Saturday, February 18, 2012

Running the Reagan...

Four years ago today, I ran the first 5k in what has become a string of races. Back then a trainer at Lifetime talked a group of us into running with the promised prize of a $100 gift card to the winner. I haven't seen the trainer since that race and I am sure he has no idea that his pushing me into a 5k back then turned into such a love of the sport. Amazing what a few positive words of encouragement can do in a person's life. That $100 gift card was spent long ago but the idea that I have the ability to achieve so much more than I ever thought possible will stay with me forever.

oh, and .... as for the race today? I have a new PR of 24:19 which gets me into Corral B for the Peachtree RR and also earned me my first ever 1st place age group award. It probably wasn't the most strategically run race ever as I really didn't have a plan other than to not burn out in the first mile. I got my desired end result so I'll take it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a New PR...

Saturday will be my first attempt this year to lay down a better qualifying time for the Peachtree Road Race. If you aren't from Atlanta, the Peachtree Road Race is the world's largest 10k (or it was a year or so ago...not sure if we still officially hold that title, either way it is BIG).

Capped at 60,000 participants, registration for the race is on a lottery system which means that not everyone who wants to run gets in. There is guaranteed registration for Atlanta Track Club members so over the past several years, I have gone that route to insure I get a spot.

As with most races with a wave start, you don't HAVE to qualify to get a spot but if you want to be closer to the front, it helps. The time between the first wave going off and the last wave is at least 90 minutes. On the 4th of July in Atlanta, that can make a big difference in temperature.

The last three years, I used a qualifying time for a 10k I ran in 2009. The statute of limitations ran out on that one this year so it is time to get speedy again. I have a qualifying time for Corral C based on my last half marathon but I really wanted to try to get into Corral B this year, for no reason really other than to just see if I could do it.

There are a variety of race distances you can submit for a qualifying time, everything from a 5k up to a half marathon. Saturday's race is a 5k which gives me the following goals:

A. Better than 23:01. This will get me into Corral A for the Peachtree. A bit of a stretch and am not sure it is even possible. I am putting it down under the "if you believe it you can achieve it plan". :) I would be over the moon with this result.

B. Better than 24:30. This will get me into Corral B for the Peachtree. According to the Mcmillan Running Calculator, I should be able to run a 23:46. Here's hoping Mcmillan is right!

Fingers crossed for Saturday!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

File it under "never say never"...

I was doing a little blog housekeeping and came across this little jewel from August 2010.

It was a list of bucket races. You know, races you would love to do someday if money, logistics or super quick sell outs weren't an issue. I created two lists, one local (and realistic) and one that is made up of dream races.

I couldn't help but smile when I re-read what I wrote back then about the number one race on my local bucket list. I am 100% certain I meant it at the time but my how things change...

1. 70.3 Augusta. I would be completely satisfied with a 70.3. An ironman? Not going to happen for me. Really.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Friday, February 3, 2012

TOUGH CHIK Question of the Week

What was your best (or worst) ever race?

I have a lot of great race memories that stand out for different reasons. I don’t know if I could pick a best (or even a worst race) out of all of them. For me, a sign of a good race was whether or not I hyperventilated as I approached the finish line because I was choking back tears of joy. Seriously. I seem to do it in all the milestone races. My first marathon. The Goofy Challenge. Augusta 70.3. Finishing the bike leg going into T2 at my first triathlon.

My first triathlon ranks up there as one of my best race memories because it was something that was a stretch for me at that point. I had been swimming with a masters group for several years and always admired the triathlon contingent on the team. I thought they were a little nuts because they would dry off and then head out for a run after the morning practice. There were even people in the group that would run to the pool from home, do the swim workout and then run home. Things that now seem perfectly normal or a good use of time seemed entirely too hard core for me to process back then. These ladies looked like triathletes too. The kind of people you might see in an advertisement. All that added up to things that I believed to be way out of reach for me. At the time, I wasn’t running at all. I was swimming for exercise and that was it. After running entered my world in 2008, I began to think that maybe a triathlon was possible.

Fast forward to June 2008. I was a little nervous but not too out of control. There were two waves to the swim, those who were comfortable swimming and those who were not. I went with the first group. My first open water swim and my first experience with a mass start all rolled into one. All I remember from that swim was in the very beginning some guy pushed me down and swam right over the top of me. A little unnerving. In no time, the swim was over and I was making my way to the bike.

I don’t remember much of anything about the bike leg other than the finish. I do know I had hardly ridden the bike at all before the race and by ‘hardly’ I mean maybe 5 miles TOTAL. I knew how to change the gears for the most part but that was it. To say I was nervous about this ride would not even begin to describe it. I remember hyperventiliating BIG TIME coming into the bike finish. I was so excited that I had done it. I didn’t even care what happened on the run at that point. To finish the bike leg was the big win of the day.

At the finish of the run I remember seeing CR at the top of the last hill shouting at me to run faster. (He apparently had not gotten the memo that I was simply trying to finish and did not have any designs on winning this thing). A short distance later, I was crossing the line of my first triathlon. I ended up coming in 2nd in my age group which was why CR was trying to get me to run faster I suppose. At the time, I had no idea where I stood nor did I really care all that much. I truly just wanted to finish.

Even with that feeling of accomplishment, I didn’t really feel bitten by the tri bug back then because the bike intimidated me (perhaps if I had ridden it once in a while that wouldn't have been an issue...). I did one more tri a few weeks later in 2008 and then took a break of several years before diving head first into the sport in 2011. Once I got over the nervousness on the bike, it was game on!

I am still nowhere near the league of those ladies from my masters group who are nothing short of bad a@@ but I have had my own form of success I suppose. I caught up with one of them in a half marathon a few months ago and she congratulated me on the ironman. I thanked her and told her it was still surreal for me and I was surprised I finished it. She said, “I’m not surprised at all”. I can’t even tell you how much that meant to me.

Your turn... What was your best (or worst) race experience?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What went down in January….

Just in case you were wondering, here is how my January shaped up:

Running Miles: 96. I had no idea I was that close to 100 or I would have found a way to run another 4 miles before the end of the month.

Cycling Miles: 84.

Swimming Yardage:
17,826. (it is an odd number because I swim in a 25m pool and the program I use to log my workouts coverts the meters to yards)

Races: Museum of Aviation Marathon, Callaway Gardens Marathon

What I did to bust out of my comfort zone: Did a New Year’s Day meetup with some runners I had never met before.

What I am watching: Revenge, Alcatraz, Top Chef Texas

What I am reading: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.

Current excitement: Looking forward to the Shamrock Marathon in VA Beach

What I am loving this month: Team Tough Chik and that Tilapia recipe I told you about (no joke, I have had it for lunch every day this week)

My favorite product this month: CEP Compression Sleeves. I know I am late to the party on this one. Truly amazing. My legs were throbbing post-marathon and I slid these on. Instant pain relief. I given thought to wearing them during the race but the whole “nothing new on race day” thing scared me off. I will have to try them on a training run.

What is going on in February:

- Making an attempt at a 10k PR (or at least have a decent qualifying run for the Peachtree Road Race).

- Sherry Arnold Virtual Run 02/11/12. If you have not heard of this run, please visit SUAR’s blog for more information on this run in honor of her cousin.