Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dear Good Night's Sleep

Dear Good Night's Sleep,

We've been struggling lately. No more late night cuddling. No more dreaming of what could be.

It's been tough on me. I even admit that I've been cursing you each day for leaving me.

But who's to blame? Have you found another? 

Maybe it's my fault.

I can change.  You know this happens every winter. I have to cut back on my exercise and intensity level.

It affects me in ways that I don't really like. Sometimes I'm moody, irritable, but it's all because of you. You left me when I needed you most. I need the rest. Yet, you leave me alone.

I sleep better when I pummel myself with hours and hours of exercise. My mood is better. My outlook is better.

Yet, a body needs to rest too. I can't go 100mph all year long.

I can commit to this. 

I can change.

I am going to change, TODAY. I can't handle these late night wake up sessions any longer.

Today.

Will you please take me back?


Sunday, December 9, 2012

What's Next for Tea

Prior to Vegas, I couldn't even think about next year. 

Then, I took a few days off....lost days....I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to think about anything other than getting myself up and off to work (ie---drag my butt to the loft).

Things started coming together. I started doing some strength work. Then I biked. Then I ran. Then I attempted a swim. (We'll just leave that one alone. I'm sure the gym will let me return once the excitement dies down).

I started thinking about what I want to do, what I want to race, what I want to focus on, etc.

Maybe I could do things a little differently this year? 

Last year, I felt like a first time triathlete all over again. I was trying to take in so much. I wanted to become a better runner, not just faster but BETTER. 

Of course, I was faster when I was racing. I can honestly say that I didn't become a better runner until recently. It took me a year. I know I haven't even scratched the surface. 

Thank you Coach Mike for being so patient with me.

Does that sound crazy? That it took a YEAR? It really is true. I've told Coach this before. I've read articles. I've researched online about becoming a more efficient runner.  Until I had someone say to me: DO THIS EXACT WORKOUT. I didn't get it. RUN THIS PACE. RUN THIS HR. DO IT. DO IT NOW. 

And THEN IT BECAME---DO THIS IN A RACE. DO IT. DO IT NOW.DON'T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE.

Maybe that's not EXACTLY what he said, but it's pretty close.

Finally, after a year, all the pieces fell into place. It didn't happen at a race. Nope. I was running one week, and I noticed that I felt different. I noticed my stride was different. EVERYTHING was different.

So much so that the family unit has taken it upon themselves to declare Wednesday nights as "let's make fun of how Tea used to run."

HOURS of good old fashioned family time.

Some families play board games.

Mine makes fun of me.

I'm trying to say this.

I have a long way to go with my running. After seeing what I've done in one year, I'll be patient. I'm not the fastest runner, but I'm not the slowest either. I'm way above average. Maybe I'll never break into a 9:00 pace in a half marathon, but maybe I will. Maybe I'll even get into the 8's. Who knows? If I'm having fun doing it. That's the most important piece.

And I AM enjoying running, for the first time in years. 

Over the coming weeks/months, I have a TON of shorter races on my schedule. They're fun. They keep me going in the winter. 

Another thing I've learned is that the more I race, the more I can enjoy races. Not every race is for a PR. Sometimes I goof off (like in Florida). Sometimes, I work on different strategies. Sometimes I test out Indian food the night before a race. 

Whatever my plan is for that day, I can have fun with it. It is WAY more fun for me to not treat every single race as the BIGGEST MOST IMPORTANT RACE IN MY WHOLE WORLD.


I've come up with a schedule that let's me do my tri's but gives me a lot of chance to work toward my 2:15 half goal.

Running isn't my only goal.

I want to really work on my bike. I'm not quite sure what happened last year. I need to prove that my bike speed last year wasn't a fluke. 

After the winter races, then I'm running a half marathon in NY with my brotha from anotha mutha. Given that it is about a month from my first tri of the season, I will probably run this one for fun. Definitely using an easier running strategy than I did in Vegas.

Rumor has it, I'll be going to AZ in March for a week. We'll see.

June, I'm thinking about a sprint tri
July, I've got a sprint tri at the beginning of the month and Then Rocky Mtn at the end of the month. 

Rocky Mtn will be my priority race. I would really like to see what I can do. I had a great race last year. I think I can beat it.

August, I'm thinking about doing an Oly.

A ton of the swim/runs (either at cherry creek, aurora or boulder res), and I'll call it a season.

