Monday, February 1, 2016

New Year = A New Challenge to Conquer

My husband Steve and I have been talking for a little while about doing a longer ultra. With one of our big goals now being to complete a 100 mile ultra for his 50th bday in 2017, we decided to sign up for the inaugural Conquer the Castle 100K, which takes place conveniently close to our home in November of this year. This will be a big challenge for us but one that we can have a lot of fun training for all year. The timing is good since it's late in the year we can have a great spring running season, a fun summer triathlon season and then close out the year with a challenging fall running season and then hopefully shut it down for a little while.

I am excited and also admittedly a little nervous about running a race that is 62 miles long, but I also have 9 months to prepare myself so I feel that it is doable. The goal will be to just finish in one piece with no major injuries. In order to reach the goal I have a plan. Lots of running, some cross training, weekly yoga and strength training, planned recovery weeks every 3rd of 4th week of training and some good old fashioned rest days/weeks. I will be posting updates on the training throughout the season. Wish me luck!


Friday, January 29, 2016

Run for Regis Race Report & Spring Training Update

Prerace with my love
Regis Race Report: 

Last weekend was the the first race of 2016. Steve and I ran the Run for Regis trail half marathon in Peninsula. This was our second time doing the race or "fun run" as they call it. It was not as cold this year with temps in the 20s and there was not much snow on the trails but there were icy sections and the trails were frozen with jagged footprints that kindof hurt to run on.

Prior to the race we had done a warmup and I twisted my right ankle pretty good so I was nervous about it holding up for the 13.1 but fortunately it was not an issue. The course is very hilly and technical in some sections and has several sets of stairs. This made for a slow run for me. I would have liked to have been faster but I was a little extra cautious with some big races approaching including Boston Marathon and I got lost on the second loop and had to stop and talk with the RDs so I lost some time here. It wasn't a huge deal since this was a "fun run" race anyways and really just an ass kicker of a race to get me toughened up for Green Jewel and Boston.

Out on the course
My time of 2:13 was a few minutes faster despite getting lost so I think I could have done a little better without the screw up. I ended up 4th female overall and in my AG. Tough AG! Steve ended up 3rd in the guys field.

After the race we changed into warm, dry clothes headed over to the Winking Lizard in Peninsula with friends for food and beer. I felt okay the rest of the day but was pretty sore Monday and Tuesday so went easy with the running. By Wednesday I was able to get in a double run as well as today so I am back to good now.

Quick Training Update:

Overall my training has been going well. Two weeks ago I was up to 50 miles of running. Last week I ended up at 38 with the race and I will have 50 in again this week. I've been riding my trainer for 45-60 mins 3-4 times a week to keep the bike fitness and I am lifting at least twice a week. I have not been in the pool much yet this year as I had a neck strain for a few weeks and was working with my chiropractor to correct that. I seem to be better so I will likely add the pool back in at least once a week for now. With Green Jewel 50K, Boston Marathon and then Cleveland Marathon I am focusing more effort on running for obvious reasons. I am also doing the Great Western Reserve 70.3 tri in mid June so I will start to add longer bike rides by early March as I plan to use the bike and swim a good deal to aid in my recovery for all my long running races. This is where triathlon really pays off! This will lead into Ironman OH 70.3 in August followed up by some fall marathons and a new challenge I will be posting about next week so stay tuned for details!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recap of the 2015 Race Season

2015 was a good year for me. It was also a challenging year. I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. I hope to take some of that wisdom with me this year and hopefully have an even stronger season. 

The year started off with Run for Regis in late January. I opted to run the trail half marathon. It was below zero degrees at the start, which made for a slow and frigid race for me. While its referred to as a "fun run" I still tried to push myself as hard as I could.  I ended up 5th in the race and 4th in my AG with a not so fantastic time. Steve finished 2nd male. After the race we rewarded ourselves with Winking Lizard food and brews with a group of friends. This was the "fun" part of the race!

A week later (early February) I ran a cross country half marathon in Lakeland, FL called the Holloway Half Marathon. It was maybe 55 degrees at the start so naturally Steve and I raced in shorts and tank. The locals were in tights and long sleeves. This was also a tough race. I started fast and led the race for the first 7 or 8 mile before a couple of women passed me. The last miles I was overheating and fading and I slipped to 4th female but managed 1st in AG. Steve ended up finishing 2nd overall and 1st in his AG. After the race we drove back to Clearwater Beach where we were staying and flew home the next day.

