Thursday, October 31, 2013

Putting the "blahs" behind me!

My workouts earlier this week were just BLAH! Monday's run and Tuesday's swim were literally the most awful workouts in a very long while. I actually had to bribe myself with chocolate milk to get the miles in on Monday!

Tuesday evening was better, though. It was my last tap class before my teacher goes on maternity leave. She was 39 weeks pregnant that day and she was still able to kick my butt, but by the end of the class I had finally gotten a series of moves that had given me a lot of trouble. I'm sure it didn't sound pretty and clear, but that part can come later. Just getting the moves down with the correct tempo was the important first step!

Yesterday's bike ride was actually pretty lovely. The temps were in the mid 70s and it was sunny. So unusual for the end of October, so I definitely took advantage of it. But I also didn't push it. I have to save my legs for Saturday's One Can Ride! It's not too late to sign up, either! Here is some more information if you're interested:

 This morning's swim also went better than Tuesday's swim even though I was doing my long set instead of breaking up the distance. It's so annoying counting all those laps! LOL And the water was chilly, but my goggles didn't give me any trouble this time which helped with the frustration factor.

Now it's time to rest up the body! Just rolling and stretching to prepare for Saturday! I'm going to go drive the course tomorrow morning after I drop off my daughter at class. I am nervous and excited, but not as freaked out like I was about the trail race. I hope that the good experience I had there has taught me that there is no sense in being so anxious and upset about an event! Nervous excitement is one thing and can usually be fun and motivational. But there really is no need for the kind of upset that causes me to lose sleep and be frightened!

Be sure to check back on Saturday afternoon for my ride report! :D

Sunday, October 27, 2013

If this is cut-back week, why am I so tired?!

What a completely crazy week this has been! I have hardly had a minute to sit down and reflect on things! I thought I was supposed to be resting up!?! So much for that!

The workouts were great and I was mostly able to keep them at a lower intensity! The one exception was today when I went to Stone Mountain for some cycling on the hills in preparation for next weekend's ride/race. I planned on only 3 laps (which is the 75% cut back). With the sun not coming up until later, and the blast of cold air we got in Atlanta this weekend, I have had to move my workouts around a bit so I can ride in the afternoon warmth. But today I was so tired! On the way over to the park, I was actually yawning! LOL

So I get out there and start my first lap, and I'm feeling absolutely awful. I'm tired and my legs feel like lead. I got around to the Big Bad Hill and I'm making my way up but it feels horrific! I was debating in my head whether or not to just get back to the car and call it a day. I reached the end of the hill and prepared to shift back into the middle ring when I realized that I had never actually shifted out of it to start with! I was pedaling up the Big Bad Hill in my middle chain! Well, THAT surely explains the problem! I am usually in the smallest chain in the lowest gear and still struggling!

I sure felt better mentally, but that exercise had taken a lot out of my legs and the rest of the ride sucked big time. BLAH!

It's not very encouraging to be going into a new week of training feeling depleted already! But the next couple of weeks aren't going to be pushing hard anyway, so I guess that's good. I want to take it easy this week in preparation for my big bike ride/race on Saturday (ACK! What was I thinking?!?). After that, I have nothing big on the schedule until my birthday Half Marathon in April - so there's no need at all to push. I can just increase my distances gently and easily and build that nice strong base for next year's races!

Or so I tell myself! :D

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another cut-back week already?!

I guess it's just because I'm getting older, but time sure does seem to be flying! It is already time for another cut-back week!

This time, my focus is on not pushing up my intensity too much. Last month, I cut my distance back by 75% like I'm supposed to, but I pushed the intensity/speed WAY up.

That defeats the purpose! LOL

So this week will be about moderation and control! So far I've done a swim workout and a bike workout on the trainer with this philosophy and they have both been successful! (My 5 mile run on Monday for my Runniversary should have been shorter and slower, but it was my Runniversary and I didn't put any constraints on myself!)

