Monday, October 29, 2012

Week in Review 10/22 - 10/28

Monday- Complete day off.  The 3/4 brick left me feeling vulnerable to the germs and cooties that are going around this time of year.  Besides, it was cold and raining.  So I stayed home and went to bed early instead of going to swim.

Run: 2 miles easy, 2 miles at tempo, 1 mile easy.  Legs were a little stiff at the beginning, but warmed up nicely.  By the end of the tempo miles I was under 7 minute/mile pace.  Made me happy!
Bike:  15 min. warm-up; 3x 12 min. at 82% w/4 min. easy spin; 15 minute cool down.

Skipped the bike.  Not enough time, there was pressing home stuff to take of.
Swim:  We have a new coach now, which is a little bittersweet.  Rich helped me improve so much from 11 months ago, and I'm so close to getting to my goal race!  But Lacey seems really nice and she gave us different intervals to do, which was a welcome change.  Ended up with 2500m total!  I used to be hard-pressed to get over 2000m in from the hour, now it's more normal. 

Run:  Track last one was 8 weeks ago!  It was great to be back.  I made sure I stretched really well and listened to my left leg the entire time.  I'm not going to go through all of that injury stuff again!  Even though I'm able to run again, the leg is still pretty tight and I still have to be careful.  So far, so good!
1.25 mile warm-up; 16x400m w/ 100m walk; 1.25 mile cool down.  Ended with 7.5 miles total, and feeling strong and confident.  I've lost a lot of speed from the month of September, so I can only get so much back in the time I have.  I'm trying to stay positive and keep at it. 

*Bonus training- Riding my mountain bike to the kids' school and back home four times.  Probably only a total of 7 miles, but it was great to save gas and get a little bonus work out in.

Friday- Complete day off.

Bike: 3 1/2 hours of slow, frustrating, mostly painful riding.  This is one of the first times I haven't enjoyed a ride.  Pat and I started around noon, later than usual because I helped take a couple of my kids to their soccer games.  I didn't fuel properly, have a focused mindset about the ride, and didn't take the distance seriously.  Big mistakes, and I won't be doing that again.  It was tough to leave home to go knowing that it was frustrating some family members.  I keep struggling with feeling completely selfish and wanting to get these last couple weeks of training strong.  It's difficult.
Run: 4 miles, slow and they seemed to take forever.  Pat kept reminding me that we have a 20 mile run tomorrow, so to take it easier today is ok.  I just kept feeling like I was cheating myself, and couldn't shake the little black raincloud that hovered over my head the entire time. 

Run: 20 miles at 8:51/mile pace.  I know, it isn't that fast or impressive.  I'm happy with the run overall, and thrilled to have discovered the magic brew of broth.  I wanted to try it, knowing that it is available at aid stations at the Ironman.
We made four different loops around my house, using it as an aid station.  After the first 4.5 miles I had a Gu with caffeine, a few tortilla chips and water.  I was feeling tight and slow.  The next stop was at 11 miles, when I had a cup of broth, a cup of Pepsi and another Gu, with no caffeine, and more water.  At mile 14 we were near a park where we stopped for water and stretching.  Back to my house at mile 16.5, where I had another cup of broth, Pepsi and water.  I no longer felt tight and was ready to rock out the last 3.5 miles!  We picked it up on our last little loop, picking up our average mile pace by almost a minute.  As we were nearing mile 20, I totally thought I could keep going for another 6 miles.  Bring it.

Not a perfect week, but I'll take it.  Trying to take care of loose ends for the big weekend and making lists of things to do and things I want to get.  My friend Sumer is letting me use her aero helmet (it's her tri bike I get to use, too!), the rear wheel on her bike is fixed and on its way; Jason got me knew goggles, cycle shorts, tri top and tubes with Slime.  Next week I'll take the bike in to get the wheel on, maybe some new tires, and a final look over to make sure it all looks ready for race day. 

