Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Flower City Half Marathon

Day 2 of the Flower City Challenge....
Flower City Half Marathon
This race is sentimental for me, 
in 2010 it was the first time the race was put on,
and it was also my first half-marathon ever.

My first Half-marathon ever...
Flower City 2010
WOW I look young!
(sister on left, me on right)
[My time 1:44]
Flower City 2011
Running with KT tape for ITBS
[My time 1:43]

Okay, okay, enough of memory lane.
On to this year's Flower City Half-Marathon.

I really had no idea how fast I was going to be able to run this, 
since I raced pretty hard the day prior at the Flower City Duathlon.

I decided to run to the race to get some extra miles in,
it was a little over a 2 mile warm-up.

announced a few days prior that there would be a Boston tribute prior to the race.
Nothing better than warming up at the start line,
listening to thousands of runners singing "Sweet Caroline"
(I wish I could find a video of this, someone HAD to have taken one).

The first few miles were smooth. 
My legs felt good.
My heart was racing.
Crowds were awesome.
Ran next to my friend Thomas for a little while,
whom I hadn't seen in forever which made me smile!
I felt inspired to be running on streets I love & call home, 
and running a race that was once a big first for me.
Me rounding a corner early on, with my friend Thomas right behind me in the red.
Don't ask me why my mouth is open, I have NO idea.
[The outfit: Tank top (Saucony Ignite), shorts (Saucony Ignite), Sneakers (Saucony Kinvara 4-release 5/1, so happy I was able to get them early!)]
It started to go downhill quick,
& unfortunately I am not referring to the elevation profile.
My legs quickly reminded me that they were tired from the day prior.
Pace slowed, and I generally just felt blah.
I kept going and just trucked along best I could.
I knew I wasn't going to get a PR,
but I also knew it wouldn't be my slowest half either.

Shortly after mile 10 we got on the Genesee Riverway trail...
(ran it twice yesterday for the du)
I saw some people I knew cheering, 
I tried to put on a happy face despite how drained I felt.

Then my fiance...oh what a man he is...
pulled his bike over...
got on side of path in front of me,
and let me give him a slap on the tush.
Sounds silly, but it made me giggle and helped me put a smile on.
(Thanks babe for knowing when I needed a boost)

 [Singing to myself on the course,
while trying to thumbs up and smile for the camera]

I pushed forward, turned onto the Ford Street Bridge
trying to hold pace as best I could.
John was up there cheering, and so was my friend Joe.
Seeing familiar faces was much needed.

Final turn onto Exchange street, I knew it was the home stretch.
John was riding next to me at this point,
just cheering me on and pushing me forward...
I gave it what I had left and pushed through to the finish.
1:34:21 (7:12 average pace)
Not a Half-marathon PR.
BUT it is a PR on this course, by 9 minutes.
So we will file this under..success.
Closed my eyes, catch my breath...I was DONE :)
20/1347 Females
8/263 AG(25-29)

I quickly grabbed some water, and found my man.
Gave him a huge hug and thanked him for being support.
He then went back on the course to cheer and support the many others we knew running.
He is an amazing person and is a great support at races,
I can't wait until his knee's are healed and he can race again,
so I can support him and do what he does for me.

I mosied inside Blue Cross Arena looking for food and ice.
Within minutes my back was spazzing and so was my calf (same one as yesterday).
Fleet Feet had set up a "Recovery Zone" which was AMAZING.
Food, water, fuel, foam rollers, masseuses, chiropractors...
After getting my back and calf worked on,
I came back out and cheered for runners as they came in,
& caught up with some friends I ran into.

Finally I found John again, and we started to make our way home.
(He was on the bike, and I used the 2 mile jog home as cool down)
As we made our way through the city,
we were just out of sight from the finish when we saw it...
2 fire trucks and a HUGE police communications truck.
There were lots of people in suits, and uniforms.
As we went by we could see people on phones and computers in the big truck,
we had no doubts about the reason for all of this.
It's sad that we have to have more security like this at races.
It was nice to see that they kept it close enough,
yet far enough where most wouldn't see it though.
I'm sure that kept people more calm and less likely to panic.
Being the distance that it was, 
also made it less "intrusive" to the race atmosphere.

We made our way home slowly,
I was tired and hot but I knew jogging home would be a good cool-down
 that my body needed (I wouldn't have cooled down otherwise, that much I am sure of).

It was an insane weekend of racing, and I loved it.
FF/YJR really know how to put on a race.
I finished my first duathlon and my 12th half-marathon.
Crazy hectic weekend: 100% worth it
I can't describe to you how well I slept Sunday night.
I'm pretty sure a tractor trailer could have ran through the house,
and I wouldn't have flinched.

Have you ever done back to back big races?

What was your first Half-Marathon?

Have you run the same race multiple times before(any distance)?

Monday, April 29, 2013

My First Duathlon

I'd been talking about it for weeks,
I knew this weekend was going to be an experience.
Saturday was my first ever multi-sport event, followed by a tough half-marathon Sunday.

