Saturday, July 31, 2010

Signs of Growth

Given that our "A" tri of the season, RattleSnake, is in two weeks, this past week has been our last hard week of training before gradually tapering down (NOT QUITTING, self) over the next two weeks.

Well, one thing I wanted to do was get in one last long run. So I did this morning. I sacrificed an off day at work today to help out in coverage. I did on two conditions - one, the shift would be short and two, it would be later in the morning. So, I covered from 8:15a-12:45p.

This meant that I woke up at 5 (an hour beyond planned) to go run at 6 (15 minutes later than planned) so I had enough time to get back, shower, change and get to work.

So, on an unusually humid Colorado summer morning that was still nice and cool (mid-60s), I put in what turned out to be 8.2 miles. I checked my watch at two points on the run to check how I was doing and make sure I wasn't going so slowly that I'd need to cut the run short.

At the 5K point - 32:30something
At the 5.05mi point - 53:05

I first needed to walk a little at what ended up being 6.1mi - turned up the last monster nasty hill that I haven't run up in over a year.

Overall, I did the 8.2 miles in 1:26:39 for a 10:34.02/mi pace which I WILL SO TAKE RIGHT NOW. Compare that with BolderBOULDER ... two miles shorter and my pace was 10:33.88. If there wasn't proof I was getting stronger, take a longer run with a nastier week of training already on my legs and ... basically the same pace.

Now granted, ideally I'd be at a quicker pace, but I have to keep telling myself that the pace IS dropping slowly and it's dropping slower than usual because I'm putting in more miles.

Think of it this way: this week, I've put in 15.4 miles of running (not running tomorrow, so that total stays). That is my longest week of running EVER. Looking at last year's total ... my MONTHLY totals were higher than that for FOUR months out of last year.

You read that right: I ran more this week than I did for 8 of 12 months last year. That's just pathetic. Still, that's how one learns and how one grows. We've all gotta start somewhere, right? I'm also going to have to remind myself of this next year when my training weeks for Boulder 70.3 equal my training months from this year. ;)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Observations from New York City

Greetings readers from NYC! Yes, this post is coming to you from a Starbucks in Manhattan, 57th and 6th Avenue. I've got a long layover here and figured I wouldn't waste away in the hotel for the day. Yes, I could have worked out in the hotel gym but I figured I'd go exploring instead for my workout today. And that's what is inspiring this blog post.

You see, if I lived in a city this size, I would love it. I'd love the opportunity to walk to the office, to walk home, and to get what is, to me, a good amount of exercise. But I wonder if these people that live/work in New York City even consider what they do exercise. After all, why would they? It's routine. It's the normal part of their day. They probably burn an insane amount of calories going to/from the office, to lunch, etc. It's easy to understand why there are so many fit people in this city.

Conversely, I see McDonalds, Burger King, Sbarro, and other gut busting places every other address. While there is a great amount of exercise and fitness that can be had in a place like New York, there's sabotaging places everywhere. Gotta be careful is the key, I guess.

On that note, I'm outta here. It's time to go explore some more, and find a deli sandwich that my mom told me about. :-)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Race #4 of the Season: Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon

Sorry about the delay in this one, folks ... I just finally got the rest of my photos uploaded online about ... oh ... two minutes ago, so here we go!

Exactly one week ago at this time ... I was at work. Probably just off of lunch.

After I got off work, I came home, packed, had Brandon help me pack up the car, and we headed up I-25 ... through Denver, north Denver, Erie, Loveland, Fort Collins ... and soon enough, past enough fields, farms, buffalo and cows, we hit Wyoming.

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
Woo, Wyoming.

We continued on the next 11 or so miles into Cheyenne to our exit. Rather than stopping at the hotel first, we quickly went over the park where our race would be the next day. We dipped our toes in the water (kinda cold), wandered around a little bit and talked to the few race people still around after some meeting we missed to double check and verify the locations of transition and the swim start.

