Back with the Pack

So today I got to join my tri group again :) I've had to take a couple months off while they've been training just because my training needs have been different than theirs (focusing on the half iron).. On top of trying to juggle travel, work and my marriage it was hard to accommodate everything...

It was so fun to be social again with the group! I missed everyone a lot and I knew I would get pushed hard with them.. Today's workout: "Hills" during spin which consisted of about 50 minutes and a 10 minute fast pace with a 15 minute easy pace afterward for a total of about 25 minute run.

I was super surprised that my legs didn't feel dead after spin.. I really pushed it and figured I would get burned down for the run but nope... I darted off for the run and kept a 7:22 pace for the first mile.. not bad!!! Funny how losing 15 pounds puts some pep in your step (bwahaha I know- lame joke)... but seriously, I'm sure losing weight helped.

Today was a big motivator for me. It's hard to see your improvements all the time- especially if you are fatigued or just burnt out. So when you finally get to see them it makes all your hard work worthwhile :)

Trying to get Faster...

So most of my training has been geared up for the half-iron, therefore working more on endurance than speed. Since I really don't have a goal in mind as far as racing I figured I should work on my speed.. not just in running but on the bike as well.

This week I have been concentrating on shorter distances 4-6 mile range for running and 12-30 mile biking range. I really haven't been doing a tempo run or anything but I have been attempting to do negative splits each time I do a run or a bike. For those who don't know what a negative split is, it just means that whatever your training run is (i.e 6 miles), you want to run your second half faster than your first half. Overall, it let's you really kick it up a gear at the end rather than be fatigued.

This morning since it was a holiday I decided to just take a 12 mile bike and really just fly... I'm not a good biker so doing this makes riding fun for me and it's just a good solid workout. I really concentrated on my legs and getting a good cadence going... trying to not let lactic acid build up in my legs by just pumping through the ride. Having good music always helps :) This week's music artist is Lady Gaga... her new CD Born this Way really kicks my workout up a notch.

After biking my legs felt dead but I just wanted to get a jog in... so I tried to make it interesting and brought my dogs with me for about a mile slow jog... Needless to say they got their workout in too :)

Travel and Mile Repeats

Mile Repeats are no fun lol.... but they work...

So this week was kind of a wash. I was on travel and it's always hard on travel to workout and eat healthy.... Before I went on travel I biked about 40 minutes (Monday); I then ran 7-8 miles up the most gianormous hills (Tuesday); and finally I biked about 45 minutes (Wednesday). It sounds like good workouts but I ate a mixture of Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, and random small Mom and Pop restaurants with no good healthy food.

Due to my flight coming in after midnight I decided to not workout because I was utterly exhausted... So I picked up with my workout Friday where I did three mile repeats. Let me tell you they kicked my butt. I started off way two fast and the next two mile repeats were not that great. I am pretty sure that I'm going to need work a lot on my speed work. I didn't time them, I just wanted to go run and run hard. I ran into some of the girls from running group which is always nice :) They kind of made me start thinking about what race to do next.... I think I might have something in mind :)

Finished my First Half Ironman

Again, I apologize for being a crappy blogger, but this time I should stay on the ball since my life is a little less busier. Let me tell you about my half ironman experience.

So one week ago today I was swimming 1.2 miles (literally I was in the water at this time), I then biked 56 miles and ran all of the 13.1 miles. It was one of the most trying races in my life. To be able to do something like that really takes a lot of mental focus. Even when you're tired you have to tell yourself to keep going and that you can do it. You also have to have fun. The guys who win these races are another breed. They eat, drink, and sleep this stuff and I can't compete with that, and thats okay!!! Because, the only reason I had for doing this race is to finish and know that I'm strong enough to do something like that. Let me tell you when I finished the race I cried. I had so many overwhelming emotions. It was an amazing experience and I honestly think it's something that triathletes should try at one point in their life. So let me break down the race.

Check-in: So you have to check-in the day before (or two days before). This is pretty nice because it allows you to come to the race and just focus. You don't have to worry about lugging your bike around or where your rack is or anything. It was slammed which was kind of surprising to me and there were people from EVERYWHERE. Overall, it was a completely awesome experience! I ended up buying two shirts, a mousepad, and a water bottle (you do get a shirt with your packet but I wanted everyone on the continent to know I did this ridiculous race). I left my bike behind knowing they would steal a $20,000 bike instead of my $1500 one lol. I called it a day and went home to relax...

