Monday, December 31, 2012

Savage Seven Marathon - Day 5

Winter Springs, FL December 30, 2012

The Savage Seven Marathon series is one held the day after Christmas to New Years day. I guess the location moves around, last year it was in Northern Florida on a track. This year the race was held in a town just to the east of Orlando. I had been thinking of trying to make it over for one or two races, but didn't think I could make it work. So the week leading up to the race I didn't taper at all. 5 miles on Monday, 8 miles on Wednesday, a track workout (3 miles) on Thursday. Thursday afternoon, I discovered that I could make it over for the Day 5 marathon. There was race day registration available and Brenda said I could stay in her hotel the night before. I figured I would just go out and run it like a long run. The weather forecast looked good (nice and cool) and I would be able to see Brenda and Patti on their quest to become Marathon Maniacs. I worked a short shift Saturday, before making the 2.5 hour drive over. So glad I don't live in the Disney area just west of Orlando. Major traffic for a few miles through there, but I finally made it to the hotel around 5 pm. Brenda and I had a good dinner, got our gear set out and ready for the race and then got a good nights sleep.

Me and Patti.
We got up at 4:30 the next morning. I got dressed, capri skirt, compression sleeves, socks, shoes, Maniac Diva shirt, Maniac arm sleeves, pullover half-zip and visor. I hoped to at least take the pullover off at some point in the morning. The temp said low 40s, but the feels like temp was 32! The race start was at 6am. I needed to find a place to get coffee before getting to the race and registering. I somehow got my self turned around with the directions I wrote out (I should not try to find places at 5am with no coffee in me first!) I finally stopped at a 7-Eleven to get coffee and also pick up a power bar. I had left my pre race Marathon Bar at the hotel! I ate that on the way while trying to find the race. I started getting worried as the clock went past 5:30. I ALWAYS get to a race early. I wasn't even signed up yet! Finally I pulled in around 5:40. There were just a few people there at this point. I found Bettie, the race director, right away. I got signed up, got my bib and shirt and then went to my car to get my stuff set up. I had brought a TV try table to set up my water bottle, gu and wash cloth on. I figured I could stop by it as I ran by, when needed. I hit the porta pottie and then headed over to the small group that had gathered. Bettie had told me there were around 24 runners. So, a very small group of runners this very cold, winter morning. Race course: 50 loops around the parking lot at Winter Springs High School. Since I just ran a 58 loop marathon a couple of weeks ago, I knew I could mentally do this one. Thank goodness I had my music today as there was no DJ! (I wore only one ear bud so that I could hear and talk with other runners.)

I started off in the middle of the pack, but very quickly moved up front. I knew the main reason I was out front was because most of these runners had already run 4 or 5 marathons in the previous days. But I didn't care, it was a cool feeling to be out front. I was feeling good, the effort didn't feel "fast" so I went with it. By the time I had run past the start line and was about half way through my second lap, I could see I had gained half a lap. The lap counters and others at the aid station kept giving me surprised looks each time I ran by them. I guess I was going a lot faster than most of the runners had been running in the previous days. :) At mile 3, I turned on my watch that was set up with 3/1 intervals. I was feeling so good though, I figured I would walk every other time it beeped. So I was really doing a 7/1 interval of run/walk. Around mile 4.5, I stopped at the aid station for the first time, grabbed a gu and a cup of water and walked a bit while I ate and drank. Then I was on the run again. Miles 1 thru 5 - 9:32, 9:21, 9:18, 9:41, 10:12

Me and Brenda
Some time between mile 8 and 9, I realized I hadn't been drinking as much as I normally do. Usually, I drink a little every 2 miles and I also have an endurolyte every 2 miles. But today, It was so cool and it didn't seem like I was sweating as much, so I didn't even think about it. Around mile 9, I had 1 endurolyte and and another Gu with water. I was still feeling really good. I ran with Jeff once or twice during these early miles. He was on marathon #5. His lower shin was bothering him and he was hoping he would be OK for the days race. He also told me I was still in the lead. What! Even though it's such a small race, if felt pretty cool to be in the lead. :) Miles 6 thru 10 - 9:24. 9:08, 10:02, 9:47, 10:09

I made it to the half way point still feeling good. I still had on my pullover though. Every time I thought of pulling it off, I would hit the very windy stretch and decide it was still to cold to take it off. It did feel a little better out once the sun came out. Around mile 12, I had a banana and during mile 14, I had to make a pit stop at the porta potty, which cost me almost 2 minutes. :( Miles 11 thru 17 - 9:58, 9:56, 9:54, 11:42, 10:31, 10:12, 10:12

Cowboy Jeff kept me company for a couple of laps.
Based on my splits, I started slowing down at mile 18, even though I didn't notice it much when I was running. I hit mile 20 at 3 hours and 20 minutes, which was an awesome overall pace for me. If I could just hold it, I would have a huge PR! But of course, that was not to be. My body really started to stiffen up. I took a couple more endurolytes with my next Gu, but the damage was done. I am guessing I didn't get enough electrolytes and water in me during the earlier miles. I thought I wasn't sweating much, but as I discovered later, my shirt under the pullover was very sweaty! Jeff came by and ran with me for a little over a lap. he pointed out Rich and told me he was about to lap me and take the lead! There was nothing I could do about it. I could not speed up! Cowboy Jeff came out and ran a couple of laps with me. I really appreciate these guys running with me for brief periods of time. It really helped to keep me going when I felt like slowing down and walking more. By the time Rich finished, and won!, I still had one lap to go. These two high school boys, who were volunteers, ran the last lap with me. I turned off my interval watch and just ran it in as hard as I could to finish strong. Somehow, I must have weaved a quit a bit, with my stop at the bathroom, to toss things next to my car and grab things off the tray and the aid station, because I added almost an extra mile! Sucks! Of course, Garmin could be off a little
Miles 18 to 26 - 11:01, 11:04, 10:57, 11:13, 11:11, 11:19, 12:24, 13:11, 12:23 Mile 27 - 10:56

Jeff, Me and Rich.
Finish: 4:44. I ended up with 2nd overall and first female! That was the first and probably the last time that will ever happen! :) Super happy with it though. I just hope to figure out what is going on with my legs later on in the marathon. This didn't happen a couple of weeks ago. The only thing I can figure is that I didn't hydrate properly.

I think it would have been fun to run more than one day. Maybe in a couple of years when the race series comes back to Florida. Jeff is taking the 2013-14 Savage Seven to Jackson, MS. I was told it would be back in Florida for 2014-15. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12.12.12. Marathon of Sarasota

Gateway Whitaker Park, December 12, 2012

Even though this was a local race and would only take me 15 minutes to get there, the morning started off at 3:30 am. But that was my mistake. I managed to hit the wrong button on my clock, making it an hour later. Oh, well, I was able to play around on the computer, have a cup of coffee and make sure I had everything packed up that I wanted to bring. I got to the park early, backed into a parking spot that was right on the course, and waited for everyone to arrive. When Dawn and Gina got there, we hung out for a bit before I went back to the car to set up everything in the trunk. I had an extra shirt, a cooler with ice, towel, gatorade and water, some fuel and my music (in case I needed it at some point). It was great having this set up. I stopped at my car quite a few times during the race. We all gathered near the gazebo and waited for the big group photo. The race was set to start at 7:12 am, but things got delayed. We got our group shot and then headed to the start line. Not sure what time we actually got started. Some where between 7:30 and 8 am, I guess. The temp was warm, but not to bad yet. Soon, we were off!

