Roar

It’s been for-e-ver since I have written a race report. Scratch that, it’s been forever since I have written an actual post. Perhaps because nothing new has really happened. You know, how you get into the work-train-sleep-and repeat cycle?

Yesterday I completed my first race of 2014. My man and I decided to partake in the Ocean’s Run in Rhode Island. Truth be told, he did not actually decide to run in it….I decided for him by signing him up for the 5k he could do while I did the half marathon distance race. Similar to when I did the Lake George Half almost a year ago.

We made an over-nighter out of it, and Rhode Island has the spring feeling that New York has yet to feel. I forgot what the ground looks like without snow, and what it feels like to be able to walk outside in the sun without gloves and still have feeling in my fingers. Seriously, Mother Nature and the weather have not been pleasant to the Northeast. At. All. (Have you upstater’s heard we are supposed to get yet another “snow event”? Grrrr).

Anyway, nothing beats walking outside in 50+ degree weather when you have been subjected to sub-freezing temperatures for the past three months.

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Hellllloooo warmth!

Hellllloooo warmth!

After soaking up our fair share of Vitamin D, we hit up a local Diners, Drive-In’s and Dive’s hot spot to have the required pre-race carb loading meal. Food was up to Kevin, and, he decided that we had to try Crazy Burgers in Narragansett to have our fill of tasty burgers and fries.  I must thank Guy Fieri for finding Crazy Burgers because it not only has great options for carnivores, it has many different options for vegans/vegetarians!

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Thumbs up for pre-race-dinner-awkard-photos

Thumbs up for pre-race-dinner-awkard-photos

Race day was upon us sooner than we would have liked (due to the time change). The Ocean’s Run Half Marathon  and 5k took place at Matanuck Beach. There was plenty of parking at the elementary school, and instead of taking the shuttle to the start, we used the 0.6mile walk as warm up. The temperature dropped to the mid-30’s, but I cannot complain as I’ve been running in single digit weather for who knows how long.

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I started off running at a reasonable pace, and the course held my attention for the most part as it winded its way through ocean-side neighborhoods. Similar to most of the races I do, I try to find a fellow racer who I feel I can keep up with. Although, that tactic was crushed once the person sped ahead of me. Miles went by, and for the first seven or so miles I felt pretty comfortable just running along. At around mile 8, I started to feel fatigue set in a bit. Thanfully, another female runner came up and I decided to try the tactic of running along with her for some of the race again (mostly though because she had a triathlon t-shirt on). At this point the course returned back to the start (it was an up-and-back course). I felt my pace slow down a bit and contemplated walking a bit.

Race day needs no filter

Race day needs no filter

Once I hit mile 9, Katy Perry’s “Roar” played on my Pandora station and I thought, “I got this.” (Note: I am not a huge fan of Katy Perry, but the lyrics to that song can really pump you up. Please, do not judge.) 

At mile 10, you know you only have a 5k left to run and you are done with the race. I know my legs were somewhat uncomfortable, but I think it was my breathing/ heartrate that caused more discomfort, atleast that of which I was aware. I looked down at my watch and noticed I was around the 1:20ish mark. My goal was to finish under 1:56. If I can run a 24 min 5k, I can finish in under 1:50, I thought.

The next mile, I felt like I was shot. I felt out of breath. One voice in my head told me I could stop to walk for a bit, and still make the 1:56 goal. Another voice said, “Screw that, you can make it in under 1:47 if you try.” (1:47 was my goal for my “A” race next month).

I tried. I ran. Once I saw the finish clock ticking 1:44:44 I sprinted. And I succeeded.

My quads and thighs burned, and my lungs felt like they were on fire. But I finished my first half marathon in under 1:45. Five minutes faster than my last half marathon in October. Seven minutes faster than the Lake George Half. And eighteen minutes faster than my first half marathon ever a couple years ago.

Five minutes may not seem like a lot of time for non-runners. But, that is a significant change. I must admit, however, the race was the most flat course I have ever run. I went into this race feeling doubtful about my abilities, as the last long training run I completed was horrible. However, I was elated after this run. It is amazing how race conditions shift your focus away from the negative feelings away from “I can’t” to “I can.”

