Monday, January 30, 2012

London's run

I did it. I went for it, I gave it my all….but in the end, I just didn't have anything left in the tank or my legs to keep the fast pace past mile 9. My garmin splits CLEARLY show where the wheels fell off. I just couldn't seem to get them back ;). I guess 3 half marathons in less than 2 months will do that to ya!

The morning was beautiful, a bit breezy (but thankfully not nearly as windy as it was at my house when we left for the race!). The course was about an hour drive away on dirt farm roads. In hindsight, I probably should have done the other course I was debating over, on the roads. The dusty, uneven roads were really hard for me and I ended up carrying and using my inhaler 3 times during the race because of the air quality. My allergies are still a mess 2 days later.

I ran hard from the get go, but never digging too deep. I was very very happy realizing that not one person passed me from the start and I was running as the 4th female until mile 10 when a girl came flying by me. I tried to pull behind her, but I just didn't have it.

Around mile 11 or so I noticed some random guy running all over the place, looking at me, then yelling at someone behind me. On an out and back section I noticed there was a girl closing in on me, followed closely by about 3 other girls.

So, with less than a half of a mile to go when I realized (yes I actually asked the guy if he was trying to get the girl to pass me) that if I didn't pick it up I was going to get passed and then I would be really really mad so I dug deep, and then I dug some more. I held on to my 5th place and gave it everything I had.

I beat that girl by only :02 seconds AND it gave me 5th OA female and 3rd in AG.


I did not get my NY qualifying race, but I wasn't even remotely disappointed. That goal wasn't really mine, I just tagged along with some girlfriend's goals. After PF Changs 1:38 PR, I thought there was a small chance I could pull it off, but with only 2 weeks to recover and a very stressful week with Baxter ending up in the hospital for a night I was tired, and definitely NOT rested.

I very very proudly shared my age group medal (and an extra one) with Baxter & Juliette and toasted my achievement with a nice cold Blue Moon in my beer mug from NY Marathon, circa 2003 when Shane & I ran and he proposed to me.


I proved a lot to myself with these last 3 races, and while I'm ready to get back to my regular triathlon training…. I can honestly say it sure was fun being a "runner" for a couple of months :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going for it

I'm not sure I'm recovered, I'm not sure I'm totally healthy (feeling a little off this week), but I've decided why not? Just go for it.

After a complete over-analyzing internal debate on which race I should do this weekend, I've chosen to do London's run. The course is more flat than the ARR Desert Classic I was thinking about doing and it's for a great cause. It is however, on all dirt, which most people like but I'm not a big fan of so I'm definitely going to have to focus.

My goal is 1:36:59 and a guaranteed entry (well after $255 entry fee - wtf?) into the New York marathon. The funny thing is, I'm not even sure I want to run another marathon, let alone train for one.

I've never gone after anything that "qualifies" me for an event so to me this is just a nice little challenge. I wish I had more recovery time after PF Changs, but the qual times are changing after Jan 31 so this is my shot!

I'd say I've got a 50/50 chance at pulling it off so I'm just gonna #gorunhard. If I don't make it, I'll know I gave it my best and will take away some really really good running training to bring into my season (yay! way excited maybe I won't get run down all the time!). I won't be sad, or disappointed. If nothing else, I consider it a win for me just putting it out there and going for it. I honestly still keep pinching myself that I did 2x sub 1:40 half marathon's in the past 2 months. It wasn't long ago I was going for sub 2hrs.

And, if I do make it. Well I might just pee my pants and then have to decide if I want to run a marathon :)

"You may not accomplish every goal you set / no one does / but what really matters is having goals and going after them wholeheartedly."
-- Les Brown



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon

The Rock and Roll events are like Disneyland for runners. Great first time events, but IMHO, way way way too much fluff. Too much money, too many people. Funny how I don't seem to say the same about Ironman, huh? Potat-O, PotAHto.

I did my first RnR even in 02 in San Diego. It's the race that ruined me for years. I gave in and did one more, the Phoenix RnR in like 03 or 04 maybe…. had my worst half time to date (2:14 or something) and swore I'd never do another one.

