Thursday, June 30, 2016

Running With the Devil Marathon: We ain't in Kansas anymore (or NY!)

Vegas is a fickle animal.  You travel (in my case, thousands of miles) to this strange little mecca in the middle of the desert, filled with gambling, alcohol, food, debauchery and every other kind of gluttony, topped off with heat so intense you could literally fry an egg on the shimmering blacktop.  So when my boss asked me to present at a conference in the city, I accepted with the curiosity to see such a place in action - a place that pretty much defined modern america to a T.  Oh, and I found a race 30 minutes away that took place the next day.  Cause that's what normal people do, right?  Run a a marathon in the middle of the desert in June?  Yes? Good.

The race took place Saturday - pre race was just hilarious.  I flew across the country Thursday, presented Friday morning, spent Friday afternoon with a co-worker walking the strip, wearing a tank top, flip flops, no sunscreen, drinking a margarita, and eating french fries.  In the 111 degree heat.  What, they were carbs, right?  Suffice to say I did EVERYTHING wrong pre race is an understatement, but at least I killed the booze by 4pm and we only walked 7 miles in said flip flops (yes I am rolling my eyes at myself).   Oh, and did I mention I did my presentation in heels and was rocking an excellent blister on my foot?  I amuse myself with my idiocy sometimes.
 Race morning, my alarm went off at 4am for a 5am departure to the desert - race was about 45 minutes of the strip.  Luckily?, I never acclimated to Pacific time, so I was up by 3:30, pumping and prepping.  as I opened the door of my bedroom in the air bnb we were staying at to take a co worker walked up the stairs to go to bed after a night at the casino.  We looked at each other and just laughed - what a defining moment of the dichotomy of Vegas.  Here he was, super happy that he had a great night out, drinking and playing poker and black jack for 6 hours, netting $50 and drinking for free for 6 hours.  Here I was, getting up at o dark o'clock to run an intense heat marathon in the middle of the desert.  It takes all kinds.  We said good morning/night, and I finished prepping - woke my insane but awesomely good natured boss up, who was my ride (seriously, he got up at 4:30 to drive me, how cool is that) and grabbed my pb bagel and coffee for the road,

The ride out was spectacular - after about 10 minutes we were headed for Red Rock canyon, where the race took place.  We were amazed at the stark contrast from the strip - here was Vegas in it's natural beauty, here was the reason I would visit this place.  When we got to the venue, I did my normal prep, stretched out, got my gear, and got ready to run.  The race required you run with at least 48 ounces of water, so I had my camelbak, a white hat, hoo rag for neck cooling, and plenty of 50 SPF in my goody bag.  Speed?  No way.  It was a small race - 65 people total, but super friendly.  You figure anyone dumb enough to run a race in 108 degree temps at least has a sense of humor about their mental state, so in a sick, twisted way, these races are somewhat of a social hour, since no one is dumb enough to try to PR in a desert marathon in June.  With some pre race chat about aid stations and heat exhaustion, we were off.

Miles 1-10....sucked.  I run a 4 hour marathon (yes, I am chasing that sub with all I own) so I figured, with my strong, yet slow base and the heat, I was looking at about a 5 hour marathon, or, an 11 minute mile.  So I took it easy and slow, which wasnt difficult, because at 7am, it was already 90 fucking degrees.  (Yes, the "f" bomb is appropriate here, folks).  Mile 1 clocked in at 10:44, which was...disheartening.  You naturally slow down in a race, so I was hoping to hold a ten minute mile for the first few hours.  Damn.  Miles 2, 3 and 4 were about the same - 10:30-11 minute pace.  The terrain was super hilly, water stops every 3 miles (I would have died without my camelbak) and you simply could not hold a comfortable pace without a walk break every 5 minutes.  I chatted with runners as we leap frogged each other, and seriously questioned my decision making to run the full.  The race was an "m" shape - out 11 miles, switchback 2.1, out 2.1, back the 11.  Mile 5 was allll downhill - lost 1000 feet elevation in one fell swoop.  I whooped as I actually ran down the curves, taking the beauty around me - felt like a mini grand canyon.  Then....I realized that what goes down, must come back up, and we would be hitting that delight at mile 21.  $hit.  Well, I'll think about that in 3 hours.  I hit mile 6 in 1:07 and realized I was probably looking at a 6 hour race.  Yikes.  I started chatting with a few guys that had been running near me, and we all agreed that this race was a special brand of torture fun.  One guy had DNFed it 4 times.  Yikes.  It was also obvious that out of all of the people I spoke with, everyone was either from California, Nevada or arizona...and used to running in this shit.  Oh, did I mention that in addition to the heat, we were now cruising at 6000 feet elevation?  You got it.  (Rochester sits at 500 feet).  No wonder I was sucking wind.  Yes, I am a moron.  So....10 miles in, doing my little run/walk, I sat at 2:12.  I was seriously wondering if I had it in me to keep this up for 4 more hours when a little angel walked into my life.