I greeted Kevin, who, for not really ever running since he dominated his last 5k, finished in a great time.

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I’m not a fan of pre-race photos, but am a fan of post-race photos (even if it’s impossible for me to ever look good for them). That way, you can show that you actually completed what you set out to do!

A big thank you to my man for being there with me (and, lets not forget driving), Trimom for an awesome race, and, Katy Perry, for giving me my second wind 😉

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It’s All Mental

My last event/race of the 2013 season was last Sunday up in Schroon Lake at the Adirondack Distance Festival. I mentioned a couple posts ago that I was thinking about running it. I figured, the 9 miles I ran at the olympic duathlon, and a recent 10k were enough training for a half marathon, right? Plus, after my obsessive race-searching, I realized this would be one of my last opportunities to participate in a race on one of my weekends off.

Schroon Lake is a little less than three hours away from R’Beck, and it was a nice overnight trip in the Adirondacks. I had never been to Schroon Lake, and must admit I do prefer it over Lake George where I spent summers growing up. It just seems more “Adirondacky”–if you get what I mean. It felt more like fall up there, too, with more copper and amber leaves speckling the mountains.

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The town itself is quite small, and seems to come alive during this Distance Festival every year. As Kevin was not going to join me, I coaxed my mother into a mother-daughter bonding race trip (in other words, she would be the official race photographer).I waited until the very last minute to find a place to stay for a night, and who would have thought that almost all accommodations in the small town were booked? Finally, I found a super B&B close to Paradox Lake (there are zillions of little lakes up in that area) whose keepers welcomed us as if we were long lost friends. I found out later she is a nurse, and we instantly found things to discuss before having to say goodnight.

There were a couple other runners staying at the B&B, and everyone gathered the next morning for breakfast. The non-runners devoured homemade pancakes, eggs, bacon…While the runners had their “pre-race” meals. Funny, how runners have their rituals when it comes to what they eat before races, huh?

My go-to pre-race breakfast. PB+ banana.

My go-to pre-race breakfast. PB+ banana, and coffee, ofcourse

Unsure of what traffic would be like, and road closures, we got into town around eight am. To keep warm, I sipped on some more coffee at a local coffee shop before taking the shuttle bus to the half marathon start in Adirondack Village. The ride definitely felt longer than 13.1 miles away.

Random runner, "Do you want your picture taken?"

Random runner, “Do you want your picture taken?”

My only gripe about this race was having to wait about an hour in Adirondack Village before the start of the race. I probably could have waiting longer in Schroon Lake Village to catch a shuttle, buuuuut I didn’t. It was chilly and windy, and there is so much standing around I could tolerate. I found solace in taking an excessive number of pictures. What would we do without iPhones?Plus,  I’m used to early race starts from duathlons, and this was a late start(I consider 10am a late start), especially since my breakfast was eaten at 0700. By the time we were ready to start, I was already hungry.

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I didn’t train, but I still passed you.

Waiting at the start

Waiting at the start

Whoa colors

Whoa colors

The course was pretty flat with some rolling hills. Scenery of the lake helped pass the time. The race course went through the Word of Life Institute (I’m not sure if it is a camp, or a college), and I must admit, having all the young folks along the route cheering you on helps lift your spirits, especially when it decides to downpour and become cold quite quickly. It reminded me of running past Wellesley during the Boston Marathon, except on a much, much smaller scale.

Thankfully, the downpour was short lived and I continued trudging along.

The volunteers along the way were wonderful. Very excited for you, and encouraging–the way race volunteers should be. As with other races I compete in, I make sure to acknowledge them as I pass, smile, and even joke around. At one point, the course entered an intersection, and a group of volunteers were pointing in the direction you had to go, as well as cheering. Being the somewhat goof I am (racing makes me silly), I pointed to the opposite direction and exclaimed, ” Wait, are you sure? We don’t run that way? I want to extend the race.” And started running the opposite direction before then heading the proper way. They all found it funny. I know little things like this that I do does not help me finish the race any faster, and may even prolong my race time. But, for the few seconds I can mentally ignore the physical discomfort I am in from running 13.1 (or any other distance) miles helps give me energy to continue.

