Tony had said for several years if he ever decided to run an open marathon, it would be the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM). With his other two marathons coming as part of Ironmans, this would be a different challenge with the focus solely on running. Since the interest for MCM is so high the opportunity to register is only available through a lottery system. Unfortunately, he was not one of the lucky ones to get in through the lottery, so he investigated other options, which included charity slots. He decided to get involved with Project Zero, which is a charity to raise awareness for prostate cancer, and fundraise to be able to race. He also convinced his brother, Johnny, to participate through the charity, so they could register for MCM together.
As with most endurance race training, Tony had his share of ups and downs with his training. However, the last several weeks were plagued with knee pain which resulted in him not able to get in the volume and speed work that he wanted. He was determined to race though!
Race day was Sunday 10/25 and we drove up to DC Friday evening after work. Saturday consisted of a good breakfast, packet pick up, exploring the expo, lunch, rest and a pasta dinner. Tony’s philosophy (and mine as well), includes staying off the feet/legs as much as possible the day before a long race…no shake out or short runs the day before. Everyone has different philosophies, but this seems to work for us.
Sunday morning was a super early wake up call. Tony is not one to get to a race site super early, but based off what we were expecting and the volume of runners, we left early! Fortunately, we had scoped out the metro the evening before when we went to dinner and figured out what line we needed to take to our desired stop. The Metro Center stop was super convenient since we could connect to the station from access through our hotel (Grand Hyatt). Upon exiting the Pentagon stop for the race start, we were not able to walk too far until we were part of the massive line waiting to go through the security check. The line moved at a snail’s pace. It also started to rain, which we were expecting.
The time ticked by quicker than the line was moving. Tony started to get anxious about having adequate time to make it through security and then get all the way up to his coral. It finally got to the point that the Marines that were manning security, called for the racers that were empty handed. I gave him a quick kiss, wished him luck and off he went, along with his brother. We (me and my sister-in-law, Quinn) did not have to wait too much longer to make it through, but I feel Tony never would have made it to his coral before the start had they not left when they did.
It was total chaos!!!! Racers were literally sprinting to attempt to make it to the start line. People lined up at the bush line for a last call of nature before race time. I have never seen anything like it!
There are a few things that make this race special.
I was thrilled that I was able to see the paratroopers with American flags falling in the sky and then the fly over by the Osprey. SO.VERY.COOL!
Since it takes so long for all the runners to actually start the race, we were able to spot Johnny prior to his coral beginning. We did not have a lot of time though, so we wished he final “good lucks” and off he went.
Quinn and I had a spectating game plan. We did not wait long to head off to the first spectating point. We knew there was plenty of time, but wanted to go ahead and find a good spot, which we did with lots of time to spare.
We were able to watch the leaders of the race pass by which is always exciting, in my opinion. Tony’s game plan was to basically be in the pack between the 3:10 and 3:20 pace groups. SOMEHOW, I missed him at the first point. I could not believe it! I have spectated so many races, so I was surprised when it got to the point I knew he had long since passed. I knew I had to head on and this is when Quinn and I split. There was no way for us to stay together and watch for both guys.
My second point was quite a hike and I was navigating in an unfamiliar city. I quickly learned though, that it is a benefit to spectators, as well as the runners, to have the pace groups (not used to this since triathlons can’t offer this). When you see a pace group pass it helps you better gauge where you runner may be.
Fortunately, I spotted Tony at this spectating point, very easily. It was a bit over the half way mark and I was carrying an extra pair of his running shoes in case his wet shoes were causing issues (he has forever battled blisters). He looked strong and his pace up until then was on point. However, he told me that his knee was starting to hurt and he decided that he did not want to take the time to change shoes. I was so glad to see him and passed along my words of encouragement.
Point three was not too far away and not too long after I just saw him, but I wanted to be there as much as possible. I was able to enjoy spectating a bit more since I was playing the waiting game there. As he passed, I got more photos and shared my cheers.
I decided to try to get to one more point to see him. It was going to be tight based on the distance I had to walk and when I suspected I would see him based on current pace. I was also a little uncertain on the best way to get there. However, I got to just where I wanted to be and could not tell if he had passed that point or had not yet arrived. I was around mile 19ish. I quickly asked a lady if she knew what pace group had last passed. Based on what she told me, I thought MAYBE I has just missed him. In a very short time, I saw him. YAY!!!! He was not in a good place and I just tried my very best to give him positive words and lots of support. I would see him next at the finish.
The walk to the finish line was much easier to navigate as I had an exact point of interest I could enter in Google Maps. (GPS navigation makes life so much easier!!!!! I probably depend on it too much!) I will mention that MCM provided an app that I downloaded on my phone and used all during the race to track him. I found it extremely helpful! I also signed up to receive text messages when he passed certain timing mats. Those seemed to work very well.
As I approached the finish line area, I struggled initially to decide where to wait. I could not get really close to the finish line because of the way it was deigned/setup, but I did find a point that ended up being perfect! I had to be fast with the camera though because I would not have a lot of advanced sight time before I needed to snap for photos.
The point where I waited was at a left hand turn the runners take where they climb a hill that takes them across the finish line. (A hill to a marathon finish line….not nice!!) I saw him and snapped three pictures. He did not see me but I patted him on the arm as he ran by.
Somehow we were lucky enough to find one another very easily after he crossed the finish and was navigating the exit area. I was so proud of him and knew that he had to dig deep for this race. It was not the race he wanted, but with the circumstances he had to contend with, I could not have been more pleased of his accomplishment. I wished it would have been different, but he pulled out so much more than I thought his knee would allow. What a badass!
We had time before his brother would finish, so we found a place for him to rest and have a little something to eat. We did try to walk down to the beer tent, but before too long we realized that it involved too much walking and then we would be back tracking to get back to the finish line. This is one of the disadvantages to participating in a large race….everything is very spread out. We finally decided found a good place to chill as we waited for Johnny.
During this time we talked about his day and chatted with other runners that would stop along the way for a short rest.
After we knew that Johnny had finished, based on the tracker, we had our eyes peeled as not to miss him. We finally all gathered with the exception of my sister in law, because her phone had died and we did not know where she was!
After dealing with the logistics of metros and trying to find everyone, we all eventually ended up back at the hotel for some rest. It was neat to hear Tony and Johnny chat about their races and their experiences of the day.
The evening consisted of meeting up with some dear friends from home that now live in southern Maryland. They came into DC and we all celebrated with a sushi dinner and then enjoyed good times with after dinner drinks. It was certainly an adventure filled day!
The next day was filled with lots of walking. It included more than either of them needed, but it was a fun day of exploring DC. I think it can be best told by photos!
This was definitely a bucket list item for Tony and I am so happy that he was able to check it off the list. I don’t think he is anxious to run another marathon of that size, but it was a new experience for us all!
