Monday, December 20, 2010

Running a Turkey Race with Mom


Mom and I, post-race, we didn't plan to match! :)

Thanksgiving Day 2010 marked my Mom's first time to ever run 5 miles, and she chose a race to meet the distance goal! I decided to skip out on a local 10K race here at home in Rochester, NY, which I've run the previous two years since moving here, and went home a day early so I could race with my Mom.

Turkey Day morning we awoke to chilly temps and steady rain! But of course that didn't stop us from putting on our running clothes and running shoes to head out the door to the race. Along the 20 minute drive from my parent's house to the start line, we were laughing at ourselves for what we were about to experience!

We parked and ran from the car to packet pick-up, which was a small tent where other runners were huddled picking up racing numbers. Race bibs and goody bags in tow, we ran back to the car to wait a few more minutes, hoping the rain would lessen. Up until now we were relatively dry since we had rain jackets on, but I had to shed mine down to racing clothes in order to go and stand in the porta line before the race started. Standing in line, I got SOAKED! Oh well, what are you gonna' do??

Finally it was time to line up at the start, and we did! The race director led a pre-race prayer, which I thought was awesome. This race benefitted a shelter that helped homeless women and children called Hope Alive. It was humbling to think of others with no shelter from the cold and rain that we were experiencing at that very moment.

The gun went off and everyone was running! A half mile in we met our first big hill! I just pushed up to the top and started praying for my Mom to be able to run strong on that hill when she got there. This race was all through country roads and turned out to be full of big rolling hills! What a great course for your first 5 miles! (Insert sarcasm.) However, the rain actually stopped completely by the end of my first mile and it was suddenly great running weather! The only thing cold on me were my hands and after two miles they warmed up and were fine for the whole race.

I finished and then ran back out along the course to meet up with my Mom and run her in. I came to her after about .75 miles, turned around and ran in with her. She was doing amazing! Her pace was steady and strong, she had done fine on all of the hills we'd encountered, and was able to easily have a conversation with me. There we were, running it in, and talking. I'm so proud of her! She ran her first 5 miles ever, and she just turned 60 in August. But what else would you expect from a Mother of 5 and a High School English teacher? She also has always had major bicep muscles even though she's never lifted weights until recent years. (She always used to say "From carrying groceries and babies..." while flexing her cool muscles at our insistent requests--usually at the dinner table.)

I finished in 39:27, which was 33 seconds slower than I finished a flat 5 mile race last April, but I'm happy with it. Mom finished her first ever 5 miles in 56:21, hills, rain, cold, and all! At the end we posed for a picture with a runner who ran the entire race in a full-on turkey costume, too funny! By the way, this race was called the "Wattle Waddle: Thanksgiving Day 5 Mile Race," get it??? The turkey has a "wattle" and we all were going to "waddle" to the finish line? Cute, huh?


Gobble, Gobble!!!

Congrats Mom! I have big plans for her, next up a 10K, and one day a half marathon, and I'll leave my other goals for her unwritten... :)

I did run the Dallas White Rock Marathon on Dec. 5 and totally loved the course, though I had a painful race due to my IT bands. I'll run it again one year and will blog about it soon, marathon #19 was a success!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

October 31, 2010: MCM pics


Colin and I post-race, hooray for his FIRST marathon!

My Thoughts/Opinion: I know it has been weeks since the marathon, but I am just now getting a chance to post some pics after being out of town for awhile. My apologies for such a late race story on this one, seems like it was ages ago now! Suffice it to say I spent the first 7 miles ticked off at how crowded it was and frustrated that I couldn't just settle into a pace! On the other hand, it was a beautiful sunny day and the weather was perfect to me. I found the course very pretty and actually really liked running the hills, it was a nice change of terrain. But there were several parts that got even more crowded, I felt, because of the way they routed us. The "bridge" was seemingly un-ending and I was dying of thirst at that point, not my favorite part of the race! I've done other large city marathons that I thought handled the crowd of participants a bit better. I've never had to come to a dead stop when crossing the finish line. And I've never had to stand and wait in line for a medal. Usually it's all one smooth flowing motion, finishers just walk through and all of those things are taken care of with no stopping. At any rate, it's all in the past at this point and I'm happy to have been able to reach the finish line. Of course I did way too much weaving and my Garmin read 26.75 miles when I finished! My friend Steph cut every corner as tightly as she could and ended up with precisely 26.2, so lesson learned for me! No weaving!


Me with my girlfriends from Rochester, Steph and Wendy. :)

SIGNS: It seems like there is rarely a shortage of signs to read along the course of an endurance race. There were several shirts listing family members who were veterans which were moving to read. There were other more comical ones, like the back of one shirt that read "Dear God, please let there be someone behind me to read this!" And my favorite sideline sign at around 24 miles read "Embrace the Suck!" Oh yeah, that is most definitely the "sucky" time of the race! It made me laugh and reflect on how I should embrace it because is was near the END!

left to right: My Mom's siblings Uncle Mike, Aunt Lisa, Austin (Mike's son-in-law), me, Colin. We were all a little chilly at this point!

THE HILL: All through the later miles in the race I was prepping myself mentally for the infamous hill at mile 26. In my mind that sucker was vertical and huge and I told myself that no matter how bad I felt and how awful the hill was, I would not walk! Not that there is any shame in walking, I just didn't want to walk that close to the finish line. I wanted to power through and reach the finish without walking up that last hill! Let me tell you, building something up to the worst possible thing you can imagine is a great strategy! When I finally got to the hill I'd been dreading, it looked nothing like I was expecting and I picked up the pace a bit and sailed to the top! Of course my overall pace wasn't exactly speedy and stellar, but I did finish and added that 18th notch to my mental race belt. Ahhhh, the finish line.

