Monday, June 27, 2011

Mines Falls Trail Series 4 of 12

4 words: I FINALLY DID IT!!!


I was determined to get finish in under 28 minutes and to beat that 9 min/mile pace before the first half of the series was over. I felt it in my bones all day long. I knew today was the day despite the fact that I ran a 10k race yesterday. I just knew it.

It was super hot today but running in the woods was actually pretty cool...there were a few cool breezes I ran into. I hydrated all day so I could skip the water stop today. I knew today was the day! I beat my goal with 1 race left in the first half of the series. I'm tempted to switch to the 5 mile a week early to give me time to set a goal for that and possibly beat it by the end of the summer!

If I had any moisture left in my body when I finished I may have actually shed a tear. Unfortunately, I was a sweaty mess and worried about keeling over from running my little heart out (almost literally)!

Ohh and I went to the rock climbing gym after my race. I passed the belay test (I know...not a huge deal but exciting for me) and I raced up a few walls to burn off the energy from the excitement of the race! Much better than my initial lesson on Saturday!

BAA 10k

Busy busy weekend! Swimming on Saturday morning, rock climbing Saturday night, a 10k race Sunday morning, brunch with some friends, and then sleeping for the rest of the day (well maybe not the rest of the day...I did get a chance to hang out with a friend and her baby boy and another friend who just moved after a fantabulous nap).

Soo...big race! The Boston Athletic Association decided that a marathon, half marathon, and 5k weren't enough opportunities to parade the world's best runners around Boston so they organized a 10k this year! Thinking it will probably be the closest I'll ever get the Boston Marathon and all of it's glory, I signed up and I made a friend from work sign up with me. I should have known trouble was coming when 2 days before the race my friend told me that I'd probably need to drive to the race because he might be still drunk/hungover from a pub crawl he signed up for the night before the race...

Staying true to his word, he was quite possibly still drunk when I finally got him out of bed and quite the entertainment on the way to the race. Good thing I planned lots of time to get there and get settled because in addition to being drunk (and still wearing the clothes from last night when he got in my car), he also left his race number at home so we had to take care of that. Luckily the BAA was super cool about it and made the switch in a few seconds. We got our super cool shirts and checked his bag o clothes and lined up for the race!

They sent the wheelchairs off first. Three minutes later they sent off the elite runners (these dudes didn't even have numbers on their bibs, they had their names!). Four minutes after that the first of the slow pokes were set off. And as my group was lining up to go they made an announcement that the lead runner had reached the 1 mile mark and was on track to finish the race in 28 minutes! I can't even run a 5k that fast!

We finally got to start and I quickly left my friend in the dust. I had forgotten my GPS watch so I had no idea how fast I was running. I settled into a pace that felt ok and sustainable. Did I mention that the weather was pretty crappy?! It wasn't insanely hot but I'm pretty sure I was in some kind of humidity vortex that was 200% humidity yet the air was still accepting moisture and sucking every ounce of water from my body! I hit mile 1 and doused myself in a cup of water and downed 1 cup. Sadly I didn't look at the time when I started the race so I had no idea how long it had taken me to run the first mile...all I knew was that it was 17:30 after the beginning of the race...Aaaand then around mile 1.4 I started hearing the crowd in front of me cheering and then I saw the lead cop car...WTF! HOW WAS THIS DUDE ALREADY ALMOST DONE WITH THE FLIPPING RACE?! Slightly demotivated, I kept pushing on....

By mile 2 I wanted to rip my clothes off...I was dying in the outfit I decided to wear...I guess I know how to plan better for humidity now? Probably not...I'll probably make the same mistake at least 10 more times. In the first mile the race when under an underpass and I remember thinking "crap, I'm going to have to go uphill towards the end of the race!" In mile 2 the race when through BU...I saw 1 bridge ahead and dealt with it thinking that I'd only had to run up 1 bridge and hoping the turn around was at the top. Boy was I ever wrong...I got to the top of the bridge only to see the crowd ahead climbing another! I stumbled through to the turn around checking my time and trying to do the mental math to figure out how fast I was running each mile after mile 1...I thought it was somewhere around the 9.5 min/mile which was my goal for the race so I was happy. But by the turn around I was starting to fall apart and I tried to slow down a little.

After the turn around I searched the crowd for my friend for about half a mile but couldn't find him...and then I saw the freaking sweeper bus! Demotivator #2, seeing the sweeper not too far behind you! Luckily my iPod could feel my pain and put on some motivating music as I pushed through those two stupid bridges. At least I was on my way back!!! Despite the fact that I was "trying to hold back" my mile splits weren't really getting any longer...whatever, as long as I finish the race without walking. Mile 6 was pretty difficult. Luckily, the race directors saw this coming and threw in an extra water station towards the end. 4 cups of water on my head later (I'm surprised my headphones still worked after this race with all of the water I was dumping on me) I was rounding the corner to the finish line. In my twisted mental math I figured as long as I finished in under 1:07:00 I probably ran the whole race in under an hour...but I had no idea what my real time was.

