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  1. I signed up for Ironman Atlantic City 70.3 at the end of 2019. Like every other race it was Covid cancelled for 2020. Immediately following my 2 marathons earlier this year (Tidewater at the end of April & Jim Thorpe at the end of May) I found myself on the injured list. I got a calf strain from pushing WAY too hard. I've come to realize I am not someone who can run multiple races hard and come out okay. Sigh. Once my calf got better I hurt my hamstring deadlifting. And then I followed that up with an achilles/plantar fascia issue. To say my running was severely under-trained for this race would be a gross UNDERSTATEMENT! My cycling and swimming however (and CrossFitting) were well trained. My speed on the bike went from approximately 16.5 mph to 18.5 mph and my swimming had nowhere to go but up! LOL! I completed a 2.4 mile swim 3 weeks before IMAC. That swim turned out to be my fastest ever even with my panic attack and my horrible sighting skills. (1:43/100 yds) As race day approached I tried to think about the race and the logistics. If you have never done a Tri before the sheer amount of gear needed is overwhelming! I then started to try to figure out how long the race would take me. 1.2 mile swim - 40 minutes, transition 1 - 5 minutes, 56 mile bike - 3 hours 15 minutes, transition 2 - 5 minutes, 13.1 mile run - 2 hours 10 minutes. Add it all up and that's approximately 6 hours and 15 minutes!! Combine that with having to get to the race at 4:30 am to set up and start at 6:30 am I then realized nutrition would have to also be added into the logistics! I went to packet pick up on Friday before the race. I listened to the pre-race meeting 2 times. I studied my athlete guide. I did NOT want to get penalized. I ended up buying an Ironman cap because the run had no shade. Best purchase ever! I slept fairly well Saturday night and was out the door by 4:15 am. I went and set up all of my gear for transition. Towel, helmet, sunglasses, bike shoes, bike socks, bike jersey that I had prestuffed with food (2 Gu, a Honey Stinger Waffle, a Clif Bar and a homemade peanut butter banana muffin with extra peanut butter), sneakers, handheld with 2 more Gu, Ironman ball cap, bib with pins. Phew! I then went back to my car and ate some oatmeal for breakfast. Before long it was time to put on my wetsuit and goggles to line up for the swim. I placed myself in the 35 - 37 minute swim group and reminded myself to go out calm and smooth. (At AC Tri and the Cedar Island swim I had panic attacks and spent most of my time telling myself to CALM THE F DOWN! Lots of self talk happens when you are under water! Lol) We went out in groups of 5 from a boat ramp. Volunteers were there telling us to be careful. As I walked down the ramp I didn't realize that the ramp wasn't a smooth transition to the ground so I literally fell into the water. The swim went well for the 1st 500 yards. I was calm, cool and collected. Not a panic attack in sight! Yahoo! When we made the turn to swim across the bay all of a sudden it seemed like I couldn't make progress. I looked up to see why there was so much turbulence in the water. There were people standing up and walking! WTF?? The tide was so low that we could stand (and sink into the muck!) I got up and followed my fellow competitors. It was crazy! I was very worried about what might be on the bottom of the bay that we could step on - The race was in Atlantic City after all! -- ditched guns, knives used in homicides?? As we made the turn to head back on the 3rd side of the box I went back to swimming because it was actually faster than walking in the muck. My stroke was something more like pull the water, claw the mud, push the water. Soon enough the water became deep enough just to swim. I finished the swim in 36:32 (1:53/100 m) 10th in my AG Lapped my watch for T1. Felt good enough to run into transition while pulling off my wetsuit. The swim photos of me and everyoneare truly terrible with bay muck covering our faces. I stripped off the wetsuit, pulled on my socks, cycling shoes, bike jersey, helmet and sunglasses. I managed to run/jog out of transition as fast as I could. As I mounted my bike I hit my watch to lap it for the bike portion. My watch showed a screen I've never seen so I tapped it again and now it read T2. Ugh! I didn't panic. I just stopped the Triathlon function on the watch and changed it to the cycling function. Transition 1 actually included 1 "bonus" mile of riding so I still have all of the data recorded for the ride. T1 - 7:03. The bike ride was a loop. We had to ride the loop 2.5 times to complete the 56 mile ride. The wind was out of the southwest at 20-22 mph. Ugh. As soon as I got up onto the Atlantic City Expressway I took my first Gu. I was going to make myself drink and eat. On the forums the day before people were saying they drink up to 4 bottles on 50 mile rides. 😲 I maybe drink 1 bottle. It was around 80* so I knew I needed to stay hydrated. My bike splits were good until my last time coming out of Atlantic City. The wind had picked up and it was a battle. I ate 2 more times - one honey stinger waffle and my pb banana muffin. I skipped all of the on course aid stations. Bike splits per 5 miles -- 19, 19.2, 19.2. 18.2, 18, 18.2, 19.7, 17.6, 17.4, 17.4, 18.6. Overall average pace of 18.4 mph. 13th in my AG We still had a one mile "bonus" to bike back to transition. People were actually slowing down here. I couldn't believe it. I passed so many people who were just cruising in. I dismounted my bike and re-racked it, put on my calf sleeve, running shoes and hat as fast as I could. I grabbed my handheld, hat and bib number and then made a pit stop at the port-a-potties. Even though I still only managed to drink about one bottle on the bike I guess I was well hydrated. I had to pin on my bib number because my race belt broke at my last Tri. T2 - 8:54 (ugh!) I shuffled out of transition for the half mile out and back that we had to do in the festival area before heading down to the boardwalk. My plan for the run was to run 1/2 a mile and walk 30 seconds or so since I was so under-trained. Let me tell you my foot/achilles was killing from step 1! I had no idea if I was going to be able to handle the run. My 1st mile was an 8:47... No idea. As we left Bader field we made a left to head down to the boardwalk. The traffic the race caused that day was epic! The poor police officers were being yelled at by all of the motorists. The first aid station was right before the 2 mile mark. I filled up my handheld with some of the ice and water, but then I didn't get the lid on correctly. It was spilling everywhere! I saw 2 of my friends as I came up on the boardwalk and then quickly I saw one more. The guy behind me said that I knew everyone. I told him it paid to race local! I continued my run/walk strategy and grabbed water/ice and or Gatorade at every rest stop. Mile 2 - 5: 9:20, 9:06, 10:14, 10:07. I took a Gu around mile 4. I was so happy when we made the u turn to start running back north. I saw another friend volunteering around mile 6. She was directing everyone to run out on the fishing pier. Perfect photo op spot! Mile 6 - 7: 9:35, 9:55. We had to go out around the Pier at Caesars (a shopping mall). It was the only shaded spot on the whole course! mile 8 & 9 - 9:36, 10:50. I took a Gu in the shade. When I made the turn to continue north on the boardwalk I saw Nicole and then Cathy and Cathy's friend!!! Cathy drove all the way from CT to see me race! I tossed my handheld to them and continued on with a tiny bit more pep in my step. Mile 10 10:01. I came up to an aid station that was manned with all of my Tri club friends. They cheered for me. Yay! They said the turn around was just ahead so I decided to keep going and grab some water/Gatorade on the way back. The turn around was not right around the corner! It felt forever away! Mile 11 - 10:21. I wasn't going fast but I just kept going happy to be finally headed for the finish line. I tried to pick up my pace as we rounded the Pier at Caesars one final time. Mile 12 & 13 10:00, 9:24. I could hear Cathy and Nicole screaming for me. As I left the boardwalk to run to the finish through the soft sand I tried to go as fast as I could ... which wasn't fast at all! I was so happy to be done! 13.1 - 2:06:54 (9:36 pace). 6th in AG What an epic day! So many good friends helped me make it to race day! I finished with a time of 6:01:57. 7th out of 38 in my AG. 10 minutes out of 4th and 30 minutes out of 3rd. I went into this race not knowing what to expect. I left this race with goals. Heaven help my friends. Lol!
