Monday, February 29, 2016

R&R NOLA – Half Marathon #20

Another one in the books.  My first half marathon was back in November of 2010 and this weekend I completed my 20th half marathon.  I would say that I averaged around 4 a year, but that would not be true cause I ran 0 half marathons in 2015.  I had to look back to make sure it really was #20 and it is.  I did my first in 2010, 2 in 2011, 4 in 2012, 5 in 2013, 5 in 2014, NONE is 2015, and I’ve already done 3 in 2016 (and it’s only February).   I’m really half-crazy this year! or maybe it's HALF FANATICS :<>)

So how do I feel when I look back at my times from previous years??? Well, it’s no lie that I wanted to PR this weekend but it just wasn’t in the books.  I had hoped to break 2 hours.  Maybe if the bathroom hadn’t hit me at mile 9.5 I would had broken 2 hours.  However, you can’t make excuses.  You either did or didn’t.  LOL  I’m happy with my time.  Actually I told my friend that I really didn’t enjoy the race.  I couldn’t even tell you the streets we ran on.  My eyes were focused on the ground the entire time.  New Orleans is famous for their “pothole streets”.   With my one foot that tends to drag the longer I run, I really have to watch where I’m running.  Since I was trying to push hard and break 2 hours there was no site seeing for me.  Looking back I wish I had just enjoyed the race more.  I didn’t stop and take any pictures along the course.  I didn’t stop at any of the fun booths giving out stuff like King Cake & donuts. ……. I just ran. 

This past year I’ve enjoyed the races so much more by just having fun.  Or maybe it’s because the past year I did only full marathons and for me to complete them, I run an easier pace and enjoy the race.  It’s good to stop and savory the moments sometimes.  Yes, I’m super proud of friends who run hard with a purpose like qualifying for Boston.  And I’m very happy for my buddy Kathy Byrd that got her a PR at the race.  I tried really hard to push her and hate that I hate to leave it up to her the last 3 miles.  But it was either stop and walk or push and finish the race with poo in my pants (runners understand this).  As for me, I’ve never been super-fast even when I started running 10 years ago at the age of 40, so I certainly don’t think at almost 50 I’m going to be super-fast now. LOL  There is a limit to what my body can do.  Right now my main focus is endurance.  This ironman race coming up in September is going to take all the endurance I can mustard up.   I am excited about my next half in April.  I’ll be with a team and we will run pushing a special needs child.  I am honored to get to do this and can’t wait till April 2!

Kathy and I
The race weather was beautiful.  It got warm fast while running but overall the weather was perfect in New Orleans.  I hate I didn’t get to see more of the town.  My husband had to work Saturday morning so we didn’t end up leaving till later than I had planned.  By the time I went to the race expo to pick up my bib, it was late in the day.   We only walked around a little before settling down and eating some oysters and then we were back in our room by 6pm.  We watched a movie and just laid around.  I will say that was relaxing because I wasn’t at home worried about what needed to be cleaned next.  Sunday was race morning so while I ran, my husband got to walk around and enjoy the city.  When I finished and made it back to the hotel it was time for a quick shower so we could make checkout time.  The town was so very busy with people that my husband wanted to get out as soon as possible.  Plus he’d got to walk around that morning while I was running so we headed on back home.   Hence the reason I say it was a flying trip and I really didn’t get to enjoy New Orleans.  LOL

I may not run any more this week.  Got an ultra coming up Saturday.  Yes, you read that right. “ULTRA”.  Several of us will be at the MS50 trail run doing the 50K on Saturday morning.  That’s 31 miles so it’s slightly over the 26.2 marathon and called an "ultra".  I’ll need fresh legs. :<>) 

So how’s your training going?  Remember… BE YOU! D

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Quad Burners - Duathlon Bay St. Louis, Ms 2-20-16

Ah .....yes my FIRST Duathlon!

