Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Year Ever.

This past year, I somehow managed to have the best races of my life all in one season.

I'm pretty much amazed still.  I know it was a few months ago, but I totally did NOT see this coming in 2013.

Lots and lots of people to thank for this, including my awesome coach, my amazing team, my sponsors,     my running girls, and of course, Matt and my family.  None of these finish lines would have ever happened without them.

I had to document this pretty epic year.  Here's to 2014!

(Music courtesy of Langhorne Slim and the Law.  )

video

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Race Report: Turkey Dash, 2013

Totally didn't expect this race to go so well!

First of all, we've already established that I've done little since the marathon but run easy, cross train a bit, and consume copious amounts of peanut butter. No speedwork has been completed.  Repeat: NONE.

Then on Wednesday, I decided to take Kim up on an invitation to head to the Beachland Ballroom to go hear some good live music.  It was super fun, but a late night fueled by a Bell's Winter White and some water (because I'm a responsible hydrater like that).

Got up early to the bitter chill and wind and thought WHY WHY WHYDIDITHINKTHISWASAGOODIDEA?  Ugh.  I sort of wished I was pacing a friend or something so it would make me NOT feel like I had to run hard.  But the only person I knew running aside from my awesome Mom was Katie, and let's face it, her sub-7 minute pace is not exactly what I would call "comfortable" and more what I call "puke-enducing."
Me and the Mom, who is actually almost 27 years older than me.  No joke. If I don't age like she has, I'm a gonna HURT SOMEBODY

So, I figured I'd just give it a go and see what happened.

First mile was around 7:20, so all things considered, not too bad.  I slowed down a bit in the 2nd mile--something around 7:40?  May have been a touch long.  Then I just decided that I still, for some reason, felt pretty good (this is rare in a 5K and means I am not running fast enough, of course) so I picked it up at the end to actually negative split the race.  What?  I NEVER negative split 5Ks.  I go out too fast and then DIEDIEDIE every time.
BRRR it was cold!

flyin' to the finish

But I picked it up and crossed the line all, "ain't no thang." I barely even felt tired.  And the best part? I ran a 23:2X (chip time is messed up so I'll update it when it's fixed!).  Considering it took me 9 years to break an old PR of 23:43, pulling this 23:2X outta my ear is pretty awesome.

Now, if only I could run a 5K to my full potential and actually do it right.  Alas, that HURTS WAY TOO MUCH.

But for now? Pumpkin pie, please!

The real reason why I run on Thanksgiving: double pie

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What went right, what went wrong

I've been enjoying this last month off, so to speak, and sleeping in a bit and running short distances.  I'm under strict instructions NOT to use a watch (of course, I have to...just to know where to turn around usually...but I swear I am not looking! much)  and am trying to use this time to recharge a bit before we start the process again after the first of the year.

I thought it might be helpful if I record a few things I did, and explain some that I thought worked and some that I screwed up.

I know, I know...almost 18 minutes off a marathon is NOT a "screw-up."  I don't want to sound like it was.  But even on a great day, we can still learn something.

What I did do:  low-mileage, higher intensity training

Okay, so you high-mileage, high-volume purists in the house are going to probably disagree with me here, but LOWER mileage with higher intensity seems to just work best for me.  I know it may not for you or others out there, but when my volume creeps up, that's when I get super injured.  I'm a firm believer that this is the best method for me.  I think I only had two weeks where my running mileage topped 40 miles.  I also only ran one 20-miler.  In the past I've done 2 or 3 of those.  Furthermore, I continued my streak of never running more than 20 miles except for a marathon and thinking people who do so are awesome but a little bit crazy.  For me, running that many miles does way more harm than good.

Now, these long runs were KILLER, though.  I'd do a 16 miler where miles 10-15 started at race pace and dropped down to 7:20/mile.  Typing that sounds painful; running it is even more so.  But it helped me not only get faster but trust myself when the race started to really hurt.  I think it kept me from bonking long before I did.

What I didn't do: fuel properly

So I know part of this is that I worked really hard to lose some weight.  And I'm always a little afraid that it will come back.  Also, I have a sensitive stomach so I have to be careful of eating too close to my running and what I eat while I run.  Because of this, I don't believe I ate nearly enough both before and during my long runs.  I'm going to have to experiment a bit with this.

Case in point: the very last calories I consumed pre-race were some oatmeal and a breakfast bar at 5:30am.  Then NOTHING until around mile 7.5, which was around 8:45am.  That is ENTIRELY too long of a deficit before taking in some calories.  Stupid, stupid, stupid. I only was able to get down some sports drink (a few sips at aid stations) and about 2.5 gu's in the entire race.  So it wasn't surprising that when I demanded my legs GO GO GO at mile 23 around 11:10am, they pretty much gave me the middle finger.

Coach Emily emailed me what she eats before a half-ironman, and basically, it's Thanksgiving Dinner.  I was kind of shocked.  And she's pretty much the tiniest, leanest person in the universe.  So I need to let go this fear that fuel will make me gain weight and accept more that it is necessary.  You'd think that after 11 years of racing, I'd already know this, and I sort of do.  But I think I needed to really be hit over the head with it.  Nutrition will always, ALWAYS make or break your race.  I will be playing around with this during the next training session, for sure.

What I did do: train with people slightly faster than me

Aside from giving me a nice big slice of humble pie often as I gasped along the side of the road, swearing and trying not to die, while watching my running buddies seemingly effortlessly gliding ahead of me, this was really a good thing.  It's easy to be a big fish in a small pond, but it is harder to show up week after week and know that the pack is a little faster than you and use that to try to be better.  They are too cute because they claim that running with ME made them faster...I was like, no dudes.  You guys pulling ME along made me faster.  And you know what's really cool?  We all got faster.  Ana had a breakthrough run and huge PR at Columbus, Katie ran a 3:30 and was the 2nd overall female at her race, and Kim absolutely annihilated NYC with a 3:32.  You'd better believe I'm making them run with me in the snowy, slushy, nastiness that is CLE in February and March!

That's all for now.  I'm sure I'll think of more, but I know things went MOSTLY right.  I just need to make a few more adjustments to clear this hurdle come April 13.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

What's Next?

It's been a little over two weeks, and I can walk like a normal person and all that stuff.  I have my traditional "Post-Marathon Cold," which is rather annoying.  I spent the week after the marathon eating all the peanut butter I could get my hands on, and then after about a week of pure peanut-induced gluttony, I got back on the healthy eating train.

And it felt really strange to NOT run that much.

Good, though. I needed to think about it and reflect a bit.

Let me say this: I am still pretty much amazed and in awe that I took almost 18 minutes off my best marathon time ever with no more than 40 miles per week.

That's not really supposed to happen.  And it did.

But here's the thing:

Now I can't go back.

I have realized now that I'm no longer the girl who might sneak in under 4 hours in a marathon if she's lucky.  I'm no longer that runner.

