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Enriching my life through endurance sports & healthy living

Updated: 2018-03-05T13:42:11.986-05:00


It's been more than a while...


Wow.My last blog post was almost a full year ago.They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Well, it took a while for me to come around, but I can finally say that yes, I do miss blogging.Where to begin?2012 was very good to me, both on a personal and on an athletic level.  I ran my second marathon in May 2012 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  It was rainy, windy and I didn't execute my race plan very well, but I did earn myself a 6 minute marathon PR.Since the marathon has been my focus for the past year, my participation in triathlon was limited.  I competed in two races, both sprint distances and had pretty good results for not being in triathlon mode.  At the Great Clermont Sprint Tri in March, I placed 2nd in my AG and 5th female overall.  At the July Englewood Sprint Tri, I finished 1st in my AG and 3rd female overall.  At Englewood, I was actually the first woman off the bike and that feeling was absolutely incredible!  I knew that I was not going to actually win this event as eventual winner of the race was in a swim wave behind me (and she's pretty much Pro level), but just to have people screaming at me at the dismount line,"First Female! First Female!"  Holy cow!The week after the July sprint, I attended a USAT Level 1 coaching clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I've been coaching for a while now, but I understand that to some folks shopping around for a coach, credentials are everything.  I had a blast in SLC, learned a fair amount and met some amazing people!Upon returning home from SLC, I began chatting with an old friend from NJ who was beginning her prep work for the Philadelphia Marathon.  I had absolutely no intention of running a fall marathon, but her excitement was contagious.  So, I decided to join her and a whirlwind marathon training cycle followed.I should say that I adore the Philadelphia Marathon.  I grew up right outside of Philly and it was also my first marathon in 2011.  This year we had perfect weather (and I do mean perfect), but I was overcooked.  I rushed through the training cycle, squished in too much mileage in too short a time span and arrived at the finish line... already finished.  I knew in mile 1 that I was not going to have a good race.  My heart rate was already near half-marathon bpms and I wasn't even hitting marathon pace.  Not good.  I ended up finishing in 3:52... a mere 40 seconds faster than I had ran the year before.  Lots of lessons learned here.The month of November also included settling on my priority race for 2013... Ironman Florida.  I volunteered in PCB for the 2012 event and honestly, I was not 100% sure about signing up for the 2013 race... until the car ride up.  Lots of energy and excitement.  The race itself put the exclamation point on it all and now I'm scheduled to attempt my first Ironman in 11 months.  It's no secret that I'm a short course triathlete at heart (mostly because I don't like long bike rides), so this may be a once and done for me.I also had a few personal highlights in November!  A brand new specialty running store was set to open in my town on December 1st and the owners approached me about not only being an ambassador for the store in terms of coaching, group runs, etc... but they also wanted to know if I would be interested in working part-time there.  Woah... dream job alert! What a perfect compliment to the private coaching that I already do from home!  I now have the honor and privledge of working for perhaps the two best bosses EVER, while maintaining a flexible schedule that allows me ample time for working with my clients and for my own training, with the bonus of getting to talk about running all day... and handle tons of awesome running gear day in and day out.  Did I mention the new shoe smell?  Yes, I'm pretty darn happy!And finally... this weekend I'll be tackling The Goofy Challenge with MSL and a few of my clients.  I signed up last April, before running Philadelp[...]

On Wisconsin!


~~"In running, as in life, there is always another race to train for." -Kathrine Switzer, Marathon Woman.Isn't that the truth?  Just when you rise to the occasion and complete your first race or get that new PR, another opportunity presents itself.I knew well before I ever ran the Philadelphia Marathon that the marathon distance was not just going to be a "bucket list" item for me.  It was going to be a lifestyle.  I was excited about the idea of running a spring marathon, but I also wanted to make sure that my body was going to be able to remain in one piece over the winter months.  I also wanted to give myself time to figure out what my goals were and what sort of course might help get me there.  The main goal was easy:  qualify for Boston.  The course:  somewhere relatively flat and outside of Florida b/c of the heat.  When it came time to finally chose a spring race, I went back and forth between five of them:Fargo Marathon (North Dakota- late May)Bob Potts Marathon (Pennsylvania- late May)Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon (Toronto, Canada- early May)Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon (Minnesota- mid-May)... and the last minute addition, the Wisconsin Marathon (Kenosha, WI- early May)At some point in time in my life, I guarantee that I will complete all of the above races as they are all attractive to me in their own unique way.After checking about 10 years worth of weather history for each location and analyzing course layouts and elevation maps, I was able to cross off Fargo (great reviews, but too late in May, potential heat, lots of twists & turns on the course), Bob Potts Marathon (very small, great surface, but late-May in PA can be warm & muggy), and Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon (lovely course, great reviews, but very small).Finally, it came down to two:  Toronto Marathon & Wisconsin Marathon.  Toronto was very appealing because well, it's Canada... and MSL and I love our Canadians.  It's a smallish race, but not super small.  I'm a BIG race girl and since I'm still new to the distance, I was worried that if a race was too small (like Bob Potts or Lake Wobegon) that I would lose my mojo around mile 18.  The Toronto course map was the kicker.  It's a net downhill, but it also has some very steep inclines early in the race.  Honestly, that right there was the breaking point for me.  A few steep inclines I could train for, but a course with that sort of net downhill, that would be nearly impossible to train for in South FL.And thus, by process of elimination, I had a winner!  The Wisconsin Marathon.  The weather history for Kenosha during this time of the year is pretty much ideal with an average low of 41F and high of 61F.  The 10 year history didn't show much discrepancy in that forecast, so that was a huge plus.  The course is also quite flat.  Just under 1000 people ran the marathon last year and another 2000 ran the half marathon, so it's a small event, but I don't expect to be alone.  Again, I LOVE biiig events.  I thrive off of the energy of others, so it's important for me to not be alone.  Then again, I don't want to continue to get stuck behind people (which was the case with Philly).  Finally, this marathon gives off a completely awesome vibe!  The medal is cool as... cheese!  They have brats and beer at the finish line... and a polka band!  There are no pace groups, no age group awards... not a lot of hoopla.  Right now, that all just feels right!And so, on Cinco de Mayo I will be running in the Wisconsin Marathon.  I am going to train hard and definitely hope to PR at this distance, but whether or not a Boston qualifying time will be within my grasp is yet to be determined.  It might not happen at this particular race, but I am confident that with time, it will happen.Today begins my second week of training for this marathon cycle.  Last week was a solid 40 mile week for me.  I was worried about a[...]

Tale of Two Race Reports: Frosty 5k and Disney Half Marathon


I'm back... again.  I am fighting tooth and nail with myself to not let this blog turn into a portfolio full of race reports.  Unfortunately, over the past year I have grown extremely frustrated with Blogger and do not enjoy using the Blogger format.  Often I will spend 2 hours writing up a post, inserting pictures, making sure that the texts wraps neatly around said pictures, hit submit... BAM! Blogger completely changes the format, erratic spacing is rampant, text doesn't wrap, etc... I will then spend another hour trying to edit out all of the erratic spacing in HTML before throwing my hands up and issuing an "apology for the spacing" as a footnote.So there you have it.  My goal is to migrate over to Word Press, but I'm scared.  This blog is old and the posts that I made during 2008 are some of the most important journal entries of my life.  I don't want to lose them (easily remedied by backing them up on my computer), but I also don't want them to be read by myself or others out of context.  If I move to Word Press, I would like everything to move to Word Press.  More on all of this later... onto my most recent race reports and two new PRs!First up... the Frosty 5K!DECEMBER 17, 2011    TWIN LAKES PARK, SARASOTA, FLNEW 5K PR: 22:06I had been looking forward to the Frosty 5k for the better part of the prior 6 months.  It's one of the more interesting 5k courses because it's a mixture of asphalt, grass and packed shell terrain.  Members in my running club spoke very highly of not only the course, but also of the race direction.  Finally, it's held in Sarasota and is a pretty large event for a local race, so I knew that some really great local runners would be there.  There's no better way to push yourself than to give chase!It had been well over a year since I had run a 5k that wasn't attached to a sprint triathlon and even with all of the slow marathon training, the fact that I had just finished my first marathon 3 weeks earlier and the fact that this would not be the fastest of courses (with the grass and shell components), I was hoping that my open-5k PR from April 2010 (23:14) would go down.It did!  The morning wasn't particularly conducive to good running, but in South Florida we take whatever break we can get.  It was 64F with 90% humidity... not ideal, but doable for a 5k. Although I was hoping for a small PR, I did not have high expectations nor did I really have any clue what I could race at.  I had taken nearly two weeks off after the marathon to let the flexor tendons of my foot rest, so I had really only been back to running one week prior to this event.  I felt a little bloated and a little out of shape. Nevertheless, I figured I would run a high 22:XX and so I seeded myself about 4 rows back from the starting line.  Off we went... all 637 of us!I love watching the rabbits at the beginning of a race.  They run like wild fire, huffing and snorting away, and then collapse at precisely the 1/2 mile mark.  I've done this in the past... more times than I care to admit, but over the past year (really since Disney 2011), I've gotten much better at understanding my RPE and how it relates to the outcome of an event.  Interestingly enough, I think I may actually be short changing myself now... but more on that later.I really tried to keep things in check during the first mile of this course.  I let plenty of runners go by me and maintained my RPE.  The grass portion of the course came upon us right before the 1 mile mark and I was surprised at how swiftly I moved over that part.  I actually passed a fair amount of people on the grass.  About 0.1 of a mile after the 1 mile mark clicked over, I did a quick pace check... and discovered that I was running about a 6:45 pace.  Yikes!  I immediately backed off. I felt OK, but I decided to reign it in anyway.  My lack of 5k experience over the previous year left me confused[...]

