Saturday, November 12, 2016

Game Face

I'm running my seventh marathon (the Apsire Harrisburg Marathon) in the morning.  I'm nervous. Not because I'm unprepared.  I am trained to have a great race tomorrow.  I'm nervous because four of my previous six marathons have not been ideal, even though (with the exception of one of them) I had trained decently well.  I've put a lot of thought into the reasons why I choke on race day.  And I still don't think I've quite figured it out.

Marathon #3- River Towns Marathon, May 2014 (my recap of that race here)

Marathon #4- The Philadelphia Marathon, November 2014 (recap)

Marathon #5- River Towns Marathon, my DNF, May 2015 (unfortunately the last year they held the full- recap) In this recap I never even mention my own race or that fact that I did not finish.  Instead, I layed down in the grass with ONE MILE to go and waited for my husband to come pick me up.)

Marathon #6- Wineglass Marathon, October 2015 (Apparently I never recapped this one.  But here is a short blurb I wrote about it- 4:25:50 - 10:09/pace - 99/198 in AG (F30-34) - 964/1931 Overall - Trained well for this race, but choked on race day.  Ran with Misha who could have/should have left me.  But she didn't and for that I am grateful.  I hope someday she gets the marathon she deserves.)

Rereading all these recaps I notice a common theme, I trained well, I hoped I could do it, something went wrong, and I fell to pieces.  I suppose it's okay to hope for the perfect race, but it's not okay to count on it.  It's not okay to not plan for what to do if/when things don't go right.  So I'm visualizing.  

What if I oversleep and don't have time for breakfast? - I'll grab a banana and Clif bar.
What if my Garmin quits working? - I'll ask other runners about pace and do my best to run by feel.
What if I drop my gel/water bottle? - I'll use on course nutrition or wait til I see Aaron.
What if I become nauseous? - Depending on how bad it is, I'll run right through it and puke if I have to.  If need be, I'll slow down and goal will change to making it to the finish line.
What if I get that terrible foot pain? - Again, I gotta run through it.  Acknowledge the pain, slow down if necessary, but keep moving forward.  Then think about anything and everything else.  Strike up a conversation with a stranger.  Sing a song.  Smile.
What if I fall off pace? - Remember that #1 goal is finishing this race with a smile.  Does it really matter if I hit 3:43:00 versus 3:53:00?  No.  Not really.  I might be disappointed.  But I gotta remember that my marathon has gone from bad to worse and this race has the potential to end that spiral.

It's interesting to note that my current marathon PR (3:55:29) was at Harrisburg (recap here.)  What I remember most about this race is that I was not in my own head until the last three miles.  I was having a great time, engaging with spectators and fellow runners.  I truly had fun.  So in addition to planning for all the scary what-ifs of marathon, I'm going to be proactive and try to have fun tomorrow.  Smile, wave, fist-bump, cheer on and encourage other runners.  
What a Feeling!
I still don't really know why I choke, and I'm still nervous.  But I feel slightly better having acknowledged the feelings and put a plan in place.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Cost of a 70.3- Time and $$$

I knew getting into triathlon two years ago that it was an expensive sport.  For example, you quickly learn that your running clothes are not great for swimming or biking.  Tri specific attire is preferable, and expensive.  Need a new kit?  Be prepared to shell out $120-$180.  And cycling.  Oooh, cycling.  I was lucky enough to find a used road bike for $200 two years ago to get me started.  You also learn that bike ownership comes at a cost.  Get used to paying maintenance fees at your local bike shop.  And even race registration fees seem to be far more expensive than for regular old running races.  In 2014 I did my first sprint.  In 2015 I did my first olympic distance tri.  So naturally, despite the expense, I knew I'd be going for the half Iron in 2016.

I began searching the web for an average cost of such an endeavor.  I found one woman's blog regarding her expenses for a 140.6.  She spent over $3000.  I found another really eye-opening blog comparing Budget Triathletes to Big Spender Triathletes where the author puts costs for Budgets at $7900 and for Big Spenders at $34,000.  Yes, all those zeros belong there.

But surely a Half Ironman will be half the cost, right???  I decided to track my expenses and below is what I came up with.  I tracked everything with the exception of gas.  Everything.

Janell's IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman Expenses

Registration Fees $677.60
  • Frosty 5k $30
  • Race for Women's Health 10k $25
  • Lake Raystown Sprint Triathlon $91.99
  • Wally Man Olympic Triathlon $108
  • Musselman Sprint Triathlon $86.30
  • Flutopia 5k $25
  • Lewisburg Sprint Triathlon $60
  • IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman $251.31
Lodging $743.49
  • camping at Raystown $41
  • camping at Wally Man $64.99
  • AirBNB house at Timberman $637.50
Memberships $614
  • Danville Area Community Center (pool- six months) $234
  • USAT (annual) $50
  • Indoor Cycling Session at Simons Says Fitness $300
  • Team Taper Tri Club $30
Swim $284.14
  • D&J Sports- suit, paddles, goggles $78.33
  • 2XU tri kit $72.48
  • Tri 'n Sell It- random tri clothing $133.33
Cycling $1271.92
  • TT bike (used) $900
  • Bike Maintenance $146.99
  • Gear $224.93
Run $268.97
  • Inside Track - shoes, socks, snacks $181.25
  • MoJo Compression Socks $19.95
  • 2XU Compression Tights $67.77
Well-Being $788
  • Massage (13 appointments) $615
  • Chiropractic (3 appointments) $173
GRAND TOTAL - $4648.12

So was all that stuff necessary/ worth the money???  Well, yes.  You could argue that I didn't need to race so much leading up to my goal race.  But I find real races give me real feedback as to how my training is really going.  You could also probably argue that I didn't need so many massages or chiropractor appointments.  My perception of these things has shifted from one of "luxury" to one of "required routine maintenence" instead.  You'll notice that I don't have a wetsuit listed in my expenses.  That's because one was given to me by a friend.  

I'm hoping that future 70.3s won't be so costly.  (I'd like to do three next year!)  But I love triathlon, so to me, it was worth every single penny (and every extra minute spent at work to earn those pennies!)