One last thing - it's going to be a COLD weekend in Atlanta! I guess I'll be breaking out the winter running gear a little early! Not quite happy about that! Hopefully it will warm up before next Saturday when I have my first bike race/ride! YIKES!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Fifth Runniversary!

Five Years ago today, I began this fitness journey! Five years is such a short time, but at the same time, it feels like I've always been doing this stuff!

To celebrate this huge milestone, I ran 5 miles at the park this afternoon!

I had a hard time deciding what to wear, but finally I settled on the shirt from the race that started it all, Princess Half Marathon 2010! 

Still one of my favorite shirts!
 Trying to take a picture of my legs in action... didn't actually work too well, but you get the idea!
I was very nicely coordinated today! My shoes, skirt, and top all matched!
The weather wasn't perfect, but the run went as well as I could hope for! I made a new playlist of my favorite songs, or songs that have inspired me over the years, and it was a blast to run to!
Five by Five!
Amazing five miles! I thank God, my family, and everyone I have shared this journey with over the last five years! And I thank all of you who have read my blog, whether you've been with me almost 4 years ago when I started, or whether you're just now finding me!

Here's to the next five years! :D

Sunday, October 20, 2013


If you have been on Facebook at all in the last few days, you have certainly seen this picture pop up in your news feed:

This beautiful young woman is Maria Kang and she has stirred up quite a controversy. I'm not going to devote a post to the pros and cons of her message or what she might be trying to accomplish with this picture. (If you are interested, however, I think Swim Bike Mom does a pretty good job with expressing her thoughts!)

What I AM saying, if I'm saying anything at all, is... this picture just doesn't have the same kind of power when you've got teenagers:

Happy Sunday, everyone! :)

(Special thanks to my 14 year old for adding the captions to the picture, since I had no idea how to do that! LOL)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

When Peer Pressure is a good thing!

Today I had my 40 mile bike ride on the schedule! I was determined that this time I was NOT going to do it on the trainer. Whatever the weather, I was going to ride outside at the Silver Comet Trail! My first group ride/race is two weeks away and the longest I've done outside is 30 miles. Nothing was going to stop me!

And then I woke up this morning. To rain.

It was a light rain, and no thunderstorms, but I was nervous. The weather man said that the rain should be completely gone after the morning, so I decided to hit the grocery store and then I would go after lunch. And then after lunch, I checked the radar and there was rain all over the place! What the heck?!?! I was debating postponing the ride til tomorrow after church.

My hubby was encouraging me to go today instead of tomorrow. His reasoning was sound - today would be less crowded because of the rain, and tomorrow the temps and humidity would be down and even though the sun would be out, it would likely feel cooler. And with the sun out, everyone would flood the trail to get in their missed workout. To go today, he said, it would just be "You and the other diehards!"

To add to the Peer Pressure, my friend Cindy (of Tinker Bell and Princess 2013 fame) posted the following comment on my Facebook status where I was complaining about the rain:

"Hum, I have this really good friend that does tri's and bike is her weakest part. She did a tri recently that rained and the bike portion was tough, but she did great. I think she mentioned in her blog that she needed more training on the bike in not so perfect weather. You should check out her blog. It is Running Through the Castle....pretty good blog."

She's pretty clever, isn't she?  

Since I couldn't fight the overwhelming Peer Pressure, I decided to get out there. As soon as I pulled out of the garage, it started raining - and it rained the entire way over to the trail. Fun. Fun. Fun. 

You can tell the weather is bad when I can pull into the parking lot of the Silver Comet Trail at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday and get the 3rd parking space closest to the bathrooms! LOL I saw a couple of other people with their bikes and we all just kind of smiled at each other like we're part of this crazy club. 

I won't give you a mile-by-mile description of the ride since we'd be here all night, but I do want to hit the highlights! It rained for the first 45 minutes pretty steadily. The trail was wet, and there were fallen leaves (which I was concerned about being slippery) but I took it nice and slowly and allowed plenty of time for braking at the intersections. There were so few people on the trail that I didn't have to do any quick braking or really any sudden movements. 