Then, I'm into Sept. I'm going out to KS to run a half with Sam. There are a few at that time of year that look pretty good and that Sam is familiar with. We'll see how this goes (leading up to the race).  

Is it too close to Vegas (Dec 2nd ish) to run hard? Hmmm. We'll see.

Moving on....

ROAD TRIP anyone?

I would LOVE to visit IM Lake Tahoe (also September) and check out the course.

October: Maybe that's more of MY off-season. Nah. Because in November, I'll go back to attempt to annihilate my 2012 4mile Turkey Trot PR.

Also in November: I might be going to IMAZ, check out THAT course

December, it's back to Vegas.

And that's it. 

I think it's a great schedule. I'll get to visit some friends and have fun at local races.


I'm looking forward to it all.  After all the racing I've done this year, I think that's a good sign. 





Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How I ran a 10 mile warm up for a 5k

This is now my 3rd attempt at writing a race report. 

I am going to make this my best attempt YET at staying on topic. If I manage to go off on tangents just skip to the parts you want to read about. My feelings aren't hurt.

What race?

Rock N Roll Vegas--half marathon

Before I even go into my race report, let's talk about this for a minute.

I had a lot of people complain about the price of the race, the price of travel, the cost of the hotel accommodations....

Here's the deal. There are THOUSANDS of half marathons and marathons. I bet if you looked hard enough, you can probably find one near your home.

THIS IS A DESTINATION RACE. YES it's expensive. YES you have to pay for all that stuff.

DON'T GO IF IT'S TOO MUCH FOR YOU. This was a race that I had planned with my friends. It was a getaway weekend that was a BLAST.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I recommend this race to everyone. I knew that I'd eat alot. I knew that I'd be up late at night. I didn't even care. 

I'd heard some people complain about the race from previous years (when I was at the start). I'll go through all of those. Either the RD listened to feedback or I just didn't have any of the issues people have had in previous years. 

The day before the Race

I signed up for the pasta dinner because it was the only night I didn't have plans. My friend Suzanne arrived earlier in the day and was meeting a friend for dinner. 

You know how the pasta dinners are, rather mediocre and bland. But, I really wanted to hear John The Penguin Bingham and Frank Shorter speak.

Due to a comedy of errors, I barely made it. I got to the dinner after the speeches were done and the dinner was almost over. 

Wasn't exactly what I was planning. I was tired. I had walked miles and miles getting from one place to another to the expo to the dinner and being lost all over the place.

When I got back to the MOST AWESOME room EVER, I decided to call it a day. I'd gotten up early. My legs were starting to get sore from the miles. (Probably not good the day before the half). I stretched and relaxed.

The Day of the Race

For those of you who are unaware, last year RNR made this race a night race. So, we have all day to hang out in Vegas.

I met Suzanne for the RNR Brunch. THIS time we got there almost right at the start. Still, all the tables were full with the exception of one table in the front.

This table has a wonderful couple from NZ, a guy from Ireland and two other guys.  We were all talking when the announcement was made that The Penguin and Shorter were going to speak!

BONUS! I was going to hear the speeches after all!  I turned to the guy next to me, and say, "I'm so excited I missed this last night!" 

But he didn't hear me because the two gentlemen had gotten up and were heading to the stage.

Yep. 

I was having breakfast with The Penguin and Frank Shorter and had no clue. If you know me, that shouldn't surprise you. 

After breakfast, it was a blur. I honestly cannot remember what we did. Somewhere in there, I had these banana crepes that I just drooled all over....really....THAT good. 

I don't know. 

At some point, I needed to get off my feet. 

BUT I JUST COULDN'T. Suzanne played blackjack. She couldn't walk much because of her broken foot, but that didn't stop me!

OH worthy of a mention here. WHAT TO WEAR was a pretty big deal. Suzanne and I went back and forth. The highs were going to be 70, but the CA storm was bringing in 40-50 mph winds. During the day, it was quite comfortable.

But once the sun goes down AND it's windy....I decided to go with the long sleeved shirt that I brought. My thinking was that I've run races and been really hot. If it turns out that way, I'll drink a little more and deal with it. I just cannot stand being cold, and I have a low tolerance for cold. I run in the cold, but I always bundle up.


The night of the race....well, afternoon really.

