Friday, June 29, 2007

Back in the Saddle

As things have been very hectic I have not been as diligent with regards to this blog. I am currently missing blogs for ...

a) Willoughby Hills Du
b) Adam's Birthday Surprise Party
c) The Double Drop Falls
d) Tequila - No Te kill ya Night
e) Race Report for the not so Most Excellent Run 10K

Check that, they are not missing. They just don't exist yet. Ahhhh and with July (the month of 5 milers and the brink of marathon training about to begin I am in for hectic x 2!!!

I had one week of craziness with (4) races and (4) PR's followed by a week of easy easy training in which my butt barely got out of bed, followed by a crappy race and then 3 days of partying with only 2 days of cycling, although it was quality cycling and now I have turned over what appears to be a new leave.

I cycled in the afternoon for about 1:10:09. I did about 40 minutes at a decent pace and 30 for warm-up and cool-down. Around 9:00p.m. I hit a short swim until it was too dark to swim anymore and then transitioned into a short run around the shores until natured called. I made a decision to just run a loop to my house stop off in the bathroom for about 2 minutes, yes I timed it and then run for about 13 more minutes back to my truck.

Took my 3rd shower that day and felt happy about getting back on the horse. We do have a 5 miler in Canton on the 4th of July, but I am concerned about the Lorain Tri we are doing on the 8th. Clay's Park was not a good swim and I have refused to allow myself to bonk before I hit T1. Dr. J. did her Ironman, I can surely do a sprint....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ohio City Run Walk Crawl 5K

There is no way I am going to better my unofficial time of 25:10 from Wednesday. The heat was in full swing and my legs were not. I was feeling sluggish all day and even an ice bath did not seem to do any good.
I left early once again to get downtown by 5:30 as I knew parking would be a bit tricky. I remembered a lot across from Great Lakes and with luck there was a spot for me and parking was $5, much better than $10. They were still setting up the registration tables and only a few runners were here besides me so I took the time to walk to the square snap a few photos and just enjoy the scenery.
After, packet pick-up I headed off the find a bathroom. Just as I found one the phone rang. It was the Walrus. He was a bit lost. He had taken 2W instead of 90W so I did my best to direct him in and lead him to the oh so close parking lot. No worries.
We grabbed a map of the course which seemed to have a lot of turns and decided to run it as our warm-up. It was only 6:00pm we had an hour. The course was really really flat with one tiny incline toward the end of mile 1. There was not a ton of shade, but some and we found mile marker 1, 2 and the H2o stop with out difficulty.

Here is my question...When coming off a hard turn why is the H2o station always right after on the far side of the street???? I had previously missed H2O stops in races simply for that reason and was not going to waste time bee-lining back, but today I was ready. As we came down the last mile, which was pretty much a straight shot the Walrus indicated all the things I was thinking 1) This was not a PR course 2) Here is where the pain sets in 3) I better be running my ass off from here on out or he wouldn't talk to me for a month and a week 4) How are my legs going to be after running a PR just 3 days before???

