Sunday, August 21, 2011

Less racing = Key to success?

Since the Viking Sunset 5k (previous post), I have yet to race and it is currently August 21st, almost a month after the 5k. If you know me, this is NOT normal.

Am I getting the "itch" to race? Every time I go and support one, which is pretty much every weekend...

The Saturday after the Viking Sunset 5k was the Hoffman 1/2 Marathon in which members of the DPFT team ran it as pace group leaders. I ran with Joe for the 1:40 (7:41) pace group. It was GREAT--with a mile to go, Joe took the front of our 10-person group and I took the back. The VERY last person in our group finished in 1:40:02! It was SO fun motivating fellow runners to push to PRs and I am so happy to have been a part of it!

The few weekends that followed were not nearly as hard to not want to race; I had AWESOME friends to run my long runs with in Barrington and ended each run feeling more confident than the previous week. I have also been ice bathing a lot and going to Dave Davis for weekly/10day massages as this definitely helps my recovery.

Travel for work has increased greatly so I've done a LOT of runs on treadmills lately, which is actually better for my body than the harder pavement of roads, but definitely more boring to me! I've been lucky enough to stay at hotels that have TVs connected to the treadmills AND Ryan got me a pair of wireless headphones for when this isn't the case and I use my iPhone to listen to Pandora instead.

Last weekend was Ryan's 70.3 Steelhead. Well, not quite 70.3; the swim was canceled due to 6-8 foot waves, so they did a time trial start for the bike. Ryan raced as a Pro like he has the past two years, for US Pro Tri Team. Right after he took off, I started my 20miler. Ryan's dad biked the first loop with me--we did the 2-loop 13.1 mile course for the run. It felt SO easy and the volunteers were AMAZING. They kept offering me drinks, and even though I told them every time that I was just doing a 20mile run and not actually in the race, they ran alongside with me to give me the drink! These 70.3 volunteers seriously rock!

Because I was doing my 20-miler, I didn't actually see Ryan on the bike. After the race, he told me that he was riding close to a pack of riders and with 5 miles to go, his water bottle cage started bouncing around and hitting his calves so he was forced to take it off. Next, he went to grab a gel and they ALL fell off. He got close enough to the pack to ask for fuel, but no one offered him any (I'm not sure they heard him though since people bike so fast on the last portion of this bike!). The last 5 miles he said he kept feeling like he was going to pass out and that he was "seeing those black stars" (you know, what happens right before passing out). He later told us that he saw a cup and full gel on the ground within the first mile of the run and downed both right away. This probably saved his race...

I continued to do my loops on the 5.5 mile loop (1mile out to the loop, 1 mile back to equal the 13.1) and got a little nervous when I started to see runners with numbers 20ish on as Ryan was #15 so should have been close to them. When I finally did see him, he gave me the same look that I give when I'm struggling. He wasn't very far back though, so I continued to encourage him. Something must have clicked because his overall 13.1 was 1:17, which isn't bad for not having fuel.

I ended up finishing my 20-turned-21-miler with a 7:37 pace (the first four miles were all over 8minutes, so I was pretty happy) and was so excited to see Ryan. He told me the news and I was even more impressed with how well he did. He finished 15th out of 38, and had he been able to run the 1:12 he would have (provided he had been fueling properly), he would have been in contention for the prize money. Just another one of those "lessons learned the hard way." NEVER tape all of your Gels together as if they all fall off, your race will suffer!

I guess I should have mentioned too that Ryan didn't go to sleep as early as he would have.... because I surprised him. I drove up to Benton Harbor on Saturday and arrived right as the expo was ending. I snuck up to his car and asked, "Do you need any help loading things?" and it took him a second to realize it was me, but I can't tell you how AMAZING it was to be reunited after 12 days. We for sure stayed up too late talking about our past 12 days, but both did well:)

I definitely need some motivation to continue with this "just running" training as it gets more difficult every time I go to a tri/du. For the first time in my life, I ran a 70-mile week. I used to think that was CRAZY in college, but now it's enjoyable! I do truly enjoy the running, but think I am much more of a duathlon kind of girl. I can't wait to get this marathon over so I can get back on the bike:)

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