Friday, August 30, 2013

Hood to Coast with Nuun, Part II: Race Recap

Awesome. Incredible. Perfect. Fantastic. Beautiful. Unforgettable.

These are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about my Hood to Coast experience. I wouldn't change a thing about how it all went.

My teammates: Lauren, Leslie, Lisa, Jolene, and Dre were such great teammates.We were always there to cheer each other on, and to share stories. Thank you for motivating me and showing so much caring and heart, and providing countless hours of smiles and laughter. You all have such positive attitudes, which I LOVE. I feel like we all clicked right away. I am so glad that I have you all as new friends! xoxo.

And Jay -- we couldn't have done it without you! Thanks for putting up with all of us, driving 200 miles, keeping track of our times, cheering us on, and helping us get whatever we needed... like lots of chocolate milk!

The running: Each of time I ran was just so much fun. I nearly exactly hit my predicted paces! It was hard to wait to be the last runner to go in my van, but cheering for them kept me busy and helped quiet my pre-race nerves

Leg #6 -- 6.7 miles 52:44 (7:53/mi) starting at 5:10pm
For this run, I really just wanted to focus on having fun, not pushing it too hard, but finish strong. My awesome teammates cheered me up the one big hill I had (they are awesome!) with a power arch. Seriously, that dropped my pace a ton and really revved me up! I powered into the exchange and handed off to Kim.

{Dre gave me water but had to chase after me to get it back! Also, I officially LOVE power arches!}

At the end of this leg, my Mom was there to cheer me in to the exchange!! She had never seen me running a race before, so this was very exciting! I don't get to see her very often since we live across the country from each other. I was so happy to give her a big hug!

{Love you Mom! So exited you were there!}

Leg #18 -- 5.25 miles. 44:14 (8:30/mi) starting at 3:15am
I'm not much of a stay up all night kind of girl, so I wasn't sure what to expect with my energy level at this time of night. But I think I was just still so excited and having fun with my teammates, that the adrenaline was keeping me going. This run was 5.25 miles of gradual up hill. It was partially on a highway, and partially through a neighborhood. It was hard to decide if I should run in the road or on the sidewalk in the neighborhood. The sidewalk had lots of little juts up and down, but the road wasn't very good either, so I kept changing it up. This leg was pretty quiet -- I only saw and passed 4 people! There was a little bit of light mist happening during this leg, which I thought was kind of awesome. It was the perfect temperature for running!

Also, the start of this run was at a high school, where they had a pancake breakfast as a fundraiser. Jolene, Lauren and Leslie got a breakfast. I had to make myself stay outside because the smell of the breakfast at that moment was so incredibly tempting, but I knew there would be some bad things happening to my GI system if I ate any of that stuff right before running.  Luckily for me, I didn't have any issues during my middle of the night run!

Leg #30 --5.35 miles. 42:00 (7:52/mi) starting at 12:45pm
This was probably my favorite run of the relay as far as scenery -- I was running through winding back country roads surrounded by big beautiful trees. It was getting cooler as we neared the ocean, but the sun was shining. Gorgeous!

My legs were starting to feel the accumulating mileage, but I was so excited to say that I finished running my first relay and Hood to Coast! I wanted to really put out there everything I had left! I expected this run to be almost entirely downhill, with some of it being pretty steep. While this was true, it also had many short and steep uphill sections, gradual climbs, and sharp banked curves that made it a fairly difficult run. My team stopped one more time to give me a power arch as I was flying during one of the downhills. I was seriously just so happy! Thanks again for keeping me going ladies!

Finish line fun: After I finished running, we drove to Seaside to await van 2! When they arrived around 6pm, we all got to walk through the finish line together! We celebrated our accomplishments with drinks and ice cream along with enjoying the post-race concert and fireworks. Perfect ending to an amazing relay experience.

The support: None of this would have been possible without Nuun and its great employees. Everyone was so welcoming and positive, making us all feel at home and part of the family. Thanks for making everything run so smoothly, and for providing all of us with the experience of a lifetime. I am so glad to be a part of your team. I love how supportive you are of endurance athletes of every level.

