Up Next- First Race Of 2011

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

When I planned my race schedule for 2011, I was purposeful about waiting until I had some base-training before even thinking about racing.  The first plan was to race a half in March, but thinking that could be pushing it, I decided to keep it simple.  So, this weekend, my first race of 2011- a nice little 8K along with beaches of Virginia. 🙂  That’s right, I am headed back down to VA Beach! 

I really did want to claim redemption after last year, but the truth is, I really would just be pushing myself.  Right now, I have been following the 10% rule like it is my job and I have been really putting in some quality training.  The 8K simply fits better into where I am right now with my training.  And even though my runs have been good for the most part, I have no idea what to expect from this race.  My last 8K was only a few weeks after I was allowed to run again last year and I posted just over 50:00.  I would really like to break 50:00, so I have made 49:49 my goal for the race.  If I hit it, I do.  If not, I don’t.  Either way, the first race of 2011 will be in the books!

Two Sidenotes:

  • This morning at the gym…with eight available ellipticals, the hairest man alive who was also sweating like a pig and breathing hard while talking on his cell phone…got on the machine right next to me.  This happens to me ALL.THE.TIME!  Why is it that people insist on getting on the machine right next to me when there are plenty others available?!?!  Ahh…life’s greatest mysteries.
  • Today is the start of March Madness–> let the insanity begin.  My brackets are done and I am just waiting for 12:15 when it all begins to go down!  Let’s go UNC Tarheels ♥

2011 Race Schedule

Just because I have decided to take the pressure off when it comes to training and keep my goals more personal, doesn’t mean I don’t have a race schedule planned.  And here it is!

Shamrock 8K; Virginia Beach, VA- My first race of 2011.  My friend Nicole and I planned to do the half-marathon but did not sign up in time unfortunately.  Since we had already found a placed to stay, taken the time off work and planned the trip we decided to at least do the 8k and then just spectate the half and full.  I really wanted to run this race since I had to bag it last year after my injury, but I guess it is just not meant to be for me.  At the very least, I will enjoy 4 days in VA Beach 🙂 

B.A.A Boston 5k; Boston, MA- This is obviously assuming I get in on the day registration opens.  I know it is going to be a crapshoot since 27402378 are trying to sign up but hopefully I will get in.  Either way, I will still be in Boston for the marathon and I am way ridiculously beyond excited to reconnect with and meet new bloggers 🙂  It is going to be a super fabulous weekend.

Frederick 1/2 Marathon; Frederick, MD- I actually just decided on this the last week.  I wanted a May 1/2 marathon and this one fits best into my schedule.  Plus, since I deferred Baltimore to this year, I will get the Double Medal 🙂

Black Bear Olympic Relay; Poconos, PA- Despite the freezing cold, rain and getting sick in the water, I loved this race.  I was the swimmer last year with my friends Kurt and Brian and I am the swimmer this year with my friends Shauna and Lisa.  Hopefully we get better weather and I can get some revenge on that swim course!

Boilermaker 15K; Utica, NY- This race takes place the day after my 30th birthday so a few of my friends and I are heading up to race and party it up!  We are spending the weekend, including my actual birthday there and then running is specially made shirts!  Other than Boston, I am most excited for this race.

NJ State Sprint; Mercer, NJ- This is my “A” race for 2011…this is my favorite course by far and as anyone who reads my blog knows, run by my favorite RD’s, CGI.  I am not even kidding…this race is great!  Even in 100 degree weather last year it was enjoyable.  If you are looking for a mid-July tri, I cannot recommend anything more than this race!

Belmar Sprint; Belmar, NJ- This race is pretty simple but still one of my favorites.  I love the ocean swim, the simplicity of the looped bike course and the run along the beach.  This will be my third consecutive year racing this course and I look forward to getting even better this year than last year.

Timberman Sprint; Lake Winnipesaukee, NH- This is the only race on this schedule that I am still back and forth on; the entry fee is ridiculous and hard to justify but a lot of my teammates will be there and it will make for a fun weekend.  Plus…Chrissie Wellington.  Yeah, her.

