Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 Wongstar Racing in Review

Well, I did a Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving morning, which I never race reported, as it was pretty pathetic (for me). If you must know, my first and last miles were great (6:36 and 6:37) but those four in between were pretty awful (7:24, 8:07, 7:54, 7:19). I just didn't care. I had some intentions to break my 10k PR again, as it was only 2.5 weeks after the Bay Bridge 10k, but my body had different intentions as it hates me when I make it run in race temperatures under 30*F. Because F that SH! (See also: Wineglass Half Marathon...)

So instead, I am doing a nice generic "year in review" for how my racing went this year. Having done triathlons for the last 15 years, I felt like this year was pretty light, as I "only" did two Olympic tris and one half-ironman, but then I gathered up all the various finisher's medals strewn about our living quarters and was surprised with how many I had:

So here's what I did all year (with links to race reports):
Oh yeah, there were also two 5k's I raced that obviously didn't have finisher's medals...but I did win one outright (YAY!) at the Lockheed Martin 5k:

And the other 5k was the Firecracker 5k, which I got 2nd place in my age group at, but figured I was too slow and didn't stay for the awards. (D'oh!) Of course, it later turns out that I also got 2nd in my age group at the Turkey Trot 10k and didn't stay for awards either as I was butt-cold and assumed I was too slow to place in my age group...

Moral of the story, maybe I'm not as slow as I think and should stay for some potentially awesome age group awards? Here are the things I did stay for (which aren't really that exciting or awesome, but hey, hardware):

So, a 2nd place in my AG at a 10k, a 2nd place in my AG at an Olympic tri, and the smallest paperweight I'm most proud of, is the 3rd place overall woman at the General Smallwood Olympic tri. I guess because that was the one race that I actually felt pretty fit at, where I busted my ass through the bike and run and didn't feel like "wah, I didn't train enough."

Oh! As a side note, I did manage to PR at different running distances, 5k, 10k, 10-miler, and maybe the half marathon (questionable as my previous PR was banditted). I haven't run this many running races in the last 5 years so previous PR's were fairly slow.

I am also really proud of my Beach2Battleship half, as yes, by the end of October I was just riding off my summertime fitness and did in fact feel like "wah, I didn't train enough." But I still put in solid enough splits for the swim/bike/run that I was happy with being only 10 minutes slower than my PR, "close enough" to sub-5 (5:01), and 4th in my age group. Not too shabby at all!

Yes, "not too shabby at all" would be a good way to summarize my entire year, as going into 2014, my athletic goals were up in the air and all over the place. I didn't want to commit to triathlons much, thought I wanted to do ultramarathons or marathons, and ended up coming around and getting remotivated in the triathlon world through Amy, Beck, Carmen, and the RWB newbies.

So having sat on my butt all of last winter, and only starting to swim in May...I'd grade my triathlon performances as "better than expected" but still not super amazing, as we ex-pro athletes hold ourselves to very high standards. It was fun dragging my new fiancé to the races and even getting him to do his first 5k!

Which brings us back to it being winter again. And ugh, yes, I am sitting on my butt. I've got my first 2015 race in 8 weeks (the Austin half marathon with Amy), and have these grand plans of doing up to THREE half ironmans and PR'ing at that distance, of course! And how about WINNING MORE STUFF?!? What's with all these lame 2nd places in my age group? F that SH!

But there is also a wedding in September to plan, so as of right now, the three things I'm committed to are that half marathon in February, a half ironman in June (Challenge Atlantic City!), and my wedding in September.

BUT, there are also only 10 days left in the year (when most of these triathlon race fees go up!), and I was recently promoted to our Team RWB DMV chapter's triathlon co-coordinator, AND White Tiger has been replaced, AND I have miraculously been picked up by (an unsolicited, even!) triathlon sponsor (Rose Physical Therapy) for 2015!

So more blogging shall be done to expound all the aforementioned new and exciting topics; in the meantime, have a Merry Christmas and I hope you are working out more than I am, as I sit on my butt and eat like a fat kid on all the days it is under 40*F.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bay Bridge 10km race report

So, last weekend I ran across the Bay Bridge. They called it the "10k Across the Bay". No, not the one that connects San Francisco to Oakland back home, which used to be ugly until they installed the Bay Lights LED display. I'm talking about the other Bay Bridge, the one that I live by these days, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that connects Annapolis to the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Here is the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge:

It is 4.46 miles long, has a height of 526 feet, and costs $6 to go across (westbound) on weekdays during rush hour. (Otherwise it's $4 on weekdays non-rush and $5 on the weekends.)

