Monday, June 24, 2013

In which I race. For 2 miles. And run 20. And do a Half.

Alternate titles:
-In which I set a Half PR for 2013 which is still about 15 minutes off my good pace.. (keep in mind the ONLY 1/2 I've run so far was Quassy, it was 90, etc etc...)
-In which I use another race as a training run....
-In which I realize it is time to post some pics of me looking cute. Not today though!
-In which I sweat more than I have sweat since Quassy
-Gross, just gross...

You get the idea.
There was a bib with my name on it for Bands on The Run yesterday, a half in Lewiston that got solid negative feedback from everyone I talked to after last year. Since yesterday went fine I imagine they took the feedback to heart and made some big changes (plenty of volunteers at turns- and there were many turns- brightly painted roots on the trails- and there were many roots- plenty of water and Gatorade at the rest stops. All and all I had nothing to complain about.)

I'm not in a racing way right now. I'm training damnit! And I had a long run on the schedule for yesterday that looked better when I added aid stations to the equation. So off I went.  

I got there early and ran 5 miles.
It was only about 70 but was 95% humidity. And rained off and on.

I made it to the start barely on time but didn't care that I was in the WAY back of the pack since the goal was to do miles, not race. Honestly, it was not ideal though as my 1st mile was something ghastly like a 9:35 because I COULD. NOT. MOVE. no moving. all walking. grumpy.
In frustration I snuck thru the traffic jam at mile 1 and never looked back. In retrospect I should have counted the people that I passed again.
Anyway. The first 3 miles felt like they took forever. I have no idea why, because other than the sweat running down my bod nothing was wrong. The course was a little strange. Lots of twists and turns, quite a bit of narrow trail with some pretty steep sections. A long stretch of ass boring road around mile 5 which, after a sharp left turn basically went straight UP, prompting the lady next to me to exclaim "FUCK!" which made me laugh out loud.
I wasn't paying a lot of attention to my pace but knew I had locked into my happy go to pace of around 8:30 or so. Whatever. I was coming to a full on halt every 2 miles to drink a bunch of Gatorade (better luck with this than water as I suspected- no leg cramps today.) The final few miles were a study in strange. We did a loop thru a housing development of sorts, in and out of some trail with lots of rocks and hills and THEN into a huge cemetery. "Well THIS doesn't bode well!" I said to a person running next to me. Who was clearly suffering and was in the right place.
I got pretty sick of the whole running in humidity so turned it up a notch and ran the last 2 miles at a 7:35 or so. Big speed. Award winning even... If nothing else I did kind of enjoy my 2 mile "race" and was glad that my legs could kick it up going into what was mile 17&18 on the day.
I finished (my watch read 1:49). I was pleased with that since it was in the middle of a 20 miler! I ate a slice of watermelon, failed at conversation because so much sweat was in my eyes that I couldn't act like a normal human, and then proceeded to run 2 final miles. BLAH!

This is how I felt about my sweaty stinky body! GROSS!!!!!!

I did not puke, quit running or cry. It was an amusing run, a rather unusual course, and a good way to get a long run in. And it was hot. Good for acclimating to summer...?
While this might not be an ideal course if you're a first timer looking for flat, reassuring surfaces it was a fun course for people who love rocks, hills,  danger and death (kidding! I'm referring to the cemetery, haha!) There was a ton of food at the finish (that I sadly did not partake in) and it looked like they had some kind of obstacle course set up to keep the kids entertained. From what I have heard, many improvements from last year.
I'm pleased with my results looking at the day overall. I definitely benefit from the race environment as it pertains to getting my speed up a bit (I know, I know long runs should be slow...) Mentally it is good to know that every long does not have to be at a 9:35 FML pace. Also, there is no doubt that a race situation helps me to avoid the boredom of solo high mileage- I really start feeling the ill effects of that now and then and need people to chase. So all in all a win :-)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Training for a 50K. So far, so good.

With The GCI Ultra looming on the horizon my Ultra training has begun in earnest.
I say this with my lying voice somewhat on, as I have probably been putting in the base work for this since December or so.
The real deal however, is that I have recently noticed a definite increase in the length of my workouts.
My Brilliant award winning coach seems to have devised a genius plan of having one of my long, slow, boring as hell runs actually be a mega miles bike excursion. Since biking is still a fun new adventure for me I think this is splendid. With the added benefit of lessening the pounding on my poor old legs.
However. Most of my cycling adventures have been in 50 degree drizzle.
Or an ass kicking thunderstorm, which equals unbridled terror.

