Training’s a Blast! (Really!)

Four years ago if you asked me whether or not I like to train for things, my answer was :”Umm, no, I don’t train. I just do.” Yes, every race I did was done without training.There was next to no preparation before the marathons  I completed. My thought was, why dedicate precious hours of your day training for a race that will cause you to be sore for days after, anyway? Just do it, be sore afterwards, and deal with it. Ohh, naive Molly. 

I remember in college when I was on the fencing team (it is true, I was a fencer. En garde!) we did drills and had workouts 5 days a week. Drills were to help your form while you fenced, muscular endurance, etc. etc. I never questioned why our coach had us do certain things, and, there were lots of times when I would have preferred to sit around and do nothing instead of have to go to practice. But on weekends when we had tournaments, I realized why we did so much during the week…It helped us be better fencers.

Seven years later, and over the span of this blogs existence, I’ve learnt more about training, and it’s importance in races. (Maybe because my body simply cannot decide to go out and run a marathon one day “for the fun of it.”) Drills in swimming help with technique, in turn, help with speed, and also endurance. Long rides and trainer sessions have their place in the whole training picture, as well as tempo runs, long runs, and speed workouts. Not only are the actual physical workouts important for preparing for a race, but so is nutrition. It only took 28 years for me to figure out one of the main reasons I DNF’d a big race was my lack of nutrition and sleep. In retrospect, I don’t think I even ate anything during my first endurance events (marathons). How was I supposed to know that I needed to fuel during the race, if I never trained for it? Let me tell you, it is a night and day difference in my performance when I decided to properly fuel and when I don’t. (Ha, remember when I wrote that I would never consume a gel ever? I now buy the little packets of nastiness in bulk, as evidenced by the image below!)

Training has added a new food group to my life: gels and gu. I now buy in bulk.

Training has added a new food group to my life: the gels/gu food group.

I’ve realized that I enjoy training (I mentioned in my last post how I missed training after the Patriot Half was over). A difference I have noticed thus far, and it is just the beginning of IMLP training, is that my workouts now are longer (duh!). The rides/runs/swims are longer, and they take longer to complete. (Now now, I am not complaining). Obviously, I knew this when I signed up for the race. And as a result, my concept of distances has changed. Anything under 50 miles on the bike is pretty much a “S&S” ride (“short and sweet”). Runs under 10 miles are also S&S. Last spring when I started swimming anything over 2200 yards, I thought I was going to drown. I still occasionally think I will drown; just not as frequently 😉

But, seriously. Training is fun, and after my initial gasp of terror when reading my weekly training plan from my coach, I think, “Yes! Another week!Woohoo! 60-70mile ride? Bring it! Fourteen miler? Hellz yea!*” Maybe I am just weird? 

You know you have an Asics addiction when there are still three pairs of shoes that are not in the picture.

You know you have an Asics addiction when there are still three pairs of shoes that are not in the picture.

*I’ll let you know in the spring when training takes 14+ hrs/week whether I still enjoy it. My thoughts are I will, otherwise, why attempt the race?

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Here’s to the Next Chapter

Okay, lets give this a second try (sometimes I despise technology). Yes, I am alive, even though I have not written anything in almost four (yes, FOUR!) months. Seriously, time, you go by too quickly. Please slow down.

I was reading a couple of my first posts on this site from four years ago, and found this blog almost to be a bit of a diary of my life since I moved up to the Hudson Valley. To bring you up to speed on these past four months, I give you pictures (as this overcast/windy weather has caused me to feel a bit lazy this afternoon. That, and the tough swim workout I just did).