If you plan on doing this race, make sure you stay at a hotel that has a free shuttle to the start. The walks are not that far. (My hotel was 1.5 miles from the start). BUT, there is a ton of walking once you get to the start, and it's a long wait for the half marathon start and then for your corral to start. I was in corral 19. Suzanne was in 26. From the time we waited to catch the shuttle to the time I started running, 3 hours had passed.

None of this bothered me. You have to enjoy the experience. We stayed at the Palazzo. They had the best set up for the shuttle. It was incredibly organized.

The RD had tons of water and snacks at the start. Bands were playing. We all went over and watched the marathon start.

This is more than just a race. The whole experience was so much fun. I think the participants understood this. I talked and met so many people, and they were the nicest people I have EVER met at a race.

Just FYI: port-a-potty lines were long. Took me 30 minutes to get through it. Get in line early! (When I saw the lines, that's exactly what I did).

When Suz decided to go check her bag, we lost each other. I had to move from where I was as the street cleaners came through. With 60,000 people, be prepared to lose your friends.

Another note, please don't bring family and friends to the start. Sign them up for the text tracker and have them cheer you on from the hotel. Honestly, it will save THEM a ton of headaches. I didn't mind all the supporters there, but you could tell they were tired, especially the ones with small children. It's a long time to wait with kids. 

I'm a little sensitive toward the sherpas because poor Mr. Tea watched the boys for many years when they were small. He always looked more tired than me at the end of a race.

Learn from my mistakes.

The Race

This was going to be my 3rd race in 3 weeks. Until I did the half marathon in FL, I hadn't really considered going for a PR.

As I said before, there were SO MANY reasons why I shouldn't go for a PR here. 

The weeks leading up to the race, I didn't want to tell anyone. 

Then I read a quote on twitter. The gist of it was "Nothing great happens from conservative goals."  

Coach and I had already come up with a plan. I thought about it, and I said, "I want to be more aggressive." 

What did I have to lose? 

He sent me a new plan, not my traditional, 5/5/5 plan....noooooo, he sent me a beast of a plan.

If you want to know what it was, you have to hire him and go through all the punishing workouts that I endured over the past few months.

I will say this though. The first thing I thought was, "This is really going to hurt."

But that's what I wanted! I've spent too many years plodding along and just finishing half marathons. My times always come in a minute or two north or south of the same time.

At this point, I was willing to do whatever I had to do to get close to a PR. 

The question was, would I be able to handle it? If you have truly raced a half marathon, you know what I'm talking about. I don't care if your pace is a 6 min mile or a 13 min mile, if you are racing it.....it feels different.

I packed my garmin. I set my race, and I was going to go for it.

Of course, I had some parameters. I wasn't worried about the first 5 miles. I had to clear 10 miles in under 1:50 if I wanted to have a chance at a PR. 

I didn't care about the wind (which lived up to the forecaster's warning).

I was going to go for it.

I didn't execute perfectly. In fact, I screwed up in some spots. I ran too hard early and really throughout, but I was so into the crowds yelling and the other runners and bands playing. Given that, I think I did a pretty good job. I just wasn't as disciplined as I could have been. I don't think it really cost me. But I don't know, maybe it did.

It took a lot of discipline, though, to NOT check my time. I didn't want to stress about not making the 1:50 time for 10 miles. Finally, at mile 9, I realized how much my pace was dropping. I knew that I was going to make my goal of 1:50. 

miles 8 and 9 were a  pretty hard effort. When I hit mile 10 in 1:47 or 1:48, I knew I had a chance at a PR.

BUT I COULDN'T SLOW DOWN. I had to give it everything. Anything that I had, whatever it was, I had to give it if I wanted the PR.

At mile 10, 80% of the field was walking. It was a matter of weaving in and out for me. I would run all the way from left side to the right side. It was crazy.

I kept thinking "Stay focused. keep moving fast. don't slow down."

That's when I saw her.

A woman, dressed exactly like me, running my exact pace.

She's the one. For the next 3.1 miles, we raced. We didn't just run. We RACED. There were times, we bumped each other. There were times we lost each other at the aid station. 

But we were running. The previous 10 miles were just a warm up for this last 5k. Over the 3.1 miles, my pace dropped from 10:50 to 10:40 to 10:34. 

Let that sink in, my average for the entire half marathon dropped to 10:34 over the last 5k. 

It was the hardest I have ever run at the end of a half marathon.

My watched click: 2:19
Then 2:20.

