I got behind again so its time for another combo post, but I haven’t done much exciting or much “formal” training since the Myrtle Beach Half.
Monday – cross. 45 minutes yoga. Only minimally sore (yay!) but still tired from the race.
Tuesday easy run. 4.75 stroller miles @9:41 average. One advantage of not following a training plan is more runs with the twins, who now spend a good deal of the run asking for their turn.
Wednesday easy-ish run. 6 miles @8:24 average. Some of the track group met to run some hills but I decided against it and ran the trail. It was a warm day, but I was pleasantly surprised that my pace didn’t feel awful, which gives me (some) hope about this summer.
Saturday long run 9 miles mostly easy with 2 5k miles for an 8:06 average. I had considered running the Shamrock Shuffle but decided I probably wouldn’t be sufficiently recovered, and I was right. The two 5k miles felt much more difficult than I’d anticipated.
Sunday cross. 55 minutes yoga. Still attempting to stretch out all my tight muscles.
Monday easy. 6 miles @8:19/mi The first part of this run was difficult thanks to my asthma acting up but a 2nd puff of my inhaler did the trick and then it was smooth sailing 🙂
Tuesday cross. 50 minutes yoga My hip started feeling achy sometime Monday night (yay), so I hoped some extra stretching would help.
Wednesday speed/easy. 5.5 miles total. Ran the Catch the Leprechaun 5k, and of course a warm up and cool down. 3.15 miles @ 7:06 pace, and the rest easy.
Saturday long progression. 10 miles @ 8:05. I was unsure on how to go about this run, and wise man told me to run a progression if I felt like my body could handle it. I went out with a possible plan to start at 8:50, knocking 10 seconds off per mile for 10 miles, which would end at a 7:20. The first couple miles felt great so I went for it, hitting my paces in 8:47, 8:41, 8:29, 8:21, 8:09, 8:00, 7:50, 7:41, 7:31, 7:20. I actually really enjoyed that the first few miles were pretty easy but that it packed a challenge at the end and I’ll definitely be doing more runs like this in the future.
Sunday ride. 12.5 mile ride/16.5 mph. I thought maybe I should get back on my bike since it had been almost a month. Unfortunately I picked a VERY windy day.
Running “season”, for me, is rapidly reaching an end, and I really need to get in the pool and on the bike more. I have one more 5k race and 10k race (well, I’m using race loosely here as its the bridge run and I have no PR expectations) on the calendar and then its time to start trying to not drown and not get run over.
Catch the Leprechaun is a popular race held each year around, you guessed it, St. Patricks Day. Since the race is on a weeknight and a 40 minute drive, though, I’ve never raced it before. Luckily, this years’ race happened to fall on speed work night it was easier to justify the evening away.
The weather was calling for about 47 degrees, but a check in the morning revealed that it was also going to be windy. Like, 14 mph gusts windy. So, just in case, I packed 3 sets of clothes. (Hey, can’t say I wasn’t prepared). I left work wearing long sleeves and running tights. I arrived about 5:20 to pick up my number, confident I had chosen the right outfit. Walking to get my bib I was freezing. But when I left my car again to use the restroom, the wind had died down a bit and I got warmer. I discussed my options with 4 different people, because I guess I thought maybe they’d know my typical exercise body temperature enough to tell me if I should change (they didn’t). Upon my return to the car I made a last minute decision to change into my capris and the only t-shirt I had, the race shirt.
Melissa and I ran a quick warm up, threw our jackets into the car and headed for the start where we found John and hung out around the front with him. With 5 minutes to spare we posed for a picture.
But the sun was directly in our faces so we turned around and tried again.
Not much better. I just needed to grow about a foot to block the sun. Or maybe I should have had John stand in the middle. Hindsight.
Catching the Leprechaun is a little mis named, because in reality the person dressed as the Leprechaun waits until most of the group starts running and works his way up to the front. So really you’re trying to avoid HIM catching YOU.
I overshot my abilities at the last 5k, running 2 quick miles and then hitting a 3rd that was more than 15 seconds longer than the first two. So this time I aimed to see if I could run a steady 7:05.
Mile 1 (7:04)
The horn went off and the group began running. As always, I shot out too fast, saw my pace was at a 6:45 and started to slow down. That’s me, in the blue, looking pained. Note how the girl in front of me looks amazing. I hate her a little for that, but I caught up to and passed her before the end of the race so TAKE THAT RANDOM NICE LOOKING RACE PICTURE GIRL!
But I digress. The first quarter mile included a small hill, but overall I felt ok pace wise.
