Thursday, May 30, 2013

First Tri of 2013

On Saturday I will be completing my second triathlon -- the 1st in 2013! I did his same tri last year as my first ever. I loved it! Somehow my whole summer filled up before I could get in any others last year though -- Bummer!! This summer I am hoping to at least get in two. Maybe the next one will be an olympic distance. :) baby steps.

{Heading out for my run of last year's tri}

This weekend's race is a sprint distance including a 0.5 mi swim, 16 mi bike, and 3 mi run. Last year this race took me 1:42:16 to finish. Since that time, I think I have improved on both the bike and the run (I'm running faster and also did great on my Tour de Cure ride). Swimming on the other hand has taken a back seat lately -- though I did get in the pool today for a short "shakeout" swim. I'm still thinking I can do better than last year.

The temperature on Saturday is supposed to get up to 100 degrees! Wish me luck that I don't melt into a puddle before I finish the race.

Have you ever done a triathlon before? Did you like it? Loved completing this triathlon last year, and I'm so excited (but also nervous!) for this weekend!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Birthday, Beer, and Baseball

I was hoping to get this post up last week but it just didn't happen. This weekend Ryan and I went camping with friends. I wish I had taken a photo of the monstrous ice cream we ate on Saturday but I wasn't carrying a camera with me! After we got back yesterday, we went out to dinner with a friend. Today we had an awesome BBQ with all the friends who rode in the Tour de Cure with us. So much great food! I made this corn and tomato salad -- it was delicious.

Anyway, I still wanted to share more about our Cleveland trip, so here is more about our weekend away...

Besides the race, we also were able to visit family while in Cleveland. It was a big weekend of celebrations with my niece's first birthday on Saturday, and my brother-in-law's MBA graduation on Sunday. Here are some of the things we did.

Friday, after we arrived, we checked into our hotel and spent some time with family. We went for a nice long walk because it was gorgeous out. Some of us stopped in to a local brewery (The BottleHouse) for a quick tasting. It was a cool place -- pinball machines, and seemed like lots of bands play at night on the weekends. We were the only ones there though at the time...I guess that's what you get for a Friday at 3pm! At night we went out to Chocolate Bar for dinner. The food was good, but it was pretty loud. We had to try a chocolate martini!

Saturday was my niece's 1st birthday. We had lunch and cake and she opened presents. Fun! 

Then we went to the expo for packet pickup. We wandered around for a bit and checked out the merchandise. I noticed the Army booth was having a push-up and pull-ups competition. I decided I wanted to do one of them! When I went up to the booth, I told the guy I wasn't sure which I wanted to do. He asked if I had done a pull-up before, and when I said yes, he told me that was the one I should try. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know I ended up doing 12 pull-ups! I think they were all impressed. Haha. 

After the expo, we decided to check out another local brewery (Cornerstone Brewing). This one was in a little neighborhood near the expo center. They had a big flight of 9 beers, so Ryan and I shared the sampler. Another good stop. 

The rest of the night was just relaxing -- we grilled up dinner and got to bed early in preparation for our Sunday morning race.

If you read my recap, you can find out all about how the half marathon went. Afterward, we grabbed brunch in Cleveland Heights at the Inn on Coventry. It was delicious! After doing a lot of walking, we used the afternoon to relax and went to the movies. We saw the new StarTrek -- I'd recommend it. At night we got Dewey's pizza for dinner. They have so many options! The Bronx Bomber was my favorite.

On Monday the big highlight was going to the Cleveland Indians baseball game. It was really hot out! But a great day for a ball game! We ended up leaving right before the exciting finish with a Tribe win, but we still had a lot of fun. 

It was a really great trip visiting family and running a race. Definitely a good RUN-cation.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cleveland Half Marathon: Race Recap

Ryan and I flew out to Cleveland on a red-eye Thursday night, arriving Friday morning. It was great to be able to spend some time with family in addition to running the Cleveland half marathon. I'm actually writing this up on our flight back to California -- I haven't posted sooner since we were busy! I'll focus this post on the race, but I'll probably write another on the other fun things we did in Cleveland later this week.

Race morning was pretty typical. Cleveland Marathon has a 7am start. We had about a 30 minute drive and wanted to make sure to be early, so Ryan and I got up around 4:45am -- so early!

We didn't run into any big issues getting to the race start, except that the parking garage we had mapped to seemed non-existent, but there were plenty of lots nearby that were available. We hit up some porta-potties in a little park before reaching the race start area because we didn't actually know what it was going to be like. This actually turned out to be a good thing for Ryan since the men's room lines were even more crazy than the women's room lines! It was cool to be able to walk around the Cleveland Browns stadium before the race. 

The start line was just outside the stadium, and there were big flags noting the pace corrals. I lined up near the 8:30/mile signs. It wasn't too overly crowded, which was nice. Before the on-time start, they had someone sing the national anthem, and a moment of silence for Boston. One of the Cleveland Cavaliers wished us good luck and they also played some music to pump us up including "Cleveland Rocks"! It took me a couple minutes to actually get across the starting line.

