Hmm. I suppose it’s been a while. I guess I’ve been a bit busy and have been spending my little free time watching Game of Thrones instead of doing stuff like this. #priorities
So let’s have a look and see what’s been going on since the beginning of March:
Asheville Half Marathon at Biltmore:
Ok, so I did the Bear Craw race at Table Rock the week before this and spent most of the week pretty dang sore. My friend Elizabeth and I were ambassadors for this race again for 2016, but we were both a little burnt out from the work and she was pregnant (I say was because now she’s got a baby!) so we decided to just go and kind of goof off for the race. It ended up being pretty unseasonably warm that day (like high of 79) so I was pretty glad to not be “racing”. We took the first half kind of easy with 5/1 intervals and the last half we spent a lot of time at the aid stations eating oranges. Final time: 2:44. Then we went to the expo for the marathon and handed out packets for the rest of the day (and ate a lot of Roots hummus since they were giving it out!)
March was also home to a short vacation with the fam and some very lackluster half-ironman training due to rain and laziness.
Altamont Marathon Relay:
This was a prep event/fun time to prepare for the Smoky Mountain Relay. I got 3 other Bootlegger ladies for a 4-person team and some of the other Bootleggers were there running the half marathon (including one who ended up winning the event). For the relay, each person ran up and over Altamont Rd once (though two of my team members actually ran back to make it a long run) and we ended up the 4th relay overall (not last). I felt really good about my run because last year I attempted to run up Altamont and suffered a lot – I suffered a lot less during the race. Hopefully next year I will be ready to do the half.
Assault on the Carolinas:
The next weekend was the Assault on the Carolinas bike tour in Brevard, NC. The weather took a swing from unseasonably warm to unseasonably cold and was 35 and windy as all hell on event day. A lot of people (including my coach) bailed on the event, but I figured I would at least go out and do one of the shorter ride (60k instead of 100k). I met up with some of my “old dude cycle friends” and enjoyed the shorter ride then went home and sat on the trainer for an hour just to get a little extra bike time without freezing. This is an excellent event and I highly recommend it.
The next week and a half was a hot mess of a week (work-wise), but I managed to get my long workouts in. The weekend of April 16-17 was the USA Cycling Nation TTT and Crit championships in Greenville and one of the weekend activities was the closure of I-185 prior to the TTT for a “gran fondo” open to the public. $20 to ride on the interstate? You bet. We made a morning of it by starting at our normal place to add 20 miles to the route and ate some Bo-Berry biscuits.
Smoky Mountain Relay:
Next race! The one I’ll always be most excited for because it’s Bootlegger weekend. I was the 12 person team captain this year because last year’s fearless leader decided to start a 6 person ultra team (Ultra Bootleggers, clever right?). We also had a lot of newbies to the team due to 6 people splitting off and they were awesome. I also moved myself from Van 2 to Van 1 this year to see the other half of the course (spoiler: it’s just as good) and I had some more challenging legs. It was a great weekend.
Ok, so that brings us to the end of April! This is a double event weekend, starting with:
Meals for Wheels 100k:
This was like my one good prep ride for Mountains to Main Street. It’s a 62 mile ride with a good bit of elevation gain (5000+ ft) and it also raises money for Meals on Wheels, so good cause there. I rode with my friend Jake “retired guy” and we traded off leading (though he claims I pulled most of the way) and it was a very nice ride. And delicious tacos and beer and the finish, so win!
Lake Murray Tri:
Yea, sprint tri the next day. I love this race, but my coach insisted that I needed to do the MfW ride on Saturday to prepare for the half coming up so I would just have to suffer a bit. Lake Murray is about an hour away from Greenville so I drove down morning of through a massive thunderstorm, though the weather channel insisted that it would be clear at the race site. I got down there and set up all my stuff and BOOM! Thunderstorm rolls in. Thankfully it passed very quickly and the race start was only delayed by 20 minutes or so. The swim went well, but the bike and run were oh so very painful. I managed to keep a good pace on the bike – very close to my time in 2014 but it hurt a whole lot. And the run was just straight bad, though I don’t know what I was expecting. Overall, it was an ok race and I was 2nd out of 2 in my age group.