So Saturday...
Flower City River Challenge Duathlon
(5k run-20 mile bike-5k run)
My first duathlon......

I was up around 5 AM,
drove down the road to Dunkin Donuts to get coffee and a bagel,
it was good to get some fresh air and check out the weather.

I had gotten my stuff all ready the night before:
Sticker # on helmet
number attached to bike & bib belt
gear in my bag
multiple outfits laid out (depending on weather)
tires checked and full of air. 
But I still felt like the biggest hot mess.
Nervous doesn't begin to describe it.

John was my support, and thank goodness for that.
I knew he was going but I told him to sleep in and come a little later.
Nope, he came with me bright and early & 
stood outside transition talking to me as I got my gear set up.
Pre-race transition setup
Let's play I-spy...where's Laura's coffee

John kept me pretty calm before the race,
just talking to me, being supportive,
and reassuring me I wasn't going to die(I was sure I was going to).
We also got to chat with Jamie and her hubby Mike
before the race, which was a nice treat.
They are doing many of the same races as I am this year,
seeing as we have the same goal race (Musselman 70.3) in July.
They were much more calm than I prior to the race,
unlike me, this wasn't their first rodeo.

(Note: they both did awesome!!!
It was a first race using clips for them and they were both successful!)

After a short jog around to warm up,
John and I headed over to the start line.
I was more nervous going into this race, than any of the marathons I have done.

I was going into the race with 3 goals:
DONT FLAT (tire)

At 7:36 we were off (men followed at 7:39)
I knew going into the race I had to bank some time on my first run,
because I knew I was going to get passed A LOT on the bike.
I went sub-20 for my first 5k.
I didn't realize this until after.
I didn't look at my watch at all, I just focused on getting to transition.
I was 3rd female coming off of the first run.
(believe me when I say, I knew that wasn't going to last)

Transition 1 (Run-bike)
Threw on my helmet, grabbed my bike and I was ready to go.
I rode in my running shoes
(I don't clip yet)
This was nice, because I had a 39 second transition.
No flying mount, but I didn't fall so I'll take it.

The bike course (20 miles)
I was extremely nervous for this, first time racing on a bike.
I knew I was going to get passed a lot,
and I knew I was going to struggle on the hills.
My expectations for the bike were low, which was a good thing.

It took me a while to find a groove.
I finally started to get in one and the hills came.
I went slow and steady and stood up when I needed to.
I was actually somewhat impressed with myself on the hills,
people were passing me, but I was also passing people.
Around mile 10ish(?)
I got the worst calf cramp I have EVER had.
I made a turn and was holding back tears from the pain.
I held steady riding with one arm, rubbing my calf with the other.
Then grabbed my water bottle and took a few huge sips of Gatorade.
I started feeling a little better, 
when I went to put my water bottle back in the cage....it fell.
I can't describe the expletives coming out of my mouth at this point.
I kept going, knowing I wouldn't have hydration the rest of the race.
Oddly enough I started feeling better shortly after this, 
my calf stayed calm, 
and I started picking up speed.
 In the last little bit of the ride before transition I saw John,
which made me unbelievably happy.
He was cheering and yelling and I needed it.
All I could think is:
"Just get me off the bike, I want to run"

I took a deep breath and blew out a huge sigh of relief.
I had survived the bike.
(this photo was right as I was blowing out the deep breath,
even though it looks like I am about to lose my breakfast.)

Transition # 2 (bike to run)
I was really happy with this transition.
I did a flying dismount (YAY!!!!)
and came in quick.
I knew I lost about 10-12 places on the course of the bike.
So I needed a fast transition and a fast 2nd run to make up some ground.
(I didn't go into the race planning on placing [at all], 
but I also wasn't going to stop trying if I had a chance)
Helmet off,gloves off, pull down belt, rip off top
and RUN! 37.1 seconds.

Run #2 was rough, but that's to be expected.
My legs felt drunk, tired and wobbly. 
I kept staring at my watch, 
I couldn't figure out how fast I was going.
I was convinced my watch was lying.
I passed quite a few people at this point.
It was one of those "thank goodness I'm a runner" moments.
I caught a few girls which gave me a boost 
(the same ones that FLEW past me on the bike).
Coming around the last corner seemed to take forever.
I crossed the finish line, I DID IT.

My final time was 1:54:45 (I had a secret goal of sub-2)
Run #1- 19:47 (6:22 pace)
T1- 39.33 seconds
Bike -1:11:01 (16.9 avg mph)
T2 -37.1 seconds
Run#2 -22:40 (7:17 pace)
I finished 11th female and 4th in my AG. 

 My transition area post-race

 Transition Post-race

 My baby:) She served me well!

First Duathlon DONE!

* I can't wait to do it again, I will feel so much less nervous and enjoy it a million times more.

*I don't regret being so focused that I didn't smile as much or have a ton of fun, it was important for me to focus on what I needed to do, stay safe, and make it through my first duathlon. 

