Thursday, September 29, 2011

Galveston: My Nemesis

I'm still shaking my head that I agreed to race the 5150 in Galveston. I mean come luck there stinks. And not just my racing luck. I remember back in high school I was down at the Redneck Riviera (aka Galveston), getting my flirt on with some boy. I thought I was looking pretty cute in my white (yes white in the dirty waters of G-Town) swimsuit. We were sitting on the steps of the building on Stewart Beach and he asked for my digits. "Oh golly, I don't have a pen but I can write my phone number on your arm in lipstick". Wow, can you say cheese? Of course he agreed so I went to reach for my lipstick when I felt something hit my head. Weird, what was that? I brushed the spot with the back of my hand and as I noticed something wet on it, the boy was yelling, "Ewwwwww, gross". A bird had crapped on my head. It was really hard finishing writing my number on his arm as he started to run away. I'm confident those last few numbers must've been blurred and that's why he never called. Stupid bird.

After the 70.3 in April, I was adamant I would not be visiting Galveston again. After a few days, I changed my tune and knew I would be back but didn't think I'd be back in the same calendar year. And definitely not two weeks before OilMan. So why go? Well, I need to learn to race. Period. I know it sounds silly but the fact is, I rarely push myself in races. After this past Sunday, I know it's mental. On the run, I kept telling myself I was going as hard as I could and I was pushing and couldn't push more. When I looked at my run splits (oh yeah, I descended EVERY mile), I noticed my HR never really made it out of zone 2. Umm, that's not racing. So it would seem that while my head was telling me I was done, my body didn't agree. I know I've got a (not so) hidden fear of blowing up. I think part of what my coach wants me to see is that I can push myself to be uncomfortable and finish a race. I know she also wants me focusing on race strategy. Trust me, if I'm not pushing myself, I'm definitely not strategizing much. Oh, I tried to strategize at this past race by getting to transition early to rack my bike in a good spot but then someone moved my bike so that didn't really work out very well. Shenanigans!!!!!!!! I'm actually not too upset about the bike thing any more. It was a good excuse to bust out my voodoo doll and spell encyclopedia when I got home. :)

So there you have it. I have 23 days to prepare and then on race day, all I have to do is execute. I've been told if I execute, the faster times will follow. My coach is SUPER wise.

Happy Thursday!!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Never Say Never

You know, sometimes I even surprise myself. For those of you following my blog, you know I've had two bad experiences racing in Galveston. In 2010 I was attempting my first Oly but passed out early into the run. Earlier this year, I traveled the short distance to Galveston again to participate in the 70.3 race, part of my IMTX prep. After two flat tires, I missed the bike cut-off and was pulled from the race. That SUCKED. My initial reaction was to flip G-Town the bird and never look back. I realized that wasn't my style and knew I would go back to Galveston....someday.

My coach called me today to check on me and see what I thought of some emails she had sent me analyzing the results from the Houston Oly. I assured her I was fine and then she dropped the bomb. How would I feel about signing up for the 5150 race in Galveston (5150 is the new race series put on by's an Olympic distance race). Umm, my initial reaction was not just no but hell to the no. Yeah, I knew I needed to tackle Galveston again and get on the scoreboard but I did not think I would be doing it this year. And definitely not two weeks before my A race, OilMan. Ana asked me to think about it & I promised I would.

Of course, I called Keith and my sister for their thoughts. Stef laughed and told me she thought Ana was the perfect coach for me and likes that she knows exactly what I need and what makes me tick. I wasn't sure what Keith would think about me racing but suspected he would say to do it. At the same time, he hates Galveston and has said he never wants to go back. When I talked to him he said, "Go kick that races ass so we never have to go back to that sh%t hole". :) So with that, it looks like I'm adding another Oly to my schedule and it's in 25ish days.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous at first about adding a race 2 weeks before my 70.3 but I trust Ana completely and she wouldn't have me add a race to my schedule if she thought it would jeopardize another race. Ready or not Galveston, here I come!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Post Race Thoughts

Ok. So I started typing this post a few days ago and then kept saving it & walking away from it. This will be a pretty unconventional race report. :) In a nutshell, I had high hopes of a PR this past Sunday and just didn't do it. Nothing went "wrong" or anything. I felt good, wasn't injured and had a plan that was doable. Sunday just wasn't my day.