We took some pics with other running buddies when we got back, discussed the route with them and stretched before lining up on the cobblestone. I watched the people at Great Lakes Brewery sitting in the shade drinking their beer and relaxing and started to wish I was one of them and crap I am not ready to run hard in ..... and then the race started....
I figured I had nothing to lose by pushing the pace the first mile so I went out hard. I did not have to wait long for the pain and heavy breathing to start. I tried to stay calm and not panic. This is what happens when you go out hard. Yeah, but will I have enough left to finish? Mile 1 - 7:39. I was elated. It was flat and it was faster than Wednesday.
The second mile was a bit rougher. I kept looking for W58th street while trying to relax, breathe, look up a bit so I did not look like a troll as the Walrus says and catch anybody in front of me. Finally, it came and I made the turn. The next turn is the H2O station and I was ready. I grabbed some and took about 2 sips and poured the rest on me, knowing if I overheated it would be all over. Mile 2 - 8:36, yup I knew I was going to pay for that first mile. One more to go though. It isn't over yet.
As I came down the long straight away I started thinking about what the Walrus said about the pain really starting here and what do ya know, it did. I knew he was on his way back to get me and I thought about slowing to recover a little, before he got to me and pushed me, but something said no, not today so I pushed forward. There he was. I hit the stop on my ipod and began listening to him instead of my tunes. Sometimes I really miss my tunes. My breathing was very labored and I was tiring at an exponential rate. We came to Mile 3 and he yelled at me to go get this girl about 5-10 feet in front of me at the corner. I could see 10-20 other people in front of me to struggling to finish, but he wasn't saying anything about running them down.
Now, I don't know where it came from or how the idea got in my head, but somehow I found it. I screamed at myself to just "GO," and with that I easily took that girl, but it wasn't enough, not today. I passed them ALL. I heard the Walrus behind me telling me to keep going and I did. I have not felt that fire in my heart or lungs for that matter in a long time. I was no longer breathing as I crossed the finsih. I was hyperventilating. I check my watch 25:01. Sweet, another PR to replace the Wednesday PR, but sh*t I missed a sub 25 by 2 seconds!!!! Blah!

The Walrus came running over and gave me a big hug and some water. He helped me to sit for a second and catch my breath. He too had gotten another PR, 17:48. Awesome, I was so proud of him. He went for a cool down with some friends and I caught my breath and then went for my own with MT.
At the awards MT managed to get 3rd in our AG even though it was 10 years again and not 5, while the Walrus had managed to pull out a 1st in his AG. A few of my other friends had grabbed some PR's on this course today too and we all decided to stick around a have a beer to celebrate, even though I had less than 12 hours until my first Duathlon.
I made it home before 10:30pm and jumped in for a quick ice bath, hoping it would help for tomorrow. I started packing my gear and although I was trying to focus on the next race tomorrow my thoughts kept going back to my new PR. I was happy I got it, but a 2 seconds, 2 seconds. Then the official results came out on Sunday afternoon....24:58. Oh my God, I did it. I broke 25. I have never been so happy to have my watch run slow. I called the Walrus who was taking a nap after the hellish Duathlon we had just done and woke him. "Guess who broke 25, " I said. Of course he knew, "You did. Awesome job Baby! Now it is time to break that 24." And all I could think, "YES IT IS TIME!"

Monday, June 18, 2007

Flag Day 5K

I was hoping the race results wouldn't take forever. It has now been almost a week and unfortunately no results yet. So here is the unofficial "rundown."

I got to the race very early, about 5:45pm in hopes of getting a good parking spot and having lots of time to check out the course and warm-up. I walked up a very very large hill to registration. This hill was going to be a challenge to run up if it was part of the course. I ran into some old friends and chatted with them after picking up packets for me and the Walrus.

I hit a very slow warm-up for about 20 minutes and ran out and back through the Deepwood Center and up a very small hill as compared to the one on the way to registration. I saw a lot of "fast" people here and thought today was going to be rough to place in the top half of runners. There was a cash purse for anyone that could set a new course record for men or women. Note the men's course record is 14:54 and the women's is 16:43. Those times are extremely fast. There are only two people that can run those times and they are the ones that set the records. It was also hot and sticky and I never have run well in the heat. I had tried a couple hard runs in the heat only to cramp and feel like my guts were going to explode. A PR was only a small thought in my mind. I was concerned with finishing and not feeling like sh%t.

I jogged up the big hill to the start and met up with some friends. I saw a course map that showed we ran down the big hill twice and up the backside through the woods in which the grade was a lot less significant. This was a good sign. The race was not chipped so I had to start up toward the front, so as not to lose too much time. There were some speeches and the national anthem and then the gun went off....

