Monday, April 21, 2014

Sprint Triathlon - mock race

I'm looking for anybody who'd be interested in a "mock sprint triathlon" event that would likely take place on May 18th - time of day would be determined by how many people participate and the time that works best for most. I have reached out to a number of folks so far, and it seems that there may be enough potential interest to move ahead and plan this thing. 

Does the idea of a complete sprint triathlon freak you out a bit? Come do just the swim, just the bike, or just the run... it's a "mock race" so you can do as much or as little distance as you feel comfortable. I'll plan out the course in such a way that you can do the full distance of each leg, or whatever portion of the distance you feel comfortable with. The idea is that there will be a sprint distance planned out...but you can do as much or as little as you feel like. You make it your mock race, but you don't have to do it alone!

This is a great chance for those new to triathon to get an idea of what it's like to transition between the swim-bike-run legs and practice without the intensity of an actual race. It's also a great way to get a great brick training session in. The best part for triathlon regulars is that it's an opportunity to do a full sprint race to start off the season without having to pay for an actual race. 

The "mock race" would likely be at Lake Lanier, as there is ample space for a swim, bike, run setup. We could set up a "transition" area near the cars or a camp site. I will also see if there is anybody interested in just hanging out at the lake who would be willing to watch our stuff...make it like more of a race day transition setup. If that's the case, here's how it would go down:
  • Swim - Ideally, I will set up a buoy at a distance, and we'd go out and back. The other option would be to begin at about 400 meters from where our "transition" is set up and swim from one point to the next. 
  • Bike - I'll map out a route in advance that would be in the 12-16 mile range. Lake Lanier has non-main roads that can be used, but we would have to loop a few times to avoid major roads, I am fine w/ that. (and if you want to extend the distance on your own, there's option here to adapt w/ as many or few loops as you want)
  • Run - I will map out a 5k route in advance...likely it will be along part of the same route we bike.
  • Transitions - If we have a "volunteer" to hang out and watch our stuff, it will be set up like at a real race. Otherwise, we'll lock the bikes to a rack and designate a secure area for our shoes, etc (like the backseat of my car or inside the tent of a campsite).
We will all be responsible for our own safety, fueling, and hydration along the course, but I will plan to provide ample water, snacks, and refreshments for the transition area and "post-race." I will also plan to have on-site a first aid kit and basic bike tools, pumps, extra tubes, etc. 

Swim - Bike - Run - Refreshments!
I will probably camp the night before if it's a morning event - so the camp site thing would be easy that way. If we do an afternoon event, then the parking lot transition area is more likely. It'll work out fine either way. May 18th is a Sunday so the options for times are probably early-ish morning (finishing up by 10am) or any time after about 2:00 b/c I'd like to be able to go to church around mid-day, if possible. I'm up for any input on actual times though... 

Side note - I will be doing this sprint distance "mock race" regardless of the level of organization, as I want one that weekend anyway. I'm organizing it as an "event" in effort to get a group together. If you want to be accounted for in the "event," please let me know by 2 weeks prior, so I will have enough water and stuff and have an idea of whether or not it's worth the level of organization. Otherwise, anybody is welcome to join in at the last minute for all or part of the distances, as I'll be doing the sprint no matter what :) just may not be so organized if I don't have many committed folks by 2 weeks out! 
(Search for "Sprint Triathlon 'mock race'" if that link doesn't work)

Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon

I considered making the title of this blog post "Lessons Learned," but I realized that I learn lessons so often that it becomes a bit trite if I use that phrase as often as I should. This was more a reminder than a lesson, really... it was a reminder of why I run/race. I do it because I can, and I am grateful for that.

more race bling!

This past weekend, I embarked on an adventure in a somewhat spontaneous fashion. I signed up for the New Orleans half-marathon back in December. I gave myself about a month and a half to train, which considering as much training as I have been doing non-stop the past two years makes sense. However, this half-marathon is my first long race since the 70.3 Ironman 4 months ago (yes, it's been that long). This was to be my 10th half marathon, which I wish I had realized prior to mile 5 of the actual race, but that's what I get for not really spending much time in preparation for the event.

