PR on tired legs

AM workout: cardio: parked at the gym, ran out to a park and ran back–easy 5.5 miles outside, 47 min. / stretched / weights: hamstrings and some glutes.

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When we found out we’d be moving to Buffalo, NY for Zuriel’s job, I started doing what any normal person would do and I looked up road races in the area.  The first local half-marathon of the season was scheduled for the first week of May, and the first full marathon [and 2nd half] was scheduled for the last Sunday of May.  So I began thinking about how fitting it would be to run the Buffalo marathon as a new resident of Buffalo, NY!  Adorable, I know.

Once we moved out to Buffalo in January, I found myself mending IT band issues and consequently taking a more relaxed approach to running, making me realize maybe it wouldn’t be best to run the full marathon.  I then settled on running the Grand Island Half (May 4th) and the Buffalo Half (may 26th) as my first races living in our new city.  I signed up for the May 4th race around the end of March.  The following week, the hubs was asked to temporarily move to Minneapolis, MN the first week of April for an 8-week training.  I didn’t have a job aligned yet, so I joined my man in Minneapolis.  I ended up missing the Grand Island Half [only sad because I had already paid the fee, dang] and was glad I hadn’t registered for the Buffalo Half yet.  About a week and a half ago I flew home from Minneapolis to finalize a job, which meant I’d be home in time to run the half later that week.  I was hesitant to register because I hadn’t been training necessarily, but signed up anyway because I cared more about getting in the miles and less about a PR.

So these were the thoughts and events that preceded the race on Sunday.  It seems the longer these thighs have been running, the further/faster they can take me without as much detailed or specific training.  Assuming I’ve been running at least a few days a week, including a run where I push myself a little more, my body can carry me through a half-marathon without passing out.  This is why I assume I had a PR yesterday on tired legs.

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Ever PR in a race you didn’t feel 100% or didn’t train for?

Buffalo half-marathon recap

(yesterday) AM workout: cardio: walked at 12.0 incline and 3.0 mph for 40 min. (TM) / weights: chest and biceps

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Week of race:  Kept up my water intake as normal, so I was hydrated.  I rarely drink juice or soda anyway and I don’t drink coffee, which is all very convenient for my running-self.  Cross-trained, weight-lifted, got in a few easy miles.

Day before race:  Decreased fiber intake.  Slept in, cross-trained [elliptical 45 min], lifted weights [shoulders & triceps], had a couple errands to do.  Went to the expo with my friend Carolyn, who I met and started running with 1x/week before we left for MN.  The expo was decent size with several vendors, running apparel, and gear for sale.  After the expo I showed Carolyn our loft we recently moved into, then went for an easy 4 miles.  My legs felt heavy and my calves tight the first couple miles, but by the 4th mile I felt loose.  Eh, we’ll see how that will determine my race tomorrow..  We also reminded each other that if someone wanted to speed up or slow down tomorrow that the other person wouldn’t care and to just go for it.  After the expo, I sent this pic to the Mr. showing him my bib and flag/cape-wearing buffalo.

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Race morning:  It’s a beautiful thing to live a 10-min walk from the start and finish lines of your race.  I woke up just before 5am, made some oatmeal, took care of business, grabbed my ipod, packed fuel, packed my phone, got my outfit on, grabbed my garmin, debated on socks, grabbed my sun glasses. Race started at 7am, I left my apt about 6:40ish and ate a honey stinger wafer on the way.  Carolyn and I had decided to meet at the 1:50 pacer to prevent starting too fast.  But when we saw each other, she suggested we move up to the 1:40 pacer…”It’s a race after all, right?!” [her words].  I had never ‘raced’ a half before and knew it’d be fun to race it with her, so I went along with it.

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The first couple miles I was bugged how tired my legs felt just starting out, but told myself they’d warm-up in a few miles..  7:48, 7:33, 735

IMG_20130531_185228       Picture 15

Just after mile three I told Carolyn to not worry about me if she’s feeling good, so she said she thought she could push it harder and off she went.  For some reason once she left I suddenly realized [?] I wouldn’t be able to finish the race without peeing my pants.  Hmm, guess I should stop.  So I did and had to wait about 30 sec for an open porta, lost about a minute and a half, but it was necessary and NBD.  9:03

Things were feeling fine, relatively speaking.  I turned on my music just before mile 5 to help distract me from my tired legs.  Normally I wait until the last few miles, but I felt like I needed the distraction.  It helped.  7:53, 7:59, 7:56

I hadn’t looked over the course map at any point, and I don’t know that I ever really do.  This works for me, it’s like the unknown and element of surprise help me mentally.  The part of the course details that I normally analyze is the course elevation map.  Mile 8 had a nice hill that wasn’t expected [I didn’t know Buffalo had hills?], but it wasn’t too bad.  I say it wasn’t bad, but I didn’t plow through, I just sort of coasted on up..  The hill was followed by an out-and-back, so you can tell when I was coming back up the hill during mile 10.  Also, I ate a serving of cliff shot blocks [3 squares] around mile 9.  Even though my paces weren’t any better after the shot blocks, I felt better.  I’m a believer of taking in fuel during races.

