Ironman Countdown

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kiss Me I'm Irish (and its not even St. Patrick's Day)

Deck the halls with boughs of holly!!!  It is Christmastime... the end of the year is upon us.  While 2014 has been a wonderful year for me in racing, I can't wait for 2015.

I finished out my running races this past Saturday at the 15th Annual Celtic Solstice Five Miler.  This little gem of a race takes place at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore... get it?  Druids, Celts, Solstice?

If you don't "get it," the Winter Solstice (technically on December 21st) was a major celestial event for the ancient Celts in Ireland.  Particularly, in County Meath, where my father's family is from, there is a gorgeous burial chamber in the hills in the Boyne River Valley called Newgrange... it was built 5,000 years ago, and those ancient people built a window box above the door of the tomb... and only on the winter solstice does the light enter that window box and illuminate the tomb, revealing all the ancient carvings that lie in total darkness a majority of the year.  The Druids are an ancient class of Celtic (Irish/British people) who were educated... So Druids, Celtic, Winter Solstice... its all a connective theme.  VERY IRISH... IN DECEMBER!!!  Of course I'm doing this race!

James and I, back in 2006, went to Ireland and visited Newgrange.  It was amazing and beautiful.  You can read more about it by clicking here: Newgrange. 

entrance, with the window box above

James & I at the entrance

Celtic carvings on the entrance stone

Anyway, back to running.  The whole theme of this race is very Celtic... Irish design on the race shirt, lots of runners in kilts as well as the expected Santa outfits or other holiday trimmings.  Every year I've run it (this was my 3rd), I always look enviously at the cute running kilts.  I'll have to get one someday.

sweet race jack/front


The race starts with a parade of bagpipers and Irish wolfhounds, as well as several runners who have run in each of the races over the last 15 years.  Very cool.  Five miles is a neat distance... a little more of a challenge than a 5K but still kind of a sprint when compared to a 10K or greater.  And wow is the route through the park and around the lake pretty!
the view across the lake

I felt pretty strong during the race, and was a few seconds faster than last year.  I got a bit overheated when I hit mile 3, and that mile between 3 and 4 is killer; there's some trick to it that makes it feel like 2 miles instead of 1.  I wanted to puke... running fast like that and too many layers of clothes does that to me.  But I was able to strip off my outer shirt, and pushed through to the end, enjoying a fantastic downhill to the finish line.   Wheeeeeee!

sister-wives, before the start

 I went to the race with my sister-wife Jen.  We met up with several of my work peeps (Jen, Amy, and Molly).  My "roommate" Kate ran it too (we haven't lived together in 12 years, but she's still my roommate).

Due to forces beyond our control (poor traffic control getting in and around the park), Kate and I never met up.  I got to see her on the run for a blink of a moment though!

my office neighbor Jen!

Such a fun race.  Mulled wine and homemade soup at the finish, as well as Christmas cookies and other treats.  Its total bedlam and crowded at the start, but I always have fun at this one.

Law & Order Running Team (Amy, Molly, & Jen)

And so my racing year for 2014 draws to a close.  My tally looks something like this:
2 x 5K's
2 x 10K
1 x 4 miler
1 x 5 miler
1 x 10 miler
1 x 11 miler (17.75K -- ooh rah!)
2 x half mary's
1 x marathon
3 x sprint triathlons
1 x oly triathon* (cancelled swim portion)
1 x 70.3 triathlon
260 miles of racing = 260 miles with a grateful heart beating in my chest

According to my Garmin stats, I am set to clear 1,000 miles in running alone this year.  That sounds so cool to me!

To end with some further gratitude, two of the great gifts I have received this month are:

1)  My favorite running buddy is back!  After selfishly having her second child, and leaving me high and dry, Tricia is on the run again.  Don't call it a comeback... she's been her for years.
2nd Annual Mr. Hanky Christmas Run

2)  My Swm Bike Mom Ambassador Team 2015.  Its not even officially "our year" yet, and I love these women so much!  We have our own group page on Facebook, and in just over two months, we have shared so many things:  races, blogs, training tips, movie quotes, support, lamentations over injuries, job changes, family life, comic relief.... I was so grateful when Swim Bike Mom called me and offered me this gig, but I never knew it would be this much fun.  From the super "hawt" gear, to the sweet hookups we have with our sponsors, it just keeps getting better and better.  But really, at the heart, it is these 29 women from Washington, California, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Texas, North Carolina... and on and on.... that really lift my soul.

awesome tech shirt

just a sample of the gear from SwimBikeSell!

 And that, my friends, is my Christmas Wish for you all:  may you find your joy and experience the magic with your people these coming weeks.  It's hectic and crazy (I have cried on several occasions during freak-out moments), but it's worth it... it's life, and we only get one!

Merry Christmas! 
 (Happy Hanukkah and everything else too!)

my babies

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