Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Round 3

Well, I survived another round of training and work.  It is definitely easier when it's not my weekend to work.  My run week runs Monday - Sunday, but my work schedule runs Sunday-Saturday, so when I work 12s on the weekends it just mess everything up.

I don't know why I set myself up this fall the way I did.  It could be I like a challenge, maybe I like to just be stressed out about a lot of things, or perhaps I'm a sadist and just glutton for some punishment.  Whatever the reason I signed myself up for a full, a half and the Akron marathon relay.  I'm the least nervous about the half, but the other two....  Well, I would like to PR in the marathon again and with the relay I have 3 freaky fast chicks counting on me to drop the trailer and move my butt.

Training is much more difficult than I thought it would be with 3 days/week off.  One day, half the time is just dedicated to recovering from the long hours I put in at work.  Not to mention, I am a sucker for OT.  These last two weeks at work have been extremely stressful on the unit, because the patient acuity is so high and we are short-staffed.  This stresses the nurses that are coming to work out and then they call off, so it's just one stressful day after another.   I refuse to call off, even though I dread the thought of going in some days and I hate having too many patients I don't know where to begin, so when the boss asks if I can come in early to help alleviate evening shift, of course I say yes.

All that said, here is the run down from round 3.  I am on borrowed time as I offered to come back in at 7:00pm tonight and it's already 10:30am and I need some sleep. 

Mon: 13 miles (long run - 8:34/mile)
Tues: 2 miles (easy treadmill - 10:00/mile) and rehab exercises (SI joint in my spine is bugging me)
Wed: OFF
Thur: OFF
Fri: 8 miles (tempo 2 mile warm-up with 4x100 strides, 3 miles at 8:00/mile, 1 mile easy 10:00/mile, 1 mile 7:30/mile, 1 mile cool-down)
Sat: 7.5 miles (easy roads - 9:12/mile)
Sun: Double Day 2 miles (easy 8:42), 7.5 miles (easy - 8:34/mile) and rehab exercises

Total: 40 miles
Peace OUT!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Work vs. Training - Let the Battle Begin

I have had a rather challenging time figuring out how to solidify a training regiment that fits my revolving schedule.  It is nearly impossible to workout on the days when I work 12 hour shifts and if I am behind to begin with on my sleep, the days I work 8's I find myself coming home exhausted and falling into bed in hopes of catching up on some much needed rest and forgoing yet another workout. 

I am still fighting the good fight, trying not to succumb to the ever popular American lifestyle.  That one which the way too many are overworked throughout the day and come home to eating comfort food and laying on the couch only wishing they had the energy to get out there and do it. 

All that said, last week's training was pretty much thwarted by my 53 hours of work (not counting drive time).  Saturday night, I barely made it to A-train's house a little after 10pm, without falling asleep at the wheel, to pass out and get back up at 5:15 am and do it all over again.  Each day at work was more and more stressful for me.  Lots of complications (neutropenic fever, nausea/vomiting, constipation, high methotrexate levels, bone mets with compression fractures and my all time favorite c-diff) made the thought of the day "F me!!"  I couldn't hang blood, potassium, set-up PCA pumps and provide emotional support for extremely anxious family members who wanted to vent on me fast enough.  I kept thinking "who is gonna die?"  and that's who I would go see and that meant sometimes 1 of my 5 patient's didn't see me for a few hours. 

Anyway, here is the rundown for the last two weeks. 

Week of 8/8-8/14
Mon: off
Tues: off
Wed: off
Thur: 11.11 ran (3.0 in afternoonat 10:00/mile, 2.96 warm-up and 5.15 race)
Fri: 4.5 ran easy (9:25/mile)
Sat: 9.55 trails at S. Chagrin (10:03/mile)
Sun: 10.5 long run (8:40/mile - ran around at Perfect 10 miler)

Total: 35.67 miles

Week of 8/15-8/21
Mon: off
Tues: off
Wed: off
Thur: 6.5 speedwork (2 mile warm-up, 2 x 1 mile at 7:38 and 1 x 1 mile at 7:35 with 800 meter RI at 10:00/mile)
Fri: 10.15 trails at N. Chagrin (9:09/mile)
Sat: off
Sun: off

Total: 16.65

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Twilight Trail 8K Race (My Eleanor)

For those of you that have seen the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds" you know what I am referring to when I call this race my Eleanor.

Every year that I have run this race, I have barely made it up th big hill only to blow up.  Hell, I have even thrown-up throughout the race sometimes and always at the end.

This year I hoped it would be different.  I wanted a PR, but more importantly I wanted to do the course like a progression run with each mile getting faster, until I was at all out effort coming into the finish (not the first mile).

I had only been running about 10-15 mpw and knew I needed to get back into the groove of things, work or no work, this couch potaot/lazy ass BS had to come to an end (I'm not really lazy, work just sucks up a minimum of 48 hours/week now). 

I jumped on the treadmill a little before noon and did 3 easy miles, then did some upper body and core training for about 20 minutes.  I ate and waited for 5:00 pm to come, trying to get caught up on laundry, blogging and cleaning up in general.  I almost chickened out, but somehow made the drive, 2 detours and all to the start.  I was really early, hoping the race had not filled up and I could still get in.  I even donated an extra $5, since the race proceeds go for such a great cause (Cleveland Rape Crisis Center).

