28 June 2009

'til the cows come home

Even the cows thought it was too darned hot this morning! It wasn't as bad as yesterday but still a little too much on the humid side.

27 June 2009

Brickfest 5k

Well, it wasn't a p.r. but then again I wasn't expecting one today due to the heat and my allergies giving me fits. I did manage to make my goal of under 25 minutes--24:41 according to the Garmin, 24:44 according to the race results.

Did my warmup run of 1.29 miles with Elsie and was dripping wet before a .25 mile was done, ewww. Ended up killing the bottle of water I'd brought with me before the race even started and was looking for more to no avail. Not the way you want to start any race much less a 5k where every single second counts.

First time for me to run this 5k but I do run in the Malvern area at least once a month so knew it was going to have some small rolling hills. Nothing major, just enough to make it challenging, especially in the heat :-). Lined up near the front with some Cabot friends and it was soooo hard trying to breath with the humidity and being surrounded by other equally sweaty runners.

Took off way too fast--knew it when I was running but you just have those times when you're so hyped up and take off like a jackrabbit. You just know you're going to pay for it in 1.5 miles but still can't slow down. 1st mile was done in 7:20, ouch, fast for me on a 5k in cool weather much less a hot, steamy, sunny, hot day. Yeah, I know I wrote hot twice.........

2nd mile was almost a full minute slower-8:12 per garmin. I was one of those people that I hate to run near by this point because my breathing was out of control, very loud and close to being gasping, ewww. Started having a handful of women pass me on this mile, grrr. Legs were starting to feel heavy from fatigue. It was a fairly hard week of driving and I probably shouldn't have done the tempo run Thursday afternoon.

Mile 3 was over a minute slower than the first, 8:32. Heavy-ass legs and I was starting to swear somebody had tied bricks to my feet. It was all I could do to keep pushing and not take a walk break.

I did try and grab a water at the first water stop to throw down my back but just at the moment I started to reach for a cup the woman holding the tray turned away. Ended up with orange gatorade instead so no cooling down with that, yuck! Several people afterwards said they'd had the same problem with the volunteers not quite knowing how to do the drink cups. Can't have a good race without volunteers so I'm not going to complain too much.

All in all, I'm pleased with my race. It's the first 5k of the year for me with summer temps and I'm ecstatic that I met my goal of under 25 minutes. Would've preferred negative splits but hey I'll take this. It wasn't a race that I felt good doing but then again I've been told that you're NOT supposed to feel good running a 5k, LOL.

I started back to using the treadmill for my speed workouts 2 weeks ago (might as well get some use out of the gym membership). When I set my 5k personal record in 2008 at Batesville I was using the treadmill a fair bit during that training cycle and I think that made a huge difference. All my other runs will still be on the road but I think I need the treadmill to get my running cadence back up since I'm not able to make the Cabot group speed training workouts during the week.

The aftermath--horrible picture of me but that's what happens when somebody points a camera at me and then wants me to smile after a hellacious race, LOL!

Final results:
18/160 females
100/330 overall
Took home 1st place female age 40-44. Actually 2nd in age group but the woman ahead of me placed in the masters division. I missed placing in the female master's division by 12 seconds!

Abigail's 5th Birthday

Last weekend was my neice's 5th birthday party. She's getting to be a big girl!

Batter up!!!!

My sis and me.

25 June 2009

grumpy gabby

For the 2nd week in a row I had to make an additional pickup in Gadsden, AL Monday. There's nothing wrong with the customer except for it being a little tight to back into the docks, actually the guys in the shipping dept are very nice. The problem comes into play once I get into southern Mississippi and Louisiana--I absolutely detest driving in that area. There aren't enough parking areas much less decent, SAFE places to hold up in for my 10 hour break. I'm finding myself in the position where I have to shut down much earlier than what I want or driving later into the night, praying that all the truck traffic isn't on the I-10 corridor.

Last week, I ran later into the night and lucked out with a parking space that was in a not so great area. This week, I shut down earlier in another not very pleasant place then had to get up at 0400. Blech..........Hate chasing the logbook.