With Kimmi
It's hard to remember all that happen at certain mile points when you are running in .44 mile circles. Really, I can break the race down into 3 parts. The first half went great. Gina, Dawn and I were running together. This was our last long training run for Disney marathon next month, so we didn't want to push it. Though I did want to get in under 5 hours. Which should have been doable. We had a lot of fun posing for photos every time we ran by the race photographer. We stopped once to jump in the air and stopped to have a photo with Santa, who showed up to cheer us on. I had my first and only Gu at mile 4. By mile 6 I was feeling very hot and sweaty and ready to change into my dry top. But I only had one extra, so I figured I would wait until the half way point. I was also thinking of the Frappachino that Kimmi said she would bring me. I thought it might happen around the half way point. Around mile 10, I ate half a banana. I had been drinking water and gatorade every couple of miles and also taking my endurolytes every 2 miles, but my fueling was starting to fall off. Splits 1 through 6 - 10:07, 10:00, 9:59, 10:36, 10:29, 11:11
7 through 13 - 10:24, 10:39, 10:50, 11:22, 10:57, 11:14, 11:59

Dave and I got our Frapps!
Just after mile 13, I stopped at my car for a fresh tank top and a dry wash cloth for my face. The sun had come out and it was getting wicked hot. Kimmi brought my Frappachino sometime during mile 13. I was so happy to see her! The first few tastes were awesome, but when I tried to drink too much, it didn't sit well in my stomach. I stopped with her for a little and waited to see if Dave was anywhere close. She had brought a drink for him as well. I think we managed to both be with Kimmi on my third time around. We got a photo together with our drinks, before continuing on. I ended up setting my drink inside my cooler. I got a few more drinks from it during the rest of the race. My fueling plan fell way off. I had that drink, some gatorade and water at various stops, and another few bites of a banana, and that was it! I know I should have had more, but I just couldn't think of eating anything else. I was no longer running with Gina and Dawn. I would just see them every once in a while. I did get a chance to talk with other people though and that was nice. Splits 14 through 19 - 13:05, 10:39, 11:39, 11:54, 11:59, 12:46

I guess I really hit the wall just before mile 20. I started walking a lot more. I probably would have done better if I had set up my own interval timer. Hearing the beeps really motivates me to get moving again. But I had just been taking short walk breaks by the water table. The walking breaks got longer and longer. It was hard to start running again when it was so hot. I do not handle the heat very well. Finally I was on my last lap. Happy day! I ran it in and finished with a smile. Splits 20 through 26.2 - 13:03, 14:00, 15:56, 13:07, 13:56: 13:44, 13:41. They last bit was .9 on my garmin and not .2, so the time was almost 10 minutes. :(

Finish: 5:19. I'm good with it. I just hope we have better weather in a month for the Disney Marathon!

Still having fun with Dawn and Gina!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Halfathon

December 9, 2012
Madiera Beach, FL

Super foggy morning in FL race morning. I drove over to the Super Target to meet up with Gina and Ken. Ken was going to drive us to the race, which I was thankful for. It was scary driving in that thick fog. We got to the race start area pretty early. We hung out in the car for a bit, then went to use the bathrooms in the building were packet pickup was being held. We ran into Brenda on the way over, took a photo next to a shark statue outside the Firestation and then headed in. Ken picked up his shirt and bib, we got our chips and then headed back to the car for a bit. Ken decided to start early, with the walkers, because his foot was really bothering him, so we headed to the start area just before 7. I got in line to use the porta potty one more time, then we had a bit of a wait before the race start. It was warm. High 60s and super humid. Just before the race started, my stomach got queasy and my mouth started watering. Not a good sign. I quickly adjusted my time goals. This was not going to be a sub 2 hour half day. Soon, the national anthem was sung and we were off!

Just before the finish. Yeah! :)
Gina and I started pretty close to the start. We got caught up with the fast runners. I kept looking at my Garmin and seeing times in the 7 min mile range! When we got to the main beach road, I eased up the pace a bit. Gina kept on going. By mile 2, I could hardly see her up ahead of me. I was OK with this. If she was having a good day, I really wanted her to get that PR if she could. My stomach was doing ok for the first few miles, so I decided to push the pace for as long as I could. The first small bridge was at mile 4. Got over that just fine. :) Splits 1 through 4 - 8:19, 8:40: 8:56, 9:13

After we get off the island. We run east, through a very nice neighborhood. We have all of the left lane to ourselves, which is nice. My plan was to take an endurolyte every 2 miles and a gel at around mile 6 and 10. So, just after mile 6, I slowed to a walk to have the gel and drink some water (slower time). Soon, we were running the loop around a park and then making our way onto the Pinellas Trail. I stopped at the water stop for a quick refill of one of my water bottles, before continuing on. I was hoping to wait for another walking break until mile 10, but I couldn't wait. Walked a little at mile 8. I forget where the first overpass bridge was, but I did manage to power up that sucker. Splits 5 through 10 - 9:10, 9:32, 10:19, 9:33, 9:59, 9:57

The second overpass was around mile 10, I got half way up that sucker, before walking. I was just happy to be over it, because I knew it was the last one! I feel like I forgot how boring it can be to run on this trail. It seemed to go on forever! I might have to skip this race next year, but maybe that was just the heat talking to me. Just before mile 12, we turn off the trail and enter the park were the finish is located. We enter to the right of the finish area. You can hear all the people cheering, but we turn to the right, away from the finish. There is a big loop around the lake to run first. Part of that run is on a dirt trail. This didn't bother me much. Just happy there wasn't a lot of gravel! I did have to take 2 walking breaks during this last mile. If I had been "racing" this, I would have pushed through, but I knew I would get a sub 2:10, which was my second goal, so I figured, why not save something for the end. :) I was really happy to take the last corner and push it in. I even passed a guy just before the finish! Splits 11 through 13.1 - 10:30, 10:21, 11:00, 1:21

Finish 2:07:34. Happy with my finish time. Actually, considering the heat and how I was feeling, I'm very happy with it. :)  Gina almost got her sub 2! She finished in 2:00:27! Next up, the 12-12-12 Marathon of Sarasota in just a few days!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

PAL Half Marathon

Me, Jeff, Greg, Donna, Bret and Ken after the race.

Sarasota, FL
November 25, 2012

Since this was a local race, I didn't have to leave my house until just before 6 am, for the 7 am start. I probably could have left later, but I like to sit in my car, drink a little coffee and get all of my gear sorted. The great thing about where this race is held is that there is plenty of parking. The race starts next to a mall! At around 6:30, I headed to the porta potty line were I was able to talk with Jeff, then Jake and then Greg. I then left my bag and sweatshirt with Melissa, at the Fit2Run tent, before heading over to the start. Another great thing about local races, you get to see so many friends! I said a few quick "hellos" to people, before going to stand with the 2:00 pacer. He said he was going to stick to that time, so if I wanted to finish ahead of him, I'd have to leave him behind at one point. After the national anthem was sung, we were off!

