Thursday, September 27, 2018

Augusta 70.3 2018!

Augusta 70.3 is in the books, and it was a hot, tough day – tougher than any 70.3 than I done in the past – of course, this was only my 5th one and from one I was a DQ!  My goals were: 1) Not screw up on the run course as last year, I made a wrong turn and ruined my whole day; 2) Enjoy the swim which weirdly my worst event, 3) Be smart on the bike as I knew I had made a lot of strides there, 4) Finish under 6 hrs (if possible given the predicted warm conditions); 5) have fun!  
I knew I had put in the training, but the last week was filled with a lot of anxiety over the race.  More than I experience normally and certainly more than I’ve experienced for a 70.3 in the past.  I guess just feeling like I had something to “prove” at Augusta was tough.  I felt ready though as I had mostly good workouts along the way.
Swim: The swim was not wetsuit legal, not did I expect it to be.  I did wear my Swim skin which was the first time I got to use it.  Who knows if it helped or not with “speed” but it sure keeps my tri top from rolling up.  I swam 32 min in 2017, so I seeded myself there for the rolling start.  Like the rolling start but didn’t like the fact that it appeared as if so many people ”lied” about their times.  I pretty much passed everyone in my “heat” and had to breaststroke to get around a lot of athletes who were having a tough time in the water or simply were mis-seeded.  The swim current never seems like what they say it should be in Augusta, in fact, it felt like not much at all.  Swim time: 32:10 – exactly what I thought I’d swim!
T1 is long in Augusta with a run around the whole fence and then into the bikes.  T1: 5:25 which was for me – excellent.
Bike: Off on the bike course.  I expected to have a better ride than last year, but this was a new course.  I didn’t hat it, but it was certainly not any faster than the old one especially with all the railroad track crossings at beginning and end.  There were also three very long hills, an annoying distance grab by the airport with a tough turnaround, and then I felt like there was a good  headwind in the last 12-15 miles.  I felt good but also felt like I was beginning to cramp a bit and was not happy with that feeling.  I was drinking my Infinit every 20 min and taking a gel every 5 miles, but still seemed to be thirsty. Bike felt good overall though until hitting that wind in the last few miles, but all in all, I was very pleased with my time:  3:02:46
T2 was tough.  I felt a bit of cramping coming on but sort of ignored it.  Mad sure to get in two salt tablets, stretched my quads a bit and then started off on the run.  I felt hydrated enough as I had to pee as well, which I did losing some time. T2: 4:01
Run: I always look forward to the run as it is what I can do the best.  I felt off and attributed to the heat and just started to go.  Don’t know if I was worried about making the same mistake and wrong turn as last year, but I couldn’t really relax and I was just trying to get comfortable. My quads were also very tight and I was trying to run through it an settle in. I saw Shannon and John at mile 3 and then again right after mile 5 when I told them that I was hurting.  The first 5 miles were hard and I felt like I was going to cramp any minute and right around the 10K mark.  I had just taken some Gatorade at the aid station and put some ice in my hat, but I just could fend off the cramping quads anymore and had to walk some.  After that, I just kept on running as far as I could and then walking 100 steps.  It worked pretty well, but I was a bit devastated as running is my thing!  Weirdly, everyone around me seemed to be having issues in the run as well and even walking, I was passing athletes out there.  I never saw or passed anyone in my AG as I feel they had already passed me on the bike – so I was happy with that.  The cheerleaders at the ATC corner were awesome and told me to try to get in more salt and water, but I guess it was already too late.  The run was hot, hot, hot as the temps were in the 90s, but as I said to one of the ATC guys, I’m going to finish and I went the right way.  Run: 2:14:54.

