Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tri Fort DeSoto International Triathon

July 8, 2017

I headed up to Ft Desoto early. Left my house at 4:15! Missed having my tri girls with me,  but most of them were doing the Englewood Tri. For me, a sprint wasn't worth the missed training day. I feel like this international distance, was a good race to do. I didn't take it easy this week. I had a brick on Wednesday and a long run of 9.3 miles (with 8 bridge repeats!) on Thursday morning, then an 1800 yard swim that evening. So, I didn't bother checking my times from last year. I was just going to go out and do my best. When I got to the venue, there was a large line to get race packets. I had never seen the line so long. I finally got my stuff, then headed into transition. There were already 5 bikes on the 2 racks in our row, but no one had taken the awesome end spot. Well, it was mine now! I got everything set up, then realized I had left my sunglasses in the car, so back to the car I went. Got my glasses and the bike pump and headed back to transition. Realized once I was back that I had forgotten something else. It's a good thing I had plenty of time! Finally, I was able to head over to the KLR tent, to check in with the group there. I then headed out to the beach. The water was perfect! Calm and flat. I ran into Nina (Storm member) and we chatted a bit before her wave took off. I then lined up with my group, which was the 40 and over women, Athena Women and clydesdale men. With a blast of the horn, we were off!
Swim (half a mile): I was right in the thick of the group this morning. I managed to not get hit or pulled on. After making the right hand turn at the first buoy, I did get off course a couple of times, swimming to the left so much that I was far from the other swimmers. But, I finally got myself corrected and back in with the group. I felt great out there. No issues with my back or being nervous. After we made the right turn around the last buoy, we had a brief spot were we could stand up. I did a few dolphin dives to push myself ahead of the other two swimmers near me. I like how I can get ahead this way, but it always gets me out of breath. Finally, I was in the shallow area near the beach. I stood up, took off my goggles, swim cap and ear plugs, then ran it up the beach and into transition. I took the time to sit on the ground to dry my feet and put on my compression socks. Since this is what I want to do in Augusta, I want to work on getting them on fast. It's not easy putting them on damp legs and feet! I had worm them to work the day before, so they were stretched out a little. Time - 15:12 T1 - 4:22

Bike (20 miles): Heading out on the bike, I felt good. My speed was in the 19mph range! I pulled back a little. I still had a lot of miles to cover. This distance is hard for me to pace. In a sprint, I'll just go all out. But with 2 loops, 20 miles, I wanted to conserve a little bit of energy. The wind wasn't very strong today, which was nice. It can get pretty windy on this island. I was good with my hydration, getting down most of my one bottle of Tailwind. Not my fastest bike here, but I'm happy with it. Once in transition, I racked my bike, took off my helmet and shoes, then quickly put on my running shoes, visor and bib number, before running out. Time - 1:04:42. T2 - 1:54

Run (6.2 miles): It was hot. So very hot. The first mile or so is on a sandy trail. There must not have been much rain out here recently, as the sand was very loose. I took it easy through here, then picked up the pace a bit, once I got onto the paved trail. I grabbed a water at the first aid station. Warm, yuck! I caught up to Nina, just before mile 2. We said hi, then I continued on. I was doing pretty good, considering the heat. I was passing a lot of people. As I came into the end of the first loop, I could hear the finish line announcer say the name of the first female finisher! Geesh, I still had 3.1 miles to run! Took a walk break on the sandy section, had a gel at mile 4, then grabbed some water at that first aid station again. Thankfully, someone had dropped off ice! I poured water on my hand, grabbed a handful of ice, and shoved it down my front. Nice. I continued to pour a cup of water over my head at the water stations. The last mile seemed so long. So happy to finally finish! Time - 1:00:14
Finish - 2:26:24

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ironman Gulf Coast 70.3

May 13, 2017

Training for this race started way back in January! Cold swims and bike rides early on, which was very different from last summer's training for Augusta. I had high hopes this time around. I knew what to expect with training. I picked a slightly tougher training plan this go around, since I felt like I need longer bike rides. My swims were longer in distance, and I tried to keep in more running days. I had more events during this training cycle, also. A couple of half marathons, some 5Ks a 15K and some longer organized bike rides, which included my longest ride ever, 70 miles! What I didn't expect from this training cycle, was for my Ankylosing Spondylitis to flair up! I have had this chronic condition for over 7 years. The pain has been managed by low does of anti inflammatory medicine. Well, something happened in March to cause a flair up that left me in extreme pain. I had a hard time sleeping. Every time I tried to swim or run, I got painful spasms across my back. My rib cage just did not want to expand for me to get in a good deep breathe. My doctor put me on a new medication. After a couple of weeks of no relief, he switched me to another medication. It took a good two weeks for me to start feeling any positive benefits of the new stuff. Even then, I was adding advil on top of it to get through some workouts. So my last 2 months of training was painful, when I could do it. I did give up on some training days, and scaled back the intensity of other days. Every once in a while I would have a decent day, which helped to boost my spirits a bit. I had a lot of dark, tearful days, though. I had my last swim in May 7th, about a week before the race. It was tough conditions and I could feel the tug on my mid back during the pull phase of the swim, so I decided to not swim at all the days leading up to the race, to give that area some time to recover.