*The bike course was the kick in the ass that I needed to remind me to ride more hills, and just get my bike out more in general.

*I am a runner, it is my strength and it makes me happy. 

*I was humbled by this race, but I think it was good for me. Being a newbie again makes you appreciate the hard work and dedication we put into these things.

*I was (and still am) extremely emotional about this race. I legitimately almost cried while walking back to transition to get my things. John told me not to worry if I cried though, because people were only going to notice the fact that I was wearing tall compression socks with flip flops (I changed into these right after finishing), it may have looked odd but oh well.

*I'm very happy with my time, and I did better than I thought I would (by a few minutes!), but I will say...it was hard being passed a lot. I have grown into a pretty strong runner and although I am far from the best I have a lot of confidence in my abilities, I cannot say the same about my cycling.

*I need to find my "beast mode" for cycling. I have it for running, that ability to dig deep, run without fear and just push my limits. I don't have that on the bike, I held back a lot due to inexperience, and to fear (falling etc.). 

* 2 burgers, some fries and a frosty are the best post-duathlon foods ever. I'd show you a picture, but I inhaled it so fast there wasn't time for it.

*I do want to take a moment to thank everyone for encouraging me and putting up with my nervous whiney self the last few weeks. I was in shock to finish the race and grab my phone to see a TON of messages. Between Facebook messages, email, twitter, and text messages my inbox was overflowing with "good luck", "I was tracking you and saw you finished! Great job" etc. (There was a part of me hoping that people wouldn't see you could track the race, just in case I DNF'd or something)

*I know there is so much more I am forgetting...like I said though, this race was a lot to process and I'm still trying to figure it all out!

This was Day 1 of a long race weekend....
tomorrow I will recap the Flower City Half Marathon(Day 2).

Have you ever been really emotional after a race (regardless of it being a first, or best, or worst)??

How do you deal with nerves before a race?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Luck 7's Workout & Weekend Race Preview

Since someone decided to call the show "Hoarders" on me, I wont be able to post for a while because I will be filming the episode "Hoarders: Sneakers & Swag, when runners go wrong".

Okay, not really. 

BUT I did have a lot of people tell me I have a lot of stuff after yesterdays Gear Inventory post. I know it's true, and there are days I wonder whether a drug or alcohol habit would be cheaper (mehhh maybe?) but it sure wouldn't be as fun, or healthy. So for now I'll leave my veins alone and continue to collect shoes, race gear, and bulk fuel products.

Moving on.

Yesterday's workout
Lucky 7's workout. 
This is my 7th pair of +Saucony Kinvara's
7 miles.
7:07 average pace.
Okay it wasn't planned that way but it's how it happened,
& you don't see this girl complaining.
Splits: 7:46,7:15,7:11,7:13,6:49,6:48.6:46
This Weekends Schedule
Practice bike mounts/dismounts
Practice transitions
Short easy shake-out run
Flower City Duathlon
(5k run-20 mile-bike 5k run)
I don't want to discuss how nervous I am for this, it will be my first duathlon.
Assuming I don't die Finish
I'll have a full recap next week
Full of all my rookie mistakes I'm sure to make.
Flower City Half Marathon
I have to run miles before 
& after the race to make it longer run
I don't have a time goal
as I don't know how my legs 
will feel after the duathlon,
and this isn't a goal race.
Look at this HM as a one-night stand
just another notch on the belt for experience.
Bad analogy? 

Also this weekend I get to work on lots of things around the house. One of the roomies moved out which means I will finally have a place for all of my things. As I said in the post "We Carry On" life is anything but simple right now and I really need to get organized and have a place for myself. I can't move all of my stuff out of the garage yet, but I can get cleaning and figure out what I want to do with the room. It's going to become a guest room/office/Laura-cave, so many ideas to play with!  John put an app on his I-pad that is going to help me make a great room. Check out Homestyler, amazing and free. Winning.

What do you have going on this weekend?

Any races or long runs? 
(if so GOOD LUCK!)

For those of you who have done a duathlon/triathlon before, what rookie mistakes did you make your first time around, or have you seen being made?


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gear inventory

With Race season pretty much here now, it's time to make sure everything is in order.
Yesterday I took a Mental Inventory and today is all about the gear. 
Best way to start the season is make sure you have everything you need, 
and everything is in working safe condition.
(This is my gear, in no way shape or form am I saying you need all of this, or any of this.
Nor was I sponsored by any of the brands, I simply love the stuff that I use and I don't mind telling you that.)

I.pod (charger at the ready, headphones in working order, playlists updated)
Garmin 405 (Charger at the ready, clear out data so there is plenty of room)
Heart Rate strap (Make sure battery is replaced, make sure it's cleaned off regularly)
[For cleaning heart rate straps, it's recommended to remove module from strap, hand wash with cold water(with small amount mild soap), lay flat to dry]
Recommended to wash HR strap every 7 uses, lord knows that thing gets sweaty!