Afterwards, we checked into our extremely ghetto Rodeway Inn. Seriously, the place was falling apart. We were thinking about heading back to Fort Collins (and delicious famous dave's) for dinner, but ultimately decided not to given on time. Instead, we drove around Cheyenne. Where there is nothing really to eat. We saw a Denny's on our way in and decided on that ... but sadly, it was closed until the 11th (the next day). Which helped us a lot. So, we drove back into town and settled on Village Inn. We're so classy.

After dinner, we went back to this Taco John's Event Center we had passed by for a little relaxing mini golf.

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
Mini golf was not nice to me.

In walking around after mini golf, we realized that the Taco John's Event Center also housed a rink ... go figure. We find the one ice rink (albeit one not in use) in Cheyenne. It was currently just a hard floor for inline/roller skating, but still.

Obviously we took pictures.

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
I think I look more excited than Brandon.

At that point, it was time to go back to the ghetto Rodeway. We dragged the bikes into the hotel room, got ready for bed and curled up with some TV before sleeping. We did have an early wake up call, that is.

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
Night night, bicycles!

Well, 4:45am came a lot sooner than we would have liked, but oh well. We got up, pumped up our bike tires, filled our water/Gatorade bottles, got dressed and generally got everything ready. As it was only a sprint and I don't really do nutrition on races (something i reeeeeally need to get out of), I tossed the smallest member of Team Baby Dino, Ivan, in my bento box.

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
He's so cute.

It was then time to head downstairs for the continental breakfast ... which I was hoping would be like most of the continental breakfasts I'd experienced at other Choice Hotels ... cereal, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, toast and perhaps some waffle batter.

Yeah, no. First of all, breakfast was out a little after six when the dude at check-in said it would probably be out by like 5:40. Secondly, apparently due to budget cuts, breakfast was some sketchy looking pastries, boxes of cereal and packets of oatmeal. And nothing else. I'm a girl who needs her protein in the morning; specifically, her eggs. I can handle hard-boiled eggs in the morning if need be. Instead, my pre-race breakfast ended up being ... half a glass of sketchy orange juice and a packet of Quaker's instant maple and brown sugar oatmeal. Mmmm.

After the breakfast disaster, we said, oh screw it, and biked the mile to the park for the race. Once there, I saw some chick wandering around with some peanut butter and I gave serious thought to paying her for the jar. No joke.

I ultimately decided against it, though, and we went to pick up our packets instead. They had a bit of an issue finding mine until they learned I was an Athena. The girl gave me a skeptical look until she put me on the scale. 179. Yep honey, I made the cut by a whole 29 pounds. I'm good.

After that was body marking, where I got Steve in a Speedo homage #1: the calf smiley face.

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon

Then, off to set up transition. It's funny, but the more races I do (this was tri #4 for me), transition gets easier and easier.

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
If you look, you can see Ivan in his bento box.

Then, it was off to do Steve in a Speedo homage #2: the port-o-potty shot.

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
Oh the sweatshirt clashes with the port-o-potty so badly ...

Since there were still a few minutes before the race, we wandered around and took a few more pictures.

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon

Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon
Part of the swim course. That far yellow blob was one of the ducks we had to swim around.

Soon enough though, it was time to head down to the swim start. One thing this race did that I liked a lot ... and I'm sure only allowed because there were like 200 of us ... was that it let us all in the lake for a quick swim. For me, one of the few people not in a wetsuit, it was nice to help get accustomed to the water. After a quick spin ... time for the race to begin.

The Swim:

This race was the first I've done where it was a ... well, I don't remember the name of it, but each of us got our own start. One swimmer would go, and about five, ten seconds later, the next swimmer would go. I was about the 15th swimmer to go (descending age start). It was definitely ... interesting. The pre-race swim did help a lot; I didn't get that chest shudder that I usually do when I start off in cold water.

