Tuesday, October 29, 2013

O. M. G. (and by the way, tapering sucks)

I can't believe that the race I've waited to run for 4 years is almost here!!  I leave for New York in just a couple of days and I'm so excited!!!!!  

Let me start this post off by saying that this taper has sucked.  I've been moody, irritable, hungry, full, annoyed, anxious and a whole lot of other things.  My coach of course was happy to hear this because in the past, I've felt good during the taper and she has told me that you shouldn't feel good during the taper.  Keith always has a good chuckle about me & my coach and this week pointed out that it was a good thing I was a masochist because my coach is a major sadist.  When I texted my coach to share this with her, she let me know that was the best compliment.  LOL.  

I started laying out my clothes last night and have been fine tuning what I'm packing this evening.  I'm also being super anal and pretending I'm already on East Coast time so waking up here an hour earlier every day so when I get there, I'll just feel normal.  

I am ready for Sunday.  So ready!  Of course there is a goal time I want to hit but I'm just going to focus on execution.  I've visualized the race over and over and over and over and over (you get the picture) again.  I'm going to go out with a pace group so I will make sure not to repeat my mistake at 10 for Texas and go out to fast.  I'm going to save it.  I'm going to hold back even if it kills me.  And then if I've done everything right, I'm going to hit the gas at the end and finish strong.  More importantly, I'm going to take in every single inch of this course.  I absolutely can't wait to run through all five boroughs.  Every time I think about going over the Verranzo-Narrows bridge, my eyes well up with tears.  

Keep me in your thoughts on Sunday.  Here's hoping for cool temps, no rain and the wind always at my back!!!

Last tri of the season was a success!

(This blog post was previously recorded.  LOL).  

Just like that, tri season is over (sniff, sniff).  This has probably been my best tri season ever and I'm sad to see it end!  Thankfully, I have the NYC marathon in 11 days to keep me focused!  Try Andy's Tri is a race I've been doing on and off since 2005.  The last time I raced it as an individual and not part of a relay team was 2009 and I finished in 1:18 and change.  This year, I was just over 1:06.  A huge improvement!

Race morning was chilly (ok, cold).  It was wetsuit legal but I opted to go without since the swim is only 300 meters.  The day before the race I got the ok from my coach to hammer so I knew I was going to push from the very beginning.  I went out hard on the swim and with about 100 meters to go, I was slowing down but was still pretty much middle of the pack.  As I stepped out of the water, I looked at my Garmin and saw 7:12....only 12 seconds slower than my best swim there.  I was very pleased.  In T1 I was trying to be fast but had some trouble with my glasses.  As soon as I put them on, they were fogged up.  I decided to not jack w/ them and stuffed them down my tri top.  Before I knew it, I was at the mount line and headed out on the bike.

Pre-race I was hoping to go over 20mph but ended up at 19.8.  I'm not complaining or anything...just really want to get that 20+!  As soon as I cleared the start line, I settled in aero and just rode.  Hard.  When I started catching dudes, I giggled as they started 10 minutes ahead of me.  Yes, this made me smile and wish I had on my "you got chicked" shirt.  My overall goal going into the race was to be under 1:10 and I knew I was in very good shape.  After the second u-turn on the bike course, I went as hard as I could.  I looked at my watch and saw I was coming up on 30 minutes for the total race time and was very close to the bike dismount. I knew that I would be close to 20mph.   I finished the bike in 30:14, just missing that magic 20mph mark.  I was in & out of T2 quickly (I love sprints) and took off as soon as I hit the timing mat.  

When the run started, my legs felt heavy and I didn't feel like I was going fast.  This is normal and I've done enough of these to know I just needed to run. The cold temps didn't help and I could feel a cramp coming on in my right calf but decided to completely ignore it.  After a mile, it was gone and everything was loosening up nicely.  I couldn't tell what my pace was as I didn't have my watch set to see it.  No big deal. I could see the total race time was under an hour and knew I was going to make at least 1:10.  As I started the 2nd loop, I picked up the pace a tiny bit. I started looking for girls with my age on their calf.  If I saw one, I did whatever I could to pass her.  I kept telling myself it could be the difference between 11th and 10th place and I REALLY wanted to be in the top 10.  Right when I felt completely warmed up and really good, I got to the point where you turn for the finish line.  I hit the gas hard.  I knew it was around 1:05 and couldn't believe it!  

Once the results started scrolling, we made our way to the van where I saw I was #8 in my a/g.  I was SO happy!!!!  Not only that, my run was 25:58, good for 8:39min/mile.  WTF?  I didn't think I was that fast!  I couldn't have been happier.  A great, great race the day after running 16 miles.  Yes please!

So I ended the tri season on a very high note.  Next year I'll be in the 40-44 a/g and am still having trouble believing it.  I had a lot of big PRs this year and know that next year they won't be as big and that's ok.  It will be nice to take some time off and relax before getting back into it.  I've got lots of goals I've been thinking about and just need to figure out what my priorities will be next year.  I really do want to focus on my swim for a bit (without losing the progress I've made on the bike & run).  It's always in the back of my mind that IMTX 2015 is on the distant horizon so I want 2014 to be spent building my base for that race.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Execute? Preparation? Huh?

