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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Scuba Diving

Cross training...... my way of saying "I don't feel like running today"

Numerous studies will tell you how cross training is essential for runners.... so I don't feel so bad when I go sailing and substitute that for running.  It is important to work different muscle groups while giving others a break. Lucky for me I have plenty of hobbies to keep me busy when my shins call it quits or when my dog chews my running sneakers.

If you know me you know I can't sit still and I am always up to something new.... My newest adventure is scuba diving. Being a marine science major and a lover of lobsters, scuba diving was something I ALWAYS wanted to do.. Problem?  I was scared shit-less.   I am a little claustrophobic (I once freaked out in a bouncy house maze), I tend to get pretty anxious, and I am a control freak.   Because of my extreme anxiety about scuba diving I dragged Thatcher with me to scuba class (willingly suprisingly).  

This is what I thought I would ook like 

But I probably look a little more like this

The class was offered at Divers Cove, Check them out here- an awesome dive shop right down the road in Essex (+1).  Classes were on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9:30 ish (-1 this is my dinner time).  Thursdays were in a class room down the road (+1) and Tuesdays in the highly chlorinated pool full of band-aids and overweight women in one peices at the Westbrook YMCA (-1).  

Picture looking up at this underwater...

First classroom session brought on a little bit of homework, more anxiety, and lots of excitement.  The first pool session went a little like this:
* Dont show up late in fear of being humiliated and owing a man poland spring water bottles (Dont ask)
* Swim test- lots of laps and treading water- harder than it sounds
* Try to distinguish all this foreign gear and attempt to put it together.
* Jump in the pool wearing all this weight 
*Spend two minutes underwater and decide I want to run out of the pool rip all my gear off......maybe I can return it all....?
* 2 minute later we are onto skills.. SKILLS??!! are you kidding- I am still working on breathing never mind flooding my mask- Skill right now is living......
* Complete the skills any way and tell the instructors I am freaking out a little. or a lot 
* My dive buddy was also my boyfriend who was virtually blind and had very little patience with me (need a new dive buddy one with somewhat decent vision.. any takers?)
* Finish the class and go home and do a lot of thinking...and eating wings, and drinking margs (45 cent wings and 2.50 margaritas can cure any bad day)

Weeks 2, 3, and 4 improved drastically, (except for having to run out of the pool every hour to pee- awkward) not only was I starting to enjoy it but I was doing really well.  Until week 5..... I decided to ignore the instructors advice on wearing a hood and gloves (mistake #1- why are they always right....) from the very beginning-  the pool was already warm and I figured it wouldn't make that much of a difference right? 

and they look terrible- yikes....

The hood was uncomfortable and made me claustrophobic, the gloves took away any dexterity I had.  It was a disaster.  After a lot of struggle, a few tears, and a few kind words with instructors, it was too late to back down.  Our open water dive was this weekend and I didn't spend all this time and money to fail now...

Our first open water dive was in a lake in Union CT.  I was terrified and nervous but comforted by the idea of a lake and not a turbid ocean.  I mastered all of the skills and kicked some butt. 

Here is the lake we dove in, at Bigelow Hollow State Park- gorgeous

 Our next dive was the following day in Jamestown RI, a beautiful little spot in Fort Wetherill.  While my ear pain wasn't as bad, it was still present on the descents.  We made it to a max of 25' and spent the morning searching for lobsters with no luck :(

This is where we dove in RI- another great spot.

We packed up our gear, went home, and passed out due to exhaustion.  All of the swimming and all of the weight from the gear is quite the work out.  The next day I woke up with a obnoxious pain and what felt like water in my right ear.  Being the brat that I am I didn't get it looked at and proceeded with my normal schedule of working, riding, eating, etc.  The next day was a double shift for me, 8 hours at the environmental firm and 8 hours at the bar.  It happened to be 5$ frozen drink night and karaoke- the worst night to bartend- The pain in my ear was increasing by the minute.. was it the scuba diving? or was it the amateur karaoke... only a doctor could tell. 

Tuesday night karaoke brings this type of crowd

Most of them don't drink and have no business behind a mic.  Bartenders nightmare

7:30 am I parked myself outside the clinic with hopes of being the first in line at their 8am start.  At this point the pain was unbearable and I considered removing said ear.  The 45 minute wait on the curb with my truck driver friend turned into a 2 minute appointment with a doctor who told me it was indeed a scuba injury.  An ear squeeze and most likely a ruptured ear drum.
Awesome, Thanks DOC! 

60 dollars of prescriptions later I am still in pain and calling a bag of potato chips dinner. 

Guess I will start running again tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ragnar Cape Cod 2012

This blog is titled "Running A Ragnar" 
and I never blogged about how our actual race went. 
 I am THE WORST.  So here it goes!

For those of you just tuning in: Marissa and I managed to organize a 24 person over-night running relay called a Ragnar Relay More about that here.  The race consisted of 12 people and 2 vans running 176 miles overnight from Plymouth MA to Provincetown at the end of the Cape and it looked a little like this:
Team Caped Cod Fish featuring Turbo Todd the Cod

Thanks again to all of our sponsors 

Jill and I took the longest legs of the race:
9 miler, 9 miler, and a 6 miler.  24 miles in one race!

