Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Madness

If you remember, last year I registered to run the McKay Hollow Madness 25K but storms that day cancelled the race.  Since I had been training, and looking forward to that day for so long, and since the shirt we were given is a "finishers" shirt, I decided to "earn my shirt" by running the course the following Monday.  I set out to run it as if I were racing, until I saw how beautiful parts of the course were overflowing with water and I couldn't stop myself from stopping to take pictures and videos!!  I didn't pause too often but ended up with a time of 4:11 and change.  I was happy...and made it to lunch (almost) on time.  (That will make sense if you read the recap.)  More than numbers on a watch, I had a FANTASTIC time running the course.

This year I've been training for my 70.3 race (WHICH IS IN LESS THAN 30 DAYS!!) and haven't put much time in on the trails.  Additionally I've been battling some stomach issues.  I'm not sure what's going on in my gut, but it feels like digestive war!  I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say I've been weak all week (longer really, but there have been times I've rallied).

I went to bed Friday night not knowing if I would race/run the next day or not.

Saturday I woke up feeling better than I have in a long was the first day all week I woke up without a headache!  As soon as I opened my eyes I smiled knowing I would certainly run.  I ate some super oatmeal (minus the protein powder, raisins and maybe I should call it almost-but-not-quite-super oatmeal), got my fuel belt armed (with EFS Liquid Shot, Nuun-water, and water) and took a not-so-quick wake-me-up-and-get-me-ready-to-get-muddy shower.  (I learned this trick from Katie and love it; taking a shower before a race is like a pre-warm-up!)  Since my sweet husband had agreed to come out to the race with me, we left early enough for him to grab breakfast and enough diet coke to last the morning.

Before I knew it we were all moving out to the road for the start of the race.  As I visited with friends, without warning, we were off and running!  I found myself beside the "Ocular Triathlete", a member of Team Rev3, a long course triathlete and Team Rocket Tri's president.  I don't know her very well so I was glad to get the chance to chat a bit as we ran.  As we were running along the road that leads to the trails we heard something in the woods to our left.  Looking over we saw a HUGE deer!!  All of the sudden it shot out in front of us (well, not right in front, there was about 25 feet and 15 people between us and the deer) and crossed the road.  **What a cool start to a race!!**

I've heard time and time again how important it is to get out in front on trail races because once you get to the single track areas it's hard to pass.  However, since I had been battling stomach issues and since this was not going to be a major race for me, I decided I was not going to worry about that and just have a good time.  Kristen had the same idea so we stayed together about 3 miles or so until I realized my steady pace was her warm up and she slowly pulled away from me.  (I think she may have gotten tired of hearing my bear-like breathing.)  I told myself it was okay and that I'd be happy if I finished within 15 minutes of her.  (Yes, I do gauge myself off others...because there are people who I respect as athletes and I feel like they are a good litmus test for me.)

Within a short time I was toward the front of a train of people.  It was nice because we had settled into an even pace that was comfortable for me, but still faster than I would have been going if I were all alone out there.  Being a "middle car" in a train of people, I was "forced" to keep running through the places I would have normally resorted to walking, but at the same time I was "forced" to slow down just a touch on the places I would normally be "flying" slightly completely out of control down rocky inclines.  It was a good compromise.  After a particularly difficult (for me) uphill section, I peeled off to the side to catch my breath and allowed the train to pass me up and took the spot as the caboose.  I didn't stay there long as I passed some of the slower "cars" once my breath caught up to my body.

Just before the first aid station is one of the tougher sections, Warpath Ridge.  The name is misleading because the trail basically goes up TO the ridge not ALONG the ridge.  Our train got a little scattered on this section.  When I got to the top I was so happy to see my husband waiting!  The aid station is on a trail and not in a spot you can drive to.  He had walked out to it with a chair and had been waiting for me (because I shamelessly begged him to be there!).  Seeing him always gives me a shot of energy and this time was no different.  I  refilled my water bottles and ran off to find "my group" who had all left because they didn't have spouses to kiss!!

Each section of this course has some challenges.  One challenge in the second section is a very rocky down hill narrow path.  I had to keep in mind I would have my "A" race in less than a month, so I intentionally took this part a little cautiously.  This course is beautiful from start to finish and it's hard for me to not get caught up in wanting to "hike", taking time to look around and soak in God's beautiful handy work.  But, I kept reminding myself it was a race and I could come back without a number on my belt if I wanted to take my time to sight see!!  I could tell I was getting a little tired, but I also knew I was getting close to the second aid station (mile 10), where I hoped I would be able to snag another kiss from my husband!  Sure enough...he had made it there in time.  He said he had JUST gotten there so it was a good thing I was a little slower than I had hoped to be!  I got a shot of cola and started out on the last section.

