I am an adventure seeking wife and mother first! Travel, and endorphins are my best friends. I will try anything once, unless I know
I would be in danger. I have a crazy love of God, running, triathlon, the outdoors, dirt, wine, friends, good Vegan food, Yoga,
animals, happiness, and life! I truly believe the only limits in life are the ones set by ourselves. So get out there and expand the limits!!
~~Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spokane to Sandpoint Relay

What do you get when you mix 12 fun-loving runners, a couple of vehicles, and 185 miles?  The Spokane to Sandpoint relay!!

The morning was a bit chilly as we got to the start at Mt. Spokane (Washington)  we were all excited, decorating our cars, some of the runners putting on their costumes for the costume contest.  I was my 1st year to run this race with Team Happy Feet-it's 5 o'clock Somewhere, but their 3rd time racing.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
Each of the 12 runners runs 3 legs that vary in distance.  You hand off at exchanges, and continue running (yes even through the night) until you reach the finish in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Our "flight time"was 7am, and Elizabeth took off in her Lady GaGa-esque pink wig for the first leg.  We quickly left in our cars for the 1st exchange.  Where Matt was waiting.  And so the race began.  Leap frogging from runner to exchange.  Each runner has an opportunity to run anywhere from 4-7 miles per leg.

Elizabeth ready to run in her pink wig!


Yes, Matt ran his whole leg in this!

Nice Buns Runner!!

Michelle and Brian

We each were handed off a slap bracelet when it was our turn to run.  The tricky part was to try and find time to sleep and eat while you weren't running.  Which proved a little more difficult than we thought.  I was anxious for my first run.  I would be running along the river, through Spokane, WA.  As I waited for my hand off from Greg, I was thinking how hot it was.  My 1st leg was gorgeous.  Along the Centennial Trail and the river.  It was hot as heck.  Greg, Michelle, and Brenda (who had already ran) were waiting along the course for me.  It's nice to have your support vehicle along the way.  They got out, and Greg splashed me with about 32oz of water.  It felt amazing!  They cheered me through, and took off for the exchange.  First leg 5.58 45 min.  I handed off to Brent, and off went our last runner. 

Karen after her awesome TT.

Michelle coming in to hand to Brenda

Our fearless leader, Brenda...isn't she the cutest!!

...and off goes Greg!

Hot as HECK!!!

Go Brent, GO!!!

 We were almost through an entire loop of runners.  
Our car headed off to see one last exchange as we passed into Idaho, and off to Subway and to try and sleep.  We made it to a pit-stop at Michelle's and pulled out our sleeping bags, sprawled on the front lawn, and slept.  I am sure her neighbors thought we had gone mad.  Middle of the afternoon, sleeping on the lawn.  But ya gotta do, what ya gotta do.
We got up and made it to our next exchanges, watched and cheered our runners, and headed out for our night portion.  It's funny how you just lose all track of time.  
I was nervous about running at night.  Not just at night, but the middle of the night, and in the middle of NOWHERE, Idaho.    Michelle would run 1st (from our car) and she had to have a light up costume.  Can you say...GLO-STICKS!!  We had hundreds.  She left her exchange in Coeur d'Alene Park, all hopped up on 5-hour Energy, and glowing so they could see her from space!!

Runners catching some sleep in CdA City Park

Michelle glowing and on 5-hour Energy!

The night runs all went well.  When it was finally my turn, what I thought would be nerves, turned into my favorite run of the course.  I was cool, and dark and peaceful.  Ok, I was a tad freaked out by the howling coyotes that seemed to be right off of the road in the bushes.  I ran in complete darkness, with only my headlamp leading the way, and saw one other person (who I passed) in all 5.2 miles. During our  night portions, we decided to not drive straight to the exchange but try and leap frog our runners.  Drive ahead mile by mile, until the runner would catch up.  It was fun hearing all of the cheering along the way from support vehicles heading towards the exchange.
  When I got back to the car, we were EXCITED....only Brent to run, and we would ALL meet him at Silverwood for a midnight roller coaster ride.  Our entire team was at this check point.  We waited.  He came running in, and we all ran to the coaster.  What a blast!  I am a roller coaster freak, and to do this mid-race, with a bunch of friends, at 12:30am, in the dark, was extraordinary!!  We were screaming, and laughing, and pumped up!!  Off the coaster, and the fun started again with Runner #1.  Off Elizabeth went, into the cool night!!
Our car took this opportunity to drive ahead and get some sleep.  HA!!  We found a great spot at an elementary school, in the middle of nowhere (again) Tired, we pulled out our Therma-Rests and sleeping bags and literally fell onto the front lawn of this school.  Sleep.  About 2 hours into a fitful rest, the sprinklers popped on.  At this point we were so tired, almost delirious, we took a few minutes trying to figure out what was happening.  Water hitting our faces, we looked at one another, and then popped up out of our bags for the mad dash to the side walk.  Drunkenly, sleep-deprived, we stood in the cold, dripping wet, watching the sprinklers for a few minutes. Looking down at our wet gear, not quite sure what to do.  This was by far the worst part of the race for me.  I was so tired.  Almost sick.  Greg grabbed our gear, through it, wet into our Rocket Box on top of the car and we climbed back into our Suburban.  I put my feet on the dash and fell asleep, wanting to cry.  This is the true test of friendship and team work.  Feeling so sleep deprived and hungry, a little on edge, ok, maybe a little bitchy and trying to hold it together.  Trying not to freak out on your teammates. I think we all did pretty well (ha ha) and no real tears were shed....just some lip quivering.
Daybreak came, and we headed for our final exchange.  

