Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot 2014

Another Turkey Trot in the books! I’m embarrassed to say that I lost track of how many times I stopped to walk. Half-way through the race, I felt the effects of dehydration in the form of side cramps, and knew that there’d be a lot of stop and go for the remainder of the race.  I managed to set a PR, which isn’t saying much, given my time of 1:39:49 from 2 years ago! I remember that race– I was having ankle issues and the race had gone horribly.  I had a string of bad races around that time and I recall the frustration I felt.

On the plus side, a PR is a PR and a 9:32/M pace isn’t too shabby considering how inconsistent my training has been the last few months! Also, the walking gave me a chance to stop and snap a shot on my camera, lol. Oh yeah, I’ve ditched my obscenely large Garmin lately and just used the Nike Running app on my phone.

This year, Jamie and Sam skipped out on the race to take care of Taylor (their baby!), so it was just Joseph, JR, and I running.  We met up at the DART station at 8:00am, but we hadn’t checked the schedule and waited another 15-20 minutes in the cold (mid-high 40s?) for the train to arrive. Luckily, this race is divided into corrals and our blue bibs allowed us to cut into the first corral, especially for timed runners. I remember how the concept of a “timed run” was intimidating when I signed up for my first 5k, 3 years ago!

The turkey trot has become a tradition for my friends and me, and it holds a special meaning to me, since my first timed run was a turkey trot (albeit, the Frisco one instead of the Dallas one) on Thanksgiving day, 2011! This year, before we headed our separate ways (to meet up again in a few hours for a late Thanksgiving lunch), JR asked, “Same time, next year?” Definitely.

Capital One Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot – 8M
November 27, 2014
Official time: 1:16:17
Pace: 9:32/M
Overall: 1911/3409
Gender: 559/1406
AG(F 30-34): 83/213


Rockets Run 5k RR

Kristin convinced me to sign up so we could go to a Rockets game (complimentary ticket included with the run registration)! I had planned on treating the Rockets Run as a recovery run since it’s only a week after Oilman Texas– well, I didn’t end up running during Oilman (will have to post about that later), so I just treated it as part of my marathon training mid-tempo run.

Goal was to do a 8:23/M pace as specified on my plan. I was trying to keep it on pace, but you know how it is at a race– everyone else is sprinting out while I’m trying to hold back! Thus, too fast the first mile, then I slowed closer to goal pace for second mile, and then last mile, towards the end, picked it up a bit to finish!

1) 8:08
2) 8:19
3) 8:10

Actually ended up being a PR (officially, anyway)! Sweet. Not bad for a mid-tempo run, haha. Temp was probably 60-ish– much warmer than what I had expected! Great way to kick-off my marathon training. 🙂

Official time: 25:29
Pace: 8:13/M
Division: 13/199
Gender: 48/750
Overall: 299/1771

Headwind is NO joke.

I’m still alive!  There’s so much that I haven’t written about, but this week, 5150 is on my mind.  What is 5150, you ask?  Well, it’s an Olympic triathlon (1.5km swim, 40k bike, and 10k run) that I am signed up for and it’s coming up in 2 days!   Oh, shit. It’s in 2 DAYS.

I’ve competed in various sprint triathlons, but this will be my first Olympic.  The race is going to be in Galveston, which is notorious for its wind.  I had read about the difficulty of dealing with headwind in my early days of cycling and thought, how bad can wind be?  For a runner, wind can be a bit of a nuance but nothing that I’ve ever worried about.  Turns out, wind is a HUGE deal when it comes to cycling.  I experienced it this past weekend when I did a long training ride in Galveston, covering the straight path along the sea wall (with nothing to block the wind) in Galveston.

The forecast called for 14-15mph winds to the west, which meant tailwind out and headwind back.  My plan was to go at a comfortable pace heading out, knowing that I would need to save energy for the second half when we would face headwind.  I felt pretty good heading out and was riding with an average around 18mph.  The course was relatively flat and the tailwind was pushing us along.  Thoughts at this point were, “Whee, this is fun!” and, “Cycling is cool!”

IMG_20130914_140644I also recently discovered that I could peddle while taking my right hand off the handlebars, and thus, was finally able to eat on the bike!  The day before the ride, I had a new Profile Design water bottle holder installed to my road bike handlebars and now could easily drink water from my AeroDrink bottle with its extended straw (thanks to Johnny Z at Powerhouse Racing in Pearland!).  Very exciting!

