Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Well, it's time to wrap up another year of multisport and gimping.  I am impatiently hoping 2014 takes a positive turn with regards to my foot and running.  That said here's my 2013 wrap up:
3/03 - Youngstown 1/2 Marathon - 1:58:21
3/06 - St. Malachi 5 Miler - 38:394/27 - Pineline Marathon - 3:58:31, 2nd Female Overall
7/20 - Shot in the Dark (2 Person Relay): Team Spin Hub - Total time: 29:05, My time: 15:04,  9th Co-ed team Overall
6/14 - I took Janet Edwards QOM on the BP to Hunan section of Strava (she took it back on 7/02 )
7/21 - Huntington Sprint Tri - 1:12:47, 1st in Age Group
8/18 - Machine Head Sprint Tri - 1:27:39, 3rd Female Overall
9/08 - Rev3 Half Tri - 5:34:58 3rd in Age Group, 24th Female Overall (although only my 2nd half, still counts as a PR!)
With my foot still bothering me after 3 years, running was difficult and I spent a very large amount of time on the bike.  I completed the Sunday in June 100K, The Bicycle Hub Hungarian 100K, Women's only Rapha 100K, and the Sweet Corn Challenge (104 miles). 
Fun Facts for the Summer
I also had never ridden over 200 miles in a 7 day period until the week of 8/11-8/17, but I managed the full 100 mile Emerald Necklace on Sunday 8/11 (solo), 21.4 miles rode to volunteer at the Dark Horse 5K run, then rode the Rev3 Preview Day with a friend in 5:06:xx (fastest century ever for me) on the following Saturday on 8/17 .
I have only averaged over 20 mph in sprints on the bike, but managed 20.4 mph on an insanely windy Rev3 half course
I only swam and ran a handful of times over the summer but I broke over 2,000 miles cycling (which is a lot for me).  This was easily the best cycling shape I have ever been in.
Only got 4 flats over the summer, broke 1 crank arm and pedal, ripped off 1 derailleur hanger, broke a spoke and snapped a chain.  No crashes.
Representing the Bicycle Hub was a lot of fun.  I was able to meet new people and ride with old friends.  And I got to wear a cool kit -- Argyle definitely makes you faster on the bike.
All in all it was THE BEST summer of riding ever for me (at least so far, wait until next year). 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rev 3 Half Race Report

It was my turn at the front.  I stood on the ramp until one volunteer said "Go!" and the other said "wait a second."  Tara and I were confused as to what to do and we both simultaneously chose to head into the water.

The water felt nice and cool as it encircled me.  I pulled my face out of the water and luckily my goggles held without any leakage.  I went to work.  I kept pulling right and having to over correct.  I felt weak in the water as I saw pink cap upon pink cap passing me the first 1/4 mile or so.  It is stupid I swam only a few times all summer, and yet I STILL expect myself to swim better than ever.  The swim was counterclockwise and our first turn took us through a narrow marina.  I could see all the pretty boats on my right with every breathe and took note of the rock wall to my left.  I tried to site off the boats, but the water through the marina was so narrow I found myself enough to the right my hand brushed the rocks below me a few times.   Drat!!  I had to overcorrect a few times and luckily did not cut myself on any of the rocks as some did.  I started coming up on schools of pink caps around this point and even some other colored caps from the waves ahead of me.  I fought my way through packs on and off, corrected my frequent off course swimming and finally after 42:04 I was out of the bay.  It was a lack luster swim for sure, but I only had two goals for this race --- Beat Roark on the bike and PR.

I ran up the ramp to the wetsuit strippers and they were awesome.  They yelled at me to "lay down" and ripped off my suit and yanked me back up to my feet before I knew it.  "HELL YEAH" for those wetsuit strippers.  I pulled on my shoes and started my run to T1.  My foot was already aching and I trotted along for the 0.3ish mile run or so.  7:11 later I was out and on the Joker.... Showtime!!!

I was excited and I didn't think I went out too hard on the bike, but as I flew down the first stretch I was  flying by people.  No one was even close to my speed.  I wore my regular helmet, removed my aero drink system and took only 2 bottles.  Today, I was kinda fighting the system, although I was on a tri bike with 60s (but all that came on the bike - no special upgrades for today).  Roark was on his fancy tri  bike, aero helmet in place, and 10.5 years of youth up ahead of me somewhere.  I had my work cut out for me.  I had ridden a lot with groups this summer and the aero position had become a little foreign to me but I forced myself to drop down.

The wind was insane.  It felt like it was every way I turned.  I could only tell it was worse from the north and the east because it would be a little less worse when I turned south or west.  I had never raced in conditions like this and the crosswinds made holding my front wheel straight a bit challenging.  It had crossed my mind Roark was running a disc on the back and I prayed he would be safe in this wind.  We hit the first town and a busy intersection that had 2 police officers signaling and directing traffic.  I approached with another girl thinking they would stop the traffic turning left in front of us, but nope.  One of the officers put up his hand and signaled for us to stop.  I yelled "Seriously, you're stopping us?"  The cop yelled back "Yes!"  I was pissed to say the least.  We stopped as instructed.  I couldn't believe it.  It was only a few seconds before we got going again and I pedaled hard trying to make up for lost time.

I continued to pass people left and left.  No one was going as fast as me so I didn't need to worry about drafting of blocking penalties.  I saw a few packs riding together most looked unintentional but a few were definitely on purpose.  I watched one guy sitting about 1 bike length off another guy passing when he passed and pulling right back into the draft on the lead guy.   A little irritate, I thought about telling the guy he was giving the guy behind him a free ride, but I thought "you know what if that guy needs to draft to go that fast and beat me, well then he's already lost."  I didn't care.  I already knew I was better on the bike than that wheel sucker.  I hit the one steep little hill called "the teddy bear" on the course and hit it just right so I only had to work hard at the top for a few seconds (too boot I got the QOM on Strava too -- holla'!!)

