Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Training Camp Week 1

Work has been nuts for a few months. I was working overtime and doing everything I could to get our stuff in by deadlines. In the mean time I was trying to think about my coming season but I hadn't gotten very far in making decisions. My desire to train was low. I think knowing I can get through a 70.3 with little to no training is something that has come after doing 7 of them. I didn't have any thoughts as to what I wanted to do with this coming season.

I had my first computrainer class of the winter a couple weeks ago. Nothing like an hour and a half on the trainer next to a friend who is gearing up for her first full ironman to make you realize it is time to figure out your plans for the season. In addition to the friend gearing  up for an ironman other people in the class were saying how great my season was from following it on social media. Made me realize I really did have a good season. I started realizing it was time to figure out my 2015. The focus this year is going to be get faster!

My boss was telling me I had to use my time off before I lost it at the end of the year- while also asking me to take care of things (two statements that do not go together). So I decided FINE I am taking the next week and a half. D headed to visit his family for Christmas and I was only coaching and had some time. I told my coach lets get a training camp going. Lots of training trying some classes etc.

Monday- Run and Swim 3k
Tuesday- Ride
Wednesday- Run and Swim
Thursday- Run and Ride
Friday- Run Ride and Swim 3.5k
Saturday- Ride 2hrs
Sunday- Long Run 10mi

Monday I got both workouts done and Tuesday's ride. Wednesday I swam in the practice with the team I coach and then went for a soggy run. Thursday I was home and able to get out for a few miles with my dad and their dog. Sadly the gym was closed so no ride. Friday was kill Juls day. I did the run with my dad and their dog again then headed to practice. Did my coaching then went home to ride and swim. As I finished up the ride I was getting a stuffy nose.

Friday  night my nose got all stuffy and I had to take some cold meds. But I signed up for a spin class at 7:30 to do an hour then hit the gym for an hour. The silly spin class sign up gave me the wrong time for class and I did 2 hours in the gym. I headed to family christmas.

Something happen at family Christmas and I ended up heading home with a slightly swollen eye. Something that seems to happen when I have an allergic reaction. My eye got worse and worse all night and I woke up and I couldn't see. Damn! No long run! Gonna try tomorrow!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

2014 Season Break

Part of what I looked forward to while running my first marathon was the thought of 2 weeks with no training. It had been a long season. I spent the winter working hard on my cycling like I do every winter in computrainer classes. I wanted to work on my running but it didn't do much of that. I was coach-less going into this season. In April I flew to LUNA summit and met with my friend and now coach Terra. We kicked the training into high gear and she pushed me to set goals I never thought possible. I went into Patriot with a sub 6 goal and did it. I went into Timberman with the goal of beating my times of the past years- though I wasn't sub 6 I was faster! And I ran my first marathon!

I had 2 weeks in my training plan that said things like enjoy your social life, take naps. We spent a week after the marathon in DC relaxing with my family, napping and enjoying a week off from work. I even ate cupcakes for breakfast one day! haha I took this relax do nothing to heart. Though I did already start thinking what am I going to do next season.

When we got back home returned to work and got settled back into life. I am not going to lie it was nice to go to work, get groceries, come home and not have to rush to the gym. Going into the race I was as close to burnt out as you can get. I needed 2 weeks to have my life and realize that I like training. It was nice. I have not had that much time off from training since I had my hip surgery.

I started to feel a bit lost. Training and racing is a lot of what I do with my time. Most of my friends are training partners and race also. Though I did reconnect with my old roommate which I have been wanting to do for 3 years! As I get back into training my plan is to try to keep up my running fitness I built with marathon training. I am going to try trail running to try to find the passion in running again.   This week was my first week back to training and I did 2 of my 3 runs on trails I discovered close to my house. I am working on  my core and weight training. And as usual keep up the spin fitness. Now the break is over and it is time to get back to training and planning for next year!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Marathon- Mission Accomplished

This race was 2 years in the making, after deferring my Marine Corps Marathon entry for a year it was time to take on the challenge in 2014. As I said in my I’m Running a Marathon?! blog, I was nervous and ready to take on the challenge. By the time we boarded a plane for DC I was tapered and rested. I had talked myself through the fact that I had run 20 miles 2 times and was able to finish. The biggest thing I found some calming in was I had finished 7 70.3 distances. My first took me over 7 hours. I knew I was able to keep putting one foot in front of the other for 7 hours. I knew they were different but I knew I could get through that long of racing. I had panned to be somewhere around 4 hours. That seemed to work with the long runs I had done. I figured I could maintain around a 9 minute mile.

We flew down Friday before the race and planned to go to the expo. My uncle even joined us, he was excited to see his first expo. We walked around I picked up my official Marine Corps Marathon Jacket. I didn’t really want to spend the 90 bucks on it. But I knew it was my first marathon and I’d be disappointed if I didn’t get it in advance and I couldn’t get it later. I picked up some of the usual expo deals on some gels and nuun and the usual free bees. I had a little incident with the Marine Corps shirt- luckily the one I ended up with fit okay but after a rude exchange with the exchanges guy. How was I to know I was a LARGE in your shirt when I am standing talking to the guy in a SMALL?! 

We spent most of Saturday relaxing and watching some shows we missed Friday night on TV. My nerves were starting to strum up a bit. But not too bad. I still was a bit rational. D and I worked out a plan in case he ran by himself, as far as I knew that is what he planned to do. I received a sweet text message or 2 from friends who run marathons frequently. Telling me to enjoy my first. You only get to run your first once. And the best advice I have received a couple times in my endurance sport years- Remember whatever you are feeling good, bad, pain whatever- it will be gone in 5 minutes. It is so true. 

