March Training Recap

Hi! Remember me? I use to blog here!

Woof! March has been a crazy month. You know what they say… in like a lion and out like a lamb! The first week of March was a solid training week. I went in the second week strong as well, but soon developed the sniffles. By the weekend I was starting to feel a cold coming on.

A second round of sickness was making its way around the office. I lucked out and missed the first one – the flu! But managed to catch the latest around of germs being passed around the water cooler. I was able to complete most of my workouts during week 2, but by Friday I was exhausted and dealing with a massive headache. I took that Friday as a rest day and had to teach spin the following morning at the Bay Club.

I woke up that Saturday feeling worst than ever, but still taught spin. I arrived a few minutes late to the class because I forgot my shoes at home and had to go back to my house after I realized the missing shoes. Urgh! The owner of the club was in my class observing making sure that I was actually capable of teaching spin classes. The class went well. I used one of my more tough interval workouts and everyone loved the class. Personally for me it was a rough class for two reasons: 1) I got stuck with the broken bike that wouldn’t adjust the resistance to an easier resistance, and 2) I felt like crap and almost passed out a few times. But, I survived! The owner had nothing but good things to say about my teaching style and one guy even told her I was varsity. Yay me!

The new car!

The new car!

That following Monday my car died on my way home from work. I stopped at a stop sign to make a righthand turn and she died. Luckily, a nice man pushed my car around the corner for me so I wasn’t blocking traffic and AAA came and towed my car to my mechanic after waiting for over an hour. So embarrassing! My mechanic looked at my car and determined it was most likely the fuel pump. At this point in my car’s life I decided that it was time for her retirement after all she is over 14 years old with over 165,000 miles. Last week I purchased a new car! Eeek. It’s bittersweet. I really love my new car, but now I have a monthly car payment. Urgh, now I’m really an adult. I guess you have to grow up sometime, right?

I finally got over my cold by the end of last week and got in a few spin sessions, but no rigorous workouts. I’m back on track now though since my first tri of the year is in 4 weeks! Yikes!

~ Happy Training!

A Year in Review: 2013 – Part II


Yesterday I reviewed 2013 by month in photos. If you missed it then check it out HERE. I recently reviewed my Year in Review posts from 2012 (here and here) and have realized that I have come a long way personally and professionally. 2012 was a good and rough year for me. In reality, the past couple of years have really been BIG growing years for me as a person.

I’ve always felt that I aged a decade or two after losing my mom at 22. Losing your mother at a young age can definitely do that to a person. I learned quickly to enjoy the moments with your loved ones and live life to the fullest because you never know how long you may have left on Earth. I know it sounds super cliché and I honestly hate clichés, but it is true.

2012 gave me an incredible triathlon and athletic achievement year, but personally it was not such a good year. I learned important lessons about myself as a person, which allowed me to grow further as a person in 2013. I finished my master’s degree in December 2012, which was huge accomplishment that I had worked for 2.5 years to complete while working fulltime. Finishing my degree also meant looking for a job in 2013; a process that was ultimately very stressful and difficult because the economy and public health job market was not yet recovered.

First, I’ll begin with a review of my 2013 goals:

1. Become an Ironman! Check!

2. Learn to piss on my bicycle! Nope, still failed! 2014 maybe?

3. Increase my bike fitness and finally achieve the perfect VI so I can get an A from my coach! Epic fail here! I did well on the VI aspect in that I learned to pace myself well at long-course events. I rode strongly at IMLP. However, my bike fitness and functional threshold power suffered greatly due to my 2012 fall running (and subsequent bike) hiatus from injury. It was my own fault in that I let my aerobic fitness suffer over the fall months. Training for an Ironman also did not help my case in improving my FTP on the bike.

4. Focus on doing at least 10-15 minutes a day dedicated to mobility, soft tissue work, and core strength. Kinda. I would do well with this for a stretch and then would fail miserably for a while. I certainly did much better with this after my IT-band/knee issues began in April and lasted throughout my Ironman training.

5. Continue learning and seeking out knowledge and advice from the leading health and fitness professionals so I can continue helping my clients and athletes reach their health and athletic goals. I definitely met and surpassed this goal. I am constantly reading and researching exercise physiology and training techniques.

6. Continue working on achieving a healthy body composition through proper nutrition and training. Yes and no. I never got down to race weight this year and I believe it was because I did not train well in the proper HR zones at the beginning on the season. Also, I did not starve myself like previous years and thus that is a small victory in itself. My 2013 aerobic fitness was not the same as my 2012 aerobic fitness. I learned a lot of lessons because of this.

