That New Shoe Feel

Isn’t there just something about new running shoes? That fresh-out-of-the-box feel (and smell!), the perfect amount of cushion and support, and a fast, new feel. Man, I love new running shoes.

I ran in a new pair of Brooks Launch the other day, and had my fastest run in months. The weather was perfect, I felt really strong, and ran fast. I felt good.

Coincidence? Or new shoes?

You decide.

What’s your go-to running shoe?

 

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{race report} rock n roll los angeles

I’ve been looking forward to Rock N Roll Los Angeles since April.  First, I love California – the sun, the beach, the perfect temperature year-round.  Second, its Halloween weekend and everyone (well, almost everyone) wears costumes when running.  I mean, how fun is that?! (keep reading for some of my favorite costumes)

Rock n Roll LA was my last race with Transamerica for 2014.  I wanted to run my best race yet, and raise as much money as I could for ASPCA.  I went into the weekend feeling pretty good; I made sure to see my chiropractor for an adjustment and Graston before leaving, and even though I wasn’t running as much as I should’ve been, I felt surprising calm about the race.

Race Weekend/Expo
BJ wasn’t able to make the trip to LA, but I was fortunate enough that my mom could.  Mom, LJ, and I headed to LA on Thursday; I figured that would give us enough time to get settled and adjusted to the time change.  LJ is an amazing traveler (I started him young and he’s already been on 7 roundtrip flights).  The only “complaint” I got was from a passenger sitting behind us, “He’s very cute and friendly, but he doesn’t like to nap”. Ha!  We were very fortunate to have a row to ourselves, and LJ loved having his own seat.  I hope he doesn’t get use to that.

Once we arrived, I had expo commitments on Friday and Saturday.  RnRLA expo seemed a little more laid-back than other expos I’ve worked.  Maybe it’s the California vibe?!  This was also a smaller race than RnR Philly, so it didn’t seem as crowded.  With less runners registered, I really had a chance to engage with the runners that stopped by the Transamerica booth.  It was a lot of fun to talk with runners and explain the concept of the Tomorrow Chaser program!  I had a chance to see Pavement Runner (PR ran both the 5k & Half-Marathon), along with Point One Miles.  And one of the highlights of my weekend was seeing According to Kelly and meeting her adorable family!  Kelly and I were on the same Nuun team for the inaugural Nuun Hood to Coast, and we’ve kept in touch.  It’s been really fun getting to know (and see!) runners that I’ve connected with over social media, especially since we don’t live in the same cities – but happen to run the same races.

After expo commitments were finished, mom, LJ, and I explored LA and Santa Monica.  We walked down Hollywood Blvd and saw “the stars”, we rode the Carousel at The Pier, put our toes in the Pacific Ocean, danced to street music, and ate really well.  We had so much fun!

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Race Day
While I didn’t run in full costume, I decided to run with leopard ears and a tail.  It was the perfect complement to ASPCA (and actually really fun to do something I don’t normally do!).  I also had the privilege of seeing and running with Dominick, the random runner I met at RnR San Francisco but ended up running with the whole race and connecting with post-race (that’s the beauty of social media).  He lives in Pasadena and was planning to run anyway, so we decided to connect and run together.

Screen Captures

It was a great morning for racing, maybe a little hot but without (as much) humidity, the temperature was bearable.  When I arrived, I went on-stage for a pre-race interview, then spent the remainder of the time stretching and mentally preparing for the race. I was ready to run (and pass a lot of runners!).  The 5K and Half-Marathon started at the same time, so the start was congested and a little confusing (was I passing a half-marathon runner or a 5k runner??).  I passed Pavement Runner and Point One Miles early on (thanks for $2, guys!) and saw According to Kelly (and her family) on the turn-around for the 5k.  We ran through the Los Angeles Olympic Coliseum, through the Arts District, and around Mile 10 we had a great view of the city.  There were some great costumes on course and they kept things entertaining: Pillsbury Doughboy, Where’s Waldo, Grim Reaper, Melanie from The Birds, Elvis, Barbie, and Cops.  I felt pretty good through Mile 7 but then things started to hurt, mainly my lower back.  Dominick was really encouraging and I’m so thankful he was there.  He pushed me to run faster & stronger through some pretty low moments.  Thanks, Dominick!  We hit the tunnel at Mile 12 and it was downhill (literally) from there.  We cruised the last mile (high 5’s/low 6’s) and I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face.  I was thankful to be done, but so excited to have raised money for a good cause!