Liz, me and Lynette
This race is run through various neighborhoods, on a few main roads and a little on the legacy trail. The first neighborhood is normally gated, so we got to run through and check out all the pretty, big houses. Within half a mile, I had left the pacer behind. I figured he wouldn't be to far behind me, but I had my Garmin, so I could see that I was keeping a 9 min pace, which is what I needed to get my sub 2 hour run. After leaving that neighborhood, we ended up on Palmer Ranch Rd, took a right on McIntosh and then had to run in the narrow bike lane for a bit. The next mile or so was in the bike lane. Thankfully the runners had spread out quite a bit, so I only had one instance of feeling like I was being squished out of the way. Not much interesting to report for the next few miles. The neighborhoods started to all look alike. I was just trying to keep to the tangents. As each mile showed up on my garmin, the sign on the road for the mile markers got further behind. Miles 1 through 89:04, 9:00, 8:56, 9:03, 8:52, 8:59, 9:07, 9:00

Me and Fernanda after the race.
Miles 9 and 10 had the most head wind, which really wasn't much, but I could see my overall 9 min mile pace going away. During mile 11, I looked and saw a 9:03 ave pace, which was slower than I wanted, so I dug in and picked up the pace a bit. I did manage to pass quite a few people in the last miles, which was a little boost. :) As soon as we came out of the last neighborhood, I could see we were back on the road we started on and I knew the finish was close.The last stretch was great. There wasn't much of a crowd on the course, but lots of people cheering at the finish, including Melissa. I gave her a smile and ran the last bit in to finish just under 2 hours! Miles 9 through 13.22 - 9:12, 9:11, 9:03, 8:58, 8:55, 1:48.  

Finish: 1:59:14
Age group (40-44) 12/38; Overall: 165/370

If the course hadn't been a little long, I would have had about a minute off my finish time! Pretty happy, though, considering I ran the Miami half last weekend and a 10K a few days ago! :)

Bling and shirt from the race.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ALSO Turkey Trot

November 22, 2012

What a great way to start off Thanksgiving day. Race morning was a lot cooler today than just a few days ago in Miami. 52 degrees and very windy! Race started at the Hyatt, next to the water. We ran a loop around GWIZ and then headed toward the Ringling Bridge. Up and over the bridge, over the flat bridge and then we took the first right, before St Armand's Circle. Turned around at the end of the street and then headed back. The worst of the wind was on the way back. I almost took off my arm warmers (a last minute item I tossed in the car) on the way out, but I knew I would need them once I got near the bridge. And I was right. Once we hit the base of the bridge, not only did we have the head wind to deal with, but we joined all of the 5K runners who had started a half hour after us. Lots of weaving around people. My pace started out faster, but the wind and bridge really slowed me down. Not sure I should run the PAL half on sunday. I've been thinking about it, but maybe I should just run my scheduled 20-22 miles. :)

Finish time: 54:29, 6th (out of 20) in age group
Splits - 8:19, 8:41, 8:30, 8:43, 9:16, 8:46, 2:10

Latin Music Miami Beach Half Marathon

November 18, 2012

Girls weekend in Miami Beach! :) Me, Dawn, Gina and Amy headed down to Miami Saturday morning. We made good time, arriving in the early afternoon. Thankfully we got to check in early, so we dropped off our bags at the hotel and then walk the mile to the expo on the beach, which was also the location of the start and finish line. The expo was pretty small for a Rock N Roll event, so we were finished with that pretty fast. We walked along Ocean drive for a bit and then headed back to the hotel to relax near the rooftop pool. After a little bit of relaxing, we walked over to Lincoln Rd, which was just two blocks from our hotel. It sure has changed a lot since the last time I was there. But since, it's been over 15 years, I kind of expected there to be more going on! :) We met up with Ken, Bret and a friend of their's for dinner at Tiramesu Restaurant. They had a yummy Pesto gluten free pasta with zucchini. After a fun dinner, we walked down Lincoln Rd for a bit, checking out the fancy stores, before heading back to the hotel for an early night.

We started race morning early, 5:30 am wake up call. We were out the door by 6am, heading toward the race start, we encountered lots of people still out having fun from the night before! We arrived, took a few pre-race photos, checked in our bags, made one more pit stop and then headed to the corral. Amy was in corral 3, so we wished her luck and headed to #4, were we met up with Bret and Ken. We only had a few minutes wait before the national anthem was sung and the first corral was off. It was a small race, so only a minute between each corral being let go. Soon we were off and running!

We ran along ocean drive for a couple of blocks before turning left. We then turned right, on to Washington. We passed by out hotel and then Lincoln Rd. Our pace was brisk. I was already thinking I couldn't keep it up for long. Just after mile 2, I asked Gina when we would start intervals, because there was no way I could keep this up much longer! I was already dripping in sweat. She started her interval watch, so we had 5 minutes before our 1 min walk break. Just after mile 3, I noticed Amy up ahead at the water stop. Normally she is much faster than us, so I knew she must be having a rough time in the heat two. We had a long, banked, slight up hill to take us towards the first bridge. I hugged that as tight as I could. I didn't want to have issues with my IT Band This first bridge wasn't too bad, but we did feel a bit of a head wind. Miles 1 through 3 - 8:29, 8:31, 9:10.

We had a nice flat stretch for a while, but up ahead, we could see the big bridge looming. It looked very high! At the base of the big bridge, there was a band playing. They kept saying the same words over and over again. As were were passing them, I heard them say "your almost there!" Um, no. We are not even half way done yet! Geesh. I asked Gina how far we had until our next walk break. It wasn't going to happen for a while, so I put my head down and powered up the bridge. Of course our walk break came as we reached the top! I got a chance to get my breathing under control before we started running down hill, which was the best! For a little while now we were going back and forth passing Amy or being passed by her. By now, we had left her behind. She really wasn't doing well. The next few miles were in a not so great area of Miami. Lots of run down, industrial buildings. Nothing interesting here. At mile 8, we came up to the relay exchange. There were lots of people running the relay. So now we had a lot of people pass us because they had just started and had lots of energy! Miles 4 through 8 - 9:04, 9:35, 10:44, 9:22, 10:03

Just before mile nine, we made the turn towards the third bridge. This one wasn't too bad, but the sun was starting to pop out of the clouds a lot more now. Poor Gina had no hat or sunglasses. I don't know how she did it! The next few miles were a blur of running and walking and surviving the heat. I was happy to cross the last, little bridge back onto the island. We hit mile 12 at just before 2 hours. No sub two on this day. I just wanted to make a respectable time, which I knew we could. Thankfully the last mile went by pretty fast. We made the left turn onto the sand last stretch and hauled it into the finish line. Miles 9 through 13.16 (a little long) - 10:12, 9:35, 10:23, 10:29, 9:36, 1:21

Amazingly enough, Gina and I finished with the exact same time of 2:06:38

Overall, it was a fun trip and run in Miami. Looking forward to a colder race. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

TriRock Clearwater triathlon

November 11, 2012

A few months ago I became one of the local Ambassadors for the TriRock Clearwater race. I was very excited to help promote this new triathlon that featured bands on the course, a red carpet finish and bling for all finishers!

Race weekend started for me very early Saturday morning. Gina and I headed up to Clearwater to work at the Fit2Run tent at the expo. We got all our gear and bikes stored in the hotel room, before walking the two blocks to the expo/triathlon area. It was a perfect spot, right in front of the beach! A beautiful day out for an expo. We both had fun working and talking with the athletes who showed up to shop and pick up there packets. After working until 2pm, we headed to the beach for some relaxation and sun time. After the beach, we headed to this restaurant/bar near our hotel. The name: Cooters. :) We took a seat at the bar, with the intention of having just one drink. The bar tender, Patrick, heard it was my birthday (recently) and decided to give us a couple of Strawberry Shortcake drinks. They were pretty yummy! Melissa, Lauren, Katie and her parents, decided to come over, so we all got a table and had dinner. We had a yummy dinner before heading back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.