So 10 for Texas was yesterday and while I was expecting to have a really solid race, it was anything but.  Humidity was very high (over 95%) and while the temp was around 75, we all know you'll sweat way more w/ that kind of humidity. I wish I could blame the outcome on the humidity alone but the truth is, I screwed up.  

The comedy of errors began the night before.  I laid out my race belt and that was it.  I was telling Keith how nice it is to "just" run vs doing a tri b/c there is no prep the night before.  Umm, wrong.  This is still 10 miles.  I didn't lay out salt tabs, gels, fluids or anything.  I figured I'd be just fine. 

The morning of the race I got up w/ plenty of time but didn't eat breakfast. On top of that, I didn't grab a water bottle or sports drink to sip on before the start of the race. My tummy was a little upset that morning and I blamed it on having cheese the night before.  

I got to the race and relaxed before the start.  I lined up with the 9 min mile group which was mistake one.  I know I should be starting at a slower pace than that but I really wanted to be faster and I know I can run 9 min miles.  I mean I've done it at longer distances before.  

My first few miles were right around 8:30 min/miles.  I looked at my Garmin and told myself that might be a little fast but I immediately assured myself that I felt great and it didn't feel that fast.  So I kept going.  Around mile 4 I slowed a bit but was still in the low 9's. I heard a girl next to me say she was slowing down on that stretch and it must've been a slight uphill.  I had grabbed water at the 2 mile & 4 mile tables but nothing more at that point.  

By the time mile 5 hit, I knew something felt wrong but figured it would be fine.  I would slow down and all would be well.  I kept wondering where the F the 6 mile mark was and so, the fluids table. I was now dying.  My clothes were soaked through and I desperately needed water on my head and sports drink in my body.  When I finally made it to the table, I grabbed 3 waters and 2 gatorades.  One water went on my head and two in my mouth. I drank 1.5 of the gatorade and then started to run at a much slower pace.  

It wasn't very long before my ears started ringing and I started to get that feeling in your mouth right before you vomit. My coach did want me to vomit but at the end of the race b/c I pushed it at the finish, not this early because I went out too hard.  It seemed like out of nowhere, my upper body and legs were saying, "we're done" in unison. I thought I could still salvage the race but by the time I hit mile 7, it was painfully clear to me I was done.  The cramping in the calves was dull but steady.  My back felt it was having spasms, my head was pounding and my ears were still ringing.  It felt like forever before the next aid station and when I finally saw it, it was all I could do to make it there.  I took 2 waters and 2 gatorades and then just did some run/walk mess that barely should qualify for forward motion.  Ok, maybe it wasn't that bad but it felt that bad.  

I seriously considered getting one of the medics on the course and calling it quits but I reminded myself that I could finish this even if I had to walk and just to suck it up.  At this point, I knew I had blown up and I knew why.  The last 2 miles that's all I thought about.  All the stupid, stupid mistakes I made.  These weren't rookie mistakes, these were mistakes made by someone who was over confident and blew off everything I knew.  

There were more fluids at mile 9 and I was able to run most of the last mile, albeit at pace 2 min per mile slower than my first mile.  I wanted to vomit.  I rounded the corner into Market Street and could barely muster a smile for the folks I knew.  Somehow Bill Dwyer got me smiling (picture in this blog).  Trust me, I look a lot better than I felt at that moment.  

I crossed the finish, completely disgusted.  Yes, the conditions were brutal but I had a crappy race because I ignored everything I knew I should do.  My crappy finish was completely my fault.  I saw Keith and was fighting back tears.  I was so frustrated with myself.  We got back to his truck and I called Ana and almost lost it.  My coach is awesome and my races are her races.  I felt terrible that I let her down.  There was a bag from Lululemon on the floor board waiting for me (Keith killed some time in there while he waited for me).  What a sweetheart. He either thought it would be reward for a PR or something to cheer me up if my race went south. 

Trust me, the only reason I'm smiling is b/c I'm about to finish and didn't vomit on myself.

I made a list of things I learned from the race and sent them to Ana.  Now it's time to let go of this race and move on.  Trust me, I will never go into a race like this unprepared ever again.  Physically I was prepared but I ignored all the little things that make the difference between a good day and a completely shit day.  I'm glad to have this reminder 3 weeks before the marathon.  There's no need to worry.  I've put the miles in, I've held faster paces on longer training runs very consistently.  I've been running very consistently.  This was a blip on the radar due to me not executing.  That's something within my control and something I'll fix.  If I have a bad race b/c of something outside my control, that's cool.  But I will not settle for a bad race ever again b/c I'm being stupid.  Hell no.  

So with that, time to leave 10 for Texas behind and start focusing everything back on NY!  I have a 16 miler this weekend as well as Try Andy's Tri, my last tri as someone in their 30's (yes, I age up next year).  Time to visualize me executing my plan to a "T" for NY.  I'm SOOO excited!

Hope y'all had a great weekend.  Happy training!!!!