Big thanks also to all the other companies who helped keep us moving including Oiselle, Naawk, Tigertail, Endorphin Warrior, Sparkle Athletic, Amphipod, and Swiftwick. Check them out -- some seriously awesome products!

The incredible women I met on this trip: (Too many to name, but you can find a list of everyone from Lindsay, here) Thank you for the motivation you provided, and the brief chance to get to know you for real rather than just what we see on your blog. Thank you for showing me how unbelievably supportive the running community is, and for giving me so many memories. For showing me that hard work and dedication can lead to something magical when combined with happiness and laughter. For reminding me how much fun it is to race your heart out and love what you are doing. I am so glad to have met many of you and I can't wait until we can have a reunion!

What has been one of your most favorite adventures?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hood to Coast with Nuun, Part I: The Fun Before the Race

To start describing this epic adventure of running Hood to Coast, I first want to tell you about all the fun we had in Seattle before the actual race.

I arrived on Wednesday morning with an easy direct flight from Sacramento. Meeting new people started right away, as Karen was on my flight too! After arriving in Seattle, we were whisked away straight to Nuun Headquarters to drop off our stuff, and left to explore the city on our own for a few hours.

A group of us (Meghan, Leslie, Catey, Mallory and I) headed to Pike's Market and the waterfront. I love checking out the beautiful flowers and grabbing some fresh fruit at the market. I actually ate an almost 1 lb yellow peach as part of my lunch.... it was amaaaazing!

{no, not enough time to go on the ferris wheel}

As we were wandering around, Meghan mentioned that a friend she used to work with was now working at Brooks/Moving Comfort, and that he had invited her to come for a visit. She called Daniel to come pick us up, and he gave all of us an awesome tour! It was cool to see where the magic happens there since I wear their products -- both shoes and sports bras.

{excited to be at Brooks! Mallory and I fit inside this shoe on wheels -- but I just have a pic of Mal only}

After our little tour, we headed back to Nuun HQ to meet up with all the other ladies who had arrived. Nuun took us out to The Garage to play pool and bowl, eat snacks, and give us some time to get to know each other. It was really cool to meet so many other bloggers in real life that I have started to get to know online.

Thursday was another great day! In the morning, we headed to Oiselle HQ for a run and some more hang out time. It was a gorgeous day for an easy run around Green Lake. Those ladies are so lucky to have a perfect run spot right outside their doorsteps.

{The whole group post-run!}

In the afternoon we went on a Duck Boat Tour, which was an absolute blast. I think I was laughing the entire time because our driver was hilarious -- Captain Chaos! Plus, how can you resist quacking at everyone when you are on a duck! We saw a lot of sights including many Starbucks, the Space Needle, Pike's Market, and Lake Union.

{Party on a duck!}

{Great view of downtown Seattle from Lake Union}

The evening was filled with dinner and van decorating at Nuun HQ. Plus there were even cupcakes in each team flavor! Thanks Megan!

By the end of the day I was exhausted and so ready to start running the relay! Stay tuned for Part II--all about the running!

Monday, August 26, 2013

OBX Marathon Training Week 8

OK, I know you were probably hoping to see a Hood to Coast recap already, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around everything I want to write about! But, in case you were wondering -- it was amazing. From getting to know so many wonderful women from all across the country, to running my first relay, I loved every second of it. I expect I should have a more complete recap up in the next couple days. For now though, here is just a taste of the adventure....

Monday: swim 1250 yds. Kept this swim easy for recovery from last week's long run

Tuesday: total body strength workout. Also kept this fairly light so I didn't stress my legs too much, but I knew I would have a few day to recover so I wasn't worried. But, I didn't want to do a hard intervals day like my typical Tuesdays.

Wednesday: rest.
I traveled to Seattle, and did lots of walking. Checked out the Public Market for lunch. In the evening, we all went to a bar/bowling alley called the Garage for some time to get to know each other, and have some food and drinks.

Thursday: 3 mi run, easy
We visiting Oiselle in the morning and went for a run around Greenlake. It was an absolutely gorgeous day! In the afternoon we went on a duck boat tour. Then there was dinner and van decorating at Nuun!

