Monday, June 16, 2008

Jim Klett 10k

The rain was light, but the humidity had finally started to die down Saturday morning. I rolled out of bed at 7:00am to head down to Howe Meadow to meet a friend from college for this race. I had emailed her a week ago letting her know I would run this with her and her family so we could catch up. Jules had just graduated with her bachelor's and was putting in base mileage in preparation for the Akron marathon. I was a tad tired from work last night and almost wishing I hadn't committed to this event after my poor race the other night and the hard workout the day before.

Thursday, I had taken a rest and regroup day regarding this whole running, biking, swimming thing. I thought about why I was so unmotivated and sluggish as of late and decided the best plan was to hammer out some hard training in the next few weeks to distract myself from the never ending career search and the financial stress of not being a millionaire while increasing the probability of successfully completing my big race at the end of this month.

Day 1 was Friday and a little after noon I whipped out my bike and went for a bruatally hot 31 mile ride. It was so freakin' hot I almost bagged it at about 4 miles out, but then I thought better of it an decided to push for another 5-6 miles and then see how I felt. I felt okay, so foregoed the bagging and completed the ride. However, it was just too hot to brick it outside so I added a 40 minute treadmill run after, showered and headed into work.

Day 2 was Saturday. Legs tight and tired I headed down to Peninsula. I saw on the race form this course was mostly flat and scenic, but I had heard it was false flats the first 5k and uphill the second 5k. My plan was to go out really easy the first 5k and negative split the second 5k even with the hills. Time wise, I just wanted to break 50 minutes. My fastest 10k was 2 years ago on a cross country course. I had no PR last year because I was a) hungover b) the course was short c) the course was long. I had run a 51:16 10k during the Cleveland Marathon, but that didn't count. I figured today would be a baby step in the right direction.

I had to walk through a field and up a hill about a quarter mile to get to the school for registration. Inside I found my friends milling around already registered and bib'd up. I had filled out the form ahead of time and brought my money. The form said $15, but the day of registration person said it was not $15. It was in fact $20. I explained to him it did not say $20 on the form, but he said it was a mistake. I was a little annoyed, but paid the additional $5. Then the guy started talking to another guy and ignored me. My bib remained on the table as I waited for it. I was still waiting for it.....still waiting. "Okay, look dude, seriously I have a race in 30 minutes and my bib is sitting there all filled out. Can I take it?" "Oh yeah, yeah, sorry," handing me the bib. I then stepped over to pick up my shirt. This guy asked what size I wanted and I replied "small." He was out of smalls. He was out of mediums too. He told me I could get a large or x-large. He informed me that they ran small. Look buddy, they may be small, but in no right mind am I a large....I took the large. He took my bib. "No, it took me forever to get that thing! Give it back!" I kept thinking in the back of my head. He made a big X on the back of my bib just in case I tried to come through and get another shirt that was too big for me a second time.

It was now 20 minutes to race time. I had to get a move on. I told my friends I would be back up in a minute and hurried back to my truck to drop my gear. Jogged back down the hill for a warm-up through my t-shirt in the car and started to pin my bib onto my racing jersey and noticed a blue mark. "Aaarrggghh." The pen mark on my bib was running in the rain and staining my white jersey. I grabbed a water bottle and poured it on my jersey using my large JK shirt to wipe out the pen. Hmmmm, I decided to pin the jersey to the black shorts I had on.

Warm-up by jogging a little more back up the hill to the porta-potty. After, instead of warming up for a few more minutes I opted to talk to my friends and try to treat this as a fun run.

I was not too nervous as I couldn't imagine running any worse than the other night. I had nothing to lose. Race started as most races do with a fast first mile. I focused on keeping myself in check even though women were running by me left and right. I have developed this terrible habit of thinking I am going out too slow, when in fact I ALWAYS go out too hard now. The first mile was probably the ony flat mile in the race. Never having run the course before I didn't knw you actually run down to a cone and loop back up the street before the first mile. I counted the females in front of me as they ran by. 12!! I was the 13th woman at mile 1. New goal: finish top 10 women.

The next 2 miles I passed three women (whooo hooo, goal reached: I was in the tope 10 women) and had my left hamstring SCREAM at me, "Stop dammit!! I worked hard yesterday and we raced on Wednesday and last Sunday! I don't know who you think you are, but a 10k racer today is not on the list!!!" Oh lord, it is always something as of late. If it isn't a mental thing, it's physical. Blah! Running is such an easy thing, but racing, well it is all about strategy for me. It was gut-check time. I was going to run until my hammy gave me the whammy. I could see two women up ahead. I had planned on trying to catch them, but now it seemed less than likely. I did however run a faster first 5k at this race than I did on Wednesday.

