Posts Tagged With: half iron triathlon

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

A Lot of Racing Goin’ On: Recap and The Jitters

WARNING: Because I’m a slacker, this is quite long, but I wanted to catch up on training. And racing. And training to race.

So let me get into the goods of my workouts lately. My birthday was Friday, and I REALLY appreciate the “Happy Birthday” sentiments from you all. I got a TON on Facebook, and that just sort of makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. We had some drinks on the beach, met the kids as they got off the bus, and I got to open presents. Will I ever outgrow the fun of that? I hope not. I got a Magic Bullet and used it Wednesday…. I can say that I will never use that friggin blender for a smoothie again!!! Love the Bullet.  We then went out to have some more drinks and eat dinner.

Some beers we got for our beach trip. Not that we drank any on the beach, because it's illegal. No, we didn't.

Some beers we got for our beach trip. Not that we drank any on the beach, because it’s illegal. No, we didn’t.

I did extend my birthday day drinking a little too long, and there may or may not be a picture of me riding a big plastic tiger at the Mellow Mushroom, but anyway, when I got up to run on Saturday morning, I was just dog tired. I had four miles to run before my 5k, and I wasn’t feeling it. Then I realized that the color for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness was pink. Like it has been forever. And what did I pull out of my drawer to wear to a Breast Cancer Awareness race? Yeah, the brightest ORANGE shirt I have. I take the “Moron of the Race” award, that’s for sure. It was the Run for the Tatas 5k to help raise money for local charities that support those who have been affected by breast cancer. I was so happy to be a part of this race! So many survivors out there, so many supporters, a great vibe on a beautiful morning. This is a different style of race because the men have to start 2:30 AFTER the women start. Rad, right? It was cool to just have all the women start first. When the horn sounded, I took off, hoping for the best. I was in the front of the crowd, and was happy to see that, in mile 1, I was going about my PR pace of 6:50-ish. Well, that certainly didn’t last long, as in mile 2, I got that lead feeling in my stomach. I wasn’t super surprised since I hadn’t been doing speed work and haven’t trained to run a 5k PR. I slowed down, and then tried to pick back up in the last mile. I can’t remember when the men started passing me, but it was fun to be in front of so many of them, at least for a little bit!  I crossed the finish line in 22:30, which I’m happy with, but I’m also slightly disappointed. When will I ever learn to not have parties or special events the night before a 5k?

I ran another two miles after the race so I could catch the awards ceremony, but I still had another two miles to go after that, plus catch my son’s football game. I got lost in the awards ceremony though, especially when the announcer gave the awards for the fastest survivor, the survivor teams, and all the survivor stuff. Sheesh, I get all verklempt thinking about it now. One thing I did notice was how YOUNG they were. These weren’t grandma types like my mom, they were, well, like ME. It took me back a little (oh Lord, here comes the tears again), and I was so proud of these women. I’ve never been challenged with something like that, and I can’t imagine how it would feel. I was inspired by their strength and the fact they were out there, running, raising money, and with big smiles on their faces.

My time ended up being good enough for 3rd Overall Masters, and I won MONEY. I couldn’t believe it, real, actual money. Then I felt guilty because some other ladies donated their winnings back to one of the charities, so I decided to buy a race shirt with half and donate the other half. Knowing me, I’ll probably end up donating the entire thing, but it’s definitely a great cause and well worth it.

Medal I got for 3rd Masters

Medal I got for 3rd Masters

I had to leave the awards early so I could get my last two miles in, catch some grub, and head to my son’s game. It was a beautiful day, but later that afternoon, I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open. I headed to bed before 9:00 pm. It was awesome.

On Sunday, I got up to meet my friend, Gary, so we could go for  a 40 mile bike ride and 5 mile run. I was really geared up for it and wanted to just tear it up. Well, my legs had another idea, so I struggled through most of the 40 miles. I couldn’t get my heart rate up where my legs could stand the work, so I ended up going slower and easier than I had planned and what I was supposed to do.  I figured my run was going to be crap too, so I started off at a conservative pace, and ended up having to slow myself down several times to an 8 minute mile. Where the heck that came from, I’ll never know,  and I was confused, but I was happy that the run felt so good.  My coach did tell me that I’m in the “awkward phase” of training right now too.

