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! :)