Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ready for a New Year.

I want to preface this entry by the following, which I think deserves to be at the beginning, rather than the end, of this post:

I am looking forward to the start of a new year. 2014 has been hard. I don't want to recap it. The good things that happened (and there were many good things) simply do not outweigh the bad things and the loss that myself and my family went through. It it what it is and it happened, but I want to just keep moving forward. I don't think I set any New Years Resolutions last year, especially since my life was in such turmoil at the beginning of the year. I am working on being kinder to all members of the human race (including myself), to love myself and know my worth, to love others, to make sure I keep my heart open, to forgive, and to remember that all life is precious and worthwhile and not to be taken for granted.

With what was undoubtedly the hardest year of my life ending, and my 31st birthday quickly approaching, I am met with trepidation for the future. 31 trips around the sun doesn't seem like much, but it means that I will be firmly planted "in my 30s" and trying to celebrate my birthday while mourning the year anniversary of my mother's passing. I am trying to stay optimistic but that date is going to be a tough one to face. Thank god I am not facing it alone.

I have some truly special people in my life that have supported me this year, and there is no way that I could reach out to everyone and thank them for how they have helped me over the past 365 days. I know that I am a strong person, but I'm not sure if I could have done it alone, plus, good times and bad times are made infinitely better with loved ones. To name a few individuals/groups of people who are very dear to my heart:

my family (my dad, my brother, and the rest of the Hardings) who I know are by my side no matter what happens.

my dear friend Kerry, her husband, Joe, and her mother, Kathy, who drove all the way to the hospital last year to be with me on my birthday. it meant so much to me to have you there.

John - whom I am incredibly grateful to have in my life. I have the pleasure of having you as both a friend and a boyfriend and I am looking forward to what this year brings (first and foremost - Harry Potter in Orlando!).

my Rochester family (Mary, the Walters, the Adams, the Hansens, Kemily, Solveig, all former Train-This members, the list goes on) who have always supported me athletically (through running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, skiing, summer biathlon, cyclocross, etc), since we all know that exercise is the best medicine.

my OCD family (especially B642) who makes me not mind going to work every day and who collectively form the best lunch table ever.

my far away friends (which includes all of my friends who I am separated from due to distance - Jessie, Lindsay, Denise, etc.) who have been my text message lifeline throughout the year.

last but certainly not least, my mom, who is in my heart and thoughts every day.

Everyone that sent me a text, tweet, Facebook message or post, email or card when my mom was sick.. I thank you all so much. I know this is long overdue. And everyone who supported me with the marathon, my classes, helping me with my house, and spent time with me, even if it was just a hug, I so appreciate it.

Keep on living fiercely, my friends.

I love you all.

Happy 2015.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What's next?

The off-season has been treating me well. I have been busy between work, class, friends, being in a relationship, and everything else that life brings. I have been sporadically doing workouts when I can and am motivated. I was not feeling too great after the marathon. I really put a lot of stress on my knee during the race, so I took a while off (a month?) afterwards. When I started running again, I was still having some knee pain. I wasn't into racing cyclocross this year due to being so out of shape (for cycling), so I did 5 races and called it quits for the year. I miss it, but I want to tackle it head on next year with some cycling fitness. Also, it does get expensive racing every weekend for 2+ months so the money savings was an added bonus.

I still haven't figured out what I am doing next year. School really throws a wrench into my training and unfortunately, it IS the priority right now (it's f-ing expensive). I have a love/hate relationship with grad school. I LOVE learning, I love going to class, I love feeling like I am challenging myself, I love meeting fellow stats nerds, I love that I am working towards a career that I want. I don't love the enormous amounts of stress (both external and internal) to get work done, get good grades, and make time for everything else. I was a bit of a shut-in in college (my best friends were all also biology majors - coincidence?) because being a good student and getting that 4.0 was so important to me. (I missed a 4.0 in undergrad by 0.02.. one B). It's still very important to me, but obviously, I can't do that now. I have a job that I need to be focused on, a Green Belt project at work which is going to require additional time commitments, and other life commitments that I never had when I was younger. Time management and having an ongoing balancing act is not something I'm great at.. but I am working on it.

The next few weeks as I round out the end of the semester are going to be crunch time. I've already (nicely) informed John that our time together is going to have to include my laptop and my current textbook. He gets it. The less stressed I am, the more pleasant I am to be around.

As for races, I am planning on Fleet Feet's 4 Season Challenge (if I can ever scrape up the $250 registration fee), and the Seneca7. Those are the only things that I have really decided on. John has already registered for the 4SC. He's also doing Syracuse 70.3 and IMLP next year. I am hoping to do a lot(some?) of his IM training with him (mostly for my own benefit). I would love to get back into triathlons. It's been over 2 years.. I needed a break, both physically and mentally. Now, I am not sure if I have the time that I need to train to get back to the level that I was at. It's important to me to race to my abilities (ESPECIALLY in triathlons b/c that is my "thing"). He's convinced he can get me back out there. I'm not so sure yet..

I'm not too worried about next year. I know I can do whatever I need to do. I am mostly just trying to swallow the reality of this past year.

I have been on this planet for 30 years (almost 31) and I can say, with certainty, that 2014 has been the most emotional, devastating, and hard year of my life. I still don't think I have fully processed the loss of my mom in January. Sometimes I actually forget that she's gone. I still expect her to answer the phone when I call home, or to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. And then it comes rushing back to me and I go from being completely fine to a crying mess in 5 seconds. Which makes me feel guilty about planning for the future, or being worried about things that are going on right now. It's a lot of emotion and I don't know how to manage it yet.

This whole post has unraveled now. This is exactly what happens. I start out fine and then I think about my mom and I just completely lose it and end up crying on my couch for 3 hours.






Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cyclocross Season has BEGUN!!

My life has been a whirlwind lately!

Get ready for a long post and a litany of photos!

I managed to get through the Rochester Marathon and subsequent recovery period.. actually, more than get through it - I enjoyed it, did well, placed in my AG, got sick, stayed sick for a week, took an exam, recovered, got an A on my exam, and haven't run a step since the race. In the week after the marathon, I was able to make my house even messier than it was before hand, make plans for and miss seeing a movie twice due to scheduling conflicts, ride my bike to and cheer at the McQuaid Invitational, and go camping for a night at Fair Haven State Park with John and his family.