As for the swim ... it didn't go as well as I probably would have liked. Looking back on the times later, it was a faster average than last year, which was nice. Still, I got through it with really no hiccups, which is all I cared about.

Time: 16:35


T1 was not happy. I don't know what it was, but it just did not go well. I felt like I was moving slow, having issues getting my bike shorts on (i put my shoes on first. yeah, stupid), my jersey on ... everything. Still, I got out. Oh well.

Time: 2:27

The Bike:

The bike started off well. And then we crossed the highway and encountered the hills. Oh the hills. I know my cycling hasn't gone as well this year as in years past. In last year's tri, I was passing people on the uphills. This year ... I passed a few people, but very, very few.

Once I hit the turnaround, though, things felt a little better. One of the motorcycle marshals yelled at me saying that I hit 33 mph on one of the downhills (to which I replied, "yeah, i'll be going 6mph up the next hill") ... which isn't true (odometer said 29.something as a max speed). Regardless, it was kind of nice.

Besides all the damn hills, though, the course was awesome in that there were a TON of volunteers - so many it was hard to thank them all, though I tried. Quite a few had cowbells and some were dressed up. They made riding that nasty course a lot easier and I loved having them there.

Time: 51:30


T2 went a lot better than T1 ... even though time-wise, it didn't go much quicker. I'm a nerd and had to put on my engagement ring (forgot to before the bike) and body-gliding my feet (kind of non-negotiable) took longer than I would have liked. Still, I was feeling ... okay and went off to start my run.

Time: 2:09

The Run:

I got on the run and my legs were heavy. Seriously heavy. Still, I plugged on through. About ... oh, a third of the way through the first mile, I saw one of those bank signs that gives you the temperature. It read 76 degrees. Given that I've started the run portion of some tris when it was close to 100 degrees, it was nice to see and feel.

The first water station was right at the first mile and I actually got both the water and the blue PowerAde. I'm not a blue energy drink person, but damn that tasted good. As far as time was concerned, I was going pretty slow, but it wasn't too bad.

Second mile was honestly just there. Most of it was along the same road as the first part of the cycle and it took us back near the hotel. The water station at the end of mile 2 was disgusting. That cup of water went on my head. Eeewwww.

Mile three I picked off some people. There was a slight hill, but when I went up it I was like, hill? What hill? Pffft ... (running hills around here really does pay off on race day).

As always, I sprinted into the finish, pulling it out of my butt.

The totally completely AWESOME part of this run was that it was the first ever time during a tri that I have not walked on the run. I will add the caveat that I did a tiny bit through the water stations, but that's because I haven't perfected the art of drinking on the run while not a.) choking and/or b.) getting it all over me. Still. NO WALKING.

Time: 33:16

Overall Time:
30/54 female (lake swim)
4/8 Athena (my division)

Final Thoughts:

I initially thought I was 13 seconds away from a podium finish as I was 13 seconds off the Athena in front of me ... but then I realized I read the sheet wrong and that I was the fifth overall Athena to finish and the one in front of me was not in my age group. Oops.

I was also not initially happy with my performance (save my run) ... until I realized that this wasn't an A race. This was a warm-up tri for RattleSnake. When I also looked at my averages from My Way or the Tri Way last year ... everything actually improved. So while I'm not necessarily thrilled with my performance, I'm okay with it given all the things I later factored in.

That being said, if I have a similarly crappy swim and bike at RattleSnake, I'm not gonna be a happy camper.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Triathlon of the season...lessons were learned!!

I've mentioned on here a few times about how I've changed my perspective of the sport of triathlon this year. The sport has changed me a lot, and has changed my mentality towards it, in very good ways.