My pace was fairly consistent at around 8:30, and for most of the run, I think I felt good. My legs were a little tired as the day before the race I decided to go on a 50+ tough bike ride (not smart!). Well, I told myself I felt good. It was not until mile ten when I thought it would be fun when this was over. Later on I realized that had I been two minutes faster, I would have placed in my age group. I guess that is some fairly good motivation to actually train for my next half, when and wherever that might be. My time ended up being 1:52, which was a teeny tiny bit faster than the Lake George Half. As always, the best part is when you pass the finish line and can say, “I’m done!”

Finito!

Finito!

Cutest trophies ever! Maybe next years goal?!?

Cutest trophies ever! Maybe next years goal?!?

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The real reason to run races: post race food.

The real reason to run races: post race food.

So what did I learn from this race season?

I’ve learned from races, whether or not I was prepared for them or not: a large majority of racing is mental. Yes, you have to be physically prepared for what the race will demand of you. But if you are not in the right frame of mind, you have a disadvantage. Especially if it is an endurance event, when you have lots of time to think. Negative self-talk, or thinking that you cannot make it…It’s too hardI didn’t train enough…I’m not prepared…can, and will work against you. When I didn’t finish the race a couple years ago, I had so much self doubt and I don’t think I ever thought, “I can do this.” (There were other circumstances that lead to the DNF too, mind you). In recent races, I’ve found lifting yourself up, however that may be, whether it is kidding around with volunteers, or giving yourself mini pep-talks, gives you a renewed sense of energy to continue, and to be successful. And that success does not necessarily mean earning first place. It’s a more personal achievement.

I must admit, I am rather sad that my last semi-planned race of 2013 is over. Completing three races in the past month alone is the most races I’ve done in that time frame. A huge thank you to those who were there to keep me company, whether being official photographers, personal chauffeurs, cheerleaders, or a combination of all three (K-dawg). I know it wasn’t easy or fun all those weekends, but it was awesome having you there.

Now, what will I do from now on with my weekends off??

Thumbs up to a great season.

Thumbs up to a great season.

It’s that time!

testing the water in the lake behind the house, back in July

Well, I just signed up for the Timberman 70.3 race in New Hampshire, and I am looking at this race with a completely new set of eyes. Looking back at Mooseman– I  wasn’t prepared. The OWS terrified me, and if I got into the groove quicker and actually put my head under the water and start to swim, my swim time would have been drastically faster. Another thing I wasn’t prepared for was lack in nutrition. I was not at all eating enough, or the right types of foods to help me be in peak physical condition. I think I have mentioned this before in another post. And, I did want to do Mooseman, to go back and finish the race I wasn’t able to finish, but I think that is too soon. And with Timberman being in late August, gives me the opportunity to do a couple little triathlons in preparation. Who knows, maybe I could make it up sometime to NH and swim in Lake Winnipesaukee and try out the bike course!

court. of Ironman

This year, with a new set of “eyes” so to say, I am determined to finish this race. Oh, and I just signed up for my first road bike race! And am kinda freaked out, since I have no idea what road racing is about– and it is different than biking in tri’s. I hope to get in some rides with other people, which I think will help ( I know, I know, lots of people have told me about Thursday night rides….I guess I was just too scared to go on them at that time). I hope training with other people will help my endurance, and speed.

court. of Biking Reviews

I also signed up for a half marathon in March, which I think I should be able to do. If I can do a half marathon, and then bike with other people, and do as many OWSs before the time comes (well, with it being winter, my dates with chlorine, and time spent on the TD might need to occur when the weather outside is either freezing, or raining.)

Last spring, things kinda got in the way of my training, and for this race, I’m not going to let those things get in my way anymore. Train, but also be social. Eat healthier–eat more–even on long rides.