Race morning plan was to head down to the start early. Ate my morning oatmeal and headed for the metro. MCM recommends 2 hours early with their security procedures. We got there about an hour and a half early. Breezed through security and were some of the first in the portapotty lines. I was plenty warm in my throw away sweatshirt. I wished I had brought something more to eat but I wasn’t starving. I didn’t have my usual nerves. I was just trying to stay as calm as possible. D and I made our way to the start line, found the self seeding around 4 hours. As we stood there we watched the Marines jump in and land on 110, one of them took of their parachute and was going to run. They had a cool fly over. And before I even knew it the cannon went off. As we started to move we saw another portapotty before the start line. We decided to duck in before the clock started. 

Miles 1-6 9:41, 9:35, 9:39, 8:59, 9:34, 8:53
I crossed the start line and the nerves came but I tried to just enjoy the experience. D was running with me and told me to keep all the energy I could I would need it at the end. He was right! I really tried to take it all in. See all the signs. Watch the scenery. I thought D would leave at some point. Maybe run a few miles with me then go. I was floating around the pace I had hoped and figured I could drop down later and make the goal. Around mile 5 I saw my Uncle and my cousin for the first time. I threw them my arm sleeves. Gave em each a hug and off we went.

Miles 7-12 9:17, 9:09, 9:14,9:11, 9:15, 9:21 
D ended up staying with me. Miles 7, 8 and 9 were through Rockaway park. It was pretty. I knew miles 8-10 would feel crummy. They always did in my long runs. D suggested salt, water, and gels. I took in what I could. I knew it would bounce back. Around 11 we saw my Uncle again. Then we headed out onto Haines Point. Anyone who has run races out here knows that is a tough part. The nice thing was they had the blue mile out there. There were pictures of fallen Marines and folks with flags. It really reminded you of the reality of the situation. I saw a few people stop and turn around to take pictures with the signs. 

Miles 13-18 9:18, 10:20, 9:41, 10:51, 11:51, 10:29
I started to have this hyperventilation issue around mile 13. I felt like I was cramping right across my diaphragm. I couldn’t take deep breaths. D calmed me down slowed me down got my form back in check. Somewhere around here we headed out on the mall. I started to feel even more crummy. I started to see the slower times I was like GREAT there goes 4 hours! Which made me get upset and made the cramping worse. Somewhere on the mall I started to feel really sick. Crap am I going to throw up. D was like find a hole between people- don’t throw up on people. I tried to get down salt and hope it would clear the cramps but I gagged and headed to a clear spot of people. We saw my uncle a couple more times right before we headed up the 14th street bridge. 

Miles 19-26 10:12, 12:45, 10:09, 12:59, 13:53, 12:17, 13:38, 13:51
The 14th St bridge is the “beat the bridge” portion of the race. We were up here and my watch was 3:20ish. I knew this meant my 4 hours wasn’t going to happen because I had about a 10k left at this point. The rolling up and down of the bridge. In the hot sun. No people out there. No aid station. At this point everyone around us was dropping like flies. I have done this bridge at the Army Ten Miler a few times now but it was right near the end this time there was a lot left. I got bummed again about not making my goal time, but also realized OMG we are approaching the farthest I have ever run. I came down into Crystal City. An area I know really well from working there for a few years. I started to realize this is the longest I have ever run. Every time I got upset my breathing went to crap again and I’d cramp up. I was trying to dig in and push it to finish, but every time I dug in it hurt again and I couldn’t breathe. D reminded me we could walk a 10k- we just needed to make sure to make it to the finish. The focus now was get to the finish in one piece. A marathon is a long day you can’t just push your way through it and hope it will be okay- you have to think strategy. So every time my breathing and cramps got me. D would talk me through getting upright again. People around would think he was helping them and thank him. It was starting to get hot. At mile 24/25 we watched a woman get taken off by 4 medics. She had cramped so badly she couldn’t even walk anymore. D said this is why I am telling you to slow down she isn’t going to cross the finish line- we are! 

Somewhere in here the reality of I AM GOING TO FINISH set in! I started to cramp up as I got emotional again. We took the left off 110 and headed up that last .2 up to Arlington. That last .2 is up hill. I wasn’t going to be the one that walked. The hill was lined with Marines. The road said Marine Up! Take the Hill! D and I crossed the finish holding hands. We have never finished a race like that. 

As we walked through the finish area- it was lined on both sides with Marines. They shook your hands congratulated you. One said to me “Smile! You did something GREAT today!” It was an amazing finish experience. I took out my phone just as my brother messaged me saying “way to go Jul! You finished in under 5 hours! That is so bad ass!”  I started to cry! We headed for medals. There were 10-12 corrals single file set up. At the end were Marines with arm’s full of medals. One at a time you walked up and the Marine put your medal on you and talked to you about your race. It was a very personal experience. I have never had a finish line like that. We headed to take our MCM picture infront of the memorial. As we walked like zombies through the food line we saw my Uncle and cousin through the fence. They were so excited for us! My uncle walked our zombie selves back up the hill to their house. After a couple miles of post marathon walking my legs started to feel okay. I think all the walking really helped. 
The biggest thing is I finished! I finished my first marathon in 4:42. Not exactly the 4 hours I had hoped. I had a great coach on my shoulder supporting me every step of the way.  I can’t thank D enough for spending the whole time with me for my first! Everyone told me Marine Corps is the best first marathon. They were so right! I would recommend it to everyone! 

When I was training I would have told you I wouldn’t want to train for another marathon. In the middle of it I was enjoying the race. When I finished I didn’t immediately go I never want to this again. I went I am not sure… and not sure turned into maybe…. and right now I am considering Marine Corps again next year. A friend said she wanted it as her first, so maybe I will run on her shoulder. Or maybe I will see if I can get that 4 hour time I was hoping…..

Thank you all who offered your advice through training, before the race and congratulations after. A special thank you to those who donated to my Breast Cancer fund page- Kelly, Kim, Kira!!! My uncle was so excited he bought me a 26.2 sticker for my car- I put it on right under my Timberman sticker.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I'm running a marathon?

