Thursday, September 27, 2012

and the race day dreams begin...

Last night, the weird race day dreams began.  I blame the salt tabs I have been loading up on for the past 24 hours.  (Thanks, Mere.  I think...)  There were no dreams of me crossing the finish line.  I am still disappointed / amazed that my dream was off by 2 minutes.  These were dreams involving panic.  I guess that is an indication of where my mind is and my feeling of lack of preparation 
(real or not).  

Dream one involved the swim.  It wasn't a race but felt more like a practice or something similar to the 5k swim I did last weekend.  I got out of the lake and was met by two people who were shaking their heads.  They told me I wasn't good enough to go on and suggested I take more lessons.  In the dream I was wailing I was crying so hard.  There may have also been a snort or two.  CR woke me up because I was thrashing about.  The weird part about that dream -  my face was wet with tears when I woke up.  Crazy.

Dream two that same night was at a Disney race.  There were about 8 million people in the race (give or take a few).  Somehow my bib number wasn't right or I had forgotten it.  There was an issue that I can't remember now which required me to go to the officials to straighten it out.  By the time I got it resolved I was moved to wave number 27 (I had been in wave number 2).  I was panicked and trying to weasel my way to an earlier wave but couldn't make it past the people who were the gatekeepers for the wave.  I wasn't trying to move because I cared about being in wave 27 but because my clothing choice that day involved wearing a black, long sleeved shirt and the temps were rising and I knew I couldn't run a marathon in those temperatures.  I am surprised I didn't wake up sweating from the heat at Disney World.  LOL.   

Whew.  My sleep is wearing me out!  Is it race day yet???           


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tiptoeing into taper...

After much discussion back and forth with my various racing buddies, I decided to go with a mini taper before Augusta. Even though I am not really racing it, l don't want to go into it dead either. Last year, I did a mini taper and it worked fine so I am going with that plan again.

Today was day one. I decided to do a short ride at Stone Mountain. I am fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule so spent the AM waiting for the cable guy and the PM spinning around the mountain. It was tempting to do more but I stuck to the plan. What a beautiful day!

Four days to Augusta! The weather forecast has changed slightly to give us a small chance of rain but the temps are still in the 70s which is awesome. Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Give your Sole and a free entry!

As runners, we go through a pile of shoes, don't we?  If you are like me, you wonder what to do with your "old" shoes.  The old shoes that have slightly worn tread but otherwise don't seem all that worn out.  Enter, Give Your Sole.

Give Your Sole's mission is to provide less fortunate men, women and children with moderately worn athletic shoes collected at races. 

They have partnered with Allstate Life Insurance to collect moderately used athletic shoes to donate to charity at the Allstate Life Insurance Atlanta 13.1 Marathon on Sunday, October 7th.  All shoes collected in Atlanta will benefit The Gateway Center, an organization that helps homeless individuals in metro Atlanta move into transitional and permanent housing  The Gateway Center is one of the largest providers of homeless services in the Southeast.
I was fortunate enough to be able to run this race last year and it is one of my favorite half marathons.  It starts at Town Brookhaven and winds through mostly residential areas.  I cannot tell a lie, it is a challenging course but as Kelly Clarkson says, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger :)   Last year, I made a couple of new friends on the course, one of which was running this as her first half marathon and as part of training for the New York Marathon.  I normally am not a "chat with my neighbor for miles and miles" kind of runner but it was pretty special to run with her and see her cross the finish! 
If you are running the Allstate Atlanta 13.1 this year, donations will be collected during packet pick up at West Stride (3517 Northside Parkway) on Saturday, September 29th from 10:00 to 6:00 and at the Town Brookhaven LA Fitness on Friday, October 5th from 4 to 8 and October 6th from 10 to 6.  If you donate your shoes on race day, you will be given a free pair of flip flops to wear home!  What a great way to get those last few miles on your shoes and get some free flips!       

Did someone say FREE ENTRY?  The generous folks at the Allstate Life Insurance Atlanta 13.1 have given me a free entry to give to one of my readers!  WOO HOO!  If you are interested in running the race on Sunday, October 7th, just leave me a comment letting me know and be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you win.  Since time is of the essence, I will be drawing a winner at random on Monday, October 1st.   The entry is for the ATLANTA race, pass the word if you know of anyone in the area who might be interested... 


Counting Down to Augusta 70.3...

Alternately titled, "Ready or not here I come...".  It is hard to believe it has been a year since I raced at Augusta.  It is interesting how my outlook has changed since last year at this time.  I don't know if it is better or worse to know what to expect.  I can't shake that feeling that my training is not where it needs to be but every time I look back to old training logs to compare, I am right on track.  I suppose I am at that point where a coach would tell you to trust your training.

This year Augusta is going to be different.  Since it is three weeks out from my full iron race, I am not racing it but rather treating it more as a training day.  We'll see how that goes.  Just try and hold back this 'middle of the pack' speed - ha ha.  