We’d ridden a little under 1.5 hours when we decided to turn around.  I immediately noticed how tough it was now to peddle and had to drop a few gears.  I knew my speed would slow down after the turn around but I had not anticipated exactly how much.  I didn’t know my exact speed (forgot my Garmin) but I could FEEL how slow it was.  My cadence was lower than it needed to be and I was on the third lowest gear.  Ugh.  I started to question how anybody could enjoy cycling and how stupid Ironman races were. Seriously. WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?!  Crazy people, that’s who!  Not knowing my current speed, I feared the worst and thought maybe signing up for Oilman Triathlon (FYI– I signed up for a half-Ironman distance race in November!) had been too ambitious and I was setting myself up for a DNF.  I was also running low on water and getting hungry.  Hmph.  We had planned on stopping at a gas station, but the gas station was still far far away (10 miles from our starting point) and I had dropped some of my food by accident.  *sigh*

I felt bad because I was clearly falling behind and Kevin had to pull into condo parking lots a couple of times and ride around to wait for me to catch up.  Sorry, Kevin!  My legs felt like bricks and I was frustrated with how slow I was going.  Trying to catch a break by cruising was NOT an option.  The second I stopped pedaling, my speed would drastically drop and then it was more work to try and bring it back up.  While the view from San Luis Bridge was lovely, riding the bridge was awful. The crosswinds were roaring and I could feel the wind trying to push me over.  I was nervous about taking a hand off the handlebars since I had to constantly adjust to fight the changing winds.

Eventually, we caught a break at the gas station, and while I wish I could say it was smooth sailing from there, it wasn’t until we turned away from the sea wall that I discovered my legs actually still worked!  I furiously pedaled towards Moody Gardens, ready to be done with the ride!

It was only afterwards that I was able to appreciate the ride– we ended up averaging around 15mph and had completed 52.5 miles in under 3.5 hours.  This was a big PR for me and made me feel a lot more confident about both my upcoming Olympic race as well as Oilman!  Perhaps we should have gone another 3.5 miles to hit the half-Ironman distance?  Kevin’s response was, “NO!” but that’s okay, we will next time.  🙂

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

I did it.  I rode my bike with the clipless pedals!  Well, I rode around a parking lot anyway.  True to the name, the Look Keo Easy pedals aren’t too difficult to get in and out of with a little practice.  Of course, this says nothing about smoothly stopping on the bike, haha.

Not gunna lie.  It was absolutely terrifying and it started off pretty awful.  I didn’t want to test it out until I was in a traffic-free area, so I walked a bit in my socks until I got to a decent sized space.  After standing around for awhile, I finally mustered up the courage to try it out.  Right foot clipped in.  Here we go! Push off.  Clip in left foot.  Okay, this isn’t bad, I’m still on the bike.  Now for unclipping.  Unclip right, lean right…LEAN RIGHT….shit, I’m going down.  I land on the ground to my left, my butt cushioning the fall.  Ouch.  That’s definitely going to bruise.  If it was unclear to anyone around me at the park that it was my first time using the clipless pedals, it should be clear now.  Not sure what I did wrong, but I pride aside, I pick myself up and try again.  Second time, I fall again, scratching the back of my right calf against the gears.  Ugh.  I’m already frustrated at this point because I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.  How hard is it to lean right!?  My heart is pounding out of my chest in anticipation of trying again.  Mouth dry, I take a few large gulps of water. Third attempt, my confidence is low and I go down before I even clip in my left foot.  *sigh*  I land on my right knee, breaking skin where my ugly scar is from my last fall.

Feeling defeated, I splash some water on my knee at the water fountain and sit down at the benches.  I have no idea what I’m doing wrong and I attempt to watch other people unclip.  It’s a hard to learn this way though since it’s hard to really see what’s going on from afar and I’m concerned my staring might come off as creepy.  Kristin does 2 more loops before she stops and comes over to me, immediately spotting the blood on my knee.  She instructs me to walk back to the lot with her and try again.  I reluctantly follow and after stalling for a bit, attempt it again. This time, a group of guys have gathered at a nearby picnic table.  Perfect! I was hoping for an audience.  As I’m unclipping and leaning, I start to fall left again, but this time, manage to unclip my left foot in time and catch myself.  Kristin then tells me that I’m falling because I’m putting all my weight on the left side because I’m unclipping when my right foot is at the top. She tells me to try again but to unclip when my right foot is at the bottom.  Hm.  This makes perfect sense to me and I wonder how this didn’t occur to me earlier.  Still incredibly nervous, I agree to try again.  Alas, it works!  My landing was a little rough with a few hops, but I didn’t fall!  I did it a few more times with Kristin’s supervision and then continued to practice on my own while she went to finish her ride.

We finished off the set with a 15-minute run (+1 extra minute because we’re overachievers), as scheduled.  I may not have gotten the 30-minute bike ride originally planned, but at least I did the run, haha.  I’m still not terribly confident with the clipless pedals so I’ll definitely practice again and in the meanwhile, I’ll do my rides on the trainer until I’m comfortable on the road.  Hopefully it won’t take too long!!

(FYI, I’m on 5.)

Easy pedals? I hope so.

You’ve heard the saying, “it’s just like riding a bike,” implying that if you’ve ever done something, you’re not going to forget how to do it again.  This phrase does not apply to me.  Hoping on the road bike was NOTHING like riding my little bike when I was 12 where my feet could touch the ground and I could back peddle to stop the bike.  That became very clear on my first test ride at Bicycle World when I realized I wasn’t sure how to stop the bike and jumped off with both feet in the air.

