Banging on a Rock

April 26, 2012 § 8 Comments

After having the best swim of my life (this can happen fairly frequently when you have only been really swimming for a year) this week, I was excitedly discussing with Coach Hillary the progress. In this convo she passed along another Biscwelsiek Gem: Swimming is like banging on a rock.

I love when I get these words of wisdom from Hillary, but if you’re like me you may need a bit of an explanation. So you bang on a rock with a hammer and nothing seems to be happening, but really you’re making little cracks. Finally, one day, those little cracks equal a big crack and a huge chunk falls right off.

Well, I’m happy to report that a big chunk has fallen right into the pool. And it was one well deserved chunk if I say so myself considering I’ve logged over 225 miles in the pool this year.

The conversation progressed the next day with Dave, who gave a further explanation: “Have you ever [cracked concrete] for a day?  You take the sledgehammer and you hit and it looks like nothing happened.  You do it again and you see a dent, maybe a chip.  Three or four more hits and you get discouraged.  Maybe the 9th or 10th hit and you start to see a crack.  Your enthusiasm is renewed.  By the 20th or 25th, you have the feel even though your hands have long since blistered and your back aches.  Eventually a big chunk breaks off and you can pick it up and toss it aside.  Once you have defeated a solid piece, the rest becomes merely an exercise in persistence.”

I promptly played the girl card as my reason for never having the (clearly exciting) opportunity to crack concrete. And I think, for now, I’ll keep my concrete slab as the pool because I see some more cracks to get after 🙂


Half Full

April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Half empty: A fire in the city blew out the power for the gym last night, and the pool pump wouldn’t turn on this morning == swim fail.

Half full: It was a swim-only day so I can still get it done this afternoon!


 Half empty: Doing the workout in the afternoon means I had to cancel my massage and pay a fee for cancelling within 24 hours.

Half full: I was able to reschedule for tomorrow night and get the fee waived!


Half empty: After the swim fail I was locked out of the house!

Half full: I had an entire hour to get ready for work….my hair looks extra nice today.


Half empty: An accident on 83 made my commute a parking lot.

Half full: I wasn’t a part of the accident.


As you can see I’m working hard here to see things Half Full around here….which reminds me….have you put the Rev3 Half Full race on your calendar yet? Held in October (great weather), on a challenging course (keeps ya honest), and for a great cause (Ulman Cancer Fund)….what more could you want?!


Westminster Main Street Mile

April 20, 2012 § 7 Comments

Wanna know how to make an ultrarunner sore? Make them run a mile!

Wednesday night was the annual Westminster Main Street Mile. A downhill mile, to be exact. My running group did this event for the first year last year and after PR’s all around were set, we vowed to come back. This year’s weather wasn’t quite as favorable – chilly and rainy – but downhill is downhill so it would still be quick! Last year I ran a 5:36 here, and was the 6th female. It was literally my first “fast” race, and knowing that I have put in some speed work this year, I was hoping to better that time. But, a mile race doesn’t quite fit into Ironman training too well, so I’d be racing on tired legs after another speed workout completed that morning. Thanks Coach! 🙂

After thawing my toes with a quick warm-up, then jogging the mile up to the start, I lined up with 25+ other Falls Road Runners. Yes, we rolled deep. It was awesome. The bullhorn sounded and we were off! Well, one guy was more down, than off. He was the only casualty of the wet roads I saw as I hurdled over him. The first quarter has the steepest part of the hill, hence my 70 second split. I began to slow up as the road levels and rises a bit through the ¾ mark. My arms went numb, my lungs began to explode, and I wondered for what seemed like forever why people actually enjoy this feeling. The timing mats were finally in view, and I was out-kicked by a 13 year old boy as I crossed the line: 5:15:59. A whopping 21 seconds faster than last year (but still 6th place!). I know I can’t expect that sort of improvement every year, but it definitely felt pretty good. Maybe one day I’ll even learn how to run it and not positive split by 15 seconds?

The best part of the night was still to come – the ice cream sandwiches! Chilly night or not, I was getting my reward for that run. The group then headed over to the local Irish pub where I ordered vegetables instead of fries with my chicken sandwich. See….I’m learning!

Note in the picture below: 13 year old who beat me, PJ – who inspired me to stick with him and run faster than I thought I would, and sneaky tall Ed who runs so fast he has 75 seconds to finish and come back and cheer us in!

Rev3 Run Across America Weekend Recap

April 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

Wow….where to even begin. I have had trouble wrapping my mind around how to write about the past amazing weekend with the Rev3 Run Across America – I can’t even imagine how the others who were there for all 3 weeks will do it! My story begins on Friday afternoon. I had originally planned to drive my car down to meet up with the group. After a series of events though, it became clear that if I brought my car down we’d have too many cars and not enough drivers. So I rented a car instead and headed down to Bluefield, WV. Knowing that I would be arriving sometime close to midnight, I had called ahead to the hotel asking about a shuttle from the rental car return to the hotel. According to the woman who answered the phone there would be no taxi available due to ‘something very bad that happened in town awhile ago’ but she offered to use her personal vehicle to scoop me up. Great! However, when I drove up to the airport and gave her a call, there was no answer. I was totally stood up! I looked inside though and it appeared a man was still working at the Hertz desk. Why he would still be working late at this tiny airport with no commercial flights was beyond me – I started walking up to the building. As I did that, the man abruptly got up, turned off all the lights, and went into the back. What. Seriously, am I in a scary movie? I ran back to the car and put my pepper spray in my pocket. I called the Hertz desk, and potential-ax-murderer man answered the phone. He confirmed the same story that there really were no taxis available, but offered to drive me to the hotel if I wanted.


