Wilkes Barre Duathlon 6.15.14

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Happy Father’s Day

Ever since I took up running my dad and I have gotten very close. Not that we weren’t close before, it’s just different now. He was not a runner before me but he enjoyed seeing me race and seeing me run that he decided to give it a go. After I ran my first marathon he signed up for a half marathon. He is now registered to run his third half marathon this October  – the Wineglass Half. I can’t even begin to express how much I love sharing running with him – but what makes me even more excited is that I can share biking now too. He is actually the better biker between the two of us. He has been spinning regularly for years and got into road/trail biking this past spring. He now bikes on the weekends with a team that does 30-40 miles in a day. #holymoley #mybutthurtsthinkingaboutit

Last year we both signed up for the Wilkes Barre Duathlon – 5K run /16 miles bike / 5k run. What we didn’t realize was the caliber of athletes that this race drew. The winner last year ran a 5:30 avg mile and averaged 24 mph on the bike. These were definitely athletes to look up to. Last year there were about 120 participants…this year about 90. We finished near the back of the pack last year and did not expect any different this year. Our plan was to beat our personal times from last year. Dad’s secret goal was to come in top 5. Me? I just wanted to survive lol

**I should probably note I did not ride a bike at all this season. Never made it to a spin class either. I don’t recommend racing without planning.

We arrived at 7:00am ready for the race. Grabbed our bibs and dropped off our bikes at transition. As we dropped off our bikes we noticed only one porta potty at transition – there were 90 competitors – long lines as always! We also noticed that there were no bibs for our bikes!?!  Not that I wouldn’t mind accidentally wheeling out one of those $1,000 Cannondale bikes – but Dad just bought a new Specialized bike and I could see the worry in his eyes. (no worries they tagged and checked the bikes after the run started. phew) 7:30am – time to race!

Pre-race fuel – chex cereal. I forgot to bring gluten free bagels with me.  Crossed my fingers and hoped that would provide enough energy.

First 5K – here we go!!! The race starts in the square in downtown Wilkes Barre – runs over the bridge to Kingston and does a loop along the  river in Kirby Park. Nice and flat. I started too fast (I blame the ironmen running 6 minute miles that I was trying to keep up with) – ended up pushing to hold a 8:25 pace. Dad clung to my heels and used me as a pacer so he wouldn’t go to fast. Opps sorry dad. We both entered transition together. Quick gear change and we were off for the bike.

16 Mile Bike – Oye Vey – this was not fun. I have not practiced with clips on my bike so opted to bike in my running sneakers. I know the benefits of clips and boy was I hurting already. I pedaled along as I was being passed over andover again – and eventually Dad. The course leads out of the city uphill and into an industrial park -more hills. Then heads back into town. It’s a pretty simple course – just wish there were more down hills than up hills. NEPA is coal country – so you can’t avoid hills. There were moments where I thought “come on give me a flat tire so I have a reason to DNF!” I wasn’t so lucky. Finished the bike in 1:06:13. Dad finished in 50:57.

Final 5K – this is the fun part of a duathlon or triathlon. Trying to figure out how to run on legs that are already spent. I always think of Ironmen during this part – how they only have to do a marathon to the finish, certainly I could run a 5K!  The best advice I’ve been given during this transition is to sprint out of transition to loosen the legs and then settle into a refined pace. I sprinted up the bridge and coasted on the downhill into the park. I figured my dad was pretty far ahead of me and I hoped I’d see him coming out of the park as I went in – we must have just missed each other. I remember this point of the race last year – I felt like I had a stone in my stomach. This race last year was so hard for me and my G.I. It was before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  I had eaten a bagel that morning and by the 2nd run I was so bloated and uncomfortable. I was amazed how one year later it wasn’t my stomach that hurt and it wasn’t my legs. It was the 6 inches between my ears. I just needed to shut up and run. 27:01 later I crossed the finish line. As I came through the final 400 meters I could hear dad cheering for me – he’s always there when I need him.

WB Duathlon 2014

 

Post Race – Dad placed #5 in his Age Group!! I took First in my age group (out of three people! So it was legit! lol) What a great race day we had. I can’t wait for next year. Each race is about progress not comparison. and Heck if you don’t hang out with the best you’ll be like the rest. You gotta be around the high achievers if you want to be there one day! #ironmandreams

Scranton Half 4/6/2014

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Half Marathon #2 for 2014 – #7 for total.  AND a new PR!

This past weekend was a trip back home to run the Inaugural Scranton Half. Every year there is the Steamtown Marathon in October, but never a half option for that race.  My parents emailed me in November and asked if I wanted to run it with them, of course! This was before I found out that I had gotten into the NYC half – which was only two weeks ago.  Either way I was excited to run because a) it was my hometown b) my parents were running it c) my mom paid my registration fee (win!)  My game plan for this race was to run slow and steady – wasn’t looking for a PR.

The day before the race started out they way any day before a race should NOT start. Pilot and I were pulling apart the yard. For four hours we tore out dead flower beds, trimmed trees and cleared brush from behind the shed. Not exactly what is considered “rest” before a race.  Lifting, bending, carrying, pulling, trimming — you name it we did it.  After quick showers and food we were off and driving the 2 hours to my parents house.  Upon arriving at my parents house I was set to work and Josh was left with the duties of watching TV with my brother while drinking a beer, rough life. I on the other hand was whisked up to my mother’s office to set up her iPod and GPS watch (both which where given to her as Christmas gifts and she had not used yet). The easy part was setting everything up — the part I needed more wine for was the explanation of how to use them to my mom. All in all – she got it! Yeah!

