2016 Racing and Training Updates

April 2016- GO! St. Louis Half-Marathon

This wasn’t exactly a race for me.  I started a group at my school to train high school students to run their first half-marathon.  The program is put on by GO! St. Louis and they have students from 17 area schools train for and complete a half marathon.  It’s a really fantastic program that I’m happy to be a part of.  This race day was all about them.  I ran the race with a few students.  They avoided porta potties by stopping at a McDonald’s along the race route, they didn’t push their pace any beyond what they do for a long run.  But it was their first half marathon!  Along the way I played paparazzi, taking pictures not just of those students I was with, but others that we would see during out and back sections.  After crossing the finish line with those students, I went back and ran/walked in with my remaining students.  At the end of the day, all 18 of my students crossed the finish line with huge smiles on their faces.  It was a fantastic day!

April 2016- Kentucky Derby Half-Marathon

Most of my long runs leading up to this race were done at a very easy pace with my students, so I wasn’t sure how this would go.  I had a really solid training base in, and my swim and bike training were going great at this point too, so I knew I was in the best shape I’d ever been for a half marathon.  Race morning was a little stressful and I got my bib from a friend about 2 minutes before the start!  My heart rate was probably through the roof before the race ever began.  I tucked in with a 1:50 pace group at the start and planned to stay with them until mile 10, then try to pick up the pace from there.  In the first few miles the pace was already challenging, which I knew wasn’t a good sign.  I just kept fighting through, being mindful of nutrition, trying not to overspend my energy, etc.

I definitely had to fight for it and it was harder than I expected, but in the end I was able to break 1:50 so I got a PR by about 4 minutes out of it!

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June 2016- Swim the Sun

This was a 2 mile open water swim, my tri coach was the RD and a number of people from the tri club were participating.  This was a good chance to get used to OWS with no wetsuit because the summer was ultimately too hot to wear a wetsuit for my goal race anyways.

 

July 2016- Muncie 70.3

This was my goal race for 2016!  Unfortunately my run training fell apart in mid-May so I had about 7 weeks leading up to the race that had very little running.

Swim- This was my roughest swim to date.  For whatever reason, I could never get loose from the crowd that you normally only experience at the beginning of the swim.  It just seemed to never thin out.  Lots of bumping into people, swimming around someone, etc.  The return to shore proved especially tough because we were going right into the sun so sighting anything in front of you was impossible.

Bike- The bike course at Muncie is fantastic.  Smooth country roads, a few climbs, but flat overall.  I was in my best bike shape yet and felt really comfortable here.  My watch went crazy and although it was fully charged the morning of the race, it was dead by mile 12 of the bike (this had never happened before and hasn’t happened since…go figure).  So the majority of my race was done by feel.  I focused on my cadence, took nutrition based on mile markers instead of time and just kept working my way through the course.  Ended the bike feeling pretty good, now wonder if I would have done more on the bike if I could have seen the numbers, but oh well.

Run– The run course at Muncie features rolling hills.  Not necessarily any one killer hill, but constant hills.  Immediately upon running I realized my foot was not right.  I convinced myself that the first mile running is always a mess in triathlon and I just needed to get through that and then my body would adjust and I’d be fine.  The hills sent pain through my foot that made me want to scream.  It was bad.  I knew my family was waiting for me on the run course so I decided to just get to them.  They were at about mile 2.  I stopped and talked to them, told them about my foot.  I was basically resigned to dropping out of the race at that point.  I’d had to walk a lot of those first two miles because of my foot pain.  My husband and parents were supportive of whatever I wanted to do but were definitely concerned about my foot.  My 10 year old son however, was not there to see me quit the race.  He just looked at me and said “Mom, you should finish it.”  Gotta love how straight to the point he is!  I sat down, took my shoe off and had my husband pull my foot towards him like my chiropractor does to pop my ankle.  This actually provided some relief.  I got my shoe back on and went out to the run course.

The remaining 11 miles were mostly running, some walking when a hill was really hurting my foot, but I was getting through it.  The finish line has you run down a slight hill on gravel and the downhill and uneven surface truly about did me in, but I couldn’t stop at that point.  End result, a PR by over 20 minutes!

This was also the first race that I feel like I absolutely nailed my nutrition on, which I’m thrilled about!  Thanks Hammer Nutrition for your continued support and amazing products!

Not quite the race I had hoped for, but considering the circumstances of the run, a result I was very happy with!

Post-Muncie

The days after Muncie had me very worried about my foot.  Even a blanket on my foot when I was sleeping was too much pressure on it.  I took the next 5 weeks completely off of all training.

I’ve had a slew of dr. appointments, tests, treatments done on my foot that I chronicled in another post.

Even if I couldn’t run, I could swim and bike.  Honestly though, I didn’t do much of either of those.  I’ve been crabby about being injured and having no answers and so I’ve just allowed myself to have the time off to recharge.  I’ve gotten to spend extra time with my family.  The fall has been a busy season for my kiddos with cross country and soccer so I’ve just been enjoying mom-duty.

