Medals 15-19

Hmm. I guess my medal a day for all of March didn’t work out so well, but I still want to share the rest of my medals with you, so I’ll do a few a day for the next few days.

Tasty Tiger Trot 5K, Dothan, AL, July 2013, 2nd place F35-39

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This was a small local race to support a local high school cross country team. I’m all about supporting local sports teams, so despite the heat and humidity (end of July in Alabama, anyone?), I headed out to run. I was pleasantly surprised at placing 2nd in my age group, so that was a nice bonus!

Talladega 21000 (half marathon), Talladega, AL, September 2013

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Year number 2 running this! Half marathon #10. I was suffering from what I thought was knee pain leading up to this race, and my doc gave me the ok to double up on the pain meds I was taking so I could get through the race. I was actually on pace for a PR until about mile 11 when the pain hit full force. I managed to finish and went back to the doc on Monday after. She sent me for x-rays and an MRI and it turned out that I had a stress fracture in my upper tibia. AACK!!! 7 1/2 weeks of no running after this, but at least I could cross train to my hearts content, so I got a LOT of bike riding and swimming in during that time.

Boll Weevil 100 Bike Ride (25 mile finisher), Enterprise, AL, May 2014

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I was a lot more prepared for this bike ride than I was for the El Tour de Tuscon in 2010. I had actually done two 25 mile rides prior to this – a stand-alone ride and my Olympic triathlon, so I felt very comfortable with the distance. I’m awed by those that completed both the metric century (62 miles) and century (100 miles) rides. Someday. . .

Marauder Mud Run, Enterprise, AL, May 2014

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I ran this mud run with several of my coworkers and a wife. There were 6 of us and we ended up breaking into 2 groups of 3. I wanted to stay with my Soldier and his wife since this was their first time doing an obstacle course run of any kind. The first half was a lot of fun – lots of mud and fun obstacles. The second half had a LOT of running and no obstacles. And the course was about 2 miles longer than advertised, so it made for a really tough day (especially after having marched a parade that morning). We were all glad to be done and be able to go get some food.

Army Strong Triathlon (sprint), Fort Rucker, AL, June 2014, 3rd place F35-39

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This was my second year running this, so I knew that it was a murky/seaweed-y swim with a hilly bike and run. It was also HOT – 72 degrees at race start and it was almost 80 by the time I finished. But due to better training, I was able to better my times in all 3 events and both transitions from the year previous. I also secured a 3rd place finish in my age group, and that was a nice surprise! The preliminary results were showing me in 4th. Again. I was pretty excited when they called my name for 3rd!

Come back tomorrow to see 4 more of my medals!


Beach Blast Triathlon Recap

This morning I raced my first Olympic distance triathlon – the Beach Blast Triathlon in Port St. Joe, FL, right on the Gulf of Mexico. I was up about 4:45 and had a slice of leftover veggie pizza from last night’s dinner and got ready to head out at 5:20. I said goodbye to Ryan and Thomas (Robert was still sleeping) and headed down with my bike and gear bag. I was riding to the race area with my friends O and M. (I also rode down here from Fort Rucker with them, and the guys joined us later in the evening so Robert didn’t have to miss school.) O was racing his first-ever triathlon and was also doing the Olympic distance.

We got to the race site, about 2 1/2 miles from our hotel and got a great spot in transition. We hooked up our bikes and got a little bit of our transition areas set up before heading to body marking. After getting all marked up (both upper arms and outsides of both legs with our race number and our age on our left calf), we walked across the highway to the beach to check out the swim area. Yes, we had to cross the highway to get from the swim to transition. Strange – and it was a LONG run. Once we were done checking out the swim area, we headed back up to finish getting our transition areas set up, final trips to the port-a-potty, race nutrition (2 packs of Generation UCAN in 12 ounces of water for me), and wetsuits on. And then we headed to the swim start for our race briefing and then it was go-time!

The swim was supposed to be .7 miles, and it was quite short, even after factoring in the run to the transition area – only ended up to be .45 with the run to T1. I started off much too fast on the swim and my first loop was miserable – a lot of breaststroke and treading water was involved. And then my goggles fogged up – they’ve NEVER done that before, so I’m not sure what was up with that. My second loop was much better as I finally got into a good rhythm with my breathing and everything. I hit the beach and began the run up to the transition area. I finished the swim in 18:16.