The first mile was one of the fastest I have ever done. I was like a rocket, along with everyone else down the hill. I hit the bottom and slowed to set into my pace, but was already breathing hard. Uuuuuggghhhh, this was gonna hurt the whole the way around. It was too late now I was going to have to finish what I had started. I tried to focus on keeping my ragged breathing as regularly ragged as possible and using my arms to drive me forward. I was almost at the first turn when I saw a car do a U-Turn and turn right into all of us runners. I was already cranky from running too hard, so I used what little breathe I had to yell "you f*cking #sshole!" Luckily, no one was hit and he had to drive behind all the runners for about 3 minutes. I saw the Walrus on his way back and I tried to refocus on my running. I got to the first mile at 7:43. Yeah, that was really fast for me. I figured the big downhill had helped with that but I knew I was hurting a little too much.

The second mile was a little uphill and there was another hairpin about halfway. I was having a really hard time moving my legs forward and not dropping form. I tried to focus on the runners ahead of me and noticed many of them had gone out hard too. I picked a couple off as I came back down the hill to the straight. I made the turn and felt a little better. I hit the 2 mile marker and although I knew it was slow at 8:28, I wasn't giving up. As I passed the finsih, I saw the fastest runners coming down the big hill. I didn't see the Walrus and I had to turn off the road to hit the woods for my final mile. I was not happy, but then there he was coming down the hill with another runner. He was running with everything he had just 1 or 2 steps behind the other runner. I couldn't help myself. I started screaming at him to run that guy down and get him. He passed by me and I couldn't see his finish, but I hoped my yelling had helped.

I hit the trail to the woods and uphill it went. My legs were like lead and my lungs were on fire. I could see a couple more people in front of me and barreled forward. I caught 2 or 3 more runners. I thought if I could just push a little longer I and get through the woods it would litterally be all downhill from there. I was mistaken, they had thrown another quickie trail in the course, but it was fairly flat and I passed another guy. Okay, I thought this is it, pick-it up. I ran through a water sprinkler a volunteer was holding and thanked him and then took off with everything I had left. I came down the hill, and saw the Walrus running up. He yelled something at me, but with my headphones I couldn't here. I was so focused on busting my ass down the hill to get the finish I just ignored him, but I was glad to see him. I could tell by his face he had broken his old PR time. I hit the bottom of the hill and could see the finsih about 150 meters or so. "Hold on, " I told myself. I did something I had never done before, I closed my eyes. I willed myself to run and pumped my arms so it would help pull my legs. I was almost done. C'mon keep going and don't look at the clock, just get to the cones. I forced myself through to the cones and hit the split, but wait the guy I passed ran by me to the guy collecting the BIBs and turned it in ahead of me. WTF???!!! Oh great, the shoot was before the finsih not after and I still had to run for another 5 seconds or so. Sh#t, I didn't know this because I had my headphones on and couldn't hear the volunteers. Apparently the first female had done the same thing along with a few other runners. My watch said 25:06. That was a PR by 34 seconds!!! I know I did not waist that much time walking through the shoot so I still got my own PR today. Wow!!!

I saw the Walrus and ran over to him with the good news. He had a big smile on his face and he knew something I didn't. "Did you get it?" he asked. "Yup I did!" and then I jumped on his back and gave him a big hug. He laughed and told me he hadn't stopped his watch and when he saw me he knew if I could hold on I would PR. I asked him what his time was and his smile got even bigger...17:52!!! I couldn't have been happier.

