Sunday, December 31, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #13

The last full week of training! It's amazing how quickly it arrived! Due to the last race sim ending on a Wednesday, this week entailed the end of the 1st week of taper and the beginning of the 2nd week. Since it was also the week after Christmas, I really didn't notice very much because I was so busy doing other things!

Here is what the training for this week looked like:

Monday - planned rest day (Christmas)
Tuesday - 6 mile run
Wednesday - Pure Barre class; 45 minute swim
Thursday - planned rest day
Friday - 5 mile run; Pure Barre class
Saturday - 7.5 mile run
Sunday - planned rest day

As you see, I threw one final back-to-back run set in there. I just wanted to make sure the legs remember that they will have to keep working!

Christmas was lovely and I'm glad I worked my training schedule around to take the day off, even though Christmas with adult children is pretty quiet. It won't be too many more years before my kids may not be home with us at all on Christmas Day, so it was nice to just be around them while they were here.

Santa (aka Nana Claus) was very kind to me! I had sent two suggestions to her and received both of them, to my very pleasant surprise!

A triathlete's Christmas - HR monitor and waterproof ipod! :D
My wrist-based HR monitor died about a month ago and I really wanted to be able to use it for training on the Kickr. And I thought the waterproof Ipod would be fun for all of the long swim training I will have ahead of me doing TWO 70.3s in 2018! I will do in-depth reviews about each of these after the New Year! Right now, I've only used each once or twice and most of that time has been spent trying to figure them out! :D

My daughter who lives in Nashville also surprised me with gifts this year!

Embroidered towel and special Tennessee socks!
When she asked me for suggestions for Christmas, I had asked her for something that had to do with running in Nashville and/or Tennessee, since I've done a half marathon there now (and I've run with her there another time). But the catch was that it couldn't have the logo of a running store on it so that I'd be able to wear it in public! LOL Not as easy as it seems, you know! But she found it in these Swiftwick socks - that is the Tennessee flag! :) I didn't know until she told me - but now I do, and so do you! She also had my "name" embroidered on a Pure Barre towel! She's the whole reason that Pure Barre is in my life, so this is really cool!

The rest of the week was super busy but I managed to get my workouts in! The hardest day was when I ran and then went directly to Pure Barre. Ouch! I have done PB and then went directly to run and that wasn't a problem. I'll have to keep that in mind next time! The two activities are not easily switched!

Race week begins tomorrow! I have a short run in the morning with BJ, and then a short trainer ride Tuesday before work. The expo is Wednesday and the races begin on Thursday. I am taking my laptop with me and my plan is to write a race report each evening since I will be getting back to the room early. If I am unable to do that, I will at least be posting pics on my FB page: Running Through the Castle so please check there!

Thank you so much for following along with my training! I am so excited that the races are finally here! Happy New Year to all! Here is my Annual Mileage Report for anyone who is interested:

Swim - 67.04 miles
Bike - 1598.09 miles
Run/Walk - 1203.72 (pretty sure that's my first time over 1000 miles of running!)

Here's to a wonderful 2018 for everyone! :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #12

It was race simulation week and I couldn't have asked for it to go better!

Monday - Race Simulation, Day #2 (6 mile run)
Tuesday - Race Simulation, Day #3 (12 mile run)
Wednesday - Race Simulation, Day #4 (16 mile run)
Thursday - planned rest day
Friday - Pure Barre Class; 45 minute swim
Saturday - 6 mile run
Sunday - 60 minute TrainerRoad workout; Pure Barre Class

I tried to treat this as much as I could as a true race simulation, down to the clothes and shoes I was wearing. No, I did NOT wake up at 2 AM each morning. Even that's a bit over the top for me! LOL

My goal was to test out pacing and see if I would be able to continue to keep up the next day. To my pleasant surprise, I was! And this time, for the first time, I got to the end of my marathon training plan and I am NOT injured. In the last mile of my last run, I was fighting back the tears. I really believe the difference has been the focused strength training that I have added through taking Pure Barre classes. It's an expensive addition to my training budget, but if it keeps me healthy then it's worth it! And since I enjoy it (mostly afterwards... during the workout, I may not be thinking "enjoyable") then that's even better!

So, assuming that I continue to be healthy for another 9 days, I will arrive at the start of the Dopey Challenge uninjured! And then if I can make it through the first 3 races, I will arrive at the start of the marathon uninjured. For the first time ever. It's completely incredible!

Thanks to this last race simulation, I have a target pace for each race and I fairly good idea of the outfits I want to wear. The weather forecast keeps changing so my plan right now is to pretty much bring everything I own and go from there! This is one of the main reasons I chose to drive instead of fly, so I may as well take advantage of it!

Now I'm in taper which can be crazy but since it's a busy time of year anyway, I'm hoping that I won't go into a full Taper Madness. Maybe instead I'll be so busy and distracted that I'll just have a little bit of Taper Stupidity where I'm a bit distracted!?!

If you can believe it, I'm only a week away from heading down to Florida! And if you can believe it, I haven't even started packing! But I'm planning to get started later today! :) It's going to probably take awhile, thanks to my "pack all the things" philosophy!! LOL

Hope your holidays have been wonderful - and hope you got lots of fun goodies to help with your training! Here is what SantaNana (my mom and dad) got for me:

New HR monitor (left) and waterproof iPod for swimming (right)
My sweet daughter who is dancing in Nashville also got me a sweet gift: a Pure Barre sweat towel with my "name" embroidered on it, and a pair of running socks with the "Nashville TriStar" on them! She had to explain the significance of the socks to me because I wasn't sure about the logo! LOL But that makes them even more special to me!

My daughter gives the best gifts! :D
That's all for this week's training... one last training report will be coming next Sunday evening! Then it's Race Week! Happy Training!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Dopey Training, Week #11

This week was sort of a 'gap week' in my training. Due to having to back up my long run to Monday and having a big weekend of family events, I didn't start the prescribed "Race Simulation" until yesterday. So instead of having a 3 week taper, I'll have a 2 week taper which works better for me anyway!

Here is the overview of the week's training:

Monday - 17 mile run
Tuesday - planned rest day
Wednesday - 60 minute swim; Pure Barre class
Thursday - 9 mile run
Friday - 60 minute swim; Pure Barre class
Saturday - planned rest day
Sunday - Race Simulation, Run #1 (3 miles)

So, let's travel back in time to Monday's long run. Now, you may remember that I wasn't planning on going over 16 miles in training this time since that seems to be the tipping point for injury for me. The article I read that reinforced that this goal was sufficient actually indicated that a 3:00 long run was sufficient, which would put me right at 16 miles (like it did last week when I did a double long run). But this time it was a single long run and I wanted to try to push it a little bit more.

And I did! So when I hit 16 miles, I still had about 12 minutes to go. So I decided to run that extra mile. About a half mile into it, I started getting little twinges everywhere! LOL I tried not to panic and I almost stopped and walked back to the car, but it wasn't ever more than twinges. I focused on my form and kept going, and I was able to maintain the same pace. But I have to admit I was a bit freaked out. And to make it worse, when I got back to the car and checked my phone, I had a message from my massage therapist cancelling my afternoon's appointment. Ugh.

Tuesday was a planned rest day, and I worked - so I wore compression socks and my recovery sandals to work. Such is the benefit of working in a running store! I was able to use my foam roller and to stretch periodically when we didn't have customers in the store. I was still having twinges but nothing that concerned me too much. However, I had planned a run on Wednesday morning and I didn't think that was going to be smart. But that also meant that if I bumped my run back to Thursday morning it would have to be super early because I had to open the store. Luckily, BJ was willing to meet me in the dark on Thursday... so I switched everything around and prayed that my Thursday run would be OK.

The first mile or so was a bit iffy, but after that it was fine! I breathed a sigh of relief! I'm just trying to get to Dopey uninjured, darn it! LOL

I did two days of swimming for cross training instead of cycling...trying to take it easy on the legs. Pure Barre class also felt really good since I wasn't going to class in the evening after having run that morning! We did some moves that I couldn't do a month ago (of course, we also did a couple of new moves that I couldn't do - but I'm sure I'll get stronger and will be able to them at that time!). And I'm feeling much stronger in my core.

The YMCA decorated the swim lanes! I think the Life guard got a kick out of me asking to take a picture of it!

Weights, tube, and ball... the tools of a Pure Barre class! Looks easy, right? If you think that, come take a class with me!
Saturday was spent in the car driving to and from Nashville and then walking around Nashville two and from the ballet. But since I'll be driving down to Orlando and walking around the Expo the day before Dopey starts, I think that it was perfect for starting the Race Simulation! LOL Run #1 went very well - 3 miles not too easy but not too fast, either. That's the hardest part, I think - finding that balance! I'm getting so excited about Dopey and finishing the training gets me that much closer!