The course loops back on itself and heads out on 113, which is my least favorite road.  The wind was all in my face and too add insult to injury it started raining.  My left hip flexor was cramping and sending a radiating pain around to my back and I resolved to just take it easy and ride through it until I could turn off this Godforsaken road.  I snuck a peak at my Garmin one time and saw 14.x mph at one time and boy was that a bad idea.  Disgusted, I just kept pedaling, trying to be patient and get through this segment.  My only comfort -- I was STILL passing people and significantly faster.

I turned off the dreadful 113 and started to make my way back to Cedar Point.  My left hip was still cramping on and off but it didn't matter I was pushing 20+ mph practically spinning (boy had the 2 weeks of easy cycling leading up to the race helped).  I told myself repeatedly, "Ride like DaisyDuc."

The wind was even worse on the way back and I fought to stay on my aero bars.  The worst being the Cedar Point Road on the way back.  The wind was blowing the water from the Lake so hard I could feel the spray as I rode.  All my attention was focused on avoiding pot holes and keeping the front wheel straight.  I passed a guy that  yelled "You're slaying it girl!!"  I was pumped I knew barring any mechanicals I was going to break 20 mph even in this mini-tornado.

I made it to the park and soft pedaled ripping my feet out of my shoes.  I jumped off my bike and ran for T2.  My race was over.  I had biked a 2:43:12 and averaged 20.6 mph, but would it be enough to hold Roark off?

T2 - 1:36 (debating dropping out vs. hobbling though 13.1 miles.

I changed my shoes, grabbed my flask and visor and headed out for my 2 hour trot.  Memories of the year before hit me as I ran down the causeway.  I was moving about a minute a mile faster this year though and I would only have to do 1 loop (thank God).  I hit the first aid station and yep, you guessed it I asked for ... Coke.

My foot held for about 5-6 miles before it really started aching.  I never saw Roark on the course, which made me think he was having a pretty good race and had put quite a jump on me out of the water.  I would later learn it was about 11 minutes (I suck).  I saw SG and throughout the remainder of the miles.  We would exchange shouts of encouragement whenever we saw each other.   I was slowly closing the the gap until about mile 9 when I started cramping in my left leg.  My hamstring and calf had checked out.  I couldn't close the gap.  I always dread this part of the race where it hurts so bad and your done, but the race isn't over yet.  It f*cking hurts.

With 2 miles to go I caught SG and encouraged her to keep pushing.  She leap frogged ahead and I was jealous of her energy and strength as I was on E.  I reeled her back in though with a little less than a mile to go.  She seemed ready to be done at this point to, but we were not giving up.  We fought the last headwind of the day together, pushing each other to the finish.  We looped through the finishing shoot and each made silly poses (SG jumped and I did some silly pose with my nieces signature deuces).  I managed a 2:00:56 for the half.

Total time was 5:34:58 (12+ minute PR)

I even managed 3rd in my AG as 1st was actually 2nd female overall.

And who won the bike you ask..........

Well, he did by 4 FREAKIN' seconds.  It was a hard pill to swallow, but next time the Maillot Jaune is mine!!!!!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pre- Race for Rev 3 Half

So the summer has been all about the bike (contrary to what Lance's title book says -- hehe).  I had finally broken the 200 mile mark in a week of riding and had been pretty religious about getting out 3 or more times a week to ride.  I was also addicted to "Strava" and beating Roark on as many segments as possible.  That said when I was offered a FREE entry to the Rev 3 half I couldn't turn it down.

Not living near a lake and absolutely detesting running, due to the same old foot saga I had more than enough excuses to capitalize on the bike, except for the fact that I broke the joker on August 21st, just 2 days before my crash a year ago (it's pretty obvious I should not ride the joker this week in the future).
 Luckily, Roark would not allow me to go into withdrawals and had me on a road bike for the 2 weeks leading up to the race.

On Saturday morning, the day before the race, the joker was fixed.  It was better than ever and I longingly took it out for an albeit short 15 mile test ride in the morning before heading to Cedar Point.  Sitting on the joker felt like home and my legs felt great.  It took all I had not to "rip it" that morning and open 'er up.

We hit the expo first, so we could make the earlier mandatory athlete meeting.  There was lots of nervous energy and excitement in anticipation for tomorrow's race.  Rev had a green screen set-up this year for the athletes to have a little pre-race fun and we couldn't resist.  Tomorrow we would swim, bike run, but today we would bumper cars!!  We couldn't pass up the chance to do the "deuces" sign for my niece, G.

We then racked our bikes in transition for the evening.  I covered the seat and handlebars just in case as there was a chance of rain.  I also hoped treating the joker well the night before would assuage him to treat me well tomorrow (after barely 1 year I have been through more with that rotten S.O.B. than most people go through in a lifetime on a bicycle, including crashes, flats, broken parts, etc...).  We had suffered through a lot together and tomorrow I knew would be a sufferfest but hopefully not in vain.

We checked into the "spooktacular" hotel and took some silly photos before dinner.

Then we headed to Sortino's to meet Cash.  He was doing the full distance again.  There was a moment of sadness as I thought of DaisyDuc and how the 3 amigos had not been whole all summer (due to me, not racing) and the laughs of last year I had experienced with them.  She would not make it for my race tomorrow, but she would be there in time to drink beer and celebrate as we cheered Cash on through the miles of the marathon.
We jokingly, struck a pose similar to the year before and got SG to sub for Daisy.

2012 3 Amigos Whole & Full :)
There was a moment of confusion due to the photobomber (pay him no attention), but it all worked out in the end.

Sunday morning came all too fast for me as I slept like crap (maybe 3 hrs).  I took a hot shower in hopes of waking my butt up for the race, had some crappy coffee and (2) instant oatmeals before cracking my ankle on the end of the bed (then I was awake -- son of a b^tch did that hurt!!)

