Friday, August 31, 2012

August's Top Ten.....Or Thirteen

Yikes, where did August go?  My last post was 3 weeks ago?   Guess that means it's time to sum up the month with a few highlights in runwithjill's world:

1. The month started with an amazing day at the Tri for the Cure (which, coincidentally, was my last post HERE :)), my first since before most of you were even born.  It was fun and I enjoyed it for the most part but it opened my eyes to just HOW slow I can run these days.  Unlike!

2. Cross Country kicked off with a little high altitude training camp in Grand Lake.  My son, Ryan, and the rest of the CC crew had a fantastic time running the trails up there 2x/day for 5 days.  This camp is amazing and does wonders for these kids; it is going to make them race faster (we are so blessed to not just live a gorgeous state, but at altitude too) as race season kicks off with the pre-state meet in Colorado Springs today where they'll face 170 other schools, which equates to about 6000 runners.  It is insane.  But oh so fun.  If you've never been to a cross country meet - especially one as large as this - you really should find your local high school or college and experience one.  I promise you, it will move you!

Ryan running the trails near Grand Lake
3. I am in baby heaven!!   Once fellow blogger *ahem* Tara had her baby a couple weeks ago and he is the sweetest baby ever.  I could hold him all day (except between the hours of 1-5am :)). I visit as often as they let me....not that I'm a stalker or anything.
I'm pretty sure he recognizes my voice as the one who complains
constantly about the ice cold water at the pool!
4. I ran a half marathon, which, in keeping in line with sub-par races for 2012, was miserable.  But I got a cool medal....
It's a little mini mining pan; the race was in Idaho Springs, which is an old mining town.  Pretty cool!
5.  ...but Ryan ran fantastically and had a 10-minute PR over last year's race with a 1:29.

6.  For awhile, we all thought he got 3rd in his age group .... until we realized that I registered him as a ... um... female!  Opps.  Had to QUICKLY change that as they were just starting to do awards when we realized this little glip and didn't have time to change his wardrobe into something a little more feminine.  He did end up 6th out of something like 95, though.  Not too shabby....but dang, he should have been a girl!

7. *waving my hand high in the air* Marching Band Board President right here, people!!  I was a runner and swimmer in high school, I know nothing about band.  But huge amounts of guilt were weighing in on how much time I spend with the cross country kiddos and my running son; yet zippo with the band child.  So why not sign up for the top of the ladder position?!  I'm sure this doesn't surprise most (sort of like running a marathon with minimal training *see below*). I marched with the kids one day for mega hours in a band parade....I counted this as my LONG run!

Arrow points to the band child
8. I got to spend a couple incredibly fun days with blogger Ewa, when she came to visit my awesome state for a few weeks.  She stayed with me for a night, without even having previously met her, but I felt we were just meant to be great friends.  We had some fun conversations as we hit the trails at Lair O' the Bear one afternoon.

And then a quick peek into our state's past at Dinosaur Ridge.  Just a warning, if you come to visit me in Colorado, you'll have to have endure a little adventure to Dinosaur Ridge on our way to or from whatever else we may be doing. I LOVE the geology here and one day I'm just going to have to be a volunteer! :)

Dinosaur prints = awesome!

Showing Ewa the ancient ocean ripple marks.
Apparently, your skin will turn the same color as your jacket and shirt
if you wear too much of that color!
9. One day last week, I announced to anyone who would listen that I was bagging Chicago Marathon; my long run training has been pretty much non-existent and my 8-week old inner ankle sprain is giving me some grief, as well as the bottoms of both feet (arghhhh!).  The evening of the day I told the world I wasn't running Chicago, I bought a plane ticket to ... Chicago.  Guess my ill-trained, achy ankle and feet will be shuffling through 26.2 agonyzing miles.  Woohoo!  I wonder if I can be last in a sea of 40,000 runners.  I should make it a goal!

10. I'm now one proud (proud??) owner of a wetsuit (thank you half price sale at Runner's Roost!).  Looks like I got some cold water swimming to do.