So, how did I prep for this race? Well, I didn't train as I had trained for any previous race. In fact, my training plan consisted of me just trying to continue to recover from the previous months (half-ironman, car accident, whiplash, and two months of nothing). In the past two years, I've spent 5-7 days each week working out...either swimming, biking, running, or doing some form of strength training. In the past 4 months, I've worked out maybe an average of once per week, during my good weeks. Granted, my life required me to take a accidents with whiplash and job changes will do that to a person.

Four months ago, I almost PR'ed my half-marathon time with getting around 2:04 for the 13.1 mile run portion of the half-ironman. I was convinced that my next half-marathon would easily be under 2 hours. I planned to run the Thanksgiving half in Atlanta simply to break that 2 hour mark b/c I knew I could. Then life happened. A seemingly minor fender bender left me with whiplash and a re-injured back. I wouldn't run for two months. I finally got back into running and found myself in tears after realizing how hard it was going to be to start from scratch again. That hasn't stopped me yet, though.

In December I ran my worst 10k ever...slow, painful, and not at all to the standards I had set for myself. I still decided to sign up for the half-marathon this past weekend in New Orleans, if for no other reason than to go to New Orleans for a weekend. Since signing up, I got very busy at work, had the holiday break as a distraction, got the flu for a week, finally started running again, and then I threw out my back. In preparation for this race, my longest training run was 8.5 miles (and was the only really good run I'd had in months). I was running maybe once a week for the past couple of months in prep for the race. Typically, I prefer to run 3-4 days/week with specific running workouts (tempo run, easy run, interval run, and long run). I also have been eating/drinking like a college student (including fried food and ramen, no lie), which is quite different from the last two years of healthy eating habits.

So, as race week arrived, I decided that I may as well go ahead and book a room and stick with my plan to run 13.1 miles, unprepared. The night before the race, my friend and I had a few beers, ate some awesome New Orleans food, and even enjoyed a bit of people watching on Bourbon Street. I got maybe 5 actual hours of sleep in my hostel bed the night before the race. For the first time, I spent less than 20 minutes preparing everything for race morning. I didn't think too much about logistics or any other detail I normally obsess over. Race morning arrived, and I didn't make myself stick to some pre-determined routine that I "had" to follow simply b/c it was race morning.

Night before the race: Bourbon Street

It was one of the least stressful race experiences ever (second only to the half-ironman, which was just surreal). I had a fun race. My goal this year is to enjoy racing instead of constantly trying to compete (mostly with myself). I don't want to always be pushing myself to the limit for every event. This race was proof that I can really just have fun and feel great about it after the race. It was one of the hardest half-marathons I've run because I did not properly train or eat well or hydrate for more than a few days. I still had fun. This race was an opportunity to prove something to myself, and for once I was trying to prove something other than how fast I could race...I proved that I am capable of just enjoying running and racing for what it is. Plus, in the end, my race time wasn't that bad, all things considered. It was not my slowest half marathon by a few. My first 2 or 3 races were around the 2:30 mark, right along with this one. So, while I hope to break 2 hours next time, I can still have fun and be okay with a 2:30 half marathon.

Even if I look half dead (and felt it), I survived another 13.1!

I learned that I don't have to beat my best race every time I race. I learned that sometimes, it's okay to let life happen, take a break, and jump back in when I'm ready (and no sooner). I skipped a race the previous weekend because I just wasn't ready yet.

I needed this race to go the way it did with the little amount of prep. I tend to stress out and freak out if anything goes wrong with my training, even if I'm not trying to be uber competitive. I am more concerned with injuring myself for lack of training, but I learned that as long as I'm fairly well-conditioned (and I listen to my body), I can have fun and run a good race without being in tip-top shape every time. Although, I do love the process of training, so as soon as this horrible winter weather finally goes away, I am so ready to get back outside running/biking most of the week!

A little known fact about me on race day: almost every race in the 2-hours-or-longer time range can be an emotional experience for me. I am fairly certain that I have teared up on the course of every single endurance race I've run (in that 2+ hour range). I know I did for my first of every race, including my first 5k. Almost every race where I was beating my previous time, I teared up. This time, though, I wasn't doing anything I hadn't already done, except proving that I could enjoy racing regardless of how prepared I was for the actual competition. Every time I get out there with a race number attached to my belt, I am doing something I never would have expected a few years ago. I am getting out there and trying, and that is something worth getting emotional over once in a while.

