Friday, February 25, 2011

Race Report - Austin Marathon Part II

Up and at em at 5am to get some nutrition in and take care of 'business'. I had laid everything out the night before so it was quick and easy. First things first we had gotten some Starbucks Via to get our coffee in the a.m. then I made some oatmeal w/ chia seeds in the little coffee maker thing w/ the plan to put my banana and Justin's Almond butter (those little packets are awesome for when you are traveling) in it, but when I tried to eat the oatmeal it just seemed too heavy. I decided to eat just the banana and almond butter and a few bites of oatmeal. As I've mentioned before I have trouble in the bathroom department and didn't want to bog myself down even more with a big cup of oatmeal. I felt fine about this decision and just rolled with it.

I still wasn't real sure what to expect from this race, but I do know myself well enough to know that I easily get caught up in the moment and I didn't want to blow myself up in the first 5 miles so I busted out my trusty sharpie so I would be reminded EVERY TIME I checked my pace on my Garmin that I have BIGGER GOALS this year.
Another little trick I played on myself (that worked beautifully)... I changed my pace reading from Current Pace to AVERAGE pace. I have a tendency to freak out if I'm going 'TOO SLOW" (whatever that is) and then push myself too hard to get back to whatever I deem as a 'good' pace at that moment. Having it set on average saved me.
Ready to head down to the start.

We are both from colder climates and everyone had been saying how cold it would be waiting to start. When we walked out of the hotel we both braced ourselves to be hit in the face with a blanket of COLD. It was maybe 60. Not cold for us! Yea. Our hotel was really close to the start so we just strolled down. 

This is the least anxious I have ever been before a race. I'm not sure what it is... normally no matter how much I tell myself I 'don't care' about the outcome I'm a wreck. This isn't my first time at the rodeo and I had limited expectations so I'm sure that played into my lack of nerves.
Getting ready to go line up.
I wasn't sure where to start... I was hoping for a sub 4 hour race, but wasn't sure how the day would play out so I started with the 4:15 folks. Turns out with a race of 20,000 (okay any race really) it really didn't matter where I started. :) I think some of the walkers started at the gate.

It took us a solid 15 minutes just to get to the start.. no worries. I just ran comfortably. My race report is pretty much summed up in that one sentence. Well, comfortable is certainly not how I felt for most of the race.

I started out just running comfortably and was easily passing a lot of people. My average time stayed at 9:08-9:15 the entire race. It moved from the 9:10 to 9:15 range during the last 7 - 10 miles so I definitely slowed down toward the end.

At around mile 7 I started to feel some dull pain in my hammie/glute area (my 'injury') and was thinking.. uhoh.. it's EARLY for that, but just kept it nice and easy. I thought I would use this race to really contemplate some things in my life. Every time I tried to let my mind wander I would kind of fall apart so for the four hours I ran (w/ no music I might add) I just thought "nice and easy, nice and light" .... over and over. By the end of the race I was saying it under my breath out loud.

Since I started with triathlon I don't really race anything with my music. I considered using it this time because I anticipated a bit of a mental struggle at the end as I limped through the last miles, but decided that I didn't need it. On the first long slow incline (maybe mile 2) I started trying to kind of talk to and encourage people and NO ONE could hear me. They all had headphones on. I was bummed about that. How are we to support each other if we're all dead to each other by way of music in our ears? Then I wondered what marathons used to be like before hand held music devices. Was there more talking and encouragement amongst the racers. Okay so maybe there was SOME space for thoughts.

I took one flask of First Endurance Vanilla Liquid Shot with me. Man that stuff is delicious. I carried it in my free spy belt that I got from the expo.. kind of like an endurance athlete fanny pack. It served it's purpose.. I didn't have to carry the flask until it got to the bottom when I carried it upside down in my hand to have the gel ready to roll when I needed it. I ran out at mile 18 and was thinking the last 4 miles might be rough if I didn't find something else between now and the finish. (Remember my breakfast of a banana and almond butter?) I did meet one man that chatted with me a bit right around this time and he offered me a shot block which I greatfully inhaled. About a mile later I saw them like an Oasis in the sky the Honey Stinger Guys. I grabbed two gels from them and carried on. When the time came I took one... OMG they were SO strong in honey flavor I almost gagged. The FE had gone down so nice and smooth that this was a shock. And I kid you not... my belly started doing flips about 10 minutes later. I was thankful that it was late in the game and I would certainly be able to get to the end without incident... what's that about not doing anything new on race day? :D

At this point I was pretty certain that despite my obvious limp I would make it to the finish. My feet and ankles were killing me. They always hurt some at this point, but they were really hurting. And everytime I hit a hill (which seemed very often) my hammie/glute acted up. I think my foot and ankle pain could be attributed to two things 1. We walked a TON the day before and 2. my shoes were essentially brand new! I was wearing the Avia Rhythms that I bought and had run approximately 10 miles in. I ALMOST brought the Avia Quest Lites that I recieved the day before I left and only ran in about 20 mins because they are so beautiful, but decided that the Rhythms had been tested longer and caused zero problems while I could tell the Quest Lites needed some more breaking in.