I will admit, we are pretty cute. *barf*
I debuted as a CAT3 cyclocross racer (I upgraded last year and then stopped racing for the season to focus on my class: Statistical Software AKA the worst class I've ever taken in my entire life) at Webster Park CX exactly 7 days after the Rochester Marathon. In hindsight, this was not the brightest move I've ever made, but I was dying to get out there on my bike, so I did it. My body felt ok after a good 3 days of can't-move-my-legs-hell, (although I did survive a ride on Wednesday in Bay Park West with my friend Rich), but I was sick with a cold that was bound and determined to hang on, and apparently, my legs had *not* recovered. I did not race well, and I felt like I had absolutely nothing in the tank from the get-go. I was disappointed and underwhelmed with how I raced. I know that the podium is no longer going to be a regular (or possibly ever) thing for me anymore after upgrading, and I'm fine with that, but I want to at least be in the mix with the other women. Not riding alone off the back for 45 minutes wishing the race was over. I started worrying about trying to race both Sat/Sun the following weekend on a world class course that I had no idea about, with over 100 women in my field, and having to drive all the way to Providence, RI to do that.

getting ready to start at Webster CX

feelin' the pain (photo by Lee Barber)

rare photo of a flying mount in action!

day before departure - bike ride with John!
Fast forward one week. I was feeling fine again (sickness finally went away), my bike had gotten a tune up, and I had done a few bike rides (another BPW ride with Rich and a road ride on my poor, underused triathlon bike with John). I packed up all of my stuff and hit the road on Friday morning, destination: Rhode Island. I've never been to Rhode Island before and the drive wasn't too bad. Mostly I-90 but with the trees turning, it wasn't too awful. I arrived a few hours earlier than my dad and brother (my dad was driving to Brooklyn to pick up Grant and then they were heading up as well, as my brother also races 'cross). It would be the first time we've ever been at a race together! I hung out in the hotel room, catching up on some TV from the week and working on my homework assignment a bit. When they finally showed up, we walked to the restaurant next door for dinner and then we all went to bed.

double flyover
We were up early on Saturday morning (6-ish) because we had to find the park, park the cars, register, and Grant needed to pre-ride the course because he was the first race which started at 8. Can I just say that I have never seen my brother get up before 6 am. He is known for sleeping through races. I was majorly impressed (also, because I set my alarm wrong, I woke up 3 minutes before we were supposed to leave). My race was at 9:50. We did all of that and got some laps in on the wet grass. There were some obstacles I have never seen before including 2 (later, 3) "flyovers" and a jump. The double flyover was a pair of wooden platforms with ramps connecting the platform to the ground on either side. They were side by side (hence the "double" flyover) and you crossed them going in different directions. For the first flyover you ran up the ramp, mounted on top, rode down the other side, and then kept going down a steep, muddy hill. For the second flyover, you ran up a set of constructed stairs, then a short section of grass/mud, then up the flyover ramp, where you mounted on top and rode down the other side into a turn. The 3rd flyover was added after Grant's race and it was a less steep but higher platform with ramps that were actually rideable (the double flyovers were NOT rideable - at least up them, which I found out by trying to ride and subsequently crashing on in my practice lap). There was also a jump which was rideable and you only caught air if you hit it going quickly. There was a set of double barriers (very typical for a 'cross race) and on day 2, a small set of stairs that they added. Otherwise, the course was flowy & very rideable with a few short climbs but nothing absolutely demoralizing.

this is what I did to myself trying to ride the
dumb flyover. Grant told me if I "just committed"
I would make it up and over. FALSE. NOW
I'M GOING TO HAVE A SCAR FOREVER, GRANT

a ridiculous photo of Grant pinning my
number & us wearing matching skinsuits

Grant raced in a huge field of Cat 4/5 men. I can't comment much on his race because I was merely a spectator, but my dad and I caught him at several different points on the course, cheering and taking photos/video. He also had a Shimano camera which mounted on his handlebars (much like a Go Pro camera) so he was videoing his own ride. After he finished, we switched the camera to my bike, and I got in another lap before the 2nd race of the day which allowed me to become a little more comfortable with the flyovers and actually ride the 3rd one which they added in after Grant's race. Then I had to go down to the start to be "staged" because my race had over 100 women in it. I don't think I have *ever* ridden in a field more than 20 (if that) so "staging" in WNY is nonexistent really. You're either in the first row or the 2nd row. I might have been in the 8th row? Who knows. The started at rider 501 and staged by number: I was 573 and was approximately in the middle of the field at the start.

Grant in action!

waiting to be staged and apparently
I look like The Terminator here

me staging
What was awesome is that in my row of women at the start, 2 of them were local Rochester women that I see at all of the cyclocross races around here! I got my dad to take a photo of us before the race started!

CX WOMEN OF ROCHESTER!!!
me (Ride Brooklyn), Anne (Park Ave Bike Shop), Kelly (Mac5Bikes)

The start was insanity. I'm never good at the holeshot anyways so I was stuck behind a giant traffic jam of women trying to all squeeze onto a tiny 'cross course. Once I got going, it was a little strange riding in a group of so many women - going around corners and such. The first flyover was nuts. There were probably at least 20 women all on the thing at the same time - either running up it, getting on their bikes at the top, or riding down the other side. I made it through (with some screaming most likely) and the pack eventually started to thin out. I was riding pretty well with a group of women but it was very exciting/scary and I managed to run right into one of the stakes holding up the tape on the side of the course. Went down. Got back up and finished my first loop, also caught back up with that pack of women. 2nd loop, I did THE SAME THING. Ok. This is starting to get ridiculous. Caught BACK up when I then crashed a lot harder going up a hill. Luckily none of these crashes really hurt, they're just annoying. I ended up settling in behind a local Rochester woman, Kelly, and finished right behind her with no more "incidents." I wound up 66/115 women in the Cat 3/4 field.

this was partway through the first lap, on the first obstacle.
sheer insanity. you can actually see me at the top in the center.
pulled this off of the @providencecross twitter feed!
not sure how I made it down in one piece and upright with
NEITHER OF MY FEET ON THE PEDALS

typical 'cross shot!
Here is the youtube video of the W 3/4 field as seen from my perspective. Includes: 3 crashes, some screaming, some narration, some apologizing to women I ran into, and NO profanity (I think)!

