Still Crazy After All These Years

by Beth on January 11, 2013

When I get interested in something, I’m like a dog with a bone. I like to read about it, think about it, talk about it, do shopping for anything I can think of related to it. I was like this about my job before I had kids and it wasn’t one of my  husband’s favorite things about me. I would come home and think about work all evening. Thank goodness it was before the days of laptops, email, and smartphones so that all I could really do was think and worry at home, that is when I was able to rip myself away from my desk.

Once we had kids, they were easy to think about constantly and I would say that was a good thing. I loved being a stay-at-home mom and I still do. Being with kids all day taught me patience and the importance of napping. There is honestly nothing I disliked about raising my kids and every aspect of it was a blast. Trips to the zoo and the botanical gardens, walks to the park, and reading books are all great things to contemplate day and night.

When the kids started getting older and I started running more seriously, I found myself thinking about running all of the time. I liked to think about the logistics of the run, the weather and what I was going to wear. When I started racing, that made it even more interesting and fun to think about. But running for almost nine years is a long time. It is after all, just running. It’s pretty much the same every time and everyone does it pretty much the same way. Put on shoes, flip on some music, get sweaty, and take a shower. What’s interesting about that?

Yet here I am at the beginning of another year and I’m just as excited as ever. The Polar Dash Half Marathon is in the bag already and the Rock ‘n Roll Arizona is next weekend. I’m running the half marathon and Mike is running the full. The following weekend is the Frozen Half Marathon in St. Paul. We’ll wait and see what the weather looks like and if it’s not too bad out we’ll go and do race day registration. We are looking at a couple race possibilities for February and we’ll do one of the Lucky 7 races in March. I’ve been running a lot of slow miles to work on my aerobic base and I’ve been biking on the trainer, too.

I’m pretty excited about Arizona! I know it won’t be my fastest, but I’ve been running pretty well and I know it will be fun. Sometime this year I would like to run a half marathon in under 2 hours. I’ve only done it once before and it surprised me that I could do it. I’m hoping to run a bunch of half marathons this year, so maybe I’ll get lucky and I’ll find myself doing it again. My number one priority for the year is Ironman Florida, but I would like to do more races this year than I was able to manage last year.

I would call running a half under 2 hours more of a dream than a goal. One of my 2013 running goals is to run 100 miles a month. January got off to a great start with 13 miles at the Polar Dash Half Marathon. Here I am with a half frozen face at the turn around:

Next weekend I’ll be wearing shorts in Arizona instead of being covered in frost.

I ran pretty well at the Polar Dash. I finished in 2:03 but the course was a quarter mile short. I should have finished at 2:05 which was fine, so I was disappointed that the course was short. I ran the first 6 miles at a fairly easy pace and then picked it up a bit. It would be great if I could run Arizona with the same finishing time and run faster to make up for the extra distance. Right now the weather forecast looks good. My daughter is saying that she doesn’t feel well and the flu is hitting our area hard, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll all stay healthy for another week.

So next post will either be as race report or a sick report. I vote for race report!

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Looking Back at 2012

by Beth on December 31, 2012

A year that starts with a 10K PR on the first day, has a marathon in Hawaii in the first month, nears it’s finish with an Ironman and then caps off with a 5K PR can only go down as a good year. There were some challenges, some injuries, and some frustrations along the way, but those were minor compared to the successes and fun.

Not including strength training, I trained over 465 hours and went over 4,750 miles. While I ran about 200 miles less than I did last year, coming in at 1,100 miles, I biked 1,500 miles more than last year, racking up 3,500 miles. Although I didn’t track my swims for 2011,  in 2012 I swam about 120 miles. While I love numbers, I think pictures tell the story better.

Polar Dash 10K on January 1st:  Starting off the year with a PR is always good.

In late January, Mike and I went to Maui to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. While we were there, we ran the Maui Oceanfront Marathon. It was by far the most challenging marathon I’ve done, but I was really proud of my effort.

Spring brought The Race for the Cure and heading back outside on the bike.

By summer it was time to get ready for Ironman Florida. I practiced changing my tire.

Open water swam with friends.

Did the Tour de Cure with Mike.

Did some triathlons.

Ran the Gopher to Badger Half Marathon.

Had some setbacks.

Was able to come back and run better than ever.

Ironman Florida made all of the training worthwhile.

I PR’ed my Thanksgiving Day 5K while running with my son which made it extra special, and then celebrated with the whole family afterwards.

What you don’t see in the pictures are all of the people that gave me support and encouragement towards my Ironman goal all through the year. There were friends that trained with me, listened and gave me great advice when I needed it. There were family members who listened to endless stories about training and injuries and plans. Most of all, there was Mike who believed that I could do it long before I thought it was possible. When I was injured and thought I would have to give up, he gave me hope that I could work through it and make it to the start line. It would have never occurred to me to attempt to do an Ironman if he hadn’t told me that he knew I could do it, and I’m so glad that I believed him. Everyone should have someone in their life that believes they can do amazing things and supports them every step of the way. I’m lucky enough to have more than one someone, and I’m thankful to all of them for a great 2012!

