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Friday, September 30, 2011

Sometimes life gets in the way

So even though I did survive the Great Warrior Dash of 2011, I did manage to receive a rather nasty injury. That blister I talked about in the last post turned out to be a bigger problem than I first realized. I had to keep it clean so that meant a multitude of hydrogen peroxide washes which are not all that pleasant. But there is just no good way to walk on a foot that has a quarter sized blister on the bottom of it.

Actual picture of the demon on my foot.
After two days I still couldn't walk regularly on it. Then it was rainy. Or I felt lazy. And well by the end of the week I could finally walk semi-normally but I hadn't done any exercise. I had to work on Saturday then I got into a house cleaning/redecorating mode and Sunday was gone too. This week hasn't been much better with my schedule so I've pretty much lost two very essential weeks of training before the half (just 8 days away now).

So here's the deal. I'm going to run/walk a 10 miler tomorrow morning and see how it goes. I know I'll have to run/walk the half. It doesn't make me happy because I know my time will probably be worse than my first half and I had previously vowed to never do worse than that time. But life is what it is and I won't skip out on this half for two years in a row.

Next week I'll bore with the mundane details of my slow 10 miler and how to cram for a half-marathon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I am the Warrior

At the starting line - still clean and innocent...
So a few weeks ago a co-worker/friend convinced me to sign up for the Warrior Dash because there was  GroupOn for half price and "wouldn't it be fun to run it together!" I said sure, why not and bought the GroupOn deal. Her starting times got all screwed up though and I ended up being all alone in my wave - at 8:30 in the blessed morning.
Hay Fever
I quickly came to the conclusion that 8:30 was an awesome starting time because the course was still fresh and the crowds were relatively small - only a couple of thousand people rather than several thousands...

The course was in the same fields where they have Bonaroo every summer so it was well organized and staffed. Getting into parking wasn't a big deal at that time of the morning. I was able to park, check in, and hang out for a few minutes even though we only arrived a half hour early. I had spent the evening before looking at Facebook pictures of the dash and reading comments so I was a bit nervous but also better prepared by wearing gloves for all the rope climbs that would be involved.

Given that I have no "old" pairs of running shoes I didn't want to ruin my $100 pairs of shoes. I elected to wear my Teva sandals which I've worn several times before to hike and go through wet/muddy conditions. However, I have never ran in them and that turned out to be a problem as the race went on...

Barricade Breakdown
So here's the race with many borrowed pictures. I have pics of myself at the beginning and end of the race but didn't bother to bring a camera with me along the race because I didn't want to fool with it. However, many other people on Facebook and through Google images have contributed to this post.

My wave started promptly at 8:30 with about 700 people in it. Lots of people were in costumes and about 90% were there just to goof off - not to run their fastest race. I was definitely one of those 90%. The distance of the race was 5k and we ran a good 1/2 mile or more before the first obstacle.
Road Rage

The hay bales were pretty simple to climb up but were already starting to disintegrate by our wave (which was the second of the day). They had ropes to hold onto but they made it worse to climb up. So up and over - no big deal.

Then another 1/2 mile run. We came to a water stop and saw the next obstacle in front of us. First there was a big tree blocking the path with enough room to go under it or you could go over. I elected to go under. Then about 50 yards or so after that we had the next real obstacle, called the Barricade Breakdown.
Blackout Tent

The walls were about 4 feet high and then you had about 3 feet before you had to get down and crawl under the barbed wire. There were at least 6 of these walls and then wire crawls. Thankfully being a taller girl it wasn't a big deal to hike my leg up on wall and then boost myself over.
Once again, no biggie so I started to feel more relaxed about the obstacles and had some fun. We had another little bit of running before the next obstacle which was called Road Rage.
I don't know this person but it's a good pic of the
 inside of the Blackout Ten.
There were tires in front and behind. You went through the tires, football drill style, and then walked over the cars. I walked slowly through the tires because I didn't want to trip and screw up my ankles while I'm in the middle of training for the 1/2 marathon. I also watched a girl in front of me try to run through and saw her fall flat on her face so I considered her ordeal a cautionary tale. Despite my fear of falling through one of the cars it was kind of fun to walk all over a car and not worry about denting it.
Great Warrior Wall

After this one we had a longer run and I could start to feel the beginnings of a blister on my foot. I ran when I wanted to and walked when I wanted to. I wasn't tired but I also wasn't aiming for a great time.