Oh, that reminds me... the corral placements came out last week, too! I'm in Corral D, which is a 4:30-5:00 marathon. I'm in the exact corral I should be in! Now all I need is for the weather to cooperate in Orlando! :D

Happy Training!! Be safe, friends!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #10

I knew this was going to happen. It's December... not only does that mean busy work days for me (this is one of the best times to work in a specialty running store - I get to help others find gifts for their running family and friends!) but it's also recital time for Reece and Nutcracker time for Riley. And then add in peak training for Dopey and it's a tiny bit insane. But I managed to do some rearranging and get all of my training scheduled out beautifully!

So what could make it crazier?!

Add in a SNOWSTORM in early December in Atlanta!

So again... a little rearranging, but it appears it's going to all work out just fine. And let me tell you, that was the most beautiful snowfall I've seen in the last 10 years here in Georgia. The flakes were big and fluffy, but the roads in our area were passable, and the snow actually lasted for a good 24 hours!

No snow when I arrived at the coffee shop to meet my daughter's boyfriend! It looked like this when we decided we should leave!
This is what it looked like on my drive home from the coffee shop! The snow was falling SO fast and it was so beautiful!
TrainerRoad on the laptop!

That is how I set it up on Thursday, but on Saturday I put the laptop on a chair in front of my bike so I didn't have to keep turning my neck. It worked much better, so I'll keep that set up as long as the trainer remains in the living room. I love how I can set up the workout, and then the pedaling triggers it to begin. I don't have to try to reach at 'start' button from the saddle. It also pauses automatically when I stop pedaling, as I discovered on Saturday when my Wahoo cadence sensor didn't get hooked up to the app! I got off the bike and hooked it up! :D

I do think I should redo the FTP test now that I know exactly HOW to do it because I think my target power is a bit low. BUT, it also works out well since my focus is on the running and cycling is just for cross training at this time. So I'm not going to worry about it until February. And the base building training plan for the half ironman might actually cue me to do the test again anyway. 

I leave 3 weeks from tomorrow for Disney... and Dopey starts 3 weeks from Thursday! I am SO excited! My MagicBand arrived on Saturday and I paid for my Memory Maker (Photo Pass - for all of my race pictures and my park pictures) and saved 10% by using a Target Gift Card promotion that my ROTE friend Stephanie told me about (and BJ had also told me about it). So I'm basically all set. The only thing that remains is the last Race Simulation. Due to our trip this weekend to see Riley in Nashville's Nutcracker, I will be starting that Race Sim on Sunday. So again, the weeks will be a little crazy, but it is OK! I'll get the training in around school and work (and Star Wars!!) and I'll get a nice two week taper! 

So far, my paces are staying where they should be and aside from some random and minor twinges, I am still feeling healthy! Praying that it continues!! 

Happy Monday, friends! Enjoy your swim/bike/running... and your resting and recovering, because that's as important as the training! :D

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #9

Well, this week seemed like it lasted a whole month! I'm going to do my best to relate everything that happened this week but I'm actually going to have to cheat and look back at the calendar to help me remember! But first, as usual, here is an overview of this week's training:

Monday - planned rest day
Tuesday - 60 minute XT (FTP test on new smart trainer)
Wednesday - 9 mile run; Pure Barre class
Thursday - 60 minute XT (lap swim)
Friday - Long Run #1 (11 miles)
Saturday - Long Run #2 (16 miles)
Sunday - planned rest day

So let's recap in case you read the thing about the Smart Trainer and you're like, "What?!" I decided to purchase a smart trainer, the Wahoo Kickr, when it was 20% off for Black Friday. Now, this may come as a complete surprise to you... but I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to the mechanical workings of bicycles. I know. It's hard to believe. LOL

So after a week I finally got up the nerve to take the thing out of the box. After another day, I worked up the nerve to take the rear wheel off my bike and attempt to put it on the fancy, schmancy smart trainer. And all I got was a clunking mess. So I called Wahoo for help and got a very nice guy on the other line who told me that my cassette would need to be replaced. So I pretty much freaked out. In the end, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth - as well as a lot of help from my local cycling friends - I ended up taking the trainer to my local bike shop and Bruce hooked me up for a really reasonable cost.

I'm going to do a Wahoo Kickr focused post once I get all of the kinks worked out so I won't go into all of the details, but I did manage to get an initial FTP test done which was pretty interesting (and exposed another problem with my bike, but like I said, I'll be doing a post just on this entire experience LOL). I think I'm going to really like the smart trainer once it's no longer smarter than I am! ;)

I also managed a lap swim this week - marking the first time in quite a few weeks that I've done both a swim and a bike in the same week. I only worked on distance and breathing for that swim. I'm just maintaining my distance so that when it's time to train for 70.3 again, I won't have to start over completely from the beginning!

What pleased me the most about this week's training was the double long runs and how well I paced them. I have let pacing get out of control for the last month or so, and I had to reign it in. I ran alone and I really kept a close eye on my watch. Was that fun? No. But was it worth it? Yes! Absolutely! I did a 16 mile run on Sunday and felt great the entire time and felt like I could do more. And that's obviously the point. I won't be going beyond 16 miles in training, because that seems to be my critical breakdown point for the marathon, but I will be doing it 3 times. I am a bit nervous about this approach, but I have done this distance 5 times now (granted, not after all of the other miles LOL) and my main goal remains to get to the starting line without being injured! And I know that the 18-20 milers are where I end up injured. It's important to note that usually by this time in training, I'm noticing a marked decrease in my pace which is not happening this time, but I would still rather be safe than sorry.

So this week's focus was "Mind Over Matter" and I was successful! I don't have a mantra, per se, for Week #10 except, perhaps, "Stay Warm" since the temps are supposed to go completely crazy midweek and for the weekend. Where it was in the low 50s for my long run on Saturday, this coming week shows the temps being in the low to mid 20s for my long run on Sunday! LOL Talk about a change! Yikes!

It's less than a month until the Dopey Challenge and I couldn't be more excited! I will be much, much more excited once I get through all of the training without being hurt! LOL

Happy Training, my friends! :D

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #8

It was recovery week this week, so of course I scheduled a half marathon and got a cold/sinus thing! LOL Would you expect anything less??

So training looked completely wonky. But that's OK!

Monday - planned rest day
Tuesday - unplanned rest day (sick)
Wednesday - 45 minute trainer ride
Thursday - Thanksgiving Day Half
Friday - planned rest day
Saturday - Pure Barre class; 1600 meter swim
Sunday - 8 mile run 

honestly, I really only missed one workout - a run. And since I ran the 13 miles on Thursday a bit harder than a training or long run pace, I'm not really all that concerned. I was able to get in a swim and a bike ride and one Pure Barre class, so all in all it was a productive week of active recovery.

Now it's time to go into the final cycle of training! :D

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon

Today, I got to do something I've been wanting to do for years: complete the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon! I last did this race in 2010, where it was my Half Fanatic qualifier. I had signed up to do it again in 2011, but then I got injured and couldn't do it. I have wanted to do this race again in recent years, but I was never able to because of my older daughter's Nutcracker schedule. So this year, now that my Thanksgiving Day would be free, I was able to do it at last - and they've added the "Triple Peach" option (Peachtree Road Race, ATL 10 Miler, Thanksgiving Day Half) in recent years so I signed up for the whole 9 yards, er, 29.3 miles.

I have been extraordinarily distracted the last couple of weeks, so I really didn't put much thought into today's race until right before bed last night. It's very unlike me, but sometimes other things just get in the way and take up space in my brain. So last night, I looked at the forecast and tried to put together a "Flat Niffercoo". Unfortunately, the temps were exactly in my "gray area" - 40/50s. Sometimes that means long sleeves and tights, other times short sleeves and capris. I really wasn't sure which this would be but since it's the end of November, I opted for long.

Flat Nifferoo - with the Run Gobble headband I've been saving since 2010! LOL
My hubby and I were both very tired and we shut off the lights at 10 PM and fell asleep immediately. I slept pretty well. I have been battling some sort of sinus/cold thing since the middle of last week and it's now to the "annoying" point so it's not affecting my sleep. The alarm went off at 4 AM because I needed to leave at 4:45 - and everything was going well until it was time to get dressed. I just didn't feel like my outfit was going to work. But I also couldn't figure out anything else. I ended up leaving 10 minutes later than I planned - and I pretty much threw on my Dark Side Challenge short sleeve shirt and a RunDisney jacket from my first Princess Half. My reasoning was that I could tie a jacket around my waist but not the vest. It was a smart choice.

Traffic was non-existent and I made it to the starting area (the stadium formerly known as Turner Field) with no troubles at all. It was chilly and I was literally right next to the Start Line, so I just hung out in the car until about 15 minutes before race time. I was also parked next to a bank of portapotties so I hit them 3 times while I waited. This is where having a cold worked in my favor - all but one of the potties were out of toilet paper but I had brought a box of tissues with me! WOOT! Right to the front of the line! LOL

I met up with the other folks from Run Group who were also doing the Triple Peach and we took a picture at the start:

Niffer and the "A Wave Posse"
These guys are all crazy fast - Wave A - and I nicknamed them Posse because Michael on the left is throwing up the 'gang signs' for the running store where he and I work! LOL Shameless Plug: if you live in the Atlanta area, please come see us at Classic City Running in Buford near the Mall of GA!