A few more race day pics...


























Some pics from the day after the race...



My first time to see the WWII Memorial which was very cool.


Colin next to his home state at the WWII Memorial.



As close as we were allowed to get to the White House.


The whole weekend was definitely one to remember and to celebrate the gift of being able to run. Getting to share it with friends and family make it even more memorable. Congrats to ALL who ran this marathon and know that I was praying for all of the runners that I knew out there on the course! You guys all rocked it! So proud of everyone! Until the next time.... :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 Marine Corps Marathon and 10K Running Skirts in Action

WOW!!! I've never made it on a skirt video before in a marathon! My friend Wendy posted this on her facebook page. She is at 19 seconds in the red dotted skirt and Mini Mouse ears with a big smile on her face! I'm at 57 seconds in a hot pink skirt and black tank. YAY for us!





It was gorgeous weather in DC for the entire weekend! Colin and I had a great time, loved where we stayed, loved being in the city, and both crossed the finish line and got our medals! He ran his FIRST marathon, woo hoo!!! So proud of him, he powered through despite major leg cramping from mile 16 to the end, yikes! He finished in 4:55 and plans to run another one when he has time to train, work schedule was nuts for him this time around. Plus he sprained his ankle at the end of August and lost 3 weeks of training. Congrats to him on becoming a marathoner!

I finished right back in the time zone of my first two marathons, uggh! But I was really burned out and tired from the all the tri's this summer, mainly the Ironman and then the half-iron in September, just had no speed in training so I knew it wouldn't be there race day. BUT I did finish and got the medal, in 4:31.

This was my 18th marathon, something to celebrate right? I signed up for Dallas White Rock Marathon on Dec. 5 because I don't know if I'll get to run one this spring if we are moving, lots of "up in the air" things in life right now. And I figure if I rest up, don't do any long runs that will beat me down, get out there and hit some speedwork, I can at least run a 4:29! Ha ha! Seriously, it would be nice to run around a 4 hour or 4:15, not trying to BQ, just trying to bank on my training and take a little time off. PLUS my friends from Arkansas are running and I get to meet up with them and stay in the same hotel with them! And I will get to see two nieces and a nephew who LIVE there! Can't beat it! Besides, I've never run this marathon before. Did I convince you why I need to run it yet? :)

Most of the fun is hanging out with your friends at the finish and talking about the race! My two girlfriends from Rochester, Wendy and Steph (okay, actually she is from Canada!) met at the expo and at the finish and hashed out our race stories. I also loved meeting up with my Aunt Lisa who ran a 4:36, she has run Boston 5 times and is going back again this spring. My Uncle Mike, (Lisa's brother, both are my Mom's siblings...) ran a 3:33 and he's 54! His fastest marathon time is 3:08 which he ran not too long ago. I can't help but brag on their running times!!! (Lisa's PR is 3:45, since I'm in the bragging zone...) My cousin's husband, Austin, also ran this marathon on limited training time and STILL finished! And one of the most special finishers, Jen, my sis-in-law, ran her FIRST marathon in 5:03! Sadly we didn't get to meet up though we did try! I'm really SAD about that! But oh so proud of her! You can read her 6 posts about her first marathon on her blog.

I didn't mean to make this post so long. I will post a real story about my race soon, and will throw in a few pictures. Just wanted to share the skirt video and give a basic re-cap. CONGRATS to all of you who rocked the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon!!!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

September 19: Last Tri of the Season

Me, Kim and Steph the day before the race, I love these girls! We have the best time training together-biking all summer, training swims in the lake, running, and yoga. Kim drove us to the Syracuse Half Ironman Tri in her "tri-mobile" a fabulous minivan with all the bells and whistles that carries us, our three bikes and all of our race gear. We shared a hotel room and headed to the start in the dark as night, rainy race day morning together.

Honestly, I really had to psych myself up for this last tri of the season. I'm so glad I had a couple of girlfriends to go with to the race and several other friends there racing as well. After the full ironman and training all summer, I was kind of ready for the end of the season. If the weather had been gorgeous for this race, I may have been a little more motivated. The day before the race was beautiful, sunny, near 70 degrees but race day was drizzly rain, dark, cold-you get the idea.

The Swim: Water temp was 61 which is pretty chilly. I actually didn't mind it too much and felt good in my wetsuit. Some people complained that their feet and faces were freezing but I felt decent all through, We swam in a rectangle in a reservoir for 1.2 miles. The water was calm and the way out was really nice, easy to sight and went by so fast. It was a wave swim start so everyone started in their age groups. Before I knew it I was nearing the finish and the best part of the whole race day was the wet suit peelers! No triathlons have this except Ford Ironman's and Ford Half-Ironman's. Volunteers meet you at the end of the swim, you lay on the ground and they strip your wetsuit off for you! This is amazing and if you've ever taken your own wetsuit on and off you appreciate the effort and time it saves to have two people peel your wetsuit off for you in SECONDS!

