Labor Day Training Weekend

What a weekend. We had a great time with our training friends in FL this weekend. It was a whirlwind time together, but it was awesome. We arrived very late on Friday night after work—well, actually Saturday morning about 1AM.

Saturday morning we rode with our buddy Evette. She is recovering from a bike accident where she got pretty banged up—fractured a couple ribs and bruised her hip and knee. Luckily she was wearing a helmet, so she did not sustain a head injury. Anyway, Saturday was the first time back on the road bike for her. Ross and I rode 40 miles and Evette did about 20 miles. It was great to see her get back on the bike. It’s weird when you have an accident—it takes some time to get back at it. But she did really well. She’s in awesome shape, so she is recovering very quickly. She was also taking some Bone Builder and Enzyme Max from to help her body heal up.

The heat was beastly, but somehow we managed to get through it. Just when things are staring to cool down in Chicago land, we take a trip to FL. I was really starting to enjoy my runs in the mornings where the temperatures were in the 60’s and not humid. We were back to taking salt tabs, guzzling Gatorade, and pouring water on our heads to stay cool.

That evening we got together with 3 other couples who are all training buddies. The group is made up of 4 ironman triathletes, 1 body builder, 1 duathlete, 1 marathoner, and 1 cyclist. We all like to train together, so that makes it a lot of fun. We went out for drinks and appetizers, and then back to one of the couples’ homes for pizza and games. It’s amazing to see professional people get so silly—but we had a lot of fun. Plus we talked a lot, so we got to know each other better. Isn’t that what friendship is all about?

Sunday morning, it must have been 90 degrees by 8AM. Ross and one of our running buddies, Rob, volunteered to get me though my 7 miler. They stayed with me and encouraged me, even though I was dying in the heat. I had to slow down the pace, just to get it done. But once I did that, it was much better. We ran by a hotel that had an ice machine, so I grabbed a handful of ice and stuck it down the ol’ sports top! That cooled me off for a few minutes. I also wrapped some ice in a bandana and wrapped that around my neck. That lasted about 10 minutes! Man, was it hot! I made it the 7.5 miles to the lighthouse and back to our house. About halfway through the run, I was thinking I wasn’t going to make it. But Rob slowed down the pace and we started chatting about taxes and politics and that got me thinking about something else! Great strategy, Rob! Those two were much faster than me, but they stayed with me to get me through that run—that’s what friendship is all about. It was awesome!

We then showered and went to church at Sanibel Community Church. For being such a small island, we were surprised to find such a great church. We like to attend that church when we are in FL because the pastor is a preacher who preaches the Bible. The message Sunday was also good. He talked about how God blesses each person with spiritual gifts. We are to use those God-given gifts to the best of our ability. Sometimes people feel that they don’t know what their gifts are— or feel that they are not gifted. But the pastor brought up a great point. If you are a believer in Jesus, then you have been blessed with spiritual gifts. He promises that. So don’t try to deny what God says in His word. You just need to figure it out! It was a great message.

After church we made a quick stop at the grocery store because the gang was coming over to our place for a little pool party in the afternoon. Our neighbors across the street invited us out for lunch too. So we headed over to the restaurant for lunch with two couples in their 60’s and 70’s. But we had a great time and great conversation. That’s the wonderful thing about FL—you can be buddies with all ages and people at various stages of life. We have some great neighbors in FL who are fun to be around, as well as very neighborly.

After the lunch, the gang was over to chat, eat, and swim in the pool. The gang’s kids were over as well—so we had a fun time playing with them in the water as well. Two of the kids love to have me pull them around in the water. While we were doing that we somehow got started signing that old song “Found a Peanut”…so you know how that song can go on and on…we were having a great time making up all sorts of verses about the peanuts. We even made up a family of peanuts—I became Granny peanut, and the kids were uncle and Jr. peanut. We had a lot of laughs! They’re great kids.

Today the girls ran 10 miles and the guys ran 20 miles. One of the guys in our group, Rob, is running the Chicago marathon on October 8. Ross ran the 20 miler with him, starting out at 5:30AM in order to run a lot of it in the shade because it was so hot. They set up buckets with water and Gatorade along the route, so that they could hydrate. It’s hard to explain the heat and humidity of SW FL—just beastly and almost unbearable.

Evette, Christine (Ironman), and I ran 10.5 miles. We did two 5.25 mile loops, so we could stop at our water station halfway through the run and drink down some more Gatorade, take some salt tabs, and eat a little. I don’t think I have ever sweat as much as I did that day. Every piece of clothing was drenched like I stood underneath a hose. Sweat was oozing out of my hands, feet, arms, legs, and head. But somehow I managed to finish that run—even having run 7.5 miles the day before. These girls were great—we took a couple 1 minute walk breaks simulating the water stations in the race. We are all training for the Disney marathon in January 2008. Evette did great doing this 10 miler—as it was her first one back from the cracked rib incident!

We went out to breakfast after that with the guys who finished their 20 miler around the same time. We had a wonderful time together—training and catching up. The next time we see the buddies will be when Rob and Chris come up to Chicago for Rob to run the Chicago Marathon. It should be a great time and he should do very well. We can’t wait to see them again. What great buddies!

Well, I’ll let you know how the training is going—see you on the road…