Du Fast, Du Furious

Du Fast Du Furious

NYTRI

I cannot believe it’s already been a year since I raced in the 8th Annual Trooper Duathlon, which you can read about here, organized by the NYS Troopers, as well as the New York Triathlon Organization, which organizes similar sprint duathlins and triathlons in the Hudson Valley. It was the same course as last year – a 2-mile sprint run, followed by a 14-mile bike ride, and then a 2-mile sprint run.

However, this race was different than last years in that I was part of a relay team. I decided to do the relay with a friend of mine, SB, who did the running, while I did the biking. We were the Valley Girls. Might I add, the t-shirts we designed received a lot of praise around the course. All of the duathlons I have competed individually in. Being a part of a team added an extra element of possible complications, esp. with the handing off of the timing chip with each transition. My race day jitters were higher than normal, since in this race, I was a member of a team, so I had to work hard to not let the Valley Girls down. I think my jitters were shared by my partner. Normally, I’d warm up and run and then have the bike ride, so my legs would be warmed up. Only doing the bike portion was a little trickier since there was a delay from when the timer started, and when you biked. I should have brought my trainer with me….And a TT bike.

Showing how to warm up

Pre-race massage is what should be required at races. Don’t worry, they know each other.

BB transitioning, biking, and finishing the race strong.

BB did an awesome job considering he was basically on his feet most of the day before with the Fats in the Cats Annual Bike Swap. I am envious at both his run time and bike time. He was only 20 sec away from placing third in his category. Next year, BB, next year.

SB doing her part for the team, also finishing strong to bring in our first place!

Steph started the sprints and finished the sprints (both two miles each) strong–leading us to first place. She was consistent with her running, and, apparently, ran a quicker pace than she normally does–managing about an 8 min/min pace!

Zooming by

I cannot really remember the bike portion of the course form last year, or how I did, but this course is basically rolling hills that lead to the bottom of Dug Hill road–a hill that can make a grown man cry. It is a hill that messes with your soul and emotions. It is 4 miles– and the last 4 miles of the bike course. It goes up and up. Then, it has small sections of “flat” which are deceiving because just around the corner you’ll have a steep incline, and other steep incline. I did have a better time than last year, yet my thighs still burned (I definitely need to work on sprinting, and climbing–long road rides are good for Timberman training, but the sprinting is good for smaller distance triathlons or duathlons).

Race in Progress

Cheering on my partner at the finish line

Valley Girls post race–still strong. Let’s do another one!

The post-race refreshments were not your average bagels and bananas. The Troopers had a full BBQ with salads and ziti. I was stoked at the chocolate milk that they had. We all stayed for the award ceremony.

Valley Girls get First place!

I don’t know why I was slouching…Taken before we had to give the plaques back, because they were the plaques for the Co-Ed Relay Team. At least we got a picture. There will need to be a celebratory dinner when our real plaques come in.

SB and BB, what a great team in real life

My best supporter and me

All in all, it was a well organized race. Thank you, NYTRI.ORG, especially the NY State Troopers and those who have been lost doing their job. Another thank you to the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department and Ulster Police for keeping the roads safe for riders along the course, and to all the EMT’s, dedicating their time incase something happened to a participant. All of your services are greatly appreciated. Thank you, again. And a special thanks to K for taking all the photos 🙂

9th Annual Trooper Duathlon
co. of NYTri.org

15th Annual Hudson Valley Triathlon and Duathlon

15th Annual Hudson Valley Triathlon/Duathlon

Remember when I said all races are learning experiences (if you have read any of my posts that is)–how at every event, you learn something new that you can use in the future, see what you can improve upon and what you have improved upon since your last race? Well, it has been a year since I competed in my first multi-sport race (my first one was the HV Duathlon last year!) and my knowledge of both multi sport racing, and training, has increased dramatically since completing my first duathlon. And it is safe to say I (finally) learned some very important lessons at the race yesterday, ones which perhaps a normal person would have figured out months ago (hey, I’m just stubborn, okay?).

Yes, (a little more than) one year ago I competed my first duathlon. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I used the second hand Giant bike which was a piece of crap (don’t get me wrong, I love Giant bicycles, just this one was old). I had no idea what I was doing or getting myself into. I had gone on maybe three long bike rides on the bike–at that time I did much more running–now it’s actually a bit of the opposite. I signed up for the race three days before the event. What a first duathlon, too. It starts at the bottom of a slightly steep incline at Ulster Landing Park next to the Hudson River, which, if you do the duathlon, you must go up three separate times with the sprint, then the bike, then the last run. The first leg is a one mile up (literally) and back sprint, then a 18 mile bike ride which is actually two nine mile loops up along Route 32 and through Glasco–if you are familiar with the area then you know where I’m talking about. Then the last 3.5mile run is another up (and another literally going up) and back sort of deal. This race is put on by the New York State Triathlon Organization, which I must thank for all their volunteers and work, especially yesterday in the heat/humidity/downpour/ultimate weather grossness that we had. I actually am thankful for the rain, because it made the bike sprint more bearable. I also thank my rides in Dutchess County and the Catskills for preparing me for the nasty start of the bike race.