The Bike: The route was great! We trained on it once and it was a fiasco, pouring rain that day, felt like HILLS for MILES, and we got lost to top it all off!!!! Ended up with almost 70 miles and had a lot of fun laughing at ourselves and created a lot of inside jokes that day! (This was myself, Kim and Steph...) Well race day, the ride went much better! It was a hilly route, but fun to ride. The only downside for me was that it was a drizzly rain and foggy, which made it hard to push and ride hard because I didn't want to slide around or wreck on wet pavement. My max speed on one of the downhills was still 42.4 miles per hour! I wore arm warmers, tri shorts and a tank for the entire ride and was glad to have my arms covered, still cold pretty much the whole ride.

The Run: Uggh!!!! At least the rain stopped on the run. I was not a fan of the route which was a point to point 13.1 mile run that eventually put us on a 4 lane highway that went past all these really attractive strip malls. At least the people in the cars cheered for the runners, or some of them did. The runners had a lane all to ourselves, wow. To top it off, I was pretty tired and my IT band started hurting, I couldn't wait to reach the finish line which I did, FINALLY!

Overall, my friends and I all raced well and enjoyed the day. After I finished the rain cleared and it turned into a sunny afternoon, go figure! Weather affects me so much, I think I would have felt entirely different during the race if it had a been a nicer day. Logistically this race was my least favorite. We had to drive 10 miles or so from the host hotel to reach the transition area and race start. Race morning it took us 30 minutes, and some who left later took even longer, because of the long line of cars full of all the race participants trying to get to the same place. Then because the run was a point-to-point, it ended 13.1 miles from the race start and all of our gear, so we had to take shuttles back to the start to get our things and drive home. But we did get medals for finishing and made a few more triathlon memories together! I'm glad I got to do this race and was able to complete it. I don't want to take for granted that I can be out there doing it. Regardless of weather, you have to tough it out on race day, not just on the perfect day. Besides, when does "life" ever give us a "perfect" day everyday? :)

Overall Finish- 6:13:16
Swim- 39:25
T1- 6:58
Bike- 3:14:37
T2- 3:50
Run- 2:08:26

Thursday, September 16, 2010

IM Wrap-Up Pics


Waiting in line for the swim start. The line stretched for more than a mile. nice face, huh? I didn't get to jump off the dock to start the swim until 45 minutes after the official start time.

This is the end of the 2.4 mile swim, the final bouy, and then we swam to the steps to exit the water.

Swim complete-woohoo! Now off to transition to the changing tent to get ready for the bike! During the run from the swim exit to transition, I saw my Aunt Lisa and Rose cheering me on and again as I exited on my bike! Colin actually took these pics but somehow I didn't see him!

Final push to the finish of 112 miles of rolling, hilly, gorgeous country side and horse farms galore! Only downside was that is was in full sun with no shade and temps topped out at 94 degrees. Lisa and Rose were out on the course when I hit 70 miles, what a boost to have them cheering! I got to see the whole crew when they took this pic! At the end of the ride I was completely covered in a thick layer of salt. During the bike ride I actually had a headache within the first two hours. I worked hard to drink even more and loosened my ponytail a little thinking maybe that would ease the headache.


This is what the end of a tough 26.2 mile run looks like! I was beyond happy to see the finish line. It was a double out and back run course and we literally ran right up to the finish line at mile 13ish and had to turn right to do the out and back loop again. It was not a scenic run in the least, pretty much torture to run in my dehydrated state! I got to run with several people along the way, chatting some and helping each other through small stretches of the run. A huge upside was getting to see Colin, my cousins Rose and Julia, and my Aunt Lisa all throughout the run. They were fabulous!

Sporting my hard earned medal and chatting about the day at the finish line... :)

I was so much more fatigued after this Ironman than my first one and I think it was because it was so much hotter. Literally felt better to squat then to stand upright! This is me talking to my sister Kellee on my cell, she had been following the race and talking to Colin all day. :) I had to sit on a curb and drink some water before I could walk back to the hotel... Last IM I felt fine to walk around, stand and talk and it was no big deal to get my gear and get to the hotel. This time Colin got me to the hotel and then went out to pick up my bike and all my gear for me, what a keeper!

Julia, Lisa, Me not being able to stand up anymore, and Rose! Julia has done a sprint tri previously, Lisa has run LOTS of marathons including Boston 5 times and counting, Rose is an amazing runner and marathoner with a PR of something like 3:24.

Safely back home again the day after the race, proudly wearing my finishers hat and a t-shirt that says "Ironman Louisville." It was fun but I never plan to do this HOT Ironman race again! Goodbye Louisville! Hello to future IM cities like Tempe, Arizona or Madison, Wisconsin and definitely would go back to Panama City Beach, Florida!

Next up Syracuse 70.2 Triathlon on Sep. 19 and then Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 31.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ironman Louisville Preview....Post One


Well, I finished the IM in some seriously hot weather conditions. It was a dig deep kind of day that took lots of prayer, and I was so thankful to cross the finish line. There's really nothing like the sight of the finish line after a seemingly never ending race day! I knew I would be slower then my first IM but I ended up an hour and 45 minutes slower. Try that for your ego!!!! But truly it was the best I could do, it was a completely different race course and city, and the biggest difference was the weather. I will gradually go through the swim-bike-run that took me 15:00:54 in future posts. But first a preview...

HIGH POINTS:

The Finish Line!!!!!!!!!!!!

Colin-my husband there cheering me on, not to mention he went and picked up all my gear and bike post-race, and listened to me about everything all through the weekend...

Aunt Lisa and Cousins Rose and Julia-drove 2 hours to meet for dinner the night before and cheered me all through the entire long race day! They rocked! Took lots of pics too!

Ohio River proved to be easy water to swim in, brown and murky, but not stinky.