The next 5k was all hills. We turned down by Salazy's and there were a bunch of cars waiting for us to run through. A few drivers seemed really upset that we were impeding on their road. It was 9:30am on a Saturday morning though, where were they off to in such a hurry? I was still running with a pain in my hammy, but it was manageable. The worst of the race was definitely mile 4 which has a nice big hill you pump your arms and push up only to find that isn't the top and another climb lies ahead. The legs were feeling the burn. I could see one woman ahead of me a couple hundred meters, but it was too far to try and reel her in. I never looked back so I had no clue how close any women were behind me. I was however, surround by men. There was a group of 6-8 guys with me most of the way back. I tended to lose them on the uphills, but catch back up on the downs. I was running out of gas. I had not done a run over an hour in 4 weeks and it was showing more and more every step. I knew I would not be negative splitting this one, but I figured the sub-50 was still doable, although I had stopped looking at my splits after the first half. I held my pace until I saw the school and then picked it up. I managed to run one guy down, but just couldn't pick off the other one. Time 49:21, so I broke the 50 min barrier and PR'd by about 6 minutes.

I grabbed some gatorade and milled around for a few minutes before attempting a cool down, but when I went to run the pain had grown sharp in my hammy. I was not going to be running anywhere else today. I walked up the road a little to cheer my college buddy in. Go Jules!!! She had developed one of those nasty collar bone cramps but still finished strong.

The post race food was french toast!! Mmmmmm, yummy. The top 3 winners received trophies and I won myself a ceramic coaster with the JK logo on it for 2nd in my age group (the woman I had seen in front of me the entire race..., well she was first in our age group...haha). She got the exact same coaster ;) I was whipped and soar, but I was so happy to have come down to see my girlfriend it was all worth it.

Now, it is 2 days later and the hammy still hurts. I think I just really, really overworked it and caused a minor strain, so no running today either. I know it does not seem like I made the right decision, but I am so stubborn and believe me, the hammy will heal faster than my pride would have.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Flag Day 5K

I am not sure why it this has happened but I have a few ideas. The only problem is it could be a combination of two or more. All I know is my less than stellar running on Sunday had carried over into last night's race. My goody bag came with an upset stomach, a bittter, bitter taste in my mouth and more disappointment than I ever felt racing before.

I arrived around 6:00pm and the parking lot was already packed. I was still feeling sluggish and really hoping I had recovered from the triathlon to have a decent performance tonight. I was thinking negative thoughts the whole time as I knew there were quite a few fast people here and putting up a bad time would look even worse in comparison.

I ran into e-speed almost right away and my teammate, MF. We chatted about some past races this year. E-speed had asked me if I was going to be running hard. I told her I would be giving it my best, although my mileage was minimal and I had just done a triathlon (truer words had never been spoken). I also, met her college roomie who was very pleasant and also a runner in college.

I did a short warm-up for about 15 minutes not really feeling it and ran into BS. He had done a 10k race in Columbus and run very well. He told me tonight's race strategy was simple "just run hard." I got back to my truck and grabbed some water, took a gel and hit my inhaler 2 times as I was already struggling to breathe.

I lined up a few rows back with TD and KR. I knew I had no chance of being in the top of the female finishers, little did I know finishing in the 50% was going to be a miracle.

Now the first mile is really fast as you run down a very steep hill and then a straight-a-way before making a 180 degree turn to come back. I felt I was pushing it almost immediately. I told myself to back off and slow it down. I saw AS ahead of me, but I was gaining on her. That is what usually happens so I was okay, but then TD and KR just started pulling away. Maybe they were pushing it? I couldn't chase them I was already struggling to breathe. Mile 1 - 7:05. That was a great time, but being as how there was a big downhill it should have been much easier.

Second mile it hit me. My airway closed up and I couldn't breathe. Oh, no!! I had left my inhaler thinking the pre-puffs were enough. I was not feeling good at all. I wanted to stop and walk. Oh hell, who am I kidding? I wanted to quit. CS who is AS's hubby ran by me at that point. He had a strange look on his face. I think he was a little surprised I was fading so bad. I tried to stay with him, but it was too much and I wanted to vomit. I was having a bad race and to make matters worse this guy wearing headphones was in front of me and as I tried to pass him on the left he cut me off, then I tried to pass him on the right and he cut me off again. Frustrated and pissed, I had enough energy to yell "Come on dude...Seriously!!!" I hate headphones now that I run without and notice all the issues they cause in races. Aaarrggghhhh!!! Finally, on the third try I got around him, but I was so mad I cut him off and then ran in front of him for a bit and then right next to him. I am such a b%tch when I am having a bad race. CS was still with me wearing his headphones and took the time to pull one out of his ear to yell at me that Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch" was on. HAHA very funny! Mile 2 was 8:19. I don't know how I faded that bad. I was so embarassed and the worst was yet to come.

