being a spectator

(And I will never do an Olympic triathlon)

Yesterday, Dan had his first tri ever. He has a half ironman in 6 weeks. And it’s about time he actually complete one triathlon before then. I mean, he’s not even training (kidding! He’s training plenty! Just not crazy, and over-training like I would be)

So, as a dutiful girlfriend and fellow athlete, I decided to go for moral support, and to help pace him on the run part.

We got there bright and early at 8am, and wandered through the body markings area and I started SoccerMom’ing it up- making friends with all the other ‘supporters’.

The swim was first (1500m or almost a mile), and the first guy came charging out of the water in like 18:30 or something… Insane! And he had a few minute lead on the others. We all cheered violently when we saw the first white cap come out of the water (40+ male), and even harder when the first pink cap came running out (female).

Still no Dan.
But it was like 30-minutes, so these people were smoking it! Finally a group emerged with Dan at 37:30. I hit ‘lap time’ on my iPhone’s timer, and ran to the transition area sidelines, as Dan got ready for the bike. He seemed to take his time changing out of his wetsuit and preparing for the ride, and told me he got kicked several times and got a little freaked during the swim (so it was a tad slower than he had hoped).

Yep, he sat down to change. I would have too!

Yep, he eventually sat down. I would have too!

And he took off, biking around the lake for 26.5 miles. I made mental notes that I could run that far…

mouth full of shot blocks

mouth full of shot blocks

We had no idea how long this ride would take. He had been going 16-18 mph with a local bike group . But, I couldn’t do the simplest math, so I just waited until I saw him come to the transition area.

Finally, an hour and a half after he left for the bike, he came rolling in. The clock read 2:12, but the winner had already finished (2:04! That’s crazy!). I cheered as loudly as I could to get Dan’s attention, but he was tired and the music was loud. So I jogged/walked to the run start to help him get started.

Dan is fast. BTW. Like 20-minute 5K, and could probably pull a 41 or 42 minute 10K time. I’m not that fast, so I thought I’d pace him a little, and if he was really hurting, I’d stay with him longer.

I saw him and started smiling (like a dope, waiting for him to see me). He finally saw me, and I set off with him. He told me a little about the tri, and told me he felt like he couldn’t get his feet back under him after cycling for that long. So we started at nice easy 8’s. And I stayed with him for .34 miles before I had to drop off.

Look him taking out that old man. Who cares if the 75-year old started 4 minutes later?

Look him taking out that old man. Who cares if the 75-year old started 4 minutes later?

The course was an out-and-back 5K twice. Which made it easy for me to pace in pieces. I walked ahead and cheered for other runners, as they finished up their tri. I kept walking until I saw a turn, and stopped there, waiting for Dan. He wanted to finish in less than 3:00, which meant he had to finish the 10K in less than 48:00, which is very do-able for him. But would be hard, and I could tell he was getting tired.

Have I mentioned Dan doesn’t really do distance? Like 8-9 miles (in an hour and change) is the longest he trains. 🙂

I finally saw him, and I felt a surge of energy, so I wanted to stay with him for close to a mile (back to the 5K completion). We were pushing 7:40s. And I felt strong, but could tell Dan was struggling to keep that pace. So I stayed with him a little longer, and we pushed down to 7:20s before I needed to drop off again (after 0.7 miles). And he was almost to the 5K marker/ turn-around. I hit my iPhone timer for another lap (25min or so), but that was including his transition time.

I looked for him. I ran with him again for another 0.5 miles. He was struggling. Barely keeping up my 7:45 pace, so we dropped down to a 8:00 pace, to let him adjust before the home stretch. I made jokes that I was taking it easy on him now, because I wouldn’t on the last mile.  I wanted to make sure he came in under 3:00, and the run is his easiest part.

I dropped off again before the same turn (just by the final turn-around). I glanced at his overall time- 2:50. 2:51… Okay, Dan, you need to get here by 2:52 to safely bring it in before 3:00. 2:53 may work… C’mon, c’mon!

Finally, I saw him again (clock read 2:52:30), and we took off. One mile left babe. You’re at 2:52 on the clock, you can do it but you’re gonna have to work for it! I forgot that meant I’d have to run that fast too… And pushed quickly down to a 6:30 pace. I told him to just stay steady with my legs, Just stay with this pace. You’re doing great. We’re down in the 6:30s. Keep it up. Keep it steady, etc. We got to the finish so quickly. And I felt really strong (I know, it’s not about me, but I can’t usually run that fast). I gave him a final pat on the ass, and yelled ‘Bring it on it!’ And just cheered as he hit the final 0.2 miles. As I peeled off and ran through the cycle finish, I stopped my timer- 2:59:02, but I had no idea when he finished…

He had finished in 2:58:40! Wooo!

