Wednesday, December 29, 2010
"Santa" did end up bringing around some nice exercise gifts though, so that's good. I'll try to remember to mention those in what will otherwise be a really crappy recap of December.
Anyway, hope your winter training has been better than ours (so far ...)!
Friday, December 17, 2010
So, story. Strap in, because this is a long one.
When we usually fly, we typically fly stand-by because it's a lot cheaper given Brandon's pilot job. However, because we wanted to make 100% sure we made the race and the expo, we decided to just buy airline tickets and, indeed, bundled them with our hotel when we booked our trip. It was a good thing, too, as our flight going out was full. I think Brandon ended up getting free TV, but the standard Frontier channel ended up showing my favoritest Christmas movie EVAR in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" for FREE, so I was happy.
We landed in Vegas, wandered over to one taxi line and then got rerouted to another line since some woman had had a seizure in the line. Awesome. Actually awesome was the rerouting putting us further ahead in line (score) and in a cab on our way to Mandalay Bay. When we got to the hotel, the official race headquarters, we found out that we were in THE Hotel at MB instead. No biggie; we just dragged our crap through the casino and up into our room.
We wanted to hit the race expo first thing and we wanted to get in a short run so we decided to combine the two. We changed into running crap and wandered through the labyrinth that is Mandalay Bay and the Luxor to outside and attempted to run to the Venetian, where the expo was being held. We were successful for the most part. I think people dodging adds an extra little oomph to a training run. Much advised for all athletes. Agility AND speed training; who wouldn't love it?
I'm marginally sarcastic here. But only marginally.
We finally gave up trying to dodge the crowds about a block or so away from the Venetian and decided to walk the rest of the way. We made our way into the building and to the proper area so as to pick up our race numbers and whatnot. Given that we entered different estimated finishing times (Brandon said 2:10; I said 2:20), we found out we'd be in different starting corrals. Obviously this was unacceptable, so I got myself changed into his corral so we could run together.
After getting our tech tees, I wanted to explore the expo, but Brandon was hellbent on seeing if the Wynn table still had any wristbands for the runner after-party at XS, so we had to hightail it over to that booth. Fortunately for him, they had tons. After procuring wristbands, we went back to the beginning of the expo to start the whole thing over and do it properly. There wasn't all that much good stuff there, but I did pick up a tech tee that I liked better and we met ultrarunner Scott Jurek and got him to sign a poster to Team Baby Dinosaur ... because we're nerds.
We also got a picture.
After leaving the expo, we wandered our way through the Venetian and back down the strip back to the hotel, with me playing my first penny slot of the trip at Casino Royale. We'd been in contact with Kris and Mark and wanted to meet up with them. We managed to catch them in the midst of their crazy, whirlwind day and learned we were in the same wave the next morning ... very welcome news! Somehow Brandon got in the wave of couples and running Elvi and me switching waves got me in the midst of it as well.
After our brief rendez-vous, it was time to go our separate ways. Brandon and I took a shower, grabbed food at the Pyramid Cafe inside the Luxor and then wandered the strip a tiny bit before hitting the hay fairly early. We had a race the next morning, after all.
The alarm went off early, at 5:15am. We got ready and waited for breakfast to show up. The night before, we were thinking of possible breakfast options and decided the smartest course of action would be to have room service ordered up that morning. It was a pricey option despite the fact that we split a plate, but it ended up being worth it. The food arrived closer to 6 than to 5:30, something we weren't too happy about, but when food came, it was happy.
Eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast and strawberries.
After food, we finished getting ready, watched the sun rise up over the strip, grabbed the last of our stuff and headed down to the lobby. On the way down in the elevator, I helped Brandon put on his timing tag (he had issues with it for some reason). Once on the main floor, we followed the herds of people (after being directed to a short-cut) outside to the race start.
Outside, I started really regretting my decision to not run with a camera. Oh god, the PEOPLE. It was amazing. In any case, we took care of pre-race business and then found our way to our corral, jamming our way inside. We were looking for Kris and Mark, but didn't see them. Once we ended up squirming our way in the corral after the first gun went off, though, we heard our names being called and our soon-to-be-married couple was behind us. We hung out on the side waiting for them to squash themselves in and then the four of us stuck together until the race start.
As the race was their wedding, Kris and Mark were videotaping the thing. Brandon offered to get video of them crossing the start line, so we ran a bit ahead of them so he could capture it.
Ze Race Itself
We stuck with our new friends for the first two, two and a half miles; whatever it was until the Venetian and the run-through wedding ceremony. Those first couple miles were slow, but they were enjoyable and I think that ended up being a really good thing.
Once Brandon and I split off, though, we picked up the pace, and continued to do so for the next few miles. The first five, six miles of the race were pretty "easy," even though I hesitate to use that word. We were still on Las Vegas Boulevard for the most part and only ventured off right before the 10K point. Part of the reason I say this is because I checked my watch (which I started a few seconds after we started the race) and I saw that my time at the 10K point was better than my BolderBOULDER time. So that was nice.
However, the next couple miles, miles 6, 7, 8 and 9 for the most part, were pretty rough. We were off the strip (though partially on Fremont Street) and twisting and turning and in short, I was starting to hurt a bit. I consumed my gel at the water stop at about mile 7.5, walking almost entirely through the water station so I could snarf it. It was at this point that Brandon really started to vocalize his concerns about not being able to break 2:10 and it started really frustrating me. I know that we lost some time during that mile, but I didn't think that it would be that much of an issue.
Apparently I was wrong, as Brandon kept stressing about it. Him stressing about that stressed me out and I don't run too well when I'm stressed/upset. It screws with my breathing (which I have to be careful about anyway) and therefore makes me need to walk more.
Our original plan was to run the race together unless Brandon felt he could make it in under a 10:00/mi pace in which case he'd peel off. Around mile 10, he thought this was the best course of action and did just that. I know he was upset about leaving, but I didn't want to hold him back from his goals.