DAMMIT I DIDN'T RUN THIS HARD TO JUST MISS MY PR! 

PUSH IT!

I CANNOT GO ANY FASTER. 

Then we saw the finish. 

I didn't think I could hold it. The longest part of a half is that .1 miles. 

THEN I lost her. I stepped on the timing mat, and I couldn't find her. The person that pushed me to run harder than I have ever run. 

I was so tired.

Every part of my body hurt.

I just wanted to hug someone. I just PR'd. 

I wanted to thank her. She was gone.

The finish shoot is the longest finish shoot in history. I limped my way out. I started walking back to the hotel.

Still in disbelief. I did it. I thought I was a few years from getting a PR. Yea. I wanted it, but I....don't know. The reality hit me as I walked thinking about all of the hours I've put into training this year. 

Just then, I looked up. 

She was walking right in front of me.

I went up to her. I told her thank you. I told her that if it weren't for her pushing me I don't think I would have PR'd.

Then, she gave me a funny look. 

And with a very heavy Jamaican accent she said, "Lemme get a look atchoo girl."

She squints at me, "NO. Wait."

Then she grabbed my shoulders, AND I thought she was going to give me a hug. Instead, she spun me around.

"AH YES I RECOGNIZE that caboose! YOU! You made me run faster than I have ever run!"

WE talked and walked for a few more minutes before going to our own hotels.

The one really special thing about running in Vegas is the crowd. As I walked back to my room, people were giving me high fives. They were yelling CONGRATS RUNNER!

It was really amazing.

When I got to my floor, I was just overwhelmed. I was tired. I was hungry. I was hurting. I was happy. I wanted to tell my special people about my race. I knew they were tracking me, but I couldn't thank them. 

I started crying. Not just the little tears running down my face. I was bawling, right there, in the hallway of the Palazzo.

I finally reached my room, and I laid down. It was the best bed EVER.

And at that point, I won't say anything else. EXCEPT that it was a very late night consisting of eating and dancing until the wee hours in the morning.....as much as you can call what we are all doing "dancing".

*****************


The whole experience was amazing.

I thought I wouldn't be ready for a half marathon PR for a few years. 

If I did it once, I'm going to do again. I don't know when, but I have my sights set on 2:15.

Maybe next year. Maybe the year after.

When I finally do get to 2:15, I'll be ready to tackle the 70.3 again.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy this PR. I usually don't save my race medals, but this is one that I'm definitely going to save....at least until my next PR. 
















































Friday, November 30, 2012

Only one reason

Three weeks ago, I ran a half marathon. 

You all know the story. It was a blast. 

But, I have to admit....it left me wondering. If I felt that good, what am I capable of?

This Sunday, I'm running RNR Vegas. When I signed up, it was going to be me and my girlfriends getting together to have fun. No one was really planning on running for a PR. We were going to run as a group. 

Since then, they've all dropped out....for various reasons. That's fine by me. You gotta do what you gotta do.

It leaves me

alone

to figure out

if I have the guts enough to chase a PR

at the half marathon

which hasn't happened in a really long time

and I could go into many many many reason why IT COULDN'T HAPPEN.

and I have only ONE reason why it should

So with all the reasons that it shouldn't happen, trailing behind me, nipping at my heels, I have decided to ignore them.

For the past 3 weeks, I have worked on my nutrition.

I have done my workouts as PRESCRIBED....no excuses....no but I don't want to....

None of that. 

If my flight gets delayed....fine with me....I'm bringing on water an ipod and a great book. 

I have an excellent dinner planned Saturday night. I have breakfast and lunch and snacks....more of a guideline, but it's a plan nonetheless.

Whether I PR or not is yet to be decided.

For all those logical reasons as to why it SHOULDN'T happen.

I've only got one reason why it should.

Because I WANT IT.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

4 mile Turkey Trot Redeux

How many years that I've done this race? 

I don't even know anymore. 


We started doing this race on Thanksgiving when the boys were in strollers.


Then, my sister started doing it. She'd walk with the boys, and I'd run.


Then, the boys started running.


Then, I became a target.


Then, Jordan beat me the first time (when he was 16).


Then last year, Jordan beat me a 2nd time (when he was 17).


And I was pissed. REALLY mad. I wasn't mad that Jordan beat so much as I was just so mad at how my entire year(s) had gone and how no matter what I did I felt like I fell short of where I thought I could be. 


It was that day that I decided to sign up with Coach.


