Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Trotting to a PR

I have been thoroughly enjoying the fact that I am back to swimming, biking and running. I have set no time limits on my runs and I have managed to keep my total mileage < 20 mpw until I get a better base. I do not want to spend any time hurt next year and I plan on building a foundation of mitochondria and muscle fibers even a chainsaw couldn't cut through!

I had done a 40 minute brick yesterday (20 min bike, 1:33 t2, run 18:02). I did not want to run too hard, just nice and comfortable to get in a solid workout and still save some for the Turkey Trot. I later that night managed to hook myself up with some shrimp and lobster chowder (mmm, yummy) and macaroni and cheese (pasta, gotta carb load). Oh, and 1 Bloody Mary and an Amstel Light (too make sure I was full up of course).

I had no intentions of running anywhere near a 42:00 minute 5-miler, let a lone PR, but sometimes you just feel it and there is no turning back. It was raining and windy so I really did not care to warm-up much. I jogged around the parking deck for about 10 minutes and decided to try a gel before the race with a bit of water. My only fear was my stomach would act up and I would cramp or my alter ego "MudButt" might try to rear her ugly head.

I saw a really sweet guy I used to coach at Velocity as the race started. I said hi, wished him luck and took off. The first mile was a bit congested with people sprinting by to get up to the front and other people falling back to talk and run a slower pace than me. For the most part I ran by a lot more people in the first mile than ran by me. I guess I should have started up closer, but I had planned on doing this as a training run and even when I race I am not much faster. Mile 1 - 8:18. It was about 30 seconds slower than my 5k first mile, but I wanted to make sure I had something left for the hill right after the 4 mile marker and I felt great.

The second mile was pretty much flat or downhill. There was a crosswind and the rain slapped us in the face a bit. I loved it. My windpants though did not. They took on water like a sinking ship and started flapping around my ankles smacking my other leg every time I stepped. Note to self - tights only in winter. I saw lots of people running together and chatting with a friend. I remember these 2 guys. The first guy was saying he did not feel too hot, but the other guy said they were running really well and not to give up. Ahh to have a motivator is so nice some times. Mile 2 - 8:05. I was warmed up now and apparently the gel was working. I just hoped I
wouldn't bonk and feel like crap coming into the finish.

Every race downtown it seems has to go down marginal and up W. 3rd (tha's the big hill). As we were running down on Marginal I saw ML plodding along ahead of me in his 8 layers and headphones. I waved, but of course he was in such a zone he too would PR later this day. I also looked for my friendly competitor CS. We are always joking about beating each other. I never have yet, but at our last 5-miler I almost got him. Today would be no different. Right before the 3 mile marker, sure enough there he was. I could only smile and laugh to myself. I thought about running by him behind some people and not letting him know I was there, but what fun would that have been. A little friendly competition never hurt anybody, so I ran over next to him and said "What are you doing back here? You don't run this slow." He smiled and said "You're right, Bye", and took off. I thought he was nuts we still had 2 miles to go, but he did slow after pulling ahead about 50 meters. I remained behind him, just trying to keep up a steady pace and not let the gap getting any bigger between us. Mile 3- 8:07.

One more to go and still feeling great. I was a little warm and new I had a fairly easy mile ahead. We ran up the little hill on marginal and continued on another flat, but windy section until we turn and get a brief downhill by the Browns stadium, which I had planned on using as a quick recovery before the HILL. The problem, it was so windy and yes it was a headwind going downhill with wet snow/rain in your face. I had to sprint ahead to the pack of people to tuck in behind them as best I could. It was definately helpful. My breathing was still holding, no major issues, but just the slight discomfort of knowing you have a little over a mile to go and its done so prepare to work for it. Mile 4 - 8:39. I am not really sure what happened here because it was right before the big hill. I am blaming the wind and maybe I purposely slowed to insure CS wouldn't pull me along to fast and bonk me.

Last mile started up the big hill. I had run it last week so I felt prepared and as it was it was a million times easier this week. Once again my focus was on pumping my arms to get me to the traffic light at the top. I always, always love the right turn you make onto the flat section after the hill. It is always a sign that I have made it through the rough part and now all I have to do is run to that glorious finish. I could feel the race itself pick up the pace at this point. I followed hoping everyone around me was pretty sure it was only another 1/2 mile. I stayed focused on CS's back and began to open my stride and stay relaxed. We made the turn to Lakeside (aka the finish) and I could see the crowd up ahead but not the finish.....hhhhmmm?? Was it right there or was I going to be deceived as I had at Johhny Cake? Well, better to try to hold on than have a bunch left, and secretly I knew I was close to a PR. I had no choice, I had to step up. I switched from a 5-mile runner to a 400 meter sprinter and headed for what I hoped was a PR. I began closing the gap on CS and passing a few people. One guy came up on me at my pace and tried to overstride by me, but no way. I am not going to let someone out sprint me. I hit the last of my gas and got him. Mile 5 - 8:27 (not too bad with a hill). CS was bent over when I got to him with ML. He asked me why I showed up to run these races. I laughed, gave him a hug and told him good job. Finish time on my watch was 41:36, a PR, but I did not feel I ran that hard and I thought I had messed up my watch so splits were unreliable. I would have to wait for the offical results....and there back 41:35. YEEEEEAAAAAA!!! I AM BACK and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!!!!