Friday: Run HTC!!!
We started at 1:15pm, so I had one run on Friday afternoon, one overnight, and one Saturday morning. Like you saw in my previous post, this run was 6.7 miles with some rolling hills and a long downhill.

Saturday: Run HTC!!
My second run was at about 3:15am -- 5.25 miles mostly uphill. And the third run was about 12:30pm for another 5.35 miles of rolling hills and some winding downhill. We had really great weather the whole time (a few sprinkles over night, but the temperatures were awesome). Post race festivities were also fun including pizza, a beach concert, and ice cream. And never wanting the weekend to end!

Sunday: Hang in Oregon.
My Mom made it out to Oregon to visit her friend, so they picked me up and we toured around the Oregon shore before heading back to Portland to relax. Somehow with dead legs I climbed up this huge tower (164 steps of a spiral staircase) in Astoria, OR (home of the Goonies) -- but at least I was greeted with an incredible view.

I'm now back in Sacramento -- looking through as many photos as I can. I had an amazing time and I look forward to sharing more about it with you this week!

What were you up to this weekend?

Also, reminder that there is still time to save 15% on your Nuun Hydration order using code hydrateHTC at checkout through the end of September!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From Hood to Coast

First thing Wednesday morning, I will be traveling North for Hood to Coast thanks to Nuun Hydration!

First, I will be flying to Seattle to prep with all my teammates and visit Nuun headquarters. I'm pretty excited to meet these incredible women I have been getting to know virtually over the past few months.

The actual hood to coast race is Friday to Saturday.I am in the lineup as runner number 6 on team lemonade. Here's a little more info on each of my three runs.

1. 6.75 miles. Classified as difficult. This run is estimated to start around 5:15pm

2. 5.23 miles. Classified as difficult. This will take place overnight, around 3:30am.

3. 5.35 miles. Classified as moderate. My last run will be at approximately 12:30pm.

I am both nervous and excited, just like before any race. I love that a relay comes with a team -- something I have missed a bit since running and triathlon are usually individual events.

I think I have everything I need packed in my bags, but I always feel like I'm forgetting something when I travel, so this is no different. I guess we will just have to see what happens! I'm guessing that no matter what, I will have an amazing time! I'll be sure to tell you all the details when I get back!!

If you are interested in following along on my Hood to Coast adventures, follow me:
On twitter: @KristenL_DYL (#nuunhtc #teamlemonade)
On Instagram: kmelli

Monday, August 19, 2013

OBX Marathon Training Week 7

This week was all about focusing back in on running! My calf has been feeling pretty good, as long as I continue to be diligent on stretching, and triathlons are over for this year for me. 

Monday: rest. After Sunday's Olympic distance triathlon, I needed a good rest day. 

Tuesday: Yasso 800's.6 800s in 3:54. Felt good during this. Thought about doing a few more but didn't want to push the calf too hard on my first speed day in a couple weeks. Afterward I spent lots of time stretching and did a few core moves until Ryan was finished with his workout. 

Wednesday: P90x legs + core.
I have been doing a mix of my own favorite arm moves plus the Lesko Dozen. Some were done after the speed session Tuesday, and some after my leg strength day.

Thursday: 4 mile progressive run
Legs felt pretty dead this day. Feeling some accumulated fatigue. Couldn't quite get my last mile faster than the third. But they ended up the same exact pace. 

In the evening, I enjoyed the wine I won from podium placement at the triathlon last weekend, while watching the Hood to Coast movie. Just made me even more excited for my first big relay race!

Friday: rest

Saturday: volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for a few hours. So, ended up doing lots of walking, and lifting. So much fun!

Sunday: 14 mile long run. 
Temps were supposed to reach 100, so we got up early and made it out on our favorite bike trail by 7am. It felt pretty nice out when we started. The initial plan was to run 62-63 minutes out, and 57-58 back for a nice negative split. I was so close to getting in 7 miles, that I pushed it to 65 minutes out. Made the return in 61 minutes. Generally, I felt pretty good. It felt good to have a long run! Hadn't had a good one in nearly a month! It is time to start ramping up the long run mileage a little more. My left knee and calves were tired by the time I finished, so I spent some time with my legs up in compression socks in the afternoon. Oh yeah, and lots of time eating. 