Wildwood 1/2 Marathon- Wildwood, NJ- This is the newest 1/2 marathon in the CGI half-marathon series and I am very excited about this race.  Not only does it take place the same time I am on vacation in Wildwood, but so many of my teammates are racing this and with the entry fee you get a ticket into Morey’s Pier and water park.  So after the race we will be hanging out on the boardwalk and beach AND then back at my place to hang out.  It will be a most excellent way to end summer!

Baltimore 1/2 Marathon- Baltimore, MD- I deferred this race last year to this year and as much as I loved this race in 2009, Baltimore does not make it easy to stay overnight there.  The hotels in the area do not accommodate even though they are “race supporting” hotels.  I found it all to be very frustrating and if I run into issues again this year, I probably won’t bother with the race anymore.  Which would be a shame since I really do like it and they give out the coolest medals!

Philadelphia Marathon- Philadelphia, NJ- Yup. Giving it another go. I am unsure if I will ever attempt a second, so the first has to be Philly.  The half distance has my little racing heart and I cannot think of any other full that I would want to be my first.

I put a lot less on my plate this year than last but as you can see, I am also going to give the marathon another try.  My first attempt was a bust but I feel like this year could be my year.  Especially because I have full intentions of going into every race the way I did the Philly half this year.  And of course, at the end of the day, all I want to do is finish.

I am sure there will be some 5k’s and 10k’s dispersed in there but for the most part, I want to keep it more simple for 2011.  I am still toying with Steelman again if I can get a relay together but I don’t think I’ll be adding in any more big races.  I am excited for all the traveling I get to do with my racing this year and picked my races bases in large part based on that.  I figure, I got nothing holding me back right now…midas well get all the traveling I can get it while I can.

Will I be seeing any of you at any of the above races???

Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Report

Other title options:

-Redemption!

-Dear Philly, I kicked your ass!

-How the hell did that happen?

-Will I ever PR again?

Notes:

  • I had worked Saturday at the expo for 3 hours and then again at my night job until closing!  Not kidding…no one would cover my shift, or switch with me, so I worked from 5pm-12am the night before. 
  • I resigned myself to the idea that this race would be just for fun and that I should have low expectations.  In fact, I never even thought about a time goal…I basically just wanted to finish happy and not injured.  I told my mom to expect me around 2:30-2:35, although I did say I was going to try to stick with a pace group and there was a chance I could come in before 2:30.

Pre-Race:

I was so wired when I got in from work that I could not sleep.  I ended up dozing off for about two hours but it was 4am before I knew it!  My mom met up with me at my house and we were off.  We met up with my friend Brian and followed him to a garage and then headed over to the Art Museum. 

About 30 minutes before the race my stomach started hating me and I needed a bathroom STAT.  The line was 2390823908 people long and I seriously thought I might die.  The pain was unreal and I could not even imagine how I would run in it were to continue through the race.  I made it through the line and to my corral but within minutes, I needed the bathroom again.  Ugh, this was not good!  Luckily after stop number #2, I felt a little better and even luckier, I was done just in time to start with my corral, although I was at the very back.

Race:

Miles 1-3; I did not start off well.  Between my stomach bothering me and having to move through the crowd of slower-than-me runners and walkers, I was having a hard time.  I got to the 5k at just under 36:00…I was not happy!  Then it occurred to me that I had two options.  1- allow this to ruin my race and just give in or 2- get through the rough patch and press on.  I did not want to get down on myself early; I pretty much said to myself “get it together” and then that is exactly what I did!