Back at the beginning of the summer I completed my first sprint triathlon with some fellow colleagues, and had an absolute blast (I didn’t do too shabby, either). It was so fun to do some training ride/runs/swims with other people, and to see them finish their first race!IMG_5201 In August I was reintroduced to mountain biking after a nine month hiatus while I was training for the Patriot Half. The first day back was up in Rutland for Kevin’s birthday. I must admit, the first day back in the saddle was rough. I could not get myself to relax, nor be able to see the trails through my tear-filled eyes. Over time, though, I found my mountain bike legs again, and cannot believe I spent so much time apart from this type of biking. It is exhilarating when you are able to challenge yourself and tackle obstacles in the woods. I do have bruises from when I was not so successful at those obstacles, too.     IMG_5289 IMG_5307   IMG_5574 IMG_5579 IMG_5411 I’ve been busy baking (I even had my first wedding order!) and saving lives at work, “one percocet at a time,” as a nursing friend of mine said once. IMG_5558 I’ve also been doing a lot of soul searching, taking one day at a time to try and better myself and face internal deamons and any road blocks that might come my way full force, as hard and painful as it might feel. I was given the chance to live, and I am going to do it. IMG_5468 IMG_5235 Since fall is my favorite time of year, I’ve tried to take advantage of the amazing weather we’ve had (excluding today) with runs/long rides. Kevin even went for a 60 miler with me! (To be fair, I did not realize the ride would be that long.) By now, however, he knows that when I suggest we go for a ride/walk/jog, he needs to actually double my suggested distance. :-p IMG_5452 IMG_5533   IMG_5553   I also signed up for the next challenge in my life: Ironman Lake Placid 2015. I’ve thought long and hard before signing up for it, and, as long as I can remember, (and as long as I have been documenting in this blog!) I’ve been in awe of the event. There has always been something deep down inside that has drawn me to the race. Everyone has their reasons for embarking on their “journey to Ironman,” and, for sure, I have my own. Yes, my family and friends think I am bonkers for wanting to do such a race. But, ever since the Patriot Half, I’ve missed training (maybe I really have gone off the deep end!). I know the training will be tough. I know it will be painful. I know it will take a lot of time. I know I have nothing to prove to anyone. Still, it’s something that I am determined to do. For me, the journey means just as much as the race.

Patriot Half Race Report: The Ride and Run

As I mentioned in my last post, I believe I could use some more training in the water if I ever want to do another triathlon again. I think I added more distance by swimming away and then back towards the buoys. I was five minutes slower than my goal time in the water, and yet felt breathless jogging up to transition. Official race pictures show an angry Molly.

I thought I was happy that I finished the swim?!?

I thought I was happy that I finished the swim?!?

I was lucky to be helped by a volunteer who ended up stripping my wetsuit for me and I slowly grabbed my bicycle gear and was off. I considered a trip to the porta john but did not want to waste time as my swim was slow. (In reality, if you swim once a week in a pool, I guess my time isn’t too horrible.)

The Bike: 2- 28mile Loops (3:26)

I must admit, I felt really good on the bike. Despite my LSD training rides being no longer than 52miles,  I finished the 56 miles faster than my goal time. I think all the hills around where I live really helped me physically, and the fact the race course was basically flat was awesome. I made sure to try to eat my GU chews as I practiced on my training rides, every hour, and hydrate. Racing on an overcast day helped as I didn’t have the sun beating down on me like Mooseman. I guess nutrition has a big part to play during a race. When I finished the bike portion, I thought, “I’ve got this.” Mooseman I didn’t make the cut off limit for the bike. And with this race, I had plenty of time to finish the run portion. I decided I now needed to use a quick stop at the porta john on the way out.

Running out of transition

Running out of transition

The Run: a 13.1mile loop (2:13)

At the beginning of the run, I decided I needed a plan to help me get through the half marathon. Yes, one would think you should have a plan set in place before the day of the race, but I don’t really function like that. Sometimes I work better under pressure. There was no music to keep my mind off of running, nor too many cheering crowds. From prior training jogs (which always ended up as fast walks) I knew if I started to walk, it would be difficult to start running again. Since there was an aid station/ water stop every mile, I planned on jogging to each water station, walk through the station to drink water, and then jog again. I had a gel around mile 3 and 7, and right at the start of mile 8 my race bib ripped away from my belt causing a small amount of anxiety as I do not run with spare pins. This actually seemed to keep me occupied for a while as I jogged: trying to figure out how to attach my bib (sound familiar?). Despite my trying to rig up something, I decided to bag any of my ideas and realized crooked race bib would simply have to do.

Only the run is left to go!

Only the run is left to go!

My jog-walk plan seemed to work well until about mile 11 when my legs started getting really tired. I think mentally I felt tired and just wanted to finish the race. I already approached my mid-race goal of 6:30 and negative thinking started to set in. But I kept trucking along, slowly. Finally, we approached Cathedral Camp and the finish line. Any potential negative feelings turned into positive ones, and I saw Kevin and Bev along the end, cheering me on. Passing through the finish line I heard “Here comes Molly Geuss from Rhinebeck, New York.”

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I Finished.

I heard my name and home town announced, something I never heard at Mooseman.

I finished my first full triathlon, not to mention, a half IM distance triathlon. In 6:36.

I may not have placed, and I may not have finished in 6:30, but I originally set out to finish in the allocated time, and  that I did. I managed not to have a panic attack in my wet suit, and finish without asking for assistance in the water. I was able to follow my nutrition plan on the bike and run.