The next couple miles were a little rough for me. I was trying to get back into a rhythm, but it was difficult. I was in a definite run/walk pattern which I wasn't happy about, but I tried to just focus and keep going. I stopped at all the aid stations, figuring out that if I further diluted the Cytomax, it wasn't quite so terrible.
As the miles ticked by, I started feeling a little better. When I saw the 12 mile marker ahead, I resolved that once I hit that sign, I wasn't walking the rest of the race ... which I kept to except for one brief moment - the moment I saw Brandon stopped, walking slowly, about a half-mile later. I gave him a hug and we decided to finish together. He was in pain, but we ran to the finish line. On the final stretch, I asked if he was ready to kick it. He said yes, but it's been determined that I have a better kick than him so I did my customary sprint to the finish, crossed the line and immediately turned around to wait for him to cross. He did and I hugged him; so proud of him and proud of us for accomplishing what we had that day.
(amusing: go here, go to the search for photos area, and look for bib #21749. then watch the video. around the 8, 9 second mark, you'll see this crazy streak sprinting on the right side of your screen in blue and black. yeah, that's me. if you watch it from the other angle, you'll see me around the 12 second mark; i cross and then turn around and wait for brandon ... with some guy announcing that i need to leave the area. pfft, i was waiting for my mmrrammrraa!)
We grabbed our medals, our blankets and some food and then headed up to the room, exhausted, but happy.
Chip Time: 2:15:41
Overall Place/Total: 7726/19217
Sex Place/Total: 3712/11942
Division Place (F25-29)/Total: 621/1785
We then attempted to take an ice bath (I was a bit more successful than Brandon).
After freezing ourselves, we showered, changed and then headed back down to the crazy in hopes of seeing Kris and Mark cross the line.
Bret Michaels rocking it out.
The finish line.
At this point, we were starting to get a bit nervous that we'd missed our newlyweds. However, we heard the race announcer mention that they were still waiting for them to cross the line (apparently Kris and Mark's videographers tipped them off!).
Luckily, we caught them coming and were able to cheer them on to the finish!
He carried her across the finish line. SO CUTE!
We then booked it over to where they'd be exiting the food zone.
Exiting with videographer(s) in tow.
We were able to quickly chat with them for a second, agreeing to meet up at the runner after party at XS nightclub later that night.
By this point, Brandon and I were ravenous, so it was off for food and some wandering. But not too much, because we were dead. That, and Brandon's foot was hurting. In fact, we ended up crashing out and NAPPING which we NEVER DO. Felt good, though. We woke up in time to grab some dinner before partying at XS.
On the way, we saw a pallet of ice on the sidewalk. Brandon decided to stick his foot in the ice ... but since we had to wait for a bus, he grabbed one of the ice bags and took it to the bus stop with him so he could continue to ice his foot.
Hehe, I'm so glad he's mine.
Soon enough though, it was time for XS.
Time for free booze, hanging out with Kris and Mark when they showed up and, in Brandon's case, lots of dancing. He had a fun time ... let's just put it that way.
After the party (which we skipped out on at like 10), we slowly made our way down the strip, stopping at Serendipity 3 for some dessert and watching the Bellagio fountains do their thing.
Monday, we walked around as much as our tired legs would handle, gambled a tiny bit and then, that afternoon, got on our flight back to home.
- I've spent way too much time writing this post and I really need to get to bed.
- If the Competitor group (that is, the Rock 'n' Roll people) put on an event near you, you should go. Even if you don't participate, it is worth the crazy spectacle. I'm tempted on doing Rock 'n' Roll Denver next year just for the atmosphere.
- In training, I think we need to do a lot more of those "middle mileage" runs. 6, 7, 8, 9 miles. I'm glad we ran 12, but I think we had too many smaller distance runs.
- This was hard. I can't imagine what running that distance will be like after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 will be, but I'm signed up for it so I'll find out in August.
- The above point makes me realize that I'm going to have to train my ass off this summer.
- The above two points scare me. The challenge they pose also excites me, however.
- As stupidly hard as that was, I think I want to do another one as a stand-alone.
- That being said, I'm totally cool if my next one is the Slacker Half-Marathon ... even though I know that will probably kill my legs even more!
Monday, December 6, 2010
I'll recap it tomorrow. But for the moment, I am a 1/2 marathoner. :-)
Here it comes at you, ladies and gentlemen!
We arrived in Vegas about 10:30 a.m. We quickly got off the airplane and headed to the taxi stands. After witnessing someone fall in line due to a seizure, we were able to get in a cab and head to the hotel, Mandalay Bay. We walked into the lobby and it was quite obvious that this was a race mecca of a hotel, which makes sense since it was the starting point for the race. We saw people with gear bags, lots of race shirts, and a few Ironman products. We checked in and were told we were going to be in The Hotel, which is on the Mandalay property, but is an adjacent building. Fine, whatever. We walked through the casino and eventually found our way to our room.
Once in our room, we unpacked slightly and decided to hustle down to the race expo so we could grab our packets. We needed to get in a warm up run and since that's the fastest way to move down the Strip, that's what we did! We took it at a pretty good clip, dodging in and out of people, running up and down stairs to get eventually to the Venetian. After about 20 minutes of running, we were nearly there, so we stopped running and walked from there. We found our way into the Venetian and hustled to the convention center that was towards the back of the hotel. Once there, we split up; T went to her line and I went to mine. She was going to wait; I was the only one in the 14K numbers. I chatted briefly with the dude then found T. She got her stuff, then we went to the corral change table. She planned on finishing in 2:20 while I planned 2:10, so she changed into my corral. Then we worked our way into the expo.