11. In feeble attempt to rid my bod of some mid-age fluff, Les Mills and I are becoming pretty intimate.  Unfortunately, his Body Pump class is leaving my glutes so incredibly sore the next day, I'm having a really hard time running.  I'm bound and determined to stick with it though, it's not like my feet are that happy running anyway.
12. My daughter and I did a "fun run" together last weekend called the Retro Run.  Everyone (and I mean all 800 of us!) was dressed up in brightly colored 80s attire; we laughed so hard at some of the crazy concoctions put together and were entertained by a few members from "KISS" around mile 2 to the end. Fun runs apparently are not time, do not provide water along the course (in 90 degree heat), do not provide water at the end and do not provide any sort of post fun-run food.  The 80s band at the end was really good, though....not that I'm old enough to remember any of those songs or anything.

No water, but they had a race photographer.  What????
Random participants

Ran into Katie from Will Race for Carbs - she was totally into the whole retro thing,  right down to the earrings!
Month's Totals:
Run: 167.35 miles (this is pretty low for supposedly a high marathon training month for me.  Thus, explains my ill-preparedness.  Again!  It's okay...onward and upward)
Bike: 187.5 miles (low, but I'm not too worried since I'm not training for anything on the bike)
Swim: 4.37 miles (considering I did zero miles for two weeks post triathlon, I'm okay with this)
Weights: 6:45 (you'd think I'd be all body builder-esque by now.  Not so much.  Not even noticeable.  Whatever.  It's got to be doing someting in there somewhere, right?).
Races: 2. 
1) Tri for the Cure
2) Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon

Bring on September (and if September could bring on some less painful feet and ankle, that'd be very much appreciated!!!!).

Until next time....

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tri for the Cure: My first Tri in (gulp) 23 years!

First off, I have to start the Academy Award speeches with a BIG thank you to Katie, a fellow Denver blogger, who I've never had the chance to meet up with until a couple weeks ago at the swim race after I bribed her into doing with me (Alcohol is a powerful weapon :)).  She lives on the other side of town from me so meeting up haven't been convenient but when I found out she was doing this same triathlon, and has done it before, I stalked her with a thousand questions on FB and email ....had I known her address, I'm sure I'd have made myself at home for a couple weeks.  She was instrumental in getting me prepared for this race...and what a sweetheart to boot.

Katie and her friend Audrey - both were so helpful and encouraging!  You guys ROCK!
Pre Race: This is the biggest sprint triathlon in the nation (really!) so when Katie told me I needed to get my sorry butt there early to secure a good bike spot, like 5am early (my start was at 7:06am), I took this to heart and pulled into the parking lot at 4:55am.  The parking volunteers had us park about a mile away from the start, which is ridiculous because we passed 5000 closer in spots, but I guess this is the price you pay for being anal about a good transition spot (I am learning the tricks of the trade!).  Katie ended up parked right next to me which was really funny at the time - it was pitch dark so the fact we ended up right next to one another in a sea of cars was pretty great.  We met her friend, Audrey, and made our way to the transition area where they instantly found a perfect-o spot for my bike and helped me set up my gear.

Getting there 2 hours early lands you a sweet spot on the end.
Everyone who does triathlons uses a Hello Kitty towel, don't they?
We wandered around doing the ritual porta-potty and race markings and then I bid my friends farewell and good luck and got ready for my swim (Katie and Audrey were in waves about a half hour after me).

Swim: Because I'm an idiot and have never done a triathlon in 23 years, I signed up for the "competitor" wave, which is reserved for those who have repeatedly placed in the top 20% of previous triathlons.  Perfect.  The reasons why I did this was because when I registered, I had never done an OWS before and was terrified of having 1000 bodies in the water kicking me.  I also wanted to hopefully run before the heat of the day continued to try and melt Colorado (record number of 90+ degree days this year - woohoo!).  As it turned out, the swim races I did pre-registration eased my open water swimming anxiety and I really wasn't anxious anymore. Standing there waiting for my swim to start, I looked around and felt a little out of place by all the well-chiseled triathlon bodies around me and questioned my sanity for the thousandth time for not moving down to my age group wave  ....but soon I talked to a woman next to me who was also in my wave and she told me she wasn't a runner and the only time she runs is once a year at this race.  Guess I wasn't the only brainiac in the competitor wave.