Monday rolled around and I had arranged to meet my swim friend, Stacey, so we could get our open water swim in.  It was in the 40’s that morning, so I wasn’t looking forward to getting in the water with the chilly air. Surprisingly, the air temps at the beach were pretty warm, so it was nearly perfect. We had a screaming current and the water was flat as glass, so our 1.4 mile swim only took 30 minutes. We chatted a bit, and I headed home with the windows open and a smile on my face.

 

Perfect. Just perfect!

Perfect. Just perfect!

Tuesday was my running group run, and I was happy to report that my leg was feeling great. Signs of my shin splints were disappearing, and I was happy that I caught it in time to reverse the pain. The issue that day was that my stomach was a mess. I don’t know if it was from open water swimming the day before, but it felt weird and it did last week after open water swimming too. I wasn’t ready to run super fast, but I came ready to run. I was happy until I found out we were doing one and two mile time trials. Time trials. Ugh! I hate them and my stomach was really pissed, so I figured I’d just give it my best shot. I was a little nervous about my shin splints since I’d had some fast paces the past few days, but I charged ahead anyway. My mile came in at 6:38 and my two miles came in at 15:08 or somewhere close to that. I had to laugh because 1) I don’t put much weight on time trials and 2) the two mile split was slower than my 5k. So whatever, but it did give me a benchmark to improve upon as the season continues. I also was dealing with mass boredom during the 2 miler. I almost quit. It was so boring and was the longest 8 laps I’ve ever run at a track, probably ever. BUT, I made it through.  Anyone else feel ambivalent towards time trials?

So moving on to Wednesday, I had 1:15 bike ride followed by a one hour run. I drove to Wrightsville Beach to have a change of scenery, and the bike ride was surprisingly good. I figured my legs were going to be pretty tired, but I felt strong, even against the wind. It was a LOT warmer than what I thought it was going to be, so by the time I got that done and moved on to my run, it was probably in the upper 70’s with high humidity. Not a big deal, normally, but something in my body was missing, because I made it 20 minutes before I realized that the run wasn’t going to be a good one. It was the opposite of Sunday! What the hell!???! I thought I fueled well, and even practiced eating while riding (slow), so I was expecting good things.  I’m not a huge heart rate training person, for no particular reason, but I noticed that it got really high when I started running and took a long time to lower, which is the opposite of what it did on the bike. Many times, I can’t even get my heart rate in Zone 4 unless I’m going as fast as I can with heavy resistance. I stopped to walk a few times, grabbed a drink, but I continued to feel like crap, plus my stupid shin was bothering me. So I was frustrated, but I also realize that there are going to be good training days, and there are going to be not-so-good training days. I had a combined effect with Sunday/Wednesday with one sport being good the other bad. I came home and stretched, rolled, and iced, and it’s feeling better today. Thank goodness.

The impromptu bike shop this morning.

The impromptu bike shop this morning.

Now, on to today. I had an easy bike ride, so I thought I’d meander down to Carolina Beach. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right? Yeah, my stupid tire was as dead as a doornail. Well, alert the mental health professionals because I fell apart. All my fears of the half iron came out in a big mass of tears. I’m scared of having a flat during the race, I’m scared of finding my tire flat when I get done with the swim (assuming I finish the swim in time), and having yet another flat was just something that put me over the cliff. Without the bat wings.  I realize that it’s just all my fears and stress coming out in a not-so-princess-like way, but it’s real. It didn’t last long, and when it was done, I turned my bike over and changed that damn flat.

On Friday, I’ve got a high cadence bike workout and then Saturday…. drum roll…… is my very first ever in my entire life SWIM RACE!!!!! (Check out the website, it’s really cool and you can see where I’m going to be swimming! You can see half my coach’s face in the picture montage too!) I have 6 miles to run earlier that morning, but the race will start at 10 am. I’m sort of nervous but I’m sort of excited because it’s almost exactly the same course with the SAME tide conditions as the Beach 2 Battleship triathlon I’m doing in just two weeks. Um, two friggin’ weeks. Yeah, if I’m not a river in Egypt because I’m in De-Nial about that. Really super duper excited to get ‘er done, but wow, here it is. HERE. IT. IS.

Jitters? Yes. Excitement? Yes. Visualization? Yes. Determination? Yes. Confidence? Mostly yes. Saturday will really help, but really, I have to take each bit, know deep down that I CAN do it, and that whatever happens, I did the absolute best to prepare.  It’s time to bring on the BEAST MODE for this race!