Okay, it's no secret I love +Saucony and particularly the Kinvara's. I talk about them all the time, and I truly believe they are an amazing shoe. They work great for me, and I haven't tried anything else since I started wearing these a few years ago. 7 pairs later, and I am still in love.

Guess who came home with me yesterday(a week early!)! Kinvara 4!
My new kicks, this is pair #7 of the +Saucony Kinvara's
Yes, I made sure they made it home safe,
& then wore them around the house all night. (Don't judge me!)

This is 5 of the 7 pairs I have owned of Kinvara's.
Orange and purple in back are Kinvara 2
Pink & purple in middle are Kinvara 3
Purple in front are my new Kinvara 4.
[The dearly departed..aka pairs 1&2 were blue,
they were retired to general use, and have since been laid to rest(RIP)]
 Okay, okay you get the point. I love my Kinvara's and I have an addiction to them. (good thing is, they don't make a Kinvara anonymous...yet.) 

Back to shoes in my gear line right now...this is my current rotation of sneakers...
 From top to bottom...

Kinvara 4 (current miles...0..that changes tonight!)
My hope is to get these broken in soon 
so I can have them ready to run in Cleveland in a few weeks.
Kinvara 3 Purple (current miles ~200)
I love these, but for some reason had a hard time 
feeling as comfy in these as my other pairs.
Currently using these for majority of my runs
Kinvara 3 Pink/Silver (current miles ~430)
Although they have high miles, 
I am having a REALLY hard time letting these ones go.
These have been my favorite sneakers by far.
And it doesn't hurt that I BQ'd in these.
Currently only using these for short runs, 
or when it's crappy outside.

Also in my gear line that I would like to point out,
are my Nike Comfort sandals. These are a staple in my race bag.
They're squishy memory foam so your foot gets cushion.
One of the first things I do after a race, is but these on.
They offer more support than a flip-flip, and help sore feet!

Yes I have other shoes for working out, some cross trainers for the gym and such, but I figure I'd focus on my running stuff since it's going into race season. If you're curious about what other ones I have just ask!


My biggest piece of gear for cycling....clearly...my bike!
You all know how excited I was when I got my bike on Easter weekend, I'm still excited.

I have a Silver Felt ZW100 which I purchased at Towpath Bike (If you're in Rochester area, I highly recommend going there, superb!) This is a good time of year to go get a tune-up and fitting to make sure your bike is properly functioning for you.

Another piece of gear shown here is my bike rack. You can't see it well but its a black hunk of metal with some foam pieces (not to scratch the car) that holds the bike in place. This comes in handy getting my bike to places! (Without pedaling!) I also have a few small bungee cords to help hold the wheels in place while driving.

Bell bike pack, and Gel seat cover, both important!
In my bike pack is spare tubes, cash, tire levers, multi-tool etc.
I love my Bontrager helmet! Ponytail spot in the back is the best!
Also made sure to check my other cycling gear: gloves, extra tubes, tools, chain breaker, water bottle holder, water bottle, hand pump attached to my frame, bike shorts (padding in the bum, best.invention.ever)

Swim Gear
I don't have a ton of swim gear...yet.

Wet suit is in the works. (let me know if you have one that you love that I should look into!)
Goggles ( I have like 3 pairs, different brands...looking into getting a pair of open water ones)
Swimsuit (I have 2 speedos, that are older but in good shape)
Caps (I have a few, even a blue floral one for when I am feeling bubbly, people give me looks with this one.)
Lap counter (This is my favorite piece of swim gear)

Other Gear
My favorite Sunglasses in action
for my HM PR in 2012
Headbands: because seriously, it matters! (especially when you are like me and growing your hair out! I really like Sweatybands and BAMR bands, I have a few of each and they stay in place and look cute!)
Handheld water bottle: I have a Nathan Quickdraw handheld, and Camelback Quickgrip. Both are great and do their job. (both also have handy little pockets on them.
RoadID: Great safety gear, worth every penny.
Headlight: I have a princeton tech one, only used it a few times.
Belts: I have a Nathan belt, spibelt, and a race bib belt.
Sunglasses: These are important! I have a few pairs I am capable of running comfortably in. 1 is a gas station pair but they work fine. My favorite are my Ironman brand sport glasses from Target.