I decided to run an easy 3 mile warm-up 1/2 road, 1/2 trails with my headphones on full blast.  I felt a little warm with my shirt on, but my legs didn't feel dead as per there usual at this race.  E-speed passed me on my warm-up pointing to her ears, later telling me that she had been screaming at me, but I hadn't even heard her (I know IMPOSSIBLE right?).

Almost forgot to spray myself with bug spray before the start, but caught my mistake with about 5 minutes to go before the start.  I lined up in the middle of my age group.  I also had my headphones on.  I felt I needed to be able to drown out everything around me and get it done today.  I know 'phones are a sin in some groups and I never wear them when I race, but today I was going to break the rules.  I had every intention of going out nice and easy, too slow if need be.  Nothing mattered but keeping my heart rate low and surviving the first 2 miles. 

God, I was so nervous I was going to mess this race up like every other year that when the horn sounded I almost didn't move.  I trotted through the grass, trying not to pass people and go out too hard.  We hit the woods and before I knew it, we were crossing the stream me, daisy, twizzle (and of course e-speed too) had foolishly jumped in, on an all girls Halloween run a few years ago.  It was much shallower and I opted to ford it in a different spot than most of the racers (didn't even get my feet wet). 

The big hill was next.  I was going slow enough still.  I was breathing easy, but just the thought of the hill stressed me out as I ran.  I started up the hill nice and easy, slowing as the effort increased until I felt I was working too hard and then I WALKED.  To hell with this hill I thought.  I have run it before and it kills me.  I watched person after person pass me on the steepest part and kept wondering what the hell was wrong with me, why couldn't I do that.  I got to the top and started running again and then it happened.  Many of those people that had run up the hill started coming back to me and I FELT GREAT!!  I felt like I had just started running.  I upped my effort a little for the second mile, but not too much as it is rolling but a little uphill.  Mile 2 came and went and now it was time to up the effort even more.

I was getting passed by guys but no women.  I was the one passing other women today.  My form felt relaxed and I was picking up my feet, no shuffling yet.  My tunes just kept me jamming along and before I knew it the big hill I normally run up was in my sights.  I went down it quickly but safely, EE caught me and went careening down it a little wrecklessly with his hands flailing in the air trying to slow himself down and overcorrect for taking the first turn too wide. 

I grabbed some water at the aid station and worked my way up to Squire's Castle and could feel my right calf turning to what felt like cement.  Oh No!!  I had less than a mile and I was running out of gas.  My legs had covered 10 miles today and had, had enough.  Blah!  It had been awhile since my mental self had pulled out a can of whoop ass on my physical self and with a 5+ minute PR looming within my grasp, I let the beating commence.  I mentally told myself to keep at it and to not back down (I used a lot of obscenities at this point) and I thought e-speed may be somewhere up ahead to drag me along, ensuring my inability to back down.  Lo' and behold a little after mile 4 there she was.  I let her pull and push me along, trying to give it a little gas on the downhills.  She was talking to me, but I couldn't hear a thing.  It didn't matter I was glad to have some human lightning at my side.  She pulled off right before I exited the woods and I gave her a thumbs-up as I pulled away from her.

There was a girl about 200 meters ahead and I was able to close the gap a little, but the legs were so tired and for the first time in a long time I ran with everything I had through the grass, cursing in my head the whole way.  I felt slower than ever and there seemed to be a hundred cones between me and the damn STOP line.  I told myself somewhere deep in that pansy ass was one more gear and I could go faster.  I did and it got me to the line.  I staggered through.  Spit on the ground and thought "Hell Yeah!!"  I finally completed this race successfully.  My time was still weak, but I finally knew I had defeated my Eleanor.  I had beaten the course today.  It had hurt me, but I had run it as planned. 

Splits via my Garmin: (I even tried to cut the corners and run the tangents and still ran over 5 miles!!)
Mile 1: 9:37
Mile 2: 8:29
Mile 3: 8:11
Mile 4: 7:59
Mile 5: 8:05
189 ft. 0:16

Total Time: 42:39, Pace 8:19 (I like what my Garmin says much better)

OFFICIAL TIME: 42:37, Pace 8:42 (6 min 4 second PR)

I am a very weak trail runner as you can see.  I just don't have overalll good general strength to handle that type of terrain, but I am committing myself to run trails more often and learn.  I may never be a mountain goat, but here goes nothing.  I got you now Eleanor!!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fairport Triathlon 2011

Sheesh!!  It's been such a whirlwind the last 3 weeks I just published some comments from my June race.

Anyway,  after doing the Crossfit Triathlon, I was re-inspired to swim, bike, run and whip myself into shape to have a better than average race at Fairport!!  I paid my $20 early in hopes it would force me to train, but alas I swam zero times between the 2 races and got out on my bike 2 times the week before the race.  I did however manage to pick up some OT in the weeks leading up to the race and even hit 52 hours one week (so now I am richer and lazy). 