The humidity was high, but the wind was in full effect at 6:00am when we left the hotel.  It was way warmer than last year at this time of the morning.  We got to the race and started setting up our gear.  Roark was definitely more excited and nervous than me.  I knew my race would start with the bike and end with the bike the rest was just stuff I had to do in between like going to the bathroom, ultimately you want to pee, but before you do you have to find a toilet and sit down and then when you're done it's still not over because you have to wipe and wash your hands, but honestly all you really cared about was peeing!!  You get the drift.  There is always a moment of ten on racing morning when I think of pulling out of the race and DNSing.  I couldn't come up with any legit reason, so I left my bike racked until it was too late and they closed transition.

The swim got moved to the bay so I decided to drop shoes at the swim exit as the run would be 3-4 minutes being as it was somewhere around 0.3 miles to transition.  We were going to have to swim through the marina of boats on the right with rocks on our left and then beyond that the break wall would be a crap shoot if we would have calm waters.  I was also unfortunately, in the last wave and was going to have to fight my way through not only the water, rocks and boats, but also the slower swimmers.  The only good thing was it was a time trial swim start, 2 at a time every 3 seconds.  I lined up for the swim start with a girl named "Tara" who was nice enough to zip me up.  As we moved closer and closer to the front I thought "I hope these goggles don't leak, since we have no warm-up" and "just step out of line and DNS because this is gonna hurt a lot."  I got closer and closer to the water and held my ground until....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Keep Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

It had been nagging at me all summer to ride 200+ miles in 7 consecutive days and this past week presented the perfect opportunity, except for the fact that I was considering racing on the 8th day.  Ah what the heck, no guts, no glory.

Two Sundays ago, I somehow had a whole day to myself with perfect weather.  Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I readied my untrusty stead (a.k.a the joker), grabbed and extra tube and headed out.  I had never ridden the full Emerald Necklace so I looked up the map my ride route and hit the road.  About 30 or so miles, in, I ended up missing a turn and riding through East Cleveland where I noticed my bike was worth more than most of the cars.  I had (2) thoughts: Pedal your ass through here as quickly as possible and don't stop.  I had just made it to the outskirts of downtown Cleveland (E. 17th and St. Clair) when I hit a big bump and double pinch flatted.  Luckily I had grabbed that extra tube and after wrestling with my stupid valve extenders for about 10 minutes I was up and riding again.  I decided to head to Spin as it was only 8 miles away vs. trying to navigate my way back home.  They hooked me up with some extra tubes and CO2 cartridges before hitting the parkway.  I had ridden more on the west side this year than ever before and I actually knew a good portion of the road for about 20 miles.  It was relatively flat with a very slight grade for about 20-30 miles until I rode east of I-77 and then the climbing began.  The sun was at it's highest point and I was cooking.  Tons of motorcyclists passed me, making me wish I had taken this bike of mine out instead.  I stopped at Station Bridge to refill my bottles and upon leaving hit what I think was the steepest climb of the day.  I cramped in my cavs and hamstrings for about 2 miles and spent the time spinning and hydrating.  I climbed through the Bedford Reservation and it took all I had to push those pedals the rest of the way home.  Nearly 6 hours of riding with over 4500ft. of climbing and I completed my first completely unsupported century solo.  Oh and I had a bit of a sun burn.

Friday I rode from home up to Willoughby to help The Bicycle Hub run a challenge/aid station at the Dark Horse 5K.  It was like the Warrior Dash, but in the dark (headlamps, glow sticks and flashlights galore).  Roark met me up there after work, so thankfully I didn't have to ride home in the dark.  Chalk up another 21+ miles.

I managed 5 hours of sleep before heading out to the Rev3 preview day at Sawmill Creek, hosted by the CTC.  I wasn't really too keen on swimming, but I neglect it so much and I HAD TO that day.  A quick 30 minute swim and I was hustling to get ready to roll for the ride.  My friend, Danner had never ridden a full century and with the course being only 2,500 feet of climbing and supported, it was the perfect opportunity.

We set out with the B group and ran into my friend TK who was also game for the full century.  The ride started out fine but after 10 miles or so 90% of the group was riding in a paceline in their f*ck#ng aero bars!  I couldn't believe it.  I always here how roadies think triathletes are stupid and refer to us as "tritards" and how against having people join group rides on tri bikes are but that day, I found myself agreeing.  I am without a doubt of a roadie mindset now, posing as a triathlete.  I couldn't believe how stupid and/or ignorant they were being, especially with all the crashes this year.  We decided to get away from this group and jumped up to the B+ group where it was still occurring but much less frequently.  I don't give a crap how fast my average speed is or about any Strava segments....

**FYI - If I catch you riding with me on your aero bars I WILL CALL YOUR ASS OUT!!!**


We rolled through the first loop with about 20-30 people, but when we made the left hand turn to hit the second loop it was .... CRICKETS!!  I think we saw 2 other guys turn with us but it was pretty lonely.  We picked up a girl on a custom Shiv riding 90s that couldn't have weighed more than 130lbs  (the wind got under her at one point and she almost ended up in the other lane)  and we fought the wind the last 25 miles or so with her back to Sawmill.  My Garmin only had 97 miles on it and my friend wanted a legit 100, so the 3 of us rolled past the resort for a few more miles to get our triple digit ride in.  I came to find out our new friend had never ridden 100 before either, so it was a great to get to share that moment with my 2 riding buddies.  As for me, I hit my 200th mile about 20+ miles before that and had my own secret victory party pedaling through the headwinds with them.  We managed 100.5 miles in just a hair over 5 hours.

Total Miles: 221.4 miles

Friday, August 2, 2013

Huntington Triathlon

The race went like this swim, fumble around, bike, fumble around, run -- finish.

