My Two Cents

I won twenty cents! Yay! Today I went to Churchill Downs and over the course of 3 hours ended up...twenty cents ahead. Not bad for 3 hours of entertainment. For those of you who have never been to the track, lemme tell you how it's done. This was my first time; I had a blast. It's not about the horses, well at least for me it is not. If you OWN one of the horses, I am sure you care a lot who wins. If you are a big better, you care a lot who wins.

But since I am neither, it is just a fun way to pass a few hours. First of all, I only bet 2 dollars each race. I know, you can't win big unless you play big, but I am not about to waste a bunch of money (just in case!) I am happy when I win a couple bucks and am not too sad if I lose a couple.

You can pick win, place or show. Win is self explanitory. Place is 1st or 2nd and show is 1st, 2nd or 3rd. I was not brave enough to pick "win"; although the payoff is better the chances are slim. I picked "place" all four times; I lost the first two and won the second two, hence the 20 cent gain. But the fun I had in the few hours I was there was worth a lot more than twenty cents to me!

Running On Empty

I arrived in Louisville at 11:50 p.m.on Friday. My flight was late. It was supposed to arrive at 11:15, which was already bad enough. All I could think was, "I have to get up in...a little over 5 hours." As I walked to the entrance of the airport, took the cab and then finally got to the hotel, I couldn't stop thinking, "5 hours of sleep"..."4.5 hours of sleep"...."4 hours of sleep". I finally got to bed around 12:50.

On Saturday I woke up at 4:30.

I got ready, ate a powerbar, drank a liter of water and then walked to the Louisville Convention Center, where I picked up my bib, stretched, ate another power bar and then boarded the bus to Iroquois Park, where the race would start. It was 6:30. It was freezing (it is all relative of course; it was probably about 50 degrees).

The race finally began at 7:30. I had decided that, in lieu of a partner (Mira, I miss you!), I would join a pace group this time. By joining a pace group, you maintain a steady pace of...say..10 minutes per mile... the whole time. I had two choices. There was a 4:30 pace group (these are measured by "marathon" time - a 4:30 would be a 2:15 half *which is what I ran at the Mardi Gras Marathon*) and a 4:15 pace group (2:08 half). I had planned on being in the 4:20 pace group, therefore striving for a 2:10 half. However, in the absence of a 4:20, I decided to join the 4:15. That would put me below my goal by 2 mins + and get me that much closer to my ultimate goal of 2 hours flat.

The pace leader explained to us that if you needed to go to the restroom or if you were tired, you could slow down/stop and then catch up to the group later. He suggested taking at least a mile to catch back up to the group, as you don't want to tire yourself out right by trying to hard to catch back up.

I ran with the pace group for the first mile. Then, oh horror of horrors, I felt the need to pee. So I ran a little faster (and actually at a more comfortable pace) than the group, thinking that the next porta-potti I saw I would stop at and then it would give me a chance to catch back up to the group. Around mile 2, I finally saw a bathroom so I stopped. There were about 8 people in line. I weighed my options. GO. Stay. Go. Stay? I stayed. Until the two bathrooms that were there never emptied. There were 8 people in line. We waited. Finally I could wait no more. I ran again. Into the bushes.

I ran up hills and down hills; My legs were burning; My ankles were sore...and I was only on mile 4. It took me 5 more miles to catch back up to my pace group. By this time we were at Churchill Downs. From there to the next mile seemed to take hours..then all of a sudden I saw mile 11 up ahead! Only 2 more miles to go! I sped up and raced to the finish as fast as I could go (which, by now, was not very fast at all!)

I made it to the end at 2:04...only 4 minutes slower than my goal, but 11 minutes faster than my last half marathon!
If only I hadn't had to stop and pee...


Music! Makes the People! Come Together!

Yeah. It is that time of the year again. Jazzfest.

This is a 6 day event (starting this Friday) that we attend in order to see hundreds of bands that we could normally see for free at any time of the year. We also go to eat hundreds of different local foods that are double in price as any normal time of year. Oh - and to spend more money on one beer than we normally would on four.

Having said that, I am still mysteriously drawn to it. There are 8 or 9 different stages and usually the two or three bands I really want to see are all playing at the same time on three different stages that are the farthest amount apart. Again, and I don't know why, but I am mysteriously drawn...

So...I will go. For two days probably. I will pay 50 bucks to run back and forth between stages, eat 18 different kinds of food and drink way too much beer, causing me to fall asleep around 7:30 (music ends at 7). GOOD TIMES!

Friday, 27: Van Morrison, Subdudes, Bonerama, Kermit Ruffins, Astral Project
Saturday, 28: Rod Stewart, Norah Jones, Ludacris, Rebirth, Groove Academy
Sunday, 29: Brad Paisley, Bonnie Raitt, Jill Scott, Jerry Lee Lewis, Theresa Andersson
Friday, 4: ZZ Top, Counting Crows, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ellis Marsalis, Better Than Ezra

Saturday, 5: Galactic, Cowboy Mouth, John Mayer, John Legend, Allman Brothers, The Iguanas
Sunday, 6: Allen Toussaint, Steely Dan, Papa Grows Funk, Anders Osborne, Joss Stone, The Radiators, New Edition, Taj Mahal


If it Seems Like Nothing is Happening...

In case you forgot, there are more posts/photos (race related) on my other site (http://cankyriarun.blogspot.com)

Upcoming endeavors:

Saturday, April 28: Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon

Sunday, May 20: San Francisco Bay to Breakers

...and newly added today...

Sunday, August 5: NYC Half Marathon

New York City?

Call me crazy, but I just put my name in the lottery for the New York City Half Marathon. The race is August 5th so if I did get chosen, I would have plenty of time to train. They pull names sometime between May 15 and 21 and announce the "winners" on the 22nd.