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In September she finished her first oly triathlon and I had finished my first oly duathlon. That day, we both finished our first 70.3 distance triathlon!

I was able to witness my Mountain Biking/Triathlete friend achieve third place in her first long distance triathlon as well.

A huge thank you goes to my man for being there at the finish for me, and enduring 6 hrs of waiting and boredom.

A huge thank you goes to my man for being there at the finish for me, and enduring 6 hrs of waiting and boredom.

I remember on our drive to MA telling Kevin I just had to get through this race, and I would never have to do a triathlon or 70.3 distance race ever again.  He told me he wanted a written, notarized statement from me saying that I would never want to do a 70.3 again. I suppose that is the effect pre-race jitters have on you.

The post-race high, however, might have changed my mind about future 70.3 races 😛

Patriot Half IM Race Report: The Swim

Yes, I am aware I have been slacking on this whole blogging thing; such is life. But, I figured I should post something about my recent triathlon–one which I actually FINISHED (insert a million smiley faces), not only that, but finished faster than I expected. Since there is so much to share regarding this race, and the fact it is almost dinner time and I need to work the next couple of days, I decided to separate the post into a couple different installments. Yes, the post about Mooseman was gut wrenching to write. But this post may just be the polar opposite 🙂

Before the Race

The days leading up to the race were raining and yucky–perfect for stopping any motivation I may have had to sneak in an extra ride or run. Truth be told, my conception of “tapering” meant “do as little training as possible.” I did follow my training plan for the most part. And, I even swam in my wetsuit twice (I’ve mentioned how I despise swimming in one). With all the hills around us, I just couldn’t be motivated to do longer than 50-55miles on any long ride, especially knowing I would be jogging after. Sure, back in the autumn I went on multiple 50+ mile rides a week, but those rides never proceeded runs. Or attempts to run. My thought process was, “hey, I’ve run numerous half marathons this year. I’ll be find running on race day.” My mindset preparing for this race was completely different than the last time I trained for a triathlon. Nutrition? Unlike the last race when I thought you would be able to complete a full half IM eating perhaps one power bar and drinking gatorade, this time around I started my nutrition plan when I began my long rides. In the end, I think it helped. Finishing a couple long bricks made me hopeful that I would finish this race. I was filled with postitive excitement for the race.

And then I had a seizure. One week before race day.

Yes, I’ve had them before; I was diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was 16. But I’ve gone for a couple years being seizure free. This one, however,came out of the blue. I kept thinking, “I didn’t even do a long hard brick work out today….I fueled well…I think I hydrated myself enough…” It has been years since I have had two seizures within six months of each other. If you have epilepsy, you know the feelings associated with having a seizure. Thankfully for me, I know when I’m going to have one. But despite the fact that I know I will “survive” a seizure, the post-ictal phase (or when you are “coming to” from having one) freaks the living day light out of me. It is a weird out of body experience, and there is always a small part of me that is terrified that I will have a seizure that will be prolonged requiring medical intervention.

By chance I had a doctors appointment a day after I had a seizure and I was trying to think of things which might have provoked it. It couldn’t have been physical exhaustion; I had completed far tougher brick workouts in the weeks prior, and the day before the seizure I only did a small easy brick–one I’ve done time and time again- which never caused me to have one. Even thinking back to when I worked night shifts with sleep deprivation and lack of nutrition, I never had one. My doc, on the other hand, thought differently. In fact, he advised me against doing the race. He told me I was at a higher risk for having a seizure when my electrolytes were out of balance and probably had one as a result of not a single work out, but an accumulation of stress on my body. “It is your body, but just keep in mind what can happen when you push yourself to the limits.”

Not exactly what you want to hear the week before a race which you have been training months for, huh?

Having this seizure changed my feelings towards the race. It especially changed the feelings I had towards swimming. Before, I had no problems swimming by myself. Heck, it was something I loved to do–being the sole person swimming at dawn at Onteora (or Stissing) while the water is still with a mirrored reflection of the trees, and the songs of birds brought on a sense of serenity and peace that biking and running never really brought. It was a sense of calm. Over night, my feelings about swimming changed drastically. For the first time, I was afraid to swim by myself. I remember a couple days after having the episode, going to Stissing and looking out thinking, “there is no one here. What if I have an aura…What if I have a seizure and no one sees me and I drown?What if I get to the beach, but can’t swim back to the car? What if I have a seizure during the race?” These feelings of anxiety were different than those I felt having to swim in a wetsuit. I actually feared for my life. (Sounds crazy, I know).