Moving on – pre race meal.  It’s been said that your pre-race meal can make or break your performance in a race,  apparently my parents missed that memo as their pre-race plan was to head to the hockey game for beer and pretzels.  I suppose that counts as carbs? I on the other hand knew I wouldn’t be able to stomach a beer or a gluten filled pretzel prior to a race (thanks celiacs for making bar food off limits now!) – instead I whipped up my gluten free penne that I brought with me and scarfed it down before going to watch the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins beat the Albany Devils in overtime.  #familytime

Race morning – The race wasn’t scheduled to start until 9am so we didn’t attempt to leave the house until 6:30am. Our goal wasn’t to get to the start early but to instead find parking which was limited. (Upon leaving the race we spotted cars parked on medians and on the shoulder of the road) We all sat relaxing in my dad’s Rav4 waiting for our cue to line up at the start. Considering this was the first year for the race we were all worried about the amount of volunteers giving directions, water stations and the ever important bathroom. I’m happy to report that bathrooms before and during the race were plentiful.

Pre Race fuel – Udi’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin bagel and peanut butter. +Coffee (black)

At the start – On the way to starting line I lost both my mom and dad – I think the freezing temps had their bladders in a tizzy as they kept finding a bathroom to pee.  Or maybe just nerves. Oh well. I settled into the 9:30 pace corral and waited for the gun to go off.  I was still looking around for my dad (his plan was to run about my pace) and figured we could run together. No luck though – as the gun sounded and we started walking towards the start timing mat. I had no idea what pace I was running once we crossed the starting line – I hoped I wasn’t going too fast or too slow. I guess I would find out as the race went on.

Miles 1-6 : HILLS. HILLS. HILLS. Rolling up and over the hills of Scranton. We started through a neighborhood where almost everyone was out of their house cheering for us! At this point we were all still smushed together and I was forced to bob & weave through everyone. I had settled into a comfortable but hard pace as I trudged up the hill known as Electric Ave (yes go ahead and sing the song). The hill crested and we made our way down Washington Ave back towards the city center.  As I came up to the mile marker for Mile 7 I was amazed that only 1:01:00 had passed. Had I really ran 7 miles in just over an hour. Doing quick math in my head I realized I could possibly PR this race! I tried not to get too excited but that was hard to do!!

Miles 7-10 : Lackawanna County Trails. This is a rails to trails route. Half pavement half crushed stone/trail.  The most difficult part of this section was the limited space we had on either side to pass people. I kept finding myself held up behind someone not able to scoot around. Looking back on it, it was probably a blessing to have people holding me back every couple hundred feet – kept me from getting to tired. I also have to give a shout out to my beast of friend George that I saw at this part of the race. The trail was an out and back style – so as I was entering the one loop the masters and top racers were on their way out. Watching these top men and women was such an inspiration. Seeing them give their all as they went into the final three miles was amazing. High Five George! (who btw didn’t see me 😛 )

The Final 5K – My current race strategy is to treat the first 10 miles like a training run and take on the last 5K like a race. I am loving the results. When I got to the mile 10 marker I was ready – ready to kick it in and finish. I couldn’t tell you what pace I was at – but it was uncomfortable. The poor spectators must have thought I was in a lot of pain as I grunted and gritted my teeth back to the Stadium to finish.  The crowds lined the entrance to the stadium and were cheering us all on. I had a techno rendition of  “Brave” blasting on my iPod as I came through the final 800 meters. We finished with a half loop of the track and as I rounded the 400 meters I could see the official time clock 1:54…I did it! I cut 6 minutes (7 minutes after learning of my official chip time) off my PR just 2 weeks back. I felt amazing! Even better – after coming through the finish and receiving my medal I literally walked right into my dad who finished only 30 seconds before me. Oh if only I knew he was so close I would have tried to catch him!!

Dad and I grabbed our snacks, water and fleece blankets and headed back to the track entrance to wait for my mom.  I won’t lie, I was nervous about her finishing. We had a pretty brutal winter and she doesn’t have access to a treadmill for regular use. (She spins weekly and works out but was limited in her runs) I figured she’d be around 2:15/2:20 – at about that time I saw her cross into the stadium – with a face I’ll never forget. She was pushing hard to finish. I ran with her the last 600 meters cheering her onto the finish line. She crossed at 2:22.

After what seemed like hours — we finally made it back to the car where Josh was assisting a lady next to us get a locksmith to get into her car, she lost her key fob somewhere along the 13.1 miles. <ouch> After some kind words and assistance we were off to find post race snacks. One thing to note about Scranton/Wilkes Barre —nothing opens until 4pm on Sundays! With the help of google and some quick thinking we ended up at Longhorn Steakhouse for celebratory beers and food (gluten free too!)

Scranton Half 2014

Great Race.

