Tuesday, July 19, 2011

it's like riding a bike!

which is why we call it riding a bike. 

One of the things about my boyfriend that initially attracted me to him was that he was a really active person.  He plays soccer and rides a bike.  Mostly, he is a fan of mountain biking, but he genuinely enjoys any kind of bike ride.  I, on the other hand, have always been a swimmer, and as an adult, a walker (and now runner and walker).  I had a bike as a kid, but once I was old enough to ride my bike off my street, I was bored with my bike since I couldn't ride it back ONTO my street ( I grew up on a steep hill).

So he's taken up the challenge of running now, and we've double-dared each other to complete the Goofy Challenge this coming January!  We have run some races together already, and I really like training together.  It means a lot to me that he's jumped into this running thing.  We can talk about training runs, shoes, race strategy, aches, pains... running is a language few other people in my life speak.

And then he goes on a bike ride.  The writing is on the wall.  Must ride bike. I even WANT to ride a bike. People seem so happy riding along the rail trail.  So one day, a few weeks ago (a month?) we put a helmet on me, he adjusts his mountain bike for me, he gets on another of his bikes and away we go.  I don't know how to change gears.  i'm petrified as the first thing we do is go down a hill. and OMG, my lady parts HURT.  We finally get off the road and onto the smooth, straight rail trail and pedal along. Our destination was breakfast in town, 2 miles away.  By the time we got there, I feel sexually assaulted by this bike. My legs feel fine, so I focus on that.  The ride home was not any more comfortable, and that hill I started out going down... I had to walk the bike back up.  Not fun, but at least I didn't have to sit on that torture device anymore.

We decide that getting me some padded bike shorts is a smart idea for "next time".  I'm petrified to have to do that again. 

Then, a gift arrives.  Boyfriend's sister shows up at a family function with a bike!  She's got a new one, and just had a baby anyway, so I can use this one while I'm figuring out what I want to do.  This bike is for a GIRL.  it's got a girl's seat, a comfort seat, and while the bike is a bit too small for me (she's 5'1, I'm 5'6), it's still heaps better for me than that men's racing mountain bike.  I test it out and fly down the driveway, thrilled with the wind in my hair and not feeling anything on my butt.

So, this past Saturday, my no longer fat butt gets on this bike for a ride with my sweetie.  He gets on his torture machine, and I get on my cruiser-ish loaner with my bike shorts and some borrowed gloves.  I'm upset that the helmet doesn't match my outfit, but alas... We ride 7 miles down the bike path and stop to get a cold drink before returning home.  Yes, my butt hurts a little, and my lady parts are numb, but I don't feel like a victim.  we enjoy our drinks, and head back to town for lunch.  My legs are starting to get quite tired, and I'm worried I won't make it back home on the bike...especially with that stupid hill.  But the gears on this bike are MUCH easier to change.  With some grit and not a few reminders to myself that "I ran a damn half marathon THREE times, I can get up this stupid hill!!", I made it.  I'm sure it wasn't pretty, but it was pedaled.  We made it home, cracked open some cold beers and enjoyed the thrill of my victory.

I like riding a bike.  I fantasize about getting my own someday!  After Goofy though... one thing at a time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Harvard Pilgrim 10k, Foxboro MA. my personal Everest.

I ran this race last year, it's appeal is that it finishes on the 50 yard

line at the New England Patriot's field, Gillette Stadium. It was very hot
and humid last year, and even though I'd run a half marathon the month
before, I found this 10K to the hardest race I've ever run due to the

I had hoped the weather would be kind this year, and all forecasts pointed
to my redemption this year. My training has been.... um.... well, lacking
this last month, but I was still hoping to match my time from last year,
at the very least.

Then the forecast changed, as it does in New England. We awoke to 70s and
90% humidity. that was 2 hours before race time. Then the sun broke
through. I stopped checking the weather and kept drinking water.

The race began in the shopping center this year. Loved hearing that the
start line was next to Old Navy and Victoria's secret. Running AND a mall?

So I lined up in the unrealistic 9 minute corall with my friend who was in
town hoping for a sub 60. I had tossed that idea out the window with my
poor training, and with the humidity (and my asthma) just hoped to "do my
thing" whatever that was meant to be. I lost her right at the beginning,
and wondered if my boyfriend, who had carefully taped his ankle and started
with the 12 minute pack would catch up to me. I ran/walked most of the
course, taking advantage of the few patches of shade, every water station
and making the spectators cheer for me along the way. The course is mostly
flat with a few small rollers, but the sun was brutal with very little
shade to be found.

At the last water station, when we turn into the access road to the stadium
a lot of young men (a local track team perhaps?) was manning the station
and they were splashing folks who requested it "say 'splash' once for on
cup, say it twice for many", so as i approached i yelled "splash splash
splash" and got a wave of water thrown at me. it felt DAMN good. I had no
idea how long I'd been running, but I was hot. I wore my Garmin, but I
purposely never looked at the timer. I occasionally glanced at my pace
when I was walking, just to make sure I was not going too slow, as I decided
along the way I was hoping for a 12 minute pace average. Then with about
.4 to go a splash of water hit me in the back, and my boyfriend greeted me.
He had just sprinted his way to catch up to me. We ran to the finish
together, which was perfect since I liked having someone to chat with and
distract me from the misery of the conditions. We agreed that this was one
race worth NOT sprinting to the finish because we wanted to enjoy running
through the inflatable helmet onto the football field and across the fifty
yard line. No sense in rushing through that! This was his first 10K (and
longest race yet), so a PR for him, and for me, a PW!! (personal worst).
I will conquer this course someday, but yesterday was not the day to die trying. My friend did not make her sub 60, which would have been a PR by 4 or 5 minutes for her, and I tried to explain to her that we can't PR every time, and that conditions such as weather, course terrain and a million other factors are going to effect us! By the end of the day, she had become pretty pleased with her effort, but it does suck to be disappointed and frustrated with things beyond our control.

My official results:

Div Guntime Nettime Pace Name
F3039 1:14:32 1:13:12 11:47 Sue Doucet

garmin link:
and a photo of me pre-race... my headband was chosen to match my plan for the race.


After the race we grabbed some food and spent the afternoon soaking in the sun at my mom's pool. No better way to spend a post-race day, as far as I'm concerned.

I recommend this race to everyone! Great chance to finish a race, on an NFL field with your face up on the jumbo-tron!