Waiting for the start of the sprint

Post my attempt at Mooseman in June, my training somewhat dwindled a bit–that, couple with insane work hours just left no real good time to train. And after the race yesterday I finally realized (yes, it has taken months as I said above) that my body just does not like me when I make it do things on 1)two hours of sleep and 2)when it’s exhausted and wants to be sleeping. I know I never let my work schedule affect whether or not I do races. But in the midst of the last leg of the run my body just said, “enough not listening to me when I’m exahusted. Enough. Enough.” I ended up with the slowest 3.5 mile run time that I have ever had in all the duathlons I’ve done (okay, all four of them– I haven’t really done that many.) And, yes, my body talks to me when it’s angry at me, which it seems to be more and more often now a days.

Transition number two- my apologies for poor picture quality.

Starting the last run

So, dearest reader, please listen to this advice, and take it to heart. It’s not smart to force your body to compete in multi sport races, or any races actually, when you got two hours of sleep the night before, and average 3-4 hours of sleep a day for the past week leading upto the race. Your body has had NO time w-h-a-t-s-o-e-v-e-r to relax and replenish and rebuild muscle and strength if you’ve also been continuing to train (ça c’est moi). There is just so much pushing your body that you can do. And, make sure you are physically well before the race, and not have GI issues the day before/day of the race. When I started the bike portion I thought, “man, I can’t do this! My intestines/ stomache ache so horribly bad.” But, once I got over the wave of cramps and riding 5miles per hour (which definitely affected my bike time), I got back into the rhythm of cycling and the ride was great. I like rolling hills. My new Aero Bars came in handy too. I’m not used to sprinting on my bike- as most of my rides are greater than 30 miles, and I don’t sprint on those rides, but I do go up nasty hills, so the burning sensation you get in your thighs is just like that of when you cycle uphills.

All in all, the race was okay. I feel if I pushed myself harder (which my body would hate me even more for) I could have done better on the last leg of the run. Despite a time longer than my time at last years race (then again, at that time I was still working a day shift job), I did manage to make 1st place in my age group!

exhausted post race with my sister Laura, another triathlete--the craziness must run in the family

My next race is the Timberman Sprint, which will be my (second) triathlon. Hopefully in the next month, I’ll 1)have more than 2 hours of sleep the night before the race and 2) have energy before starting the race and 3) have a normal functioning immune system.

I hope you all were able to stay cool this past weekend- it was somewhat warm!

It’s Getting Hot Out There

How I feel exercising in heat

Today is supposed to be the hottest days thus far this year– temperatures reaching nearly 100 degrees fahrenheit, and feeling it too. On my bike ride this morning, the Red Hook bank’s big sign indicated at 0630, it was already 78 degrees. Yuck.

I’m not a heat-loving person. I prefer cooler (not frigid though) temperatures. Everywhere you go- even walking out to my car, I start to sweat. Thank the wonderful person who invented air conditioning, even though I prefer not to use the AC because it consumes crazy amounts of energy. But, when times get desperate, and when I need to sleep during the day, which is when the temperatures peak, I lose self control and turn on the AC (which is actually off right now, because a fuse blew).

Nothing is fun in 99 degree heat, with 100% humidity. Nothing. Well, except for swimming outside. That allows for some relief from the heat. And I don’t mean outdoor pools either. Lakes. Large bodies of water. Thank goodness I got over that fear of open water swimming!

And, in this heat, heat stroke and dehydration come into play, especially athletes. I realized I can no longer do things before work because it is too hot, so from now on, will need to do my runs/swims/bike rides right after I come home from work in the mornings while it is slightly still cool (not sure how my feet will like that after being on them for 12 hrs). It is possible to ride/run in this heat, but dehydration is a serious issue and can lead you into a coma and even death.

Basically, dehydration is when your body does not have the amount of fluids that it should–the body is depleted of fluids. This can be from sweating, not consuming enough water, medical conditions where there is excessive urination (like uncontrolled diabetes and diuretic use), also through vomiting and diarhhea. Luckily for adults, it’s harder for us to become dehydrated than children, because they have smaller body weights.

From a medical perspective (yes, I am bringing my nursing into this, sorry), there are three stages of dehydration (taken from ENA’S 6th Edition of Emergency Nursing, 2007), but I will just go through the basics with you with. When you are dehydrated, you can feel some of the below effects.