A quick example of what my workouts have looked like (this was last week)
Monday: Track ladder
-1600 @ marathon pace
-1200 @ 1/2 pace
-800@ 10K
-400 @ 5k
1600@ marathon (warm up, cool down)
-And 30 minutes of core
Tuesday- Rest (yeah, on my "rest day" I'm usually on my feet teaching for 8-10 hours. Fail..)
Wednesday- 2 hour (30 mile) Bike with drills
30 minutes core/foam roll
Thursday- 50 minute (6 mile) Base run
Added drills, including high knees, skipping, vines, etc
Friday- 2:45 endurance run at easy pace (so, 18 miles at 9:00)

Post long run to my BFF's house.
Tired and sweaty but alive.

Saturday: 1 hour easy bike (so just over 15 miles or so) (and it was awful!)
30 minutes core/foam rolling
Sunday- 2 hour endurance run at "absurdly easy pace" (ok....)
This turned into a 12.5 miler with some fairly decent hills.
It was not exciting...
I'm feeling fine. Yeah, I am a little tired but my legs are holding up well and thus far there is not even a hint of pain or a suggestion from my bod that it is preparing to fall apart. I feel that this is good news.
I have been asked what my goal time is for GCI and I don't have that answer yet. I'll mull it over and throw some numbers out there soon just for the hell of it.
And on a final note.
I found the perfect athletic wedding cake!
Of course, we haven't set a date or made ANY plans but to me, the cake is critical!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

In which I am a Pirate Tri cheereader. ARGGGGH!

I believe "AAARRRGHHH!" Is the only correct thing to say if you have been spectating the Pirate Tri. Seriously dudes, it's all about the Pirates. There were a bunch of 'em. And some wenches. AND damn ship and a cannon. IT WAS LEGIT.
And we all know I love pirates. I named a cat Pirate Ship one time for heavens sake...
I was excited to be a superstar cheerleader for a change because I have been slacking on the Sherpa duties lately. This was also a killer race to spectate because a TON of my friends were there, basically ALL of the TSA Triathletes, My own BADASS coach (who won her age group. yeah, those are the fun facts that she "forgets" to mention on her FB page. If I finish a race I brag. The woman WINS shit and nary a mention. GAH!)
And Eric, obviously was there to PR or ER.
I can never find specific people when they are all dressed like neoprene penguins.
(I can find Eric. Sometimes.)
Until wetsuits are more flattering I refuse to learn to swim.
Yes, that is my excuse of the day.

It was a perfect day for a race, with temps in the 60's, beautiful sunshine and a light breeze.
After the treacherous conditions at Quassy you had better believe I was envious...
By the way, nothing about the swim here encouraged me to get on that shit and learn how to do it. When the women in my age group took off it was total chaos- a teeming, surging, flailing (and kicking) mess of bodies, chaos and blood (well, there probably wasn't blood. but in my imagination there was.) Evidently it did not subside and word on the street was that it was a challenge. Since I am challenged to swim in a kiddie pool, solo, with a noodle I still maintain that I am going to pass on any swimming events.
Eric had a good swim, and came in right in the time he had hoped for- give or take a couple of seconds. It was impossible for me to find any more of my friends as there is no differentiation between wetsuited bodies.

Eric sped off on the bike, wheeeeee!!!!

The bike at a sprint tri hardly takes any time but I still had a little time to watch a bunch of my peeps head out on their bikes. I also saw a few unfortunate and bloody tumbles onto the pavement. This time I am not lying about the blood. It was there!
I found friends. Exchanged the usual training war stories.
After almost exactly 45 minutes Eric zipped by on the bike, FLEW thru transition and was OFF! 

There he goes after a 37 second transition! Hold crap!

I watched a few of my friends, Kelsey, Eric's coach Denise and about a bazillion TSA people head out on the run and then I decided to try to find the finish before Eric got there. It was a good thing I moseyed on off when I did, because it was a bit farther away than I had anticipated.

He finished the run in 22:45. FAST
Total time was 1:19:36 for 11th in his AG. SO CLOSE to top 10!
But a NINE minute PR, Hello!!!

Obviously we had to take an annoyingly cute selfie..

We watched ALL our friends finish (and finish strong!) We took selfies (obvs), ate some snacks, high fived the TSA peeps on some legit top placing's, then headed to Katherine's camp mansion for waffles and beer.
Well. I had to run 8 miles THEN I had my damn beer and waffle brunch.
So do I have Triathlon race envy? Absolutely. UNTIL I look at the "short, tiny, easy" swim and realize it is about 99% farther than anything I'm comfortable with. So for the time being, landsports it is... 

