Monday, October 28, 2013

Ups, downs and a very busy 10 days

I'll start this blog quoting from my facebook timeline where I was excited to post on Sunday afternoon that I ..."successfully completed 3 full marathons, 1 half and a horse trial in the last 22 days."  This blog had a quick blurb on the first marathon and the last post covered the horse trial and the half marathon, so moving ahead.

We're in the final stages of getting our Annual Report completed, so there were photo shoots and editing sessions and graphic design and all kinds of fun stuff to add to the usual work week.  I like this picture of Eric and me.

October 19th, I woke up very early and drove to Dover, DE.  I've never been there before.  I was there to run the Monster Mash marathon, named in honor of "Miles the Monster" who guards the Dover Downs Speedway.  The first mile was around the speedway, the rest out on the roads of Dover.

 I ran alone pretty much the whole way as there were fewer than 400 participants total and only 150 of those running the full marathon.  But the race was well supported, the course was nicely flat and the weather was conducive to running (although for me, way too cold to really appreciate).  I was able to finish nicely, following my now traditional (post-AS diagnosis) strategy of slowly running the first half and essentially walking the second half.  I then headed off to Fair Hill, where things didn't go as smoothly.  None of my boys were able to successfully complete xc day.  Sally had a fall (minor concussion for her and Taz is well) as did Caitlin (no injuries for her or for Remi).  Kate and Cole retired when it was clear they weren't having a good day.  Sinead Halpin also had a fall and has blogged about it Sinead's Fair Hill Blog.  So altogether a rough day.  There was, as always plenty of coverage in Eventing Nation and the full scores are here  It was great to see Jan Bynny win the CCI*** and one of the great eventing Connemaras win the CCI**. The latter became even more poignant when I heard later that week that Ard Celtic Art had passed away

Then off to SMDM in Baltimore where there were 3 very nice dinners.  Henry wine at the Prime Rib and then dinner with restaurant wine at Wit and Wisdom (the Four Seasons restaurant) with Jen Goldsack and Chris McLaughlin and her fiance Cory (it was great to spend some time with them), and finally on Tuesday - my Baltimore favorite Charleston.  SMDM was a great meeting, with lots of opportunities to catch up with colleagues, see great work, and learn new stuff.

Once SMDM wrapped up, after a couple of meetings with other folks in the area, I spent some time volunteering at the Novice and Training 3 Day Event at Waredaca.  I was bit check and dressage steward and then Phase A starter.  As always, it was great to see everyone and to be a part of the long format. Caitlin was planning a regroup with Remi at Galway at this point, so I was trying to help a little with fundraising ideas too and got my plans all arranged to do some volunteering and be able to help Caitlin since Boyd wasn't going to be there (then of course, Boyd broke his arm and we were wondering if he might reroute) - more on this in a moment.

Back to my schedule, after enjoying the kind hospitality of my friend Katherine Rizzo, I got up earlier on Saturday morning than I had needed to since the Monster Mash and headed to BWI to catch a flight (via ORD) to St. Louis.  Not for the World Series, tempting as it would be, but to run the Rock 'n' Roll St. Louis Marathon.  I vegged on Saturday afternoon, then got up Sunday and walked to the start line.  It was another cold (but beautiful) morning, and another good marathon.  I can't push much, but I did finish 17 minutes faster than I had finished the Monster Mash.  When I checked my messages after the marathon, I heard from Jenna that Remi had not travelled well and Caitlin had made the decision to bring him home from Kentucky rather than going on to Galway.  As always, Caitlin put her horse's interest first, which is one of many reasons I am proud to be part of the Silliman Eventing Team  Over the same weekend, team USA was putting in a great showing at Pau, with Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott finishing 4th and Clark Montgomery and Universe 10th.  I think it has been a while since we've had 2 americans in the top ten at a big international event. Closer to home, Cyndi sent some great video clips of Jordan and Keebler schooling xc and looking fabulous and Caitlin had her first ride on Astro and reports that he is both "so sweet" and "really smart".  Looking forward to his progress.  So all kinds of good news and bad news and happenings and memories crammed into 8 days.  Today I'm back at work, and this looks like a pretty normal week, with no running plans for the weekend as I start the taper and will be volunteering at Galway and visiting my dad.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rain, Radnor, Running and remembering "ruh roh"

I got a text from Missy on Wednesday morning that said, "let's jump today since I don't know how the ring will be with all the rain"  I thought, rain, what rain?  Work has been busy enough that I had fallen behind on my obsessive following of accuweather, but sure enough, rain and lots of it.  So we had a great jump lesson on Wednesday and dressage Thursday and Friday.  more that switching around the lesson schedule, the concern with the rainstorms was that Keegan missed most of his usual turnout for the 72 hours leading up to the event.