  • heart rate increases,
  • you can feel dizzy
  • you have low blood pressure,
  • unusual salt cravings
  • dry mucous membranes
  • concentrated urine
  • you can feel confused, light-headed, tired, weak
  • you have delayed cap refill, poor skin turgor, and shock (in the hospital, you can go into hypovolemic shock, which requires fluid boluses after boluses in order to regain the fluid/ electrolyte balance.)
As an athlete, if you are exercising during times when it is hot, it is vital to replenish both fluids and electrolytes that you lost through sweat.Sports drinks, or electrolyte replacements can be used, as well as drinking water. Nuun Hydration tablets can be used to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat.
The below video, taken from The Fruitarian , has some some very good insight into hyponatremia, which can occur with dehydration– he speaks about ultra marathons, but it is good for any athlete who is exercising for longer periods of time.
Fifteen minutes before you plan on exercising, you should drink 30-20 oz water
During exercise, you should drink 4-8oz of water every 15-20 minutes, or more, if the weather is extremely hot. After exercise, you should drink 16-24oz per pound lost–this is if you weigh yourself before you exercise. The loss of sweat through perspiration and the normal functioning of body systems can lead to serious issues!
Drink up!

Drink Up! Your body will thank you.

There are many different hydration packs on the market geared for running, biking, hiking, etc. Runner’s World has a review of hydration packs which can be found here. I use a small camelbak when I run, or an Amphipod “Full Tilt” waist pack, as I do not like to run with something in my hand. When I bike, I need more water, and the small Camelbak I was using which holds about 500cc of water was just too little. So I ordered a pack which has a larger water resevoir.
While I am on the topic of heat, it’s strongly advisable, if you can, to exercise early in the morning to avoid the heat, or, at night (like me), when the temperatures are cooler.
How do you hydrate during long rides/long runs/long periods of exercise?

Fireflies

We don’t have fire flies over where I grew up, or lightning bugs as the are also called. I’m really not sure why they are not overseas, but they remind me of the summers I spent at Lake George, catching them in big glass jars with my cousins, and admiring their glow. In retrospect, we probably deprived them of oxygen and lead to premature death. But, we did let them go after a couple of hours of manipulating the glass container and inspecting the gowing aspects of the fly. That was back when my grandparents owned a house in Lake George. And, that was 13 years ago. Since then, I have not seen any fireflies, except for when I lived down in Alexandraia VA. I remember coming back from work and felt giddy as a school girl after seeing fireflies on my walk back from Braddock Metro to my apartment. It brought so many memories of my childhood back, the innocense of youth.Even now, when I see them, the young child in me becomes excited and giddy to seem them; summer is here!

Fireflies and stars, by Steve Irving

I’m not sure that you know, but, there are different reasons for why lightning bugs “glow,”–mostly the glow is used as a means of communication. Some types of fireflies, the male only lights up to attract the female lightning bug, and so the female can find the man (according to Firefly.org ). There are also fireflies that eat each other! They are primarily carnivorous (ahh, so the innocent fireflies of our youth are no longer that innocent).

Anyway, I thought of that today on my midnight 11.5mile run. With a crystal clear sky and all the stars spackled over the sky, and the iridescent light from tiny lightning bugs appearing and dissapearing made the run more interesting, and more peaceful.

On a separate note, I have started running at night again–with the humidity/heat, it’s not easy for me to do that during the day. And, for some reason, running long distances at night has a certain feeling of peace about it, because, it is usually just you and the starts shining above you–and the illuminating light from the fireflies appearing and disappearing at their will. I do miss running during the day time, when I can actually see things. But, there’s a certain peace associated with being alone under the stars (I know I’ve mentioned this before).

My summertime night running gear: Camelback, Petzel head lamp, and a cap visible to crazy drivers

I’m determined to be ready for this race in August, whether it mean having to bike and run at night. I actually enjoy my time swimming in Lake Onteora. Tomorrow, I’ll plan on riding over in the Catskills so I can get my 40miler done with,  and swim afterwards.

The fireflies reminded me of a song by Owl City.

You Don’t Give Up, Do You?

It’s been, actually, a week and a half after my first attempt at a triathlon. It took awhile for me to actually accept the fact I was unable to finish the race. And whenever anyone mentioned it, I think tears would suddenly, involuntarily, make their way to my eyes. But, I’m now feeling back to my old self for the first time in a while–and, the skin on my back is finally healing from the horrible sunburn I got  at Mooseman. I guess I’ll never really forget my first attempt, since I have the numbers “171” on each of my upper biceps (the numbers shielded my skin from the sun, so they are a couple of shades lighter than the rest of my arms.) Biggest lesson learned from that race, was to wear sun screen. I’m so glad I am in a profession where I can go up to a colleague and say, “Can you put lotion on my back for me? It’s killing me.” (My first night back before the blistering started, my colleague exclaimed, “Holy sh-t Molly, what did you do to your back?”) Yeah. It was bad.

Since returning from NH and the race, I’m back into training for the smaller tri’s and duathlons that will be happening this summer. I thought about giving up on the whole triathlon gig, but then thought, why? I’m not someone who gives up, and I’m not going to start giving up now. I have my whole life to train for a HIM or IM. And, maybe, when I work day shifts and a more normal schedule, it might be slightly easier to train for those races, too.