Mile 2 (7:05)
I stayed pretty consistent through most of this mile, and not much to report here. But I felt better than I did in Mile 2 of Charlie Post and hoped this was a good sign for the rest of the race.
Mile 3 (7:12)
Just kidding. I’m not sure what happens when I hit mile 3, but my body is like “sorry honey, this isn’t happening”. I actually started out the mile in the 7:20’s and slowly (and PAINFULLY) increased it to a 7:18, then a 7:18 – back down to a 7:18, and finally up to a 7:12. It was the LONGEST MILE EVER. It was also (dammit) windy.
Last .15 (6:52)
Lord knows where it came from but I was able to kick it a bit faster to the end. I’m sure the downhill helped.
I crossed the finish line in 22:25 – 13 seconds slower than my last 5k. My average pace was exactly the same, but since the course ran longer of course it added time. Sucks because I actually tried to run the tangents this time. Still, I wasn’t disappointed given the wind and wasn’t sure how I’d perform 10 days after the half anyway.
Melissa and I took a pic with the Leprechaun (who did not catch up to me!), where I took a particularly awesome picture with my eyes closed.
On the plus side I won 2nd in my age group and a couple of my speed work friends won something too, so we stood around freezing to death waiting for awards.
I took a break from blogging after the Ironman, even though the only thing I had time the energy to post for the 6.5 months prior to it was weekly recaps. Now that I have more time and energy, I plan to starting writing about other things again, but find I kind of like reading back on training to find out what works and what doesn’t.
2017 is going to be all about shorter distances. I have a goal to PR my half marathon, which isn’t short per se, but requires much less training than I’d been doing. Otherwise I’m looking at 5k’s, and then one Tri season rolls around – Sprints and an Olympic.
This year I want my races short, sweet, and hopefully fast. And I want to focus more on strength.
In an effort to regain some speed and hopefully bypass my current fastest Half Marathon time, I’m following the Run Less Run Faster Half Marathon plan. I ran the Sweet Tea this year literally 10 minutes slower than last year, so I’ve had some work to do. Up until recently (and still, to be honest), Id been focusing on trying to increase speed little by little until I can run the training runs relatively comfortably.
So here we go:
Monday: tempo run. 1 WU/2 @7:38, 1 easy, 2 @7:38, 1CD. 7 miles total. This workout is getting a little easier in that it is requiring fewer stops (ha), and I even managed to average a 7:43 going up two (small) hills during the last fast mile, so I figure this is a win.
Tuesday: trainer ride. 5 min WU followed by 2 min hard and 3 min spin for 45 minutes total. I dunno that I’ll ever ENJOY the trainer. The gear that is my easy gear on the road is my hard gear on the trainer, so my average speed is like 13 mph. Afterwards I did some quick arm weights. Because I need to work on my gun show.
Wednesday: speed work. 1.5 WU/ 12×400/ 1.5 CD 6 miles total. Dude. I KILLED this speed workout. But if I’m gonna kill one its going to be a shorter distance workout. My goal pace for each 400 was 6:25. I had one 6:25 and the rest averaging between 6:07-6:15. I even had one 6:02! By the end, I wanted to vomit. I didn’t, but I wanted to. I’m sure my track buddies appreciated that.
Thursday: ride. 20 miles. South Carolina’s weather has been drunk or high lately, and it keeps jumping from 75 degrees to 30 and back again in a matter of 48 hours. Still, it was nice to ride outside for the first time in a long time, and finish off my year with a solid 2575 bike miles, a number I likely won’t see again for a LONG time.
Friday: rest day. Want to hear our exciting New Years Eve? We went to bed at 10:00. Zzzzzzzzz
Saturday: long run. 8 miles @ 8:10 was the goal. I’m not sure what the average ended up being, but it was slower. Remember how I rode outside two days ago? Well this morning it was 31 degrees. My asthmatic lungs didn’t tolerate it well. I ran my first mile as a sorta warm up at 8:30 and got up to 8:16 by the second, but by the third I was at 8:25 and had to stop for my inhaler and spit about a gazillion times (gross) in an effort to get rid my the mucous build up. I did this while running so I kept losing my breath. By mile 5 I decided I was going to finish on the treadmill. I ran mile 5 in 8:11, and then at least finished strong inside with a 8:09, 8:07, 8:04
Sunday: yoga. 50 minutes. It has been nice to incorporate this again, although I have a long way to go on my flexibility.
A couple of weeks ago, I was on a bike trainer hating life.