After you have a race that doesn't go your way, it's typical to want to know why. It's human nature to want to point to A, B & C things and say THAT'S why I didn't do well. But I'm here to tell you, I went into this race focused and ready. I wanted to PR. That's all I talked about this weekend...just ask Keith & Ana. Sunday just wasn't MY PR day. Keith & Stef both told me that they just knew I was going to finish and be very upset. They suspected there could be tears. You should've seen the surprise on their face when I was smiling & laughing, not crying. At the end of the day, I know I did my very best and I can't be upset with that. You can't PR every race and that's OK. I have to give Ana props here. She has been absolutely awesome to me since becoming my coach. I'm learning a lot from her and understanding better & better how things work.

I hope this post doesn't sound negative b/c I really don't want it to. I had fun on Sunday (for the most part). I'm scratching my head about the swim b/c I felt good and thought I was swimming well. The bike was windy as all get out and I know the winds picked up as the morning went on. The fact that I pulled 17.2 mph out of it is a victory for me (the race results say 16.7 but I did the math and it's 17.2). By the time I made it to the run, it was nearly 100 outside and I did what I could. Or so I think.......

Many thanks go to Ana for the great advice and analyzing the results to help me see the good in my race. I'm also so thankful Keith, Stef & Avery made it out to cheer me on. They're awesome!!!

I'm back on the training wagon and hap hap happy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Twas then night before racing......

This is going to be short & sweet (I hope) as I've got to get to bed and get some shut eye. I had high hopes of writing this earlier in the day but between pre-race prep, Leia's school, packet pick-up, bike drop & a few other errands, I'm dunzo!

I will obviously be posting tomorrow or Monday with a race report but didn't want to leave you all without anything right before the race. So here it is....

Pre-race prep was awesome and my boyfriend is more awesome for doing the bike & run with me. Yay! Packet pickup was uneventful except they stamped my race number in an awkward spot. Don't worry, pictures tomorrow. Racked my bike early and got a sweet spot in the second to last row...on the end. Nice! My ORR gear looks A W E S O M E.

I talked to my coach and have a solid plan for tomorrow. Now all I have to do is execute. I got last minute tips for getting in & out of transition quickly, swim tips and a little more strategy. When I get to the run, she expects me to make myself uncomfortable. In fact, she even told me that when she sees me on the run course, I should look uncomfortable. LOL. I'm so excited! I've already told Keith & Lynn that when they see me on the run course to tell me to get my ARSE moving. Lynn is doing the sprint and I'm just hoping she sticks around to holler at me on the run.

So that's it! Off to bed I go. I will be posting more pics tomorrow of course...maybe Monday. I'm hoping for a PR tomorrow but am not going to get caught up in that. Execute, execute, execute. As my very wise coach said, if I execute the plan we talked about, the better time will come. :)

Buenos noches!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is it really race week again?

I didn't want to have a boring, naked blog this week so off I went to find pictures I might include. I was so excited when my Google search brought me to the cartoon above.