Monetary expense isn't the only cost to triathlon though.  If you're considering taking on your first 70.3, be prepared for how much time it might cost you.

Swam nearly 66 miles in over 41 hours
Biked 1394 miles in about 100 hours
Ran about 405 miles in over 60 hours
Core workouts ???
I am quite certain I cut out miles/hours because my current yearly mileage is 2289 miles, and I haven't moved that much since Timberman!

GRAND TOTAL - Covered approximately 1865 miles in over 201 hours

I spent anywhere from six to nine hours a week training, with a few ten hour weeks, twelve hour weeks, and one sixteen hour week.  This is only time in motion.  Those hours do not count time it takes to get to wherever I might be working out.  It doesn't count time spent working with Coach. And it doesn't count time spent planning out how on Earth I was going to fit in all those workouts around the rest of my life.   

But just like the money, the time was well spent.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman

Can I say something?


I mean, seriously.  That was awesome.  I want to recap my experience at IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman in Gilford, NH and I probably shouldn't do it all in one post, but..... 

Thursday before the race was crazy, busy, and hectic.  Thankfully, I had been packing and preparing all the things for three days straight.  I got to bed at an almost decent time and woke around 5am Friday morning with a goal of departing at 6am.  We left at 7am.  There was a lot I wanted to do on Friday and Saturday before the race, so I was already anxious about being able to get it all done.  Maggie was sick (strep throat) and threw up her medicine in the truck plus we ran into quite a bit of traffic, meaning we spent more time on the road than I had anticipated.  Helpful Hint #1- if you're traveling a distance to get to a big race, leave as early as you are able!!!  It would have been so nice to get to Gilford on Thursday evening.  But anyway, we got there on Friday evening with about an hour left of athlete check-in.  So Coach Dennis and I jumped back in the car to take care of that.  We meandered through the IRONMAN Village very briefly before we headed back to our house. Helpful Hint #2- The Village was practically empty at that time.  We literally walked right up to the table and immediately got checked in.  No line.  No waiting.  I don't know if it's always that way at that time, but it sure was nice!  We had rented an AirBNB house that was near both the Village and the race start/finish.  It was really ideal.  We ordered pizza for dinner that night and planned out what we'd do the next day. 
Getting ready.

Saturday had a full itinerary- preview bike course, preview swim course, check in bikes, mandatory athlete briefing, and IRONKIDS run.  Oh yeah, and getting ready for the race on Sunday morning. The day did not go as planned at all.  We did get out on the bike course pretty early.  We drove the first part, parked the car, and then biked the middle portion.  We planned to attend the 11:30 briefing but when we arrived at the race site for it, we learned that the briefing was actually at the Village. Oops.

Helpful Hint #3- Carefully read and reread the provided athlete guide.  Even though Dennis and I had both done this, we completely missed the location of the briefing.  So we had to reformat our itinerary for the day.  We decided to make a quick trip to the store to get some groceries.  By the time we were checking out it was 12:20 and the IRONKIDS race started at 1pm.  We raced home and Dennis unloaded the groceries so Aaron, the kids, and myself could jump in the truck to head to the Village.  We got to the start of the race in time to see all the little kids take off.  Ack!  We stuck their bibs on their shirts super quick and Aaron manned the camera while I ran with the kids.  We elected to do the quarter mile race which was downhill for the first half and then back up the hill for the second half.  Cullen wasn't having it.  He managed to do the whole thing, but not without quite a bit of protest.  Maggie also needed some coaxing.  But once she saw the finish chute she really took off!  It was kind of a proud moment for me.  And she really loved getting her shiny medal.  Helpful Hint #4- If there is a kids race (and you got a kid or two!) put them in it!  It was really short and sweet and for just $15 they both got an IRONKIDS cinch bag, t-shirt, stickers, and medal.

Mandatory athlete briefing was next.  Aaron took the kids back to the house (it was really hot and there was a bazillion people everywhere) and Dennis and I had a beer at the beer garden waiting for the briefing to begin.  We quickly decided that the briefing was a waste of our time when the speaker stated he didn't know the course.  Although the speaker did tell us to try to avoid parking at Ellacoya State Park (the race site) because you will likely get trapped there until the end of the day.  Helpful Hint #5- Read as many race recaps as you can about the race for which you are preparing.  Having read at least a dozen on Timberman, and not seeing a single complaint about getting out of Ellacoya, I had my doubts about the speaker's comment.  So we left the Village to go get our bikes checked in and test out the water.  Bike check-in was a breeze.  Since you are assigned a spot all you have to do is find it. Then we figured out where we would be entering and exiting for transition and that was that.  Time to test the water!
Beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee

The water is clear and cool and beautiful.  Dennis and I walked out to the first buoy and still were only knee deep in the water.  We wondered how they would start us the next day.  (Answer- we walked out to the first buoy and waited to start.  But don't worry, there was still 1.2 miles of swimming.)  Now, having completed the bike course preview, IRONKIDS run, athlete briefing, bike check-in, and swim preview, all there was left to do was get ready for the next day.
Helpful Hint #6- Lay out EVERYTHING you need the night before.  

Dennis got himself squared away then turned his attention to me.  We got all my gear, hydration, and nutrition prepped then sat down at the table to "relax."  The house was quiet, so quiet that the clock on the wall counting the seconds was kind of driving me crazy.  Honestly, I can't even remember what we talked about.  In retrospect, I think I had already slipped into "go through the motions" mode.  So off to bed relatively early in preparation for a 3am wake up call.

Now for a side story- Dennis told me to find my One Thing rebuttal for when I want to slow down. He says success isn't in going fast, its in not slowing down.  So have your One Thing ready.  Why did I want to compete in a 70.3?

I contemplated this for days before the race.  Then I realized I really need to do it to shut up the voice that tells me I can't.  Because I've had a string of bad marathons and I hate the way that DNF and that almost DNF made me feel.

But that really isn't enough.  I mean, finding confidence in yourself again is great, but for some reason, it isn't super motivating to me.