I was excited all week leading up to the race.  It was going to be great.  My friend who is also training with me for the Augusta Ironman 70.3 was doing the race.  She had been telling me for months how much fun the race was in the past and she also forced me to do a couple practice runs to be ready for race day.  See until you actual get off a bike and then run you don't realize how your legs feel like sheer noodles.  It takes several minutes for your legs to adjust after being on a bike.  I knew that this duathlon would also help me down the road for the ironman so I was pumped and ready.  Well, during the week I developed a bad cough.  It kind of started Sunday night after coming home from the Double Bridge run.  Maybe it was sitting out in that cold wind for so many hours.  By Friday I felt very icky.  My nose was either stopped up or flowing like a river.  When I laid down Friday night I actually considered texting my friends and telling them I just wasn't going to go to the race.  But something in the back of my head kept telling me if you don't have fever it's ok to exercise.  Sometimes it even makes you feel better (or it does for me).

So Saturday morning I was up at 4:15am getting ready.  I meet Frank at 5am in town and rode with him to the race.  There was no need in both of us riding alone so we car pooled.  He's a really good friend who always looks out for several of us.  He may be 65 but he's one tough cookie.  He runs and bikes almost every day.  He says it keeps him young. :<>)  It was very foggy on our drive and even sprinkled a little.  I started to get a little worried about the wet road.  See this would also be my first race with my new clip in pedals on my bike.  So I had a lot of things going on in my head along with all the sinus mess that was in there with one of my ears now bothering me.  Once we arrived at the race site it was an absolutely beautiful morning.  The race was called the "frosted fanny" duathlon but it was definitely not frosty! It was 65 degrees and getting warmer by the minute.  The race didn't start till 9am so I knew by then it was going to be warm.
Frank, Katherine, Me, Kathy & Byron ready to start the race.

I can always tell when Kathy is ready to rumble.  She's got her game face on is what I thought when I spotted her.  She said she had decided not to switch shoes between the run and bike.  That meant she was not going to use her clip on shoes for the bike... which also meant less transition time between the run and bike.  I did not have that option.  My new pedals are very small and only have the round object which clicks into your bike shoes.  Therefore, I would need to change shoes.  So you know by now what I'm thinking don't ya??  How the heck am I going to keep up with her.  LOL  I don't know why we do that inside our heads but lets face it .. most of us do.  We tend to know our competition and try to hang with them if at all possible.

So first we were to run 2 miles then bike 11 miles and finish the race with a 2 mile run.  That's how this duathlon worked.  We lined up and awaited the start signal.  Kathy and I took off fairly fast right out of the gate.  I looked down and we were running below an 8 min pace.  My head started saying slow down and pace ya self.  hee hee   We ran neck to neck the whole 2 miles.  We averaged an 8:27 pace overall.  I haven't ran that fast in a long time.  Ever since I basically quit doing 5Ks and only doing long distance my pace time has slowed so for me to run a 8:27 for two solid miles was awesome sauce!  Now we are running into the transition area and all I could think of was the fact that I had to change shoes.  Crazy, right?! I quickly changed shoes and hoped on my bike realizing that I could see Kathy just exiting the area.  She was not far ahead of me so I begin to push hard to try to catch up.  Well, the road had these dang bump things like every 5 feet that as I went over them one after another my phone which was velcro onto the bar on my bike begin to loosen and at mile 3 I saw it out of the corner of my eye falling to the ground.  I wanted to cry.  I knew I had to stop and get my phone and that meant that Kathy would move on ahead of me.  I quickly grabbed my phone and then decided not to take time to put it back on.  I started pedaling hard again.  I could see Kathy in the distance and I really wanted to catch her.  However, I couldn't control my bike well with me holding a  iPhone 6 Plus in one hand!  So I finally decided to slow way down and try to strap it back on while still moving even if it was at a turtles pace.  It was tricky and I was off balance.  I'm so glad the good Lord decided to not let me wreck cause there were some very close calls before I finally got that darn phone strapped back on.  Then I pushed and pushed trying to catch that speed demon Kathy.  Now as I as coming back in on the home stretch I could see her.  She was only maybe a 1/2 mile ahead of me.   Oh and BTW... this whole time my nose is like a running faucet!

