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.