Since my last triathlon of the season in September, I knew my focus would immediately turn to running. Since the summer of 2014, I have had my eye on the Kiawah Island half marathon in December 2015. That is quite some time ago, and is fairly atypical for me, but that is what happens when you are hanging out with other runners one beautiful day at the pool while having a few cocktails!
In all seriousness, I was totally on board for this race. I have never raced in an open half marathon (they have all come as part of the 70.3 distance) and I had firm goals in mind. Our friends that were part of this discussion are Tim and Nicole, who are going for races in all 50 states. Plus, Tim had his sights set on a race that would be a Boston Qualifier course and Kiawah seemed like a great choice! So, it was decided back in the summer of 2014, Kiawah Island would be on our calendar for December 2015.
I was looking forward to going into run focused training after the Outer Banks Oly back in September. At that race, I had a really good run and that gave me a boost of confidence for what I might be able to race for in December. Tony helped me select a plan and it is a program called “FIRST” (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training), which is three runs a week and cross training on other days, This seemed like an obvious choice in training plans, as I always want to get bike trainer time and need swims as often as I can get them. The three runs a week include the three biggies…speed work/intervals, tempo and a long run. I opted for a lighter training week after Outer Banks Oly and then the following week started up with the new training plan.
Running has been going well. Unfortunately, at the end of September/beginning of October, we had a TON of rain (something like 14 days in a row), so there was plenty of this:
However, the last two weeks have been more typical fall weather, so running outside has been a treat with pleasant temperatures and just the desire to be outside (I LOVE FALL!) I have also been hitting the track, which is something I have not done in quite some time. For the last couple of years, speed work for me has been on the treadmill, which really is a challenge, but there is just something about those track workouts!!!
Since my training is going well, I have begun to adjust my goals, which I will share soon. I was bummed, as this last weekend’s long run was not good, but I was able to get my mileage of 13 total and add to the pool of mental toughness. I have not run 13+ miles since Raleigh 70.3 at the end of May, so it was still good to get the mileage tucked away.
So, other than 13.1 training, a couple of weekends ago, we also participated in the last Tri Throwdown of the season. If you have not read my prior Throwdown recaps, check them out here (from September and August), since it is a unique race set up. As I have previously described, there are only three rules, (1). Be Safe (2). Have Fun and (3). Go to the after party. However, with the rain and cool temperatures that we had been experiencing, wet suit legal was a must for me! The weather on race day was looking really dismal. We had finally crept out of the continuous rain period, but it was planned to make a re-appearance for pretty much the entire weekend. For me and Tony, it would be a race morning decision (a cold and rainy race day would zap a lot of the fun out of the event). I had planned my run training accordingly during the week and moved my long run from Saturday to previous Wednesday and would use my run at Throwdown as my tempo run for the week.
Saturday morning, we woke and checked the weather. It looked clear up until late-morning! It was a go for us! The extra fun thing about Throwdown this go-around was that Tony was racing and the handicap system had me starting 10 minutes before him. Automatically, that makes me his “rabbit”….essentially his mission was to chase me down and make the pass! This would be interesting!
The swim was cool…temperature wise. It was around 68 degrees, which is not to my liking (I am a wuss with cold swims!). Despite this, I had an okay swim (750 meters), but felt chilly most of the time. I was looking forward to the bike, because I had a new toy to try! For my birthday, Tony REALLY spoiled me and surprised me with the Garmin Vector 2S (power meter in the pedals).
This was the first ride where I would be using them. The out and back format allows you to keep an eye on how people are progressing behind you. So, when I passed Tony on my way back into the T2, I knew that he was making up the time gap.
The run is also an out and back and is fun to see everyone else during the 5K. I also knew where Tony was in his mission to catch me and the last time I saw him, I told him to SLOW DOWN! I had this strong feeling that I would see him again and it would be as he made the pass!
I was nearing the finish line and as I passed one of my buddies that was volunteering, I asked him if Tony was behind me within sight. He said “YES”!!! Our friends that were out racing or volunteering knew of the fun challenge Tony and I had going on, so everyone was cheering for me to run faster because he was really gaining on me! I was determined to cross the finish line first and I turned it up a notch for the last bit! I did it and crossed just a few seconds before him! It was a lot of fun and the friendly challenge between me and my hubbie made it even more fun.
After the race, we headed over to the restaurant for the after party and rain started to fall literally as we pulled into the parking lot. We really got lucky with the weather for the race! It ended up raining for the rest of the day. While at the after party, we all ate, drank and started watching the live coverage from Kona of the Ironman World Championships. Afterwards, we headed home, cleaned up and continued to watch the coverage for the rest of the afternoon. What a fun day!
This Olympic distance triathlon, held Saturday September 12, was located in the Outer Banks (OBX) of NC, so we planned a bit of a weekend get-away associated with the race. I took ½ day vacation from work on Friday and Tony and I hit the road around 1:00 on Friday afternoon. The drive was a little over three hours, so not bad. It was a pretty day.
We arrived a bit after 4:00, which was good timing, considering the draw bridge delay. We drove to packet pick-up and walked around some to get my bearings. Tony nor I had ever raced this event, so the logistics were unfamiliar. One of the cool things about the venue is that it is located beside the local airport, which Tony really got a kick out of, since he is a private pilot.
From my experience, most race directors will post/announce a preliminary water temperature a couple of days before the event. There was one post on Facebook stating that the race was typically wetsuit legal, but they did not have plans to announce water temperature until race morning. I thought it would be nearly impossible for it to be wetsuit legal, but I brought mine just in case. At packet pick-up, I put my feet in the water and I thought it felt nice and warm (and I don’t like cold water). Before we left, I asked what the water temperature was and the word was 74 degrees (which would be wetsuit legal). I could not believe it!
After checking into the hotel we paired up with one of my training buds, Bill and his wife Paige who was at the same hotel. We decided to grab dinner and three of the four of us got fish tacos which were delicious. We did not stay up late knowing there was an early alarm on the horizon.
The drive to the race venue was about 30 minutes. That should have given me enough time to get woken up and in race mode, but still being that early in the morning, it took even more time…which is normal. We arrived with plenty of time to get transition set up and everything taken care of. Once we arrived, we heard announcements that the water temperature was over 78 degrees and therefore not wetsuit legal. I found the “change” in temperature from the day before to be quite interesting!
Transition closed at 6:45. There was also a half Iron distance race, which started at 7:00. The first swim wave for the Olympic did not go off until 7:45, so we had lots of waiting. Once again, there was several people racing from the Trilife store team, so most of us congregated and passed the time.
As we were waiting around, one of the things that was on my mind was the choppiness of the water. It looked as if I had a challenging swim ahead of me. I tried not to focus on this, but it was hard not to.
One thing I had realized about this swim is that I was going to experience something that was so very unusual and unlike anything I had ever experienced before. From watching several swim waves start before me, what we were seeing from the shore is that the water was very shallow up until about the first sight buoy. Because of these, the swimmers were walking! WHAT?!?! YEP!
