Monday, October 20, 2014

The Big Decision

I've got about 10 more days before registration opens for the Vineman events. I have been giving serious consideration to doing the full Vineman in 2015. Of course, I have lots of questions...Am I ready for this distance? Why do I want to do this race? What happens if I get injured on the way to the start line? What kind of training am I going to do? Will HS train with me?

The simple act of even writing about considering this race takes me one step closer to actually signing up. Of course, I have floated the possibility of doing Vineman with a few people in my inner circle. I have also discussed the idea of this race with HS... with more care and forethought than if I had told him I was thinking about having another kid. LOL

If I do this race, I am all in... and I need my man, my best friend, my training partner, my sponsor, the love of my life (aka HS) to be all in too! It will probably be just has hard on him somedays as it is for me. I wouldn't ask him to support me in this endeavor if it wasn't important.

Vineman is ready. Am I?


Why Vineman? Well, after completing Barb's Race twice, I am familiar with the course. I like the swim venue and the bike course is beautiful. I also like the fact that the race promotes itself as a race for everyone...
"In 1990 the Vineman was designed to be "the people's full distance event" with an emphasis on making the average athlete's experience of completing the classic distance the most enjoyable and personalized as possible."
Of course, I have no delusions that "enjoyable and personalized" means easy. This is going to be a 140.6 mile journey...with lots of pain (and probably tears) along the way. During Barb's Race, as I approached the finish line, I would look at the Vineman competitors completing the bike leg of their race and vow to never put myself through that. The realization that they had a full marathon to run when I was dead tired after racing half of their distance made me question my sanity for even considering it.

Why Not?

During my first year competing in triathlons, I read book after book...story after story of Ironman competitors...their journeys, their training, their failures and their triumphs. The thing that got me every time was their recollection of crossing the finish line and hearing themselves announced as an Ironman. Well, since Vineman is not a trademarked Ironman event, there will be no such announcement. However, I have moved past that...the announcement is not important. I don't need everyone watching to hear my name announced as an Ironman. I need to my heart...that I can complete the distance. The challenge is what is important, not the title.

The Plan

My plan is very basic at this point in time:

1) Sign up for the race (commitment is key)
2) Delete Candy Crush and all Facebook time sucking activities. I waste a lot of time on stupid games. If I'm going to seriously train, I need to use my time wisely. Instead of Candy Crush...housework, laundry, my man (not in that order)... you get the picture. I won't have time for crap.
3) Finish my annual training plan. Right now my plan is easy because it is basically just running to get me through CIM. Things change in January 2015.

Still working on this plan
4) Focus on form. I need to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses and decides which disciplines may require some private coaching.
5) Enjoy the ride! This is going to be awesome!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tarantula Run - Race Report

I love doing events like the Tarantula Run because I know I have no chance of getting on the podium! Yes, that sounds like a pretty negative attitude to have going into a race, but I am a realist. I have done several 1/2 marathons and I have never received anything more than a finisher's medal. The closest I have gotten is 4th place and I chalk that up to a slower field of competitors at that particular race.

Brazen Racing has awesome finisher medals and personalized bibs

I would never assume that I would do well at a swim meet going up against people that do nothing but swim. I would not expect to win a road race against true cyclists. The same is true for running events...especially running events on trails (trail runners are an entirely different breed). On top of that, there was serious prize money at stake, so there were some serious runners.


Although it has been almost three months since I completed Barb's Race, I am still in the healing process. One small toe nail came off last week but I am still waiting for the big toe nail. This was a concern on Saturday morning before the race.  The nail was still attached on one side, but loose on the other. I clipped and filed what I could then wrapped the toe in a bandage and then secured the bandage with some duct tape.

Want to see what's under the tape? Still around til the end ;-)

Breakfast was my usual pre-race meal of eggs on toast. I added some chia seeds for a little extra oomph! I had a cup of coffee and a glass of water too.  On the drive over to Los Vaqueros I massaged my calves and Achilles with Penetrex. About an hour before race start I took a dose of Sports Legs as well as some Energy Bits.

Sunrise at Los Vaqueros
HS and I killed time by people watching. There was one guy that was especially intense (must be after that prize money). He went through quite an elaborate (and fascinating) warm up routine. He had a race kit, compression sleeves, kinesio name it he had it. I was trying to read the name of the team on his kit when I noticed that his shorts had a shammy. Excuse me? Are you wearing a tri kit for a trail run? HS said the guy reminded him of Napoleon Dynamite. LOL

Where's Waldo? This pic isn't about me ;-)
(Hint: There is only one person lined up for the race)

My main goal for today's race was to beat my time from last year. However, the pre-race announcement made it clear that this wasn't going to be possible. Last year the race was put on by the Contra Costa Water District. The CCWD called it a half marathon although their course was only supposedly 12.2 miles (I had about 11.8 on my Garmin). This year, Brazen Racing took over the event and announced that the course was 13.3 miles (13.4 on my Garmin)...alrighty then.

