Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lake Effect Half Marathon 2015 *womp womp*

I was very excited about the first race of 2015, a race that I know, with friends I couldn't wait to see. It was my first race since Memphis, and first race representing Zensah and Honey Stinger. Did I want to come out of the 2015 gates with a bang, you bet. Did it happen, not in the least.

I controlled everything that I could. I relaxed the day before, ate and hydrated like normal and got a decent amount of sleep. I was up on time race morning, got there early and wasn't rushed. I was prepared with clothing for every weather situation, and brought my trail shoes for extra traction. I ate a bagel on the road, and drank my bottle of UCAN with it. I warmed up and did my strides, and I took my honey stinger gel during just as planned. I ran 13.1 miles, like I was supposed to (albeit 7 minutes slower than I wanted). I controlled what I could, well...I could have controlled my attitude better but I'm working on it.

While driving into Syracuse I can see part of the course from the thruway. "Where is the pavement?" was my initial thought as I slowed down the car a little. A few minutes later I parked and got my bib and did everything as I should. I ran into Megan who told me that it wasn't plowed and she was going to go jog out and see how bad it was (she wasn't running the race).

The weather was not bad, it was cold (well, low 20's felt warm) but little wind and wasn't snowing. I opted for shorts/calf sleeves, and a two long sleeves. I am most comfortable racing in shorts/tank top but knew that would be too crazy so I opted to at least let my legs move freely.

I chatted with a few people at the start, and minutes later we were off. We quickly went into single file and took advantage of the clear spots, but I knew coming back would be harder (double out and back course). About a mile and a half in, the course conditions started getting worse. The further West we went, the more snow there was. I saw my paces drop quick, and my trail shoes were barely helping the traction. I threw any time goal out very quickly.

The frustration set in almost immediately. Why didn't they plow? This snow came down last night, not this morning. They had time! My stabilizer muscles kicked into overdrive and I made the first loop slow but not too bad. I got to high five friends and cheer on the way back and tried to stay positive. It didn't work well. I wanted to stop. I wanted to DNF (this is not something I consider lightly), I wasn't having fun and I was running far slower than the effort I was putting in.
Let's not discuss the form.
*Side note: Last year I ran Syracuse Half marathon in March and was able to adjust my goals before the race, stay pretty positive despite the blizzard that hit that morning (unexpectedly). I think my biggest issue with LEHM this year was, the snow came the night before and they had time where as at 'Cuse there was no time for it. But again, I should have been more positive this year and adjusted my attitude*

I didn't have a good reason to DNF. I wasn't hurt, I am not coming back from an injury I need to be weary of, and it wasn't SO bad that I feared injury (as long as I was careful). Because I was frustrated and couldn't change my mindset from negative to positive (which I'm usually good about these days). But you know what, I am not a pro athlete. This wasn't about a paycheck for me. This race wasn't going to make or break a sponsorship- did I want to do well for the companies I represent, of course. But I would have kicked my own ass for DNF'ing, and I respect the pro's who finish races even when fall off time (See: Meb, NYC 2013). DNF'ing because you are hurt, legitimately concerned, or other such things is valid in my eyes. I didn't have an excuse, so I kept running.

I spent the second time heading West, in fear of what the back half of the course was going to look like after 500+ runners had gone through. It was worse, that's for sure. The first time hitting the snowy sections my pace slowed about 40 seconds/mile, the second time I actually slowed over a minute/mile. I remember laughing at one point because I legit couldn't make myself move any faster, every step was slipping 3 inches backwards.
Thanks Craig for the photo! Death by ponytail whipping.
When I finally got back to the clear section- I was toast. Luckily I was not far behind another girl which helped mentally kick me back into racing mode and I passed her with less than a half mile to go.
Sticking my tongue out at Heather in the last little bit of the race
1:34:35{5th female, 1st AG}, officially my slowest half since 2012 (Excluding any halves I was pacing someone or the half within the half-iron triathlon that I did). Also 10 seconds/mile slower than my current marathon PR pace. Oof.

