April Recap

I figure I better throw in an April recap before the end of May gets here! April was definitely a fun month.

Training:
SWIM: 31,250 yards
Little build in swimming during the last 2 weeks of April in anticipation of the Y Nationals swim meet.  First open water swim was at the end of April as well! The water was a bit chilly still but it was nice to get outside.

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BIKE: 204 miles
Biking was a little low last month because of all the traveling I did on the weekends – that really cuts into my long ride times. Plus I had 2 trainer rides (because of thunderstorms) so that probably adds another ~2 hours to the count.

RUN: 62.3 miles
Drills, drills and more drills. The first 3 weeks of April my workouts were 3 miles or less (except races) with the entire focus on form.  I’ve basically started from scratch and that also means starting at the beginning with distance. So it’s been a slow build.  But I think I am getting better so maybe there’s something to it! It felt very strange running so little, but I’m sure my coach knows what she’s doing so I’m sticking to it.

Crosstrain:  5 or so hours. Lots of function strength focusing on hips/glutes for running form.

Races:
Cherry Blossom 10 Mile
Smoky Mountain Relay
Definitely glad to have some fun races in here before the serious Ironman training starts in!

I probably did some other interesting stuff last month but I can’t remember. Coming up in May:

Y Master’s Nationals swim meet – Ok well this already happened because I’m slow but it was a mix of swim meet and Florida vacation so it was pretty great

Raleigh 70.3 relay – I’m joining 2 of my friends to be Team Wonder Women at Raleigh.  I’m swimming (obviously) so I’ll probably be training through this weekend. My coach is determined to get me into shape (or kill me, not sure).

And that’s about it for April!

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Smoky Mountain Relay

WHAT A WEEKEND. There’s a lot of this weekend that never should see the light of day but there’s quite a lot that’s already been plastered all over social media so we might as well just embrace that. We had a hell of a good time – the people who were on the team last year said that it was the best time they’ve had since, well, last year’s relay.

There’s some history here – last year, one of my friends emailed me about some people we knew looking for some people to join a team for this relay but I was already signed up for the Diva Half Marathon so I had to say no. But I definitely wanted in for another year! Unfortunately, a few of last year’s team had to skip the 2015 race due to injuries, children, etc so there were some spots that needed filling! And so I got to become a Blue Ridge Bootlegger. There was a whole lot of planning and preparation that went into making this happen and it sounds like it went a whole lot better than last year according to the Bootlegger veterans. But I’ll skip all that for know and get straight to the race because it’s awesome.

This relay is maybe a little different from some of the Ragnar events – though I’ve never done one. It goes from Nowhere, NC to Nowhere Else, NC with a whole lot of nothing in the middle. I mean, really nothing.

Really. Terrible

Really. Terrible.

Ok – the actual details for those wanting to check it out.  The start is about 30 minutes from Brevard, NC in the Pisgah National Forest and the finish is at the Nantahala Outdoor Center near Bryson City.  In between? Well we’re not really sure because it’s seriously middle of nowhere but it is some nice middle of nowhere. It’s about 215 miles over 36 legs.

We packed our vans and left from Furman Thursday afternoon pretty early since last year they left way too late and missed all the fun at packet pick-up. It was in Brevard, NC at the Oskar Blues Brewery which is amazing.  We made sure to have a great time hanging out here for a few hours with the other teams and race staff.

We also made sure to have plenty of beer and food truck food. I had a Chubburger which was amazing and it was also the last good meal I would have for 36 hours so I’m really glad I ate it.  Once the party broke up, we headed back to the hotel for a quick team meeting before going to bed.

PicMonkey Collage

Our team was with the first group of starters at 6 am Friday morning, so we got up bright and early to drive out to the race start. Even though I was in van 2 and we wouldn’t run until late that afternoon, we still wanted to be there to support our team! Unfortunately, this meant no hotel breakfast and the hotel staff was really rude to us when we wanted to take some of the dry goods (bananas and oatmeal) with us for breakfast so we had to munch on van food instead.

