Sunday, November 23, 2014

2015 Goals & Plan

Before the holidays come and wreck plans and goals, I'm formalizing them here in cyberspace to refer to and remember. I'm ready to stay motivated and have a great racing / adventure season in 2015. It starts with having a great plan, outlining goals, and staying motivated.

The 2015 Race Plan:
  1. Jan: Mississippi Blue Marathon
  2. March: Arizona Distance Classic 
  3. March: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim
  4. May: Ironman Texas
  5. June: Ironman 70.3 Boise
  6. August: Mountain Man Long Course

 This is the plan so far. I'm sure more local races will be added later.

Goals:
12:00 Hour Ironman
5:45 Ironman 70.3

Ironman is always on my mind. I want to finally have the race I trained for.
After a PR in 2010 I have yet to race an Ironman or 70.3 at that level.


The next 6 months is about:

  • Getting Faster
  • Leaner
  • Studying the swim, bike, run data on my new Suunto Ambit3 to get faster. 

I'm going to be streaking, too. Run Streaking that is. #rwrunstreak – 36 days of running starting on Thanksgiving and ending on New Years.


Let the season and seasons begin. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

After a DNF

Whenever I failed at something (which is a lot) I have a few days of recovery, sadness and indecision, then I snap back and get back in the game.

On Saturday I dropped out of the Colossal Cave 50k (which was really 34.4 miles or 55K) at mile 24. My legs were dead and I couldn’t run another 10. I kept hitting my toe on rocks and stumbling, but not falling. I knew I could become seriously injured if I continued.

The 50k was my A race. I’ve been training for it since my bike crash.

And, I didn’t finish.

The week leading up to the race I was considering not doing it; even the day before I was thinking about rolling my registration. However, I’m glad I started but I’m struggling with coming to terms with dropping out of the race.

Analysis:
I had the training plan and while I didn’t follow it exactly, I did a lot of it. This has worked for me in the past but this time it blew up in my face.
The last month leading up to the race I didn’t do Saturday/Sunday long runs but I did do long back to back runs the first two months of the training plan.
I didn’t run on the terrain similar to the race during the last month; I ran on trail a lot during the first two months of the training plan.
The six weeks leading up to the race I was running consistently and feeling good while running. I just didn't do what I needed to do for a trail run on rocky terrain.

Saturday just wasn’t my day.

I know everything I did wrong and how to fix it for the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim run in March.

  • I know I need a gear change.
  • I need to try a different running shoe. I’ve tried the minimal shoes and the zero drop. I will go back a better padded, more support running shoe. (Suggestions, anyone?!)
  • I want to try different running shorts. (less chafing thank you very much)
  • I need to follow a trail running plan consistently. 

Trying to turn this negative into a positive isn’t very difficult when you are a committed life long endurance athlete. That is what I am. I love new challenges, new trails, and new places.

I want still want to do it all and see it all.

The best part of Saturday’s race:
The scenery on the Arizona Trail is spectacular. The trail has the best single track I have ever run on in Arizona.  

Photo Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/CV5050?fref=photo
The second best part of the race was the organization of the race. Thank you to Christie (she and her husband were in charge of the aid stations) for driving me back to the start. The aid station volunteer were amazing, from taking my CamelBak and filling it to the brim, to the awesome peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.


The Colossal Vale 50/50 is a great race. I will finish this race next year. 


Mark.My.Words.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Race Travel Planning - Ironman, Marathons, oh my

In one day I


It’s been a big hit to my bank account but I’m so excited. I love travel planning. 

I’m excited to see my friend Rich, who throughout our 15 year friendship has always traveled to all the places I’ve lived to hang out with me. Now, I get to see his new chosen place, just outside Jackson, Mississippi.

I get to see his southern place, new home and the life he has made.This is happening. 

In two days I will be running a 50K trail run and celebrating my birthday with my most-awesome friend, Missy. Then a few days later celebrating her birthday.

After that I start back to full Ironman training, another marathon, and running the Grand Canyon in late March.