Fun rolling hills on the bike course!

Met a few people to chat with briefly along the run course!

Pulled myself through the run by cheering on the other runners in the later darker miles of the course and then got called "Skirt Girl" and asked "How I could be so perky?" by those same runners. :)


LOW POINTS:

That this thing was in AUGUST!!!! In Kentucky!!!!!

That it was 94 degrees and the bike course was in FULL SUN!!!!

An aid station on the bike course ran out of water (just didn't get replenished quickly enough...) so I went without for 12 miles or so, not fun. (I had half a bottle of warm gatorade on my bike, better then nothing.)

Had a headache for the first hour or two of the bike, it was hot out there. Kept drinking gatorade and pushing to get better hydrated.

Cried at mile 5.86 of the run because I felt so bad, dehydration bad feeling in my head, not really muscles. Another runner coming back on the other side of the road said, "It's okay, we ALL feel like that, keep going!!!" So I sucked it up, quit my crying, and kept going!

Run course was a double out and back straight shot with no turns, very boring, and we had to do it TWICE! AND at mile 14 we had to run right up to the finish line but instead of going down the chute to the end, we turned left and went back out for the second boring out and back loop. You could see and hear the screaming crowd and the people finishing. good times.

HYDRATION and NUTRITION:

Bike-Drank 4 aero bottles of water, 2 sports drink bottles, 5 hours worth of Hammer Perpetuem (900 calories), 4 mini Clif bars (100 calories each), 2 Clif Shot Blocks packages (200 calories each), half a banana from an aid station.

Run-Drank Nuun (3 tablets worth spaced out, needed more), straight water, sports drink (not sure how much, drank it at the aid stations as needed.), 4 GU gel packs (100 calories each).

[Aid stations had lots of food and choices but I just can't eat on the run which is why I try to really take it all in on the bike.]

WEIGHT CHANGES:

Friday: weighed in at athlete check-in 4 lbs heavier than my normal which was a result of minimal workouts for the two previous taper weeks, not a big deal. Body water was at 50 percent which was good. (anything from 45 to 60 is good.)

Sunday Race Day: CALORIE BURN was 13,020, craziness!!!!!

Tuesday: a full day after the race I weighed 9 pounds LESS than I did at the athlete weigh-in!

Wednesday: back to my normal weight, not the extra 4 lbs. I had at the athlete weigh-in but at what I've been weighing all summer.

RECOVERY:

Feel better than after a marathon, not sure why??? Quads were a little sore Mon-Tues but not Wednesday, left hamstring is a still a little tight. Overall, I feel pretty good. I did NOT feel so great at the finish line, tired and hard to stand up then!

Monday-drove the 9.5 hours home.

Tuesday-3 mile walk plus a 1 mile jog. (hadn't planned to run but was in a hurry to get back and it didn't hurt.)

Wednesday-very easy 1.5 hour slow paced bike ride.

Thursday-went out to bike 30 miles with my friend but felt so great that I biked 5o miles instead! Would not have done it if I didn't feel good, no soreness during or after and pace was decent. (15.8, not bad for a few days after IM)

the rest of the week? lake swim on Friday and a short run on Saturday.

Why am I recovering so well??? I think because it was sooooooo incredibly hot at the IM that I couldn't go all out like I had trained up for and now I've still got some in the tank. Too bad I can't go try again for faster in an upcoming IM but they fill up a year in advance and my husband would flat out leave me! ha! Not really, but he definitely would not be in favor! I mean, I'm definitely doing MORE of these things, I'm hooked and want to get faster, but I won't being doing one in the fall! :)

COMING SOON: Maybe some short posts and more pictures, one about the swim, one about the bike, and a final one about the run. Trying to keep it shorter. But of course this one is completely long. Sorry.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

IM Race MOJO!!!!!!

Nerves, Anxiety, Apprehension----ALL at the forefront of my mind this week! Yep, I've been in my own personal world of freak out! I've even gone so far as to be disappointed in a slower finishing time for my second Ironman then I had in my first Ironman, and I haven't even raced yet!!!!!! Pretty funny when I step back and look at myself! But seriously, this will be a much hotter race, different terrain, different swim, no comparison to my first IM. My goal is to finish. The time will be whatever it is, not putting pressure on myself, I want to listen to my body and race smart, fuel well, follow my nutrition plan, and HAVE FUN!

IT'S HERE: Sunday, August 29 is the race day, please pray for me while I'm out there! My number is 427 and it is Ironman Louisville if you want to track me on-line. I so appreciate the encouraging words I've heard from my friends both in person and on facebook. I love being out there and I think that as soon as I hit the water the nerves will settle and I'll enjoy being out there!

RACE DAY FUEL/NUTRITION: On the bike I will have Perpetuem, Clif bars, Clif shot blocks, Gatorade and water. I'd rather have a little more than I might want than not enough! On the run I'll probably just do straight GU gels and water, they'll have tons of stuff at the aid stations but not sure I'll want it at that point. Last time I couldn't do anything but gels by the time I got to the run. Planning to have NUUN in my water bottle on the run.

MENTAL GAME: This day is a huge mental game, even more so than the marathon. So it starts in my head. As I stated in the beginning, I've been on the nervous side! Well, yesterday I got this awesome message from my songbird friend from college. Her name is Colleen, we haven't seen each other since we graduated but connected on facebook in the past year. She has done two Ironmans, works for Livestrong, and is an amazing athlete! I LOVE what she wrote, hit the nail on the head, made me laugh, and brought me back to reality! I CAN DO THIS! God is my strength, there are way more important things and far more difficult things in life then a little old swim-bike-run. So Louisville, here I come! Excited!

