Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Akron Half Marathon Race Recap - Sept 26, 2010

Saturday morning I ran the Akron Half Marathon. This was my second time running this race, so I had some idea of what the course was like. I lined up with the 9:10 min / mile group and waited for the start. It was a great day for a long run - about 60 degrees and mostly sunny. Well, at the 7 am start it was still a little dark, but the full moon was a great touch. After the gun, we slowly moved forward and eventually crossed the starting line about 4 1/2 minutes after the first runners. It was soooo crowded that I very quickly wished I had lined up closer to the front with faster runners. I didn't want to dodge people, so I pretty much stayed in the middle of a pack for the first mile.

Mile 1 - 9:45

Eventually the crowd thinned a bit and I was able to pick up the pace.

2 - 9:21
3 - 9:17
4 - 9:07
5 - 9:12
6 - 9:10
7 - 9:29

I started to get a little too comfortable around mile 8.

8 - 9:44

Thankfully I overheard another runner (Someone I knew even! - Thanks MN!) telling her brother in law that they should pick up the pace to make up for the uphill at the end of the race. I was happy with my overall pace at that time (9:18), but I quickly realized she was right. I needed to be running faster right then, to make up for how slow I was going to be on mile 12. I sped right up!

9 - 8:55
10 - 9:19
11 - 8:49

Then, we turned onto the towpath and began a steep climb. I was really happy that I had picked up the pace a few miles back.

12 - 9:50

Once we were up the hill, we crossed the bridge back into downtown, and I gave it everything to get to the finish line. I was confident I would beat my goal of 2:03.

Mile 13 - 8:55
Mile .1 - 0:36

FINISH TIME - 2:01:33
Pace - 9:16

Wow. Can't help but be really happy with myself. When I signed up for this race back in January, I knew it would be two weeks after my Rev3 half iron and that I would probably just run it as a "fun run" and jog slowly. I never really thought I'd end up with a half marathon PR nor did I ever think I would get that close to breaking the two hour mark. Now I have a good goal for my next half marathon!

I had fun making the clock in the picture below show my correct finishing time! :-)

Here I am after finishing and getting my medal.

After I cooled down a bit, I changed my clothes, grabbed my bike and some snacks from the van, and rode along the marathon course from the finish line out to about mile 20. It was wonderful to see the marathon runners at that point in the race, especially some of my good friends. They kept moving forward, they stayed together, they finished going 26.2 miles together. :-) They have motivated me to want to run a marathon.

So, my next goal is the whole thing; not just HALF of something, but a real, true, marathon. 26.2 miles on my feet.

I'm pretty sure I'll be going for this in the spring, and it will probably be here in NE Ohio at the Cleveland Marathon. I have a few month to decide for sure.

This year I have set a new PR for every distance that I have ever run in a race, except for the 5k. Well, I'm signed up to run the RUN-A-MUC 5k at my alma mater, Mount Union College (now a University - but we'll ignore that) on October 23. I can't imagine getting my PR on that course, but I'm sure I'll try hard!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Goals for tomorrow's half marathon

Tomorrow is the Akron Marathon and I will be running 13.1 miles, the half marathon. This will be my fourth half mary (well, my fifth if you include the Rev3 half.) My first ever was Akron in '08 - 2:15, then Stomp the Grapes in '08 - 2:30, then Cleveland in '09 - 2:07. (Rev3 was 2:29) Of course, I want to beat my time from when I ran this same race in 2008, but I'd really like a PR! A 2:03 would be really nice. :)

But then again, I've only run 3 times since the half iron two weeks ago - a total of 10 miles. Ha! I should be happy with just finishing tomorrow.

My plan is to try to stay ahead of the pace group for the 4:15 marathon. (Maybe I'll even try to stay with the 4 hr marathon group.) The marathon course is the same up until mile 11. So, I'd only have 2 miles without the pacer.

When I'm done running I plan to ride my bike around the remainder of the marathon course so that I can cheer on others running the whole thing, especially my friend Julia. :-) Go Julia!