"It hurts to smile. This is the best you're getting out of me"

“It hurts to smile. This is the best you’re getting out of me”

I was so proud. And proud to have been a part of it, and able to help. Turns out we ran the last mile (according to my garmin) in sub-6:00 pace. Not sure if that’s accurate. But we were flying. And eventually going too fast for me to glance down, so it’s possible. And he brought it in in under 7-minutes FTW (from 5 mile mark to the finish, or 1.2 miles).

We went to shower (ugh! Boys smell so gross after endurance events), and then to Raleigh Times for a celebratory beer (Mother Earth Second Wind. Mother Earth makes good stuff and the name attracted me to it. It was a good solid American Pale Ale).

And in case you were curious, Dan finished the 10K portion in 46:21, faster than I can run a 10K, and all in all, a good solid time. Proudest girlfriend ever. And glad I got to be a part of it all.

Ironman will be interesting. I might have to run the whole half marathon with him. To help him keep a slower, steady pace (which is still fast for me). We will see. We joked that I might have to pace Tom, his brother, as well. And I was like, Ummm. I ain’t running a marathon to support you two 🙂 with a kiss. Also we estimated he will finish the Ironman in 6.5 hours. Better bring my sunblock (I’ll be in the sun 930am-230pm then). And I’ll give you all the highlights for that as well.

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10K+… the plus adds a lot

Sunday, Dan was planning a 5K track run, as a baseline; to figure out how much training he’ has to do to get a PR. I needed to get in 5-8 miles, but wanted some speedwork too. So, I decided in a fit of genius to run to the track, meet up with him, do some sprints, then get a ride back from him.

I headed away from the track for a quick lap around the area before heading toward the track (straight shot ~4 miles on a greenway). My first mile was 9:00, and I thought “Well that’s okay. I can slow down and settle in. I have another 4 miles, plus speedwork.” And I thought I settled in some during the second mile, but it was a 9:01. I then hit a half mile uphill jaunt, which slowed me to a 9:18. And then began pulling back a bit- a 10:33, with another uphill struggle for a good bit (and confusion of which way to fork on the greenway). My next mile I felt comfortable, and the 65-degree sun was warmly hitting my back. With the wind blowing, I felt great! And then Dan drove past, and honked with encouragement. 8:59.

I then hit my final hill (close to a mile uphill) to the track. I just tried to let my legs loosen up some. I noticed I was hitting 6.0 miles. I kept looking for the turn-off for the middle school, and was thinking I maybe missed it. Especially when the sidewalk ended. But the next turn off was the school. I slowly jogged to the stairs, hit them quickly. Then, hit the track with a decent stride for a 400m sprint. 1:21! Nice (Okay, I started a little after the official start line, so it was about a 335m, but still…) I dropped off to grab some Nuun (Thanks Dan for bringing that to the track for me). Walked around once, then ran a 100m sprint. Then walked 200m, and ran 200m. Walked 200m, and ran another 200m. My final “200m” was actually 225m, and I clocked it in 0:49. I don’t generally time these things. But felt like I finished strong. Well, hard. My legs almost gave out as I finished the last sprint. Which, isn’t that really the point of sprints? To push you to your limits? I stretched a good bit, and walked a few times around with Dan, who was finished and cooling down.

[Dan’s 5K was off. His goal was 6:30s for the first mile, and sub-6 by the last mile. Instead, he was keeping a strong 6:15, which he said felt way too hard. He was tight, and couldn’t loosen up, so scrapped it at about 9 laps, after a decent warm-up. I felt bad, as he was hoping for better. But I am guessing he has learned something from the workout and will hit his goal in the next one]

So my total mileage ended up at 7.05, average pace was 9:33; though average pre-track was 9:18. Mostly 9’s excluding the excruciating uphills of the course (which have made me stop to walk in the past)

All in all, I felt like I pushed myself well. I maintained a 10K pace for the first 10K, then got in some good strong sprints at the end. I ran a social run to kick off the Rock n Roll series coming to Raleigh in 2014. Three miles with Dan (and ~100 of my “closest” running buddies haha). All the major muscles in my body are pretty sore, but I definitely feeling like I am becoming a stronger runner. All thanks to compression socks. Or myself. But probably the socks.

I always think as I become a stronger runner, I become a stronger person. So, stronger is better.

Refocusing and holday challenge update

So, since I ran my marathon (more than a month ago? What the heck? When did that happen…?), I’ve been looking for my “next thing”.

Of course, I would love to up the anty somehow. Run 13 half marathons in 2013. Run an ultra. Or something else new and exciting. Honestly, if someone would fund the 13 half marathons in 2013, I probably would do it, but half marathons can get pricey average $75×13…= $1000, and that doesn’t include any travel expenses… I’d rather save that $1000 for something else. New shoes? (Gosh, not one new pair of shoes)

So I started this holiday activity challenge (do something active every day between Thanksgiving and the New Year). And I knew I wouldn’t completely fall off the running wagon since one of my goals for 2012 was to run 1,000 miles. And I’m almost there- 969 to be exact. So 31miles more in the next 20 days (that should be achievable).