So, once again, I race because I can. I run because, at this point in my life, I am able to run. I do it because my body lets me. One day, I may not be able to run a half-marathon after having only done a few training runs, but right now I can... so I will.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ironman 70.3 Augusta - nailed it in 05:49:24! Now what?

Pre-race day beer (carbs!)
Yes, all the training has paid off! I worked my butt off for months and have been consistently training or racing for almost two years. It's all led up to a moment that was bigger and better than I could have ever expected. I counted, and it was my 9th multi-sport event in a year and a half (would have been number 10 if weather hadn't cancelled one of them this summer). Starting with sprints and moving up to a couple of olympic distance races, I have been preparing to push myself to the limit for a while. I began running 2 years ago...and this past weekend I earned the title of being an Ironman 70.3 finisher!

Pre-race, nervous but ready to go!
The race went better than I could have ever expected. I had the high hopes of just finishing in as close to 6 hours as I could, but realistically, I was just thinking it'd be great to beat 6 hours 15 minutes. As the race approached, I began to pressure myself. I began wondering just how well I would do...I wanted more than to finish, I wanted to be good. I am extremely competitive with myself, and while it sometimes pays off, I put way too much pressure on myself sometimes. Somehow on race day, I had pushed aside my anxieties. I was rested. I was prepared. I was ready, and I knew it. I had controlled everything that I could, and I could only hope that all other variables would fall into place for me to have a great race. Well, they fell into place, and this ended up being the best race I have ever had. I finished in 05:49:24! I was in the top third of my age group. I almost didn't believe the results when I saw them...yeah, I was shocked.

Gorgeous day for a race!

1.2 mile Swim: 00:31:05 
Couldn't wait to get out of that wetsuit!

The swim was better than expected. The current was a lifesaver for me because I'm not the most confident swimmer in the large mass groups. I got kicked pretty hard in the shoulder a few times in a row, so I had to stop, tread water, and get out of the crowd. I get too anxious when I don't have space to move. Because of the current, our start wasn't a typical mass start. They had us going in off of the dock, and I ended up starting toward the back to avoid the pack. The water temp was right under 70 degrees, I think. The wetsuit was perfect for the swim, and the wetsuit strippers were great. I was a bit slow getting the top half of the suit down though. T1 went well, I took my time trying to make sure I had all of the fuel and everything ready for the bike. At 00:06:46, it was probably my slowest transition ever, but it was worth taking the time to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Bike: 03:03:08 (18.35 mph avg)
The beginning of a long, great ride!
I loved the bike course! Rolling hills, my butt! Those weren't hills... Atlanta has hills, folks. Ok, so maybe a few of the climbs had me working pretty hard, but overall, I felt good on the ride. I had a tough time keeping my HR in zone 2, but my coach was totally right in telling me to keep it out of zone 3, even though I wanted to go faster a few times. By the final bike split, my average speed was 19.81mph for about 19 miles. That is why the HR control was worth it. Each split was faster than the previous, which is something I don't always succeed at...I too often just wanna go all out! The aid stations were great along the bike course, but I have a major issue with getting stuck behind slower riders rolling through... I just need to grab a bottle and go! I had a hard time not wrecking when I got kind of trapped behind a guy who slowed to nearly a stop at a station (as other bikers passed and I couldn't get around).

This happened a number other times on climbs, where someone would slow to a crawl on the climb in front of me. So often, this would happen when there was a pretty good group of riders around and passing was difficult, so I'd get trapped going half the speed I wanted to go! I get more freaked out by going slow than going fast. In my experience, I only fall/wreck when I'm barely moving. By the last split, I just didn't care anymore though. If I wanted to pass and had the speed, I passed...even if it meant pushing up my HR for a minute to accelerate. Overall, I felt great throughout the entire bike ride. I fueled up as planned, didn't fatigue or dehydrate. I did have to make myself take in calories a few times when I didn't feel like it b/c I knew I'd need it for the run.

Hard not to smile when I realized how great I felt!

The next transition was pretty decent. I once again took my time in transition to make sure I was ready for the run. My time for T2 was 00:03:54...again, not my best, but worth the time to get ready for a solid run.