We came up to the Blackout Tent and I hoped to God there wasn't any poison oak or ivy laying about. The tent was only 3 feet high or so and you had to crawl on your hands and knees through the whole thing (maybe 50 yards total). Once you were inside there were flaps about every 5 feet or so. After the first couple of flaps it was almost pitch black inside. You just had to crawl slowly and hope you didn't run into the person in front of you or get a foot in your face.

Rope Crawl
Shortly before entering the tent I was passed by the guy that's behind me in the first picture of this post - look for the guy in the robe holding a cup of coffee and newspaper. He was also wearing slippers and had an unlit cigar in his mouth. I really wondered what he did with his coffee cup while he was in the tent.
 
Right after the Blackout Tent we came up to the first obstacle that I wondered, "Am I able to do this?" The wall had little ledges to use for your feet and long ropes with knots every couple of feet. So you climbed up and over. The back side was more like a ladder to climb down. I was afraid my arm strength would be too weak for this one but I made it up without too much of a struggle. I was very happy for the gloves because it was much easier to get a solid grip on the ropes without tearing up my hands. It was more difficult to get over the top and back into a position to climb down - that's what felt precarious and awkward.
Giant Cliffhanger

After I made it over that wall I was having fun. I felt like I could at least try every obstacle - whereas at the beginning I felt sure there would be some obstacles I would just go around.

There was still a lot of running in between obstacles but at this point of my memory I can't really identify the distances between obstacles. I do remember that the obstacles were closer in the second half of the course than the first. My blister was getting worse as the race went on and I stopped even trying to run through the thick grass we were going over.

The next obstacle was the rope crawl. In some of the comments I had read people said to not crawl on your knees and that rolling was an easy option. However, there were too many people trying to go over it so there wasn't room to roll. Plus it dipped down in the middle of each section so it would have been difficult to roll UP into the next section. I positioned myself near the center plank and at first crawled crab style over it which was okay but slow and a bit awkward. Soon I got more into a spider position and went sideways and that was much better. They took official pictures right after this obstacle but those won't be available for at least another week. If I find myself in the thousands of photos I'll post them later.
I called this one ladder drop.
The next obstacle gave me a moments worry when I realized there was nothing for your feet to grip onto. But someone commented that it was okay because of the angle. Turns out they were right. I climbed up pretty quickly but got a little hung up at the top when the rope ran out.  The back was ladder like and easy to get down.

More running - more awareness of the blister on my foot.
Assassins Escape

The next one (Ladder Drop) was easy to climb up but you had to jump off the back. I did this most gracefully by hanging on for dear life and letting my body slide down like a slug until I felt more comfortable dropping (like half a foot at that point).

Shorter runs now between the obstacles and we could see the end. Also we had music to keep us going and get us psyched up.

Assassins Escape was just climbing up and sliding down the pole fireman style. I wasn't scared of it but I had fairly short shorts so I dreaded the sound of sliding down... :) But that was done without a layer of skin coming off so all was good.

Rope Tower/ Cargo Net Climb
Then the last obstacle before the finish line (rope tower). This was made more entertaining by someone singing the Spiderman Theme Song as we went over. After this one we had about a 1/4 mile run to the finish line. My foot hurt so badly at this point that I took off one sandal and hobbled over the grass. I had to put it back on when we got to a gravel portion of the road. And then we were at the finish and I could see hubby waiting for me.

At the finish line was the fire and mud.
Approaching my gazelle like leap over the fires.

I admit that I was most scared about jumping over fire. I'm not a big pyromaniac so fires tend to worry me. I knew they weren't high but I still feared tripping on something and ending up on the coals. I gave it a running start and jumped over it twice (in my mind completely gracefully and there are no pictures to prove otherwise). 
Do I have to get dirty?
And then came the mud pit. I really didn't want to get covered in mud so I gingerly got down into the pit and tried to stay as high as I could. But you did have to go under barbed wire so and the pit was a couple feet deep so there was only so much of me I could keep clean. The girls in front of me were swimming through the pit but I couldn't bring myself to that. Instead I crawled through and felt every little pebble on my knees.

