1. Since I’ve been able to take my sling off since September 5th, I’ve managed to log over 70 miles on the trails! I am in love with the trails and can’t wait do my first 50k in December!!
2. Best trail moment this past month: Pacing Alexander (center) for his 100 miler in McCall, Idaho and hanging out with one of my besties: Joshua! BTW — Josh has his 100 miler is coming up soon!!
3. A great thing about being a Feetures! Ambassador: I was selected to wear test some new socks and provide some feedback. This was post trail hike/run, thus the dirt. If you haven’t tried Feetures! socks … they are my absolute favorite. No blisters, no chaffing, no rubbing. Soft, comfortable, and reliable! Find them here.
PS … My shoes are by Brooks! These are the Pure Grits and are my favorite trail shoe!
4. Lake Padden Trail Half is coming up soon and it’s not too late to register! Date of race is October 18, 2014. It is USATF National Championships so there will be some elite runners that you won’t want to miss!
This awesome photo is by Glenn Tachiyama and was selected for this year’s poster! Check out Glenn’s work here!
5. While I was working the expo booth for the Lake Padden Trail Half last weekend, I had the pleasure to meet Ken Foster and his lovely wife who were selling this product: Real Time Pain Relief. This stuff was amazing and I had to have some! My collarbone and shoulder is often sore, but after applying this product, I have had zero pain. The ingredients rival other products out there and to make it even better, it has a great smell (for real!). This product has reported effects of: reducing inflammation, relieving joint pain and sore muscles, increasing circulation, helping muscles to heal, relieving cramps, relieving sunburn and so much more. I am a believer after using it on my surgery site and also on my banged up and swollen knees after falling the other night. Visit the webpage HERE and enter promo code: 22128. If you have questions, Ken Foster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IM 70.3 St. George (StG) is an EPIC race of GRAND proportions. And, hopefully, this race report will do it justice and give you just a little taste of what the race was like. Epic and Grand? Yes, totally! And, during this writing, I might think of some other awesome, stellar, dynamite adjectives to add!
Preface: I have been training for IM 70.3 St. George since January, with IM 70.3 Oceanside as my warm-up. It was on tap to be my “A” race this year. My goal was sub 6 and I knew I was capable of that. In fact, I just hit a new PR in Oceanside just 5 weeks prior and I was (am) in the best racing shape I ever have been in. I was feeling very strong and confident going into this race.
I flew into Las Vegas the Thursday before the race and met up with some great friends. I rented a van and drove a couple of hours to StG, where I had rented a condo. This was my first time flying with my bike, so I was nervous as heck that something would not go back together right. My nerves settled as my friend, Josh, was able to help me put it all back together. (**A special thank you to Brent for helping me pack my bike and to the Bellingham TRI Club for the bike box loaner).
On Friday, I did a mini shake-out brick, consisting of a 20 minute bike ride and 10 minute run. Josh and I did this together near the condo, while our other friends (not racing) were out for a long ride together. Josh went to meet up with the girls, and I went to the expo.
Ironman Village, was located in the Town Square of StG. It was only a 10 minute drive from my condo. Plenty of parking and easy access. The expo had outdoor booths with vendors and the packet pickup had a tent with a long line. I waited and finally entered the tent. The day was hot and there was no shade, except for when I was inside the tent. The packet pick-up was seamless and I was off to see what the Ironman Merchandise tent had. I bought just a couple of t-shirts and water bottle.
I met up with Josh and the crew sometime after 2 pm and we headed out to check our bikes in at T1 – Sand Hollow Reservoir. We located the area and took some stunning photos of the water. It was so hot out and this was the first time I really thought about how the heat (THIS heat) might affect me on race day. It was dry and HOT. The temps called for mid 90’s on race day. It was low 90’s when I checked my bike …. uhhhhh … okay then. I can do this! I practiced with heat at home on the trainer. Long sleeves and a wool cap. That should be the same.
***(insert wide eyes here optimistic but realistic scared look here)***
3:45 am wake-up. A cup of coffee, 1/2 a bagel with peanut butter and a banana. I got ready and we were all out the door by about 4:30. We went straight to T2, near the athlete village and dropped our run bags. We then said our goodbyes to our crew and we boarded the buses to the start. The drive seemed to take forever.