Then like a ton of bricks I realized I need to find the voice of truth, the one that says I can do all things, for Maggie.  I need to show that little girl that there is NOTHING she cannot do if she sets her mind to do it, just like her mama.

Then tucking her in the night before the race I finally tell her that I'm racing for her in the morning. And she tells me in her sweet, sleepy voice, "Okay. Just don't slow down." (Really!!!)

So I promised I wouldn't.
My Sweet One Thing

My alarm woke me up and I felt like I had been gut checked.  I was definitely in "go through the motions" mode at this point.  Dennis and I left earlier than planned since we were ready early. Sometime between 4-4:15am we headed out.  Ellacoya was less than five minutes from our house, which was a good thing.  By the time we got there, there was already a good number of cars parked and lines of cars waiting to get in.  Helpful Hint #7- go even earlier than you think necessary!  We did get parked, no problem.  A helpful volunteer advised that when we got a moment we should turn our car so that it faced the road to make leaving easier.  We did and he was right about that!  (And by the way, leaving at the end of the race was not an issue!)  We got body marked and set up our transitions.  Helpful Hint #8- If you are setting up transition prior to sunrise, bring your headlamp!  In the darkness, we did manage to set up our transitions and put some air in our tires.  Then I nervously tried to eat my breakfast, a banana and a Clif bar.  
Pre and Post Sunrise

I was so grateful that we did everything as early as possible.  There were still people racing to get body marked and set up their transition with only 15 minutes left before close of transition!  I don't need that kind of anxiety and stress right before a race.  Before I knew it we were being herded to the swim start.  I immediately got in line for the portajohn and Dennis wandered off.  Pros started at 6:30, Dennis's wave started at 7, and my wave was 7:16.  The line was not moving.  People ahead of me were giving up and leaving.  I knew Dennis would need to be getting in the water when he appeared for a hug and a "stay in your box" and was gone.  Eventually the line did move and I was able to get down to the water and put on my wetsuit.  I was searching the crowd for Aaron and the kids and I just couldn't find them anywhere.  It made me really sad and I just had to push that aside. Next thing I know I'm standing in the water, close to the buoy, and I'm crying!  A woman close to me notices and asks if I'm okay.  I tell her yes, I'm just emotional and so excited that this moment is finally here.  Another woman nearby hears and says, "I'm right there with you."  There is nothing like that feeling of anticipation, anxiety, excitement, fear, pride, curiosity, and hope.  I knew I had done the work.  I knew I was ready.  And finally, I was going to be put to the test.  

THE SWIM- chip time 39:30/ Garmin time 39:21 (1:52/100yds)
There were at least 100 swimmers in my wave and we were the 13th wave, so there were a lot of people in the lake.  I very quickly realized that finding clear water was not going to happen so my focus shifted to protecting my face and getting to the next buoy.  Only took two hard elbows- one to the skull and one to the ribs.  I was caught by the first guy in the 14th wave at the first turn buoy.  He was like a bull shark plowing through the water.  Once you turned you were heading into the sun, but sighting wasn't that bad.  You turned at the red buoys and they had a random orange one that almost tricked me.  Once I turned to head back to the shore I tried to pick up my pace and imagined what I'd do once my feet hit the sand.  I swam until I could touch the bottom with my hands, stood up, and started to run while unzipping my wetsuit.  
Swim Finish
T1- Swim to Bike- chip time 2:57/ Garmin time 3:17
You run out of the water, up a couple of steps, and along the bank to the wetsuit strippers.  I had never done that before but knew they'd help me save a solid minute in transition so I decided to go for it.  Already had the suit at my waist when I stopped in front of two girls.  I looked at them.  They looked at me.  They didn't tell me what to do and I wasn't exactly sure so I just laid down, they grabbed my suit and yanked, I popped back up, they handed me my suit and that was that.  Found my bike without difficulty.  Shoes, glasses, helmet, chamois butter, go!  

THE BIKE- chip time 3:12:04/ Garmin time 3:11:50 (17.49/mph)
Biked out of transition (in easy gear!- that's Helpful Hint #9!!!) right onto a hill.  Dennis warned me that people would be mashing up the hills and that I should let them go.  I have a tendency to do that too so I had to really "reel it in" because there is a whole lot of race left.  Overall, Timberman is a challenging bike course.  I remember the hill right out of transition, a long hill around mile 5 and then the Marsh Hill Monster at mile 10.  Then all those guys on the way back too.  I felt really good overall on the bike with the exception of the flat portion in the middle.  So uncomfortable!  My watch was in a position where I couldn't easily see my pace, so unfortunately I didn't check in on that.  That also means that I wasn't keeping a close eye on timing for my nutrition.  Helpful Hint #10- if you have a watch that enables you to set alarm reminders, use that feature!  But despite that, I felt like I was eating and drinking at good, regular intervals.  I planned on eating my Lara Bar at the midway point and I really didn't want it at that time.  It took several miles, but I'm glad I got it down because I definitely needed something more substantial than chews.  I took water at all the aid stations, chugging as much as I could in the allowable space before chucking the bottle.  Additionally, I almost finished the two bottles of Perform I had on the bike as well as probably two packs of PowerBar cola chews.
5 mile laps
1- 16.8mph
2- 16.9mph
3- 15.8mph
4- 18.4mph
5- 19.5mph
6- 17.8mph
7- 18.3mph
8- 19.2mph
9- 14.3mph (WTF?!)
10- 16.3mph
11- 17.8mph
That averages out to 17.49mph.  Could I have biked faster?  Yeah, sure.  But don't forget, you gotta run 13.1 miles when you get off that bike.  There's a whole lotta race left.

T2- Bike to Run- chip time 4:06/ Garmin time 3:55
Yeah, that was slow.  I dismounted in kind of a large group.  There had to be at least five other people at the dismount line with me.  I didn't even try to run at first, was just testing out my legs.  Once I got up the tiny ramp into the grass I ran to my spot.  There were two bikes kinda kissing in my space on the rack so I asked another athlete to move one while I moved the other.  Racked my bike, helmet off, shoe off, sock and shoe on, other shoe off, other sock and shoe on, grabbed belt and visor.  Go! Except I really needed to pee.  So I stopped at the portajohn in transition.  Helpful Hint #11- Don't. Just don't even try to use the portajohns in transition.  Trust me on that one.

