Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Race report: Rochester Autumn Classic Duathlon

A rainy morning. 
I am now a du-athlete. And once I get that pesky swimming thing figured out, this half-iron is in the bag!

On Sept. 30 I finished the Rochester Autumn Classic Duathlon in 2:15:02 (had I not forgotten to take my helmet off at one transition I could have been under 2:15... gah!!! Yes, I know my goal was 2:30.) Many apologies to the few who care about taking forever to get this report up, as mentioned in my previous post, life has been busy busy busy!

The du was a 2 mile run/10 mile bike/2 mile run/10 mile bike/2 mile run.

Here's the breakdown:
  • 2 m run - 19:17
  • Transition - 40 seconds
  • 10 m bike - 37:35
  • T - 60 seconds
  • 2 m run - 18:43
  • T - 41 seconds
  • 10 m bike - 38:38
  • T - 28 seconds
  • 2 m run - 17:58 (negative splits wee!!) 
I wake up to the clank clank clank of rain pounding against my air conditioner. Always encouraging on race morning :-/ I got there, caught up with a friend, and it's still pouring. But as time to line up nears the rain is down to a light drizzle. 

I size up the competition. Lots of hardcore looking people there. I was one of the few on a hybrid. For the Formula 1, the longer race that I did, it was mostly men. They yell go and everyone takes off. For the first tenth of a mile or so I'm at the back of the pack running an 8:00 mile. Crap! I don't want to finish last. Panic sets in. I ease up to about a 10 minute pace and since they started the sprint distance people five minutes later it was hard to tell where I ranked. I run most of the two miles with another guy who kept saying "yea, I run a 10 minute mile I know I'm slow". We're running just under a 10:00 pace and all I kept thinking was "slow down slow down slow down or you'll never make it." But the pace felt comfortable. 

We get into transition, I go through seamlessly, and the guy I was running yells "hey, Ohio!" as he whizzes by me on the bike. I'm riding in a steady line of people so my fear of being in last place subsides. I get over the hills without a problem, and go back to transition. This is where I almost ran off with my helmet, thank you awesome guy working the transition area who stopped me! I take a Honey Stinger, kick it up and...


This does not feel good. I knew what to expect from practice but I didn't account for the hills. I cannot feel my legs. My quads are burning. It was a weird sensation only comparable to the last six miles of a marathon. I have no sense of how fast I'm going. I feel like I'm barely shuffling along, but when I look at my watch I'm still running sub-10s. I get through the first mile, and my legs ease up and then the second mile is quite pleasant. 

And then, just as I'm back to the running groove, it's time for the bike. In the 18:43 I spent running some sinister jacka$$ went out and doubled the size of the hills. This bike was rough. I was shifting on hills that I hadn't shifted on the first time.

Further, all the sprint distance people were done, and I'm all by myself. Fear of last place sets in again, until I pass someone fixing a flat. Thanks to the wonderful Fleet Feet crew I didn't get lost since I could no longer use my usual follow-the-person-in-front-of-me strategy. 

The whole 10 miles are a struggle. I just want to be done. I run in my bike, barely stop and kick it out for the run.

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. 

It's even worse than the second run. I feel like I can barely control my legs and my knees are knocking together, something I have never felt before. The only thing that's keeping me moving is me wanting to be done, "you haven't walked yet don't do it now" I keep telling myself. Somehow, some way, I find the energy to make it through the two miles and kick in in. Matt the trainer is there cheering, yay! 

Age group award! 
I catch up with David, who finished 15 minutes ahead of me and is up on the results. He tells me that he didn't see any women my age ahead of me... hmmm.... There weren't a lot of women, period. I stay for the awards ceremony.

They call my age group and go immediately to second place, which means there was only one other woman. They call a name, and it's the girl in pigtails I passed during the final run. Then they call first place for my age group and it's me! I never win anything... and first out of two is still first :)

It was all in all a great race, I'll definitely look for the spring classic! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Getting my ambition back... and my next race

I know.

