Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rock 'n Roll USA 1/2 Marathon Race Report

It's great to have a race under the belt for the 2014 season!  Just 6 weeks prior to RnR 1/2 I started working with a coach and using a completely new training method.  I had my doubts but stuck with it and slowly saw improvements coming along but still wasn't sure I would be able to have a good 1/2 race with only 6 weeks of this training plan in the bag.

Race morning came along and I took down some Osmo Preload with my breakfast before heading down to
the race start.  Once at the race start I started shedding layers and getting ready to check my bag.  I help onto my throw away jacket and gloves and got started with a light warm up.  This is the first time I've ever warmed up for a race longer than a 5k or 10k.  I felt good and confident as I got myself situated in the proper corral just a few minutes before the elite wave took off.

I tried to keep warm and shake out any butterflies that were hanging around.  The 1/2 marathon is a distance I haven't had much success in over the past few years.  I've improved, but nothing like the improvements I've seen in my 5k, 10k, or 10 mile                                                                                         times over the past few years.

After just 3 minutes or so I was toeing the start line and ready to get this race underway.  The first 3 miles breezed by as did miles 4, 5, and 6.  All of these miles are basically flat.  Once you hit mile 6 the first climb starts and from that point on you are mostly running up or down hill with some flat sections mixed in.  My
energy levels felt good, I was using HR to guide my pacing and I felt strong on the hills.  For the first time during a 1/2 I felt good for miles 11, 12, and 13.  In past races I've been holding on for dear life during those last couple of miles.

I finished strong with a time of 1:46:12 for 13.25 (????) miles - I should get better at running the tangents I guess!  This was a 4 minute PR for me and most importantly an evenly paced and strong run.  I know there are still minutes upon minutes I'll be able to take off this time, for now it's a great start to the 2014 season.

Thank you Osmo for the pre race hyradration and thank you DC Tri/Snapple for the on course support and cheers!  Congrats to all who raced!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

HR Zones and Javalinas

I've previously mentioned in the blog about my decision to go with a coach for my 2014 season.  I have not been 'coached' since October 2009 - my last college soccer game.  I'd initially enjoyed triathlon because I could train how, when, and where I wanted/was convenient.  It was great for juggling an active lifestyle and full time graduate school.  So fast forward 4+ years - past success and let downs, trial and error through training and racing....

I've been working with my coach now for a bit over 5 weeks.  It was a struggle at first - my HR zones/lactate threshold had not yet been tested and I had come off of running how I wanted to run.  This meant that I usually went out hard and finished harder.  I was frustrated, I felt like I was training to run slower, and I was contemplating throwing in the towel -- after only 2 weeks.  I spoke with a few friends who work with or have worked with coaches before and realized I needed to give the process a chance.  Then came testing week - a week for me to go all out and determine my own zones, finally!

Once testing week was over I packed up my bags and bike to head to Arizona for a week.  New zones, warm weather and a week of training at about 4500 feet.  Not to mention enjoying the Sedona Film Festival and the company of Adam and my mom.  I've been to Sedona a few times before, but never with my bike.  I definitely could spend a few more days out there with my bike.  The roads were open and smooth, the sun was bright, I felt good.  We did a few rides including an out and back toward Cottonwood, a ride out to and up to Jerome, and a quick local ride to try and snag some KOMs/QOMs.  My favorite ride was our ride to Jerome - the roads we took to get out there were amazing.  Lightly traveled, smooth clear pavement, rolling hills and open to the sun.  The climb up to Jerome was great - nothing super steep, good views of the valley below and of course the reward of Haunted Hamburger at the top!

The few runs I did in Sedona felt good.  I took pace off of my watch stayed in my HR zones and enjoyed the scenery and the javalinas.  Once we returned to DC I was much happier with my HR zones and training.  I've since had some great rides, great runs, and I am constantly improving my swim.  After all, in order to achieve something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done.  So here's to patience, buying into the process, and enjoying the season (races officially start Saturday!).