THE RUN- chip time 2:13:04/ Garmin time 2:13:28 (10:09/pace)
Ran out of transition and stopped at the next portapotty and it was nearly as bad as the first.  So to expand on Helpful Hint #11, if it is a convenient portajohn, don't waste your time, keep moving along.  I knew almost immediately that I'd be walking every aid station.  Even though it wasn't that hot, I know I'm prone to letting the heat get to me.  So at every single aid station I was dumping ice and water on myself.  Helpful Hint #12- dump ice down your shorts and in your top.  If you've got a sports bra you've now got a portable cooler of ice.  My nutrition plan was to eat one Clif shot block every other mile.  So at mile 2 I popped one in my mouth and began to suck on it.  By mile 3 it was still in there.  I couldn't do it.  I just couldn't stomach any more manufactured sweetness.  So I spit that out and nibbled on something at every aid station, like a pretzel or an orange slice or a sip of Coke. Toward the end of the double lap out and back run my sips of water turned to gulps and the allowed walking distance (length of the aid station) grew longer and longer.  There was a young girl along the course, maybe ten years old, cheering everyone on.  Her "You can do it!" was so heartfelt and sincere. It was nice to see her each time I passed because she made me think of my One Thing.  I wish I would have told her that her being there made a difference to me.  
Mile Splits
1- 8:58
2- 10:32
3- 8:58
4- 9:28
5- 9:47
6- 10:13
7- 9:38
8- 10:28
9- 10:14
10- 11:17 (exactly where Coach predicted the slow down would come!)
11- 11:20
12- 10:53
13- 8:59 (time to really remember my One Thing)
I sprinted down the finish chute.  I actually sprinted at the end of a 70.3 mile race, half laughing and half crying I crossed the line.  The feeling is amazing.  I'm still geeking out about it a week later. Everyone should do something that makes them feel the way this experience has made me feel.

Thank you to my husband and kids who sacrificed a lot of time with mom and missed out on fun things because I needed to train.  I hope I made them proud.  And I hope my sweet little One Thing was watching closely.

Thank you to Coach Dennis who invested so much of himself to ensure I'd succeed.  I'm not sure how I would have done it without him.  I hope he feels he got a good return on investment.  Helpful Hint #13- Get yourself a Dennis.  But not mine.  He's taken!!!

And thank you to all my friends and family who have followed this journey and encouraged me the whole way.  I cannot wait to do it again!
What a feeling!
IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman- chip time 6:11:41/ Garmin time 6:11:53
1212 Overall
62 Division F35-39
And one of the best feelings in the world!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Timberman 70.3 Training Weeks 28-32 + Lewisburg Sprint Tri

Race day is almost here.  I feel all kinds of emotions as I imagine standing in that cool lake waiting for my wave to start after the ups and downs of the last 32 weeks.  I'm almost there. 

For the last time, I wanted to recap the last several weeks of training, Weeks 28-32 (July 18th - August 21st).  Here are the highlights:

In the last five weeks, I've:
Swam - 12.34 miles in eight hours five minutes
Biked - 342.92 miles in twenty-one hours seventeen minutes
Ran - 86.69 miles in thirteen hours fourteen minutes
For a total distance of 441.95 miles in forty-two hours thirty-five minutes.

To do this week I have one more short swim and two short bikes.  Just something to stay loose and keep from going crazy until Sunday.

What I Need to Work On
Welp, the hay is in the barn, as they say.  There is nothing more I can do to become more physically ready.  My fitness is what it is, which is stronger than I've ever been.  Mentally, I've been doing a lot of imagining.  Picturing myself in the water, mentally going through transition to get on bike, seeing myself execute the run, but mostly, crossing that finish line with a huge smile on my face.

What I'm Really Proud Of
I did this.  I trained for 32 weeks for something that I knew nothing about two years ago.  I'm ready to take on 70.3 miles.  Did you hear that?  I'm ready.

What Else Is Going On
Is there anything else?  Haha!  I kid, but training has taken a lot of time and sometimes it felt like it was all consuming, which puts this mom on one heck of a guilt trip.  Around all the workouts:
Maggie wrapped up her summer sessions of speech therapy
Cullen's summer camp ended and he's had two home therapy sessions (they were rough)
Mechanic appointment (car still isn't right), Puppy to vet x 2 (don't worry, routine check-up stuff), me to the dentist (teeth in great shape!), kids to the dentist (always an adventure), five massage appointments and two to the chiropractor (I swear, it is not a luxury, its required routine maintenance!), and I even got a haircut!
My nephew's 5th Birthday Party
Cullen's 7th Birthday Party
My 35th Birthday!
Bobb Family Reunion
Kindergarten Orientation (sniffle, sniffle!)
And.... the Lewisburg Sprint Triathlon.

Lewisburg Sprint Tri
This was my third go at the local sprint tri, and I set a new personal best.  I hadn't decided to do it until the last minute, so I registered the morning of the event.  This means I was seeded last in the swim.  If you are unfamiliar, the Lewisburg Tri swim is done in the pool.  Swimmers enter the pool one at a time every thirty seconds.  If you register ahead of time you get to submit your estimated swim time and are then seeded accordingly.  I guesstimate I should have been seeded somewhere around 70.... I was 164.  This meant that I would have to wait FOREVER to start my race.  Fortunately, with the blessing from the race director and the timing company, I was able to slide into a no show spot.... swimmer 21.  So now I'm seeded around people who swim way faster than I do, and my swim time reflects that.  Trying to avoid being passed, I swam the 300 yards in 6:47 placing me 5/11 AG in the swim.  Under normal conditions I think I would have swam it in 7-7:30.  I jumped out of the water and ran to my flip flops then ran to my bike.  Transition time 0:46 and off on the bike.  I felt great.  I mean really, really good.  These are the roads I train on every week, so I know them and I'm comfortable on them.  There were two intersections where I had to shout out to the volunteers asking if it was clear to cross, and two turns where I had to slow due to gravel and a stopped car, but otherwise, I was free to fly.  Came in 2/11 on the bike for AG in a time of 47:42, a pace of 19mph.  Bike to run transition 1:15 (I had a shoe issue!), and out to the run.  I felt very rough for the first mile to 1.25 mile.  It was extremely hot and humid (real feel heat index of 111!), so I knew I wouldn't be as fast as I hoped.  I managed the 3.25 mile run in 26:56, a pace of 8:17/mile and good enough for 2/11 AG in the run.  Overall race time, 1:23:29 - 28th athlete OA, 4th female OA, 2/11 AG (F35-39).
Just for comparison, here are my previous two years results:
2014- swim 10:24 (7/9) bike 57:06 (3/9) run 27 (3/9) Total time- 1:35:38 (3/9)
2015- swim 8:22 (8/12) bike 52:50 (3/12) run 26:47 (2/12) Total time- 1:28:57 (3/12)

