Posts Tagged ‘Races’

Random Friday Facts

1. This is my 199th post. I had to throw something up here so I can recap my T2 runners running MCM as my 200th. It’s a big deal!

2. I thought A LOT about making my 200th post the one in which I officially retire from blogging. But then Katie introduced me to Get Off My Internets, and I realized I’m not alone in all the things I hate about the blog world.

3. And don’t get me wrong, of course there are many blogs I love and friends I’ve made through this one that keep it worthwhile. But I think a lot of healthy-living bloggers have eating disorders. And if I listened to my body as much as they seem to, I would probably just sit on the couch about 20 hours a day.

4. Though I totes listened to my body this morning and slept through my tempo workout. (I’m lazy.)

5. In case you hadn’t noticed, my facts aren’t random. They can’t be! I’m not a computer.

6. I just looked something up in the AP Stylebook so I could comment about it on another blog.

7. I know how hard it is to keep posts completely error-free and that typos happen to everyone. But goddammit, how hard is it to use the right word?

8. I’m kind of sad that I’m not running a marathon on Sunday. But I’m glad that I can skip workouts when I want! (See #4.)

9. Though I’m signed up for a lot of races in 2012. That’s what 6 months free of injury will do to a girl.

10. Has anyone else noticed that That Thing You Do! is on the radio in stores all the time now? No? Just me?

11. I almost bought a house last month. Then I had a lot of panic attacks about it and let it go.

12. I just took a break from typing this to register for another spring race.

13. I went rock climbing last night! It wasn’t as fun as I remember it being.

14. I’m going to be Katniss Everdeen for Halloween. I’ve been waiting to be her for a year! It’s the one reason I’m glad I’m not doing a marathon on Sunday.

15. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! I’ll be out at mile 11 and 16 of MCM and cheering loudly for you!

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On Seeking Revenge

In my racing life, I’ve had few truly terrible experiences. I would say one is the time I played a rugby game in PA, ate nothing all day except for 5 Balance Bars, then came home and tried to run the first-ever 9/11 Memorial 5k. The result? A super-hot race in which I spent much of the time trying not to puke while my rugby captain ran alongside me and never let on how much she was probably judging me and my terrible fitness (32 minutes for a 5k is fine if you’re not trying to play D-1 women’s rugby). Upon arriving home, it was all I could do to get to the bathroom before the bars finally forced themselves out the other end. Bad day.

Look at those cheeks.

The other one is, of course, my one and only DNF, which happened not long after I started my blog. You guys may know the story, and if you don’t, you can read it alllllll back at that link.

But this weekend, I’m going for revenge on the Steelman course. Double the revenge, in fact, because this time I’m making my debut in the Oly distance. A lot has changed in two years. Last time I showed up on my beloved commuter hybrid, walking with the aid of a cane, and planning to wear a bathing suit throughout the whole thing (hard core).

Now I have a beloved road bike, a super sweet tri kit, some triathlons under my belt,  and the CAR blog mafia on my side. I also have a wetsuit that I’m praying nonstop to be allowed to wear because, well, some things haven’t changed, and I’m going to have to fight the mind fuck that is being pulled out of this lake once before.

You want them on your side.

Can I do it? To quote the bard, I think I can.

No, I’m pretty sure I can. And I’m very much looking forward to making up for that ugly mark on my racing history.

As far as that first race, well, I’ve never been back to do another one, but I did go on to blow the marathon times of my captain out of the water, though she’s a lovely woman, and I would never say I was exacting revenge on her. But there is something deeply gratifying about running way faster than an Eagle.

Jingle All the Way

Well my first race since my marathon is under my belt, and I’m feeling pretty good. I think I learned this year that I really need to keep racing. That’s why I train. With triathlons I really prefer the training to the event (only because of the swim though), but with running, it’s all about race day for me. Which is why I have a tendency to jump back into racing as soon as I can after injury. And that little habit–and the recurring minor injuries that went with it–made me swear off racing for much of 2010. Did it work? Yes. But would I do it again? Not to the extent that I did it this year. Racing keeps me sharp, and I think I was missing a lot of that this training season.