As mentioned a few posts ago, my time last year in the My Way or the Tri Way was 2:10:56. 750 meter swim. 14 mile bike. 3.5 mile run. In 2:10:56. Did I finish? Yes. Was my time something to boast about? Hell no. Let me break down the numbers further:

Swim - 27:04 for a 58:04 per mile pace
T1 - 2:29
Bike - 58:19 for a 14.19 mph pace
T2 - 1:39
Run - 39:49 for a 11:22 per mile pace
T3 - 1:38

Yeah, not impressive, is it?

This year, I trained better. I trained harder, better, faster, stronger (cue Kanye west and Daft Punk). Most importantly, I approached this triathlon season with a sense of respect. I have tremendous respect for the sport and the athletes that participate in it. I approached it with a more humble attitude and an understanding that finishing a race isn't guaranteed. You have to work at it.

We arrived in Cheyenne the day before our triathlon at about 6:00. We drove towards the park where the triathlon would take place so we could get an idea of what we were up against and have some idea of how to get there (we were planning on riding our bikes to the tri that following morning). We dipped our feet in the lake (cold!) and chatted very briefly with the race organizers, who seemed to be packing up after finishing a race meeting that we missed (oops).

We then drove to our hotel (ghetto!) and checked in. We hauled our bikes to the room and then ventured out to explore Cheyenne and find food. We were going to drive back down to Fort Collins for Famous Daves, but we both determined the drive would be too far and settled on finding something in Cheyenne. However, that was easier said then done. Our options were Village Inn, Mexican food, or Arbys. I'm serious on that. We kept looking in vain for another place and finally settled on Village Inn. Not ideal, but allowed for some protein consumption and some salad consumption. We then drove to the Taco Johns event center (yes, Taco Johns) and played some mini-golf. Hooray for me getting two holes in one!!!!

Then we headed back to the hotel and wound down. We watched some Legally Blonde 2 and some Million Dollar Baby, then crashed out.

We woke up Sunday morning and got ready to go. We determined if we left the hotel by 6, we'd be fine for transition and whatnot. Waiting on continental breakfast could push that back, but the front desk guy the night before told us that it is usually put out by 5:30 each morning, so no biggie. Yeah...

The breakfast was your choice of cereal, some sort of pastry, and oatmeal. That's it. No eggs, not even hard boiled. No bread. No bagels. Not a good way to start off the morning, considering T and I both need protein in the morning.

However, we manned up, ate what we could, and rode our bikes to the park. Didn't take more then a few minutes to head over there. We found a spot in transition right next to each other and dropped our stuff off, then headed over for packet pick-up and to get marked. They gave us pullover jackets, which was pretty cool, and we got body marked with our numbers + smiley faces, in a shoutout to our very good friend Steve in a Speedo. Then we grabbed our timing chip and headed back to transition to get our area set up.

With transition set up, we hit the porta-potties, then I got into my wetsuit. T wasn't wearing hers this morning for reasons she'll explain, but I was very glad I had mine. Some lady behind me was saying she needed some goggles, so I tossed her my spare pair and said if she returned them, great. If not, no biggie. Then we listened to the race director remind us about the drafting rules and other fun triathlon stuff.

Then it was time to head to the swim start.

The girls/women went first, followed by the guys. It went in descending age order, so I had quite a bit of time to wait. First though, we were able to get a quick swim in and get used to the water. It was cold, but not horrible. Both T and I felt ok. Then T got herded into the starting gate while I stood by and watched. As the women took off one by one, I waited for T to start. When it was her turn, I hugged her, told her good luck, and smacked her on the butt (hehe!). Then I watched her go. I didn't have much time though, as then I was herded into the starting gate.

I chatted with a guy behind me about triathlon in general and he said to just have fun. I told him he was going to be done with the bike by the time I was done with the swim and he laughed. Then it was my turn to go.

My triathlon season was underway!

I walked into the water, not running. I felt this would help keep my heart rate and anxiety down, which it did. I also waited to begin my swim until I was at least chest-deep, which helped me further stay calm. I knew anxiety was a big reason I struggled last year, so I did my damndest to control it. I started swimming slow and just was enjoying the swim, but within the first 100 meters, felt that my breathing was not good and was beginning to get anxious.