While T wanted to browse all the tables right away, I wanted to grab our nightclub passes for the XS Nightclub. We debated on what to do, then decided to grab the passes and work our way back. We found the table for the Wynn and got the wristbands. We then headed back to the shopping portion first. T grabbed a race shirt that has the cooler logo on it, and then we stood in line to meet Scott Jurek. He signed a poster to Team Baby Dinosaur and wished us good luck.
We then browsed the expo, stopping at most of the booths. We also bought a hot dog since we were starving. I stocked up on LaraBars and we decided to work our way back. We wanted to say hi to Mark and Kris so we started working our way back. Leisurely, mind you.
I took T through the Venetian so she could see that. We also stopped in Casino Royale for the first gambling of the trip, a penny slot. T played, I watched. We continued to work our way back to Mandalay.
We got back there about 3:45 and found Kris and Mark in the lobby, who were in the midst of dealing with wedding stuff. I give them major props for finding us. We talked for a few minutes, then bid adieu to them and headed back up to our room to clean up and change.
Those tasks completed, we left the room to head out and do some exploring. We stopped for dinner in a relatively cheap place in the Luxor and explored the Luxor. We walked all the way down to New York New York. We took some pictures, then worked our way back to our room to rest up and prepare for the next day.
We woke up at about 5:15 a.m. on the 5th. I had arranged for room service the night before to be delivered between 5:30 and 6:00, so while we were waiting for our eggs, bacon, potatoes, and strawberries, we laid in bed and relaxed. I eventually got up and opened the curtains, which revealed an awesome morning in Vegas. We would get to see the sunrise.
Before our breakfast was delivered, I got prepped. I put my bib on my shirt (forgot my race belt) and Body-Glided. I also brushed teeth and put in my contacts. About then, our breakfast was delivered. While I finished up my last second prep, T sat down and ate her half of the breakfast. I put on some pump-up music on my iPhone and then ate my half. She got ready to go, and with that, we left our room. I had yet to put my timing strap on my shoe (couldn’t figure it out) so we decided to deal with that in the elevator.
When we got on the elevator, another couple was there. They seemed amused that T had to put the timing strip on my shoe, but when I told them that I could fly airplanes but not figure this thing out, I don’t think they were amused. I mean, c’mon people, laugh a little!
When we got downstairs, the scene was quite chaotic. There were lots of runners scurrying about, and a guy in the middle of the lobby pointing to go towards the start via the parking garage. T and I had yet to go this way, but we figured why not, right? It was a lot quicker and took us on a different view of the hotel. There were definitely a lot of people on their way to the event.
We got to the parking lot/staging area and it was clear to me that this race was going to be epic. The throng of people was unreal, and to this moment, I’m regretting not having a camera with me. We stopped at the first line of porta-potties we saw to make our last race stop before we got to the start.
We worked our way to the race start, where we found our race corral, number 14. There were a lot of runners, but we still looked for Kris and Mark, who were in the same corral as us. Some Cher impersonator (or maybe the real thing, don’t know) was singing the national anthem, and I gave a nice loud SIOUX! at the point of home of the brave. A few minutes after this, we heard someone yell THERESA and looked behind us and sure enough, there were Mark and Kris decked out in their wedding getup. Mark was wearing all black and had a black visor that said GROOM on it. Kris was in white and also had a pink and white veil, with a visor that said BRIDE. We exchanged hellos, congrats, etc. and then started working our way towards the front, assisted by a rope that kept hitting Kris and I in the ass.
With some Blues Brothers impersonators jamming out at the top of the race start stage, we were ready. Near the start, Mark pulled out a small video camera and I offered to take video of them crossing the start line. With that, and a cheer, we were off on our ½ marathon!
Surprisingly, the organization of the race made the start of it very anti-climatic. The crowd at the start was surprisingly small and we had to do very little jockeying. Mark reminded us not to run over the bump dealies that warmer climates have in the road. I assumed Kris and Mark were going to blaze ahead and leave us in the dust, but they stayed with us, and planned to until they turned off for the run through wedding chapel. T and I were immensely relieved at this; they were taking a slow pace which helped us out and we would have some friends to enjoy this experience with.
Mile 1 was nice and slow. Just how we wanted it to be. It might have been a little too slow, but neither of us cared. We were just happy to be running. At one point, Mark yelled to the spectators that he was getting married to Kris. In a not-so-brilliant comedic moment on my part, I yelled out “AND I KNOW THEM!” which garnered some laughs. Talk about keeping loose and relaxed, huh?
Mile 2 was picked up a little bit, which I was glad about. I still had my under 10:00 per mile goal and was quite confident I would make it. At about mile 2.5, Kris and Mark peeled off to the chapel. We congratulated them, said we would see them at the finish, and continued on our way to the mile 3 point.
At this point, T and I decided to pick it up a bit. We were starting to make up some time and we both figured that we could hold this pace for awhile and that’s what we did.
Miles 4 and 5 were smooth and easy. We started running to a sketchy part of the strip I’ve never seen before, past the Stratosphere tower. Both T and I were still feeling really good. After a water stop, which had really yucky water, T told me that she would take her gel at the next water stop. I was cool with that.
When we reached the 10K point, I smiled a bit and reflected quickly on how far I’ve come. T mentioned how she beat her BolderBoulder time. At about the halfway point, we were on Freemont Street in downtown Vegas. I was relieved because I was still feeling good and knew we could still make up time. T however was starting to feel a little fatigued. At mile 7, we walked through the water station and T took her gel. Unfortunately, this water stop took longer than I was hoping and we lost some time. T remarked how sorry she was and I told her it was fine; that we still had a lot of miles left to make up the time.
Before mile 9, she told me she was hurting pretty bad and was struggling to keep up. I tried to encourage her, but most likely only frustrated her further. Let me be clear that this was not my intention but unfortunately I messed up. L I had arranged with her before the race that we would run together all the way unless I thought I had a chance at under 10:00 and she didn’t think she could. At mile 10, we determined this was the case. I hugged her, told her I would see her at the finish, and began this run solo for the first time.