Now I could see the turn into the park where the transition area was to drop our bikes off and then that's when I also saw this crazy car that had went in between the red cones on the road and was right in the middle of our bike path.  A guy was trying to flag the girl to move out of the way but she was just sitting there like she was clueless.  Three of us bikers coming up to the turn had to come to a complete stop and wait on her to move the car so we could turn in.  Boy I was hot now!  I was thinking to myself...why me LORD.  First I'm crazy out here feeling icky, then I'm crazy trying to keep up with my friend, then I'm crazy taking my iPhone on the bike and now I'm having to wait on a crazy lady to move her car.  You know how it is when things don't go exactly like you'd plan.  You begin to run all kinds of things through your head.  This is often when I have to remind myself that I need to leave it all in God's hands (trust and have faith).

Bike Area
I finally got my bike in, changed shoes again and was off for the final 2 mile run.  Boy my legs felt like I wasn't even running.  They were like noodles.  I soon noticed that I was passing people as I was running and the people I was passing were huffing and puffing pretty hard.  My breathing was normal.  I was not out of breath.  Yes, my legs were tired and burning but I wasn't out of breath.  I'm beginning to notice this more and more lately in my races.  I truly believe it's all the swimming I'm doing lately.  It took me months to learn to swim the correct way and the breathing was the hardest thing.   I use to swim one lap down the pool and have to stop and breath forever to catch my breath before I could do another lap.  Now I can do 20 laps regularly without stopping and Monday I did 35 without stopping (1 mile baby).  I had done that before the holidays and then didn't swim for a couple weeks so it's like running... you have to build back up to that longer distance.  Just keep pushing...... Keep moving forward!

Kathy & I after we finished

Well guess what? I finished 12 female overall and only 2 minutes behind Kathy. :<>)  I was beyond thrilled.   There is a lot of competition down on the coast with some fast women my age.  The age group we were in was 40-49 and I was the oldest one in the group.  Kathy was like 2 seconds behind 3rd place in our age group! If the race had been a couple months later (after my bday),  I would have been in the 50-59 group..guess what?? I would have won my age group.  I beat most of the women in the 50-59 age group by 2-5 minutes so yes I as pumped.

We hung around a little while, ate some food and then headed on back home.  I grabbed a picture of me, Kathy and Sonya before we left.  I actually brought my bike from Sonya.  She's more of a bike rider than a runner.  She got her an all carbon bike and I was fortunate enough to buy her trek.  I love it.  It's been just what I needed to start out with.  Yes, one day I want to get a much lighter bike but for now this is all I need.

Kathy, Byron, Frank & Me chilling after race.

Sonya, Kathy & Me
So my first Duathlon wasn't that bad even if I didn't feel 100% that day.  I love the medals and if you do all the races in their series you get this medal holder in which they all fit.  It's pretty cool.  I've already looked at my race schedule to see if I can make at least 4 out of the 5 that they offer.  Right now it looks like a good possibility.   YIPPIE.

Medals and Medal holder for the series.

Well, that's a wrap for the past weekend.  Now to get ready for R&R NOLA half marathon this weekend.  I'll be racing for several weekends until May so stay tuned.

Happy Training!
"Anything is possible if a person believes." Mark 9:23

Double Bridge 15K - Pensacola, Florida 2-13-16

Better late than never.  I'm falling behind on my post.  I wanted to keep up with all my races this year by creating a post that I could easily look back to and it's not going as smoothly as I had hoped.  By the time I get home at night the one thing I don't want to do is sit at the computer AGAIN.  Yes, during commercials or when i'm lounging on couch I scroll through FaceBook cause I'm a FB junkie, but that's different than actually typing something up.  So here goes... Just a week late. LOL

The Double Bridge 15K is one of my favorite races.  It's not necessarily the road race that I love because it has 2 big bridges to cross but it's the time with friends that I cherish most.  This year 4 of us girls were going to share a room to split cost.  Some on the team are very frugal .. I'll call no names :<>)  However, due to different work schedules I was not riding with them.  I rode with another friend / teammate and her husband who is also on our team.  Kathy and I meet at 5:45am first for our normal Friday morning swim before heading out to Florida. We had a lovely ride.  We stopped in Mobile and ate a Felix's Fish House.  Kathy had the tuna and if I ever go back that is what I'll have.  It was excellent!  Better than a Steak in my opinion.  