It's Tuesday evening, my workouts are done and I'm preparing to tuck myself in for the night. Nevermind that it's only 8pm. Mama is worn out. After the Chicago Half, I came down with what I first thought were allergies but surely was just a bad cold. Keith was also under the weather so at least I had company while I was ill. I got in a couple of workouts early in the week before I couldn't do any more and then of course my WONDERFUL coach told me she was removing my schedule from Training Peaks. My smart-ass response was, "good thing I already printed my schedule". :) All joking aside, I did obey/listen to Ana and got some much needed rest. By Sunday, I wasn't 100% but I couldn't go another day without doing something so Keith & I saddled up our horses (bikes) and we headed out for a 2.5 - 3 hr ride. Shortly after starting, Keith hit a golf ball size rock and I immediately heard air hissing out of his tire. Being the Captain Obvious that I am, I yelled, "Hey Keith, you're about to get a flat". 10 seconds later, Keith was pulled over ready to change his first flat during a ride. Just as I said, "it could be worse", it got worse. The sky opened up and delivered much needed rain. We just didn't need it right that second as we stood shelter-less. Within a few minutes, we were both soaked through. There goes a speedy recovery.

Happily, I'm back to working out this week just in time to taper for my next race which is this coming Sunday! The Houston Triathlon was my first (successful) Olympic distance race last year so I'm hopeful I will see a modest time improvement this year. Ana & I will be talking race strategy later this week but I know she wants me to not stress and have fun. As she puts it, I'm still learning how to race. I like the sound of that.

I'm sure some of you are laughing that I'm talking "strategy" given I'm not a competitive athlete...whatever. Don't hate. :) Seriously though, I love having goals for races and I love improving upon what I've done before. I know my family reading this thinks I'm the most competitive person on the planet but I'm really not that competitive with others....I'm far more competitive with myself. Ok, Keith, stop shaking your head. Keith and I had an epic Checkers tournament this weekend. We played three games. Games 1 & 2 were good but he handed me my bootie. At the end of game 2 I was pissed and put my game face on. My mood completely changed. It was time to focus. Game 3 was the longest Checkers game I've ever participated in. I set the tone early by completing a triple jump. Had this been during games 1 or 2, the gloating would've commenced by that point. But not in Game 3. Oh no. It was time to stay focused. This game could turn at any moment. I honestly had never contemplated one, two or three moves in advance but I found myself doing that. Wow, this must be what it feels like to play Chess. Keith started making a comeback. Soon, there were only Kings on the board. And before we knew it, we were both down to just a few players. So this is how it ends? We chase each other around the board. I made a move and then immediately realized that I had him. There was no move he could make that would result in anything other than me jumping his last players. Keith looked at me with sad eyes as he knew his fate was sealed. He was in disbelief. He made the only move he could and then I beat him. I didn't gloat. I just had the look of complete satisfaction on my face. Holy crap did my head hurt after that game. I have never thought so hard in my life! I'm pretty sure Keith is still wondering how I went from zero to hero so quickly. :)

Yeah, I just totally digressed and now this update is so long, I'm hesitant to type more. But I will. Back to race week. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's time to taper now although I'll have to consult Training Peaks to remind myself. I'm still not 100%. My ears have been itching (eww) and I've been blowing my nose like crazy but at least I can finally blow it!!!! I'm on the road to feeling better and am confident I'll be feeling feisty as ever on Sunday. Oh, in other GREAT news, my ORR uniform will be here in time for the race. I have never been so happy to put on a tri top before!!! I've very, very excited to wear my new threads. My "fans" will have to get used to looking for red, black & white vs the good 'ole sTRIve green. :)

I hope y'all are having a great week and I'm confident I'll be blogging more before the race!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chicago Half Marathon "Race" Report

It's taken me a few days to sit down to write this "race" report. Even though you call it a race, it's not like I really raced it. And like I mentioned before, it was a "C" (meaning low priority) race. What is the point of having a blog to talk about your races if you aren't going to provide race reports? I mean, I'm already severely slacking with my Bachelor Recaps so I need to get back to blogging here.

As a recap, my main goal for this race was to have negative splits. I didn't exactly achieve my goal but that doesn't mean this race wasn't a success. My other (secret) goals were to beat my Houston Half time from this year and to also come in under 2.5hrs. Ok, for those of you who know me, you know my PR for Houston a few years back was 2:10:54 but this wasn't a PR race so that's why I had a different goal. I don't know why I feel like I need to explain myself but I just do. I think some would see 2.5hrs after finishing 20 minutes faster as a failure but it wasn't! Anywho, on to the recap (errr race report).