And how lonely was I. Even though this is what I wanted, I kept looking over my shoulder, hoping she was catching up. I was also feeling the fatigue and effects of the race, and realized that by mile 11, I wasn’t gaining any time either. Late in mile 11, I determined I would keep going, but I wanted to wait for T. Since my goal wasn’t going to happen, I wanted to finish with my running buddy, trainer, trainee, best friend, and fiancée. She caught up to me at roughly 12.4 miles and we agreed to finish it together. As we were getting closer and closer to Mandalay, the crowds were getting more numerous and the cheering was getting louder. I could see the 13 mile point and was excited at the prospect of finishing my first 1/2 marathon.
When we turned the corner, we had .1 left to go. T asked me if I was ready to kick it. I told her yes, but she was kicking it much better than I was. She sprinted ahead of me and crossed the finish line before me, beating me in the first Team Baby Dinosaur 1/2 marathon. I picked it up and finished just behind her, making the sign of the cross and pointing to the finish time, as has become my race finishing tradition.
Post race festivities were amazing. We were ushered through and got our finishers medals, then grabbed some water. T and I both were congratulating each other on a job well done. We grabbed bananas, yogurt, Cytomax, which is yucky, and bagels and pretzels. After we grabbed everything we wanted, we headed out and back up to the room. We were both really proud and happy, but there was still one more thing we had to do. After showering and stretching out, of course.
After showering and relaxing, we headed back downstairs. I was beginning to limp due to a phantom foot pain. More on that later. Our main goal was to see our new friends and newly married couple, Mark and Kris, cross the finish line. With Bret Michaels playing in the background, we made our way over to the finish line and waited. We heard the announcer at one point say that they were waiting for Mark and Kris, so we were hoping it wasn't too much longer. And then we saw them! They were running strong and happy. We sprinted to grab various shots of them, and then they crossed the finish line as well.
We caught them post race, congratulated them, gave some hugs, and promised to meet up later that night at the XS nightclub.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's my race recap. My official time was 2:15:48, or roughly a 10:22 per mile pace. I have yet to reflect on training; I suspect that will come next week. For now, I just want to enjoy the moment of being a 1/2 marathoner.
Ok, so tomorrow was two weeks...but still...ok, let's do this, shall we?
November was...interesting. I was starting to feel the effects of burnout from the 1/2 marathon training, which was not good, considering I still had a few days to go before the actual race. Combine that with a week of tapering + Thanksgiving and let's just say my training wasn't all that spectacular. It could have been a lot better considering everything. Let's take a gander at the numbers, shall we?
- 13 runs for 66.67 miles
- 6 times lifting
- 2 yoga sessions
- 1 swimming session
- 7 off days
I'm extremely disappointed in my cross-training, which I'm sure didn't help my burnout suffering. It's my own fault; I was having a rough month in terms of work stretches, but regardless, was not smart about my training. This is going to be a good month of evaluation when it comes to training next year for 70.3.
Friday, December 3, 2010
I would say ... I guess so. I adhered to the half-mar training plan I set out (... mostly ... cut down the mileage of the "long" run the last two weeks a little). So in terms of running, yes, yes I did. My cross-training, however, was a gigantic pile of FAIL. EPIC fail.
Don't believe me? Here, I'll show you:
Running: 65.7 miles (average went down about 15 seconds/mile)
Swimming: negatory. (average, therefore, stayed the same)
Cycling: 5.27 miles (outside. average went up .6 mph, but does that really count?)(also did one session on the stationary)
Lifting: five sessions
Other: yoga times two.
So yes, I ran and ran quite a bit (obviously), but everything and I mean EVERYTHING else was a disappointment. Tallying up the off days, I also took one-third of the month off. Hopefully this means I'll kick ass in Vegas this Sunday.
It definitely means I'm really looking forward to relaxing a little bit throughout the rest of the month. Mentally, part of me doesn't want to take the relaxation break because I've kind of enjoyed not gaining my hockey season fluff (as the sidebar says, i moonlight as a college hockey journalist and all that time in press boxes/traveling to games leaves not a lot of time/options for healthy food options). Still, the other part of me mentally knows I need this, to be reenergized going into next year ... as the training will only get harder.
I'm also hoping that the trainer we are planning to soon purchase will be a fun! shiny! new! toy that will help keep us motivated ... at least through the end of December. ;)
Oh, as for December's theme? Well ... I don't think we've come up with the official theme for the post-race part of the month. May post that later.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Anyway, my racing career started, as I've shared here before, with the Lone Tree Firecracker 5K way back in 2005. From there, it's slowly expanded. I've occasionally done races with friends; I've done several by myself. Since Brandon moved out here in early 2008, however, with the exception of my second year doing Tri for the Cure (he has extra "equpiment" making him ineligible), I've done every single race since with him.
Due to his day job of airline pilot, he wouldn't be able to get back home until the evening of Thanksgiving ... which doesn't really help if he wants to do a morning Turkey Day race. That, combined with the fact that it was forecasted to be cooooolllldddd on Thursday morning made me delay signing up for the race.
But I signed up anyway. I drug my butt out of bed early Thursday morning, bundled up and drove to Wash Park. I got there insanely early to get a good parking spot so I could escape quickly (had to work at noon), signed up, did my pre-race business, chose a corral and ... went back to the car to stay warm.
The good thing is by race start (10:15; more like 10:18 for me), it was a lot warmer than it had been forecasted to be. Earlier in the week, I checked the forecast: roughly 18 degrees by race start; feels like 8. That's cold (even for you minnesotans :-p). By the actual race start though, it was in the mid- to high-30s. Relatively toasty by comparison.
Toasty enough that I ended up overheating during the race, but more about that in a bit.