Now, for a greater, more philosophical review of my year:

Athletic/Triathlon – Overall, I am disappointed with my 2013 season. I had such a solid 2012 that I was hoping it would continue into 2013. I met my main goal and that was to complete my first Ironman. However, I do find this year a blessing in disguise. I find that I am the type of person that learns best from her mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes this year and I have learned what not to do in the future for myself personally and the athletes/clients that I coach. I would often have to tell my clients to do what I say and not what I do. That’s truly a bad business motto and thus I will focus on not making stupid decisions and mistakes in 2014. Athletically I suffered a lot in the beginning months of base training because I was super stressed from my work situation, working three jobs, and being sick for several weeks on end. That was critical time I needed to build my aerobic base in running, cycling, and swimming. I did the best that I could, but in retrospect, it was not enough. In April I began to have IT-band/knee issues, due to my chronic right hip issues. I was devastated with the diagnosis and I worried that I would not be able to toe the start line at IMLP. I had several people tell me not to do it. Umm… would you not do an Ironman after you stood in line for 3+ hours and paid $700 the year before to do it? I realized that many people thought that I was crazy to attempt such an event and I found myself having to defend my sport and desire to compete long-course events. Despite my reluctance to give up on my dream of becoming an Ironman in 2013, I knew that if my injury was not going to heal then I would have accepted the DNS. I’m not that stupid.

Health – I was under constant stress at work for a large majority of the year, which took a huge toll on my health both physically and mentally. I never really talked about the situation at my old job and I still am not going to because it’s in the past, but I was put into a really shitty situation and I just wasn’t able to deal with the stress of it well. My immune system took a major hit, which lead to a major cold that turned into a sinus infection and then later developed into a fever of 102. Being constantly sick and stressed led to my poor aerobic fitness in the early season that I was just never able to regain and build later in the season. Because I had a bad aerobic base, and the fact that I did not prioritize strength training enough in the early base phase, I developed painful IT-band/knee issues that succeeded to plague me throughout my Ironman training and made me re-evaluate my goals for IMLP. A lot of the stress and injury prevention could have been prevented from the start. It was my own fault and I own up to it. However, when I returned to running again in the later summer/early fall I developed some serious right hip issues. Working with my brilliant chiropractor I think we finally nailed down what is wrong with my hips and why I continuously get chronic overuse injuries. Going into 2014 I feel confident that I have all the knowledge and tools I need to “fix” my hip issues and hopefully prevent any serious injuries and lingering issues in 2014.

Professional – I finished my MPH degree in December 2012 and began my “big girl” job search. As I have mentioned above, I was put into a shitty situation at my job and dealt with a lot of stress from that. I was also working part-time at a gym training clients. I loved that job, but quickly realized that I did not enjoy working in the traditional gym environment. I left my gym job in July to pursue my interest in starting my own endurance sport coaching and personal training business, and thus Big Sky Multisport Coaching and Personal Training was born. I interviewed for my “dream job” in June, but was second choice due to my lack of supervisor experience. I was genuinely heartbroken, but I realized that I was going to have to work harder to find my next job. At this point I began to realize where and what I really wanted to do as a career. I really enjoyed personal training and nutrition, but I knew that it was not my future career. I love doing it on the side as my passion. Through a lot of reading, researching, and evaluating my personality and passions, I discovered that my true career goals lie in international development and health care systems. I was lucky in August to find a few job advertisements in the state of Maine that were related to health care systems and health care reform. I quickly applied for the jobs and had several interviews. Once again I was second choice for a few of them, which left me disappointed. But, at the end of the day I was offered a fabulous job at a non-profit that I have come to love quickly. The job environment is about 1000 times less stressful and I am really enjoying the work that I am doing. It is the perfect “first career” job and I look forward to working here for a few years before heading back to school for my PhD. It was a long bumpy ride professionally in 2013, but at the end of the day, everything worked out for the better. The bumps in the road made me a stronger person today.

Personal – I have evolved and grown immensely as a human being this year. My graduate education has led me down a road that I never predicted and I have researched and discovered new views on life and the world. I’ve always loved travelling and experiencing new cultures, but I was unable to do so this past year. Thus, 2014 has some big travel plans! As I grew as a person, I became more aware of the crowds of people I associate with in the past and present. I have some amazing friends. Some I see often, while others not as much. I’ve come to realize that some people in my life are toxic and I need to let go of them, while I need more contact with the good people. I accepted the mistakes I have made in past friendships and I hope not to repeat them in the future. I realized that I’d rather have a few good friends that I can count on then a bunch of friends that will be available only at certain times. I have branched out and formed new friendships that will hopefully last for a lifetime. I have discovered my strengths and my weaknesses and work towards accepting the things I can change about myself and the ones that I cannot. I have learned to speak my opinions despite what others may think. I have learned to accept the negative things that happen and find the lesson and the good in each to grow as a human being. I have learned to live a life of love, happiness and passion for oneself and others.

