutter was no longer opening on its own (probably due to embedded sweat & grime). I could force it open with my fingers but decided it'd be too much of a pain to do so while running so I left it behind in my gear bag just before the 6:30am race start. Sorry, no photos during the race!Photo of the path we ran on from the race website.The first few miles the dry air and cool 50-ish deg temps felt magnificent but the thin air was immediately noticeable. Everyone seemed to be huffing and puffing way more than they should be so early on but I went out fairly hard on purpose. You see, another common high altitude side effect for me is having to pee often, which led to my slowest marathon time (4:32:05) at the 2007 Colorado Marathon. So I was employing a new race strategy that hubby Dave suggested: run harder so you won't feel like peeing. I also drank very little before the race even though I knew I was supposed to do the opposite especially at high altitudes. Things went great for the first half and I got to mile marker 13 in 1:53:31 (8:43 pace) with NO pit stops vs. numerous ones before but only in the first half. YAY!!!We ran alongside the Platte River for most of the course (photo taken after the race).But thereafter things got more difficult. Temps warmed up quickly with lots of blue sky and little shade along the nice quiet riverside path. I'd drank all the fluids I was carrying by the midway point and was now grabbing a cup at every aid station but it still wasn't enough. My pace plummeted down to the 9:30's and heading out on this long out-and-back section from mile 10.7 to 16 seemed to go on forever. Finally I got to the mile 16 turnaround and decided to make a full stop to refill one of my water bottles and take in extra fluids. Shortly thereafter, two women passed me, one who was in her 20's and another who looked to be in my age group. Gasp! But there was nothing I could do. I'd gambled with my pacing and hydration and was now paying the price. Grumble, grumble, plod, plod ... The good thing about heading back, though, was that many more runners were still headed to the turnaround and everyone was encouraging each other, often by name as they were printed on our race bibs. This is the type of small race camaraderie I love and it made the miles go by much faster. There were very few spectators otherwise on this c[...]

Oh my!


How can it be over a week since I last posted?

Well, I'll use this post to try to answer that and name 7 more random things about me since I was tagged by Aron.

1. Three friends and I recently hosted a Hawaiian luau for our tri club. It was the first party for friends (not family) that I have planned in something like 15 years. Have I mentioned that I'm really an introvert?

2. Dave & I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary the same weekend as the luau. Still hard to believe I found someone who's willing to put up with me for so long.


3. Words with "rl" in them are virtually impossible for native Japanese speakers like my parents to pronounce correctly. I have no idea why they named me Shirley.

4. Contrary to what you might think, I LOVE to sleep. I can sleep for 8-10 hours straight at night and take 2-3 hour long naps, no problem. Last week when I started feeling under the weather, I was sleeping way more than I was awake, not by choice though.

5. After my third marathon (Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage, AK), Dave and I took a glacier cruise where there were some other folks who'd done the race including the first 50-stater I'd ever met. I remember initially thinking that he must be nuts.

6. If I ever won the lottery, I might consider buying a summer home in Wyoming or Colorado. Very beautiful out here and I think I prefer high altitude to high heat & humidity. Or is it the grass just looks greener from the other side?

(image) Casper Marathon race time: 3:56:34, my fastest at 5000+ ft.
(Equiv. to a 3:44 at sea level per Daniel's Running Calculator :-)

7. I wish I knew a way to read blogs and write comments offline like folks can read and reply to email offline using Eudora or Outlook. If anyone knows of an application that will allow me to do this on a Mac, please do tell. I often end up just sleeping on planes ...

I'll be catching up on my blog reading soon after I get back!