Mile 18.  We rock.
Miles 10-20:  Angel?  Yep.  His name was Steve.  He was a 50 stater...almost twice.  He had qualified for Boston several times, run a marathon on every continent, and was running his 122nd (no, thats not a typo) marathon.  And he was hurting.  Just like me.  With a dude that has run almost every marathon sub 4....I felt much better about myself and my course struggles!!  We decided to motivate each other as long as possible, which was perfect timing, as my Ipod decided to die right in the middle of Antiserum and Mayhem's "Hustle" which wasn't all that friggin motivating anyways.  So.  We trekked along to mile 11 checkpoint (yes, there were volunteers recording our bib's manually, this race was everything ultra) hi fived a few guys we had run with, then turned around.  And flew.  Apparently we didn't realize how uphill we had been going, so when we ran straight for 2 miles at a 9:00 pace we were so stoked!  Hit the halfway point at 2:47.  We turned around again to do the 2 mile uphill, but knowing the turnaround would bring better miles 15-17 made the interim so. much. easier.  So we got to know each other.  Apparently Steve, who had 5 kids, managed to scrape not one runner out of the lot, so he adopted me for 3 hours.  Hey, I was down.  We hit mile 15 without alot of pain, and coasted downhill again. netting mile 17 in 8:55, my fastest mile of the race (said no one, ever).  We decided to run walk as much as possible, since mile 21 was going to suck, and we hit mile 20 at 4:15.

Miles 21-26.2:  We topped off at the aid station and prepped for our hill climb at mile 21.  The dudes we had run with were long behind us, so we were reasonably sure we were either A- doing pretty well or B - almost DFL.  We revised our goal to 5:45, which felt odd decreasing a goal, since at mile 10 we were pretty sure we weren't even gonna finish (except we are stubborn like that).  Made it through the slog, ran most of mile 22, and hit mile 23 at 4:55.  At this point, we knew, even with our stupid slow mile 21, that a 10-11 minute pace was reasonable and we could go under 5:30.  So we played a game the last 5k, picking one sucker off at a time and playing games in the desert. It was oddly satisfying and actually fun - something I was seriously doubting hours before!  With a half mile to go, we decided to run it in hand in hand, finishing with a smile in 5:28, a 12:30 pace and probably one of the toughest races I've ever done (including Ironman).

After the race, we saw a few of the speedier folks (winning time was 4:30 for reference!) and grabbed something cold to drink.  I was amazed that my stomach had no issues during the race (thank you electrolytes) but food was pretty unbearable.  As we were celebrating, the RD came over and told me there was no award ceremony because people finished all over the place, but I was second woman in - HOLY CRAP, I came in second?  I was amazed.  In tri's I can usually place in my Age group, but NEVER in a marathon.  Epic.  I couldn't believe that after flying across the country, in wicked heat (it got up to 108) with my idiocy the day before.....that I not only finished, I friggin placed!  Sweet.

Post race...well, that was a mess.  We won't go into that.  Five days later I still feel it.  But would I do it again?  You betcha.  Now it's onto some speedwork to prep for the Syracuse marathon...I feel a PR, baby!!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Run Down Cancer 5k: Push baby, push!! I went to write my marathon race report, I realized that, whoops! Forgot to finish this one.  So...Running with the Devil tomorrow.  Run Down Cancer 5k today!!

It's been a friggin long time since I ran a 5k.  Last fall, I ran one in Fairport, but it was 4 weeks post Biz, so I had designs to see how well I could do without a kiddo or post kiddo body.  My friend Jen RD's this race in memory of her brother Steve, who passed away from cancer.  It met several criteria: help a friend, good cause, relatively flat course (or so the site said!) and a good swag/post race feast for $15.  Plus it included a fun run for Rob.  We were sold.  We recruited a few friends and made plans to trek to Mendon for the race.

By a last minute twist of fate, we ended up being in a spot where we only had care for Rob, so we figured we would change up the ole plans and make it Biz's first stroller race.  Greg was feeling pretty good morning of, so I decided to push her, as beating my 22 minute PR seemed pretty unlikely on the (NOT FLAT) course.  Not sure why we didn't realize Mendon wouldn't be flat!!

Pre race, we played with the kids on the swings, ate some pb sammies, and geared Biz up.  We headed for the start line, kissed Dad g'bye and Biz and I headed for the back of the pack.  And we were off!!

