View from the start line of the Gulf Beach Half Marathon.

Another (long-ish) weekend of prep for Ironman Florida. In an attempt to get Shaun to (at least) complete his scheduled weekend training, I signed us up for a Half Marathon on Saturday and an 80 mile bike ride on Sunday. We got up early on Saturday morning and headed down to Milford for the Gulf Beach Half Marathon.  It was about 46 degrees and clear outside, so perfect running weather.  The race took place right along the shoreline with beautiful views of the water (and two mile were run right on the board walk in Silver Sands State Park).  As beautiful as the views were there was quite a bit of damage from Hurricane Irene.  Several of the staircases down to the shore had been completely swept away and the streets that bordered the ocean were town up with large chunks missing.

Shaun and I pre-run.  I was very cold.

The run course was a pretty straight forward out and back. There was a huge tail wind for the first 6.55 miles out and then a nasty head wind on the last 6.55 miles back (of course I never noticed the tail wind). I started the run at low Z1 pace and clocked off pretty consistent 8:40s.  At the turn around I started to pick up the pace and pick off runners ahead of me.  As I approached mile 8, I saw Shaun running in towards to turn around, seemed about right to be a little under 3 miles ahead of him.  I kept the pace around an 8:15 – 8:20 for the last 5 miles and ended up reeling in about 20 or so runners (although I did end.  The last .1 was on soft sand, I was not happy with that.   Final time was a 1:51:20 (8:31 min / mile).  Once I finished I grabbed some water, hit the bathroom and then did an easy run back out on the course to find Shaun.  I caught Shaun at about mile 11.5 and ran back in with him.  He finished up in 2:30:45, not bad for very limited training and I know he was excited that he actually ran the entire race.

Erica’s pizza.

I spent the afternoon on Saturday doing a quick bike ride and some cleaning (hooray for removing the dust bunnies from ceiling fans) and that night Shaun and I headed over to Erica and Greg’s with pizza kits from Renaldos to make Erica dinner and keep her entertained for a few hours.  While Shaun and Greg took on pizza making duties and created some really pretty pizzas (I was good and had my chef’s salad), I helped Erica with her cross word puzzle book.  Note to Erica — doing crosswords in pen is generally a bad idea.

Erica attempting a cross word puzzle.

After three weeks of bed rest, Erica had suceeded in partially finishing every an entire book of New York Times crossowrd puzzles. I completed one for her and almost finished another before I gave up in frustration. Poor Erica has another 6 weeks of bed rest. I have a feeling its going to be a long October for her (although I did promise to bring over apple fritters once the Southington Apple Harvest Fesitval Opens).

V2V shirt and stash of Lara Bars.

Sunday morning we woke up early again and headed to Vernon for the V2V ride. The V2V is usually an 80 or 100 mile ride from Vernon, Vermont to Vernon, Connecticut. Unfortunately this year, because of the damage done to the roads by Hurricane Irene, the Vermont to Connecticut version was cancelled. Instead, the organizers put on a rolling 50 mile loop in north central Connecticut that went through the towns of Vernon, Ellington, Enfield, Somers, East Windsor and Rockville.  Because of the cancellation of the 80 and 100 mile options there were lots of extra goodies around.  I ended up wit a sweet stash of Lara Bars (nom nom nom). 

Tobacco barn on the V2V course.

The course itself was beautiful. Lots of rural roads, farm land and pretty houses. There was a decent amount of climbing (my Garmin 500 got about 3000 feet, but nothing ridiuculous) and some serious wind but it was a beautiful day. Shaun and I pretty much decided that when we go to purchase a new house next year, we need to seriously consider Ellington. Its a beautiful town and we can get enough land for me to have chickens and corgis (and maybe even goats). Shaun held up really well on the ride until we reached about mile 45 (when we were on the wonderfully named Bread and Milk Road, when I suggested that to get more time in the saddle we should back track about 10 miles. Shaun finally agreed to turn around but was not happy about it.

Me on the giant Legos outside the Lego Factory.

We ended up riding 67 miles in just over 4 hours. I know the routes have been hillier, so I’m getting fewer miles in for the time, but I am a little concerned about my pace and the total number of miles (next long ride on October 2nd is supposed to be flat, so we will see).  It’ll be very interesting going from hilly training rides here to super flat bike courses at Chesapeakeman and Ironman Florida, hopefully the hills will result in some seriously fast bike splits.

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Kelly Burns Gallagher

mccarter english employment litigator / oiselle team runner / coeur sports triathlete / sonic endurance coach & race director / witsup.com writer / dartmouth '02 / emorylaw '05

3 Comments

The Miller Family · September 22, 2011 at 12:57 am

Nice running and riding….poor erica looks a little bored. I could send a kid or two for entertainment and practice 😉

When is Southington Applefest…I loved that when we were there.

Kel · September 22, 2011 at 1:07 am

First two weekends in October. Best apple fritters ever.

Erica · September 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

I love your posts and the guest appearances I make. I could do without some of the pictures of me!

You are definitely helping to make this experience far less miserable for me. Thank you for everything!!! Good luck on Sat! That pizza tasted as good as it photographed!!!

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