Sunday, February 26, 2017

Guess Who's Training for an Ironman?

This girl!

It is most definitely not me.

So, Erika came to visit as my first house guest and we went out to explore some of the finer things in LA.

The day she arrived we went straight to Hollywood Boulevard to see the famous people.

The real reason we went though, was to go to a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live! We got there just as they were starting the line and wound up with front row seats, which gave us a perfect view of Jimmy and his guests, right between the cameras.

A woman asked to be seated in the empty spots next to us, and we're pretty sure she was blocked by the cameras the whole time. She made up for it by cheering reeeeaaallllyyyy loudly the whole time.

Despite her ear piercing shrieks ebullient enthusiasm, we thoroughly enjoyed the show.

But we definitely felt old when we had never heard of the musical guest, who was up for 6 Grammys. 

The next day was the start of Erika's Official Ironman Training so we went for a run. In the rain.

After our workout the rain stopped so we went down to the beach, where it was foggy and empty.

We still had fun exploring and got some delicious ice cream.

Oh, and we had been in such a hurry to get out the door that we failed to notice we were dressed exactly the same.

The cool people who work in the Venice shops found that very amusing.

When we got home, one of my former coworkers, Jess, came over because she was in town. It was fun to catch up while Erika pretended she did not need a nap.

Jess was one of my amazing cheerleaders at the Oly tri.

The next day was finally sunny, so Erika, TriGuy and I headed back down to the beach. Erika and I ran 6 miles on the boardwalk and when we were done we passed a table set up with finish line food. After our not-so-subtle looks and questions to each other about it, the guys manning it offered us some water. We rehydrated and chatted about Erika's Ironmans...Ironmen??

They were really nice guys from the L.A. Leggers, a training program for the LA Marathon.

On Erika's last day here we went for her run, watched the Super Bowl (what a game!!) and then, sadly, it was time for her to go home.

It was such a great weekend and I can't wait to see her again in Chicago for the marathon!

1. Do you have any "don't miss" tips for easy sightseeing in Chicago? It will be my first time there, aside from airport layovers.

2. Will you be in Chicago in October?

3. Were you thrilled or extremely upset with the Super Bowl? Did you make/lose money? I wasn't rooting for either team but it was fun to watch.


Monday, December 26, 2016

My Continuing Quest of the Sub-2 Half Marathon

I started writing this race recap last month, but got writer's block. Then we bought a place and that kept me pretty busy.

November had me like:

And then December had me like:

But now we're settling in and I'm ready to get down to business. Are you ready?

Back in August I decided I wanted to sign up for a fall half marathon for no good reason other than, why not?

At first I was going to do the Rock n Roll half for Halloween. However, once October rolled around and they still hadn't been able to finalize the course, I gave up on them. Instead I found a small, local race that was perfect. It was:

1. On the same day as the Rock n Roll so my training wouldn't need to be altered

2.  Walkable from my place, rather than an hour long train ride

3.  A fraction of the cost of the RnR

The morning of the race, TriGuy walked down to the start with me and I shared some of my misgivings:

He was right.

I read the Hanson Method for Half Marathons and adapted it into my very own plan with help from Erika. I called it:

I ran 6 days per week, with 3 easy runs, 2 technical runs, and 1 long run. So yes:

I also worked to perfect my nutrition. When my trusty water and sport beans combo left me still feeling worn out, Erika suggested I add in some protein. I tried peanut butter and cracker sandwiches.

You try eating while gasping for air breathing hard.

I decided to break my crackers in half and devised my perfect plan, alternating half a cracker with 2 sport beans every 1.5 miles. I was hitting my target times and feeling really good about my training.

So I should have felt more than ready.

Getting back to race day:

When we got to the starting line it was raining.

Par for the course in Seattle but fairly unusual for LA.

In fact, the race organizer said a lot of people decided to stay home because of the weather.

There were only 30 of us, so our "pack" was pretty small and I quickly found myself a half-step back from one particular guy. I wasn't sure what to do; I wanted to stay on my mile pace but it was pretty awkward to run that close to a stranger.

Of course I didn't want to slow down either. I eventually went with speeding up a bit, which didn't really please the guy, but that wasn't my problem. He could catch me later if he wanted to.

Spoiler: he did not catch me.

The course consisted of 3 loops. We shared it with the 5k and 10k runners, and I was never sure who I was racing against.  Any time I saw a familiar face heading in the opposite direction I assumed that person was ahead of me. I knew I was hitting my splits but assumed those runners were faster because of my experience with racing.

Halfway through the race it was time for me to refill my water bottle.

I should have asked for help but I was trying to rush.

At that moment I realized I had forgotten to switch off my watch's auto-pause. This might not seem like a big deal but I had a goal to hit.

I wouldn't know my finish time for sure until the official results came out.

By the time I got to the last turnaround I was very concerned that I would not hit my goal. I kept checking my pace plan, which I had written on my hand, and suddenly realized I only had TWO miles left, not three.

That meant it was time to pick up the pace.

I'm not gonna lie; it was TOUGH to keep running so fast the whole race, and for the last 2.1 miles I was trying to run as fast as I could without burning out. I kept telling myself how disappointed I'd be if I missed that sub 2 by a few seconds just because it was hard.

I also remembered what Erika wrote on my pace recommendations:

I pushed to the finish and a handful of people were there to congratulate me.

My watch showed that I finished under 2 hours but I wouldn't be sure until the results came out. In the meantime, they gave me 2 medals, a finisher's medal and a 2nd place medal!

To say I was psyched is an understatement, especially when you compare this race to all my other half marathons.

ChelanMan Half 2010 2:32:36 = 11:39 min/mi

Seattle Half 2010 2:26:17 = 11:10 min/mi

Rock n Roll 2011 2:20:42 = 10:44 min/mi

Rock n Roll 2012 2:13:18 = 10:11 min/mi

Heroes Half 2013 2:04:17 = 9:29 min/mi

Heroes Half 2014 2:13:25 = 10:11 min/mi

Seattle half 2015 2:17:39 = 10:30 min/mi

And the official results from this race:

It was a sub-2!!

Monster Dash Half 2016 1:58:10 = 9:01 min/mi

In order to finally reach my goal, a few things happened:

1. I left my stressful job and have been essentially on hiatus this year. This gave me lots of energy.

2. I moved somewhere that is much flatter than Seattle, and my race was pancake flat.

But if that's what it took, so be it.

I'm not sure if I'll run another half in the new year, but Erika and I got into the Chicago Marathon in October!



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