So I dragged myself out of bed Sunday morning after about 5 hours of heavily interrupted sleep to head out in the rain to the Jingle All the Way 10k. Two years ago I set a PR of 46:51. Who knows when I’ll see a time like that again? I knew it wouldn’t be Sunday. None of my G2B crew was running the race, so when I met up with Katie at the start, I decided that I’d rather pace her to a PR than run by myself (and just end up frustrated when I still only came in in like 52 minutes).

So that’s what I did. The 45 degree weather meant I ditched my Santa hat pretty early in the run, but the steady drizzle made sure I almost froze to death after the race. In other words, a beautiful day for a run.

Check out Katie’s race report for the deets. I can assure you that I was hurting a little more than I wanted to during that last mile. But I’m so happy to be out racing again. I was almost happy enough to go to the CAR hill workout this morning…but instead I enjoyed one very last week off, especially given the weather forecast. My right quad and calf are feeling twitchy from Sunday I’m just not ready for it to be this cold yet!

Race Report: Washington DC Triathlon

I will begin at the beginning. And I will warn you that you might want to go ahead and go the bathroom now, because we’re going to be a while.

In the days leading up to the race, I was pretty excited. I was happy with my training and ready to get the tri over with and get serious about the Marine Corps Marathon, which is now just 19 short weeks away. On Saturday, Katie and I met up to check our bikes in and get in some swim practice. Checking the bikes went well–and here’s a warning for anyone who has to store her or his bike outside. Yes, I heard someone’s tire explode, so heat fluctuations are not an old wives’ tale. The owner of that bike was devastated to discover at 5:05 that her tire wouldn’t inflate. I’m assuming the people at the bike maintenance tent helped her out though, but you might not be so lucky.

Anyway, Saturday, bike racked, into the river we went. And, of course, I proceeded to freak out. There were tiny circular buoys in the water, and my plan was to swim out to the first one. Katie was nervous, but I saw her pause at the first set of buoys, look back and me and head on. I was relieved to get to the buoy and immediately set back for the dock. I was swimming without my wetsuit, and it was a really different feeling to be in the open water without it. I wasn’t as buoyant as I usually was, so I was dragging my legs behind me. That’s not a problem for me in the pool, but I was having a hard time sticking my face deep into the green Potomac (no, I couldn’t see my hands) and getting enough breath.

So I started to swim back to the dock, vowing to wear my wetsuit the next day because of the mental safety net it provided. I also entertained thoughts of just not doing it–I added up money I’d spent on the race in my head as I swam. $100 entry fee, but $150 for a wetsuit I couldn’t use anyway. But then I got to the price of my bike, and I may have cursed aloud. I couldn’t justify buying Carmela and never doing a tri. I also thought a lot about the many many words of encouragement my friends had offered me in person and on Facebook, and I realized I couldn’t NOT do the tri. (The 5 months of training didn’t cross my mind at the time–I would have been working out anyway, let’s be honest.) I decided to just wear the wetsuit and swim in the last wave.

As I came back to the dock I began breast stroking, and I came up and took in a HUGE mouthful of water. I started choking and sputtering, and I couldn’t swim or breathe right, and I was right next to the dock thinking why isn’t anyone helping me? I can’t believe I’m going to drown this close to the dock. Instead I just grabbed it and pulled myself around it. Yes, I’m melodramatic, but this is what was going through my head!

After swimming I stood on the dock and waited for Katie to come back. I told her how terrified I was, and that I was going to wear a wetsuit, and she was like, whatever you need to do. She was feeling good after her little swim. She probably did about 400 to my 200. We stood there for a long time, and then I said I wanted to jump in again and just swim a small circle from the entry side of the dock into the other, so Katie did that with me. That was a lot better, and as we walked back to the grass to dry off, I started to talk myself into the tri and maybe even going without a wetsuit. Katie pointed out that, if I wore a wetsuit, the people overtaking me would be the elite Olympic racers. Ok, I said, no wetsuit.