Dawn, me and Gina before the race.
Race morning started at 5:30. We got up, put on our number tattoos, grabbed our gear and bikes and then headed over to the transition area. It was a little cool out, but not to bad. We meet up with Dawn, Susan and Steve, who were doing the intermediate triathlon as a relay team. Dawn was very brave to be swimming the 1500 meters with no wetsuit! We had tested the water the day before and it was cold! I got all my gear set out in front of my bike (normally it's under the back tire open space), pulled on my wetsuit, grabbed my swim items and then headed to the beach.

The sand was so cold! We were kicked out of transition at 6:30. I had almost an hour to stand around in the cold before my wave started! There was a great rock band up on the pier playing music, which helped to get us all pumped up and ready to race. Dawn's wave was going out early, so we stood near the water to cheer her on as she ran into the water. Since I had some time, I decided to head back up to the bathroom for a quick pit stop before getting myself into the corral. I got back in time to see Gina head out. I finished getting myself ready. Pulling the wetsuit all the way up, putting my ear plugs in and putting the swim cap on. Soon enough my wave was heading into the water!

Pretty sure this is in T1. Getting my bike
off the rack and about to head out. :)
Swim, 500 meters: I ran in feeling good. The wetsuit was working. I didn't feel much of anything until I got all the way in to start swimming. Yikes! What a shock to the system that water was once my head was all the way in! I was side swimming with my head out of the water for a little bit before I had the courage to swim with a normal freestyle stroke. The water, that looked calm before all the swimmers got in, was very choppy and had a strong current. Once I made the first turn to the right, swimming parallel to the beach, I found the swim even harder. I just kept swimming along. Lots of people were off to the side, hanging on the volunteer surfboards, resting. Soon I was making another right turn at the green buoy and heading back to shore. Hooray! By this time, the wave of guys who had started behind me, had started to catch up. I had a bunch of them passing me. No worry. I was doing my own pace and race! Ran out of the water and up the soft sand beach to the transition. I pulled my wetsuit down halfway as I was running up the beach. Got to my bike, pulled the wetsuit off pretty quick, poured some water on my frozen feet, and then dried them a little before pulling on socks and shoes. I grabbed my sunglasses, race belt (didn't want to forget it again) and put on my helmet before heading off with my bike. I did spend a little too much time trying the change my garmin from swim to bike mode. Need to figure out the multisport mode! The run with the bike out of transition was long! Finally I was able to get on my bike and take off! Swim - 16.54. T1 - 5:18

Bike, 13.4 miles: The bike course is very similar to the run course of the Iron Girl half marathon. I knew to expect bridges! We got in a couple of flat miles before hitting the first of 3 tall bridges. I made decent time getting up that first bridge. I even managed to pass a couple of people. I had fun speeding down the other side. We had lots of right and left turns through the neighborhood after the bridge. Thankfully that was over pretty quick and we were able to build up some speed. It didn't seem like I was riding as fast as I normally do (though finish time says I was) but I didn't let that discourage me and just kept peddling as hard as I could. Soon we were at the second big bridge. This was my only frustating part of the race.  Just as I was starting up the bridge, this woman started to pass me. But she only got her front tire past mine before slowing to my speed. The rules say that she is now ahead of me and I must drop back or get a penalty. What! I didn't want to slow down going up hill! She finally got ahead of me enough that I could drop behind and pass her on her left. There were lots of other people coming up on my left too, which made it kind of crazy. This section was not closed to traffic, so we only had a bike lane to ride in. Thankfully I got clear of her, made it to the top and was able to speed down the other side. We were now back on the Island. A nice long stretch of road heading toward Clearwater beach, with a bit of headwind! Made it to the last, steep bridge, powered over and headed toward transition. Just before reaching it, I hear my name called. Gina is heading out on the run. Made it to my transition spot, quick work racking my bike and grabbing my run gear before heading out of there. Bike - 43:36. T2 - 50 seconds

Run: 3.1 miles: My legs felt surprising good as I started the run. I felt like my pace wasn't too hard (8:42 min mile), so I decided to try and hold it for a while. We had a short out and back in the lane next to the returning triathletes on their bikes. I was able to see Gina here. She was looking strong! We ran back by the transition area and finish line before running towards that first bridge we rode over on the bike. Thankfully the sprint distance runners were going to turn around before that bridge! The longer distance racers were going to be running over it! The run was still going great. It was sunny, but not hot. I never felt overheated. As I was running through the very narrow water stop, that was just before mile 2, I felt someone push me in the middle of my back, What!! The guy did say "sorry" after he passed me, but geesh, he needed to back off! There was another band here playing 80's songs. Love it! :) I saw Gina again before getting to the turn around. Heading back I saw Elaine and then Teresa. I was very happy as I turned the corner and started running down the red carpet. I gave the race announcer a high-five as I ran passed her and then raised my arms in the air as I crossed the finish line. Hooray, I finished my 6th sprint triathlon! :) Run - 27:18.

Me and Gina after the race!
Gina and I got to hang out in the VIP area (lots of nice food and hot coffee!) while we waited for our friends to finish. I soon found out that I had placed in my Athena age group. I got 2nd out of 10! :) We hung out for a while and then grabbed our gear and bikes, took them back to the car, before heading back to wait for awards. I got a great big beer mug for my award.

I've been having fun doing triathlons this year, but I'm happy to take a break and focus on running. Lots of races on my schedule. :)

Bling, shirt and age group award mug!

Me with Kristen,
my ambassador boss. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Halfathon

Ft Desoto Park. October 28, 2012

The Halloween Halfathon is the first race in a series of four. This is the first time that I've been able to sign up for all 4 races. When you complete all 4, you get an extra special bling and t-shirt. :)

Brenda, Amy, Leah and me before the race.
I arrived about an hour before the 7:05 am start time, getting a good spot not to far from the start/finish line. The plan was to meet up with fellow CAPS members Brenda, Leah and Amy, so I gave Brenda a call. She said she was headed to packet pickup and porta potties. Leah texted, saying she was here with her run group. We all took care of business and managed to find each other in the dark. I needed one more pit stop before we started, and so did Brenda, so we had to take our group shot while in line for the porta potties. We wished each other luck and then split up. I tried to get a little closer to the start, but not too close. One of the race participants sang the National Anthem, then a few words from the race director, and then we were off!