Exhibit B is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge:

Now, that looks cool too! It's a tad shorter at 4.32 miles, not as scary high at 186 feet high, and ALWAYS costs $6 to go across it in the eastbound direction.

Both Bay Bridges typically don't let ordinary pedestrians onto them, and this would be the first year that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge would have a running race. Oh boy!

race morning sunrise over the bridge!
Hence why we were SO excited to drop $74.20 to run 6.2 miles! ($70 for the 10k plus a 6% service charge...I know, way overpriced to run a 10k!) Caitlin had signed up a year ago when the race was first announced, and I got duped into signing up when I was running the St. Michael's 10k in May, as they are put on by the same organizers. They called this a SOLD OUT RACE!!! But I had the chance to get in by running in the St. Michael's 10k! I've learned that calling a race SOLD OUT makes me a sucker for wanting to do it!

excited to run the bridge!
Anyway, I'm not sure what finish time I told them I would be running, but we were given Bib #'s based on this estimated finish time. I was intrigued to be #353! Out of 20,000? That's fast, right?! There were so many people running the race that they broke it down into 10 waves of 2,000 people, going off every 15 minutes. I was in the first wave and Caitlin was in the second. We had friends running in later waves but opted to head over earlier as we were expecting it to be a clusterf*ck with so many people on that narrow little bridge.

They were doing this as a "CUPLESS" race so there wouldn't be litter falling off the bridge into the bay, and I didn't think I needed to drink much for 6 miles anyway, so I wasn't planning to bring anything. At the last minute, I took my Camelbak without the bladder as more of a purse than a hydration pack. For my phone, wallet, in case it got too warm for my headband or gloves... Since it was a point-to-point race, the logistics were a little annoying but there were plenty of school buses to shuttle us to the start.

Well, it turns out they were super anal about A) not littering on the bridge and B) not blowing up the bridge, because I wasn't allowed on the school bus until I took off my garbage bag poncho (damn, and I was so proud of myself for remembering to bring one!) and then I had to put my Camelbak back in the car. Damn you, Boston bombers, ruining it for everyone! Denied, and denied!

So, the shuttles went fairly smoothly and then it was time for...the pre-race selfie!

I know, I look scared of the bridge. I wasn't really scared, but I wasn't sure what to expect, either! I haven't done very much since Beach2Battleship, other than catch Kevin's Halloween night cold and fighting being sick for a good 3 days in the week leading up to the 10k. I really don't like cold races either, as I learned at Wineglass (cold being anything under 50), so I was apprehensive about the 43*F forecast. Such a cold wuss!

Anyway, BOOM! We started and I realized quickly that I get SUPER HOT when I am running SUPER FAST! (That would be 10k pace versus half marathon pace.) I quickly took off my cozy warm headband and wrapped it around my wrist. The race report shall now proceed to mile splits and race photos...

Mile 1. 7:07. The first mile is the part of the bridge that goes slowly upwards and I darted in and out of the crowd the first quarter mile for some free space. If you look at the first photo of the Bay Bridge I posted above (the Maryland one), you'll see that there's the skinny part at the beginning that does a sharp curve to the left. I ran on the left shoulder to run the tangents, it wasn't high enough yet to be scary!

Mile 2. 7:27 UPHILL! This second mile was completely uphill. The gloves came off! I ended up running with the gloves in my hand. The cozy warm headband was a bridge casualty as it flew off my wrist when the gloves came off. But not over the bridge into the water.

Right at the end of Mile 2 was actually the highest point of the race! So there on out, it was...

Mile 3. 6:51 DOWNHILL!

Mile 4. 6:43 more downhill!

I don't know what to say to make this race report interesting, other than I was really happy to run sub-7's even though I haven't been doing much speedwork or let's be honest, anything at all recently.

Mile 5. 6:46 even more downhill!

Yes, I ended up passing this 60-year-old guy (well, I had to look up his results since he is sort of photobombing me).

