LOL blogging is hard

I keep thinking to myself, “man, I should blog; that would be cool”, and then I get home from work and don’t do that.  But I think almost everyone out there can agree that actually living your life is much better than spending so much time writing about it that you miss all the good stuff.

So the good stuff (triathlon/running-wise at least):

I did run the Asheville Hot Chocolate 10K – if you can call that running. It was pitiful (1:10:45). But we had a fun time so that’s all that really matters.  We spent the evening in Asheville getting ice cream at The Hop (so good, go there!) and eating at UJ.  We have a UJ in Greenville, but apparently the menu is different between the two.

Pre-race, yay we're so happy

Pre-race, yay we’re so happy

The is one I would recommend, but the course absolutely defeated me.  I’ve hate this before, so when I go back to this race (whenever that is) that will not happen again. What got me was, well, you can guess.

WHAT THE CRAP

WHAT THE CRAP

The first mile was great! Woooooo! The middle was fine, though I swear I felt like it was uphill both ways.  But actually…it was flat. I’m just out of shape. Then that last mile – that’s some crazy stuff right there. I was definitely not running at that point; I was hiking. I was so glad to be finished when I got there. I didn’t really have breakfast (just one of those TJ fruit bar things) and was kind of lightheaded so I went straight to the hot chocolate.

I really am not feeling good here

I really am not feeling good here

It was amazing.  This race isn’t associated with the big Hot Chocolate series but I think it was around first!  Based on some of the things I’ve heard about those races, I would go with this one – it’s for charity and the hot chocolate was the best. Plus Asheville is cool.

The weekend after, I had a big swim meet in Charlotte. It’s the same one I did last year (where we met Ryan Lochte). I decided to pick some more challenging events this year and signed myself up for the 1000.

LOL wut

LOL wut

It was first thing Saturday morning and I regretted it for the rest of the day. OUCH.  Everything hurt and I ended up DNS-ing one event (100 fly) because I was wiped.  I actually kind of enjoyed the race though and had a pretty solid time – 13:02.  I swam the 1000 once during my college career and there’s no record anywhere of the time, but I’m pretty sure it was a 12:xx.

Some other events:
200 backstroke – 2:27:54 – perfect even split
200 IM – 2:43:05 – I AM SO BAD at breastroke. SO BAD
100 back – 1:07.69 – A little slower than last year, but still pretty solid

I swam a few other event and relays and we all had a good time =) Also, I swam against Kirsty Coventry in the 50 backstroke and she obviously destroyed me.  She and several  other Olympians were there (since SwimMAC Elite is in Charlotte)  and it’s always really neat to see them swim.

10968479_781141805307252_2919838536012682485_nThe Monday after the meet, I started working with my coach (Katie Malone) and she’s been abusing me ever since.  My first workout was a killer track workout that left me sore for days.  That was 3 weeks ago and thankfully I think I’m starting to get used to it a little but it was definitely a big shift for me!  But she definitely knows what she’s doing and it makes me really excited for this year.

Bike ride last weekend in the gale force winds

Bike ride last weekend in the gale force winds

My next race is the Asheville Half Marathon at Biltmore (the race I’m an ambassador for) so I’m looking forward to that.  I’ve been training hard, so I’d like to have a good race. Not a PR, but I want to see my times heading back in that direction for sure.

 

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Back in the Saddle

Quite literally, back in the saddle.  We’ve had some excellent weather over the last week (unfortunately to end soon) and I dragged out my bike not once, but 3 times this week! Sorry to those who live in colder climates (though it sounds like the weather last weekend wasn’t so bad – at least according to my parents).

So, I haven’t posted on anything that I’ve done over the last few weeks, so I’ll try to get caught up a little.

Waaaaay back before Christmas, I met up with some friends to do the Santa Run 5K in downtown Greenville. I did this the first year it was held (maybe 2012?) and it was a lot of fun!  The organizers string Christmas lights around Cleveland Park and set up some nice displays around the park.  They also put out the foam machine which was kind of a fun touch since it was fairly warm. We ran slowly so we could stop and take pictures and enjoy the event! The race isn’t timed so it wasn’t a big deal that it was closer 3.6 miles instead of 3.1.

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Then I went home for Christmas and slacked off for a week. I did run once when it was almost 60 degrees. In Indiana. Two days before Christmas. Yea, I had to take advantage of that!

