running buddies

Boston Marathon Race Recap Part Uno

Marathon racing is a game. It’s a game you need to play right to get the result you want. Nutrition, hydration, race strategy, and training are what I consider to be the most important players in the game, and they all need to play together nicely for a successful race. I’ve learned, via many many many mistakes, that a precise plan can really help me focus on exactly what I’m doing and when, and help me to avoid some pretty big mistakes.

NUTRITION:

I typically start carb loading three days before my endurance events. I don’t necessarily eat more, although sometimes I feel like all I ever do for that week leading up to a race is stuff my face.

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The night before racing, I eat a huge juicy chicken sandwich, with mushrooms and a fried egg on top, if the restaurant cooperates, which ours in Boston did not. It was plain-o boring. I also had a baked potato, just because I had already had some fries earlier in the day, and I didn’t want grease overload and have to toot all my way from Hopkinton to Boston. Because the race started at almost 11 am for my wave, I ate four full meals on Sunday, the last being at 10 pm.  I woke up at 5:30 am on Monday  to eat oatmeal, then at 6:30, three pieces of bread with peanut butter, my traditional pre-long run meal. Then I spaced out my eating to have something small every hour until GO TIME.

HYDRATION:

The weather forecast kept getting warmer as marathon day approached, and I was nervous about it, but I raced well three years ago when it was sunny, dry, and in the low 70’s, until I became dehydrated. I knew I could do it, and I knew it was going to be hard, but I knew I was sure going to give it my full effort and attention. I thought that for everything that had ever gone wrong in my races, it was due to poor hydration, so I had to get this one right.

On Sunday, I drank a little bit more than normal amount of water, but I added Nuun to the mix, as I did not want to flush out my electrolytes. I am also addicted to hearts of palm and olives, so I had some of those, just for the salt content, and well, because:

olive

On race morning, I didn’t drink too much more than I normally do either.

The plan I came up with was to be sure to get about 16 oz per hour of fluids. I knew I was going to start the race well hydrated, so I wasn’t planning to get anything from the aid stations until mile 3 or 4, plus I decided to carry Base Performance Rocket Fuel with me, which is a mix of an energy powder, aminos, and salt. I had a 6 oz bottle hooked to my shorts, and added two 5 oz hand-held bottles, something I had never done, but felt important. I was going to drink the Rocket Fuel until the first hour, then alternate between water and Gatorade, getting at least two ounces of fluid in per mile, which would give me the total amount I thought I needed. I was also planning to have a lick of Base Salt every two miles.

RACE STRATEGY:

Leading up to the race, I studied the course, with my coach and on my own, and I read the mile by mile course information, something I had found three years ago and was extremely helpful.  I’d done the course before and knew most people leave the start like American Pharoah coming out of the gate.

horse

It’s really hard not to, considering you go down hill for a few miles. I knew I needed to really watch my pace here and not go crazy. My goals was to run a 3:44:59 race, so I had a 3:44 pace bracelet on, and I wanted to keep right at an 8:30 minute mile. I didn’t want to go slower down the first hills because, well, might as well let the momentum take me using a 9:00 minute mile effort. I needed to shorten my stride on the downs and ups to help save my quads, and well, I needed to not be a baby when it came to the set of hills in Newton. I knew when they were coming and about how big they were, and I was not intimidated by them. So overall, I wanted to keep a pretty steady pace through the entire race, but hopefully not slowing down at the end.

I felt like I was going into the race well prepared and ready to rock. I was concerned about my various injuries that had popped up and caused my training to not go as well as I wanted, but I knew I was going to run a marathon and I knew I could do it well.

About 45 minutes before my wave could load the bus to Hopkinton, my husband and I got an Uber to the common to meet a fellow training buddy, Renee. We chatted nervously as we made our way to the bus, and soon, we were on our way out of town. Seeing all those busses leaving town in their orderly fashion is an emotional experience. So many hopes, dreams, expectations, excitement, probably some dread in there too. I’m so glad I was able to sit with Renee  on our long ride and talk to help distract me, probably us both, about the day. Bus after bus after bus……

 


It hadn’t quite hit me that I was going to run a marathon that day, but I was surprisingly calm.

Renee and I at the bus loading area

When we got off the bus in Hopkinton, it was cooler than in Boston. All I had extra was a short-sleeved t-shirt, and I’m glad I had it. We entered the athlete’s village and found our way to the bathrooms. In 2014, I totally missed the call to my wave. I didn’t want to go to the part of the village “down the hill”, so we stayed at the top by the school. I still couldn’t hear anything and I was annoyed that I didn’t know who was supposed to be going where and when. All I knew is that I did NOT want to be late, dammit!

Renee and I decided to get closer to the speaker so we could hear what was going on, when we happened upon a group of runners from our home town, who were probably 30 feet from where we were. Yay!!! Thankfully, Amanda knew what was going on, and I realized I had only five minutes to go until we needed to leave the village and head to the start line, 40 minutes before our wave was to start. Hmmm, a few more nerves kicked in, so I got my crap together and ready to go.

Near the start line area, there’s a huge port-a-jon village, so I got the rest of my stuff ready there.  I forgot to pack the Body Glide and forgot to glide the inside of my arms, so I ended up using Chapstick as a replacement. Hint: it worked. I took my last bit of fuel, drank my last bit of water, got my gum in, tied and re-tied my shoes and then re-tied them again, to make them juuuuuust right. Our corral and wave was called, and it was time to line up. I was supposed to meet another Team BlueLine runner, but I could not, for the life of me, find any busses where they were. Bummer.

One thing I noticed was that it was friggin hot. I didn’t feel a wind, a breeze, or a fart. It was warm. Oh man.

I decided to leave one of my small hand-held water bottles at the start area, then strategically packed two Base salt tubes on me, Chapstick, my one clip-on bottle, one hand-held bottle, and two gu’s, all with NOT using a fuel belt of any kind. Pretty impressive, don’t you say?

I was in the same corral as Amanda, so we walked our way to the start, where they really wanted us crammed in like itty bitty sardines. I noticed, again, how warm it was. And it felt humid. The eight minute wait went by fast, and we were on our way.

My Boston Marathon adventure began.

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Categories: being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, fueled by base, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Boston Marathon – T Minus 8.5 Weeks

The road to the 2017 Boston Marathon has been covered with blood, sweat, and tears. Literally. In 8 short weeks, my family will be heading north to Beantown. This marathon training cycle has been cut short, but because I was a patient patient, I feel good about where I am. I should get a Patient Patient medal, because this is the first time in a string of injuries that I didn’t sabotage myself along the way, and actually let myself heal. I should probably re-gift that medal to my husband for putting up with me in the process. That poor man.

Let me take you back to November. I had just come off the  NC Ironman 70.3 and had signed up for a few local 5k’s. On one of the first cold mornings on November 12th, I ran a 22:15ish 5k, and even got 2nd in the Old Lady division. I mean Masters Female. I felt great about where my training was and where I was planning to take it. Basically, I was going to pulverize speed in November and December, then add endurance in January, making the perfect storm of speed, strength, and endurance in April. My goal was to PR the race and return in 2018. Yeah….right (said like Bill Lumbergh in Office Space). I should have known there was a different path for me. Later that day, I felt my plantar return, and it was bad.

The 5k that shouldn’t have been.


I reacted very calmly  I freaked out. I was so upset. I kept trying to run, just a little, and it made my foot hurt so bad. Evidently, reading about it on the internets doesn’t make it go away, but I sure deserved a medal for that, too, and BONUS, I learned how to pronounce “metatarsalgia”. I tried to do bike intervals, only to realize it made my foot feel just as bad as running. All I could do was to bike easy and go to Orange Theory (using the GLIDER, of all things *shutter*, because dammit! I’m a runner, not a glider.). All right, I tried swimming, but after one day, my chlorine allergy made it almost impossible. I might have used that as more of an excuse than I really should have, but I hate swimming and I hate my reaction to chlorine (skin rash, yay me!). I don’t know why it was so bad when I swam in the same pool all summer, but it was bad. So I “couldn’t” swim, I couldn’t bike hard, and I couldn’t run. I was a peach to live with. I was like Cinderella, singing to all her animals. Yes, that’s what it was like to live with me during that time. (This is when my husband should’ve gotten the Medal of Patience.)