Mile 6. 6:56. The sixth mile was off the bridge and back on solid ground, a fairly flat mile but luckily I still had some momentum from running down the bridge.

Mile 6.2 1:15. Ran out of steam. I knew looking at my watch at the halfway point and closer to the end that I would be close to a PR. My previous 10k PR was in the mid-43's from my General Smallwood run split (looked it up to be 43:37 just now). But I didn't know that I would be so close to breaking 43 minutes!

So I guess I got a new 10k PR! 43:08, that was a pleasant surprise, and finally got my average under 7-minute miles. Turns out that there were almost 15,000 people that ran, not the 20k they were expecting, and I finished as the 32nd female out of almost 10,000 females. I'll take it! I also finished 172nd overall, when my bib # ranked me 353rd!

And hey, that's pretty impressive that 2/3 of the race was female!

I learned that I was way overdressed for a 10k in the mid-40's--I had my fleece-lined CW-X tights and a North Face base layer, both were way too warm! This was a warmer get-up than what I raced in for the Wineglass Half, and it was 10 degrees colder there, so I should've known better. I tried to tug up my sleeves to no avail, but now I know to not be such a cold wuss. It wasn't even windy running over the bridge! We had beautiful weather.

SOOOO, in conclusion, it was neat to run over the Bay Bridge and very well-organized for a first-year event. But the important question is...would I do it again? Not for $74, even though we all got a finisher's medal and a technical t-shirt. It was really cool to do it once, run and done! But the logistics were a bit of a hassle, and it's the same cost as a local Olympic-distance triathlon (with early bird pricing). I would rather do more triathlons next year!

Photo credits go to: Caitlin, Swim Bike Run photography, and Google!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fanmail Love

Dear faithful Wongstar fans,

I feel like a COMPLETE IDIOT. I used to have an "email submission form" on one of my old official websites, where the messages (fanmail!) were forwarded directly to my regular email. When I switched over to Blogger/Blogspot after leaving TeamTBB, I was like hey! Let's just set up an official "Wongstar email" and have a cool email address. "thewongstar(at)" was available!

Imagine my surprise this morning when after years of wondering "Why don't I ever get fanmail any more?" I finally checked this "new" email account. I was pretty sure I had set it up to forward to my regular email address.


89 new messages, dating back to 2011...well wishes from "long-time" fans after my car accident in Korea, and subsequent retirement from the pro ranks. Supportive emails after the break-up with the ex-boyfriend. Peeps from the DC area and prosthetics field. Sponsorship offers and interview requests?! Even a sweet email from my grumpy old triathlon coach and his new ventures.

Of course there are also the SEO ads, foreign cycling race promotions and other spam. But my heart just SWELLED hugely going through all these nice letters from complete strangers and friends I had briefly met during my racing career!

I am trying to respond to everybody...if you had the time to email me, I will make the time to write you back. Just a little more patience! THANK YOU FOR THE LOVE!!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Dawson's Creek Half Ironman, AKA Beach2Battleship Half!

Back in the late 90's, my favorite TV show in my high school days was about four teenagers who were awkwardly tackling high school and hormones...just like me. Dawson's Creek featured Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen. (In real life, one of the girls would go on to marry Tom Cruise and the other would marry my teen heartthrob, Heath Ledger, who unfortunately got into the wrong crowd with one of the Olson twins. RIP Heath!) Joey was my favorite (played by Katie Holmes), as she was the athletic tomboy-ish one who had a secret crush on her clueless best friend, Dawson. I watched the show pretty religiously those first two seasons, then went off to college, where I didn't have a TV and got into triathlons. The show started to go downhill anyway, but before that happened, I was christened with the college nickname "Joey" and it stuck. (There were two of us girls in the same dorm that went by "Jo" growing up, so we had to differentiate.)

Of course I had this behind-the-scenes book of the TV show!

The show's been off the air for over a decade now, but every Dawson's Creek fan knows that the show was filmed in none other than Wilmington, North Carolina...home of the Beach2Battleship triathlons!

Thus the theme song to this race report is obviously the theme song to Dawson's Creek! Cue Paula Cole...

I don't wanna wait for our lives to be over,
I want to know right now, what will it be?