I love Chicago and have really enjoyed spending time there since Heather & Michael moved there. I did have very high expectations for the race and I hate to admit, I was a little let down. The scenery and the course itself were awesome. I mean, who wouldn't love to run down Lake Shore Drive with a view of downtown? The fan support on the other hand left a little to be desired. While this is only the 3rd large city I've done a half in, I have to give Houston major props. The spectator support in Houston is still better than Austin & Chicago...hands down. The course entertainment in Houston is far better too. I'm not just saying that. I speak the truth! The Chicago Half does get props for serving Lou Malnati's post-race. Holy deliciousness Batman. While I didn't partake b/c I rarely want "real" food post race, the smell of it was good enough. This race was on the 10th anniversary of September 11th and they did a great job honoring this terrible tragedy. Engine 4, which lost all 8 of it's crew, was on hand. Wow. As I walked past the engine, I couldn't help but think about the families of those who were lost that day.

I was in corral J with the 2:10 finishers. I immediately knew I should not go out with this group b/c that would be my PR pace which I was not supposed to do. Perhaps that was my 2nd mistake of the day. My 1st mistake was eating something new on race morning....but I'll get to that gem later. It took nearly 8 minutes to get to the start line once the gun went off. Geez! This was a BIG half marathon! I had told Keith if I made it to the 5 mile mark in less than 55 minutes, he needed to yell at me to slow down. Well, I made it in 55 and change. And then I hit mile 6 in 66 minutes and change. I went out at about 11min/miles which is a fine pace but not a pace I should've gone out at to have a truly good warmup. Despite that, I did feel good and felt like I could run that pace all day long if I needed to.

I knew Keith would be at the 5 mile marker and sure enough, there he was along with Hannah, Heather, Michael & Addie!!!!! How fun to have a support crew at an out-of-town race. I was really happy to have made it to them in about the time I thought I would. :) Yay me. Sort of.

The first 6 miles were uneventful and pretty fun. Miles 7 through 10 however...not so much. I will spare you the details b/c I'm thoughtful like that. Let me just say the picture below sums it all up perfectly. As I was approaching the port-o-pots at mile 7, I felt a rumbly in my tumbly and thought maybe I should stop. Nah, I'll keep going. As the nasty pots were upon me, I thought maybe it would be wise to just pull off the road. There was a line (of course) so I paused my Garmin b/c I wanted my Garmin time to read my actual running time. Remember, not an A race. :) All I will say is THANK YOU LORD for making me stop and THANK YOU CHICAGO for leaving some TP in there AND having hand sanitizer. I mentioned earlier my first mistake of the day was eating something new race morning. I'm no rookie and I knew better but still didn't pack or stop to buy something I knew worked for me. Trust me, I will never make that mistake again. Another pit stop came between miles 8 & 9. Are you kidding me? Now it was just comical. My Garmin pace for this section dropped to 12:18/mile or so. Actually, not terrible. But not a negative split either.

Mile 10 brought my first double digit mile marker as well as the comforting feel of a calm tummy. I knew I had ground to make up but also knew I wasn't far off the 2:30 group b/c I had seen them at my last pit stop. My goal was to try to catch them. My pace miles 10 through the end averaged in the high 11min/mile range BUT descended. So mile 11 was faster than 10 and mile 12 was faster than 11 (you get the picture). I was happy with that. As I approached the 12 mile mark, I was happy to see the Chalfant/Buttenob gang cheering me on. I think they all knew I was off pace, especially Keith but they cheered anyway. See, this is the part of racing I don't like...the part where you feel like you let everyone down.