Miles 4-6.2; At about the mile 4 mark, I realized I was making up some time and when I looked up, I saw the 5:00 pace group not far ahead of me.  This was the pace group I had hoped to spend some time running with but because I got into my corral too late and got behind because of my disastrous first three miles, I had lost sight of them.  But here they were just a little bit ahead.  I knew if I pushed a little harder I could catch up to them.  I stopped at the water stop to take a GU and then pressed on with the 5:00 pace balloons in sight.  I saw my TT friends cheering and it was exactly the boost I needed to pick up my pace!  And then I was there- running with the pace group 🙂  The thing is, once I got there, I felt like I could go faster; I went with my gut and kept on moving.  I was feeling so good- everything was going right…this was the best I ever felt and i decided at that moment, unless anything insane happened, I was going to PR this race.  I was going to make it happen.  I reached the 10K mark at 1:07:30…I was under an 11:00/minute pace.  I had made up SO MUCH time!

Miles 6.2-10; This was the hilliest part of the course (you know, as hilly as it gets for the area) but also the best miles for me mentally.  I kept reminding myself that this was a fun race and that I was having fun.  I thought about how Kate told me that she felt like her Ironman went as well as it did because she stayed postive, so I just tried to channel all my positive energy.  I made myself run up each hill no matter what…just kept telling myself one foot in front of the other.  And every time the thought of walking crossed my mind, I just reminded myself that I was on my way to a PR!  I took a GU at mile 8 and Mile 10 was reached at 1:48.  Still under an 11:00/pace and very much on target for a PR.

Miles 11-12; In every half-marathon in the past, I have fallen apart at mile 11.  So as I approached mile 11, I had a little chat with the asphalt.  My legs were hurting…my shins were on fire and my left calf was angry.  But I was not stopping.  No way.  I directed my mind to think positive and get the frick to the finish line.  I had come this far…made up time…and was well on my way to a PR…I was.not.stopping!  I thought pushing through mile 11 was the toughest part of the race until I reached mile 12.  Now I had to pee.  I tried to run through it…just get to the finish and then pee.  But my bladder was having nothing of it- and the porta-potty lines were FAR too long.  I was NOT going to ruin my PR by waiting in a damn porta-potty line.  No friggen way.  So I did what any classy Jersey girl would do in this situation…I pee’d in the bushes.  Free of my need to pee and back on my feet running, I blasted into mile 13 ready to get to the finish.

Mile 13-13.1; The crowd support through the finish was amazing.  And not even kidding, I texted my mom to let her know I was on my way in- I didn’t want her to miss me.  I could not believe I was at the finish- I was elated.  The crowd was cheering and I saw my mom and Brian and I was running as fast as I could- and then…I crossed the line at 2:23:08!!!!!

Post-race: GLOW GLOW GLOW GLOW 🙂  Followed by some pictures, gatorade, a banana and the very slow walk back to the car.  Then it was home to sleep for a few hours because I am crazy and went into work that night!

Prior to this race, my PR was 2:27:44…so I improved by over 4 full minutes!  I have been chasing that damn PR since May 2009 and it felt so good to finally reach my goal.  In addition to a 4 minute overall PR, this was a 10 minute course PR!!!

More Notes:

  • I walked the water stops and I stopped once to stretch my calf and once to pee.  Other than that I ran the ENTIRE race.  I never stopped moving (except to pee) no matter what, I just kept going!!!
  • Mike- I looked for you at medals!  I asked all the way through the line if anyone knew where Mike was- but to no avail 😦  One guy thought I was looking for my dad and tried to direct me to the meet-up area and a few others looked at me as though I had a personality disorder.  Awesome.
  • The crowd support for this race was really good- especially in the cheer sections.  Music going, people dressed up…Philly does spectating well 🙂
  • This race would not be possible without the help of volunteers and the Philadelphia Police Department.  The officers throughout the race are wonderful.  I appreciate them being out there more than I can say.  Philadelphia cops have a tough job every day and it was a joy to see them on the course. 
  • I am quite sore.  I chaperoned an ice skating trip yesterday and that has only added to the soreness.  I plan to spin out my legs this afternoon but I am taking a week off from running.  It is officially the off season!!!