Slightly worried I waited for my friend for about 20 minutes but he finally showed up at our meeting spot. I guess drunk running isn't as glamorous as it sounds. To quote him...."By mile 2 I could smell the whiskey oozing out of mile 4 I realized I was sober."

Overall it was a fun morning. I met up with some friends after for a quick brunch before heading back home for a shower and a nap. 

Oh and my overall time was 58:38! 9:27 pace!! And somewhat amazingly my 5k splits were only 4 seconds off from one another. Yay for being able to self pace!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Summer

I grew up in Florida. This means that I spent my summers in the pool. I was even on the swim team for 5 or so years. During summer break you knew you had a good day when at the end of the day your eyes were stinging and there were halos around every light source you looked at because no kid every wears goggles and we always opened our eyes underwater! The smell of chlorine on your skin was second nature. It wasn't until I stopped spending every waking moment in the pool that I realized that it wasn't natural to smell like chlorine all the time. But to this day one of my favorite smells ever is the smell of chlorine on my skin and in my hair.

One of my favorite pictures ever

I miss those days. Growing up my parents called me their little fish because I would spend hours in the pool. I used to dream of being able to stay in the water all the time and be able to survive without having to come up for air. I finally fulfilled that dream (well kind of) last year by getting my SCUBA certification. I still remember how giddy I was the first time I donned my SCUBA gear and went underwater. It was so natural to me. It was a good 5 minutes before I realized that I had been underwater for 5 minutes without having to go up for air. I LOVED IT! I wish I could live somewhere that allowed me to go SCUBA diving whenever I want. I can't believe I moved to a part of the country that only allows for outdoor swimming about 5 days of the year.

Breathing underwater!

I signed up for a few triathlons this year (one of which I've already completed!) so I knew that I needed to find a place to swim. A few weeks ago Groupon offered 25 drop ins at a local hotel gym with an indoor and outdoor pool for $35 so I snatched it up. I haven't really taken advantage of the opportunity until today. Sadly they only have 1 adult swim lane so the few times I've gone before today they pool was always busy.

Today was a cross training day so I figured I'd try swimming. I lucked out. I walked in and there were a few people in the pool so I went and locked up my stuff and I was going to putz around in the gym until the pool cleared out. I checked on the pool one last time before heading downstairs and everyone was getting out! I jumped in an claimed the only adult swim lane for the next hour and I swam 2.55 miles! Granted it was in a pool and a pool DOES NOT equal open swim but I feel like I really worked out some muscles I haven't used in awhile and I worked on my form. When I got out of the pool I smell the familiar sweet scent of chlorine and I was reluctant to jump into the shower to wash it all off. But alas, all good things must come to an end and I am now clean. I couldn't really delay showering because I knew my hair would be destroyed if I let the chlorine sit there for long enough (the major drawback of swimming in a pool!). I guess I'll just have to go back again soon!

Part 2 of cross training day is tonight. I'm meeting up with a friend at a rock climbing gym for a beginner class! I can't wait! And I'm running the BAA 10k tomorrow morning!

PS I had some old bananas lying around so I whipped up some of these babies today too!

banana chocolate chip muffins!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Trail Series Week 3

As you might be able to tell from my previous post, I had a busy weekend so I was tired and sore for week 3. I was also totally unprepared. I didn't drink much water, was on a 3 hour plane ride right before the race, and I didn't eat much that day.

Showing up for this race was pure stubbornness. That shirt for running all 12 races WILL BE MINE!

Within the first quarter mile my legs started to cramp up. It slowed me down a little but I powered through it. But by mile 2.8 my body decided to call it a day. I got the worst stomach cramps ever. I started to slow down to walk when an angel in running clothes came up from behind and said, "Don't stop! You are so close to the end! Raise your hands above your head and keep running, the cramps will go away!" So I lifted those arms and kept going and I finished!

It was slow, around 29 minutes...but I'll take it...still under a 10 min mile!

A New Take on Cross Training

This weekend my cross training consisted of...

Running around underground

Eating cake in a cave


Controlled falling

About 200 more squats to get back up!


and finally some swimming


Monday, June 13, 2011

Trail Series Week 2

So I went ahead and ran the trail series race today mainly because I really want the shirt for running in all 12 races! My plan was to go slow since I had a big day yesterday and I was still a little sore from the bike. Well I had a crappy day at work and I guess my body just wanted to get rid of all of the frustration and I ended up running it in 28:13! Woohoo! I knocked 20 seconds off! I'm THAT much closer to breaking through a 9 minute mile pace!