Change on the Horizon


I love the smell of triathlon in the morning.The smell, you know, that I-eat-gators-for-breakfast smell, the whole place. Smelled like ... Victory.But I was only spectating. Four of my tri club teammates were racing, two doing their first-ever triathlon.In the first wave was one of the first-timers, a guy who I used to be faster than in swimming two months ago but he now can kick my butt in the pool. His 750m swim time, an incredible 12:24. Faster than my fastest 400m swim time in a tri. *Cry*And fast on land too. So fast that every time I clicked my camera, he was already out of the frame. And the same for all but one of my teammates who I managed to get in the swim-to-bike transition. I don't know how the heck Dave gets any pictures of me racing! But it sure was fun to be out there cheering for them (I'm the dork wearing the lei). My fellow teammates all finished well with three of four placing in their age group categories. Being sorta one of the co-captains of the tri club, I felt like a proud mama. Dave and I also went out for a bike ride last weekend, the first one together in *gasp* nearly two months. It was short (only 30 mi) but it felt so good to be spending quality time together on the roads, to feel the wind on my face, and to be back on Genie, my road bike, who has probably been wondering whether I still loved her having not ridden her much lately, my tri bike, Cali, too. Man, how I miss riding and tri training. I thought I'd be happy to return to running marathons this year but the truth is I'm not. I want to be doing more with my tri club buddies and Dave, especially now that it's hot & humid again. Ick! Running long is really no fun when you're drenched after just one mile and would rather be doing something else.So, I whined to my coach, who was also at the tri last weekend (with the biggest skateboard I've ever seen, nearly the size of a small surfboard!). And guess what? He's going to let me finish my 50 states marathon quest this year but allow me to focus on tris after the Casper Marathon (WY) on June 6th. Woohoo!!! But not half irons (1.2mi swim, 56mi bike, 13.1mi run), where I can rely on my endurance and a strong bike and run to pull me through. No, for me, that'd be too easy. Besides, my tri club buddies are focusing on short course tris, sprints and olys, so training for a half iron would still not allow me to do much with them.So the decision: this summer I'll be gearing up for an Olympic tri. Big gulp! My target race will the Health First Oly Tri (1.5k swim, ~43k mi bike, 10k run) on Oct 3, a race I've done twice before in 2006 & 2007 and have always stunk up the non-wetsuit legal swim and died a slow death on the hot run. To meet my goal of breaking 3 hours, I'll have to lop off 15+ minutes (!), which means a LOT more time spent swimming and doing shorter, faster bike and run workouts. Who knows, I might even get faster running marathons (last year I ran a 3:38 in Fargo while focusing on tris). But the main thing is I'll have friends and Dave alongside me who will make training and racing a lot more fun. This is supposed to be a fun hobby, right?As my brave new friend K told me recently, "The worst thing that could happen is that I'd throw up." And if I flop, well, I'll still have four marathons in the Fall as comfort food ;-)[...]




Due to the post-race adjustments, Jeanine Heath moves up to our overall 3rd place; Molly Izzo to our OM 2nd place, so you will actually get a 2nd place AG award. I’m organizing the stuff over the weekend and will begin sending awards out next week.

Joel Schiller
Delaware Marathon


Perfect Recovery Workout


Wow, it was just what I needed. A lot of huffing and puffing, sweat and even some nausea towards the end, but a lot to be proud of afterward.So soon after a marathon, you ask? Yes. But it was not me who did it. It was K, a new person at our tri club run workout tonight.I really didn't have a workout scheduled but showed up just to say 'hi' to my tri club buddies whom I love dearly and miss since I've been unable to do as much with them recently with all my marathoning. I had some new running shoes that I wanted to give a test spin anyway. Knowing I shouldn't be doing any of the speed work that was assigned, I told the coach I'd be bringing up the rear.It was hot, really hot, like 90 degs F at 5pm when we headed out for our "warm up." There were 10-12 of us and the group spread out quickly as folks settled into their easy run paces. My legs and butt felt fine (YAY!) but I forced myself to run super easy. I chatted away with some folks at the back of the pack whom I don't usually get to run with often. Then I turned around and saw K running by herself falling further and further behind. We'd only gone perhaps a quarter mile and I could tell she was really struggling. Have I mentioned it was hot? She began walking and I fell back to check on her since the coach was further up with others. K said she was OK but really out of shape. She mentioned maybe being able to go on if she could do 1 minute of running and 2 minutes of walking. I said fine. Let's do it together.Initially, K didn't want to hold me back and encouraged me to go on without her but I told her I needed to take it easy because I'd just run a marathon. We walked on for a bit more so she could catch her breath and the coach came by. She too suggested run-walking but doing 1 minute intervals of each. I looked at K and told her let's give it a try. I'll keep track of time.So we set out running again. I kept chatting away as we were when we were walking not realizing at first how hard poor K was working. We were running at probably a 12-13 minute per mile pace but for her that was really hard. I told her not to talk. I'd talk when we were running and I told her about my Delaware Marathon.3 - 2 - 1, time to walk. She told me she'd quit smoking 5 months ago and this was her first time running. She mentioned again how very out of shape she was and asked whether she should maybe do something else to get started.3 - 2 - 1, time to run. I told her that I thought the best way to get started running was to do exactly what we're doing, just go slow and do as much as she could, unless she had any knee or joint issues. She shook her head. Then I proceeded to babble on about how some people actually run-walked marathons this way.We got to the mile 1 marker on the bike path doing the 1-1 run-walk and then decided to turn around and go back. Others in the club were supposed to run to the 2-mile marker and turn around so we'd see them coming back. K didn't think she'd be able to do what we did to get out here. I suggested we go as far as we could doing the 1-1 thing and then walk the rest of the way in if needed. K was OK with that so off we went.It was still 90 degs but felt a bit cooler going back with the wind in our face. The sun also went behind a big cloud for a while which was nice. I was doing pretty much all of the talking now as K was having a hard time talking even during the walk breaks. She was just barely making it to the end of the one minute runs. With about a quarter mile to go, I pointed out where we'd started, which was where we were to finish. K had never been on this bike path before and had no idea how much further we had to go. Knowing the end was near was a huge relief to her. Now only a couple hundred yards left and a large sign by the end is clearly in sight. K tells me she's feeling a bit nauseous. I knew she was[...]