Race Report: Philadelphia Marathon


PHILADELPHIA MARATHONNovember 20, 2011The idea of completing a marathon first entered my mind in late January of 2008.  Spirit of the Marathon was scheduled for a one-night only showing at our local theater and although I had only been run/walking for a little more than one month at that point in time, I felt absolutely compelled to see the movie. I recall feeling incredibly awkward while standing in the theater hallway. I was surrounded by people who I guessed were real runners... unlike my wannabe-self.  I eavesdropped on their conversations, wishing that I had something to contribute.  Alas, they were talking about their racing history (I had never raced), GPS watches (I was waiting for my first non-GPS "running" watch to arrive in the mail) and of course, the marathon (I was on week 7 of Couch to 5K).  Did I even belong at this movie?The theater doors parted and we all entered.  I walked into the theater feeling like a wannabe... I exited feeling like a runner.  Walk/run, hobble, plod, jog, sprint, shuffle, float... it didn't really matter how I was getting from point A to point B, all that mattered was that I was getting there.  I left the theater that evening with great personal respect for the marathon distance.  It was clear to me that night that someday I would complete a marathon, but I knew that it wasn't going to be anytime soon.  It's difficult for me to put into words exactly how I feel about the marathon.  Suffice it to say that for me, it sits up on a pedestal, high above any other endurance event that I have done or will ever do.  I wanted to train and race for it on my own terms, with a few years worth of running and endurance experience under my belt.  I wanted to give it the respect that I knew it demanded.  In the end, it was worth the wait.Philadelphia 2011 was not supposed to be my first marathon.  I was actually scheduled to run my first one in February 2011 at 26.2 with Donna- The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer.  By early December 2010, I knew that this was going to be impossible for me to do... at least in the way that I wanted to do it.  I had not left enough time for base training between Beach 2 Battleship Half Iron and a 2.5 week trip to Colorado Springs in December (um, altitude baby) seriously put a dent in my ability to get in any long runs.  By the end of our Colorado trip, I had decided to opt out of 26.2 with Donna.  When registration opened for Philadelphia 2011, it became my numero uno.  The race would take place on my 35th birthday in the city that I was born in!  Surely, fate had a hand in this, right?  RACE PREPEnjoying fall in NJ the day beforethe marathon.  Legs up!For nearly 8 months (April 1st through November 20th), the marathon was what I lived and breathed for.  I had a few triathlons on the calendar that I needed to get through first, but on May 17th, I declared myself to be in "Marathon Prep" mode.  I completed my last triathlon for the season in mid-July and then completely traded in my goggles and helmet for a pair of baby blue Nike Vomeros.From mid-May through my final week of taper before the race, I ran 850.2 miles.  From August 1st through marathon race day, I ran 603 miles for an average of 37 miles per week over a 16 week period.  I had 7 weeks where I ran 40+ mile weeks, which includes one peak week of 50.9 miles.  I ran 4 long runs, each spaced two weeks apart:  17.5, 19, 20, 19.   I also had a mid-week "longish" run that ranged in distance from 10 to 11 miles.  Looking back, the fact that I averaged only 37 miles per week over a 16-week block would be considered very low mileage for marathon prep, but my biggest fear was not being able to reach the start line due to an injury, so I took the slow boat to China in terms of progressive overload.  I think the fact that I did as well as I did on relatively low mi[...]

In the long run...


On September 10th, Scott and the Brotherhood Ride arrived inNYC!  I was seeing him for the first time in 22 days whenthis photo was taken.  Crying my eyes out!Nearly two months have gone by (again) since I've blogged.  If I keep this trend up, it will be Christmas time before you hear from me again.The last time I wrote, I mentioned that I was in full-on marathon mode.  Nothing has changed, but I have hit some major running milestones.1.  Prior to embarking on marathon training, the longest run that I ever completed was 15 miles.  I am now the proud owner of more 15+ mile runs than I can count.2.  I used to say that I liked to maintain a 10-miler as my long run base year-round.  Now, a 10-mile run is my mid-week staple... and I truly believe that it's this run that makes my longer weekend run tolerable.3. I'm holding about 45 miles per week right now and I can't believe that my body is still in one piece.  Oddly enough, once I got up over 40 mpw for a few weeks, the minor aches and fatigue that I was feeling disappeared.  I ran 19 miles yesterday (the most I've ever run at one time) and today, I feel like a normal girl.  Sure, I would like to take a nap, but nothing is sore, nothing is stiff.  I feel pretty darn good!  4.  I did a lot of 14, 15 and 16 milers before I decided that I was ready to play around with the longer stuff.  So far I have completed two extra long runs and both have gone perfectly! I did a 17.5 mile run while I was up in NJ two weeks ago (in 50F weather-- glorious) and a 19 miler here at home in Florida yesterday (in 68F weather-- again, glorious).5.  Right now I am running extra long every other week.  So between the 17.5 mile run and the 19 mile run, I did 13 miles.  Between the 19 miler that I did yesterday and my first 20 mile run (scheduled for October 16th), I will be doing 12 miles with some of those miles done at marathon pace for neuromuscular specificity.  I have done this for most of this training cycle and it seems to be working very well for me.  I'm actually able to closely maintain overall mileage for each week despite cutting back on the long run.  When one run shrinks, another run grows... or I run 6 days instead of 5.  Always alternating an easy run with a hard run.  Again, I really feel like my mid-week, mid-distane runs (10 milers) are my bread and butter training runs.  They make the jump to the long run feel well... not so long.  I'm not injured, I feel good, my motivation is high and with only 7 weeks to go, I'd say that's a good sign.6.  Pilates continues to be a lifesaver for me.  During July & August I was taking twice per week private sessions-- a jump start so to speak.  Currently, I am taking duet sessions with my mom and doing some extra work on my own at home.  I feel so stable in my core when I run now.  When I begin to feel any sort of fatigue during a training session or if I feel my form starting to fall apart, I think... CORE!  Everything sharpens right up! Getting in a little hill work while in NJ.7.  The Philly marathon is 7 weeks away.  SEVEN WEEKS!  Since three of those weeks will be devoted to tapering, that leaves me with four weeks left for quality training.  I was very lucky to have been able to spend a week in NJ during mid-September.  Being able to run in significantly cooler weather allowed me to truly see where I was at.  Things can be quite deceiving (and emotionally taxing) when most every run that I've done in the past 4 months has been in 85F-90F heat index with 99% humidity.  A baby cool front also moved into South Florida a few days ago, so I feel that the results of my 19-miler are a good training indicator as well.  I feel confident in my training and I know that I will cross the finish line in an upright position.8.  Race day goals[...]

Rapid-fire Recap


Where, oh where, has my little blog gone?My longest blogger break has officially come to an end.  The break was completely unplanned, but I'm glad that I took it.  I needed some time to think about my goals for the future and then some additional time to settle into a plan to get me there.  Compared to the last three summers, training has been very different for me and that has taken some getting used to.What follows is a rapid-fire recap of what I consider to be the most important highlights of summer 2011. Hardware at the FIT triathlon May 14th- Florida International Sprint Triathlon. Eventually I will connect a brief race report to the sidebar link, but for now, let's just say that this triathlon was "interesting" and I'll get to that part in a moment.  As mentioned in my post on May 13th (also the last time that I blogged), the run portion of this race had been moved to the beach and I was dealing with a case of peroneal tendonitis.  Although I was not thrilled about the beach run, I decided to bite the bullet and waddle through it if I had to.  The "interesting" part of this race were the myriad of tidal pools that formed along the run course that morning.  Hence, there was never any flat sand to run on.  In the end, FIT was more like a sprint aquabike with a muddy buddy run attached to it.  I did manage take 1st place in my age group and 4th overall female.  In retrospect, I actually enjoyed the unconventional run.  I may sign up for an Xterra someday.May 17th-  I began easy base training for my November marathon.  As the weeks went by, I peppered my run training with some short, easy-paced bike riding and absolutely no swimming!  13th anniversary trip to St. Augustine came to a screeching halt when the mother of all back spasms struck! End of June-  The tightness in my right hip/lower back that had first developed during Spring 2008 and then roared it's angry head during Spring/Fall 2010, was beginning to nag me again.  Around the same time MSL decided to suprise me with a surprise anniversary trip to St. Augustine.  This wonderful trip came with a 5 hour car-ride which caused my hip/back to wildly protest.  The pain escalated to a point where I couldn't bend over, I couldn't get into my MINI because it's too low to the ground, I couldn't even sit comfortably on the couch.  Lying flat was the only comfortable position.  I knew the pain was muscular since it had been relieved through Meilus Muscular Therapy in 2008, but since then, I had done nothing to actually "prevent" a reoccurrence.  On July 1st, I decided that my aversion to strength training and diligent stretching needed to come to an end.  I contacted an awesome trainer & Stott Pilates/TRX instructor that I knew from my "aerobics" days and began training with her twice per week.  Six weeks later and I feel like a new person.  No pain, lots of happy miles... life is good. Chillin' in crisp, cool GA mountain water. July 16th-  Englewood Sprint Triathlon.  Again, I will eventually attach a brief race report.  This local triathlon was to be my last tri of the season.  I had not set foot in any water since the FIT tri in mid-May and had only put in a "whopping" 230 bike miles over a 2 month period.  I was in complete "marathon mode" at this point and knew that I was probably going to scrape by with the skin of my teeth.  Scrape, indeed.  My swim time was 20 seconds slower than the previous year, my bike was 8 seconds slower and my run... eeks... was 2:30 slower!  Just goes to show that triathlon is three sports.  My loss of swim/bike fitness definitely affected my ability to run (at a time in my life when I am running better than ever).  I did, however, manage to capture another 1st place age group placement.  So while it was not my f[...]