Other grumpiness:

One very irritating truck driver approaching the MS scales on I-59 decided to slow down to below the speed limit when approaching the PrePass transponder reader thingamajig which caused the 3 other trucks (including me) behind him/her to get the red light because we were then packed up. I think they want the vehicles to be at least 100 feet apart and most of us have no problem complying with that, there just occasionally is one idjit that messes up the flow of traffic. The scalemaster then decides that he is going to play traffic control officer and holds each of the 3 of us on the scale. First truck gets on the scale, sits there forever. My turn, get on the scale and I'm held there until the truck in front of me is merging onto the freeway. The 3rd truck gets on the scale and he is sat there until I'm at the end of the ramp. All because of one KLLM driver that freaked out when they saw the Scales Open sign. Oh, and he got a green light on the prepass--major grumbling still...........

My parking spot Monday night ended up being a little to close to the freeway for me and Elsie to sleep well. Plus there was somebody walking around my truck around 0130, Elsie woke me up with her growling and I could hear them milling around then. Nobody knocked on the door and I didn't hear anything being tampered with though. Just a little too close for Elsie's liking.

I stopped at the Denham Springs, LA Pilot Tuesday morning thinking I could find a decent place to run. It was ok, a few panhandlers but you're not going to find any truck stop in that area without any. I ended up being stuck on Bass Pro Drive behind the fuel stop for the workout though, boring as hell........I thought maybe I could grab a side street over to a neighborhood but what little traffic there was seemed to be determined to run me over. Nobody moved over even though there was a huge turning lane with no oncoming traffic so I wasn't going to chance it on a skinnier road with no shoulder. Back and forth twice on that street was all I could handle. Had 5 miles on the schedule, did 3.25. Lack of sleep, the overbearing humidity and rude motorists on a boring strip of road did me in. Plus I was kind of worried that I might get the cops called on me because I was starting to yell at the people who would drift their cars toward me instead of away. Wouldn't recommend this route unless it was earlier than 6 a.m.

The driver's side headlight is messing up again. It's a major pita to have to pop the hood and jiggle the plug for the bulb every single time I stop and start to take off again. Doesn't look like it or my air conditioning on the truck and a.p.u. are going to be repaired this weekend either due to the shop being backlogged. My trailer should be done by the time I leave out on Sunday though. For the non-truckdriver readers the picture on an earlier post about "What's wrong?" is referring to the red and blue glad hand connectors being reversed of what they should be. Must have been a color blind or dyslexic mechanic that replaced them.

Yesterday's run was another boring one--5.25 miles round and round Mall del Norte in Laredo. Tonight I'm going to fight my way to the health club for 6 miles on the dreadmill.

What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with this picture? I'll be very disappointed if the truck drivers don't catch this one, LOL.

21 June 2009

appearances and perceptions

I found myself in a particularly amusing situation Saturday morning on the group ride (bicycles, not motorcycles) that just kind of got my mind to wondering. Our training group is made up mostly of members of the health profession, doctors, lab assistants, etc....and right now this particular group is all male--except for me of course ;-).

So, we have all these guys in white-collar professions and then there I am-female, heavily tattooed, and a TRUCK DRIVER! It's hilarious to see the new guys' reactions. I've been riding with 3-4 of these guys on a regular basis for little over a year now so they're used to me and know that most of the time I can keep up with them and sometimes even outride them if they're having an off day. But when you throw in a new group of people into the mix that have never met me, there are a few reactions I've come to expect

1) the tattoos-I usually get the "But you don't look like somebody who would have tattoos". A woman that works at the Cotulla fuel stop put it this way--"She has these bad-a** sleeves but a sweet, innocent face so it totally surprises you." Now, it's surprising to me at age 40 to be described as being sweet and innocent but hey, it's kind of a cool compliment, LOL. I look at it this way if I can bring a positive image to tattoos, then maybe there will be a little less narrow-mindedness towards the inked (yeah, I realize I'm kind of dreaming there).