This weekend we have our last big ride to do, then Sunday is the Two Cities Half Marathon.  After that, it's taper time! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 14th: Nike Women's Marathon (Half, that is)

Earlier this year my friend Kristi put a group of women runners she knows together and asked us if we would like to enter the lottery to register for the Nike Women's Half Marathon, and register for Fresno's Two Cities Half Marathon.  She was hoping we wouldn't get picked for the lottery, and be able to just do Two Cities.  As fate would have it, our group was chosen and before I knew I was signed up!  I had always been intrigued with the event.  It's held in San Francisco, is the target race for the Team in Training marathon group, and always looked like a lot of fun.  I heard the course was hilly and not very fast though, so I wasn't interested in it to try to qualify for Boston.  But this year is different.  I knew that my focus race didn't require a fast time, and that it would be a fun girl's weekend with some fabulous ladies, so I looked forward to trying it out.

Then the leg injury of August happened, and I didn't think I would be able to do it.  A month before NWM I wasn't even able to run.  How would I do 13 hilly miles?  I looked into whether or not I could get a refund.  No.  I stuck with physical therapy, and saw a slow improvement.  Yes, healing was happening.  I had been hoping for a grand, momentous healing experience, but God chose the old-fashioned way: slowly and naturally. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was able to run 11 miles the week before, so I knew I would be able to finish 13.  This injury thing has been such a roller coaster ride!  For the month of September I was going up and down and all around with emotions.  It would seem like my calf was getting better, then it wasn't.  Then it lingered and wasn't improving, then it was.  I didn't know what events I'd be able to do, how much training I would be able to do, and now I'm able to do it all. 

The Friday before the half marathon (the race was on a Sunday), Pat and I rode 100 miles.  We wanted to get a solid ride in, knowing that the next weekend would be our 3/4 brick.  It was the best day to get the ride in, and I figured I had a whole day to rest for the run.  I think I was the only one running that day who had ridden 100 miles two days before.  But I'm cool with that.  Bring it on.

Saturday the ladies and I were on the bus and headed to San Francisco.  I didn't know everyone in the group, so the bus ride gave me a chance to make a couple new friends.  They are such an amazing group of women, and the bus ride went by fast!

We arrived near Union Square, and walked down to pick up our packets.  When Nike does an event, they really, really do an EVENT!
The huge poster!
Nike took over Union Square! 

(Stephanie, Me, Amanda and Kristi- We were roomies for the weekend!)
We picked up our packets and then tried to maneuver in the crowded Expo.  We scored some freebies and then decided to get some fresh air.  Being the girls we are, we took as many photo-ops as possible along the way.

Nike Town:
W-O-W!  That place is huge.  On the outside were purple window coverings.  Looking closer, it's covered with the names of all the 22,000+ runners!

We all successfully found our names...Now to go inside and brave more crowds.

There was this huge banner that you were suppossed to sign.  We each took a turn writing something.  Mine is a bit adolescent in nature (the blue ink):
The almost life-sized map of the course.  Just kidding.

We then hopped on the escalator to go upstairs.  The store was four levels!

Kristi had made a dinner reservation for us for 4:45, so we got cleaned up and walked to the cutest, quaintest Italian restaurant ever.  They serve family-size portions, the food was delicious, and we had a great time carb-loading!
(Missing are the other three fun ladies who joined us: Sumer, Tammy, and Kristi)

On our way back to the hotel we happened to run into our friend Kym, her husband and their baby.  Perfect timing for another picture! haha
(Amanda, Kristi, Stephanie, Kym and I...we [heart] San Francisco!)

Race Day:

Here we are...the group Kristi got together!  Stephanie, Amanda, Kym, me, Heidi and Kristi.  Ready to run!!!

It was a beautiful morning, not too cold, and a little misty.

 Here it is...the starting arch!
This was the crowd in front of Kristi and Amanda's corral.  Kym and I scored a spot close to the front!
22,000+ runners is a LOT of people.  Do you see that there are people waaaaaay back there?  Crazy!