Once it stopped raining, the clouds remained for the rest of the ride. Instead of trying to eat on the ride and risk slipping or falling, I used my stops at the intersections to get my food. That seemed to work well.

The furthest I have gone on the Silver Comet was 15 miles (to make a 30 mile round trip), so these extra 5 miles were all new to me. It seemed especially remote, and we weren't as close to the major roads, but it was just fine! Just about the time I'd start to get concerned, especially since there weren't many people around me, I'd see a neighborhood or some businesses. 

And then I came to this sign: 

Good thing my turn-around is only half a mile past this sign! LOL (And please excuse the language - I obviously did not add that graffiti above the sign!)
Speaking of the turn-around: 

I decided to go to the official mile marker even though my Garmin said it was 1/4 mile more than 20 miles. I just wanted it to be officially official!

Half-way point and feeling strong!
Nothing terribly exciting happened on the way back. Though the neatest thing was my perspective about the distance. The last time I was out here, I was doing my 30 mile ride - and that was my longest ride at the time. Knowing I had 10, 12, 13 miles left was intimidating!

Since that time, I have done 35 and 38 and probably a 33 in there, too, but I can't remember. I have also been riding 20 miles during the week for several weeks. I'm stronger, not just physically but mentally as well, I think! 

So I got back to the car, and for some reason my Garmin measured the ride at 41.21 miles. I'm totally perplexed. Even if I did go 20.25 before I turned around, wouldn't it be 40.50 since I came back the exact same trail?!? Anyway, I'm sticking with this being a 40 mile ride! Officially, you know. 

I put Mike up on the carrier and was shocked - he was a mess! 

You may have to click on the picture to get it to zoom in, but Mike is filthy! He looks like I took him Mountain Biking on a trail!

And I didn't fare much better! Yucky!!
I changed clothes and headed home, feeling very glad that I succumbed to peer pressure today - the best kind of peer pressure! I was rewarded with a good workout - some time in the saddle in less than ideal conditions! 

Garmin tells me that Mile 39 averaged 17.6 MPH, and Mile 40 averaged 17.8 MPH! I hope that is accurate - if so, I'm pretty sure those are my fastest average miles ever! I did feel like I was really going fast at the end there, so I don't think it's terribly far off. It also shows a few miles averaging over 16 MPH! Overall, even including going slower in the rain, and being stopped at some of the intersections for what seemed like a really long time, I averaged 14 MPH which is fantastic! And my average cadence was 88 RPM which is super! 

Of course, it's also trying to tell me that I burned 3,384 calories during today's ride! I'm not sure how they get that figure but that's pretty hysterical! If only I burned that many - what fun I could have replenishing! :D

Have a great weekend, friends! Tomorrow, I shall take a rest day! :D

Friday, October 18, 2013

Looking for my "Happy Pace"!

Today was a long run day for me - probably my last one on a Friday until the school year ends. I am now running too far and the sun is coming up too late for it to be practical for me to run long on a school day! That's OK, though! I was only doing it on Friday to allow for a long ride on Saturday morning, and it's getting too cold to do that, either. So I'll bump everything back a day and make Friday my rest day!

Today was pretty nice, though - cool and a little humid. I went to the park and set out to do 8.5 miles with one purpose: to see if I could find the sweet spot of running again, my "Happy Pace"! I used to be able to dial it in so easily. I can remember thinking, and even saying a few times, "I could run like this FOREVER!" I haven't been able to find that place again since The Injury of 2011.

I thought today would be a good day to try to play around with it. My legs are tired because I added my lower body strength work back into my routine now that my tap class isn't so overwhelming. And tomorrow I have a 40 mile bike ride on the schedule, so I need to preserve my legs. "Low and slow" would be the motto of the day, and perhaps that would be the way to find that sweet spot.