Taped up and ready to race!


Official diagnosis:  Peroneus longus tendinitisThe best guess that the Doc and PT can come up with is that by stupidly switching to a stability shoe, I caused an overcorrection in my left foot.  Evidently high arches put stress on the peroneal tendons and the stability shoes just made things worse.  Lesson learned.Pre-race accessorizing.  Also notice the cute dog butt in the background. :-)I had my first physical therapy session yesterday and all went well.  I actually told the PT that I felt "weird" seeing him because I really wasn't in any pain.  Yes, I've been resting... a lot.  He went through the initial eval, found quite a few tender spots down my left lateral shin/ankle and in the medial arch of my foot where... ta-da... peroneus longus inserts.  After the evaluation, I was treated with some manual therapy and ultrasound.  I was also warned that I would probably be sore today, which I am.The PT found some other issues with my legs, namely with my achilles and calves.  With my history of calf issues, this did not surprise me.  What did surprise me was the therapist's inability to even get my achilles to a neutral position.  My lower legs are ridiculously tight and are probably going to need to some serious attention in the near future (aka next week).  I can't imagine training for a marathon like this.  Time for me to woman-up on the stretching and strengthening as well (two things that I am VERY bad about doing) and get my butt back to ART treatment.I left the office with my peroneus longus kinesio-taped and will be sporting my new fashion accessory at the race this weekend.Speaking of tomorrow's sprint tri, four days ago the RD uploaded the "NEW" run course.  Guess who gets to run on the powdery white sugar sand of Siesta Key beach this weekend?  Me!  No, I am not jumping for joy here.  Remember, I'm prone to calf injuries.  I would have never signed up for this race had I known this was going to be a beach run.  The previous two years have had a packed-trail run start with the remainder taking place on concrete & asphalt.  This year, the RD decided to change it up at the very last minute and bring it "back to the beach by popular demand."  My guess is that he couldn't obtain permitting. Anyway, thanks for the generous "head's up" Florida International Triathlon RD. Boo-hiss to you. I'm thankful that this isn't an "A" race for me and that I am not doing the Olympic distance tomorrow.  5k of the soft stuff is more than enough for anyone.  If I had been registered for the Oly, I would have requested a "medical" refund (which doesn't exist on paper).  That being said, I have successfully moved on from "angry" to just a wee bit "bitter" and am motivated to go out there and do what I can.  I've pretty much sat around for the last 2 weeks (minus St. Anthony's), so expectations aren't high.  Low pressure is always good for me, so who knows how all of this will turn out.The big 'ole achievement in all of this is that it looks like I'm about complete my "3 triathlons in 5 weekends" challenge!  YES!  This is not just a physical accomplishment for me, but a huge mental one as well.  I honestly never thought that my body would allow me to stack races so close together.  I believe that nutrition (affecting recovery) and the spacing/quality/duration of my workouts has been key. I felt terrific after St. Anthony's... better than any race in the past.  If my peroneal tendon hadn't been acting up, I could have really nailed down some quality training in the week that followed.  In the past, I have felt the need for some serious down time even after sprint efforts.  However, apparently my fluid intake and race-day/post-race nutrition was spot-on for St. Anthony's because not only[...]



I eluded to a problematic left shin/ankle in my last post and unfortunately, I continue to deal with it.  I made the decision to race through the "throb" at St. Anthony's and I'm okay with that choice. Of course, I knew in the back of my mind that I would have to deal with the aftermath this week.  The good news is that I don't think that I made anything worse by racing St. Ants.  I also definitely didn't make anything better.  I am now in the midst of my fourth season of endurance sports and like most, have not been without my share of injuries.  Thankfully, so far I have not had any injury that has been a season ender.In the past I have dealt with:Piriformis syndrome-    February 2008-- only 2 months after I first got off the couch.  Relieved                                        via Meilus Muscular Therapy (robotic treatment).Double calf strain-        November 2008 and February 2009-- completely due to transitioning                                        (poorly) to Newtons.  Ran "very carefully" through these injuries.ITB Syndrome-             Dec 2009 through January 2010-- believe it or not, this was brought on                                        by an 11 mile WALK!!  Needed over a month off from running for this.ITB Syndrome-             November 2010-- developed "spontaneously" during Beach2Battleship                                        Half Ironman.  Was relieved through ART therapy within 1.5 weeks.Notice that at no time have I dealt with an anterior lower leg or ankle injury.  This is what alarmed me.  All of my injuries thus far have been posterior (calf & rear end) and lateral (ITB).My chief complaint (in medical speak):Intermittent pain located along anterolateral aspect of lower left leg.  Superior and slightly anterior to left lateral malleolus (ankle bone).Pain can be classified as dull at times and stabbing at other times.  Intermittent and inconsistent in timing.No pain upon deep palpation.Does not appear to worsen with exercise.In other words, it hurts here: Precipitating factors that might have caused problem:1.   Two weeks ago I got the bright idea that since I would soon be training for a marathon, that adding an element of stability to my shoes might be a good idea.  Keeping in mind that for the past year I have been training entirely in Saucony Kinvara or Brooks Launch (both very neutral), I purchased a pair of Brooks Ravenna 2-- a mild stability shoe.  Stupid.  My legs, ankles and feet hurt so badly with those shoes that after over 50 miles, I called Brooks up and activated their "True Blue" guarantee.  **Note:  The doc believes my shoes are most likely to blame in this case.**2.  I also did two speedwork sessions 1 week apart from each other.  Neither of these sessions were anything that I haven't done in the past, but who knows how much fatigue was hanging around from other training.  Fatigue is often the precursor to sloppy form.  Sloppy, atypical form leads to injury.  I'm typically a BIG fan of rest and I'm really, really good at managing my workouts so that I am as recovered as possible for the next one, but you just never know.Yesterday I visited the ortho.  Tib-fib x-ray was negative for fracture.  The ortho doc, who rides with us every now and then, was [...]

Race Report: St. Anthony's Triathlon


MAY 1, 2011ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA 1K  *  40K  *  10K Finish Time:  2:26:56Place F35-39 AG:  14/126  (Top 11%)Place FemaleOverall:  110/994 (Top 11%)PRE-RACEThe night before St. Anthony's, I had decided not to complete the race in the morning.  A 2x2" area on my left shin (lateral aspect beginning about 2" above lateral malleolus) had been swollen for 4 days.  Since last Wednesday I had been icing, taking ibuprofin and staying off of my feet (aka- sitting on the couch and eating), but the area was not going down.  There was also a dull, constant ache.  I probably should have made an ortho appt. on Thursday or Friday, but I didn't. On Saturday morning, I volunteered with the Zoomers at the Girls on the Run 5k.  I was pretty much on my feet for 5 hours straight that morning and while I was working the finishing chute, I noticed that I was favoring my right leg.  We were set to leave for St. Pete as soon as I returned home from volunteering and I iced my ankle the entire drive up.Packet pick-up for St. Anthony's was uneventful and quick.  We did a lot of walking (more than my leg liked) and baked too much in the sun.  The relatives of a two of our triathlete friends were kindly hosting all 6 of us at their home on St. Pete Beach and after racking our bikes, we all headed to the beach for some lettuce wraps and beach walking (ouch).  We crashed poolside under and umbrella at the Don CeSar for an hour or so and shared great conversation and many laughs.By the time we left the Don, it was nearly 6PM and we were all beginning to itch for dinner.  My leg was throbbing and all I really wanted was some ibuprofin and ice.  We ate Italian and it was at this point that I decided that it would be foolish of me to race.  My God, I could have a stress fracture!  So, to ensure that I wouldn't race in the morning I sucked down the vino at dinner!Back at the house, I helped Scott ready his transition bag, showered and called it a day at 11PM.  Wake-up call was 4:30AM! WAKE-UPMy internal alarm clock went off at 4AM.  I didn't want to wake Scott up any earlier than necessary, so I just laid there in bed... and began to think.  I reached down to feel my shin.  It didn't feel as swollen as it had last night and it was not aching.  Maybe I could race?  By the time 4:30AM rolled alarm, I had decided that I was going to race and if necessary, I would only do the swim in the bike.  I promised myself that if I felt any pain at all on the run (or during the transition runs) that I would drop out.We were leaving the house at 5:15AM, so I had a whopping 45 minutes to make sure that my own transition bag was together.  In the meantime, I learned that the Italian dinner from the night before did not sit very well with Scott and that he had visited the porcelain God a few times during the night.  When he woke up, he declared that he was not racing.  What a 180 for us!  We went to bed with him racing and me not... and woke up to me racing and him not!With an obvious injury to my lower leg and no real race-prep the night before (cheese, wine and an 11PM bedtime is not at all typical of me), I headed off to the mighty St. Anthony's triathlon with absolutely ZERO expectations regarding my race day performance.  This would be my first triathlon done for fun!SWIM- 18:23 (1:51 pace- ack), 26/126 in AGSt. Anthony's does not have a very good history with the swim.  Two years ago the swim was cancelled due to rough waters.  Last year, the swim was shortened after the first 1/3 of the waves went off because the water was too rough.  This year, the 1500m swim was shortened to 1000m due to rough water before the race even began.  The wind was howling!  At [...]