After that, we went back to the hotel, cleaned up, got lunch, and headed to Newport, RI where we toured the Vanderbilt Mansion (The Breakers), bought an Alex and Ani bicycle charm bracelet, checked out this mysterious tower that is in Newport which no one knows how it got there, talked to a crazy dude about the tower, walked down to the water so that I could buy salt water taffy and fudge, got a drink, and then drove back to Providence in the rain for dinner.

my very appropriate and lovely Alex & Ani!

the mysterious tower of Newport, RI

Grant and I in front of the tower
Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday morning but a bit smoother. I woke up tired, sore, bruised, etc. I knew I would have trouble getting on the course after the races started, so I did 2 preview laps before Grant's race instead of one. It had rained for most of the afternoon on Saturday and I was hoping that the course wouldn't be too muddy, which it wasn't, plus the sun came out which I'm sure helped. They had added 3 small stairs in at an uphill corner so that was an extra place that you had to dismount and remount. Otherwise, the course remained the same as the previous day. Grant raced; he was doing great but then had a saddle malfunction where he lost a bunch of places. We did the camera handoff, I staged, and I was off. No crashes on day #2 AND I started to get a bit bolder with the flyovers (I had a really hard time doing a rolling mount on the top of one of those things, so typically I would stop, get a foot clipped in, and then push off down the ramp, which took a LOT of time). I started just going down without being clipped in.. and I survived! We did an extra lap on Sunday (4 vs. 3 on Saturday). I finished 64/110. We then hit up the food trucks in the middle of the course, I bought a t-shirt and a long-sleeved jersey to commemorate my great weekend, and then headed back to Rochester.

Grant!

barrier shot

I ran up a flyover 14 times in 2 days (not counting warmup laps!)

It was a great weekend! I got to spend time with my family, race a great course with my brother, I placed respectively (at least I think so) and felt confident on the course, and most importantly, had fun!



this is called "Harding style" according to Grant

family photo in Newport!
Up next: Ellison Park Cyclocross Festival here in Rochester, NY!!



Monday, September 22, 2014

Rochester Marathon Race Report

To preface this race report, I want to say that when I originally signed up for a fall marathon (at first, the ADK Marathon which I then switched to the Rochester Marathon) I was ready to put in the work and try for a BQ (3:35). I trained aggressively and very well for 12 weeks, and then developed runner's knee. At that point, I tried to do my best while not further aggravating my knee, which was hard. Sometimes I could run fine and other times it really hurt. I had to cut long runs down, cut out all speed work, and I really lost a lot of motivation for the following 5 weeks up to the race. Even the day before the race, I was unclear of how the race would play out or what I would be able to do. I was tentatively looking at running an 8:30 pace and trying to run around a 3:45 marathon. I was upset about this because I really wanted to try for the BQ, but I also didn't want to risk hurting my knee any more. It was annoying and I probably had the conversation 15 times with John about what I was going to do on race day (which I'm sure he loved).

Fast forward to race morning.

John and I before the race
My dad had come up on Saturday so we spent the day doing non-race things (lunch, I bought a new mattress, etc). John came over at about 4:30 and we cooked dinner for the 3 of us, and then my dad and I watched a movie. I went to bed at around 10:30. My alarm went off at 5:00 am on Sunday (one of the nice things about the race starting 10 minutes from your house) and I was up at 5:30 to shower, make coffee, and eat a bagel. John picked my dad and I up at 6:30 and we headed over to High Falls. I hit the porta potty twice and then handed my stuff over to John, got some hugs, and made my way into the herd of marathoners. I was talking to my friend Debbie when I happened to see the 3:30 pace group (which was the finish time I was originally hoping for to give me 5 minutes of "buffer"). At that time, I decided "f-it, I'm going to see what happens" and went over by them. Spoke with my Ironman buddy, Kenny, at the start, and then we were off!

The first 9 or so miles of the course are down East Avenue. I managed to stick with the pace group, which was quite large, with relative ease and with no knee pain. I even ducked into the woods/bushes a few miles in to pee (record speed there too) and caught back up without a problem. I saw my friends Andy and Brett on bikes on East Ave. I saw John and my dad at about mile 5 or 6 (can't remember) and I waved!

I heard them from the other side of the road!

I like this blurry shot on East Ave.
Once we got onto the canal path, it got a little harder. I hate the unpaved section which goes for a while. Chris, the pace leader, was great! Talked enough to be entertaining/funny, but not so much that he was obnoxious (I've had *that* guy and I eventually had to exit the pace group - not that I am slamming on *anyone* that offers to be a pace leader, but I tend to be easily annoyed in large packs of chatty people anyways). I saw my dad and John at mile 11. We hit 13 miles right on pace and I remember thinking, "this is where the work begins" however it still seemed to be going ok, although my knee was starting to bug me. I can't remember at what point it started raining but it was a relief, as I was starting to get pretty hot. It was humid and I didn't think the aid stations were close enough together, so I was pretty hot and thirsty, especially on the canal path. The weather was weird; it would rain pretty hard, and then stop and heat up, and then rain again, etc. The weather situation was kind of a blur and it didn't really bother me, except for my shoes getting wet, which is never enjoyable.

canal path running!
sadly I did not see this when I was running
From miles 13 to 19, I hung right on Chris's shoulder because I knew if I fell back, I would be done. The pace group slowly was dropping people but I was determined. I was also questioning my ability to make smart decisions, because marathoning is not always a fun way to spend 3-4 hours. Why am I doing this? I could be in bed right now. This hurts. Why don't I have a *normal* hobby? I want to sit down. I saw Marty and Linda at Schoen Place, John and my dad at mile 17, and then Jennie at mile 19 where she yelled "stick with the group!" (Sorry Jennie, I died RIGHT after I saw you!). I kept the 3:30 group in sight for a while and then slowly kept falling back. I thought for a while I still might squeak in under the 3:35 BQ time but it became pretty apparent that I was running out of steam. Fellow triathlete Kirsten was out there running with her friend, and I tried pacing off of them for a while, but couldn't keep up (her friend went on to run a 3:33!). I was chugging cups of water at every aid station (and walking them) and my quads were screaming, but once I hit Genesee Valley Park I knew I was close! I saw my dad and John again at mile 22 where I was basically alone, dodging some half marathon walkers. I was pretty miserable at that point but managed a smile for them. The river trail is the worst part of the marathon course in my opinion (it's hilly-ish, rooty, and has a lot of people going slow that need to be dodged) but I got a bit of a second wind through that section (I saw Ben - my ex, who was not having a great race) and then before I knew it, I was crossing the Ford Street bridge, running through Corn Hill Landing (where I got a good pick me up from seeing my friend Matt), turning onto Plymouth, and then rounding the corner at Frontier Field to finish!

in GVP!