I knew I wouldn't find it in the first 3 miles. I never have. The first 2.5 to 3 miles of a run has always been a struggle. Today wasn't much different, but it wasn't horrible either. I didn't use my watch except to make sure that I wasn't going out too fast. That has been too easy lately. I get moving too fast, and then I can't slow down effectively, and then I use up all my fuel, and then I end up feeling like crap and wondering why I'm running at all. NOT the sweet spot! Today my goal was to feel like everything was easy, and then slow down a little more! I really focused on slowing down, even when I didn't feel like I needed to!

Finally, in the 4th mile, I felt it. It was brief, but I definitely felt it! It had been SO long since I felt that feeling. I didn't get my hopes up too much since I still had more than 4 miles to go. It's easy to feel like you can keep going forever when you're not even halfway through your workout! LOL

And I did feel it again. I think the longest it lasted was about 4-5 minutes at a time, but that's OK. Now that I have felt the Sweet Spot again, it should be easier to find it again! SO very exciting! I also did my 8.5 miles which is my longest run without walk intervals! Another milestone to record! I did have some twinges in the last mile, but I expected them because of my strength training this week. I did some extra stretching and rolling and I'm feeling fine. Most importantly, when I finished - I FELT LIKE I COULD HAVE KEPT GOING!! WOOHOO!!

During my cool down walk, I snapped this picture of this beautiful early fall scenery in Georgia! It's only going to get more beautiful in the next couple of weeks, especially because we're expecting a cold snap soon!

Who wouldn't feel great when this is where you get to run?!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend - and may you find your own Sweet Spot in whatever you attempt!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Swim update!

It dawned on me during my swim this morning that I haven't really updated y'all on my swimming.

I know what you're thinking - you haven't been sleeping nights wondering, "What is Niffercoo doing with the swim during this off season/base building time???" 

Well, now you get to find out the 2013/2014 Off Season Swimming Plan:

Increase overall swim distance. Slowly.


OK, really, that is my plan but I have a few other things to work on in there as well. I would like to get my overall distance up to 2200 meters. Right now I'm at 1400, so that won't be too difficult.

I have also been working on breathing in different patterns than my regular bi-lateral breathing. I found that in the PTC Tri in August, when I got flustered and needed to breathe differently, it was too hard since I hadn't practiced anything else. So now I practice breathing on one side/every breath and every other breath. I do that on each side. And then I practice switching it up, in case the water is rough and I need to change plans on the fly.

I'm also practicing a little more breast stroke and back stroke. I needed those when I was flustered in August, but since I only did a few laps of each as a cool down, it was tiring. So I want to build up my stamina in those strokes as well.

And finally, yes, I am trying to build up my speed. I'm not terribly concerned about my swim speed but I think getting my heart rate up a little more when I swim is also a good idea in case I get overwhelmed again and my heart is racing - I'll know how to handle it better.

You may notice that a lot of what I'm working on is a direct result of my experiences in August! I love it when a bad experience teaches you the things you need to focus on next!

This leaves me with only the Open Water Swim to practice. You'd think it be easy enough to get over there, but I need someone to go with me and that is trickier! I think it will be OK if I can't really get over there to practice until the spring, but I would like to get in a couple of swims in my wetsuit over the winter! Hopefully I can make that work out.

I have a big weekend of workouts ahead of me - my longest bike ride and I am NOT going to do it on the trainer, no matter when I have to go to make that work! LOL And then Monday is my 5th Run-niversary! :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Race Report: Fort Yargo Trail Race 3.1 miles

The nerves didn't get much better last night and my sleep was very broken and restless. It seemed like I had just settled into a deep sleep when the alarm went off. I actually considered skipping the race and sleeping. Thankfully I had posted so much about this race because the only thing getting me out of the bed was the idea of telling 'everyone' that I had chickened out!

I left the house a little early after watching the news and finding out that the Georgia Bulldogs had a home game at noon. The road I take to get to Fort Yargo is the main road to Athens, and it wouldn't be unusual for people to be up early to get there to tailgate. Thankfully, the traffic was just fine. We had been warned to arrive early because of parking and I'm glad I did. I got a spot in the parking lot but many people didn't. It all seemed to go very smoothly, though - it was just one less thing for me to have to stress about by being in the parking lot and not on the side of the road.