Colleen's Words: "YOU ARE READY! You have planned your race....now race your plan! Do not deviate one bit from what you know you have worked on in the past 5 months of training." (actually 6 months, but who's counting??)

"Have fun. Don't take it too seriously. Keep in mind it is a long training day – you are not going to win. Eat and drink more than you think you need. Smile and/or laugh every once in a while. Think about people during the race that are in much greater pain than you ever will be. Think about me barfing in the swim on my first Ironman – it was red because I drank cranberry juice that morning (I thought I was puking blood). Enjoy it when they take your wetsuit off for you – that never happens in real-life. Play games with yourself all day. Go easy when it feels hard and go hard when it feels easy. Don't think about the people who will be finishing as you get off the bike. Do something stupid when you cross the finish line. Say thank you to the volunteers. Have a beer after you are done, even if you don't want one. Stay at the finish line until the race is over – you will want to leave, but it will be worth it to see the last finishers. Be prepared to be mauled in the swim – if you expect to get kicked and lose your goggles it won't be a shock when it happens. Don't get an M-Dot tattoo, no matter what."

And there you have it, thanks Colleen!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bad Things Happen in 3's :)

1. Transmission on my car went out 2 weeks ago! Fun times, got it towed, re-built, then back to the shop for the key stuck in the ignition. It's just a car! Been 13 days without it but it comes home today. Pain in the wallet! :)

2. First Solo Flat Tire: Only 6 miles from home on my 52 mile solo bike ride, I got my first flat tire when I was alone! I know how to change them but always have a little help. SO, I was fine, actually kind of glad for a chance to prove to myself I could do it alone. I could do it, not very fast, but changed the WHOLE thing. Don't get your hopes up, it was a failure! I changed it and got all the "hard" parts accomplished, only to break the valve off my newly changed tube when I tried to air up the tire with my CO2 cartridge. Literally the moment I had the mishap a young couple on road bikes pulled up and helped me out. They gave me a new tube and the guy changed the tire for me! I love happy endings, don't you? Free flat tire clinic, here I come!

3. Broken shifter cable on my bike: Yep, this weekend it was my shifter cable that frayed and completely broke making it impossible to shift out of my little ring and into my big ring. I was 3 hours into a 5.5 hour ride with my husband! This makes it impossible to shift into higher gears and ride at a faster pace. Great. He says we'll have to shorten the route or it will take forever. This "type A" addicted to my training girl cannot handle that! Ha ha!!! So, he got out his tools, took off my front derailer and put the chain on the big ring and I rode the next 2.5 hours in my big ring. Yahoo! This is only not fun when you are climbing a hill and don't have your low gears to make it easier to reach the top. There weren't too many hills though so I survived! Bike went straight to the shop when we got home for a repair and tune-up and it will be ready on Tuesday! Yay!

Happy Weekend: It was a great weekend! Got some great hang-out and training time with my husband after having barely seen each other or talked for the past week while he worked over 80 hours and was completely exhausted all week! Logged a 5.5 hour bike ride and 40 min. run in gorgeous weather, a long run the next day, and even grilled out on the deck! I'm all about quality time! :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Musselman Half Iron Tri: July 11, 2010


Kim and Kirsten, post-race, notice the empty transition area...

I LOVE this race and highly recommend it to anyone considering a half-iron triathlon distance! It's an outstanding, well-organized, family oriented, FUN race. The bike course is flat and fast, the run has challenging hills, and the swim is in beautiful Seneca Lake. This was my second time to participate in this race. They also have a mini-mussel which is the sprint distance, a micro-mussel which is some kind of comical tricycle race, and the Kid's Mussel which is awesome to watch!

My assigned spot in transition, when you register they ask you to give them motivational slogans and they put them on your sticker at your spot in transition. Mine says "I love this stuff! Ride it like you stole it! Never give up!" Of course I only had time to read that before the race started! I love the idea though. :)

My Race:

The SWIM felt great, my goggles were a bit fogged so I felt like I had to work harder to stay on course but it was decent. I finished the 1.2 miles in 37:28, about 30 seconds faster then last year. Yay! Then it was out of the lake, a run down the path to transition while getting my arms out of the wetsuit and into biking shoes/socks, helmet, gloves and sunglasses. Did I forget anything? No! Out of T1 in 2:55, a huge improvement for me!

My spot in the transition area with everything set exactly the way I wanted it, you should see the mess it becomes as the race progresses. :)

My BIKE computer wasn't working immediately when I started at the mount line, nice. I stopped (can you believe it?) to try and fix the sensor on my front wheel which had gotten knocked out of place. Of course I couldn't fix it and I'm ultra dependent on watching my speed and time to know how hard to push and when to take in nutrition. Well, I couldn't fix it and didn't want to waste precious time so off I pedaled deciding to ride totally on feel, what choice did I have? Honestly, it was good for me even though I took a little while mentally to get over it while I was riding! I love the bike course, it's awesome, fast, you can really fly! We had a head wind for the first 14 miles so perceived effort was up but I kept pushing. Then it was a fabulous tail wind! I saw all kinds of people passing me while drafting (against the rules), a few people blocking (also against the rules and quite annoying when you want/need to pass them!!) and it was incredibly gratifying to watch the official motorcycle pull up beside people and take down their numbers to apply penalties. Yes! I loved that and it made me even more cautious to not accidentally break any rules myself. I finished the 56 miles in 3:07:36 with an 18.0 avg. speed.