I am now the girl who is a little bit fast.

I never thought I'd be her, but I am.  I am the very runner I looked up to back when I started, and for that reason, I am not--NOT--allowed to complain about what happened two weeks ago.

What happened two weeks ago is nothing short of amazing.  I respect it.

But it definitely made me hungrier.

See, folks, the bar has been raised by quite a lot.  And if you've been around these parts since, oh, I dunno, 2005 when I started writing this blog, you can probably guess what I'm going to do next.

I'm going to give it another shot.  Of course I am.  Come on now.  You know me better than that.

I can't just stop with my fingertips touching the bar.

I need to clear it.

This crazy dream I thought up a few years ago is so close, and now I know--I really know--that I can do it.  It's going to be really, really hard, but I can do it.  If I can do what I did two weeks ago, then surely I can take off 3 more minutes.  It's a matter of time, and guts.

So here's to the next, first step.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Race Report, Columbus Marathon 2013

Where do I start?

The answer to that is in April, 2003.  Where I completed my very first marathon in Cleveland and finished in 5:14.  And I was so happy to finish and knew nothing and trained alone and followed a plan out of a book I found.  No GPS, no fancy gear.  Just me wondering if it was possible to do something that hard, that far, that challenging.

Never, ever in a millionbilliontrillion years would I have believed you if you told me that in 10 years, I would miss qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 78 seconds.  I would have stood there and told you I couldn't even imagine running 10 minute miles.

Ever.

I would never, ever have believed you.

__________________________________

Throughout this training session, Coach Emily was a Jedi Master at knowing exactly what to do to strip me down of all my ridiculous worries and just run.  Some runs were a breeze; others literally left me gasping and just feeling raw.  But I made it to the start line not only healthy, but feeling confident.

The last two weeks, I read up on some good books on the mental game: Racing Wisely by Sage Rountree, and Stillpower by Garret Kramer.  I think they really did help a lot.  I tried to prep myself for the fact--yes, fact--that this was going to be hard and hurt a lot, and if it didn't then I wasn't doing it right.  This was the upper-limit physically of what I could do at this moment.  I would either make it--barely--gasping and collapsing, or I would miss it much the same way.

I did not feel for one second that it wouldn't be close.  The numbers weren't lying to me.  I've consistently put in paces that put me on the cusp of achieving this difficult goal.

For the record, let's just state that this goal two years ago would have me qualifying at a 3:45:59.  I would be lying if I said that I wasn't bitter that when I decided to really go for this, the B.A.A. decided it was getting "too easy" and lowered it almost 6 full minutes to 3:40:00.  Or, to be more specific, more like 3:38.  Because I believe that this rots.  There is a HUGE difference between a 3:45:59 and a 3:38...at least in my world, that is.  Yet, I get it, and it's the way it is, so now I needed to rise up and do it.

I stayed quiet on the days leading up to the race and tried to just focus as much as I could on the fact that I could do this.  I believed 100% if I stayed in the moment, then I could do it.

Ana and I headed down Saturday afternoon after, in classic fashion, I picked her up at Chuck E Cheese from a birthday party.  Totally our lives right now.  We drove down in the pouring, cold rain, and were so thankful that the race wasn't Saturday.  In fact, the weather looked pretty amazing for race day:  cold and clear, with a little wind.  I don't get my panties in a bunch over wind on a run because I always think how much more wind stinks on a ride.  So the stars were aligned; my perfect running weather was going to be here.

Neither of us slept very well.  At 4:45am, we got up and I had my oatmeal with craisins, some Belvita biscuits, and just a tiny bit of coffee.  I also drank a good amount of water and hoped to get everything through the system in time.  We made our way to the start corral and had to stand there for a half hour, which was no fun at all.  My nerves started to get to me.  I tried to stay warm by dancing around to the band playing, but I just wanted to freaking GO ALREADY.  We found the 1:50 half marathon pacer so our plan was to stick to him for the first half.  For some reason, this marathon that had 18,000 participants had pacers for 3:35 and 3:45, but told me twice how "3:40 is not a major Boston time" so they weren't offering that pace group.  I was like, huh?  In Cleveland we literally have pacers for every 5 minutes.  Not gonna lie, that was a bit annoying.  But we figured at least we'd have a half pacer to reign us in a bit and then we could just use our watches to keep us going.

Note: I turned off Auto-Lap on my Garmin so I could rely on their splits, because, let's be honest, that's all that counts, right?  And unless you run tangents *perfectly*, every single marathon you EVER DO with a GPS watch will be "long."  It's not.  It's just that you ran zig-zaggy and stuff.  The funny part?  By my watch, I ran 26.4 miles and averaged an 8:23/mile.  That, my friends, would have punched me a ticket to Boston.  But unfortunately, my watch doesn't matter.  Too bad I don't rule the universe...yet.

So, here's how it went:

Mile 1: 9:23 (I missed the first marker, so this was a little long)
Mile 2:  7:43 (a little short since I missed Mile 1)
Mile 3: 7:59
Mile 4: 8:09
Mile 5: 8:03
Mile 6: 8:01
Mile 7: 8:27
Mile 8: 8:13
Mile 9: 8:05
Mile 10: 8:14

Miles 1-10 flew by literally effortlessly.  I felt amazing.  We were banking time and I noticed we were even close to the 3:35 times since I grabbed a pace band to just wear so I could keep an eye on things.  Ana and I hammed it up for the cameras, were high-fiving all the kids we saw, and enjoyed the awesome crowd support.  Columbus really knows how to throw a marathon, for sure.




Mile 11:  8:20
Mile 12: 8:26
Mile 13: 8:26

We hit the half in 1:48--my second fastest half marathon, ever.  And we felt amazing.  I started to feel a little bit like maybe, just maybe, this was really going to happen.

Mile 14: 8:20
Mile 15: 8:12

I saw my parents at mile 15 or so and it was so good to see them!  They had driven down just to cheer me on.  I really appreciated it!  We were still feeling great and just clicking off the miles with time to spare.

Mile 16 and 17 (somehow missed the marker!): 16:34, so about 8:17/mile

Around 17.5 we got to run in the OSU Stadium which was all kinds of awesome.  I hadn't been there since I went to a game WAY back in 1998.  It was empty, of course, but that might have made it even more impressive because I got to see just how huge it was.

Mile 18: 8:45
Mile 19: 8:31
Mile 20: 8:34

Right about at 18, something started to happen.  My legs weren't responding as well and I was laboring.  Oh hello, old friend Pain.  Here you are.  I was beginning to think you weren't coming to this party. Ana still looked strong and tried to encourage me, but I knew I needed to ride this out.  Here's where I started to really do something different.  In the past, when this happens, I definitely slow down or start getting negative.  But I stayed in that moment in my head, and kept thinking "This too shall pass, this too shall pass" and before I knew it, it did.  I had lost a little bit of time, but I could still see Ana nearby.  At this point I thought, maybe it's best if I run my own race from here on out.  I was still good to go for the sub 3:40, and I was afraid that if Ana was still on for a 3:36 or so, I might blow up and run out of steam.  So I settled in around 20 and got ready to work.