I used some TriSlide on my feet because my shoes were so new and I was worried that I might get some blisters. It worked like a charm and I had not one hot spot during the race. Another bonus to the Rhythms... I still have ALL of my toe nails. Last year I lost 5 toe nails. I'm pretty darn excited about this!

The last part of the race was down hill. And while I expected this to be a much needed relief from the UP hills that seemed to take up most of the race (long slow uphills) it was actually quite challenging.

One turn left and I'M HOME!

Final time was 4:04 and I'm happy about that. I'm glad that I got it through my thick head that this year was not the year for a BQ! If I had tried to hold 8:34 for any given time I'm certain (as coach said) I would have BLOWN UP by mile 10. I feel like I accomplished my two main goals 1. Don't injure the leg any further and quite possibly my hardest goal 2. FOLLOW COACHES directions!

Thank you to all my friends and family and TEAM TRAKKERS for all your support. I'm off this week then easing back into it all over the next couple of weeks. Triathlon season is upon us! T-2 months to my first race! (er, second race)

Anyone wanna hit Austin Marathon/Half Marathon in 2012? I loved this city that much. I would go back again next year!
How do you feel about music during a race? Do you use it!? I have to say the only people that cut me off during the race had ear buds in. I honestly don't care if people use them... but I likely won't.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pretty sure I could live on taco stand tacos - Austin Marathon 2/20/2011 Part I

First of all... I LOVE AUSTIN! This was the second time I had ever been there, but in all fairness I don't really remember the first time. It was a long time ago and I think it was only a quick overnight and there was a lot of drinking involved. Different kind of trip.

This vacation was EXACTLY what I needed THREE days with Mama Marie my BFF from Madison. It was like a little piece of home. We tooled around and were on the same page the whole trip. We wanted to see and do the same things... like rock the local co-op for big salad, sushi and kombucha.
 Yummy Co-Op salad.
 Locally brewed Kombucha... and it was the best I've had! Love it.

She just gets me. We both wanted to walk everywhere, use public transportation, visit the same little grocer/coffee shop EVERY SINGLE DAY and eat tacos and drink margaritas. Nothing says BFF like not even needing to compromise once. We walked all over Austin on Saturday, did the race on Sunday then walked all over again on Sunday just chatting away about life.

Some Austin sites...
 This happens to be a Crepe stand, but there were TACO stands everywhere. 
I forgot to take a pic of the stand where we got the BEST TACO in Austin.
 A cute little dog park right by the river.
 We had to stop by Mellow Johnny's Bike shop.
 I was told that this path was 10 miles. HEAVEN! Where do I sign my lease in this awesome town?
 A super cute hotel right on Congress in the heart of a really cool shopping area. 
Ironically called San Jose Hotel.
Check out this cool pedestrian bridge built a bit lower than the driving bridge.

Austin is so accessible. There are wonderful walking paths and side walks everywhere. The public transportation is stellar... $1 to get almost anywhere and the bus drivers were crazy nice and patient with our 'not from hereness'.

I think that when you sign a lease or buy a house in Austin they give you a card from the local tattoo parlor and tell you you have 30 days to get your first tattoo. And you all know I'm down with that! :)

The expo was huge and they did a pretty good job of hitting their 'green' goal. Our packets weren't stuffed full of GARBAGE that I end up just throwing away immediately.

After the expo we tooled around some more then met my parents, aunt and two cousins for some dinner and headed back to the hotel to get our stuff together and get to bed early.... Thanks to Trakkers, Avia, SBR TriSlide and First Endurance for your support of my race.... more to come on all of that tomorrow!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

USAT Youth Development Camp in the PNW!

Do you know any Youth Athletes that would be interested in going to a Junior Skills Development Camp put on by the USAT and coached by Heather and Trevor Wurtele? This is an amazing opportunity and there are scholarships available. You don't have to be in the PNW, but PNW kids will get preference for the scholarships!