My last triathlon had been the full at Rev3 last year.  Other than that it had been nearly 2 years since I had done anything.  I had no intention of doing this race, heck I was seriously considering giving the Eastern Ohio TT a shot, but after Roark signed up I was scraping for some quality time with him, even if it meant suffering a little (who am I kidding, -- a lot).

I saw so many familiar faces and was happy to rack my bike and gear quickly so I could socialize.  The nervous feeling I used to get was barely there.  I had never done this race and having been in the water less than 5 times this year and all but boycotting running, the goal was 1:15, smash the bike and have fun!

I originally, thought I would be in the first women's wave so I was a little surprised to see the wave break at 34 and under.  I had a rather large moment of sadness as I realized I was going off in the "old lady wave."  I don't know why it bothers me so much these days, maybe it's because I am closer to 40 than 30 or maybe it's the few gray hairs I have found, or maybe it's the fact that Roark is over 10 years younger than me and I am just trying to hide my oldness from him for as long as possible....  I even had a little discussion with TriSaraTops at the shoreline about it.

Shoulder to shoulder we left the beach running head on into the waves.  My left goggle was leaking in the warm-up, so I knew it was going to be a 1-eyed swim eventually.  I waited until there was a break in the wave sets and plunged in swimming for the first buoy.  The swim was clockwise and I breathe to the right so I could sight off the shore.  The waves were fine once out past the break wall and I just settled in to a comfortably hard pace, figuring I would be in the water a good 10 minutes and I didn't know where the last buoy was.  I was actually, a little surprised how quick the swim actually was and when I hit the shore I glanced at my watch to see just a hair over 9:00.  I attempted to strip my wetsuit in the water as Roark had instructed me (which I have never done before) and I fumbled around for a minute or so, with the waves crashing into me, unable to get the right leg of my suit off -- DAMN!!!!  At last, I was successful and ran my unhappy ass up to T1.  I was surprised at all the people walking up and I passed at least 5 or 6 people on my little trek.

T1 was uneventful and I was on my way in no time.  I did take note of the many very empty bike racks.  The thought that I was in the last wave had escaped me and critical thinking was not my forte at the moment.  Worried I might not make my goal of 1:15 due to the water fumbling and lack of intensity I was racing with I hustled out determined to have a better bike than swim.

The course was of course, FLAT (we were on the west side).  I tried to ride aero, but it would only last for a little bit at a time.  I was not comfortable and most of my riding these days has been on hilly routes and with groups -- herein lies the problem.  I didn't get passed by one person (guy or girl) and rode by effort only,  unable to see my speed on my Garmin and without a heart rate monitor.  My quads were a little baked from the race last night, but I have raced soar before and it was completely tolerable.  I decided to do a flying dismount after debating with myself for a few minutes as it had been a few years since my last one.  What do ya know, it was like riding a bike, no issues off the bike and high tailing it into T2 successfully.  Garmin split on my bike was 12.4 miles in 33:57, avg 21.9mph and my avg watts were 204, which is great for me (normally, I push 170-190 watts on a ride).  I got the QOM on Strava for the course to boot (course, I am the only girl too -- hehe).

T2 I had forgotten my tri shoes with the Yankz and had to pull on my trainers that had the broken shoe string.  Fumbled around trying to get them tied and double knotted before heading out to my impending punishment.

I had no idea where I was in relation to the other girls.  I did see my friend BS running up the last hill toward the finish thinking he probably won the men's race.  As I made my way out I saw Roark directing me to the left and cheering along with JL and some of the Spin peeps.  I smiled and yelled something about this being my top speed and I was already suffering on the run.

I can never tell my pace when I come off the bike, but it felt slow.  I was guessing around 8:45/mile.  I was hoping to be 8:00/mile flat.  I hit the first mile marker and saw 8:24 --- ooiii.  Not good.  As I made the turn around I saw a few girls hot on my heels, one of them being TriSaraTops.  She looked strong and I felt miserable.  My first thought was there was no way I could hold them off for 2 miles.  She, especially was just too close, and then I had a plan.  I was going to surge in the shaded spots as much as possible.  I wouldn't be able to hold a faster pace, but maybe surging on and off would keep them at bay.  I pushed and pushed.  The sun actually took a little "behind the clouds break" so I surged a little more than I really wanted, which would probably be my saving grace.  I dare not look behind me again and right after mile 2, I saw Roark running the other way.  I hoped he would run with me and encourage me but nope.  He yelled at me to pick it up and ditched me :)  To add insult to injury my shoe came untied.  I debated tying it and decided it wasn't worth it and if the damn thing came off I would come back for it.  I knew I was so close to the finish making the final turn to run up the last hill, but I knew the other girls were even closer.  I gave it all I had to get up that last hill.  I saw Roark and TK screaming at me to hurry and that there were girls right behind me.  One girl caught me right at the top of the hill, but she was in the wave ahead of me, so I already had 4 minutes on her.  I crossed the line, only to turn around and see TriSaraTops RIGHT behind me (you can read her version here).  She had run out of road, literally.  I was spent and it had hurt.  Next time I would not be so lucky.

I was elated to see my time had been 1:12:47, over 2 minutes faster than my goal.  No splits were available, but it's safe to say my bike split was probably one of the fastest for the women, and minus the part where TriSaraTops made me run so hard that I wanted to puke, I had fun.

Reflecting on this race, I find my nervous intensity and seriousness regarding triathlon racing is pretty much gone.  I don't expect to win anything overall or in my age group, so it's a bonus if I do now.  I don't train much (except riding my bike),  hence I don't have huge expectations.  I'm not a pro.  I feel my glory days are passed me in regards to racing, but I'm having fun, a lot of fun.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Shot In The Dark (2-Person Relay)

I all but detest running now because it aggravates the ever continuing saga that is my foot pain, but after  my TBH sponsor put out feelers to see who was in for this race, I thought "What the heck?  Why not?" I signed me and Roark up for a little painful fun.