I think I'm finally learning not to use that word never…

Shane jumped on the bandwagon after Tucson to help pace our friend to a NY Marathon Qual time of <1:37. I didn't have it in my head that I could possibly EVER go any faster than I did in Tucson, but since we were in Mexico for 10 days and I needed some outlet to work off all the calories, I did all the training with him. The paces were hard, but I did them, even sometimes with a hangover. I finally registered for the obnoxiously overpriced race last Sunday.

A couple of "VIP warm zone" tickets were purchased, which at the time I thought was a complete rip off. $45 for parking and a special area to hang out indoors before the race. Turns out this was BRILLANT. I won't tell our secrets but all of us got into the VIP section and it was awesome. Traffic was insane and the freeway exits were backed up (both directions) for miles. We had just a small delay to get into the VIP parking, and a 5min walk to the warm zone and we were all able to gather our stuff, use inside bathrooms and then drop our bags right out the door just 15mins before the start. We jogged a half mile to the start and got right into the line. Of course due to the traffic it still started late but it wasn't too bad.


I didn't really have a "plan" for this race. My training was the same as Shane's and while I knew HE could do sub 1:37, I wasn't sure about myself. To me it's just so hard to fathom going faster than you have ever done? His job was to get our friend June to the finish and I would try to stay with them. As we started the race Shane's Garmin must have been a little off cause he just bolted out way faster than I expected. It felt a little less than easy for myself so I decided right there just to do my own thing. I stayed with them for about 2 miles, but then our friend seemed to slow down. I turned my music up and just went off on my own. The pace felt pretty good. I was working, but not using too much effort. Every opportunity I had I tried to pull behind someone to get a "draft," but somehow I still ended up on my own. I noticed my arch enemy in front of me and just kept this person in sight. No reason really for the arch enemy, except that this person has NEVER EVER been nice to me in races and I always try to talk to them, but get nuthing. So, now I've made it my mission to be competitive with this person until they are nice to me :) I've tried being overly nice but that isn't cutting it, so we'll see if this does - AND, I finally did make the pass (and STILL tried to make conversation with nothing in return) at about mile 8.

The weather couldn't have been better. About 50degrees and cloudy. Unfortunately, the course wasn't my favorite. Several turns and a net increase in elevation. The most "up" happened between miles 5-9. I felt it. My avg pace was slipping closer to 7:30 on my Garmin but I just didn't think I could push any harder or I'd blow up. About mile 8, Shane came up behind me. He said our friend just didn't have it today and sent him to come get me. He looked STRONG and I was doing just fine by myself to I told him to go have his own race… GO for it! I don't remember the last time he did a run race that wasn't for me so I was happy to see him doing so well. Within a few mins he was GONE. Turns out not only did he catch up to me after being about a minute behind, then he made up 2minutes on me in the last 4 miles finishing in 1:35…. Not his PR, but a solid solid race with a huge negative split!

I mentally started to give up on <1:37 when I hit mile 10 where the "down" was supposed to start but I wasn't feeling the benefits of gravity so much. As I went by aid station number 11 I got a second wind as my friend T told me to get my ass moving. I looked at my garmin and did the math. If I could pull out 2 miles around 7min pace and sprint the last .1 I would have a chance. I gave it EVERYTHING I had, however I soon realized that my garmin was .1 mile off of the official course so that cost me almost a minute. I did a few too many sub 7min sections that made me feel like I was going to vomit (including this picture where I darted over to high five my niece!).
I finished the race with my last 1.1 miles being my fastest splits and a new PR of 1:38:24. I went from telling myself at mile 9 I never wanted to try to run this hard again, to 5mins after finishing saying I was "going for it" in 2 weeks at another half marathon.

I've never really run for a goal. I've set some times, but I've never tried to qualify for anything. NY marathon isn't the cherry on top for me, but I'm giving myself one more shot at putting it all out there and going for it. It wasn't too long ago when I couldn't break a 2 hour half marathon for anything, and yet somehow now I'm running a 7:30 pace? Sometimes I have to really just stop and think about it. I don't want to get greedy or start going crazy about running, but I have to admit…. the past few months sure have been fun! Who knew there was a runner inside of me after all? I'm hoping all of this work and confidence will help me through my tri season… and after these next 2 weeks, it's all about the BIKE!
He might have a cast… but he knew exactly what that medal meant :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

dog infirmary, new saddle and a little retail therapy

Week 1. Day 4. 38 days to go… Not that I'm counting or anything. I know some of you reading this, or all my crazy Facebook posts probably can't relate. I imagine those are the people who don't have pets, or furthermore their pets aren't their children. So, just humor me for a second and imagine if it were your child having surgery, unable to walk on their own (or use crutches), or fend for them self in a way. Baxter is my boy. He has been with me pretty much my entire grown up life. I got him just a couple of years out of college where I could barely afford to pay my rent, student loans let alone vet bills and food and allotherthings grown up. Thankfully, shortly after (or actually during the process) I met Shane & within just a few months of dating Baxter pretty much had us both from the beginning to take care of him.