Thank you for all your support- all the well wishes and happy vibes.  My excitement over my PR has not ended yet.  I smiled through writing this whole report.  This is the report I thought I would have to wait until 2011 to write.  2010 has been a rollercoaster year- being injured and told I might not be able to run until summer…proving THAT wrong and running as early as April.  Racing back to back weekends over summer and PR’ing through them was amazing…but nothing tops this race.  This was the highlight of my year.  I had to bag so many races…and I fought with myself over each one.  I was hard on myself for not running Philly Rock and Roll…I did not feel ready and I did not feel I should race.  I know more than every that I made the right decision.  This was to be my comeback race…and my only plan was to get to the start and finish lines.  The PR is the AMAZINGLY SWEET icing on top 🙂

Photos:

Monday Brain Exchange Week 18- Unconventional Races

Last week’s M.B.E players: Kandi, Darlene, Whitney, Kim, Kitzzy

Every Monday, at the end of the current weeks M.B.E answer, I will post a question for the following week.  This way you can cue your post for Monday if you wish.  If Monday doesn’t work for you, you can still play along any day of the week that works best. If you want to play along, all you have to do is post the question and your answer on your own blog.  Link your post to my blog so that I know you have participated, and in the following weeks post, I will link all the participant blogs from the prior week.

This Weeks Question:

Have you ever partcipated in any unconventional races?  If so, tell us about them.  If not, is it something you would consider and if so which one(s)?

The unconventional I have raced are the mud races.  I have done two; McGuire Air Force Mud Run and Warrior Dash. 

McGuire Air Force Run was a 10K with ten obstacles.  It was a very cold and rainy day- VERY COLD!  I did this as part of a group team and we really did have a blast despite the cold and the fact that the obstacles left a lot to be desired and there was too much running in between obstacles.  Unfortunately, for this race, the negatives outweight the positives and it is not one I would do again.

Recently, I took part in the Warrior Dash- and in comparison to the Air Force Run, this was awesome!  It had it’s pro’s and con’s (you can read my race report and see photos here) but overall this race was a blast. 

In 2011, my teammates and I are planning to run the American Odyssey Relay and I am super stoked.  Other than that, I have nothing planned that would be considered unconventional, but I am always up for a fun challenge. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Next Weeks Topic: Giving Thanks

Next Weeks Question: In the spirit of Thanksgiving…tell me what you are most thankful for; one thing, five things, or many things.  But here’s the fun part…tell me, in photos!

Calling All Boston Bound Bloggies!!!!

Today was a big day for many of you 🙂 

Leave me a note if you are Boston bound this coming April- I will be there for the marathon weekend and would love to cheer you all on!!  I am hoping to get into one of the 5,000 spots for the BAA 5K that weekend; Rick and I had planned to meet up for the race and now more than ever I want to complete that race.  I am going to be flying in on Friday and will be there until late Monday night.

Who’s in for- Running? Spectating? Bloggy dinner meet-up one night?

Delanco 5K Race Report!

This was my third year in a row doing this race…it is held in my hometown, is very no frills and the route is pretty much what I run when I run at home.  I also like that I have been able to see my steady improvement over time…

-The first year I ran it, I was in the back of the pack…still a new runner.

-The second year, it poured rain and only about 30 runners showed up.  I won second AG, but only by default because there were only two of us in my age group.  So even though it counts of course, it doesn’t feel like a legit win.

-This year, I wasn’t sure how I would do but I ran great AND…

…I won THIRD PLACE AG.  Legit win too. Like I really actually beat people- haha 🙂

Pre-Race:

Woke up and ate a PB bar and got dressed.  Grabbed a cup of coffee and was at my parents house by 815am.  Headed over to the race start, hung around with some friends who were also racing and got ready for the 9am start.

