Sunday, September 18, 2011

12 weeks to Marathon #12

Coming off of Ironman Canada on August 28, 2011, I thought I might want to take a break from racing for a bit.  That lasted, oh, about three days.  Then I get a text from my friend, Meghan, which read: "Sooo... interested in training to run a 3:30 marathon?" Uh, yes!  I do! And with that, I started looking at December marathons.

I thought I would go back to where it all started for me in 2006 ... my very first marathon: California International Marathon.  I texted my coach and asked if he thought I could be race ready in 12 weeks AND take 11 minutes off my PR.  Daryl said it was doable.  So with that, I signed up!

This week marks 1 of 12 in the books.  Here is what my week entailed:

Monday:  Rest or Swim.  I chose to swim in Lake Padden, albeit, a short swim.
Tuesday: 5 miles.  2 warm-up miles, 2 miles at 7:20-7:40 pace, 1 mile cool down.
Wednesday: 3 miles easy.
Thursday: 3 miles easy.
Friday: 5 miles.  2 warm-up, 2 miles at MP (8:00 pace), 1 mile cool down.
Saturday: Rest or bike.  I chose to rest.
Sunday: 10 miles.  Easy, relaxed between an 8:30 to 9:30 pace.  I hung out around 9:00. :)

Total miles for week 1:  26 miles


WEEK 2 of 12

I had a work conference in Portland, Oregon this week making workouts a little tough. Especially since my hotel was several miles and two freeway exchanges away from my co-worker in the Industrial area (not a runner friendly area).

Here is my week:  Training plan vs What I accomplished

Monday:  Rest or SwimI chose to rest and pack for Portland.
Tuesday: On the plan was 5 miles.  2 warm-up miles, 2.5 miles at 7:20-7:40 pace, .5 mile cool down. I didn't arrive in Portland and get checked in to my hotel until after 5 pm, so I did 4.5 miles with 2 miles at tempo pace as I had to go and meet co-worker for dinner.
Wednesday: 3 miles easyI talked my co-worker into running after class today. 3 miles from his hotel on the waterfront in Portland.  Very nice area!
Thursday: 3 miles easy. I woke up early to run my 3 miles as the co-worker and I had a networking event after class today.  I went to my hotel so-called "gym" which consisted of one treadmill and one weight rack.  There was no ventilation, no windows, no air conditioning.  Basically a sauna for 3 miles. Miserable!
Friday: 5 miles.  1 warm-up, 3 miles at MP (8:00 pace), 1 mile cool down. I considered getting up early for another treadmill session, but that thought lasted only one nano-second before I remembered how miserable it was yesterday.  I considered driving to the waterfront and running by myself, but someone decided to drive their vehicle into the river and drown so the boardwalk was closed to any sort of foot traffic.  Then I thought I might get this run in after getting home late tonight.  That didn't happen as my family was ready for game night.  I decided to miss this 5 miler and not worry about it. 
Saturday: Rest or bike.  I chose to rest.  Actually was a busy busy day, starting with football, then a housewarming for some friends, then dinner with other friends.  Felt like I was going on day long.
Sunday: 12 miles.  Easy, relaxed between an 8:30 to 9:30 pace. I ran this with Lora and Jess at 4 am.  It was dark, WINDY, and started raining after the first hour.  We did it though! Then, I went to cheer my friends running the Bellingham Bay Marathon. :)

Total miles for week 2:  22.5 miles

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tunnel to Towers 5K

On 09-11-2011, my son and husband decided to run the Tunnel to Towers 5K.  I was debating whether to run it just for fun or be a spectator/cheerleader.  After all, it had only been two weeks since Ironman Canada and I wasn't sure my legs were ready for any sort of speed.  And, I ate so much cake the night before ... not to mention the wine ...

BUT, my inner voice beckoned ... "you did sign up for another marathon in 12 weeks ... so why not? It's just a teensy little 5K."

My inner voice won and I decided to give it a whirl. 

I drove down to Pioneer Park and registered all three of us for the 5K.  Whatcom County Fire District 7 firefighters put the race together and were busy trying to get the fire engines in place with the American Flag flying high.

It was sunny and warm already and I wasn't particularly nervous, I just wanted to "see" how I would do.  More and more people started to arrive.  By the time the race was underway, a little over 200 were registered and ready to race.  No chip timing, just a clock on one of the engines was displayed.

The start of the race, I positioned myself far right on the road (far left as your looking at the picture) and my son was next to me.  I think he hung on for about 200 yards or so.

Ferndale City streets were lined with American Flags

Slight uphill the first 1/2 mile up Main St.

Only two runners ahead of me at this point

Sprint to the finish and #105 passed me at the end. 4th overall.
Little American Flags were passed out at the finish
1st place Female! Armando was 2nd place overall.

Spencer and Dean finish strong ... Spencer was pooped!

All in all, a great race! Although I would have really liked an official time for the books.  I'll take the win nonetheless and be thankful my legs remembered how to race.  And hey, I won a pair of SuperFeet!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ironman Canada Race Report

Lora and I finished together in 14:06:32
Since I tend to read my magazines from back to front, I wanted to start this race report with the awesome ending: I finished my first Ironman on 08/28/2011! 