ALMOST DONE!!!
Somehow, I managed to cross the finish line in 3:39:24 (at least that was what was texted to my phone) which is a FOURTEEN MINUTE PR. I am THRILLED. Of course, it leaves some unanswered questions. If I had chosen to run behind the 3:30 pace group a bit, would I have been able to hold on for longer without drastically slowing down? Could I have tried harder to keep up with them at mile 19? I am not good at pushing through the discomfort of a marathon. Even so, this was a huge breakthrough race for me. I put it out there and gave it a shot and even though I couldn't do it, I didn't miss it by much. AND, I got 2nd in my age group. Again, unbelievable. I know this is a small-ish marathon but that is not something I would have even considered possible. I didn't even know until I checked my facebook later and someone had posted it!

After the race, we went back to John's house, stopping for some supplies (chocolate milk, Coke, Gatorade, and ice - all for me, oh and 3(?) Pepsi Maxes for John, because he's gross) on the way. John had texted his brother to get the ice bath going so when we got there, I had to get in, no excuses. Me and 60 lbs of ice in a barrel is not exactly what I *want* to do after a marathon, but it really did help. I showered (4th best shower of my life) and changed into dry clothes while the men cooked, and the we had brunch (or as my calendar invite says - SuperMegaBreakfast) including: chocolate chip pancakes with homemade whipped cream, some weird flavored sausage and bacon (which I can't comment on because I don't eat meat), biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and scrambled eggs with asparagus that John & David's roommate, Dan, made. It was all delicious. Unfortunately, my stomach does not allow for much eating for hours following a marathon so I had: a lot of chocolate milk and one chocolate chip pancake. I know, I am pathetic.

the boys and the breakfast!
Dad and I at breakfast!

John's sister, Jennifer, and her son, Francis!

As for stats:

Gun time: 3:39:28
Net time: 3:39:24
Pace: 8:23 min/mile
76th overall
19th female
2nd F AG 30-34

Let me just say that it was *amazing* to have both John and my dad out there all day. My parents have always supported my craziness racing/sports 100%. They have come to marathons, Ironmans, half-Ironmans, cyclocross races, high school & college cross country meets, horse shows, the list goes on and on and on. I have never had a boyfriend do that for me. That John willingly played chauffeur to my dad all day so that he (and they) could see me 6 times from start to finish was awesome. I know they both had fun and I loved seeing them out there! I felt so much support from them as well as all of my other friends that I saw out there. Literally, too many to name. It was unbelievable and really is why I race. I can't believe I ever doubted my choice of this race because it was such a fantastic experience.

The day after: I am pretty sore, as to be expected. My knee is not good. I have a pinkie toe that, due to the wet shoes/socks, did not fare so well. (I will spare you the gory details, except Jennie, who got a photo text). BUT, I have a brand new king-sized mattress to flop onto tonight, an exam to take tomorrow, and then I am free from running AND homework for a whole week! (Free from running for however long I want, actually).



Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's almost marathon time..

..and I don't care.

I said it.

Runner's knee has killed my BQ aspirations and all of my motivation to train as well. I have done a hodgepodge of runs/trainer rides over the past month and while I know I can run the marathon, it's not going to be impressive.

I'm going to race, I'm going to try to PR (my PR right now is not very impressive) but I'm not going to risk making my knee worse. I want to enjoy the marathon, enjoy seeing my friends/family that will be out there cheering for me. I want to celebrate Rochester and life and all that jazz, but that's it.

My fun Fall starts AFTER this race. Webster Cyclocross (my first race of 2014 AND as a CAT3 woman) is the following Sunday, so that should be interesting (I hope my legs are recovered enough to hammer them for 40 minutes!). The weekend after that, my brother, my dad, and I are all driving to Providence, RI for the KCM Cyclocross Festival that Grant and I will both be racing in (2 days), and we are bringing my dad along so that we can have a fun family trip at what will probably start to be a pretty sad time for all 3 of us. It would have been my parents' 40th wedding anniversary that weekend, and then into the holidays and then to my birthday in January which I think are all going to be hard.

John and I have a trip planned to Connecticut in November which will be nice. I'm sure I have lots of other things going on as well that I can enjoy without the marathon looming in the background (although Theory of Statistics I is ALWAYS looming, everywhere).

So while I am bummed that several months of hard work and training is not going to end the way I wanted it to, I have a lot of stuff to look forward to!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Marathon training - what's that?

I haven't posted my training weeks in a few weeks.. and that's because my training schedule has essentially blown up due to a nagging knee issue. It started whatever weekend it was that I painted my office (Week 12 of my marathon plan) - I took a misstep while running and twisted my left ankle on an uneven sidewalk during my weekly long run (it was a 12 miler - cutback week) at about 2 miles in.. I turned my large loop into a small loop intending to stop once I got back to my house (I have had many, many sprained ankles in my running days and essentially I am good to go the next day, sometimes even I can keep running on it if it's not too bad), but by the time I got back, my ankle was runnable so I kept going. By the end of the 12 miles, my right knee was feeling achy. No big deal, I figured it would just take Monday off and get back at it on Tuesday.

Wrong.

 Since then, I have had this niggle on and off, more on than off. It killed my long run the next weekend which was supposed to be 20. I did 9 on Saturday and then 10 on Sunday followed by an hour on the trainer. A lot of my midweek runs have also been replaced by trainer rides. After about a week and a half, I broke down and went to see Jennie Hansen (she's a physical therapist) and of course, runner's knee. She gave me some stretches and exercises to do to try to correct the problem in the future (tight quads, tight hip flexors - none of this is new information to me, nor is this a brand new injury that I've never had) but not much can be done now other than back off running and hope that my current fitness level can carry me through the marathon.

It was very upsetting at first. I have worked so hard and put in so much effort for this race. I executed workouts, ran in the morning, around my crazy work/school/life schedule. Did all of my long runs. Ran when I was out of town. You name it, I did it. Then this happened and threw my training plan into shambles.. which ultimately made me lose motivation. Who wants to be in the basement sweating on a trainer when they can be running outside? Not me.

I have been trying to power through and I had a bit of a breakthrough this weekend - I ran 15 miles on Monday with manageable pain levels. I was in Baltimore over the weekend for a wedding and did not have much success running - I ran Friday and Saturday with John but both days, my knee was unhappy which did not leave me feeling optimistic about trying a longer run on Monday, but I had to try. I am glad that I did it, and now I am taking it easy from here on out.

I hope that my pace goals are not ruined for the marathon but if they are, they are, and I definitely learned an important lesson.. that I need to not cross the 50 mile per week magic threshold! And that I need to do more preventative maintenance.

Anyways, just trying to make it through the race (it's in < 3 weeks) so that I can switch to cyclocross where there is no time goal and everyone is drunk anyways!

John and I on our run at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

at the wedding!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Off the subject of running..

I DO participate in other activities besides swim, bike & run.