People, it was cold out, and I couldn’t run. I was missing it and I was missing out. The rest of November. And December. Then I decided, probably due to everyone and their “Countdown to Boston” posts, I needed to start running because I was going to run that damn marathon no matter what. I started with a few miles on Christmas Day, something I have never done before. It was my gift to myself, and wow, I felt God that gorgeous morning.

Merry Christmas

Then I came up with a plan to SAFELY build endurance through January. I was running again. My foot was ok. I alternated run days, I took it easy at Orange Theory. No speed. Then in the last week of January, I decided I needed to return to my coach and start speed again. I felt like I was second guessing all my workouts, I wasn’t pushing myself and didn’t know if I could or should, so coaching would benefit me the most. Coach Kristen has done really well for me, so I was so excited to once again, see those Training Peaks emails come through in the morning.

I don’t know how, but within the first week, I was meeting the pace challenges set before me. I was Maria, singing on the mountaintop.  I was back at track practice, my favorite thing in the freaking world when it comes to training. My foot was behaving.

Then. Then the shin splints started. Ugh. I started speed work too fast. It’s derailed my plans twice in the past. What do I do? Well, I knew my race wasn’t going anywhere and I knew ignoring them wasn’t going to work, so I gave myself a day off speed, gave myself some active release therapy, took a day off, and I was careful. Boom. Shin splints are minimal now. Key point: catch them and do something about it IMMEDIATELY and prevent them from occuring in the first place, i.e. STRETCH (and that damn yoga).

Just this week, I ran a 48:18 in a 10k race, again placing 2nd in the Old Lady division. Then Tuesday, I had 3 x 15 minutes at barf pace, and I seriously questioned if I could do it, mostly because I’d had a long run and an Orange Theory workout between that day and my 10k. I borrowed some of the faith my coach had in me, and I pulled it out. When I was done, I felt like a rock star, like I deserved a participation trophy of sorts, for believing I could do it enough to just try. Sometimes you can surprise yourself.


I don’t feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief, because I know there’s any number of injuries lurking around the corner. This morning, after another great track workout, several of my running buddies asked how I was doing, and I was almost afraid of jinxing myself by saying, “GREAT!”. But you know, when you’re out there getting it done, watching the sun rise, it really was GREAT. I told my coach to put “Do your damn yoga” in my plan after track, so I’ve been good about that. It’s funny that I’m responsible for a hundred thousand other things, but if “yoga” isn’t specifically in my plan, the chances of me actually doing it, even though I know I need to, dwindle down to close to zero. Pretty sad, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. Please tell me I’m not the only one?

So my goal for Boston is a BQ. A 3:44:59. That time won’t get me in for 2018, but that’s ok. At this point, anything is possible (thanks for that, Ironman), and it could be warm, it could be cold, it could be raining, it could be snowing. All I know is that I will do my absolute best with whatever the day gives me. If if one thing is certain, I know I’ll be there, and I’ll be happy.

Categories: anything is possible, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

IMNC 70.3 Race Recap – Part II

Soooo, I was planning to post this a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I got busy with the wonderful shingles virus and taking my kids and self to our fall doctor appointments for a total of seven visits. It’s been “fun”, and now I totally understand why there’s a chicken pox vaccine.  Praise medical science for that, because shingles is like riding the roller coaster of Forrest Gump chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get on any given day. For weeks. I digress, and here’s the very extended version of my IMNC 70.3 race report. Finally.

For Part I, click here.

Part II begins….NOW.

The morning of the race, I woke up at 4:00 am to my son’s words on my alarm label, “Move your bacon”. It always makes me smile. I got up, ate four pieces of toast with butter and peanut butter, and got my fuel ready….d’oh. My fuel. Yeah, I had forgotten it in my truck that I parked at the race finish the night before. Thankfully, I have awesome training buddies, and two of them were bringing me some fuel at the bike area where we planned to meet for a picture. My husband got up and headed out to volunteer, and my sister picked me up to take us to the start.

The temp tattoo my sissy got for my race

I was tired and nervous about the wind, as it was blowing pretty hard and steady around 15 mph from the northwest, which was to be directly in our faces on the bike. Oy. When we got to T1, it was buzzing with excitement. I love this feeling.  I checked my bike, fueled her up, checked on my T1 bag, and gathered with many of my friends.


My sister drove me to the start and we went to her friend’s place, 3rd floor, where you could see the full distance swimmers coming down the channel. I’m guessing we could see at least half a mile one direction and a full mile the other. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in a race, and I wish I could’ve gotten a video of it. It was a beautiful day, a little less cold than I thought it would be, but it was definitely windy. The water was choppy, so I mentally prepared to get some extra salt during my swim, haha.

Soon, it was time to head to the start and get the party started. I was wandering around, saw more buddies, when one of them happened to mention, “Hey, I think the orange caps are already across the road”, which means I missed my wave being called. Oh, man, this was the Boston Marathon all over again, when I missed my wave being called and I was LATE TO MY START. Geez. Thanks J. Mott, you could have totally saved my race! I quickly ran across the street in my cold, bare feet, thankfully, as my wave was just entering the water to wait for the start. The water was pleasantly warm, which made the wait less shivery and I tucked about six ladies’ wetsuit zipper strap into their suits to prevent them from getting tangled in the racing arms and legs. It was time to go!

Erin and me

I looked into the day that laid before me, and I was confident in my abilities, I trusted my training, borrowed a little of that confidence from my coach, and knew I could push through and have a great race. What would happen that day? Would I leave happy? Would I cross that finish line in glory? I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I was nervous, but nothing worth having is easy, and if it was easy, everyone would do it.  Before I knew it, it was time to start the swim. My plan was to not head directly down the channel, it was to head towards the middle to catch as much current as I could and veer left to cut any tangent I could without missing a buoy.

The weird thing about the swim course was that it was not like any of the courses we locals have swam in before. When we started swimming, we normally head down the channel and take a hard left. This time, we were steered at an angle towards the swim finish, which was unusual and unexpected. I was always told to “Know where you are” when open water swimming, and during the swim, sure, I knew where I was, but I really had no idea what was going on and why my landmarks were not where they were supposed to be. I followed the crowd, allowing them to determine where exactly to turn.  I felt good in the water. I didn’t stop, I didn’t get kicked in the face, I didn’t feel stressed or out of breath. When we did make our left turn, we were directly into a stiff wind, and the water was choppy.  I got my face full of wave a few times, got my extra salt, but at least I didn’t throw up. The swim finish approached quickly, and I was thinking that I was going to get my huge swim PR.

Swim: 36:51

Yay!!! Finished with the swim!!

I climbed out of the water on wood ladders, declined many offers of help, and walked myself up the dock towards the parking lot. I was so thrilled that I did not get pummeled by the fast young men whose waves started after mine. Seriously, I was stoked. I found the wetsuit strippers, let them do their job, and was happy to find the warm showers so I could at least try and wash some of the salt water off my face, arms, and neck. It felt so good!

T1 for this race is long, and it was expected, but what I really did not like is that we were required to go get T1 bags with our gear in them. I was not changing my clothes, so I had to run extra to at least get my bike stuff out of my bag and put my swim stuff back in. I heard volunteers yelling there was plenty of room in the tent, but I stayed outside the tent to transition. I heard the full participants complaining after the fact they shouldn’t have had to share the tents with the half, but where I was, there was plenty of room for all. I dropped my bag with a volunteer, ran to my bike, and knew I needed to hustle to get going. THE CLOCK WAS TICKING. Every second counted.

I knew it was windy, but I thought I could tackle it. I started my bike carefully since there was a lot of traffic, but once over the metal deck of the Wrightsville Beach bridge, I started my true journey. We headed out of town with heavy car traffic. It boggles my mind that there are so many cars out there, since this race isn’t new and signs had been posted regarding heavy race traffic for at least two weeks. I heard the drivers were very verbally abusive towards the bikers, and one biker was even hit by a car, because the driver just had to get to the shopping center and turned in front of the biker. Ugh, people, when you see bikers, realize they are moms and dads and sons and daughters and uncles and aunts and teachers and friends. BE CAREFUL! You can snuff out a life with one impatient move.