The Beach2Battleship half ironman would be my first long-course triathlon in several years where I actually had a time goal. Since I "retired" from the pro ranks 3 years ago, I've been bumbling around with what to do athletically. I did Ironman Louisville in 2012 as an age grouper "for fun" and realized that I don't like to do triathlon "for fun". (I guess because doing it "for fun" meant not training very much and secretly hoping to still be fast...) I like to GO FAST. Fast is all relative, of course. Part of me figured I'd never get as fast as I used to be, because now I work a real job over 50 hours a week. Instead

But at 32, could I really say that I was past my prime? Most of my female teammates on teamTBB were over 32 when I trained with them in my late 20's. Female pro triathletes race well into their late 30's and early 40's. Was I going to wait until my life was over to realize that I had wasted my younger years afraid to even try?

Well, going into 2014, I did not have triathlon on my mind. I sat on my butt for about 6 months over the extended off season, pouting that it was too cold, and not sure what I wanted to do. Somehow I got inspired to race triathlons again with the help of old and new teammates, cracked 2:30 in a couple local Olympic triathlons, and figured I could double that and have a crack at breaking 5 at the B2B half ironman. Because if I could break 10 hours in an ironman while training full-time, certainly I could break 5 on much less training, right?

Carmen and I had signed up together, so the four of us (+Kevin +Hiza) drove down to Wilmington on Thursday after work. Of course we had to eat North Carolina BBQ...

And would we be swimming in the creek that Joey Potter rowed across to get to Dawson's house??

Our pre-race dinner was at Dockside restaurant, which was where they filled the outdoor shots for "The Icehouse"--where Joey worked with her sister at.

I know, I was such a Dawson's Creek nerd while we were there! I would ask the souvenir shops if they had any Dawson's Creek memorabilia (they had One Tree Hill shirts and Sleepy Hollow), but alas, nothing.

At the expo, I met in person another reminder of my teenage triathlete self--Michellie Jones was the honorary host of the race! I was 18 during my first summer of triathlon racing in Southern California, doing a few sprint distance triathlons (Carlsbad, Newport Beach), and Michellie Jones was the super fast Australian pro triathlete who was living in San Diego and winning them all. She would go on to win the silver medal at the 2000 Olympics later that summer (the first year they had triathlon in the Olympics) and then win the Kona World Championships 6 years later.

But before that, she was my teenage triathlon idol!

I was so excited to meet her and have a few encouraging words from her. I mentioned my background with TeamTBB and Brett, and she laughed at how he tried to recruit her back in the 90's (when Dawson's Creek was on the air!). She told me it was great that I was getting back into triathlons and racing, as she herself is retired now and still does some coaching and age group racing.

Then I made sure to have some ice cream after dinner, watched some World Series, and went to bed early...


My digestion was awesome! I had some more ice cream for breakfast with my oatmeal and have discovered that it helps "move things along!" The boys dropped us off at T1, and then we took shuttle buses to the actual swim start.

My plan for the swim was to follow some "insider tips" from a local triathlete we had met the day before. Everybody knows this is a "downhill swim", where you are going with a nice current. But our insider also mentioned to aim for a red post in the water (he pointed it out from the swim exit dock), stay in the middle of the channel as much as possible (not too close to the docks as you might get stuck in some cross-currents), and then aim for the big white building attached to the yacht club.

I felt great in my Project X (2XU) wetsuit and the swim currents were definitely favorable! By the time our half ironman wave lined up (the 5th or so wave at 8:50am), the full distance athletes had all swam past already, and we could see the stand up paddleboarders cruising along with the current at no effort. I believe the first ironman swimmer did it in 39 minutes! Surely I could hit my 30-minute goal today!

I lined up at the front in the water, and we all had to turn around and keep swimming back to the start as the current would carry us away from it. Nice! When the whistle blew, we actually had to turn around and GO... I felt strong and tried to be aggressive (for me anyway). Although I never know quite when to stay on someone's feet or to forge my own path in clean water. I actually prefer to go on my own, as I don't really trust other people's speed or navigational skills. Gotta work on that...