2013 was a growing year and I have accepted the mistakes I have made and only hope to grow further as human being. Bring on 2014!


~ Happy Training!

A Year in Review: 2013 – Part I

Since today is the last day of 2013 I should probably start my Year in Review posts. Hmm… I’ll keep this one to more of the highlights and photos. But, 2013 was a good year. It started off a bit rough, but ended with many good things happening. I can’t complain.



January was a month of ups and downs. I just finished my MPH degree in December and began my job search. Some decisions made by my boss at work made me extremely stressed since I wasn’t sure I was going to have a job. This caused me become sick often, which hindered a lot of my tri training, which began on the 1st of the year. Things at the gym were also unusually slow so professionally and financially I was stressed. However, I got my degree in the mail so it made things more real!


Picking the pace up!

Picking the pace up!

I ran the annual Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler again. It went way better than my disaster of 2012 race where I ran sick and came really close to DNFing. However, I still treated the day more of a training run than anything because I was learning I lost all my running aerobic fitness over my Fall running hiatus due to plantar fasciitis. I also learned important lessons in time management. Working three jobs and training for an Ironman is not fun or easy to do.


My mother, my sister and I (1989)

My mother, my sister and I (1989)

Azul and I celebrated our One Year anniversary. I love that bike! I also celebrated the 4 year anniversary of my mother passing, which is never easy to do. I miss her everyday.




I started April off with a bang! I ran the Race the Runways Half-Marathon again, this time as a training run. It was insanely cold and windy, but I had great company throughout the race. The next day I developed a 102 fever and was out for a couple of days. Go figure! Towards the end of the month I began to develop a bit of a twinge in my right knee. I also went to the USAT Level One Coaching clinic and became a certified coach!


Tammy, Myself, Marisa, and Beth - all taking home hardware after a great race!

Tammy, Myself, Marisa, and Beth – all taking home hardware after a great race!

That twinge in my right knee developed into full-fledge IT-Band issues that plagued me for the rest of the summer. I managed to race the PolarBear Tri… barely. Miraculously, I placed 3rd in my age group.


Okay, not from my rides this week... but from the Patriot Hald Aquabike

Patriot Half Aquabike

My run training was extremely limited. I saw my chiropractor at least once a week to help heal my IT-Band issues. I dropped down from the Half-Ironman to the Half Aqua Bike at the Patriot Half. I had a good day, pacing myself like I would at Lake Placid. However, I almost ran over both turkeys and geese on the bike.



I became an Ironman! I celebrated yet another epic 4th of July with my favorite family and began my final build to the big day. My Ironman day went as planned. My knee held out to mile 18ish of the run before I was forced to walk the rest of the way, but I finished my goal, and that was to become an Ironman.


Enjoying a day at the beach

Enjoying a day at the beach

August was a recovery month. I spent a lot of time with friends and family. Towards the end of the month I began running again slowly just to rebuild my horrible running fitness. I had several promising job interviews. I also left my job at the gym I was working at to go off on my own to start my own business.


An example of pubis symphysis seperation - clearly an extreme case (Source)

An example of pubis symphysis separation – clearly an extreme case (Source)

I finally got offered a job! A great deal of stress was lifted off of me. I continued running easily until my pelvis decided to twist itself again. Awesome. I then began another running hiatus and began my yoga addiction.



Hot Yoga Time!

I became addicted to hot yoga and it was fabulous. I saw my chiropractor at least once a week to convince my pelvis not to split into two. I was happy as a clam at my new job and I joined the Junior League of Portland, Maine.


One of my favorite quotes of the year!

One of my favorite quotes of the year!

I continued with my yoga binge, loving every minute of it. I was slowly cleared to return to “normal” training. I mostly rode my bike, but ran a few times. It hurt.


Skiing at Shawnee Peak

Skiing at Shawnee Peak

I skied for the first time since my mother died almost five years ago with a friend. More to come of this in the next week or so. I’ve slowly been building my aerobic base again, mostly through cycling.

~ Happy Training and Happy 2014!!



Happy Monday! 

Last week was rough for Americans with Boston and Texas. Let’s put the negativity behind us and remember that good always prevails over evil. #BostonStrong

There is a lot of changes going on over here… You’ve probably noticed the new layout already. It is the first of many changes coming through the pipeline. I apologize if anything around the site becomes finicky. I recently went self-hosted and this whole website/internet stuff is all new to me and actually quite difficult. Go figure.