Once at the T2, I made my way to my bike and filled my tires with air, got my hydration bottles ready and laid out my bike gear. Two more trips to the porto-potty and I was good to go.
I met up with Ginger, Jazzy, Steph and Angelina for some last photos and before I knew it, I was in the water.
Another friend from the F3 community was in my wave and it was so nice to have someone there with me. Thanks Kim! This was her very first 70.3 and I was so excited for her, that I forgot about my own nerves.
The swim started in the open water. I had exactly 3 minutes to get to the red buoys in the water before the air-horn would blow for my start. From the pictures above, they don’t look at that far away, but they were! I didn’t even make it to the red buoys before the the air-horn blew. Dang it. I’m already behind. I started my Timex and started my race.
Head down, I told myself to relax and just swim. I had really worked on my swimming the past 3 months and knew I was capable of sub 48 minutes if I really worked. I wanted to get 45 or less truth be told. I held my own and could feel others swimming by me from the wave starts after mine. I was clawed at, hit, and grabbed. I maintained my position and kept swimming. The water started out cold (60 degrees), but I soon warmed up after about 10 minutes. I was breathing hard, reaching and pulling. Trying hard to focus on being relaxed and not slowing down.
Before I knew it, I was headed in and hit the mat running. I looked down and saw a 45 something on my Timex …. WHAT????!!!!! YES!!!!!! A huge smile formed across my face. I was so proud of myself. I did it!! It was at this very moment, I decided I didn’t care what the rest of my day looked like, I was so happy with this accomplishment. (If you have followed my triathlon journey, you know I didn’t even know how to swim just a few years ago).
Wetsuits strippers peeled my suit and I was running to my bike.
My bike … where was my bike? I was turned around and it took me a little bit to find it. Mistake #1, but not a biggie. I still had a faster transition time than I’ve ever had! I was off and pedaling.
The bike … Oh the awesome, amazing bike! This truly was the course of all courses for beauty and scenery. I took it all in because it was breath-taking. It was also the hardest bike course I’ve ever done. The hills never seemed to stop and the descents were sparse. I felt solid on the bike and took in plenty of fuel for the run.
Coming into T2, I could not locate my run bag. It took me an extra 30-45 seconds. Mistake #2. When I finally found my spot, I racked my bike and quickly changed shoes. I grabbed my run belt with bib, visor and water bottle. I was off.
It was hot out and I pushed it out of my mind for all of about 2 seconds before I thought about it again. Dang … it’s hot! Shuffle. Small steps. Just keep moving. My coach, Daryl, told me if I was breathing too hard, to slow down. Okay then, I was breathing hard and I was in the first mile. Granted the first 3 miles are all uphill. Not just little hills, they gradually became bigger by mile 3. It was about this time, I thought my head just might pop off my body. My head was seriously throbbing and my face felt hot, like steam was coming out of my ears. I fueled at every aid station and dumped ice down my top and shorts to cool my body temp. Nothing seemed to be working.
I will admit at this point, about 3.5 miles in … I thought about stopping at a medical tent and calling it a day. I had PR’d my swim after all and had an amazing bike ride. I just could not get the throbbing in my head to stop and I was not sweating. My clothes were wet from ice, but my skin was bone dry. I thought I might have a stroke or something my head hurt so badly. I walked. I thanked the volunteers. I tried to stay positive because that is who I am. I thought about everyone cheering for me and eventually I kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept at it for miles. So many thoughts swirling in my head: Why did I sign up for this race again? I am never doing another Ironman. I think I like sprint TRI’s. Yeah, those sound nice. I do not like hot weather for racing. Me and Heat don’t get along. Ginger can’t do this race, so buck up and get going! Mikey would have killed this course. I loved the Yoga I did last night. Oh — that’s a cute TRI suit. Oh, HI! Where are you from? I wonder where Josh is. Is it almost over? These volunteers are so friendly. Oh, see … he’s walking too. Eek, does he know those black tri shorts are see-thru? Just say no to crack buddy. Looking strong Michelle! Run to that bush. Where is the shade? There is no shade here. Oh, photo op … start running and smile …. the random thoughts go on and on.
The scenery was gorgeous, but to be honest, I had a hard time enjoying it because I was suffering. I was not cramping however, which is the best news of all. I continued to jog/run/walk. In no particular order. In the last two miles, I put the hammer down and just wanted to be done.
