Monday, June 27, 2011

Race Report - Freedom Fest Mini Triathlon

Saturday I participated in our a little triathlon in my own town. $10 to leave my house at 8:30 for a triathlon? Yes please. My mom came up to help out with Sophie, so I was excited to have some race fans.

The swim is at the local beach - a place I swore I would never swim in until last summer when I started doing triathlons. Go figure. I swam here a couple of weeks ago after work and it was cold. And then we had crappy weather and rain for about two weeks, so I was expecting the water to be freezing. And it was. Brr. You could swim out to the freeway and back for a 1/4 mile or out to the swimming raft and back for 1/8 mile. I told myself that I should do the longer swim for open water swim practice. And then I got in the water and the coldness sucked the will to live right out of me and all I could think about was getting out of that damn water as soon as possible. So I did the short swim.

Sophie helped with out with the first transition. And by help, I mean she was all excited to see me and cheering until she realized the race wasn't over and I was leaving again and started screaming bloody murder.

The bike is a 10 mile loop around some country roads. I told myself since I did the short swim I had to make up for it by really working hard on the bike. And I did. I pushed consistently the whole way and had a really great bike. Unfortunately, my bike computer had a minor malfunction and I don't know how wonderful it really was. But I passed everyone I saw in front of me (which actually wasn't that many people) and only had two people pass me. My mom told me I was the 3rd or 4th person off the bike, and the 2nd woman.

Sophie was there to help me at the second transition too. No screaming this time, thankfully. They changed the course this year, so instead of the bike ending back at the beach, we ended near our county fairgrounds basically on the side of the road. Bad course change. There was no real place to leave your bike - I leaned mine up against a tree, glad my mom was there to provide security. And there was a car show going on at the fairgrounds at the same time, so there was a ton of traffic on the road while we were getting off the bike. Scary.

The run was two one-mile loops around the fairgrounds. Or you could do one lap if you wanted. Don't worry, I went around twice! I could feel that I had pushed hard on the bike because I was tired on the run. But I kept pushing and really feel like I left it all out there.

No times (this is REALLY low key event and I didn't wear my garmin) but I finished in either just under or just over 1 hour. Lots and lots of fun. When I woke up Sunday morning I thought "what is wrong with my legs?" Oh, yeah, they're SORE! I wasn't expecting to be sore, but I guess that's a sign that I worked hard. A great workout on what was finally a nice summer day!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Race Report - Grandma's Marathon

Last Friday, Jim (my running partner), Sophie and I left Pine City around 11:30 to try to beat the marathon/weekend traffic into Duluth. I'm glad we left when we did, because traffic was already slow with construction. By shortly after 1:00 we were in Duluth. After a quick lunch, we hit the expo. The expo was a zoo. It seemed that they maybe had more booths this year but in the same amount of space . . . I found it difficult to really look around because there were just so many people. I did end up running into an old friend who my husband and I worked with back in 1998 when we were all working at a state park together. He was running his first marathon (and ended up running a 3:40!).

Sophie decorated a nice Run Mommy Run sign for me for Saturday . . .

After wrapping up at the expo (and a quick trip to the Duluth Running Co. store to use some coupons), we kept driving north to our hotel in Silver Bay. Silver Bay is about 25 miles north of the Two Harbors, where the race starts. While it made for a little more driving, it was nice to be out of the chaos of Duluth.

Friday night we relaxed - hung out in the pool, ordered dinner in, and waited for my mom and sister to show up.

After a kind of late night Friday (my mom and sister had a LONG drive from the cities), I was up at 4:45 and ready to go. The weather forecast was for cool weather and rain. Cool weather? Lovely. Rain? Please not too much. Although it poured on the folks running the half marathon (which started at 6:30), the rain had pretty much died off by the time the full started.