T1 took me 3:33 – much too long, but I had some balance issues with cleaning my feet off (the area transition was had little pokey things in the grass and I wanted to make sure I didn’t have any stuck to my feet inside my socks) and in the process of losing my balance, I knocked my helmet and glasses off my bike. I finally got everything together and headed out on the bike.

The bike was supposed to be 24.8 miles and ended up being about 24.5. I felt really good on the bike despite my girl bits starting hurting about mile 13 or so and my left hand going numb starting about mile 5. It was a nice flat ride, other than the 2 climbs on a big bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway – it was an out-and-back course, so we had a bridge climb each direction. I passed 4 people while on the bike and drank my whole 20  ounce bottle of Nuun on the course. It was nice being able to ride in my big ring for most of the time (I only shifted to my small ring on the bridge climbs) and I was really happy with my almost 16 mph average speed! When I got near the transition area, my guys were there with M to cheer me on and it was really nice seeing them and seeing how excited the boys were to see me! I finished the bike in 1:33:41.

T2 took me 3:00 – WAY TOO LONG to go from bike to run. I need to work on speed laces for my shoes so I can save a few seconds with that. I also took the time to consume another packet of UCAN in 8 ounces of water, and I’m glad I did that. I’m also glad that I had taken a hat and my hand-held water bottle with me for just in case. It got warm toward the end of the bike.

With race belt and hat on and water in hand, I headed out on the run. I’m really glad I had the hand-held with 16 ounces of Nuun in it – I drank more often than the water stops. The water stops would have plentiful enough for a 50-60 degree 10K, but in the mid to upper 70s, not so much. I did grab a cup of water at every stop and poured it over my head and down the front and back of my tri top. It helped some, but I was still pretty much done. I did my run/walk ratio of 9:1, walked thru all the water stops, and walked a few more times as well. Everyone was really encouraging everyone else, and that was really nice. Finally the finish was in sight and I finished strong in 1:03:29. My final finish time was 3:01 and change. I finished 103rd overall and 4th in my age group.

There were other members of Team RWB there from our Fort Rucker Chapter as well as a couple of other chapters and we hung out and chatted together after – and got a group picture. Ryan and the boys had worn their RWB shirts as well and got to be a part of the picture! My Team RWB tri suit worked really well and I got a lot of high-5s  on the run part of the course from other Eagles as well as others. They had great food for after the race – hot dogs, tater salad, pasta salad, chips, bananas, Oreos (yes, I had some of those), beer (I did not have one), sodas, water, and gatorade. I had 2 hot dogs without buns and OMG were they good!! I don’t normally like hot dogs, but I must have needed the sodium in them. We stayed for the awards – lots of RWB members placed both overall and in age groups. Of course, they only do age group awards through 3rd place, so my 4th place wasn’t quite enough. But it’s ok! I had a great day!

And since I mentioned my friend O at the beginning, he did really well and I’m proud of him for finishing his first tri, and an Olympic one at that! His wife M got lots of awesome pics, so maybe I’ll be able to “steal” some of them from her and share them at some point.

Race Recap – Army Strong Triathlon

This past Saturday I participated in the Army Strong Triathlon here on Fort Rucker. It was my 3rd tri, but my first with an open water swim. The morning started early with me getting up around 5 to get ready. I had my English muffin with peanut butter and made my Pom-Blue Generation UCAN to take with me. I grabbed my bike water bottle out of the freezer and my bottle of UCAN and headed out the door.

I arrived at Lake Tholocco and easily found a parking spot. I got my bike and backpack out of my van and headed to the transition area and got everything all set up and drank my UCAN before heading to body marking. Everything was a very smooth process; all the races that MWR puts on here on post are very well run. I hit the bathroom one last time and headed back to the transition area for the pre-race briefing and then it was down to the lake for the swim start. I got in the water a little to check the temperature – I was very surprised to find the lake WARM!!!

Soon it was time for my wave (women 30+ – the smallest of the waves with only 20-30 of us!) to start and I began my first open-water swim. The lake was dark and murky and there was some seaweed kicked up at the start and I forgot about my breathing and had a mild panic attack about 100 yards or so in. I switched to breaststroke for a little bit and gave myself a pep talk – "You've swam in lake hundreds of times (I grew up on a lake). You are a strong swimmer. You can do this – just get your breathing under control." That got me squared away and I got my breathing to where I needed it and then I was fine. During the course of the 1/4 mile swim, I passed probably 20 or so of the age 30+ men from the wave that started 3 minutes before ours. That was a good feeling!! I got kicked a few times and I kicked a few people, but that is to be expected in a triathlon. Overall the swim went really well and I exited the water in 9:43, right under my goal time of 10:00!