Oh my god- that title just makes me take a huge gulp and get butterflies in my stomach. I have been training since tri season ended and actually some in the last weeks of the tri season to get ready to run Marine Corps Marathon. Last year we decided to defer and it was for the best but this year is on! I have put in the training miles. I have made sure to hit every long run- I know those are the most important. I have had some days where I haven't gotten out for my runs during the week and I know that isn't ideal but life happens. To be honest my job right now isn't what I want it to be and it is stealing my training time and energy which really is the most disappointing part- but that is a whole different part of the story. But I do know that I have twice run 16, 18, and 20 miles in my training. I can tell you I got to the end of those 20 mile runs and couldn't even think about running another hour.

I honestly think the main reason I signed up for a marathon 2 years ago was just to prove to myself I could do it. I have had many friends, family members, and others run marathons. It is just a block in my brain I want to check off. I want to prove that I am strong enough for 26.2. I honestly never thought running a marathon was easy. When people say to me you have done 70.3 miles, raced for like 6 hours come on... but a marathon is ONE activity for that time of 4 or whatever hours. The same muscles taking a beating. No change in mental focus just run... gulp.. just run. I have the drive to do something just to prove to me I can do it. That will be what I am tapping into when it gets tough. This is what I wanted to do when I first took on the 70.3 distance and that has turned into 6 more times of trying to better my time and my race.

At this point I have had more than one time in the training where I have decided I hate running. Not just a little but don't wanna run anymore. I have had long runs where I came in the house crying half way through. Everyone tells me training for a marathon isn't easy. I have to say I will take my training 3 sports anyway per this run, run and more RUN! I have been very careful to be sure that training for my first marathon doesn't result in the same issue my first half marathon did- Hip Surgery. I have been working hard to be sure and stretch, even do a little yoga every morning. I have found the new found pain but relief from ice baths. They have become a savior- though they are painful at the time. I've been foam rolling a lot. I tried to stick to yoga once a week but when the long runs got so long I couldn't stand the yoga standing series.

It is coming up fast- I am at the point of hating running again. I am ready to get this challenge done. I hope the goal time we have set will happen. Getting ready mentally for the fun of a marathon. I want to soak it all in. My friend suggested that as how to enjoy it- look around enjoy the spectators and I mean it is DC enjoy the sights. Wish me luck- here we go on a new adventure!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nutritionist Trip- Under Fueling

So last week I had decided I had enough of the feeling like garbage at races and I didn't want it to happen at my big first marathon at the end of Oct. so I broke down and went back to the nutritionist. I figured I had an idea of what I was doing wrong. I wasn't eating enough. Not just not eating enough fueling through the race I mean not eating enough day in and day out. Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows to cut calories and you will drop weight. Well I was living that way.

I walked my nutritionist through what I ate in a day normally. We came up with around 1200-1500 calories. Well with my height and moving around for a work day then add in about 500 cals a day to account for my workouts I need about 2500-2900 calories a day. Anyone who can do basic math can see I am woefully under fueling my body. And I was living in a constant state of tired, cold, easily frustrated. Come to find out my candy cravings were my body just saying I"M HUNGRY!!! Yes folks I unlike most of America need to figure out how to eat more not live on your smoothie diet of 900 cals a day!

Not just was I not getting enough. I wasn't getting enough protein by about 10g a day. Not that far off but need that to keep training. And calcium was ULTRA low too. We went back through my day and beefed up my normal menu with calcium and protein options. We even added in a second lunch every day. Changing breakfast to 500 cals, Lunch to 500, a Second Lunch of 500, and Dinner of 500 or so will help me to end up fueled every day. I have a hard time making myself eat but I am going to try.

The hope is changing to eating enough will help me be well fueled for my work outs. Help me have better results on race day because I won't be living daily on the razor edge of under fuel. And not be so tired and irritable on a daily basis. I am having to track what I eat to help me understand how much food this is and help me get closer. I am still having a hard time with it. But I hope in the next couple weeks I can fix it!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Harbor View Island 5k

In early spring my friend Lisa on the LUNA chic with me asked if I would join her on a 5k on an island in Boston Harbor. One of her really nice clients offered to pay for our registration. Thank god b/c it was one EXPENSIVE 5k.  We hopped on a boat in Boston Harbor and headed off to the island with the other runners. I quickly started to realize this was more of a corporate challenge events than a real hard core race. The race was to raise money for a camp for inner city kids. As we got off the bus the camp councilors were giving us all high 5's. Yea not really a hard core race.

There was a party environment folks are chugging beers before hand. I couldn't find a spot to warm up so I decided I would just run it with Lisa and see how it goes. I should have let the whole party thing not throw off the fact that I was there to race but I couldn't get myself to focus with everything around me.STUPID I know.

So Lisa and I ran and had fun and she pushed me a bit up the hills. Silly trail runners have good hill work. We still finished in a 26:56. With cartwheels over the finish line :-P As much as I am a bit upset we didn't race it I am happy we had fun.

They had a great post race spread of food. And I even had a hard cider. Just as we were eating the sun was setting over the Boston skyline it was really pretty. I will probably never run this race again but it was a great opportunity and the views of the city were GORGEOUS! Not to mention it is kinda crazy that my not pushing it and just enjoying a run speed is a 26 now... not bad!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mill City Race Recap

So it seems every year this race comes up and I can't help but sign up. The race is rather small and local but there is something really nice about knowing all the logistics of a race with no new variables. I mean I know this one so well that I know the race director is going to start about 5 min late because something will come up at the last minute. I know there will always be a USAT official at the race. There will always be homemade awards for the overall winners and top age group winners. And if it is sunny the run course will suck!

We headed out to the race not so stressed about logistics which was nice, not having to rush since we knew most variables and didn't have to control them. Checked in race morning. Got marked. Strangely no age on your calf this year. No one could explain why only they though it was strange too.

