Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Overdoing it.

This marks the first week of fully working out with my new coach, Bill (coach for swimming and biking).  He told Ryan and I last week to really prepare ourselves physically and mentally for the "H*** Hole" of training we were about to enter.

He was right.

Yikes.  It's only Wednesday and I'm already tired.  In my tired body's defense, it has been through a lot.

Saturday, I ran the F^3 1/2 marathon.  It was originally planned to be a tempo, and it ended up being just a little bit faster than that.

Thursday, I was supposed to run a 45min progression tempo and just didn't have it in me.  I HATE doing workouts on treadmills.  HATE.  So, I tried to prepare myself by putting on one of my "dumb shows" that Ryan doesn't like to watch (Hawaii Five-O for those of you NCIS/CSI mystery show lovers like me) on...I felt really bad because he was biking in our workout room with me, but he knows I need something to keep me focused so was a great husband and let me put on my show.  Unfortunately, it didn't help as I had to stop to stretch my legs a few times during the run.

I told myself I'd just put the tempo into my 1/2 on Saturday.  And that I did.

My overall pace was 6:27 and I purposely ran the first 7miles at 6:20 to SHOW myself I could do it.  The next 6.1 were at 6:35s just to maintain my place as I was getting a lot of cheers and felt pretty strong!  The volunteers and other runners on the Lakefront path (where the race occurred) were just PHENOMENAL.  It was a great race, and one that I would definitely do again.

Oh, did I mention Tera Moody (5th place 2008 Olympic Trials) was there and I got to talk to her?  Yeah. I was pretty freaking psyched.

Once again, an amazing shot by photographer Ali Engin.

My brother, Nic, was the 4th place overall male...which was AWESOME to see since he wasn't expecting much from himself for a winter 1/2.  We ended the day by going to Tommy Guns Garage, a dinner-show type thing about the 20s in Chicago.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Really missing my sister.

Ryan and I headed straight to Schaumburg for a good night's sleep because....

...we were racing an Indoor Tri the next day!  I know this sounds crazy to a lot of you, but I did talk with Bill and we were on the same page.  My only regret was that I had to push  little harder than I had wanted to on Saturday and came up short in the bike on Sunday.

An indoor tri consists of a 10minute swim, 20minute bike (stationary), and 15min run (on an indoor track).  Your volunteer adds up the distance you accrue and that is how the places are determined.

I knew my run would cancel out anyone's swim, so that my bike would really have to be strong if I wanted a shot at top 3.  I was right.

I swam 22 laps, which was where I expected I would be.

I biked 7.8miles....I had expected that I would do 8.0-8.4.  Yeah those quads were a little sore.

I ran 20.5 laps (just over 2.5miles, so like 5:50something pace I think), but didn't really have a plan for that as I had left it all on the bike.

Four other females all biked over 8 miles, thus beating me.  One was Pro Triathlete Lauren Jensen.  Another girl that beat me was the girl I took to practice over the summer.. Alex Lorenz.  Her mom also beat me with an awesome bike.  I didn't know the other female, but will definitely have to watch for her come next indoor tri.  Overall, though, it was a fun day for all!

 Me with pro triathlete Lauren Jensen, the overall female winner.
 Me with some of the MMTT girls crushing it on the bike.
Clearly super pumped about riding this bike.

Bill  had me do a computrainer workout on Monday, and as expected, it kicked my butt.  I did well, but tonight's workout was MUCH better according to Ryan who observed them both.

I've been getting more into this swimming thing too.  Still no progress on flip turns, but feeling better in the water....which is the first step in getting better at swimming.

Bill is having us come to his training place on Saturday for 3 hours of, um, "fun" on the computrainer.

Wish us luck....we'll need it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Working out while sick... the verdict is in.

I'm no doctor.

But I have been running long enough to know what my body is/isn't capable of and when to call it quits.

That day happened on Friday.

After having an upset stomach on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I kind of figured by Friday that working out wasn't such a good idea.

After a fun swim workout (serious, no sarcasm), I did my first real run workout since Snow Fun Run (5x 2min at 6:30pace, 2min at 6:10 pace, 2min at 6:03 pace, 2min at 8:00 pace) on Tuesday.  My stomach just had an empty feeling...nothing I ate seemed to solve that problem, so I figured I'd just workout anyway.  The run didn't quite agree with me, though, and I visited the bathroom quite frequently during that whole 40minute stint (sorry if that is TMI).  I ran with the LifeTime Fitness Run Club that night and surprisingly felt fine.

