Monday, September 23, 2013

First good weekend in a while!

This weekend was busy and injuries did not slow me down.  Hurrah!

Saturday - 21 miles on the bike with a crazy hill in the middle that I nearly didn't get up and over:

Followed by 4 miles on the rail trail.

Sunday - 4 miles of trail with 600 feet of vertical elevation.  What that means is an AWESOME view at the top!

The bad thing is because I was busy trashing my legs both days, I had to drag myself to the gym today to do my physical therapy.  My legs are s o r e.  But a good sore!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hitting the trails!

I love trail running.  Love, love, love.  Unfortunately, I'm also quite clumsy and usually end up eating dirt and also can't find my way out of a paperbag without getting lost.

Today was a great day - perfect weather, no tripping and falling, no getting off trail, and the trails were in great condition.

I do a 4- mile loop, but there are several off-shoots that allow you to add on. I've done the 6-mile loop but it gets really technical and then I don't much enjoy that as much, because I'm constantly worried about killing myself on one of the rock gardens.   The 4-miler is perfect.   Technical in parts, a good number of short, steep climbs, a bunch of trees to jump and just enough of a challenge.

Here's the view at about mile 1.5 - the route crosses over a road here, so I'm actually on the overpass looking back over the trails.

Once you duck back into the woods, from miles 2-4 you are pretty much running along the water, or close to it.   At mile 2.5, this is the view:
It's interesting - there's an old, unkept road that is visible in pieces along this part.  Many times, it's completely under water if the water table is high enough.  I don't know what it used to be though - I wonder if this road was there before they dammed the river to make the reservoir?

This isn't the greatest picture, but this is about mile 3-ish - it's a swooping downhill right into another climb.  The mountain bikers who passed me were clearly not in the right gear and I heard some mashing of gears as they tried to quickly downshift in order to make it up the steep incline.  At least when running you don't have to worry about shifting, just about making it up the climb!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Your favorite distance?

Speed? Endurance?  Both?

Here is a list of distances that I've competed in so far, with my sad little PRs (if you haven't found yourself on Athlinks, it's a great way to keep track of races and PRs!):

1 mile - Short, sweet, sucking wind the whole time.  Love it and wish there were more around!   7:25

2.4 mile XC - Because it's XC, this isn't a fair comparison to the other (road) races, but this is very similar to a 5K. You can't push all out but you also aren't very comfortable.  26:25

5K - If I pick my 5Ks well, I can place in my AG. But I have to pick a really small race.    26:55

8K - Another trail race.  And I fell flat on my face.  Not my favorite.  54:18

10K - This is probably my favorite distance.  It's a good combination of distance and speed, without being too painful in either direction (or maybe better stated, it's equally painful in both LOL)  1:00:40

Half marathon - I like the challenge of the HM, but to be honest, the training kills me (ok, not literally, but close).  I would like to be healthy enough for the San Francisco half in 2014... we'll see!  2:11

I would love to tackle a 15K and 20K and add them to my list!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

New Year's Resolutions... in September

No reason to wait until the ball drops to set a new path for yourself, right?

In August, I did a Whole30.  I can't say it was wickedly successful, only because I spent most of the month craving everything I couldn't have, but it did reinforce that some of the things I choose to shove in my piehole are probably not the best choices - so in that way, it wasn't a total waste of an experiment.  Now I'm working on keep those really bad things out of my diet, but if I want to have some white potatoes, I'm not going to worry about it.  I did get used to drinking my coffee black and I don't think I'll go back to creamer.

For September, I've decided that my goal will be to do some sort of activity every day, even if it's just getting out for a walk or doing all my physical therapy exercises (which take some time!).    So far so good, except that one morning I went out for a walk in the pouring rain and got soaked.  I think my sneakers are still wet.