I’ve actually developed a certain enjoyment out of open water swimming, which is weird, because it used to be an insane fear of mine. Okay, the lake I swim in is small and nothing near Newfound Lake, or any other large lake that can create waves. But, a month ago, I would not even attempt to stick my head under the water with my coach. Now, I go there, and just swim. And, swimming in a lake is so much different from swimming in a pool–you don’t have to switch directions every 25 yards. You can just swim. And, I actually like that. Mind you, I’m swimming alone and not in a mass of other triathletes with the splashing and kicking etc. There’s something peaceful about swimming in Lake Onteora. And, yes, technically, I should be swimming with someone else because the likelihood of someone attempting to jump in to save my life is very slim. But I don’t mind the murkiness now or inability to see what is below me. And, it’s peaceful when it’s just you in the water…With flies buzzing around your head.

View from my ride

Yesterday morning when I went for a swim after a bike ride, walking down to the water I passed a rather large black snake and then thought, “Hmm, I wonder if there are any water snakes in this lake.” The thought creeped me out slightly, but I still went in to swim. (I guess that is a positive of pools: you have no fish biting your toes, no potential water snakes, you can see what is under the water, and if you accidentally take a gulp, the water is chlorinated and not filled with millions of lake microorganisms and fish poop). It’s kind of weird, actually. A year ago I swore I’d never swim. And now, I look forward to swimming outside in open water.

I must admit, with my schedule, it’s hard training for things. And with the temperature on the rise, it might be more difficult to train when I want to–I guess I could go back to running at 0200?!? But work seems to leave me drained. For the second time in who knows when, Monday after working two crazy nights I slept on-and-off all day. Which, for those who know me, is extremely rare because it’s a known fact that I don’t sleep. I even slept through the night, which was even crazier. Yes, this girl who does not think running in the middle of the night is crazy, does find it insane when she is able to sleep through the night.

Anyway, this morning was the first time I’ve been on my road bike (minus the short 45min ride yesterday) since the race. And I forgot how amazing a ride can be, even if I’ve done it dozens of times before. Not only that, but to be able to see how the environment has changed seasons in my short sabbatical from riding. I learnt that I need to put suntan lotion on my arms and face, but now need to remember to put some above my knees as there’s an even more distinct bicycle shorts tan line on my thighs. Oops.

Now, after I’ve had my delicious iced coffee and applied more-than-enough aloe/cucumber/camomile lotion to my healing back, I’m off to Jockey Hill to spend time with the other love of my life, my Contessa Spark.

And to get into the mountain biking mood, I leave you with some Slackstring.

Let’s Du it!

I feel it’s been a while since I wrote my last post. Work has been busy, training has been tough, and life in general has just been busy—you know what I mean.

I can tell you,it IS FINALLY spring here! It only took until May for it to arrive. I’m not going to lie, Mother nature must take pleasuring with messing with our heads: one day, it’s in the 70’s, the next, down to the 40s and downpour for most of the day. I think this year she didn’t get what she wanted for christmas and is taking it out on the residents of the Hudson valley.

Getting my crap together

And it’s official: tri/duathlon season has started! And, I do not think that working night shifts go hand-in-hand with trying to compete in early morning races when your body is telling you that that is in fact not the time to be running races, but rather sleeping. Then again, do you think the lack of sleep ever stops me from putting my body through an hour and a half of imense torture? Pshhh. It never stopped me in the past. Other than that one incident where I set my alarm for 7pm instead of 7am and awoke to find I missed the race? No, I don’t. I  must admit, my body h-a-t-e-s me when I compete in races when it does not want to–you’d think it would learn by now that I’m not that easy going on my poor exhausted limbs.

Today I finished my first duathlon of the season, the 8th Annual Trooper Biathlon in Memory of Mike Kelly, Ken Poormon, and John McKenna, put on by the New York Tri Organization. All my races that I did last year (multi sport races) were through the NYSTri organization, and they  do a great job organizing them–Bravo! Plus, I have a special place in my heart for NY state troopers after they helped me with my cycling mishap, as I wrote in this post about troopers.

8th Annual Trooper Biathlon

Walking to the start

The weather was perfect for the race- warm enough that once you were sprinting (either on your feet or on the bike) it was enough to create small beads of sweat flow down your face, dropping of the tip of your nose and silently hitting the handle bars. There were lots of TT bikes, all of which I was envious of, but my Scott did a fabulous job helping my fatiqued body keep speeding down route 28.

The run was a two mile out-and-back deal, and the same was for the run after the biking portion, and I’m not going to lie, all the 14 and 15 mile long slow runs I’ve done for Mooseman prep have did little to help me with simply running 4 miles.