The next weekend I was out of town for my sister’s graduation and basically trained none for 4 days.
Biltmore Kiwanis 15k:
So, I typically don’t do challenges and things like that for medals but the race director that runs the Asheville Marathon has a “Royal Trifecta” challenge for the 3 races at Biltmore and I figured since I was going to do the Asheville Half again next year, I should go for it now. So the 2nd race of the Series is the Kiwanis 15k/5k – I chose the 15k as a last long run prep before M2M. It was such different weather from the Asheville Half – cold and windy and perfect for running. I liked this race and I think it’s a good value for the cost of the race. You get to run mostly the same course as the half marathon minus the race swag, so if you don’t care about that sort of thing it’s definitely good. I ran a 1:39 which is one of the best longer runs I’ve had in a while so I was quite pleased.
I spent the next work week in Canada which was very productive but not the best timing as I got back Friday afternoon and had to rush around to get ready for Mountains to Main.
Mountains to Main Street:
Ok, so finally to the main event! Signing up for this event was ridiculously foolish. I didn’t train properly, I didn’t WANT to train properly, but I wanted to support this race in it’s first year since it’s in my hometown, so there ya are. The logistics for the race are a bit complicated since there’s not any open water very close to downtown Greenville. So on Saturday you have to drive all the way out to Lake Keowee (like an hour), then to Traveler’s Rest (another hour) to drop off all your race gear. Then on race morning you either have to ride a shuttle or catch a lift with a friend (what I did) out to the swim start. It’s far. I think the race organizers did do a good job communicating all of this to participants because I mentioned to them that at B2B last year it was not as clear.
The swim start was a bit late (8:30), so I hope they update that for next year. Keowee was a very comfortable 72.5 degrees and it was a very nice swim other than dealing with the wall of dudes. I came out of the water in about 32 minutes but kinda fooled around walking to T1 (should have left flip flops there!) and wasted too much time.
Ok so the bike. This is really kind of the main event of the race because it’s kind of a beast. While I never did a course preview, I’m familiar with the roads since I live here and I knew what was coming to me. It killed me anyway. The first 20 miles are very rolling but nothing too bad. Scenic! Then we turned onto Highway 11 and I’m pretty sure that’s what killed me. Those hills are big-uns. None of them are steep but they feel like they go on forever and the downhills are long but aren’t fast enough to carry you much a ways up the next monster. And people tell me it was very windy – that whole section was right into the wind. To be honest, I was too busy dying to notice. After an eternity, we got off 11 and back to rollers. At mile 37, my whole rear hydration unit came off! I stopped and was baffled for a minute because I heard something fall off my bike but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Then I looked down and saw the whole until hanging by my saddle back off the back of my bike. The bolts had completely sheared off. 😦 I couldn’t figure out what to do with it so I ended up just dumping the bottles into by big front one and leaving the whole thing in the ditch so it couldn’t be seen from the road. I was actually able to retrieve it the next day!
After that I was just kind of flustered and wished I would just be done (with 20 miles to go). The rest of the ride was ok, and the high traffic areas were well managed by police and volunteers. I reached T2 in Traveler’s Rest after over 4 hours of biking (ugghhh) and seriously considered turning in my chip but for some reason I put my running shoes on and kept going.
The run is net downhill but it is definitely not all downhill. By this point it was after 1 pm (way late for a 70.3) and it was, well…hot. I was definitely not the only one suffering but I was really only paying attention to me and dodging Swamp Rabbit Trail users. It was awful. It made me seriously question how I managed to do an Ironman last year and what the heck I was even doing out there. I walked most of it. I finally made it to the finish line in 7:24 and I was kinda down about it until I started talking to my friends and teammates and found out that almost everyone was way slow. So I guess I was proportionally slow? Ah well. I am proud that I finished such a challenging course and hope that the race continues to be popular. I will definitely be volunteering for this one next year, though.
I didn’t have any races Memorial Day weekend – a friend and I took a trip to the southwest and visited the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park. Let’s just say it was awesome.