On Wednesday, I biked and ran, despite having that empty-nothing-can-get-me-full feeling in my stomach again.  Working out was much more successful than it was on Tuesday, but I did decide to start taking cold medicine just as a precaution.

Thursday was worse.  Unfortunately, it was also the day of our Faculty Basketball Game.  My students REALLY were looking forward to this, and despite my never playing basketball in my life, I knew I had to play.  I took some ibuprofen and hoped adrenaline would get me through the game.

It did.  And I even scored three 3-pointers in the process.  TOTALLY worth it when my students continuously talked about the game on Friday at school.

Thursday night, I had a Tastefully Simple party to go to at a friend's place.  I had never been to one of these, but figured my stomach wasn't upset while playing the game, so I had to be okay.  I was glad I went as it was SO much fun catching up with everyone, but I definitely paid for it on Friday.

My stomach hurt, my throat hurt, I was a mess.  So, I came home after school and literally laid on the couch for 5 hours straight.  Looking back on it today (36 hours later), I actually kind of enjoyed just doing nothing.  The pain sucked, but I caught up on quite a lot of reality tv!

I woke up Saturday morning, seriously hoping that I would be able to run.  I had a 15mile run planned with 4x5minutes at 6:10 pace in the middle.

Naturally, I ran on the March Madness course.  Every one of my 4 segments was on one of the (many) hard hills on the course.  My lungs were BURNING on the warmup, so I kind of figured this would be a long, hard run.

Surprisingly, by the time I hit the 4th and final segment, I was feeling SO good that I actually ran a full mile (6:09) instead of just the 5minutes.

Now, I would never recommend doing something like this to anyone.  It definitely wasn't smart, but I've run while sick and failed miserably before, so I knew what my limit was.  I knew that a day of rest (something my body rarely gets) was enough to kick the cold/flu bug out of me.

With the flu being worse this year than ever, it is very important to take care of yourself.  If you miss a workout or two in January, WHO CARES? All that matters is what you do come race time.  This is a super important lesson that I have learned the hard way many years.  I'm stubborn and hate nothing more than taking a day off of working out.  If you get anything out of this post, please know that your health is much more important than getting a workout in...chances are the workout won't even be that good (and could possibly cause more damage).

Knowing your limit is SO important when it comes to training while sick.  Sometimes, you just need that workout to remind your body that it can fight off the cold/flu/whatever.  But, it is a very fine line.. a line I have been on the wrong side of many times.

Being healthy again today, Ryan and I went into the city and did a LONG, HARD computrainer bike workout with our swim guy, Bill.  It Was Awesome.  3hours/50miles of a workout.  The last time I rode for 3 hours was maybe two summers ago, so today was huge.  Today was the first day that I really got PUMPED about my attempts for Kona (it's constantly overshadowed by my goal of qualifying for the Olympic Trials for the marathon).

Hopefully more tips to follow in my next post now that I'm healthy again.  Stay warm and healthy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Swimming. It's just not the same as running.

My closest upcoming goal is to qualify for Kona.  You know, the Ironman World Championships.  Yeah, that race where you swim 2.4miles, bike 112miles and run 26.2miles.  All in one day.

Luckily for me, my qualifying race is just a half Ironman, so 1.2mile swim, 56mile bike, 13.1mile run.  And even better, I've already completed three half Ironmans (70.3's).  

My first 70.3 ever was Buffalo Springs Lake in Lubbock, Texas in June of 2010.  I missed qualifying for Kona by 9 seconds.  Short version of the story:  inexperience did me in.  

Little longer version of the story: I came out of the water better than expected, caught a ton of girls on the bike, started the run with about 15 girls ahead of me, passed all within the first 11miles of the run...

...and then, with ONE MILE to go, I ran up to the ONLY girl standing between me and Kona, planning to make my move on her just as quickly as I had on the other girls.  She notices my last name (I was wearing my Duathlon Worlds shorts, which say "Aubert" on the butt) and asks if I'm Ryan's girlfriend.  When I respond yes, she SPEEDS OFF.  I try to respond, but my legs didn't know how.  (after the race, I talked with the girl and found out she's a phenomenal athlete, so not only did I then feel better about myself, but I also realized that she definitely deserved that spot at Kona!!).

I watched her take my Kona slot.

I told myself after that race that the next 70.3 I raced competitively WOULD qualify me for Kona.  

Seriously thought this was the coolest thing ever.

And here we are.

Ryan and I started our swim training this week.  YIKES.