My sandals were coming off of me as I crawled through so before I climbed out I spent a couple of minutes trying to get my left shoe back on. I couldn't make it work so I just took it off and climbed out. There were more "official" picture takers at this point so I tried to raise my hand in a triumphant victory pose and promptly slide/fell on my butt in a very ungraceful like pose. I can't WAIT to see those pictures. Sigh.
Graceful Exit

Then we went through the finish line, got our medal, and were offered cups of water and bananas. I really had to keep myself from being sarcastic to the nice, helpful people that were volunteering. But really, who on earth is going to pick up a banana when their hands are caked in mud?

That's my shoe in my left hand...
They said the showers were just "right in front of us" but in reality it was another 1/2 mile walk. I couldn't put my shoes back on because of the amount of mud they were covered in plus it just hurt my foot to rub that blister even more. I hobbled down to the fire hoses only to finally get down there and they ran out of water. The only thing they had was a sprinkler truck tha a hundred people were trying to use. It was as useful as a spray bottle. I got my hands somewhat clean and figured it was the best I could do. There was one gal in the crowd that was wearing a bikini top and she commented, "would anyone judge me if I took this off so I can get cleaner?" The men assured her that no one would judge... I'm not sure if she did or not.

As I was leaving the crowd was starting to use a small run off stream since it would be a half hour before the fire hoses had more water. I too used the nasty stream to clean off my shoes, gloves, and my legs as much as possible. I brought a change of clothes so I didn't care as much about my clothes getting cleaned.

I hobbled back down to the rest of the crowd and could not find my husband anywhere. At this point there were a lot more people in the crowd and finding him was like looking at a "Where's Waldo" puzzle. After a few minutes I heard the announcer say, "Judy, you're husband is waiting for you at the stage. He looks cold, hungry, and in need of a beer." I figured it was my husband and thought that was a very clever way to find me. We found each other and headed over to the porta-pots so I could change.

Finally in cleaner clothes and in a better mood I put on my Viking Hat (which I do plan to wear on a daily basis now) and posed for one last picture. We found where to get our one free beer - the timing chip was your free beer token (clever way to get those back eh?). We enjoyed our Coor's Light at 10 a.m. in the morning and eventually headed back home. It did take us a few minutes to figure out how to get out of the parking lot. Once again it was well organized and there were cops at every corner directing you back to the main road. I wore my hat all the way home. Once home, my children stole it from me and my son proclaimed that he was a moose when he wore it.

I showered and cleaned up my quarter sized blister. It hurt like hell for the rest of the day. Thankfully it's better today but I won't be doing any running today or tomorrow most likely. Hopefully it heals up quick enough that I won't be out of running for too many days. And there were no other injuries that will keep me from training so all in all it was a fun day. But it was the first and hopefully last time I'll ever run a 5k in Teva Sandals.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Middle Half Video

Needed a break from the monotony of doing paperwork at work today and found this online:



I have to admit as I first started watching it I thought - man, it wasn't that dark at the beginning when I ran it two years ago. But if you look back to that post you'll see I barely got to the race with about 5-10 minutes to spare. This year I will remember that it starts at 7 a.m. (not 7:30).

Now back to paperwork and preparing my mind for my run today in warmer temps (they're back!). Although it's not 100+ so I now can't complain too much.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekly Results, Harry Ol' Chap

In my never-ending quest to entertain my handful of blog readers I found this jewel and had to share.



I'll do an extended time period of my weekly results since I got a little off schedule this week.
Sunday 9/4 - post triathlon laziness. Thought about going to Zumba since it's been a while but I just couldn't get enough motivation.
Monday 9/5 - really planned on doing something but still nothing.
Tuesday 9/6 - 4 miles in the rain. Had a blast.
Wednesday 9/7 - hour spin/abs class. Good stuff.
Thursday 9/8 - nothing
Friday 9/9 - lots of wine
Saturday 9/10 - almost 4 mile slow run. Painful.
Sunday 9/11 - 27.83 mile bike ride with an overall average of 13.25 mph for speed. I split the miles into 3 portions with a few minutes of rest in between the portions.
  • The first part was 6.45 mi. I stopped, ate a power bar, and gave my sit bones a rest for less than 5 minutes.
  • The second part was 9.2 mi. Once again I sat and rested for a few minutes (probably over 5 but less than 10).
  • The third part was 12.18 mi. This was a surprise. I had never gone the full length of the newer portion of our greenway but I didn't think it would add up to that total mileage (roundtrip and this actually included getting back to my house as well).
So it was an okay week for exercising. I should have done more overall and definitely at least one other day of running at least 6 miles but now my mind is back to "running is hard - boo hoo". Stupid mind.