Runners World Heartbreak Half Marathon 6/8/14

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New adventures! I was so excited to sign up for this race – not just because it was a half marathon, but because I’d never been to Boston and it was a girls weekend with Jesse! The weekend for me started on Friday June 6th – I had planned to fly up late morning and arrive in the early afternoon to spend some time with a friend that I have’t seen in forever. Plans changed when I looked for flights Thursday night (I fly standby and have to take what is open) and noticed that all the flights from 7am onward were booked. Ugh. 6:15am flight it is! I arrived in Boston before the commuters were even on the T. I had an uneventful flight out and managed to figure out the T pretty quick. A few connections later I was out in Chestnut Hill checking into my hotel. The hotel itself was nothing to write home about- Best Western. Moderately updated in an OK part of town. My main concern was being close to public transportation as we didn’t rent a car for the trip. By this point it was 8:30AM – the room wasn’t ready. Luggage checked my bags and I was off to explore the city. But first breakfast! Quick Recap of Boston Sights Day 1 –

  • MDae and Iike and Patty’s – delicious stop for breakfast. Don’t underestimate the tiny shop in the middle of the South End.
  • Freedom Trail – this 2.5 mile trail turned into a 10 mile walk for me. There were a lot of school groups out and about on Friday, so naturally blended in with the 4th graders and joined them on their tour. Learned much more than I thought I would and also realized how much American History I had forgotten from 4th grade! OH well – overall beautiful day touring the city and seeing the sites.  I toured Paul Revere’s home, Kings Chapel, Quincy Market, The North End, Copps Hill, walked the North Washington Bridge over the Charles River, USS Constitution Museum and all the other stops in between (too many to list! Just follow the trail)
  •  Duck tour! Soooo touristy – but so worth it! Dae and I had a blast driving around in the World War II duck seeing all the sights of Boston! Best part was floating on the Charles River. The sailing groups were out that day and the breeze was just enough to keep the heat at bay. Oh and I got to drive the Duck.  Don’t worry no boaters were harmed in my 5 minutes of boat driving.
  • Back Bay Social Club – drinks with Dae after our Duck outing. Delicious hand crafted cocktails. YUM! I had the Derby Highball with fresh ginger, ginger beer, peach brandy and lemon juice.  OH my heavens delicious. Dae enjoyed a Red Rum with beet infused white rum, lemon juice and ginger.

Jesse arrives!!!! While sitting at the bar with Dae I get a text that Jesse got on an earlier flight and is minutes away! OK quick gotta pay the bill and hop on the T back to the hotel. –an hour later I encounter hungry Jesse in the lobby of the hotel. I hadn’t checked in yet and she couldn’t get into the room. I know what hangry looks like – and Jesse needed snack STAT. Quick trip to Whole Foods and all was well.  Now race weekend has begun. Saturday we slept in and took our time having breakfast before heading to the race expo. One very important thing to note is Jesse and I both have temperamental G.I.’s. What does that mean? Basically we have to be super conscience of everything we eat. Fun right? Even more fun, it’s the day before 13.1. We hopped on the T towards Chestnut Hill and journeyed to the expo held at Boston College. First thoughts upon arriving — beautiful campus! The expo actually left a lot to be desired…I really though Runners World would have had more vendors. We wandered through the few vendors – grabbed cowbells at the Poland Springs Water stand, smoothies from the Egg White stand, got our bibs and tech tees. Now our sightseeing can begin. Day 2 Boston Sights

  • Boston Mboston finish linearathon Finish line – woo hoo!  What an inspirational moment. There are no words to describe how I felt looking at the Boston Marathon finish line. So many runners aspire to run that race and cross that finish line.  Definitely  a moment to remember. BUT in the same moment – two blocks down I got chills. Remembering what happened in 2013 – the lives that were changed.  How those acts changed me as a runner. I’ll never forget standing there.
  • Boston Public Library– wow wow wow – I don’t know much about architecture/history but I do know what looks good – and this building is draw dropping beautiful.
  • Faneueil Hall– lunch stop. Sooo many choices! Street entertainment. Jesse and I perused each stand trying to narrow down what would bother our stomachs the least — surprisingly I think it all worked out.
  • Beacon Hill – holy moley this area is gorgeous! Strolled through this neighborhood on the way to lunch – beautiful homes and oh so quiet! You don’t even feel like you are in a city.
  • Bunker Hill – Another history stop for the day. I wish we weren’t running 13.1 the next day or we would have climbed to the top.  A bit away from the city but worth the trip.
  • USS Constitution – the ship! I am always amazed by history and “old” things. Loved hearing the stories behind old iron sides and little bit about her history. I would definitely visit her again and perhaps plan it for when she is being rotated.
  • Charlestown Ferrry – on a whim we decided to try and catch the ferry back – hoped our one day Charlie pass would work to get us back to Boston and hoped it would get us back in time for our dinner plans! All worked out perfect! We enjoyed views of the city and the beauty of the day from the ferry!
  • McGreevy’s   – finally dinner. Me t up with an old work colleague that joined us for dinner.  He was running the race too. To my surprise they had gluten free wraps for the sandwiches! OH my heart was happy! Great end to the day as we all talked about the race and our upcoming /past races.

boston     jesse and i uss   RACE DAY! OK – first thing to note. It was HOT. Like in the 70’s to start and almost 80 at the finish. Not my cup of tea.  We headed to the start around 6:30am (race start was 7:30). Considering we didn’t need bag check we figured we would get there at 7 use the porta potty’s and hop in our corral. Well that kinda worked. We didn’t get out of the bathrooms until 7:25 (bathrooms were a bit of a hard find) and by the time we got to the start we were back by the 2:30 pacers. We did manage to get ourselves up a little closer , with the 2:15’s by the time the gun went off.