To clarify – I was hating that 20 minutes of life as I was pedaling away trying to get my heart rate as high as possible. Tammie, my marathon training buddy and I tortured ourselves in the garage of a fellow triathlete (also Tami) attempting to figure out our heart rate training zones. Now that triathlon season is starting, there has been lots of talk amongst the members of our Tri group about heart rate zone training. Many of the group are tackling the full Ironman in October, and while I wasn’t sure I was going to use it myself for the Half, I figured it would still be interesting to know.
Briefly, the plan involves doing just about all training in heart rate zone 2, or your aerobic zone (Zone 1 being the easiest and Zone 5 being close to max). This zone is supposed to be the zone where you can “hang out” the longest, an important factor when you consider many Ironman participants take 12+ hours to finish.
So I’m pedaling and Tammie/Tami are using what encouragement they can to help me keep the pace up, and Tami asks me if I ever thought I’d be doing something like this a couple of years ago. My ability to talk silenced by my heavy breathing, I shook my head. Although I was well versed in the meanings of the numbers 13.1 and 26.2, I barely knew what 70.3 or 140.6 even meant (70.3 is the Half Iron distance, 140.6 is the full) a couple of years ago. The concept of triathlon was still new – I thought an Ironman was downright crazy. Even as I registered for the Half a few months ago, I shook my head at the group going after the full, though this time more in awe than insanity.
I said the same thing about a marathon once.
Discussion about training plans has been circling for several weeks already. Most Ironman plans are at least 30 weeks long. 7 months. SEVEN. MONTHS. Many plans peak at somewhere between 15-18 hours of training for the week. A part time jobs’ worth of hours. The Half distance, though certainly not a walk in the park, was something I figured would be easier for me to manage. After training for something for almost a year, I was going to take it easy before starting to follow a plan in early July.
After our test was over we sat on Tami’s porch with a beer. Tami has completed 5, yes FIVE, full Ironman’s and Tammie was interested in picking her brain on training. While she asked questions, I flipped through the book containing the plans for the full race, and before I knew it I was mentally calculating how I could complete the training hours in the least involved plan.
My mistake was saying it out loud.
I thought on this quite a bit the next few days. Mentally planning workouts. Looking at reviews on this particular plan (the hours compared to most are on the low end but I’m just looking to finish and still be able to be home). Asking questions. Discussing the idea with Bryan. Working around his work, my work and the daycare schedule. That few minutes (and some not so subtle hints from the other two) started changing my entire frame of mind and suddenly what I thought was completely nuts a couple weeks before something I was not only contemplating but actively planning.
A month or so ago I set a countdown on my Garmin watch to my Half Ironman race.
14. Total miles ran: 971.3 – I would have easily gotten 1000 if I hadn’t aggravated my PSOAS and had to skip some runs. Grrrrr.
15. Favorite motivational/inspirational quote of 2015: Nothing worth doing is easy.
16. Lessons I’ve learned: Don’t take finishing for granted!
17. Injuries I battled and overcame: still battling the aggravated PSOAS but getting better
18. 3-5 Most inspiring people: List their blog, twitter or instagram-wherever you follow them:
Tami – girl finished her 5th FULL ironman this year
Amy – she works hard, trains hard, and even when she doesn’t do as well as she’d hoped (which usually means she still did pretty well) she has a great attitude about it and just picks up and tries again. You can read her blog here
Nicolasa – she is training for the Boston Marathon with Team in Training. You can read her blog here
19. Favorite place on social media to connect with runners: Facebook
20. 2 goals for next year: 1. Finish a Half Ironman 2. PR 2 race distances
A year or so ago, I signed up to be put on the waiting list on the Facebook group I Run 4 Michael. Created by Timothy Boyle, the group pairs runners with someone who is unable to run. The runner keeps in contact with his/her buddy and dedicates races and daily workouts. I was finally matched in April and what a cool and interesting experience it has been. I have dedicated a few running races and this years’ three triathlons to him, and we’ve developed a really cool relationship that I hope will continue as long as possible. We were matched around the time I registered for the Disney Marathon and I was excited to have a series of training runs and a race this length to run for him.
In the meantime, a few local runners have gotten together in hopes to open up a Girls With Sole chapter here in Charleston. This program started not too far from my hometown in Ohio, and its goal is to offer girls who have experienced or who are at risk of abuse the opportunity to participate in athletics. According to a PSA Keep Her In the Game, girls drop out of sports at 2x the rate of boys. A few facts from the GWS website:
Regular exercise improves overall quality of life.
Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image than girls and women who do not participate.
Women who are active in sports and recreational activities as girls feel greater confidence in their physical and social selves than those who were sedentary as kids.
Research suggests that girls who participate in sports are more likely to experience academic success and graduate from high school than those who do not play sports
I am fortunate in that I have never suffered abuse nor was I at a particularly high risk for it, however, I can definitively speak about exercises’ benefits towards mental health. Running helped me through a tough relationship, a divorce, depression, anxiety, and the trials of new motherhood. It has taught me confidence and shown me that I am more capable than I thought, and there is simply no reason why every girl out there can’t reap the same benefits.
So this race I am sharing my dedication. I will not only be running for my I run 4 buddy, I will be running for Girls With Sole, and hope that by doing so I can help get the program started here in Charleston. If you are interested in donating, you can do so here. Where it says “dedicate your donation”, if you’d like to choose a runner (ME!), you can type her name in the box. 100$ covers the cost for the entire 12 week program for one girl. You can donate any flat amount or pledge an amount per mile.
These girls need the confidence, friendship and achievement that comes with running, and we can help make that happen.
I mean RAINING. This probably isn’t news to anyone who watches the news – but the city has essentially been shut down and many of the cities nearby are experiencing flooding too. This is one time I’m glad we live further away and “up on higher ground” so to speak, because although we are likely going to be trapped at home for the weekend, we should be safe and dry.
This weekend was my second long run in my plan, and since its done nothing but rain (with some lightning) that means I had to get it done on the……dun dun dun.
Hamster wheel of doom.
My longest run on a treadmill so far was 8 miles. When I was training for Myrtle Beach last year and Bryan was working I split my long run into 3 segments, one of which was 8 miles on the treadmill. Even with Gilmore Girls streaming on Netflix, it was horribly mind numbing and I stopped every two miles because I was so bored. When Bryan got home I couldn’t fly out of the house quickly enough.
This time I enlisted company.
I almost hate to say it, but it really wasn’t that bad. I had anticipated a weather check every 30 seconds out of boredom, but while I did stop to stretch a couple of times, and refill water, all in all it was a pretty nice run. The company makes a HUGE difference.
It’s funny how an incident can change what ends up on your bucket list. For years, I was a runner. I ran 4-5 days a week. Sometimes I pulled on my rollerblades (yes, I still own rollerblades) or took a yoga class but the majority of the time I was lacing up my running shoes.
Then, after the twins were born, I likely made the mistake of jumping back in too quickly (ha), and injured myself. Like, I was limping around just walking, panicked I had broken or torn something and I’d have to give up running. When the chiropractor suggested I started biking (ok….), and then swimming (omg) I initially laughed. Biking was ok – Bryan had gotten me a hybrid for my birthday and I enjoyed the occasional ride, but swimming? I can’t swim! I could dog paddle to the end of the pool, but any considerable distance? No way. Still, I wanted to be able to keep running, so I reluctantly tried it.
Today, I started looking at half ironman training plans.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I wanted a bigger challenge than the sprints this year, but wasn’t sure about the swimming or training time commitment with two toddlers for a half ironman, so I met in the middle and chose an Olympic Distance. Interestingly, Olympic distance races can still vary some in the specific lengths of each sport (which makes no sense to me), and Kiawah was a .7 mile (1125 meter) swim, 25 mile bike ride and an almost 10k (6.1 miles).
Race day began early…..really early. My alarm went off at 4am. Luckily, even though the majority of the group was training for the Augusta Half Ironman the next weekend, there was another person racing Kiawah, and he so graciously allowed me to ride along. I was at his house by 4:30 am and we were on our way by 4:45.
I didn’t even know what 4:45 looked like before Sunday.
Anyway, the first stop was packet pickup and number marking.
Then setting up the transition area.
And of course take a pre race picture.
The walk to the race start was about 10 minutes or so – across a road, down a boardwalk and .7 miles down the beach, since the swim was a straight shot end to end. As luck would have it, we were walking towards the beach just as the sun was coming up.
The swim start was in waves. The first group started at 7:30 and each subsequent group in 3 minute increments. I was in the 3rd group slated to start at 7:36. By the time the groups started going I was just ready to go.