We got to wait around the start line for a while since leg 1 looped back around to the start. Our van decided that we would hang out with the rest of our team for the first few legs and then head out to the end of leg 6 so we could get ready.  So we hung around and cheered and got some great pictures.

PicMonkey Collage1

Once we got to the van exchange (a campsite…somewhere), the boring part started. As much fun as these relays are, you really spend a lot of time just…waiting around. There’s lots of boredom eating.  And cat napping in the van. Once we started getting closer to the actual van exchange, a bunch of teams starting showing up so there was a pretty good crowd cheering the incoming runners on. Finally our runner showed up and our van was off! Our legs were: 1) 1- 4 miles straight up, 2) 2 crazy technical trails, and 3) 3 easy peasy flat valley runs. Obviously, I had one of the flat valley runs since I am definitely not a trail runner nor in good enough shape for an intense climb.

Scenes from the first van shift

Scenes from the first van shift – Legs 6-12

A word of note for the exchange between legs 9 and 10 – Leg 9 is a really, really downhill trail run and the driving route to reach the exchange is like 45 mins minutes. We had to drive down from the Parkway and all the way around the mountain the get there and when we reached the exchange….our runner was there waiting for us. So our two suggestions would be to either take off from the exchange as soon as runner 8 is done OR send runner 10 with your first van and have them take that person to the exchange.  If you have a fast runner 9, the second option may be your only option because we didn’t dilly dally for long and he still beat us.

Anyways, we finished up at exchange 12 and met the rest of our team there for a quick costume contest photo before send runner 13 off*.

You can't unsee this.

You can’t unsee this.

Once van 1 took over again, we grabbed our pizza (one of our runner’s parents lives near this area – Cullowhee? and had brought us pizza for dinner) and then headed to Franklin where we had reserved a hotel room**.  We crashed for a few hours (also showers) – planning to get back out to exchange 18 for our next legs starting around midnight. Luckily we had cell service*** at this point because we got a text from the other van saying they were about an hour ahead of when we expected them to finish! So our captain dragged us all out of bed so we could hustle out to the exchange. It was raining (of course). Apparently it had pretty much rained non-stop since we finished running earlier that day. And the moment our runner started his first leg, it stopped! HAH. One bit of good luck from the rain magnet.

These legs were all in the middle of nowhere, mostly gravel/dirt packed road and very much in the dark (and fog). Leg 19 is the run from hell – so just know that. Legs 20-23 are moderate elevation change on pretty good gravel forest service roads – nice for running, but an….interesting van ride. Leg 24 was back on pavement but all uphill. I had 23 which was probably the worst quality road of all of them. It was very muddy, rocky with lots of loose gravel.  Some good things to have for these night runs: A headlamp (mandatory), reflective vest (mandatory), blinky red light (mandatory) and a running flashlight. We had a couple of these Nathan lights…they are the best thing ever. It definitely kept me from busting my face on the rough road and it was extremely helpful in the fog. There’s not much to say about these runs – we didn’t take any pictures or even talk much but it was really cool. Very peaceful and maybe a little creepy, but beautiful.

Exchange 24 was at the top of a ridge – you couldn’t tell at first because of the dark and fog but as it got closer to dawn, the fog cleared out a bit and you could see the mountains and so many stars. Really cool place.

The other van took over again for their last legs and we took off back to the hotel for one last little nap. We slept for a bit, then decided that a real meal might be nice so we packed up early and found some breakfast at a pretty good diner in downtown Franklin (at this point it’s about 9 am on day 2).

FOOD

FOOD

Then we went out to wait at exchange 30 to start our last legs.

Off we go!

Off we go! This runner had a doggie friend for her entire 7 mile run. One tough dog.

