Category Archives: June 2016

For All Those People Who Told Me….

When I first started running 2 years ago I was determined to only run in 5k races. I mean, no reason to worry about running farther. 5k races are generally cheaper, and most of the time you get the same benefits as the longer races that are attached. Also, they are somewhat more personal and geared towards new(er) runners. Then people around me started asking when I was going to run linger distances. “So, when is your first marathon?”, “So, when do you plan on qualifying for Chicago/Boston/LA?” My response…… “Whoa people….do ya’ll WANT me to fail?”

Then came the 2016 Road Warrior Program. I was a “5K participant” along with another warrior (LIZ SHOUT OUT!). There was also a 10K participant. And the remaining were 25K participants. During the interview for the program I was asked if I would be willing to run a longer race if I felt I was prepared, and I responded quickly with an, “absolutely”. Of course, all the while hoping that I would only do the 5k. Then the 10k-er (CRYSTAL SHOUT OUT!), decided to “up” to the 25k. And my fellow 5k-er decided to “up” to the 10k. So there I was……stepping up to the 10k. Looking back, I never wanted to run more than 3 miles. Now I was gonna run 6 miles. Then offer came for the option to participate in the GR Half Marathon…..eh, why the hell not!

So to all those people who said I would eventually “up” to longer distances? You were right…..

Also in 2016 was the decision to try my hand at OCR’s. And while I completing the Ohio Spartan Sprint, everyone around me was saying, “once you cross the finish line, you will never look back and want to do more!” Well, this sounds familiar. Now, the downside here is that these races are quite pricey. Plus, you need to register pretty early in advance in order to beat price increases. Then there is the limited places that they are offered (I am talking specifically about Spartan). I figured the Sprint distance (3-5 miles and 20 obstacles) would be doable for a “beginner”. I mean, I run, crossfit, gym, etc…..it will be hard, but I can do it.

Well, as I have written in a previous post, it was hard. At the time the hardest thing I have ever had to do. 3-5 miles was actually 9 and 20 obstacles. I mean, I am fairly certain they really planned out the Super course instead. But one thing was for sure. When I crossed that finish line I was not thinking about how fabulous it felt. I was not thinking about the amazing accomplishment. I was literally thinking, “Gimme that medal and get me out of here!” Did I think I wanted to complete another after I finished? Nope. I never want to do one of those again. Not a Spartan. Not a Tough Mudder. Not a Battlefrog. Not a Savage Race. I am not sure I really even ever want to go hiking again for that matter.

So to all those people who said I would “love” OCR’s? You were wrong……

Most recently, and only one short month after my first 10K, I completed the Grand Rapids Triathlon. I used to swim competitively, I run, and hey, riding a bike is not that difficult. And to not duplicate much of my previous blog, I will only state again that this was in fact THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER HAD TO DO. And in all my research I constantly read that people often said that after their first triathlon, they were hooked. Huh. Well, there is THAT statement again. I mean, now there is a 50/50 chance, right? Could be great. Could be a disaster. Triathlons are definitely costlier than running races. More on the OCR price range. Require more training time. Obviously more disciplines.  And, while running the last few yards of the triathlon I asked myself, “When I cross the finish, will I ever want to do this again?” And then I crossed the finish. And I cried. A lot. Hard. I actually completed it. And you know what? I LOVED IT! Sure, I couldn’t feel my legs. Yeah, my tailbone hurt in the shape of my bike seat. And, unfortunately I did not properly prepare nutrition-wise. But I LOVED IT! I have honestly never been more proud of myself as completely that race. And in just over 1 week after that completion I registered for another. And then also for the MiTi Duathlon.

So to all those people who said I would love triathlons?    Thank you.

Much love

Keep running.

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The Year Of “Upping The Ante”

Well, it has been a month since I last posted. A month since the last big brewhahaha with my Road Warrior crew. And I will admit, there has been a slump. Work hit a combination of crazy and busy, the weather went all Michigan-y. I developed allergies (???) and in the mix was also my first triathlon.

As most of you who know me know I research everything. I researched and researched and decided to give the Grand Rapids Triathlon a shot. Over and over I read that it was one of the top tri’s for beginners. That was important to me. Then, the race staff offered numerous info and training clinics that encompassed everything not only a newbie, but also a veteran needs to know. And while some of the info clinics covered the same information, there was always something new I learned.

At the last info clinic, about two weeks before the event, I remember thinking, “what in the world have I done?”. In trying on the wetsuit I remember thinking, “what in the world have I done?”. When I went to the training swim I got in the water and remember thinking, “There is no way I can do this.”.

Of course I did not sleep well the night before. Was up early enough to make sure that everything was packed up. Race numbers places on my arms and legs, bike, helmet and onto my race belt. When we got to the venue I was able to get the end spot on the bike rack and set everything up. Then it was just time to wait. Sit and watch all the different people come into the transition area and set themselves up. In all honesty, there had to be about $500,000 worth of equipment there if not more.

The swim looked longer than at the practice swim. And according to my TomTom it was. Not by much, but still. I started getting leg cramps about halfway through the swim which slowed me down. Once out of the water, thanks to the assistance of race volunteers, I had my experience with the swimsuit strippers. That was fun! Once I made it to transition to my bike I started to realize that I had not properly prepared myself nutritionally for this race. I am so used to participating in running events, and in the midst of everything, only ate enough for that. So I took my time in transition. I sat down, put on my socks and shows. Consumed an energy gel. Then slowly just walked my bike out of transition. I figured that the bike would be good because at least I could take the time to rehydrate. The course had some small hills, but nothing major. I quickly learned the sound difference between an oncoming vehicle and an oncoming bicyclist. And by the time I hit the halfway mark, I was convinced I was not going to make it. My tailbone hurt so bad from the bike seat. And I wanted to stop so many times to rest, but just kept going. Even though it looked like I was on a Sunday afternoon ride with no care in the world.

Once the bike course was done and I was back in transition, I realized I did not have enough nutrition at my station. I got my race belt on and started out onto the run course. I literally could not feel my legs, and my left hip was on the verge of cramping most of the bike course. The aide stations were wonderful offering water, Gatorade, Pepsi, bananas, oranges, grapes, pretzels and Hammer Gel. The people along the way, for all the course, were wonderfully energetic and supportive. I did not run as much of the run course as I would have liked, but made it, and crossed the finish line at 2:57. I had set a time for myself at registration of 5 hours, mainly because I had no idea how long it would take. So in that regard I kind of be my expected PR!

All in all the GR Tri was FABULOUS! I would highly recommend it for newbie triathletes who want to get their feet wet, pun intended. I cried when I crossed the finish line. It was legitimately the hardest thing I have ever done. There are many things I would do differently next time. Some I should have known before hand, some I know now that I know what it is like. But the next day, while it still hurt to stand up or sit down (lol), my mind was already on what to do next time.

So, while this race season is a little less event planned as previous years, it holds harder and longer races. 2016 is my “up the ante” year. I ran my first 10k in May. My first triathlon in June. I will do the Girls Best Friend Triathlon in August (sprint distance). I have registered for the Olympic Distance Duathlon of the Michigan Titanium also in August. I will run my first Half Marathon in October. Many “firsts” and many “extensions” of what I have learned. If it all goes well, watch out 2017!

 

Keep Running

Much love.