Somehow, I managed to just face this forgotten fear of the water and just swim. Race day was soon approaching, and the thoughts of Mooseman were still fresh in my mind. I couldn’t just give up on all these months of training because of what happened. I’ve never let my epilepsy stop me from doing what I wanted to do in the past, so why let it govern my life now?

The Race

The Patriot Half IM takes place in East Freetown, MA, a little less than three-and-a-half hours away from me. My chief cheerleader and chauffeur took Friday off and we drove down, and, like we have the tendency to do on races that take place out of town, made a mini-trip out of it. (By “trip” I mean stay in a hotel and eat dinners out. Yes, very exciting I know. But when you have not had a weekend off from work in over a month, an over-nighter trip in a hotel in a different state is freaking amazing.) The race itself is small–limited to 1000 participants and that includes the aquabike portion (please don’t ask me what aquabike means. I assume you swim then bike then swim, but really have no idea.) The whole vibe from the event differed tremendously from Mooseman three years ago. For one, it was raining and dreary. For another, there weren’t a zillion vendors offering free samples (I admit it, I love those free samples from race expos!). Long pond, where the swim would take place, is the largest body of fresh water in Massachusetts. Kevin willingly stayed while we listened to pre-race tips and then we headed out to dinner for the big pre-race dinner. As we departed and learning what I should do for my transition, Kevin stated the only transition he would be doing is from his bike to the couch with a beer 🙂 Ohh my love.

I think I have everything I need

I think I have everything I need

It is my tradition to have a veggie burger with french fries the night before any race (I’m not a pasta kind of girl) but the restaurant we went to didn’t have any veggie burgers. So, I decided on a sandwich with french fries. I don’t think I have ever, in my life, said, “I think I will eat this because it has more carbs.” I may never say that again, either.

I’ve read that it is typical before long-distances races for participants to have trouble sleeping; I was no exception to this. I kept thinking of the place I was in three years ago before I attempted my first half IM and triathlon. Man, I’ve grown so much since then, not only as an athlete but as a person as well. So much can change in three years.

My  0430 alarm went off sooner than I would have liked. I’m not sure if I know of any non-athletes (or athletes) who enjoy waking up at that time on their weekend days off. But my man was a trooper and we were able to grab some grub before I did some last-minute foam rolling and were out the door headed to the race course. (Our hotel provided early breakfast for those participating in the Patriot Half.)

I got my body marked with my number 700 and set up my transition area.

I've never had a specific spot in transition before.

I’ve never had a specific spot in transition before.

Triathlons include way more accessories than duathlons and the transition area seemed so much more cluttered than my usual transition areas at races. Mind you, this race was three times longer than my normal duathlon race so, I guess there would be more “things.” I got zipped up in my wetsuit and kept thinking calming thoughts. Instead of fearing the suit and thinking it was constricting my airway and choking me, I decided to think of it more as a flotation device to help me in the swim. Mind control :-p

Pre-swim warm up...I'm the one in the wet suit

Pre-swim warm up

There were people getting into the water to warm up a bit and after I had a gel, decided to do that in order to acclimate to the temperature of the water. I swam for a couple strokes to warm up and the fear, tension, and anxiety I felt was nowhere to be found.

See me? I'm the one in the wet suit and pink cap haha

See me? I’m the one in the wet suit and pink cap haha

 

No panic attack means thumbs up!

No panic attack means thumbs up!

It just so happens a fellow Hudson Valley-ite/mountain biker/triathlete/duathlete who has been in a number of local races I have done in the past was at this triathlon too. It was great having her there, to get triathlon/swimming tips from someone who has done triathlons and group swims in the past. She also brought it to my attention that my number, 700, could be read as “007.” Little did she know that would have a big effect on me during the run portion of the race.

Bev--an amazing athlete :-)

Bev–an amazing person 🙂 and fellow Hudson Valley athlete

The 1.2mile Swim

Unlike Mooseman, Patriot’s swim start was a “time trial” start. Instead of having a mass exodus of swimmers (which is what I remembered), three swimmers ran into the water to start the swim every ten seconds. Swim waves were categorized by age group. A pro to this style of swim start (not that I can really speak of triathlons, since I haven’t really ever completed a full one before) is that you are not surrounded by thousands of swimmers splashing at you and trying to drown you. A con is that you are unable to acclimate to the water. ( That mini-swim I decided to do ended up being a good idea as I knew what the water temperature would be likes). Before I knew it, it was my turn to start the swim. If I was able to finish the swim portion of Mooseman in frigid water, I could do this. And sure enough, I did. From the start I was able to get into my normal rhythm of breathing. As I swam I thought, “Just keep swimming.”