I was in Corral B for this race, which was pretty good. I wasn't planning on a fast race because I just did a Race Simulation this past weekend (later than usual due to the cold) and I haven't been feeling my best. I lined up towards the back of the corral so as not to be in anyone's way, but the course was still fairly crowded. There were a number of times during the entire race where I had to skip my walk break because it simply wasn't safe for me to stop running and there was no place for me to get out of the way to walk.

I started out at what I felt was an 'comfortable' pace, and this is where it's getting to be a bit of a challenge. What feels comfortable is faster than what I'm expecting. I'm not totally sure how to handle it. I really do not want to push and get injured, so I'm not sure if I need to slow down to the expected pace, or if it's truly OK to accept this new 'comfortable' and just go with it. I will see how I feel over the next several days. I don't have another long run until next Friday and Saturday's double long runs, so I have plenty of time to recover. If I feel especially achy the next couple of days, then I know that I need to train by time. This will also give me a good idea about how to pace the half marathon during Dopey, because I don't want to be out there on my feet more than I have to - so if I can go a little faster and still recover well, then I will do that.

I felt like this course was a bit easier and less hilly than the 10 miler. There were definitely a few decent hills, as one would expect for a race in downtown ATL, but it wasn't anything overwhelming. I saw my friend Debbie volunteering at the mile 6 water stop, and my friend Shawna cheering for her team and for her fiance' in Piedmont Park. But that's all the people that I saw that I knew. And I knew a ton of folks running this race! I thought that was kind of odd!

With running so many downtown races this year, I found that I actually sort of knew where I was! Like, I knew the road leading into Piedmont Park, which was great because that's where Debbie's water stop was so I knew to be looking for her soon. I do wish I had stopped to take a selfie in Piedmont Park with the skyline in the background. I'm not even sure why I didn't do it. I am a dingbat!

Oh, let's go back to the "what to wear" thing again - SO glad I dressed down a bit, because by the time I was in the 3rd mile, I had removed my jacket, stuffed my gloves in a pocket, and tied it around my waist. I would have done better with capris, too, instead of tights! I would have been totally miserable in long sleeves with a vest that I couldn't remove! I have got to remember that, especially when I don't have to stand around outside for long before a race, I need to dress cooler.

Once I hit mile 10, after battling with my pacing for the entire race, I got so aggravated with myself that I just stopped doing regular walk breaks and just threw a couple in once a mile or so. And yeah, that didn't 'help' my pace, but it helped me to enjoy the rest of the run! LOL I do not mind the walk breaks at all, but the constant frustration of being 20 seconds off my target pace and trying to adjust on the fly was driving me insane.

The finish line was a welcome sight - the Olympic Rings and the downhill finish are always so inspiring! I finished with a smile on my face and picked up my medal, warming jacket, and food and looked around for the Triple Peach tent. I couldn't wait to see the shirt! The shirts for the previous two years have been fabulous and couldn't wait to see what they had in store for us.

Boy, was I disappointed.

Now, the medal?? The medal is FABULOUS!

Yes, the Triple Peach medal IS a spinner, with the date of each race under the spinning thing!

It's a good size, too - and I like the rectangle shape!
But the shirt. (And this is just a commentary on the Triple Peach shirt... the Half shirt is "OK" but I find myself wishing I had gotten the unisex sizing instead of women's cut because it's just such a weird and uncomfortable fit). I guess if I have to say something good about the Triple Peach shirt, I could say that I think it will at least fit me.

The front...

The back... sideways, sorry! The ATC logo is at the bottom. 
See what I mean?! It's BORING!! Oh my goodness it's so boring! It doesn't even say Triple Peach except for a tiny thing on the back! I'm so very disappointed. I hope I'll at least be able to run in it - it feels awfully "cotton-y" though.

So that's my race report! Overall, I had a great time and was super excited to be able to complete this race after so long of wanting to do it! OH! One more funny thing... I sat down to put my results in my spreadsheet to discover that I missed this being my 2nd fastest half marathon by ONE SECOND! LOL Literally... the Peach Jam Half in May was faster by 1 whole second! But in my heart I know this one was a better effort because that race was 13.11 miles and 174 feet of elevation gain, and this race was 13.18 miles and 699 feet of elevation gain and only ONE SECOND slower. So, go me! I am certain that if I want to shoot for a half marathon PR next year (would need to take off 2:45, so 13 seconds per mile) I could make it happen.

And just like that... there is nothing between me and Dopey! Which just so happens to start 6 weeks from TODAY!! WOW!

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Running!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dopey Training, Week #7

7 weeks of training down - in 7 more weeks, I'll be a Dopey Challenge finisher! It's incredible to think about! Training went very well this week, despite a series of challenges.

Monday - 2000 meter swim; Pure Barre class
Tuesday - 3 mile run
Wednesday - sick/rest
Thursday - sick/rest
Friday - 5.25 mile run
Saturday - 10 mile run
Sunday - 14 mile run

So, as you can see, Race Simulation week experienced a bit of a hiccup. I woke up on Wednesday morning and my throat hurt terribly and I was feeling very tired. My resting heart rate was also elevated. I know the standard for "should I run when I'm sick" talks about if it's neck UP then you're OK to run, but I have a healthy respect for strep throat - so if my throat is involved at all, then I'm calling it a rest day.

I kept telling myself that this race simulation was not necessary. I know that I can complete the 4 races. I completed the big two (Goofy) in 2012 when I hadn't really run more than 4-5 miles for 2 months prior. Not that I'm recommending that approach but I had been injured during MCM 2011 and I did what I needed to do. But training is just going so well and I want to keep up my momentum. Still, it's best to get to the start line healthy! So I took the day off.

Thursday morning, my throat felt a bit better - but I had big plans with my youngest daughter that night for her birthday and I didn't want to compromise feeling well for the show. So I took another day off.

Friday morning I woke up and I felt pretty good and my throat didn't hurt at all. So I went for a short run - the mileage for Run #2 of the race simulation. I wanted to see if I would cough or have trouble catching my breath. And I didn't! YAY!

Saturday's run was a bit harder only because the congestion had started to clear which meant my nose was running like crazy. And I wasn't able to sleep well on Friday night. I met my friend BJ to run together and she had 8 miles on her training plan (followed by a bike ride) and I had to work all day - so we ran early and I continued on for 2 more miles to get in my full 10 miler. I felt great during the run and for most of the day at work, but when I got home, I was exhausted. I fell asleep at 9 PM! LOL

After 8 miles on Saturday! BJ left for her bike ride and I headed out to do 2 more on my feet!
BJ met again to run this morning at the Mountain - my heart rate was not a normal as it had been Saturday morning (when it was the closest to normal as it has been all week) but I had done 10 miles and worked 7 hours and I was still congested. So not surprised. But I hadn't been coughing, except that my throat was dry from the mouth breathing! LOL All of it is in my head and sinuses. Annoying. But not horrible.

Post 14 miles in the cold and wind! We are totally Dopey! 
The temps were warmer than yesterday morning but the wind was crazy which made it feel bitterly cold! And we were doing the Mountain which means the hills you would expect! So it was a nice, slow pace and we just got it done step by step! I felt great the rest of the day at work, except my sinuses were killing me with the pressure. My boss gave me a cold/sinus med which helped SO much!

So now I'm home and I ate warm soup for dinner and am getting ready to take my Epsom salts bath. Then I'm heading to another early bedtime! Tomorrow is a rest day for me - and Recovery Week! I am going to try to set up my new smart trainer and see if I can't get the whole system communicating. Ok, I won't lie... I'm just hoping that I can figure out how to take my rear wheel off! :)

This is going to be the best training tool ever. Once I figure it out! 
Happy Training! And Happy Thanksgiving! :D

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Dopey Training, Week #6

Well, it seems hard to believe, but I am officially halfway done with Dopey training! 6 more weeks of training, then a 2 week taper, and then BOOM! It's time to do this thing! I really can't believe how quickly the time is passing! I get more and more excited with each passing week!

This was a "One Long Run" week, and this is how training played out this week. I have had to make a few adjustments to the training plan to accommodate "real life" but so does everyone!

Monday - 8 mile run; Pure Barre class
Tuesday - 60 minute trainer ride
Wednesday - 8 mile run; Pure Barre class
Thursday - rest day
Friday - 3 mile run
Saturday - 15 mile run
Sunday - rest day

There was supposed to be another cross training day in there (swimming) but I got my hair colored yesterday and I didn't want to immediately jump into the pool today nor did I want to do a trainer ride after a long run yesterday. Also, due to my work schedule next weekend, I'm going to have to start my race simulation two days early, so a rest day today actually is the best thing overall! And that's really what is the most important thing - considering the overall training plan and not just the individual workout. The cumulative training effect is really important and has to be forefront in my mind!