  • Mile 1 -3 downhill! The first few miles was a lap around Boston College. Flat to downhill and absolutely gorgeous. I wasn’t looking for a PR in this was, just a nice gentle run. I know my body well enough to know that I need to start slow – like 9:50’s until I’m warmed up.
  • Mile 3-6 – hills start! We start rolling downhill through the Newton Hills. During this time all I am thinking is what goes down must come up!  This was an out and back course so I knew I’d be back to this hill but going up!
  • Miles 7-10 – This was picturesque. Just beautiful. I can’t really describe it any other way. We ran a loop through a Country Club and I couldn’t help but notice all the beautiful homes and estates. By this point I was running around a 9:25 knowing I still had the “heartbreak” hill to run at mile 12.  Mile 7 was a nice long ascent and thankfully mostly shaded. The sun was beating down and there was still 3-5 miles left.
  • Miles 10-11 I was looking forward to water stations now – not for drinking water, but for water to dump on my head! Like I said, I don’t do heat! It was hot! On the course I saw at least 3 runners having to get medical attention due to the heat. This only reminded me even more to slow down and not push my pace. I hadn’t trained in heat yet and didn’t want to derail the race completely with a DNF.
  • Mile 11 – HILL – as I entered mile 11 I noticed I was pacing a 9:15. I chose not to look up for the top of the hill. Instead I kept my head down focusing on one foot in front of the other. I could “rest” at the top. I knew Heartbreak Hill was at the end but I thought it was mile 12 – guess I remembered wrong. Woo hoo the end is in sight and it’s flat.
  • Mile 12 – WRONG. This was Heartbreak Hill. Holy achilles. This is where I also saw the Heartbreak Hill Running store gorilla handing out high fives like during the Marathon. You be I grabbed a high five! All I could think about was that during the marathon this was only mile 20 — they still had six more miles to run after this! I could certainly do 1.1 miles to the finish.
  • Mile 13 – The finish was back where we started at Boston College. The finish line was grand and spectacular like I hoped Runners World would put on. I was drenched with sweat and water. I was nervous to check my time – but impressed that the hill only added  2 seconds to my overall pace – ending with a 9:17 average pace. #Illtakeit

Jesse and I finish Post Race – grabbed some Cape Cod kettle chips, bottled water and a seat on the campus while I caught up with Jesse and my colleague. We all had a great race and loved the course. I would highly recommend it! Although Jesse said the porta potty’s weren’t were they said they’d be.  So just a heads up!   Final Story – heading home. As I mentioned before I fly standby. I knew my flight would be tight and was praying I’d get a flight home. Or else I’d have to fly to Washington DC and catch a ride home with my pilot who was finishing up a 4 day trip that day.  As I stood in at the gate I could see the ticketing agent looking at me. He called me up and said “Miss we only have a first class seat open – but you are wearing shorts.” (NOTE – I knew the rules. I should have been dressed business casual as I was representing the company, but it totally slipped my mind) The other agent agreed that me having shorts on wasn’t appropriate attire for first class.  The flight was getting ready for take off….I pleaded with the gate agent “I have a dress in my bag. Can I quick change??”  I’ve done some quick changes in my life but this was top 5.  Shorts off. Dress on. Seat assigned! Phew! I was home free. #closecall Grabbed a few glasses of Merlot and enjoyed the flight home 🙂

NYC Half Marathon 3.16.14

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Here we go again – I am attempting to keep up with this blog for race recaps and anything else I find exciting and worth posting. I hope this blog becomes a resource for those interested in doing some of the races that I’ve done. I read through countless blogs and race recaps before deciding on an unknown race or just looking for tid bits of untold information about the race. Enjoy my NYC recap!

I can’t think of any other way to describe the race than – COLD. Freezing. Frigid. I trekked into the city on Saturday to stop at the expo and grab my bib. The expo was small and cramped – which given it was NYC I should have anticipated that! The day was beautiful – almost 50 degrees out! I made way throughout town and ended up hanging with friends in Brooklyn until 8pm or so that night. The journey back to Manhattan where I was staying was loud and nonstop. I take for granted how quiet my town is. Sleeping in an apartment above a bar sounds great, but not great for pre-race ZZzzzz’s.  I was grateful for a free place stay that night and great company with my friend, a little noise never hurt anyone.