Pre-race transition area with athletes setting gear for their races.

Into transition, my legs were tired when I walked/jogged my bike to my spot. Quick change of shoes and shedding of bike gear, grabbed my water bottle and I was off! T2 about 20 seconds slower than last year in 2:52. The RUN was so hot and hilly, I completely struggled through the course in full sun with little shade. (Yes, I still love this race!) Spectators were out in their yards with hoses spraying us and I ran through every one of them! I sponged cold ice water all over my face, neck, arms and poured water over my head. I took in several Gu gel packs and drank water. I would have loved some gatorade, the course had Heed, which I don't care for, such a snob! I also would have done well to take in salt tablets. About a mile from the finish I passed my friends cheering me in and felt so bad I almost cried! In fact, I did cry a little. I was so HAPPY to cross the finish in line in 2:18:38 for 13.1 miles, even though it was 14 minutes slower than my run last year! Uggh! So, I ended up with a total time of 6:09:29 which was only 7 minutes slower than my overall time last year. It could have been much worse if I hadn't improved in other parts but it could have been so much better if I could have run better. But it is what it is! I'm thankful to have completed the race and it was frankly the best I could run on that day. :)

The LOOT: We got arm warmers, gloves, a nice long-sleeved tech shirt (made from recycled material), and a finishing eco-friendly water bottle and finishing medal which is a chainring. (basically a recycled bike part) This race really goes all out to be environmentally conscious.

There's the "stuff" and Kim made the awesome keepsake clipboard as a surprise!


Place in the Race: I got 22nd out of 53 in my age group of 35-39 year olds. I came in 423 out of 794 overall. I do wish I had run better, running is supposed to my "thing," I remember when I used to pass everyone on the run in tri's, not that day! Life goes on, I'm learning to be thankful that I can have health and fitness to do these things that I love, and appreciate that God gives me the desire and ability to do it, regardless of finishing times. It's for his glory anyway that we're even on this earth. And so as the verse says in Col. 3:23 "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men." So I will do it with all my heart and be thankful and happy that I can!

PICTURES: My great friend and training partner, Kim, went through this whole weekend as well, and also our friend Scott, who is married to another marathon training friend of mine. The three of us traveled together in Kim's awesome triathlon Dodge minivan with automatic doors on all sides and room for THREE bikes PLUS all of our STUFF! It's amazing, see pics below... We went to packet pick-up, painted the "Wall of Mussel," went to the pre-race meeting and then met Scott's family for dinner out and all stayed at Scott's family's lake cottage before heading out to the race the next morning. Kim and Scott both had great races and Scott completed his second ever tri and first half-iron distance.

The Van: Lots of stuff and 3 bikes, count 'em!

Athletes painting the mural and their names.



Closer view of the mural...


The three of us in front of the "Wall of Mussel."


Pre-Race shot of Kim and I.


You can add the years on to the wall every time you come back and race. Fun idea!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

At a Glance...

Officially I have survived 18 weeks of Ironman training! It started out with an 8 week base phase followed by an 8 week build phase, and now I am in the second week of the 4 weeks of the peak training phase. After that, the long-awaited taper leading to race day. So, peak phase is all that the name implies. Here is what this previous week of training entailed:
Monday, July 12:
Rest day (This was the day after the half-iron Musselman Triathlon)
Tuesday, July 13:
Swim 2,900 yards
(pool workout including warm up, drills, moderate and threshold intervals, kicking and cooldown)
Bike 1 hr. 40 min.
(27 miles, 15.9 avg--slower then usual due to still recovering from the race)
Wednesday, July 14:
Swim 2,900 yards
(pool workout with warm up, drills, moderate and VO2 max intervals, speed intervals, kicking and cool down)
Bike 1 hr. 30 min.
(23.5 miles, 15.9 avg---still in recovery mode...)
Thursday, July 15:
Run speedwork 6 x 800 m repeats, 5 mile total run distance
Open Water Swim (3 loops in Canandaigua Lake, first swim with no wetsuit this season and it felt great, IM Lousiville will not be wetsuit legal due to warm water temps so I must practice in open water without a wetsuit.)
(1 loop equals slightly less then a mile, plan called for 3700 yards so I guess/estimated at the lake, must have been around 2.5 miles??)
Friday, July 16:
Run 6 miles
Bike 2 hours
(30 miles, 15.0 avg)
Saturday, July 17:
Long Run 16 miles (hot and humid!)
Sunday, July 18:
Long Bike 5 hr. 15 min. (76 miles in the wind and lots of climbing made for a slower pace)
Run 4 miles (immediately following bike workout)
Next week is quite similar to this week, there is usually a Brick workout each week but this week was slightly modified due to the race on Sunday. My bike workouts are usually supposed to be at moderate intensity, one on a hilly course and one high intensity bike workout. I just didn't have speed this week mainly because of racing on Sunday. I can feel fatigue settling in and that is normal.
Nutrition during workouts: I've been tweaking nutrition on my long bike ride days to try and figure out my race day plan. Today I burned 3300 plus calories on the bike and 400 on the run! That's a lot of calories to keep up with so I can keep going on the long workout. Race day will be an even longer time on the bike followed by 26.2 miles of running, nutrition is the most important factor to plan. Currently I'm leaning towards a 4 hour bottle of perpetuem on the bike plus a couple packs of GU chomps plus 3 or 4 mini Clif bars. (100 calories each and easy to consume) For the run I"ll likely stick with straight gels and water/gatorade because that was all I could tolerate last time and it seemed to do the trick. I'm no expert and basically just figuring it out as I go along. :)
My training plan: Following Matt Fitzgerald's Triathlon Level 4 Ironman Plan. (love his training book/plan)
Coming Soon: Pictures and a full race report from the Musselman Half Iron Tri on July 11. It was a fun race, hard run, I improved in everything except the run but I blame the heat and sun! I'm just full of excuses in this post...forgive me!
Shout-Out: to several training partners... Sandy and Kim for open water swims and bike rides from time to time, FF running groups for long runs, and the biggest and bestest shout-out of all to COLIN for biking with me on the long endurance rides. He's a strong cyclist and patiently waits for me at turns, he also plans our routes. :) Thank You! I'm lucky he's training for the Highlander, a 125 mile bike ride in September so he needs these long workouts too.