You guys, I was a 2 year old about the whole situation. I whined, I complained, I stomped my feet (no, I literally stomped the snow off my feet as I walked into the bar begging for a beer after the race). I initially had a very crappy attitude about it all, no denying that. But, I spent time afterwards with good people, good food and great beer (If you like dark beer---> Black Magic Stout, and The Local Grind). I sang songs and talked it out to my steering wheel on the hour plus long drive home, and then ate/slept the evening away.

I'm feeling better about it as time goes on. I controlled what I could and that's what is important. While I didn't enjoy the race (which, to me sucks more than the time aspect), I did enjoy seeing friends and spending time with them afterwards. These girls were the best part of my day!
I didn't get the puffy coat memo. Sorry ladies!
Britt, Me, Meg & Heather
I won't regret the race or not stopping (I did for a little while), because it was good dose of mental reality check. I'm usually pretty 'mentally tough', and I'm usually pretty good about being positive. I didn't have either of those abilities at LEHM and that is a problem. I need to screw my head back on straight before Boston, positivity will get your butt to the finish line a lot faster than negativity will.

So, I move forward from an off race (that in the grand scheme of things, means nothing) relatively unscathed. I say relatively because apparently glide can freeze (or wash off with snow/slush kicking up) leaving me with the worst chafing I have EVER had. Because you really wanted to know that, I'm sure. I'll be fine, just walk like an idiot for a few days- my punishment for acting like a toddler because I didn't get the time I wanted.

Moving on, back to the grind...and the positive coffee. beer. chocolate. puppies. Unicorns.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Lake Effect Race Weekend & My '2015 Team'

It's officially my first race weekend of 2015, it's insane to me that I haven't pinned on a bib in over 10 weeks. Training has been going well though, and I'm excited to see what this weekend brings. The race is however, in the winter. Needless to say we are expecting some snow and chilly temps- but at this point anything will be better than what it is right now. {Forecast right now is a little snow, and temps in mid-20's which will feel like a heat wave!}

Unfortunately the race course was altered due to construction (Minor change from what I understand), but will not be certified. Obviously this bums me out a little because, barring any CRAZY weather I was thinking a PR could be realistic. But non-certified course technically means no official PR. I already have one unofficial half marathon PR (1:27:XX) from a tempo run I did in training leading up to Memphis, which is faster than my current official PR of 1:28:XX. Who knows, either way I am excited to race and excited to see Heather & Britt again! (Hollie, we will miss you at brunch this year. I'll be a nice friend and drink your mimosa and eat extra food in your honor).

In addition to this being my first race of the year, it's also my first race representing two really awesome companies. I mentioned before in a vague post that my 'team' was growing a bit. No, I don't have a bun in the oven and I didn't go find hubby in a Vegas Casino.

Running is individual but also a team thing in my eyes. I couldn't do what I do without the support from my 'team' of friends, family, my coach, teammates, and awesome companies who make gear that I use in the process. I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to add two companies whose products I love and already use to my 'team'.

Zensah compression sleeves were the first ones I ever tried back in 2011, my collection has grown since then and so has my love of the brand. Super excited to work with them, and the other awesome people who will also be representing them. You can also expect to see my collection grow even more, although I think my neon pink tie-dye calf sleeves will always be my favorite. Besides the calf sleeves, they also make very functional (and cute) running/workout clothing----> Zensah

As for Honey Stinger, it's another brand I have used off and on since 2011. Fueling is something I have been working on fine tuning and the products they have are organic, taste yummy, and don't mess up my stomach (we all know how hard it can be to find gels that sit just right!). If you haven't had their waffles or gels, you don't know what you are missing!----> Honey Stinger

So first race weekend of the year, and first race with these two companies- a lot to be excited about (assuming I don't turn into an icicle between now and Sunday). I'm thrilled for the training and racing to come this year- onward and upward :)

Moose is already rocking the gear just like I am :) 


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Boston/Winter Training

Boston is less than 70 days away, I really don't know where time is going. I DO know that I am already feeling much better about the race this year than I was last. Mainly because my calf & shin aren't being "grade A jackasses" like they were last year during training. The other part of it is, I have a kick ass 'team' this year. Coach and I have been working really well together, and I love the new workouts he has been giving me. Add in all of my friends/family and the support I have, yeah I feel pretty damn good about things right now. My 'team' has also grown a little with some extra outside support, but more on that another time (I know it's killing you not to know, just hold your horses please).