    6 points
  2. Where to start with this? I went to Italy and rubbed elbows with Loopster stars, Davide and Fiona. Basically, they have always let me know if I want to come visit them in Milan, Italy, I could. I did just that 5 years ago and then I grabbed an opening in the pandemic after Italy approved arrivals for tourists and I arrived in northern Italy on July 28th to stay with them until August 6th. We hatched a plan to hike in the Dolomites for a chunk of my visit because I had been wanting to start exploring that area. They were totally game and if you follow either of them on social media you'll know that they are no strangers to having incredible mountain adventures. They are also amazingly generous and kind hosts and fun people to hang out with. It wasn't an ideal time to travel and without their help to get a covid test to return to the USA (despite being vaccinated), I'd probably still be in Italy. A piece of my soul was hoping I'd fail the test just so I could stay another 2 weeks. 😁 I know they were both concerned that a flatlander living at sea level her whole life was going to slow things down incredibly. I'm sure I did but it wasn't too drastic. The humid air was exactly what I deal with all summer in northern Michigan so that didn't phase me and there was altitude but not extremes. I've been running around 20-23 miles a week for the past 6-8 months so I had some decent fitness. I didn't run the trails except to catch up to them after taking pictures but I could have done some of the flat portions if I wanted to. Davide even boosted my confidence one morning when he said how surprised he was by how well I was doing considering I can't hike mountains where I live. 🀩 Here's a simplified run down of the adventures we had in chronological order: Hiked 5 miles to the top of the church steps in Montevecchia, northeast of Milan and had a fun dinner with their friends and laughed a great deal. Here's a view from the top looking over the countryside. Hiked 5 miles to this incredible lake in Courmayeur on the far west corner of Italy and my mouth was hanging open in awe the whole time. Davide and a friend of his were volunteers as course sweepers at a mountain trail race starting in Courmayeur the next day. Hiked 3 miles up part of a mountain with Fiona and her friends and got this picture of me ... sigh... We watched some of the trail racers go buy while taking break at the hiking hut (refugio). Then we got ready for the rest of the adventure to the Dolomites in the northeast part of the country. We stayed at a "unique" Italian tourist hotel in Andalo that left me with hilarious and head shaking memories and not a great deal of sleep but who cares!? August 3rd we hiked trails near Molveno and I covered 14.4 miles and nearly 5,000 feet of elevation gain and I could still walk to dinner that night! This day was a "bucket list" type of adventure. Something I dreamed of but never thought I could actually accomplish it in my life. Incredibly challenging and rewarding. (The trail is in that picture below....it's narrow) The next day we got up and moving (and I was barely sore!) and went to the Molveno area again to a different set of trails. Heavy rain was expected later in the day so we were hoping we could beat the worst of it and we did! We covered 10.5 miles and 2,700 feet of elevation gain on some steep and heavily forested trails. I felt right at home in the forests there. Davide got this downhill action shot of me and Fiona (she's in the green shirt). Poles are indispensable there! I did some stuff on my own and we did some tourist type stuff together but I'm a terrible tourist and I just want to be out in nature and have nothing to do with crowds of people. I did visit Padua near Venice and went to the Botanic Garden there started in 1545 and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Very cool for anyone who is deeply interested in plants. I leave you with pictures of most of the desserts I ate while I was there. I ate a lot of delicious food. Still lost 4 lbs in 10 days, though! Gelato and I have quite a love affair going. Currently my go-to flavors are pistachio and hazelnut. I will say that my absolute pinnacle food moment was the super thick hot chocolate (upper right corner of the picture) that is ubiquitous to the mountain culture and I've seen it on travel shows. It's so thick the bubbles didn't pop when I stirred a little sugar in. Think of it like heavy cream with super dark chocolate melted in. With that, I shall close out this update on what Brenda did on her summer vacation. 😎
    5 points
  3. 22km (14 miles or so) and 3400ft of climbing, followed by descent again. This was the high point of my day.. I knew this was going to be hard, but it was still harder than expected, more like a marathon effort than a half. Took me 3hr 53min which is longer than any marathon I've (yet) run. To be fair if I did run a marathon now it would be in the 4h30 region. Not much running in the previous months as I'd been nursing a bad knee which my physical therapist told me not to run on. The first commandment of running injury recovery is, Always Listen to your Physical Therapist - you shall have no other desires but what they say.. A bit of swimming since the other physical therapist had fixed the biceps tendonitis, and a good bit of MTB riding on gravel trails with plenty climbing, thought it would be enough. Ha no. Yes, I had two PTs, one for biceps another for knee. Reminds me of the old joke, 'Trust people ? Trust people ?! you sound just like my other psychologist'. Start at the bottom of Jones Pass, near the Henderson mine. Here they mine molybdenum and they're always recruiting, molyjobs.com posters all around the race site even. 2200 feet over 4 miles to the first aid station, cut off at two hours. I think I ran about 200yds total in those 4 miles, the rest was a determined steady plod at maximum HR while panting heartily. Here's the Alltrails.com picture from the top of the pass where the aid station is. We started away down in the woods somewhere. A failure to read the topo map accurately brought