The last time I swam was at the HyVee Triathlon on September 2nd.  Yep, 4 whole months ago.

Let's just say that by the time I hit 1600m of my 2100 total meters last Tuesday, I was ready to be done.

And then I had to do a 2450m workout on Thursday.  And then we met with our swim coach on Friday to swim some more (and get evaluated and such).

We went to the New Glarus Brewery on Saturday (yeah, I realize this has nothing to do with swimming, quite the opposite in fact).  My shoulders were so sore that even lifting our beers caused me to feel the soreness.  

 Outside of the New Glarus Brewery.
After the Illinois vs Wisconsin game, we needed a beer... :(

So, moral of the story... I'm super out of shape when it comes to swimming and need to really stay focused and hit all of the swims I'm supposed to.  In the summer, I'd swim whenever the kids' triathlon team did (2-4 times a week) for whatever I felt like, or whatever my friend/amazing triathlon coach Jen Harrison recommended.  Having Ryan swimming as well will really help me in terms of staying motivated/committed. 

Alright, so now that we got the "Jacqui really needs to swim a lot more to be able to compete in a 70.3" issue out of the way, let's move on to the most exciting part of this blog.

I have ANOTHER coach!  

Cari is still going to write my run workouts as qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the marathon is really my MAIN goal.  BUT, now I also have a coach to improve my swim and bike as well.

His name is Bill.  His credentials include the following:

-was beat out by HUNDREDTHS of seconds to compete in the Olympics for swimming... by Michael Phelps
-won Rev3 Cedar Point in 2011 (that's an Ironman) for amateurs
-beat all but TWO pros out of the water at Ironman Wisconsin.  Did I mention that pros get a TEN minute head start on amateurs?

So, he's pretty good.  AND he understands my drive for the Trials and that this race is on my list and I want to qualify for Kona, but my BIG goal is the Trials.

What does this mean for my blog?  Well, I still plan on doing a lot of running races, but this blog is going to start to be more about triathlon training as well.  I think this is HUGE as cross training is SO important for runners.  I'm learning a lot from Bill, Cari and Earl and by piecing it all together, I think we have a huge chance of qualifying me for Kona and the Trials. 

Hopefully my experiences will be able to help my readers, running friends, and triathlon friends gain some knowledge as that is the main reason I write this blog.  I absolutely love giving advice, and working with these three people (plus many more who will be mentioned in future blogs) has already made me 10 times more knowledgeable than I was in college.

Stay tuned as this triathlon adventure is just getting started... :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

S-No-W Fun Run Recap

S-No-W Fun Run. Those three little words = massive amounts of craziness.  And this year was no exception.

This is midway through the night.

 John's sweet dance moves helped him win the Hunk Dance.

For those of you who live under a rock and don't know what S-No-W Fun Run is, it is a 5 mile run with a 5 hour after-party.  Big emphasis on the 5 hour after-party.  Truthfully, most people do the run so that they can party party party.  

When I say after-party, that is probably an understatement.  As soon as you finish the race, you are greeted inside by the Schnapps Stop.  Literally hundreds of Schnapps (and Rum Chata this year!!!!) to choose from. 

After you get your Schnapps, you go inside the grand ballroom to get in line for the food.  Standard burgers, brats, chips and cookies, but when you're partying for 5 hours, you need any fuel you can get.

Then there's the beer.  Four stations in the four corners of the ballroom.  Stacked with beer and pop throughout the night (yes, this year they did run out, but only for like 15 minutes).

So there's the drinks and food that make this race fun. 

And then there's the dancing.  There's this thing called the Sausage Dance, which is when all of the ladies get out on the dance floor and pretty much have a dance off.  There are a bunch of male judges (plus the two Playboy Playmates, really) who come out the first round and put a mini sausage necklace around you if they like your dancing.  Those who don't have a sausage by the end of the song are asked to leave the dance floor.  The next round, same thing goes on but there are less sausages to give away... this goes on for probably 3 rounds before it goes up to the audience for a narrowed down dance off.  6 or so girls are chosen as the winners by the judges, then the crowd cheers for them.  The winning 3 then have a dance off to see who is the true Sausage Queen.  

Unfortunately, we missed this part this year....because we were getting these crazy outfits ready.

More on this after the Hunk Dance recap.