And, we're off

And, we’re off

Just keep swimming...

Just keep swimming…

 

…To be Continued…

Life Lately

I thought it was about time to play catch-up on my blogging which has been lacking as of late.

Between full time work, training, and a “side business,” there is not a lot of down time nowadays to sit down and write.

The Patriot Half is in exactly one month from today.

How is training for that, you might ask?

I’m feeling mostly confident with the bike. My LSD rides have been up in the Catskills mainly, so I feel all the climbing will be to my benefit. I already know riding 50+ mile rides makes my 25mile ride this week feel like a walk in the park. I guess my perception of long distance rides has changed when training for this. I am more than thankful that the weather is turning nice and perhaps the wind might be calming down for awhile. 95% of my long rides have been in horribly windy conditions, testing me physically and psychologically. My coach told me riding in the wind was good because of exactly that: it prepares you for potential race day conditions.

Wouldn’t you know, last weekend’s Trooper Duathlon took place on a morning where the wind was fierce. So bad, they had to take down the race banner and tent because they kept blowing over. I remember asking myself why I was doing a duathlon in less than ideal conditions. I’m not sure what the answer is, maybe because I paid to race in it? It was the first time I have completed this race as an individual and not as part of a relay team since 2011. It was not as bad as I thought it would be. Having no expectations for yourself race day helps. I’m familiar with the race course, and racing up Dug Hill is always a pleasure.

From the Trooper Duathlon...Ohh how I long for a Tri bike....

From the Trooper Duathlon…Ohh how I long for a Tri bike….

 

Riding up Dug Hill pre-race might have paid off...

Riding up Dug Hill pre-race might have paid off…

 

Running has been good. I know I am capable of running a half marathon; I’ve already completed two this year. After swimming and biking? Yeah, I am pretty sure it is possible. A couple weeks ago I managed to get third place in my age group in the first Kingston Kiwanis Half Marathon in a town close to home. I never thought I was a good runner for some reason. I guess training is paying off?!? Despite starting at a wickedly early time (who starts a half marathon at 7am?!?) it was a nice race, mostly because I had people along the course whom I knew, and it was close enough for family/friends to come. We cannot forget that Meb Keflezighi was there too, which made the experience even more special.

My mom and my man came to support me :)

My mom and my man came to support me 🙂

Hanging out with my new bestie, Meb Keflezighi

Hanging out with my new bestie, Meb Keflezighi

 

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Swimming. Ah, swimming. Pool swims have been going well. I’ve seen myself improving. What about OWS you might ask? I tried on a new wet suit the other day and decided to go for a swim. Long story short, I am not sure if I will be doing this race in a wetsuit. I despise wetsuits. The panicked feelings of claustraphobia in one are not fun. It reminded me of the feelings from a couple years ago when I attempted Mooseman. I know they give you buoyancy while in the water, but is the added fear of not being able to breathe worth it in the end during the race? A difference in my training in open water and the race is, there will actually be people out in the water during the race who will be able to help me incase I have trouble swimming. Now, my swims in open water have been solo. So, why use a wetsuit? (Maybe any of you triathletes out there might be able to have an answer for this).

First OWS of 2014 at Onteora Lake

First OWS of 2014 at Onteora Lake

So, that has been my life as of late. I know the next couple weeks will fly by, and the Patriot Half will be here before I know it. I’m sure I’ll be posting before then 🙂

 

Patriot Half Training (Thus far)

It dawned on me just now as I looked at a calendar that, other than the fact I have not posted anything in a couple of weeks, that the “big race” is in a little over five months.

Which brings on feelings of fear: fear of being unprepared for this race.

I am not concerned about the running part of the race; I’ve done plenty of half marathons in the past year, and am pretty confident with my running ability.

After todays swimming session, I am more concerned with the swimming part of the race. I just feel slow. I know swimming has not been one of my priorities over the past year when I focused on duathlons, but it needs to be a focus now, right?

Our daily high temperatures of 14-17 degrees fahrenheit has not made it possible for me to do my long rides. And, lets face it, the trainer is not the same as long rides outside. But, it just has not been possible to ride in such cold weather. (As I age I become a wuss in cold weather).

I know the race is in June, and I still have time to prepare, but I simply had to get those thoughts out of my head. Am I crazy for thinking this?