Friday, July 9, 2010

June 13: Diabetes 101 Mile Bike Ride

Ironman training has taken over my life, this is week 17, leaving little time for blogging, my apologies for this late post about the fun yet wet and rainy bike ride for Diabetes this past month. Tour de Cure goes on in many major cities and I was privileged to get to participate in the Rochester ride. Thank you to everyone who donated to this important cause and made the ride possible.

My friend Sandy convinced me to join her team for this ride and the two of us set out to reach our goals. She and I have logged many training miles together, both running and biking, and have even gotten a few swim workouts in together! Her first Ironman will be this coming November! I promise to get a pic of us posted here at some point. :) Also happened upon another friend, Scott, at the start of the ride. Sandy, Scott and I set out together in the pack of over 1,000 riders in the drizzly morning weather.

The course was great, many roads that I have biked previously and a fair amount of new ones. The three of us were averaging in the high 17's for the first 25 miles or so and it felt great to be out there riding and chatting away. We stopped at the first aid station for a restroom break and to re-fill bottles on our bikes. This is really just a ride, not a race, no pressure, just a nice long endurance workout and each individual can control their own pace. There are aid stations all throughout so it is fully supported, a wonderful perk! After the first aid station the three of us separated a bit but met up at the stop around 34 miles. So we started off together again. Scott and I ended up pulling ahead and drafting behind this group of cyclists, my first drafting experience. (Drafting is illegal in triathlons earning you an ugly time penalty and your main focus is to keep at least 3 bike lengths between yourself and the rider ahead of you....) ANYWAY, back to the drafting, wow! It was so much fun, we were completely speeding along in the mid-20's with no effort. It was a great ride that went on for a good 20 minutes. Then we were back to riding on our own.

Around 60ish miles the rain had changed from drizzly to a heavy mist and amazingly WET! We were soaked, our glasses were fogged up and stopping just made you cold. I've never seen so many flat tires in a ride, they were everywhere. Scott ended up with a flat a little past mid-way through. (quickly fixed with a new tube) Around 70ish miles the course looped around Lake Conesus which was quite beautiful and gradually the misty rain subsided. I ended up stopping at 4 aid stations along the course and they were all well-stocked. But I rode with perpetuem, gatorade and water and had some GU chomps so didn't really need anything. (except the restrooms!) Perpetuem is made by Hammer and is my preference for long training rides. It has calories, carbs, protein and even a little fat and keeps my energy levels up, makes a huge difference for me on the bike. Nutrition and fueling your body is so important on these long endurance days. I did take in a Luna bar at one of the stops. (They had everything-sandwiches, Clif bars and much more...) I like perpetuem because it's easy on the gastro-intestinal track and seems to do the trick for me.

By 90 miles we were on the home stretch and a road that I ride all the time. Strangely my legs were so TIRED! Ha! But at that point I just wanted to get to the end. My left knee hurt every pedal stroke for some weird reason and I was ready to get off the bike seat! There was a fabulous downhill and a matching uphill climb, good times. :) I was so happy to roll through the finish at 101.27 miles, 6:04:38 for my time (not including stops), 16.7 average mph, and max speed of 38.4 mph.

Here is a picture of my bike racked on the car after pulling back into my driveway at home and a shot of my "tattoed" leg courtesy of my bike chain. The bike needed a good cleaning after an attack of rain and road grit, just what you feel like doing when you get home after a long ride, but I did it!




















By the way, the day after this 101 mile bike ride I rested from workouts and my knee pain is completely gone, never came back. I think it was just a short aggravation from the miles that day. whew!!!

Stay tuned...in just two days I have the Musselman Half-Iron Tri in Geneva, NY. It's a great race, I got to do it last year too! I don't know that I can better my time this year, but it's sure to be a fun day and my friend Kim and I can't wait to get there and do it again! Scott is doing it too, his first half-iron tri! A story to come but I make no promises as to how quickly I will tell it! :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 6: Keuka Sprint Tri


Crashing thunder and streaks of lightning accompanied the sound of my alarm clock at 4:15 AM on race morning. Great, the opening triathlon of the season was going to be in a downpour, I couldn't wait to get to transition to set up my gear. (insert sarcasm...) But I got up, ate oatmeal, got dressed, grabbed my pre-packed bags and hit the road, along with the pounding rain. Fortunately, I racked my back the night before so it was already loaded and I always get everything I need for the tri packed and ready the night before the race.

