Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Iron Girl - Las Vegas

I was really excited to head to warm weather to compete in the Athleta Iron Girl triathlon in Las Vegas last weekend.  It was my last planned event of the year until a friend came up with just one more in December!  I’m a sucker for a destination race.

Photo: Saying until later to Lake Las Vegas...
The weather in Vegas was supposed to be in the 70s and it actually got up into the 80s. It did not disappoint. The event was held at the resort at Lake Las Vegas with reported water temperature of 68 degrees, however race morning it was 63.  Not a big deal except that we could not get in the water early so my first exposure was when they said “go”!  It took a few seconds to catch my breath but then I was off. It was a time trial start which I have not done in open water before. I got bumped around a little and then someone tried swimming between my legs. That was interesting!  There was a long transition distance but it had warmed up nicely and I was off on the bike. We immediately went into a climb and most of the course was very hilly. I took advantage of the few downhills, topping out over 30 mph at times. With about a half mile to the transition, my front tire flatted. First experience with that! I managed to stay upright and rode to transition but my heart was pumping pretty hard.  The run course was hilly as well with the first mile or so being a pretty good climb. I felt like I was running in quicksand but was pleasantly surprised with my run time at the end. I finished 5th in my age group of this all woman race and have something to shoot for next year. Yes, it is one that I will repeat! My friend, Darlene, did the Olympic distance and bettered her time from last year by over an hour! 

The Iron Nun, Sister Madonna Buder, was at the race and was competing. She is 83 years old and started doing triathlons in her fifties and has gone to the Kona World Championships. Pretty amazing and inspirational woman!

Overall it was a pretty great weekend!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nike Women's Half Marathon

I spent last weekend in San Francisco with a dozen girlfriends also known as my adopted family!
We were there to run in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.
This is a great race – you run and at the finish there are handsome firemen in tuxes handing out Tiffany’s necklaces.

There are about 30,000 participants so you can just imagine how crazy not just the race is but the city in general. Lots of sightseeing, shopping and laughter happening. This was my second year running it and I wasn’t sure how it was going to be since I was only two weeks out from my marathon. My legs were still a little trashed but since I was not worried about my time, I went to enjoy the sisterhood. A group of us booked and went on a tour of Alcatraz – at night.  Kind of cre It was fun to learn even more about this prison that was only in operation for a brief time! Kind of creepy! It was fun to learn even more about this prison that was only in operation for a brief time.
The view from the island on the return trip was beautiful!
Saturday was spent walking around, shopping and eating. Then we got to bed early so the morning alarm wouldn’t seem so bad. At the race start I was a couple of corrals back so it took over 20 minutes for me to cross the start line. It was a chilly 50 degrees and foggy so I had a long sleeve shirt and gloves on to start. The gloves came off after 45 minutes but the shirt stayed on for the entire race. I was running a little slower than normal but keeping a steady pace until the hill at mile 7. That’s when I found that my legs were not working well and I ended up walking up most of it.  And since my time in that mile was already slow, I took advantage of the no lines for the port-a-potty. I felt fine the last six miles and was surprised at ten miles to see that I had a chance of beating last year’s time and ended up taking 10 minutes off and feeling pretty good. The finish line needs some work to be more efficient. There are always huge lines waiting for shirts, food, necklaces and firemen so it takes awhile to pick up your drop bag and get something warmer to wear. It’s a fun experience though and well worth doing at least once. The rest of the day was spent—and this shouldn’t be a surprise—resting, eating and shopping! With the Bart workers on strike, it was an adventure getting back to the airport but I did and made it home without much else happening. It is nice to be home and back to a routine. Not sure about you but my eating gets a little out of hand when I am traveling – so much good food to try.  It was nice to see this box in the mail at home - 
It's my first Kona Kase with samples of all sort of healthy sports goodies.  I tried the banana snacks last night and they were pretty good. This morning my race weekend weight is almost gone again and I am ready to tackle another race on Saturday, one of my last two triathlons of the year. More later!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Random thoughts!