...because I would follow my "insider information" and went way off course. Oops. I aimed for the first big yellow buoy, being sure to stay in the middle of the channel, where it was fastest, hit the orange turn buoy, and then spied the red post in the water. YES! While everybody else kept following the yellow buoys, I aimed straight for the red post. Suckers! Swimming alone, I reached the red post, only to find that there was a second red post...which was more than likely the one our insider was pointing out from the dock of the yacht club.'s okay, get to the next red post... So I got to the next red post and aimed directly for the big white building. But I couldn't see the swim finish. Because I had completely overshot it. As I popped my head up in frustration, a SUP volunteer yelled at me to "GO RIGHT, GO RIGHT!" I was by myself and waaaaay of course. Somehow I managed to swim to the far end of the big white building!

I cursed myself and tried not to let any negative thoughts get to me (although there were some "there goes your sub-5, way to F*** up your race already!"), instead reminding myself that the swim was only a short part of a 5-hour day. Damage control, damage control! I aimed to join up with the rest of the swimmers, and as we approached the swim exit, I found that it took FOREVER. It seemed like there was a cross-current those final 300 meters in the swim. So evil, like a huge uphill at the end of a running race!

When I finally dragged myself up and out of the water, the wetsuit strippers did their thing and I glanced at my watch. 9:18am. WHAT?! Running to transition, I kept trying to do the math in my head (18+10...18+10) and couldn't believe I was only in the water for less than 30 minutes even though I went off course. Maybe the fastest kids did it in 15 minutes?! But who cares, I was still on pace for my goal time splits! I had given myself a 30-35 minute range for the swim, and my official swim split ended up being 30:xx as they count the 400-yard run from the dock to the transition area.

I got onto my faithful steed, White Tiger, and away we went! The first 5 or so miles were on a busy road leading up to the freeway, and it was about 9:30am on a Saturday morning, so there were a good number of cars out. The right lane was supposed to be reserved for us bikers, but two cars cut into the lane right in front of me in a congested section. The first one made a right turn immediately, and the second one...didn't. I think he was just impatient?? I couldn't tell if he was going to make a right turn or not, so I stalled a bit as I tend to err on the safe side since getting hit by a car while biking during a race (Ironman Korea 2011). At this point two women blew by me, going to the left of the car and into the car lanes. GRRRG. Ok, to the left it is! They'll burn out and I can catch them later...

We got onto the interstate, which was kind of a surprise to me. I mean, I've had the course maps printed on my dresser for the last 3 months, and it didn't connect in my mind that what looked like "country roads" on the map was actually a freeway. I was really impressed, as the police actually blocked off an entire on-ramp...and the whole let us cyclists get into the LEFT HAND LANE of the freeway! Holy crap! There were cones blocking off the left lane. It was kind of frightening...and exciting at the same time! This section, and most of the race, I was clocking 20-23mph and feeling pretty smooth and quick.

Nutrition-wise, I had two boxes of Hello Panda cookies with a full tank of Gatorade in the Speedfil. I ended up running out of Gatorade about 2:20 in...of course right after passing the second (of two) aid stations on the bike. I modeled my nutrition on what I used to do for Ironmans, as all I take during Olympic tris is Gatorade only. You can kind of get by in Olympics without overthinking the nutrition, but I would soon find out that halfs need a bit more planning...(foreshadowing!)

I was hoping to get under 2:40 on the bike--I told Kevin 2:30 to 2:40, although 2:30 would've been a huge stretch. The last mile I really slowed down, not because I was tired, but because we were back in town, and the course wasn't as obviously marked heading back into T2 (there weren't too many bikers around me). I did end up clocking a 2:40. T2 was in the convention center, indoors, and I ran my bag into the empty women's changing tent, and took the time to put on my trusty old compression socks. Then I ran by the men's tent (almost went right through it, instead of around it) and back outside.

Onto the run, and my quads were on the verge of cramping right away! Ouch and yikes! Later Michellie Jones would chastise me on not taking any salt during the bike, and I think running out of fluid the last 20mins didn't help. I also hadn't trained enough to run off a very hard bike ride. So I blame some preparation, and some execution. The run was really frustrating, as I felt strong cardiovascularly but limited by my ability to move the legs. Going too hard would push me over the edge of cramping, so I just tried to focus on turning the legs over as smoothly as possible without getting the quad cramps. I was bummed that this meant 8-minute miles and could feel my sub-5 slipping away. I tried to grab some salt pills at some of the aid stations to see if they would help (not really--too little, too late!).