Before I knew it, I was lining up as my swim start time was approaching. I knew these conditions were not to my favor and even though I am not a quick swimmer, I can hold my own in the water and I could handle this! This is what I told myself and all of this is true.
As we started, my wave of white caps (pretty ironic given the choppiness of the water) did what most that had proceeded us had done. We began by walking and I figured I would do just that until it made sense to start swimming. The group all pretty much stayed together. It then occurred to me to check my Gamin so I would know (for fun) how long we actually walked. So, just before I started swimming, I glanced down and it was just shy of 150 yards. Craziness!
As I tried to begin swimming, the conditions of the water were quickly realized. Swimming out was a real challenge. Swimming freestyle included salt water splashing into my face as I took a breath (both sides) and as I tried to sight, I could not see over the wave that was coming toward me. I started doing the breast stroke (or my version of this) and I felt like I was in better shape to take this approach for a bit, I was not swallowing water and since I could see the waves with my head up, I could navigate the choppiness better and make progress instead of the waves pushing me back. I would resort back to freestyle now and again and truly felt like I was fighting a losing battle. There was a girl in front of me trying her best to maintain freestyle but she certainly did not gain any distance on me. I noticed a boat (after first smelling the fumes) approaching closer to the swimmers and it appeared to me that they were pulling a swimmer out of the water.
As I made it to the first turn buoy, I was feeling ok. Progress was being made and I was not feeling defeated. As I made the turn, I started back to freestyle. At this point, it was better since we were swimming in a different direction. I was not fighting the waves as bad, even though sighting was still hit or miss (sometimes I could spot the buoy and sometimes my glance would not allow me to see over the wave). I would feel some relief for a bit and then the churn would hit again. Head down and just swim…this is what I did. As I hit the last sight buoy, I was getting excited that I was making my way to shore. The turn at the buoy was a very sharp one to get in line and in the right direction. It took me several glances to find my direction. I continued on and even though the swim to shore felt like it was taking forever, I was feeling ok. As I took some breaths to the right I saw at least one person stop to take a break with a kayak. As I neared the shore, the shallowness was not as far out as with the start. I swam fairly close to shore, before finding my feet and the slippery ground. I was glad to be heading to T1. This swim was certainly one that I will remember!
The run to T1 was not too bad. It was rather long, but mostly on grass, so no complaints there. A lady had taped a large silk flower on her bike rack, which was the one beside mine, so it was super easy to find! I had the spot on the end as well, so all good in T1.
The road going out was covered with pot holes. I knew this from driving in the day before. Orange paint had been used to mark them and they did a thorough job, so the road was pretty much covered in orange markings! I was anxious to make the left hand turn off this road…when this happened, I thought I would have relief. Well, the road was rutted, so there were regular cadence of bumping for a while. Not fun. This section came up to the bridge that was a few miles long that crossed the water. This had the only real hill on the course. I felt the wind on the bridge for sure. I tried to keep my MPH up, but I was definitely affected by the wind. A short bit after coming off the bridge there was a right hand turn and that is where I felt some relief in the form of a tailwind. YAY! It helped me cruise a bit before a right bend in the road made it disappear. It was an out and back course, and I was fortunate to see others that I knew…the half course covered the Olympic (plus some), so there were plenty of people to see. Coming in was much of the same, but I did feel some favorability on the bridge this time which allowed me to enjoy the views more. Very pretty!
Into T2 and got ready for the run.
I did not really know what to expect of the route/course, but I had read there was a good amount of shade. As it started, the run went on a path that was a combination of grass, sand and gravel. UGH! I did not like this. It seemed to go on and on…I wanted pavement! It was about a mile of that uneven terrain. I was relieved when we finally hit the road. I could fall into a more regular pace and not worry as much about my footing. Had not yet found the shade that was advertised and was starting to feel hot quickly. The aide stations were very regular and I took advantage of drinking Gatorade and pouring the (cool) water over my head. Walked just a bit at every station to grab cups and drink/pour. As we approached the latter half of the out and back course, there was finally some shade therefore, some relief. After the turn around, the run back in was pretty much the same…trying to hold pace and being smart at the aide stations. There were times where I wanted to walk, but I only allowed myself to do this for a few seconds at the aide stations. I began looking forward to the grassy section in some respect, because I knew that meant I was getting close, but dreaded the terrain all at the same time.
As I was within the last mile, I saw three folks that I knew, Colin, Derek and Heather, that were just starting the run course for the half distance. That gave me a boost as I knew they had a more difficult test in front of them and I was close to completing mine.
As I ran down the finish chute I spotted Tony and Paige, both of which were behind their camera. Yes! I was done. Tony quickly found me and a cold drink was first on the agenda. Within a couple of minutes I located a few of the guys that had already finished and learned that we could check for our times on laptops provided. Tony and I did just that and I learned (and was SHOCKED) to see that I was the first finisher in my age group of 40-44. WOOHOO!!
After everyone had finished we took a few pics of the Olympic finishers and then waited around for awards.
I could not pass up the chance to enjoy a “podium finish”!
Post-race, a group of us grabbed lunch which included my traditional celebratory milkshake.
Early afternoon was not as nice as we had some rain move through, which interfered with plans for some beach time. Later in the day we headed out to a beach house where much of our group was congregating for some indoor fun. We had some celebratory beverages and some good laughs. The evening ended with the four of us grabbing a nice seafood dinner.
Sunday morning started with a nice stroll on the beach. I just could not pass up the opportunity to begin the day with my feet in the sand and the smell of the salt air.
Breakfast followed complete with eggs and pancakes and then Tony and I hit to road to return to Raleigh. It was a great weekend and I am very pleased overall with my race. Even though there are times when I look back and think I could have done something different…maybe pushed a bit harder on the bike or the swim, I know that I put my whole heart into the race and I more than met my goal of going sub-3 hours with my 2:52:04 time. Even though I didn’t prefer this course and probably would not race it again, I was successful and had a super fun weekend!
The Sunday of Labor Day weekend was the September edition of “Throwdown”. If you missed my previous report of Throwdown, I will quickly re-summarize. Throwdown is an event, open to all, that is produced by the owner of my local Tri Shop, Trilife. It is a “mock race” that is a sprint distance triathlon. This month’s event grew to 20 participants from 16 in August. If it had not been a long holiday weekend, I know there would have been an even greater participation increase.
Last month when the event was held, we all started the swim together. The idea for a while, has been that they would develop a handicap system whereas past race results dictate your start time and hypothetically anyone can cross the finish line first (not necessarily the fastest of the day, but cross first). So, with this system, the fastest racer actually started last. In this case, we are fortunate to have the Men’s Age Group 30-34 National Sprint Champion in Raleigh and he has a large presence at Trilife. It was a given that he would have the fastest time of the day, so most of us were racing to try to cross the finish before he did. Given the prior weekend was my last race (and I pushed hard) and the coming up weekend was my next race, I decided not to go all out and push too hard. I still wanted to have a good effort, but keep everything at an appropriate level.