Michelle's morning hand off to Brenda!

Tracie opening the champagne
Champagne in the fuel belts!

Last leg.  4.20 miles @ 32:52

My last leg was crazy!  We were exhausted, but exhilarated as the sun came up, and we knew we were done.  That's all I could think about was being "done"  Move my legs so I can be done!!  It ended up being my fastest leg.  Even though the whole time I felt like the walking dead.  Like my legs would give out.
We broke out the champagne for Brenda, popped beers open for Tracie.  Ya know the typical thing to do at 8am after running 185-miles for 25 hours!!
We all waited for Brent to come screaming into the finish in Sandpoint, Idaho.  We ran in together as a team, crossing the finish line!!  It was a great time of bonding.  Learning how to deal with situations, hungry, sore, sleep deprived.  Knowing, you just have to suck it up for your team.  Total time 27:59  That's a long day/night of running!  

Over all the race was run fantastically.  Every aspect, top notch.  Would I recommend it, YES.  Will I do it again next year, YES.  Will I sleep at that school, NO!  
We had a great celebration at the finish that morning.  All tired, but toasting with a few beverages!!

Team Happy Feet, you all ROCKED!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends.



a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: 

 Just that word alone makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  They are there for you when you are up.  They are there for you when you are down.  When you date, marry, divorce, have kids, have accidents, make mistakes, laugh with you, cry with you, love you, hate you. They keep your secrets, know when you are hurting, and know when you just need to sit in silence with them.  Know when to open a good bottle of red, or grab the Kleenex and chocolate. They wipe your tears, and make your smile lines appear radiantly on your face. They swell your heart and break your heart.  I have seen friends come and go, watched them suffer, and celebrated with them.  In my forty years I have had some amazing friends.  Some I have had since I was 4 or 5 years old.  That's alot of time. Alot of laughs, alot of secrets, and a whole lotta history.  Some are new, and even though they just walked into your life, it's like you were meant to be, and you know they will be a part of you for the rest of your life.  I truly have the best friends.

Team: Denny & The Divas and The Hammer Gals

We hang out often, training, BBQing, laughing, dancing, boating, skiing, traveling, racing...you name it.  This weekend was no exception.  Race Day!  Coeur d' Alene Triathlon.
As I had said, I have never raced a Tri as a team.  I was skeptical, and nervous.  I train with these cats all the time, but race day was something different for all of us.  Most of us are runners, and triathletes...and that means other than training together, when we race, we are solo.  Tr-I-athlete.
  We gathered in the morning.  Body marking, watching the water, going over transitions.  We were nervous.  Us girls, were fidgety.  Couldn't figure out where the nerves were coming from.  We talked about being nervous for Ironman....this was different, intense.  We weren't solo on this.  This was a team effort.  If one goes down, we all go down.  We had to ebb and flow as one.  Supporting each leg as we went along.  My team: Denny and the Divas.  Dennis, our biker dude, Natalie, a women who grows gills as soon as she steps in water, and myself.  I knew going in, that our team would be great!  We are all strong.  Tough. Disciplined.  I also knew, I had to be "game on" for my team.  Dennis is a strong biker.  Fast and powerful on those hills.  He would tear that course apart.  And Natalie, well she is ridiculous when she is in the water.  Strong, competitive, and fearless.
Denny & The Divas (Dennis, Nat and Me)

The Hammer Gals (Bren, Renee & Connie)

Our race started.  I waited on the beach while Nat took off.  The plan was for me to watch her swim, wait for her to get onto the beach and run to transition to yell at Dennis who was waiting to take off on the bike.  She was out of that 1-mile swim in 25 minutes. Told ya she's amazing!