By the time I got to the race site, the rain had slowed to a drizzle. Steph and I met up and walked to check in to get our numbers, timing chips, and swim caps. Then it was off to set up our gear in transition, we had to be all set, completely ready, and out of transition by 7:15 AM. I was more excited for Steph to experience her first triathlon then I was about my own race. That was a good thing because the rain was not my preferred weather condition, LOL.

I aired up my bike tires and put on my backpack with all my STUFF and walked to transition. I laid everything out and covered my socks, bike shoes, running shoes and towel with a plastic bag so they would stay dry until I needed them. I even put a plastic bag over my helmet to keep it dry during the swim. Then it was off to get body marked, get my wetsuit on, and wait for the start.

Amazingly, it stopped raining! Steph and hung out chatting and watching the Olympic Tri participants swim their loop in the lake. It was gorgeous, calm water, so very peaceful. We had fun watching and killing time until our sprint distance wave starts. Hers was at 8:30 and mine at 8:35, since we were in different age groups.

It was actually fun to line up with all the women in my age group. Everyone was chatting, voicing their nerves, encouraging each other. It was inspiring to see them, some mentioning their kids, lots of them strong athletic women who were likely to have outstanding races! I missed my friend Kim, who I usually do tri's with, she had a conflict this weekend. But we always start in the same wave and get to stand there together waiting to SWIM!

the SWIM: And we were off, even though this is my 10th triathlon, I forgot what the first few moments are like in the triathlon swim. Everyone scrambles to find their pace and position to get to the first buoy. (often you get kicked, pushed, and grabbed, although surprisingly, not today!) This is when I work my nerves out, push out the anxiety, and find my own rhythm. Once I got around the first buoy and away from the crowd, I felt better and much more comfortable. I just swam along to the second buoy, then the third and then it was time to head in toward the finish. The water was 71 degrees, practically 10 degrees warmer then last year's race and not in the least bit cold. I got to that last little stretch and suddenly something sharp was poking my underarm, ouch! Don't think about it, just keep swimming! ouch again! I finally had to reach in the neck of my wetsuit and pull whatever "it" was up to the front of my suit so it wouldn't poke me anymore. I was afraid it was my timing chip so I didn't discard it and toss it into the water. It was, wait for it....my energy gel!!!!! It had come out of my shirt pocket somehow, and worked it's way up my suit, it was a sharp painful little sucker, but funny!

Transition 1 and the BIKE: I went as fast as I can, like always, which ends up not being very fast, like always. But I really do try. I got out of my wetsuit into my bike gear and onto the bike! Then I was off on the bike and flying as fast as I could possibly go. Immediately I took in an energy gel while I started the opening stretch. I tried to stay in as high of a gear as possible for the whole time, sometimes in my top most gear and pedaling as hard as I could. Other times, I shifted down for a slight incline but tried to keep a strong steady cadence, not grinding and pushing on the pedals, but smooth circular pedaling. I have much to learn on the bike, but I'm trying. The sprint was an out and back course, very simple, the road isn't the greatest but it was a little better than last year, due to some patching. I have to say, I managed to pass a lot of people and no one passed me, crazy. However, I'm in one of the last wave starts so that makes sense. Into the bike finish...

Transition 2 and the RUN: I'm always much faster in T2 going from bike to run, but still slower than my fellow competitors! I ripped off my bike stuff and jumped into my running shoes, grabbed my water bottle and out to the run course. By the way, it still is not raining and the sun has just come out. I took off, feeling fatigue in my legs but pushing through. I could tell I was not moving as fast as I did on the run last year when I somehow managed to run sub-8 minute miles for the whole thing. But you just do what you can do on any given day and there it is. My first mile was 7:55, 10 to 20 seconds slower then last year's miles but I just kept moving. My eyes were constantly scanning the on-coming runners for Steph and there she was, already on her way in after the turn around! We cheered each other on and kept on going. I hit the turn around, woo hoo! Second mile was 8:13, no problem just keep the pace, I saw my friend Karin and she yelled "Go Kirsten!" She was competing the Olympic distance and doing great as always. My third mile was 8:16 and then a surprise, my friend Melissa was yelling my name from up ahead which made me pick up the pace for the finish. She has done this for me in at least 4 races and I love it! I didn't even know she would be there that day.

The FINISH: I crossed the line in 1:30:08, turns out it was about a minute faster than last year, I'll take it! Even more of a bonus, I actually got THIRD in my age group! I was ecstatic about that! Even though one of the amazing power houses in my age group was an overall winner which allowed me to place, I'll take it! I was slower on the swim than last year, faster in T1 than last year, faster on the bike than last year, same in T2, and slower on the run than last year. It all comes out to slightly faster than 2009, so again, I'll take it, with a placque to boot for the memory. Wow, a great day!

And Steph wrapped up her first triathlon by placing second in her age group with an overall finish of 1:27:47! Of course we hung out to get our awards.

My final splits for the day were:

Half Mile SWIM 17:19
T1 3:17 (guys, I've NEVER gotten under 4 minutes here!)
20K BIKE 42:08, average pace 19.7 mph, max speed 33.8
T2 1:42
5K Run 26:12 (my Garmin said an 8:06 pace for 3.26 miles, but race results say 8:27)

Overall 1:30:08

Most of the girls in my age group can get through T1 in under two minutes, how do you get a wetsuit off that fast?? I think next time I'm putting wet feet straight into my socks and shoes, no more towel drying...Yeah, I'm sure that's the secret. ha ha!


This was our FAILED attempt at a self portrait and we thought it was too hilarious to delete...