I’ll be back with my race recap, probably this weekend. I don’t usually blog on the weekends, but I just may for this 🙂

Happy running, y’all, just over two weeks and it’s MARATHON MODE for me!

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Two Beach Chairs and a Few Bruises

It’s not always often you go to the beach for a fun afternoon and end up at the police station. It all started when my kids and I decided to take my sister to the beach for a few hours on Friday. We chose Wrightsville Beach as opposed to Carolina Beach because WB is just a lot bigger and wider. It was a lot of fun and the weather was great. We picked up some food at the store and ate while watching the kids play with some other kids they met in the water.

On our way back to the car, we had to cross a normally busy road. The light was green for cars to cross the road we were crossing and no cars were around in any direction, so we crossed accordingly without pushing the button so the thing would flash for us to go. My sister and kids got through the intersection fine, but when I was close to reaching the sidewalk, a big red car came hurdling towards me to take a right turn. She stopped her car VERY close to my legs and I could tell she was noticeably irritated that I didn’t have a crossing sign and that I was in the road, albeit, barely in the road. I stopped in my tracks. She then was pointing at the crossing thing (What the heck IS that thing called???) mouthed, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO?!” to which I responded by standing right where I was, holding my arms out and saying, “Are you KIDDING me?”.  . Yeah, pretty dumb. For both of us. I was probably about two feet from the curb. This lady was in such a hurry that she barreled her car by me, skidding her tires as she went. (And she wasn’t some goofy teenager, she was 62 years old – old enough to know better.) I was holding two big beach chairs on my right shoulder, and when the car went by, it hit my chairs. I did my best to hold my chairs as close to me as I could. Part of me was so shocked, I didn’t know what the heck was going on. Who does that???!!!! Part of me was hoping to scratch the hell out of her car as she grazed by me, feeling lucking that I had the chairs as a barrier.

Bruises caused from the car that hit the chairs I was holding.

Bruises caused from the car that hit the chairs I was holding.

I looked at her car as she sped down the road and realized there was no way I could get her plate, so we just went on. A few minutes later, I started shaking. As we were putting our beach gear in the back of my Escape (I have to say it the way Dori does in Finding Nemo – “es-CA-pay”), another lady drove by and told us that she saw what the other lady did and got her plates, then made an effort to find and give it to us. She agreed to be a witness if it came to that.

Upon my sister’s repeated orders to GO TO THE POLICE, I did. No pedestrian should be accosted by a driver. I wasn’t crossing a street full of traffic and without caution. There were NO cars there, plus the light was green to cross. Yes, we will now wait for the little walk guy from now on, but still. Her hitting me was no accident, that’s for sure. Thankfully, the police were so good to me, showed my kids the fire trucks as I was doing my reports, and hopefully this will help teach the driver to slow the hell down.

It made me really think. We are so fragile. Had I been in front of her instead of beside her, she could have run over my foot, broken my leg, or given me a head injury. Yup, I should have kept going. We were both wrong, but I wasn’t the one in a vehicle that could easily kill someone. Part of me had the “deer in headlights” reaction, part of me had the “fight” reaction, which is why I stood my ground. Maybe the driver was in a hurry. Maybe she was upset. Maybe she was super late.  I don’t know, but there’s really no excuse for doing what she did, especially when there were two kids right there. Part of me felt sorry for her.

My sympathy runs deep for people like that driver.

My sympathy runs deep for people like that driver.

On Saturday morning, bright and early, I started out on my ride. I was on my own since I couldn’t find anyone to ride with me.  I only stopped twice, once to take my underwear from the innermost part of my crack, and another, to eat my test meal. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but I’ll be buying more of them. Yum. At the first stop, I pulled off to the side, and I totally fell down because I totally forgot that I was clipped in. It was quite graceful, and thankfully, it didn’t hurt. I actually laughed and said to myself, “Well, I’m guessing that’ll be the last time I forget I’m clipped in.” Hopefully so. I readjusted my handlebars and went on my way.

car2

This was my total time, including the “fall” and my snack. I was a little disappointed in it, but hey, I’m still at the beginning of training!

I was on a highway with cars zipping by at 50-60 mph. Because of what had happened with the car the day before, I was a little more sensitive to the fact that these cars were so close to me. At some points, I was probably a foot away from a vehicle that, had the driver not been doing his/her job, would totally kill me. Some drivers gave me plenty of space when they passed, others couldn’t be bothered and gave me my foot and passed so close where I could feel the power of the car.