Anyway, by about 9:30, Brandon had hopped on a flight and I wasn't going to sit in my car doing nothing ... so I got out and got into my corral to stand around doing nothing. Awesome, I know.
Before I go further, the corrals. The Mile High United Way Turkey Trot (MHUWTT) is the nation's largest four mile race. A lot of people do it. There were supposed to be over ... 9000? doing it this year, but the actual number of finishers ended up being a lot less ... probably due to the cold. Wusses. As a result, they changed the start from "mass insanity" to "five corrals of organized chaos." The first corral was for the good people who would be averaging under an 8:00/mi. In other words, not me. Corral five was for families, people with dogs and people with strollers. Corrals two through four were for the rest of us.
I had initially gotten a sticker for corral three, but after hearing that there would be a few minute delay between the starts of all corrals and time was kind of an issue for me ... I chose corral two. Jammed into the corral as it started to fill up was when I first started to think I might have been overdressed.
Take for exhibit: my toasty warm Nike Pro running tights with my SkirtSports race skirt over them with Drymax socks and my shoes with a trick learned from Steve in a Speedo - duct tape.
On top, a whole bunch of SkirtSports - marathon tank, Runner's Dream long-sleeved shirt and one of their winter jackets (which I ended up not needing). I also was wearing gloves, my ear mitts and two hats.
All of that stuff was very useful in keeping me warm in the corral (except for my feet; no sun was getting down to them) ... but ended up being bad on the course. I'll learn some day.
After chatting with a couple of the racers around me (basically: why haven't we started yet? we're all freezing; and why do you have duct tape on your shoes?), it was finally ready for our corral to go.
With the start, I saw the help of the corrals; it made it a lot nicer at the beginning of the race. Sure, you still had to jockey for position, but it wasn't NEARLY as bad as it has been in the past. Mile one was the interesting mile - a band, a dead squirrel right smack dab in the middle of the road (pretty fresh, too; if i had run with my camera i so would have taken a picture), you know. It also went by pretty quickly. I glanced at my watch about 50 feet from the first mile marker and it said 9:13. Sweet.
(I should now mention that my goal for this race was to crack 40:00. I have also figured out that my "happy pace" in training runs - the pace at which I can control my breathing, and feel like I'm going fast but just on the edge of not being able to hold it - is probably around a 9:30.)
I took my gloves off about the same time I visited the water station in mile two. I walked briefly to make sure I got my gloves safely zipped up in my pockets and to snag and not choke on my water. I also, in mile two, managed to snag some guy's dropped glove from the ground and give it back to him without missing a stride. The mile two mile marker came at 19:something ... so it was a slower mile. But it felt like a slower mile. I was a tad concerned on time though and tried to pick it back up a bit.
Mile three contained another water station and the loss of my hats to my pockets. I tried unzipping my jacket, but the full pockets bouncing around were annoying so I zipped it about halfway up and dealt with the toastiness. I didn't check my watch at the marker so I don't know where I was at at that point.
I would also like to mention at this point that attempting to zip up a jacket while running is NOT an easy feat.
Mile four seemed so long. I started seeing more and more finishers walking past and I was starting to pray I was going to have enough time to get home, showered and hopefully some food in me before hopefully making it to work on time. In any case, the finish line eventually came upon me and I stopped my watch after crossing the third mat - 38:06.29 (race clock time was 41:something thanks to the staggered starts).
In other words, goal: hit. I waded through the masses for my water bottle, my bagel and my free gift from the Runners Roost tent (after coffee mugs the last two years, they switched to pint glasses this year), snagging an extra one for Brandon because I'm a bad person.
I went to the car, had a mini freakout when it first looked like my street was blocked off, sped home, showered, changed and was able to clock in at work at exactly 12 noon. As for food, well, I just snarfed down some coffee cake when I got to work. Not ideal, but meh. I consumed enough corned beef that night and enough turkey on Friday to make up for it.
Time: 38:06 (close to the watch)
Overall Place: 1720/5263
Top fifth? I'll take it. I was above average (avg. time 45:08), too. Go me.
EVEN BETTER THOUGH:
Take a look at the results from the two previous years:
So that's about almost a three minute PR from last year and 10 FREAKING MINUTES better than the first year I ran this damn race. That, my friends, makes me happy. :)
Next race: VEGAS!
On a side note, the duct tape TOTALLY worked. My feet were starting to go numb while waiting in the corral but they were warm by the end. I know this was the duct tape and not just running because I have come back home after cold runs with half-frozen feet. So, success!
Friday, November 26, 2010
So I usually use this last part of the year to reflect on the previous year and what I'm ultimately thankful for. This list will be incomplete and I will leave someone or something out; for that I apologize in advance.
- my fiancee, who I adore and who adores me and gives me the strength day in and day out to continue doing what I'm doing
- my friends and family who continue to support me during this ridiculously hard stretch of life
- our troops around the world and the fact they continue to fight for our freedom, even though a lot of Americans don't care about it
- Zygi Wilf for firing Brad Childress
- the fact that the world hasn't descended into total anarchy...yet
- delicious Starbucks and the wonderful drinks (and pastries) they serve up
- Tucson and the joy it brings me
- The Fighting Sioux and the joy they bring me
- the new Twins stadium
- Paige Elizabeth for her wonderful photography and the happiness she brought us in our engagement shoot, and will bring us in our wedding photography
- 3:16-4:17 of Arno Cost's "Cyan"
- the fact I am able to still save some money, even though I am basically dirt poor right now
- my racing season being successful, in my opinion
- the ability and the means to continue to grow in the hobby and lifestyle that I love
- the fact I continue to grow as an athlete, maturing in both body and mind
I think the thing I am MOST grateful though, ultimately, is simply the ability and means to participate in the sports that I love. I recently talked to someone in Greensboro and asked them if they would like to come running with me. He said he couldn't run a mile. I told him I was only going on an easy 3 and would take it slow, but he said he was too out of shape to even run a mile. I think about where I was three years ago, how running a mile was a task too tall. How working out was a 1/4 mile of walking or a situp. Look at me today. And look how far I want to go.