A new challenge: Five weeks, three triathlons


THREE IN FIVE!We prefer to color coordinate with the water when we can.With Nautica now behind me, I am faced with the fact that St. Anthony's is right around the corner.  I originally registered to do this race in 2010, but when the time came, I decided to defer my registration to 2011.  I admit to not being all that excited about dear 'ole St. Ant's.  There are many reasons for this, but I think it's the overall size of the event, the uncertain swim and the early season heat that's presenting me with a bit of a mental challenge right now. I am really bitching and moaning here, huh?  Hang on though, this post will become more positive.  I promise.When my best friend told me that she had registered for the Florida International Triathlon (May 14th), I was elated for her... and maybe a bit jealous.  Honestly, my first reaction was that I would rather be doing the FIT Oly than St. Anthony's.  I told her that although I know my body would never let me race two Olympics back to back, that I would make some motivational "cheer" signs and be the loudest mouth out there.  Of course, I then took a look at the FIT website...They have a sprint distance.  Oh boy!The aqua waters off of Siesta Key!Here's the deal:  Living in Florida affords me the opportunity to compete in running/tri events year-round.   I am a runner... my heart belongs to running.  However, I have never been able to understand how so many of my running friends can race on back to back weekends.  Heck, my running bud Kim C. just raced three half marathons in three consecutive weekends!  Other runners I know (some triathletes too) will race 5k and 10k events every weekend.  How are they able to do this?Then there is me.  The girl who races a whopping 8 times a year (tri & running events combined) because I keep telling myself that there is no way in heck that my body could do more than that.  Now we all know people who love to train more than they love to race, but this is opposite with me.  I live for the race!  The competition!   What it boils down to is that I know that if I race every weekend, I can't possibly perform my best every weekend.  While physiologically, this might be true; my mindset can be adjusted.  I may not be able to give a peak performance every weekend, but I can go out and perform to the best of my ability under the given circumstances  any time that I want to.So the morning after SH called to tell me about registering for FIT, I made the decision to stop missing out on the fun and I registered for the sprint distance race.  This means that I will be doing three triathlons in the span of five weeks. This is sure to be a physical challenge for me, but more than anything it's going to be a test in discipline.  If I want to succeed and be able to race as best as I can at FIT (and remember, I live and breathe for short course tri) then I need to tighten my game plan.Collegiate beach v-ball on Siesta!  Way betterthan a 50 miler!KEY ESSENTIALS FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS:SLEEP:  11 o'clock is not allowed on the radar at all.  From now through May 14th- in bed by 9PM, reading is allowed until 9:30PM and then lights out.  The laptop is not allowed to step foot into the bedroom (neither is the iPhone).  FUEL:  Good-bye junk... okay 90% of the junk.  This includes you Mr. Nutella who only recently entered my life.  I need wholesome, good fuel... and lots of H2O to combat my chronically dehydrated body.TRAINING:  Last week was about recovery and maintenance.  The way that I see it, I've got one "quality" week left before St. Anthony's before it's time to taper.  After St. Anthony's (and before FIT) I will be 100% in maintenance mode. &nb[...]

Race Report: Nautica South Beach Triathlon


April 10, 2011South Beach, Miami Beach, FloridaClassic Distance1/2 mile ocean swim, 19 mile bike, 4 mile runChip time:  1:53:135th place AG F35-39 (out of 67)-  Age Group Nationals Qualifier22nd place female overall (out of 370), Top 6%181st place overall (out of 1270), Top 14%PACKET PICK-UP & EXPOWhere do I begin?  South Beach.  I've never been there before and after this weekend, I don't really have any plans to go back.  The Birdcage happens to be one of my most favorite movies ever and I am grateful for the chance to view all of the nostalgic Art Deco architecture up close, but I'm not into the club scene-- or any of the other (eh-hem) scenes that one finds in South Beach.  I'd also like to limit my chances of developing skin cancer.  So if ya don't party 'till 5AM and ya don't lay in the sun and bake for hours on end, South Beach is somewhat useless.  We arrived in SoBe around 1PM on Saturday afternoon.  After unloading the bikes/bags from the car, we headed over to packet pick-up; taking in the sites on Ocean Drive and commenting on how humid it was.  It's been unseasonably warm throughout Florida for the past 2 weeks-- nearly 10 degrees above average for this time of year.  As hot as it's been on the SW coast of FL, the damp heat seemed to reach another level in SoBe.  Like Will Smith says, "Miami bringing heat for real."MSL and I with Andy PottsWhile packet pick-up went off without a hitch, I was disappointed in the expo.  The goodie bag contained a heavy canvas baseball hat (this would be good if we lived in Canada) and a cotton t-shirt.  Hmmm... $112 entry fee for a short course race and no technical tee?  Outside of packet pick-up, there really wasn't much else to see.  There was a ZICO tent, a small K-Swiss tent, a small ZIPP tent, a Paul Mitchell tent with haircuts going on... and the Toyota tent!  Toyota was the best vendor tent... and not just because they had a pretty cool green screen photo booth set-up but because Andy Potts was there!  He happens to be one of our most favorite Pro athletes to follow.  He was super nice (and super tall)... and was more than happy to provide us with a photo op.With my bestie who was making her comeback at this race!Before leaving the expo, we took note of our race start times.  The Olympic distance race participants would be first to go with waves starting at 6:55AM.  The Classic distance folks would have to wait until 7:40AM to start.  Unfortunately, Sondra and I were in wave #10 and would have to wait until 8:25AM for our race start.  This didn't sit well with me as I knew it was going to be close to 10AM by the time I even began the run.  The idea of running in a heat index of nearly 90F had me shaking in my shoes.  However, I figured that we all had to do it... just had to get it done.PRE-RACE DINNERWith the gang at GrazieI am not a night owl.  I never have been.  I do know that things typically get going in larger cities around 8 or 9PM.  In South Beach this is evidently more like 11PM or midnight.  Hence, I was a bit freaked out when we decided to scout out a place for dinner at 6:30PM.  I was already starving and I thought we would have to wait another hour or more for a table.  Um, totally not so.  We decided on Grazie... an amazing Italian restaurant and I ordered up a wonderful plate of Risotto Porcini with White Truffle Oil.  A good risotto takes mad skills to make well (you have to really enjoy pan-sitting) and this dish was out of this world GOOD!After dinner we all said "good night" to South Beach just as it was beginning to wake up.  Bedtime was approximately 9:45PM with a wake-up call at 4:45AM.PRE-RACEUpo[...]

Race Report: Venice St. Patty's Day 8k


Venice St. Patty's Day 8kMarch 19, 2011, 8AMSharky's on the Pier, Venice Beach, FLOfficial time: 36:41 (7:22 pace)Garmin (had race distance at 5.06 miles for 7:15 pace)1st AG F30-34 (out of 17)5th OAF (out of 168)- top 3%20th OA (out of 281)- top 7%This was a terrific race on a beautiful (but familiar) course.  Since this was also my first time running an 8k road race, it was an instant PR! Talk about low pressure! That always makes for a great run!I had no expectations going into this particular race.  I had only registered for it a few days in advance and had basically decided that it would be a good way to get in a speedy workout as part of a solid week of triathlon training.  Since I haven't raced since the Disney Half, I also thought that it might help me to get rid of some race bugs before Nautica.Pre-raceI had my typical oatmeal + coffee breakfast and was out the door around 6:15 AM.  Before leaving the house, I pulled up the McMillan Calculator on my computer and tried to figure "where" I should attempt to run an 8k race at.  LOL!  I plugged in my 10k race time from last October and was "told" that I was capable of holding a 7:32 pace for 8k.  This sounded reasonable to me, yet I thought that I probably wouldn't be able to hit it simply because I had already put in a long week AND I needed to be able to do a long ride + swim the following day.I arrived at Sharky's on the Pier around 7AM, picked up my packet and then headed out to a vacant lot to warm-up.  I did a 1.5 mile warm-up with strides and felt pretty good.  After the warm-up, I stretched my quads, hamstrings and hip flexors for about 10 minutes.  While stretching, I took a good look around...This particular race pulled a terrific local crowd with nearly 300 participants.  With temps in the upper 50s at race start, the weather was nearly perfect for a short race... and being that this is March in south FL, we natives know that morning temps in the 50s become a rare treat around this time of the year.  It was great to see everyone wearing their "Irish best."  I don't have a drop of Irish in me, but I donned my green as well.This race course is particularly nice in spots with terrific views of the Gulf of Mexico.  The race begins at famous Sharky's on the Pier, circles around the Venice airport grounds, winds along the intercoastal waterway and then heads north along the Gulf of Mexico to the finish line.  I became intimately familiar with a portion of this course last year at the Venice YMCA Sprint Tri (where I completely tanked the run).  Although my one and only experience on this course was tied to my worst race performance ever, I was grateful to be somewhat familiar with the course itself... it's quite a twisty, turny one.RaceStart time was 8AM; I would have preferred 7:30AM for slightly cooler conditions.  I lined up on the right hand side of the pack, second row.  I positioned myself behind a running club friend who I know runs similar paced races to myself.  She also races a lot more than I do and hence, I figured that she probably had a better grasp on 8k pacing.  The gun went off and I felt great.  I ran the first half mile way too fast, promptly got nervous and reeled it in.  I actually felt very good considering that I was running well under a sub-7 pace, but since I lack recent short course road racing experience, I didn't know what I could skate by on.  Besides, McMillan told me that I should aim for a 7:32.Mile 1-  7:08At the beginning of mile 2, I caught up to and passed my running friend and once again had thoughts that I might be going too fast.  I slowed up a bit more and then fell into pace behind another runner for the[...]