Check out THIS LINK for all the details and please pass this info on to anyone you may know that would be interested. It's indeed going to be epic.

My teammie Alex Endo is on the board of USAT for the Pacific Northwest Region so if you have any questions shoot them my way and I'll get you the 411!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The great shoe experiment

Shoes... running shoes. I spend a lot of coin on running shoes. And lately I've been crazy nutso over the whole deal! (seriously over the top. I have purchased and returned THREE pair now.) My current shoes were purchased in APRIL of 2010. To say they need replaced is a vast understatement and I've known they needed replaced, by my cheap ass self has been waiting to get my Avias ..... and I backed myself into a corner.

Okay to be fair I did go out and buy a pair of shoes a while ago, but when I did my test run in them they were awful! AWFUL. So here is the shoe saga (my life is extremely exciting you see) with my little 'experiment' at the end.

I lose toenails when I run. I get that this is fairly normal, but after my last marathon (Miami 1/31/2010) I lost more than half of them and two were BAD. So I wanted to have my shoes checked out. I had been running in Asics for years... like my whole running career. I had tried some other shoes here and there, but would always return them in favor of the Asics.. I think they were 2010s when I started this journey, but I can't remember. So I waited until we went to Seattle in April because I knew there were some good running stores out there. I explained my situation and the guy put me in Nikes. I was VERY skeptical. I had tried Nikes before with little to no success. And I was a runner... weren't Nikes for like basketball players and gym rats (I can say this bc I am also a gym rat)?

Anyway off I trotted and it took me a while, but I began to like them. Particularly when I had no toe pain and managed to keep all my nails even after longer runs.

Fast forward to the last couple of months. I am again marathon training and now I'm sponsored by Trakkers. I wanted to wait so badly for my new Avias. Time was getting tight so I purchased a pair of Asics (why Asics and not the Nikes I had grown to love? They were cheaper and I knew I would be replacing them w/ Avias. Basically I'm cheap.) I ran in them once and they were like BRICKS. I had become accustomed to the less structure of the Nikes. So the Asics went back and I continued to run in my Nikes. I ordered some Avia Quests from Zappos - too big. They were returned. Back to the Nikes.

Finally I broke down and ordered yet another pair of Avias. This time the Rhythms because it was said that they were more of a neutral shoe than the Quests I had previously ordered.

I did a quick run in these and panicked because they just weren't going to work. They felt like bricks too! (stay with me here) I really wanted to represent our sponsors, but I hadn't received my team shoes yet anyway and I am running a marathon in just over a week. NOT a good time to break in a pair of shoes - YES, I realize this should have been done AT LEAST A month ago. (Do you see the neurosis setting in?)

So off I went to purchase the Nikes. I took my old ones with me this time. OMG!! Any pair of shoes would feel like a brick in comparison to my old blown out Nikes. I didn't realize just how bad it was until I had one OLD shoe and one NEW shoe on. I purchased the Nikes and decided I was going to do a little experiment the next day.

I had a ten mile run on tap and decided I would run the first 5 miles in one pair of shoes then switch for the second 5 miles then choose a winner. Well I screwed myself (Mommy mistake, rolled up to the gym and only had one hour of child watch left. I hadn't originally planned to take a kid, but ...well anyway. It is what it is.)... so I ran for 20 mins in one shoe and 20 mins in the other. Or that was the plan.

I started out in the Avias and all was fine. I mean I felt like I was running in my Danskos, but it was bc I was so accustomed to the NOTHING feel of the Nikes (ya gotta wonder if my aches and pains could be associated w/ the old shoes, eh?). Then I changed into the Nikes. AWFUL. The bottom of my foot immediately lit up with friction and my toes were totally cramped in there. Either my old shoes are SERIOUSLY blow out and even the upper is totally stretched or they changed the design of the shoe. I ran in these about 10 mins before putting the Avias back on.

So there you have it folks. My HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC test. Yes I realize this is very very late in the game and my shoes absolutely will not be broken in for the race..... but I'm doing what I can and I'm super glad that the Avias won out. I love to support the sponsors.

I will give you a full report on the shoe post race. I ordered YET A DIFFERENT pair through the team. The Quest Lite!!! I'll also give you the run down on that pair after I get a chance to test em out.

So two questions for you:
1. can I help break the shoes in by wearing them around. I know walking is different than running and it's not recommended to wear your running shoes around, but wouldn't this help a little in this case?

2. Music or no music? Do you rock the iPod during the marathon???

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Austin Marathon is a comin' whether I'm ready or not.