Unlike in my Ironmans, I didn't run with a Camelbak. I had actually planned to, until I realized that with a split transition, it was mandatory to drop off your T2 gear the day before the race. I didn't want my awesome Frappuccino electrolyte drink to get warm sitting unrefrigerated for a whole day, so I decided to go without. Plan B was to take some GU's during the run and drink at aid stations. Mind you, it's been 7 or 8 years since I've "eaten" energy gels, but why not. I didn't have any problem stomaching the gels, but in the end, I realized that I would prefer to run with a Camelbak again, since it ended up being fairly warm, and stopping quickly at aid stations is not my forte.

Still, I kept chugging along on the run. I was surprised and disappointed that there were so many women already on the run course. As much as I say I'm slow and retired now, I always secretly want to win! (I just need to back up that desire with more preparation...) Approaching the turnaround, I was somewhat relieved that half of the women in front of me were on relay teams. I decided to hit a porta potty at mile 8, and when I got out was really fired up, since there was some lady in her mid-forties totally kicking my ass right in front of me! (More assurance that my best years have yet to come!) That got me moving a little quicker for a few miles, still not quite sub-8 speed though, and then she ended up getting further ahead as I was doing my slowpoke thing at aid stations.

There was a rather short and steep downhill back towards the downtown Wilmington area (I remembered going up it on the way out). Being on the edge of quad cramps means that downhills are treacherous! So I carefully went down that hill, and soon heard the music from the finish line festival. I was really happy to hear that, and ended up breaking into a sprint! I was close enough that if my legs locked up, I knew I could still finish!

And there it was! And Kevin in his red Team RWB hoodie there to catch me at the finish! I ended up missing my sub-1:40 run split by 4 minutes, and only missed breaking 5 hours by 88 seconds...argh. 5:01:28. Overall, it was a fast course with a solid women's field that weekend. I missed my AG podium by one spot, taking 4th in women's 30-34 and 14th overall.

A pre-race photo but he was still wearing his hoodie at the finish :)
Despite not breaking 5 hours, I'm pretty darn pleased with how I did for my first half ironman in over 5 years. I did some digging into my results archives for half ironmans, and here's some stats: it was still my 3rd fastest time ever out of the 17 I've done since 2002, my fastest as a "self-coached" athlete (by at least 30 minutes), and only 10 minutes off my fastest ever (the 4:51 I did at Florida 70.3 to take 2nd amateur and qualify for my pro card 5 years ago--that's the last one I ever did).

My preparation was never amazing. Since May, I had a few weeks where I got about 12 hours of training in (the biggest weeks), and then I had a few weeks of maybe 2 hours (vacation and being sick). It was rare for me to get over 10 hours, which I would've liked. I do remember feeling like I was in amazing shape at General Smallwood in the middle of August, and then felt like I've just been tapering since Labor Day. I raced a few road races since Labor Day, and racing sometimes helps boost your fitness, but I actually felt my fitness slowly decline. Racing isn't quite a good substitute for solid training. But I will say, I have been training semi-consistently since May 1st, which is nearly 6 months or half a year of semi-decent training, which is more than I've done in the last 3 years. So, not amazing, but not too terrible!

As for the other component to going fast, race-day execution, I could've done better too. That would include better navigating in the swim, quicker transitions, and a better nutrition/hydration plan (salt!). I think my pacing and effort were pretty good. Mentally, I could've pushed a bit harder on the run, and not given up so easily on my sub-5. But I think even though my goal has been sub-5 all along, I didn't ever quite believe I could get that close to it until it actually happened.

And all the finishers got pajama pants!!
And now that I've only missed it by under 90 seconds, and my PR by 10 minutes (!!!), I am actually pretty motivated to crush my PR next year! So after beating myself up over the last several years feeling like I'll never be as fast as I used to be, I actually have hope again. HOPE. Somehow I had it in my head that I could only get super fast if I didn't work a full-time job, because that's how it happened before. (But that also got old, and really didn't pay the bills.) I didn't see the point of racing triathlons if I couldn't be super fast any more, but now I have hope that I could train just a little more, without it taking over my entire life, and still get a bit faster.