The "elite" wave starts first, at 7am.  I thought there'd be about a hundred of these soles.  There were 3.  THREE.  So off they go then we wait three minutes for those three to get well ahead of the next wave, which is the "survivors".  These are all racers who are cancer survivors and they wear pink caps ("competitors" wear blue, in case you wondered).  There must have been about 200 of them - and I'm not kidding.  This was actually concerning me as I stood in the water waiting for my wave start and watching some of them "swim".  All swimmers are allowed buddies if they feel they cannot make the distance by themselves.  Buddies swim along side their swimmer and they carry a noodle in case the swimmer needs to use it at any time during the race to rest.  With about a minute to the start, all I could see were massive noodles in front of me; I had no idea how I was going to get around them.

The horn blew and off we went.  Starting in the water was different than the swim races I had been going to which started with a run start from the beach.  So about 200 of us were a little crammed in there, plus the sun was just coming up over the lake making it rather difficult to see anything but sun rays so it was a little dicey getting going.  I got a swift kick in the throat early on and a few noodles in the face I had to navigate around, but overall I had an absolute blast with the swim!!  I looked ahead and behind me a couple times and felt I was positioned pretty well in the top 1/4 of those with blue caps - I was thrilled.  Swim: 750M (1/2 mile), Time: 13.31, Rank: 92/1971.  

T1: So you get out of the water on a slimy boat ramp and you run UPHILL quit a long ways on pebbly cement (this hurt my feet - ouch!).  As I run up, I see Katie and Audrey waiting for their wave to start and high-five them.  It gave me a bit of a rush :).  It's a really long way to my bike, but I found it easily, thanks to being at the transition 2-hours beforehand :).  I think I had a great transition as I didn't have to deal with a wetsuit.  I somehow miraculously didn't forget anything.  Time: 3:45 (did I mention it was a LONG ways out of the water to the bike?).

Bike: Now we have a looooong ways in transition to go until we can mount on the bike.  I'm just watching what everyone around me is doing, since I'm so "competitive" and I gotta look the part; everyone was running with their bikes in their bike shoes to the mounting area so when in Rome and all and ran with my bike I did.

I know this course like I know how much I hate onions - very well.  I ride and run here often as the park is practically in my backyard so every single inch of topography change is embedded in my head.  This is a huge advantage for me, who is bike challenged riding something flat.  I rode hard - at least for me, and had I not dinked around too much while on my bike with stupid things like getting my Garmin off my bike onto my wrist, re-positiong my Garmin so it wasn't backwards, which it was for the first 3 miles; iPod ready for the run; Chapstick; gum; chewing open a gel packet; repositioning the stupid race number on my bike - which kept creeping up between my legs and scratching them, I think I would have rode slightly faster.  As it was, I was THRILLED when I looked down on my time as I hadn't rode anything close to that ever before.  I was passed by probably 60 people, which is a bit demoralizing when it's one after another after another....I kept wondering what I need to do to be faster in the future because I just don't get how you CAN be - but like I've said before, biking is my real weakness so when I passed maybe a dozen or so people, I felt all Lance Armstrong-ish and I was having a much better time on the bike than I thought I would.  Bike: 11.4 miles, Time: 40.14 (16.9mph), Rank: 435/1971).

T2:  After dismounting you run back to your transition spot, which, let me remind you, it's a long way away.  My bike shoe strap came off and so "running" with my bike was proving to be very difficult because my shoe was falling off if I ran.  God forbid I'd want to spend time restrapping the thing when I was just going to unstrap them in a few feet.  I felt a bit more scatter-brained in T2 getting all my bike gear off and running gear on.  More logistics here than swim to bike, I thought.  Time: 2:18.

Run: Whatever grand illusion I had that I could rock the run part was very quickly smashed within the first few steps.  But before I could become smacked with a heavy dose of you suck running reality, I realized after I crossed the start line that I forgot my bib.  Holy hell, are you kidding me!!  So I ran back and strapped it on and then started the 3.1 mile death march, which quickly dampened my previous "I'm having fun" mood (in retrospect, this bib wasn't even NEEDED as I had a timing chip on....what a waste of a precious minute!)