I came back to SC for the week of New Years since I was out of vacation and took advantage of some nice weather on NYE for a bike ride. I skipped out of work a few hours early to meet up with some friends. It was a bit too chilly (dropped below 40 towards the end), but I got to make use of all the new winter cycling gear I got for Christmas!

We also took stairwell selfies

We also took stairwell selfies

On New Years Day, I convinced a few people to dive into “Lake Placid” at Paris Mountain with me.  Since this is the south, it wasn’t really all that cold (no ice!), but the water was 42 degrees, so definitely enough to make your toes go numb! I went in with everyone, but the water only came up to the top of my legs. I decided that I really hadn’t gotten my money’s worth so I went back in for a full-body dunk! Then we enjoyed some sunshine and donuts before heading home.

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Then just as I was preparing to get back on training boat and ride it into the sunset, I got knocked on my butt with a miserable cold. Like, I thought I had the flu.  But I didn’t, so that’s good at least.  Then I found out I am allergic to codeine so that delayed my recovery for a few more days.  So overall, I lost the whole first week of January, which is not that big of a deal, but I was miserable so I should be able to complain.

I’m back to feeling good again, though!  I had a solid week of swimming and running last week, then pulled out my bike for the weekend! I joined in for the Enjoy the Ride event for Katherine – a local cyclist with breast cancer.  It ended up being a…bit chilly for a ride, but if Katherine can tackle cancer, we can ride outside in 32 degree weather.  It was a HILLY ride. Definitely more so than I expected and I had brought my tri bike to ride. Reaaalllly wished I’d had my road bike seeing how out of shape I am but it was still fun. Then on Sunday after my long run (training for Asheville!!), a few of us rode up the SRT to the Tandem Creperie.  I had not had a chance to go there yet and it was as good as everyone says, for sure. YUM.

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I had another chance to ride on Wednesday – it was almost 70 that afternoon! So a few of us went out to the Greenville Spinners TT loop for a few laps. We started at 5:30, so it got dark and cold fast but it was a fun ride with some sprints thrown in and I got almost 20 miles in. Yaaaaaaayy biking.

So anyways, that’s been my last month or so. This weekend, I have the Asheville Hot Chocolate 10K which I will be trying not to die on the hills. And guess what? It’s supposed rain. I think that’s a sign for the rest of the year?

PS. Thinking of rain – since I have such a reputation, my cousin bought me these cool phone/key bags for my activities with the note, “Because rain…”. Sigh.  But, in all honesty, these are great and I will be using them a ton this year for sure!

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Looking to 2015

Ok, so it’s finally the end of 2014, and as much fun as it was, I’m definitely ready to start looking to next year. I feel like it’s already booked up and it’s not even January 1!

Obviously the big event of next year is Ironman Chattanooga. and I’ve tried not to sign up for so many races like I did this year and minimized work travel for next year. If I’m going to do it, I want to do it right, especially since this might be my only one! I also decided to go with a coach – sort of.  I’ll start working with Malone Coaching in February for run coaching only. Coaching is expensive, and I’m already paying the Y for all those masters swim coaches and running is where I need the most help. So Katie and I worked out an arrangement for Chattanooga and I think it will be really beneficial for me!

But before we even get there…

In January, I had originally planned to do the Run Downtown 5K again, but then I found out about another event that’s on the same day for a good cause.  Enjoy the Ride (for Katherine) is a fundraiser event for a local family dealing with cancer. There’s a 65K ride or a 6.5k run and it looks like a large number of our local tri community is going to go out and support. I’ll probably do the ride (unless it’s really freaking cold).

The next weekend is the Asheville Hot Chocolate 10K (This link to the registration is a referral link, FYI).  It’s not affiliated with that big race series, but it seemed like a lot of fun and it was cheaper.

After that I’ll be participating in the Sunbelt Swim Meet in Charlotte with my master’s team again! I’m thinking I may give the 200 back a shot again…knowing that it will be terrible and painful.

I’ve kept February open so I can focus on training for the Asheville Half Marathon and I’m going to try to keep it that way!  I might run the Reedy River 10K on March 7, but it kind of depends on my moving situation (I also have to move to a new apartment in March). Then, Asheville is in March, obviously. The race is sold out, so if you wanted to run it, you’ll have to wait until 2016!

