Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let the Iron Girl Taper Week Begin!

Today is Taper Week Eve and is the last "hard" day before taper week begins. All my hard work will slow down for the next week in preparation for next Sunday's Iron Girl sprint triathlon. I can't believe it's been a year since I ran my first. In some ways I feel that I've made a lot of progress, but I also feel like I've slipped a little. I guess the results next week will tell.

Yesterday was the last Iron Girl course ride. On Wednesday at CNY Tri practice, Coach Kelly had me ride in zones. I was to ride in zone 2 for the first loop, zone 3 for the second loop, then finish back in zone 2. I felt like I was going so slow. We talked yesterday and decided that my zones probably need some adjusting since they were set last Aug or Sep. For yesterday's ride, I really wanted to ride by feel to simulate the race. I was disappointed to finish the ride in about the same amount of time I finished it in last year's race. Really?!?!?! I was hoping for so much better. Hopefully the excitement of the race will give me a shot of adrenaline and help me go faster next Sunday.

As for yesterday's run, I was very pleased with how well I did. I can't remember exactly the time or the distance, but my pace was 10:05 which is one second faster than my current 5K PR pace. This really gives me hope since I ran that pace AFTER riding the bike course. I'm thinking the run and transitions will help me improve overall over last year's time.

Today I went for my last long run. I started at the Good Dog Park at Onondaga Lake Park and headed to the other end of the park. Since today was Parkway Sunday, the Parkway was closed to traffic, so I was able to stretch my run out to almost the train bridge. I turned around at the 45 minute mark and started to head back to the car. At about the hour mark, my left foot started to feel a little bit sore. I hoped it would go away, but it didn't. Not wanting to get re-injured before the race, I decided to call it a day at about the 1:16:00 mark.

I walked the rest of the way and enjoyed the nice weather and the scenery. Not as nice as pictures taken by Bree Wee in Hawaii for her blog, but nice for CNY...

Got some good news about race day this morning. My good friend "Flo" came to visit this morning which means she won't be here on race day...woo hoo!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Ran the Boilermaker?!?!?!

(Most pictures courtesy of


I still can't believe it when I say it. Last year at this time, I was training for my first Iron Girl triathlon. One day, coach Kelly assigned us a 60 minute run. I had never run that long before and, at the end, I thought I was going to throw up. A neighbor of my in-laws up in Alex Bay would occasionally go out for 7 mile runs and I thought he was completely insane. He did it to get ready for the Boilermaker. At that time, 3 miles or so was a typical run for me, so anyone who could run 7 miles was a super-athlete in my eyes.

Once Iron Girl was complete, I was determined to get my running improved because that was the worst of the three disciplines. I signed up for the running group at the Y headed by Kevin Collins and I started my journey of running. By January, I was running up to 105 minutes and over 8 miles. I was now one of the crazy ones. Problem is, my foot didn't like how quickly I was increasing the duration and distance, and it told me so in the form of a stress fracture.

Once I healed, I was determined to get back up to the distance and duration I left off at and signed up for the 10 mile Mountain Goat run on May 1. Because I didn't have a lot of time to get back into training, I had to walk part of the race. I was happy that I finished, but I wanted to run the whole thing. The Boilermaker would be the next race that I could prove myself. So, less than two days before the registration got closed out...13,000 runners registered for the 15K...I got out my trusty credit card and registered. I was going to be a super-athlete!!!

The Day Before
Since the race was in Utica, I had no desire to drive there to pick up my packet, drive home, then drive back race morning. So, I had a couple friends from the Y pick up my packet. After riding the Iron Girl bike course, I stopped at the Y to pick up my packet. For the first time, my bib number had 5 digits on it which made the race a little more overwhelming thinking there would be 13,000 people in the race.