For that, I am thankful. :-)
Thursday, November 18, 2010
We went down to Tucson for a couple of the days. Tucson, as you may remember, has Trisports.com, an active cycling community, and best of all, Sabino Canyon. Last time we came here, we hiked up to the top of it and back down. This trip, we decided to run the canyon.
While we were running up the canyon, I was looking around at all the cacti, including many that I had taken pictures of last time we were hiking up there and I got this incredible sense of zen. A feeling I haven't had on a run in a long time. It truly felt like "my" place to run. Even though we ended up cutting our run short and not running up the entire canyon, it was still an incredible feeling to just be there. To be on vacation, away from the daily grind that my job has become, and to be in a place that I love, it was an incredible feeling.
I'm curious, blog readers. What's your workout place of zen? Where are you at most peace when you work out? There's others for me, but I think if I could run in Sabino Canyon every time, I would achieve some ridiculous nirvana that even the Hindu people would be jealous of.
On another note, I did an 8 miler this morning, my long run for the week. I averaged a 9:50 mile pace on it. Vegas, you're mine! Bring it on!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
On Tuesday afternoon, I flew again to Greensboro, where I was to begin a 6 day stretch of reserve. Meaning I sit around, wait for the phone to ring, and go to work. The phone has yet to ring. So instead, I'm forced to shell out money for a hotel room so I can at least be somewhat productive and not have to sleep on the crew room couch at the airport.
The real thing here that hurts the most is that I'm away from home for nearly a week.
T and I started dating in December 2007. At the time, I was living in Minnesota, she was living in Colorado. I was a pilot for an airline out there; she was doing her college hockey writing gig out in CO. No big deal; I flew out whenever I can, I also hooked her up with buddy passes so she could fly out and see me. Even when living nearly 1000 miles apart, we saw each other on a consistent basis. I was juggling my bartending job at this time too and still was able to manage.
Fast forward to today. I'll be gone from Tuesday at about 2:30 in the afternoon to Monday at 5:00 in the afternoon (and that's if I don't work Monday and can go home early). That's nearly a week of not being home. That's a week of being on the road, unable to get tasks done at home that need to get done. A week of being in a town where I refuse to take up residence, where I don't know anyone, and really, just go through the motions. I basically count down the days until I can get back to Denver, where life is happy.
So what do I do to make sure I don't fall in a depressive state? One thing I do is plan my days back home. I plan on what I'm going to do so that my days in Denver are fun and productive, not blah. For instance, we're going to Tucson on Tuesday morning. It'll be a great chance to get some R and R, eat some In N Out, and check out the Triathlon Store. We'll also get some good running in Sabino Canyon. Last time we hiked it. This time we're running it.
Today I'm going to be doing a 12 mile run. During this run, while I plan on focusing on my form, obviously, I'm also going to be doing a lot of thinking. Keeping my mind healthy. As much as I want to quit and find something else in Denver, right now, I don't have the skills to find something that will pay me as much as what I'm making doing a pilot, even though that's barely enough to get by as it is. I have friends constantly there to remind me to stick it out. To ride this wave of bad luck; that things will get better with time. I know ultimately that they are right; it's just hard to see right now.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post ...
I'd like to take a small trip back into what I shall call T's Exercise History.
I started running regularly after I graduated college in 2005. Lone Tree (my hometown) decided to host a 4th of July 5K and I thought it would be fun to run the stupid thing. I think I trained ... for a couple weeks at least ... I don't really remember now. My time: 35:17. Go me. I ran pretty sporadically after that for the following year, but I started working out fairly regularly and ended up chopping a whole bunch of time of for a 31:31 in my second ever 5K (same damn race).
In 2007, my time in that race went to poo (35:49), despite the fact that it was my third race that season. It was also hot as all hell (pushing 100 degrees by the finish) and I had an asthma attack. Woo. That summer was also the summer of the bodybugg in which I went insane.
It was also the summer/fall I ran most consistently and got my 5K PR (which still stands) of 26:27. There's a race up in the small mountain town of Buena Vista, Colo., every September called the Autumn Color Run. It's fairly low-key ... or was up until last year when it started NOT being fun which is why we didn't do it this year (among other reasons). In any case, the course is pretty much ideal for setting PRs. Sure, it's at 8,000 feet, but it's 3.11 miles that's all downhill (well, it seems flat, but you actually lose elevation over the whole race). In other words, it's a fast course.
Last year, in my frustrating year of running, I still managed to pull a 27:35.5 out of my butt on it (8:52.85/mi).
Getting back on track to summer/fall '07, around the time of Autumn Color, I was consistently averaging around an 8:30/mi. It was, in a word, awesome. And then depression really started setting in (stupid bodybugg making me insane ... as well as working at 24hour). And then I yanked the damn thing off my arm in October and started eating like crap again and didn't work out or do anything active for about three weeks. And, worst of all ... I kinda quit running.
I picked it back up again (if you want to count running 1-2 miles each time out picking it up again) back in late late '07/early '08 when I first started dating my blog partner and fiance here, Brandon.
I've been running relatively consistently ever since (and ridiculously consistently since at least may '09), but I've never been able to get back to the point I was at in '07 with those damn 8:30/miles. If I'm honest with myself, it's been hard getting consistent average times under a 10:00/mi since then.
However, this year's been a bit different. While it took me for-freaking-ever to crack the 10:00/mi barrier last year (and i managed under it for less than a month)(woo september), I've done it with some regularity this year. Hell, I finally cracked 30:00 in the stupid Lone Tree race this year and I've been trying for that for six damn years.