Total time:  5:59:13!   Under 6 and I didn’t get lost!   14th in my AG which was great – I had hoped to make the top 10 – but I really wasn’t anywhere near their times.  Hats off to the fast women in the 55-59 AG.   I was actually 13th out of the water, 17th after the bike, and I battled back to 14th overall.
Thanks so much to my coach, Lesley Smith, from AJBaucco Racing.  I think we work well together and I hope that we can continue on this path. I love the way she has helped me mesh my running schedule in the winter/spring for Boston with biking and swimming.  Thanks so much to Shannon and John for their support and for being there on Sunday, thanks to my cycling and running buddies both in CHQ (Chris, Kent, Brian, Bill, MP, Claire and Carol) and here in Atlanta (Cycle Alpharetta, the Goat Riders and of course, all the Riverside runners!).  And Thanks to the ATC for being on the hot corner as I looked forward to you on every loop.

I really like the 70.3 distance and I’m still holding out as to whether or not I should attempt a full Ironman.  I’m already committed to Boston for 2019 and IM70.3 Traverse City.  And maybe, maybe a full – just got to see that final ATC 2019 target race list again. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Return to Training (after Injury)

So as I mentioned in my last post (yes, I know it was awhile ago), there was something indeed going on with my right foot.  Turns out that I actually had broken the 5th metatarsal which pretty much ended my fall season.  The broken foot immediately received a present in the form of a fun new boot, and my training drastically altered.  I had to withdraw from the Bourbon Chase relay, IM 70.3 North Carolina, and the NYC marathon.  Not an easy decision, but the good news was that I had taken out race insurance for the flight to the relay and for the HIM, which I filed a claim for, and received all of my monies back with a "Dr's note".  I also deferred my entrance to NY which means that I am guaranteed an entry for 2018.  Not sure if I will take the entry, but I still have time to make that decision.

During the time I had the boot, I had to change my training.  I was able to continue to swim which I did, but really I did a lot of pull for the first few weeks and no pushing off with the right foot.  After the first 5 wks of the boot (remember I didn't get the foot checked until 3 wks after the initial break), I was able to add back "real" swimming i.e. freestyle with kicking, but I still did mostly pull work.  I could no longer cycle outdoors so I started taking spin classes which turned out to be something that I really enjoy.

As for rehabbing a broken fifth metatarsal, I couldn't find a lot of direction as I scoured the internet for folks with a similar situation.  I made sure to take extra calcium in my diet and kept those glasses of wine to a minimum.  I also massaged the foot area daily to maintain blood flow.  After 7 wks in the boot, I finally was able to walk without it, and at that point, I was cleared to ride my bike, but I still was wary of riding outside for fear of falling, so I stuck with spin classes but now I could at least come out of the saddle.  After those two weeks, I was cleared to run.

So I decided to start on the indoor track - and I ran 2 miles, and it hurt.  No the foot didn't hurt, but my lower back, glutes, ITBand, and adductors sure did.  That boot caused me to be off balance and really had my hip out of whack.  I have been working since I started back to running on fixing/improving these imbalances and slowly I'm feeling less pain while running.  So I've run up to 5 miles 3x now, and I've run a total of eight times.  It's coming back slowly but it's coming back.

I'm hoping that I can start Boston training after the first of the year - we will see.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It's Almost Here.........

Wow, it has indeed been a while!  I have done a ton since I last blogged including running the fastest time at Boston since I was 39, winning my AG by 10 min at the RnR Country Music Half marathon, riding the 384 miles of the GAP with great friends, competing at setting a PR at IM 70.3 Muncie, riding my 1st Century at OneLove in South Atlanta, and training, training, training for IM70.3 Augusta.  Ever since I was about to turn 50, I have set my sites on the Augusta race and well, Sunday is finally my opportunity to tackle the course.  Training has been going very well - that was until last week when I twisted my foot walking my daughter's (cute) puppy, Dodger.  Yup, he went one way and my foot went the other.  It seems to be healing ok, and I know that I could run on it if I had to.  Hoping that by Sunday it will all be ok (figuring adrenaline will carry me 13.1 miles of a run and after that I might not walk for a week - lol).

After life threw me a bit of a curveball in May, I'm coming out the other side and so looking forward to this race.  Screw the personal crap as it has no real bearing on my happiness and life as I will be fine.  I have my running/tri/CHQ community and I always will.  Thanks to all of you as you do more for me than you know - and it isn't just running, riding or swimming miles with me.