Weekly workouts

Sept 16 - Run 3 miles (off the rest of the week!) I was just happy when I could walk both up AND down the stairs again. :-)

Sept 17 - 24
Fri - off
Sat - off
Sun - off
Mon - Run 4.04 miles
Tue - Bike ~15 miles
Wed - Swim 1250 yds
Thur - Run 3 miles
Fri - off

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 DONE - Race Report

First of all - I FINISHED! That was my biggest goal for my first ever half iron distance triathlon, and I did it!

Early Saturday morning Matt and I drove up to Cedar Point and checked-in to our hotel, Hotel Breakers. I had hoped to jump in the lake for a practice swim, but it was pretty rough and we had arrived a little later than planned, so we just walked down to the beach and checked out the area.

Pre-race day went pretty much as planned: packet pick-up, bike check-in, pre-race meeting, Grunt Girl photos, CTC photos, pasta dinner with the family, and early to bed. Rev3 did a GREAT job of making our pre-race day simple and calm.

Race Day - Sunday September 12, 2010

I planned to start my day at 5:30 am, but the person in the room above us was up by 4:40 am, so I was too. :-) I was glad I brought my own toaster, and I was able to have tea using the room coffee pot to get hot water.

By 6:15 Matt and I were headed out the door. We walked down the beach to the transition area so that I could get everything set up. At first I was stunned to find that the ladies on each side of me had already set up their gear on BOTH sides of my bike's front tire - leaving me NO room. None. I think I stood there for a few minutes, not sure what to do. Thankfully I spotted a USAT lady who told me I could slide the one set of towels, shoes and such over to make room for my stuff. Phew!

The Full Rev start had been delayed a few minutes, so Matt and I made it back down the beach in time to see the Pros and the age-groupers exit and re-enter the water in the middle of their 2.4 mile swim. I was so happy to see most of the CTC people that were in the full race!

A little after 8 am I pulled on my wetsuit, headed down the beach for some last minute photos with Matt and my parents, and then made my way over to the starting line.

Right on time, my wave started at 8:40 am. Thankfully, Lake Erie was much calmer than it had been the day before. It was still a little wavy, but not too bad. Personally, I enjoyed the shallow water at the beginning. While some around me were dolphin diving, I just walked, and still kept up with them. Once deep enough to actually swim, it took awhile to get in a rhythm. I really had to make myself calm down. The waves from my left (the north) made me breathe mostly on the right. When I finally reached the first RED buoy (1/2 mile out) I couldn't help but check my watch - I saw 16:xx. Quickly doing the math, I was pleased. I decided I wanted to get to the next red buoy in 8 minutes. That .2 mile stretch was much easier for me. I felt like the waves were pushing me along, and I could breathe on both sides now. So, I get there, check the watch, and see 25:xx. Not bad. I figured if I could get back to shore as quickly as I swam out, I'd be done with the 1.2 miles in 41 minutes (which would beat my goal!) Well, swimming back the waves again had me breathing on only one side - the left now. I was also surprised to feel the water getting colder on the way back. Strange. My feet were pretty numb, but otherwise I was okay. As soon as I could see others around me walking, I did the same. Started pulling my wetsuit off and again checked my watch - 44:02. Hmm, guess I was slow swimming in, but I still beat my goal of 45 minutes. I walked up the beach, accepted a cup of water from a volunteer, and then entered transition.
SWIM TIME: 44:31

Somehow I lucked out with a transition spot at the end near the bike in and out. I walked down there, and I carefully dried off and got rid of ALL the sand on my feet. I even sat down to get some Body Glide on my feet where I had had blisters the week before. With the cool air I decided to go with the arm warmers. They didn't like going on my wet arms, but I'm glad I wore them! (I kept them on until just before returning to transition.)
T1 TIME: 5:42