So I slowed down, told myself to relax and just enjoy myself, and to not worry about it. And it worked! I was able to breathe the way I like to breathe, my sighting was great, and by the time I made the turn around the giant duck (a big rubber duckie, which was maybe 200 meters out) I was into a nice groove. I started passing people and actually felt myself getting stronger on the swim. Talk about a confidence booster!

As I turned for shore, I knew that there was going to be no problems and began to think about T1. I continued passing people as well. Finally, I saw people around me standing up. I however decided to wait until my hand touched the bottom of the lake. When it did, I came to my knees to stabilize myself, then stood up. I jogged out of the water and unzipped the top half of my wetsuit. Running into T1, I slipped off my swim caps and goggles.

T1 was interesting. I felt myself get a little lightheaded, which was probably just due to the rush I had, but regardless, I had to slow myself down. I told myself to relax and take a couple breaths. I got into my cycling stuff, sprayed myself with some SPF50, and headed out of T1. My time wasn't great in T1, but I wasn't too worried about it. The most refreshing thing was seeing that T's bike was out of transition, meaning she completed her swim and was on the bike course.

The cycle, again, was something I looked forward to. Two schools of thought there. You're out of the water, which feels good, and riding your bike, quite frankly, is just fun! The course started nice and flat, which was nice. I felt myself in a nice groove and began to rehydrate. I also downed a gel packet.

This course was definitely hilly though! Man! Again, my weakness on the hills showed. As much as I tried to power my way up the hills, I struggled on them. The whole time though, I kept repeating to myself, "energy management". If I was going to be a triathlon coach, the first thing I would teach my athletes would be energy management. It's fun to get up to 40 miles an hour on the downhills, but you're going to wear your legs out quicker. It's fun to get a cadence of 110 going, but that's a waste of energy. Keep your cadence between 80-100 and you're getting the most out of your body and your bike. That's what I forced myself to do.

Near the turnaround point, I saw T. She looked strong and yelled something to me that I couldn't understand. I learned later that it was she wanted to murder the hills. Ok then.

The ride back was quicker and more downhilly. Hooray downhilly! I roared back on the 2nd half of the ride with a fury. I was damn bound and determined to get back to T2 and start my run. I was feeling great, if not starting to feel a tiny bit fatigued.

Coming back into T2, with about a quarter of a mile to go, we were in a coned area, and I was stuck behind some hooker peadaling way too slow for my taste. Not wanting to lose any time, I hustled around her and beat her into T2. I don't think she was too happy about it, but really, I'm racing here, people! I got into T2 and again, I felt pretty good. I racked my bike and changed into my running stuff. I ran out of T2 nice and slow to regain the feel in my legs and I was off!

Whether it was a different mentality or my training has just been that much better, the run was hiccup free! I was passing people left and right! I had rabbits throughout the whole course and was picking them off left and right. I never walked and was really proud of that fact! When I got to mile 1, I knew I was going to have a good rest of the run. As much as I wanted to pick it up and go faster, my legs were not allowing it to happen. But still, I was just feeling jubilation.

Coming into the finish, a guy asked me how to pronounce my last name, then I heard BRANDON GEIST IS COMING INTO THE FINISH! I picked it up slightly, then I finished in an interesting way. Right before the timing mat, I walked for a second or two, pointed towards the time, put out my arms, and stepped across the mat. To me, it was such a rewarding feeling that I didn't feel the need to barrel my way across the finish line. T and I differ on that, but that's another story. :-)

Anyway, here's my times from the Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon:

Swim - 13:33 for a 36:20 per mile pace
T1 - 2:39
Bike - 52:08 for a 16.11 mph pace
T2 - 2:00
Run - 32:28 for a 10:26 per mile pace

Total time? 1:42:48.7

Very respectable, in my opinion. :-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Race #3 of the Season: Lone Tree Firecracker 5K

Okay, so since this race happened on July 4, obviously I'm a bit behind. Hell, I've done my first tri since then. However, I wanted to wait until I had photos and now I do. So yay.