Normatec boots. These are awesome!
Wendy and I left Sarasota Thursday morning, 2 days before the race. It was a pretty long drive up north. I was surprised to find out how far we would have to drive, once we left interstate 10. It was around 2 hours to get to the coast! Most of it was on a two lane road through countryside and small towns. We arrived at the host hotel, where we were staying, in the late afternoon, just in time to check in. As we drove to our condo, we passed right by the hotel's convention center, which happened to be just a couple of buildings over from our one room condo! Perfect location. We got our bikes and luggage unloaded, cleaned up a bit, then walked over. I was surprised at how small the expo was. There were 3 vendors in the halway outside the main room. Inside the main room, there were two vendors with wheels, then only three other vendors besides the Ironman shop! Check in went smoothly. We went from table to table, getting our various race items, then into the Ironman shop. I held back on my spending this time. In part, because it wasn't my first one, so I didn't feel like I wanted everything in sight. :) The other reason, was because of the lack of actual race branded merchandise. So much less then in Augusta. They didn't have the Gulf Coast pins we wanted to buy, to add to our backpack. No coffee mugs. The cashier at checkout said the other event that weekend, in Santa Rosa, was bigger. They had more participants. After shopping, we tested out the Normatec compression boots, then went to the pre race meeting. We got good information about the course and what to expect race morning. It was then time to head out to meet team members of the Kennedy Law Racing team we both belonged to. It was great fun meeting more members of KLR, including the man the team is named after, Tom Kennedy! There were around 25 KLR athletes doing this race. I was looking forward to having their support on the course. We also got to meet Nina, another Sarasota athlete.

Wendy heads out with the KLR boys.

Friday morning, after going to the local Walmart (we thought there was no better place, we now know better!) to get some snacks and drinks, we headed to the beach, so Wendy could get in a swim. We met some other KLR peeps there, then they headed in. The surf was rough. A storm would be moving through later in the day. Wendy said it wasn't that bad. It had been worse for us at Siesta the weekend before. Word was going around that the temp had dropped. So with that, and the incoming storm, it was pretty much a given we would be wetsuit legal the next morning. I wasn't very worried about the swim. I felt pretty calm. Knowing I would wear my wetsuit, helped a lot. Later, we drove the bike course. We were happy we did, as we discovered an overpass bridge that is similar to the Ringling bridge. Otherwise, it was mostly an out and bike ride, with little to look at. We met up with Bob and Stephanie for dinner at a pizza place (yummy gluten free options), then headed back to the room to get everything sorted out and rest.

Transition on race morning.
Me, Nina and Wendy, checking out the high and dangerous surf race morning.

Race Morning: Wendy was up at 4am and I was up 10 minutes later. I had plenty of time to eat half a bagel, drink a cup of coffee and scroll through facebook. It was there, that I started seeing posts about the swim being cancelled. Transition had opened at 4:30am (race start was 6am) and people were posting about the news they were hearing once the got to transition. I kept checking out the official race page, where they had said they would post the water temp by 4:30, but nothing. So, just before 5am, we decided to leave our wetsuits in the condo, and head over the pedestrian bridge, to the transition area. As we crossed the bridge, we heard the announcer call out over the loud speaker, that the swim had been cancelled. The race would have a later start, to give the volunteers and race setup crew, time to get the bike course finished. We went to our bikes, left our gear, then walked over to the beach, to check out the condition. Yep, the water looked very rough. The rip currents were very bad. It would have been very tough to fight the waves and current, in order to swim out almost half a mile! We found Nina and some other Sarasota people, chatted with them a while, before heading back into transition. The bike ride would start with the lowest bib number, and the next cyclists would roll out every 4 seconds. I went to my bike, got my gear set up, added some lube to my bike chain, then sat around for a while. After one more porta potty stop, I was ready to get this thing started. I didn't feel nervous at all, just ready to go. I was #501, so it took a while to get to my row in the coral, but soon we were all lined up and walking over to the start. I got up to the line and then pushed off, clipping in and not falling! :)