2)female--I try not to put myself in a group that averages anything over 21 mph because right now not counting city riding, I'm in the 18-20 mph average range. However in that group I still get the "Is she going to slow us down?" from guys that haven't ridden with me before. Hey, I may not have those super-nifty fast twitch muscles to sprint with but once I get warmed up, my slow-twitch muscles can usually keep going for however long the ride is. And I do try to keep my complaining to a minimum.

3)truck driver--This one is the most fun.....I always have to explain that yes, I do drive a big truck, no, I don't drive team. Typical questions and I don't think not a single day passes that I'm not asked at least one of those. You throw in a pair of running shoes and/or a bike though and I absolutely love answering them, particularly if I'm able to kick the person's bootie on a run or ride :-). It's just so wickedly funny and cool to watch somebody's facial expressions after finding that out.

19 June 2009

Exotic people and places

Ok, ok, my blog title is kind of misleading but with the addition of the Alabama stop this week I had the opportunity to run in a completely different state than usual for 1 day this week woo-hoo!

I normally like to run first thing in the morning before my logbook starts because of the dratted 14 hour rule that we have but was pretty sure that I wasn't going to be able to do that Tuesday because of the difficulty in finding a decent place to park the night before. My suspicions were confirmed when I ventured out to walk Elsie and saw the extremely busy road that I would have to run next to. Oh yeah, let's not forget the plethora of adult book-stores in the vicinity :-)

At this point I'm still not completely discouraged so when I go inside the fuel stop to get my morning coffee kick-start I ask the cashiers if there is a safe place to run/walk nearby. Ummm, you should have seen the expressions on their faces. First was the blank stare which resulted in me having to repeat the question, followed by the confused look of "Why the hell would you want to do that?" Next was the question "You mean, like away from the crazy people and stuff?" Ok, now I KNOW I'm not going to be able to get a workout done here but I now have to endure three overweight fuel-stop cashiers start to ridicule all the "stupid and crazy" people that they see out running next to the river. I just smiled, paid for my coffee, and told them to have a very nice day because I knew they wouldn't be carrying on that way if they were okay with the way they felt about themselves.

It worked out for the best because I was able to run in a much more beautiful smaller town, therefore getting to check out a new to me downtown area, and smell all kinds of delicious cajun cooking instead of yucky car exhaust. By the way if you're ever at the Pilot in Breaux Bridge and ok with walking, there is a small Cajun place a mile south that had my mouth watering with the emanating scents. They weren't open for business yet otherwise I would've been trying to run back with a bag full of food, Lol!

Workout recap + Tour de Rock report

Whoa, I'm so far behind on recapping my workouts that I'm just going to do the previous week.

6/13 Tour de Rock--I had signed up for the 30-50 mile option when I thought James was going to ride with me but ended up doing the 62 mile route since he's still bruised and sore from getting hit. Awesome, awesome group ride with my riding partners from Searcy +another guy from the area (he doesn't train with us). My nutrition and hydration was perfect and I felt great the entire ride. During the first 40 miles we were doing between 19-22 mph but Gary started feeling rough after that point so we slowed down a bit. We ended up averaging 18.1 mph, not bad considering that Gary said the last 14 miles were purgatory for him. My other training partner Mike did the entire ride in Converse tennies--he's getting clipless pedals for Father's Day. I told him we'll never keep up when he switches over because he's such a strong rider already.

From about 20 miles on we were in a much larger group so that helped with the drafting and speed. It freaked me out though when I started to fall back after pulling for a little while and there were all these other cyclists that had fallen in with us. Very cool! Another cyclist joked with me about me not realizing that I was pulling 30 other riders.

This has been my longest ride of the year and I still felt great afterwards so I'm hoping by next fall that I'll be able to knock at least an hour off of my Big Dam Bridge century time from last year.

Sunday--4.25 miles in 39:13. This should have been a 9 mile long run but legs were a little tired from the ride the day before so I'd decided before I left the house that it would be a 3-5 mile run.