My plan was to make this a training/pacing run. I wanted to get a sense of how 5/1 intervals would feel during a race pace of 9:05 min miles. We would need that pace next month to get a sub 2 hour finish time in Miami. I ran the first mile before starting the intervals. It was still kind of dark for the first mile or so. The first 5K is a big loop that takes you back by the starting line. We headed south and then turned back just before mile 1. Very strong wind hit us (from the north). Yikes, the last couple of miles of the race were going to be tough! Just after mile 1, we turn right into a side area, that we run an out and back on. It's fun to see the lead runners and catch glimpses of people behind us. I have to take special care here when I stop to walk, since the road is narrow and the race is still congested at this point. Coming out of the small loop, we turn north again, run around the end of the road loop, turn into the parking lot, and head back past the starting line. I missed most of my interval here since it hit right before we passed the start area. I didn't want to walk with all the people there cheering!
Miles 1 through 3: 8:38, 9:12, 9:03

For the next couple of miles, we had the wind at our back. Wonderful! It was hard to take the walking breaks, because I was feeling so good. I did have some nice eye candy. This guy was running in front of me for a bit. No shirt, nice muscles. :) I would pass him and then he would pass me during run breaks. Left him behind after a while. Running at a faster pace to get back up to my goal pace seemed to be harder then just running an even pace without walk breaks. Hopefully it will work out OK in Miami. Once the road curved to the left, we got the cross wind. Most of the time it wasn't too bad. But there would be times when it would catch you and swill around, making it challenging. I think it was around mile 6 that the lead runner passed me on his way back. He had a large lead. I kept waiting for more runners to come by, but it was a while before that happened.
Miles 4 through 7 - 8:59, 9:24, 8:52, 9:27

I managed to keep up the average goal pace until just before mile 8. We got to the end of the road, where there is a wide open view of the Skyway Bridge, before rounding the circle and heading back. I was still leap frogging the same few people. This one woman had commented early that she was trying to pace off of me, but when I saw her just after mile 9, I told her it would probably be the last time she saw me. I was slowing down. My goal had been to get to mile 9/10 at the set pace, before easing up, so I wasn't to upset with slowing down. I knew the last few miles would be tough, since we were going to be heading into the wind.
Mile 8 through 10 - 9:15, 9:38, 9:28

Just after we hit mile 10.5, the road started curving back to the right and into the northern wind. By 10.8 (I looked at my Garmin!) we were in the full force of the wind. Oye! I plugged along, enjoying my walk breaks when they came and pushing through the run portion when it was time to run again. I tried tucking in behind other runners when I had the chance, but that didn't do anything! I just kept telling myself, it would be over in a couple of miles. Eventually we got to the end of the road again, ran around the big half circle, took the turn into the parking lot and headed toward the finish. All along, the mile markers had been showing up after I would have them on my Garmin. So, when I ran by mile 13, my Garmin was showing 13.1 at 2:03. This would have been my second best half marathon time! Boo. I made the turn in the parking lot, straight shot toward the finish line. An annoying guy, that I didn't even realize was behind me, shot passed me to finish right before me! Oh, well. I heard the announcer call out my name, so I raised my arms up in the air and finished with a smile on my face.
Miles 11 though 13.26 - 10:02, 10:13, 9:49, 2:11
Finish: 2:04:16

My next half is November 18th. I plan to get in a few speed workouts at the track. Hopefully that will help me keep up the faster pace needed to run those faster intervals during the race! I had a great time meeting up with Brenda, Amy and Leah today.

CAPS group photo! Laura, Jenni, Melissa, Crystal, Brenda, Amy, Leah, me,
Kris, Stephanie, Ness, Sally and Jackie.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shark's Siesta Key Triathlon

October 7, 2012

About a week and a half before this race, I was asked if I would like to do this race, for free. I couldn't pass up a free entry, so I said yes. I haven't really been training for a triathlon, even though I have the TriRock Clearwater race next month. I've been swimming, biking and running, but hadn't done any brick workouts in a while. So last Sunday, I met Gina and Dawn at the beach for a trial race. We swam half a mile in the gulf, rode 9 miles on the bike and then ran 2 miles. The workout went well, so I figured I was ready to do the race the following Sunday.

Race morning started early. I was on my way to the beach a little after 5 am, after a stop at Starbucks for a strong coffee. :) I got to the beach early enough to get a spot super close to the transition area. I decided to go get my number marked and timing chip before pulling my bike off of my car. I brought my envelope with my number on it and showed it to one of the girls doing the race marking. (Lots of volunteers from the Shark's swim team). I said #20, but for some reason she heard #22, so that's what I ended up with on my arm! She managed to turn the 2 into a 0, but it looked kind of wonky. Sigh. Then on my way to get my chip, I almost slipped and fell in the muddy grass area near the pickup spot. Thankfully there were not many people there yet to see my comical maneuverings that I did to catch myself from falling! After getting my chip, I headed back to the car, got my gear and bike and went to get a good spot in transition. I was the first one to rack my bike in our small area, so I got the spot right on the end! I went back to my car to hang out for a while before going to set up a table near the Sarasota Storm tent. I would be handing out flyers for the TriRock event after this race. I hung out with Melissa before the start. She held on to my key for me so I could get in my car right after the race if I want and not have to wait until they opened transition. Soon enough it was time to get into the start area. I was in the second wave and with only 3 minutes between waves, we were soon on our way!

I finished the half mile swim!
Swim: I started out in the back of the group, so that I wouldn't be in anyone's way. I realized right after we started running to the water that even though I had turned on my Garmin, I had forgot to switch it it swim mode. So I was trying to do that as I ran into the water. It was pretty shallow for a good distance, so I managed to fix the Garmin before getting all the way in for the swim. There were not to many women around me, since I started in the back, so I didn't have a lot of arms and legs near my face, which was good. I tried to get into a good swimming rythym and just calm my breathing down. We made it out to the first buoy and then turned left. There were a lot of bouys to swim past before we got to turn left and head back in! Just as we turned at the first bouy, I heard the horn letting the next wave go off. Those guys were going to catch up fast! The water was a little choppy from all the swimmers out there, but I managed to keep calm and swim on. :) I even managed to catch the attention of one swimmer before she swam into another swimmer (she was on her back) and then yelled out at another woman who was about to backstroke out into the gulf (she was going 90 degrees in the wrong direction.) The half mile didn't seem to difficult, I just had to look up every once in a while to make sure I was swimming in the right direction and that I wasn't going to run into anyone. Once I could touch the bottom, I started running through the water. The run across the beach to transition wasn't to hard. The sand was packed down pretty good, so there was only a small sections with loose, dry sand. Swim - 22:49. Transition - 1:53

About 1 mile left of the bike ride. Still feeling good.
Bike: I felt pretty good the first 4 miles of the bike ride. I was passing people and keeping a good, fast pace. We got to the turn around and all of a sudden, the ride felt much harder. I felt like I was riding right into the wind. I kept checking my tires because it was so tough, I thought I might be riding on a flat. :) So happy that I did NOT have a flat. Pretty good speed (18.4 mph) for me. There were only a couple of times that I got stuck behind someone for a brief period of time before I could pass them. It's frustrating to have to slow and and wait for the person on my side to get ahead before I can pass. I'm not a fan of the rules of riding. I had one guy pass me, but not a a very fast pace. According to the rules, I had to slow down once he passed me so that there would be 3 bike lengths between us! Bike - 42:21. Transition 2 - 0:58.

Just passed that guy in the red.
Finished strong!
Run: Transition went smoothly, though it felt like I was forgetting something. I ran over the timing mat and onto the beach before noticing I had forgot to attach my race belt with the bib! There was a volunteer to the side, so I asked him if I should go back and get it, he told me to just keep going. Yikes! I was worried I would get a penalty, but thankfully that didn't happen. The run went pretty well. Sky was overcast until the last mile, and then the sun was behind me, so It didn't feel to bad. The sand was still hard packed and flat, the best for running on. The right side of my upper chest was tight and hurting through half of the run, so I slowed the pace a bit and didn't push it. I was pretty sure I wasn't having a heart issue (since it was on the wrong side of my chest) but still, I was worried. I sleep on my right side and the area has been tight for a few days, I think that's all it was. :) I finished the race with a strong push to the finish line, passing a guy who had been just ahead of me for the last quarter of a mile! Run - 29:00.
Total time - 1:36:57

After drinking a bottle of water and cooling down a little bit with Melissa, I got changed into dry clothes and then hung out at my TriRock table. It was fun talking to people about the race and handing out little freebies like socks and race belts. I did wander over to check out the race results. I came in first (out of 5) in my Athena age group! That was pretty cool! My time isn't fast compared to the times in the regular age group, but that's why I go in the Athena group. These are my peeps! :) I got a very nice Tervis Tumbler and a medal.