I had packed my race bag the night before and Roark took it to work with him that morning with the plan that I would ride the cursed quintana downtown and meet up before the race, race and then drive home together in one car (whoo hoo -- Go Green!)

I left about around 6p thinking I had plenty of time to ride 10 miles.  I even got to work in less than 23 minutes (faster than when I take my darn car!!).  Just as I passed the old Cleveland Agora and hit E. 30th I saw a woman on the side of the road working on her bike.  I stopped and asked if she was ok.  She had a flat and I decided to stay and help fix it.  We got her up and running and I high tailed it down to the Winking Lizard with little less than 30 minutes to spare.  I wasn't really worried as my bike was my warm-up, but Roark really didn't get any picking up packets and running around trying to find me (he beat me anyway).

We were racing under the name "Team Spin Hub" as he works for a local competitor bike shop and I of course race for "The Bicycle Hub."  We found EP, DM and BK for some pre-race argyle photos and laughs.

We ended up starting so far back we had walkers in front of us -- whoops.  I ran over to the right and hopped up on the sidewalk to avoid the pedestrian crowds and give myself a nice open route. Apparently, Roark and DM liked my plan as they were hot on my heels for the first 1/4 mile or so, until the road opened up at which point they ditched me.

As we turned left and made our way up the Detroit bridge, we could see the leaders coming back just as we were reaching the peak of the bridge.  I could still see the guys just up ahead and at the turn-around Roark had gapped DM, just a few yards.  I ran around the cone, relieved mile 1 was over.  I pushed up the bridge, trying to gain ground as I figured this would be where most people would be trying to conserve energy.  My quads were on fire, but no guts no glory, so I kept pushing.

DM had started to come back to me and I was trying to focus on catching him.  We saw EP and baby and she yelled words of encouragement as we waved back at her.  DM yelled to me "I lost him (in regards to Roark who had taken off).  It's all about the beer now."  I agreed and kept trying to close the gap.

We made the turn off the bridge and fought up the last incline with what looked to be a 10-year old girl right next to us.  Her coach or father kept screaming from behind us "Go Now! Pick it up! Go Now!"  REPETATIVELY!  It was a little over the top.  Thankfully, we pulled away from her and headed for the finish.  DM just got me going 14:58.  I had 15:04 on my Garmin for 2.05 miles.  Roark went 14:00.

None of us felt we had great races.  I even bent over at the finish line spitting, waiting for that feeling of nausea to go away or make me vomit (it went away).  We grabbed some water and I headed back out to meet up with EP to see if her and the bun in the oven wanted some water.  Since it was her first race preggers, she got a big ole "Preggers PR!"  Apparently, the little guy kept kicking her every time she tried to run -- hehe.

We finished up and enjoyed the post race burgers and the music of my favorite local band the Spazzmatics before heading home to prep for possibly a second day of racing!

Official results were posted almost immediately and somehow my chip didn't work.  I contacted the RD and asked if I could use my Garmin time and they were cool with that!  We ended up 9th coed team in 29:05.  Not too shabby for a swimmer and an old gimp.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pretty sure Dolly Parton was Never a Swimmer

Of all the disciplines in triathlon, I find swimming the most difficult.  It takes technique and skill and just because you do a lot of it, doesn't mean you will get better.  In addition to the actual swimming thing, wearing a swimsuit has always been an issue due to the girls and an unhealthy dose of being self conscious that has plagued me for years.  I can honestly say it has been about 15 years since I wore a real suit.  Usually, I just wear a sports bra top and buns or some swimming suit bottoms.  In the past I tried on countless bikinis in hopes they would fit with absolutely no luck.  The tops were never big enough or supportive enough and the bottoms that came in the set were always too big.  I had researched and read many articles on the best supportive suits out there, but there really wasn't anything in my opinion. 

Here's me racing the full at Rev3 in, yep you guessed it, a sports bra.

The only answer for me had been the breast reduction.  Now, I had no excuses.  I had even bought myself a swimming suit by Betty Designs, that I just thought looked amazing!!  Originally, when I bought the suit I was 8 lbs. heavier and was to put it bluntly, too fat to wear it.  I finally, put it on the other day and asked AH how bad it looked and he said "not that bad."  I thought well maybe a few more pounds and I would give it another try modelling it, but AH changed his statement and said it was completely okay for me to wear in public.  God, I hoped he wasn't lying because...

Yesterday, I woMAN'd up and went to the pool in a bikini (GULP!).  I was so self conscious and there were little girls staring at me in the locker room.  Not wanting them to see all the incisional scars from the surgery, I changed my top in the shower stall (hey I am a work in progress here).

I jumped in the water and hoped the top would hold the girls in place (Once a few years back, I had gone to take a stroke and my sports bra had risen up just a tad too much to expose the lower part of my breast.  I was so embarassed and I immediately stopped to tuck it back in).  I successfully swam 1300 yds without any complications and the suit worked just fine yesterday.  There was hope after all. 

My only issue now with the swimsuit is tightening up those flabbly areas and getting over my self conscious complex.  AH says the more I wear the bikini the less self conscious I will feel. 

So here's me in the bikini post-swim with no more excuses but to swim, swim, swim!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mile Repeats -- Again

I keep meaning to blog about my workouts and not just my races to see the progression in my training, but so far it's a fail as I have 0.  I ran 4x800 a couple weeks ago with 400 meter recoveries and wanted to compare it to another time I had done that, but no workout logged or blogged anywhere -- doh!

About a month ago I went down to the KSU field house to run 3x1 mile repeats with Salty's Ginger with a J and get lapped by CED (a lot).  The goal was 740.  It was stuffy and warm.  I went 727, 747, 744, avg. 739 -- right on goal.  Not necessarily, the consistency I wanted though.  Recovery time was  whatever time it took to get to the 800 meter mark/2 lap job recovery (530-540).