Physically I am feeling great. I started off the week feeling fairly tired and sore, but considering that I ran 2 long runs last weekend while I drove to Tennessee and back on the same days... it's not surprising that I was stiff! It's not easy to sit in the car for 4-5 hours right after you've run 10-13 miles! But I kept up with my rolling and stretching, and didn't push incredibly hard in any workout, and over the course of the week I started to feel much better. My long run was yesterday and it was the longest run I've done since the marathon in February (I think??) and it felt fabulous! My pace was strong and I was only a little sore. I woke up today feeling even better!

Mentally, I'm hesitant. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I keep waiting for the injury, just like it always does when I'm training for a marathon. It usually happens about a month before the race, which is just a few weeks away. I think it keeps me from really enjoying myself with the training. I'm scared. :( I'm trying to remember that all I can do is my best - and hopefully I won't get injured again. But I can do all the 'right things' and I might still end up with an injury. So I want to try my best to enjoy myself! After all, this is my hobby! This is what I do to de-stress from life! It makes no sense for it to contribute to my stress! LOL

This coming week is a race simulation! I'm really looking forward to it, if you can believe that! It's going to be starting on Tuesday this week and go until Friday! With a little faith, trust, and Pixie dust, I'll get it done! :D

Happy Training, friends!! :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #5

Last week's training was the beginning of the 2nd rotation in my Dopey cycle - and this meant that I did two "long runs". Sort of a miniature "Goofy" training, which I think is a great idea. After all, it's those last two distances that will be the most demanding. I do one race simulation per month but that week of two long runs two weeks before the simulation is also good for simulating the stresses my legs will be under during Dopey!

Here is what the week looked like:

Monday: 7 mile run/Pure Barre class
Tuesday: XT (60:00 bike - trainer)
Wednesday: 8 mile run/ Pure Barre class
Thursday: XT (60:00 swim)
Friday: 10 mile run
Saturday: 13 mile run (Harvest Half Marathon - race report right before this post)
Sunday: rest day

8 miles will be the longest run I do during the week, so I'm almost up that distance. I want to make it feel easy, if that makes sense. It's a little further than I would normally go during the week during full marathon training, but since I'm not going to run further than 16 miles (my sweet spot - every time I go further than that in training I get injured) in my long runs, and I want to still keep up my overall volume, I have to add a couple of miles to those weekday runs. And I since I have the time to do it, it makes sense to build up to that now and keep it at that level until recovery weeks and/or taper.

I got to select my Fast Passes for the trip on Saturday and they really worked out beautifully once I had a moment to really consider it. I hope I haven't under-estimated the time it will take to get to the parks, but I have most everything scheduled to get me back to my room very early. And I will need to balance walking around enough with not tiring myself out! I felt like we had that perfect balance during the Dark Side Challenge trip, so I'll have to go back and see if I wrote any reports about that weekend! Of course, once Dopey is complete, all bets are off! I'll be back in "Close the Parks" mode (which won't be hard because they are closing super early while I'm there! LOL).

This week (since it's already Wednesday) is a One Longer Run week and, like last month, I'm feeling much more tired and sore. I'm not sure if it's from the two long runs last week or just the overall volume. Regardless, I'm actually really excited to get to the Race Simulation again next week! ;) Also, I have 2 weeks until the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, which will be the completion of the Triple Peach. That is going to be during Recovery Week so it will be a nice chance to practice keeping a slow pace in a race atmosphere!

Thanks for keeping up with my training! Hope training and racing is going well for everyone! Look for the report for Week #6 this coming weekend!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Race report: Harvest Half Marathon

When parenting and training collide...

my older daughter moved to Tennessee in August to train with the Nashville Ballet! Her first performance was scheduled for this past Friday evening. In the world of training, this weekend was my 2nd "double long run" week. I was able to do my 10 miler early on Friday morning thanks to BJ who was willing to start in the dark and run with me before I had to leave at 10 AM. But that 13 miles was potentially problematic. I didn't know any place to get that many miles early enough to still have any time with my daughter before I had to leave to come back home.

Enter the Running in the USA calendar!

I plugged in the state of TN and scrolled down to the date I was interested in. I found a half marathon that was only about 20 minutes away from the hotel where we were going to be staying! It benefits the YMCA which was another good thing. I wasn't exactly sure about registering due to the weather, but as the forecast cleared out, I pulled the trigger and wished for the best.

I got back to the hotel Friday evening around 9:00 central time and wanted to go to bed right away, but had to get things ready for the next morning. I was given a late checkout of noon, but I wasn't sure I was going to take it, or if I would just shower at the YMCA since I'm a member of the Y in GA and we have privileges at any Y in the country. I'd play it by ear so I'd need to take all of my stuff to the car with me (and since I am a chronic over-packer, this would be a lot of stuff). Also, my Fast Passes would open up at 6 AM central time for my Dopey trip, so I would need to be awake early to get that done before I left for the race. Yes, it was completely crazy!
Flat Niffercoo
Thanks to my Friday run with BJ, I knew I'd be wearing a tank and skirt for the race. I wore a short sleeve tee and capris on my Friday run in similar conditions and was overheating from the very beginning. Unfortunately, due to getting into the car to drive 4 hours within an hour of running 10 miles, my legs were stiff and sore and I had a really hard time sleeping. I finally got back up at put some Deep Blue Rub on the most sore spots and that helped.

The most exciting part of the morning was when I accidentally shut off the alarm instead of hitting snooze. I was planning to wake at 5, roll and stretch leisurely, and then be all ready to go by 6 when I would sit down and sip my Generation UCAN while I enjoyed making my Fast Past selections. Instead, I woke up with a start at 5:55 AM, realized my error, booted up the laptop while I ran to the bathroom and then came back and started to foam roll while I was getting the FP pages to load. Then I got annoyed that the FP selection was working differently than the last time I did it and I had planned it out in a way that was making it much more difficult. Then I couldn't get the one FP I really wanted. Once I got the most important ones set (plus the one I couldn't get), I ran around and got dressed for the race. Then I sat down, gulped down my UCAN, and finished the rest of the fast passes. I only ended up leaving about 10 minutes later than I planned, and I kept my fingers crossed that it wasn't going to be a problem.

I need not have worried or rushed because the traffic was light and there was only a short line for packet pick up. The YMCA had plenty of parking and I was able to be close to the start. There were only 2 porta potties that I saw, but I never waited longer than 2-3 minutes to use them. I finally got a peek at the course map and was delighted to discover this was an out and back course so no worries about getting lost! WOOHOO!

I picked up my packet, went back to the car and put on my bib, and went to the start area. The corrals were unofficial and marked by a volunteer holding up a pace per mile card. I was a bit freaked out by the fact that the slowest was 10:00/miles, but since this was really a training "race" for me, I decided not to worry about it. It was an out and back on a greenway where I couldn't get lost. If I was one of the last ones, it was no big deal. I was carrying my Nuun in a handheld and I would be self-sufficient! I would be fine! Again, I need not have worried!

The national anthem was sung and a color guard from a local school presented the flag. The chaplain from the Y prayed for us, and the race started 3 minutes early! Not too bad at all! We headed out down the greenway and I was immediately taken aback by the beautiful colors all around me. Our leaves in GA haven't changed much but the ones in TN were strikingly beautiful! I would have stopped to take a picture but it was very foggy and there were people all around me.

I waited to start intervals once the field was spread out a bit, which took maybe a half a mile. Then I settled in to run my 2:00/0:30 intervals. I continue to be surprised at how well this interval is working for me. I wouldn't have dreamed that I would like a 30 second walk or that it would feel like any sort of "break", but I guess maybe Jeff Galloway knows what he's talking about! ;)

Since this was really a training run for me, I knew that it would be important that I keep a close eye on my pacing. This is the first week of the 2nd month of training and I would not have a recovery week coming up as I did after last month's 10 miler. I would run the first 5 miles at a "comfortable" pace of 11:00-11:30 per mile and then move to 10:30-11:00 per mile for the next 5. I was going to allow myself a bit of freedom for the last 5K but I would never push myself. It was not a race. I set up my watch so I could keep my current mile pace in view, and did not worry about overall pace.

I did no warm up run because I only needed 13 miles and when I do that my first couple of miles are usually quite slow. When I'm racing, that can be a problem, but again - not racing! LOL My first mile came in at 10:34 but I wasn't concerned because I knew I hadn't started intervals right away. The next mile was 10:54 and I was surprised but not overly concerned. This was a really flat greenway. It was a struggle the next two miles to keep it around 11:00/mile and it was getting on my nerves. I decided that I would be OK with it as long as I stayed between 10:30 and 11:00 at least until I got to the turn around, so I would know what to expect on the course. I was also concerned about my hips which were extremely tight from the run and car ride the day before. I didn't want to do anything to compromise my training.