I started out last weekend with a stay in Midway with fellow Red Rock Relay volunteers.  We were up and out of the hotel before 6 am to work at exchanges for this one day relay.  If the thought of a two day, 200 mile relay sounds like too much, you should check out the RRR relays in Moab and Park City.  They are one day, 70 miles and are a blast!  It felt strange to not be running but my legs are still recovering from my marathon adventure.  I was at exchange two which was about 8 miles into the race for the runners.  It was a beautiful but cold morning.  Then it was off to lunch at my son’s new home and to the Utes football game.  We were projected as underdogs in the game but I had faith and our team pulled through, upsetting the 5th ranked Stanford team.  It was beautiful!
I was pondering (don’t you love that word!) the other day what my purpose in life might be.  Does this ever cross your mind?  I have always told my boys that God must have some kind of plan for me because I really should not be alive now.  I have survived two rollover accidents, alcoholism, taking more drugs than I care to remember (and probably don’t) and on and on and on.  So it just makes me wonder what it might be – was it to bring my beautiful children into the world, meet, marry and annoy constantly my wonderful husband, getting sober and sharing my story, giving my kidney to a random stranger?  Each time something new happens, I think this must be it and my time is up but life goes on.  Now I wonder if it is this personal trainer certification.  I taught my first class at GPP last night.  It is a “master’s” age class.  I am really excited for this, to share what I have learned and experienced in the past six years.  Two ladies came and it was fun seeing them realize what they could do.  Regardless of what my purpose might be, I will keep on getting out of bed in the morning and seeing what the day has in store for me.

I really hope the “tiredness” leaves my legs soon.  I’m off to San Francisco this weekend to run with a few thousand crazy women on a quest for a Tiffany’s necklace given out by a hot fireman in a tux!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

St. George Marathon

The weekend of the race finally arrived.  I went to St. George a couple of days before race day to kind of get myself in a mental state of being ready.  Did an hour swim on Thursday and then a two mile run Friday morning before going to the expo.
My body felt good and as ready as it was going to be for the marathon.  The weather was supposed to be a perfect temperature but the wind picked up Thursday night and did not really quit until Saturday morning.  That worried me a little but once the race started, it stopped.  The rest of my group arrived on Friday afternoon and we had a pre-race dinner at the house.  Steaks, salmon, pasta salad, sweet potato casserole and apple cobbler – it was yummy.  I have really fun and supportive friends who wanted to make the race-eve memorable!
We made a plan on where to meet to load buses in the morning and said an early goodnight.  3:45 am comes really early!  The crew at my house headed to the buses but we didn’t see our friends so we loaded and headed up to the start.  Having never done a marathon before, I was noticing how far we were driving and realizing that I would be running back the same way!   We stood in line for over a half hour for the bathroom and a little more to drop our clothes bag and then the race started so there wasn’t a lot of time to think about anything.  We never did find the others in our group but I was going to run alone so I knew I would just see them at the finish.  My biggest problem is always starting out too fast so I worked hard on watching my pace so I would not run out of steam.  I was running a little under the pace I had planned for but felt good so stayed with my run/walk plan.  The course was beautiful and it was fun to see the sun coming up over the red hills and the beautiful setting.  I failed a little on my nutrition plan but never felt deficient.  I did have a little “bathroom” problem and ended up stopping half a dozen times the first 20 miles.  The weather was about 37 degrees to start so I left sweatpants and a long sleeve tech shirt on for the first hour or so.  They say this is a “downhill” course but there are several little blips on the elevation chart that translate into hills but nothing insurmountable.  Until mile 19 starts.  Coach Lizz and I had talked about this so I was prepared and, as I told her after, “I ran up the effing hill at 18-19!”  I hit 20 miles at about the same time as I did on my training run and still feeling good.  A 10k left – no problem!  My pace dropped a little but I was in familiar territory and knew the end was near.  As I rounded the corner for the last mile, there was my husband taking pictures and cheering me on with our friends.
That gave me what I needed to finish.  When I first registered all I wanted to do was finish in at least 6 hours but as I trained, I thought I could maybe get it done in 5:15-5:30.  My time was 5:19 so I was happy!  I found my friends who had finished before me, we took pics and headed to clean up.
The funny thing about this picture is that there were 5 guys that we were facing that were taking pictures - we should have gotten one of them!

After an ice bath and shower, I felt almost human again.  Unlike some of my younger friends (Candice & Kenzie!!!), I will not return to the gym until Wednesday and even then it will be at half effort.  The sense of accomplishment that I have is enormous – I ran a marathon!  Thanks to all my friends and family who believed in and encouraged me.  Especially to Wes, who delayed his work life in order to be here for me!