I have to say, Mr. Tea was really against the idea. The conversation was something like "Give me 3 months. If I don't see any improvement, I'll stop". 


Well, here I am a year later, and the conversation went something like this:


Me (a month ago): I was thinking that maybe I need a break from training.


Mr. T: You're breaking up with Ricci? Don't break up with Ricci.


Me: I'm not breaking up with him. I was just thinking of taking time off.


Mr. T: What will he say? You can't break up. You.just.CAN'T. I'm not going to let you.


Me: Ok. Fine. I'll just take off the week after my half. 


You gotta admit. That's pretty impressive.


Going into the race today, it was a little, I don't know. It was weird. I was the only one going to the race. That's ok. I do a lot of races on my own. 

It was weird because I realized that all those years of doing the race with the boys and getting up early and making the Thanksgiving Day breakfast and coming home and making dinner and watching football. They all went hand in hand.


So.yea.

20 mins before I'm leaving I hear this meek voice floating down the stairs.

"Tea? Tea? Are you still here?"

"Uh. Yea. I'm leaving in 20 minutes"

"I'm going with you."

If you follow me on FB, you also know the challenge that was henceforth thrown down.

"I'm up to see you PR. If I got up, your finish time better be in the 3x:xx"

Gawd, I hate pressure.  I'm hard enough on myself. A few minutes earlier, I'm thinking how nice it'd be to PR, but I didn't really think I could do it. Seriously, no finish times in recent history pointed to a PR. 

We head to the race. Since I was just planning on going myself, I left really late. My thinking was that I can run to the start as my warm up. As it turned out, we left a little too late and getting a parking space was a little tough. By the time I got parked, I was sprinting to the start (up hill). Not exactly the warm up I wanted, but it's something, right?

I have my strategy from the Great and Powerful Oz. That was fine. I got it. BUT, I was concerned with the times that I plugged into my garmin. 

Could I do it? Without blowing up? I have such a fantastic history of blowing up. With all the half marathon training, what would happen? Would I be slower? I have such a fantastic history of getting slower while half marathon training.

Once again, I just did as I was told. I put in the paces to increase every mile with the last mile running faster than my mile repeats. THAT's what scared me.

I've also found that I need to set my garmin where I don't see my heart rate or total time. I let it stress me out which causes my heart rate to go up which causes me to slow down which causes my time to increase.

In other words, I'm a basket case, but I've learned to work with it.

I kept saying to Mr. T, everyone is going to pass me. It's ok. I am going to catch them. I kept saying this over and over.

Which is clear that I wasn't actually telling this to Mr. T, I was reminding myself over and over to NOT GO OUT LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL.

The plan went smashingly, except for one thing. I think I actually went out too slow. I was running faster than what my garmin was set to....which means there was a whole lot of F*#$ YOU GARMIN.

It was a constant battle for me of "do I go faster or stick to my plan"?

I went conservatively faster.....faster than my Garmin....but not as fast as I could have. We're talking about a 4 mile race. It's not like I could have run :20 seconds per mile faster, but I could have gone :05. Could I have gone :10 faster? I don't know.

EXCEPT, the last half mile where I was going as hard as I could. My speed doesn't reflect it so much because it's a slight hill. But whatever....there was absolutely no smiling....I couldn't even try to smile.  When I saw the finish line, all I wanted was to see my pace drop into the 8's when I stepped on that  mat. 

And sure enough, it did.

I hit my garmin, and that's when the shock hit me. I just PR'd. It's been 9 years since I've seen a time that fast. I just killed my time from last year. My last PR was 39:32.

Last year, I finished in 44:23.

This year: 39:01 (official!)

My next race is a half marathon in 1.5 weeks. Remind me later that I'm saying I feel pretty good about it.

I don't know if it'll be a PR, but I think the stars might align for me.

I'd like it to be a PR.

I'd really like to be a PR. 
















Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It wasn't really about me, maybe a little

Sunday was the day.

Today was the half marathon that I was running with a first timer.

It was one of those races that far exceeded anything I have ever done on my own.

The craziness leading up to the race was just crazy.

The woman that I was pacing has been through more in a few months than I couldn't even imagine running a half marathon. Without giving up her confidence, imagine signing up for a race. Then, having everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Health issues, personal issues, family issues.

She had been through everything. It even came down to the point that her longest run had been 8.5 miles several weeks ago.Immediately before the race, she got sick. I mean really sick. 