I was originally told that 13,000 runners had registered for the race, so my goal was $8,000 raised/8,000 runners passed, however only 7,818 runners finished RnR LA so my goal was WAY off (it’s kinda hard to pass more runners than that which finished).

Check Presentation
The best part of the Tomorrow Chaser Program is being able to connect with the charity partner and present the check to them.  For Rock n Roll LA I was raising funds for ASPCA – an organization that works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide.  I was able to meet the ASPCA team, and they were incredibly thankful for what I was doing.  When Tina realized that I had raised (and passed) $5,454, I thought she might cry.  It was such a wonderful moment!  For ASPCA, that check is able to help a lot of animals.  And for that, I’m thankful.

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Final Thoughts
7,818 runners started and finished Rock n Roll LA.  I passed 5,454 runners, raising $5454 for ASPCA!  I was so excited!  I’m so proud to be a part of the Transamerica team, creating better tomorrows for people.

I am so thankful for this year and opportunity with Transamerica.  It’s been an amazing ride, and it was a great way to return to the running/racing world, post-baby.  A huge thanks to my sponsor, Transamerica and for my family/friends for supporting me!

Overall Place: 871/7818
Runners Passed: 5454/7818

 

have you ever run in costume?

 

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Lawyers Have Heart 10k {recap}

It’s been 2 years since I’ve raced a 10k.  Lawyers Have Heart reminded me why: 10k’s aren’t easy.  I also wanted a new PR, but with the lack of track workouts since Boston (and by lack, I mean one workout), this race hurt.  Minutes after crossing the finish line Coach George reminded me that PR’s hurt, so I guess I got what I raced for.

I’m vaguely familiar with the LHH course – it’s an out-and-back, fairly flat course on concrete and asphalt.  I ran this race last year, but due to the heat index/advisory on race morning, the course was switched to a 5k.  Last year, I couldn’t have been more thankful for the switch – but this year I was ready for that 10k PR. 

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This year, we lucked out with the weather.  It was a really nice morning with low humidity and temperatures in the 70’s (dare I say it was slightly chilly in the shade, with the breeze?!).  For a race in June, I couldn’t have asked for better weather (although 9 minutes in, I wished for some, any, shade).  BJ, Julianne, and I took a cab to the start and met up with some friends.  It was easy (I like easy), there were plenty of porta-potties, and we had enough time to check our bags and hangout without feeling like we had too much time.  Perfectly executed race day logistics – check.  

Pre-race thoughts: My goal was to run a new PR, and preferably one in the 40 minute range (I was shooting for 40:30).  I checked my current 10k PR (41:37 at 6:42 pace) and thought about my recent 10 Mile PR pace (1:06:20 at 6:38); I knew that if I could run 10 miles at 6:38 pace, I could run a 10k at the same pace or faster.  Again, it wasn’t going to be easy – this course is much different than the Broad Street 10 Miler and the weather was easily 25 degrees warmer – but I was ready to dig deep. 

Mile 1 – I felt good, and strong.  It wasn’t too hot (yet) and I was on the back end of the Top 10 Female runners (umm, that never happens). 
Mile 2 – I started to feel the speed, and felt unprepared for the pace.  I looked down at my wrist, “Believe” looked back at me.  I needed to dig deep.  I needed this PR.
Mile 3 – Turn around (woo hoo).  Other runners tell me that I’m #9 Female and this totally pumps me up!  I also see all of my friends – BJ, Julianne, Elyse, Laura, Sarah, James.
Mile 4 – 2 more miles to go.  I see my CAR teammates and they cheer me on – thank you ladies (I needed those cheers!).
Mile 5 – Easily my slowest and most metal mile.  My legs hurt, the pace hurt, I was hot, I was thirsty. 
Mile 6 – This is when I knew I could finish with a PR.  4 laps around a track – 7 more minutes of pain.  There were 2 ladies in front of me, they were suffering and I knew I could pass them.  I had to grind it out. 
Finish: #7 Female to cross the finish line (but after results are compiled I’m #9 overall) and land a new PR of 40:20.           

Stats:
Time: 40:20 (6:30 pace)
Place: 106/3058
Sex Place: 9/1483
Age Place: 1/457  

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I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.  More than anything, I got what I set out to do: a 10K PR.  The Age Group win and Top 10 Female finish are the (buttercream) icing on the cake (placing very rarely happens for me when I race in the DC area).  I ran a smart race, and even though Miles 4 & 5 were my slowest, Mile 6 was fast (and I felt strong).    