Last week I spent 2 days in a classroom sitting for over 12 hours each day so I can officially become a USA Triathlon certified coach. I will post more about that later this week, but let’s just say that I’m super excited about coaching. Some of you might have noticed my website URL reflects the future of The Rhyme and Reason. I’m currently in the process of taking my test and writing up my business plan. I’m hoping for an official launch of Big Sky Multisport Coaching by the end of May! So stay tuned! 🙂

After my episode with the fever of 102 a couple of weeks ago my passion for training has been renewed. I’ve gotten back on the bandwagon. Training thus far as had it major ups and downs, mostly due to life stresses. This past winter I have been the sickest I’ve been in a very, very long time. It has not be fun and has played a major role in my lack of fitness lately. I’m just now starting to see some of my run and bike fitness coming back. I’ve been very frustrated with the process. The combination of taking last Fall off from injuries and being sick has definitely placed a toll on my fitness and also has affected me mentally. There are many days that I wonder if I will cross the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid this summer. I know I will. Whether it’s on my two feet or on my hands and knees, but I will cross that damn line.

~ Happy Training!


The Plague That Doesn’t End…

Remember this?

Only the lyrics have been changed to this:

This is the plague that never ends.

It just goes on and on my friends.

Some people started getting it not knowing what it was,

And they will continue being infected forever just because…

Two weeks ago I wrote a post about my weekend plague. I thought it was just a cold that would go away after a couple of days. Boy, was I wrong! The ugly thing morphed into a full on head cold/sinus infection that pretty much left me feeling like shit for over two weeks! I finally decided that I needed drugs so yesterday I adventured over to the doctors to demand antibiotics. Of course, I had to call my insurance company to see if my coverage was still good through the end of the month. It was. Thank God! Luckily my doctor was good and gave me some antibiotics. I wasn’t leaving unless she prescribed me something. When reviewing my medical record she noticed that last year at this time I went to see she for the same exact thing. I guess this head cold/sinus infection is an annual occurrence. Lucky me.

I was lucky that this past week was a rest week. And my week was just that – rest. I managed two half-ass workouts before I felt like death. On Sunday I attempted to complete my 2-hour trainer ride. I got to the hour mark and quit because I was getting extremely hot and dizzy. I figured it would be best to hop off my bike before I passed out. My intention was to complete the second hour after I got home from work. However, as my work day went on I started feeling really crappy and as soon as I got home I bee-lined to my bed.

Monday I was able to complete my workouts on my schedule! Yay! The next three weeks my volume is picking up so they are big weeks I don’t want to miss. Monday I was scheduled for a 30 min spin before an 1:35 run. I was surprised how well my body handled the workout. I was a bit nervous when I headed out on my run incase I died half way through it. I left the gym and just explored the area for over 9 miles. I am actually going to be coaching a run group this summer at the gym so I was scouting out the area for potential routes. I definitely found a glute-brutal hill for hillwork! 🙂

Now that the antibiotics have kicked in I’m hoping to hit the pool for a workout tonight. That could be interesting!


~ Happy Training!

The Weekend Plague

Last weekend I had a fabulous weekend full of fun and friends for a great 26th birthday celebration. This past week began strong with renewed motivation for training. My job situation got a little more stable and I have leads on affordable health insurance plans so that is a huge stress relief. My new Garmin 910XT came in the mail on Wednesday so I was more than excited to try out my new toy this weekend. However…

karma is a bitch

On Thursday I started feeling really nausea throughout the day but I just chalked it up to being related to the recent changes in my diet and also stress. When I’m super stress it tends to affect my tummy and GI track. Then on Friday I had a long day of work between two jobs and I just started to feel like shit. My head felt like it was in a vice and my throat was beginning to get dry and sore. Yup, I totally caught the latest cold that is going around. As always, epic timing to boot. I was pumped for my big weekend of training, which included my first outside ride of the year. Obviously, none of that happened.


I spent a majority of my weekend in bed or the couch watching movies or sleeping. And maybe devoured a pint of ice cream. I did have to work a few hours each day so that was kind of a bummer, but such as life. I did manage a 1 hour ride on the trainer before I felt like I wanted to die on Sunday afternoon. My coach told me not to stress about it and do what I can. I felt the need to burn off the ice cream I ate so I guess it counts?

Today begins the beginning of my rest week. I’m also currently at home sick. I was hoping that I would feel better and be able to get in a quick run today, but alas my body (mainly my head and left ear) has told me that staying in bed all day is a much better plan. Grrr… I’m crossing my fingers that I kick this cold very very soon and hopefully it is the last one of the year. Because I just realized that Ironman Lake Placid is less than four and a half months away!! FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS!! As in 14 weeks! EEEKKK! Time to get down to business!

Now, please go away cold. I really hate you. Thanks.