We had some tunage going on in one ear, rockin out to Fifth Harmony, and felt pretty good.  Biz was squealing happily as I sped up, trying to stay outta the way as I passed people.  Mile one was down in 7:53, sweet.  I felt thirsty, but otherwise good.  We started mile 2 and I slowed a bit - I've only pushed Biz once in the stroller for running and was really out of practice.  We hit the turnaround, waved to Daddy, and grabbed a sip of water.  Mile 2 was down and the clock read 16:23.  I figured we had a 26:00 in us, as mile 3 was uphill somewhat, but we had this!

Then Biz had enough.  She started to shriek, so I slowed and consoled her.  Nothin.  I hit the gas - the path to home was much closer than doing anything else!  We stopped to walk for 30 seconds with Dad and were off again to speed into the home stretch.  Up the last big hill, I lost some gas and slowed down quite a bit, and the 4 women who had been dogging me passed us.  Dammit.  I was pretty sure at least one of them was in my age group, so we scrambled to catch up.  Down to the finishers chute's gravel.  Crap!  I tried to run with Biz but no luck - the last 200 yards was totally non runnable if I didn't want to pop the baby out!  We slowed, the women re passed us, and we smiled and giggled (yes she was back into it!) as we hit the finish in 26:57 - 3.15 miles at 8:43 pace.  A solid effort.

We chowed down and waited for the results and Rob's race - and the type A crazy runner in me was a bit dejected when the former came - came in 6th out of 12 in my age group - and 3 of the women who passed us...were in my age group!  30 seconds between place 3 and know I was trying to figure out where I could have grabbed that time :-P  Then (with help) I realized that I had pushed 50 pounds of baby and stroller the whole time, and got the hell over it.  As my buddy who ran put it...."I got beat.  By a 9 month old".  Technically, so did I because Biz ALWAYS just beats me by 2 seconds :-P

On to Rob's race....the kids run was a 50 yard dash of madness, and Rob had a blast!!  He took off like a shot at the gun and hit the finish line strong - and was so proud of his medal!!

All in all it was an awesome race - well worth it.  We will be back next year and I smell 2 new PR', it's on to the next race - Running with the Devil marathon in Las Veags next week!  Yikes!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pittsford Tri 2015- Oh, right...I should train.

I did not forget.  Tri season kicked off a week and a half ago with the Pittsford Tri - and I owe a race report!!  First things first.  The 2016 Race season has obviously been run focused.  With an ultra, two half marathons and two full's all about that run.  I consciously chose to do it this way - it is so much easier to grab sneaks and go rather than navigate the ever changing gananda pool hours or pump up my bike tires and get out.  So, I've been running 4 times a week, riding twice for recovery, and sometimes swimming in the morning when I can break away (it's tough to justify 6am workouts when the get up at 5.  So, no, I'm not sleeping in!)

The result?  I got done with MTD 3 weeks ago and said Well hot damn...I am supposed to do a tri in 20 days!!  Yikes!  So, I biked the Pittsford course a few times on the trainer, did a few bricks, and did exactly one swim.  The result?  It had been almost two years since I rode outside (Finger Lakes Tri 2014) and almost the same since I had done any kind of structured swim workout.  Being preggo during tri season kinda sets you back a year, doesn't it? :-P

Pre Race: So.  With minimal expectations, we set off.  Greg worked a wedding in Utica the day prior to the race, and I had two crazy kids by myself all day....two kids, who, despite being adorable, decided not to settle down until almost 10pm  and then wake up screaming at 4am.  What could be more perfect?  Oh, right, it was raining.  Deep breath.  With ALOT of goodwill and some well timed humor, we set off.  Dropped Biz off at Greg's godmom's house, then brought Rob to the race with us where Gramma was supposed to meet us.  As we started to set up, it friggin poured.  All over us.  And...Gramma was 40 minutes late (She got lost).  Nothing catastrophic but enough to send me scrambling for the start about 5 minutes before go time.  Yikes.

Swim - 300 meters = 5:42.  Since this was a pool swim, its a wave start.  Which means I started at 7:11, as I seeded myself for a 5:45 swim.  Slow as $hit, but have I trained?  No. (This is a theme).  It was sort of cool to see Greg start and finish (he is speedy!) before I even began.  When my time came, I swam comfortably - passed no one, did not get passed.  perfect.  I ran to T1, got immensely dizzy, and almost fell over.  Nutrition?  lack of sleep?  I don't know.  Probably didn't bode well for a bike, but I'm a moron, so off I went.

Bike - 15 miles: 53:12 (17 mph).  SUCKED.  That's about it.  It had stopped raining, but that was it's only redeeming value.  Things NOT to do at a race would be:  1.  Don't get a bike tune up for 2 years (and ride 8000 miles indoors during that time.  No I did not add an extra zero).  2.  Don't ride OUTSIDE for 2 years.  3.  Don't ride hills, then sign up for a hilly course.  Awesome.  Of course, with my "experienced triathlete" mind frame, it was just 15 miles, right?  Right?  I'm an idiot.  For what it's worth, when my chain wasn't falling off (twice, such fun to hop off and fix) and when I wasn't realizing that hills SUCK when your bike basically has three gears because it hasn't been tuned up in two was...enjoyable?  Actually, it was.  I made peace with the fact that I was going to be significantly slower and enjoyed it about a half hour in.  Bike split was 4 minutes slower than 2014.  Train, Rae.

