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!!!