~ Happy Training!

The Tale of the Summer Cold

Every year I am one of those people who happen to get a summer cold. I remember getting a really nasty one right before a huge presentation I had to give in front a bunch of the world’s top mammalian genetic researchers at The Jackson Laboratory during the summer of 2007. It was just dandy.

Last Tuesday marked the beginning of my cold, but I had yet to realize it at the time. I swam Monday night in the ocean and ended up drinking most of the Gulf of Maine. There probably isn’t any water left for everyone to swim Peaks to Portland in a few weeks. Sorry, I was a bit thirsty and salt water is just so darn satisfying! Tuesday I woke up with a super sore and dry throat. I just assumed it was due to the salt water from the night before. But, I should have known since all my colds always start with a sore and dry throat. I did my run and then jetted up to my friend’s camp for the holiday. I had a couple of beers Tuesday night and woke up Wednesday with one hell of a hangover. Once again, I assumed I was just hungover from two Bud Lights. Yup, I’m a light weight and proud of it! But, no, it was the beginning of a cold.

I woke up Thursday morning to head into work super early. My nose was running like a leaky faucet and I had a really bad and constant cough. Awesome! I was sick and just in time for a race in a week. Now, if you know me or have been reading my blog for a while now, you know I have a tendency to run races while sick. And then I whine and bitch about having a really sucky time. Yes, I’m brilliant I know. Luckily, Norway is this coming Saturday and not this past weekend because I probably would have done the race while sick… again.

But, anyway, I had made plans earlier in the week to meet a few ladies at Crystal Lake to swim and do a short ride to prep for Norway. I felt okay throughout the day so I met up with the ladies. (I also really hate missing workouts!) We did a quick half mile swim in the lake, which surprisingly we didn’t get run over my boats and I was able to breathe fine. Then we changed and hopped on the bike for a very hilly ~ 13 miles. This was where breathing was a little more difficult. Luckily, I have now mastered the art of blowing snot rockets off my bike without a) getting snot all over myself and bike, b) turning into traffic or off road, and c) falling over. WINNING! And in case you were wondering, you might not want to ride behind me when I’m under the weather unless you really like snot…

I blew a lot of snot all over the road and also into my bike jersey. Yum! The worst part of the ride was I couldn’t really blow snot rockets while climbing up the mountain hills. The hills in the North Raymond/Gray area are great for training. I’m very excited about riding in the area and have already informed my coach that I only plan to ride the hilliest routes possible in prep for IMLP next year. I also told bike shop boy to put on his big boy panties because we will be doing A LOT of climbing in the very near future!

So, I couldn’t blow snot rockets while climbing. This meant that snot was pretty much just rolling out of my nose and down my face to the road. Lovely image I know! But you all know what I’m talking about…

On Friday I woke up feeling a bit better and was pumped to do a bike workout in the evening. I had to work early again and has the day worn on, I started to feel crappy again. I was stuck in a room prepping DNA for 6 hours and I was starting to overheat and get a bit lightheaded. I had been emailing back and forth with my coach about some training stuff and I informed her that I was going to take a rest day to try to recover from this darn cold. I sat at home all evening and watched really crappy reality TV. It was rather boring and entertaining all at the same time. There are some very interesting women on Big Rich Texas. One woman in the show is your stereotypical “dumb blond” and is a bit on the trashy side too, but apparently has a PhD in physiology. I didn’t believe it when she said it on the show so I googled it. She wrote a book on how she went from getting knocked up as teen, getting her GED, and then working towards getting her PhD. I’m actually slightly impressed.

Saturday I had to work all day at the shop and kept blowing my nose. By time I was finished with work I was exhausted. I decided to skip my bike workout and I just took my dog for a walk just to move and get a little workout done without my head exploding! Sunday I was feeling much better. My nose wasn’t as runny and thus I did my long run with a friend on the Eastern Trail. Being the obviously brilliant people we are, we didn’t communicate which parking lot to meet at. I texted her asking her where she was and she replied waiting for me. So we ran towards each other to meet up and then continue on our run. Of course, in all my brilliance (and snot), I forgot my Garmin watch at home. Darn! Luckily she had one! We managed about 7.5 miles at a sub-10 pace and I didn’t feel like dying! Good sign. The rest of the day was rather lazy. Had a late lunch with bike shop boy, made a new batch of granola, and worked on my latest Nutrition Tuesday post for tomorrow (and it’s going to be an awesome one, just saying…)!

Today I am feeling much better, but still not 100%. I refuse to take cold medicine and just let the cold run it’s natural course. I’ve been hitting the Vitamin C pretty hard the last couple of days. And, can I say, Orange juice is quite expensive these days?! A gallon was $5.25! I just hope I will kick this cold by Saturday!