The Morning Of
Since the race started at 8:00 AM and the shuttle busses stopped running at 7:00 AM, we had to get on the road early. About 9 of us met at the Y and made a convoy of cars heading to Utica. Erika decorated her vehicle to show we were Boilermaker bound:

As we were driving down the main street in Utica, we passed a Boilermaker countdown. I couldn't believe the time was near:

We parked the cars, got our sunscreen on, got our hydration set, then off to the shuttle bus we went. The Boilermaker is a point to point race, so you parked at either the start or finish line then shuttled to the other end. The runners on our bus almost had their day cut short because we almost rear ended another shuttle bus in front of us. It was way too close for comfort!

We got to the start line a little before 7:00, so we wandered around, visited the porta potties a couple times, found other Y friends while waiting for the 8:00 start. Next thing I know, they're telling us to start lining up. All the runners were supposed to start on Culver, but there were so many, that we had to bend around the corner.

The Start
I jokingly said that there would be so many people that the winners would probably finish before I even reached the Start line. I overexaggerated...but not by much! The winner finished around 43 minutes and it took me almost 10 minutes from when the gun sounded to when I actually crossed the Start line. Right after the start, they had one of the Brightroom photographers stationed on a fire truck ladder above the crowd. I really hoped that I could get a good picture of me from that view, but I couldn't be ID'd, so here is another shot of a bunch of strangers:

The Fun
I have to say, there were plenty of things to distract you during the race. Lots of people were dressed in interesting ways. There were the two girls with tutu's and ribbons wrapped around their legs. There was the guy with the huge beard dressed like Forrest Gump. There were a couple people who carried an American flag on a pole the whole race. Then there were the two women with neon green tops and neon green plaid VERY short shorts on...these ladies were up in age and had NO BUSINESS wearing those shorts!!!

Then there was the music. Plenty of bands and DJs along the route. The best was right within the first mile when a DJ was playing "Sweet Caroline" from Neil Diamond. It got to the point where the song went "Sweet Caroline" then EVERYONE chimed in with "BA BA BA"..."SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!" That was pretty cool!

The volunteers rocked! Water, ice, popsicles, you name it. Awesome job by the folks of Utica.

Down to Business
Coach Kelly and I devised a plan to run zone 2 for the first 10K, then hard as I could the last 5K. I kind of did it.

The first 5K went pretty well, but just as I reached that distance and we were just about to head into the golf course with a long gradual hill, my legs started to feel heavy. NOOOOO!!! I can't feel like crap yet! Our other plan was to have a Shot Blok every 1-2 miles. About halfway up the hill around the 4 mile mark, a Shot Blok must have kicked in because I started to feel a lot better again. The hill in the golf course was very long, but nowhere near the steepness of those on the Mountain Goat. When I got to the top and started down, I made sure I took advantage and cruised.

When I got to the halfway point, I still felt good. My breathing and heart rate were always under control. My legs came and went constantly. Not sure if that's a fueling thing, but I'll have to figure it out and work on it.

Not sure at what point this picture was taken.

When I got to the 10K point, I tried to kick it into another gear. Sometimes I could and sometimes I was just thinking all I wanted to do was finish. When I reached the 9 mile mark with 0.3 miles to go, I once again tried to dig deep, but it really wasn't happening. I finally saw the finish line and did what I could.

Here are some scenes from the finish:

So here is how I faired:
5K Split 34:35
10K Split 1:09:19 (34:44 for 2nd 5K)
Finish 1:42:13 (32:54 for 3rd 5K...fastest, yet not by a lot)

Overall 8808 out of 11074
Women 3736 out of 5079
Age Group 430 out of 591

Definitely happy that I have my first under my belt and definitely want to work hard in the next year to better that time. I would LOVE to get under 1:30:00. My goal this year was under 1:45:00, so I'm proud of that.