I've changed my thoughts on my weekly schedule (going back more to my tri schedule) so here's my thoughts for this week:
Monday - swim & strength training
Tuesday - run (3-4 miles)
Wednesday - spin & abs
Thursday - long run (7 miles)
Friday - rest
Saturday - Warrior Dash - Craziest frickin' day of your life! (it's a 5k with obstacles)
Sunday - bike

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Long Run Fail - Wine Consumption Win

Perhaps it was unwise of me to plan a long run after a evening out that involved 3+ glasses of wine. Perhaps....

What I look like when not in running clothes.
I got to sleep in this morning which was amazing and much needed. I had thought about going to a 2 hour Zumbathon but I had already missed a half hour of it by sleeping in so long. Then I thought - "hey the temps are still down (now in the upper 70's) so even a later morning run will be workable." But I didn't even make it a mile before I realized though my mind was ready my body wasn't. I ended up going a slow 4 miles which involved plenty of walking.

At first I thought I wasn't pushing hard enough but then I remembered that I was probably pretty dehydrated. So instead of pushing through it I instead eased up. I'll try again for 6 miles tomorrow. And I'll drink more water today.

One other issue on today's run was that I tried to run in my spandex shorts (the ones I bought earlier this summer) and they rode up the whole time. Really annoying. Good thing the weather is getting to where I can comfortably wear capris again.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Running in a hurricane

Which sounds cooler than the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee...

After posting yesterday I knew I had to get my run in somehow. The first plan was to run home, get exercise clothes (since running in knee high boots and a long skirt would have been awkward), and go back to the rec center for the inside track or treadmill. But when I walked outside it was no longer really raining - just this steady fine mist. I thought to myself, if I've run all summer in blistering heat surely I can survive a fine mist.

So I went home, put on exercise clothes, and hit the streets outside my house. It was brilliant. No, not the sky - that was dark and ominous. But the run was brilliant. I didn't really sweat - or if I did I never knew because even fine mist will get you pretty wet after a few minutes. But I wasn't struggling through 11/12 minute miles. I was happily going along at 9:30/10 mm. I went through hills and a full 2 miles before I even thought about walking. I went a full mile longer than I had originally planned. It felt so good. I was worn out by the end but recovered pretty quickly.

I really needed this good run. Mentally I was stuck in the "running is hot and hard and I don't like it" mode and could not see myself increasing miles to prepare for the 1/2. Now if our weather stays cooler I think I can make it through the next six weeks. It won't be 55 degrees again (at least for this month) but it shouldn't be 100 either.

As always though my brain has random thoughts during my runs and here's the gem from yesterday:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tri withdrawal

I have something major to train for (1/2 marathon in just 6 weeks) but I'm lacking in the motivation department at the current moment. Partially because I'm better motivated by joining a group or having someone, like a trainer, that I'm accountable to meet with on a regular basis. And partially because the remnants of tropical storm Lee are going over us and it's dark and dreary out. We've gone from 100+ degrees to less than 60 degrees in 48 hours. It's a bit of a shock to the system.

So to help motivate myself I need a plan. I need to run and cross-train. I looked at my rec center's aerobics groups but didn't see anything I was too interested in (besides one spin & abs class). I have some good workout DVD's at home that are fantastic for cross-training but I have the hardest time getting myself to do a workout after 8 pm. I also want to keep up with swimming so I don't have to start from scratch for the next tri.