I then went to dinner with my DC Tri NTP class, then headed home to pack up and go to bed.

I set up everything the night before–so not like me–and put it by the door, so I could just wake up and go on Sunday morning.

I then set my alarm and headed off to bed at 10pm. Somehow, miraculously, I slept really really well for the night before a race. I woke up a few times, but I always managed to go right back to sleep. I woke up for good at 3:20, because the light on my light alarm clock was on, but I stayed in bed until almost 3:45. Wes and I got up and ate some peanut butter English muffins–except we were kind of out of peanut butter, which was a bummer. Then we hopped in the van and drove downtown.

We were running late, so I didn’t get into transition until 4:55, which meant I had 20 minutes to get everything organized, which is difficult in the dark. But somehow I got it all together, got out, and even managed to find my friends. Then they delayed the race half an hour. I thought that might give me time to use the port-a-potties, but no, the lines were huge and showed no signs of abating. Oh well, I thought, I’m just going to have to pee in the water. Sorry, fellow triathletes. Someone had told me to pee in my wetsuit right before I took it off, but since I wasn’t wearing a wetsuit, I thought I could just start in the back of the swim wave and pee there.

As 6am rolled around, I went and got into my holding pen–I mean corral–and waited for our wave. At this point I was weak-kneed and weak-stomached with nerves. My heart was pounding, and I was shaking, but I kept telling myself I’d worked to hard for this to quit, that all I had to do was get to the first buoy and find my rhythm. I tried to remind myself how much I’d come to enjoy swimming in the pool, and how good it felt when I was doing it right.

I jumped in with 165 other women in the 25-29 age group (yes, we were the largest wave) and promptly grabbed onto the dock. I somehow ended up right next to a woman I knew from a writer’s group. I’m not sure if she recognized me, but I was happy to see her as I held on and struggled not to be pulled under the dock by the current. Then the horn sounded, and everyone started moving. I was in the back, but there were so many people in front of me, and they were taking forever to move. I finally got to swimming, and I was breathing every stroke over my right shoulder. I almost corrected myself, but I realized that that was just how I had to swim for a minute. If I felt better, great, but no pushing myself to do something that made me uncomfortable. So I just kept swimming like that and around the people already breast stroking, and soon enough I found my rhythm and some space, and I could start swimming like a normal person, and, hey! there was the first buoy.

Here's a view of the swim course.

The turns were really congested, but as I made the second turn back toward home, I knew I had the current and only 400 meters to go. I flipped onto my back for a minute, because I kept thinking I should rest, but as soon as I got there, I felt fine and realized I wasn’t moving very quickly like that, obviously, so I flipped back over and took off swimming again. I was swimming really close to the buoys–I may be slow, but I can swim straight!–and there must have been enough newbies around me that I was wide open. Someone pushed me down at one point, but I think I hit her, so she went around. After that the buoys came up fast, and this time I thought about my friends and how well I was doing. I’m killing this! I just kept thinking over and over. I was so excited. (I should mention that enormous buoys that were SO easy to see had replaced the tiny ones from the day before, which did a LOT for me, I think.)

Check out how big that buoy is. This is right by the swim finish.

I came out of the water and looked down at my watch to see 20 minutes on the clock. I think I yelled, “yes!” out loud. 20 minutes is not exactly a good swim time, but keep in mind I was expecting to be dead at that point or to swim closer to 25 minutes. I may have even jumped up and down, and I took off running down the dock and past a lot of people–most of whom still had swim caps matching mine, so I hadn’t been totally blown away.

I'm last in line in the DC Tri gear, willing these women to move faster. I felt phenomenal at that moment!