In retrospect, I should have checked out the route the night before, but I was too busy playing on my new toy to scope out the race scene, so everything was fresh for me. As you probably know from reading my posts, I hate hills. Especially when you are on two wheels having to pedal up them, and running on a basically empty tank of gas because you only got two hours of sleep the night before.  (The amazing moutain bike ride the night before probably didn’t help give my thighs a rest either…but the non-rest was worth it). The bike ride had rolling hills and followed the Ashokan Resevoir for a little ways, which was very picturesque, especially on a crystal clear morning that we had. The route then went down 28 and turned onto Hurley Mountain road, which had more rolling hills and which I was able to gain some speed on. And then, we had to turn and go up Doug hill Road, which was basically, 4 miles of straight uphill, which I was not prepared for. I swore my way up the hill, passing some people who had to get off and walk their bike up (I tend to embarass myself enough when having to hop of my mountain bike with X and walk up short hills on our past mountain bike rides).I was determined this time to go “slow and steady” up this 4miles of not-so-nice race course.

Hill: done!

Alas, I made it to the transition, and the last leg of the race–the same two mile sprint which preceded the bike ride. I must admit, all my training in the past have been for Mooseman, which has a long ride and long run, so I have not really been doing too much speed work (don’t tell my coach, because technically there is speed workouts on my weekly training schedule that I kind of….”tweak” since I hate speed work) and my lungs and legs could feel my lame attempts to sprint. However, my detested hill work in Dutchess county was the one thing that helped me going up dug hill!

Finally, I ran down the finish line, legs burning and intestines regretting the coffee I had that morning.But, I made it! First Duathlon of the season done! I must admit, in the middle of the race, I always find myself asking why I am doing this, especially since my body does not want to cooperate with me in early hours of the morning (damn you night shifts!!!!!). But after all is said and when your foot touches the ground below the finishers banner, you feel this immense sense of achievement. I did it! No, it wasn’t in the time that I was hoping for, but I was able to overcome the mental negative thoughts of “you are too tired to do this….you don’t do speed work….” etc etc and actually make a decent time!

All in all, it was a great organized race, and I totally see myself doing the same one in the future. Perhaps by that time, I’ll be working day shifts so I’ll even be just a tad bit rested before the race!!!

Congratulations to all the participants, and thank you to all NYS troopers, for everything you do for us.

It's over!

Theme song to the race ( i know, I know, I’m a dork. I admit it. But it has the great ability to pump you up prior to race time.)

Yayy!

Fuel for rides/runs

Remember a long time ago when I first started training for this race, and my coach said that the hardest part would come in April/May? Well, it’s April, and the training is harder than its ever been. And, the thought of mooseman in less than two months might actually make me cry

Today was my long ride/20min run, and it was a beautiful day for it. I did a new and I love riding places I’ve never been. It seems to make the time go by quicker. How was the ride, you ask? Nice for the first five miles.

At mile 40, I think I did have some tears in my eyes. How do people who compete in Ironman races actually ride more than 100 miles? The route I did (I attached the link to the map below) had some pretty nasty hills, and was suggested by my coach because, apparently, I need more hill work. I hate hills. You could not pay me ten dollars to ride up and down Turkey Hill Road more than once in a row…..Maybe if it was a thousand dollars, taxfree, I might.  I never realized that Dutchess/Columbia counties actually had hills. But, boy, do they have hills. And. for some odd reason, at the bottom of each hill when you would be speeding up to get as much speed to help in getting up the hill, there were workers at the bottoms directing traffic. So, I was never able to speed up on the decline before the incline. I had to STOP. Ugh. Slightly annoying.

It was  perfect riding weather–a little chilly at times when the sun disappeared behind the clouds, but it was nice. And my lungs and thighs ceased to be on fire for small amounts of time on the ride.

looking at the catskills- view from the church must be amazing.

At mile 50, I started getting hungry. So hungry that I began to fantasize about eating macaroni salad–you know the kind–with all the mayo and black olives and pieces of peppers. I have no idea why that food was what I was craving, because I hate mayonnaise, and do not eat pasta. But after 50 miles of hills and rolling hills and gradual inclines, that is what I wanted. And that’s all I could think about.

Mmmm Macaroni Salad

I’ve talked about this before, and I am going to say it again–the importance of supplemental energy when you are on long rides/long runs that last more than 60  minutes. Now, after trying my one shot of Gu last year and detesting it, I swore off any gu- containing products until I had a Shot Blok which I actually loved the night before the half marathon, especially the lemon flavored.

Gu is gross, but a life safer for sure.

After Turkey hill and other hills, after not eating anything before the ride except for consuming coffee, my stomach was starting to talk to me. Not talk, beg me for food. I stopped and searched my backpack for something…anything….because I had over 10miles left to go, only to find a Gu Energy shot–a Gu tirberry flavored shot- it was one of those free-be’s from another race I’ve done in the past. I was hesitant  to eat it, because the last one made me feel sick to my stomach. But I needed that extra boost.And since I was no where close to any place that would have macaroni salad, the shot would have to do. I think the drivers who passed me on Country route 6 headed to Nevis might have thought I was crazy, leaning over my handle bars and trying to eat the gu whist making faces because it was so odd tasting. As much as I hate it, it was a life saver for me because I needed something to eat as I was starting to tear up from so much hunger, and exhaustion (I have no idea how people complete full ironmans. Honestly, Moosman scares me. It’s so close and I don’t feel as prepared as I should.