I remember finding my groove as I headed towards the interstate portion of the course. I was trying to drink and I had my baby potatoes with Base salt somewhere in there. I felt good and strong, my wonky knee was behaving so far, although I knew the hardest part was ahead of me. Yes, as I turned onto the interstate, the wind took my breath away. I was surprised at how strong it was, but I was determined to push through and meet my goal.

That portion of the course got scary. I was trying to find a good “zone”, but with the strong wind blowing at an angle, it was extremely difficult. We were coned off in the left lane of a two lane highway, with cars and trucks barreling past on the right, faster bikers flying by on the left. I almost hit a cone a few times, so made sure I was always paying attention, which made my “zoning” impossible. When the wind wasn’t as strong, I was sure to push harder, and I really had no idea where I stood with my goal time. Just before we turned north (and into the direct head wind), we rode over a ginormous bridge. Cars and trucks were backed up to our right, and you’d have to be absolutely crazy to try and ride in aero. I got out of aero and held on to my handlebars like they were hundred dollar bills. It was not my favorite moment on the bike.

We took a short jog south (which is where the extra 6 miles came from), and then turned north. Oh, Lord, it was windy.

You can literally see the cold front that brought the wind in the night before the race. Or the wind brought it in. Regardless, it sucked. Or blew.

Let me tell you a story. I hate wind. The end.

I have hated wind since I was in high school, when I was riding RAGBRAI (a week-long bike ride in Iowa) I grew to hate it even more, and I’ve pretty much hated it since. You can explain the science behind wind, but it still doesn’t make sense to me. And this is where the mind melt began. I have heard reports it was 15, 20, 23 mph steady with up to 30 mph gusts. I don’t know what it actually was, but everyone was having difficulty and it was not just “breezy”. For competition sake, we all had the same conditions, so it was fair. But I hate wind, so it really wasn’t fair.

When I saw the first aid station, I grabbed a bottle of water and chugged as much as I could, then threw it down at the “last chance trash” sign. I was trying to drink as much of my Base Hydro as I could, and I believed I was doing a good job. Probably ten miles into hell (the direct head wind), I wasn’t feeling the best. Besides having a mental breakdown during what was supposed to be my record-breaking race, I started feeling like I was dehydrated. For me, this is a bobble head sort of feeling, like I can’t really see 100% straight. I’ve had this during some training rides, and it’s not a great feeling. I should have stopped to re-fill my hydro. But I did not want to stop. I couldn’t re-fill on the fly since I was afraid of getting blown over. **I should have stopped and re-filled.**

In the meantime, my mind was filled with negative thoughts. This is what wind does to me. It sucked my confidence, my drive, and my determination away. I let the wind beat me. I should have been stronger in this moment.  I remember thinking, besides my goal is shot, that all those early barf-o-meter mornings were pointless because of this one moment, that I was absolutely crazy for having such an aggressive goal, that I need to do triathlons for fun and not time because it ruins the joy of it (this is the only thing that I still think is true), that I sucked, that this was stupid, it was just. So. Hard. Then it clicked in my brain and I laughed at the irony of it. For those who don’t know, I am a youth running coach, and in my business email signature line, there’s a little quote, “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.” From that point on, I thought about the kids that I yell at, the ones I tell to push past the discomfort, and I remembered that I needed to be an example to them and to myself, that I was stronger than the damn wind, quit whining and bitching, and PEDAL. So I quit being a big baby, got a hydration game plan together, and pedaled.

When we reached the end of hell and were able to turn around and get a tail wind, I re-filled my hydration and drank as much as I could. I ate my snack, and I pushed myself. I’d been having some knee issues, so I was careful not to go overboard, but I was happy to be able to sustain over 20 mph with our tail wind. Thank you, sweet Jesus, for the tail wind. I was careful not to drink too much, as I didn’t want my stomach full of fluid for the run, but I knew I was playing a make-up game, which is hard to do in the running portion of a triathlon.

As we headed into town, I felt defeated. I let the wind beat me. I made a big nutrition mistake, one I should have already learned.  I knew I wasn’t going to get my big PR, but I just wanted to finish the race strong, and I didn’t want the run to blow up. As we came into T2, there was short steep hill where volunteers were signaling to slow down. No one wanted to slow down, but we did, and the dismount line came very fast. I think this is when I saw my parents, one son, and my sister. Oh, what a sight for sore eyes! We then walked our bikes to what was a single file rubber mat covering dirt and gravel, and we had a long walk to the bike hand off. Ugh, so much wasted time here! Then we were told to put our bikes on the left instead of right. I was not feeling great, so in the middle of trying to quickly switch (there were stacks of people behind me), I became dizzy and fell down. So embarrassing. I knew I held up the line, and quickly recovered and ran my bike, carefully, to the hand off line and into the grassy T2 area. I found my bag and ran into the tent, put my stuff down, and started to cry. I. Was. So. Pissed.

This was going out on the bike (hence the smile) since I don’t have one coming back in

Bike: 3:12:07

My friend, Beth, was working in the tent, said hi, encouraged me (she is awesome), and I quickly changed, sucked it up, and headed out to run 13.1 miles. T2 was LONG and annoying. I know somewhere along the way, whether it was T2 or just into the run, I saw my dad and son on the side. I stopped and gave them both a hug, when across the lane runs my mom for her hug. I tear up at this moment because I do not know if they truly understand how important it was for me to see them at this particular point in the race. And I love the fact that my mom probably would have bulldozed other runners to get her hug. Haha, go mom. The hugs were just what I needed.

It was a pretty big deal my parents got to see one of my races. Pretty big deal.


I knew I needed to start slow but be steady on my run. The course was really weird the first mile – we twisted and turned, went behind buildings, and I didn’t particularly like it. But once we came out of that, we ran through the bars, shops, and restaurants of Front Street, which is one of my favorite places to be in downtown Wilmington. There were a lot of people out cheering us on, but that was short lived as we headed towards Greenfield Lake. I saw TONS of my fellow Without Limits teammates, friends I knew from other training, and I thought it was just beautiful out. Funny thing is, I was hot. There was no wind, barely even a breeze, so I was laughing to myself over the irony of it – I needed that wind to cool me down.

I took a Gu (or whatever they had on the course), kept my Base salt handy, and drank Gatorade at almost every aid station, which were spread out to be about every mile. I enjoyed my run, and as the miles ticked by, I didn’t even look at what my pace was. I was feeling better, something I wasn’t expecting, so I was hoping to at least finish my half marathon fast. I wanted my parents to see me finish strong, so I concentrated on recovery more than I did anything else.

About a mile before the course turnaround, I realized my Base salt tube was empty – wow. Luckily, there was plenty to grab at the Base Performance tent. Lucky me.  I was making sure to take salt, keep hydrated, and eat. I was walking a little here and there at aid stations, but I did my best to run faster every mile. Again, the course was beautiful, and I really loved being able to see and cheer on so many people that I knew.

The miles ticked down, and I came into downtown Wilmington again. There were some crowds, but not as many people as I had expected. I pushed hard through the last mile, saw my family as I came down the finish chute, and gave high fives to as many people who stuck their hands out for me. I was done. I finished.

Coming into the finish chute

Run: 1:58:58

Let’s break it down here.

Swim: 36:51

Bike: 3:12:07

Run: 1:58:58

T1/T2: LONG

Total time: 6:03:34 (I missed a PR by a mere 26 seconds)

76/435 women

18/89 age group

361/1060 overall

As disappointed in my race as I was, to finish strong with my family watching, and to finish well compared to others racing that day, I really can’t complain about anything. I trained hard, I raced hard, I made some mistakes, but I finished with a smile and a lesson, and there’s really nothing better than that.