But as I ran, I started to get a really intense headache. I got to the bike racks and saw that lots of my age-groupers were gone, but I couldn’t hurry up because my head hurt so badly. I gathered all my stuff and took a GU, but that made me nauseated too, so I just tried to hold it together and took off on the bike.

After a few miles, I started to feel better, but I still wasn’t about to touch my other GU, and I didn’t drink too much on the bike either. I also had another, bigger problem. My bento box was not attached to my bike properly. I realized it right away, and I could see Wes, so I almost ripped it off and threw it to him, but there are all kinds of crazy rules in triathlon about littering and outside assistance, and I wasn’t sure if that would count or not, so I just kept it on the bike. It was attached to my seat post and tilting to the right, so every. single. time. I did a pedal stroke, the back of my right leg brushed it. I have a nasty chafing rash there today. I’m pretty sure that the nausea and bento box cost me about 2 minutes on the bike, but I eventually did settle in and started flying. Of course I forgot to put my computer on my bike, but I know I hit some speeds in the high 20s. The bike course was amazing, really flat and fast and wide open.

I finished about 4 minutes ahead of my 45-minute goal, and I got back to transition to find my friend Amanda waving people in. I gave her the thumbs up, ran in, put on my kicks and a visor and took off. To answer Dash’s question, I’m loving running in a visor because it’s one of those Halo ones with the sweat band in it to keep my salty sweat out of my already-sensitive contacts.

I settled into my pace on the run, thinking I could maybe pick it up later. I didn’t feel like I was moving very fast, but I didn’t feel that I could go any faster either. The heat wasn’t really bothering me, and I wasn’t nauseated anymore. I think having my still-wet tri suit on helped. Oh, but I DID have to pee. Turns out I was so nervous I completely forgot to pee in the water, so I was just screwed on the run. Wes followed me around on his bike and took some pics.

And I did, at one point, start singing the Warrior song to pump myself up. But that really just made me laugh.

Now, here’s where things got stupid. While sprint triathlons have no specific set distance, unlike an Ironman or a half-Ironman, they still usually have a 5k-ish run. Mine was a 6.7k run, but I thought, ok, that’s cool, because we finished by the Capitol, away from transition, so they have to run us out there. So I’m running, and it’s getting hotter, and remember that I hadn’t been able to eat, and while I’m really good at running through water stops and drinking, I never get enough water that way. Plus I was just taking sips and dumping the rest of it on my head and neck. So I started to cramp a little, but hey, it’s only 4 miles.

Well, we go ahead and do a little circle by the Capitol and then we pass mile 3. And look! We’re only like .1 or .2 miles from the finish. But do we stop there? No! We turn and run UP Capitol Hill, which is a total bitch. I lived in that neighborhood for 3 years, and let me tell you, that hill NEVER got any easier. But we run up it, and I get to the top, and I start cruising down the hill, because we must be close, right? Wrong. I run down the hill and into another dead end. We turn around and run back up the street before making two more turns to get to the finish. WTF? Why couldn’t we have stopped running at ANY POINT BEFORE THEN? We had already run 3+ miles before we started running in circles!

As we came around the last corner, I said, “Where’s the finish line?” and the girl next to me laughed. And then I passed her, and I’m pretty sure she was in my age group. I’m kind of a jerk like that. I could finally see the finish line.

I crossed it, but somehow Wes and my tri mentor missed me finish, but I found another friend afterward. I actually ran into about 5 people out there, which was delightful–I love being a part of the endurance sport community in DC!

So my verdict? There was a little too much nausea for me to love it. I definitely don’t have the tri bug…yet. I’m willing to do another one, and my friend pointed out to me that I used to hate 10ks. Which is true. I even still kind of hate 10ks, but I love longer races. So maybe I just need to work on the swim and get out there for the Half Ironman that is calling my name.