The first 4 weeks of training were pretty lackluster. I had some good workouts and runs, don't get me wrong it wasn't ALL bad. But I also had a failed Christmas day tempo (which I assume was my punishment for being a royal scrooge for the holidays this year), and also spent a week of January being sick and sucking down orange juice and hot toddy's like it was my job. I still ended the month with 178 miles so it was some good base building.

The end of January and beginning of February have felt much more like marathon training to me. More longer runs (16-18, and 20 this weekend), and harder workouts. I'm enjoying it though, new speed and distances to change things up which helps prevent physical and mental training ruts. It feels good to be getting into the 'thick' of training again, and feels even better that my body is adjusting well and I can see/feel the progress.

Some random things about training thus far:

I NEVER thought I would be one to like mile repeats, but...they're growing on me. I've done them a few times so far this year, and it's fun to see and feel the difference each time as my body gets used to those paces. I have 4 x 2 mile repeats on Thursday though, something tells me that won't be quite You can look for me in roadkill position on the ground after.

Winter and these stupid storms are really cramping my style. In the last 2 weeks I have ran outside ONCE. There were a few times I know I could have, but didn't. But beyond that, trying to do my tempos or interval workouts on 3 feet of snow, or on icy roads just isn't something I see myself doing. Consider me partly cautious because I don't want to fall/injure myself, and part being a damn baby- it's freaking cold. There's also the whole...I can't crank out my tempo runs or intervals at prescribed paces when I'm fighting the snow or dancing on ice. Luckily I have a gym membership, and also a good friend who has a fantastic treadmill in her garage. Workouts, long runs, easy runs, whatever- I get 'em done...even if it means plodding away on a hamster wheel and banging out runs to episodes of Chicago PD on my kindle {or blasting the most random collection of music through the speakers}.

Definition of Snow: Gigantic piles of white stuff crowding my streets and sidewalks, doubling my commute (but also giving me fantastic arm workout from shoveling/cleaning off my car)
Alternate Definition of Snow: Upstate NY alternative to winter ice bath after a tempo run.

There is no doubt that I am better about strength training in the winter. This weather keeps me cooped up much more than normal, so I am notably better about doing the 'extra stuff' during this time. I love the way it makes me feel, and know that it makes me stronger- although I'm sure Hans and Frans would critique me as bad as they do Aaron Rodgers. I also recommend a good regimen of 'coffee curls'- Britt is demonstrating for you below. We also did some 22 oz. curls the night before.

 {fabulous girls weekend with----> Heather, myself, Hollie and Britt}

For the better part of last year, my focus was on getting into consistent patterns with running. Consistent miles, consistently challenging myself with workouts, consistently staying on track more than anything else. The benefits I saw from this, were incredible. This year I am focusing on gaining that consistency in other areas related to training; nutrition being a key factor. Consistently practicing my fueling, HYDRATING more than a bottle of water every other day, and consistently making better food choices. Currently, I trick myself into drinking more by leaving water bottles EVERYWHERE. Fuel wise I've cut back on the obvious big bad stuff (ordering dominoes regularly) and have incorporated consistently better fuels. Higher quantity nutrient dense foods combined with high protein snacks. Basic nutrition stuff.

First race of the year is in a week and a half. WHAT? Lake Effect Half marathon is less than 2 weeks away. Prior to running LEHM last year, I had already raced a few times as I was doing our local freezeroo series. I am not involved in that this year, so the half will be my first race since...Memphis. This could be interesting. Last year mother nature was tame and gave us a good running day (Good running day for Syracuse, in February, next to the lake....) and I was able to PR(this isn't my PR anymore, but whatever). A big part of me doesn't think we will be THAT lucky 2 years in a row with weather- but either way I am looking forward to toeing the line and seeing what I can do right now. I'm also looking forward to the time with friends and going to a Jazz brunch again afterwards. Priorities.

Okay, time to mosey out into the tundra and make my way to a treadmill for a workout. Stay safe & warm people, and if you live in a warmer climate- we can be friends again in a few months.

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