Note: I do not suggest doing this if anyone else finds themselves in a similar position. However, I will point out that I sent a text with his license plate number so that people would be aware who kidnapped me.

As I settled into his car with my hand on my pepper spray, he looked at me and smiled and said “Haven’t ya ever seen the movie Deliverance?” My heart rate was through the roof, and I vowed to never get in a car with a strange man again if I could just get to my hotel safely. My prayers were answered and it turned out this man was harmless (at least this time) and I arrived at the Econo Lodge safely! My room was even complete with a wall of mirrors – woohoo! Classy, I know.

Saturday morning when the vans pulled in  to scoop me up I couldn’t jump in fast enough. My remark of “I’m so happy to see people I know!” was met with a few looks of bewilderment as they were like “wait….you don’t know us.” But, I felt like I did already, as Rev3 has a way of making all things feel like a family affair. I was welcomed into the van of runners with smiles and many faces happy to see me….or maybe just happy to have some fresh legs on board 🙂 The starting point of the day was in Bluefield, and I quickly learned the ropes: Jump out of the van when it’s your turn, run until you get to a water bottle, and then get in the van that comes to pick you up. Repeat. Again. And again. And again. At some point you drive the van. Quick lunch stop. Run again. Don’t run on I-81 (Oops!). Run some more. Camp out in the Walmart parking lot and invade Applebees. Sleep. Repeat 🙂

I was lucky enough on Sunday to even get to run one of my legs through Charlottesville and pretend to be back in college. But perhaps what I enjoyed more than that was some of the long country roads in Virginia. These longer solo segments in the quiet really shed some light on what this was about, and gave you time to clear your mind and reflect on why our group was running across the country. It was a constant reminder that even when it became tough to finish your miles, there was someone out there who is fighting a much tougher battle with cancer. It was truly an honor to get to run on behalf of so many who can’t, and for so many who face a battle that makes a few miles a day seem like nothing. On Sunday we ran for Ellen, and you can read about her story in Stephanie’s blog post.

All in all, my time on the trip was filled with a lot of miles, high fives, honking horns, hugs, cowbell, and most of all laughter. In order to accomplish something like this I think that Rev3 made it clear that you have to keep your sense of humor, and always remember why you’re out there. Thank you to the gang who welcomed me on this trip and made it such a worthwhile cause for me to be a part of.

Although the journey across the country is over, the fight against cancer, of course, is not. If you would like to donate to the Ulman Cancer Fund, please do so through this link. Every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

I’m Joining the Rev3 Run Across America This Weekend!

April 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

It seems that whenever I am heading down into the Blue Ridge mountains it’s to do some running, and tonight will be no exception! I am so excited to be meeting up with the Rev3 crew that has been running across America to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund. Following this crew the past 19 days  has been inspiring to say the least. The 2 days that I will be there is just such a small part of what they have already accomplished. When you have a second, head over to the blog and check out the stories and pictures from along the way. There are also a few ways to donate to this cause – you can enter the $5 or the $20 raffle, or you can make a donation here.

Please keep the crew in your thoughts as they finish up this amazing journey the next couple days. And if you are in the DC area, here is the info if you would like to be a part of what I am sure will be a very inspiring finish at 2pm on Monday!


April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

“With these dangerous conditions, we had to be alert all day,” Voeckler said. “When I left behind other escapees, I initially hoped to bring some others with me. This was not the case, so I went alone. My goal was the have a minute lead as soon as possible ahead of my closest pursuers. This is the kind of [advantage] that plays on the minds of opponents. It worked, as the results show.”

-Thomas Voeckler on his win at Brabantse Pijl  and #doingwork like he knows how! (via VeloNews)

Note: Google translate struggled with this a bit and I left the “escapees”  as is because it sounds cool. The other option it gives is “escaped cons.”  haha.

My Mailbox

April 9, 2012 § 4 Comments

For the past year, I have been in a war with my mailbox. When I was installing it last year, I got all of the necessary supplies I would need to properly mount it. I even got the special masonry drill bits the dudes at the hardware store said I’d need.

For about a week or two, it stayed put. And then it fell.

The reason it fell was clear – I didn’t drill the initial holes far enough. My arms started to hurt so I drilled it just barely far enough, then put the anchors in the best I could, and so on. Long story short, I took a short cut.

That short cut has cost me dearly. At least twice a week I come home to find my mailbox on the sidewalk; one time the postwoman didn’t even deliver the mail because it had fallen and I forgot to put it back up. Every time it falls I have to dig up some tools, stick the screws back into the not-long-enough holes and then just wait for it to fall again…..because it will. A small little project has grown into a huge headache.

Today I went out and got new anchors, plugged in the drill, and created proper holes. It served as my reminder not to take a short cut, even if my arms hurt.

So here I am passing on your daily reminder not to take shortcuts in  training either. Eating right means making good decisions about food every day *cough*nomorebingeingonEastercandy*cough.* And Ironman training means doing the workouts – all of them. Every rep. Even when you don’t really feel like it – even when your arms hurt. Skip the short cuts!

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