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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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Quick Trip to New Orleans

Between bear sightings (yes, I saw two more this past weekend, bringing my monthly bear total to three), I managed to sneak home for a three day weekend. The cause for celebration: my grandmother's 90th birthday. Some highlights: 

Getting to swim in the pool I spent hours and hours practicing in as a kid, including one swim where I was sandwiched between a masters swim group and two lanes of 6-under kiddie swimmers. At one point, one of the little dudes was even keeping up with me while I was hitting 1:30ish/100m. Future Phelps?

Swim time with my waterbug of a niece! She's only around nine-months but LOVES splashing in the water. My dad even dunked her once (accidentally!) and she came up sputtering but fine (way to go, dad... trial by fire?)

Ten-or-so miles around the neighborhood in fine Louisiana form (aka 100-degrees + 85% humidity)

A little bit of post-run icing, complete with compression provided by Miss Nora (my own personal NORA-tec when home):

Good ol' fashioned snow-BALL (and not a snow "cone", y'all)

More Victoria & puppy-time

Bonding with cousins (once-removed, I think?) at my Grandmother's fancy 90-th birthday party down at Galatoire's in New Orleans. We're totally playing Angry Birds here... the only semi-entertaining thing on my phone these days.

Oh, and did I mention that my Mama is a spitting image of queen Elizabeth? Yup, ROYALTY:

And then the poor puppies Nick and Nora cried when I left them....

Sad to be back but the training must go on, because....

ONE MONTH TO VEGAS!

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::crickets::

my first half-ironman is about six days away and i'm starting to freak out. while i've been training consistently for eagleman for nearly the past six months now (like real training, not just my regular goofing off), suddenly it's starting to seem much more real. just this weekend, while my twitchy quads and achy calves were keeping me awake after what should have been a start-of-the-taper-easy-bike, i let my mind start to wander: can i really hold those watts for that long? will my 2-3 missed swim sessions come back to haunt me? what it i blow it too early on—heaven forbid, what if i WALK? and most importantly: will i give myself heatstroke and end up in medical?

part of me wants to shout "mulligan" and insist that eagleman is my first pass at that half-distance, meaning i can sandbag it if things head south on raceday. the little voice in my head reminds me that i'm racing the half at both rev3 cedar point and then again at anderson... maybe eagleman's just the warm-up to my finals... but i don't really like excuses. instead, i'm just looking to control the controllables and have fun out there. that's why i'm avoiding posting any goals or expectations. regardless of whether i hit my best case scenario, falter to plan B or—gulp—worse, i'm excited to just get out there and put to test my training from over the past few months. it also doesn't hurt that riding the eagleman course reminds me of growing up in the hot, muggy and bug-infested swamps of louisiana... ah, home sweet home...

but that's why it's been so dead around here: i've been training up a storm, trying to tackle the increasing work responsibilities in my 9-to-5 and apartment-hunting like a madwoman across all corners of D.C./Northern VA. and so i leave you with:

a few observations....

  • there is no shame is licking a spilled powerbar gel off your fingers, forearms, jersey... and shifters... when you accidentally squeeze gel all over your aerobars on a very windy day
  • aero helmet, zipp wheels and a $3k shiv have no business biking at sub-17 mph pace around DC's hains point on a mid-week, post-work ride
  • pretty sure Rev3 and Pearl Izumi have already seen ROI on my Rev3 kit... since i like to run around the mall/monuments, i photobomb a LOT of tourist photos. i mean, A LOT A LOT.
  • the paved walkway around the outer circumference of the washington monument is exactly .5 miles (thank you garmin!)
  • the route from my current apartment, past the white house, around the monument and back up 16th is a reliable 45-minute trek... as long as it's not tourist season (then it's 90-min)
  • during the summer in DC, steady-state runs can very quickly disintegrate into fartlek sessions if you're not careful about avoiding the overly touristy areas
  • eau de chlorine can sometimes be sexy... but usually it isn't
  • get a bike fit and gain so much free speed you don't even know what to do with yourself

finally, there are few things better in the world than finishing a 4-hour brick at dusk at the very edge of a rickety old pier and then cannonballing into the river—clothes, shoes, garmin and all:

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home sweet home!

one tired pup from our early morning runs.

while it was nice being home and seeing my two pups, nick and nora, it wasn't all fun and games. my brother and his fiancee are expect their first child and this weekend was the much anticipated baby shower.

the one thing that i wasn't excited about was that since my sister-in-law-to-be missed out on the traditional wedding, bridal shower, etc. the stakes were high for this baby shower. which, i forgot to mention, i was hosting.

did you know that the greater new orleans area has 11 craft and/or party stores? now you do. within three days of being back in my hometown, i managed to rack up foursquare mayorships at two (yes, two!) craft and party stores.  since there were diaper cakes to be created and party favors to be wrapped, the entire trip was strictly business. no nightly trips to get rowdy at some of my favorite new orleans spots (cough cough pat o's).

the one positive side to the all-work, no-play was that I got to spend a lot of time running—specifically with my two adopted cocker spaniel siblings. we live near a golf course so i'd wake up early, let those puppies loose and we would tear across the dewy greens—well, i would casually jog, while they sprinted in zig zags after every squirrel and scent they could find. after about a mile-and-a-half (those guys have little legs!), i'd drop them back off in the backyard and continue my run after what was a pretty decent warm-up. not a bad way to start your day, right?

in the end, the party was a success, i got to hang with my favorite doggies and while i didn't return to dc as relaxed as refreshed as you would hope to be after a four-day vacation, it was certainly nice to see the fam.

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Good News, Bad News

The Bad News is that my body is just not cut out for marathoning... yet. Using Hal Higdon as my guide, I made it all the way up to 20-miles, knocked down the mileage for a recovery, week and then couldn't make it through the second 20-miler without limping. Knowing that I would probably end up with stress fracture or worse if I pushed through the pain, I've decided to hang up my marathon shoes for yet another year. Instead of running the full Nation's Marathon, it looks like I'm going to have to settle for the half. What I haven't decided is whether or not I'm going to go for a new PR, or just treat it like a training run. We'll see.. The Good News? This means that triathlon season is now underway! Yippee!

I'm looking forward to regularly OD'ing on chlorine in the pool, being a regular on my tri-club's long weekend ride, and getting back on the track. OH how I miss the track.

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