April picks up again with the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler! I didn’t actually expect to get in, but a friend and I entered the lottery and we got in! So I’ll be headed to DC to visit her and run this neat race! I’ve never been to DC, so I’m definitely looking forward to a weekend trip up there.

The weekend after (bad timing), is the Smoky Mountain Relay! This year (2014) a group of (mostly) people that I know decided to do this relay. It sounded like a ton of fun, but it was the same weekend as the Diva race that I had already signed up for.  Luckily for me, a few of their group had to bail out for 2015 and they asked me if I was interested in doing it. YES YES YES. They had a ton of fun last year, so I can’t wait to join the Bootleggers in this race!

After this…it’s May already?? I agreed to join the masters swim team on their trip to Y Nationals in Sarasota, FL. I don’t really have time to go, but….I knew that they would talk me into it after they tried so hard this year. So I just decided to say yes now and make it work.

At some point…I wanted to plan a 70.3, but I still haven’t picked one. Raleigh 70.3 is a great option, but also the most expensive one. It would also mean that I couldn’t participate in the Low Country Splash which is a bit of a bummer. If I can get 10 referrals for Challenge Family, I’ll do Knoxville. Otherwise…??? I could pick a less expensive option like White Lake or Lake Logan, but I really don’t know. I don’t want to wait too long, but I suppose for now, I’ll just say I’m going to do one of them and not worry about it.

After that, there’s not much planned! I want to make sure I have plenty of time to train over the summer! So June, July and August are pretty open. I could sign up for an organized century ride or two, and there will probably be a training camp in Chattanooga with Malone, but outside of that – train hard!

 

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Rev3/Challenge Family Discount

Is anyone planning to race a former Rev3 event next year?

rev3

While my main event for 2015 is definitely Ironman Chattanooga, I’ve kept my options open for a half early next year since I wasn’t sure what race I wanted to do. I applied for about a bazillion AG teams hoping that one of them would want to – Ironman is expensive and so are coaches, so any savings I could get could help. The bad news is, I didn’t make the cut for any of them. The good news is, Challenge Family was looking for people to be brand ambassadors for them – particularly for the events that were formerly Rev3 races.

The good news for anyone reading this is that I can give you 10% off any of those races! This includes Knoxville,Williamsburg ,Quassy, Maine, and Cedar Point, Poconos, Florida and Rev3 RUSH. The good news for me is that 10 referrals will get me an entry into a race!

Unfortunately for me and my Greenville people, Rev3 Anderson is not currently on the schedule for this year. A HUGE disappointment since I was super impressed with this race the last 2 years I’ve attended (even in the crazy rain). I know the race was pretty small this year, so maybe in the future…

Anyways, if you want to sign up for one of these races, here’s a 10% off:

HANCEBA15

Here’s to 2015!

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Off Season Woes

Ok, not really woes, I just couldn’t come up with a clever title. I’ve been having a great time saying yes to every social engagement I can fit in my schedule, eating all the cookies, and just generally having a good time.

I expected to get back to running quickly after Savannah, but that didn’t go as planned. The day after the race, the outside of my knee started hurting pretty badly and I suspected ITBS based on where it hurt. So I took a few days off and stretched and foam rolled and did all that good stuff. I tried to do a short, easy run on Thursday but it was still pretty painful. Unfortunately, I had already signed up for the Sabre 5K the Saturday after Savannah. I guess I could have skipped it – it was colder than crap race morning and I knew my knee would hurt. But, I went out anyways (took 3 advil first). This turned out not to be too bad. I was not very fast (28:16), but it was enough to get me first in my age group – small race.  I got a gift card for Academy Sports that was worth more than my entry fee so that was a win. This was a good little race though.

Pre-freezing

Pre-freezing

I spent the next two weeks not running at all – just lifting weight and swimming mostly. Instead of getting better…my knee was hurting worse until the week of Thanksgiving, I started getting horrible stabbing pain in my knee just walking around which is not much fun when you’re running around the Atlanta airport. I tried to run on Thanksgiving Day (since my options were limited on exercise that day) and got about a quarter mile before I had to stop. We figured it was still probably ITBS and my dad made me take ibuprofen and ice a whole lot over the next few days (until I came back to SC).  The stabbing pain went away by Monday, so I tried for a run Tuesday morning. Success!