Next up was the Green Jewel 50K in early March. It was my first ultra distance race and it is a road race that starts in Rocky River and travels along the Emerald Necklace finishing in the Brecksville Reservation. It ended up being a snowy, cold and very icy day which made for a slower race than I expected. My friend Jillian ended up winning and my time was good enough for 2nd place female. Steve finished 7th male, 1st in Masters. After the race we headed to Fatheads for some hard earned food and hoppy beer! This was one of my favorite races of the season! 

Then it was the Fools 25K trail race just before April Fools, which was painful. The ground was not snow covered or muddy this year but rather frozen and jagged and icy in spots, which really got into my ankles after 16 miles of running. I was a little faster than the previous year and finished 6th female, 1st in my AG. Naturally we headed to the Winking Lizard after this race with it being in Peninsula.

Then I decided to run the 10 Mile Drop in mid April since I had done the 20 the year before as my last preperation for the Toledo Marathon. This was 2 weeks out or so. I had a decent race finishing 4th female and 1st in AG. My friend Jillian won the race and we headed to the Winking Lizard in Mentor for post race food and beers.

The Toledo Marathon in late April was the first of 4 consecutive marathons I ran last year to qualify for Boston. I had high hopes for Toledo and ended up PR'ing by 5 minutes but still had a ways to go to BQ. My friend Jillian ended up getting her first BQ so that was exciting but I knew I had work to do. Overall I loved this course and would definitely run it again!

A few weeks later it was time to run the Cleveland Marathon. I was lucky enough to be an ambassador for the race last year, which was a lot of fun. I am happy to be on board again this year! It ended up being rainy, hot and humid so I did not have the race I had hoped for here but still managed a decent time for the conditions that day. Steve ended up getting his BQ again for 2016 here. Afterwards a group of us met at the Winking Lizard downtown for post race food and beer. Typical M.O.

A week later for Memorial Day weekend it was time for the Blossomtime Run in Chagrin Falls. We met up at my friend Ginny's house with a group of Cleve Tri Club folks before the race. This is a tough 5.25 mile road race and my legs were pretty trashed but I had an okay day and placed 3rd in my AG. Steve placed 3rd in his AG as well. 

Then it was on to the first multisport race of the season, the Twinsburg duathlon. I did the first run and the dropped out of the race because Steve had flatted and I thought he said he was out. After a miscommunication and learning that he changed his wheel and jumped back in I had lost too much tine and opted to get in a longer run while they finished up the race.

My first triathlon of the season was in June at the Great Western Reserve Olympic tri at West Branch. I would say I was definitely not in tip-top tri shape yet here with the big focus on running and also training for another marathon later in the month so I was pretty excited to finish 6th female and 1st in my AG despite a tough day.

Rev3 Williamsburg, also in June which was Challenge Williamsburg has been one of my favorite races the last few years. This year I got a sinus infection a week before the race so it ended up being a last minute call to even race or not. Needless to say it was not my best day. Racing with a sinus infection in 90+ degrees and high humidity was a pretty icky experience. I did not even place in my AG here but just racing was a win that day. And of course seeing my teammates was fun.

The Charlevoix Marathon in late June was a great race. I fell in love with Northwest Michigan. It is gorgeous and the race was perfect. I fell just a little short of my BQ but PR'd by about 4 minutes. Steve raced the half and won his AG so it was a successful race for both of us and we made a fun long weekend out of it.

July was a month full of ironman training and short races. First up we ran the Johnycake Jog 5 Miler where I finally won my AG. The next weekend we ran the Painesville Sunrise 5 miler, which was a hot and hilly race. I ended up placing 3rd female there as well as the Mayfield Wildcat 5K the next weekend. This was all part of my plan to not let the IM training make me slow this season in preparation for Erie!

The month of August started off with my first multisport win at the Greater Cleveland Olympic Triathlon. It actually turned out to be a duathlon with the swim being cancelled but this worked out for me since running and biking are my two strongest events. This was fun and afterwards we headed out for food and drinks with some Cleve Tri Club folks. Next up was the Miller Marut 5K in Concord Township on my birthday which was hot and hilly and I placed 3rd female there. The last race of the month was the inaugural Rock Hall Half Marathon, which I used as my final speedwork leading into Erie. I ended placing 4th in my AG here with some tough competition. 

September was an intense month. First I ran the Erie Marathon and finally got that almighty BQ with a PR time of 3:35:15 - knocking about 7 minutes off my PR time in Charlevoix! Needless to say there was a celebration for Steve and I at Willoughby Brewing afterwards! Two weeks later it was time to race the 70.3 triathlon at the Deer Creek Fall Challenge. This was a tough race in terms of winds on the bike and it was a hot run. I started having some bladder pain about halfway through the run which caused me to slow down and even walk a couple times but I managed a PR time of 5:34 and ended up 2nd female so it was a great day and we celebrated afterwards at Matt the Millers by Polaris in Columbus on our drive home.