Race:

First mile- cold while running against the river but I was feeling fast.  Kept pushing myself and got to mile marker 1 at 9:12-wooohoo!  That was a huge confidence boost as I knew if I kept it up, I would have a PR.  The second mile was my best mile and I was passing some people too!  I was pretty sure I passed some people in my age group and was feeling really great! My dad was volunteering at a stop that I passed twice in the second mile and it was super fun seeing him on the course.  I hit the second mile marker at 18:21 (negative split!!) and was pushing pretty hard.  The wind was insane at this point and even though I knew I was slowing down I was just trying to keep my pace as fast as possible.  I knew a PR was still possible and I wanted to stay ahead of all the people I had passed.  When the wind was blowing in my face and I wanted to slow down, I thought of all the people running a lot further than me that morning and I just kept repeating positive affirmations to myself.  As I rounded into the last tenth of a mile, I knew a PR would be a stretch…and by the time I was in the final stretch, I knew I wasn’t going to PR…but I also knew I was still ahead of the people I passed AND I had a sub-30 time.  I sprinted with everything I had into the finish.

Official time- 29:16; course PR and good enough for an AG win 🙂

Post Race:

My friend Mark’s dad was helping with the race and he told me that he thought I placed.  Normally a 29 minute 5k would never place but that is the nice thing about small races 🙂  My friend Ryan placed 2nd overall and my friend Mark placed in his AG.  Then they got to females 19-29…and third place went to me!!!!!  I got a bronze medal to commemorate my win 🙂

Still waking up!

Ready to Run!!!

Post Race- Ryan (2nd overall), Me and Mark (2nd place AG)

Third Place AG 🙂

Warrior Dash Race Report!

It’s gonna be a long one!

The Warrior Dash is a race held in 10 different locations around the United States.  Each one if relatively the same with a few obstacles being different for each event.  No two Warrior Dash races are ever exactly the same.  To find out if there is one near you, or to read more about it in general, go here.

The Warrior Dash I participated in was the Mid-Atlantic event.  The race was held in the town of Quarryville which is right outside of Lancaster.  Once we got to the race site we parked, packed a check bag and made our way to the bus shuttles.  As we walked into packet pick-up the first heats of the day were on their way back and they were covered in mud!  Once we had our whole group together and ready (many of them dressed up- the race was full of people in costumes) we headed down to the site.  There were people everywhere!  We took lots of photos and then before we knew it, it was time to get in line for our heat.  We got a spot fairly close the front and it was packed!  And then it was go-time!

The first part of the race was pure running; the run was on straight dry dirt which was really annoying because it was all in my eyes and throat.  After what seemed like way too long, we finally got to the first obstacle. 

First up was the Tunnel Of Terror.  I won’t lie, I wasn’t scared.  The tunnels were about 20 feet long and it required a hands/knees crawl.  Unless you are me and then you can basically walk through 🙂  I was so small  that I could have zipped right through, but of course people in front of me were not so zippy and held me up.  Once we went through that, it was on to Tanker Trouble.  This was one of the more difficult tasks for me and a place where I could see injuries happening.  Basically you had to climb over a series of old junk trucks with only the help of a flimsy rope.  Once over the truck you had to jump down onto uneven ground and then run to the next truck.  I am fairly certain the majority of my bruises came from this obstacle! 

Once we were off the trucks it was more running…mostly in an open field and I imagine to help spread out the crowd which was a good idea and much-needed.  Next up was Hay Fever; basically this was a series of ladder stacked straw bales that we had to run up on one side and back down the other.  I felt that of all the obstacles, this was the most lame and unnecessary.  Following the hay, we hit the Cargo Climb.  This was a large cargo net that we had to scale up, run over and then scale down the other side.  I got up without any problems and quickly ran to the other side.  Then my fear of heights sank in a little and it took me a few deep breaths to get back down the other side.  Once down, it was more running…but at this point all the running was on trails.  I was having a blast jumping over logs and running around sticks and small trees. 

Halfway through the trail running we came up on the Plank Walk.  This was a huge disappointment- each plank was about 6inches wide and only about a foot off the ground.  As I went across, I thought “why bother” and felt myself getting a little frustrated that I was still so clean!  I figured at least I was enjoying the trails and running with my friend Brian.  (side note: once we had started we all kind of seperated, but Brian and I did the whole thing together- it was definitely more fun having him with me as opposed to being alone.) 