See that guy with the mic? That is THE Mike Reilly. :):):)

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, being epic, follow your dreams, fueled by base, half iron distance, ironman, open water swimming, race with base, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

New Limits in an Epic Year

Well, hello there again, strangers. Today marks the first day of school for many parents, and I find myself here with a mimosa glass of cold water, finally able to sit down, guilt-free mind you, and write a post! The first day of school is normally bitter sweet for me, as is the last day of school. I LOVE having my kids home during the summer and school breaks, but there is something to be said about having uninterrupted hours to do the stuff I need to do to make this house clean and run like a well-oiled machine without finding the room I just de-cluttered all re-cluttered within five minutes because the kids are home. I don’t know what it is, but they’re just messy. Truth be told, I’d much rather have a messy, loud house full of kids, their friends, and their clutter, than a clean, quiet one, so I am a little sad about school starting.

I thought the best way to catch y’all up is to make a list, because I LOVE lists. I especially love to cross stuff off lists and am one of those who will write something down that I’ve already done simply so I can cross it off. I never said I was good at time management….

So here goes. Here’s a list of things I’ve been doing, in no particular order of importance.

**Ironman Florida is ELEVEN weeks away. I have to admit, when I saw that on the calendar just a minute ago, the word, “Holyfuckingshit” just flew out of my mouth. Sorry, mom. In reality, I have less than 11 weeks left. Gulp. Training has been kicking butt. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s not supposed to be easy. I’ve had good swims, bad swims, good bike rides, awful bike rides, awesome runs, bad horrible sweaty runs. That’s the name of the game, but I can say that I’ve done my training and I’m feeling really good about it. I’ve pushed myself to new limits I never thought I could do (and still walk – it might be weird looking, but I’m walking). I’m loving it and can totally see why people get addicted to endurance sports.

**I started a company. Yes, I’ve hinted about this, but finally, FINALLY, I got my ducks in order and launched Epic Running Company, LLC.

EPIC Logo FINAL 2

This is something I never thought I would or could do. But it materialized just this year when I asked myself, “Self, why the hell not??!” My focus is a middle school running program I started, but I’m also interested in helping adults reach their running goals. I currently have one client, and he’s currently kicking butt in his marathon training. I love watching people push themselves past something they never thought they could do.  The program at the school will be starting on September 15th, and I’m so excited, I am giddy just thinking about it!

**I rode 80.55 miles on my bike in 4 hours and 19 minutes.  That’s an average of 18.7 mph, y’all, and for me, that ain’t no joking around. That’s a limit I never thought I’d cross. Granted, I had intervals during the ride, and they certainly made me feel every single cell in my legs as they screamed for me to slow down, but I didn’t slow down and it made up for me wanting to throw my bike into the Cape Fear River the prior week during a very challenging century ride. Two weekends, two completely different rides. That’s training.

**Athletes talk about things like we are babies/infants. We talk about pee, the color of it, if we got to go poo before a long workout, how much we eat, WHAT we eat, what we drink, how much we drink, how much, salt, sugar, everything we consume, what we wear, all that sort of stuff. I would hesitate to bring this up, but hey, THIS is the bread and butter of athlete-speak, right? So here goes. Yesterday, near the end of my ride, I experimented with peeing in my bike shorts. Other people do it and it seems like such a handy time-saver. I wanted to give it a try and see if it’s something I could do during the race. I found that yes, yes, I could do this if I really needed to NEAR THE END OF A RIDE, and I’m not to the point of being able to pee ON the bike (I just sat on the ground and let it go as I ate my Uncrustable), and I’m not sure, after 40 or so years of training myself NOT to go on myself, that I could even pee while riding my bike (without falling over) if I wanted to. Anyway, here’s what I liked and didn’t like.

I like that I didn’t have to walk into the spidery, web-filled, mosquito-infested woods to pee, possibly baring myself to an innocent person “looking for morel mushrooms” or something equally treasure-like only to find a biker’s butt. “Hey mom, you’ll NEVER guess what I found in the woods today.” Peeing in your shorts completely eliminates uncomfortable run-ins like that. Also, you don’t have to wait in line to pee. Bonus. Go in your shorts and then “accidentally” spill your water, conveniently rinsing it off. You get some relief, AND you cool yourself down. What I didn’t like about it is that there was pee in my shorts.

Yup. Even though they're black pants, there's pee.

It collected like I was wearing a wetsuit. I didn’t like that and was baffled about how spandex can be waterproof (although we know I’m not talking about water).  So anyway, I might try it again, but am concerned with how the runoff is handled. I assume we all know where it goes, since most of us are familiar with gravity, but I won’t know until I try. I’ll be sure I’m riding solo, so if you’re one of my biker buddies, don’t worry.

**Sweating. I’ve never sweat so much and have reached new limits in how many pairs of shoes I can soak through during a long run (right now, it would be two in 14 miles but I really needed 3). Seriously, I’ve never done so much working out in humid, gross, disgusting coastal North Carolina. I can usually find a loophole in running or doing something that causes the entire liquid portion IN my body to come OUT as sweat. But there’s no loopholes in Ironman training, that’s for sure.

sweat

**I can change a flat tire on my bike in less than 10 minutes. I’ve had LOTS of practice – 7 flats since the season started for me in May. This has caused a new level of stress during the ride, probably for the people I’m with as much or more than myself, and I’ve developed situational Tourette’s Syndrome that features the “F” word.

This was me. Or a nice version of me the last flat I had.

I’m not proud, but I’ve decided I’m over it and it’s almost funny. I now have new tires, new rim tape, and new tools, since the old ones broke and were “gently tossed” into a ditch in Pender County when I had a flat and it took 4 of us 20 minutes to just get the tire off the rim. That was fun. But now I am confident that if I get a flat during the race, I can change it quickly and be on my way. That’s a skill every biker should have.

My favorite quote.

My favorite quote.

**I’ve truly embraced this quote: “If you want something you’ve never had, then you have to do something you’ve never done.” I live and breathe this quote. I’ve cried, I’ve bled, I’ve thrown stuff, I’ve sworn, I’ve been so tired, I forgot what I was saying in the middle of my sentence, but I’ve kept going. I know it’s only going to get harder, but the beautiful thing is that we can adapt. We change to accommodate the difficulty that will come. It’s going to get really hard with school, two kids in two sports, husband training for a marathon, and my training, coaching, and a house to run, but this is what life is, isn’t it? Isn’t THIS what we’re supposed to be doing? Having fun and making memories along the way, doing things we never thought we could?

I smile thinking about this year, the things I’ve been able to do, the experiences I’ve had with my family, and it really is going to be the Epic-est year.

I’ve embraced uncomfortable-ness like never before.  And there’s absolutely nothing that will make me stop.

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, interval training, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, no fear, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Off to Nashville to RnR

Although I’m not technically off the grid, but I’ve had a lot of stuff (do you like my descriptiveness right there?) going on lately so am off the WordPress grid I guess. I don’t want to be all like “I have a big announcement”, but I have some really big and good news to share, but I’m not quite ready to share it yet. It’s taken up a lot of my time and Three Buck Chuck money, but I’m so excited and am impatiently waiting for the right time to talk about it.

The “big announcement” work is being paired with, but not really associated with, a big event I’m coordinating at my son’s school for the Stride (elementary running group I coach) community service project that seemed to have taken on a life of its own. To make a long story short, here’s the gist:

1) UNC-W decided to shut down their running programs but gave the community a few months to dig up $250,000 to save it for a year. Crap.

2) I do not like #1. At all. And I wanted to do something about it. Because it’s crap.

NO! Do NOT eliminate running programs!!!!

NO! Do NOT eliminate running programs!!!!

3) I wanted the Stride kids to know that they are empowered and they CAN make a difference to someone by taking action. Sometimes when you don’t know what to do, you can always run.  And sometimes people give you money to run. Because we give a crap.

4) We are having a school running event to raise money and awareness about #1. Not just the Stride boys, not just Stride and Girls on the Run, no, the entire student body was invited to participate to raise money for our event, complete with an MC, the athletes and coaches from the affected programs, and possibly the school mascot himself, Sammie the Seahawk.  We will even be discussed in the local paper in a story about ways the community is coming together to save the running teams. Because cutting them is a bunch of crap.

5) It takes a lot to coordinate the above, especially when you are not a part of the school staff and you really have no idea how many people will be participating. No crap.