Friday, June 7, 2013

May Recap!

YAY! A finish line photo from Quassy!!!
I look like I'm about to die.
Please note the awesome tan lines that I'm going to get from my most favorite bra (Oiselle strappy for anyone curious- GO GET ONE. Or two. I need many more!)

So what happened in May...?

Running miles- 107 (yes, this is 90 miles fewer then in 2012. I'm more fit now than I was then. And uninjured. And all around badass!)

Cycling miles- 96 miles. Not bad for a noob :-)  Needless to say, I'm going to beat that amount before the first 10 days of June is over from the looks of things...

Core/Yoga- NOT ENOUGH. I vow to really up the core work in June.
Cute outfits? MANY!!! Thanks Oiselle for a skirt a tough girl can wear!

Times I quit running- 2. And I REALLY MEANT it on one occasion. It didn't stick though. 
Times I puked on my shoes. Zero. But I really, really wanted to a couple times...
Races run- 1. My epic Duathlon debut!
Hence, ONE PR! Hah!
Longest run- 14 miles. LAME!!! I wish ALL long runs could be 14 miles though. Not gonna lie.
And I looked damn good after. Per the norm.

The big takeaway message from the month of May is that when I start getting really busy with work I end up suffering a lot more than normal when I workout. My job is pretty physical and for a couple of weeks until I adapt I honestly feel downright resentful of having to workout for an hour or more at the end of a relentless 10 hour day. Luckily, I get used to it and get over my LEGIT first world drama. I am lucky that I have the leisure to pursue my athletic fun, and that I have a job to keep me busy (and hopefully keep me from living in a cardboard box!)
I always feel like quite the little princess of whiney-ville during the times when training seems like a terrible life choice. (it is during those times that I can see- but still not really understand- how people can fall of the exercise bandwagon... not me though, not me...) The good news is that once I start acclimating to the heat/busy days/exhaustion running and I become very good friends again!
And this is a good thing. Because GCI is looming on the Horizon....

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


So as expected the alarm went off at 4AM and Eric and Andy were instantly READY TO GO!
We told them to do just that as we needed 5 more minutes. Boys...!!
The first stop was coffee at Dunks, although we were clearly tempted by the fanciness that is McDonalds which was right across the street. Barf...
Brilliant FB post inspired by the grossness of Mickey Dees..

We noticed that the temp was already 72 degrees. "How can THAT be good??" Kate mused..
Shortly thereafter traffic came to a screeching halt.
Apparently leaving 5 minutes after the super twins did NOT pay off. They hit NO traffic!

Awwwwwwww shit.

Fortunately we had plenty of time and the traffic actually moved pretty smoothly along. Definitely a plus for the location- plenty of parking. And plenty of porta potties and a REAL bathroom for those of you who indulged in a McTriple...
One of the first things we noticed when we arrived was a very enthusiastic cheerleader of a guy, dressed in a cape and crown and just harassing the bejeebus out of people. My first thought was that he was the Burger King (my mind was still on the McTriple apparently) and for the rest of the day we saw the Burger King enthusiastically shouting at people. He was everywhere. And he was PUMPED.  It was funny and we want to know who he is and what's his story?!

We walked to the beach to watch the Pros start.
My Boston jacket is just denial, it was already quite warm. Muggy. A nice beach day!

Eric had already pumped up Kate's tires so we had plenty of time to take pics.

Stashing multiple water bottles.
Which would be gone by mile 3...
Notice the guy body gliding his balls in the background? Sorry dude... HAHAHA!
Oh Eric! So manly and tough!

I am always convinced that people are going to drown during the swim but I was less concerned when I saw that they had a party barge, about 40 kayakers and a bunch of paddleboarders playing lifeguard. What a paddleboarder would do is a bit of a mystery to me but perhaps they just act as a flotation device. If I ever swim I plan to just grab onto one of them and have them tow me in!

Off they go!!

Eric is never scared of swimming so he jumped in and took off in a sea of  churning orange capped bodies. Knowing we didn't have much time Kate and I hustled to the bathroom (for the 400th time) and devised a plan where I would scoot down to the swim finish and text her as Eric came out of the water. Then I'd RUN to the bike start to send her off!
Kate sent me some texts in the 4 minutes that followed.
Wise words.

