I cannot even begin to list the things I am thankful for today.
I am thankful for my family, who I love to the moon in back
For my family who races with me.
That I have a mother in shape enough to run a half marathon with me (and kick my ass).
For the Beast. He knows how to trick me into a perfect photo at every wedding.
For my friends, who race and drink with me.
For my puppy, who always knows when I need a snuggle or a run
For my health and the courage to embark on my fitness journey, starting with my first triathlon.
You may have guessed it. I did already post it on Instagram for those who look there, but this next year just got a little bit (okay, a lotta bit) crazier.
As I was skimming over my Facebook feed the day before the Richmond Half Marathon, I noticed a couple of good friends of the Beast and I had signed up for Ironman Maryland. They had tried to convince me to do a Half Ironman in September with 6 weeks of training. I declined, but kind of regretted it even though I knew it would wreck me trying to do that much training in such a short period of time. After the race, the two boys talked about doing Ironman Florida in 2015 and asked me to join. Though I had considered an Ironman for 2015, Florida was just a little too far and expensive with travel costs for me, so I considered myself safe.
When I saw they registered for Maryland, I was overcome with emotions. Jealousy being the dominate one. How can these two men who have only ever done one triathlon and are not as committed or knowledgeable about the sport just sign up and decide to do an Ironman?! Don’t they know what goes into it? How hard it is?
The truth was, I wanted to do it, and I was scared to do it. I’ve competed in a couple of seasons of triathlon doing sprints and peaked with an Olympic distance triathlon this past September. According to my ultimate triathlon plan, I would peak with a half in 2015, and then go for the big one in 2016. Steady, logical, orderly. The way I like to do things.
But I couldn’t get over this feeling of “how dare you encroach upon my sport, you newbie, and think you can conquer it” jealousy feeling. (Note, I did not include rational in my list of descriptions about me). This was my dream and they were taking it away.
Until our friend Allen asked me to do it with them.
My first thought was, no, are you crazy, I have a PLAN I am sticking to, like a normal sane person does. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered why? Why do I need to wait? Why can’t I go for it now? Because I haven’t done a marathon or half Ironman yet? So what.
So, I texted the Beast and ran the crazy idea past him. And he responded in his normal, I will support whatever you want to do. I told him it would be hard and I would need to start soon and it would be expensive and it would be trying and he would never see me on the weekend. He shrugged it off and told me to do it anyway.
Then standing in the middle of a JoAnn Fabrics store, I did it. I clicked the very expensive Register button.
I am registered for Ironman Maryland 2015.
I am going to be an Ironman.
So strap in, things on this blog are going to get a little bumpy, including the introduction of the newest member in our stable later this week.
Overall, I am satisfied with how the half went. I am not ecstatic and I am not disappointed. I am content with my results given my training and the weather conditions.
All week long the weather forecast become increasing colder until I woke up race morning to a balmy 25 degrees. This was not comforting since the coldest weather I had trained in was probably in the 40s. Probably even the high 40s. I had at most worn capris and a very light jacket. Race morning I wore my long tights, a long sleeved shirt (with my SOAS tank over top to represent), and my winter running jacket. I also had a warm headband on and gloves. It was freezing.
I started the morning out with my favorite race breakfast of a piece of bread (I prefer untoasted), peanut butter, and half a banana. The puppy was very sad I didn’t share any with her.
Mom and I hopped in the car with no traffic until about a mile and a half from where parking was. We had left the house at 6:30 to arrive in Richmond at 7 with a start of 7:44. We cut it pretty close with traffic but since we took her Mini we were able to squeeze in a compact car space and the street we parked on was the same as the start.
We headed for the porter potties for once last stop. At this point I was freaking out a bit. I hadn’t had any bowel movements since the night before and wanted to empty my system before starting. But nothing happened. I just peed and decided that was that and hopefully it wouldn’t catch me later (luckily it didn’t until well after the race).
We were out of the johns and immediately into our corral with 2 minutes to start. Perfect timing. My mom had decided to run with me during the race since she hadn’t been training that much and didn’t care about time for this one.
Despite my mom wanting to push it almost right away I told her that I was keeping it easy for the first 8 miles. The first mile ticked 15 seconds under my 12 minute pace and the second 8 seconds over. I was happy with both of these and wanted to keep my range between 11:45 and 12:05.
Miles 3-7 went about the same with mile 7 being my second fastest mile. I was getting ready to kick it. But then my plans began to get derailed.