And, for any swimmers out there, when you train for triathlons, have you ever participated in Masters swim sessions, or do you just swim on your own? I’m trying to figure out ways to help improve my swim.

She’s Baaaaack

Wow, has it been over a month since I have written a post? It is crazy how fast time goes. I feel the older I get, the faster months fly by!

November was composed of mostly working, trying to overcome colds, with some runs and rides thrown in with the mix. The bad thing about being a nurse (or, any other employee who must work on Thanksgiving for that matter) is that you miss out on family gatherings. But, let me say despite missing out on the big turkey dinner (actually I did not miss the turkey, since I don’t eat turkey), I am thankful for getting to see a sister for a couple hours, thankful for my wonderful family, Kevin, and great friends, my health, and for where I am today.

Homemade noodle soup delivered to me by a special colleague

Homemade noodle soup delivered to me by a special colleague

Cleaning your bike and derailleur every ten minutes because of mud accumulation isn't too fun...

Cleaning your bike and derailleur every ten minutes because of mud accumulation isn’t too fun…

What I'm thankful for: reminders on my way to work not to sweat the small stuff

What I’m thankful for: reminders on my way to work not to sweat the small stuff

So, what is with the title?

I was lucky enough to have two Saturdays in a row off and was able to participate in two races, and I feel I am back and better than ever.

Last weekend, I ran my first 5k in three years, the Run Santa Run:Return of the Claus 5k. Since I do not really ever run for speed, I used it as a test to see how I could do in a 5k that was not at the end of a duathlon. To my surprise, I did not do too shabby. Thirteenth place out of 400+ runners, plus third female overall made for a happy end-of November. My personal photographer/ support team/ race day chauffeur, Kevin, tolerated my Christmas music in the car the hour + ride to the race to snatch a few pictures of the exciting day. Before the start of the race, there was a fitness instructor who led a “warm up.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that warming up before a race is actually beneficial (wait, did I just say that?!?). For running with a sinus infection,the race wasn’t that bad at all. I still enjoy longer distance races, however, as you do not have to run as fast (well, for your average runner you don’t…Just wait and I might change my mind when I decide I want to run a marathon in a certain time period).

Race day go boom

Race day go boom

Look Kevin! Aerobics at a race!!!

Kevin, do you see this?!? Aerobics at a race!!! (I’m the crazy one turning around)
Okay. Enough of organized pre-race aerobics

Okay. Enough of organized pre-race aerobics

Annnnd, we are off! If you can spot me, I'll pay you a million dollars.

Annnnd, we are off! If you can spot me, I’ll pay you a million dollars.

Today, I ran my first 5 mile race, and got to do it with friends of mine which was a true blessing. It was the MHRRC Knights of Columbus Holiday Run . We did have a threat of snow last night, and I was extremely glad that it did not snow so I could partake in the race. However, even if it did snow, I would still run…I mean, if one of my patients exclaimed, ” you can still run if it snows!” then, I can technically run in the snow. It is just slushier, that’s all.

I had no idea what the course was going to be like, and it did have it’s rolling terrain that I was not expecting. I went hoping I would finish in under 40 minutes, and I managed 36:46–another PR for 5 miles. Not only that, the only female who beat me is a professional duathlete on team USA (my role model). I was pretty stoked. Lets see how my legs feel tomorrow. I was also able to witness friends run their fastest five milers, too, which was even more exciting. It is such a wonderful feeling to see others accomplish something–and to see them happy.

Jen (a mountain biker-turned fellow duathlete- turned runner) close to the finish

Jen (a mountain biker-turned duathlete- turned runner) close to the finish

My first running trophy ever

My first running trophy ever

Cycling chicks turned runners (but still spend plenty of time with their bikes!)

Cycling chicks turned runners (but still spend plenty of time with their bikes!)

In other (exciting) news,  met with my coach last week and decided to face my fear of triathlons and fear of failure and sign up for another half IM distance race next spring! Is it weird that planning/ choosing races do to brings me joy and excitement? I picked a few other races to do before the Patriot Half–I plan on running the Shires of Vermont marathon again, as it was such a (shall I say fun?) lovely race….Well, it was fun when it was overwith 😉 My main concern regarding the Patriot Half is the swim; I went for a swim for the first time since I saw at Onteora Lake this past summer, and it was—ehh—embarrassing. (The last time I was in a pool was over a year ago!) I guess this past race season I spent more time on biking and running instead of swimming. Thankfully, I have a few months to gain back my courage with the swim portion of races.

