Off Season Checking in

I realized today that it’s been awhile since I updated what I’m up to.  For the most part, I’ve not had any big goal races since August.  I’m quite proud that during that time I have still stayed active and maintained my fitness (mostly) without having to have a race on the calendar.

Swim: Although I’ve not spent tons of time in the pool, I’ve been working on improving a couple of things: a stronger pull and incorporating flip turns.  The flip turn battle was brutal.  For a long time.  Months.  I made a deal with myself that from Sept. 1 on, I wouldn’t do open turns anymore.  Most of my swim workouts since then have not had me do more than a 200 at one time because my breathing was so labored.  I finally figured out that I was exhaling too much as I flipped and felt like I couldn’t get to the surface fast enough.  Then the rest of that length was just recovering before I had to do it again.  Finally in the last month, it has clicked a little bit.  My turns are still not as efficient as most people’s but I am not dying breathing wise.  I’ve been able to get in some longer and faster swims.  Now I just need to make myself get to the pool more often…

Bike: I’ve not been on my bike much at all since August.  The desire to do road rides just wasn’t there.  I’ve been mountain biking some with my husband.

mtn bike
Mountain bike fun.  What triathlete wouldn’t love a bike named Kona?

I also tried out a small cyclocross race that my tri-club put on.  So fun.  I ended up first female and fourth overall.  It was a small race…ha!

cyclocross

And I’ve been saving up money to buy this beauty!

tribike

I’m pretty excited about my new bike.  Unfortunately since I’ve had it either the weather or my schedule has not allowed for an outdoor ride.  A couple of trainer sessions in and I’m happy with it.  Fingers crossed that I’ll get nice weather over Christmas Break to get to try it outside!

Run: This has been the area where I’ve been spending most of my time.  I’ve been spending a lot of time introducing the sport to some new people.  I’m leading a group of high school students to train for their first half-marathon in April.  We’ve been meeting 2 days/week after school since October.  My group has about 25 students in it.  Each month we’re doing a timed mile so they can see their progress.  The timed mile they completed last week saw four separate kids take 2 minutes off of their previous time! That has been a lot of fun.

My other focus has been on running with my daughter.  Once she heard I was starting this group for my students, she wanted to do a half-marathon as well.  Her logic was “Why can someone two years older than me do a half-marathon when they can’t even run a mile, while I’ve done 5 miles in cross country practice and am not allowed?”.  Hard to argue with that.  A lot of bigger races require 14 years old in order to do a half-marathon, but I found a local race series that actually has a division for 12 and under.  The St. Louis Track Club puts on a Frostbite Series every winter, a 5 race series of different distances through Forest Park in St. Louis.  I’ve done the half-marathon part of the series before so knew what to expect.

Since Cross Country ended for Grace, she’s been joining me on group runs at Runwell most Wednesdays and Saturdays.

11 miles
My sidekick and training buddy after her longest run yet- 11 miles!

She’s become a great training partner and challenges me to push the pace a bit more than I had been.  She loves having the adults at the run talk to her, give advice and cheerlead.  And I think most of the adults are pretty impressed that a 12 year old is out doing what they’re doing as well.  Some runs are more tempo feel where we’re quite tired at the end and some are just conversational pace long runs.  Regardless, we’re having lots of fun with it.

We’ve also had a couple races so far.  The first was a 5k in Litchfield, the Route 66 5K.  We’ve done this race the last few years, for me the 5K in 2013 and the half marathon in 2014.  Grace really wanted to do the half-marathon, but I wasn’t comfortable with her doing that since we hadn’t gotten very many long runs in at that point.  I was intimidated by doing the 5K because her cross country times were FAST!  I just made up my mind that I’d have to really challenge myself and try to hang on no matter how fast she went.  It was a fairly small race, so we started near the front.  After the start a couple of guys took off at a pace I knew we couldn’t do so we settled in.  One woman passed Grace and I in the first half a mile and Grace looked at me and said “Come on, let’s pass her!”.  So we did.  And then we hung on and kept a nice pace.  3.1 miles later, we both had shiny new PRs by about 2 minutes and Grace won Overall Female by .15 of a second.  I’ve never been anywhere close to Overall Female so that was fun.  And a huge PR never hurts!

5k
1st and 2nd Overall Female at the Route 66 5K in November

More recently we raced in the first race of the Frostbite Series, a 12K.  I made Grace a promise that the Frostbite Series would be running together and not necessarily racing, a little easier effort.  Of course once we got to race day, she was checking out any competition that looked close to her age, ha!  But we had a good experience, closer to long run effort than race effort but still a new race distance for us both, so an automatic PR!

Frostbite 12k
Frostbite Series 12K, with high 5s from Jack

 

So overall, the offseason is about having fun, maintaining fitness and rediscovering a love of the sport.  We’ve made it a family affair with random workouts together, a Gobble Hobble race and my husband and son are also doing the Frostbite series, but the ‘Short Course’ option.

gobble hobble
My brother joined us for the Gobble Hobble on Thanksgiving.  His lack of working out did not slow him down enough for any of us to beat him!

 

My son, Jack, has been joining me on some short runs during the week to keep my #RWRunStreak alive- we love to look at the Christmas Lights around town.  I join my husband James on a mountain bike whenever the weather allows.

Life is good, the off-season is fun.  I’m getting recharged and ready to tackle 2016!

 

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