I waivered on doing the race until e-speed stopped by and said she was coming to cheer with NC and daisy, and then A-train reminded me it was KP's annual birthday celebration after the race too.  It wasn't too hard to convince me to go. 

Packet pick-up was a little slow (like usual), but for $20 really who can bitch?   I had gotten there early and had plenty of time to prepare. 

Me and Twizzle before the swim

The race brings about 300-400 particpants, so the 35 and under women's wave always has a decent sized group.  I actually positioned myself pretty well throughout the swim.  I spent most of it swimming side by side with a girl that had no wetsuit on.  It felt like it took a lot longer than it should have to get out to the turnaround buoy and of course, I was gasping for air every time my right arm came out of the water.  There were lots of pokey men in the waves ahead of us we had to swim over and around.  I took no mercy clobbering them on my left and right, just as they have done to me in races -- hehehehe!!  Swam to shore until my hand scraped the ground (since I can't dophin for jack), jumped up and ran for transition.  I heard my friends cheering for me as I ran by, kicking sand all over my suit.  Thankfully, they have people with hoses spraying you off as you run to T1.  I looked at my watch and it was a little over 10 minutes when I go to the hoses (good but never good enough -- seems I have one speed in the water, whether I train or not). 

T1 takes forever to run in, change and run out of.  It was fairly smooth, except for the fact that I had left my race belt clipped and decided to wear it on the bike for some reason.  As I ran out of T1, I tried to awkwardly put it on and steer my bike, but no dice.  I had to stop at the mount like and do it.  T1 was probably around 2:00, but it's added into the swim time, so no exact time for sure.  (Swim and T1 were 12:30, per results -- I think).  The thing is I was the fastest swimmer in my age group and probably in the top 10 women.  I'm guessing there weren't a lot of strong female swimmers at this event.

The bike course was the same as usual on the way out flat and fast with a tailwind and only minimal turns.  The tailwind was not as strong as in past years, which meant the headwind wouldn't be as bad on the way back either (YIPEE).  I figured there were 10 or 15 girls tops in front of me.  I was about 3 miles in when I started to feel tired.  I hit the wall and was overcome with this urge to stop and lay down in the grass.  I kept going trying to shake it off, but then a girl on a cervelo passed me and I knew I was in trouble.  I tried to get amped and go after her, but I had nothing.  I was out of shape and weak.  My endurance was lacking (I was slow).  A few miles later I caught up to a girl and realized it was MJ.  She looked really strong.  I asked her if she was running too and she said "no" she was doing the relay and someone else was running (she had been one of the women that had beaten me out of the water sans wetsuit).  She pushed me to ride harder on the bike and I took the lead when the turns on the course increased.  I noticed a guy drafing off her when I looked back and thought that was pretty shitty, but once we got back out on to Fairport-Nursery Road, MJ dropped that guy and caught me and then blew by me in the headwind.  I tried to duck down as low as I could on my aero bars, but she just rode away from me like nothing.  Thankfully that guy was even worse off than me and couldn't catch me to draft off of. 

Me and MJ after the race

I came down the hill to the T2 and volunteers were screaming at us to slow down.  I didn't really listen, whoops!  I had no time to soft pedal and get my feet out of my shoes, so I did something really stupid.  I unclipped on the right side, swung my leg over to the left and stayed clipped in on the left side with my bike moving and then it dawned on me!!  I was stilled clipped in and going to try a flying dismount. Oh my God!!  My foot was still locked in the pedal and I was going to crash.  I thought about grabbing the brakes and stopping and then dismounting, but my weight was all on the left side and I would fall for sure.  I did what I had to do.  I sent up a very silent, but huge prayer to God "Please let me make this dismount without crashing.  Please God protect this idiot!!"  I cracked my left foot at the last second before I hit the dismount line and the curb in hope my left shoe would release from the pedal.  It did!!  It worked.  My feet were on the ground and I was running for T2.  YES!!! YES!! YES!!  I ran in ditched the bike and was off like a prom dress.  My bike split and T2 were 39:20.  I remember my total time was about 52 minutes at that point by my watch.

I started passing people right away and that was pretty much the way my whole run went.  I told every person, "good job" or "keep going."  One guy said I was "running great" and wanted to know my secret.  I told him "I'm trying to hurry and get this thing over with."  In years passed I have always had one woman pass me through the condo/apartment complex at about the half way point.  I swore it wouldn't happen this year and I started running harder, but it happened anyway.  NH passed me from the Erie Tri Club (Damn!!!).  I tried to keep the gap as small as possible and surged on and off from there to the finish.  As I turned to run through the grass I picked it up to a hard effort, in hopes no one would try to challenge me at the line (I really didn't want to sprint, but I would have if need be).  No one did and I finished in 1:13:54.  The run was about 2.8 and I did it in 21:59.

Me running to the finish (that's about as fast as I get these days)

The race itself was fun, but I am losing to people I used to beat and that is a hard pill for my ego to swallow.  I am killing myself in these races and I'm slower.  I just can't come up with a training schedule with my ever changing and time-sucking work schedule (heck, I can't even find time to type up a race report hardly).  I like racing, but my ego is definitely getting a little banged up in the process.