Distance: .7 miles (or 1125 meters)
Goal time: under 30 minutes
This race was unlike the sprints in that the swim didn’t start in the water. Not only that but you had to “run” to a point where the water was deep enough to actually start swimming….. with 62 of your closest friends all trying to do the same. I settled myself near the end because I knew I’d be slower and wanted to be kicked as little as possible. Luckily, once that horn went off my competitive mode set in and killed any and all nerves I had at the start. I was SO glad I had done that one ocean practice swim, because the conditions of the water then made this seem like a breeze, relatively speaking. I ran into probably 3 people and ran directly into one buoy (oops), but other than that the swim went pretty smoothly. I concentrated on getting form buoy to buoy and tried not to worry about anything else. There was a bit of a current too so that helped. I actually finished swimming in 27 minutes and some change, but getting out of the water was another challenge, and the transition mat was actually up the beach by the boardwalk, which added another couple minutes.
Actual time: 30:06
I’m the one in the green cap.
Haha, the one with the “Y” on the leg
Goal time: just don’t fall
Typically people in triathlons are selfless, but the dude in the transition area next to me was not. By the time I got to my transition, my bike was on top of (instead of next to) my stuff. Luckily, the guy on my left had already gone, so I just used his space. Also, it was the LONGEST.RUN.EVER from the transition mat to the actual transition area. Socks on, shoes on, helmet on, applesauce (yes I fuel with squeeze applesauce) in pockets, sunglasses on, inhaler at the ready and I was off.
Actual time: 2:11
Distance: 25 miles
Goal time: under 1 hour 20 minutes
For a 1 hour 20 minute finish time, I needed to maintain a 19 mph average. I’d tried to do this at the last few group rides by going off on my own more and had been mostly successful, but tired. Race day can be a different environment for sure, but I didn’t expect any drastic difference. Boy was I wrong, and in a good way. A fellow triathlete and friend told me once during my last sprint that I was “mashing”. Basically, that means I was pedaling too hard and likely wearing my legs out more than I needed to. The problem always was I wasn’t sure how to spin enough on a lower gear and keep my speed up. Well, something clicked and I figured it out. The race course itself was nice – though I could have done without the traffic that just wasn’t sure how to handle the fact that there were bikers on the road. I finished the first 15 miles at a great pace, and was starting to tire a little when a group caught up to me. My competitive side kicked in and I wanted to keep up with them, and so that gave me the boost I needed.
Actual time: 1 hour, 13 minutes, 9 seconds (!!!)
Goal time: I really didn’t have one. I had no idea what to expect.
So, remember the mystery dude who stuck my bike on top of my stuff in transition 1? Well, this time he stuck HIS bike on top of my stuff, leaving no room for my bike. Bad form, mystery dude (or dudette I suppose). So, I had to MOVE his bike in order to make room for mine, and I just stood there for probably 15 seconds feeling like I had forgotten something before I actually moved.
Actual time: 2:01
Goal time: under 50 minutes
Charleston isn’t Charleston without its oppressive heat and humidity, which has FINALLY started breaking the week before. Unluckily, the temperature decided to creep back up over the weekend with a high of 90. So, by the time the run started, it was warm. The first few miles weren’t so bad because it was shaded. Around mile 4 the run took us down the beach. It was BEAUTIFUL, but WARM, and it slowed my pace down significantly. In the end my run time was a little over what I’d hoped for but all in all I couldn’t complain.
Actual time: 50:44
And just like that, it was over. Amazing how something you train so hard for for so long is over in just a few hours. I stopped my watch, glanced down, and realized I had beat my goal time by 7 minutes!
Sunday: Run 41 minutes (5 miles)/swim 35 minutes (1,400 yards). I had planned to try out another ocean swim, but with an hour drive one way and a friend who backed out I decided to stay home. Whether or not that was a good decision for race day is yet to be determined but it was COOL outside and so I was able to push the stroller at an 8:12/mile pace!
Monday: Swim 40 minutes (1700 meters). Swam 1100 meters straight (race is 1125) and then did some drills. I’m still slow but I honestly feel like my form is getting better.
Tuesday: Ride 51 minutes (16 miles). I joined the group ride and cut out early.
Wednesday: Run 24 minutes (3 miles). It was a local running store’s first Pub Run. Usually Wednesday is speed work day but as a group we decided to participate in this instead. Of course, the twins came along. It was a 3 mile run around downtown Summerville, followed by a drink. Who can say no to that?
Thursday: Swim 25 minutes (1250 yards). My official final training workout. It felt a little weird to complete, to be honest.
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Rest day (walk with twins)
The nice thing about taper week is it freed up more time in my schedule to start taking the twins for walks again (the cooler weather helped too). The walking also helped tamper the “taper crazies” by allowing me to move without fatiguing my muscles too much.
So, for real now, training is officially over, and race day is TOMORROW.