Compression gear: when training, this is important to have. I have Zensah calf sleeves, Smartwool compression socks, and Vitalsox.
Safety Pins: yes this is gear, yes this is very important gear. Have spares, never trust a race to have enough.
Sunblock: Because, sunburn sucks.
Epsom Salts: I never have less than a pound of this at a time. (don't eat them though, or you'll go cray cray)
"Vitamin I" aka Ibuprofen: ALWAYS have this on hand. (Hence why I refer to it as a vitamin. haha, it's not really one, I do know that.)
Bulk Fuel: I buy my Clifshot blocks and honeystingers in bulk. saves you moolah, and you're never gonna run into race day issue of not having it.
Don't come between me & my foam.
[And dude my hair is finally getting longer!]
Good socks: I never used to believe in this. But then I tried some amazing Saucony & Mizuno socks, and I stopped getting toe blisters. Haven't looked back since.
Foam Roller aka My best friend: I'm not sure how I survived without this before I got mine a few years ago. It's a cheapo Gold's Gym one but it does the job. I spend QT with it every night, I should probably name it. Hmm... Suggestions?
Body Glide: As a woman with no gap between my thighs, let me tell you...this is a necessity.
Massage Therapist: I have one I go see regularly. She rocks. Helps prevent problems before they happen.
A Back Cracker:  this is my Fiances job, he does it very well. I should pay him more. (paid with reeces and kisses)
A smart person: someone who knows more than you do about your event, someone you feel comfortable asking stupid questions to. This is important for people like me, who are more than stupid when it comes to this triathlon stuff.
Hat/Visor: My saucony running hats are my favorite, I have blue and purple. I also have a black Nike visor that works well for running.
Arm Sleeves: great for racing when you don't know what the weather is going to do. Easy to pull off/pass off if it warms up! I have a few different colors/material ones, some warmer than others.

I won't even get into my "workout clothes" because...that would take...FOREVER
Let's just say... I could clothe all of the athletes in the Olympics...twice.

As I get ready for race season, it was good to go through my gear.
See what I have, what I need, and what I want.
Also good time to clean everything and organize it all.
[I use tall sets of plastic drawers so everything is in one place]
Last thing you want to do is be unprepared on race day.
I've totally forgotten things before, 
and kicked myself for it multiple times!


What gear do you HAVE TO HAVE?

Have you ever forgotten something big for a race?

Do you have any rituals for when race season starts?
(Inventories, gear checks, meals etc?)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mental Inventory Day

I think some of you might be realizing why I titled my blog "Catching my breath"
My life is busy and hectic (and I love it), and constantly on the go.
With Seneca 7 relay this past weekend (recap here!),
Race season has officially started!

With that said, now more than ever am I going to be 
"catching my breath".
Between life, work, studying, wedding planning, training and racing....
whew, I need to catch my breath.

Heading into such a busy time, is kind of scary for me.
I don't handle stress well (At least I admit it)
I am getting better about it, but it takes work.
I wanted to take a little time to do an "inventory" 
this will be mental inventory,
tomorrow I plan on doing a gear inventory!

 Things that I am happy/excited about right now
Race season starting makes me happy, and overly excited.
I love the rush of racing.
I love the adrenaline pumping and the heart pounding with every step I take.
I am even more excited for race season this year, 
because last year I was on the sidelines and missed a bunch of my favorite races.

I am excited about the fact that we have most likely found our wedding reception venue!
Finding a place we love, 
that has the things we were looking for,
and a place we can afford,
now that's a win!

I am excited to have a renewed sense of motivation with my running.
Everything about Boston this year gave me motivation to run strong again.
Saturday I ran with Hollie and Jen which gave me new found inspiration,
these 2 women are amazing, and I could only hope to be half as fast as they are.
Sunday doing the relay (and we kicked ass) with an amazing team, 
reminded me why I LOVE running so much.
I don't know what the trigger was, 
but I am happy to be a loving runner again.

Things I am nervous about
My first Duathlon is this weekend. (5k run, 20 mile bike, 5k run).
I'm lacking experience on the bike, 
I've never done a transition,
if I get a flat, I'M SCREWED.
I really don't want to fall.

Cleveland is 24 days away.
Although this is #5, 
and I don't need a BQ (already have it),
this race is getting me worked up.

Studying for my Series 7 Exam has me anxious.
There is massive amounts of material, 
and I want to (need to) make sure I know it forward and back.

My hamstring is really bothering me. 
I got a massage last night and she spent 35 of the 55 minutes 
working on a racquetball size knot on the back of my leg. 
"sometimes you have to put the elbow into it"
if that describes how 'relaxing' it was.
I can't get injured, I can't get injured.
Good news, it's not an injury it's a problem (there's a difference)
and I won't let this be an excuse for anything.

List of some Irrational fears I have right now
(I know they're irrational, so tell me to snap out of it.)
My foot is still damaged 
(I had phantom pain in my left foot last week, same foot that I broke this time last year)
[I know it's not, it's just my mind playing games]
Saturday is going to be my first DNF
(That's how unconfident I am going into my first duathlon)
[I'll finish, even if it takes me forever]

Cleveland is going to be my worst marathon time
(This training cycle has been crap, good thing I already have my BQ)
[1. I'm still in better shape than I was for my first, 2. who cares if it's my worst?]

I don't have it in me to be a real triathlete
(I'm bad at sticking to plans, I love running more than the other 2 disciplines, biking and swimming don't come as easy to me therefore I will suck at them)
[stupidest irrational fear EVER. I know I need to work hard, but I will get there!]