My overarching goal for 2013 is to maintain my speed and intensity, and enjoy running (not that I don’t enjoy it now, but more preventing the burn-out and injury). I’ve been running pretty fast lately, for me. I’d like to keep that going.

So what’s already on my plate for 2013?

1. Palmetto200 Agony of De Feet team (not sure how many miles yet, but likely 18+), April 12-13. Oh, and I’m team captain.
2. Richmond Marathon (sub-4:30?), November 16.

So should I add…

1. St Pattys Run Green 8K. March 2 (5 miles through the historic area of downtown Raleigh, ending at one of my favorite little pubs, with a free delicious adult beverage)
2. Krispy Kreme Challenge. February 9 (run 2.5 miles from NCSU to Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen doughnuts, run the 2.5 miles back; all without yuking and under an hour for a prize. That leaves me ~10 minutes to eat all those doughnuts)
3. Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon. April 6 (one week pre-Palmetto-relay, and not likely to be speedy as a result)
4. Lookout Capital Half Marathon. June 1 (first weekend in June)
5. Mentoring Fleet Feet’s Beginner Half Marathon Training Program. Jan 22- Apr 14 (Which would ensure I don’t skip a Tuesday night workout and a Saturday morning workout, though I will likely go a lot slower and it will test my patience with slower runners)
6. Be a rock star and PR a couple 5Ks.
7. Be a rock star and PR a 10K
(This is assuming my Hot Chocolate 10K from 2012 doesn’t count, as I was pacing a slower friend 5 miles of the way, and finished in 1:12, which is a lot slower than I would imagine I would really run)

Holiday Challenge Update:

Alright, I don’t remember where I left off…
Let’s just say last Wed, 12/5 (Though I’ve done something every day, if you include sitting on an exercise ball to work my core one day at work and the pending headache)…

Wed, 12/5: Quick treadmill run. I was going to make it a “as fast as you can mile” but need some warm-up, and completed 1.5 miles in 11:39 (go me! 7:48 pace). I enjoy speed. And it was a 15-minute workout that burned ~200 calories.
Thur, 12/6: I was in Boston, but managed to walk 0.7 miles with my suitcase in tow (9am). Then walked 0.7 miles to work with my coworkers (11am), then wandered from hospital to hospital with coworkers (1pm). Walked the 0.7 miles back to our inn (8pm). Total miles walked: ~3 miles.
Fri, 12/7: Oh, Boston, how I walked you. I walked the 0.7 miles to work (9am). We then walked 1.5 miles to our lunch destination (12pm), and walked the 1.5 miles back (2pm). Then, walked 0.7 miles back to the inn (4pm). We then walked 0.5 miles to get on the green line (430pm), wandered around downtown, Boston Common, the State Building, the Financial District, and eventually back to Fanueil Hall (Fanueil Hall was about a mile from Boston Common, and about 2 miles from our “wait a second… I thought Fanueil Hall was on Congress” moment in the North End). Then we walked to dinner, maybe another half mile. Then! We walked from downtown Boston back to our hotel, through the Back Bay area, through Fenway, etc. A grand total of ~10 miles for the day. (I swear, that might actually be an underestimation; 1.5 miles for work, 3 miles for lunch, 3 miles wandering, dinner, then 3 miles back to the inn)
Sat, 12/8: Walked through the freaking rain! Ugh. That sucked. But I had scrapped my run Friday night, and had not calculated how much we walked Friday night, so I thought we could walk to Cambridge… 5 miles roundtrip.
Sun, 12/9: 9 mile run with Dan. I went out WAY too fast (probably low 8’s), and that caught up with me on the first major hill. My phone didn’t “start” the app, so I don’t know how fast we went out, but Dan (who runs consistent 8:00-pace) said he was out of breath the first few miles and hoping I would slow down. On the way back, I had to walk a little here and there, but we still managed 10:48 (average) with walking, so I’m okay with that. Next time, I’ll go out slower…
Mon, 12/10: 2 mile loop by my house. I tested my headlamp without a hat. But it was still 65 degrees out. It felt good. After a brief 9:30 half mile warm-up, my legs wanted to go fast, and with no training plan, I let them go nuts. 9:00, 8:16 for my splits. I was holding a steady 7:30 pace for the last mile, but decided I’d rather cool-down some, and slowed the pace for an even 8:16 🙂
Sorry those challenge recaps were so long. I feel the need to justify not running, but honestly, I walked twice as much as I would have ran in Boston, so I think it’s okay. My goal for the next few weeks is to increase my mileage so that my long runs seems decipherable (10 miles this Sat, 12 next, etc.)