My original goal for Augusta was to try to once again break the 6 hr barrier although with the weather looking warm and the uncertainty of my foot, who knows.  My goal now is to finish smartly (due to the projected warm temps) and come out unscathed.  I've got some awesome running events coming up including a Ragnar relay on a team where I'm Grandma and the NYC marathon - both of which I am really looking forward to this year.  I love NYC and I missed running either the full or half last year.  It will be great to share it once again with Chris, Laura, MP, and Colleen.  And then back to Boston once again in April to keep my streak alive.  This year, I'm hoping to train with Jody and Courtney once again through the winter whilst getting Courtney prepared to run a BQ and Jody and I threw the race.  I hope to be able to break 4 hrs again myself, but that will again depend on so many things.  I am glad to have "aged up" though knowing that a 4 hr race is more than good enough.
Here are some pictures from my various events:
  Halfway down the Gap

 Nashville Half Marathon

 Boston Marathon 

Muncie Finish

Presque Isle Half Marathon

 Swimming with the Gang @ Mary Alice Park (I am no longer in (too much) fear of the OWS)

 Start of the BBC Ride

Celebration of Boston Marathoners with Susie and the Riverside Gang

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lamenting the Demise of the Local 10K

Over the last two weekends, I have participated in two local road races that have been in Atlanta each for over 30 yrs.  These races used to be quite a big deal and drew the fastest runners in the city.  And you all know how much I love to race.  One course is a very hilly half marathon - Run the Reagan - which is known for being a tough course and has suffered over the years by moving from February to April and back again hoping to draw the crowds that used to come.  They have even added 5K and 10K distances in hopes of bringing in those runners wishing to run a Peachtree Road Race qualifier.  The last time that I ran this half marathon was back in 2011 (now I have been living in Cleveland for the past 4 winters and it was postponed due to weather in 2012 when we had an ice storm in Atlanta) and there were 400+ finishers.  This year a mere 102.  Yup, 102!  Are runners too scared to come run this very tough course? Are runners reluctant to drive "all the way" out to Snellville? Are runners not satisfied to run a hard course that won't generate a PR but will require a good effort to run? Are there just too many other races in the Atlanta area on a given weekend? (There were other 5Ks around, but not really that many).  But that is a definite decrease in participation.  As for the 5K and 10K, they were decidedly smaller as well. I thought well, Reagan is a tough course, but the race next week will bring a much larger crowd right?

After all, I ran the Reagan Half as a training run myself - and was extremely surprised to find myself 2nd in my AG with only three entrants - just three in the F55-59 AG?  Wow, really?  And my time was good for a training run especially on a difficult course - but only three of us, really?

Me at the finish of Reagan

So fast forward to this past weekend, and the running of the 34th Chattahoochee Road Runners 10k. Now this has always a been a fast course (even with the course changes over the years) and most runners used to run either it or this coming weekend's Charles Harris 10K to get their PRR qualifying times.  These two 10Ks have the reputation of being flat to slightly downhill and fast.  Now I had not run this 10K since 2007 opting for Charles Harris a couple of years and then of course, spending the last four years in Ohio.  Well was I surprised when I finished 1st in my AG with a time of 46:23 - not that it is a bad time, but still the race was only 480 participants way down from the last time I ran it with 1500 10K runners.  So maybe the addition of a 5K decimated the 10K numbers?  Nope last year there were 521 5K finishers and 430 10K finishers - not exactly 1500 runners.
Alex, Courtney & I at the Start

So where has everyone gone?  There are still lots of runners out there as the Publix Marathon that will be held on March 19th is sold out (the half still has plenty of entries available.  The Boston Marathon turns runner away.  Are there so many small races out there that the runners have been diluted?  I know runners who seek out the smaller races so they can win a medal in their AG.  I'm seeking out races so I can see how I stack up to my AG competition.  Has running society changed so much that we just want to show our friends on FB on medal on Monday morning?  Have I become just an old  runner hoping for the good old days?  I'm not really that interested in posting pictures of medals (and here I am ranting in a blog - lol), I'm just seeking out competition and hoping that I'm still running in another 5 yrs, and I hope the Run the Reagan Half Marathon and CRR 10K are still  there for me to challenge myself.