We had a plan on how to run the race. With everything going on, I thought I'd ask the MAN.

He came up with a brilliant idea. We were going to run a half mile, walk a half a mile.

Normally, I don't go through the day before the race. In this situation, I have to. The race was in Florida. I live in CO. The day before the race, CO gets hit with a snowstorm. The flight to Florida is not exactly short.  To make it worse, we got stuck on the runway. 

Stuck isn't exactly the right word. We pulled onto the de-icing staging area. We go through the process when the pilot comes on and says, "Air traffic control will not let us take off due to the snow, but once this band of snow passes, we can take off before the next band comes in."

Yea. Ok. I don't sit well for long periods of time. And there's this problem of "hydration". 

To make a long story short, by the time we landed, I was beyond thirsty and hungry and tired and really just wanted to get to the hotel.

When I get to the hotel, I just can't sleep. The room is right off the road in downtown Orlando. It's noisy. So noisy.  I kept staring at the clock, thinking I have to get up at 3am. (Granted, 5am ET but for me it was 3am).

It was just a rough night. I was never so happy when 5am rolled around, and I thought "Ok, let's just do this thing". I ran to 7-11. 

1.) I needed COFFEE BADLY.
2.) I can't tell you how thirsty I was.

Of course, it was only appropriate that I bought my coffee and completely forgot to get some water. I have one of those little complimentary bottles from the hotel, and that was it.

I think, "Ok, no problem. We're running a half a mile, walking a half a mile. I will just drink a lot on the course."

When I get to the race, I realize just how small of a race this is. I mean, literally, some guy yells "on your mark, get set, go" type of thing, which is totally cool with me.

I spot Heather in her "Release the Kracken" shirt. I can tell she is really nervous. For weeks, I'd been telling her that she will surprise herself.  I hadn't been so tired and so dehydrated, I probably would have been a better support system. As it was, I was worn out.

We talk about our strategy. She's all for it.

On your mark, get set, go!

We start running.

The plan is working wonderfully. Then, around the 2nd mile, Heather turns around and sees the motorcycle cop behind us.

We are dead last.

Which causes a MAJOR freak out.

So much for the "just finishing goal".

I go into my "HeatherHeatherHeather" bitchslap mode. 

"It's going to be ok. Do you see all those people in front of us? We are going to pass them ALL. Every single one of them."

My infinite wisdom is not helping the situation.

"The OLD guy WALKING passed us" She yells.

"And the lady in the RED Shirt".

Nor is my incredible sense of humor helping much.

So, I say "Ok. Change of plans. Let's run to the aid station and walk .25 miles."

As we begin passing people, Heather calms down. At least we are not last.

One thing, you should know. We aren't going slow, even with the walking. The first 5 miles, we averaged an 11:44 pace. Last or not, that's not a joke with all the walking.

At the end of the first 5 miles, we decide to up the ante again.

This time, we are running to each aid station (about 1.5-2 miles), getting a drink and keep going. Minimal stopping.

From miles 5-10, we are picking up the pace quite significantly. Our average pace starts dropping 11:44, 11:30, 11:25, 11:15.

Heather is jazzed. She is so happy now. We are passing walkers (people who went out too fast). We are passing runners. Every time, I look at my watch, we are running at a 10:30 or faster pace. 

She starts yelling, "I feel so great! I feel amazing! I can't believe it"

Then, we cross mile 8.5. I turn to her and I say, "Every step from here on out is a PR. Every step is the furthest you have ever run."

She literally jumps into the air. Like a freaking basketball player. Where'd she get those hops from? Literally, jumping from excitement I assume.

Then she yells out, Did you see that bug? That gigantic creepy bug? 

So much for excitement about running a half marathon.

That's when the adrenaline hits. Heather is a non-stop talking machine: "OMG, my butt hurts. Does it hurt because I'm running further than ever. That'sprobablyit. I'm sure regular runner's butts aren't hurting right now. But I feel amazing. I can live with a sore butt. Really. That's the only thing hurting right now. I feel like amazing! just amazing! This is incredible. Oh sorry, I just burped. Sorry. At least I didn't toot. I didn't know that was coming. My butt hurts though. Does your butt hurt?"

I can't stop laughing. I say, "Actually my butt feel like this" and I suck in my cheeks. 

"Oh that's good. It's not just me then. I thought well I don't know. I just know that I feel amazing!"

