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Long Weekend

Well, not so much long in the sense of being off from work since I only had a break on Monday, but I got some really quality workouts in.

Thursday Tony (my tri bike) and I went out for a quick hour ride. I've been trying to break myself of the "all or nothing" mentality that I developed in my last 2 years of IM training. Last year, if I wasn't going to run 6 miles, bike 25, or swim 2, it wasn't even worth my time to go out, so I would just take some rest time if time was short. Goodness knows you need it during that kind of training! This year, I'm trying to re-train my brain into realizing that those 3 mile runs, 15 mile bike rides, and shorter swims are often all I need for mid-week workouts. In my hour on Thursday, I still managed to squeeze in over 17 miles. Plus, it was tons of fun to get out and GO!

Saturday I worked, went to church, and then played hostess for a party Steve wanted to throw for a group of his students. Not sure if it was the migraine I had developed at work or if I was just tired, but college sophomores seem younger and squealier than they used to be. It was great to finally put faces to the names and stories that Steve has been talking about all semester. Somehow I think I have aged well beyond my actual years. I am only 27 but felt like a total party pooper to be glad that they had all left by 9. A 10 PM bedtime and 5:30 alarm clock don't really mix with hosting parties!

Sunday I put in my 10 hours and was really surprised when I left at 5 PM to find that the temp had risen to a muggy 85 degrees. It was our first day above 80 this year, and I wasn't too excited to be doing a "fast" long run on our hottest day of the year so far. I took a quick nap before lacing up my running shoes, and in typical Minnesota fashion, a storm front had moved through, and the temperature had dropped 20 degrees in less than 60 minutes. Guess it was my lucky night. As I mentioned in my last post, I was planning on using this run as a test to see what my actual long run speed is sans running partner. The plan was to just go out and keep it at a good pace and still feel comfortable for 15 miles. The run was beautiful. It was still humid and a little warmer than I prefer, but summer is fast approaching, and I need to get used to it again. The lilacs, crab apple trees, and lilly of the valleys are all in bloom, and the whole city smelled phenomenal. I managed to stay between 9:10s and 9:30s. I had hoped to pick it up at the end, but my IT band flared up a little, and I really couldn't push it. My body felt good, my breathing felt fine, but my right leg refused to go any faster. At least I didn't slow down. I'm not really sure what this will translate to come race time in just 3 weeks. I've secretly or not so secretly been hoping for sub 4, which wouldn't technically be a PR for me but close (I ran a 3:58 and change in 2002). The course I ran on Sunday was packed with hills, but Grandma's course is fairly flat. I know running with other people and pushing it a little more on race day can translate to faster split times. I just don't know if I can cut another 5-25 seconds off per mile and while tacking on 11 more miles to Sunday's run. I've got another 20+ miler coming up, but it will be with other people again, so I don't think I'll be able to gauge much from it. Arrg. Too much thinking.

Monday I woke up a little sore, especially in my IT band. I need to be working that bad boy out. It needs to know who's boss this summer. I had a long bike ride planned with a friend. We had anticipated doing somewhere between 30 and 50 miles. My longest ride to date in 08 has been 30, and I need to be picking it up before WIBA and Steelhead! Well we ended up posting 52 miles, and I felt great! Great may be a bit of an overstatement, but I did feel good. The legs were a little tired at the last climb of the day, but I never felt like I was pushing too hard. We were just out for a really easy long ride and still managed almost a 15 MPH average. No speed awards or anything, but considering the 15 mile run just 15 hours before, I'll take it! I certainly need to get in some more hills and distance before WIBA, but with the marathon coming up and some family commitments, I'll be lucky to hit 65 miles before tackling the course again.

Tempo run tonight - 5 miles. We'll see how Mr. IT band feels. I may have to forgo the speed work this week if he's not willing to cooperate. I'll also have some creative finagling to do since my brother's graduation party is this weekend. My last 20 miler may have to get bumped to next weekend.
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Update: I'm Not Dead!

...Though I've been sleeping like I am. Seriously. I barely have time to pull the covers up and I've passed out. I have been a very negligent blogger - reading all of your posts but not commenting and leaving things here for like three weeks. Not a lot of time, so bullet points will have to do for now.

* Marathon training is going well. I've found out that my intervals go faster and are literally faster when I do them with Steph, and I secretly like knowing that I'm kicking her butt a little. She says that when she's doing them on her own, she just can't make herself go that fast. My 8 mile tempo run last week felt like a walk in the park.

* Did a 20 miler with my super bud Maddy who is running Grandmas as well. Funny how being out there for that long doesn't seem like nearly enough when you've got a friend to catch up with. Thanks Maddy! I also found out that running on a crushed limestone path makes my legs feel about 300% better when I'm finished than concrete or asphalt. My muscles were a little sore, but I didn't have that deep achy joint pain.

* I'm doing my first solo long run in months by myself this weekend. It'll be a good test to see what kind of pace I run on my own and to see whether a marathon PR is really on the horizon...

* The day after I went for my 20 miler, Matt and Steve did a local du. I didn't want to feel left out, and my legs were feeling OK, so I decided to do it with them. The bad news: the race was sold out. The good news: the course was not one that I would have loved, and I got to take tons of pictures. It was a blast cheering them on.