I’m thankful for all of the volunteers – they were wonderful and plenty of them.  This race is also known for the ice, cold sponges – they did not disappoint.  The ice cold sponge totally saved me.  Overall, Lawyers Have Heart (put on by Pacers) is a well run race, and race support/logistics are exactly what I look for.  If you’re in the market for an easy and fast 10k, don’t overlook LHH.

Broad Steet 10 Miler {recap}

Redemption feels really good, especially when it comes in the form of a new PR.    

I didn’t talk much about running Broad Street 10 Miler.  I wasn’t registered until 5 days before the race, when a good friend was able to secure a last-minute bib.  Plus, I didn’t know what my legs (or body) were capable of 3 weeks post-Boston.  In my head, Broad Street was my {redemption run} but I didn’t let many people know that I was running.  It couldn’t be redemption if I didn’t run hard and fast.     

My {redemption run} didn’t let me down – it’s exactly what I needed post-Boston.  I’m in a good place these days: back to running, a new PR, and a new focus for the summer (short and fast races).  But, every few days I get the urge to run an impromptu marathon – especially in the wake of Eugene Marathon, where every runner I know ran a major PR.  It’s hard when you dedicate 14 weeks of your life to training (training harder than I’ve ever worked for anything) and the one thing you can’t control lets you down.  It’s a hard thing to get over.  That’s exactly why I needed Broad Street.  It’s how Broad Street redeemed me.

Broad Street 10 Miler was a great race – point-to-point, fast, and fairly flat.  I felt really good, considering I haven’t had high mileage weeks or speed/tempo workouts since before Boston.  At the start of the race I saw Cris, a Capital Area Runners teammate, and tried to run behind her for as long as I could (until about Mile 8).  She’s faster than I am, so it was great motivation to stay as close as possible for as long as possible.  Thanks for pushing me, Cris!  My legs started to fatigue around Mile 7 but with a 5k left, I knew that I could push through the pain and finish strong.  I ran a new PR (by 2+ minutes) and totally redeemed myself.     

Time: 1:06:20 (6:38 pace)
Overall: 650/33,982
Sex: 81/19,018
Age Group: 32/5090   

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Post-race, with my friend Jess

Broad Street 10 Miler was really well organized, had plenty of water stops, and awesome volunteers.  Logistically, a point-to-point race can be hard, and I think Broad Street needs some help, especially as the race grows.  My suggestion: more shuttle buses to the start, and more trains on race morning.  I did, however, love the medal – medals are my newest obsession (especially after receiving my Boston medal).

This was such a fun weekend.  I love racing, but it was fun to see my friends and drink some margaritas {it was Cinco de Mayo}.  I can’t wait for next year!

Boston Marathon {recap}

This is not an easy post to write.  I’m actually more disappointed today than I was on Monday; disappointed that I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do (this is made even harder knowing that I likely won’t run another marathon in 2012).  I know I’m being ridiculous but I worked hard, really hard, for 15 weeks and I didn’t achieve my goal (or even my “B” goal).  It’s a hard thing to accept, even when I know I’m being ridiculous.  

will run for margaritas

Boston Marathon: it all starts here {Hopkinton}

I’ve never been so happy for something to be over.

It was one of the best weekends of my life. 

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Bostom Marathon Expo - it's officially offical

Race Day
I woke up feeling very excited and ready.  I had trained hard for this race, but knew I had a {very hot} challenge in front of me.  I decided to stick with my goal and access/adjust as needed.  The weather was the one thing I couldn’t control, so I took the attitude of: it is what it isWhat’s talking about or stressing over the weather going to change?

It was in the low 70’s when I woke-up, and 77 degrees by the time I made my way to the start for my 10:20am departure: Wave 2, Corral 6.  It was already hot but I felt really good, and excited.  I was running THE Boston Marathon.  Miles 1-4 seemed to pass by, and by the time I reached Mile 4 I was hoping the crowds would thin out.  After all, I was running a race were everyone had to qualify, where everyone is fast.  No such luck, I spent the remainder of the race (26.2 miles total) passing people, saying “on your right, on your left, in the middle”, and dodging runners-turned-walkers.  It wasn’t fun. 