We absolutely noticed that the relay teams were SERIOUS. Legit athletes. Shaved legs, backwards rhino helmets, body-glided balls, the works.
And the fight to avoid a last place finish began. BWA HAHAHA!
Right on schedule Eric leaped out of the water in 36 minutes, noting that the sun had gotten in his eyes making a straight swim a bit challenging. He was fast though and right on schedule! And good looking too which is a huge plus.
I sprinted to the bike start and yelled a bunch of useful things like "BE SMART DAMMIT! GO FAST BE CAREFUL WHOOOOOO!!!" And like an aqua streak of lightning she was off.

ZOOM! Off she goes!

We managed to fill the time with a variety of entertaining things. I drank a lot of water and Gatorade so I had to pee many times. We watched the pros come in off the bike and start the run which was exciting! I ate some food. We sat on rocks in the shade with Eric's coach and watched as some of our friends came in, hot and sweaty, from the bike. the word on the bike course was that it was "Hot, relentless hills and anyone who can manage it in 3.5 hours is a rockstar..."
About 3 hours after Kate left we started to formulate a plan for making the transition into the run since we really did not know when she'd be coming in. After Andy came thru we made a rough calculation, figuring that Kate went out 30 minutes after he did and she would need 20 minutes more on the course we concluded that if she had a PERFECT ride it would be about 12:10-12:20 when she arrived.
At 12:05 my butt was planted in the shade at the dismount line with the plan that as soon as I saw her I'd run to the bike rack. Much to our delight at 12:15 she cruised on in, hot and sweaty but good! No need for the med tent! I had no time to chat but as it turned out she had a very good ride over the brutal hills. Her finishing time was right in the 3:54 range so, as she had hoped, NOT ONE SECOND OVER 4 HOURS!!!
Apparently nobody loves me enough to take my picture as I run so I'm noticeably missing from my own blog!!! Sad face. I looked cute though and had a great outfit so hopefully I find some pictures later.
Anyway, off I went on the run. The first mile was really great because it was straight downhill. And THAT, my friends, was the ONLY downhill thru the whole course.
I can honestly say that it was the hilliest and hottest half I have ever run. I can't imagine coming into a race like this with a goal of being fast- it would have been rather demoralizing. Luckily, I had set reasonable goals for the day and knowing that gave me the ability to actually have quite a fun run. (fun is relative...)
That's not to be confused with easy though... I climbed the dirt road mountain at mile 4-5 and just had to laugh, it was brutal. Unrelenting. Around that time I started picking up fluids from the well stocked aid stations and just couldn't get enough down- I was already shockingly hot and the Gatorade was SO COLD that I instantly developed horrible side stitches. Regardless, I was better off than the poor triathletes who looked totally finished. I can not imagine trying to run after such a brutal bike course, they are a bunch of tough cookies. Who were tossing their cookies on the roadside, ugh I've been there.
I saw a LOT of people that I knew! I saw Julia twice who claimed to be hurting but looked strong. I saw quite a few people from TSA all of whom said the same exact thing "the heat is kicking my ASS!" I saw Big Tall Ben!  I also chatted a bit with some friendly strangers who hated me because I was running not walking, so I apologized many times for being a little cheating ahole relay runner. I counted that I passed 207 people (I had to do something to keep my mind off my misery!) (I did not count people who were vomiting I asked those people if they needed help) and I did not count people in the bathroom line. If I had done the full tri and a relay runner had passed me I might have kicked them so I tried to be quiet and not a little showboating jerk like I sometimes am :-) I did pass 2 relay runners and I did not apologize to them, haha...
The last mile was legit awful, straight up a hill and I was about cashed at that point.
The Burger King and his merry men totally jumped on me in the last 0.25 and ran me in with great enthusiasm! I was a bit discombobulated and totally missed seeing a whole flock of friends at the finish including Kate and Eric who found me shortly thereafter. Thank heavens as I was lost and wandering aimlessly...
My finish time was 1:51 and dudes, I was hot. I was fine but just radiating heat. The only logical thing to do was jump in the lake so that happened.
We met our goal of not coming in last as we finished 7th with a final time of 6:24:10. PHEW.
Once again, I can not fathom being a solo athlete facing such a course alone! Definitely not a goal of mine. But a giant congrats to the badass triathletes who conquered that beast of a course!!
All of us were pleased with how we did on such a tough day. When I asked Kate and Eric how they felt about it here is what they had to say:
Eric: "Well, the swim was very flat....!"
Kate: "The course was challenging, technical and at times unrelenting. But fun!" (what she actually meant if you read between the lines is BITCH SHIT HILLS!!!!
Despite the heat, etc it was a good fun event, well run, nice BIG medals, and lots of helpful people to answer questions which I always appreciate. I am VERY excited to do Rev3 OOB on an incredibly badass all women's team in August. from the looks of things it is considerably more flat and after this weekend that is music to my ears! (and a big congrats to Julia for her podium finish! super pumped to have you on the OOB team, it's gonna be incredible!)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rev3 Quassy, Heat, Hills and Humidity part 1