I have had a 2 week break from classes which spanned two weekends. One of those weekends was a lower mileage running week and this past weekend, I had to cut back miles due to a knee issue (more on that at a later date for sure). So I made sure to take full advantage of those weekends (and weeks in between) where I had no school obligations.

The first weekend, John was gone in Vermont and I had the entire weekend to myself. What did I do? I painted my office! It's something that has been on my "list" for quite a while (basically, since I cleaned it out and put new office furniture in there) but just didn't happen because painting is time consuming and a giant pain in the ass, and I've been quite busy this summer. Also, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with the room, color-wise. A few weeks ago, my friend Kelly posted a photo of her office on Instagram and I LOVED what she did, so I decided to go a similar route. (Blatant copying, but isn't that what the internet/Pinterest is for? Ripping off other peoples' ideas..) Since I had no real plans over the weekend, I figured I couldn't justify putting it off for any longer, went to Mayer Hardware and got paint supplies, and got started! It took me Saturday afternoon/evening to clean/prep the walls (spackle holes), tape off the trim, and then edge and roll 2 coats of paint on 3 walls. Then it took me most of Sunday morning to paint my accent wall. Since the accent wall was a rather.. bold.. color, I taped everything - trim, the ceiling, and the other 2 walls, whereas I did the edges and ceilings by hand on the neutral walls (did ok but by the 2nd coat of the third wall I was starting to get tired and a bit sloppy AKA some paint ended up on the ceiling).


As you can see.. I did a BLACK accent wall! (The other 3 walls are a light gray). I knew it was a risk going in and I have not always made good paint color choices in the past (i.e. I have an almost-fluorescent orange living room wall) but I think I NAILED the color choice here. The room is small but well lit so the black makes it look larger and really delivers a nice punch. I hope to hang a large piece of artwork over the desk on the black wall, but currently there is nothing there. You can see the side-by-side before photo (blah boring beige) and after photo below!


My house was a ramshackle mess during the following week as I sporadically tried to put it back in order after removing mostly everything from the office to paint, but since I again didn't have any school stuff, I took the opportunity on Thursday evening to go see my neighbor's jug band - Ruckus Juice Jug Stompers, play a free show on South Ave. in the small park next to LUX. It was great and I can't believe I have known about this band for a year and only just now made it out to see them! I love any type of bluegrass music, so I loved them!

I have lived next door to both Jeff (far left, old neighbor)
and Dan (2nd from the right with the jug, new neighbor)
(Jeff sold the house to Dan this summer!)
my date :) isn't he cute?
Friday night I had some quality bf time. Dinner, Cheesy Eddie's cheesecake (I definitely win gf points for bringing that over), trip planning, etc., and then we ran 9 miles on Saturday morning, after which I did this:

ice bath!
Then I met up with Solveig on Saturday afternoon, since she was in town for some kind of organic seed conference thing. We saw Boyhood at The Little (which is one of my favorite places in Rochester) and it was AMAZING. Highly, highly recommended if you are at ALL into indie movies (or you know, real life, or people, or emotions, or anything really other than stuff being blown up). We then met up with our friend Emily at TRATA for a girls' dinner. Solveig stayed at my place and then left in the morning.

ladies' night with my beautiful friends

 I had a nice Sunday morning with coffee and icing my knee for a bit, and then did some more running and some time on the trainer, and then went to the Jell-O museum in LeRoy with 2 of my friends/coworkers, with lunch at Mooney's afterwards (mac & cheese!). I have ridden by this place numerous times, so when Kristin suggested it, I was on board! I'll pretty much do anything anyways (except for bowling.. you really have to work to get me to go bowling). It was a beautiful day so I'm glad that I got to enjoy it with some friends!

Jell-O museum outing, Kelly, me, & Kristin
As of tomorrow, I begin YEAR TWO at RIT.. My fall class is Theory of Statistics I which I know will be good for me to take, but it's been pretty nice having 2 weeks off. Oh well - I do better when life keeps me busy! With school starting and Labor Day this weekend, I feel as though this weekend was the bookend to my summer, and what a fun summer it was!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Morning workouts - not so awful!

I have never been much of a morning person. Scratch that. I have never been a morning person - EVER.

The bane of my existence were those 400 level biology courses that were ONLY offered at 8 am. Molecular Biology was the one I specifically remember. Sitting in a classroom, barely awake, learning about things that are happening WITHIN YOUR CELLS is not my ideal way to start the day. Also, I was late on the first day and ended up in the front row for the entire semester. Which is fine until your classmate Greg is making funny comments and you both start giggling uncontrollably.. yeah that never happened.

Extend that to almost 10 years later and I still don't function well in the morning. After my college years I did a "full time graduate student" year (late nights, no early mornings), then 2 years working the evening shift (3-11 pm) and then 3 years working rotating shifts (sleep? what's that?), and now I am working a normal day shift for the first time in my adult life. I roll into work anywhere between 7 and 8 am. Having a (relatively) flexible workday is a godsend.

One thing that has changed with my part time graduate school endeavor is less time available to me after work. I trained for all 3 of my Ironmans without having to do morning workouts (unless I was working the evening shift, but even then, it was never before 8 am). Ironman was my main priority (besides work) so I structured my entire life around training, all of my friends were other Ironman, and I basically ate, slept, and breathed Ironman. I also swore up, down, and sideways that I would NEVER do morning workouts (which is basically the bread and butter of every other functioning Ironman - but not me!). Yet, here I am, 2-3 days a week, up and running by 5:30 am. It was hard at first but I think I have gotten used to it. I even sort of like it. I have done short easy runs, longer runs (8 miles), even a tempo workout in the early morning hours before work. Of course, if I have nothing scheduled for after work, I still default to running after work. But it's good to know that if have class, a quiz, am meeting a classmate, or just want to do something fun in the evening and now have to schedule it around my run, I can plan to get out of bed in the morning and run before work and ACTUALLY DO IT. It's also better for my motivation. I work in a lab where I stand all day. Sometimes, I don't want to follow an 8 hour day of standing with another 1+ hours of running. I want to go home and curl up (or.. do homework on the couch).. which I can do if I get up and do my run before work! Then I just slip into my compression socks and welcome the 8 hours of leg hugs!

As the summer semester as ended, I have a glorious 2 weeks of no school obligations where I can do all of my running after work if I want (unless I have something else going on) and then it will be back to the morning for me (most likely, with a headlamp) several times per week.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Marathon Training Week 11

Summary of Weekly Miles

Monday - 4 miles, 36:36, 9:09 pace. Did in the AM.. felt ok and made it to work on time!