These last legs are more of what you’d expect – big hills.  With the exception of one (my leg, of course), these were all very challenging, include the appropriately named “One Tough Mother” leg (32, if you need to know). I had leg 33, which was 5 miles dooowwwwwnnnnnn. It’s a good opportunity to run fast, even if you’re tired because it’s 1200 ft of lost elevation.

Check out that totally improved running form

Check out that totally improved running form. I look miserable but I’m actually feeling pretty good. My quads hurt.

Once we dropped off our last runner, we took off for the finish line at the NOC to wait for her.

Yaaaaaaaaay

Yaaaaaaaaay

We rented a cabin at the NOC so after we finished our post-race beer, we went back to the cabin where a couple of the runner’s SOs had been preparing dinner for us (nicest people ever) and there was much celebrating (and eating).

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So, I don’t think I can say enough good things about this experience. We had an absolute blast the SMR team did a great job. I can only hope to encourage more people to give it a try because I’m pretty sure there’s nothing else like it!

Some general notes

*The goat story: This happened…sometime during leg 14. I wasn’t there but we got the story from our other van. Apparently one of the runners from another team was being followed by what they thought was 2 dogs and as he got closer…

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Yes, you will see that this is, in fact, not a dog, but a goat. Apparently it was very friendly, so it was someone’s pet goat.  Then some crazy lady tried to come and get the goat because she knew who it belonged to or something….it’s not entirely clear but it’s definitely the kind of story that captures what SMR is.

**Some notes on cell service. Most of this relay is spent with NO cell service. The race guide does a pretty good job telling you where there will be service but be prepared to keep it turned off most of the race.  If you’re concerned about safety, a CB radio may be a good idea -also good to communicate with your other van.

***The hotel room: This was the BEST THING EVER. Apparently last year they slept in some barn near exchange 18 and it was miserable, and this year the race director gave us information for a great deal on a Microtel Suites in Franklin. It was like $55 – split between 12 people, it was probably the best $5 we’ve ever spent. The hotel is about 30 mins from exchange 12 and less than 20 from exchanges 18, 24 and 30. Basically right in the middle of everything.

$: Costs. This is not a cheap endeavor.  I feel like this gets kind of glossed over but it’s important.  Race Entry, night before hotel, vans, gas, hotel on Friday night, food, cabins at NOC, t-shirts, more food. It definitely adds up.

^^: Elevation. Haha the SMR team picked on Ragnar a little because they were bragging about their hardest leg: 10 miles and 2800 ft of elevation gain.  Leg 19 (the hell leg) climbs 3000 ft over 5.5 miles and it is truly terrible.  This is a challenging race and training is a must. Lots of sustained climbs, trails, and rough roads. It’s not the Rocky Mountains, but these are no joke!

CaptureOk, that’s all. I know it was long, but I hate drawn out race recaps.  But I hope I convinced you that this is something you want to do in the future!

 

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Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race Recap

Well this is a bit late, and there’s already about 10,000 race reports out there already but we’ll go ahead and throw mine in there too.

My friend Meredith moved to DC at the end of last summer and we wanted to make plans for me to come visit – especially because I’d never been to DC before. Sidenote:Everyone says they went in middle school or whatever; my middle school normally did 8th grade trips, but guess which year I was in 8th grade? 2001. Yea that trip did not happen. Anyways, we figured I could plan to make the trip that weekend, but we entered the lottery for the Cherry Blossom race as a fun thing to do with our weekend. We were definitely excited to get in!

Onto race weekend. Saturday morning I had a 3 mile “taper run” on my schedule and there was this Run with a Ranger event that Meredith wanted to do so that worked out pretty perfectly. The run started at the Washington Monument at 8 and there were already about a bazillion people there to see the trees. We did a 3 mile loop around a few monuments and through the cherry trees and made stops every half mile or so for the rangers leading the group to give us some history about the trees. It was pretty interesting, but by the end of the run, there were so many people around, it was kind of impossible to run so it was good to be finished.