And I worked.

Mile 21: 8:22
Mile 22: 8:28
Mile 23: 8:45

I fought back. I fought really, really hard.  And I am so proud of how I handled those miles right there.  That there NEVER would have happened before that day.  I would have gotten discouraged and given up, but I felt like Here I am! I'm back!  It's okay!  I can still do this!

And then, I couldn't.

Mile 24: 8:28

The wheels fell off, my legs felt like bricks.  Absolute bricks.  And I knew that this wasn't a momentary rough patch; this was it.  Nothing I was doing was working; my body simply was not responding.  I tried everything.  I growled. I swore--loudly.  I felt badly that there were little kids around to witness the animal I was turning into.

(Note to all parents of young kids out there:  do NOT, if at all possible, spectate at Mile 24.  It AIN'T PRETTY.  NO ONE IS MAKING SENSE OR KNOWS THEIR NAME OR HAS ANY CONTROL OF THEIR BODILY FUNCTIONS.)

I tried music.  I tried no music.  I vaguely remember some people dressed up like chefs around Mile 24's aid station (Kroger? Or something like that?) and they were handing out oranges.  I grabbed an orange and some flat coke, and promptly spit it out all over myself and, I'm pretty sure, the person in front of me.


Nothing.  I was out.

I kept going.

I looked at my watch and did the math:  if I could just hold 9 minute miles, I could do it.  How on earth could I not hold 9 minute miles?  I can do that in my sleep.  I have this.  I still have this. It's not going to slip away.

Except that it was.

I gritted my teeth--literally.  My face must have been contorted up.  I looked and felt like a rabid animal.  I was NOT GOING TO LET THIS HAPPEN.  My legs simply had to catch up to my heart, and that was the end of the story. I leaned forward, I closed my eyes, I prayed.  Please, please.  Please legs, go.

And no matter what I did, they didn't go.

Mile 25: 9:08

At mile 25, in my delirious stupor, I decided that what must be making me slow was my nice, fleece-lined 2XU arm warmers!  That MUST BE IT!  So I peeled them off and...threw them on some guy's front lawn.  Because, you know, THAT was TOTALLY the problem.


I still can't believe I did that.  My poor arm warmers.  I'm out like $40.  That's how freaking out of it I was.

I made the turn and saw Mile 26.  I looked at my watch and saw 3:39.  And you know what I thought?

I CAN STILL DO THIS!  I CAN DO 0.2 MILES IN 1 MINUTE!  I CAN DO IT!

This is how out of it I was at this point.  Do you know what I'd have to do to make that happen?  I do now, because I looked it up.  That would have to be a 5-minute mile pace.

But I ran as fast as I could, which must have looked awful, because now I was delirious, could barely move, pretty sure I barely knew where I was, and let's be honest, wasn't in any kind of shape to run the required 5 minute mile pace to make that BQ happen.

Mile 26.2: 11:17, average pace 9:21



But I still had hope.  I never once gave up hope in this race.  Not until the end, when I crossed the finish line, collapsed into the arms of two volunteers who had to steady me because I couldn't stand alone, and walked to the side of the road where I sat down, looked at my watch, and cried.


3:41.18

I cried.  I didn't even have many tears coming out, but I wrapped myself in my mylar blanket and just cried.

I cried because I took off 17:40 from my best marathon ever.  EVER.  I took almost 18 minutes off my best marathon ever, and that is not easy to do.  People don't just do that.  I worked so hard, so, so hard.


But it still wasn't quite good enough.  And I was disappointed.  And happy.  And elated.  And crushed.

I found Ana, and it turns out she ran into some rough patches, too.  She wasn't sure if she made it, but we checked and she did: by 17 seconds.  Which yes, we all know is no longer enough (again, that's B.S.  I'm sorry, it is.), but still, she made it, and I'm so proud of her.

In the evolution of me as a marathoner (is that even a real thing?  I sure don't feel like one...I feel like a triathlete who poses as a runner from time to time), it looks like this:

2003, 5:14
2005, 4:19
2008, 3:58.58 (so pretty much 3:59)
2011, 4:05
2013, 3:41

Pause for a moment and think about that, because I am now.  I was a solidly back-of-the-pack marathoner when I started 10 years ago.  Now, I'm 36.  I have two small kids.  I work full time.  And somehow, I just posted the best marathon time of my life, and arguably the best race of my life.  The race where I showed more grit and determination than I ever had in my 20s, when I had a heck of a lot more time on my hands. I raced this marathon like a boss, and I will not apologize to the B.A.A. for that.  Their new policy targets all the Me's out there, and complaining about it will get me nowhere.  I just need to use it to make me better.

I already have.

I allowed myself yesterday to wallow just a bit and have a few tears.  And now that's done.

Because, you guys, EIGHTEEN MINUTES.

No one--I don't care WHO you are or WHAT your story is--no one is EVER allowed to be sad after a nearly 18 minute PR.  It's just unreal, and it's amazing.  And I am really, really proud of it.

I simply can't allow my heartache over missing the qualifying time to overshadow the unbelievable progress that I made in this race.  Really.  I honestly can hardly believe it.

The clock should never be an enemy of the journey.

I don't know what is next for me quite yet.  I have a few ideas, and of course, one of them is redemption in the spring. But I've made a promise to myself not to make any decisions until I can walk normally and sit on the toilet like a normal person.

I got home and got mobbed by newly-toothless Bug (that day!) and Bean and literally toppled over with the love I got when I walked through the door.  I could not have made it to this start line, let alone the finish, without them.

Thank you to Matt, who thinks I am a little crazy for all this but supports me 100% no matter what.  For making me pancakes to eat with everyone when I walked in from my long runs, for doing extra laundry for me, for picking the kids up so I could squeeze in a run.  For holding me Sunday night while I needed to just have one more good, hard, cry.  And then for getting me two different kinds of Mitchell's Ice Cream and some flowers.

To my parents, who drove all the way down to catch a glimpse of me for a combined 97 seconds.  They are my biggest fans and I'm so grateful for their support.

To my coach, Emily, who knows just what to say and do and pushes me really hard, but lets me balance, too.  I've seen this amazing progress since I've been working with you, and there's a reason for that.  There's no way I could have done this without you.  Thank you.

To Ana, who will always be one of my running soulmates and also a pretty amazing friend, and who is the perfect model of grace and inner strength.  Always, but especially over the past two weeks.

To my other running girls, Kim and Katie.  So proud of all your accomplishments and so honored to be your running partner.

To my team, who cheered me on all day and always make me laugh.

To my students, who suggested great songs for my playlist and think I'm slightly nuts.

It's been an 10 year journey and a few thousand miles so far.  I may need a few hundred miles more, but I know now that I will get there.

