Thursday, December 31, 2015

Race #10 of the Season: Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #1

Well, this was officially supposed to be a duathlon. It snowed heavily (almost a foot) four days prior to race day. The weather warmed up nicely for the race - 40s! - but it didn't warm up enough to get rid of all the snow and ice on the bike course. 

Given the fact that we (okay, I) signed up for this series as a way to keep active throughout the winter (and sweats) (and an excuse to eat banana chocolate chip bread), I'm not planning on derailing all of my 2016 plans due to injuring myself in a throwaway duathlon. As a result, I exchanged my du bib for a run-only bib and Brandon signed up to do the four mile run.

A lot of competitors still stuck with the du, but I heard that there were a lot of bike crashes. They told us at the pre-race briefing that the bike course was mostly dry/packed snow ... but we ran part of it during the run portion and yeah. I would NOT have felt comfortable riding my tri bike in those conditions. 

We got to Cherry Creek State Park way earlier than we needed to, but it's always better to be early than late, is my thought.

We were planning on hanging out in the car until the last possible moment so layer shedding could happen ... but then we realized, duh, we have a safe transition in which to put stuff. So, trans bags were brought up and we stole a spot ... even though our bikes remained safely ensconced in the car.

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Bundled up, it wasn't bad; the wind was a little iffy, but that's par for the course. Waiting for the waves to go off, we took pictures:

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Brandon zipping himself into his MaccaX jacket.


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Portrait: Brandon. Photographer (me) caught in glasses.

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Us.

We learned that Brandon started three minutes ahead of me. We figured I probably wouldn't catch him, but I was hoping that I could finish less than three minutes behind him (and therefore be faster). 

Soon enough, it was time to line up and race; men first and then women.

As I mentioned above, it was early on in the run that I realized I was very happy I decided not to ride. I didn't think about that option and therefore didn't have my Garmin, so I only had a general sense of pace thanks to my watch.

Mile one was in the 9s (it's the mile where we're pretty sure I beat Brandon); it got progressively slower after that. The cold was killer on my lungs, though in general, I believe I was dressed too warmly. I decided to wear the BU toque pictured above last minute; yeah, I ended up taking it off and just running in the TriSports technical trucker (worked out much better tighter on my head this time around).

The last mile, I felt like no matter how much ground I tried to cover, I just moved ... slow. 

Happily, though, I did end up beating Brandon - by 44 seconds. Woo!

Final Stats:
Time: 43:10
Overall rank: 15/25
Gender rank: 9/15
Division rank: 5/6 (F01-39)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Race #9 of the Season: Colder Bolder 5K

A.K.A. the race where I surprised myself.

So I'd known about the ColderBolder for years ... probably for as long as I've run its sister race, the BolderBOULDER. However, I usually just haven't cared about the CB for ... whatever reason.

This year, I decided, what the hell, let's run it. 

(race entry came with a fun toque/beanie/whatever, so that made it worth it right there.)

The race will seed you off your BolderBOULDER time ... but unfortunately, they don't go off past years' times. So, since I didn't run the 2015 BB10K, I had to go into the open race. Whatever. Brandon didn't sign up for the race because he wasn't sure if he'd be able to run it ... and unfortunately, by the time he found out he was off, the race had sold out.

Regardless, he still came up to Boulder with me. As it was a progressive wave start, with waves starting anywhere from 7ish (first waves) to damn near 10am (me), we got up later than we normally would on a race morning. We parked in one of the available lots, got me a new timing tag (left mine at home. Oops.), and hung out in the field house, trying to stay warm until it was time for me to run. Brandon ran while I was running, but made sure to keep his run short enough to try and catch me at the finish.

When it was near time for me to start lining up, we said our goodbyes and he went off running and I went off to wait, as apparently my start was going to be later than I thought as they divided us open wave runners into different groups based on time ... each one going off 2:30 behind each other. At this rate, Brandon was definitely going to beat me back to the field house.

In any case, we eventually got to run.

First bit of the run was downhill ... and I ended up flying way faster than I probably should have. Garmin stats post-race said I hit a new 1K PR in this race (I think in this early section, too) - 4:52.2. Ha. Oops. We went downhill and then curved a bit uphill and I still managed to run up the hill even though it hurt and I told myself I wouldn't walk until after at least a mile (which I managed) but I saw my first mile split and went "Shit. That was unsustainable."

Mile 1: 8:17

I still managed to keep running a bit, though my pace slowed down. I finally had to walk at some point during this mile and I kind of felt like I was dying.

Mile 2: 9:12

The run started getting tricky. I was wearing my new TriSports technical trucker and I think I had it too loose for running (comfortable for normal wear, but not so much for running) so I kept having to adjust it a bit. Temperature wise, I was maybe overheating a little (it was in the low-40s), but it wasn't bad.

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Quite possibly one of the best pictures of me running within the past few years.

I was walking more and more, but I apparently was bombing it when I was running (paces in the 7s???? according to the Garmin), so my overall speed wasn't too shabby.

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The best part was, at some point during mile 3, I looked at my time/Garmin, and knew unless I had an epic meltdown, it would be one of my fastest 5Ks in years.

Sure enough, it was.

Mile 3: 9:14 (plus 1:02.9 for the extra .13)
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Final Stats:
Time: 27:43
Rank: 329/1641 (open race)

(They didn't separate by age/gender/whatever and I am way too lazy to figure that out here.)