The start of the race is actually uphill, but I didn't mind because that helped me make sure to start out slow. I really tried not to worry much about pace for the first mile, just keep it easy. I hadn't studied the course too much, so I wasn't totally sure how hilly it would actually be. Turns out -- not too bad, but a few overpasses, and a few gradual longer inclines (luckily all followed by declines). Mile 2 was downhill, and I still tried to make sure it felt easy. My watch showed me going at a pretty fast pace, but I tried not to let it make me nervous and focus on feel. 

Miles 1-3: 8:45, 8:09, 8:16

Somewhere at the end of mile 2, I found a guy who was going a great pace for me -- about 8:20/mi. I tried to just follow along behind him. This was really great because I was getting bored already!! This whole stretch of road so far didn't have much to look at and was actually like running on a highway. Unfortunately, I lost him at an aid station around mile 4.5. But thankfully the crowd picked up for a little while.

At this point, my pace had settled down and I was just trying to maintain speed and keep things reasonably comfortable until mile 10. I crossed the 10k split mat at 52:19. I felt pretty hot during most of the race, and made sure to drink water and/or gatorade at every aid station. I also dumped a cup of water on my head each time to cool me down. 

Miles 4-10: 8:21, 8:16, 8:24, 8:14, 8:15, 8:20, 8:20

At mile 10, I looked at my watch and realized I had about 27 minutes left to run the last 5k and make my goal time of sub 1:50. I was starting to feel tired but knew I could turn it up a little. I was trying to do the math in my head on the seconds I needed to drop. I decided to aim for as close to 8 minute miles as I could so I didn't miss my goal. Miles 11 and 12 turned out to have a couple big overpasses, but I powered up them as hard as I could!

The last half mile was (oh so thankfully!!) downhill. I just let my legs ride and pushed it to the finish....trying to focus on breathing and not my exhausted legs!

Miles 11-13.1: 8:17, 7:56, 7:41, 1:41 (for last 0.24 miles)

My official finish time was 1:48:50! I was excited! I made my goal by over a minute!!! A 2-minute PR over the Oakland Half marathon.

Afterward it took a while to find everyone -- the finisher's area was super crowded with both 10k runners and half marathoners coming in. The first marathoner wasn't far away either so there were a TON of spectators. Once we all met up, we enjoyed a celebratory post-race beer.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good race. The bag check area was super organized, but I think there could have been a better family meeting space. The course I thought was a little unexciting, with a big stretch on the highway, and many of the roads with potholes. My favorite miles were 4-6 when there was good crowd support and it was through some of the neighborhoods. 

I did an OK job of running the tangents, which was my other goal for this race. According to my Garmin, I ran 13.24miles. Most of the race was fairly crowded, so I think some of this also had to do with weaving around people.

My legs have been sore since Sunday, so I know I worked hard! Yesterday and today I have been relaxing with family and flying back to California, so they are getting some good rest. I'll probably be keeping the remainder of the week pretty easy.
Whew -- this turned out to be a pretty long recap! Still can't quite believe I actually have a half marathon time sub-1:50. Yay!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Marathon #2

It's official! I registered for marathon #2!!

On November 10, 2013, I will be running the Outer Banks Marathon in North Carolina!

I have never been to the Outer Banks before, so I'm pretty excited to check it out.  The course looks beautiful -- many of the miles are along the ocean. Most of the course is flat except for two bridges. It is a smaller race with about 1200 participants in the marathon last year, and 2600 in the half marathon.

I am looking forward to marathon training again! This year I have been incorporating speed work into my half marathon training throughout this spring. I am planning to continue this as I move into training for the full marathon.

Why OBX Marathon? Well, Ryan's aunt & uncle have a beach house there so we have a place to stay. Plus, we thought it would be fun to do a run in a new location and new state. Sweet! A few friends who ran the Las Vegas Marathon with us plan to rub OBX too. 

Have you run the in the Outer Banks before?
How long did you wait between your first and second marathon?
For me, it will be 11 months. I focused this spring on the half marathon distance instead.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cleveland Rocks!

This week I'm traveling for my next half marathon.

We're heading to Cleveland! 

Ryan and I have decided we really enjoy traveling to races and making them a little vacation. This trip is going to be awesome because we will be able to spend some time with Ryan's family. It's a big weekend for the family -- our niece's first birthday, and brother-in-law's MBA graduation! Plus, since we didn't start running until we moved to California, we actually have never had family cheer us on at a race -- so this will be a first!

The past few weeks of running have been a bit low-key, since we were focused a bit more on training for the Tour de Cure. I still tried to get in at least two good run workouts per week though, and hopefully one at tempo pace or including some intervals.

My current goal in the half marathon distance is to go sub-1:50. I know I can do it, since last race I ran a 1:50:52, and ran a lot of extra distance due to the many turns at the beginning of the race. However, I'm not certain if the Cleveland Half will be the one or not. Like I said -- I've been a little less on top of the runs since the Capital City Classic... we are also traveling pretty far and taking a red-eye flight. I think I'll see how I feel on race day morning.

In light of my time goal, I also plan to focus running the tangents. I am not always good about doing this, so I think I need some more practice. So, whatever my pace ends up being that day, I think this will be a good thing to work on.

I know no matter what it will be fun to run in a new place. The other awesome thing is we get to finish right in front of the Cleveland Browns Stadium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! So cool.

Do you like runcations? Where is the next place you will be traveling to for a race?
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