I took 2 cups of water at the aide station, one to drink and one to cool me off. I was really thinking about what BS said about running hard and I was upset because lately I have been so unmotivated to run and train. It's like I lost my edge. I decided to just run this last mile as best I could and stop thinking about how mad I was or how I wanted to die or how I couldn't breathe. I picked it up a little to the hill, but then the nail in the coffin came. Salty passed me!!! Now, I know she is a really great runner, but she is pregnant. I made some comment about how bad I must really be running. She laughed and said "C'mon then." All I could muster was an excuse that I was too whipped from the tri, but then I added I suppose it was still easier than running with a bun in the oven, which is just a testament to what a great runner she really is. I made it up the hill and then back down. I had nothing today for the finish. I couldn't kick or catch anybody. I did remember to run to the clock this time and not stop at the cones. Last 1.1 8:54. Total time 24:19.

Wow, now that was U-G-L-Y. I headed straight to the woods and immediately began ralphing. Eeewww!! The walrus ran over and brought me some water. I felt like crap. I was irate with my performance or should I say lack there of. I wasn't going for a PR, but to be 2 minutes off my time from 2 months ago. What the hell was going on?

The walrus walked me to my truck so I could change and get my inhaler before going out for his cool-down (one of the many reasons I love him).

I got changed and headed back up to the top of the hill for awards. My walrus got 2nd in his AG with a 47 second season PR. His times are finally dropping back down to where he wants them and many of my running friends won AG's and OA's. I was unfortunate enough to place 3rd in the women's 35-39 AG. The woman had butchered my age when writing it on my Bib so the 30 looked like a 38. I had made mention to her, but she said she fixed it and it looked fine. Apparently she had been wrong. The RD then butchered my last name when announcing winners. I did not of course claim the award. I did however, stop and talk to the RD and try to explain the situation to him. We found the correct 3rd place woman, who just happened to be standing by us and she got her plaque. He said he would make the correction, but I am thinking I will still be ranked in the wrong age group. I had a few cramps in my toes and my groin along with a very upset stomach. It was time to head home and get cleaned up, wash off the disappointment and prepare to get back on the horse.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Clay's Park Tri

I was in total "bitch mode" for this one, if you know what I mean. I did not get a good night's sleep and was feeling super-duper dragging of the ass for this one.

The walrus and I arrived a little after 7:00am to the park without getting lost this year and found quite a large field to already be there. I was all business, immediately pulling my bike out and taking it to transition as I wanted to get a decent spot. Racked all my gear and headed to registration to pick up my BIB. I went back to transition to drop off my race belt and this "b$tch" had racked her sh%t between the walrus's and mine. I was pissed. I had racked tight enough with him so she had to have moved my bike!! How dare someone slide my gear and take my spot. I grabbed my bike and switched it right back. I was not playing nice today. I saw MN and B-bop racked on the other side so I stopped to chat and not be negative (I think I was okay). AY ran into me before my warm-up and informed me she had forgotten her bike helmet and I immediately offered her the spare that the walrus had brought. She mentioned it was a tad big, but it would work.

Before heading out for my warm-up I took two puffs on my inhaler as the humidity had frequently caused my airway to close all week and I didn't want any mishaps today. I ran out on the course for about 5-10 minutes feeling completely like crap and sweating like a pig. My legs were heavy and my breathing was just blah. I decided to get some water and head down to the lake thinking maybe a quick dip before the start would help. I pulled on my wetsuit and headed down to the beach, but being unfocused and crabby I had not been paying attention and I had pulled my wetsuit on up to my hips backwards. Aaargghh! I easily stripped it and redressed appropriately, but the damage was done. I was even more annoyed. I watched the start of the men's 18-39 wave and saw the walrus off. He was wearing a blue/white cap so it was easy to spot him. He looked strong and was in the top 5 coming out of the water, but he would lated inform me that the full sleeved wetsuit had been way too hot and he was overheating on the swim. The 40 and over wave started 5 minutes after them and the women were to all start 5 minutes after that. I chose to swim out and back and see if I could get some blood flowing in my arms while we waited for our wave to start.

Last year my time was 1:37:39. This year I had two goals. Goal 1 - 1:20:00 and Goal 2 - be out on the run before the walrus finished. Last years splits looked like this...
Swim 12:42
Bike 52:37
Run 28:22

I knew it would be a challenge to hit the 1:20:00 and not feeling great by any means had only lessened my chances.