10 things I am grateful for right now
1. My fiance: I'm a very lucky girl to have him. 
2. I have 2 jobs, this is a blessing (and a curse).
3. I have the ability to run, I must use it.
4. I can pay my bills, and put food on the table.
5. As much as Series 7 studying stresses me out,
 I am grateful for the opportunity to make this a career
6. Real friends that I have. 
They support me, don't control me, encourage me 
and make me want to be a better person.
7. My family. Great role models for parents, 
& overjoyed for my sister and her husband with their new baby.
8. My health, I feel I take my body for granted far too much, I need to be grateful for it and appreciate all it allows me to do.
9. Caffeine: for without it I wouldn't be able to accomplish all that I do 
10. Making mistakes and second chances...live and learn and do everything you can to better yourself, admit when you are wrong, and stand up for yourself when you're right. No one is perfect, nor will anyone ever be, the only thing you can control is YOURSELF.

What I can do to help myself?
Stick to my to-do lists to make sure I get things done that need to be
Stretch more: hard worked bodies need it
Make time for myself: no phone, no computer, no studying, just ME.
Forgive myself: for mistakes, missed workouts, things like that...it's not worth holding on to.
Stand up for myself: I AM IN CONTROL
Stay committed to my goals: It's going to take work but it will be worth it in the end
Support myself & not belittle myself: I need to stop being my own worst critic
Ask for help: I can't do it all alone, this much I know!

true story.

Have you taken a mental inventory lately?

What are you excited about?

What are you nervous about?

Any irrational fears you have ? -->>

What are ways you help yourself?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seneca 7 Relay Recap

I feel like nothing I write will do this race any justice, 
but I'll give it a shot.
[This is going to be wordy...]

Pre-Race shot of our 7 runners and amazing chauffeur :)
Team #118 "Sloppy Sevenths" (all-male category since we only had 2 girls)
Quick overview of the race itself:
*3rd year the race has been put on
*The race is 77.7 miles long (around Seneca lake)
*7 runners, with each running 3 times (varying distances)
*Staggered start times: 7, 7:30,8, 9, 9:30
*Categories: Male, Female, Mixed, Bike

Our team was named "Sloppy Sevenths", I knew all but 2 prior to the race, but by the end of the weekend I felt like I had known them all for years. I guess that's what happens when you spend an entire weekend in close quarters with people :)

Weather: It was a gorgeous sunny day, but windy! When you weren't running, sweats were necessary and staying out of the wind was ideal. But when you were running, it was very warm even with the wind by the water. This made for lots of outfit changes for the team, and lots of last minute stripping layers before relay exchanges.

Our team:
Chauffeur: My wonderful Fiance John
Legs 1, 8, 15: Al 
(wicked fast dude from Albany-went to college with the boys)
Legs 2, 9, 16: Katie 
(She's a cheetah, WON the Wineglass Marathon last year, runs for +Saucony )
Legs 3,10,17: Nate 
(Incredible ultra runner, Running Coach)
Legs 4,11,18: Dave 
(My soon to be Bro in Law, another crazy fast man!!!)
Legs 5, 12, 19: Mark
 (Went to college with the boys, super fast even a year after knee surgery)
Legs 6, 13, 20: Joe 
(Used to work with John, is on a 100+ day streak of running right now!!)
Legs 7, 14, 21: Laura 
(Yours truly)

Our team started at 9:30 (last wave out) which was kind of nice because we didn't have to get up super early. The first few exchanges were so easy, we had plenty of time to get to the stops, and little traffic and people to fight to get there. John brought a red carpet, and every time our runner finished, they got the red carpet back into the van before we headed to the next stop. There weren't many other teams around at the time but those that were, really got a kick out of us.
"If the van's a rockin', were probably getting our socks on"
 I was antsy all morning, it got to the point where I just wanted to run really bad, but I was the last to go in the rotation. So I did my cheering, and helped others while I not so patiently awaited my turn to go. All of our runners threw down some incredible paces for their first legs, which made me even more nervous....everyone was ahead of schedule. Finally, shortly before noon I got my first go around.

My first leg (leg 7) [4.1 miles]- This was a gradual uphill section, gain of about 200 feet. I debated for a while on what to wear and settled on long sleeve Saucony shirt with shorts and my Kinvara's. About 30 seconds after getting the bracelet, I knew I should have worn a tank top, the sweating began. This was my longest leg of the 3, so I knew I had to set a good pace. 6:44, 6:48, 6:52 were my first 3 miles, I was disappointed to see my pace going down. Finally mile 4 I ran a 6:30 which made me feel a lot better. I ran 4.1 miles in 27:15, about 2 minutes earlier than expected (good thing Al was ready early at the exchange for me).

At this point we were on the second rotation of the 7 of us, and this is where things really started getting crazy. We were running fast, so didn't have massive amounts of time to get to next stop. We started catching up to a lot of the teams that started in earlier waves which made exchange points harder (no more red carpet, it was jump in the van and go....no stretch, no cool-down until we got to next stop). There was less parking, more people around and less time to do things.

During round 2 of the rotation, my teammates were still throwing down some incredible times (even with some heavy elevation changes), but I didn't have time to be nervous. We got the van stuck in mud at this point, but with the help of some runners from other teams we didn't have an issue getting it out (just made for another funny story to tell, EVERYONE saw it happen).