Life is so fragile. Not to make light of it, whenever I say “fragile”, I am always reminded of “The Christmas Story” when the dad gets his leg lamp delivered. Here, watch this.

Where am I going with this? Well, I think that we go on about our days, one after the other, many of us in a hurry to get to work, to school, to our kids’ sports, to our workouts. We get impatient at red lights, at a slow driver, at bikes in a two-lane road. We run in the street, believing the cars will go around us. While we go on with our business, we need to remember to be aware of our surroundings, to be a little more patient with others, whether they are driving WAY TO SLOW or just a pedestrian crossing the street after an afternoon at the beach. We need to be diligent while running, always paying attention and assuming the car doesn’t see us. Let the car go and use the pause button on your Garmin.  Give the bicyclist an entire lane when you pass.  Just slow down, wait for the moped driver to turn right instead of barreling around him/her. Don’t text and drive!!!! Leave earlier if you must. Get there late. It’s not a big deal if you consider that being in a hurry could cause you to make a decision you wouldn’t ordinarily make. Don’t live to regret that decision. Life is so freaking fragile.

That being said and because I haven’t posted much recently because I’m trying to absorb the last few weeks of summer break with my kids, here’s my last week’s workout recap:

Last Thursday, I went to the pool to work on my swim drills and get a mile in. It wasn’t very pretty and I decided it was ok that I never turn into a really good swimmer. I need to continue working on my drills to improve form while getting the distance in, whether I hate dislike it or not.

Friday was an easy 3 mile run with my dog while my kids rode their bikes along side.

Saturday was my 60 mile bike ride. It went well until the last 10 miles. I only said fuck twice too, so that’s good! Ha!

Sunday and Monday were off.

Tuesday was a 5 mile run with some faster paces worked in there.

Wednesday was an hour on the bike with some strength – ended up with 17 miles, which isn’t great, but I wasn’t feeling it. While at my son’s football practice, I got a 3 mile run in. It wasn’t speed per se, but the average pace was under 8, so I was happy with that. I know at some point, I got to a sub-6:00 pace. That didn’t last long, but hey, I did it! I love running.

This morning: Oy. Back to the pool. I REAAAAALY didn’t want to continue past a quarter mile. I knew that would be a really bad decision and would regret it, so I made it a mile. Am I crazy to even consider a full IM if I hate swimming just one mile? Is this normal? Do other triathletes have one sport they just don’t like but do just to be able to do triathlons???

I feel like I’m cheating on running while doing all this biking and swimming. I miss it. I miss the real stuff, the speed, the distance, the tempo runs.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the track next week. Ahhhh, running!!!!

What’s everyone else up to? Dreading the end of summer like I am?

 

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Flicking The Stupid Little Monkey Off My Back

A few notes before I start talking about monkeys…. First, the dog that we fostered got adopted on Saturday. He was awesome and was so happy to hear the news. My son is already badgering me about the next foster.

Second, my entire workout schedule has been totally messed up because of the weather. It rained from Friday morning until, well, I’m not sure if it’s quite done yet.  I’m suffering from depression from the lack of sunshine and outdoor activity. Sure, I can run in the rain, which I did on Friday and this morning. I can swim in the rain, but I won’t because I have enough issues breathing when it’s not watering from the sky. I can bike in the rain, but I won’t do that either.  I did get my 50 mile bike ride, if you can call it a ride when you’re not actually going anywhere, done on Sunday, here, in my living room, on the trainer. I hated 95% of it and almost quit at mile 20. Seriously, the trainer is a really cool and convenient thing, but it’s also torture!!!! You don’t go anywhere so you just watch a movie that you love but suddenly hate because you’re stuck there RPM’ing away and forced to watch something. I watched Elf. Then I watched part of The First Wives Club. Then I watched some of Property Brothers. Thankfully, I got done in the time I planned, but my cadence was a little slow. I’m ok with that because I just needed to get the miles in. I’m actually proud that I finished and didn’t quit. I really wanted to quit. So the weekend was a buzz kill when it came to working out beyond the bike ride, but I’m enjoying the last few weeks of flexibility and the freedom to say “I’m just not going to work out today”, when full on, heavy duty, 100% training starts September 1st. The only thing I must do, because my coach told me to, is get two 60-mile rides in before that. Game on. Now, back to monkey business.