Monday--rest day

Tuesday--4.15 miles in 39:17 at Breaux Bridge, LA. Nice route, parked at the Pilot and followed the sidewalks all the way into the downtown area. James likes to stand on the banks of rivers with a lot of history to them, I like to check out the downtowns of places when I run if at all possible. Overslept so by the time I drove to Breaux Bridge it was very warm and humid, I was starting to drag by the time I got back to the fuel stop

Wednesday--5.06 miles in 47:18 at Cotulla, TX. Overslept again so yet another hot, humid, miserable run + very windy. Had to take a water/walk break at mile 3.6.

Thursday--on the way home so went to the health club for the first time in months for a speed workout. 5.05 miles on the treadmill with intervals. 2 x 1600 at 8:06 pace, with 800 meter recovery, 1 x 800 at 8:06. I'd had a twisted coffee-toffee frosty for a treat the day before and paid for it during this workout. When will I learn that ice-cream is not my friend?

I have a 4 miler on today's schedule but my legs are a little sore and I'm retaining water like crazy from the heat and humidity so will do a weights workout and maybe 30 minutes on the trainer before leaving for Russellville (Abigail's birthday party!). I'm up 2 pounds from last week due to the water retention, ugh. Aggravating because last week I was only 6/10 of a pound from reaching my goal weight.

Before I forget, I received a nice compliment this week from another lady driver while in Louisiana. I was backing into a spot next to a Werner truck after fueling at the Love's in Iowa and the woman who drove team with her husband got out and told me she wished she could back up like that :-). To be honest though, with the route I've run for the past 3.75 years, my backing skills are getting kind of rusty and that wasn't a particularly hard spot to hit but it wasn't a straight-line back either so it was gratifying to have everything fall into place with only 1 little adjustment and esp. nice to be complimented on it.

Is it Friday?

I've gotten so used to the Tuesday Mt. Juliet pickups that this week has completely thrown my equilibrium completely off--and please not too many comments about how I'm a little off anyway, LOL.........

This week saw me back at my not-so-beloved-anymore Pulaski pickup on Monday. I used to adore coming to Pulaski, it has a great place to run first thing in the morning and the people used to be so relaxed and fun-loving. Not anymore though, the automotive slowdown and change in management has altered the entire mood of the place. Now, most everybody except Terry is ill-tempered and they have even installed an electronic lock on to the shipping door where you have to push the buzzer to be let in. So no more easy access to the restrooms and break room.

An additional pickup in Gadsden, AL has also been added to the route, it's nice to see a different road once in a while but this has causes it's own set of stresses because you're now routed through Louisiana and Houston, TX.

I hate, hate, hate driving a truck on I-10 in Louisiana!!!!!!!!!! The truck stops are over-crowded, there are way too many panhandlers and crazy people, and the DOT are notorious for their over-zealous inspections. Now don't get me wrong, I pretty much run legal, the truck isn't overweight, and the equipment is in decent shape BUT if you get pulled into a scale for any kind of check through here they WILL find something. Gotta keep that revenue stream going. Now, don't get me wrong there are parts of the state that I would love to be a tourist in, but not necessarily New Orleans, that's the only city I've been to that I felt the urge to carry a firearm in. I just don't want to drive a truck in the state......

Back to the over-crowded truck stops--I thought I had it timed out that I would be able to find a parking spot before the sun went down but some evening construction back-ups took up what little time I had to spare. Got to Hammond just as the sun went down and from there to Port Allen I was pulling into truckstop after truckstop only to watch the last 1 to 2 parking spaces being filled, grrr.

Managed to find an out of the way fuel stop with a handful of spots open just after the 14 hour clock on my log elapsed and I fully expected to be woke up by panhandlers and lot lizards all night. Thankfully and surprisingly, I wasn't disturbed by anybody at least until the next morning.

That morning though I had some guy come up after I'd gone inside to get my morning coffee and grab my truck door as I'd climbed up in the cab. He was handing out some very well-worn Christian pamphlets and kept asking could he pray for me. I told him thanks that he could if he wanted but to let go of my truck door first, during this whole time Elsie is going crazy, barking and growling with her hackles up. Normally she's trying like the dickens to get everybody to play with her so I knew if she didn't like him there was something not right. Finally get him away from the truck and got the door closed only to have him return a few moments later standing on the step and wanting to know where I was from. So asked him again politely to step off of my truck (only had the window cracked to speak to him), took 3 requests each one less polite and was just getting prepared to pepper spray him before it soaked into whatever he'd fried his brains with that I was starting to get pissed off. Gee, do you think it was the "Get off of my step NOW" that convinced him?