Upon crossing that finish line, I was greeted by the nicest lady who helped me. I was not feeling well. At all. She asked me if I wanted to go to medical, but truth is, I didn’t know what I wanted. I saw my friends and thanked her for her time.
As I continued to exit the finishers area to meet my friends, my emotions overcame me and I started to bawl. Not cry … bawl. I’m not sure exactly what overcame me in that instant, the heat, the accomplishment of being done, my friends, the fact I didn’t feel well, or all of the above. Thankfully, my friends knew just what I needed … shade. And ICE. Angelina ran over to grab some ice from the medics and put some on the back of my neck and head. This did the trick because in about 10-15 minutes, I felt so much better.
We found Josh and took a few photos and grabbed food.
It sank in … I finished! My fifth 70.3 distance. I was happy and I was not going to be let down by my overall time. Why should I? There was too much to be thankful for.
*Swim PR (45:51)
*It was the MOST beautiful course — EVER!
*I finished (and I have the medal to prove it!)
*I had the best friends there for me (Thank you Josh for racing with me; and to Ginger, Jazzy, Stephanie, and Angelina for cheering me on all day. Also thank you to Doug and Stephanie for meeting me at the airport!)
*I had friends who wanted to race today, who were registered to race, but were not able to. I thought of them during my race! ❤
A few more Memorables:
1. I did not wear my Garmin. The day before the race, I knew I did not want to be dependent on my pace/time. I needed a stop watch for fueling, so I opted for my simple Timex for time only. This was a good call.
2. The volunteers were the best EVER. Like EVER. In all the races I’ve ever done … StG volunteers take the cake! I had all the ice, all the coke, all the love from the run course. Simply awesome!
3. Thank you to Gatorade Endurance for my fueling! The G Endurance Carb Energy Chews are the best! I am proud to be an ambassador for this company!
4. The entire race experience was unforgettable. In every way, even the hot run, I am so thankful for it. I now know what it feels like to be in an oven (on broil) and trying to run at the same time, up hill. That is the best analogy I can give you.
5. I have the best friends. They came from San Diego, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Each one of them inspires me.
I wasn’t too sure about the 10 mile run planned today.
The only thing I was really sure about was getting coffee afterwards and meeting two of my great running friends, Jess and Jen. A few ibuprofen down the hatch for good measure and I wished my IT band well, giving it a pep talk, and promising a good ol’ fashioned foam roll afterwards.
Fingers crossed, Garmin started, we head off for our 10 mile standard loop in the north country’ish area. (after all, we do start and stop at a grocery store that has a Starbucks inside — so, it’s not TOO country).
Mile one – feeling fine. Mile two — still doing well, I can feel the IT band ever so slightly. Only 8 more to go right?! Mile three — umm, ouchie. Ok, Gina – just listen to Jess and Jen talk, get your mind off the IT band. Mile 3.4, I look at my watch and swear I’ve been running over 5 miles. Only 3.4?! Oh no!!! My IT band hurts. Boo. I keep plodding along, trying to work it out, trying to stay light on my feet. I suggest to Jess and Jen that perhaps we might cut the loop a little shy and head towards town, just in case I need to stop. Thankfully, Jess and Jen were fine with this plan (they are awesome like that).
And, why was I doing 10 miles today anyway?!
I don’t start official Ironman training until MONDAY. I guess it’s just one of those things I had in my head that I wanted to accomplish for the day. I wanted to run 10 miles. Not 6, not 7, I wanted 10. Type A?! Perhaps. Sue me. I wanted 10. But, I was bargaining now with myself that maybe 7 would be good.
We head back towards the store with Starbucks (STARBUCKS!! —- oh – I can’t wait!!) and by mile 6.5, I do not feel my IT band anymore. WOOHOO! We make it back to the grocery store and my Garmin reads 7.5. Let’s keep going GIRLS! So, off we set in the other direction to finish off our ten. My IT band seemed to be just fine. YES!!! Or, maybe it was just frozen because it was COLD!! Or, maybe it was the ibuprofen?! I’ll take it nonetheless. I don’t care. Starbucks is calling.
And guess what?!? I had a free drink coming!!!
HIT ME STARBUCKS BARISTA LADY — Quad Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte!