2016- swim 6:47 (5/11) bike 47:42 (2/11) run 26:56 (2/11) Total time- 1:23:29 (2/11)
This makes me happy!
Swim ~ Bike ~ Run
So, copied from my Facebook post from earlier today....
Ironman 70.3 Timberman is Sunday. For thirty-two weeks I have worked really hard for this day. Its almost here. I keep telling myself to stop being nervous, that it isn't THAT big of a deal. But you know what? It is.
My body is ready to do this and I've tested my mental strength many times during the last thirty-two weeks. I didn't disappoint myself too often. I am really proud and only a teeny bit embarrassed to publicly proclaim it.
Am I afraid of failing? Of course. The hardest part about Sunday won't be physically covering the miles. The hardest part will be allowing myself to believe that I always had what it takes.
Thanks to all of you who have trained with me. Thank you to everyone who has listened to me talk ad nauseum about triathlon. And thanks in advance for your positive vibes for Sunday. This has been one helluva journey.

Next time you hear from me, it will be to give you the Timberman race report. 
So many miles, so many smiles.  Thanks, Friends!!!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Frosty 5k / Race for Women's Health 10k / River Towns Half / Lake Raystown Tri / Wallyman Tri / Musselman Tri / Flutopia 5k

Since I'm tapering and have all kinds of crazy free time, how 'bout another blog post?!  I thought I'd recap all of the year's races to date. 

Frosty 5k
February 6, 2016
22:53 - a new 5k PR!!!
39/225 overall
5/46 in AG (F31-40)
That was hard! Coach said not to look at the watch.  So I spotted Ann Sick in the crowd, and knowing that she's faster than I am, made it my goal to try to keep her in sight.  Almost accomplished that, but not quite!  As for my splits, my first mile came in at 7:17, my next two were over 7:40s.  Clearly, pacing is an issue for me BUT I got a new PR, so there's that.
New 5k PR!
Race for Women's Health 10k
April 23, 2016
48:12 - a new 10k PR!!!
13/32 overall
1/2 in AG F30-34
This course isn't hilly, but it isn't exactly flat.  I'm very pleased with improving my 10k PR by 2 minutes and 31 seconds.  I don't remember much about this race other than I had a really good warm up and tried really hard to keep my friend Steph in sight (almost but not quite accomplished!)  I also remember being tired but finishing strong.  Plan was simple.  WU for at least 20 minutes before the race, then miles 1-2 run at 7:50, miles 3-6 run at 7:40.  I 'knew' I couldn't do it.  And true, my splits are a little ugly, but I still broke my goal of sub-50 minutes. 
1- 7:49 
2- 7:56 
3- 8:18 (eek!) 
4- 7:47 
5- 7:41 
6- 8:02 (eek! -This is kinda weird though, because I felt like I was picking it up.) 
0.2- 7:11

New 10k PR!
River Towns Half Marathon
May 7, 2016
1:47:48 - a new half marathon PR! (improvement of 55 seconds)
55/331 overall
2/32 in AG F31-35
Great race! I had hoped to finish about a minute faster but the "wheels came off the cart" miles 10-13. Pace had been 8:04-8:16, but then miles 10 & 11 was in 8:20s, miles 12 & 13 was in 8:40s. Still a PR and a great lesson on race execution (aka, follow your race plan!!!)
Also, should mention I organized Team CJ to run at this event. We raised about $7500 for autism!
Coach Yonkin & Me!
Lake Raystown Triathlon - Sprint Distance
May 15, 2016
13/42 overall
1/2 AG F30-34 (a mistake, but would have taken first in my correct AG anyway)
Swim- 25:43 (2:05/100yd)
T1- 4:33
Bike- 1:08:16 (14.2mph)
T2- 1:55
Run- 25:45 (8:16/pace)
I was super dreading this swim.  First of all, I panic in the water.  Only twice have I been in the open water and not lost my cool.  Second, I've never been in water this cold.  58 degrees, air temp 44, wind chill 35.  I was certain I couldn't do it.  I gave serious thought to a DNS (did not start.)  But sonovabitch, I paid my money, I trained, and I froze my ass off in a tent the night before for the privilege to attempt this race and I decided I was going to do it.  After the first buoy, I knew I'd be fine.  I even passed people in the water.  Me!  Passing people in the swim!!!  
Then, after almost four and a half minutes in transition (extremities were numb!), it was off on the bike.  Super tough course with lots of climbs and abundant headwind!  I felt pretty strong, but was happy when it was over!  Just under two minutes for my second transition before beginning my run.  Lots of hills, again, but felt really strong.  Was really proud of myself for starting/ completing this race.  As for the event itself, it was under new management this year, so there were a few bumps, but nothing major.  There were plenty of volunteers and I felt safe for the entire race.
Cold but beautiful course!
Wally Man Triathlon - Olympic Distance
June 11, 2016
50/102 overall
4/6 in AG F35-39
Swim 23:52 (1:56/100yd) (short course, only 0.7 mile)
T1 3:28
Bike 1:28:38 (16.2mph average)
T2 1:36
Run 58:11 (9:23/pace)