a fine surprise, OK we're up the pass now, but there's still a thousand feet to climb along the Continental Divide trail to that high point. More plods, with occasional jogs. This pic from the race photographer @jordanchapell sums it up - a young woman leaping swiftly down the trail behind me, me firmly earthbound grinding along. Views were terrific. The winds howled over the Divide. When unpinning the number later, I found the winds whipping it around had actually bent the safety pins nearly open. Here's a pic I took at one point while panting on the side of the trail, trying to calm my heart down as it tried to leap out of my chest. Runners all across the horizon, a real highwayman's farewell.. Most of this was runnable if you had working legs, which I did not. It seems I overcooked the climb. Staggered on and out to the turnaround above Herman Gulch to get my bib punched. The volunteer asked if I was OK, must have been looking a bit ragged. Assured him I had a flask of Coca-Cola and two Honey Stingers left, I'd be fine. Another race photographer @sohboyum shows the start of the downhill section. I did break from a walk into a sort of wobbling lurch but you can't tell it from the picture.. One of the volunteers said, "it's all downhill from here !" Replied, "even if that's not true I'm going to believe it - lie to me, please". ;-) Lumped and bumped down the rocks and roots of Herman Gulch, passing day hikers who most politely stepped off the trail for us sweaty plodders. The finish at 22k was also the aid station for the 50k runners. I watched them come in and leave again, legs trembling with fatigue. I could not have left again. A bus, masked, back to the Empire ballfield where the food and beer awaited. Sat down and stuck in the chair until they called my name. Turns out I'd won my AG by default, being the only one. (art by idigoddpairings) Now the proud owner of a genuine Norwegian cowbell, made of genuine brass rifle shell casings from the Norwegian military. What a great prize. Beer by Tommyknocker brewery in Idaho Springs, excellent. Drank two without feeling a thing. Said farewell to my table acquaintances, and went up the road to find a little creek for a bit of fishing. Once I get out of the house I like to get full value from the excursion. Too tired to fish effectively and left soon for a nap, still did get a bit of a lower-leg soak in the cold water and a couple pretty miniatures of trout.
    3 points
  4. In Michigan the Crim Festival of Races in Flint is one of the big three race events (where the number of participants average over 10,000) along with the Detroit Marathon and Half Marathons (Mid October) and the Detroit Turkey Trot 10K and 5K (Thanksgiving morning). The Crim Festival of Races includes; 10 miles, 5 miles, and a 5K. The Crim was started by Bobby Crim in 1977 when he was Speaker of the Michigan State House of Representatives (he is now 89 and this year walked the 10 mile race) and his administrative assistant Lois Craig to raise money for the Special Olympics. The first 10 years only included the 10 mile race. Twice it has hosted the U.S. 10 mile championships; the 2009 women's and the 2010 men's . It has a tradition of having popsicles as an after race treat. The races are run on the last Saturday of August (which are usually hot, in the 80s) and goes through the streets of Flint with the 10 miler including some moderate hills. This year's races had less participants; 5500 due to COVID. They originally were going to have a wave start every 15 minutes, but due to predicted high temperatures and humidity opened the 10 mile race for people to start anytime between 7 and 8 am. Me and my friends arrive at the race start at about 6:45 am and started with the 7 am race start. It was warm in the low 70s, cloudy, and very, very humid. One of my friends from South Carolina remarked it reminded him of the high humidity down there. Everyone sooo nice and dry before the start of the race: The race route was change this year due to road construction with the first mile being uphill. I tried to set a pace by feel and didn't look at my watch until the 2 or 3 mile mark where it indicate my last mile pace was 8:30. Based on my training and the weather I thought this was way too fast and that there was no way I could maintain this over 10 miles. My actual splits for the first 4 miles were; Mile 1: 8:32 (uphill but foolishly accomplished by not yet being feeling the effects of the heat and humidity, and with adrenaline from the start of the race fueling me), Mile 2: 8:33 (settled in a little bit but was able to maintained the pace since it was all downhill), Mile 3: 8:37 (the course leveled out and I slowed a bit), Mile 4: 8:34 (mostly downhill). Thankfully there were water stops after each mile, which I tried running through and ended up as I usually do spilling half the of water on me. Mile 5 includes the first of the traditional Crim hills, which I struggled up in 8:56 to the 5 mile water station. At which point I was pretty much spent, and walked through the water station. I started running again in survival mode aiming make it to the next water station at mile 6 running. Mile 6 was mostly uphill and I reached the mile 6 station running in 9:26 and again walked through it. Mile 7 was mostly downhill and I completed it in 8:45 again walking through the water station with the goal of running between the water stations. Mile 8 was slightly uphill and completed in 9:24, unfortunately I skipped a water station that was before the end of mile 8 and decide to push on until the next water station which ended up being at the 8.7 mile mark and again walked through that station. I gutted out the last 1.3 miles and was thankful the last quarter mile to the finish was slightly downhill, with my last mile in 8:26 and a total time for 10 miles of 1:29:12, 8:56/mi. I was just happy it was over, as I was exhausted and soaking wet from head to toe due to the high humidity. Afterwards I actually became a little chilled from being wet and no sun. Eventually the sun did come out and at least warm me but not drying my cloths.