My nerves were still on edge and I was standing on other side of road waiting for Joe to come in and pass off the bracelet to me. At this point I got to see Jamie come in and pass off to her teammate, I yelled as loud as I could hoping she could hear me over the crowd (and she did!). This was her second year doing the race and you could see how much she loves it by the smile on her face!

My second leg (leg 14) [3.1 miles] {roughly 3:15 pm}I took off and I didn't realize we had to turn shortly after and I yelled where do we go (there was no sign), thankfully the man I just passed was nice enough to yell "LEFT". This leg was much more enjoyable than my first, because there were so many more people around. I knew I was going to have a decent amount of roadkills (# of people you pass) but I wasn't sure how many(I wasn't counting..OUT LOUD). We had caught up so fast to so many teams though that I found myself well over 10. One guy asked me as I passed "what number am I??"and I hesitantly said 17 and he responded with "go get 20!". Oddly enough, this was the least stressed 5k ever for me (even though I knew I had another leg after this), and I was ECSTATIC to pass off to Al in 19 minutes and 48 seconds. I was so freakin' happy to run sub-20 5k on not-so-fresh legs, I had to text Hollie and tell her...immediately (we have been talking about speed lately).

The next few exchanges were getting closer and closer together, and we were worried about having enough time to get there. We even got lost at one point (in Sampson State Park) but somehow managed to get where we needed to go. I am still amazed how we pulled it all off, we really had to work together and be flexible with (warm-up/cool-down, how far we were parked from exchange point etc) to make it all happen. Long gone were the days of red carpets, but we were still the loudest cheering, most fun van out there, running our hearts out.

Last hand-off of the day: Joe to Me
Getting ready for my last leg was hardest, it had been a long day and it was starting to wear on me. My hamstring had a knot in it, and my stomach was NOT happy with me (and bathrooms were hard to come by without a 20 minute wait...which I didn't have time for). John could tell I was getting really nervous about it and was trying to help and keep me calm, telling me it didn't matter what I ran. At the last relay exchange point while waiting, I FINALLY got a bathroom stop which was much needed, and just bounced around waiting to get my last chance to run for the team.

My final leg (leg 21) [3.7 miles] started around 5:38, I saw Joe over the horizon, grabbed the bracelet and told myself "just get there". The first half of this leg was blah, I was running on a highway with no one around. Finally got to Seneca Lake State Park and actually could look at the water which was nice. I also had a little boy try and run with me at that point, he kept up for about 25 yards then said  "I'm tired" and I asked for a high-5 and he was so excited, gave me one, and then he just stopped (it was adorable). I knew I was averaging 6:30's (I never looked at my watch so much as I did during this leg), and just wanted to hold that until the finish. There's a team "reunification" point about 100 yards from finish, so the 6 other runners and John jumped in with me and we all crossed together.
Al, Dave, Katie, John, Me, Mark, Nate, Joe
8 hours and 32 minutes to go 77.7 miles. That's averaging a hair over 6:30's for our team...I was amazed and so proud. We took 6th team out of 208, and had a blast doing so. We were also the 4th team in our division (all-male...because you had to have 3 women to be considered mixed, Katie and I held our own as "men" though!)

[My total was 10.9 miles at an average of 6:32 pace]

 Some thoughts on our team/experience:
I told you yesterday our official fuel was cheese-balls....fact: we ate them ALL.
*Not only did our team keep track of "roadkills"(people we passed), we kept track of ACTUAL roadkill (we had 2 very serious hunters/nature lovers on the team). There are actual pictures of these, to protect the dearly departed animals, I won't post them.

*Instead of yelling "looking good" while cheering for our teammates we were yelling "looking sloppy" to go with our name. Other teams must have thought we were the least encouraging people EVER.

*What do you do when you forget the cowbell in the car when you are waiting to cheer your runner on? YELL COWBELL OVER AND OVER. Yes, we did this....multiple times.

*I can't reiterate enough how well our team worked together. We were consistent, flexible, helpful, and still managed to have a fun (and fast) time. I can't imagine doing a relay without a solid team like this, logistics were difficult at times even being as efficient as we were. 

*Doing a relay made me realize how much I loved them in college track. I love running because you can do it for yourself and don't have to rely on others. But there is a lot to be said about teamwork and support, I didn't once feel like I was relying on my team. We all played our parts and we all kicked ass, got along and didn't get arrested. 

*Proof that runners are amazing people. Granted a few of the team members went to college together, we all came from different backgrounds. Some run for teams, some are elites, some are ultra runners, some are running for health but we are all runners. It was never a competition or anything, it was a true team effort and I loved it. We were there to run, kick ass, and have fun and I can safely put a check mark next to all of those.

*Looking back at it now, I am so happy about our time and placing but I also realize it didn't matter. We knew going into it we had a strong team, but never did we take it so seriously that we weren't having fun. We cheered ourselves on, other teams on, it was a day to celebrate running:)
Seneca Lake post-race ice bath and beer, totally worth it.
Some thoughts on the race itself:
*Great concept, great local race!