Blogland's quickest catch-up!


It's been nearly two full months since I last posted a blog.  Obviously, that's just too long.Since I have a history of being somewhat longwinded when I write, I have decided to try my best to take a minimalist approach with this two-month update.  If it works for Vibram, it should work for me.END OF JANUARYExciting news!  I was offered sponsorship for 2011 with Sarasota/Bradenton based Ryder Bikes.  Ryder is Southwest Florida's premier cycling center and they have earned every bit of that title.  Since beginning triathlon in 2008, I have made appearances at every bike shop south of Tampa and have been disappointed by most.  Ryder is what I would call PERFECTION!  From the moment that I first contacted the store last summer, I have been treated with friendly, old fashioned bike service.  Ryder knows fast bikes & they know triathlon, but they also have a grip on the human experience that goes hand-in-hand with endurance sports.  So, for the 2011 season I will proudly be wearing Ryder purple & yellow for all of my triathlon & road races!  Thanks, Ryder!FEBRUARYWith my squeeze on a group ride.I spent half of February at the hospital with a very ill Grandmother-- fifteen consecutive days to be exact.  My 85-year-old grandmother was admitted on an emergency basis with acute congestive heart failure brought on by an aortic valve (bovine) that was failing for the second time.  I'm happy to report that she received a new valve on Valentine's Day (how sweet is that?) and is now at home and doing very well.Of course, extended hospital visits = hospital food.  I have gained 6 pounds.  Thankfully this is not everything that I worked so hard to lose from Dec 2009-March 2010, but nevertheless, it is disappointing.  I had options during those weeks at the hospital.  I could have packed a cooler and brought healthy choices with me; however, my stress level was ridiculously high and packing food (or doing much of anything else) was not on my radar.  The nagging issue with this is that once the pallet becomes accustomed to junk, it begins to want more junk.  My junk consumption continued right through mid-March before I decided that carting around 6 extra pounds was not what I wanted to begin the 2011 season with.  I am currently a work-in-progress.MARCHSo far March has been exciting-- despite those extra few pounds.  MSL and I have been doing long bike rides just about every weekend with Sondra, Jeff and a few others.  I love the fact that none of these rides are more than 40-50 miles (aside from last weekend's 62 mile SNAFU).  I love short course! Mid-march and NO WETSUIT!!!With the Nautica Classic right around the corner, I've been doing a lot of interval training with swim/bike/run.  Again, I love short course!  My times have been coming down across the board... even in the swim!  I'm seeing 1:2X for 100y repeats now where last year I was a solid 5 seconds slower.  Not that any of this qualifies as "fast", but five seconds is HUGE in swimland!  I can say that the improvement certainly didn't come from yardage (I bet I'm only averaging 5000yd per week right now); so it must have come from technique (which I have been working on a lot this year). My pacing during longer bike intervals is up by nearly 1mph this year as well and my run times have dropped so dramatically that I'm having trouble figuring out exactly 'where' I need to be training at right now. Stay tuned for my St. Patty's 8k report for more about this.Obviously, this is all good stuff!  I'm just hoping that come April 10th and then again on May 1st, that it all comes together.SEA CREATURESImmediately be[...]

Race Report: Walt Disney World Half Marathon


WALT DISNEY WORLDHALF MARATHONJANUARY 8, 2011This is the story about the PR that almost wasn't.Following our return from Colorado, my training mojo simply disappeared.  I found myself preoccupied with more important 'things' and I was trying to function on 4-5 hours of sleep per night.  My body was slowly turning on itself.  I barely had any energy to make it to the coffee machine let alone out the door.By the middle of our second week in Colorado I had decided to not run the February marathon.  I contacted the race folks and asked them to kindly drop my registration down to the half.  After that was taken care of, I realized that I needed to do 'something' about the Disney Half.  The only reason I had even registered for Disney was to run it as a tune-up race for the half.  Otherwise, I really had no interest in it at all.On Sunday, January 2nd, I announced to MSL that I was not going to run Disney.  He then proceeded to cancel his vacation day and we went on with our week... which included me continuing to drag ass.On Wednesday, January 5th, I attended the Zoomer's board meeting (local running club- I edit their newsletter) and in walks our Vice-President with his arm in a cast and sling.  EM is in his late 60's and has probably been running for a good chunk of his life.  He's an incredibly enthusiastic and supportive guy... and he's also made of steel because when I asked him how the broken arm was affecting his training, he said, "It hurts a little, but I'm still going to run the Disney Half this weekend."Say what?Let me get this straight.  I'm not running the Disney Half because I feel that I am underprepared and have the energy of a sloth, but EM is running the Half despite the fact that he has a freshly broken arm.  What is wrong with this picture?  What is wrong with me?I didn't say any more to EM about the race that night.  I don't think he even realized that I had registered for it and frankly, I was too embarrassed to tell him that while he was going to be out there kicking butt-- broken arm and all-- I would be eating my $150 race fee because I was tired.When I returned home from the meeting, I hopped on Facebook and everybody and their brother was talking about the race.  That kind of race excitement is contagious.  I began to reconsider my decision to not race.  At this point, however, I did not have a room booked and I if I decided to go, I would be on my own since MSL had already canceled his vacation day.  I resolved to make a decision by Thursday afternoon.I'm going. I proclaimed that I would complete the race as a training run, make it as low pressure as possible and bring home a Donald Duck medal for MSL (who worships the ground that Donald waddles on).Upon making the decision to attend the race, a million thoughts went through my head:I have no long runs under my belt; just one lonely 10 miler from the week after we returned from Colorado.My run training has been seriously inconsistent since B2B:   30 miles one week, 18 miles the next and so forth.I have no hotel room booked on Disney property which means that I'm going to have to deal with race morning logistics in my POV.  At this race... scary.I would be driving 5 hours round-trip and racing a half-marathon in period of about 20 hours. Yikes!I would be attending the Disney Marathon Weekend, which when you add the number of participants in the half and full together, is MUCH larger than the NYC marathon!  I would be attending this ginormous race ALONE!I silenced my brain, packed my overnight bag and loaded myself into the car. I reminded myself that I am an only child and have been doing things al[...]



Time to put together another year-end collection of reports.  My goodness!  Didn't I just do this for 2009?  The good news is that there will not be too much to log.  It appears that I didn't really race all that much in 2010.

River, Roots & Ruts Half Marathon Relay (Jan 6, 2010) - DNS due to ITBS.

Valor 5k Road & 5k Trail Run (April 17, 2010) - 5k PR (Road), 2nd AG (Road), 1st AG (Trail)

Ironman Florida 70.3 (May 16, 2010)

Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon (July 17, 2010) - 2nd AG, 5th Overall Female

Run 4 A Reason 5k (August 14, 2010) - 2nd AG

Venice YMCA Sprint Triathlon (September 4, 2010)  - 2nd AG, 8th Overall Female

My First Century Ride (September 11, 2010)

Gasparilla Island 10k (October 3, 2010)  - 10k PR, 1st AG, 2nd Overall Female

Beach 2 Battleship Half Iron (November 13, 2010) - HIM PR, 4th AG, 26th Overall Female

Hello from 6300 feet above sea level!