So my plan for the next six weeks (at the moment):
Saturday/Sunday - Rest or Long run (6, 8, 10, 12, 8)
Monday - EZ run (3 miles, easy pace)
Tuesday - Spin & Abs class
Wednesday - Tempo/Speed work (4-5 miles)
Thursday - Weights at gym or at home DVD
Friday - Swim

I have a couple of Saturdays where it would be hard to fit a long run in so for those days I'll do my long runs on Sunday.

Of course this first week is all screwed up so here's my modifications:
Monday - didn't do anything
Tuesday - EZ run (if I can get out of the house)
Wednesday - Spin & Abs (if I can get out of the house)
Thursday - EZ run (I need a week's break before starting tempo work)
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Long run - 6 miles
Sunday - Swim (drills and 200 yard stretches at least twice)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Part Deux

Breathe!
When we last saw our blogging hero she had just survived the swim and was struggling to put on her watch and not fall over while putting on socks and shoes.

The bike ride. Ah the bike ride.

It started off with an uphill. A long steady uphill. The mountain bike I used was borrowed from a friend at work who was kind enough to lend it to me. As her name is Peggy I named the bike Peggy. Except when I say the bike's name it's more like this Peggy:


Coming into T2
As I've gotten used to biking again I grew more knowledgeable about myself on a bike. I have decent quad strength and do OK on a heavy bike. But I don't stand a chance against the road bikes on a hilly road. So I got through that first hill and thought - "whew, at least that's done". There was a downhill where I picked up speed and then a short uphill again. I did not realize the monster of a hill that was just around the bend after another nice downhill. It was steep and I was CRAWLING to the top.

Then when the steepness ended it was still a steady climb to get over an interstate overpass. After that I was wiped out. There weren't any more hills but there were some areas of long inclines and not too many declines. A ton of people passed me during the first 1/2 of the bike (all on road bikes I might add).

I got to the halfway point at 31'ish minutes according to my watch so I knew I was mostly on track for time. I hoped the ride back would be faster since it didn't have as many hills/inclines. I think I did go a bit faster but I also think my legs were worn out too. There was one decent hill right before the end that caused me to curse a little bit. I saw several of my teammates already on the run. I also saw that I would have to be running most of those same curse worthy hills.

About to hit the finish line.
I got back to T2 right around the hour mark and couldn't see my husband anywhere. I ditched the bike and helmet. I grabbed my handheld bottle and visor and left the transition area. Of course every leg muscle had forgotten how to work and my "run" was more like an 80 year old's shuffle. It was blazing hot at this point but the run started off in some shade. I already knew at that point that I wouldn't be doing 11 min miles. My pace felt slower than a 12 mm pace even while I was running. I didn't even get a mile before I took a walking break. Right at one mile we came out into the sun and faced a long uphill (about 1/4 of a mile worth of uphill).

The hill ended at a Jr. High which we were to run around and then circle back. There was a water break there with delightfully cold water. One cup I drank and the other was dumped on myself to cool myself down. I had to walk around most of the Jr. High. I was so exhausted and hot that even 10 seconds of jogging made me feel like death. There was a second water stop at the back of the Jr. High and I drank another cup, saved 1/2 of the 4th cup in my water bottle, and dumped the last 1/2 on my back - which was quite chilly. In retrospect I'm SO glad I dumped the water on myself because I think I would have gotten overheated otherwise.

Waiting for team pics.
I ran the long downhill and mostly ran the shaded part back to the finish line. Most of the team was at the finish line and it was fun to be cheered in. My husband was still nowhere to be found. I stopped my watch and it was at 1:47 something so I knew that run was a epic fail according to my goals. But I was also realistic enough to know that it was hot and hilly so things aren't always as you hope they'll turn out.

I eventually found my husband who was wondering if I was still on the bike since he didn't see me in T2. I dunked my hand towel in the ice water holding the water bottles and downed a bottle of water pretty quickly. I started to eat my power bar as well and then went back to find the team. They had just cheered in the last couple of gals from our group and were talking about getting group pics. We got some nice group pics and then I left before the award ceremony because my husband had already sat around for 4 hours and I knew I wouldn't get any awards for my age group. The results were posted for some of the runners and two gals had already placed one and two in my AG. I didn't expect to be #3.


The group before the run (minus a couple of people).