There were 2 fairly significant hills right around the middle of the course and that was the only time I wanted to walk more, but just about the time I felt I couldn't do it, my walk break would come and give me just enough time to catch my breath. Once I hit the turn-around, I figured that I would pace by feel. After all, if I wanted it to be "comfortable" then I needed to just run at what felt "comfortable". Absolutely no pushing allowed and if I found myself feeling out of breath and I wasn't going up a hill, then I would make sure to slow it up. That was much better mentally than trying to keep to a strict time guideline and I enjoyed the course a lot more after that. I didn't need to take any water on the course since I was carrying my Nuun, but there were several water stops and Gu at the turn around point. There were volunteers at any place on the greenway where there could be a question about which way to go. They were friendly and encouraging.

By the time I reached the last mile or two of the race, I was fairly alone. I passed one or two people but that was about it. I got back to the finish line at the YMCA feeling like I could keep going, which is the point of a long run! I took my little medal, my water bottle, and a banana and went to find a place to stretch. I was surprised at my finish time and was glad that it gave me a few extra minutes to stretch before I needed to get back and get cleaned up for lunch. I walked over to the results table and was tickled to find a receipt printer - I see so many people posting pictures of their results receipt but I've never been to a race that had that offered! I printed my receipt off and - BOOM! I was 2nd in my age group!

I texted my mom and my daughter to let them know that I needed to wait for the awards because I was getting an age group - my first time for a half marathon otherwise I probably wouldn't have waited! But I was pretty tickled with myself! After spending the whole race thinking that I was bringing up the rear, I ended up being 79 out of 186! Not the front, but not bringing up the rear at all!

And to my genuine surprise, the age group award wasn't a mug or a plaque (or an alligator head! LOL) - but a $10 gift card to Fleet Feet Nashville! It was my first monetary award, and it felt a bit awkward since I work for a running store in Atlanta! LOL Oh well! It still made me smile!

My bounty from the race!
After the awards, I decided I had enough time to go back to the hotel and shower so I did. Then I set off to find some food to tide me over as our family lunch had been shifted to an early dinner. I ended up at Panera since I would take my laptop and work on fixing my Fast Pass Fiasco.

My favorite soup wasn't listed which was weird because they always have it on Saturday, but I asked about it and she said the DID have it! So I was thrilled! And I also got a pumpkin decorated cookie to celebrate my win at the Harvest Half Marathon! I ate pretty much every bite, drank 3 cups full of unsweet tea, and then got my Fast Passes taken care of (they are now Practically Perfect in Every Way! LOL).

So all in all, this was a wonderful experience for my first half marathon in Tennessee! I am completely wiped out today. Not due to the race, but due to the fact that we drove home last night and I didn't get to bed until almost 1:30 AM! Thank goodness for the time change giving me an extra hour of sleep! My legs actually feel better today than they did on Friday afternoon. I think getting in the car immediately after running was just not a good thing for my body. But it's good to know that my pacing was on target yesterday and wasn't too much for me. It's exciting to see my "comfortable" pace settled into the 10:30 range (and that's including the walk breaks - my actual run pace has gotten much faster than that!).

No racing now for me until Thanksgiving Day! And that, too, will not be a "race" race. That is scheduled as a Recovery Week for me, but I am going to complete the Triple Peach Series that day. So it will be a fun race and I may even stop along the route and take some pictures! ;)

It was a big race weekend around the country - did you race?? If so, please leave a link in the comments to your blog post, or comment directly about the event you completed!

Happy Running!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #4

The first month of training is complete! Yep, this was the first Recovery Week! Recovery week reduces the volume of training but not necessarily the intensity. I was feeling well after last week's training but had I not been, I would have taken extra rest days as needed.

Monday: Massage
Tuesday: XT (indoor cycling - spin bike); Pure Barre class
Wednesday: 6 mile run; Pure Barre class
Thursday: rest day
Friday: 10 mile run
Saturday: 5K race (plus 2 mile warm up)
Sunday: rest day

The schedule called for XT on Friday and long run on Saturday, but I really wanted to run a 5K race on Saturday for Autism Awareness! So I moved my long run to Friday and raced on Saturday. I ended up feeling fabulous during the race and ended up with 2nd place in my age group. The master's winner and the first place winner in my age group were less than a minute ahead of me! I intended to run this race at a comfortable pace... so imagine my surprise when I was "comfortable" with my 2nd fastest stand-alone 5K! I ran faster at the sprint tri in August, but my 5K PR was back in spring 2016 and I felt like I wanted to throw up when I finished! This time, I was only 8 seconds slower but I finished feeling fabulous! That was so encouraging! My hard work is paying off for sure!

Accepting my age group award! I'm digging my leg muscles in this picture!

The coolest age group award ever - they were hand made by little Tagg's grandpa!
So you'll notice there are 2 rest days in this week and Monday the schedule called for a massage. I have to get a thumbs up to any training plan that schedules in massages! LOL It feels so weird to have more than one rest day each week, but I am respecting the rest days. I could plan to do my Pure Barre classes on those days, but I really want to keep the rest days for rest. I'm hoping this will help me keep my body healthy and injury free!

So that's about all for last week. Tomorrow begins the 2nd rotation of training - two long runs this weekend! We had a cold front come through last night (you see how I was wearing a skirt and short sleeve shirt at yesterday's race with a jacket after the race when I cooled down?? Yeah, not so much today!). Today our high was in the low 40s! Tomorrow's run in the morning will be in the low 30s! I'm going to run with BJ so we'll just bundle up and knock out the miles together! :) The rest of the week will be warmer so that's a good thing! I'm not quite ready for temps like these! LOL

Enjoy your training! Enjoy the journey!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #3 (again)

Ok, this is going to be really quick because I actually have to post Week #4's training tomorrow! LOL

So Week #3 (last week) was my first race simulation. Here is what that looked like:

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: XT (60:00 swim); Pure Barre class
Wednesday: rest day (yep, two in one week! LOL)
Thursday: 3 mile run; Pure Barre class
Friday: 4.5 mile run
Saturday: 9 mile run 
Sunday: 12 mile run (2 mile warm up plus the Atlanta 10 Miler that I've already done a report on)

I was really nervous about this race simulation. I've never run 4 days in a row before - at least not with increasing mileage. I may have done it like to throw in a brick workout or something, but never doing more than a mile or two. And my right foot was hurting a bit - narrowed it down to the tightness in my right hip, so I focused stretching and rolling on that side. It got better each day, and didn't bother me at all in the week's runs! It felt like an answered prayer!

Saturday was my 9th Runniversary so I ran 9 miles! :D I can't believe I've already been running for 9 years and it's hard to imagine that this is my 10th year. I have so many great goals this year and it's going to be exciting! 

BJ ran 6 of my miles with me!! 

Garmin data from my runniversary! The run went just as planned!
One of the biggest reasons that my race simulation went so well is that I watched my pace for the first 3 runs, which enabled me to feel good for that 4th one. I really think that is going to be key and I hope I can do it again in November's race simulation! :) 

Check back tomorrow for Week #4's training report, including a race report on today's Team Tagg Autism Awareness 5K!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Race report: Atlanta 10 Miler

This morning I did a new race distance - the Atlanta 10 Miler! This is race #2 of the "Triple Peach Race Series" put on by the Atlanta Track Club. The first event was the Peachtree Road Race on the 4th of July, and the 3rd and final race will be the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon next month. Individuals who complete the Triple Peach get an extra shirt and medal, and a special party area at the finish line of the Half Marathon. I've been wanting to take part in this event since it began a couple of years ago but my daughter always had Nutcracker on Thanksgiving weekend and dress rehearsal until 11 PM or later the night before Thanksgiving. So that was a no-brainer. This is her first year dancing with a new company so my Thanksgiving Day, and the Triple Peach, were on my race list for sure!

Flat Niffercoo - didn't end up needing the mittens!! I wore my new Skirt Sports skirt with my 2015 MCM shirt as a shout out to my many friends running MCM this morning!
There were lots of warnings about traffic so I arrived a little after 5 AM for my 7:17 wave start. I had to add 2 miles before the race to get my total mileage that I needed for my Dopey training, so I didn't want to risk sitting in traffic. That was a great idea and I would need that time later. I sat in the car for a long while choking down my Generation UCAN drink (my racing fuel). It wasn't cold outside but it was a bit chilly and I didn't want to stay outside too long. I met up with my friend, Michael, for a quick selfie in the parking garage and then I went to hit the restroom and do my 2 mile warm up, and intended to meet up with him again later but was only able to find him and some other guys from run group in their corral right before the race started.