It was still dark when I arrived and I had no idea where to go. And it was chilly. I wore a jacket but I wasn't planning to run in it. I was concerned that I would be too cold. I got out of the car and followed the trickle of people until I saw some lights, which was conveniently where the packet pick-up was located. I walked right up and got my shirt and bib.

Ugh! Adorable shirt - now I was committed to finishing this thing so I could wear it!
When I was getting my bib, I asked where the start line was - a guy standing nearby started telling me, and then went on to describe the entire course. I told him this was my first trail race and he told me what all of my trail racing friends had told me before: it's well-marked, clean trails, very good folks in charge!

I wish I could say it helped. I'm not sure there is anything anyone could have said that would have relaxed me.

I went back to the car (thankfully the parking lot was very close to the start). I ate my granola bar and drank my water, then hit the restroom. Then I went back to the car again. I'm not sure if it was the cold or the nerves that made me want to hide out in the car. But there I sat until 8:00.

At that point, I decided to do a little bit of a warm-up walk down to the lake. When I got there, instead of turning around, I was captured by the beauty of the moment. I stopped and took a couple of pictures.

The mist was rising up off the lake in the sunrise! Absolutely beautiful!

In a few minutes, I would be running over this bridge!
I walked back up to the start line and got in the potty line again. At least at a State Park there are real bathrooms - well, park bathrooms anyway, but at least they aren't portapotties!

I surveyed the start and finish which were located next to the bathroom and packet pick-up area. We would start by running downhill. On a dew-covered hit. Which was slippery. Oh boy! I could see myself falling down the hill (picture the opening of "Little House on the Prairie" where Carrie tumbles down the hill??). I'd fall before I even made it to the trail!

The Start Line!

The Finish Line

The course runs down this hill, along the lake, and then over the bridge before we hit the trails!
I chatted with a lady briefly while waiting for the start, but then the horn went off and we were on our way! I had wanted to stop and take pictures but I found out quickly that that wouldn't be possible. One big lesson I learned was that my strategy of "start towards the back and pass people at the end" would not be effective on this trail race. Most of the trail was only wide enough for one person at a time. So if someone was slower than me, or walked up a hill, or in the case of some little kids who kept stopping short right in front of me - then I'd have to stop, too. Many of the folks who slowed or stopped were kind enough to step off the trail to let me pass, which was awesome. But it was sort of frustrating. I'm just not used to that. I'm not sure how to avoid it, though, since I'm naturally slower at the beginning. I guess that is something I need to learn about if I want to run future trail races. (Or maybe it doesn't even matter? I don't have to run for time! LOL)

I spent a lot of time concentrating on the technical aspects of the trail so I didn't trip and fall down. And like everyone had told me, the trail WAS very well-marked! There was tape blocking the areas we weren't supposed to follow, and there was orange spray-painted arrows and other marks to indicate where we were supposed to run. Not only that, but I never had a part of the race where I wasn't able to see people running on the trail ahead of me!

The trail was absolutely beautiful! I wish I could have taken pictures, but I didn't want to stop and trip someone up. I didn't get MUCH time to take in the sights simply because I was so busy watching the trail ahead of me! LOL One benefit to all of this concentration is that the time passed by SO quickly! I didn't have time to look much at my Garmin, but the mile markers were posted on trees! Before I knew it, we were back to the entrance of the park - and onto an open field area like the start line. I was definitely able to pick up speed at this point and that felt really good!

The finish line was on that blasted wet downhill, so instead of smiling and finishing with joy - I was mostly thinking, "Please don't trip and fall now!"

Trail race finisher!!
I ended up being #6 out of 17 in my age group. By the way, XTERRA bases age group placement by your age on December 2014 for some odd reason. So this was my first race as a '42' year old. @@

I grabbed a banana and some water, and since I wasn't in the top 3, I headed out. I still had 5 miles to do before I went home. I stopped by a park on the way home that I hadn't run at in a couple of years. I had forgotten how hilly it is, but I sure did feel it! Trail running uses very different muscles than running on paved paths, and I think it uses much more energy - at least for me! It could be because I haven't spent much time training on the trails, too. But anyway, I made it through my 5 additional miles and finally went home!