October was a tough month as I fought some health issues with my bladder and trying to balance out the final training days for Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 Tri. I was not sure if I would be able to race and/or complete the race so when I got the go ahead from my urologist I was a happy girl. He told me to just go out there and race and we would figure things out after. Steve and I made a vacation out of the race in Wilmington, NC. It was a lot of fun as it is a great town, we had a terrific place on the water and lots of friends there. Despite having to stop a lot to pee and some discomfort I was able to finish in 12:17 a nice PR and just a little short of my 12 hour goal. I was totally smashed for a couple days following the race so it was a tough recovery. I guess that's what I get for racing while sick.

A few weeks of recovery led into some shorter races in November and December to close out the year because it is too boring to sit around! First Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 miler, which did not go great for me due to some allergy/breathng issues and also probably some lingering fatigue. Still I placed 2nd in my AG and Steve placed overall. Then we both raced the Painesville Turkey Trot 5K to win our AGs again. Then we ran the NERC relay at Westwoods with our Snakebite Racing teammate Mark Erzen and placed 2nd co-ed team after losing by less than a minute to some high school XC kids! Next up a 4th place finish/1st in AG at the Jingle Bell Run 5K at Legacy Village, a 2nd in AG at the Frosty 5 Miler in Hudson on Xmas eve and finally a 5th place female/1st AG place at the Great New Years Eve 5K in Stow. 

That was a busy season and 2016 looks to be the same with maybe a marathon less and no 140.6. Plus I am spacing my big races out more to allow some extra recovery time. I hate resting but I need to work on that because maybe I will race even better if I can learn the art of recovery! 

2016 starts up this weekend with Run for Regis half marathon again. Forecast says 17 degrees, Brrr. Should be painful I am sure!









Thursday, January 7, 2016

Holiday Race Reports

Because we had such great weather for December my husband and I decided to do a couple last minute races to end the year. First we ran the Frosty 5 Miler in Hudson on Christmas Eve then we ran the Great New Years Eve 5K race on New Years Eve. Below is a quick recap on both races.

Frosty 5 Miler:

The Frosty 5 Miler is put on by my friends at Western Reserve Racing. It takes place in downtown Hudson, which is a really cute area. This was our first time doing the race and I was not sure how challenging it would be. The weather was great a little chilly - in the high 40s/low 50s but warm enough to race in my Pearl Izumi ultra shorts and a tank top so that was great! The first mile was slightly up hill, the mid miles were flatter with some small hills and it seemed like the last mile was the most uphill but maybe I was just tired. I was hoping to break 35 minutes but felt a little sluggish towards the end so I ended up at 35:39 about a 7:08 pace. This was good enough for 2nd of 59 in my AG so it went fairly well. My friend Jen ended up winning our AG so it was nice to have some friendly competition!

Steve ended up placing in his AG also. All in all it was a great race and the conditions were perfect to run that day! For our AG placings we both received medals, which have now been added to the collection! Overall we both liked this race and would definitely run it again!

Great New Years Eve 5K:

Several years ago I had run this Great New Years Eve race so I could not really recall what the course was like until running it again this year. It's a tough course but I liked it! I think the elevation chart has it at 300+ feet of gain over the 3.1 miles so it's not a PR course but it sure was a challenge trying to sprint up the hills! The course starts and finishes at the Stow/Munroe Falls High School. It is a fairly big race too with more than 700 runners. We were happy to see some friendly faces around. The weather was chilly in the 30s so I opted to race in my Pearl Izumi Ultra 3/4 tights and a tee with some armwarmers, gloves and a Snakebite Racing headband.

The first mile or so it was sleeting in my face as I was running up the hills. I was with the leading ladies for this first mile before dropping back a little to a pace more comfy for me. At the turn around I felt okay so I just tried to maintain a decent pace. The last mile was hard. It was mostly uphill. My legs would not go as fast as my heart wanted to. But I vowed to run that stinking hill as best as I could after the blow up at Jingle Bell a couple weeks back. Taking the right back toward the school was a little downhill but it seemed far away and I didn't have much kick left in me so I was passed by a chick at the last second to finish 5th place female and 1st in my AG with a time of 21:44. After the race SARC had a nice spread of food including some veggie soup to help warm us up. Steve also won first in his AG. SARC gave the AG winners blankets versus medals, which was kindof cool.