I do have my dear fiancĂ© to thank for always supporting me in my recent return to triathlon craziness, and always believing I could still go faster. He's always thought it was dumb that I refused to get back into a sport I obviously loved, and also saw no reason I couldn't get faster again. So THANK YOU KEVIN! Also special thanks to Carmen, for being my partner in crime, signing up together for all these races, and congrats on your second half Ironman and PR! :)

Thank you also of course to my Team RWB friends who have motivated, inspired, and encouraged me, and my mentor Beck Preston for the same!

More photos from after the race:

Indulging in a "Mug of Bacon" at Front Street Brewery...

Cheering on the SF Giants during the World Series in my new pajama pants...GO GIANTS! WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS!!!

And checking out the "battleship" part of "Beach2Battleship"!

Until next time, it's the OFF SEASON now!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wineglass Half Marathon Girls' Weekend race report!

It's Thursday night and we are waiting for traffic to die down a bit before we drive to NORTH CAROLINA FOR BEACH2BATTLESHIP! So I'm going to try to eek out a race report quickly as race week has consisted more of drinking pumpkin beer, watching the World Series (GO GIANTS!) and only swimming for one hour (but really hard!) and testing out the racing bike set-up for 30mins. When I taper, I taper hard!

So on February 28th of this year, my soon-to-be neighbors Caitlin and Carmen talked me into signing up for the Wineglass Marathon. We would make it a girls' weekend! Wine tasting and running 26.2 miles! Yes!

By August 30th, 6 months later, all 3 of us had switched to the half marathon and were VERY happy to do so. Carmen and I had signed up for the B2B half ironman since then (3 weeks post-Wineglass) and well, none of us were really training enough to run a full marathon...

So we drove up Friday afternoon (the race was Sunday), went to the expo, and then saw Sarah Reinertsen's motivational talk and book signing!

I've known Sarah for many years through the triathlon and prosthetics circuits (we met at Wildflower in 2004, holy crap 10 years ago!, right after I got accepted into prosthetics school). But I hadn't ever heard one of her speeches, and I finally got her autograph on a copy of her book! Highly recommended.

We then drove in the dark to a cabin in the woods...I was expecting a creepy cabin in the woods...Caitlin's former coworker generously let us stay there. Thanks Stu!

But of course, it was very modern and gorgeous! And not creepy at all in the daytime.

Saturday, we went up to Ithaca--checking out the farmer's market, driving around Cornell (and even on campus where cars weren't supposed to go, oops), and it was full of GORGE-ous gorges. And of course, we went wine tasting! To 5 wineries or so. :)


Sunday morning, it was super cold. Yuck. Like "32, feels like 28" according to the weather app. I really wasn't feeling it--I'm a California girl (always!) and it has not been that cold at all. I bundled up, wore gloves I bought at the expo, and never felt warm.

Also, my morning poo was still on West Coast time (we had just flown back to DC Tuesday night), and we had eaten A LOT the night before! So I was uncomfortably "plugged up" (TMI! too bad!). Despite being cold and constipated, I hadn't trained much in the 3 weeks after the last half marathon, and if you remember during that race, I felt amazing for 10 miles and felt my lack of training during the painful last 5k. So we were stacking up lack of training on top of lack of training.

I was optimistic for a PR, albeit unrealistic, so obviously I lined up with the 1:35 pace group and we took off. My pacer guy took us through mile 1 at 7:27 (too slow!) and then mile 2 at 7:05 (ouch! too fast!).

I was already struggling at this point and decided to drop back. I slowed down to the 7:50's (ew) and felt terribly disgruntled, then gave myself a good pep talk somewhere along the way and tell myself to still have a solid training run for Beach2Battleship. At least don't let the 1:40 pace group catch you!

I ended up running more in the 7:30's. Around mile 7 or 8, an RWB guy from Syracuse caught up to me and we ran for a little while together. Mike (or was it Mark?) wasn't having the best day either, and I think his PR was 1:32 or 1:33. I heard the 1:40 pace group leader right behind us...aughhh...and so I ended up picking up the last 5k.

Even though I ended up running a 1:39, I think my last 5k was actually faster than during my 1:36 half marathon, so that's something!

Carmen and Caitlin ended up running together and Caitlin even PR'd! Awesome! All in all, a great girls' weekend with wine and running and awesome company; it doesn't get much better than that!