It's just a matter of time.




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Columbus Marathon: Ready.

I have been kinda quiet over here lately.  Mostly because I'm super busy.   But I'm going to try this new thing where I don't overthink my race this weekend, and I go out there and run my butt off.  As hard as I can, for as long as I can. 

I will tell you that I'm definitely ready. 

See you on Monday.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Earning It

After that last post, I was a bit shaken up.

Coach Emily made me feel much better.

So did my next few runs.

Long story short, I had a recovery week where I could catch my breath, and then a really solid week this week.  Tuesday I did a run that looked like this:

15 minute warmup
Mile Repeats:
5X 1 mile, starting at 8:00-8:10 and descending to 7:15
Cool down to finish in 1:20

Nailed it.  Absolutely nailed it.

Thursday I had a solid tempo run where I ran 20 minutes sub-8.

And today I ran 18 with my two buds, Katie and Kim (Ana was on vacation--jealous!) with miles 11-15 at race pace.  It went like this:

Mile 11, 8:17
Mile 12, 8:17
Mile 13, 8:21 (included a long but gradual hill)
Mile 14, 8:18

And our last mile was 8:32.  Average for the 18 was 8:37.

I believe that is what you call a good week.

We finished our 18 miles at 9:15am.  Then I went home, had breakfast with the family, went to church, stopped home for lunch, went apple-picking all afternoon in the chilly sunshine, and went to Daddy's soccer game tonight.  I wore my nerdy compression socks under the outfits the whole time.

I've been feeling really strong and good about this, and I'm also realizing how lucky I am to have such a good crew of friends who are willing to run at Ridiculous O'Clock with me and do these crazy workouts.  If I pull this off in October, make no mistake about it:  it is because I had them with me the whole way.

This one's for them.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Working for it

I'm at the point in training where I'm thinking, damn, this sounded like a good idea a few months ago.  Where it really is hard and I am scared of the workouts.  But I know that's how you get better.  Right?  And that you have to trust the training.  Leave it all out there and do your best, and that's all you can do.

I put in quite a bit of work this week that I know will pay off, but it definitely did not come easily to me.  Because this crazy guy was loose in my neighborhood (they caught him at a nearby nursing home, thankfully!), I was a little hesitant to run outside Thursday morning, even with Ana as she graciously offered to meet me at Ridiculous O'Clock.  So I put in 9.1 miles on the treadmill before school with 4 mile repeats thrown in.  They started at 7:40/mile pace and I dropped it down to 7:19.  Now, I know it's on the treadmill so I sort of feel like that's cheating, even if I keep the incline at 1% like I always do.  But still, I needed that confidence going into this Saturday's run.  Which I had been dreading thinking about all week.

Ermahgerd.

It was going to be really, really hard.  Arguably, the hardest run I've ever attempted.  I couldn't think of any run that was harder than this one, save an attempt at a 5K PR or something.

Here's what it was supposed to look like:

9 miles easy, long run pace (8:40-9:10)
6 miles starting at race pace (8:23) and dropping down to "7:15-7:30."

AT MILE FIFTEEN.  ONE-FIVE.

FIVE TIMES THREE.

I decided Emily was trying to kill me.  Or, trying to force me to work out my doubt and fear monsters before the race.  I told her I think that it is most likely a little of both.

I know, consistently, my head has been my main issue in this long stuff game.  So I really, really wanted to nail this one.  But I was afraid.

Ana and my other bud, Katie (who is super adorable and enthusiastic and smiley and OMG FASSSSTTTTT) agreed to "give it a try."  Which is hilarious in that they are NOT officially training for a marathon, and what kind of crazy person agrees to run that kind of workout?

I love them both.

Anyway, we started at 6:50am and it was nice and cool: beautiful sunrise, a perfect running morning.  The first 9 miles went by nice and easy at a 9:00 pace.  I coulda done that all freakin' day.  Despite another forced potty stop (ARG intestines why do you HATE ME SO MUCH), it was great.  We covered everything from kindergarten to teaching to Syria to Browns Football and it's a reminder of why I love love love running with friends so much.

Then, the work really started.

The first mile was fine--8:19.  No problem.  Mile 2 was also fine.  8:07.  Mile 3, I started laboring.  Because it wasn't really mile 3...it was MILE 12.  And we went 7:59.

And then I started freaking.

I felt a bit nauseous and stopped to catch my breath.  Ana and Katie looked like they had just started their run--they were totally fresh, and I was totally OMG HOW AM I GOING TO RUN 3 MORE MILES FASTER THAN THIS AGGGGGHHHH.

Here comes the head game.  Which, is closely tied to my stomach, no doubt.

Mile 4 (13!) was 7:46.  Then I stopped and almost cried.  I was so pissed at myself for feeling like such crap.  Why couldn't I hold this pace?  I do faster than this in races.  Why did it hurt so much?  These thoughts quickly spiraled into, "If you can't do this, you have no business doing a marathon" which I know, I KNOW is totally stupid.  But when you're in the middle of this workout, your brain turns to stupid.  Or maybe just my brain.

Mile 5 (14) was 7:42 and then I really lost it.  I did not think I could do another mile fast.  Tears were stinging in my eyes.  Katie and Ana were both killing it like they were out for an easy jog, and I felt horrible for being such a baby and holding them back.  To say I felt dejected was an understatement.

They said we could stop there, but I said no, it's on the schedule, dammit, and I need to man up and do this.  So I did.  But I had to stop one last time in the middle of that last mile and let me also admit it was NOT under 7:30.  But my mile 15 was 7:40, which I guess in the scheme of things is not the epic failure I made it out to be in my head.

Shuffled the last mile in 8:48 which felt like about a 12 minute pace, and collapsed on the ground.

16.1 miles complete, average pace for the entire run 8:32.

I've had a few hours now to soak it all in.  Emailed Coach Emily as soon as I got home because I just felt so guilty.  Guilty that I had to stop, guilty that my legs felt like lead bricks, and guilty that I could not for the life of me go faster than 7:40 for that last mile.

But now I'm feeling okay about it.  Because that was definitely the hardest long run I've ever--EVER--attempted.

I can either wallow in sadness and failure and think about how I couldn't hit that last mile.  Or, I could think about how I did 6 miles at the end of a 16 mile run at an average pace of UNDER 8 minutes per mile.  And how those tears stung my eyes and how I said screw it I'm not giving up and how I took some grit in me and got through it.

I'm going to pick Option B.

Less than 6 weeks to go.  The big, BIG stuff is looming on the horizon.  This is why it's hard.

And this is why it will be so, so sweet when I finally get there.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

And now, it gets hard. Really, really hard.

Back to school, back to reality.  But a new twist:  Bug is in kindergarten.  So a whole new level of craziness here as both of us are getting used to the whole idea.  He much better than I, for sure.
My big Kindergarten Bug

The beginning of the school year is crazy, as usual, and this coincides with my workouts getting harder.

