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. :)