Transition 1 was 4:13, a little long but I couldn't get the sand off my feet. I need to remember a small bucket of water next time. I got my bike shorts on and socks, cycling shoes, helmet, and sunglasses on, unracked my bike and headed to the bike mount area.

I got clipped in on my bike and got a drink of water and went to check my Garmin. That's when I discovered that it wasn't working right and I only had total time elapsed, time of the current leg, and calories burned on the current leg. There was no pace or distance data! Way to go $300 watch. (I've already sent an email to Garmin to hopefully get this figured out.) I knew that the bike course was hilly, and I was a little nervous, but I did fine, especially when it sunk in that I have leg power on the upstroke as well as the downstroke of my pedaling!! Since I'm clipped in, I'm one with my bike and I need to remember to use my strong quads on the hills. Boy, once I figured that out, the hills were a *little* easier to climb. I also decided that my bike needs to go in the shop for a tune up. On the way out, just 5th gear was slipping, but on the way back, pretty much all the gears were slipping. That was fun. But I finished strong and I feel that I had a great ride! My goal time for the 10.6 miles was 45-50 minutes, and I was happy to finish in 45:46! And I even remembered to unclip at the end and I didn't fall off my bike. 🙂

Transition 2 was 2:41 – not bad, but it could have been quicker. I switched out my bike shorts for my sparkly skirt which had my race number already pinned to it. I got my running shoes on and headed out on the run course.

The run course had some hills on it, but not too bad, and I've run this route several times before so there were no surprises in that aspect. Again, I had no pace or distance data on my Garmin, but I could kind of judge my pace since they had all the miles marked. I think I might have started out a little too fast out of transition and about 1/2 mile in, my right leg really cramped up. I was able to walk and stretch it out and then I was fine. There was a water stop at the turn around point, and I grabbed a cup of gatorade (very watered down). I headed back and soon the finish line was just off in the distance. I picked up the pace and had a really strong finish! My goal time was 28 minutes and I finished in 29:51.

My overall finish time was 1:32:14, and I finished 4th in my age group (Again. And awards only go to 3rd.) I was 141 overall out of 195 – not bad considering the lack of training I did on the bike!! I'm really happy with the race and I learned a few things for next time. . .

— I need a swim warm up. Had I gotten in the lake prior and swam a little, I would have seen how dark & murky the water was.
— I need to invest in a tri suit so that I don't have to change clothes during transitions. I could probably take 3 or 4 minutes off my total transition times.
— I need to ride more so I can get better at climbing hills and I need to learn to use my big gear. I only used 7 of my available 14 gears.
— I need to remember to not go out too fast on the run.

Training Tuesday

Here's my training recap for this past week!!

Tuesday – After a 2.3 mile warm up, our Ten Miler Team workout was 3×1 mile repeats at a local park. I ran my 3 miles in 8:33, 8:31, and 8:31 – awesome workout despite the hilly course. Then we did a 2 mile cool down, but I only had time for a mile as I needed to get home, changed, boys to school/daycare and to work for 8:00 formation for marching band practice.

Wednesday – I had an early formation to march/play at a change of command ceremony so I went to the pool after work. I had no plan other than to swim and enjoy being in the outdoor 50 meter pool! So I swam 1500 meters straight (no stopping!) in 36 minutes. It was a really nice swim and felt good to go so long!

Thursday – The Ten Miler team met at the local high school and did 2 laps around the campus for a warm up – 2.14 miles. Then our workout was a ladder of 400, 800, 1200, 1200, 800, 400. My times (actual time followed by the pace): 400 – 1:48/7:30, 800 – 4:05/8:17, 1200 – 6:28/8:43, 1200 – 6:34/8:54, 800 – 4:08/8:24, 400 – 1:57/7:52. It was nice running on grass (we used the high school's practice field), but I need to work on my pace consistency a little. Cool down was 2 more laps around the school campus perimeter, but I only did 1 lap for just over a mile.

Friday – SUPER early morning to drop Robert off at the School Age Center a little after 0530 and have Thomas to the surgery center by 0615. Thomas got tubes in his ears and his adenoids taken out, we were home by 9:30, but I didn't get any workouts done since Ryan went to the craft center to work on a couple of projects he's working on.