This race in Hawley, PA was fun practice for me.  The swim was about two-tenths of a mile short (!) but went really well.  Made my way into transition and became really dizzy!  Actually ended up falling hard trying to get my wetsuit off.  Eventually I made it out on the bike.  Because we got there so late the day before (it was dark!) we didn't get to drive the course.  That put me at a bit of a disadvantage because I felt I had to take all downhills cautiously.  There was quite a bit of gravel at spots which always stinks, but the RD had warned us about that prior to the start.  The course description called the run course "flat and fast."  That is inaccurate.  Hahahahaha!!!  There was even one hill that I walked!  Additionally, the run course could have used a few more signs.  There was one portion where I and one other racer felt certain we were lost.  We high-fived once we spotted a sign and knew we were on course.  But still, this race was a ton of fun and my friend Steph was there so that made it all the better!
Musselman Triathlon - Sprint Distance
July 9, 2016
123/562 overall
3/34 in AG F35-39
Swim 14:16 (1:54/100yd)
T1 2:23
Bike 51:05 (18.79mph)
T2 2:13
Run 26:57 (8:25/pace)
In the swim I had zero panic/anxiety.  The water was churning like a washing machine with so many people in such a small space (you swim in a narrow canal.)  I was grabbing hips and ankles like crazy.  But I kept my cool and I really think the panic attacks are a thing of the past.   The transition area is HUGE!  So even though I felt like I was making good time, it looked like I was moving slow.  As for the bike, I gotta say, I felt like I was flying.  I passed a ton of people, only passed by two women (I didn't count the guys) and I just felt really great!  The ride was nice, not a whole lot of traffic, no big climbs that I remember, I was really enjoying myself.  Wasn't paying super close attention, apparently, because I thought I still had a while to go and suddenly I was back at transition.  Definitely could have been more aggressive out there.  Not knowing the course is a disadvantage, for sure.  Again, transition time looks slow, but it is such a big transition area!  As for the run, I felt okay.  I didn't want to push it and kill myself.  Was actually surprised that my first mile came in as quick as it did (8:14/pace.)  After the fact, I wish I had pushed to hang on to that first mile pace. They had iced sponges at the halfway point! And what a difference they make!!!! A million times better than dumping water on your head!  The run is just an out and back along the lake, nice and flat, with bits of shade here and there.  I loved this race.  I'm looking forward to returning to see what I can do after I've had more time to grow as a triathlete.  This race was made even more fun because I got to stay with Mike and Jamie, who are training for their second 140.6!!!
Remember why you do this.
Flutopia 5k
July 30, 2016
18/144 overall
FIRST FEMALE FINISHER!!!  A first for me!
1/19 in AG (F30-39)
Not a 5k PR but did win First Overall Female!  Pretty awesome.  I picked out a girl at the start to try to hang with, decided that she looked too fast, but once we started it was just her and I up front so she had to be my "white rabbit."  I hung at her six the entire time, every now and then she'd slow a little and I'd creep up to her shoulder, then she'd surge.  A couple of times like that, and with no one passing us, I realized I could win!  Being a double loop race I knew exactly where I wanted to surge to the finish.  But she faded a lot sooner than that so I was forced to make my move sooner than I wanted.  I passed her, then was certain she was going to retake the lead at any moment.  But I won!  Actually, she finished fifteen seconds after me.  At the end we congratulated each other on a fun race and she said, "Nice kick at the end."   That made me feel great!  I NEVER have kick at the end of anything.  I guess feeling chased helps, hahahaha!  It was so fun actually competing against someone else.  I've never really felt like that before.  Doing this race was Coach Yonkin's idea.  I had been whining a lot in the couple weeks prior to it about feeling like I had no run in me.  This race showed me that I do.
Crazy splits below.
1- 7:04
2- 8:09
3- 7:52
.07- 6:10
Chasing my rabbit!!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Timberman 70.3 Training Weeks 20-27

I am now through twenty-seven weeks of Ironman 70.3 training (May 23 - July 17) and have completed two more triathlons since my last blog post.  Once again, I want to take a moment to reflect on the work I've been doing and recap the highlights.
Taking Lady out for a ride!

In the last eight weeks I have done:
Swim- 17 workouts, over 11 hours, about 18 miles in the water
Bike- 22 workouts, over 36 hours, over 600 miles on the bike
Run-  23 workouts, over 18 hours, about 120 miles
Core- 3 strength sessions
65 workouts, totaling over 67 hours in 56 days = BUSY!

Feeling triumphant after my first 4 hour bike/4 mile run!

Again, I'm really proud of the work I'm doing.  I know I'm stronger than I've ever been.  Feeling this way makes we wonder, what else can I do???
WallyMan Tri

The above workouts included two triathlons- WallyMan Olympic Tri and MiniMussel Sprint Tri, which I will try to recap in a separate post..... someday!  Training like this keeps you busy. You figure I'm working out a minimum of eight hours a week, and that's just time in motion.  That eight hours a week doesn't include the time I spend maintaining my bike, packing my nutrition, organizing my gear, transportation to workout location (I don't always workout from home), or (the biggest time suck) planning when/where/how I'm going to do the work.  It's incredibly time consuming and I'm starting to miss my family. 
Aren't they beautiful?!

What I Need To Work On

  • Pulling it all together and seeing the big picture.  You know, there really is something to all this talk of nutrition!  I've been practicing eating and drinking like never before.

  • Transitions- I am soooooo sloooooow!

What I'm Proud Of

  • My bike during Mini Mussel.  I felt like I was flying.

  • Continuing to put in the effort Every Single Day.  Like I said, it's time consuming.  I miss my family.  I haven't been able to do the Team CJ things that I wanted to do this year so far.  And I'm not proud of that, but the finish line is almost in sight, I only need to push a little bit longer.

What Else is Going On
Texas Roadhouse Dine to Donate Fundraiser
AYSO Sign-Ups- practice to start in August
Two Family Dinners- one with the Bobbs and one with the Weavers
Extra Time at Work
Camp Emerge Weekend
Speech Therapy for Maggie
ABA Therapy for Cullen
Adopted New Puppy- Welcome Home Macey!!!