The swim - started behind AY as I knew even in her swimsuit she would still kill me in my wetsuit. There seem to be quite a few women, maybe 50 or so and it was a little clustered. I was in the middle. The faster swimmers were immediately pulling away from me and as usual I could feel myself falling back. I had 3 or 4 females swimming in diagonal lines in front of me which of course, you guessed it, annoyed me as I would have to pull up and look for another line. I had thought this one female next to me was going to swim straight, but when I checked the buoy she was trying to force me to the outside and I had to slow, let here cut me off and swim for the sticks so I could stay on course. I had not been swimming as much as I should have and I was noticing every time I stopped to adjust for a swimmer it would take a minute to get in a rythm with my breathing. Finally, I made the turn and started pulling away from the field. The swimmers had spread themselves out and I began overtaking those who had gone out too hard. but the leaders were gone. I figured I was right on pace at that point and felt pretty relaxed, but the heart rate was up there and once again I had gone out harder than I would have liked. I stopped sighting on the buoys and just went for the crowd on the shore. I managed to swim out too wide, but I was closer to transition when I exited. I struck the ground with my hand before I stood up not realizing how quickly I had finished the swim. Surprised, I stood and immediately worked my suit down to my waist while running for transition. Split 9:44, under 10 minutes. I will take it.

T1- Fumbled around to get ready to cycle, took a gel and grabbed my inhaler at the last second and ran for the road. Split 1:57. Under 2 minutes okay, but needs work.

Bike - same course as last year 6.5 out and back with rollers through the first 3 and last 3. I saw the Walrus and B-bop riding together at about 9.5 miles in what looked like 4th and 5th (looking good guys). I managed to bike at least 10-20 people down throughout the bike, however I was blowing up. Out was about 25 minutes to the turnaround, but back I felt like a champ. I was pumping out 20-25 mph for about 4 miles. It was sweet. I was down on my new aeros, focused on the guy/girl in front of me and crank through the turns. I was rested for the hill, but even still it was a lactic killer. My quads were pulsing. Whoooo, FIRE! I pushed up one mash at a time. There was no way I was walking it. I was in better shape this year. Crested the hill and got passed by the only person that day and of course it was a chick, BW. I was accepting as the woman is a sub-20 5k runner and for me to stay up on her that long made me feel pretty good. Got back to the park in 20 minutes. Split 45:18. I was hoping to be closer to 20 mph, but with the H3 (humidity, headwind and hills)...BLAH... Just gotta get better, HTFU!

T2- Dropped the bike, fumbled with my shoe laces. Visor in place, took another gel...GO! Split 1:10. I suck, I know. I should be better at this.

The run was hot, hot, hot. I thought there might be water coming out of transition so I had skipped one last sip on my water bottle. No water and 5k to go. I was feeling about normal at this point. My legs were heavy, the breathing was ragged and I just wanted to jump in the lake so yep I was right where I normally am. I was about 200 meters out and what do you know, the walrus passed me. HA!! I had made it to the run before he had finished. Goal 2 - ACHIEVED, now for goal 1. I passed a girl almost immediately, but around mile 1 a different girl passed me. I had my racing flats on and was having flashbacks to running Cleveland and was just plain getting mad at my shoes thinking I should have worn my Asics. So now I was really annoyed. Finally got to the water stop and took two cups, one to drink and one to dump on me. There was some shade at this point for which I was thankful and managed to pick up the pace a very small bit. I made it to the turnaround and checked my watch. 1:11:xx. Man, I was not going to run 1.55 miles in 9:00 today. I grabbed another cup of water on the way back passed the turnaround and accepted the fact that I for the second race in a row was going to come oh so close and my friggin' goal time AGAIN. I got passed in the last .75 miles by another girl, but I was only focused on my time today and not about beating people. Split 26:12. Nothing to be proud of. That was a last year run time. What the hell was I thinking, not running harder. It was only 3 miles.

I was so crabby and hot. I barely even took a minute to be thankful that I am able to do these things. I grabbed some water and walked to the bathroom to rinse the sweat and disappointment off my face. I had PR'd by 13 minutes, but I was in such a bad mood I couldn't be happy. I saw MN and she had successfully rocked out her tri. It was the one of the highs of the morning to hear she had done so well. The walrus managed to come away with 1st in his AG and B-bop took 2nd in his AG (ahh, the gruesome twosome). Big shout out to AY, who got 1st for the ladies 25-29 (girls rock, had to be the helmet :)

Me, well I am not ready for the Oly in a few weeks and don't even have the right to say HIM today. I finished the marathon a few weeks ago and have been lazy, only running a few days and just pulling a workout here and there as I see fit. Vacation is OVER. Now it is time to get down to business.