Snuggled up in a bobsled at the Olympic Training CenterThis Florida flatlander has been in mountain heaven for the past six days.  I have been snuggled-up near a small mountain town just west of Colorado Springs.  The views are gorgeous, the weather is beyond wonderful, but... oh my... the altitude! I have read that that it takes at least 3 weeks at altitude to begin to feel somewhat 'normal' while running and even more time to produce longer lasting physiological changes.  Even then, a person living/working/training up here will never see the kind of paces that could be seen at sea level for the same given effort.  So, what happens during those first couple of weeks?  A suffer-fest much akin to running in 100F heat index at home.Without a doubt, however, it's been fun!  I've actually enjoyed learning about how my body reacts to altitude.  I didn't really get a chance to test this when we were at Breck earlier this year, as everything was "downhill" and the only thing that required any serious aerobic capacity was dogsledding.  So this is the first time that I've had the opportunity to see what it's like to run at altitude.   At 6500 feet and on somewhat hilly terrain, my easy pace was slowed by nearly 2 minutes per mile on the slower end of my pace range and by 1:30 min/mile on the faster end.  Wow, right?!?  At 6000 feet and on mostly flat terrain with a few false flats thrown in b/c there is no such thing as "pancake flat" in CO, my easy pace was slowed by 1 minute/mile on the slower end or 30 sec/mile on the faster end.  I actually think that both scenarios should have produced even slower paces, as my RPE was slightly more than 'easy'.  So interesting!Cheyenne Mountain Zoo- Colorado Springs- 6800 to 7000 feetI'm drinking just about as much fluid as I would on a hot Florida day and exactly the same amount as I would during a run at home (approximately 25oz per hour).  I've learned that hydration at altitude is every bit as important as hydration in a very hot, humid climate.  What I'm finding to be really neat (and quite comfortable) is that when I'm finished a workout, my clothes aren't soaked with sweat.  It's so dry here.  Sweat actually evaporates the way it is supposed to and I stay cool. My core temp stays down.  Aside from the lungs, the body is very happy!  I love it!  At home, it's typical to have a dew point that is at least 65F and that's on a more 'comfortable' day.  Just yesterday, however, the area that I am in had a dew point of -3F!  Apline desert, for sure!My lower back/right hip area, which I've been having problems with for so long that it's nearly not worth mentioning, has been very happy here.  I wonder if it has to do with the decreased barometric pressure?  I will have to look into this further.  Another interesting tid-bit is that this Florida girl runs in less clothing than these "seasoned" mountain dwellers.  I discovered that I am comfy in capris, a tech tee and gloves in 38F weather.  It's sort of funny to see other runners out there in tights, long sleeved shirts, fleece vests, and hats when I could have easily changed out my capris to running shorts.  I am such an oddity.Unfortunately, as much as I love being here, it is definitely affecting my marathon prep.  I'm good for about an hour of easy running per day up here... and I have to be really careful with the RPE b/c I am nowhere near acclimated.  Long runs or any pace work is out of the question.  I can hike and walk (as long as it's not overly hilly) without any problems. &n[...]

Race Report: Beach2Battleship Half Iron


Half Iron Distance Triathlon1.2 mile swim  *  56 mile bike  *  13.1 mile runNovember 13, 2010Wilmington, NC5:40:334th 30-34F AG26th Female142nd Overall**New Half Iron PR by 33 minutes**I decided to wait a few days to post my race recap because I was hoping (praying) that I would be blessed with a few good race photos.  Unfortunately, I was not.  Scott and I did this race without a sherpa, so I have no photos to post of this one.  Bummer.  ETA: I found a few pre & post-race photos and I may give in and purchase one or two of the less offensive race photos.LOGISTICSThis was definitely the most complex race I've ever done in terms of course logistics.  The swim start, T1 and T2 were all in different locations.  A bus took us from our hotel to T1.  Another bus took us from T1 to the swim start and then a water taxi took us from the finish line back to the hotel.  We had separate changing bags for the swim, T1 and T2.  The swim bag was then transported to the finish line and acted as our post-race bag.  Our T1 changing bag eventually found its way to T2/finish line as well.RACE MORNINGDespite all of the grumbling I heard from other race participants after the race, I found B2B's transportation set-up to be more than adequate.  The shuttle busses got Scott & I from our hotel to T1 and from T1 to the swim start without a hitch.  After the race, we opted to wait for the water taxi because we did not want to stack our bikes in the race U-Haul just so we could quickly leave on one of the busses.  All athletes had the option to use either the water taxi or the bus to transport themselves or their bikes.  The water taxi was the slow boat to China; the bus was much faster.  Those who moaned and groaned about waiting for the water taxi should have chosen the bus option.  Period.Waiting for the shuttle bus to T1CONDITIONSPerfect.  The water was approximately 62-64F degrees.  I did a practice swim the Thursday before the race and discovered that I actually felt 'warm' towards the end of the swim.  I opted not to wear any booties and I'm thankful for this.  The booties affected my kick and really, there was just no need for them.  The water was not 'that' cold.  The swim current that B2B is known for was pretty much non-existent this year.  The swim director for the event said on that the full participants had no help on the swim at all and the half participants had very little.  My swim time for this event validates this.  I'm cool with this.  I would rather my time be a bit more legit and not as 'aided' as say Augusta 70.3.The air temp was about 42F at the swim start and around 49F when I finished the swim.  The warmest it ever reached during my race was 64F on the run.  Perfect, although I would have preferred it to be even cooler.  A high of 60F would have been lovely.   Bright blue, sunny skies!  Not a cloud to be found. The wind was whipping pretty good on race day.  Weather reported steady 8-11mph winds during the bike portion with gusts up to 13mph.  The wind was coming from the ENE.Aside from a slightly windy bike, which I'm use to dealing with due to living in Florida anyway, I'd have to say that it doesn't get any better than this.  I doubt I will ever race in such ideal conditions again.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~THE SWIM- 1.2 miles point-to-point, salt-water, wetsuit, low currentTIME- 34:36 (4th AG, 28/235 gender)Scott's wave went off 15 minutes a[...]

Twas the Night Before Beach2Battleship HIM


THURSDAY & FRIDAYThe last two days in Wilmington, NC have been amazing.  This particular race getaway has felt more like a vacation than any other race we've participated in.  The town of Wilmington is adorable and the people here have really opened their arms to all of the athletes.  SetUpEvents is running a top-notch show.  It seems like every "i" has been dotted and every "t" crossed.  The weather has been in one word... WOW!  Morning lows have been in the 40s and afternoon highs in the mid-60s.  Bright blue skies are everywhere with nary a cloud to be found.  Perfection!We made the nearly 13 hour drive (if you count our pit-stops) to Wilmington on Wednesday and fell into bed around 11:30 PM.  I drove the last six hours of the trip and my system was running on pure adrenaline-- the kind that makes you feel sick to your stomach.Our Thursday wake-up call was 5 AM.  We were scheduled to meet a group of athletes from at Wrightsville Beach and swim the last 1500m of the swim course.  Scott & I were excited about testing out our new full wetsuits in something other than chlorine.  The channel water was about 62-63F, but it felt warm compared to the air temp.  It was quite windy on Thursday morning and the wind chill was out of control for a bit.Pre-swim with Brian, Alan, Cecilia and MartinScott says, "brrrrr...." I was snug as a bug in a rug in my suit.  It fits so well that hardly any water leaks in at all.  I opted to wear booties (even though I had never swam in them before) and kept in mind that the race director was also allowing neoprene caps and non-webbed gloves.  I didn't have the latter two items, but I thought that if that water was "that" cold, then I would pick them up at the expo.We swam at the very beginning of incoming tide, so there was a decent current.  Unfortunately, I came to realize all too quickly that I am one of those rare people for whom a wetsuit offers no advantage.  I have good body position in the water already and a wetsuit (plus salt water) actually makes me "too" buoyant.  I had NO kick for the swim.  I get a lot of propulsion from my kick (as opposed to balance) and without it, I felt like a snail.  No wonder why I always fall behind on pull sets in the pool.  Normally Scott and I swim at a similar pace, both in the pool and in open water.  During our practice swim, I couldn't even stay in his draft.  He has a super pull, but lacks a bit of balance... hence, he benefits greatly from a full suit.  This is really good for me to know for the future.  I can't do much about it now, but it's clear that while my strong kick is definitely an asset for most of the non-wetsuit races that I do in FL, I need to work on my pull.  Strong kick + strong pull... deadly!Kicking and pulling aside, I did not find the water to be cold at all.  In fact, I sort of felt "warm" towards the end of the swim.  Probably from dragging myself through the water without a kick!  Honestly, if the run to T1 wasn't a 1/4 mile on painful chip & seal, I don't think I would wear the booties.  I definitely have no interest in a using a neoprene cap or gloves.Post-swim- with friends Brian & MartinFollowing the swim, Scott & I went on a quick 25 minute run and then set out to find some coffee.  We were ridiculously pleased with how the morning went and found ourselves riding a pre-race high!Later in the afternoon we attended packet pick-up, strolled around downtown[...]

I "can" Can-Can!