*Scenery was incredible...the lake, vineyards, all of it!

*They REALLY need to figure out a better plan for the staggered start (or let less teams in), the congestion in the middle of the race was unsafe and very frustrating.

*The "all-bike teams" (some teams rode bikes around instead of a car, while the other person ran) needs some work. Bikers were not following rules of road (saw some without helmets, riding in middle of road, texting while riding, not paying attention) and there were quite a few very close calls. I understand this is an eco-friendly alternative to another car on the road, but it created some dangerous situations.

*Exchange points should not be in parking lots where people were parking vans (most exchanges were on the road but some were in parking lots where everyone was coming in and out, and it was really dangerous)

* The race swag was great! We all got shirts, hats, 77.7 stickers, temp tattoos, and cool medals.

*Something I would do again, YES....but I would really like to see what they plan on doing to reduce congestion and make safer transitions in the middle exchange points.

~Overall I had a fantastic time and am proud to be a part of this running community. This was my first road relay, and I can say for sure I will do another. I couldn't have asked for a better team than I had and am truly lucky to have those people in my life. I also gained a boost of confidence in myself that I really needed. My training has been so spotty this time around, but seeing what I was able to do Sunday, gave me a little more spark heading into my next few races.~

Have you ever done a relay?

What are your thoughts on bike teams at running races?
(Being a 'cyclist'[newbie one] I appreciate bikes & cyclists, but part of me questions their place in a logistical race like this....for SAFETY reasons)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Good, Bad, Yummy 4/19-4/21

This weekend was...INSANE.
It was a great weekend, but the entire thing was on a strict time schedule 
which didn't leave much room for error (no room for error in some cases).
And the only way to describe how I feel today, TIRED.

Worked all day
Errands/packing for the weekend
Played a Game all night with J's friends for one friends Birthday

10 mile Run with Hollie & Jen
Wedding Venue tour on Keuka Lake
Seneca 7 Packet pickup/pre-race briefing 
Pasta dinner with our relay team/goofing around all night

Seneca 7 Relay (Full recap of this to come tomorrow)

The Good
*Not working Friday night was a nice breath of fresh air.

*I actually got to relax Friday night and have a beer.

*They caught that monster of a terrorist. In a boat. (The jokes are endless.)

*Friday night I was sent this picture of my nephew in my mom's glasses. Priceless.

*Running with Hollie and Jen was great, nothing like running with 2 women who are insanely talented but the most down to earth people to spend time with...I wish we could run together more often.

*The Wedding Venue John and I toured Saturday was...amazing. I think we found a winner!

*Saturday night pasta dinner with out relay team was great. I knew all but 2 on the team, and by the end of the weekend I felt like I knew everyone for years. 

*Having an adorable nephew makes for great pre-race texts.
I got this text Sunday morning as a "good luck picture" of my Nephew from my sister.
*Seneca 7 falls under good category simply because I don't have an amazing category (I might have to make one). The race was one of the most fun things I have done in a long time, and I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend all weekend in close quarters with. We had a VERY fast team, which was incredibly inspirational...it took 7 runners (and 1 amazing chauffeur) 8 hours and 32 minutes to run 77.7 miles (6:34 average pace). 6th place out of 208 teams, BAM! I will write much more about all this tomorrow in a full recap, there is too much I don't want to leave out! 

The Bad
*I didn't get my run in as planned Friday afternoon, but I'm okay with it. But since it is a missed workout, we will file that under bad.
*The game we played Friday night for J's friends Birthday was... LONG. Let's just say it took 5+ hours and could have gone longer. It was fun but...yeah. 

*It snowed/hailed Saturday morning, who made Mother Nature mad?

*There were a few times yesterday things got stressful (we were going so fast, there were times it got difficult to get from checkpoint to checkpoint), it meant some sacrificing. We worked great as a team though which made us successful, but there were definitely some things on the course that made it hard! Stretching, warm-up/cool-down and proper fueling became challenging as the race went on and legs got closer together.

*My hamstring has a giant knot in it, that decided to show up halfway through the day yesterday (running fast, and multiple times and cramming in a van between probably didn't help)

*My stomach is NOT happy with me from this weekend (mainly yesterday), it was so confused as to what was going on. (run, ride in car, eat, cheer, repeat 3 times)

The Yummy
*Friday had some seriously yummy food bar stuff from Wegmans for dinner. 

*Double chocolate stout while playing the game Friday night...AMAZING.

*Sunday's relay was fueled by Bananas, brownies, cookies, and cheeseballs. It was amazing
For the record we had lots of healthy things too...but I will say, I DID eat 5 cheeseballs right before running a sub 20 5k on my second leg.
1lb. GONE after 77.7 miles and 7 runners.

 How was your weekend?
Any races/relays or fun things that you did?
What was your Good, Bad & Yummy for the weekend?

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