As the trails opened up a bit we came up on Black Out- basically a lot like the tunnels, but more trench like and harder on the knees.  Luckily, again because of my height I was able to almost walk through.  Almost as soon as we were out of the trenches we were back on the trails and headed into the Mossy Maze.  This was a series of ropes to climb over and under along with a lot of larger logs to jump over as we ran through the trails.  It was one of the more technical aspects of the race and I loved it. 

And then it got muddy!!!

As we rounded out of the Mossy Maze we saw the water ahead.  My excitement level rose about 10 levels as we approached the Breathless Bog which could only be described as a swamp.  It was dark, murky and smelled of cow poop…and I jumped right in.  It was FREEZING and I had no desire to know what I was swimming in, but this is what it was all about for me.  I could not wait to get wet, muddy and dirty!  Wooo-hooo!  The water was fairly shallow ar first but as we approached the series of logs floating in the water it got deeper and deeper.  Getting over the logs was a project for me- the water was about chest high and I had to basically roll over each log.  More bruises occurred here!  Once out of the water we had to scale a few super muddy hills in order to get back onto the trail.  It was so wet and muddy and people were falling and face planting left and right.  I basically held onto small tree branches for dear life as I worked to pull myself up the hills.  It was tough but so much fun!

Back onto the trail until we hit the Warrior Walls.  Each wall was about four feet high and while it was a simple jump or leap for most people, I had a harder time because of how small I am.  For me, I had to pull myself up with my arms (like I was getting out of a pool at the wall) and then lift one leg over, perch on the wall and jump down.  The landings over each wall were sketchy as the mud was very slippery.  There was no way to run through it or get a running start for the next wall.  Yeah…more bruises!  Pretty much as soon as the last wall was jumped we were back on muddy terrain and at another swamp.  The Slithering Swamp was even grosser than the first swamp and even more difficult to climb out of.  More falling and face planting by people…and hills were a lot steeper this go around.  Again, I was holding onto small tree branches just slowly making my way back onto the trail.  Towards the end of the trail we could hear all the finish line commotion and as we came out of the woods we were greeted with spectators, cameras and Muddy Mayhem.  This obstacle is another mudpit but this time with barbed wire across, forcing runners to crawl into the mud.  I thought I was being slick and just tried to sneak under the first wire but I got my shirt caught and learned my lesson.  I got on my hands and knees and crawled through the rest.  As soon as that ended we were at the Warrior Roast- a series of fire pits for us to jump over.  I totally got a little freaked out and bombed the first jump!  But then I was fine and hauled ass over the next jumps.  As I went over them I could feel the heat and I have to say, it was really cool! 

As soon as we were over the fire pit it was about a 50 foot sprint across the finish line.  There was one guy, with one hose, that I guess was supposed to get us clean. Yeah right ahahaha…clean??!?!  That was NOT going to happen!  I had mud everywhere and i really didn’t mind it except for on my hands.  I just wanted my hands clean!  I finally decided it was a better idea to just find grass and try to wipe them off.  It worked enough to make it okay until I could find some water.  Met up with all my teammates, finally found some water and made my way up to the fire hoses to get washed up.  I went through the hoses twice and it felt so good to get cleaned up.  I didn’t mind the mud until I started to get all crusty and then I just wanted it off me!  After I was washed up, I had to get changed, but…ready for this…they CHARGED for bathrooms!  Good thing I am not modest- I got changed right on the field…held a towel around me and got dressed- ohhh lala! 

Post-race we all went back to the cars; it was my friends Dee and Michelle’s birthday so we celebrated with some food and adult beverages!