I must say again, I REALLY like this bike course. I'm so glad that I was able to ride the whole course 3 times before race day! I knew what to expect and it suited me well. Not too hilly, but enough rolling to keep it interesting. I made myself just take it easy, knowing I had to run a half marathon when I was done. Tons of people passed me, and I only passed a few, but I just stuck to my plan of taking it easy. I didn't want to risk riding too hard and then not being able to finish the run. Before the swim I took one GU (8:20 am), and on the bike I took 3 or 4 GUs (I've now lost count), plus half a PB&J bar, and 2 full gatorade bottles. I broke the top off my one water bottle while trying to open it. Oops. I managed to not lose any of the gatorade though. I was able to dump it all into my aero waterbottle - all while still riding! I was soooo happy that I NEVER got off my bike (or even clipped out) during the whole 56 mile ride! I honestly had FUN on the bike course. It was a beautiful day - the sun came out there were a few little clouds spotting the blue sky. I felt GOOD. No cramps, no pain. I was thinking, "This is just like any other triathlon, just a bit longer." :-) Plus, I beat my goal time by 5 minutes. Oh, what was really cool was that with about 15 miles left, the pros started to pass me. I loved seeing them fly by on their awesome bikes!
BIKE TIME: 3:25:15 Average Speed: 16.3 mph

At first I was scared to start walking as I dismounted my bike; not sure if the legs were going to work. I was fine though. I got all of my gear changed from biking to running, and was off.
T2 TIME: 4:44

I began by walking, while eating a few Sport Jelly Beans and drinking some water and then began a slow jog. Since we drove the run course the night before, I knew the only slight hill was on the road to and from Sandusky. I planned to start out slow, and then later try to pick up the pace a bit. (This worked well for me on the 6.2 mile run at GCT, so I figured that was a good plan.) I took water at every aid station. The first few I walked, but then realized that was using up too much time. Miles one through five: 11:02, 11:14, 11:32, 11:12, 11:17. Right at about mile 5 I saw my brother going the other way. I didn't expect to see him at all, so that was pretty neat. I gave him a big wave and guessed he was near mile 7. I wanted to pick up my pace, but got worried about my heart rate each time I tried. So, I just stuck with my slow even pace. I was so glad I had put my Garmin on for the run. All the time I was looking down to see what my overall average pace was. It was around 11:15 a lot of the time. In my head I kept doing the math, "How slow can I go and still finish this whole race in under 7 hours??" I didn't want to risk not meeting my goal, but I knew I couldn't speed up - just had to stay steady. Miles six through ten: 11:31, 11:30, 12:20?, 11:19, 11:21. I don't know what happened at mile 8? Oh, but around six I had my one aggravation of the day - a guy moving boats around with a huge tractor decided to block the WHOLE road while I was about to run past him. AHH! I was so mad at him; he could see me coming, and did nothing to hurry up. (or wait for me to pass??) I ran way off the road up and around him. Took me a minute to get over that. Ugh! Well, I continued plugging along, singing dumb songs, and taking a couple of GUs. On my last GU (It must have been about 2:30 pm) I told the guy passing me that I had better finish the race within the next hour because I didn't want another one of those for a YEAR. On the road leading back to Cedar Point I was ready to be done. What made me keep moving was my time goal, and the desire to SEE the finish line. Miles eleven, twelve, and thirteen: 11:45, 11:56, and 10:54.
RUN TIME: 2:29:06 11:23 pace

TOTAL 1/2 IRON TIME: 6:49:19
I beat my goal by 10 minutes. I did it!

Once done, I was scared to stop moving, so I walked for about 15 minutes. Finally sat down, but didn't feel right. After about 30 minutes of that, things seemed to return to normal, and I was able to eat a bit of the post race food. Within an hour Matt and I walked right though Cedar Point to the exit so that I could clean up transition and claim my gear.

I am SUPER happy with how the day went. I met my goals, I had fun, the weather cooperated, I didn't get any cramps or blisters, no knee pain, no stomach pain... It went about the best it could have. My first half iron race was a wonderful experience! I loved everything about it!

I have about 60 more photos posted on Facebook (from race day and the day before the race.) If you'd like to see them, they can be found here:

Friday, September 10, 2010

I will travel 70.3 miles on Sunday...

WOW! The big race day is so close. In less than 48 hours I will begin my 70.3 mile journey. I'm so happy, excited, nervous, overwhelmed...