I hit a quick 10 minute cool-down and chatted with some friends to find out they had run great races too and then I hit the post race food. They had these awesome double chocolate chip muffins, pasta salad, rice and beans. It was so good. The Walrus won his age group and although my age group was 20-29 while everyone elses was 5 year age groups e-speed still pulled off an age group award. What a great frickin' night. I just need the official time now :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Where I belong

Perhaps I am now just beginning to understand the value of crosstraining. I have been injured on and off since my marathon last year with pulled and torn muscles, tendonitis and just plain slow recovery from workouts. However; I have cut my mileage significantly. I am only running about 3x a week and maybe 20 miles if I am lucky. Needless to say the sharp stabbing pains I was having everday have been reduced to nagging reminders that last about a minute in the morning. I have added a couple hours of cycling to my regiment be it on the trainer or outside. I have also discovered I am more like a drowning rat than a turtle in the water and have opted to swim in the open water here at home instead of the pool. I am hoping it will better simulate a tri and help me relax in the water and keep my rythm.

I have always wanted to focus more on my tri workouts anyway, but I really wanted to get faster and qualify for Boston this year too. I guess what works for others is not what will be working for me. I have tried to stick to my schedule from last season, but I wasn't getting faster and when I tried a new plan with higher mileage my injuries flared up. I am still getting in the mileage I want as long as I equate a 1/4 mile swim to a 1.5 mile run and 2-3 miles of biking is about 1 mile of running. I am feeling stonger and I have lost 10-12 lbs. I would like to lose a minimum of 5 more pounds and add in some yoga.

This plan seems to be working as I did indeed PR last night in my 5k and not by a little. I unofficially beat my time by about 30 seconds. That is later to come in my Flag Day 5K race report though. There is a quote I like that says "if what your doing works, great, but if not change it." I have had to change my training a lot this season, but maybe now with some fine tuning I will be able to rundown that sub 24:oo minute 5K and qualify for Boston. The road ahead doesn't look very hard. It looks like the next step up from that!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

NEO Clay's Park Triathlon: TRI try Again!!! (500yd swim, 13 mile Bike, 5K run)

What a PERFECT day to kick my own ass!!! Today was the NEO Triathlon kickoff that I and the Walrus had signed up for. The drive was about an hour away down at Clay's Park in N. Lawrence and the sun was out with little humidity. We arrived around 7am and checked our gear. I double checked my my tires and the air was low. I had brought my tire pump, but it blew up and the HeadMaster let me borrow his thankfully, but another mishap - I busted the valve stem. CRAP!!! Well, I was just going to have go with my tires a little low and hope for the best. I racked my gear and walked down to the water hoping it would not be cold. Aaahhh, it was not bad at all.

