Friday, February 20, 2009

Diana Nyad Offers Inspirational Words

I attended the American Heart Association "Go Red for Women" luncheon today in downtown Cleveland. The keynote speaker was world-class long distance swimmer and journalist, Diana Nyad. She revealed to the audience that she would be turning 60 soon. I can only hope I look that good at 60. She looks incredibly fit. She had many stories of her training growing up, how a heart condition at 16 derailed her quest for competing in the Olympics in 1968 and how she turned that disappointment into a career in long-distance swimming (in 1979 she swam 102.5 miles from the Bahamas to Florida). Although we cannot all be world-class athletes like her, Diana's message was to do the very best you can each day and you will be satisfied with yourself. A simple message but her presentation was very effective. A good message to employ in long distance races. As long as I feel like I have given 100% in a race, I am happy with my performance regardless of what position I end up in.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Last Chance for Boston Lives up to its Name

To many runners, the thought of running a 1-mile loop marathon course in an industrial park in the middle of winter would be pure torture. But, the idea sounded intriguing, especially since it would be a good simulation of the 24-hour race in Italy coming up in May (minus the freezing temperatures).

I woke up the morning of the race greeted by snow flurries. Since I was driving from Cleveland, I hoped the weather would warm up the further "south" I drove on I-71. By race time in Dublin, Ohio, I think the temperature had improved to a balmy 26 degrees. I was very happy that I had chosen to wear my CW-X tights and long-sleeved top as well as my cold weather Drymax socks. I was set for the chilly run.

As there was a 5K, 10k and half-marathon on the same course as the marathon, the marathon and 10K started a 10th of a mile behind the half-marathon and 5K to ease the congestion. The raced started promptly at 8:00 a.m. The loop course was laid out pretty well. There were no sharp turns. There was some crowding initially but people spread out quickly and as the 5K and 10K runners dropped off there was usually no problem getting the inside lane of the course. The only complaint I had were the lumpy timing mats that I crossed every mile. I kept thinking I would trip on the mat and slowed down crossing it to be extra careful.

With all the different races going on, people were constantly passing me. I think this helped to make me run faster too. By the half-way point, my time was 1:48. I was OK with that. I was just using this as a training run and was happy with any time under 4 hours.

As the laps added up, however, I realized that I would actually have a decent time. I was consistently hitting 8:15 splits and I wasn't getting tired. The temperature only climbed to about 32 degrees by the end of the race. The sun was out on one side of the course and was hidden by buildings on the other side of the course. I was always happy when I hit the sunny side!

I had been keeping track of my laps on my watch which was a good thing because there wasn't alot of information as to which lap you were on. The last time I received any information was when I had just finished lap 22. When I crossed the mat for what I believed was the 26th time (and the end of the race), I had to stop and verify this with the timers as I didn't want to stop unless I was really done. I was a little bit in disbelief as my finish time was 3:36.43, good for first place in the 40-49 age group and I was 5th woman overall. I haven't had this fast a time in probably the last ten years. Bottom line is that this course definitely give you the potential to run FAST!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Swingy Ice a Challenge in Chicago

We were lucky to have clear roads all the way to and from Chicago for the Exmoor bon spiel. Being on Eastern time, we were definitely ready to begin to curl when the first game started at 10 AM CST on Saturday morning. Our first opponent was a team from Exmoor. We were all a little nervous as they had "home" ice advantage but we managed a win. Next up was a fellow Mayfield team. It ended up being a tight game once we gave up 6 points in the 5th end (OUCH!) We were down by 2 at that point and ended up tying the game in the 7th. The other Mayfield team had the hammer for the final end and we thought we were in trouble but managed to steal 2 for the win.

On Sunday, we played a Detroit team. Again, we had our hands full. We seemed to struggle with the swingy ice since Mayfield's ice runs so much straighter. The game came down to the last rock. I had to draw in to the button or else Detroit won. By some miracle, I was able to do that. The win put us in the First Event. Since it was a point spiel, however, for the final game, we again played Detroit! I think they were more up for the game than us as we definitely didn't have one of our better games. Detroit ended up handily winning and won the event. We took second place.

Mayfield teams again dominated as we also had Second and Third event MCC winners. Way to go MCC ladies!

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's A Sweep

From the 28-team field, the Mayfield Curling Club managed to put winners in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th events at the Cleveland Skating Club bon spiel this past weekend. Our team, the Festersen rink - Else (skip), Bob (vice), me (2nd) and Roger (lead).
Our first game on Friday was a shakey start. We played a Canadian team from Annandale. Else got caught in traffic and arrived after the first end. We gave up 3 points that end. Ouch! Things improved and after 8 ends we managed a tie, sending the game into an extra end. We didn't have quite enough though and lost in the 9th, putting us in the 2nd event bracket. We breezed through our next matches against Columbus and Cleveland Skating Club teams. For our 4th game, we got matched up against another Annandale team. It was close but we prevailed in the 8th and advanced to the finals on Sunday. Our final comeptitor was a Canadian team from Hamilton. By Sunday, the ice was very slow since the Skating Club had no scraper or nipper and the pebbling was building up on the ice. We were able to capitalize on being more used to slower ice than the Canadians and won handily after 6 ends.
Since I had not been able to run on Friday and Saturday because I was curling, I managed to squeeze in a 15-miler before nightfall since it was a warm and sunny day.