 

50 miles. Done.

50 miles. Done.

Last week, I got some stuff from the Boston Athletic Association in the mail. I still think it’s cool when I get emails and actual mail from them. I’m like a kid. THEY KNOW ME???? THEY SENT SOMETHING TO ME???!!! They. Know. Me.

This time it evoked an emotion that I’m getting tired of. It’s not an emotion that I can easily explain nor easily get over.  As many of you know, I ran the Boston Marathon this past April.  Here’s the post I wrote about it that day.  It took me many years of blood, sweat, and tears and many failed attempts to finally break the time barrier and qualify. After that, it took months of waiting to see if I would actually get in since my time didn’t give me much margin, and I knew pretty much anyone who qualified this last year would go and celebrate after the devastation of 2013. I qualified by 1 minute and 43 seconds, but I only made it in by four seconds. But I made it in.

That race was the best of the best AND the worst of the worst. My feelings after the race were so torn on feeling awesome and how great the entire experience was and that I was there and I got to be a part of something that so many only dream of.  Added to all that awesomeness was a feeling of emptiness. Of sadness. Of anger. Disappointment. I haven’t been fully able to shake those feelings. So many people have told me, “Hey, you were there, you FINISHED the Boston Marathon! Just be happy for that!”.  Well, they’re right and I am. I mean, it was AMAZING  to be on THE course, to be a part of the entire thing.  But I’m also a competitive athlete who was thisclose to re-qualifying and getting a good marathon PR. I was so close. But yet, it was so far away. Actually, it’s not even about the PR or re-qualifying. It is about running the Boston Marathon, which in the technical sense, I didn’t get to do. Sure I ran most of it at a rockin’ pace, but I didn’t run the whole thing. It feels very, VERY incomplete. The journey feels unfinished.

After running six prior marathons and after training my ass off for months and months, the Boston Marathon was my slowest marathon finish time EVER.  In fact, I can’t even actually say, “I ran the Boston Marathon.” Those words don’t/can’t come out of my mouth.  I ran the first 20 miles and I walked the rest. I DIDN’T run the Boston Marathon.  The finish was very unexpected.  The time that I crossed the finish line doesn’t even really matter, it was the way in which it ended.  It wasn’t what I set out to do, it wasn’t what I was capable of doing, and I was extremely shocked at what happened during that race. I can’t get over it. I look at my medal and I’m so proud of all the work I did to get it, but it also brings up so many bad feelings in me. Then I get my finisher’s certificate and it shows my time, and I I’m reminded of gripping the crowd barrier so I could throw up. It reminds me of watching my foot go in front of the other one and wondering if I could make it six miles. It makes me think of the feeling that my neck was on a spring and that I couldn’t see straight. It reminds me of having cramps so bad that I gasped for air, scaring a guy running past me. It reminds me that I didn’t want to make eye contact with the medical crew so they wouldn’t pull me from the course (they wouldn’t, but at the time, my mind wasn’t right so I wouldn’t take the chance). It reminds me that I walked.  It makes me angry.  Then there’s that struggle. Many people would be happy with that time. Many would be so grateful to just be there. Well, it’s not as simple as that.  The Boston Marathon is the stupid little monkey on my back.

This is a monkey my son drew. Too bad the one that's sitting on me isn't cute like this one.

This is a monkey my son drew because we live in an area of town called “Monkey Junction”. THIS is the monkey. Too bad the one that’s sitting on me isn’t cute like this one, giving me a nice shoulder massage.

I need redemption. I need to do it again. I need to go back and RUN to the finish. Whether or not it’s a PR, it re-qualifies me, or is done during a thunderstorm/hurricane/blizzard, I NEED to go and do this race again.  I need that feeling of seeing the Citgo sign, of coming onto Boylston Street, of the crowds. Of finishing HAPPY.  Of finishing HEALTHY. I need to be able to look at my medal and know that was the best race. Ever. I want it to be a good story. Not of one that includes: “It was good until….” “Yeah, I had to stop so I wouldn’t throw up.”

Good.

Good feelings.

 

This is how it ended.

Bad feelings.