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Marathon Monday Morning

I still felt really good by Mile 6, and even through Mile 9, but by Mile 10 I could tell my pace was starting to slow.  It was hot, I was thirsty, and I couldn’t keep cool (no matter how many cups of water I drank or poured on my head/neck/back).  It’s probably safe to say that 90 degrees is not conducive for running a fast marathon.  Dodging runners didn’t help either.  Even on some of my “fastest” miles – miles where I felt like I was running fast/hard effort – the pace was barely a 7:37.

will run for margaritas

The {best} support crew a girl could ever ask for

By Mile 12, I knew I was going to finish the race (but not achieve my goal), so I slowed the pace and tried to enjoy what I could.  Wellesley was awesome – girls everywhere, screaming at the top of their lungs.  I anxiously awaited Mile 16, where my family and friends were waiting for me with {awesome} signs & cowbells.  I was so happy to see them (and actually spotted them first).  I was all smiles as I ran past them, so thankful for their love and support.  My little sister Katie jumped in and ran 2 miles with me – it was awesome.  She encouraged me and told me to DIG DEEP.  I wasn’t about to stop digging deep, even with 10 miles to go!  Mile 21 put a pep in my step – Boston College!  Adding “Mel” to my sports bra was the best decision I could’ve ever made: college students were cheering like crazy, high-fiving me, and telling me I was beautiful (there’s no way that was true given the conditions, but it still made me feel awesome).  I loved their energy.  The final miles were a bit of a blur.  It was a (slow) race to the finish and I was ready to be done.  

will run for margaritas

My {very official} cheer crew. Note: my family solicited the support of strangers.

I cried when I crossed the finish line.  It’s the first time I’ve ever cried after a race.  I don’t even know why I was crying or what triggered the cry, but I cried.  For a couple of minutes.  Then I stopped, and cried again.  I cried when I saw my family, I was so happy to see them.  I cried this morning when I realized it was all over.  I’m a post-marathon wreck.

I’ve never run such a hard or emotional race.  I’ve never been more prepared (or dedicated) for something in my life.  When I crossed the finish line I was happy, sad, proud, disappointed, excited, and defeated.

will run for margaritas

Post-race {i'm proud to wear my medal}

I was way off of my (sub) 3:20 goal but given the circumstances, I ran the best race I could.  I’m thankful for a faithful God, one that was by my side every step of the way, one that gave me the legs (and courage) to finish what I started to do.  He never promised it would be easy, He just promised He would never leave my side.    

{a HUGE thank you to every volunteer – we couldn’t have run this race without you!  And to every bystander who gave me ice, orange slices, hose spray-downs, cold water, wet towels – I know you used your own money and will not get reimbursed. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of it.  I (and 21,553 other runners) desperately needed it!}

Results

Time: 3:34:35 (I squeaked by with a BQ!)
Place: 3,668/21,554
Gender: 575/8,966
Division: 471/4,580

will run for margaritas

Oh, I {earned} this jacket!

Splits

5k10k15k20kHalf25k30k35k40k
0:24:270:48:301:12:351:37:331:43:092:03:162:30:282:57:353:23:30


Race Weekend
Boston 2012 was one of the most fun weekends I’ve ever had!  My best fans were in town: BJ, my mom, my little sister Katie, best friend Allison, great friend Julianne, running partner James and favorite rep John.  I felt loved and am so thankful for their support. 

will run for margaritas

Boston Marathon Expo: mom, mel, and katie

will run for margaritas

Post-marathon margaritas (&drinks)

We had fun, and laughed a lot.  I bought more BAA branded apparel than I know what to do with.  We ate at great restaurants.  We enjoyed the city and walked around Boston Commons {I could live in Boston}.  We drank Starbucks, margaritas, wine, and beer.  We ate delicious dessert.  We had FUN.  I loved every minute and didn’t want the weekend to end. 

will run for margaritas

Post-marathon dress, drinks, and compression socks

Final Thoughts
I am forever thankful to everyone for their love, support and encouragement (family, friends, facebook, tiwtter, blog followers).  It wasn’t an easy race – but I pushed through and NEVER gave up.  I thought Boston 2012 would be my last marathon, but someone has bigger plans for me.  There will be a re-match and I will get my (sub) 3:20.  DIG DEEP.

will run for margaritas
BJ, thank you for supporting my {racing} dreams!