    3 points
  5. The short: I nabbed my best ever overall placing with what was by far my slowest time at this race, with 2nd overall female in 38:15. Due to various factors (the heat, peak marathon training, seeing two friends suffer devastating losses in the days before the race), my expectations for the race were not high. In retrospect, I am quite happy with the place and quite meh about the time. Results are here. My Strava activity is here. Better together The long: I continued my hot weather racing streak at the Plaza 10k, with no clouds in the sky and 80 degrees on race morning. Because the race fell 3 weeks before my season goal marathon, I planned to train right through it, and the forecast made me confident that was the right decision (i.e., I won't run a fast time at 80 degrees no matter how rested I am). The week before the race I had workouts that never felt good but that I hit my paces on, which is typical for me in the throes of marathon training, and a few days before the race I saw 104 miles on my rolling 7. I don't think racing without a taper necessarily hurts my performance, but I certainly don't feel as fresh; I just grit it out when feeling tired like I do in a lot of workouts during marathon training! Before things went downhill in the days leading up to the race, my goal was to place as high as I could. The best I'd ever placed at the race previously was 6th overall female. I also hoped to win overall masters female, and to break the Missouri age 40 state record of 38:04. Race morning I warmed up with friends and tried to enjoy the moment, but had a really hard time getting my head in the game. In the few days prior to the race, I had a friend who lost her son unexpectedly and another friend who lost her husband, so it was difficult to place importance on the race. My heart wasn't in the race, it was with them. Race instinct took over to some degree, and I slowly upped the effort. Like every Kansas City race, this isn't an even split course, though this is the flattest course I run in that area with about 170 feet of elevation gain. Mile 2 was 6:03 and mile 3 6:11, though as usual I didn't look at my watch during the race. Typically this race has a clock at the 5k but this year they didn't have a clock or timing mat, which I missed! Sometime around the halfway point, Chandler and I pulled away from Amy. I felt confident that I could hold onto 1 and 2 with Chandler; I had no pep but the pace also didn't feel that hard, and I knew Amy had to be feeling a lot worse than I was to let us gap her.I saw several fast Kansas City women on the starting line, and knew they would push me in the race. From the gun a woman I didn't know was ahead for the first half mile or so, then me and the ladies I was running with (Chandler and Amy) passed into the top 3 female positions. I knew both Chandler and Amy were talented runners, and I was hopeful for a top 3 finish because our start felt very conservative (6:13 on the flat first mile) and no other women were around. Running with Chandler is always a pleasure! I really enjoyed sharing most of this race and most of Rock the Parkway with her. She is kind, positive, and helps me get the best out of myself. With where I was mentally and emotionally for this one, running with a friend beside me was extra helpful. Mile 4 is downhill and usually my favorite mile of this race, but this year they were doing road construction in that area and it was all rivety. It was not ideal terrain for Next % shoes, that's for sure! My friend Andrew, who went out faster than me, hopped up on the sidewalk for a moment to avoid the crappy road, and I considered following him but it cut a corner off the course slightly so I didn't because I sure wasn't getting disqualified in my one chance of a top 2 finish at this event! He realized the situation soon and jumped back on the I'm-going-to-twist-an-ankle road, and shortly after that Chandler and I passed him. I encouraged him to go with us, but his faster start had caught up with him a bit. My 4th mile was 5:51. Laughing at Brent around mile 4 Mile 5 goes back up the incline the course goes down in mile 4, on the opposite side of the divided road. Some years I have loathed that climb, but it was okay this time, possibly because I was running so much slower than I ever have at this race! The split was 6:13, which is about even effort to our other miles with the elevation gain. Chandler and I were still side-by-side. Shortly after we passed mile 4, there was an aid station on the side I was on. She mentioned she was going to get a water, telling me because she was going to have to cross either right in front of or behind me to grab it. I told her I'd grab it for her since it was on my side. I picked up a bottle and passed it to her, and it was caught on camera. Despite the shot being unflattering of me, I absolutely love it! Team work makes the dream work! We passed mile 5 together, and right after Chandler began pulling away. I tried to stay with her but I didn't have any get up and go. She gradually extended her lead, and I tried not to give up but my heart really wasn't in it and I settled to some degree. If I'd kept at it mentally, she'd have still gotten me, but not by as much - she finished 15 seconds ahead of me and my last mile was 6:02 and final kick 5:45 pace. Clock shot I ended up finishing in 38:15 gun time. They didn't give chip times to the overall winners (i.e., results have chip and gun time as the same, since that is how overall prizes are awarded), but I figured since I started between Christian and Andrew, whose chip times were -10 seconds and -12 seconds respectively, my chip time would have been 38:04 (tying the state record). State records go by gun time so gun time is all that matters there, but of course that would happen to me! Much like in the half marathon, I know I can run significantly faster than the record time, but I cannot do it in 80 degrees. Post-race fist bump caught on film After the race, I headed out on the Trolley Trail for 11 more miles, which is too long to call a cool down. I felt fine running very easy, and finished up my final 20+ mile day before my next marathon. Andrew accompanied me for the whole addendum as part of his Chicago Marathon training, which was quite helpful. I'm not sure what the future holds for my next race or for everything else in life, but I know who holds the future! God's plan often doesn't make sense to us on earth, but it's always best. Miles from Mentor Splits
    2 points
  6. the bike is very annoying because you can buy speed, which means to be competitive you have to spend money.. every single expensive bit of my tri-bike is from ebay ;-) including the frame, bought it for $500 and then built it up.. A new bike won't do much for speed. Cheaper and faster is to buy a few bits for the existing bike. A disc rear wheel is worth 2min or so over the 70.3 bike ride. That is relatively easy, $100 for a wheel cover from wheelbuilder.com. Real discs are thousands but the wheel cover is about 98% as effective aerodynamically as a real disc.. front wheel isn't so easy, but can be found used for a couple hundred. Another minute or two. Tires and tubes are startlingly important - mostly through rolling resistance. Check bicyclerollingresistance.com for more detail than you could possibly want ;-) I tend to get the mid-range tires that are a bit cheaper and more durable, something like Continental 4000. Then latex tubes in them for race day. Ordinary inner tubes are butyl and slower and less comfortable than latex. Other cheap improvements that give good bang for the buck, - aero helmet - tight fitting bike top with sleeves, and keep it zipped up ;-) A generally good aero helmet is the Garneau P09, though I have trouble paying $200 for a bike helmet. My aero helmet was $100 used from a friend who was upgrading. Position on the bike is the single biggest factor in speed, because of aerodynamics. Aerodynamics is weird and wildly specific to the individual. The only way to tell if a bike fit or position change will actually be faster is to go to a wind tunnel, or do some homebrew aero testing. I used to ride a small circuit on the road out at a state park at max effort, early in the morning to avoid wind and traffic, and do 5 repetitions with each setup. Averaging the times gives a rough idea of whether it is any better. Things like angling the aerobars up, moving them up and down, saddle etc.