Pros of the Race:

  • Muddy obstacles were great- I had so much fun in the water and trying to get up the mudslides!
  • Trail running is so much fun.  I am so interested in trail running now- I have already looked into two trail races for next year!
  • Huge water park area to get hosed down with firehoses post-race. 
  • I was with my team and we make everything fun 🙂

Con’s of the Race

  • Too much of a back up at certain obstacles
  • Some obstacles were downright lame.
  • Disorganized set up- it was very confusing to get from place to place post-race.
  • Everything cost money- parking, food, drinks…even the bathroom to get changed!  There was only one small cup of water and a banana for racers at the finish- but I was so covered in mud I couldn’t open or eat my banana.  I felt really nickeled and dimed at this race and wish they would have simply charged more to enter rather than charge for every little thing along the way.

And of course photos!!!

I did not wear a costume.  Neither did my friend Victoria, but she wore a shirt that said “I don’t do costumes, but I might do you” which was a hit!!!

All the shoes donates post race!

Overall, I am glad I did the Warrior Dash.  It was a fun time despite some of the problems I had with the race in general.  I am back and forth on recommending it to people because I think it depends.  If you are in it with a group I think it would be fun no matter what- I don’t know how much fun I would have had if I did it solo.  I think I would tell people who like this kind of stuff to go for it, but not to have too high expectations and to take it for what it is as a fun race.  I mean, in the end you do get a really cool hat!

 

A Look At Summer

As much as 2010 has been a thorn in my side, with a lot of stress, injury and more stress…this was a really great summer.  Despite my injuries this year and what seemed like constant pain in one form or another, when I look back I feel extremely accomplished.  It was a good summer for racing, I had a most excellent birthday and I am wrapping up my third weekend in a row down the shore as we speak.

As I laid in bed falling asleep last night I started to really give thought to how far I came this summer; I was hard on myself because I often switched up my goals and in part it felt like I was taking the easy road.  But this road was not easy, it was full of challenges.  Was it the summer I expected?  No.  But the end result was one PR after another and some really great experiences.  And I’ll take that as a win.

I consider my kick-off to summer Black Bear Relay in May; the coldest swim I have ever endured and also my first 1500 meter ows.  It was brutal cold and I threw up in the water before finally finishing…but I finished.  I knew my next swim of that distance would seem like cake in comparison!  Next up was the Scott Coffee 8K- I still wasn’t allowed to push or run hills of any kind but it was still a good way to gauge my recovery.  I did well too and it was the start of getting my confidence back.  After that, I had a small break wherein I attended two weddings in two weekends and then my birthday.  And before I knew it I was back to racing; with the exception of two weekends, I raced every weekend from July 11 until this weekend, Sept 11.  First up was Philly Women’s Tri which was once again turned into a DU; it was just as brutal as the year before but at least I knew what to expect.  It was also my first PR 🙂  I followed that race up with NJ State…probably my most anticipated race of summer.  First it was an Oly, then I made the smart but agonizing decision to drop to the Sprint.  In the end it was the right thing to do.  It was the best race I had all summer and the most fun.  Oh, and another PR 🙂  A week later I was in Belmar for a Sprint Tri; another fun race and another PR!  I followed that up with a Spring relay at Steelman where I had a great swim.  The seond 1500 swim, and just like a predicted…in comparison to Black Bear, it was cake!   Just as I was getting used to all this PR’ing…Wildwood came along and beat me up!  To date, this was my most challenging race.  I knew I was tough when I crossed that finish line!  A week later I did the Medford Sprint as a relay and had my best swim time to date.  Another PR! It was a great way to end my tri season!  And I topped the race off by heading down the shore.  And the racing did not stop…last week, I ran the Avalon 7-miler and although it tested my strength and my body, I finished well.  And this weekend…well, this weekend I am enjoying the end of summer!

And because I love photos…I give you, a summer in photos!

The thing is, I haven’t figured out a way to post it to this page- WordPress doesn’t support the OneTrueMedia, and on YouTube the music doesn’t play.  And it just isn’t the same without the music.  Therefore in order to see the montage (and you know you want to!) you have to click here.