The morning of the race I my alarm went off at 5:30. Goal was to be out the door at 6:15am. Plenty of time to get uptown and in my corral by 7:30am. I downed my traditional bottle of water and bagel before making my way to the F train.  Walking down the block to the F train I realized just how cold it was, I began to get nervous that my Under Armour leggings, base layer and Under Armour ColdGear Infared jacket weren’t going to be enough. Quick stop at 7-11 for a cup off coffee and down to the subway I went.  When I resurfaced on 57th and 6th I was greeted with brisk winds and 28 degree temps.  Brrr… The entrance to the corrals was a little different this year – Wave 1 & 3 at Grand Army Plaza and Wave 2 through 59th/6th.  Weaving through the paved trails of the park with other runners I felt great. Stomach was in check and I didn’t feel that cold.  We arrived at the metal detectors – quick and painless, actually easier than TSA at the airport. The park was littered with police and other security personal.time

It was 7:15am – I had 15 minutes before they even opened the corrals.  Walking around, I was trying to keep warm but at the same time didn’t want to exert too much energy. I ducked into a PortaPotty to —do my thing. Then ducked into another when the wind got so insane that I needed to be escape it. Yes i voluntarily stood in a PortaPotty. Gross. By this time I was freezing. My feet were frozen. My hands were frozen despite my gloves. I was tucked in a ball behind a rock to conserve heat and avoid the wind gusts. Finally by 7:35 they opened the corrals. We all herded together as they moved us closer and closer to the start. We were Wave 2 starting 15 minutes after the first wave. Ten minutes passed and finally — the starting line. I was off!

The first mile was painful. My feet had no feeling and I felt like I was dragging ice blocks under my feet. My goal was to find a moderate pace and use it as a warm up. My face began to burn from the wind gusts hitting it. I hoped that once the sun came up that I would too warm up! By the end of mile two I began to feel my feet again. You know that burning feeling/pins and needles feeling you get when you go from cold to hot? That feeling was all over my feet, burning and aching. By mile 3 – I was feeling all ten toes and my nose. We were good to go. 10 miles left!

The “hilly” part of NYC is central park. The hills are rolling and scenery is beautiful. At the start of mile 3 there is a pretty steep descend and of course what goes down must come up! All in all the hills were nothing like I anticipated. Were they tough? Sure. Were they monsters? Not even close.  I managed to hold a 9:50 pace through the park and that included my warm up. I’ll take it.

Times Square

Coming out of the park you are already coming up on mile 7. It’s a straight shot down 6th Ave and towards Times  Square.  The crowd here was amazing. Full of energy. Lots of smiles and cheering. I visit NYC semi regularly for work and dread having to walk around Times Square – but this time it was different. Traffic tied off and pedestrians kept at bay – that’s the way I like it LOL. By now the sun was shining and I was actually a little warm. Until we rounded onto 42nd street to head towards the West Side Highway. Man was it windy!! There were hats and headbands all over the road that had been fatally taken by the wind from their owner. I kept hoping that the Highway would be less windy – thankfully it was.

The final stretch down the Highway was amazing. I was still feeling strong and had no stomach issues so far. The fluid stations were excellently maintained and were smooth to go through. By this point I was enjoying the race more than any other half I’d done before.  I kept watching my average pace drop down from 9:45 to 9:27 to 9:15 – I began to wonder if i could average a sub 9 min mile?? Around mile 10 I was averaging a 9:02 and I started pacing myself with a guy in an orange tech shirt and crazy colored Asics.  We both pushed eachother – never saying a word for almost 2 miles. We dodged around people but always made our way back to being side by side.  Running with him (whoever he was) pushed me to run a 8:42 and 8:33 split – my 5K time! I was amazing I could hold that pace so late in the race. As we entered the tunnel by Battery Park he had slowed down but I was still hungry for my sub 9 min mile.  I even saw the 2 hr Pace group and knew I could catch them and accomplish my first sub 2 hour half marathon.

The last 800 meters were a challenge. I would have never guessed that I had that in me. I ended with an official time of 2:01 and my TomTom time of a 1:59. Either way I’ll take it. I felt amazing. This was the perfect race to kick off the race season. I can’t wait to set more PR’s this year!

NYC Finish1

Marathon #2

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This post is about a week over due, oh well. This past weekend (October 6th) I ran my 2nd marathon. Wineglass Marathon in Corning NY. Signing up for this marathon was done on a whim. A friend told me about the race. Runners World Magazine touted it as a great race and a FAST race! Sometime around Christmas 2012 I entered my credit card # and committed to #2 around the dinner table while drinking (ironically) a glass of wine. During that time I was also trying to convince my dad to run a half marathon. He had just turned 50 and was getting more athletic. Either I was extremely persuasive or he had liquid courage (thanks Pinot Noir!) he signed up for the half marathon! But it gets better….not only did my dad sign up, but my mom did too! This would be a GREAT family weekend in Upstate NY. I decided I was going to PR this race and was excited to train my parents through this race 🙂

Fast forward a few months…..I am training and getting faster. Foot pain is gone and I’m feeling great! I recently got into triathlons and was eagerly looking forward to the three races I had for season. Little did I know this new love would turn on me. I completed 2 half marathons, a triathlon, a duathlon and an obstacle race all by June. Time to slow it down and focus on my “A” race triathlon and my “A” race marathon. I spaced them out enough so that training wouldn’t over lap too much and I could focus on each discipline. However at the end of June I (on a whim) signed up for another sprint triathlon to get more transition and ‘live action’ practice. At this race I successfully made it through the .5 mile swim, 12 mile bike and was about 400 yards into the run when I fell and sprained my ankle. Not giving up I ran a 34 minute 5K (ironically this was faster than my first 5K that I ever ran, that was a 38:34) Finishing the race with a swollen ankle, bloody knees and a hurt ego.

I lost about 5 weeks of solid training for both my Tri and the marathon. Ended up dropping from the Olympic Tri to only complete the spring (there is always next year right?) As the weeks went on, I feel further and further behind on marathon training. Long runs were cut short due to pain and numbness in my foot.  Long story short, I got in about 60% of my total training miles. Zero speedwork. And limited tempo and pace runs. New Goal for Wineglass – Completion!