    2 points
  7. The short: I ran my fifth Rock the Parkway half marathon on 8/28/21 - the first time the race took place in August! I placed 3rd overall female for the third time; I can't seem to move up in my placing at this race (I've also been 4th), but I'm not fading at age 40, so I'll consider that a win. I didn't have a time goal since it was over 80 degrees at the start and nearly 90 by the finish. However, based on my Hospital Hill performance I figured if I could run 1:25ish it would be a good day, so I was satisfied with my 1:24:19 finish time, though I missed the Missouri state record for age 40 by 34 seconds. This was also my first time running a half marathon during a 90 mile week, but I really don't think that hurt me and blame any and all difficulty on the heat and humidity. Racing is always a blessing, and I enjoyed myself greatly, but I also didn't feel super stoked about this one before or after, which I of course blame on summer! Official results are here. My dad's video of the start is here (enjoy the race officials yelling that only waves AA and A were supposed to be in the chute or starting, and a lot of people ignoring it, hah!). My dad's video of the finish is here. My Strava activity with splits and elevation is here. Smiles for miles with Chandler Pain face near the finish The long: Rock the Parkway is one of the races I return to year after year. 2021 was my fifth time running it. The April 2020 event was postponed to August 2020 and then cancelled. When race organizers cancelled they noted they were rescheduling for August 2021 with the hopes that COVID would allow them to hold a normal event by then. After my heat debacle at the USATF Masters National meet in July, I wasn't particularly excited to run an August half, but I really love this race and knew I would have fun no matter what! I'm loving my rabbit elite kit! This race was 5 weeks out from my first fall marathon, and there was no reason to "waste" a taper on an 80+ degree half, so I trained right through it, including a workout with almost 7 miles of sub-6:00 running on Tuesday, 13 miles on Thursday, and 90 miles total during race week. I've run solid halves during 80-some mile weeks before so this part didn't worry me. I tend to feel worse if I taper too much! I never expected the weather would be good, but when weather.com told me it was 79 degrees when I woke up on race morning, I knew things were going to be even worse than I'd expected by the 7:00 a.m. start. My goal was to place as high as I could, and while I'd thought that I could probably just barely break the age 40 state record of 1:23:45 at 70-75 degrees, I knew it would be a stretch at 80-90 degrees. I race by effort anyway, and this course is hilly in a way that you really need to run by effort instead of splits, so I figured I'd just start off about marathon effort and see what I got! Not the best temperature to see at 4:44 a.m.! I warmed up for a little over 2 miles with my running buddies Casey, Christian, and Andrew, we all complained about the weather, and we lined up in the elite wave. I greeted my fast friend Chandler in the corral, saw another fast Kansas City area runner Connie, and had a brief conversation about the course elevation profile with a runner I didn't know, Kristen (names were on our bibs). I was open about my plan to go out very easy, since the heat sneaks up on me if I don't, and I also told the others that miles 2 and 3 of the course have a lot of elevation gain so it's best to keep things really in check for the first 3 miles. Miles from Mentor teammates After the start, Connie was quickly out front for the women, followed by Kristen. Chandler, Casey, Christian, and I were all together, with Andrew and several other men around as well. Chandler and I ran most of the 2019 Grandma's Marathon together, and she told me that she was going to stick with me in this race since she thought I was the best pacer (aww). I shared my course strategy mile by mile with her, and after getting up the climbs in miles 2-3, we notched down the effort and started trying to chase down Kristen. At that point we lost the others who'd been running with us. This must have been right after an aid station, because Chandler was never behind me Running with Chandler was great. We chatted a bit, I gave her a heads up on course hills and upcoming turns, and we encouraged each other that we could overtake the woman ahead of us. We gained on her, but I could see she was also passing men who'd gone out fast so I didn't think she was dying. I kept my eyes on her, and before a hill around mile 8, I told Chandler we should ease up the hill then really chase her down. At this time we were 3rd and 4th females behind Connie and Kristen. Towards the end I've learned that in the heat, instead of a slow burn to fatigue, it often hits me all at once. Instead of going from feeling good to feeling okay to feeling a little tired to feeling pretty beat, I go from feeling good to feeling pretty beat all at once! This happened around mile 9.5 of this race. I began struggling to stay with Chandler, and hung on for maybe a quarter mile but then she gapped me. Shortly after, I saw Connie standing on the side of the road, having dropped out due to overheating. She'd gone out pretty fast for the conditions, and of course I'd hoped I could catch back up to her, but not like that! At that point I was 3rd female, with Chandler looking strong. I hoped that Chandler could catch the first woman, and better yet, that both Chandler and I could catch her. She still had a significant lead on us, but heat is an X factor for everyone. I felt myself fading but reminded myself that the heat could hit the others hard at any time so I should keep pressing. Sometimes I wish I could try a run in someone else's body and see if it feels different! How the final 3.5 miles felt I'm pretty good at negative splitting long races in cool weather, but it's much more difficult for me to do in the heat. I had a far weaker final 5k than I typically do in this race, but I fought with all I had and didn't let myself settle for 3rd until I saw Chandler crossing the finish line. The final mile of the race is downhill, though you've earned it after climbing the same hill in mile 2, and normally it's a relatively smooth mile, but this year it felt like the longest mile ever! I just kept thinking, "when am I going to see the finish line?!" I'd looked at my watch at mile 11 to see if I had a chance at the state record to try to motivate my tired body and my mind that was telling me 3rd was just fine, and by my very loose calculations I thought I could get it if I ran the final 2 miles at about 6:00 pace. I have done that on this course in 45 degree weather, but it wasn't to be on this day. I know I can break the record significantly in decent conditions, but I don't have another half in Missouri planned before I turn 41 so it would have been nice to sneak by in this one! Clock shot! The announcer announced "another top female finisher coming in" as I crossed the line in 1:24:19. After bending over for a moment and congratulating Chandler and Kristen, I turned around to watch for my friends coming in. Andrew came through in 1:25:58 (I think he is in better shape than me but the heat bothers him more), and Casey in 1:28. We snapped some pictures and I knew I'd better get moving pretty quickly or my 6.5 more miles for the day weren't going to happen! Christian came through in 1:34 then I jogged