So many emails, phone calls, newsletters, and Costco trips to handle, but I’m loving it. Our event will be on May 4th and I’m hoping the kids have a great time, raise a lot of money, and inspire someone to give the remainder of the funds required. Ok, the last one is a pipe dream, but if you don’t ever dream it, chances are, it won’t happen, right?

And if any of you reader is so inspired to donate any amount, please comment with your email and I will be glad you send you the info. K? K. It’s tax deductible, too. Bonus.

Now that THAT is done, my IM training has been going really well. I feel like I’m sort of spinning my wheels a little (pun totally intended) since I don’t have a schedule of workouts to do, I just do what I can on the days that it works for me. Since swimming is my weakest event, I’ve gotten in the pool and swam 2000 yards twice in the past two weeks, which is almost half the distance in the IM event. I think it was a good sign that I was thinking of food instead of form during the swim.  I have many months to grow that distance, and open water season starts next week. I’m seriously ready to tackle the waterway, the ocean, and all the swimming I can in any condition. Well, maybe not the “bacteria warning” days. Speaking of crap….

Trails at Poplar Grove Plantation.

Trails at Poplar Grove Plantation.

I had a nice 51 mile bike ride followed by a 5 mile run on Sunday. There were only two sub-20 mph bikers so at least I met someone really cool out of the deal. I was one of the sub-20 mph bikers, by the way. It felt good on the bike, but I was lacking for nutrition on the run. I pushed myself and finished up faster than when I started, so I was happy for that AND for seeing the little bitty snake in my path on the run. I didn’t even scream.

You'd think the thing was 12 feet long and two feet tall the way I walked around it.

You’d think the thing was 12 feet long and two feet tall the way I walked around it.

I’ve been doing speed work and hills, so when I start back with my training group in June, I won’t get shin splints. My friend and I ran 800’s the other day, and it’s funny when you realize you’re faster than a few months ago. The first set of 800’s I did in January were at 3:30, and I pushed for those, and I was really super happy about it. Fast forward to this week, we ran them in 3:21, and I think we could’ve gone faster. Probably 5 seconds faster. That’s progress. I guess when you’re running mile repeats in 7:00 over the course of marathon training, your 800’s should be quite a bit faster, right?  Of course, my thought process turns toward the run in my Ironman. I dream of having a 4:00 race (the running part). I know that’s probably insane, but hey, why not make that a goal? That means I have a TON of biking to do and a TON of running to do. But it’s doable, and I want to make my way back to Boston. I already have my next race planned.

Nashville, here we come!!

Nashville, here we come!!

This weekend, I’m doing something that I’ve never done. I’m taking a trip with a bunch of ladies and we are going to par-tay this weekend in Nashville. I’m running* the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon on Saturday, which will be interesting since I’ve only done one run of any substantial distance since the marathon. Oh well, my friend is going to run with me, so it should be fun. I hope, anyway. We are celebrating the friendships and going out on the town in Nashville, a city I have never visited. I’m super excited and may come back with a truck load of stories to tell. Wish me luck on the race. We have an open water swim planned for Sunday, so hopefully the weather will cooperate for the race and swim. If not, I’m sure we’ll deal with it just fine. I really enjoy the RnR races and I’m sure this one will not disappoint!

Have you been on a ladies/gentlemen trip before? Do you like Rock ‘n’ Roll races?

*I am running the race but MY name will not show up in the results, if you know what I mean.

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, interval training, marathon, marathon training, open water swimming, qualifying for boston marathon, running, running buddies, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Letter To Shoe Companies and More

PART I: Shoes

My letter would read like this:

Dear Shoe Company,

I love innovation and cool new things. I really do. But there’s also something to be said for the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Changing shoe designs so much that the sizing is different is just friggin’ wrong. You’re messing your runners up, so STOP IT! People are becoming hoarders because of your shenanigans. Yes, they go buy all the old pairs of shoes that fit them because they know you are going to ruin it with your “innovation”. This could eventually lead them to financial ruin, too. See what one simple change can do? Please stop, unless you can just keep some of the old models around, oh, like FOREVER.

Thanks, love ya, mean it, and by the way, I’m switching to another company!

Love,

Kelli

I know the other company is just going to do the same damn thing, too. We’re screwed.

Anyway, I got my new Asics Nimbus this weekend, and I was excited since the new concept was super cool. I put it on my tired foot on Sunday when I got home from an equally awesome/horrible trip down to Myrtle Beach to take the RRCA Coaching Certification class. And within five minutes, my toe was going numb. Seriously, they were too short. I wear a 9W and have for several years, but my foot didn’t all of a sudden grow, heck no, the shoe is smaller. As I mourned the loss of my dream of having beautiful new Nimbus’s? Nimbuses? Nimbusses? Nimbus’? I ended up chatting with a rep from Roadrunner Sports and BAM, ordered a pair of the new Adidas Ultra Boost. Remember, I’m currently in a love affair with the regular Boosts. Anyway, I figured THEY would be too small because that’s what shoe companies do and I’d end up not having any new cool shoes to wear, BUT, two days after I ordered them, I opened the new box and channeled Carrie Bradshaw.

I’ve run in them already, and I can officially say that I’m infatuated.

Maybe the color will make me run faster?

Maybe the color will make me run faster?

PART II: Class

I was so thrilled and lucky to be a part of the RRCA Coaching Certification Course last weekend. What better environment than a room filled with runners talking about running? It’s like my kind of heaven! I was in an extremely diverse group, from new runners to very experienced runners with decades of coaching experience to one of the authors of “Run Less, Run Faster”. This class reinforced what I already thought I knew, and it taught me a few things that I certainly did not know (well, more than just a few).  Most importantly, it gave me the confidence to put my experience and knowledge together to successfully build a training program. My husband is my first guinea pig, my sister is second, then back to hubby for another go-round.  Do I want to do this for a living? Yes, I could see this for myself, mostly beginners or someone new to a structured training plan, but my goal and focus has been and will continue to be towards kids. Do what you love, love what you do, right?

rrca

The horrible part of the weekend started about 7:00 pm that Saturday of the training. We stayed on Ocean Blvd in Myrtle Beach, along the strip, so to speak, and it turned into a drag strip for all the teens on spring break who wanted to rev their souped up engines and annoy all the old fogeys trying to rest and sleep before 2:00 am.  Hour after hour passed with them making so much noise, the room literally shook. I didn’t get to sleep, well, ever, because I don’t remember actually waking up. I just remember being up all night. I got up to run at 5:30, which was actually 4:30 because of the time change, and at least I saw an amazing sunrise.  I made it fine through the day (probably because we talked about running all day), but let’s just say I passed out Sunday night around 8:00 pm. And I was happy.

Myrtle Beach sunrise

Myrtle Beach sunrise

I took and passed the test with a 94% (angry that I missed six questions and can’t find out which ones were wrong, but the thing had me tied up in knots because some of the answers weren’t clear to me because of my overthinking). I passed and so now just need to complete my First Aid course, and I’ll be good to go! Whohooo!

Part III: Training

I’m still hanging out in taper mode and haven’t gone nuts yet. YET. I’m doing what I normally do, planning, worrying, checking the weather, second guessing my training, but I’m also focusing on the whole “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable”. I didn’t get a good run in over the weekend, as explained above, but I got in a nice pace run on Monday.

It warmed up enough for tanks and SWEAT!

It warmed up enough for tanks and SWEAT!

Tuesday, I did four 1-mile repeats: 6:51, 6:52, 7:13, 7:01. I was tird. My legs were a little sore on Wednesday, so I had a nice and easy 4 miler, then a 4 mile pace run today. Well, it was faster than pace at 8:02, but wasn’t necessarily fast. I’m off Friday and I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to run this weekend. I want to get in 10-12 easy miles, but it depends on a few things.  No matter what, it’ll seem so short! Next week is going to be weird with only having a few miles a few times all week. But then then big race is almost HERE, so it’s time to rest up and prepare!

Part IIII: New Find

I went to Costco last week, and I don’t know if you’re like this, but I want to buy everything when I go in there. It happens at Whole Foods too. I browsed a lot and ended up finding this stuff.

 

I'm NuttZo for this stuff. Har har.

I’m NuttZo for this stuff. Har har.