Some masochistic race director decided the run needed to start on a half mile steep uphill.  Add that hill to my heavy-ass quads from the bike and there was no way I was running even remotely close to the pace I envisioned.  I stopped and walked within a hundred feet of the start to shake my quads out. I used the lame excuse that I wanted to stat my iPod, but really, I just had to stretch my legs for a few seconds; the fact that now my iPod was working was a bonus (let's also recall the amount of time I wasted on the bike getting it prepped for the run, too).  I took off running and started passing a lot of people (and a couple me :( ) but I never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever felt good running, no matter how slow I ran.  At the half way mark, I stopped to get some water and walked about 15 seconds.  At mile 2, my angry ankle started to rear it's ugly head and this seemed like a perfect opportunity excuse to walk a few steps and shake my foot.  When I got to the 1/2 mile now downhill (uphill at the start), I thought I'd be able to crank it up and nail a few road kill victims.  Um, no.  A couple times I'd look at my watch and see I was running something like 8:45 and I just wanted to cry.  Sad, simply sad.  Run: 5k, Time: 27:58 (9:01 pace - arghhhh!), Rank: 271/1971.

Overall: I saw Tara, who came out to cheer me on, just before I crossed the finish line ... it choked me up.  Literally, I crossed the finish line and couldn't breathe because tears were starting to well up.  This isn't like me at all, I didn't know where that came from or what to do about it.  I stopped for a few minutes trying to get Tara's attention but she didn't see me waving like a lunatic so I walked through the chute and at the end of the line..... there was my son, Brendan, waiting for me with a big hug.  I lost it, the tears started streaming.  What a dork!  Time: 1:27:48. Rank: 162/1971, Age group: 15/161. (Hiker mom, YOU WON the necklace by predicting the closest time - woohoo!  Thanks for the whole 9? of you who participated)

I waited around with my fan club for Katie and Audrey to come through, rehashing the whole race to them.  I had no idea of my finish time because my swim watch broke a few minutes before my wave start so when Katie came up after her finish and asked me my time, I thought about I was pretty stunned at my 1:27.  Katie had a great race, PRing by 5 minutes over last year and her friend, Audrey, PR'd by 10 minutes.  We all high-fived one another, grabbed some food...and made the long trek back to our cars - exhausted, but elated.

I loved this race and all it stood for.  Even though I took a few noodles to the face during my swim, I couldn't have been more moved by all those cancer survivors giving it all they had to show the world they live!  I wasn't bothered at all having to fight my way through them; you can't help but not be touched by their determination to survive.  Do I love triathloning and want to do more?  Um, the jury is still out on that, at least for right now.  Had the run gone better, I think I'd have signed up for about 10 more this year, but I have a lot of work to do in the running department (it's NOT just this 5k; my running in general is nowhere near where it needs to be to race feeling well right now) and so I bid the triathlon farewell until next year....and then who knows.  I haven't totally ruled out wanting to do a full IM still for my 50th birthday next I guess this race didn't do too much damage :), but this race also showed me that if I ever do a full IM, I want - and WILL - be race ready for it!!!!
Audrey, Katie and I - happy finish smiles all-around!
Until next time....
Run (tri, bike, swim...) strong!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Predict It, Win It!!

So you all know I don't do giveaways often; I really just want this blog to be about my journey in life....mostly about running with a few sidekicks thrown in such as my kids (it was my twins birthdays yesterday - 17 *gasp). Or swimming (read last post if you haven't). Or the occasional biking thing or *ahem* a triathlon - which I have on Sunday.