Delaware Marathon


Warning: The stunts in this post were performed by an experienced crazy marathoner and should not be attempted by runners who have common sense.Apprehension. Now there's a feeling I haven't had at a marathon in a while.Since my fall Tuesday night, I'd spent two days cursing, hobbling and ironing. Finally on Friday I could walk pain-free but my butt was still quite sore. I decided it was best for me not to try running at all until race day. Why am I doing this silly 50 states marathon quest again???Oh yeah, I thought it'd be fun to travel and run marathons.But there was no backing out. Dave was coming with me to the Delaware Marathon since he had to be in DC the following week anyway. The weather forecast was pretty good: party cloudy, 58 degs at the 7am start, high 60's later in the morning. I'd even been assigned bib number 77, which had to mean I was going to have good luck, right? Right??Still, I had no idea what to expect. I'd never gone into a marathon not knowing whether I could run. OTOH, I knew adrenaline was a powerful pain killer. Here I am at the start doped up on a couple Tylenol 8-hours hoping for the best. Funny, I just realized I'm standing in front of some medical cots, things I was hoping not to see during my race.For a smaller race (600 marathoners, 700 half marathoners, 200 relay teams), this race was very well organized with an attractive start/finish area (I like balloon arches). They also offered nice cash prizes to the top-3 open and top-2 masters winners, not that I was thinking I'd win anything.50 yards into the race, my Achilles felt tight but my butt seemed to be OK. I was running and trying to stay positive. Woohoo, only 26 miles and 335 yards left!The first couple miles we snaked along the scenic, flat Wilmington riverfront. This photo is actually from the race website as Dave had gone back to the hotel after the start of the race to get his free breakfast. Priorities!Later, though, there were some hills and we'd see them twice since this was a double loop course. After mile 6 is where things started falling apart. Because climbing hills requires using your butt and my left butt was broken (not really, but definitely not working right). To get up them, I had to use a lot of right hip flexor and my left calf so now they were complaining too. Hey, give us a break! We're not used to working so hard on hills. That's the butt's job. Yeah, not in our contract. We're going on strike. Blah-blah-blah.Miles 6-10.5 seemed to take fooooooor-eeeeeeeeev-eeeeeeer and take a lot out of me. Not good!Dave had his bike and was riding around on the course. He found me at mile 11, just in time to see my grimacing turn to relief as we headed back downhill.But a little hill at mile 12 nearly locks my butt and legs up so I accepted Dave's offer to go back to the hotel and get more dope (Tylenol 8-hour) to hopefully get me through the race.Back on the flat riverfront section was easier but I'm now just hanging on and only just over halfway done. It was the second worst I'd ever felt midway through a marathon (the worst being at the 2007 Olathe Marathon where I had major GI issues).Dave is waiting for me at mile 15 with a baggie. I greedily grabbed it from him but dropped one and then another pill on the ground before I could get them into my mouth. ARRGGHHH! Now my hands aren't working!?! Luckily, there are 5 or 6 pills in the bag. I saw Dave again a little while later and handed him the bag back with only one pill left. I swear I took only 2, though! (Technically, I know it is cheating to receive outside help during a race but I was past the point of caring.)But unlike morphine or heroin, there's no immediate relief. I trudged on for a while dreading those hills and told Dave he should just go for a ride elsewhere and leave me to wallow in self pi[...]



(image) Un-Freaking-Believable.

Well, far from an easy race for me but I managed to run and finish!