to my car to change my shoes, drink multiple bottles, and grab a gel and chews. I'd planned to take a gel in the race since I had a 22 mile day, but the thought of stomaching one was not appealing! Generally I don't take a gel in a half, but I've learned that when I'm tacking on a lot of miles after the race I need to take one to stay on top of my fueling, and I later paid for not taking it. Casey showing how we all felt, Andrew staying on top of hydration, & my awesome parents Andrew ran the 6.5 additional miles with me, which was much appreciated! We ran back on the course since the road was closed to traffic, and I ended up picking up water from two aid stations along the way, and when I started bonking I stopped and drank 3 cups of Gatorade, which saved the rest of the miles. The extra miles were quite easy paced, but we successfully finished them off, another step towards our next 26.2s! Please refer to age percentages πŸ˜‰ All in all, I'm content with this race. I'm not super pumped or proud of it, but I'm also not disappointed. I don't really think I could have done anything differently to improve my performance. It's always a competitive event, and I'd love to move up to 1st or 2nd some day, but this wasn't my year for that. The two women who beat me both competed in the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials and are currently training for fall marathons, so I had my work cut out for me. I also think it was a take-what-you're-in-shape-for-and-add 5:00 kind of day for most! Strava said this course had 525 ft of elevation gain, while it said Hospital Hill had 590 ft, but it was nearly 10 degrees warmer for this race so I think that means I ran better than at Hospital Hill - and I definitely ran better than at Masters Nationals with a non-flat middle 10k of about 38:30 in this race. I also think I'll get some nice training gains from the race and from gutting through the miles afterwards. And as always, any day we can run is certainly a God-given gift!
    2 points
  8. Way to go, Gwen! Such a great race. You're really an exceptional athlete - you know that, right???
    2 points
  9. August 2021 in review! Total mileage for the month: 402 August 2-8: 86.3 August 9-15: 100.5 August 16-22: 85.1 August 23-29: 90.0 August 30-Sep. 5: projected at 92 We love our #augustangst photos! Races: August 28: Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in 1:24:19 for 3rd overall female, which was about the best things could have gone when it was almost 90 degrees at the finish, but was hard to get too excited about. Race recap coming soon! I was registered to run the Riverside 5000 on August 14, but it was cancelled due to increasing COVID cases in the Tulsa area. I got a high mileage week in that week instead, which I preferred over a 5k anyway! Watching friends race post-long run Workouts: August 3: 3 x 1 mile with 0.25 recoveries in 5:42, 5:49, 5:53 (3.2 warm up, 3.5 cool down). I really should have run these splits in the reverse order, with a progression instead of a positive split, but a regression is what happened! I coordinated with Colin's tempo for the first two reps (his tempo pace being 5:40-5:45), which was really helpful, but I didn't have him to hang onto on the third rep and it was a grind (Christian ran the same workout and we started each rep together, which was also very helpful). This is a pace zone that is hard for me, and my legs sure let me know they weren't the happiest with it, but it was good for me! It was about 65 degrees for this workout, which felt amazing - and I knew I wouldn't be getting those conditions for my upcoming 5k race that this workout was targeted training for. August 6: 5 x 6:00 tempos with 1:00 recoveries at paces of 5:52, 5:51, 5:52, 5:50, 5:49 (2.8 warm up, 2 cool down). I jogged the recoveries after reps 1-2 and stood for them after 3-4 because Christian made me run a bit too fast and I needed to get my heart rate down. It was a great workout for both of us; goal pace was about 6:00 based on last week's tempo average of around 6:10 in warmer weather (it was 64 degrees for this one!). We ran a flat fast course. August 10: 3 x (4 x 1k at MP, 1 x 800 m at tempo) with 1:00 recoveries between reps and 2:00 recoveries between sets - paces of 6:21, 6:26, 6:23, 6:23, 5:52 / 6:16, 6:19, 6:15, 6:20, 5:54 / 6:14, 6:18, 6:20, 6:16, 6:12. The early morning weather was gross for this workout at 77* and 73* dew point, and my coach told me to use a heat calculator to adjust my paces. It said to add 19 seconds/mile, so I added 10 seconds/mile to start, but worked down to about my original pace goals on everything but the final 800 m (decent weather pace targets were 6:15 MP and 5:50-6:00 tempo). The first two sets felt pretty easy, then as per usual the heat hit me suddenly and on the final couple of 1k reps I really had to work, then on the last 800 m I didn't have much left. I think having the recovery jogs in there really helped keep me from overheating until the end; a continuous marathon pace run or tempo would have been a lot harder in these weather conditions. Christian ran the same workout, and although our paces didn't quite match, it was nice to have someone else grinding out 9 miles of work with me (we also warmed up with Colin and Elise before they did different awesome workouts on this morning)! August 14: 16 easy, 4 goal marathon pace (6:41, 6:32, 6:25, 6:15), 3.4 easy (23.4 total). My average for the marathon pace miles was about right on with heat/humidity adjustment and I kept up with Colin so I considered it a success despite the pace average not actually being 6:15. I felt strong but not fast on this run, which is pretty typical for me during peak mileage. Christian and Colin did similar workouts, and David joined us for many miles of the run too. I started this one at 4:52 a.m. (to run 1 mile before the others started at 5:00 a.m.). I later realized that this was actually the fastest I've ever run this workout, just slightly bettering what I did in April in good weather. It's just one of those workouts that makes it very difficult to wrap my head around ever running the pace for an actual marathon! August 17: 2 x 2 mile tempo at 6:08, 6:09 / 6:14, 6:07, 1 mile at 10k pace in 5:48, 6 x 0:25 hill sprints at average 5:39 (2.3 warm up, 2.8 cool down). We ran a rolling hill route for this one, so I was thinking about 6:10 for tempo pace and 5:50 for 10k pace (though when the time came for that mile I decided I'd be happy with 5:59!). I was happy with the outcome, especially since I'd checked my rolling 7 day mileage the evening before and saw 105. I'm really happy that in 2021 I've been able to still hit workouts when my mileage has been 100+ (in 2020 I couldn't quite). It was 69*, dew point 67*, which felt pretty good for August! August 21: 20.7 mile long run with 3.5 easy, 20:00 at tempo (6:31 average), 4:00 easy, 15:00 at tempo (6:19 average), 5 miles easy, 10:00 at tempo (6:23 average), 2:00 easy, 5:00 at tempo (6:14 average), easy to the finish. This was definitely a effort-based and not paced-based day! It was warm and humid (expected) then it monsooned during the first tempo effort (not expected). We questioned whether we were running or aquajogging for awhile there, but even had the weather been great I don't think I'd have knocked this one out of the park based on how my legs felt. I looked back at my training log and I hadn't had a day shorter than 9 miles for over 4 weeks, and only 5 runs of 9 miles (e.g., all of the other days were double digit mileage). My coach had scheduled a day off for me on August 19 and I asked to switch it to August 22 due to travel plans, but I think I needed the original schedule to nail this workout (especially considering August 19 changed from a day off to 12 miles). Christian, Colin, and Casey also ran this workout, and Casey hit her tempo paces with no weather adjustment (!!), but Colin and Christian suffered like me. Any day we can run 20+ miles is a great one though! August 24: 7 x 5:00 at tempo with 1:00 recoveries in paces of 6:00, 5:51, 5:53, 5:52, 5:54, 5:55, 5:50 (2.2 warm up, 2.8 cool down). Another sweltering workout, and recovery jogs that prevented me from overheating! I was targeting 6:00-6:05, but Casey pushed me to run faster and it felt [mostly] good. We had a great workout group on our flat fast workout room this morning - Casey, Christian, Rebecca, Elise, David, and Colin. August 31: Mixed system workout of 20:00 at tempo, 1.5 miles at 10k, 1600 m at 5k, 4 x 300 m hard (3:00 recoveries between everything except 200 m jog between the 300s). I ran this by effort, which ended up yielding paces slower than I'd have preferred, but I was able to get faster each section (vs. dying off, which would have happened had I pushed the pace to what I wanted it to be early on). I averaged 6:14 for the tempo, 6:07 for the 10k work, and 5:56 for the 5k work, then my 300's were all 1:00-1:01 - couldn't quite crack 60 seconds! It was 67 degrees, so felt cooler, but my legs were tired from my hot half with a long cool down. Casey and Colin ran the same workout at different paces, but it was nice to have them to commiserate with! Elise and David also did some tempo work on the road plus faster work on the track with us. Strength work: I was consistent with 2 full strength workouts and 3 core workouts a week, plus daily PT work/pre-run activation. Strides: 2, 5, 8, 9, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30. Doubles: August 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 26, 30, 31. Long Runs: August 7: 20 miles easy (7:51) on legs that were fatigued from the August 6 morning workout plus evening strength workout. 20 miles passed quickly; Colin ran all of them with me, and Rebecca, Christian, and David did most. August 14: 23.4 miles (7:46) with 4 miles at marathon pace, described above. I actually think the faster miles would have been easier if I'd have run the first 14 faster; I was with a group running 8:00-8:15 pace, but I felt like I was going to have a hard time dropping so much from there so I went on my own for miles 15-16 around 7:30 pace before the MP miles. If I run this again I'll probably keep it closer to 7:45 for the first 16 so I'm not so into slog mode or on my feet as long. This run took 3:02 so was hopefully my longest time on feet for the season. August 15: 13.1 miles (8:10). I love back-to-back long runs and get to do a few this marathon cycle! I also had some Thursday 11-13 milers this month but I didn't include those here. The line on at what distance long runs begin has become blurry yet again! August 21: 20.7 miles (7:26) with a very wet workout, described above. August 28: 22 miles, including Rock the Parkway. The 6.5 miles I did after the race were slow and HOT! Running Highlights: Watching the Olympics, of course! My running group watched the women's marathon together live on Friday and the women's 10,000 m followed by replays of every other distance race, after our Saturday morning run. I hit 105 on my rolling 7 day mileage for August 10-16. I was telling Jon about my workout scheduled for August 17 and said, "plus I am going to do it with about 100 miles on my legs", and then looked at my total to clarify. My highest ever on the rolling 7 is 106.1, so clearly I should have run 1.1 miles more, but I did not. Kitten Frisco kept jumping on my lap at the second Olympics watch party Life Highlights: We spent part of a weekend in Eureka Springs with my sister's family before school began for all of the kids (including my niece starting college!). Albani started 8th grade! Farmers Market selfie OMRR picnic Beaver Lake fun Beaver Lake dam 8th grade She allowed me 1 take of this pose - oh, the pressure! My 4:45 a.m. buddies! Books: The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner Bitter Orange by Clair Fuller Britt-Marie was Here by Fredrik Backman We were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter Theme for the month: Heat advisories! And I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing me complain about summer killing my paces.
    2 points
  10. Not yet. I'd be tempted except for a couple of things. First is this knee. Not the left that had the meniscus repair three years ago. That would be the left side that's been giving me all sorts of trouble from the Achilles to the hip for half of this year. Nope, this is the right side that's sometimes given me problems when the left side has acted up, maybe making me over-compensate and give it extra stress. This is also the side with the old basketball injury. Normally it gets better the more I run, but this time it's not doing that, and my inner Eeyore is sure there's a problem just waiting to rear its ugly head. Keeping a close eye on it, which at this point is about all I can do. Then there's Saturday's long run. That turned out to be just so-so. Warm and humid, of course because August. It was 68 when I left the house - nice and steamy for early morning. 90-ish on the humidity scale. The first 5-1/2 miles were pretty good. But 5-1/2 miles out of 8 means another 2-1/2 to get home after I ran out of gas. Better than nothing, but a sharp Gibbs-slap on my blithe "I'm ready for another marathon" attitude. I know I'll feel a ton better in a few weeks with a few more miles on the legs and a turn (hopefully) towards fall weather. Speaking of fall, that's exactly what I did on Saturday. I'd just turned into the neighborhood with about a quarter mile to go when I dragged a tired toe on the sidewalk - don't think it was even a crack - and took a spill. One shoulder and both hands onto the concrete, then a practiced roll that landed me on the grass thanks to a little turn of the walk at that point. And as luck would have it, the guy in the house there just happened to be on his porch having a Saturday morning cup of Joe at the time, and so witnessed my less than graceful pause. I thanked him for the soft landing place and finished up. No blood, but the heels of my hands stung for a couple of days. Another sign that maybe I wasn't quite ready for 8 miles yet. Not that it would have stopped me from giving it a try, like tomorrow when I'm going for the first double digit run since ... January! And it's going to be warm and humid. Normally I go 10 without bringing hydration, but I think I may plan this like I'm running 15. Carry some G and a couple of Hammer Gels, just in case. Going through the park in the last mile I saw the ParkRun-ers. This group has gotten pretty large over the past couple of years. My head thought about joining them for their 5K, but my legs out-voted him 2-1. Right after the election one guy invited me to come along, but I told him I was already toast for the day. Maybe in another week or 2 or 3 when it's not bloody hot and I feel like a semi-hard 5K. T-Rex took and PASSED her certification exam this week. Just got to get her a job now. Her birthday is today. Our anniversary is tomorrow. 39 years. How did that happen?