I had to jet right away to get the daughter unit to tumbling again today, along with another girl in our carpool. No time to stretch. OOPS. I grab my to-go gym bag and take the girls to town. I drive to the gym and shower and another oopsie …. no time to stretch again — I only have an hour and I need to hit the Trader Joe’s before picking the girls up.
I stock up on tons of fruits and veggies because I had it in my head this morning, I wanted to make a homemade veggie soup.
Back home and my legs are crying a bit. Feeling neglected. So, I give them a few minutes of stretch time while unpacking the groceries. I multi-task like that.
Before I continue with my impressive Sunset Magazine like winter soup for soul — I must tell you:: I had some firsts today!
1. I bought a falafel wrap (I’ve never had falafel, but my friend Meghan raves about it and I keep promising to try it). Perfect, I haven’t eaten and I will have it the minute I get home. I’m starved.
2. I bought some tofu! Not sure what to do with it yet. But, I bought it and am determined to put it in something. I’m considering trying an all veggie diet in January. I know, I know … crazy talk, huh?! Especially from this baconator. This will be another blog though …
Anywho … the falafel wrap = yumminess! I will have to try to make my own without the wrap next time!!
Now for the soup! OH MY — I outdid myself. It was just what I needed on this cold day!! So easy to make too! I didn’t feel like searching the web for a recipe, so I improvised. Here are some pics and a follow-a-long type recipe::
Leeks – chopped and sautéed in a little EVOO and lots of garlic. Add:
Chopped Red Pepper – sautéed with leeks for about 7 minutes. Then add:
Chopped Yukon Gold Potatoes with skin on. MMM!
Love the Yukons!
Cook with Leeks and Red Pepper for another 5 minutes. Add a titch of salt, red pepper flakes, garlic salt, and dried parsley.
Added two containers of Vegetable Broth, along with these little cutie baby zucchinis:
Also added a 32 oz can of diced tomatoes and some chopped portobellos. Bring to a boil, then turn on low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Added Kale after veggies and potatoes were tender and ready.
Soup was so colorful!
Here is the finished product — WA-LAH::
Straight out of Sunset Magazine if I say so! (Well – I wish!)
I topped soup with fresh chopped parsley and some parmesan cheese. Mmm! DELISH!
Whatcha think? My family loved it — which is the true test!!
Hope you all had a Super or Souper Sensational Saturday too!
We set off for an easy 10. Five out and Five back was the plan.
Now, if you read my blog … you know I had a rather strange occurrence on my run the other day. So strange, in fact, that I was a little hesitant to go for such a long run. If you missed that blog … CLICK HERE.
Not to fear though! All went well and I enjoyed every bit of it.
We had awesome Pacific Northwest weather — cool and crisp, with not a drop of rain. Jess remained by my side and I was able to catch some great photos.
I love running along Bellingham Bay!
When we returned – Meghan and I photo bombed our own selfie, before she continued on to finish off her 16 miles for the day. Way to go Meghan!
Jess and I were very pleased with our results and celebrated with what?? Starbucks!!
Oh — and the F3 … that stands for FURTHER FASTER FOREVER! Check them out! #furtherfasterforever and JOIN in!
Hustle and bustle flow through my veins, with shopping and decorating and cleaning and working and running and baking and parties and planning and wrapping and gifting and … on and on and on …
…. I thrive in this crazy commotion topped with tinsel and bows. I swoon for all things sparkly and shiny. I love creating packages filled with love and don’t expect anything in return. I simply LOVE to give. Not just presents — but smiles and love and joy and inspiration. This is what I love about Christmas. I’m often asked what I ‘want’ for Christmas. I want to be surrounded by my family and friends, enjoy cheer and make merry. I love dressing up and I also love bundling up by the fire. An added bonus is always SNOW.
As I reflect on this December, here are some of my favorite moments::
…. so, Cheers everyone! I raise my glass to you!! xoxo
I flew into Vegas on Friday, December 1st, and promptly checked in to my hotel — The MGM Grand. I couldn’t wait to get over to the Expo – located at the Sands Convention Center, inside the Venetian, so I unpacked and organized my clothes as quickly and neatly as humanly type A possible, and then made my way to catch a taxi.
I forgot how expensive taxi’s are in Vegas. Ridiculous!! At any rate, I made my way over to the Expo and found it to be well organized. A huge open space to pick up race numbers according to your corral (I was in corral 2), then onto picking up my tech T — by Brooks! Finally, the swag bag, full of mostly brochures, but I like them empty so I can fill it with goodies from the expo.