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And Then What Happened?

by Beth on December 9, 2012

After working towards Ironman Florida for a year, it’s over. I couldn’t eat or sleep for several days, and then I couldn’t stop eating or sleeping. My legs never felt sore after the race, so I followed the advice of my training plan and eased back into running five days later. My legs felt a little flat, but otherwise everything was fine. I swam a couple of times, put the bike on the trainer for some indoor rides, and started lifting weights again. Other than being hungry all the time, I felt like I came through the race just fine.

We ran our traditional Turkey Trot 5K and when I lined up I had intended to take it easy. The course is kind of hilly and the race was packed with people, although it was a gorgeous day and perfect for running. The first mile went by at a reasonable pace, around 8:50. As my legs started to warm up, I started passing a lot of people. The next mile was 7:50 and I realized I had a chance of beating my PR. My legs felt great so I continued to move up and finished in 24:20, 59 seconds faster than my PR which was from 2007. I was 2nd in my age group (45-49) out of 100, and 7th out of 299 women aged 40-49. I’ve never finished that high in a race before. Here is the whole family after the race:

My teen-aged son who runs cross country decided to run with me which was really nice. I was breathing hard the whole way and he was just jogging along like a puppy dog. Here we are after, flashing #1 since I PR’ed by so much:

With running a PR and my legs feeling great, I started re-thinking my plans for Rock ‘n Roll Arizona. Months ago, Mike signed up for the full marathon and I signed up for the half figuring I would be pretty trashed from the Ironman. My marathon PR is relatively slow compared to my usual half marathon and 10K times. The thought that I could PR at the R&R Arizona marathon is pretty enticing. I won’t have a chance to run another marathon for at least a year, and I would only need to train for 10 more weeks. I decided to sign up for the full, giving myself the option of running either one.

Of course, as soon as I signed up for the full, things started to fall apart. I’m guessing that, even though I wasn’t sore after the race, over the following few weeks I tightened up as I have a tendency to do. That with the increased mileage that came with marathon training was a recipe for pain. My left hamstring and right glute started to hurt. Not a lot, but this is supposed to be the off season when I’m trying to heal up, Aggravating existing problems or coming up with new ones isn’t on my list of things I want to do. All last season it felt like I was riding with a knife in my backside. Although it was fine on race day, it was not fun to ride a few thousand miles like that. I can’t tolerate going into next season without trying to get it to heal up.

Besides the annoyance of the pain, the injured glute last season prevented me from riding hard all season. I couldn’t do intervals or hill work, and as a result I rode all season 1.5 mph slower than I had the season before. I know I can do better on the bike and still be able to run well, but that is going to depend on riding the bike trainer through the winter. Although Ironman training doesn’t officially start until April, the time to get faster and stronger is February and March.

I’m pumped up to give the marathon a go but I need to balance that with getting healed up to do the biking that’s needed to set me up for an improved triathlon season. What to do? I got some treatment for the glute and hamstring last week and now I’m really sore. I’ve decided to take a week off from biking and running and see if I can get them to settle down quickly. I’ve started hitting the weights pretty hard at the gym so I’ll keep doing that and I’ll swim more consistently. Hopefully I’ll know better after the break if I can stick with the marathon or if I should just run the half. I really don’t want to do the marathon unless I think I have a reasonable chance of running a PR. It’s not worth it to me to risk an injury and also take the recovery time after to just run for fun. Running the half with a good finishing time and being ready to train hard on the bike would mean more to me. Either way, I’m excited to go to Arizona and then see what I can do during the following months on the bike.

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IMFL Race Report: The Run

November 30, 2012

Coming off the bike, I knew I was in good shape to run. Finishing the first two legs with time to spare took the pressure off about finishing the race before the midnight cut off. As long as I could keep moving forward, I would be able to finish before the time cut off. I [...]

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IMFL Race Report: The Bike

November 15, 2012

After swimming and swallowing a lot of salt water, I was handed my transition bag and headed into the host hotel to change for the bike. The transitions for this race were some of my favorite parts of the day. I had my own volunteer who helped me empty my bag and get everything where [...]

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Ironman Florida 2012 Race Report: The Swim

November 11, 2012

One of the things that I like about Ironman training is the complexity of it:  the equipment, the logistics, the extended duration of the race, the nutrition, the combination of three individual sports. Doing an Ironman is like doing a puzzle over the course of 30 weeks, and then showing up on a single day [...]

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Counting it Down

October 24, 2012

Since I started writing in January, 2009, things have never been busier in my athletic life, but I’ve been slow to write about it. When I was just running, I liked to write about little quirky things that I noticed about running, my training, how I felt about my progress, and the running community. Over [...]

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Trading Places

September 27, 2012

This past month, I have been busy healing and getting back to training. I wore the boot for about 10 days while I wasn’t swimming or water running. Once I was released from the dreaded boot, I started riding my bike on the trainer and after several days was able to start riding outside again. [...]

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Stressy Shin

August 29, 2012

This is me last Friday:

One minute I’m totally fine and then an hour later my shin hurts to the point that it’s hard to drive. Then next day I’m in the MRI machine and an hour later the doctor tells me that my bone is having a stress response. I’m supposed to be feeling lucky [...]

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Gopher to Badger Half Marathon: Race Report

August 14, 2012

Thanks to a typo in my training schedule, I had the opportunity to sneak in a half marathon on Saturday. My training plan has a summary schedule with big dates such as the start of training, the beginning dates for each phase, and then dates for practice triathlons. I scheduled my races based on that [...]

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