We decided to stop by the race expo on our way to the hotel. I'm glad we did because we didn't get back out that way that evening (going back across toll bridge).  There was a booth at the expo that was giving out B12 shots.  I've never seen that before.  We questioned the lady about it and decided it was safe to get one so we all bared our arms and got a shot. They were only $10.  I've gotten them before at my doctor's office and they cost $20. Kathy had never gotten one and wondered if it would make her feel good the next day.  We were skeptical, but I must say that the next day me and Kathy rocked that run.  Maybe it was a luck but we felt great.  

I picked up several race bags for others that were either going to be later that night arriving in Florida or not able to come to the race.  I had me a hand full.  

When we arrived at the hotel, I texted Philip & Kim to see where they were at.  I figured they were sitting out on the beach, but wanted to make sure because even though it was a beautiful sunny day the wind was very cool.  Sure enough they were at the beach so we headed out to meet them.  It was so nice.  Some people were even brave enough to have on shorts and walk into the water but not me.  I had on my pants and a long sleeve.  :<>) 
I love this crazy group!

 We ended up staying out on the beach and then making our way to the hot tub up at the pool to soak our feet once the sun went down.  Boy that hot tub felt great!  I hope to get me one at my house soon. One of my friends that recently moved to the beach was there at hotel and took pictures of us on the beach.  She thought we were crazy for being out in the cold wind.  Her and her husband did come down to the hot tub to talk to us for a few minutes before we went to eat.  It was very nice seeing them. I missing getting to see them around town.  But I know they are really loving living at the beach.  Maybe when I retire I can move too!  The ocean waves are so relaxing.  

Now it's bed time and I'm wondering in my mind how us 4 girls will sleep and get ready in the morning.  You know girls travel with a lot of stuff.  Hee Hee   I'm happy to say we had a great time and there were no issues getting ready or sleeping.  I was a little worried that some might stay up all night chatting and I would get no sleep before the race but that didn't happen.  Most of us have grown into our "older" bodies where we prefer going to bed early these days. :<>)

Race morning was CHILLY!  It normally is every year so I was glad I was prepared and wore my long pants and had my arm warmers on.  A couple of us stayed in the girls bathroom where it was warm for a good 30 minutes and then someone had the bright idea (yep! me!) to walk out and find our friends so we could all be together.  Boy that was a mistake.  It was COLD! They were all gathered in a wad trying to stay warm. Some were even shivering.  That's always worried me before a race because they say you use a lot of body energy to try to warm up when you should be saving that energy for the race.  I took a cute snap shot of us waiting and even got Robbie in it (she's my friend that lives at the beach now).  

They finally called for us to line up and off we were.  Kathy was on fire! She had the eye of the tiger on her face.  We hung with Philip, Kim & Amie for a period of time which was good cause they run a pretty fast pace.  But then Kathy's shoe came untied.  She was furious.  I told her I'd stop with her so she could tie it so she finally stopped.  I watched and our friends ran on off.  However, they were not gone for long.  We caught back up behind them a couple feet for a good period of time and then I had to walk at the water stop right before the bridge.  I needed water.  My water bottle was almost empty and I knew I needed water to get up that bridge.  So we lost our friends again.. boooo.  When Kathy and I started up the bridge all I could think was DO NOT STOP.  The last bridge has a really tall hill on it.  Several people were walking mid way up the bridge.  But not us.  Kathy and I were on fire. We encouraged each other to keep going.  When we got to the top we looked at each other and gave each other a high five. Team work! That's what gets you through the tough times.  
We actually did this when we reached the top of the bridge :>) 
After the race I grabbed a quick picture with my friend Krista who did her first 15K! I'm so proud of her.  
Me and Krista

She's working hard and aiming for her first full marathon in December.  I'm loving watching her journey. 
Jenn & Krista
Jenn and Krista work together so Krista talked Jenn into coming to DBR.  She did the 5K. I'm so proud of her also! Trying to talk her into a half.