PicMonkey Collage

Afterwards, we went to the expo to pick up our packets. It was not crowded at all, so apparently the trick is to not go right when the expo opens (I think we were there around 10:30?). We picked up a pretty good pile of free samples, and I ended up buying this Flip Belt as well. I’ve seen it before when all the bloggers got it for free a while back, but I never pay attention to those sponsored posts. I tried it on at the expo and really liked it. I wore it the next day at the race as well and was really pleased – I carried my phone and nutrition and it didn’t budge.

Onto race day! We rode the metro into the city with everybody else and their mom and timed our arrival just perfectly with just enough time to hit the port-a-potties and get into the corral just after the elite women’s start. The only bad part about this was that we were towards the back of the corral it ended up being way too far back for us.

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By now,  everybody knows that the course had to be shortened due to an accident on the race course earlier that morning.  We kind of heard the announcer say something to that effect, but we couldn’t hear the details way back in our corral, so I just hoped that the change would be evident with the thousands of other runners in front of us.

My race plan from the coach was to do the first two miles nice and easy, then do 9:40 pace for 1 mile with a 1 minute walk for the rest of the way – with a big focus on proper form.  This was fine for the first two miles since we started behind the 11:30 pace group – everybody else was going relatively slower too.  But at mile 3 when we tried to speed up, we found it pretty challenging since there were just so many people everywhere and aid stations were at a dead stop. So we ran fast where we could, walked when we had no choice and stopped at the aid stations to get water.  The crowds didn’t let up for the entire race. I guess when you try to cram that many people into narrow streets that’s just they way it will be!

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I finished in 1:40:39 for the official race distance of 9.39 miles – not a PR pace by any stretch but not a bad race for me these days. I feel like this race could be PR friendly since it’s so flat (someone said there was a hill at the end…what hill???) IF you start in the right corral. But if you start in the back you’re going to be stuck back there so it’s a good idea to give a good time estimate when registering.

My hips and glues were SO SORE the next two days which is good, because it means I might actually be starting to run properly instead of shuffling around. Hopefully this will make me faster eventually? I’ll keep trying…

So, we definitely had a good time at this race. The weather was great and it was awesome to have the peak bloom days be on race day.  While I wouldn’t want to do this race all the time it’s definitely worth making the trip to DC for at least once.

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March is Freaking Over

Ok, where is my time going? Yesterday it was a year until Ironman Chattanooga and now we’re under the 6 month mark.

So here’s where I’ve been this month:

Swimming: 25,950 yds
Biking: 211 miles
Running: 65 miles
Smattering of yoga and strength

Races/Events: Asheville Half Marathon, Swamp Rabbit Cyclebration

Other nonsense: Moving, Ug

Not a huge month – with the mid month race (taper and recovery) and the move (a workout in itself) there was a lot of focus on getting me to the race healthy and bringing me out of it ready to start triathlon training.  Swimming was master’s practices – still mostly focused on meets since we have Y Nationals coming up in May! Biking was just base building and running was half-marathon focused. Now that it’s over, it’s time to start focusing on Ironman training.

Last Thursday, I met with my coach in person to talk running form. She had me do a few laps around a track to video me (it’s not pretty), then we spent 40 minutes or so talking about what is bad and doing drills. I’ll be spending the next 6-ish weeks basically…re-leaning to run. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a huge challenge but hopefully it will be worth it.

The other thing I’m re-learning is nutrition. I kind of take the lazy/prideful approach to nutrition. I normally eat a pretty solid meal/snack (depending on the time of day) before workouts – mostly because I hate carrying extra stuff during workouts – especially running.  I also got a little sucked into the whole mentality of less nutrition = more bad-ass. I hear all those guys saying, “OH well I did an Ironman with only one gu so there” and I get feeling kind of shamed because I eat more than that during an Olympic tri. But I’ve been officially schooled on this subject. I drink enough water but I am far, far below what I need in calories, so I’m having to practice on every workout > 1 hr to get my stomach used to the amount.  I’m limited on the brands I can eat (no Gu ever, no clif products or powerbar products while running) and I’m kind of terrified to try new brands but Katie recommended Infinit so I’ve been trying it out on the bike with no problems so far.  I want to try it out on some shorter runs to make sure I don’t have to suffer for long if it doesn’t sit well.  So for the half marathon, I stuck with my usual stuff (Honey Stinger and Hammer Gel) but at a lot more of it than I normally would – 5 instead of 1 during a half marathon!