Ironman Canada was quite honestly, my BEST DAY EVER!  I had no expectations for the day, other than to finish before midnight.  I wanted to have fun in all aspects of the race, while watching my heart rate, smiling, and thanking the volunteers who made this day possible.  I was told by many to expect times during the race when I wouldn't feel so great and that I would have to pull out of a slump.  I really didn't have any of that, in fact, I raced the entire day with a smile on my face.  My only thought was to keep moving forward.

My ironman training started after 10/10/10, at the completion of the Chicago Marathon.  Myself, along with several training friends, were coached by Daryl Smith.  He set about teaching us about heart rate and building a base using only our heart rate zones as a guide.  This was something brand new to me.  I faithfully followed Coach Daryl's plan.  I used the Garmin 310xt as my tool.

My biggest obstacle was learning to swim.  I literally just learned how to crawl stroke two years ago and had never gone more than 200 yards non-stop without the use of a floatation device (eg .. pull buoy) prior to December 2010.  Little by little, I increased my endurance in the water, but was still very slow.  I just prayed that on race day, I would be able to go 2.4 miles in less than 2 hours and 20 minutes.  And, guess what?  I did it!

Finished the swim in 1:53:01
I emerged from the water with the biggest smile on my face and was hooping and hollerin so loudly, you would have thought I won the entire race!  Prior to swim start, I waited on the beach and after the gun went off, I waited a full two minutes before inching forward in the water.  I had plenty of room to myself and was not really bothered by anyone.  The only downside, was I didn't have anyone to draft off of.  I rounded the first corner at 45 minutes and saw the scuba divers down below and gave them both a wave hello.  They waved back.  I rounded the next corner and again waved to the scuba diver there.  Only 1800 yards back to shore and I knew I would do it.

T1 - 7:44, I had a lovely lady help me dry my feet and get my bike shoes on.  Since I didn't have to change my clothes, I ran straight out and got on my bike.  It was warm out already and I knew it was only going to get hotter.

The Bike! Oh how I love my bike.  I love to bike.  I love this course!  Thank goodness I had practiced the entire course a few weeks prior and had also ridden all of the hills back in July.  I felt well prepared for what was ahead.  Everyone told me to hold back in the first 40 miles.  I felt like I tried to, but was still passing people, loads of people.  It felt easy and effortless.  I knew that would soon change with the hills that were coming.

Richter Pass - six miles of climbing.  I loved it!

The hills that followed felt great too.  What was happening here?  It didn't feel hard, I was passing so many people and my heart rate was right where it should be. I was in my happy place!

The out and back in Keremos is where I finally caught up to my good friend Anna.  She is a terrific swimmer, finishing in 1:16:42.  I stopped at my special needs bag, but nothing really sounded good other than this other athlete's pringles.  She shared and I was so grateful.

I finished the bike leg in 6:48:49.  I passed a whopping 937 people on the bike leg! (**Calculations were tabulated by taking my overall swim finish place of 2765 and subtracting my overall bike finish place of 1828).

T2 - 9:44.  Not sure why this took me so long, as I don't remember it feeling like a long time.  At any rate, I changed out my socks and put on my new Brooks PureProject Pure Connect shoes.  More on these shoes soon!

Off and running, 'er shuffling, and walking/jogging ...

I was slow during the first half, mostly due to stomach upset.  Although the temps reached 95 degrees, I kept cool by taking sponges at every aid station and squeezing cold water down my front, back, and on my head.  I used strictly hammer gel to fuel my run and although I didn't feel like having any of it, I forced myself to consume as much as possible during the entire run.  I do believe it saved my butt out there.

At the half way point, my friend Lora caught up to me and we ran the entire way back together, finishing a faster second half than the first!  I felt strong at the end and ran the last mile at about a seven minute pace!  Who wouldn't be smiling at that?!  I also moved up in my run stats to an overall 1330 run place finish, passing almost 500 runners.

I was greeted at the end by Ironman Canada founder Ron Zalko and his wife.  Both gave me a hug and congratulated me.

LASTLY - I'm a numbers girl.  I just did 140.6 miles in 14:06 and some change! 

Special Thanks:

My family and friends for supporting me.  It took a lot of time to train and prepare!

My Ironman training partners: Lora, Anna, Andrea, Meghan, Roxie, Jeanette, Carol, Kyle, Gabe, and Rusty.

My friends who jumped in for a swim, bike, or run just because: Jen, Laura, Pat, Robin, Judy, and Todd.

My coach: Daryl Smith - Thank you for your wisdom, encouragement, and pep talks!

My twitter family! Although I just joined Twitter in March of 2011, I have never had so much support in my training and race day.  I so appreciate all of your kind words of encouragement and for following me on this journey.  I loved getting to meet some of you at Ironman Canada!

My facebook family! All of you have watched me go from marathon to marathon and now this! Thank you for your support and love this last year and for understanding why I joined twitter ... I didn't abandon you. ;)