Layout was pretty good.The transition area could have stood to have been swept. HOLY ROCKS! I did a little shake out run and headed back to the car with the rest of my stuff. The weather was holding at a cool temp, thankfully.  We headed over to the swim start across the street. There weren't a ton of people participating this year but that doesn't matter to me.

Swim- 28:21- There is always a current in this river- I was 17 min to the turn around and 11 min back - hello current. It is always a bit long too 1.25 mi. A bit faster than the year before so can't fight with that.

T1- Long run across the street. 2:00 and ouch those rocks! Got our fairly quickly. D came running in from his sprint swim as I was heading out on the bike.

Bike- 1:19:53- I knew as I headed out on the bike I was toward the front. The plan was to keep it around 19mph. I pushed when I could. The course is fairly flat in spots so I used that to my advantage. The road was rough in spots so I tried hard to avoid a flat. D went by me in the first 5 mi. then he had some sort of bike issue and I passed him but not for long :-P. I had a few women get by me on the bike so I figured I was in 3rd or 4th. Bike is 26 mi and last year I did 1:24 so some good gains!

T2- 0:59- love when my T2 is sub 1 min! D had finished his race and was there yelling for me. Focus was to RUNNNNNN!

Run- 53:32- It started to get warm as I hit the run course but just dig in and get through. I was hoping to stay around 8-8:30 pace. 8:38 was the final pace- not too shabby. Last year I was 1:00 so big gain here. I had one more woman pass me on the run. I figured that meant I was out of the contention for overall. But I tried to keep my focus on my gains in this race.  As I came into the finish D was screaming!!!

I ended up finishing 19th OA, 4th female OA and 1st in my AG. Last year this was the first race I went sub 3 at 2:59. This year 2:44:46. I am so happy with the improvements! I made huge improvements on the run. A little on the bike and swim. This was great to see going into Nationals in a month. It is great to see some of the hard work I did paying off.

Friday, July 11, 2014


I have a terrible habit. I know how to work really hard, train, beat myself in sessions all to actually achieve pretty great results but somehow I can tear those results to shreds. I can sit and rip apart every detail of a race and the little things I didn't do in training, or didn't do in the days leading up to the race or didn't do in the race that lead to the not exactly perfect performance. My new coach is about setting big goals. Like those big scary goals that you only want to tell a few people because they even scare you to say out loud. Yes I have a new one and NO I will not be saying it out loud in public because it scares the crap out of me.

As I got ready for Patriot I came to the decision if I were to achieve the goals of a sub 6 and running the whole half marathon (or either I would think) I was going to get myself something. I started to think and I don't really need any new tri gear. Ya I needed running shoes but that is just part of training not really a reward.... what to do what to do?!

I started thinking a piece of jewelry might be nice. And I found stackable rings. I thought hey I can start with one. As I achieve new goals I can add to the stack. So I did a little research before the race. Enough to know that was what I was going to get myself. I told D and my coach the plan. Race day went well. I didn't do 5:39 to 5:49. And in my typical fashion I wasn't going to get my reward since I didn't get the A goal. But my coach messaged me and said after the race time to get shopping for my ring. I realized she was right. I may not have gotten the exact high goal I wanted but I achieved 2 big goals after a lot of hard work. It was time to get something to remind me of all the hard work paying off.  So this is what I got...... I wear it everyday to remind me of all the hard work pays off! And it is hard work that will get me to achieve the next goal.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Solstice Sprint- Friday Night Racing

Just as I was finishing my taper for Patriot Half I found a race the Friday night after. Yes I know- Saturday 70.3 then the following Friday do a sprint?! But the race looked like fun. How often do you get to do a tri on a Friday night? I mean Saturday tris are rare here never mind a week night. I figure whatever lets do it for fun and my coach gave me the green light on a fun race. It was so strange to get ready for work pack my tri bag and my bike for after work. But that was the point of this- do something different and fun.

Parking was a bit of a distance from the race site- luckily I had a bike to ride. Poor D was on race support and hoofed it down to the race site. Check in process was really smooth. Lots of volunteers around to answer questions. I racked up and did a little recon. The T1 was going to be long run from the bottom of the hill where the lake was up to the transition area. I started to do the its just for fun no I want to race this... D and I chatted and he was like have fun but GO FOR IT! I knew my body was going to be tired from racing 70.3 miles but why not see what can happen?!

Swim- 1/4mi- 6:45 I decided to go wetsuit less- I figured it was another thing to deal with in transition  and I don't really need the wetsuit. Another race with the strange wave start. This time they went with 3 seconds. I guess it works- but as soon as I hit the water I was running into the men who put themselves toward the back of the male wave. Usually I can get some clean water. It was really choppy with the amount of people. But I just decided block it out and swim HARD its a sprint SWIM SWIM SWIM!

T1- 1:41 long up hill run! I knew I was out in front when I came up the hill. There was one woman right with me but I passed her up the hill. As I went out of transition I thought I was either 1 or 2 woman. Nice DON'T LET THEM PASS!

 Bike- 10mi- 31:14 Just went with pedal to the medal. I would say it was a flat course. I think I got out of my saddle once to climb. I pushed as hard as I could. I figured if I stuck close to 20mph I would fend off most women. Just as I came to the final turn. I heard a car come up next to the riders behind me. Tell her her pace. Tell her how she was doing. I was like really- motor pacing?! What?! So just as I turned 2 women got by me. Okay still in top group. Let's see how I can run.

T2- 0:56 Shoes off, shoes on, grab and go. As I came out of transition I tripped on a cone and took a good fall. Even got some road rash on an elbow and hand- luckily I rolled onto my side.

Run- 5k- 26:59 Just tired to get my legs to go as hard as I could. The 70.3 started to catch up with me.  It was a little rolling but not too tough. I think without the 70.3 the weekend before I would have had no problem with the run course. I tried to focus on cheering for folks as they went by and I had I saw the top girl go by then the 2 women who had passed me on the bike. 2 more women got by me  and I saw one more getting close as I took the last turn but pushed it to make sure to not let her get by.