I know.

I know.

I've been a real bad blogger lately. (Yet somehow I eeked out 2,200 hits in September.)

There are many reasons for this: Work has been insane. My home computer is on the fritz. I'm trying to get outside as much as I can before the long winter sets in. And, well, I've kind of been addicted to this tv show (which I finally finished)...

(Warning: Long, ramble-y, probably pointless post ahead.)

Anyways, I've got a race report on the Rochester Autumn Classic Duathlon coming after I write this (though I'll probably space them out to autopost). I also have a doozy of a cycling playlist to share. But a brief Facebook conversation with an MIT friend inspired this post which I wanted to get done first.

My running hit an understandable lull during and after the move. The fact of the matter was, running was not going well even before I took the new job. In Ohio I was in a rut but my running buddies kept me moving. I left them to come to New York, and without a group or a race to train for I didn't look forward to running. It felt like a chore. Plus I was getting slower, not faster. Not encouraging.

I knew I was burned out but I've never been very good at resting. So I did what any clinically insane person endurance athlete would do and set my sights on a half ironman. You know, because a sprint tri would be too easy logical.

So for about three months now (has it really been that long?) I've hardly been running at all. I've been on the spin bike. I've been biking. I've been swimming. I've been working on my strength. I've been stashing my pennies away so I can buy a road bike in the spring (what does it say about me that that's a bigger priority than a computer?).

In three months of very little running (occasionally I'd toss in a 3 or 4 miler) here's what I've been able to accomplish:

  • I can do 30+ pushups in one shot. When I first started focusing on my strength, I could barely do 8.
  • I can hold a plank for three minutes (I'm no Kimberly Bouldin). When I started getting back to core work I was up to maybe a minute.
  • I can do 200 squats in one shot on the BOSU with 5 lb weights. I remember struggling with 50 before.
  • I'm up to 20 smith rows, again in one shot. I think 8 was my limit before.
  • I completed a century bike ride with killer hills. Before moving here my distance PR on the bike was 40 miles all on a flat.
  • In general, I kill it on the hills on the bike, where I used to struggle with the slightest incline.
  • My trainer said my balance has improved substantially.
  • I can now do three lengths nonstop in the pool, and I'm totaling just over a half mile in the pool for each workout. I know on the surface that's not impressive, but when I moved here I didn't even know how to breathe correctly
  • I'm becoming a much better spin instructor. The bikes at Rochester Athletic Club have computers so I'm using RPMs in my teaching and learning so much. 
  • I'm learning how to teach a new class, total body sculpt. It's your basic, full body lifting class, and I'm learning lots as I slowly get my routine together.

I'm working with a trainer who's helping out tremendously, and I credit him with all the improvements to my strength. The strength has helped my speed. I've also been trying to eat cleanly and cut most processed foods out of my diet (some days are better than others).

Going into the du, I had the biking down pat. A few hills, no problem! I  was nervous for the running. I had practiced on and off the bike to get ready for the transitions. My garmin is on the fritz (some days it works, some days it doesn't) so I haven't had much sense of my pace.

A week ago Sunday, I surprised myself big time.

Before my little hiatus from running, I was running at about a 11-12 pace. At the du, I was consistently doing sub-10 minute miles! My 3 2-mile splits were: 19:17, 18:43, 17:58 (sub 9!!!!)

Two work friends just did the Chicago Marathon. At work, inspired by them and still reeling from my du, I decide, "I think I'll run tonight."

I found myself super-excited about it. The same way I used to get so excited for every run. All the time. I went for three miles, the 10:40 pace felt easy. It was a wonderful night.

Friends, I have my running mojo back :)

So time for the next challenge: Fleet Feet Dirt Cheap Stage Race, Nov. 11, Mendon Ponds State Park.

11 miles. Time to ramp up the weekend distances in a hurry.

I'm mega excited.