Anyway, this is the fifth year Lone Tree has put on this race and the fifth year I've run it. This is my hometown/neighborhood race and the first 5K I ever ran. So as much as the course sucks (as it has all the hills i always bitch about around here), it holds a special place in my heart. Somehow.

Regardless, this year was going to be fun as I not only talked my dad into doing it again (year #3 for him!) as a walker, my brother, his girlfriend Nicole AND her mom did the race, too. My mom hung out, but as the designated photographer. The vast majority of the photos you'll see in this post are thanks to her.

Now that that's out of the way ... story time. Though we registered ahead of time, Lone Tree decided to do things differently this year and have packet pick-up day of. They also decided to do chip timing, which was AWESOME. So, morning of, we walked down as soon as packet pick-up opened, got our stuff, and walked back home to eat and change.

About a half-hour before the race was scheduled to start, we hoofed it back down to the park.

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Brandon hanging around.

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Lisa (walked), Nicole (walked/ran), Stefan (walked/ran), Mom (photog), Dad (walked/ran(!))

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Me hanging out.

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Stefan, Dad, Mom, Nicole, Lisa ... and Brandon wandering off.

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Stefan, Dad, Mom and Nicole. Dad's wearing the shirt from year one.

At that point, it was ready to line up and get ready to go. One thing that was awesome already was that the weather was nice and cool, in the low-60s. This is a race that I've run in 90 degree weather in years prior, so the fact that it was cool made me happy ... even if it was a bit humid.

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Brandon and I waiting for the start. And yes, that's my lovely, scarred arm. Weee.

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Dad, Nicole and Stefan in the walker wave a few yards behind us.

Then, we were off!

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Those two tall guys on the right are my dad and brother.

The best thing about this year was that they reversed the course to what it was in year two. Instead of going up Lone Tree Parkway (nasty, long, gradual hill), they took us up the trail that runs behind my brother's house. That hill sucks too, but it's shorter and steeper ... which I will always 100% take over long and gradual.

Brandon and I ran together with the plan of sticking together only for the first mile. I'm a better pacer than he is for that opening mile, making sure we don't go out too fast. Mile one was just over a 10:00/mi, which was super-duper fast for us, but it felt good. Mile two may have been a little short (which I say because it was a 9:something/mile), but it still felt good. Mile three, running down Lone Tree Parkway, doing the loop in front of the library and back into the park to the finish ... was where I started to hurt a bit. Brandon felt a lot better than I did, so he peeled off right after the library loop.

Obviously he finished before me.

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Brandon after reentering the park, right before the final curve.

Still, I was 10 seconds behind.

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Me at the same point.

This was the first year I finished this damn race in under 30:00, which I attribute to several things ... mainly the great weather and the course reversal.

Final numbers:
Gun/Chip Time: 29:29
Net Time: 29:43
Overall Place/Total: 128/284
Pace: 9:35/mi
Sex Place/Total: 54/155
Division Place/Total: 10/24

However, there were still others to finish ...

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Nicole, in purple on the right, came in next. She was going to walk, but according to her, her competitive side kicked in. She finished in 32:29.

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Who knew my brother was a runner? He whines about it soooo much ... but I guess we Spisaks are just too competitive. He and dad kept going back and forth with running/walking all race ... and Stefan ended up beating him, with a time of 36:23. (and he's sticking his tongue out at mom and a cheering brandon and i, i'm sure.)

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Dad! Dad, the walker, who somehow ended up running it into the finish. I'm so proud. *sniff* Although, to be fair, the man did say he wanted to run this thing by age 60 and he's 60 ... Anyway, he only finished 30 seconds behind my brother with a time of 36:51 which is about 10 minutes quicker than the first time he walked this race five years ago. Go Dad!