Run: 02:04:31 (9:30/mi) 
(and just 15 seconds longer than my current PR)
Such a great run!
The run course was great too! The spectators here are some of the best, for sure, and it's great because you get to run through the downtown area back and forth around them a few times. The course here is so good that I didn't even mind that it was a double loop. Aid stations on the run were decent, but at a few of them, they didn't seem ready for runners. On multiple occasions, I had to nearly stop just to get a cup of water. Hydration was too important for me to keep running. I didn't want to risk not getting proper hydration and energy at each station. I actually only took in one pack of my energy chews during the run. I sustained myself by drinking water, powerbar perform (love that stuff anyway), and coke! I don't even really drink soda...haven't had a coke in forever, but at the suggestion of another racer, I tried it during the run. I am totally crediting the coke with giving me the energy to get such a decent run time. In hindsight, if I'd known I was going to miss my half marathon PR by only 15 seconds, I would have probably been pushier at the slow aid stations!

 The finish chute was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! Turning that last corner...seeing all the Ironman logos and the finish line ahead. All I could do was stop thinking and run. I guess I picked up my pace a good bit at the last little bit there because in all of the race photos, I'm passing people. I do remember passing a few people in my age, and in the results I finished around 15-30 seconds ahead of a few of them. The rush of that last quarter mile was like none other. I was afraid I would start crying in excitement at the finish. I didn't. I think my happiness and sense of accomplishment surpassed that feeling... I didn't know just how well I had done, but I knew I had just had one of my best runs.

Post-race pizza and beer!

So, what now? I have been actively training for something for two years straight, and right now, I have no races on my calendar. I do plan to do some races pretty soon, but there's nothing actually on my calendar. It's weird. Do I go back to strictly being a runner for the next few months until triathlon season returns? Do I continue to obsessively workout? Honestly, I just want to go for a long run right now! I'm still on a bit of a post-race high. I worked so hard to get to this point, and I know the personal challenges I have face in the past couple of years. I don't want to say I beat the odds...but I know myself and know what I've faced. I definitely accomplished something bigger than I thought I would ever attempt. I have not been known to commit to things that require such sacrifice. I tend to put too much pressure on myself and then give up when the pressure becomes too much. Not only did I not give up, I went beyond expectations in so many ways.

 I did sacrifice a lot more than I thought I would, though. In the past 6-7 months, since the beginning of the triathlon push, a lot has changed. Some of the changes were unavoidable. Some could have been handled differently, had I prioritized differently. I regret nothing, but throughout the course of my training, life outside of triathlon world wasn't easy. I now get to return to the mess I left behind, which is less appealing than racing, but it's necessary. Training has been my escape. Running/biking/swimming has honestly been the thing I enjoyed more than anything else lately. When stressed, I would just focus on triathlon instead of life. When angry, all I usually needed was a good workout. When depressed, even if it was tough to get going, I knew a good training session would help. Now, I get to learn how to re-balance my real life and a normal workout routine (as opposed to living the training and letting life fit in between).


Friday, September 27, 2013

Race Weekend!

The big day is almost here! In just over 36 hours, I will hear my alarm go off in my Augusta hotel room. It will still be way too dark outside for my liking. I will get up (slowly and anxiously). I will stumble over to my pre-race pile that I lay out the night before. I'll chug my coconut water and energy drink. I'll force down an almond butter sandwich regardless of the fact that I'm barely awake. I will splash cold water on my face in attempt to get going as I dress in my gear. I'll stretch and hydrate, like I've done dozens of times before. I'll double and triple check everything that I will have already checked a thousand times by then. Then, with a deep breath, I'll load up the car and head to the race start.

I'll try not to think too far ahead as I lay everything out in transition. I will do my best to not stare into the river in fear. I will trust my training and know that, by this point, I will have done everything that I can. I have trained and worked hard, and the moment is almost here. After setting up my transition area, I will wait an hour and a half before hitting the Savannah River and beginning my 70.3-mile journey to the highly anticipated finish line. I'll take deep breaths. I'll stretch and relax as much as possible. I will let the anxiety go and confidently race my race.