Loving this great tech shirt!!

Bacon, egg, and chocolate milk = refueling!
So the verdict is that I loved the trail race and I would love to do it again - I just need to be able to prepare myself for it by running on more trails! And I can highly recommend Dirty Spokes Productions - they put on a very well-organized race! It started on time (which is rare these days) and everything was well-marked! And did I mention that they donated ALL the proceeds from today's race to the family of a local man who died suddenly and unexpectedly of a stroke in August?? Yep, this is a class act all the way around! I am pleased to support them in the future! And if you're looking for a trail race, I think you would be pleased with them as well!

Friday, October 11, 2013

My poor nerves!!

Tomorrow I am running in my first trail race. The weather is going to be absolutely gorgeous, and it has been all week. The trails are sure to be in fine condition. I have no nagging injuries or twinges and everything has gone really well! I don't think I could have asked for the circumstances to be more in my favor than they will be tomorrow!

So why am I freaking out??

I can't figure out what to wear! I am absolutely terrified that I'm going to get lost - despite friends' reassurance that these races are well-marked! And I didn't get nearly enough trail running practice. I had wanted to go out to the park at least 2 additional times but the weather and family circumstances didn't allow for it.

I don't think I was this nervous before my first half-marathon or triathlon. It sort of reminds me how I felt before my first 5K. But this is just craziness!!

Hopefully I'll be able to get a decent night's sleep and will enjoy this race. I just want to have fun and enjoy myself - finish time doesn't matter to me at all for this race! So why I'm still so freaked out is beyond me!

If you're up early tomorrow morning, I'd appreciate your prayers! And I'll be sure to post a race report as soon as I can!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Not the post I had planned to write!

On Sunday afternoon, I had to do a 38 mile ride on my trainer in the garage. I decided to take some pictures to post on here and on Instagram to keep the boredom at bay, but I didn't have the time until now to actually write the post.

And boy, and I'm glad that I waited!

What's the difference? I got to ride outside today at the park! Confused? Don't worry - I'll bring it all together by the end!

So this past weekend was full of craziness. But I have my first official bike race/ride coming up in a few weeks and I need to get some good distance rides in. But due to the busy-ness, despite the fact that the weather was delightful on Sunday, I had to ride the 38 miles on the trainer. I was not thrilled with this idea, but I tried to embrace the fact that I would be getting some big time mental training in!

My set up!
I've been riding on the trainer quite a bit lately, so I pretty much have this down to a science now. I have the fan oscillating right by where I'm riding. I have a towel draped over a hand truck so I can reach over and grab it to dry myself off! And then I just sit there with my tunes and try to focus on spinning.

1/4 done! 9.5 miles in - taking a pic just for fun!!
I hope this isn't TMI, but my tummy started hurting right after I took this picture. I had planned for a rest break about halfway through, so I toughed it out. I ended up actually going to 20 miles so I'd have less to do when I got done! It's all mental, remember!?

Break time!
I learned during my last really long trainer ride that a break halfway through makes a HUGE difference. This time was no exception. Just walking into the house stretched my legs enough! And I went to the bathroom, which also helped (apparently having an M&M DQ Blizzard two hours before you ride in the hot garage is NOT a smart idea!).

When I got back out onto the trainer, my legs and mind were refreshed!

3/4 of the way done! And not looking completely dead! YAY!

Yes, I got very, very bored. I started taking pics of my legs spinning! I thought this turned out pretty cool, though!
The family got home a little more than halfway into this adventure. I'm so grateful that they don't care about the noise my trainer makes! But one funny thing happened when I was almost done. My 14 year old daughter opened the door and said, "Are you trying to kill yourself?" I said, "What???" And then she shut the door. What cracked me up was that this was the same child who had just danced for 7 hours the day before in the blazing hot sun, and then turned around and got up that morning and danced some more!! Crazy, girl!