Yeah, yeah... MIA again.  It's been a busy month.We had family down for a week, spent some time at Disney and have been putting in peak week training volume.  The Blog, Facebook, Twitter and all of the other evil social networking sites and community forums have taken a backseat to life.  I'd like to pull myself out of this blogging slump, but with another insanely busy month ahead, I'm not sure it will be possible.  I will try my best.DISNEYWe recently joined our NJ family in Disney for a few days.  It was a whirlwind of a getaway and was scheduled during a recovery week.  I'm not sure we did much recovering at all with walking miles and miles around the parks.  By the way, since when has walking become more difficult than running?  It's amazing how the body adapts to repeated stress.  At this point, my body appears to be more efficient at running long distances than it is at walking long distances.  Too funny.I was bad... and yes, I'm wearing a fanny packAside from spending time with my awesome NJ family, the highlight of our Disney whirlwind had to be the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue... because I was selected to be a "guest" cast member.  If you have never seen it, the HDD revue is phenomenal.  One of the best at Disney.  Anyway, like other dinner shows, a few members of the audience are selected to be participants.  So, while I'm digging into some strawberry shortcake, one of the lead cast members comes up behind me, pulls the fork out of my hand and whisks me away.  I was selected to be a Can-Can Dancer.Getting pulled up the stage.  I'm smiling, but I was ridiculously nervous!  There were at least 500 people in the audience!Scott captured a little video of my performance.  Please keep in mind that prior to my 15 seconds of fame, I only had a vague idea of 'how' to Can-Can dance.  Of course, that idea didn't apply to a version of the dance called, "impromptu and done in sneakers."  In addition, asking someone with hamstrings that are so tight that they could be mistaken for a cheese slicer to Can-Can "kick" is well, a very bad idea. Oh, but I love the stage and had so much fun!  For the record, that dress was very heavy and it was too big-- much like wearing a leaded vest for a dental X-Ray.  Try dancing in that!TRAININGYesterday was our final pre-B2B pacing brick.  We were lucky to wake up to temps in the low-60s.  The weather was a much needed psychological boost and the rest of our mojo came from simply knowing that this was pretty much IT!The brick was a 50/4 done at race pace.  I belong to the "Overbikers Anonymous" support group.  After two half-irons and a few short course races where it has been clear that my cycling effort has had a disastrous affect on my run, my goal for this pacing brick was to get my brain and my muscles to remember what an 'easy' RPE felt like and to be able to run what I know I am capable of running for the t-run.  Both my cycling & running have come a long way since Augusta 70.3 & Florida 70.3.  However, I am anticipating a slightly more conservative bike split than what I did at Florida 70.3.  This should allow me to finally have a solid half marathon.Despite a heavy training load earlier in the week, I felt great on the bike.  My crotch continues to be an issue, but I can nearly ignore it now.  I felt steady and strong, but also relaxed... like it was just another ride on any other weekend.  At mile 30 I had a high-speed collision with a very an[...]

Dreaming of 2011


It's the most wonderful time of the year.  No, it's not Christmas.  It's time to scout out potential races for 2011!Last year I said that I was going to make 2010 a short-course year.  Of course, I got antsy about doing another half-ironman--just so I knew that the first one wasn't a fluke--and those short-course plans fell to pieces.  However, 2011 is going to be about short course.  My reason for this is three-fold and has been well thought out over the past 2 years.First, I'm a runner.  I may not be a naturally gifted runner, but I am a dedicated runner.  I want to become the best runner that I can be and for that to happen, I need to give it some added attention.  Second, I loathe the bike training required for the 1/2 iron.  I gave it a fair chance again this year, but I've concluded that I'm just not a fan.  It grosses me out to have to eat all of those calories during longer 3 and 4 hour rides.  Every time I begin a build for a half-iron I end up walking around feeling bloated and gross (and at least 4 pounds heavier).  I do not like this.  I definitely feel more fit and way more healthy during a short-course training block.  Finally, it was a 6-hour process yesterday for a 65 mile ride when you factor in pack-up, drive to location, unpack, start ride, do the ride, pack-up, drive home, un-pack, clean all bottles, shower, etc...  There are horses for courses and I have no problem being one of Blogland's few short-course AG representatives.Running.  I don't know why it is that running has gotten under my skin and taken ahold of my soul.  I think I can safely say that I am a slightly better short-course triathlete than I am a runner (and I think this is mostly due to the swim), yet if you told me that I had free entry to either a local sprint tri or a local 10k race, I would hand's down chose the 10k.There is something about running that makes me feel so alive.  It reaches a part of me that triathlon doesn't.  I'm more engaged in my surroundings when I run.  I'm able to safely look at plants and animals, listen for sounds that I normally take for granted and enjoy some time off the beaten path.  I usually finish a swim session bored to tears (and yes, I do swim sets), I typically always want off the bike at the 30-40 mile mark, yet I sometimes have to stop myself from continuing on with a run when the workout is over.So, the above is my approach to 2011, now let's move on to the good stuff!{insert drum roll, please}January 8:  Walt Disney World Half Marathon.  This will be my tune-up race for February's marathon and hopefully I'll be able to catch-up with Melissa and Jen C. from 2009 tri camp.  I'll be missing the River, Roots and Ruts trail run this year in order to do this event.  It's probably going to kill me to miss it, but I know that nothing replaces a really good race tune-up and since it will have been more than a year since I raced a half marathon (and my running has come a long way since), I'd like to see what I can do.February 13:  National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer- 26.2 with Donna.  My first marathon.  I am beyond excited!  It's the kind of excitement that I have experienced only twice before:  my very first 5k and my very first triathlon.  I'm positive that I'll be crying at the start line.  This is unknown territory for me.  My goal is to finish.  I do have a very liberal, ultra-padded, sure to not miss time [...]

Race Report: Gasparilla Island 10K


GASPARILLA ISLAND 10kOctober 3, 2010A shiny, new pencil holder!I had the race of my year this past Sunday.All of my post-it notes and psychological mambo jambo must have worked because I was ready when I toed the line at the Gasparilla 10k.PRE-RACE MEAL- 2 hours before race startWhole wheat bagel with light cream cheese (standard pre-race breakfast)Hot tea with honey (also standard)PRE-RACE WARM-UP- 20 minutes before race startLately I've noticed that my best training runs have followed my C25K group training clinics.  Knowing this, I decided to warm-up like a clinic.  I ran for 90 seconds, walked for 60 seconds, ran for 90 seconds, walked for 60 seconds, repeat, repeat.  After the last walk break, I did 3 or 4 strides and then walked over to the car to stretch.  A few king pigeons and downward dogs later and I was off to the start line.TEMPSI am notorious about logging weather information along with my training/race stats.  I use the history link for the location and will typically pick a time that is smack dab in the middle of my run.  So, weather conditions for this race were 70F, 67.7F dew point, 76F heat index and winds 3-6mph from the North.  So much cooler than what is typical for this time of year.  Far from ideal mind you, but better than expected.THE STARTAs I mentioned in my previous post, the 10k race goes off with the 5k race.  Thank goodness the race directors provided us with different colored bibs.  I was wearing a yellow 10k bib and this ensured that I was not likely to chase someone wearing a white 5k bib.   Our local running club, the Zoomers, was well represented.  Scott and I are new to the Zoomers organization, so while I was at the start line I took some time to spot-out people wearing purple Zoomers tanks.  The Speedsters group from Ft. Myers was out in full force as well.  They are all fantastic runners and super positive people.  I hope to do some training with both groups after tri season is over.The race director moved all of the speedy people up to the front of the start line and asked the rest of us to move in behind them.  I started about 4-5 rows back from the front.  Perfect for me.   Right before the start of the race I spotted a Facebook friend, R, who also runs with the Zoomers & Speedsters.  I hadn't yet met her in person, but I knew that she had done the Run 4 A Reason 5K in August and that we ran at very similar speeds, with her being just a wee bit faster.  She was wearing a yellow bib like I was.Before the gun went off, I kept saying to myself over and over again... pace, pace, pace.  I had even adjusted my iPod to play... wait for it... Eye in the Sky by The Alan Parsons Project as the first song, just so I wouldn't go out too fast!  I heard a few 5k racers near me talking about how they hoped to average an 8:15 pace, so I thought to myself, "hmm... maybe I'll stay near them for the first mile."MILE 1The most important mile!  The gun went off and my plan was put into action.  I watched R zoom ahead, while I tried to hold back.  The "8:15" girls also zoomed ahead.  I looked down at my Garmin: 7:30 pace!  Too fast.  I immediately backed it off, I let people pass me.  Yellow bibs went by, white bibs went by, Alan Parsons Project was buzzing in my ear. I was running my own race.  I was able to adjust my pace to about a 7:50-7:55, but was not able to go any slower than that ([...]

The Pace Race


Whoa, Nelly!  It's 6:30AM... and 68.5 degrees out!  Of course, humidity is still 95% and it could be more like 58F, but I'll take it!  It's a welcome change from "70" anything!  A sign of the fall season, perhaps?On Sunday I will run my second open-10k.  My first 10k was this exact race... 2008 edition.  I had been running for 10 months at the time and had completed a handful of 5k races and two sprint triathlons.  I recall being so excited about the race that morning.  It was a new distance for me, a new test.  Unfortunately, I went out too fast and probably killed off some lung tissue trying to cross the finish line.  I was very pleased with my finish time, all things considered, but it's really no fun to hurt like that.   I hope that this year will be different.It's no secret that I struggle with pacing.  When I do my training runs, I have no problems negative splitting just about every one of them, but for whatever reason I can't translate that to a racing situation.  I like to give chase.  I like to believe that I'm stronger and faster than what I am and hence, I end up running somebody else's race when I should be running mine.  The same can be said for triathlon, I am a 'chaser' on the bike and 9 times out of 10, all of that chasing catches up to me threefold on the run. Now, I can do math.  I know that giving up a few minutes on the bike, will translate into a gain on the run. I know this, yet I continue to ignore it.  Same with open running.  I know that holding back a bit in the beginning will allow me to finish strong in the end.  Again, I know this, yet I have continued to ignore it for the majority of my races.  The one race that I actually kept this in mind lead to my 5k PR this year.  Hmmm, you'd think I would learn.RACE PREPThe 10k run starts at the same time as the 5k run.  Even more reason to not give chase.  I could be chasing a 5k runner!  The two races overlap for about 1.5 miles or enough time to completely blow oneself up by chasing 5k rabbits.The course is out and back with a canal bridge right before mile 2.  The same bridge is seen again just before mile 5.  There are a few detours down residential side-streets (complete with time sapping cul-du-sacs).  The lead-up to the finish line is lined with Banyon trees and is the highlight of the race.  It's beautiful!Although I am not "trained" for this race, I have done a couple of tempo runs and some race-pace repeats, so I know what I can run at this time of the year and in the weather conditions that we presently have; however, none of that matters if I don't pace that first mile well.  The first mile is critical for me.  For everyone, I suppose.  It sets the tone for the remainder of the race.In an effort to mentally prepare myself for the first mile of this race, I stuck some reminder Post-Its around the house.  I know it's a bit cheesy, but I'm desperate to run this race properly.  I don't really like putting numbers out there in Blogland anymore b/c I'm certainly not a fast runner and upon seeing my goal pace, most folks will probably think that I'm taking all of this a bit too seriously... but, what evs.  I need to see these numbers, drill them into my head and eat them for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Disclaimer:  I am not an artist.  I can "stick draw" a rabbit face (ironic), a stegosaurus (don't ask), a cat[...]