This swim course had improved as they added a site buoy and a turnaround buoy. There were also THREE kayakers on the lake and at some points, this meant more serving as safety patrol than actual swimmers! I started around 39 minutes after the first swimmer (don’t remember exactly). Tony decided to not participate this month due to how he was feeling after his long run the day before, so he was monitoring the time in order to get each swimmer started correctly. The sighting was decent and I felt good during the swim. The swim was on a different section of the lake than the prior month and the run into T1 was a bit unfavorable to the feet. Most of us ended up leaving our flip flops out to put on after coming out of the water. I really didn’t want to get something stuck in my foot.
I felt good on the bike. I stayed with the plan and did not push too hard and found a good pace to maintain throughout. I was lucky that I did not miss one of the turnarounds, like one of my training buds did. The cone that had been placed was gone, but I did see the pavement markings. T2 was weird. I say this because I was the only person in transition and the “crowd” watched. I don’t love T2, because putting on socks is always a struggle, but I definitely felt all eyes on me. Everyone was cool and supportive, but I did feel a little pressure (from myself) for a fast transition.
The run out of transition is the least enjoyable part. There is a hill that definitely puts you in check and I just took it smooth and steady. I found my legs and as with the bike, I stuck to my plan on the run…to settle in a good pace. The fastest guys on the bike came flying in as I was just under a mile in. They were smokin’!! I knew it was a matter of (a little bit of) time before I saw them again! After the turn around, I saw our “speedy Gonzales” and even though I was still hanging on to hope that I would not get passed, it was inevitable. The one thing about super quick runners, is that they (somehow) make it look so effortless…so smooth and confident. He passed me at mile 2.75 of the 5K run, but somehow I did not mind because it is cool to watch someone like him run.
Back down the hill for a strong finish and another fun Throwdown was in the books. It was cool to have folks waiting to cheer me on and then we all cheered on all the other finishers.
Luckily I wore my Gamin and was diligent in starting at exactly the right time and stopping at exactly the right time (even though I did not get all my other splits lapped correctly). There were issues with the time for three of us (still working out a few kinks) and since they were just reporting total time, they used my Gamin as official finish time (1:26:53). The after party was pizza and beer at a local brewery. Already looking forward to the October date!
Saturday August 29…Race day started like all others. The alarm went off before anyone really wants to think about getting up on a Saturday, but no delay to get out of bed, as I did not account for that when I set my alarm. Normal breakfast of oatmeal with bananas and walnuts. This is a staple in my diet and it just works. We pulled out of the driveway right around the goal time of 5:45am (and I had accounted for a slight delay in departure, as that is norm). The race venue was located about 40 minutes from home, so just an easy drive to be there around 6:30. The morning was beautiful with temperatures in the low 60s. I allowed more time than typical for arrival at the venue as I knew there was more that needed to be done than I prefer (packet pick-up, picking up my new race kit, and (NOT PLANNED) a flat front tire).
Parking, packet pick up and body marking were a breeze. The store that sponsors the group rides that I frequent, coordinated getting race kits made for the team. Unfortunately, there were some delays in the kits being completed, so we were not able to actually pick them up until race morning at the site. I know this goes against the cardinal rule of racing of “don’t try anything new on race day”, but since it was a sprint distance, I figured things could not be too bad. I picked up my kit and got it on without issue. (Overall, there were no major problems in racing with the new kit…just a few minor things to address in the future.)
As I was getting transition set up, Tony pumped my tires and realized that the front wheel was not holding air. Luckily, there was PLENTY of time and he and another friend of ours, got the tube changed and had me squared away in no time! Thanks goodness for my awesome support…I was not worried in the least.
There were 161 participants (55 of those women) and for whatever reason the race directors decided to start the men and women together. Personally, I would have preferred the women go a couple of minutes after the men, but it was what it was. The company that produced the race is one of the two largest in the area and I have not raced any of their events where it was a mass start. Not sure if this is a new thing for them or not.
Anyway, the 750 meter swim was very congested at the beginning. It was probably about 50 yards or so past the first buoy that I finally felt like I had space. Overall, I was pleased with my swim. My main goal was to focus on consistent strong pulls and really staying aware of my effort level and if I was pushing like I could. I swam all the way in and lapped my Garmin as soon as I stood up and had a strong run into T1. I heard a few friends cheering as that always puts a smile on my face. Somehow, Tony had walked down the dock “looking for me” and totally missed me coming out of the water. It was not until about 5 minutes later and someone told him I was long gone!
T1 was solid. I was trying to be quick and efficient and I think I did just that.
Onto the bike and I knew what to expect of the 17-mile course. I raced this event a few years ago and Tony had even before then, so I knew there were a few rollers and a hill that was a bit of work. I felt good early on and saw several guys from Trilife. With the new kits, everyone was easy to spot! It was fun to see folks during the race that I knew and could share words of encouragement. I did not really concentrate on my Garmin. I had a goal of over 20mph, but I really just focused on how I felt…pushed when I could and backed off if I needed. All in all…good ride!
Into T2 and the same goal to be quick and efficient. I was on point.
The 5k run was generally flat (only a slight incline coming out of the transition area) and I wanted to start off strong and just build or maintain through the run. I missed my first mile lap “alert” from my Garmin, but I knew I started well. The course was a two loop and once again I saw lots of people I knew.
There were even a few guys that I saw when I really should not have, because they had finished the race and were running for cool down. I saw my mile 2 lap and was at a pace of 8:00 on the nose. My goal was to hit an average pace of sub-8:20. Even though I was not certain of my first lap’s pace, I was confident I was well on track. I remember at the 2.5 mile mark that I became super focused on maintaining…I did not want to lose momentum. I told myself that I could do it for .5 mile!! I was feeling it for sure, but with the slight decline down into the park and to the finish line, I had a super strong finish.
I was glad to be done but I felt like I had the race that I wanted…and this was before looking at all my times/paces. What a great feeling it was to know that I pushed when I could and really delivered the race that I had in me. Tony was there to greet me at the finish and the first thing I grabbed were orange slices immediately…so good! I gathered with the group and the general buzz was that everyone had raced well and had fun. I started reviewing my Garmin data and was even more pleased when I saw the numbers.
As preliminary results started to come in a few of the guys had placed in their respective age groups and one had taken the overall win. We took photos and I changed clothes. Some of us had planned to stay after the race and cookout there at the park. It was a beautiful day, so the plan really ended up being ideal. Tony played chef and while he got the grill going, the awards began. We huddled around to grab some snapshots. When they started to announce the winners in the women’s 40-44 age group, I was shocked to hear my name announced as third! WHAT? I was thrilled that my solid race ended up with a spot on the “podium”…it was just the icing on the cake. Nonetheless, I would not have changed anything, but third place age group was an added “bonus”!
