Monday, October 15, 2012

Quick Recap: Breast Cancer Awareness Ride

Today I am a woman of few words.  It's Monday, I'm tired, and Jillian Michaels just sucked every last bit of energy out of me.  Lucky for you, I managed to snap a few pics yesterday at the Breast Cancer Awareness Ride so I'll let them do (most of) the talking...

Rise and shine at 9:00am which is basically sleeping in these days.  All smiles and pink as I picked up my bike bib:

Perfectly fall weather meant no need for my neon jacket.  Good thing 92% of my wardrobe is pink so I was still prepared underneath my coat.

Just in case you were wondering, yes, of course my gloves are pink too.  Duh.

I really need to chill out with the thumbs up.  Sorry guys.

Look at all the pink.  Those are the 45 milers heading off.  Remember that time I originally signed up for the 45 miler and then did the 25 instead?  Oops.

Brie's dad was riding so him and I stuck together.  Actually, I really dropped down to the 25 miles for him.  So he didn't feel bad.  Just kidding.  If he wasn't there I probably would have done 10.

Oh good ol' Mendon.  Your hills never get old to me.  Mr. L tried teaching me how to use my gears correctly (still working on that skill) and I only half-wobbled up some of the hills.  The good thing about hills is they always = downhills.  Downhills are 97% responsible for my speedy 14mph average speed.

After an entire week of doing absolutely nothing active (unless you count my Corporate America business trip full of dinner buffets and happy hours), I was half surprised I didn't keel over and die during the ride.  

All in all it was a great fall ride and what's better than riding your bike in the country in the fall all while raising money and awareness to save America's boobs?  Triple win.  Boom.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Double Race Report!

Since I've slacked on getting last weekend's race recap up here, and did another race yesterday morning, today you're getting two race reports for the price of one.  Get excited.

Autumn Classic Duathlon - 9/30/12
What do you get when you take a good attitude and and a "have fun" mindset to a race?  An effing awesome race, that's what.

I signed up for this race back in July and have been looking forward to it all summer.  I did the Spring version of this race in May (before I got Mr. Trek) and was excited to see how much I could crush my previous time.

Only minor detail was that my "training" for this race has been less than stellar.  Thanks in part my recent race-overload induced burnout, I was pretty much mentally and physically unprepared for this race.  And, Mother Nature decided to throw this into the mix on race morning:

Normally, this would make me extremely grouchy but I was determined not to be a Negative Nancy.  After a whole summer of doing races for the sake of doing races, the weather was just what I needed to remind myself that this race was for me.  I was doing this for fun.

That "have fun" mindset is what made me decide to drop down to the shorter course length when I got to the race.  I had originally signed up for the F1 course -- 2mi run, 10mi bike, 2mi run, 10mi bike, 2mi run -- and although I had been excited for the challenge, I dropped to the super sprint course -- 2mi run, 10mi bike, 2mi run.  Between the weather and my determination to not let this be just another race to log miles, I knew that doing the short course would allow me to enjoy the race more.  And let me tell you, that was the best decision I made all morning.

happy! yay for super sprint!
Once I changed races it was time to get my timing chip and head to transition to get situated.  Being that this was my second duathlon, I felt like an old pro going in and racking my bike.  I did rack and re-rack it in three different locations, however.  You gotta go with the one that feels right, ya know?

mr. trek all racked and ready to go!
After I was set up in transition, I had a little pre-race pep talk with Coach Rob (aka Steph's boyfriend who I force to be my multi-sport guidance counselor).  He assured me that I was physically prepared for this race and that I was going to kill it.  Preach it, Coach Rob.

a post-pep talk thumbs up!
I headed to the start line and watched the F1'ers head off first.  I wasn't even one bit disappointed that I wasn't in that group.  Further solidification that dropping down was the best decision I've ever made.  A few minutes later it was our turn to head off on our two mile run.

I must have really been excited because I clocked my first mile in under 11 minutes.  I felt good though so I just kept on moving.  I hardly looked at my watch and just went by feel and enjoyed it.  I think the last time I did that was um... never.

I felt good on the run but was definitely pushing myself too.  I knew that the second run would be tough, so I wanted to push myself on the first run.  Turns out that pushing yourself is much more fun when your eyes aren't glued to your Garmin and you don't have any expectations for yourself.

(thanks photographer steph for the next 50 pics & making me feel like a celeb)
Run 1 - 23:53

I zipped into transition and changed into my bike shoes so fast that even Coach Rob was impressed at how quick I was going.  I also made a mental note to start racking my bike next to people who run slower than me, so that when Steph takes pictures it doesn't always look like I'm the last one in transition!

T1 - 1:08

I was all excited at my fast transition but once I reached the bike mount I probably added a solid minute to my overall time because I had the biggest struggle clipping in.  Sometimes I can do it like it's nothing but a thing, but my newbie status showed as I unsuccessfully kicked away at my pedal until I finally got it.  Time to ride!