Then, when I was almost done, my hubby came out to take a couple of pictures of me on the trainer for blog purposes!

The ride was done and I wasn't as sore as I expected to be. But almost 3 hours on the trainer - sheesh! Mental toughness!!

That was going to be the end of the post.

But today changed everything! Today I got to ride outside for the first time in a few weeks. I had 20 miles on the schedule, and it was gorgeous outside - not a cloud in the sky and around 70 degrees!

I had been pretty stiff through the morning because I ran on Monday, swam yesterday morning, and had tap class last night. The first mile or so was pretty slow and creaky, but as the blood started pumping, everything just fell into place and I ended up having one of the best bike rides in my life. I noticed that I am much stronger on the hills than I usually am, and my pedal stroke is much more fluid and smooth. THAT is all thanks to the hard, mind-numbing work on the trainer! You can't coast on the trainer. It's constant spinning! I couldn't believe how much improvement I could feel in such a short time. My speed wasn't all that much faster, but how I felt during and afterward was much, much improved. I ended up riding 21 1/4 miles and it felt like nothing! It wasn't but just a few months ago when 21 miles would have been a crazy long ride for me!!

Post 21 mile ride - putting on my "pretty please" face! I want to move closer to the Silver Comet Trail!!
The only thing that would have been better today is if I could have done this ride on the Silver Comet or on the Greenway! I posted on Instagram that maybe begging would get my hubby to move us closer to a nicer place to ride! LOL Since that's not going to happen, I'll just have to enjoy my beautiful park - all 7 laps of it! :D

So this was a fantastic early fall day for me! I hope it was for y'all as well!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Georgia Race for Autism 10K

Well, I went into this race, as you know, battling the desire for a time goal. I pretty much had myself talked out of the goal, but deep down, I knew that I wanted to try to come in under an hour. That has been an ongoing goal of mine - regularly run 10K under an hour - because most of the Olympic distance tris I have seen have a cut off of one hour for the run.

This race is in my backyard, basically, so I left my house at 7:15 and still arrived with time to kill (thanks to picking up my bib the day before). I needed to do a total of 7.5 miles yesterday, and a warm-up would help my overall speed, so I laid down about 1.3 miles of jogging before the race. Just as I was finishing, Jan texted me to say she had arrived. Her house is also very close, but in the opposite direction. We met up at the start line but can you believe we both forgot to snap a picture?! I had looked around for the MRTT folks who I knew were racing but couldn't find them, either. This race is not very big so that was annoying.

It was quickly time to start and we took off. Jan and I don't run the same pacing so we didn't try to race together. This was just a training run for her, and I wouldn't have wanted to screw her up by trying to stick with her. I also tried to work with a system from Coach Jenny Hadfield that I saw a few days ago in passing that talked about running by feel. I used to do this very well, but not so much anymore. The idea is to use zones of perceived effort/comfort. In a 10K the first 2 miles are easy zone (yellow, maybe), the next 2 miles more effort, the last 2 all out. I will have to see if I can find the article again.

Anyway, I stuck with that. I hit the first mile under 10:00, though, with the effort feeling easy (note that mile 1 is all down hill LOLOL) and thought that my chances were good at coming in under an hour. But then mile 2 is all uphill. Oh well, still felt good. I had chosen not to carry water with me, so I stopped at the first 3 water stops which were all before the 10K split off from the 5K. Or at least the first 2 were.

Around mile 3, I realized that I had forgotten to bring any Honey Stinger Chews. Great, no fuel and I was going out for a decent time. Not smart. Then I skipped the 4th water stop not realizing it was the last one - and that was before mile 4. I remembered there being another water stop near the out-and-back but there wasn't. So it was quite warm, sunny, and I had no water and no fuel. Fun. I didn't feel too hot at this point.