The Swim - Out to the left and back (basically 3/4 of a rectangle). There was some funky green/blue dye in the water so it was impossible to see anything, but since I wear contacts I needed my goggles. The men up to age 39 started first, followed by the 40 and older men 5 minutes later and then all the women at once.
Some of the men were so good about 10 or so were out of the water before we even got started. I was hoping the Walrus was at the front of the pack but there were a bunch of guys in black spandex and no tops coming out of the water. I told some friends good luck and we were off. I waded in fairly deep before I started my stroke. I was trying to pretend like I was in the pool, swimming at a relaxed pace for 20 up and backs. Yeah, I am not very good at lying to myself. I just couldn't relax and find my rythm. I made it to the first yellow buoy and thought, "how the hell am I going to make it through the next 4 buoys when I am already in distress." I flipped on my back and said screw it. I made it to the next buoy and realized I could stand up. I took the opportunity to run through the water and give my arms a break. I even managed to pass 2-3 girls who were still stroking away. I made the turn to come back and again had to flip on my back half way back to the shore. I thought about swimming to one of the kayaks and throwing in the towel, but what would have been the fun in that, so I kicked it out and finally made it to where I could run to the short and up to transition. Time: 12:42, not too bad. Goal was to be out before 15 minutes, but I was so so so not relaxed or refreshed as I had planned I knew the road ahead was going to be a rough one.
The Bike - I patiently hurried through transition making sure I did not forget to put on a sock as I had in the last tri. We had put our bikes on the front rack so I could walk right out onto the course, but I was redirected to the exit one over, so I had to make a big U to get out to the road where I could mount and clip-in. SIDE NOTE: I just got my clip-ins this week and am actually fairly decent at clipping in and out already. I clipped in fairly easily and grabbed my gatorade in hopes of making a decent time on the bike. Mile 1 had loose stone everywhere so we were instructed to be very cautious, of course it went right into a climb on the left as soon as you make the turn. Here we go.... The walrus and I had viewed the course pics earlier in the week so we new there was this HUGE hill called Manga G'Langa. I pedaled up the first one and thought, well that can't be it. The next mile was up and down and then.... there it was. I saw the first cyclists coming back up the hill. I was on the down. I was glad it was that way. I knew what I was in for now and I also had more time to recover from the swim provided there were no more killer hills. I started counting riders and then there he was. The rookie Walrus was 11th. Hot damn, my boyfriend is like a frickin' SuperHero. He looked comfortable and relaxed. I knew he was tired, but I knew he had not yet even come close to tapping the reserves yet. The next 3 miles were fairly flat and I did pass a couple people men and women. Another new toy for my bike this year was a computer, a TREK Incite 11i. It has a trip meter and I was really close to 6 miles. I kept looking ahead for the turnaround. It finally came in the form of a guy in the street waving a flag "saying nice and easy go around me." I laughed to myself. This is cake doing a U-turn on a bicycle, thinking back to when I had to do it on a motorcycle a few years ago for my license. I was starting to feel better and finally hit my rythm. The next 3 mile flew by and I kept my pace around 18-19mph. I made the turn back to Manga G'Langa and thought. Just get up the hill and your home free. ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: I have learned I am not a good climber and I need work, but I have learned I can run up a hill and push a bike faster than trying to pedal it at times and it allows me to stretch my legs. I made a snap decision. I know it said 13 mile bike but no one would know I ran less than 100 meters, so I unclipped and started hoofing it. I did get passed on the hill, but it was okay I was just enjoying the experience. I was back on the bike and went up and down a few hills and crested the final hill back to the transition area. I jumped off my bike excited I was almost done with my first sprint. Time - 52:37. I wanted to be a little faster, but with all the hills I couldn't complain.
The Run - I jogged through transition to drop off my cycling gear and spotted the Walrus talking to someone. They had both already finished and I still had the run ahead of me. I was a little envious. I racked my bike and switched shoes. This time I did not have to make a U-turn to leave transition. I was about 10 feet from the transition exit. I hit the run with legs of lead. Uuuuugggghhhh!! Well, just give it some time they usually loosen up. The sun was hot and bright by now. I was almost wishing I had taken off my tri top and run in my sports bra. Too late for that now. I saw the HeadMaster about a 1/4 mile into the run and yelled a few words of encouragement to him. The run was through the campgrounds on and off the roads and trails. There was some shade and I hit my first mile at 9:17. Not really a good pace, but it could be worse and maybe I will be able to pick it up a little the next mile. I took some water at about 1.25 miles and thanked the boy kind enough to pass them out and ran up a little hill to the turnaround. I was feeling tired, but excited I was almost there. I saw the Walrus and HeadMaster with a little less than a mile to go and they yelled at me to keep going. I finally made the turn back to the finsih and saw the clock. I picked it up for about 200 meters. My legs were really heavy, but I crossed the finish. Time - 28:22. YEAH!!! I did it. Unofficial time 1:37:36. The Walrus took 3rd in his age group in his first Tri. I am so proud of him. I am definately up for improving a lot on my time.

The Walrus and I got home around 11:45am and sat outside in the sun and discussed the morning events over a few cold beers. We both hated the water, struggled up the hills on the bike and ran with legs that seemed to be filled with lead. It was FUN. We are both looking forward to doing our next one. But first I needed a huge powernap.
Sprint Tri Goal: Sub 1:30.