After looking at my results from the triathlon I did here in May, I've improved a lot! The bike and run were the same and the swim this day was a quarter of a mile longer than the tri in May, yet it only took me 1.5 minutes longer for this one than the one in May! Awesome improvement. :) Looking forward to my last triathlon of the year next month at the TriRock Clearwater race! I may even be able to use my new wetsuit! :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Water to Wine Half Marathon
Healdsburg, CA
August 12, 2012

The finishers medal.
Back in April, I decided to take a vacation to CA to visit with my mom. So of course I looked for a race that I could run while out here. I found this half marathon, about 3 hours from my mom's house. It looked to be a nice course with average low temps in the mid 50s. I figured the low temps would make up for the rolling hills I would encounter. It seemed like it would be a good course to try and PR on and I wanted to make my 40th half marathon a memorable one. :)

The ride up north was no fun. I made the mistake of driving up the 101 freeway. It drops you off in the middle of San Francisco. I figured I could stop on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge for some photos before continuing on. I missed my turn in the city. This mistake added on about 30 minutes. Once I managed to get back onto the main road that would lead me up and over the Bridge, I hit massive amounts of traffic. The bridge was covered in Fog, so I didn't even bother making a photo stop. The rest of the trip involved lots of stop and go traffic. In total, it took me 4.5 hours to make the trip, which should have been just over 3 hours. I got to the little expo at the Winery by 4:45, 15 minutes before it was over. I then headed over to my hotel, made a quick trip to the grocery store, found the Starbucks next store and then headed back for a quiet night.

Feeling pretty good! :)
I was up super early the next day and at the Starbucks when they opened at 5am. I got my coffee and then made the half hour drive to the race start. I was one of the first few cars there and I was able to get a spot right near the start line. They had lots of porta potties and a real bathroom, which was nice. I found a couple of half fanatics before the race started, so ran over to get a photo, then I put my phone back in the car and stood in the start area, waiting to go.

We got going right at 7 am. I could tell right way that this was a fast group. I was carried along with them, but the pace felt fine, so I thought I would try it out for a while. The road we were on for the first few miles was very slanted and hilly in parts. I tried to stay on the flattest sections, even if it might add time on to the total. I didn't want any issues with my ITB. We passed by a few different wineries, one had a beautiful, large building. I thought it would make a great photo with my medal. So I thought I would go back after the race. Just before mile 3 we hit the first water stop. I had brought one 10 ounce bottle with me, but decided to walk through this first stop and take a drink.
Miles 1 through 3 - 8:25/8:22/8:45

We were now off the main road and now running on a smaller, two lane road that we would be on for most of the rest of the race. I've got to say that even though it was beautiful countryside, it got kind of boring. I focused on my PR goal and powering up the hills. Every time I would look up from the road in front of me (the road was not in the best condition) I would look around to see yet another row of grape bushes or another small hill approaching or another curve in the road. It was still pretty cold out, the fog stayed with us for the entire race, so I pushed ahead, trying to get to the end faster so that I could get warm. I felt fine with my pace, which ended up staying pretty consistent. :)
Miles 4 through 10 - 8:44/8:40/8:41/8:43/8:42/8:47/9:06

Focused on the finish!
By mile 10, I knew I would get my PR. I had 32 minutes to finish the last 3.1 miles. Unless I totally fell apart, I would get my sub 2 hour half. It's something I've been wanting to do for a few years now. I put the possible fear of falling apart out of my mind, even though I could feel my pace slowing a little. The hills were getting harder to power up. Even the flat sections seemed to have a slight rise to them. I forced my self to not look at my garmin so much to see how much further I had. I thought about the book I had recently finished. It's called "Wild" and is about this woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. Her story was so inspiring. Thinking of all the crazy things she encountered on her journey, helped to keep my mind off of my discomfort. Thankfully, just before mile 13, we turned on to a main road, which I knew would lead us to the finish. There were lots of people around now, cheering us on. My right calf was starting to tighten up, so I focused on keeping my form and getting to the finish. We turned to the right and then another sharp right onto the winery property. The finish was in sight! I kicked it in strong to the finish. I was so happy to see my sub 2 hour finish time!
Miles 11 through 13.26 - 9:01/9:11/9:05/2:07
Finish: 1:56:25

I brought some wine back with me. Couldn't drink
the sample I got, so I poured it into my water bottle
and brought it home. :)
I got my awesome finishers medal and headed over to get something to drink. I found the tent with our wine glasses, got that and then headed over to the local running store tent. They had foam rollers and the stick out for people to use. I got down on the grass and rolled out my calves as best I could. It hurt, but also felt good. :) I then went to check out the food tent. They had rice, black beans and bread. Um, not what I wanted at 9am! I had a Marathon Bar in my bag back in the car, so I just decided to head over to the buses and get back to my car. Our bus driver was speedy, getting us back to the start area in good time.