The “official” race results looked like this:
The Garmin results, which include the actual distance raced, looked like this:
The cookout was a blast. This is not something that I typically see at races, but the park venue was really perfect for a post-race event like we had. I failed to take any photos, but we had lots of food and beverages to celebrate a great day by all!
Since I decided on two additional triathlons, one sprint and one olympic, training has picked up during the past few weeks. While I had stayed active and continued to swim, bike and run throughout July, having the races on the calendar give me more structure to my training sessions. This has been just what I needed to get excited about the coming weeks.
Swim: I have been able to get in open water swims for the past four weekends. I have a pair of new swim buddies that are just as anxious to get in time at the lake as I am. One of them also has a kayak, so his wife provides swim support, which is awesome! My time at the pool has been pretty typical…but I feel I have had more good days than not.
Bike: I am still really enjoying the bi-weekly group rides from TriLife. I try to go on both Tuesday and Thursday, schedule permitting. These rides continue to challenge me, plus they are fun!
Run: Tempo runs and intervals have returned in regular rotation. I have taken a more challenging approach to the speed intervals (from Tony’s suggestion), but I know pushing myself here will yield results. I also just got in a long run yesterday…a run longer than I have done in a while.
(1). A 50 mile ride a few weeks ago where I was really able to push my pace. A group of us rode from TriLife on a Saturday morning….the group started at around 10 riders and quickly broke down into a couple of smaller groups. The guys I stuck with were some that I ride with regularly during the week. I enjoy riding with them as we have similar riding styles. A solid challenge, but I felt great at the end!
(2). The second highlight was my open water swim this past Saturday. The total swim was .75 miles but it was all about how I felt! Before starting the swim we found two sight points to work with. The first was only about 200-300 yards out and then we turned and headed further out towards the middle of the lake. After we swam to the point we wanted, it was just a turn around and swim back to shore. I was feeling good and decided to push my effort the last few hundred yards or so of the swim back to shore. I did just what I wanted and was pleased. I try to finish strong in races, so I really should plan to try to incorporate this approach more in training to better simulate racing!
(3). The third highlight was yesterday’s long-ish run. I have not really run anything over the 4 to 5 mile range in a while, so I wanted to go out and tackle 7 miles to get a current gauge. Tony and I hit the Greenway Sunday morning. He had 10 miles on his legs from the day before, so he tagged along with me for his recovery run. Despite having to back off a couple of sections to keep my heart rate from going too high, I was super pleased with my 8:50 pace for distance. I felt good when we finished and really no complainants overall! Looking to make steady improvements over the next few weeks!
(4). The fourth highlight comes in the form of a “quasi” race report about an event called Throwdown (www.trithrowdown.wordpress.com). Throwdown is an event, open to all, that is produced by the owner of TriLife, Jon. It is a “mock race” that is a sprint distance triathlon. There were 16 participants at the 8/19/15 event and we had a blast! This is still a relatively new concept and I expect participation will quickly grow. We did not have chips for timing, but Jon utilized a timing system to capture results.
Just like any other race, there was a transition area set up with bike racks. It was great that we could park and then rack our bikes just a few feet away. I set up my transition area pretty much the way I would for an official race. Transition is one of the areas that I don’t really practice, so this is a great event to do just that!
The swim did not have inflatable sight buoys this time, but there was one lake buoy we swam around and then out to a dock that served as the turn around. Going out on the swim the sighting was pretty good, but coming back it was a little more challenging. The planned distance was 750 meters, but I think we swam closer to 1,000 meters. I did not lap my time as soon as I got out of the water, which I will definitely do next time. The official T1 time did not start until we did a short run from the lake to the parking lot. With the “longer” swim course and me not tripping my time at a good point, I am not sure what true swim pace was. I felt pretty good on the swim though. Based on feedback, I think they will try to make the sighting a bit better for the next event.
The bike was around 12.5 miles and the route included roads that are familiar from the group rides. I pushed pretty good on the bike and my Garmin had me at an average of 20 mph.
The 5K run was entirely within the park and only had one incline, right at the beginning. After running up the hill and trying to settle into a comfortable pace, I felt like I should kick it up a notch. There was a section of the run that was on gravel and since I don’t frequently run on gravel I was not as comfortable as I was on the pavement, but I maintained well. The downhill finish was nice and I was pleased to be the “first female finisher” (the only time I have heard those words) out of the four women participating. I ran an average pace of 8:34 and my total event time was 1:32:05. Tony also participated in Throwdown and he had as much fun as I did. He had run 20 miles the day before (he is training for Marine Corp Marathon) and despite this and the very little swimming that he has done lately, he still beat me by 7 minutes!
After the event, we all headed to Panera for lunch. It was a day of great fun and solid training to boot! I am already looking forward to the next Throwdown on September 6!
There was one low light that sticks in my mind. It was last Tuesday’s group ride. We all took a chance in deciding to move forward with the ride, and not just jumping on trainers, but we paid the price. About 20 minutes in, we hit a bad storm with very heavy rain. We had modified the route “in case” there was rain, but we were a good distance out when it hit. We were SOAKED to the bone when we got back to the shop. To me, it was reminiscent of the rain I experienced in Lake Placid last year. The one good thing that came from it, is that I took a lot of time to really clean my bike over the weekend. I desperately needed it before it got rain soaked, so this was more incentive to get her in great condition!
Training is in a good place for me right now. I am enjoying it more than I can recently remember and looking forward to my upcoming events!
The last few weeks have brought some much welcomed changes in my life. I don’t talk about my career on the blog, but I am going to make a slight exception here. I had been with my job for almost two years (and that was after being at my previous position for 7.5 years and that job being relocated to another city after a corporate merger). It had been clear for quite some time, that I was at a place that was not a good fit for me. Since I truly believe that life is short and you should do all that is within your power to make your world as happy and as healthy as possible, I found a new job opportunity. I am still working in the finance realm, but it is at a company that I am excited to join and welcome the new possibilities that I feel are in my path. I started the new job on July 13.
With a bit of time before starting my new job, we decided to take advantage and get out of town for a few days. After much deliberation, we headed south to Charleston for four days/three nights. I had been there a few years ago with my college sorority sisters, but Tony and I had not been together. I found a super cute boutique hotel downtown that was in a great location that allowed us to walk to restaurants, shopping and other sites. We only used the car once, when we drove out to Folly Beach to get our feet in the sand and feel the ocean breezes. We had great fun and I wanted to share some of the highlights via photos.
Morning runs at Waterfront Park
Adventures on beach cruiser bikes borrowed from the hotel
So the week of my new job, I worked three days, as I had a previously planned vacation with my college sorority sisters (the same group I visited Charleston with a few years ago). We go out of town for a girls’ trip once a year. This year we headed to Asheville, NC for a long weekend of great times!
To top of the month of July that seemed to be full of travels, Tony and I headed down to the NC coast a couple of Saturdays ago for the afternoon. It was a fun impromptu trip on a beautiful day!