Natalie heading for the H2O...see her arms are starting to grow gills. =)

   I ran up the beach.  Dennis was ready.  A quick tag from Nat and he was off.  Fast.  My stomach was turning.  Don't let these guys down today!  The runners in transition including myself were warming up.  Small talking and all of us watching the bike dismount for our bikers.  Knowing exactly what Dennis was wearing, we watched, and waited.  In he came.  His 25-mile bike 1:12 Smoking fast on some tough as heck hills.  WOW!

I ran up for the tag...and I was off.  Fast.  Looking at my Garmin I knew I would need to slow down and pace myself.  Running at a 6:00 pace, and lower I would burn out and never make it.  Steady up....but man, I was excited and still nervous.  I finally found my pace, and rocked out 6.2 miles in 49 minutes, not too bad. I felt great, and strong, and happy to be running for my team.  We placed 2nd.  Not bad for a first time team.  We were crazy happy.  We cheered and celebrated our success.

We had a lot of friends racing, who all did a fantastic job!! Team Hammer Gals (Renee, Brenda & Connie), Tom, Steph, Cathy, Greg (doing his first Oly distance)  and many more.

Greg crossing the finish of his first Oly!!

Awesome couple and great friends!!

Gotta love the smile on Cathy's face!!

Greg & Tom ready to ROCK!!!

  The day was awesome, the course was amazing and race was incredible! We celebrated all our successes that night with a BBQ at our house.  Great food,  lot's of great friends, great wine, great race!!!

Even though we've changed and we're all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends.

My IM training partner, fellow Diva and Fish friend, Natalie.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Husbands, Triathlons, and Divas!!

I have never raced a Triathlon as a team.  It has always just been an “I” sport for me, and as Greg always says, “I don’t play well with others.”  I am excited to say, however I will be racing my first Coeur d’Alene Tri this weekend as a team.  All I have to do is run this one…which makes me smile.  Not that I don’t LOVE the swimming and biking….duh!  But I love to run.  It’s my baby.  I am a little fearful of being on a team for the first time (for a Tri anyway).  High expectations of not letting anyone down.  I felt this way, somewhat when I raced the Grizzlyman Adventure Race.  Very different event though.  This Tri we have some potential to be speedy.  My team consists of Natalie (my IM training partner) and all around kick-ass swimmer.  Her 2.4-mile swim for Ironman was 1:08.  Pretty smokin’.  Dennis, another dear friend and fellow 3 time Ironman will bike the course.  He is fast, and a mean hill climber.  I hope I hold up my end of the bargain on the run.

Greg’s Tri on Saturday went fantastic.  I knew it would.  You cannot train with your wife for Ironman, and doubt yourself about racing a Sprint.  But it was his first and he had a lot of nerves to deal with.  The race itself, put on by friends of ours, was well put together, a great and gorgeous course, and fantastic for 1st timers. The swim started in small waves, the bike, 10-miles, was around the lake with a few challenging hills, and the 3.7-mile run was flat and fast!!  I loved helping out at registration Friday.  Meeting athletes, and welcoming newbies.  Trying to calm their anxious nerves of a first time triathlon.  Saturday, I woke up early…ummm…. 3AM EARLY, to go down and help with set-up at 4am. I was tired, but as soon as athletes started showing up, we all perked up with the great energy that was all around.  I opted to do body marking, so I could talk to people, welcome them, wish them good luck and be able to be ready to watch Greg at the start and throughout the whole rest of the race.  The weather went from rain and lightening at 4am, to a gorgeous race day by the time they started at 7am.  The whole day for Greg was awesome, and with a Sprint out of the way, he is on to the Oly distance CdA Tri this weekend, which I know will be another great race for him.  Do I smell an Ironman?

Ready to Rock and Roll

With Mom & Dad

Gonna be a fun swim!

Out of the H2O...and still smilin'!!!

Out of T1 and onto the bike!!

I am still contemplating a few other races to round out the season.  Spokane Marathon, Tri Cities Marathon…and of course Ironman next year.  Do I want to do CdA again, or maybe Canada?  Do I even want to race a full IM next year or a few ½ Ironman’s and come back again in ’12 to do one?  Think, think, think, Pooh Bear.

Too many decisions to make on a Monday.  So for now, I will focus on the task at hand:  Coeur d’ Alene Tri Team, Denny and the Divas!!  
Next weekend.... 180-mile relay, S2S Spokane, WA to Sandpoint, ID Race!!