Since I started on the 3rd, here's my list:
Sept 3rd - Run
4th - Run
5th - Walk
6th - Run
7th - Bike ride
Tomorrow - Gym + walk

Let's see where I'm at on the 30th!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Volunteering at Big George Tri

Volunteering is a great way to help out while you can't race, or even if you can and want to give back.  I had a great time this weekend at the Big George Tri in NY.

Since my husband was doing the HIM, I signed up to volunteer.  First shift was kayak volunteer for the swim, then I directed traffic at a three way intersection on the run - the first loop, second loop and finishers all came through and so we had to keep everyone on track (lest we have a Jay-incident and someone get lost!)

We drove up Saturday and hit the race check-in right when it opened, got DH's bike racked up and then drove the bike course.  For being in the Adirondack region, this is pretty damn flat.  There's one slow slog up for the first three miles, then it's flat until you hit Brenton Lake, then a few short rollers.    The run course is mostly a rail trail, so we couldn't drive that - but our recon said it would be hilly (and it was).

Sunday AM started off at volunteer check in at 6am.  Got the kayak unloaded, said good luck to DH and then got my instructions and got on the water.   I was actually more nervous for this than I think I was for any of my own races!

My view of the shore (it was ridiculously muggy, can you tell?  Dew point was about 72 for this race, ugh)
And the first swim wave passing my kayak:

After the last wave went out, someone yelled from the shore for a few of us kayakers to come swing back.  We were told that there were people showing up well after the last wave went out who thought the race started at 8.  (it started at 7!!)   So we had to make sure they got out ok.  I don't know how you don't double and triple check start times, but at least a few of them didn't.    The swim is a straight out and back, pretty typical.

One of the final waves was a pink capped women's wave.   I was monitoring the folks coming in (making sure they were aiming to hit the correct location to get out) and all of a sudden - there was a pink cap.  She had to have lapped at least three waves ahead of her!   Amazing.  Then I found DH in the mass of swimmers and snapped a few photos as he passed.

Once the swim was done, I was assigned to transition assistance.  The nice thing about this race is that the transition for swim-bike and bike-run and finish are in the same place and right by the water.   This meant that I could see pretty much the whole race, including DH, which obviously important for me.  

My view of the lake and transition:

At this spot, we had to guide people coming out of transition onto the first loop of the run, people starting the second loop and then people heading back into the finish.    The first man came through to start the run at about the ~3:10 mark followed by 3-4 other men.... and then the first woman about 5 minutes behind.   At this point, I texted a friend to say that I thought the woman could win the whole thing because she was FLYING by the men.

At about the 3:45 hour mark DH came by and was so busy fiddling with his damn Garmin that he missed my high five.   Like, ran right by me.  LOL  All the other volunteers and spectators got a good laugh.    I knew he was having a great race at this point, and was hoping the humidity wouldn't kill his run, which is his strongest leg by far.

The run is tough at the end of a HIM.  It's an out and back that you have to do twice.  Yuck.  First two miles up, then a little flat, then two miles down, repeat.  

The first man came though the first loop.... and guess who was in second? Yep, the woman!  She passed all the other men, and was now on the first man's heels, only about two minutes behind him.    The crowd who had gathered at our intersection knew she was kicking butt - the roar was pretty awesome for her as she started the second loop.

A lot of the runners starting the second loop looked gassed.  It was a rough day for a run, let alone one taking place at the end of a swim and a bike ride.   The crowd support was great and all the volunteers were really into the day, and making sure everyone had whatever they needed and knew where they were going.   It was a lot of fun to help out.

DH heading for the second loop - me making sure he sees me for a high five!

The woman did end up winning the whole damn thing.  By a minute.  She didn't catch the first man on the course though, that would have been even awesomer.    DH ended up with a great sub-6 hour first half Iron. 

I went to spectate the Providence "Official Iron Man" HIM last year and I have to say that Lake George was a much better experience.  It was low key (200 racers, as opposed to the 5000 of the official IM) and with a great set up - not needing to take shuttles or have to worry about parking or getting to a different transition area etc.  If you're looking for a good half IM, this would should be on your list!