With Ironman Lake Placid 2015 happening last Sunday, my mind was full of memories from the day that was the most challenging yet most rewarding days I have had. Congratulations to all of this year’s finishers!
July was a great month complete with fun and positive change. So now looking forward to later in the summer….
I have decided on two more triathlons to put on the calendar. I am planning a sprint at the end of August and an Olympic in early September. While I have still been active and training regularly, my workouts have not had the structure and focus that they typically have when training for specific race. I am glad to have some races to focus on and get some goals in mind. More on that to come!
It certainly has been a long time since my last post. After Raleigh 70.3, I did not have any races set in my schedule. I had my next race in mind, but I just wanted to find out where my motivation was after that race. The race I had in mind was a sprint distance called Smile Train. It is the first triathlon I ever raced back in 2009. I have never repeated this race and have wanted to for quite a while. However, I wanted to really RACE it.
My training turned to a focus on speed overall. With the run, my sessions were tempo and speed intervals; for the swim, I was doing shorter sets, also working on speed. As far as the bike, I continued to ride with the Tri Life group, which has always helped me push my speed. Overall, I was feeling good and I was generally happy with where I was. After some solid training sessions, I registered for the race one week before race day.
As the week prior to race day, I apparently got a touch of a cold. I had some sinus drainage and essentially lost my voice for a couple of days. I had a couple of nights’ sleep that was poor, but I never really felt bad due to the “cold”. I felt a bit fatigued on a couple of days, but I thought that was more due to the sleep issue. I honestly thought it was more that I sounded bad, but the “cold” did not hit me hard enough to bring me down.
Sunday morning, June 28, was race day. I (initially) felt ready to go. After a series of hot days, the morning was very beautiful and a great day to race!
The swim was a 250 meter pool swim. Start times were based off the times that each participant submitted at the registration. I submitted an aggressive time, but when I registered, I had completed a couple of solid sprint swim sessions and feeling confident. I was able to get in some warm-up sets, which was important for me with the swim…especially with the desire to want to go all out from the first stroke.
I pushed hard. I felt like I was giving all I had. Most of my transitions under the rope (we had to swim under the rope at each wall to change lanes) were not as quick and smooth as I would have liked. I got passed by a couple of people, which is not too unusual in this environment. I gave what I had.
Time for the 12 mile bike. I was really planning to push super hard since this is typically my strongest leg. I had high expectations for myself. Well, I definitely pushed myself hard, but was not able to get the speed I was was expecting or capable of. It was here that I really realized that my energy level was struggling big time. The course is a rolling course and even though I was not wearing the heart rate strap for my Garmin, I knew it was high.
As the run started, I tried to just focus on the idea I had a 5K to run. I originally had high expectations for the run as well, so I dug in with hopes that my training would push me through.
I had forgotten that this was a tough 5K course. For a race that a lot of folks choose as their first (as I did in 2009), it is certainly not a easy run. Basically your are either running uphill or downhill. There is pretty much NO flat.
I crossed the finish line at a total time of 1:12:52. I was disappointed in what I was able to put out there. Even though I thought I was OK with this cold, my body definitely had a different story to tell. This was the first race that I have run where I was not 100%. I felt like I gave 110%, but only had about 80% to give. After I finished, my body continued to send me more of a message as I coughed for about 20 minutes straight. UGH!!! At least my coughing fit was not during the race!!
1:12:52 (2009 time: 1:33:04)
Age Group Placement: 4 out of 26
Gender Placement: 21 out of 127
This year we once again decided to volunteer for the Homestay program and open up our home to a professional triathlete that was coming to Raleigh for the race. We first did this in 2014 and had a fun experience. Caitlin Snow was our visitor and she arrived on Tuesday. Even though we were all working during the week, it was great to pair up at dinner time. We enjoyed getting to know her as a person and an athlete.
The logistics of this race can be a bit of a pain, but I knew what to expect. Therefore, I decided to take Friday off from work to start getting focused. Friday morning I spent relaxing and then after lunch, Cait and I headed downtown for check-in. We were able to zoom though packet pick-up relatively quickly and then glanced at a few things at the expo and the store.
We were killing time in advance of the Athlete Panel where Cait participated. She was asked to speak in addition to Meredith Kessler and Matt Chrabot, the 2014 first place male. I had never attended an athlete panel and I found it interesting.
After finishing up downtown, we made a leisurely stop at Whole Foods and headed home. We spent another evening sitting out on the porch, eating dinner and sharing great conversation.
Saturday morning was great! I prepared homemade blueberry pancakes and eggs to kick-off our pre-race day eats on the right foot. We had a couple more guests join us for breakfast, so it was a really nice morning enjoying a delicious breakfast on the porch with some more stories and laughs.
So, here is where some of the race logistics are not so fun. We needed to check in our bikes on Saturday afternoon at the swim start which is located about 50 minutes from my house and in a different direction than the downtown area where T2, the finish line and race headquarters are located. This is one big reason I wanted to get checked in and packet pick-up completed on Friday.
After getting race prep completed, the late afternoon/evening including was rest, staying off my feet as much as possible, having a delicious dinner that Tony prepared and heading to bed at a decent time.
Race Day (Sunday):
I don’t think I can ever get a “normal” night’s sleep before a race. The 3:50am alarm was brutal, but no need to delay the inevitable by hitting snooze. Up to dress, eat and grab gear bags to head out to drive 20 minutes downtown to T2 to catch the shuttle (with an approximately 40 minute drive) to the swim start.
The line to board the shuttle was crazy long…longer than anticipated. However, since my swim wave was scheduled for 7:52am, I was not too concerned about time.
Once at swim start/T1, it was normal pre-race stuff. Getting body marked, loading hydration and nutrition on the bike, checking tire pressure, putting on the first round of sunscreen and packing away my wetsuit in the morning clothes bag since it was deemed to be non-wetsuit legal (the first time in the three years of the race). I then had to wait for a very long time in line for the bathroom. There were NOT enough port-o-johns. I probably ended up waiting at least 35 minutes. Good thing I had a later wave!
One note to mention is that spectators are allowed at the swim start, but they must also ride a shuttle from downtown Raleigh, which also takes them back to T2, after the last swimmer has exited. Spectators are not allowed to drive themselves down to the lake. Therefore, Tony and crew were waiting for me early on the bike course.
After a snack and shedding my morning clothes bag, I headed to join the line with the other ladies in my swim wave. I started looking around for a fellow blogger that I had “virtually met” a few months ago when we started following each others’ blog since we were both training for Raleigh 70.3. I knew her race number and luckily I spotted her without too much difficulty. It was great to meet Alison of Racingtales, who ended up earning a spot to the IM 70.3 World Championships in Austria! It was nice to connect with her in person and chat before it was time to get down to business.