St. Patrick’s Day 8k {race report}

The St. Patrick’s Day 8k was my one race before Boston.   The one to test my fitness level; the one to see if my training was paying off.  An 8k was not my ideal distance for a marathon goal-race but with work commitments and expos, it was the only race I could run (pre-Boston).  And while I was hoping for a shiny new PR, my real goal was to run a perfectly executed and smart race. 

I did everything right the night before: ate a healthy meal, opted out on wine, changed (most of) the clocks in the house, laid out my race outfit and pre-race meal, prepared a water bottle, called the cab, made sure my iPhone would auto time-change, set 2 alarms, and went to bed early.transition areaI set my alarm for 7:00am (with a 7:10am back-up) and arranged for the cab to arrive at 7:45am.  That would give me plenty of time to digest my food, check my bag, stand in long (porta-potty) lines, warm-up, and not feel rushed. 

I woke up at 7:57am.

Damn you, Daylight Savings Time (especially on race morning)

I woke-up feeling mad, upset, and rushed.  Thankfully, everything was prepped and ready to go.  I prefer a less-rushed morning, but I got ready in 7 minutes and still managed to get out of the door by 8:04am (the time my friend originally wanted to leave).  

The cab ride was quick and we were downtown in less than 15 minutes.  I was still a little anxious and flustered, but kept thinking “this is not the goal race, Boston is”.  (That helped a bit).  I ran into Capital Area Runners and started to feel better – I was ready for this race, even if my morning didn’t go quite as planned. 

I didn’t really have a “plan” for this race, but was thinking I should start out around 6:40/6:30 pace and see how I was feeling.  From there, I could pick it up (that’s what I was hoping for) or keep it steady at the current pace.  I felt really strong after the 1st mile – I was comfortable pushing the pace a bit – and decided I could run just a little bit faster.  It also helped to have people pushing me (my training partner, Dan) and people cheering me on (Coach George, Cheryl, Jessica and Dash).  Add another 6,000 runners, a lot of awesome St. Patrick’s Day themed costumes, and great racing weather to feel good enough to run a perfectly executed race.

Mile 1: 6:22
Mile 2: 6:32
Mile 3: 6:35
Mile 4: 6:24
Mile 0.96: 6:07Capital Area RunnerThe race had a lot of twists, turns, and tight corners (races in DC are crazy) – but I ran an 8k PR (by 3:30 minutes) and I couldn’t be more excited!  More than anything, I felt confident with my fitness level/abilities.  I felt strong and fast – a great feeling heading into my final weeks of marathon training.   

Pacers and Capital Running Company put on a great race, it was really well executed, planned and staffed.   In addition to personally having a great race, most CAR members ran PR’s, too (with a handful of AG wins!).  It was an awesome day!

Time: 32:02 (6:27 pace) + New PR
Place: 131/6000
Female: 21/3571
Age Group: 11/1039

Suntree 5k {race report}

I forgot how much I love racing in Florida – it’s (mostly) flat and the weather is perfect this time of year.

It’s been almost 6 years since I’ve properly raced in Florida – circa 2005, when I was in college and running track {ummm, I’m that old already?!} I much prefer the heat – I love racing in Florida and would move back in less than 3 minutes if BJ wasn’t such a sun-hater.  But I digress…

I recently ran a 5k in Florida, and while it wasn’t my PR, I felt really good considering I hadn’t really trained.  It was the perfect temperature – warm enough for me to wear a sports bra and shorts in December (!!!) – and my splits were more consistent than my September 5k (progress!).  I think with the proper coaching & training, I can run a sub 19 minute 5k (a big, lofty goal for 2012 – but don’t tell anyone I told you this).

My mom, sister & BJ ran this race, too and my dad was the best supporter/photographer on the course!  We had such a great day – I love being a part of a family full of runners!

Stats
Overall: 13/766
Sex Place: 2/441
Time: 19:47 (6:22 pace)

Family Stats
Katie: 24:31
BJ: 25:43
Mom: 26:03

Less than 0.5 to go!

Mom & Katie - post race

Me & BJ - post race

Army 10 Miler {race report}

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: the Army 10 Miler is my favorite race of the year. There’s just something about ATM that makes me buzz with excitement and nerves. It’s also the one weekend/year that I get my mom all to myself, and I cherish the uninterrupted time with her. {We can spend 4 hours at the expo and no one judges!}

When I moved to DC 5 years ago, I wasn’t really a long distance runner. I had just graduated from college and was trying to figure out how to survive as a former collegiate athlete (I ran the 400m hurdles and 400m). In 2006, running 3 miles was my worst nightmare – but when my mom suggested we run the ATM, I couldn’t say no.