Overall, I would recommend this race. It was well run, the weather was perfect and the t-shirt, medal and wine glass goodies were great.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Top Gun Triathlon
July 28, 2012
Me and Gina before the race.
Top Gun Triathlon is the largest triathlon for me to date. There is only one distance (the sprint) for all athletes. They capped the entrants at 1200. The race sold out a few weeks ago.  Since we knew it was going to be crowded, Gina and I had an early start race morning. We got going at 4:30 am and arrived at Ft Desoto Park at 5:30, just as transition was opening. We walked over, got our body marking done, hit the porta potties and then went back to the car for our bikes. Since it was still so early, we had lots of time to kill. We got our bikes racked and our gear set up. Made another trip to the car and then waited in line for the porta potties again. By the time we were done with that, we had just a few minutes before the closing of the transition area. We headed down to the beach. It was a hot morning. Low 80s when I left the house. I was sweating just standing on the beach waiting for the start. I had a hard time getting my new Garmin to set to the multisport function. I asked Lauren’s dad for help, but he couldn’t figure it out either. So, I set it to bike mode and figured I would wait to turn it on then. Lauren and I were in the 4th wave, which included the Athena and 20-29 age group. There were about 140 women in that group! Lauren was nervous, it was her first triathlon, but I kept telling her she would do great.
Swim, 440 yards: We got started about 7:15 (a little late). The water was pretty shallow for a long ways, so I ran it in for a bit. I had started at the back, but managed to get in the thick of it while running. This was just a waste of time, since I couldn’t swim with so many people around me! It was crazy packed! Every time I put my head in the water, I saw a foot coming towards my face. I slowed down and let people get around me. By the time we got to the first buoy and turned to the left (to swim parallel to the beach) I had moved over to the left. I finally got in a good swimming rhythm. I was swimming along and then looked up to see where I was at. I discovered that I was about to run into a guy sitting in his kayak. He was waving his hands at me and pointing to my right. Oops, I was a bit off course. I got back into another groove and continued on.  A little before the last buoy, I turned and saw a wave of silver capped guys coming on fast, they wave that started after us. I even saw a pinked cap swimming in there. She was in the wave before mine! As soon as I could touch the bottom and run, I did. I had a good run out of the water and up the beach toward transition. I grabbed a cup of water from the water stand and poured it on my feet. I grabbed a second one and tried to drink it. The water ended up half in my mouth and half up my nose. I am not good at running and drinking! The parking lot/transition area was not kind to my feet. I slowly made my way to my bike, toweled off, put on my socks and shoes (which took way to long!), put on my tank and helmet and headed out of transition. Swim: 8:46 (12th out of 15). T1: 4:07(yikes! Very long)
Bike, 10miles: I had my garmin set to bike mode, so I started that once I got going. I wanted to work on keeping my speed up, so I needed to see that on my watch. I felt very good on the bike and kept my speed high (for me) at an 18.4 mph average! Just past mile 1, I grabbed my water bottle to get a drink. Lost my grip on it and it went flying behind me. I had to yell out for the riders behind me to watch out. Next time I don't bring one of my favorite bottles with me. :( I caught up to Lauren soon after that. She had a great swim, beating me out of the water. We had the roads to ourselves, which was great because there were a lot of riders out there! I was being passed and passing people constantly.  After the turnaround, I saw Melissa (speedy lady) and then Gina. I made it my goal to try and stay ahead of Melissa, but was thinking the whole rest of the ride, that she would catch up to me. The last mile, I changed gears, in an effort to loosen up my legs for the run. I came into transition, hopped off my bike and headed to my spot. I went to the wrong one first. The woman had the same, bright pink mat that I have. It took me a second to see that the stuff on it wasn’t mine! I wheeled the bike back out and found my stuff 3 rows down. J During this time, I reset my Garmin and switched it to “run” mode. I racked my bike, took off my helmet, put on my visor, grabbed my water bottle and wash cloth and headed out of transition. Bike (9.48m): 30:59 (8th). T2: 1:36
Run, 5K: I felt strong heading out on the run. It was very hot, but my legs felt fine. I just needed to get my breathing under control. I looked at my watch after a while, thinking I must be getting to mile one, and I was only just over half a mile. Wow, this was going to be a long 5k! I’m very happy I had my water, though I could have used the water stops. They had 3 out there for us, which is alot for a 5K. About half way through the run, we left the sidewalk that we had been running on and started the beach run portion. Thankfully, it was hard packed sand. We did encounter a couple of wet spots, were we all ran single file, to stay on the higher sections of the path. I got stuck behind one guy who was going slow, but I wasn’t about to run through the mud and deal with heavy shoes. Around mile two, we were greeted with ice cold towels. Wonderful! I squeezed some over my head and then wrapped it over my shoulders and neck. It felt great. I kept that on for the next mile, dropping it on the grassy area of the park once we turned off the beach. I was so thankful to see the finish line up ahead. Though it seemed really far away! I ran it in strong to finish the race. Run (3.18m): 29:51 (1st)
Total Time 1:15:20
Overall I am very happy with my race. Great improvement in the swim and bike portions. I wish I could have kept a better pace for the run. I ended up with 4th place in my 40 and over Athena age group. They had awards 5 deep, so I came home with a nice plaque. J

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tampa Bay Women’s Triathlon
June 16, 2012
Start of the race.
Even though I didn’t really train hard for this, my third triathlon, I was very excited once race morning was here. Carolyn and I left my house at 4:30 am. Transition area opened at 5:30 and we wanted to be there around then. We ended up getting there at about 5:45 am. We found a close parking space, unloaded our gear and then walked over to get our timing chip and body marking done before racking our bikes and getting our stuff ready. There were only 4 porta potties for the 160 women participants! Luckily, I was able to get in and use it before transition closed. I had to race back in so that I could leave my sunglasses with my bike. I didn’t need them this early on the run. This was a reverse triathlon, so we would be running the 5k first, coming back for our bikes for the 7.25 mile ride and then swimming the 225 yards in the pool. The first wave, which Carolyn and I were in, got started at 6:50. Soon we were off!
5K Run: What a beautiful morning to complete a triathlon! The humidity seemed to be lower than it had been all week, which really helped. I started pretty close to the front of the pack. Right away, the leaders were way ahead of me, but there were only 4 or 5 of them. It was strange to be so near the front of the pack. I stayed ahead of most everyone in my wave the entire time. I even managed to pass one woman. The course was confusing. I was so happy there were many volunteers to guide us through the neighborhood where we ran. There were so many right and left hand turns. I tried to take the diagonals as much as possible. There were no mile markers, and I didn’t have my garmin, so I wasn’t sure how far I had gone until I hit the water stop, which was supposed to be 1.5 miles in. I stopped for a few seconds to walk through while drinking my water. Not long after I caught up to this woman who had been way ahead of me for a while. We passed a large group on the side of the road. One guy yelled out that we were at mile two. Yeah! The woman encouraged me as I ran by. She was having allergy issues and not breathing well, but seemed to be holding on OK. I kept plugging away, not really knowing my pace, but pushing pretty hard. One woman, with a green wrist band, passed me just before the end of the run. She started 5 minutes after I did. She was fast! Finally I was turning off the road, running through some grass to reach the transition area. I was at my bike a few seconds before I remembered to look at my watch. It had just passed 24 minutes. I knew the course had to be short. I have never run a 5K that fast! I asked a woman after the race what distance she had on her garmin. It was only a 2.83 run. Still, I am happy with that 8:24 pace! Time - 23:49. T1 – 00:57
Bike: This was a very strange bike course. First of all, it should have been 9.25 miles, but there was a water main break a couple of days before the race. They had to take out a 2 mile portion of the race because of it. I came out of transition, weaving through the shopping plaza at a slow pace. We turned right onto the main road and not even a quarter of a mile down, we had to take a wide uturn to head back in the other direction. Volunteers were yelling out to watch for glass. Looks like someone had tossed a couple of glass bottles in the road. I managed to get around most of it, but did run over a couple of pieces. Thankfully, no damage to the tires. We had a nice long stretch for a couple of miles, so I got down on the arrow bars and tried to pick up my speed. I could tell that I hadn’t been on my bike in over two weeks. I didn’t have the strength I should have. I got passed by a couple of women. Soon, a volunteer directed us up onto the sidewalk. We had to slow down and then take a left to go through a short tunnel that put us on the other side of the street and heading back towards the transition area. We had a couple of miles back to ride before turning right into the shopping plaza, where we had to slow down and make lots of turns. There were volunteers yelling at us to go one way for lap one and one way for lap two. I went to the lap two area, but was still confused. We were on the wrong side of the road and it looked like we were going to were the pool was. I stopped for a few seconds to ask the volunteer to make sure I was going the right way. Another woman, who had been way ahead of me, was there too. She was even more confused than I was! We rode the sidewalk for a short distance, rode through another tunnel to the otherside of the road, then off the sidewalk to join the riders who were on their first loop still. Going through that other tunnel, for the second time, I got stuck behind a woman, who was going really slow. I couldn’t get around her on the side walk, so I just slowed down and then picked up speed once we hit the road again. I didn’t really like this bike course. It was frustrating to have to slow down so much. Time - 7.25 miles in 26:10. T2 – 00:48
The two woman I was stuck behind
for the last lap.
Finishing strong!
Swim: I got my bike racked, took off my helmet, socks and shoes, grabbed my goggles, nose clip and ear plugs from my little bag under the seat and then headed to the pool. It was just a short run to the pool. I put in my earplugs as I slowly ran over the pool deck. I pulled my goggles over my eyes, put the nose clip on and then eased into the pool. It was warm! But it felt pretty good to be in the water. I started free style swimming. I could tell I didn’t have a lot of leg strenght left, so I concentrated on using my arms to propel me through the water. We swam in a zig zag fasion to get through the pool swim. I pushed off at each end of the pool to try and gain a little momentum. By the third lap, other women were passing my in my lane. It was getting pretty crowded in there! The last 1.5 laps were frustrating. A woman had passed me in the water, moved in front of me and then slowed down. I couldn’t get around her because there were faster swimmers to my side. I had to stop and hold the side a couple of times in the last lap because she almost kicked me in the face. I couldn’t even get around her as we climbed out of the pool! I was very happy to run up the steps and across the short pool deck to the finish mat. I am really happy with my swim. I felt I did much better in this swim than in the two previous triathlons, though I am still slow! I was number one (for age group) in the run and bike, but number four for swim. Time – 225 yards in 5:58.
Me and Carolyn after the race.
So, despite the hassles of the bike and swim, I had a really good time with this race. I managed to place first out of eight in the 40 and over Athena age group. Everyone got a nice finishers medal. As an age group winner, I got a nice triathlon necklace too. J
Up next, the Top Gun Triathlon at Fort Desoto. I really need to get out more on my bike and train for this one!
IMG Academies 5K
May 26, 2012