I’m sort of happy and sort of in sticker shock that I didn’t check the price before I bought it and got it home, but I’ve been adding a spoon to my morning smoothie, and it is delish! It’s not great by itself, which is why I add it to smoothies or put on a wild rice cake. Just thought I’d share, but don’t let your eyes fall out of your head when you see the price. Just don’t look.

So how is everyone doing? I’ve been out of the loop a bit but since next week is taper and I’m not supposed to start projects (I was seriously considering painting a room), I’ll have lots of time to catch up! Have you ever bought something inadvertently expensive? Do you get annoyed with loud and annoying drivers?

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

I Love This Commercial and Update Before Things Get Cra Cra

Watch this and try not to get all verklempt.

Seriously, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this commercial and what it stands for. Sometimes, aren’t we all the guy who comes in last but just never gives up? Does it matter what place we get? Isn’t the most important fact is that we are out there trying and busting our butts to get to where we truly want to go?

I love this commercial. This could be me in a few short weeks as I run my marathon. This could be me when Ironman Florida comes around. But you’ll never find me giving up. Hell no. I’ll never give up on my dreams. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

By the way, I had yet another interaction with Hal Higdon. I took a screen shot of it. Err merr gerrrd, HAL HIGDON AND I ARE ALMOST BFF’s!!!!! 😉 The subject was about fashion and races.

See, Hal is talking to ME!

See, Hal is talking to ME!

The weather has been quite difficult for those of us without gym memberships. Tuesday, school was cancelled because of the threat of ice. I didn’t even know we were supposed to get any bad weather at all until I got word on Monday afternoon that there was no school Tuesday. So much for those 800’s. It was 30 and raining and windy, so I decided to save myself from pneumonia and had a good, hard workout on my bike.

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

My friend, Amanda, and I decided to tackle her tempo workout together on Wednesday. Gulp. It was 5 miles at 7:30 pace. I figured that would be just as good or better as my two mile repeats I was planning for Thursday, so we got together Wednesday to get it done.

Man, isn’t running with someone else so much better than on your own? I mean, I love to run on my own, but for difficult speed workouts, it’s so much better to have someone to run with. We ran at Wrightsville Beach, since that’s where she lives and there’s a good straight road where we don’t really have to worry about traffic or making stops.  No one likes to be interrupted during a speed workout.  Right before we started, we both looked at each other with that “well, here we go” face. I have to admit, it didn’t feel terrible. It didn’t feel GREAT either, but it’s really not supposed to.

I forgot to mention that we had a lot of freezing rain on Tuesday and there was ice everywhere but the roads. The power lines and plants and trees were covered.

Ice at the beach.

Ice at the beach.

My kids had a lot of fun eating the icicles and I’m sure ingested tons of dirt along the way.  Nothing new. At least they were hydrating. So anyway, as we were running, a piece of ice fell from the power line and hit Amanda in the head. We didn’t find out til later that it actually cut her and made her bleed. I guess Ralphie’s mom WAS right, those icicles can be dangerous. Thankfully, she was ok and it was not a major cut, but it made us pay more attention to what was above us when we were running.

Two and a quarter miles into the tempo, I wanted to stop and breathe, which I slightly feel guilty about and am justifying with “it was a better tempo run than the two mile repeats” but I really wish I hadn’t stopped. It was maybe a minute or two and we headed back to finish our 5 miles with no more stopping. We ended up at 7:22 overall pace for the 5 miles. Whohoo!!!! And my legs felt it. When I got home, my dog was waiting for me, so I figured a good way to stretch out was to jog a little loop with her. She loved it.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

There’s a reason why you don’t have two hard workouts in a row. My speed schedule is all off because of the dumb weather, but I knew I couldn’t do another speed workout today. I also didn’t really know what to consider the bike workout. I knew it wasn’t easy on my legs, but it wasn’t running. So, ????  I decided to just do the 5 miles on the schedule for yesterday. It didn’t feel bad, but I could tell my hammies and quads were tired. I could see how having back-to-back hard workouts can cause you to get injured or burn out. I did the smart thing and didn’t do it.

I’ve got 10 pace on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. THIS, my friends, will lead into my taper for the race. I think I almost threw up. It’s almost here. My son is turning 9 years old on Saturday and I have a lot to do to get ready for the family stuff we’re doing, the company we’re having, and the awesome Seattle Seahawks cake I’m going to make him.

Anyone else get hit with icicles? Running long this weekend? Want to come over for pizza on Saturday?

Categories: anything is possible, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

There’s Something Satisfying About Being Completely Exhausted

It still sounds like I’m plugging my nose when I talk, but at least my ears have started to pop and I can hear again. It’s funny that you don’t realize how much you can’t hear until you can actually hear again. This weekend was a doozy, in a good way. I think I need a vacation from it. Nah, just kidding, it was a really good weekend.

My Friday night ended with my family watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“It’s merely a flesh wound”) and me dozing on the couch and finally calling it a day.  At a whopping 8:45, I headed to bed.  I felt like total crap. I had a big weekend planned so was hoping to get a good night sleep and wake up all bouncy and fresh.

I didn’t wake up bouncy and fresh, but I woke up feeling better on Saturday morning, thank goodness. I had to get up early to get a good 6 mile run in. I checked the temp and it was 20, a tad warmer than Friday but without any wind. I layered up and headed out, hoping to get a few tempo miles in since I missed them last week. Man, it was cold. Yes, I know, North Carolina’s version of cold is very different than many, but 20 is literally freezing, so I  stand correct when I say it was FREEZING. 🙂 The first mile felt good and I didn’t have a cough, so I picked up my pace and ended up with a mile at around 7:10. I rested about 30 seconds and started jogging again. I slowly picked it up and after a half mile, went for another fast mile, this one closer to 7:00. But I didn’t feel great after that. My LEGS felt fabulous, but the rest of me needed food. I hadn’t eaten much in over 12 hours, so I decided to just finish the rest of my run at a decent pace and not push it anymore. I was HUNGRY. 6.2 miles at an average 8:21 pace. Not too shabby.

I had enough time to get cleaned up, eat my smoothie, and get my stuff together for the swim clinic with Sheila Taormina. I was a little nervous, but this was just the classroom session, so at least I didn’t have to worry about snotting all over the pool. The first two hours was in a conference room where Sheila discussed the science behind the swim strokes and why we have the stroke we do. Or at least the one we should have. Basically, the entire time was discussing what to do with your hand/arm when your hand slides into the water until it comes out of the water. There wasn’t much talk about kick or anything else for that matter. I found it fascinating and I learned a TON. Now for translating that into being able to actually DO it. We then had a tubing session (I was disappointed there was no lake, boat, or tube) where we practiced our newly learned stroke with tubes that provide resistance. She looked at each one of us individually and told us anything we should be doing to correct it. Ok, I could do it right OUT of the water, so I was happy. I was SO GLAD I had the opportunity to attend this clinic.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

I came home all excited to be able to swim better and MORE EFFICIENTLY. I yammered on and on to my husband as I showed him my new practice tubes and Sheila’s book. I’ve wanted to buy swim books before but didn’t because they didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t even know what the swim term “catch” was before Saturday. Now that I understand what she’s talking about, I’m guessing the book will be helpful as I gain skill and check with the book THAT I NOW UNDERSTAND to be sure I’ve got it right. She even signed it for me. Ahhh, my brush with fame.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

A few hours after I got home from the clinic, the entire family headed to meet a few other people at the theater to watch McFarland, USA, probably one of my new favorite movies. It’s a true story about a coach and his immigrant cross country team and what they go though.  It’s about hard work, it’s about perseverance, it’s about going for your dreams, it’s about family, it’s about trust, it’s about RUNNING.  My only advice is TO JUST GO SEE IT. It’s a Disney movie, so it’s kid safe. My personal favorite part is at the end when they show the real coach and team and where they are now.

After the movie, we went to dinner with a friend and his kids, and by the time we got home, it was pretty much time for bed. I had to get up early for my 12 mile run and then 2 hour swim clinic in the pool, so I appropriately fueled on popcorn, wings, and beer, then headed to bed.

Sea fog, or at least that's what the weather people were calling it.

Sea fog, or at least that’s what the weather people were calling it.