Me at the Downhill finish of the CRR 10K

Until then.........1L is still running.  Always Boston Strong.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Indoor Bike Training with the Atlanta Triathlon Club

If you had told me back in January that I would actually like riding on the Computrainer at the Energy Lab in Atlanta, GA, I would have told you that you were nuts.

However, like it, I certainly do.  Showing up on January 18th, I was skeptical and frankly scared to death.  As you see, I'm not a great cyclist and I don't really have the mentality to be "bad" at something when I'm determined to be better at a sport.  I mean, I can certainly ride a bike, but ride well enough or fast enough to compete in my AG as part of a triathlon - that is another issue.  I showed up that day and when I was asked by Tim to ride at 25 mph to set the computer, I was like - what are you, nuts?  I can't ride at 25 mph - no way - even if it is for 30 sec to set the computer.  I did it but it was hard, I mean almost next to impossible hard, and then I couldn't even get the setup to work right, but for the first time, it wasn't that bad.

Fast forward two weeks when I came back and we did an FTP - or Functional Threshhold Power test. I understood the concept as I run often, if not at least 1x per week, at this level.  Cycling at this level though was a whole other beast.  I survived the 20 min test (and maybe I could really do a better job since I didn't know it was coming and I had run a hard workout the day before and I had run 6 miles that morning) with the predictably low FTP of 129.  But it was easier than it had been the first time and the encouragement from the others in the class was 2nd to none.  Now I'm use to being the experienced runner/coach/mentor and well, it is a weird feeling in the opposite direction.

Came back I did again, and today, well, today was definitely a breakthrough (at least for me).  I came in, I actually set up my bike with very little assistance, and I rode.  And I bumped up that resistance as we went along and although it was hard, it was actually easier than it had been.  When the program had us ride at 80% and 80 rpm, I was there, at 85% and 85 rpm, I was there and even when we had to do the surges at 110 rpm - I was there.  Now I might not be at the killer mph speed of others and my FTP is still low (although increasing), I actually felt not only like I knew what I was doing but also that I was making headway.

Sure it is going to take a while to transfer anything to the actual roads, but at this point, I am seeing where I can get to and even 1 mph increase will help me achieve my goals on the bike and in racing.
Special thanks go to Coaches Tim Myers and Bethany Rutledge and the others in the class.  And although I certainly still consider myself a runner, I might actually become a triathlete too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016: The Year That Was

I have been very lax with this log - guess, I wouldn't make it if my job relied on "Social Media Postings" - so I thought I would finish things out with a little wrap up of 2016.  All in all, it was a good year for me competition-wise.  Here are a few highlights:

1) Ran a surprising sub 1:40 half marathon at the United NYC Half Marathon in March with a time of 1:39:49 placing 15th out of 642 in the last year of my 50-54 AG.

2) Ran my 4th Boston Marathon in a row and although it was a bit warm and although I wasn't that pleased with my time (3:56:01) for 410th out of 1254 in my 50-54 AG, it was another completed Boston Marathon with a BQ as well.

3) Completed my first Ironman 70.3 in Delaware, OH in August in a final time of 6:08:11 for a 19th place finish (out of 95) in my AG.  I ran a 1:55 half marathon in the race, went under my goal finish time of 6:15, and loved every minute of it.

4) Ran a solid race at the Columbus Half Marathon with a decent time of 1:43:01 which was good for a surprising 3rd (out of 403) in my AG.

5) Finished out the season with a solid showing at the USATF XC Club Nationals in Tallahassee, FL.

Completed only 1434 running miles, but added to that lots of biking and swimming yds as well.  My goals for 2017 are to complete Boston once again with a solid race and a BQ (hopefully), complete both the Muncie, IN and Augusta, GA Half Ironman races and run a solid New York City marathon to finish off the year.  My biggest goal as always is to stay injury free and competitive in my new 55-59 AG.

Here's to 2017....