What’s next?  That is still a tough question.  I am still not running…I will run this week and see how I feel to determine my course of action for PDR.  The Warrior Dash is still a definite and as long as my legs feel healthy, so is Philly.  But after Philly, I am taking a major break from running.  I need to heal- I need to just enjoy running without the pain or lasting aches that come with my longer runs.  For a few weeks, if not more, I will be much more focused on getting back to 100%.  Cause if you know me, you know I am already looking for ways to make 2011 even better than 2010!!!!

What was your biggest accomplishment in the summer of 2010?

*This day cannot go without acknowledging its significance- thinking of all those who gave 9-11-2001 and still give. ♥

Avalon 7-mile Race Report

In an effort to not become completely lazy on vacation, I signed up for this run.  I was really nervous leading up to the race given I hadn’t really run much and my half-marathon training has been less than stellar.  I knew this race would determine how I would proceed with PDR in two weeks.

Pre-Race:  Since I was staying in WW and the race was down the road in Avalon, I was able to sleep in a little bit.  “Sleep-in” is relative of course and I was awake at 6am.  Quick breakfast and my mom and I were out the door.  I was feeling really antsy and not confident- I hadn’t run in over a week and I was still having some soreness in my shins.  As luck would have it, we ran into some of my teammates; I hadn’t said anything about this race so this was a nice surprise.  Seeing them lifted my spirits a bit and I decided to just get out there and go.

Race:  Miles 1-3 were good; excellent spectating and I felt strong- and I was doing great- I hit the 5k mark at sub-30.  And then something happened to me that hasn’t happened in a long time…I felt a blister brewing.  This was no good and by mile four it was screaming at me!  (I have to imagine I missed this area with the body glide because I do not get blisters!)  I pushed through but by mile five I had really slowed down; I hit the five miles at just over 50:00- still better than I had expected but I knew I was fading fast.  I turned up my IPOD, tried to put the pain out of my head and kept on trucking.  But it did not work.  Nothing I did worked.  I could not run.  I tried changing my stride…I tried tilting my foot outward to alleviate the pressure.  All that did was add pressure to my shins and worse my achilles was feeling the weight of my outwardly turned foot.  This was a mess.  A total mess.  And by mile six I was well over an hour.  With people passing me left and right, I got myself together and just put one foot in front of the other…not really running, more like shuffling, but moving.  As I rounded the corner to the finish I picked up the pace and saw my mom 🙂  She said “It’s right there, the finish is right there” and I just hauled through.  And by hauled I mean move at a slightly faster pace than a shuffle.  But I finished.  And still better than I had expected!  I grabbed a coconut water, found my mom and teammates, took some photos and then we headed off for some breakfast.

Time: 1:13:28

Post-Race: I was really hurting…everything friggen hurt.  But mostly the blisters.  Yes, there were two.  And my shins, calves, ankles, feet…everything friggen hurt!  It really forced me to focus on the fall.  Whatever I do, I do not want a repeat of the winter.  I ran Florida injured…when I knew better.  I still ran and ended up being out for the count for months.  Some decision making was necessary.  Right away I decided, that if I could, I would be participating in PDR.  I have no plans to run this week; I will run next weekend and see how I feel.  If I hurt, PDR is a walk.  If I do not hurt, I[‘ll give it what I got at PDR.  The one decision that is final is that I packed too much in this fall and something had to give.  I deferred Baltimore.  I am going to do a smaller, more local, race that weekend.  As PDR gets closer I will be able to make more definite decisions.  Time will tell.

Photos 🙂

Reminds me of Amy Pohler on SNL- haha

Rounding the corner into the finish

With mom, post-race

Post-race breakfast!

After breakfast, I spent the day at the pool reading.  Later, we headed to the beach.  That has pretty much been my weekend…reading, pool, reading, beach, wine, pool, wine, reading…and I have loved every second!!!

Up next: tomorrow is moving day- YIPPEEEEEE!  And eventually I will get caught up on my reader.  And get back to working out regularly so I can get rid of these vacation pounds.  And soon, I will feel like life is getting back to normal 🙂