Thursday, April 30, 2015

2 out of 3 ain't bad.

As my title may or may not indicate, I've raced the past 2 weekends, and I have one more race this weekend!

This is not really my normal approach - I am not much of a high frequency racer - at least I haven't been for at least 5 years. I like to pick a few key races and focus on them. Occasionally I will use a 5K to "test" my fitness level but that's about it. I've been a little all over the place the last few years but this year I am dialing in on a few "A" races and an overarching goal. After this 3 week stretch, everything I do will be progress towards that goal.

This spring, however, has had a different theme to it. I have been really enjoying training with my boyfriend a few days a week, and racing helps me to stay focused, especially early in the year when weather hasn't cleared up yet and motivation can be low. Plus, the busier I keep myself, the more I get done. Don't ask me why that happens but when I am training AND in class, I get more accomplished in a day than if I was only doing one of those things.

So.. what have I been up to?

I joined a Seneca7 team back in the fall. That was basically a given - I'd done it twice before and had a blast both times. Also, Fleet Feet Rochester created a race series called "The 4 Seasons Challenge" which is comprised of 4 half marathons - 1 in every season, and if you finish them all, you wind up with one giant "mega-medal" (along with all of the regular stuff you get from each individual half marathon). Because gimmicky stuff like that calls to me, I obviously signed up for it (along with John and his brother David, and a whole bunch of other people I know). Then one day John told me he was going to run the Pittsburgh Marathon with one of his coworkers. I have always wanted to do a spring marathon, and particularly, this spring marathon (also, Vermont City Marathon and Big Sur are on that list) so I registered as well. John ended up dropping to the half a few weeks ago due to conflicts with his Ironman training, but I am full steam ahead for 26.2!

So those are my 3 races in 3 weeks: Seneca7, Flower City Challenge Half-Marathon, Pittsburgh Marathon. Probably not the dumbest thing I've ever done. Probably not the smartest thing either.

First up was the Seneca7 on April 19, which, for those who don't know, is a 7 person relay around Seneca Lake, totaling 77.7 miles. It starts and ends in Geneva, NY. The team captain/crazy organizer was my friend Richard (who I also run with quite often and play with in a monthly board game night, nerds unite), but most of the rest of the team were people I didn't know well. The only exception was another Ironman friend, Tim, who was a later addition to the team. So.. nothing like stuffing 7 (smelly) strangersrunners into a van for 12 hours as a way to get to know each other. We were a non-competitive team which is fine by me (I have never been on a competitive Seneca7 team and I like it that way).. and everyone was great - we all unloaded ourselves from the van at every exchange point to cheer on the baton (slap bracelet) exchange, and everyone screamed and rang cowbells out the window as we passed our runner. This was made even better by our neon yellow team shirts! I ended up running a little over 12 miles as the Leg 3 runner of "Chafing the Dream!" and I kept my average pace under 7:30 which was a struggle for sure (especially the last leg). I also got sunburned beyond belief! My face is still peeling 9 days later.

Team 'Chafing the Dream!''

hand-off in Watkins Glen

The following weekend was Flower City Challenge which has a paddle tri and duathlon on Saturday, and a half marathon and 5K on Sunday. John did the duathlon on Saturday, and even though I didn't go down to the start with him (it was cold and I really needed the extra time in bed after a tiring week), I headed down there at around 9 am and was able to see him finish, and then hung out for a bit before heading to Collegetown to do some schoolwork. I cooked a delicious (seriously) dinner for John and I on Saturday night, and then we headed to the race Sunday morning. Because neither of us were "racing" the half, leaving at 6:55 am for a 7:30 am race seemed reasonable. I even managed to hit the bathroom beforehand and still made it to the line with 30 seconds to spare.

This ended up being one of the most fun races I've ever done! Probably because I wasn't racing it (I was using it as a tempo-ish longer run on my way to my upcoming marathon) but also because at various stages throughout the race I ran with a combination of John, his brother Dave, Dave's girlfriend Katie, and other random people that I saw throughout the race. (Funny story - John, Katie and I all had the same shirt on). Plus the course is just fantastic - it stays within the Rochester city limits, runs through a bunch of different neighborhoods, Highland Park, Mt. Hope Cemetery, and the River Trail. The weather was perfect as well. Just a great experience. I also will note that John gave me bunny ears for one of the photographers (typical John behavior) and then grabbed my hand at the finish (NOT typical John behavior, but super adorable!). We then all went back to the boys' place for a giant brunch which was super fun and yummy.

this is my boyfriend, folks.

sometimes, he's pretty cute though

John and I after the race - twinsies!

This Friday, John and I are off to Pittsburgh!

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