Finish 1:07:17 Good enough for 6th OA Female. Which is my highest finish yet. 1st in my Age Group! And a 8 min PR for the same distance (on a different course). Had a good day even with being tired from a 70.3!

This race director had an AWESOME BBQ at the finish. Hamburgers hot dogs cook out style. It was great. Just as they were doing the awards the sun was setting. They do a really cool award. You get 50% off another race with them. Not a bad deal! I finally looked at the race bag too- instead of the usual t-shirt there was an awesome visor that has some really nice reflective on it. I will definitely try to work this one in next season's plans! I highly recommend it!!!

*NOTE: As for the woman who had the car pacing her- I told the USAT official on site. She said she can't penalize for what she doesn't see but- that it was a first for someone reporting that! haha

Monday, June 30, 2014

Patriot Half Iron Race Report

It took me a while to get this together- its been 2 weeks since the race. At first I was really emotional about the race so I couldn't get it all out there but I think I can ... I think I can...  By the end of this you will probably understand why I had a bit of an emotional day.

The reason I signed up for this race was it was a flat course. I thought it might be my chance to have a PR maybe get my goal of a sub 6 on the season! The other big thing I have been wanting to do so badly is run the whole half marathon. With a flat course I thought it might increase my chances. Being local little travel was involved- so nice to sleep in your own bed before a big race.  I woke up at 3am and my stomach was STARVING! Oh no- not good! Need to make sure I get food in me now... what did I not do yesterday? I had pasta for dinner... urgh okay do what you can focus on food now! I had my usual oatmeal with PB and packed up a bagel for on the way and even grabbed a clif bar. I figured I could try to push in some calories.

Morning packet pickup for a half?! So strange. Got all racked up. I actually know this routine for a half so well at this point so I don't have to try too hard. I made sure to get in my Osomo pre-load and my bagel and clif bar. Chatted with some friends and tried to stay calm. The goals were fairly simple A goal time was 5:39-5:49; B goal was sub 6; C goal FINISH! I knew I would achieve C.

Swim- Goal: 33- Result: 36:29
As I stood at the swim start I felt like I could vomit and crap my pants at the same time. This is different usually I have a nervous stomach but this was a different one. Okay eat your gel and focus on the race. They changed the swim to not a wave start, it was every 10 seconds 3 people go in. I freaked why are we changing this for the people that can't swim?! Now I can't do my thing!!! And I will have no idea where I am in my wave. It didn't fix the problem. People ended up in packs of 5 or 10 that I couldn't get through so I decide to go wide. Which meant my watch had me swimming 1.7 mi. Might explain the time! All my other friends 1.3 and 1.4 mi so I could have been closer to the goal time with a correct course. I was not happy coming out of the water seeing that time! But oh well move on. Wait a sec is that D's bike still hanging.. okay he'll pass me on the bike.

T1- Goal: 3- Result: 2:07
I could not get my feet out of the bottom of my wetsuit. But I was able to get in and out and on my bike. After the swim I knew I had some making up to do.

Bike- Goal: 3 hours- Result: 3:01
Its a 2 loop very flat bike. I was going to go out stay in Zone 3/4 and evaluate after 1 loop where I stand. I was STARVING. I ate more than I usually do on the bike. But I knew with the starving and the fact that I can't eat much on the run I was in for trouble if I didn't get down calories. I had 2 women who we went back and fourth the whole race. Which helped me stay focused. It was nice. And the 3 of us were laughing about it. The water stations on this race were 2 of them right at like mile 20 and 25 not really conducive to refilling the water bottle but I did grab a bottle at each station to top off. When I got of the bike I knew I had a decent ride but not great I mean avg close to 19 but not fast enough to hold off D on a decent day I was a little worried. I ran into transition thinking about it.

T2- Goal: 3 Results 2:48
What a crazy long transition. You had to run all the way around with your bike. Whew. I racked the bike then threw on my run shoes grabbed the rest and GOOOO! Wait is that D's bike?!

Run- Goal: 2:05 Result: 2:11

As I ran out my friend Jen was playing support. I asked "is he okay?" She said " Ya he's fine." I knew she was lying. I have known Jen since we were babies. But D and I had a talk a couple days before the race. If anything happen to him I was going to finish my race and have my day. So I replayed the talk in my head and hit the run course. Changed my watch to HR and tried to stick to zone 3/4. I realized it wasn't about hitting the 9-9:30 minute mile goal. It was RUN the whole half marathon. I had talked to my coach when she was visiting about some run mental games. She said she counted foot strikes- counting to 8. And she was always sure to cheer for the people that passed her. Doing these things kept my mind off the running. At mile 6 I was able to down a gel with a HUGE swig of water. At mile 9 I did the same I needed to make sure I got calories in. I just kept telling myself can't walk now we are almost there and the goal is to run the whole half marathon. I knew it was going to be close on the sub 6 but I just wanted to get that one monkey off my back of running the whole half.

As I came into the finish. I could hear D screaming like always! Part of me gets mad because when he says push it push it. I am like what does he think I have been doing?! IT is so great to have him there and so supportive! A guy screamed as I was running and he was yelling. "Hurry! You're going to give him a heart attack!" I laughed.  D screamed your gonna do it your 5:54! As I crossed the finish I looked at my watch HOLY CRAP- 5:54!

The flood of emotions made it so I cried as I hugged D. Then my brain was like wait... What happen?! So I got the story- he didn't have a good day and got sick and took himself out of the race. I am really proud of him that he learned his lesson from Syracuse's heat stroke to take himself out of the race before it ended in an IV. It really sucks that he didn't have a good race! But- I am so proud that I ran the whole half marathon. That was the biggest win! I was so happy that my training hard work paid off to be able to run the whole half marathon and get my sub 6 goal so early in the season.  Next race I can focus on a faster run time and get that time to come down.