I had the workout on my my training schedule again last week and having done my long run on Thursday that left the Sunday SERC run.  The goal was 737 -- only 2 seconds faster this time.  I wouldn't be able to run with anybody, but I could use the fasties as rabbits to help pull me along. 

I ran 3 easy miles for a warm-up with one at a solid effort.  PR passed me right before the first repeat and I figured he would probably be running about 715-730, so I tried to focus on him.  I felt awkward and unsettled trying to relax.  The mile was a tad rolling and my pace was all over on the garmin.  I gave up looking at it and tried to hit based on effort.  Fail -- 742.  Just a bit too slow, but within my 5 second rule. 

I took my 800 meter recovery (445) to mentally settle myself and regroup for a better second mile.  Salty came up on me just before my garmin beeped and I told her what I was doing before picking it up.  She hung with me as we got to an intersection as it was turning yellow.  I picked it up not wanting to get stuck at the light and although it hurt real good I dropped a 717. 

Salty caught and passed me again on the recovery.  I was excited only one more to go and I would be on cooldown a.k.a. trot mode. 

Luckily for me a few runners had stopped to get water and when I started my third mile they were able to pull me through the first 400 meters or so before deciding to push a little harder as it felt too slow.  I was closing on Salty and she became my focus, not the hurt.  Mile 3 beeped off before I got to her in 723.  I jogged easy for my last recovery 449 before hitting the rolling hills on my way back to the bagel shop. 

My cool down was just a tad over 2 miles and I felt great.  I avg 727 for the repeats and nearly a minute less on my recoveries.  Now that's what I all progress. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

In the Long Run

As my marathon is quickly approaching I have finally hit those 20-milers.  Yesterday, I was not, repeat not excited to see the typical Cleveland weather in full effect.  It was 30's and snowing on and off.  My foot was now hurting in the typical spots and on the outside.  I assumed I would go out for 10 or so miles before it started throbbing or I would just be too pooped and call it a day.  The target was 9:30/mile which should have been easy as I ripped off 18 the week before in sub-9.

I started off at what felt super easy and slow.  It was about 7:30 am so rush hour traffic was passing me to and fro throughout my quaint little neighborhood.  I opted to run short out and backs or loops to get fluid.  What am I saying, I opted to run those because I planned to quit before 20 -- there the truth.  Some of the side streets were lightly covered in snow and my shoes were slipping too, so footing was sketchy.  I clipped off the first 9 miles in 1:27 and change (nice and easy).  I figured the next 9 should easily be a negative split as I set out. 

The road conditions had improved a bit, but I opted to run 3 loops around a 0.75 mile cul de sac anyway.  I thought about my goals for this marathon a lot during this time.
a) break 4 hours (The course is a snowmobile trail.  I am not in PR shape.  My foot is my "achilles.")
b) I want to negative split this mother so bad, even if it means running 2 hrs on the front side and ripping a 1:50 on the second half.  I just want to finally do it.  I came oh so close at Boston, but the damn beer ruined it!!
c) I want to place top 3!!  Last year there were only 10 women in the race, so there is a good chance I will place in the top 10 -- hehehe.  First has been the same girl for the past few years and she is just too fast for me to even have a shot at her with a 3:15-3:30 finishing time. 
d) While I want to run hard and well and fast.  This is my vacation and I want to be able to celebrate doing another endurance event with my family, not be hobbling and handicapped for the week. 

All that said I came through the next 9 miles in 2:50 and change.  I had run 4 minutes faster on the backside.  There was no quitting now as I was within striking distance of my goal and I was only getting faster.  I pushed the last two miles closing out at 8:24 and 8:00.  Add one more goal: No matter what happens during the first 20-23 miles you can bet your running shoes I am gonna HTFU and bury myself the last few miles so I look tough coming in.

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Malachi 5-miler 2013 -- Show me the $$!!

 Photo: Me and Cash at St. Malachi representing Team Bicycle Hub.

It's been a few years since I have run this race and although a PR was going to be impossible I figured racing with my new team and gauging where my fitness was at would be all the reward I needed.

The luck of the Irish was not on our side weather wise.  The temperature was in the high 20's when I left and it was snowing.  It even hailed during our warm-up, but thankfully that was short lived.

My new racing kit had not yet come in, but Cash let me borrow one of his old jerseys.

Photo: Team Bicycle Hub rocking it at St. Malachi 5 mi this morning and looking super sweet in the new shirts!  Huge props to Eddie Po, Joe Edwards, Kevin Skilskyj, Dave Marsi, Lora Lynne Krider, ElizaBeth Heier, Kevlar and yours truly for nice runs through the slush!
Daisy had wanted a team photo before the race, so we circled around the church to find most everybody before snapping my first official Team Bicycle Hub photo. 
I started my warm-up late, so I only got in 2 miles instead of the intended 4.  My feet were already wet and my toes were cold.  The temperature was rising so I stripped my long sleeve at the last second and just went with Cash's jersey and some arm warmers.  I hopped around next to the starting line for 3-4 minutes trying to keep warm and loose before inching my way into the severely overcrowded start.  We were like sardines, but it was warmer in the mix, that was for sure.

I started with one of my friends from SERC, T.G.and jokingly told him my plan was to draft off him.  Local pro triathlete stud, J.L. also started with us.  He would actually go 28:15 and take 2nd in his AG, which is not too shabby, IMO.  The kicker is he got up at 4am, rode the trainer for 4 hours and then ran down to the race from Lakewood.  The only way to hash tag that is #HARDCORE!!

I was fairly close to the front, but I still had a 10 second delay to get over the start mats and with 2 quick sharp lefts it was a bottle neck.  I forced myself to be patient.  I worked to get around people and by the time I hit the bridge I was up to speed and trotting away.