~Happy Training!

Weekly Recap: 4th of July and a Summer Cold!

The week started off with a lovely open water swim in the ocean with my tri group. And by lovely, I mean, I inhaled half the ocean and almost puked it up twice. Must remember to keep mouth shut while swimming in the ocean! It was a decent little swim on the Tri for a Cure course at Spring Point. So pretty there! Anyway, I finished the loop about 2 minutes before anyone else and got out and out of my wetsuit and watched the rest of the group finish up while chatting with one member from Waterville. She is doing both her first Peaks to Portland and her first HIM at Rev3 so I shared some advice with her. She is worried that she’s not ready for the HIM, but I let her know that she will totally be ready and be more ready than a lot of other people doing the race. I absolutely love the fact that so many people are excited about Rev3 and signed up for the HIM. However, there are a few random people I’ve heard doing the race that I question about their fitness and dedication for the training and race. Doing 4 spin classes a week is not going to cut it for training for 56 miles on the road, just saying...

The camp

I woke up on Tuesday with a super dry and sore throat. I assumed it due to the ocean swim the previous night. I finished up work and a quick 5 mile run before heading down to my favorite family’s camp on Little Ossipee Lake for the holiday! I arrived just in time for the “Happy Hour” boat ride around the lake. We cruised around the lake in an old 50’s wooden boat as the sun set and the full moon rose above the pine trees. Very pretty moon! So many people were setting fireworks off so we were able to catch a bunch of shows. One guy set about $500 worth of fireworks off! Just as we were about 2000 yards from the camp the engine in the boat died and we couldn’t get it started! My bestie’s BF started paddling us back and was making some progress when a kind soul in a party boat offered to give us a tow back to land. It was prefect timing because after a few beers all our bladders were about to explode!

After we waited in line for the bathroom (ok, maybe half of us made a beeline for the nearest bush), we set off our own firework show. I’m glad I left my poor doggie at home. She would have died in fear.

My favorite – The Exploding Bin Laden Noggin 

On Wednesday I woke up with a killer hang over and succeeded to feel like crap all day. I apparently I had two beers too many the night before (and I only had 2.5 Bud Lights)! I brought my bike with me to get my workout in before everyone else arrived later in the day, but I decided not to ride in fear of falling over and ruining my expensive bike. My bestie decided that my poor, unpainted toes needed a pedicure.

Not usually a fan of nail art, but she felt the need to give me flowers anyway

We watched the boat parade from the dock while eating breakfast while the rest of the family arrived. The parade was dedicated this year to Stan Goff, a firefighter who passed away this year from a heart attack.

One of the “floats”
Group photo!

On Thursday I woke up with a very runny nose and a bad cough. Apparently, I wasn’t completely hung over yesterday, but instead was developing a lovely summer cold. Who the heck gets a cold in the middle of the summer?! Oh, I do! Grr… For the past two days I have been blowing my nose every 5 seconds and coughing up a lung. I did a quick swim and a quick (but very hilly) ride last night with a few ladies, but I decided to take today completely off and rest so I can get ready and healthy for the Norway Tri next weekend!

~Happy Training!

Race the Runways Race Report

In a nutshell I had an AWESOME race!

But, first, let’s discuss some pre-race stuff. My first half marathon was the Harvard Pilgrim Maine Coast Half Marathon, aka All Women and One Lucky Guy on November 7, 2010. Leading up to that race I was nursing a small tear in my right rotator cuff and also succeed in getting a rather nasty sinus infection/head cough two weeks before the race that left me in bed all day for several days (and it takes A LOT for me to stay home from work/school). I started feeling slightly better a few days before the race and since I had done all the training and paid for the race, I planned on doing it. Running a half-marathon was one of my goals for 2010 and I was damn determined to do it. I’m the type of person when I say I’m going to something, I’m going to do it even if it kills me. I “ran” the race. It was miserable. I just wanted to die half way through the race. I averaged 11:53/mile for a finish time of 2:35:44. I should have stayed home in retrospect, but I did the damn race more or less for my ego.

Fast track to the Mid Winter Classic 10 Miler in Cape Elizabeth in February. Once again I got a sinus infection the week before the race, but decided to run again (can you see a pattern yet?). I felt really good till the half point when I thought I was going to pass out. I highly considered a DNF at this point, but I kept going because I was determined to finish. I averaged a 10:30/mile for a finish time of 1:45:08. I pouted about the race for a little while because I was super disappointed in my performance. I had been running really well in my training runs leading up to the race and I was expecting to have a great race. It didn’t happen. I whined and then a friend reminded me that shit happens and my big races are in the summer and I shouldn’t worry about a bad race in February. He was right and I was over it.