Fast Foward …race weekend. We arrived at our hotel around 2pm on Saturday. Settled into our room and then headed out to the expo. Corning is an adorable little town and surprisingly very accommodating to the 5,000 or so runners that were making their way throughout the city. Packet pick up was at the local YMCA and the wait wasn’t too bad. However wondering around the expo was not something I planned on doing on account of the building have no air conditioning and it was hot & stuffy inside. I managed to round up my parents and Jo (mom’s bff who was also running the race) and head to Market Street to see the finish. Grabbed some lunch at the in town brewery. Later that night we avoided the pre-race pasta dinner and instead headed east to Horseheads for Italian fare at Tanino’s, a spot a found online. PERFECT and DELICIOUS. 

Race Morning! 4:15 Am rise and shine everyone! We surprisingly all got dressed and ready by 5:30 am and headed out to the start line where we would take shuttles to the start. This was a point A to point B race where the start was 13.1 and 26.2 miles away from the finish. Before leaving the hotel I would have my usual whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, banana and 2 cups of coffee. Potty stop. Then on the road. Arriving at the finish line we easily found parking and headed to the shuttles. Here we would be separated by half marathoners on the left and marathoners take the shuttles on the right. We all hugged, wished each other good luck and parted ways. It wasn’t until THIS moment that I realized OH CRAP, I’m running a marathon! I had been so focused on getting my parents and Jo prepared that I hadn’t taken the time to be nervous for myself. Oh well, here goes nothing. Grabbed a seat and off we went! Talked to a gentleman on the way to the start, he mentioned he has never run a marathon….as I began to give him a “first timers” speech…he added that he had never run JUST a marathon. He had done 2 Ironman’s prior and just did Lake Placid. Who’s the rookie now? Let’s say I asked lots of training questions and am now very eager to be an Ironman!

The Horn Blows!

Mile 1 – Having spent close to an hour waiting on the start I didn’t realize that I had actually become hungry. Yes, hungry. Even if you don’t run you should assume started a marathon on a growling stomach is probably not a good idea. I tried to put that out of my mind and focused on the pace groups in front of me. I sandwiched myself between 4:10 and 4:25 giving myself a little room to “slack” if the going got tough.

Mile 3 – UH OH. As we approached the 5K my stomach, as I say, flipped. I can’t describe the feeling. It hurt high and it hurt a lot. Not just a side stitch or breathing problems, it was pain. This feeling would come and go for the next 15 miles.

Mile 10 – The last 7 miles were pretty uneventful. I ran a slow but steady pace and tried to zone out to my new tunes that a special someone gave me the week before the race. I trained with it and found it was the perfect tempo to keep me slow and relaxed the first hour or so of the race. (Haim “Days are Gone”, in case you are interested)

Mile 13 – Here we crossed over the half marathon starting point. I was hurting pretty bad at this point and tried to erase the last 13 miles and pretend to start a new race. Just a half marathon to the finish, you can do that. At this point the scenery has been pretty dull and not the gorgeous upstate New York I was hoping for. Most of the race was on local streets and neighborhoods. What was wonderful though, were the families that sat on their porches cheering and clapping for us as we ran by. The race, in my opinion, is logistically very difficult for spectators to travel to watch you run past.

Mile 18 – Medic! I passed numerous medical tents without any desire to stop. But for someone reason I knew I needed this. I am a salty sweater and knew I was loosing to much salt. As soon as I stopped one of the aids looked at me and handed me pretzels without asking. How’d he know? I stashed from pretzels in my belt and went back on my way. Nothing exciting, but worth noting how great the volunteers were.

Mile 19 – Mentally can’t do it any more. By this point my back hurt, my foot hurt, everything hurt. I probably was not helping with the useless babble I had going on in my head. I constantly kept thinking, why am I doing this? I’m not an olympian, why am I out here? I knew it was time to phone a friend. I don’t normally run with my phone, but I’m happy I did! First call – my dad. Mainly to warn him about my late arrival at the finish (I was on track for a 5 hour marathon at this point) Then BFF – just when you need tough love and some good stories. Final call – the boy. Got myself some more tough love to keep me going the rest of the way.

Mile 23 – Holy crap it’s hot out here. The temps had risen to around 70 degrees at this point. In my book I consider that run naked weather. I was coming through each aid station and guzzling water. Some even had ice chips for us! Dumped a cup in my hat and gave myself a nice ice rub down while moving towards the finish. Only three miles to go. Only a 5k.

Mile 24- Woo hoo steep hill! The hill didn’t last long and once again found myself on a flat but beautiful park run. I was trying so hard to enjoy the scenery but the pains in my stomach had yet to disappear and I found myself ducking into a Porto potty. I had given up on time, I didn’t even bother to stop my watch. 2 minutes and then back at it. I found myself doing a walk run to the finish. They say when your legs give out run with your heart. In this case my legs were fine (well as fine as you can be after 24 miles) but it was my mind that I couldn’t escape. I tried to focus on everyone that has told me I bring them inspiration. I couldn’t let them down. I wouldn’t let them down. Right before I saw mile marker 25 I passed a woman who yelled to me ‘only one mile to go, you’ve got this honey’ . Such simple words. She didn’t quote a famous runner or give me a story of encouragement. She simply stated the facts and the smile on her face made me smile and start running again.

