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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January and February Check-in

Apparently blogging more regularly should have been a New Year’s Resolution for me.

The year is off to a good start and I’m happy with some of the progress I’m making.

January Totals-

Swim- 13 miles

Bike- 192 miles

Run- 106 miles

February Totals-

Swim- 12 miles

Bike- 353 miles

Run- 70 miles

Highlights:

  1.  Swim– My swim game has improved already this year.  My husband has a pretty strong swim background and worked last year to get some coaching certifications.  For 2016 he has taken over the role of swim coach for our tri club.  What this means is I’m going to structured workouts with other people more often.  It’s been a lot of fun learning new things in a group setting and I find I push myself more on some of those intervals when I’m trying to keep up with the speed demons of the group!
  2. Bike– I’ve been spending a lot more time on my bike the last couple months.  Late 2015 I was hardly on my bike at all.  I’m really loving my new tri bike and especially the bike fit.  All last year was a struggle because I was sore from my saddle/position after every. single. ride.  Although a lot of my rides have been indoors on the trainer, I’ve gotten to sneak in a few outside rides on unseasonably nice days and am quite happy both places.12744443_741642581169_2873564002270685728_n
  3. Run– I ended my run streak in January after battling an angry foot for most of the month.  Back to running 3-4 days/week for me cut down my mileage a bit in February, but I’ve enjoyed lots of great runs.   I also had my longest trail run of 12+ miles at the Little Woods Ultra at the beginning of January.  10653535_736555131459_2555982580535987958_n
  4. Frostbite Series– My family completed the Frostbite Series in Forest Park in St. Louis over the winter.  It is put on by the St. Louis Track Club and was a really fun way to stay active on a few Saturdays where hibernating was really tempting.  My husband and son signed up for the short course option.  My daughter and I did the long course option, her goal was to complete her first half marathon.  We all had some milestone races and paces at the Frostbite Series and really enjoyed it, this will probably be a family tradition each year!   12654260_740194203729_3128985069437251952_n

 Also, Grace rocked her first half marathon.  She ran strong the entire time, never hit                                              “the wall” and finished with an official time of 2:00:56!

5. Tour of Sufferlandria– Last year when I started training for IM Boulder, I discovered Sufferfest videos.  I love to hate them.  Somehow this type of workout kicks my butt.  Every. Single. Time.  I started the 2015 TOS and quit half-way through, not so in 2016.  For all of you non-Sufferlandrians, here’s a brief rundown.  They’re bike videos that show footage of amazing locations and really fast people on bikes.  And they ask more of you than just about any other kind of workout.  The Tour of Sufferlandria is a challenge they do each year with a sick, brutal combination of videos.  Over 9 days, I rode prescribed videos, some days with two videos back to back.  I expected to feel completely beaten down by the end of the challenge, but was feeling stronger with each ride.  Until the last day, that one really just about did me in.  Regardless it was a fun challenge and one I’ll do again!  12717204_740830059469_2123163931385044958_n

6.  High School Students– I’m coaching a group of high school students to run their first half-marathon this April.  From October-April we meet twice a week after school and on Saturdays.  Not gonna lie, it’s been a very big time commitment on my part (and theirs).  There are days where I absolutely love it and am so excited that I’m sharing my love of running with these kids.  There are days where I feel completely beat down because I don’t feel like I’m getting through and don’t feel like they’re challenging themselves at all.  But overall it has been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what these kids think of their first race experience and especially their first finish line experience!

7.  My own training and goals.  My 2016 race calendar is shaping up and I’m excited about a it.  I’m working towards some hopefully big PRs and exciting racedays!

April 10- GO! St. Louis Half Marathon with my high school students

April 30- Kentucky Derby Half Marathon

June 5- Legend 70.3 Triathlon

July 9- IM Muncie 70.3 Triathlon

*August 14- IM Steelehead 70.3 Triathlon *Maybe…I’m still debating on this one.

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A fun quote in honor of Dr. Seuss day!

Cheers to goals, improvement and loving life!

100 Days To Go!

Somehow my countdown to my first Ironman is flying by!  Probably faster than I’d like it to.

My blogging has suffered with the increase in schedule commitments on my calendar, but, for the most part, training is going well and I am excited for what the next 100 days brings.

This spring has been an especially busy one for my family with both kids in activities, we’ve had commitments 5 nights a week for the last two months.  There’s no sugar coating it, there have been days where I just haven’t felt like getting a workout in.  In the past where I would begin to skip workouts I would make a habit of it and I’ve not yet let myself skip a majority of workouts so I guess that’s positive.  As my kids’ spring activities wind down, I expect that I will have some additional hours to train, which is perfect timing because I really need to be increasing those!

In thinking about my event 100 days from now, I decided to do a check-in with my progress in each sport.

Swim- I’m feeling a lot smoother in the pool.  My swims have been 2000-2500 for a few months now and I’m pretty comfortable with that.  One fun development from swimming, I have arm muscles (quite small ones, but still!) for the first time ever.  I’m really enjoying my swim workouts and feeling quite a bit stronger in the pool than I did last year when training for my 70.3.

Bike- Since I’ve never ridden through the winter before I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but my bike speed is where it was at the end of last season and I’m riding longer distances too.  I’ve had the opportunity to bike with a small group from my ti-club a few times, as well as a couple individuals over the last few months.  Cycling is so fun to me because you can explore so much more in a few hours than you can with running.  I live in the middle of nowhere and really enjoy riding on “my” country roads.  On a long ride a few weeks ago, I kept count for the first couple hours and I had passed more cemeteries than I had cars.  This past weekend I had my longest ride ever, at 68 miles.  It went really well despite some rain and was a good confidence boost.  I’ve also been playing with nutrition and really loved how much Hammer Perpetuum helped with that long effort.  It made a huge difference in my energy and I didn’t really bonk.  My biggest need in the next couple months is just more time on the bike and getting used to longer rides.  My only complaint on long rides so far is becoming saddle sore after a few hours.  My body has to adjust to that eventually, right?

Tri Club Group after our 68 mile ride, my longest ever!
Tri Club Group after our 68 mile ride, my longest ever!

Run- Although I started running in 2008, I’ve never been consistent.  I’ve always had to have a race on my calendar to dangle the carrot to get me to run regularly.  In 2014 I began running with groups through my local running store, Runwell, and that has helped my consistency a lot.

One of my long run buddies on our last run together since he's moving away
One of my long run buddies on our last run together since he’s moving away

Since October, I’ve had a double digit long run just about every week.  I’m really hopeful that this will mean much better run experiences in my long triathlons this summer.  In addition to weekly long runs and being consistent, I’ve seen progress with my run paces as well.  This spring I’ve set new PRs in a 10 mile race and a Half Marathon.  My hope is that with some additional time to train I can add in some track and hill sessions to my run training.

After my 10 Mile PR
After my 10 Mile PR
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After my Half Marathon PR, with my wonderfully supportive better half.

Overall, I’m feeling good about tackling 140.6 in 100 days.  I’m really enjoying the training and especially the gains I’m making through my training.  There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then, but I’m looking forward to it!