DBR Visor and Medal for the 15K

After we all took a couple of pictures we didn't hang around the finish line very long.  It was very windy and cold.  Especially when you are drenched in sweat.  We all headed back to our rooms to shower so we could meet up for lunch together.  We had a lovely lunch at Flounder's and then headed back to the beach.  It was much cooler than the day before so we ended up sitting at the fire pit around the pool for hours and hours.  It was one of the most relaxing afternoons/nights I've had in a long time.  I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt.  We ordered pizza that evening and 
sat right there and ate.  It was FABULOUS.  That's why I love this race!  It's the time we spend together just hanging out.  Most races you are in a hurry to drive back home, but when it comes to the beach we love to stay an extra night even if it's too cold to lay out in our bathing suits. 

Loving it even in the cold... blankets and all.
They took several selfies trying to get the perfect picture.  I have some crazy friends.

And that does it for DBR recap.  Now I better get to work on my Duathlon recap because it was the very next weekend.  Got several races in a row coming up.  It's race season! Oh and Thanks KByrd for the new PR! Whoop Whoop! 

I can't tell you it will be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.  GO RUN


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

What a week!  Today is Sunday.  The men's group at my Church had asked me to come speak to them during their monthly men's breakfast this morning.  I was very nervous.  I do not like to speak in public.  I get all nervous and forget important things that I want to say.  I arrived just as they were finishing up cooking.  Boy it smelt good and I was hungry, however I knew I would not be able to eat until after I had done my duty.  They told me to grab a plate and join them but I just smiled and said not till after I'm done.  See there was actually two reasons I didn't want to eat first.  One was my nerves and the other was my vocal cord.  Sometimes when I eat it makes my vocal cord problem worse.  So it's better If I want people to able to hear me for me to hold off eating while trying to talk.

When they finally asked me to get up and speak my jitters really kicked in again but as soon as I looked out at them all I could see was God's smiling face in their eyes.  I can honestly say that the people at Ellisville First United Methodist Church is one of the most loving churches I've ever been in.  I decided to give them a brief introduction on myself.  Some of them know me pretty well and others just know me as one of the church members.  I told the how I was raised Baptist and didn't join the Methodist church until I was 33 years old.  It was a big change in that I didn't understand why they changed preachers every couple of years.  Other than that it's very similar to the Baptist Church.  I think some of them were shocked to find out that I was NOT an athletic growing up.  Actually I was the furthest thing from it!  I was the dorky, clumsy, odd ball child.  All my friends were super athletes, but I was not.  I went on to tell them how I started running and what brought me to the St. Jude's marathon.  I got so caught up in telling them my story that I missed 2 important facts I wanted to mention.  See I believe now looking back that God placed me there in 2013 when the race was canceled as a motivation for me to start the team Run4TheKids.  I sat there all mad that the race was canceled.  Actually I was furious.  I had given up all my Saturday's training hard to be able to run 26.2 miles and I had begged and pleaded for people to give me donations and I wanted to run. See I was being selfish.  I was only thinking about my feelings as I sat there listening to the man cancel the race.  Now looking back and I can see it was all part of God's plan to encourage me to go back the next year with a team of runners.  