I wanted to sprint the end as hard as I could and had high hopes of going balls to the wall at mile 12 but I was tired and my butt hurt. :) I settled for sprinting the last .25 miles and finished with a smile. I collected my finishers medal (my 7th) and made my way to the official finishers photo area. Chip time was 2:36 and change but my Garmin time was 2:31:20 (or so). I refer to this time as my RAT (restroom adjusted time). Either time you look at was better than Houston this past January so I was H A P P Y! I haven't been training with Ana that long and my longest run mileage was 8 going into this so I felt I did really well. And while I didn't execute my plan the way I hoped and the way my coach hoped, I kept a really good attitude and stayed focused. Even though I felt a little sad at first, I'm actually really happy with the results now.

Now it's time to shift my focus to my next week which is already knocking at my door. The Houston Oly is a week from Sunday and I'm getting excited. Still not an A race but I already know my coach is expecting me to push. I'll talk more about my goals for that next week. I'm also now signed up for 10 for Texas on October 8th and then of course, Try Andy's Tri on October 16th (relay).

All in all, I had a great time at the Chicago Half and would love to do it again next year and maybe even beat my time!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Outfit #2? Don't mind if I do. :)

Time sure does fly when you work, train and try to just get stuff done! Realizing this is "race" week for me, I figured you all would expect a blog post. But before I get into racing stuff, can I just tell you that I LOVE Bachelor Pad and wish I was writing a Bachelor Pad recap? Seriously, these folks are so entertaining and make me realize just how smart I really am! I find myself scratching my head week after week, trying to figure out how in the hell Kermit the Frog (Kasey from Ali's season) is actually the "brains" of the house. And when I say brains, I use that term very, very loosely. Anyway, the finale is next week and my money is on Michelle & Graham winning. Their strategy for the "Nearly Wed" game was brilliant.

So back to the purpose of the blog. The Chicago Half Marathon RD sent out an email last week urging all participants to wear red, white & blue since the race is on 9/11 and this is the 10 year anniversary. As you all know, I had already purchased a snazzy outfit from Athleta that Keith would be able to spot easily. The added bonus? The lime green shorts & purple top matched my new Asics. Score Score Double Score. I thought about wearing the outfit anyway but then realized I would get another new running outfit out of this so why not? More importantly though, I love the idea of a sea of patriots running towards the finish line! So what did I do? I went up to Luke's Locker in search of some cute shorts. I looked & looked and nothing was just right. Then I came across a pair of shorts I knew I had to have. The next step, find a shirt. Below please find my options. :)

The top looks much more red in the pic. In real life, it's more coral. I realize that description doesn't help the men in my reading audience.

I'm digging the blue. I found that the fabric draped nicely over my shoulders and the color worked magic on my eyes. The bluest eyes in Texas are haunting me tonight. (Name that band)

So yes, I will be sporting red, white & blue shorts that just happen to be the Texas Flag!!!!! Yeeeee haw!

I'm sure you're all expecting a few words about the "race" (another term I'll use loosely). This is more of a C race for me and I'm 100% cool with that. I have a game plan that if executed, will result in negative splits for mama. Since signing up with ORR and finding out Ana would be my coach, I've taken to my new training program like a duck to water. Like Ike to Tina. Like a prom dress to the floor. Ok, maybe that one was bad. I think you get the point though. I've REALLY enjoyed my training the past few weeks and have really enjoyed feeling stronger. I'm so excited to run on Sunday and just want to execute the plan and look forward to my next race.

In other news, Keith has been riding like a man on a mission and is LOVING cycling. On top of that, Emily (his 2nd youngest) is signed up for The Woodlands Marathon while Caitlin (his 2nd oldest) has signed up for The Woodlands Half Marathon. I'm so excited for these ladies to train and have fun races!!! This weekend, we all went running and Hannah even joined us. Let me tell you, getting us all out of the house should've been video taped b/c it would've been a great reality show. I showed up with my stop watch & whistle which really completed the whole experience. What a fun weekend with most of the Chalfant gang.

Well, I'm off now as I have a few more things to do before bed and plan to post again before the big race...maybe. I hope you all had a great Labor Day and enjoy the rest of your week!