Autumn? Where?


OBLIGATORY WEATHER COMPLAINTFlorida obviously did not get the memo that Autumn began last Tuesday.  We continue to melt.I've dealt with the summer heat very well this year.  I've really taken it, "like a man" (said in my best Rocky voice).  In fact, I think I only made one "cry baby" post this summer which is a major accomplishment considering the fact that the entire Eastern half of the US had record setting heat.That being said, I'm over it.  I'm tired of our low being 76F with 90% humidity.  Do you have any idea what kind of heat index that translates to at 5AM?  Let alone what it looks like at 11AM when it's time for me to finish a 50 mile bike ride and then run 4 miles?  Yeah... so very over it.TRAINING UPDATEOn a positive note (because that's what this blog is about)...I have made huge strides with my running this summer.  Despite the heat, I only took to the treadmill for one run and I was able to increase my mileage to a number I feel I can successfully build upon (hopefully without injury) for marathon prep. My rewards for doing this:1.  Mental toughness.  I am kick-butt and have learned that even as a "super sweater" I can run in 95F heat. The hotter it is, the slower I am, but it's all good!2.  Tough legs.  When I was doing 10 and 11 milers as part of my half-marathon prep in 2009, I used to whine about how much my quads hurt.  These days 10 or 11 milers aren't really all that long anymore and they sure as heck don't produce mincemeat quads.3.  Faster legs.  Even in the torturous heat, I've watched my pace slowly, but steadily improve.  I began focusing on my running in early June and my average pace across the board has dropped about 45-50 seconds per mile since then.  This amazes me.  Especially in this heat.  I've learned that run training is just like bike training.  If you want to run faster & longer, you've got to go out there and just run.  You've got to put in the mileage.  There is no substitute. 4.  Gained a new best friend.  My foam roller.  I've been diligent with foam rolling every day, twice a day.  With my gradual increase in mileage and a marathon lurking on the horizon, I knew that injury prevention was going to be paramount.ON THE AGENDAThis upcoming week is an exciting one!  It looks like it's going to be race central the next two weekends!  There is Kona, of course, and a few of my friends will be partaking in some exciting local races up North.  I'll be racing too.  It will be my first 10k race since 2008 and a big honkin' PR is going to drop!  Oh yes!  I'm ready, my legs are ready, my race-prep runs have indicated that a huge PR is attainable... now all I have to do is PACE!   More on this in a later post this week.One year ago today, I was competing in my very first half-ironman.  While I was walking Koby this morning, I thought a lot about Augusta.  I thought about how differently I would approach the event now-- from pacing to my general attitude.  I sure have grown a lot since then.[...]

My first Century is in the books!


The three amigos at the end of our first century rideIt's already been established that, running aside, I'm not a huge fan of long training sessions or races.  I don't care to spend more than 3 hours at a pop on the bike.  I get bored to tears during swim sets over 3000 yards.  I am probably one of the few triathletes out there who really has no interest at the moment in doing an Ironman... and I really couldn't care all that much about the half iron distance either.  That being said, I participate in long rides and long-course tri because my husband and my friends enjoy them.  I like to be with them, so there you have it.Would I have ever planned to complete my first 100 mile bike ride in the middle of a very hot Florida summer?  Not a chance!  This is where the term "impromptu" comes in.  If I had months to think about doing this ride in the middle of September, I probably would have backed out of it.  Being that I had less than a week to think about it and that my best friend was counting on me to do it, I was trapped (in a good way).This coming Thursday, my bestie is having her much needed hip surgery.  She is an absolute fantastic cyclist and unlike myself, could probably live on the bike.  She's not only naturally gifted at cycling, but truly enjoys it as well.  The perfect combination.  We both had the goal of completing a century this year and with her surgery coming up and the rest of my year pretty much devoted to marathon training, we decided last week that is was 'now or never'.  So we planned a route, complete with pit stops, invited a few extra friends to join us and declared war on September 12th!PRE-RIDE FEELINGSMy sleep has been pretty rotten for the past few weeks and unlike other parts of the country, it is still extremely hot here.  We reached a high of 93F yesterday (true temp; I have no idea what heat index was) and yes, we were still out on the road when the high hit.  So lack of sleep + heat + general fatigue from a  race that didn't go so well and a long run that did, had me a bit worried.  Still, the century was ON!  I knew that my fitness would be there, but I also knew that heat/fatigue aside, that this ride was going to be 100% about nutrition and pacing.  If I could get those two correct, I would be golden.  If I screwed up one or both, there would be hell to pay.SATURDAYI got a whopping 4 hours of sleep on Friday night and woke up at 4AM on Saturday.  I was utterly exhausted.  I attempted a very short run and had to call it quits after only 2.5 miles.  I felt like death.  My husband arrived home from work to find me curled up in a bathtub full of bubbles.  I was drained.  He pulled me from the tub, closed all of the windows, hid the computer and remote control, brought my dog to my mother's house and then put me to bed.  I slept from about 10AM to 2:30PM, waking only briefly in order to eat some pancakes that Scott brought me.  Later that evening I had enough energy to attend our church's Blue Mass celebration, but I still had my reservations about Sunday's ride.  Scott & my mom thought I was nuts for even considering to go through with it, but I was not about to surrender before I got a good night of rest.SUNDAY- RIDE TIME!Scott & I woke up at 5AM, had some bagels, loaded everything up and made our way to Sondra [...]

Paying it forward


Training, racing, success, failure, health, lifestyle, friendships... there's so much that I love about participating in endurance sports.  I'm a better person for having picked up running & triathlon and I can't imagine life without either of them.That being said, there is nothing more gratifying than giving the gift of endurance sports to another person. I know that running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, etc... is not going to mesh with everyone.  However, my feeling is that it doesn't hurt to spread the love around.  If someone decides that they love it enough to stick with it, then fantastic!  If not, maybe they'll be motivated enough to find something else that inspires them to step up to a healthier lifestyle.One of the most gratifying experiences that I've had since I began all of this did not come in the form of a race PR or a distance milestone.  It came from teaching my best friend how to swim.  I do not consider myself to be a natural teacher.  I tend to be a bit on the shy side when it comes to social/verbal interaction with others, but my love for endurance sports helped me to overcome this obstacle and allowed me to reach out to someone.  In the process, I gained a wonderful friend (a major accomplishment for an introvert like myself) and felt a sense of personal satisfaction that rivaled only my graduation from Air Force Basic Training. A few weeks ago my mother declared war on her body.  She told me that she wanted learn how to run.  I was so overjoyed that I nearly cried!  I immediately envisioned her healthy & fit;  the two of us doing local races & relays together.  I told her that I would set her up with a program that would get her ready to run the 2010 Turkey Trot.  I could have just provided her with a training plan, but I wanted to guide her every step of the way.  So, I committed myself to coaching her through all of her runs.  When she informed me that two of her neighbors would be joining us, fireworks went off!  This was going to be great!With the ladies before their very first run.  L-R: Jackie, Linda and Joanne (mia madre)Our first training run was awesome!  I'm using the C25K (couch to 5k) plan as a guide, but intend to modify it along the way to suit their needs.  The three of them did awesome and I saw a lot of smiles underneath the sweat and heavy breathing.  I paced them through their intervals; making sure that they did not try to run too fast (like I did when I started out) and that they used the recovery period to actually recover.  They all made it through the workout and were surprised at how quickly 30 minutes went by.  Yes!  Success!Finished!  All smiles!The ladies completed a second run on Wednesday and a third this morning.  I'm so proud of all of them!  These women are coming directly off the couch!  They are motivated and believe in themselves.  My mom even tossed in two short bikes rides this week!  I'm going to make a triathlete out of her someday!  So, I am loving this new adventure.  It brings a smile to my face when I think about how these beginning steps may permanently change the lives of these three women.  I'm thrilled to be a part of it.ON THE AGENDAMy bestie is finally having her much needed surgery next week.  She's had to wait longer th[...]