In the non-athletic news, I’ve experimented with new cupcake recipes. Thank goodness other people like cupcakes, otherwise, I do not know what I would do with all the baked goods I bake. I was also blessed to help decorate more than one Christmas tree. (If you don’t know, I am a complete Christmas dork and love everything about the season!)

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Gingerbread latte cupcakes with lemon cream cheese buttercream and little gingerbread boys

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Mocha peppermint cupcakes with peppermint buttercream swirl

eggnog cupcakes with spiced rum buttercream...Good for warming your soul...I mean tummy

eggnog cupcakes with spiced rum buttercream…Good for warming your soul…I mean tummy

First attempt at homemade peppermint chocolate bark= a delicious success!

First attempt at homemade peppermint chocolate bark= a delicious success!

Kevin's tree--he chose for a snowflake to be the tree topper this year instead of a nutcracker.

Kevin’s tree–he chose for a snowflake to be the tree topper this year instead of a nutcracker.

My favorite snowman nurse

My favorite snowman nurse

The 2013 Geuss Christmas tree

The 2013 Geuss Christmas tree

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My 2013 Christmas tree!

I wish everyone a wonderful Holiday season!

Hello, My Name is ___.And I’m a Raceaholic.

If you have ever participated in a race (running, cycling, duathlon, or triathlon), you may understand the thought process associated with racing. I do not mean with the actual participation in a race, or emotions during a race–that is a completely separate post–but what is involved when choosing races. For me, looking at potential races is, ehh, addicting.Sometimes I think there should be a support group for people like me who constantly search for races that I can participate in.

“Hello, my name is Molly. I am a raceaholic.”

I came to this conclusion the other day, still on holiday, when I turned to Kevin and showed him a race website.

“Maybe I should train for this one?” I suggest, with a spark of excitement in my eye. Kevin let out a soft sigh.

“Molly, no. Put the laptop away…No races right now.” I silently shut the laptop, and did not think about races.

Less than twenty four hours later, while everyone was sleeping, and after failed attempts to watch ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ on Hulu (FYI, Hulu does not work overseas), I found myself yet again searching for races. Working certain weekends affords less opportunities to participate in certain races, as most races take place on weekends–which is a reason why I think I cherish when my schedule does let me participate in a race.  I find myself scrolling through races throughout the state (or outside the state for that matter). Ouu…a 50k on September 8th of 2013! That is a weekend I am not working—I could totally pull that off. Wait, even better, a 5k on Saturday, and a duathlon the next day….Perfect! There have been times when I’ve had to stop myself, and think realistically regarding certain distance races, which, I guess most people do not have to do. I.e. When I decided that running a 50miler on a Saturday and doing a sprint Triathlon the following Sunday would not be a good idea.

Returning to the night of the sad acceptance of my inability to watch trashy television shows overseas, I decided to run a marathon this May. On my birthday. Why not? I ran my first marathon on my 21st birthday…Running another one on my 27th sounds like fun!’** Mind you, the amount of time to train for said marathon will be cut a little short, but I am not worried about that. I’m not one to stick to training plans…Or train at all for that matter. However, I am determined to change that aspect of running races, as my body is not the young, limber one it was when I did my other marathons. Long gone are the days when I can decide two days before a marathon to actually take part in it, and have a functioning body post-race.

Anyway, there is a thrill associated with registering for a race. Once you click that “Register” button, or send in that mail-in registration form (which do not exist with too many races anymore), there is no going back. The challenge of the race awaits. It is exciting! However, my mentality of “just finish the race without dying” does not apply to multisport races. Different emotions errupt when registering with those. A competitive drive forces me to study my past results, and the results of others in my age group…To train so that I will be faster than last year…Get through transition times quicker and more efficiently.

Finishing the Luxembourg Marathon--my first marathon

Finishing the Luxembourg Marathon–my first marathon, 2007

Do you share similar thoughts and feelings towards racing?

*I admit it, I watch TRHW.

**Not too many people consider running marathons fun. Truth be told, it is fun when you finish.

***I convinced Kevin to run the marathon with me in May. This will be his first marathon. Ohh what I can convince people to do.  

Week 6 of 13

My appologies for notkeeping up with my usual weekly training plans :-/ Life gets in the way. Never too late to write the plan for this week though,huh? And since it’s Monday, I had a day to relax from my race (I talked about that in my previous post). I talked to my coach about my disappointment in my time, especially my sprint running, and she replied, “I know you were a bit disappointed wth your time at the sprint tri/du. You haven’t been training for speed. So, as an endurance athlete–you did fine!” Great words for me to hear. And, truth be told, training for endurance events are completely different than sprint events. A 20mile ride followed by a 6mile run in a race is much different than a 56mile ride followed by a half marathon. I need to keep reminding myself that.