The cold weather began to get to me yesterday. Not having trained in it I could feel my lungs retaliating. By mile 8 I couldn’t take a deep breath and my pace began to reflect it. My pace began to drop from mile 8 to 12 and I tried to push but my lungs wouldn’t cooperate and then my right hip began to flare.
I pushed and tried and didn’t want to give myself another excuse to not PR. But the pace was slipping too much and my mile paces were in the high 11s. With one more mile left and the marathon male winners beginning to come up beside us I tried to push harder. I couldn’t. Until the final turn and the big downhill. I looked to my mom and we kicked it into gear.
This is my favorite part of the race. There is a little over a quarter of a mile left but the downhill is so steep you just have to let it take you. So I lengthened my stride and pushed with my last little bit. Mile 13 was my fastest at 10:38 and I gave one last push to make it 13.1 miles.
I crossed in 2:31:29, about 30 seconds slower than the previous year. But I raced smarter. I had a negative split by 7 seconds unlike my very positive split of last year. Though my legs were jello I know I had given it my all. I tried and next time my training will be better but for this cycle, I am happy. And I am happy to have the opportunity to run a half marathon with my 50 year old mom.
I am literally sitting in the parking lot of the expo waiting for my mom to arrive (and the expo to open) to go inside the day before the half marathon. I haven’t run this distance since the Nike Women’s Half in April and I think that due to lack of training I will be luckily to do the same as I did there. The last three weeks have been phenomenal but I don’t know of that will be enough. Which is why I am laying out my goals and expectations for tomorrow.
A Goal: half marathon PR. My current PR is from last year’s Richmond half at 2:30:49. I may be off a little on the seconds but regardless I would like to get under 2:30 and if I have a good day tomorrow I think this is achievable.
B Goal: under a 12 minute pace. If I can’t PR I would like to keep my average pace under 12 minutes, which I think I could do easily.
C Goal or everything goes to shit goal: finish with a smile on my face and glad to be able to run a half marathon and do it with my mom.
She’s here! Time to enjoy!
Daylight saving time has begun and the mornings are dark and the evenings darker. Since I leave the house at 6:30 and get home at 5pm, this means that essentially I will be in the dark no matter when I workout: morning or evening. For me, this means, no more biking outside during the week, only on the weekends, and running has become a challenge as well.
While I could run in the dark, I choose not to do so. First, I am clumsy, and having little to no visibility most likely means scrapes and bruises. I already trip during full daylight in dry conditions. Second, the sidewalks/roads near my apartment to run are not the best lit and my only other option is trails through the woods, which are pitch black. This brings up the safety factor. If the Beast wanted to go run with me, I would consider doing it, but he doesn’t and won’t and we run at different speeds/distances.
This essentially means that until about March, my runs and bike rides during the week will take place inside. I don’t mind staying inside for the bike because I am more than happy to set up my trainer and watch a movie or two and pedal all day long or go to the gym for a spin class. However, running inside means I have to use the treadmill, the machine I hate most in the world.
I steeled myself on Tuesday for my first trek to the gym to run and my first run since my nasty chafing from last Friday’s long run.
Then I decided that my relationship with the treadmill for the next 5 months or so couldn’t start on a sour note, and I needed to find ways to make this partnership blossom, thrive! So here are my tips for surviving the treadmill.
1. Be positive. Easier said than done, but going into the workout dreading and harrumphing the treadmill is going to make it worse. Way, way worse. Unbearably worse. I rationalized with myself all day that this was my only option and if I wanted to continue running this was the safest and best way to do it.
2. Arm yourself with music. Taylor Swift’s new CD has been a lifesaver for me. The tunes are catchy, the beats are good, and it provided lots of entertainment for other gym goers as I danced and lip-synced on my treadmill. Other options also include having a movie or TV show or something to listen to and entertain you. For the treadmill I prefer the fast paced music as opposed to my book on tape or a movie which are not going to be an hour long thrill ride most of the time.
3. Turn on the TV monitor. Even if you aren’t going to watch it or listen to it, it provides another visual distraction and at least some scenery is changing while you’re running in place.
4. Have fun! I dance, sing, and do a myriad of other weird things while I run on the treadmill. Yes, there are many other people around, but I am getting in my workout and trying my best to enjoy it. If that means I look like an idiot and end up on YouTube at some point, so be it.
5. Mess with your speed. I like to have a range that I am aiming for whenever I run on the treadmill. I am sure my speed varies when I am running outside from quarter mile to quarter mile, so when I am on the treadmill I increase and decrease by 0.1 every lap. This adds some variety and breaks the whole run up in quarter mile intervals. If I can just make it to the next quarter mile mark, then I can change the speed, and that resets my mindset.