Monday, August 21, 2017

Race Report: Tri to Beat Cancer 2017

Yeah, I disappeared again! But I have a good excuse! In the last few weeks, I attended 70.3 training camp in Augusta (went great!!), moved my older daughter to her new home in Nashville (also went great!!), started the new school year with my younger daughter (again, went great!!), and traveled to SC to see the Great American Eclipse (too awesome for words). Training for Augusta has gone fairly well, except for last weekend when I made the mistake of trying to get my long workouts in after working all day - I learned quickly that I'm more suited to get up early and workout before I go to work!

Also, in another bit of news in case you don't follow my Facebook page:

I have registered for the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Raleigh in June!!

Since I'm trying to decide if I want to tackle a full Ironman in 2018, I wanted to attempt another 70.3 fairly early in the season. I have a bunch of factors to consider before I hit the "register" button, but at least trying out a non-river swim for a 70.3 will help me in my training!

Speaking of training - this past weekend was a great one for me with my Augusta 70.3 training (Augusta being a mere 5 weeks away!). I had signed up for the Tri to Beat Cancer sprint tri back when it was going to be my "A" race for 2017 (or my only one LOL). Because of the addition of the 70.3, it had to become part of a longer training weekend. I was supposed to do a 60 mile ride this weekend and I couldn't miss that mileage because the bike remains my weakest area and my training time is more limited this year.

Soooooo, the day before a race, BJ and I did a 43/3 brick (43 mile bike ride followed immediately by a 3 mile run).

Yeah, we look way too cute and way too strong to have just finished such a tough workout! We are super tough that way! :)

And now, we finally come to the race report!

I woke up at 4 AM to head out to Athens for the race by 5:30! I had packed up everything the night before, including my bike, so all I had to do was feed the cats, grab breakfast, and head out! The drive was going to take 45 minutes which really isn't too bad. I parked, unloaded my stuff in the pitch black (thankfully I remembered my headlamp), and headed to packet pickup. It was early and I was met with no lines. I got my timing chip, realized quickly that I had forgotten my safety pin but was thrilled that they had a ton of them near the chip. I got through body marking and into transition with ease.

I knew so many people who would be at this race, which is part of the reason I wanted to do it. BJ would be there, as well as a friend from run group (Stacey) and another friend from run group (Minja) who I didn't realize was there until I saw his strava data pop up later. Sylvia from my Ragnar Trail team was there though I didn't see her until the finish line. My friend Susan was there doing her very first triathlon, having just bought her bike 4 weeks earlier! Judith and George came to spectate, as did BJ's hubby Ed and their puppy Kona, along with the TriCoachGeorgia team who had a tent out on the course! It was like a fabulous Tri-Family Reunion which I desperately needed since I haven't seen many of them this summer while training. I love all of those folks so much!

Got my transition area set up which took a lot of thinking since I haven't done a tri since last June!

Mike the Bike is all racked! I'm wearing my new Coeur kit, repping Classic City Running before the race, of course!

BJ and I headed down to the swim start shortly before transition was closed. The sun was just rising and we each took a little warm up swim. The water felt great, maybe a little warm but the air temp was fine. The race director called us out of the water and told us to line up roughly in number order. We would have a time trial start - 2 people at a time every few seconds. This is not my favorite because I prefer to be in the water so I can just take off and swim. I don't like having to run in. 

The first swimmers were out of the water before I even got IN - and I was about the middle of the pack! LOL Everyone on the beach cheered them as they came out of the water which I thought was fabulous! I got to the front of the line and took off like a slug trying to move through the water until I could swim. But once I actually was able to swim, it went beautifully! My new goggles didn't fog up and they allowed me to see the buoys better than I have during ANY race. I didn't have to battle any other swimmers and I didn't have any anxiety. I just put my head down, so to speak, and swam my race. The only time I felt any sort of pressure was right at the finish when it seemed like I was either being overtaken more, or folks were cramming together more to get out of the water. But I just did my thing and kept swimming until my hand touched the bottom of the lake. Then I got out of the water and did something I had never done before - I actually ran ALL the way up to transition! And I mean ALL the way because it was a long way! LOL But seriously! I ran the whole way up the hill and it felt so easy! I was really pumped!