So many times we don't understand what is happening in our life but you know what? God is always there.  We must have faith.  He's working on his master plan for us.   The second thing I forgot to mention to them was how the survival rate for cancer has increased tremendously though the work done by doctors at St. Jude!  It's a wonderful place that helps so many kids.  I'm so thankful that God called me to be part of helping them.  I think the guys enjoyed me rambling on and on.  They thanked me for coming and sharing my story and then of course I ate. :>). They can cook good.  I told them they need to come to my house and train my hubby.  Hee Hee.
Now let me recap my workouts. This past week I decided to change up my workouts. Honestly I need more swim time and needed a way to work that into my schedule without too much time away from home.  I had often mentioned trying swimming in the mornings before work but could never bring myself to do it.  Well, that all changed this past week.  I mentioned it to one of my friends that is also training for the half ironman and she said she wanted to try it also.  That was all I needed to hear.

So we decided to swim Monday morning before work.  Now let me first say that the weekend leading up to Monday had been a tough weekend.  We both ran 20 miles on Saturday and biked 25 miles on Sunday afternoon. I was really tired Sunday night.  We had both joked Sunday night about one of us forgetting something on Monday.  See our plan was to swim at 6am, shower at the pool and then drive 5 minutes down the road to our office and finish getting dressed.  We both work for the same company and we have a really big nice bathroom at the office.

Monday morning we meet and we are both kind of dragging from our weekend but we are also excited to be getting the swim over before work.  Monday's are normally rest days for me due to the longer training on the weekends.  However, swim is supposed to be low impact so I figured it wouldn't hurt to throw in a short swim on Monday morning.  :>) Our other friend Serina also meet us.  She swam and drove back home to get dressed.  As soon as Kathy and I got to the office to get dressed she realized she had left her purse with her makeup bag in it at home.  We both laughed.  She was so right about one of us forgetting something.  I let her use my makeup.   She said she was going to get a bag with extra "everything" in it and keep in her vehicle from now on. Hee Hee.

All day Monday I was extremely tired.  I just wanted to nap.  It was nice going straight home after work at 5pm.  I went to bed early cause my schedule called for an early morning run followed by spin class after work on Tuesday.

So here was the week schedule:

Monday -  Swim am

Tuesday - Run am / Spin (bike) pm

Wednesday - Swim am

Thursday - Run am / Spin (bike) pm

Friday - Swim am

Saturday - LSD run am

Sunday - Bike afternoon

That's 3 Swim, 3 Bike, and 3 run days.  I ended the week with 21.5 miles running, 55 bike miles and 2.7 miles swimming.  

My whole week was long at work and sometimes mental tiredness can be just as bad as physical.  But I kept telling myself it's only the 1st week of this new schedule.  They say you need to give something 30 days for it to become a habit.  Swim is low impact, but it's also very tiring.  I had only been swimming 1 - 2 times a week and not much during the holidays so swimming 3 times this week was tough.  I will say that on Friday I felt much better in the water.  My shoulders and arms are very tired and sore this weekend.  Maybe it's the swimming 2.7 miles this week. :>)

I do think once my body adjust to the schedule that I will like it.  First it gives me 3 nights during the week to be home early.  In the past I would do many workouts after work which meant me not getting home till 7pm or after and by the time I cooked it was normally 8pm or so before I sat down to eat.  That is just not good for my body.  I like to eat early and go to bed early.

Well, It's been a great day so far.  It's time to start a new week.  This afternoon I'm meet a couple of friends and we did a run / bike / run in preparation of a duathlon we have coming up in 2 weeks.  Let's just say it was harder than I had thought it would be!  The wind was strong this afternoon which made it where you biked the whole time against the wind.  Kathy said it was just what we needed cause the duathlon is on the coast where the wind normally blows hard on the bike route.  She had eaten her wheaties today cause she was like a speed demon.  She meant business.  I could barely keep up with her! I was glad when it was over.  I'm now in my pjs at 5:30pm and don't plan to do another thing the rest of the night.
Happy training.  And remember, we may not understand what all is happening in our lives, we just need to remain strong in our faith that God is in control.  We have to wait and see what he's cooking up for us in the end.  Happy Sunday! D

Sunfish FAIL 7-14-18

There is always a first time for everything they say....  Well, for the first time I went to a race out of town and after arriving re...