I'm just going to say it: I am really scared.

This is hard.

These are the same things I just told my APUSH students last week:  this will be hard, at one point in time you thought it was a good idea, someone else also had to agree that you could handle it (to register for the course), you will want to drop out, but if you just trust me, you can do this.

Trust me.  Don't give up.

It will be a fine balance of working hard but not giving up your life or sanity.  You'll need to put in lots of time, but you'll figure it out.

I told them how our scores are always really, really good.  Well above the national average.  Last year I had 16 fives and 16 fours.  (If you don't speak APUSH, I'll just tell you that those are really, really good scores.) They just need to breathe, remember they can do it, and trust me.  

Already I have some panicked faces coming to see me.  They are wondering what they got themselves into.  And I'm sure as next week's test approaches, I'll see a few more.

I'm seeing workouts that flat out scare me.  Last week I had a really, really rough time getting through them.  I basically didn't, if you take into account that I had to stop and rest a few times because I was dying from the humidity and I had a pretty serious stomach issue that almost landed me in the ER and OMGOMGOMG WHAT HAVE I DONE THIS IS HARD I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN DO IT.

Maybe I need to sit in a chair in room 2028 and listen to the WORDS coming outta my MOUTH.

I'm trying to remember that there will be good runs, and there will be bad ones.  Sometimes I won't hit a pace and life will have to go on.  Sometimes my ankle will get creaky on me and I'm gonna have to just ice it and keep going.

At one point in time, this sounded like a good idea.

I know it's in there.  But it's going to be very, very difficult.  And I'm going to have to work very, very hard.  Like, get up at 5am to run 9 miles before I teach all day hard.  And then have enough in me to function after school hard.

And, ultimately, to remember why I do this in the first place.

Life is too short to take the easy road and be complacent.  And on those good runs, which really do outnumber the bad, when I hit that pace I never thought I could or run a 7:38 mile at mile 13 of a 14 mile run, I am reminded of this.  Reaching for something just out of reach is good for you.  It makes you better at pretty much everything.

And that's worth the five.  Or in my case, the three-forty.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Race Report: USAT Age Group Olympic Nationals, 2013

While packing, I stumbled across a bag full of my old swimming stuff that my Mom had brought me after I moved into this house and she officially got to give me All The High School Things.  Upon first glance, it appears that there were a pretty even balance of 1st place ribbons with everything else.  When I opened up the bag and looked a little closer, I noticed a trend.  Most of the 1st place ribbons were in relays.  There were a few earned solo (backstroke? butterfly? is this a joke?) but most of my solo races were red and white 2nd and 3rd place ribbons.

I smiled.

None of this has ever come easily to me.  I was never the standout; never the one who won All The Races.  But I was the kid who "sure had a lotta heart," and made a great team player to race in the 3rd spot on that free relay.  I always knew my role and never questioned it, but I was always trying to chase that set of bubbles ahead of me, hearing the shouts as I turned to breathe and knew it was close.

And if I was lucky, it would be my day.

___________________________________

I decided to do this race after qualifying on kind of a fluke last year at Vermilion.  The stars aligned and I got a bit lucky.  Once I knew my teammate Michelle was in, that sealed the deal.  I had a great race at Huntington and was looking forward to being a teensy, tiny, little guppy in a HUGE pond of talent.  Usually around these parts, I come out of the water near the top 1/3, hammer the heck out of the bike and pass quite a few, and then try to hang on for dear life in the run.  The fact that almost every single person I'd be racing with was either my ability OR better was something that I thought would be fun.  A little scary, but fun.

The week before, my brother-in-law Dan married the uber-awesome Dawn, and we had an amazing time in Mexico.  I ran three times on the treadmill and greatly violated the "30 minutes maximum" rule by pretending I was a dumb American and didn't see the sign.  I'm not happy to admit that, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  We did run on the beach once where I completely underestimated 92 degrees and humidity by thinking "there will be a nice breeze!" Um, yeah.  That didn't last long.  Needless to say, despite missing my kiddies like crazy we had an unforgettable, amazing time with family and friends.  





Headed to Milwaukee at 5:30am EST (4:30CST, so that worked in my favor).  Drove straight to the race site with the hopes of making a short swim which was done at 1pm.  I packed a lunch and made minimal stops, and despite Chicago's attempts as usual to make me late and crazy, I made it with an hour to spare!  I quickly changed in my car (mad skillz), registered, and headed to the water for a dip in the cold but calm protected little bay we'd be swimming in.

Holy crap.

I see fit people.

Everyone--and I mean EVERYONE--was super fit and all geared up.  Bike porn galore since we had mandatory check-in from 2-7.  Crazy alien aero helmets, super fancy kits, the whole nine-yards.  

I started hearing the voice that says, "You don't deserve to be here...you're a slow, non-fit mommy triathlete...you don't train nearly as much as these people."

ARG.  I hate that voice.  

So I made a conscious decision to reframe the voice in this manner:

"You got lucky, but you DO deserve to be here.  You are a mommy triathlete who has gotten faster after having two kids and losing 64 pounds in the process.  You don't train nearly as much as these people yet you're still here and you're going to kick ass and take names.  And on a good day and the right angle you can *almost* see biceps and something resembling abs.  GET ON IT." 

The water was cold but I'm used to it and I like it.  It was nice and calm, and I thought I'd definitely have NO excuse not to have a decent swim.  Except for the fact that I only swim 1-2 times a week, but it is what it is.  Nothing I can do about that now.

Met up with Michelle and we headed to the hotel and grabbed some tasty dinner.  Before I knew it, it was time for bed!  Watched another episode of Girls (OMG, where has this show been all my life?) and turned in.

Michelle loves to get up at ridiculous o'clock but I love her for it.  I rolled out of bed significantly slower than she did, and we immediately got coffee.  I wasn't racing until 8:58am but she was heading out around 7:40.  Transition closed at 7:30am, so I'd have a good solid hour and a half to sit around, get nervous, and see fit people everywhere to compare myself to.  Tried really hard not to do that last one.  

Finally, it was time to go!

THE SWIM--29:12

I talked to a really nice girl, Kristin, who was in from Chicago as all the hot pink caps were assembling.  She told me that her husband was racing the sprint the next day and her three kids were here and two of them also like to race.  How awesome is that?  I had an immediate girl crush on Kristin.  We also joked about the swim and she said she "maybe" swam 1 time a week, so that made me feel better.  She said the bike was her strength, so she was going to focus on that and then if she had a good run, even better.  I liked that mentality.  My goal in this race was to try to crack the top 1/2 of my age group, which would be tough considering the field was the largest and most competitive ever since Worlds are in Chicago next year.  ALL the fast girls were there.  Top half would be very difficult, so I also had in mind something one of my former students said on my facebook wall the night before, "You only race the clock."  I loved that.  The clock for me had me finishing no faster than a 2:40 for an olympic-distance triathlon.  If I could at least beat that, then I beat myself.