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ironman 70.3 Ohio

As some of you may know, it has been a bucket list thing of mine to complete a Half Ironman.  I wanted to do it when I turned 50, but with my daughter graduating high school and us relocating to Cleveland, it just didn’t pan out.  Then I got hurt that summer, and my goals changed.

Fast forward to January of this past year, my running friend, Karyn, found out about the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Ohio, and the next thing I knew, we were signed up and ready to compete in August, 2016.  What were we thinking?  Well, I sounded like a good idea in January – but you know how that is.  The good thing was that I was going to get this bucket list item done before my 55th birthday – so score. First, I had to train for Boston.  As most of you know, I consider Boston to be my hometown race and after my very successful Columbus Marathon, I was looking forward to it.  Training was ok and I ran a very fast *for me (1:39) half in March in NYC, and Boston turned out to be just ok.  I felt that I had let down Coach Bob (but that is another story), but it was time to transition to triathlon training.  With the early assistance of Bob and my good friend, Mary Pat, I figured out an early race plan for the summer.  I got started by accomplishing my first ride a week after Boston in 40F temperatures in Cleveland, and it was the first time I had ridden my bike since the one ride I took in July of the previous summer.  That 10 miles was accomplished in just slightly under an hour – and it was hard.

Then life took over – my daughter graduated college, she and I went to Alaska, Coach Bob unexpectedly left us – and I was still signed up to finish this Half Ironman in August.  I enlisted the help of Coach Lesley from AJBaucco Coaching (as recommended by my extremely awesome Cleveland Triathlon Club (virtual) friends) and the game was on.  Still reeling and trying to cope with the loss of my good friend, I took on that training plan and did all I could to stick with it  It was hard – a lot harder than training for a marathon and this 54 yr old was tired – so TIRED that I aborted and walked a run (with a few awesome friends – you know who you are – so thanks), who worried about me.  I swam a lot of miles in the pool at Turner working on my stroke technique with Coach Tom (and realizing that I still a really good breaststroker) and Lake Erie, I rode a lot of miles with the awesome cyclists at my summer home at Chautauqua (Special thanks to Chris, Jen, Kent, Bill, Stuart, Carol and Mary Pat – you have no idea how much you helped me feel like I can actually cycle!), and I ran a few miles including a slowish half marathon at Presque Isle where I unexpectedly won my AG! After all that, I knew I was ready.

My hubby, John and I, headed down to Delaware on Friday late afternoon and we got there before dinner.  I was accompanied by my vote of confidence from Coach Lesley and my fuel plan (where I had taken the required number of carb calories and sodium from my sweat test and created a plan using UCan, Gatorade Endurance and Gels) and all that stuff that is required for a triathlon.  Believe me as a marathoner, the STUFF you need for a tri and the logistics are incredible!  John and I had a fun dinner at a craft brewery in downtown Delaware and then settled in for the night. 

We got up on Saturday morning and headed to the Ironman Village to check-in and listen to the Athlete’s briefing.  Logistics still seemed complicated, but easier than expected.  John decided to sign up to volunteer and we met my SIL, her husband, and my nephew for lunch in town (my other nephew is a new freshman at Ohio Wesleyan – so they were there moving him in.  John and I then drove out to the Swim site, checked it out, and then drove the bike course.  I got in a short ride and a quick run, and then we went to dinner in Westerville (which turned out to be on the house which is another story completely).  We went back to the hotel, watched Matthew Centrowitz kick butt and went to bed.

So the day started by getting up at 3:30am. John and I got to the stadium about 4:45am then shuttled up to the lake by 5:30am. Waiting for the swim start was nerve wrecking.  John took off for his volunteer assignment and I “set up” my bike transition area.  I saw Beth and other CTC folks at the beginning and wished them luck, pumped my bike tires like ten times, and used the porta potty probably 20 times more.  And then, it was time to line up.  I saw Karyn in the wave, we gave each other a hug, and then we were in the water.  I figured that it would take me about 45 min to complete the swim and all seemed well for the first 500 yds – or to the first turn, and then all hell broke loose.  My stomach started feeling nauseous, all that anxiety rose to the surface, and I panicked.  Determined not to latch onto one of those kayaks, I resorted to breaststroke, and I thank all of you women in the F50-54 wave for putting up with that.  I looked ahead and didn’t see too many light pink caps, but I did see a lot of blue and green from the earlier wave, and I went into the mode of swimming 23 strokes freestyle, 20 breast, then 23 free, 15 breast, then 23 free and 10 breast and so on and then I was at the 2nd return (why 23 free – well that is how many strokes it takes me to complete a length in the 25 yd pool).  By then had regrouped, and I was able to swim freestyle to the exit of the swim.  Strangely enough, the swim took me 45 min and 28 sec.