I don’t give up that easily, and am determined to try my best to finish this race- not to beat records, but to finish it, so that I can tell myself I can do it, and …it is possible.

Sorry if I was rambling. Just some thoughts.

Follow your dreams, believe in yourself, and don’t give up. – Rachel Corrie

New York City Half Marathon

 

copyright NYRR

Part one of a two part story

I’m here! New York City–the “Big Apple”–the “City that never sleeps” and just  checked into my very fancy hotel room after meandering through the city streets. The sweet smell of polution and the honking of horns blare outside my window. There is a reason why I live in the country.

I made it safe and sound after taking the train south, hoping to catch a few zzz’s while the train rumbled on the tracks but alas, if this girl cannot sleep during the day, there is no chance she’ll sleep on a train…Or tonight before the race for that matter.

I rode the NYC subway for the first time and managed to get to  the expo and as I reached through my wallet, I thought, “ohhhh shit.Where is my ID?”

Now, for you runners/triathletes/cyclists…or any race you are in. Tell me, what are the two things that you need in order to pick up your bib number? Your confirmation email of registration, and YOUR IDENTIFICATION. Then the panic kicked in. What if they don’t let me race? I can’t go all the way back to Rhinebeck to get my passport and then come down. Is this really happening to me?

It was.

Thankfully, I was able to get my prized NY half t-shirt (only do races where you can get shirts! All my racing shirts are like a racing diary) and not have to sit out on this race. I met the other people from the team DetermiNation, who were all great. Thank you to all of you who donated– the American Cancer Society raised over 200,000 dollars– thats the most any charity has raised for a half marathon. Not only do i thank you, but millions of other  people living with cancer are thanking you as well. And if you still would like to donate, just let me know and we can work it out.

 

in Memory of, In honor of Wall at DetermiNation

 

 

infront of the wall

 

I walked around times square which was bustling with tourists and people throwing paper advertisements at you. Can you imagine the amount of energy they waste on all those neon signs?!?I acted like a complete tourist, and really should have gotten a map (my earlier words: Pshh, I don’t need a map, how lost can I get?–those were my famous last words). I zigzagged my way through the streets and managed to find gatorade and cliff shot bloks, which I have never tried on a run before and might be having one tomorrow…I know you should never try something new in a race, but I need to try them at some point. Plus, I already paid for them. On my long runs, I’ve never eaten food, just drank lots of water….We will see.

I got back to my room and set everything up for tomorrow for my 0500 wake up call. Our hotel has  shuttle busses that will bring us to the start (one reason why I chose the hotel, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the subway that early in the morning. )

My outfit

It’s supposed to be a nice day out, and i just found out my dear friend Thea will be there cheering me on! (and part of why i’m running this race is for her!!!)

I should probably hit the sack now…Part two will be here after!

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
-Fred Lebow

Running for a Cure/ Turkey Trot

I just completed my first 5k since June- the Rhinebeck Turkey Trot to benefit Ferncliff Forest, and man, I miss running races. It was a small event, but my time was 24:33–slower than my PR of  20min for a 5k, but I was happy with my result.

Note: it is not advisable to sprint a mile to get to the starting line of the race from your house because you are running behind on time. I’m always early for races, except for this one. Even still, the time wasn’t too bad, and I came second in my age group.

I’ve decided to sign up for the NYC 1/2 marathon in March, as good preparation for my race in June (since the end of Mooseman has a 1/2 marathon). My friend just completed the Philly Marathon for the American Cancer Society, and there are lots of different charities out there you can run for. When I did the Boston Marathon, I ran for the Boston College Campus School. After learning about a great aunt who passed away from a brain tumor which spread to her lungs and bone, I feel that the ACS is the charity I want to run for most. Plus, I’ve lost many loved ones and friends to cancer, know people who have beat it, and know people who are still struggling against it.

Below is a link to my personal page:

Molly’s Page

I’ve never run in New York before, so this will be a first. And there’s nothing better than running for something that’s close to your heart.

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