Once I'd gotten past that mile 4.5 spot and realized there was no water, I decided that the best approach was to get to the water (at the finish line LOL) as soon as I could. No sense in dragging this out. Get it over with! I was still seeing a lot of people, which is surprising for me. I usually have to ask if there is anyone behind me as I'm on the back half of the course. I hope that means that the 10K is getting bigger!!

As I reached the last mile, and I was pretty sure the worst of the hills were behind me, I was ready to lay down some speed. I had fought off a side stitch and won that battle. I had also passed a few people, which I felt bad about but I was not going to slow down at that point.

With around a half mile to go, my playlist (which was on 'shuffle') suddenly started blaring "The Phoenix" by Fall Out Boy which happens to be my "SONG OF THE MOMENT"!

I heard the opening lines - "Put On Your War Paint"and I turned into a beast! I was like "YEAH!! I got my war paint on!" and I started to run with everything I had left in me! I wish someone had gotten a picture of me at that point because in my mind I felt amazing and strong and tough, but I'm sure I just looked like a crazy old woman! LOL

I didn't care, though! I tried to see if I could finish the race before the song ended - and I did! I came down the 'chute' and the cheerleaders were cheering and some little girls were there with their hands out so I gave them high fives and I was feeling incredible!

My Garmin tells me that I finished in 59:12 which is about 45 seconds slower than my PR. However, this course is much tougher with all of the hills! And I know I didn't go all out because I didn't feel like I was going to throw up like I did at my last 5K. I don't like that feeling, though, so if I can keep up with the 10K under and hour without feeling sick, then I am going to be content!

I waited for Jan to finish up and we took a finishers picture!
We don't even look like we ran!
 I wanted to wait around for the awards, since I won last year and this year was faster. It took forever for the ceremony though and the 5K timing was all screwed up. So I asked the timing company guy if I could check my results to see if I needed to stay. According to his computer, I was about a minute off the 3rd place winner in my age group, so I told Jan we could leave.

She and I wandered around the festival area to see what they had, and while we were standing at one booth I heard my name being announced over at the stage for the 10K awards. I walked over there and was pretty perplexed! Jan took some pics of me getting my 3rd place award which is a lanyard.

I'm not sure what happened as the official results are not posted yet. And when she called my name/time they had me about 30 seconds slower, which would have been what it was according to clock time and not chip time since we lined up at the back. So I guess I'll have to wait until the results are posted to figure out exactly how I ended up 3rd in my age group.

Overall it was a fantastic day! I am glad that I ran the best race I could on that day! I need to get out of the habit of the time goal thing, though. I really want to get back to running/race for the mere enjoyment of it all! This is technically my off-season/base building and I do not want to get injured when the purpose of this time is to build up my endurance!

If you raced this weekend, I hope it went well!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A time goal?

Y'all know me well enough by now to know that I don't usually go into races with big goals - and very rarely with a finishing time goal in mind. But this last week, I have been going nuts with this time goal for the Georgia Race for Autism this coming weekend.

I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but I really, really want to PR this race. This race is just supposed to be my first 10K race with no walking intervals since my injury. Plain and simple.

So why am I feeling this need to crush this course? It's so unlike me!

My 10K PR is 58:33 from back in September 2011 when I was in my best running shape ever. And it was set on a course that was overall downhill and designed for PRs.

Maybe it's because I placed 3rd in my Age Group in this race last year, while running intervals - and not even trying. But just because it was that way last year doesn't mean the field will be that way this year. I could get a faster time this year and not place - just because faster people showed up! Nothing against me, just the luck of the draw.

So now I'm concerned. I've been waiting all year for this race. My family is going above and beyond on Saturday to make this happen for me because my older daughter has a big dance thing all weekend, and the main performances are on Saturday. If I don't PR am I going to be disappointed? If I don't place in my AG again am I going to be disappointed? This was supposed to be the next big milestone in my recovery - a 10K race without stopping for walk breaks. THAT should be enough, right?

This is why I don't like having time goals. Ugh! I hope my head is in a good place come Saturday morning!