So yeah, still busy.  House is still messy.  Meals are only semi-home cooked.  But that's okay.  :)
Doesn't get any better!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Timberman 70.3 Training Weeks 9-19

I am now through NINETEEN WEEKS of triathlon training and have completed my first tri of the year.  I wanted to recap the last several weeks (March 7th through May 22nd) and take a look at the highlights.

In the last eleven weeks (aka 77 days) I have done:
Swim- 23 workouts, over 20 hours, about 24.5 miles in the water
Bike- 29 workouts, almost 39 hours, over 400 miles on the bike
Run- 32 workouts, almost 26 hours, 177 miles
Core- 7 strength sessions over almost 5 hours
91 workouts in 77 days means a lot of bricks and very few total days of rest..... and a whole lotta sweating.

I'm really proud of the work I'm putting in, and I know it's paying off.

The above included the Race for Women's Health 10k (where I set a new PR), the River Towns Half Marathon (another new PR), and the Lake Raystown Tri (where I think I may have put my OWS anxiety to rest.)
PRs All Around!

What I Need to Work On
The bike.  When it comes down to it, it's on the bike that I have the most to gain.  Time to buckle down and get serious about biking.
My new-to-me TT bike!

What I'm Really Proud Of
Two new PRs!
Just getting into the water at Lake Raystown Tri (The windchill was 35 degrees that morning with water temps at 58 degrees.  Brrrr!)
Organizing a fun event at Fero Vineyards & Winery and raising about$1800 for ADMI.
Heading up an amazing team to run River Towns Half Marathon that raised over $8000 for autism!
Team CJ at River Towns 2016

What Else is Going On
We attended SEVEN children's birthday parties.  Oh em gee.
Seven speech therapy sessions and six ABA sessions
Extra time at work (because triathlon-ing is expensive!)
Two field trips, two Mother Daughter Banquets, Kindergarten registration activities, family photos, Easter festivities, three doctor appointments, one trip to the groomer & two to the vet, volunteered at Spring Fever Trail Race, three visits to ADMI, two IEP meetings, and one parent/teacher conference
Plus April is Autism Awareness Month- in this household, that means BUSY!!!

But I thrive on busy.  The house might be a bit messy and our meals might be simple, and that's completely okay.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Autism Awareness Month Wrap Up

Autism Awareness Month was busy for Team CJ!  We kicked off the month with a First Friday Fundraiser at Fero Vineyards & Winery.  There was wine tasting, a basket auction, and live entertainment.  This event raised about $1800 for Geisinger ADMI.  There were several Dine to Donate events at area restaurants including Sweet Frog, Pizza Phi, Perkins in Selinsgrove and Lewisburg, Hoss's, and the Twisted Bull.  We had an Autism Awareness Shop for a Cause event online with thirteen different vendors, including Thirty-One, Origami Owl, Rodan + Fields, Stella & Dot, Perfectly Posh, Beachbody, Rada Cutlery, Pampered Chef, Avon, Norwex, Scentsy, Jamberry, and KEEP Collective who donated a percentage of proceeds to Team CJ.  Team CJ also ran at River Towns Half Marathon raising about $8000!  Whew!!!

Why so busy???  Because supporting area autism organizations like ADMI, Operation Jack, and Team CJ is important.

So What does ADMI Do?
Geisinger Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI) is a busy place with experts and specialists in neurodevelopmental pediatrics, genomics, psychology, neuroimaging, speech-language pathology, and applied behavioral analysis.  They serve those with developmental disorders and their families with a strong focus on clinical care and research, but they also provide community outreach. 

April's fundraising events will help support two specific outreach programs.  The first is the Sensory Friendly Film Series.  A little more information about the film series (taken from ADMI's website) below:
"Most film-goers can attest to the sensory assault of many of today’s films -- loud music, vivid special effects, explosions, fast scene changes, and multiple dimensions. Imagine, then, the impact on a child with special needs who may be eager to experience the joy of seeing a movie on the big screen, but is unable to withstand the sensory overload.
As part of ADMI's Community Outreach and Family Support initiative, ADMI and The Campus Theatre are happy to offer children with special developmental needs and their families a chance to experience the joy of seeing a movie on the big screen. The Sensory Friendly Film Series will:
  • Provide a comfortable and accepting environment for those who want to get up, move around or make noise
  • Feature family friendly movies in 2D
  • Begin on-time, with no previews or trailers
  • Lower the volume of music and special effects
  • Provide low-level lighting, instead of total darkness
  • Allow families to bring or purchase snacks"
These movies are free and open to the community.  It's a chance for families like my own go to the movies without the burden of worry.  It's a chance to be ourselves without the fear of sideways glances or full-on stares when our son or daughter stims or has a huge meltdown. Something as ordinary as a movie has great power in this context.  Each movie costs between $1000-$1500 to put on, and they're provided free of charge several times throughout the year.  Team CJ wants to ensure this opportunity continues.

The other project we're targeting are the family lunches during ADMI's specialty clinics.  ADMI offers four specialty clinics dedicated to providing care for families living with specific genetic disorders.  These family lunches turn into informal family support / networking sessions. It's a really special time and the families are so grateful to get to meet other families who are sharing a similar experience.  The cost of these varies depending on the number of patients / families ADMI is seeing that day, but typical cost is about $200 per lunch.  Team CJ will be a part of this as well.

And how about Operation Jack?
The Operation Jack Autism Foundation was started by an autism dad in honor of his autistic son. Below is a little information taken from their website- 
"Our Mission-  To encourage parents, relatives and friends of those struggling with autism to find a positive outlet by leading an active lifestyle that promotes awareness and raises funds for autism-related charities.  
What We Do-  The Operation Jack Autism Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity created in 2009 in honor of Jack Felsenfeld, who was born in 2003 and is severely autistic.  Most of the funds we raise come from the nationwide series of Operation Jack events. We also provide an easy-to-use fundraising platform for individual participants trying to raise money for the autism-related charity of their choice.  The foundation has no staff and no office and strives to be as cost-effective as possible. The work needed to make the foundation thrive is done on a volunteer basis. Through January 2015, the foundation and its events have grossed approximately $300,000.  
Let us help you!  We’re always looking for great causes to support. We’ve created races to help organizations all across the country, built training teams to support local autism-related charities, provided individual coaching and fundraising pages to parents looking to support the charity of their choice and made grants to many worthy small charities in need."  