I don’t really understand what caused it – I was trained for Savannah so over-running doesn’t seem likely.  One thing it could be is that I always run on the left side of the road (like I’m supposed to, duh) and all that running on the cambered road aggravated my left leg.  The roads in Savannah were particularly rounded and I spent a lot of time off to the left.  So, I might need to try to run on the sidewalks more often since they’re flat.

Anyways, since running was ok again, I figured I was good to run the Jingle Bell Jog today (also registered before Savannah).  This was really just a fun run for us and a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation.  It was in the afternoon, so we met up for brunch at someone’s apartment nearby (and had mimosas at 11 am, because we’re adults).

We also got photobombed by the cow

We also got photobombed by the cow

The race was at ICAR so it was obviously hilly.  It was a rainy morning, but luckily it had stopped by the time the race started. I knew I was not going to be fast – I hadn’t run in several weeks and we had all that food and drink before the race. Still, I didn’t do too bad. Time was 28:57 and I negative split the run.

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We definitely had a fun morning. I ended up getting 2nd in my age group but certainly not because I was all that fast!! Haha.

For now, I’m just going to keep enjoying Christmas stuff, but I’ll definitely be ready to get back into normalcy by January!

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End of the Season!

And finally, it’s the end of the season! What a big, fat relief. I don’t plan on doing much of anything from now until the new year. I definitely need it – I’ve been feeling extra unmotivated lately and need to “recharge” or whatever before Ironman training starts.

But I didn’t end the 2014 racing season in such a terrible way.  I’m still not where I was. It’s disappointing, but if I keep working hard, maybe I’ll get back there! I don’t think my best racing days are behind me!

First was Spinx Run Fest. I decided to sign up for the 10K mostly just for fun – I hadn’t run at Spinx since the marathon a few years ago and the 10K was new-ish. This is a pretty great 10K course! It’s not easy, mostly follows the half marathon course which is also challenging but I think it highlights some of the nicer parts of downtown. The only part to worry about is in Cleveland Park when the half and 10k courses split and kind of go all over the place, but I think the volunteers did a good job keeping everyone straight.

It was definitely a beautiful day for a race. I was doing pretty well until mile 5 – then I wimped out on a hill coming into downtown. Still, I felt like the rest of the race was pretty even paced and finished in 59:55 –  just squeaked in under an hour!

After the 10K, a few friends and I headed up on the marathon course (around 22.5, a super boring area) to cheer and give out candy. We had a pretty fun time, and ate too many Swedish Fish =)

Then a few weeks later we were back in Savannah! I went by myself last year, so I made up for it this year by bringing a horde.  We definitely had a fun weekend – a few of my college friends came from (way) out of town to do their first half marathons and my cousin absolutely killed her PR and ran a 1:37! It was a perfect day for it! (Finally some good weather)

My race was ok. I had promised to run with my running buddy Melinda who wanted to run a 2:15 – a PR for her and what I thought I could do.  We couldn’t find each other at the start though. Too many people! Turns out she wasn’t too far behind me and she caught up to me at an aid station near mile 8 so we ran most of the rest of the way together.  I got a big side stitch in the middle of mile 11 and stopped to walk for a few minutes so I could breath, but was able to catch up for the last mile so we could finish hard together. She was a little slower than her goal but still a PR!  I was a little slower since I started before but finished in 2:17:28. Slower than last year, but better executed and certainly better than my last half in Myrtle Beach!

That’s about all. Sorry for the all words, no pictures. There were certainly some taken but I sure can’t find any decent ones!

Who else is ready for the off-season?? WOOOOO!

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Best and Worst of Racing

Being that we’re now basically at the end of my racing season, I thought it would be fun to join in one of those little survey link-up things. I really liked this one since it’s about races and I love races! I followed the blog train back to The Right Fits for the initial survey. I definitely have some awesome races in the future, but here’s some of the highlights of the last few years:

Best Finisher’s Shirt
Definitely the shirt I got at the Clemson Tri. It’s made of that soft cotton material and I wear it all the time. This is saying something because I hate Clemson and people assume that I went there when I wear it. I just love it so much.

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Also socks are great

Worst Finisher’s Shirt
I had some trouble thinking on one particular race that had a terrible shirts because I donated all the race shirts that I never wore because they don’t fit.  There were a lot. But, I think the one race that has terrible shirts year after year is the Reedy River Run. I love this race and have done it 3 times and each year the shirts were awful. I didn’t keep any of them. If they’re going to keep doing that, I’d rather they just cut the shirts and the cost of the race.