At 7:00am sharp the air horns blew, and away we went.  I had to leave my Garmin watch at the hotel because the battery was low and wasn't going to last the entire race.  I decided it was going to be a fun run with Kym, and not worry about time.  Ok, let me rephrase that.  I was going to try to not worry about time.  That lasted until the first mile, when I saw we had a 9:15 split.  Ew, that is slow!  But not knowing how my calf would do on the hills, I tried to not let it bother me.  Just keep running... just keep running!

Our next few miles went by fast.  No, our splits didn't get much faster, it just seemed like the miles were shorter.  We stopped around mile 3 to use the port-a-potties, and then carried on our way.  I stopped to drink water at each aid station.  As we neared mile 6, there was the hill.  I asked Kym if that was "It" and she said, "Yep."  This hill was almost a mile in length...and who hasn't done any hill training?  This girl.  Me.  While on the hill I got to see a couple of my TNT buddies, Ron and Nabil, which was a joyful boost to the run.

Around mile 7 I said goodbye to Kym and took off.  What I forgot about were the "other" hills I didn't pay attention to on the elevation map of the course.  The only one that stuck in my head was mile 6.  Granted, that was the largest of them, but there were a couple more later that made we wish hills away.

The course was lovely, but it was misty so we couldn't see very far ahead of us.  We ran through the Golden Gate park, but weren't able to see the bridge.  Oh well.  I was just so excited to be feeling so great!  My mile pace picked up to eight-minute miles, and there were plenty of down hills with the ups.  Going down does not strain the calf at all, so I just tried to have quick feet and shimmy on down those hills!

All along the course were inspiring signs.  This one is right before mile 9.  I chose to run on the Victorious side, since getting to run at all felt like such a victory for me!

At mile 10 the hills were done, and it was all down and flat to the finish.  I went as fast as I could, passing people like crazy.  Not one person passed me the last three miles!  I really wanted to get under 1:50, but knew my slow start was coming back to ruin it.  Before I knew it I was rounding the last turn with the huge, blue, Finish arch ahead of me.  I gave a big smile for the camera and then burst into tears.  Success because I finished.  It was so very, very sweet and I cried happy tears.  It is technically the slowest half marathon I have ever run (including the half I ran at Barb's...where I swam and biked before the run).  My official time was 1:50.26, but it still meant a lot!

After crossing the finish, you are directed into chutes, where waiting on the other side are men in tuxedos handing out the Tiffany & Co. finish necklaces on silver platters.  Oh yeah! 
Kristi and Amanda getting their little blue boxes!

The finish-assembly continued, as we were directed to a tent with Finisher shirts arranged by sizes.  Coming out of the tent they mark your race bib that you received your shirt, then give you a recycled shopping bag.

Farther down the assembly line you just start to dump stuff in your bag: bagel, water bottle, coconut water, face towel, fruit cups, chocolate...

I was just nearing the end when my friend Sumer saw me and called out my name.  I had just stopped crying, but started again when we hugged.  She busted out a 9-minute Personal Record!  That was so cool.  We hung out and ate a little, I checked out what the necklace looked like and put it on.  Kym came walking through, so I picked her out of the crowd.  Sumer went to go find her other buddies, so Kym and I made our way through the other freebie area.  We were able to score full-size stuff from the Neutrogena tent, but it was so crowded we decided to bypass the other stuff and get our warm clothes on.  Kym headed off to her bus, and I tried to find mine.

After a dramatic experience of trying to find the bus and the other girls in our group, we finally reunited.  And yes.  We took another picture.

We got back to our hotel with 20 minutes to check out.  Four women packed, showered and got ready in that 20 minutes?  Oh yes!  And what does that call for?  Yep, a picture:

And what do you suppose girls eat after they've successfully run 13.1 miles?  Hint: It has bacon on it, and comes with fries.  And it was worth every fat gram and calorie.  I cleaned my plate!

What a fun weekend!  I got to see old friends, make new ones, have a victorious run, and get to be a girl.  Thank you, Kristi for getting it all put together!