Tuesday - 3.78 miles, 36:40, 9:42 pace. Did this before work, thought I was supposed to run 4 when in fact I was supposed to run 5, and then ran into some issues. Oh well.

Wednesday - 10 miles, 1:28:49, 8:52 min/mile. I ran almost the same route that I ran the previous week (had to add on a mile), except I had to run it without Richard who was celebrating his wife's birthday that night, and somehow I ran it slightly faster. My legs felt better this week than the week before, and I did see some people that I knew while running (hi David) so that was a slight pick-me-up halfway through.

Thursday - 6 miles, 45:33, 7:35 min/mile, HR 160. This was 2 loops around the RIT campus with Trisha who paced me (AKA almost killed me) through a tempo run. (splits: 7:42, 7:41, 7:24, 7:27, 7:36, 7:40). She's fast. I am not. It was rough, but a huge help because I have trouble running tempo pace on my own. Then we ate food and worked on our Nonparametric Project for the rest of the evening.

Friday - off - did project/final exam for a few hours after work and then went to John's.

Saturday - 10 miles, 1:28:40, 8:52 min/mile, HR 148. Drove to Genesee Valley Park to run the river trail because I am starting to get a bit bored doing all of these 9-10 mile runs from my house (I always end up on either Winton or Culver, neither of which are interesting at all). I used this run to test out my SPIbelt which I bought for a weekend that I will be in Baltimore while training for the marathon.. don't want to end up lost somewhere and needed a way to carry my phone with me on long runs. It worked out well and I was very pleased with it! Then headed down to RIT to work on my final exam which is due Thursday. That was the theme of this weekend: running and Nonparametric. (Isn't that the theme of every weekend this summer? oh well).

Sunday - 20 miles, 2:57:03, 8:51 min/mile, HR 152. I parked my car in the High Falls parking garage, and then had John drive me to mile 6 of the Rochester Marathon course (~St. John Fischer College) and drop me off.. and I ran the rest of the course back to my car. The first 10 miles were great.. the last 10, not so much. I did see a bunch of friendly faces on the canal path - Trisha & Ken, and then saw Matt towards the very end near Corn Hill Landing. This run didn't go as well as I had hoped. I try not to run by pace on long runs, but I had a pretty decent one last week so I was thinking this one might be a bit faster - maybe 8:45 or so (since it's pretty much flat) but my hamstring was really starting to bug me about 14 miles in.. and it started to get really hot out (thank god I wore sunscreen). Unfortunately, the canal path doesn't believe in water fountains anywhere other than in Pittsford so I probably need to be mindful of this in the future (I don't do a whole lot of running on the canal path). I had a small handheld but it was drained by the time I got to GVP. Somewhere on the river trail near U of R I just sat down in the shade and texted John that I was dying. I had maybe 3 miles left to run and there was no way I was going to bail, so after a short pity party I got back up and finished my run.. and apparently he was worried (because I had stopped responding to texts.. what did people do before cell phones anyways?) so I found him in the parking garage waiting for me. It's kind of nice to have someone who a) knows you're out running for 3 hours and b) cares enough to make sure you survive it. Not that I am ever worried that I won't make it back and I have done hundreds of training swims, rides, and runs solo but.. what if I didn't come back?! No one would know until I didn't show up to work on Monday!

All in all, it really wasn't a bad run, I just wish my hamstring would pull its shit together. Also, I would have killed to lay around for the rest of the day, but instead I hit Tim Horton's and ate a bunch of food, showered, and then met Trisha at RIT for more project work, and then stuck around after she left to try to finish up my final (almost done!).

Week 11 Mileage: 53.78
Total Training Cycle Mileage: 412.79

Comments:

By far, my biggest running week ever. I know it doesn't seem like much to a regular serious runner but it's a lot for me for sure. I have never been a high mileage runner and I have spent most of my adult life as a triathlete (lots of bike miles, lower running miles), so I think this is about where I will top out. I was tired all week, sore, my legs hurt, etc. I drop down to an easier week now, and then it's back up for 2 more big ones, and then I taper.

WHAT will life be like for the (almost) 2 weeks I have off between Summer and Fall semesters?! I can only imagine...

Monday, August 4, 2014

Marathon Training Week 10

Summary of Weekly Miles

Monday - 3 miles, 26:51, 8:57 pace. Did in the AM, still feeling rough after the race on Saturday.

Tuesday - 4 miles, 37:08, 9:17 pace. Again, morning run. STILL FEELING LIKE ASS.

Wednesday - 9 miles, 1:20:09, 8:54 min/mile. Thank GOD I have Richard to drag me through these mid-week longer runs. This one was better than the previous week - we did a loop through the South Wedge to "count the mustaches" and discovered some really nice streets with some cute houses (Rockingham in particular) as well as a mystery park with some trails that need to be explored. Nice run, decent weather (a little humid) and I rocked my new purple compression socks to try to help my legs feel better. Also, right near the end of the run, Rich stepped in a pile of disgusting, squishy, gross-looking mystery mud. I thought it was hilarious but apparently, he did not.

Thursday - off. This was the first run in 10 weeks that I have missed. My legs just did not feel like they were adequately recovering from the half-marathon and I knew I had a big mileage weekend coming up, so I took the night off and hung out with the boyfriend and ate meat(less)balls with a spork at Skylark which I had been craving ever since Rich and I ran past Union St. a few weeks ago.

Friday - off - got a massage at Empire Therapeutic Massage.

Saturday - 9 miles, 1:12:11, 8:01 min/mile, HR 165. Marathon pace run. This is the first one I have been able to execute. All of the others were overlapping with races (Real Beer 5K and Boilermaker) or I tried to do them on roads with streetlights (not good for keeping your pace consistent and faster than your normal pace). Because of this, I purposely drove to Brighton Town Park where there is canal path access and ran there - 4.5 miles out and 4.5 miles back. And TOTALLY nailed it. Feels pretty good! I'm even going to post my splits just because: 8:07, 8:06, 8:02, 7:59, 7:56, 7:55, 8:00, 8:02, 8:00. I am not very consistent when I run so I'm pretty proud of this.. working on the whole negative split thing. My marathon pace is 8:12 so I am VERY happy with how this went. Afterwards I went to RIT and worked on my Nonparametric project with Trisha (with a lost USB drive debacle thrown in there.. not fun).

Sunday - 19 miles, 2:47:52, 8:50 min/mile, HR 152. Got up at 7:30 am, got some stuff done around the house and then headed to Mendon Ponds Park to run the Spring Forward 15K loop twice. First loop felt pretty good, 2nd loop I started to have some trouble with my hamstring.This average pace is pretty good for me but I am going to ease up on this hills.. especially for one particular reason...