Week 1 of marathon training started today and here's what I have to do...



3 mi

Bike: 30 min


3 mi

6 mi
60 min

So I did a bad thing and I missed the rest day BUT that's only because I know that I'm not going to have time to work out on Wednesday and I had my race today that I didn't want to miss and I don't want to take 2 days off in a row! We'll have to see how I feel tomorrow...maybe I'll end up taking my rest day tomorrow and my other rest day on Wednesday...I need to remember, rest is not a bad thing!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


PS Marathon training officially starts tomorrow!

Here's the plan I'm going to try to follow...but I think I'm going to shift it by a day so my break days are Thursday and Sundays...

Race Recap: Greater Nashua Sprint Triathlon

I woke up bright in early this morning to the sound of pouring rain on my sky light! I wasn't so excited. I realize that a triathlon starts in the water and you get wet right away but in most tri's you dry off on the bike ride! I rolled over and hit snooze a few times on the alarm. I finally rolled out of bed 2 hours before the race and jumped in the shower (I know...I just complained about being wet but I can't wake up without a shower!).

I stopped at DD on the way for my pre-race ritual bagel and iced tea (which I ended up not really drinking) and went headed off to the race! As I was getting my bike out of the car and figuring out how to reassemble it I started thinking about how everyone else there was with someone and I was there all alone! No one to distract me from freaking out before the race, no one to cheer me on during the race, and no one to hang out with me after! But someone was looking out for me :) As I was setting up my transition area I heard someone calling my name, it was my friend from Quarter Life Runner! She was there to cheer on her hubby. I was so excited to see someone I knew! She was super nice, loaning me a jacket while I was waiting to get into the water, taking pictures so I could post them here, and cheering me on during every leg of the race. I seriously doubt I would have made it through if I hadn't had someone I knew waiting at the finish line!

Pre race trying to stay warm!

So down to the gritty details:
0.3 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Overall time: 1:55:04

Swim - 11:45
So let me start by saying it was probably in the 50's when the race started today! I wore flips flops to get ready and I thought I had packed some extra socks but I couldn't find them when I went to look for them and I didn't want to muss my race socks so my feet stayed cold and were almost numb when I jumped into the water. They had everyone jump into the water from a dock and line up in the water before they sent us off. I would say it was slightly better than other tri's I've done in terms of people self regulating where they were in the water to avoid collisions.

In the water and ready to go!

I managed to get off to a quick start and stay relatively strong. Unfortunately I seem to have developed some ear issues in my old age. I've noticed the past few times I've been swimming that my ears get clogged with water quickly and it's actually pretty painful to turn my head doing freestyle! I'll have to get on that. I did start off probably a little too quickly and forgot how difficult open water swimming can be! I'm super happy with this time though. The only thing I can compare it to is the Danskin Tri I completed in 2005. Back then I swam 0.2 miles in 12:16! This was a longer swim and I finished it in less time! I claim victory over this leg. I will need to practice in open water before the Litchfield Hills Tri I'm doing in August because it's almost a full mile swim but I'm happy enough with my pace for now.

Out of the water and moving on!

Bike - 66:39
HOLY POOP! This was haaaard! So I've been doing the bike at the gym and spinning at home but I hadn't gone out on a real bike ride to prepare for this race and that was just plain dumb! My legs handled the distance ok but I quickly learned that I don't have a need for speed! Perhaps I should have seen this coming with my fear of gaining any speed skiing this past every time I started to pick up speed I hit the brakes. BIG MISTAKE! I caught on during the race and tried to remedy this and I was averaging faster splits towards the end of the leg. The speed gained going downhill helps a ton on the uphills! Something I really need to focus on before my next race!

Wait, what? This leg has 2 loops?!

The bike leg was two 8 mile loops. I didn't really look at the map too closely before the race. Thank goodness I was wearing my GPS watch otherwise I would have been very sad to find out that there was a 2nd loop when I thought I was almost done! Luckily my watch said I was only on mile 8 and I knew I still had awhile to go! Comparing this to my Danskin Tri, I did that bike in 44:13 and it was 12 miles. Under 4 min miles. Today I averaged about 4 min miles but the big difference between today and my last tri is that there were LOTS of hills today and the Danskin Tri was 100% flat with no turns! So overall I can't be disappointed with this leg because I finished and finishing in under 2 hours was my goal but I really need to focus on biking because that is the easiest place to gain time! I only have to increase my speed a little per mile to gain a lot because the time gain is multiplied 16 times!