After a quick breakfast of an English Muffin with peanut butter and a banana in the hotel, we took a hotel shuttle to a grocery store parking lot in Two Harbors, and then a big yellow school bus to the start line. My stomach was grumbling a little, so as soon as we got to the starting area, I got in the ridiculously long lines for the porta potties. Lots of people were abandoning the line to get to the start, but I wasn't giving up. I wanted to go before the race started.

I made it through the line and into the porta potty, and to the starting line just before the race started. Of course, this meant starting at the very back of the pack. The clock was at about 8 minutes when I finally crossed the start line.

I didn't really have any time goals for this race. I wasn't sure how my body would handle two marathons in less than 30 days. And with the back issues I have been having, I hadn't run more than 4 miles since Fargo. All I knew was that I really wanted to beat my Fargo time (5:24) and I would be ecstatic if I made it under 5 hours.

The first few miles went by really quickly. I had some stomach pain but just kept telling myself to ignore it and it would go away. Around my 7-8, the stomach pain was at its worst. A girl came up behind me and started talking to me - she complimented me on my outfit, and then we started talking about all sorts of things. Turns out we graduated from the same college (me about 100 years before her, of course). This was just the distraction I needed. We ran together chatting until the mile 9 water stop.

At mile 11 I was feeling better stomach wise but still anxious about the miles left to go. I had been plugging along well - running and stopping to walk only for a little bit at the water stops. I stuck my headphones in and listened to music, which was a nice distraction. I love thinking "only two more songs to the next mile marker."

By this time we had caught up with and passed the 5:30 pacers and the 5:00 pacers. I wasn't sure if they had 4:45 pacers and was hoping we would maybe catch them. I was very conscious of not wanting those 5:00 pacers to catch me.

Around mile 19 we saw the sign welcoming us into Duluth. What a welcome sight! I felt a huge energy boost knowing we were coming into a more populated area and getting that much closer to the finish.

Miles 20 through 26.2 were awesome. That's right, I said awesome. I have never felt so strong at the end of a marathon before. I was still taking my short walk breaks at the water stops, but felt so strong running between them. There were more groups of spectators in this area, and music playing, and just the extra energy of knowing the finish line was close. I felt like a train. Not a train wreck, just a train, chugging towards the finish line. I took my headphones out around mile 22 so I could enjoy the crowds and the finish.

There was a clock at the mile 25 marker and, although I don't remember what it read now, when I saw it I knew I would finish under 5 hours. I was so happy! I couldn't wait to round the corner and look for my mom, sister, and Sophie. I kept running strong towards the finish, searching the spectators for my family. I crossed the line, with the clock time reading 4:58:ish. As soon as I crossed the line, I saw my mom just past the finish line. I actually started running again to run over to her - and ran right past the folks handing out medals. Dork! My mom told me to turn around and get my medal, and snapped a great picture of me getting my race bling.

I was so excited to have run such a strong race. It was perfect running weather (not so perfect for the 3 mile walk back to the car after the race, though - brr!). A great experience at Grandma's. Although I was very stiff Sunday and Monday, I am recovering well - went to Kettlebells Tuesday night, ran 3 miles yesterday, and had a good swim this morning. Tomorrow is my first triathlon of the year. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mini Race Report - Grandma's Marathon

On Saturday I finished my sixth marathon - Grandma's. Finished in 4:51:28. SO happy to see a "4" at the beginning of my time after my craptastic time at Fargo last month. I'll be back with a better report (and pictures) after I find my camera . . .

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Catch Up

Well it's been a couple of weeks. I seem to be stuck in some sort of time warp. I can't believe it is June and a week from Saturday is Grandma's and then it will be the 4th of July and then summer will be over. I hate how fast summer seems to go (especially because winter just drags and drags).

A nice (oxygen deprived) trail run in Colorado.

End of the year golf outing with my book club girls. The Book Club Invitational or the Nerd Fest, depending on who you talk to.

Sophie and I ran races in Grantsburg last weekend - I ran the 5K, Sophie ran the kid's race.

FINALLY got the garden in.

I am off to golf league. Happy training!