1 - Relax in H2O
2- Keep rythm in H2O with freestyle stroke
3 - Many more power intervals and hill work on cycle
4 - Decrease time in T1 and T2 (specifically T1)
5 - Increase anaerobic threshold (long runs, tempos, speedwork)

If that doesn't work other possibilities...
blood doping
sub motorcycle for bicycle
take chip from the Walrus right before his finish

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Couch Potato Alert

It is now Thursday and I have logged 0, yup ZERO miles for the week running. I don't think I have had a week like that since I was sick in March. I have been tired and at work every night until at least 11pm. I did manage to get in a few hours of cycling and I am hoping that with this blog I will stop being a wussy and woman up. The plan is to go to work tonight, coach my kids and get the heck home so I can cycle for 30-60 minutes depending on how the CAVS game is going, hit a 5 mile run and jump in the lake for a 30 minute swim. Wow, that's more in one night than the whole week, but I know we all have these moments. Timeouts are allowed. Quitting is not an option.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Yates 5K

Not a bad day for a run, but do I really want to get out of bed at 6:00am? Yup. I quitely slid out of bed and went down to make coffee for me and the Walrus and pull my bike off the trainer so he could warm-up with a 20 minute pre-race ride. He however; did not even get out of bed for another 20 minutes due to some nasty sinus inflammation. We packed our gear and headed for Solon High School around 7:10am. I grabbed my usual coffee and strawberry donut from D&D and wolfed it down in less than 2 minutes.

Although we were an hour early, at least 100 people were already there. We had not pre-registered and as we walked into the school apparently so hadn't many others. Normally, I do but with my leg I had been debating until that morning and now I stood about 15 people deep in line.

After getting my Bib I went to the bathroom grabbed my headphones and went out for an easy 2 mile warm-up with MT. We headed to the starting line which was the 300 meter mark on the track and found the race to be delayed until 8:45am due to lightning! MT and I did not care though. We were short and figured, it was highly unlikely we would be the ones to get hit so on with the race we thought, but no dice. We decided to jog around the track and got in a little more stretching before start time. The race finally started and I hung back for almost 2 minutes waiting for people to clear out of the gate at the 100 meter mark on the track before starting out. This was much easier to wait than try to weave my way through a couple hundred other weaving people to the exit gait. Mile 1; 8:28 split - not bad. I wasn't breathing hard and I felt really good. My body was relaxed and my leg was holding up nicely. Sweet, on to the next mile. I saw the Walrus right after that looking relaxed and in 11th place about 50 seconds behind the leader. He was going for a PR today and I was thinking he might just get it. I grabbed some water and ran around the block and back to the second mile marker. Mile 2; 8:28 split - wow and I had told myself to slow down and focus again on my breathing. I figured I had too much time to make up for a PR this race, but I figured I would at least run strong until I got to the school and then work on my kick and see if I could chase down a couple people. I saw the 4 stop signs MT and I had been joking about before the turn into the finish and could tell I was pushing the pace a little unconsciously because my stomach began to act up a little. Great, here we go. It is always something I thought. Well, NOT today. I kept my breathing steady, relaxed my shoulders and focused on moving my arms in rythm with my legs. I told myself at the gate .... "it's on, I am gonna push until the finish and not let go. I will hold on no matter how much it hurts." Well, I hit the gate and took off. I passed 1, 2 3, then 4, uuuggghhh, this is hurting I have to slow, but no I wasn't going to slow. I was going to gut this out literally if I had to. Today, puking was an option!! I crossed the finish mat and hit my split, 8:47. My total time was 25:42 and that was a PR for the year. I missed my overall PR by 2 seconds. Holy sh#t! I had run much better than I thought I could have.

I went for a quick cool-down and ran into MT and the Walrus. They both ended up with 2nd places in their AG for the day and it turns out my official time was 25:41, only 1 second off my PR time. Not too shabby for a race I had only planned on running at the last minute. I am now renewed and refreshed and ready to blow my old PR out of the water, but first I have my first sprint triathlon to tackle this Sunday with the Walrus, who is doing his first ever tri.