Somehow, on not a lot of training and carrying around a bit of extra weight, I pulled off my third fastest 5K ever and fastest in a good six years. It tells me that there IS HOPE when it comes to FINALLY killing my ancient old 5K PR. Hooray.

Free mini Evol burritos afterward made for a happy T ... as did the doughnuts and coffee we stopped for on the way home.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Race #8 of the Season: Endurance House Turkey Day 5K

Way back in the day, we would always run the Mile High United Way Turkey Trot (4miler) on Thanksgiving. For whatever reason, we stopped running it. 

This year, since Brandon was home, he wanted to run a turkey trot that morning. I was fine with it, as long as we could find an earlier one as I had to be at work at 11am. I found the Endurance House Turkey Day 5K (and 10K) which yes, was up in Broomfield, but started at 9:30. Perfect.

Brandon thought he signed up for the first one until race morning ...

I clearly didn't pay attention to any of my emails and thought the run was actually taking place from Endurance House. We drive up there, nope. Brandon goes into his email and gets us to the race site. He's listed ... I'm not. Crap. He signed up for the Anthem Turkey Day 5K (which has Endurance House as a sponsor) ... a different race. 

We freak out for a moment, deciding what to do. We decide to go to the race I signed up for and see if there was some mistake somehow. We bust ass over to my race site (about 10, 15 minutes away) ... and yep, only me registered and not Brandon. We say screw it, I pay the cash to sign him up and we get ready to run.

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It ... was cold. It was actually the same ambient temperature as Pumpkin Pie was, but the lack of sun and addition of snow made it feel a hell of a lot colder. The plus side is, I was actually dressed for it this time around.

We didn't have a specific game plan for this race, but we hoped to finish fairly quickly because of, you know, work.

We went out too quickly as we found out at the first mile marker, clocking a 9:01. Uh, too cold for that. Mile two was quite a bit slower - 9:49. Mile three ... the cold really started hurting and maybe some of the lack of training caught up to me (I don't know) and like at Skirt Sports, Brandon managed to outsprint me at the end. Boo.

Final Stats:
Time: 30:12
Overall Rank: 212/(848. I think.)
Gender Rank: 88/475
Division Rank: 26/124 (F30-39)

A bit slower than Pumpkin Pie, but the conditions were also worse. Running through snow, in snow, with cloud-covered cold. But I got to eat pie after it as well, which is always a win, so woo for that.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Race #7 of the Season: Pumpkin Pie 5K

Waaaay back on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I ran the Pumpkin Pie 5K. I first heard about the race two years ago. A run? And I get free pie afterward? Free pumpkin pie, which just so happens to be my favorite type of pie? When can I do this?

Turns out ... not for a while. Pumpkin Pie race fell on IMAZ weekend in 2013 (no good) and on Vegas half weekend in 2014 (figures). As a result, I said there was no way in hell I was missing the race this year.

And ... I didn't. Brandon did, but it happens.

Race was in City Park. I got there early, and was not expecting it to be so damn cold (low-20s and sunny). I was not exactly dressed for the weather. Slightly freaking out, I grabbed a ghetto hat and gloves from my car (I keep extra warm stuff in there for emergencies) and ran with them.

My 5K race plan was my usual one these days - go out hard and hold on for dear life ... or so I thought. I ended up negative-splitting the damn thing. Somehow.

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I have never run in that hat/those gloves before and I never will again if I can help it.

First split: 9:41. Okay, great.
Second split: 9:39. That felt a bit harder, but cool, consistency.
Third split: 9:24. That hurt a bit.

Final Stats:
Time: 29:21
Overall Rank: 289/1757
Gender Rank: 116/1205
Division Rank: 24/171 (F30-34)

Sub-30 5K in colder-than-expected temperatures? I'll take it. Pumpkin pie at the end and an anthropomorphic pumpkin pie medal? Totally worth it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

November Round-Up

Wow, I haven't touched this thing in a while. I blame this time of year. I have a lot of shit to get caught up on here - four race recaps, a monthly recap (soon to be two) - and will soon have more crap to talk about too. First things first, even though it's out of order, my November recap. Onward ...

Swimming: 4900m (3.04 mi)
% to goal: 42.7%
Cycling: 198.36 mi
% to goal: 33%
Running: 12.26 mi
% to goal: 52.9%
Lifting: five sessions (2:05)
Other: one stretching session (:07), two yoga sessions (:31)

As I said in the October recap, I was hoping to try to do Turbovember (on the bike (technically trainer) every day in November). It went great ... until it didn't. Managed 19 straight days and 22 out of 30. 

I like that idea in theory; the problem was, I felt like a lot of the sessions were just ... pointless. Getting on the bike to just get on the bike doesn't really make me a better cyclist. I think that's why I never bother with those specific streaks (unless it's just MOVE EVERY DAY. I can do those). I also didn't like how it essentially pushed everything else to the side. Bike - priority number one. Everything else - if it can get squished in (it didn't). 

December has been a lazy month. Oh wait; not lazy, restful. While I may not necessarily have put this body through the mileage it has seen in the past, it has been stressed (move, DNFs, internal pressure) and ... it needs a break before next year. It is telling me to rest it, so I am. This time of the year is stressful enough without me trying to force workouts in. Next year, different story.