The hill!
The Bike, 56 miles: Heading out of transition was very different then normal. What I like about this start, was that you didn't have someone right in front, or behind or to the side of you, trying to start as you started. There was an up hill right away. We had been warned at the pre race meeting, that we needed to take it slow going down on the other side, because it was steep and there was a sharp right turn at the bottom. I took the hill nice and easy. I had no problem making the turn at the bottom, I just took it wide. I'm sure if there had been other riders around me, it might have been
Just after coming down the overpass.
more stressful. We rode through the main road of the hotel/condo complex, which had a few speed bumps, then turned right onto Richard Jackson Blvd. Then, we had a quick right onto Beach Road. The wind was coming from the south/west, so we had a bit of a headwind for a few miles, heading out. We then made a right turn at the shopping center, where we had eaten the night before. We crossed over a major road, (thankfully police where there holding up traffic) before entering the detour part of the course. This was a great road as it was very new! So smooth. :) We had a mile or two on this road, before making a right onto Hwy 79, where we would stay until mile 28ish. The bridge crossing just after mile 10 wasn't so bad. The wind was at our back now! Occasionally, we would change directions a little and get a bit of headwind, but for the most part it was at our side or behind us. I kept looking at my bike garmin, seeing high 19mph to 21mph! This is where my nutrition started to fall apart. I had not had much to drink by mile 10 and by the turn around, I was just finishing up bottle #1! Not good. I had also tried a couple of my peanut butter crackers. For some reason, they were stale and super dry in my mouth. Yuck. Thankfully, I had two fig newtons. Not enough fuel, so I should have been getting my nutrition from my Tailwind, but like I said, I wasn't drinking enough. Once we made the u-turn and started heading back, we felt the wind, right away. I pushed through as best as I could. Trying to remember to drink more and trying not to get run over by all the fast guys, zooming up on me, then dropping RIGHT in front of me. It was crazy. No "on you left" for these guys! I saw the race officials a few times, more then at Augusta. I think because they had to be out there for all the fast age groupers, and for the men, who started behind me in transition, that meant they were often near me. At the mile 46 water stop, I put my 3rd bottle into my front water bottle rack, grabbed half a banana, managed to peal the thing, while still rolling through the short aid station. I didn't want to drop my peal outside of it and get a penalty! Going back over the bridge, into the wind, was rough. I looked down at my garmin, as I reached the top of the bridge. 8mph!! When we turned left, to go back down the new road, we had a bit of a break from the wind. Felt good to spin my legs easy for a bit. Then, once we made that turn back on to Beach Rd, we had the wind at our back for the last 5 miles. The course was not closed to traffic and the bike lane was pretty tight or had sand in it, so I tried to hug the line as much possible. But, at this point in the day, the traffic was much heavier. I could see the runners, on the other side of the road, already on one of their 3 loops! I was ready to join them. Thankfully, we did not have to ride back over the overpass bridge. We took a right off the main road, into the parking lot of transition. I got off my bike at the proper place, then starting walking. My quads where tight!

The bike course.

Transition: Not a great transition time! But, I needed to use the porta potty. Since my bike rack was in the middle of the huge area. I placed my bike against the porta potty as I came into transition, tried to get in and out of there fast, before heading to my spot. I guess I should have hustled a bit more, but I was feeling the lack of nutrition on the bike and I was very hot. I racked my bike, took off my helmet and gloves, then pulled on my shoes, belt (with bib) and visor, then headed out. Time: 5:16.

Heading out on my first loop of the run.
The run, 13.1 (3 loop course): I started out running, but once I hit the overpass bridge, I needed to walk. It was pretty steep. Once I got to the top, I picked up the pace going down. There were lots of people at the bottom and along the road, heading out to the main road. I saw Jackie and Park (KLR) just outside the resort. Just about a mile in, I was starting to feel super hot and tired! The water stops were every mile, so when I saw the first one just ahead, I opened the little pouch on my race belt, to grab a Gu. Everything was sticky in there! The Gu packet had a small opening, so a good 3rd of it was all over the other stuff I had inside there. :( I swallowed the rest of it as I got to the water stop. I drank a cup of water, quickly got some base salt in, then drank another cup, all while walking through the aid station. My plan was to walk through all of them, before running again. I started running, but immediately felt my stomach upset and still overheated. I walked some more, then ran to the next stop. Just before this stop, I spotted Wendy on the other side of the road, finishing her bike. She looked strong! At the second stop (and many more) I had a cup of flat Pepsi. It tasted soooo good, but was not the thing to do during a race, when I'm not used to it! Got more water and a ice cold sponge. Thankfully they had sponges at a couple of the water stops. I held on to mine, so I could get them wet again at each stop, without taking a new one. At each water stop, it got harder and harder to start running again. Some of this was a mental issue, that I just could not get past. Once I started running, I kept a decent pace. It was just getting myself to get going again in the heat. There was zero shade! I wasn't the only one walking though. Most people around me were taking walking breaks, so I wasn't alone. About a block before we make the turn back to Richard Jackson Blvd (and the start of another loop), we pass by a water park, with a long view of a wonderfully refreshing looking, lazy river. So cruel!! The 3 times I passed it where very hard. I wanted to jump the fence and get in so badly! The next two loops were a daze of some running and lots of walking. I did come across Wendy in loop 2 or 3 (I really can't remember!). We walked together for a bit before we started running again and then I pulled ahead. She had a great ride, meeting her time goal. I was very happy for her. As I came up to my final turn on Richard Jackson Blvd, I was able to pick up my pace just a bit. About a quarter of a mile or so down the road, I finally got to make the right turn back into the resort complex. When I got to the overpass bridge, I knew I wouldn't be able to run it, so I briskly walked up, then ran down the other side, We turned to the right, then ran under the bridge, along the side of the main building, around another corner (where was the finish!!), then finally the finish line! I DID do a little jump across the finish, but the photographers didn't get the shot. :) I was so happy to be done!! Time: 2:27:16
Finish time: 5:42:19

So, not the race I had really wanted, but, I did take off 6 minutes on my bike from Augusta. Added 6 minutes to the run though. :( I really enjoyed seeing the other KLR athletes on the course. All of them were supportive. I've got a lot of things to work on over the summer before Augusta in September!

My "jump" at the finish.