On March 4th, I ran the Irish Rover 5k in Portland. It was my first 5k in close to 2 years. It was an awesome race for me! I pushed myself to a pace that I never thought that I could ever race at and finished with a HUGE PR! I realized that I CAN actually run fast! That PR definitely put running into a more positive light for me. My long runs were becoming, dare I say, fun. I looked forward to them on the weekends. About a month ago my coach had me run some race pace intervals during my long runs. She wanted me to target a 9:05-9:10 pace. I tried and it hurt. I told her I thought she was crazy and I couldn’t do it. A pace of 9:25-9:30 felt more realistic. So we targeted that pace for the last couple of long runs leading up to Race the Runways.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress over the past month from work, school, and my personal life. It has taken some what of a toll on my body, but mostly my mental and emotional state. The only thing that has kept me sane (and probably out of the looney bin) has been my training. A few weeks ago I had the most amazing 40 minute easy run during my last recovery week. The night before I emailed my coach to tell her I needed a “mental health” day and I was skipping my trainer ride. I was exhausted, I had major headache, and I was just plain cranky. The next day I went out for my run and all those negative feelings just disappeared. My first two miles of the run were at about a 8:30/mile pace and it just felt like a super easy 10:00/mile pace. I felt in love with running during that run. For the first time in my life, I was actually able to forget all my problems and pain with running and just be “one with the pavement.” It was truly an amazing experience and one that I really needed. It was like I mentally hit a reset button and all the shit going on in my life didn’t matter.

Going into the race yesterday I was very calm and collected. I was not nervous and, honestly, I just wanted to get the race over with so I can get on with my training and long bike rides coming up! 🙂 The race started late. The temperatures weren’t bad, around the mid-40’s. It was cloudy, but the sun would come out occasionally and it would be “hot.” The wind was brutal though. It wasn’t bad during most of the course and I actually welcomed it during the middle miles when I was getting hot. But on that runway, it was brutal. The race takes place on the old Brunswick Naval Air Base. The first mile actually starts on the runway then you head out onto the base towards the air control tower, do two loops here, then head through some residential areas, head towards the golf course and then finally finish on the runway. The course is flat, except for one tiny hill at about mile 11.5.

My race goal leading up to the race was to run about a 9:20 pace throughout. But on Friday, I pretty much said “F@ck that. I’m going for 9:05 pace!” I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I told myself I could and I was ready to go for it. Sometimes, it’s all mental. I went out for about a 9:00/mile and I told myself just to hold on for dear life. The first couple of miles were a little crowded but I was able to find space quickly. I ran at my own pace till about mile 3 where I saw a training partner, Sarah. She was running about a 9:00/mile and I just hopped in with her and kept her company for a majority of the race. We didn’t really talk, but it was nice to have her to keep me motivated. The middle miles were a little fast, but I felt good so I just went with it. I was feeling really good about mile 4ish and I just wanted to run. But, I told myself to rein it in because I still had 9 miles to go.

The beginning of the race. I’m the one in the red behind the very happy girls.

Mentally I was really relaxed and just enjoying watching people run by (and can I say some people have a very interesting run gait. One girl who was running in front of me for awhile was running on her tip toes. It was kind of weird and I totally passed her around mile 11). At about mile 7, I was mentally getting bored and just wanted to be done. I took my gels at the right time and water at almost all the stops. Around mile 8 we started to run in the residential area and I couldn’t help to think about all the empty houses and building on the base now that it is closed. I really hope that they will do something useful with the housing. Perhaps, low income housing? Around mile 9 a woman came up behind Sarah and I saying she was targeting my red jacket for 3 miles and it was her goal to reach us. It was kind of nice to hear someone say that they had a target on my back and to use me as motivation to reach their race goal. I reached the 10 mile mark under 1:30 so I knew I could do sub-2 hour, which really was my goal for the day. I lost Sarah around this time. My tummy was starting to get a little crampy at this point so I didn’t take my last gel at 1:40. I also knew that I would be done with my race in about 15 minutes so I didn’t think it was really needed.

When I reached mile 11 I could see the finish line in front of me, but you have to do a quick out and back lap to the golf course. The little hill at 11.5 was enough to say this sucks, but I pushed through it and passed a few people. I tend to run better (aka faster) during the last part of the race because I know that the finish line is in sight. At mile 12 you head back onto the runway to the finish line. As soon as you turn onto the runway, the headwind just hits you like a brick. It must have been a 20-30 mph wind gust and it was cold! It was a total mind fuck. I just wanted to get to the finish line quick, but I wasn’t moving quick because I was working against the wind. Two guys passed me with about a half mile to go and I tried tucking in behind them to stay out of the wind, but the wind just cut right through them and me. Finally, the finish line was in sight. I tried picking it up and I did have enough kick left in me pass the two guys who passed me earlier. But, I definitely left everything on the race course, which was good!