I think my main worry this year going into Augusta is nutrition.  I failed at hydration last year and paid the price post race.  I *think* I have it figured out based on a trial ride/run I did in Panama City but it still worries me. I know having an aero bottle has helped with my hydration a lot.  Before I would wait until I wasn't passing or in traffic to try and grab a drink from my cage bottle, now I don't have to worry about those issues and it has made a tremendous difference.

The weather this year looks like it will be a good bit cooler which is a gift from God.  In the past, Augusta has been ridiculously hot and/or raining neither of which are much fun.  Let's hope that 10 day forecast holds up!

My race number is 1695.  It was pointed out that the numbers add up to 21.  Sounds like I was dealt a pretty good hand!  With all that said, I am excited about Sunday, ready to see all my friends and get this party started!  I guess I should start putting together a packing list...   :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Swim for your life...

Today I swam a 5k. Tonight my arms hurt. Ha.

A couple of weeks ago my swim coach mentioned a 5k race in the area. It was tempting but hmmmm... A 5k? It is kind of far to swim, right?

I mulled it over and ended up registering for it. There was a promise of Olympians - Aaron Peirsol, Ricky Berens, Rowdy Gaines, Eric Shanteau, Rebecca Soni and Kathleen Hersey among others - AND - it would be a good distance before B2B. The race is organized by Eric Shanteau to raise funds for the Livestrong Foundation.

I got up bright and early this morning, grabbed my suit and goggles and headed out. I was amazed at the number of participants. They had 700 registered as compared to 200 last year. Lots of under 18 swimmers who were going to kick my butt out there. LOL

The 5k route was three continuous loops. The start was time trial which is always appreciated. Who needs the churn of a mass start? The first lap was uneventful, I just kind of did my thing treating it less like a race and more like a swim. Lap two is where the super fast people started to lap us. A large percentage of the people in this race were serious swimmers so it was rather humbling. I was told that at one point one of the Olympians went by doing butterfly. Hilarious. When I made the turn for lap three, there was no one else in sight. I had been swimming with a group of four or five people and they just disappeared. Very strange. At some point I thought surely I was the last person as the kayakers kept inching near me as if they were escorting me. I told you this was humbling, right? Anyhow, i made my way through the chop and through the finish.

Turns out I wasn't the last but was definitely towards the tail end. I was looking over some of the times and those people were flying! More than a few people finished under an hour which is insane! The one mile racers handed in times around 13 minutes. Crazy.

So glad I did it as I really did need to get a good distance swim in and despite the slow swim, I was freakishly good at sighting out there which is unusual for me. I'll take that as a win :)

Some pics from the day including a pic of my friend with Aaron Piersol.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Walking 'round the mountain...

CR and I hit the walking path yesterday. The weather was pretty darn perfect. So much so that even CR couldn't resist a walk. As a thrill seeker (sky diver, stunt pilot, hang glider pilot...), such things might seem too tame for him ;)

Five miles around...

A quick stop at the grist mill and we were done.

Just in time for me to load up on my new addiction of kale, oranges and chicken. Strange combination in my mind but so good!

Looking for another great day today - early swim with my new friends at Blue Iron Coaching and a 7 mile run later this afternoon. Have a great day!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekend Training...

After a big weekend out of town for Labor Day, this weekend I was back on my home turf. It actually felt good to get back on "the plan". I have been off plan more than I would like lately which is messing with my head and my sense of preparedness.

This week, I got back on track and even tried out a new masters group which seems like it will be a great fit! My last group was at my gym. There were not a lot of participants and there was a fair amount of turnover in the coaching staff which was frustrating. I went for my first session on Thursday which was a time trial day. Can't wait to go back Tuesday for more!

My long workout this weekend was a 20 mile run and 15 ride brick. I went across town for the run because Stone Mountain had a special event and I was afraid it would be super crowded. The run went great! It wasn't easy but I didn't expect it to be. As long as there are no real issues and I finish the miles, I call it a success.

I took a quick sandwich break before I loaded up for the ride.

I was expecting the ride to be a little painful since my legs were still feeling that run but the spinning actually felt pretty good. Who would have guessed it? Once I got home, I took full advantage of my runner's high and made dinners and lunches for the week before crashing. :)

Sunday, I met up with Meredith for what she described as "a terrible ride" Apparently, it is terrible in a character building sort of way. We arrived bright and early to start off with a swim.

There were what seemed like a hundred ducks, geese, birds, whatever in the water. Having never been to this park before, I was trying to visualize myself swimming through all these creatures secretly hoping that they would take off when we approached. Apparently they were practicing a mass swim start. Luckily, a boat motored through and they went on their way.

We did a quick one mile-ish swim. Meredith chose to sight on the buoys while I decided to strike out on my own towards the middle of the lake. Clearly I am not good at following directions. I found my way back to the buoys and we finished up without having to call out the dive team.

Leg two was the "terrible" bike ride. We took off with Meredith leading the way. She offered little tidbits along the way like "this is the worst hill" and "the last 10 miles are all uphill". I am a planner so it was good to know these things :) We finally hit the turnaround and stopped for a coke. I feel like I have taken her to the dark side, poor girl had not had a diet coke for months until we started riding together. (hanging my head in shame...).