An Unpostable Injury


Un-Freaking-Believable.With a fast recovery following the Cox Providence Marathon and 50-60 degs F forecast on Sunday for the Delaware Marathon, I was thinking a sub-3:50 looked doable. But now all bets are off!Because the ground jumped up and bit me again, this time at my first spin class in ump-teen years. &$#?$%@!!!Now some of you may recall that I usually AVOID spin classes like the plague because I hate spin bikes (they never seem to fit right and hurt me more than the workouts) and I am not fond of riding indoors in general. But this one allowed, actually encouraged, us to bring our own bikes & trainers and the instructor is the coach of my tri club. I figured I'd be safe and it'd be more fun to ride indoors with my tri club.Indeed, it was the best spin class I'd been to but getting off my bike would present a problem. It became very apparent that I'd not ridden on a trainer much. Who knew my bike would be much higher on a trainer than on the road, that I couldn't easily just lean it over to get my leg over it, and the floor would be so slippery when wearing bike shoes? Man, I might as well have been wearing skates. And the spin room floor, of course, was one of those really hard tiled floors that made asphalt feel spongy. Luckily, I did not hit my head (no helmet worn indoors) or re-fracture my tailbone (an old childhood injury). I was also able to catch my bike before it hit the floor (it got pulled over when my leg got caught on it). But now I have a most painful bruise on my left butt bone right where the left leg connects to it. Darn tush has lost much of its cush due to years of endurance sports -- WAH! And you'll just have to take my word for it as I'm not posting a photo of this injury.Good news: It only hurts when I sit or move my left leg. Bad news: I'll need to do both to get on a plane and run a marathon.Good news: Ironing doesn't require sitting or much leg movement. (I have a big pile that I've been putting off doing. So much for being an ironwoman - HA!)Anyways, Dave will have many nice pressed pants & shirts but who knows what'll happen on Sunday. Then again, whoever said running a marathon would be easy?In the meantime, I'll leave you with some other photos from the past week:Dave celebrated his 49th birthday down 25# from the beginning of the year, even traveling nearly every week.His typical lunch lately (fruit salad, frozen mixed veggies, carrots & celery sticks).Me (front left, red visor) and some folks from my tri club at Lucky's Lake, a local swim spot that has gained cult-like status in free swimming.With no swim on my training schedule, I was there mainly to support team members who'd never swam in open water before.But I couldn't resist getting in a quick swim myself. Busted ;-)First-time lake crossers got to sign Lucky's "Wall of Fame", which has become so full now that folks are signing the ceiling!Dinner with fellow ironwoman Vickie and her husband who were visiting from Michigan (sorry, terrible photo as my camera was on the wrong setting).Nearing the finish of the Cox Providence Marathon.My apologies for being MIA on blogs. I hope to catch up next week when I get back from Delaware and am able to sit for much longer than I can now (even with a doughnut it's far from comfortable). Good luck to everyone else racing this weekend!Update 5/14: Able to walk pain-free today! Fingers crossed for running on Sunday.[...]

Cox Providence Marathon


3:54:20.8 (8:57 pace), 10/88 F40-49, 58/360 Females.I know, I know ... My goal was to just to finish the Cox Providence Marathon (Rhode Island) and I end up with a sub-4 BQ? But I swear NOTHING spectacular happened. Really, this race was about as close to a training run as one could get. Thankfully, as I could use less drama after the Gator Half Iron! So you guys luck out as this race report is going to be fairly short.Despite being a low key race for me, I decided NOT to run with my camera. I knew I needed to stay in tune with how I was feeling and stay focused on where I was stepping. Believe it or not, I'd already turned my ankle once at the Orlando airport - GAH! The weather was forecast to be 60-65 degs at the 8am start, getting up to 75-80 around noon. Bleh! At least it was supposed to be mostly cloudy early and training in Florida and Hawaii, heat and I were on a first name basis (although I preferred not to see much heat at a New England race). A half an hour before the race, I went down to check out the race start/finish area which was pretty much right in front of my hotel. Sweeeet! Where is everyone? There were supposed to be about 1000 marathoners plus double the number of half marathoners but no one was really lining up yet. So I went back to my room, put Mr. Camera away and came back 10 minutes before start time. One good thing about being small is that it's fairly easy to wiggle past people in a crowd and go through gaps in corral fences.After the national anthem, I snuck in around the 9-minute pace sign. 60 degrees felt surprisingly cool with a nice breeze in our face. I ran by an easy feel, even enjoyed a few hills early on, and arrived at the halfway point in 1:54-something (~8:45 pace). Oops!I knew heat would slow me down later though and I had no plans to push much harder at the end for a negative split or even an even split. Not with a 90% healed up ankle, my longest run in 4 months being only 16 miles and another marathon to run in 2 weeks.But speed is relative. Around mile 15, folks around me began to melt. I stayed on an 8:45 pace until mile 19 then backed off and began walking through aid stations to make sure I got enough fluids into me. Blue skies, no shade, plenty warm. Still, people were coming towards me. At mile 20, I began to play "How many runners will I pass before the finish?"Answer: 41, 17 of which were women.2 guys passed me. 1 woman too, technically, but I passed her back on the final stretch so she doesn't count :-)The only unusual thing that happened at this race was that my name didn't appear in the posted results. OMG, why am I not there?!?! I went to the Yankee Timing trailer, showed the guy my race bib (which was folded now but not during the race) and told him my Garmin time. He said I was the third person whose time wasn't recorded for some reason (we were using the new Chrono B tag where the timing strips stay on the bib). He manually entered me into the computer with a 3:55:00 finish and I ended up with a 3:54:20.8 net time. Close enough.54 marathons, 44 states done. 6 more to go!!![...]