Everything about this surgery happened fast. Not the injury itself (that happened in August), but the final diagnosis (originally a torn ACL) of a torn/partially ruptured Achilles which was last Friday to the actual surgery that took place just a few days later on Tuesday. The whole misdiagnosis is a long long story, but it all doesn't matter anyway. I've finally (after far too long) switched vets to the most amazing vet I've ever met (also our neighbor in Mexico). She helped me get the right diagnosis and got me in to see the surgeon who is helping fix Baxter. She also did the most thorough exam including full x-rays that he's ever received. The best news was he is in amazing shape for a 10 year old, big dog. I couldn't begin to tell you how happy that made me as I've always worried if I started running him way too young. Little to almost non-existent arthritis in his hips. His spine looks great. Guess all the glucosamine/fish oil works?

The surgery went well, the tear was partial and because so much time had gone by it had started to heal on it's own (just not properly). The prognosis for full recovery is great. Baxter is is in a full leg cast for 4 weeks. It's changed out WEEKLY (and he has to be put back under each time). After 4 weeks they will switch it to a splint for 2 more weeks. He has to be confined to small areas or a crate and only let out ON LEASH for bathroom breaks.

The first day was tough. He had not quite figured out how to use the cast. It's big. It's heavy. We tried to get him into a crate in my office but he just laid down on the dog bed in front of it and passed out. Juliette got a kick out of the crate though - I'm guessing she was crate trained before we got her?
We had to brace the back of his hips using a towel to lift his weight up and get him around. He really struggled with peeing. He has figured out how to lift his leg and put all the weight on the good one, but sometimes the weight of the cast is too much so he almost falls over. Yes, I have had to actually HELP him hold his leg up, and YES I have also been peed on. I bring him water and have to hold it for him several times a day. His food gets brought to him. I may be over-cautious about this stuff, but the doctor gave me STRICT instructions not to get his leg/cast wet AT ALL or it would not be good. Smelly, infection… more cost to put on a new cast, etc… So, he's got the stupid girly Target knee high sock on for extra protection. The morning after our first day with him I was sore like you wouldn't believe. My shoulders/lats & back were trashed from basically carrying half his weight around and I was spent. I cried wolf to Michelle that I was "trashed" and needed more recovery to rest up for the half marathon this weekend. I knew it wasn't from the training - but the stress, the extra work and lack of sleep from the surgery was getting to me.

Thankfully, he is pretty good about just sleeping throughout the day. For the most part the two dogs just hang out in my office and nap (or bark at every noise) while I work.. so that's ok. We got this fantastic portable gate/barrier from a friend that we can bring anywhere. We quickly learned that the crates I borrowed would not work. The opening of them were just too small for him to get in and move around at all with that damn big cast so this gate has been perfect! Baxter is used to always being with us (in bed, on the couch…yah, yah.. I know…) so he just can't understand why he's not allowed to do these things anymore.
The first night was rough. I think he was freaked out.. put in a crate after not being in one for 8 years…. he cried all damn night. Each night has gotten better, but it doesn't stop him from first trying to pry himself onto the bed.

We are figuring things out. The portable gate is awesome as is bribery. We can pretty much move the barrier anywhere in the house - and here we were actually able to watch a movie while they entertained themselves. Normally, they just SLEEP or lay around.. but the fact that Baxter can't just cruise around the house is frustrating him to no end, and he lets it be known. Unless he's busy chewing on the bone! Juliette again is just along for the ride….
I'm very anxious to see what the Dr has to say when I take him for his first cast change next Wednesday. I hope he's healing well and all this will be worth it in the end! I know long distance running is out of his future but I'd be more than happy to get him built back up to doing a couple miles…. It will make us all happy! It's going to be a very long, very tiring and frustrating at times 6 weeks, but I would do just about anything for this guy and it is just breaking my heart knowing he's confused, in pain and struggling to be independent.