Fun race through IMG. Lots of different terrain. Run over the sidewalk, road, wooden bridge, dirt grass and then a tall man made hill. All in the first mile! Most of the race was on grass. Around the football, soccer and baseball fields. It was super hot and humid, so I am pretty happy with this finish time, even though it's a little slow. Finish time 26:36.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Florida International Triathlon
Siesta Beach, May 12, 2012
Leah, Susan, Clare, Ken, Me and Gina before the race!
Finally it is the day I’ve been preparing for. This is the triathlon that was supposed to be my first, but is now my second because I was tired of waiting and completed one 3 weeks ago. J We had a good sized group of people from my runners club, the Sarasota Road Runners Club, doing this event. For most, it was their first triathlon. A windy and warm morning greeted us as we arrived at Siesta Beach Saturday morning. Gina and I got our chips and had our bib numbers marked on both our arms before heading over to the transition area to get our bikes and gear set up for the race. We had photos taken with members of our group before getting kicked out of the area at 6:45 am. A whole hour before our swim wave was to go. We headed over to the bathrooms and then onto the beach to watch the first waves of swimmers doing the longer swim distance. I was so happy I wasn’t swimming the longer distance. It looked like way to much swimming. Soon enough, Gina, Susan, Clare, Carol, Carolyn and I were getting into the start area as we were the next wave of swimmers to go!
Swim: I ran out into the water and kept running as far as I could before I started to swim. I only had to swim a little bit before we hit the sand bar, where I was able to touch the ground and run/swim a little bit and pass the first of four buoys. Now it was very deep. The water was pretty choppy. There were a few women around me, so I had to keep an eye out for legs and arms. I didn’t want to get hit. I did my side swimming thing again. It was hard to get into a rhythm with so many people around me. At one point, a volunteer on her surfboard asked if I was OK. Yes, I’m OK, this is just what I look like when I swim! J I made it to the second buoy, which is where we turned left and into the current and waves. Small 3 foot waves rolling right into my face. This was the toughest part of the swim. I used breast stroke, side swimming and some free style to get through it. I still had a couple of women near me that I had to keep an eye out for. One kept hitting me with her foot. I didn’t have the strength to pass her and I really didn’t want to hold back until she pulled ahead, so I just had to deal with it. Finally we turned back to the beach at the third buoy. Just as we turned the corner, the guys who were in the wave behind us, caught up. Thankfully they were spread out, so It wasn’t a mass of them trying to swim by me. I tried to get out of their way as best as I could. Once we hit that last buoy, and the sand bar, I knew I had this. I ran/swam while I could and then finished the swim strong. As soon as I could touch the bottom again, I started running it in. The run across the beach is long. Once we got to the parking lot, we had to run down and around the transition area before entering, it had to be about a quarter of a mile of running to the transition. I see Gina getting her gear on and yell out to her. As I reach my bike, I see Carolyn running out with her bike and yell out to her. I reach my bike, wipe off my face, put my tank top on, squirt water on my feet to get the sand off, dry them a bit before getting socks and shoes on, put my sunglasses and helmet on and then grab my bike and head out of transition. Swim - 14:33. Transition 1 - 2:25   

Bike: It took me a little while to get my breathing under control once I was out on the bike. I passed a few people right away and then settled into a nice pace. It wasn’t as fast as it could be, but I wanted to save my legs for the beach run. I was worried about how the beach would be when we got back. It was high tide and last year during this race, we ran all of the race on soft sand because of the high tide. At about mile 3.5, I caught up and then passed, Clare and Gina. We reached the end of the road and started heading back towards the beach. Just before reaching the beach, we take a right onto Midnight Pass Rd. This is a nice stretch of road that provides some shade. I am being passed by lots of fast riders, but I am still able to pass a few people two. We make our way into Siesta Village, which is a hassle, because there are lots of cars sharing the road with us. There also seems to be a lot of riders near me as we get closer to the transition area. I try to keep the 3 bike length distance while passing, but it’s not easy. Soon enough I am making the turn into the beach parking area. I get off my bike and run it over to my spot in transition. I quickly take off my helmet, grab my visor and water bottle and head out of transition. Bike - 47:18, Transition 2 - 1:24. 
After seeing my bike time, I really wish I would have pushed the pace more. I had a faster time last year.
Run: We make our way across a grassy area and come up to a split in the course. The international distance goes to the left and the sprint goes to the right. So happy I’m not going left! I make my way towards the water, over the very soft, deep sand. I take a few endurolytes because it is hot, and I only took one drink of water on the bike ride. Thankfully, the sand near the water’s edge is still pretty hard packed. I know I am not going as fast as I normally would during a 5K, but I decide to keep a nice steady pace and save a little for the end. We are heading right into the wind, so I don’t want to waste too much energy so early. The beach is very crowded with people and kids. I am having to weave my way through them and around them. I see Carolyn  and Carol up ahead and concentrate on catching up to them. I do catch up and pass after saying hi. Just past the water stop, I see the turn around sign. Hurray! So happy to see that. I run around it and head home. The wind is behind me now, which makes it easier to run, but also means I feel hotter.  I see more friendly faces and call out greetings. It’s so motivating to see my friends out there competing with me. Soon I am making the turn to head back over the beach and to the finish. I pass another woman and decide my goal right then was to finish ahead of her. I pick up the pace a bit once I hit the pathway that leads to the finish area. I make the sharp turn to the right and see no one behind me, and then sprint it in to the finish. Run – 28:58
Finish: 1:34:35
We did it! 
I find out, once results are posted, that I have come in first place in the Athena division. Last year there were 5 women in my age group for the Athena division. This year? Just me! So, yes, I got first place, but I feel kinda strange bragging about it since I had no competition! J