My plan was simple, go out comfortably hard and come back uncomfortable and suffering.  My Garmin was flashing between 720-750.  My only goal was to go sub-40.  I kept reminding myself to reign it in and slow down.  Mile 1 - 749.

I was right where I had hoped to be.  We ran down the W. 3rd hill and people flew by me like I was standing still.  I caught T.G. and we ran together for a minute before he informed me it was his turn to draft off me.  I felt too good and kept thought maybe I am not pushing enough, especially with all the fly-bys.  We ran around the Brown's stadium and on to the dreaded Marginal road (although, the old St. Malachi course had some whopper hills in it, I still would have preferred it over Marginal with it's "lake effect everything" be it wind, snow, slush, whatever).  Surprisingly, the wind wasn't too bad and with the downhill I clipped Mile 2 in 730.

The leaders were on there way back and I was pleased to see the women's field was being led by my friends from the Cleveland Elite Development teamDaisy, my Team Bicycle Hub teammate was also right up there.  She would go on win our AG and finish in the top 10 -- HOLLA!!! 

As I hit the turnaround at Burke Driveway, I got a little excited, for about 1 second.  I was halfway done and I felt great, until I hit all the water and slush.  My feet were instantly soaked and cold.  I caught Daisy's husband and ran with him for a bit.  Once we got back on to Marginal I picked it up a little and tried to mentally stay strong as the hardest part was just ahead.  Mile 3 - 757.

I made my way back around the stadium and started the climb that would ultimately, destroy me by the final mile.  I kept reminding myself to pick up my feet and drive my knees forward, but they burned and were so heavy.  I could feel myself slowing and a guy next to me turned back as he dropped me and yelled "Come on, keep coming, no slowing down on the hill."  I dug in and tried to push myself up the hill, but it hurt.  I ran 19 hills in 13.1 miles just a few weeks ago, but I can honestly say I suffered this 1 hill worse than all those put together.  Easily, my slowest mile of the day beeped complete on my Garmin,  Mile 4 - 808.

I did the math.  I ONLY had to run an 8:36 last mile to break 40.  I was just tired.  I tried to force myself to maintain my effort as I fought my way back to the Detroit/Superior bridge.  I didn't have to run harder.  I just had to hold on. When I hit the bridge my legs were all but dead.  I could barely get my feet off the ground.  My quads felt like bricks.  I could feel and see more people going by me.  I tried to remind myself they were probably in as much pain as I was and that once I got to the top it was all downhill to the finish.  I was pretty miserable though and even as we ran down the bridge my legs just wouldn't go.  I had run 4x800 the day before the race and was undoubtedly paying for them now.  I was hanging on for dear life, thinking we had to run one block before turning the corner to head for the finish, but I was wrong -- it was right there.  Finally, my legs responded and I picked it up for the last tenth or so and finished in 38:39, well under my 40 minute goal. The only bummer...the last mile was short.  Many of us only had 0.9. Mile 5 / 0.9 -7:13.
Hurtin' for Certain!
Even if the course hadn't been short I still would have broken 40, so today IT WAS ALL CASH!!  Not bad for a rust buster, but there is still more rust to be removed, so back to the training. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Youngstown Distance Classic 1/2 Marathon 2013

Holy smokes -- dare I say it....  "I have a race report!!!"  Holla!!!

In prep for the Pine Line Marathon, I signed myself up for the easiest half marathon in Ohio (can you read the sarcasm in my typing?).  I had run this 1/2 marathon once before and I had quite an experience.  I was well prepared to suffer through 19 hills in 13.1 miles and then some to get 16-18 miles in on the day all by myself, but I was going to have a little luck on my side.

Salty Running's very own Ginjer with a J (GwaJ) was looking to run long and selflessly volunteered to come along and run with me (mind you she ran a tempo just the day before, set a PR in the 5k and broke the 6:00 minute barrier for the mile all in the last 2 weeks.  Impressed?  I sure as heck am. 

I was up super early, but somehow got caught doing things around the house only to be scrambling to get out the door, and then I needed gas -- grrrrr!!!  About 10 minutes later than planned I showed up at GwaJ's and we were off. 

I forgot the directions and my google maps sent me to the wrong part of Mill Creek so we arrived with about 40 minutes to spare instead of the pre-planned hour.  We managed a short warm-up of about 1.5 miles, before heading to the start. 

The race starts on a nice rolling downhill, but unfortunately that means it ends on a hellish rolling uphill.  We started pretty much in the back and trotted behind some slower runners through the first mile.  I wore my Garmin this year as to avoid the mile marker disaster of 2011.  Mile 1 - 9:16 (darn, I knew we were trotting a little too comfortably).

The down hill continued and the runners spread themselves out so we could make our way around the slower ones with little effort.  Mile 2 - 8:39.

The first hill hit around mile 3 and we went up at an easy pace.  I had hoped to run sub-1:55, but I also wanted to talk and enjoy the run.  GwaJ agreed, talking and enjoying the run was important part of the running plan.  Mile 3 - 8:51. 

Almost a 1/3 of the way through the race and the sun started to peak through.  Both of us were a little warmer than we had thought we would be, but we were running very relaxed.  I focused on keeping my hips forward, driving my knees up and keeping my arms low.  Ginger with a J had to use the port-o-john and we happened upon one right before the 4 mile marker.  She tried to get me to run ahead and leave her in peace, but I refused.  I grabbed a gatorade for each of us at a nearby aid station and waited patiently for my running buddy.  There was someone in the port-o-john, so we lost some time, but when it was GwaJ she was all business in and out in under a minute (pretty sure that was a PR for her-- hehe).  Mile 4 - 8:39 (not including potty break). 

We chatted about the course, other courses, runny noses, ovulation cycles, banditing races, even sh*t nobody says (e.g. "I enjoy watching a movie with my pareints during a sex scene" or "That hill was too easy to run up" or "I love when the wind destroys my hair.") and everything else.  The miles just kept on ticking by.  Mile 5 -8:46. 