The bathroom line at the ladies' room was ridiculous. I was in line for about 15 minutes, and when I came out, the line was twice as long. A volunteer said there were porta potties out on 17th (??) street, and I saw them while I was doing my warm up, but the lines for those were even worse! I did my 2 miles weaving back and forth Atlantic Station and finally settled into up and down one little road because it wasn't very crowded. Everything felt surprisingly good since I had run the 3 days before.

After my warm up, I needed to pee again, but the lines for the porta potties were even worse - and I had about 20 minutes until my start. I walked back to the regular bathrooms but they were worse than before. I then wandered around a bit trying to find an open store or some other bathroom options but couldn't find anything. At last I stumbled upon a marvelous sight - more porta potties! These were near the Target, and when I made my way down to them I discovered there were NO lines! They really should have announced these better! I had resigned myself to using potties on the course, but didn't need to! Yeah, this level of detail seems a bit TMI for a race report, but I was really surprised at the seeming lack of preparation in this area.

I asked a fellow racer where the start was located and it was directly behind me, so I started walking to my corral. I was placed in Wave B, which is generous since it was for 8:30 pace and there was no way I was doing that for 10 miles today. I decided I would be lining up in the very back for everyone's safety!

Start Line Selfie!!
It was pretty cool to be starting off the race before sunrise. We made the first turn after the start onto 17th Street and the ATL skyline was beautifully accented by the rising sun. It was breathtaking! I hope someone took a picture of it - if they did, I'll come back and add it to this post!

The course itself was new this year, featuring running down Cardiac Hill (the beast of a hill from the Peachtree Road Race). It didn't mean much to me since this was my first time! LOL But I really, really enjoyed the course! I don't know much about downtown and I only very rarely knew exactly where I was, but we ran through some lovely places. Of course, the hills were there - it's downtown ATL! But I've been training on hills again for the last few weeks and I felt much stronger than I did during the Peachtree. There were 2 really significant hills in miles 7 and 8. I was doing 2:00/0:30 intervals and it helps so much in situations like that. I have also been working on my form going uphill and not powering my way through. It helps to conserve energy!

I felt so very good today. I can't even describe it - I was expecting to be sluggish and slow but I felt strong! Once I saw that I was able to run at my target "race pace" I just went with it. I ended up finishing about 20 seconds per mile faster than race pace! Oops! I'm definitely going to have to be careful at Dopey and make sure I don't get carried away by the atmosphere! LOL

One funny thing about this distance - I passed the 8 mile marker and thought, "Only 5 miles to go!" and then I realized, "No! Wait! Only TWO miles to go! WOOHOO!!" That was surely a great feeling!

I crossed the finish line feeling amazing, but I didn't see any photographers. Bummer! I was able to get a nice selfie with my medals, though! My finish time was 1:41:46 - and average pace of 10:11/mile. Pretty good for

I'm going to blame the excess wrinkles around my eyes on being happy! Laugh Lines, right?!
The medal is really cool! It's the number 10 with a spinner in the zero!

Front of the spinner

Back of the spinner
Needless to say, this is a race I will be doing again! I had so much fun! And I wonder what I can do in terms of pace when I haven't gone into the race on tired legs! :D

Next year this 10 mile race falls on my 10th Runniversary (yesterday was my 9th!) so I'm pretty sure you can guess how I will be celebrating! I think I'll even make a cool shirt to wear that says something about it being my 10th year of running!

Lots of races this weekend - hoping everyone had a fun and safe time!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #2 (again)

This week's training went pretty well! This was a "One Longer Long Run" sort of week. I can't remember if I described the training rotation but it goes like this:

Two Long Runs
One Longer Long Run
Race Simulation (4 runs in a row)
Recovery Week

Having just come off of Half Ironman Training, I have to admit this training all feels like recovery, at least until this coming week when I have Race Simulation! I don't think I've ever run 4 days in a row! But still, when you're used to doing at least 2 workouts a day, every day, with a rest day only every 10 to 12 days, this feels easier!

So here is what this week's workouts looked like: 

Monday - 6 mile run; Strength Training (Pure Barre)
Tuesday - XT (60 minute swim)
Wednesday - 7 mile run; Strength Training (Pure Barre)
Thursday - rest day (What?!?)
Friday - XT (28 mile bike ride on the roads!)
Saturday - rest day (Nope, not kidding! I didn't set an alarm on Saturday!)
Sunday - The longer long run (14 miles of hills)

My hour swim went well, but I was mostly winging it. I'd like to get some sort of organized plan for my swims but I am not sure it's that important right now since it's truly just cross training and I'm doing it to keep up my swim fitness. I have a book of swim workouts for triathletes, but they are really long workouts (since I'm a slow swimmer) so I'm not sure how I would make that work. 

The bike ride was the BEST. Since I've been working on Tuesday and Thursday for the last few months, I haven't been able to join my group ride. When my cross training day lined up with my day off work, I asked my buddies if anyone could join me on a slow ride and 3 of them could make it! It was absolutely delightful to be back on the road with my friends again! 

My ride buddies - one had to cancel at the last minute so there was just the 3 of us! 
The runs went pretty well this week - I did a hill run on Monday and then a speed workout on Wednesday as part of my run group. I did have a little snafu come up on Wednesday - I did 5 miles before run group (speed) and then stopped and waited around for the group to come. When I started back up to do the last two miles, my right foot was hurting. Very odd! I went home to roll it out and take an epsom salts bath, but couldn't really find the actual part where it was hurting. Nothing hurt to touch. Nothing hurt to roll. I was perplexed.

The next day at work, I did one of my IT Band stretches (standing up, crossing legs, and doing a forward fold) and BAM! I felt the stretch the entire way down from my hip all the way to the exact spot in my foot where it hurt. You know how I'm always preaching that lower leg and foot injuries are usually related to issues in the upper part of the legs? Yep! Bingo! So at least that gave me a place to focus my efforts and I had a few non-running days to let it get better. I didn't feel it at all when I rode on Friday, not even when I came out of the saddle to climb.

So this morning, I didn't feel anything when walking, so I decided to give my long run a shot - at the Mountain which is a 5 mile loop. I would cut it short if it was bad. When I started out, I could feel the pain in the same spot - but I could also feel my tight hip. I focused on form and relaxing my hip... and in the middle of mile 4, my hip released and let my foot go as well! The rest of the run went very well, even on the hills! I did the 2:00/0:30 intervals which I have very surprisingly started to like. I only grudgingly did them because that's what my MRTT group did for long runs and I wanted to stay with them. I'm shocked that I have come to like that short of a break and I find if I'm in a groove I can easily hit a 10:30 mile that way. I even did it on the front side of the Mountain in mile 14 with 92 feet of climbing!

I did feel my foot and hip a little more towards the end of the run but nothing bad. And I worked all afternoon and felt just fine (aside from the fact that I had run 14 miles of hills that morning LOL). I'm not sure what that will mean for my 4 days of running in a row but I'm going to be diligent about my stretching and rolling this week and I already have a massage scheduled for a week from tomorrow! I'm fairly certain the tightness is from adding the hill workouts these last 2 weeks. I was a little cocky and started too far/too fast on the hills. Lesson learned and I will have to take responsibility for that one! It might mean a little extra down time from running during the Recovery week, but that won't be a problem. The most important thing is to get to the start line of Dopey in good shape.

Have a great week of training, y'all! And don't be cocky like Niffercoo! LOL

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Dopey Training: Week #1 (again)

After a week off from all workouts after the Half Ironman in order to fully recover from both the race and my cold, I was twitching and going a bit crazy! But I also knew that I was jumping headlong into Dopey Challenge training and really needed some time off before I jumped into that. So glad I did, as this week's training went wonderfully!

As a reminder, I am following a Dopey training template from Coach Jenny Hadfield - I have taken her framework, increased the mileage incrementally, and I think I have come up with a good plan! I did add a few miles to my long runs this weekend because I was feeling good and it lined up with the mileage I was doing in training for Augusta. Here's what it looked like:

Monday - 5 mile run; strength training (Pure Barre)
Tuesday - XT (50 minute group cycle class)
Wednesday - 6 mile run; strength training (Pure Barre)
Thursday - XT (one mile swim)
Friday - Long Run #1: 9 miles
Saturday - Long Run #2: 12 miles
Sunday - Rest Day

On Monday and Friday, I ran on hills because I am taking part in a local race series put on by the Atlanta Track Club called the Triple Peach, and the two final runs are both in downtown and are very hilly. Since Augusta and WDW are both flat, my emphasis has not been on hill training. I would be making a mistake if I did not do at least some hill work before those races!