Week 10 Mileage: 44
Total Training Cycle Mileage: 359.01

Comments:

I FINALLY chose my ADK Marathon replacement race - Rochester!! I'm pretty excited about this. I've been toying with the idea of switching marathons (I just think ADK is too hilly for me to try to BQ) and then Kevin hurt himself and is dropping to the half. I was going around in circles with all of these different options, but they are all mid-October or even in November, and I really just want my marathon season to be over by the end of September so that I can focus on cyclocross season (which got screwed last year because of Wineglass training and Statistical Software being the worst class ever). So I am going to do Rochester, then the weekend after, TRY to hobble the half in Schroon Lake (because I can't waste a race entry) and then.. who knows! If I get the BQ at Rochester, then I am done (except for the Baltimore Half with Lindsay). If not.. I will probably do the Harrisburg Marathon in November as a 2nd attempt. It's funny, because when I decided to do this whole marathon thing again, Rochester was my default option, but then silly Kevin talked me into the ADK Marathon! Maybe this was meant to be (not that I really believe in any of that anyways). Guess we'll find out! One nice thing is that I can do a nice 20 miler right on the course, 4 miles from my house!

Also, am trying to be better about stretching, foam rolling, and ice bathing myself after these long runs. Still trying to figure this stuff all out. The benefit to being a triathlete is that your workouts are so varied, it's harder to hurt yourself (at least, in my opinion). Now, my hamstring just yells at me 6 days a week!

Marathon Training Week 9

Summary of Weekly Miles

Monday -3 miles, 26:34, 8:51 min/mile.

Tuesday - 6 miles, 47:11, 7:51 min/mile. This was a 6x800 track workout at Brighton HS. I knew I was racing on Saturday (half marathon) AND I wanted to run long with Rich on Wednesday evening, so this was the only appropriate time to do this workout (I had class on Thursday night anyways). Did a 1 mile warm up and then ran 6x800s with 400 recovery in between: 3:25, 3:29, 3:30, 3:29, 3:30, 3:30 and then ~0.5 mile cool down to end at 6 miles total. It was hot as balls outside (88 or so degrees out and sunny). I was BAKING on the track and I am honestly surprised I was able to successfully pull this workout off AND stay on pace. I would dump water on my head and arms after every 800, run a 400 recovery lap, and by the time I got back around, it had dried/evaporated.

Wednesday - 9 miles, 1:20:55, 8:59 min/mile. Ran this with Richard. We did a tour of the city from the park behind my house. It was a rough run but I made it. Thank god for Rich.. we can chat and it distracts me from how bad or tired I feel. Probably the first truly bad run I have had during this training program.

Thursday - off. Opted to rearrange my week a bit because I had a half marathon Saturday (and not Sunday like Hal had suggested).

Friday - off

Saturday - PA Grand Canyon Half-Marathon (see race report) - 13.1 miles, 1:42:20, 7:49 min/mile, HR 189 (wow)

Sunday - 4 miles, 36:17, 9:04 min/mile. Hobbled my way through this. Active recovery, baby!

Week 9 Mileage: 35.1
Total Training Cycle Mileage: 315.01

Comments:

I was VERY pleased with my track workout. I was also pleased with my effort at the half-marathon even though I did not PR.

Monday, July 28, 2014

PA Grand Canyon Half Marathon Race Report

Week 9 of my marathon training plan called for a half marathon. This also happened to fall on the weekend of my dad's 70th birthday, and I had plans to go home to PA to celebrate. So I searched around for a half marathon and low and behold, found this one, in Wellsboro, PA which is about 90 minutes from my dad's house - basically in our backyard by rural PA standards!



I got out of work a bit early on Friday afternoon so that I could drive the 2.5 hours from Rochester to Wellsboro to pick up my packet (race morning packet pickup was not a thing for this race). Then I drove the 90 minutes to my dad's house (stopping at glorious Sheetz in Mansfield on my way). Basically got home at around 8, took a quick shower, and went to bed because I had a 3 am wakeup call the next morning.

3 am?

3 am??

WHAT???

So the race starts on the rim of the "PA Grand Canyon" which is basically a big gorge. I don't recall ever being up there before (apparently I have been) - it was quite nice. ANYWAYS, there was no parking allowed at the start, so everyone had to park at Wellsboro High School and ride a bus for ~30 minutes to the start. Because I registered late, after they had opened additional slots (I found this out after I emailed about a waiting list because the race was closed) I was obligated to take one of the earlier shuttles that they had added to accommodate extra runners. Basically, all shuttles before 5 am were fair game for me. I had no idea if they were policing this but I did NOT want to show up late, not get on a shuttle, and have gone to all of that trouble to have to turn around and drive home. So I woke up at 3, got dressed, got coffee, and left by 3:30. I got to Wellsboro at about 4:45 (driving time is less when no one is on the back roads!) and got on a school bus.

It was pitch black at 5 am, the bus was driving 3 miles per hour up this long, winding hill.. it felt like we were being driven out into the middle of nowhere to be murdered. The bus dropped us off before 6 am (still dark out), in the middle of the woods, by a row of porta potties with a handful of other runners standing around. One tiny light. It was crazy. I kept thinking "WHAT kind of race is this" - especially since there were no porta potty lines, EVER. I hung around until about 6:30 and then I walked the 5 minute walk up a gravelly hill to the rim where the starting line was.

Luckily I had brought a small sling bag with flip flops and I was wearing a long sleeved shirt (it was 50 degrees out) so I didn't freeze too much, and I was able to check my bag. I wasn't even sure there would be a bag check but I figured I could stick my bag somewhere in the woods and probably no one would bother it (maybe a bear would be interested in the Larabar I had stashed in there).

My Garmin would not locate. I had heard this rumor from other runners and it was true. So I guessed I was going to have to run without knowing my pace - I didn't want to take the chance of my Garmin signal dropping in and out mid run. This was worrisome since I have been gunning for a half-marathon PR for this whole year which would be more of a challenge to do if I couldn't see my pace. I switched my Garmin to inside mode (AKA glorified $400 stopwatch mode) and hoped there were mile markers so that I could at least manually lap my mile splits.