I think I felt a little less anxious that I have historically, just before our wave was signaled to start. My plan was to find my groove as soon as possible and hope for as little contact as possible. The first 150 meters or so was just average, but after that I found my pace and yes had some contact, but nothing too terrible. There were lots of sight buoys, which plays to my advantage, since I struggle with swimming straight in open water. After the first (of two) turns, I was still feeling decent. I was expecting the “back section” to include more chop. My experience was weird though…I seemed to go from one extreme to the other…either feeling MORE chop than the first out leg or feeling LESS chop in comparison. I did experience a bit more contact in this area including an instance of the person directly in front completely stopping. I also got kicked in the hip by someone swimming breast stroke, which takes up much more space in the water than freestyle, and I definitely felt that kick. As I rounded the final buoy, I was happy. I was on the last section and I felt like I was having a solid swim. This swim back to land, felt soooooo long though. As I continued to sight, it just seemed like it was taking me forever to get to land. I think the gist of it is that I was just ready to get on my bike.
As I exited the water, I checked my Garmin…50 minutes…I was expecting much better. I had trained much better…albeit, this swim was without the wetsuit, but still, I was a bit frustrated right away. My goal to better my times from 2013 was still in play though. My time was a handful of seconds faster and that swim was with a wetsuit.
I was trying to be efficient. My bike was fairly close to the transition exit which I prefer since I can run better in bare feet carrying only my goggles and swim cap, than steering a bike with bike shoes on my feet. I did a quick spray of sunscreen before heading out since there was no way I was having a good race if I had to deal with sunburn!
Onto the bike and the first few miles were kind of crappy. People were all bunched up together and you have to do a small out and back from the exit road that leads from the lake to the highway. There are some rollers in these first miles and the pavement is not the best, so it is just a section that I was ready to get through in order to find my true rhythm. As I pulled onto the highway, I saw my mom and family friend, Kathy. That was a boost because they are loud and proud. Immediately after that I saw Tony who always motivates me and he called up to Tim who was a little further down, since he was posing as race photographer. This is where it really all began…I put my swim behind me, saw friends and family and started riding my bike on super smooth pavement…I was ready to go!!!!
One of the most important things for me to do on the bike was DRINK! With the forecasted temperatures to be in the upper 80s for the day, it was going to be a warm one and I wanted to be as smart as possible and not get behind on my hydration. I started with one bottle of Gatorade (the same they were serving on the course) on my bike and I planned to get more at each aid station. I had all the nutrition I needed with me…Honey Stinger Waffles and some peanut butter filled pretzels. I also had salt tabs which I took a couple of during the ride. #hshive
Along the course, at around mile 33, I once again saw Tony and Tim, plus another friend, Eric was hanging out with them as well.
Another boost and big smiles from me! I was riding well and feeling good. Not hot and not thirsty. I kept an eye on my average speed because I pretty much knew what I should have in my legs, but also did not want to blow them out.
Around the 44 mile mark, the bike course goes along a road that my brother and his family live off of, as well as, one of my closest friends. I was on the look out for them, because I know how hard it can be to spot a racer on the bike. Kelly spotted me and I shouted hellos to her. After that I saw my brother with an awesome poster along with my mom and Kathy. More great cheers! My niece and nephew had planned to watch for me with my brother but they both got sick last minute.
When I was on the tail end of the bike course, I was right where I wanted to be. I had eaten most of what I planned and was never thirsty. I focused on finishing strong and maintaining something in the tank for the run. As I neared T2, I was happy with my ride and would not change a thing about what I had done. I knew I had continued with my goal of bettering my 2013 time which was a strong bike leg.
As I entered T2, I knew I had a long way to get to my rack. After I dismounted and ran/walked a few steps in my shoes, I knew I did not want to do this. I stopped and took off my shoes and ran barefoot. Better. The pavement was very hot, but still better. However, I made a ROOKIE mistake. I was searching for my number on the bike rack and gear bag. My number was 2066 and in my mind I was looking for 2206. WHAT?!?!? Tony was shouting (to try to help) from the side of the transition area, but I was so confused!! I then realized it and OMG…how silly am I?? That definitely cost me a bit of time. UGH! I grabbed my run gear, sprayed a bit more sunscreen and then hit the bathroom before running out.
I wanted to have a good first mile. I didn’t want to go out crazy fast, but I did not want to start with too easy a pace. My legs felt heavy, which was completely normal, but I did get that first mile at a solid pace. I spotted Tim at around mile .5 and 1. Tony was there just after mile 1. Tony brought down his mountain bike so he could get around on the course easily. That ended up being a great plan for him and I think it made the spectating more fun from his perspective.
I expected my legs to start to loosen up. Well…..I was not getting the relief I craved. I just needed to find my “pocket” and the pace that felt manageable. I remained hopeful, but as the miles ticked off, my legs were just getting heavier. I focused on the current mile and then being smart at the aide stations since it was super warm (mid to upper 80s). I walked through the aid stations (while trying not to slow terribly) taking water (one to drink and one over the head), Gatorade, and ice (for the sports bra and a piece or two to suck on). They ran out of sponges early, as I was only able to get on at the first station. I took Coke later in the run, which I found to be helpful. I took a few shot blocks during the run (which I carried with me), not at the planned time intervals, but I did get in a few.
After a few miles, I knew my sub-2 hour run goal was out of reach. My first mile was just what I wanted to begin the run, but I could not hold the pace I needed. I had trained so well to meet that goal, but that day was not the day. At that point, I just wanted to be as strong as I could and give my best.
The support that I had on the course was crazy fun! The two loop design made it spectator friendly. Our neighbors were at a point that was closer to the initial turn around mark. They always have so much enthusiasm and huge smiles on their faces! I saw them four times. My mom and Kathy made it down to run course as well (I was not expecting that) and was kind of mid-point on the main road of the run course. I saw them three times and they were great! One of the other runners commented how the support from my mom was awesome (after their perfectly loud cheers), which made me smile again! I saw friends at the start of the second loop (which is super close to the finish line). The spacing of my awesome supporters out on the course was perfect! I lost count of how many times I saw Tony and Tim, because they kept popping up!! I also saw my friend/fellow racer, Daryl, twice during the run and he looked strong!
Needless to say, I felt extremely LOVED and SUPPORTED at a time that was very hard. Tony said that I looked good and I tried to smile when I saw the camera, but as I mentioned a few times during the run, my legs felt like that were 3,000 or 30,000 pounds (I think I quoted both numbers at different times on the course). While it was hot (and really no relief at all from the sun), I think I hydrated well and keep my body temperature from getting too high (ice, ice baby). I tried to maintain the run and the few times that I walked (not at an aid station), I counted to 10 before running again.
As I hit the last mile, I saw mom and Kathy and that gave me the final boost that I needed to finish strong. I was so ready for that chute…I remember so well from 2013 and it was spectacular! As I turned onto Fayetteville Street and followed the arrows to the right side (the left side is for the start of the second loop), I was relieved. A friend from the Tri Shop jumped out for a high five and I saw Daryl (he finished earlier) who was cheering with Tony and Tim.