I have absolutely no time goals for the Dopey races. I want to enjoy myself and finish and that's it! But my weekend runs were within 10 seconds per mile of each other and I was very happy with that. And I felt good when I was done, and today (rest day), and that is key. I want to get to the start line uninjured, something I have not ever really done with a full marathon before. In fact, I guess I do have a goal after all: GET TO THE START OF THE FULL MARATHON HEALTHY. This will be full marathon #6 and I have started each of my previous ones in some stage of injury and then have to take significant time off to recover. It's not fun - training injured, racing injured, recovering and starting all over. I have added strength training and specific stretches in an attempt to avoid the overuse injuries I have had before. If that doesn't help, then this will be my last full marathon (and the idea of a 140.6 is off the table). I enjoy half marathons and half Ironmans! I can train, race, and recover from them nicely - so I will just focus on those distances instead! :) But, by gosh, I'm going to put all I have into training well for this one and see how it goes! (And I'm NOT doing an 18 or a 20 mile training run because that seems to be my tipping point LOL)

This coming week of training focuses on one longer run (this week was two long-ish runs). I will be doing 14 miles which I did several times in my Augusta training so it shouldn't be too difficult. And then the following week will be my first race simulation and I am actually really excited about that! But first I have to get through this week's training! :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Ironman 70.3 Augusta

I've been home for a few days now, so I've had a chance to really reflect on this year's race weekend in anticipation of working on this blog post. I'm really afraid that this is going to be a boring story because as I look back, everything really went so smoothly! Well. except for coming down with a bad head cold the day I left for Augusta, but even that all worked out in the end!

I guess I'll start with Friday morning, the day I left for Augusta. I woke up about 3 AM, totally unable to breathe. I had been fighting a cold all week, but it really hadn't been too bad. I had been able to swim and run and ride gently and actually it felt great afterward. I was taking Vitamin C and D, and was thinking I was really doing a good job at fighting it off. So when I woke up in the middle of the night feeling horrible, I was really discouraged. (That would be code for "Freaking the heck OUT!" - those of you who I told that I was feeling so badly can testify to that, and I thank you all for talking me down off the ledge!!).

I did some school work with my daughter and loaded the car before heading to work. I was really trying so hard to be positive, but I was so disappointed. I had trained the best I could and I was proud of my hard work - and I had a time goal that I was wanting to attain. I was seeing it all slipping away. Keeping positive was the one thing that I could control.

I had a great day at work and tried to rest in between customers as much as I could. I made sure to push the fluids and eat as well as I could! One lesson I learned when I went to Tri Camp in August directly from work is to eat near work because there is very little in between there and Augusta! I stopped to get Chick Fil A, and started working my way through ATL rush hour!

The drive went well and I made it to my hotel close to 9 PM.  I would be by myself in the hotel on Friday night because BJ wasn't coming until Saturday afternoon. Many of my friends were already in Augusta on Friday, but I texted when I arrived and told them that I was heading straight to bed! I brought all of my stuff in from the car, set my alarm for an early Expo and Bike Drop experience, and zonked out immediately.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was feeling much better. I could actually breathe out of one side of my nose, and the pain in my head was much, much less! To make sure I had everything I needed before I went to the Expo, I set up transition on the hotel bed!

Transition on the bed - how the completely nutty make sure they have everything!

I know it seems weird, but one time I actually forgot to bring socks to a race and didn't realize it until that night when the expo was already closed, so now I always set out everything before I go to the Expo until I need to buy something! Thankfully, I had all that I needed! I took a shower, got dressed, ate the hotel breakfast buffet, and headed downtown.

That was another difference this trip - I wasn't staying in downtown or near to it. I was a good 5 miles from the exit where I usually stay and 15 minutes from downtown. I had to figure out where to park for the race. I had decided on the parking garage near the host hotel where I could pick up the shuttle, and I decided to test it out on Saturday. Parking in that garage on race day was truly one of the smartest things I did all weekend! $7 for the entire day and my car was in the shade all day!

Even though the expo had only been open for 30 minutes, there was a decent line formed when I walked in. I wasn't thrilled because I was feeling so blah, but again, nothing I could do about it! I talked up a guy behind me who was wearing a Raleigh 70.3 shirt who told me that the course is very hilly, which I already knew. :) The line moved fairly quickly and I had my race materials and headed over to the Ironman store. I needed a name shirt, a visor, and a backpack. I got all 3 - drooled over the tri kit and other cute items that were in my favorite shade of blue, but didn't purchase - and checked out the rest of the expo.

My first stop after the IM store was the TriAugusta booth! They were selling TriTats as a fundraiser, and I had to pick up my pre-ordered art print from local artist Carrie Brooks!

"Transition" - perfect for me this year that has been full of transitions in my own life!
This isn't an expo like a Disney expo (or even Atlanta Track Club) so it didn't take too long. I got back to my car and drove down to the transition area for bike drop. I saw lots of folks riding down there but I wanted to rest. As it turned out, I had to park and walk quite far away anyway so I really could have ridden down there and run back! LOL Oh well!

Mike the Bike - complete with pretty new handlebar tape!
I don't know why it's always so hard to leave Mike the Bike in transition, but it is! As you can see from the picture, I was one of the first folks at the bike drop. I decided to grab some lunch and then go back to the hotel and sleep until BJ arrived. Of course, Farmhaus Burger was my lunch of choice and since I was running on such an early schedule, there was a very short line when I arrived (unlike when I left LOL).

Oreo Milkshake

Burger and fries!
Since Farmhaus is closed on Sunday (even on race day?!?! NOOOO), I had to have my "post-race" reward food before the race! LOL And my gosh was it SO good!

Back at the hotel, I decided to get all of my stuff packed instead of going right to sleep. I was feeling a bit better, and I wanted to take advantage of that. Another smart decision on my part! It took a good hour, but then it was done and all I had to do the rest of the day was relax and rest. And it was Harry Potter Weekend on Freeform! What more could I want?!

BJ arrived mid-afternoon and I was so happy to see her! She was coming to pick up her sister's bike (they are racing together in Mississippi in two weeks) and to cheer with her TriCoachGeorgia team (the best Tri team out there, in case you didn't know)! I was so happy that she could be there with me! We both wanted an early evening and since I must have pizza the night before a race, we decided upon Mellow Mushroom early before the crowds arrived. So yes, by 8:30 PM, I was back in bed yet again. It was so hard to spend all weekend before the race in bed, but ultimately it was the right thing to do. I slept really well again on Saturday night and woke up race morning completely able to breathe out of both nostrils! I really couldn't believe it!

The alarm went off at 3:45 AM. I wanted to be leaving the hotel by 4:15 and in the parking garage by 4:30. I was afraid it would get filled up quickly, and the first shuttle was pulling away at 4:45. I like to be on the first bus! I need not have worried. I had my choice of parking spaces in the garage and I was on the first bus which wasn't even filled. We had to actually wait for transition to open at 5 AM. But it was ideal. Nice and relaxed and didn't have to worry.

I got my transition area set up and my neighbor on the rack hadn't shown up so I had a bit of space to spread out just a little bit. I was set up quickly but I didn't want to go back to my car until I knew the status of the wetsuit. I hung around for a bit, hit the clean porta potty, and waited until I heard those magical words: Not wetsuit legal. I was not disappointed, even though I have never swum the Savannah River without it. I have been in my wetsuit exactly one time this year and it wasn't entirely successful. I knew if the river was warm enough, I'd be much more comfortable without the wetsuit. After the announcement, I boarded the shuttle bus back and returned to my car.

I planned to have this down time, and while I was planning it, it seemed like a lot of time to kill but really it passed by so quickly. I did some foam rolling in the parking garage next to the car, made my breakfast, and started out towards to church where I was meeting BJ - as I took the first step, who should drive by but BJ! LOL I decided it was foolish to try to find her in the garage, so I went to the street level to wait for her. We walked over to St. Paul's church together to wait. I ate my breakfast (bagel w/ PB, banana, and Nuun), went to the chapel to pray, and hit the real bathrooms. I was hoping to see my run group friends, but never saw them before we left the church to see the pre-race festivities. I had missed those last time and was determined not to let that happen again!

The sun was starting to rise over the river when we walked outside and it was simply incredible! BJ took these pre-race pictures!!

Beautiful river and a beautiful morning! 
I simply adore this picture of me with my swim wave getting ready to start the race! Maybe I should wear a swim cap all the time?! :D

My run group peeps! I had walked up and down everywhere looking for them and couldn't find them! But then I saw Minja (in the back) and he told me where to find them! I got hugs right before my swim wave was going to start! It made my day!
My start wave on the dock. That dock was slippery and rocking like crazy!! 
Swim - 38:11
Like I said, the time flew by waiting for my start. I hit the bathroom a few hundred times, helped take BJ's picture with her team, and looked for my run group folks. Once we were on the dock, I got in the water right away and loved the temperature. I made sure my goggles were secure and not leaking and held onto the dock until time to go. Once we got our start, I let folks take off ahead of me but probably should have let it go a little more since I got a bit caught up in flailing arms and legs. I tried to get over to the left more but finally gave up and settled into a good middle of the lane place. I didn't want to push hard, not knowing how my body would react to the water since I was sick. But thankfully, my head didn't hurt and everything felt really, really good. I settled into a groove and let myself swim a nice, easy pace. I couldn't believe how quickly the swim seemed to pass - I usually hit a spot after the bridges where I feel like the swim is never going to end, but I didn't experience that this time, despite the fact that this was my slowest swim on the 1.2 mile course ever! In fact, I was surprised to see the turn buoy! I made my way up out of the water, with the assistance of a volunteer (which was nice) and started my way up the ramp. I wanted to run the transitions this time, but I knew I wasn't going to waste my energy on the steep ramp! LOL

BJ got this fabulous picture of me - but I look like a miniature next to this guy! 
This funny picture was taken by my friend, Susan, who did Tri to Beat Cancer with me last month. She had talked about coming to spectate Augusta but I hadn't heard for sure that she was coming! You can see the surprise on my face to see her there!