Sunday’s weather was weird. We went from cold and static-y to warm and damp. I even wore shorts and a t-shirt to run in, and it was soaked when I got done. I met with a group and ended up running with someone I didn’t know. Evidently, my pace pushed her, and it was great to get to know someone new. I would have like to maybe go a little faster, but when it was all said and done, I ran 12 at a sub-9:00 pace and it felt good. That was exactly what I was supposed to do, so I was satisfied AND got a friend out of it. A friend who has done TWELVE, yes TWELVE iron distance races.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

I got home, ate a smoothie, and got ready to go to the pool.  What do I say about the pool session? Difficult? Yes. Annoying? Yes. Tiring? Yes. Amazing? Yes! This is where we put into practice what she was talking about the day before, PLUS the other parts of the stroke. We did drill after drill to drill the proper form into our muscle memory.  I mustered to the end and was literally shaking when I got out of the pool. Can you say, GOOD WORKOUT? Holy hell, I learned so much and was exhausted! But this is the first time I’ve EVER been exciting about swimming.

Learning at the pool.

Learning at the pool.

Not long after I got home from the session and ate my weight in lunch, the family took advantage of the warm weather and headed to Carolina Beach State Park. We walked the trails, explored, and had a nice time outside IN OUR SHORTS. The poor dog was so tired from smelling absolutely everything possible, she crashed as soon as we got home. I gave my kids hair cuts and then made Mexican pizza for the first time (I seriously was missing something because YUM), and we hung out, watching some TV.

I was tired. Damn dog tired. But doesn’t that feel good? Isn’t there something to be said for being busy, doing all sorts of new and fun and difficult things? I think so. And now it’s Monday, I have a HUGE list of things to do to make up for my time off last week and my youngest son’s birthday this weekend. Funny, 9 years ago today, I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoe because of my ginormous belly fully of baby (and about 45 lbs of “other”) and today, I’m a month out from running a marathon. Of course the weather is off her meds again and it was rainy for my run. It wasn’t one of those pelt you in the face, make you miserable, wish you were on a treadmill rains. Yet. Hello, cold front. This morning’s temp was the high for the next few days. Blech.

Monday's rainy run.

Monday’s rainy run.

What did you do this weekend? Even been to a swim clinic before? New song: The Creator by Pete Rock and CL Smooth – it’s in a pretty cool ad, which is how I found it thanks to Shazam.

Categories: follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, iron distance, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tempo Tuesday

After pretty much not getting anything productive done (except running of course) for almost three weeks, yesterday was the first day back, as it was for many people. My to-do list is longer than Lindsey Lohan’s rap sheet, but I got a good chunk out of it done yesterday. Well, now that I look at the list, it’s still really super long. I guess it probably doesn’t help that I keep adding things to it, huh?

The good thing is that I’m running again and I decided on what to do with training/coaching for my Ironman. I counted the weeks. It’s in 42 weeks from Saturday. I’m not sure if I’m happy about that or terrified….

Over the holiday, I asked a general question on the Facebook page Tri Talk regarding good books for IM training since I couldn’t afford a coach. I got several responses, but one happened to be from one of the coaches from the local group I belong to on and off, Without Limits. Sami is the Ironman Queen and happened to reply to talk to her about coaching and that we could work something out. I don’t know her well, but I do know she is the bees knees when it comes to Ironman. I didn’t want to pay for the coaching since I’ve spent so much on IM already plus all the coaching I’ve had for the running events, yadda yadda, money money, typical feeling guilty things for me spending money on my stuff. Sami and I chatted back and forth about trying to work something out, but one morning, I woke up at 5 am and all I could think about was the Ironman and coaching. I guess maybe it was a moment of clarity, because I suddenly realized that it would be absolutely stupid of me to pass up the opportunity to be coached by Sami, especially when she has so much experience and passion for the Ironman herself. And by the way, she has done TWELVE IM’s and qualified for Kona in November. So why in the world would I rely on books and the internet for information when I could have a personal coach for the biggest, most complex event in my life? I could have someone to work with, to ask questions to, to help me through something that is foreign to me.  So this late spring/early summer, I’ll be starting a plan with Sami to get me to the finish line at Ironman Florida in November. Clarity.

Gorgeous way to start 2015!

Gorgeous way to start 2015!

My marathon is March 22nd.  I haven’t been doing much, if any, speed or tempo or hill work, because I don’t want to aggravate the grumpy old man, otherwise known as my shin splints. I feel very behind, but I am healing. Slowly. Thank God!

New Year’s Day started with a good 6.5 mile run with friends at Wrightsville Beach, followed up with a soak in the freezing cold waterway. I certainly didn’t want to put my legs into 50 degree water, but I knew it was the right thing to do considering my mileage that I did during the week and what was coming for the weekend. Let’s say that I wasn’t as brave as some other runners who put their lady bits into that cold water. I think I would have died.

The little ripples are from my shivering.

The little ripples are from my shivering.

Saturday I was lucky enough to have company for my 8 mile pace run. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely doable, and we got it done in average 8:20-something pace, honestly I don’t really know. My Garmin does not like trees or clouds, and since we ran in trees AND clouds, it said we were going 9:00 plus pace part of the time, which I know was not accurate. So I’m not EXACTLY sure what the pace was, and that irritates the crap out of me. I just estimate the best I can on Garmin’s fussy days. I think it’s related to my shin splints. Moody and grumpy.

I was a little nervous for Sunday’s 16 mile run because it was going to be warm and it was supposed to rain. Luckily, the rain held off, but it was just gross outside, like the air of a man’s dirty beard. Ugh. 72 with almost 100% humidity after not running in that for a few months was just difficult. I made it through, but I don’t have any idea of what pace I was going. Garmin had another funky day with the clouds, but mostly, it got turned back on somehow so was ticking away as I was driving home. I got home and the feast started. First, it was a berry smoothie. Then it was a 4-egg (1 1/2 yolks to 4 egg whites) scramble, plus about half a pound of spinach, ham, and cheddar. It was goooooood. I drank a Zip Fizz recovery drink, had an endurolyte pill, and several cups of water, some almond milk, and then some coffee. When the feast was over, I was happy to report that my legs felt just tired, I had no pain, and my belleh was full. Score.

Ohhhh, good.

Ohhhh, good.

On Monday, I had an easy 3 mile run, but because there’s an Ironman in the picture and I took on the slacker role over break, I knew I needed to get to the pool. I headed there first thing in the morning and was met with zero ability to swim. It was like I hadn’t been to the pool in months. Can you say “doggy paddle”? Oy. I made myself finish a mile and work on form – a.k.a. finding my form. After I got home, I headed out for a nice easy 3 mile run. My legs were slightly achy from the weekend running, but no pain. Could I be healed? Dare to dream! After my run, I got to working on my “Lindsey Lohan Rap Sheet” to-do list. I worked all day on the crap I should have done the last few weeks of December, and I felt good about what I got done.

As for today, ah today, today is one of those days that I will never quite forget, but I certainly do not want to repeat. I’ll call it the “Helga situation”, and was the final event wrapping up the accident that happened in August. I’m planning to write about that later this week assuming my to-do list becomes shorter as the days go by. Bonus was we walked by where they film “Sleepy Hollow” and I have proof.

When I got home from lunch with my sister to celebrate the ending of the “Helga Situation”, I decided to go ahead and knock out my run. I didn’t feel mentally ready for a tempo run because of everything and I was depressed from everything, so I thought I would figure it out as I went. Much to my surprise, I started out a race pace and quickly moved into my tempo pace, where I stayed for three miles, finishing 3.1 in 23 minutes. Not too shabby, especially with a belly full of Diet Coke and Bun Thit Nuong. I finished with 5 miles in 40 minutes, and I am so thrilled to 1) complete this tempo run in the first place and 2) report there’s no pain and 3) not throw up lunch. Faster-than-race-pace has been the big trigger with my grumpy old shins, so I was worried about this run, especially since I did bring it down to 7:00 pace and a little below for a while in the 3 faster miles. So far, so good!