Run - 29:31
Can I just say WTF (in a good way)?! Being that this wasn't a USAT certified course the 5k was actually 3.2 miles according to the Garmin. So my overall pace was 9:13 min/mile which is EXACTLY the same pace as the race I ran last Monday! How the heck did I manage to keep the same pace after swimming and biking?! I finished the first mile in under 8 minutes! I tried to slow down but my legs just kept going! It was soo hard to keep the pace I wanted. I think my legs were adjusted to pumping so much for the bike that they couldn't slow down for the run! I even walked for quite a bit of the run and still managed to keep that pace! My legs did cramp up at the end and the last mile was extremely difficult but I knew the crowds were going to start around the last 0.5 mile so I pushed through to the end and finished strong! I love how people cheering for you gives you an extra boost of energy! Clearly I'm going to claim victory of this leg of the race with this time when this is pretty much how fast I normally run in races! Comparing to the Danskin, that was a 2 mile run and I finished in 23:54 so that was almost 3 min/mile slower than today!

Finishing strong!

In less than 2 hours!

So overall my first real length triathlon I was pretty please with myself. I beat my goal of under 2 hours...although I learned early on in the race that trying to do it significantly faster than 2hrs was not a realistic goal. I'm glad I have a baseline so I know what I need to work on and hopefully improve! And next time I'm recruiting more people to do it with me/cheer me on!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Big Day Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I am competing in my first triathlon since 2005. The last time I competed it was 0.25 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 2 mile run. I finished it in 1:25:24. Back then I wasn't very athletic. I ran about a 12 min mile for the run and when I say run I mean a lot of walking.

Tomorrow's race will be 0.3 mile swim, 16 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. Since I don't have much to compare it to, I'm going to set my goal to be anything under 2 hours (and I totally intend to come in well under that goal but if I don't I won't be too disappointed :-P). My main issue about tomorrow is the weather. The high for the day is 63 degrees and it will be overcast. The race starts at 9AM and I'm 90% sure that I'm in the first wave (at least it's less time sitting in the cold waiting to start!) so I'm not optimistic that it's going to be 63 when I get out of the water. Combine that with overcast and I don't get warm fuzzies that I will be feeling warm and fuzzy by the end of the race! In fact, I'm super worried I'm not going to dry off at all!

I'm also worried that the only thing I'm anxious about tomorrow is being cold. I'm not at all anxious about oversleeping in the morning or not being prepared for the race...nope, I just don't wanna be cold! But despite this fact I still want ice cream more than anything right now...but I keep telling myself that ice cream tonight would be bad tomorrow and to wait and save it as a reward tomorrow!

Anyway, time to get ready for tomorrow. I'll update when it's all over!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Resting Guilt

Today I worked a 12 hour day. While not uncommon lately, I was totally pooped when I walked out of work. I worked out Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday this week and I have another race tomorrow afternoon (the high temp is supposed to be 100!), not to mention the fact that I've been at work at 6AM every day this week and I haven't been able to fall asleep until midnight-ish every night. So I decided to take a day off from the gym. The problem is that today was ice cream day at work...which not only means I had ice cream but I got the brownie...and I had a breakfast meeting today so I had a muffin (or two). Needless to say I'm feeling a little bit of resting guilt.

I came home at 7PM today...I had time to go to the gym on the way home. I like to try to cram the gym in on days that I have time to because then I feel less guilty about not going on days I don't have time to I probably won't have time to do anything this Friday or Saturday...I know that resting is important for your body to recover from a hard workout or prepare for a race. But I feel like I haven't had a hard workout this week and I don't really think a 5k is a big race...Sunday is a big race! And I won't feel guilty pigging out on pasta and resting on Saturday (I hope). But today I just don't feel like I deserve to rest. I guess I just need to keep telling myself I need to get to bed early tonight and resting will help me avoid injury...

How often do you rest? Do you ever feel guilty about taking a day off?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mines Falls Trail Series 1 of 12

Today was the first of 12 races in the Mines Falls Trail Series. You can choose to run 5k or 5 miles every week. I figured I'd run the 5k's for the first half of the series and switch to the 5 miles for the second half of the series. My goal is to improve my time throughout the series but I got so excited today that I ran the 5k in 28:35, which is pretty fast for me, 9:13 minute mile! So I'm kind of worried that I won't improve a ton from that but we'll see!

The race itself was pretty nice. It is advertised as a low key race, and that's exactly what it was. You pay $5 a week. They provide people to point you in the right direction and a water stop and an official timing. You show up and run! I think it's exactly what I need to stay motivated through the summer, yay!