So as I train for my half iron distance at the end of October, my sights will be set on the Houston Marathon.  And instead of being a whiney little putz like I am being now, I’m going to concentrate on all the GOOD that happened on April 21st, 2014.  Or I’m going to try. It gave me a huge boost of confidence. I KNOW I can run the race of my life in Houston. I RAN WAS AT THE FRIGGIN BOSTON MARATHON. Heller!!!!  It reminded me that a marathon is just that, a marathon. Anything can happen.  The good, the bad, the ugly. You can prepare all you want and can have a terrible race. You can have minimal expectations going in and can be surprised at the awesome outcome (my BQ race in 2013). Marathons are their own organism with so many factors that can effect the outcome. The best thing I can do NOW is to start getting ready. I need this goal. I need to move on.  Get off my back, you silly little monkey, there’s no room for you here.

 

**Update before this is even published…. I feel better just writing this. I struggle since I don’t want to come across as ungrateful for being a part of the Boston Marathon field. But I’m sure many of you can relate after having a “bad” race. Thanks for reading. The little monkey is a lot smaller than he was just last week. I’m sure he’ll always be there in some sense, but at least he’s smaller.

Haha, I was looking through pictures and knew this was there but overlooked it…. THIS is the epitome of how I was feeling. Sense the sarcasm in my “thumbs up”?

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Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Hurts. So. Much.

Saturday morning, I ran the half marathon called The Scream. It’s mostly downhill – I think 2100 ft descent elevation, and boy, were my legs a screamin’ Sunday! They hurt a lot on Monday too. Thankfully, my friend Renee, learned you can go down the stairs backwards to minimize the pain. It’s literally more painful (not as tired of course, but it hurts a lot!!!) than after running Boston.  And that’s bad. Here’s the recap.

On Friday, my family and I took off towards the “mountains” of North Carolina. We were more in the foothills than the mountains, but anything over 50 ft elevation is pretty high compared to where we are here in Wilmington. I could barely breathe in that air up there. No, just kidding, my ears popped a few times, but other than that, I couldn’t tell. I was super excited since we were staying in a cabin with some VERY cool people, and my plans were that I was to become one with nature after the race. We were going to explore. We were going to walk in the woods, let the dog run around and sniff all she wanted to, and we would not shave.  We were to be rebels.

So as we rolled in on Friday, it started raining. We went to bed with the rain tapping on the metal roof. We woke in the night to the rain tapping on the metal roof. We woke up to (bet you can’t tell what’s coming here…..) the rain tapping on the metal roof. Hmmm, yet another race in the rain. We were staying in a cabin with my friend Renee and her family, and three other very cool girls were staying in a cabin on the same property. It was really nice that one of them, Paige, didn’t even swear around the kids. Bonus, I didn’t either. We drove to the location where we were to catch shuttles to the start and then where the after party would be. Rain, rain, and more rain. Yuck. Once we got on the shuttle (a big yellow school bus), we wound up the hills for about 30-40 minutes to the start. We quickly got our bibs and timing chips and headed to the can for one more pit stop.  I’m glad we had gotten to the shuttle early, as we barely had time to get our stuff and go to the bathroom before people were headed to the actual start line around the corner from where we were dropped off.  And it’s not like there were hundreds of runners either – the race was capped at 350 runners and I know there were some who stayed home due to the rain. But we didn’t.

Before the race start.

Before the start, and before Sharon’s dinosaur hands came through her plastic bag/poncho.

 

Looking right at the race start.

Looking right from the race start.

The race got started about seven minutes late, but with all that rain, it wasn’t terrible. I think I would have felt rushed had it not started a little late, and we were where we needed to be in plenty of time. I’m not really sure what would have happened had we not been so early. I guess we would have been late.  Anyway, when the gun went off (or it was just a guy saying, “GO” but I honestly don’t remember), I had in my head that I wanted to do about an 8:30-9:00 minute mile pace. Then something snapped. Yeah, that competitive thing came about. This race was just supposed to be for fun. Ok, so how many of you are nodding your head in understanding right here? Yeah, right. NOT be competitive in running? Fat chance. I didn’t even stop to take a picture of the course because that would have slowed my time by, like, maybe TEN seconds!  I started that way and really, running down a hill is pretty awesome. I knew I was going to be sore and all that and I didn’t care, but it was so fun!!! The first few miles were UP hill, and when we went from the road to the hard-packed gravel trail, it started going down. Don’t you just love that? You can go faster with the same effort!!! It was awesome. It was a SCREAM. Then I started to get passed. I don’t understand, as I was letting the gravity pull me, and I didn’t fight it. But I kept getting passed. It sort of irritated me, you know, because this race was supposed to be FUN. I actually thought I might be last, but I didn’t turn around and check.  So on the up hills, I did what I normally did, which is to keep pace. I didn’t slow down. And that’s where I got my sweet revenge in my FUN race, I passed tons of people on the little bit of up hills we had.