Best Start Line
Definitely Disney. People may hate them for various reasons, but they sure know how to throw a race. There were fireworks and other random entertainment and I didn’t even mind that much that we were there for almost 3 hours waiting for the race start.

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Best Finish Line
I would say either Savannah Rock and Roll or the Low Country Splash. These are obviously significantly different events, but they each had a pretty cool finish. I loved finishing the Savannah half marathon in Forsyth Park – it was so pretty!  But, finishing the Low Country Splash by swimming right up to the USS Yorktown was kind of awesome. I mean, you can take a stroll in the park anytime, but you can’t go diving in to Charleston Harbor any old day.

Still not mine, but a sweet pic

Best Finish Line Food
Kiawah, definitely. They sure know how to feed people down there. And they give out blondies at mile 20 on the marathon course.

Best Crowd Support
Nashville Rock and Roll. It rained ALL DAY and there were people cheering all along the course out there in the pouring rain. They are awesome. I can’t imagine what it would be like on a nice day!

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Hottest Race
To be honest, I’ve been pretty lucky with racing in the heat. I’ve had a few hot ones but they weren’t unbearable. I did do that bike event – Flight of the Dove – back in August this year that was pretty awful, though not a race.  We determined that if the gates of hell are anywhere, they are probably a few miles south of Clinton, SC.

Coldest Race
Again, I’ve been very lucky with the weather with regard to cold temperatures.  It just doesn’t get that cold in SC and I don’t sign up for very many races outside of this geographic area. The most unexpectedly cold race I’ve done was the Over the Mountain Tri.  It was supposed to be really nice and warm that day, being the last weekend in May, and it was 39 degrees at the race start! This is not ideal triathlon weather.

Added: Wettest Race (not including swimming obviously)
I added this category because if you haven’t noticed, I get rained on a lot. Enough that I’m known in my training circles as a rain magnet and I get blamed for rain at local races a lot. Sorry.  I would have said that the Nashville Marathon was my wettest race, but after Rev3 a few weeks ago, I have to say it wins.  Nashville gets an honorable mention for the all day rain shower, but I was never concerned about losing my contacts during the race! The rain at Rev3 was just ridiculous. I should have brought my goggles with me on the bike.

Most Scenic Course
Lake Logan is still my favorite race for it’s scenic course. I’ve had plenty of people disagree with me, but I just really enjoy going up to Canton for this race! It’s no Lake Tahoe, but compared to Indiana, well…it’s definitely better than cornfields.

Hilliest Course
I will always remember that sufferfest that was the Resolution Run Half Marathon.Whether it was actually the hilliest race I’ve done or not is kind of irrelevant because I remember it as being a monster, so that’s all that matters.

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Flattest Course
If you’re looking for a flat race, just head down to the coast. Charleston, Savannah, Kiawah, all of these are good, flat races. I don’t think it gets any flatter than that!

Most Mental Strength
Most Disappointing Finish
I put these together since they’re the same race. When I fell apart halfway through the Kiawah Marathon last year, I wanted to just quit. I’m not entirely clear on why I kept going except that I seemed to have some weird urge to finish the race even though I was miserable and sucking. It never really felt like a victory though – being 30 minutes off your goal time will certainly do that to you. It was such a big disappointment, and I hate leaving that as the last marathon I do before IMTN, but I have just really not had any desire to train for another one. AT ALL. So, oh well. Maybe I’ll get the urge to try a (n open) marathon again, but it won’t be for a while!

How to pretend you're enjoying a marathon

How to pretend you’re enjoying a marathon

Best Worst Organization
I changed this one to the worst organized race because while I’ve been to tons of well-organized races, I’ve only had a few bad ones.  Tugaloo Tri takes the first prize for this one.  I was super displeased with this race and I will never do it again, and it’s doubtful that I’ll want to do any Georgia Multisports races again.  They don’t have a good reputation as it is, so to fail so magnificently in one of their biggest races is unimpressive.

I hate to leave the post on a sour note, so I’ll just say that I’m pretty excited about Savannah! It’s just a few weeks out and I’ve had some decent runs the past few weeks. I will be slower than last year, but I don’t think a 2:15 is an unreasonable goal for me right now. Either way, this is a fun race and I have some friends coming in from way out of town and I can’t wait to see them!

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