Transition was exciting - I bought new shoes earlier this week. Real, live triathlon shoes with easy velcro and draining holes to let the water out! They are bright blue and they are simply fabulous! And they fit into my current SPD pedals so I didn't have to learn a new system! 

My new shoes, earlier in the week when I was testing out my new stuff for the race. Aren't they beautiful?!?!
It took a little longer to get through transition than I wanted but I have to admit I didn't practice. Not even once. I need to make sure I practice before Augusta! It needs to be automatic so I'm not having to think of each step. 

Again, I took my bike and RAN to the mount line. Feeling totally awesome, though my heart rate was pretty high. Nothing to stress about but I just have to be aware of it. It wasn't a big deal in a sprint but it could be a problem in a 70.3 or 140.6. 

This course was really pretty and not terribly hilly. There were a couple of rollers but nothing really hard, at least not compared to what I train on. I did push myself a little harder, because I wanted to see what I was capable of and what effect it would have on my legs for the run. The course was well-marked, lots of volunteers and police to take care of traffic, and I felt perfectly safe the entire time. I reached 39.3 mph on the big downhill, and to be honest, I don't remember being afraid (which I usually am on downhills!!). I averaged 16.2 mph over the 14 miles - that is something I've never done before. I think my previous fastest speed in a tri was 15.7 mph. 

Got to the dismount line and then ran my bike to my rack - it was tricky in my new shoes which are a little less grippy than the old ones. But I did it! Some jerk had racked their bike right on top of my stuff which really annoyed me and caused me to take longer in T2 than I wanted. Plus, I forgot to put Lock Laces in my shoes so I actually had to tie them! @@ 

Grabbed my water bottle and headed to the run course. I passed by the TriCoachGeorgia tent and heard the cheers of my friends and Coach Slayer telling me to throw the horns, which I did:

Backwards horns. I'm an embarrassment to the Reapers!
As I ran off to the rest of the course, I was determined to pass the tent on the way to the finish STRONG and with my horns facing the right way! LOL 

The course was hillier than I was expecting. I planned to do a 1 mile/1 minute interval, but in the 2nd mile there was a steep hill so I decided to walk so I could conserve my legs for the finish which I could tell was flat/downhill. I knew I could make up any of that walking time if my legs weren't blown out from pushing up the hill. And I did! 

I couldn't believe how strong I felt on that last mile. My average pace was 8:40 and I know I was going faster the closer I got to the TCGA tent and the finish!

Yeah, so I may have been a little pumped! LOL
I ran for that finish line with everything I had in me! Garmin tells me I was running 7:45/mile at the end! That doesn't surprise me! 

I crossed the finish line happy and feeling strong and confident. What more could anyone ask for?! A blue race shirt, you say?! YES!! It's as if they know me! I was so excited that I got cleaned up and put the race shirt on before I went home! 

So the verdict on this race? YES! Do it! It's absolutely fabulous! It's well-run and the crowd support is awesome, the volunteers are top notch, and the course is lovely! Just do it!!

To close, I wanted to share a picture that BJ's hubby got of Susan, me, and BJ after the race. Look at how happy and awesome we ALL look! And this is AFTER a triathlon! I'm not even sure that's allowed! Shouldn't we look tired or something?! :D

Right after the race, I drove back home to pick up my youngest so we could drive to my parents' house in SC for the eclipse, which is where I am writing this post from. I took a rest day today, but we are going back home in the morning and I am planning to get back to the grind - though it's a recovery week for me. The last one before Augusta!!! WOW! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dopey Challenge Training: Week #3

Last weekend's trip to Nashville and then returning to a 50 mile bike ride set me up completely exhausted for this week. I ended up taking an unplanned rest day on Tuesday so I could just stay home and get things done around the house. That was really the best thing because I was going to be working 4 out of the next 5 days and I wouldn't be home very much. Sometimes, you really just have to skip a workout or two and make sure your own mental tank is full, as well as the tanks of the ones you love!

So here is what Week #3 looked like:

Monday - Open Water Swim
Tuesday - unplanned rest day
Wednesday - 40:00 trainer ride; 4 mile run
Thursday - 1000 meter lap swim
Friday - 48:00 trainer ride; Pure Barre
Saturday - 10 mile long run 
Sunday - rest day

Yeah, I know what you must be thinking: "This doesn't really look much like a Dopey training plan."

