Sunday, January 23, 2011

Clearwater Halfathon 2011

If it seems like we are racing every weekend, it's because, well, we are. Just about. I feel I'm making up for being off all last winter running season. Apparently, taking the better part of a year off has been extremely beneficial for me in a lot of ways. First, I likely needed the rest - apparently, I cannot handle an Ironman every year, at least, not for long. I'm not known as being durable! Second, I now realize what training I can handle and and the need to listen to my body (shouldn't be a revelation but...). I am training by feel now with very little structure. We started focusing on the running for December with this half marathon being the end of the focus and it was really good. Very cold morning (for us) in the mid-30's with wind chill colder than that and I definitely under dressed! Sort of forgot how long you are out there during a half marathon! I haven't run a half since this race three years ago! After last week's sub-40 10K, I knew I was in pretty good run shape. Wasn't really sure about the endurance as we haven't done very many long runs to get in a good 13.1 mile result. That's where I really struggled today. The course is deceptively difficult (for Florida) with 4 x bridge climbs/descents. I really struggled to hang on to the Dane in the headwind section and managed to get a little draft heading north up the beach which was really helpful (I did have to run hard to catch him prior to that section!). I was sitting in forth until heading up the last bridge when I was dying and couldn't follow, just surviving! I finished just after the Dane - he made up the 12 seconds I got on him last weekend! Went sub-1:28 which is closest to my PR (from nearly 20 years ago) than I've been in a really long time! I won Masters and the Dane won Grand Masters. Very happy, very tired and will be very sore! Time to get on the bike and get in multisport shape. As much as I'd like to keep running/racing, pushing the run speed, I am a triathlete and am hoping to be able to run faster this year off the bike. Next race is Chilly Willy duathlon in three weeks. Can I get in bike shape in three weeks? Yikes! Should be interesting.....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sub-40

Honeymoon Island Adventure Run

Also known as the St Pete Beach Classic 10K race report. This race has a big place in our hearts. I won't go into great detail but Wendy and Al Johnson began this race back in 2004 (I think) and Wendy died from metastatic melanoma and the race went on hiatus last year, for obvious reasons. The race was re-introduced this year and was certain to be on my calendar. I didn't know Wendy as well as most, but what I knew was a women with a lot of vision and a huge heart. She has been missed by a lot of people and still is. We were so grateful that this wonderful event made a comeback! The course is a fast, flat one, suitable for a fast time. The Dane highlighted this race to go sub-40 several weeks ago. He was doing all the workouts needed for a sub-40 finish and was nailing them all. Me, well, I just kept running. I did do the tempo runs (which I think are gold) but didn't do the interval work as this is usually injury bait for me. I like to use races as hard workouts because, well, they are! The race last Sunday was very hard because it was off-road and I was a bit sore but MY goal race to end the winter run block is next weekend's half marathon. I pretty much trained through this past week but did lower mileage to not be totally trashed in the legs. Got up Saturday morning and my legs feel tired and pretty terrible. Oh well, I think, this isn't my goal race, just a good, hard workout. The weather was perfect, a little cool and breezy but nice. Went out way too fast but felt pretty good. The Dane went up the road as he was trying to tack on to the front pack but they proved to be too fast for us so he, and I, ended up in no man's land. Not good. I did get another guy to run with, bridged up to the Dane and decided I could handle this pace. Could I go sub-40? No way, I thought. But, I was going to hang on as long as I can. Nearing the 5K mark, I could feel the pace slacking slightly so went in front and tried to drive it. I did gap the Dane a bit but felt he would catch back up to me. Decided I was gonna go for it. Yada, yada I really suffered the last 2 miles but I came in 39:40 and was 4th overall woman and won Masters. The Dane also broke 40 so it was a really successful day! I tried to look back at the last time I broke 40 minutes for the 10K and I cannot find anything. It is way off my PR but that PR was when I was 22 years old! I realize now that I just don't run a lot of 10K's! They are hard. One more running race to finish the winter run block (except may do Gasparilla 15K end of Feb) which is next Sunday, Clearwater Halfathon (half marathon). Started back swimming and cycling now and hard to fit it all in. I realize that run fitness doesn't cross over to bike or swim fitness!! I am super grateful to be healthy and running full gas right now. Hoping I can translate this to triathlon later in the spring!! We'll see....

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Honeymoon Island Adventure run

Beautiful sky building for a wonderful day

January is a hot month, not on the thermometer but on the event calendar. Wouldn't have it any other way. Started this morning with the Kiwanis Honeymoon Island adventure run. I've lived here in this area for nearly 14 years but have never been to the rustic, natural Florida park of Honeymoon Island. Beautiful and kicking myself for never having been here before. Oh well, went today for this 5 mile "adventure" run. The adventure was that it was all off-road, trails, deep sand, rocks, roots, wind and cold. I love this stuff! And, the flyer said "no sissies". Right up my alley! We truly trained through this one as the next two races are going to be peak run races for the winter. Started back in the pool this week (not pretty) and back doing hard trainer rides during the week so not exactly tapered for this one. I did skip the tempo run this week, figured this race would fit the bill! It did. It was chilly in the mid 40's (yes, chilly for us) and windy when we arrived. Yada, yada, yada, won overall for the women in a reasonably large field (pure runners stay away from this type of course, it's NOT a fast course) and 8th overall. The Dane was 7th overall and I couldn't catch him in the end but tried anyway. Mostly, it was fun and a great workout and will definitely be on my calendar next year! Saw a bunch of folks that we know and had some post-race hydration thanks to Fred (aka best race director in the world!). So, continue with multisport training, racing 10K next weekend then 1/2 marathon the following week. Solid and, hopefully, will drop us into tri season with good run base. I feel good about it and happy to be healthy again.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New year, new (old) me

I am very thankful for the healing that has occurred in my body in the past 6 months. I have managed a big run focus in training in the last 3-4 months which is remarkable considering the injury I had and the deep mental ditch I was in a year ago from now. Last winter truly sucked and I began to feel I'd never run again, much less without pain. I continued to have hamstring awareness into late spring and really didn't have any momentum going into the summer. Then, I smashed three ribs. And, I stopped......everything physical. Had to, it was the most painful injury I've ever had. Hurt to do anything. So, I did nothing and this really helped my hamstring. I can honestly say that I started jogging with the broken ribs and haven't had to look back since. I ran my first 5K in a couple years in early November then ran more races after that and placed in all of them, crazy! I ran my biggest mileage this week that I have in several years (cannot recall so much in Ironman training even). Granted, I'm not the kind who can tolerate a lot of mileage so high to me is chump change to another but it is all relative. And, no, there is no Ironman in my future for now, not until I'm mentally ready. We went back to ride in the hills yesterday, first time since August '09 and boy, did it feel that way. In letting my hammy heal, I've really had to back off the cycling and I am really out of shape on the bike. But, I'm healthy and can certainly work on this! We have a hot January race schedule with Honeymoon Island adventure run next weekend, St Pete Beach Classic 10K the week after then Clearwater Halfathon (half marathon) to round out the month. Should be interesting and my focus is on the half marathon as I have left some suboptimal races on that course. Will be getting fully into multisport season in February with Chilly Willy duathlon as the focus. Bottom line is I'm healthy and excited that I can plan a season and train accordingly. I have a long way to go but going with a head of steam for sure. So, cheers to a healthy, active and successful 2011! I'm psyched!