For now, though, I am anything but cool, calm, and collected. Just looking at photos of the swim start makes me nearly want to vomit. The thought of having to wait around for 90 minutes after setting up transition before even beginning my race makes my heart pound with anxiety. I know that I'm as ready as I'm going to be. I know that I can finish this race. I think I'm mostly nervous b/c I put so much pressure on myself. I know that this is a huge deal for me just to be where I am right now, yet I can't help but set goals for myself. Granted, I think my time goals are realistic, but for my first race of this distance, it's accomplishment enough to just finish! Two years ago, I didn't think it was possible for me to ever run more than a 5k (even that was really rough at the time). The thought of combining swimming, biking, and running for more than a couple of hours seemed absurd... yet here I am, ready and willing to spend around 6 hours doing just that.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Stress: Training & Work

Stress and training... those are two things I've been working really hard to handle simultaneously for the past 6-9 months. Lord knows I've had my share of stress in that time. I have not been exactly successful in my balancing act, but it's been manageable.

Anyway, as race day approaches, only two weeks away, I find myself increasingly stressed out. The reason itself is because of what I consider unnecessary stressors. I informed people around the office of my triathlon training a long time ago, and once I signed up for the half-ironman, the announcement was made. I had kind of hoped for some support on the part of the powers that be at work. I had kind of hoped that maybe, just maybe, there would be some sort of understanding for the type of challenge I was taking on. Instead, I think everyone just thinks I'm a typical health freak or fitness junkie (I'm not... health freaks don't like beer as much as I do)!

Yet, in all the madness, I was recently assigned a project due the Thursday before my race. Ideal would have been one a week or two before the race or a week or two after... really any time other than days before the race. Even the beginning of that week would have been okay, but instead, I find myself in the most stressed out position I could be in regarding work and pre-race preparation. In the days when I should be resting up, taking care of myself, and not stressing out, I'll be loaded with expectations at work to complete a project without error... to not be distracted by anything else. As and ADHD person, I struggle every single project to not be distracted, so when you throw in something as big as an upcoming 6-hour endurance race, it's not going to be easy!

Even last year, as I recall, I had a project due at the same time as I had my first marathon - which was out of town and a mini-vacation time for me. I left town w/ my project being reviewed and returned to wrap it up. I remember having to try really hard to not think about the headache of work while I prepared to run 26.2 miles.

Not that it's entirely the same thing, but when someone chooses to get married/have a child, there are a lot of appointments and commitments that come up during the course of planning/preparing. It requires a bit of flexibility in work schedules, a bit of grace from the boss-types, essentially. Well, here I haven't been given the chance to choose marriage or a child, but I have chosen something that, during preparation, is equally (if not more, in some ways) demanding of my time and attention. However, I cannot expect flexibility with work. At the mere mention of it, I set myself up for being targeted as not caring about my job enough. We are often given projects to be due (quite possibly on purpose) right before we take vacations, which is annoying/stressful, but this race is no vacation... I'm fine w/ being stressed up until a break from work. I'm not so okay with carrying stress on my back at a time when I need to relax and rest!

So, I have been pushing through... I've done my best to work a normal schedule while maintaining a very busy training schedule outside of work hours. It's not been easy, and it has caused me a lot of stress and worry (because that's my nature). I'm not worried about training... I'm worried that those in charge at work will berate me for having chosen something other than my job as priority. Little do they know I have a lot of things that I consider higher priority than my job. My job/career is simply a means to an end and is not my life, and I'm okay with that. It pays the bills, so I do my best while there. 
However, on the scale of life, it's pretty far down the line: God/church/etc, myself/my own well-being/health/etc, family/friends, my house/home/paying bills, work, and then other fun stuff... If I could use any of the higher priority things to pay bills, I would!

Anyway, all that is to say that simply my personal well-being and health have vastly improved since I began training like I do. Anybody who's known me for the past few years can attest to the fact that I have changed since I started running. Well, I found joy in this training lifestyle...I have found an outlet, and as such, I've also become motivated (something I am not so great at). I find that I'm at my best when pushing myself for new goals that I never thought I'd reach. This half-Ironman is one of those goals. So, no, it's not life or death, but to me, it is a lot more than just another race. It is huge! It is the biggest thing I have ever set out to do and actually done (well, haven't made it there yet...but I will)... for now ;)