Two weeks ago I told myself NO JUNK FOOD (at least until after the race - I can't give up desserts forever!) I want to make sure my body is fueled with the best possible food to get me through this seven (or eight) hour long day of racing. Anyhow, I'm happy to say I've done great with not eating the junk food these past two weeks. (That was originally my goal for this whole calendar year, but that didn't work out!) :)

Well, now I'm having trouble eating. This always happens when I get nervous. I've been keeping very close record of my weight, and I'm down 2 lbs just in these last two weeks. This is the least I've weighted since the summer of '05. I'm sure some of that is from no junk (only snacking on healthy food - moslty fruit) but some of this is from the nerves! Yikes. Need to find something yummy to make myself eat today!

Okay, tomorrow at 7 am Matt and I will leave for Cedar Point. I hope to be in Lake Erie for a practice swim by 9 am. After the swim I'll go to athlete check-in and bike check-in. Still not sure what to do for lunch? (I might pack a PB&J.) At 2 pm I'll attend a race meeting and then at 3:30 I'll join the CTC for a club photo. (It's so exciting how many from our triathlon club will be there!)(AND how many ladies from the Grunt Girls will be there, too!!!) Hotel check-in is at 4 pm, but I sure hope to get the room before that. I'm pretty sure I'll be joining my brother and sis-in-law, and her brother, and my parents for dinner at a pizza / Italian restaurant for dinner in Sandusky a few minutes from Cedar Point. Wow. Before or after dinner I'd like to drive around the run course. I meant to do that the last time I was up there, but forgot - oops. Hopefully I'll get to bed by 10 pm and be able to sleep!

Sunday morning I start at 8:40 am.
1.2 Mile Swim Goal - 45 minutes
So hopefully I get through transition and on my bike by 9:35 am.
56 Mile Bike Goal - 3 1/2 hours
I'd like to get through T2 and be running by 1:10 pm.
13.1 Mile Run Goal - 2 1/2 hours
I'd love to then finish by 3:39 pm.
TOTAL RACE FINISH TIME GOAL - 6 hours and 59 minutes

The weater looks good for Sunday in Sandusky, OH: AM clouds, PM sun, only 10% chance of rain, low of 62, high of 73. Once again - I wish I knew about the waves! Lake Erie water temp is around 70 degrees, which is fine, let's just hope for little or no waves! :-)

Oh my!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Just 9 more days until the Rev3 HALF IRON

NINE days until my first half iron. I've already checked twice today. First thing this morning, it sounded perfect: 74 degrees, partly cloudy, and only a 10% chance of rain. Well, it's already changed to a 40% chance of scattered showers. I'm sure the forecast will continue to change every time I check it this week. :-) The BIG question remains: will Lake Erie be as smooth as glass, or filled with waves???

During these last few days of training / taper I have only 2 swims, 2 bikes, and 2 runs left. WOW.

Yesterday I had something new happen - a blister while cycling. ?!? I only rode 30 miles. I left my house and rode down into the CVNP and back up and home. I laced up my shoes and headed out to run. Just 25 yds down the road I pulled my shoe off to shake it out because it felt like there was something in it. I continued to do my 1.6 mile run feeling like a small rock was in still in my shoe. Once I was done and pulled my sock off, I found the big blister (but no rock) - where my big toe joins my foot. It's the SAME place I got a blister during the Perfect 10 Miler when my socks were all wet. I have NO IDEA what caused it during my bike ride. ?? Weird.

Swimming today felt weird with the blister. Yuck.

Weekly Workouts - Aug 28 - Sept 3 (Oh - it's Sept 3 today - had my first ever date with my husband 17 years ago on this day! :-) I had just started my freshman year of college.) :-)

Sat - Bike 26.66 miles and Run 2.2 miles
Sun - Run 6.3 miles (while cheering on everyone running the Buckeye 1/2 marathon)
Mon - off
Tue - Bike 20.09 miles
Wed - Swim 2000 yds
Thur - Bike 30.43 miles and Run 1.67 miles
Fri - Swim 1500 yds