Ok, so I'm going to spill the beans on my little secret, even though it hasn't been confirmed yet (which makes me a bit nervous, but I'm going to just go ahead and blurt it out).

I was able to get an entry to the Sold Out 2017 Ironman 70.3 Augusta in September!!

Isn't that exciting?! I wasn't going to say anything publicly until I received my confirmation from Ironman, which was supposed to be this week. I haven't gotten the confirmation yet, but I've been assured by the charity who I secured my registration from that Ironman has my name and email and will be getting in touch with me soon, so I'm going to go ahead and spread the word! 

So as for the training plan, it's going to switch from a Dopey training plan to the Super Simple Ironman 70.3 Training Plan that I used as a framework back in 2014 for my first Augusta 70.3 - this time I will be following it a bit more closely, however! ;) So this week I will be starting Week 9 of 16, which is a bit intimidating, but overall I'm really only behind on the long bike mileage. I'm doing pretty well on the swim and run miles. 

As it would happen, the only thing I'm really going to miss by switching away from a Dopey-focused plan are the Race Simulation weeks for July-September, but I will still get to do them in October-December, and I think that will be plenty. I will be running still on back to back days when I do brick workouts while I train for the Half Ironman. :)

I am absolutely thrilled about being able to race in Augusta again! I've been aching to do another 70.3, particularly this race so I could try to improve my performance. But I'm also not going to put a ton of pressure on myself since circumstances are different this time and my training will have to reflect that. I will train and race to the best of my ability and that will have to be sufficient! 

I can't believe it's nearly August already! Reece and I start back to school on Wednesday and her dance classes and science class start in two weeks! It's going to be a really busy month for me, but I know there are plenty of folks out there who have much more intense schedules than I do and manage to train just fine. I will have to pull some early days, like I did on Saturday when I did a 10 mile long run  at 5 AM with some ladies from my Moms Run This Town group, but that actually works out fine for me because I'm an early riser! 

Today I shared the following picture with a friend of mine who just completed her firs Oly Tri yesterday and has registered for her first 70.3 next spring: 

That's how I'm feeling right now. I'm a little scared and a lot excited! I had been hoping and dreaming and planning to race in Augusta this year and it sold out before I could save up the money. When this opportunity came to me for not much more money than a regular registration, I felt like it was just meant to be. No, I haven't had the chance to train all year like I did last time. And no, I won't have a completely open schedule where I can train whenever and wherever I please. But it will be OK! Training doesn't have to be perfect to be effective. 

And just think... in a mere 8 weeks, you'll get to listen to me ramble about doing my 2nd Half Ironman! Aren't you SO excited?!?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dopey Challenge Training: Week 2

Well, this week was just a tiny bit insane! I'd go into all the various details, but since it's Sunday evening and I apparently lived through it - then it really must not have been as bad as it felt at the time!

First, here is what training looked like this week:

Monday - 4 mile run plus an 800 meter swim (Pure Barre class in the evening)
Tuesday - XT (18.9 mile bike ride)
Wednesday - 4.6 mile run plus a 900 meter swim (Pure Barre class in the evening)
Thursday - XT (13.3 mile bike ride then a 4 mile run off the bike)
Friday - rest day [drove to Nashville to bring home my daughter for a few weeks]
Saturday - long run (8 miles)
Sunday -  planned rest day but instead 49.5 mile bike ride, then a 10 minute run off the bike

As you can see, that's a lot of training going on! LOL And then add in a whirlwind trip to Nashville and an unexpected 50 mile bike ride and you have one tired Niffer. It's been such a busy summer! But I'll figure out the balance! Right now? I'm so tired that I can't even think of anything to say about this week's training except that it went very well. Even the 50 mile ride felt strong! I can tell you that I will be going to bed early this evening! :D

Tonight I signed up for a Sprint Tri in August, as well as GatorFest 1.2 mile swim and Ride for a Reason 56 mile bike ride in Augusta in August! It's fun to have a few events in the calendar!