I’ve talked about this before, and I am going to say it again–the importance of supplemental energy when you are on long rides/long runs that last more than 60  minutes. Now, after trying my one shot of Gu last year and detesting it, I swore off any gu- containing products until I had a Shot Blok which I actually loved the night before the half marathon, which I actually liked and then learned that they came be somewhat appetising, quick energy (preferable with caffeine).If you are going for a workout longer than 1 hr you should always bring something to eat or drink or chew that has some supplemental energy in it, esp sugars and sodium, because even if it is cold, you sweat, and can lose lots of sodium through that sweat. I wrote a post about this subject, so will not be redundant. But since you lose so much energy while working out, you need something, especially if it is longer than 60 miles.

56.68 mile route u p Turkey hill down to linthigo over to germantown, to Bard and home

Feeling  like you're the only one in the world

Feels like you are the only one in the world....

The below song was my motivating song to get me up and OOB to do this ride at 0900 when I usually am sleeping (man, working night shifts with being on your feet for 13hrs and training don’t really go well together. My feet do not really like 50 mile bike rides or any of that, or any of my training at the moment….) If you are a member of my family, you know I have every soundtrack known to man.

And now, off for my 11miler. Yes, it’s 0300. But no one will be on the roads.

How do you fuel up during rides/runs?

NYC Half Race Report Part deux

Bib number 8288

Well, it’s over. First race of the season, and I must admit, the season could not have started off any better. The racing weekend started off on a semi-stressful note, as I somehow managed to lose my drivers license and credit card somewhere between Poughkeepsie and Grand Central Station, but without some sort of issues on a racing weekend, it just wouldn’t be right–at least in my case. As mentioned in “part one,” I was able to get my bib without my ID–thank heavens,because it really would have sucked to be all the way in NYC to run a race and not be able to run in it.

I’ll continue from where I left off last night before attempting to sleep.

I did get a good 4 hours of shut-eye last night; my attempts to switch my body starting Thursday from nocturnal mode to day time mode was unsuccessful to say the least. I have a feeling if I decide to go pro, i might need to switch to working day shift, because the constant “back-and-forth” with sleeping during the day but needing to sleep at night before a race just does not work. Unfortunetly, I don’t see myself switching to day shift anytime before the “big race,” so I’ll need to grin and bear entering races already exhausted. A positive, though, was that I was up at 0300 and was able to hydrate and eat and let it “digest” before starting the run, hence not having to run with the feeling that you have a brick in your stomach.

lemon-lime= deliciousness

Up at 0300, filled with anticipation and excitement, like other races I’ve done, I hydrated, and decided to eat that gu gummy blok. As I’ve mentioned before I’m just not a fan of eating while exercising, dont like anything gummy or sweet–which rules out most energy bars/gels. However, the lemon flavored gu energy block I ate tasted fan-tast-ic. I’m not sure if it was because I was incredibly nervous and that is the only thing I could manage to eat before the race, or that my body just craves more sugar, electrolytes, and caffeiene, that if i had a whole box infront of me, it would have been consumed in less than five minutes.

Picking a hotel that had a shuttle to the starting are–let me correct myself, booking through an agency linked with NYRR and the race–saved a lot of grief when it was time to leave. If you are looking for a place to stay before a race, and the race organizers have certain companies they are partnering with (be it hotels or whatnot), make sure you book through that company. There were a lot of runners who stayed at my hotel who did not book through that agency, and, my heart went out to them, because the shuttle was only for people who were with the agency. Just a heads up.

Bag checks were organized according to coral numbers

The race was extremely well organized, and had bag drop-offs according to your coral number. Each runner also had a brightly colored sparkly ID band which allowed them into the coral zone (I love sparkly things). We got to Central Park by 0610, and it was quite chilly. Next time, I’m going to wear a crappy pair of sweatpants with the crappy shirt that I can keep on until the race starts, because I was on the brink of hypothermia wearing shorts, the t-shirt, arm warmers, gloves, and a thin cotton long sleeved shirt on. I advise that you wear something that you don’t mind throwing out to wear after you check your bags, because there is a heck of a lot of waiting around before the race starts. And, even though it was above freezing, it was still 33 degrees and the sun wasn’t out yet. (That was lesson one). Lesson two is that you should not walk for hours around New York City the day before you need to run 13.1 miles. Because that is not considered rest, especially if your feet hurt and you haven’t even run the race yet.

Central Park at 0600

I met up with the other members of the DetermiNation team at 0630 and continued to wait and freeze, making new acquaintances and taking team pictures. It was nice “knowing” people in the race, even if i had just met them. They were all in the same boat. The DetermiNation team coaches were awesome, upbeat, and at different points along the race course to cheer you on. It was around 0645 when we finally took a whole group picture and made our way to our different corals that the gal I was talking to started to mention the hills on the course.