My “wind blockers” coming into the finishing chute.
Someday I’ll have a good race picture. Almost there!

Official race time was 1:57:40 with an average pace of 8:59! A HUGE PR from my previous half marathon, but I don’t really count that race because I was sick for it. I finished 22 out of 47 in my age group (W20-29) and 188 out of 352 overall. I was very happy! I guess I can finally call myself a runner now! 🙂

Here’s my Garmin mile splits, but my Garmin and the race course were definitely off. My coach wrote a blog post on Thursday about how Garmin’s usually read a slightly faster pace and a longer mile than the real course. I was aware of this and tried taking that into account during my run. However, I do think that actual race course was slightly off. My Garmin read most miles long, but still apparently came up short in the end. Interesting…

Avg Pace
Summary 1:57:24.9 12.94 9:05
1 9:03.3 1.00 9:03
2 9:00.8 1.00 9:01
3 9:01.4 1.00 9:01
4 8:56.6 1.00 8:57
5 8:47.1 1.00 8:47
6 8:43.7 1.00 8:44
7 8:54.7 1.00 8:55
8 9:11.3 1.00 9:11
9 9:10.2 1.00 9:10
10 9:08.4 1.00 9:08
11 8:57.1 1.00 8:57
12 9:40.2 1.00 9:40
13 8:50.1 0.94 9:25

Overall, I’m a very happy girl at the moment! And now it’s time to focus on my build for Mooseman 70.3 on June 3rd. Yikes! Less than two months to go!

Happy Training!

A Wash of a Week

I finished last week’s training with a pretty solid weekend worth of training and had a solid run and swim on Monday. And then “BANG!” I woke up Tuesday feeling like crap. My head felt like it wanted to explode from the pressure, my ears were ringing and I wasn’t hungry. I had to go to work at least for half a day to finish up an experiment I had scheduled in the morning. I went home at noon and slept for most of the afternoon. I emailed my coach to let her know I felt like crap, but I still wanted to at least attempt to ride my bicycle lightly. She told me to go to bed.

I’m the person that will totally tell you to skip your workout and rest if your sick; however, I don’t like to follow my own advice. I HATE missing workouts. It makes me feel lazy and I get restless. BUT I do know that if I miss a couple of days it won’t mean much in the long run. However, I have a 10 mile race on Sunday. Not the week to get sick! I kept having flashbacks to my first half marathon I did in November 2010. I trained for it and I paid the $50 entry fee so I was ready. It was one of my goals for the year so I had to do the damn race. Then two weeks before the race I got a really nasty cold. Like one of those colds that completely knocks you off your feet. I’m the type of person who hates to miss work or school because they don’t feel well. If I do miss a day it’s because I’m really sick. I missed several days of work that week because frankly I just couldn’t breathe. My father woke me up one morning and I seriously thought I was going to suffocate because both my nose and throat was so full of shit that I couldn’t breathe. I started feeling better a couple days before the half, but I was far from 100%, but I did that damn race. One of my friends ran as my pacer during the race. She wasn’t really pacing me because I’m sure a turtle was faster than me. She more or less kept me moving. I’m pretty sure if she didn’t run with me I would still be on the side of a road in a ditch in York. There were a few times I just wanted to punch her in the face because she was annoying me with her encouragement. I was miserable! But, I finished! In retrospective I should not have done that race, but I stuck through it and finished! I’m stubbornly determined!
Anyway, I felt a little better on Wednesday. I still only worked a half day and finally decided to suck it up and buy some sinus medication. I’ve felt pretty good the past couple days but I have been taking it easy and resting. The 10 miler on Sunday is not only going to be a race, but also my HR re-test. My coach gave me a goal pace for the race. At first when I saw it on Training Peaks I thought she was nuts! I have had a few really good runs, including a long run on the course last Saturday, so I feel pretty good at obtaining my goal pace. That was before getting sick, but I still think I can do it. I need to channel my inner running goddess and feel the power. I don’t like running and I have a hard time pushing myself during running. When it starts to hurt I like to stop because it’s not fun. I can push myself hard during the bike and swim parts because I enjoy that, but when it comes to running I start telling myself negative things and give up. I’m working on forgetting those negatives and pushing myself to break the barrier. But… more on that at another time.
My training this week has been pretty much a wash, but I did get some good news. I filed my tax returns last night! Yay for big tax returns! I also found out I get to walk at graduation in May because I will be finished with my Masters in December! I also get “hooded” too! Exciting!