The gun went off and it was of course a mass of elbows, feet, and bubbles.  I was with a good pack for quite a bit, and then about halfway saw them inching away.  I was like, "bye, guys...."  I started to get discouraged and felt that I was SURELY the last one in my wave.  Silly thoughts like that start to pop in and you just have to block them out.  I wasn't last--not even close.  My swim wasn't great:  29:12.  Not my best, but considering my training, I'll take it.  One of these days, like Coach Emily says, when I can swim 3-4 times a week, I'll actually see a swim time I'm capable of.  Until then, it's just a matter of getting through it. 

T1:  I couldn't get my wetsuit off.  I was that guy, floundering and flailing.  Perhaps I should have put it on more than once this year.  So many triathlon rules broken...oops.  Oh well.  Fit people flew by me effortlessly, and I once again cursed myself for not freaking practicing this crap.

THE BIKE--1:11

Okay! My element! Where I pass the chicks!

Except, no.  Not in this type of race.

Which was good for me, and expected.  Whereas I usually make up a ton of ground on the bike in my local races, I knew that I may be able to only pass a few of these fast girls.  So I remembered what my former student said and thought "You versus the clock."  I had never gone faster than 19.6 mph in an olympic distance triathlon.  I knew the winds were light and aside from a few bridges with slowly increasing grades, it would be a pretty flat course, so I really wanted to hit it hard and see what I could do.

Saw LOTS of officials out which was nice and it kept people honest, although this rule-follower panicked a bit every time I heard a motorcycle approaching.  I thought I might get a penalty for EXCESSIVE SNOTTING. Seriously.  Without my cycling gloves I had no where to try to stop the snot floodgates, so I was just disgusting.  I tried the "I'm Just Scratching My Nose" approach and attempted a "Part Of My Jersey Makes A Good Kleenax" tactic, but nothing worked.  In the end, I just tried to make sure no one was behind me and executed a good, Midwestern farmer's blow.

Keepin' it classy, ladies and gentlemen.

I passed maybe 2 or 3 girls, and maybe 3 or 4 girls flew by me (mostly early on), so I counted that as a victory.  I felt strong and kept saying to myself, "NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, self.  No doggin' it.  Find another gear."  And I did!  I ended up with an average speed of 20.7mph for a HUGE Olympic distance PR on the bike leg.  Progress.  I may even be able to say I'm a decent cyclist now!  Well, by triathlete standards of course.  Roadies still scare me.

T2:  Statistically speaking, the fastest part of my day when compared to the age group.  Yay for me and T2!  I am the T2 champion! Because that totally matters NEVER!

THE RUN--49:16, 7:55/mile

So I knew my best run for an Olympic distance came about 5 years ago which was also my distance PR.  51:29 was the fastest I'd ever done a 10k at the end of a tri.  I was determined to blow that out of the water.  I wanted to go under 8s, but I wasn't sure given the Mexico trip and my antibiotics for getting sick after the Mexico trip that I could do that.  I felt like "If only I could have tried a few more bricks" that maybe I'd be able to do it.  The shouldas and couldas crept in for sure.

Michelle and I were laughing at someone's question at the pre-race meeting about "where are the timing mats on the run," because we were like WHO CARES? Run as hard as you can until you almost hurl, and then you know you did it right.  That's what I tried to do.

Same thing:  passed a few and a few passed me.  I pretty much stayed the same place the whole race.  And things got hard, and I tried to just think, "You Versus Clock. You Versus Clock." the whole time.

It worked.

The last mile and a half or so hurt and was definitely over 8:00/mile, but the others? They were all in the high 7:40s/low 7:50s.  I ran past Sister Madonna around mile 2 and she and I smiled and said, "Nice job!" which made my day.  And at Mile 4 I realized something that you don't get to realize much but when you have that moment it's awesome:  I am going to PR big time.  It's just a matter of how much.  So I dug as deep as I could and made my way to the finish line.

I did a cheesy fist-pump thing because I was so happy and as usual the race photographer managed to capture the most unflattering moment of this ever, complete with rolls, muffin top, and the most ridiculous facial expression ever made.  In my head, it always looks so much better.  You won't see that, but here's the video:
video

I was spent.

A race volunteer asked me if I was okay, and I said, "Yeah...." so he pushed me definitively toward the center of the crowd.  And then a girl put a medal around my head and I looked up to thank her and...

and

wait.

WAIT.
Chrissie Wellington @ KONA "YOU...YOU'RE...You're CHRISSIE WELLINGTON!" I said like I was an 11-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

She did her signature smile and laugh as I bumbled around like an IDIOT and she gave me a big hug!  And then I told her she was "like my FREAKING IDOL!"  And I'm pretty sure then that she was laughing at me and not with me.

WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION, FOLKS.

Race time:  2:34.58
82/158 F 35-39

PR of almost 6 minutes.  My watch said faster so I thought it was 6, but still, I will take this.  I will DEFINITELY take this.
Gangsta.
Now, if you know anything about math, you will be quick to point out that I missed the top half of the age group.  I am in the top 51%.  I decided not to give a crap about that.  I am calling that "close enough" and pretending that in my math world it's really 50%.  The other thing I'm trying to remember is with Worlds in Chicago next year, there were probably even more fast chicks who came to play this year.

I beat me.  I kicked me's ass.  Me 2008 and Me 2012 weren't even CLOSE to Me 2013.

In the end, I went from not feeling like I should be there to doing what I really only dreamed I could do.  It was pretty much the ideal race.  And I had a BLAST.

I'd love to do more olympics in the future, but if I do that, I really need to focus on swimming.  Olympic distance races totally favor the swimmers and I just can't compete where I am now.  But, I do believe breaking 2:30 is in my future.  Because Coach Emily says so.

I've never been so happy to be so mid-pack.  Because, let's face it: the cards are stacked against us 36-year-old-working-stiff-mommies-of-two.  It's so nice to show conventional wisdom who's boss.

I have one more goal yet to tear up.  And based on what my body has shown me this season, I've got it's number for sure.  I'm excited to keep working hard and do the thing that I was never supposed to be able to do.  

Remember--I'm rarely first, but I'm the kid with a lotta heart.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Race Report: Huntington Sprint Triathlon, 2013

Happy.

I am so ridiculously happy.  Folks, we have made PROGRESS.  Like, real, quantifiable progress.

Not my highest placing:  2nd in AG, and by a few seconds, too.  At first glance, this may seem not good.  But I tell ya what--the best part about this sport is that ultimately, you're really racing yourself.  And self from last year?  From 10 YEARS ago?  You got schooled.  You got annihilated.

I've done this same course the past three years.  On one hand, part of me says, really Sara?  The same race three times?  I think you need to get out more.  To which I answer, I know. But I'm cheap, and this race is in my backyard.  So yeah.  This is what I do now that I'm 36 with two small kids.  I do a very local race three times, and I FREAKING LOVE IT.  So there.