I don't know about you, but I'm always hungry for the rest of the day after a long run! How do you refuel after a long run?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Folsom International Trithlon: Race Report

On Sunday, I completed my first olympic distance triathlon! If you've read some of my other posts, you'll know that I was most nervous about the swim. But thanks to my wetsuit and some extra swim practice the last few weeks, I made it around the course without any panic! This was also my last triathlon of the season, but I'm already looking forward to doing more next year. They are so much fun, and I know I definitely have room for improvement, and can do better triathlon-specific training.

We arrived at the park for the race extra early since transition opened at 5:30am, and we needed to pick up our packets. There were three different distance races occurring at the same time, and I wanted to make sure we had time to set up with a good spot in transition. Even though we had over 2 hours pre-race, the time went by SO fast! I was glad we got there early.

Swim: Goal -- 36 minutes. Actual 32:39
We had a deep water swim start at 7:40am. As I planned, I started closer to the back of the pack -- not too far back, but not on the front line. I gave myself a little room so I wouldn't have to deal with getting kicked or swam into right away. This was the first race where I wore my wetsuit. The water was about 65 deegrees, and it felt perfect with the wetsuit on. I think the wetsuit helped me a ton! It makes it so much easier to keep your hips up and glide through the water. I was able to keep my breath steady, and stay calm throughout the swim, which I am so proud of myself for!

T1: Actual 2:33
I have never been able to time my transitions before, since the sprint triathlon I have done doesn't time all the splits. Because of that I really had no idea what my transition times would be! During T1 I struggled a little bit to get my wetsuit off my ankles -- it got stuck on the ankle timing chip. Something to practice, I guess.

Bike: Goal -- 1:24. Actual: 1:23:05 (18.3 mph)
I was hoping to finish with a pace of at least 18 miles/hr. I ended up just barely over, so I was glad about that. According to my garmin (actually remembered it this time!), my mileage was a little long (about 26.25 mile). I started a little slow, and also had to slow some at the end due to lots of quick turns with not much space. Most of the time I just focused on keeping my legs moving and getting in some calories and water throughout.

There was one confusing turn where the sprint and international distance triathletes were supposed to turn right, and half iron (long course) distance triathletes were supposed to turn left. The signage only really showed sprint and long, so several international distance racers weren't really sure which way to go. The volunteers also were a little confused. I know this made it difficult for several racers. Ryan actually ended up going the wrong way for over five miles, before turning around to the right course. I chose the right direction, but was very uncertain for a while if I made the right choice. I am so glad I did!

T2: Actual 1:26
I felt pretty quick in this transition. I had to run to the opposite end of the transition area to the run out. I think quick laces would help me be a little faster, so maybe for next season

Run: Goal -- 55 minutes. Actual: 52:38 (8:26/mi pace)
In general, I thought the run went pretty well. Since I haven't been very good about practicing brick workouts this summer, I wasn't sure what my pace would be to run a 10k off the bike. I decided to settle into a comfortable pace for the first half, and push it with whatever I had left on the way back. The run course had some rolling hills, but none that were too crazy. At about mile 4, my stomach started to feel funny and I was burping a bit, so I stopped drinking water and just put whatever I had left out there until the end.

Overall: Goal -- Finish under 3 hours. Final time: 2:52:21

There ended up being only 3 women in my age group who finished the race. I think one (who was super speedy!) likely went the wrong way at that confusing corner on the bike, and probably rode 56 miles! Because of that, I finished 1st in my age group!!

Check out the sweet swag!

My first olympic triathlon was a huge success! I am getting more and more comfortable in the water, and I finished under my time goal! I am excited to do a more focused triathlon training plan to improve my bike speed, transitions, and maybe my run after the bike.

I am really loving triathlon right now, and can't wait to complete more next year!

Monday, August 12, 2013

OBX Marathon Training Week 6

This week focused again on recovery and preparation for my first olympic distance triathlon. So, while I didn't actually get in too much running, I think I am feeling ready for the next steps to marathon training and starting to ramp the mileage back up. My focus for the remainder of this cycle will be to get in lots of stretching and good recovery time after my runs to make sure my calves stay strong and uninjured.