Saturday – Long run day! We met at West Beach here on post and ran toward one of the gates that's closed on the weekends so there was no traffic for part of the run. Our goal was 80-90 minutes, which for most of the team was around 10 miles. I opted to turn around at 45 minutes and head back. It was getting hot out and I didn't want to risk falling out. I completed 8.79 miles in 1:29:11. It was a nice HILLY run, but the heat really started getting to me toward the end and I ran out of water about a mile or so from the end. After everyone had finished, we stood around and chatted for a while and that was really nice! I love the team dynamic and camaraderie we have this year!

Sunday – I had planned on going for a 10+ mile bike ride before church and riding a good part of the bike course for my upcoming triathlon, but Thomas was waking and fussing throughout the night. I can't complain – poor little guy just had surgery and probably had a little discomfort. So I slept in an extra couple hours and that was nice. I was going to go in the afternoon, but by the time we got home from all our errands after church, Thomas didn't take a nap because he'd napped in the car and it was 90 degrees out so we went to the neighborhood pool instead!

Monday – Again, I had planned on going for the ride, and again Thomas was up several times through the night so I slept a little longer. Oh well – rest is good, too!!

Overall, I'd say it was a really good training week and I'm really happy with all the workouts that I did get in!

Training Tuesday

Have you missed my training updates? Well, since I'm not in marathon training yet, I decided to do Training Tuesday instead of Marathon Monday. I'm training for a sprint triathlon on 15 June and I've also been training with/trying out for the post Army Ten Mile team! Here's what I've been up to with my training lately.

Saturday, May 18 – Our first Ten Mile team practice was at the track here on post. After a mile and a half warm up, we ran 6 x 800m with 2-3 minutes recovery between each repeat. My goal was to run each repeat in about 4:15, but I averaged 4:00 for each! We finished with a mile and a half cool down.

Sunday, May 19 – I enjoyed sleeping in a little extra before church which was followed by a stage band concert, shopping, and dinner.

Monday, May 20 – I finally got out on my bike and got to try out my new pedals and cycling shoes. I didn't crash or even fall over and I made it a little over 8 miles. Not bad for my first ride!

Tuesday, May 21 – Team practice. We did a mile and a half warm up and then 3 1-mile repeats with 3-5 minutes recovery between each. My goal pace was 9:00 and I ran my 3 miles in 8:47, 8:49, and 8:36 on a rolling hill course. We finished with a mile and a half cool down. The deer flies really made things interesting – trying to eat all of us runners up.

Wednesday, May 22 – I swam 1700 m (1.06 miles!) after work in the afternoon. I did a reverse ladder – 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, and then 2 50s. It was a really good workout!!

Thursday, May 23 – I had to miss team practice due to an early formation for the post Memorial Day ceremony.

Friday, May 24 – We had the day off work, so I was able to get yesterday's workout in. I ran to the gym track for a mile and a half warm up and then I did 8 x 400 repeats. The workout was actually 12 x 400, but they were mowing the fields AND it was windy. I could have dealt with either by itself, but the wind was kicking up all the dirt from the lawn mowers and I was tired of being hit by and breathing the debris so I called it quits after 8. I averaged about 1:53 for each of the repeats – nothing like running 2 miles in 15 minutes!! Of course, since I had run to the track as a warm up, I ran home for my cool down.

Saturday, May 25 – Team long run day. We met at Westgate Park in Dothan to run the 3.3 mile loop there. The plan was 3 times for just shy of 10 miles, but I was done after 2 loops (6.43 miles in 1:03:54). I had a couple of early miles that were too fast and that and not having water during the run did me in. It was really nice running with my teammates, though, during the first loop!! The team dynamic is a lot more relaxed than last year and I actually feel welcome this year! While I was running, Ryan and the boys went and had a boys' breakfast out – they came with and dropped me off! After they ate, they found a playground at the park and played until I was done running.

Sunday, May 26 – Much welcomed rest day! I actually got 9 1/2 hours of sleep overnight and woke up early enough that I was able to enjoy some quiet before the rest of the family was up and getting ready for church.

Monday, May 27 – I did my first "brick" for my triathlon training in the morning before I had to go to formation to play at a Memorial Day ceremony. I rode 10 miles on my bike and then went for a 1.5 mile run immediately after.

Now that you're all caught up on my training, I'll do my updates weekly which will cover from Tuesday through Monday (although my workout week goes from Monday to Sunday).