The other nice thing about this is that it's the same course, so I can really measure my progress.  Aside from Lake Erie who is a total brat and decides to be a washing machine sometimes (like during this race), everything else is constant.  So, looking at that, here's some simple numbers:

2011: 1:16.47, 1st AG
2012: 1:15.21, 2nd AG
2013: 1:12.52, 2nd AG

4 minutes in two years on a sprint course. See I'm giddy just typing that.  I went off in the "old lady" wave this year, folks.  I am becoming more and more aware that I am not getting any younger.  But my old butt is kicking my younger butt's ass.  And yes, that's three references to my butt in one sentence. Top that.

WELL, the results were JUST posted and...there are no splits.  I love it.  This is a local race and there are often mistakes, so I'm gonna have to roll with it.  But I have no clue what my T1, T2, swim, or run times are.  Kinda blows.  I'm gonna have to do some investigating on my Garmin and will hopefully come up with some better numbers soon. For now, I'll go with what I know!

First off, couldn't be more proud of my girls Krystal and Kate who both did their first sprint triathlons today and ROCKED IT with big smiles on their faces.  I do believe they are hooked.  Mission accomplished!  New training buddies. :)
YAY, Krystal! That is the face of one tired, happy triathlete
I am also super proud of my girl TG, who is a supermom and a super woman and juggles and balances her beautiful daughters with her husband's travel schedule and still does it with style and grace.  She wasn't going to race and at the last minute decided to, and I am so happy she was there.  And she did a fabulous job, too!  She makes me smile. Awesome race to all three of you ladies!

The swim: somewhere in the range of 10:40 or so when I hit the beach. Boo.

Ugh.  I know I say that every year but UGH.  Lake Erie had some serious PMS this time.  Not only that, but I was in the "old lady" wave which was the last to go, and I swear that the waves got even worse.  I watched the waves ahead of me get thrown around like rag dolls. Finally got in and of course, had a rough time getting a rhythm.  Just when I was about to make the last turn the guard stopped me and said, "Stop! You are ON THE ROCKS."  And I was like, crap, I am!  Somehow I was on the breakwall's waves and about to hit my head.  Awesome!  Finally got to the beach and knew once again my swim blew.  It's so frustrating.  Whatever...all I could do was just move forward from there.  Ran up to T1.

And then I saw a surprise: Matt with the kids!  I really didn't expect that.  There's this running joke that although we go to all the kids events (of course) and most of Matt' soccer games, for the ONE TIME A YEAR I RACE LOCALLY, my kids generally are cranky, throw tantrums, won't smile, and scream in general about how FREAKING UNHAPPY THEY ARE TO BE THERE CAN WE GO HOME NOW I WANNA WATCH BACKYARDIGANS THIS IS TOTAL TORTURE.  Yes.  Once a year mommy races.  ONCE.  It's a disaster every time.  So to see Matt there with them knowing how hard it was to get them there that early (with a bedtime of almost 10pm the night before) really meant a lot.  I was expecting them grouchy at the finish for 5 minutes...not at the whole race.  Love all three of them so much.  Even got a smile and a big high five out of my Emmy.  That gave me a huge boost!

The bike:
2011--36:19, 2012--36:23, THIS YEAR: 34:42!  21.5mph YAY

Okay, so I haven't been riding all that much, but I feel like it's been good quality and I've been producing numbers I like.  So I was going to hammer the heck out of it and try to catch some of the top girls.  Passed a bunch of people immediately, then came up on who I thought might be my friend Beth. I yelled, "HEY SEXY LADAYYYYYY!" as I passed her, only to realize it wasn't Beth.  Awkward.  Started laughing and tried to explain myself to this poor girl, only to say, "Well, you're still a sexy ladayyyy!" and take off, mortified.  And now we're officially introduced--hi, Michelle! I swear I'm not a serial killer/harasser!  Nice to meet you!

Anyway, I know this course so I turned it on.  I had my average speed up to 21.8 at one point.  I can't say enough about how much I love my Quintana Roo CD0.1.  I feel like the fit is just dialed in perfectly and I was flying. I also heart my CycleOps PowerTap as it's really been a great way to see my progress since with my irregular heartbeat, heart rate training just seems to do nothing but make me angry.  I think dropping a few pounds has helped with my cycling output and seeing the numbers improve on the PowerTap is always motivating!  On the way back the road is a little rough and I think there may have been a teensy tiny little headwind as I slowed down a little bit, but I kept thinking, "this is it:  this is the ride of my life today."  Finished back at T2 with a humongous course PR and an average speed of 21.5mph and 172 watts.  Last year I went 20.1! Huge improvement for me.  Me likey.
Super happy with this effort! Now time to RUN

The run: to the best of my graph analyzing ability, I believe I went 23:43!

FINALLY I am pretty darn sure I went sub-24!  I am so so so sad the timing company does not have ANY splits.  Of course, the race of my freakin' life and I forgot to hit "lap" on my watch.  I figured, no problem! That's what chip timing is for!  FAIL.

2011-- 26:11, 2012-- 25:17. THIS YEAR: 23:43! Yahoooooooo

Now, I went into this thing saying I wanted to see at least a minute off my run.  I really wasn't expecting the huge gains on the bike that I saw, so I was pretty freaking pumped.  I wanted to have an equally surprising run.  My goal was to go sub-24 for the first time ever in a sprint tri.  I knew that I may even have a snowball's shot in hell at making the top 5 or so women at this rate and had a good gauge on who was ahead of me.  I got to see everyone as I headed out and it was as I expected.  I saw my girl Allanjel running like a boss at the high school and cheered her on.  I thought maybe I might be able to catch her, but she's a tough chick and I was back pretty far.  Time to turn it up.  Over the course of the next 1.5 miles I really tried to dig deep and focus, and I chipped away at the distance between us.  My mile splits were benefitting, too--this was definitely the fastest 5K in a sprint I've ever raced.  In the end, I got pretty close but ran out of course to catch her.  The fact that I even got this close made me happy:

About 20 yards from the finish line, heading straight uphill!  Allenjel is in the green and black kit.  I have the obnoxious blue shoes. We're basically Macca and Raelert.
Trying so freakin' hard to make it up that hill fast
Gave it all I had.
Props to Allenjel on a solid race and big thanks to her for making me run faster!  It's always good to have strong competition to bring out the best in you, and she didn't let me have it easy.
The 1-2 girls!  And guess what we both ride?  The super awesome Quintana Roo CD0.1!  