First stop, Brooks Cavalcade of Curiosities!
Have I mentioned how much I love Brooks? I won a t-shirt and tried my hand a new pair of shoes (I didn’t win the shoes).
I made my way through the expo, had a few healthy protein nibbles and was back at the hotel and ready for bed by 8:30 pm. Exciting for Las Vegas right?! But hey – I had a race to run!!
The next morning, I met my friend from Virginia and we made our way to the Expo so she could get her race packet. I chilled all day in this attire (not very Vegasy, I know):
(I love this Brooks Run Happy Cupcake Tech T — so soft and comfortable. I also wore my CEP compression socks all day!)
So the race didn’t start until 4:30 pm. I knew I didn’t want to eat much of anything, so my last meal was around 10 am and consisted of eggs, ham, and an english muffin. Nothing more until after the race.
Resting my legs before the start.
So … the start::
I almost missed my corral. I was in the longest porto-potty line EVER! By the time I got out, they had just started Corral 1. I sprinted nearly 1/2 mile, dodging and weaving and about 100 “excuse me’s” through the masses of other runners and spectators. By the time I made it to the start, Corral 2 had already taken off and the runners were at least 300 feet down the road …. ACK!! So, I started … SOLO …. as Corral 3 was still being held back at the start line. hee hee … 🙂 Why not?
I quickly found my pace and held stead fast.
WHOA — wait …. what’s this?
Sideways, hard, pushing. UGH. This is not going to be fun. Stay focused I told myself. Get in behind others and keep moving forward. So, that’s what I did. I felt good during the entire race and enjoyed seeing the STRIP AT NIGHT! At about mile 8, I had 1/2 a gel, and I only took in a few sips of water. At mile nine, I was coming into the back side of Freemont and saw a spinning stiletto heel. ….. LOVE!
Turning back towards the Bellagio, total headwind, HARD, for the final 3 + miles. Everyone I tried to get behind was slowing way down, so I just pushed harder to catch someone else to run behind. I found a skinny dude and followed him for about 2 miles, until he stopped to walk. WHAT?! We are almost done!! I kept at it, pushing, knowing that I would PR. And, a PR, I did!!
Now for the nitty-gritty:
Yes – I did PR … but, I almost started crying when I finished. I looked down at my GARMIN, which showed I had an average pace of 7:45 and 13.23 miles in 1:42:44. How is my time not closer to a 1:40:00 ??? I was shooting for a 1:40:00. A 7:51 average pace should have given me a 1:40:00. What the heck?
I asked other runners what their Garmin’s read. Everyone I talked to said their Garmin’s showed 13.2 something. That’s it — the course was long!
Wait — it could haven’t been another 2 minutes. Still dumbfounded — I just couldn’t get past why I didn’t come closer to a 1:40:00, especially after running a solid 7:45 average pace. DANG!
I tried to brush it off as best as I could and feel great about my performance and my PR, but still …..
I met up with my old high school buddy, Eric, and his wife, Sharon, for a night of fun. Here is our after race photo:
It wasn’t until the next day that I found my training mistake ….
For whatever reason, my last few runs were at marathon pace, not at 1/2 marathon pace. So I had 7:51 stuck in my head, not 7:36 …
This, my friends, is what I call my DUMB ASS training moment #537
Overall — this was a fantastic race and I’m glad it was a solid effort and performance. No injuries – great running – and awesome friends to train with.
Decked out in my Brooks Running Nightlife apparel – I set off to pick up Jess for our tempo run.
1 mile warm-up
2 x 1 mile at 10K pace with 3:00 min recovery in between
1 mile cool down
I was shooting for somewhere in the neighborhood of a 7:15 to 7:30 pace for my one mile repeats. Since it was dark pitch black outside, I didn’t worry about watching my pace, rather I went by feel – so I could keep my eyes on the barely lit road illuminating from my tiny headlamp that probably needs new batteries.
Jess and I finished and I checked our splits. To my surprise, my first interval was right on and the second one was way faster than I intended.
I felt pumped by this performance!!
1st – 1 mile: 7:23 pace
2nd – 1 mile: 6:46 pace
5 more days until Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll 1/2!!
3 more training runs!
Alarm is set for 3:50 am …. another early morning run is calling. Night all! xo