We drove home and I was beat for the rest of the day. My butt still hurts from the bike seat - my top priority for my real bike is a wider seat. I checked online all day for results and more pics and finally got the results at 11 pm right before I crashed for the night.

I am a bit mad that I was only 2 minutes behind the 3rd place finisher for my AG. I think back to what I could have done a bit quicker. Mostly it was the run portion that I'd like a do-over for.



But to end - since this should be my weekly results post I will leave you with the song that was stuck in my head for most of the run:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The first part

Still waiting on pictures but I do have my official results now. So I'll start things off with the pics I do have.
Pre-Race
My body woke me up at 5 am but I stayed in bed until the alarm went off at 5:30. I made some breakfast (2 Eggo waffles, one with peanut butter and honey and the other with an egg). As always it was a bit hard to eat all of it in the early morning. I fought nausea for most of the morning. Getting out of the house was easy as I had already packed everything the night before. We left a few minutes earlier than planned and started the 1/2 hour drive south to Manchester. About 1/2 way down I almost lost my bike when a gust of wind came off of a semi that I was passing. It picked the bike up a little off of my rack. I saw it lift in my rear view mirror and about had a heart attack. Thankfully it didn't come off. We pulled over and secured it again. Also on the way down I saw a couple of deer frolicking along the highway. I watched them with caution in case they decided to bolt across the road. I later learned that they did jump across the road and someone behind me received some serious damage to their truck. Dumb deer.

Look at the big ol' mountain bike, second from the right.
Check in was easy. I got my numbers, body markings, and timing chip. The chips were awful. The strap wasn't big enough for my ankle and the extenders were ridiculously long. Then I was too dumb to put it on the right way so I eventually had to get someone to duct tape it on my ankle. This turned out to be a good thing since several people started to lose theirs as they got into the pool.

There were a couple of people there already from my group already but most of them came a few minutes later. So my transition area wasn't close to the rest of the group but that was fine. After fixing my chip, going to the bathroom, and listening to pre-race instructions it was time to line up for the pool.

About to jump in
The blue hat in the middle (about to be passed)
I was number 85 (out of 150'ish). Our numbers were given based on our expected swim times. Everyone around me thought 4:30-5:00 minutes so I knew I was in the right spot. Everyone entered the pool one at a time and we had to jump in the deep end (12 feet) before pushing off. So it took 30 minutes until I finally got to the pool.

Jumping in was really awkward. We never practiced that since we all assumed we'd start the time in the water and be able to push off the wall. So I started off in an unexpected position and while I tried to recover and concentrate on form I felt awkward throughout the swim.

I quickly found that I was going to be able to pass the lady in front of me but as I tried to keep my eyes on her I would lift my head and get out of a pattern. I ended up lifting up my head about as much as I did when I was first learning how to swim properly. Sigh.

About 5 laps in I started to wonder how the hell I was going to make it through this thing. At this point there was another lady right behind me and I eventually had her pass me at a wall. I got to the end of lane 7 and walked for a few steps to regain my breath. Then I realized I only had one more lane to go down and I was very happy. I tried to do better with my form and ended the swim much better than I started. But at the end I got stuck behind that woman I had let pass me. She took her sweet time getting up the ladder to get out of the pool. In retrospect I should have just jumped up on the side of the pool and climbed out but I wasn't thinking clearly. I probably lost about 20 seconds waiting for her to climb out. The swim time didn't officially end until we crossed the mat that was by the door.

The transition was about 1/2 a mile from the swim. I only exaggerate slightly. We had to run around the entire building to get to the transition area. I saw one of our coaches outside and I told him, "well the swim was only semi-awful."

My swim time ended up being 4:57 (stupid delay).

Transition was fine. I probably could have shaved some time off of it but I was still a bit shaken from the swim. One thing that slowed me down a bit was putting on a watch but that was the only way I was going to keep track of my time on the bike and run and the watch wasn't water proof. But I did remember everything I needed so that was good.

About half-way through the bike ride I lifted my hands up to check to make sure I put my helmet on the right way. Thank goodness I had. I really didn't want the backwards helmet pictures.

My total transition one time was 2:46 but about a minute of that was the run from the swim to the transition.

I'll post the bike/run reflect as soon as my team posts the additional pictures. My husband lost track of me after transition one so I don't have any other pictures on my camera. But I know my coach took several other pictures while I was on the bike/run.