* Since I didn't get to do the du, my next multisport race won't be till July. Boo.

* Work has been going fairly well. I'm really trying to make an effort to get out in 8.5 hours. It still stinks that I've had to work the last 3 out of 4 weekends, but I know I'll love it in June with 4 whole weekends off in a row!

* I need to remember that in order to actually finish my tris respectively this summer, I'm going to need to get on my bike more...a lot more.

* If Mother Nature would friggin cooperate, maybe that last one would actually happen. I was so excited to hit the road on Monday after work, but when I got outside at 4:30, it was 50 degrees. FIFTY. And that's not counting the flipppin windchill. It's almost June for crying out loud! I never made it out. American Gladiators was on TV, and I just couldn't bring myself to put that many clothes on.

* Oh yeah, the pool too. I should probably start swimming again.

* My little brother graduates from high school in less than 2 weeks. I used to change his diaper. Now he's heading off to play college football.

* I heart my LRS (local running store). I think I'll devote a whole post to them later. Having knowledgeable people that you can trust just makes an unbelievable difference.

* And I'm out! More updates later, and hopefully some real posts!
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Winter Begone! Race Report

Well sheesh. I guess I should finally get this thing out. Steve's got about a zillion pics of this race on his blog, so if you're looking for more, head on over there too. Sunday was my first multisport event of the year in the form of a duathlon. The race was advertised as a 5K run, 30K bike, and 10K run. We had signed up weeks in advance only to find out the week of the race that we were looking at starting temps in the low 30s and highs in the high 40s if we were lucky. I'm not much of a cool weather biker, so I was a little apprehensive. The weather actually turned out fine, though, and I was even a little overdressed on the bike.

Before the Race:


Matt, Me, Steve, and Borsch


Steve and I were excited to be introducing my brother Matt and our friend Borsch to their first multisport event. Matt arrived at our house on time, which is an accomplishment itsself. Borsch met us at the course. We got there nice and early, and since the event was so small, we parked right next to transition and plenty of time to relax, talk with other athletes, and prepare.

The First Run:

There were only 51 people doing the long course, and only 13 of those 51 were women. Since this is such an early season event and it was so cold, I was fully prepared to be racing amongst a bunch of "crazies," my term for the die hards who are probably pretty fast. I knew that I would have to make this my race. I'm just not fast enough to compete with a bunch of men. My goal was to keep an 8:30 pace for the first 5K, not all out racing, but going at a decent pace for me. It's actually closer to my normal 10K pace. I felt pretty strong when I started but was quickly passed almost everyone. I could see a pack of people behind me, though, so I knew I wasn't dead last! I finished in 26:06 feeling great, for an average of 8:24/mile. Overall, I finished 42/51 on this leg.

T1:

For the transition area being so small, my T1 time was pretty terrible. Since it was so cold, I had to put on my gloves, an extra jacket, my helmet, and bike shorts over my tights. I had decided during the run that it was warm enough to take my shoe covers off, so of course that took more time too. In and out in 1:27.
The Bike:

I'm not gonna lie. My bike was terrible. I've gotten around 5 outdoor rides in so far this year, but they've all been on flat surface. On the drive down, Matt had said that he'd seen an elevation chart and that the bike was flat. On the contrary, it consisted of relentless hills. Oh, and the first 12 miles were basically against the wind too. I was in my granny gear way too many times and was feeling really sorry for myself by the time we hit 12 miles. I was wearing my Ironman WI finishers jacket because I knew it would be warm, and I just felt so ashamed every time someone passed me, like somehow I hadn't really earned it. The bike is consistently my weakest leg, like dead near last kind of weakest leg. It's really gotta change this year. On the way back, I had a tail wind, and increased my average from 13.1 MPH to almost exactly 14 MPH. Embarrassing. I realized that the bike wasn't an official 30K when we hit mile 18 and I knew we had at least a mile back to transition. I couldn't have been happier to get to the run. Total time: 1:23:43 - 14 MPH average. I placed 49/51 on the bike leg.

T2:

I dismounted right next to a lady who had just passed me who was wearing clipless sandles. "Am I doing this right?" she asked the race officials. Insult to injury. The bike was over, now it was time to test my endurance. I peeled off my Ironman jacket, my helmet, my bike shorts, my tights, and my gloves. I changed my shoes, grabbed my race number and was out in 1:07.


Putting on my race number heading out of T2

The Second Run:

It took about half a mile to get my running legs. I used to hate that feeling. Now I kind of like it. I was a little tired, but I pushed on. I passed 2 girls on the run early on and kept looking back to see if anyone would catch me. No one did. The speed work I've been doing really paid off. I'm really learning to run through that feeling of needing to stop. I felt strong and in retrospect could have probably pushed harder. Steve, Matt, and Borsch all cheered me in at the finish. I finished the 10K in 58:16, with an average pace of 9:23/mile. My time was good enough for 34/51 racers for that leg. Total Du time: 2:50:35


At the finish line.

Afterward:

Since there were so few racers, we knew some of us had a chance of medaling. Turns out we had a triple whammy. Matt finished first in his age group for the sprint, Steve finished 2nd in his age group for the long course, and I took 3rd. A good time was had by all!