Onto all things happy now! Yesterday I got this shiny new coat in the mail! My friend in Spokane somehow got 2 of these sent to her so she surprised me with one in the mail. It's one of the super thick jackets. I didn't get any finisher stuff at CDA this year so it was sucha nice surprise!
I also did a little retail therapy myself. It has been a frustrating few weeks as my paycheck was over 3 weeks late. I had bills to pay & I'm pretty certain Shane was sick of footing all the bills, especially with the crazy expensive dog surgery (can I just say I'm VERY thankful this happened after we purchased our new bikes cause I'm not sure that would have happened….). Well, I finally got paid and needed a little time out of the house so as soon as Shane got home I headed to Lululemon. I wanted something new to wear for the race this weekend (oh yah, I'm doing PF Changs half… more on that in a minute - I just finally registered on Sunday). I got this super cute top that matches some running shorts I have. I'm not sure it's long distance run friendly, but to be honest I don't need much support, if ya know what I'm saying...
I also got this new color! It's bright and I finally have something that matches my e21 visor. It also just happens to match the shoes I'll be wearing Sunday. Gotta look good right? :)
This race wasn't a big deal to me… I just decided to do it because Shane signed up to help a friend pace to a sub 1:37 and qualify for the NY marathon. I did all the training with Shane over the past 5 weeks and have been happy with how it's gone so I decided why not! We had a huge run week in Mexico (~40miles) and why waste that. Also… who knows, maybe I can manage to chase Shane around for another 13miles and surprise myself? I bought this T-shirt at the expo yesterday not only because it's one of my all time favorite sayings… But, I have a feeling I'm going to be embracing it tomorrow.
And LASTLY, I am going to finally start the process of finding a new saddle (yeah for hitting one of my "it's a new year goals!" I was going to try this saddle out when I was building an Argon TT bike, but when I switched to the Scott it came with the Fizik Saddle so I gave that a go. I did a short spin with the new saddle today, so can't really say much about it, but I plan on doing a nice little review of the saddles I try out on this blog.
Saddle #2 is the Cobb V flow. Report to follow!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

perspective

Last night, while watching the Biggest Loser & enjoying a glass of yummy Pinot Noir and a Dove Dark Chocolate (yes, it is a MUST to eat dark chocolate while watching the Biggest Loser… - sometimes I just can't FATHOM how those people have gotten themselves into such incredibly bad shape)…

Anyway, in typical ADD style I was scanning Facebook updates on my phone. I noticed my sister's profile picture was changed. This time however the picture while familiar, wasn't her… It was another woman holding her son…

For the past month or so I've seen several posts and pictures with thoughts, prayers and an outpouring amount of support for a kid named Brandon. I remember reading a while back that a young woman that went to my high school has a little boy with cancer.. A single mom raising her baby boy dying of cancer. I gazed around at some pictures a few weeks ago (the mom and Brandon's facebook pages are not private), and found myself in tears. Gut wrenching pictures of a poor boy suffering as a brain tumor is literally growing out of his head.

Last night I read the status from the mom and found a link to a fund raising page that tells the story. Basically he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 3 with a 35% chance of beating it. He fought & won only to have the cancer return at age 7. At this time they doubled the treatment (chemo, radiation) and once again this tough little boy beat cancer.

Can you remember what you life was like between ages 3-11?

When I was looking at the pictures I figured that his cancer came back a while ago, but last night my sister told me that at Thanksgiving his mom took him to the Doctor for a "sinus infection" only to find out the cancer had returned and was growing at an exponential rate. The worst part, there was absolutely nothing to be done for the poor little boy. For the past 7 weeks the cancer has taken over and this brave little boy just has to endure it. His eye was sewed shut, and the tumor is rearranging his face as the (now 11) little boy stays brave for his mom, rarely complaining.

I can't imagine the strength that either of these two people have. The courage to just wait, when there is nothing to be done but increase the morphine drip to mask the pain…

Life just sometimes isn't fair, but hearing stories like this makes you stop and think for a moment that all those little things we think are just too much… Well, they are really just nothing in comparison. As horrible as it is to hear stories like this, it's reality and sure does make you think once or twice about stuff.

Puts it all into perspective.