Life is good.

I feel very fortunate that I get to do all the things I do.
I feel blessed to have the family I do, and friends that have come, and stayed in my life.

I can't wait to race Ironman Texas with Mark, my long-distance Ironman friend. I can't wait to find out what race we will do in 2016. I'm thinking, Maryland or Chattanooga. But I really hope it's Lake Placid; I have unfinished business there.  


This tri life, this running life, keeps me busy, fit, and happy. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Post Marathon and Triathlon Weekend

What a great weekend of friends, training, and dogs.

After a month of constant activity: Duke City Marathon, Space Coast (Florida) work trip, Oceanside Olympic triathlon, this weekend was full of Tucson activities with friends.

The Loop - Santa Cruz
Don’t get me wrong Saturday and Sunday I was up at 5am getting reading for a bike and run, but at least I wasn’t driving in my car for hours on end. A fun 40 mile bike ride on the loop with Missy and a 10.5 mile run around desert in Tucson with Kassandra.

10.5 Mile Training Run with Kassandra

It’s nice to be home.

Home=where my dogs are.


I’m still undecided about future running and triathlon races. I haven't planned my 2015 race schedule yet. I know, shocking, since it is November. 

I still want to do a marathon in every state at least every three months but I'm still trying to find the right race - at the right time - that doesn't cost a fortune. 

For sure: Ironman Texas May 2015 and I'm 11 weeks into the training plan. 

Next weekend the crazy schedule ramps up again with Ragnar Trail Relay on the November 7 & 8. Then, the 15th is the 50K in Vail, AZ.


The best part of this weekend: the temperatures are perfect. Right now, a pleasant 65 degrees at 10am on Sunday, and cloudy. 
I could get used to this. 

Oceanside – Lifetime Tri Race Report

Lifetime Tri puts on a great triathlon.
On Saturday the pros gave a talk and 3 Race Tips from Andy Potts were used during the race:

  • Swim:  Be sure the tips of your fingers hit the water first
  • Bike: Remember high cadence
  • Run: Stand tall
I remembered all these tips as I entered the calm, ocean bay on Sunday October 26. I have never competed in a triathlon in the ocean and since it was in a bay I didn’t worry. However, I forgot about swallowing ocean water; that took a while to get used to.

Once I was out of the water the bike was fast. It has been many years since I’ve race an Olympic distance triathlon and I biked this course faster than on any recent training rides – so fun!!!  This is what I was thinking as I was biking:

     I am a triathlete. I get so much joy from swimming biking and running. Thank you to all my friends and family who travel, train and race with me ! What a great life.

The run was by the ocean and it was an AWESOME course! Some of the waves were crashing over the rocks and I had to avoid the water. Aid stations were great. The entire day was overcast and the temperature was perfect for racing. 

Oceanside Pier
A perfect race day and I love Oceanside, California. I’ll be back for this race. For. Sure.

My work mug to remember an awesome race. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Duke City Marathon Race Report - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Monday morning post-marathon status update: My legs are sore.

This weekend was quick. Drove to Albuquerque Saturday morning and drove back to Tucson Sunday afternoon.

Pre-Race Beer in Pet Friendly Albuquerque - Kelly's Pub
Race day started without a hitch. I got to the start line 10 minutes before the race (a big plus that you can park close to the start and no buses). 


Start Line 7am Oct 19, 2014
When the gun went off the song playing was Chariots of Fire which took me off guard because it is such an emotional song. I started the Duke City Marathon with tears running down my cheeks.

The course starts through downtown and heads towards the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park and bike path. It was a perfect fall morning. Cool temps made the first hour of running feel easy. 

I stayed with the 4:30 pacer from the Albuquerque Road Runners for the first hour but once I stopped to get a gel out of my CamelBak I never caught up with them.
The only hills on the course were towards the 13.1 turn around point and they were due to bridges and connectors. There were a few spectators along the path with cute signs.

Aid Stations – I loved seeing the Junior ROTC kids from the local high schools at the aid stations. They were very serious about handing out Gatorade and water; they did a GREAT job!