Wendy and I in the KLR tent. We did it! Again! :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

River N Rapids Half Marathon

Hillsborough River State Park, April 8, 2017
Half #74

I signed up for this race as part of a 3 race series, long before I signed up for the half ironman. With a little over a month until my big race, I wasn't sure I should be running a trail half. Specially when I found out this was a technical trail, much harder then the other trail race that is held here in December. I decided to go for it. I planned on taking it easy and not "race" it. It was a solo trip for me, so I left my house early, giving myself an hour for drive time and 45 minutes to hang out. I got up there in good time, walked over to the main building for packet pickup. I ran into Brenda there. It was good to see her. We both checked out the large map of the course. There were 3 trail loops that we would run on. Going through the entire course twice. Kip, the race director, is pretty good at marking the trails, so I decided to just have faith that I wouldn't get lost! I went to my car to finish getting ready, then hit the bathroom, before walking to the start area 10 minutes before the start. As I stood there, I noticed the timing mat. I felt my bib and discovered to timing strip on there. I looked at other runners feet and ankles to see if they had timing chips or straps. Yep, timing chips on shoes. Crap! I ran back to the packet pickup building, got my chip, then ran back to the start line with about 30 seconds to spare before we were off!

We ran a little loop near the packet pickup building before heading over the bridge to the trails on the other side of the river. Right away we were on single track trails. It was hard to get around anyone. We were all single file, trying to avoid the many roots. I managed to get around a couple of people, before I got stuck behind this one guy. He would not budge. As I was meant to take it easy today, I decided just to follow behind him. The trail was beautiful! We ran along the trail, next to the river, for quite a while. Just after mile two, I was still stuck behind that guy, and was looking for a way to get around him. I wasn't paying enough attention to the ground in front of me. My left foot landed on the side of a root, twisting my ankle towards the ground. Ouch!! I hopped off to the side of the trail, limping, but letting others pass. A couple of nice people asked if I was ok. I said I would just walk it off. The big group all passed, so I was able to walk on the main trail, letting someone pass by, every once in a while. I walked for a few minutes, then stopped and rolled my foot around. It was starting to feel a bit better. I saw some teenagers heading my way, so I decided to try to run again, before I got stuck behind them. I slowly got back into running strongly. Feeling better by the time we finished this first loop. The first big loop, was just over 3 miles.

The next loop was small, only a mile. We had to run this twice in the first go around and then twice again later. There was a volunteer standing at the suspension bridge, asking each of us if we had run the loop once already. I ran that twice, then headed over the bridge. That was fun. It was bouncy!
Back on the other side of the river, the trail was less technical. We got to run on a few wooden walk ways. It was beautiful! There was a short out and back, with a water stop at the end, before we made our way back to the finish area and then off for our second time on the course. This is when the course was less crowded. as the 5K and 10K runners headed to the finish. I passed a couple of women, once the trail got wide enough. Then I ran over the bridge, back to the rooty trail. I was cruising along, taking photos with my GoPro. No runners in sight. It was very peaceful. I took my eye off of the trail for a second, to look at the river, when SLAM, my body hit the ground HARD! My GoPro flew out of my right hand, into the bushes. I got up, dusted myself off a bit, found my camera, then walked a little, assessing the damage. I didn't feel to bad. My ankle was still tender, and my wrist hurt, but otherwise, I felt fine! I decided to stop taking so many photos and concentrate on the trail. This second go around, I felt like the loop took forever! Just when I thought that I might have been lost, I would see another race flag. Finally, I made it to the junction of this trail and the next one. So happy to be done with the hardest trail! I ran the next one twice, headed over the bouncy bridge, then onto the final loop.
Heading towards the finish!

I felt a second wind coming on, as the trail got easier. I passed a few runners, which gave me a bit of a boost. Once I got to the last aid station, with a mile to go, I picked up the pace even more. Finally, I saw the finish line ahead, made the sharp left turn and ran hard to the finish!

Finish: 2:19:47
2nd in age group

Thursday, April 6, 2017

HITS Ocala Olympic Triathlon

April 2, 2017
Ocala, FL

The lake.
Gina, Wendy and I headed up to Ocala on Saturday afternoon, getting to packet pickup around 5pm. Packet pickup was a table with our packets and 2 small tents, selling some product. That was it. For an olympic and a sprint tri (which was Sunday), I get that. But on Saturday, there was a full distance (140.6) and a half! Such a small operation! We walked over to the lake, to get an idea of what our swim would look like. The lake is huge. There was a wide sandy beach. So not very much different then the beach at home. I was happy about that. We then checked out the transition area. There were bikes in the rack and some racks still empty. The guy there told us some of the full distance athletes were still on the bike course. We had seen some runners, but not many. We also noticed runners coming off of a trail, onto the road, before looping back to the trail. So we asked about this. Yep, we were going to have a 95% trail run the next day. Not what I was expecting at all! We headed out, to drive the bike course. This hills were not steep, they just seemed like a steady climb. We saw no police on the course. I wondered if there were still bikes really out there. They would have had to stop at stop signs! We then headed to the Blue Highway restaurant for a yummy pasta dinner, before heading back to the hotel.

Race morning: we got up at 5am, got ready, then headed out. Our gps had us ending up at the wrong place. After a little bit of freaking out, we found the park, let Gina get unloaded first (her race started earlier then ours), then headed to transition. I think my favorite thing about this race was the setup in transition! For one thing, they had 5 porta poties inside transition. I never see them inside. Makes it easy if you need to use the facilities after the bike to run. Each bike spot had a stool and a box that the bikes front tire set in. Plenty of space to set up transition mat. I think our space was twice the size then normal. There was a table with water and coffee.
My spot in transition. Loved this set up!