The Marathon is ONE WEEK away!!!!

I got up a little early this a.m. to type up this blog post because life has just been crazy busy and well... here comes Austin. I was going to tell you all that even though my training has been basically crap and that I haven't even run a solid 20 miler I was still going to shoot for Boston.

As with all things I checked my email before I got started because that's what all good addicts do.

And what did I find, but an email from coach from Spain. He was giving me my 'pre-race' pep talk. And in that pep talk there were a lot of really good points:

- "your longest run isn't long enough to kill a Marathon" uh, TRUE!
- "get in a good training day and don't do anything that puts the rest of your season in doubt" - Good advice! (this after he gives me the details of how my marathon should go down - below)
- "You have bigger goals this year, and this is a stepping stone." - Again, TRUE!
-  "Don't try to make up for it during the taper." - okay, FINE! Is he some sort of mind reader?

So this is one reason why I hired a coach. To remind me of these types of things. It's not a good idea for me to take my subpar training and go all out in a race that I KNOW I'm not prepared for.. in FEBRUARY when I have the BIGGEST season of my life ahead of me! This is base building! BASE BUILDING! That's it. I need to go to Austin, see two women I haven't seen in ages, soak up some love and sun, and recharge my batteries to come back to this hell hole.. I mean frozen tundra... I mean to come home to my family with the pep back in my step and the focus back in my training.

Thanks Coach! This will be the first race I enter where my go to reminders are to slow down and stay steady not kill it! :) Good prep for an ironman, no?

So thanks to coach I've changed my tune and am going for the FUN factor (didn't I already decide that this is what it's all about anyway?). Here's the plan:

Take the first 13 miles easy. (zone 2) Then miles 13-20 slow, but they will still feel hard. That sounds good .. no checking my watch obsessively to make sure I'm "on pace" ... no stress... just run. Doesn't that sound glorious?

And one last quote from coach: "go dumb easy for most of it or you will come unglued badly after 20." (this was a good reminder and pretty much sealed the deal.)

I do have to say that I did a little experiment (more to come on that tomorrow) and my hammie/glute started aching by 1.5 miles... ugh. Don't want to make that any worse either.

So there you have it folks. My race just became a training session. I'm down with that. (Well you and I both know there is that tiny little voice in that back of my mind berating me right now for waving the white flag before I even got there, but don't worry the sensible side of me is giving her the finger and one big eye roll right now.)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Rev3 and the Ulman Cancer Fund's Team Fight


Rev3 has partnered with Team Fight!!! Just when I thought this crazy adventure couldn't get any better. Now a way to continue to give back while indulging myself in this crazy world of multisport!

TEAM FIGHT is a motivated group of great people of all ages and abilities training to support young adults and their loved ones affected by cancer.
  • We FIGHT because there are over 70,000 young adults diagnosed with cancer each year.
  • We FIGHT because survival rates have NOT increased for young adults in over 35 years.
  • We FIGHT because we want to raise awareness.
  • We FIGHT because we care and want to make a difference.
TEAM FIGHT is a great way to give back to the community while having a great time working out and meeting new people.  There is no greater feeling than working hard to accomplish your goals and have a part in winning the FIGHT against cancer!  This program designed to assist you in raising funds for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults as you train for endurance events including triathlons and running events.

If you are considering participation in one of the Rev3 events please consider doing it through TEAM FIGHT! I am a long time fundraiser and am totally psyched that we have partnered with the UCF!

Here are the basic details:
Fundraising goals by race distance will be $750 for an Olympic Rev, $1000 for a Half Rev, and $1500 for a Full Rev. Racing for TEAM FIGHT will include a custom TEAM FIGHT tri uniform and/or race jersey.

Athletes that raise $1500 will receive:
§  TEAM FIGHT “In Training” Tech Training Shirt
§  Training plans
§  Personalized on-line fundraising tool and support
§  Water Bottle
§  Registration deducted from fundraising
§  Passionate and Supportive Teammates
§  VIP area at race venue

Athletes that raise $2,500 will receive
§  All  of the Above
§  Exclusive TEAM FIGHT/Rev3 Jacket
§  Individual Recognition at Rev3 Event

The Rev3 Top Fundraiser for the season will receive:
§  All of the Above AND
§  Crystal Award Presentation/Recognition at end of season
§  Entry and accommodations for Rev3 Costa Rica 2012 (Did you see that??? ENTRY AND ACCOMMODATIONS!!!!)

 This is an amazing opportunity. I'm hoping to do some fundraising of my very own...