So I’m definitely learning a lot.  I’m finding more and more than going with the coach was a good idea.  I clearly have no idea what I’m doing.

Other random stuff:

-The Swamp Rabbit Cyclebration was last Saturday. It was 32 degrees on the event morning and you can imagine I was not happy to have to dig out all of my winter cycling clothes that I had put away – foolishly thinking that winter was over. Thankfully it was a sunny day, but I was starting to get used to not having to ride with 10 layers of clothing on. I did the 40 mile ride with a couple of frozen friends and it was a really nice (hilly, as always) ride. The event supports the Greenville Greenways.

-As I mentioned earlier, I moved into a new apartment. Moving sucks and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

-My Undress still isn’t here and I’m very sad about that. A few of my friends have theirs already and I’m filled with jealousy. Please send it to me soon!!!

-THANK GOODNESS daylight saving time is here. Rides after work for everyone!

What’s coming up on my schedule:

-Next weekend, I’m headed to DC to visit a friend and run the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile! I’m very excited; I’ve never been to DC so this should be a lot of fun.

-April 17-18: Smoky Mountain Relay. I am so happy to get to join the Blue Ridge Bootleggers this year since some of last year’s team couldn’t join again – and I missed out big-time last year while I was running the Diva Half Marathon instead (why did I do that??).

-May 7-10: YMCA Master’s Nationals swim meet in Sarasota.  So this is probably more of a vacation but I did sign up for the 400 IM in a moment of weakness.

Any triathlons?? Hah. None at the moment. I’m considering the Lake Murray Sprint at the end of May but as of right now I’m not signed up for any until August.

So that’s March. I guess I’ll be back in a month!

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Asheville Half Marathon

Has the Asheville Marathon finally come and gone? I was so pleasantly surprised when I was picked to be an ambassador for this race back in what….August? I feel like it’s been forever. The race sold out at the end of November, so I feel like my ambassador duties waned a bit after that.  I don’t want to say I forgot about the race, but it was definitely not in the forefront of my mind with less than 200 days left until IM Chattanooga (who’s counting???)

This was a prime example of how to NOT taper.  The weekend before this race I moved into a new apartment – from a downstairs apartment into a second floor. Lots of stairs. I have a ton of wonderful friends (and my even more wonderful mother) who helped but by Sunday night I was totally exhausted. I struggled through the next few days of workouts to a rest day on Wednesday…where I had to be at work for a 4:30 AM meeting.  And again on Thursday. Extra sleep fail.

Friday, Elizabeth and I headed up to Asheville right after work to join some of the other ambassadors for dinner and drinks at Wicked Weed Brewing – which, OK, sounds ridiculous but it was really great.  Really good beer and a very tasty burger. It’s definitely a place to visit in Asheville!

Don't mind me, just stuffing my face

Don’t mind me, just stuffing my face

Saturday was expo day, and as ambassadors, we needed to work a shift at the expo.  Which typically I would not mind at all, but I was dead on my feet at the end of my shift!  I helped set-up and handed out goody bags for the last hour. It was a ton of fun getting to interact with all the runners though.  After my shift, I attempted to do my planned shake-out run but it was pitiful.  I ditched the last half mile and took a 2 hour nap, then stretched for a while before dinner. Elizabeth wanted tacos for dinner, so we went to White Duck Taco Shop once our other two friends arrived from Greenville – and it was as good as promised!

