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5k Charity Challenge... mid-week surprise!

I've been "tapering" for Rev3's Half Full Olympic this weekend for, oh, about a month or so (since Vegas my training has been anything but that...) so I figured a little race week speedwork couldn't hurt, right? ...right?

My company's community service group was throwing a 5k charity run mid-week, mid-afternoon and right in the backyard of our building... there was no way I wasn't running. At about 3pm (after sneaking a pre-race Powerbar gel in the girls bathroom) we all headed out to the field. About 400 of us took the field (in waves) and headed out to the course. 20121003-215254.jpg My wave was the first and included like six people and only two girls. Naturally, this was a great goofy photo-op:

The only problem was that the course meandered through some of the slightly narrow streets around the office just east of Georgetown. There were a few very confused passerby as we dodged past them at a 6:30 pace.

There was an initial pack of about five or so, including one other speedy girl, that I hung with the for the first mile until the heat and mugginess started to get to me. I started to fade and dropped back but managed to keep a gap no greater than, oh, 300m behind the #1 girl. Overall, never felt miserable but the legs were just not there.

splits!

  • 6:14
  • 6:44
  • 6:36

Yep, it was a short one - right at 3-miles for 19:35. plus a significant hill that we went down during mile one and back up during mile three.

And now that I actually think of it, I think this may have been my first 5k since high school. I've done a lot of random 5-mile races and 10ks and triathlons galore but i'm thinking this was a first, which totally means an automatic PR.

But the best thing? Because of my job, I know a significant number of people at my firm. Lots of cheering as I came back on the out and back course. The worst thing? I know a significant number of people at my firm. :) Bright red, gasping for breath, sweaty to the point of looking like I dumped water all over myself. No thank you...

If today's race and last night's swim session (took 3k and lots of drills to remember how to actually swim) prove anything, this weekend's race is going to be... interesting. Not holding my breath for a PR but just looking to go out there and have fun.

On the bright side: home from work, done with my workout and ready to kick back and maybe take part in a little debate action. Ah, if only I could get out of work at 3pm every day...

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ruthlessness

pre-race email from the coach:

Remember, sprints HURT if you're doing it right! A "violent" effort is what you're aiming for!

my answer:

this sunday's triathlon may be the smallest and shortest i've raced in yet. it will definitely be interesting to see how things go. unofficially, i'm gunning to win my age group and top-5 overall. maybe podium? we'll see. i tend to be overly ambitious with expectations at the start and then see where things pan out.

finally, taper time is killing me. cannot wait to race this sunday and bring on the race ruthlessness... almost as much as jane from the show happy endings (above). fired up!

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change of plans

i have so many exciting updates to share with you guys; i don’t even know where to start. but first, the bummer: turns out i will not be joining the last few legs of the rev3 run across the country crew this weekend. i just heard back from the fearless leader laura that the group changed the running shift design for the runners' overall sanity (i.e. breaking up the runs instead of opting for the grueling overnight shifts) but that meant there wouldn't be enough space leftover in the RV for me to join. my coach also pointed out a few weeks back that this might be a risky move if i wanted to get the most out of the first half of my tri season. apparently running your legs off while running across the country does quite a number on your entire body, requiring a big window of recovery (duh).

on that note, let me pause here and say that you need to drop whatever you're doing (yes, even reading this blog) and go check out the Run Across America blog for their amazing updates.  

the pictures are amazing but the runners' stories are even more inspiring. not to mention there are some hilarious hijinks about the RV getting pulled over not once, not twice... but... you'll have to go check the blog out to see how many times they managed to get pulled over by the cops in a single day :)

so while i’m incredibly bummed about not being able to join this amazing and crazy crew, everything happens for a reason, right? instead, i looked at this as an opportunity to sign up for a little early season race—a hilariously-titled sprint down in virginia called the "rumpass in the bumpass" to be exact.

this sunday will be my FIRST EVER sprint race. and while it’s much shorter than my "normal" races, i’m still very nervous. i kind of feel like it’s the 800m of triathlon—short enough where you can’t really use pacing but long enough where you’ll pass out if you go all out the entire time. not to mention, 80% of my training recently has been focused on going long(ish) in prep for my june half-ironman. as i wrote to my coach, “this could be interesting!”

my other big news is, more importantly, what i’ll be wearing this sunday. i got two back-to-back incredibly exciting packages at work and couldn’t be more stoked to rock them this weekend. i want to wait until i can take photos and do a write up that will do each justice, but here’s a little hint:

exhibit a:

exhibit b:

it's gonna be a great weekend!