The miles pretty much flew by. When I was out of breath from running up hill, we went back down, and my breathing relaxed. It was fun. The terrain wasn’t bad, even with the very wet conditions.  I didn’t have music and I didn’t run with Renee as I planned to, so I kept myself busy by planning my path around the corners to cut all tangents, not falling, and enjoying myself. I did get pushed once at a water station because I slowed down. Then this RUDE guy just pushed me out of the way. I called him an asshole but evidently, he didn’t hear me or didn’t care. I ended up passing him so he can suck it.

My paces were staying pretty close to 8 minute miles, and I was thrilled. My Garmin was off quite a bit from their mile markers, which I expected, but whatever, it was fine. Then I got to mile 12, the longest mile on the face of the earth. This is what I think happened: The course is certified and they know the beginning and the end. They marked the middle miles using THEIR Garmins, and at the end, they were short, so they just made the last mile twice as long. Seriously, it was a mile and a half long. No joke. I was losing my patience, my shoes were sloppy wet, and I was tired and wanted to be done. That friggin mile just wouldn’t stop. Around the corner? Nothing. Around another corner? Nothing. No one. I almost stopped, but then realized that would be just stupid, so I kept going. Then there it was. Mile 13. Then .25 miles later came the finish line. I seriously don’t get why it was so messed up at the end, but I think the actual total mileage was right on. It just wasn’t nice to make the last mile so long.

I finished in 1:46 and was pretty happy, although I was close to a PR2 if the course would have been marked accurately. Well, in my mind I was headed to a sub 1:44, which wouldn’t make it a PR, just a 2nd place to a PR. (My actual PR is 1:40.)  When I crossed the finish line, I got some water, and stood in the rain. A few of us from the Without Limits group had a picture taken, and I thought it was really cool the faster cats waited for the rest of their friends to finish before they headed to the bus to get back to shelter. Unfortunately, I don’t know most of them yet.  I ended up getting really cold and wished I would have worn different things at the beginning and saved my water proof jacked for my bag at the end. Oh well.

At the finish- Renee, Me, Shelley, Sharon, and Paige

At the finish- Renee, Me, Shelley, Sharon, and Paige. All of them are really cool chicks.

Once everyone finished, we headed to the bus and they trucked us back to the place where my family would be. They had some REALLY good BBQ and other eats there, and once the awards were done (only 5th in my AG), we headed back to the cabin for a HOT SHOWER. It was still raining.

scream1

My hair was a rat’s nest. Big mistake in not packing my de-tangler. Ouch.

Left side was brushed out, the rest, was not.

Left side was brushed out, the rest, was not. Complete rat’s nest.

The rest of the afternoon was spent eating, drinking, resting, relaxing, and then finally, the skies parted and I took my one son and dog outside to explore. It was awesome.

The next day, we went exploring in the river on the property where we stayed, and it was more than awesome. I grew up doing that sort of thing, being one with nature and all, and my dog, kids, and husband were having a great time. We are going back to that place, that’s for sure.  Unfortunately, we had to leave pretty early to get back home in a decent time.

As for the race, I really enjoyed it!!!  I was a little sore while running, and I was concerned when my knee starting bugging me in the same place it started hurting the last few days of my 10×10 Challenge. But then that went away, and I felt good. It was something new, something different, and it was nice to get out and be somewhere hilly for a change.  There’s a full marathon on that same course, and it’s very tempting to try and BQ on that one. I’m not sure if I could run that fast down hill for a full, mostly because I have ZERO hills to train on, but it’s definitely worth considering. I’m hoping I won’t have to worry about that though.  We are planning to go back to The Scream next year!!

The river

The river

As for what I’m doing this week IF IT EVER STOPS RAINING, is to swim, bike, and run. I’ve GOT to get back to tri training since it’s coming down to only three months until the half iron. I was going to blame the rain and my hurtin’ legs on not swimming today, but honestly, I just didn’t want to!  As for me now, I’ll just keep stretching these legs and complaining as I descend down the stairs. Ouch, ouch, ouch, but it was totally worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 10x10 challenge, beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running challenge, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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