I crossed the finish line and there is no better feeling of accomplishment and pride for giving my all and digging deep.
My got my medal, finishers’ hat and food and out of nowhere another friend from the Tri Shop ran up and gave me a huge hug. This was the first time I saw him, so that was a complete surprise. Tony and Tim were right there for soaking wet and sweaty hugs (I warned them, but no one cared). I was thrilled that my third 70.3 distance was done!
Post race is always fun. Beaming from the excitement and chatting about everything that happened. Another friend, Michelle, made it out to the finish for support and congratulations. Mom and Kathy also made it to the finish line area (they did not make it to watch me finish, but I am glad I saw them so late on the run to give me the final push). I am so thankful to be able to participate in this amazing sport and so incredibly lucky to have the support from family and friends that I had that day. SO AWESOME!
I had many goals heading into race day. The first was to improve each leg over my race from 2013. Even though every race is different, this is something I was aiming for and accomplished. Secondly, I wanted to go sub-6 hours overall. I missed that goal by 2 minutes and 13 seconds, but I gave it my all. Third, I really wanted to run a sub-2 hour half marathon. This was a “stretch” goal, but I thought I may be able to get it, if I had a great race. While I fell short of the time goal, I know it I will hit it one day.
Swim: 50:25 T1: 5:07 Bike: 2:58 T2: 6:50 Run: 2:13 Total: 6:14
Swim: 50:21 T1: 3:00 Bike: 2:55:37 T2: 5:53 Run: 2:07:21 Total: 6:02:12
Division Rank: 38/151
Gender Rank: 185/699
Probably like most, I do a lot of reflection after a race. I think about the things that went well and the things that I hoped would go better. But, I don’t have regrets. You make decisions over the day and you can’t second guess them days after. Those decisions are often made when you are feeling great or feeling low, but you have to have faith that you made the best decision you could at the time. I am proud of my day and thankful that I strive for big goals and challenge myself in this way.
I am thrilled to report that our house guest, Cait, finshed as the third pro woman. Even more impressive is that she had the fastest run of the day by a female! We thoroughly enjoyed hosting her during her time in Raleigh. She was so down to earth and fun to talk to. She had some really great stories to share too! I hope our paths cross again sometime in the future!
Kudos to Raleigh for another great showing at the IM 70.3. The volunteers were amazing and the course was lined with supporters throughout Pittsboro, Fuquay, Apex and Raleigh. I have read so many compliments from various racers and it makes me proud that my hometown can support this great event!
This covers the last of my Raleigh 70.3 training. I am pleased with how these last 4 months have gone. I feel prepared for race day and know that I was committed to my training and gave it my all. Headed into another race, that is where I like to be. I never want to have regrets that I did not do enough or feel under prepared. That is just me and how I like to approach things. Whatever race day has in store for me will be what it will be but I will give it all I have to give.
PM: My focus lately had been on longer sets, whether in the pool or the lake, so I figured I would throw in some variety and mix things up a bit with some shorter sets. Completed 2500 feeling ok…after a very active weekend, my body was still catching up.
Since it was Tuesday, it was another group ride with TriLife. This ride never disappoints and that night was no different. We had some bad weather move through late in the afternoon, but luckily, the rain was gone by ride time. We delayed the start by a bit, to allow the roads to dry some. We hit some wet areas, but overall not too bad. The weather was SOOOOOO muggy, but we knocked out 25 miles and another fun ride was in the books.
After fighting commute traffic, I barely made it on time to join in with the group at Falls Lake for the open water swim. SINCE I did have a frustrating drive, the swim was exactly was I needed. This swim really showed how important it is put a bad session behind you and just focus on the here and now. After Sunday’s
less than stellar poor OWS, this one was good for the psyche. I enjoyed being in the lake and it felt good.
AM: I had another go at my current tempo pace. I have been working hard to “break through” with this pace and I just keep giving it my best. This run ended up being very similar to my last few. I was able to hold the pace for 22 minutes and then had to slow the pace a coupe of times to maintain my heart rate range. I competed 35 minutes of tempo. I will continue to work at this as I know that, with time, I can get my goal of an hour at this challenging pace.
PM: There was a very small turn out for the group ride. Typically, Thursday nights are a smaller crowd, but there were only three of us riding. I was actually surprised because the temperature was gorgeous. Upper 60s….what a treat! One of the guys riding was one I typically pair up with anyway, so the smaller group was not an issue at all. I was feeling heavy legs on the ride, but none the less, I enjoyed the 22 miles on a beautiful night!
41 mile ride. Two words can describe it…TOUGH DAY! I can’t remember when I have had such a difficult ride. My legs never got the memo that they were being summoned to ride well. I have been riding so well lately and loving every minute of it. I guess it takes a day like this to keep everything in perspective and despite having gains and making progress, the days that you have to overcome can pop up anytime. As Tony commented…”better today than race day”…I could not agree more!!
The last long run of my training plan. To be completely honest (and that is why I have this blog), I was not excited about this run at all. I think the ride from Saturday had me doubting that I would have a solid run on Sunday. The plan was not to push hard, but really go on how I was feeling. Tony suggested we run in the surrounding neighborhoods which meant a fairly challenging course. I tried to mentally just push my doubts aside and give it my best. To sum up this run, I will say that the body can really throw you curve balls. I had a stellar run and felt on top of the world when I finished. To add to that, my first mile and last last were my two fastest! YES!
Total training time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Swim: 4,665 yards
Bike: 88.3 miles
Run: 13.5 miles
This current week, May 25, is my taper week headed into Sunday’s race.
Since it was Memorial Day, I was able to take advantage of hitting the pool in the afternoon. After a warm-up, I completed one 1500-yard set, followed by a cool down. I felt good and smooth in the water.
40-minute spin on the trainer. I used the Spinervals DVD called “No Slackers” and it is always a good, solid workout.
On a side note, we have a house guest for the week that is in town for the race. She is so generous that she offered the use of her recovery boots while she was here. I have tried these before and they are so awesome that I just HAD to take her up on the offer. So cool!
I planned to take my 5-mile run outside, but incoming storms prompted me to move to the treadmill. Once again, I was to run based on how how I felt, which ended up being pretty good. This was my last run prior to race day!
AM: 30 minute spin on the trainer. 5 minute warm-up, 20 minute steady, 5 minute cool down. This was a good last training spin of the week!
PM: 1500-yard swim. Mixed up some 200, 100 and 25 sets at varying paces. This was my final workout of my Raleigh 70.3 training plan!!
So, today is Friday and race weekend has begun.
Today and tomorrow will consist of packet pick up, getting gear organized and packed, prepping the bike (for Saturday check-in), eating well, HYDRATING and staying off my feet as much as possible. Overall, I feel ready for my third 70.3/half iron distance race. While I have some solid goals going into race day, ultimately, I want to give it my best, race smart and have fun! The weather may be one of the biggest challenges of the day, but one that everyone will have to contend with. At the end of it all, the key is this…