The 2011 race was our 5th Army 10 Miler – this race has become our mother/daughter tradition (I’ve also grown to love long distance running). I love that my mom is still running and improves her time each year. I love that we get to hang out and laugh at whatever we want. I love that we spend hours at the expo and buy things we don’t need (my mom loves expos as much as I do). And, I love that she is my mom, the one God chose for me!

This year my mom and I decided to run in Team Sparkle skirts. Without really planning it, we looked like twins and it was SO much fun! We got compliments from runners, crowd support and soldiers.

The Race:
I think God loves the ATM – we’ve had great weather every year, and #5 was no exception. If you ask me, it was perfect – cool breeze, sun, not too hot and not too cold (others would argue with this statement, so we won’t ask them). There was a new start/finish this year, and it was a bit confusing. We literally had to trek across the Pentagon and make our way down 110. I ran about 1 mile before the race, just to get to my wave start. I made it with 2 minutes to spare – success!

Miles 1-2 are always super crowded and it takes about 2 miles for me to get into my groove. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way – but WHY? Why, if your bib says #24,942 and you are walking within 0.5 seconds of the race start, are you starting in Wave 1 with me?! I’m not an elite athlete, but I’m probably faster than you and honestly, it’s downright rude. If others can follow the rules, so can you! {I promise I am done venting}

At Mile 2, I found a runner running the same pace as me. We literally ran the rest of the race together and never said a word (I was working too hard to talk). It was great – we waited at water stops and pushed each other every mile. It was perfect – and I’m not sure I could’ve have run a PR without my P.I.C. (partner in crime).

I felt really good and strong for most of the race. Mile 8 was a little tough because I started to feel tired and formed a huge blister on my foot –but I knew that I was less than 7 minutes from Mile 9. And Mile 9 meant: only 4 more laps around the track (as a former track & field athlete, I love to break miles down in terms of laps around the track).

I didn’t love the new finish line – it was confusing and I had no idea where it was and when it would end. I tried to gauge where it would be (turns out it was around a corner/tunnel) and picked up the pace for a finish of 1:08:39 – NEW PR! {bring back to old start/finish}

I’m really excited about my race and PR. Without really trying, I ran very consistent miles and feel confident that this technique helped me run a PR. Had I known where the finish line was, I think I could have picked it up earlier (in Mile 9), but again, am very happy about my race.

Stats:
Time: 1:08:39 (6:51 pace) 
Overall: 852/21,914
Gender: 88/9,645
Division: 25/1,760 {Top 25 – woo hoo}

My mom had a great race, too. She improved her 2010 time by 5 minutes, running ATM in 1:30:23 (go mom!!).  And even though BJ was suffering from an injury, he pushed through to finish the race. Huge congrats to ALL of the 2011 finishers!

Don’t forget to enter my Endurasoak giveaway {HERE}

SavageMan Triathlon {recap}

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – SavageMan is my favorite (and hardest) triathlon of the season! I’m in my 4th year of racing (of the 5 years in existence) and it just keeps getting better. I love the course, the volunteers, the other racers, and the laid-back feel of the entire weekend.

Of the 4 years, this year was by far the coldest and most windy. The morning had a slight chill – but I was hoping the sun would come out and warm things up. Wishful thinking – the sun never came out and it was cold the entire race (about 45 degrees with a strong wind)

Pre-race: The race started at 9:30am (race directors take note – this is the *perfect* time for a race), with transition closing at 9:15am. I pushed it to the last minute because I did not want to take off my cozy, warm clothes. Little did I know that the swim would be the warmest part of the whole race!

Swim: I usually hate the swim, but I make an exception one time/year – for SavageMan. Deep Creek Lake is beautiful and I can see the bottom of the lake the entire swim. And since it’s a smaller race (but getting bigger), I don’t feel like I’ve just gotten into an all-out cat fight when I exit the water (not that I know what a cat-fight feels like).