Seth, a friend from NYC that I worked with in Baton Rouge, also has his name in the pot. So hopefully if one of us gets picked, both of us get picked...

So - stay posted!! Keep your fingers crossed!!


There is Something in The Way You Move

Maybe I am tired of moving. From Hotel to Hotel. From Desk to Desk. From City to City.

Or am I?

For a long time I have been living out of a suitcase. Carrying my belongings on my back. Not really having a place to call home. Except that I have always been told that home where the heart is. Well, I left mine in San Francisco...

I get a kick out of going to new places, seeing new things, trying new things, meeting new people. I love to travel; I travel light; I travel for extended amounts of time. But when does enough become enough? A friend of mine told me that at some point we would all have to "be responsible". He defined that as owning a house, having kids, having a steady job, settling down...

By his definition, I may never be "responsible". What if you have one or two or three of those things but not all four? Are you then only "partly responsible"? Why can't I just be partly responsible for the rest of my life?

I still want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, to see the Amazon, to go to the Pyramids, to see if Iceland is really green and Greenland is really icy, to see the Northern Lights, to go to the South Pole, to go Salmon Fishing in Alaska, to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, to wrestle a Kimodo Dragon, to see a Rhino....The list goes on and on.

Having said that, I have made a few descisions:

1. My heart (and home) will always be in San Francisco.

2. I will always be only "partly responsible".

3. I am NOT done moving.

Countdown to Kentucky

Whew. I think I mentioned in my last post that I only had 4 weeks to train for the next half marathon - the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon... Well, now I am down to...4 days. Ouch. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I spent a total non-fitness week at the beach last week, where the closest thing I did to "training" was to walk to the cooler for a beer or to the water to cool down.

Having said that, I have not done a very good job at training this time around (if you can even call it that at all!) However, it will be interesting to see how I do on Saturday. Perhaps I will finally prove that training is not the answer! But then what would I do for the next few months?

After this is over, I have decided to do a couple of things:

1. Next vacation: ACTIVE vacation - aka. hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, tree climbing or all of the above.
2. Run the NY City Half (if they will have me - this is done as a lottery) on August 5th
3. Triathlon - still TBD

If anyone knows of any fun activities I have overlooked, let me know!

Going Swimmingly

When I got in the pool, I was not sure what I was doing. I have swum before. I can swim. But I had no idea how far or how long I could swim. I didn't even know how far you could go in what amount of time. In an attempt to find out, two weeks ago I started swimming at the gym.

The first time, I swam for 10 minutes. It went something like this. Minute one through minute five was easy. During minutes six to eight I had a little difficulty because my arms were getting tired (damn useless sticks!). I struggled with my tired arms as well as my breathing through minutes nine and ten and finally came to a stop at the end of the pool. I had done 10 laps. Ten long laps. I felt like I had swum miles. In fact, I had only swum about a third of a mile.

I have a long way to go still.

I have always been a swimmer; I grew up by the river; we swam every day in the summer time and even some days in the spring and fall. My cousins and I would race each other from one side of the river to the other, often going back and forth many times. I have swum far; we used to see how far up the river we could swim. However, I have never swum for an extended amount of time. And I have never had to swim while being timed, or when it mattered at all. I recently decided to train for a (so far un-chosen) triathlon and so now am swimming not only for fun but for braggin rights.

Luckily, I am getting better.

I went back to the pool last week (I am only going once a week right now) and swam for 17 minutes. 16 laps. 800 meters. HALF A MILE! Which is what I will need to do (if not more) for a sprint triathlon. So...all is not lost. Now I just have to try and build my endurance. And figure out how to get from the lake to the bike to the road without hurting anyone or myself... I guess I still have a long way to go.


And They are Off!!!

Next Up: Louisville, KY
What: Derby Mini-Marathon
When: Saturday, April 28, 2007

This half marathon marks the beginning of Derby season. The first Kentucky Derby will be on May 6th with many to follow after that. Before the weekend of the Derby, there are week long festivities, one of them being...the mini-marathon.

Part of the race, and the most exciting part for me, is run around the track at Churchill Downs!!

This time I only have four weeks to train, rather than twelve like last time...So I have kicked it up a notch, am running more and am trying to clock as many miles as possible in the next four (well, more like three from today) weeks. Which is hard because for the last month, I have been completely slacking.

So we shall see how it goes, shant we?

So Much To Say

I feel like I should have a lot to say, but I don't. I have actually been so busy that I cannot think about anything other than my next run, my next trip or what is going on at work tomorrow/next week/this weekend...

First of all, I have been taking advantage of the fact that we are allowed to travel on the weekends by...traveling on the weekends. Every weekend. As fun at it has been, I am getting tired... I have been to Pensacola, San Francisco and Baltimore in the last 3 weekends, and this weekend I am going to Grayton Beach, FL for some Easter weekend fun in the sun with some friends.

Secondly, I am training to run another half marathon. This one takes place in Louisville, KY. I am very excited about it, because we get to run through Churchill Downs as part of the course. Afterwards, there is beer and free tickets to a horse race, which I have never been to before. And at...Churchill Downs! That is pretty cool.

After that, I am planning on doing a triathlon, so am also trying to train for that at the same time. I just started swimming today and it is kicking my ass! I only swam about a third of a mile - it took me 10 mins - it zapped all my arm strength (haha - WHAT arm strength you say?) and it took my breath away...Literally! For the race, I will have to swim at least a half mile, if not more. Whew.

So, the rest of my time is spent working (which is good but I recently switched positions and so have been trying to learn the ropes etc.), eating (I tend to do a lot of that!) and sleeping. Pretty much in that order.

So...that is the reason I have nothing to say.