From the start, my relationship with my road bike was turbulent.  In the first couple of months, Connie flung me to the ground on, not one, but two occasions, resulting in stitches, 3 ER visits (it’s not as bad as it sounds), ugly scars (those are bad), and ridiculous medical bills. This lead me to conclude that my bike must be female because this seems like female behavior (kidding, but kinda true…).  And because I’m a fan of alliteration, I decided her name should be Connie– Connie, the Scott Contessa Speedster.   Most people would not stand for this sort of abuse, but I was stubborn and refused to let this deter me from my triathlon goals!  I proceeded cautiously and my rides have been relatively smooth since.

Look Keo Easy pedals

After nearly a year of owning my bike and completing 3 triathlons (2 sprints and 1 super sprint), I finally mustered the courage to install clipless pedals this past weekend.  While this may not be a big deal to many people, I am incredibly anxious. I’ve practiced clipping in and out on my trainer, but I am under no illusion that it’ll be just as easy.  Everyone tells me that falling is inevitable.  It’ll most likely be when I’m at a complete stop, so it’s not going to be some terrible fall, but it WILL be embarrassing and most likely in front of a large crowd of people.  Excellent. Given my past experience and scars, the idea of falling still terrifies me, but I guess I have to attempt it to overcome it!

Choco Loco 5k– PR!

I’ve been aiming to beat my PR for my 5k for half a year.  Back in July, I ran the Run Wild 5k on July 4, 2012.  It was a shock to me that I managed to PR that day.  I was slightly hung over with a headache from celebrating a friend’s birthday the night before, and being July, it was HOT. I pulled off a 26:52.2, beating my 27:25 from 6 months before at the ep5k in January.

My friend Vickie does a 5k each month for charity, and this month, she picked the Choco Loco 5k. It was a small inaugural race held in Uptown Park. The race had a start time of 7:30am, and I arrived at 7:00am to pick up my packet. That’s the great thing about these smaller races– you don’t have to arrive ridiculously early! I easily parked 2 rows down from the pack pickup area. My friends were running late and didn’t arrive until maybe 10 minutes before the start time! No problemo. We got to the start line just before the race started.

Today’s weather was perfect for running! Low 60’s, cloudy. I started with the back of the pack, intending on going easy as part of my marathon training plan. As usual, I started out a bit fast…and then instead of slowing down, I just kinda stuck with it. I couldn’t help it!  It IS a race after all.  Once I saw my first mile time, I wanted to stay around that pace– I’m a big fan of hitting even or negative splits!

1) 8:27
2) 8:23
3) 8:22
3.12) 6:39

Sprinted the finish! My official time was 25:50.2, 8:20/M pace. It’s definitely a PR!!!  Wheeee! For real though, I have to take it easy at the Galveston Half Marathon tomorrow, haha.  There were oreos, bananas, Famous Amos cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a chocolate fondue station!

Choco Loco 5k
January 26, 2012
Chip Time: 25:50.2
Pace: 8:20/M
Division: 18/108
Overall: 105/478

Medicine Park Weekend

I got my San Francisco Half Marathon confirmation email today with my bib number and wave start information!  Eeeee, I’m excited!!  I’m in the 5th wave, which starts at 6:02am.  SO early. The good news is that since it’s in a different time zone, it’s really like 8:02am CST, so that’s not so bad!    I might try to run with the 4:15 marathon pacer (9:44/M pace).

As you may know, San Francisco is a rather hilly place.  The first half marathon has a total elevation gain of 660 feet.  It actually starts at a lower elevation than the finish since it’s not a loop.  This past weekend, I had a good hill training run while I was visiting Medicine Park, Oklahoma, for one of my best friends’ birthdays!

Jane’s husband, Jonathan, gave me the option of doing shorter routes, but with my half marathon coming up, I requested the longest route.  We ran around the town of Medicine Park and completed 8.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 575 feet.  Those hills were definitely NOT easy for me– I could run through the hills except the last big hill, which we didn’t hit until mile 7 and it had a 200-feet elevation gain over .6 miles.  I HAD to walk some of it.  With the blazing sun and warm temperaturse, I was getting slightly lightheaded.

1) 9:11
2) 9:35
3) 9:27
4) 10:18
5) 10:12
6) 9:44
7) 13:08
8) 11:09
8.5) 9:56

You can see where that big hill was, right?  I also didn’t use any Gu and I typically start to get sluggish around mile 8.  Regardless, it came out to be a 10:18/M pace so, not too shabby.  I think it’ll feel nicer with the cooler temperatures in San Francisco!

After the big hill, it was pretty much all downhill so we ran again, passing Jane & Jonathan’s cabin and continuing through town back to where we parked the car, by Bath Lake.  Once we got there, we decided to take a dip in the lake to cool off.  Yes, in our running clothes, haha.  GREAT idea.  Felt awesome! VERY glad I got this run in before my half marathon!!

I had a great time this past weekend with my best friends AND had a good run! Some pictures from Medicine Park:

bath lake . ❤ . meers | pike . dinner prep . morning | peach cobbler . lexi . post-run breakfast