My final time: 21:10 swim, 3:49 T1, 41:24 bike, 2:03 T2, 36:38 run for a total of 1:45:02. My goal was 1:50, 1:45 if it all clicked, but it certainly didn’t all click and I still did 1:45 so I’m a little disappointed. It’s just never good enough, is it? My run was a little slow, which was surprising and humbling. It was definitely the least enjoyable part, but I guess it’s not that surprising given the fact that it was 80+ degrees out there, even at 7:30 in the morning.

I do, however, love tri training, and am looking forward to incorporating it into my MCM training to be a lean, mean, 3:37-running machine.

So thank you guys all for supporting me and for reading this far. I can’t believe you actually did it. I was just writing this down for my grandkids.

If you’re up for it, check out this neat video. I’m bib 1067 if it doesn’t work for some reason, you should be able to type that in. You can see me go from 140th in my AG to finish 44th. That was in the top 26% or so, but still a far cry from where I usually finish as a runner. See, I have reason to be disappointed!

Wordless Wednesday: More Relay Pics

I’m watching Julie & Julia, so I’m inspired to blog and ride this baby to a book deal and whatnot.

The starting line!

The first checkpoint/home of the bears I used to collect as a child. A high-school-aged child.

Covered bridge at the second exchange point

The first exchange

Can you read that? It says "Raise your kilt if your having fun." We did fix the typo 😉

You can't have too many pictures of these vests.

So. Tired.

Done 🙂

Race Report: Where Am I? Is It Time to Run Again?

We did it!

Well I guess I’ve given away the ending. But the fact that this blog post exists should have tipped you off to the fact that I survived.

So how was the American Odyssey Relay (Run Adventure!)? In short: I absolutely loved it. As I told a young reporter

No, I'm happy to talk about running, whether you'll mention me in the article or not.

who decided not to quote me, I’m not very good at not sleeping, but it turns out that I’ll do anything for running. “Anything” included sleeping on the ground in the middle of the day at a school, sleeping on the ground outside a hotel in 40-degree weather, waking up at 4 to run on the C&O canal, suffering through the worst stomach cramps and gas ever between runs (what are you trying to tell me, body?), not showering for two days (my only option was a freezing one or the sink. I chose the sink. I’m a wimp), and the list probably goes on.

But as my reward, I got to run through the Gettysburg battlefields, on some lovely mountain roads with Wes, and on the C&O canal in the pitch black while owls hooted at me. Did I mention I passed four runners there, including a dude?

Although I was promised pancakes at 4am in West Virginia, I was not able to eat them because of my 5am run. That just means I’ll have to do it next year.

Safety first.

Races to Run: Four Courts Four Miler

What: Four Courts Four Miler

When: Saturday, March 13, 9 a.m.

Where: Courthouse, Arlington, VA (Metro accessible from the Courthouse stop on the orange line)

Why: I had no plans to do this race. Until I saw the shirt. Also, you know, if you like challenges and blah blah, and if, like me, you’re looking for an easy PR. (My 4 miler PR is 31-something, which is probably not an easy PR, per se, but it won’t be 100 degrees for this race, unlike my PR race.) Of course my PR race didn’t have a 2-mile hill either, which bring us to…

Details: The Four Courts Four is another new race from Pacers Events. This one has the added bonus of the Leap the Leprechaun challenge, wherein the Irish guy that works there will start 9 minutes late and try to pass everyone. His old start time was 6 minutes–I might stand a chance at 9!

But, the race starts and ends outside the Four Courts in Courthouse:

And then you run down a really great, mile-long hill. I tried to take pictures of the downhill in Rosslyn, which is even steeper, but I couldn’t find a place to park. But it gets even steeper! Then you run out to Rt. 110, and then, of course, you turn around and come back up the hill.

I ran this hill in training a few weeks ago, and as MCM Mama found, it’s not that bad. And look on the bright side: I vividly remember running the Battle of the Boulevard and reaching the top of this hill only to see the one leading to Clarendon before me. I’m sure I cursed out loud. At least now you get to stop 🙂