8:27, 8:16, 8:36, 8:22, 8:16, 8:12, and 7:00 for the final stretch.  Final chip time — 1:47:25

Looking at my splits, it looks like once I hit mile 8, I decided running sub-8 miles was overrated, because I didn’t see another sub-8 until the last 0.1 mile.  It was the kind of race where you stop to pee and stop twice to stretch [IT band].

Overall thoughts…  It was awesome to run a race again.  It’s like my soul needed it.  Ha.  Although it’s too bad my paces were the same as my training runs for that distance, literally.  There’s a few reasons I could think of that my legs were so tired on race day, but it is what it is and I don’t regret running it.  Besides, my approach to the half-marathon distance [or shorter] is more of a “quantity vs. quality”.

#5 done, and done. Picture 13

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Try-a-tri

Workout: 5 easy miles with an 8:39 min average, followed by a sprint triathlon in 1:02:57

Yesterday morning I did what’s called a “try-a-tri”, put on by the local University.  It’s where you try to do a triathlon.  Perfect for someone like moi who has only participated in running races and is curious, but too chicken, to branch out to something other than just running.  So it’s mostly used as an opportunity for first-time triathloners {made-up word?} or those who don’t want to feel the pressure of an official race and just want to have fun.  Oh, and it was free.  Sign. me. up.

I found out about the event on Thursday and figured it would be easy enough to go into it with zero swim training and only a few spin classes done in the last few months.  After all, I run, so I’ll be fine, right?  HA.

Due to the nature of the event, the swim portion took place in the university’s pool, bike portion was where the spinning classes are held, and we ran on the indoor track.  It was the distance of a sprint triathlon {600m swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run}, which was perfect for a beginner like myself.

Let’s start with the swim.  I knew it was 12 laps…but I didn’t know until seconds before starting the race that one full lap was a ‘down and back’, so it was actually two laps according to my definition.  I went from being nervous about swimming 12 laps without stopping, to swimming 24 laps without stopping.  Oh the stress of a first-time triathloner.  If we’re being honest {and we are}, I think I told myself at least 9 times that I wished I could just stop swimming.  It was dang tough.  I choked on water more times than I want to admit, got discouraged over and over, backstroked it out {no joke}, and managed to finished without drowning in 13 minutes and 9 seconds.

The transitions for this try-a-tri were atypical to say the least.  Each event was timed individually and you had to get to your next station and start it within five minutes of the previous event.  Awesome and unrealistic are perfect descriptions.  This means I had time to change out of my swimsuit, dry my swimsuit in the spinner thing, change into clothes, and start the bike portion with no consequence to my time.  I wasn’t concerned about the bike because a) it wasn’t a road bike with emaciated tires b) there was no chance of hills or wiping out and c) I chose whatever resistant I wanted and stuck to it the entire time.  Now, I love cycling classes.  They’re tough, upbeat, sweat-enhancing, fun, calorie-burning, fun music listening workouts {assuming you have a fab teacher}.  For this reason, I had no concerns about biking those 12 miles.  Each time I glanced at my RPMs, they were about 135 and I finished with a time of 24:58.

The final event was a 5K on the indoor track.  The track we were to run on was 5.5 laps per mile.  So – you had to be careful with your speed around those curves if you were trying to avoid agitation to your inside leg, which I was.  My husband says the outside of his outside leg feels the strain on sharp curves, but I swear I feel strain on the outside of my inside leg.  I didn’t have any real expectations or goals for this 5K, but if I had to say a range I was shooting for, I’d say about an 8:00 min avg, for sure less than 8:15.  Although, I really didn’t know how my legs would feel post-morning run, swimming, and biking.  I wanted to run by feel without pushing it and irritating my IT band–more on that later.  The run went well, all things considering.  My quads were sore, but bearable.  After I finished, I felt like I probably could have pushed harder, but I had fun and felt good so there were no regrets on my end.  I finished with a time of 25:15, an 8:09 min average.  Sometime last week, when I had no time to run before an appointment, I ran 3.1 miles with a 7:51 min average without feeling like I was racing.  What I’m trying to say is, I’ve never raced a 5K because it scares me more than I can describe, but I’m guessing if I was really trying I could maybe race a 7:15 min average?  When I find out, I’ll let you know.

Now to mention my fueling:  I started my run at 7am on an empty stomach.  When I got home I stretched, foam rolled, ate toast with peanut butter, and half a banana.  I was in the 9:30am heat for the triathlon.  After beginning the biking portion, I chewed on 3 energy blasts (powerade brand, 1x the caffeine) from the packet I had and sipped water every few miles.  I didn’t take in anything else until finishing the 5K when I had water and a mini size granola bar.  Once I was home, I made a protein shake of skim milk + 24g whey protein + 1 small spoonful of peanut butter + 1 frozen banana + a few ice cubes.

Overall, my first triathlon experience was above and beyond.  I was so glad to be in the noncompetitive, laid-back,and beginner-friendly environment that I was.  It made me not so ‘ohmygosh triathlon, ah!’…as long as I don’t have to swim in a lake or anything.  Baby steps.  It was somewhat stressful to think about more than lace your shoes and run, but the change of pace, scenery, and activity was exciting.  I’m looking forward to possibly incorporating future triathlons with my running schedule.  Now about purchasing a bike..

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What was your first triathlon experience like?

Or if you’ve never done one, do you have any desire to?  I was curious, but thought I’d be content with participating only in running races.  Now that it’s all said and done, I’m so glad I did it!