I'd probably be regularly in the 9s, but I've also been running a lot more and a lot longer distances (not the 3 mile "long runs" of yore, but more like 8-12) and we all know that longer distance runs are going to be slower than your normal pace. They're called endurance runs for a reason.
In any case, all this rambling brings us to today. Despite my craptacular times last year, I still managed to break the 9:00/mi barrier twice; once in the Autumn Color Run and one other time.
This year, I still can't freaking manage it. I have this 4.69 mile loop around here. If I go the way I like, it's a lot of gradual downhill and then up one nasty trail hill and home. I've been getting some speedy (for me) times on it and got a 9:01/mi a week or two ago.
That loop was today's run (a 4-5 miler on the schedule). Even though I had a headwind for a good chunk of the downhill portions, I felt like I still blazed through it. The results? 42:16.68 ... for a 9:00.87/mi. AAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHH. SO CLOSE to sub-9. SO CLOSE!
Someday soon, I hope.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Here's the totals:
Running - 84.77 miles
Swimming - 1.12 miles + some drills that didn't get measured
Cycling - 12.26 miles
Lifting - 7 sessions
Off days - 4
Those numbers are impressive to the untrained eye, yes. But there's not enough cross-training going on, and like T mentioned, we may have peaked too early. Maybe too much mileage in the month of October. I know both she and I are slightly broken down and both longing for Vegas to be done; on the other hand, neither she or I have ever trained for a 1/2 marathon, so maybe this is how it feels and it's up to us to break down that wall? I don't know. Regardless, November is off to a decent start; I'm going for a 9 miler tomorrow in Toronto. Weather is supposed to suck, but it's time to man up, right?
Thanks to all our supporters out there. :-)
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
October's theme was "keep on keepin' on," primarily in terms of half-marathon training. In terms of running, that was a definite success. I kept on with my three runs a week, just racking up the mileage. I didn't cross-train nearly as much as I would have liked, though I did do a bit more than I did in September.
I want to keep this part short, so onward to numbers!:
Running: 83.77 miles (average went up about 5 seconds/mile ... though i blame the last two runs of the month for that)(highest month's total by a whole hell of a lot)
Swimming: 1.37 miles (average went down about a minute/mile)(also did 750m crawl work ... it's progressing. slowly. i need help here)
Cycling: 14.57 miles (average mph stayed about the same)
Lifting: seven sessions
Other: pile o' fail again
The biggest thing to notice there is the run total. 83.77 miles. That surpassed my previous high by damn near 36 miles. That's just crazy.
While the mileage was all well and good, Brandon and I were discussing if, just maybe, we did a bit too much. Both of our bodies are sore and we're starting to feel a bit rundown. Our last long run (with the soon-to-be longest run ever of 12 mi) is next week and it is not even funny how much we're both looking to not only taper, but the offseason.
My guess is part of my problem is I haven't been cross-training enough. Three swims and two cycles to go along with 13 runs ... not quite enough. It's just been tougher to get that other stuff in right now because the running is such the focus. There have been a few times I've skipped a scheduled swim or cycle due to, well, life getting in the way and my justification is that it's okay because it's Not a Run and that keeping up with The Running is the most important part.
However, my body may not be agreeing with that. Still, all I'm asking it to do is get through one more month. One more month until Vegas and I'm going to let my body take a break. Not quit, mind you, but rest. Spend more time in the pool. Cut down on the mileage. Spend more time in the weight room. Buy a trainer and spend time getting acquainted with that.
All it needs to do is get through one more month. Which, aptly, is why November's theme is "stay the course" ... because we both need to stay focused and not let the fatigue get to us.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
What I have to say kind of stems from what he said. I forced out my last scheduled run for the week this afternoon after I got home from work. I wanted to run yesterday, but actually sleeping in for a change, stress and a lot of crap to do ended up pushing running - and a workout in general - off the docket. Which I wasn't happy about.
So come today. It's kind of cold (freaking ski season has already started (!!!!) in the mountains) and I still feel like crap from all the food I ate yesterday and I really had no motivation to run. But, as much as I may tolerate slacking off on my cross-training, I'm NOT deviating from the half-mar plan.
So I went. I went on the low end of the mileage range (5-6; did 5.12), but I did it.
And I logged it ... and I saw my weekly total - 20.99 miles*. First ever week over 20. EVER. For someone who has had a ton of weeks in the past of mileage of anywhere from 1-3 miles (and as recently as six or seven weeks ago), this is HUGE.
I've also surpassed my highest run month total and have one more big week left in October ... let's just say I never thought I'd run this much EVER in my life.
Still, it's kind of nice realizing that 4-5 miles is now "short" while as little as 9 months ago, that was a "long" run.
* totally forgot my footnote earlier ... but I meant to write that once I saw that total, I was SO TEMPTED to run to the mailbox and back or something just to get that extra .01. But I didn't.
Friday, October 22, 2010
If you're curious as to why I am reaching this conclusion, or pondering such things, look no further then the title of this blog post. 11 miles in the book. No, not 11 miles for the week. Not 11 miles for the month. 11 mile run yesterday. 11.18 to be specific. Yes, we have crossed the double-digit threshold for running a in a single distance. And it was an interesting run, to say the least.
The first 3-4 miles were very rough. The stomachs of both of us were ridiculously unsettled and there were feelings of nausea from both of us. At one point, both of us hinted at cutting it down to a 5-6 miler and doing our long run separately this weekend. But we both kept grinding it out, because, as we reasoned, what would cutting it short do? So we put in 5-6 miles but then that still leaves us having to do an 11 without each other. And realistically, the only day I could pull it off is Sunday, when I am on an overnight. Even then, it would take a lot of moxie that I don't know if I could find. So we kept pushing, hoping eventually our legs would kick in and our stomachs would calm down. And they did.