Monday: swim 1500 yds

Tuesday: AM 4 mile run easy, PM 20 min bike + strength
Double workout day.  Really focused on not stressing the calves too much this week. It was like being in taper mode.

Wednesday: swim with wetsuit ~750 yds
I wanted to get one more shot at getting comfortable in the wetsuit before my Sunday race. Didn't swim very long, and kept it pretty easy, but good to move a little.

Thursday: yoga
Felt so good to floooow! I've been missing yoga and hope to try to fit this in a little more. Maybe it will help keep my calves looser.

Friday: rest
Lots of legs up the wall.

{Slumber joined me}

Saturday: rest
I was actually on my feet for most of the day volunteering for the Perry Initiative. It is an awesome organization focused on inspiring young women to be leaders in engineering and orthopedic surgery. They get to do some fun hands-on activities. I'm really looking forward to working with them more! As soon as I got home though... relax, dinner, and got into bed early.

Sunday: Folsom International Triathlon
My first olympic distance tri! It went pretty well -- I survived the swim that I was so nervous for, and finished strong. A further recap will be posted in the next day or two!

{Beautiful sunrise for race day morning. It was a perfect day!}

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Quieting the Pre-Race Nerves

This Sunday I will be completing my first Olympic distance triathlon. That is a 0.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. And I have to admit, I am pretty nervous!

I know I can finish each distance on their own, and I'm actually pretty comfortable with the bike and run together, but I think what is getting me the most anxious in the swim.

Before last week's triathlon, I was actually excited -- I had done the same race twice before and knew what to expect. I know the temperature of the water, the many speed bumps to deal with at the beginning and end of the bike, and the rolling hills on the run. I also went into the race with a pretty low pressure approach of just finishing, and not worrying about time, especially because of my calf pains earlier in the week.

This week, however, I have had butterflies in my stomach thinking about the longer race. I guess it is kind of like doing your first road running race at a new distance too. You are confident in your abilities, but the newness of it makes you a little more uncertain.

With all this in mind, I have been doing my best to quiet these pre-race nerves. For example, I swam twice this week including once while wearing my wetsuit. I've only worn it one other time before, so trying it out again made me feel a little more comfortable and not so constricted.

My calf has a few knots in it still, but no pain. I am taking it easy again this week with hopes of picking up the miles a little more next week. I've been stretching and rolling every day, and plan to get in some yoga either today or tomorrow.

Otherwise, I am focusing on having a positive mindset and confidence in myself that I know I can complete the swim. I am picturing myself being comfortable in the water and finishing the swim strong, then crushing the bike and the run, and having lots of fun! The mental preparation always helps me a lot the week of a race. Dreaming of happiness at the finish line, like this:

Do you get nervous before races? How do you calm those pre-race nerves?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon: Race Recap

Saturday morning I completed the Tri for Fun sprint triathlon. Yep, this is the same one I did back in early June! TBF Racing hosts 3 of the same tri over the course of the summer. The great thing about it is that you know how you are improving because it is the same route. One thing I do wish this race had is timing for each sport rather than just overall time. It would be nice to have official times for swim, bike, run and transitions.

Because of my calf strain earlier in the week, my plan for this race was to simply go out and have fun. I have been working on my swimming -- trying to feel more comfortable in the water. I told myself that if I got to the run, and my calf hurt I was ok with walking to the finish. Being uninjured is more important than running in this one race.

Swim: 0.5 miles ~17 mins (I think...I always forget to look at the clock!)

I am always a little intimidated by the swim start. I am usually a middle of the pack swimmer. The water was really warm, so I did not wear my wet suit. I started out right with the group, but got a little nervous about running into people, so I think I slowed down a bit. My first buoy turn was a little wide, so I think I ended up swimming a little extra. In general, I felt pretty good throughout the swim, and seemed to keep my heart rate under control. I am slowly feeling more confident in the water.

Bike: 16 miles

In my August race, I used my garmin during the bike and run in the multi sport mode. This was really nice, and I was planning to do that again. During T1, however, I forgot to put on the watch. I didn't realize until I was about a half mile into the bike. Oops! Guess I was going to be biking by feel. I told myself to let my heart rate settle, but get into a comfortably hard pace. Hold it there until the turn around, then hammer it back to transition.