This Easter, Smoosh Bunny (SB), a Giant Marshmallow Bunny that has been mailed back and forth between my hubby Dave and his sister for years, turned 21!And he (she?) showed up with a message. So I brought him along with me back to Kona. SB got lucky and had his own seat on one of the flights.He hung out on our lanai when I went out for my first run in 2 weeks after having sprained my ankle at the Gator Half Iron.He hopped and sat in Dave's patio chair and watched surfers and boogie boarders play while patiently awaiting my return.After my 5-mile run, I was drenched but very happy that I had no ankle pain at all -- Woohoo!!! But I was NOT used to running in heat having been spoiled by an unusually cool winter in FL. Need to start out earlier, not mid-morning when it was already approaching 80!As promised, I took SB out for a bike ride. To make sure he had a good view, I put him into one of my rear bottle cages. I'd been mostly cycling while I couldn't run to stay in shape the past few weeks (unfortunately, the ankle flexion involved when swimming bothered my ankle so Coach didn't have me swim much once I could put weight on my foot). Below, we are at the bike ride turnaround. I had to hold onto SB tight when I took him out as that rascal wanted to keep going!As usual, we had a headwind going back but lovely ocean scenery and other cyclists to try to catch made the ride back fun. Next up for me, 3 marathons in 5 weeks, starting with the Providence Marathon (Rhode Island) on Sunday. My longest run was 16 miles last Thursday but all I want to do is finish these marathons, which should be doable provided I don't roll any more ankles.Look forward to catching up with everyone this week!!![...]

2010 Gator Half Iron Tri


Thanks, everyone, for the congrats, ankle condolences and baby shower wishes, too, LOL. I'm happy to report that the ankle is MUCH better now, almost normal looking. It's still weak, though, so I'll be taking things slow. No races until May, which is good.As for being a superhero? No, not me. I just did what I've always done when I fell down: I got back up and found a way to get home. But more on that in a bit.First of all, I chose the Gator Half Iron Tri because it was a small race with a flat course and hopefully cool weather being held in March. Last year, my training/racing was all about hills and heat and, to be honest, I was sick of it. I just wanted to see how fast I could go in flat, cool conditions for a change!I was joined by three fellow BPY Tri Club members. Two of us on the left were half iron vets while the other two were newbs. The other woman, Jacklynn, is the coach of the club, however, and a very good swimmer, spinning instructor and a strong runner so I knew she'd do well even if it was her first half iron. We also had a few other tri club members and family members come out to spectate and support us adding to the fun.With only ~80 participants, the race had just one "mass" swim start and it was actually my first in-water start (as opposed to a beach start). We lucked out with 68 deg water temps so I went with my sleeveless wetsuit. How that happened, I don't know but I'll take 68 over 58 any day!!The swim course was two rectangular loops plus some and I swam fairly hard from the get-go, another first. Still, by the second lap I was swimming mostly by myself, as usual. Man, these folks are fast! (or is it I'm still slow?) Whatev. Except for my wetsuit pull-string wrapping itself around my right arm and my swim cap creeping off my head, I was very pleased with my swim. I was only a few minutes behind many others and with a strong bike would be seeing them again soon.1.2 mi Swim: 39:07 (1:51/100 yds), a 5-min PR!In transition, I had a great spot on the end right next to the bike exit as I was one of the first to rack my bike the day before. Gotta love small races where you can rack your bike wherever you want, first come first serve. T1: 2:25, one of my fastest T1 times but mainly because the transition area was very close to the water. The bike course was FABULOUS, one big oblong-shaped flat loop. We had a 10-12 mph headwind starting out (notice flags in swim exit photo) that grew to 15-20 mph as a front moved in. But having ridden in much stronger winds the weekend before, it didn't seem bad to me. I just stayed down in aero and kept telling myself the wind is my friend, the wind is my friend ... I passed the two male tri club teammates by mile 20 or so and gave both guys a cheer. Probably never fun being chicked but at least if it's by a teammate or someone friendly maybe it's not as bad?Mile 29 was where the course turned so we'd have the wind mostly at our backs. I'd averaged 18.6 mph up to that point and now it was time for the fun to begin!WEEEE!!! I never saw my Garmin go below 20 mph again. Around mile 40, I finally caught up to Coach Jacklynn, who'd come out of the water 8 minutes ahead of me (she will no doubt be much harder to catch in the future). By then it was raining but the roads were straight and I saw no reason to slow down. In fact, I decided to speed UP a little knowing the weather would be getting worse soon. The last 5 miles or so, Dave found me on his bike and a couple tri club members drove by in a car cheering, which pumped me up even more. Thanks guys!!! The hardest part of the bike course to me was this little maybe 50-yd dirt path between the bike mount/dismount point and [...]

A Precursor


I know, I know. I still owe you a race report but something arrived in my e-mailbox today that I thought was the perfect precursor:


Here's to us, those born between 1930 - 1979 !!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets on our heads.

And when we had our sleds, we tied them to the bumper of a car and had a really neat ride as long as you made sure you didn't slide under the car when it stopped.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts, air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter or lard and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight ... WHY? Because we were always outside playing. That's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps, and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We didn't have Play Stations, Nintendo's and X-Boxes. There were no video games, 150 channels on cable, video movies, DVD's, surround-sound, CD's, cell phones, personal computers, Internet or chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS, and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping pong paddles, or just a bare hand and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms didn't live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house, knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.