Big Lesson Learned: I NEED to learn to Carb load!!!Not a bad result getting my sub 6 and running the whole half marathon. I even got 11th in my AG. Not a bad day at all!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Children's Hospital 5K

The week was kinda crazy weather. Thursday's track workout didn't happen due to some storms. And Friday we actually took a break from workouts and got in some movies. I made sure to get in the 3 hr ride I had planned Saturday. Though again the weather didn't behave and I was stuck inside.

A former swimmer of mine and her family put on the 5k so it is a thing I make sure I do every year- if possible. Last year it was the weekend before Quassy so I ran with my mom, which was fun. This year I convinced my parents to come again. D and I went out for a mile warm up. Talked through the course. As we lined up I tried to push the tall guy who looked super fast to the front line in front of me. The plan for this race was to see what I could do for a 5k. After Jay Lyons where I hit a new PR but I beat it a couple weeks ago at Season Opener- after the swim and bike- so there was definitely room in there to push further. 

The course is relatively flat. Or at least that is what I thought. The gun went off and I could actually see the fast out front guys and kept D in sight for probably the first mile. I hit the first mile on 7:49. I was feeling pretty good. The second mile it gets a little hilly. I stayed right at 7:50. Consistent. I was trying to make sure people weren't passing me but I was hunting folks down. The last mile has a couple hills in it and when I topped the second one I had to hold back on puking! Guess that is read line! Pace dropped to 8:36. Those hills bled off the speed.  I passed a woman right before the turn to the finish but she re-passed just as we were finishing. I just didn't have the last kick. I crossed and I was so excited to see 24:16!!! I am finding a new level of speed.

I am not used to it. It feels like an out of body experience. Like I am watching myself run that fast. Like I look down and it isn't my legs attached to my body. It is very different!

My Dad took second in his AG. Mom took second in hers. D WON his! It was awesome! I would have been 3rd in my AG if they had taken the woman that won overall out of the AG awards. But that is okay. That new found PR is a HUGE reward. It def takes a GOAL off my list!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Season Opener- Tri Season is Back!

I always sign up for New England Season Opener. The water is always cold. The bike course is always bumpy and hilly. The run is always tough. This year with our SUPER cold winter the water was looking EXTRA cold. 55 degrees was reported all week. On Thursday, I got a wrench in the works. The course I always use to measure my level of fitness for the year was changed. The 10 mile bike was a new 8 mile bike. And it was roads I knew were going to be more hilly than the 10 miles. Cue the triathlete freak out!!!

Luckily mid pre race freak out my coach happen to be in town for a clinic. I got to spend Friday night with her- talking about the season talking about the race. We even got in a short run together. It helped the nerves a bit. Until Saturday at packet pick up. I woke up Sunday morning more nervous than I have been for a sprint since my first! I knew I would finish. I was worried about all the changes and worried that I wouldn't throw down what I was capable of. The plan with my coach was get through the cold water swim. Survive the even hillier bike. And to quote "run like a pitbull was chasing me"!

I tried to stay calm- but I was really freaking out! I talked to friends. Had D give me my pre race talks. I racked up right at the end of my rack. I was so worried all my hard work wasn't going to show. I was going to do my best tho! This was going to be my first season opener in my age group- not athena.

Swim: 8:12- 1:52/100yds
So they say this swim is 400 yds. There is NO WAY! I can never get under 8 min?! The fastest 20 year olds were in the 8 min range. NO WAY it is 400 yds. I knew the water would be cold. I wore my full sleeve wetsuit. When we got in I treaded water with my hands out. In hopes I would keep them warm to be able to have a feel for the water. I started at the front like always. I was with the YOUNG women! This is what happens when you race age group not athena. The gun went off and I went. I think I literally swam over someone- sorry! I felt a little bad about it- but when you have 20 somethings in your wave and you don't plan to be out front don't put yourself in the front of the swim wave. I knew the 20 somethings would be gone and I wasn't going to be able to hang with them. So I settled in and just focused on my swim. Crap the young ones are gone and there was NO one close to draft. Well solo swim it was. I was pretty happy with the time- my watch read 8:07. I don't tknow where the mat was on the beach. That was my fastest swim at season opener.

T1- 2:05
Its a pretty long run from the water to the bike. Got my wetsuit off pretty uneventfully. Got onto my road bike and headed off.

Bike- 29:10 17.1mph
Not knowing exactly where I was headed I just focused on getting 100 cals or so in my mouth before we left the state park. I figured that would be most of what I ate on the day and I would sip on my water as I rode. I tried to focus on passing people. A lot of folks were not keeping right! And not obeying the rules. I really hate that USAT never sends an offical to this race. I came down one hill and I started to know where I was- and a mole went running across the road. I screamed run buddy run! The volunteer on the corner was laughing! I hit the bad climb of the course and passed quite a few. Then we had a GREAT downhill. I ride it on training. I bombed down it. Hit 40-45mph- on my road bike! As I came into the park again I kept trying to pass a boy who wouldn't drop back! Again I'd love an official on that one. As I came into transition I was happy with the sub 30 ride. It wasn't as fast as I think I can go but given the changes in the course and not really knowing what to expect it was pretty good. Fastest pace on the bike on this course- though course was different just focusing on MPH- was 16 last year this year 17.

T2- 0:55
YES! speedy T2!! Grab and go!