Where I struggle is that I'm stuck in a reality where well over 99% of the world has no clue where I'm coming from. Yeah, we all have our goals and such, but this specific one may seem meaningless to many. It would've seemed so to me years ago. It's one of those things that unless you are standing in my shoes, you will have no clue my perspective, and since only 0.01% of the world does half-ironman races, chances are good that most people don't get it. Factor into that small percentage those of us who suffer unnecessarily from stress b/c of ADD, those of us who are young and single and supporting ourselves, and even the female factor is something - I think it's safe to say we're more emotional than guys, and emotions play into my worry here.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Augusta IRONMAN 70.3

It's the final countdown... (I hope that song is in your head now, you are welcome)  

As my big race day approaches (September 29th!), I thought I'd finally share with the world what's going on and how friends/family can help encourage me along this journey, if you feel so inclined. I know Augusta is a bit of a hike for most, but you can also support me from a distance too! As you can see below from my nerdy statistics below, this race is a bit of an accomplishment, especially for someone who could barely run a mile a few years ago.


If you are interested in live tracking (online or via mobile), let me know. I will have to give you my bib # and the link to get set up when the time comes. It'll only take a minute to get started, and you'll get updates at each split - swim, bike, and run/finish! If you happen to want to make the trek out to Augusta, let me know as well! I will be there all weekend, so carpooling may not be convenient...but I'd love to have some familiar smiling faces at the finish line!

Just for basic info, I am bib number 2494, and my swim wave begins at 8:56am. (That's nearly an hour and a half after the first wave begins... I'm sure I won't be anxious during this time at all, ha!)



Here is little bit of background, goals, and nerdy statistics, just for fun!!!


IRONMAN is a race brand that is currently made up of two major distances: 
The IRONMAN (the 140.6 distance race) and the IRONMAN 70.3 (also known as long distance or half-Ironman).
The average race time for the IM 70.3 is a little over 6 hours. My ideal goal, other than just to finish, is to complete it in as close to 6 hours and I can...but I know that won't be easy, so I'm just going to do my best to finish! 

NFL player Hines Ward completed his IM 70.3 in just under 5 hours and 55 minutes - and this guy is not only paid to be an athlete, but he also had all the time in the world to train (unlike many of us with full time jobs).

So, that should give an idea of how long and big this race is, but just how big of a deal is it? How many crazy people actually put themselves through months and months of training only to push their body to it's physical/mental limits for hours on end? I did some googling and nerdy research, so here are the statistics. It's done based on world population b/c these are international races, so there's no easy way to distinguish US participation from the rest of the world.   

Number of years 70.3 IM has been running: 7
Number of 70.3 IMs each year: 60
Number of unique participants per IM race: 1,000
This estimate comes to:
  ~420,000 people having completed an IRONMAN 70.3 race
  ~60,000 competing in this distance annually

Considering a world population of ~7,000,000,000...

This comes out to basically: Each year only about 0.00086% of the world's population participates in an IRONMAN 70.3 race.
   About 0.006% of the world has participated in this distance since it's beginning in 2006... FYI, Chuck Norris isn't one of that small percentage!

   Including both IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3, about 0.018% of the world has participated in one or the other distance.
   Add into that the fact that less than 30% of participants are female, and only about 20% are ages 30-34.

At this point, the numbers hurt my brain, but as you can see, it's not every day that someone who claimed to hate running 2 years ago takes on an IRONMAN race. So, being one of the few, I could really use some fans on race day, even from a distance!

After countless months of pushing myself to train 6-7 days a week, and recently up to 15 hours/week for the last month, I am ready to see this madness pay off! 

And if you make it to the actual race, there will be some post-race beer drinking in celebration (after I eat a ton of food and drink a gallon of water, of course)!

Someone recently compared training on this level to having a baby. You prepare yourself mentally/physically/etc for 9 months, by the last few weeks your body is beginning to hate you a bit and you are just ready for day to get here. When the time comes, you spend hours pushing yourself to your physical/mental limits to see all the preparation pay off! (I guess the big difference is that I don't have to pay for my race for the next 18 years!)


Another way to support me in my IRONMAN journey is to help me raise funds for Operation IRONFREEDOM through the IRONMAN Foundation and the Scott Rigsby Foundation. It's a great cause that supports wounded soldiers returning from war and their families. To learn more about the cause or donate, click the link below!

Thank you so much for all the support!