"Perfect! Then when we get to 10 miles, let's go faster!"

At this point, I'm really feeling the dehydration. I can not focus on anything except getting a drink of water. 

As we are approaching the last aid station around 11.5. I need to stop for awhile. I can tell Heather is biting at the bit to run.

I say, "GO HEATHER. RUN. Don't wait for me! YOU are not just going to finish. You are not going to finish in 3:30. You are going to finish in under 2:30."

She says, "But, I need to wait for you. You said I'd surprise myself. And I did. And I wouldn't have done it without you. I'm not going to leave you."

"No. Go! Run! this is your day. If I can catch up to you, I will. If not, I will be right behind you. But run hard. Really hard. Run with whatever you have left."


I watched her take off. So happy. It was like she was floating and not running.

I ain't gonna lie. That last mile and a half was really hard on me, but I went hard, as hard as I could. The last 5k, put our average pace at around 11:08. 

Heather finish about 2 minutes before me. I don't think I've ever seen someone glowing as much as she was. She was still going on about "feeling amazing". And she should have. She talked about it all day for the rest of the day.

At lunch, we talked about her next half. She wants to do one so bad, one where maybe she can actually train for it and not deal with the stuff she had to deal with. 

As for me, it was a great race. I had a fantastic time running with Heather. The miles went by so quickly.

Ricci is always telling me to start slow, and I've never really understood how to run slow. It goes against conventional wisdom....or my own lack of conventional wisdom. If I'm having a really hard time at the end, how can I possibly run faster at the end? If I don't run fast at the beginning, how am I going to reach my goals? Doesn't he understand? I really am slow. Those rules don't apply to me. They apply to fast people. People who can run like the wind. It didn't make sense to me. But, I wasn't reaching my goals the way I was doing it. My strategy for running a half marathon: Sufferfest. Most of my half marathons, ended the same way....with me walking the last 5k. 

Not this time.

This time was totally different. It was my first half marathon using his plan. No matter what our pace was, he had me ready for it. I even said to him, "I don't have to run mile repeats that fast. In fact, I shouldn't even be running mile repeats. I will be running the race much slower." I could feel the raised eyebrow and he said, "Yes. You do. You need to train at YOUR paces." 

Um. ok. SOMEONE didn't take their HAPPY PILLS today.

I hated some of the training. I hated the two a days. But, I will always take the challenge of a 2 a day for the strength I felt on Sunday. I have never felt so strong. Stronger than I have in a long time. For the first time ever, it never occurred to me that I wasn't hurting. I wasn't going to quit running. I just kept going.  There were no voices in my head telling me to stop or slow down or that I couldn't do it. For once, they were quiet.

So That's what preparation feels like.

The race wasn't about me or about my time. Still, I don't think you can run a half marathon without learning something, either about yourself or about your training or about anything. It's too much distance. 

Even though we ran quite a bit faster than I thought we would, I feel really good. 

Next week, I'm tackling the Turkey Trot again. It's a 4 mile race. 

Then, I turn around and run another half marathon. 

I have a feeling I'm going to surprise myself.






Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What do you dream of?

I don't want to talk about training.

I don't want to talk about how far or fast I ran.


I don't want to talk about what I ate before or after or how much sleep I got or if it was good or bad.


I don't want to talk about budgets. 


I don't want to talk about how much to pay this or that vendor. 


I don't want to talk about a late or damaged delivery.


I don't want to talk about the kids,


or their sports,


or their grades.



I want to talk about me. 


or you.


Or does this dress look good on me?


or this one?


Or what are you afraid of? What do you love?


Where Have I been? Where do I want to go? 


or could I disappear for 6 months?


where would I go?  What would I do?


would you go with me?


Let's be frivolous.


Let's stay up all night talking over a bottle of wine.


I want to....go.


I want to climb Macchu Picchu.


I want to stare in wonder at pyramids.


I want to wonder if I could have been Queen in ancient Egypt.


Je veux marcher le long de la seine


et de boire du cafĂ©


I want to kiss the blarney stone.


Where will I be in 5 years? On top of a mountain? In the middle of the ocean? Sitting on a beach watching the sunrise?


Will I be here? 











Saturday, October 13, 2012

Breakthrough Week

What a week for Tea!

Training and racing, both, have their moments. Good & bad moments.

For the most part, my season was fantastic. Of course, I was happy. Thrilled would be more appropriate. 