Oh, I did get to see an old friend from Atlas at Breaux Bridge, LA after I finished up my run! Surprised the heck out of me when Paul pulled up to me as I was stretching after my run and asked where my husband was at. Too bad he was headed east I would have loved to have gotten to speak to him for a while longer.

15 June 2009

Prepping for Tour de Rock

Tour de rock

12 June 2009

Don't want to

I'm in a very weird mood tonight. Need to work my way through a pile of email, fix some food, update my workout log, call my sister, prepare the bike for tomorrow's ride, pack for tomorrow, start laundry, and the list goes on and on and on. I don't want to do ANYTHING though except veg out in front of the tv.

I NEED a vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But with the pending shutdown (of which I cannot get a straight answer from anybody about when or how long it's going to be) I have to hold off on taking any extra time off. But. I. Need. A. Vacation. Now...................

So I'm apologizing in advance for not replying to any emails or comments right now, just a tad overwhelmed. I hope to be more caught up by Sunday (hahahaaaaaaaa!).

08 June 2009


This week has been so weird and stressful that I'm actually looking forward to Monday. Normally on the road I rarely feel threatened but I had a strange experience Wed. evening that still has me kind of shook up. Nothing happened to me but it was just a reminder of why it's very important to be observant of the actions of people around you in traffic. I'm not going to hash it out here but wanted to send a reminder out to the women truck drivers to be extra careful.

The second incident was yesterday. I thought James was possibly going to get killed or seriously injured. We were on our mountain bikes riding to the disc golf course and part of our route we had to ride on the sidewalk--no lectures here, even the local cops tell us we have to ride on the sidewalk in that area and a few others because of no shoulders and the speed of traffic. There's one very dangerous intersection near our house that I'm always super diligent about crossing as a pedestrian because I've come way too close to being sideswiped because people are in a hurry and ignore the red lights while making right turns. We get to that intersection, the people going north-south have a red light, we have the pedestrian crossing light that it's ok to go. James makes sure the pickup approaching the light to our left is going to fully stop, tells me it's ok to go, starts out in the intersection and the pickup starts to turn right without signalling and hits James. He literally went up on their hood, rolled off, and was thrown into the closest lane of traffic going west. I honest to God thought I was going to lose my husband right then. The couple stopped and jumped out to help James out of the street, apologizing and saying they didn't see him.

What pisses me off so much though is that the woman in the passenger seat made eye contact with me and still told her husband it was clear to go because they didn't want to wait the extra 10 seconds for me to cross the street. I'm sure they didn't see James but she was totally ok with cutting me off. Oh yeah, she got out saying it was her fault because she told her husband it was ok there was nothing coming. 2nd thing that makes me angry, nobody else stopped, they just kept whizzing on by.

Thankfully no broken bones or worse but James will have to replace at least the front wheel on his mountain bike. He thought everything was ok and told the couple it was all right just to look for people on the sidewalk from here on. Me, I wasn't that easy-going. I refused to say it was ok because, I know damn well that woman saw me even if she supposedly didn't see him. Anyway because no cops were called and James said it was ok, we're now out the cost of repairing his bike. I'm also still not ok with the fact that I saw my hubby get rolled over the hood of a pickup.

02 June 2009

Little Trucker and Gabs a Trucker

Terry may kill me for posting this pic but I couldn't resist it. Personally I think we look pretty darn cute especially since we'd just finished crossing over the Big Dam Bridge--TWICE--in 90F heat and humidity. Next time I'll take you on a more shaded part of the trail, James and I got lost trying to find the mountain bike short loop trail head and found all kinds of neat portions of the Rivertrail that would've been a lot cooler (and flatter).

Admiring the view

Stopping for a moment to admire the view off the top of the bluff (and to catch our breath, whew). Off to the left of us we had an amazing view of the state capitol. Oh, we were on the 5 mile green loop at Burns Park last night.