I thought I had lost my "train" and was feeling a bit discouraged when I run up on them not too long after leaving the aid station.  I think that coke, and seeing my husband, really gave me a boost because I was able to pass a few people and get back in the game.

Just after the 2nd aid station is "SOB ditch".  It's really not a "ditch", it's more like a ....well, after spending 15 minutes looking for a word to accurately describe this thing, I'll just have to let a picture suffice.  (This was taken from my Garmin data map...)  The marker is right at mile 10, if you follow the red path line to the right you can see the "ditch".  If you compare it to the roads on the left, you'll see it's wider than a two lane street!  This is one of the better known spots, but FAR from the most difficult to navigate.

The hardest section to navigate is the VERY LAST mile!  You have to travel up a little more than 700' to the finish.  As we got closer the little group I was "running" with started saying we were not going to run when we got up to the top...we were DONE and just glad to be finishing.  However, there's a point on that climb when the spectators can see you and they start cheering for you.  Combined with the fact that once you get beyond the steepest part you still have about .2 miles of flat ground to cover, makes for a good "race to the finish".  I lost the person I was with as she stopped to hug some friends who were waiting for her when I found my "finish the race" gear and ran it in.    My time this year, 3:36:10.  I didn't get any cool video this year, but 45 minutes off last year?  I'll take it!  (And, it wasn't NEARLY as pretty this year anyway!)

****Yes...this is being posted nine months late...but better late than never!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon! :D

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wow...Another Year Already

It's almost that time take a look at the closing year before I set my sites on things to come.  I figure the way things have been going lately, I better go ahead and write this post now instead of waiting until the end of next week.

Once again, it's so hard to believe how much I've changed in one year, how different my life looks today than it did just 365 days ago. 

In my 2012 "Looking Ahead" post I said in the coming year I wanted to:
  • consistently work toward my goals, even if that means allowing the iron to get red-hot in the fire.  The difficulty with this will be knowing what pieces to work (goals to work toward) and which ones to stick back into the fire.  (See my last post if this doesn't make sense.)
  • add P90X to my training plan for strength workouts.  I wanted to do this last year and tried for a while, but it became too hard to manage.  The difficulties with this will be scheduling (there are only so many hours in a day), and making sure I get enough (quality) calories to support all the work.
  • follow the training plan I have outlined from now til my first half iron race (April 22), maintain my fitness level (coast) until after my daughter graduates from high school in May and THEN make decisions about the rest of the year/what comes next.
  • come up with a nutrition plan so I don't end up drinking a venti soy latte for breakfast and eating potato chips for lunch (as I have done today).
Let's see...I changed my mind about P90X after just a few days and I scrapped my own training plan and started getting coached by Eric (best decision!!).  But, I did somewhat come up with a nutrition plan (for the most part) and I did consistently work toward my goals.

Here were the races I planned:
  • McKay Hollow Madness -- March 24th.  With that in mind, I hope to run most of my longer runs on trails. ((I wasn't as prepared for this race as I would have liked because my bigger focus was on IM70.3, but I did complete this race and felt GREAT ...I just realized I didn't even finish writing my race recap!!))
  • IM70.3 NOLA -- April 22nd.  With that in mind, I have a detailed training plan on my Training Peaks calendar that starts Sunday (January 8th) and runs through race day.  ((I traded in my plan for Eric's and that was the best thing that could have possibly happened...although this race turned into a 67.1 duathlon, I felt very prepared and had a great day out there.))
  • Frank Maples -- ??.  I'm not sure when this one is, but I know I want to race it this year.  ((Ironically, this race was on the same weekend as NOLA.  Ironic because it was my very first ever tri, and just one year later I was about to complete a half iron!))
  • Cotton Row -- May 28th.  Time goal: under an hour.  ((I learned a lot about "Managing Expectations" and didn't quite make my goal.))
  • Wet Dog -- July 14th.  Time goal:  better than last year! :D  ((CHECK!!!  I had a pretty darn good race, although I'm certain I will do better in 2013.  I cut 10 minutes off my 2011 time!!))
  • Hood to Coast -- August 25th.  Time goal:  every leg with an average pace under 9:30.  ((I did this event, had an unbelievable experience but I didn't keep every leg under 9:30, but that's a whole other story...  Our team ended up placing so we got an automatic entry into next year's race so I'll have another chance!))
  • Frantic Frog -- September 8th.  Time goal:  better than last year.  ((I ended up not being able to do this race either...I was in Providence, Rhode Island getting my USAT Level One Coaching Certificate!!!))
  • MAYBE Beach to Battleship -- October 20th.  I'm going to wait to pull the trigger on this until after IM NOLA.  ((I did the smart thing and decided to wait on doing a full until I had some more time on my legs and in my glad I decided to wait!!))
  • Turkey Chase -- November 22.  I'm a streaker on this one (I've done it every year it's existed) so this one will certainly be on the list.  Time goal:  Sub 23:30 and beat my husband who has said he will run it this year!! :D  ((Another race I didn't get to do...we didn't travel to see my husband's family this year...I'm super sad about missing this race.))
Some other things that happened this year that I didn't even consider a year ago...I became a life guard as well as a preschool swim instructor!!!  I also became a certified TRX Group Suspension Trainer.  Two things I did expect-finishing my Personal Trainer Certification (that was one of the hardest tests I've ever taken!) and earned my Spinning cert from Mad Dogg.  I think the biggest thing that happened to me this year (on a personal level) is becoming a USAT Level One Coach.  I was able to run a triathlon training group at the YMCA and now coach eight athletes! 