As promised, the last half of the ride was a little worse than the first but we made it. There were no tears and no one quitting on the side of the road. #winning.

As if the 3600 feet of climbing wasn't enough, we laced up our shoes and knocked out a six mile run before parting ways.

On the way home, I stopped by Dutch Monkey Doughnuts, a gourmet doughnut shop owned by our friend Arpana and her husband. They recently won the American Express Big Break for Small Business contest which is pretty exciting! If you are in the area, you have to stop buy and pick up some treats.

All in all an awesome weekend of training. It felt good to hit every workout and not make any adjustments to the plan. Beach 2 Battleship, here I come!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Roasting at the Coast...

Hi Friends! With three weeks to Ironman Augusta and six weeks to Beach 2 Battleship, I am waist deep in training. It is that point where you feel that is all you do and your friends don't understand why you can't meet them for lunch or dinner after your long runs or rides. Truth be told if you aren't just too tired, you are probably packing up your nutrition and gear for your ride/run/swim the next day. The never ending circle of tri training.

I have been fortunate to be able to attend two training weekends with friends which has made for a nice change from my normal schedule. Over Labor Day weekend, I attended Roast at the Coast Training Camp with Blue Iron Coaching in Panama City Beach. Most in attendance are training for IM FL so it was a perfect chance for them to preview the course. As luck would have it, one of the people attending is doing B2B with me! It is such a small race it is rare to bump into someone actually racing it. My new B2B friend, Sarah, turned out to be a lifesaver this weekend and I can't wait to share the B2B experience with her in October.

The weekend started on Friday with what was to be an ocean swim followed by a beach run. Double red flags on the beach due to Hurricane Isaac meant no swimming so we opted for a beach run. Isaac ending up changing a lot of the swim plans for the weekend.

The plan for Saturday involved an 85 mile ride followed by an ocean swim later in the day. On the way to the meet up, I caught this picture of the blue moon.

Saturday started off innocently enough. Tires pumped, helmets fastened and we were off. About 10 miles in I hit a piece of asphalt and heard an immediate hissing sound. Yes, a flat. Joy. I pulled off and started to get the tools out scanning my memory banks for the last time I changed a rear flat - or any flat for that matter. It was easily over a year ago and not on this bike. Luckily, within moments of my flat, I was surrounded by Sarah, Guardian Angel Joe and Regina from the SAG crew. They sort of stood back and talked me through it and we were off in no time.

At around mile 30, the road starts feeling rather bumpy. At the same time I think this, Sarah mentions that my tire looks low. We tried to air it up and took off. That lasted TWO miles. We pulled over and changed the tube again since nothing seemed to be in the tire. As he did last time, Guardian Angel Joe appeared within 60 seconds of the flat. We were off. This time we made it FIVE miles. Yep. A more thorough inspection of the tire revealed this tiny little wire that was inside the tire.

We didn't know it at the time but could have removed it with pliers or tweezers. We folded a dollar bill in there between the wire and the tube and that held for the rest of the ride!

At 50 miles, we had a rest stop at Pitt Springs. After changing the rear tire on my bike THREE times, Sarah and I could not wait to dip in the cold water. It was like an ice bath - assuming your ice bath has thousands of little fish in it. We hated to get out!

By the time we got back, I packed the bike up and headed to Steve's Bike Shop in PC Beach for a new tire. They were so friendly and had me in and out of there in 15 minutes. If you are in Panama City Beach and need anything bike or tri related, look them up!

Sunday brought the Blue Iron Scorcher - an ocean swim followed by a 3 hour bike ride and a 10 mile run. Red flags on the beach changed the event to a duathlon so we set up our transition area and headed out on our bikes down 30A through seaside and a lovely route.

Once everyone returned from the ride, we set out on the run. This is where the "scorcher" got its name, I suppose. Before we even started it was hot.

As we were running, we kept seeing people turn back early. Callie and I kept plugging away. Dripping in sweat, doing a run/walk and mentally negotiating with ourselves to get to the halfway point. We were quite proud to reach the turnaround! Of course, who else would be there but Guardian Angel Joe with a cooler of water, gatorade and cokes. Just what we needed!

We kept plugging away and before we knew it, we were sprinting in for a big finish.

The "feels like" temp was 104 and only a handful of people finished the whole 10 miles so we were pretty proud of ourselves. So proud that a frozen drink seemed like the perfect treat before we hit the beach.

We spent some time relaxing on the beach and in the pool before heading up to dinner for a skype session with Heather Gollnick. She was so nice and gave us lots of great info for our upcoming races. I think even some of the more experienced people got some good information to take away.

And then there was Monday... Our final morning involved a poolside yoga session.

... and a choice of a beach run

... or an ocean swim - the red flag went to yellow on our final day!

All this was followed up with a yummy brunch and awards. I really had a great time and made lots of new friends! I am so glad I was able to go and can't wait to go cheer everyone on at IM FL!