Lone Tree Firecracker 5K
Lisa, Nicole's mom, as the last one to cross. She's got serious knee issues, apparently, which restricted her to walking only. She crossed in 42:47.

So that was our family affair Firecracker 5K. We dispersed to shower, convened back at my brother's for a barbeque ... and then Dad, Brandon and I went back to the park to watch fireworks in the pouring rain. Totally awesome, I know.

Next (hopeful) update: tri post!

Lone Tree 5K Recap

Why this has taken me this long to recap, I have no idea...laziness?

Whatever. Deal.

On July 4th, we woke up ready to attempt to conquer the Lone Tree 5K. This race is my nemesis and a race that I have been determined to crack 30:00 in since I have done it. Why? Because it's in the neighborhood I run in over the course of the year. It's also a beast. You gain nearly 300' of elevation over the course of a mile. *eek!* It's a race that I have wanted to beat into submission for awhile.

Problem is, it's in July. July in Colorado = hot. July in Colorado = lots of sun. Lots of sun and heat = bad run times for me. Also factor in that my running training didn't go as well as it should have in June and you have the perfect storm for me not cracking 30:00 in my nemesis 5K.

Well...we woke up on July 4th to a pretty special treat. It was cloudy. And it was "cold". By cold, I mean about 60 degrees. 60 degrees and clouds = hoorayness for running! Humid, yes, it was...but I could deal with that. The best part of the race? They flipped it around this year! Meaning instead of running the first mile up brutal Lone Tree Parkway, we would run the last mile down it. The first 1.6 or so of the course would be uphill, but a lot more gradual then that brutal .9 or so that Lone Tree Parkway is.

We walked down to the park to get our stuff and then walked back. All the while, I kept thinking and saying that a sub-30 minute 5K was in our future, while T was a little more skeptical of this. We got back and quick wolfed down some breakfast, changed into our running stuff, and walked back to the park with T's mom and her dad, who was planning on run/walking the thing in his continued quest to lose weight (he's lost like 80 lbs).

Down there, we met up with T's brother Stefan and girlfriend Nicole, who were both doing the event, as well as Nicole's mom. We did a few fun stretches with these really giddy women who were leading this calisthenics group. After that, we headed to the start line. I reminded T that I was going to stick with her the first mile, as she would set a great pace that would allow us to have some energy in the two miles after.

The gun (siren) went off and off we went. T set a great pace that made it easy to fall into a groove. We took it slow, letting people pass us for the most part. I had a couple rabbits early on that I was determined to pick off, but was content to hold off for a bit.

When we hit the first mile, I checked the pace and saw 10:06. Great, I thought. We're in fine shape to crack 30:00. During the next half mile, we continued to wind uphill but I was feeling good. When we reached the top of the hill and looked down Lone Tree Parkway, I knew 30:00 was in our grasp. I asked T if we could pick it up and she agreed.

Running down Lone Tree Parkway, I was feeling jubilation (and sweat rolling down my back). I knew by mile 2 that the only way we weren't cracking 30:00 was if some sort of act of God happened. T was struggling a bit, so we dialed it back, but I wasn't worried.

We came to a point in the course where you level off, then turn around and head back towards the park and finish line. At this point, I didn't want to take any chances, so I asked T if I could take off and she said yes. I picked it up slightly and had one more rabbit to mow down. As I came around the corner, I passed her and took off for the finish line. I hit the timing mat and stopped my watch and was relieved. 29:19! I did it! I quickly turned and looked for T, who was roaring in. She crossed and we got in line for our shirts, knowing we had achieved what was previously unachievable.

I can officially retire from that race, but I won't. :-)

A great massage was waiting for me and some delicious other goodies. I was very proud of both of us.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

June Round-Up

So, remember back last month when I wrote the following:

"Anyway, June is a new month and even though it hasn't started well due to work exhaustion, I know that I'll be able to kick May's ass at some point ... which will be impressive given May's numbers"?