November 2016

After a cortisone shot and starting Physical Therapy, I’m on the road to recovery.  I’m getting back in the swing of things and looking forward to 2017.  I’m waiting to get through PT before I put any races on the calendar but I finally feel like things are looking up!

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How to train with a family

Since taking up triathlon, and even when it was only running I was doing, I often get asked how I can do that with kids at home, or get comments that the person I’m talking to would never have time for that.  There is always a list of more things I could have done both in training and in my family life, but it’s all about finding balance.

Finish line happiness!
Finish line happiness!

I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately, as I’m enjoying an off season and making my goals for 2016 (which I’m so excited about now that I have them figured out!).  My kids have done some kids triathlons, 5Ks and summer swim team, my hope is that they will find some sport or activity that they can do their whole lives that will bring them as much joy as triathlon and running bring me.  By no means am I an expert, but here is what worked for me as far as training for a big event while still having a family life.

  1. Spouse support- it truly would not have been possible without my husband James.  Having been in a previous marriage where a 15 minute run at 5am before the family woke up was too much of an inconvenience, I really appreciate James’ team player attitude.  Not only does he encourage me to do what I need to, he picks up the slack when I was training or wiped from training.  From planning activities with the kids to making meals to coaching the kids in swim team over the summer, he really does it all with a smile on his face.  I’m a lucky girl.
  2. Involve the kids- My kids are ages 9 and 12.  They joined me on a variety of workouts through ironman training, not because they were forced, but because they were interested to see what its like.  Whether it was a couple mile easy run, an easy bike or biking alongside me as I ran harder and longer, they joined in on a lot of it.  One of my favorite workouts was when my kids set up a cheering station on the bike trail near our house just for me.  They also would swim a lot when I swam.  They would typically start out swimming laps then lose interest and go play on the waterslide while I continued my workout.  While some workouts needed to be higher intensity or longer hours than what they could handle, there are plenty of workouts that they can join on.  And they should! Healthy kids that enjoy being active is a huge goal of mine!
    Grace was a great cheerleader- cowbells, signs and yelling for me!
    Grace was a great cheerleader- cowbells, signs and yelling for me!
    Mile 26
    Mile 26

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  3.  Gym membership- Although I really don’t care for working out indoors (avoid the treadmill like the plague), there are times where it is really helpful with kids.  Like I said in #2, they can play in the pool/waterslide area while I swim laps.  Or they can play basketball or volleyball in the gym.
  4. Make the most of kids’ activities– I almost never stay to watch my kids’ practices.  That’s free workout time!!  In the summer, swim team practices are when I would fit in a bike or run.  Now that school is back in session, I squeeze in a 50 minute swim between when I get off school and when my daughter needs picked up from cross country.  Soccer practices are when we have been either going to the gym to lift weights or run on a nearby trail.  When meets and games are going on I am absolutely there, cheering my heart out for my kids.  Think about it- did your parents stay and watch your practices?  Helicopter parenting has gone too far and there is no reason to watch every minute of every practice.
  5. Early mornings- This is an area I could still improve at, but there are days where if I don’t workout before the sun comes up it just won’t happen.  For me personally, waiting until evening when the kids are in bed doesn’t work.   I’m way too tired myself by that time of day and I make every excuse in the world.

    Both happy campers after our run in the dark
    Both happy campers after our run in the dark
  6. Groups- My local running store has set group runs every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning.  It is so great to know that I can show up on those days and always have someone to suffer with.  Plus when you have a group or partner workout, you schedule it just like you do any kid activity- once it’s on the calendar it’s that much more likely to happen.  My long rides are another example of that- when I was committed to riding with someone from my tri club it was a non-issue, when left to my own schedule I came up with a hundred other things to do and the bike ended up shortened or canceled a few times.  Bonus points if you make plans with a specific person ahead of time, then you’re letting someone down if you back out.
  7. Find races for them too– My kids love it when they can take part in a race as well.  Whether it is a kids’ race in conjunction with my event, such as IM Kids or a Mini-marathon, or even volunteering at a race- they love the environment almost as much as I do. DSC_4477 DSC_4527    11822465_720046240409_5857381435519876939_n
  8. Have a little fun- It’s ok to miss a workout because you decided to do something your family wanted to do, just don’t make a habit of missing workouts.  When we vacationed before IM Boulder, I took the time to do fun activities like badminton and horseback riding.
  9. Remember to set a positive example– If you’re complaining about your workouts or your sport, that will be the kids’ impression of it.  I want my kids to love being active as much as I do so I make sure to keep my own attitude in check.                                    20141130_081716

So to all the parents out there, I hope this list gave a little encouragement.  It’s possible to train for an ironman and still have a happy, well adjusted family life.  Everyone has the time, it’s all in the choices we make on how to spend our time.

I’d love to hear any other tips or tricks you use for training with a family!