Mile 25 – where’s dad???? I’m a total daddy’s girl and I’m not afraid to admit it. When I talked to him at mile 19 he said he would catch up with me at mile 25. Where was he?!? I was being selfish. Forgetting the fact that he just ran his first half marathon (in 1:51 no less) but I needed him. I needed a familiar face. Then there .5 miles to the finish he stood beneath a tree. I spotted him from a few yards away before he saw me. Emotion took over. Tears streaming down my face. It was so relieving having my dad there. The .5 mile I ran with him was the hands down best part of the race. He was telling me how everyone did and how great he felt of his accomplishment. One foot in front of the other, he repeated. I needed that reinforcement. I just wish I had noticed that he was running crocs a little sooner. Opps! But kudos to dad, ran in crocs after running 13.1. #mydadisthebest

Mile 26 – Finish line in sight! The finish is down Market Street, beautiful store front lined street. Crowds lined the finish (still at the five hour mark!) I passed my mom cheering! My friend Jo and her husband! This was it. This is the finish. Crossed the finish line with my hands over my head cheering! Received my beautiful blown glass medal from another great volunteer. Passed on all the after race food they offered (standard fare of pizza, bagels, bananas) and guzzled two bottles of water before even coming out of the finishers chute. Dehydrated much? I staggered over to the curb plopped myself down and waited for my awesome support group.

Overall thoughts- congrats if you made it this far, I realize this is a very long post!!! I wish I had not been injured. I wish I had a better fuel plan. But I am glad I didn’t give up and wait for the sag wagon to pick me up. Yes I didn’t hit my goal time (took some time to get over that but I finally OK with completion) but I gained something more. I brought three people from never and infrequent runners to finish a half marathon. I helped them with their training and pushed them through the long runs. Sometimes who you miss a goal you find that the universe has something else in store for you. I am Beyond proud of my parents and Jo for completing the race. This race solidifies to me that we are nothing by ourselves. I have a longing to be with those that desire excellence. Until the next race….. Run on!!

Ps. Super friend Beth was there too!!! Two half marathons in the year, you go girl! Can’t wait to race again with you! #crush2hours

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Rock n’ Roll – Washington DC Half Marathon

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So I see that it has been a while since my last post….whoops there goes that resolution for keeping up with my blog with a weekly training recap. Oh well! This past weekend I had my first official race of the season! Kicked off the year with a half marathon in Washington DC. What a great adventure! Check out my race recap below!

This race was much more about my friends than it was for me. if you read back over my previous entries you will see that I was sick for about 6 weeks between Jan 1 – March 15th. So my training for this half was VERY limited. I think the longest run I did was a 9 miler, a bad one at that. Needless to say I wasn’t going to pull out of the race, but I would run for fun and run for my friends. I had a friend doing her FIRST half marathon and another doing her FIRST marathon. Personally I was way to excited about their race to be concerned with the lack of training I had for mine.

I spent the night before the race exploring a limited part of DC while waiting for my friend to arrive from NYC. I say limited because I have been warned about bad “squares” of DC and I wasn’t taking any chances. I found myself a cozy pizza parlor (my pre race fuel of choice) and snuggled up with a medium pie and my current read “Born to Run”. I was happier than a white guy beating a Kenyan as I gorged on my cheese pizza and read about the ancient Tarahumara Super Athletes of Mexico. My friend finally arrived and we headed to our friends apartment for some much needed sleep and relaxation. (The trip to DC took us each about 4-5 hrs) Oh and did I mention I thought it would be a good idea to do an Insanity tape with a co-worker at 6am the morning before the race. I DID take it easy on the plyo jumps, but I was a little nervous for my quads!

RACE DAY!!

We eagerly woke up at 5:30am to prep and head down to the start on 14th and Constitution. Grabbed some coffee and oatmeal to fuel up. Heading to the start was a mad house. Gear check was a nightmare. No signs. Not enough volunteers. I just prayed my bag made it to the finish as my cell phone was in there. Now off to the port o potties….or so we thought. Race was starting in 10 minutes and they closed the first set we waited at. I truly didn’t need to go and wished Beth good luck and I would see her at the finish! I get a little anxious about missing my corral, side effect of being OCD and high anxiety. Plus it was only 13 miles, certainly I could hold it that long if something came up right?

And we are off…..Corral 13 hits the pavement. I have been working a lot on my pacing and finding a speed to hang onto and then slowly increasing. My 5k split was a little longer than I had wanted (29:54) so I would really need to ramp it up for the next 10 miles. I was nervous for miles 4-7 as the map indicated it would be a long gradual up hill. As I climbed mile 4 and 5 I felt relatively confident and kept looking for the “incline”. I began amping up my pace and hit 10K with a time of 57:11 (just under a 9 min mile!). In the midst of celebrating my half way point BAM! there’s the incline.

Round out mile 6 into mile 7 was a monster hill through Rock Creek Park. My hill training suffered greatly this winter, so this was a doozy. Head down. Smaller strides. KILL THE HILL. That’s all I could think of as I shuffled up the winding hill. Most people I passed slowed to a walk, I was determined to at least make it look like I was still running! 🙂 The hill did me in and I lost about a minute to my average pace (slowed to a 10:10). I will say the park is beautiful though! Next time I am back in DC I will be visiting this park for a walk/run/hike.