The bike course was familiar not only from the spring course, but also because I've been biking in Mendon all summer.  I was already mentally prepared for the hills and knew it was going to be a good ride.  It took a mile or two to warm up but once I did I felt good and get this.... I actually passed people!  In the spring, I lost count of the number of people that passed me.  And I passed zero people.  This time I passed 18 people (don't worry I counted in my head not out loud) and only 3 people passed me.  Look at what a new bike, some bike shoes and a good attitude can do!

I definitely pushed myself on the bike and kept my heart rate up the entire ride.  Usually I push a bit and then back off and keep up that rhythm the whole ride.  This time I left my heart out on the road and man did it feel good.

Bike - 42:05

I was still having a blast as I headed back into transition and didn't even realize that I was smiling the whole time until I saw Steph's pictures.  Two thirds of the way through the race and I was still totally enjoying it.  I was having so much fun that I didn't even get mad when it took me three tries to get my shoes tied.  Fast transitions are overrated.

T2 - 1:47

As I headed out for the final run, I was SO glad that I didn't have another bike and another run to do afterwards.  My fun and enjoyment probably would have fizzled here if I had any more than this last run to do.  

I only had jello legs for a few minutes but was definitely more tired at this point so was much slower on this run.  And you know what?  I didn't even care!  I didn't let my pace discourage me and was proud of myself for continuing to push myself based on how I felt.  

One woman who I'd been playing cat and mouse with the whole race caught back up to me and we chatted for the last bit of the run - I told her that she was my rabbit on the bike and she told me that I was hers on the run.  Too funny.  We decided run it in together on the final stretch. I love making race friends.

Run 2 - 24:56

Final Time - 1:33:51

mission don't come in last: accomplished
I came in 67/82 overall and even snagged second place in my age group...... out of two people.  Wanna know something funny?  I came in 2/2 in my age group in the Spring Duathlon too and both times it was a Fleet Feet employee who beat me!  I'm now convinced that Fleet Feet, specifically the female employees aged 20-24, are conspiring to never let me win my age group at a duathlon.  I'm on to you guys.

I finished this race with the biggest smile on my face.  I pushed myself as hard as I could, and I enjoyed every single minute of it.  This is what races should be all about.  This feeling is what I have been missing for so long and damn, it's a good feeling to have it back.


Photo Finish 5k - 10/6/12
I've used many excuses to justify signing up for races, but the one I used for this race might be the saddest excuse yet.  "I don't feel like running tonight, so let's sign up for a race tomorrow morning so we don't feel guilty about not running tonight."  True story.

With my Friday night run axed and a joke race the next morning, my usual pre-race dinner was replaced with junk food and lots of it.  The fact that I hadn't run once since the duathlon made the situation even more comical.  And the icing on the cake was the pouring rain I woke up to yesterday morning.  You know it's going to be an interesting morning when your texts with your race buddy look like this:

With two grouches on our hands, Emily and I were quite the site to be seen yesterday morning.  The car ride to the race was spent complaining and convincing ourselves that we shouldn't go back to bed.  I can honestly say that the only reason we didn't bail was because we didn't want to lose the $25 registration fee we paid.  That's a great reason to run a race.

We met up with Steph when we got to the race and I forced myself to smile for a picture.

You're probably wondering how I can go from such a happy Duathlon race report to this.  Hold tight.  This one is gonna get good.

The gun went off and Steph stuck with us as Emily and I continued our complain-fest.  After a few minutes though, we realized hey, it stopped raining.  This is perfect race weather.  This is a flat road.  Wow I have a great playlist.  Wait, are we starting to have fun??  Oh yes, yes we are.

We clocked an 11:11 first mile and I was feeling surprisingly good.  Since my bad mood had completely vanished I was determined yet again to make this a fun and enjoyable race.  I glanced at my watch here and there but mostly just followed Emily's pace.

Mile two came in at 11:20.  Still feeling good and still chatting away with Em.  By this time speedy Steph was a little ways ahead of us so it was just me and Emily.  Good thing we were both in good moods by this point!

The last mile was where I realized I was pushing myself.  And I kind of liked it.  Emily was doing most of the talking and I was only tempted to ask her to slow down once.  And even that was a fleeting thought - I was actually having a good time running outside of my comfort zone.  With about a quarter mile to go, I realized that if I kept pushing I could potentially PR.  We clocked in mile 3 at 10:44 and kicked it the last tenth of a mile to finish in 34:29 - a PR by 25 seconds!

I was shocked when I crossed that finish line.  How my lack of training and poor eating led me to a PR I will never understand.  But man did it feel good.  And what felt even better was knowing that I came into this race with no expectations.  No pressure to negative split or hit a certain pace or pr or whatever.  Just have fun was all I wanted to do..... and knowing that I enjoyed the whole race AND PR'd makes it extra sweet.  

thumbs up to a new pr!
Two awesome races in a row, thanks to a new mindset and a determination to bring the FUN back to running and racing!