I didn't run more than 16 miles in my training for various reason I won’t bore you with, so I knew the final 10 miles would be tough; and they were. I tried to speed walk when I had to walk but mainly it was a slow pace. I didn't wear a watch or Garmin.

I feel like I finished strong and while the time was a disappointing 5:08, I still feel good about the race. One of these days I’d like to finish closer to 4 hours. It’s all about the training…..

Post race analysis - I always forget how emotional I get racing endurance sports. When I sign up for marathons and triathlons I think ‘I've done this before - piece of cake’. Marathons aren't easy and never will be. Ironman is hard. Both are extremely emotional for me at the start, in the middle, and the finish line.

I’m writing this more for myself to remember to train harder and remember not to take anything for granted in this life. 

Nothing is easy – 
everything, everything takes work, perseverance, and patience.

I’m so thankful for my friend Missy who came with me and eased the stress of travel and pre-race anxiety (I always forget about that too). It was 7-8 hour drive each way and it was more fun with Missy who understands my irrational worry. Thank you, Missy.

Duke City Marathon Lodging Recommendation:
Stay at the host hotel for shuttle transportation to the race. I didn't do this but the marathon expo was held at the host hotel and it would have been nice to stay there. I didn't see many hotels near the start so you have to have a car if you stay near the airport which is a short drive to the start.

Race Day Tips: It’s not a huge race so parking near the start isn't a problem. Bring your own nutrition - no GU or food of any kind at the aid stations. Aid Stations were every two miles. 

#50marathons50states - 3 states completed: Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico

Monday, September 15, 2014

Something for the First Time - Long Run

This blog post was inspired by an Instagram photo I saw today after my 11 mile run.
www.teamallamerican.com
I love Team All American's Instagram photos - very inspirational. 

When I saw the post I began thinking of the last time I did something for the first time. I love remembering my first triathlon, my first marathon, my first Ironman, my first 50K. You never forget a race distance you did for the first time.
Then I remembered that just this morning I did something for the first time: I ran a new training run course that I had been thinking about for a long time, tried doing twice but ended up cutting it short and not running it.

I had every excuse not to do the full loop I had in mind: 1) I didn’t really know how long it was 2) I wasn’t really sure if I would have enough water 3) there was no turning around once I started into the 6th mile.

I wanted to do the loop on Sunday for my prescribed long run so I could really know the distance but I got up late and wasn’t motivated to run. I waited until 7am to get out the front door and the sun was already over the mountains and temps were creeping up into the 80s. I ran 2.5 miles and decided to turn around for a disappointing 5 mile run.

However, Monday dawned and I woke up fairly early (5am). I felt guilty about my lack of long run this weekend and Duke City Marathon is in 5 weeks. I needed time on my feet.
At 6:30 I was out the door unsure of how far I would go.

This time, when I hit the point where I would continue on the loop or turn back for 3 miles (known) back home, I kept going. At mile 6 I entered the unknown.I didn't know how long or how far it would be back to my house.

At Mile 7 I ate my Gel and took this picture:

At Mile 8 I started to worry about running out of water. I had fleeting thoughts of calling my friend Kassandra to come pick me up. At Mile 8.5 I saw a Walmart and ran in to fill up my Camebak at the McDonald in the entry way. Lucky. 

At Mile 9 I was worrying that I would be late for work, not knowing how long it was going to take to get back home.

By the time I hit Mile 9.5 I knew I was at least 30 minutes away and I would do this.
It was hot, it felt like 100 degrees.
I was sweaty and gross.
At Mile 10 all my negative thoughts passed.

At Mile 11 I was done. And happy I was not dead and wouldn't be late for work.
I got it done. It was stressful, like most unknowns are. I worried a lot. I ran a bit faster than I would normally run on a long run.

I like this route, it’s primarily on the Loop in Oro Valley: paved, off the road, and shady in parts.
It was a good training day.

P.S. Running the Duke City Marathon will be my first race in New Mexico.