Mile 7 – UGH. So last year I watched my friend run the NYC half and upon finishing she could barely walk to the car due to stomach cramps. She told me how about half through the race she starting getting waves of cramps that were extremely painful. We never determined what caused them. At mile 7 I had the joy of experiencing these same cramps. NEVER have I felt such distress while running. Part of me wanted to run faster to just get it over BUT the faster I ran the more they hurt. I paced at about a 9:30 from 7-10 while riding the wave of cramps. (it was after the race that we determined it was Motrin that caused the pain. NEVER again will I take Motrin before a race. I am usually an Aleve girl for runs over 10 miles to help reduce swelling, but I didn’t have any that morning. I assumed Motrin would be the next best thing. wrong! Basic rule of racing – never try something new on race day!)

The end is in sight……The final 2 miles were awesome. The cramps subsided and I was enjoying the cheer zones. I didn’t see as many funny signs as I did in Philly but they had all the standard signs out….

* If this race where any easier it would be called your mom.

*Smile if you peed a little.

*Run like Channing Tatum is at the finish!

*etc etc

I ended up pulling at 8:30 pace almost to the end where I was faced with a final uphill. WHO does that?? Seriously an uphill to the finish? Grin and bear it. I bobbed and weaved through those that were wavering to the finish as I rocked out to One Direction on the final .1 — and finished! Final time – 2:05 — I was hoping for a sub 2 hour time but with all things considered…I’ll take it! Bring on the post race beer and food!

Overall great race and had an amazing time with one of my best girlfriends from college! Post race we even checked out this fun brunch place on 17th, Disco Brunch. Needless to say the Motrin incident was still in effect and it took us about two hours to be able to gear up and get over there. Positive note, food helped to subside the cramps and I was pretty much pain free the rest of the weekend. Packed up and moved out. Headed up to NYC for the NYC half marathon. LONG drive from DC, oh the things I do for friends. My best friend was running and I told her I’d be there to watch. Not one ounce of regret though, she PR’d and I was happy to celebrate with her on Sunday.

Until another race….or until I remember to update this again! Peace and health

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But I Don’t Wanna!

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Do you remember being a child and looking at your mom after she asked you to do something and crying “But I don’t wanna!” As adults, we still do this. Only less dramatic (well in some cases). I definitely had a case of the ‘I don’t wanna’s’ when it came to my workouts. My running has picked up and I’ve had more time to cross train so needless to say I’m pretty sore.

Every week always starts out the same. I feel like a powerhouse in Sunday, cranking out 3-4 hours of workouts and prepping for the week. Then come Wednesday and Thursday when I start to drag. It’s a vicious cycle each week. I am sure it’s because I don’t get enough sleep during the week, which I am slowly working on. Waking up at 5:15 each morning after an 11pm bed time certainly takes its toll. I recently got a fit bit that tracks my sleep patterns, very interesting to see how my sleep fluctuates during the week. (Quick background on a Fit Bit: basically a smarter pedometer that tracks your daily activity and when worn at night tracks your sleep patterns. The info is uploaded to a website where you can see and analyze your data) I’m not surprised that I fall asleep within 6-8 minutes of hitting my pillow, it takes the average American 14 minutes to fall asleep. However I was surprised that I wake up 11-21 times each night!

Quality sleep is imperative to successful training and development. I average about 6-7 hours a night of sleep, but would like to get more like 7-8 hours. The best deal you can give yourself though is to be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends. My biggest struggle is getting to bed before 11. There just always seems like there is too much to do. The worst part is I don’t even watch TV during the week, like most people suggest I cut out. I guess I’ll just be learning to live with it and work on cutting down my to do list during the week. I’m willing to take suggestions for time savers on day to day chores!

Here’s to hoping this week doesn’t have any ‘I don’t wanna’ mornings. I’m sure ill roll over at 5:15 and curse the alarm clock but I know that my goals cannot be achieved through mediocre training and skipped workouts. This week I vow to not miss a planned workout because of an early morning tantrum. On my long run today, I was thinking about how you can cheat athletic ability. You either have it or you don’t. There is no magic short cut to running faster, swimming harder or biking longer. It’s a battle between you and yourself. If you want to be the best yo have to train like the best and that includes no childish antics.

With that all being said, here’s a recap of training from the week.
sunday
Long run 9 mile
Body Pump
Body Flow
CX Worx

Monday
Snow day – bad case if the ‘I don’t wanna’

Tuesday
3 mile easy run
CX
RPM spin – 1 hr
500 yard swim

Wedesday
Body Combat
* should have taken spin in the am, but once again ‘didn’t wanna’

Thursday
CX Worx
Body Flow
6 mile 1600m drills
900 yard swim

Friday
Sushi night!
* should have worked out in AM whoops

Saturday
Off!

I hope this shows you that I am human and there are days that I just can’t imagine working out. Yes I do kick myself afterwards but not for long. What’s done is done and you can’t change the past. Each night I do go to bed thinking about the amazing day I have awaiting me the next morning. You can achieve what you believe, but you gotta put the work behind it. Until next week! Move more and eat less!