But recently I won an adorable necklace from Tag! You're It! Designs after I simply followed them on Facebook (I love their stuff).  I spent a couple weeks deciding what I wanted on my tags; I've wanted a necklace like this for a really long time but always have had such hard time deciding what I wanted it to say so I never ordered one.  It wasn't any easier when I got the necklace for free, either....but eventually I decided on a couple simple words.  Here's my necklace:

I thought it best described myself after my 2-year foot fiasco.  I may not be running anywhere close to the paces I was before my foot problem, but I never gave up believing I would run again during those 2 years...and those who followed me way back then know I knocked on so many doors until I finally found someone who understood the root of my problem and could fix it permanently for me.  I LOVE my necklace.  Absolutely love it and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Sarah (who is just the nicest person ever!), from Tag! You're It! Designs offered to give one of you a necklace of your choosing - just for being my blog friend.  How cool is that.  At first I was a little reluctant as I just don't live giveaway blogs much....but heck, this is necklace is just really neat and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share.

But how to do mind was pondering this for a long time and it finally hit me on my bike ride today:

Win it by predicting my overall finish time in my triathlon this coming Sunday.  I know it's short notice, but like I said, the thought just came to me so you're going to just not have to be a procrastinator - like me.

Here's a quick overview and thoughts of the tri I am doing this weekend, to help your prediction (Tri for the Cure link here).

  • Swim
    • 1/2 mile
    • I am in the 3rd wave and start at 7:06am.
    • First wave are "elite" triathletes, about 100 in all.  Second wave are cancer "survivors", also about 100 in all.  Not too worried about running into the elites, but there may be some navigational challenges around the survivors.  
    • Swimming is one of my stronger suits but I'm in a "competitive" wave so my wave placement may not be too high, but I think I'll do fine as long as I don't have to swim around too many people.  Or get lost.  Or get a concussion from someone kicking me in the head.
    • You can check my last post for my mile swim times.
  • Bike
    • 11.4 miles
    • I'd describe the course as "rolling" with a couple big, but short, climbs.
    • Biking is definitely my weakness of all 3 events.  Hills slow me to a crawl!
    • Course has two sharp 180 degree turns.
    • The road is rough in many long patches.  Sucks, to be precise.
  • Run
    • 5k (3.1 miles)
    • Straight out of transition is a major climb for about a half mile.  Then the course winds onto a gradual incline for the next 1.5 miles.  At the half way mark, you turn around and run back the way you came (thus, a nice downhill - yay).
    • I haven't run much since my I sprained my ankle over 2 weeks ago.  I give my ankle a 50/50 chance of behaving.
    • I've done no hill work since Leadville the end of June.
  • Other stuff:
    • Race morning temps are predicted to be about 65 degrees for the start of my swim.
    • Transition from swim to bike is up a big hill and though my bike is suppose to be one in of the closer-in spots, but I have a feeling this is going to be messed up and I'll end up pretty far away.
    • 3000 people (holy crap!!)!!  Thus my concern for the bike rack placement.
    • When I did the Chilly Cheeks Duathlon 2 years ago, the whole transition thingie was pretty slow for me.  I suspect it will be the same this race but I have been practicing! :)
    • It was my boys' birthdays yesterday and I ate so much crap and put on at least 10 lbs in one day.  Or so it feels.  
So there ya go, that's the run-down.  I have no idea how I'll finish.  I haven't a clue how the bike is going to go for me or the transitions or the 1.5 mile uphill climb to start on the run.  Your guess is as good as mine - so HAVE FUN, guess a time, and maybe win an awesome necklace of your own design.  Super fun, huh?? I thought so! :)

Here's the rules:

In ONE comment below (please just one, I don't want a comment for each 3!):
1) Like Tag! You're it! Designs on Facebook by clicking HERE.
2) Browse Tag! You're it! Designs website HERE and tell me what designs you like .
3) Predict my finishing time for the triathlon on Sunday!!!  Wheeee!

The one closest to the actual time, WINS!  Easy, huh?

All entries must be made via a comment on my blog and all made by 10:00am Mountain Standard Time Sunday, August 5th.  No late entries, as the results may be posted after this time and that's just way too easy then (I know, I'm so not fair!)

Okay...y'all have 45 hours....Ready, Set, Goooooooooo!!!

In the meantime, I'll be trying to de-nervous myself as much as possible for Sunday's little event.

Guess strong, my friends!  :)