The hardest thing to deal with is when you don't hit a goal or you feel like you're not making any progress....or progress is so slow that it almost seems like just a good day as opposed to true fitness gains.

On the bike, I made tremendous gains with not much effort. 

The swim has been frustrating to me. I pretty much stayed the same all season. Poor swim coach, she's so patient with me. In racing, I wasn't too terribly concerned with my swim. Depending on the race, I'd come out of the water in the top 5, with all of us exiting within a second of each other. 

My frustration with swimming came from Master's. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't hold the interval. By the time, we got to the end, I'd be off by 5 seconds or even more. 

It would make me CRAZY! I was working so hard. 50-100-15-200-200-150-100-50. I wanted to give up. 

Forget descending, I couldn't even MAINTAIN.

It's so draining to give and give and give and get nothing back.

Then the run.  I knew a year ago that it would take me over a year to get close to my goals. At every race, I would get smarter and race better.

Still, I waited and waited and waited.

Isn't there a point when your body is supposed to catch up? These women that I race against are so fast. Why can't I be like that? When will it be my turn? 

Stick to the plan. Don't go off it. As much as you want to run faster or longer, DON'T DO IT.

I kept running. Kept following the plan. There were days when I'd get up, and I think "This is not worth it." But, I'd get dressed and do what I was told.

When you know it's going to take at least a year, it's different than actually getting up day after day to a few seconds faster here or there. NOT a few seconds per mile faster, a few seconds over a DISTANCE. 

It's been hard. It's made me appreciate the age groupers and pro's who go through this year after year, chasing the same thing I am. 

In that way, we're really no different.

I didn't want to give up because then I'd just be back in the same place I'd always been....waaaaay in the back. Over one year, I'd managed to move from the back all the way up to 4th place. 

I've been working with Coach for just over 10 months now. I admit that I sometimes look at my plan and I think the guy's just plain crazy.

Thinking it and saying it out loud are TWO completely different things.

This week was another week of Master's and pyramids and intervals and long intervals and UGH all that same stuff that MAKES ME WANT TO PULL OUT MY HAIR.

But I keep going. 

We warm up, and Coach writes the workout on the board. My heart just sinks. It's the pyramid again.  

I CAN'T DO IT. I CAN'T DO IT. I JUST CAN'T KEEP UP WITH THESE PEOPLE. These people swim at Nationals and all those bigswimeventsthaton'tmeananythingtomebutIknowthey'reimportant.

The craziest thing happened.

I COULD DO IT.

For no reason that I could think of, other than my body just finally caught up, I not only beat the intervals but I didn't fade and swam the last 50 faster than the first 50.

I beat my 200m time by 10 seconds. I beat my 100m time by 15 seconds. 

BIG JUMPS. Not frustrating baby steps. BIG JUMPS. 

When we got to our 10 x 50 kicks, coach had me make one itty bit adjustment, and I took off. Most powerful kicking I've done. 

I think I was grinning from ear to ear when I got out of the pool.

Of course a breakthrough in the pool meant a very difficult run the next day. The day that I had mile repeats. 

By mile 3, my legs started really getting sore. 

I might not be the fastest runner, but you'll be hard pressed to fine one more determined. I kept running. 

I stuck to the plan. No. There were no records blown away, but I did the workout. 

The next day (today), I had a one hour LT bike + 2 mile run with a special little note from Coach that says: Run HARD! Let's see how it goes.

Dear, DEAR COACH

ARE YOU &@#&*$% CRAZY?

A 9:30 PACE? OFF THE BIKE? 

Sure, I've run mile repeats ON A TRACK at 9:30.

But NOT the day AFTER mile repeats and CERTAINLY NOT immediately after a bike.

Once again, I did the workout.

And I ran, hard. I didn't know how hard I was running. I just set my garmin to beep when I hit a mile, and I was going to turnaround and run hard back.

At 2miles, I stopped. I finally looked at how fast I had run. 9:34 pace and a negative split to boot.   The first mile was around 9:40 and the second was around 9:20 pace.

The one thing that I've been struggling with: negative splits. 

Within 72 hours, I managed to do it without even knowing I was doing it. Without even trying to do it in two sports.

The nice thing about having a Coach that you don't see every day....I can roll my eyes and curse and complain and he'll never know about it....until I post it on my blog. 

By then, I've already learned that he was right.