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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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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