After Party
Not that I felt much like partying, but we stuck around for some food, a little beer, and some good company from good friends from the Y

I'm super glad I did this race and I discovered the super-athlete in me. Have lots of room for improvement, but I definitely proved a lot to myself and others.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4th of July...a little late

I'm about a week behind on my blogging. My company had their annual golf tournament yesterday and I was in charge of organizing it. I've been so wrapped up in that, that I forgot to write about 4th of July. A couple days ago I ran my first 15K, but that report will have to wait a bit.

Family Fun
Before I write about all the training I was able to get in, I'll tell you about the family fun we had. The weather we had for the three day holiday weekend can be summed up in one word: Perfect! Temps in the 80's, no rain during the day, and barely a cloud in the sky. Every morning I would get my training done then we headed to the water's edge for the rest of the day.

At first Alex was timid to jump in the water. But, once he got the hang of it, he LOVED it!

Alex had a few cousins up at the River with us. Here Alex and his cousin Ella are relaxing by the water after having some fun swimming.

One thing I was really looking forward to was training. I enjoy training up at the River because I'm not on a schedule and I can do it whenever I please and pretty much for as long as I please.

On Saturday, I got up and drove my bike to Clayton so I could ride the River Rat bike course. According to my Garmin, I rode 15.83 miles in just under an hour. I hadn't been sure if I was really going to register for the River Rat race in August, but after riding the course for the second time, I'm pretty sure that I am going to do it. The only thing that could hold me back is an injury...knock on wood! The race is three weeks after Iron Girl, so that will give me plenty of time to recover, train a bit more, and be ready. Last year was the inagual race and I checked the times of women in my age group. If I raced last year, I think I could have placed or come pretty close. Hmmmm....maybe a goal for this year's race? Anyway, the ride was great and I even stopped for a few minutes to view some fish in the pond next to the Frontenac Springs Bottling Company.

On Sunday, I had a 90 min long run scheduled. Usually for my runs, I head out on Route 12, run half way, then turn around and come back. The run is very boring and there is little scenery. Since I was going to run for so long, I wanted to mix it up and go somewhere I could have something enjoyable to look at. I first thought about driving over the bridge to Wellesely Island, but I really didn't feel like getting in the car, paying money to drive over the bridge, have to find somewhere to park, then run 90 min.

Eventually, I decided to run Route 12, but to make it more enjoyable, I would go down some side streets toward the water. I really wish I pulled my camera out more because I really had some nice views. The first side street I went down went around the land that creates Swan Bay. Every time we go down by the water I see the other side of the bay, but I've never known how to get I do! the second side street I went down was equally as pretty. There was a hotel down there called the Channel View that I had never known about...until now! Here is a picture of the view of the channel near the motel:

I started heading back home from here. On the way, I passed some longhorns that Alex loves:

I also saw what we call the Oreo Cookie cows:

When I was done, I had run 7.57 miles in just a touch over 90 min. This would be my last long run before Boilermaker.

Monday I had two workouts: an open water swim and an easy bike ride. For the open water swim, I had Dan and Alex escort me in the kayak. I have an app on my phone that measures workouts, so I had Dan carry it in the kayak with him to see if it could measure my swim. When you're done it shows a red line showing you where you went. The red line on my swim zig zagged all over the place and said I swam 1.5 miles. I would love to believe it, but I don't think so. Later I looked at a map and it looked more like I did just over a mile which is still pretty good in my mind for a 30 min swim.

For my easy bike ride, I rode down Route 12 to the village of Alex Bay and back, making a side trip down one of the side streets I ran down on Sunday. I ended up riding 10.41 miles in 48:06. I think I might have gone a little harder than I should have. I don't have my bike HR zones memorized, so I was just winging it.

Unfortunately we had to head home that night. Back to the reality of squeezing in training early in the morning and around everyone else's schedules. I will miss him dearly, but Alex is heading up to the River to stay with my in-laws for a few days starting tomorrow, so my training schedule can be a bit more flexible which I'll enjoy.

Next post should be soon and it will be about my adventures as a Boilermaker virgin.