I seriously hardly recognize my life.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon for the year in pictures and to find out my plans for the coming year!! :D

Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm Not That Great

Boy's been too long!  You can tell how hectic my life has been lately, I only posted one time last month.  So much to say, so little time to get it all out.

I haven't even told you about all the cool things that have happened the last couple of months.  I mentioned how I got my USAT Level One Coaching Certificate (hands in the air--whoop whoop!).  I also just went Friday and got certified as a TRX Group Trainer (fist pump!).  Have I mentioned I'm currently coaching, count them: NINE athletes??  Yes--NINE.  One more and I'll have TEN.  Oh...and I'm training for IRONMAN LAKE TAHOE!!  How I wish I had the time to go search for a super cool sound effect to insert right here...but I can't because in a little while I'm going to be taking the written part of the test to finish up my AFAA Personal Trainer Certification!!!  OH YEAH BABY!!!

AND...I now have my very own FaceBook Page:  Dana Trains.  Go LIKE me now!   (Yes, anyone can have a page, but I feel like mine is legit since I really do have a business....that's still such a foreign thought!)  ...Wait, did you go LIKE me yet??  No?  Click the link, it opens a new page so you can come back to finish the post...  :D)

Now that you're back...

The other day I went to check out a new fitness studio (doesn't that sound cool? "fitness studio") called SWEAT (even cooler name, huh?).  I had already signed up for my TRX training so decided I might want to go take a class since I had never been to one!  LOVE that place, love the workout, love the instructor!!  Afterwards I came home, was looking at their website and found the blog.  At the end was a little "challenge":
...I have 5 copies of Dr. Daniel Crosby’s new motivational book, “I’m Not That Great” and I want to give them away to 5 people bold enough to reveal how being regular has made them do things they never thought possible.  Be bold!  Share your story on our Facebook Page to let us hear the story of your journey!  The contest will run from today through Friday, November 23rd.
I had missed the deadline but made a comment on FaceBook about it anyway...and, wouldn't you know it, Jeidi told me they still have a book and I was welcome to make a post.  ((As if I could tell how NOT great I am in one comment!)) being regular has made (me) do things (I) never thought possible....

Seriously, this makes me cry.  Yes, literally.   I know better than anyone how inconsequential I really am.  I don't "rock".  I'm not "awesome".  (And, I'm REALLY NOT fishing for compliments here! :D)  I have NEVER been an athlete.  I don't have "muscle memory" muscles didn't ever learn how to work in the first place.  I've talked before about how I only passed ONE of my PT tests in the army over the course of 4 years.  (I was usually SECONDS late so I was allowed to squeak by.)  Three years ago I didn't KNOW how to swim.  I didn't own a bike.  I didn't own running shoes!  (GASP!!)  In the last 36 months I've learned it's not where you start from that matters...and, more importantly, it's not where you think you'll end up.  "It" is about the process.

As you begin to think about New Year's Resolutions, I want to challenge you to consider what it is you want out of life.  What experience do you want to have.  Do you want to be striving to get to a finish point (lose X number of pounds, run a (fill-in-the-blank) K race in XX:XX time, be able to run X miles or swim X number of laps...).  Or do you want to be intentional about living life every day, getting the most out of each moment but with the bigger picture of life in mind?

When I think about what I'm going to eat for lunch, I'm not going to think, "oh, I need to eat as little as possible because I'm trying to drop some weight"...I'm also not going to think, "I can eat what ever I want because I'm getting the most out of this moment in life" ...I'm going to have the bigger picture in mind (dropping some pounds) and couple that with the fact I've worked out hard today, and still have some left to do, and then I'll make some deliberate choices about what food will best fuel my body.

Until the day I die I'll be in the "process" of living.  The fact I know I'm not that great means I need to work hard to get the most out of the days I have left, however many that may be.  Go pay attention to your intention...unless you really are just that great you don't have to!! :D

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon.  I'm committed to updating more often...I really am!