    2 points
  11. the complaints are fine by me, I can join in on the chorus ;-) find I can do about 3-4 miles at a reasonable pace, after that I'm baked and it's walk it in.. best of luck to you both for 8th grade.. I don't know about girls, but it was a journey with both my sons..
    2 points
  12. Fantastic job! Considering also the muck-wading/swimming (ew)… massive congratulations!
    1 point
  13. Way to go OC! You crushed it! Congrats. Miss you.
    1 point
  14. OMG!! That’s exactly what I’m thinking!! Honestly if you saw my running leading up to this event you would know that I left so much out there in that event alone. Definitely thinking about a professional bike fit or a new bike … if I can afford it
    1 point
  15. Finish on the sand. Add that to my list of reasons I'll never do a tri. I know you don't do any of this to impress me, but I will say it anyway - I'm seriously impressed.
    1 point
  16. well done ! and so it begins ;-) That's exactly what happened when I started tri.. hm wait, I'm nearly on the podium, just a bit more training maybe ? a new bike perhaps ?
    1 point
  17. 1 point
  18. Great Race, way to adapt to running the half and finishing it well, especially after doing the swim and bike portions.
    1 point
  19. Great job! It sounds like a good time, but finish in soft sand, I would have died! (Who am I kidding, I would have been dead long before that!)
    1 point
  20. What a great race report, Gwen! You are just so inspiring, and it's fun for me - a non-triathlete - to get a taste of triathlon from the inside.
    1 point
  21. Way to go and finish 3rd in that scorching heat and humidity. I agree that any day we can run is a blessing.
    1 point
  22. I don't keep much track of reading, but now I read a lot on Kindle and it links to Goodreads, so can see what I read last month ;-) Those giant Wheel of Time novels take a bit of getting through.. wanted to get a start before the Amazon series begins. The casting looks excellent, I particularly like the actor who plays Perrin - just what I'd expect a smarter-than-he-looks careful thoughtful ex-blacksmith, to look like.. 'Why Fish don't Exist' looks interesting.. Faithful Hoffman, Alice The Great Hunt (Wheel of Time, #2) Jordan, Robert The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1) Jordan, Robert Binti: The Complete Trilogy Okorafor, Nnedi The White Mirror (Li Du #2) Hart, Elsa DUKE: Inspector Mislan and the Expressway Murders Noor, Rozlan Mohd Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic Hoffman, Alice Practical Magic (Practical Magic, #1) Hoffman, Alice The Fallen Man (Leaphorn & Chee, #12) Hillerman, Tony Under Heaven (Under Heaven, #1) Kay, Guy Gavriel This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1) Schwab, Victoria All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) Wells, Martha
    1 point
  23. I'll sing tenor. Zero reading matches this month. 402!
    1 point
  24. Way to go with your monthly mileage in the August heat!
    1 point
  25. well done to T-rex ! my PT has just allowed me to start running on the bad knee again, did a long run today, 4.5 miles ;-) Oh well it's a start..
    1 point
  26. Congratulations on your Wedding Aniversary, such fine looking couple. I also plan on running 10 tomorrow, at the Crim in Flint. Due to tomorrows heat and humidity the originally scheduled 15 minute start windows have been eliminate and now there is only 1 window from 7-8 am for the 10 miler.
    1 point
  27. 26 miles last week. On schedule for 28 this week. The 4 milers are all going well. No issues with the calf, hamstring or Achilles on the left. Looks as though that little nagger is behind me for now. Being better about my stretching and doing a little leg work during those exciting work meetings a few times a week. Baby steps. The old tendinosis below the right knee hurts some, but gets better as I go along. It's more of a little sting than anything and rest does it no good, so... Sunrise is creeping towards 7:00 am, so it's been twilight for the last couple of weeks when I start. Soon I'll be switching back to afternoon so I can see where I'm going. I'll miss startling the neighborhood deer. There's usually a few out foraging just before dawn. Last weekend was a six mile Saturday. First one of those in about 6 weeks. The last time I ran 8 miles was on the treadmill in early February. Even better, I'm actually looking forward to it. In the spring, while I was building a little mileage, none of the runs felt good and I was just ready to be done every single time. Lately I've been working but staying within my self-imposed limits. Sure, tired at the end of the runs, but not beat up, and feeling like I had another mile or even two left if I wanted. The Saturday six was a stretch, but I was probably going a little too fast. Like always. Now I can start talking about a 2021 marathon again. Have to see where a slow mileage ramp puts me. And of course see what covid's doing in the fall. Most of the big races are on, but I'm not planning a big city race. But with 30 states to choose from, I ought to be able to find something. But first, tomorrow. Eight miles is long enough for a story, so maybe I'll be able to think of something interesting to say about it. A few years ago my oldest son recommended I watch The Office. At the time I wasn't interested in adding another show to my regular list. Ran into some reruns on Comedy Central and decided to watch it all from the first episode. I'm sort of hooked into a binge on it. The "cringe humor" is purposefully terrible, but it's like a freeway accident. I can't stop watching.
    1 point
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