Run- 25:25 8:12/mi
Coming out of transition is a hill. I thought just keep turning over keep chugging and you can catch your breath on the way down. My legs were moving! I had speed! So I dug in. I chased people down. I passed a woman in my age group. Now look for other 30s! I just kept the gas pedal pushed to the floor. I could feel it when I hit a 8:30 ish pace I could catch my breath. When I was in the 7:30-8 min pace I could barely take a breath. Okay come on push- dig- its only 3.1! I just kept running. Before I knew it I was taking the run across the damn. And this woman came by with a 31 on her calf. Okay Jul stick with her. But she had another gear I didn't have at that point. I was like maybe she thinks its closer than it is and I'll catch her before the finish! I didn't. I passed another with a 30 on her leg. Crap was she a duathlon or a tri?! As I hit the beach D was screaming. I really had no clue what my pace was at this point. I was just focusing on keeping my foot on the gas. I hit the chute with the last burst of speed I had. I felt that oh god I might puke but kept going! I was shocked to see the run time! Previoius PR on this course for the run 27:10
Finish time: 1:05:45 last year (with the 10mi run) 1:15

D and my parents came up when I came out of the finish. D was like WHAT?! Holy speed! He was telling me how he always told me I could run faster. Then I realized this beat my 5k PR a couple weeks ago- 25:27?! Crap did I just PR a 5k at the end of a sprint?! My brain couldn't process. D was like you need to be excited. I just couldn't even wrap my brain around it. It didn't seem like it was right- it didn't seem like it was me. I still really can't get my brain to process this new found run speed. The final time was enough to get me 7th in the 30-34 age group! 172 overall. 33/166 women. The change is paying off! I am excited to see what else will come!

Friday, May 2, 2014

The one that started it all.....

At some point in 2009 I got the wild idea to do my first 5k. I found a local race dedicated to one of the firefighters that was killed in the horrible Worcester Cold Storage Fire in 1999. I somehow convinced my then friend, D to come out of racing retirement and join me. I even got my parents who run regularly bur hadn't run a race in a while to come and run. The race starts at 2pm. It is late April every year so usually that is when it is finally warm. That first year we had unseasonable heat- 90 degrees. But I finished. I remember I didn't even walk- my parents and I crossed together in 32 minutes.

In 2010 I had to skip the race since it was right after my surgery but I was there on crutches cheering for D. In 2011, D was in the middle of preparing for Boston so we skipped it. In 2012 I ran a 28:18 and last year I had to miss it for the Wallis Sands Half Marathon but I was there again to cheer on D as he ran.

This year armed with a new coach I prepared for this race to be a new PR. Knowing the course I knew it would be a struggle but I wanted to see what I could do and I didn't make any excuses for the fact that I may not hit the time we had hoped. I ran my track workout Thursday in preparation hitting 2:00 400s which is a 8:00 pace. I felt like it would be do able but I still had a bit of butterflies in my stomach.

My parents arrived at my condo before the race which was again a 2pm start. My dad said he was going to try to keep up but wasn't sure if he could hold up with the speed. Sadly our spring hasn't been great and it was another gloomy rainy day. We picked up our bibs and race shirts and D and I went and ran for about a mile. He gave me all the site pointers for the race. Uphill climb from the start for about a 1/2 mi then it flattens and turns right. Down hill then a right turn to flat main road. Then right turn by the stadium and up 3 intersections. At the top of the hill 3rd intersection turn right. Continue to climb a bit to the next right at the rotary. Flattens out then as you hit the tree and bus stop you can feel the downhill and see the finish.

I knew adrenaline would carry me up the first slight climb. I was feeling good when I hit the down hill and the flat. Dad and I were running together. We looked down at the watch and we were sub8. Well I was worried if I went out too fast the hill at the end would get me. I tried to throttle it back to 8. As we hit the flats 7:30 was actually feeling okay but I knew to save it. I wanted to hit 8:03. First mile ticked off at 7:54. Okay under is good.

As you hit mile 2 the climb comes toward the end of the mile. Still feeling good and somewhere in here I lost Dad. He stopped to take of his jacket but I didn't want to stop. 7:54. Okay here comes the hill. I know it is a long slow climb and you turn and there is a bit more of climb. Mile 3 8:00. As I came back toward the finish I saw the tree leaning over the road and the bus stop. Down hill from here. And there was D screaming come on Jul pass her! Apparently she shot him a evil look as I motored past her. FINISH TIME: 25:27 course was a little long 3.22. My watch said an avg pace of 7:54. But if you do a true 5k it is a little over 8 min pace.

I was shocked when I saw the result. I knew I had dug deep. I was starting to understand what running at max effort felt like. As soon as I dropped to 8:30 I could take deep breaths. So now how do I learn to not need to go to 8:30 and stay in that shallow breathing and motor though. My dad finished a couple minutes behind me. He was proud I had beat him. Mom finished her first 5k under 30 min! It was so exciting! Def a good day!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Swim Meet Again!

While at Summit one of the other Luna Chix who is a swim coach mentioned Master's Swimming Nationals. I had no idea about this. I looked into this and found there was a meet near me coming up. I signed up for it. 200 Free, 50 Free, 100 Free and 200 Back. Might as well see if I have any speed anymore. I had to give seed times so I looked at the times of my HS swimmers and tried to use them. Though stupid me didn't switch them to METERS! When I signed up I had the oh this will be fun. By this past Friday I was thinking OMG what did I decide to do?! I haven't done a meet in over 10 years!

Got up early and decided not to walk to the meet but to drive with the pouring rain. I got in and did a long warm up 600 meters. Had to test out the blocks too. After a couple failed back starts I figured oh well- go with it. My first event was the first event of the meet 200 free. I wasn't seeded first which was my biggest fear. I came in just about what I should have with my seed time changed to meters. 2:47. Enough to get me 2nd place in my age group.

There was a long time till my next race 50 free. This was always my favorite. Figure go in see what you have for about 30 seconds. Again my seed time would have been spot on in yards... D'OH! 33:24. Good enough for 3rd in my age group. Quick cool down/warm up and back at it with 100 free. 1:15.28. Eh not my best. I under estimated how few heats of each event there would be. But good enough for 2nd in my age group. Then a big break to cool down and warm up. I actually found myself wishing I had signed up for the 400- what the heck is wrong with me?! Oh that's right I'm an endurance athlete now!