We lined up and started promptly at 7 am. I was in 3rd right from the beginning and 1 woman dropped back after about a mile. It was pretty downhill from the start and I was leap frogging for first with another woman. After about 2 miles, we did a 180 around a cone and she dropped me. That was the rest of the race - me in 2nd. The race was very downhill through mile 7 or so. There were some intermittent uphills but I remember thinking "this is going to be trouble when we have to go back up." I am not a great downhill runner so I am sure I lost some time due to that. I also had one mile in there where I ran an 8:30.. which is basically unacceptable but I am sure I just zoned out and wasn't actively "racing" the downhill which I need to force myself to do. I didn't realize it until I hit lap on my watch and saw it. Most of the race was on dirt roads (do you Rochester city people know what those are?) which are fine but traction was not always awesome. The scenery WAS beautiful though! And the weather was perfect. Mid-50s, cloudy, through the woods, with a bit of rain at the beginning. Exactly my type of weather!

I wear my sunglasses at night on overcast days
At mile 8 we doubled back on the course and I could see just how far behind #1 I was (a lot). I could also see that #3 and #4 were not super far behind me so I started to pick it up. I really hammered miles 9-11 and then I started to die a little, plus by this point the whole race was basically uphill. I knew by mile 10 that I would not get my sub 1:40 (AGAIN) but I was determined to stay in 2nd place. I saw the #3 girl right behind me out of the corner of my eye but managed to hold her off and crossed the line about 10 seconds before her at a dead sprint.

I bet that guy was pissed that I sprinted past him
It was pretty cool being the 2nd place woman. People were congratulating me left and right. Also, I guess I stuck out because I was wearing my sunglasses (just out of habit by this point).

1:42:20, 7:49 min/mile, 21st OA, 3rd F, 2nd F30-34.

Turns out.. they did places according to net time, not gun time, so #3 actually beat me. It's frustrating because I spent the whole race in 2nd, and the whole time before awards thinking I got 2nd, and then when they gave out awards, I got 2nd in my AG, not 1st (they only did overall awards for first place). Kind of a disappointment, especially grouped together with another failed PR attempt. To be fair, the course was wicked; I am not surprised that I did not PR, but I am seriously going to freak out if I can't get a sub-1:40 half-marathon before 2014 ends. I diligently took mile splits and I wore my HR monitor but I feel that the data is essentially useless without the elevation profile.

1st, 2nd, 3rd F 30-34



After the race, I stuck around for my award and a post-race massage, and then I walked (gingerly) down the hill to where the shuttles were picking people up. This is where the race experience started to go south for me. I stood in a line for over an hour to get back on a bus to take me back to my car. I tend to be pretty laid back after races, and I was in no hurry, but an HOUR?! I was sweaty, cold, hungry, alone, and my quads were completely wrecked. I just wanted to sit down (not on the ground) so the hour wait was ridiculous. I have never been so happy to get into a hot car when I finally got back to mine. Made the 90 minute drive home, barely able to keep my eyes open by the end! Took a glorious post-race nap in my disgusting running clothes because I was too tired/lazy to change or shower. Then I went out for pizza with my dad for dinner and did some homework before going to bed at 9 pm, again. Oh, the eventful life of a runner. :)

I can tell how bad the hill were for that race because it's been 2 days and my quads are still toasted. It's good, but ouch!

After that race, I am debating a bit of a schedule change for the rest of my season, but I need to really think about it and try to make smart decisions based on my goals for this year.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Boilermaker 15K Race Report

Back in June, I won an entry into the Boilermaker at the Real Beer 5K. I was 3rd, but the first two women didn't want it. Earlier in the year I had been talking about the Boilermaker with my friend Kerry and her husband Joe - she was doing the 5K and he was doing the 15K - but it was sold out. I managed to nab this entry with the thought of being able to race with them! Kerry is one of my closest friends from home but since I don't go home that often, I don't get to see her as much as I'd like. So this was a perfect opportunity, plus, Joe has family that lives in Rome, NY which is basically the town over from Utica, which is where the Boilermaker is held. Perfect. A place to stay! Joe was nice enough to pick up my packet for me during the day.


After my 16 mile long run in the heat on Saturday, I spent the afternoon attempting to recover with my compression socks on, AC blasting, and replenishing fluids. I left at 5:30 to make the 2 hour drive to Rome to meet Kerry there. It was fun to meet some of Joe's family and to hang out a bit before we headed down to the basement where we were sleeping. I did not get much sleep.. I was feeling uncomfortable and I couldn't put a finger on why. When I "woke up" at 5 am, I knew something was amiss. I had definite UTI symptoms (if you're a woman who has had one before, you just KNOW). There wasn't much I could do about it as it was 5 am on race morning so I got dressed and opted to drive myself to the start (so that if I still didn't feel good after the race, I could leave and not have to ruin everyone else's fun). We dropped Kerry and Joe's mom off at the 5K start and then Joe, his dad, and me proceeded to the 15K start.

Joe's dad and Joe before the race

me before the race
I ended up completely losing both Joe and his dad in the porta potty lines. I came out and neither of them were anywhere to be found. Apparently Joe experienced the same thing.. said he felt like he was in the twilight zone. After trying to find them for 10 minutes, I gave up and peed again and then went into my corral. I talked to the people standing around me which was fun, and then eventually the race started. I had briefly thought that I might *try* to PR this 15K (since the only 15K I have ever run is Spring Forward Distance Run in Mendon Ponds Park which is both early in the year and quite hilly), but after about 15 seconds of running, I KNEW it was not going to happen. So I settled for Plan B - enjoy myself and try to execute my workout that was on my training plan - 8 miles (ok, 9) at marathon pace which is 8:09 for me.

It was a struggle of a race. It was extremely muggy out, I was uncomfortable from the UTI, and my legs were DEAD from the 16 miler the day before. But I persevered.

Finished in 1:16:33, 8:13 min/mile, 63rd in my AG (F30-34), 342nd female. My Garmin had the course a little long (of course, lots of people to weave around) and subsequently had my pace to be 8:09 min/mile. So this will be something to plan for in the actual marathon.. need to run faster than the Garmin is saying, or manually lap my splits to match the splits on the course. I could do this with my regular Timex watch or I could turn off autolap on my Garmin. Not sure what I will do yet.

The afterparty was RIDICULOUS. I am not really an outdoor festival type of girl, so it really wasn't my "thing" but I was definitely impressed. I didn't drink a beer because of how yucky I felt. I basically found Kerry and her mother-in-law, and then we wandered a bit to wait for everyone else to finish.

Kerry and I are reunited
me, Kerry, and Joe after the race
me, Kerry, Joe, Joe's mom Andrea
After the race I hung around for a little but eventually wanted to hit the road because a) it was starting to sprinkle and b) I wanted to go to Urgent Care to take care of my "issue." Fun. I'm not sure how long they stayed after I left but hopefully in the future I can go back and enjoy myself a little more! Definitely a fun experience!