Overall time: 1:12.52

2/12 F 35-39

7/74 overall females, 38/200 total racers

I'm elated.  That word is probably too weak for what I am.  I'm really, really happy folks.  See, I already admitted last year that I'm not training as much as you are or really anyone.  Sometimes I feel like I have no business lining up next to people who train way more than I do and thinking I have a shot at hanging with them.  So when I do, and I can even remotely be in the same breath as them?  It makes me happy.  It makes me think I must have a little talent somewhere in here.  Now, of course I wonder what I could do if I did have more time to train, but I don't and I won't and that's the way I like it so that wonder is fleeting.  I do, however, know that I keep dropping myself every single year and getting better and better versus me.  And at the risk of sounding like an after school special like Duffy Moon or something (who else out there from the late-80s knows what I'm talking about? HOLLAAAA) that, ultimately, is the best prize ever.

Throw in the fact that tantrums and all, I still got a smile out of at least one, as evidenced here:




The best part of the day was having Matt and the kids there and seeing lots and lots of my multisport friends, too.  Like I said: I don't get out much, people.  Seeing everyone smiling, racing, and enjoying themselves just rocks.  I even had a few former students there doing relays, too!  I love to see young people getting into the sport.

And now, onto the next one, where I'll be a teensy tiny fish in a very big pond: Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 10th.  It's gonna be a little interesting training for this given what I have going on here over the next week, but here goes!

Happy Training!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Older and...Faster?

I decided to try a new race this year: the Bay Days 5-miler.  Well, it actually isn't new.  It's 39 years old.  And I have spent darn near every 4th of July of my life in Bay Village, Ohio (one in Germany!) and somehow I have never ran this race.  When my local tri club announced they were doing a "ride/race/ride," I thought: perfect!  Right down the street from my house = no excuse not to do it.  Plus, I could get in some good training and earn myself extra brownies at our cookout later that night.

I haven't raced 5 miles in quite some time, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I used to do that distance quite a bit with the Turkey Trot downtown and the St. Malachi race in the spring, but I haven't done them in a few years.  The best I had ever done at a 5 mile race was breaking 40 minuutes ONCE: and barely.  I think I was somewhere in the 39:45 range.  I know I've been running well lately and had a super big goal of a 37:30, but with the humidity I wasn't quite sure if I could pull it off.

Met my fellow Cleveland Tri Club members at 6:30am and pushed off for a nice easy 1 hour ride.  It was fun to ride with ACTUAL! HUMANS! for a change.  We got back, I hit the port-o-potty twice (standard) and lined up ready to race.  And we were off!

Now, all the fast kids come out for this race, literally.  It is free to high school kids, which is awesome, so every single fast high school kid runs this race.  It was kind of cool to see all these kids whizzing by and, as it turns out, to keep up with a few of them!  My first mile was a blistering (for me!) 7:10.  Oops!  Classic Trisaratops move.  I started to wonder if that meant imminent death, but I was actually feeling...good?  Bizarre!

Miles 2 and 3 I slowed down a bit but was still holding steady in the 7:20s.  In fact, when I clicked over to 3.1 on my Garmin, I was at 22:50...a two second PR for the 5K!  You know what that means, right?

(That means my 5K PR should NOT be 22:50.  You are not supposed to be able to keep going after your fastest 5K....you're supposed to almost hurl.)

Ran around my old neighborhood and then through a friend's sprinkler she had set up on her lawn (thanks, Kary!  I needed that!) and then it was time to enter the stadium at the high school.  That was a cool way to finish, too.  There were a lot of spectators out in their yards and on the course, which made it lots of fun!

Kicked it as hard as I could around the end--here's a CTC guy, Jeff, flying by me and I was admiring how freakin' fast he was going, so I tried to pick it up, too!

Hit my watch and it said 37:18.  About exploded with awesomeness and excitement.  Official race time says 37:25 so I'm not sure how I was so far off, but whatever.  This?  This was one of those perfect races where everything went right.  I blew my old PR out of the galaxy and even did better than my pie-in-the-sky goal.  So, let's review what I did to prepare:

1.  Ate a hamburger, hot dog, and lots of cake at a birthday party the night before
2.  Rode an hour before I raced
3.  Generally did not ever really imagine it would go as well as this

Reminders, all, that THIS IS ALL IN MY HEAD and when I take the pressure off myself, I kind of kick a lot of ass.  Gonna have to file that away and remember it as I approach Columbus, where I am definitely putting the pressure on.  Goals are good; obsession is not, and I consistently do better when I chill the heck out.

Snapped a pic with some local tri club buddies after the race and then headed off for an hour ride solo (the group was going 1:30 and I was pushing it with our party that night):

Headed home and made some tasty burgers some patriotic treats, and had a blast at our party.






Then woke up and turned 36.  To those who told me that I'd have to "give up all that racing stuff" once I had my first baby (remember that?  that was pleasant), and to all the experts that say that you slow down in your 30s and whatnot, I say TAKE THAT, 36.

Have a feeling this is going to be a fun (and fast) year.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sometimes I miss it, sometimes no

So I've been reading lots of great IM CdA race reports and it kind of makes me miss Ironman.

But then I remember that I'd have to spend hours and hours and hours on my bike.  That's the rub.  No can do, people.  Just not going to happen.  Even making a 3 hour ride happen takes an act of divine intervention these days with all the storms we are having.

Yesterday?  I snuck out for a 2 hour ride and it was fabulous.  But a little bit lonely.  Because I have to ride when I have to ride, not at any scheduled time and certainly not with a group of people.  How on earth can I get a group of people to coordinate with my random schedule that follows no schedule?!  So alone is nice, but a little....lonely.
Being the best ring bearer and flower girl EVER last weekend

Right now, there is nowhere these guys want to be except with me.  And for now?  I'm gonna just gladly accept that role.  Pretty soon, they will want nothing to do with me.  And maybe then I can start a ride that doesn't leave from my house and start at 2:37pm on a Wednesday afternoon.

I am all registered for the Columbus Marathon and I'm super excited.  We had to predict our time for corrals so I had to officially type, "3:39.59" and YES I know I have until 3:40.00 but I'm gonna aim large here and go for that extra whole second.  I think this is a very difficult but very doable goal for me.  Time-wise, training for a marathon is not nearly as many hours as training for an Ironman, yet it really beats up your body a LOT more.  I'm trying to be really proactive about injury and balance the running with cross-training.  Instead of waiting to get injured, I'm trying this thing were I go to ART now and have him spot me some problems before they turn into full out achilles tendonitis or other such nonsense.

I'm also looking forward to hammering a little sprint tri in July and then Nationals in August...where my big goal is to crack the top half!  It will be kind of fun being a very tiny fish in a HUGE pond.  I'm looking forward to hopefully rising to the level of competition there.

So the long slow 5 hour rides will wait...and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure I really miss them. I think I just miss the idea of the finish line. :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On the Playlist

YES.

YESYESYES.

This and my other tune of choice got me through 20 minutes at 7:40 pace at the end of my long run yesterday morning.

Raise those hands, this is our party
We came here to live life like nobody was watching
I got my city right behind me
If I fall, they got me. Learn from that failure gain humility and then we keep marching ourselves

Here we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight 'til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us