I’m a slow(er) swimmer – I’m totally okay admitting that – but I’m excited to announce that I had my 1st sub-30 minute swim on Saturday!
Time: 29:55

T1: One of my slowest transitions in triathlon history. I did, however, attempt to dry myself off as much as possible and wiggle on some arm warmers before heading out on the bike. Time: 3:06

Bike: I’m not going to spend much time talking about the bike, because I don’t want to sound like a major complainer – but this ride was hard and challenging. It was cold, it was windy – and I was still very wet from the swim. If I wasn’t wearing arm-warmers I probably would have called it quits (BJ was certain that he would see me on the side of the road, waiting to be taken back to transition). I wanted to cry on every.single.downhill and could not feel my feet for 23 miles. At one point, I was {only} going 5mph up hill with a major head-wind. {day-dreaming about the run}
Time: 1:26:18

T2: I could barely tie my running shoes because my fingers were frozen.
Time: 2:41

Run: I spent 1 hour, 26 minutes and 18 seconds dreaming about the run. Even though it took 3 miles for my toes to finally thaw out, I felt really good on the run (especially since I have only done one brick workout all season, and it was at the Columbia Triathlon, ha). The run is one of my favorites – hilly and shaded but with plenty of flats to recover on. One bystander recognized my Brooks I.D. uniform and cheered for me throughout the run – it was great motivation and just what I needed for the last mile. I pushed hard for the last mile and finished in…
Time: 51:03 (8:13 pace)

Overall Time: 2:53:01 (2 minutes slower than last year, but I’ll take the weather and wind into consideration)

Recap: I placed 4th in my AG group for the 4th year in a row! I kind of feel like I should earn a medal or plaque for consistency. Each year I think “If I just train harder next year, I’ll get 3rd” – but the field keeps improving and I keep getting 4th. Now, it’s just funny!

Post-race = Freezing

Trying to stay warm, with BJ

I love this race, absolutely love it. After we raced on Saturday, I said to BJ: “We should start charging our friends a fee for introducing them to this race”. I was joking, of course, (kind of), but this year we had 5 friends join us for SavageMan weekend. We rented a huge house (log cabin-esque), and celebrated with lots of wine, hot tub excursions, and (real) fires – it was so much fun. I already can’t wait for 2012.

A HUGE thanks to race management, race officials and all of volunteer for making SavageMan an awesome triathlon experience!

Vienna Turkey Trot 5k

(Note: with the exception of my wedding post – which I promise is coming soon – I am caught up with races, and from this day forward, all posts are current.  Thank you.) 
            
My favorite triathlon/former work friend, BB, talked me into doing a Turkey Trot 5K on Sunday.  At first I was uncharacteristically non-committal and even waited until late Saturday afternoon to make my decision.  When I asked BJ whether or not I should run, he said: “You haven’t seen BB in awhile and racing is good for your soul.”  He couldn’t have been more right (it’s a good thing I have a hubs who know what’s good/bad for me).


I’m so glad I decided to run the race.  Vienna is close to my house (20 minutes) and I picked up BB on my way.  We had great weather (a little nippy at first, but not bad for November).  The course is an out-and-back course with rolling hills.  I loved it! 

I went out fast, probably a little too fast (if I’m being honest with myself), Mile 1: 5:58.  I should also point out that BJ and I went on a 30 mile bike ride the day before (my 1st ride since SavageMan in September) and my legs felt a little shocked from the combination of 30-mile-bike-and-5:58-mile.  However, by the turn around point, my legs were feeling good and my lungs had recovered from the chilly morning air.  
I spent most of the race in 2nd place (women) and could see the 1st place girl in front of me but just couldn’t pass her.  While I’m extremely competitive, I kept reasoning with myself (and I’m glad I did): A) She’s a high schooler and runs everyday B) If she wins this race, tomorrow (at school) will be the coolest day of her life C) I don’t have to win everything.  With 0.5 miles left, the 3rd place female took 2nd.  I finished 3rd place, all 3 of us within 10 seconds of each other.  
The other cool thing is that I never run 5k’s – and the 1st 5k I run in years I get 3rd place with a time of 20:09, 6:29 pace.  Maybe that’s the fastest I am at 5k’s – and that’s okay with me.  
Stats
Time: 20:09
Pace: 6:29
Female Place: 3
Overall Place: 33/786 

Recap:  This was a great race with wonderful volunteers and a great cause: supporting the local HS band and volunteer fire department. Plus, I’m totally a sucker for Turkey Trots. 

BB – thanks for getting me out there
BJ – thanks for knowing when my soul needs refreshing 😉 

3rd place medal, baby!
BB, 1st place female 20-29 (Time: 21:40)