Also, you should read this guy's story! What an inspiration!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Countdown to Augusta 70.3

I had fully intended to keep this blog updated with my training progress, especially as I began to up the ante. However, I guess I didn't consider the reality that more training means less time to blog about it. I'm going to do my best the next two months to get back to it. Why now? I am 59 days away from my first long course triathlon... Augusta 70.3 Ironman. (and yes, I have a countdown app on my phone telling me how close this race is)

It's been nearly a year since my last post, so a quick update is in order. I've been racing non-stop. I hired a coach to get me through this madness without injury or burning myself out. Plus, I only know so much about basic fitness...endurance is a whole new world to me. Now, what have I accomplished since my last post? A lot more than I would ever have expected, that's for sure.

December 2012 - I ran my first marathon in Tucson, Arizona.

I then spent time getting back into multisport training. I did a few half-marathons in the meantime. I managed to PR at the Thanksgiving Atlanta Half-marathon with 2:04:16, and I finished the Publix half this year in just a little over a minute longer than that. I've essentially improved my half-marathon time by 25 mintutes in a year. I also PRed in my 5k time with 23:56, which got me into Group B for the Peachtree Road Race this year! That was pretty exciting, especially considering last year I was somewhere around G. I also got to experience the feeling of placing in my age group for a couple of 5k races...placed 3rd in my PR race and 2nd in a Valdosta 5k.

 Running my half-marathon and 5k PR races... form definitely has improved this year.

  The Publix Half-Marathon was my first repeat race - got to really see how far I've come in a year!

So that's how the running has been doing. Not long after the Publix half, it was time to put that multisport training to good use. I started my season with a couple of sprint duathlons and schedule a few sprint triathlons (including a repeat of the Iron Girl) leading up to the Chattanooga triathlon in July. Unfortunately, the weather this year has kind of sucked compared to last year. My first few races luckily involved no swimming... it was way too cold for that mess! The Iron Girl was cancelled due to inclement weather (it stormed like crazy), and the Chattanooga race got turned into a duathlon. So, as far as triathlons repeats from last year to really see how far I've come. That makes me nervous somehow.

 A few duathlon photos shortly before I walked away with my age group award.

On a more positive note, I got a great start to du/tri season. My overall time for the 2nd duathlon of the season was great, placed in my age group (of only a few people), but was also pretty high up overall. My first triathlon of the season, I won my age group and was I think 2nd or 3rd overall female (behind some Ironman finishers...that felt good).

 While winning at small races may not be all that impressive, its still a good feeling to have a couple of these things lying around now! :)

So, now that Chattanooga is over with, I am in full-on half-ironman training mode! I have had to accept that life is about to get really busy, and I have to be willing to make sacrifices - my social calendar needs to chill for a while. This is going to be a challenge, but I'm sure it'll be worth it in the end. Other sacrifices involve my diet... have to start cutting out the useless calories and junk and replacing them with solid, nutrient packed foods. In the past few months, I've been lenient with my diet, but I want to do it right now. Unfortunately, people do give me a hard time for eating healthy ("you'll get too skinny"). I eat a it needs to be healthy food. I love making smoothies - kale, spinach, frozen fruits, bananas, coconut water, tomato juice, almond milk, protein, even granola, etc... anything can be smoothie-fied!

Every morning, I've started beginning the day with whole grain toast (or low-fat waffles) with almond butter and some V8 fusion juice. Then, I make a smoothie at home and bring it to work with me, for my mid-morning snack. My lunch the last few weeks has consisted typically of something like tuna (w/ a small amount of light mayo), whole grain crackers, and an avocado and random veggies. My ideal afternoon snack is dried fruit, almonds, and sunflower seeds, and this usually carries me over into the start of my workout, which I'll still fuel up as needed. When there's time to cook, dinner is typically seared chicken, kale or spinach, and sweet potatoes (or regular potatoes). Luckily, as a creature of habit, I'm ok with eating the same thing over and over...until I run out, then I get lazy and substitute with popcorn too often.

Anyway, that's where I am now...hopefully, I'll remember to keep on track with not only logging my workouts and tracking my meals, but also w/ blogging/journaling it out. Right now, I'm fighting major back pain (may have pulled something hopping out of bed today, oops!), which will hopefully not slow me down too much b/c I really am enjoying my lengthy runs lately.

 Hard to believe the next time I suit up and run/bike/swim in a competitive environment, I'll be racing my first 70.3 Ironman in Augusta!!!