Today was another reminder for me to always give it my best shot, even when I may not be feeling mentally or physically up to a certain challenge or workout. The rest of the week’s running is pretty easy, but this weekend will be an 8 miler on Saturday followed by 17 on Sunday. The weather looks cool and dry, so at least we won’t have “dirty beard” conditions to get through. I’m going to give this marathon my all, and next week starts more speed and hill training. I’m ready.

Have you ever been to court before? What do you do when you’re mentally DONE but have a pace workout?

Categories: coaching, go for your dreams, iron distance, ironman, marathon, open water swimming, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

2014: Looking Back Before Looking To 2015

2014 was pretty epic. I accomplished and experienced things that I never thought I would or could. I also failed. More than once. I surprised myself with both the successes and the failures. I had a LOT of fun. I met a LOT of people.  Since this is the time of year that we make our goals for the upcoming year, I felt it was important to FIRST look at what the past year held and remember what I learned from those experiences.

EPIC:

Um, heller….did anyone say, “BOSTON MARATHON”??? The mostest epic-est, awesomer-than-anything and favorite part of my year and running life altogether was being a part of the athlete field in the 2014 Boston Marathon. It took me many years to get there, and to realize that dream was the ultimate epic experience. This got the diamond crown.

I got the medal.

I got the medal.

EPIC BUT NOT AS EPIC AS BOSTON BECAUSE BOSTON IS PRETTY DAMN EPIC ON ITS OWN:

I was able to PR in both the 5k in January (21:13) and the half marathon in February (1:40:15) as a part of marathon training. I was pretty damn happy about those times, too.

I learned how to train my ass off.  During Boston training, I never missed a workout. Ok, I never missed a running workout. Zero. I missed one swimming workout the entire training cycle. ONE. I learned how to be devoted. I learned to not make excuses. I learned that in order to become the runner you want and know you can be, you have to work and work hard. I learned how to go the extra mile. I did that, and I’m really proud of the work I did. I know I was capable of running an amazing race in April, which is almost as good as actually running that amazing race.

Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 – 6:03      I learned about being a triathlete. I looked fear in the face, cuddled with it for a while, let it whisper sweet nothings into my ear, then kicked it’s ass out. I learned how to swim better than I did before, I learned how to open water swim, I learned how to ride my bike in between swimming and running, and I learned how to run after swimming and biking. It was epic. And I’m going to do it again.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3. It looks like my knees are stuck together.

I had fun.  Running is really awesome. But it can become competitive for me, and the ability to “just run” a race diminished. So that’s why I decided to do an endurance triathlon. Well, I had one on my radar for a number of years, but I needed to do something different and NOT be competitive. It worked, and I had a total blast training for and competing in the 70.3.

Mott’s Channel Swim – I entered and completed an open water swim race. Pretty proud of that, mostly because I would have laughed until I peed myself had you told me two years ago I would do something like that.

After the Mott's Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

After the Mott’s Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

The 10×10 Challenge. Ten continuous miles for ten days in a row.  I learned that it’s definitely doable to complete this challenge in July, but not advisable. I can’t wait to do this challenge again. It was an epic feeling and quite the journey in itself. Try it, you just might learn something about yourself.

Post-Challenge

Post-Challenge

Coaching. I found that I really love coaching. I’m learning a lot about it, and I know that I want to keep doing it. Being at the 5k with those boys made me feel like a momma hen watching her chicks fly for the first time. It’s a really cool mix of pride, excitement, and nerves.

Here’s the video I made for my Stride boys.

FAILURES:

I hate to admit this, but there’s usually something good that comes from failure. I think we all know this, especially as athletes. I’ve had a lot of good things come from the hard work and dedication that I’ve put into my running and triathlon training and races. I’ve also had some pretty big fails. But with a little distance, I can see how the failures have done me good. Dammit.

I’ll start with the little one. I got a pretty big PR (4 minutes) in my half marathon in February. So you’d think it’s all good, right? No, I was pissed. I got a 1:40:15, but I could never see the success in THAT because I was too busy being pissed that I was only 15 seconds from getting a sub-1:40.  I wished I had pushed just a second or two faster, that I had put my head down and gunned it into the harsh wind that met us a mile or two from the finish that totally wiped me out. I wish this and I wish that. What I REALLY wish is that I could’ve forgotten about all that garbage and celebrated the huge success that I DID have. I ran a really good race, and I’m now really happy about it. But my finishing moment was ruined by me wishing I had something better. When you start getting that attitude, that nothing is good enough, it’s time to think about things. And that is what led me to decide for sure to do the triathlon. I KNEW that I wouldn’t be competitive with it. I KNEW I would have fun, that I COULD NOT get all ants-in-my-pants about times and stuff. I knew I needed to step out of the bubble, the one that says you’re never good or fast enough. That was stupid, and that race taught me to not be stupid.

So the next one… it was the epitome of good and bad. The Boston Marathon. Yes, I’ve talked a lot about this, but I think, after this, I’m done talking about part of it. I’ll wipe the bad part out of my memory like wiping the marker board clean.

Running Boston was so awesome, so overwhelming, but I had a big fail. I trained and trained and spent hundreds of dollars on a coach and getting there and all the hubbub that comes with seeing your dream marathon come to fruition. My parents came to see me, my sister and her husband came to see me, my husband and my two kids came to see me. I was ready for the race of my life. Oh, I got the race of my life all right. The race recap I wrote that day describes the race perfectly – It was the Best of Times, It was the Worse of Times. You can read it HERE. It really was the strangest combination of good and bad. The bad was something I didn’t see coming. I thought that it was possible for me to run out of strength because I pushed the race. I was worried about how warm it was too, but when racing, I never felt hot. I wasn’t sweaty. I went for my goal, and I was doing it. I was heading for a sub 3:40 and I only had a 10k to go. Part of my race mantra was “I can do anything for X amount of time”. I was counting down. I was doing it. In freakin’ Boston. That was the best of times.

I can’t remember the exact feelings, but around mile 20-21, I knew something was wrong. I knew I had to stop, regroup, and slow down. I knew my PR was shot, but I was having fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Then the bobble head feeling started. And the nausea. It all went downhill from there. I barely remember the last part of the race. I knew I had to stop several times so I wouldn’t throw up. And I didn’t truly understand what happened until I became the internet doctor later that night.

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Can you see the sarcasm on my face?

Where’s the lesson in this? How can my slowest marathon of seven teach me something? First of all, I’ve never tried harder to finish a race. I could NOT DNF. No. Hell no. So I put on my big girl tights and pulled out every bit of anything I had to finish that race. And it took me almost 5 hours to do it, 75 minutes extra minutes in just the last 5 miles. I had to put one foot in front of the other carefully and consciously. To sum it all up, I had salt depletion dehydration. How did I turn that frown upside down? I acquainted myself with Endurolytes. I thought that taking in salt was just an endurance triathlon thing. Honestly. But I talked to a lot of people, tried them myself, and learned that Endurolytes are pretty damn awesome. I used them throughout the summer, especially during the 10×10 Challenge. I used them during my triathlon. I used them with long runs. And if I learned one thing from the Boston Marathon, it was what salt depletion was and how serious it can be. Oh, and how to help prevent it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to learn so many lessons, especially the hard way.

WRAPPING IT UP

You can always learn something when you look back at your experiences. Whether you learn them right then or have some “delayed learning” like I did, chances are, some piece of information can be available to you at almost any given moment. It’s just up to you to grab it.  Where does this leave me as I look back over 2014?

I’m very proud of the work I did. I’m proud of the chances I took. I’m proud of the fact that I let myself learn things along the way. Sure, I have a tiny baby scar from feeling so horrible during one of the best races of my life, but I’ll go back. I’ll do it again, and I’ll get my moment of glory. Some day. I’ll be patient. I know I have things to work on too. Facing fears and not letting them take over. NOT taking the easy road (swimming only on calm days). Balancing life and athletics.

As I took towards 2015, I know that I’ve got a beast mode full of grit and determination that I have not fully used before. I also have a lot more patience than I used to. What EXACTLY does that mean for me in 2015? You’ll just have to wait and see! Plans post to be coming soon. 😉

Do you look back before you look forward?

Categories: 10x10 challenge, beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, coaching, half iron distance, learning from failure, marathon, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running challenge, running streak, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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