After Wendy and I got body marked, we grabbed our wetsuit and swim supplies, then headed to the beach to watch Gina go out. Her start time was 7 am. Ours was 7:45. We couldn't find her in the big group (it was a mas start swim), but we stayed to watch, so we could see how shallow the water was. Once the race got started, we saw most people walk or running for a very long time, through the water. They did this until very close to the first bouy! We then saw the leaders stand up at the second bouy, then pretty much dolphin dive all the way back in.  Once all the swimmers were out, we got to hear our race directions, which we could hardly hear the guy say. Wendy had said she heard our run was an out and back and not the two loops that we had been told on our race details. So I raised my hand to ask. Yep, it was out and back now. The guy seemed to think that was no big deal, even though most everyone around us was surprised to hear this. We all got lined up, the guy counted down, and we were off!

Swim: Most of us were doing the same thing the sprint swimmers had done, we were run or walking through the water. I noticed right away this was putting a lot of effort on my quads. I tried to swim a couple of times, but my hands kept hitting the sand! So I stood up and pushed through the water. Finally, I was able to get my face in the water and swim. I felt pretty good. The group had spread out. I did have people around me and bumping me a bit, but it was the first time that it didn't bother me. I rounded the first bouy, heading left. I was feeling good, but not pushing it, as I still had to swim another loop. As I rounded the second buoy, I stood up, then started dolphin diving in, swimming a few strokes, then dolphin diving. This helped to get me past a few people. I walked it around the bouy near the beach, then headed back out. Yep, quads starting to really feel that push on the water. I was happy to actually start swimming again. Which normally isn't something that comes out of my mouth. :) I pretty much did the same thing on the way back. I was able to pass at least 4 people on the way in, doing the dolphin dive/swim thing.  Once I hit the beach, I probably should have run a bit more then I did, but I wanted to watch my step through the grass/dirt area leading to transition. I didn't use the help of the wetsuit stripper. Didn't feel like laying down in the grass. I did realize as I was heading in, that I forgot to bring a towel or water to clean my feet! Once I got to my spot in transition, I sat on my stool, yanked off my wetsuit and found the extra tank top I had in my backpack, to wipe off my feet. I pulled on my bike jersey, socks, bike shoes, helmet and sunglasses, then headed out. Swim time - 29:22. T1 time - 3:50

Coming in from the bike ride.

Bike: I felt good heading out on the bike. Right away, there was an incline out of transition and then again, on the main road heading out of the park. I shifted gears and got onto the aerobars. For the next few miles, I had a hard time finding the right gear. I guess I just wasn't used to this type of course, with the gradual hills. My quads were sore and my right foot was starting to go numb. I was not enjoying the bike ride on my new tires. The road was very narrow and kind of busy for early on a Sunday morning. There was a police officer at the two corners we had to turn on, but cars were getting backed up, so we had to ride to the left of them to get around. It was very strange. I've never had to deal with that many cars before on a triathlon bike course. The turn around was a very sharp turn. I headed back. And now my left calf was feeling numb. I still could not get into gear that didn't feel hard or super easy. Normally I can find that sweet spot. On the second loop, I stopped at the turn around to adjust my compression sock, which was acting as a slight turniqut on my lower leg, It was bunched up next to the timing band. I just pulled the sock over the band and hoped it would still read when I went over the timing mats. About 2 miles out, I saw someones bike shoe on the side of the road. Not sure how someone lost a shoe, but they did! Heading into transition, I saw Gina. Super happy to have her there cheering us on. I racked my bike, pulled off my bike shoes, helmet and bike jersey. Pulled on my tanktop, shoes, visor, racebelt and washcloth, then headed to the porta pottie for a much needed stop. I was pretty quick in there, then ran out. (**bike should have been 24 miles. My watch showed 24.75) Bike time - 1:26:37. T2 time - 2:39

Heading out on the run.

Run: The run out, is up an incline. We turn to the left, out of the parking area, pass near the finish, then head onto the trail. The tail was nicely shaded and beautiful. The trail itself, not a fan. It was really just a dirt service road. Some hard pack road, but a lot of deeper, loose sand. Pretty much like running on the beach. I grabbed a water at the first stop, just under a mile in. I actually felt really good on the run. I was passing quite a few people. I tried to take the tangents as much as possible and run on the grass, on the side of the trail, when the sand got to be to much. There was a great set up at the turnaround, a mother and her two kids. I got a water there, before heading back. I was still passing many people, which helped boost my moral, after a bummer bike ride. I got to see Wendy on my way back, and just after passing her, I saw a snake cross just a few feet in front of me! Yikes!! I'm glad Wendy didn't see that. :) I grabbed another water and an orange slice at the next stop, then started to pick up the pace again. I would feel wonderful, then I would hit a large section of sandy road, that would slow me down and frustrate the crap out of me! I passed a college kid about half a mile in, then another guy, as I emerged from the trail. I saw Gina off to the side, cheering me on. Made a sharp right turn, then picked it up to cross the finish line! Yes! So happy to be done with my first Olympic distance triathlon! Run time - 56:04

On my way to the finish!