Next on the racing agenda:  The Two Cities Half marathon.  This is the local race, and I love it.  It's a great community event that takes the cooperation of many to come together to plan and pull off.  I've volunteered (2009), ran the marathon (2010), the half relay (2011), and this year get to do the popular half. 

The Mother of All Bricks

Training is going, and it is going very well!  Last weekend Steve, Pat and I embarked on a 3/4 distance brick.  This is what we ended up with:

Swimming at Millerton:  We did not have swim support, so we stuck together and met up at each buoy.  We swam to the left of the short island, then to the first buoy (it's that little white dot).  There are two more passed it that you can't really see.  We swam back and forth until we reached the time we wanted, practicing how to draft while swimming.  Lesson I learned:  It's tough!
Time- 1:07, we're hoping that means over 2 miles.

The Three Amigos: Pat, Me & Steve as Team X
Ready to Roll!
My friend Jennifer was so kind to drive us all to the lake so we could ride straight from there and have a flat course.  IMAZ is pretty flat, so we've been trying to mimic the terrain on our rides and get plenty of aero time in. 

After stopping at Pat's house at mile 20 and mile 70 as our aid station, we were almost done.  Just a short, easy eight miles to my house to start the run.  The ride was full of head winds, which made our pace a little slower (except for Steve...he's faster).
Time- 4:28
Distance- 78 miles
Average- 17.6 mph

Then came the run...the great unknown for me.  The whole ride I kept thinking, "You have a 16 mile run after this."  I had not run that far yet in training.  Pat and Steve have both been able to keep up with the run training, and now that I'm injury-free (Yay!), I have some catch-up to do!!!

We did three loops that were 5.5 miles each.  The first loop was super, and I felt great.  The second wasn't too bad, but the water breaks were heavenly.  The third loop Steve held back and ran with me, and I talked for most of it.  My whole body was tightening up, but I knew I didn't have that much farther to go.  The last mile I told Steve to go on without me, but he encouraged me and so we busted out a low eight-minute pace mile.  And then...we were done!  I was super excited to have had no calf pain, to have been able to do this load of training and still be able to walk and stand.  It was SUCCESS!
Time- 2:26
Distance- 16.4 miles
Average- 8:55/mile

But boy, were we TIRED!!!

Little bonus to the story:  Steve's truck had a flat tire as they were pulling away to leave.  Together, Pat and Steve changed the tire like it was nothing.  A 100-mile brick?  Sure.  Change a truck's tire?  Bring it on.

IMAZ, here we come!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm working...the computer is not

I apologize for the lack of updates. Our family computer is "sick" and I am sneaking onto my husband's iPad for a minute just to let you know training is going well.

Physical therapy was so, therapeutic! It appears my entire left side is tighter than my right and my poor calf took the brunt of it. I would get worked and twisted, bent and pulled, encouraged and motivated.

I have been able to run 11 whole miles all at once. On Sunday I will be doing the Nike women's half marathon.  A month ago I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to do the Ironman. At this point, my mindset is this: Swim is going great and shouldn't be a problem.  Cycling is good and is going to happen. The run will be a bit of a wild card. I don't know what's going to happen, but I am going to gut it out.

It's going to happen. It's ALL going to happen!

Pat and I have connected with Steve, another local who will be at IMAZ. We've been able to get some training in together and gotten to know each other better. Steve is a flash on the bike, and I almost feel sorry for him having to wait for us. He's a great sport and insists that misery likes company.

I'm sorry I can't share the pictures from our homemade half ironman practice (they are on the other computer). It was a scorching hot day and it took a toll on us. Steve put the course together and had support for us in the water. My dad and Konnor provided SAG for the ride and run. It was a great test of our fitness. We're hoping to do a 3/4 ironman next weekend which has me freaked out a little.

There you go. A little update of the goings-on in the world of me. I am so excited, the Ironman is getting so close we are beginning to forge travel plans. This is really going to happen!