It has been a quiet few weeks (months?) in the racing department around here so even when we suddenly had a LEGIT 40 degree temp spike late last week it did little to deter my enthusiasm for the big 70.3 relay at Quassy.
Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that I'm not a big fan of the heat, especially when it is a huge shock (going from 52 on Wednesday to 95 on Friday. Hello?)
Just gotta roll with it sometimes kids, and stay hydrated!
Team Shut Up Legs
Me for the run, Kate for the bike, Eric for the swim.
Don't be fooled by out cuteness, we are terrifying athletic beasts!

Kate and I drove down on Saturday in 98 degree heat, we consumed an absurd amount of Scratch and water in an effort to get a jump on the hydration. We were already sweaty which led to conversations about chaffing, which led to discussion of rashes and how they make us uneasy, which rather bizzarly transitioned to chat of horrific communicable diseases and their symptoms. WHAT? Yeah, just a normal conversation for us.
When we arrived the first thing we said to Eric and Andy had something to do with HIV which was a good conversation starter. Sweet Jesus....
Luckily things got somewhat more socially acceptable after that..
They put on a damn good triathlon.
Please lower the heat next time though...

The lake was the best place to hang out as it was legit boiling out.

We got to know the lay of the land, took in the athletes meeting (which was actually worth staying for and for the first time in my life I listened... What is happening to me!?)
Part of my compulsion to listen was this was my first time doing a Tri relay and I didn't want to f**k it up. I also had my ears open on Kate's behalf as it was her first race EVER and I figured (as most older sisters do) that maybe she'd be too nervous to listen or would have inherited my inability to pay attention in athletes meetings. As it turned out, she was fine.
We chatted as a team about what we thought we could bring to the table in such warm weather. Eric was not concerned about his leg for obvious reasons (if he started dehydrating he could just gulp some lake water after all) but since it has been 30 degrees out here in Maine open water swims have been almost non existent. Eric is a very good swimmer though and could do 1.2 miles with one arm tied behind his back so his estimation of a 35 minute finish seemed very reasonable.
Kate is a strong biker but hasn't had many competitive opportunities thus far. She openly admitted to having a whole list of cop outs should she need them "I just gave blood! I have a really bad back! I am undertrained! (and after the discussion in the car we had diagnosed any number of vile illnesses... hahaha) She really, really wanted to make it around the course in 3:30 and since Eric and I are dinks we kinda said "ummmmmm. about those hills?" She was adamant that she would not go one minute over 4 hours, not ONE DAMN MINUTE. Unless her lack of blood/a good back/training got the best of her. :-)
I straight up suck at running in sudden onset heat (that's MY cop out!) So I decided to run the half in 2:10.
That is a lie.
I said if it was flat (it WAS NOT) I could run it in 1:45-1:50. If there were hills (THERE WERE) 1:50-1:55.
It was, after all supposed to be well into the 80's.

We saved this turtle who was trying to cross the road.
This might not seem to apply to my race report but I love turtles!
When I saw him almost die there was much screaming...
I picked him up so that he did not have to climb this mountain and he RAN back to the woods.
Then, forgetting my fingers were all turtle-y I ate some pretzels and got nervous that I had turtle germs, haha!

A Perfect name for our team!
And it was justified, as well.

We wrapped up night one with normal activities. Eating tons of carbs at the OG, having a car dance party to old school rap, not allowing Andy to go to sleep early as he had hoped for because we needed to chit chat, read, take online tests for school, drink a glass of wine, put on our race number tats, ya know the usual.
However, with a 4AM alarm set we all crashed eventually. Crashed is relative as we were all a little nervous that our number tattoos would end up stuck to the sheets. They were a bit tacky, and did stick a bit which was alarming if you wanted to roll over but they made it thru the night!
And how would we fare in the intense heat and humidity the next day? Would we all make it over the legendary hills? Would Eric be able to make his swim goal with only a tiny handful of open water swims in 2013? Would Kate's lack of blood allow her to motor on the bike? Would I puke on the run? Stay tuned for the answers to these pressing questions!