Finish time - 2:58:34
3rd in age group and 14th women finisher

Sarasota Half Marathon

Pre race with Carolyn, Sandi and Gina

March 19, 2017
Half #73

I love running the Sarasota Half. This was my 9 year running it! I had signed up to run a trail race the day before, but I figured I needed a bike and swim workout on Saturday more then back to back halfs, so I skipped the trail half. Since I rode 30 miles and swam half a mile on Saturday, I wasn't sure how I would feel for the race. My goal was to try and get in at 2 hours. Carolyn, Gina and I got up just in front of the 2 hour pacer. We saw lots of local runner friends in the coral, which is always fun. We listened to the national anthem and then we were off!

I started off a bit fast, which is normal. I just wanted to get around the massive crowd of runners. The first half is an out and back over the Ringling bridge, to St Armands Circle, and back. Gina pulled ahead right away. I wasn't even going to try and stay with her. She was running the relay, so she could push the pace faster. Running up the bridge, I could tell I hadn't done that in a while. Need to add back in bridge repeats to my workouts! Down the bridge was great. Heading out towards the circle, we started to see the leaders coming back. It was hard to see them though, it was still pretty dark. Once again, the bridge slowed me down a bit on the way back, then that slight incline into the mid way point, were the relay people hand off. I was able to pick up the pace a little there, as I got a boost from seeing friends on the sidelines cheering! Miles 1 through 7 - 8:17, 8:34, 8:27, 8:23, 8:58, 8:44, 9:06

Edith got a great photo of me running it in, less then
a quarter mile to the finish.

Love the new route that they kept this year. We were off of the main road pretty quickly. Running through the neighborhood to the west of 41, with the beautiful houses and Bay views. It is so much better then looking at old style hotels and businesses (with the occasional hooker sighting!) The next few miles went by uneventful. Slight slow down, but I was actually feeling pretty good. The warmer weather wasn't bothering my and for once in a long while, I wasn't having any issues with hips, back or calves! Picked up the pace in the last mile. Got a little boost from seeing friends near the finish. Made the last right turn, then picked it up even more! finished 3 and a half minutes under my goal. Miles 8 through 13.1 - 9:00, 8:55, 9:07, 9:02, 9:26, 8:56, 1:21

Half #731

Friday, February 24, 2017

Best Damn Race Safety Harbor

Half #72
Gina, Carolyn and I headed up to Safety Harbor, super early race morning. Gina was going to run the 10K and then the 5K. Carolyn and I were running the half. We got a great parking spot, then headed over to pickup our packets. We then headed back to the car, to wait for about half an hour. While getting all of my gear ready, I discovered that I had left my ipod shuffle at home! I couldn’t believe I was going to have to run this race without music! I’ve done if for triathlons, but this is different! It helps me keep a quicker pace. What a bummer. L Gina’s race got started about 30 minutes before ours. We were able to watch the 10K start, then head to the porta-potties, then watch the lead 10K group pass by us. We got to see Gina, before we headed to the start area. I put myself near the 1:50 pacer, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay with him. No speed work in the weeks leading up to the race! And, once again, my stomach was bothering me! I need to pay better attention to what I’m eating in the few days leading up to races. After the national anthem was sung, we were off!
I really enjoy this course. We head north, next to the water, then turn left, and then north again, until we get to Pilippe Park. This park is beautiful. My favorite part of the course. I had been keeping up with the 1:50 pacer, who kept telling us jokes, but I had a feeling I might be losing him soon. There were a couple of hills in this park. I managed to pull ahead, then, when we were heading back out, he (and the group) caught up to me on an uphill. It worked out great, as I was able to stay to their left, letting them block the wind, coming off of the water. As we headed out of the park, I fell back on the long, gradual uphill climb, just before mile 5. Just before Mile 6, we pass by the finish area. There are always lots of people out here cheering, which makes it a lot of fun. Miles 1 through 6 -8:18, 8:10, 8:15, 8:27, 8:27, 8:35, 8:53,
Philippe Park

Now I was noticing my times start to really slow down. I had a very loud breather behind me, then next to me then in front of me for a couple of miles! At first, I thought the grunting meant she was having troubles. I kept looking over my shoulder at her. Then, when she got closer to me, she seemed to be ok, she just kept making loud noises. Grunting, barking(!) and other strange sounds. I almost stopped to walk, just so she could get ahead of me! Thankfully, she did pull ahead enough for me not to hear her. I had forgotten about how many little hills there are! The one at mile 10, which I think is really the last one, was the last straw! I needed to eat my Honey Stingers anyway, so I walked up half of it while I ate! Once it was flat again, I started running. We start heading back just after mile 11. Those last 2 miles were the longest! I did manage to pass the heavy breather, about a mile from the finish. I was so happy to make the right hand turn and then pick up the pace to the finish!  Miles 7 through 13.1 – 9:11, 8:37, 8:54, 9:29, 9:19, 9:04, 0:45
Finish: 2:54:28