Happy training to all and to all a good night!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dopey Challenge Training: Week 1

Hello, out there! Niffercoo is here and ready to get back to the original purpose of this blog: to journal my experiences while training and racing! As I begin to tackle this exciting event that is the Dopey Challenge 2018, I want to chronicle the ups and downs so I can look back on it later like I have been able to do with my other big events! 

So here we go!

This week was the first week of my training for the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World in January 2018. In case you haven't heard of the Dopey Challenge, it's a 4 day event where participants run a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday, and a full marathon on Sunday - all on Disney property! This year will be the 25th anniversary of the marathon and the 5th anniversary of the Dopey Challenge, so the medals and shirts will be special! And that's why I chose to tackle this 'one and done' event this particular year! 

There are a few training plans out there for the challenge, but the one I decided to use to inspire my own training plan was developed by Jenny Hadfield. She's the wife of my beloved Penguin, and she wrote the Marathoning for Mortals book with him that I have used for the majority of my races. She wrote an article for Runner's World in 2013 on How to Train for the Dopey Challenge  - in it, she lays out a sample 8 week rotation for training and I simply used it, expanded it, and modified it to fit my own needs and VOILA! for the first time ever, I have designed my OWN training plan.

Here is what my training for Week 1 looked like:

Monday - 3 mile run [plus a one mile OWS that wasn't on the schedule]
Tuesday - XT (group bike ride, Pure Barre class)
Wednesday - 3 mile run [plus a pool swim]
Thursday - XT (group bike ride, Pure Barre class)
Friday - Long Run #1 (5 miles)
Saturday - Long Run #2 (7 miles)
Sunday - rest day

As you see, there are a few extra workouts being thrown in because I have a sprint triathlon coming up next month! Once triathlon season is over, I will split the XT (cross training) days between swimming and cycling, or I may do shorter workouts of both on the cross training days! Pure Barre is something that I've recently started for strength training. I have always been a big fan of strength training and would use weights in the gym, but this workout pushes me harder and I'm seeing much better results. I still can't even make it all the way through a workout yet, they are that challenging and are hitting my weak points! 

This coming week's training will feature only one long run, and then during Week 3 I will do a Race Simulation (4 back-to-back runs) which will happen once per month. In week 4, I will treat myself to a recovery week and a massage! The rotation continues on (with a few minor variations) in weeks 5-8 with 2 long runs, then one long run, then a race simulation, then recovery. There are rest days built in, and any XT day can be turned into a rest day whenever it's needed! I keep track of my resting heart rate to monitor if I need to take extra rest so I can avoid overtraining. 

For the first time ever, I will get to experience what it's like to fit in training not only around my family's needs but also around my part-time job at the running store! Since I have a gym membership with 24 hour access, I don't think that will be a huge problem! And I figure people have worked their training around work and family (and much more intense schedules than my own) for years and years, and I will have to learn how to be flexible and just do the best I can in the hours that I have available to me! I know it will all work out just fine and I'm not even concerned. This school year I have only one very motivated high school student left to teach, and my work hours are not overwhelming in the least! All in all, I am looking forward to this training season! 

I hope you'll stick around and share my adventures! If you're also training for Dopey 2018, please comment!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Georgia Peach Jam Half Marathon

When I registered for the 2018 Dopey Challenge a few months ago, I realized that my POT (Proof of Time in runDisney speak) was outside of the allowable dates. I needed a race from 2016, and while I ran a couple of races that year, I didn't 'race' them. Big difference! So I put in the faster of my two half marathons from that year and set out to find a half marathon to race before the beginning of October (when the POT is due).

And that's when I found the Peach Jam Half Marathon. This race is put on by the local train running group, but it's run on a greenway that is concrete and boardwalk. And the price for early registration was only $55! Since my ankle was still bothering me, I decided to just wait it out, see how my ankle felt, and wait on the May work schedule to come out to make sure I had the day off! As it so happened, all of those factors came together in my favor and I registered right before the first price increase!

I don't usually set time goals for races, but since that was the whole point of running this race, I decided upon a finish time of 2:15. This is about 5 minutes slower than my PR, but 12 minutes faster than the POT I had already input. That should be enough to get me a better corral placement, I think.