The bike part was actually good.  I’m not a fast cyclist and I figured it might take me 3 and a half hours to complete the 56 miles.  I was so very happy when I realized that I was going to be actually quicker than that.  I took a gel every 30 min as planned and managed to drink all but about 8 oz of the Gatorade during the ride.  The chip and seal road was of no real consequence since it is what I rode on all summer during training and the final hills and rollers were welcome as they play more to my strengths.  Wow, I was so very surprised to get to the end of the bike leg in 3:15 – averaging 17.2 mph.  That for me was a major accomplishment especially since I tried to keep my HR low in the first half and not blow out my legs so I could use my strength on the run.

And then, it was time for the run and for me the “middle distance” long distance runner, a half marathon is my wheel house.  I knew that I didn’t want to go out too fast, but once I hit that road, it felt good and it felt right.  I kept trying to slow it down, but I got into the groove, and I just let it go. The run course was fair and maybe even a bit harder than I thought it would be.  There was a nice small climb in the 2nd mile and the back half of the loop was pretty much up a gradual hill from about mile 4.5 to 9 and again from mile 10.5 to 12.  But I felt good, and I passed so many people on the run – all those who flew by me on the bike, and I just cruised by (jumped from 45th in my AG to 19th).  I guess I just will never understand (and I’ve seen it in all 5 triathlons that I’ve ever done – so definitely an expert am I) why competitors seem to drop into a walk mode almost immediately during the run leg.  Now granted, I am a runner, but I’m not a cyclist – so you probably think my 17.2 mph is ridiculously slow – but you didn’t even try to run????  But I digress, I am a runner and I used it as my strength.  It was somewhat hilly, the sun came out and it was warm but once I got down the hill at mile 12 – I was going to get to that finish line even if I had to walk (lol).

As I came into the stadium, I started to get emotional as all those spectators and volunteers were just not letting you quit.  I knew that Coach Bob was watching me from above, and damn if I wasn’t going to finish that Ironman 70.3 Ohio race and finish it a lot closer to 6 hrs than I could have imagined. So when I crossed the finish line in 6 hours and 8 minutes it was such an amazing feeling and an experience I will always remember. I pushed my body and it did not fail me. 

Thanks so much to John (and he loved volunteering), to Karyn for getting me to finally sign up, to Coach Lesley for the awesome plan and unrelenting encouragement, to Chris, Jen, MP, Carol, Ironman Bob, Kent, Bill, Karin, Stuart, and others for putting up with my slow cycling butt and helping me get better and better – I still bike like a runner – but I’m closer, to Coach Tom for helping with swim technique, to Beth and Aimee for the mentoring and answering all my questions in the final weeks and for not letting trade in that bib, and to Coach Bob for watching over me on Sunday (I miss you).  If I ever do another Half IM (and I’m already looking at courses with fast, easy swims – lol), I know what to work on to improve and I also know that I can.

Here are my final stats:

Bay Village OH

SWIM DETAILS | Division Rank: 21
1.2 mi
BIKE DETAILS | Division Rank: 45
32.3 mi
32.3 mi
16.75 mi/h
56 mi
23.7 mi
17.81 mi/h
56 mi
17.18 mi/h
RUN DETAILS | Division Rank: 19
2.3 mi
2.3 mi
5.2 mi
2.9 mi
7.5 mi
2.3 mi
10.4 mi
2.9 mi
13.1 mi
2.7 mi
13.1 mi
Transition Details
T1: Swim-to-bike
T2: Bike-to-run