Next up will be my race report, I promise!

Gator Half Results


The run was about a mile short but no complaints. It would've been a PR either way.

Euwwww, a cankle.

Oh No, Not Again!!!



As some of you know, I have weak ankles. I can almost just look at a rock and roll my ankle on it. In fact, this one I never even saw and still went down. But, I did finish the race. Back with more after the final race results for the Gator Half Iron are posted.

How Did You Get This Way?


This is a question that I often get asked and was asked again this week while running with a fellow tri club member in his 20's. What I think he meant was "How did an old lady like you get so fast?" OK, maybe not quite that but along those lines.Of course, I am NOT really that fast but it has become apparent that I am faster than average when it comes to running, especially for my age (48). But how did a math/science geek, someone whose parents discouraged her from doing sports, who often finished last running laps in P.E. classes, who never did any competitive sports growing up, who has no remarkable weight loss or cancer victory story ... GET THIS WAY??? To be honest, I think it's just simply consistency and stubbornness (Dave calls it strong will). While I don't have any sports background, I did get into jogging/running back in the 70's when I was about 16. My parents hated the idea because they thought girls shouldn't be out running but my best friend had a crush on a guy who ran XC and, well, it was more important that our clique do everything we could to help her see him, which meant running (even though most of us weren't runners!). Throughout college, grad school and into my mid-30's, I was very career driven and took pride in studying/working 60-80 hours a week. I continued to ignore my parents and jog/run off and on for some semblance of fitness but largely for stress relief. Running was a good way to get away from the desk, solve problems and let my mind relax so I could go to sleep or go back to work and get more done later. The last thing I wanted to do was put more stress on myself, however, so I never pushed myself to go fast, never kept track of mileage, pace, time or how often I did it (maybe once a week, once a month, who knows???). I do remember running fairly often when my dad was dying of cancer, though, but that was just a phase during a very stressful time.In 2002, at age 40, I finally entered my first race, a half marathon, while visiting Kona with my sister and her husband. They'd run races before and encouraged me to sign up. I was actually in great shape (one of my 40th birthday goals) from taking karate and gym classes but I remember being terrified. I was so afraid of being timed, of having to run with other people, of having to drink out of a cup, of finishing last. No one was more shocked than I was to discover that I could run sub-8 minute miles! Maybe ~25 years of slow off and on jogging/running had given me a good aerobic base?And similarly in 2005 at my first triathlon, I got a big surprise. First, I had no idea how tough swimming 400m would be. I hated swimming back then and didn't really know how to swim except to save my life. I freaked out when others touched me and went off course into some weeds (where gators were surely waiting to eat me). I eventually got back on course thanks to a kayaker and came out of the water nearly dead last after the longest, scariest 15 minutes of my life. Then was I was soooooo relieved (and then pissed) that I went on to hammer on the bike and run. When I finished, all I could think of was that I had to learn how to really swim so I could do more tris! So I signed up for an Ironman ...But one thing for sure, I don't think of myself as a natural or hardcore athlete at all. I enjoy training and racing, yes, but what I'm looking for is simply more variety and quality in my life. As I've mentioned before, I had a fairly sheltered upbringing and a lot of fears growing up. There are a lot of things I didn't do because I was too Type A in school/wor[...]

Winter Park 10K


Alternative titles for this post:46:05, I Survived!Slip & SlideTwist & TurnB Race, Be CarefulZone 4, OuchI gave myself an extra day before writing this race report to allow me to gain some perspective. Because I was not really pleased right after my race. I'd hoped to run a negative split and finish in 46:00 or better. Instead, I ended up with a positive split and 5 seconds over my time goal. 5 SECONDS!!!BUT, when I set that time goal awhile ago, I had no idea how technical the course would be: 25 turns (click on the map above to enlarge), half on uneven brick roads (yuck!) and quite wet and slippery thanks to two days of heavy rain. Have I mentioned that I train almost exclusively on fairly straight, smooth roads and bike paths that are relatively free of puddles, slick leaves, slimy algae/moss and toe-catching surfaces? Man, my heart rate was over 100 just waiting at the start. Coach's last instructions to me echoed in my head: Be very careful with the cobbles and the crowds - this race is a tough one because of the course and people - stay out of harms way.Plus, he'd assigned me a 60-mile bike ride to do after the race and a 10-mile run the next day. Gee, thanks Coach ... Perhaps that was his way of making sure I didn't overdo things at this 10K. After all, it was only a "B" race while the half iron tri next week is my "A" race.Yet, at least I'd made it to the start line. Since my last post, I actually had some serious doubts. On Wednesday my left calf mysteriously began feeling like I'd done a hundred heel raises. WTF? I haven't a clue why but it was same calf that bothered me most from the half marathon back in December and I was quite worried. I bailed on all runs this week and only swam, stretched and foam rolled hoping I could run by the weekend. By Friday it was better, thankfully.Before the race began I found Running Geezer 26.2 and Sheri (photo of us above but from after the race), who'd run 10Ks before and this particular course a couple times. I wanted to make sure I didn't start out too fast and hoped to run with Jim the first mile or so as he'd told me he'd be shooting to run 7:30-ish pace. But, that was before we knew the course was going to be slick. At the start he told me he was going to back off his original pace to make sure he didn't slip and fall. The gun went off and I followed him for about the first half mile through two 90-degree turns until the crowd thinned out. I hit mile marker one where the course clock said 7:30. Right on target. But how long did it take for me to get across the start line?Of course, that answer would have been easy if I'd just looked at my Garmin and computed the time difference but I was WAY too busy. Avoid running on slippery leaves! Don't run on the painted line! Pick your feet up on that brick! Watch out for sneaky depressions! Stay clear of puddles! Whoa, felt a little slide on that last step -- be careful! Don't slip, don't trip and whatever you do, DON'T FALL!And all the twists and turns on the course were driving me nuts. I never felt like I could get into a rhythm. Ack, another turn! Which line to take? Hop up on the grass to avoid the big puddle? No, go wide, go wide! No, don't go wide, there's someone passing on that side! Slow down and get up on that grass! Eeks, it's squishy. Don't roll an ankle! Whew, made it. Now speed back up!So they say this is a very scenic course but all I saw was the ground below me. I ran mainly by effort but began feeling like I was working way too hard by mile 5. There wasn't much shade on this[...]