Training from mid April when my ankle felt better up through today's race went about as well as I could expect. I increased my intervals from 2/1 to 3/1 and added a speed workout once a week. The weather has been quite warm all year, but the mornings are usually cooler than they were today, but nothing I can do to control that!

I woke at 4:30 this morning, fed the kitties, rolled, and drank my Generation UCAN drink. I left at 5:30 so I could arrive with plenty of time to pee the hundred times I have to do when I drink UCAN! The traffic was minimal and I made great time and got an excellent parking spot. I hit the potties (real ones at the park! WOOHOO!) and then did a 1 mile warm up, testing out 4/1 intervals. My reasoning for the increase in interval is that The Penguin has you doing a longer interval than training, so if it's good enough for The Penguin (John Bingham) then it should be good enough for me, right? And my reasoning for the mile warm up is because the first mile of any workout/race for me is terribly slow. With a time goal, I didn't have any room to spare.

I did my warm up, and then hit the potty one last time before heading to the start line. I am very impressed with Dirty Spokes Productions - packet pick up was easy and organized and there were announcements every few minutes that there would be a pre-race meeting 10 minutes before the start. And I could actually hear the announcements! They must have a great PA system!

Waiting at the start line, I was getting pretty nervous. Time goals are scary for me especially with such little real training. As I was looking around, I saw my friend Patrick and that helped to distract me until the start of the race! This was a gun start for timing so when they said, "Go!" I hit my watch and made my way forward. The half was capped at 500 so it didn't take too long to get across the start line, but it was quite crowded going down to the greenway. I skipped my first run interval for safety's sake, and after that, I made sure to throw up my arm to announce my walk for at least the first 5 miles. Everything thinned out within a few miles and only really got congested again when I neared the out and backs around miles 4 and 10.

With my new watch, I can set intervals but still have a screen to show me my overall pace. My goal was 10:30 for the first 5 miles and then 10:20 for the next 5, and then maintain at least 10:20 through the finish - that should give me a 2;15 finish. At mile 5, though, I was averaging 10:20! Not too bad. I picked up the pace, despite the fact that it was quickly getting hot and humid (70 degrees at the start @@), and was averaging 10:10 by mile 10.

And that's pretty much where it started to fall apart.

I started to hurt in many places. First my ankle, then it traveled up to my IT Band on the left side. I knew it was just muscle tightness, but it hurt, darn it! LOL And then I started to feel a bit dizzy and had that tell-tale tingling on the top of my head. I had NOT been paying attention to my hydration. And it dawned on me after the race that I had not brought any Nuun or ANY electrolytes with me, and on such a hot day where I was sweating so terribly - that was NOT smart. They had one station with Gatorade around the halfway point, but I skipped it in favor of water thinking that my UCAN had me covered. Well, maybe for nutrition but not electrolytes. Oops!

I started to struggle and my pace took a dive. Looking at the mile splits, I went from sub 10s to 10:30s. Still not bad, but I had my goal in mind. I knew that it hurt and felt awful, but I also knew that meeting my goal would take all that pain away! ;) So I decided to skip the last several walk intervals and just push forward, since I couldn't muster any additional speed.

And it worked! Just as I was coming around to make a final push to the finish, I heard my friend Patrick give me a shout out and that gave me a little extra umph... but looking at my finish line photo you can tell that I am wiped out!

But I did it! Official time is 2:12:50! My 2nd best half marathon EVER!! I am SORE and I actually took a nap this afternoon! But I really did enjoy pushing and I'm looking forward to pushing again on another race when I'm actually fully trained!

And now I'm one step closer to Dopey! I updated my POT this afternoon as soon as the results were posted! Woohoo! Now to recover this week and then get ready for the Peachtree Road Race on the 4th of July and possibly a Sprint or Oly tri in 4 weeks!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Race Report: 26.2 with Donna

Here I am! I bet you thought I was never going to blog again. Or maybe you just hoped so? Well, either way... I'm BAAACK! Why now? Two reasons: the first is that this year I have been chosen to be ambassador for two of my favorite brands: Nuun and Skirt Sports (more on that another day!) And the second reason is why I'm writing today - to write a Race Report about Marathon Number 5!! 