So that wrapped up the racing for 2016. It was a hard but fun and successful season for me and Steve. I will be working on my 2016 recap in the coming week or two. I am excited for another challenging season ahead in 2016 and lucky to be part of a new team (Snakebite Racing) and also have some great sponsors lined up including Freeplay Magazine (Team Freeplay), Pearl Izumi, Team Nuun and the Cleveland Marathon.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Pearl Izumi Champions Run Team

I was fortunate enough to have Pearl Izumi as a sponsor for a few seasons when I raced with Team Revolution 3. Pearl makes fabulous products for running and cycling! I use a number of their products and have since I first learned about them. 

I am pleased to announce that I will be am ambassador for their running group "Pearl Izumi Champions" for 2016! And I even have some of my old Rev3 teammates as fellow ambassadors with me so that is awesome!

Check out the products Pearl Izumi makes and try them out. A few of my favorites are the Ultra running shorts, the Ultra jacket and the Tri Fly Carbon bike shoes. But then again I pretty much love anything they make! Trust me you will not be disappointed!






Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday News - Team Nuun and Training Update

This hasn't been the best week for me. I've been extra stressed with the holiday stuff and trying to get my training plan in order for the first part of next season. My week was definitely improved when I got news from Nuun yesterday that I was selected as an ambassador for Team Nuun in 2016. If you have not tried their products you are missing out! And they have hydration options for everyone not just runners and triathletes. Nuun All Day for example is good for anyone. It tasted good and is low calorie unlike many sports drinks out there.

It's been an average running week. I will probably end up around 35 miles. I've got in a couple of bike rides and plan to get in another tomorrow for a total of 60-65 miles. I also took kickboxing Wednesday and got some lifting/core work in Monday. I have been a bad girl and not been swimming much. But I will get back to it.

I just read an article in Freeplay Magazine about the importance of having an off season. So, I am doing that for a little while longer! I will start more structured training in the first week of January. I will be run heavy through spring since I have a number of running events including Run for Regis, Green Jewel, Boston Marathon and Cleveland Marathon as well as some shorter things. I don't have a tri on the schedule until June so in my mind I have plenty of time to build that fitness for the bike and swim!







Monday, December 14, 2015

Jingle Bell Run 5K Race Report

The Jingle Bell Walk/Run 5K for Arthritis was yesterday. The hubby and I both signed up. We've been having some off season race fun and figured this was for a good cause and close to home so we would give it a go. The race takes place at Legacy Village and the surrounding area in Lyndhurst. It has a 9:00 start too, which is great for those of us that like to sleep in on the weekend yet still race.

Steve and I arrived at Legacy around 8am and parked near the race expo. We had plenty of time to get our packets, get in a good warm up and have a quick snack before the race. It was unusually warm at 65+ degrees at the start so I noticed after our warm up that I was awfully sweaty for just jogging. I figured it would be a warm one so I am glad to have been in shorts and a singlet.

That darn hill! LOL
At the start I actually "tried" to hold back the first mile. My plan was to run about a 6:30 or 6:40 but when I saw the timer at mile 1 - oops 6:15. Okay, okay no biggie I will just slow down a little. At this point around the halfway point at Hawken School (where I used to run track workouts years back with some of the Second Sole folks) I felt fatigued. I knew it was going to hurt for the rest of the race. And it did. Mile 2 I was at 13:00 so I had slowed down to 6:45 that second mile. Mile 3 did not go well - 8:18...yep, ouch. Of course when you decide to walk a hill that will happen. I don't know exactly what went wrong I just felt crappy, kindof overheated and lost my focus. It was too bad - because many people including my husband PRd. I think the sub 21 was there which would be a good PR for me but no dice as I ran it in for a 21:18. Not a bad time but not the time I was capable of.

Even though the race did not go as I planned in that last mile I was able to pull it back together for 4th place female and an AG win. I cannot beat myself up too much for that. I just have to learn from my mistakes. Learning from our mistakes is the only way we can grow as athletes.

I need to do regular speedwork sessions so it does not hurt "as much" during these fast races. This year races have been my speedwork. Next season I will do speedwork to be better prepared. I also have to ignore the negative thoughts that creep me in and tell me "who cares you're not fast enough to win this thing today just walk". I will never be my best if I listen to the negative self talk. I will work on having some positive affirmations for difficult times during my races.

I resolve to be better next season. I will work harder, smarter and believe in myself more. I will also accept that I will have off days in training and racing.

Huge congrats to be my speedy husband Steve who set a PR of 18:22 yesterday at 48 years old! It has been a pleasure to watch him grow and improve over these last 5+ years and I cannot wait to see where he goes next.

Never let your age limit you. Never let your mind limit you. Just keep moving and learning and you will accomplish great things - whatever that means for you.

Special thanks to my Snakebite Racing teammate and friend Mark Erzen for cheering and taking some great photos including the one posted above.