Our chatting continued and became the focus of our day it was amazing we kept our legs moving.  I was even a little startled when we ran up on rocketman and he said "Hi."  He joined the converstion and hung with us through mile 7 or so before deciding we were going just a bit too fast for him.  Mile 6 - 8:43 and Mile 7 - 8:42. 

It was somewhere around this point our conversation veered back to the course at hand and how it would start rolling and going up through the worst climbs of the day.  Mile 8 - 8:54.

And it would only get harder.  Mile 9 - 8:58.

And harder and when I say harder this hill to mile 10 is up hill long and tiered.  When we finished the first tier and turned to the right to see another tier that swept up to the unknown GwaJ and I dug in and fought our way up to the top.  There was a small reprieve with some flat as we passed the mile marker.  Mile 10 - 9:12.

Only 4 miles to go with one long ass climb to the finish I reminded myself.  I still felt pretty good.  The foot was a bit sore, but my form on the flats was strong and we were right aound 8:00/mile when I would check.  Mile 11 -8:51.  Back under 9:00/mile and only 2 to go.

We weren't trying to push the pace as we were going to run a few miles after the race right away and I knew the finish was painful, so we just ran strong through the next flat section and continued to chat.  Mile 12 - 8:40.

Finally, at the long last ugly mile the never ending climbing began.  We could see runners in front of us walking and slowly making their way up the tiered hill.  GwaJ and I obviously slowed down on the hill, but not as much as most as we began passing them one by one (all men I might add, so take that Chris O'Hare -- Hell yeah, we ran like girls!!!).  We made it up the hill and made the last turn for the finish.  Mile 13 - 9:12 (turns out we ran faster up the hill than down -- see mile 1 time, oh well).

GwaJ pulled off shortly before the finish but before she did she said "kick it in if you can."  "What?" I thought this wasn't suppose to be that kind of day, but I tried anyway.  I ran for clock and almost got one more guy, but he kicked with like 20 feet, Sandbagger!!  0.11 - 0:52

Total Time on Garmin: 1:56:18
Chip Time 1:58:21

We managed another 2 miles before both our feet had had enough, so we changed and headed out to Bob Evan's to mee the SERC gang for some laughs and yummy breakfast. 

Overall, it was by far the funnest 1/2 I have ever run and I know it was because GwaJ was there.  It was a very successful 16+ mile day of training.  Can't wait to run with her again.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rippin' that Sh*t

I had planned on another tempo run this week, yesterday as a matter of fact, but I woke up with a headache and nauseated.  I haven't had a sip of alcohol for over 2 weeks now and though, uh oh -- stomach flu.  I managed to choke down 2 tylenol and sleep until about 11:30pm before getting up for the day (I work at night, so my day usually starts between 5p and 8p). 

I procrastinated until about 7:30am and decided to do some intervals instead.  Sometimes, I just need to mix it up and I never follow a training plan to a "T" -- it's impossible.  I opted for a "FIRST" workout.  It was 8 x 500 meters @ 5K pace with 100 meter RI.  In hindsight, I should have done 10 x 500 as I ran 3 x 1 mile a few weeks ago, but oh well, I planned to run a long warm-up since it had started to snow and it was 35 degrees and dropping. 

After 4 miles of trotting around my neighborhood I hit the 3/4 mile cirlce in the back of my development and hit the lap on my garmin to start my workout.  Not having run a race in over 5 months, I thought I would target 7:30-7:40 per mile for the first 4 and try to push the last 4.  Here's what I got...

Mile pace for the first (4) 500's (7:36, 7:26, 7:15, 7:19) -- avg 7:24
Mile pace for the last (4) 500's  (7:08, 7:14, 7:09, 6:45) -- avg. 703

Total miles: 8

I probably buried myself with those last 4 way too much, but hey sometimes you just rip that shit!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Thank You Sir, May I have Another?

Almost hard to believe, but I talked myself into running another marathon!!!  This will be #8 (if you count the 26.2 I did during the full at Rev3 last year).  It seems just a short while ago, I was attempting to "finish" a marathon and then "qualify for Boston."

I have to laugh because if you ask the average person their number, they might get offended and tell you "it's none of your business," but not us, runners.  We WANT to be known for our high mileage (running that is -- wink wink).  Not that I would call myself high mileage at all, as I only broke 30 miles this past week.  The on again, off again training pattern, or lack therof this winter took it's toll on me, but after 6 weeks of consistent training, you can forget Stella, I've got my groove back.

It's only 10 weeks until my marathon and although I don't see any PR on the horizon, I am looking forward to heading to my hometown and running with (or behind) my cousin for a few hours.  I think AD (my aunt) is going to throw her hat in the ring and run the 1/2, and a few others may even form a relay team. 

Finished a nice freezing cold 14 mile long run last Friday and I had an aha moment, when I decided to wears buns under my running tights instead of my usual thong and holy hell, no frozen buns.  My knees were a little stiff from the cold but that was it. 

I even made it down to KSU's field house Tuesday to run some mile repeats with Salty Running's, Ginger with a J and get a sneak peak at Cleveland Elite Development (CED) doing some winter work and Whoa!! are they impressive (and completely out of my league) and inspiring.  I'd like to get down there again for another work out, but I work the next few Tuesdays and who knows, maybe I can save $5 and 25 minutes of driving and hit the local outdoor track by then. 

I'm already excited to crank out a 16 miler with my running club this weekend.  Weather looks decent, in the 30's and partly cloudy to sunny.  We had a decent group 2 weekends ago and a few newbies joined in so I am hoping with spring just around the corner and some encouragement via social media on my part, I can convince even more newbies to come out. 

Goodness, did I just say I am excited to run 16 miles in 30 degree weather?  Yep, I'm getting in marathon mode.