This past weekend I drove down to Jacksonville, Florida to 2 of my dear friends to meet up with 20+ of my friends from Running of the Ears to participate in one of the best marathon weekends around - the 26.2 with Donna National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer! I have been hearing about this race weekend for the last few years. My running friends simply RAVE about it. Since this year was the 10th anniversary, and since it would be my 5th full marathon, I decided to go for it! 

Friday Night Pizza Party with the ROTE gang!

I registered way back last summer and was planning for this to be the marathon where I would finally GO for it. I would push hard and I was hoping to finish between 30 seconds to a minute per mile faster than my MCM 2015 time. I wanted so badly to set a PR since this would be the first time I was going to be training for only one marathon. The last two times I did marathon training, I was trying to become a Marathon Maniac and I would have to complete two marathons in short succession. But this time was going to be different and I was so excited. 

But as we all know, the best-laid plans...

Last August while I was training for Ragnar Trail Carolinas, I took several hard falls and many small tweaks in my left ankle. I didn't think much of it, and right after the relay, I jumped head-long into marathon training - incorporating hills and speed right off the bat. I would notice that my ankle flexibility was diminishing and I would have some pain for awhile after my workouts. But it wasn't too much to handle. And since I wasn't feeling anything during my runs, I didn't worry about it too much. In early December rolled around and we experienced our first cold snap. I noticed that I would feel something in my ankle at the beginning of my runs, too, but it would go away a couple of miles in. Again, I didn't worry too much. But then there was a run in sub freezing weather and I felt my ankle the entire time - so I cut it early and made an appointment with the doctor. 

Luckily for me, the doctor was able to see me right away and he had good news fore me: I had not torn or strained a ligament or tendon! The problem was with my tight hamstrings and calves - they had tightened up during the big falls to protect the ankle joint and since I didn't rest them so they could release, they just continued to tighten. As the muscle warmed up, it would loosen up which is why it didn't hurt while I was running - but then post-run they would tighten again and it would hurt again. He gave me foam rolling, balancing, and exercises designed to rehab the weak ankle and relax the muscles. And I didn't have to stop running but just needed to cut back on my intensity and shorten my intervals. I was only able to get up to 14 miles twice in training but my recovery was doing very well leading up to the marathon. I felt about 97% recovered by the time I left for race weekend and figured I'd be able to complete the race. :)

I was in for a big surprise! 

My marathon buddy, Jill, and I were the only ones in our group who were doing the full so we planned to stick together. I had set up my watch for 1/2 intervals and planned to start with 1 run/2 walk until the halfway point and then if I felt good, I'd flip it around and do a 2 run/1 walk which is what I did during most of my training after I'd seen the doctor. It was a good plan!

Jen and Jill looking Pretty in Pink!
The weather forecast called for highs in the mid to upper 70s and bright sunshine, but on race morning we were greeted with overcast skies. This was something to be taken advantage of, no doubt! We started off with the 1/2 and about 2 miles in, my ankle hadn't given me ANY grief at all. Not even a little twinge - and the clouds were hanging in there - so we decided to push it a bit and run through two intervals (3 minutes) and then walk the next interval (which would alternate between 1 or 2 minutes). This felt great and we were able to keep that up for the entire first half - crossing the 13.1 mat with a time of 2:28! I was feeling strong and enjoying the most incredible crowd support of any race I have EVER participated in! 

And then - the sun came out. 

It wasn't even a gradual thing... it was like BAM! Here is the Florida sun right in your face! The temps soared, the sun was relentless and there was no more shade, and everything went south in a hurry. My ankle was twinging towards the end of the intervals and we decided to cut them back down, and then my feet started to really, really hurt. It was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before! We pushed through for the next few miles and then around mile 18 we had to stop running and start walking. And that's how we finished the race. It was hot and bright and miserable - still we kept a decent walking pace the entire time. But my gosh my feet HURT. I have never experienced anything like that before. I wasn't sure if it's because I've been wearing Hokas at work and my feet became used to the cushioning, or it it was just a result of being severely undertrained, or if it was just the crazy heat. But my feet were killing me. The good news, though, is that my IT Band/knees that have always bothered me in previous marathons didn't bother me one bit! My feet more than made up for it! LOL

I was so surprised at how the spectators will still everywhere even in the waning hours of the race! People in neighborhoods were cheering and thanking us for participating! Jeff Galloway and his wife passed us and said, "You're getting it done!" I said, as he passed, "Hey! That's -" and before I got the words out, he gave us a wave as he and his wife continued on! Their finish time was less than 20 minutes before ours! :) Our next brush with fame came when "THE Donna" and her husband passed us right before the bridge! They were being interviewed by the local news guy who was running alongside them - all the while, we were walking behind them! Their finish time was than 3 minutes before ours! 