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nation's duathlon race report

After a dismal performance at the earlier D.C. triathlon, I came into this year's race with one thought in mind: REDEMPTION. Mostly on myself for having failed mentally. true, it wasn't 100% mental - but a large part of it was. and dealing with post-race remorse for conditions out of your control (e.g. a flat tire) is, in my opinion, one of the most frustrating things about this sport.

so i came into this race rested and ready to kick butt. i saw it as some sort of hometown advantage and while i was bummed about the swim cancellation, i knew that my swim wasn't up to par so i might as well take it as a small blessing and run with it. my boss, a co-worker and our company's CEO were all racing so i was looking forward to having people to keep an eye out for during the bike/run. what i didn't expect, however, was that the narrow road and that my dead-last wave would cause some problems down the road (more on that later).

the morning of the race, i woke up at 4:45, ate my regular bagel with peanut butter and banana and then tried to down a cup of coffee. i drove my car to GW's campus, parked and then walked the 3/4 of a mile down to the massive transition set up in the grassy area between the potomac and the national mall. the week's worth of rain (the same that caused the swim cancellation) made for a very squishy transition, which only exacerbated the chaos as the hundred-plus herds of competitors tried to  squeeze into the muddy transition. even though i arrived plenty of time in advance, the delays actually getting into transition had me setting up my spot in record time. i got in, clipped my shoes into my bike, and slipped in the water bottle. since there was no swim and since i chose to wear my running shoes and helmet during the running start from the entrance to T1 to my bike (about 200m), i actually only had one item left in transition - my visor, which i would grab after depositing my bike and helmet. man, duathlons make for very tidy athletes!

since the 20-24 group was the very last heat, i had to sit around for about an hour while waiting for other groups to get sent off in their waves—i think it was something like every 20 seconds. while there was certainly quality people watching, the time definitely dragged on. quite some time later, our corral started moving and we were split into waves of 12 or so. i jumped in the third-or-so heat, so i could keep an eye on people as i passed them (or that was the plan!)

we ran to our bikes, grabbed them and then ZOOM, i was out of there. while the T1 was *quite* a bit simplified compared to normal races, this was by far the most solidly executed transition I have ever done.... even if I did have to schlep through 4-inches of mud to get to my bike and then to get it out of transition. while I haven't yet perfected the flying mount, I hopped on in a flash, started pedaling and then once i had enough momentum going, i clipped into my (very very muddy shoes).

we then headed out for the out-and-back course, mostly on clara barton parkway. aside from the brief preview i had the day before, i didn't know what to expect. um, i think it was mostly flat? and it's a parkway, so it has to be super-wide, right? well i was right (mostly) on the first, and dead-wrong on the second. well, the clara barton parkway itself was wide, but there was about 15-minutes worth of tight road that really could only accommodate about three riders abreast. additionally, there was a lot of passing, since we were hitting a lot of the team-in-training athletes who had started in waves prior. now, i think the team-in-training program is great. i love that people are out there sweating for a good cause. what i did not like is that this expectation was not well set by that race organizers for non team-in-training members registering for the race. dad I known that this race was going to be such a cluster, i might not have chosen it for my race schedule. would this have been less of an issue if the swim was held? probably. should i have done my homework better? well, maybe that would have helped. will i be doing this race again? unfortunately, no.

as a result of my position, i spent the next hour-or-so yelling "on your left" continuously as i rode past the group. about halfway through the ride, i managed to find a group of guys that were setting a pretty good pace and decided to keep them in my sights and ended up playing a little bit of cat and mouse - it was extremely fun, although i bet having a blonde 24-year-old try to challenge you would get old for some of the late-twenties, early-thirties guys i was chasing.

on my way into transition, i executed a really sweet dismount (aka feet out of shoes, one foot on the pedal, swinging a leg around to stand up while still going 15mph into T2). and then hauled through the mud. it felt very cyclocross, as I threw my bike over one shoulder and trucked through the mud to my rack right near the T2 exit.

i ran alone for the first half-mile—as always, doing all in my power to not look at the watch and freak out about pace. shortly after, however, i started running alongside after a heavily tatted 22-year-old marine, who broke the ice by saying "nice bike" since apparently he was with the group i had been chasing earlier.

after a wheezy "you too", i tried to keep up the banter by saying, "let's go get some people." and then it was on. i've never really ran side-by-side with someone during a race as long as i did with this guy. in fact, most of my race photos show the two of us trucking along.

and TRUCK ALONG, we did. since we finished the bike about the same time, I gave him my Garmin split updates while he acted as my unofficial drill-sergeant. whenever i hit a wall of some sort, he would grunt something along the "let's go" and I didn't let myself fade back from his side until the last .75 miles or so, when he really turned on the gas, egged me on with a few "i'm not letting you lose me now... COME ON!" But then he finally left me in his dust to finish strong.

Although i didn't turn on the gas quite like the marine, i did manage to put up a respectable fight and kick into the finish. and while you *really* shouldn't judge a runner by their finisher photos, you might want to judge me for mine: first off, my number is on upside-down. don't ask. and secondly, a double fist pump, really? that's aggressive.

while i pretty much knew I had won my age group since I kicked butt on the bike and then again on the run, i didn't know i did so well overall. i ended up with the following stats:

  • Swim - 0
  • Bike - 1:05:10 (22.8 mph)
  • Run - 45:10 (7:18 min/mi)
  • Overall - 1:52:55
  • 1st in AG, 2nd in the "tri club challenge" and 9th female overall (not counting elites)

i'm very happy with my performance (despite it being my last race of the season), pleased to know that i really can RACE the bike and already looking forward to 2012.

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