I do not know this family personally, the mom she went to high school with my sister and & I may have played volleyball with or against her at sometime, my memory sure seems to have slipped, but does it really matter if you know the person or not when you hear a story like this? With that said, I'd love to ask for a little help for Brandon - here is his donation page.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's a new year

2012. Really? I feel like it was just the beginning of 2011 and I was doing an early season prep for Oceanside, lots of bike time for The Answer to the challenge as well as working with a new coach to get me to IMCDA! It was a fun, crazy, challenging and very rewarding year. Definitely one I will look back on for a while. I worked harder, stronger and differently than before and had some pretty fun personal bests. I look forward to having lots more of that for 2012 and can't wait to finalize my schedule for the year! I do have some exciting things going on, including a fundraiser for Ironman Canada that I'm working on. I'll have a lot more details to come as soon as it's "official."

At the end of December Michelle asked for some feedback on our first year together. Feedback on my goals and my training as well as her coaching. This is the most closely I've ever worked with someone before, so it was actually a bit more difficult for me to come up with. Taking a look at what I did for the year I had to really think about what did and didn't work for me. All in all the year was such a positive experience, yet I also had some performances that I just wasn't happy with as well. Results that didn't really show off all the hard work I had done (IMCDA)…

For 2012 I've got some things to work on, some little goals, some exciting training and events and races. It's gonna be GOOD!

  • First and foremost my number one goal and NEED is to get my lazy a@@ down to the bike shop and start the saddle trying process. I haven't ridden my new TT bike since Soma because it caused me so much pain that I can't fathom sitting on it again. I know what I'm looking for, and what I'm pretty sure will work, I just need to quit procrastinating and DO something about it.
  • On the subject of the bike - This is one of my big goals for the year. No lazy bike training. No 120bpm HR. No drafting unless it's to stay on the wheel of someone kicking my ass. I know I tend to sandbag sometimes on the bike. Maybe not so much when climbing, but def on flats. It's hard when I train with people who have similar bike skills because if I go out in front my HR spikes pulling, but if I pull back behind it drops WAY WAY too low. The good news on this front is I'll be training with some pretty fast peeps, and stronger cyclists than myself so I totally think this will push me. I need my bike fitness to be STRONG so that I can have a kick ass run.
  • Continue my strength training. I've been doing Kinesis once a week for about 6 weeks now. It's a good solid hour of work with a trainer. I get sore as all get out, and I know it's so good for me. On the second day of the week I need to make sure I CONTINUE to either do TRX or another Kinesis. Somehow my strength work always tends to go once the big miles start.
  • Answer to the challenge. I felt fantastic last year doing this event so if we happen to make it back again (tbd based on Shane injury), I want to kick ass all over again.
  • Vineman/Barb's race. I'm signed up for the all women version of Vineman called Barb's race. It's not until the end of July, but I'm stoked. I can't wait to do this course, and I've got a super secret goal for it :)
  • IMCA is the big show this year. I know the course, it's my PR and after positive splitting the run in 10' by over 30mins, I know what needs to, and CAN be done! #excited
  • COACH camp! This might be one of the most exciting things going on. Michelle is heading to AZ to do Hillary Biscay's crazy smashfest camp, then heading back to my house for the week and leading a small training camp the following weekend. While I feel like I know her from our past year of working together, we've never trained together. I'm super stoked to have her watch me swim!!! I've been at a standstill with my swimming for a couple of years, and I'd LOVE some feedback on small things I can tweak with my stroke. To me I'm not convinced it's worth it to spend the time I would need to get to that next level (sub 1hr swim), but I wonder with some adjustments could I get closer to the 1hr time than my PR of 1:04?
  • One final goal/change I'm planning on making is what most people would call a "resolution." However, I don't believe in those so I never make them. Last year since Shane was out with injury and surgery it was definitely different training without him. I was the one getting up at 4:30am for workouts and needing to eat constantly and bed early, while he was recovering and drinking beer. I 100% played along with him WAY too much and consumed way too many martinis and red wine and beer. MUST BACK OFF this year. I know my stomach will thank me and my training and recovery will be so much better off. In no way am I saying I am giving up the bottle (I'm not that #batshitcrazy)..but moderation is going to be a little bit more in tune with reality!
I know it's going to be a fun, crazy & exciting year and I'm going to be much better about documenting the adventures here!

Cheers, and Happy New Year!