Ohh! So the plan for the week of 6/25

Tuesday: 

1. Swim= ladders, total=2700 yards

warmup = 900 yards 4 x 100 as (25 yards right arm /25 yards left arm then swim 50).  :10 RI on all. swim 200 easy then  6 x 50 fast with :30 RI.

main set = 1600 yards (at 2:00 pace per 100)

100 (:15 RI)  / 200 (:20 RI) / 300 (:30 RI) / 400 (:40 RI) / 300 (:30 RI) / 200 (:20 RI) / 100

 cooldown = 200 yards as you like

2. Mtn Bike ride 120min

Wednesday

run = speed  50min

Warmup first then:

8 x 800m (fast) with 2:00 RI between

Thursday

bike = long hill repeats. 6% grade  (repeat)

From the bottom of 299 and 44/55 to trapps bridge in New Paltz might work well) Climb seated 50-60 rpm. Zone 3.  recvoer 7:00 easy spin.  Do total of 3 times. (if you are in the Hudson valley region. If not, fint a 6% grade hill that is 3-4miles in length, and follow the rest of the instructions). I am not a fan of these, just FYI 😛

Friday

Bike=LSD + run

60mile ride +transition to 30min run

Saturday

OWS (yaaaah!)

+ optional hike or mtn bike ride

Sunday

Run: LSD

12miles

I hope that is useful! I recently found, upon trying different supplements on rides, a food (yes, actual food) that my stomach can handle on long rides. Yes, I admit it is a bit weird, but I’ve found I have no stomach discomfort or feelings of intestinal cramping (or feelings of nauea) when eating these:

Baby food

Yes, I admit it. I consume organic baby food on rides.No judgement, please.  But it’s easy to fit in my pocket, and there are different types (apple, pear….) and you can take “sips” a little bit at a time. I’m sure I could technically make this with my blender or juicer and put it in a small bottle, but it has been effective (and you know you are getting good nutrients!).

I wish you a healthy, happy, fun training week.

Races, Gardens, Farmers Markets, and Everything Inbetween

This post may be composed of a variety of different themes–that seems to happen when you do not keep up-to-date on your posts.

Triathlon training has been going well, and I’m ecstatic that I can now swim outside without a wetsuit (wetsuits are a whole post in itself).

Lovin’ life

I finished my first individual duathlon of the season (the Trooper Duathlon I did as a part of a team), and despite the fact we got there at the very last minute and I had no time to eat breakfast, I finished in a decent time. Well, I could have really pushed myself on the runs (and create a list for why I wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be). But, the course was actually much hillier than I thought–not only on the run, but the bike ride as well. I was lucky to have my #1 fan and best sports event photographer waiting and cheering me on–as well as getting sunburnt. Below are some photos from the event.

My number

My Transition area

Listening to pre-race instructions (Yes, the number is not centered)

Where swimmers swam

Making friends with others while waiting for the start

First sprint….I’m not the most photogenic athlete

Running to T1; ignore my mis-matching outfit

Bike out

Preparing to dismount

Done!

Yes, mis-matching and post race stretching….

Done, sweaty, and disturbingly off-center bib

🙂

 

As a post race celebratory treat, we walked to the Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market. It is a small market, but has great falafels, and produce from local farms in the area.

Rhinebeck’s Farmer’s Market

Fresh lavender and local apples

Falafels, all the way from New York City….Pure deliciousness

Yummy

And, just a couple days ago, a pedestrians walkway was painted in Rhinbeck town. Finally, after years of dodging cars and traffic, people can cross in safety….God willing.

People can now cross without the fear of people hitting them.

Now, to my gardening. The past heat waves and afternoons of downpour rain have really given growth to my garden. My sunflowers (with edible seeds) are almost three feet, and my sugar snap peas are growing like crazy–almost big enough to eat! The lettuce is delicious, and I can tell that the carrots and cherry tomatoes will be edible soon as well.

Peas!

Fresh greens- perfect for juices and salads!

My sun flowers before the support structure went up (right after a storm)

And with fresh ingredients, I’ve been able to keep cool by cooking up some refreshing meals, such as homemade gazpacho.

Mmmmm

There will be a post soon about my bike (oh, remember that old thing I was building?) and recent wanderings, but I leave you with a photo of K with sparks flying…for my seatpost.

Please do take caution when attempting something like this…Or atleast know what you are doing.

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