On the bike I passed a few women right away. I wanted to start picking people off. When I approached the turn around, I counted the number of women ahead of me. There were 12. By the time I finished the bike, there were 9. I knew that two were super speedy women from the swim wave after me, and at least one was only 14! The wind was a little against us on the way back. Throughout the bike I ate 3 Clif Bloks, and drank about half my water bottle. I felt good and strong throughout the bike.


Run: 3 miles

When I got back to transition for the bike, I decided not to run with my garmin either. I didn't want to push myself to injury for a certain pace. Going by feel again. My calf felt fairly was little tight at times, but no real pain, so I ran the whole way. I drank a cup or two of water during the run. One woman who I passed during the bike passed me on the run, but she was not in my age group. Otherwise I held my position.

I enjoyed not knowing my pace at the time to keep me from stressing over it. Now I wish I knew what I ran though! Haha.

These are some of the most intense race photos I think I have ever taken! The one on the left with the men chasing after me kind of cracks me up.

Finish: 1:34:53     (11th Overall woman and 3rd in my age group)

The girl next to me on the 2nd place podium stood up to collect awards for a couple of her friends or sisters. She was so excited to be up there.

Overall it was a great day, and I was so excited to get over a 2 minute PR over my June time on the same course. I was also incredibly thankful that my calf felt good and the race didn't cause any additional issues. Up next is my first olympic distance triathlon this weekend!!

Also, a huge thank you to my friends Matt and Beko for taking all these amazing race photos!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

OBX Training Week 5: Avoiding Injury!

First the bad news: last Tuesday during my speed workout, I strained my calf muscle. On the good side though, I spent the rest of the week resting and stretching it and was still able to complete my sprint triathlon on Saturday (a full recap is coming soon!). The extra good news is participating in the triathlon did not make it any worse. With that, here's details on the week!

Monday: swam 1600 yds.

Tuesday: Attempted workout of 3 x 1 mi, aiming for 7:20 pace.

I felt good during my warmup and first mile repeat. Then during the second, my calf got super tight and painful. I stopped to stretch two separate times during the next mile interval. I ended up cutting off the workout because my calf and knee were not feeling good and I really didn't want to injure myself seriously. I was so angry and frustrated!

Maybe I have been pushing too much the last few weeks -- I did have a few hints at my calves being tight both in week 4's intervals, and a comment from the salesman when I was shoe shopping. So, maybe this workout was just the last straw.

I did a bunch of stretching, massaging, elevating, and took my first ever ice bath.

Wednesday: My calf feeling a bit better, but I took the day off completely. Some of our good friends are moving, so I helped pack up some things, and did a decent amount of walking. That seemed to help loosen up the muscle more too. Along with lots more rolling, stretching, legs up the wall of course!

Thursday: swim 1750 yds. Leg felt even better on Thursday, so I swam in the afternoon. I didn't notice any affect on my calf while swimming. After I came home I did some core and hip strengthening work. I was actually feeling a little more confident about being able to run on Saturday.

Friday: took another rest day in preparation for Saturday's triathlon.

Saturday: Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon. (0.5 mi swim, 16 mi bike, 3 mi run)

A recap is coming, but my leg felt pretty good. I also PR'ed in the distance by a little over 2 minutes!

Sunday: Initially wanted to get in a 12 mile long run for marathon training. But I was a little nervous about my legs being tired from the triathlon on Saturday, and aggrivating the calf, so I ended up making it 8 miles, at a fairly easy pace instead. I thought about cutting this run short because I felt tight early on (but no pain!), but once I warmed up I didn't have any issues.

My upcoming goals are to keep taking it easy on running and making sure I keep healing and feeling good. I have an olympic distance triathlon (my first!) coming up on Sunday 8/11 which I would like to still run if I can. However, my main goal of this month is to stay healthy for Hood to Coast. It is only a few weeks away, and I want to make sure I can do my best!

Have you ever gotten injured right before a race? 
How do you deal with changes to your training plan?
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