Nonetheless, he stepped up and was a star.  He was good in dressage although was not willing to stretch as well as ususal.  We got a score at the high end of his usual range (38-41), but felt there were some things that were better than they had been and some things that are easy to fix (geometry was always the one part of math I didn't like).  As usual, stadium jumping was foot perfect and then we headed off to xc.  The footing held up quite well and Jeff Kibbie and crew had added footing to places that they thought might be a problem.  We headed out with the goal of making time.  The course was a mid-range training - not as challenging as Fair Hill in August, but not soft either.  There were 3 three part combinations.  5A was a coop to 5B bank down and 6 straight ahead a skinny rolltop.  Keegan was careful on the drop down and I didn't close my leg enough so he had to heave himself over 6, which he did fine.  7 was a relatively easy trakhener, 8 was a practice corner, bending line to a brush.  We walked it with a possible 6, but it was a really easy 5 in practice.  Then to an oxer and around to the coffin.  The ditch had a lot of water in it and while Keegan jumped it, there was some serious air involved, but we got it together for the out, then to 3 galloping fences and the a, b, c water.  As always, Keegan trotted into the water.  Galloping through water practice is on the list for the winter.  I looked at my watch and with 3 fences to go, we had 40 seconds left.  Yes!  Until.....
I got completely lost between 16 and 17a/b.  I failed to turn right, galloped past my landmarks, stopped, looked around, saw them behind me, trotted around and headed to the jump.  No problem with the bank up to the log or the final fox fence, but the delay cost time penalties and what would have been a 3rd place finish ended up being a 6th place finish.  Given that he does more than his fair share, Keegan is absolutely not accountable for the map reading and course walking, so he was perfect and I was much less so, but we had a great time and felt like it was a great way to wrap up the northern eventing season.

After getting Keegan put away, I headed home, packed and then drove to the airport to hop on a plane to Providence, RI.  I made a bad hotel choice, but I think all the better choices were booked, so it may not really have been a choice.  In the morning, I drove down to Newport, checked in, wandered around for a couple hours, then completed the United HealthCare half marathon.  It was super scenic, although sufficiently cold and windy that I never shed my extra layer.  It is well-deserving of its reputation as super scenic and we speculated about the prices of many of the houses we saw along the way.  Once I finished, I pretty much headed straight back to the airport and was able to catch a slightly earlier flight than planned after watching some football in the airport.

By the time I got home, the Eagles had won and the late games were underway.  I watched the Patriots - Saints game, which was excellent football despite the undesirable outcome.  Probably good that I wasn't watching that one in the Providence Airport, where I'm sure most of the fans were not of the same opinion of the outcome.

In addition to getting some work done (and the to do list just doesn't seem to get shorter, no matter how many items I cross off), I bought a horse this weekend.  His name is Tin Star and he is an OTTB with a great brain and a totally "Seema look"  Astro jumping for the first time at his prior homeWe will keep his JC name as his USEA name, but needed a barn name and decided to go with Astro.  For those of you who are too young to immediately understand the title, check out the Jetsons.  Astro originated "ruh roh" long before Scooby Doo stole the line (same voice actor played both characters).  Caitlin Silliman is going to help me with Astro and we're looking forward to seeing how he does.  More to follow.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Heat, Hills and humidity combine with single track to kick my butt

I ran (sort of) the Triple Lakes Trail Marathon on Saturday  Sadly, the high temperature was 88 degrees and it was humid.  The trail was pretty hilly and I couldn't even make up much time on the downhills, given roots, rocks and fallen leaves.  The good news was that we were in the shade almost the entire race.  It was a great course, well-organized for a smaller race.  It would be nice if there were a few more aid stations and if the mile markers had been closer to correct, especially toward the end of the course. Overall, time goal=fail, gut check=success and I feel well on the way to being ready for the 50 on November 16th.