Pie Training


Pie? Did someone say pie???This may sound funny but I am more nervous about the 10K than I have been about my marathons or iron tris. There's so much more time during a long race to settle down, get into a groove and even fix things if they don't go right at first. To me, there's more reliance on endurance, my strength, and less on guts and speed, which don't come easy for me. Some may disagree but here's how I view long races vs. short races (Other includes nutrition, weather, luck, etc.):To improve as an athlete, though, I need to be eating more red and yellow pieces. Any more blue pieces would be like just eating more "fat". It may taste good but it's not going to help me meet my goals. Bringing out more racing guts and speed is mostly mental for me. That is, I know I have some but they're tucked away deep behind some big mental barriers. This week I experimented with a few things to try to break them down.#1 - Run for your lifeHearing the about Chelsea King's recent murder, I was reminded about Nicole Ganguzza, another young woman who was slain while running on a popular bike path near where I live, and the two times I've been nearly attacked too. You want motivation to run fast? Run past where Nicole's body was found four times and remind yourself how fast you ran when chased by a crazy naked guy and a hooded villain on a bicycle. Not the most pleasant of thoughts but effective for last Thursday's run: 6 mi, get faster every 2: 7:46, 7:54, 7:30, 7:30, 7:09, 7:03 7:29 avg, AHR 172. A solid solo run for me!#2 - Ride like a roadieEstablished group rides can often be very intimidating to newcomers with other riders (mostly guys) all decked out in their fancy kits (club/team uniforms), $$$$ bikes and legs of sinewy steel. Dave and I showed up at an Eastside Cycling Club (ESCC) group ride for the first time last Saturday. Dave looks like a strong rider and fit in right away. Me? I'm sure some of the guys there were probably thinking "Who's this little chickadee? I think we'll eat her for lunch." The A (fast) & B (not as fast) groups started off riding together but then split up on this one stretch of road. Dave was up ahead with the A riders and I got stuck back with a few Bs. When it became my turn to pull, though, Dave just got done with his pull and was now in the back of the A group ahead and sort of lagging to see if we'd catch up. That was just the motivation I needed. I pulled at 23+mph to get the groups back together and then hung on for dear life. Note to self: Do this more often!#3 - Swim fast or freezeThe lake looks harmless enough but it's hiding a dark secret. No, no lurking gators, amoebas, Lochness monsters or other open water nastiness. The water is just cold, really COLD! And it'd have to be in the mid-90's for two straight weeks for lakes to get even close to 70 so we'll probably have mid to high 50 deg water temps at the Gator Half Iron next weekend too. In other words, get used to it, Princess. I mentioned in my last post trying to find a neoprene swim cap. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one of the cool ones below: But then again, I'd have to wear a swim cap over it during the tri ... So I settled on a plain "hot head" that I got from a local dive shop. I know it looks dorky as hell but all swim caps do on me. The important thing was that I got my butt (and head) into that cold water after the group ride to lead some tri newbies on their first-ever open water swim. Did you think I would do it on my own? Man, I tell ya, if you want motivati[...]