Back to my goals...aside from my desired time, I wanted to pace myself and come out uninjured. Throughout the race I would remind myself that this was a training run for CIM. I focused on running my own race and to not getting caught up in what other people were doing. The first couple of miles were the same as 2013, but then things changed. Instead of heading up the paved road leading up to the top of the dam, we stayed on a single track trail that climbed and climbed and climbed.

That little green lump in the elevation chart is a lot bigger in person

This pic doesn't do the climb justice either

There was over 2,200 feet of climbing in this race. Mile 3 started at an elevation of about 300 ft. The climb ended a little more than a mile later at about 1,250 ft! Suffice it to say, I walked up the did just about everybody else around me. I walked past people trying to run ;-) Unfortunately for me, I am a little to skittish going down the hills, so my descents are not much faster than my climbs. I was amazed at the men and women that would go barreling down the hills past me. How do they do that?

Whoa! Not too fast!

Brazen Racing had recommended carrying water with you even though there were three aid stations. I opted to go without but after spending around 40 minutes trying to get through the first three miles, I wished I would have brought some with me. (The first aid station was at about mile 3.25). I think it was the triathlete in me that didn't want to carry any extra weight during the race. Of course the trail runners have hydration backpacks that seem to laugh in the face of extra weight worries.

So, since the courses for 2013 and 2014 were different, the only thing I could compare was my minutes per mile pace. Last year my average pace was 11:45. This year my average was 11:12. Not too shabby :-)

Highest elevation was the only thing the same.
Beautiful day for a run
Luckily I had my photographer with me
I love the challenge of this race and will probably be back next year...maybe I'll figure out how to run down hill before then :-)

The Toe Show

So, you really want to see what my toe looks like?  Scroll down...

Keep going...

Here it is...


It's a little shriveled up from the bandage, duct tape and sweat. LOL

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Don't Want To Run Today

There are some days when you just need to get out the door and do what you have to do...regardless if you feel like it or not. Today was one of those days...

As I was leaving work the outside temp was around 93 (according to my car). This was not what I wanted to see. I was already feeling mentally beat up from a long day at work and the last thing I wanted to do was run in the heat. It was one thing when I was training for Barb's Race and I knew it was going to be hot during the run. However, last year at CIM it was 27 freakin' degrees out! If I had managed to break a sweat in that race, it would have frozen!

Probably the only thing that got me out of the house today

So, as I was saying, I really didn't feel like running today. On top of that, my legs felt like they weighed 500 lbs. after Sunday's 18 mile run. There was just no way...let me way I was going to be able to do 4 x 1 mile repeats at my 5k pace...NO WAY! Why 4 x 1 mile repeats? Because I found a marathon training plan for my ability/skill level that fits with my annual training plan.

Yes, as a matter of fact I do follow random training plans I find on the internet.

Think about it!  ;-)

Just Do It

I came home and synced my Garmin so it would have the workout I created on Garmin Connect. I programmed in a 2 mile warmup, 4 x 1 mile repeats with a minute rest in between, and ended with a 10 minute cool down.

Workout as planned
After all of my planning, I forgot to start the workout!  Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Instead, after checking my satellite status, I pressed start and began my warmup. HS eventually took off and ran at his own pace because my warmup was a little on the slow side. Honestly, it was as much a mental warm up as it was a physical warm up. Every step presented a new reason to stop... Ooooh? What was that? Something feels like it is rubbing my leg? Is that a real pain? I don't like the way my new water bottle feels in my hand. I can't pick up my feet. It's hot out! And on and on and on... for two miles! Two miles of walking and jogging and excuse making.

Yes, please! LOL

Time to Move

Eventually my two mile warm up ended. I think it took somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 minutes. It was at that point I realized I didn't start the "workout" on my 910XT. Normally, if you are running a workout, it gives you a countdown to the next pace or interval. Nothing happened this afternoon. Hmmm. I looked at my watched and started running at my 5k pace. Eventually it dawned on me what the problem was. Ugh! Another excuse to stop. I mean, why not? I didn't start the workout, why keep going?

Why keep going? Because I am training for 26.2 miles that kicked my butt last year. Because I am also in training (mentally) for running 26.2 miles after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride. That's why I need to keep going. Besides, not having the workout running on my watch is not exactly a deal breaker...I know how to work my Garmin with or without a pre-programmed workout running.

So I manually worked my Garmin and did my repeats. I had planned to run at a 8:10-8:20 pace. I thought I was being conservative because my legs were tired. The first mile felt pretty good and I tried to ease up a bit so I would have something left for repeats 2-4. My one minute rest was extended a bit due to a traffic signal and because I'm 46 and can do whatever the hell I please! So there!

Mile 2 felt a little bit better (probably due to another traffic break LOL). Mile 3 was good too. At that point, all of the negativity that plagued me during my warm up disappeared and my attitude did a 180! Bring on mile 4!!! During the last half of mile 4 I pushed it a bit more just because I knew it was almost over. As I eased into my cool down, I congratulated myself on starting and finishing...I'm so glad I didn't call it quits :-)

This is why I post my workouts :-)