I was seeded first in the 200 back. Stupid forgetting to change things to meters! I figured I'd give it all I had left. Though somewhere in here I told D I might just scratch and go home. But he uttered the words well I don't know how you quit at something like this. URGH he said quit! I am not going to quit. I will give it what I have. I hopped in and hoped to just stay with the rest of the women. I was out in front at the first 100. Then my tired kicked in. And the girl in the lane next to me pulled out a 3:10. I got second in my heat with a 3:16 but good enough for 1st in my age group.

My sprint is not what it used to be! WOAH! But it was fun to be back in my old element. A place where the whole competition and the people all made sense to me. Kinda nice to be back- not nearly as fast as I wanted but fun! Now onto the 5k tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gotta Change to see Change

In my last post I talked about Summit. While at the event I sat down with one of the Luna Pro athletes to discuss my tri season and some other things. After a whole discussion I got up the gumption to ask "will you consider taking on an athlete?" Long story short- I have a new coach! I am excited and feel like I have a new focus to my training! She is pushing me! I needed someone to do that! I can't wait to see what it becomes!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Luna Summit- The Kick Start to My Season

As you can probably tell by the lack of blogs and the most recent post. I was looking for some motivation to get going this season. I had been to Team Luna Chix summit 2 years ago. For those of you that don't know I am a Boston Run Team member of Team Luna Chix. We are the ambassadors of the brand, coach women to get out there and run, and raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund. Every year Luna hosts us in Berkley CA for their summit. We fly out there and spend the weekend with the Pro and sponsored athletes and get to train right along side them for the weekend.

I have a lot of friends on twitter and such that are athletes that train and race. But this was having all of them in one place. The food was all up to dietary restrictions, the talk was all about training and racing and the fun was focused on being active. I landed Friday and scooted out to the hotel. Upon check in we received our Team Luna Chix kits- running shirt, running singlet, running shorts, socks, running jacket, long sleeve shirt and arm sleeves. We even received a special Luna charm and road ID gift card.

We rushed to change so we could join the run with the pros on Friday afternoon. I was so looking forward to that after being stuck on a plane for 6+hours. It started to drizzle and get windy as we ran around the Marina but we got in a good 3.6mi run. I ran and chatted with one of the new sponsored athletes and some team members from other towns. Got to meet Kara, one of the new Luna Sponsored athletes and chatted tri. After the run it was time to get ready for Friday night at Clif. They had an 80s party planned this year. It was awesome how ALL out everyone went with their 80s costumes. Here are some of the pictures:

After a night filled with dancing and fun after getting up at 4am for my flight I slept hard. Got up early with my room mate for the trip and Boston Run Teammate Lisa and hit up strength training class. We learned from Luna Pro Suzie Snyder, about different circuits with mostly body weight. And even ended with a quick HIIT circuit. I can't wait to get a hold of the notes and pictures for this one!

Finally we got some breakfast and had some great talks from Luna about product plans and nutrition advice. I then went to the sports nutrition clinic. More on this one another time! Taught by Sarah Jane from Self Magazine

Following the clinic we went into our sport specific talks. Since I am on the run team we had a run clinic. Ours was with former Ironman and Luna Pro Terra Castro. She is now a Luna Sponsored athlete and a coach for cross country and triathlon. She taught us all about the skills we can offer to participants of the Luna runs. And what we all needed to realize that after years of running we can offer our tricks of the trade. What we do that helps us with running. Then we headed to the track. I have never done a real LEGIT track workout. I know I know- I should! It was awesome. I even chatted with about her upcoming Tri as we did the warm up. Come to find out she works with Sweat Pink- small world!?

As we got going on the track workout- I looked at what my 400 times should be and pushed myself up to the group that was running the sub 25min 5k'ers. Why not right?! I am close! I was happy my 400 times were way faster than the 2min I was supposed to do. Terra and the other Pro Luna members were cheering us all on. The 19 min 5k girls were flying with me bringing up the rear but it felt great to push. I haven't done much out of my comfort zone in a while. I even got a motherly talking to from Suzie about how one of my runs a week should be a track workout. The motherly talk even included the stink eye! haha :)

It was so nice to be in an supportive atmosphere to attempt something outside my comfort zone. I am not usually one for the "yaya sisterhood traveling pants" of women's events. I am an engineer. I work with mostly men. I am generally the only women in my meetings at work. I went to a school that was 80% male and I was sometimes the only woman in my class. I have gotten used to having that testosterone around. Don't get me wrong I am not afraid of it. But it was kind of nice to be in a place where you could put your guard down a bit. I am not one that needs an all women's gym to get the job done. But it was nice when I went to push myself at the track to have a supportive group of women who went "Sure go for it!"

Saturday night we heard the stories of the pros and sponsored athletes and some of the team members from across the country. We got a great talk from the president of the Breast Cancer Fund.

Sunday was back to the training. I got up early to do a 3 hour ride through the hills. I was so excited to get out on the bike. I hadn't been out in sun and on the bike since the fall. I found a new friend on the Seattle Tri team. She is a swim coach too. So we rode talked swim coaching, tri racing, and everything in between. I really enjoyed the views. I even got to talk with the Luna Pro Katerina Nash, who was leading our group. I talked to her about her season her plans for this year and even tried to convince her to hire me as her gopher or chef so I didn't have to go home!

The weekend was like taking all my friends from twitter and blog universe and putting them all in a room to hang out and train together. It was really awesome to have like minded people to train with and talk with. To sit down to eat a meal and not have people asking why you aren't eating something but rather see what other people's dietary restrictions were to maybe better understand your own digestion issues. I decided this year when I was going to go to Summit I was going to make the best of every moment of it. I was going to talk to every Pro I could. I was going to listen to other people's stories and tell my stories. I have never been in an environment that I so quickly felt completely accepted and welcomed. This was truly being in my element. It was being put in that bubble for a little while surrounded by athletes and people that think and train like you. No one who thinks you are crazy for wanting to do extra miles after a track workout. They just go "I think I'll join you!"