T1 - 5:28
Once I was up the hill, I ran the entire length of transition. Which is a long, long way in Augusta! LOL I had done it in Athens and I knew I could do it this time! I also knew my best chance of reducing my transition times was to pick up the pace and not treat it as a rest area! I was pleased with my time.

Bike - 3:39:41
I ran my bike out of transition as best I could - my new shoes are fairly slippery. I didn't have my bike in the proper gear but I knew that ahead of time (forgot to shift it back in transition - my mistake) so I ran a bit past the mount line so I wouldn't be in anyone's way if I struggled. But surprisingly enough, I didn't struggle at all! This would be the first of many surprises on the bike during the race!

Now my plan for the bike was simple - as undertrained as I was, and being sick, I was just going to take an easy pace. No pushing. None. I had to save my legs for the run and I knew that was where I could shine because my runs have been super strong this summer. What I wasn't ready for was that my "easy" was so much faster than it was in 2014. I kept a sharp eye on my HR monitor, but my bike pace was still strong despite the HR in the proper zone.

What I also wasn't ready for was the need to pee. I had had that same experience in 2014, but I blamed it on the wetsuit and the UCAN (liquid) that I was fueling with. I hadn't had much experience with it at that point to know I have to take it earlier so I could pee enough. This year I didn't fuel with UCAN so I wouldn't have that problem. But it appears it's a "swimming in the water" and a "getting old" problem instead. Now, I didn't have the urgent need like I did in 2014 where it was painful, but it was enough to make me decide to take care of it at the first stop. I also figured I could go ahead and fill one of my bottles which would be empty by then according to my fueling schedule. So I stopped, peed, blew my nose, and filled my bottle. I lost a good 4 minutes, but having a clear nose and losing that urge to pee was more than worth it! I felt really ready to take on the next part of the course which was the hilliest part.

There is a part of the course between miles 40-46 that I typically struggle with. I was mentally preparing myself for that part, so much so that I stopped at the 2nd rest stop and blew my nose again (and applied some sunscreen). I wanted to have clear breathing for the impending struggle bus. But just like during camp, there was no struggle bus! In fact, I had to reign it in and avoid pushing myself. I was pleasantly surprised! All in all, I lost almost 6 minutes of moving time according to Garmin, but I think it was well worth it. And next time I will definitely just plan to stop and pee at the first stop!

Before I knew it, I was back on the flat part of the course heading back into GA! I was feeling strong and even thought to myself, "Could I do another 56 miles? Yeah, I think I could!" (Full Ironman dreaming on the bike?!? Yes, I did!)
Susan got this great picture of me heading out on the bike course! 
T2 - 4:09
Dismounted and ran the short distance to my rack. Again, not using transition as a rest stop! Get the shoes on (with the lock laces this time) and get out there! I had a long run to get out of transition (just like for the swim) but I was going to run it, even though it was on the grass which made me a bit nervous. I still have trail running PTSD!!

Run - 2:26:21
It was crazy hot by the time I got to the run. On the bike with the breeze it was misleading because it felt quite comfortable, but soon after starting the run I realized that this was going to be an intervals sort of day. No worries! I brought my GymBoss timer and got it started. My goal pace was 10:30 which would not have been a problem on a regular day, but this was not going to be a regular day. My cold had not held me back on the swim or the bike, but I would feel its effects on the run in a very scary way. Especially since at the time, I didn't realize that it was likely the cold doing it to me. You see, after the first two miles, every time I started to run, I would get tingly and dizzy. When it first started to happen I decided to change my fueling strategy and I took a hit of Base Salt immediately and would do that every 30 minutes, in addition to my Nuun and my Honey Stinger Chews. It really didn't help. My heart rate was crazy high. I drank water and doused my neck cooler in the ice water at the aid stations and put ice in my bra and an ice sponge in the band of my visor - and still, every time I ran, I would get dizzy. It was disconcerting. In hindsight, knowing that my HR had been elevated for the last several days due to the illness (and not overtraining as I was thinking) and that the HR going higher while running makes perfect sense. But at the time, I decided it was more important to stay upright and lose a few minutes that it was to possibly pass out.

It was such a hard decision, too, because during the act of running I physically felt great! My run pace was strong and I didn't have any issues with my IT bands or my knees. I just couldn't run for very long at a time. I tried several times to walk for a bit longer to see if my HR could recover with a bit of extra walking, but it didn't so I decided to let that go.

One of the best parts of the run course in Augusta is that you wind up and down the roads on a 2 loop course and you can see all of your spectators several times plus you can see your fellow runners! BJ was cheering with TriCoachGeorgia (best Tri Team around - did I mention that?! LOL) and they had a huge presence on the course. Not only did BJ cheer for me but several of their coaches cheered me on by name on the course and that felt really nice. I'm not on their official team, but I am a huge fan, and my Ironman affiliation is with them! If you need coaching or a team, I highly recommend them.

OK, enough of the commercial and back to the report! Oh wait.. I was talking about pictures! Here are some pics that folks got of me! I don't even have to buy the official race pictures (except maybe a finish line picture from the front) because they took such great shots!

Susan got this lovely one! (And more - she has a whole jump drive for me! But this one she loved so much she sent it right away)

BJ got this one at the TCGA Energy Wall - I've got Horns Blaring for the team!! Love BJ and love TCGA!

I saw Tamara (my coworker and run group leader) on my 2nd loop. I was attempting to throw out the "Double Cs" for Classic City Running where we work. Instead, I look like I'm getting ready to break into a rendition of Thriller!
So my goal for the race was to come in under 7 hours. With it being a no wetsuit race and so hot with so much walking, I wasn't sure if that was going to be possible. And I purposely didn't look until I had 2 miles to go. Because if nothing else, my training has taught me that I can pretty much do anything for 2 miles. I hit that 2 mile marker and saw that I had a really good shot to make it, but it would mean that my longer walk breaks were over. It was basically time to put up or shut up. I had a lot of quotes from friends running through my head to inspire me - and I was also singing two particular Hamilton songs, or rather lines from the songs over and over: "I am not throwing away my shot!" and "Just you wait!! Just you wait!" Yeah, weird things happen in Ironman 70.3 - whatever it takes, huh?

I turned the corner and saw the finish line. I walked for just a few seconds to catch my breath, because I knew that I was going to let it all out. A lady next to me told me not to stop now. LOL No, I wasn't! It was the deep breath before the plunge! I did not hear anything except the announcer saying my name and city as I crossed the finish, but both BJ and Susan got pictures of me! I had no idea either of them were there!

Pushing through to the finish!
Why yes, I do still have my sweat band from the bike ride on under my visor and, yes, that IS a sponge in the back of my visor! Nobody ever said that Ironman 70.3 was pretty! 

Finish - 6:53:49

So yes, I did it! I beat my goal of 7 hours. I took 14:58 seconds off my time from 2014, and under much more difficult racing conditions. To say I am thrilled would be an understatement. In fact, after I crossed the finish and checked my Garmin, I nearly said a happy cuss word or two! LOL

Susan got this great picture of me in the finisher's chute! That's a look of total satisfaction on my face!
My rankings during the run are simply amazing. I was 2167 out of 2480 on the bike overall. I finished 1682. Yeah, I made up something like 485 spots with my run. And it wasn't even a good run for me! This confirms for me what I've been learning over the summer - that spending lots of time making my bike slightly faster is not as important as making sure my legs are strong on the run. That is where I will make up my time. My bike is getting faster along with my run (and I give lots of that credit to my strength training ala Pure Barre), but I am going to show better gains with my strong running. 

You've made it to the end of the race report. I bet you feel like YOU have completed a half ironman as well! I am totally thrilled with the way this race played out. While I would have loved it if I hadn't been sick right before the race, that's not how it worked out. You have to race the race you are given. Physical training is only a small part of the Ironman 70.3 preparation! Mental and emotional training is every bit as important! I was proud of myself for sticking to the race plan I had developed, and being smart enough to modify it when circumstances warranted it! I couldn't have asked for a better day! 

Now it's time for a recovery week, and then I'm going to jump into my training for the Dopey Challenge in January! After that, Ironman Raleigh 70.3 will be waiting for me in June! Please stick around and follow my training!