Friday, February 3, 2017

Chilly Willy Duathlon

January 29, 2017
It’s been years since I’ve done a duathlon! This was sort of a last minute race for me. Wendy and I joined the Kennedy Law Race team at the beginning of February. This race was one of their discounted races. They would have tents and food and beverages provided. We decided to sign up and participate, so we could meet some of the team!  On the 16th, I did my first brick in a long time. I got in another one, the following weekend. Besides my normal tri training, that’s all I got in leading up to this race.
Finishing up the first 5K run.
Race morning, the weather was bad. Forecast called for rain. The radar showed a mass of green and yellow, heading to the race spot at Ft Desoto. We were meeting at 5:45 am. We decided to go ahead and drive up. If the race got cancelled, we would drive back down and stop at Cyclebar for an indoor workout. Once we got up there, we went to check in. Carolyn and I got our packets, but the volunteers could not find Wendy listed. We went to talk to Park, who is in charge of KLR. He talked to the race director, getting Wendy all set to compete! We got our gear into the transition area, met up with Terri and her friend, then hung out under a tent. There was a light sprinkle. Temp was in the low 50s. I had on capris, a short sleeved shirt and my Skirt Sport windbreaker jacket.
Just after 8 am, the elite athletes took off, then the rest of us lined. There was a pretty decent group of people to show up on such a crappy day! With the blast of the horn, we were off! The first mile and a half was through the parking lot, then onto the wide paved trail. I just tried to keep a steady pace that was a little hard, but not all out. I wanted to be able to get on the bike and push it! Just after the water stop at 1.5 miles, we made the turn to start the second half of the run on the hard packed sandy trail. Thankfully, the sand was pretty packed down due to the rain. It was a good run. Happy with my pace. 5K Run - 26:43 (8:37pace)
T1: well, I sucked in transition! I should not have bothered trying to change my watch from run to bike, when I was just going to get those splits at the end in the official results. Plus, I had my older garmin on my bike, so I was going to look at that when I wanted to see what speed I was going. But, I did mess with my garmin. Hitting the wrong buttons and having to go back and forth on it. Then, I put my windbreaker back on, took of my running shoes and but on bike shoes, put on helmet and then my gloves. I walked my bike through transition. I was at the very back end of the area. I should have tried to run a little. I had one of the longest times in T1, which would hurt me in the final standings. T1 – 2:58
Bike: Heading out on the bike, I felt good. I passed a boy (maybe 10!) who told me I was doing good. How sweet! J I wanted to keep my speed up as much as I felt comfortable. The street was wet from the rain, but thankfully, there was just a little rain during the ride and only one bigger puddle I needed to ride around. When I took the turn at the end of the road, I slowed down more than I usually do when I ride this course. Heading back, we had a bit of a headwind. It really felt like I had wind 75 percent of the time! I’m sure that’s not true, but, there is not a lot of protection out there on the island, so it can feel very windy, even when it’s not. I’m glad I took the time to put on gloves. I was plenty warm while riding. Just my feet got a bit cold. 10 mile bike – 31:46 (18.9mph)
Transition 2: I was disappointed to see that my shoes, which I had placed just inside a large plastic bag, had been knocked out of the bag, by the guy’s bike next to mine. They were very damp. I was much faster during T2. I racked my bike, switched shoes, took off my jacket, put on my KLR hat, then headed out.  Time – 1:28
Run: Back out on the same course that we ran for the first 5K. My shoes were so loud! All I could hear was the stomp, stomp, stomp of my shoes. I had half a gu at the water stop, then made the turn onto the sand. This helped to dampen the sound of my loud shoes. Around mile 2, I caught up with another KLR team member. We ran near each other and side by side for the last mile. We shared a few words, then just as we made the turn off the beach, she took off fast! I picked up the pace a little more, crossing the finish line with a smile. 5K run – 26:52 (8:40 pace)
Finish: 1:29:48
5th in age group. The long T1 cost me 2nd/3rd place! There was only  30 seconds separating 2nd and 5th place. L

Next up: Best Damn Race Safety Harbor half marathon on Feb 4th.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jacksonville Best Damn Race Half Marathon

Half marathon #71
January 14, 2017
Gina and I headed up to Jacksonville Friday afternoon. They drive took longer than I thought it would. We arrived at packet pickup 5 minutes before they closed!  We then headed to dinner and then to our hotel. The next morning, we made our way to the race start, which was at a waterfront park next to the Jacksonville Jaguars football stadium. Lots of parking available as well as real bathrooms! We watched the 10K and 5K runners start, then got lined up for our half marathon start. The was in the low 60s, with fog in the air. Not the best conditions. I stood near the 2 hour pacer, hoping to stay in front for the entire race. Since I was not in the best training shape, I knew the chances of a PR were not good.
After the national anthem was sung, we were off! We had a wide 4 lane road to run on for about half a mile, which was awesome. Soon, I was smelling the most wonderful scent. Coffee! The Maxwell House coffee plant was on the course! Just after mile one, we encountered our first hill. It was an overpass bridge. It wasn’t long, but it was kind of steep! During the rest of the course, there were some small up hills, but nothing as bad as the first one. We passed through some great old neighborhoods and some cute shopping districts. I ran a couple of miles with a guy with a half fanatics tank on. We chatted about our races and training. He had been racing almost every weekend and was still pushing the pace faster than I could hold for long! He pulled ahead around mile 5. The course is pretty much an out and back. A couple of minutes after getting to the turnaround, I saw Gina. She wasn’t far behind! Miles 1 through 7: 8:10, 8:25, 8:28, 8:33, 8:46, 8:47, 8:47
I started to slow down on the way back. I struggled to keep my pace around 9 min miles. I walked through a couple of the water stops and when I hit the last up hill pathway, I walked it! I figured I could run the down hill and make up some time. But, the down hill was a square ramp, so I would get two steps in and take a sharp right turn. This was hard on my right knee. So, I didn’t push the speed on the down hill like I wanted. Once I passed the Maxwell House building, I knew I was getting close to the finish. I tried to pick up the pace a bit. We made a right turn off of the main road, to run over grass and finish in the middle of the park. So happy to be done and so happy to have finished under 2 hours! Miles 8 through 13.2 (course was a bit long)- 9:11, 9:06, 9:10, 9:18, 9:59, 9:01, 1:39
Finish: 1:57:39
4th in age group
A mile or so from the finish!

