Monday, May 22, 2017

Races galore--a recap of sorts

It's no secret, at least not to those who are close to me, that the months of April and May are by far the busiest months of the year for me.  Between four kids in multiple spring sports and activities, plus Easter, plus birthdays for all four kids, plus end-of-the-year stuff for school for me and the kids... yeah, craziness.  Three activities ended this past weekend (only one final soccer tournament to get through!), and "birthday season" has ended, so I am starting to be able to breathe at least a bit more.  

And, of course, if I can breathe... then I can blog!  In addition to being super-busy with kids' stuff, I've been pretty busy myself.  Let's see, there were two swim meets (March 4 and April 1), a 4-mile race (March 18), a half marathon (April 23), and two 5K races (May 7 and May 21).   I think I did more "racing" in the past two months than I have in the past year!  I say "racing" because I didn't really race any of them--at least not the running events.  I don't have time to do my usual lengthy recap for each one, so I figured I'd do quickies.

The Swimming Race(s) (Master's Ohio State Championships, April 1)
I was so psyched to compete in the Master's Ohio State Championship meet!  The meet was held at The Ohio State University.  They put in an awesome new pool several years ago, but I hadn't had the chance to even see the facility.  It is truly state-of-the-art and gorgeous.  I came down with a raging case of swimmer's ear the week before the meet, as well as a stomach virus a couple of days before it.  NO fun at all!  I was happy just to be able to swim.  My times were all almost exactly the same as they were at the meet the previous month.  I had hoped to swim a bit faster, but realized my body just wasn't there.  I competed in five individual events as well as a relay, and won my age group again in all but one race, and was pretty proud of that feat.

A silly pre-race pic captured by my friend Andrew!

The Freebie Friend Race (Kinsale 4-miler, March 18)
I used a free race entry that I earned from volunteering for this race, and had zero plans at all for it.  I was still doing walk-run intervals, so when Tamara said that she'd be doing the race with her husband Ben and would definitely be doing intervals, I was thrilled.  Race buddies!  It was fun just to be back in a racing atmosphere again.  We did some running and some walking, and lots of talking (well, Tamara and I talked... Ben complained that we talked too much of course).   Overall pace was just under a 12-minute mile, which was about what I expected given that 50+% of the run was really walking.  

Tamara and me, post-race

The Half Marathon Disguised as a Long Run (Glass City Marathon, April 23)
My two best running buddies, Tamara and Allison, had been training for months for the Glass City Marathon.  In fact, most of my running buddies had spring races on the docket.  I won't lie, I felt left out much of the time.  My recovery was so painstakingly slow, and I had to do most of my runs solo, as I was still doing my prescribed intervals.   As I have mentioned, my coach gives me the total minutes I need to run each week, not the miles.  A couple of weeks before Glass City, I decided to actually calculate my mileage for the week, and was surprised to see that I had ran 29 miles.  Wow, I said to myself, that's less than how much I run when I am training for a half-marathon.  I was up to 120 minutes for my long run, and I decided to go ahead and see if my coach would allow me to do the half at Glass City.  With his permission (provided I not truly race), I went ahead and signed up, although it took me until about five days before the race before I actually hit the "register" button!  It would be my first spring race in three years.  After two years of utter disappointment due to being fully trained for marathons and then suffering stress fractures, I was scared to death to actually sign up for this race.  It ended up being a fantastic experience!  I stayed with Tamara in her mom's house in Toledo, and we had a wonderful time with our friends Jon, Amy, Audra and Allison (plus Amy's hubby and Allison's boyfriend).  The race was super-fun.  I ran the first couple of miles solo (long story--too long for this blog), then with Tamara and Allison until mile 9 when I had to turn off to finish the half.  The final 4 miles were solo again.  My final time was way faster than I anticipated (1:51:54), but I felt amazingly good the entire race.  

I'm the master of race pictures ;) 

It was a tale of two races for sure--8:20-8:30 pace for the first couple of miles, then 8:55-9:00 with Tamara and Allison, and then low 8's for my final miles by myself.  After I finished, I realized I needed another 20 minutes to get in my 120 minutes for the day, so I walked out to mile 24 and ran in with Tamara and Allison as they finished the marathon.  So great to celebrate Allison's amazing PR and first sub-4-hour marathon!

The Pace Race (Mommy Mile 5K, May 7)
I showed up at the starting line pretty unexcited.  My coach said that I should try to stick to marathon pace (8:15/mile).  I didn't know anyone else who was doing the race other than my friend Tamara, who had won me the free entry for the race.  She was planning on actually racing the event, so I knew I'd have no chance of sticking with her (seeing as her PR 5K is a full 75 seconds faster than mine!).  Tamara ended up winning the whole darn thing, and wasn't even far from her PR (which she had no plan in even attempting to reach), so it was a good thing that I didn't try to keep up LOL!  At the start, I was so excited to run into Linda, who I met through my MIT runner pals a couple of years ago.  Our mutual pal Steph had told me that Linda was going to try to PR.  When I mentioned my goal pace, she said she'd try to stick with me.  Everyone knows that I LOVE to pace other runners, so I was all in!  After a chatty first mile of 7:50 or so, I realized that Linda was in much better shape than she thought!  Miles two and three were 7:40ish and 7:20ish, with mile three spent weaving through the crowd of walkers who were still on their first lap of the two-lap course that circled a local mall.  We ended up crushing her best 5K with a 24:09, and were 9th and 10th overall females, which meant we got a Fleet Feet gift card!  Super fun!  

Linda and me, post-race... see that "PR glow" that she has?!!

The Mother-Daughter Race (Girls on the Run 5K, May 21)
My just-turned-10-year-old daughter, Charlotte, has been participating in the Girls on the Run program for the past two months.  Their culminating event was held this past Sunday.  I was excited to run as her "buddy" for the race!  We walked some, we ran some, and yes, there were tears (hers, not mine).  But we made it!  Overall time was 41:17 per my Garmin, which I think is fantastic for her first 5K.  She is uber-excited to race in a few triathlons this summer, and I am excited to cheer her on!

Charlotte and me, post-race--super proud of her!

Whew!  So many medals!  In between all of the racing, I've been making my way back training-wise.  I decided to stick with my running coach, George, through triathlon seasons.  He has experience both coaching triathletes and doing them himself, so I knew I'd be in good hands.  He is slowly building up my training time.  I am currently swimming for about 1.5 hours a week, biking for about 3 hours a week, and running for about 4 hours a week.  Those numbers will continue to increase over the next two months. I have a sprint triathlon in two weeks, an Olympic distance at the end of June, and the half Ironman at the end of July.  Yikes!  At least it is almost summer break, and I will actually be able to get in some solid training bricks and open water swimming again.  And... I will get to blog more frequently, yay!   Until then!