Ha. Right.

June, in a word, sucked. Let me count the ways how ...

* ONE, only ONE two-a-day.
* My streak of running at least once a week, that had been going on for just over a year ... got broken. I managed about a mile in the middle of the freezing winter this year ... and my streak died. Pissed me right off, too.
* Work stress, compounded with Brandon being gone and a whole bunch of other stuff resulted in me going through a depressive phase ... which means no motivation to work out or do much other than dick around on the computer while on the futon.
* Open water swimming completely demoralized me ... and made me realize that my beautiful wetsuit is pointless until I learn to properly master the crawl.

If you look through the workout logs, you'll notice only 11 days off. HOWEVER, there were quite a few workouts that were craptasticly awful. Take, for instance, our first open water swim of the year. I managed one lap on the course (so 200 yds) and called it quits. A workout? Technically ... but a crappy one.

That being said, I'm going to try and see if I can find any perks to June ...

* Despite what was said above, we did get in a few open water swims which will definitely serve us well later on ... especially because we've continued to do so.
* I got in a sprint workout for the first time in forever.
* My body got a lot of rest which will hopefully serve me well later this year.

I'm clinging to that last point as my only justification with being okay that my month went to hell. Maybe we pushed it too hard in May; maybe I was just lazy. Maybe both. In any case ... I can't let myself have another month like that for the rest of the year.

Anyway, onward to numbers!

Running: 17.92 miles (average went down about three seconds/mile)(smallest mileage month this year)
Swimming: 2.01 miles (average went up about two minutes/mile)(damn ows's)
Cycling: 56.39 miles (average went down a whole mph)
Lifting: two sessions (*siiiiiiiiigh*)
Other: one yoga session, two softball games, one sprint workout

July isn't off to the greatest start, but I do have a neighborhood 5K PR so far (blog post forthcoming once i upload photos) and my best open water swim yet.

July just has to be better than June. That's all I'm hoping for.

June Recap

June... it was interesting...

June began as a kind of perfect storm. And in perfect storm, I mean in the negative way. I was getting ready to begin a sim time that was completely unorthodox for me (10 pm to 2 am) and both T and I were still coming off our high of finishing the BolderBoulder. Take that into play and you have kind of a recipe for disaster.

Which June sort of was...

I take a look at my monthly totals, and they are, to say the least, embarrassing. I knew my running total would be down because of a knee issue I was working through and because it was very difficult to run in St. Louis. My swimming was down just based on logistics. The one bright side was my cycling. My cycling increased from the previous month, and I feel like it is coming together nicely. I also did a lot of yoga early in the month.

So, the totals are:

9 runs
4 swims
4 cycles
3 yoga
2 lift
1 recumbent bike

Yeah, as I said...not too impressive. Going into my workout log though, and looking at the days I took off, it's pretty consistent that sheer exhaustion is the reason for the off days. Be it from taking a red eye to get to work, being up until 4 am in the simulator, or just general exhaustion. I read my workout log and it's not like I missed any workouts for any other reason. In case you're wondering, there were 10 days that I didn't work out. Unacceptable, I know.

As I mentioned in a previous post though, I feel like everything triathlon is coming together. I feel very confident heading into this weekend where we will open up our multi-sport season. I'm guessing the hard work of April and May didn't let June drag me down too much, and in all honesty, it's not like June was a complete throwaway.

July needs to be better though, and there is no doubt in my mind about that. Since we ran the Lone Tree 5K and finally cracked 30:00 in that damn race, my running motivation is back and happy. Plus I'm sitting reserve in Denver this week and not some far off locale, so I have the potential to get a lot of working out in, which is good leading up to my tri.

That's it for I said...I know it wasn't a good month, but not horrible.