There was only one situation that caused my ankle to give me grief and that was when the camber of the road was steep - like on the ramp up to the bridge and then several places on the bridge itself. And that was towards the very end of the race so it was especially hard. But as soon as the road evened out, then my ankle was fine! Yep, even at the end of 26.2 miles! And once I crossed the finish line and had a minute to relax, then my feet also stopped hurting so badly. Our finish time was 5:52:38! I was thrilled! Two months ago, I wasn't even sure I'd be able to finish at all. Even a month ago, I was considering dropping down to the half. The fact that I finished, and that my ankle wasn't severely messed up, and that I managed a smile at the finish? That was just icing on the cake! 

Marathon Finisher for the 5th time!!
I'm now 48 hours post-marathon and I'm getting around marvelously! Foam rolling still makes me want to cry, but it's getting better! I went to the grocery store this afternoon and walked across the parking lot and around the store with ease! Isn't that the most wonderful thing?!

Now, despite the fact that I'm feeling really well, I'm still planning to take a week or more off from all exercise (except the PT exercises for my ankle which I will resume just as soon as my hamstrings feel back to normal). I think my body and mind could really use a little bit of a break. I haven't taken much time off (except for a week after my doctor's appointment in December) in the last 12 months. And late 2017 is going to be a big one for me as I prepare for the Dopey Challenge in January 2018! So now is the time to rest and reset for my next big adventures! 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Race Report: Grayson Day Road Race

Ok, this is going to be a short race report - mostly because the race was already 8 days ago and I didn't even take any pictures! LOL

We decided to do this 5K race the night before - "we" being my husband and I. He is nearly done with the Couch to 5K program on his way to his first 10K race on the 4th of July, and he wanted to see if he could improve his time from last year. For me, I wanted to run this race that I'd heard is "fast and flat".

I have not done ANY speed training in well over a year, thanks to marathon and Dark Side Challenge training. My focus has been elsewhere. And I was only 2 weeks out from the Dark Side Challenge and technically still in the Recovery phase. I had tried earlier in the week to add a little "umph" to my runs and had seen a little success, so I decided to set a goal of coming in under 30 minutes.

The morning of the race was pleasantly cool and we drove the 15 minutes to the race start area. That was very nice! I decided to do a 20 minute warm up since I do not really get into a groove with running until the 4th mile, so if I don't do a fairly long warm up before a 5K then I never really get into it before the finish line.

I timed my warm up almost too perfectly and my husband was texting me that folks were lining up for the start! Oops! But I did get there just in time to start - and we were off!

The course has 2 loops with some out-and-backs on the 2nd loop. And while it is pretty 'flat and fast' there are so many turns for the out and back that I lost some of the momentum I had. But that's OK. I was pushing my pace, but not to the point where I couldn't breathe through it. And I wasn't taking any walk breaks. It was a challenge but not an overwhelming one. I felt like I was working hard but not that I was going to be sick.

When my mile 1 pace came in at 8:58, I was like, "Game ON!" :D Mile 2 was also 8:58 and I was trying to remember what my 5K PR was. Doing math in my head while I'm running is simply NOT good for me! Mile 3 had the most of the incline and the out and back where I had to turn around and then go up the incline, so I lost a little speed and ended up with 9:01. Still - simply amazing for not having done any speed work!

I crossed the finish officially at 28:12 - and my Garmin had me running slightly over the distance at 3.15 miles. It was an 8:57 per mile average but since they keep the course official, it was 9:05 average. So now I need to do some actual speed work and come in with an official average under 9 minute miles! :D

And yes, it was a PR by around 15 seconds! Not much faster, but for no training? Heck yeah, I'll take it!

And next year... I'll be back. And trained! So, look out!