It was because of Operation Jack that Team CJ and CJ's Resolution Challenge ever got started.  They've helped host races or teams in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Oregon, Maine, and Pennsylvania.  These events have helped raise financial support and awareness for autism programs in their local area.   In looking toward the future, Operation Jack will attempt to continue to build teams, host races as fundraisers, promote participation and awareness, and develop a grant program to benefit smaller, deserving autism-related organizations in need.  Team CJ wants to be a part of that.

Can You Tell Me a Little More About Team CJ?

I'd love to!  You already know that we are a group of runners with the desire to run for a greater purpose, more specifically to support those affected by autism.  We first ran in May 2014 when our brand new group took on River Towns Half & Full Marathon to raise money and awareness for autism. Each runner made a commitment to raise at least $100. The money they raised covered their race registration and Team CJ shirt with remaining proceeds donated to Geisinger Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute and the Operation Jack Autism Foundation. That year we raised over $7500!

In 2015 we teamed up twice, first in May to run River Towns Half & Full Marathon and then in October to run the Runner's World Half & Festival. That year we raised another $11,700 for ADMI, Operation Jack, and Camp Emerge!

This year River Towns was our fourth time running together, but Team CJ is an organization about to embark on a big journey.  Before I tell you about that though, I need to tell you a little bit more about the beginning of all of this.  

I'm a mom to two beautiful children.  They bring joy to my life that I just can't describe.  If you're a parent though, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.  My son is autistic.  We got his diagnosis on his fourth birthday in 2013.  However, he was 18 months old when I first expressed concerns to his doctor. That means it took 30 months to get a diagnosis despite actively looking for answers.

I've said before that this autism journey has changed me, and I would never change that, but I would certainly make the journey easier if I could.  

Perhaps at another time I'll tell you more about my son.  For now, just know that he is an amazing little boy who has already overcome many obstacles and whose progress gives me tremendous hope for his future.  As he grows, he shines a spotlight on the things that we (as a community) need for kids like him and for families like my own.  First it was a better way to be seen by the right type of doctor.  Then it was having the right support in school.  Now its getting appropriate therapy by specially trained professionals.  In the future it may be adaptations to participate in extracurricular activities, in learning how to drive, or in job training.  This journey could get a little rough. 

So back in 2014, Team CJ and CJ's Resolution Challenge were born.  My hope is that we can continue to raise money to support the area organizations that support our autistic loved ones; and that in the process of raising money we're also raising awareness and talking about autism- what it is, what it isn't, and most of all, what you can do to help.  We talk about awareness and acceptance, but do you really know how to do these things? 

Now to return to Team CJ's big journey.  I want Team CJ to be a regionally well-known non-profit organization for autism.  I think it's important to have an organization like this so when someone has a concern about their autistic loved one, there is a resource easily accessible to them.  Here is the list of things I think will help us get there.  
  • File paperwork to become an official 501c3 charitable organization.  
  • Build a website where all organization information can be easily located.  
  • Reach out to the region to find autism-related programs in need.  
  • Help the community develop much needed programs for adults with autism.  
  • Continue to create and host community events that will do the following: 1). raise funds to support regional autism related programs, 2). create opportunities for families to network and support one another, 3). put autism on everyone's "radar" so to speak, so people can really be aware of autism and learn how to best be supportive.    
I'm proud of the work that has been done so far and truly grateful for the outpouring of support.  But my son is shining a spotlight on where this journey must now go.  I'm ready to embark.  

So Did You See What We Did?!  

The race has come and gone and it was a GREAT day to run!  This was the fourth time Team CJ has run, and every time I have doubts that there will be anyone who wants to join me, but I had nothing to worry about.  We had thirty-five runners on Team CJ.  Unfortunately several were unable to make it to the race Saturday morning for a variety of reasons, but that didn't stop us from making a great showing!  Our purple Team CJ shirts could be spotted all along the race course.  And I love that!

Again, I have been blown away by this group of people.  First of all, for the third year in a row, I didn't know everyone on the team.  I met several for the first time face to face on the morning of the race.  My friends are recruiting their friends, who are recruiting their friends, which is great!  The more we talk about autism and the services available/ needed, the better.  Secondly, the courage, compassion, and enthusiasm displayed by this team is remarkable!  Several had never taken on such a distance and instead of being intimidated, they rose to the challenge.  Our seasoned runners would attempt PR's and our out-of-running-for-a-while runners would push their limits.  All would raise money and awareness for autism.  Collectively our teammates raised over $8000 for Geisinger ADMI and Operation Jack Autism Foundation!

I am so grateful to the people who teamed up with me to form Team CJ.  Thank you Julie, Steven, Jennifer G., Gage, Brenda, Michelle, Krista, Kristin, Glen, Christine, David, Weston, Nikki, Brent, Barbara, Rob, Erica, Lauren, Jenna, Holly, Kristen, Lori, Kristiana, Ellice, Amy P., James, Leslee, Allison, Jordan, Shannon, Norm, Amy R., Jennifer V., and Stephanie.

Thank you to Sam of Operation Jack for inspiring me to try. 

Thank you to Meg, Tom, Brenda, and Christa of ADMI for your kindness and encouragement.

Thank you to my family, especially my husband and my mother, for being patient and supportive through all this craziness and for their unwavering support and hard work. 

Thank you to Bob Stoudt and the River Towns Race Series for your generosity and hospitality.  I'm already looking forward to next year!

Now one final thank you to everyone who ran, donated, or came out to cheer and showed your support.  You have all inspired me and encouraged me.  Your acts of kindness lift me up in a way I can't describe.  You give me hope.  You give me strength.  Thank you.