But here's the final results (which were finally posted around 11 pm last night):
Total time: 1:51:50
Swim: 4:57
T1: 2:46
Bike: 1:01:38
T2: 0:48
Run: 41:43 (ended up being a full hellish 5k not an easy/breezy 2.6 miles)
Age Group place: 4 of 5 (The fifth didn't finish but I was about 2 min shy of getting 3rd place)
Overall all place: 131 (Far lower than I had hoped. Oh well.)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Power of Positive Thinking?

About mile 3 on the bike. Not really helpful as you're huffing and puffing along. Especially on the way back when you realize just across the street from this sign is a cemetery.

But I survived. I'll post a full recap tomorrow. I didn't stay at the race long enough to get my results since my hubby was ready to go home (not as thrilling to hang out for 4 hours doing nothing). They only had the top two in my age group posted but I was way back in the group so we'll have to just wait and see how I end up. I'm also waiting for more pictures to become available so I can finalize the posts.

I will say that I was pretty close to my bike goal and way over my run goal - it was way more hilly and hot than I had hoped for. But overall I was happy with my performance - though my hopes weren't too high for the swim to begin with.:)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Top 5!

This race is so small that there is currently only 5 people in my age group. So when you hear me brag about being in the top 5 you'll know it's a bit of tongue in cheek. I'm actually fairly confident I'll be the last in my age group given that most people in the 30-34 range are much faster than me. I usually like to hide in the middle of a large pack but there's no chance here. There's no other females from my training group in my age range so I won't really know who I'm competing against while I'm out on the field. But in the overall picture I think I'll be somewhere in the middle (at least based on last year's results).

So I thought I'd get some pre-race thoughts down since I have some down time this afternoon to think about it.

SWIM - I will survive the swim. I might have to stop for a few seconds to breathe or walk along the lanes (depending on depth) but I will get through it. I've had increasing problems with calf cramps while swimming but I think it's from pointing my foot too much as I kick so I'll watch that in the pool tomorrow. Once I get through the swim I think I'll relax more for the rest of the race. I'm still planning on my goal of 4:30-5:00 m:ss. This time will put me towards the back of the group time wise but I shouldn't be the slowest one there overall.

BIKE - I love biking now. It is my favorite part of training. I truly wish I had a road bike instead of a mountain bike because I do have to work much harder on the mountain bike to keep up. But I've gotten used to my bike and will do fine. Goal is still 55-60 minutes for the bike with a hope of going faster. I'll just use my watch to keep an eye on things since I don't have a computer/GPS on the bike. However, I don't want to kill my heart rate by going too fast and then crashing for the run. So it is a matter of balance.

RUN - The run has been reduced from 5k to 2.6 miles (due to construction on the regular route). This means I can push myself a bit harder. I'm not entirely sure I'll be faster than 11 min/miles but my hope is race day adrenaline helps me go a bit faster. Unfortunately for me, for most people the run is their best part so the reduced distance helps them too.

Accessories - I have tri shorts and a top that I'll be swimming in. I have not yet tried them out for swimming but I have biked and ran in them at least a couple of times. Given that it will still be very warm on Saturday morning I think the wet clothes while on the bike won't be a problem. All I'll have to do in transition is put on socks and shoes (and helmet of course) which I've practiced for during bricks so that's not a problem either (except I'll be more nervous than I have been at practice).

Nutrition - I will use GU Chomps during the bike and run (if I feel I still need it at that point). I've gotten used to getting my water bottle out of the holster and drinking while on the bike so I'll rehydrate with Nuun on the bike. I'll have a smaller bottle with just water in it for the run. I'm more worried about eating breakfast in the morning since I get race day jitters and hate eating that early in the morning. I've done fairly well with Eggo waffles with PB and honey in the past so that's my plan. Maybe some type of breakfast shake as well.

Most of all I want to have fun at this race while pushing myself to do more than I think I can. There will be some moments of misery but I want to remember the fun parts more. After this my training will go back to mostly runs so that I can prepare for the half marathon. A part of me is not looking forward to it but I know I need to get more comfortable with my runs again so this will also be a good thing.