Gina finished just under 2 hours! Hooray! We got a couple of beers, then stood in line for the free massage. The massage was totally worth the long wait. We then got some food and then headed out as a light run started to fall. I enjoyed this course, but probably wouldn’t make the trip back up to Jacksonville for the race. It was just a really far drive. But, we made a fun weekend out of it. Headed to Epcot after getting cleaned up. J

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spring Hill Half marathon

January 1, 2017
Since my training during the last month, has not been what I wanted ( I got sick and missed some long runs) I decided to change the distance I would run for this race. I had been signed up for the marathon. I emailed the race director about a week out from the race. He told me it was no problem to switch to the half, to just let them know that morning. If race morning would have been cold, I might have tried to run the marathon. However, it was around 60 degrees at the start and was predicted to be mid to high 70s within a few hours. I had taken a look at the course on Google maps and noticed that there were not many trees, to provide shade. So, race morning, I got up early and drove the 1.5 hours to get to the race venue, and checked in for the Half marathon. Since I had registered and payed for the marathon, I was given the sweatshirt that marathon runners were getting. Very nice! I hung out in my car a bit before the race start, then wandered over to the starting area about 15 minutes before the half was set to go. There were a large group on wheel chair athletes there for the marathon. They headed out first. About 5 minutes later, the marathon runners headed out. Then the half and 10K runners headed out. It looked like a small group for each distance!
Once we got going, I passed a bunch of people, ending up with the front of the half marathon pack. We were soon catching up with the back of the pack marathoners. The course is on a wide paved trail, next to an expressway. Not great scenery! The temp felt perfect right now, but I knew it would heat up fast. We came to an intersection, that had a volunteer at the corner, but they were not stopping traffic. I had a red light, but thankfully, the cars that had the right of way, stopped for those of us who had just come to the intersection. I didn’t like that at all. I tucked in behind 2 guys, for a bit. They had a good speed going, which I hoped to keep for a while. I had brought my 2 water bottle belt, because based on the map, there were only going to be a couple of water stops. The first was 1.5 miles out, the next, not until just after mile 5! At this water stop, one of the guys stopped for a drink and the other one pulled ahead. So, I was on my own again. I started to see runners heading back. I knew they were not in the marathon, so now I had a good idea of where I was in the placement of runners. Up until now, I wasn’t sure who was a marathoner and who was in the half. I saw guys coming back, and then, just before seeing the turn-around ahead, I see the first female! She had just passed me about a mile before! I couldn’t believe I was second female! Miles 1 through 7 – 8:16, 8:21, 8:16, 8:26, 8:31, 8:39, 8:29
For the first half mile or so on the way back, I had a boost of energy. I could see the female lead runner ahead of me, but she must have got a boost from know her placement, because the gap got bigger and bigger. As I came up to the next water stop, I saw her ahead of me going into a porta pottie. I grabbed a cup of water, tossed it down, then kept running. I expected her to pass me in the next mile or so, so when a woman caught up to me around mile 9, I thought it would be here. Nope, it was someone new! She told me she had been trying to catch me for a couple of miles. I told her she was doing great. We ran together briefly, but my right IT band (where it goes into the knee) was starting to bother me, so I told her I would see her at the finish. I needed to pull it back. She took off! Her lead grew bigger and bigger. I still kept thinking the other woman would catch up to me, since I was slowing down. I thought I could still try to get a 3rd place female finish. By now, it was pretty hot. There was zero shade! I knew there was a batch of trees about half a mile from the finish. So I kept my eyes out for them, knowing I would get a little break from the sun. I was looking forward to finish. It was pretty lonely out there. I passed one guy and could still see the female lead far ahead of me, with another guy, but no other runners in sight. Finally I hit the patch of trees, which ended all to fast, then, I saw the sharp left turn, that would take me to the finish. I tried to pick up the pace a bit. Finishing strong and 2nd female overall! Miles 8 through 13.1 - 837, 848, 900, 855, 906, 909, 044
Finish - 1:53:21
I waited around for over an hour after the race. They didn’t have overall awards, so that meant I was first in my age group. However, they put me in the 70 and up age group! There was no one officially handing out awards. Mine was given to someone else, until I told her that the results sheet was messed up and that I had placed first.
I didn’t expect to make a trip back for this race, but the next day, the race director sent out an email with a registration blitz. I signed up for the marathon for $30! Hopefully, I’ll feel up to running it next time!