After the Sausage Dance is the Hunk Dance.  Same thing, but instead of a girls' dance off, it's a guys' dance off.  Naturally, Ryan's best friend John (an incredible dancer, a PE teacher, and just a crazy energetic guy) was getting pumped up about this dance.  As his friends, we coached him throughout his dances and he kept getting to the next round.  Finally, when it came down to the final 6, he stripped down to his LMFAO outfit (minus the above box on his head) and just went crazy: break dancing, shuffling, the was unreal.

He won.  This was his crown.

With probably 30 minutes left in the evening, the DJ FINALLY played LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem"....we all stripped off our jeans and put our dancing wigs/sunglasses/mustaches on and got on stage.  Those of you who know me know that I'm not a dancer.  However, when your husband's best friend is as good as he is at dancing and reeeeally wants you to learn the dance, it's hard to say no.  So Saturday morning before the 2:30pm race, Ryan, RJ and I had John teach us the dance.  This was the same dance that John did as his entrance with my cousin Lindsey for the wedding party entrances.

Honestly, it was awesome.  We were all coordinated and didn't miss a beat.  The crowd went nuts.

They do awards at some point, too.  They call you up in 10-year age groups (i.e. 20-29) and hand out medals to the top 2.  Well, the Playboy bunnies hand out the medals.

Nic and his friends with their awards.

Aaaand these are the Playboy Bunnies.

SO, this race is more than a race.  Of course, competitive runners come to compete, but it really is more about the after party.  That being said, here is my race recap.

MILE 1-- 5:50.  My Saucony Dick Pond Fast Track racing teammates [Joe (running buddy), Mike (pushing and pacing us all), Shannon, Jessica and a few others] all got in a nice group.  Joe and I had texted the night before about what our goals were, and decided breaking 30 sounded achievable if we could work together.  When I saw him with Shannon and Jess, I knew that's right where I needed to be.  This mile felt easy and relaxed, but it was only the first mile...and we had another teammate ahead of us.
MILE 2--5:59.  Still felt pretty good going into this, and we were gaining on our teammate, Emma, ahead of us.  If we could catch her, we could all work as an even BIGGER pack to get after our attempt at breaking 30.  What a cool race for all of us.
MILE 3--5:57.  At mile 2.3x is where the turnaround is.  So it's not really halfway, but you feel like it should be. It was at this point that I started hearing cheers.  My DPFT teammates, my parent's Hillstriders Running Club friends, Lauren, Aunt Nancy, Nic's friends... it's pretty hard not to speed up when you hear so many positive cheers of encouragement.
MILE 4--6:02.  At about 3.25, I saw my dad walking along the side of the road.  He yelled to me that Ryan was winning and to "go get her"...meaning, Emma, the girl in front of me.  When I picked up the pace with the cheering, I had to break away from Jess and Shannon.  Joe had already sped ahead with Mike a bit, so I did have people that I could run with.  At probably 3.5, I caught up to Emma, who was running with Dave Schaefers (head guy of DPFT and someone who is super motivational).  Just before mile 4, I passed her and caught back up with Mike and Joe.  Joe and I took turns pushing each other as we were both definitely feeling tired.
MILE 5--6:04.  Right after mile 4 is a small uphill that winds through the Grand Geneva's groundskeeping area and someone's house I think.  During this part, Dave called to me that I was doing great but to keep it up.  Words I definitely needed to hear as at about 4.3miles, you get to go up this HUGE uphill that you started the race with (but running downhill in the beginning).  Ann Schaefers-Coles, Dave's sister, was at the hardest point in that uphill cheering and taking pictures...seriously what I needed to motivate me to push hard up that last part of the hill.  Once we turned, I knew we had just under a half mile to go.  This is where Mike got me going.  He told me to "run like you're scared."  He wasn't by any means saying there was a girl close to me (though there was), but moreso he was saying it to help me finish strong...
TOTAL-- 29:55...and that I did.  Once I saw that clock hit 29:49, I just HAULED it in.  Luckily, there were only probably 30 guys ahead of me that had to witness that ugly sprint...but, man, was it worth it. I achieved my "break-30 minutes" goal, which was truly my only goal going into the race.  The second place female, Shannon, finished 5 seconds behind me.  The girl I passed around 3.5, Emma, finished third, just 5 seconds in back of Shannon, and Jessica finished pretty quickly after her.  HUGE shout-out to Mike Cauley for kicking my butt and pushing me to finish strong--I cannot thank you enough:)

How incredible is it to run a race that is loaded with competition?  It was SO much fun working the Shannon and Jessica throughout this race.  I can't even count how many people told me how cool it was to see three bright pink jerseys pushing each other and running together.

Here's to hoping everyone else's first weekend of January was full of fun!