Run - 3.5 miles: 29:xx.  As I hopped off the bike, I got stupid hungry.  I grabbed my run gear and exited transition in 40 seconds (yay!) only to realize that the gu that I put in my race top was MIA.  F.  Oh well, you can handle anything for a half hour right?  Surprisingly, yes.  The run was not the stuff that sprinting was made of, but I enjoyed it (not a shocker, as run has been the name of my game!).  I ran steadily for 2 miles, took a strategic hill walk break, then coasted in for about an 8:40 pace, which is pretty decent for all that LSD (hey, that's long, slow distance, get your mind outta the gutter) I have been doing.

Total Race time: 1:32:13, 4 minutes slower than 2014, but hey, we will live.

Post Race:  Hung out with the Robster and his new buddies that he made while we were on course, ate some trail mix, and waited for results.  While not my best time, my finish was good for 9th OA and 3rd in my we sense a pattern?

2014.  Me and Rob, 3rd AG!

2016 - Deja Vu?
Maybe I should train for this race next time :-)  Up next - a strange twist...5k this weekend!  cause, ya know, I've really been doing that speedwork (or....not).

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Month 9: Dang Girl, You Lookin' Fine!

Well, here we are again, little lady!  You are 9 whole months old today!  Daddy called you an old lady...and you promptly blew him a big raspberry.  You tell him, girl!  I'll let you in on a little secret, girly q - this month, while being super tiring, has been one of my favorites to date.  You are still a snuggly ball of love but with your new tricks, you are such a cool little PERSON that it is such a joy to actually be able to talk and play with you every day.  Luckiest. Mom. Ever.

Size - We go to the docs on Friday but I'm laying odds at 20 pounds.  You are totally into size 12 mos and so super tall.  Such a big girl!  Don't let anyone ever tell you that's a bad thing, GQ - you have the strongest leggos ever and they will really take you places!

Likes:   Again, food.  You LOVE being a big girl at the dinner table with us!  Playing cars - you and Rob are actually starting to play together!  Painting toenails with Mommy - right now you are bright pink (yes, I realize I am a horrible mom.  Deal).  Going for runs with mom.  Giggle fests.  Playing let's stand up on the train table.  Being pushed in the jumper by Rob.  You are such a happy, giggly, wonderful girl!!

Dislikes: Still, sleeping alone.  You hate it.  Get used to it, girl.  Teething still sucks.  Sleeping at night.  Cutting teeth.  Being strapped down - in the car seat, high chair, anywhere.  You are a woman on a mission and no one is slowing you down!

Sleep: We are getting better here....on some levels.  We finally got you to go in your crib for a decent stretch at night (huge feat!) the problem is, when you wake up at night, ONLY mommy can soothe you.  Dammit.  Kiddo, I'm tired.  I haven't had more than 4 hours of shut eye in 9 months, and I haven't slept for more than two hours without a baby.  I love you, and I love our snuggles but....I hate to tell you, you're gonna need to let Daddy fix it once in awhile!  He can.  I promise.

Eating:  We got the hint quickly, no more baby food.  No baby cereal.  You ain't got time for it girlfriend, and I appreciate that.  We are now into chicken, turkey burgers, eggs, cheese, yogurt, and corn.  And your FAVE - broccoli.  You adore it and would eat it every day if you could!  Oddly enough, you aren't the biggest fruit fan, but you do like bananas.  We got time, kiddo.  Rob will show you the love of fruit, trust me!


Pulling to Stand - Scared the hell out of you the first time, now you love it!
Cruising - You're a pro.
Pool Swim - You love the water!  Bro makes everything better, of course, but you thought it was the funnest thing ever.
Bikini- Aww yeah, you rocked it!
Pedicure - I realize it might be a bit controversial, but everything is.  We love our matching (non toxic, yes!) piggies.  Hot pink today!

Best Moment: No big oh my gosh moments this was more about the little things.  We get to play now - actually interact by playing with a ball or rolling a car back and forth. Playing in the grass - picking it, smelling it.   Looking out the window at the world going by.  Petting the kitties.  I love helping you explore and enjoy the world around you, baby girl!!

Looking Forward to:  Our first stroller race, Bro's birthday BBQ, 4th of July fireworks, and maybe some walking?  Time will tell!  Every day...I love you that much more.  I am suck a lucky mommy, and i know it!