Pre-race Jitters: So on my way to race it was POURING rain and lightening the whole time I was driving clenching the steering wheel secretly hoping they cancelled the race. Even though I was more than prepared I was just scared. Once I got to the race I had to take a shuttle to the race start where I did my nervous chatter lol.. I ended making a friend Tony who calmed me down before the race.

Swim: They actually delayed the swim because of the storm, and once it cleared up it was BEAUTIFUL!!! The water was warm (80 degrees) which was awesome. The swim was amazing. The water was nice and the venue was so pretty. Honestly, I would love to swim in that lake it was just so peaceful. My arms did get tired about 1 mile in but I didn't freak out. There were a lot of people in the water but as long as you just occasionally look up you'll avoid a lot of running into other racers. You will have people hit you but that's just pretty much expected. I just told myself to hang in there and have fun.

Bike: Ugh.. I was dreading the bike. We all know I hate the bike and its the LONGEST part of the entire race. I was terrified that I would get DQed somehow. So I was super cautious at the mount/dismount area. Now the course was wet from the rain earlier so that was an added stress. Once I got on my bike my shoe laces got caught in the chain (I have clips but pretty much NEVER use them.. I'm scared of them) so I went off to the side and tucked my laces in. Getting back in the pack took a little time but I was finally back on track. The wind was monstrous and we all pretty much got pounded the whole way. My bike computer wasn't properly on so I couldn't get a read on my bike. I just knew I couldn't get cut-off (another one of my fears).So off I went and I kept a decent pace. I made a couple of friends along the way and just cheered other racers on. I did have a lot of monologues in my head and some out loud (hey- its a long ride and without any music you have to find entertainment). I got to eat my GU Chews about half way through because I was starving and they did a good job of keeping me going and not feeling sick. About 50 miles in I was over the bike and at the end another girl and myself just chatted and pushed ourselves to the end.

Run: This was my strongest sport. Transitioning off the bike kind of sucked, especially since the chick next to me put her bike at a weird angle so I couldn't mount my bike up right away. I ended up tapping her bike over and put my visor on and took off. Once I got on the course it was packed (you do three 4 mile-ish loops). What was surprising to me was that a lot of people were walking. I told myself there was no way in hell I would walk because I wouldn't start running again. After my first loop I devised a system so I could finish. There was water/food/powerade/ice/etc at every mile markers so I grabbed water/powerade/ice at each stop. I would hold the cup of ice in between stops and pour it in my tri suit top and shirt back so I could be cooled off and would rub some ice on my face and chew on some it. I would drink the water and powerade to be hydrated. This system was my saving grace. I was in pain at this point (my knee was killing me) and just wanted to finish. The last mile marker I slammed coke down and took off...Once I saw that finish line I sprinted in. I can't even describe what I felt. I was just so happy and proud of myself.

Finish: I had a huge crowd of supporters and I was just overwhelmed by their support and encouragement. My friends knew how important this was to me and they wanted to be there for me. After I had my moment by myself they came over to say hi. I told them how much it meant for everyone to be there and lost it again. Two of the girls were pregnant and they started crying too. I did it... I couldn't believe it. I finished in 7:01... Not amazing but definitely not bad... Not only did I have people physically cheer me on, but online when I logged on tons of people wrote on my facebook wall (some were even tracking me during the race). It was unbelievable...

Reflections: I wasn't sure whether or not I would do it again. This race is pretty hard on the body. I did end up losing over 20 pounds training for the race which was good because the less weight you have on you the less stressful it is on the body. However, after really thinking about it I think I would love to do this course again. The venue was beautiful and I had a frickin blast. I mean who else smiles the whole time??? It'll be a couple of years until I do this race again but it would definitely be a good goal... and I was soooo close to breaking 7 hours (I attribute this to the show lace situation and weird bike racking situation). 

Time: 7:01 (about 50 minutes on swim, 3:39 on bike, and 2:23 on the run)

The question for me now is what should I do next???  I'll still be racing and will probably be working on my speed...I won't be giving up my blog anytime soon....

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