Thanks for the shirt design Frank!

Some of the competition

Hand off: And I am off for 9 miles of fun

Some of our van mates getting ready to run

Thatch is quite excited for this race!

Pepto Bismal- an essential for any over night running relay 

Waiting for Angelo at exchange 9

Coming in quick- the paces of the boys in the van 
put my pace to shame

Another hand off
Another gorgeous view

Turbo Todd isn't fairing the 176 mile journey too well

Stretch it out Van 2s

Beautiful Cape Cod

Doug coming in for the exchange 

All geared up for my second 9 mile run- this time at night.  
Head lamp, tail light, and reflective vest... CHECK!  

Other team names are quite creative: 
 Lady Jagas... awesome

Oh Frank...

Hey Jay

We even picked up Olive along the way! 

At the finish line 24 miles later

Medals/bottle openers


And beer!

Thankfully Chris let us stay at his house in Welfleet 
so we had time to play on the beach, sleep, eat and drink.  
Just what we needed.

Olive loved the beach

Liz loved the food

And plenty of bacon for all!

Overall the race was GREAT!  I was really nervous about my 24 mile leg.  In April I ran my half marathon and shortly after became pretty burnt out from running.   By the time Ragnar came along I felt pretty undertrained.  The year before I felt over trained with shin splints- comparing the two ... undertraining was the way to go! 

My first 9 mile run went by quick and easy.  The change of scenery and cool weather was just what I needed.  After my run I slipped into some compression socks and slipper, and slipped a few advil down the hatch.  My second 9 mile run went pretty smooth as well, I made a friend during my run and we spent 5 miles chatting about ragnar work and life- really helped to pass the time.  He even offered to share his gatorade with me- after asking if I had any tums on me (who has room in the pockets to carry around tums on a 9 miler)? 

 By the time the third leg came around... moral in the van was low.... REAL LOW.  The thought of getting out to run with NO SLEEP was deadfull for all 6 of us.  I headed out for my 6 mile run feeling miserable.  My legs were sore, my shoulder aching from napping in the car, and I virtually hobbled the last 3 miles.  

At that moment, I questioned the torture I had just put myself through.  Months of planning and stress.. 24 miles on virtually no sleep and no shower.... Maybe I just needed some food and sleep and to reassess the situation.  

I crawled into my tent, took a nap, took a shower, headed to the beach and ate some food. At this point I decided yes, Ragnar was a blast and almost everyone agreed.  The key is Ragnar is that its only as much fun as you make it.  Some vans even popped champagne ( van 2 lushs ) and threw back a few beers- all while cramped in a Ford Explorer.

Will I run another Ragnar in the near future... not this year!  Lake Placid is just a little too far for this runner.

 Good luck to the Caped Cod fishes running the Adirondack Ragnar and I can't wait to see your Docks and Dacks medals!  

Back in Action ( kind of )

Watching all my friends continue on their running routines guilted me back into my sneakers.  Jill and Marissa (Check out her running blog!) are training for full marathons, Sadie and Bethany put in 6 am runs, Jayme Eric and Vanessa are training for Ragnar Adirondacks, and I am eating a snickers bar........

Why is there a 2+ month break in my running?

  Here is a list of excuses:  Its too hot,  I am too busy riding, I am too busy working three jobs, and the dog hates the heat more than I do.  Over the years I have seen a trend in my running schedule.  It looks a little like this:

January:  "Holiday Hate"- 
Bah humbug-  the money is spent and the calories are collecting on my inner thighs-  I just ate enough food in one sitting to feed a large family for a week- Bundle up and  run run run

February:  Its my birthday month-
 heavy drinking and extremely bored- cant afford to ski- guess I will keep running

March:  Still bored... Still broke... 
Ski once or twice and run when I'm not too sore from that.

April:  Starting to warm up- 
 running is slightly more enjoyable- those races are creeping up on me- usually about the time my shin splints are at full force- Running/hobbling around the track

May: Running races like a mad women- 
Ragnar (never planning a Ragnar relay every again), half marathon (it was all hills- at mile 11 I decided I would never run a full marathon), 5ks- why not?  Starting to feel and look better

June:  It is so hot and now I hate running-  
kayak swim hike ride to stay in shape

July:  Refer to June 
and watch all those months of training go down the tubes

August: Refer to July

September: It is time-
 new sneaker shopping to jump start the process-attempt to run a mile and remain amazed that I once ran 13... in a row.. without stopping...

October:  3 miles aint so bad.... 
 Bumpin up in miles!

November:  Turkey Trottin 
( local 5 miler on Thanskgiving day) - I use this 5 mile run to justify my over eating

December:  Running as an outlet for holiday stress

If you are looking at that schedule then you probably realized I should be in "Its so hot I hate running mode"  and I partially am.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, all of my friends are still running and it is proving for great motivation to pick back up where I left off ( who am I kidding, start back at a mile or two).  Once my ear heals up ( stay tuned to hear THAT story) I will be back at it.      

I cant decide if I love or hate running- or maybe its just a love/hate relationship...
Sound familiar to anyone?