“There are hills in New York City? I thought it was just flat,” was my dumb struck response.

“Yea, there are a couple short inclines in Central Park.”

Since I’ve never been to Central Park, I had no idea what to expect. Considering I’ve done trail running in the Gunks and Catskill mountains, the panic feeling I had about the inclines went away (kind of).

From around 0650 to 0730, there was standing. And waiting. And teeth chattering, as all the 10,000 runners stood in place trying to keep warm until the race began. A neat thing was that I saw Central Park in the dark, and was there when the sun was rising, and as the temperature rose to 37 degrees.  I met some fellow runners whose lips were just as blue as mine, and matched my blue DetermiNation T-shirt, and prayed that the feeling in my legs would come back before the start. *This is the time you want to be wearing the throw-away sweats–standing in the cold is miserable. And, once you shed them at the start, you are doing the homeless people a favor by giving them free clothes! Heaven forbid you find yourself living on the streets and can no longer afford to buy clothes, just head to the nearest race start, and you’ll find a whole new wardrobe of clothes!

After the NYRR organizers speeches and introductions of all the famous runners whose names i can’t remember because I wasn’t paying attention due to the incessant teeth chattering, the race started. It was a nice loop around Central Park (I had no idea Central Park was so big), and by mile 2 I was pretty warmed up and feeling good. It was a picture perfect day for a race- blue sky, sunny, a tad chilly, but I’m not going to complain, since there have been races I’ve done where its 98% humidity and 90 degrees (that is hell).

Race Course

After completing about 6 miles, the course headed down 7th avenue, which was by far the best part of the race. Scratch that, the best part of any race is when you are done. Running down 7th Ave was the most memorable part of the race. I’ve been to NYC only a couple times before, and it’s always been crowded and people bumping into each other trying to avoid all the tourists taking photos of every billboard imaginable. There was still bumping into each other, it’s just that the bumping was faster, since it was now runners running into each other at the water stations.

It was awesome. The people on the sides of the roads cheering for you as you ran down towards Times Square where cars usually are was incredible. I would have taken pictures with my phone, but thought it would look too weird snaping pictures of buildings while running a race. Similarly, the texts I was going to send to my friend never occured because, again, I felt it would be weird texting and running at the same time. I feel it’s a racing faux-pas to be on your phone texting. So, I didn’t. (And, the zipper to the pocket holding my phone was stuck, therefore i couldn’t even get my phone if I wanted to).

DetermiNation Cheerleaders along the course (from NYRR site)

I was feeling pretty good, running faster than my anticipated 10minute miles (yes, my goal is that slow). After passing times square, I think the adrenelin started to wear off (around mile eight) and I began to wonder how I ever ran marathons because I was beginning to feel the run.And then the thoughts of  “wait, why do I think this is fun again?” begin to creep into my thoughts. But the cheering was helpful, and I was able to keep my mind occupied by taking in the sights of the City.

The last three miles were along the water on West Side Highway. Even though the distance was only a half marathon, those last three miles seemed to be painful. It’s like other races–the last leg is just horrible, because you know you are so close to the finish, and yet still need to continue to run. (I still don’t know how I ever managed to run marathons).

Finally, after 2hrs and 2 minutes, it was done. In retrospect, it went really quickly. And with my fatigue and lack of rest, I was content with how I did (okay, I really could have done better, but, whatever, I was doing it for “fun”–and yes, I just said “whatever”).

Despite the thousands of people (literally, thousands) at the finish line, I was able to find my most dear and amazing friend, who was waiting at the end at 0930 with camera in one hand, and flowers in the other, for me. There really isn’t anything better than being greeted by a familiar face, especially in a city like New York, and especially if it’s the dearest, most thoughful friend and reason you were running the race. That was definitely a highlight, thank you, T.Linscott. You’re a rockstar.

This brings me to my third lesson: it’s virtually impossible for the majority of runners to look presentable and not like complete disasters after finishing races for the pictures. Yes, snapshots are required of you after you have completed any distance race–whether it be 2 miles or 60miles. Pictures are a reminder that you accomplished something, no matter how big or small it might have been. But I’ve learned after 99.9% of the races I have finished, there is just no humanly possible way for me to look like I’m pain-free and happy, when in reality, I’m estatic that the race is over. I always appear to be a miserable mess, and really do envy people who can complete races and are in mint condition. I really want to know their secret to how they look incredible. If you are one of those people who look incredible after a race, tell me, what is your secret to looking amazing?

Anyway, after picture taking (my attempts to look somewhat presentable for the photo shoot were very unsuccessful) and getting situated, we headed back to the hotel where I could finally get warm, which brings me to lesson numero quatre: pack sweatpants to wear post race. When you are finished running, you are sweaty and warm, but if it is a blistery cold windy day like it was this morning, the sweat and heat is replaced by ice. There is a reason for why runners get those gray shiny aluminum looking sheets (in all honesty I forgot the technical name for them) after they finish. They really help keep you warm. In the bag I checked, all I put in it was my warm-up jacket, and that was not enough, even with wrapping the shiny sheet around my legs like a towel.