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Race morning arrived early! We had shuttle tickets onto the Biltmore estate from the hotels (we had earned free rooms at the Doubletree) so we met in the lobby at 5:45 – this was definitely a huge convenience. While there’s plenty of parking at Antler Hill Village, there was lots of traffic heading into the estate so the race director encouraged people to take the shuttles. The more shuttle riders, the more runners can be accommodated!

We found our fruit cutter extraordinaire:

One-woman Volunteer and Cheer Squad

One-woman bagel cutter and Cheer Squad

And made sure to get a picture with the other ambassadors:

10491070_10206239759252452_862197741585756927_nAnd we were off!  I am in no shape for a PR half marathon right now.  I know it and my coach knows it, and she wrote me a race plan that focused on good execution with heart rate, but not speed.  This can only help me as I focus more on speed later in the year.

This race is not all hills as you might expect, being in Asheville. But the first 6 miles are up, up, down, uuuuuuuuup, then you reach the house. So it was definitely a challenge to keep my heart rate low while running uphill for 20 minutes. I really focused on sticking to the plan and enjoying the scenery instead of staring at my slow pace on my watch.

720x540.jpeg.de8f3501328c492994cd4cc0a24cb926Reaching the house was exciting since it meant the uphill running was done (for the half marathon, at least).  There aren’t any pictures of me over there, but this is my friend Kim looking great.  Once we ran past the house, the course went down into the gardens off the side, then a whole lot of doooooowwwwwwwwn.

Once you reach the bottom of the hill, the rest of the half is flat.  The course winds around a big field with horses that is normally not a part of the estate that the public can visit which is pretty cool.  Miles ~7-13 are mostly packed dirt/gravel trail, so it’s not road but it’s certainly not technical trail (and as I said, flat).

Still not me, but whatever

Still not me, but whatever

By mile 9, I was hurting.  My pace by heart rate got slower and slower, but I knew if I walked my coach would probably scold me so I kept going! (sometimes a little accountability goes a long way). The last little bit is an out and back that passes near the finish line and it’s a little bit crowded.  It’s still on the dirt path but with runners going out and coming in (plus fast marathoners reaching mile 20) it was a bit tight.  Mile 12 was “all out” so I gave it everything I had left and finished (up a hill) in 2:26:55.

Definitely not my best but I followed the plan on a challenging course.  I was disappointed at first, but my coach was pleased so….I guess that’s good?

After I was done, I got my blanket (best race swag ever) and headed out to find my friends to cheer for Kim (who was running the marathon).

Hangin' Out

Hangin’ Out

We hung out here until Kim passed by and then headed back up to the finish line so I could get some food. There was a good selection of stuff from Bi Lo (I love me some Bi Lo since I shop there all the time) and there was definitely plenty for everyone. We hung out for a while waiting for Kim – the marathon course came very near the finish line, which is kind of unfortunate for the runners but great for us, then ate some more until she finished!

I was also very amused by something. Your shoes are great.

I was also very amused by something. Your shoes are great.

We spent the rest of the day hitting up the winery:

How many tastings can we get before they throw us out?

How many tastings can we get before they throw us out?

Eating ice cream (at the Hop, courtesy of Elizabeth)

10433126_10152624626046851_6812438988376192001_nThen crashing at home. We definitely had a great weekend.

This race is a ton of fun.  While it’s not the most PR-friendly course, it’s definitely beautiful and being able to run on the Biltmore Estate is an experience worth having!  The race swag is also really great.  The weather can be unpredictable at this time of year but we definitely had some fantastic weather this year!

So, for me, a great experience, a slow time, but I would definitely do this race again. For you? The good news is next year, the race is going to a two-day format!

1610895_10152640672430981_6865566347340411747_nThis is great because it will allow more runners to come to this race (plus crazy people who will want to do both. not me). So that’s something to think about.  Maybe I’ll see you there next year? =)

 

 

 

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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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