On a side note it is Thanksgiving and today I am thankful for the race, my friends my family, my little brother (who is in MS in the army, who's busy in Eucher tournament and will be going to war in a month) and the life I have and so much much more. Love YA :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Swim Free or Die Trying

Today I went to an awesome swim clinic...finally. I have been working on my swimming skills now for about a year, as it is part of the triathlon an unavoidable. I have managed to go from swimming 1 length of the pool and being out of breath to swimming back and forth, and back and forth until I decide I am done. However, I am by no means fast, but I am gonna be.

I learned fins are not my friend! I do not like wearing them. I drift to one side when doing drills without my arms and my toes curl out of habit and give me cramps.

We started with just kicks and rotation from side to side focusing on how the legs and trunk should rotate with each stroke almost 90 degrees and back, but the head should remain facing downward except when breathing. We then did 6 kicks on left with one stroke and 6 kicks on the right with a stroke and so forth. After floundering through that drill having my head out of position and forgetting to breathe we decided to advance to 6 kicks with 3 strokes each side (hahaha). I had think a lot more than I would have liked, but I did get in one or two good cycles. Finally got to stroke it out and put everything we just learned to the test. I can't say I was faster, but I did feel more efficient and smoother in the water.

The second half of our clinic was to grab a bite and something to drink and work on arms and tri specific swimming. We did a finger drag through the water, which I really liked. It was nice and relaxing. We also did 1-arm drills in which you breathe on the opposite side of the working arm. This is a scary sight. I lack the ability to breath on my left right now. Even when I stroked with the right arm I still breathed on the right. That drill is definately going to need lots of work. The last thing we covered was flip turns. I don't plan on doing any indoor tri's but "knowledge is power" - right? Well, first attemp to just flip I got water up my nose. SY said to blow out my nose on the flip to keep the water out and what do you know, It worked. Sweet!!! We then were instructed to swim at the cross on the wall and when we were about an arm's length away to flip and push off. This was in word UGLY. My timing was all off. I wasn't close enough to the wall and missed on a few flips and with no push off I did not make it to the surface so when I went to take a breath all I got was, yep you guessed it, water. At that point I decided to just swim a few easy laps, work on my form and call it a day. That plan worked much better for me. All in all had a great time and am very happy with the information I ganined and the people I met.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Miracle of Love

The couple above is Herman & Roma. He was a prisoner in a Jewish Camp and she would bring him an apple every day to eat until one day he told her he would be moved to another prison camp and to come no longer. Four hours before he was to enter the gas chamber at the new camp Russians liberated the camp and he was freed. He went to America upon his release and 14 years later went on a blind date. The woman told him how there was a boy she would bring an apple at a camp. He realized he was THAT boy and she was THAT girl. He immediately proposed to her and 64 years later still thanks her for bringing him food and for being with him. There love is as strong as ever.

I watched this on Oprah today and could not believe what a wonderful story this was. It made me smile from my heart to my lips. Hope this does the same for everyone else too.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

All Clear for Take OFF - HURRAY!!

After 2 trips to the doctor I am officially cleared to run. They can find nothing wrong with my foot.... hmmmmm??? OK, well I am tired of waiting. I feel like a general planning an attack except there are no guns (except the one's one's in my arms :) , and no soldiers, and no camo. Ok, but I am already trying to prep myself for 2008 as 2007 is pretty much over/shot. I might get in the Turkey Trot 5M and the Reindeer Run 5k, but after that it is sketchy.

I ran for 22min on Monday with none other than the Bails. I miss the furr ball and after spending a few minutes with him I knew we were going to be attached for at least the next 24 hrs. He missed me as much as I missed him. The run was slow, but I loved the fall leaves and just the shot at being out there again.

I took Tuesday off worked a double and drank some wine, but then today (Wed) I hit it. I went out for a 21 min run followed by a 30 min trainer ride with a few power intervals in between, and I must say I felt pretty good!! The iron pills may be kicking in FINALLY!!

On another note I had a fantastic time in Columbus this past weekend. I found my new pride and joy. They are rambuncious, way too curious about sex. loud, obnoxious and my favorite damn high school cross country runners!!! That is the trouble you see above :). They were 8th at state's and ran their hearts out. I am excited to spend this weekend with them and watch them have fun!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Things I Love About the TRI...

1. The black numbers on my skin letting me know today, I am a competitor

2. The Big A$$ gatorade bottle at the transition zone!!

3. Knowing I am most competitive with my old man in the water (GO TURTLES!! YAY)

4. The way the sun looks above the water in the early a.m. from the shore

5. The tightness in my stomach pre-race that lets me know I am gonna push hard today

6. The big huge transition, start and finish inflatables

7. The awesome volunteers

8. The calmness I feel when it's me and the water

9. The lactate building up in my legs on the bike, knowing I have to run yet

10. Washing my feet in the bucket to get all the sand off after I get done with the swim