The time wasn't spectacular by any means, and certainly nothing to brag about. But what was impressive was the guts. The willingness to keep plodding along. The ability to keep the grind going. And the ability to, quite frankly, suck it up. That is what this post is about, and that is clearly what our season has been about.
And why do I mention looking back and mentioning the sadness that my training has been in years past? Because quite frankly, my training in years past was sad and pathetic! I mean, we don't have to rehash the numbers for you here, but let's face it...there were way too many days of "oh, it'll be ok if I take today off" and whatnot. Thankfully, that mentality has seemed to stop for the most part. We slip up every now and then, but face it; we're doing much better then we once were.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
It might have only been 2 miles, and I face the prospect of running again tonight in DC.
But I did it.
Last year, so easy to put off. So easy to just say "pack it in for tonight, Brandon". Not last night.
Does this show progress? Yes. Am I proud? Yes. Do I still have work to do? Absolutely. Back on the horse.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The other thing it does is keep track of how many miles you have on your equipment (so, goggles, bike, running shoes, etc.).
After today's run (which felt awesome, by the way), I decided to randomly click on the equipment tab:
Saucony Progrid Omni 6
over 2 years old 148.76 mi
Mizuno Wave Alchemy 8
over 1 year old 253.25 mi
Mizuno Wave Alchemy 9*
4 months old 17.53 mi
Nike Zoom Structure Triax 13
4 months old 142.93 mi
Yeah. A pair of shoes I had two years ago I wore for 150 miles (well, probably a little more than that since i started voomaxer-ing after i bought them) ... and now, after four months, I have the same mileage on my current pair of shoes.
* These were the ones I got just before BoulderBOLDER and hated. I've worn them once since I got the Nikes and that was because I was doing some condensed days of running and I wanted to let the Nikes poof back out or whatever shoes do.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I didn't want to run.
I was tired. I was up for around 21 hours the day before and up early again that day. Two full days of work combined with improper nutrition.
I didn't want to run.
I was stressed out. My car died coming back from lunch at work (ed. note: only a dead battery!) and my day just got longer as a result. I was running out of light and time if I wanted to eat a decent meal as well.
I didn't want to run.
It was cold and rainy and wet. I really just wanted to curl up and sleep. Brandon said with all that had gone on that weekend, he would have been fine if I took the day off and didn't get that run in.
I remembered watching the Ironman World Championships the night before. Seeing those athletes, thinking about what they must have done in training to get to that point. Knowing that I'd eventually like to try to make it there myself. Knowing that a little rain shouldn't stop me.
I didn't even short myself. I had a 4-5 mile run scheduled and I ran what ended up being 4.43 miles.
Last year, I would have taken the day off. I would have chalked it up to being tired, to it being cold, to it being rainy, to being stressed.
I couldn't let myself sacrifice my training like that.
I ran, and it put me at just over 16 miles for the week ... my longest week in training yet.
I'm glad I ran.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Chris Lieto is a very talented triathlete who has won the Ironman before, in Wisconsin, Canada, and Tokyo. The guy is ridiculous on the bike, setting the course record in Canada and last year having a 12 minute lead on eventual champion Craig Alexander in Kona. This year, Chris was kicking some major ass on the bike, but with temperatures topping 104 degrees, it was a hot day, even by the blast furnace Kona standards. Chris started off the run, but early on, it was obvious something was going on. He was struggling a little bit. The announcers were unsure of what was happening, but I could see it in his form and his expression. Fast on his heels were Andreas Raelert and Chris McCormack. McCormack has won Kona before, in 2007. Even further back, but just as dangerous, was Craig Alexander, who has come from behind in both his Kona wins on the run. He was running an unreal 2:35:00 marathon pace. Lieto was faltering, and soon was passed by McCormack. I thought there was the possibility that Lieto would be able to rally, but he was unable. No Kona again for Lieto, who has hinted at hanging it up. I think he's still got a shot at winning Kona, but certainly the window is closing for him.
Anyway though, Chris McCormack made a crucial decision that ultimately netted him victory. Near the last aid station, McCormack and Raelert were running stride for stride, just as Mark Allen and Dave Scott were in the Ironwar. At that point, the observers twittering about the race and myself were wondering if it would come down to a sprint. When they shook hands, I figured they were making an agreement to not sprint until the end. Turns out it was just congratulating each other on a great race. At the last aid station, McCormack elected to not stop for aid, but Raelert did, and was unable to catch up. I was surprised he made the decision to stop. I mean, at that point, step on the gas! Grind it out! You're so close! But it wasn't to be. Chris McCormack snapped the tape in Kona and silenced the doubters about him. Most importantly, he held off Craig Alexander, who finished 4th and was very gracious.
The thing is, McCormack winning the mens side of thing probably wasn't the biggest story of the day. No, in my opinion, the biggest story of the day was Chrissy Wellington's decision to not race. The hype surrounding Chrissy coming into this race was unreal. It didn't seem to be a discussion of whether Chrissy would repeat; it seemed more like would whoever finished 2nd get closer than last year? These questions were moot when Chrissy announced that due to flu-like symptoms, she wouldn't be able to perform with the respect that the race and her competitors deserve. Talk about a classy human being. She races Ironman with the respect Ironman deserves. You don't compete in Kona unless you are capable of doing your very best. Chrissy captures that, and in turn, captures my respect for life.
One of the best quotes from the bloggers following the race went something like this. I didn't quote it word for word and can't find it this morning, but basically he summed it up that we should all keep our dreams of completing the Ironman, since it doesn't matter who is winning the race. I think that's always something to keep in mind in triathlon. As much as I love the sport, I'm not at the point where I RACE, per se. But I definitely go hard during the event and work as hard as I can.
As I said in a list of truths I was making about triathlon this week that I'll post later...plan to complete an Ironman...dream of Kona.