Quick Updates


I'm short on time (again) so I'm going with bullets:

* Hawaii - Thanks to everyone for your phone calls and emails over the weekend. Dave and I were in Florida when the tsunami hit Hawaii but our area of the Big Island was evacuated. Fortunately, there were no reports of damage. Unfortunately, there is no reason for me to fly back to Kona immediately ;-)

* Swimming - We're still having unseasonably "cold" weather here in FL and water temps of nearby lakes are currently in the high 50's(!). I'm going to try to find a neoprene swim cap for the Gator Half Iron in 19 days. Last Friday I did a swim time trial with my tri club and am happy to report that I was 3rd fastest out of 12! Disclaimer: There are a lot of folks who are fairly new to swimming in my club. Still, my swimming has improved a lot the last month since I got back in the pool.

* Biking - I rode my first 60-miler of the year last Sunday. YAY!!! But if we have 20-30 mph winds like we had on Sunday, a fast bike split will be tough at Gator. My current half iron PR (5:42:32 @ Miami Man 2008) is actually on a bike course that was ~2 miles short. But, one can always hope for a PR at Gator...

* Running - The week before the Gator Half Iron, I'm actually running my first-ever standalone 10K. Gulp! I've been running 3x/week with one run a week involving some faster running (1/2 mile intervals, 2-3 mi @ 10K-1/2 mary pace). I'm hoping to finish the 10K in 46:00 or better (7:24 pace). How did I come up with that goal? Well, I ran one 5-miler (~8K) in 35:21 (7:04 pace) way back in 2002 before I got "fat and happy" running slower paced marathons. Last year I ran a hot & humid 12K in 56:20 (7:34 pace) the day after running 16 miles. I basically just split the time difference to come up with what I thought I could run a 10K.

If anyone has some advice/input on running a 10K I'd love to hear it. How do you decide what pace to run? How many miles do you run to warm-up beforehand? Do you carry your own fluids? Do you race with a Garmin or HRM? If so, what HR zone(s) are you in? Do you bring an energy gel for before or during the race? How many days did it take for you to feel fully recovered?

Happy March, everyone!!

Last 3 Days in Photos


Dave Friday morning. In just over a month, he's lost 17# and 6% body fat (per the Tanita Ironman scale we have) by eating cleaner.Later on Friday, a new tri club blog I created went live. (Some of you may recognize the template from another blog I used to have but have decided not to pursue as I am just too busy!)Saturday morning I helped out at a local race by doing some data entry. My fingers are actually my fastest body parts :-)Afterwards, Dave and I went for a 2-hour ride. In 55-65 deg temps, he cruised along at 20-21 mph while I struggled to keep up. Grrr.Sunday morning he set out to demolish me again, this time on a 30-mile ride. Lean MEANIE!At least Sunday temps got up into the 70's. (My apologies to all who are snowbound)We saw some new bicycle-friendly signals on our route. YAY!After the ride, a 7 mile brick run. Ended up with an 8:41 avg pace, not bad but a 168 AHR was higher than expected. Hmmm.Then I went to a Total Immersion freestyle swim clinic for my tri club. Since I do a different style of freestyle, I volunteered to take photos/video and be there for support.But some things are universal no matter what style of freestyle you do, like good head position and balance in the water. I must continue working on these things myself lest I be left in their wake.And that pretty much wraps up my weekend. Hope you all had a good one too![...]

In Case Anyone Was Wondering ...


(image) No, I wasn't taken away by the M-dot police for my last post.

(image) No, I've not been glued to my TV watching the Winter Olympics.
(Though I will take up a little space on my blog to root for Team USA)

So, what's been happening? Have I been training the past week??

Well, yes, BUT ...... Surprisingly, NOT the grueling type of training that we all love to hear about and that I thought I'd be doing in order to shoot for a PR at the Gator Half Iron (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi run) next month. Darn!

And it's not because of the unusually "cold" weather we've had here in Central Florida recently. Although sub-50 deg F temps does make it much harder for me to go outside, especially wearing all sorts of extra layers of clothing that makes me look like I've gained 10# -- UGH!

It's because Coach thinks I only need base miles to keep me fit while trying to help me rebuild (from the two irons last year and calf injury in December) and get stronger. So for this half iron training cycle thus far (and there's only 4 weeks left!), there's been NO 2200+ yard swim workouts, NO bike rides close to 50 miles, NO runs even 8 miles in length. YES, I'm going freakin' CRAZY!!!

Instead, I've been on a new diet of shorter, higher quality workouts. The last couple weeks, my total hours training per week has been less than 10. LESS THAN 10 hrs/wk -- OMG!!!!!!! Quite possibly the least I've ever worked out since I got into working out (excluding periods of major illness).

But many workouts have been with members of my tri club who are training for shorter races (and quite speedy). And nearly every one has been like a treat: Ooh, a 1500-2000 yard swim workout? Yummy! A 30-mile bike ride? Cold, but very tasty! 5-6 mile run? Thank you, may I please have another?

It'll be interesting to see how well I race with this Less is More type of training. To be honest, I've never really done it before. My idea of less is more has been doing LESS of some things and a whole lot MORE of something else ;-)

So we shall see. God help me if this works ...........

PS - Very busy week for me otherwise. I'll be catching on you guys starting tomorrow!