NYC Half 2011 frozen finisher

my cheerleader

I was so thankful to have T.Linscott with me and guide me back to the hotel, as I really had no idea where we were. I keep forgetting NYC is so big! I took a quick shower, checked out of the hotel (and learned you don’t have to literally “check out” in hotels–you can express check out!) and lugged my big hiking bag garbed in a sweatsuit, passing women in the lobby wearing coats and bags that cost more than my car. We met some fellow Kingstonians for brunch at Cafe Ronda which was very good, and I highly recommend it if you are in that area of the city and want brunch.

 

Cab after brunch...I felt like I was about to fall asleep

Kingstonians + New Yorkers all together...Notice my coordinated sweatsuit

After a delicious meal we headed back to my friends car (they had driven down, and had an extra place for me). One of my favorite quotes of the day is when Povill said to me,  “You know, you look like one of those high schoolers who are traveling with their sports team in your addidas sweatsuit lugging that huge hiking bag around.” (Lesson 5: it is vital to have your track suit color coordinated. It just so happened the pink strips on my sleeves matched the pink on my sneakers).

The short road trip back from the city to Kingston/Poughkeepsie, where I had parked my car, was full of singing along to songs, laugher and jokes. Being surrounded by the people I love just made the day even more special than it already was.

Thea's flowers

Many of the races I’ve done, I’ve done alone. Going to and from race location by myself. Today I realized the importance of friendship, and how it’s so much more fun when you have other people doing the race with you, or on the sidelines cheering for you. I was blessed with friends like that.

All in all, the race was awesome. Being able to experience what it is like running such a big race (well, I guess the Boston Marathon was just as big) through the Big Apple was an experience I will never forget. I definitley recommend it to people looking for a good half marathon to do.

As I sit with my compression socks on and my sleeping cat by my side, I can’t begin to fathom how my body will deal with the Mooseman that is coming up shortly. I guess the quote below sums it up.

‎”Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.” -PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Below is a link to a video of the race–take a look–you’ll want to do it next year for sure!

NYRR Video re-cap of NYC Half 2011

Today was awesome. Thank you, NYRR, for an awesome race, and special thanks to T.Linscott for being at the finish line,J.Povill for holding my backpack, and N. Conklin for the laughter in the back seat.

You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” – Steve Prefontaine

The perfect song for the perfect day.


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

I Can

“So, what will you do when it’s over?”

“It’s never over. That’s the awesome thing. There will always be something I can do.”

“But, why?”

“Because…I can.”

Over these past couple months, I’ve dedicated my life outside of work to training. There have been setbacks–illness, weather, work commitments. Training is tough. Anyone who has trained for any type of race–either  running, swimming, biking (or all three), knows that it is hard. It takes mental and physical strength to push yourself further than you think you can handle–to move each leg, one foot in front of the other, on a run after you’ve put in miles on a bike and your legs feel like jelly. It takes patience with yourself–to continue that bilateral breathing and practicing those strokes, even after frustration kicks in. It takes commitment, to spending those hours in the saddle. It takes…Determination to do hill work in downpour. It takes admitting your flaws, and dissecting them, so you can improve what is incorrect. Most of all, it takes…Time.

Training for triathlons and duathlons has become my life. It’s become a passion. I’m excited when I meet someone else who is training for a tri–whatever distance it is. “Which races have you done? Woahh!” Seems to be my reaction to any race completed by a triathlete I’ve met. Start talking about Scott’s Plasma 3 bike (which almost became a future member of my household today–save the fact I no longer allow myself to bring my wallet into bicycle shops with me), and you have my full attention. Food is now fuel for my workouts. Everything I put into my body has the potential to affect how I perform in races this season.

Yes, there are days when I’m exhausted and mustering up the energy to do an endurance swim workout is painful. But, after those first fifteen minutes in the water, from somewhere, you find this energy–this, renewed sense of self. You think, “Holy shit, I think I can do this.”

And, yes, to be honest, I’m scared of this race, mostly though, the swim portion of it. And, especially after I meet triathlete’s who say, “that’s a tough race. And the water is cold…Like, 58 degrees cold.”

Yet, this girl who would never be caught dead in the water five months ago, can now sense when her strokes are correct and breathing is efficient. Today, she tried on a wetsuit for the first time in her life.

My colleague was spot on the other night when he said, “There is no ‘I can’t’ in Molly’s vocabulary.” What he forgot to say was, “There’s no ‘I can’t’ in yours, either.”

Just try. Odds are, you’ll be able to do what you thought was impossible. If there is one thing I’ve learnt from this journey I’ve started, it’s this: nothing can stop human will when it wants something badly enough.

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”- Unknown


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