Pics to follow soon.
Good thing my bitchiness is only temporary.

BTW, Anybody in for Flag Day??????

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Drafting - it ain't so hard to Do

"Drafting is the act of riding behind another cyclist in an area of reduced air pressure created in the wake of that leading cyclist. The trailing or drafting cyclist uses less energy to maintain the same speed as the cyclist they are trailing. This creates an unfair advantage."

(I will elaborate on this in a minute. but first...)

I suppose I should act like I remeber I have a blog and post something, anything, even if it is B-O-R-I-N-G.

Since Cleveland I managed to enjoy week ZERO running only about 10 miles at the end of the week and eating just about everthing in sight and reveling in my accomplishment. Week 1 allowed for what I call a "significant" amount of cycling and a dip in the pool as I have my first triathlon coming up here soon.

Now however, the moment is passed and i am chiding myself for not being faster as the memory of the pain has subsided and the overbearing overachiever has returned.

I am now in week 2 of post-marathon/pre-triathlon and am aggressively planning my cycling attack. Last night I headed up to Mentor to meet the walrus for a 25-30 mile ride. The weather was perfect. I arrived around 5:30pm. He was outside waiting with his tri bike! What was going on?!?! His average pedal speed is usually around 22mph on that thing. I was not going to be able to keep up! He had said he would take his road bike. This was going to be bad. I was going to be too slow and hold him back and he was going to get frustrated. The walrus denied my accusations and said things would be fine and to get ready.

I hurried downstairs to put on my cycling jersey and to my dismay had forgotten it. All I had was tank top that would show off way way too much cleavage when in the "aero position." GREAT. Well, I wasn't going to bag this ride. Every man in Mentor driving by was just going to get a little show that's all.

We headed out to ride the Willoughby Hills Du loop for a warm-up between 15-18 mph. It was nice and flat so I got to try out my new bars almost immediately. (I had tried at home on the trainer, but it in a very highly educated word analysis... it sucked!) It was a little awkward for a mile or so and then I started to get in the groove. These were way better than my old bars. Around mile 6 I began inching up closer and closer to the back of the walrus's tire. I was practically on top of him, which in any other situation he would have really enjoyed :)

We began cruising along at what felt like 15-16 mph, but when I looked down we were pulling 19-20 mph. YAY! I was pumped. I felt great. Drafting was fun. I had raced sprint distances last year at average of 17-18 mph and was killing myself, but today I felt like Lance Armstrong, with boobs of course.

We headed back into Mentor and down Lakeshore after that. There was some heavy traffic so between that and the road kill it became somewhat of an obstacle course. There was a man in an F150 with 2 long ladders sticking out of the back of his truck that turned right into a driveway and almost smacked the walrus in the head, but he was wary and managed to avoid the attempted sucker punch. We made it out to the Painseville/Fairport area before looping back. It was fairly flat with only a few hills so I continued to remain on my aerobars and be pulled along by my old man. We rode by Headlands state park, the marshes and the lake. It was very exhilerating. I felt so great. I am a competitor and I want to be "fast," but I also really want to train and compete "in the zone" where I enjoy the high's provided through my endorphins and my surroundings. Struggling to breathe and feeling like crap is just not an acceptable training method for me anymore.

I was still maintaining the 19-20 mph range comfortably. I thought about telling him to pick it up and see how far I could really push things, but it was only my second ride outside and my longest to date this year so I opted to not kill myself. I did however start to tighten in my neck and my shoulders at about an hour and my crotch was getting soar. I changed back and forth between my hoods, the drops and the aeros for the remainder of the ride, but continued to draft.

Nearly home, we had about 4 cars rev their engines and fly by us. Now, I am not sure what the hell the point was. We WERE in single file formation and we were on a somewhat residential street. I am trying not to get aggravated with drivers, but this bitchin' about gas and then revving the engine and burning additional gas is just plain pissing me off. We eventually had to turn back onto a much busier Lakeshore Blvd in which a car made a left hand turn and just missed plowing into the walrus as the driver was more concerned with getting to his destination than about safety. Again the walrus was alert and avoided any mishap.

Shortly thereafter, we arrived at his home completing 26.2 miles (yea, a marathon on a bike). The walrus ditched the bike and went for a quick run to make it a brick. I went for the shower. I had a great ride. I was able to keep up, thanks to the drafting and my boyfriend had still gotten a decent workout in for himself. I think we have decided to make this an ongoing hot and sweaty date every Monday now.